Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Card Display Ideas

Now that I'm at an age (read: a Grown Up) for sending and receiving Holiday Cards, I always feel guilty throwing the card in the trash.  I normally display them on the ledge over the sink then finally stick them in a drawer to never been seen again - I do this with wedding invitations, too.  As a past bride, I know how much time and money goes into designing these mini works of paper art, and I can't reason with myself to throw them away. However, I like to keep the front of my fridge bare and neat, and the side is already taken over with Save the Dates for next year... so, how's a girl to display her holiday cards?


Here are some cute and original DIY ideas for displaying or saving the cards until the holidays are over.


If we had a fireplace, I would definitely string our holiday cards across as a makeshift garland, like this picture from ApartmentTherapy.com (above). However, I think I prefer the look of them hanging by clothes pins, similar Martha Stewart shown below.

Leave it to Martha, to create a cute DIY Christmas Card Wreath.  Here's the instructions on how to make your own, all you need is an embroidery hoop, ribbon, and some clothes pins - easypeasy!


If you aren't into the crafts, here are some items you can purchase for a festive display...

Pottery Barn Holiday Card Holder (Curly Wire Linear or Tree) - $49 each


Horchow Angel Christmas Card Holder - $66.90  (I'm a sucker for Angels decor for the holidays!)

Snowflake Wreath Card Holder at ChristmasLightsEtc.com - $27.99

and finally for the budget conscious this Wire Tree Card Holder at Terry'sVillage.com is only $9.99

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Growing up, it was our family's tradition to decorate the house and tree on Black Friday.  It was a way for my mom to keep us kids occupied on our day off while avoiding the crazies at the mall.  I've grown up to LOVE shopping (especially shopping for great deals), but I HATE dealing with crazy crowds.

So this past Black Friday, we spent our time decorating our first tree and living room for the holidays.  We chose to get a 4.5' articifical pre-lit tree.  Since it's not a "real" tree I won't have to worry about the dogs drinking the water or cleaning up the mess of shedding needles. We also placed it on a corner table, so we won't have to worry about them knocking off all the ornaments.

I love gold, silver, and metallic ornaments and any sparkly holiday decorations.  They are classy and never go out of style.

Here are some great decor ideas using gold, silver and metallics as inspiration.



(image courtesy ApartmentTherapy.com)

Naturally, I love the sea shells on this wreath,  So unexpected for the holidays, but its just the right touch of color needed.

(image courtesy Coastal Living)

(image courtesy Coastal Living)

Happy Holiday Decorating!

Recipe Share Sunday: Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms

Looking for a new way to serve those Thanksgiving leftovers? 

Earlier in the month at my "Dinnerless" Dinner Party, I made these great Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms as hors d'oeuvres .  They were so easy to make and very tasty!  I'll definitely be doing this again with all the stuffing that's hanging out in my fridge.

Ingredients
2 cups leftover stuffing
1 cup grated provolone cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
18 large button mushrooms (about 1 pound), stems removed

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F. Break up stuffing into bowl. Add 3/4 cup cheese, egg, parsley, basil, and green onions; mix well. If mixture seems dry, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to moisten. Season with salt and pepper.

Scoop out center of mushroom caps using small spoon. Fill each mushroom with stuffing; place on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until stuffing is golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand covered at room temperature.)


And on another note, Pete and I hosted our 1st Thanksgiving.  We bent the pescatarian rules for our favorite holiday and purchased an organic and local 12.5lb turkey from Whole Foods. We made multiple sides, my mom brought the pies, my mother in law brought the green bean casserole, and Mom-Mom made her famous potato filling.  We had a great time, and I look forward to hosting many more family dinners in the future.

My First Turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday



It may be the recent weather here on the East Coast that is subconsciously controlling this wishlist item, but I don't care, I just love Hunter Wellies.

I love the industrial look of the rubber and I love that they come in a variety of solid colors, as opposed to printed wellies.  While cute, I think a lot of prints come off as childish and I know I would be limited to wearing them on weekends only as opposed to throughout the week (or whenever rainy), like I could with a pair of discreet navy blue Hunter's.


 As seen on some celebrities:


(clockwise from top left: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Bilson, Kate Moss,
celebuspawn Matilda Ledger [w/ mom Michelle Williams], and Drew Barrymore)

Hunter's retail for $115 and can be purchased at Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's, Zappos.com, and even J. Crew.  They tend to run large, so order a size down.

Lucky for me, I wear a Women's 7 and can fit into the Kid's Classic version in a size 5/6 (UK4 and EU37).  The Kid's size is actually narrower in the shaft of the boot which makes them not look as clunky around my skinny calves, and the best part is that they retail for $59.95 (almost a 50% savings from the adult version).

Hopefully these will bring some sunshine to my rainy days in the future!


(and PS - I recently updated the blog's url and in doing so I lost all your wonderful comments, soo sorry!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Most Favoritest Accessory

My love affair with headbands started a good 3 years ago, it was in the Center City J.Crew on a crisp September afternoon... and yes, like any true love, I remember all the details about how I fell for headbands...

As I browsed the store, I was drawn to the display of multiple preppy patterned fabric 2" and 3" headbands.  I thought, "I've seen some people wear these recently -usually in a Charlotte York way. I should be able to pull off the look" and I took a big risk and bought a RED headband.  Now, red is far from my go-to color, but I thought the light blue accents in the pattern would look great with my collection light blue button down shirts and sweaters.  It could also add a punch of color to white, black, and neutrals- which dominate my closet.

Here I am (2nd in from the right -obviously) in October 2006, wearing said red J.Crew headband.

I really loved the extra touch the headband was adding to my outfits, so I bought a few more in different patterns and colors. Then skinny plastic headbands were all the rage, so I stocked up those - tortoise, giraffe, black, and paisley.  Then Blair Waldorf made a case to become my headband wearing inspiration.  I started buying ones with flowers, bows, metallics and lace... I couldn't and still can't stop.

Oh Blair, priviledged upper east sider... how I envy your hair's good taste....

And for good measure... some pictures of me with my go-to accessory. Not quite as fancypants as Blair, but I promise I have a bigger variety... just not quite as much photographic evidence....

And yes, my beloved red patterned headband has made MANY appearances over the years.
(left to right: Christmas 2006, February 2007, October 2008)

Stayed tuned for my headband follow up...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wedding Day Wine in Every Day Decor

I may have mentioned that Pete and I (but definitely moreso I) are big wine drinkers - specifically reds - but like humans, animals, and anything featured in the J. Crew Holiday Catalog... I don't discriminate.

After tossing around a few Wedding Guest Book ideas, a favorite local winery Va La Vineyards, made its way into our wedding.   Now, Va La deserves their own post and I promise one day soon I'll get around to posting it.  In the mean time, I'll share how we went from a Wedding Decor 'staple' of a guest book made from our favorite vintages to cute fall decor idea.

Our "Guest Book" consisted of five unopened wine bottles of our favorite vintages to be celebrated with on our 1st through 5th Anniversaries.

Getting graffiti'd at the reception...

Post wedding, they've made their home in our Crate and Barrel Reflection Centerpiece surrounded by our collection of wine corks(started circa 2007) and some left over candles from the wedding

I won't be keeping the bottles here for much longer, one because we will be decorating the ledge for the holidays, and two, I don't want to celebrate with corked wine in 5 years.  In the meantime, it has been a great reminder of our wedding day and all the people we were able to share it with.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recipe Share Sunday: Apple Pecan Muffins

This recipe christened my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  I plan on making them again the night before Thanksgiving so we can enjoy them for breakfast (one less thing to cook on Thursday morning) and then serve them as an alternate to biscuits during dinner. 

It's a great "fall" recipe and it doesn't even include pumpkin!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups finely chopped apples

1 cups chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

Preparation:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil. Stir in chopped apples, pecans and coconut. Stir apple and egg mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased and floured muffin cups about three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to a rack. (makes about 18 muffins)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wedding Pictures: The Cake

Not too much to say here, except for maybe a small back story.

Years ago (in the early 90s) my mom started a very successful 'at home' business of baking and decorating amazing Wedding Cakes... well technically, cakes in general, but was hired primarily for these gorgeous monstrosities of multi-tiered sugar flowering tasty goodness.  I always dreamed that she would make my own.  Then the Ice Storm of 1993 hit, she slipped on some ice, broke her wrist in two places, had pins to hold it together for 8 weeks and required 2 additional surgeries.  Decorating cakes was never in her cards again :(   She ended up using her artistic abilities to study and become an amazing Make Up Artist (see my wedding photos for evidential proof), but cakes no more.

I wanted to design a wedding cake that would embody our wedding's style, but also my mom's technique.  She used to do a lace design that was quite popular in the 90s, I saw it recreated on many cakes on The Knot and in my baker's portfolio and knew immediately I had to incorporate it.  Also, since our wedding was near my hometown I knew adding some 'seashore' touches was a Must.

Here's the result.  It was EXACTLY what I envisioned and tried to communicate to my baker, The Bake Works of Linwood.



(all photos courtesy Meyer Photography)

And because I'm sure you're dying to know. It was Vanilla and Chocolate striped cake with a layer of raspberry jam filling and a layer of peanut butter buttercream filling- that's right PB and J Wedding Cake!  It was iced in yummy buttercream, as opposed to 'Airhead' tasting fondant. Beautiful AND delicious!  I can't wait to share our Anniversary layer with Pete on August 29, 2010!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wedding Pictures: The Details

I posted a few weeks ago that out wedding photos were finally posted to our photographer's online gallery.  Last night, I finally received our 4x6 prints and cd of high resolution proofs - of all 1259 pictures!  I figured since it'd be too hard to narrow down my selection to a readable blog post, I'll post some shots of my favorite details.

I spent 16 1/2 months planning our August 29, 2009 wedding and these pictures give me the satisfaction of my vision coming to life.  Enjoy! (and as always, click on the picture to enlarge)



Ceremony Garden


Sand Dollar Placecards

Main Line Animal Rescue Donation Favor

Custom Table Numbers (w/ our Puppies)

Centerpieces and Tablescape

Menu

Anniversary Wine Bottle Guest Book

End of the Night Philly Soft Pretzels

All pictures courtesy Meyer Photography.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I know I said I was going to limit my recurring "themed" posts, but in an effort to get in the holiday spirit, I'll post some of my favorite things for the Holiday Season 2009 every Wednesday until December 23rd.   (Plus, it should keep me accountable to a two blog posts a week minimum)

One thing I've had on my "wishlist" for the past month or so is the Essie "Sweet Time of Year" Holiday Collection.  Every color is pretty and extremely wearable no matter what the season.
Lollipop is perfect for toes

Rock Candy is perfect for fingers

Mint Candy Apple is a an unexpected change up for winter and is THEE "polish of the moment"


Mint Candy Apple is a great knock off of Chanel's Jade which was seen all over the Chanel Runway during Paris Fashion Week.  (Jade is virtually Sold Out everywhere, not to mention costs $25 a bottle!)



The Essie Holiday collection retails for $8 per polish or $17 for a 4-pack of all three colors in mini sizes with a clear coat bonus.

"e" is for eBay, etsy, and exciting deals?

It may, or may not, be a known fact I love all things being with the letter E - elephants, exercise, electricity, eel (sushi yumm!), and definitely eBay and etsy

Most people (living in the 21st century) are well aware of what eBay is and how it works.  Etsy on the other hand is something I only learned about a year ago, and have since noticed a strong underground following, but it definitely is not a mainstream site.

According to wikipedia, Etsy is a "is a website that provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items as well as vintage items and craft supplies. Handmade items cover a wide range including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, and toys." According to me, I like to call it an online flea market.

Over the years, I've made quite a variety purchases from eBay using both the auctions and "Buy it Now" features.  Amongst other things, I've scored a brand new The North Face Denali Fleece Jacket (in a discontinued color), brand new Nike Shox, some Pottery Barn inspired paintings for my college apt, and even some Creative Memories scrapbooking tools when I was going through that phase in 2003.  I seem to go in swings of running to eBay searching for expensive pieces of David Yurman jewelry or "must have" LV handbags, only to realize every other woman on earth must be doing the same thing because there is no give in the prices compared to retail stores.

So, I've learned better and now I use it for the "random finds".  For example, I've really been wanting to add some fun necklaces to my collection since they are one of the season's 'it' accessories.  I love the necklaces I've been seeing in JCrew and Banana Republic, but don't care for the inflated price tags.  So I hit up my friendly eBay, did a little search-a-roo and after some filtering found some great little auctions going on.  Now the art of auctioning, is a learned skill.  I like to "watch" the item, then when it's in its last hour of auction I check to see if the price goes over my "limit".  If not I place my bid in the last minute also posting my "limit" and hope that there isn't enough time for someone to out bid me.  Trust me, I fail many times (and I am sore loser) so it just fuels my fire to find a new item that I "must have" - must be a similar feeling to sports gambling.
Anyway, last week I finally won a Banana Republic necklace and earring combo (which I would never wear together).  Originally sold for $44.00, I "won" it for $12.99 +2.95 SH.

I realized I should have stopped here, but after perusing Etsy for more JCrew inspired "statement" necklaces, I found the most amazing deal EVER by seller MakeThisYourOwn.  This gorgeous black jeweled 'bib' necklace was listed for sale for only $9.99!  I didn't think twice, it'll be perfect for the holiday and winter season. 

So, for as little as $22.98 (before shipping and handling) I have two great necklaces that would have cost me at least double that amount for one at my favorite stores.

And just to brag about some previous wedding related etsy finds, my hair flower and bridesmaids' earrings were also purchased using this site.

Hair Flower - VirginiaGeigerJewels's
 
Bridesmaid's Earrings - CindyVDesigns
 
And because I'm always looking for new things, please share your favorite esty sellers or eBay finds in the comment section below!