Monday, December 17, 2012

Peppermint Bark


Peppermint Bark is one of my favorite gifts to give during the holiday season. It is absolutely delicious and because it's truly a seasonal treat, it feels extra special to enjoy this classic candy. The past years I've always picked up peppermint bark from stores like William & Sonoma, but this year I decided to try and make it on my own. I was surprised to find that it's very easy and my husband and I even tinkered with a recipe to make it even better! 

Ingredients
-16 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips or bars(you can use different chocolate to render different flavors depending on what you want)
-16 oz white chocolate chips or bars
-12-20 candy canes(miniature work best)
-Peppermint Extract
-Vanilla Extract

Double Broiler Set-up
20 Inch pan
Spatula



Directions
-In a plastic bag, place the candy canes inside, crush up and set aside for later

~In a double broiler, place the semi sweet chocolate chips in the double broiler and set the stove to a LOW setting. If the setting is too high, you will burn the chocolate

- Intermittently stir the chips with the spatula until all the chips are melted and smoothed over

-Place approximately 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tsp peppermint extract in the melted mixture and stir well

-Removing from the broiler, pour the contents onto the pan and smooth over with the spatula so that it is evenly spread 

-Place the pan either in the freezer or outside(if you are somewhere where it gets pretty cold) for about an hour


-After about 30-45 minutes you can start the next phase

-This involves the exact same process only with the white chocolate 

-Once the white chocolate is melted and the vanilla and peppermint extract have been added, bring out/in the pan and pour the white chocolate on top of the other chocolate and spread evenly 

-You can also choose to sprinkle some crushed candy cane inside the melted chocolate and stir it up to add some extra pepperminty-ness!

-Once it has  been poured, sprinkle the crushed candy canes from earlier, place back inside the freezer or set outside for another 3-5 hours for best results

-After done freezing, take out and cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Decor


As usual, I found this amazing tree skirt idea on Pinterest and had to make it for our home! It is our first Christmas where we will not be traveling to visit family, so I decided to go all out this year. The tree skirt may look intimidating, but I promise that it is actually not difficult at all! The one thing about it is that it does take time and it requires about 30 hot glue sticks! 

What you need:
Old or inexpensive tree skirt
4 yards of burlap
4 yards of a cream linen fabric (or color of your choice)
Glue Gun and glue sticks 
Rotary board and cutter
Pins

Instructions:
Using the rotary board and cutter, cut 3" strips of the fabric (both the linen and burlap), don't worry about the length. Then take your old tree skirt and remove any emblems or decor that's attached to the skirt, so that you have flat fabric to glue the ruffles onto. You will begin the skirt with the linen fabric and make a small line of glue before beginning to fold the ruffles.

Image from The Johnston's Blog
Once you make your first line of glue, you will take the fabric and begin to pinch a small section of the fabric and press it down into the skirt, so that the pinched portion overlays the previous ruffle. I also thought of it as folding the fabric and overlaying it on the previous ruffle. 

Image from The Johnston's Blog
Image from The Johnston's Blog 
You will do this all the way around the skirt until the first layer is completed. Placing the burlap ruffles is a similar process; however you will want to make the ruffles before you glue them onto the skirt since the glue can be very hot. To do this, you will fold them the same way as you did with the linen and then stick pins in to hold the ruffle. You will not take the pins out until the strip has been glued down and the glue has cooled down.

Image from The Johnston's Blog
You will continue this process until you have covered the entire skirt. What I did with my tree skirt was take twine and make a thick braid to cover the edge of the skirt, which is the area that hugs the tree trunk. To make the braid the perfect thickness, cut 9 pieces of the twine and take three strings per section and begin to braid. I made the braid longer than the area it needed to cover, tied it off both ends, glued it down and then cut off the leftover braid. 



You can also close up the ends of the tree skirt by utilizing the twine. You will need to take a yarn needle and thread the twine through to create ties that can close up the tree skirt. 

Image from The Johnston's Blog

Not committed to creating a tree skirt, but love the look of burlap for Christmas decor? 



I also made this candle holder for our kitchen table, which is very easy to make. You just need to make a trip to Michael's (don't forget to go online for coupons) and pick up a simple glass vase, pine tree leaves with pine cones from the floral section, a candle, burlap and a cute, festive string. I actually found this string at Target recently and liked how the red gave the candle a pop of color.

Warning - I would not recommend that you light the candle as I could see this being a potential fire hazard! 



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tweed

Shirt - JCrew; Skirt - BCBG (old), similar style here; Shoes - Anthropologie; Bracelet - JCrew
Tweed will always be timeless and it's fun to find unique styles that you can dress up or down. I found this skirt and picked it up. To dress it down, I pair it with a tank top and fun sandals. I especially like tweed skirts around November/December because they can be the perfect piece to pair with a nice top and fun jewelry for the holidays!





Cupcake Break!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinspiring Presents


I love the holidays, I love crafts and I love pinterest! With that said, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite pinspiring homemade gifts for the holidays. These are my absolute favorite gift ideas out there on Pinterest. Some of these are the perfect gifts to make a batch and give to friends and coworkers, while some of these other gifts are perfect to give to close family and friends! My favorite is the serving tray, which involves taking a basic tray and sprucing it up with fun wallpaper and paint!

Serving Tray

Have fun crafting and happy start to your holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Printed Pants

Sweater - JCrew, Jeans - Heart Boutique, Shoes - Christian Louboutin, Purse - Prada, Bracelet - JCrew

This weekend I hit up Heart Boutique in Sacramento for their Black Friday sale and scored a few fun items, including these polka dot pants! Over the past year, printed jeans have been a huge trend and I had to pick up a fun pair for the winter. My recommendation is to find a pair that isn't too expensive since it is very trendy. Heart Boutique has great prices even when they aren't having a sale, which is why I knew it would be the perfect place to find a funky pair of jeans!




Friday, November 23, 2012

C&C Gift Guide


Many feel that after Thanksgiving the holiday season kicks off and with that said, I’ve complied some of my favorite gift items for 2012. All of these gifts range from $10 to $50 and are sure to make that special person smile! Stay tuned for more post on this series including a homemade pinspiration guide and the gift guide for guys.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today my husband and I will be making our rounds to both of our families today. We are making gluten free pies for my mom and I am excited to see how they turn out! This holiday is always a wonderful one as it makes you think about what you are thankful for. This year I married my best friend, literally, as we were close friends for five years before we started to date. I am so grateful to have such a loving, wonderful husband who takes the best care of me! I am also thankful for all of my family and for our silly pets for bringing us so much joy. Of course, always thankful for my friendships - the ones I've had for years and even when we are off living our lives we can pick it right back up and for all of the new friendships I have been making here in Sacramento.

Photo by Lyndsay Undseth

A photo from Friendsgiving:


Cheers and have a great day with your family and friends! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dressed Up & Down

Sweater - Trouve; Outfit One: Pea Coat - JCrew; Jeans - Elizabeth and James, similar style here; Booties - Michael Kors; Bracelet - JCrew  Outfit Two: Trousers - Massimo Dutti; Heels - Christian Louboutin; Bracelet - JCrew

Adapting to the cold weather has required me to rethink outfits and how to wear them. I’ve been stocking up on sweaters and have to make them work for my casual wear and for dressing up. I’ve worn my sweater with jeans and some booties to still add a little something to look and with my navy pajama pants to play up the blues in the pattern. My final touch for my winter look? My coral pea coat from JCrew. I didn’t want to pick up a black pea coat this year as I already have a shorter one, but was in search of a longer coat to keep me warm. JCrew has so many fun colors right now and almost all can go with any outfit since they are so vibrant. I scored my coat during one of JCrew’s awesome sales. Right now JCrew has a 25% off sale on sweaters!









Monday, November 19, 2012

Designs and Details

Dress - Anthropologie, Jacket - Anthropologie (old), Bracelet - JCrew, Shoes - Gucci

I picked this dress up and I had to share it with all of you. It’s become one of my favorites in my closet, as I love its mod vibe and the vibrant green stitching of the pattern. I played up the 70s feel by pulling my hair back with bobby pins but brought it up to date with this coat. The one thing I am always looking for in clothes is the little details and this dress and jacket are perfect examples of that. I found this jacket last year at Anthro and fell in love with the pleats on the back. It’s easy to wear for dressed up and down, which is why I picked it up. The same thing happened to me again at Anthropologie when I saw this dress. The zipper and the stitching were too eye catching to pass!















Friday, November 16, 2012

Shopping Smart

I've decided to create a segment on my blog that focuses on tips and tricks I have learned over the years to save on the best clothes and labels out there. As a clothes horse, I have come to learn that there are many ways to get great deals on the clothes that I love to wear. I hope you all enjoy my smart shopper tips and are able to put them to good use!

As some of you have probably realized from my blog, Anthropologie and Kate Spade are two of my favorite places to shop. The one downside? They can be very pricey; however I've found a couple of ways to get around paying the high prices as these two stores put a lot of their items on sale. It requires being patient and to keep track of the items you are interested in, but if it's something you truly want, you will make it work and if not, then it's a good thing you didn't buy it at full price.

Kate Spade



I absolutely adore and obsess over Kate Spade. Their clothes and accessories are the epitome of chic and cheeky in my opinion, but it's tough to own a lot of Kate Spade when you are on a budget. After lusting over many items online and subscribing to their email list, I found out that they have their online sample sale about every two months, which has major discounts - I'm talking up to 75% off! Kate Spade tends to do themed lines every couple of months and needs to clear out inventory for their new themed purses, clothes and accessories. You wont be able to find classics like their wedding accessories and shoes or anything that is not seasonal, but for many other items they are often listed on the sale! I have been able to score two very nice purses for over 50% off the original price this way! Kate Spade emails out the link to  enter the online sale or if you like them on Facebook, they will often post the link to the sale as well!



Anthropologie



I kept going into Anthropologie and finding clothes that I had purchased marked down, which is the worst! After a while I decided to start taking down the style number in my notes on my iphone and keeping tabs on the items. Anthropolgie's website has a majority of their store items online, which makes it easy to see when it goes on sale. Even better, they often do 30% off sales on their sale items, which makes an even bigger difference! The trick is to keep the style number and your size and to call their 1-800 line to see which stores have it in stock, call the store and have the store ship it to you. Many stores actually ship for free (Anthropologie has Nordstrom level customer service!) which is even better. That's how I scored my new trench and two new pairs of shoes!

Just recently I was able to buy my trench for $65 (originally $168) and two pairs of shoes for $39.99 each (originally $178 and $158!). All three were definitely worth the wait!