“I spent most of the week working on a BIG project that Carla and I will be unveiling soon! Let’s just say I’ve been covered in glitter and paint and staying up until 2 or 3 am. I’m also working at my parents’ specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar stores in Northeastern Ohio, The Olive Scene (that’s where my photo for this week was taken). It’s crazy but fun. I like being busy, but I wouldn’t mind a few minutes to just sit and veg! Maybe next week?”
*We’re talking about great gifts for foodies this week! I love the slide tin from Jacobsen Salt as an awesome stocking stuffer. Have you ever needed salt while dining out but the restaurant didn’t have salt on the table? Problem solved! I also love the idea of bringing it with you when you cook in other people’s kitchens.
*Beautiful aprons are an entertaining must-have! I usually forget I’m wearing my apron and end up with it on until after dessert is over. So why not wear a stylish one? Some of the Anthropologie ones are prettier than my clothes, anyway!
“I got sick right smack in the middle of the week- REALLY sick. Fortunately, I got myself to a hospital and modern medicine helped me to feel much better. Which is a good thing since it’s MY turn to work on the big project Alyssa just mentioned. I’ve got a fun weekend ahead: 5k with my niece, lighted parade and lots of work on that Top Secret project. Whee!”
* This gorgeous cake stand comes in two versions: milk glass or jadeite. Is it greedy that I very much want both?
*Foodies LOVE cooking classes! I’ve been meaning to get to one of these great Sur La Table options and it’ll be even easier now that their SF location offers courses.
* After realizing that my mom has had the same measuring cups from before I was even born, I’m hoping to replace any cooking utensil I really don’t LOVE with a better option. If it’s going to stick around for a long time, I may as well invest early on! Maybe this Homemade Ceramic Measuring Cup from Crate and Barrel? It’s only $10 and would be an easy start to a real standout collection.
Check out our Holiday Vodka Cran contributor post over at Oh So Pretty!
These DIY ornaments are a higher-maintenance ornament compared to Carla’s post yesterday. Hers are cozy and fluffy. They’re sweet and so beautiful. But these ones are for the girly girl, someone who likes sparkly things and is on-board with the current lace trend. They’re pretty sassy, but they’re also lots of fun to make.
It’s finally time to start posting about Christmas decorations! WHEE! I’m thrilled!
I’m a huge fan of House Hunters and it recently occurred to me that you frequently hear the buyers make the same comment: “I really love (insert random house style here), I think it’s because I grew up in a house like that.” And while I can’t commiserate with that sentiment, I am pretty sure the same goes for Christmas trees. I’m a huge fan of things that are shiny, things that are silver and things that glitter. But I REALLY love trees with homestyle, cozy charm- probably because ours was just like that growing up. (Case in point: some of my favorite ornaments were simple crocheted stars, similar to these I found on Etsy!)
When we host dinner parties, I love to have a cocktail ready upon our guests’ arrival. People are always tickled pink when we have fun cocktail stirrers or garnishes, and I’m really excited to use these sequined swizzle sticks in the upcoming month. It’s the perfect time of year for parties and cocktails. Add a cute little black dress, some fun hors-d’oeuvres, and you’re ready to host a great holiday party.
“How was your Thanksgiving? I saw some family that I haven’t seen in over a year and we had a delicious meal, mostly prepared by my mom and me. We had so much fun in the kitchen together. In fact, I think I enjoyed the meal prep even more than the meal itself! And we auditioned the thyme-roasted carrots in the photo above for Thanksgiving, but they didn’t make the cut. They were one of my favorite dishes of the week (and so easy to make), but not enough other people in my family get excited about carrots. . . See the purple carrot with the orange center? So gorgeous!”
*We have some friends who have recently moved, so I’m looking for lots of gifts for the new home or people who are decorating right now. I’m dying over this beautiful (and affordable) copper planter from Leif. Especially for succulents, they’re pretty much the only plant that I can actually keep alive.
*I really want to snuggle up with a faux fur blanket and some popcorn and watch Love, Actually or Elf. They look like the coziest thing every created. I love this grey one from Arhaus.
*For someone upgrading to a bigger space and possibly doing more entertaining, this gorgeous driftwood platter would be perfect. It’s such a piece of art, you could leave it out on your kitchen table or counter all the time to hold fruit or potatoes/onions.
“I was finishing a nice, calm breakfast on Thanksgiving morning when I realized I hadn’t checked my phone in a while (mistake #1: not checking your phone on a big holiday morning). There was a message from my mom: “Mija, you said you were bringing the turkey, right? Cause, well, it’s 11:00 and you’re still not here with the turkey.” Well. No one told ME I was bring the turkey. (Panic ensues.) (Also, this is hilarious. I could not stop laughing.)
I briefly considered that it was a joke. Me? A turkey? That’s just… silly. No one just has extra TURKEYS lying around in case they were supposed to bring a spare. But… my mom doesn’t know how to make a joke like that.
I called my mom immediately (mistake #2: calling a panic-er when you’re panicking) and told her I didn’t HAVE a turkey. A few hyperventilations later and I told her it was FINE, I’m sure that there were STILL TURKEYS, look, SOMEONE HAS A TURKEY. (This was not a mistake, since it turned out to be true, but it could have gone VERY BADLY. This could have been the year where we were eating KFC along with our stuffing and mashed potatoes.)
The good news is that we usually roast turkey breasts for the family since no one really cares to eat dark meat. And turkey breasts are fast and easy. One visit to Whole Foods plus a large turkey breast split in two and Thanksgiving was saved!”
* One of the loveliest activities from my trip to visit Alyssa in Japan was visiting shrines. We went to several- some big and some small, but one of my favorites was a little shrine just down the street from her house. It could have been that we were just taking a stroll and didn’t feel like we had to BE anywhere, but I especially loved the statues there. This Smiling Jizo Garden Traveler from Uncommon Goods reminds me of that visit and, as a bonus, is believed to protect women, children and travelers.
*Super digging the modern vibe of this Enamel Tea Pot from West Elm. It’s functional, adorable and would look just right stored on a back burner for easy access.
* I love the way candle sticks look on a table, but since so many candles come housed in lovely little containers these days I forget to use them! I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to buy these incredible Mid-Century Modern candlesticks from Covet + Lou to remind me.
There have been a lot of beautiful party place card posts cropping up all over the internet lately. I love them and appreciate a gorgeous table just as much as the next blogger, but I also like to have some fun with our guests sometimes. I find that makes for the most memorable parties! Here are a few easy DIY place card ideas for your holiday parties this year.
As a life-long gloss wearer, I’ve been a bit innocent to the products that one might use to take care of your lips. A few weeks ago, Alyssa and I were searching for some fun lip colors (as I’ve recently made the decision to actually USE some of these colors I keep buying) and the subject of lip scrubs came up. Since I’d never really tried to the leave the house in a deep berry or bright red shade, I had no idea that proper exfoliation is crucial to wear length and appearance!
Who knew? (Ok, ok, you probably knew.)
There’s nothing quite like fresh cranberry sauce with your Thanksgiving turkey. But this year, make your sauce more exciting than the typical cranberry/orange combination. Here are two twists on your standard cranberry sauce that are really easy to make. In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!
We love the CONCEPT of caramel apples, but have you ever tried to eat one of those things? If you pick it up and bite it, you and up with a sticky mess all over your face and it’s impossible to share. And cutting it with a knife is way more complicated than it sounds. How to do cut it to evenly portion out the toppings? As you can tell, we’ve spent a lot of time worrying about this.
“I had Carla in Ohio until Tuesday evening, then I had to reluctantly give her back to California. I’ve been catching up on lots of family time that I miss out on when I’m in Tokyo, going to lunches and hanging out with the ‘rents around the fireplace. I also had the opportunity to meet Lisa, one of the talented ladies behind A Charming Fete. It was great to hear her thoughts on creating party atmospheres, and I was particularly impressed with her amazing dessert tables. Another inspirational week!”
*With such a short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems like everyone is already gearing up for the holidays even though Thanksgiving is almost a week away! So I’m starting to think about what fantastic homemade gifts I can give this year. How festive do these cinnamon apple chips from A Couple Cooks sound? They’re surprisingly easy to make, too, as long as you have a mandoline.
*I love the idea of including a recipe with your homemade food gifts. Use this adorable printable recipe card download from Nicole’s Classes. Or print several recipes that make up a delicious meal and gift a dinner party menu, easy weeknight meal ideas, or even mini cookbook!
*I can’t wait to whip up a batch of these beautiful DIY lace notebooks for my friends. I think it’d be fun to personalize them with a metallic monogram, too!
(Target is full of gift ideas! I found this INCREDIBLE calendar in the dollar bins along with a version which offered a monthly shot of bacon. Every month. For 12 months. I basically think I just crossed off all the folks on your gift list.)
“Yup, Alyssa is still in Ohio and I’m not and it’s sad (poor PLANNING, Carla). (I’m even trying to sneak another trip out there before Christmas, but should I save up for another visit to Tokyo? Decisions!) But you know what else Ohio has? Dunkin’ Donuts. A large hot tea with 2 Splendas (which they add FOR you!) reminds me of cold walks from the parking lot to my school building when I was in grad school. It’s the time of year where I reminisce about snow and New Hampshire and a slower pace of life while we conserve body heat through the winter. Feel free to remind me what I’m missing.”
* We’ll be sharing our DIY ornaments here on the blog soon, but I’m still obsessed with this trio of felt ornaments (originally found via Elise Blaha). I’m definitely going to need to make these for the first tree I’ve had in years!
* I have a few family photo sessions to shoot this weekend, so remember it’s not too late to put a great photo of the family on this year’s card! I really love these 5 easy tips to getting a good photo, especially the one about keeping it fun and casual.
Have you seen the photo updates from our recent shoot on our Facebook page? They’ll hit the blog soon, but in the meantime head over and check them out! (And we’d love a Like too!)