Holly Sugar Cookies with Candied Cranberries

This year, I candied cranberries for Thanksgiving to add a little pop of color to the pumpkin pie.  As I was placing them on the pie, I had the urge to pair them with holly leaf-shaped pie cutouts.  I had to remind myself that it was Thanksgiving, not Christmas, and I tucked the idea away for another day.

My mom and I went Christmas shopping the other day and I was wandering around Williams-Sonoma, wondering if it would be unrealistic to stuff an entire suitcase full of things to bring back to Tokyo, when a pretty display of copper cookie cutters caught my eye.  And there it was: a big, shiny, copper holly leaf.  Mine!


Continue reading

Weekly Love Letter for Friday, December 19th

Alyssa's Week

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This week was full of Christmas preparations.  My mom and I did almost all of our shopping, and I even started wrapping presents TEN DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS!  That has to be a record for me.  We also decorated the tree (the ornament above is one that I made in first grade), I did some baking, assembled a few gingerbread houses, and worked on a few of my homemade gift projects. All fun things to get into the holiday spirit.  My husband arrives in Cleveland tonight, and then I can really feel like it’s Christmas time!”

*For all of my fellow papercraft lovers, here’s a genius idea: use a pasta machine to emboss paper!

*I really want to try this appetizer this season: Brie, cranberries and pancetta in phyllo cups.

*A really cute free printable for recipe cards.  Perfect for sharing your favorite recipes or to give as a gift!

Carla's Week

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset“Whew.  What a whirlwind week.  I felt like everything was a priority: shopping!  Work projects!  Evening engagements!  Of course, when EVERYTHING is a priority, nothing ACTUALLY is.  I will be spending most of my weekend shopping for gifts and organizing and addressing some more Christmas cards and finding the rest of that tape I put away “in the perfect place!” last year.  (Note: whatever that place was, it was NOT perfect since I CANNOT FIND IT.)  If you’re also still looking for some easy (but fantastic) last-minute gifts, may I suggest this washi tape set or THIS washi tape set or this set of Field Notebooks?  All available on Amazon with Prime Shipping.  Easy peasy. ”

* Probably should have paid more attention when my mom tried to teach me to crochet, I’d love to make these adorable chunky crochet bow gift toppers!

I *ALSO* havethisthingwithfloors.

* Jonas Peterson is one of my favorite wedding photographers.  If you love pretty wedding photos (or amazing travel photos… or gorgeous wildlife photos…) too, check out his recent shoot in Masai Mara, Kenya.  I held my breath while scrolling.

PS- Amazon links above are affiliate links!

One year ago: DIY monogram etched ornaments make a perfect gift.  So do spicy garlic and rosemary olive oils!





From House Parties to Housewife compiled a roundup of 25 Beauty DIYs for Christmas and included our pumpkin face mask.

NuImage Entertainment featured DIY wedding projects on their blog and included our Dollar Store Silverware Remodel.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Persimmon Slices

Everyone knows about the amazing combination of prosciutto and melon.  But what about during the fall and winter, when melons are (understandably) non-existent in the markets?  Or if you CAN find melons, they’re pale, rock-hard and inedible?  Here is your cold-weather, holiday solution for that famous Italian dish that prefers summertime: just substitute persimmons for the melons. 

persimmon-and-prosciutto-from-alyssa-and-carla Continue reading

Peppermint Patty Cookies

I spent several hours last month debating my recipe choices for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap (remember our Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread Squares from last year?)  I have so many swap recipe favorites, but the trick is that you have to use a recipe you’ve never made before to send to your partners!

Without thinking of the swap at all, I asked a coworker what her favorite holiday treats from home were and she mentioned a tasty type of cookie: soft chocolate cookie dough surrounding a minty peppermint patty.  WELL.  SOLD.  I scoured the internet to find a recipe that looked right for my needs and got to work.

Pepperment-Patty-Cookies (2)

Continue reading

DIY Modern Christmas Tree Decorations

We’re not having a Christmas tree this year.  If you saw the size of our apartment and the quantity of our belongings, you’d certainly understand.  And all right, fine, we’re technically out of town for Christmas.  Sure, it makes LOGICAL sense.  But what about CHRISTMAS SPIRIT?  (If you see me hanging around the decorations in Nordstrom for too long, you’ll know why.)  

Alyssa knew of my plight and so we dreamed up this fun DIY together to make the decision easier.  These Christmas tree decorations, a Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine scented soy candle, and A Very She & Him Christmas album and things have really picked up around here!


Continue reading

Chocolate and Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches

My goddaughter is a genius.  This chocolate and peppermint ice cream sandwich recipe was a group effort between my goddaughter (Angelina), her little sister (Alanna), my mom, Carla and me, but Angelina really deserves the credit for this one.  We were hanging out one night when the following conversation happened:

Alanna: Hey Lyssy, can we make ice cream while you’re home?
Me: Sure! What kind?
Mom: Peppermint!
Me: Yum, ok!
Angelina: Maybe we can take the cream out of Oreos and put the peppermint ice cream inside them instead.
**Stunned silence as we all contemplated her brilliant vision**
Carla: OH. MY. GOD.
Me: Ange, did you just come up with that on your own? Or did you see these somewhere?
Ange: No, I came up with them myself.  I was just thinking about Oreos.


Continue reading

Weekly Love Letter for Friday, December 12th

Alyssa's Week

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

“Gah! It’s hard to face the real world after 5 days of serious quality time with one of your favorite people in the whole wide world!  Manicures, The Hunger Games, tacos, photo shoots, shopping and Christmas Ale (and port in front of the fireplace, featured in my photo this week!).  It was such a fun, crazy and inspirational week.  

The timing couldn’t be better, too.  Sometimes the hoildays and travel can suck the energy out of you!  And Carla is nothing if not energizing and enthusiastic!  I should probably call this Weekly Love Letter to Carla, but I just love that girl and am really grateful for the circumstances that allowed me to meet her!  If you’re done gagging now, read on for some great inspiration this week.”

*Speaking of Carla, she showed me these gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. coasters.  We both agreed that they were too pretty to actually use though.  And while you’re on their site, check out their Gifts for the Foodie section.  I’ll take two of everything, please.

*Cuuuute DIY confetti-dipped ornaments.

*What a great twist on hot cocoa! Chinese 5 spice makes a hot cocoa mix extra fancy.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 12.12.14“Just before my trip to Ohio, I was lucky enough to meet some favorite folks at an awesome party at Brit+Co sponsored by Chex!  We learned how to make several types of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, decorate gorgeous tins for gifting and style and photograph food.  It was such a fun day (AND I got to meet Brit) and I’m so thankful they asked me along.

How do I even mention my wonderful five days with Alyssa in Ohio?  Perfection, basically.  I mean, every week’s Love Letter could be about how awesome I think Alyssa is, but I try to contain myself.  Just imagine several days of getting to hang out with one of your very favorite people who always laughs with you and inspires you and makes everything fantastic.  It was that.”

*I love my friend Lila’s roundup of Happy Mail Happy Hour.  It was a great night and it’s not just the stationary exchange that’s rad (and BOY is it RAD)- it’s the opportunity to do something you really love surrounded by awesome women.  (Thank you, BP, for your organizational excellence, as always.)

* As you probably have noticed, I DIG monograms.  Thinking this was made just for me, then: DIY Monogram Wreath.

* Because I can never quite remember, may I present this guide for remembering how to make someone’s last name plural. 

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Squares.





Buzzfeed’s delicious-looking list of 21 Magical Chocolate & Sea Salt Desserts includes our Mandarin Oranges with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt.

Our DIY Ombre Wine Cork Trivet was featured in HouseBeautiful’s 14 Simple Ways to Make Your House More Awesome

DIY Edible Gifts

We love giving homemade gifts almost as much as we love getting them. Here are some of our favorite food DIYs from the archives that we think would make amazing gifts this holiday season.  Alyssa’s planning on giving mason jars of her vanilla bean sugar and Carla’s spiced cashew butter this year.  What are some of your favorite food gifts?

DIY Edible Gifts from www.AlyssaandCarla.comHerb & Lemon Salt

Vanilla Bean Sugar

Spicy Garlic Oil and Rosemary Infused Oil

Cocoa Pumpkin Spice Granola

Spiced Cashew Butter

Vanilla Masala Chai Sweetener

Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Applesauce

Weekly Love Letter for Friday, November 28th

Alyssa's Week

peca pie from www.alyssaandcarla.com

“Happy shopping! I’m so jealous of all of you!  I’ve been getting Black Friday emails from retailers and I wish I could go hit the malls.  It’s crazy, I know, but it’s so much fun as long as you have a good attitude and expect nothing less than complete chaos.  

I’m headed back to Ohio for the holidays next week, and Carla is joining me for a few days!  I’m so excited to see her and my family.  I need some book recommendations for the long flights coming up.  Any suggestions?  Safe travels to everyone in planes, trains and automobiles this weekend and in the next 5 weeks.”

*10 Cities for Creative People from World of Wanderlust.  I’m happy that Tokyo is on this list, because it’s full of inspiration at every turn.  But I’m also surprised that San Francisco isn’t on this list, because I think the bay area is full of full of creative, interesting people.

*This modern DIY copper Christmas tree from Classy Clutter is beautiful!

*A useful guide to how to store leftover pie from the kitchn.

Carla's Week

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset“Did y’all have the best Thanksgiving?  I think it was my favorite one ever!  This was the first year I haven’t cooked a thing, which was odd and a bit unsettling.  The biggest downside?  No leftovers!  Of anything!  I guess it’s not a terrible problem to have since my cookies from the Great Cookie Swap are arriving.

P.S. Did you know Ikea carries party products?  The colorful woodland animal theme above was SO cute in store.  Tiny Santa hats on each one and it’s a Christmas party in the making! :)”

*I love things.  But I ALSO love experiences.  This Atlantic article reminds us of how the latter interacts so positively with our happiest moments.

*My friend Will makes Krupnik every year for Christmas and it might be Reason #1 I’m Sad I Don’t Live on the East Coast since you can’t ship it.  The delicious drink reminds me of finals and favorite friends and snowy days.  Maybe I’ll make my own?

* Wonderful DIY Simple Handmade Slippers.  Enough said.





ElleDecor and HouseBeautiful included our no-sew pillowcase in their 1 Hour DIY Bedroom Projects roundup.

HellaWella compiled 21 amazing cranberry sauce recipes, and included our Chipotle Cranberry Sauce.  Bookmark this post for your Christmas turkey!

BusyBeeDIY loves our Wire Star Ornaments almost as much as we do!



Thanksgiving Recipes from Alyssa & Carla

We don’t have any turkey or stuffing recipes on our site (yet!), but we do have some delicious dishes to accompany your traditional Thanksgiving meal. See some of our favorites below!



Fantastic Fall Fizz

Ginger Syrup and Bourbon

Orange and Almond Sparklers



Birch Cheese Platter and Cranberry Goat Cheese 2

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log (with a bonus DIY project to make the birch and silver cheeseboard)

Truffled Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto Crisps

Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Dip

Roasted Apple, Sweet Potato and Chestnut Skewers with Rosemary

Roasted Brussels Sprout, Mushroom and Shallot Skewers with Balsamic 


Cranberry Sauces

chipotle cranberry sauce and balsamic cranberry sauce from www.alyssaandcarla.com

Chipotle and Cumin Cranberry Sauce

Balsamic Cranberry Sauce



Pumpkin Pots de Creme from www.alyssaandcarla.com

Pumpkin Spice Pots de Creme with Cream Cheese Topping

Apple Pie Bites

Vanilla Bean and Spiced Pear Hand Pies

Apple Cider and Ginger Beer Poached Pears with Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding