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Yesterday I shared a quick DIY for upgrading store-bought party horns for the countdown to midnight. I had similar feelings about the poor selection of New Year’s Eve crowns at the party store and decided to whip up a few of my own. Using a store-bought crown as a template, I traced the bottom portion of the paper crown and then drew my own message for each crown. Using a sharp knife, I cut out the message from glitter scrapbook paper. Then I simple attached the cardboard cut-out piece with the two tabs I left and a few staples to the original crown headband! I can’t wait to pass these out to guests at the party!

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It’s party-prep time for our annual New Year’s Eve shindig, and I was out this weekend looking for pretty favors but was disappointed in so many of the options at my local party store. So I decided to grab some plain-jane party horns from Target and give them a 5-minute upgrade. Using sparkly gold alphabet stickers from the scrapbook section of the craft store, I customized the part horns with festive messages — a super simple DIY! I’m going to put them in a vase on our bar for decoration and then pass them out at midnight.

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As promised, I’m sharing a few of my favorite shots from our Holiday Crafts and Cocktails party that’s over on Style Me Pretty Living today. The holidays can be a crazy busy time of year, so we decided to throw a little party for our best girlfriends that would allow us to celebrate together while being productive and tackling some Christmas projects. We decorated cards, wrapped presents, and ate our fair share of cheese and crackers and cookies.  It was great to take a break from the holiday madness and enjoy time with friends, all while marking items off our Christmas to-do-list! Head over to Style Me Pretty to see the full party.

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All images by Bring To Light Photography, floral design by Little Flower Cottage

If you head on over to Style Me Pretty Living today you’ll see some pictures from a Crafts and Cocktails party my girlfriends and I threw to kick off the holiday season earlier this month. But before I share a few of my favorite pictures from the day, I thought I’d focus on the signature cocktail I whipped up for the event, priorities, right? I called it the Cran-Bourbon Fizz — just a little sweet and a little strong, a perfect combination if you ask me. And the cranberry and anise garnishes look so darn festive, don’t they? Full recipe below!
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Cran-Bourbon Fizz

2 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Grenadine
Seltzer water
Cranberries
Star Anise
Ice

Mix bourbon and grenadine over ice and stir to combine.
Top the glass with seltzer water to taste.
Garnish with cranberries and star anise.

All images by Bring To Light Photography, floral design by Little Flower Cottage

I’m participating in my blogger-buddy Jaime’s annual stocking series this week, and am sharing some of my stocking-stuffer wishlist. Click over to La Vie J’aime to find out what’s on my list!

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Wrapping gifts were an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I’d be selected to represent my country. I went on a wrapping bonanza this weekend and taped up, tied, and adorned packages for hours. Every year I pick a color palette so my gifts have a ‘theme’ and this year I decided to pick some classic colors — lots of reds and whites, with touches of kraft paper and Christmas greens. I got great papers at Target (the fair isle print is from the dollar-bin, and chevron is from the regular wrapping section!), and added in some accent papers from Paper Source (the wood grain) and TJ Maxx (the plaid — that I’m in love with!). And I mixed up the ribbons with a combination of bakers twines and leftover silk ribbons from years past. I’m so happy how they all look together!

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I shared my brie and jam pinwheel bites last week from my friend Elizabeth‘s blogger holiday party, and realized I hadn’t yet shared the cocktail recipe we used for the event (brie and pastry dough are delicious, but they’re nothing without a tasty cocktail to wash them down with!). Elizabeth decorated stemless wine glasses with metallic gold dots that looked like sparkly little bubbles, so of course we had to fill them with something bubbly! We added to each glass about an ounce each of pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier signature collection liquor (it’s raspberry and peach flavored, holy yum.), and then filled the rest of the glasses with champagne — and of course, gave them a swirl with a tinsel-topped drink stirrer. I didn’t have a name picked out for this concoction just yet, and one of my fellow bloggers said, I think you should call it the Blogger Bellini! I’ll cheers to that.

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I dove head first into holiday festiveness this weekend. I finished my Christmas shopping and set up what looked like Santa’s workshop in my kitchen to wrap up all of my gifts. I addressed and mailed out a huge stack of Christmas cards. And celebrated the holidays with all of my best friends with perhaps one too many glasses of champagne on Saturday night, followed by a very chilly home through a snowstorm. If that whirlwind of holiday cheer didn’t get me into the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what else would! And now I’m cruising through the work week and counting down to some much-needed time off to close out the year. photo 1 (3) photo

I got such great feedback a few weeks back about my 3-ingredient appetizer idea  that I decided to try another combination for a little blogger holiday party thrown by my friend Elizabeth this weekend. And for this little snack I chose one my all time favorite cheese, a creamy french brie… yum. I rolled out thawed puff pastry dough (store bought, from the frozen food section!) and spread a thin layer of strawberry jam across the surface, and spaced out the slices of cheese.  Then I rolled the dough over the ingredients and sealed off the edges before cutting it into pinwheel slices. I baked the pinwheels — on baking sheet with a light mist of cooking spray — for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Let them cool a bit before removing them from the baking sheet so all of the cheese doesn’t ooze out — you don’t want any of that going to waste! I think this is going to be a new entertaining staple, it took about 5 minutes of prep time and they flew off the plate! Brie and Jam Pinwheels 1 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 2 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 3 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 4 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 5 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 6