Last month I wrote a blog post about my newfound appreciation for finding ways to slow down, so I could focus more on the important things, and clear out some of that life clutter that creates unnecessary stress. I made myself go back and re-read it for a reminder to prioritize and focus during these crazy last few days before the holidays. It made me look at my to-do-list and laugh at the stuff that was stressing me out — one of them was holiday baking (hello, first-world problems!). It seems silly, but it was really important to me that I make these cookie recipes that are traditions in my family since I’m not going to be heading home to see my family in New York this year. Also I’m 9 months pregnant so not having cookies easily accessible at all times actually is quite stressful.read more
Last weekend was one of my proudest moments while running Boston Bloggers with Alison. We worked with the creative and passionate team at Wayfair to host a full-day conference for local bloggers to kick off the holiday season. It was an amazing group of ladies (over 100 bloggers came from all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island!), and we had so much fun. There were great speakers, DIY sessions (one of which was hosted by me!), awesome blogging tips, including a session about SEO from the expert team at Wayfair and conversation with Alison that asked us “why are we blogging in the first place?” A special shout out to Third Eye Chic Studio for sharing these photographs with me — I was so busy leading my DIY session that I didn’t have time to take any pictures — a few of my favorites from the day are below, and if you’re interested in checking out more, visit the hashtag #HFTHboston on twitter and instagram. I was setting up for my DIY session and just caught a few minutes of the keynote opening session with Heather Armstrong of Dooce and Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio, but what I heard blew me away — these are some amazingly inspirational women that have followed their dreams and made it big. We were so very grateful to both of them for joining the event and sharing their expertise with us (and so thankful that the Wayfair team brought them to the event!).
The absolutely charming and talented Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty hosted a tabletop styling session using products from all of the Wayfair brands; it was so great to meet her and her team in person and see them in action — they were truly talented and the results of the tabletop styling were gorgeous!
As a huge fan of Island Creek Oyster Bar, I fan-girl-ed out meeting Chef Jeremy Sewall. Chef Jeremy brought the group through his tips for planning holiday meals. I really loved that it had such a local focus on seafood and ingredients that you can find from New England. I learned so much about seafood (did you know that longer antennas on lobsters indicate they’re fresher? And that all of the lobster from ICOB and Row 34 come from Jeremy’s cousins in Maine?). It was also really enlightening to hear him talk about the process of writing his new cookbook: The New England Kitchen — which I snagged a signed copy of at the end of the event!
My session was all about getting crafty — the Wayfair team and I worked to create five different DIY gift tags that represented the five major Wayfair brands. It was great getting to demonstrate the DIY ideas and create with the bloggers, but for me the best part was that the groups got to network and chat with each other while working on their projects. I got to catch up with some old blogging friends and finally put a few real-life faces to blog names with new friends too. We ended the day with an amazing cocktail hour and yankee swap that Wayfair generously organized with dozens upon dozens of amazing gifts from their sites. It was a little bit like the Oprah Christmas Special (you get a gift! you get a gift!) and everyone got to swap, cheers, mingle, and enjoy themselves after a long day of getting into the holiday spirit. Interested in reading some more recaps from the event? These fabulous bloggers have shared their pictures and impressions of the event too:
In all of the holiday hustle and bustle I totally forgot to share pictures of little pre-Christmas adventure up to Quebec City! The trip has become a bit of a tradition for us, this marked our 4th year going, and the first time since we got engaged there two years ago. It was a winter wonderland to say the least, we tromped through a fresh foot of snow to do window shopping, warmed up in cute cafes and restaurants with tasty soups and treats (macarons, of course!), and admired the holiday decorations on the old city’s streets. It’s always such a perfect little retreat to get in the holiday spirit.
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.
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!
2 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Grenadine
Mix bourbon and grenadine over ice and stir to combine.
Top the glass with seltzer water to taste.
Garnish with cranberries and star anise.
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!
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.
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.
I am totally behind and haven’t brought out a single holiday decoration at my house yet this year. That has to change this weekend, I’m in the market for a cute little apartment sized tree that I plan to wrap up with vintage tinsel and big twinkly bulb lights. But in the meantime, I’m adding a little festive flair to the blog today and rounding up a few of the Christmas decorations I have my eye on! Have you started decorating yet?
This year, instead of sharing a week of gift guides I decided to mix things up and think a little more local! I’m sharing interviews with local Boston business owners to get their tips for holiday gift giving, entertaining, and attire! Today we’re getting the dish on what to wear for the holidays from the stylish Jessika of Holiday Boutique:
K: The holiday season is upon us, and with party invitations piling up, I want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe so I have something to wear! Any advice for how bring in new pieces that can update things you might already have in your closet?
HB: I suppose the most obvious answer is accessories! But think beyond jewelry… I love wearing colored opaque tights this time of year. Instead of basic black, try red or cream with a staple dress you already own. Try a vintage fur collars or scarves; a skinny scarf looks super chic folded and pinned — I like to wear one in place of a necklace with a cashmere sweater. I’m also mad for shoe clips — they can transform a boring pump into magic. Also something as simple as a fabulous manicure or professional blow-out can make you feel just as great (sometimes better) than buying a new dress.
K: In the age of email and text invites, it can often be less than clear what the attire recommendation is at different holiday events. What is your fail-proof outfit advice for holiday party dressing?
HB: Holiday party dressing should be festive and celebratory. I’d much rather show up to an event slightly over-dressed than under-dressed. I avoid leggings or denim for evening events and take full advantage of dresses and skirts. My go-to is generally black this time of year, but I also LOVE mixing in a statement color via a clutch, shoe or even a simple barrette. Red always pops on black, as does gold and leopard. Another go-to for me is cream — I’m a fan of winter whites– especially in lace. It’s classic and feminine. If you’re the hostess you’ll have even more freedom to experiment. Vintage pieces can make an incredible one-of-a-kind statement… try a vintage kimono and ballet flats! Soooo chic!
K: New Years Eve is my absolute favorite holiday, but I’m a little bored with the glittery cocktail dress look — what kind of looks do you recommend for counting down to midnight?
HB: New Years Eve is a fabulous excuse to do something slightly unexpected or even a little gutsy! Try a headpiece, hat or turban! If you want a little sparkle, a sequin beret is a darling choice — especially if the rest of your look is simple.
K: Any fun trends you’re excited about bringing into Holiday for, well, the holidays?
HB: My shop never gets too into “trend”– though this year we are embracing tartan and pom-poms! A classic plaid cashmere scarf and a knit hat with a giant pom-pom on top is both cute and cozy. We also love our re-worked vintage fur vests. For accessories, we’re all about a big, bold vintage inspired pin that can instantly make almost anything feel and look special. Our hand beaded monogram clutches are uber popular and a major (personal) statement piece.
Thanks to Jessikafor all of her great advice! Don’t forget to #shoplocal on this holiday season!