Holiday Host & Hostess Gifts

We’re finally at the short week we’ve all been waiting for! And we are so excited to have some down time with family & friends. Not sure about you all, but for the past few years we’ve been feeling more and more like adults. We can discuss careers with our families at get togethers (and actually be semi-knowledgable), eat brussel sprouts voluntarily, and choose to have breakfast and coffee with our family on Christmas morning before opening gifts. It’s a nice change of pace to feel a little more mellowed out right before the holiday, and not anxiety-ridden about not falling asleep or else Santa won’t come.

But if there’s one thing that adults do for one another, it’s bring a gift for your hostess or host. It’s makes that person feel appreciated and special, and shows that you aren’t just there for the free food 🙂 And while a nice bottle of wine or beer will always be a wonderful gift, we’re looking at some nontraditional gifts for this holiday season. Here’s some things we’ve been eyeing that we know our party-throwing pals would appreciate:


 

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Potted herb of your choice (image via)


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Wooden serving tray for all that food


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Beverage mixer they normally wouldn’t splurge on


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Feather bottle opener to make drinking beer that much more fun


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Holiday scented candle


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Fuzzy blanket to unwind after the parties have ended


 

 

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Sweet Beats // December 2015

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For those of you who celebrate Christmas like us, we’re struggling a little to fully get into the spirt this year. For some reason it’s just not feeling like the holiday season! It probably doesn’t help that yesterday was 60 degrees and sunny… usually we’ve already busted out our wool socks and scarves! We’re hoping that by listening to a little holiday music it’ll get us more excited and ready to drink that nog and deck them halls.

We’ve busted out two seasonal playlists from the archives for ya, because why not?

Check out the links below for our playlists on Spotify!



december 2015 // part 1

1. baby, i love you // the ronettes

2. lollipop // chordettes

3. sugar dumpling // sam cooke

4. try a little tenderness // otis redding

5. dream a little dream of me // the mamas & the papas

6. blue moon // billie holiday

7. mele kalikimaka (merry christmas) // bing crosby

8. having a party // sam cooke

9. snow in his hair // johnny cash

10. (what a) wonderful world // sam cooke

11. you belong to me // pasty cline

12. unchained melody // the righteous brothers

13. in the still of the night // the five satins

14. goodnight sweetheart // the spaniels

december 2015 // part 2

1. winter wonderland // darlene love

2. shake hands with santa clause // louis prima

3. white christmas // the drifters

4. i saw mommy kissing santa clause // the ronettes

5. sugar town // nancy sinatra

6. what christmas means to me // stevie wonder

7. rockin’ around the christmas tree // brenda lee

8. all i want for christmas is you // mariah carey

9. little saint nick // the beach boys

10. merry christmas, baby // the beach boys

11. please come home for christmas // james brown

12. blue christmas // elvis

13. linus and lucy // vince guaraldi



{image via}

Espresso Peppermint Brownies

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If there’s one weakness I have, it’s dense delicious fudgy brownies. And in case you didn’t know, Dec. 8th is National Brownie Day, so we decided to pay our tribute. This recipe is pretty much as simple as homemade brownies get, and most certainly a crowd pleaser.


For the brownies:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • eggs, lightly whisked
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

For the topping:

  • 4 large candy canes

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 and set aside an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.

In a heat-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of your chocolate chips (save the rest to add to the batter), butter, and oil, and place over a small pot of boiling water.

Once fully melted and slightly cooled, combine in a stand (or hand) mixer with your sugars. Mix well, then add espresso, vanilla, and eggs. Add your flour and salt mixture and blend until just mixed. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

While baking, prepare your peppermint topping. *Warning, this part is loud*

Place your candy canes into a plastic baggie, removing the air, and adding into a second baggie. With a rolling pin or hammer, gently break your candy into pieces.

Once your brownies have five minutes left in the oven, remove and sprinkle on the candy. Place back in the oven and finish baking.


Recipe adapted from Food 52

Happy Weekend!

DIY-Eucalyptus-garland2 copy{image via Homey Oh My}


Happy Friday, loves — how’d you guys hold up this week? The week after Thanksgiving can sometimes feel extra long, but this year it didn’t seem too bad. This year we’re trying to be a little more conscious of our holiday habits — actively trying to keep our nutrition and exercise in check, and budgeting ourselves so we don’t overspend. It can be a challenge at times, but it seems to be helping, because we’re feeling good! Are you guys doing anything differently this year to feel a little more balanced? Hope you guys have a great weekend — see you on Monday!


cct // An older and wiser friend of mine always swore that sipping on a little whiskey when you’re feeling like you’re going to get sick will fend everything off – and I’m thinking he was right 🙂 So long cough syrup, and hello hot toddy’s!

rkv // Have you guys tried the mediation app Headspace yet? I have two friends with rave reviews!

cct // Purge the closet…you know you never wear it..do ittt (stop overthinking it!)

rkv // Why, hello holiday mai tai

cct // Which 2015 Pop Hit Are You?

rkv // Because sometimes the holidays aren’t always merry & bright — how to beat the holiday blues

cct // These 9 Trends Prove That the Way We Travel Is Changing (also Afar mag is the best of the best, if you love travel and design, think about subscribing, it’s my favorite magazine!)

rkv // How to make friends in adulthood