Monthly Archives: December 2014

Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men – Merry Christmas!

Hello dear friends!  It is finally here, the busiest, most wonderful week of the year, that beautiful time of gathering with loved ones and celebrating the amazing miracle that took place over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem.  Our Lord Jesus entered into the world, lived among mortal man, and left a legacy that changed the entire course of humanity.  It’s the most beautiful display of love this world has ever seen, and I am so infinitely and utterly grateful and moved by it.

I will be taking a bit of a break from posting, and I wish you all the wonders, hope, love, and peace that Christmas brings.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:13, 14, NASB

(Nativity scene photo from http://pixgood.com/nativity-scene-painting-wallpaper.html )
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Add a Touch of Luxury with a Tray

Ahh, here we are, well in the midst of the holiday season.  Allow me to offer a reprieve today, with a post about something that’s not holiday related at all.  Instead, this post will help you relax, feel more at ease, and more luxurious right within your own home.  All with one simple item – a tray.

Yes, that’s right, a tray.  Back when we were first decorating our apartment, I knew that it would be good to have a tray, so we bought one from Ikea.  It was simple, and nothing special, and I used it to hold books and magazines on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.  Then, when I caught a spray painting bug, I spray painted it silver, with a nice sheen.  But it sat in the same place, and didn’t really get much use.  Well, now it’s at its final form.

To protect the actual surface of the tray, I actually used placemats carefully cut to fit, and glued in place with hot glue.  Now it’s easy to wipe clean, and has a pretty black diamond patterned look.

We’ve been using the tray on our bed, to hold snacks, books, hot drinks, and napkins.  It’s perfect for reading in bed with a cup of tea, or having a glass of wine while watching a movie, and not worrying about things tipping over and spilling.

I know that trays are often used on coffee tables and to corral items, but being the type that doesn’t like clutter, those didn’t seem to call to me.

This little simple trick, though, helps us feel like we’re at a hotel, or a cute bed & breakfast, and adds a simple beautiful touch of luxury.

How do you use trays around the house?  Do you have a preference between square and rectangular trays?  Any little projects or tricks you’re doing that are not holiday related?

Christmas No-Bake Oreo Truffles

Hello again sweet friends!  I hope you’ve been enjoying everything the season brings, we just got another dusting of winter wonderland snow outside our window!  One of the best-loved traditions of this time of year is making sweets and treats together.  I recently shared my recipe for red velvet white chocolate cake pops, and today I’m back with an easier, but also delicious, no-bake recipe!  These are my Christmas No-Bake Oreo Truffles, inspired by this recipe from Savvy Saving Couple.  Ready to dig in?  Let’s get to it!

Ingredients

  • 1 block (250g, or 8oz) of light cream cheese, softened
  • 36 Oreo cookies of choice – for a seasonal touch, I used the Mint Cream Oreos
  • 250g (8oz) chocolate chips for coating, I used milk, but you can use white or dark as well
  • festive sprinkles

Directions

  1. Crush the cookies into a crumble, and mix with cream cheese until uniform.  I crushed the cookies in batches with my food processor, and then used a hand mixer to mix in the cream cheese.
  2. Shape into balls, and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  I rolled them into about ½ inch balls, and made almost 60.  Freeze truffle balls for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips carefully, by heating in small increments in the microwave and stirring in between.
  4. Cover truffle balls in melted chocolate, and then place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  5. Sprinkle with festive sprinkles, or maybe crushed candy canes, as you’d like.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm, and chocolate coating has become solid.

I loved these, and so did Nick!  You could easily put your own twist on these – maybe use the seasonal Gingerbread Oreos and white chocolate, or add finely chopped nuts.  Or use different decorations, like little shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, or little hearts and pink sprinkles for Valentine’s Day.

Have you tried these, or other Oreo treats?  Let us know!

Go Elf Yourself!

Make sure you read that title right, that word was “elf”, as in adorable Santa’s helpers or beautiful Middle Earth creatures.

Today’s post is super short, but moreso funny.  The other day, I was browsing around the App Store to see what apps are new and interesting and free, and I stumbed upon this genius one called Elf Yourself.  The results were hilarious, and so I’ve posted them here for your laughing pleasure.

I wish that real-life Nick and Delia had moves half as cool as elf Nick and Delia, but it was very entertaining!  Check out the app yourself, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of festive laughs!

Enjoy, and have a merry day!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cake Pops

Oh, Christmas baking is upon us!  Cookies and brownies and candy cane everything… it’s a dream for someone like me with a sweet tooth.  We were just at a Holiday Potluck and cookie exchange, so right now our fridge is stuffed with all kinds of festive treats and sweets.  Today I’ll be sharing the recipe for the treat I brought to the exchange – red velvet white chocolate cake pops.  They were really more like cake balls since I didn’t use lollipop sticks, but I’m still calling them cake pops 🙂   

It’s a recipe I made up myself as I was making them, adapting one of my favourite trifle recipes.  Here it is!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cake Pops

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) red food colouring
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar

Cream Cheese & White Chocolate Frosting

  • 2/3 cup (heaping) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250 mL) light cream cheese, softened

Candy Coating & Garnish

  • 340g white chocolate chips
  • festive holiday sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl. Add food colouring and vanilla and beat until uniform.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the batter, beating until combined. Add half of the buttermilk. Repeat, adding alternating ingredients until all the flour mixture and buttermilk have been incorporated.
  5. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl, and stir until it foams. Add to batter and mix just until fully incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes.
  6. To make frosting, gradually melt white chocolate and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl, and mix between heatings to create a smooth mixture.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cake (you can also use a food processor for this).  Add the frosting and mix well, until uniform.  Roll into 36-40 balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Freeze for about 30 minutes, until cake pops are solidified.
  8. For the candy coating, melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, gradually and mixing well.  Gently roll and cover each cake ball in the melted white chocolate, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Top with sprinkles, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up.

That’s it!  It took me a bit more work since I was experimenting as I was going to make the recipe, but they were fun to make and even more fun to eat!  Not too sweet since the frosting was more tangy from the cream cheese, and not too heavy – just delicious!  You could also top them with crushed candy canes, or maybe heart-shaped sprinkles for Valentine’s Day!

Who’s doing Christmas baking?  Anyone making cake pops?

 

 

Our new home office!

Well, we’ve gone and added yet another zone to the apartment!  We’ve taken our little 1-bedroom apartment, and carved out an office space.  It’s located in our living room, between the living area, the drum kit (yes, drum kit in an apartment), and the dining table.

Needless to say, I am very excited about it!  I love having desks, a nice little spot for files and computers and working – it already makes us both so much more productive!  Here’s how it all came together for an awesome little home office central.

We hopped off to our favourite furniture store (hint: it’s blue and yellow and Swedish and has amazing meatballs), and picked up two of these Micke desks, and one of these Micke filing units.

The set up is pretty and simple, with the cabinets in the desks on the outer edges, and us working happily side by side.  In the middle, on top of the filing cabinet, we’ve got our Brother printer, which also has copy/scan/fax capabilities.

And those big bulletin boards up above the desks?  Those are our dream boards!  It’s always great to keep your desires in front of you, it’s amazingly motivating!

Our chairs double as the 3rd and 4th chair for the dining table when we have guests, and I love them!  They’re so comfy, and the fact that they’re not on casters means we don’t damage our wood floors.

On my desktop, I’ve got a few little feminine details to show my personality – a sweet pink scented candle and a photo from our engagement shoot 🙂

I know this is a shorter post, but I’m just so excited to have a sweet little desk and office space, I had to share it with you!

Anyone have a cool home office they’d like to share?  Or maybe some fun organizing hacks?  I’d love to hear them!

 

Beauty Picks of the Season

Hello, sweet friends!  I hope you’re all enjoying the winter wonderland weather around us, as well as the wonderful holiday treats and tinsel!  It’s a beautiful time of year, and so I thought I’d share my beauty picks for this year.  Winter usually brings its own beauty challenges with dry skin and hat hair, but these essentials will keep you kissing pretty, should you end up under the mistletoe!

For body moisturizing – Winter can wreak havoc on skin, resulting in dry, flaky, and itchy patches, yikes!  Coconut oil, especially applied right after stepping out of the shower is amazing, but a more festive favourite of mine is the Triple Moisture Body Cream from Bath & Body Works in Twisted Peppermint.  It absorbs very well to soothe and hydrate and smells like delicious candy canes!

For hands and on the go – Hands need special care.  Not only are they more exposed to the cold, but also to drying hot water since we all tend to become a bit more wary of germs in the winter.  For that reason, I’ve been stashing a small tube of Arbonne Shea Butter Hand Lotion in Blissful Vanilla.  It’s a deeply luxurious lotion using amazing shea butter and with a sweet scent.

For hair – Hair is a tough one, since everyone’s is different and has unique issues.  I have lots of dense thick hair, but my individual strands are fairly fine, and it’s also curly/wavy.  For that reason, it needs lots of moisture.  I try to do a coconut oil mask every week or so and use generous amounts of conditioner in the winter.  For styling, I’ve been using a teensy dab of coconut oil as shine serum on my ends and lengths to keep frizz to a minimum and help nourish my hair as well.

For lips – Essential category for mistletoe!  Ooh, this is one of my new favourites!  I’ve been loving Arbonne’s Sugar Melon Moisturizing Lip Balm.  It hydrates deeply and has a great pink tint, plus has a delicious smell and taste that reminds me of candy sour watermelon slices!  

And of course you all know of my deep love for EOS lip balms.  Well, I stumbled across a new flavour this season – Vanilla Mint.  I knew how much I loved the Vanilla Bean and Sweet Mint, so that one came home with me as well 🙂

For a dazzling holiday look – ‘Tis the season for Christmas parties and New Year’s soirees!  For these special occasions, it’s fun to bring out the sparkles and sequins, and amp up the glamour for your makeup look too!  Here are a few favourites I’ve picked out of my makeup collection to help you get started.

  • A great red lip – classic colour and bombshell look.  Here I’ve got a gorgeous ruby lipstick by Camerata and Revlon’s ColorStay Overtime Lipcolor in Forever Scarlet (this one lasts for 16 hours without feathering or wearing off).
  • A dramatic lip – if you’re not feeling like wearing red, this is a great time to go dramatic and bold.  Here I’ve got Artistry Lip Colour in Ripe (a delicious bordeaux hue), and a beautiful sparkly lip gloss, Artistry Light Up Lip Gloss in Glamour.
  • For festive eyes – in a sea of smokey eyes, stand out with some glimmer!  Use a hint of silver eyeliner for a subtle nod to Queen Elsa, like this Artistry Eyeliner in Platinum Highlight.

What beauty essentials do you pick out in winter?  Any festive looks planned?  Do share 🙂