Friday, December 19, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy last Friday before Christmas!

- ONE - I picked up OPI's Red Fingers and Mistletoes nail polish over the weekend and am loving how festive my nails look! Right now Ulta is offering a Buy 2, Get 1 free on all OPI colors which is perfect timing to grab one for yourself and two for Christmas gifts!

- TWO - McKinsey's Annual Girls Gift Exchange Party was last night! The gift limit was $35 and each year the dirty Santa style game gets more and more competitive. I brought a volcano candle to the party and actually ending up stealing my gift back during the last round of the game! Here are a few of some of the best, most stolen gifts at the party...
Left to Right: Charlotte Coffee Mug & The New York Times 36 Hours Book; Necklace; 100 Days of Real Food Book; Volcano Candle; Chick-fil-A calendar and Scarf; 2015 Kate Spade Planner; Tote; Polished Gift Card & OPI Nail Polish; C Wonder Wallet & Note Cards   

- THREE - For the party last night I needed a quick appetizer idea that I could literally throw together in a few minutes after getting home from work. Off I ran to the Teeter where there was a nice old lady offering samples next to the cheese counter which I of course stopped to check it out. The appetizer was crackers topped with pimento cheese and a dab of pepper jelly. Winner, winner. In less than 2 minutes I was out the door with a container of My Three Sons Pimento Cheese and a jar of Stonewall Kitchen Red Pepper Jelly. I had some mini fillo shells in the freezer which worked out perfect in lieu of crackers.
- FOUR - For the cookie exchange last week I baked Marbled Red Velvet Christmas Brownies! They were so yummy that Matt requested I make a separate batch to have at home (even though I brought home ~40 cookies.
Here's the recipe I used:

Marbled Red Velvet Christmas Brownies

1 box (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package Red Velvet brownie mix (choose directions for the cake-style brownies)

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Set aside. Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions. Spoon 2/3 of the brownie batter into a parchment-lined 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Spoon the reserved cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Now scrape the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese mixture. Swirl the tip of a knife through the batter to make a marbled effect. Press M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies into the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated, 350-degree oven until slightly moist in the center. Cool completely before cutting 8x4 into 1½-inch squares.

- FIVE - I've seen a few versions of this "Holiday To-Do List" floating around Pinterest and Instagram {here} recently and thought it was such a powerful message that I wanted to pass it on! Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone's holiday to do lists looked a little bit more like this?
Wanna join Darci, April, Natasha and I on the Friday fun? You can link-up on any of our four blogs every Friday! All you have to do is...
1.) Write your post about five things you're lovin' this week (or any five things you want to share!).
2.) Share the logo on your blog and link back. 
3.) Link-up at the bottom of the post so some new readers can check out your five things and say hello!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Third Annual Cookie Exchange

Caroline and I attended Mel's 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange on Sunday. This is always one of my favorite holiday parties of the season and this year's did not disappoint! There were 14 girls in attendance and each brought 4 dozen cookies - totaling 672 cookies! We all took home a bucket of cookies, lots of new recipes and sugar comas...

I snapped this picture as the cookies started rolling into the party. So much goodness on one table!
 Lots and lots and lots of yummy desserts! To ensure there weren't any duplicate recipes guests were required to list what cookie they were bringing on the evite when they RSVP'd. This year I went an easier route and baked red velvet marbled brownies {recipe}!
Mel provided cute prizes for the winners of the best decorated cookie, favorite dessert and best recipe card. Each year this contest gets more and more competitive!
The "best cookie" award went to McKinsey for her Special K Bar Cookies {recipe}. A close second was Laura's Mystery Brickle Bars {recipe}. But another favorite worth mentioning was Mel's Smores Cookie Cups {recipe}.
Ho Ho Punch {recipe here} - always a hit and never a drop left!
A plate full of cookies for the tasting!
And a few snaps of the munchkin with some of her favorite friends...
First Annual Cookie Exchange {post here}
Second Annual Cookie Exchange {post here}



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Matt's Stocking Stuffer Wish List

Over the weekend Matt created a short stocking stuffer wish list at my request. At first I was a little stressed about when I was going to squeeze in more shopping this week, but with a few clicks with Amazon Prime and a Target lunch break trip I am officially done! So I thought I'd share a few of the items Matt asked for along with a few extra things I picked up too in case you're looking for some last minute stuffer ideas...
Mens Stocking Stuffers
  1. Pocket Ref Book: I've seen this on pretty much every stocking stuffer guide on Pinterest so I decided to look into it. Anyway, this pocket-sized reference book features tons of information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. Oh, and it's a #1 seller on Amazon.
  2. Just a Drop Toilet Odor Neutralizer: This is my favorite gag gift of all time! You can also get it in travel size {here}!
  3. Mini Bottles of Booze & Cigar
  4. American Crew Hair Styling Pomade
  5. Kikkerland CD401 Classic Survival Tool: I'm not going to lie. I have no clue what this thing is that Matt asked for but I bought it anyway because it was only $1.69. 
  6. Metal Collar Stays
  7. Ties: Matt is obsessed with The Tie Bar so this list item came as no surprise to me. Not only are these ties really great quality but they are affordable ($15!!!) and come in a variety of sizes (currently Matt is digging the 2.5 inch wide skinny tie).
  8. Dress Socks: I also picked these up from The Tie Bar. So many choices!
  9. 5 in 1 Stainless Steel Money Clip
  10. Golf Stuff: Glove, Balls, Tees, etc.
Other small items I usually stuff in Matt's stocking every year include $5 gift cards (Starbucks), a car wash coupon, scratch offs, candy and gum!

Funny side note: I was searching back through my blog for other stocking stuffer posts I've written and found the time Matt included a Target coupon in my stocking {here}. That man sure knows the way to my heart.
What do you stuff in your man's stocking?


Blogging tips