New Holiday Traditions

posted on: Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Thank you to Pyrex for sponsoring this post!

The holiday season is in full swing — and has me embracing traditions, old and new. Growing up, I'd always look forward to decorating our Christmas tree, watching all the classic films, wrapping gifts, sledding with friends, and baking sweets with family. This year is extra special: as it's my and Kevin's first (full) holiday season together as an engaged couple. I'm all about staying true to old traditions, and adopting new ones, too! We tried our hand at making gingerbread men, to share with family & friends. (Who else loves a good holiday cookie exchange?) I admit, I'm much more of a 'cook' than a 'baker' — but Christmas cookies are a tradition I just can't skip ;) Over the years, I've stocked my kitchen with kitchenware by Pyrex — like these mixing bowlsmeasuring spoons and glass measuring cup. I was happy to partner with Pyrex to share a favorite holiday tradition of baking cookies in Christmas PJs, one that'll continue for future years, I'm sure of it! If there's one thing I've learned by trials in baking: It's not about creating something that's perfect, it's about making something with love. 



EASY GINGERBREAD COOKIES

• 3 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons ginger
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(1) Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in separate bowl until light and fluffy; add molasses, egg and vanilla to mixture. Gradually beat in dry ingredients on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

(2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into shapes with desired cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

(3) Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired.

For homemade icing, mix together: 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1 large egg white, and 1/2 teaspoon water.







Holiday Gift Guide: 50 Under $50

posted on: Saturday, December 9, 2017





A collection of holiday gift ideas for her, all under $50! You can click each item directly in the image above, or browse below... enjoy!


SHOP THE GUIDE:







Beginning our Wedding Registry

posted on: Wednesday, December 6, 2017


traditional wedding registry ideas
With our wedding approaching in the new year, we've made solid planning progress over the past few months and are beginning to take on some new fun aspects — like flowers, music, menu, and our registry. While Kevin and I have most everything we truly need, there are a handful of traditional items and kitchen essentials I'd love for our home together. I recently stopped in to Tabula Tua, which is a beautiful boutique located on Armitage in Lincoln Park. The store carries a variety of classic items for entertaining: from traditional china place settings, glassware, decor, flatware, specialty serveware and more. Immediately I noticed some of my personal favorite collections, from designers like Michael Aram and Juliska. With the help of kind staff at Tabula Tua, I began gathering ideas for a wedding registry of our own. Here are some of my personal favorites for a traditional wedding registry...

Pewter Vase (Match Pewter)
Hartland Cake Stand (Simon Pearce)
Wheat Cheese Knife Set (Michael Aram)
Regence Fruit Bowl (Astier de Villatte)
Arabella Goblet (Juliska)
Olive Branch Pie Dish (Michael Aram)
Cavendish Candlesticks (Simon Pearce)
Enchanted Garden Frame (Michael Aram)

I'd love to know: Did you (or would you) register for traditional china? I'm saying 'yes', personally! Any other items you love, or wish you added, to your wedding registry? Chime in below...


tabula tua chicago tabula tua chicago armitage tabula tua linly designs

If you're a Chicago area bride-to-be, I recommend visiting to create your wedding registry — and to all locally: Tabula Tua is truly a great place to find quality, timeless gifts. You can visit the store on Armitage, or shop online, too!


Thank you to Tabula Tua for sponsoring this post!

Coffee Talk (Vol. 4)

posted on: Monday, December 4, 2017



QUESTION: My December (and January) are filled with lots of holiday parties. What can I bring the hostess (that isn't wine)?
'Tis the season, right? While wine is always appreciated in my book, I'd also recommend bringing a simple flower arrangement (already in a vase, so the host isn't scrambling to find one!), a candle (I love this holiday candle for $16) or gourmet coffee/specialty breakfast treats for her to enjoy the morning after hosting. You can also ask the host if there's any specific item, or help, you can offer in advance of the party, too.

QUESTION: My husband and I are planning a special anniversary weekend visit to Chicago. Any recommendations for where to stay?
Happy Anniversary! I'd recommend The Langham or Waldorf Astoria as luxury 5-star hotels, and The GrayTalbott and The Gwen are all great boutique-type hotels locally. Enjoy your stay!

QUESTION: Do you have any holiday traditions leading up to Christmas or on Christmas day that you love?
Yes, I sure do! Christmas has always been my favorite holiday — and I'm guilty of listening to Christmas music come September. Growing up (and still to this day), my parents have a beautiful tree, that we'd typically cut down the day after Thanksgiving. Other traditions I love are baking family recipes, listening to favorite albums, and watching classic holiday movies. On Christmas Eve, we attend church service and enjoy a formal dinner together — and Christmas Day is reserved for cozy pajamas, opening gifts and relaxing!

QUESTION: I just began dating someone new (less than a year) and I don't know what to get him for Christmas. Any ideas?
Sometimes guys prefer 'experiences' rather than gifts — try to play to his hobbies or interests, or something you two could do together, like a concert, sports outing, comedy show, tasting menu, or staycation. Other gift ideas for him: a classic watch (now 25% off), plaid pajama pants (under $30), this leather wallet (under $65), a Patagonia sweater, or winter gloves + hat. Also check out my gift guide for guys. I hope this helps!



Have a question you'd love answered? Submit a question anonymously, send an email, or reply below!


5 Best Holiday Candles

posted on: Friday, December 1, 2017





There's something about scent that's so nostalgic. If you ask me my favorite memories, they probably revolve around Christmas — from cutting our balsam tree every year, baking with cinnamon and vanilla in the kitchen, and cozying up by a crackling fireplace. These scents of the holiday season are the best! My favorite candles for winter are woodsy, filled with spice and sugared fruits. Here are my 5 tried-and-true candles for Christmas... 


CRIMSON BERRY  | winter berries, vanilla, eucalyptus
SIGNATURE HOLIDAY  | pomegranate, mandarin, cinnamon vanilla
CHAMPAGNE LABEL  | sugared black currant, citrus, passionfruit
WINTER BALSAM  | balsam fir, sandalwood, amber
VOLCANO  | sugared oranges, mountain greens





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