Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am truly grateful for all that God has blessed me with, most importantly, my family. I really don’t know where I would be without them. This year, we are spending a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the four of us. We’ll  be spending all afternoon  in a turkey coma, watching the Modern Family marathon and playing with our dog, who likes to find the biggest sticks in the backyard. I’m so thankful for this quality time home. I hope you all are feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and spending today with those that matter most to you. Cheers! xXx

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Sweet Potato Mash

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Thanksgiving can definitely be a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to cooking. Preparing the turkey is a painstaking task in itself, so whether you are feeding a family of 4 or 24, it’s important that your side dishes are simple and easy to prepare. I recently made this Sweet Potato Mash recipe for my office Thanksgiving and was so pleased with how it turned out. I’m typically not a fan of sweet potatoes, but when combined with brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon, it tastes more like a dessert than a side dish. It took me less than an hour  to make and it was apparent everyone at the office loved it-I came home with no leftovers. I’ll definitely make this dish again on Thursday for my family Thanksgiving! What’s on your Thanksgiving menu?

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maple syrup

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Oliver’s Adventures

Oliver's Adventures

The arrival of Thanksgiving not only means turkey comas, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and Black Friday shopping, but it is also the arrival of my  favorite Christmas tradition-Elf on the Shelf! Last year, we adopted a scout elf named Oliver, who made a treacherous journey from the North Pole to Tallahassee to make sure we were on Santa’s “Nice” list. Each day, Oliver would perch himself in a different spot to observe the holiday fun, then while we were sleeping, fly back to the North Pole to report to Santa about the day’s events. Oliver definitely got into some mischief during his stay- making snow angels in flour, playing video games, and finding a flask full of whiskey, but he was also very helpful! He played some holiday tunes on the piano, made us peppermint hot chocolate, and even chopped some wood for the fire. He kept us entertained all season and though we were so sad to see him go on Christmas Eve, we gave him a champagne sendoff back to the North Pole. Oliver is expected to arrive the day after Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans he gets into this year!

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P.S.  I’m fully aware Elf on the Shelf is typically meant for kids, but it can also be equally fun for adults! Clearly, our elf engaged in some more mature activities compared to some other elves.

Christmas Wish List

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I can’t believe Christmas is a little over a month away! Usually by this time every year, I could list a million things I want, but for some reason I am having a hard time creating my Christmas list. Here are just a few things currently top of mind. I seriously need this Stella & Dot bangle for next football season, these cat-inspired flats and my wallet is due for an upgrade. I like this one by Michael Kors. What’s on your wish list?

Put a Bow On It

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I’m such a sucker for girly, feminine details that I became ecstatic when I noticed bows were making such a statement this season. From sweaters to dresses to belts, bows are everywhere lately. I have this sweater from J.Crew and I can’t wait to pair it with these cute Kate Spade studs (which are currently on my Christmas list), but I am also loving these other bow adorned items. Bows are such a simple way to doll up any outfit.When in doubt, put a bow on it!

Splurge or Save: Gold Dot Scarf

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It’s time to pull out the cold weather wear because winter is here! One of  my favorite winter accessories is a scarf. I use it to spruce up a plain t-shirt, add dimension to my outfit, and obviously, keep my neck warm. This gold polka dot scarf from Chapters Indigo is perfect for the holiday season. The soft blush color is a nice winter neutral while the gold dots add a bit of glitz. But for half the price, Target has a similar option with smaller dots. Both options are equally great for a chic look this Thanksgiving!

Holiday Movie Roundup

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Last night, my boyfriend and I went out for our usual date night to to see Richard Curtis‘ newest film, About Time, and it got me excited for the holidays. Curtis is responsible for writing and directing some of my favorite movies, including the popular holiday flick, Love Actually. That movies always puts me in a cheery mood. After the movie, I started thinking about some of my other favorite holiday movies that really get me in the holiday spirit. I’ve rounded up my top picks, from classics to newer features, that celebrate this wonderful season. My all-time favorite will always be A Christmas Story, although Christmas Vacation is a close second. What’s your favorite holiday film? 

These are in no particular order:

A Christmas Story

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

It’s a Wonderful Life

Elf

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Christmas Vacation

Home Alone

The Holiday

The Family Stone

Love Actually

Miracle on 34th Street

Bar Cart Styling

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I’ve been searching for the perfect bar cart for quite some time. I had my eye on this one from Society Social, but really couldn’t justify spending over $500 on one. Fortunately for me, Target came out with a similar version at a much more affordable price point,  just in time for holidays! Entertaining plays a major role during the holiday season, whether it’s a casual get together with friends or a formal Christmas party, so it’s important to always have a well-stocked bar cart. I put together a guide of my favorite bar cart essentials, both useful and stylish, that will help you entertain with ease. I can’t wait to put my new bar cart to use this holiday season!

1. Bubbly Gold Champagne Flutes– These festive flutes are perfect for breaking out the bubbly, but can also double as a traditional cocktail glass since they are stemless.

2. Brass Cocktail Decanter– I love the gold dots on this decanter! It’s a stylish way to display your liquor.

3. Festive Party Straws– I’ll use any excuse to drink out of a festive straw. You can switch out the design or color to match the occasion. Gold is a classic pick for the holidays.

4. Threshold Cocktail Shaker– Every bar needs a cocktail shaker! This matches my decanter.

5. Kate Spade 2-Piece Bar Set– This bar set contains all the essentials needed for serving wine. It includes an opener and stopper. Plus, it’s adorable!

6. Coasters– Nobody likes a wet napkin. These coasters are a stylish way to protect your furniture from sweaty glasses and also provide a nice placeholder for your guests. These Cheers ones are great for holiday celebrations!

7. Festive Print– A festive print sets the tone for the party and adds a chic display to your cart. SS Print Shop makes prints for all occasions and you can switch them out whenever.

8. Tray– Trays add some organization as well as a design element to your cart. They are great for displaying items such as napkins, coasters, and fruit.

9. Atom Art Bowls– These bowls from Anthropologie come in such a cute designs. They are great for holding fresh fruit, salt, or even bar tools.

10. Bubbly- What’s a bar cart without any alcohol? Make sure your cart is stocked with at least 2 types of gin, vodka, rum, whiskey and a red and white wine. This way your guests have options. I always like to have champagne chilling for those unexpected celebrations!

Mad for Plaid

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Plaid always seems to be trending during the fall and winter months. It’s such a timeless pattern that can be paired with practically anything, so it’s no surprise I find myself throwing on layers of plaid as soon as the temps get below 60 degrees. From blazers to skirts to holiday mugs, I plan on incorporating this quintessential fall print into everything this season. I especially love this scarf I  purchased from J. Crew Factory (on sale now) . It will pair perfectly with a chunky knit and some riding boots when the weather gets a bit cooler.

Minestrone Soup

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately thanks to the constant changes in temperature here. First it’s freezing, then it’s warm, then back to freezing. In an effort to fight off any signs of sickness, I decided to make one of my favorite soups over the weekend, Minestrone. I followed Ina Garten’s recipe from her newest cookbook, Foolproof, and I’ve got to be honest, this recipe really is “foolproof.” Ina uses pancetta to give the broth added flavor which makes all the difference, not to mention this soup is packed with nutrients from all my favorite winter vegetables. It even contains extra antioxidants from the fresh spinach leaves. I served it with some garlic bruschetta to dip in my soup. Being sick is never ideal, but a hot cup of soup certainly makes you feel better.

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