Christmas Countdown : 2 Days

As easy as they are, I am not a fan of gift bags. Part of the fun of giving gifts is wrapping them up to look just perfect. Have fun playing with colors other than red and green or blue and silver. Why not wrap everything in matte black paper, tie it up with white ribbon, and write the recipients names with chalk? However, wrapping gifts doesn't mean you need to go out and buy expensive paper or ribbon every year. Your gifts can look simple, elegant, and just as full of Christmas joy in plain brown packing paper. Just add details like red or green ribbon or even baker's twine, and maybe a spring of evergreen to top it off.

brown paper packages tied up with strings

brown paper packages tied up with strings

And for the wrapping paper challenged among us, Lauren Conrad was kind enough to make a perfect gift wrapping how-to on her blog. Check out her instructions below, then get wrapping!

image via

image via


Christmas Countdown : 8 Days

No holiday party is complete without cookies and cocktails. In fact, I'd venture to say no day is complete without cookies and cocktails, but we'll stick to the holidays for now. Every family has their go to holiday recipes, whether they are banana bread for the neighbors or chili cheese dip for Christmas Eve. Below are some of my favorite cookie/cocktail recipes, and a few new ones to try out!

To achieve the red/white painted effect on the peppermint macarons, drip red food coloring down the side of the pastry bag before filling
The orange coconut cookie and gingerbread recipes were taken from cookbooks. All other recipes are linked to their source through the image.

DIY : Fendi Fur Monster

This time of year places like Bergdorf Goodman, Moda Operandi, and Neiman Marcus are all having amazing sales. What could be better than 70% off Marc Jacobs or Valentino? Unfortunately, for some of us those incredible discounts still aren't enough. Instead we must look for versions inspired by the real deal, or in this case make our very own designer inspired pieces.

The Fendi Fur Monster. The most whimsical $900 you'll ever spend. At least that's one way of putting it. But for those of us with more practical spending plans, it is an awful lot of money for a furry keychain, no matter how cute. So I set out to make my own!

You'll need:
faux fur key chain (like this or this)
2 rhinestones
crafting glue, whichever kind you prefer
optional - faux fur strips for accents like eyebrows

I also ended up using a needle and thread and a black sharpie to finish the eyes.

Start out by drawing out a few example faces to decide which monster you like best. Once you have a design picked out, start playing with different color combinations. Once you come across a style you like, use the craft glue to set it in place. It's best if you let the glue dry between each application of felt. 

Now, I struggled to find rhinestones for my monster so instead I just used white felt and black thread. I sewed the eyes on from the middle of the white circle to create a pupil, which I then augmented with a black sharpie. I plan to keep my eye out for some rhinestones, but he still looks pretty cute without them.

Once you have the face all set, it is time to glue it to your keychain! Brush the fur out from a central location, making sure the chain is still pulling from the top. Then apply the glue to the back of the felt face and press it firmly onto the faux fur. Wait for the glue to dry thoroughly before placing on your favorite bag and showing off your new monster buddy.

image via Instagram

image via Instagram