December 6, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies

I made a list of some of my favorite things right now that I think some of the ladies in your life might like for a gift or that you just might want to pick up yourself.

Gap Sherpa Denim Jacket. This jacket is perfect for warmth and yet still stylish and casual. I live in my denim jacket come spring, and now I can wear one in the cooler fall and winter months.

Essie Nail Polish. The Essie brand is one of my favorites. They have such staying power and have the most beautiful colors. For the holidays I love wearing colors in berries like Maki Me Happy and hunter green tones like Off Tropic. Nail polishes are great stocking stuffer. I haven't met a gal who doesn't love doing their nails or getting them done.

Velvet Green Choker. Chokers are officially back in style. They were huge in the 90's and they have come back in a big way. I love the velvet green from these two Etsy shops: Aurabora and Lunabluestore.

I have a few black velvet choker in my Black Feather shop too.

Leather Backpack. Yes, this made it on the list again this year. I mean a backpack bag that looks great, but is also multi-functional is hard to find. A little leather backpack is great when going out to run errands, when you want something casual, yet also fashionable.

Richmond & Finch Marble Phone Case. Comes in Green, White, Black, and Gray Marble. It is a hardshell iPhone case.

Thymes Frasier Fir Candle. My absolute favorite candle right now is Thymes' Frasier Fir. I don't have a real Christmas tree, so I lit this candle up and it smells like a beautiful pine fresh forest.

Godiva Chocolates. These are my favorite. Every year for Christmas, the Mister buys me a big box of chocolates and I pretty much eat the whole box in one night.

S'well Water Bottle. S'well bottles are stainless steel re-usable bottles that can keep you drink col for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours.

Cactus Bud Vases. Aren't these the cutest little cactus bud vases you have ever seen? They are handmade and sold on Etsy by WhiteFauxTaxidermy.

Evil Eye Bracelets. I love to wear evil eyes and these protect you from an evil eye stare while looking perfectly awesome in green and pave.

Ted Baker Floppy Hat. I love wearing hats. And I have tried quite a few of these floppy hats, and this one is the perfect size. It is not too overwhelming in size.

Oreos Covered in Chocolate. These make perfect stocking stuffers and already ready to give.
Mini Cactus Snow Globe (set of 4). I love succulents and cacti and these mini snow globes are the cutest. They are mini, but this is a set of 4 would be perfect to split and give to co-workers as individual gifts.

December 1, 2016

Holiday Gift Guides for Kiddos

So, not to scare you or anything, but Christmas is about 3 weeks away..and if you are anything like me you haven't even started, not even remotely started. I pride myself in starting to buy and tuck away gift in October, but not this year.

So thank you for the motivation, because I decided to make a small Holiday Gift series and this definitely helped me find a few little charming gifts to give to friends and family.

This gift guide is dedicated to the little ones.

Vilac Wooden Animal Magnets - These wooden animal magnets are beautiful. They are designed by Nathalie Lete and wonderful for children who love animals and fun for them to play with in front of the fridge.

BlaBla Knitted Animals - These soft knitted animals are hand knit in peru and our soft and cuddly. They come in different sizes and there is an array of different little animals to choose from. For every handcrafted doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need. There are more than a dozen different critters to choose from on the site.

Dylan's Candy Bar Gingerbread House - What makes this the best is that it's pre-assembled, you just have the fun of decorating it. I also saw some fun Hanukkah ones at Michaels.

Mouse in a Matchbox -  Is this mouse so cute. Maileg is an award winning Danish toy company founded in 1999 and they make all sorts of cute toys. The Mouse in a Matchbox is one of the cutest they make and you can find all sorts of little mice, a mom, dad, little baby mouse.

Micro Kickboard - This is a Mini2Go 3-in-1 Scooter. It's perfect for the little ones to sit around and use their legs to move around. Recommended for children ages 18 months and up.

Eat Your Veggies -  This wooden crate comes filled with cute and soft handmade rattles. This set is perfect for teaching babies and toddlers about nutrition. Made in Bangladesh.

TeePee -  I haven't met a child who doesn't love to build forts or sit inside a cozy little place to read or play in. This teepee is 6 feet tall and comes with stars that you can stick on the outside or inside that glow in the dark. I also found this awesome fort builder at Toy R Us.

I hope these help with some ideas for your little ones or a kiddo you know.

November 30, 2016

Quick Easy Chili

So the mister absolutely loves chili and orders it whenever he has the opportunity too. He has been on a chili kick lately, every cafe we have been going to has been serving it. Me, I am not such a chili fan, I like it, but I don't go out of my way to order it. But knowing how much he loves it, I decided to make him some homemade chili.

And it would give me the opportunity to make some cornbread. I think cornbread and chili go so well together. I have been on a mission to make sweet cornbread for the longest time and I can't seem to make it just the way I hope and want it to be.  I also made some mexican brownies with this meal and it paired so well. I will be sharing that recipe soon.

This chili is so easy to make and you don't have to leave it cooking for hours. It's just one pot and it takes about 30-45 minutes to make depending if you like your chili thick or not.


1 1/2 - 2 pounds of ground turkey or beef
1 onion (diced)
1 green pepper (chopped or diced)
1 can of kidney beans
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cloves of garlic 
2 cups of beef broth
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed or diced tomatoes
Chili Powder

I will walk you through each step below:

In a large pot, medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter, minced garlic and the chopped onions and cook until onion is tender.

Add meat and combine with onion in pot and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Add salt, pepper, and seasoning (paprika, cumin, chili powder).

Add the chopped green peppers.

Combine the green peppers with the meat and continue cooking until peppers are tender.

Once the peppers have softened add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.

Add the kidney beads, stir to combine and continue simmering.

Depending on how you like your chili leave it simmering. The mister likes his chili pretty thick and no liquid, so I kept it simmering until all the liquid was evaporated.

I love cornbread and added a cornbread muffin and mixed it all together and it was divine on a cold fall day. For just the two of us this lasted for days and days. Those are my favorite type of meals, the ones that feed us lunch and dinner for a few days. It's great to not have to think about what's for lunch and dinner for a few days. Just warm this up and enjoy with some cornbread and topped with shredded cheese it's so good.

October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Penne

So I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins the other day and had some extra pumpkin and I thought what should I do with this? Make another batch of muffins or make something savory for dinner? And I opted for making something for dinner. Pumpkin Cream Sauce with Penne is absolutely delicious and it's all made in one pot.

What you need:
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic 
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper

In a large pot boil water and cook the penne pasta. Once cooked, drain the water, but keep 1 cup of the pasta water.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and minced garlic, season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. 

Stir in the pumpkin and heavy cream and bring to a boil. 

Return the pasta to the pot along with the pasta cooking water and toss. 

Stir in the parmesan; season with salt and pepper, and presto chango (yes, we are magicians) you are done!

Top the pasta with the parsley and more parmesan. Heck add any cheese, I bet shredded cheddar or mozzarella would taste amazing on top of this too.

This tastes absolutely delicious with cheesy garlic bread! I happily ate it as leftover for a few days. For the two of us this was lunch and dinner for about 3 days.

October 24, 2016

Halloween Decorations

Well Halloween has arrived, well it will be in exactly one week. And I was a little late decorating this year. 

This year we did a similar table as last year. Check out last year's Halloween table here. This time we decided to make it a little spookier with a back tablecloth from Target; a huge black felt skull in the backdrop with bats and a haunted village that we made ourselves with little finds from the Dollar store and other little figurines and lit it up with led lights. I still have some work to do on the table. I haven't decided what I was going to put in the crates. So the above picture is just how it is now, but I am hoping to have some more time this week to arrange it differently.

The vampire mug is our best find. We found this super large Dracula mug at a consignment shop a few years ago. The owner was unfortunately closing the store and everything was only $1. My boyfriend loved it as soon as he saw it and I didn't know what he saw in it. 

But now I love it and I use it every Halloween as a vase and I love how Dracula has beautiful roses or marigolds on his head every year.

I made this backdrop for about $1.50. I bought the black felt skull at the Dollar Store, and the bats were from last year's project made out of black cardstock paper. Check out my tutorial here. If you don't have a cricut machine, just cut out bats from construction paper. Use a free template (like this one) online to cut around.

I also found this cute huge cardboard bat that I put in our entryway. I also added a few bats on the walls around the house.

As an unexpected find, and also at a small consignment shop, this past weekend, I saw these adorable little Halloween bears. And I just giggled and giggled when I saw them and how cute they were. My love, snatched up the three little bears, two were Halloween themed and the other was a Thanksgiving themed bear. 

I have to come find out these are Lucy Rigg bears. I never heard of them before. And there are hundreds of them dressed up in all sorts of adorable outfits. There are collectors out there that collect all different types of these cute little bears.

I have never been one to collect little toys, figures, or even stuffed animals. But I was delighted and purely happy when I saw these. And I am so happy my love bought them for me. 

Since then, I may have looked up more little bears and I might have bought a few more for Halloween and the Holidays. 

This is how the haunted village looks with the little lights on. I love how my boyfriend lit up each house with it's own little color. He did this all by himself. We were going to add moss, but we decided to keep the project simple.

Baking always makes me happy. So I have been baking tons lately. My boyfriend absolutely loves chocolate chip cookies, and I always make him a small batch of a dozen cookies so he can enjoy a few during the week.

As soon as Halloween is complete Day of the Dead will be here. I have been working on a few skulls and pieces. I listed this skull and a few others in my art shop.

Enjoy plenty of little treats because you deserve it. If you can't eat candy or chocolates buy yourself some flowers. And when you see them every day, I want you to smile, tell them how beautiful they are, and remind yourself that you are beautiful too. 

Have a wonderful week!

October 22, 2016

Cinnamon Baked Donuts

These are the perfect morning treat on a fall morning. These are baked, not fried, cinnamon delights.

All you need is:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons of syrup

For the cinnamon topping:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For chocolate ganache topping: 
  • 1/2 cup dark or milk chocolate chips 
  • 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup 
  • 2 teaspoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 doughnut pans well.

Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.

For the topping, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. 

Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides.

I made 12 donuts, 6 with cinnamon sugar toppings and another 6 with milk chocolate ganache toppings. Both were yummy and a perfect treat to eat in the morning.

October 17, 2016

Halloween Pumpkin Balloons

How cute are these pumpkin balloons. This is a quick craft for a Halloween party or just to put around the house. I hung a few above my Halloween table this year and they look like they are floating in air. 

All you need are orange balloons, construction paper (green or brown, and orange), scissors, string, and tape.

Blow the balloons with air and then cut out triangle shapes with black construction paper for the eyes and the nose. For the mouth I made this template to make it much easier. You can just print it out, use a pencil to draw around it on black construction paper to simply cut out.

I made a stem and leaf out of green construction paper for the top.

This took me less than 10 minutes to do, so it's a quick, fun, and easy project for you or for kids to do.

October 10, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here and I have been craving pumpkin. To be honest, pumpkin isn't my favorite flavor. Every fall I get a craving for it though and I remember how good it is. I have made pumpkin pie and last year I made these pumpkin pancakes, but this season I made chocolate chip muffins and these are my favorite pumpkin creation yet!

These muffins have pumpkin, cinnamon, and a hint of sweetness thanks to the maple syrup and the chocolate chips goes perfectly with it all. I also added some chopped walnuts to a few of them. They make the perfect morning breakfast. The two us of ate one every morning, that would have lasted us for about 6 days, but I also had one or two for a little after dinner treat.

Makes 12 Muffins
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 8 ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of syrup
  • 1/2 cup and 4 tablespoons of of butter
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter (1/2 cup and 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)

In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, syrup and butter until combined with a whisk. Don't over mix, or the batter might get thick and the muffins could end up being dry.

Mix dry ingredients together and gradually add into pumpkin mixture. Add the chocolate chips. Fill paper-lined muffin cups or greased muffin tin.

Bake at 400 degree for about 18 minutes.

Remove them from the muffin pan and put on a rack to cool off and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.