Happy (Almost) New Year 2014!

Image via stylemepretty.com

Image via stylemepretty.com

Hey Ya’ll,

Just another quick note to say Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m sure you all have fabulous plans for the evening (that hopefully include a D.D. or a cab). Let me know what you’re up to tonight in the comment section below and please be safe while enjoying the last night of 2013!

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I’ve got a lot of fun things in the works for the blog (think: giveaway!) and I can’t wait to share them with all of you! Have a fantastic day and welcome to 2014.
-Brian

Merry Christmas from Austin’s ‘Trail of Lights’

imageHey Ya’ll,

I arrived in Austin, Texas yesterday and my Christmas vacation is already in full-effect!

image[2]Last night, my mother and I walked the “Trail of Lights”. It’s a tradition that we’ve done during the holidays since I was a kid.

image[6]image[1]image[5]image[4]It’s 73 degrees outside and while we may not have snow, these lights create a beautiful Christmas display for the city.

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What’s your Christmas tradition? Let me know in the comment section below.
-Brian

Winter Wreaths For Your Door and Mantle

Hey Ya’ll,

If you don’t have time to load up your home’s exterior with twinkling lights or can’t be bothered with a shedding tree adorned with beautiful bulbs, there’s one easy way to instantly add holiday cheer to your abode: a winter wreath!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.09.09 PMWhat do you think of these lovely blue themed wreaths? How about these wreaths with beautiful bursts of red?

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.11.22 PMA classic green wreath is always a good choice, too…

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.16.01 PMIf you’re crafty, try stringing leftover bulbs together using some wire or hot-gluing bulbs to a bare wreath (click HERE for a tutorial for the wreath below from http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com):

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Image and tutorial via http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com

Another fun idea is spray painting some holly to create a metallic, sparkly wreath:

31ab6a3b0eb9ce353230fae0717167d1Wreaths are a great way give a seasonal nod to a holiday and the best part is that they can be hung over a mantle, on a wall or on a door. Do you have a winter wreath you use every year or do you prefer to switch it up? Let me know in the comment section below.
-Brian

Unique Design Tips For Your Winter Wedding

Image via ruffledblog.com

Image via ruffledblog.com

Hey Ya’ll,

In a sea of summer brides, ladies who dare to say ‘I Do’ in the winter months are a truly unique bunch!

To see this beautiful bride's winter wedding, visit greenweddingshoes.com

To see this winter wedding shoot, visit greenweddingshoes.com

After blogging about how cold-weather-brides get to have a little more fun when it comes to accessorizing on their wedding day, I thought about all of the seasonal design elements winter weddings often have that make them so magical. Below, you’ll find a collection of my favorite ideas for everything from flowers to lighting to cake and more.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.32.13 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.44.29 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.56.52 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.05.41 PMOverall, I love the idea of using what’s in-season to decorate and bring the outside in but without all of the cold!

Twig & Twine, Studio CastilleroIf you keep it simple you can easily use pine cones, candles, red holly, or even a simple green garland to add a chic nod to the holidays at your winter wedding.

What’s your favorite thing about winter weddings? Let me know in the comment section below.
-Brian

Heart-y School Lunch Ideas for Your Littlest Valentines!

Valentines-Day-Lunch-Ideas-Kids

Hey Ya’ll,

Do you pack a lunch for your child? Valentine’s Day happens to fall on school day this year (Thursday, Feb. 14), so it’s the perfect opportunity to put a smile on your little sweetheart’s face and keep them feeling special all-day!

Candy box lunch via Katherine Marie Photography

Candy box lunch via Katherine Marie Photography

My favorite idea is pulled from KatherineMaries.com. You’ll need to buy a few of those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates in a couple different sizes. (BONUS: You’ll need to eat all of the chocolates inside ASAP! Or, I guess you could save them or set them out in a candy dish if you have self-control!)

0207a_vdaycountdowncalendarOnce you have your empty box, begin filling each slot with a fun, colorful snack! Some great ideas include: grapes, cheese, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, Jello, fruit snacks, strawberries, crackers, mini-turkey roll-ups, deli meats, cereal, popcorn, blueberries, broccoli, tangerine, raisins, raspberries, pretzels, etc. The smaller chocolate boxes are great for heart-shaped PB&J’s or any other sandwich or pita or even a cold pasta or a mini-salad. Once packed, stack the boxes and tie them together with ribbon! Your kids’ lunch will be the envy of every student in the lunchroom!

Image via Smuckers.ca

Image via Smuckers.ca

Image via yourhomebasedparties.com

Image via yourhomebasedparties.com

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Healthy Snacks:

Make any sandwich more special by cutting the crusts off using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Go one step further and add cupid’s arrow using a red or pink heart-tipped arrow shaped toothpick.

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You could also top the sandwich with a treat, by adding a red, heart-shaped gummy candy to the top of a toothpick!

Slice an apple into circular discs, then, using your smallest heart-shaped cookie-cutter, stamp out individual hearts.

Image via wilsonsandpugs.blogspot.com

Image via wilsonsandpugs.blogspot.com

Crackers and cheese can be spiced up with the help of a heart shaped cookie cutter as well! Add salami or pepperoni to really make the heart pop!

Sweet n’ Salty Snacks:

XOXO8Pack a bag of hugs and kisses using pretzels and chocolate. Create the X’s using two pretzel sticks held together with a dot of melted white-chocolate, and the O’s by covering circle shaped pretzels in dark chocolate. Add pink and red sprinkles for fun! Click HERE for the full tutorial from GEMS Girls’ Club. Tip: Make these the night before so the chocolate has time to cool and set before being thrown into a ziplock.

Make a batch of rice crispy treats, but add in a few drops of red food coloring the the marshmallow mixture. Feel free to add other pink, red and white hard-candies or sprinkles into the mix too! Then, before they are cool, form the traditional square into a 3-D heart! Place individually in cellophane with a red bow!

10-valentine-s-day-school-lunch-ideas-for-kids-raspberrybuttonsFor a sweet finishing touch, toss in a handful of white chocolate chips tucked into fresh raspberries.

Valentines_day_school_lunch_notes_ChickabugRegardless of what you pack, don’t forget to toss in a special note to remind your Valentine how much you care. Click HERE for free printable love notes from the Chickabug blog.

IMG_0962IMG_0974And for even MORE great kids’ lunch ideas for Valentine’s Day, check out: www.bento-logy.blogspot.com.

Did your mom or dad used to do anything special with your school lunch on different holidays? Let me know in the comments section below.
-Brian

25 Songs to Make Your Holiday Bright!

SONY DSCHey Ya’ll,

Do you have an all-time favorite song that you love to listen to this time of year? Here are 25 songs that get me in the holiday spirit even if I still have lots of Christmas shopping left to do and we’re only one week away from Christmas!

Help me build my holiday playlist by leaving any song titles I may have overlooked in the comment section below. Thanks and happy holidays!

My (AKA Mr. Sweet-Tooth!) Top 7 Favorite Holiday Dessert Recipes

Image via nothingmakesmehappier.com

Image via nothingmakesmehappier.com

Hey Ya’ll,

Whether you’re hosting a “Desserts Only” evening soiree or just looking to add something sweet to your spread, the holidays are the perfect time to indulge in decadent treats!

So, here are seven of my all-time favorite desserts to make during the holidays:

1) Iced Sugar Cookies

sugarcookies

2) Spritz Cookies 

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3) Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 2.14.00 PM

4) Homemade Holiday Cake Pops!
cakepops2

5) Red Velvet Cheesecake

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6) Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Image via marthastewart.com
Image via marthastewart.com

7) Christmas Almond Toffee 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 2.19.57 PM

What is your favorite holiday sweet and what is the recipe? Let me know in the comments section.
-Brian

More Posts About Sweet Holiday Treats:

Sweet Treats and BYOB Drinks Party: Host Tips

Sweet Treats and BYOB Drinks Party: Guest Tips

Holiday Party Round Up

My Top 10 Tips for Hosting an Easy Holiday Party