Cocktail Manicure

New Years Eve is the perfect time to adorn your nails in a Cocktail Manicure. The look features two shades the statement (glitter) is polished on your thumb, index and middle finger of the hand you would hold a cocktail with.  The rest of your nails are polished in a complimenting color. I used Zoya ‘Storm’ as my statement and Essie “Chastity’ for the rest of my nails. The look is chic and a great way to not only dress up your outfit, but your cocktail too.
 {top: Essie 'Chastity'; bottom: Zoya 'Storm'}

Five Things

 {writing out Christmas thank you cards}
Here are a few things that have kept me inspired this week.
 {homemade cocoa and candy cane}
 {Herend cupcake from my dad}
 {the shower in my new house}
{heart shower curtain perfect for Valentine's Day}

NYE: Pretty in Pink Cocktail

The new town I live in has a New Years Eve ball drop so I will be having a couple friends over before hand for hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Since my party color theme is pink and gold the signature cocktail is a “Pretty in Pink”. To make fill a glass with pink cotton candy and slowly pour champagne over it. The beverage is beautiful and you can even make it kid friendly by using 7-Up in place of the champagne. Remember to drink responsibly. xx

Christmas 2012 Review

I am grateful that I was able to spend this Christmas with my family. Saturday my grandparents hosted a wonderful Christmas dinner. Followed by my mum's birthday on Christmas Eve where we celebrated in style with cocoa, cake and candies. Christmas began our yearly tradition of mimosas, coffee cake and my mums overnight egg dish, then came opening stockings (where Jack became exhausted and fell asleep), presents, Honey Baked Ham lunch and movie night snuggled in my parents bedroom. I hope you had a wonderful day surrounded by family, friends and those who mean the most to you. xx

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a warm and wonderful Christmas. xoxo, Erica (and Jack too!)

Church Windows

My first Christmas away at college I went to a cookie exchange party, and received recipes for a wide range of cookies and treats sure to make the holiday sweet. One that I continue to make every year is Church Windows. Not only are they gorgeous, they are simple to make and always a huge hit at holiday gatherings. 
Church Windows
Ingredients
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 bag (10-12 ounces) mini colored marshmallows
1 bag(14 ounces) shredded, sweetened coconut

Directions
1. Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan that has been placed in a pan of water over love heat (or use a double boiler). Stir until smooth and cool for about 1-2 minutes. Add the nuts and marshmallows and mix to coat.
2. Using wax paper, shape the mixture into three round logs. Roll each log in coconut and shape wrapping firmly in wax paper. Freeze over night. While frozen, slice each log into desired sizes and enjoy.

Snapshots

 {ice heart}
My week consisted of plenty of baking, wrapping and unpacking the house. This after noon I will be loading up the car and heading downstate to celebrate Christmas with my family. Here are some things that kept me inspired this week. What are some of your Christmas traditions.
 {sugar plum potpourri}
 {handmade mitten utensil holder}
 {the secret to the best sugar cookies: vanilla bean infused sugar}
{making ice candles for the front porch}

Jack's Signature Treats

Cookies are a huge part of the holiday season. So why not share some sweet treats with your fur baby? These puppy treats are packed with most dog’s favorite thing… peanut butter. Since my puppy only weighs two pounds I used mini cookie cutters for his cookies, but feel free to use large shapes based on your dogs size. My veterinarian approved this recipe.

Peanut Butter Canine Cookies
Ingredients
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
6 tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cornmeal

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2. In a medium bowl combine the water, canola oil, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla; set aside.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal and oats. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir well to combine.
4. On a well-floured surface roll the dough out to about 1/3 of an inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter cut out the treats and transfer to a baking sheet.
5. Bake 10 to 20 minutes or until desired crispness. For harder treats leave in the oven once you turn it off. Store in an airtight container.

Little Black Bow

From headbands and hair ties to ribbon and ruffles I have an entire arsenal of accessories dedicated to my hair. I have even been known to plan an outfit out based on what I will be wearing in my hair. While the perfect little black dress tends to be a holiday go-to for me, because the accessorizing possibilities are endless my heart is after a different black this holiday season; the black bow. Lauren Conrad, Clemence Poesy and Kelly Osbourne just to name a few have been spotted using a black ribbon to create a bow for their updo, ponytail or headband.  The result is a chic look perfect for Christmas or New Years Eve. What do you think of this look? I know I will be wearing it to my grandparents Christmas party this Saturday.

Fudge Wreath

While living in Pittsburgh one of my neighbors taught me her never fail chocolate fudge recipe. From that moment I knew I would want to incorporate it somehow into my holiday baking list and what better way then by transforming it into a wreath. A fudge wreath brings the perfect amount of cheer to a holiday party and doubles as a sweet hostess or teacher gift.  
 
Fabulous Fudge Wreath
Ingredients

1 teaspoon vanilla
7 ounces Marshmallow Crème
1 package mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2-1 cup walnuts chopped
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
7 ounces evaporated milk
Directions
1. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan with melted butter, as well as the empty can of the evaporated milk. Place the evaporated milk can in the center of the cake pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl place vanilla, marshmallow crème chocolate chip and walnuts; set aside.
3. Mix sugar, 1-tablespoon butter and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Stirring constantly bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Continue boiling and stirring until mixture reaches 233 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer or softball stage (about 5 minutes). Add remaining butter to the boiling mixture and heat until melted. Bring back to a boil stirring continuously.
4. Immediately pour the hot mixture into the bowl of chocolate chips, walnuts, marshmallow crème and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Pour the fudge into your prepared cake pan and move the evaporated milk can as needed to keep it in the center. This will be the time to add your holly shaped gumdrops. Work quickly as the fudge will set up fast.
5. Allow to cool and set for a few hours (overnight is ideal). Once set tip over onto your hand and then placed onto your desired dish.

DIY: Salt Dough Ornaments


Salt dough ornaments are simple and cheap. They are also a fun project for you to do with you kids or your pet. They are great for your own tree, as gifts, gift tags, personalized ornaments and more. My parent’s tree has a few salt dough ornaments with my brother’s hand prints and mine from when we were younger as well as shapes that we painted. I try to always add an ornament to family members gifts at Christmas, and this year some will have salt dough ornaments featuring Jack’s paw print. Note: After you do prints with your pet or child make sure to thoroughly wash them to remove any salt debris

Salt Dough Ornaments
Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup warm water

Directions
1. Mix together the flour and salt.
2. Then mix in the warm water.
3. Mix until the dough becomes the consistency of pie crust.  
4. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to 1/4-1/2- inch thickness.
5. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes.
6. Place shapes on a cookie sheet and press your child’s hand/ foot or animal’s paw into the ornament if desired.
7. Use a straw (or pencil) to put a small hole in each shape where you will insert the ribbon. Make sure the hole goes all the way through the dough.
8. Bake the ornaments for 4 to 6 hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit or until hardened.
9. Once cooled add ribbon and write on or paint if desired.
Note: This recipe made me about 20 bones.