Wordsmith Wednesday: Brevity

December 7, 2016

Here's where I share my favorite words with you. Because savvy girls have impressive vocabularies.

Holiday Magic With Portable North Pole

December 6, 2016

The holiday season is my favorite time of year and I work hard to make it as memorable and special and magical as I can for my family. This includes, but is never limited to, creating holiday playlists, making special hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream and crushed candy cane bits, loads of baking, and Christmas movie marathons. 

One of my favorite traditions, which I started a few years ago when my big girl was a tot, is sending my daughters videos from Santa with the help of Portable North Pole. It started with a simple greeting from Santa Claus, but now my little ones love to see pictures of themselves in his big book, hear him talking directly to them, and learn whether they've made it to the good list, or if they'll be on the naughty list. It's simple to use--I upload a photo of each girl, input a little information about them, and an email with their video shows up in my inbox--and my little girls absolutely light up when I tell them their messages have arrived. Each year they're amazed that Santa knows them so intimately (like how my big girl loves to read and how I have to bribe my little one to eat her veggies). It adds so much to an already magical time and creates memories that they will carry with them forever. 

This year, Portable North Pole is better than ever with the addition of the Magic Pass! The 2016 Magic Pass includes unlimited Premium Santa Videos, a Reaction Recorder, phone calls from the man himself, HD Video downloads, a special Christmas Eve video, plus access to previous seasons' videos all for one price. And as my gift to you ('tis the season of giving, after all), I've partnered with Portable North Pole to offer you 20% off your purchase of a Magic Pass! First, visit www.portablenorthpole.com and get registered, then click here to redeem your 20% discount--the discount is automatically deducted and you'll see the price difference right away. 
Alternatively, you can enter promo code PNP6INTBLGPFXG20 after you register, and you'll receive your special rate.

Happy holidays!

Friday Favorites

December 2, 2016

So I've committed myself to doing Elf on the Shelf this year. After a 4-year hiatus (our elf was packed away), Ellie the Elf is back and this mama has the challenge of coming up with clever ideas for our mischievous little elf for the next 23 days--thank God for Pinterest! I started yesterday, and seeing how excited my little girls were to see her made the effort more than worth it. I've adjusted the rules of the game a little (my angel babies are allowed to hug and kiss our elf), but otherwise I'll be finding new hiding spots for Ellie until Christmas Eve...I'm just praying I don't forget! Do you do the whole Elf on the Shelf thing, or do you have another way to count down the days until Christmas? I'd love to hear some ideas!

Enjoy your weekend, and God bless!

I've had two good friends lose a parent in recent weeks--this is a wonderful, and painfully true, reminder

Mushroom penne with walnut pesto is total comfort food for this cold weather.

Somewhere in Italy...(well, Ischia to be exact).

Bunny ears, Kate Spade style. 

Wonderful, wonderful,  WONDERFUL for the next 23 days!

Everything You Need to Know for an Amazing Holiday Season

December 1, 2016

Season's greetings and holiday blessings! Everyone who knows me (and even strangers in line at the Coffee Bean) can attest to how much I adore the holidays. And there isn't one particular aspect that I love most; it's the combination of it all--the Christmas tunes, the cold weather, the colorful decorations and twinkling lights, the festive mood in the air--it all makes for the most wonderful, and my favorite, time of year. Whether you love the holidays as much as I do, or you're hosting a Christmas party and have no idea where to start, here's everything you need to know--from a festive playlist to gift wrapping ideas, and more--to make this holiday season the most amazing one yet. 

On Pinterest: 101 Ideas for a Holiday Party

From drink recipes to tablescape ideas, and even festive and sparkling manis, this page offers 101 inspiring ideas to make your holiday party even more epic.

On Pinterest: Holiday Season

Nothing but lovely pictures of all things Christmas and holiday season related. Peruse images of lighted trees, cups of cocoa, and wintry scenes.

On Spotify: Fun Holiday Playlist

There's no denying the appeal of classics like O Holy Night and White Christmas, but this playlist leaves out all the slower holiday tunes in favor of the more upbeat, toe-tapping sounds of the season. Think Jackson Five, Brenda Lee, and Mariah Carey.

On the Blog: Party Hosting Tips

A complete timeline that tells you everything you need to know, from when to get dressed (because yes, it matters) to where to place the food tables. 

On the Blog: Pretty Gift Wrapping Ideas

Clever ideas for remixing old magazine pages, newspaper, and even foil into festive gift wrapping for the holidays (and beyond!).

On the Blog: DIY Holiday Cookie Body Scrub

Whether you're trying to combat dry winter skin yourself, or looking for the perfect gift for your friends, this homemade body scrub has got you covered. 

On the Blog: Fun Holiday DIYs for Kids

The kiddos are out of school for a couple of weeks so keep them entertained with Christmas movies (A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Home Alone, and Santa Paws are always great, kid-friendly picks), trimming the tree, and a few crafty DIY projects  

On the Blog: 3 Ways to Transform Store-Bought Cookies
Everyone seems to go crazy for cookies this time of year (perhaps it's the influence of a particularly jolly, sack-toting fat man?), but with so much to do there may not be time to bake. But this is no problem for a savvy girl like you--just take store-bought cookies and elevate them to gourmet heights with the addition of ingredients like melted dark chocolate, dulce de leche, and pistachios.

image via Pinterest
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