As someone who is on a mission to become a better home cook, a cookbook is the perfect present (hint!) for me. I also love giving cookbooks as gifts because you can really find a great fit for anyone on your list!
For me, I really like cookbooks with lots of photos (Ina Garten does a great job with this) and recipes that are easy to read and create at home. I also tend to pick books that I know will also look great on my countertop (how great is the hot pink Mexico cookbook?), because I like to display my favorites.
Let’s call this a potential parent/elf fail. What actually happened is time ran out and we had to figure out a way to get a lot of things done in one weekend (because who knew that the prime weekend to go see Santa was the one December weekend we were out of town for a wedding?). This was only a potential fail because what worked out turned out to be awesome and something I would do again, on purpose. The success part of it was that Clint and I decided to take a little Pinterest and self-induced pressure off of ourselves and create a fun little event for Jackson (who doesn’t care what time of day it happens) for the arrival of his elf.
What we ended up doing was cocoa and cookies with our elf, Griffin. We went to see Santa for brunch and when Jackson went down for a nap, we got to work. I made gingerbread cookies (great recipe here) and these sour cream frosted cookies (recipe here – beware, these were not as easy as they look but they tasted great) and we set up the table with some fake snow, our elf and the books that he brought for Jackson to kickoff his time with us.
It was a fun little thing for Jackson to wake up from his nap and do, plus what kid doesn’t love an excuse for a cookie in the afternoon? I think this would be just a fun afternoon activity around the holidays, even without the elf or any presents, maybe just set up in the living room and add a festive movie or show and you’ve got a fun, family afternoon!
I love when sale items go on extra sale over at Shopbop! Through December 17, you can take an extra 20% off sale items with the code EXTRASALE, which is also valid on the Shopbop men’s site, East Dane(and perfect if you’re still searching for gifts for the guys on your list). It’s also great timing because you always get free 3-day shipping at Shopbop, so you’re sure to get your buys in time for Christmas next week (it’s already here!).
Chanel Le Volume Mascara + Mascara Base // I’m really always looking for the next great mascara and every time I run out, I’m happy to try something new to get the most length and volume for my lashes. A few months ago I got the Chanel Le Volume mascara in a gift with purchase bag and absolutely loved it, so I knew that when I needed a new product that I would be purchasing this one. It really does an amazing job with volume, and the “snowflakes” brush is responsible for that. When I was at Neiman Marcus a couple of weeks ago, I also learned about the mascara base, which helps build that big lash look and also conditions and strengthens lashes. I’ve been meaning to start wearing this one at night as a lash mask, but I haven’t done that yet.
YSL Burgundy Mascara // I never thought of myself as a colored mascara kind of girl but one of my favorites, Dana at YSL at Neiman Marcus, showed the Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara to me a couple of weeks ago and also was kind enough to gift it to me to try. You can wear it on its own and it is very subtle and beautiful – only the right light will show a hint of the color. The other cool way I learned to wear was to put on your regular black mascara and just add the colored mascara on the tips of your lashes. This formula is also big on volume and I really love the subtle way to wear a little lash color!
Tom Ford Cream Shadow in Platinum // I talked about this product before when I went for a little Tom Ford makeup lesson and this was another one that I ended up going back to buy. I have really been liking wearing a cream shadow (this one is my other go-to), especially for daytime. It makes my morning beauty routine just a little quicker and this particular shadow is so smooth, doesn’t crease and lasts a good long time. For a more dressed up, I’ll add a bit more eyeliner (I also went back and bought this Tom Ford liner) and some powder shadow in the crease and shimmer on my brow bone.
Laight & Mercer Hair Brushes // I found Laight & Mercer on Instagram and was really excited to try their brushes: one for wet hair and one for dry hair. Your hair has a different texture and elasticity depending on if it is wet or dry and the Laight & Mercer brushes are designed to minimize brushing damage by using different bristles. The wet hair brush is flexible with Intelliflex bristles that easily glide through wet hair without pulling – it’s really great for post-shower detangling and I also used it after applying my products to help distribute them evenly and my hair felt really smooth. The dry hair brush is boar bristles and is a little “rougher.” What it also does is pull your hair’s natural oils evenly through the hair, which keeps your hair shiny, smooth and healthy – which I definitely felt like it did. I like how smooth my hair has been since using these brushes. I still do my blowouts with a round brush to go along with these, but they are a really awesome addition to my hair routine!
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve // This cold weather is already doing a number on my skin, especially on my hands. Clint and I had both been complaining about how bad our hands were drying out, so I wanted to pick up something that we could both use and keep in our bathroom to share. This Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is perfect because it is unscented and it really, really works for moisturizing and healing. I try to put it on at night before I go to bed and in the middle of the day at some point, especially if I’ve been out running around outside without gloves.
Like I said before, when it comes to coats this year, I’m going to for anything but basic black. This little leopard coat is actually the first thing I’ve ever purchased from LOFT, on a great sale, and I really like it a lot. It’s a great coat to dress up a simple outfit, like this one and I get a ton of complements on it every time I wear it (making it a must buy).
A little unplanned thing I ended up loving about this outfit were the touches of gold. My earrings are the most fun Givenchy vintage clip-ons from Cheeky Vintage and I wish I had more jewelry like them because they make a subtle statement and are so unique. Whether you live in Houston or not, Cheeky Vintage is a great resource for all things fashionable vintage and the ladies there are fabulous in helping you find something wonderful.