Friendsgiving Playlist #StreamTeam

Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving Fall Playlist and TV shows that celebrate friendship! #adHave you ever held a Friendsgiving? Friendsgiving pretty much is what got this blog started in the first place. My sister-in-law and I used to plan a Friendsgiving for all of our friends. We got crazy. We decorated, we cooked, we had a blast. And we knew that we could come up with really great entertaining ideas for other people. So months and months and many more parties later, this blog got started. While she couldn’t continue with it, I will always cherish those Friendsgiving memories. There has been talk of starting it up again but now with kids in the picture, and busier schedules, finding a day we can all agree on is next to impossible. I propose a mid summer Friendsgiving next year. Who’s with me?

In case you are having a Friendsgiving (or even just for Thanksgiving) I’ve made you a playlist. It’s about 2 hours long so you may need to supplement with other music but this is a great playlist for playing in the background. It’s got a little bit of everything, some soulful stuff, some up tempo, some new, some old. I plan on playing this when I’m prepping my Thanksgiving dishes in the kitchen. Nothing like a little good music (and a little wine) to make kitchen duty more fun.

I miss doing this blog and planning parties with my sister-in-law and friend, Alyson. Luckily I get to see her at Thanksgiving. It’s always so good to catch up with her at family holiday events. She’s been a great friend to me over the years and I’m glad that our kids are friends as well. You can be family, but that doesn’t mean you end up as friends. This is the perfect time of year to really look at friendship and what it means to be a good friend. Netflix has some great options for friend-focused shows. BTW, Friends hits Netflix (currently only available on the DVD service) January 1!!! That Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving episode is the best ever.

For the kids:

Phineas and Ferb (Brothers and Friends. Warms a mother’s heart. And this show makes my husband and I laugh.)

Wild Kratts

Super Mario Bros. Super Show

For adults:

New Girl

Wayne’s World

Gilmore Girls

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Thank you for supporting the companies that allow me to keep doing what I love. Like watching TV and hanging out with my family. And writing this blog. I’m a proud member of the Netflix #StreamTeam! As always, though, all opinions are my own.

ipad-and-netflix-gift-ideaAnd in my opinion, I think an iPad mini and Netflix subscription would make a great gift idea for someone you love!  (pst. I made that little card, it’s not from Netflix).

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10 Ways to Put Your Style in Your Holiday Decor

Use a color palette that you love, don't be dictated by what decor the stores have to offer. #ad*Today’s post is sponsored by Thymes, but my love for their Frasier Fir collection is all my own! My pine addiction is pretty much lifelong…

Holiday decorating is always hard for me. I don’t love holiday decor. Can I confess that the holiday fragrances are more magical to me than the decor? And I also don’t love that unless you go on a real hunt for cool, less traditional decor, you are stuck with whatever look the stores are selling that year. Thank goodness some of the larger stores are really stepping up in the design area and there are usually some good finds. Over the last few years I have been taking the time to go through the decorations in the garage and getting rid of the things that were bought on a whim, but I don’t love. (A few things I am holding on to simply because the smell reminds me of some awesome childhood memories). I’m trying to grow our collection to include things we are really drawn to and fit our personal style. Today I’m sharing 10 ways to put your personal style in your holiday decor.

1. Pick a color palette that YOU like. While most stores bombard you with decorations that are green, white and red, you can go in a different direction. Whites and silver, with a little sparkle, like in the image above) make for a super wintery look. Similarly, if you love hot pink, add it! Either diy something store-bought or let your friends and family know what you are looking for so they can help you scout out those harder to find decorations.

Make sure you add in your own style to your holiday decorating. #ad2. Don’t pack away the great pieces that you love the rest of the year. Figure out how to incorporate the pieces you love and still have your house feel holiday ready. Create little vignettes for visual interest. And see if there are ways to play up the holidays. Done right, a sleigh bell swag draped on this horses’ neck would be awesome and seasonal appropriate.

Mix in unusual plants to give your house a festive feel. #ad3. Try new plants and flowers in your home that have a holiday feel. Whether they are real or faux, go for something different. Look for berry-like stalks or even forgo flowers and use just greenery. Trader Joe’s is the best for finding unusual, seasonal plants and flowers. Even using just a small amount, mixed in with your usual decor will change the look of the room and have it feel more festive. And that simple Thymes Frasier Fir Pine Needle candle adds the perfect winter look to pair with unexpected foliage.

Add small touches to the things you have around your house all year to bring them in to the holiday spirit. #ad4. Look for great vessels, that match your holiday decor aesthetic, and use them to house your favorite succulents. Tuck in a few berries or even rosemary sprigs to take them from summery desert to wintery and lush. The modern looking white woodgrain soap dish from the Frasier Fir collection would be perfect for a succulent arrangement!

Use your log holder or magazine tote for holiday greens for a festive touch. #ad5. Add some flair in unusual places. Pine branches and glittery, decorative picks add warmth and whimsy to a room and is unexpected when placed in a magazine holder. Skip the usual mantle garland and instead add your greenery around the room at different visual levels. While most things are set on tables or shelves, don’t forget to survey your floor space to see if you can style something on the ground as long as it won’t impede your usual traffic.

Your Christmas tree isn't the only place for ornaments, especially ones that are fragrant. #ad6.  For a lot of us, our trees go up much closer to December 25th (here in CA they dry out and die if you get them too early) which means that we don’t get a lot of time to enjoy our favorite ornaments. There is no rule against using ornaments on house plants. And you get to have your favorites up earlier so you can enjoy them longer.  This Botancial Ornament does double duty as both decoration and room fragrance.

Think outside of the box with your decor.  #ad7.  There are standard phrases used to share holiday cheer, like Noel, Merry Christmas, etc. But I took a cue from my kids, and their excitement for the season, to use a new word for our wall decorations.  I mean, with all the presents and the treats and fun events that happen over the holidays, could there really be a better word? Also these mini mylar balloons are a super fun, celebratory way to decorate. They make your room feel like a party.

Tuck holiday candles throughout your normal decor. #ad8.  Tuck holiday themed candles around your living space to play up the season. Candles, like this one from Thymes, are really nice looking and don’t steal the attention from the style of your room but rather blend in with it. They special holiday scents with a variety of decorative candles so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that fits in with your style. Some of the gingerbread items come in this gorgeous amber-colored glass!

Choose a signature scent for your house during the holidays. #ad9.  Choose a signature holiday scent. For me, I’m a pine girl all the way. My soaps, candles, etc. are all in this scent. This year I’m using Thymes Frasier Fir collection. The scent is a mix of fir needles, cedarwood and sandalwood.  All of the products layer nicely together to bring a subtle scent to the house all season long. They even created home care products in this scent so even my cleaning can feel more seasonal. I love this reed diffuser set for the smell but also because the reeds mimic the pine needles to me. And like I mentioned in number 6 above, we don’t get our trees for a while. I have to get my pine fix in! And the smell just makes me happy. Yes, I could use it year round, but for me, pine IS the holidays. But if it isn’t for you, they also have gingerbread with spicy notes of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, yum.

Smells always evoke memories for me, but especially around the holidays. I can easily think of the various smells found in my mom’s boxes of holiday decorations. There’s the Avon candle from when she sold their cosmetics. There is the smell of the ornaments and the tissue they are wrapped in. There is peppermint from the candy canes that get put away with all the other decorations, inadvertently, every year. And there’s pine. Always pine. The scent that I look forward to all year. It signals the holiday season and the joy that I get to share with my own family now.

Don't forget to add a holiday touch to your kitchen. That is where you spend a LOT of time at this time of year! #ad10. Don’t forget the kitchen! I don’t know about you, but the kitchen rarely gets decorated for any holiday. BUT that is where you spend a lot of time during the holiday season with all your baking and holiday hosting. So from this year on, I will be switching to my favorite scent in the kitchen too. And this white, faux wood holder, that this sink set comes in, is sleek and chic but feels wintery. While I can’t say that this will make me look forward to doing the dishes, I  do know when I smell the Frasier Fir, I will have a moment of joy.

Thymes holiday studio sample kit with purchase of $25. #ad Head over to the Thymes site to check out all their amazing scents and shop for yourself or others on your gift list. Once there, you can redeem your exclusive offer for a free Fragrance Studio Sample Kit with any purchase of $25 of more! Thymes creates fragrances that are a mix of familiar and intriguing rooted in botanical perfumery. Drawn from nature, their unique formulations are artfully crafted to create products that are skin-compatible, environmentally friendly, effective and a pleasure to use.

Thank you for supporting the brands, like Thymes, that let me keep blogging. Especially the ones that make the most glorious pine-y fragranced products that make me swoon.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. I’m addicted to coffee. I can’t quit it. I tried once. And I realized I really liked the flavor. And I was pretty much at the mercy of the headaches. And as someone who has had a history with severe headaches since I was 4 years old, ain’t nothing like a caffeine headache. My love of coffee is actually getting worse. It used to just be my one cup in the morning. And now I’m up to two. And it doesn’t stop there. It moves in to iced coffee in the afternoons. Before I got my Keurig, I had a delicious coffee recipe that I used to make. And for some reason I used to always make it at the holidays. So for me, this is a holiday tradition that I wanted to share with you. My iced coffee recipe is based on this recipe by Anne Thornton (although they don’t have that recipe on the site for some reason…)

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. I mentioned Whole Foods iced coffee bar but they also sell their cold brew by the bottle. So I picked one up, because I knew it would be bold and flavorful. I ain’t got time for weak, wussy coffee. Then all you need is an orange for the zest and some warm, holiday-like spices.

My microplane is my fave. Especially at the holidays. It's perfect for orange and fresh nutmeg.There is something about the smell of fresh orange zest and nutmeg that makes me want to wrap some presents.

Warm holiday spices add a little something extra to the iced coffee. And then when you add in these other spices, well, it’s all over. I might as well stop what I’m doing and deck some halls.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. With the pre-made coffee, this is super easy to make. You just add the coffee, spices and orange zest in a cocktail shaker and shake it off, shake it off . Heart breakers gonna break break break break break…Sorry, Taylor Swift gets me.  As you may know, sometimes when you add spices to beverages they don’t mix in well. So I used a cocktail shaker to really incorporate them. And it chills it nicely. And it reminds me of cocktails. And it looks cool.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. Then you grate a little more fresh nutmeg right on the top. It looks pretty and the fragrance is like,whoa.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. So simple, so delicious and so flavorful. I added a touch of agave for sweetness but this is by no means a sweet drink. Feel free to add more for your liking.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. You know how orange goes really well with chocolate? Well it goes equally well with coffee.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. The flavors are bold. Like my shirt.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe. This is the perfect afternoon pick me up for this holiday season. Oh and I forgot to mention I added a little half and half to cut the bitterness and make it a little creamy. Have I mentioned how weird I am about my coffee? I don’t like to put sugar in it to save calories and I only use a little half and half to not make it too fattening, but I will eat 6 donuts while drinking my coffee. Crazy town.

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of strong, cooled coffee
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (I prefer fresh grated)
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest
  • 3 TBSP half and half
  • 1 TBSP agave syrup

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Mix well until shaker is frosty on the outside.
  4. Pour over ice in glass.
  5. Top with a little extra fresh grated nutmeg.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/orange-spiced-iced-coffee-recipe/

Patterned Sweatpants

Patterned sweatpants are my jam.For years I’ve had a VERY strict no sweatpants out of the house rule for the whole family.  My kids, like me, love comfort so they would wear sweatpants e’ry day, all day if they could. So a compromise had to be reached. As long as the sweatpants had a cool pattern, they could be worn as part of an outfit, outside of the house (although, school is still off the table until it is really good and cold). For me, however, they still weren’t really an option.  Until I found these awesome green patterned sweats from Target. Life changing. Unlike plain sweats, these blend in a little bit more. And while still being SUPER comfy, they aren’t sloppy.

Aviator Nation kids sweatpants.These Aviator Nation Sweatpants were the gateway sweatpants. I’m pretty sure this photo was taken the first time he was allowed to let him wear them outside. P.S. They make these in adult sizes too!

Shawn White Black and Grey patterned sweatpants for kids.Then Shaun White came out with this pair which were amazing.  (P.S. the shirts in the two above photos are from Mini and Maximus. LOVE).

Patterned sweatpants from Cotton On Kids.And just today we found this great pair from Cotton On Kids. They ended up being a little bit big but it’s nothing a little roll up can’t fix.  They also have a pair with lightning bolts (my fave) but they were a light blue color and I couldn’t pull the trigger. I think darker colors appeal to me more in a sweatpant.

Super sweet patterned sweatpants. That are okay to wear outside the house.

So you know I had to investigate. There are several cute pairs out there. I may have a new uniform for winter.

leopard print : plaid : floral : tribal : blue leopard (really, you can never have enough leopard, am I right?)

On a side note, I’m even considering a pair of those gray marbled sweatpants. You know, where the contrast in the material makes it look almost like a print. They look more classy and if they have a cool detail, like a zippered pocket, even better. But drop crotch? Just say no.

Patterned sweatpants for kids.And there are some really great pairs for your kids. How darling is that cat pair? And Target (Shawn White again!) has two different pairs out right now that are equally as awesome. One is this cool camo print above (you know how some camo can be lame? This isn’t.) and one is a cool pair with awesome detailing near the knees.

What are your feelings on sweatpants in public? I’m all in. Which means faux leather track pants are just around the corner.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

Cheetos and Rosemary Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. Yes. This is pretty weird. It’s a Cheetos and Rosemary Crusted Goat Cheese Appetizer. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time. So instead of just thinking about doing it. I did it. You’re welcome. Like with fashion, I love the mix of high and low. This is a similar concept. Goat cheese is sometimes put on foofy salads or a high-end pizza. And Cheetos, well, those are what you shovel in to your face by the handful while you may or may not be sitting on the couch watching TV in your underwear. And really, you just can’t go wrong putting anything on a crostini so this appetizer really can’t fail.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. I will say that I was surprised at how subtle the Cheeto flavor was when you grind them up. You would think that with a snack food that leaves your fingers orange for days, it would have a stronger flavor. And while I wanted the final photo to look cleaner and more pretty, I decided to keep it the way I eat it. I hate the ratio of crust to a goat cheese in most log appetizers. I always want more crust. So instead of doing this for the photos, like I guess a good blogger should, I kept it real. Because you know I did eat this for lunch that day.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. All you need is a party size bag of Cheetos. Sure, you only use a cup for this recipe but you know you want to dive face first in to that bag when no one is looking. Pick up some fresh rosemary (you need a strong flavor to balance the chemcheese) and a log of the goat cheese (Trader Joe’s has these small ones for a great price but Costco has a two pack of the larger logs that would be perfect for your holiday entertaining). I feel like I need to stop saying log.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. It just takes a cup. You could probably even use less because it made a lot. Like, so much extra that you could eat it with a spoon if you wanted to. Not that I did. Or maybe I did. MYSTERY! (said with dramatic hand flourishes). This cheese dust would probably be enough for two of the small logs. Is anyone else as excited about this appetizer as I am? Gosh, I love Cheetos. By the way, this is not sponsored. I bought my own bag of Cheetos. This appetizer is straight from my heart and muffin top to yours.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. Then you grind the Cheetos up in the food processor.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. Chop up your rosemary and add in your salt and pepper. Mix well. I think I am going to start wearing fresh rosemary as a perfume. It’s so fall-like.

Crostini is the perfect, easy holiday cheese vessel.Toast up your baguette from the bakery section of your store.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. Roll your pretty white goat cheese log in the Cheetos dust mixture. Plate it and go to town.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays. Feel free to fiddle with the spices until you come up with what is perfect for you. I think this tasted yummy with extra salt, it brought out the cheese flavor of the Cheetos a little bit. The amount of sodium in this recipe is probably off the charts…just saying. This may even benefit from some garlic powder. I’m going to give that a try next time. And there will be a next time. This will surely get your guests talking.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays.I like to do things out of the ordinary to delight my guests. And again, its cheese on some toast. It’s always going to be good. This is also super simple to make and can be made ahead of time for your party. So you’ll have extra time to take the rest of the bag of Cheetos to the couch and chow down.

Cheeto and Rosemary crusted goat cheese appetizer. Perfect for the holidays.I hope you try this out! Let me know if you do! If you decide to share it on instagram, tag me @cupcakescutlery! I’d love to see it!  And if you haven’t tried this gorgeous rose goat cheese appetizer yet, you need to. It’s what made me like goat cheese. And eating roses. And sumac (it’s a spice).

Cheeto and Rosemary Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup crushed Cheetos
  • 2 TBSP fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) salt
  • 1 large log Goat Cheese or 2 small logs
  • 1 French baguette
  • A few TBSP olive oil for brushing on baguette slices

Instructions

  1. Add 1 cup Cheetos to a food processor.
  2. Pulse until finely ground
  3. Add chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Roll goat cheese log in Cheeto mixture until fully covered.
  6. I like a lot of Cheetos dust so I placed a bed on the plate and then set the crusted goat cheese log on top.
  7. Serve with oven-toasted crostini
  8. To make crostini:
  9. Slice baguttte and lay out on a sheet pan.
  10. Drizzle or brush with olive oil.
  11. Bake at 325 for about 12 minutes watching to make sure they turn golden brown and do not burn.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/goat-cheese-appetizer-recipe/