Christmas Gingerbread Cake with Sugared Cranberries


Happy Monday, friends! Switching things up this week and bringing you a delicious {and ridiculously easy!} dessert recipe that’s just in time for Christmas! I will be back tomorrow with an all new outfit post, so be sure to check back, but until then, let’s talk about this cake!


Can you even believe this cake started as two cake mixes?! I have been wanting to make a gingerbread cake since last Christmas, but just never had enough time to get around to it. I was determined to find a way this year — and with the craziness of the holiday season, the only way it was going to happen was with a mix. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of cake mixes, but I have to say this one turned out fabulously! And with simple decorations, this cake is almost too pretty to eat. Almost πŸ™‚

I began by garnishing the entire cake with powdered sugar to give it the fresh snow effect. After trying my hand at sugared cranberries {something else I was dying to try!} I filled the center with the glistening fruit and garnished the sides with rosemary sprigs. Super simple and this is one recipe that’s sure to impress your guests! Check out the recipe for assembling the cake and how to make the sugared cranberries below. The sugared cranberries make for a gorgeous topping on any of your holiday baked goods!
Gingerbread Cake with Sugared Cranberries

{what you will need}
2 gingerbread cake mixes {plus ingredients on box} I used THIS mix
Powdered sugar
1 small bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
Rosemary sprigs, for decoration

Follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box. I used THIS pan, but you could also use a round or square pan too. Allow to cool before transferring to serving dish for decorating. Place wax paper around the bottom of the cake so that the powdered sugar doesn’t get on the dish. Using a sifter, sprinkle the powdered sugar over the cake evenly. Garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs. 

For the sugared cranberries: Rinse cranberries. In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cranberries until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a wire rack; allow to dry 1 hour. Roll the cranberries in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until well coated. Dry 1 hour before decorating cake. 


Thanks for dropping by and see you back here tomorrow for a special Christmas Eve outfit post!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate season is here! The temperatures really dropped this past weekend and each year at this time, I instantly start craving warm and comforting foods. I’m not a huge traditional hot chocolate fan, but I thought I would add a spin to the classic recipe to make it a little more appealing, at least to me. This simple recipe really elevates your average hot chocolate. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s in a cute mug πŸ™‚

To be honest, I have never really cared for hot chocolate. Even as a kid growing up, it was never something I really loved. But, I have always wanted to like it, especially on a cold day when I don’t really need anymore coffee! I thought, there has to be a way to put a twist on hot chocolate that would make it tolerable for me and give all the hot chocolate lovers and fun spin to try this holiday season. 

I was bouncing ideas for this new version of hot chocolate with my mom when I remember seeing promotional material for the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. I thought this would be an easy recipe to recreate that is not only a little healthier, but much more friendly on the wallet!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

{what you will need}
2 packets Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cups milk
Whipped cream or Cool Whip
Caramel sauce
Crystal salt, for topping if desired

Follow the directions on the back of the package for regular hot chocolate. I used 2 packets for my mug. Top hot chocolate with whipped cream or Cool Whip, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of crystal salt, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by and see you back here tomorrow!

Gifts for Him: Under $50


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Since tomorrow is the first day of December {how is that even possible?!} I only have a few more gift guides left to share with you! Today I am focusing on, arguably, the most difficult people on my list: my dad and husband. Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas for the guys on your list…and they are all under $50!

  • When it comes to clothing, sweaters, socks and pajama pants are always good ideas. THIS v-neck sweater comes in several colors and can be worn alone or with a button down shirt.
  • For the mixologist in your life, THIS anchor bottle opener would make a great gift along with THESE old fashioned glasses and ice mold. 
  • At least one holiday out of the year, I typically buy my husband cufflinks. He wears them most days to work so it’s a great way for him to accessorize a suit. THESE cufflinks would be the perfect gift for a husband or boyfriend — how cute is the hidden message on the back of the cufflink? If you are looking for more whimsical, engraved and an overall great selection of cufflinks, I usually find a lot HERE
If you missed my gift guide for her: under $50, you can see that HERE. To see more gift guides, be sure to subscribe to THIS list. I have been sending out extra posts on Fridays that are exclusive to e-mail subscribers — you won’t want to miss out! 

Thanks for dropping by and happy shopping!



Cyber Monday Sales

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Did you take advantage of any of the Black Friday sales? If you didn’t, no fear because today is Cyber Monday and there are some fabulous sales still out there!

I’m rounding up a few of my favorite picks from the sales below — you can click directly on the product to take you to it’s page. I’ve also included a few of the best sales of the day below too!

Anthropologie: 20% off full-priced items & free shipping over $150 with code STACKS

ASOS: 30% off site wide with code THANKFUL30

Banana Republic: 50% off site wide

BaubleBar: 25% off 1 item with code SAVE25; 35% off 2 items or more with code SAVE35

GiGi New York: Receive up to 35% off

J.Crew: 40% off and free shipping with code MONDAY

J.Crew Factory: 60% off with code HAPPYSALE

Minted: 20% off $150+ on holiday, wedding, and all gifts with code BF2017

ModCloth: 30% off site wide with code CYBER16

Nordstrom: Take an extra 20% off selected sale items

Shopbop: Save up to 25% with code GOBIG16

Tory Burch: 30% off any purchase of $250+ with code THANKS


Thanks for stopping by and happy shopping!

The Best Black Friday Sales

Happy Black Friday, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I am here for a special Friday post to share with you the best Black Friday sales out there. I’ve rounded up three of my favorite stores {and sales!} below along with the codes to shop at several other retailers. Happy shopping!

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Nordstrom β€“ Take an extra 20% off selected sale items through 11/28. Designer styles up to 40% off.


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BaubleBar – 30% off purchases with code THANKS30 through 11/27


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J.Crew: 40% off with code HOLIDAY now through 11/27


Here are some more Black Friday Sales:

Ann Taylor
50% off sitewide with code CELEBRATE
ASOS20% off sitewide with code GOGOGO30% off sitewide through
11/29 with code THANKFUL30 
Banana Republic50% off 5 regular-priced items sitewide through 11/26
GiGi New York – Receive a gift card up to 35% of your purchase PLUS a personalized
leather case
Minted – 15% off no
minimum, 20% off $150+ on holiday through 11/27 with code BF2016. 20% off $150+
on holiday, wedding, and all gifts through 11/28 with code BF2017
20% off no minimum,  30%
off $100+,  40% off $200+ with code FRIDAY20, FRIDAY30 and FRIDAY40
through 11/27.
Shopbop – Spend $200+, get 15% off; Spend $500+,
get 20% off; Spend $800+, get 25% off with code GOBIG16 through 11/28.
Sole Society – 30% off all footwear, select
bags & accessories through 11/27.
Tory Burch – 30% off any
purchase of $250+ with code THANKS through 11/28


Thanks for dropping by! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and see you back here on Monday!

Thanksgiving Spiced Wine Cocktail

With Thanksgiving only two days away, I normally like to share a Thanksgiving appetizer, side or dessert in this Tuesday before the holiday post, but I figured most people probably already have a pretty good idea of what they are making. One component that often gets overlooked on the holidays are the cocktails. Today, my husband, the in-house sommelier and mixologist, is sharing a fall cocktail that’s the perfect crowd pleaser for the Thanksgiving holiday.

When it comes to creating cocktails for a crowd, we learned last year at our Christmas party that creating individual cocktails for each person can get to be a little much. Enter cocktails in a pitcher. Why did we not think of this before! Make the cocktail ahead of time in the pitcher and pour each glass as your guests arrive = genius. We went with the copper mugs to enhance the fall presentation {and because everything tastes better in a chilled copper mug!}. 

P.S. If you are looking for another cocktail in a copper mug, my husband made this Cranberry Moscow Mule last year that was delicious, and could work for not only Thanksgiving but also Christmas!

For a more local taste, we went with Virginia wine, but if you don’t live in Virginia, you can use any red wine of your choice. Finishing the drink with apples and cinnamon sticks makes for a delicious fall garnish.

print recipe

Thanksgiving Spiced Wine Cocktail
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 bottles red Virginia wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup brandy, we used E&J
  • 2 apples, sliced
Mix together the apple cider, sugar, 4 cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before straining. Mix the wine, orange juice, brandy, sliced apples and the cooled apple cider mixture in a large pitcher. Serve over ice in individual copper mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Thanks for dropping by! If you are still looking for some Thanksgiving recipe inspiration, here are a few of my favorites that I have shared in the past:
  • Thanksgiving for Two: including turkey tenderloin, fall roasted vegetables and leek, mushroom and prosciutto dressing. 
This post is linked up with: Tasty Tuesdays | Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday | Two Cup Tuesday | Weekend Potluck  | SITS Girls 

Labor Day Sales


Happy Labor Day, friends! Just a quick post to share with you a few of the amazing sales that are going on today. With the holiday today, I will be back tomorrow with an all new fall outfit post so be sure to stop by! Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday!

Anthropologie: 40% off sale

Asos: 15% off everything with code LASTHURRAH

Banana Republic: 40% off with code FALL40

H&M: 60% off select styles. Ends 9/5

J.Crew: 30% off $200+ or 25% off $125+ with code SHOPMORE. Ends 9/5 at midnight

Kate Spade: extra 25% off sale with code DOTTY. Ends 9/6

Nordstrom: up to 40% off through 9/11

Old Navy: 50% off jeans, dresses & tees

Holiday Gifting: Homemade Lemon Olive Oil


It’s hard to believe it is already December and it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifting. One of my favorite things about this time of the year is making homemade gifts for friends and family. Last year, I made a few desserts and boxed them in cute containers, but this year I wanted to try something different.

I love cooking with olive oil. Recently, we bought flavored olive oil from a speciality store and just love it! Not only can you use the oil as a base to a salad dressing or use it to sautΓ© vegetables, you can also toss the oil with your favorite pasta. One night while cooking dinner about a month ago, I thought homemade olive oil would make the perfect gift for a holiday gift basket!

Although the recipe is super easy, I must mention an important warning when working with infused olive oils. If the lemon, or any herb you decide to use, is not cleaned and completely dried, bacteria can grow on the lemon or herbs and can be very dangerous. If you decide to keep the lemon peel in the oil {for a more robust flavor} be sure that the oil is covering the lemon peel completely. Also, it’s important to keep the infused olive oil in the refrigerator. You can read more about creating safe homemade oils here. Be sure to include these instructions with your gift basket if you are handing these out this holiday season. The olive oil should be good, in the refrigerator, for about a month. 

Lemon Olive Oil
{what you will need} 
Zest of 1 lemon {completely cleaned and dried}
1 1/2 cup light olive oil

Clean the lemon and allow to dry completely, about 1 hour. Using a vegetable peeler, zest the lemon in long pieces, but try to avoid the bitter, white part of the lemon. Place the olive oil and the lemon peel in a small saucepan and heat on medium for about 5 minutes, just until the oil begins to bubble. Allow to cool before transferring to decorative container. 

Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful weekend!