Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve!

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Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Years Eve and an amazing, happy, healthy & safe 2012! Cheers!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Finds: Swizzle Sticks + Sweets







Just a few things to get you inspired for the New Year! I have the day off today and I will be running some errands, taking down my Christmas decor {so sad} and trying to figure out what in the world I will wear tomorrow night. What are your plans for NYE? Check back later and I might have found an outfit for ringing in 2012! Happy Friday! xoxo.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas

Hi everyone! How are you?! I feel like it has been ages since I last posted, but at the same time the past five days flew by for me. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, followed by several more days of fun and here I am exhausted on the couch, but very happy. We started off the weekend celebrating Christmas with my husband's family, and continued on to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family. Stay tuned until the end though, because I received an email tonight that sums up Christmas better than I can.
Presents at our house
Dixie in the midst of a wrapping paper and ribbon tornado
Christmas carols with friends and family on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Mom and I
The men of the family- my parents have a new fireplace addition to their screened porch and it is almost complete, we enjoyed time out here all weekend!
A little electric train drove Dixie crazy-she was in awe of it! 
My mom's sugar cookies
 

My two boys on Christmas
A peppermint cocktail
Tug of war with new toys



My sisters divine dessert!

And here is the email I received tonight from my Dad to recap our Christmas:

Dear Family,

As I sit here tonight thinking about the whirlwind of activity that is a big family gathering, and look at the empty house that was so full of life just a few days ago, I remember the love...the fellowship...the meals...the dogs...the laughter...the gift giving...the sharing of time and space...the warmth...the smiles...I get all choked up with the realization that what was so planned and prepared for is all over now.

And now comes the sad part of the Christmas holidays...the part where we put all the Christmas stuff away and get back to regular life. And I'm really sad to do that. In spite of all the stress and the work that goes into Christmas, the happy memories make it all worthwhile and they remain with us. On balance, it is a good deal. I'll take the sadness of it all being over, if I can keep the richness of the happy memories. And I have them...written on my heart. And I suspect you do too.

Thanks for being part of those memories. I'm proud and happy to call you all family.

Love

Dad

Yes, I am crying. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and I can't wait to catch up! Thanks for reading 'til the end. xo.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Merry


I wanted to share our Christmas card with all of my lovely readers. We went with Tiny Prints again this year, like I mentioned here...I just adore their cards. We have laughed about our card because Tucker is looking at my in-laws dog running around behind the camera, and Dixie is doing her very best to hold still. 

 I have had the best time on this little blogging journey so far and I am thankful for each sweet comment, each follower and all of your wonderful inspiration. Christmas came a little early this year with a little present from Sarah at Simply Sarah, awarding me with the Versatile Blogger that I'm sure you are all familiar with. Make sure to check out her blog if you haven't already, I can't wait to post on that in a few days!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 
I will see you back here in a few days! xo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Football in Fashion



The day after Christmas, the holiday fun continues and we are headed to Charlotte for the NCSU bowl game! We are all so pumped for a little fun in the Queen City. While this may not be the best bowl game out there, we are just happy it is within driving distance- the past few years they have been to far away to drive or not exciting enough to book plane tickets for!

 To some it may seem silly, but we tend to dress up rather than down for football games and this would be ideal for an 8 pm kickoff and pre-game tailgating. I would wear this outfit on any given day in December though, it is perfectly festive!

Are you all headed to any college bowl games this holiday season? Have a fab day! xo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday Wishes for Two!

If you have been reading for a while now, you might realize that all of my family has birthdays in the fall and winter and I love sending a special birthday message. This one is no different, and this is actually to TWO people: my sister Sara, and her hubby Manu. 

Today is Sara's birthday and tomorrow is Manu's. If that isn't wild enough, would you believe me if I told you he is from Spain and they met each other in Thailand while vacationing? Wait, hold on a second...they actually saw each other in China first, then met again in Thailand...and have been together since. True story. 


This was their wedding this past summer in Spain, which was a blast for all of us. They did the whole long distance thing at first {like, really long distance!} but that didn't last long. Manu has lived in the US for several years, has graduated from grad school and now, they are happily married and living in Charlotte, NC. 

Happy Birthday Sara and Manu!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Weekend


This was my view leaving work Friday afternoon. It might have been the prettiest day of the month so far. I only wish the sunsets lasted a little longer this time of year, they go so quick!


Sometimes I forget how lucky I am in that I live in such a beautiful place. Even though we live in a coastal town, it's easy to take it for granted in the winter months. We took our lunch break in Atlantic Beach on Thursday at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Zarape {so so good}, and just simply crossing the big beach bridge made me miss the beach house and all that comes with it. That prompted a mini getaway Friday night at the beach and it was perfect. Absolutely what I needed. My husband, our dogs, wine and listening to music on the porch wrapped up in a blanket. I need not ask for more!


We made a delicious dinner with fresh shrimp, peppers and a garlic/wine/butter sauce. There is no recipe, just simply adding things here and there as needed...my favorite way to have pasta.


Our sweet babies enjoyed a night out as well. They love coming to the beach house...they get to sprawl out, hang out on the porch and usually get way more snacks than they do at home! 


Saturday night we went to a friends house to watch basketball and have dinner. I had been wanting to make a fun holiday drink but couldn't decide at the store, so I ended up with Cranberry Juice and Lime Juice and figured I could do something with that. I ended up crunching up candy canes into small pieces and mixed that in with my juice and vodka. It was awesome, the peppermint took the bite off of the cranberry and sweetened it a little more. I brought a pitcher over for everyone, and don't worry it was gone at the end of the night. For a similar recipe, use this and add crushed peppermint to your mix, or even add it on the rim of the glass.

Don't you love this photo of these drinks? Mine looked similar I promise. 


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I cannot believe it's the week of Christmas! It finally feels like it here too...there was frost on the ground this morning and I will definitely be wearing the fur coat today! xoxo.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brie en Croute

The next recipe I want to share this week is Brie en Croute, a fabulous appetizer that I made this past Sunday. The first time I had this was in college with our Supper Club group of girls for our Christmas dinner. I had never had brie before {I always heard it was not for everyone}, but this tasted amazing.  Paula serves it up with crackers, but I have also tried apples and that is tasty as well. It looks pretty appetizing, doesn't it? Can you tell I like cheese much? Enjoy.


INGREDIENTS 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1 egg, beaten 
1 small (8-ounce) wheel Brie 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (package comes with 2 sheets)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Crackers, for serving

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold (place remaining sheet in freezer for later use). Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute walnuts in butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until walnuts are well coated. Place walnuts on top of Brie and sprinkle brown sugar on top of nuts.

Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the brie, pressing around the brie and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough and tie together with a piece of kitchen twine. Brush the beaten egg over top and side of Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.


So, tell me...do you like brie? I cut off the top "rind" because I heard that is the part of brie that people tend to not like {I am a brie novice}! Any other good brie recipes I should try? 

Have a fab Thursday! xo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Wardrobe Wish List


I have been trying to come up with a few things for my Christmas list for the husband, and it looks like most of the things I am loving will be great transitional pieces into Spring and perfect for the mild weather we have had so far. 
I can't help it, and yes...I do I realize we have not even started winter yet! 

I am loving Splendid's new resort collection that I saw on Nordstrom.
Anything stripes is so much fun right now, and I love all of the colors!
Saw this top last night and loved it. It also comes in black, pink and green. Lace is one of my favorite trends right now and this works for daytime. I love the white paired with bright cobalt!
I saw these ballet flats a few nights ago and I can't get them off my mind. Love winter white.
They are precious and would be great transitioning into Spring!

And Dixie requested this little number to keep her warm on our walks, but I don't think the husband  has sprung for it yet. It sure is cute though!
There are also some really non-glamorous things I am asking for this year. There are so many things I want to do to our house and I actually asked Stephen yesterday if it seemed crazy to ask for a gift card to our local Benjamin Moore paint store.......seriously! I have a big to do list for 2012 and gift cards for these projects are much appreciated to make them easy on the wallet. 

What is on your Christmas list this year? I am so happy to have made some headway on my shopping list in the last couple of days, what a sigh of relief! Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!
xoxo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cheese Ball Recipe

The first recipe I want to share with you this week is the no-fail Christmas Cheese Ball. Afterall, nothing says Christmas Party like a good old fashioned cheese ball! Originally, I made it on Saturday with the intention of planning ahead to serve on Sunday night with the girls from work. Since it made two cheese balls, I ended up serving one Saturday night with friends, wrapped the other one up in the fridge and served it Sunday night! How awesome is that?! So if you have back-to-back parties this year when you need to bring a dish, think of this one and your life will be so much easier!  Here it is.


INGREDIENTS
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon diced pimientos
1 tablespoon diced green pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Chopped pecans, toasted
Assorted crackers

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Shape into two balls; roll in pecans. Cover and chill. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers. 
Yield: 2 cheese balls (1-1/2 cups each).


 Both crowds loved it and a handful of people are reminding me to pass along the recipe so they can use it for parties coming up! What is your favorite Christmas Recipe? I am a sucker for appetizers and sweets so that is usually what I offer to bring to a party. Snacking on this with a glass of wine in hand and you can call me a happy girl.

I am linking up to Schue Love where there are already lots of delicious recipes that I am drooling over. Check it out and have a wonderful Tuesday!! xoxo

Holiday

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eat Drink + Be Merry

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Whew. I feel like this is all I have done this weekend! I made some delicious appetizers yesterday for some friends and I am baking up a storm today in the kitchen. The good news is, I will have some great recipes to share this week. Other things on my checklist today are to take the dogs on a nice walk and revisit my shopping list for Christmas gifts! Hope y'all are having a fab weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Finds: Stocking Stuffers




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These are a few things I wouldn't mind getting in my stocking. I love the Jess LC Collection and that gold is my favorite color-perfect for cleaning up the inside of your purse! Have you tried the "twistband"? These hair ties are awesome- they leave no dents in your hair from having it up and are soft on your wrist. Can't resist a Kate Spade earring or new Essie nail polish. And since my sweet parents got me the new iphone yesterday- that glittery case would be fun for the season! 

Hope you all have a wonderful day. It's Friday, yay!! xo.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Christmas Tree + Mantel

It's that time! I have finally put a halt to my Christmas decorating. I went all out this year and got a flocked Christmas tree. I love the snow covered look for the living room, but we ended up running out on Sunday night to get a real tree for Stephen's office, which is the in front of the house. It's small but we have that real tree smell. Here's a peek at our decorations-I would describe our Christmas decor as "festive"...lots of color, but I love gold and silver too...so the gangs all here!


 I wheeled in the bar cart for a side table next to the tree. It was previously in Stephen's office so the manly whiskey bottles and flasks had to stay behind. It looks so cute primped up! 
(It was my Grandpa's old bar cart and I am honored that it is in my house now)


 A few of my favorite ornaments...



 

I've had these forever- high heel ornaments decked out for Christmas. They are tiny but I love them.


This is it daytime.


And this is our mantel. I originally had more greenery but took it down to simplify it. I made the monogram canvas to personalize our mantel, and add more color to the silver and gold.

 

 I also made those green and white stockings {I surprised myself!} with some extra fabric that matches our seat cushions at our table. I just traced one of the other stockings and used my basic sewing skills {going to school for fashion does come in handy sometimes!} I also used a layer of batting when sewing them together to give them more dimension.  


I am linking up this post here, check it out for more wonderful tree decorating ideas!
I'm already gathering ideas for next year!!

Well that is it for tonight! Have y'all decorated yet?! Or have you called it "quits" yet, keeping in mind all of the things you have to take down in a few weeks? Either way, have fun and have a fab night! xo.
 
Laura Wyatt Design