Kids say the darndest things

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Last Minute Gift Ideas

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or maybe you’re saying “I have no idea what to get (insert family member’s name here) for Christmas”.

You know what I’m talking about. (I hear it from Adam every year) My tip? Think of everyone you have to shop for and think of everything they have in common.

Thinking of cute and practical things for all ages? Go to Target. They have cool toys, pretty sweaters, fun boot socks, cameras, and even Kindles. It’s crazy how awesome Target it.

Want to pamper your friends and family? Go to Sephora. Body washes,  wonderful kits full of moisturizers, nail polishes, and even shave sets for the guys.

Don’t have any clue what to get anyone but you know you want it to be fun and unique? Go to uncommongoods.com. It has everything- vases, pillows, sweaters, kitchen goods, and even cute baby things.

There are a few fun go-to presents that I love to give because I think they fit everyone I love. They can be found in your favorite store, your loved one’s favorite store, or online in your loved one’s favorite color.

 

Watches are amazing. My personal favorites come from Nixon and Fossil. Both companies make great products that last a lifetime and are sure to wow. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors and materials (and price points). They make great styles for both men and women (Nixon even makes women versions -aka smaller- of the guy’s watches for ladies who fall in love with the watch they gave their man).

Anyone can wear a scarf. The Gap has amazing scarves for men and women. So does American Eagle. Target even has cute ones with matching gloves. Who doesn’t love something cozy and warm for cold weather months?

I think gifting someone a scent is the best. It’s snazzy looking, lasts throughout the year, and shows your loved one you spent a while thinking of what scent would be most fitting. The great thing about perfumes now is most of them come as a rollerball. They’re not only cheaper but they are portable- perfect for holiday travels. If you don’t know which they would like, Sephora has these great sample sets (in colognes too) that let your loved one discover their new favorite scent.

There is nothing better than someone gifting you something that is too luxurious for your budget. Or so you thought! I thought my Murad kit was out of my budget then I used it and decided my face being clear was totally worth it, but I digress… Who wouldn’t love a cute eyeshadow palette or shave kit?! I bought Adam a Jack Black kit and now it’s his favorite and he love love loves using all the products in the line (especially the supreme cream triple moisture shave lather- ladies if you gift your man nothing else they’ll still be happy plus it’ll give you a super smooth close shave too). If I know the person who I’m buying the gift loves fragrance or color then I go for it, if I don’t then I always pick a makeup palette in neutral colors (Benefit is great) or face kit that is fragrance free (I love Clinique kits for men).

Well, those are my favorite go-to presents for my favorite people. Hope they’ve helped you in your last minute quest for the perfect present for your loved ones.

Festive Sweet Treats

I made these last week and they were amazing so I decided I would make some more to take to my parent’s house for Christmas. Well, I was going to do it today but I am in bed with some sort of pre-Christmas bug that makes my joints hurt when I move so I’ll give you the recipe and you can bake them for your friends and family while I lay in bed watching Gilmore Girls and listen to the hum of my Vicks Vaposteamer (aka The Steamerizer).

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

Yield: 10 giant cookies {I got about 16 cookies- 3 of which I burned so see cook time}

Cook Time: 10-13 minutes {I checked them at 10 mins and took them out as soon as they crinkled}

Ingredients:

For the cookies:
1 box red velvet cake mix {I used Duncan Hines because that’s what they had at Target}
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cheesecake filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the white chocolate drizzle:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

1. To make cookies, in a large bowl combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

2. To make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 10. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough {Note: I used a TBS full and it was perfect} and flatten in your hands. Place a teaspoon of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Scoop onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Only bake 3 cookies at a time. The cookies are large and will spread. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens. Serve and enjoy!

{Side Note: I used Tablespoon sized balls of dough and because of it I have about 15 leftover cream cheese balls in the freezer that I’ve been trying not to eat. Also Tablespoon sized dough portions were perfect because the cookies spread that much.  Using the smaller portion size makes the cookies come out to normal cookie size and not behemoth sugary beast treats. I could only bake three at a time. Because melted white chocolate gave me a headache, I whipped up a quick powdered sugar/half and half/vanilla glaze that I drizzled over the cookies. Brilliantly delicious. }

Tis the season

It’s almost Christmas and new years eve is right around the corner. To ring in the holiday season, Dad and I went to a members only holiday night of science at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

From 6:30-9:30 last Tuesday night we had free reign of the whole museum. On top of all the regular exhibits, they had a few fun new things set up. There was a small area outside that housed two live reindeer (on loan from Santa, of course). A snowman shaped dome mini theater featuring a short piece on the science of snow. Several beverage booths serving everything from hot cocoa with a generous helping of marshmallows to festive holiday punch. Old time-y Christmas carolers who roamed around spreading Christmas joy even in the blue glow of the aquarium. My favorite part was when it started snowing. Yes, it actually snowed inside the museum’s piazza!! It was amazing!
Anywho… Here are some pictures.

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Martini Monday

Today was a bit of a lazy day. As in this is what we had for dinner.

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It was good. It was quick. But today’s focus wasn’t on the meal.
I wanted to switch things up a bit and introduce an idea brought up by a fellow blogger.

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Martini Mondays!!! as invented by Leah from Leftovers For Lunch

For today’s martini we went classic. Well… classic for us. Adam and I like our martinis half gin and half vermouth.

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We’ve been a little spoiled with our martini making ever since I got a bottle of Sonoma Syrup Co olive juice at the Foodbuzz taste pavilion. As someone who doesn’t like olive juice in their martini I’m still quite smitten with tonight’s martini.

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All I want for Christmas…

Ah, December…

The end of the year. The never ending “Oh my goodness it’s December!!” exclamations on Facebook and Twitter. It’s true, I’m just as shocked.

It’s windy, it’s chilly, and my hands are all dry, and everything I use on a daily basis is almost gone. My Murad starter pack (that was supposed to last for a month) (the same one I bought in July) is full of nearly empty bottles, I’ve been doing the tap of death on my Bare Minerals foundation and mineral veil for weeks, I’m smacking the body wash container to get out every last drop, and for some reason I feel like half my socks and my underpants have been eaten by the black widows that live by the dryer.

Wouldn’t you know…when it’s the season for giving I’m wondering if it would be so awful to replenish my own stuff. It’s not like I’m not thinking of everyone else but really people do you want to hang out with me in public when I’m not wearing makeup!? Exactly.

It’s just that time of year. I buy makeup twice a year and, with the schedule I’ve been on, its around my birthday and Christmas. And I’ve been saving money this year by not buying body wash! No, it’s not because I don’t shower. I just lucked out last Christmas and got three bottles of festively scented Philosophy body wash. That explains why I’ve smelled like cinnamon buns all year as well. When it comes to Christmas it’s more about what I need. When Adam asked what I wanted for Christmas I told him gift certificates.. and socks. How fun is that!

So without further ado here is my very practical, but still very much appreciated, but not very fun Christmas list.

 

Target Gift Card

Is this fun? No. Would I love this? YES! I can buy groceries and t-shirts at the same store?! Why is that a question because that is exactly what I have been doing. I love Target. I buy my cereal, garbage bags, shoes, and clothes all at one store. Love it. I am always there because I never remember anything on my list until I get to my car.

Socks                                      

Seriously. I need more warm socks. I love these socks in black. Look how cute they are. SmartWool socks are awesome. I bet they’d be great boot socks. But when I’m not wearing the only pair of boots I own, I love wearing knee high socks under my jeans to keep my legs warm. Currently I only own two matching pairs of boot socks- one with hearts and one with shamrocks. Target always has a ton of cute knee high socks but instead of shelling out all my money on cute new ones,  I like to steal Adam’s dress socks. Economical!

Victoria’s Secret Gift Card

Well this is going to get really awkward really quick… I need underpants and I like their PINK line. Again- practicality this Christmas.

 

Sephora Gift Card

Probably my favorite gift to get. I love seeing that tiny black and white box in my stocking. It’s no lie I love make-up and my stash is dwindling. I love Sephora. I know my local Sephora layout by heart. I’m always going there to check out new products (I’m currently loving the new BE The Playlist holiday eyeshadow palette. If you haven’t seen it go check it out) and to snag refills of my favorites (Bare Escentuals foundation and Murad Acne Complex Starter Kit).

Cash

When in doubt, give cash. It’s not a whole lot of fun but it’s a gift everyone can enjoy.  I’m a big fan of it and seem to always be in need of it. And really, who am I kidding.. I would just use it to buy socks and cereal anyway. I know… Super exciting. Or I could start a My Trip to Reno for New Year’s Eve fund because Adam and I are going to Reno with some friends for New Year’s Eve and as of right now I do not have any spending money.

 

So there is my Boring Christmas List of Things I Need. I love it. I love gift cards. What’s your favorite gift card to get in your stocking?