Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. There is something that’s so special to me about being with the ones you love and feeling grateful for your health and happiness; it doesn’t have the stress and hurriedness that comes with Christmas.
I love the delicious meal we make, including trying new recipes. I love lingering over a glass of red wine or savoring every bite of my favorite sweet potato cake. And I love relaxing – truly relaxing – for just one day before the holiday frenzy really starts.
So today, as I make special memories cooking with my mom, and drinking coffee with my dad, and sitting by the fire with my brother and his beautiful family, and waking up to the precious blessings my daughter and my husband are to me, and counting those blessings again tonight as we lay our heads on our pillows with our tummies satisfied and full and our hearts even more so, I wish you the same joy and thanksgiving that I have. This is what life is really about. I am truly blessed.
Tomorrow marks the first of many meals that those of us who love to cook will be making this holiday season. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and it kicks off several of my favorite “cooking” weeks during the Christmas season. If you love to cook like I do, you know the real joy is in filling the tummies of your friends and loved ones with your culinary creations and seeing the delight on their face when your dishes are a success.
So if you feel at home in the kitchen, and creating meals for those you love feeds your soul, then I bet you love getting and giving gifts like these. Yes, if food is your love language and you are looking for the perfect gift for those other foodies, bakers and chefs in your life, here are a few of my favorite things they are sure to love this holiday season. As a cook myself, I would be thrilled to get any of these fun gifts this year! (hint, hint)
And be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all the things I’m cooking up this week! On my list…a Pumpkin Pound Cake, Sweet Potato Pie, Homemade Rolls, Deviled Eggs, Spaghetti Squash Casserole and a fabulous Winter Salad with Apples, Cranberries, Walnuts and Bacon–Yum!
Happy Cooking! xo,
Shop the Story:
Thomas Keller Cookbook “Ad Hoc at Home”–Revered chef and creator of the famed Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, Thomas Keller brings his version of America’s favorite comfort foods to your kitchen through his beautiful cookbook Ad Hoc at Home. Perfect for you or your favorite home chef this holiday season.
Cherry Red 7-Quart Dutch Oven–How fabulous will your soups, stews and chili look this year in this hot little number? I adore enamel cookware and this 7-Quart Dutch Oven in Cherry Red has me dreaming of hot recipes for cold winter nights. Do you have a soup-lover on your list that would go crazy for this?
Just Cook Spice Blend Gift Box–It may be winter but I’ve been reminiscing about a coffee-rubbed prime rib a great friend cooked this summer at the beach. This 3-piece spice set includes an Herb Coffee Rub, an Ancho Chicken Blend, and a “Gimme Steak” blend that promise to make your meals something to remember. This is the perfect gift for my hubby who is a grill master. Have any grillers in your life? Then stuff their stocking with spices this year!
Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate–Do you know some peeps who love sweet treats? Put a Williams Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate under their tree and you’ll put a smile on their face. Just as tasty as their famous Peppermint Bark, this drinkable version could be a perfect complement to your favorite holiday cookie recipes.
Porcelain Octagonal Mortar and Pestle–Crush or grind nature’s healthiest ingredients to go into your holiday meals with this classically designed mortar and pestle. The “real” cooks in your life would love this in their stocking this year!
“Cook with Love” Cookbook Stand–This lovely hands-free solution to keeping your cookbook clean and close at hand, also reminds you to cherish the kitchen experience and “Cook with the One You Love.” If your love also loves to cook, maybe this is the just-right gift for them!
GrowBottle–Want to be responsible, creative ,and delicious all at once? Then this is the gift for you. A recycled wine bottle is sustainably used to grow your favorite herbs. It looks cool, saves the Earth and makes your meals delish! This is the perfect gift for all those ec0-friendly chefs in your life.
Deviled Egg Platter–No Southern holiday event is complete without deviled eggs. In fact I’m the designated deviled egg maker in my family. This break-resistant oversized egg platter would be allow me to make lots of my delicious stuffed eggs for family and friends this year without worrying about making it back home with my platter in one piece!
Bonnie’s Jams Nuts and Honey–Try serving this delicious Tuscan-style treat as the perfect addition to your cheese platter for your next holiday party. Keep it on hand and you have instant hors d’oeuvres if friends or family pop in.
“Bon Appetit” Wood Trencher Cutting Board–Ready to carve up some delicious meats this Christmas? Then having this charming cutting board with a trench around the sides for capturing all the juiciness from your delicious beef tenderloin is just what you need. It would make a great gift for any chef or hostess.
“Cake Boss” Fondant Press Set–For those great (or aspiring) bakers in your life, this fun set of fondant “cutters” will help make Holiday-themed icing for gorgeous cakes and treats. Fans of the fun TV show Cake Boss will know exactly how to use this set to make festive cakes all season long and for years to come.
Red Croc Acrylic Tray–It’s not just cooking delicious holiday fare that impresses your friends, it’s the presentation that makes it truly special. Try this Christmas Red “Croc” motif acrylic tray to serve your favorite treats and beverages this year. Or gift it and make one of your favorite chefs or entertaining enthusiasts jolly this season.
Personalized Casserole Dish–When the delicious casserole is gone, this fun dish helps the chef make their mark. And if delivering food to others is on the agenda, the happy recipients will know just where to return this dish to you!
Staub Ceramics Mini Cocotte Set–I always find the idea of individual crocs or cocottes so sweet. These are definitely on my wish list this year and when I get back in my newly remodeled kitchen I can’t wait to make fun personalized recipes for my family and friends in these individual enamelware cuties!
Kate Spade “Cooking Words” Kitchen Towel–Kate Spade always has a way of bringing the fun, even in the kitchen. A cute hostess gift for the holidays, this cheerful towel is perfect alone or paired with a marinade, jam, oil, or bottle of wine.
KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer–Any great cook knows the power of a KitchenAid stand mixer. Once you’ve used a KitchenAid (my all-time favorite small appliance), you’ll never want to cook or bake again without it. My KitchenAid is the secret ingredient to my whipped potatoes, banana bread and my famous sugar cookies. Get this for the culinary enthusiast in your life and they may just pay you back with the best food ever for years to come. Think of it like pre-paying for fabulous future holidays and meals! This is one investment that is worth the money.
Handbound Recipe Organizer–This handmade recipe organizer is more than just a place to store the steps and instructions for your favorite dishes. This recipe organizer was designed to preserve your unique heritage and memories around food by prompting the family chef to add hand-written recipes, record important tidbits about your ancestry and family culture, and to include photos of family meals and memories.
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us. And if you haven’t already started your shopping you better get a move on! I love this time of year in part because I love searching for the perfect gift for those on my list. So since I’m already doing the hard work of finding all the top gift ideas this year, I thought I’d make your shopping a bit easier, too!
Just in time for the big holiday shopping weekend, I’m bringing you my first of several gift guides for those on your list. Today’s guide is all about helping you and your loved ones stay cozy and comfy all winter long.
So have fun shopping my “Cozy Time” gift guide by clicking through the links. You’ll have your list whittled down in no time at all and I’ll see you back here soon with more fantastic gift ideas for all the amazing people in your life.
Happy Shopping! xo,
Shop the Story:
1. Fujifilm Instax Smartphone Printer –Cozy up with your smart phone and print out all your latest photos that make you feel loved and adored with this handy Smartphone printer.
2. The Year of Cozy— Start living a more thoughtful life with help from this book from blogger Adriana Adarme. This neat book full of recipes, crafts, and projects will make you look forward to every little moment in life and will have you feeling happy and cozy all year long!
3. Cupcakes and Cashmere –And since one blogger’s book is never enough, settle in with Cupcakes and Cashmere (how’s that for cozy?) and be inspired by Emily Schuman’s lifestyle advice, interior design ideas, and tips for entertaining at home. Don’t miss Emily’s DIY design projects and party planning ideas.
4. Felt Floppy Hat–How can you be cozy without making sure your head is warm? This stylish wool felt Floppy Hat is the perfect topper for your noggin (or all the noggins you love) all winter long!
5. Accent Pillow with Pompoms–Who says cozy can’t be chic? I love these accent pillows with fur pompoms on the corners. They are extra festive and fun but functional for cuddling with, too!
6. Hanging Rattan Chair–Whether you want to cozy up indoors or on your covered porch this season, this cool ’60s-inspired hanging rattan chair is the perfect solution for you. Pick out a coordinating Serena and Lily cushion for the seat, grab your favorite throw, and this baby is the perfect place for reading a book or taking a long winter’s nap.
7. Faux Fur Throws–Speaking of cuddling up with a throw, how about choosing one of these faux fur beauties? In gorgeous neutral shades from beige to gray to my personal favorite, blush, these textured fur throws reverse to a cozy microfiber on the other side, making them perfect for covering up in any room in your house.
8. Thymes Frazier Fur 3-wick Candle–This gorgeous 3-wick candle smells of just-cut forest fragrance, reminding you of seasonal celebrations, holidays, or wintertime. Light this fresh-smelling beauty and cozy up by the fire with a cup of cocoa for a relaxing night.
9. Burberry Fur Pom-pom Beanie–This soft, wool cashmere beanie in a yummy shade of coral is about as comfy and cozy as you can get. And thanks to fashion house Burberry, it’s chic and sophisticated, too! Santa, I’ll have one of these please.
10. Tory Burch Face Brush–Why should your face be left out of all the comfy and cozy fun? This Tory Burch designed extra-soft bristle face brush is perfect for applying powder, bronzer, or blush while adapting comfortably to the contours of your face. It’s a cozy way to make you look your best this holiday season and the perfect size for a stocking stuffer!
12. Peppermint Lip Scrub–This minty-fresh lip scrub will leave you wondering where it’s been all your life. Say goodbye to dry and flaky lips and say hello to soft and supple smackers. This might be the key to helping you cozy up to your sweetie this holiday season! And it makes a great stocking stuffer, too.
13. “Cable knit” Ceramic Mug Set –Even your beverage looks warm with these “Cable Knit” motif ceramic mugs. This set of 3 mugs make the perfect gift to warm your friends’ hearts and their favorite beverages. This gift will remind them that you think they’re the best thing since hot cocoa!
14. “Cozy Cozy” Hooded Wrap–And finally nothing says cozy (or double cozy) like this “Cozy Cozy” hooded wrap from Nordstrom. With hidden inner snaps, you can make this wrap have a high neck or a draped shawl collar depending on just how cozy you want to be. This would be an amazing gift for all those in your life who like to be comfy and warm all day until they can get to their flannel PJ’s at night.
Now that the holiday season is about to hit full swing, chances are that you will soon be giving and receiving and thanking up a storm! It can be inspirational, and it can be overwhelming. But when I think about gratitude in the context of my business and my life, I remind myself that it should be the keystone both.
Some people think of gratitude as a burden. Imagine a 12-year-old sitting down to write a stack of thank-you notes after his birthday, and you’ll get the picture. But I prefer to think of it not as a burden but as a blessing. Or more specifically, I really think of it is as a practice. Gratitude is a way of seeing the world.
And gratitude is so much more than a thank you note or sending flowers. Don’t get me wrong, those things are wonderful and it does feel so good to send gestures like these. In fact, giving gifts for a good reason or no reason at all is one of my favorite things to do. But gratitude is a feeling first; and how you express it comes second. Feeling gratitude on a daily basis completely changes how you see the world. It keeps you from becoming offended so easily. It helps you give people the benefit of the doubt. It makes you not take yourself or others so seriously. Gratitude is really like a miracle drug. It greatly impacts your outlook on life.
Now this all sounds great, right? But the hard part is the consistency or what I call “practicing” gratitude. Yes, it requires practice to maintain a spirit of gratitude in the midst of a demanding schedule, in the face of unexpected challenges. But if you are willing to make your gratitude practice a priority, it will definitely support you and guide you through all your life’s moments of both joy and sorrow.
Some suggestions from my own experiences that help keep me centered in a place of gratitude include:
Living in the present moment. This means no dwelling in the past or missing out on today for “one day” thinking about the future! One day is TODAY, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed!
Counting my many blessings on a daily basis. For me that’s through keeping a daily gratitude journal and numbering them sequentially through the year. By this time of year, I am into the thousands of things I am grateful for this year. And it makes an impression on your when you write the #1199 reason you are grateful this year. It proves to you daily that you truly are blessed. Trust me, you’ll love this approach.
Turning obstacles and challenges around and seeing them as opportunities for growth. I have made this an art, but it took years to get there. I now have very short “Pity Parties” if I have one at all, and I am able to shake things off quickly and look for the silver lining. This is a habit that ensures I am happy 99% of the time.
When you begin these or other gratitude practices, the power of gratitude will move beyond your personal life and will seep into your work life. You’ll quickly see how transformational it can be for your business. And, there is a key link that I want you to see between gratitude and abundance. When you are able to recognize that you live in a world of abundance, that there is enough for everyone, then you are feeling gratitude.
How many times a day do you say to yourself or someone else, “We/I don’t have enough ________!” Fill in that blank with time, money, information, or things. If you start to notice and acknowledge how much time you spend focused on what you don’t have, you’ll probably be surprised. Developing a strong sense of gratitude counterbalances those scarcity beliefs and keeps you on-course to your goals for an abundant life. It helps you believe there is enough time, money and everything else to go around, and it gives you confidence to go after the life you have imagined!
So now that you feel gratitude bubbling up inside of you and you are ready to express it, go for it! It is a gift that you share with the world. But it is an even greater gift to yourself. How are you showing or telling your family, clients, employees, friends, craftspeople, vendors, EVERYONE that you are grateful? Now might be a perfect moment for a self-assessment. Are you expressing gratitude in ways large and small? If so, how? Let me know in the comments section below!
Thank you for being here with me – for reading my blog and for commenting! I appreciate each and every one of you!
You may think that when I’m working on a room that I select the paint color first. It’s what most people would do, right? Pick the wall color and then match everything else to it. Absolutely not! In fact, I almost always choose the paint last. I begin every one of my design projects by finding the perfect fabric for the client and the room. In this room that I designed for a teen girl, Rubie Green’s Portobello was the one that really spoke to me! It’s the fabric on the headboard, bedskirt, and window treatments.
So once we had the perfect coordinating black-and-white patterns in the leopard bench and the FLOR carpet squares, the hunt was on for the perfect pink to complement the fun floral pattern. And we found it in Sherwin-Williams 6576 Azalea Flower! It’s a lovely color that brightens the room without being too sweet or too intense.
What do you think of this fun and flirty color? Is there another room that you would use this in? Let me know in the comments section below!