11 Beautiful Holiday Desserts

Gingerbread House  (This might be better as decor than dessert!

Candy Cane Cookies 

Pine Tree Cake

DIY Hot Chocolate 

Gingerbread Cake

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

Meringue Trees

White Chocolate Bark

Gingerbread Cookies

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Happy Holidays everyone! Tis the season for baking sweet treats, from classic gingerbread boys to decadent chocolate ganache cake served with a scoop of peppermint stick ice cream. Because what better way to spend a cool winter afternoon than in a warm kitchen listening to Christmas music and decorating cookies?! I just absolutely love to bake with my boys during Christmastime, and our favorite is of course gingerbread. Sometimes we decorate them with sprinkles and icing, and other times we eat them warm out of the oven just as is. The spicy flavor is heavenly, and makes the entire house smell like the most divine bakery. We actually made a batch last weekend and the boys have enjoyed nibbling on the cookies all week. We will be whipping up a batch again on Christmas Eve for Santa :).

Now what will the sweet finishes be for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day do you ask? While we strive to save sweets for special occasions and stick to that rule most of the year, the month of December is a time when we indulge. Christmas Eve dinner will be punctuated with a real treat – southern pecan pie from Bird Bakery. It’s filled with sweet pecans and Carmel, and is nestled in a flaky buttery crust. Needless to say we are already counting down the days until we enjoy this dreamy dessert! As for Christmas Day, I’ll be making Ina’s old fashioned apple crisp. This is my husband’s all-time favorite dessert, and a go-to recipe in our house. Cinnamon, warm apples, and a crispy oat topping make this truly a showstopper.

And so, in the spirit of baking and Christmas just days away, I wanted to share some gorgeous dessert ideas to help inspire those of you who are hosting family and friends, or in need of sweet treats to bring to a holiday celebration. From cakes to cookies to DIY hot chocolate (how fun would that be?), I’ve found 11  of the most beautiful and festive desserts. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Quick Tips
Etiquette

No. 1

“WHEN ATTENDING A WEDDING, IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO BE OVERDRESSED.”

Wedding Guest Attire Etiquette

My Skincare Routine

I had the pleasure of indulging in a fabulous girls lunch recently – what a treat! – and while nibbling on chopped salad and tea sandwiches, we found ourselves chatting about one of my favorite topics: skincare. I’m a big believer in skincare routines, and have always loved trying new products, be it a collagen-infused eye mask or revitalizing rosewater toner. Because let’s face it, a cozy night at home pampering your skin with lotions and potions is a little piece of heaven!

Skincare is more than just the actual ritual of applying your creams and serums though, it’s taking the time to take care of your skin. Think of it this way, you want to care for your skin now, so you can continue to look and feel your best in the years to come. Also, rest assured that you can still have a fantastic skin routine and not spend a fortune. Skincare can be intimidating with the vast amount of options and price points (just visit Violet Grey or Sephora), and while I do think certain products are worth splurging on (specialty serums for instance), face wash and moisturizer can be basic and inexpensive. At the end of the day, if you do your research and get savvy on skincare, you can find products that fit your needs and budget.

So what is my skincare routine? I’ll start by sharing that ever since turning 30, I noticed an increase in fine lines, discoloration and dryness, and realized I needed a more specialized regime. I bounced from product to product, and even experimented with regular facials for a while. For me, the facials felt glorious and had my skin radiant and glowing, however didn’t help with the aforementioned concerns. Ultimately, I visited my dermatologist and she designed a custom day and night routine to help address these issues, including a prescription for retinol. May I sing the praises of retinol to you? It is truly miraculous, as it softens wrinkles, fades discoloration, treats breakouts and the list goes on. I highly recommended using it nightly if you don’t already. I’m also religious about washing my face twice a day, and try to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise and sleep at least 8 hours a night (when I can!).

And so, here is my current routine (I use the products in the order listed), and I must admit dear readers, I’m loving it. I will of course continue to try new products (just started using  this and love it so far), however this line up is sensational for right now. Given that my retinol is via a prescription, I’ve listed a great retinol below to try. What are your must-have skin care products? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Day

Cetaphil Face Wash • Skinceuticals C E Ferulic • Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense • Avene Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream • Avène Mineral Light SPF 50 SunscreenKate Somerville Eye Cream

 

Night

Cetaphil Face wash • Retinol • Avene Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream • Kate Somerville Eye Cream

 

Advice
HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS

No. 2

“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE THOUGHTFUL DETAILS WHEN ENTERTAINING, SO CONSIDER LITTLE EXTRAS SUCH AS CUSTOM NAPKINS OR UNIQUE PARTY FAVORS.”

MORE SOCIAL ETIQUETTE TIPS

Travel Etiquette

We recently went on summer vacation and thankfully had easy and enjoyable flights to and from the beach. The boys nibbled on snacks, watched their favorite shows, colored, and even napped. You never know how the little ones will do on the plane, but thankfully the boys were stars. It’s not always sunshine and smiles when flying though, as we’ve had our fair share of tears, motion sickness, missing shoes, lost strollers, and the list goes on. However as you all know, once you reach your destination, it makes the journey there (no matter how challenging!) entirely worth it.

Since many of you are traveling throughout the end of summer (it’s hard to believe summer is almost over!), I wanted to share a few travel etiquette tips to keep in mind. Even if you have flown hundreds of times and consider yourself an expert traveler, I think it’s always nice to have an etiquette refresh and even learn something new. And so, cheers to flying the friendly skies and  enjoying the final weeks of summer vacation!

  • Take cues from your seat-mate: Your seat-mate (or you!) might love to hear a fellow passengers life’s story, or prefer to be incognito for the flight a la ear buds from take-off to landing. Either way, observe their social cues and respect them (and their personal space).
  • Mind the armrest: Let’s face it, we all want to use the armrest during the flight. If you’re sitting in the aisle or window, kindly let the middle seat use the interior armrest for some of the flight.
  • Recline Slowly: While it always makes for a laugh when depicted on a TV sitcom, in reality, flinging your seat back is less than ideal for the person behind you. If you want to recline your seat, try to do so slowly.
  • Sweet smelling snacks: Due to the tight quarters and recycled air, consider bringing in-flight snacks that don’t have a strong smell.
  • Patience is a virtue: From the crying baby behind you (or your own crying baby!) to exiting the plane, at the end of the day travel can be stressful and everyone wants a pleasant flying experience. Try to be patient and understanding of others, including the flight attendants.
  • Courteous of carry-ons: Most people carry-on these days leaving little room in the overhead bins. So everyone has a spot for their luggage, aim to put one carry-on in the bin designated for your row, and one below at your feet.
  • Enjoying entertainment: Whether you plan on listening to music or watching a movie, use your head phones so the rest of the plane isn’t disturbed.
  • Be respectful of the flight crew: The flight crew works hard to keep you safe and comfortable during your flight, so aim to be polite, courteous and friendly to them.