Growing up in my house during the holidays always included a lot of cooking, baking and holiday treat making. One holiday treat item my mom taught me to make was holiday peppermint bark. This was something that was easy to make and all my friends loved getting a bag of it during the holidays. Last year I was looking through the December Martha Stewart magazine and saw that there was an article on the bark that I have grown up making. However, this article didn’t just have the traditional peppermint bark that I was used to making. It also had so many new varieties that sounded amazing like s’mores, cookies-n-cream, trail mix and so many more! They were all delicious!!

So for today’s holiday foodie post I have a few of my favorite bark recipes for you to try at home. To make holiday bark you need baking chocolate, a baking sheet, a glass mixing bowl and your favorite bark toppings.

Step 1: Melt the chocolate in a mixing bowl in 45-60 second increment in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted.   –or-    Melt the chocolate in a double broiler on the stove.

Step 2: Once melted, pour the chocolate onto the baking pan, smoothing the chocolate out to create an even coat over the entire pan.

Step 3: While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle your bark toppings on top of the chocolate. Tap the pan onto the counter a few times to set the toppings into the chocolate.

Step 4: Put the pan into the freezer for the bark to harden.

Step 5: Once hardened, take the bark out and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Some of my favorite bark combinations are:
     - White Chocolate with Red and Green Peppermint
     - Milk Chocolate with Graham Crackers and Mini Marshmallows
     - Milk Chocolate with Oreo Crumbles

Holiday bark candy is always a hit for any type of gathering. Give some as gifts or put some out at your holiday party. Which one are you going to try? Have a wonderful weekend!!


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Every year I attend at least one Christmas or holiday party that has a gift exchange. If you are hosting a holiday party this is a great way to get all your guests involved and will guarantee to provide some laughs. You will see some of the most random gifts appear at a gift. Here are 3 of my favorite gift exchange games you can choose from.

1. Left-Right Game. This one is a classic for any gift exchange as everyone gets to listen to a fun story while passing the gifts around in a circle. You will gets some laughs from the story as well as trying to keep up with all the “rights” and “lefts” that you will hear. You can make up your own story or use the classic Night Before Christmas story that has had a little twist!

2. Secret Santa. You can’t forget the classic gift exchange of Secret Santa. Get everyone together before your party and have each guest draw a name to see who they will be shopping for. If you can’t get everyone together, as the host, you can either assign each guest another guest’s name or you can use an online site to do it for you. A great one to use is They let you send out all your invitations through the site, collects RSVP’s and will randomly generate and send out everyone’s Secret Santa.

3. White Elephant. This game has a few more rules to it than the others. To play ask all your guests to bring a present to put in the gift pile. Once you have everyone together you have each guest draw a number which will give them the order of the gift choosing. The person with #1 starts by selecting a gift. Next is #2’s turn. They can either take #1’s gift or choose their own from the gift pile. If #2 takes #1’s gift then #1 chooses a new gift from the pile. Next is #3. They can choose to take either gift that is already unwrapped or a new one from the pile. If #3 steals the gift from #1 or #2 then that person can steal the remaining gift or open a new one. During each round (each number starts a new round) each gift can only be stolen once. However, that gift can be stolen again during the next round. A round ends when a gift has been opened from the present pile. This continues on until the last gift has been opened from the pile.

If you choose to one of the group games make sure all your guests bring wrapped and unmarked presents. It is also important when organizing a gift exchange to let all your guests know what the spending range is. A pretty standard gift exchange range is between $10-15.

No matter what type of gift exchange you choose to do every guest will have a blast participating. Which gift exchange game is your favorite? Happy Holidays!!


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Between Thanksgiving and New Years you will see tons of couples getting engaged. Once engaged, the planning begins and you and your significant other will need to decide who you want by your side.

As a bride-to-be some of the fondest memories you will have will be from the time spent with your girls. From the bachelorette party to the showers and getting ready the morning of the wedding your bridesmaids will constantly be at your side. Once you decide who you want by your side it is time for you to pop the question! Here are some great ways you can ask your girls to be a part of your big day.

1. Cookies. Get dress cookies made in one of your wedding colors for each of your girls. This customized cookie is from Navy & Lavender but you can also make them yourself.
2. Party Box. Put together a box of a few things that your bridesmaids will need on the big day to send to each of the girls. Your bridesmaids are going to do a lot for you during the planning process so a gift is always nice. This DIY gift is from Something Turquoise
3. Ring Pop. Pop your own question to your girls with their own wedding ring. This DIY project doesn't cost a lot and 
4. Paper Dolls. Take a craft from when you were younger and make a paper doll invite with each of your bridesmaid's names on the dress. For a DIY tutorial check out the post from Once Wed
5. Wine Bottles. Ask your girls to be there "sipping at your side" with customized wine bottle labels on their favorite bottle of bubbly. 
And the great part about all of these is that you can customize them to your girls! Which one is your favorite? Share your favorite idea below!


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When planning for an event during this holiday season, holiday music is a must have on my check list. Today’s post will really get you in the mood for the holidays with my favorite holiday songs. So turn up your speakers and get ready to sing-a-long to this holiday playlist.

1. “Last Christmas” by Wham!
2. “Run Rudolph Run” by Jimmy Buffet
3. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Michael Buble
4. “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *NSYNC
5. “Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys
6. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by The Chipmunks
7. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by The Glee Cast
8. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
9. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Bruce Springsteen
10. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey
And the list could go on and on! What is your favorite holiday song to listen to this holiday season? Keep adding to the play list by posting your favorites below! Happy Holidays!!


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Happy Monday! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with the family! For me this past weekend was filled with family, holiday dinners, shopping, Christmas music and decorating. To start my holiday weekend of events my dad and I ran in the local Turkey Trot race Thanksgiving morning. It was one brutal course this year!
After the race we went over to my grandparents for our Thanksgiving celebration. She did a little crafting and made the fall party centerpiece and the cornucopia treats that I shared with you earlier. On top of the amazing meal the decorations turned out amazing!
After we all had an amazing meal I started digging through the ads to find some good shopping deals. Did you find any great Black Friday (or Thursday) deals? If you missed out there is no worry because today is Cyber Monday (which also started this past weekend). Do the marketing departments of these companies know what day these sales are supposed to start anymore?!?
Once I was back in Charlottesville I turned on a Christmas movie and started to decorate for Christmas. I got my tree put together, my stocking hung and put the count down on the fridge. 
I hope you all were able to spend some great time with your family and had lots of fun this past weekend as the holidays have officially begun! What are you looking forward to this holiday season? Don’t forget to sign up for our email list so you don’t miss out on any great holiday ideas!

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Happy Black Friday to you all as we are now fully into holiday mode! I have already broken out the Christmas music and the decorations will be following shortly!!

To kick off the holiday spirit I have a great craft that you can make for all your holiday gifts and parties that are to come. These reindeer drink decorations are easy to do and are easy to customize. So go pick out your favorite bottled beverage and start crafting!

To make these you will need:
    - your favorite bottled beverage (wine bottles, beer, water, etc.)
    - brown pipe cleaners
    - red pom poms
    - googly eyes
    - glue gun or craft glue

** Before you start make sure your beverage bottle is at room temperature or else the glue will have a hard time sticking. 

Step 1: To make the antlers take a pipe cleaner and cut it into fourths. Take two of the cut pieces and twist one onto each end of a new pipe cleaner to make the antlers. Then twist your antlers onto the top neck of the bottle.

Step 2: Next glue a set of googly eyes and a pom pom onto the bottle to make your reindeer's face. Once the glue has dried your bottles are all ready for the holidays! 

I made these last year for my friends for their Christmas gifts. They fully appreciated a six pack of reindeer beer. If you are going to a holiday party you can decorate a bottle of wine to give as a gift to the hostess. Or if you just want some festive drinks for the holiday you can save these for yourself. Get ready to play some reindeer games with these holiday drinks.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Take time out today to spend time with your family and give thanks for all those things that you have to be thankful for this past year. 

This year I am thankful for my family, old and new friends, all the new opportunities that I have had this past year, and the opportunities that I have had to take part in so many events this past year. Of course there are so many things to be thankful for this year that the list could go on and on.

What are you thankful for this year? Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!


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The first color that comes to my mind when I think Thanksgiving weddings is brown. I know, I know it is not the best color choice that many think of when it comes to weddings, but brown pairs so well with every other color when it comes to creating your wedding theme. The Knot has great options for every color pairing. 
One of the biggest upsides to having a wedding around Thanksgiving is that the majority of your family will be available and you can have your rehearsal dinner be your family Thanksgiving meal. You don’t have to worry about the rehearsal dinner menu choices now.

A Thanksgiving wedding option is great for those that want the small family get together for the ceremony. If you still want to have the big party, schedule the reception for a later date so all your friends can join in on the fun.

What do you think about this Thanksgiving themed wedding idea? I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Get ready for the holiday season to begin! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!


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When it comes to Thanksgiving I bet the first thing that pops into your mind is the food. From the turkey to the desserts there are an endless number of Thanksgiving dishes one could have at their table. I think one year when my family hosted Thanksgiving we even had 7 different pie options for dessert! Today’s post is for all those who are still trying to figure out what to cook or might need a good side dish idea for this year’s feast. Here are my top 10 favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

1. Cranberry Sauce. You can make this from scratch or buy it in the can and serve. I just love the color that this dish adds to our table. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman has gotten great reviews! 
2. Stuffing. This is one thing that you can make so many different ways but my favorite is the Pepperidge Farm traditional stuffing with just the bread crumbs and celery. This is the one leftover that I cannot wait to have! Just take the Pepperidge Farm stuffing, cook according to the recipe on the bag and then add your favorite veggies.
3. Pie. My favorite Thanksgiving treat is pumpkin pie. I think each person in my house has a different favorite so we always have multiple choices when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert pies. The pumpkin pie recipe that I always use is the one on the side of the Libby’s Pumpkin can.
4. Rolls. You need something to clean your plate with right? My mom makes some of the best yeast rolls during the holidays and these never last more than a day in our house post Thanksgiving. If you don’t have time to make yeast rolls from scratch Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style Rolls come in a close second.
5. Salad. To add a slightly healthy element to the Thanksgiving feast a salad is always a great idea. Add some dried cranberries, walnuts and sliced apples for a side salad treat. Try this fall salad from Martha Stewart Living.
6. Green Beans. Some people like theirs in a casserole while others like them steamed. Just don’t forget to add the garnish! Try this recipe from Whole Foods to fix your green beans this year.
7. Potatoes. We keep rotating in our house what kind of potatoes we have so no matter the variety, you can always find some on our table. My favorite is sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows on top. Try this recipe from out this year.
8. Acorn Squash. Fall is the perfect time of year for squash and my favorite way to eat acorn squash is to bake them in the oven until soft and then serve them with butter and brown sugar. Yum! You can’t get any better than this Martha Stewart recipe
9. Gravy. Making gravy is something I learned to do a long time ago and is so easy to make from the turkey drippings. And of course this side goes with everything you serve at Thanksgiving, well maybe not the desserts. You can’t go wrong with this turkey gravy recipe from Southern Living
10. Turkey. No matter if you deep fry it, bake it or stuff it with dressing you can’t have Thanksgiving without the turkey. Last year I had to cook the turkey and had no idea what I was doing, but it still came out delicious! I used Whole Foods cooking instructions last year. 
There are so many options to choose from. Just making my list of ten favorites had me think about so many other holiday food favorites that I love. What are you fixing for Thanksgiving this year? Share your favorite recipe in the comments section below! Happy Thanksgiving!!!


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For many this past weekend marked the end of football season. I still can’t believe how fast it has flown by. Here is a recap of some of my favorite fall football experiences from this past season.

To start, every great tailgate has to have the tailgate essentials
I couldn't get enough of these glasses that I customized with vinyl decals in my school’s colors.
Once inside the gameday atmosphere is always electric.
And the company at these events could not be better!
I had so much fun at all the difference tailgates and games that I went to this past season. Can’t wait till next year!! For those lucky enough to go to the playoffs or a bowl game, good luck to your team!!