Somehow 2013 has flown by! This past year has been filled with birthday celebrations, parties, concerts, weekends at the beach and river, cookouts, races, shopping trips, baseball games, graduations, a fun-filled JMU football season, and of course holiday time spent with family and friends. I hope that you had just as much fun as I did this past year! Now it is time to make those 2014 New Years resolutions and get ready to count down as we ring in the New Year! 

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

What was your favorite moment of 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?

xoxo
Megan

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The tree might still be up for another day or two, but sadly this Christmas season is coming to an end. This past month has been jammed packed with holiday parties, birthday celebrations (yea me!), shopping, caroling, baking, tacky light tours, gift giving and of course spending time with family and friends. While the holiday season was a bit shorter this year that didn't stop anyone from enjoying Christmas to the fullest! Here are some of my favorite moments from this past Christmas season...

My birthday is just 2 weeks before Christmas, so it always gets lumped in there with all the annual holiday celebrations. Now what to wish for...
I was in charge of all the decorating for our office's annual holiday party. This year I got the wrapping bug...
Whats Christmas without a little crafting? I made my own set of "HO, HO, HO" blocks, created my annual Christmas card and created this adorable pink and green Lilly ornament for The Pink Palm's ornament contest (And guess what? I won!!)...
Before I headed home we celebrated one of my co-worker's last day at the office. Let's just say I still had the wrapping bug...
When I arrived home there was still a ton of decorating to do so I got to work and put up our JMU tree right away!
And it can't be the holidays without a bunch of family in town to celebrate with.
What was your favorite moment from this Christmas season?

xoxo
Megan

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Move over Christmas cookies, its time to ring in the new year with some bubbly!! With Christmas come and gone (tear...) it is time to start thinking about New Years Eve. There are the traditional "lucky" new years foods to have at your NYE bash but when it comes to the sweets there is just one thing on my menu: champagne cupcakes! I haven't figured out what I am doing for New Years yet, but I am certain that these will be made! Not only does this bubbly recipe from Sprinkle Bakes have champagne in the cake, but it also has it in the pastry filling and icing! You can top these with some edible glitter and ring in the new year with a glass in one hand and a bubbly treat in the other! Cheers!

Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. 
3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  
3. In a third bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little). 
4. Add flour and champagne mixture alternately to the stand mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  The batter will be thick.
5. Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter and bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Champagne Pastry Cream Filling
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. 
2. Next combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.
3. Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture.  Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook.  Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil.  Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.  
4. Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with pastry cream.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a "lid" and place on top of the filled divot.

Champagne Frosting
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
  • 2 sticks of butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together.  Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus  1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.
3. Once the champagne is mixed in frost your cupcakes and decorate! Enjoy!

Make sure to enjoy a glass of the champagne while cooking and always remember you can NEVER have too much champagne. Just ask F. Scott Fitzgerald...
What is your favorite New Years treat? 

xoxo
Megan

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There are only a few hours left until Santa climbs down the chimney to deliver presents but until then there is still plenty of time to mix up some egg nog, enjoy a gingerbread cookie and watch A Christmas Story for the 5th time today. Today I have been a busy little elf delivering bags and boxes of homemade Christmas goodies to our family friends so I cannot wait to sit back and enjoy all the festivities this evening. So from my family to yours I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!
And remember you are never to old to believe in a little Christmas magic! I hope you all have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends! 

xoxo
Megan

For some last minute Christmas ideas check out these other holiday posts...
 
 
Every year, since I can remember, my grandmother has baked gingerbread houses for my sister, bother and I to decorate. Of course when we were all little it was more along the lines of how much candy can we put on the houses than actual decoration, but it was still something we loved doing! I think that first pictures is from around 2000 with some of our early houses. As you can tell between the two pictures our group has come a long way (as well as my brother's girlfriend has joined us in the decorating fun) with our decorating skills. 
This year I decided to do a little something different when it came to decorating my house. A few weeks ago I ran across this gorgeous Lilly themed gingerbread house on Pinterest and couldn't stop thinking about it. So as with most things I find on Pinterest, that Lilly house quickly became my creative inspiration for decorating this year's gingerbread house. And this is what I came up with...
I loved how great all of our houses turned out this year and cannot wait to decorate gingerbread houses next year! Do you have a Christmas tradition that you love doing each year?

xoxo
Megan

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The holidays are filled with rushing around seeing friends and family, buying last minute gifts, being covered in wrapping paper and bows and my favorite - watching Christmas movies. Last week I was talking with one of my friends and they mentioned that they had never seen Elf. This just had me speechless. How could someone have never seen this holiday classic?!? However, just like most things this gave me a great Christmas party idea for a Buddy the Elf themed Party! The movie is filled with so much holiday cheer that everyone will leave with a huge smile on their face (because smiling is my favorite!) Here are some great ideas on how you can put together your own Buddy the Elf Holiday Party...
Invites
To invite all your friends to this festive evening take one of your favorite quotes from the movie and turn it into your invitation. This invitation from Anders Ruff is perfect for spreading holiday cheer!
Menu
In the movie Buddy shares with us the four main food groups of elves: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup and through his New York adventures discovers coffee and spaghetti. A fun menu you can create a fun Elf themed menu using these items that all your guests will love. Just be sure to leave all the different items separated as I don't think there are too many people like Buddy who would eat everything all tossed together. 
Entertainment
Now there are w few great activities that come to mind for a Buddy the Elf themed party. Like my friend who hasn't seen the movie you could turn this holiday party into a movie night. You could spread some Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear by going caroling. And for those who want a Christmas crafting party, you could have snowflake making and other holiday decor activities as Buddy loved decorating for Christmas. 
What is your favorite type of Christmas party to host or attend? Only 6 more days till Christmas!

xoxo
Megan

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Yesterday one of my BFF's let me know that her and her fiance have finally set a date for their wedding. Now that the date has been set, and with just 6 months to get everything done, we are finally able to start finalizing some wedding details. The bride has found an amazing venue and dress so some of the major planning details are checked off the list but now as MOH I have some of my own planning to get done. The first thing on my checklist: find a bridesmaid dress!

Dress shopping, no matter the event, is something that I love doing! However, when it comes to bridesmaid dress shopping it's not as easy as just walking into a store and picking out whatever you love and going home with it until the wedding day. Based off of my own experiences as a bridesmaid, and from working with them, I have put together a list of helpful tips when it comes to finding the perfect bridesmaid dress. Enjoy!

1. What is the bride wearing?
A brides dress can range from modern to vintage and be made from lace, taffeta, silk, or chiffon. Once the bride gets her dress take into consideration what the style is and what the dress is made of. When searching for bridesmaid dresses look for ones that will complement the bride's. 

2. What color will work for everyone?
When thinking about your bridesmaid's dress color take into consideration what colors will look good on them. I love gold-toned dresses, but unfortunately they wash me out. Sometimes different shades of a color help with this issue if your maids have varying skin tones. The best way to prevent this problem is to have your girls try on the color you are thinking of having and see what works.
3. What body type are all your maids?
This one is something that always stuns me when some brides choose their bridesmaid dresses. Obviously not every person will have the same body type but trying to get every body type into the same dress can be pretty difficult. I love it when brides pick out 2 or 3 different styles in the same color so that everyone can choose a dress that fits their body type and is something they will be comfortable wearing.

4. Have your dress altered.
Bridesmaid dresses are designed to fit a diverse group of individuals, so the probability that the dress that is chosen will fit you perfectly is like 1%. My general rule of thumb is to order 1 size up from what you would normally wear (if you wear a 6 normally order an 8 just to be safe) and then about 2 months out take it to some one who handles alterations. Brides always get their dress altered for their wedding dress but bridesmaids don't always think about this. Believe me it will be worth the extra money when your dress isn't puckering or the straps are falling off in the wedding pictures.

5. Be flexible, but remember it is the BRIDES day!
It is always nice when the bride takes her maid's input into consideration when choosing a dress. Unfortunately, not every girl in the bridal party will be 100% in love with the dress, but don't bend over backwards to make everyone happy. As the bride let your maid's know that you want them to look great on your wedding day, but it is your wedding day.

I will be on the bridesmaid dress hunt over the Christmas break and am hoping that I can find the perfect one! Do you have any tips that might help out other bridesmaids who are also on the dress search?

xoxo
Megan

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If you were following me on The Blog Baton on Wednesday I shared a sneak peak at the holiday treats that I made this year, Christmas Kisses. I love how simple these are to make and how you can customize them for any any holiday or occasion. So to make them Christmas themed, and to add a little twist to the standard recipe, I bought red and green M&M's, peanut butter M&M's and peppermint kisses. The only issue I came across was that the peppermint kisses melted a little quicker than the chocolate ones so you make more than one variety just put them on different cookie sheets. Here is how I made my Peppermint Kisses...

Ingredients
  • Pretzel Squares
  • Hershey's Kisses
  • Hershey's Peppermint Kisses
  • Red and Green M&M's
  • Red and Green Peanut Butter M&M's

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 250F. 
2. Create one layer of pretzels on your cookie sheet and place one kiss on each pretzel. I did half peppermint and half chocolate kisses for mine.
3. Place the cookie sheet of kisses into the oven for 5-7 minutes. They will be ready to be taken out when they get a shiny look.
4. Once you pull them out have your M&M's ready and place one M&M on top of each kiss. I placed the regular M&M's on the peppermint kisses and peanut butter M&M's on the chocolate kisses.
5. Once all the kisses have their M&M on top let them sit to cool off for at least an hour. 
6. And for the final step I found these adorable treat bags in the dollar spot at Target which are perfect for these treats!
What is your favorite holiday treat to make?

xoxo
Megan

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'Tis the season for holiday cheer and crafting too! This year I was really inspired by a few different projects on Pinterest and when I went to the Richmond Bizarre Bazaar and cannot wait to finish them and put them on display this holiday season! The great thing about all these craft projects is that you can make each one for under $10! What could be better than that! All your holiday guests this year will be wondering where you bought your decorations and you can stun them all when you let them know that they were made by you! Here are three holiday decorations that I will have out this holiday season!

Christmas Wall Art
I shared a sneak peak of this craft with you all on Monday's Christmas Bliss post. I had these 8x10' frames sitting around my apartment so I finally decided to do something with them last week. I found some great holiday prints on Pinterest, printed them on card stock paper and hung them up to enjoy during the holiday season. Since I don't have a lot of storage space these are great to enjoy now and then I can put other holiday or season prints in the frames throughout the rest of the year to enjoy.

Christmas Wreath Hangers
This craft was one that I was obsessing over when I saw it at the Bizarre Bazaar last weekend. The person who made these had simple wreath hangers (which I found one for $2 at BigLots) just covered in holiday ribbon with a bow and ornament attached at the top. Since I had just bought a wreath hanger a few weeks ago I thought that this would be the perfect way to dress it up for the holiday season. Now I just have to pick out which ribbon I want use from my ribbon drawer.

"HO, HO, HO" Blocks
This craft I found on Ginger Snap Crafts and cannot wait to finish mine up! To make these adorable blocks I went to Home Depot and asked if they had any scrap 2x4" pieces of wood that I could use for a craft project and they even cut the pieces for me! (I had each block cut approximately 5" tall.) Right now I am waiting on my vinyl decals to be mailed to me and then I can put everything together. I already had some adorable Christmas ribbon in my ribbon drawer and plenty of red, green and white paint. Next decision: where to display them?

Which Christmas craft is your favorite? 

Let me know if you are going to make any of these Christmas Holiday crafts this year and share your final results with me in the comments section below! I would love to see what everyone comes up with!

xoxo
Megan

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So first thing first, have you ever heard of The Blog Baton? It is this great idea that was created by blogger Mason...Like the Jar. Each day a different blogger "holds" the baton and shares about their life and their blog through the shared Instagram account. It is a great way to share your own ideas and blogging obsessions while also learning more about others who are a part of the blogging baton fun. Well, today is my turn and I am super excited! So make sure to follow along with me today @TheBlogBaton on Instagram to see what I am up to today!

And now onto my Wedding Wednesday inspiration for today! Today I have a little wedding history to share with you today. Have you ever thought about where all those wedding traditions that are incorporated into today's ceremonies have come from? I was reading this great article on The Knot the other day and came across an article that talked about where some of the most common traditions came from. Here are some of my favorites...

Wedding Traditions: The Wedding Ring #PreppyPlanner
One of the most common wedding traditions, no matter what kind of ceremony or wedding you decide to have, is the wedding ring. This symbol of eternity and everlasting love can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians. They would wear a band on their left ring finger as they believed that the vein in that finger led directly to the heart. These bands changed to today's common diamond rings during the Renaissance when the Archduke of Austria gave one to his bride-to-be.

One of my favorite wedding traditions is the bridal party. The Roman's started the tradition of having bridesmaids and groomsmen in their wedding ceremonies as they would serve as protection against jealous demons (or other suitors) that would be out to get the bride and groom-to-be. 

Wedding Traditions: The Groom's Boutonniere #PreppyPlanner
Always being a knight in shinning armor, during the Middle Ages the grooms-to-be started wearing boutonnieres in their bride's wedding colors as a statement of his love. How adorable was this? And those fresh floral bouquets that brides carry down the aisle were not always fresh. Traditionally it was the Greco-Roman tradition of holding herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits, but during the Victorian age the idea of carrying a fresh floral bouquet came into fashion and still a favorite for brides today.

Did you know that wedding dresses weren't always white? Before Queen Victoria wore a white dress at her wedding having a colorful dress was the thing to do. Some cultures still embrace the colorful wedding day traditions, but white is still the most popular wedding dress color for brides today. The most famous white wedding of all was when Grace Kelly married her price charming in the 1950's. The princess bride fantasy became the dream of millions of little girls and still is today.


Wedding Traditions: The Wedding Cake #PreppyPlanner
Prior to the 16th century wedding cakes were usually made of pure sugar. It wasn't until Queen Victoria's son Price Leopold, Duke of Albany, had his wedding that the first entirely edible wedding cake was served. Today to help with the wedding cake budget you will see a bunch of bride and grooms choosing to have a wedding cake created with both techniques with the bottom few layers being made of foam and the top layer made of cake. 

Today's wedding are filled with a combination of old and new traditions that truly reflect the style of each bride and groom-to-be. There is no right or wrong choice when selecting which traditions you want included in your wedding and adding a little spin to some of the traditional parts of a wedding makes the wedding day all the more special. 


What is your favorite wedding tradition?

xoxo
Megan

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