20 December 2014

Gift Guide: For Your Man


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19 December 2014

Nana's Famous Fantasy Fudge



Yahoo! reached out to me recently asking me to craft together a post inspired by their new #YahooDIY platform. Select the holiday category, and you'll get beautiful decor ideas like this article, "Every Table Tells a Story - What's Yours?" and a treasure trove of sweet delights like the edible party favors found here - hot chocolate on a spoon? Yum.

Of course my eye goes directly to the decadent chocolate desserts. Inspired by all of the delicious finds, I got to thinking about what the holidays mean to me. I'm reminded of family gatherings and that sweet smell of melted butter that emanates from my grandma's kitchen this time every year. The one dish that Thanksgiving and Christmas wouldn't feel right without? Nana's fudge. She's been using the same basic recipe for years. And so I present to you a little family secret - the recipe for some of the easiest, yummiest fudge you will ever make: Microwave Fantasy Fudge.



You only need six ingredients!
  • 3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (5oz)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream (7oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (12oz)



  • Microwave your butter for about a minute to melt. Cube it first for easier melting, and pull it out before all of the little butter chunks have melted away. Stir well to melt the remaining solid bits (this method of stirring to melt will give you the creamy - not soupy - butter consistency that you want).



    Add evaporated milk and sugar and mix well. The better you mix, the smoother your fudge. Give yourself a little arm workout here. The evaporated milk creates a nice sticky consistency.



    Microwave 9-12 minutes, stopping and stirring and scraping down the edges of your dish at 3 minute intervals. Let this butter mix cool for about 5 minutes - the cooling is necessary so that your chocolate doesn't seize.





    Add your marshmallow cream and vanilla, mix it well. Add the chocolate chips and continue to stir until everything has melted together. Some people complain of a grainy consistency - this is either due to a lack of proper mixing or adding the chips too soon and burning the chocolate. Take your time.



    Pour the fudge in a butter coated serving dish and allow it to cool. Pop it in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight if you can wait (but, like me, you probably can't). Bundle it up in colored cellophane to gift to your sweet toothed friends.



    I hope you enjoy "Nana's fudge" as much as I do! Fair warning, it's hard to stay away until every last little crumb is gone. Please let me know if you give it a whirl, I'd love to hear how it turns out. What are your favorite recipes to enjoy this time of year?

    Thank you Yahoo! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Yahoo!, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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    15 December 2014

    Venetian Flashback


    It's Monday, and I'm feeling the itch to wander. These old photos resurfaced as I was transferring SD cards to my new computer (Thanks Mom! I feel like I've emerged from the dark ages.) With new editing software at my fingertips, these shots have taken on new life & I thought they were worth a share. A day spent wandering the cobblestoned streets of Venice in August 2013. It seems so long ago now.













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    12 December 2014

    Little Red Coat


    Goodwill Coat (similar here) // Threadsence Dress (similar on sale here)
    Bearpaw Boots (so comfy!)


    So, this is my new favorite coat. I found it at the Goodwill the other day - no tags, no markings, but perfect condition. I wish I knew the brand, because I'd want one in every color. It's perfect layered over a chunky knit too. SoCal nights have been chilly, and she's my new go-to.



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    09 December 2014

    Gift Guide: $1 DIY Sharpie Mugs



    Welcome to the second installment in a series of gift guide posts. If you missed the first, we covered cute & kitschy gift ideas because there's always somebody on your list who deserves something silly yet thoughtful. Of course purchasing individual gifts adds up quick, and if you've got a long list a little DIY is probably the way to go.

    If you're on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen the Sharpie mug tutorials. After reading this post from Living Well Spending Less, I was disappointed to find out you can't wash these beauties if you want the design to last. In her post, Ruth suggests the proper oil based markers to use for lasting color. I did these in regular Sharpie anyway (it's all I had). And my mind is already running wild with non-traditional ways to fill them - spoiler alert if you're on my gift list - wouldn't these mugs be perfect as little poinsettia pots or candles? (Future post ideas!)

    These mugs are from the dollar store, so if you've got a Sharpie laying around you can create a personalized gift for anyone on your list at the extremely budget-friendly price of .99 per person. All you need is a steady hand and a little patience. Find more inspiration at the dollar store, they have a ton of surprisingly great dishes to choose from - you don't have to choose a mug.

    The How-To's: Use a damp paper towel to wipe away mistakes immediately. Start with thin lines and make them bolder as you go to help hide shaky lines. Use stickers or stencils to create perfect shapes (I used stickers to create the heart pattern). The ink [mostly] dries to the touch in about a minute, so let it dry briefly and give lighter spots a second coat. The bake time helps the ink to stick, so the designs hold up well when handled. Don't wash these unless you use the markers suggested in that post I linked to above.

    Bake 30-45min at 425'. Let the mugs cool.









    The mug with the French quote reads:
    La vie est faite de petits bonheurs / Life is made of little pleasures

    More DIY:
    Dinosaur Lid Mason Jars
    Monogrammed Chalkboard Vase
    Thrift Store Frame Turned Chalkboard

    Follow Emily Chavous's board Craft Inspiration! on Pinterest.


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    05 December 2014

    Giveaway: $35 Novica Gift Card



    If you didn't catch my last outfit post, this lovely hand spun top was gifted to me by Novica. It's one of many fantastic artisan items from around the globe that you can score for under $35. And - just in time for the holidays - I've teamed up with Novica to give away a $35 gift card to one of you guys. A little thank you from me to you for reading the blog, and a generous donation from a really great company. Bonne chance!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    A few of my Novica favorites that you can snag for under $35:


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