Merry Christmas

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I’m not quite sure why, but at six o’clock this morning, I was wide awake. Apparently my mind knew that it was christmas. So here I am, before the sun is even up, blogging because I can’t go to bed.

I can’t even snoop on the gifts because the living room has been wrapping papered shut. So sad.

So happy early Christmas, everyone! (Ps, that wreath picture is of the one I made this year. Leopard print, yay!)

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Peppermint Fudge

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Are you in candy cane overload yet?

No? That’s good, because I’ve got a recipe for you for a last minute gift. Peppermint fudge. I know what you’re thinking. Fudge? Come on, let’s be more creative than that. Well, I’ve never made fudge before, so this was an experiment all on its own. So I scoured the Internet until I found something that seemed easy enough that I could tweak to fit my needs. 

Then I went peppermint crazy. And I got some pretty sweet chocolate goodness. All with just a simple double boiler (a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water) and some chocolate to melt. Yum!

Gather:

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 candy cane, crushed into small pieces for topping

Line an 8×8 inch pan with a piece of wax paper.

In a double boiler, melt butter. Then add chocolate chips, condensed milk, and salt. Stir until mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir until combined.

Remove bowl from heat and pour into prepared pan. Careful, the bowl will be hot. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the fudge to the edges and smooth the top. Sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces over the top.
Refrigerate the fudge for about 2 hours or until firm enough to cut. Remove from pan. Using a heated knife (run under hot water and dry), cut fudge into pieces. Refrigerate.

Holiday Postcard – Hide Your Cookies

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I got a little silly the other day with everything seasonal. And those of you who have checked your mail lately might have noticed a pretty interesting postcard come through, this is the back story. (My grandfather actually just thought it was an ad from a local business. Turns out I’m that good.)

Let me back up. I’ve always been one for Christmas. I’m the one who encourages people to those Ugly Sweater Parties and to sew on more tinsel and ribbon. I decorate wreaths with my friends, getting hot glue gun burns along the way. I even make peppermint cookies, hot cocoa, fudge, cake, candies, and martinis – because, isn’t that the way it should be?

So I begged my my photographer friend, Andy from Perfect Perceptions, to take my picture for my holiday card this year that I would be designing. When he showed up, I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into, because what he saw was this: a 26-year-old holding a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie the size of her face and sporting a Santa hat, more than enough ornaments to cover a tree, and the Elf soundtrack on the counter sitting and waiting to be played.

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“So what’s the theme?” was the response – with smirk – that I got.

“Christmas!!”

Of course, my idea of Christmas might seem a bit tacky, but I don’t care. So I turned this shoot into a Christmas Wonderland. (At one point I shredded up cotton balls to make snow. Note: they do not blow like snow when you huff and puff at them in your hand. Makes for a horrible picture.)

However, I did end up with a bunch of great pictures. (Which he fabulously edited for me!) And then I designed one of my most favorite cards to date! So silly, but so fun! Couldn’t have been happier with how the pictures came out!

Let’s just say that among the comments I got back were: “You’re a brave soul to send those into the mail.” “I can’t believe you did that.” and “That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen!”

Hehe. Successful Roni designed postcard! On to my other holiday endeavors!

Voila! My card (yes, it says “Hide Your Cookies,” on it.):

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Holiday Shopping: How I Try To Shop For Others and Fail

Can we talk about, for a minute, how hard it is to shop for other people come Christmas time? Every time I go into a store, all I can find are things that I want. A nice bracelet, a scarf that I want that looks like every other one I own, and a gadget that I’d only buy if I won the lottery. Then I remember the real reason I came into the store, to shop for my friends and family.

Oh yeah….

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That’s exactly how I stumbled upon Rue La La’s deal today – half off Alex and Ani bracelets! I’ve been watching these forever but haven’t had the heart to buy even one. Mostly it’s because to acquire that full bangled look, I’d have to shell out about $300, minimum. But half off?? Half off? That’s crazy!

Anyone need some last minute shopping gifts, head to Rue La La today. You only pay shipping once for 30 days and most items right now will make it to your house by Christmas if you order now.

Good luck!! I’m going to go back to trying to shop for other people and ignore the things that I want for myself….

Click here to see today’s deal: http://tinyurl.com/npotzk9 

Help: Finding My 2013 Holiday Outfit

I’m at a standstill. I don’t know what to wear for my holiday party. It’s in a week and I’ve gone through about 10 different outfits. I already thought about renting a dress from Rent the Runway, then thought better of it. I shopped on Black Friday and found nothing. I’ve even scoured Pinterest for inspiration. So I’m asking you, friends. What should I wear?

To give you an idea of what I’m looking for, this is a work party. So it has to be classy, but it can totally be fun. My office is awesome, fairly laid back, and totally female-driven. That means looking my best is a must. As someone who typically dresses other people (yay Loft!), when it comes to myself, I’m a bit stuck on what I should do.

The ladies at Loft created a few outfits for me to test out. So I’m curious what your thoughts are. These are three totally different looks, but all holiday party appropriate. Mostly, it’s talking, snacking on apps, drinking a few fizzy cocktails, and a bit of dancing. So I need to be comfortable, but not too casual.

These are the three we came up with (click the images to see the Polyvore Sets):

Redtastic (as I’m calling it)
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Black & Gold Luxe
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Winter White Wonderland
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My party is Dec. 13, so send in your votes. I’m hoping to decide soon and would love input!

** Also, heads up that there will be a Style Event at the Newington Loft on Thursday, Dec. 12, the day before my party for 25% off full-priced items! Sweet deals on these New Arrivals and get styled by the girls! Just tell them your event. Open a card and get another 15% off all of the total after savings, too! Tell them Roni sent you!**

Reindeer Holiday Cards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! (Try not to sing it as you read it, or do. Either way, it’s entertaining.) I’m starting to get ready for the holiday cheer – cutting snowflakes, planning my gifting strategy, as well as making holiday cards! And I have to say, my favorite are these minimalist reindeer “Love” cards that I designed. Super simple, but I’m in love with them all the same. I’ve even sold two packages of cards so far, can you believe it?

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I’m working on more designs, but for the time being it’s up on Etsy (click to see).

My mom always had me sit with a pile of Christmas cards, signing my horrible little signature on all of them so we could mail them out the same day. And as much as I kinda hated it, I actually really love getting greeting cards in the mail, which is why I don’t want to see it end. I think that would be catastrophic if the Post Office stopped mailing holiday cards. It’s much more entertaining to get a handwritten note, than an email that I’m just going to delete in two seconds anyway. At least I can put a greeting card on my fridge or tape them up on the wall. (Other people do that, right? The shrine-to-the-holiday-cards wall?)

Let The Christmas Shopping Begin! – UPDATED

Umm, so this is totally insane. I just bought my first Christmas present of the season – for only 85 cents! And that included shipping. How, you ask? Rue La La is giving away a $25 credit today to members. I thought it was a joke until I opened my account and saw $25 sitting there. Jaw dropped!

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If you find something $15 or less, it’s free. You can use the credit toward shipping, too! (Which is $9.95). If you haven’t signed up, you should today and get the deal.

Sign-up: http://tinyurl.com/orlqn47
OR
This was the sponsored link I went through: http://bit.ly/1jmCCUb

Might just get something free to kick off your holiday shopping for the season!

Had to share with everyone. Let me know if it worked for you, too, and what you picked up for free today! I’d love to hear it.

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UPDATED – 11/22

Okay, so it appears the credit was only for existing RueLaLa members, but no fret, if you’re already a member, there’s a chance you might have something in your inbox waiting for you. So I still suggest you go see and try to get a good deal! It doesn’t hurt to try, especially when you’re paying pennies for items worth $35 to $40 and shipping!