Monday, December 26, 2016

Add a Little Extra and Your Holiday Table Will Look Even More Polished

The two pictures below show the same tablescape except for a few slight changes. I added a table runner to pull the whole theme together. I also added a chartreuse garland of ornaments to create interest. 

Here I added a pop of color, with an holiday dessert plate, and  I added two ornamental trees. Place cards finished off the look. What do you do to polish your holiday table? Post in the comments below.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Time to Celebrate the Season

Happy Hanukkah & Merry Christmas Eve one and all! Bloody Ceasars to celebrate 🍅🌶🦐
4 oz Clamato Juice
2 oz vodka (Tito's of course) 
1 T lemon juice
1 t Worcestershire sauce
.5 t horseradish
.5 t hot pepper sauce
Caesar Rimmer
Celery, jalapeña pepper, olives, lemon vanish

6 Tips for Creating a Festive Holiday Tablescape

Even if you rarely have dinner parties, the holidays are the right time to perfect your tablescape decorating talents. Setting a lovely table is one of my favorite things to do and the holidays afford me the opportunity to pull out some of my seldom used pieces.

1) Begin by choosing an inspiration piece. Here, I chose a large silver ornament and placed it on top of a vase surrounded by votives. I filled the vase with more silver ornaments. Silver candlesticks add height to balance things. Small decorative packages are scattered around the table. 2) Decorative salad plates add whimsy.

3) The buffet is decked with a variety of serving pieces. White dishes always make the food pop. 4) Always use linen napkins and napkin rings. 5) Placemats and/or chargers are a must. 6) A variety of glasses for wine and water finish off each table setting. Follow these 6 tips to create your festive tablescape. Happy holidays!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Just What the Doctor Ordered ~ 8 Essentials to Get You Through Cold & Flu Season

The holidays are right around the corner and you're feeling under the weather. It's easy to get desperate and try a variety of over-the-counter medications but these 8 essentials are guaranteed to provide comfort until you're back on your feet.

1.  Hot Tea - A hot cup of tea is just what the doctor ordered because you’re getting extra fluids, which your body needs desperately when fighting off an illness, and breathing in the steam vapors can also help loosen up any congestion you may be experiencing. 

Here's what you will need…

-Tea of your choice
-A spoonful of freshly grated ginger
-A pinch of cinnamon 
-A pinch turmeric
-A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
-A spoonful of raw honey 
-A lemon wheel
-Freshly boiled water

2.  Nasal Decongestant Spray - XLEAR Natural Saline Nasal Spray is my go to spray to alleviate congestion and relieve sinus pressure. Nasal sprays can help ease congestion but don't overdo it. 

3.  Cough Drops - My go to brand is the Halls Honey Lemon drops. They still have the menthol kick I need to cool my nasal passages and the cough suppressant soothes my sore throat. 

4.  Lip Balm - A stuffy head always equals chapped lips because I'm trying to breathe through my mouth.  Blistex Medicated Lip Conditioner soothes and heals chapped dry lips.

5. Tissues - Spare no expense on tissues! Nothing is worse than a rosy red nose. Kleenex is a must.

6.  Snuggly Pajama - Kensie Thermal Pajamas are so comfortable and cute. 

7.  Vaporizer or Humidifier - A vaporizer or humidifier can make the difference between coughing all night and a good night's sleep. They both disperse moisture into the air which can comfort congestion. I prefer the cool mist ultrasonic humidifier

8.  Chicken Soup - As soon as the first sneeze is heard in our house my husband has a pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove. Chicken soup is naturally full of electrolytes that help you retain more fluids than water alone does. 

What are your cold & flu essentials? Comment below. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Tis the Season for a Christmas Coffee Cocktail

This coffee cocktail is not for the faint of heart. It's delightfully strong so you won't even care if you get snowed in. Begin by brewing a strong pot of coffee. You'll need 4 oz. of coffee per glass.  I prefer to use my french press for this coffee. I picked up this press from Amazon. It's the Sterling Pro French Press and runs around $30. For this recipe,  I used Gevalia Espresso roast.


4 oz strong coffee
1.5 oz Amaretto
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1 oz Creme de Cocoa
Fresh Whipped Cream
Grated Chocolate or Cinnamon

Share your favorite coffee cocktail in the comments.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Glitz and Glimmer ~ Decorating on a Dime

Decorating for the holidays doesn't have to break the bank. By combining some of your traditional "old" decorations with some "new" ones you can create an updated look for only pennies. This artificial tree needed a makeover since most of the lights no longer were working. After a quick stop at Walmart I was able to get a deal on boxes of 300 lights. The feather accents add just the right amount of whimsy to my tree. The sparkly placements were a dollar each from A.C. Moore. The silver matte chargers cost a whopping $1.50 each from Michael's.

A quick change from summer drapes to winter royal purple drapes was easy thanks to Gabriel Brothers. A pair of silk drapes only cost $5.99.  The sparkly snowflakes catch the light in the windows and are attached with Command Strips or just placed on the window sills. The large ornaments and mercury glass candlesticks create a wintery theme. 

The table centerpiece features a large apothecary jar filled to the top with shiny ornaments. My best purchase of the season were strings of copper fairy lights.  These battery operated lights look fantastic in the jars, bowls, and laced between candles. 

Silver ornaments were placed throughout the shelves and in glass serving bowls. White on white always looks clean as the first fallen snow. 


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas in the House ~ Making Memories and Celebrating Traditions

3 Tips to Make Your Holiday Decorating Effortless

After a brief hiatus, I am back to blogging and what better time to return than Christmas! Thanksgiving came and went in the blink of an eye and I raced to the basement to grab the Christmas decorations to begin the annual tradition of decorating. My mother and I have been sharing this tradition for as long as I can remember.  This was the first year to have colored lights on our trees and I must say I am still rather undecided if I can get used to them. 

Tip #1 

If you are anything like me and want to change up your holiday decor, why not put both colored lights and white lights on your tree? By keeping the strings separate we have options... 1) colored & white, 2) just colored or 3) just white. Attach the cords to a remote plug like X10  and switching is quick and simple.
Tip #2

Natural wood or gas fireplaces don't have to be a hassle. Add some electric twigs and the glow will please just about anyone. Place a Woodwick Crackling Candle on the mantle and sit back and enjoy. 

Tip # 3

Your local tree farm is the place to find fresh cut trees. Buy a tree slightly taller than you need and have the staff cut the bottom off.  You now have a perfectly sized tree PLUS all the greenery you need to create wreaths and swags. The price will undoubtedly be fresher and less expensive by doing it this way rather than spending the extra amount for previously cut greens. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Calling all Weekend Warriors ~ Bedroom Makeover

Do you have a free weekend? Want to lift your spirits while freshening up your decor? Use this handy list to complete your easy bedroom makeover.
  • Paint
  • Inspiration pieces
  • Bedding 
  • Texturize with fabrics


My Top 3 Romantic Things to Do in Venice

If you are looking for a romantic destination you've come to the right place. My husband and I visited Venice in 2014 during a month long trip to Italy. Here are my top 3 romantics things to do during your trip to Venice, Italy.

1 ~  Enjoy a Romantic Gondola Ride through the Canals

2 ~ Explore the City on Foot and Attend an Opera

3 ~ Walk Hand in Hand at Sunset through St. Marco's Square 

Enjoy a lovely cup of tea at Caffe' Florian.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Almond Butter Raisin Cookies ~

A version of this recipe came from Mimi Ikonn  Check her out on YouTube


1 jar (approx. 120 grams) of all natural Cashew Butter
3/4 c Coconut Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
Handful of Raisins

Mix everything together, spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-15 min. depending on oven. 

Makes 16 medium-size cookies
Calories 84, Protein 1.7, Fat 4.1, Carbs 11.2, Sugar 9.5


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Channeling Cruella DaVille ~ Dots & Spots

Polka dots instantly make me feel happy! I'm not sure if it's the image of dalmatian puppies or a memory of Minnie Mouse at Disney World that whisks me off to my childhood, but whatever it is, I love those spots and dots! This blouse is from the Loft and it's light and easy to pair with black capris, dark or white skinny jeans. The neckline is cut to easily accent a trendy black suede double choker. I added a long crossbody chain to my Louis Vuitton mini pochette and I was ready for a sunny day of sightseeing.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Little Black Dress (LBD) Series ~ H & M Cape Sheath Dress

 Model: R. Thomas fitrach13 on Instagram

The little black dress takes on a whole new personality in this Cape Sheath LBD. I found this dress in Montreal at H & M. It's chic but understated with simple lines but the cape attachment adds the WOW Factor. I styled it with a stunning vintage feathered handbag that belonged to my grandmother. The shoes are Franco Sarto leopard heels. Playing with textures is always fun and quickly creates a luxe appearance. Another alternative would be to use pops of color with a statement necklace and clutch.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Four Newly Discovered Products I Can't Live Without

L'Oréal Boost It Lift Creation Spray
I stumbled across this product when I had a coupon and thought I'd give it a try. It was love at first spray! Boost It is more than a styling spray or a hairspray. It's a perfect back combing/teasing spray. Section off an area at the crown, spray, tease and Boost It! You'll love it. 

E.L.F. Essential Eyelid Primer
This is the perfect prep for my shadows. A quick swipe across my lids and I have a smooth canvas prepped with staying power. I use the shade Sheer. 

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer
It's not dark circles that I'm trying to hide.  I use this concealer in a brightening shade that instantly adds a radiant refreshed look to my face. 

Mitchum for Women Gel Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant
Shower fresh never felt so good! I thought Mitchum was for old ladies and boy, was I wrong. The formula goes on clear and stays clear and dry all day. 

Have you discovered any new products you can't live without? Share in the comment. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tired of the same old thing for dinner? How about Smoothie Bowls?

After a long work day it's nice to come home and not have to worry about making dinner. The fun begins the moment I say "how about smoothie bowls?"  

The blender comes out along with the Coconut Almond Milk, Greek yogurt and some frozen fruit and we're in business. Toppings are a personal choice. I went for mango, banana, blueberries with granola and pumpkin seeds dusted with chia. Dried organic goji berries add just the right amount of chewy sweetness. My hubby skipped the mango and added a bit more crunch. 

What's in your favorite smoothie bowl? Share in the comments. 


Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Super Food Martini?? Yes, Please!

The lychee fruit has been heralded as a super food and because of this, the Lychee Martini, is a super martini! The lychee is a tropical plant that's native to parts of China, India, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines. The fruit may not be the most attractive fruit since it kind of resembles a bumpy strawberry but the taste of the fruit far exceeds its appearance.  A lychee fruit tastes like a cross between a strawberry, a grape, and a watermelon. It's sweet and juicy. 

You can certainly make this martini by using fresh lychees but if you're like me and need instant gratification, a 20 oz can of lychees works perfectly. I empty the can of lychees and juice into a storage container and store them in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Even if the lychee begins to brown, the fruit still tastes delicious.


6 oz (3/4 cup) Vodka (I prefer Tito's)
1.5 oz (3T) Cointreau or 1.5 oz (3T) St. Germaine (I love adding a little of both)
Lychee juice to taste

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add vodka,  Cointreau and/or St. Germaine, and lychee juice. Shake until chilled. Pour into 2 martini or coupe glasses and garnish with lychees. Cheers!

Sometimes I use a martini glass and other times a coupe glass. Regardless of the stemware, the Lychee Martini is sure to please the martini lover in all of us.

Do you have a favorite martini? Share in the comments.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Berry Mango Smoothie Bowl


Combine in a blender 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt with 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 cup frozen berries. Top with sliced mango and kiwi. Add 2 T of granola. Enjoy!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking for a Cheat Day Appetizer that Takes the Cake?

Fried Goat Cheese Salad from The First Post Public House 

Try delicious fried goat cheese on a bed of arugula, pickled red onion, tomato, walnuts with a drizzle of honey citrus vinaigrette. YUM!

Are you ready for some football? My Top Tips for Hosting a Fabulous Fantasy Football Draft

Football season is right around the corner and it's time to start planning for your best Fantasy Football Draft Party. My husband and I have organized a fantasy football league for years and one of the highlights of the season is definitely the DRAFT PARTY. My Pinterest feed is filled with football food ideas. These pictures are from our 2014 draft party. Here are my top tips for hosting a fabulous football draft.

Don't wait until the last minute to plan your party. Start browsing Pinterest boards for football tailgating food. That's where I usually find the best ideas. Chips, salsa, veggies are always welcome but step up the presentation. Crockpots of soups, sausages, and chili are always a hit.

Stop off at your local party store and pick up some football themed paper plates, napkins and cups. A green tablecloth can add to the football theme.

Grab your fan gear and rock your favorite jersey. If you're DIY inclined you can "trash talk" through a customized t-shirt. Add a football theme to your tips and toes and you'll be ready for the best football draft ever.


Featured Post

Berry Mango Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients Combine in a blender 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt with 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 cup frozen berries. Top with sliced mango and ...

Follow by Email

Follow on Bloglovin

© In Stella's Spare Time... | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Crafted by pipdig