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C A S O N | beauty stocking stuffers

Well, we’re down to the wire here. Less than 1 week until Christmas. Hopefully your stockings are hung from the chimney with care by now. If their not full yet, we’ve totally got you covered in the beauty department. Everything on my list can be found at any Target, Walmart, or drugstore so you don’t have to break the budget on last minute express shipping charges. Added bonus: everything is under $10!

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1 | Baby Lips | $3.49
Tint, shimmer, and moisture for up to 8 hours. Done.

2 | Travel Size Toiletries | $1 – $3
Stocking stuffers don’t have to completely blow your budget. Go crazy in the travel toiletries section! I feel like I almost always have a suitcase either being packed or unpacked in my room so bring on these little space savers.

3 | Boots Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz | $8.39
I’ve featured this in a beauty post before and I have no shame in featuring it again. I LOVE THIS STUFF. Spritz on your face after washing or right after you step out of the shower. The rosewater helps tighten your pores and won’t leave your skin feeling dry.

4 | Metallic Bobbie Pins | $5
I’ve never met a girl who didn’t have a bobbie pin black hole in their bathroom. You can never have too many of these little guys.

5 | Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream | $8.99
Keep those hands moisturized this time of year!

6 | Ouchless Ribbon Elastics | $3.99
You can find these little gems just about anywhere. I have a couple in gold glitter and they add just the right amount of sparkle whether they are actually in my hair or on my wrist.

7 | Essie Nail Polish | $8.49
The Fall 2014 colors are to die for!

8 | EOS Holiday Set | $5.99
I swear I have one of these in every room of my house, every coat pocket, and every purse I own. If you can’t get to Ulta for this holiday set, Target has EOS spheres in almost every color for $2.99 each.

May all of your stockings be overflowing with beauty products! (Only 6 more sleeps until Christmas!)

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A U D G E | sippin’ cider

Fireball Crockpot Cider S_003Cider is one of my fave beverages of all time, no matter what the season! In the summer, I love a good ice cold hard cider to quench my parched little mouth… and in the winter, I love wrapping my hands around a toasty little mug to warm me up. It’s an all around win in my book! We got introduced to Fireball awhile back, and I’ve been trying to find new things to mix with it (since I’m a total mixologist… you know me. PFFT.) But then it dawned on me… what if I combined this little snappy bite of cinnamon with my well established love for cider?! Turns out I wasn’t the only one that had thought of this, but MAN! I felt like I had struck gold with this little stroke of genius! So here’s what I’ve got for you… are you ready for this??

Fireball Crockpot Cider S_001Homemade Hard Cider (in a crockpot!)

:: Jug of Apple Cider (I love Martinelli’s! But there are other great ones out there too)
:: 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
:: Fireball (as much or as little as you like!)

So, this is so easy I feel like it shouldn’t even be called a recipe. Just put everything together in the crockpot and let it simmer for awhile. There’s no math to it really – you can put as much Fireball as you want in depending on your taste (and how frisky you’re feeling!). We put roughly 3 shots in with the whole jug of cider, and it was enough to add a little flavor. We could’ve put another 1 or 2 shots in before you started tasting any kick to it. I let it sit in the crockpot on low for maybe an hour just to let it warm nicely and to let the cinnamon sticks do their thing too. But honestly, you could just warm and serve. It’s so easy, you can’t mess it up!

Fireball Crockpot Cider S_002This would make a lighter alternative to egg nog if you’re looking for a good festive holiday cocktail – just make sure you save me a mug! Make it without the Fireball too if you’ll have kiddies sharing from the batch… still equally as yummy!

Hope you guys enjoy! Oh, and CHEERS! :)

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J O A N N A | party dresses for under $50

The count down to Christmas is t-minus 8 days. Are you ready? Personally, I’m ready to just jump straight past Christmas and right on to the celebration of the New Year. Put on a cute dress, get together with all the people you actually WANT to see, pop some bubbly… Sounds fabulous doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, I am currently laid up in the bed with a gimp foot. I underwent a pretty intense surgery last week on my left foot which has left me using crutches for the next week. It’s nothing too serious, but to make a long story short, I had surgery on BOTH of my feet in 2008 and my left foot has since suffered some complications. Recently, it had gotten bad enough for me to take action. Having said all of that, I am not personally looking for a fancy New Years Eve dress, but I can still live vicariously through all of you, right? So, in case you haven’t had a moment to think through New Years celebrations yet, allow me to at least help you out with the most important part… the dress!

These lovely dresses are all under $50 and would be perfect to ring in the New Year. Maybe you can even add it to your Christmas list as last-minute hail Mary?

My prayer for MYSELF is that my foot recovers quickly and that I will experience some relief soon… my prayer for all of YOU is that the next 8 days will be filled with lots of love, fun times, pretty things, joyful people, and champagne! Make me proud!joanna_crop

K A T | diy glass ornaments

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Cason and I are not your “traditional” decorators. We don’t discriminate against colors and we love to mix different styles. We like to think of our home as a mix between West Elm and Jonathan Adler. Well…when it comes to Christmas decorations we are no different. We didn’t want to decorate with the typical red and green shades. That meant when it came to decorating we had to think outside the box. A lot of our stuff we either had to make ourselves (or order on Etsy because we didn’t feel like making it) or hit up Anthropologie’s after-Christmas sales. One of my favorite things we’ve made was an arrangement we did on our coffee table. It’s so easy I hesitate to even call it a DIY project but I thought I’d share anyway!

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[ YOU'LL NEED ]
:: glass ornaments (You can get these anywhere! Hobby Lobby, Target…)
:: Feathers
:: Pom Poms
:: Glitter
:: Fortunes (We saved these for years and finally thought of something to do with them!)
:: Hole punches
:: Googly Eyes
:: Sequins

DIY-ornaments

[ INSTRUCTIONS ]
:: Fill ornaments with fun/random items and you’re done! We put all of our ornaments in a big gold bowl we got from Ikea. You could also fill glass cylinders for a table arrangement or even hang some on the tree. The ones filled with glitter and sequins get surprising heavy so I wouldn’t recommend hanging those.

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You can obviously put ANYTHING in the ornaments but my goal was to think of random things that no one else would do. It made the project more unique and the best part is, it matches our house perfectly! (I’m personally a big fan of the googly eyes…there’s my inner teacher coming out.) This project is so affordable and quick, you’ve still got time to make it before Christmas! (Make sure to save the boxes the ornaments come in, that’s how we store them from year to year.)

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C A S O N | family time

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I just got back last night from my most favorite weekend of the entire year! A few years ago, my family started a new tradition of visiting Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee during the holiday season. This little retreat is hands down one of my most favorite spots in the entire world. The scenery, food, Christmas decor, and ambiance truly make it a magical weekend for us! Rather than tell you all about it, I’d rather show you. Check out my incredibly relaxing weekend!

[ ROOM WITH A VIEW ]

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[ DECK THE HALLS ]

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[ GREAT COMPANY ]

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[ and if that's not good enough, there is always COTTON CANDY ]

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Only 365 more days and I’ll be back in my happy place…. Happy Monday and Happy Holidays!

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A U D G E | t.g.i.f.

TGIF

Weekends are my FAVE. Sometimes I’m so beat by the time Thursday night rolls around, I can barely pour myself into bed. But then I wake up on Friday morning and it’s like a second wind of energy… T.G.I.F. BAYBEE! This week I feel like I’ve been all over the place, so my blog post for today will reflect that in it’s truest form. Here are some musings and whatnot I’ve collected throughout the week… so here we GO!

I’m glad I’m not the only Mom that has thought about punching the TV when Calliou’s whiney little voice pops up… GAH.

I’m in love with this piece by Anne Almasy. Any other creatives out there feel like this too??

This seriously might be the coolest holiday garland I’ve ever seen! Maybe I’ll tackle it one day… MAYBE.

If only these clogs were in my size! I’m on the hunt for a vintage-y pair… the search continues.

So I’m kinda new to the world of consignment (I know – WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!). Have you ever heard of Twice? It’s kind of blowing my mind right now.

Just purchased this super rad OneLight workshop from Zack Arias – the learning never ends! If you’re a local photog and you haven’t heard of him… he’s one to keep an eye on.

For the only time in my life, I think I find myself relating more to Britney Spears.

I’m getting smarterrrr… who dares to challenge me??

In case you forgot about this little gem… let’s start this day off right.

(Bet you’ll have this song stuck in your head all day now… muahahahaha!) Happy Friday y’all!

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C A S O N | creamy chicken and wild rice soup

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Thank the good Lord it finally feels like December! Kat and I had to turn on our air last week and we were pretty upset about it. We were practically sweating while watching White Christmas and wrapping presents. Mother Nature clearly missed the memo for a minute there. All that to say, I was freezing this morning…YAY! I’ll absolutely hate it come February but for now I’m basking in my scarf, sweater, and mitten glory! To celebrate the chill in their air, I’ve got a no-brainer wild rice soup recipe that will please even the pickiest of eaters. On a recent trip to the mountains, my family found a total hole in the wall restaurant in Ellijay that served the most divine chicken and wild rice soup. We raved so much that my mom claimed she could mimic the recipe. My taste buds swear she came pretty darn close.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

:: 1 rotisserie chicken
:: 1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice (Original Recipe)
:: 8 cups chicken broth
:: 1/2 pint half and half
:: salt and pepper to taste

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1 | Remove skin and shred all chicken. Discard bones.

2 | Cook wild rice according to box instructions and set aside.

3 | Heat chicken broth in a large pot.

4 | Add chicken and wild rice and simmer for 10 minutes.

5 | Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just a few minutes before serving, stir in half and half. (Doing this too early will cause the half and half to do funny things. Just don’t.)

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Let’s cross our fingers for continued soup weather!

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K A T | bupper: big little lies by liane moriarty

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This Monday, Courtney hosted her first Bupper Club and she certainly out-did herself! She chose the book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. All I have to say is, if you haven’t read along with us yet- you are missing out! This book was one of my favorite picks.

Big Little Lies is the perfect balance of drama, comedy, and mystery! The book focuses on the conflicts and secrets between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors. In the first chapter you learn about a tragedy that takes place at Pirriwee Public Elementary School’s trivia night.  You’re immediately transported back in time to 6 months before as you read through flash backs, witness statements, and tons of town gossip. And for the love of God, you just want to know what happened at TRIVIA NIGHT! It’s a definite page-turner. If you’ve got some free time during the holidays, snuggle up in front of a fire, and grab a copy of Big Little Lies.

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[ the MEAL ]

Pancakes, parfaits, muffins, bacon, and of course the “not on a school night” cocktails that were served at trivia night…trust me, we didn’t let things get TOO out of hand! The pancakes Courtney made were particularly great so I thought I’d share her recipe!

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Banana, Nutella, and Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:
:: 1 cup all purpose flour
:: 1/4 cup quick oats
:: 1 teaspoon baking soda
:: 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
:: 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
:: 1 large banana, mashed
:: 1 cup buttermilk
:: 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
:: 1 large egg
:: 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
:: 1/4 cup Nutella

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, sugar, banana, buttermilk, coconut oil, egg and vanilla, stirring until well combined. Gently stir in Nutella, only swirling. Do not fully mix in. Spoon batter into a hot non-stick skillet over medium heat. With spoon, form the batter into a round pancake working quickly. Let cook for about 1 minute, until batter starts to bubble and set up. Flip and cook for an additional minute, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and continue cooking remaining pancakes.

[ discussion QUESTIONS ]
Warning- questions contain spoilers!

1. Who did you suspect was the murder victim? Did it change throughout the book? If you guessed correctly, when did you begin to suspect? How did you feel when you found out who it was?
2. Were you surprised when the culprit was revealed? Did she get a fair sentence, in your opinion?
3. Was it fair of Madeleine to ask Ed to lie about what he saw (or didn’t see) that night on the balcony? What would you have done in his position?
4. What do you think about Nathan moving into Madeleine’s community, particularly since they have children the same age and in the same school? Madeleine says there should be laws against it. What do you think?
5. Do you think Perry was indeed genuinely sorry for his abuse of Celeste after the fact? Did he truly believe he’d never do it again?
6. Did you think Ziggy was the bully? Did you think he was being bullied? Did you suspect it was really Max?
7. Did you suspect Tom was not, in fact gay? Were you glad for Jane?

[ next BOOK ]

Nikki is hosting our next Bupper! She picked God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo. Here is a brief synopsis of our next book.

When I was twelve, a fortune teller told me that my one true love would die young and leave me all alone. Everyone said she was a fraud, that she was just making it up. I’d really like to know why the hell a person would make up a thing like that.

Written with the snap, glitter and wit of The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, God-Shaped Hole is a memorable, poignant love story that will leave you weeping with laughter. It is told in the wry, vulnerable voice of Beatrice “Trixie” Jordan who replies to a personal ad, “If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world.” In doing so, she meets Jacob Grace, a charming, effervescent thirty-something writer, a free spirit who is a passionate seeker of life. He possesses his own turn of phrase and ways of thinking and feeling that dissonantly harmonize with Trixie’s off-center vision as they roller coaster through the joys and furies of their wrenching romance. Along the way they try to come to terms with the hurt brought about by their distant fathers who, in different ways, forsook them.

This story will prove so touching you will rush to share it with a friend or loved one or even a stranger.

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Click here to get your copy and ready along with us!

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J O A N N A | emerald cove designs giveaway

Way back in the day when I was engaged, Kat and Cason threw me a monogram shower… that’s right, all things monogrammed! I was given pillow cases, towels, jewelry, and bag’s all donning my new initials! It was such a cute idea… they were WAY ahead of the personalization craze (those two, always ahead of the trend). Nowadays, having things monogrammed is ALL the rage and ALWAYS a great gift idea. But, the key is having it done right. That’s why Emerald Cove Designs is my go-to embroidery shop! Stacie from Emerald Cove goes above and beyond on her products, she doesn’t settle for anything less than perfection and her customer’s satisfaction is always her number one priority! So, when Emerald Cove Designs wanted to do a giveaway for YCSWU readers it was a no-brainer!

These are just a few of the items from Emerald Cove Designs. My nieces and nephews have the personalized super hero capes which basically seal the deal that they are; in fact, super hero’s (duh).The monogrammed hats are also a huge thing right now for the ladies.

picstitch (5)These cute accessories were recently added to Emerald Cove’s shop… my niece Emma says they go great with her cape!
picstitch (6)Emerald Cove Designs is giving away a $40 gift card to their Etsy shop! The winner will be announced on Friday; we will contact the winner and their order will be placed right away! SO, be sure to check out the shop so you can be prepared! Oh, and the best part is… you can have your order by Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There is something to be said about personalized gifts; they are so sentimental and prove that a lot of thought went into your loved one. So, make your list, check it twice, and then enter into our giveaway!

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A U D G E | sweet as pecans

Sweet Pecans Recipe_003 copyDecember brings the BEST sweets… and I have a mildly uncontrollable sweet tooth. So there’s that. I have a couple of holiday treat faves that make an appearance every year in our family, and hands down this is one of the best! My mom gave me the recipe in a little cookbook one year, so right now I’m basically releasing some kind of deep treasured family secret right into your kitchens! (You can thank me by sending me large batches of baked goods, please and thank you.) The best part is that it’s super simple to whip up, and you almost always have everything you need except for the actual nuts themselves. It’s one of those “little effort/big reward” kind of treats, which you know I’m all about! So here’s the rundown…

Sweet Pecans Recipe_004Sweet Pecans

:: 1 lb. pecans
:: 1 egg white
:: 1 tsp. cold water
:: 1/2 cup of sugar
:: 1 tsp. salt
:: 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1| Beat your egg white and cold water in a large bowl until it’s fluffy.

2| Add sugar, salt, and cinnamon and mix well. Add the pecans and coat them really well.

3| Put them on a cookie sheet in a single layer, then bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. (Disclaimer: I forgot to stir them while they were cooking and they turned out equally as delicious)

Sweet Pecans Recipe_002These are a great nibbler to have out if your hosting a party, or package it up cute and make sweet little gifts for your pals and other VIP’s in your life. The number of people that would love you for making these for them… it’s NUTS really… (I couldn’t help myself.)

Hope you guys had an action-packed weekend! Maybe drooling over these bad boys will make Monday a little less painful… hang in there champ. Friday is right around the corner!

Until next time,

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