I look forward to Warby Parker‘s seasonal frames like some kids look forward to Christmas morning. After years and years of contact lens wearing that began in the 7th grade, I’ve reverted to wearing glasses most days. My eyes feel incredible, more relaxed than they have in years even after hours behind my laptop screen. And let’s be honest, I love all of the affordable stylish frames.
The spring 2014 collection features six everyday frames and three pairs of sunglasses. I went with the Marcel in Aurora. The frames are large without being too large, and round without being too round. In other words, they don’t overwhelm my face. And the dark tortoiseshell is a great dappled whiskey brown that makes my hazel eyes pop. It goes without saying that they’re become instant favorites – I’ve worn them every day since they arrived! Now I’m eyeing these Absinthe green Quimby frames for sunny days this spring.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Warby Parker eyeglasses. As always, all words and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush going!
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I’ve always wanted to throw a party that’s strictly about appetizers. Think about it, they’re one of the best parts of any special meal and you can typically fill up on them alone. Oh, and my definition of an “appetizer” is basically anything that can be eaten in three bites or less, which leaves plenty of room for interpretation and inspiration. The good news? You’re invited to my imaginary holiday appetizer party! (All links and sources at the end of the post.)
First let’s set the mood with plenty of simple touches. Ice lanterns lining the front walk and a tinseled wreath on the front door. Rustic vases full of berried branches. A festive backdrop for photos and plenty of white paper pendants suspended from the ceiling. Even miniature handmade wreaths for party favors!
The best hostesses always offer a beverage as soon as you’ve walked in the door and they’ve taken your coat! I like to offer a selection of hot and cold, boozy and non-boozy, that way you’re sure to have something for everyone. Most of the beverages above can be made in large batches, making it super easy to use pitchers and allow your guests to refill at their leisure. And of course allowing you to actually enjoy your own party!
When entertaining during the holidays, I like to purchase one or two special pieces for the occasion and rely on everyday pieces for the rest. In this case the purchases are small wooden appetizer forks, napkins and a festive cheese board. Otherwise it’s easy to stick to basics in our white, black, gold, and wood palette.
Last (but definitely not least) are the appetizers themselves. I think the rule of one plate of apps to every two people invited is a good rule to go by. Again, here I like to have a good mix of savory/sweet, soft/crispy, hot/cold, etc. Lots of these recipes can be prepped a day or two ahead of time and popped in the refrigerator until you’re ready to either warm them, assemble them, or set them out for guests. That equals less stress for you and a get together you can not only enjoy, but participate in. Happy Holidays!
Birchwood Vase – Better Homes & Gardens
DIY Mini Holiday Wreaths – The Sweetest Occasion
Ice Lantern Kit – Terrain
DIY Tinsel Garland Wreath – Creature Comforts
Paper Pendants – Serena & Lily
Snowball Curtain – Cox & Cox
Boozy White Hot Chocolate – The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Cranberry Orange Gin Fizz – The Messy Baker Blog
Spiced Sparkling Cider – The Best Remedy
Mocha Coffee Punch – She Wears Many Hats
Peppermint Eggnog Milkshake – The Merrythought
Pink Peppermint Russian – Kleinworth & Co
Arrow Forks – Sucre Shop
Be Merry! Cheese Board – C. Wonder
Gold Foil Cocktail Napkins – C. Wonder
Heath Serving Platter – Canoe
Hot Drinks Glass – Create & Barrel
Leopold Coupe Glass – Cocktail Kingdom
Mercer Burst Salad Plate – Crate & Barrel
Mingle Bar Glass – Crate & Barrel
Nico Platter – Crate & Barrel
Old Dutch Copper Tray – Overstock
Porcelain Serve Platter – Target
Wood Topped Ice Bucket – West Elm
Apple, Sweet Potato + Bacon Turnovers – Savory Simple
Baked Brie with Roasted Cranberry Sauce – A Couple Cooks
Cranberry Crostini – Cookie and Kate
Lobster Crostini – What Katie Ate
Mini Caramel Apple Hand Pies – Freutcake
Pumpkin Cheesecake Phyllo Straws – Rachel Cooks
Pomegranate Jeweled White Cheddar Cheeseball – How Sweet It Is
Cranberry Curd Tartlets – Martha Stewart
Zucchini Chips – Food Fanatic
Pumpkin Butter S’mores – Wit & Vinegar
Spinach Hummus + Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Quesadillas – 24 Carrot Life
Spiced Apple Chutney and Cinnamon Swirls – Great British Chefs
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.
This is a sponsored post, thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!
There’s not much better than a super soft, great fitting tee that goes with everything. If you haven’t already, meet Pickwick & Weller. Purveyor of affordable boutique-quality tees for men and women that are made right here in the USA, Los Angeles in fact. Friends Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Donahue, and Matt Rowe created the line in 2012, with a name inspired by Charles Dickens’ first novel – The Pickwick Papers. Pickwick & Weller has tees for him and tees for her, great basics to layer under winter clothes or wear alone.
I picked my favorite tee for girls and guys and chose a few gifts I think would be great go-withs! And get this – a discount of 25% off an order of $50 or more when you visit Pickwick & Weller through this link! You’ll take a brief survey about your shirt preferences, and then receive a discount code to use during checkout.
Clockwise from center: The Harlan by Pickwick & Weller // Classic Canadian Mittens // Marble Clutch // Open Scarecrow Ring // Plus Blanket // Pepper Mill and Salt Grinder // Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Set // Short Arc Earrings // Totem Necklace
Clockwise from center: The Christian by Pickwick & Weller // Dopp Kit // Brass Money Clip // Antiqued Brass Bottle Openers // Alarm Dock // Waterproof Bluetooth Shower Speaker // Great Expectations Flask // Twig Wall Hooks // Push Pencil
This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!
Sometimes you find that perfect shop – let’s call it the sweet spot – that not only fits your own taste and style, but where you can also find the perfect gift for just about everyone on your list. That’s Baba Souk. Full of color, pattern, and inspiration, all under the online roof of an indie boutique.
And they’re helping to make your holiday shopping that much easier by offering a 15% discount with the code designcrush through November 30th! (Thanks, Baba Souk. You’re definitely on Santa’s Nice List this year!)
This post is sponsored by Baba Souk. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!
I was really excited when Bing asked me to partner with them to share the new Smart Search for Windows 8.1. I’ve always been a really visual person, which probably helps to explain why I’ve always worked in creative fields among other (more nerdy) things. It’s also why I love my job as an art and design blogger, but sometimes the internet doesn’t translate well for my type of folk. Smart Search is an entirely visual search that shows you a clean, graphic view of information from across the web – right up my alley. You can use it to check out the weather, get directions, or like me… find the perfect Christmas cookies!
One of my pet peeves about recipes in general is when no photo is attached. How do I know what the end result is supposed to look like?! Is this chocolatey blob accurate? Well, Smart Search eliminates that problem completely. I can now find the cookies that I’ll make to take home with me to my Grandma’s for the holidays by what looks most delicious. (All of them, obviously.)
It was no easy task, but after a major search I narrowed down the results to these eight. And I still need to take that down further, because my 89-year-old Grandma and I have an agreement that we’ll each make two kinds. (Though she’s such a cheater.) Which two get your votes?
Clockwise from top: Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by Running to the Kitchen // Amaretti by gnom gnom // Caramel Apple Cookies by Bakers Royale // Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches by I Am Baker // Meringues with Rhubarb Curd and Rosehip by The Vanilla Bean Blog // Orange and Ricotta Crackle Cookies by Cook Republic // Pumpkin Shortbread by Cookies & Cups // Sweet Potato Ginger Cookies by Quick & Easy Recipes
This post was created in partnership with Bing. With a type or a swipe you can search the web, the cloud, apps, and your PC or tablet, all in one place using Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1.
Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush going!
Almost every one of my favorite recipes has a story, so when West Elm asked me to share one of my favorite holiday traditions I knew just the one. When I was in elementary school my grandparents looked after me once school was out every day. My Grandpa picked me up at the bus stop and drove me the fifteen minutes to their house in the next town where my mom would scoop me up after work. Most days when I got into his car there would be a snack waiting for me – an orange we would share or a coconut macaroon cookie. But on really special fall days there was nothing until we got back to their house and I walked in the door to the sight of my Grandma’s apple dumplings, perfectly golden and smelling like heaven. Those apple dumplings meant that the holidays (as well as winter vacation) were right around the corner!
Now that I make my own I cut a corner or two, but the end result still gives me that same feeling of being cozy and loved. I picked up a Scape Oval Baking Dish (the perfect size for four apple dumplings) and a set of Universal Expert Wooden Utensils from West Elm Market to make the recipe all the more fun to pull together and share with you. I can already tell that these pieces are going to get a major workout over the next few months between casseroles and baked goods!
• 4 medium-large apples (I used Fuji)
• 1/4 C quick cooking oats
• 1/4 C brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 4 pie crusts (I use pre-made)
• 4 tsp butter
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla
• granulated sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray in preparation. Make or (or open) your go-to pie crust recipe (each apple will use one crust). In a small bowl mix together the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon then set aside. Peel and core the apples. Roll out (or lay out) one pie crust and set an apple in the center. Fill the hollowed out core with the oat-brown sugar-cinnamon mixture all the way to the top, then place a teaspoon of butter on top. Fold up the edges of the crust, making sure to pinch the seams as you go along. Repeat the process with the other three apples and set each one in the baking dish. Beat the egg and vanilla together and brush all over each dumpling, then dust with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. These are delicious served with Brown Sugar Sauce (recipe below) or served with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. One dumpling could easily be split between two people.
Brown Sugar Sauce
• 1/4 C brown sugar
• 1/4 C water
Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until reduced and thickened.
Sponsored by Zazzle.
I’ve always erred on the early side of, well, everything. And holiday cards? Well, they’re no exception. November and December are always straight-up crazy busy in my life, so the sooner I can get my cards done the better. (One year I had them addressed and waiting before Halloween! Only mildly embarrassing in retrospect.)
This year I’ve teamed up with Zazzle to create the perfect holiday card, one that covers all the bases just like I like to do. They have so many customizable options and designs available, it was easy to find something that fit my style. I could have gone with a photo card of my four pets (but they’d never sit still long enough to make that happen) or I could have gone with a shot of my tree from last year (which was exception if I do say so myself), but in the end I opted for this scripted graphic flat that features my favorite holiday phrase from my favorite Christmas song and I couldn’t be happier. I loved going through all of Zazzle‘s color and paper options and choosing just the right thing that my friends and family are sure to flip for come December!
Holidays are made for you at Zazzle. Find cards you’ll covet at http://www.zazzle.com/holiday+
Brought to you by Motorola Moto X: Thousands of combinations. Design yours.
Color is one of the biggest elements of my style, of most peoples’ really. You can choose to be moody one day while cloaking yourself in black, or fun and playful the next while mixing bright hues. Innocent and ethereal in white, or downplayed in shades of brown. The point is that color infiltrates our lives in every way and definitely effects our mood. It’s reflected in my home, my closet, and now technology as well!
Motorola’s Moto X has been blowing up all over the place, and with over 2,000 color combinations it’s easy to see why. I’m glued to my phone and I’m sure you probably are too, so it’s especially it’s nice that Motorola has realized what a huge chunk of the market thinks of their phone not only as a lifeline but also as an accessory! After really examining my aesthetic and style preferences I decided on a blush Moto X with lemon lime accents. It perfectly mimics my taste, Plain with a Punch! Neutral tones, casual style, with an unexpected touch to make it really special.
PHOTO: Caroline Cohenour
I spent the last week of July tooling around OKC in a brand spankin’ new 2013 Dodge Dart. And let me tell you, this machine is much more high tech than its predecessor. It has loads of sleek lines and style from front to back and everywhere in between, along with the biggest dash touchscreen I’ve ever seen. Click over to Dodge’s REDLINE blog to see what kind of road trip I took it on and what we saw along the way!
PHOTO: Gregory Krum
A few weeks back I had one of the most raging headaches I can remember ever experiencing. Migraines run in my family and I fall prey to them about once a month, but when this one was still hanging around a whopping five days later I knew something was up. None of my prescription or OTC meds were doing anything to even dull the pain that was originating at the base of my skull and radiating up towards my ears and jaw. That’s when I scheduled a massage, thinking that maybe some sort of deep tissue maneuvering might work a little magic.
I met with a master masseuse who ended up using a variety of massage techniques – not all comfortable and relaxing – to try and relieve the extreme tension that had built up in my neck and back. That’s right, it was a tension headache in migraine’s clothing. When the masseuse was finished she told me it was a challenging massage to give because I wouldn’t relax and that we needed more than an hour because I was so tense. Then she asked me whether I was stressed about anything (not really) and what I did for myself (uhhhh). My response was a very truthful “I’m not very good at that sort of thing.”
The massage did help, but the masseuse’s words are what really stuck. I realized I physically need to make more time for myself. Being a full-time blogger I have the advantage of a flexible schedule, it also means that I don’t have your typical weekend off. So I’ve decided that Wednesdays are going to be my recharging time, smack dab in the middle of the workweek. Feel Good Wednesdays, if you will. I definitely won’t be taking the day off, but I will be taking more time than usual for myself. A yoga class, less caffeine and more hydration (like with bubbly Ozarka® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water), maybe a mug of tea to wind down, a longer walk with the dogs once the temperatures drop, you see what I’m saying. I’m hoping that by slowing down just a little my life will thrive even more.
How do you make time for yourself? I can use all the advice you can give!
Sponsored by Ozarka® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush going!