Feel Good Gifts

Enrou

This time of year one tends to start thinking of what they could’ve done better, where they could’ve done more. The good news is that it’s never too late to challenge yourself to up the ante, and that means choosing fantastic gifts to give this holiday that do double-duty. Ones that give back and mean a little something extra to the giver, the receiver, and the company you’re buying from.

Thrive Market Membership. Great deals on organic and non-GMO foods, and for each year-long membership sold Thrive donates a membership to a low-income family.

The Bee Cause Project Honey. For every online purchase of BeeCause Honey, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to one of the school hive projects sponsored by The Bee Cause.

Three Avocados Coffee Subscription. They’ll send 100% of the profits towards clean drinking water projects in Uganda.

The Basket Room. This purchase directly supports the weavers to increase their livelihoods and become less dependent on self-sufficiency farming. Each basket comes with a thank you card from the cooperative who made your basket.

Enrou. Meaning en route – or on the way – to a better world. All of their home goods and gifts are selected for their beauty, quality, and ability to provide opportunity to artisans from around the world.

 

The Little Market

The Little Market. An online fair trade shop working through cooperatives and social enterprises, The Little Market’s artisan partners improve the quality of life in their communities in a number of ways, including literacy workshops, business training, and health programs.

31 Bits. This jewelry shop creates dignified work opportunities for artisans worldwide while providing customers with a place to purchase fairly made products. Fair pay, sustainable wages, safe working conditions, and a family-like atmosphere make all the difference.

The Giving Keys. It started with a hotel room key worn as a necklace and continues by helping those who have been affected by homelessness.

Causebox. A quarterly subscription box that features brands and items dedicated to doing good all over the world. Many featured brands donate a portion of proceeds to charities and/or may employ local artisans, use ethically-sourced goods, and more.

 

Causebox

PupJoy. For your pups, PupJoy donates $2 from every box to BISSELL Pet Foundation, which assists animal welfare organizations providing resources to reduce the number of animals in shelters and rescues through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping, and foster care. They also support small business manufacturers when sourcing their products, and all of their treats are made in the U.S.

Obakki. This shop creates classic and refined styles for the modern woman while The Obakki Foundation, Obakki’s philanthropic counterpart, focuses on providing clean water and education in Africa. Obakki absorbs all administrative fees for the charity, allowing 100% of the Obakki Foundation’s public donations to go directly to its charitable initiatives.

Especially Puglia. Adopt a hundreds-years-old Puglian olive tree for one year and support the farmers and producers who keep traditional harvest and production methods alive. Comes with a 3-liter can of extra-virgin olive oil plus a ceramic cruet to serve it from, an adoption certificate, and three additional bottles of oil, one every three months.

Vinfluence Wine Subscription. Choose 3 or 6 months, each box contains three wines from a boutique winery and for every bottle they ship $1 is donated to City Harvest, Sustainable Harvest International, or Fiver Children’s Foundation.

Other ideas:
Newspaper or magazine subscriptions – support free press!
Passes to local museums/attractions – keep it local!
Donations to food pantries or a homeless shelter

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Holiday House Tour

 

Some of you mentioned wanting to see more of the house after our curb appeal preview and office tree – ask and you shall receive! (Well, some of the time at least.) I’d mentioned keeping things more minimal than usual this year, and I have to admit just how good it feels. It doesn’t feel like the entire place has been upended and I’m not dreading the breakdown of it all next month. Am I onto something here?

 

 

 

I made room for a few of my favorite decorations on the bookcase in the living room, two pink bottlebrush trees that I’ve had for more than a handful of years and a few unfinished wooden trees with my reindeer friend who can’t stand on his own.

 

 

The hall closet door has become the place where all holiday cards are gathered as they arrive. I love watching it fill up and overflow onto the wall! It brings a little dose of joy into an otherwise neglected corner of the house.

 

 

 

The mantle and hearth are simple yet festive. My favorite shade of poinsettia – faded red – sits atop the mantle and a strand of battery-operated mercury glass lights are strung below. The mercury glass gets carried down to the floor with the addition of my growing tree collection, I’m currently up to four with the tallest standing around two feet.

 

 

 

A little bit more mercury glass on the dining room table and a big pitcher full of eucalyptus and greenery. It lasts throughout the season and then some when watered regularly! The little canvas snowman on the credenza makes me smile, which is the only reason I looked for when decorating this year.

 

 

The bathroom off the dining room has one of my favorite wreaths on its door, a grapevine decorated with pinecones and felt mistletoe. There’s also a vase on the counter with a bunch of dried evergreens that I’ve left up since last Christmas, simply because I like them.

 

 

Last year I bought my friend and I this same wooden owl, and mine is proudly perched near the cooktop in the kitchen. He brings a much needed dose of color and merriment to an otherwise undecorated room as well as a reminder of her.

 

 

And finally – the tree. This is the first real tree I’ve ever had, a Norfolk Island Pine, and insisted that it be potted so that I can either plant it outside or keep it potted indoors once the season is over. It’s giving off a lot of Charlie Brown vibes, but I really love it. It has not one but two tops, can’t hold heavy ornaments, and can barely support the two strands of lights on its branches. But the charm. In spades, for days.

So there you have it! Not the most heavily decorated place, but all the things I love which is really what it’s all about.

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You’re Invited: Christmas Brunch

I miss doing big Christmas dinners, but brunches have their own kind of charm. There’s definite appeal in being able to do so much prep work the day before, and it’s nice being able to put out an equally sweet and savory spread that caters to everyone’s tastes. I chose recipes that are easy to grab and eat while you’re catching up around the tree to pair with a selection of cocktails and traditional non-alcoholic options. As far as decorations go, this year I’ve really been drawn to fresh greenery, golds, and glass – you’ll see all three below in decor as well as on the table. (If you’d like even more inspiration check out prior Christmases 2013, 2014, and 2015!)

 

Live Eucalyptus Garland // Boxwood + Myrtle Half Wreath // Glittery Stars Garland // Green and Silver Tinsel Tree // Clear Igloo Globe String Lights // Jewel Votive Holder // Brass Laurel Wreath // Skultana Small Candlestick // Walnut Tree Skirt

 

Boozy Blood Orange Punch // Breakfast Bramble Cocktail // Cardamom Coffee //
Creamy Almond + Cashew Nog // Hot Blender Chocolate // Winter Vanilla Paloma

 

Battuto Serving Bowl // Belgian Flax Linen Table Runner // Dauville Dinner Plate // Instant Karma XL Platter // 5-pc Ivory Flatware Set // Marble Trivet // Marta Double Old-Fashioned Glasses // Seafoam Enamel Tray // Beaker Glass Tea Light Candle Holders

 

Apple Walnut Strudel with Cardamom // Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups // Butternut Squash Breakfast Muffins // Cinnamon Streusel French Toast Cups // Easy Vegetarian Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole // Easy Twisted Pumpkin Spice Danish // Gingerbread Scones // Mini Cheese Quiche // Mixed Berry Croissant Bread Pudding // Orange, Vanilla & Cardamom Challah Wreath and White Chocolate Glaze // Roasted Rosemary Beets // Spiralized Potato Thyme Casserole

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Printable Winter Nights Gift Wrap + Tags

 

This holiday we’ve teamed up with surface pattern designer Vivian Kvitka, aka the Good Viv, to bring you a gorgeously illustrated printable! Vivian created art full of wintery holiday windows, constellations, and stars that was turned into gift wrap and tags for you to print and cover your gifts with. The mustard and indigo lend themselves to all December holidays, whichever you celebrate, and can be used all winter long. The download includes colored as well as black and white versions of the gift tags, letter-sized sheets, and 11 x 17″ sheets. Enjoy!

Download Winter Nights Gift Wrap + Tags HERE

 

 

 

 

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Mega Christmas Cookie Roundup

I’m way behind on, well, everything this holiday season. (Very unlike me.) Next weekend I’ll need to cram in any and all baking I plan on doing before Christmas and I haven’t even chosen my recipes! Do you make the same ones every year or search out new? I’ve rounded up 48 cookie recipes that look irresistible for you to consider.

 

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1/ Marshmallow Christmas Wreaths   2/ Coffee and Cream Shortbreads   3/ Gingerbread Cranberry Linzer Cookies   4/ Llama Orange-Spice Cookies   5/ Thin and Chewy Spiced Oatmeal Cookies with Brown Butter Icing   6/ Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Cookies

 

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7/ Sugar-Dusted Macaroon Trees   8/ Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies   9/ Chocolate Gingerbread Petit Fours (GF)   10/ Sugar Cookie Bark   11/ Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread   12/ S’mores Cookie Sandwiches

 

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13/ Citrusy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rosemary Salt (GF)   14/ Black and White Brownie Sandwich Cookies   15/ Chocolate Sugar Cutout Cookies   16/ Salted Caramel Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies   17/ Cinnamon Apple Pie Cookies   18/ Spicy Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with Pumpkin Butter

 

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19/ Matcha Shortbread Men   20/ Swedish Chocolate Cookies   21/ Espresso Caramel Shortbread Bars   22/ Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting   23/ Eggnog Cookies   24/ Brown Butter Shortbread (GF + SF)

 

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25/ Coffee Sables   26/ Mini Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies   27/ Lemon Olive Oil Cookies   28/ Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies   29/ Rhubarb Linzer Cookies   30/ Crispy Spicy Almond Rococo Italian Cookies

 

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31/ Brown Butter Sugar Cookies   32/ Split Second Red Jam Cookies   33/ Chocolate, Orange, and Almond Biscotti   34/ Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread   35/ Mexican Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Dulce de Leche Filling   36/ Dark Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

 

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37/ Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies   38/ Chocolate Blackout Cookies   39/ Chocolate Chip Spelt Cookies with Pecans + Orange   40/ Cardamom Linzer Cookies with Cinnamon Persimmon Jam   41/ Christmas Spice, Hazelnut & Chocolate Cookies   42/ Intense Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

 

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43/ Decorated Honey Gingerbread Cookies   44/ Mitten Cookies   45/ Festive Italian Pizzelle   46/ Milk Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies   47/ Allsorts Sugar Cookies   48/ Orange Cranberry Cookies

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Holiday Flair to Buy or DIY

So, Christmas is just over two weeks away. TWO. WEEKS. Are you right on schedule? Because I am admittedly running behind. Normally all the gifts are bought by this point, but this year I still have two important ones to find. Earlier this week I finished putting up lights in the big front window of the house and pulling out a few more favorite decorations. If you’re still in decorating mode here thirty pieces of holiday flair to either buy or DIY!

 

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1/ Multi Coloured Berry Lights   2/ DIY Eucalyptus Christmas Wreath   3/ DIY Mini Wood Christmas Trees   4/ DIY Fresh Cranberry Chandelier   5/ Fluro Pink Tinsel   6/ DIY Hand-Dipped Bayberry Candles

 

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7/ Recycled Tire Christmas Tree Base   8/ DIY Mid-Century Inspired Wreath   9/ DIY Felt Ball Garland 10/ DIY Rosemary Wreath   11/ Metal Floral Wreath   12/ Pom Pom Garland

 

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13/ DIY Yarn Wreath   14/ DIY Origami Poinsettias   15/ DIY Pom-Pom Tree Topper   16/ DIY Marble Gift Labels   17/ DIY Life-Sized Folded Paper Christmas Tree   18/ DIY Paper Leaf Garland

 

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19/ Gold Foil-Dipped 3D Paper Tree Centerpieces   20/ DIY Paper Bottlebrush Trees   21/ DIY Oversized Paper Stockings   22/ DIY Wooden Dowel Christmas Tree   23/ DIY Ombre Paper Leaf Wreaths   24/ DIY Felt Garland

 

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25/ DIY Gingerbread Letter Garlands   26/ Spruce Plaid Stocking   27/ Chunky Hand-Knitted Christmas Stocking   28/ Stitched Linen Tree Skirt   29/ DIY No-Sew Christmas Tree Skirt   30/ DIY Magnolia Table Runner

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Alcoholidays 2016

As I write up this post it’s nearly 8pm and I’m sipping a beer. Between forgetting half of my grocery bags at the checkout today (only to realize it once I got home) and trying to finish up my holiday shopping, it’s just what this day called for. If you’ve been having one – or ten – of those days this December, enjoy perusing this carefully curated selection of 66 cocktails that are sure to aid you through the Alcoholidays.

 

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1/ Tart Cherry Red Wine Spritzer   2/ Merry Mai Tai Christmas Cocktail   3/ Pecan Pie Manhattan
4/ Rosemary Grapefruit Milk Punch   5/ Rosemary Infused Holiday Cocktail   6/ Cranberry Pear Moscow Mules

 

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7/ Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned   8/ The Whiskey Rose   9/ Meyer Lemon Margarita with Rosemary Simple Syrup   10/ Honeycrisp Old Fashioned   11/ The Cider Mill   12/ Gin Cocktail with Honey and Lemon Cordial

 

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13/ Mulled Apple Cider Punch   14/ White Wine, Clementine & Vanilla Cocktail   15/ White Chocolate + Bourbon Cocktail   16/ Spiced Pineapple Cocktail   17/ Pomegranate Manhattan   18/ Spiced Maple Manhattan

 

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19/ Grapefruit Whiskey Sour   20/ The Red Queen   21/ Balsam Gin Sparkler   22/ Blood Orange Bourbon Smash with Spicy Vanilla Sugar   23/ Cranberry Orange Margaritas   24/ Hot Cider with Apple-Cinnamon Bourbon

 

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25/ Sparkling Spiced Pear Cocktail   26/ Maple Bourbon Pear Martini   27/ Autumn Sangria with Apples, Pomegranate, and Figs   28/ Blood Orange & Pomegranate Thyme Spritz   29/ Apple, Pear, and Gin Cocktail   30/ Cranberry Chai Sangria

 

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31/ Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktail   32/ Bourbon Grapefruit Cocktail   33/ Gingerbread White Russian
34/ Eggnog Colada   35/ Roasted Cranberry Maragaritas   36/ Ginger, Cardamom, and Rosemary Gin Cocktail

 

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37/ The Nutty Apple Martini   38/ Pomegranate Vanilla Bean Margaritas   39/ The North Pole Cocktail
40/ Hot Buttered Rum   41/ Winter Thyme & Key Lime Cocktail   42/ Blue Ridge Cocktail

 

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43/ Black Cherry Bourbon Cola Smash   44/ Spiced Cranberry Hot Toddy   45/ Rosemary Ginger Margaritas   46/ Hot Buttered Hazelnut Whisky   47/ Honey-Pomegranate Mulled Wine   48/ Golden Bubbles Champagne Cocktail

 

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49/ Red Moon Over Manhattan   50/ Cranberry Cinnamon Whiskey Sour   51/ Red Wine Gin Sour
52/ Rosemary Citrus Gin and Tonic   53/ Kumquat Bourbon Sour   54/ Spiced Plum, Fig & Kombucha Cocktail

 

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55/ Whiskey + Maple Syrup Sours   56/ Meyer Lemon + Sage Sour   57/ Rose, Gin & Pink Peppercorn Cocktail   58/ Apple Brandy Allspice Fizz Cocktail   59/ 5-Spice Bourbon Punch   60/ Basil Fig Vodka Smash

 

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61/ Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail   62/ Indian Winter   63/ The Golden Ladder   64/ Honey Sweetened Blueberry Hot Toddy   65/ Fizzy Spiked Pear Punch   66/ Chai Tea Cocktail

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DIY Wooden Modern Bell Ornaments

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This holiday I’ve opted to keep things minimal, and from what I’ve seen online a lot of you are choosing to do the same. The living room has a simple live potted tree that’s about four feet tall, decorated with a handful of ornaments and lights. The rest of the first floor has a few decorations here and there – a poinsettia, a few wreaths, not too much. And my office has this little silver tree that’s followed me from my last design firm job over five years ago. Since I spend a good part of my days here it only makes sense for it to feel festive as I dig through my inbox and comb the internet.

 

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Inspired by the colors in my workspace and traditional wooden ornaments I came up with these modern bells. Covered in bright paint and fresh patterns, they’re a great match for the sparkle of the tiny tree.

Materials
• wooden cones with pre-drilled holes
• wooden balls with pre-drilled holes
• craft paints
• paintbrushes in various sizes
• jute twine

 

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This little project took me about an hour and was a great respite from what’s proving to be a hectic month. I sat down with a roll of paper towels and a cup full of water for cleaning my brushes and got to work with Christmas music playing in the background.

 

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Once all of my cones and balls were painted, patterned, and dry I cut roughly 14-inch lengths of jute twine. I doubled each up in length and tied off a loop about 1 1/2-inches long, then pushed the loose ends through the cone and ball, tying them off once pulled through with a knot or two. If the jute got hung up I just used a wood skewer to help it through.

And tada! An instantly festive artful tree.

 

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20 Ornaments to Buy or DIY

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1/ Celestial Iridescent Glass Ornament   2/ Leather Stag Ornament   3/ DIY Beaded Gift Toppers/Ornaments   4/ DIY Clay Pot Ornament   5/ DIY Glitter Dust Filled Ornament

 

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6/ Clear Glass Bubble Ornaments   7/ Crackled Globe Ornament   8/ DIY Marbled Tree Ornaments   9/ DIY Metallic Wooden Ball Ornaments   10/ DIY Pinanta Ornaments

 

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11/ Crystal Quartz Ornaments   12/ Gliding Swan Ornament   13/ DIY Recycled Sweater Ornament   14/ DIY Snowflake Pattern Ornament   15/ DIY Color Block Wood Ornaments

 

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16/ Handblown Metallic Glass Globe Ornament   17/ Monogram Glitter Ornament   18/ Porcelain Stamped Tree Ornaments   19/ Quadrilateral Glass Ornaments   20/ DIY Fabric Covered Tree Ornaments

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