Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holiday Links

Christmas and New Year's are around the corner!  I can't believe I started blogging in May and now it's finally December!  It's amazing how time flies.  This is my last post for 2012.  I am taking a break from blogging for the holidays and will be back - all bright and shiny and new in January.  I look forward to seeing all of you then.  In the meantime, please enjoy some Happy Pretty Links...
HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! xo ~ n


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Say Hello To My Happy Pretty Sponsors

Today I'm shining the spotlight on the fellow bloggers and designers who have helped support Happy Pretty Things over the past few months.  Each lady is bright, beautiful and unique in their own right.  I am so happy that I've had the opportunity to get to know them a little better.  I do hope that you take the time to become well acquainted with these wonderful women.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chatting with...

Today I'm chatting with Erica Peppers of Caught On A Whim. I just adore Erica's blog!  I stumbled across one of her DIY posts on Craftgawker and have been hooked ever since.  Erica is one of the sweetest bloggers I know who not only is very talented, but extremely down to earth.  Let's all get caught on a whim of inspiration as we get to know Erica a little bit better.

What is Caught on a Whim all about? Well, growing up I was always a crafty girl, but through work and school, somehow I lost that side.  My blog is helping me to rediscover that creative spark.  I figured with having a blog, I’d have an incentive to make things so that I could share them in my posts. It is a wonderful creative outlet for me because my 9-5 job is a typical office position without too much creativity involved.
Where are you located? Right now, I’m in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Roanoke, VA.  I’ve been here for almost three years now.  We move a lot due to my husband’s work and I can’t wait to see where we will consider home next. It’s always a great adventure to move to a new place.
When you're not blogging, where can one find you? Probably in the craft store... lol! But, seriously I have other interests, I promise... here’s a few: hiking, cooking, playing with my pups and joyriding on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Every time I read your DIY posts, I'm always so amazed. Where does your inspiration come from? I go through my day seeking inspiration.  You can find it anywhere... in a color, a cloud, the way your hair falls in a certain way.  I keep a notebook with me and jot my ideas down when they hit me. The internet is also such a great inspiring resource. The key is to take inspiration from what others are doing and put a twist on it to make it your own.

What is your favorite DIY project to day? Hands down my all time favorite is my nerdy book clutch (pictured above) Gotta let the geek in me shine through.
Any fun holiday projects in the works? Of course!  My mom sent me some handmade ornaments and I can’t wait to make some of my own.  Also, I collaborated on another ornament project with my pup Tanner.  Who knew dogs could be so crafty?!!  He can’t wait for his crafty internet debut. Here’s a hint... it’s pawfect
What is the one craft supply item you can't live without?Mod Podge is a new favorite of mine.  I recently used it in my ‘booktorial projects and can’t wait to use it for other projects too.
Read any good books lately? Does listening to books on tape count??  I’ve been so bad about reading lately, but I always listen to books on tape in the car on my commute to work.  I just finished The Help and really enjoyed it.
Tired of Christmas music or can't get enough? Can’t. Get. Enough.  Christmas music is the best.  It takes me back to my childhood.
Plan on going on seeing any good movies? I really love documentaries and am wanting to seeThe Happy Movie and First Position.
Do you watch TV? Any shows you'd recommend? I’m about to reveal my inner nerd.  I love the Big Bang Theory and Mythbusters. I’ve also been known to run marathons of Sex and the City and Friends. Who doesn’t?? While I’m watching TV, I’ve always I’ve got a crafty project on my lap.
Which blog are you crushing on right now? Katie’s blog, Lemon Jitters, is a new favorite of mine.  She has some awesomely creative projects.  Check out her Faux Taxidermy Ornaments. Just be warned, the taxidermy project is definitely not for the faint of heart.  ;)
Where do you love to shop? Etsy is, of course, a great place to find the most amazing and unique handmade items. Michaels and JoAnn’s for crafts.  I wish we had a Hobby Lobby nearby. (*le sigh*).  Also, Target, because I’m the kind of girl who likes a bargain.
How do you plan to spend the holidays? We are staying put this year, so it will just be me, my husband and our two pups.  We plan to sleep in, eat well, and all around be merry.

To learn more about Erica and inspiring projects, visit www.caughtonawhim.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow cookies!  One of my favorite Italian pastries.  Also known as seven-layered cookies, I could eat these yummy delicacies for days and days and days.  And although rainbow cookies are available for any occasion, I closely associate them with Christmas.  They make wonderful holiday presents and are perfect for cookie swaps (this one recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies!)
One Christmas, my girlfriend Betsy surprised me with a trip to Long Island where her soon to be sister-in-law, Jill Feingold taught us exactly how to make these enticing treats.  It was one of my favorite Christmas presents from my best friend - not to mention such a valuable learning experience - rainbow cookies are very tedious to make!  But the results are so delicious that it makes the whole thing worth it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!  Here's to a very merry week!  xo ~ n


Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Holiday Links

Oh hello, beautiful Friday!  It's so wonderful to see you!  Here are some Happy Pretty Links for your Happy Pretty Weekend!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! xo ~ n


Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Holiday Playlists

I must confess - I love Christmas music!  I've been listening to my holiday mix since Thanksgiving and I'm not tired of it yet.  I think it's because a) I like to listen to my holiday music in small doses - like when I'm cooking or going on an errand and b) I'm obsessed with curating my own playlists!
I've been hoarding my very own collection of holiday mp3s for almost five years. I tried to going the Pandora route this year but I'm very picky about what I like and there's only so many times I listen to that horrible rendition of Baby It's Cold Outside.  (By the way, is anyone else seriously creeped out by that song as much as I am?  It's like how many times does she have make it clear to you, Dean Martin, that she's not into you and wants to get the hell out of there!? No means NO! Ugh! I mean....)
I like to listen to different Christmas songs depending on my mood so I divided my playlists into three parts: Pop Christmas, Indie Christmas and Jazzy Christmas...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm Currently Obsessed...

                ...with gorgeous holiday wrapping sheets by Rifle Paper Co.  So pretty - *squeal!*

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Gingerbread

"Gingerbread makes me miserable" - said no one ever.
I'm just wild about anything gingerbread. For me, it marks the sign that Christmas is almost here.  I've searched high and low for the perfect slice of gingerbread and this recipe, adapted by Ina Garten, is by far absolute my favorite to make.  It's so quick and easy to make.  The cake texture is so moist and the flavor is packed with powerful spices. Not to mention that this recipe also makes the perfect present for fellow gingerbread fanatics like myself!


Holiday Gingerbread (adapted by Ina Garten)
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp dark rum or water
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, optional
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Place the butter and molasses in another small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture with a teaspoon of rum into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cool for 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream and orange zest.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a small bowl. Mix with your hands until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix only until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
When the cake has cooled, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice and pour it onto the gingerbread, allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to set. Cut the gingerbread into 9 squares.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Monday


Happy Monday!  Here's to a great week - stay fearless! xo ~ n

CRAVE JEWELRY GIVEAWAY!

I'm excited to announce my first HPT giveaway sponsored by Crave Jewelry Design!  Crave offers a wide array of jewelry from edgy, fun and playful pieces to subtle and simple styles. All items are hand crafted of quality materials, designed to make you smile and feel gorgeous! Enter today to win this adorable little love bracelet. The perfect present - just in time for the holidays! 
Update:  And the winner is...
Thanks to everyone who participated!  Check back in January for my next giveaway!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Holiday Links


It another beautiful weekend!  Who are we kidding - it's another crazy weekend preparing for holidays.  Before we delve into the madness known as Saturday, let's all take some time to reflect and gaze at these happy pretty links...
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! xo ~ n

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Holidays at Bryant Park

One might say that Christmas at Bryant Park is like the red-headed stepchild of Christmas at Rockefellar Center.  Actually, no one would really compare city attractions to red-headed children (who in their own right, are actually very cute.)  But while everyone and their mother, brother, and accoutant are cramming themselves at 30 Rock to "Say the 'Tray," I prefer to saunter through the holiday festivities of Bryant Park.
The holidays at Bryant Park are extremely underrated.  I would even go as far to say it's the best kept secret if it weren't smacked right in the middle of Midtown - but in many ways, it really is! For starters there's FREE ice skating!  And FREE CIDER!  And holiday shops galore! And SPACE!  Yes!  You can have the quintessential Christmas-in-New-York-City experience and not have to feel like a packed sardine!  
The other day I found myself strolling through Bryant Park on my way to the subway and I thought to myself, "you know, I really don't appreciate this place enough!"  I'm looking forward to coming back when my family is in town - in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these delightful moments I caught a long the way...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CHATTING WITH... JACI RILEY OF CRAVE

Jaci pic

Today I'm chatting with Jaci Riley, my featured sponsor and the talented owner of Crave.  I am fascinated with the handcrafted pieces Jaci designs. I was honored when she agreed to take the time to share what goes on in her creative world.  So let's take a moment to be get inspired and learn more about the lovely woman behind Crave.  
Just a reminder, the Crave Giveaway is still going on!  If you (like me) adore Jaci's items, enter now to win a free bracelet! Now on to the questions...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'M CURRENTLY OBSESSED...

Knot and bow
...with the perfectly pleasant paper accessories of KNOT & BOW.  Oh, how I love to geek-out over beautiful packaging supplies!  What a lovely way to present your presents for the holidays!