10 Fresh Recipes to Kickstart 2014

10 Fresh Recipes to Kickstart 2014

As promised I’ve been taking some extra time off this week, working on a few projects behind the scenes and also just trying to recuperate after a pretty wild and crazy holiday season. One of the things on my mind this week? Kickstarting 2014 with a whole lot of energy and renewed vigor! In thinking about that, I’m definitely on a mission to clean up my eating after a few too many holiday sweets and treats over the last month. (Yeah, I know. We’re probably all thinking about that this week, aren’t we?) To that end we’ve been making a shopping list and working on meal planning for the next few weeks to try and cut as much processed junk as we can from the day to day around here. These 10 fresh recipes are definitely vying for a spot on our must-make list!

Ready to lighten up a bit after attacking those holiday cookie trays with a bit too much enthusiasm? Click through for 10 nutritious and yummy recipes that will have you feeling ready to jump feet first into 2014!


The Best of 2013: 13 Favorite Posts from 2013

With 2014 headed our way in just a few short days, I’m going to be taking a bit of time over the next week or so to slow down the pace a bit. I’ll still be posting occasionally but now through January 6th, things will be a touch quieter around here. You see, I have really important things to do. Like organizing my closets, planning for next year and watching Elf. Because somehow that didn’t happen before Christmas so I fully intend to get the job done. In the meantime, I’ve pulled together a little round up of the best of 2013 featuring 13 of your favorite posts from throughout the year! No big surprise, you guys love a good DIY project and a good cocktail as much as I do. Before we jump feet first into 2014, here’s a little look back at 2013. Thanks for another great year, friends!

DIY Beeswax Candles

DIY Beeswax Candles: I loved learning how to make beeswax candles this year. It’s surprisingly simple and fun! Since taking my first stab at it, homemade beeswax candles have become one of my favorite homemade gifts to make and give. See the original tutorial to learn how to make your own!

DIY Cloth Napkins

DIY Cloth Napkins: This year I went on a bit of kick with making my own cloth napkins. You loved the no-sew napkins I shared and the patterned cloth napkins made with fabric markers were a hit, too! I love how they add so much fun to a dinner table or party without being fussy to make. Seriously, everyone of any and all crafting level abilities can make these. Promise.

How to Make a Margarita

How to Make a Margarita: This year I shared how I like to make my margaritas. No pre-made sticky green drink mix. Two thumbs up for a good quality tequila. Oh, and margaritas aren’t just for summer. In 2014, we should enjoy them whenever we like, ok? Get the recipe here.


DIY Sea Glass Bracelets: Stephanie from Henry Happened shared so many great DIY ideas with us this year and you guys loved them all! Among your favorites were these pretty bracelets made from sea glass. See the original tutorial here.

Wedding Brunch with Minted

Brunch with Minted: In March I traveled to New York to attend an amazing brunch hosted by the awesome folks at Minted. I shared a recap of the event featuring photos from Charlie Juliet and you guys went crazy for the amazing decor. Those paper pinwheels! That gorgeous cake! See more here.

Teddy Bear 1st Birthday Party

Emmaline’s 1st Birthday Party: The awesome Jenny Haas shared her daughter Emmaline’s first birthday party this year. You fell in love with the chic all-neutral color palette and the adorable teddy bear details. And that little Emmaline is so cute! See more here.

DIY Piper Cleaner Heart Cake Topper

DIY Pipe Cleaner Heart Toppers: Hands down one of the easiest crafts I whipped up this year, you guys loved these little heart toppers made from pipe cleaners. You can easily scale them up or down to make them perfect for cakes, cupcakes, or a short stack! Get the tutorial here.

DIY Paper Flower Pencils

DIY Paper Flower Pencils: Kelly of Studio DIY dropped by several times in 2013 with cheerful and festive DIY ideas. These paper flower pencils were one of your favorites! They’d make such fun gifts, too. See the original tutorial for the details – you’ll be surprised how simple they are to make!

Winter Citrus Cocktail

Winter Citrus Cocktail Recipe: This year Andrea, Samantha, Jade and Matthew shared a whole bunch of awesome cocktails and recipes and you guys loved their take on a winter citrus cocktail. Made with clementines and tequila, it’s just so darn tasty! Get the recipe here.

DIY Tissue Paper Pom Pom Backdrop

DIY Tissue Paper Pom Pom Backdrop: This super easy pom pom backdrop is perfect for everything from weddings to birthday parties to cocktail hour with your best gal pals. You guys loved this one! Want to know a secret? I love it, too. So much so that I still have this pom pom cluster hung up in our house! Get the tutorial here.

Alt Summit Up and Coming Blogs 2013

Alt Summit Up and Coming Blogs 2013: In January I traveled to Salt Lake City where I spoke at Alt Summit on a panel dedicated to celebrating some of the best up and coming blogs. When I got back, I shared the full list of our 40+ picks, which you guys loved checking out. You can revisit the list here if you need a fresh dose of inspiration!

DIY Painted Frame Gallery Wall Scotch Blue Tape- DIY Crafts

DIY Painted Frame Gallery Wall: This summer I tackled a project I had been slacking on for a long time – creating a little gallery wall featuring some of my letterpress print collection! It was so fun to do and you guys loved the easy DIY paint treatment on the frames as well as the prints themselves. See the original tutorial here.

DIY Indigo Dyed Linens

DIY Indigo Dyed Linens: No doubt about it, I have been loving everything indigo in 2013. Stephanie from Henry Happened rocked out these amazing DIY indigo dyed linens that I’m crazy about…I still think a pair of indigo dyed curtains would be amazing in our bedroom! Catch the tutorial here.

[See original posts and tutorials for full photo credits and tutorials.]

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10 Best Bubbly New Year’s Eve Cocktails

10 Bubbly New Year's Eve Cocktails

Happy Boxing Day, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. (Or just a wonderful day in general for those who don’t celebrate.) I wasn’t planning to go MIA this week, but with the ice storm over the weekend we were without power for over three days. Luckily we got it back just in time to host our families for Christmas dinner yesterday! Now that Christmas has come and gone, naturally my brain is making the shift to New Year’s Eve, undoubtedly one of my favorite days of the year. And when we’re talking about New Year’s celebrations, whether they be for a few or your entire crew, it just wouldn’t be right to go much further without talking about the bubbly.

Today I’ve rounded up 10 bubbly New Year’s Eve cocktails for you! From the simple to the sweet to the completely unique, these cocktails are the perfect way to toast the start of 2014. Most of these would also be perfect for sipping at brunch on New Year’s Day, too! So let’s get started. Pop the champagne and click through for 10 of the best bubbly New Year’s Eve drinks!


Happy Holidays + the Icepocalypse!

Hello my dears! Ami from Elizabeth Anne Designs here, hoping you are in the midst of much merry and bright! Unfortunately, Cyd is buried in the Upstate NY Icepocalypse (scope out the storm on Instagram with the hashtag #nnyicestorm). Although we are hoping for a thaw before Christmas, she asked me to stop by and wish you the happiest of holidays on her behalf just in case!

Happy Holidays

[Photo by Genevieve Leiper from Elizabeth Anne Designs.]

Hugs and love from both of us—enjoy some much-needed rest and celebration!



Italian Meatball Cookies

Italian Meatball Cookies | The Sweetest Occasion

I’ve been a massive fan of The Glitter Guide for a long time and I’m thrilled to be sharing one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes today as a part of their Holiday Cookie Swap. I’m really excited to be sharing this bit of our family Christmas tradition with you. I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for a long time so many many thanks to the editors at The Glitter Guide for asking me to play along!

Italian Meatball Cookies | The Sweetest Occasion

As a kid I remember the weekends leading up to Christmas as being full of cookie baking, ornament crafting and gift wrapping. And let me tell you, our cookie baking parties were kind of legendary, the foundation on which little kid Christmas memories are built. My mother and my aunts would gather all of us kids together, roll up our little sleeves and encourage us to get elbow deep in flour, butter and sugar. Of course every family has their traditional cast of cookie characters, the star of which was always Italian meatball cookies in our family.

Italian Meatball Cookies | The Sweetest Occasion

The cookie itself is semi-sweet with a subtle touch of spice from the cinnamon, cloves and rum. Topped with dark chocolate ganache they’re as close to Christmas cookie perfection as anything I’ve ever tasted. This recipe has been in heavy rotation in our family for decades, passed down on neatly penned index cards stained with years of splattered batter and chocolate. When I think of Christmas, I think of these cookies – and the smell of them baking in the oven? Absolute heaven!

Italian Meatball Cookies | The Sweetest Occasion


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 oz spiced rum

Preheat oven to 370°. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend in the shortening. Add the milk and rum (whiskey, bourbon or brandy will also work) and combine well. The dough will be very stiff and sticky. Roll into approximately 1″ balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 13 minutes or until they look slightly golden. Remove from the oven, allow them to rest for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Italian Meatball Cookies | The Sweetest Occasion


  • 8oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz spiced rum

Heat chocolate chips, heavy cream, and  rum over a double boiler of simmering water until completed melted and smooth, stirring or whisking occasionally. Feel free to sub whiskey, bourbon or brandy for the rum. (But I don’t suggest skipping it – it really enhances the flavor!) Once the ganache is smooth and creamy, dunk each cookie to coat the top completely and then return cookies to the wire rack to cool until ganache sets.

[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]