Classic Holiday Mulled Wine

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Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

I remember watching on for the first time, completely perplexed, as my stepfather carefully stewed together a bunch of spices and red wine to later be sipped steaming out of little mugs. In the years since, this tradition has played out every holiday season thereafter, ultimately evolving into one of those traditions I look forward to with unabashed excitement as soon as the holiday season arrives. Today I am so excited to be sharing a bit of that family tradition with you along with my pals at Skinnygirl® Cocktails and this classic, German-inspired mulled wine recipe!

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Makes approximately 12 servings

    • 2 bottles of Skinnygirl® California Red
    • 1/2 cup organic honey
    • 2 cinnamon sticks (plus 8 for garnish)
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
    • 2 vanilla beans
    • 4 small oranges (plus 2 sliced for garnish)
    • 20 whole cloves
    • 6 whole star anise

Add wine to a large saucepan and simmer over low heat. Gently mix in honey plus the juice of 2 oranges. Slice the remaining 2 oranges and add them to the pot. Split vanilla beans lengthwise, scrap and add to the wine. Add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and star anise and turn up heat to medium, until wine is hot. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and keep warm until ready to serve. Before serving, use a slotted spoon to remove all of the spices from the wine, then ladle into mugs. Serve garnished with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange.

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Other than his brothers and sisters, essentially the entirety of my stepfather’s family lives in Germany, where I’ve been lucky to have visit several times on family trips. Having a big pot full of mulled wine at every family holiday gathering (or glühwein as it’s known in Germany) has become as big a part of our holiday celebrations as pumpkin pie and Christmas trees. In a nutshell, it’s a pot of red wine, heated and infused with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus fruit, honey or sugar, and vanilla. Skinnygirl® California Red is a smooth, medium-bodied red and it’s my pick for the perfect base for this mulled wine recipe.

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

There’s no denying that mulled wine has a distinct, spiced flavor, brought out all the more by sipping it hot. If you prefer something a bit sweeter, you can add a few cups of apple cider to the mix and add more honey or sugar if you’d like. It adds a touch of sweetness and imparts a fruitier flavor that’s delicious in it’s own right. Personally, I like to keep it classic and really rich with spices, but don’t be afraid to mix it up and make it your own. If you can’t get your hands on the California Red, swap it for Skinnygirl® Pinot Noir. It would also make a sensational mulled wine!

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Classic Holiday Mulled Wine by @cydconverse

Even just thinking about making mulled wine has me so excited for Thanksgiving and all of the upcoming holiday festivities! (Shooting this post got me so excited for the holidays!) To make sure you have loads of seasonal inspiration and recipes up your sleeve, get yourself signed up for the Skinnygirl® Cocktails Tastemakers program! You’ll gain access to special perks, discounts and rewards, including monthly opportunities to win some incredible prizes! In the meantime, follow Skinnygirl® Cocktails on InstagramProst!

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

Skinnygirl® Cocktails is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. (“Beam”) and is used with permission. The information, comments and ideas expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Beam, its affiliated companies or any of their directors or employees. Beam does not sponsor, authorize, or otherwise endorse this website. Read more about our editorial policies. Drink responsibly. 

Skinnygirl® California Red Wine ©2015 Skinnygirl Cocktails, Deerfield, IL (Per 5 oz – Average Analysis: Calories 100, Carbohydrates 6g, Protein 0g, Fat 0g)

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DIY Dog Treat Jars

As I’m preparing to welcome our little one in a couple weeks, I’ve asked some of my best blogging
buds to drop by here and there. Today please welcome Beth from Daily Dog Tag!

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

This project is one going out to all of you dog lovers! (Or really, any animal lover.) We’re talking really super sweet DIY dog treat jars that are personalized with your furkid’s name and can easily be whipped up in 15 minutes or less. With the holidays coming up, these would make fun little gifts for your pets or a really thoughtful handmade gift for the pet lover in your life. You know your friend who is on the edge of becoming a crazy cat lady? (In a good way, of course.) Yeah. She’d absolutely love these!

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

supplies

  • Small lidded glass jars
  • Painter’s tape or washi tape
  • Alphabet stickers (such as Thickers)
  • Dog treats

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

Begin by making sure your jars are thoroughly clean and dry. Then determine where you’d like the name to appear on each jar. Once you’ve done so, use a piece of painter’s tape, washi tape or similar to create a guide to help keep the letters nice and straight.

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

Next up, it’s a simple process of applying the letters one by one to spell out your pet’s name. Keep in mind you could also use these jars to store other things such as sewing or craft supplies or spare change so you can have fun with how you label them! If you have a longer name or word you might find it useful to start with a middle letter and work outward so you can position it just how you’d like it to appear on the jar.

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

DIY Dog Treat Jars by @dailydogtag for @cydconverse

And that’s it! Just fill your jars up with treats and you’re all set. Aren’t these fun? And I love that they’re so quick and easy to make! Keep in mind you won’t want to submerge these in water or use the dishwasher for cleaning, so just spot clean as necessary with a damp cloth. Happy snacking!

For more DIY ideas, tips and tricks (all inspired by man’s best friend, of course) visit Beth at Daily Dog Tag! You can also find her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Thanks so much for sharing, Beth! xoxo

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[Project by Daily Dog Tag | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share a maximum of 1 – 2 images from this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

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Home is Where the WiFi Is Printable

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

As promised earlier when we were chatting about how to make your guests feel at home for the holidays, I wanted to create this cute Home is Where the WiFi Is sign so it was available to you to download! (Yes, for the record, I find myself pretty clever for thinking this one up. I quite literally chuckle out loud every time I read it!) Just click here to download, then print and either stick it in a frame you have hanging around the house or just hang it up with a piece of washi tape near where your guests will be staying while they’re in town.

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

The PDF is editable so you can type in your specific network and password information before printing, or you can print it and then write it in by hand. Either way, your guests will appreciate the extra gesture! Planning to use this over the holidays? Share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #thesweetestholidays – I’d love to see!

p.s. Thanks to my sweet friend Carolynn of Noble Friends for helping me create this printable! 

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The fine print: As with all of our printables, these designs are provided for personal non-commercial use only and may not be distributed, copied or sold in any fashion. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share them, please link to this post directly and do NOT host the file yourself. Thanks so much! xoxo

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How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

Now that we’re closing in on Thanksgiving, the prime holiday traveling season is right around the corner. Yes, I also feel like it was just Memorial Day yesterday, but that’s how these things go I suppose, right? When I’m traveling and staying over with friends or family, I know I always love it when they go out of their way to make me feel really at home, which is something I definitely try to do when we have overnight guests, too. So today, in the spirit of all things hospitable, I’m sharing my tips for how to make your guests feel at home for the holidays!

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

Stock the Guest Room
Whether your guest room is an actual room or a corner of the rec room with an air mattress blown up, stock it up with little things to help your guests feel comfortable. Think basic things like drinking water (a pretty bedside carafe is a nice choice, but a couple of bottles of water will work just as well), a stack of magazines, and a notebook and pen in case they need it during their stay. A few little extras are nice to include, too! A pretty candle with matches, a little plant or a few fresh flowers, even a bar of chocolate or two. Guests hate feeling like they’re imposing so having lots of little comforts at the ready will make them feel really special!

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

Stock the Bathroom
Toiletries are the number one thing people forget while traveling, so make your guests feel right at home by stocking the bathroom! If they’ll have their own bathroom, you can stock a tray or a basket in the actual bathroom, or you can just tuck a stash in their room. Either way, you can easily hit up the travel size section at Target or wherever and grab a whole bunch of mini bottles of things like contact solution, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash. Lip balm, an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, Q-tips and a razor are great ideas, too! (If I had a dollar for every time I forgot to pack a razor while traveling, I would be a very very rich woman!)

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

Make them Feel Connected
Precisely no one travels without some combination of smartphone, tablet and/or laptop these days, and I know that the WiFi password is always one of my priorities once I arrive somewhere and get settled in for my stay. I like to get my phone switched over from data and get any other devices I might need while I’m there connected and ready to go. Make it easy for guests to get all settled in by having the network information and password somewhere really easy to find in their room. A fun sign like this is great (and it’s available for you to download right here), but simply writing it down on a card and setting it by the bed will work just as well, too!

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays from @cydconverse

Stock the Linens
Last but not least, you can never ever go wrong by piling on all of the linens and pillows. A big stack of towels, hand towels and wash cloths can go a really long way toward making guests feel at home. In addition to having the bed made, I also like to have a stash of extra blankets and pillows set out and ready for friends or family when they’re staying over. Should someone get chilly in the middle of the night for some reason, they’re never going to feel comfortable messing with the thermostat or rifling through closets for another blanket, so having a few set aside for them to grab if they need them is a really nice gesture that they’ll definitely appreciate.

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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5 Colorful Thanksgiving Ideas + Friday Link Love

Howdy, friends, TGIF! I hope everyone has had a great week. Starting next week we’re going to get to talking about the holidays. Because, well, I love the holidays and also it’s time! (They’re coming sooner than we think!) In the meantime, today I’m sharing five fun colorful Thanksgiving ideas with you to help make the transition. Generally I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I do admit to occasionally loving a more modern look with a bolder color palette, so we’re dabbling with that today. It’s pretty fun, right? Don’t forget to keep scrolling for your weekly dose of Friday Link Love, too, and I’ll see you here on Monday, friends! xoxo

5 Colorful Thanksgiving Ideas from @cydconverse

[Printable leftover pie labels | DIY I am thankful for balloon | DIY Thanksgiving banner | DIY give thanks banner | DIY color wrapped wheat centerpiece.]

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