December 18, 2013 | by cyd
This post was sponsored by Nespresso. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so generously help
The Sweetest Occasion keep the jingle bells a-ringin’ all season long!
I’m probably not alone when I say that my favorite part of the holidays is spending time with family and friends. Whether it be fixing a feast for sixteen of our nearest and dearest (which is going down Christmas day at our house) or a flurry of little hands constructing gingerbread houses, it’s the people that are the cornerstone of celebrating the holidays. One thing we’re both passionate about, B and I love inviting over friends and family this time of year. We have so much fun planning the menu (a job we take quite seriously, I must admit) and taste testing recipes leading up to the big celebration. Our parties always revolve around the tastes of the season, with food and drink aplenty. On Christmas Day I’m planning a cocoa station for the kiddos and a full-out espresso bar and prosecco bar for the grown ups. And the food? The quantity of food is going to be record breaking.
Nespresso recently sent me one of their Pixie espresso machines to try out and I have to say – we’re in love! The tiny size makes it perfect for our teensy kitchen and I love being able to make espresso and lattes on the fly during the day while I’m working. Combined with the Aeroccino milk steamer/frother, this little guy had me feeling like a barista in no time. Want to see it in action? B and I tackled our first stop motion video about a month ago for another project I was working on and I couldn’t resist a video today to show off my love for this little powerhouse, which will no doubt be playing a starring role in our upcoming holiday celebrations. You just pop in one of Nespresso’s delicious coffee capsules, push a button and watch it do it’s thing.
Oh yeah, that’s right. Guess what? Nespresso is giving one away to one of you, too! One reader is going to win a prize package from Nespresso worth over $400. (Woot woot!) The winner will receive the same Nespresso Pixie and Aeroccino they sent me plus a whole bunch of their tasty coffees to test out. Pretty sweet, huh? Just trust me when I say, you’re going to have to forcefully remove yourself from the presence of this little guy from time to time because slurping down those delicious espressos one after another is way too easy.
PRIZE: (1) Nespresso Pixie + Aerocinno prize package (with a sampling of coffee, too!)
TO ENTER: We’re using Rafflecopter to organize this giveaway. See the form below for details on entering. There’s up to 15 chances to win!
GIVEAWAY ENDS: Wednesday, December 25th at 11:59pm EST
NOTE: I apologize but this giveaway is open to US readers only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
[Photos + video by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Nespresso. Read more about our editorial policies.
December 17, 2013 | by cyd
I finished up a huge chunk of our remaining holiday shopping yesterday and it felt pretty awesome. As much as I love plotting out gifts, shopping, crafting and wrapping (I sincerely do), at a certain point it all starts to feel a touch stressful. We’re down to just a few last little gifts to pick up, one last shipment to make to family afar, and a final handful of stocking stuffers. I love stockings! Both B and I have moms who stuff some pretty amazing stockings, which is a love I definitely inherited from my own mother. My favorites are quirky little things you never knew you always wanted, pretty sparkly bits of jewelry and lovely bath and body goods that you might never think to buy for yourself. Below are a handful of picks for those lucky stocking recipients in your life, young and old.
If you’re still on the hunt for those perfect gifts for everyone on your list, just a heads up that many online retailers are still offering shipping in time for Christmas. In fact, a lot of them are offering shipping deals to sweeten the pot! All of the stocking stuffers above can still be received in time for the holidays and many are things you can pick up locally if you’re not feeling like another online order. Oh, and if you missed any of the gift guide action, be sure to check out my picks for hostess gifts, gifts for kids and teens, gifts for guys and gifts for her.
1: Rosewater hand creme, $14 | 2: Washi tape, $9 | 3: Rum Bay aftershave balm, $19.50 | 4: Tattly temporary tattoos, $5 | 5: Leather whiskey tags, $4.95 | 6: Brass comb, $27 | 7: Finishing sea salt, $12.95 | 8: Troll doll, $9.95 | 9: Knee-heart tights, $14.50 | 10: Scented colored pencils, $15.95 | 11: Baby Lips lip balm, $2.99 | 12: Instant Snow can, $4.95 | 13: Boys camp socks, $10 | 14: Leather and rhinestone bracelet, $10 | 15: Lollia mini perfume, $9 | 16: Mini notebook trio, $3.99 | 17: Dipped triad studs, $18 | 18: Slim Sonic toothbrush, $14.95
December 16, 2013 | by cyd
This post was sponsored by Air Wick. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on!
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the tree. The bigger, the better. As a kid, my dad and I were always on a mission – to find the biggest, tallest tree we could fit in our house. Then, the tree trimming would commence! Huge boxes full of carefully wrapped ornaments, Christmas music rocking, big mugs of hot cocoa and hours of finding the perfect ornament for each branch of that massive tree. The final installment of my holiday collaboration with Air Wick, today we’re making DIY colorblock glitter ornaments inspired by Air Wick’s Trimming the Tree fragrance! You know that perfect smell of fresh cut pine that fills your home the morning after you first bring the tree inside? It instantly puts me in a festive mood and brings to mind those nostalgic memories of watching my dad wrap the Christmas tree with lights. That perfect holiday scent is the essence of Air Wick’s Trimming the Tree fragrance, which inspired me to craft up a handful of gorgeous glittery green ornaments to trim our own tree with this holiday season.
- Unfinished paper mache ornaments
- Craft paint in your choice of color
- Craft glitter
- (2) craft brushes
- Clear gloss spray (I like this one)
To get started you’re going to need a handful of paper mache ornaments. You can find these inexpensively at virtually any craft store this time of year, often on sale for as little as $1 each. Begin by giving your ornaments a coat of craft paint on all sides. I chose a green that reminds me of the essence of pine and evergreens and the colors of Christmas, but you can absolutely switch this up however you like! I found one slightly heavy coat did the trick and it dries pretty quickly because the paper mache of the ornaments is quite absorbent. If you feel you need a second coat, go ahead and paint away, then find a place to hang your ornaments to dry completely.
Next up, it’s our old friends ModPodge and glitter! (You guys know I love decking things out with glitter!) Using a clean craft brush, apply an even coat of ModPodge on the section of your ornament that you’d like to have end up glittery. Then liberally pour the glitter over top to ensure all the ModPodge is covered with glitter and shake to remove any excess. Repeat this process if you feel there are spots that could use more glitter. I choose to work over kraft paper when using glitter so I can then use the paper like a funnel to replace the leftover glitter to my jar for future projects. For my ornaments I worked in sections, applying the ModPodge and glitter to one block at a time and then rotating until I had all desired sections coated in glitter.
Once the ModPodge and glitter are completely dry, it helps to give everything a quick coat with a clear gloss spray to seal the glitter in place. Otherwise you’ll have glitter all over your house, which is awfully pretty this time of year, but will get old in a few weeks, trust me. Just give all the glitter sections a quick spray, allow them to dry and you’re ready to deck the halls! These ornaments would also make great gift toppers or little gifts to bring your favorite hostess or pass out to your friends at the office.
I love how shimmery and beautiful these ornaments turned out and the gorgeous green color just makes them perfect in my book. Reminiscent of fir and pine and boxwood and everything green and lovely this time of year, they’re the prettiest way to trim the tree in style while bringing that homemade touch to your holiday decor. Grab the kids or round up a group of your girlfriends, gather your paint and glitter and have at it!
[Design + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]
Ornaments from Hobby Lobby
Paint in Pesto by Martha Stewart Crafts
Glitter in Wintermint by Martha Stewart Crafts
Nail polish is Sunset Kiss by JulieG
Trimming the Tree candle by Air Wick
This post is a collaboration with Air Wick. For more homemade holiday ideas, follow along on Facebook! Read more about our editorial policies.
December 13, 2013 | by cyd
Hey, gang! I hope you’re all having a great Friday and looking forward to the weekend. We’ve got a bustling few days of family holiday festivities ahead of us and we’ve been so excited all week! But before we get to all of that I’m running around today putting the finishing touches on my baking and gifting list so we can load up the car and head out this evening. Last night we got positively buried under snow so it’s really feeling like the holidays around here now. Nothing like a fresh white blanket of snow to make it feel like Christmas. Monday we’re keeping the festivities going around here with one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes and the final installment of my holiday collaboration with Air Wick so don’t miss it! In the meantime, have a fabulous weekend! xoxo
[Photo by Ryan Ray via The Wedding Chicks.]
December 13, 2013 | by cyd
This post was sponsored by Keep. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so generously help
The Sweetest Occasion keep the jingle bells a-ringin’ all season long!
Can we talk about today’s gift guide for a minute? Because I’m not going to front – it’s basically my personal wish list. (Shameless, I know.) A handful of pretty things and little luxuries that have me loving everything feminine and lady-like at the moment. It’s no secret that Keep has been my best friend this holiday season as I’ve been making my list and checking it twice. But can I tell you a secret? Sifting through all the gorgeous finds on Keep has also made it pretty darn tough to not want to treat myself to a few gifts for me this holiday season. That’s where Santa comes into play, right? So here I’ve rounded up my favorite picks for the ladies in your life and should Santa so decide to send me a few of these little gems, well, I suppose I’d be ok with that, too.
Don’t forget, you can easily find all of these gift ideas and tons more by following me on Keep. Once there, create your own wish lists and gift collections so you can stay organized while finishing up your holiday shopping! Keep makes it a breeze to find, organize and save gift ideas whether at your desk, cozied up in front of the television or on the go with their awesome app. For the ladies, don’t miss my Gifts for Her collection featuring everything from lovely little stocking stuffers to over the top gestures. In the meantime, stay tuned on Tuesday for the final installment of this year’s gift guide! Yup. That happened fast.
1: Gold striped tee, $40 | 2: Wood tape dispenser, $24 | 3: Anchor earrings, $32 | 4: Recipe tin box, $34 | 5: Meow iPhone case, $36 | 6: Michael Kors watch, $275 | 7: Infinity ring, $26 | 8: Makeup brush set, $50 | 9: Cashmere gloves, $68 | 10: Bracelet, $32 | 11: Gold champagne flutes, $60 | 12: Passport cover, $45 | 13: Lip balm, $24 | 14: Fresh Sugar Lemon Eau de Parfum, $80 | 15: Nail polish, $9 | 16: Slippers, $40 | 17: Pajama set, $85 | 18: Frends headphones, $226
This post was sponsored by Keep. Read more about our editorial policies.