Our Mini Family

Date Night Idea | Winter Wonderland Your Way

Today, we are sharing this winter wonderland-inspired date idea on the blog, featuring our partnership with Toyota USA and driving the 2018 Toyota C-HR on our date!

As a Phoenician, enjoying a winter wonderland scene takes creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. There are so many ways you can get involved in winter fun around the valley, thanks to so many awesome businesses and malls that provide DIY winter wonderlandscapes like outdoor ice skating rinks, faux snowfall at night, gigantic outdoor Christmas trees, meet and greets with Santa and his elves, and even a ride on the Polar Express (if you don't mind driving for a couple of hours up to northern Arizona). 

So many of these wonderous winter festivities are focused on children, but Adam and I have just as much Christmas whimsy as the kiddos. For our date night last week, Adam and I decided to take advantage of some of the fun (and in most cases free) Christmas activities available in the valley so we could enjoy a winter wonderland-themed date night!

For our date night idea, we want to enjoy a winter wonderland in our own way here in Phoenix since we do not get any snowfall or see our temperatures drop close to below freezing. Today, I am sharing the details of our latest date night out with the 2018 Toyota CH-R!

DIY Holiday Guest Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Product was provided by the client for review; however, all opinions are mine alone. #WorldsSmartestToothbrush #PhilipsSonicare #OprahsFavoriteThings #CollectiveBias

Entertaining guests around the holidays can be a bit uncomfortable for everyone involved. But it does not have to be this way if you can take a few minutes to think about what you can do to make your guest feel most welcomed in your home.

I know when I am crashing at a friend's condo or a family member's home, I always feel like I am encroaching on their space and feel hesitant to make myself at home out of fear that I'll outstay my welcome. What I have learned helps is making small gestures that treat your house guest more like a traveler or hotel guest, and going out of your way to provide them with comfort and necessity items to make them feel genuinely welcomed and encourage them to really get comfortable and feel-at-home while staying at your place while they are in town.

One time, when Adam and I were crashing at a friend's house during a long road trip back home, we put our bags down in her guest room and I noticed there were two gift bags sitting on the edge of the bed with each of our names on them. It was nothing too fancy, but inside, she wrote a note welcoming us for the night that included a $5 gift card for coffee, as well as some toiletries we may have forgotten. I had never felt so welcome in someone's home before that moment, and I thought it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture that I had to start doing the same thing whenever we had friends come to crash at our place!

Every time we have a friend come to stay with us, I always make time to include a gift basket for her so she feels welcome in our home and that we actually want her to enjoy her stay with us. Today, I am sharing what I consider to be the must-haves for putting together a guest gift basket during the holiday season including the 
Philips® Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Toothbrush!

How to Host a Holiday Cookie Decorating Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeHolidayCheer #CollectiveBias

Is it even the holiday season if you aren't baking cookies? 

Nothing says winter like the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the kitchen and into the office, and having Adam run out of the office asking me for a warm cookie to nibble on. 

Since we live in Phoenix and we do not have some of the holiday and winter traditions we had as kids, Adam and I try our best to create our own traditions with our family to bring joy into our lives during this time of year! Having friends over to decorate cookies while we listen to holiday music and drink hot chocolate has become one of our newer traditions, and today I am sharing a few key recipes to help you host a holiday cookie decorating party of your own as well as some essential items to bring your holiday table to life!

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 153

Good morning!

This week was my very first ever Arizona blogger event that I hosted and I am so glad I finally did it! 

I have spent years attending events and socials since Adam and I moved to Arizona 5 years ago, and I have always wanted to host an event of my very own. For New Year's Eve last year, I made 'host a blogger event' one of my yearly aspirations and I prepared everything I needed to do to make it work and decided to just go for it!

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you know what I am talking about and have seen pictures. But if you are not sure what I am talking about, I will definitely share all of the details once I go through all of my pictures I took and share it with you between now and the end of the year. These chic, Rudolph-inspired party bags were just one of the adorable details from our AZ Blogger Bash (more details to come!)

15 Holiday Desserts that Are Not Cookies

Are you bored of Christmas cookies? Try one of these decadent holiday dessert recipe ideas! 

Christmas season means loads of cookies and cookie decorating, and after a few weeks, sometimes we can get a little tired of having nothing but cookies for a sweet treat to enjoy at a holiday party.

Don't get me wrong, I love cookies! But I feel like cookies are the most served dessert at all holiday parties and sometimes a girl just needs some variety. Whether it be a tart, a yule log cake, tiramisu, special hot cocoa, pie bars, or even ice cream, there are so many ways you can bring the holiday festivities to your favorite kinds of dessert recipes (that do not have to be cookies!) 

Today, I am sharing fifteen different dessert recipes from some of my favorite fellow foodie bloggers, including this recipe for hot buttered rum bundt cake from The Itsy-Bitsy Kitchen blog (as well as some fabulous giveaways you can enter to win below!)

Hot Cocoa, Plaid, & ALL the Christmas Feels

This merry, comfortable yet chic Christmas-inspired OOTD gives me alllll the Christmas feels!

Sleigh bells are ringing and it's finally cool enough to wear a scarf in the valley!

We have waited what feels like forever for this kind of weather to come to Phoenix! For weeks, we have all been suffering in the heat and refusing to give up our right to wear fall sweaters, boots, and scarves. After a warm start to fall and constant 80 degrees temperatures, it has finally started to truly feel like fall in the valley of the sun.

Black and red plaid accessories are everywhere--handbags, jackets, sweaters, boots, and scarves. This scarf brings the festivity that comes with holiday fashion, and this black velvet t-shirt is still cool enough to wear so if the valley temperatures decide to spike up in the afternoon you won't start sweating. Complete the look with a few statement rings, a comfortable pair of form-fitting skinny jeans, black velvet boots, and a cup of warm cocoa! 

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 152

Happy December!

It's officially my favorite month of the year! Although I will admit, growing up I was not fond of the month of December. As a kid, I always had my friends and classmates bail on my birthday party at the last minute due to holiday plans with family or dreaded Massachusetts nor'easters and blizzards making it impossible to drive in. But after all of these years (and moving away from the snow), I have rediscovered a love for the month of December I had not had before!

Since my birthday is Christmas Eve Eve, everyone is always in good cheer and excited (and usually in good spirits) on the day of my birthday. As I have gotten older, I have felt less inclined to actually go out and celebrate my birthday the night of, but instead, I like to have a little gathering a few days beforehand or plan something after the new year. 

This year, Adam and I are thinking of traveling in January so my hope is that we can make that happen once we figure out what his hours are, so we can hopefully enjoy a trip as a belated birthday gift!

Move Over LBD, Little Red Dress is Here

Bringing back the occasional fashion blog post by popular demand, featuring this darling little red dress and suede and gold platform high heels perfect for the holiday season!

I'm embracing the red dress dancer emoji in real life for the holidays this year!

Usually, I am more drawn to darker dresses and using glitter to bring the holiday spirit into my wardrobe, but this year, I am embracing bold reds and shimmering golds to show off my Christmas cheer. 

After having lost 70 pounds, I have still been trying to rediscover my sense of style in different clothing. Typically, I lean to darker clothes since they are traditionally more flattering, but now that I feel healthier and happier and more confident in the way that I look, I've been making room for brighter clothing in my closet. This red dress is so fun and flirty, and it's absolutely perfect for Christmas parties (and I may even break it out of the closet again for Valentine's Day next year, too!) 
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