VIVACIOUS

A commentary on Food, Fashion, Travel, Music, and more to help you create a Vivacious life!
Food:
Most of you may already have a good basic set of measuring cups and spoons but did you ever think these could be more than just tools? These items can be beautiful and unique additions to your kitchen that add a little character. 
Image above from World Market
Nested Russian Measuring Dolls from World Market

Image from World Market
Porcelain Measuring Cups and Spoon Set from World Market

Image from Anthropologie
Painted Amaryllis Measuring Cups from Anthropologie
(I got these beauties as a Christmas gift!)

Image from Anthropologie
Dining Room Measuring Spoons from Anthropologie

Image from Ruche
Sweet Cupcakes Measuring Spoons from Ruche

Image from Sur La Table
Paris Poodle Measuring Cups from Sur La Table

Image from ModCloth
Roy G. B-aker Food Prep Set from ModCloth

Image from ModCloth
Birds of a Flavor Measuring Cups from ModCloth

Food:

Most of you may already have a good basic set of measuring cups and spoons but did you ever think these could be more than just tools? These items can be beautiful and unique additions to your kitchen that add a little character. 

Image above from World Market

Nested Russian Measuring Dolls from World Market

Image from World Market

Porcelain Measuring Cups and Spoon Set from World Market

Image from Anthropologie

Painted Amaryllis Measuring Cups from Anthropologie

(I got these beauties as a Christmas gift!)

Image from Anthropologie

Dining Room Measuring Spoons from Anthropologie

Image from Ruche

Sweet Cupcakes Measuring Spoons from Ruche

Image from Sur La Table

Paris Poodle Measuring Cups from Sur La Table

Image from ModCloth

Roy G. B-aker Food Prep Set from ModCloth

Image from ModCloth

Birds of a Flavor Measuring Cups from ModCloth

Comments

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

KJV Luke 2:8-14

"…And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown," Linus (from A Charlie Brown Christmas).

Comments
Day 18 - Gifts for your Girlfriends!
So it is coming down to the wire and it looks like you got all your family members gifts! Then, you think about it and realize you didn’t get any of your friends gifts. Whipping up a batch of cookies might be enough for the office but you definitely need something a little more thoughtful for the friend who danced with you all night in Vegas or ate a tub of ice cream with you and listened to you complain about a terrible break-up!
Here are some quick and easy ideas for gifts with friends. Plus, you can always give them these gifts after Christmas since you will most likely be with family on the holiday, so you have a bit more time to order and receive the gifts.
The SoleMates - High Heel Protector Cap

Every girl has probably been in the situation where they have high heels but are stuck walking on their toes in the grass so they don’t sink in. Well these SoleMates are the perfect solution. This gift will make sure your girlfriends still get to wear their stylish heels while also being efficient in the grass.
Sexy-To-Go Makeup Kit

I am already a huge fan of Victoria’s Secret makeup but after buying my own makeup kit from them, I love it even more! This kit will be greatly appreciated by your friend on the go! In the car, at the office, or in between work and dinner, this gift will make sure she gets where she needs to be looking great in no time.
Chocolate Faux Fur Throw

Faux fur has definitely been popular this fashion season but why not turn it into a living room staple. This throw will keep your friend warm throughout the winter and also look stylish in her home.
Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Bestsellers Gift Set

For your friend who loves to whip up a storm in the kitchen, this collection of bestsellers by Ina Garten is perfect. You will give her a batter bowl, brownie mix, red velvet mix, and Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That? cookbook, which I adore! If you don’t like this set then put together your own bakers gift set with a mixing bowl, whisk, cookbook, or anything else.
The North Face TKA 100 Microvelour Snapneck Sweater

For your friend who enjoys the outdoors but still wants to look cute, this sweater is ideal. With a classic style while still keeping her warm, this will work well on her hikes and running to the nearby coffee shop.
Merry Christmas!

Day 18 - Gifts for your Girlfriends!

So it is coming down to the wire and it looks like you got all your family members gifts! Then, you think about it and realize you didn’t get any of your friends gifts. Whipping up a batch of cookies might be enough for the office but you definitely need something a little more thoughtful for the friend who danced with you all night in Vegas or ate a tub of ice cream with you and listened to you complain about a terrible break-up!

Here are some quick and easy ideas for gifts with friends. Plus, you can always give them these gifts after Christmas since you will most likely be with family on the holiday, so you have a bit more time to order and receive the gifts.

The SoleMates - High Heel Protector Cap

Every girl has probably been in the situation where they have high heels but are stuck walking on their toes in the grass so they don’t sink in. Well these SoleMates are the perfect solution. This gift will make sure your girlfriends still get to wear their stylish heels while also being efficient in the grass.

Sexy-To-Go Makeup Kit

I am already a huge fan of Victoria’s Secret makeup but after buying my own makeup kit from them, I love it even more! This kit will be greatly appreciated by your friend on the go! In the car, at the office, or in between work and dinner, this gift will make sure she gets where she needs to be looking great in no time.

Chocolate Faux Fur Throw

Faux fur has definitely been popular this fashion season but why not turn it into a living room staple. This throw will keep your friend warm throughout the winter and also look stylish in her home.

Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Bestsellers Gift Set

For your friend who loves to whip up a storm in the kitchen, this collection of bestsellers by Ina Garten is perfect. You will give her a batter bowl, brownie mix, red velvet mix, and Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That? cookbook, which I adore! If you don’t like this set then put together your own bakers gift set with a mixing bowl, whisk, cookbook, or anything else.

The North Face TKA 100 Microvelour Snapneck Sweater

For your friend who enjoys the outdoors but still wants to look cute, this sweater is ideal. With a classic style while still keeping her warm, this will work well on her hikes and running to the nearby coffee shop.

Merry Christmas!

Comments
Day 17 - Baking Challenge Week 9
I have obviously been quite wrapped up in the Christmas Season, I almost forgot about my baking challenge. Well, I have now incorporated it into my 25 Days of Christmas!
Week 9 took me to the realm of cheesecake….sort of. So I made an Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bar. Part cookie, part cheesecake, and part apple crisp is the best way to describe it. Below is the recipe from Betty Crocker.
Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bar
Ingredients:
 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix  (I roughly put together my own Oatmeal Cookie mix)
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine 
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 egg 
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling  (I would never buy pre-made apple pie filling so instead I diced up Granny Smith Apples, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar then baked until softened and drained liquid)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon  (I added a dash of cloves and nutmeg as well)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts 
Preparations:
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
Place  cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter  until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture;  press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Spread  cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl,  mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake  35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30  minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows  by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Top image from BettyCrocker.com
Merry Christmas!

Day 17 - Baking Challenge Week 9

I have obviously been quite wrapped up in the Christmas Season, I almost forgot about my baking challenge. Well, I have now incorporated it into my 25 Days of Christmas!

Week 9 took me to the realm of cheesecake….sort of. So I made an Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bar. Part cookie, part cheesecake, and part apple crisp is the best way to describe it. Below is the recipe from Betty Crocker.

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bar

Ingredients:

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix (I roughly put together my own Oatmeal Cookie mix)
  • 1/2 cup firm butter or margarine 
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling (I would never buy pre-made apple pie filling so instead I diced up Granny Smith Apples, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar then baked until softened and drained liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I added a dash of cloves and nutmeg as well)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparations:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Top image from BettyCrocker.com

Merry Christmas!

Comments

Day 16 - Notable 2011 Christmas Albums:

There are tons of classic Christmas artists and songs to choose from but there are also plenty of brand new albums and singles available to explore. Here is a list of some notable 2011 Christmas Albums.

A Very She & Him Christmas

Above video by She & Him - “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Think simple classic songs. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward do a simply fantastic job of highlighting the wonderful tunes of the season.

Christmas

Video by Michael Bublé - “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas”

Already a hitmaker with “Haven’t Met You Yet” and “Everything”, this Christmas album is just another bit of icing on his successful musical cake!

This Warm December, A Brushfire Holiday Vol:2

Video by Jack Johnson - “In the Morning”

If you are looking for something not that traditional but extremely laid back, then checkout this album. Created by Jack Johnson’s own record label Brushfire Records, you know you can kick back on the beach with a Santa hat and feel at home.

Christmas in Diverse City

Video by TobyMac - “First Noel” (feat. Owl City)

From the well-known Christian group DC Talk, TobyMac is mixing an eclectic sound to create this album with special guests like Owl City. Definitely not traditional but something to hear.

Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2

Video by Glee - “Christmas Eve With You”

For the Gleeks, you have to get Glee’s Christmas Album Volume 2. Plus, there are two original Glee songs.

Chicago XXXIII - O Christmas Tree

Video by Chicago - “I Saw Three Ships” (feat. America)

If you love Chicago’s classic then you will appreciate this album.

Merry Christmas!

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