VIVACIOUS

A commentary on Food, Fashion, Travel, Music, and more to help you create a Vivacious life!
Day 5 - Homemade Holidays:
Sometimes the Christmas Season can be taken over by the greed of large corporations trying to make an extra buck off this time of giving. Wrapping paper, decorations, and so much more can sometimes cost three times their normal amount. Well, here are a few options to help you get around the extra costs and make your holidays homemade and hassle-free.
Merry Christmas Bunting

Decorations are essential during the holidays but buying garland at this time of year could cost quite a bit. Instead, head over to your nearby fabric store and pick out a Christmas color palette to match your decor. Then create a simple Merry Christmas banner. If you don’t have a sewing machine, this can easily be done by hand or you could find a sewing center where you could borrow a machine and get some help. To make the letters just simply print out the type of font you want on a full-size piece of paper and use as a template. Not only is this inexpensive but it is re-usable and you could make more for other events like birthdays or Thanksgiving.
Check out this great video from MJH Crafts about creating a flag bunting.

Or, if you want to fork out the cash you can buy the banner at Sass & Belle UK.
Wreaths are also a traditional part of Christmas. Here are a few homemade ideas.
Book Wreath

What you need:
Old book
Coffee
Cardboard
Glue

Images from ShopRuche.com
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 200 F. Pour prepared coffee into a dish and dip old book page. Place pages on a dry cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 6 minutes or until the sheets are dry.
Roll the paper from corner to corner and glue in place. Bend the bottom so it points back.
Cut out a circle in the cardboard. Glue the bent part of paper to the cardboard. Make sure to stagger the pieces. See images above for guidance.
Continue until you reach your desired fullness.
Yarn Wreath

Image from Shopruche.com
What you need:
Your choice of yarn
Your choice of ribbon
glue
Foam wreath base
Instructions:
Glue one end of yarn to foam base on the backside.
Wrap yarn all over wreath until covered. Keep the yarn tight to prevent gaps.
Glue other end of yarn to backside of wreath.
Attach ribbon.
Wreath with Rosettes
Image from Crafting Mom
This beautiful wreath can be altered for any event. If you want a Christmas style then replace berries with holly or evergreen sprigs and select different fabric colors for the rosettes.
What you need:
Rosette Template DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE HERE
Grapevine wreath
Felt (in various colors – use any colors you’d like for your flowers)
Hot glue gun & hot glue
Double stick tape
Fall berry picks (or other accents like holly leaves)
Instructions:
Download and print out the Rosette Template. Use the template to cut the  “swirl” shapes out of your felt (you can adjust the size of your swirl  to create larger or smaller rosettes).
Start at the end and roll it. The tighter you roll it up, the smaller  the rosette will be; if it is rolled more loosely, the rosette will end  up larger. Once the flower was almost completely rolled, I used a little  double stick tape to keep it rolled up (double stick tape is great  because you can take it off if you need to adjust your flower and then  just stick it back on). Then I finished rolling it up by putting the end  on top of the tape, and the whole rosette stays together and keeps its  shape.

Make as many or as few rosettes as you’d like. Then just arrange how  you’d like them on the grapevine wreath and secure them with hot glue.  You can decorate the entire wreath with the flowers, or use other fall  decorations – I used 5 sprigs of fall berries (I just stuck them right  into the wreath!).

Wrapping can require tons of paper, bows, and more! Here are some ideas to cut down on these extra costs.

Cinnamon Sticks Bow
Instead of buying tons of bows that will be ripped off an thrown away instantly, why not buy cinnamon sticks and tie them together to place on top of gifts. Remind friends that you can pop these in a pot of simmering apple juice and make some delicious apple cider on Christmas day. Try not to buy cinnamon sticks in the spices section of your grocery store but instead buy them at a Mexican market where they are much less expensive.
Newspaper Wrapping

Image from Flickr
Grab some old newspapers or magazine and start wrapping. Add accents of red, gold, or green ribbon to make it more festive.
Kraft Paper Gift Wrap by Martha Stewart

Image from marthastewart.com
This simple wrapping paper allows your tree to shine.
Shimmering Stacked Trees by Martha Stewart

Image from Marthastewart.com
If you are a little more experienced with crafts then this may be perfect for you!
Advent Ornaments

Image from Marthastewart.com
Turn your tree into an advent calendar. Hang numbered small paper bags full of candy or create your own type of ornament to hold a nice surprise.
Mittens Stockings

Image from Urban Outfitters
Turn the stockings themselves into gifts with these Cozy Lined Mittens from Urban Outfitters. Fill them up with treats and trinkets.
Tinsel Snowflake Ornaments by Martha Stewart

Image from Marthastewart.com
This simple decoration from MarthaStewart.com can be made in an array of colors and shapes.
Instructions:
Enlarge templates as desired using a photocopier (5 to 12 inches in diameter).
Tape to a piece of heavy mat board or smooth cardboard; place over a protective surface, such as a self-healing mat.
Using a utility knife, cut through layers to create snowflake shape.  Remove template. Using a medium paintbrush, coat one side of shape with  craft glue. Sprinkle with fine glitter. Let glue dry; shake off excess  glitter.
Repeat, using glass-shard glitter. Repeat process on other side. Using  silver thread, hang snowflakes from removable adhesive hooks.
Pine Cone Ornaments

If you live in an area where pine cones are plenty then pick up a few from your yard or park. Grab a can of metallic spray paint and apply to the pine cones. Attach the pine cones to ornament clips to decorate your lovely tree.

Day 5 - Homemade Holidays:

Sometimes the Christmas Season can be taken over by the greed of large corporations trying to make an extra buck off this time of giving. Wrapping paper, decorations, and so much more can sometimes cost three times their normal amount. Well, here are a few options to help you get around the extra costs and make your holidays homemade and hassle-free.

Merry Christmas Bunting

Decorations are essential during the holidays but buying garland at this time of year could cost quite a bit. Instead, head over to your nearby fabric store and pick out a Christmas color palette to match your decor. Then create a simple Merry Christmas banner. If you don’t have a sewing machine, this can easily be done by hand or you could find a sewing center where you could borrow a machine and get some help. To make the letters just simply print out the type of font you want on a full-size piece of paper and use as a template. Not only is this inexpensive but it is re-usable and you could make more for other events like birthdays or Thanksgiving.

Check out this great video from MJH Crafts about creating a flag bunting.

Or, if you want to fork out the cash you can buy the banner at Sass & Belle UK.

Wreaths are also a traditional part of Christmas. Here are a few homemade ideas.

Book Wreath

What you need:

  • Old book
  • Coffee
  • Cardboard
  • Glue

Images from ShopRuche.com

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 F. Pour prepared coffee into a dish and dip old book page. Place pages on a dry cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 6 minutes or until the sheets are dry.
  2. Roll the paper from corner to corner and glue in place. Bend the bottom so it points back.
  3. Cut out a circle in the cardboard. Glue the bent part of paper to the cardboard. Make sure to stagger the pieces. See images above for guidance.
  4. Continue until you reach your desired fullness.

Yarn Wreath

Image from Shopruche.com

What you need:

  • Your choice of yarn
  • Your choice of ribbon
  • glue
  • Foam wreath base

Instructions:

  1. Glue one end of yarn to foam base on the backside.
  2. Wrap yarn all over wreath until covered. Keep the yarn tight to prevent gaps.
  3. Glue other end of yarn to backside of wreath.
  4. Attach ribbon.

Wreath with Rosettes

Image from Crafting Mom

This beautiful wreath can be altered for any event. If you want a Christmas style then replace berries with holly or evergreen sprigs and select different fabric colors for the rosettes.

What you need:

  • Rosette Template DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE HERE
  • Grapevine wreath
  • Felt (in various colors – use any colors you’d like for your flowers)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue
  • Double stick tape
  • Fall berry picks (or other accents like holly leaves)

Instructions:

  1. Download and print out the Rosette Template. Use the template to cut the “swirl” shapes out of your felt (you can adjust the size of your swirl to create larger or smaller rosettes).
  2. Start at the end and roll it. The tighter you roll it up, the smaller the rosette will be; if it is rolled more loosely, the rosette will end up larger. Once the flower was almost completely rolled, I used a little double stick tape to keep it rolled up (double stick tape is great because you can take it off if you need to adjust your flower and then just stick it back on). Then I finished rolling it up by putting the end on top of the tape, and the whole rosette stays together and keeps its shape.

Wrapping can require tons of paper, bows, and more! Here are some ideas to cut down on these extra costs.

Cinnamon Sticks Bow

Instead of buying tons of bows that will be ripped off an thrown away instantly, why not buy cinnamon sticks and tie them together to place on top of gifts. Remind friends that you can pop these in a pot of simmering apple juice and make some delicious apple cider on Christmas day. Try not to buy cinnamon sticks in the spices section of your grocery store but instead buy them at a Mexican market where they are much less expensive.

Newspaper Wrapping

Image from Flickr

Grab some old newspapers or magazine and start wrapping. Add accents of red, gold, or green ribbon to make it more festive.

Kraft Paper Gift Wrap by Martha Stewart

Image from marthastewart.com

This simple wrapping paper allows your tree to shine.

Shimmering Stacked Trees by Martha Stewart

Image from Marthastewart.com

If you are a little more experienced with crafts then this may be perfect for you!

Advent Ornaments

Image from Marthastewart.com

Turn your tree into an advent calendar. Hang numbered small paper bags full of candy or create your own type of ornament to hold a nice surprise.

Mittens Stockings

Image from Urban Outfitters

Turn the stockings themselves into gifts with these Cozy Lined Mittens from Urban Outfitters. Fill them up with treats and trinkets.

Tinsel Snowflake Ornaments by Martha Stewart

Image from Marthastewart.com

This simple decoration from MarthaStewart.com can be made in an array of colors and shapes.

Instructions:

  1. Enlarge templates as desired using a photocopier (5 to 12 inches in diameter).
  2. Tape to a piece of heavy mat board or smooth cardboard; place over a protective surface, such as a self-healing mat.
  3. Using a utility knife, cut through layers to create snowflake shape. Remove template. Using a medium paintbrush, coat one side of shape with craft glue. Sprinkle with fine glitter. Let glue dry; shake off excess glitter.
  4. Repeat, using glass-shard glitter. Repeat process on other side. Using silver thread, hang snowflakes from removable adhesive hooks.

Pine Cone Ornaments

If you live in an area where pine cones are plenty then pick up a few from your yard or park. Grab a can of metallic spray paint and apply to the pine cones. Attach the pine cones to ornament clips to decorate your lovely tree.

Comments
Day 4 - Cookie Exchange:
So at first you might think a cookie exchange is something mom’s only do on a free weekend. Well, you can easily update this fun even by throwing together some holiday cocktails like this Candy Cane Cocktail or Snowtini from Sandra Lee at Food Network. Also, request an assortment of foods to turn it into a dinner buffet event and then have each guest place a stack of recipe cards by their dish so by the end of the night each person can go home with a collection of their favorite dishes.
Or, if you want to stay traditional, here are a few of my favorite cookie recipes.
Frosted Holiday Sugar Cookies by BettyCrocker.com
These are my all time favorite “go to” cookies for Christmas. You can make plenty of batches ahead of time then refrigerate and bake whenever you need them during the holiday season.
Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cream of tartar
Granulated sugar or colored sugar 
Preparation:
Mix  powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and  refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet. 
Divide  dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured  surface. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
Make sure you have numerous cookie cutter options like this perfect copper Christmas tree from Sur La Table.

Finally, whip up an easy frosting an dye with food coloring for beautiful decorations. This is also a great recipe to use for a cookie decorating party.
Ginger Cookies by Williams-Sonoma

Image from Williams-Sonoma
If you love ginger then you will love these cookies. Rich in flavor yet chewy, these cookies will be very popular at your party. Below is the recipe.
Ingredients:
 1 1/4 cups pecans or macadamia nuts 
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 1/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling 
1 extra-large egg 
1/2 cup dark molasses 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper 
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger 
Preparation:
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast  until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the  oven, let cool and chop coarsely; set aside.
In a bowl, using an  electric mixer preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat  together the butter and the 1 1/4 cups sugar until creamy, about 5  minutes. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add  the molasses and beat to combine.
In another bowl, sift together  the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and white pepper.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed, 2  to 3 minutes. Stir in the crystallized ginger and nuts until evenly  distributed.
Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 2  equal portions. Form each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in  diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well  chilled, at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days.
Preheat an oven  to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp  knife, cut each log into slices 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the slices on  the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and sprinkle with sugar. Let cool.
Holiday Snickerdoodles by BettyCrocker
Finally, my all time favorite Christmas cookies are Snickerdoodles with Holiday sprinkles.
Ingredients:
 2 tbsp red sugar sprinkles
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp green sugar sprinkles
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 
Preparation:
Heat  oven to 400ºF. In small bowl, mix red sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the  cinnamon; set aside. In another small bowl, mix green sugar and  remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
In  large bowl, beat sugar, shortening, butter and eggs with electric mixer  on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, cream of tartar,  baking soda and salt.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll in sugar-cinnamon mixtures. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake  8 to 10 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool 1 minute; remove  from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
For more great ideas on how to host a cookie exchange then check out Martha Stewart’s Christmas Cookies: 8 Steps to Hosting a Cookie Swap.
Top image from Bettycrocker.com

Day 4 - Cookie Exchange:

So at first you might think a cookie exchange is something mom’s only do on a free weekend. Well, you can easily update this fun even by throwing together some holiday cocktails like this Candy Cane Cocktail or Snowtini from Sandra Lee at Food Network. Also, request an assortment of foods to turn it into a dinner buffet event and then have each guest place a stack of recipe cards by their dish so by the end of the night each person can go home with a collection of their favorite dishes.

Or, if you want to stay traditional, here are a few of my favorite cookie recipes.

Frosted Holiday Sugar Cookies by BettyCrocker.com

These are my all time favorite “go to” cookies for Christmas. You can make plenty of batches ahead of time then refrigerate and bake whenever you need them during the holiday season.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Granulated sugar or colored sugar
  • Preparation:

    1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
    2. Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
    3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
    4. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

    Make sure you have numerous cookie cutter options like this perfect copper Christmas tree from Sur La Table.

    Finally, whip up an easy frosting an dye with food coloring for beautiful decorations. This is also a great recipe to use for a cookie decorating party.

    Ginger Cookies by Williams-Sonoma

    Image from Williams-Sonoma

    If you love ginger then you will love these cookies. Rich in flavor yet chewy, these cookies will be very popular at your party. Below is the recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/4 cups pecans or macadamia nuts
    • 14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • 1 extra-large egg
    • 1/2 cup dark molasses
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
    • 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and chop coarsely; set aside.

    2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the 1 1/4 cups sugar until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add the molasses and beat to combine.

    3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and white pepper. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the crystallized ginger and nuts until evenly distributed.

    4. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Form each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days.

    5. Preheat an oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into slices 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

    6. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and sprinkle with sugar. Let cool.

    Holiday Snickerdoodles by BettyCrocker

    Finally, my all time favorite Christmas cookies are Snickerdoodles with Holiday sprinkles.

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp red sugar sprinkles
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp green sugar sprinkles
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Preparation:

    1. Heat oven to 400ºF. In small bowl, mix red sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon; set aside. In another small bowl, mix green sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
    2. In large bowl, beat sugar, shortening, butter and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
    3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll in sugar-cinnamon mixtures. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
    4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    For more great ideas on how to host a cookie exchange then check out Martha Stewart’s Christmas Cookies: 8 Steps to Hosting a Cookie Swap.

    Top image from Bettycrocker.com

    Comments
    Day 3 - Holiday Aprons and Towels:
Since this whole month is all about parties, decorating, and being busy, you may want some gear to help protect you from an explosion of flour while mixing your Christmas cookies or a bubbling over of melted chocolate for your famous fudge.
Here are some adorable Holiday Aprons & Towels that I have found to make your busy kitchen experiences a little more joyful!

Woodland Holiday Apron from ModCloth
This is perfect for the lady who loves vintage/retro styles.

Vintage Snowman Apron from Sur La Table
Vintage Snowman Kitchen Towel from Sur La Table
Holiday Polk Dots Oven Mitt from Sur La Table
This style is for the craft lady. If you prefer “homemade holidays” then this will perfectly fit your personality.

Joyeux Noel Jacquard Apron from Sur La Table
Joyeux Noel Jacquard Kitchen Towel from Sur La Table
For the cultured world traveller that loves the idea of spending evenings sipping on a glass of wine on a corner cafe.

Vintage Humble Hospitality Apron from ModCloth
Want something simply and classic? This the perfect apron for simply perfect woman.

Christmas Carols Apron from Williams-Sonoma
Christmas Carols Towels from Williams-Sonoma
Want to match your beautiful Williams-Sonoma Christmas dishes? You just have to buy the matching apron and towels.
Images from Williams-Sonoma, ModCloth, and Sur La Table.
Title image from Channel4

    Day 3 - Holiday Aprons and Towels:

    Since this whole month is all about parties, decorating, and being busy, you may want some gear to help protect you from an explosion of flour while mixing your Christmas cookies or a bubbling over of melted chocolate for your famous fudge.

    Here are some adorable Holiday Aprons & Towels that I have found to make your busy kitchen experiences a little more joyful!

    Woodland Holiday Apron from ModCloth

    This is perfect for the lady who loves vintage/retro styles.

    Vintage Snowman Apron from Sur La Table

    Vintage Snowman Kitchen Towel from Sur La Table

    Holiday Polk Dots Oven Mitt from Sur La Table

    This style is for the craft lady. If you prefer “homemade holidays” then this will perfectly fit your personality.

    Joyeux Noel Jacquard Apron from Sur La Table

    Joyeux Noel Jacquard Kitchen Towel from Sur La Table

    For the cultured world traveller that loves the idea of spending evenings sipping on a glass of wine on a corner cafe.

    Vintage Humble Hospitality Apron from ModCloth

    Want something simply and classic? This the perfect apron for simply perfect woman.

    Christmas Carols Apron from Williams-Sonoma

    Christmas Carols Towels from Williams-Sonoma

    Want to match your beautiful Williams-Sonoma Christmas dishes? You just have to buy the matching apron and towels.

    Images from Williams-Sonoma, ModCloth, and Sur La Table.

    Title image from Channel4

    Comments
    Day 2 - My Wish List:
When you have a large family like mine, we have found it best to resort to a “secret Santa” sort of gift exchange. This definitely cuts down on the holiday costs and stress.

Image from MyRegistry.com
The other difficulty we overcame was what everyone wants. Since we are all adults it is not as easy to grab a Barbie Doll or Hot Wheels. It is much more complicated between clothes, shoes, cameras, phones, and gift cards. Plus, we need to know specific sizes and styling. Well, thanks to MyRegistry.com, which is not just for a wedding registry, we can individually create our own wish lists with details on sizing, color, and any other notes. This is especially easy since you can link directly to an online store to quickly buy that gift.
Now that we have settled all the rules and process to get gifts, I created my own wish list. It is full of items like home decor, kitchen tools, shoes, dresses, gift cards, backpacks, hats, and more. I might be an adult but it still is nice to be somewhat surprised by gifts so my thought process is add more options and add various prices, which allows the gift giver to make their own selection based on what they can spend or what they feel comfortable giving.

1. Meat/Poultry Thermometer and Candy Thermometer from Sur La Table - $9.95 & $12.95
I have had plenty of recipes on Vivacious that have probably been better off with a thermometer. For a roast turkey you really need a thermometer and for a perfect batch of fudge you must have a candy thermometer! These are must needs in any kitchen.

2. Branch Taper Candleholder Centerpiece from World Market - $29.99
This beautiful piece will last throughout all the seasons. Add a little garland for a Christmas touch, fall leaves for Fall, or flowers for Spring.

3. Little Birch Jewelry Stand from Urban Outfitters - $32.00
Staying in theme with branches, this piece will not only keep you organized but make your organization look like normal room decor. Grab a pair to add symmetry to a dresser in your room.

4. Rachel Leigh for Loft Cares Bow Bracelet from Ann Taylor Loft - $29.99
Here is a pretty piece you can hang on that branch. I can also imagine keeping this for many years and maybe even passing down to the next generation. Timeless piece for the timeless person!

5. Traverse 30 Pack from REI - $79.50
While talking about being timeless in fashion, I would also recommend being timeless in health. Ok, we can’t be “forever young” but at least we can take care of our bodies by being active. While we are active we need the right gear and this pack is perfect for a quick overnight backpacking trip or day hikes throughout the mountains.

6. Madden Girl Zorrba Boot from Endless.com - $67.90
Even though we may be mountain women at some point, we can at least be super cute mountain women when not on a hike! These adorable boots can be great boots that you can zip all the way up or show a little lumberjack style with half zipped exposing some flannel.

7. World Market Gift Card
So since we are now climbing mountains and looking cute, then let’s just travel the world! Well that might be too expensive so just ask for a gift card to World Market where you can experience different food, decor, and more from around the world at affordable prices.

8. Disneyland Annual Passport - $199 - $499
So if you enjoy the holidays, adventure in the mountains, and delicious treats then you must get a Disneyland Annual Passport. Christmas on Main Street U.S.A. is tons of fun with nightly snow and parades. Take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain for the “wildest ride in the wilderness”. Finally, stop by Blue Bayou Restaurant for a nice sit down meal while watching families take a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean.

10. Fort Knocks Black/Smoke Sunglasses from Knockaround - $25.00
Talking about the Caribbean, I am pretty sure I need another pair of some classic shades like these black Fort Knocks sunglasses.

11. Patagonia Trucker Hat - $25.00
Along with protecting your eyes from a sunny day, it may be best to protect your beautiful face! Throw on one of these hats with a mesh back to keep you from getting to hot but also look amazing by wearing Patagonia gear.

12. My Delicious Shiro Gold Sequin Sparkle Pumps from Lulu’s - $34.00
You know what else always makes you look amazing? Gold sequin sparkly pumps! Yes, dazzle in these shoes for the holidays and take the look throughout the year on trips to Vegas or just for a fun girls night out at your local bar.

13. Bird Jewelry Dish from Pottery Barn - $19.00
Along with sparkling shoes you may have some very important sparkling jewelry that needs safe keeping at night or while you cook. This bird jewelry dish is the perfect answer to keep your rings safe as well as beautiful in whatever setting.

14. Flameless LED Candles from World Market - $4.99 to $9.99
Well a bird jewelry dish can look beautiful anywhere and so can any room with some mood lighting via flameless LED candles. These candles will last a lot longer than wax candles and they even have a 5 hour timer on them so you don’t even have to worry about turning them on or off.

15. Gold or Silver Mercury Glass Candleholders - $9.99 to $16.99
We must have some gorgeous candle holders to go with our candles. These can spruce up any mantle, table, or side table.

16. Round Glass Jars with Clamp Lid from World Market - $9.98 to $11.98
Candle holders spruce up candles and these glass jars spruce up plain ingredients like flour, sugar, and more! Put any dry food into these jars to make them a beautiful display on your kitchen counter. Or just make life easier when finding food with the clear glass and sealed lid.

17. 16GB iPhone 4S from Apple - $199
Another thing that makes life extremely easy is the iPhone 4S! You’re lost? Pull up a map! Don’t know the name of a song? Pull up Shazam! Don’t have extra cash for a text message plan? Use iMessage for free! Too tired to actually search any of this yourself? Just ask Siri, your personal assistant! Shall I continue with the greatness?

18. NineWest Holbein Boots from Zappos.com - $139.99
Another thing of greatness, these boots! Enough said.

19. NineWest Aroundtown from Zappos.com - $79.99
Since we are now talking NineWest, I can’t forget to mention these shoes! More support with these thicker heels make everyday wear a little easier.

20. Sperry Top-Sider Skiff Moccasins from Nordstrom - $59.95
To be more comfortable everyday, then slip into a pair of these moccasins with a comfy fleece lining. Plush and posh!

21. First Frost Sweater Dress from Ruche - $63.99
Comfy yet adorable, this sweater dress will keep you warm for afternoon walks with a pair of tights and cute boots.

22. Molcajete from Sur La Table - $39.95
Warm moccasins and sweater dresses definitely keep you warm but turn up the heat a little more with fresh ground spices with your molcajete. Create a spicy guacamole or your very own taco seasoning with this nice kitchen piece.

23. Williamsburg Double Beverage Dispenser from Target - $31.99
Ok, so maybe we are now a little too hot with sweaters and spicy peppers so cool off with a icy drink from this beautiful beverage dispenser. Not only is this good looking but helps organize the drink station at any party.

24. Eggplant for Every Occasion Bag from ModCloth - $57.99
Another thing that will keep you organized is this bold over sized bag!

25. Always at the Top Bag - from ModCloth - $89.99
Maybe the Eggplant is a little too much so this neutral color is a perfect option for all occasions!
I could probably add more and more to my wish list but this is a great start that might inspire some of your gifts to give or even keep for yourself!
To see the complete list with a few more gifts added checkout my list at MyRegistry.

    Day 2 - My Wish List:

    When you have a large family like mine, we have found it best to resort to a “secret Santa” sort of gift exchange. This definitely cuts down on the holiday costs and stress.

    Image from MyRegistry.com

    The other difficulty we overcame was what everyone wants. Since we are all adults it is not as easy to grab a Barbie Doll or Hot Wheels. It is much more complicated between clothes, shoes, cameras, phones, and gift cards. Plus, we need to know specific sizes and styling. Well, thanks to MyRegistry.com, which is not just for a wedding registry, we can individually create our own wish lists with details on sizing, color, and any other notes. This is especially easy since you can link directly to an online store to quickly buy that gift.

    Now that we have settled all the rules and process to get gifts, I created my own wish list. It is full of items like home decor, kitchen tools, shoes, dresses, gift cards, backpacks, hats, and more. I might be an adult but it still is nice to be somewhat surprised by gifts so my thought process is add more options and add various prices, which allows the gift giver to make their own selection based on what they can spend or what they feel comfortable giving.

    1. Meat/Poultry Thermometer and Candy Thermometer from Sur La Table - $9.95 & $12.95

    I have had plenty of recipes on Vivacious that have probably been better off with a thermometer. For a roast turkey you really need a thermometer and for a perfect batch of fudge you must have a candy thermometer! These are must needs in any kitchen.

    2. Branch Taper Candleholder Centerpiece from World Market - $29.99

    This beautiful piece will last throughout all the seasons. Add a little garland for a Christmas touch, fall leaves for Fall, or flowers for Spring.

    3. Little Birch Jewelry Stand from Urban Outfitters - $32.00

    Staying in theme with branches, this piece will not only keep you organized but make your organization look like normal room decor. Grab a pair to add symmetry to a dresser in your room.

    4. Rachel Leigh for Loft Cares Bow Bracelet from Ann Taylor Loft - $29.99

    Here is a pretty piece you can hang on that branch. I can also imagine keeping this for many years and maybe even passing down to the next generation. Timeless piece for the timeless person!

    5. Traverse 30 Pack from REI - $79.50

    While talking about being timeless in fashion, I would also recommend being timeless in health. Ok, we can’t be “forever young” but at least we can take care of our bodies by being active. While we are active we need the right gear and this pack is perfect for a quick overnight backpacking trip or day hikes throughout the mountains.

    6. Madden Girl Zorrba Boot from Endless.com - $67.90

    Even though we may be mountain women at some point, we can at least be super cute mountain women when not on a hike! These adorable boots can be great boots that you can zip all the way up or show a little lumberjack style with half zipped exposing some flannel.

    7. World Market Gift Card

    So since we are now climbing mountains and looking cute, then let’s just travel the world! Well that might be too expensive so just ask for a gift card to World Market where you can experience different food, decor, and more from around the world at affordable prices.

    8. Disneyland Annual Passport - $199 - $499

    So if you enjoy the holidays, adventure in the mountains, and delicious treats then you must get a Disneyland Annual Passport. Christmas on Main Street U.S.A. is tons of fun with nightly snow and parades. Take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain for the “wildest ride in the wilderness”. Finally, stop by Blue Bayou Restaurant for a nice sit down meal while watching families take a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean.

    10. Fort Knocks Black/Smoke Sunglasses from Knockaround - $25.00

    Talking about the Caribbean, I am pretty sure I need another pair of some classic shades like these black Fort Knocks sunglasses.

    11. Patagonia Trucker Hat - $25.00

    Along with protecting your eyes from a sunny day, it may be best to protect your beautiful face! Throw on one of these hats with a mesh back to keep you from getting to hot but also look amazing by wearing Patagonia gear.

    12. My Delicious Shiro Gold Sequin Sparkle Pumps from Lulu’s - $34.00

    You know what else always makes you look amazing? Gold sequin sparkly pumps! Yes, dazzle in these shoes for the holidays and take the look throughout the year on trips to Vegas or just for a fun girls night out at your local bar.

    13. Bird Jewelry Dish from Pottery Barn - $19.00

    Along with sparkling shoes you may have some very important sparkling jewelry that needs safe keeping at night or while you cook. This bird jewelry dish is the perfect answer to keep your rings safe as well as beautiful in whatever setting.

    14. Flameless LED Candles from World Market - $4.99 to $9.99

    Well a bird jewelry dish can look beautiful anywhere and so can any room with some mood lighting via flameless LED candles. These candles will last a lot longer than wax candles and they even have a 5 hour timer on them so you don’t even have to worry about turning them on or off.

    15. Gold or Silver Mercury Glass Candleholders - $9.99 to $16.99

    We must have some gorgeous candle holders to go with our candles. These can spruce up any mantle, table, or side table.

    16. Round Glass Jars with Clamp Lid from World Market - $9.98 to $11.98

    Candle holders spruce up candles and these glass jars spruce up plain ingredients like flour, sugar, and more! Put any dry food into these jars to make them a beautiful display on your kitchen counter. Or just make life easier when finding food with the clear glass and sealed lid.

    17. 16GB iPhone 4S from Apple - $199

    Another thing that makes life extremely easy is the iPhone 4S! You’re lost? Pull up a map! Don’t know the name of a song? Pull up Shazam! Don’t have extra cash for a text message plan? Use iMessage for free! Too tired to actually search any of this yourself? Just ask Siri, your personal assistant! Shall I continue with the greatness?

    18. NineWest Holbein Boots from Zappos.com - $139.99

    Another thing of greatness, these boots! Enough said.

    19. NineWest Aroundtown from Zappos.com - $79.99

    Since we are now talking NineWest, I can’t forget to mention these shoes! More support with these thicker heels make everyday wear a little easier.

    20. Sperry Top-Sider Skiff Moccasins from Nordstrom - $59.95

    To be more comfortable everyday, then slip into a pair of these moccasins with a comfy fleece lining. Plush and posh!

    21. First Frost Sweater Dress from Ruche - $63.99

    Comfy yet adorable, this sweater dress will keep you warm for afternoon walks with a pair of tights and cute boots.

    22. Molcajete from Sur La Table - $39.95

    Warm moccasins and sweater dresses definitely keep you warm but turn up the heat a little more with fresh ground spices with your molcajete. Create a spicy guacamole or your very own taco seasoning with this nice kitchen piece.

    23. Williamsburg Double Beverage Dispenser from Target - $31.99

    Ok, so maybe we are now a little too hot with sweaters and spicy peppers so cool off with a icy drink from this beautiful beverage dispenser. Not only is this good looking but helps organize the drink station at any party.

    24. Eggplant for Every Occasion Bag from ModCloth - $57.99

    Another thing that will keep you organized is this bold over sized bag!

    25. Always at the Top Bag - from ModCloth - $89.99

    Maybe the Eggplant is a little too much so this neutral color is a perfect option for all occasions!

    I could probably add more and more to my wish list but this is a great start that might inspire some of your gifts to give or even keep for yourself!

    To see the complete list with a few more gifts added checkout my list at MyRegistry.

    Comments

    Day 1 - Music:

    We probably all have plenty of plans this holiday season including baking, decorating, shopping, parties, and enjoying the season! During all of this you must have a perfect Christmas soundtrack to make the season joyful and bright. Plus it brings back so many childhood memories of pure happiness during this month!

    Here is my mix of some of the most classic Christmas songs you can enjoy through these next 25 days!

    Find some other great Christmas mixes at 8tracks.

    Merry Christmas!

    Comments

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