Thinking of a Vacation...

After working so hard this year- I'm really hoping to go on vacation & relax. So, I'm thinking sometime in the new year....any suggestions?  It can be a summer or winter getaway - spas are great too!

I'll admit, I'm NOT fond of flying more than 6 hours, so if you know know of a great place to vacation....not more than 6 hrs away, please comment! I'm sure others would love to DISCOVER new & exciting places they've never been to either!

All the photos below are from At Casa of home or hotels abroad, which I have yet to visit, maybe one day..

-images via at casa

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My Holiday Weekend...

I decided to pop in today & will probably be back a couple more times this week ...hope you all had a wonderful Holiday! Here's a little peak into my weekend.... 

How was your Holiday??

Gold was the color of the season at my house- I had a GOLD pedicure & gold Holiday ornaments throughout my place. Polish is by Butter London in The Full Monty. Looks sooo pretty on!

This was our tree this year..branches we bought at West Elm last year & placed them into a tall white vase. We filled the vase with rocks so that it was sturdy! 
Maybe next year we'll have a real BIG tree....

Talk about a DELICIOUS dinner. My guy once again whipped up a great dinner & dessert- he's so awesome. We had lamb chops with cranberry-pinot noir reduction , yam mash with cinnamon & braised brussel sprouts.  

We also had a side plate of tarts with goat cheese & balsamic onions along with parmesan twists. Oh & the dessert...chocolate twists with dark chocolate drizzle and pears. 

As always had cappuccino at one of my fave places - Espressamente.

The day after Christmas, my guy made these for me...oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate centers!

My boxer- he's been with us for a long time now & is now 13 years old. Pretty old for a Boxer! He has some health problems unfortunately, but we love him so much! 

This is the dog food we always's a combination of cooked vegetables & lean ground beef- then we add cooked brown rice & mix it all up....they love it! We store it in the fridge until feeding time. In my opinion, this is much better than dog food.

Gold decor on the stair rails...

-images by jen ramos

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Food: Three Ways to Serve Crostini

Hello there! Heather Freeman of The Lovely Cupboard here, and I'm back to share a recipe with you today. Actually, I've got three easy ways you can serve crostini at your upcoming New Year's Eve party. 

Crostini is such a fancy name for little toasts, but that's really all it is. However, this bite-sized crispy bread can be topped with anything from hummus to chutney. To begin with, you'll need a baguette, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and slice bread at an angle. (This allows more surface area for yummy toppings.)
2. Lay on a baking sheet or stone and brush each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If desired, rub a fresh garlic clove over the surface of each toast. (It gives just a hint of garlic flavor.)
4. Next, top with any assortment of spreads, meats, and veggies. I've got a few suggestions for you below...

This tastes like a caprese salad with a crunch. Spread fresh or jarred pesto. Top with fresh mozzarella and half of a cherry tomato.

For this spread, mix two parts herbed goat cheese and one part cream cheese. Top with thinly sliced cucumber. I used a cranberry chutney, but any fruit chutney would work. Mango tastes delicious with it.

This is such a classic combination that you can never go wrong with it. Cream cheese, smoked salmon with dill, and capers. This one is my favorite.

These make such great appetizers for a party since you can assemble them shortly before guests arrive. So hang the mistletoe, light the candles, and bring on the white elephant gifts. You've got crostinis and you know how to serve them!

Cheers and warm dishes,

-post by heather freeman

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See You Next Year...

I wanted to take this moment to THANK YOU ALL for reading my blog...& to so many of you who've been reading for several years now, thank you, thank you, thank you! Have a wonderful Holiday & NEW Year 2012!!!!!!

See you Jan 2. 

"Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:11

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DIY - Orange Pomander Balls

Hello again Made by Girl Readers :-) Jenny May here, from The Swede Records.  I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday Season!  
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the smell that I have come to associate it with- peppermint, pine, mulled cider, gingerbread, fires,'s all so comforting and nostalgic.  Nothing evokes memories like a scent and for me, Orange Pomander Balls are the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit. 

A pomander serves as both festive decoration and a palatable air freshener, the perfect fragrant mixtures of spices and fruit.

Pomanders are traditional and very easy to make.  All you really need are some fresh, ripe oranges and a jar of whole cloves.  Add some ribbon and glitter, and you got yourself the perfect lil gift to bring to Holiday parties. 
In order to ultimately hang the pomander ball, wrap a pretty ribbon around the orange twice pinning it to place.  Then, tie a bow on top of the orange and make a knot at the end.

Next, simply insert the pointy ends of the cloves into the rind of the orange in any pattern that pleases you.  (Use a toothpick to gently prick the orange beforehand if necessary). 

Once the orange is completely studded with cloves, pour some glitter all around to give it a little something extra.  

The Orange will eventually dry out but not rot, thanks to the clove's antibacterial properties.  Be sure to give this easy DIY a try this Christmas, I promise you will love how it turns out (and the sensational smell)!

Merry Christmas!

 -post by jenny may

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Design: Books as Holiday Gifts...

Hello again! It's me, Brooke, from The Modern Sophisticate.

I don't know about you but all I ever want for Christmas are books, especially gorgeous design books.  I have books in every room of my home, including my bathroom, kitchen and dining room-- I can't get enough of them!! If you are running around last minute trying to think of some quick and easy Christmas gifts, why not consider a beautiful book for your loved one?  One can never have too many, you know.  

And if you REALLY want to make an impression, why not add in a decorative object to coordinate?  
Here are my picks for...

...the Hip Hop Fan...
(This would be for the man in my house.)

1. Decoded by Jay-Z
2. Polygon Object from Indigo
3. Glow In The Dark by Kanye West
...the Fashionista...

(I've been pining for these books for years.)

2. Black and White Lacquer Boxes from Gramercy & Co.
3. Tom Ford by Tom Ford
...the Journalist/Photographer...

1.  New York Times Magazine Photographs
2. Marquee Letter from Urban Outfitters
3. Vanity Fair The Portraits
...and the Happy Chic Designer.
1. Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing
2. Richard Nixon Throw from Jonathan Adler
3. Hue Limited Edition by Kelly Wearstler

What are you asking Santa for this year??

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My New Year's Eve Outfit...

For a couple of weeks now, I've been thinking of what the heck to wear. I can't seem to tear my mind off all the awesome GOLD out there. So, I went out & purchased my NYE sequin dress in gold via Michael Kors. It's the same dress featured here & available here

My guy gave me an early Christmas gift - the gold link MK ring, which I've wanted for a few months now, how sweet is he? 

The super sexy stilettos in the photos are from Zara. The heel is silver.....DARN.  I wonder if I should bother painting it gold??? Thoughts? I'm also accessorizing with this cute leather fold over clutch, available soon on MadeByGirl!

So what do you think? Will you also be dressing in gold this new year?

- first 7 images by jen ramos

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