Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!

I've taken a bit of a blogging hiatus this week to soak up every bit of the Christmas season I could! I'll be back early next week with some end of year wrap-up posts! Until then, I hope you are enjoying the holidays surrounded by those you love.

Here's a glimpse into our Christmas season thus far:


DIY Jingle Bell Bow + Last Minute Gift Ideas

Hip Hip Hooray! The last Friday of school is here!

I apologize for a bit of a blogging absence this week. I have been running, running, running these last few weeks. Since Thanksgiving, I have been staying at school late almost every day. That combined with several different Christmas events to attend, has left little energy or time for blogging.

That being said, today I bring you a brief post! 

We always have a Jingle Bell Run the last day of school before break and my first year I made a cute jingle bell bow and have loved wearing it at Christmastime ever since!

All you do is get a craft barrette, tie a bow with some ribbon and add jingle bells. Everything was attached to the barrette with hot glue. All in all it took under 5 minutes! I've even gifted some to friends over the years to wear to Christmas parties!

And finally, I wanted to share some of my top picks for last minute Christmas gifts. Lots of places are still accepting online orders through the weekend with guaranteed Christmas delivery! 

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Any fun Christmas weekend plans?

Have a great day!


10 Days!

Happy Monday friends!

Can you believe that Christmas is just 10 days away!

Major crunch time!

I have just about all of my holiday shopping done...just a few more people to shop for.

Fortunately, just about all websites are still accepting orders through the week (and beyond) with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery.

I, therefore, thought that now would be a good time to redirect you to my Holiday Gift Guides. I will also be posting more gift ideas on the blog and Instagram throughout the week.

Below you will see my top picks from each guide, as well as links to all the full posts. I have made a note of which items are no longer available and which are currently on sale!

cocktail napkins (unavailable for Christmas delivery, these are equally cute)/cheetah pillow/hurricanes

pajamas/headband (30% off with code GIVETHIS)/vest/slippers (sold out, these are 30% off with code GIVETHIS, though!)/gloves/book/


leather catchall/boots/log carrier (currently on back-order, similar here)/bottle holder (unavailable)

iPhone camera lens (unavailable, similar here)/monogrammed swiss army knife (unavailable, similar here)/sriracha to go (unavailable)/growler (unavailable, similar options here)/

Also, be sure to check out my Pinterest boards, full of many more gift ideas!

How's your holiday shopping going?

Are you a shop ahead or last minute kinda person?

Have a great day!



Happy Friday readers!

I hope this week has been good to you! I am still plugging along to make it to next Friday and a much needed winter break!

Anyone in education knows that these last few weeks before break are crazy! There are all sorts of holiday activities going on at school and every day the kids get a bit more excited and a bit more wild!

To offer some stress relief during this hectic time, I had the kindergarten team over the other night for Cookies & Cocktails. It was such a fun little holiday celebration!

I made the cookies and set the table 
ahead of time the night before!

To munch on, I served poppy seed ham biscuits (recipe here), bacon cheddar dip (made from a pack bought at Southern Season, so good), and chocolate chip cookies (recipe here).

To sip I served a Pomegranate Prosecco Spritzer and Peppermint White Russians!

I wasn't too keen on how the spritzer turned out, but the Peppermint White Russians were delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you today!

Peppermint White Russian
2 parts Peppermint Mocha Kahlua
2 parts Milk or Cream
1 part Vodka
*Garnish with crushed candy canes and peppermint marshmallows!

What are your favorite holiday beverages?

Fun weekend plans ahead?

We have a black tie party tonight and I know I'll be drinking another Peppermint White Russian or too!

Have a great weekend!


We Have a Winner + Other YRT Goodies

Happy Hump Day readers!

I hope you're having a great week!

Today, I am excited to congratulate blogger Seersucker Sass for winning my York River Traders giveaway!

I also wanted to be sure to share some other YRT goodies with you, that would make perfect gifts this holiday season!

And last, but not least, my personal favorite on their site right now:

Have you shopped YRT before?

What are the men in your life getting this holiday season?

Have a great day!


Tis the Season

Happy Tuesday readers!

Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

The holiday season is in full swing and I'm a bit in denial that Christmas is just over 2 weeks away!

This weekend was jam packed with holiday goodness and I am excited to share our adventures with you today!

Friday night we went with a group of friends on a Tacky Lights Tour in a Hummer Limo! Richmond is known for its Tacky Lights Tour (see here) and has several fun houses all over town. Most years we just drive around ourselves, so I was excited that one of our friends decided to organize a tour!

I wore some of my new faves, tassel top & velvet jeans 
with an old fave, and my first bitrhday present from Bryce, 
my Patagonia Vest (cream version here)!

This "Ditto" house may have been my favorite!

Unfortunately this is the best picture we got inside the limo and the one attempt at a full group picture of all 16 of us failed miserably!

A Richmond Classic

This pretty much sums us up...

Saturday, Emily, of Eloquently Emily, was in town and I was so happy she made time for me during her visit! I am really happy and proud of her accomplishments and new job, but have missed her so much since her move a few short months ago! We started out the day with lunch at Stuzzi before heading to appointments at Bombshell for blowouts. We both had holiday outings that night and thought it would be fun to get some girlie pampering!

The twinning was accidental, by the way...

With a head full of curls, I headed home ready for Erin & Ryan's Tacky Christmas Gender Reveal Party!

I didn't have much time to pull together a costume, 
so I simply added one of the giant bows from our 
Christmas decor and pinned it in my hair!

I took hardly any photos during the party, but the ones I did take were the ones that mattered most:

Before the reveal, people voted Boy or Girl, by hanging a Green or Red ornament on appropriate sides of the tree!

Ready, set...


It's a GIRL!!!

Bryce and I are already so in love with Little Miss Phillips and were happy to be a part of this special celebration! We may or may not have already ordered some Christmas presents for baby girl...

After all the baby excited we had high hopes of making it to a second party we were invited to that night, but were just too exhausted!

Sunday morning we slept in and then got to decking the halls! I still have some decorating to go, but have the most important part done: The Tree!

We decided to move it into the living room this year to enjoy it a bit more and I love that it is the focal point downstairs!

And you probably won't be surprised to hear that I was in bed by 9:00 pm on Sunday. Tis the season!

Finally, just a reminder, today is the LAST day to enter my York River Traders Mariner Dog Collar Giveaway! The Rafflecopter widget will close at 11:59 pm! Click here to enter!

*adorable pup not included

Have a great day!


Red Velvet Brownies

Happy Friday readers!

This week has been a fun one, but a busy one! I am exhausted and we have a full weekend ahead...I have a feeling Monday is going to be tough!

Today I am excited to share a very meaningful collaboration with you. With the holiday season upon us, many collaboration opportunities arise; it is not often, however, that an opportunity like the one I am going to share comes along.

About a month ago, I was contacted by Richmond's Ronald McDonald House.  They offered me both a tour of the house and a complimentary copy of the Dillard's exclusive, special edition, Southern Living Christmas Cookbook. This special edition of the cookbook, which also includes a "Year-Round Celebrations" bonus section, features more than 200 recipes for the holiday season and beyond. It is only $10 and all proceeds from its sale go to the Ronald McDonald House. I already know of 4 or 5 people on my list that will be receiving a copy for Christmas! At such an affordable price and for such a deserving charity, the purchase is really a no brainer! So  now for the recipe, and then I'll conclude with a little more about Ronald McDonald House!

When choosing a recipe to share with y'all, the options were endless. The major contenders for this blog post were: Bacon-Wrapped Bourbon Figs, Fennel & Potato Gratin, a Tiramisu Layer Cake, and Red Velvet Brownies. The Red Velvet Brownies ultimately won out, one, because I'm a sucker for red velvet, and two because I thought they would be a festive option to take to holiday parties. Below you will see the recipe. My commentary is italicized, the rest is verbatim from the cookbook!

Red Velvet Brownies
Makes: About 2 dozen


  • 1 (4 oz) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped (I used 4 oz Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips and they worked just fine!)
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 2 and 1/4 c sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (1 oz) bottle red liquid food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened 
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease. Micowave chocolate and butter in micwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. (I melted on the stovetop only because I have had bad luck burning chocolate in the microwave.) Whisk in 2 cups sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Add food coloring, peppermint extract, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Gently stir in 1 and 1/2 cups flour and salt. Pour into pan.
  2. Beat cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites and remaining 1 tsp vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in 2 tbsp flour until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls over batter in pan; gently swirl with a knife. Bake at 350º for 30 to 32 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift from pan, using foil sides as handles. Remove foil; cut into squares.
  3. Enjoy!
My favorite tip for cutting brownies is to use a small 
angled metal spatula (similar to this oneto get precise edges!

SO, I have a confession to make. It was very late last night when I was baking and I may have made a faux pas...I misread the recipe a bit. You see, when I first got to it, the oven started smoking while preheating! Some of the butter, from cornbread I made on Tuesday night for an oyster roast we hosted, must have spilled over into the oven. By the time we resolved that issue, it was even later than when I started and I was a bit frazzled to say the least. When I read 4 eggs at the top under ingredients, I misread as 4 eggs total (thus thinking 2 for the batter and then 2 for the egg whites in the cream cheese mixture). Oops! I will say, however, even with this mistake the recipe turned out to be absolutely, positively, amazingly deeeelicious! So while I can't speak for the end result of the recipe when followed perfectly to a T, I can say my recipe mishaps turned out to still be a success!

I'll also add that I really liked this recipe, because it was fairly simple and hands-on time was short. Bryce and I divided and conquered (I made the brownie batter and he made the cream cheese mixture) to speed up the process even more. I'm taking about half of this batch to share with teacher friends and school today, and we also have a few holiday parties and events this weekend which has me considering whipping up another batch or two!

And now for a little bit more about my experience at Richmond' s Ronald McDonald House. For those of you who aren't familiar with the organization, Ronald McDonald House "provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families." The Richmond location can house up to 9 families and also houses 5 family rooms at the Children's Hospital of Richmond and St. Mary's Hospital for those families whose circumstances dictate that they need to be just steps away from their hospitalized child. The house is in a gorgeous historic Monument Avenue home and lots of care is put into making the families feel as comfortable as possible. For example, rooms in the house are nicely furnished, children are provided a stocked playroom and planned activities, and dinner is prepared each night by volunteers. I left the house feeling exhilarated and knew this was an organization I wanted to become more involved in. Since then I have been brainstorming volunteer ideas and feel fortunate to have such a special organization located here in Richmond.

Families staying in the house are asked to contribute a $15 donation per night of their stay, but are never turned away because of an inability to pay. That being said, every dollar donated to the organization helps: Since 1994 Dillards has donated more than $11.4 million dollars to Ronald McDonald house charities through the sale of its special edition Southern Living Cookbooks!

Wellll...have you clicked over to Dillard's to order a book yet? 

If not, what are you waiting for!? For just $10 you can have a wonderful Christmas gift or more than 200 delicious recipes at your fingertips, all while helping the Ronald McDonald House closest to you! Click here to purchase!

What are some of your go-to recipes for the holidays?

Are you familiar with, or do you have a Ronald McDonald House in your community?

Do you give back during the holiday season? If so, how?

And, last, but certainly not least, have you entered my York River Traders Mariner Dog Collar giveaway yet!? It would be the perfect present for your pooch or a dog lover this holiday season! Click here to enter!

Have a great weekend!