Game Night

During the holidays, it's no secret that families spend lots of time together. There's no school, people are off from work, and after a while it seems like there isn't much to do around the house. To continue bringing the family together, we like to have game night. Usually there's only my parents, my sister, and I at the house, so when we have visitors during the holidays we like to play games together as a group. It's a great way to get to know people you may not know as well, or get to know your family even better! Here are some of my favorites.

Favorite card game 

 Favorite game to team up for
Favorite game for 2 (or more)

Favorite older game

Favorite game to play with little kids

Favorite group game 

This is definitely not a complete list of my favorite games. We have a closet full of them (new and old) at our house! Does your family play games together? Which are your favorite?


Christmas Recap

After spending a few days in gorgeous Colorado with the Boyfriend and his parents, I came home and had a small and (mostly) relaxing Christmas. Here's a short photo recap of my fantastic holiday including presents, family, and lots of good food. 

I've loved seeing photos and reading blog posts about y'alls holiday season...We are all so blessed. Now on to the New Year!


Gingerbread Cookies

Making gingerbread cookies is one of the traditions that we hold every single Christmas. No matter what happens, at least one of us is in the kitchen making these yummy cookies each year. This time, it was me and Lil Sis. But this is only the first batch. Christmas may have been yesterday but the holiday baking season is still going strong. So we'll make some more, and I can't wait. :) I love baking so much! I also have a few more treats up my sleeve and ready to whip up, so stay tuned for that! 
In the meantime, enjoy the photos Lil Sis took of our time in the kitchen



Gifts For Me

To conclude the "Gifts for..." series, I will share my wish list with y'all. Some of these things are practical, others are whimsical, and others are waaaay out there. But it's fun to dream right? ;)Gifts for BSB

Clockwise, from top left
1. A Vera tote bag 
2. A professional suit 
3. A Sewing/DIY Book
4. A fresh manicure
5. My first pair of TOMS
6. Legit earphones
7. A fashionable pair of riding boots
8. A sleek bike
9. A new baking tool (or tools)
10. More TCU clothes


Healthy Holidays

It's funny that while y'all are reading this post, I will be in Colorado learning how to ski...or just falling on my butt and deciding to get cocoa instead. Either way, I'm not taking my laptop with me and will have limited internet access. 
I don't know about y'all, but it's difficult to keep up with my commitment to healthy eating habits during the holidays (see the post on gingerbread men right before this one for proof!). I've collected a few recipes that may help you feeling great in between all of the cookies and candy you'll be eating.

First, Zucchini, Carrot, and Cranberry Muffins from Tender Crumb. Use less sugar or substitute with agave syrup to cut back on the sweetness. These look like a great on-the-go breakfast.

Gingerbread "Cliff" Bars from Peas & Thank You. Make one of these for a workout snack that seems naughty but is nice to your body.

Zero Point Vegetable Soup from Kitchen Parade Veggie Venture. If you're counting points with WW (or even if you're not) then this is the perfect soup for a cold winter day.

Cookie Dough Green Monster Smoothie from A Full Measure of Happiness. I am in LOVE with this smoothie, and the spinach in it (I know what you're thinking but it's really good) adds a little boost. Even the Boyfriend is a fan. ;)

There ya go...4 healthy recipes that are pretty easy to replicate in your own kitchen. All of these were originally found on Pinterest, so if you're on health kick (or just trying to recover from the holiday munchies) I'd suggest checking them out. 


Gifts for Girly Girls

Third in my "Gifts for..." series is Gifts for Girly Girls. You know, the ones who have sparkles on everything, who dress up almost every day, who are constantly touching up their makeup? Those girls.
Gifts for Girly Girls

(clockwise, from top left)
1. A sparkly star ring
2. A nail art pen
3. A very Vera ID pouch
4. A monogrammed tumbler
5. A flattering lipstick
6. A fun fashion coloring book
7. A stylish planner
8. A swanky perfume
9. An elegant compact 


Cajun Chicken Pasta

Me and the boyfriend went to BJ's a while back, and I had the cajun chicken pasta. Oh my it was so delicious. And they even gave me super garlicky garlic bread on the side (note to self: make sure boyfriend eats some of that bread next time so I don't feel so awkward about garlic breath). And the portion was so big I saved about half of it for lunch the next day. But enough about BJ's (even though it is pretty awesome). Onto this recipe I found on The Small Things Blog last week. I was so freakin' excited to see this recipe I almost did a dance. Which would've been bad because I was in class. Don't judge. Even better, I already had all of these ingredients except the bell peppers and cajun seasoning so I didn't have a huge shopping list. I made this for me and the boyfriend with a tossed salad and a nice loaf of bread with lots of olive oil to dip it in. 

4 oz. linguine pasta
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, sliced (they're more expensive than the green so I left it out)
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced (Boyfriend kinda hates mushrooms so no mushrooms)
1 green onion, chopped (I used 1/4 white onion instead)
1 cup heavy cream (substituted 2% milk for this and added a tbs of cornstarch to thicken)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Boil the pasta until al dente (usually 8-10mins).
2. Place chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat.
3. In a large skillet over medium, melt butter and add chicken. Saute until almost tender (7-8 mins)
4. Add peppers, onion, and mushrooms. Saute and stir for 3 mins. Reduce heat.
5. Add cream and spices. Heat through. Add linguine and heat through.
6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve!

I would definitely recommend using the full amount of cream, or at least half cream/half 2% if you're wanting to save calories. But my sensitivity to milk seems to get worse if it's heavy cream I'm eating, so 2% was what I used. Next time, I'm going to chop up my bell peppers more finely and add a little bit more seasoning. It wasn't as spicy as I like. Other than that, it was a yummy recipe and I'll be making it again soon.


Horses & Christmas Lights

Last weekend, my lovely Boyfriend surprised me by taking me into Dallas for dinner at Maggiano's, one of my favorite places to eat. The restaurant is gorgeous (and they decorated for Christmas!), and the food is amazing. AND if you get one of their classic pastas, they give you a whole extra one to take home for the next day...so you get TWICE as much delicious pasta! omnomnom...I love Italian food.

The lighting made us look orange...and I didn't want to keep using my camera's flash. But the photos turned out cute anyway, obviously. I just love well-dressed man. ;)

Afterwards we drove over to Highland Park Village, a collection of cute shops like Anthropologie and Christian Louboutin (look at those crystal shoes!).

 We walked around and looked at the fabulous window displays, then he surprised me with reservations for a carriage ride to look at the Christmas lights! Isn't he the best? (insert "awwww" here) 
Here we are with our horses Jack and Chloe. They were so cute and well-behaved. I had such a great time with them, the Boyfriend, and our super friendly/entertaining carriage driver. Plus I crossed two more things off my Winter Bucket List. I'm really making progress!
Has anyone else gone to look at Christmas lights? It's something I do every year, but usually I'm in a car. This year was super special, but now I'll be spoiled to riding around in a carriage like a princess. ;) We spent the rest of the weekend laying around and not studying for finals (well he studied for finals...I was a slacker). It was the best thing to help me relax before my finals this week. 


Gifts for Music Lovers

I took my last two finals this morning, and now only a project for my honors class stands between me and my Christmas break. But instead of working on that, I'm enjoying a Dallas Stars game on TV with the boyfriend and posting my next gift guide. Obviously I have my priorities straight. 
This one is for the music lovers in your life. They may play in a band (marching or otherwise), croon into a microphone, or just enjoy discovering new music on itunes. If someone you know falls into one or more of these categories, these gifts just might be perfect.
Gifts for Music Lovers

1. A clever t-shirt
2. A guitar/instrument strap
3. A record bowl
4. A set of drumstick pencils
5. A boombox purse
6. A tiny portable speaker
7. A guitar pick creator
8. A quirky wall sign

I think my favorite item on here would have to be that guitar pick maker, and I don't even play the guitar. But what a good way to use up those old credit cards and gift cards!
Which item is your favorite? Do you have any music lovers to buy for this Christmas?


All That Glitters

I realized the other day that I forgot my camera cable at home when I went back for Thanksgiving. ugh. So that plus finals explains my rather scattered and (kinda lame) postings. Until I go home for Christmas, I can't post any photos I've taken. 
Luckily, my sister has a pretty awesome camera and enjoys taking lots of photos. I managed to snag these from her. We made glitter ornaments to hang on my little 4-foot apartment tree over Thanksgiving break. You might've heard of these ornaments. They're super easy to make, the glitter is inside so you don't have a lot of mess, and they're quite lovely on a lit tree.

Here is our finished product:

Also, to continue the holiday spirit...one of the cutest Christmas movies EVER.

Arthur Christmas is out in theaters, and me & the boyfriend went to see it last weekend. He was actually the one to suggest it; I'll admit I was skeptical at first. Because honestly, most kids movies are crappy nowadays. Plus this one comes in 3D, which I have officially boycotted. We saw the regular 2D version though, and it was so cute. Totally brought the magic back into Christmas. I'm taking Little Sis and Mom to see it once I get home. Yeah, it was that good. On a side note, it's pretty awesome having a boyfriend who knows me well enough to suggest kids movies when we go to the theater. Love him. <3

That's 2 items off my Winter bucket list...actually I got more than that done this weekend but I'll save it for another post. ;)

PS...Crystal from Coffee at Nordstrom just posted her 12th gift in her "12 Days of Christmas" giveaway series...Go check her out and enter to win one of her FABULOUS prizes! :)


Gifts for Guys

 It seems that I have trouble deciding what I'm doing to give even the most special people in my life sometimes. Does anyone else have struggle to find holiday gifts for the people you love most? I feel like guys are the worse. I don't know about y'all, but my boyfriend is so hard to buy for. Not all of these ideas work for him specifically (and if they did I wouldn't say so...he reads this blog sometimes), but they're good gifts for those guys you're closest to.
Gifts for Guys
1. A sporty hoodie
2. A nice wallet
3. A dressy tie
4. A set of noise-blocking headphones 
5. A cool cap
6. An irresistible fragrance
7. A unique coffee mug 
8. A pair of cozy pajama pants
9. A favorite game
10. A batch of home-baked treats


Winter is here

Even though Winter doesn't officially start until December 22, I started celebrating the weekend before Thanksgiving break. We get out really early for Winter Break this year, so I put all of my decorations up early so I could enjoy them at the apartment longer. My baby tree is up with homemade ornaments, I have my little Christmas collectables out, and lights strung randomly around the living room. I have a box of mint chocolate cookie mix and peppermint icing on the kitchen counter just waiting to be made, and my Michael Buble' Christmas CD in my laptop. It's easy to see that I'm in the holiday spirit.

Fall is one of those weird seasons that passes by way too quickly, especially if you live in Texas and it's still in the 80s until mid-November. So sadly, my Fall bucket list did not get very completed. There's great news, though. I found a Winter one!

I got this from Pinterest; it originally had "shuck oysters", but I replaced that with "Christmas movies" because Christmas movies are an essential part of Winter, and I have no idea who shucks oysters for the holidays...Is that a Yankee thing? I'll have to ask some of my Northern friends. 
Add this to your blog and check things off as you do them. If you decide to do it, post a link so that I can follow your Winter adventures as well! :)