Toast to a New Year

I get more excited for New Years every year. Not just the party (although I do love me some sparkles) the anticipation of a fresh start and a new beginning. You can do anything you put your mind to and the new year offers a clean slate to start with! One of my biggest accomplishments this year was starting this little ol’ blog. It’s been a challenge to say the least, sometimes exciting and fun while at other times a little bit exhausting. But I made it through with the help of you guys! And I wanted to say thank you, with a little recap of 2013.

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I also wanted to shout out to some of my favorite blogs (couldn’t fit all of them on here) that I’ve come in contact with since starting Love-Haight Cupcakes, 12 blogs for 12 months (in no particular order). If you don’t follow these folks already, you really should – all of them are so different and unique in their own way but all equally enjoyable to read!

The Knee Deep Life

City Julep

Oxygen Your Style

Super Duper Fantastic

My Crazy New York Post Grad Life

Likes of Us

The Cosy Kitchen

Hello Homebody

Can’t Cook, So What

Loving Food, Fashion and Life

Kat Walk SF

Spotted SF

With the New Year comes new challenges and exciting opportunities! I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings and I’m so happy I get to share it with you! Cheers to you and your fabulous New Years plans and I’ll see you next year!

Friday’s Favs

Holiday season means family time for me. My sister and I always travel to our parents and some years we join up with the whole gang. But my parents came to us this year and we all hung out in my little apartment for a week. I’m glad it was big enough to hold everyone comfortably but small enough that we needed to venture out and do things daily. We acted liked tourists some days and visited local haunts on the others.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 6.31.26 PM{walked along the wharf with all the decorated boats and docks}

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{we made our own popcorn garland, warning: only make when you have a lot of spare time}

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{took my parents to Ike’s after we picked them up for the airport – this sandwich has fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, cheese and steak in it, crazy right?!}

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{christmas dessert = sour cream cheesecake}

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{went to Sterling Vineyards and rode the gondola up the hill – seriously gorgeous}

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Hope you all had a great holiday – warmest wishes from my fam to yours!

Christmas Eve Excitement

Christmas Eve is always the calm before the storm. When I was little, it was the calm before the storm of waking up on Christmas day and running around making sure everyone’s awake, looking to see how many presents came from Santa, putting on my Christmas pajamas, and checking out my stocking. Christmas eve is the bubbling and building of excitement, its the knowing that the next day is going to be awesome.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.15.20 AM{Me circa 1995}

Now as a semi-grown up, it’s still that build up of excitement but it’s excitement in a different way. Now the storm of Christmas morning is more about watching people open the gifts I got them (and hoping they liked it), or making and enjoying of Christmas brunch (and beverages), the playing of games and the five star lounging that the day entails. I hope all of your Christmas Eves have been lovely and hopeful and full of excitement, while we all sit in the calm before the storm, waiting patiently for tomorrow morning.

Friday’s Favs

This week has been a flurry (pun intended) of activity and excitement! My parents are coming to SF for Christmas and I spent every night this week finishing up all the planning and preparing for their visit. What does that entail you ask? Multiple trips to Sur La Table, Target (hopefully my credit card info didn’t get stolen), Crate & Barrel (if you haven’t seen their Christmas stuff, take a look – its all on sale), and Anthropologie. At home I was finishing up decorating (100 feet of greenery garland- check!), wrapping presents, finalizing the Christmas tablescape (pictures to come) and making shopping lists. I love organizing and planning so this has all been fun for me, but I can’t wait for it to be here already! Here are a couple things from the week that I thought I would share to spread the holiday cheer – have a great weekend friends!!

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.37.54 AM{hot cheeto fried chicken – yeah we went there}

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{I filled a couple clear ornaments with things I’ve kept over the years. These are festival wristbands, I filled another one with ticker tape from when the Giants won the World Series}

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.38.22 AM{all this shopping made me hungry, hungry for CRAB! It’s my third year attending the Guardsmen Tree Lot Crab Feed, one of the best events of the season}

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.39.19 AM{puppies sleeping in the SPCA storefront window at Macy’s}

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.39.10 AM{I know you’re as excited as I am that I finally selected and purchased the pillows for my living room! What do you think?}

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 12.09.31 PM{happy holidays!}

I’d love  hear all of your holiday plans! My parents arrive tomorrow – let the festivities begin!

Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich

Ever since I moved into my apartment with Nate, I have wanted an ice cream maker. Why this particular appliance, I don’t know. Maybe because I already have a crock pot, an immersion blender and a food processor (spoiled much?). But ice cream maker was next on the list. And I must have talked about it a little too much because my friends got it for me for my birthday (spoiled much?).

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Since then, it’s become one of my favorite appliances, for obvious reasons – it makes really delicious things. I’ve made strawberry balsamic ice cream and cookies n’ cream, but for the ultimate ice cream sandwich, I decided to make sweet cream ice cream with brownie-like cookie ends.

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I used this recipe for the sweet cream ice cream. And I know you are thinking – woah, corn syrup and no eggs? But I read this article from a famous ice cream maker and I was sold. It makes it creamier and it literally tastes exactly like the Cold Stone sweet cream.

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These brownie cookie ends are the same that I made for Galentine’s Day last year, except not in heart shapes. I love that they are thin likes cookies but are gooey and chewy like brownies, they make perfect ice cream sandwich ends.

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I assembled then (harder than it sounds), put some parchment paper and twine on them and – voila! Seriously good ice cream sandies to keep in the freezer or to bring to your next holiday party.

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Wrappings

Before I had the money to buy real presents I never really thought about making the wrapping pretty. My freshman year of college I got everyone in my family a Cal ornament and wrapped it in the college newspaper and stamped it with their initials (can you say college budget ghetto). My wrapping has gotten better since then but I still didn’t put much thought into it. It wasn’t college budget ghetto but it couldn’t stand up to Pinterest style either. Now that I have my very own tree to put the presents under, I felt the need to make their wrappings beautiful.

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I love the look of brown paper wrapping. It’s so simple and can be dressed up easily. I added patterned paper and ribbon to mix it up a bit.

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I didn’t realize it as I was wrapping but I also kept with a color scheme (subliminal matching compulsion). Red, green and brown were my main colors with silver, gold and white mixed in.

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The tiny painted clothes pins were a good find and are a creative way attaching name tags (SS for Secret Santa).

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What are your presents looking like, there is some amazing inspiration on Pinterest. Are you all done with your shopping?

Love n’ Haight

Living in a city, its hard to decorate the outside of your apartment for Christmas. I live on the backyard side of my building so even hanging lights in the windows won’t be seen by anyone (except me). Some businesses light up or  paint their windows, or if you are Mendel’s, you go all out and create an awesome window display for every season and holiday. But Haight street was looking very scrooge-like until the Haight Ashbury Merchant Association (HAMA) launched their holiday street light fundraiser.

tree1So far there are 4 trees lit, with donations from Whole Foods and other Haight street merchants. The sight is so festive and cheerful! It’s nice to have lights on the street that match the festive Christmas lights inside my apartment. I love these mini fairy twinkley lights for indoors (or on my Eiffel Tower statue) and the big tube lights and ribbons on the trees outside help spread the Christmas cheer on Haight!

Holiday Party Attire

Tis the season for cocktail dresses and heels (and eating and drinking, as I keep saying). I had a party last week, my company’s party is tomorrow and I’m attending the tree lot party later in the month. I didn’t know it, but after laying out all of my dresses I saw a theme. Some sort of black pattern, classy and (pretend) grown up with a pop of color to keep it interesting.

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Last weekend, for my friend’s cocktail Christmas party, I wore this short sleeve patterned dress with plain black heels. I love the pattern but it was missing something, it needed some color. So I pulled out the brightest necklace I could find, to add a little sass to the outfit (it was well received).

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For my work party, I have a long sleeve black velvet dress (notice subtle velvet pattern) and black heels, again I needed some character so I added this (intense by itself) BaubleBar necklace to spice it up a bit.

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The tree lot party will definitely require a long sleeve dress (it’s at Fort Mason with the trees, and its like a refrigerator inside). So I got this long sleeve dress, with festive red hearts and red heels to match! I hope you all enjoy your Christmas parties this year and that you get to dress up, and of course that you eat, drink and be merry!

Christmas Cheer

I don’t know about you guys, but Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving for me and my family. We wait patiently (unlike the stores and advertisers) for Thanksgiving to be over (it deserves it’s day) and then we go crazy. We pull out all of the decorations, we put up our tree and start playing Christmas music.

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I grew up with an artificial tree and the fact that Nate has never had a tree (his family celebrates Hanukkah), we decided to go with what we know. We looked online for tree deals and found that Target had the most selection for the best price (they were having a sale that ended on Sunday).

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So on Sunday (why we waited until then, I don’t know), we called 6 targets, visited 3 in the Bay area and finally (after begging the woman on the phone to save the tree for me) we got the LAST Canadian pine, on the last day of the sale. Santa was rooting for us.

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After 8 boxes of lights, and too many Target trips to remember we finally got this beauty up and running.

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The Christmas season is in full swing, so I wanted to share my favorite Christmas song with you to bring a little cheer to your Monday – hope you enjoy!

Make Eat Easy – Part II

December is full of ugly sweater parties, work parties and secret santa and white elephant exchanges, let’s just say it’s the season of parties, and eating (which describes it perfectly). I love making treats and appetizers to bring to the parties and I had a great idea to use Make Eat Easy again!.

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Remember my friends at Make Eat Easy, the guys who deliver your fresh ingredients to you in perfectly measured packets so all you need to do is mix and bake? Well I ordered an appetizer from them, and it was just as delicious and easy to make as the dessert! I made the Shrimp Avocado Toast which looks fancy enough for any Christmas or New Years appetizer party.

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This would also be a great one to bring to parties because it doesn’t get cold! And you can make the shrimp avocado mixture ahead of time and assemble right before the party.

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You can order enough to make for a party on their website —- and just bring in a plate of these and you will definitely get a kiss under the mistletoe!

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My favorite thing about this recipe is that it looks so fancy! When really its just shrimp and avocado with some egg on toast! It’s great! And it tastes really simple and delicious.

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