Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Plaid

I’m dreaming of a plaid Christmas!  I adore plaid any time during the year, but I especially love plaid for the holidays.  Whether you have plaid in your holiday decor or your wardrobe, every preppy has to have a healthy dose of plaid.  

Williams Sonoma's holiday plaid tablescape is so gorgeous. Looking at something like this reminds me that good taste never goes out of style. This picture could easily be from a decade ago and will still be relevant 10 years from now.  The gorgeous plaid paired with simple green swag and traditional red stockings is picture perfect.

Tartanscot is a blog that is full of beautiful inspiration for decorating with plaid.  The rich fall tones of this plaid place setting from Ralph Lauren are an excellent choice for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any cold weather holiday.

Or maybe you would prefer some plaid Christmas cookies!  What a special holiday treat.

Once I joked that plaid is my favorite color!  It's actually not that far from the truth.  My summer wardrobe is full of whimsical prints and madras, but it's all about plaid for fall and winter.  Since Maryland winters seem to last for a long time, it's a good thing that I love plaid so much.

Plaid is classic and modern at the same time.  Plaid isn't stuffy or over-formal; it can be eclectic and fun.  Somehow, mixing these plaids just seems so perfect.  I love the monogrammed necklace, too.  That's high on my wish list this year.

Adorable dog in a preppy plaid bow tie= $20  Plaid holiday pants= $125 Preppy Christmas= Priceless  

A plaid wedding would be so pretty in the winter.

Plaid is so timeless. The same black watch plaid as a child in the 80s is the same black watch plaid that got me through preppy Christmas holidays in the 90s, and it is the same black watch plaid that the Twincesses will wear this year on Christmas Day. Brooks Brothers is always a great choice for a preppy plaid.

Do you have a favorite plaid?


Images curated and organized on pinterest

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DIY Christmas Cranberry Gift

The countdown has started.  Everywhere I look, I'm reminded that Christmas is just around the corner.  I love to make DIY gifts to share with family and friends.  Making gifts is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.  My Twincesses love to help in the kitchen and really take pride in their work.  It makes the gift so special. 

Are you looking for a festive and easy holiday gift? I love to make cranberry popcorn.  Cranberries are the perfect food to transition to the holiday season.  It's so sweet, delicious, and pretty.  Add a preppy touch to your popcorn with these pink and green goodies that make a pretty preppy Christmas gift.

Here's my recipe for Cranberry Popcorn:

* 1/4 cup butter
* 3 tbsp corn syrup
* 1/2 cup sugar
* Cranberry Jello (it's worth it to find the cranberry Jello, even if you have to search for it!)
* 8 cups popcorn (already popped)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter with the corn syrup. Add the sugar and Jello and stir until it boils.
3. Once the mixture comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Pour the sauce over the popcorn, making sure to coat the popcorn evenly.

To make popcorn to have at home for holiday parties and snacks...
5. Place the popcorn on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.
6. Cool and store in an airtight container.

To make popcorn balls for gifts...
5. Shape the covered popcorn into balls, using a little butter on my hands to prevent sticking.
6. Place a craft stick in the popcorn ball until it's about half way in the ball.
7. Put the popcorn ball in a preppy green cupcake liner.  I saw some pretty gingham, polka dot, and solid cupcake liners at Michael's this weekend that are perfect for this.  Wrap in a cellophane bag and tie a ribbon to close it.



Monday, November 28, 2011

10 Stocking Stuffers Under $10

When I was a little girl, looking in my stocking was always a highlight of Christmas morning. My younger sister and I would always wake up so early and peek at the presents under the Christmas tree, but we always waited for a reasonable hour to wake up my parents to officially start Christmas. So we loved playing with all of the goodies in our stockings. Usually the stocking surprises fell into one of 3 categories, something to draw or write, something sweet to eat, and something to make me feel beautiful. I still remember the smell of Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers that used to be a stocking favorite.

This year, I’ve curated a list of my top 10 picks for stocking stuffers that loosely fall into the same categories I loved as a young girl and still love today. The best news of all is that the items are all less than $10.
stocking stuffers artsy and crafty

The 6 piece wax sealing kit has everything you'll need to add an elegant touch to your letters, invitations, and gift wrap with a wax seal. I like the variety of three design options, but the Fleur de Lis is my favorite.

Everyone appreciates a pretty leather journal to jot notes, numbers, or other important information.  These notebooks are green with recycled leather and paper.  There's even a discount if you purchase a few notebooks for multiple stockings. 

Even if you're not a seamstress extraordinaire, you surely need straight pins from time to time.  Keep your pins organized in this adorable little container from Cath Kidston

Do you remember Spirograph?  As soon as I saw the Hypotrochoid art set from Uncommon Goods, I thought of the fun activity I used to enjoy. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy this stocking stuffer.

stocking stuffers for foodies

Seed Bombs from Anthropologie are perfect for the budding gardener. You don't need to do anything fancy to plant these seeds; you don't even need to dig a hole. Simply toss them in your garden and reap what you didn't sow! I love using fresh herbs in the kitchen.

Chocolate Covered Animal Crackers are worth every single calorie they contain.  Seriously.  These chocolate treats from Dylan's Candy Bar are sure to delight your favorite sweet tooth. 

Macaroons are the new cupcake!  Pick up some fresh macaroons just before Christmas Day to put in a stocking.  If you're in New York City, you'll surely make a visit to Laduree. 

stocking stuffers for gorgeous peeps

Philosophy has some of the best beauty products I have tried. I love the smell of their Coconut Macaroon Body Butter. Bring a little bit of the tropics to your cold weather celebration.

A Christmas stocking would not be complete without a little bit of pink and green.  The Pink Hearts Mistle-toe Shea Infused Lounge socks from Bath and Body Works leave your skin so soft.

The Butterball Bath Bomb and Soap set from Lush is a perfect stocking stuffer. The light scent pleases almost everyone and is a best seller. I love their bath bombs.  This set is beautifully wrapped and is ready to go! 

What are your favorite stocking stuffers?  Watch for another blog post for some other stocking stuffer ideas for children and men in the next few weeks.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas at Mount Vernon

I love to enjoy holiday weekends with lots of sightseeing and fun activities for the minnies and me. Yesterday we visited Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate located on the banks of the Potomac River. Mt. Vernon is beautiful at any time of the year, but this visit was particularly special because we got into the holiday spirit with Christmas at Mount Vernon.

The Christmas trees at the Ford Orientation center each had a different theme and are so pretty. You can buy all of the ornaments on display at the gift shops, too. Be sure to see the orientation video at the welcome center; it’s very interesting and the Twincesses liked it a lot. They also enjoyed the miniature replica of the mansion. It’s a great preview of what you will see on the mansion tour.

Before our mansion tour, we checked out some special Christmas activities. First, we met Aladdin the camel. George Washington loved exotic animals and novelties and brought a camel to Mount Vernon in 1787 to share with his guests. Can you imagine what his holiday guests thought about this unique animal? We also saw Liberty, the pardoned White House turkey, but he was not in the mood for posing for pictures!

Chocolate was a delicious delicacy during George Washington's lifetime. Interpreters shared the history of the special drink and showed how the beans were turned to paste, then bricks, and how this was ultimately used to make a hot chocolate drink. Natalia said that the process was just like chocolate in Oaxaca and she is right! George Washington even liked to add a little bit of chile peppers to his hot chocolate!  Martha's Remedy, a combination of hot chocolate and butterscotch Schnapps, is also popular on the menu at the Mount Vernon Inn.

The mansion, the gardens, and the commanding view of the Potomac are so amazing, that it is no wonder that George Washington loved his home so much. "I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me, than to be attended at the seat of government by the officers on state and the representatives of every power in Europe" George Washington.

The mansion is decorated for Christmas with greens above each doorway. The table in the dining room includes treats that would have been served for dessert at a Christmas dinner. The guides told us that the “German tradition” of a Christmas tree had not yet been introduced at this time. As a special treat, we were able to see the third floor of the mansion, including the room where Martha Washington lived after George Washington’s death.

The Twincesses like to explore and play as I enjoy the view of the Potomac.

There is so much to see and do at the numerous buildings and gardens at the estate.  Children will enjoy the adventure map with questions and interesting facts to find. 

After the mansion, we saw the education center and museum. I'm not sure which part I enjoyed more, the mansion or the education center. The education center has so many hands on activities and the Twincesses learned so much from this visit through the interactive exhibits. One theater is complete with special effects like fog, snow!, and seats that rumble when the cannons fire.

A gingerbread replica of Mount Vernon is on display during this special event. The gingerbread house created by former White House pastry chef, Roland Mesnier, is incredibly detailed with chocolate trees and lifelike figures of people.

Our adventure ended with a delicious meal at the Mount Vernon Inn.  Be sure to order the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer.  They are out of this world delicious! 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vintage Pink and Blue Candy Buffet

As soon as I saw the vintage pink and blue candy buffet for sweet baby Lucy’s first birthday party, I knew that I had to share it with you. The candy containers were full, full, full with pretty sweets. Full apothecary jars always make a candy buffet look amazing.

This candy buffet was a labor of love because it was designed by little Lucy's Aunt Rebecca from Pink Pearl Studio. The signs and candy all had such a gorgeous vintage look. Rebecca does excellent work and I highly recommend her Etsy store for banners and printables.  I also love the color combination and the variety of shiny, smooth, sprinkled, and rough textures of the candy that Lucy's Mommy chose. She purchased the candy from Oh! Nuts, another company that I highly recommend for candy buffets. 

The sweets table was a hit with everyone at the party! Even the littlest ones enjoyed filling their bags with treats. There were cake pops and cookies on the tables, too. My lemon cake pop was so delicious. Sweet Molly, who is 5, collected quite a few cake pops from other party guests using her charm and adorable smile, and made them into a cake pop bouquet! Here's the guest of honor in front of her candy buffet.

The vintage theme of the candy buffet perfectly complemented the vintage tablescape. Rebecca paired different sizes of Mason jars filled with fresh pink flowers and greens. The collection of jars is tied together on a vintage placemat for a stunning centerpiece that would be simple to re-create at your next celebration. The pink lemonade was delicious, too!

The ribbon cake was the focal point of the candy buffet. The delicate ruffled design of the icing looks like a pretty tulle dress. Perfect for the occasion!

Please contact Rebecca at the Pink Pearl Studio if you are interested in retro or vintage party goods. She's very sweet and has wonderful ideas.

Have a wonderful day!


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Preppy Black Friday & Cyber Monday

This year, I didn’t shop for gifts on Black Friday at midnight or at the crack of dawn. When the Twincesses were little and wanted a hard to find toy, I waited in line at Toys R Us and braved the crowds to make Christmas fun for my girls. My parents still talk about one Christmas where they had to wait in line for a Cabbage Patch doll for me. The things parents do for their children!  I've heard a few reports of people behaving badly on Black Friday, but luckily I have not seen any of this first hand! 

But I’m weak when it comes to showing any restraint when bargains are involved, so I did make a very successful and quick trip to the Vineyard Vines and Kate Spade outlets. The peeps at Vineyard Vines are always so friendly and accommodating. They had tons of the tie silk mini skirts at a fantastic price, so I decided to pick one up for myself. Kate Spade offered 40% off the entire store. Traffic and parking was not bad at all and I was finished with shopping and check out at both stores in less than 30 minutes total.

Many of my favorite preppy brands are having special sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that I want to share with you.

On Monday, the entire Cape Madras site will be 50% off! What an incredible offer.

Purselady Too has a special drawing for a giveaway on Sunday for an adorable stocking. All customers that make a purchase from Wednesday - Sunday, their order number will automatically be their entry number! There are great discounts for Black Friday, too, including Fornash at 25% off, Preppy Dining at 25% off, 25% off Preppy Market Totes, and 25% off Bearington Baby.

2 Preppy Girls is offering free shipping with the code CYBERSALE. It’s a perfect time to pick up your monogrammed gifts for friends and family.

Devon Baer is offering a 20% discount with the code FRIDAY to her email subscribers through Friday. You can sign up to be on her mailing list here to receive this fantastic discount.

Tracy Negoshian's Black Friday sale was such a huge success that she has decided to do it again on Cyber Monday. From 12 noon until 12 midnight, get 75% off on previous collections, 50% off on all fall items, and free shipping! Fantastic!  The code for Cyber Monday is CyberMonday11. 

Did you go shopping today? Where did you go and what did you find?


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and Minnie Fun

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Wishing you many blessings today as you celebrate Thanksgiving. God has blessed me in so many ways. I am grateful for my two wonderful daughters. They bring joy and sparkle to my life. I am thankful for my job. I truly enjoy what I do and look forward to going to work every day. I’m thankful for my parents who have been and always will be there for me, during the good times and the bad. Lastly, I’m so grateful for YOU. Maryland Pink and Green has opened a new world for me and has helped me constantly grow and evolve. Your comments and emails mean the world to me. Thank you so much!

We’re headed to Northern Virginia to my aunt’s house for a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings for a huge crowd. Every year, we seem to add a few more places at the table and this year is no exception. While I enjoy turkey and mashed potatoes, the highlight of my Thanksgiving dinner is the pumpkin bread that my aunt makes. I look forward to it all year and can’t get enough of this delicious sweet bread. What is your favorite Thanksgiving indulgence?

If you have little ones at your Thanksgiving celebration, you know how important it is to keep them occupied during a long holiday celebration. Keep them busy with a fun craft and activity. Make a Piñata! You probably have everything you need at home for this fun Thanksgiving craft.

You’ll need a shoe box, old newspaper, tissue or construction paper, glue, scissors, twine, and leftover Halloween candy. You may want some adult supervision for the initial cutting, but other than that, the children can work on this activity without assistance from an adult.

Prepare the shoe box. In the lid of the shoe box, cut a window that will make the piñata easier to break. Then, at the top of the shoe box, cut a flap that you will use as an opening for the candy. Although you can do these steps with scissors, an exacto knife makes the job easier.

Poke a hole through the top of the shoe box (close to the candy flap) and insert twine. You'll use this to hang the piñata.

Cover the shoe box with two layers of old newspaper.

Cut strips of tissue paper or construction paper into little fringes and glue to the shoe box.

We're making a Thanksgiving turkey. Use the supplies you have in an art box or craft drawer at home. Pipe cleaners, pom poms, foamy pieces...the possibilities are endless!

Here's our turkey! He is ready to be filled with leftover Halloween candy. We're going to go outside and will have fun breaking the piñata later today! Yes, I know that he looks a lot like Sponge Bob, but I used what we had on hand in the craft drawer!  The only colors of tissue paper I had were yellow, red, pink, green, and blue.  Oh well.  I like my turkey.  Haha!

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elegant 10 Minute Thanksgiving Appetizer

easy brie torte appetizer

If you need a quick, easy, and inexpensive appetizer for your Thanksgiving celebration, here’s the perfect solution. This easy brie torte is my go-to recipe whenever I need to bring an appetizer. In a gourmet store or upscale grocery market, these cheese tortes can cost about $50 or $60 depending on the weight, but you can make it at home for just over $10!

Here’s what you need. I used Saga blue cheese, mascarpone cheese, cranberry orange preserves, cranberries, and walnuts.

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

Put the blue cheese in the freezer for a little bit so that it was firm and easy to slice. Since I wanted a 3 layer torte, I sliced the Saga blue cheese in 3 pieces.

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

In between each layer, spread the preserves and sprinkle some crushed walnuts and cranberries.

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

Here's what the three layers look like before coating them with mascarpone cheese. 

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

Carefully spread the mascarpone cheese over the torte.  You'll want a thick layer of cheese so that the walnuts and cranberries can be placed in the torte.

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

To finish the torte, place the walnuts around the edges as if you were decorating a cake. Add cranberries on top of the torte. I made a topping with preserves, cranberries, and walnuts for a pretty appearance.

This disappears so quickly at any party and will be a hit at your next event!

easy brie torte appetizer recipe

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Be sure to check Maryland Pink and Green tomorrow evening for a special Preppy Black Friday edition with exclusive sale information!


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