Wedding Update

We havent been doing much big planning lately, just tying down any loose ends before the end of the year. Although, I feel like im always trying to tie down the loose ends these days. I had a freakout moment a few weeks ago when my to-do list started uncrossing itself and my bridesmaids dresses were discontinued. ugh. Remember these guys?

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Well, they are no more. I got a call from my dress shop and for some reason I was thinking they were calling to tell me my dress had come in early… buuut they didnt they said “unfortunately you need to pick a new bridesmaids dress, yours is discontinued and they wont let us order anymore” I cry. Not really but, it was just annoying because I like to be ahead of the game and get things done. Oh well, so we headed back to the store next time I was home, and it was almost shocking how quickly we were able to pick a new one. I guess now that I have a better idea about what I am looking for and the way I want to style things, it was much easier to pick a dress that fit into all of that. We only tried on two this time around! It was easy peasy! So…. Heres where were at with that.

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I like the one shoulderness and the bow on this one a lot more I think. I also really like that its more clean cut and simple, which is more my style as well! Yay for mishaps that end well! I have also been working on some craft projects, but Im only giving you a sneak peak because I don’t want to give too much away!

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David had so much fun helping me out with this project… NOT. haha He made up this funny little song about all the beads I was literally crying I was laughing so hard. I think sometimes he doesn’t realize how hilarious he is, which sometimes makes it even more comical. I mean look how thrilled he looks! Such a gem!
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In addition to crafting he was also dragged along to pick out our nice dinner ware. We didnt register for “fine china” just fancier plates haha! I love them though. They are all hand made so each plate is a little different, but they are to.die.for. And I was surprised how much input David had in picking them out. He is now currently obsessed with the few pewter pieces that we picked out as a charger plate and some serving dishes. I have to admit they are a nice compliment, and they keep the pattern form looking TOO girly and keep it kind of gender neutral. Check it out!

chinaIm obsessed I cant even lie about it! I think its the greatest dinnerwear ever and I have already told David that I want to find an old chest to upcycle and keep it in, you know just brain storming some fun new projects for the blog. He didnt seem as excited but I think it could be really awesome. to put some nice glass doors on the front and some top notch shelving inside. It would provide all the extra storage you need for the wedding gifts that wont fit in the kitchen cabinets, be a great decorator piece AND, you can put pretty things on top of it as well. ::sigh:: when will we be in this new place with all this new room??

Well back to the weddings, we also recently got our wedding invitations done, which I know seems a little early, but like I said, I love to cross things off my to do list! So here’s as much of a sneak peak as I could give you without giving TOO much away!
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We are also in the process of looking into calligraphy, which has turned out to be quite the man hunt, because we are using dark envelopes, so lots of people are kind of apprehensive, but I think we found our lady and she does some really great work! So I am excited to meet with her in Janauary and see what we can get done!
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We also went to a cake tasting with our wedding planner and it was awesome! All the little mini cupcakes she made were great but we ended up just selecting our 4 favorites! Shes going to send us some sketches of designs after the holidays and is even talking about making a new flavor to give David his cinamon fix! And she made so many little cupcakes we were able to bring some of them home with use for our parents to try!

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On January 10 it will be 7 months until the wedding, I almost can’t believe it, but I guess thats when things on my to-do list start to get really intense. According to my little Bridal Planning Guide and the Knot.com I need to complete the following things by the end of the month:
Reserve the Bridal Suite
Select Attendant Attire
Book Caterer
Book the Ceremony Musicians
Book the reception Enterntainment
Book the Florist
Schedule Attendant Fittings
I guess I dont have as much to do, as I could, and most of these items are partially completed, and I didnt even include things in my planner that had  already been 100% completed when I wrote the list out in September,  but I think were going to be pretty busy from here on out! And I have so many other things in the works that I can’t wait to share with you guys!

Crispy Baked Honey Barbecue Strips

Ive been burned by Pinterest again. You’d think after the first time I would have learned my lesson as opposed to just relying on the comment box to provide me with all the necessary information to prepare a meal.I’m sure you have all seen this one. Well, its essentially useless. I tried to find others that would link me back to the original recipe. Depressing.

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Last time I was tricked into thinking I was making an easy crockpot dinner, per a comment under a pin… and was really let down when I realized not a single part of the meal even went into the crockpot. Tonight wasn’t as bad… the comment contained most of the information, ingredients, etc, buuuut it didnt have all the cooking instructions (like how long it cooks in the oven, when to add the sauce, etc). So, I decided to improvise and kind of melded two recipes together. I used the instructions for the honey bbq sauce from the pin and then made the chicken strips using a recipe from food.com. Clearly I should do a little more research on the front end, and I wouldn’t be stuck with these issues when I get into the kitchen to cook dinner! But, I have to say my compromise turned out to be top notch! And it was a quick throw together meal, which was great, because I really wasn’t feeling a long prep process! So here’s all you need to do to make this meal happen!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast strips
  • 1 egg (scrambled in a small bowl)
  • finely crushed ritz crackers. I used a bout 3/4 of a sleeve
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 stick of butter

Instructions:

picstitchIn a small bowl mix together the crushed crackers, salt, and pepper, then dunk each strip into the egg wash, then coat with crackers, and place on a greased pan. Once all the chicken are coated, place them in to oven and back at 375 for 10 minutes. 

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While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt half a stick of butter on medium-high heat then add in the BBQ sauce and the honey. Stir and the reduce to a simmer.

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After ten minutes, remove the chicken strips from the oven and cover them with the sauce. Then, place them back in the oven and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the strips are cooked all the way through. Let the strips cool for a few minutes and then serve with the sides of your choice, Enjoy!

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Movement Mondays – Grand Pas de Deux

Happy Christmas Eve! I thought I’d help you get in the Christmas spirit with a little Pas de Deux! Something magnificent and beautiful for you! I hope you and yours have an exceptional Holiday!!!! Enjoy this overly beautiful and graceful presentation of the Grand Pas de Duex as performed by the Royal Ballet!

 

12 Crafts of Christmas- Gift Wrapping!

Well, this is the last installment of  the 12 Crafts of Christmas! I literally cant even believe Christmas is just a few days away, this year has flown by. Its unbelievable that this time last year I was graduating from Clemson!!! (ok, tomorrow will be a year, but I don’t blog on the weekends, so I had to get in a plug while I could!)

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Anywho, this post isn’t about how time flies or how weird it is to not be in school any more, etc etc. But it is about fun Christmas things, because like I said… CHRISTMAS IS SO SOON! So, Here is your final “craft of Christmas!” This isn’t really a craft, but you can definitely get crafty with your gift wrapping! And if you haven’t finished wrapping up all those christmas packages, time is definitely of the essence! I know some people are really into the traditional christmas wrapping, with the little words, or characters on them, but I like to consider the gifts under the tree to be part of your decor, pick coordinating colors, take the time to tie a nice bow, or something! Spice it up a little. and then people will be even more excited to open up whats inside! So I am sharing the simple gift wrapping that David and I did on all our gifts this year AND some other great ideas I have found on…. TA-DA… Pinterest! So, in case you need some last minute ideas, I am here to help!

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I tend to be more a fan of simple wrapping paper with a little pizzaz on it! We picked up these awesome cut out ornaments at Paper source on sale a little before Thanksgiving, I also got the felt ribbon on sale at World Market during some of my black friday shopping, and then the craft paper is from Target, which really excited me because a few years ago when I used it for David’s presents I wrapped for him, we went to 2 different craft stores looking for it!

So, like I said, I really like that empty wrapping paper pallette that my paper can add to, so here are several of my favorite pinterest wrapping ideas! Some of them easier to create than others, but all super  creative and a lot more fun to look at then just that same old same old wrapping paper!

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I love how classy this looks. The bow is perfect, the little leaves make a great addition to the look, and its so clean and simple you can throw it under any tree and its sure to look festive AND decorative!

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This one is super creative! I love that it kind of looks like a mail package with the tag, brown tape, and stamps. Its pretty awesome. Definitely something different. I know its not for everyone, but I think its supper cute, especially for that “special santa wrapping” so it looks like it was sent directly from the north pole, you could even stamp that on top! So awesome!

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Here are a few more examples of that simple gift wrapping with a little pizzaz on the top. If I had the time I would love for all my gifts to look like this under my tree, these box toppers are gorgeous. Maybe one day when I have the money to spend on the craft supplies and the time to waste, and get to a point where I won’t care if someone trashes my beautiful wrapping, then I will make little works of art on top of my gifts. But, don’t hold out for this one!

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This one is cool! I can’t figure out exactly what I like about it, I just know I really like… something! I think its just because its different and the gold touches on top are fun and different. Not just your typical ribbon or burlap flower!

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This one is super creative and I love that they used old christmas lights to make a box topper! Awesome way to up-cycle something you might typically throw away!

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If you never really mastered the art of tying that perfect package bow, this might be great for you! These are some awesome gift wrap garlands made from pretty easy to find materials! I like the braided texture of the button one, and then I love that you can coordinate the colors with the paint swatches…. anddd those are free!

46232333646298300_ploSm7Zd_cI love stamps! This is great. Its such a change from those stickers people put on packages, or even the normal tags or something like what I used. And you could even get some other festive stamp to put on there just to give your package an extra punch. Again, I love the simplicity and… the easy-ness of making it happen!

So, if you’re rushing to get those last minute gifts wrapped, hopefully these fresh new gift wrapping ideas will have you rejuvenated and motivated to make it through the final weekend before Christmas! EEEEK!

Christmas Cookies

If you still haven’t baked those christmas cookies yet, OR are making plans to get it done this weekend, then David and I got our holiday baking done just in time to help you out! We had made plans to bake cookies with our friends Tyler and Melissa but Melissa ended up getting the flu, so we thought a potential Christmas virus was not a gift to give with our sweet treats and we ended up just making the cookies at Davids. He wasn’t feeling super photogenic so our first attempt resulted in him covering up 2/3 of the camera with a cookie sheet… like a child.

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But then I was finally able to capture this picture after much persuasion and telling him he didn’t have to take any more pictures all night. So I was able to capture this one, but not after several blurry attempts from him trying to jump out of the frame.

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I only had one rule for my christmas baking this year: “no traditional sugar cookies” A. because we have those same cookies every year and we wanted to try something new and B. because I can only blog about the some cookies so many times before you guys get frustrated with me! So David and I picked out two different recipes, we decided to try our hand at butter cookies, because they werent too far off from the traditional cookies I make, but dont require all the hours of icing, and snickerdoodles, because David is a huge fan of cinnamon. Hope you and your families are gearing up for a happy holiday season and that these sweet treats will bring some warmth and love into your home these next few days and weeks!

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Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
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In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour. Chill cookie sheets.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). and then roll the cookies into little dough balls that will fit in the pam of your hand and then press onto chilled cookie sheets ( I wasnt feeling the cookie cutters and rolling pins so this proved to be a much easier method.
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Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden at the edges. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

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Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

For the topping:
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cookiedough:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

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In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.To make the cookie dough, stir together the dry ingredients. In a bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue to mix, then add the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough 1 hour if it’s sticky or difficult to handle. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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Roll balls of dough about the size of a walnut then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

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Place on an un-greased sheet pan 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until puffed up and the surface is slightly cracked (this did not happen to mine… they turned into the Mighty Mutant Snickerdoodles! It was ridiculous! But they still taste Cinamon-y and delicious!)

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Let cool on the sheet pan a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

We made SO many cookies. I only made one batch of each dough, but we are going to 3 different Christmas family shindigs, so hopefully we will be able to share them all there! Happy Baking!

Best Gifts of 2012

Some of these might be a matter of opinion, but if you’ve waited this long to get that Christmas shopping in, and you’re still looking for that “perfect gift idea” for someone, I’ll try to help you get off the struggle bus at the next stop, but I make no promises! I did try to do my research for this one, so its not just a compolation of things I think are cool, ya know all the reputable places… liiiiike Ellen’s 12 Days of Give Aways, LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and of course, the queen of all thing giftable: Oprah! So, heres a few gift ideas for all you straggling shoppers!

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Something fun for the man in your life: A Mustache Beer glass! Who doesn’t love a beer glass, but more importantly, what manly man is complete without a mustache!? None. So, he’ll probably be wanting to open these up on Christmas morning, I’d get one for David, but I think he’s pretty covered in the facial hair department!

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Another great stocking stuffer or fun little extra gift for your man? Whiskey Stones! These are great if your beau or husband enjoys a nice night cap, the ice doesnt melt in the glass and dilute that drink they worked so hard to pour…… ha! So, toss a pack of these in their stocking, even better, they are reusable. just freeze them and then drop them in the drink and serve. No fuss. Perfect!

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I promise I don’t spend all my time looking for awesome ways to outfit your in home bar, but I love stemless wine glasses, and personalization, so this gift is the perfect marriage of both! A great gift for a hostess to pair with that stereotypical bottle of wine you were already thinking about taking…..

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Another great idea for a hostess, co-worker, or for a gift exchange with a low dollar limit is a “recipe in a jar”!  I love those! You take a jar and layer all the dry ingredients and then attach the recipe to the outside! This goes great with my love of Mason Jars! I have also seen cute ones in coffee cups with hot chocolate mix and Marshmallows in a bag inside them! These always look great and are super fun, and who doesn’t love a gift you can eat?!

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Ok, this one might be on here because I always hear such rave reviews about this show, and I feel that, as a Marketing…person, I should be obsessed with it. Maybe now that Gossip Girl has come to an end (I cry) I can find something new to take up all my time. I always loved playing catch up on shows and seeing how quickly I could watch all of them. Any who, enough side chatter! This is a Mad Men Cookbook! Complete with food AND drink recipes, awesome for anyone who loves the kitchen or the show!

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For your fashionable friends, a cute clutch, or fun accessory is always a good way to go, Target is always a great place to start. Especially since they just got that new Nieman Marcus collaboration line in at the beginning of the month, hope you were able to snatch it up before it was all gone! But here is someone from one of their tried and true brands, Mossimo! And I love this envelope clutch, it comes in several colors, and is best paired with your girlfriends favorite bottle of spirits, to get the Holiday celebration started!

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This is more a matter of personal opinion but: I don’t care who you are, you NEED to have these awesome metallic Micahel Kors kicks, and if you don’t need them I do, and I am always accepting fun gifts! I kid, I kid, but come on you have to admit these make quite the statement!

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For the college student in your life, this is perfect for dorm living and allows the ease of one-cup servings! As long as you’re nothing like me (aka a total control freak with strong coffee needs) the Keurig is still a great gift. I dont care who you are… The only problem… Those little K-cups are much harder to store than the typical coffee grounds!

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For the techy in your crowd, for just this one time, I abandon my staunch commitment to mac to say that this dell is pretty cool! I am still a big proponent of my laptop, probably because I blog, and do some design work on the sides, and still use lots of regular computer programs, but I feel like my life is being over taken with tablets, and I like them! The iPad is awesome, super easy to use, I love surfing pinterest, BUT not pinning on it, playing games, browsing FB, but thats about it. Any other time I prefer my laptop, especially if I have to type anything, so this little Dell XPS Convertible Touch Ultrabook gives you the best of both worlds! But I won’t be trading in my MacBook Pro anytime soon! And when I need a tablet, I’ll just use David’s! But like I said, if you’re in the market, this is neat!

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If you’re looking for a great gift for her: try a watch! I got one last year and prior to that was never really a watch person, but now I am obsessed, My MK watch rarely leave my wrist, unless I’m alseep or showering! But, if you think it might be a stretch for your fashion forward lady friend, try somewhere like Target or New York and Company, they have some great and stylish watches for some pretty reasonable prices, then if  they don’t wear it every day, its not biggie! But its still such a fun accessory!

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A great stocking stuffer for the ladies in your life? Essie Nail polish!!!! You really cant go wrong, its all the rage right now and they have So many colors to choose from, not sure what they like? Go with a blush or nude, they are always great fall backs, or pick something bold they might not pick for themselves, sometimes your inner fashionista just needs a little shove in the right direction!

Also, I want this.. like not even a joke! Its so awesome for blogging!!!!!! I mean imagine the things you could capture without even trying! It would be so awesome for day trips or parties, just anything really! Ever since I found this video I have been obsessed! Such a cool Idea! Even if you dont have someone you want to buy it for, you have to admit its a pretty ingenious idea! Hope you’re ready to fight the crowds at the mall and get all that last minute shopping done, I know no one wants to be reminded but its only 5 more days until Christmas! EEEEEK!

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Jolly Cocktails!

As you prepare for all your holiday festivities, I thought I’d toss a little help your way! I have been seeing lots of fun holiday cocktails all over the place, between surfing pinterest, food blogs, and  food gawker I managed to pull together this little list of special treats to serve as the signature cocktail at your annual holiday gathering. We’ll start off with your traditional Holiday favorites. I know this one is not for everyone but it s huge hit in my family, and now you can jazz it up and make a recipe all your own!

Homemade Holiday Eggnog

Eggnog
8 large eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
5 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cup Mount Gay ECLIPSE Rum
1 cup 80-proof bourbon
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp superfine sugar

Berry Sparkle

BerrySparkle2 ounces raspberry vodka
1 ounce cranberry juice
1/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce honey syrup
Club soda
Ice
Rosemary sprigs for garish
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Jolly Old Elf

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In a fluted glass add:
1/2 oz Amaretto liqueur
2 oz Cranberry juice
Fill to top of glass with brut champagne or sparkling wine

Jingle Jangle Punch

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1.5 cups berry vodka
3/4 cups Grand Marnier
6 pints of fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
1 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed—about 8 lemons)
1.5 cups simple syrup
1 bottle sparkling wine (Something Extra Dry)

Directions:

1. Combine all the ingredients (except the berries and sparkling wine) in a large glass or plastic container (or pitcher). Stir well.
2. Wash the berries.
3. When ready to serve, first fill the punch bowl with ice. Pour a small amount of the mixture in a cocktail shaker.
4. Add about five to seven berries.
5. Top with ice and shake HARD. (Make sure you shake hard enough so that the berries break apart in the cocktail shaker.)
6. Strain into the punch bowl.
7. Keep repeating steps until the mixture is all shaken and in the punch bowl.
8. Top the punch with about 3/4 of the bottle of sparkling wine and stir well.
9. Top the punch with additional berries and serve.

Ho Ho Ho Holiday Martini

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2 ounces Baileys Irish Cream
1/4 ounce Smirnoff No.21 Vodka
1/4 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzer

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Orange juice, Sprite
Vodka
Maraschino Cherry Juice
Lemon Juice

And incase you were looking for a way to spice up those traditional New Years Eve champagne toasts, Add a stick of rock candy for a kick of sweetness, and some extra bubbles, and it looks awesome in the glass! I love it! NYE

So I hope this inspires you to create something fun and different for your holiday guests this seasons, if you’re gunning to be the hostess with the mostest, a signature cocktail might just put you a step above the rest! Happy Holidays and bottoms up!