Coffee, Tea, & Hot Chocolate Hacks

Cozy pjs, a crackling fire, a good movie or a book, and a hot beverage...the makings of a perfect evening (or an entire wishful weekend!). But wait--before you put down the computer and start making a drink, check out some of my favorite hacks to change up your usual coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. There's something for just about everyone!

For my tea drinkers, you've got to try making your own sugar cubes! It is SO easy and makes a cute decoration for tea or as a gift. You can use any type of sugar you want, like raw and brown sugar. Next, choose your shapes. I used small silicone molds and small cookie cutters--for Christmas I've done trees, candy canes, snowflakes, and gingerbread men. Mix 1 part sugar with one fourth of water and press into molds. Let dry over night. Remove and serve (or store in air-tight container). BONUS HACKS: Add flavoring to these, like vanilla or peppermint. I've added food coloring too--lightest colors work the best.

A way to enhance any drink is to add a tasty candied rim. I've used finely crushed candy canes, colored sugar, and nonpareils (pictured above) to decorate. Simply pour your candy into a bowl or saucer or plate that is bigger than the rim of your mug or glass. Dip the rim into something to make the candy stick, like water, cream, icing (no judging!), chocolate, honey, etc. then dip the coated rim into the candy.

Marshmallows and hot cocoa are just meant to be together. But instead of the traditional ones, try Christmas Peeps (they have all sorts of shapes) or these Gingerbread ones (not Peeps). They really taste like gingerbread, fyi. Tons of whipped cream, optional.

Remember those cookie cutters I mentioned in the first hack? You can reuse them to make a decorative top on your cream. Simply place on top and add cocoa. If you want to do a lot of these quickly, I suggest tracing your design (mine's a candy cane) onto paper (I've even used a disposable drink cup lid) and cutting it out and then placing over the top. Dust your cocoa over it and your drink automatically looks fancy. Aaand because I cannot make any of that fancy latte art with frothed milk!

Speaking of the top of the drink, if you're a fan of whipped cream, I've got an easy recipe for caramel sea salt. You can use store bought or make your own, like I did. Just add a couple of drops of caramel flavoring, pinch of sea salt, your whipped cream, and mix together before adding a dollop onto your drink. Drizzle caramel sauce and extra sea salt if desired. I usually make enough for a few servings and keep in the fridge.

Sticking a candy cane in a drink is something we've all done, right? But let's make it extra festive this year and try a candy cane twist or spoon. I'm so glad I found these at Walmart (and Michaels) because I've tried to diy my own versions in the past, and let's just say it was a disaster. How cute are these? BONUS HACK: Dip these in chocolate! Add nonpareils! Ok, I just want another excuse to use the nonpareils. Btw I've used the spoon in my tea and loved it.

Here's the spoon and my peppermint mocha. I added crushed candy cane and chocolate sauce at the top because I could. I cannot cook or bake worth a dang flip, so this is how I contribute to the Christmas desserts.

Here's the peppermint twist in a peppermint white hot chocolate. Special thanks to my friends who volunteered to drink the "props" so they wouldn't go to waste.

Which hacks would you like to try?


How To: Holiday Red Lips

It's no secret I love a red lip, especially for the holidays. But red lips used to intimidate me--no more! Today I'm gonna show you how I wear them PLUS my collection of reds--there's something for everyone here!

1--Exfoliate lips to remove any roughness or flaking (try this DIY version or this one) and then add lip balm to moisturize. I do this before I apply my makeup and let it soak in.

2--So I've applied my makeup, my hair is done, and the red lips are the final step. Wipe off the lip balm and choose a lip liner that matches the color of the red lipstick you're going to wear. Outline and fill in lips. This serves as an outline and barrier. I fill them in for extra coverage. I prefer not to use a nude pencil, concealer or eye lid primer, since my lips aren't very pigmented naturally.

3--I apply the lipstick. Since I have small lips, my lipstick keeps its shape, so I use the pointed end to help keep the lines crisp. I'm wearing MAC Ruby Woo--a matte red but it looks so good on everyone.

4--I also use a lip brush to apply and spread out my color--you can see I've got some spots to fill in. The brush allows for more precision. Some swear by lip brush alone, but I prefer both.

5--Time for clean up! Use concealer and a small concealer brush to clean up around the lips for a nice, crisp line. This prevents it from looking messy. I used a nude liner here and then blended it out with a small brush. I find my fingers tend to make the color bleed, so I don't use fingers to blend.

6--To make sure the red lipstick lasts (Ruby Woo really does), take 1 ply of tissue and blot lips. Then take the other ply (or a clean section) of tissue and place over lips. Dust over them with translucent powder to set.

Here I am wearing a few of my favorite red lipsticks--to see my collection, PLEASE KEEP READING...


DIY Press for Champagne Sign

My baby sister (she will always be little to me) and her husband are moving into their first place. And she has asked me to help diy some decorations, and this is one of the ideas she requested. I'm so excited! Longtime blog readers have noticed this in my room for a year now, and after many requests, I'm finally sharing this DIY with you!

You've seen these right? I had a pic forever saved onto my computer as inspiration, then I saw they were being sold for crazy expensive prices, so I decided to make my own. I thought about the components of the sign, broke it down in my mind, made a shopping list, and set out to make one. It is so easy and can be customized exactly how you'd like! This cost me $10 to make (I've seen them sold for $70).

First, find your picture frame. I chose an oval frame that closely resembles the Ikea frame I have in my room. I got mine at a discount store for CHEAP since the glass was broken--holla! I chose a smaller frame, so I removed the backing stand so I could hang it later. My decor is silver, so I painted it to match my frame and let it dry. The inspiration pic I had was with a brass frame and brass bell.

Time to print your sign! This takes some trial and error since you need to make sure it fits in your frame--much easier with a square frame. I used the Calibri font in size 90 using MS Word. I used the frame insert and traced around it before cutting it out and putting in the frame.

Next, you'll need to find your bell. I found mine for $5 at a junk shop, but I have seen these at hardware stores like Lowes and online for $5-$10. If you are looking to actually have it buzz, email me and I can give you some basic circuit info. This is totally optional but I chose to paint mine.

Use a glue gun to attach the bell to the paper. Hang and you're done!

PS: My $100 Visa giftcard giveaway ends 12-21. Have you entered yet?


Holiday Makeup--Golden Smokey Eyes

Hey you! It is the weekend...finally! What are your weekend plans? I'm still residing in Sick City over here, so my plans involve lots of Christmas movies on the couch and lots of hot cocoa. But in case you have a party soon, I wanted to share a holiday makeup look with you.

I'm sharing just the eye look today, but my lipstick is MAC Ruby Woo.

Here's the makeup I used for my eyes:
  • Too Face Chocolate Bar (ps I want the new one, Santa)
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational (review next week)
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes shadow stick
  • Kat Von D liner

-I began by placing the shadow stick over lids as a base.
1-I took a flat brush and patted this gold shade on the lid.
2-With a crease brush, I applied this milk chocolate into the crease and used a blending brush to blend it out.
3- Using a smaller crease blush, I applied this chocolate shade into the outer "v"  and blended it out.
4-I then applied this darker chocolate in the outer "v" but made a smaller "v" and blended that out.
-I took a pencil brush and smudged that darkest shade under my bottom lashes.
-I applied a matte cream to under my brow with a clean pencil brush.
-I curled lashes, applied mascara, and liquid liner.

Here are the eyes--it looks a bit more taupe here but is more golden in person.

I also made you a video showing this look! It's a collab with Tanya and some lovely bloggers:


Tanya- www.leopardlaceandcheesecake.blogspot.com


Check it out below:

Look at Charlie's enthusiasm to be in my video!

Have a great weekend!


How To: Marble Christmas Nails

One of my friends texted me asking how to do marble nails because she wanted to do them with her nieces over the holidays. I told her to head to the blog for a tutorial, but there wasn't one! Um, whoops! I can't believe in over 4 years I've never shared this classic nail art, so I'm sharing it now. If you're looking for some fun nails (they remind me of peppermints and candy canes) Check out my Marble Christmas Nails:

  • red, green, white polishes
  • base and top coats
  • plastic cup (this will be discarded or kept for other marble nail adventures)
  • water
  • toothpicks
  • paper towel
  • masking tape or vaseline
  • nail polish remover and/or q-tips


This or That: Threading Vs. Waxing

Normally for my This or That series, I compare two similar products, but today I'm comparing two beauty treatments: threading vs. waxing. Let's see which one wins my vote:


DIY Santa's Lip Scrub

I don't know about y'all, but the cold weather is drying out my lips something crazy! And sometimes using a warm cloth or toothbrush to soften lips just doesn't do the trick--especially not this time of year. So I rely on a good diy scrub and lip balm to treat my lips instead. I've shared lip scrubs on here before (check here and here) but today's version is Christmas-inspired (and inspired by Lush's version, just cheaper). This would make an adorable gift, too. Get ready to make my DIY Santa's Lip Scrub:


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