Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happiest Holidays

Hope you're enjoying the holiday season and taking it easy! We had a long visit with Jonah's family in Seattle complete with lots of good eating, catching up with friends and family and some quality grandparent time for Harrison. We're back in Austin now and are keeping things low-key for New Year's. I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close. This was one of the most eventful, challenging, wonderful years of my life. I'm feeling very grateful for all the blessings 2014 brought with it, but one in particular stands out. Harrison, Jonah and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Happy Holiday Card

I made a point to send out Christmas cards this year since it feels like sort of a requirement when you have a new baby. I ordered this design from minted., and it couldn't have been easier. Harrison's the star of this year's card. Hopefully, we can get the dog in on the action next year ... if she can sit still long enough.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thoughts of the Week

I'm eager to try this peppermint sipping chocolate. It might even be healthy.

And I want to give wassail a try.

And while we're at it, this snowball float.

I would have never thought of wearing flowers in your hair for the holidays, but I love the idea.

A gift guide for the Seinfeld fan. Yes!

What I wish I was wearing on Christmas Eve.

Apparently, I need to buy more gifts so I can buy more wrapping paper.

We're in full Christmas mode around here. I can't believe how December is flying by when there's still so much left on my to-do list, but at least it's fun stuff like "bake cookies." Hope you have a happy, productive, cookie-filled weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Make Your Holidays Pop with Absolut

When Absolut Vodka contacted me about their Limited Edition Andy Warhol bottle, I was so excited. The fun, festive bottle is the perfect way to make your holidays pop. Carry it along to a party, and you've got a gift for the hostess that's more memorable than a bottle of wine.

I used the bottle as inspiration for a colorful drink station because even the bar should be festive at your holiday party. I decorated with lights, a felt garland and a bowl of colorful glass ornaments. I always love having a signature drink at a party and the simplicity and Christmassy colors of a vodka cranberry are a great option. Hope your holiday parties are merry and bright!

Vodka Cranberry

1 part vodka
2 parts cranberry juice
1 wedge of lime

Fill a chilled highball glass with ice. Add vodka and cranberry juice. Garnish with lime.

Thanks to Absolut for sending me their Limited Edition Andy Warhol bottle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Treat: White Chocolate Popcorn

This is just the sort of snack that's great for a holiday party or to package and share as a homemade gift. I love the crunch of the popcorn and almonds coated in the creamy white chocolate. Leave it plain for an elegant look or throw in some red, white and green sprinkles for a more festive treat.

White Chocolate Popcorn

16 cups popped popcorn
1 cup whole almonds
12 oz. white chocolate
red, white and green nonpareils (optional)

Make popcorn using your preferred method. Melt white chocolate in a large bowl in microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Add popcorn and almonds to white chocolate and fold gently coating the popcorn and almonds. Spread mixture out onto parchment or wax paper. Top with nonpareils if you like. Allow to set for 2 hours.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winterize Your Nails for the Holidays

Painting my nails isn't something I always make time for, but it's an easy way to keep things glam for all the holiday parties and gatherings this time of year. Julep is one of my favorite beauty brands, and I love their selection of wintry nail polish colors. (I'm currently wearing a glittery copper shade called Sawyer.) Julep put together some tips below for keeping your nails looking good all winter long. I'm thinking a manicure at home would be the perfect way to unwind around this busy season and wouldn't a bottle of nail polish make a great stocking stuffer?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gifts for the Baby Under $50

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful time with family, and the dog and baby boy both did great on our road trip. I'm diving into the Christmas season this week, and I'm kicking things off with a few holiday gift guides. This year features a new addition inspired by our new addition: gifts for the baby. Hope you enjoy these gifts for the little one that will hopefully earn parental approval.

1. personalized stocking, $27.50 2. wooly lamb, $32 3. bear print, $24 4. buffalo plaid beanie, $7 5. tiger night light, $21.95 6. rainbow stacker, $49 7. dim sum tee, $18 8. A Christmas classic in pop-up form, $15.39 9. corduroy baby shoes, $30

Friday, November 21, 2014


Harrison turned 1 month old yesterday. I really love spending my days with this sweet boy. I'm just head over heels for him. And even though I feel like an outing to Target is a crowning achievement, I'm gradually beginning to find my footing in motherhood. I took this photo of Jonah and Harrison a couple weeks ago. Harrison looks so tiny, I can't even take it. This is basically what our life looks like lately, catching up on sleep whenever possible and snuggling with baby boy. Thanks for bearing with me and the intermittent blogging. I hope to have a semblance of a schedule in the very near future, and I'm excited for some holiday posts, gift guides, Christmas sweets, all my favorite stuff.

This weekend, we're packing up the car and driving to Savannah to spend Thanksgiving week with my family. I'm pretty sure we're crazy to drive 17 hours with an infant and a dog, but I'll let you know just how crazy once we get there. Anyway, I'm really excited about introducing Harrison to his great-grandmothers ... and also for sweet potato casserole.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Cider Granita

A frozen dessert isn't something I'd normally serve this time of year, but when I happened upon this apple cider granita recipe, my curiosity won out. The pairing of cozy fall flavors with something cold and refreshing is surprising and delicious and lets you enjoy apple cider in a whole new way. It'd be a great addition to your dessert table if you're celebrating Thanksgiving in 70-degree weather, or it would make a perfect Turkey Day palate cleanser.

Apple Cider Granita
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

4 cups apple cider
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 whole allspice
3 cinnamon sticks

Stir ingredients in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 1 hour. Strain mixture into 8-inch square baking pan. Freeze until edges begin to set, about 2 hours. Whisk and freeze again until mixture is slushy, about 3 hours. Whisk again to blend well. Freeze without stirring until granita is frozen solid, 4 hours or overnight. Using a fork, scrape granita until entire mixture is mass of crystals. Cover and freeze until ready to serve. Scoop granita into 6 chilled glasses.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beanie Baby

When I was younger, I wore hats all the time. It was sort of my trademark. But as I grew older (and more self-conscious), hats were pretty much cut from my wardrobe. The one exception is when cold weather strikes. I just can't resist a cozy knit hat and usually add one to my collection every year. Here are a few possibilities for this winter.

[found here: chunky ribbed hat; grey beanie; patterned pom pom hat; green beanie with stripe; pink stripe beanie; orange knit beanie; honeycomb pom pom hat; metallic knit beanie]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pumpkin Biscotti with Maple Glaze

I've made pumpkin pies, muffins, parfait, bread, icebox cake and cookies, so while pondering other pumpkin possibilities, I decided pumpkin biscotti were worth an attempt. I topped them with a maple glaze for an added dose of fall and loved the results. I'm already thinking about these, a cup of autumn spice coffee, cozy socks and the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning.

Pumpkin Biscotti with Maple Glaze
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and spices into a large bowl with sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a stir to generally incorporate the ingredients. The dough will be crumbly.

Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. The loaf should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F, rotating pan once halfway through baking, until the center is firm to the touch.

Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1-inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300°F and bake for an additional 40 minutes, flipping biscotti over halfway through baking. Cool completely. Makes about 15 biscotti.

Maple Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner's' sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon milk

Whisk sugar, syrup and milk together until you reach a pourable consistency. Drizzle over biscotti and let set before serving.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gifts for Kids from UncommonGoods

I'm trying my best to get a jump on Christmas shopping this year before the holiday rush sneaks up on me. I can't even believe it's November already! I tend to do almost all of my shopping online, so when UncommonGoods contacted me, I jumped at the chance to pick out some of their cute and clever items. You can check out their gifts for men here and gifts for women here. I decided to sift through their gift selection for kids. Now that we have a baby, I'm definitely making myself more aware of unique goodies for little ones. UncommonGoods has a wide selection for all ages, and I love their focus on handmade goods, American-made items and their mission to work with artists and small manufacturers. It was tough to choose just a few things, but I decided to order these classic wooden alphabet blocks, a fish rattle and a pair of cute animal booties. I think Harrison will be a fan once he gets a bit older. He's enjoying looking at all his new stuff in the meantime. Check out UncommonGoods to see more of their gifts for kids. I'll definitely be looking through their items again before Christmas rolls around.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Autumn Spice Coffee

Recently, I've been incorporating a little fall flavor in my morning cup of coffee. I add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg per cup to the coffee grounds before I brew a pot. I skip the sugar (and don't even miss it), add cream and top with a little more nutmeg. It's like a mug full of coziness.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last-Minute Halloween Costume for Baby

baby ghost onesie

I was debating whether to dress Harrison up for his first Halloween. He's not even two weeks old, so the store-bought options are too big, and I've felt too busy to make something myself, then it hit me: ghost onesie. All it took was a white onesie, which I already had, and a black Sharpie. I just sketched out the friendly ghost face and then filled it in with the Sharpie. Put a paper bag inside the onesie so the ink doesn't bleed through the back. Voilà and boo! And if you've got an orange onesie handy, you could turn baby into a cute little jack-o-lantern. Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet Harrison James!

Pardon the blog silence. Harrison James Broulette arrived on Monday, October 20, at 11:18 am, and I've been in a blissful, exciting, sleepy whirlwind ever since. Everything went smoothly with the birth, my parents provided a ton of support, and Jonah and I are just obsessed with our little miracle. Thanks for all the well wishes on instagram. If you want to be bombarded with more baby pictures, feel free to follow me at natalieaerin.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thoughts of the Week

Loved reading this advice from mamas.

These fall leaf photos are so simple and beautiful.

I'd like a doormat that's this friendly.

Salted butter caramels are calling my name.

Plum pants may be in my fall wardrobe future.

The cutest candy corn favor bags.

Babies in Halloween costumes. I mean, come on.

My parents are in town, and we're all waiting on baby boy to join us. I'll be taking walks and drinking raspberry leaf tea in the meantime. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little Legs

Yesterday, my due date came and went, so while I'm waiting on this baby to show, I seem to be occupying my time by shopping for him. I came across these sweet little leggings from Etsy shop hold you me and love the fun patterns, especially since I've realized this boy has a dresser full of stripes. As his personal stylist, it's my responsibility to mix things up a bit.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Feeling Rosy

I've been thinking about treating myself to a new ring for my birthday this month and as a way to mark baby boy's birthday whenever that is. I'm especially drawn to rose gold lately. Catbird, one of my favorite jewelry stores, has a great selection at a variety of prices. It seems like a good way to celebrate my fingers returning to their pre-pregnancy size.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Applesauce Mini Muffins

My desire to nest, waiting on the baby to make his debut and fall baking season all coincided nicely and resulted in this batch of applesauce muffins. Pumpkin is usually my go-to ingredient this time of year, but I decided to get all crazy and go with apples instead. This recipe is simple and quick, and it's one of those that doubles as breakfast and dessert. You can forgo the cream cheese glaze if you like, but what fun is that?

Applesauce Mini Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze
Recipes adapted from Taste of Home and Recipe Girl

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices, and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Fill greased or paper-lined mini muffin pan three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Makes about 60 mini muffins.

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Whisk in powdered sugar. Add more milk, as needed, to create a thick but pourable consistency. Dip the tops of the muffins in the frosting and serve.


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