Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

Ok, I wasn’t going to post until after the New Year, but then I thought it would be fun to do a quick end-of-year round-up of the 2013 Top 10 Posts on this little blog. Here we go….

french toast (3)

10. Baked French Toast

flowers4

9. $10 Valentine’s Day Centerpiece

strawberry-picking-2

8. Strawberry Picking

Pistachio-Green7. What to Wear – Pistachio Green (featured on the Zoya nail polish website, thanks Zoya!)

croissant-date-5

6. Croissant-Making Class Date Night

homemade-butter-1

5. Homemade Butter

flower-card-11

4. Flower Card

be-styled-appointment-5

3. I got a BeStyled Blowdry

DSC_0990-001

2. Elizabeth Street – Street Style

Easter-straws6

1. Easter Crafts – Easter Straws (the little post that Martha Stewart tweeted, thanks M!)

Thanks for a great year and for reading Stlyed by Jess – lots in store for 2014!! Happy New Year!

Santa Came!

I’ve been posting slightly sporadically the past week or so because we’ve been traveling since Christmas day! We got home late yesterday afternoon after 6 hours in the car, ugh. But it made it that much better to all go to sleep in our own beds last night, isn’t that the best feeling? Anyway, I thought I’d share my favorite photo from Christmas morning when our Z dove into the teepee that Santa brought…

Z-with-her-teepee

Now I’m off to do tons of laundry, vacuum Christmas tree pine needles, and catch up on sleep. See you in the New Year when I’ll have a few exciting announcements to share!

Z Style – Christmas Edition

Hope your day yesterday was merry (no matter if you celebrate Christmas or not)! My Z’s Christmas outfit was so special this year I wanted to share it in a Z Style post. Remember our UK trip this summer, specifically the Scotland portion of the trip? Well, we were in a little shop in Edinburgh and I spotted this gem and KNEW it would be the cutest little Christmas outfit ever. Here it is…

 toddler-style

White collared shirt Old Navy (old), authentic tiny pink plaid kilt from a tiny shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, tights Target, navy blue shoes Old Navy (old, similar).

Christmas Wrapping – The Gifts

wrapped-christmas-gifts-4The gifts are wrapped and under the tree! Actually, they’re upstairs in my office because someone in our house is addicted to unwrapping presents ever since her 2nd birthday and at the very site of a gift runs up and tares off the paper. Yes, I posed these under the tree and immediately brought them back upstairs when I was done. Anyway, here are some photos of the finished gifts all wrapped up with my black and white and gold ribbons and homemade gift tags.

wrapped-christmas-gifts-1

wrapped-christmas-gifts-2

wrapped-christmas-gifts-3

Have a great Christmas Eve All!

Christmas Wrapping – Homemade Gift Tags

homemade-gift-tags-7

So we’ve figured out what ribbon to use to wrap our Christmas gifts – now on to the gift tags! I decided it would be fun to make a few tags myself and thought I’d show you. There is no real tutorial, but here’s how I put my gift tags together:

homemade-gift-tags-1

To make your own gift tags you really just need thick card stock and stuff to decorate with. I used: paper cutter, markers, ink pad, rubber stamps, washi tape, and card stock. Not shown but super important: hole punch and string to attach to gifts.

homemade-gift-tags-2

Cut out your card stock into gift tag size rectangles (or squares, trees, snowmen, any shape, really!) Decorate your tag – I used a combo of washi tape and rubber stamps. Above, I’m making a Christmas tree with gold washi tape.

homemade-gift-tags-3

I like to add a little “to” and “from” stamp as well.

homemade-gift-tags-4

And don’t forget to punch a hole!

 homemade-gift-tags-5

homemade-gift-tags-6

Ready to attach to wrapped gifts!

 

Couple Things…

snowcookie-tastingButternut-squash-quinoa-soupjcrew-camel-sweaterraspberry-jamrussian-roulette-essie

So much snow and it’s about to melt away before Christmas…

She doesn’t usually eat sweets but ate part of 1 Christmas cookie and then made this face when I asked to take her picture to document the occasion.

Made a yummy quinoa, chicken, and butternut squash soup when it was freezing and snowy earlier this week.

This J. Crew camel sweater has been a fave lately, it’s on super sale right now (extra 40% off)!

It’s hard to find a jam or preserve at the regular grocery store without high fructose corn syrup (or just regular old corn syrup) but this one looks promising and the raspberry has the seeds, which I love!

Love this red for Christmas – essie’s Russian Roulette.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Christmas Wrapping – Ribbon

By now, all (or most) of your shopping is done, right? And now it’s time to WRAP! Some folks find this to be a daunting task and I guess that depends on how generous you’re being this year (aka how many gifts you’re giving) as well as a big question: whether Santa wraps the gifts at your house or not. Growing up Santa just popped down our chimney, set up our gifts in the appropriate location (I had the couch, my sister had the big chair), and dashed away to the next house. Now Santa does the same thing for our Z… I will also say there is added wrapping effort made to those gifts that “leave the house” so to speak…gifts for friends, my in-laws, etc… Do you wrap gifts for your kids and husband/boyfriend a little more casual than others?

christmas-ribbon-1

All of that said, I thought I’d share with you my gift wrapping strategy this year on thosefancy-wrapped “leave the house” gifts. Next week a tutorial on some cute, easy washi gift tags followed by some pics of the finished product. Today, we’re talking ribbons. After I took a little inventory of our wrapping paper I decided on a theme this year… I walked right by the traditional Christmas ribbon aisle (after snapping this photo of course)…

christmas-ribbon-2

And decided on black and white and metallic! See, we had plain red and plain green rolls of paper so I thought patterned black and whites and maybe gold or silver would look great, right? And so festive. So after much thought I decided on these four…

christmas-ribbon-3

More next week!

Christmas Cookies

Christmas-cookies-2

Over the weekend was Christmas-cookie-making-weather, aka snowing! I made the dough on Sunday morning but then we went to Edaville Railroad so I waited until yesterday to finish them. I thought I’d pull together some tips and tricks I use for making delicious-tasting and cute-looking Christmas Cookies that can be used any time you’re making shaped and decorated sugar cookies.

For the dough, I love Martha’s recipe because if you follow her instructions to the T, you get really great, perfectly shaped cookies.

Christmas-cookies-6

I also use a tip from Alton Brown: for rolling out the dough, use powdered sugar on your board and rolling pin in place of flour – what a great idea.

Christmas-cookies-7

Roll the dough until about 1/8″ thick and cut out your shapes. You know how sometimes you bake your cookies and they get puffy and sort of melt out too much and the shape is distorted? To counter that, as Martha’s recipe states, when you’re ready to bake, stick the whole sheet of cookies back in the fridge for 10 minutes or longer until they’re very cold. Then cook at 325 for 15 minutes. This makes the shape of the cookie stay in tact while baking.

Christmas-cookies-8

I decided to frost some of my cookies and use sprinkles on others. A quick tip for pre-baking-sprinkling is to brush a little milk on your cookie so the sprinkles have something to stick to and won’t immediately roll off your cookie and get everywhere.

Christmas-cookies-1

The last tip I have to share is that Martha also recommends rotating location of your cookie sheets halfway through baking, this creates a perfectly browned cookie bottom and a cookie that is evenly baked.

Christmas-cookies-5

For decorating I mentioned the pre-baking sprinkles above, but for frosted cookies I like to make a small amount of buttercream frosting with sprinkles on top, rather than the traditional royal icing. This makes for a tastier cookie in my opinion as royal icing hardens and makes the whole cookie a little crunchy.

Christmas-cookies-2

Enjoy your holiday baking this season – it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!

Edaville Railroad

Edaville-railroad-3

We braved the cold temps yesterday and took our Z to the Edaville Railroad! We went with my sister’s family because everything is more fun with cousins, right? I thought I’d share because if you’re looking for a cute holiday activity to do with your little kids, Edaville USA is it. I even remember going to Edaville Railroad as a kid!

Edaville-railroad-2

Edaville-railroad-4For the holidays they have a special Christmas Festival of Lights. The park opens at 2pm and we got there shortly after. There are tons of little rides for all ages both outdoor and in, rides even my average-sized 2 year old could ride on (and a few rides she could even do with no parent!). The rides and grounds are on par with a local carnival, some were working, and some were not… but of course the main attraction is the train ride.

Edaville-railroad-6

They do a Christmas Festival of lights train ride that comes with your entry and then they also do the Polar Express, which we’ll do in a few years once our Z actually knows the story. Their website claims the trains run every hour but they ran more frequently and more randomly when we were there, so listen for announcements and ask the staff. We thought we were getting the last train of the day but it turns out there was one after ours when it would have been a little darker and you could see the lights better. Oh well, the kids didn’t even realize.

Edaville-railroad-5

Inside, you could visit with Santa (and get a photo with him for a cost) as well as a great play space and little historical museum talking about the cranberry bogs of Carver, MA and how Edaville came to be.

Edaville-railroad-1

Edaville-railroad-8

It was a fun afternoon/evening! If you go, bundle up! Our Z refused to wear her hat and mittens at first and cried because of the colllld temps. We were constantly running inside to warm up and were pleased that the little indoor play area had rides and other fun activities. There’s not much for food in the area either so we checked online before we left the house and found a good local restaurant close enough to stop at on our way home before anyone fell asleep in the car. What a fun holiday adventure!

Couple Things…

lux-theater-1boo-boochristmas-risottopyscho

We went to a Lux theater to see Catching Fire – nothing better than a lux movie theater, right?

We have entered a phase of booboo obsession. And she requires band-aids for said booboos so a new rule was created this week, no band-aid unless mommy sees an actual booboo.

We continued our Christmas spirit and made a Christmas-looking risotto for dinner one night!

We also watched Psycho for the first time (our Netflix cue is hurting right now) and it was surprisingly good!

Have a great weekend everyone!!