Holiday Candy

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For me, holiday gifts can be tricky. On the one hand I want to celebrate all of the people in my life but sometimes it can get a little crazy trying to find something special for everyone. Plus to be honest I am not the best shopper, I get a little stressed especially with the holiday madness. As a remedy I have started to make food gifts for all the people in my life. It has become a tradition to block off a Saturday in December and spend the whole day making holiday candy. My favorite candies to gift are homemade vanilla bourbon marshmallows, chocolate bark and my all-time favorite homemade peppermint patties.
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La Road Trip

La Roatrip

This past weekend I took a last-minute, spur of the moment LA road trip. Our house is under construction and there is a layer of dust literally everywhere, so when a friend emailed and invited me to a holiday brunch I immediately said yes, I would be there. I was joined by a friend and the two of us hit the road for a road trip filled with eating, drinking and sightseeing. It was a whirlwind 36 hours but so much fun.
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Holiday Crostini

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Can you believe that it is already December? Where in the world has 2014 gone? I still feel like it is July (I know I say this every year). Even though this year is flying by, December is one of my most favorite months; a month filled with holiday lights, cooler weather and of course holiday parties. Lots and lots of holiday parties. What better way to spend an evening than eating getting boozy and celebrating the season with friends and family?
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Here’s to Monday

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was filled with lots of cooking, eating and a little beach time. All in all it was wonderful, but flew by way too quickly.

I can’t believe that it is already December. Today marks the start of our kitchen remodel. Wish me luck! Not sure how I am going to live in a construction zone for the next month, not to mention live without a working kitchen. I will be sure to report back with all of the progress. Here’s to Monday!

Holiday Cards with Minted

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We all know my love for Minted right? I posted about them last year but not only did I do my wedding invitations and save the dates with Minted, I have also been doing my holidays cards with them for years. Not to mention our wedding picture is literally up on the Minted site. Every year without fail someone finds our pictures and sends a weird email asking if that is us. This year it happened at work – one of my coworkers who I don’t know very well found me on there. Moderately embarrassing.

Since I didn’t have time or the bandwidth to figure out our holiday card picture this year, we are going to use one of me and Luke from my sister-in law’s gorgeous wedding. But that means that Chumley will not be on the holiday card this year and he is pissed. For the past 4 years he has made the holiday card.  So to make sure he gets his holiday greetings to all of his peeps out there, I picked some of my favorite Minted holiday card designs and let him model them. (I know I am obsessed with him, but I can’t help it)

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Make sure to check out Minted for your holiday cards. They not only have beautiful designs, they also support freelance artists. Plus they have some super cool features like free addressing with some gorgeous fonts and decal.

This post is sponsored by Minted but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that support A Life Well Lived.

The Best Thanksgiving Recipes

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So I have a confession to make. I am not cooking a traditional Thanksgiving this year. We have been celebrating Thanksgiving at work in the test kitchen since July and I am kind of over it. (I know so lame). Over the course of the last 6 months I have made more stuffing than I can remember and carved at least 20 turkeys. Plus Friendsgiving kind of did me in – where I cooked a full Thanksgiving meal for 25 people. But don’t get me wrong, we are still celebrating Thanksgiving but I am planning a menu that is a little more non-traditional.  Even though I am not actually cooking Thanksgiving recipes on Thanksgiving, it is still my favorite holiday and I still love eating all of that Thanksgiving food. Here are some of the best Thanksgiving recipes I have collected over the years that are tried, true and totally delicious.
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Friendsgiving (plus an easy entertaining appetizer )

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I am a West Coast transplant; all of my family still lives on the East Coast, Florida to be exact. Although I love living in California being so far from family is hard, especially around the holidays. Over the years our friends in the Bay Area have become our home away from home family. So to celebrate them we host an annual Friendsgiving (Friends + Thanksgiving =Friendsgiving) dinner where we celebrate and eat a lot of delicious Thanksgiving inspired food because when you live so far from family around the holidays, its Friendsgiving that makes the moment.
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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Thanksgiving is by far my most favorite holiday. What could be better than getting together with friends and family and eating all day? Since I am hosting Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving this year, I have started planning my menus and these pumpkin cheesecake bars with toasted marshmallow topping are front and center at both. I have been making pumpkin cheesecake for the past 5 Thanksgivings and without fail, it is always a crowd favorite. This year I decided to adapt the cheesecake into bars giving this tried and true recipe a modern twist.
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