My Christmas Life

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Darlings, to finish off the Christmas Life Series, I thought today I would share a few of my festive favourites, what do you say?

Each year Balazs and I look forward to the Holidays as little kiddos wait for Santa. I enjoy the whole festive feel of the Christmas preparations and Balazs soaks in the family time. As we are such a multi-cultural family we try to incorporate all the traditions that are important for us. We have the proper Christmas turkey feast but we also make space for some Polish barszcz with uszkas (Balazs' brothers' favourite), the Hungarian style fish made by his mom and the British Christmas pudding sent all the way from England by my mom.

I always wonder how much fun it will be to introduce this whole setup to a little kiddo one day :)  

My one wish is that one year we could gather the whole family in one place for the Holidays. It’s a big job, let me tell you, but as hectic as it would be, I bet we would all have a fantastic time together (in three, four or even five languages).

And here are a few of the things that rock my Christmas socks off:

1. My Christmas cheat is home delivered turkey. Balazs and I simply can’t manage to cook everything up in a day so we cheat with a delicious ordered bird instead:)

2. My Christmas tipple is Baileys on ice, with vanilla ice-cream or in a coffee. (I feel like I’m cheating on my favourite wine but oh-darn; it’s Christmas after all, right?)

3. My guilty Christmas pleasure are Maltesers, plain cheesecake from the shop down the street and honey with everything:)

4. My festive time-saver is a cheese plate instead of appetisers. You don’t have to cook it and everyone is always up for a bit of nibble on a good Brie with pesto or sun dried-tomatoes, especially if it’s served with a mulled hot wine on the side. (giggle)

5. On my wish list is this charming pea pod necklace that is totally understated and somehow so endearing. Also the brilliant Kinfolk Magazine that I’m such a huge fan of.

6. My Christmas style tip is very simple! Always wear your favourite lipstick on a bare or almost bare face and a sassy pair of underwear. Lipstick (especially red) photographs beautifully. It’s a great trick to avoid cringing Holiday photographs. Also, I hope it’s not just me but wearing fancy underwear makes me feel foxy even if I have chocolate smutches all over my dress.

7. My Christmas reading is the "Parisian Chic" - A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange (who I adore) and the very British (and my all time favourite) magazine - Red!

8. Left out for Father Christmas a jar of homemade boozy olives too keep him warm on the way back to the North Pole :) It’s the first time I made them so fingers crossed he liked them – giggle.

9. My Christmas isn’t complete without good music from our record player. My two favourites: Miles Davis “Round About Midnight” and Norah Jones.

10. My Christmas scent this year is Jo Malone, Black Vetyver Café cologne. The scent of bitter coffee feels oh-so festive, somehow warm and incredibly cozy.

Big thanks to Amanda, Melanie, Carine and Da for sharing thier beautiful Christmas stories with us this week and to Rebecca for all those cool photo layouts. You ladies rock!!! xo

P.S: Lovelies, how was your Christmas? See you Tuesday morning!

My Christmas Life by Damaris Santos-Palmer of Kitchen Corners

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Next up in our Christmas Series is Da!
She writes one of the most delicious blogs around, Kitchen Corners all the way from Bahia, Brazil. To be honest, at times it’s really hard to resist licking the screen after she posts her newest recipes. What can I say, the girl knows her spatula and she even cooks underwater:) Together with her husband Christian they have two adorable kiddos name Enzo and Maria. Here is her Christmas Life story...Enjoy!

Christmas has changed so much for me. As a child growing up in Brazil, we opened presents on Christmas Eve and than had a big BBQ with our extended family on Christmas day. Usually we all just got one present, and we were fine with that. The emphasis was on the food - a big Christmas Eve feast, a big Christmas day breakfast with what we call rabanada (a variation of the french toast), and the our all day BBQ with the fam. Christmas in Brazil is hot. December is the middle of Summer. Then at the age of 7 my family and I moved to Chicago. It was so new spending Christmas in the snow, we weren't really sure what to do. I remember walking down Michigan Ave with my parents to look at all the Christmas lights. That became a tradition. Then as a teenager we retuned to Brazil and continued our BBQ Christmas day tradition. Then I moved back to the States for college and pretty darn quickly I started dating a cute guy from Hawaii, now my husband. For the past 8 years we've always spent Christmas in Hawaii and it's perfect because the weather remind me of Brazil but we still get all the Christmas hype of America.

This year it's a little different. This year we're back in Brazil and it's the first time our kids Enzo and Maria are having Christmas away from their cousins. We're planning a tropical Christmas - a trip to the beach, a lot of food, and a good time all around. My one Christmas wish is that my kids can remember this Christmas forever, not from the presents they're getting but from being immersed in a new culture.

1. My Christmas cheat...
Puff pastry. During the season I do a lot of baking and I use puff pastry like there's no tomorrow. I love wrapping brie cheese in puff pastry and baking it, it's the best. Here are some delicious puff pastry recipes and here is a great easy brie in puff pastry recipe.

2. For my best friend...
If I have to get a nice gift for someone I always get them a Zoku, it's the kitchen gadget I use the most. Nothing like an instant popsicle.

3. My guilty Christmas pleasure...
Baking. A lot. I love cooking and I love eating and during Christmas time we go all out with the sweets. This year it's all about the chocolate flan.

4. Last year’s favourite gift...
Macro lens. As a food blogger my macro lens is indispensable.

5. My Christmas reading...
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I love that book and my son is so excited because this year he was able to read it all by himself.

6. My Christmas outfit...
A pretty apron.

7. My stand-by gift...
Blank Boards Books. These are so fun especially for kids, but I found that adults like them too.

8. On my wish list...
Lynda - I know it seems silly asking for a web gift but my New Year's resolution is to learn how to use my adobe products and from what I hear the classes on Lynda are pretty great.

9. In my stocking...
A collection of Ritter Sport chocolates. My favorite chocolates ever!

My Christmas kitchen...
Couldn't be without a blueberry pull apart bread.

(Top and bottom photo layouts by Rebecca Baust of The Daily Muse for exPress-o. The middle photo by Da)

My Christmas Life by Carine Tyler of Smallesthings

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Next up in our Christmas Life Series is my favourite French lady, Carine!
She writes a beautiful blog called Smallesthings from her Parisian home which she shares with her husband and their totally adorable little son. She is one of those girls you just want to go for a coffee with. An awesome mom with a fantastic taste and incredible stories to tell. Here is her Christmas Life Story…Enjoy!

Bonjour tout le monde! It’s a privilege to be posting on Diana’s blog today and to be sharing with you some bits & bobs of my holiday traditions.

I’m recently a new mama - my son is 22 months old - and with a little bambino in the house, the magic of Christmas suddenly returns. This will be our second Christmas as a family, but the first year where our little boy will grasp what all the fuss is about which is going to be fun. We are eager to share with him our own childhood traditions (I can vividly remember spending hours in the kitchen with my mum baking mince pies!) and also look forward to creating new family traditions - our family -along the way.

Being a Franglais* household, we celebrate Christmas with a meal on the 24th (the French way), another is the 25th (the Franglais way) and yet another on the 26th (the British way - Boxing Day).
Phew, after that it’s no wonder that our New Year resolution is always “Lose extra kilos put on at Xmas”! Though most French children open up their presents at midnight on Christmas Eve, we like to follow the British way for this and wait until morning to open our gifts. There's nothing like the excitement of waking up on Christmas day when you are little and seeing all the presents under the tree that Father Christmas magically brought down the chimney.  Really, I think our ingredients for a perfect Xmas is being with our family, sitting around a warm meal and enjoying our interesting mix of French and English traditions.

My one wish for Christmas is that my little brother who I have not seen in months, pays us a surprise visit.

1. My Christmas essentials...
A Christmas tree, stockings, holy, mistletoe, foie gras, roast turkey, Brussels sprouts, Christmas pudding, buche de noel, mince pies, Christmas carols and dates.

2. My guilty Christmas pleasure...
A Foie gras (guilty because I don't agree with how it is made but can’t resist eating it every year).

3. Left out for Father Christmas...
Mince pie and glass brandy!

4. In my stocking...
Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Every year!

5. My Christmas isn’t complete without...
Christmas crackers! I love the bad jokes and ridiculously small toys.

6. My Christmas movie?
Mr. Franglais has to watch a James Bond on Xmas day (in England, they’ve been showing 007 on telly on Xmas day for years!).

7. My Christmas tipple is...

8. My Christmas scent....
CHYPERLINK ""lementineHYPERLINK ""s – it’s just that time of year. When I see shops selling clementines in November and someone starts peeling one, that sweet smell always reminds me of Xmas.

9. For snowy days...
Board games and a pack of cards for hours of fun.

On my tree...
When I was about six, I remember being in England and buying a little robin to put our Christmas tree. Every year after that, I had to have this little birdie on our tree.

* half British, half French.

(Top and buttom image layout by Rebecca Baust of The Daily Muse for exPress-o. Middle photo by Carine)

My Christmas Life by Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Next up in our Christmas Life Series is Melanie, the awesome mademoiselle behind the always beautiful You Are My Fave blog. She also writes a column about being pregnant on Babble. She lives in Denver and together with her husband, Ryan they are expecting their first baby in the spring. (Congrats!). Here is her Christmas Life story. Enjoy!

My Christmas life starts out in a flurry but then around Christmas Eve things slow down and it’s lovely to take a deep breath and enjoy the quiet moments of joy from the season.

The ingredients for a perfect Christmas are: family, glowing little lights, cozy winter wear, games and decadent treats.

My favorite festive tradition is to wake up before the sun comes up on Christmas morning, sneak and admire the presents and glow from the tree then go back to sleep for a few hours excited to wake up again.

My one Christmas wish this year is for my little baby (expected to arrive in April) to keep growing big (but not too big) and strong.

1. For snowy days I hibernate, drink hot cocoa and watch movies.

2. In my stocking my mom always put a mini box of sugary cereal and it was thrilling.

3. My festive time-saver is Amazon.

4. My Christmas isn’t complete without watching Elf at least a few times.

5. My Christmas kitchen is filled with lots of chocolate treats.

6. My Christmas style tip is when in doubt, add some sparkle.

7. My Christmas reading is Luke 2.

8. My Christmas scent is wassail. I love when it simmers on the stove all day and fills the house with a sweet fragrance. I don’t even need to drink it.

9. On my wish list are pretty baubles to jazz up my snooze fest maternity wardrobe.

10. My guilty Christmas pleasure is Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. "All I Want For Christmas is You" is kind of the best.

(Photos layouts by Rebecca Baust of The Daily Muse for

My Christmas Life by Amanda Jones of Kinfolk Magazine

Monday, December 26, 2011
First up in our Christmas Series is Amanda!
She is an awesome graphic designer, who has the cutest bangs. She writes a beautiful blog  full of amazing photographs and is the primary designer for Kinfolk magazine. She is one busy girl. Here is her Christmas Life story...Enjoy!

Christmas at my house is very simple. Our lives are so busy, that we often view Christmas as our time to rejuvenate. We don't put a lot of time into decorations, and instead focus on family the time we have together. There are always logs burning on the fireplace, wassail brewing on the stove and the sounds of christmas carols being hummed. It it easily one of my most favorite times of the year.

1. On my wishlist...

2. My Christmas reading...
Bossypants: I've been waiting for a vacation to dive in.
Kinfolk Volume 2: My copy should be arriving any day now.

3. On my door...
Grape vine coil wreath.

4. For snowy days...
Hot Cocoa in a candy cane mug.

5. My Christmas Must-haves...
Old Fashioned Peppermint Sticks: I love to stir my hot chocolate with them.
Red Long Underwear: My whole family has a pair and we wear them on Christmas morning.

6. In my stocking...
Rifle "Thank you" cards.

7. My Christmas guilty pleasure...
Since I'm a graphic designer, I put a lot of attention on our yearly christmas card. I use it as an opportunity to stock up on beautiful paper and envelopes.

8. Last year’s favorite gift...
Every time my husband and I go grocery shopping, I always say "I love the typography on that mustard can. Too bad we never use mustard." Wrapped up in my stocking last year was a little can of Coleman's mustard powder. I love small and thoughtful gifts like those.

9. For my best friend (who just happens to be my husband)...
On my tree...
My mother-in-law's vintage ornaments.

My Christmas style tip...
Just because it's Christmas, it doesn't mean that you have to wear red or green.

My Christmas isn’t complete without...
My family.

(Those cool photo layouts are by Rebecca Baust of The Daily Muse for exPress-o - Thanks, Rebecca for your help!)

Darlings, Jolly Good Christmas To You!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, my Lovelies! Hope the Holidays will bring you tons of smooches under the mistletoe, full bellies, endless giggles and cozy moments next to a fireplace. Remember to slow down and take a few mental pictures. (I’m surely planning to do so). Thank you for being so awesome and making each day so incredibly fun, heartwarming and inspiring with your comments. They all mean the world to me!

Balazs and I are cooking up a storm today as we are hosting tomorrow and on Sunday we are driving up to the mountains to visit Balazs' dad. Next week I have some amazing ladies guest posting for me. They will be talking about their Christmas Life, their traditions and the things that make the Holidays special for them (and I might pop in to share my story as well). But in the meantime here are a few great Christmas-y posts for you to check out if you fancy a little break from all the festivities.

Oh boy, a scary Santa.

French toast for Christmas morning.

Snowiest cities!

Or if you're not into French toast, how about French omelet?

Jamie's Christmas turkey.

Mason jar all festive.

Psst, Santa? I would like one of those under the Christmas tree!

Jolly goodness.

She really wants that tree - giggle.

Holiday nails!

Cocktail time.


This would make a beautiful Christmas engagement ring, wouldn't it?

Tiny wreath holiday cards.

Fairy lights.

Eight signs he wants to spend Christmas together:)

Caramel and whisky sauce - yum!

P.S: If you fancy a bit of chit-chat over the Holidays, you can always catch me on Twitter and exPress-o group on FB. (I'm also on Pinterest).

(Photo of the beautiful Bern during winter via Lisa)

Psst...Last Minute Gift: Christmas in a Jar!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The other day, Danyelle made those Christmas jars and I think they would make an awesome last minute gift to a sweet neighbour or a friend, don't you think? Simply jar up a bunch of your favourite Christmas goodies like cinnamon sticks, dried apple and orange slices, allspice and even nutmeg and you are ready to roll.

Just imagine their faces when they open it up and their home fills up with a Christmas scent that you made especially for them. Priceless!  
P.S: Here is the full step by step instructions, including (both) downloadable labels.

It's Genius!

Last night I found my new favourite nail polish colour just in time for jolly Christmas. (It's genius by Essie). Doesn't it look dashing? I can't wait to wear it with loose braids, rosy cheeks and oversized sweaters, all winter long. Sweets, what's your favourite nail polish colour right now? xo

P.S: Three ways to va va voom this season!

(Photo via Bloom)

Flower Craving

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh my, the air outside is crispy cold and we even got our first snow this morning. (Yippie!). But after looking at Alice's photographs, I feel like popping down to the florist for a bunch of ranunculus to warm up the flat with some rich colour. Aren't they beautiful? Dears, what flowers do you love this time of the year? xo

P.S: I heard that they get better as they age, and last up to two weeks :)
P.P.S: Also, Japanese flowers garden and this Parisian flower market.

Earmuffs: Thumbs up or down?

The other week when I posted about cozy winter hats a few of you emailed me asking if I could suggest a snazzy alternative to the classic hat. Something that keeps ears toasty, without getting "hat hair". So, I thought of cozy earmuffs! The trend seems to be back this winter and I even sent this furry pair as a Christmas gift to my best friend. The cool part about them is that they come in a few sizes so you can choose how visible you want them to be. Also, they don't mess up your hair like the regular hats and can look very stylish if you choose the right fit for yourself. (I'm thinking about getting those).

So, sweets, what do you think? Would you wear earmuffs? Or do you already have them? xo

P.S: If you fancy getting a pair, here is a selection of 30 awesome earmuffs for winter!
P.P.S: Also, Princess Leia earmuffs worn by Emma Stone and  here is a cool earmuffs DIY project.

(Photos via The Sartorialist, Vanessa Jackman and Pinterest)

Travel Fantasy: Manatee Watching

If you are in Florida, by any chance between now and the end of next March you can experience something totally out of this world - manatee-watching. About 70 miles north of Tampa on the Crystal River is where the magic happens. As manatees can't survive in water below 60 degrees, every year during winter they migrate to Kings Bay where people can see them up close and if you are brave enough, you can even go for a swim with those gentle giants. I also read that despite their size they are incredibly trusting and the only thing they want is affection. Isn’t that sweet? Would you fancy a dip with one of them? xo

P.S: Here is Louise’s experience.
P.P.S: Do you remember the man and this elephant best pal? Love!

(via The New York Times. Top photo via Jeri)

What are your favourite movies to watch?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Balazs and I are planning a little movie-marathon with a few friends over the Holidays. We all agreed to make a list of movies we are dying to see and then we’ll pick a few that everyone is excited to watch. So far I have two: One Day with Anne Hathaway and The Descendants with George Clooney but I need to add a few more to the mix.

So, darlings, I’d love to know what movies do you like to watch? It can be a film that you are dying to see on dvd or in the cinema or a classic that you can't stop re-watching? xo

(Photos via Wit and Delight and Catherine)

Redheads Crush

Every couple of months and especially around the holidays, I get eager to go crazy and swap my hair colour to fiery red. Lucky for me (and probably Balazs) I never go through with it but instead I spend my free time swooning over those adorable redheads:)

Darlings, what's your hair colour? Are you ever tempted to change it up? If so, to which shade? xo

P.S: Two more: this ribbon hairdo and that classy gibson tuck, all on foxy red hair.
P.P.S: Oh boy, freckles!

(Photos via Caitlyn, say YES! to hoboken and Cubicle Refugee)

Icons and Their Stripes

I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes me swoon over the classic Breton sailing style shirts but I simply can't resist them. It must be that they ooze French chic mixed with a laidback vibe of total coolness :) It's mind-blowing to think that the whole trend started in the 1900's with the amazing Mademoiselle Chanel and her trip to the French Riviera. So, this morning I’d love to share a few of my favourite icons sporting this nautical staple to the perfection. Don't they look dashing? Do you wear stripes? xo

P.S: More adorable stripes!
P.P.S: And this whole outfit - love.

(Photos via Dapper Lane and A Lovely Being of Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Twiggy & Picasso)

A Floating Bridge in Bangladesh

Monday, December 19, 2011
Genius! I read that the rampant-growing water hyacinth on the Buriganga River in Dhaka gives tons of commute troubles to the locals as it prevents boats from moving freely on the river. So, a group of very clever boatmen came up with a brilliant idea of a floating bridge. They connected 34 wooden dinghies together and they even charge a tiny fee for the service. Doesn't that bridge look super cool? xo

P.S: More amazing travel destinations!
P.P.S: I still can't stop thinking about the Montaña Mágica Lodge.

(Photo via Marisa)
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