Share Your Sweet Side with Peppermint Cookie Trays

     While baking Christmas cookies is always a tradition around our house, the kind of cookies that we bake is not.  Every year something new comes out of the oven, and this year is no different.  Not surprisingly, this year’s inspiration came from Pinterest and a post from the blog, Joy the Baker, forwarded by my dear friend who had also forwarded on the letter from the Newtown PTA about the Sandy Hook snowflakes.

     When the flour and powdered sugar dust had settled over the weekend, we had Peppermint Trays filled with these:

Peppermint Meltaways

Rosemary Clementine Thumbprints

Blueberry Banana Mini-Muffins

Red Velvet Black & White Cookies

A few filled trays were gifts to neighbor students studying for exams.  The rest of the cookies are being inhaled right here at home.

     The Black & Whites are definitely this year’s favorite, no doubt because they are the most time-consuming to make. I really like the grown-up, not-so-sweet flavor of the Thumbprints. The Meltaways were super-simple and are egg-free, while the mini-muffins are an old Southern Living recipe that I have been making in a variety of sizes for years.

     Next up on the baking agenda:  Christmas Morning Scones.  In addition to Cheddar and Canadian Bacon Scones, I’ll be trying Cranberry Pumpkin Scones using the basic scone recipe but substituting ½ cup pumpkin for the sour cream.  What are you baking this Christmas?

P.S.  The Rosemary Clementine Thumbprints and the Red Velvet Black & White Cookies were prepared for a blogger cookie swap with Ina Garten for Better Homes and Gardens.  Can you imagine being one of those lucky bloggers?  What a Christmas gift!


Looking for Holiday Greens in Richmond?

Find beautiful arrangements plus unique greenery for your own creations at

Holiday Gifts & Greens Market "Inspired by Nature"

     The ladies of The Boxwood Garden Club create fabulous wreaths and table arrangements for you to purchase at the Holiday Gifts & Greens Market at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms.  The key to scoring something wonderful for your holiday home is to get there when the doors open. The outstanding designs sell out very quickly.

     I bought these two topiaries last year and put them in the large metal cachepots.  Though the boxwood and magnolias were live and green when purchased, I have let them dry throughout the year, and they still look beautiful to me.

Holiday topiaries at the fireplace78

     A lot of the arrangements that you will find at the sale look similar to these greenery arrangements gracing the pages of Pinterest.

In addition to arrangements and a small selection of curated vendors selling Christmas presents, you can also purchase fresh and often hard-to-find greenery to create your own holiday designs.

     Put December 7, 2012 on your smartphone calendar and be at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms by 10 a.m.  This is one shopping event that you really will not want to miss.

Monograms: the Ultimate Dorm Room Design

     My friends and I have reached the age and stage where our (no longer) little girls are heading off to college.  Along with getting sorority recs lined up and finding the perfect collegiate wardrobe, the summer before a coed’s freshmen year is spent coordinating decor with her soon-to-be roommate and shopping for her first dorm room.  By the time she is settled in to her new space, mom is exhausted but excited to share the results with her posse.

     Dorm rooms sure have come a long way since I went to college.  This beautifully decorated room features custom designs from Blue Moon Bedding, a favorite of Ole Miss coeds.  Everything is just right, and the monogrammed shams add the perfect finishing touch.

     While pictures are a must, the best way to personalize a dorm room and truly make it your own (or at least your side of it) is with monograms. Easy yet distinctive, a monogram reflects its owner’s taste and style and lets her hall-mates know who lives there.  A monogrammed pillow or blanket is classic, but a monogram can also become unifying wall decor.

Monograms seem to be popping up everywhere.  Have you seen the vast collection on Pinterest?  So much monogram inspiration to be had there.

     Got any pictures of your coed’s monogrammed space to share?  Let’s get them pinned!

Tickled Pink: Lilly Pulitzer and Pinterest

     After the (very) brief bout with winter on Sunday and Monday, it’s time to bring on Spring.  For me, nothing feels Springier than Lilly Pulitzer.  Maybe that is why I am always upping the Lilly factor in my daughter’s bedroom.

Simple curtains - dramatic effect

     Check out her (relatively) new curtains that Sheilla’s Shades (804.740.4030) made from two of Lilly Pulitzer’s king flat sheets in Monkey Trouble Hibiscus that I ordered from Garnet Hill last year.  Each sheet was the perfect width for one panel, and hanging this way gives the pattern a colorful damask look.  Now I smile every time I walk by that bedroom even though its occupant is away at college.

Avad Fan's Tickled Pink Board

      I was tickled pink when the top 10 social media site, Pinterest, sent me an email yesterday announcing that Lilly Pulitzer was following me on its super-cool and red-hot site.  Even the serious business pages are taking note of Pinterest’s astounding growth due to its user-friendly and visually-appealling platform, and smart retailers like Lilly Pulitzer are jumping on board.  What a great marketing idea for Lilly, as the company apparently began following its many followers and not just flattering me.

Lilly Pulitzer's Current Pinterest Boards

     Have you visited Pinterest yet and opened your own account?  If you don’t want to set up an account through Facebook or twitter, just request an invite by email.  It will arrive shortly.  Then you can start saving all of your favorite internet images and organizing them in any way that makes sense to you.  As the team at Pinterest likes to say, Happy Pinning!

Happy Birthday K(ake)

     Happy Birthday to my dear friend, K!  She is so much younger than I but such an inspiration to me, especially in the baking department.  K has a real knack for creating the most divine confections.

     In honor of her skills and her special day, I would like to share some images of stunning birthday cakes that I have collected on Pinterest and only wish that I could create for K and her fabulous family.

Tiffany blue with pink

The colors of K’s breakfast room.

Multicolored ribbon cake

Wonder what is inside?

Pink and orange box cake


For grown-up girls.

Purple and white ribbons, swirls and dots


Purple is K’s favorite color.

Floral hat cake


K has fun teaching kids to cook.

chocolate swirls top hat with gold candles


Chocolate elegance

white with pink ribbons


Pretty in Pink Details

white fondant with purple, pink and green ribbons and swirls


Where would you put all 40-some candles on this stunner?

gold topped pink cake with sparklers


A sparkling good time is in store with this glamour cake!

     Hope that you enjoyed a visual taste of these cakes without the calories.  Have an awesome day, K!

Floraspirations, Week 5: Sweet Arrangements

Valentine’s Flowers with Candy

     Cute arrangement spotted on Pinterest here

inspired this

Valentine’s Flowers & Candy Combo

for our celebration.

     Hope that your Valentine’s Day is as sweet as can be!

Second photo by Avad Fan.

Floraspirations, Week 4: Super Bowl Flowers

     I couldn’t find any on-line inspiration pictures for Super Bowl flowers.  Even the much buzzed about and beloved site, Pinterest, failed me, so I created my own floral centerpiece for our family-friendly Super Bowl party à la the designs of The Greenhouse II.  I think it looks pretty good sitting on our astroturf tablecloth.

     Don’t you think the big orchid kind of looks like a “V” for Victory?   The tiny yellow flowers are  “twinkle” orchids that remind me of penalty flags. These babies have been a big hit in Richmond.

     Hope your favorite team wins.  I’m cheering for the commercials!

Photo by Avad Fan.