Quick and Easy No Bake Holiday Pretzels

If you read my post from a few weeks ago you know I’ve been a bit behind on my holiday prep.  With very little extra time to spare in the last month I have relied on holiday projects that are quick and easy. Inspired by this Trader Joe’s treat, I decided to make my own candy-coated pretzel at home.

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No Bake Holiday Pretzels

What you will need:

1 cup candy cane pieces

1 bag white meltable chocolates

1 bag Trader Joe’s pretzel slims

Directions:

-Melt chocolate according to the package.

-Once chocolate has melted individually dip pretzels coating half of the surface area.

-Sprinkle pretzel with candy cane pieces.

-Place finished pretzel on wax paper to dry.

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I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the holiday season and eating lots of yummy treats!

Sara

Simple Steps To Make Holiday Hosting a Breeze

Hosting during the holidays is incredibly rewarding but can be extremely stressful. Here are a few of my tips to make your holiday party an event that both you and your guests will enjoy.

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Our First Year Hosting A Holiday Party (2012)

Include A Start And End Time On The Invite – Be specific when creating invites to your holiday party.   An invite that includes a start time without an end time creates an open invitation for guests to arrive at their leisure.   Including an end time on the invitation allows you to control the flow of guests and politely end the party as planned.

Have A Team Meeting– If you are hosting a holiday party with a roommate or significant other (especially for the first time) communicate expectations and set ground rules before your invites go out. Discuss what rooms are off-limits, where guests will store coats, and if the invite includes children.

Ask About Dietary Restrictions– If you are planning a meal always ask about dietary restrictions. The first year I hosted Christmas Eve at my house I made stuffed manicotti thinking I had satisfied both the meat eaters and vegetarians but I had a lactose intolerant guests who could not eat the cheese filled pasta. Learn from my mistake and always ask your guests (and their plus one) what foods are off limits.

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Get Help – Hosts often think they can do everything themselves (something I am very guilty of). A way to ease hostess stress is to hire a bartender and/or a kitchen assistant to keep your guest’s drinks filled and the mess to a minimum. Don’t know where to find a bartender or assistant to help with your event? Reach out to your local culinary school for students who are looking to earn some extra holiday cash.

Have A Plan B– If you are serving alcoholic drinks have a plan B for guests who indulge in your holiday beverages, or end up separated from their designated driver. Have a cab number on hand and be ready to assist (and insist) your guests get home safely. You can find a list of sober/safe ride programs in your city at this AAA site.

Once Your Guests Arrive Don’t Stress – Once your first guest arrives make a conscious effort to not stress! Focus on what matters most… the people you invited and enjoying your amazing event!

Happy Hosting!

Sara

Holiday Memories

The holidays snuck up on me this year. Between returning to normal life after our honeymoon and starting a new job, the last few months have passed with an abnormal amount of speed. I usually have my fall-themed decorations spread throughout the house, but this year the collection of autumn décor unfortunately only includes a few pumpkins left over from Halloween and a couple fall-like candles.  The holidays are my favorite time of year and when I surveyed my home’s lack of holiday cheer I felt a little sad.

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That’s the thing about the holidays – along with the parties, amazing meals and presents there is always something that doesn’t go exactly as planned. These moments can be so stressful! But often they are also the memories that stick with us.

When I first moved to Las Vegas a few of my friends and I decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner at home. We made arrangements to purchase a pre-assembled meal at a grocery store.   This was the first time any of us had even thought about cooking a turkey and we were under the impression that we simply needed to take our turkey home and “warm it up” in the oven. When we picked up our turkey dinner late in the afternoon we realized we were going to need several more hours then we anticipated!

That year we didn’t eat dinner until midnight. We watched movies and munched on side dishes until our turkey was ready. Thanksgiving that year was not the most successful but certainly one of the most memorable!

I met my husband’s parents for the first time during another Thanksgiving, and it was equally as memorable. We had been dating for a few months and he asked me to come home with him for the holiday (no pressure right!)   For our Thanksgiving dinner we each picked a few dishes to cook and I chose my Gram’s delicious apple crisp. I called my Gram and wrote down all the directions. I peeled the apples, measured out sugar and put a lot of love into that little pan but when I went to take the dessert out of the oven…. It was a bunch of dried apples with crusted sugar and flour. It was obvious something went terribly wrong and that I had missed a crucial ingredient.

My heart sank as I pulled the pan out of the oven and set it on the counter.   I expected a collective sigh to sound throughout the kitchen as we all gazed at the crusty mess. Instead of voicing any sort of disappointment my soon to be mother-in-law quieted any apologizes I was beginning to make and fended off any comments that it may have not turned out quite right…. She grabbed some honey out of the cupboard, squeezed a bit on the dessert and served it as if nothing had gone wrong.

This has turned into one of my favorite holiday memories.   That moment could have been a huge embarrassment and disappointment and instead my soon to be mother-in-law made me feel loved, appreciated and accepted.

As we push through this holiday season, I am thankful for all those little past recollections that make this time of year so special.   I appreciate the perfectly planned and polished moments but I cherish the unplanned things that turn into fond memories.

 

I hope your holiday is filled with a little bit of both.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Bora Bora – Making Memories

In every vacation, honeymoon or trip there are moments we hope to never forget. There are moments when happiness is felt throughout every fabric of our body, moments when our eyes open to the beauty of the world and moments when we truly feel at peace.

This post started out as a recap of Part II of our honeymoon in Bora Bora. I planned on reviewing our hotels and sharing our favorite places to eat. But when I began to write I realized that my very generic review didn’t capture what  I truly loved about our honeymoon. Our resorts were amazing and the scenery was fabulous but what I will remember most are the periods when time stopped, the realities of life were far away and I lived only for that moment.

Part II of our honeymoon took place in Bora Bora at The Four Seasons, Intercontinental Thalasso and St. Regis, all perfect backdrops for incredible moments…

The moment I found my favorite spot on the beach

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The incredible beauty of hand-carved wood

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Finding the perfect place to watch the sunset

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Gazing across a never-ending ocean with no one in sight but the person I love

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Discovering the perfect hot tub

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Giggling like a kid as my husband chooses to ride the smallest bike available and later in the day being incredibly proud when he gives up his beloved bike to a tiny woman struggling with a larger bike

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Enjoying the perfect martini as the sunsets

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Watching the rain fall while cuddled up with a book

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The moment when I veered off the marked path and found a hidden place of peace

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Honeymoon Part I: Sofitel La Ora Beach Resort Moorea

On September 7th I married my best friend and officially became the HAPPY HOUR WIFE. As some of you know by reading this post it took my husband and me some time to decide on what we wanted to do for our wedding.

We started by bringing on a wedding planner (who happens to be very sought after and one of my best friends) who gave us this poignant piece of advice …Do what you two want to do for your wedding. It’s all about you as a couple and finding out what is going to make you happy, do things your way.

And we did exactly as she recommended! I can’t wait to give you the details of our wedding day (post to come soon), it was non-traditional but very us.

Part of doing things our way was to focus on the honeymoon.  The honeymoon was the part of the wedding puzzle that was truly about us and enjoying the start of our marriage.  Our hearts were set on finding a destination where we could completely relax and (for the most part) unplug in an overwater bungalow.  We also wanted to spend as much time as we could on our honeymoon.  With this in mind we worked with April from Divine Destination Weddings to plan a Tahitian honeymoon.

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Our trip started on the Island of Moorea at the Sofiel La Ora Beach Resort. We had full intent to leave the resort and take advantage of the excursions offered on the island but we found ourselves completely content rotating between our bungalow, the beach and the pool.  The only time we left the resort was on our morning run and for one dinner off property.

Our twelve days at the Sofitel were spent checking off our Tahitian to-do list… stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, sipping fruity drinks, and lots of lounging!  My husband perfected his drone and GoPro use while I breezed through several books. I panicked when I finished my first book in two days (I only brought three with me) and was relieved when I discovered a cupboard full of books to borrow tucked away in the lobby.

After twelve days we were fully relaxed and ready to move on to Honeymoon Part II…

For and in-depth review of the Sofitel visit my review on TripAdvisor.

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We spent most of our time on the Sofitel beach. That's me on the horizon paddle boarding for my first time.

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Countdown To Fall: Get Organized

When Counting Down To Fall one of the most important things I do is reorganize. As summer slowly comes to a close I always feel the need to get back on a consistent schedule, re-evaluate personal and work goals and with all the pretty back-to-school accessories it’s a perfect time stock up on office necessities.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite essentials that help keep my goals, dreams and work organized well into the fall.

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I don’t know how I lived without a label maker. All of my folders, files and tabs are labeled. And if I ever need to change a tab I cover up the old label with a new one, no need to white-out or throw away folders. My label maker keeps everything looking consistent and saves my fiancé and me from having to decipher my very messy handwriting!

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Binder clips are one of my most used office supplies. I get plenty of typical office use out these adorable clips but I find myself using them outside of the office as well. In the kitchen they hold open my cookbooks, when I travel they hold together all the photos I tear out of magazines and in the car they hold together all of my shopping cards. I found these golden clips at Target.

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The do list… I happen to love to do lists. It may sound a bit redundant but I create my to do list twice. I start each Monday morning off by jotting down all the things I need to get done that week. This is ritual I love and can only find pleasure in using good old paper and pen. I then create a “hard” copy of my to do list in Apple’s Notes App making sure to prioritize as I add to the list. I like using Apple’s Notes because my list is accessible from my laptop and Iphone where I can easily add or delete items throughout the week. I often find the handy little notepads seen here in the dollar bin at Target or Michael’s.

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One of my most loved essentials in my office is the journal. I have journals of all sizes and colors and a journal for almost every part of my life. This is where I write down my goals, my thoughts and notes. Journals are more attractive then your average notebook and with each of my journals having a different cover it’s easy for me to keep my ideas and notes organized.

I’d love to see how your staying organized this fall.  What’s your favorite item to stock up on during back-to-school season?

Create, Combine, CoLAB

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I am excited to announce my first collaboration on The Happy Hour Wife through coLAB. coLAB connects creatives from ALT Summit, Latina Bloggers, and Blogalicious communities. The goal is to exchange ideas and learn from each other while collaborating on a unique project.

I have the good fortune to be paired with Ashlee Laughlin. Ashlee is a creative, forward thinking entrepreneur with a MBA in Digital and Social Media. She recently launched ADL Virtual Project Management and is busy working with several well-known clients.

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You can connect with Ashlee on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Every week in August Ashlee and I will help you Count Down to Fall. We will share some of our favorite ways to enjoy the end of summer and some tips to help prepare for the fall season.

Share how you enjoy the last bit of summer and prepare for fall by using #countdowntofall.