Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Fantasy


Can we please discuss how amazing this place is? It's called Magic Mountain Lodge, or Montaña Mágica Lodge, located in Huilo-Huilo, a biological reserve in southern Chile. The hotel itself resides in a man-made volcano that spews water, not lava, and is covered in jungle moss and vines. Access to the hotel is across a monkey bridge, (how cool is that?), but the best part, are the outside hot tubs carved from hollowed tree trunks where you can soak and watch the wildlife. This place is definitely getting added to my must travel to list.

xx Molly





Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookie Monster


Growing up, my Mom and I always made a ton of cookies at Christmas time. We would dedicate at least an entire day to bake cookie after cookie, a day I always looked forward to, almost as much as I looked forward to eating the finished product. This year, I decided to carry on the tradition, after all, my parents are coming to Philly this year to celebrate the holidays, and I wanted to make it perfect. Let me tell you, baking seven different types of cookies is hard work! I guess I never realized during the days with my Mom as I was always more the helper than the baker. Even with all the work, it was totally worth it and each cookie is unique and delicious. As I've mentioned before, I don’t cook or bake with eggs, so all the cookies are eggless, some are totally vegan, and for the ones that call for vegan butter, I just used regular. I hope you enjoy and happy baking!

xx Molly

Sugar Cookie Recipe (not online)

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla, almond or 2-3 teaspoons anise flavoring

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*
  2. Cream sugar and butter, add sour cream. Add flavoring.
  3. Alternately add dry ingredients, flour last.
  4. Roll out on a floured surface, 1/4 of an inch think
  5. Cut
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, these cookies fluff up but do not spread.




Mexican Wedding Cake with Cherry and Pistachio
 

Sugar Cookie (see above) with Royal Icing

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hold It


Can we please discuss how cute this Ali Ro dress is? The scalloped edges add the perfect amount of feminine details and the length and cut make it equally appropriate for work or a night out. Santa?

xx Molly

Holiday Hostess


This weekend I co-hosted at my apartment a pre corporate holiday party happy hour for my team. I had my apartment decked for Christmas and served tasty bite sized treats like bruschetta, tortellini, mozzarella, and cherry tomato skewers, artichoke, fennel, and hummus dips, a selection of cheeses with truffle honey and cornichons, and mixed berries with chocolate infused balsamic vinegar. To top it all off, there was a plate piled with Christmas cookies for everyone's enjoyment. As welcome drinks we served the Berry Little Cocktail, which was delicious, enjoyed by all, and packed a punch. I love playing hostess, and the evening went off without a hitch (except that my co-host brought one left shoe from two separate pairs, don't worry, it worked out in the end), and everyone had a lovely time.

xx Molly


Friday, December 16, 2011

Swap It


Last night I attended an accessories swap party, oh.em.gee guys, what a cute idea. It was my first time attending something like this and not only was it a bunch of fun, it’s a great way to update your wardrobe for free. Essentially you bring as many items to swap as you'd like, lay everything out, and dive in. You pick as many items as you brought and everyone walks away with new additions to their closets. I chose this deer/reindeer ring, maybe its appeal was the quickly approaching holiday, but I'm perfectly smitten.

xx Molly

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breathe


If I had one hour today I would spend it in this room, listening to Christmas carols, with a plate of delicious cookies and a glass full of Pumpkin Spice Silk, snuggled under a blanket, reading fashion magazines. Doesn't that sound perfect?

I'm slowly losing my mind this week. At work I can't recall simple things that I really do know and my apartment is covered in flour and sugar from cookie baking. My cookie recipe selection may have been a bit over-zealous this year, I chose seven different cookies to try, on top of sending Christmas cards, holiday parties, and preparing for a work happy hour I'm hosting this weekend. I'm exhausted. And as if things weren't nuts on the home front, busy season came early this year, can you hear the excitement in my voice, and work has been crazy. I can't wait for a long week off (it's so close!) for some much needed family time and relaxation.

xx Molly

Image via

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Best Girlfriends


I could have easily named this gift-guide "Things for Molly" instead, as I would be perfectly happy with any of these items on Christmas morning. From the grown-up coloring book, to the agate coasters (which I actually already own), to the inspirational poster - I'm totally smitten. The jewelry is feminine yet versatile enough for any occasions and the customizable iPhone covers are so cute with many different background and monogram options! Finally, I'd end the day in the tub using the bubble bath, drinking tea out of the diffuser and elderflower presse out of a wine glass, reading a book I selected from between my whale book ends, with Ladurée macarons on my new heart tray. A girl can dream, right?
  1. Kate Spade: All Wrapped Up Pavé Mini $58.00
  2. Terrain: Elderflower Presse $8.00
  3. MoMA: Agate Coasters $65.00
  4. Free People: Tarnished Rose Cuff $148.00
  5. Anthropologie: Grown Under Glass Bubble Bath $48.00
  6. Jayson Home: Four of Hearts Tray $78.00
  7. Etsy: Inspirational Quote $8.00
  8. Terrain: Agate Fragment Necklace $68.00
  9. iomoi: iPhone Cover $58.00
  10. Jonathan Adler: Whale Bookends $150.00
xx Molly

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Decorations


How do you decorate your tree? Growing up we had a very kid-friendly tree with decorations made by yours truly, and other childhood favorites like Angelina Ballerina. At some point I decided it was time for us to have a "grown-up" Christmas tree and we have be decorating with bird ornaments ever since. I love how choosing a theme can give a cohesive look to the tree, but by allowing different colors and styles it doesn't become too cookie-cutter. My boyfriend and I, however, have nowhere near the funds to run out and buy perfectly themed ornaments for our nine-foot tree (that's a whole lot of ornaments). Instead, we're using hand-me-downs, and a few that we picked up at the store. Having a whatever-goes tree is great as well, and we're enjoying it. Here are some ornaments and decorations I would love to be using this year.
  1. Mackenzie Childs: Courtly Check Ornament $38.00
  2. MoMa: Dove Ornament $12.00
  3. MoMa: Turquoise Lollipop Santa Ornament $10.00
  4. Target: Porcelain Pinecone Ornament $5.00
  5. ABC Home & Carpet: Vintage Deer $14.00
  6. West Elm: Filled Glass Ball Ornament $8.00
  7. Target: Penguins Ornaments $2.00
  8. Terrain: Bristle Brush Fox Ornament $12.00
  9. West Elm: Double Glass Sphere Ornament $12.00
  10. Mackenzie Childs: Owl Tree Topper $168.0
  11. Ballard Designs: Jute Reindeer $39.99
  12. ABC Home & Carpet: Felt Applique Tree Skirt $125.00
  13. Target: Station Wagon With Tree Ornament $7.00
xx Molly

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: For The Hostess


Christmas time has always been one of my favorite times of year, and picking out perfect gifts for friends and family has always been one of my favorite parts. With everyone throwing holiday parties this time of year, it's always an easy solution to just grab a bottle of wine and run out the door. If you feel like doing something a little different, here are my ideas for great hostess gifts, at different price points.
  1. Terrain: Madison Bird Candle $20.00
  2. MoMA: Altar Screen Picture Frame $40.00
  3. Uncommon Goods: Nutcracker Soaps $24.00
  4. Mackenzie-Childs: Wallcourt Two-Tier Sweet Stand $268.00
  5. Johnathan Adler: Peacock Lollipop Holder $98.00
  6. Terrain: Slate Cheese Board $50.00
  7. Pottery Barn: Rabbit Foot Fern $24.00
  8. West Elm: Porcelain Tealight Holders (Available in stores)
  9. MoMA: Espresso Set $55.00
  10. Johnathan Adler: Elephant Salt & Pepper Shakers $48.00
xx Molly

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cheating Vegan Pumpkin Pie



Until this weekend, I had never made a pie from scratch. I've made cookies, cakes, crisps; you name it, but never a pie. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and try, and so I made a cheating-vegan pumpkin pie. Although I don't like eggs, I have no problem with butter or cream, so I made vegan pie filling with a traditional crust. I used a super easy crust recipe and the pie filling, from the Vegan Pie in the Sky, was straight forward and delicious. I couldn't have been happier with my results.

xx Molly

Crust
1 Stick Butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 Cups Flour
Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
6-8 tbsp Ice Water
  1. Add the butter, flour, a pinch of salt and sugar to the food processor and pulse lightly until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  2. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each, until the dough begins to gather into larger clumps.
  3. Place dough in a zip-lock bag and pat into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the bag and place dough on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a pie pan.
Filling
3 Cups Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Plain Unsweetened Soy Milk
4 tsp Canola Oil
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
Pinch of Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Agar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a blender or food processor, pulse together all ingredients until very smooth. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
  3. Bake for 60 to 65 min, until center looks semi-firm
  4. Check edges of crust after about 40 min. If edges are browning too rapidly, carefully remove the pie and apply crust protectors to the edges. (I used tin foil)
  5. Remove pie from oven and transfer onto cooling rack for 30 min.
  6. Serve with whipped cream.







Friday, December 2, 2011

Design*Sponge at Anthropologie

The beginnings of my wreath

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity of attending a Design*Sponge event at the Urban Outfitters Headquarters (i.e. Anthropologie, Urban, Free People and BHLDN). The event was in support of the new Design Sponge book as well as promoting a DIY attitude. And so, we made our own Christmas wreaths! Wreath making was followed by a lovely reception with champagne, hot chocolate and many delicious and lovely desserts. The event was a blast and the headquarters were absolutely breathtaking. It would be so wonderful to work in a building that was so inspirational, girly, and, in my opinion, perfect!

xx Molly

Cute mini-desserts

I couldn't help but try each and every one!

My finished wreath.
Sweater: J Crew, Skirt: Club Monaco, Shoes: Target

A koi pond in the middle of the office, and my friend finished creation!

Is this heavan or what? A area filled with every fashion magazine imaginable and comfy chairs...all at the workplace.

Who wouldn't want to go to work here every day?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Persuasion


About a year ago, I made it my goal to read all of Jane Austin's novels, and with the recent finishing of Persuasion, I have only one to go. My love of Jane Austin, unknowingly, began with my absolute obsession of Clueless, that wonderful movie from the 90's. The movie, I came to discover, is a modernized version of Austin's Emma. Through BBC made-for-TV movies, I quickly learned the stories behind most of the novels and quickly fell in love. What girl, for instance, doesn't swoon over Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (no, I do not mean in Bridgette Joans's Diary)? While Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite, Persuasion is an equally intoxicating love story. To think of two people, so deeply in love with each other, but afraid or unwilling to say anything is such torture. I have trouble believing that a romance of that nature could survive in secret in modern times when we are so much more willing to share our feelings with friends and family. I would think someone would have spilled the beans. What do you think?

xx Molly

Image via