Blessed Brunette is now on Instagram!!

December 26, 2014

You can follow the account @theblessedbrunette (Pssst, I'll follow you back)!!

Holiday Wishes from One Very Blessed Brunette

December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve is just as exciting of a day for me as Christmas itself!  I truly wish you the most sincere and warmest wishes this holiday season. I can't wait to see all that's in store for Blessed Brunette in 2015! Until then, I'm off to finish my gift wrapping, do some last minute baking and then I'll head to church with my family.

Get ready people because tomorrow morning! 10 am! Santa's comin' to town!

I'm Like So Over It

December 22, 2014

Was anybody else shocked to hear about that cow in Idaho that jumped over a 6-foot fence at a butcher shop to escape his demise last week?  Turns out the poor guy went to farm animal heaven anyway-- he was shot by police after a wild goose cow chase. I know, I know, kind of depressing. But don't fret-- I have a point to make.
The cow jumping the fence ended up leading to some - believe it or not - fashion inspiration. I found this shirt online during one of J. Crew's many pre-Christmas sales for $15 and had to treat myself. Something about animals jumping fences got me feeling some kinda way.
And in the spirit of making a bold fashion statement, I picked up an equally extremely bold lip color from NYX (Electric Pink).  It's matte which has been all the rage lately in the beauty world so I figured I'd give it a chance.
Not every day is a hot-pink-lipstick-farm-animal-shirt-wearing kinda day, but there's something about the Christmas season that seems to make everyone a little wackier than average.
Sensitive person I am, I was really upset by the outcome of the cow story. I mean, the poor thing was doing the impossible. He was the superhero of the slaughterhouse. And just when you thought he beat the odds, BOOM! He gets shot! Just like that! 

But after a week of mourning this super-cow's passing, I guess you could say I'm like so over it.

Bagels + bSmart Guide + Bend & Snap

December 19, 2014

Since being away from the Northeast for college, I've developed an intense appreciation for how good our bagels are. Being home for the holidays, one of the first things I did since getting home is make a quick trip to my favorite bagel shop. I'm currently enjoying a pumpernickel bagel with taylor ham, egg whites and cheese, and it's safe to say I'm in my happy place as I write this post. Another thing making me happy on this lovely Friday morning? My first-ever article for bSmart Guide just went live!

I'm so excited to post about my latest adventure as a writer for bSmart Guide a community platform for young professional women featuring curated content to help you live your best life and provide the expert advice you wish someone had given you!

You don't have to be a member of the workforce to enjoy and learn from bSmart: after all, I'm just a college student with a blog!  Working with bSmart (and founder Meagan, an alumna of my college!) has been a great opportunity thus far and I'm excited to see what the future with bSmart has in store!

Check out my article, 10 Reasons Why Reese Witherspoon Is My Spirit Animal.  She's my favorite actress by far and just an all around great person. Here's why 

Merry Christmas!

Tree Huntin'

December 13, 2014

My family purchases a real Christmas tree every year. To me, fake trees are just not an option. I definitely see their benefits but there's something about the scent of fresh pine and the experience of picking out the perfectly imperfect tree that can't be beat.  Each year, we venture a couple of towns away to a "chop-your-own" tree farm and it is probably one of the things I look forward to most about the Christmas season.
Love this shot of my sister through the trees. You can't quite see her face but you can make out a smile pretty easily!
 They serve complimentary hot chocolate with candy canes out of this adorable little red shed.

 Crazy in love with my Jacqueline Bouvier bracelet by KJP!

What goes together better than tree farms and Bean Boots? 

Since we got our tree a little late this year, the chop-your-own selection was pretty limited so we ended up going with one that had just been freshly chopped by the staff.

So I guess you could call us tree huggers...? 

K sippin' on some cocoa!

There really is nothing more festive than tree shopping!! I'm officially in full-on Christmas spirit/elf mode. Off to go wrap some presents...

Merry Christmas!

Peppermint Cheesecake Bites

December 12, 2014

If you saw my post on the best holiday cookie recipes, you'll remember how excited I was to get home and in the kitchen!  I love baking so when I woke up I headed straight for the grocery store to work on my first Christmas recipe: Mini Peppermint Cheesecakes!  I made about eighty of them and as I write this, my entire house smells of sugar and's pretty wonderful.

I scoured Pinterest (what else is new?) for a good recipe and found this one for Candy Cane Cheesecake Bars and I converted it into mini cheesecakes by basically following the same instructions but putting 2 tsp of graham cracker crust into individual mini cupcake tins and baking them for about half the time the recipe called for.

(I also added some sugar to the crust because we all know a little extra sugar never hurt anyone!!)

You basically use the teaspoon to pack down the crust to the bottom and edges of the cupcake tins.

Of course I had to use this (uhm, vintage) oven mitt because tis the season! #amiright

Toast the crust for about 5 minutes before adding the cheesecake mixture.

I had to resist some major temptation not to eat all this chopped up chocolate!

Add the cheesecake filling and into the oven they go!

The best way to kill time while your baked goods are baking? More sugar! I had to take advantage of the delicious creamer my cheesecake recipe called for by making some peppermint hot chocolate! 

Majorly obsessed with my monogrammed elf mug from Bordeaux Graphics on Etsy!

...just when you thought I'd monogrammed everything, I give you: monogrammed hot cocoa!

Took the cheesecakes out of the oven and garnished each one with a peppermint kiss. How adorable are these?
They were delicious! I was happy to send off a batch with my parents to the Christmas party they attended tonight. They'll be a hit, no doubt!

Not Your Grandma's Christmas Cookies

December 9, 2014

I could not be more excited to fly home for Christmas break. While I'm obviously looking forward to reuniting with family and friends, I have been super antsy to do some baking in a real kitchen (the kitchen for my dorm is terrible). I've compiled a list of my favorite Christmas cookies, most of which I'll be whipping up as soon as I get settled in back at home. Without further adieu, I give you: The Ultimate List of Christmas Cookie Recipes!
  1. Nutella Stuffed Gingerbread Cookies
  2. Christmas Magic Cookie Bars
  3. Candy Cane Oreo Cookie Bars
  4. Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
  5. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
  6. Pecan Pie Cookies
  7. Christmas Tree Peanut Butter Blossoms
  8. Eggnog Thumbprints
  9. Christmas Swirl Sugar Cookies
  10. Gingerdoodles
  11. Cranberry Bliss Cookies
  12. Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies
  13. Chalkboard Sugar Cookies
  14. Holiday Monster Cookies
  15. Gingerbread Oreo-Stuffed Snickerdoodles
  16. Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies
  17. Ginger Molasses Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies
  18. Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies
  19. Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
  20. Spiced Gingerbread Man Cookies
  21. Tiramisu Sandwich Cookies
  22. Brown Butter Soft Batch Cookies
  23. Thumbprint Snowman Cookies
  24. Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
  25. Hot Cocoa Cookies with Marshmallows
  26. Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
  27. Perfect Sugar Cookie Cutouts
  28. Cinnamon Sugar Roll Cookies
  29. Peppermint Meringues w/ Chocolate Filling
  30. Double Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies 
Let me know if you try any of these out. They're all crowd-pleasers in their own rights and would be perfect for a cookie swap!

Merry Christmas!!