TinyPrints Holiday

My favorite holiday event this holiday season?

The TinyPrints #TinyPrintsHoliday party, where I got to design and order 100  custom holiday cards, envelopes & liners and address labels.

The best gift of the season? TinyPrints' custom Chistmas cards at their #TinyPrintsHoliday party

I even had my own custom invitation designer, Emily, on hand. But they’re not just available to me, they’re available to you, too! A custom invitation specialist is available to all of us all year-round with TinyPrints.

A creative girl's dream. At Petit Ermitage, picking out custom @tinyprintsholiday cards, envelope liners, envelopes and address labels for the holidays 2015. Happy early birthday and very merry Christmas to me!

Bonus? The take-home swag included cute thank you cards!

I’m fairly certain Santa was involved because this was definitely a gift of an evening on this nerd’s Christmas wish list.

If it’s still on yours, head on over to www.TinyPrints.com today!

xoxo,
BF
BF Asks: What is your holiday card like this year?
 

BeautyFrosting Holiday Hosting Guide 2014

It’s not just the magic of the season that makes the holidays so special. It’s also simple psychology.
Families rely on happy holiday traditions for consistency in inconsistent lives.
Here are a few of my tips for fun, festive and efficient ways to host and celebrate the season this year!
Low-key can be lovely. My family loves to do a low-key Christmas Eve. We play board games and Mom puts out an assortment of appetizers. As a professor, she always received those delicious Hickory Farms cheese and sausage trays, so she’ll put those out on her beautiful crystal serving dishes along with some spicy mustard, sweet and dill pickles, creamy brie cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, spicy cheddar biscuits and her homemade shrimp ball (my fave).
Serve with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Scrabble and we’re one happy family!

The McCoy sibling holiday celebratin' in style

Casseroles are key. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and – really all – holiday weekends, casseroles can be a lifesaver. With the relatives visiting and friends stopping by, I’ve always found having a pre-homemade casserole in the freezer a must-have. Keep a breakfast casserole and you’re good to go! And for the day after a big holiday, such as Christmas, make it easy on yourself, and make a casserole with all of those delicious, hearty leftovers. Get creative with that cranberry sauce. Who knows? It might become one of your family’s favorite recipes! Serve casserole with a salad and it’s the perfect, post-holiday meal!

Serve a signature cocktail or punch. Be sure to make the base of your cocktail in the autumnal spirit – whether it be apple, cranberry, pear or pumpkin, you can’t go wrong with a winner that whets the whistle. Two of my favorite recipes? My Charlotte’s Applejack Brandy Cider

Charlotte's Applejack Brandy Cider

and my Brandywine Punch which I created for this past Thanksgiving.

Brandywine Punch

Tailor-make your tablescape. For instance, I love this turkey.

Let one piece of decor guide the rest of your tablescape planning

I love her so much that I tend to design everything around her – from the flowers to the dishes to the table runner aand tablecloths, Brandwywine sets the mood. Oh, did I forget to mention that I also named her? Yep. Her name is Brandywine. For instance this year, I designed a rose and gold table setting with a chalboard butcher paper runner down the center and, naturally, called it Brandywine Rustic.

One single Thankgiving decor element dictated my whole theme this year

Plan ahead to save your head. To make for a happy – and peaceful – holiday, about 2-4 weeks before the big day, ask all family members to submit their favorite recipes that they’d like you to cook. Also, ask what they’d like to contribute. This is a two-fold brilliant and sneaky strategy – a) it reminds everyone that they should contribute something and b) you can see overlap when it comes to the traditional family faves you cook, so you won’t overcook.  Sometimes the family favorites that we think our loved ones love aren’t the true loves. This also helps us see their changing tastes and plan the menu accordingly each year.

What would Beyonce do? She would plan ahead and make that menu!

Be an smart shopper. I realize how bossy that sounds, so let me explain. I like to (but don’t always) buy my canned goods, sugar, flour, etc. the week before Thanksgiving. That way the pumpkin isn’t sold out and I’m not carrying in 20 loads of groceries up my stairs. Because a Thanksgiving hernia isn’t as romantic as it sounds. Then, about 2-3 days before, I buy the dairy, eggs and produce. I save the uber fresh stuff, including flowers, for the last day. This means less hassle and running all over town with all of those other last minute shoppers. You’ve got this handled.

Save the best for last!

Sass up the standards. Really wanna venture out? Ditch the pumpkin pie and bake some pumpkin creme brûlée. Keep the family faves but add in some new dishes to create new traditions. Every Thanksgiving, I bake pumpkin croissant bread pudding with cranberries and moonshine sauce. I love pumpkin pie, but I wanted to create my own tradition. Now, it’s a family favorite. I’d highly encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s turning up your turkey, making your dressing more daring, or spicing up a side, try updating those classic faves. If you – or your family – doesn’t like it, you can always go back to the traditional recipe the next year.

Pumpkin Croissant Bread Pudding with Eggnog Moonshine Sauce

Cook up some soups or beef organ yo I had let Matt Marr did for our Christmas dinner that he made me need a few days ahead of time to save time and it actually tasted better cause the flavors had time to marinate why they were frozen.
Ornament Originality. Have each person bring an ornament to share with the family tree each year. This year, I am taking my mom a french cruller donut that I found at Dylan’s Candy Shop because I grew up with her eating a dunkin’ donut on many a morning when we would drive to school. Sweet memories. And isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?
xoxo,
BFBF Asks: What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?

A Very Beautyfrosting Brandywine Rustic Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving for 15? In a 1000 square foot apartment? What to do, what to do?!

The chalkboard greeting guests on the front door *chalk art by Yumarie Morales

Why, we’re gonna do it al fresco, of course, darlings!

A Brandywine Rustic Thanksgiving with old friends & new friends alike!

And the theme? Wellll…Back in October in Dallas, I fell in love with a turkey. No, I’m being literal here. It was at my fave home furnishings & decor shop, Uptown Country Home, in University Park. I saw her, decided her name was Brandywine and had her shipped to me in LA.

I kissed a turkey…and I liked it

My piece of advice for holiday tablescapes? Let one piece of holiday decor guide the rest of your table. In this case, it was Brandywine and she inspired my Thanksgiving theme, Brandywine RusticI decided to opt for rusty rose and gold as my theme colors, and then proceeded to find the perfect dishes and glassware at HomeGoods.

My Homegoods Happy finds! (With Brandywine, the star of the show, of course)

I let the Brandywine Rustic theme dictate my tablecoverings – and decided to do just a large piece of Burlap (7 yards, thank you very much), topped with Paper Source chalkboard wrapping paper ($34.95) as a table runner.

Burlap fabric table covering (straight from the fabric store, y'all!) and a chalkboard paper table runner

That way, I could write “So grateful for…” and my guests could write their gratitude down as they ate and drank and mingled. BF Tip? Supply gold chalk markers and gold rolling ball pens so everything shows up in the most beautiful of ways! Many of the pieces became such beautiful little works of art that I couldn’t bear to part with them!

So grateful for…the art that this table runner inspired! *succulent ℅ Rolling Greens

Next, flowers. I chose to keep with the rose and gold theme with simple floral arrangements DIY-style from Trader Joe’s. But my real centerpiece showstoppers were succulents from Rolling Greens in beautiful, gold rustic pots.

Beautiful succulents c/o Rolling Greens - the perfect masculine element to my overtly feminine tablescape

After all, when you live in a place that’s called The Cupcake Palace, things can get a little too feminine, when having a coed dinner. Adding succulents brings the perfect harmonious balance of masculine and feminine to the table.

Speaking of harmony, how about a little social lubrication? Well, that’s exactly what my Thansgiving cocktail, Brandywine punch, offered. **and yes, the recipe will be up tomorrow!)

Sipping on my Brandywine punch, thank you very much. *wearing Annabelle dress ℅ Donna Morgan ($196)

As for the food? Oh, the glorious, glorious food!

For appetizers, we had a vegetable tray, my homemade ranch dip, Matt Marr’s legendary deviled eggs, and a  Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner Box ($45). I emptied the box and set them out on a graphite tray, to keep with our rustic theme, and labeled each piece of deliciousness.

Hickory Farms Party Planner Gift Box ($45) made all pretty-like on a graphite, chalkboard tray from World Market

For the main meal, we had Jake’s Famous Turkey (and it’s famous for good reason), a dressing showdown (Matt’s vs. Jake’s!), southern pea salad, my drunk green bean casserole, my Cowboy corn casserole, Nanny’s creamed corn, brussels sprouts and bacon, winter slaw and cranberry sauce. And who could forget the delicious beet and goat cheese terrine that Amy made?

Two turkeys with two turkeys. That's Jake on the right, who crafted that beautiful bird and stuffed it. I'm not talking about the turkey I'm holding here. *wearing Annabelle dress ℅ Donna Morgan ($196)

The al fresco spread...

For dessert? How ’bout my buttermilk lemon chess pie, my pumpkin eggnog bread pudding with spiced rum sauce, fudge pie, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie and snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches with homemade cinnamon ice cream?

Dessert!! Reminds me of an old church social!

Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches, pumpkin eggnog bread pudding and utter deliciousness.

Yep. That happened.

A special surprise? When my favorite neighborhood squirrel, Pepper, visited. Love that little lady!

Well, Happy Thanksgiving there, little lady! The friendly squirrel, Pepper, makes an appearance! *wearing Annabelle dress ℅ Donna Morgan ($196)

And, don’t you just love when a dreamy day party turns into an enchanted evening?

When daylight turns to candlelight… (photo by Matt Marr)

It’s a Thanksgiving we’ll never forget, and I’d like to think Brandywine the Turkey for that.

Toasting to Brandywine…and other friends! *wearing Annabelle dress ℅ Donna Morgan

xoxo,
BF

*To buy that melting, bronzed gold dress that I love only SO much? Visit Donna Morgan

BF Asks: How did you spend your Thanksgiving this year? Any friendly squirrels visit?

A New Series: McCoy’s Me-Cations – Wish You Were Here

My first official Me-Cation at The Parker. Come on inside and join me for my getaway, tomorrow! *Photo by George Duchannes

The french know best when it comes to many things. And they especially know how to holiday. How to close one door and open another, to get away from it all.
That’s why I decided to say, “Oui” to treating myself to mini me-cations on a more regular basis.
After all, I’m single, have steady income and heck, I think we all deserve a little escapism every now and then.
That’s what inspired me to create, “McCoy’s MeCations.”
The first one will go live tomorrow and I encourage you to take the trip with me to the legendary and luxurious Le Parker Meridien in Palm Springs.
And after you take the vicarious trip, I encourage you to take the real one.
I am so looking forward to exploring this new column this year in cities across America and right here at home in LA for some staycations.
**If you’re interested in us taking a McCoy’s Me-Cation to your city, hotel, bed & breakfast, resort or restaurant, please contact me at Dawn@BeautyFrosting.com.
Bon voyage, y’all!
xoxo,
BFBF Asks: Have you ever taken a me-cation? 

High-Low 12/23/13: Home & Doing Your Best

HIGH: Home!!

Well, my high this week is an easy one. I get to be home in Dallas for 12 days with my favorite people for the holidays! Done. Easiest High ever.

So what’s that entail? Well, many-a-night spent at our favorite family haunt Mi Cocina, board games, catching up with precious old friends over texmex and brunch, lots of delicious southern fare, political debates at the dinner table and reminiscing. What could be better than that?

HIGH: These guys!! My big brother, David, and my mom, Clarice. Here we are at our home-away-from-home, Mi Cocina Preston Forest.

 

LOW: Learning That My Best Is Good Enough (‘cuz it’s gotta be)

As a wise friend of mine always says to me, “You can only do your best. Did you do your best in this situation?” Usually, the answer is yes but sometimes it’s hard to really believe that in a given moment because I always think I can do a little bit more. I’m learning though that sometimes you’ve gotta let your best at that given moment be enough.

I had so much to do before I left Los Angeles for Texas and, of course, I didn’t complete it all. There were gifts I didn’t get to give, people whose necks I didn’t get to hug and unfinished blog posts and articles that are just going to have to wait til the new year, darn it.

But I did my best…and if I’ve learned anything it’s this motto of mine:

“DO YOUR BEST AND LEAVE THE REST.” 

 

xoxo,

BF

BF Asks: What was your High-Low this week? 

*So what exactly is a High-Low, you ask? High-Low is the BEST & WORST part of your day, week, month, etc. I started this tradition with friends & family after I discovered it through a movie decades ago. Not only is it useful for reflection sake but it is also an excellent way to communicate with your spouse, kids or friends over the dinner table. By introducing this tradition to folks, parents have told me that their kids have opened up more and friends have told me that their spouses have become more communicative. Try it for yourself and let me know what your experience is! – See more at: http://www.beautyfrosting.com/high-low-121613-santa-for-a-day-maturity#sthash.2rvmfLhC.dpuf

Holiday Delights: Home for the Holidays…

Holiday Delights: We're Goin' Where?!

Right now, I’m in the air en route to Dallas with Miss Ellie sleeping soundly in the bag by my feet, a laptop on my tray table, Creme de La Mer slathered on my face and my fellow Dallas-turned-LA blogger, Devon Rachel, on my right in the window seat. Everything is so peaceful and it just feels like all is right in the world.

I, on the other hand, am as giddy as a schoolgirl. I have always gotten so excited to go home. This flight from LA to Dallas has become such a welcome ritual that I look forward to and savor. And I love airports. I always meet the coolest people in airports; people who have ended up being lasting influences in my life – from my friend, Mario – the retired policeman from Mill Valley who is my “death buddy” (we text each other every time a celebrity dies – I know, morbid but I love it) to the guy in the band I met en route to Nashville and dated for a spell to the boy I kissed on the plane. Hey, don’t judge. It was fun – and, besides, it gives me stuff to write about and something for y’all to read. Yep, airports and I are pretty tight.

So here I am on another plane on another trip home to Dallas for another holiday spent with my family in Dallas. I cannot wait to see my family and friends! You can find us at Mi Cocina Preston Forest pretty much every night during my visit, FYI. But I will say that this is the first time I’m truly sad to leave my LA friends who have become my family. As much as I love being in Dallas for Christmas – and really can’t imagine being anywhere else – I really love Los Angeles in December. Between Santa & the gingerbread house at The Grove to the decorations in Beverly Hills lining Wilshire, my eternally summery city knows how to appreciate winter even when it’s 70 degrees outside.

So I just want to take a moment to say “Thank You” to my LA friends-turned-family for making 2013 my best year ever! I love and appreciate every one of you so much.

And Dallas…I’m Comin’ home!!! Keep the salsa and margaritas flowin’, Mi Cocina

Holiday pillows by: Target (and under $5. I found them in the dollar aisle – say whaaaaa?!)

Bedding & fur pillows by: Anthropologie

Tassel garlands by my favorite: Studio Mucci

 

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What’s your plan for the holiday? 

Holiday Delights: My New Christmas Ornament for 2013

Once a bath girl…always a bath girl. Every year I buy myself a new ornament that delights me. The kind that fills you with glee and makes you feel like a child upon first glance.Yep, love at first sight!

This year, it was this vintage-feeling metallic blue, purple & pink with crystal foam bubble bath from Target. I adore it. It makes me smile every time I see it hanging from my silver tree here at The Cupcake Palace. I hope you enjoy as well!

*crown stocking by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic for Target, circa 2006

Holiday Delights: My Christmas Ornament 2013 - A Bubble Bath!

 

xoxo,
BF

 

BF Asks: Did you treat yourself to an ornament this year? What was it?

High-Low 12/9/13: High School Revisited, Home & Family & Addictions Like Sugar

This week was filled with the highest of highs! So many moments that just delighted me and filled me with glee that I can’t share them all on here without losing your attention because they say that people don’t read more than 400 words on a blog. See, look, I already lost ya! Kidding.
So I’ll pick two of ’em and elaborate on each of them in later posts. And you know – as it is with life – there’s gotta be a low with those highs so ya might wanna check that out, too.

HIGHS: Hallmark Home & Family and My Birthday Party

1) I was honored to yet again be invited to be a guest on Hallmark Home & Family for Makeover Monday. I’ll be bringing you everything we did with our Makeover Monday girl, Susy G. from the Step Up Women’s Network on Wednesday but for now…here are a few pics.

The only thing better than being on Hallmark Home & Family? Being on Hallmark Home & Family during the Christmas season!

The family that IS Home & Family. I swear I just love every cast and crew member I meet on that show. What a warm set to be a part of!

 

2) My birthday party this past weekend was, well, my favorite to date. The theme? “Come As You Were Or Wish You Were in High School”. More on that one tomorrow but for now, here’s a highlight of the happiness!

Donning my Episcopal School of Dallas uniform - yep my REAL uniform from 1996! Photo by Guerrero Photography & Takahiro Watanabe Photography

 

Part of the gang who spent the night celebrating my birthday with me! Too much fun! Photo by Guerrero Photography & Takahiro Watanabe Photography

 

LOW: Addictions Like Sugar…

Much like sugar...

I’ve always known to avoid drugs and cigarettes and watch my alcohol intake because they can all lead to dangerous addictions.
But there are some kinds of addictions that are hidden and a bit unexpected. What about the people and behaviors that are bad for us that are also dangerously addictive to us? What about the things that we know we shouldn’t do and the people we know we shouldn’t care about or be around and yet we keep doing those things and caring for those people anyway?

Sometimes people and behaviors are even more addictive than the substances simply because of the adrenaline that gets rushing in your veins and the feelings that they evoke in you. See, I think we all know that I’m a passionate person. An excitable person. Oh, who are we kidding? I have the zeal and fervor of a 5-year-old.

Very often that excitement is a good thing but other times, well, it can work against me.
Whether it be a product, an event, a person, a restaurant, a book, a new business, a song or a movie, I pour all of my enthusiasm into things I’m excited about. I love singing its praises, shouting it from the rooftops and helping this thing or person get the attention and acclaim they deserve. That’s why blogging is second nature to me.
But the problem with being a passionate and excitable person is that sometimes you pour that energy into the wrong thing.
I was on my way some place to meet someone who has taken up much more energy in my life than they have exerted into mine. I took a car there and the driver said to me, “If you don’t mind me saying so, you have a lot of adrenaline pumping. It’s like you’re on your way to jump out of a plane. Can I ask what you’re on your way to?”
That’s when it hit me. This person was a bit of a bad thing and is very much like sugar. I like sugar – I think we know that – but sugar can either be very sweet and good or very toxic and bad. See, with sugar, it’s so good with that first taste that you want more. At first, you get all wired, hyper and amped up and it feels pretty darned good. But have too much of it – or not enough – and eventually, it’s gonna make you sick.
I guess my goal is to find the balance between my enthusiasm and passion and the gray area where it goes into something a little too rich for my blood.
To learn to only give that passionate energy and love of life to things – and people – who can accept it with gratitude and perhaps even give a little bit back.
Yep, this low is just a reminder, that I’m a work in progress.
Now, go have a cupcake or something.
xoxo,
BF
BF Asks: What’s your High-Low this week?

Thirsty Thursday: Charlotte’s AppleJack Brandy Cider

This past Sunday, I hosted an intimate gift wrapping party for my friend, Lindsey, and I. The ultimate girly, holiday-prepping day, I had to serve Christmas cookies and, of course, Charlotte’s Cider. Whenever I make this cider, I think of Christmas in Nashville.

See, I lived in Nashville for 4 years and one year I couldn’t make it home to Dallas for Christmas. I was busy, my mom was sick and it just wasn’t the time to go. So I spent Christmas with my neighbors and it ended up being one of the most memorable Christmases I ever celebrated.

One of my best friends, Charlotte Cooper, made this delicious cider and we drank mugs of it all night long as we went caroling door-to-door in East Nashville.

Sometimes the unexpected Christmases that end up making the sweetest memories.

I hope this cider can be part of your holiday memories this year! Enjoy…

Thirsty Thursday: Charlotte's AppleJack Brandy Cider - perfect for the holidays!

Charlotte’s AppleJack Brandy Cider 

Perfect for the Holidays and Has an extra kick!

2 1.5 liters Martonelli Apple Cider

1/4 cup orange juice

2 ts lemon zest

2 ts orange zest

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

whole cloves

4 whole allspice berries

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of salt

1 Bottle Apple Jack Brandy

 

Bring to boil on medium high. Then turn to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

After simmering 30 minutes, add 1 bottle Apple Jack Brandy (Laird’s).

The ingredients...

 

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What beverage gets you into the holiday spirit? 

High-Low 11/4/13: Snow White & silver, stinging linings

This week was a busy one. Wait, I’ve become a broken record player. But it’s true. It was yet another busy week here for BF at The Cupcake Palace and, y’all, it just doesn’t look like it’s letting up.

HIGH: Getting to be Snow White for the week

Oh, Halloween!! The only day – or, in this case, week – where it’s totally acceptable to dress up and act like a kid again. Of course, I kind of do this a bit all year round but it’s nice to get to go all out, get into character and pretend to be someone else for a bit.
So who did I decide to transform into this year? Why, none other than Snow White.
Complete with apple, red bow headband and all.

I had a party last Saturday hosted by my neighbor-friends so I opted for the classic Snow White with a faux bob hairstyle.

Faux: Snow White with a faux bob, apple and all

Then, I had the Maroon 5 party with friends on Thursday at Sportsmen’s Lodge.

High: Snow White Night #2 at the Maroon 5 party at Sportsmen's Lodge

It was AMAZING. The theme? Stephen King’s The Shining. Redrum, indeed. There was even a Jack Torrance tap-tap-tapping away on a typewriter all night.

Trying to tempt the always-typing Jack with an apple & some Snow White goodness

AMAAAAAZING.

LOW: Silver – stinging –  linings

Low: Silver - stinging - linings

I had a suuuuper busy day planned on Friday what with a meeting with my agents, an audition, writing and lots of wardrobe pulling for a shoot I was hosting – and posing for – on Sunday here at my house. But sometimes our bodies have other ideas for us.

Mine had the idea that I should lie in bed and do nothing except take a bath every hour or so because it felt like there were knives being plunged into the base of neck and head. Ouchiwawa. It was miserable. I have never really been a migraine sufferer and didn’t really understand all the fuss until this one. It was debilitating.

Luckily, my best friend Chris came over – thinking he’d have to take me to the hospital – and instead just sat and rubbed my neck and head until I went to sleep. Thus proving once again that even the lowest points of our weeks have a bit of silver lining to them! I tip my hat to Chris this week for being there for me on a very dark night and seeing me through the pain to a bright morning.

xoxo,

BF 


BF Asks: What was your High-Low this week? What did you do for Halloween? Did you dress up?

*So what exactly is a High-Low, you ask? High-Low is the BEST & WORST part of your day, week, month, etc. I started this tradition with friends & family after I discovered it through a movie decades ago. Not only is it useful for reflection sake but it is also an excellent way to communicate with your spouse, kids or friends over the dinner table. By introducing this tradition to folks, parents have told me that their kids have opened up more and friends have told me that their spouses have become more communicative. Try it for yourself and let me know what your experience is!

– See more at: http://www.beautyfrosting.com/high-low-102813-dallas-moments-5-out-of-10-and-laughing-stars#sthash.1CXcR24t.dpuf