Friday, December 21, 2012


Who isn't happy looking at puppies covered in snow? I mean really, too cute! My sister is practically living in heaven in Whistler right now - they have gotten so much snow and she's been skiing almost everyday! I'm just a little envious to say the least! My week has been filled with wrapping gifts, eating cookies, meeting with friends and indulging in the holidays with family! 
I'll be taking a little while off to enjoy the holidays but look forward to starting up Love Me Simply again in 2013! I've reached over 5,000 page views and I can't thank you all enough for your love and support! 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

$25 gift giving

I met with three girlfriends from university this week to catch up over holiday drinks. They are three girls who are dear to me so I wanted to pick up something special to bring them. In previous years, I've picked up three of the same gift but this year I was inspired to be original. Two of the girls have moved into their own places, one is pursuing further education and it just felt like they needed more grown up gifts. I limited each person at $25 and each girl ended up with quite different gifts! I thought I'd share three different approaches for $25 gift giving...

For the sophisticated home owner. 
I chose a white serving platter from Home Sense. Square, clean lines - modern and classic - it will always be stylish and useful. Even better, after some scouring - I found one for $5.99! I paired a serving dish with beautiful paper coasters and name place cards from Kitchen Papers. Have you seen these - paper placemats, coasters, menu cards, seating cards? Absolutely adorably brilliant! Pretty to use when guests are over and easy to clean up- I'm obsessed.

For the downtown single girl.
My friend just moved into a condo and decorated her room in a vibrant teal color. I'm a big fan and this Kate Spade mug matched the color perfectly. With the inspiring "Seize the Day" printed on the inside, I feel it will help her start her days off on the right foot!  Priced at $22, It's a little steep for a mug - but who wouldn't want a designer mug?... and the color matched too well to leave behind!

For the chocolate loving ex-roommate.
I lived with one of the girls all four years of University. We developed a life-long friendship and spent many nights up late, chatting and snacking on chips and chocolate. One thing I know for sure, she LOVES chocolate. So I decided to spend the $25 on really great quality chocolate. Once I had my mind made up, I went straight to Soma Chocolate Maker and picked up some of my personal favorites, along with six seasonal truffles and pralines. The chocolates need to be consumed within a week and I knew this wouldn't be a problem with her!

I don't know if you'll be braving the mall this weekend, but if you are a procrastinator (I have been every year previous) - goodluck! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

hot lips

I'm off to a holiday dinner with girlfriends tonight and decided to snaz up a casual outfit with a new bright pink lipstick. Adding a bright lip to an otherwise neutral, bronzed make-up finish is perfect for the holidays and I was psyched when I found Camille Styles red lipstick tutorial. I'm always eager to read tips and suggestions to work on perfecting my make-up tools and techniques!

Monday, December 17, 2012

the perfect caesar

Are you a caesar drinker? I get that it's somewhat of an acquired taste, and in the past two years I've learned to love them. And I'm happy to say, I think I've come close to mastering the perfect caesar. Here's how to make one: The necessities - big glass, ice, fresh lime, a good vodka, garnishes, saltiness and a little heat. 

To start off, rim your glass with fresh lime and caesar rimming salt (celery salt) and fill it up with ice. Next add in your vodka- I like to measure the amount with a shot glass because I don't enjoy a caesar that overwhelmingly tastes like vodka but I do know not everyone feels the same, so pour as you wish on that step! Then it's time to add in the worcestershire, lime juice about a teaspoon each - then as much tabasco as you want. The next two ingredients are a little strange, but try them - it adds another level of flavor. Pickle juice, the perfect saltiness; and horseradish, a nice heat. Give everything a stir together and fill the glass up with your Clamato juice - I use spicy :) Finally, garnish that glass up! It's the best part about ordering caesars at restaurants, so why not add some in at home! I cut part of a pickle and a cocktail onion which were both filled with so much flavor by the time I got to the end of my drink! 

We always offer caesars to guests at parties and everyone seems to love them! Try making them this holiday season and enjoy :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

my 2012 holiday gift guide!

Are you finished your Christmas shopping? Have you even started?! Well if you have some special people left to shop for, maybe I can help inspire you with my first ever holiday gift guide!

This is one of my favorite games to play with family and friends. It's easy to explain to people who haven't played, everyone can play (as long as they can read) and it usually involves a lot of giggles and laughter! Bring this to give to that couple who loves to have fun and host game nights!

I've shared this candle earlier, and pathetically, I've fallen even more in love with the scent! It's so great to warm up a room with a perfect holiday scent. We even gifted a mini candle and inscents to D's aunt last week for her birthday! Bring this to a Christmas party as a hostess gift!

It's hard not to feel special drinking your coffee out of "your" cup every morning. Pair this with a bag of your favorite coffee or hot coco mix as gifts for your girlfriends this holiday season!

I got this idea from my Mom and decided to suggest it because it seems everyone loves them! Whether you have a tree to hang it on or you choose to hang it off a light fixture to make it a bit more festive - glass ornaments are always a hit! 

Every year, I know without fail, my father will be smiling if there's chocolate under the tree with his name on it! Crate&Barrel has some great sweet treats that are wrapped up in the cutest little tins and ribbon. Easy and delicious - keep those Dad's happy this Christmas!

I picked up one of these on sale and it is so unbelievably soft and cozy! Reasonably priced, it's a perfect gift for that friend who just moved into a new condo and is on a decorating budget.

One of my most favorite treats to myself is getting a manicure. Pair this bottle of festive polish with a gift card for a manicure at your local shop for those special girlfriends. They can touch up and re-do their nails throughout the holiday season!

I recently got a tote bag and literally haven't stopped using it since. The size allows you to fill it with anything you might need and you still manage to still look cute and stylish. These soft leather totes from Gap are colorful and practical - perfect for your busy Mom who always seems to have answers to everything!

For boys looking to splurge on their lovely ladies, this is a gift sure to impress. I had this bracelet, (which I lost this summer -devastating) and didn't ever take it off from the second I got it. Simple and beautiful, what girl doesn't like diamonds!?

I hope that I've given you some ideas for those people left on your shopping list! As always, I'm a big fan of homemade gifts as well. If you're on a budget, try jarring some pesto or baking some Christmas cookies to share with loved ones - after all, it's the thought that counts :)


I love to write Christmas cards every season and this year my list of people to write to was a little longer than expected. I bought two boxes of cards and have already run out. So last night, knowing I was going to need some more I decided to make some! I broke out my watercolors again and kept the cards simple by decorating the little hanging ornaments. For some of our friends, D and I are making the sundried tomato pesto (the recipe I shared last week) and I bought some little jars and made the little tags to tie on. And I think the stamp "You're some kind of wonderful" reminds our family and friends just how much we love them!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

wishlist : pamela love for nine west

{ Pamela Love for Nine West via Harpers Bazaar }

Want, Need, Must Have. I've been lusting over these boots for the past 24 hours. I went to Nine West today and found out that they are already sold out of my desired color and size. Rats! I'm so picky about boots and these boots are legitimately as close to perfect as I've ever seen. 
Watch this little clip about the collab- pretty faboosh if ya ask me!

the best guacamole you'll ever have

I decided to make D one of his favorite treats for when he got home from work this week. He's been workin hard and the least I can do is keep him well fed ;) 
I used a food processor and it literally took me about 5 minutes to blend this up. With a rough chop on all the ingredients, it really can't get easier!

{ I started off with two garlic cloves, a white pearl onion and a jalepeno. }

{ Added in a tomato }

{ Finished off with two avocados, salt & pepper }

The garlic and jalepeno gave the guac a good kick and I blended it until smooth - which is totally just a personal preference. Finally, I have to suggest that you try whole grain tortilla chips - super tasty!
Guacamole can me expensive to buy at the grocery store for what it is, and I promise once you try this you'll be making it fresh forever more!

Monday, December 10, 2012

figs & blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto

I used to associate figs as being the same as prunes - aka. I didn't think too highly of them. Until I recently gave them another go. Whether fresh or roasted, they're sweet and tender with tiny little seeds. We had family for dinner this weekend and as I was walking through the grocery store I saw fresh figs and knew I had to use some somehow. I decided to a flavor combo using blue cheese, prosciutto, figs and farm fresh honey and I have to say the flavors married very nicely. 

Figs & Blue Cheese Wrapped in Prosciutto with Honey
(served 8)

4 fresh figs - quartered
150g sliced prosciutto - each piece cut in half length wise
3 tbsp warmed honey

Cut your blue cheese into pieces that are about the same length/height as the figs. Holding the fig and cheese together begin wrapping the prosciutto around until you reach the end. Skewer with a toothpick to hold in place and place on cooking tray. Repeat until all the figs are used. Drizzle all the little morsels with honey. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes, or until the meat is crisping slightly and the cheese is oozing out. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

sans wrinkles

I'm doing it. I'm asking for wrinkle cream in my stocking for Christmas. It might seem like I'm starting with the firming creme a little early but someone once told me it's easier to prevent then to treat. At 24, I feel like it's time to start taking care of my skin. Over the years I've exposed myself to sun and wind without much protection and I feel like I'm finally starting to get skin smart! I read Good Housekeeping's Anti-Aging Awards (which had some pretty great suggestions!) and have decided to try L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Lotion.  Reasonably priced and easily available, I look forward to sprucing up my beauty regime in the new year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

an easy appetizer for holiday entertaining

D's mom came into town last night and with both my parents busy for the day, I was put in charge of making dinner. I decided to get a lil fancy and ended up making a five course meal but what I want to share is the pesto crostini that were such a hit! I saw this recipe and decided to go from there. I shopped at Whole Foods yesterday but all the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. Whatever kind of cook you are, I promise this recipe is sure to impress everyone! Make sure to have the recipe on hand, guests will be asking for it!


1 baguette
1 tbsp melted butter

Cut it into thin slices. Line on a baking sheet. Brush the top of each piece with melted butter. Put in a 350 degree over for about 8 minutes. Take out, flip over and brush the other side with the rest of the melted butter. Put back in over until toasted and crisp, about 4 minutes.

Sundried Tomato Pesto

1 cup sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup grated cheese - I used Pecorino but Parmesan would work great too- (just make sure it's a firm cheese with a good flavor)
1/2 cup (large bunch) fresh basil
small handful of almonds - I used dry roasted almonds; you could use pie nuts too
2 garlic cloves
olive oil
tabasco / chili flakes

Chop your ingredients up a little bit to help blend it all together. Put the tomatoes, cheese, basil, almonds and garlic into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add in the olive oil slowly until you get the consistency you want. Add the tabasco and chili flakes in at the end to get the desired level of heat. Spoon the pesto onto your crostini, top with salami or a slice of cheese and serve to your hungry guests!

Monday, December 3, 2012

holiday gift guides

Have you started on your Christmas shopping? Sadly, I have barely begun. I'm always on the look out for inspiration, and I took care of some of the work for you... Here are some holiday gift guides from a few bloggers I follow and love!
Also, stay tuned... I'll be posting my own holiday gift guide soon!