Wednesday, December 28

Finger Foods


With New Years Eve almost here I thought it would be fun to round up a few delicious but easy appetizers that could be served no matter who is on the guest list. I'm all about yummy little finger foods that allow people to put together a plate or just pick as they hang out around the serving platters.
This year I definitely plan on trying one, four, and seven.

For more ideas try here and here!

Current Obsession

{Florence + the Machine: Shake It Out}

Wednesday, December 21

Because I'm Thirsty


With the Christmas and New Years fast approaching I thought it would be fun to have today's usual "Because I'm Hungry" all about fun cocktails.
A major must have at any fun celebration.
You can find recipes for the cocktails above and many more here.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20

DIY: Ornaments


One - TwoThree - FourFive - Six

One thing I love about the live tree my parents put up is that it puts on display all the fun little ornaments my brothers and I made as children.
There is something about a tree filled with handmade ornaments that just radiates love.
Homemade ornaments can be done with friends, family, and especially children!

For a few more ideas you can go here, here & here.

Monday, December 19

Christmas Pine






Happy Monday!
Today I woke up with Christmas trees on my mind.
It's probably because my parents finally put up their live tree last nightIt was put on delay since my parents were hosting my dad's side this year and my aunt is allergic to pine! 
So that meant no live tree until after the party.
We got it up last night and it's a beautiful tree!
I can't wait for the branches to fall so we can decorate it this week.
Christmas isn't Christmas until there is a decorated tree!

Friday, December 16

Sparkle+Shine



Happy Friday! 
Today is especially happy for me because it's a vacation day!
I'll be heading to my parents to spend the day baking with my grandma to help get ready for my dad's family christmas tomorrow, which is at my parents' house this year!
{av} gave us the theme of Sparkle+Shine this week and although my family christmas party won't call for the dresses I chose, they sure were fun to pick out!
{I'm completely IN LOVE with number three}

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
xoxo


{images via Pinterest}

Wednesday, December 14

Mac N Cheese

Last night while out to dinner with work friends, we ventured to Keystone, a place that is known for its' mac and cheese. And while I decided on a quesadilla all I seem to want now is
....
Mac and Cheese!

So here's a recipe I think would be extremely delicious!



Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ziti
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups coarsely grated gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced deli-boiled ham

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1/4 cup milk.
Meanwhile, combine both cheeses in a bowl. Beat 1/4 cup milk and the eggs in another bowl; fold in the bread and add half of the cheese.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until just brown, 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, cayenne, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk to cool slightly. Whisk in the remaining cheese, then add the pasta and toss.
Butter a shallow casserole dish. Add half of the pasta, top with some of the ham and cover with the remaining pasta. Top with the remaining ham, then cover with the bread mixture. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

{image and recipe via Food Network}


Monday, December 12

Weekend Life

Happy Monday Friends!
I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine.
Which was spent doing a little decorating, shopping for Christmas gifts {and a little for myself}, celebrating a friend's birthday and as always Sunday at my parents.

Check out a few other fun weekends via Instagram here.




Friday, December 9

Party!


Option One: TopHeels 
Option Two: Top & Heels
 Clutch


Happy Friday!
This weekend starts the many rounds of Holiday Parties I will be attending. 
So when {av} sent out this weeks theme, Holiday Party, I was more than thrilled.
Couldn't have been more perfect.
I decided on two looks: one for the office and one for the family party.
{Really I couldn't decide between the two ... again!}


So pop on over to Long Distance Loving to see the rest of the fabulous holiday party attire.
Who knows it might even lead to inspiration for your holiday outfit!





Thursday, December 8

Trunk Show

Tomorrow evening I'll be attending a Stella & Dot trunk show, super excited.
Above are just a few of the items I'm currently obsessed with and although the budget doesn't allow for all I'm sure one or two will be coming home with me.

Which pieces do you think I need?

Wednesday, December 7

Because What's Better Than Cheesecake?

Oh, I know, maybe cheesecake mixed with chocolate and candy canes!
Quite possibly the best recipe for this time of year.

Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars


Ingredients

Crust:

  • 20 chocolate wafer cookies
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Filling:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Glaze:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (see Cooks Note)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil.
For the crust: Process the chocolate wafers in a food processor with the butter, sugar, coffee, and salt until fine. Evenly press the crust into the prepared dish covering the bottom completely. Bake until the crust sets, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)
Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together in the food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and pulse until just incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the chocolate into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
For the Glaze: Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat glaze in the microwave at 75 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the ingredients together until smooth; add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cake and scatter the crushed candy canes over top. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.
Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature.
Store cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cook's Note: To crush the candy canes, remove wrappers and place in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to roll and break the candy up into small pieces, about 1/4 inch or so.

{recipe and photo via Food Network}

Tuesday, December 6

Front Door Love







How gorgeous are these?
While looking around Pinterest for festive ways to decorate the front porch this years I stumbled upon these gems. 
They were too wonderful not to share!
I love a festive and welcoming entrance, it really sets the tone for the rest of the house.
And all of these are definitely saying come in and stay awhile!

Monday, December 5

Turning Twenty-Six



First, I must say a huge thank you to all of you for your kind words and birthday wishes!
And a GIANT thank you to all my guests last week, you all really made my 26th birthday so special.


This past weekend could not have been more perfect.
A low key weekend full of pampering, friends, family, great food, and lots of wine!
Friday:
 After work I met my good friend Claire to see The Muppet Movie = adorable movie.
I definitely recommend it, especially if you have any little kiddo's in your life.
Saturday:
Started with a great spin class and Starbucks.
Then it was off to the nail salon for a mani/pedi followed by a little shopping at the mall.
The evening started in The Gateway District of Over-the-Rhine. 
 Drinks at The Lackman Bar then dinner at A Tavola, one of my favorite restaurants in Cincinnati.
We had a delicious dinner of two different pizzas: fig jam with prosciutto and artichoke with goat cheese. 
As my little birthday treat I received a bowl of salted caramel gelato topped with toasted marshmallows!
The evening ended at one of our favorite little pubs which had a great live band performing.
I have the best girl friends any one could ask for, they made sure I had the best birthday celebration ever!
Sunday:
I grabbed a quick brunch with the girls then headed out to my guy friends place to watch the Bengals ... get killed :( 
Then it was off to spend the day with my family. 
For dinner I requested a low country shrimp boil and individual chocolate almond lava cakes.


Overall, this is one of the best birthdays I've had.
A big thank you to everyone who was involved.
I love you all and couldn't be the person I am without you!


xoxo
Amanda
 


Ps. Check out a {little} dash of ash for today's instagram party where I've linked up! 

Saturday, December 3

Saturday Surprise! Guest Post: Coral Cafe

Today we have another surprise guest that I'm oh so excited to introduce to you!
Drew, from Coral Cafe has popped in today and let me tell you, her post is gorgeous! 

Take it away Drew .....

I am so excited to be here to share some birthday wishes to one the sweetest bloggers around! 
Amanda sure deserves to have love, laughter and lots of sugary sweets around the week of her birthday!
Celebrate to your huge heart's content, love!!


 12345 

Thanks for letting me join in on the celebratory week!
and have an exceptional 26th birthday!!

~Drew~


Wasn't that color palette amazing?
So fun and festive and perfect for any birthday!


Thank you so much Drew for stopping by today.
Stop back anytime you like!

Friday, December 2

Guest Post: Sequins and Stripes

Happy Friday + Weekend!
I'm so so so excited it's finally here!
I'm also super excited to have today's guest  with us: Liz, from Sequins and Stripes.
I've had the pleasure of knowing this always stylish, adorable blogger for almost 7 years!
We first met at Ohio State and spent our last 2 years there being roommates.
Liz has always been such an inspiration to me, especially when it comes to her sense of fashion and today is perfect example of why.
This girl knows her stuff!

Hi there! It's Liz from the fashion and style blog Sequins and Stripes and I am super excited to be here to celebrate Amanda's 26th Birthday! Amanda happens to be my college roommate and since we live in separate cities and I am unable to be there for her special day, I thought I would throw a festive party and make sure she is dressed to the nines to finish up birthday week on Eclectic Snapshots.



Amanda, I hope you have the bestest weekend celebrating the most amazing year ahead. Here is to your 26th birthday full of laughs, confetti, pretty banners, sparklers, sequins and a fabulous outfit...



A huge thank you to Amanda for hosting me today! I love you roomie, Happy Birthday! xoxo



See I told you she was good! Not only is this the perfect birthday outfit, but it's also perfect for the holiday season! 
And I absolutely love all the sparkle she's mixed in.

Liz: Thank you so much for stopping by today! 
It means the world to me to have you visiting my little blog!
Wish you could be here to help celebrate, xoxo.




As for me, LET THE CELEBRATING BEGIN!

Thursday, December 1

Guest Post: Gentri Lee

Happy December everyone!
Today's fabulous guest post is coming from the always cheerful Gentri from GentriLee .
Her adorable blog had me from hello and this birthday round-up is no different.
Gentri loves all things fairy tale and it definitely shines through today!


Hello Amanda's lovely readers! I am so excited to be here today and to be a part of Amanda's Birthday Celebration! I love birthdays. :) Whether it's my own or someone else's. I love that we all get a day to feel truly special OR to make someone else feel truly special. Here are some ways that Amanda can make herself feel like Queen for a day...

Wear a pretty dress!
Wearing something pretty can turn even the gloomiest day into a ray of sunshine...
                                                                                                       Source: Uploaded by user via Gentri on Pinterest

Get Pampered!
Sit back, relax, and let someone else pamper you... perfection.
                                                                                                              Source: google.ca via Nowell on Pinterest

Go outside!
Take a walk, a bike ride, a hike, or just grab a favorite book and spend some time outdoors.
                                                                                               Source: oh-so-rosie.blogspot.com via Gentri on Pinterest

Do something fun!
Come up with something you've never done before, something that you will never forget, and DO it! Build a teepee, blow glass, try something you've always wanted. For my birthday this past year I went to the prettiest hotel around and tried those pretty french macaroons for the first time. Made my day!
                                                                                              Source: sunshineandpearls.tumblr.com via Gentri on Pinterest

And of course,
Make a wish! Because if any wish were to come true- it's the one you make when you blow out your candles on your birthday.

                                                                                                  Source: cilantropist.blogspot.com via Gentri on Pinterest

Have the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER Amanda!! :D
Love,
Gentri


Seriously fabulous, right?!
Now do you see why I love this girl?
If you haven't visited her, you must go!

Thank you so so so much Gentri for visiting today. 
An absolutely gorgeous birthday round-up!

Wednesday, November 30

Surprise! Guest Post: The Vault Files

Happy Wednesday my dears! I have a lovely treat for you:
Gaby from The Vault Files is visiting today as a surprise guest post!
She's brought with her a few birthday essentials that are to die for ......

Hi everyone! I'm Gaby from The Vault Files and I'm thrilled to join Amanda's B-day celebration week along with all the fantastic bloggers she has invited! 
I have put together what I consider my must-haves for a girly Birthday Party, hope you enjoy it!



 Via Pinterest


 Via Pinterest



Thank you so much Amanda for letting me be part of your celebration week! I wish you a very Happy Birthday (and week!) ;)


Um, Yes Please!
How amazing is this round up?
These must-have's definitely add up to one fabulous birthday!

Thank you so so so much Gaby for saying hello today.
Can't wait to plan your next visit!

Tuesday, November 29

Guest Post: A Day in the Life and Mind

I'm so excited to have the super cute and always hilarious Jaclyn from A Day in the Life and Mind...
 Being that we had our fair share of fun times together at The Ohio State University I can promise you she is as silly, carefree, and beautiful in person as she is in the blog world.
If you haven't visited her, you MUST.
Today she is sharing a fabulous birthday gift guide and all for under $50 .... so here we go!



Happy Birthday (week) Amanda!  I am Jaclyn from "A Day in the Life and Mind...", and I went to college with Amanda, so I am excited to be guest posting in honor of her birthday!  With all the many friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, blah blah blahhh, it is hard to manage budgets for each of their birthdays.  Today I am sharing a few birthday gift ideas under $50 that are sure to still keep your wallet full.  
Enjoy!




Thanks again, Amanda for having me and have a wonderful birthday!!


Thank you so much Jaclyn for visiting today ~ stop by anytime you want!
Such great choices, I love them all! 
One thing is for sure, she definitely knows my love for Urban Outfitters.
And how funny is that picture!?  Oh, college!