omg it’s november! HAPPY FREAKIN’ HOLIDAYS, PEOPLE! although the crazy days still seem slightly off in the distance, it’s definitely time to start thinking about sending out holiday cards. if you’re anything like me, somehow it becomes december 15th + christmas is ten days away + you haven’t even thought about taking a christmas card photo yet. this year, i’m vowing to get an early jump on things — i just recently discovered basic invite + i can already tell it’s gonna be a game changer :)

i’ve always been a fan of writing letters + sending cards, + the holiday season gives me the perfect excuse. when i was younger, i was always the one in charge of gathering up the family, directing the holiday photos, putting the card together, + using my mom’s credit card to order them ;) this year, my roommates + i are planning on ordering a few cards to send out, + basic invite’s selections are almost too good to choose from! they’ve got foil, they’ve got practically unlimited colors, they’ve got over 500 different designs, + that’s just for their unique christmas cards alone!


are you thinking of sending out a holiday card this year? i always love getting them in the mail; we used to display them all over the house as a kid — it was always a big deal hanging the first one, haha! thankfully, we’re getting the jump early! head to basic invite’s site + start browsing their holiday photo cards 2018! i seriously cannot get over how cute their designs are. picking just one this year is going to be a biiiiig challenge. ALSO, they are offering 30% off their holiday styles — use the code “HOLI30” at checkout + slay the holiday card game. cheers to november + the most wonderful time of the year!


post, images, + opinions by molly garvin

sponsored by basic invite


this christmas was a whirlwind. [isn't it always, though?] i got home to chicago on december 13th + as i'm typing this, i have been home for 17 days, but it seriously only feels like 4!! because of finals + the end of the semester i wasn't able to go shopping in california, so the first half of my break was spent at the mall + in my basement wrapping presents. but the REAL celebration got started on christmas eve eve with a chili party, candy cane tournament, + cookie decorating contest -- it's all in the film above + the photos below! [previous christmas celebrations --- garvin family christmas 2016 / christmas eve 2016 / cookie party 2015 / garvin family christmas 2015 part one + twochristmas carols 2014 / cookie party 2014

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^^ the game is simple. everyone gets a candy cane. about 20 go in the middle. the competitor takes the straight end of their candy cane + places it in their mouth. 45 seconds go on the clock. the competitor uses the curved end of the candy cane to pick up as many other candy canes as they can -- it's actually so fun! i currently share the record for first place of 8 candy canes. [sadly i lost the tie-breaker round, but it's fine i'm fine it's fine.]

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above are the cookie decorating finalists. we've got a santa, a marshmallow christmas tree, + A MANGER SCENE!! that's the birth of jesus christ people. a true masterpiece.

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christmas morning

we arose with such a clatter at the crack of dawn, 9 am. the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, the tree was filled with presents, santa set everything up perfectly. 

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^^ that's a belle heart-eye emoji lip smacker + i love it, because apparently i'm seven years old. 

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my sister hyped up my present  a lot before the big day, + i can surely say that it lived up! if anyone wants to have an early 2000's disney channel movie marathon -- LET'S GOOOOO! come on over :)

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we ended the day surrounded with family, delicious food, + more presents. christmas 2017, you were a good one! although we all came down with the flu a few days later, it was still good! 

stay tuned for my 2017 recap film, favorite blogpost roundup, + my goals + resolutions for 2018!


ummm, yeah, okay. there are currently two days until christmas. sadly i haven't been able to produce as much holiday content as i would've liked [finals, the biggest timesuck] this year, but i'm here now + that's all that matters, right? :) anyway. since i've been home i've been in the kitchen a lot --- i went on break much sooner than my friends, so free time = lots of new treats, which leads me to right now, sharing this insanely delicious hot chocolate cake with you!! recipe below!

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DIRECTIONS for the cake

  1. begin by preheating your oven to 350*F
  2. combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  3. over the stove, combine boiling water with your hot chocolate mix
  4. remove heat once the mix has been fully dissolved + beat in the butter + eggs into the hot chocolate
  5. add the wet ingredients to the dry + mix it baby! 
  6. pour into a cake pan + bake until a toothpick can be inserted + removed clean

INGREDIENTS for the cake

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup hot chocolate mix
  • 1 1/2 cups hot/boiling water (to dissolve the hot chocolate mix)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


recipe adapted from here

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INGREDIENTS for the frosting

  1. beat butter in a bowl until creamy
  2. add in sugar + cocoa
  3. once the sugar/butter/cocoa mixture is combined evenly, add in the milk, + then the peppermint.
  4. mix well + frost your cake once cooled!

INGREDIENTS for the frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 2⁄3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup cocoa
  • 1⁄3 cup milk
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons peppermint extract

recipe adapted from here


you can use toothpicks, powdered sugar, + colored white chocolate to make a little winter scene on the top! when baking into the night, you get a little creative, + by creative i mean over-the-top obsessive about little details. 😉

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guys, this cake is actually so good. i know a hot chocolate cake doesn't sound incredibly appealing, but it really is delicious! + i don't even eat cake. the peppermint buttercream adds such a nice holiday flavor to it, + the decorations on top are so simple + are perfect for holiday parties! [or more realistically -- if you need a last minute dessert since there are only two days left until the big day!!] merry christmas friends; have a great weekend!!


i CANNOT believe that christmas is only 10 days away, but then again, this happens every year. since i can remember, i've looked forward to having a home of my own to decorate for the holidays. it's a little bit tricky now, living in a small space with a roommate [read: a dormroom 🙄] but it doesn't stop me from trying my hardest to bring some seasonal cheer into my spaces, + pinning all the inspiration for the future!


love love love the soft glow from the lights mixed with the garland


cutest advent calendar disguised as a christmas village!


eucalyptus is such a great greenery alternative!


wreaths on windows are like my vice -- so so classy and beautiful!


the white garland across the tree and the greenery above the archway cannot be eat. the pups all decked out don't hurt either :)


to see more inspiration, click here for my pinterest or here for my instagram saves! although socia media can cause a multitude of problems, it will always remain one of my biggest sources of inspiration. merry 15th day of christmas + happy friday!!


hello from the other side of this holiday season! i hope your day [+ days surrounding the 25th - gotta extend that vacation!] were the perfect combo of relaxing and joyful. i'm currently in nashville for a little christmas round two with the extended family and thought i'd share a little bit of my christmas day before time gets away from us. more photos [+ videos per usual] from this trip to come!

i never realized how truly crooked our tree was until i tried to straighten out this image in lightroom ^^ waaaaaaay off hahaa!

this is my "i'm staying in pajamas all day + i don't care who judges me" face ^^ it looks shockingly similar to my "who wants dessert?" face ;)

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my sister's new child a.k.a. her new kate spade ballet slipper purse ^^

we finished the day off with a slow dinner, ice cream, movies, and friends. i truly did wear my pajamas all day and it was the bomb. anyone want to be a professional lounger with me? i'm taking signups starting... now! once again, i hope you had a fantastic weekend! [see last year's christmas here and here]

post by molly garvin

images by molly garvin for THIS + THAT