GARVIN FAMILY CHRISTMAS | PART ONE

christmas came crazy fast this year. we didn't decorate the tree until the middle of the month! once we finally got the rest of the decorations  up, it finally felt like the holidays. i put together a little video of our tree decorating - one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. 

we always wait until a night where everyone is free and head to our local boyscout tree market. right after we bring the tree inside, we dust off the ornament boxes and start the decorating. 

each year, my grandma gives each person in the family an ornament. they document a significant event or represent what we've done that year. my sister claire went to italy over last summer, so my grandma got her an airplane. when i started piano lessons in second grade, i got a piano ornament. we also have some handmade ones in the mix, and it's so fun to look back through the years and recall the memories. 

merry christmas eve! i hope you have a great holiday weekend filled with joy, love, laughs, and family. 

COOKIE PARTY

last year, with the intent to make it a tradition, my friends sarah and ceci baked and decorated cookies. this year, keeping with the promise we made to ourselves, we got back together for our second annual cookie party. 

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we used alison's cookie party as the basis of our cookies. we started out by making our dough, rolling it out, and chilling it, per her instructions. while it was chilling, we headed out for a quick brunch at a local restaurant. once we returned and the dough was ready, we cut out our cookies and got them ready to go. 

once the cookies were out of the oven, we got to the fun part. again following alison's recipe and guidelines, we frosted the cookies. one thing that i love about alison's cookie recipe is that the frosting really locks in the moisture. there's no need to cover them or put them away after they're frosted, because they stay nice and soft! 

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if you're looking for an awesome cookie recipe, i strongly recommend alison's. it's truly amazing and so delicious! there's only three more sleeps until christmas, but personally, it feels like its still a month away! maybe it's this warm weather... anyway, happy holidays! 

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | ENTRY THREE

we're getting so close to christmas! here's claire, returning with some awesome stocking stuffers! passing off the gift guide baton... now!


hey friends! it's claire - back again with the third installment of the T+T holiday gift guide. this one's all about the stocking stuffers! i've searched for my favorite little gifts that will be the perfect topper on a wrapped present, or an awesome suprise inside a stocking. 

  1. christmas mug / forever 21

  2. white + rose gold headphones / forever 21

  3. getaway passport holder / ban.do

  4. mini tassel garland / oh happy day!

  5. softest face brush / forever 21

  6. sticker book / ban.do

  7. diana + meg edition camera / lomography

  8. peach lotion / urban outfitters

these gifts would make for the best stocking on christmas morning. i know i'd love to get any of these presents this holiday season! with these guys - you can't go wrong. -claire

PEPPERMINT MOCHA CHOCOLATE CAKE

i love coffee. i get the same exact drink every time i walk into a starbucks, white chololate mocha with two pumps of toffee nut syrup. once christmastime rolls around, i switch to the peppermint mocha - and all the holiday feels come flooding in with the first sip. when my sister told me about this recipe she found that turns my favorite christmas drink into a cake, i was ALL FOR IT!

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hey guys! it's claire, molly's sister. i found this recipe off of the urban outfitters blog and just knew i had to test it out for myself. keep scrolling to get started!


INSTRUCTIONS for the cake

preheat your oven to 350 degrees and begin by combining all your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. add in the milk + water, eggs, and  veggie oil + peppermint extract, mixing thoroughly in between each addition. distribute evenly into three pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

INGREDIENTS for the cake

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water (room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

INSTRUCTIONS for the frosting

combine all ingredients together, until "light and fluffy", or until you've reached your desired consistency. use a long serrated knife to shave off the tops of the three cakes, once they've cooled. after evening them out, spread the frosting on top of each layer, sprinkling crushed peppermint candy on top of the frosting in between each layer.

INGREDIENTS for the frosting

  • 2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • crushed round peppermint candies or peppermint candy canes

INSTRUCTIONS for the chocolate ganache

melt your chocolate in a pot over medium heat, stirring to keep an even consistency. add in the cream and stir once more, so that you get a nice, smooth ganache. using a spoon, spread the ganache around the sides and the top. if you want that "naked cake" look, use a cake scraper around the edges, so that the vanilla frosting shows through.  

INGREDIENTS for the chocolate ganache

  • 1 1/2 cup bitter or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream

slicing up the perfect piece. ^^

i'm in love with this photo ^^^

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and there you have it! i loved making this cake, and so did molly. it's the the perfect treat for a cold winter day, a friendly christmas party, or anything in between. while you're enjoying your delicious cake, i'll be over here thinking up new ways to make coffee into cakes, because - why not? merry christmas!  

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | ENTRY TWO

after creating the first T+T gift guide, i asked my sister to pick her favorite beauty essentials for the next entry! i know you'll love each of her picks - so will all the beauticians on your list! here's claire!


when molly asked me to curate the second gift guide - one for the beauty lovers - i knew exactly what to put on it. 

  1. white + rose gold curling iron /  sephora

  2. green tea eye mask / sephora

  3. fresh sugar lip balm / sephora

  4. dry bar hair set / sephora

  5. naked 3 palette / sephora

  6. rosemary + willow oil / urban outfitters

  7. first aid beauty kit / sephora

the dry bar kit is high up on my christmas list, and the fresh sugar lip balm would be extremely nice in the brisk chicago wind! these gifts are be perfect for everyone, from the beyónce wannabe to the beauty guru. merry christmas! -claire