holidays

Candy Heart Cake

Give me ALL the holiday themed desserts! This cake was made for under $15 and is so cute and festive for a Galentine’s party, a Valentine’s Day birthday or even just to make with the kids.  I bought everything at Target and it only took a few hours to complete. I love adding candy to cakes for an easy way to spruce them up!

Ingredients: 

2 Boxes of Cake Mix. I used the Valentine’s Day Funfetti Mix but a Strawberry would be fun too!

2  Funfetti or Pink Frosting

2 Bags of Large Conversation Candy Hearts – I found mine at Target! You can also use the regular size candy hearts but you will need more and it will take longer. Still an option though!

Directions:

Bake 2, 9-inch round cakes according to instructions on box. Let them cool completely.

Trim tops of cakes evenly. Stack one cake on the other, adding some frosting in between the two layers.

Frosting entire cake and stick on candy hearts in whatever pattern you like best!

Not only was this cake so easy and inexpensive to make but it’s a really fun holiday dessert to make with kids. They can help stir the mix, frosting the cake and also stick on the hearts. Happy almost heart month!

Valentine’s Day Chex Mix

I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day desserts. Give me all the red, white & pink treats because they are just so visually appealing. I’m sharing my take on the classic Chex Mix recipe and I love that this one can have numerous variations. Here is what you’ll need to whip up a batch of Valentine’s Day Chex Mix under 10 minutes.

To make this version you will need:

1-2 bags of Candy Melts (white, red or pink depending on your preference)

1 bag of Stick Pretzels (I used about 1/4 of the bag)

1 bag of Salted Popcorn (I used the whole bag)

1 box of Rice Chex Mix Cereal (used 3/4 of the box)

1 bag of Valentine’s Day M&M’s

Various Valentine’s Day Sprinkles

**I bought everything listed above at my local Target. Check your grocery store too because the items are typically cheaper there than on Amazon**

Directions:

Pour desired amount of pretzels, rice chex cereal and popcorn into large mixing bowl.

Melt candy chocolates according to package. I used the double broiler method. Simmer a few inches of water in a medium size saucepan. Stack a metal bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bowl fits snugly. Pour the entire bag of melts into the bowl and stir continuously once the chocolate starts to melt. I couldn’t find pink candy melts so I used white with a few drops of red food coloring. I also like to mix a few spoonfuls of coconut oil to thin out the chocolate for easier application.

Once chocolate is fully melted, pour into the large mixing bowl filled with pretzels, cereal and popcorn. Carefully fold in chocolate with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is coated evenly.

Lay out parchment paper or wax paper on counter and pour chocolate Chex mixture onto the paper. Sprinkle in the M&M’s and various sprinkles throughout the mix.

One it has all dried together, place in baggies, Tupperware or cute Valentine’s Day tins for friends & family! I totally bought mini marshmallows and forgot to use them. But that’s how adaptable this recipe is – you can use what you have on hand or let the kids pick out their favorite add-ins. This can also be changed to fit any holiday or theme!

Last Minute Cards with American Greetings

Who else is in shock that Christmas is less than 72 hours? I can definitely say that 2016 has been one of the fastest years of my life and December has flown by. Life can get the best of me as a stay at home mom of two and the last thing I want to do is brave stores with last minute shoppers. We have several family members in different states and friends all over the US. Sometimes the thought of addresses an stamping 60+ cards can be daunting. With American Greetings, you can easily send cards anywhere in the world with the click of a button.

American Greetings has hundreds of holiday cards to choose from and you can easily search by theme and design. If you’re a long time reader of my blog or know me in real life, then you know I have crazy cat lady tendencies. My husband always jokes that if I wasn’t married with children I would live in a one bedroom apartment with 27 cats. You can probably guess what the first thing I searched for was. I love the humor section on American Greetings. It’s always nice to make someone smile, especially if they are having a tough time around the holiday season.

Memberships are 25% off through 12/25 so this is a great time to get your 1 or 2-year membership and schedule cards through the year. They have cards for all occasions (14 to be exact) and 9 major holidays. There is also a free app to make sending greeting cards even easier. My kids love to scroll through and see all the different cards they can send to their grandparents and friends.

*This post was sponsored by American Greetings however all opinions are my own*
Happy early Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

xo, Chanel

5 Last Minute Gifts for Men & Women!

Where did 2016 go? Christmas is in 11 days and I can’t possibly wrap my head around everything I have left to do. If you’re anything like me, you still have some shopping left. Nearly everything in todays post can be purchased on Amazon or the sites have delivery before Christmas!
Nature’s Kindle Candles – Handmade in California, these hand-crafted soy candles are some of the best smelling on the market today. My favorites are the Campfire, Coffee Shop, and Apple Cinnamon. Everything is under $30 and they have several smaller sizes available. These are perfect stocking stuffer ideas, especially for the men in your life!
Daniel Wellington Watch – I recently received one of these watches and I was blown away by the clean, modern look. Typically I don’t like bulky bracelets or watches but this one is lightweight and the perfect size. They offer classic styles for both men and women and are simple enough to be worn every day. Aside from sold in stores you can also find them on Amazon and take advantage of the prime shipping before Christmas!
S’well ‘Sparkling Champagne’ Stainless Steel Water Bottle – These water bottles are available in 36 colors and three sizes. They keep your drink cold for 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. It’s the ideal gift idea for anyone who’s constantly at the office or on the road. I love the champagne color for women and the Onyx for men. You can also find these on Amazon for quick shipping!
Weekend Bag – It’s always fun to start the year off with a new bag for future travel. I love a great duffle or weekend bag because they are usually gender neutral and can fit so much stuff. They’re perfect for a short road trip or as a carry on. Lately I have been loving my StorkSak Cabin Carry on and cannot wait to use it for our Austin trip in two months!
Cross Pens – My mother has always had the most beautiful handwriting and she even addressed all of our wedding invitations! She can also be hard to shop for so I knew this pen from Cross Pens would make the most beautiful gift. This holiday season my brother and I wanted to get her something she could cherish every day that brought her happiness. I love how @crosspens engraved our names on the pen so we would always be on her mind (as if we weren’t already!) They also have complimentary engraving so you can add that special touch. If my dad were still with us, I know he would have loved this pen. Even with having a computer and a smart phone, he still used old fashioned pen and paper all the time. Every time I see a nice ballpoint pen, I think of him.
Still stuck for ideas? Gadgets are always a popular gifting option. Take a look at this fun guide filled with gadgets for men over on the Coolest Gadgets site. Do you have any go-to gifts you swear by? Leave them in the comments below!

Luxury Chocolate You Need

Raise your hand if you have a huge sweet tooth but the thought of baking overwhelms you. Or if the thought of going to the grocery store during the holidays at all stresses you out. As a stay at home mom, I love when things are easy. That includes being able to do most of my holiday shopping online. Vosges Haut Chocolate offers the most luxury, gourmet chocolate on the market. Everything they make is beautifully crafted and packaged. Almost like you’re opening a one-of-a-kind designer gown. I’ve never tried anything so rich and decadent in my life. There are several people I know that can be tough to shop for but I’ve learned that people always love great food, drinks, and desserts, especially around the holiday season. All hail Vosges and their incredibly delicious chocolates and treats.
One of the most popular pairings they offer are the wine and chocolate gift boxes. I have several people in my life who love great wine and great chocolate and these luxury pairings are a total home run. Here a few of my other favorites from Vosges!
This Bubbles + Brunch Gift Box would be perfect for any lady boss. Buttermilk pancakes with fruitwood smoked bacon chocolate smothered liberally with aged bourbon barrel syrup and toast with a morning mimosa. It does not get much better than this, especially when you have some time to yourself to indulge.  If anyone wants to send me one, email me for my address 🙂Drinking Chocolates. Need I say more? We set up a hot chocolate bar every year from the day after Thanksgiving well into the New Year. There are fewer things I love than coming downstairs in a quiet house before everyone wakes up and making hot chocolate with all the fun toppings. The gourmet drinking chocolates would taste like heaven!
I love champagne. Probably too much. It’s my go to drink and these Champagne Truffles scream my name. They are blended with 85% dark chocolate and Krug Champagne so you know they will probably be the best thing you’ve tasted all year. Did you know that you can store any of the Vosges truffles in the freezer for up to 4 months (just make sure they’re sealed). Once you’re ready to enjoy, you can pull them out let them come to room temperature!
Any of these chocolate bars would make the perfect stocking stuffer. I also love how you can buy them in collections for someone who really appreciates gourmet chocolate. I’m putting the Noble Pig Chocolate Bars under the tree for my husband. He loves bacon, beer, and chocolate so this is a no brainer.
I can confidently say that the Caramel Marshmallows were by far the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. I hated that I had to share them with my husband (you’re welcome babe). If you only order one thing from Vosges, these need to be it!
Going to a New Year’s party? Need a gift for your boss who has everything? Want to send something just because? Vosges has gifts starting at $25 and under so there is really something for everyone. Use code HENEVE15 for 15% off your order! You can find Vosges on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
*this post was sponsored by Vosges Haut Chocolate. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

3-Step Holiday Sangria

Hosting parties and entertaining is something I have always loved to do. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I love having a go-to recipe that is inexpensive, easy, and tastes delicious. Sangria is always a crowd pleaser and so simple to prepare.  The cranberries and apple cider in this recipe add a festive feel and it’s great for winter months. One bottle of wine makes about 8 servings of sangria, so you can always make two batches. That is the beauty of make ahead cocktails, you can do this the night before a party!
Holiday Sangria: 
1 (750 ml) bottle Merlot
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup apple cider
1 cup cranberries
2 medium apples
1 orange, sliced for rim
chop apples, measure out ingredients, combine in slow cooker.
cover; cook on High heat setting 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Serve cold. Garnish with orange slice.
There you have it! Pretty simply, right? All of the ingredients above can be purchased at Kroger (with the exception of the Brandy). One thing I love about Sangria is that it’s completely customizable. You can swap out the fruits for others and experiment.
 
Do you have a go-to holiday cocktail recipe that you love? Share in the comments below for your chance to win a $50 Kroger Gift Card!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.

Holidays with Harry & David

A few years ago, around late December, I ordered a Harry & David Gift Basket for a friend. It was late in the month, I hadn’t had time to do any shopping, and I was just flat out exhausted. I remember having to call and order because my internet was down. I was dreading making the call because I hate talking on the phone and rely so much on the convenience of online ordering. I was so pleasantly surprised at how amazing their customer service was! They went above and upon to make sure my friend got the gift basket at her home in such short notice. It was at that moment when I knew I loved this company and would be a life long customer. Since then, I have always referred my friends and family to Harry & David.
One of my favorite things about these amazing gift baskets is how they are equipped for sharing. Everything is packaged nicely in their own bags or boxes so that you can enjoy the treats longer. I love opening up the yogurt covered pretzels for the kids as an afternoon snack, or enjoying some fruitcake for breakfast with coffee. Everything is top notch, fresh quality and absolutely delicious. This Classic Christmas Gift Basket comes with gourmet popcorn, milk chocolate covered cherries, assorted truffles, peppermint bark, jordan almonds, fruitcake, yogurt covered pretzels, raspberry filled shortbread cookies (by far my favorite) and Royal Riviera pears. The pears taste like Heaven on Earth  and are the most delicious fruit you will try this holiday season.
The presentation of the baskets are always so gorgeous. When I think of Harry & David, I think of high quality gifts for: business partners, people who are hard to shop for, and host/hostess gifts for parties. Everyone loves holiday treats but not everyone has time to spend all day baking or braving the grocery story rush. That is what makes Harry & David so special; they do all of the work for you.  If you have any last minute shopping to do, or you just want to make someone’s day, be sure to keep Harry & David in mind.
*This post was sponsored by Harry & David. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*
How do you #ShareTheHolidays? I would love to hear in the comments below!

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