We love baking-especially at this time of year. (Incase you didn't realize by now, the three of us have BIG sweet tooth) There's always a cookie swap, a cookie decorating party, a house party where we want to bring something, or something going on where we get to bake something fun. This year, we wanted to bake some goodies for our neighbors and we found this delish recipe online that we wanted to share with you from http://www.allrecipes.com/ They fun and festive and absolutely perfect for the holiday season. Its also something fun for the whole family to do together. Hope you enjoy :)
Ghiradelli peppermint brownies
4 ounces Ghirardelli 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup unsalted butter
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 (5.32 ounce) bag Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with White Mint Filling Squares™, unwrapped
4 small candy canes, crushed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Cool to room temperature
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt until combined. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Gently stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Arrange the mint squares on top in one layer and return the brownies to the oven until they are just melted, about 1 minute. Evenly spread the chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.
OK CLC Gems - we have a huge treat for you today!! The weekend is here, its December, we're sure you have some holiday parties to hit. We were able to get some great makeup tips from pro makeup artist Alvin Austria to help you get your glam on and make those heads turn at your party :)
By: Alvin Austria
It’s that time of the year again! Here are some makeup tips to create that perfect look for this holiday season:
1) Make sure the skin is well moisturized this winter season.
For dry skin, use a cream moisturizer instead of a light facial lotion to give it an extra boost of hydration.
For oily skin, use an oil controlling lotion to moisturize the skin, leaving it with a matte finish.
2) Use a makeup primer after the moisturizer and before foundation. This will fill in fine lines, pores, and smooth out your skin’s texture. It will lock in moisture and also help the foundation stay on
longer throughout the day.
Also, prime the eyelids with an eye primer before eyeshadow. This will prevent it from creasing.
3) Whether it’s a softer look or more dramatic, adding some shimmer or metallic colors to the eyes is the best way to go!
Gold and silver are always on trend for the holiday season.
Use an eyeliner on the top and bottom of the eyes to give it more of a definition and a sultry look.
Also adding some shimmer to the inner corner of the eyes will open up the eyes and separate them.
And if you want to add more flare, use false lashes.
Remember to choose to play up either the eyes or the lips as the main focus feature.
Dramatic smoky eyes = Neutral lips.
Neutral eyes = Bold Lips.
4) Bronzers can also be used in the winter season. Lightly dust bronzer on the temples and cheeks to give a subtle glow.
Apply highlighters on top your cheek bones (and underneath the arch of the eyebrows) to give some luminescence and dewiness to the skin.
5) Bold, RED lips always look amazing for the holiday season! For those people who are not used to wearing a bright, red lip color, I always tell my clients that it’s 20% color, and 80% confidence.
To get the perfect red lip, apply a thin layer of either foundation or concealer around the edges of the lip, then use a lip liner to define the lips and also fill in the lips with the liner and the lipstick so the color will stay on longer.
***Alvin is a pro makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics in the NJ/NY tristate area. He's worked with numerous well-known clients, most recently, with the NJ Nets Dancers for a photo shoot. Catch him on facebook for some great pictures of his work. Alvin is available for for personal makeup sessions for various occasions. You can contact him via phone: (862) 571-3523 or via email: email@example.com
Crystals are a key element in a lot of our designs - the same holds true for the beautiful intricate designs you see in the world famous Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. They just aired their 2011 show last week and of course the show fulfilled our visual and creative appetite. Victoria's Secret has a major collaboration with Swarovski Crystal Elements. The majority of their designs use these crystals because of their high brilliance and shine. The one design that caught our eye was donned by the beautiful Alessandra Ambrosia. She wore a stunning fan shaped pair of wings along with jewelry that reminded us of our own designs.
Here is a great video clip we saw of behind the scenes footage of the designers and their use of Swarovski crystal elements. You'll be amazed at the intricate details of these pieces. It really got our creative juices flowing!!!
December is here!!! That means tons of holiday parties and chances to dazzle and shine. We wanted to share some great tips on how to look fab during your holiday party. Ready..Set..Go!!
- Add Sparkle - add some element of sparkle to your outfit. You can use a sequins blazer, a skirt, sequins tank top, or even a full on sequins dress - bling it! Or maybe if too much flash isn't your style, use cardigans with rhinestone buttons to dress up your look.
- Textured fabrics- velvet is a lush wintery fabric - wear a great velvet blazer with a flirty mini skirt or you can even don a velvet pant for a menswear inspired look that's all the rage this season. Lace and satin are other great options to dress up your look
- Don't underestimate accessories! If you've never had a chance to wear those Christian Louboutin look a like glitter shoes (don't judge - we actually own a pair) - this is your chance
- Wear that "Gossip Girl" sequined headband you've been dying to wear
- Add a big statement necklace to your sheath dress - this instantly changes your look from day to night
- Use brooches - these jewelry pieces are so versatile - we'll have to write up a whole new blog entry on the different ways to use brooches but here are a few quick ones. Use a brooch to secure a pretty pashmina around your holiday dress - especially since this time of year is a bit nippy. Use a brooch as a decorative hairpiece
- And here's your secret weapon to a fool proof holiday outfit in case none of the above suits your taste- add pearls. Nothing exudes glamour, sophistication, and elegance the way pearls do. Whether its a single long strand, a choker style necklace, a pearl bauble bracelet, pearl stud earrings, they all add a beautiful element to your holiday attire.