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Holiday: Dessert Recipes

It's hard to resist all the yummy desserts that come with the holiday season! From the parties, to the shopping, it is always a challenge to find time to do homemade baking. Even the word "homemade" can sound like a lot of work and effort but trust us, these recipes are super easy and will taste way better than store-bought. Hope you love these delicious recipes as much as we do! Enjoy XX. 

Bonnie Stern's Shortbread 

These are one of our favourite recipes for the holiday season! Not only are shortbread a classic Christmas cookie but this recipe is so easy and not time consuming. Shortbread are so fun to make because you can decorate them for the season, adding red and green sprinkles to make the cookie season appropriate. Bonnie Sterns shortbread is the absolute best! Definitely satisfying your holiday sweet tooth! 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of salted butter 
  • 1 cup of fruit sugar 
  • 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup of rice flour 
  •  Small amount of icing sugar for dusting 

Directions 

1. Place butter in mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add sugar slowly and continue to beat until its fluffy.  

2. Combine the all purpose flour with rice flour. Mix it well. Add in the butter and stir. Making sure its mixed well and the consistency is smooth. 

3. Take pieces of the dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place each of the balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper lining the pan. Press cookies down to make them flatter in shape. Bake at 300F for 25-30 mins until golden brown. 

Enjoy! 

Aida Mollenkamp's Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding 

 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of whole milk 
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon for garnish 
  • 1/3 of flavoured liqueur 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt 
  • 7 cups of large dice cinnamon challah 
  • 1 cup of toasted walnuts 

Directions 

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Mix together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, liqueur, vanilla and salt. Mix until all the ingredients are mixed smoothly together. Break apart the bread and walnuts and place evenly in a 2 quart baking dish. Pour the custard mixture of the bread, giving it around 15 minutes to soak in. 

3. Next, bring about 8 cups of water to a simmer over medium- high heat. 

4. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the bread. Set the filled baking dish into a larger roasting pan and add the hot water until it reaches half-way up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the bread is brown on top and the custard is set. Cool for about 15 mins. 

Enjoy! 

Jam Thumbprint Cookies 

A staff favourite here at V.O.C is the festive and traditional jam thumbprint cookie. These cookies are so delicious and perfect for Christmas. These cute little holiday bites can be filled with a preferred filling of the person you are baking them for, adding a personalized touch. Its no secret we are huge Barefoot Contessa fans, so we thought it would only be fitting to share her amazing thumbprint recipe!

Ingredients 

  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt 
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water 
  • 7 ounces of flaked sweetened coconut flakes 
  • Raspberry jam or whichever you like 

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar together. Once those two ingredients are mixed, add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. 

2. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix the ingredients until dough starts to form. Take a flat board and sprinkle with flour. Take the dough and place on the board and roll it out into a flat disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 mins. 

3. After the dough has been chilling for 30 mins, roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each of the dough balls into the egg and water mixture and then roll in the coconut flakes. 

4. Once all the balls are dipped and rolled in coconut, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press each cookie down with your thumb to make them flatter and create an indent on the top. Drop a teaspoon of your preferred jam in the indent made with your finger. 

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until coconut flakes are golden. Enjoy! 

 

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Chip Cookies 

This is one of our go-to recipes for any occasion! These soft delicious cookies will be a hit at any holiday party you attend this season! Martha Stewart's recipe is so easy and tasty, you can easily whip up these cookies if you are in a pinch this holiday season. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar 
  • 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 

Directions 

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine the butter and both sugars in a bowl and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and egg. Make sure ingredients are mixed together well. 

2. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add these ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix together until its combined. Add the chocolate chips in. 

3. Scoop out balls of dough, roughly 2 tablespoons of dough, and place on the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Each cookie should be around 3 inches apart. Bake for 16-18 mins (until cookies are golden). 

Enjoy! 

 


Winter Bucket List

We have been totally spoiled with our mild fall this year and slow transition into winter. However it is pretty apparent that winter is here, as the temperature has drastically dropped and we even had some flurries today!  It's fun to get ideas on some of the best things to own, see and do this season. With everyone's busy schedule as the holidays are fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up and not enjoy some of the great winter events and activities that are going on around us. Some days it seems like too much of hassle to go out into the cold. However there are some things mentioned on our list that are worth braving the chilly weather for and make you appreciate the winter season. Hope you enjoy! XX 

Denim 

AG Farrah Super Black 

Black jeans are always a great staple for every season but especially great for the winter. They have the ability to dress up any outfit, allowing you to easily transition from day to night. This is a must on our winter bucket list! From the high rise to the super black colour of these AG jeans, these are by far our favourite denim for the season. Pair with a knit and booties for a chic casual look or style with a blouse for smart casual office look. 

Footwear 

La Canadienne boots 

It is always hard to find stylish winter boots that are still durable. Spoiler alert! We have found the perfect boots for you! The La Canadienne waterproof collection is amazing! Not only are these boots cute but they are completely waterproof and warm. Bonus! Pair these denim and knit and you're good to go! You don't even have to worry about changing your shoes from outside. 

 

Ugg Slippers 

The Ugg Slippers are at the top of our winter bucket list! If you don't already own a pair, these slippers are an absolute dream! They feel amazing on your feet after a long day of work. A few of us have them here at V.O.C and we are obsessed. They are one of the best purchases we have ever made. It is something you will wear everyday and super cozy for the winter. Whether you're heading up to the cottage for the weekend or relaxing at home, these slippers are a must this winter! 

 

 

Outerwear 

Paige Shanna Jacket 

One of our more fun pieces on our winter bucket list is the Shanna Velvet moto jacket from Paige. Its a beautiful classic piece that you will find yourself gravitating towards again and again this winter season. Its such a great statement piece to throw over a t-shirt and jeans. This jacket is also perfect for holiday parties to style over a cocktail dress to add some edge to a simple dress. I mean who doesn't love a good velvet jacket?! 

 

Mackage Rena Down-Filled Parka 

Finding a warm winter jacket that will last you years to come and still be in style is hard to find. The Rena parka is definitely on our winter bucket list because this jacket literally meets all of our parka needs! Not only is it exceptionally warm but the colour and cut it amazing! It is definitely an investment piece but it will keep you warm for years to come in our frigid winters, you hit the jackpot with the Rena! 

 

Accessories 

Lyla and Luxe Pom Pom Hat 

One of our favourite accessories for winter is the Pom Pom hat by Lyla and Luxe. It comes in a variety of colours and adds a chic touch to any bundled outfit. We are obsessed with this cozy hat for the winter season. Not only does it keep you warm but adds a fun flare to your winter attire. It also has a removable fur pom pom so its super easy to wash. The natural colour looks amazing with the Mackage Rena parka as well. We will definitely check this off our winter bucket list! 

What to Do/ See

Christmas Market in the Distillery District 

One of our absolute favourite things to do this time of year is to visit the Christmas Market in the Distillery District. It makes for such a fun and festive day or night. Its great for getting into the holiday spirit, while sipping on mulled wine and checking out the unique boutiques that are decked out for the Christmas season. From the craft beer lounge, to the spirits terrace, to dining on French cuisine at the Cluny Bistro, there are so many festive spots to checkout within the market, getting you in the holiday spirit!

 

Ontario Place Winter Wonderland

Another must for this Winter (especially before Christmas) is the Winter festival at Ontario Place. The festival starts December 8th and goes until March 18th, displaying a beautiful light festival featuring installations by local artists, a synthetic skating rink and traditional Canadian eats to snack on. One of the coolest activities that this festival features is a display of holiday movies in the waterfront's iconic Cinesphere theatre. It doesn't get much more festive than that! It also features 12-feet-tall freestanding icicles, talk about a winter wonderland! From the bonfires, to delicious festive drinks, this new festival is definitely worth checking out if you're wanting to get into the Christmas spirit!

Whistler for a ski vacation 

Our last destination pick for our winter bucket list is a ski vacation to Whistler. A little more extravagant than the previous picks, however if you're planning a vacation this winter the Whistler Village is an all time favourite! Going in the winter is so majestic and is the ultimate getaway. We have suggested a few of our favourite restaurants to check out. Aside from all the amazing activities (dog-sledding, snowshoeing, skidooing, skiing, snowboarding), we have listed some favourite spots, restaurants of course! We love Elements for a delicious breakfast. Pure Bread for the most amazing sweets and coffee. Lastly, Sushi Villlage for the best fresh sushi and their awesome Sake margaritas (note they are strong!). From the cozy lodges, to the knee-deep powder skiing in the legendary terrain, Whistler really does provide the ultimate winter holiday.  

What to Eat/Drink

Beaver tail 

One of the best winter treats that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth is a beaver tail. This authentic Canadian based chain screams winter! One of the best places to snack on a beavertail is while skating on the Canal in Ottawa. The fried dough treat that allows you to choose from various toppings (cinnamon is our top pick) is such an iconic winter sweet. You need to enjoy at least one of these this season! There is a Beaver Tail shack that is located in Toronto's waterfront area, Queen's Quay, perfect to stop at before hitting the Ontario Place Winter Wonderland! 

Apple Cider from Balzacs 

Another favourite winter treat is the delicious apple cider from Balzacs. This cute chain coffee cafes are located throughout Toronto. There is something about their hot apple cider that is amazing and tastes like Christmas in a cup! It's a perfect treat on those frigid winter mornings. A winter favourite here at V.O.C! 

 

 


Recipes: 3 Festive Fall Drinks You Have To Try

The weather has started to cool down and we are slowly starting to pull out our fall attire, what better way to welcome fall than with the best autumn cocktails?! We have shared our four top pick fall drink recipes from some of our favourite chefs including Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver. These are perfect to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner next weekend or anytime throughout out the fall. We hope you love these seasonal cocktails as much as we do! XX

Hot and Nutty Whiskey Sours

Prep time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of Nocello, or other walnut flavoured liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups of whiskey or bourbon, such as Marker's Mark
  • 3/4 cup of simple syrup for whiskey sours
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Directions

1. Bring Nocello, whiskey, simple syrup and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Divide among 4 mugs, and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.

2. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com 

Autumn Crumble cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 part Martini Bianco
  • Dash of apple juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Apple segments to garnish

Directions

1. Add the Martini Bianco and apple juice to a rocks glass with some cubed ice. Top with ginger ale and stir lightly. Garnish with a fanned apple segment.

2. Enjoy!

Adapted from Jamie Oliver's recipe here

Apple Pie Moscow Mule

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces of apple cider
  • 4 ounces of apple pie vodka
  • 1 bottle of ginger beer
  • cinnamon sticks and apple slices for garnish

Directions

1. Fill up two copper mugs with ice.

2. In a cocktail mixer, combine apple cider and vodka. Shake to combine.

3. Top each mug with ginger beer until full.

4. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

5. Drink up and enjoy!

Recipe from The Cookie Rookie

 

 


Recipe: Valentine's Day Funfetti Cinnamon Buns

Valentine's Day is around the corner (just two weeks away) and we don't think there is a better gift for someone you love than baking them something as sweet as they are ;) ... and if you're lucky, they'll share what you made for them with you! For the special day, we're taking our own advice and cooking up a storm for our husbands/boyfriends and besties.

This year, we're making these Funfetti Cinnamon Buns (mind blown!) by The Little Epicurean. There's no doubt that they'll be a hit. Scroll down for recipe information and links to two more Valentine's Day recipe ideas that we love. 

FUNFETTI CINNAMON BUNS

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large yolk
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confetti sprinkles (pastel colours were used in this example)

Filling

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • confetti sprinkles to garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Dough

  • Sprinkle yeast over water and milk. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and stir to combine. Let sit for 5-7 minutes to allow mixture to bubble.
  • In a bowl or mixer, whisk together yeast mixture, remaining sugar, egg, and egg yolk. Whisk salt into flour. Add 2 cups of flour to mixing bowl and mix together. Add another cup of flour. Add softened butter 1 tbsp at a time. Add remaining cup of flour and knead until the dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. Add confetti sprinkles and mix until even distributed. 
  • Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour until it has doubled in volume.
  • Punch down risen dough. Transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Roll dough into a 20 x 14 inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup of softened butter over dough. 

Filling

  • Mix together brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Distribute evenly onto the dough. Sprinkle some sea salt as well. 
  • Roll dough into a log starting at the longer side. Slice it into 12 equal parts. Place rolls in a greased 9 x 12 inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rolls rest for 30-45 minutes at room temperature to let them rise.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Once they're done baking, set them out to cool slightly before adding the frosting. 

Frosting

  • Beat together cream and butter until smooth. Add sifted powdered sugar and beat until smooth and thickened. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls. Top rolls with a dded confetti sprinkles for garnish. 

Find the original recipe here

 

More Valentine's Day recipes we love:

RED VELVET TRUFFLES

VALENTINE'S DAY "CONVERSATION" SUGAR COOKIES 

 

 


THE HOLIDAYS: DIY GIFT IDEAS

DIY HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

We're bringing out our inner Martha Stewart with these awesome DIY holiday gifts. Check out these great ideas for both a fun craft and easy, one of a kind gifts for friends and family. 

Enjoy! 

1. HOLIDAY CARDS

No gift can be given without a great card, so why not personalize your cards this year with this fun DIY idea. Also, we're always looking for an excuse to get crafty, so why not start here! All you need is some 1) cardstock (folded in half), 2) giant sequins, buttons or gemstones, 3) craft glue, and a 4) fineline permanent marker. For more holiday card DIY ideas, check out our blog here

2. ORNAMENTS

To accompany your card and gift, I love attaching a cute Christmas Ornament to the ribbon on the gift. If you're like me and in the Christmas spirit, you also love collecting ornaments, so why not help your friends & family do the same. Plus, it's so fun to pick out or DIY the perfect ornament that you know someone will love. Try this DIY (pictured above). All you need are 1) pinecones, 2) mini pom poms, 3) string or ribbon (we like the gold string this DIY'er used), and 4) a hot glue gun and glue. For the full list of instructions, click here

3. KNITTING

We think knitting something makes the perfect gift, as there are so many options for things you can knit people that you can make it really personal! If they love beanies, you can knit an adorable hat. If they love a scarf, you can knit them the perfect scarf in their favourite colour. The options are endless! Plus, it's such a relaxing thing to do on the weekends. All you need is some yarn, knitting needles, an idea, and you're good to go! For Jill's blanket (pictured above), she ordered yarn from the famous knitting store Purl Soho. Something like this or this is great and convenient, or you can just steal inspiration from them and source the wool yourself! 

4. COOKIE MIX MASON JARS

This is a great gift idea for all the bakers out there and for people that love homemade treats but don't have all the time in the world to bake something from scratch! And this way, you've done all the hard work for them! It's a cute, easy, and affordable gift to give to your loved ones this holiday season. We also love the idea of including a little script of what each jar entails. For instructions on a great cookie mix/mason jar diy, click here

5. PAINTING POTTERY

In Oakville we are spoiled with a pottery painting and clay studio just around the corner from us called Crack Pot. It's not only fun, but the pottery becomes an amazing personalized, one of a kind gift! We highly recommend checking the studio out - they have an amazing selection of pottery pieces for their guests to paint. Such a fun activity to do on a rainy day or during an afternoon with friends. It's also the best place for hosting kids birthday parties. 

6. HOMEMADE CANDLES

Ok, we love this idea and it looks so fun. We were so surprised by how easy this is to do from home. We love that you can even personalize the candles by adding scents that the recipient loves! You can also buy cool coloured mason jars, or jars with patterns on them like the jars pictured above. If you're willing to put in a little extra time to make a unique and personal gift, this DIY is for you! For instructions, click here


Gift Guide: Ideas For Your Dog

GIFTS IDEAS FOR YOUR DOG

 

Tis' the season of gift giving and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. But as many of us dog lovers know, we can't forget about our pups this time of year! As the temperature starts to drop and walks and plays at the park may get a bit shorter, there's no better time to treat your dog. After all, they are pretty important members of the family! We hope you love these gift ideas as much as we do! 

1. SPA DAY

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Treat your pup to a good hair and nail cut for the holidays at Bark and Fitz, Oakville. Marie's dog, Fozzie Bear, gets the Anna Wintour cut by Rachel. For those of you in Toronto, Emily's dog, Rupert, loves the SPAW Boutique on King Street West. 

 

2. APPAREL FROM Dogfather & Co.  

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How handsome is this boyfriend-style Canadian sweater! It's from the Dogfather, a dog store on Yonge St. that is all the rage right now. We are also loving this Canadian made dog jacket by Elanor. Each jacket by Elanor is made with "recycled materials and repurposed production scraps" which is amazing -- a brand we definitely want to support! 

3. TREATS

Is there really a better gift for a dog than some healthy treats that they can sniff out from under the tree on Christmas morning? With the Bulk Barn that has moved in across from our Liberty Village location, we've discovered how many dog treats they carry. This year we plan on filling mason jars with treats for the dog(s) - filled with Bulk Barn's All Natural Grain Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits and Salmon Biscuits. If you don't have a Bulk Barn near you, Zuke's Mini Naturals Salmon treats are another great option - and they're perfect for training! 

4. RAIN GEAR

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Keep your pup dry in the rain with this super stylish coat by Hunter! Hunter is German designed, and known for their high quality products! It also is machine-washable which is always a bonus!

5. GLOW IN THE DARK COLLAR

For those of you with smaller dogs, this is a must! It not only helps when dogs are out in the backyard at night, but it's great for evening walks as well - especially when there are lots of cars around. They go over your pups head and sit gently on their neck without being too heavy. And on a walk or at playtime, they don't even notice it's on! Great for big dogs as well! 

6. DOG WALKING PACKAGE

Unleashed in the City offers amazing dog walking packages from their "Adventure Hikes" to their "Park Play" which take your pup in a pack of dogs everywhere from Cherry Beach to urban dog parks around the city! Emily's dog Rupert has been doing this for a while now, and Emily says it has made him such a happy and well socialized dog - not to mention it keeps him busy and exercised while she is busy at work during the day! 

 


V.O.C. Staff Gift Guide

V.O.C. HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016

 

In the spirit of Black Friday and the mark of the beginning of holiday shopping, the V.O.C. girls have come together to compile a list of our favourite items on our wish lists this year as an attempt to create the best gift guide for all the women (friends, moms, sisters, aunts, etc) in your life! In addition, we've added a few things we'll be gifting the guys as well. We hope you enjoy!

*CLICK ON THE PICTURES FOR LINKS!

EMILY

TOP THINGS ON MY LIST

MACKAGE AGGIE TOTE

Perfect for work or the weekend.  This thing can fit everything you need in it!

TULAROSA NALA BLOUSE

I’m obsessed with this blouse.  I’ve been dreaming of it since we ordered it months ago.

AMARILO MOON AND STAR THREADERS

 

LAYLA ROSE GOLD FRENDS HEADPHONES

MANI/PEDI FROM HER MAJESTY'S PLEASURE

Total indulgence but it’s my favourite place!

 

FRIENDS/FAMILY

GRAY MALIN BONDI BEACH SWELL BOTTLE

It seems like these Swell bottles are all the rage.  I am obsessed with these Gray Malin collaboration.  Take me to the beach!

NESPRESSO MACHINE

I cannot live without mine so I figure it will make a great gift for a friend! 

LE LABO SANTAL 26 CANDLE

MARIE

TOP THINGS ON MY LIST

PJ SALVAGE NATURALLY GREY PYJAMA SET 

 

It's tradition every year that Santa brings PJs, and what could better than this cozy PJ Salvage pair? 

 

VELVET KERI PULLOVER SWEATER

 

The V.O.C. team knows I'm a sucker for a good sweater. This one by Velvet is so fem with its ribbed neckline and pink knit.

 

AG THE LEGGING ANKLE JEANS IN 11 YEAR SWAPMEET

I live in my AG Jeans... I love the wash on these ones. I have them also in the Brooks wash- they are so soft to wear.

BOOK: THE LETTERS OF VINCENT VAN GOGH

I'm fascinated by van Gogh and his relationships with Paul Gauguin and his brother, Theo. I've been wanting to read this book forever, so I'm thinking it's time!

NAMBÉ BULBO KETTLE

I just moved back to Toronto, and I'm excited to decorate a new apartment. This kettle designed by Lou Henry is so pretty with its curves and wood detail, and would look so good at my new place.

FOR FRIENDS/FAMILY

HANDMADE PLANTER BY JANET HINKLE

I recently read the Globe Style Advisory, and I discovered Toronto-based Janet Hinkle's cute planters. I'm thinking my friends are getting one of these with a cactus (for hair) inside! 

BOOK: TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD

I'm a sucker for a good literary pun. I think this Tequila Mockingbird book is brilliant, and would make such a fun and festive present for a book draw or gift exchange. 

ALISHA

TOP THINGS ON MY LIST

KRISTA NORRIS TARTAN SHAWL

 

 

Every year I tell myself I don't need another scarf but I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the Krista Norris Tartan Shawl!

 

PJ SALVAGE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING SET & BEAR SOCKS

 

Who doesn't like slipping into a pair of new cozy PJ’s on christmas eve?  I’m excited to wake up Christmas morning wearing the PJ Salvage Mountains Are Calling PJ set with the PJ Salvage Bear Socks drinking a tea and snuggling on the couch.

 

MACKAGE YOANA LEATHER JACKET

 

Need I say more? Mackage makes some of the best leather jackets and this one is no exception. Definitely on the top of my list. 

 

EYENVY MASCARA

A great alternative to eyelash extensions, Eyenvy is a low maintenance must have addition to your new years beauty ragen. It was crazy how many times I was asked if my lashes were fake, but the best part is that they were my natural lashes just thicker and longer.  Even works on eyebrows!

 

BIG HIT KICKBOXING MEMBERSHIP

The best 45 minute workout you will ever do.  I think its safe to say its a V.O.C. favourite, and even more fun when you go with a few of your girlfriends!

FOR FAMILY/FRIENDS

SALT LAMP

Salt lamps are amazing and have so many health benefits. Mine is my new favourite night table accessory and i'll definitely be gifting a few this year.  

 

ETSY FINDS 

I’m currently addicted to Etsy, I love all the custom/personalized jewelry and home items they have!  You can find anything from cute candles, to personalized jewelry, home decor, and so much more!  I cant give away exactly what I'm getting because I don't want to ruin any surprises but its a must for this christmas!

 

SHELBY

TOP THINGS ON MY LIST

MACKAGE RUBIE-A CROSSBODY BAG

 

 

Ok, I think it's a little obvious why this is at the top of my list...it's beautiful!!! Who wouldn't love this gorgeous leather bag. It's the perfect size - fitting all the essentials and perfect for the girl on the go. I love the embellishment, making it dressy enough for a night out, but still casual enough for daytime because of the easy to wear crossbody function. 

 

TULAROSA FARRAH BLOUSE 

This is THE statement blouse that i've had my eyes on all season. I love how over the top it is with everything that's going on with the ties, lace detail, and bell sleeves...it's so jaw dropping to me! And I love how I could wear it all year long. 

 

VIKTOR & ROLF "FLOWERBOMB" PERFUME

My favourite scent in the world! This Viktor & Rolf perfume is amazing and I go through it so fast. Highly recommend sampling it at Sephora next time you're there! 

 

FITBIT CHARGE 2

I'm in desperate need of a new FITBIT to replace my Nike FuelBand! This one in particular tells you your heart rate, fitness level, and reminds you to move throughout the day amongst other cool features. I think I need it to help my New Year's Resolution of staying off my butt and sticking to 10,000-12,000 steps a day... :)

 

NASTY GALAXY BOOK

I love Sophia Amoruso and have been listening to her podcast religiously lately, where she has mentioned her new book a ton- so it's definitely on my reading list for the new year! 

 

GLO BRILLIANT WHITENING DEVICE MOUTHPIECE AND CASE

Since i'm an avid tea drinker, I am constantly looking for ways to keep my teeth white. This was recommended on Sephora as a product that doesn't make your teeth sensitive after whitening, so I think that alone makes it worth trying. 

 

FOR FAMILY/FRIENDS

NIKE TECH FLEECE SWEATER

This is by far the most comfortable zip up hooded sweater for guys. I love that the fabric is super thick and durable, and that it doesn't wrinkle! It still looks polished even though it's a sweatshirt. Pair it with the Nike Tech Fleece pants and you'll gift the perfect casual #ootd for your man. 

 

ROOTS WOOL SOCKS

Who doesn't love these socks? They're so warm and make the perfect stocking stuffer. They come in women's as well...so you may just have to pick up a pair for yourself! 

 

SUBSCRIPTION TO FABFITFUN

I think this is the perfect gift for a mom or BFF. This box is filled with full sized beauty, fashion, fitness, wellness and home products that are curated and delivered every 3 months when you sign up. Each box has a $200 value for $49.99. So for $200 a year, you get 4 boxes filled with products! Who wouldn't love to come home to this in their mailbox each season?! 

 

SHINOLA PASSPORT COVER

Shinola makes such high quality leather goods and I've had my eye on this passport cover as a gift to both of my parents for a while now. This particular passport cover also has pockets for your cards, so it's perfect for travelling light and carrying only the essentials. 

 

 


RECIPE: APPLE BUTTER

RECIPE: APPLE BUTTER FROM OHSHEGLOWS.COM

Fall is all about comfort food, and if you’re like us, this time of year is not only your favourite for fashion, but for food as well! This recipe from Oh She Glows is an oldie (from 2012) but a goodie, and considering we are well into fall and celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, we thought we’d give this recipe some love! It’s also SO delicious and worth the 5 or so hours it takes to make it! It's a little indulgence in our day without being too heavy. Oh, AND your house with smell amazing once it’s done. 

What you'll need:

*Makes 5 cups of Apple Butter

  1. A slow cooker
  2. A wooden spoon or potato masher
  3. 5.5lbs of apples (Fuji, Honeycrisp, Mac, Granny Smith) - equal mixture of sweet and tart apples — you adjust the amount of apples used — just make sure the mixture of sweet to tart is even.
  4. Cinnamon — you can add as much as you want. Can also throw in cinnamon sticks as it cooks — the cinnamon makes it darker. 
  5. Lemon Juice - makes it a bit more tart and also helps to extend shelf life! (Optional)

Directions

  1. The first step is to slice all of the apples — if you want, you can leave the peel on because once it’s all blended, you won’t be able to tell you left it on! And the peel is packed with nutrients. To speed up the slicing process, an apple slicer is key.
  2. Place apples in the slow cooker and set it on high for 4 hours with the lid on.
  3. After four hours, turn the heat off on the slow cooker and mash apples the apples with a potato masher or wooden spoon. After a while of mashing, it will have the same consistency of apple sauce. Let it cool slightly.
  4. Now, transfer the apple “sauce” into a blender, and blend on high speed. Puree until it’s smooth and no longer chunky. 
  5. Pour apple butter mixture from blender back into slow cooker. Cook uncovered on high heat for another 45-75 minutes until it’s as thick as you want it to be. It will also thicken a bit once chilled overnight.
  6. Add cinnamon to taste. This will also give it a darker colour. If you’re adding lemon juice, you can stir it in here. Store in a mason jar and keep refrigerated. 
  7. Enjoy it!!! Have it with scones, mix it into oatmeal, serve over vanilla ice cream, or use it as an ingredient in another recipe...there are endless ways to enjoy it - it's that good! 

 

Find the original recipe from Oh She Glows author, Angela Liddon, here

Long Weekend Packing Essentials

LONG WEEKEND PACKING ESSENTIALS

 

The long weekend we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! It’s the unofficial start to summer, and is easily one of the most fun weekends of the year…Whether you’re heading up to cottage or further south for the weekend, we’ve compiled a list of packing essentials to help you prepare…

 

1/ Summer(ish) clothes

With summer now within reach, it’s time to start thinking about our summer wardrobe's. While the weather is still unpredictable and temperatures are fluctuating, we could be in jeans one minute, and be wishing we were in shorts the next. Make sure you pack both this weekend…and while you’re at it, pack some white jeans! You’re officially allowed to wear them. We love this style by AG pictured below...

 


2/ Comfy lounge attire

Long weekends are all about relaxing and really not doing much, right?! Prepare for those cozy nights in, or early mornings on the dock by packing soft knitwear. For the best loungewear, we love everything from WildfoxPeace Collective, and PJ Salvage…Check out two of our favourite lounge pieces below…


3/ Reading material

Porter Magazine, for all things fashion and beauty related, is a must-read. It’s perfect for relaxing on the beach or the dock and soaking in the sun. We love getting inspiration from here and setting our sights on a potential splurge ;)!

Emily is also loving her latest read, “The Nest”, which peaks into the lives of a wealthy family whose inheritance is at risk of being swallowed up by legal fees. A great light read for a weekend away! 

If you loved “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train”, Sarah highly recommends “I Let You Go” which she says is super intense and suspenseful and a major page turner…she hasn’t been able to put it down!

 

4/ Fave beauty product

Warmer weather is in the air, which means there’s a good chance we’ll be breaking out our shorts this weekend. If you’re like me, and your tan hasn’t yet caught up with the weather, self tanner should be in your near future. All of us at V.O.C. swear by St. Tropez’s self tanner. It doesn’t have that gross self tanner scent, and works like a charm if you need a tan fast. Easily one of our must-have summer beauty products.

 

5/ Games

Cards Against Humanity is definitely the best game to play with a group of friends. You fill in the blank with the most hilarious card in your deck. Another one of our favourites is Heads Up — it you don’t have it on your phone yet, you’re missing out. . You’ve probably seen Ellen play it with guests of her show. It’s so entertaining and you’ll be in for lots of laughs.

 


Recipe: Valentine's Day Rice Krispie Hearts

Is it just us, or is 2016 flying by? Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, meaning most of us will be scrambling to get that last minute gift for our loves in the next few days. If you haven’t checked out our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Him yet, that’s a must-read that will definitely save you in your quest for last minute gift ideas.

Even if you don’t have a “Valentine” this year, the holiday is a great excuse to treat yourself and have a little fun showing your friends and family how much you appreciate them. Book a massage, maybe treat yourself to that expensive item you’ve been saving up for, send a sweet message to all of your besties, and if you’re feeling crafty, bake something sweet and cute - it’s a Valentine’s Day tradition, right? 

This dessert has to be a favourite of everyones from grade school… Rice Krispie Squares… and we thought Valentine’s Day was a great excuse to bring them back but shaped as hearts instead of squares!

If you like this idea as much as we do, follow the recipe below (from melskitchencafe.com) for a cute gift for your friends and family this Sunday! Spread the love and enjoy :) XO

Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Hearts

 

 What you'll need:

  • - Heart shaped cookie cutter
  • - 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering pans
  • - 1 (10 ounce) package of regular sized marshmallows (or 4 cups of miniature marshmallows
  • - 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
  • - 12 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips
  • - Valentine's heart shaped sprinkles
  • Makes approximately 24 hearts

    1. Butter a large baking sheet. Set aside.
    2. In a large saucepan over medium heart, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and store until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice krispies. Pour mixture into the pan and press evenly. Set aside to cool for an hour or so.
    3. Using your heart shaped cookie cutter, press into the cooled rice krispies. Remove the heart shaped treats and place on wax paper.
    4. In a microwave safe bowl, melt 12 ounces of chocolate chips on 50% power for one minute. Stir. Continue the process until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth but not overheated.
    5. Holding one side of the rice krispie heart, dip half of the rice krispie into the melted chocolate. Sprinkle the Valentine's day sprinkles onto the chocolate while it's still warm. Place on wax paper. Repeat until all 24 treats have chocolate. Let the chocolate harden for 1-2 hours before serving. 
    6. Store in an airtight container. Best if eaten within 24 hours.

    Recipe from melskitchencafe.com

     


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