style: not-so-ugly christmas sweater.

With events like Santacon and ugly Christmas sweater parties, the holiday season has become like one big theme party.

I’m so in favor of that.

And thanks to retailers wanting to cash in on the trend, I’ve seen a handful of “ugly” (but actually cute) Christmas sweaters in stores this season.

I love any and every opportunity to be festive around the holidays, so I couldn’t help myself from grabbing this adorable Snoopy Christmas sweater I saw in the window of Wet Seal a few weeks ago. 

Snoopy Christmas Sweater || gracie gordon || girlmeetslife.com

Snoopy Christmas Sweater || gracie gordon || girlmeetslife.com

Snoopy Christmas Sweater

 

Snoopy Christmas Sweater

Snoopy Christmas Sweater || gracie gordon || girlmeetslife.com

Speakable HOPE necklace

distressed black jeans

Snoopy Christmas Sweater || gracie gordon || girlmeetslife.com

The whole look:

sweater – Wet Seal
jeans – Urban Outfitters
boots – Express
scarf – H&M
necklace – Speakable

{photos by Sam Ruby}

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Did you go to any ugly Christmas sweater parties this year?

eats: Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Blondies.

Another day, another Cake Batter Blondies recipe.

I’ve already covered the oh so Christmasy Red Velvet Cake Batter Brownies this year, so I thought it was time to introduce an equally festive version.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Blondies

ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • a few generous drops of green food coloring

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cake mix in a large bowl, set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and oil.

Add wet mixture to the cake mix and combine as much as possible, then add the milk, peppermint extract, and food coloring.

* Add as little milk as possible to just get the batter to come together. You want it to be THICK – almost like a cookie dough.

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Place batter in a well-greased 8×8 pan or 8 inch cake pan.

Bake for 26-29 minutes or just until the edges turn golden. **

Let cool for 60 minutes before cutting because the batter-like center needs to set.

** Don’t be tempted to over-bake!!! That will result in a drier cakelike texture, not the ooey-gooeyness we’re going for!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Blondies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Blondies

I made these for my girl friend’s the other night, and they were a huge hit. There may or may not have been some boyfriends texting their girlfriends to bring some home after they saw the Instagram post, ha!

I must admit that I’m actually not usually a huge fan of mint, but these have just the right amount. Of course, you could always add a bit more peppermint extract if you’d like a stronger peppermint flavor. But I found one teaspoon to be perfect – noticeably minty but not overbearing.

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Are you a fan of mint-flavored desserts? What variety of Cake Batter Blondies would you like to see me make next? :)

(You can find all of my Cake Batter Blondies recipes here!)

life: on holiday survival.

Has anyone else noticed a plethora of “holiday survival guides” floating around the Internet this year? And does anyone else cringe when they see them?

Sorry (not sorry), but if you think the holidays are about finding the best time to go to the mall or how to have enough willpower to avoid eating a brownie – you’re missing the point.

It’s so strange how we’ve turned the holidays – once a time filled with so much magic and joy when we were children – into yet another feat we need to overcome. Like we need to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT and STRIVE STRIVE STRIVE to make the holidays this perfect little 4 week streak at the end of the year.

 I’m guilty of it myself. Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten down on myself for not being in the “Christmas spirit” enough. It’s those expectations, man. They’re what’s killing us.

Along with these high (usually unrealistic) expectations we put on ourselves, the holidays can be so filled with…

commercialism
regret
loneliness
overspending
overindulging
comparison (helloooo social media)
missing loved ones
…and so on.

Yikes. Sorry for being such a debbie downer.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Like, Buddy the Elf sorta love. But this year, I’m realizing that I’m beginning to love it in a whole new way, for whole new reasons. Of course I want that magical, overjoyed feeling I got as a kid. But I’m learning that as I get older – the source of that feeling is what really matters.

My relationship with God. My family. My friends. My blessings to be counted and counted and counted again. Those are the things that make Christmas magical.

I had this whole list of Christmas-y things I wanted to do this year – decorations/lights to drive by, movies to watch, cookies to bake, etc., and sure – I may still do those things.

But you know what’s at the top of my list now?

To simply SLOW DOWN. To be still. To unplug from technology. To stop thinking and re-thinking and over-thinking my job and relationships and finances and life and just *takes breath*…BE.

So I don’t know about you, but I’m not making this holiday season just another one to survive. I’m going to embrace these last few weeks of the year – whether they “look” the way I wanted them to or not – and finish out 2014 from a place of rest.

Who’s with me?

eats: gooey butter cake.

Pardon me for being pompous, but I like to consider myself an expert when it comes to sweets.

I might not be the biggest fan of chocolate (blasphemy, I know), but when it comes to cookies and cakes and ice cream (oh my) I know a good thing when I taste it.

So please take me seriously when I say that butter cake is the dessert of the gods. It’s ooey, gooey, decadent buttery perfection.

Gooey Butter Cake

I don’t make butter cake often – maybe about once a year – but when I do, it brings all the boys to the yard.

Gooey Butter Cake

I follow Paula Deen’s recipe because…well, she’s the butter cake queen.

Aside from being ridiculously delicious, butter cake is actually quite easy to make. You can’t really screw it up (unless you over-bake it…so don’t over-bake it!).

Gooey Butter Cake

So if you’re looking for a relatively easy and definite crowd-pleasing dessert for the holidays – trust me on this one.

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What’s your favorite decadent dessert? What have you been baking so far this holiday season?

 

 

keeping it fresh this holiday season with Listerine Mouthwash.


Here on GML I post a lot about style and beauty. Especially now that we’re in the holiday season, looking great on the outside with stylish clothes and fun makeup is obviously on the agenda. There’s no denying that a great pair of shoes or a fabulous handbag can make you stand out in a crowd. But do you want to know what I think is the best accessory a girl can have during the holiday season? A beautiful, clean, and healthy smile!

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In a month filled with holiday work parties, multiple family festivities, decadent dinner celebrations with friends, and a potential stop underneath the mistletoe (you know you want to!), having a clean and healthy mouth is obviously a must. And while I’m all about brushing my teeth before heading out on the town, brushing alone isn’t enough. That’s why I’m a huge fan of LISTERINE® Antiseptic.

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Get this – brushing alone actually misses 75 percent of your mouth. That’s why it’s essential to rinse with LISTERINE® Antiseptic in order to reach nearly 100 percent of your mouth and kill the germs that cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath. Some more info: Clinical data shows that Listerine Antiseptic reduces 52 percent more plaque and 21 percent more gingivitis than brushing and flossing alone. That’s important when you consider that the majority of adult Americans develop gingivitis at some point in their lives – and don’t even know it.

IMG_3164

So what are “The Essentials” that work together to pack this powerful punch to kill these hard to reach germs? It’s the four essential oils that originally came from plant sources that have protected your mouth for more than 100 years.

Eucalyptol – Derived from trees usually found in Australia, this essential oil acts as both an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent.
Menthol – Identical to menthol found in natural corn mint, this essential oil is known for its germ killing properties. Thymol – Identical to the thymol in natural thyme and ajowan herb, research continues to demonstrate this essential oil’s effectiveness against bacteria
Methyl Salicylate – Identical to the methyl salicylate in natural wintergreen, this essential oil is also often found in chewing gum due to its fresh flavoring properties. No other branded mouthwash has this unique, fixed combination formula that kills millions of germs on contact, helping keep your mouth healthy and holiday ready.

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For more information on LISTERINE® mouthwash, its unique essential oil-based formula, and how you can improve your oral health, visit http://www.listerine.com/products-essential-oils.

Name the four essential oils found in Listerine mouthwash within the comments section for your chance to win a $100 VISA Gift Card!

Sweepstakes Rules:

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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification e-mail will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher.com e-mail address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/16/14 – 1/15/15.

Be sure to visit the LISTERINE® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Please note I have been compensated for this post. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

here’s what | 12.15.14.

Hiiiii you guyssss!

(Do you have any idea how many times autocorrect just changed that? My new Mac better start understanding my intentional extra letters soon :P)

What’s new? How’s life? I’m feeling rather blabbery right now, so a here’s what post seems just about right.

1. Completely unrelated to anything, how terrifying is this GIF of me?

Gracie Gordon

2. That’s one of about five million Martina and I took at last week’s Phhhoto #FutureSelfie party. Phhhoto is a sick app – definitely recommend downloading it! You can follow me there @alagracie.

3. Due to feeling inadequate for not being a part of the Serial craze, I decided to start listening to it. Almost 5 days later and I’m only halfway through the first episode so…it’s not going so well.

4. This article made me feel better about having multiple jobs. HOWEVER, narrowing down my many gigs is definitely a goal I have for 2015.

5. Christmastime in New York. Would ya look at that…

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC Christmas in NYC

6. BUT. I’m not in the Christmas spirit as much as I normally am by now, and it’s sort of pissing me off. I think the culprit is that I haven’t watched a single Christmas movie yet, so that will have to change ASAP (specifically Elf, Love Actually, The Holiday, I’m comin’ for ya).

7. I’m planning a little getaway (or three) for next year. One in particular is going to be more work-related, but I’m pretty excited about it.

8. I’ve been on a major sushi kick lately. It’s like, all I ever want to eat. I’m especially loving Beyond Sushi right now – it’s all vegan sushi, but somehow I don’t miss the fish at all. I think I’m all protein-ed out ever since doing Whole30, ha. They also have these killer rice wraps that are flavorful yet refreshing at the same time.

(Their Nutty Buddy wrap + Sweet Tree roll)

Beyond Sushi vegan Nutty Buddy wrap Beyond Sushi vegan Sweet Tree roll

9. Rachel and I renewed our apartment lease! It’s the first apartment I’ve stayed in for more than a year in NYC, and it feels soooo good to not have to pack up and move again. Not to mention it’s my first apartment that actually feels like home. We barely have it decorated, though, so that’s going to be a fun little project for January.

10. Last but not least, every once and a while I like to reevaluate what I(‘ve been) blogging about. What do you guys think? Do you like fashion related posts? What would you like to see more/less of? I’ve been feeling more domesticated lately, maybe I’ll start experimenting more with recipes again…

Would love to know your thoughts! xoxo

style: statement making with Ben Amun.

A few weeks ago I went to a fun blogger brunch at the Ben Amun showroom here in NYC. They spoiled the other bloggers and I with delicious coffee, drinks, and a Chobani bar.

Ben Amun

Chobani bar

But the highlight of the brunch was obviously the stunning jewelry. I’ve been familiar with Ben Amun for about a year now as my best friend Jessi has been doing their social media, and I’m just such a huge fan of their pieces. I love just about any and all statement jewelry, and Ben Amun makes some of the best I’ve seen.

I was even once able to go in the back and see where they actually make the jewelry, and it was so incredible. Each piece is custom made and assembled by hand. So much detail and attention goes into each and every piece.

Ben Amun

Ben Amun

As part of the event, we were able to make our own custom Ben Amun jewelry. I was like a kid in a candy store, to say the least.

Ben Amun

We got to choose from a few different designs, but I went with the City Scapes Skyscraper necklace. I got to pick out all of the gems and detailing of my necklace, and a few weeks later my custom necklace arrived in the mail. It was a very welcome early Christmas present, to say the least!

Ben Amun

Ben Amun

Ben Amun

Gracie Gordon

Thanks so much to Ben Amun! I can’t wait to wear my new necklace over the holidays :)

Please note I was not compensated for this post other than by receiving the necklace. All opinions herein are my own.

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What’s your favorite type of jewelry to wear? Do you prefer statement or minimal/simple pieces?

 

 

style: that’s a wrap.

And just like that, it’s freezing outside.

I can’t say I hate it, though, because I love the chance to throw on leggings, boots, a cute sweater and call it a day.

This season I’ve really been loving vests, so I was especially excited when my friend (and designer) Kristine started making these Cashmere Wool Wrap Vests. How cute is this?

Plaid Wool Cashmere Vest || girlmeetslife.com || gracie gordon

I love the style but also functionality of the wrap vests. One size fits all, and they can be worn three ways (open, belted, or pinned). There are also two different styles – a camel one and another plaid print.

(The vests are selling for $350 in stores, but Kristine is offering a special holiday sale right now for $80 each. Check them out here.)

Plaid Wool Cashmere Vest || girlmeetslife.com || gracie gordon

Nixon watch & Sisco Berluti bracelets

Plaid Wool Cashmere Vest || girlmeetslife.com || gracie gordon

Plaid Wool Cashmere Vest || girlmeetslife.com || gracie gordon

K.Banasik wool cashmere plaid vest || girlmeetslife.com || gracie gordon

The whole look:

wrap vest – K. Banasik
leggings – H&M
shirt – Target

booties – Dolce Vita
gold bar necklace – Speakable

key necklace – Giving Keys
watch – Nixon (men’s Re-Run)
bracelets – Sisco Berluti
rings – Forever 21

{photos by Sam Ruby}

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What’s your go-to outfit when it’s cold out?