Thanks for joining me for another Nine Favorite Things post.
The beautiful tree at the Lotte Palace Hotel
I took a week off from sharing my favorite’s post with you all, and now I feel like I have SO much to share. Just in case you missed it, last Sunday I shared my 2019 holiday cookie box. This box is probably my favorite that I’ve created thus far, so be sure to check it out. Especially if you’re planning to do a lot of baking this week. My cousins all arrive on Saturday, so once they get here it will be full-on Christmas. Hoping to cook, bake, and make cocktails with them during the final days leading up to Christmas. Very excited.
Question: What are you all looking forward to most this holiday season?
The last couple of weeks have been non-stop, which always seems to be the case this time of year. I spent the week in NYC (more on that below). It’s nice to know I have no other trips planned for the rest of the year! I then came home to a very snowy Colorado. We’ve gotten several feet of snow the last few days, so it’s really looking like a winter wonderland around here. Not complaining at all – love it! I’ve been working away in the kitchen, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying just being home.
In other news, I’m slightly stressed because I have not done one little bit of Christmas shopping yet. Anyone else leaving it to the very last minute like me? With that in mind, I’m using today’s Favorites post as my “Christmas gift list”. I’m sharing some of my favorite stocking stuffers (yes, I help Santa with my mom’s stocking every year), cozy style finds, and my favorite sources for last-minute shopping.
PS. speaking of holiday gifts, we have SIGNED copies Half Baked Harvest Super Simple available on Barnes & Noble. And the book is available on Anthropologie too.
PSS. my 2019 Holiday Gift Guide with Williams-Sonoma is live and there is a HUGE giveaway that includes all my favorite products.
Coming up this week on HBH, we have a lot of last-minute holiday content for you! Like a lot. We’ll be sharing the simplest, prettiest salad to serve with your holiday dinners, easy appetizers, make-ahead breakfast recipes, a mouth-watering baked pasta, and of course, one last Christmas drink this Saturday. So much ahead this week as I’m trying to pack it all in so you guys can have the BEST Christmas, complete with delicious recipes.
Lastly, if you’re catching up on blog posts from the week, be sure to sign up for our daily newsletters. They’ll help you to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here, as well as fun content you’ll only get via email. And of course, if you’re meal planning today, don’t forget to check out my menu below (it’s #9 on the favorite’s list).
1. NYC December recap.
First, let me start off by saying that New York in December is truly magical. Even though it poured rain the first two days, it snowed on the third day, which made up for everything. Next year I’m bringing my mom and little Asher with me. It’s always better with family, especially those two Christmas loving freaks. They would have been loving every minute of that snowy, Christmas scene.
I stayed at the New York Lotte Palace, which is on Madison Avenue, just a few blocks from Rockefeller Center. The main reason I stayed here was for their holiday decorations, which did not disappoint. The tree in the hotel’s beautiful courtyard gives the Rockefeller Center tree a run for its money. In my opinion, the Palace’s tree is prettier. It’s classic, with white lights and vintage ornaments. In addition to the tree, the inside of the hotel is lit up with mini trees throughout the lobby. There are festive little lights and garland everywhere. It could not have been prettier or more festive. And of course, the hotel itself is wonderful as well. The staff was so kind, which I found very helpful throughout my four-night stay.
Monday started off with rain. So much rain. In fact, it rained the entire day, but it’s OK. I spent the day filming something very exciting with Good Morning American and Ginger Zee. This will air in early January and I cannot wait for you guys to see the episode. Hands down, this was the highlight of my trip. I’m really loving doing more on camera and finding it very fun. From filming, I went straight to my event with Lululemon, which was a Q&A and book signing. This too was such fun. The Q&A was actually done as a conversation with my editor…and she had the best questions! The food was delicious and I LOVED meeting you all. So much kindness and excitement. Twas the best day.
Tuesday was all about the Rachel Ray show. I could not have been more excited to film this. The segment will air on December 19th. I’ll wait to share any more on this until it is live. I will say that I had a blast filming this, Rachel is so kind! From the Rachel Ray Show, I went on to tape the Cherry Bomb podcast, and then straight over to the Skimm to teach a cheeseboard class. As soon as I have the air date of the Cherry Bomb podcast, I’ll be sure to let you all know!
Wednesday I spent the morning catching up on work while cozied up in my hotel room. It was snowy and so Christmasy, so this was the perfect NYC morning. I had a few meetings throughout the afternoon (one of which was the Martha Stewart team…so fun), and then my final book signing of the year at Williams-Sonoma. I made pizzas from HBH Super Simple, answered questions, and signed over one hundred books. The perfect way to end my trip.
Oh, and then we did a big team dinner at Legacy Records, which was delicious. I highly recommend giving this restaurant a try if you’re ever in the city. Order ALL of the pasta plates…and then the brussels sprouts too.
Thursday morning it was off to the airport and home to the snowiest Colorado.
2. homemade gifts…plus my favorite Christmas post.
3. my ideal stocking stuffers…
Because I LOVE very, very GOOD stocking stuffers. They are so much fun!
4. favorite questions of the week.
q: How do you not get all your cute sweaters dirty when you cook?
a: I try to cook in a black hoodie for the most part. I’ll break out my sweaters for stories…but trust me I’m getting everything dirty. I am not a clean cook.
q: Doing a low key open house Christmas party. Any tips? Appetizers? Cocktails?
a: Keep things simple and easy. Serve 2-3 pitcher cocktails, have some wine on hand, and do appetizers that don’t require your attention and can be made ahead. Send guests home with a small box of cookies. It’s extra work, but such a nice way to end a great night. I’d also have holiday music playing, but in the background, so it’s not too overwhelming. Have candles burning and/or the fire on to create a welcoming, cozy space. If you need to make the house smell extra nice, simmer homemade potpourri on the stove or in the slow cooker. Oh, and I love decorations with a mix of eucalyptus, pomegranates, and simple ornaments throughout the house.
q: I know you are are fantastic cook, but would you consider a sweater line?
a: Haha. I mean, I basically live in sweaters (even in the summer), so really this would be a very good idea. But no I have not thought about it. Also…it’s very funny to me how interested everyone is in my sweaters.
q: How do you organize your schedule?
a: Poorly. My goal for 2020 is to be more organized…but it’s hard because I’m constantly changing my mind!
q: How many siblings do you have?
a: I’m one of seven with three brothers ahead of me, two brothers below me, and one little sister.
5. newest videos.
30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs…best recipe to make for these cold December nights.
Pull-Apart Garlic Butter Bread Wreath…the melt in your mouth bread that your dinner NEEDS.
Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake…a winter wonderland cake.
6. don’t need anything for Christmas?
My family does a Secret Santa every year since there are so many of us. It’s so much fun, but I never, ever know what to put on my list. I am someone who does not love getting gifts, in fact, it makes me very uncomfortable. This year I said that all I wanted was for my Secret Santa to do some research and find an amazing charity to gift to in my name. I don’t need a thing, so this is the perfect gift to give me.
If you happen to feel like I do, or are just feeling charitable this holiday season, I would highly recommend telling friends and family this is a gift you’d truly love to receive. Remember, tis the season for giving!
Question: What are some of the charities you and your family love to support?
7. a few links i am loving…
mindful drinking..why i’m doing it this holiday season.
36 holiday arrivals at Trader Joe’s…what is your favorite?
all the best cookbooks to gift in 2019…if you need ideas.
lazy girl looks…style your hoodie 3 ways.
20 appetizers to bring to a holiday party…you can never have too many apps.
inside Neil Patrick Harris magical holiday decor…classic and festive.
the best candles to gift this season…because I LOVE candles.
top 20 places to travel in 2020…where are you headed?
Chanel opened a boutique in Aspen…if you’re in town this winter.
7 head-turning beauty trends…to inspire your holiday glam.
what’s your must-pack travel item…for me, it’s skincare essentials…and snacks.
how Jennie Garth is decorating for the holidays…sweet interview.
gift of the day…Glossier’s best skin-care products.
18 thoughtful holiday gifts…for best friends.
42 gifts for the dad who doesn’t want anything…actually some good ideas.
explore a Hamptons dream house…so pretty.
toast to 2020 with these sparkling cocktails…what are you mixing up?
how to make a DIY holiday wreath…with little effort and high reward.
8. my favorite sweaters on sale…
9. this week’s dinners…
Tuesday: sesame-crusted salmon with honey soy dressing (HBH Super Simple cookbook recipe)
Wednesday: instant pot pasta e fagioli
Sunday Breakfast: overnight cinnamon roll bread with chai frosting
Finally, check out all the past Nine Favorite Things posts here.