orange sweater // flowy striped pants // faux leather jacket // black cabby hat // buckle booties (similar here & here)

The warm colors and endless paths of fallen leaves are just about gone, and in its place is white winter wonderlands, rich holiday colors, and hot cocoa by the fire. I wanted to style one last autumnal style outfit before the cold completely takes over. Funnily enough, it started snowing shortly before these photos were taken, which seemed only fitting.

If you follow me on instagram, you’d know that we are crazy about Christmas in our house! Well, maybe not Chase… Haha! I may have to force him to watch Christmas movies, and he believes that Christmas music should only be played on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He definitely has Christmas spirit, but I have enough for several peoples worth!

Now, about this outfit! I’ve been wearing this (faux) leather jacket all the time, and it’s perfect for layering over a cute sweater. These flowy pants are perfect for all seasons and super comfy (and only $14!)!  I’m kind of mad at myself for not putting this whole outfit together sooner! I’ve also been trying to accessories more, unfortunately a few years ago I got rid of all my necklaces because I didn’t know how to style them. So, now I have to start all over with my jewelry collection.

Xoxo

I absolutely love baking, and I’m starting to include Oliver in the fun. He likes to help turn on the Kitchen Aid, and he even helped me cut out the cookies. Christmas with a toddler is amazing, seeing it through his eyes as he’s experiencing everything for the first time. Although it’s not his first Christmas, I don’t think being a 4-month-old baby counts as really experiencing Christmas. Oliver loves all the Christmas lights and get’s a little upset if any of them are turned off. I can only imagine how he’s going to be on Christmas morning!

I have been baking Christmas goodies all week! Chase even asked if I was baking everyday to make him fat. Haha! I’ve already made two big batches of sugar cookies, and I thought I’d share the recipe I use because it is AMAZING!! They are soft and delicious, and keep their shape perfectly.

The Perfect Sugar Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour, spooned and leveled

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and continue to beat for 1 minute, until well incorporated.
  3. Add the sugar and beat well, 1-2 minutes, until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. This is my spatula that I love and use for every baking project.
  4. Add salt and flour and beat until just barely combined, scraping the sides and bottom again. Do not stir too much or you will make your dough tough. The dough is pretty sticky!
  5. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover or wrap tightly and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight) or in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
  6. When the dough is completely chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Line 2-3 baking sheets parchment paper or grease lightly with cooking spray.
  8. Prepare a work surface with a light dusting of flour. (If you have not already split the dough in half, do so now. Put any dough that you are not working with in the fridge)
  9. Use floured hands to flatten out the dough a bit, then use a rolling pin to roll it and smooth it out a little bit. We want the cookies to be THICK, about 3/8 inch. No crisp cookies, please. 🙂
  10. Lightly dust your chosen cookie cutters with flour. Press firmly into the dough, making sure you have clean lines. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet. Leave at least 1 inch in between each cookie. (If you’ve taken long enough that your shaped cookies are no longer chilled, place the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for a couple minutes)
  11. Scrape together the excess dough and knead it together once or twice (as little as possible), then roll it out again to 3/8. Don’t overwork the dough! (It will get tough.) Continue until the dough is gone. Refrigerate the dough as necessary. They should go into the oven cool.
  12. Bake the shaped cookies at 350 for about 9 minutes for smaller cookies, and about 10-11 minutes for larger cookies. Do NOT over bake. You do not want the edges or tops to brown at all. The cookies should be barely browned on the bottom.
  13. Leave the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then immediately transfer to a large tupperware and cover until they are completely cooled and you are ready to frost.
  14. Frost cookies with buttercream. Recipe HERE.
  15. Enjoy!!

I hope you all have a happy Friday! We are supposed to get snow tomorrow, so I’m just going to snuggle up and watch Christmas movies this weekend.

Xoxo

J.Crew wool sweater // Ted Baker watch // Food+ Beer book // Guess leather wallet // black leather belt // Fitbit // Harry’s shaving set // insulated thermos // Oxford dress shoes // wireless Beats by Dr. Dre headphones // Anthony Bourdain cook book // sandalwood scented shaving cream // wooden iPhone case // green winter hat // wool blend boot socks // cable-knit sweater // Apple watch // leather canvas backpack

I always find that shopping for my hubby can be hard, because he either says he wants nothing, or wants one, more expensive, item. I decided to make a gift guide, perfect for your husband, boyfriend, or maybe even your dad. I’ve included items that work as stocking stuffers, and also a few bigger ticket items. All of the items I included, I would genuinely get for my husband, or maybe already have. Here are a few of the items listed that are my favorite of the bunch:

“Food + Beer” cookbook // The perfect cookbook for your man who likes to cook and enjoy beer. The book gives you recipes and pairs it with the perfect beer to complete your meal. Great gift for any occasion!

Fitbit // Both Chase and I have Fitbit’s and they are a great way for tracking your activity, steps, and even your sleep. Perfect for the guy that might have “being more active” as one of his New Year’s resolutions.

Harry’s shaving set //This is one of the only things Chase asked for Christmas. Most razors are so expensive and their razor head replacements cost upwards of $20-$30 for one! Harry’s is super affordable and you get the good quality without paying an are and a leg.

sandalwood scented shaving cream // Chase has this brand and he uses it every time he shaves. Cremo has an entire line for facial hair, and let me just say that their beard conditioner smells like peppermint patties. Yum! Also, sandalwood smells amazing!

wool-blend boot sock // I just bought more of these kind of socks for Chase. He loves them! Your feet don’t sweat or over heat, and when its cold, they keep them nice and warm. Oh, and they last a long time!

Apple watch // Chase has wanted one since they came out. Perfect for your man who loves Apple products or is a techie guy. It’s a bit pricey, but I’ve only ever heard amazing things about it!

I hope this gift guide was helpful! Happy shopping! 🙂

Xoxo

Christmas is just weeks away, and with Christmas comes lots and lots of pictures, get-together’s, and parties. Treating yourself to a bright white smile is a great way to celebrate the holiday season!

To be honest, I have always been a little insecure when smiling and showing my teeth. Despite my dentist forever saying that I have great teeth, and no matter how well I took care of them, they always seemed to look a bit yellowed. Having my dentist whiten my teethe was out of the budget, therefore out of the picture, and whitening strips hardly seemed to help. The color of my teeth took away from the fact that I’ve never had braces or a cavity, and I brush and floss on the regular. My one downfall is coffee , but even that I don’t drink excessively and I brush right after whenever I can. After I had Oliver, my teeth became somewhat sensitive, and I thought whitening was out of the picture for good.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a company called Smile Brilliant. Low and behold, they are a teeth whitening company that is specifically for people with sensitive teeth! I was unsure at the time, but figured that it was worth a try after i read more about their company HERE. Let me tell you what, the price may seem a bit up there, but compared to other whitening companies or professional whitening, it is incredibly affordable! Here’s how it works:

First off, you purchase a whitening kit, and you’ll receive their beautifully put together box, with both whitening and desensitizing syringes, instructions, and the materials to get your teeth molds made. Getting your teeth mold made is super simple, just closely follow the instructions given and mail out your imprints with the pre-stamped envelope provided. Extremely easy and painless!

Shortly after sending, you receive your custom made trays and the whitening begins! These trays fit perfectly and comfortably. You can whiten anywhere from 45 minutes – 3 hours. I started out at 45 minutes and worked my way up to the max time. Obviously the longer you do it, the better result you will get. After you whiten, you rinse your trays and then use the desensitizing gel. Trust me, you will want to use the desensitizing gel! I didn’t use it after the first couple whitening sessions and when I used it I had instant relief! The whitening works hard on your teeth as it’s removing years of stain, so the desensitizing gel helps your sensitive nerves in your teeth.  Don’t forget to use it!

**Also, If your gums start to feel sensitive, simply rub coconut oil or Vaseline on your gums before whitening.

I got into the habit of whitening my teeth before bed, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about anything staining them right after I had just whitened them (it also kept me from late night snacking). Being able to sit and relax at home while my teeth are whitening is a huge convenience! I definitely recommend this product and I am loving my results so far! If you have any questions at all about Smile Brilliant, please feel free to either email me, or just comment below.

Smile Brilliant wants to give you, my awesome readers, an opportunity to win one of their whitening kits!!

Enter Giveaway HERE!!

Giveaway lasts 2 weeks. Make sure to enter!! You can also use the code thebrunettefactor15 for $15 off any tray set!

** This post is in collaboration with Smile Brilliant, and all opinions are truthful and my own

 

 

blue silk top (similar here & here) // distressed jeans // faux leather jacket // silk scarf (sold out, similar here, here, & here) // sunglasses

Since getting back from our Thanksgiving vacation, our house has been a bit of a disaster. I have been trying to be more minimalistic, so that means lots of bags for donations. Plus, I think I’ve finally figured out how I want to decorate our house. Haha its only taken me over a year of living in this house. I have already taken three trash bags of clothes to the donation bin. Cleaning out our closet comes with the perk of finding clothes that I forgot I even had.

This top is perfect for layering, and I have had a bit of a silk/satin obsession lately, especially silk scarves and bandanas! They are great for tying around a simple ponytail, or wearing as a headscarf. A easy way to add flare and up your hair game. I got this silk bandana at H&M before Thanksgiving on clearance, so they don’t have it anymore, but I link up a few others I love.

Xoxo