December 2012 | Live Pretty on a Penny

An Ode to 2012

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I had a good time hanging with family and friends.  Every New Years Eve, I like to take a moment and reflect on the things that I have been able to achieve over the last year. 2012 was an overall amazing year, if I must say so. I was able to accomplish things that were merely thoughts in my head, like starting my blog and growing my freelance makeup business. Through the support of all of my readers, friends, family and clients,  I have made them both into my reality. Many, many thanks to those who supported me, held me accountable, and pushed me to be my very best. I thank you all! I have met some new friends, learned the importance of having the right tools (home and makeup), and overall have just enjoyed having interests outside of work.
If you are new around these parts (howdy), I have put together a recap of my top five posts. Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


This was the most popular post on my blog. If I had to say why, I would guess that it's due to the simplicity of recreating. These shelves are super easy to make and create a fabulous finished product.

This is one of my favorite projects to date. I am in awe of change that took place with this table, going from orangey oak, to rich chocolate.  If you haven't checked out the tutorial, click on the link title link above.

Using the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit, along with new ceramic floors, I was able to take my kitchen from straight up drab, to semi-fab. While we have some updates we will be making in 2013, I was able to live with it this year :)

Updating a {Dated} Brick Fireplace

Looking back at how this fireplace looked before, it is no wonder why this post got so many views. That thing was horrible. I still don't understand how the fire got so hot that it burned the brick.

Anyway, I love the new stone that embodies this fireplace, and this winter we have been enjoying kicking our fit up in front of it. 


With a few coats of paint, some accessories, and new hardware, I was able to make over my half bath with ease. Oh, and under $100. Easy, peasy. 

So there you have it. My top 5 posts of 2012, well since since July 2012, when my blog actually started. I have enjoyed blogging over the past 5 months. I look forward to what 2013 will bring:) Be safe, and again Happy New Year!


Holiday Glitz & Glam Part Two: Six Holiday Cocktails That Rock!

Part of the fun during the holidays are mingling with friends, while enjoying a good cocktail. If I am alone in this matter, I'll take it :) But for those of you who are feeling me, I thought it is only fitting that I share some tasty holiday cocktails that are SURE to make the season bright. When those chilly days of winter hit, what better way to warm up than with flavors of the season!  All of these recipes are simple to make, and are sure to please anyone that you entertain!

Poinsettia Cocktail
3 oz of Cranberry Juice
Lime Twist or Fresh Cranberries for Garnish
*yields one serving
Combine ingredients in champagne glass. Use lime twist or cranberries for garnish.
Candy Cane Cocktail
2 oz of strawberry or vanilla vodka
1 oz of white creme de menthe
2 1/2 oz of cranberry juice (for coloring)
Ice Cubes
*yields one serving
Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.
The Happy Elf
1 oz of melon liquer
2 oz ofcitrus vodka
1 oz of  white cranberry juice
*yields one serving
Combine melon liqueur, citrus vodka, and white cranberry juice in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously, and strain into a cocktail glass. Add cherries.
Spiked Eggnog

Picture Source Unknown
 2oz of Rum or Maple Crown Royal
4oz of Egg Nog
*yields one serving
Combine rum or maple Crown Royal, and egg nog in an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into an 8oz glass. Use candy cane for garnish.

Santa's Sleigh Cocktail
Picture of Santa's Sleigh Cocktail Recipe
White sugar crystals, preferably coarse
2 cups store-bought eggnog, chilled
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 cinnamon sticks
*yields four servings
Dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses and then line the rims with sugar crystals.
Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg, and ice cream in a blender; process until smooth. Pour mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

Pear and Cranberry Bellini

1 cup pear nectar
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 bottle Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine
*yields eight servings
Combine ingredients in champagne glass.


And for you or your guests that don't drink, here are a few non-alcoholic recipes that keep people happy and the holiday still jumpin':

Rudolph Cherry Bomb

 1 cup grenadine
1 liter clear citrus soda, or seltzer
18 maraschino cherries
*yields six servings

Place 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add grenadine; stir to combine. Pour mixture into two ice-cube trays. Freeze until solid, 2 hours or overnight.
Fill six glasses with grenadine ice cubes. Top with soda. Garnish with cherries, and serve.

Festive Fruit Punch
Festive Fruit Punch Recipe
4 cups tonic water or ginger-ale, or lemon-lime soda
3 cups ice cubes
2 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups orange juice, chilled 
2 cups light cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 carambola (star fruit), sliced
*yields ten servings
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve immediately.

So there you have it! Spreading holiday cheer to all!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Holiday Glitz & Glam Part One: Champagne Dreams...Budget Decor Realities

I have to be honest with you guys...I am not doing much decorating this year for Christmas. I have just been too busy between work and personal life, that I can't find the time to completely"deck the halls."  Plus, my home is not where I want it just yet, so hopefully next year will bring more "cheer."

I have put up my tree, though. I wanted my tree to be pretty neutral and I found some serious bargains at my local thrift store and Dollar Tree. You would be surprised about all of the stuff people get rid of each year that is sold at Goodwill or any local thrift store. Decor that has never been used or barely used... but whatever...your gain and mine:)

Even better, I haven't spent any more that $1 on any of the gorgeous ornaments that drape my little 4ft pre-lit tree. Yes, the tree is 4ft. Why the 4ft tree tree? Well,  when we first moved into our house last year, the Christmas season approached really fast, and to be real, I just wasn't prepared.  I had no idea about the cost of faux trees, and the thought of purchasing a real tree mad me gag. No really, it did.  Very traumatizing ordeal from my childhood which made me loathe the smell of fresh pine needles. One day I will tell the story...not today...moving on...just marvel in it's cuteness;)

All of the silver balls that are on the tree were purchased as a variety pack of 12 from a local thrift store for $0.80.

The various sparkly ornaments were purchased from Dollar Tree. The angels are sold as a 5pk for $1.00, the star and the snowflake are sold individually for $1.00 each, the bows sold as a 5pk for $1.00,  and the Christmas tree ornaments are sold 5 for $1.00 as well. Oh yeah, and the star at the very top is also Dollar Tree and of course was $1.00. All in all, I spent about $6.00 plus tax on my tree decor. Not bad.

If after you read this post, you don't head to your local Dollar Tree or thrift store to check out some of the holiday offerings this season, then you are straight trippin'. If you don't have a Dollar Tree, then you're not trippin', but you may want to see what your local dollar stores have to offer. I'm just saying.

If you still have some decorating to do, then here is just a small sample of some additional items that were in the store. I didn't buy them, but you can't be the $1.00 price tag. They definitely have waaay more than just what I am showing:

All images courtesy of Dollar Tree Website

Check out  Dollar Tree site for additional seasonal options. 

Have you found a bargain way to decorate your home? What are some budget decor items that you are incorporating?

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I haven't received any compensation from Dollar Tree. These are all opinions of my own.