Hi there beloved reader! Remember me? Ha, sorry I haven't been around here too much in the last week! Believe it or not, I have been super busy prepping for the holiday. In the last week I have cooked/baked the following recipes to give out as gifts or bring to holiday parties:

Pomegranate Orange Syrup (perfect for adding to seltzer)

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels (tasty and impressive looking!)

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie (voted best chocolate chip cookie recipe by the NYTimes; I concur! These things are deadly delicious . . . )

Pfeffernussen (so festive!)

Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies (a holiday favorite in our house)

Besides that I spent hours and hours wrapping presents. Everyone in my family thinks I am crazy for creating such elaborate packaging but I think it's fun and the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit.

Here are some my creations, in case you are curious (forgive the inconsistent pictures, the light in my apartment is no bueno):

But doesn't our tree look lovely?

Anywho, if you are crazy like me and looking for a creative outlet re: christmas wrapping this year, here are some tips, scroll all the way to the top of the page and check out my round up of wrapping tips!

one | Go monochrome! I love wrapping my presents in red paper because it really pops under the Christmas tree and there are lots of great red patterned papers out there.

two | Get your doodle on! Use plain butcher paper or kraft paper and doodle a design or two (snowflakes, pine trees, bows, etc.) in silver, red, white ink or whatever your heart desires! You can even do it on plain printer paper, as long as you have a tiny gift or two to wrap!

three | Mini Eco has this brilliant idea to make "confetti" paper. You simply wrap the gift in white paper and then loosely wrap it in clear sheets of cellophane (you can buy this at the container store or craft stores). I did my own version with holly confetti that I bought on Amazon (see second photo of my gifts above) but the possibilities are endless!

four | Make a duct tape bow. This is super easy and makes a great sculptural impact on top of your present. I used gold and red duct tape, but standard silver would look cool too!

five | Use materials you have around the house. This is a picture of the gifts I wrapped a couple years ago relying heavily on rolls of crepe paper streamers I happened to have on hand. They work great as a cheap and graphic alternative to ribbon. I also made paper snowflakes to top the gifts with a couple of random sheets of colorful origami paper I had on hand.

six Use office supplies! This is one of my favorite presents I have ever wrapped because it is so colorful and fun. I had a label I printed out from Martha Stewart and added a spray of colorful marking dots from Staples to emphasize the festive label design. White paper with a bunch of these dots (sans label) or reinforcements or stickers would also look great!

seven | Remember what I said about number one? You can also run in the opposite direction and go color crazy! If you stick with basic patterns and bold colors any package will really look fabulous under the tree? Who says every gift has to have Santa on it?

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and happy new year! I will be back here in 2014 and until then sending lots of love . . .


You know I love a good flash mob. And a great art story. But when the two worlds collide? Bam! Mind blown!

To celebrate the reopening of the Rijksmuseum after a ten year renovation the museum arranged to stage a live reenactment of its most famous work—Rembrandt's The Night Watch (1642)—to the surprise of shoppers in a Dutch mall in Breda. The painting is famous in the history of art for its dynamic take on portraiture, with each person depicted on the cusp of dramatic movement. Previously formal portraits showed their subjects still as stone; here each fellow is gesturing, moving, clamoring for our attention. See for yourself here.

So it makes perfect sense that organizers would choose this painting to literally come to life! Cool, right?

Learn more about the project here.


Every once in a while I come across an artist who makes my jaw drop. The colorful installations created by 27-year-old Korean artist JeeYoung Lee did just that (seriously, I think my jaw unhinged and fell to the floor). Lee uses her small studio as a staging ground to create elaborate wonderlands—otherworldly landscapes made solely out of common craft materials like paint, cardboard and foam. Taking months to painstakingly create these imaginative scenes she them photographs herself exploring them, with the final result being these colorful, creative installation images. The craziest part? There is absolutely no post-production editing of the photos; this is what the scenes actually look like in her space? Wild, right?

See more of Lee's work here.

Thanks to the Huffington Post for the tip.


Yesterday New York City was hit with a "snowstorm"—really just a dusting—that coated the trees in Central Park all afternoon. It was beautiful! 

Seeing the fluffy flakes falling from the sky, I was reminded of these incredible macro photographs taken by Russian artist Alexey Kljatov. Their extreme detail shows just how amazingly varied snowflake patterns truly are and, in my mind, reminds us of the technical brilliance of the natural world. Leave it to Mother Nature to come up with something so precisely magical.

Even more impressive? The Atlantic and Kljatov have outlined the steps necessary to reproduce these shots yourself. Frankly the process is beyond my humble abilities but still very cool to see! Read the article (and how to) here.


You know I am a sucker for clever street art (check these out) and these pieces by OakOak, a French "artist who likes to play with urban elements" are no exception. I love how he sees the hidden potential in every crack and scuff in the street, bringing in our favorite characters (Calvin & Hobbes!) for new adventures.Check out more cool things from OakOak here.
(Thanks to TwistedSifter for the tip.)


What are you up to this weekend? I am attending a Friendsgiving with all my favorite college friends on Saturday and then having a holiday spectacular day with my hubby on Sunday. What's a holiday spectacular, you say? It's basically an epic day of holiday shopping, sightseeing and snacks that we do every December. In my mind it's almost as exciting as Christmas itself! 

We also got our tree this week (above), so decorating it is on the top of our list this weekend (that and sending out Christmas cards, photos of those to come!). What are you up to? Anything festive?

If you are laying low and looking for some fun distractions, check out these fun things:

I want to put these on every holiday package I wrap this year.

I just signed up for this class; so excited!

Clampersand. Love it!

How to recognize the work of famous painters; I don't necessarily agree with these tricks but they are funny!

Pretty gift list; I'll take one of everything, please.

Keep the grammar police at bay; check out these helpful and clear tips.

What a nice print; perfect for a city girl.

These videos are making me drool.

Happy weekend, friends!


How crazy cool is this project? Optical illusion meets installation art meets land art—it's an amazing new project by artist Phillip K. Smith III. Created in the deserts of Joshua Tree, California "Lucid Stead" features a 70-year-old shack that has been retrofitted with sparkling panes of mirrors in the windows, doors and siding. The mirrors reflect the landscape back at the viewer and make the structure look transparent, as if the alternating slats were hovering in the air. Its an incredible illusion that fits right in with the hallucinatory heat of Joshua Tree.

Read more about the project at Colossal here.


I have been a bad art nerd recently and haven't been going to museums or galleries nearly as much as I should. I live in New York! I should be taking advantage of all the culture! Instead, time seems to fly by and I keep missing all the cool events in town.

Well not this month. Here's a shortlist of some of the buzz-worthy exhibitions I am planning on hitting up before they are over.

What shows are on your list? Have you seen anything cool recently? Tell me in the comments!