My favorite Christmas movies of all time

I can’t imagine a more perfect December Friday night than curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a mug of hot chocolate and a Christmas movie! 

Here is my list of all-time favorite holiday films- everything from romance to drama to comedy – and sometimes all three in one! Check out my list and let me know how many you have seen… or how many you watch this month! I included the category of movie as well as where you can watch them on demand tonight!

The Holiday – This is one of my go-to holiday romance movies! Who can resist Jude Law in a cozy English cottage? It’s all about two women who do a house exchange for the holidays and find love when they are not looking. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet are the leads alongside Law and Jack Black. [romance/drama] – watch on demand with Amazon Prime Video! 

The Family Stone – I LOVE this movie. It is all about a FUN/dysFUNctional family from Connecticut. The cast is incredible (Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams to name a few) and the story line that makes you feel all the feels. It reminds me of everything that makes being home for the holidays so special. [comedy/romance/drama] watch on demand with Amazon Prime Video! 

Four Christmases – Two reasons why you’ll love this: Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. You will recognize Favreau if you are a Friends fan, or if you have seen The Breakup. This movie also stars Reese Witherspoon and it’s all about a couple that tries to avoid their families during the holidays by traveling. But not this year… [comedy] watch on demand with Amazon Prime Video! 

A Bad Moms Christmas – If you are a mom (or even if you’re not) you’ll want to watch this hysterical  movie (but without the kids). We can all relate to these “bad moms” especially this time of year. The weight of expectations, the desire to pull out “all the stops” for the kids, dealing with family dynamics – this tackles all of that in a lighthearted way. [comedy] – watch on demand on Hulu. 

Daddy’s Home 2 – Even if you haven’t seen the first one you can still pee your pants watching the sequel. If you want a FUNNY holiday movie, put this on your list! Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg are all in it and they are a comedy power trio. All about blended families and how they share the holidays. [comedy] – watch on demand on Hulu. 

A December Bride – Any 90210 fans out there? This Hallmark movie stars Jessica Lowndes as an aspiring interior designer wishing to have a December wedding. She ends up agreeing to decorate the home of the man who broke up her engagement by setting up her then fiancé with his new fiancé- who also happens to be her cousin! You’ll love the ending. I think it’s the BEST Hallmark movie! [romance] – watch on demand with Amazon Prime Video! 

Christmas With A View – The cutest Christmas movie on Netflix! I love the stars and the storyline. It is all about Clara, a former restaurant owner who now manages a cozy restaurant at a ski resort. A celebrity chef begins a 6 month partnership with the resort and Clara begins to fall for him. Is it cheesy? Kinda. Is it everything you’d want in a Christmas romance movie? YES! [romance/drama] – watch on demand on Netflix! 

The Princess Switch– This movie is seriously SO CUTE. No matter your age you will love it- and I think it would be a perfect “girls night” … add some fuzzy slippers, hot chocolate and a dessert charcuterie board and you’re good to go! Vanessa Hudgens stars as the lead x 2 …. she enters a baking competition and discovers she looks identical to the Princess of Belgravia.  The two switch places for a few days and romance develops. Seriously- watch it tonight (it’s on Netflix). [romance] – watch on demand on Netflix! 

Home Alone – A classic. You don’t need need a synopsis on this one. Just know it is the best out of the trilogy. 😉 PS- if you didn’t see it last year, check out the Google Home commercial with Macaulay Culkin!  [comedy] – watch on demand on Hulu! 

The Santa Clause Trilogy – Tim Allen will forever be Santa in my heart. I love the first movie (growing up it was my favorite) but in my house we watch the third movie the most often because Allen spends the most time as Santa – and Audriana loves it! [comedy]. – watch on demand on Hulu! 

 

 

 

SG Gift Guide: The Fashion-Obsessed

Here are a few of my favorite gift picks for the the fashion-lovers on your list!

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ONE 

A true splurge gift, but so worth it! This stunning bag will be theirs for years to come. It is a fashion staple that will never go out of style.

TWO 

This Hourglass palette is the ultimate beauty indulgence. I love these highlighters and the subtle shimmer they give off.

THREE 

Leather leggings are a quick (and comfy) way to add a little edge to any outfit.

FOUR 

I am totally obsessed with these over-the-knee boots. They are a classic style that will be a fall/winter staple. Plus, they are only $108!

FIVE 

Super cool sunnies that are under $40? Yes, please! These all-season shades are perfect for anyone that loves a vintage look.

SIX 

Faux fur vests have taken up a considerable amount of real estate in my closet and I can’t say I hate it. They are an easy way to pull together an outfit- even something as simple as a long sleeve tee and jeans. This style is reversible so it is like giving (or getting!) two gifts in one.

SEVEN 

I can’t think of a more luxurious gift than these Christian Louboutin polishes. Sure, they are totally frivolous but so delicious, who could resist?

EIGHT 

Kendra Scott is one of my favorite brands to gift. It is hard to not love this delicate abalone pendant. It is perfect to wear everyday or layered with longer necklaces.

NINE

Rose? Yes way! Just a fun iPhone case for the woman that has it all.

Christmas Decor Tour

My favorite thing about Christmas is that you create this magical, beautiful world that you get to live in and enjoy for a few weeks! The softness of the lights combined wit the glitter accents and scent of pine from a fresh tree is heaven in your home.

This year I decorated two trees– one is an artificial simple pencil tree with poinsettias, plaid ribbon and just a few gold ornaments. The other is a fresh tree with a candy land theme.

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TREE | PLAID RIBBON | TRIM  | ORNAMENTS 

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BOW PILLOW | COUCH 

PEACE LETTERS | ANGEL | CANDLE STAND & WREATH

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For a simple centerpiece I found inexpensive ornaments and ball fillers at Michael’s and put them in a circle tray with a silk floral arrangement I already had in.

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I love picking a theme for my tree each year. Although it may sound expensive to buy new ornaments year after year it really isn’t! Make an investment in some good quality ball ornaments in both red/green/white and gold/silver/bronze. These are versatile and can be used for many themes. Shatter-proof sets are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at the beginning of every season in nearly every store that stocks holiday decor. If you are lucky you may even be able to snag some on sale after the holidays! I have seen really great sets at Kmart, CVS and Michael’s.

Picks, ribbon and other fillers are inexpensive enough that you can repurchase for your theme each year. I throw my ribbon away after the holiday since I cut it for the exact length of my tree and each year we get a fresh one, so size will vary. If you have an artificial tree you can save your ribbon– just store in a place where it will not get flattened.  I have a set of picks I like to use no matter what theme I am doing (feathers, beaded, curly) and then I add in themed-picks. This year it was the peppermint balls, last year it was bronze leaves.

CUPCAKE ORNAMENT from above [they are from Fortunoff, couldn’t find them online]… SIMILAR 

Ribbon is the quickest way to make your tree look fuller and more festive. I use green pipe cleaners (yep— the kid’s craft kind!) to secure each piece of ribbon in place. Sure, it takes a little extra time but the results are worth it!

Just a note— wired ribbon is BEST for trimming a tree. It will bend easily and allow you to get that pretty “wave” effect that you see in my photos. It  is also easier to handle and work with.

Try this order to make tree-trimming easier: Lights, ribbon, picks/stems (these are also great to fill in a sparse tree), decorative ornaments (like my cupcakes above), basic ball ornaments, large filler balls (see above, bottom right hand corner) and finally thin picks or feathers at the top to create dimension.

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Mirrors and mirrored furniture will make any space look wider and larger. This gem was a sale find at Pier 1 last year. I will never grow tired of it!

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I keep these branches in my entryway all year long. The basin, which you can’t see here, is a copper oversized milk can that I found at a garage sale over the summer. You can use any milk can or vase to hold your branches. The birch and thinner branches are TJ Maxx finds. The glitter branches were $10 each at Pier 1. I couldn’t find them on the website for you but I am sure if you bring this photo into your local store they can help you find them. If you didn’t want to mix the real branches with the glitter you could just do ALL sparkly ones. This is how Pier 1 had them displayed and it was GORG!!!

GLITTER BRANCHES 

LARGE BALL FILLER | GLASS ORNAMENT [SIMILAR]

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And finally my favorite ornament of the season— a reminder that in 2015 was the year we purchased our first home. Bonus, it fit the candy land theme of my second tree so well!

Wishing you a warm holiday that is filled with love, laughter, light and time spent with those you love the most!

From our home to yours,

The Paradiso Family

STEPHANIE – CHRIS – REMMINGTON

Christmas Magic

I LOVE the Christmas season! I start getting excited about it way in advance. Anyone that says “It is TOO EARLY for Christmas in October” is a nut! Why wouldn’t you want the beauty and the magic that the Christmas season seems to bring to last longer than just 25 days?

It should be Christmas everyday. Or at least we should feel this season of giving and love more often than just once a year.

Aside from all the feels, I love Christmas for the… you guessed it…

DECORATING!

The tree, the garland, the perfectly place ornaments.

It is totally my jam.

I am still working on decorating my own house (we are getting our tree this weekend!) but here is some gorgeous, drool-worthy decor inspiration. I will post my own pictures and decor with links after the weekend!

I hope this holds you over for now!

 

 

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Easy Holiday Entertaining

I’m back! We are finally all settled in our new home. I promise that I will post photos and some details on my decor very soon. Thanks for patiently waiting for the next STYLEgloss!

All this packing and unpacking made me forget just how close we are to the holiday season— I mean Halloween is less than a week away. That means Thanksgiving is right around the corner and so are all the fixings that come along with it.

I really enjoy entertaining and cooking for a crowd, although I admit it sometimes does get overwhelming. Whether you are hosting your family’s annual Thanksgiving feast or just inviting a few friends over for wine and cheese I have some great tips and products to make it all a bit easier. Here are my picks for entertaining and ideas on simple get-togethers– any excuse for a party!

D E C O R

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Creating a beautiful Pinterest-inspired tablescape can not only be super time consuming but it also not always practical. If you are serving a big meal you still want lots of room for all your serving platters and place settings. In this case I think less is more. I love the soft ambient lighting that you can only achieve with candles. This five piece flameless set is awesome because you can create a beautiful centerpiece of scatted tablescape just by adding a few silk leaves or flowers. Flameless also gives you piece of mind not having to worry about any of your gusts knocking into them as they pass the turkey.

A  S I M P L E  S T A R T

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A cheese board is the ultimate appetizer for any get together. Something as simple as cheese and crackers can be elevated to an elegant starter just through presentation. This cheese board serving set is convenient and takes the guess work out how to create a beautiful display. Keep cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine on hand throughout the season so that you can throw together this simple board when unexpected company drops in.

Host tip: When creating a charcuterie and cheese platter you want to maintain balance. Select 3-5 varieties of cheese (hard, creamy, nutty, sharp- the more variation the better) and pair with cold meats like prosciutto, speck or salami.  Add salty cured olives, nuts or grapes plus crostini to complete the platter. 

W I G G L E  R O O M

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This foldable cart is perfect if your kitchen is lacking in extra counter space or you just need a little extra room. It stores flat so it takes up virtually no room when you are no using it. Create a baking station closer to your oven or use it as a coffee and dessert cart. It is super affordable and comes in four colors!

Host Tip: How fun would it be to roll in a cart filled with sweets from top to bottom when it is time for dessert? Display cakes, cookies, candy and mini pastries on the top two shelves and dessert plates, forks and knives on the bottom. 

S W E E T  E N D I N G

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If your home is anything like mine, holidays are always associated with baking– a lots of it! Create beautifully decorated cookies and cakes with these insanely easy to use silicone decorating bottles and tips. I love using these on even the simplest of cupcakes to make them feel just a little bit more special.

Host Tip: Bake box mix cupcakes in pretty holiday-themed liners. Pipe store bought frosting onto each cake using one of the bottles and tips from the set above. Finish with sparkly sprinkles like these to dress up your average cupcake! 

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Harry London chocolates are essentially synonymous with the holiday season. This pretty tin filled with delicious buckeyes is a fun way to serve a sweet treat after dinner or makes a great hostess gift if you are visiting friends. I like to keep a few on hand each year.

E X C E P T I O N A L  S E R V I C E

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This pumpkin tureen does double duty- it looks pretty on your table and it can also be used as a:

 wine chiller– just add ice.

punch bowl– try this apple pie sangria recipe!

 self-service soup pot– be sure to place a bowl at each table setting.

centerpiece– add silk or fresh flowers.

S P O T  O N

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How adorable is this teapot? It is a piece that you can keep on your cooktop all year long but also is a beautiful way to serve your guests tea during dessert.

G E T  C O O K I N’

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Allow me to introduce you to the world’s best kitchen sidekick– The Ninja! You can use this as a stovetop, a slow cooker or a roaster. Slow cooking allows you to free up your oven (especially if your turkey or ham is hogging all the real estate) and helps to pace your prep prior to dinner. I use my slow cooker at least once a week in the winter– it is a great kitchen staple that you won’t regret investing in.

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Many of you may already have a KitchenAid mixer and you know just how easy it makes life. If you don’t have one or need to upgrade my advice is… do it! You will be so happy you did.

S I M P L E  G A T H E R I N G S

Here are a few fun ideas for fall and holiday soirees…

pumpkin carving party 

potluck friends-giving

harvest dinner

holiday cookie exchange 

gift wrapping get together

What tips or tools make your life easier during the holiday season? Share them with me! #STYLEglossblog.

Thanksgiving in July

Thanks to the nature of the fashion industry I am always a season or two ahead. As everyone is enjoying the summer sun this week, I am already focused on buying fall clothes for my store and (starting in August) prom dresses for the spring of 2015!

It’s not my fault that all I can think about right now is fall- especially when I keep hearing the words “Christmas in July” being thrown around this month. That means we are SO close to boots, sweaters and PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!

Since I am dreaming of pumpkin muffins and lattes, I thought I could satisfy my cravings by making a feast of comfort food that incorporated one of my favorite fall dishes.

I have a soft spot for sweet potato casserole– you know, the kind with all that gooey brown sugar and marshmallows? Sure, you could pick up a whole batch of this delicious piece of heaven at Boston Market on your way home, but this homemade version is just so much better! I love this recipe from Rebecca Lang’s Around the Southern Table. In fact, I love her whole book! Download it now or pick it up at your local bookstore and you will instantly see why it will become a go-to in your kitchen.

The one thing that I changed about Lang’s version of sweet potato casserole was the topping. She uses crushed gingersnaps to create a crumbled topping but Chris doesn’t care for them. Instead I made my own crumble (recipe below). It is a generic recipe that I think everyone should know how to make. You can use this topping for tons of things- cobblers, crumb cake, crust-less apple pie. The best part is that it is easy to make and even tastier to eat!

Not sure what else to serve with your sweet potato casserole when it’s not November? I made fried chicken and herbed biscuits to go along with it! All recipes were from Lang’s book.

Stephanie’s Simple Crumb Topping:

1 stick of butter (softened- NOT melted!)

1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Method:

Mix together flour, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon so that your mixture is a light brown color. You should not see any white spots. Add your butter by mixing it into your dry mixture with your hands. You should eventually see the mixture turn into what looks like crumbs or crumbles. Use this topping for pies, cakes and cobbles . Simply top your dish with it prior to baking.

Variation: Add 1/2 cup oats or honey granola for more texture.

Make your casserole ahead of time! Prepare the base and then make your topping just before you are ready to bake.

Make your casserole ahead of time! Prepare the base and then make your topping just before you are ready to bake.

PS: My casserole dish in the photo above is Temp-Tations from QVC. The whole line consists of stoneware pieces that go in the oven, microwave, dishwasher and are pretty enough to serve from. This color combination was a spring limited edition but this set is the same one I have, just different color options.