Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift Guide | What Kristin (Really) Wants

Dear Santa, Paul, Mom, Dad, Lauren and everyone else who feels the need to shower me with gifts this holiday season, 

I know I blog about a lot of things throughout the year but here is what I really want: 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Baked | Chocolate Peanut Butter Glob Cookies

Can you believe there's only a week until Christmas? Me, neither. This year I'm trying to simplify the holidays and focus a little less on gift buying and a little more on all the other traditions that make this such a magical time of year. One tradition that I look forward to every year is baking with my mom. When it's gray and chilly outside there is something so comforting about spending time in the kitchen, by a warm oven with the house smelling of chocolate, peppermint and cinnamon. There is also something so comforting about giving homemade treats to the ones you love. This year I've been busy baking my tried and true favorites along with a few new recipes - all which I plan to share with you in this week leading up to Christmas! Here is a glimpse of what I was up to in my kitchen this past weekend... 

6 TBS unsalted butter
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped 
2 eggs 
1 TBS instant espresso powder {you can omit this and they are still TO DIE FOR} 
2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
3/4 c sugar 
1/3 c plus 1 TBS all purpose flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp kosher salt 
1 c whole walnut halves, not chopped 
1 c whole pecan halves, not chopped 
2/3 cup peanut butter chips, such as Reese's 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two backing sheets with parchment.

In a bowl set over simmering water, melt butter and 6 oz of the semisweet and all the unsweetened chocolate, until just melted. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise speed to med. high, and beat for 2 minutes (or longer), until the batter is thick and falls back on itself in a ribbon.   

With mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine 1/3 c flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter and remaining chocolate chips, and 1 TBS flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. With two soup spoon, drop rounded mounds of batter 1 inch apart onto prepared sheets. Bake 15 minutes exactly. Cool on baking sheets

(Photographs by Kristin Kerr for Simply Smitten)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Blank Canvas

The title of this post is just about a literal as they come.  You may remember when I posted shots  of my living room last year that I had set up a gallery wall above my sofa.  Well, about a week after that picture was taken I was sick of the "clutter" so I took everything down and replaced it with a single abstract painting.  The painting served it's purpose but was a little small.

Having a sofa up against a wall isn't ideal. Most of my favorite interiors have freestanding sofas--it can make the seating area more intimate and actually enlarge the feeling of the room. I, however, live in a long, narrow apartment and don't have such luxuries. My sofa is parked against a wall and the area above it is a major focal point because my ceilings are ten feet.  The wall runs through my living room, dining room and kitchen and has the potential to look very cluttered, that's why I'm going for the less is more approach.

I love the idea of creating a beautiful focal point with one fabulous large-scale piece instead of lots of little things. It's also a clean look that can really set the tone for the rest of the space. Getting the scale right can be difficult but I sternly believe that every room should have one oversized piece. My sofa is 6.5 feet (78") long so I picked up a 40"x30" canvas from Blick during their last sale. I could have gone bigger but given that I'm not a professional painter I didn't want to pay more for the larger canvas. The scale is (almost) right, now I just need to decide what to paint! I'm going to look to the rooms pictured above for inspiration.

So I must ask, what's above your sofa?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Tuxedo Jacket

I'm all about wearing sequins for the holidays but I feel like the second January 1st hits those sparkles seem a bit too festive for a casual weekend night out.  With that said, this holiday season I've vowed to only purchase clothes that I can wear year round.  Enter the tuxedo jacket. A classic tuxedo jacket like this never goes out of fashion. It's also infinitely versatile. I'd love to see it paired with sleek cropped trousers and dainty jewels (in emerald, of course) for the holidays or with ripped denim and metallic flats for date night. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

All Wrapped Up

Now that a few gifts have been purchased it's time to start thinking about how to wrap them. During the year I'm usually a kraft paper and black bow kind of girl but I like to spice things up a bit for Christmas. And no that does not mean red and green Santa paper. This year I'm dreaming of a white Christmas -- solid white paper (purchased at The Container Store), dressed up with beautiful ribbons, small trinkets that I've collected over time and labels from Sugar Paper. I'm going to use this peacock theme for family's gifts and switch things up a bit for my friends -- I'll share that next week. Time to start wrapping!

Happy weekend!!

(Image by Kristin Kerr for Simply Smitten)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gift Guide | Books

The only thing I love as much as getting books is giving them! I think you tell a lot about a person by the books they have on display in their home. The more books, the better! I have the titles I love most scattered around every room in my home. They're stacked on my coffee table, the floor, my entry table, even on a side chair — like Ryan Korban, who I blogged about here, did. They make a home feel lived in. So, this holiday season I plan to share some of my favorite reads and coffee table books with the ones I love. It's a meaningful gift that will inspire for years to come. I'm always be a sucker for a good hardcover and these are just a few of the beautiful design books I have saved in my Amazon Wish List:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Weekend in Pictures

This illustrations where commission by Hair Stylist Guido Palau, to illustrate his designs for the mannequin heads at the Schiaparelli & Prada, Impossible Coversations, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.  Ten of the designs were turned into postcards under the advice of Anna Wintour.  I purchased my print and postcards when I visited the exhibit back in June and just now got around to framing it.  Slowly but surely I'm checking things off my apartment to-do list.  Now on to buy a Christmas tree...I feel so behind!  What do you have planned for the week ahead?

(Images by Kristin Kerr for Simply Smitten)