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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

holiday baking inspiration (& nissa lynn apron giveaway)

One of my very most favorite holiday traditions is baking.  I know this is going to come as a shock, but I tend to go a little overboard.  Last year I think I baked somewhere around 30 dozen cookies.  It was insane.  This year, I'm going to try to cut back just a little.  But maybe not that much.  There are just  far too many beautiful, yummy-looking things to make!

And home baked goods make lovely (yet economical) gifts, especially when packaged up with a little flair.

I've been stocking up on baking staples for months and now I'm ready for some inspiration.  Because holiday baking for me is not just an activity, it is an event.  My favorite recipe book of all time is Martha Stewart's Cookies.  I have made no less than 30 of the recipes in that book, some repeatedly, and they are all fabulous.  It is the book that no cookie lover should be without.  And it has enough recipes to keep me busy all month long and then some, but even so, I wanted to find a few new ideas as well.

Here is my inspiration:

(Photo credits: MarthaStewart.com, BHG.com, SaintNick.com, BabyBoomerAdvisorClub.com, ADozenEggs.com, BlissfullyDomestic.com)

Hungry yet?

Me too.

I think I have narrowed down my baking choices to the following:

  • Gingerbread Snowflakes (from Martha Stewart Cookies)
  • Nut Brittle (not sure which recipe I'll use yet--let me know if you have a good one!)
  • Rum Balls (baked box of brownie mix + dark rum + coarse sugar = rummy chocolaty goodness!)
  • Coconut-Rum-Banana bread (to give as gifts--how cute are those little packages?!)
  • Peppermint Bark (so easy & so yummy!)
  • Decorated Sugar Cookies (the consummate Christmas favorite & my specialty!)
And, if I have time:
  • Pecan Bars (Also from Martha Stewart Cookies.  These are, seriously, heaven on a plate)
  • Homemade marshmallows (they just sound fun)

(Ten bucks says my husband completely freaks out when he reads this list.)

But no baking extravaganza would be complete without the perfect holiday baking apron.  Perhaps because the little homemaker in me is such a throwback to the 1950's, I am completely enamored by   those retro-style aprons.  In preparation for the big event, I went searching on my new favorite website (etsy.com) for the perfect holiday baking attire.  

And I found Nissa Lynn.

It was as though the skies had opened up and the sun was shining down only on me.  Stylish, adorable, a little bit funky, and totally affordable retro aprons.  As luck should have it, Nissa Lynn is based in North Port, Florida, only a half-hour from me, which meant it took only a day for my oh-so-perfect apron to arrive in the mail.  

And it truly is perfect.  It is amazingly well-made, fits wonderfully, and is completely flattering.  My husband thinks it's sexy and even Princess approves, although "green is NOT her favorite color."  

I am SO gonna bake my heart out this Christmas!

In addition to fabulous aprons, Nissa Lynn's incredible Etsy shop also features a gorgeous selection of original clothing and accessories.  Her prices are so reasonable you might cry, and right now she is featuring a huge inventory clearing sale, which means almost everything is half-off!  And we all know I love a bargain.

But there is more good news, because as part of 30 days of Holiday Cheer, Nissa Lynn has generously offered to give one very lucky reader a Retro Holiday Apron of their very own.

Here is how to enter:

Mandatory Entry:

-Visit Nissa Lynn's Etsy Shop or Nissa Lynn Home and tell me what your favorite design is.  (1 entry)

Optional Bonus Entries:

-Become a follower of Living Well, Spending Less via Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, or RSS feed.  Leave a separate comment below to tell me how you are following. (1 entry)

-Visit Nissa Lynn's blog and enter her other giveaway for a reusable Christmas shopping bag (only through December 5th). (1 entry)

-"Like" Living Well, Spending Less on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)

-Follow me on Twitter.  Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)

-Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter or post it on your Facebook wall.  Leave 3 separate comments below. (3 entries)

-Post a link on your blog to this giveaway.  Leave 3 separate comments below.   (3 entries)

Entries for this giveaway will be accepted through Tuesday, December 14th, and I will draw a winner at random using Random.Org on Wednesday, December 15th.

Like this post? Vote here!


  1. I really like Nissa Lynn's Lovely Marsh Purse...would be great for taking to the gym or on our holiday shopping excursions! Thanks for bringing this lovely esty shope to my attention!

  2. I follow you via Facebook!

  3. I love the bridal hair pin! It's beautiful!

  4. Oh.....I love aprons! I want one so bad I have it on my Christmas wish list, but everyone thinks it's funny and won't buy me one lol....

  5. I shared this link on Facebook #1

  6. I shared this link on Facebook entry #2

  7. I shared this link on Facebook entry #3 :)

  8. I entered her grocery bag giveaway on her blog! Super cute bags!

  9. I love the aqua dots and I follow you on FB!!! Love your blog!

  10. I think I am now obsessed with her dresses! I'm a HUGE fan of 50's style dresses. So, I am IN LOVE WITH her Walk in the Garden Retro Dress. I would wear that every day!

  11. I love "Center of my Universe" necklace. So pretty! =)

  12. I posted this giveaway on my facebook.

  13. I posted this giveaway on my facebook.

  14. I posted this giveaway on my facebook.

  15. I LOVE Nissa Lynn's aprons (probably because I don't have one but have been wanting to get one!) and the yellow and white polkadot dress! Don't think I could pull it off but it sure is bright and cheery! Good luck on the holiday baking Ruth--a cute apron would make it that much more fun, right? :)

  16. Oh my gosh! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Retro aprons!! Thanks for telling is about Nissa Lynn Home!
    Mika (www.mikaspantry.blogspot.com)

  17. I'm in love with the brown and blue all-purpose smock apron and the Fall Hostess Apron. I just can't decide!
    Mika (www.mikaspantry.blogspot.com)

  18. I'm liking "living well, spending less" on facebook.
    Mika (www.mikaspantry.blogspot.com)

  19. The aprons are all super cute! I love the Spring in the Air - All Purpose Smock Apron.

  20. I follow your blog (google and networked blogs)

  21. I entered the giveaway on her blog!

  22. I like the candy cane stripped apron

  23. I really like the Zebra Stripe of a Different Color - All Purpose Smock Apron


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