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Ashley

Celebrate

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year sweetlemonmade.com

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy Chinese New Year)! Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is on January 28th and is the year of the rooster! Determined by the Chinese Lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is on a new day every year.  Each year is a different animal and this year is the year of the rooster. Roosters are considered to be courageous, resourceful, observant, confident, active, hardworking and talented. To see if you are a Rooster or curious to see what animal you are, check out the Chinese zodiac calendar

Celebrating the New Year is one of my family’s traditions and happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  Officially the holiday lasts for seven days but my family only celebrates for a few of those days–Chinese New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and one other day.  Our family tradition is to eat a new year’s dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, a traditional vegetarian breakfast on the day of Chinese New Year, and another dinner days later with our extended family.

What I love the most about Chinese New Year is it brings all of our family (even our aunts, uncles, and cousins) together and we get to enjoy all of the delicious foods my parents (mostly my Mom) cooks for us! I love that we celebrate our family heritage.

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For Chinese New Year we also receive lucky red envelopes (also known as “lai see” in Cantonese) filled with money from our parents, grandparents and others. In Chinese culture the color red is the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. So giving red envelopes symbolizes sending good wishes and luck.

Red Envelopes sweetlemonmade.com

Even if you aren’t Chinese, you can still celebrate along with me and my family. Have fun by printing out your own red envelopes and filling them up with money, coins, or candy. You can also DOWNLOAD the rooster printable pictured below to add to your decorations or to make napkin rings. Then all you have to do is order up or whip up some Chinese food and celebrate!

Rooster Printable

 

Fashion

Manicure Essentials

Dry Spray

This Up & Up Nail Polish Drying Spray is one of the BEST Target finds! I just happened upon it one day as I was walking around Target looking for other items on my list.  The big can caught my eye and it peaked my interest as to why it was mixed with the nail polish. I had never heard of  nail polish drying spray before. (Maybe I’ve been living under a rock.) I knew there were quick drying top coats and even drops, but this spray had me so intrigued. Since it was only $2.99 it was worth a try.

If you are like me and are very impatient when it comes to painting your nails I’m telling you now that you NEED this spray in your life ASAP! I’m always looking for ways to speed up the drying process. It’s the worst when you paint your nails and then smudge your freshly painted manicure! Who’s with me on that one?

When using the Drying Spray, paint your nails as usual, wait a minute and then spray your nails with the drying spray. Within a few minutes they will be dry and smudge proof.

A few dry spray tips:
• Depending on the consistency of your polish you may after a few minutes have to spray your nails one more time to get them completely dry. This is also the case when painting multiple coats.
• Works best on one coat!
• Make sure the can is upright when you spray your nails.

The other items are some of my manicure essentials. Nail polish remover with a pump bottle is awesome! It makes removing your polish so much easier. All you have to do is place your cotton ball or cotton pad on top and pump it a couple of times to wet it. After removing my nail polish, I love using the Julep glycolic hand scrub to prep my hands. A good nail file is essential for shaping nails before painting and this Essie nail polish is one of my go to colors! And now this drying spray is part of my manicure essentials for sure!

 

Create

DIY Fall Mason Jars

Fall Mason Jars

All I have to say is—I LOVE MASON JARS!! Who else loves them too? I practically use them for everything! I use them for drinks, storage, serving dishes, canning, and of course decor! These DIY fall mason jars make a great statement decor piece. The great thing about these jars is you can spell out any fall word you would like to incorporate into your decor. The possibilities are endless! So gather up your supplies and get crafting. This DIY project is easy and can be done before your guests show up for Thanksgiving festivities!

Supplies

  • Mason jars-wide mouth quart 
  • Paint–for both the jars and the letters
  • Sponge brush
  • Burlap
  • Scissors
  • Letter stencils–I made my own with my Silhouette or you can free hand paint your letters
  • Glue gun
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Letter stencils or a Silhouette cutting machine and vinyl

Directions

  1. Wipe down all mason jars to remove any dirt or oil.
  2. Paint mason jars. Tip: for a distressed look, paint thin coats of paint. Too thick of coats will take longer to dry and harder to sand.
  3. Let paint dry for a couple of hours or until paint is not tacky to the touch. Tip: if you start to paint your second coat too soon, the paint will start to peel and ball up. If you can, letting it dry overnight is best.
  4. Repeat another thin layer of paint and let dry. I chose to just paint 2 layers since I planned to distress and sand them. Don’t worry if some of the glass is peeking through your paint—it just makes the sanding process faster.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 if a more solid look is desired.
  6. While you wait for your paint to dry, cut your stencils if you are making your own.
  7. Cut your burlap down to size.
  8. Wrap burlap around your jars and hot glue ends to secure.
  9. Place stencil onto the burlap and apply paint, repeat, and let dry.
  10. And embellish!

Eats

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Mini Loaves

Pumpkin Bread

Let the fall baking commence! You can’t celebrate fall without some pumpkin in your life! Am I right? These chocolate chip pumpkin mini loaves have all the flavors you love about fall combined into each little mini loaf—pumpkin, mini chocolate chips, pecans, and bursts of cinnamon and nutmeg. And with the addition of applesauce in this recipe these little loaves are super moist.

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As I thought about making pumpkin bread, I remember that I had bought this mini loaf pan and couldn’t resist not using it. I love anything mini so, naturally I knew I had to use this new pan of mine! Because mini foods = happiness! 🙂 Does mini food make anyone else’s heart flutter with happiness? I love how these mini loaves are easily shareable with family, friends, and coworkers. And they also make great holiday treats to pack up individually.

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The best part of this recipe is that it is easy and simple. All you need is 2 bowls, a hand mixer, a mini loaf pan, and an oven. I hope I just made your holiday baking one step easier with this simple and delicious recipe.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Mini Loaves
Yields 18
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Ingredients
  1. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 cups Libby's pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  8. 2 cups granulated sugar
  9. 1/2 cup oil
  10. 1/2 cup applesauce
  11. 4 eggs
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  13. 1/2 cup water
  14. 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  15. 1 cup chopped pecans or nut of choice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease your mini loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and water. Using a hand mixer, mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl combine and whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Add mini chocolate chips and nuts and mix by hand with a spatula.
  7. Scoop batter into pan and fill each just under 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into middle.
  9. Let cool in pan for 5-7 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
  10. ENJOY!
Sweet Lemon Made http://sweetlemonmade.com/

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Fashion

Fall Fashion: Birthday Outfit Edition

Fashion Friday

It’s my birthday today and I’ve put together an outfit to celebrate in!

A chambray shirt is versatile and an essential piece in my wardrobe. It transitions from spring to fall easily!

My Michael Kors watch is my go to staple accessory!

This floral cardigan (insert heart eyes emoji)!

Olive colored jeans have become my new denim. They pair so well with so many things!

Brown pointed toe ankle booties.

I love this Saddlebag cross body purse! I want one in every color they have!