Thursday, November 26, 2015

Chatham Hall's famous Monster cookies - gluten free adaptation

[this post includes one affiliate link]

Monster Cookies
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup M&Ms (I used M&M minis)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GLUTEN FREE extra thick rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats (like Silpat).

In a very large mixing bowl (my standard Kitchenaid was VERY full by the end, FYI), combine the eggs and both sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in chocolate candies, chocolate chips, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets (I had to use 1 whole and 2 half sheets twice).

Bake 8-10 minutes. Yields THREE dozen.

Adapted from our famous Chatham Hall kitchen staff recipe. Tastes the same as I remember!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sponsored Post: 2015 Holiday gift ideas from Elements Beauty Shop

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." All photos property of In Your Element Commerce and Elements Beauty Shop, excluding my embedded social media posts. Links included in this post are not affiliate links.

In less than a week it will be Black Friday and then "officially" (aka without judgment) holiday shopping will be upon us. That is, unless you are like me and already almost finished with your holiday shopping entirely (this never happens) (what is wrong with me)! I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite holiday gift ideas from Elements Beauty Shop. None of the links are affiliate links so I would like to encourage you all to click through and see my selections to once again support a local business - #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal. Elements is great as are Jeanie & Sherry, the owners!

Remember, if you've never shopped at Elements enter promo code WorthyStyle for 10% off your purchase! So: support a local business and save 10% off the usual full retail price of beauty products - truly an incredible deal for you the shopper. Plus, these ladies love to get to know you and send you customized product samples. Often the products include free gifts with purchase if you reach a price threshold AND free gift with any order over $75.

For him: Elements Beauty Shop 2015 gift picks
The Caswell-Massey Presidential soap collection may look a little familiar. That's because it was featured in the December 2015 issue of Real Simple magazine. This soap collection is presented perfectly as a host gift or as a standalone present. Each of the three scents included was nick-named for the U.S. President to favored it. Number 6 for George Washington, Almond Cold Cream for Eisenhower, and Jockey Club for John F. Kennedy. These soaps are triple-milled and leave no residue on the skin. They all smell wonderful!

The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer lotion is perfect for the fitness junkie or gardener in your life. It is deeply moisturizing lotion. The elderly would also be big fans of this lotion - it applies without any greasiness. The eucalyptus provides an herbal but very neutral scent. You can use this hand lotion as a stocking stuffer or as a gift. I enjoy using it because my skin easily dries up - particularly in the winter months when I'm practicing on the driving range and my hands are exposed to the elements!

What an absolutely beautiful kit. The Caswell-Massey Art Deco Shave Set is perfect for that man in your life who is incredibly dapper, particular about his appearance, and keeps a beautiful home. The set is made of chrome and brass, with the shave brush containing pure gray badger hair. The razor blades can be replaced with Gillette Mach 3 blades. This set comes gift boxed and wow! what a sophisticated present.

For her: Elements Beauty Shop 2015 gift picks

The Caswell-Massey Gardenia and Jasmine Bar Soap is heavenly. When I went to the shop last week I saw it for the first time and immediately fell in love. These two scents are always tied to any fragrance I've ever truly loved. Their combination has always reminded me of Savannah (Georgia), the 1955 Katharine Hepburn film Summertime, and visiting the beach when all the coastal flowers are blooming. This soap is fragrant through the packaging and is incredibly moisturizing.

I recently saw the Deborah Lippmann Undressed 6 Piece Nail Lacquer Set and it went on my own mental wish list! This brand was added to Elements Beauty Shop this summer and I really love it. Super luxe bottles and presentation. The polish lacquer itself goes on thick - so be sure to shake it well and apply slowly so it doesn't streak. This gorgeous 6-pack set comes with the following colors: Flesh For Fantasy (alabaster nude cream), Totally Nude (fair pink nude cream), Born This Way (peach nude cream), Bare It All (mauve nude cream), Natural Woman (almond nude cream), and Skin Deep (sable nude cream). Great way to introduce someone to the Deborah Lippmann brand. Another fave from this company is the Deborah Lippmann Respect Nail Lacquer - a gorgeous color. It is a rich red hue that wears so well. It does not chip, even with one coat. I applied it prior to going on a beach vacation and I applied a base coat, one coat of color, and a top coat - this color did not chip the entire week! I couldn't believe it stood up so well with the ocean, sun, and sand. A classic bombshell red that's perfect for anyone at any age - from your niece to your grandmother!

The The Organic Pharmacy Rose and Jasmine Body Oil is the perfect gift for that beauty-product friend who loves rose. This body oil is super rich and hydrating - perfect for a wintertime present! The natural, organic ingredients of: Jasmine, Jojoba Oil, Marigold, Rose, Rose Hip, St. John's Wort are so nourishing for your skin.

The LATHER Sea Wool Sponge is perfect for the eco-aware friend. Why use a loofah made of PLASTIC netting/mesh on your skin when you can use one that is 100% biodegradable? Incredibly long-lasting and much better on your skin than your loofahs of the past! Feel good knowing you shared this awesome product by gifting one to your friends. Another amazing LATHER item is the LATHER Chia Seed & Passion Fruit Cleansing Oil. It has been a BIG game-changer for me - especially after a long, tiring day. It has a neutral scent and a little bit goes a long way (typically a dime size amount for me). It does not irritate my eyes, and it completely removes all of my stubborn makeup. I love that it doesn't leave an oily residue, my skin just feels balanced and lightly moisturized.

I don't typically buy much in the way of skincare products during the holiday season. Things could be misinterpreted by someone who is sensitive about their appearance (yikes!). However, the Peter Thomas Roth Must Have Holiday Kit is the exception to the rule. This kit includes the Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel, Irish Moor Mud Mask, and Lashes to Die for Mascara - a value of $92 for only $38! The Irish Moor Mud Mask is perfect for the friend who loves to spa or spa-at-home. The cleansing gel is used by twenty-somethings all the way up to post-menopausal women - it has been featured in magazines across the spectrum of genres. Lastly the mascara strengthens, conditions and protects the eyelashes. This kit is perfect for the luxe beauty lover.

Have a friend who is planning to travel during the Resort season? The perfect gift for them would be the COOLA Signature Travel Kit! This carry-on friendly kit contains the following products from COOLA: Sport SPF 30 PiƱa Colada Sunscreen Spray (3.4 oz), Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery® After-Sun Lotion (2 oz), Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer (0.85 oz) & Liplux® SPF 30 Original. Great little suncare and after-sun kit with one of the biggest beauty brands whose sales and exposure have blown up this year. Want to purchase full-size products instead? Elements has the product line here.

Things to remember:
  • #ElementsBeautyHaul promotion: Post a photo of your purchase on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag #ElementsBeautyHaul for the chance to win a $50 gift card. Elements Beauty Shop picks one winner each month!
  • Join us for the A Very Cary Christmas event on Thursday 12/3 from 4-8pm. Carytown vendors are celebrating the season with special discounts, prizes and refreshments. Visit each participating location for the chance to win a grand prize! Learn more here.
  • Check out my favorite Elements Beauty products on our Pinterest board!
Hope to see you at the A Very Cary Christmas event and let me know which Elements Beauty Shop items you buy in the comments below or on my Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disney favorites on DVD/Blu-Ray: a holiday giveaway

I don't typically mention the holidays before mid-November, but I'm hosting a giveaway for the entire month and I want to make sure that everyone has a chance to enter! This giveaway isn't typical for me - maybe something a Family or 'Mommy blogger' would post but I feel as though the © Disney brand is universally loved by children and the young at heart... and I thought some of the items in this giveaway would be perfect for family members of every age. There are throwback classic Disney films, plus some 80s and 90s favorites as well as a more recent film thrown in for good measure! These are great DVDs, Blu-Rays, and digital editions to add to your collection of Disney classics (or to give as gifts this holiday season). Valued at over $150.00!

If you enter this giveaway, you will be winning all seven of the movies shown above. Please enter my Rafflecopter giveaway widget below!

Restrictions: continental US and aged 18 or older, you will be disqualified if I find that you followed and then unfollowed my social media accounts within the giveaway window. You will be disqualified if I learn that you are under the age of 18. Contest ends on December 3, 2015 at midnight. Pass this giveaway along to any friends who would love to win this film collection as well (and if you enter Rafflecopter, you'll see your social media shares give you additional entries)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are links to the DVDs and Blu-Ray editions shown in the above pictures on Amazon if you would like to check them out [these links are affiliate links]:

FYI, the holiday bags used as backdrop are not included in the giveaway. I look forward to seeing your comments answering my Comment Question on the Rafflecopter post!