Mulled Wine To Keep You Warm

The first time I met a steamy glass of mulled wine was through my friend Allie, who runs the delicious blog Brunch or Bust. I was hosting a holiday party, and she brought a bottle of Swedish Glogg with her. At the time, I’d never even heard of Glogg, let alone tried it. But I have to say that it quickly became one of my favorite go-to holiday drinks to serve. It’s super easy to make, and a wine-based alternative to cider.

Mulled WineRight now it’s starting to get cold in Los Angeles, and by “cold” I mean it’s in the 60s. (Don’t judge me!) Regardless, that’s just chilly enough to give me an excuse to make this drink to warm myself up.

Here’s what you’ll need, and get ready for this to be ridiculously easy and yummy:

Crock-Pot Mulled Wine:
  • 1 bottle of fruity red wine (I use a Cabernet)
  • 1/4 cup of brandy (this is optional, but I think it adds a nice kick)
  • 1 large orange
  • 3 whole sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s has a nice one!)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 3 coriander berries
  1. Set the Crock-Pot to low heat, and combine the wine, brandy, allspice, coriander, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, honey, cloves, and star anise. Stir until well combined.
  2. Slice the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the pot. Then add one half of the squeezed orange into the pot.
  3. Let the ingredients simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Keep the Crock-Pot on low for your party, and serve the mulled wine with gingerbread or other holiday treats!

Pumpkin Decorating Without The Carving

October is my favorite month of the year for a few reasons:

  1. The weather starts to drop, which means I can bust out my boots again!
  2. Pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn, and pumpkin shaped cookies return.
  3. The approach of Halloween means that I can have my friends over to celebrate with some pumpkin decorating.

kristinI hosted a pumpkin decorating party last weekend in honor of #3. Because I live in an apartment in Los Angeles, gutting a pumpkin and carving it isn’t ideal. (i.e. I don’t have a stoop to set the pumpkin on, which means any bugs that come to enjoy a hollowed gourd will soon become my new roommates.) But I do have a lot of acrylic paint and brushes, which means it’s time to craft.

IMG_1697I asked people to come with their own pumpkins, and I would provide the rest.

paintI picked up googly eyes, sequins, bat stickers, Halloween tape, fake mustaches, extra black paint, and glitter bowties from the craft store.


I also found some plain face masks that could be decorated as well, just in case people came without pumpkins, or wanted to create something they could wear on Halloween night.
IMG_1704I think they came out pretty cute, actually.

table2E and I also made sure to decorate the apartment to get everyone in a spooky mood. (Case in point: blood stained cloth from Target. So scary, you guys.)


E had a lot of fun putting his own touches around the place, like these rats trailing across the top of our new TV. (They are still sitting on the TV, staring at me as I type this.)


Plus we put out plenty of Halloween treats. (If I’ve learned anything, it’s that painting pumpkins works up an appetite for candy.) We had a snack bar set up in the kitchen, plus little hints of candy sprinkled around the house.

ciderFor drinks, we had beer, wine, and I made spiked apple cider in my crockpot. (All it takes is a half gallon of cider, dark rum to taste, plus a few dashes of cinnamon and 3 whole cinnamon sticks on low heat for 4 hours.)

eInstead of using my own glassware, I opted for some orange solo cups so people could draw on those too.

pumAnd if people were done crafting, I also had corners set up for Halloween-themed games, like this “Pumpkin Toss,” which was something like a carnival game and involved trying to toss a couple of balls into the buckets. It was actually much harder than it looks.


The results were a lot of fun, and in the end we’ve got two great looking pumpkins to keep out for the rest of the month. (Bonus tip: If you plan to paint your pumpkin, make sure to scrub it down in the sink with a brillo pad beforehand to help the paint stay on.)

pummyE’s pumpkin is the striped one on the far left, and mine is the all-black pumpkin next to his.






Get Ready To Drool: Fall Coat Edition

I’m going on a weekend jaunt to Big Bear, CA in November, and already I’m starting to plan my winter wardrobe. Maybe it’s because Los Angeles has been so hot recently, and it’s starting to give me winter lust? (Is that even a thing?) Either way, a new fall coat would be lovely, and here are a few I’ve been drooling over…

2638626205_2I desperately want to be one of those women who can effortlessly wear slouchy clothes. And I love the trim on this $250 Zabrina A-line coat. I feel like you could dress this one up too, or wear it when lounging around. (Or slouching around, I should say.)


This double breasted military coat by Via Spiga for $178 just feels so badass, doesn’t it? I can already picture myself slipping into this, and a pair of combat boots and taking over the world. Or just wearing it to work. Either way!

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Another faux fur trim collar. (Are you starting to sense a theme here?) One of my favorite parts of fall coats is when a designer adds a little extra touch, like this leopard print lining! The wool coat from Kate Spade is just out of my price range at $798 (and by “just out,” I mean wayyyy out), but it’s a classic cut, and will definitely be on my wish list.


Saying that I’m “petite” would be a euphemism for “really short, actually.” I think what’s great about this cashmere and wool draped coat for $329 is that as a “petitie” person, the belt would totally enhance the best part of your waist, and create some extra femme curves. Can’t you just see yourself splayed across a couch and lounging by a fire in this? I can…

I’m also a big proponent of everyone owning a gorgeous red coat for their fall wardrobe. This one is by Alexander McQueen, and therefore exists in my fantasy closet. That being said, SHE WILL BE MINE SOMEDAY! :::cackles maniacally:::