christmas

Holiday Fruitcake

Fruitcake gets a bad rap. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, the ultimate white elephant, Aunt Barbara’s annual dessert that gets shoved into a napkin and then the nearest trash can. But fruitcake doesn’t have to be bad, in fact fruitcake can be the perfect holiday treat. img_8275
We never had fruitcake growing up, the closest thing we got was an assortment of mixed nuts. I didn’t even know what a fruitcake was until sixth grade when Mr Teal told us how gross it was. That’s all it took for me to never want to eat fruitcake…until this year. I mean seriously, dried fruit and nuts soaked in alcohol and smothered in sugar. What’s not to like?img_8277

Fruitcake

  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Place the dried fruit in a medium bowl and bring the bourbon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the hot bourbon over the dried fruit and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit, reserving the bourbon.

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are medium-small pieces.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each egg. Add in the vanilla and zest.

Mix and sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add in half of the flour mixture and half of the bourbon on low speed. Repeat. Add in the fruit and nuts and mix until just combined.

Pour into a greased 8 inch round cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Remove the fruitcake from the oven and bring the orange juice and powdered sugar to a simmer. Poke holes in the fruitcake with a toothpick or fork and pour the hot orange juice over the fruitcake, allowing the cake to soak in all of the juice.

Cover the fruitcake and let sit for 12 hours. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!img_8280

Rosemary & Thyme Mashed Potatoes

My sister used to love mashed potatoes…and I mean LOVED them. Every night for dinner growing up she would ask for mashed potatoes with a huge side of gravy. My mom only gave in about once a week, but I was happy because who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Gravy is great too, but the best mashed potatoes are the ones that can go stark naked and still be amazing all on their own. Kind of like these ones. Okay, exactly like these ones. (more…)

Salted Caramels

I’m not going to lie, I too fall victim to the colorful and festive Christmas candies strewn throughout Target during the holidays. But those typical Christmas-in-a-bag candies are laced with so many preservatives and synthetic food coloring that they really don’t taste all that great.

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Last Minute Stocking Stuffers… On a Budget!

If you’re anything like me, it’s crunch time for Christmas shopping. T-minus three days until the big day (if you don’t count X-Mas Eve). So whether you’re looking for a supplementary gift or a main gift, these last minute stocking fillers with do the trick for any beauty fanatic.

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Caramel Corn

One of my favorite ‘family’ gifts as a child was the huge three gallon tin of popcorn random people would send us around the holidays. I would sneak popcorn out of that thing like it was nobodies business. The plain popcorn was good and the cheesy popcorn was quite delicious, but everyone knows that it’s the caramel corn that really matters.

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LATE DIY Bottled Nebula

Have you ever written a blog post or typed out something for class in Word then accidentally deleted it. Like, to never be seen again? As in there is no way in getting it back? No? Just me? Great. (more…)

DIY Beer Mug Etching

Well hello there,
thanks for stopping by to check out the newest DIY. I really couldn’t decide if I should continue decoration do-it-yourselves or start some do-it-yourselves to give as presents for the month of December. For some reason I just love decorations and how easy it is to just do it at home. So, I’ve decided that this month, every Sunday, I will be posting DIY presents. ‘Tis the season to be giving and why not create your own presents. Nothing is more lovely than a homemade gift.

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The Holiday Gift Sets You’ll Want to Keep

I read on Facebook yesterday that there are ten Fridays left until Christmas. I double checked and it’s true! This gives us perspective on just how fast the holiday will be here, allowing ample time to prepare right now. Granted, I’ll still probably be perusing the mall on Christmas Eve’s Eve, wide-eyed and frantic, picking up last minute gifts.

As always, stores are ready for the holidays early and our fav. makeup brands have cooked up a holiday buffet of product gift sets that will leave us drooling. Here’s some of the top sets everyone is talking about.

Too Faced 

Le Petite Tresor ($29) 

Three full-sized lipsticks, regularly $22 each, in peachy pink Taffy, pinky neutral Nude Beach and semi-glittered burgundy Wham! It comes with a hand-sized sparkly turquoise bag.

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Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks ($36) 

Three mini Melted lip glosses in Nude, Peony and Fig, and Long-Lasting 16-hour Blush in Love Hangover, Justify My Love and Your Love is King.

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Le Grand Palais $49

Includes: Eye shadow in White Christmas, Satin Sheets, Vintage Lace, Delightful, Moon on Their Wings, Cobblestone, City Lights, Dreamlight, String of Lights, Yule Log, Wish List, Arc de Triomphe, Belle Femme, Stiletto, Eiffel, Midnight in Paris, Champs Elysees and Party Dress. Blush in Stardust and Skyline. Luminizer in Flush and bronzer in Sun Bunny. Also full-size Better Than Sex Mascara and Melted Lipstick (w/ travel size Shadow Insurance).

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Le Grand Chateau $58 

Includes: Eye Shadow in Amour, Fleur, Je t’aime, Moi, Cheri, Tout Sweet, Pot Du Crème, Fifi, Le Femme, Bonjour, Merci, Oui, Le Marais, Rendezvous, Provence, Parfait, Tres Chic and Noir. Bronzer in Jolie, blush in Mademoiselle and Tres Fab, and full-size Better Than Sex mascara.

I don’t know if it’s the limited edition doll house packaging or what, but my attention is focused on this set rather than Le Grand Palais. It’s also convenient that there are three separately packaged eyeshadow palettes with their own bronzer or blush. The Too Faced description of the product says each palette makes a perfect stocking stuffer or gift, but I’d say I want to keep them all >:)

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Tarte

Greatest Glitz Collector’s Set & Portable Palettes ($49)

This set is only available at Ulta and includes:

  • 3 removable, Amazonian clay eye & cheek palettes with 24 new, festive eye shadows and 3 exclusive blushes
  • Deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-In-1 Mascara
  • Deluxe LipSurgence Lip Crème in Flashy (warm pink)
  • Collector’s vanity storage box with pull out drawer and full size mirror

This box is a cute addition for a vanity area and it comes with a ton of great shadows and products, but it’s not realistic as a travel item… too bulky!

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Dressed to the Nines Lip Surgence Lip Creme Set ($34)

Nine lip cremes with extreme color variety. I’d say these are great stocking stuffers or giveaways.

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Lorac

Love, Lust and Lace Alter Ego Lip Gloss Set ($25)Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.16.23 AM

Love, Lust and Lace Front of the Line Pro Pencil Eye Set ($29)

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Which of these sets do you have your eye on? My Christmas list is going to be filled with too many  eyeshadows, that’s for sure!

Until next week, XO- Ashley.

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I’m always looking for new beauty, food and lifestyle blogs to follow! Connect with me on Instagram (@ashleysita) or Twitter (@ashley_sita)!

Merry Christmas from That LA Writer!

Hey readers,

Thank you for your continuous support by reading That LA Writer!

We’d like to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas, a Merry Christmas!

While I am Catholic and am supposed to celebrate today as a commemoration of Jesus’ birth… I feel like it has become a watered down ‘holiday’ that only benefits retailers. THIS IS MY OPINION. If it bothers you, I apologize but think about it.. it’s true. You spend hundreds of dollars each year for THINGS people WANT. You get angered over traffic, parking, long lines, other angered people, and extremely mad when you can’t find what you need to buy to make someone else happy.

Anyways, with that being said… We hope that you got what you wanted, gifted those who wanted, and are cherishing your time with your family. If you are working today, I hope that you are having an easy day and soon get to see your family and friends.

Please, be safe and responsible today.

Jessica ♡

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A New Beginning

Hello everyone!

Thank you for taking the time to read what we post, follow us, and leave comments. As of right now, Katelyn is a newlywed and back in New York ♡ Feel free to comment below congratulating her!

The last few weeks of 2014 are going to be a little hectic, so That LA Writer will be back at the beginning of the new year. Sorry! We will not be posting anything on the website (besides a Merry Christmas). At the beginning of the new year That LA Writer will have a fresh look and new writers! Yay! I’ll introduce them, don’t worry ♡

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our NEW Instagram

Stay tuned!

Jessica