Winter Ale Review: My Top Picks!

Remember that Beer Exchange we went to the other weekend?  Well I've had a chance to sample my share and am breaking down some of best (and worst) holiday ales I've tasted.  Who will the winner be??  Read on to find out!!!

6.  Sierra Nevada Celebration.  Super cute bottle and I wanted soooo badly to love it.  Womp womp.  Just tastes like a regular IPA to me.  I'm tasting any sort of "holiday" spice hints in this one.

5.  Magic Hat Snow Roller.  Labeled "hoppy brown ale".  I couldn't explain it better.  Definitely suitable for snow days when you have no intentions of doing anything but getting sloshed and shoveling the sidewalk every few hours.

4.  Sweet Baby Jesus by DuClaw Brewery. Chocolate peanut butter porter.  Great dessert beer.  Very smooth. More on the chocolate side than the peanut butter.  Not sure I could drink this all night but one or two is a great holiday treat!  Grab a 6 pack to share!

3.  Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale.  Not too hoppy, yet not too bland.  The perfect beer for winter sipping.  Definitely leans more toward it's "winter" name and not as much "holiday".

2.  Pub Dog Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.  Amazing. Chocolatey. Not too intense or hoppy or sweet.  I could drink this for the long haul.

And the winner is....

1.  Flying Dog Hazlenut Scotch Style!  OMG soooooo good!  Don't worry, it's not prissy and it still tastes like a beer, but its the perfect amount of flavor to get you feeling festive.  Pair with some cookies to get the full effect!

Hopelessly Ever After  The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup


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Countdown to Christmas

This weekend was all about catching up on holiday preparations and attending a friend's annual holiday party!  Just look at how jolly we are! :)  

Now it's really getting close and I'm counting down the days to winter break and time spent with those we love!  It's going to be a long week, but I know I can do it.  I'm giving myself some goals for the week, and all have to do with savoring the season for as long as I possibly can.  They are...

1. Watch each Christmas movie for the 18,000th time.  In fact, I may as well cancel my entire cable package with the exception of ABC Family for the next few weeks.  I'd be fully satisfied.  

2. Ditto for Christmas songs.  Why is it that a pop song can start to get on my nerves after just a few weeks but holiday songs I can listen to for a lifetime?  I guess that's just the magic of it.  And gosh darn do I love it.

3. Enjoy a good book.  A holiday one, naturally.  With a side of hot cocoa and cookies warm from the oven. ;)

4. Complete my shopping.  I'd like to be set up to simply wrap next weekend.  Avoid the madness. (Although I love that this time of year too.)

Bella And The City

Let it ShineMonday Morning GossipMingle Monday

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DIY Gift Idea: Holiday Coasters!

Need a simple, inexpensive DIY gift idea?  Try these coasters!  I first shared them on the blog last year and have put together a simple tutorial for those that need the actual demonstration.  Seriously guys, the tiles I used cost 16 cents and I still am using my sets from 3 years ago!  Go ahead, get crafty.  Then let me know how it goes!

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Beer Exchange and Holiday Bar Crawl

It was a great little weekend, full of friends and holiday cheer!

On Friday night we attended a beer exchange party.  It's the same idea as a cookie exchange, only you bring a case of your favorite holiday craft beer and everyone exchanges, so you get to go home with a bunch of different kinds.  There were 12 couples at the party, so we took home 12, and the rest we all put in a cooler to drink at the party!  Way better than a cookie exchange if I do say so myself! 

The beer we brought: Long Trail Sick Day IPA
Each case of beer gets labeled with a number that coincides with an ipad beer list, and also makes it easier to grab your beers to take home!

It's pretty serious!

Mr. Handsome! 

On Saturday we joined some friends in my hometown for an old fashioned bar crawl.  We dressed up.  Just because.  It felt fabulous.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain the entire night so we didn't really get to enjoy the lights and carolers along the street as I had originally hoped, but you can't have it all I suppose.  We made it to dinner, plus six bars!  I hope this will be a yearly tradition, only better weather next time! :)

Now here I am, struggling through this Monday, but looking forward to the rest of this festive month!  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Bella And The City
Let it Shine, Monday Morning Gossip, Mingle Monday

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The Cutest Mugs on the Block

You know you're old when....

you develop a sudden obsession with regular household items like decorative napkins, salt and pepper  shakers, and MUGS!  Ok, I'm not sure if I'm old or if mugs are just kind of in right now but I'm ready to add to my collection and secretly hoping that one will end up in my Christmas stocking.  In fact, I flat out refused to register for or buy any dish sets that came with mugs when we got our house because who wants matching plain old mugs?  Opening that cupboard door and getting to choose the mug of the day is seriously something I look forward to on the weekends, and yes, I do peruse the entire collection before making my final choice.  Depends what I'm in the mood for.  

Looking for some of the cutest mugs on the market?  You came to the right place.  Check out these sites for the best and most adorable bits of inspiration that any woman will love!  No, she's not going to ask you for a mug (because that's nerdy) but she does want one ;)

"You're doing a great Job"

"Jimgle Juice!" and "good morning dollface"

"Start the day with coffee and end it with champagne"

"Eat Blog Love"

"Oh What Fun"

Which is your favorite?  Or more importantly, what shops do you know that I don't know?  ;)  Here's to enjoying some quality PSLs and hot chocolate with Bailey's in our favorite seasonal mugs!  

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Long Weekend + Friends + Fam + Love

You can't beat a long weekend.  Plain and simple.  I can easily say that this was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.  Just the right amount of friends, family, husband time, and of course Christmas music 24/7.  What more can a girl want?  

Our Thanksgiving was spent with my husband's family eating way too much food and heavy pouring on the wine.  Simple and relaxing, and I got through the entire thing without an anxiety attack.  Success.

Friday we got to celebrate one of our very best friend's 30th birthdays.  Welcome to the club my friend!  They rented out the top floor of a bar in downtown Baltimore and we enjoyed apps, cake, and drink specials.  Pretty on par for a 30 year old party ;)  lol

Saturday I went craft show shopping with my mama at the Festival of Trees!  It was so cute and well decorated and there were a lot of great vendors too!  I'd definitely go back next year!

Finally, the hubs and I spent Saturday night getting dinner at our local brick oven pizza spot and selecting the perfect Christmas tree.  Did I mention I love Christmas??  Looking forward to an exciting month to come!

Bella And The City

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If You Love

I'm addicted and I know I'm not alone.  These daily deal sites are pretty much the best shopping invention since Wal-Mart.  They've made putting together a fashionable look easier than ever and not spending every penny of my paycheck more challenging.  I started with Jane and quickly realized how much bang I could get for my buck if I knew what I was looking for and acted quickly.  I still swear that Jane is hands down the BEST boutique deal site around, but if you're looking for more, be sure to check out these other awesome finds!  

Hands down the 2nd best deals out there.  I buy equally between here and Jane.

Great selection. Very similar feel to Jane.  Could use a little more organization, like a way to filter categories.

Huge site!  Tons of deals in all different price ranges.  Plan on spending some time to get through all the deals.  There is also a large monogram selection for those who are into that kinda thing ;)

Some junk, some treasures.  I've seen a good bit of cute accessories on here.  Definitely affordable and worth a look every now and then.

Love. Love.  Love!  Great selection of deals including lots of home decor and party supplies.  I also feel like I see different things on this site than the others, so that's a plus!

Might be a Jane clone, but you can't have too much of a good thing in my opinion :)

Happy shopping and please leave a comment if you know of another great site that I've forgotten!

Linked up on Five on Friday.

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Thanksgiving Cats

Because nothing says Thanksgiving like cats in costume!  You're welcome.

Wishing you and your family the best Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season to come!  

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Guidelines to Clean Out Your Closet!

This past week, the hubs and I did something that was loooong overdue.  We went through our closets, which were all bursting at the seams, and came up with a sizable donation so close to the holidays.  With switching to winter decor, I almost feel like it's spring cleaning time again.  I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the items I am donating and hope that someone in need will get a lot of wear out of my stuff!  

Do you think you have stuff in your closet you are ready to part with?  It can be a hard task.  That is if you don't have the right set of guidelines to follow ;)  

Ask yourself...

Does it fit?  If you're a bargain hunter like me you probably have quite a few items that do not fit anything like they once did after a few rounds through the washer.  You may wish it still fit the way you wanted, but it doesn't.  There is no going back.

Is it age appropriate?  I have quite a few items that would be super cute if I were still 22, but I'm afraid I may get some strange looks from my friends if I showed up somewhere in them today.  Somebody else could totally rock it though.

Have you worn it in the past year?  If not, you probably won't wear it this year either.  Just sayin'. 

Can you think of a place you might wear it this year?  Sure,  it's super cute, sexy even.  But do you have an actual venue in mind where you could wear such a thing?  If not, pass it on.  Surely there is someone out there who can make use of such an awesome outfit!

Is it worn out?  These are the toughest ones to part with.  The clothing items that have gotten their money's worth, that have been with us through thick and thin, that never fail to make us feel beautiful.  But even these, after enough time, have to be replaced.  Be honest and toss it if it's time.  

If your answer is no to any of these questions, I suggest parting ways knowing you can donate to someone who will truly appreciate and use the things that are just sitting in your closet wastefully.  'Tis the season of giving.  May as well clean simultaneously! 

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