Brownie Truffle Bites

 

We all have those times in life when we’re counting calories. The holidays are so clearly not those times. That’s why the team at Femail Creations is bringing you an indulgent dessert recipe. One that will make your mouth water. One that will cause you to crave its sweetness. One that, quite possibly, should be reserved for seasons of cheer only. Read on to get this delectable, lick-your-lips recipe that’s the perfect sweet treat for any holiday party.

 

 

Yields approximately 3 dozen truffles

INGREDIENTS

1 fudge brownie mix*

1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Sprinkles, optional

Cocoa powder, optional

* plus, ingredients needed to prepare these

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Bake the brownies according to the package directions. Allow to cool. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Crumble the brownies into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to roll the crumbled brownies into small truffle-sized balls and place on the lined cookie sheets.

 

In a glass bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Using a fork, dip each ball into the chocolate, covering it completely and then return it to the cookie sheet. Top with sprinkles or a light dusting of cocoa powder, if desired. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Freezes well for future use.

Be the Perfect Holiday Hostess

 

Last week we shared a few tips on being a gracious holiday guest. This week, we’re back with pointers that apply to the other side of the equation—being a hospitable host. Create a memorable holiday event or stay-over with these hints.

 

 

Do Your Prep Work

Simply put, have things ready for your guests when they arrive. You don’t want them to feel like they are in the way while you clean the guest bath or prep a casserole for the oven. Set aside some time to do those things before they arrive, so you can focus on them and your time together.

 

Stock the Home

Whether you’re hosting overnight guests or a brunch with friends, make sure your house is stocked with all the essentials, including plenty of food, beverages, and paper products. Think about the placement and accessibility of these items, too, so your guests feel at home and know where to find everything—be it an extra cocktail napkin (we love this option) for their mimosa or a bath towel for the shower.

 

 

 

Provide Entertainment

Equally as important as having all the necessities is having a bit of fun. If you’re having company for only a few hours, pick a quick game that can wrap up quickly or create a playlist the group will love. For a girls’ night, try a game of truth or dare with this set that features 100 options. If you’re hosting a party for kids, let them take turns at creating a melting snowman.

 

If you’re entertaining overnight guests, plan an outing. For example, if they haven’t visited your area before, show them the sights or take them to the local burger joint and museum. If they grew up in the area, plan a few favorite stops to make them feel at home again.

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the Christmas Spirit

Whether it’s a visit from the man in red himself, a festive pajama and movie night for out-of-town guests, or a few aptly placed decorations that signal the season, now it is the time to let your spirit shine—after all, ‘tis only the season once a year.

 

Be the Perfect Holiday Guest

 

With the holiday season in full swing, there’s no doubt you’ll be attending parties and get-togethers at the homes of loved ones. Whether you’re there for a luncheon or staying over for the weekend, play the role of a gracious guest with these tips.

 

 

Come Bearing Gifts

Things are sure to get off on the right foot when you have the forethought to remember your host and/or hostess before you arrive on their doorstep. Whether you’re there for a long weekend or only a cocktail, be sure to bring a small token of your appreciation. If you need an idea, we love tea towels that are personalized to the hostess’s taste or sense of humor (find a huge selection here), fresh flowers, and candles (find several options here).

 

 

 

Offer to Help

Remember it’s the thought that counts. Whether your host and hostess need help or not, it’s always polite to offer. If they are stocking the bar, offer to get ice. If they are cooking, offer to help with the dishes. These gestures can go a long toward creating a relaxing, stress-free holiday for both you and them.

 

 

 

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome But Also Plan Times of Togetherness

It’s a fine line to know when you should stay and when you should go. If you’re spending the night with guests, have a clear plan of how long you plan to stay before you arrive. This will help both of you to plan for the visit. If you’re at a home for a party or gathering, be mindful of the end time on the invitation or the “feel of the crowd” (did everyone leave 30 minutes ago? did the hostess close the bar and turn off the music?) to know when it’s time to make a gracious exit. On the flip side, remember your friends and family are thrilled to see you and will cherish this time together (especially if you live far away and don’t get to make it home for every holiday), so plan for plenty of times of togetherness as well.

 

 

 

Be Sure to Say “Thanks”

Even if you were staying with your best friend from childhood or a sibling you talk to every day, it’s important to let them know how much you appreciated his or her hospitality. Within a week of returning home, send a thank you note or email to let them know you’re grateful for the place to stay and the time together. If you were attending a party, a note is still a thoughtful gesture to let the hosts know you enjoyed the event.

 

The ULTIMATE Girl Gift Guide

 

Ho, ho, ho. It’s time to get shopping! Christmas is just around, which means it time to fill your cart and get those gifts under the tree. To make it easy, we’ve got a few ideas for every woman on your list. From your mother-in-law to the fashionista next door, check out our 2018 Femail Creations Holiday Gift Guide.

 

 

For Your Pal & Confidant

Pick up a copy of the Merry Christmas My Dear Friend book from author and illustrator Suzy Toronto. The book shares sweet stories about the season and the bond of friendship between women.

 

 

 

For the Girl Who Likes to Be Cozy

Christmas and coziness go hand-in-hand (or should we say foot-in-foot?) thanks to these spirited Christmas Unicorn Socks.

 

 

For the Newlywed

Commemorate their first year as a married couple with a sweet keepsake, an Our First Christmas Art Heart. This piece can hang on their tree or be nestled into their décor.

 

 

For the Grinch

She’s in the holiday spirit—well, sort of. Gift your friend who’s gifted in the kitchen, as well as at the bar, this Drink Up Grinches Apron.

 

 

 

 

For the One Who Gets You in Trouble

Even the friends on the naughty list deserve a little treat, right? Give your best naughty friend, A Little Naughty Wine Glass and Eye Mask Set to help her relax and savor the season.

 

For the Saver

Shoes, wine, and botox—help her save for an emergency with one of these hilarious Necessary Funds Pouches.

 

 

 

For the Leisurely

She’s a lady of leisure—and who can blame her? Treat her to a new pair of Slate Velvet Slippers.

 

 

 

For the Tribe Leader

Give a gift that will keep thoughts of her tribe close to her heart. The Loves Her Tribe Charm Necklace is a sweet sentiment that goes with any outfit.

 

 

 

For the Dog & Wine Lover

She’s got her priorities in line. Now, help her spell them out for others with an “I Just Want to Drink Wine and Pet My Dog” sign.

 

 

 

For Your Work Spouse

She gets you—and your sarcasm. Seal your bond with this witty See You Tomorrow Travel Mug.

 

 

 

For the One with Cold Feet

You know the one, she runs a space heater in August. Give her a pair of Pink Giving Socks to warm up her feet year-round. BONUS: These also make a sweet get-well gift.

 

 

 

For the Netflix Binge-Watcher

Feed her lastest-new-series and cabernet addiction with a glass that proclaims both loves: the Netflix Marathon Wine Glass.

 

For the Organizer

She’s a natural planner and her pantry is alphabetically arranged. But, even the organizer of the crowd needs a Random Crap Zipper Pouch to put those pieces that just don’t have a place.

 

 

For the Sentimental Sweetheart

The colors of the Pink Woven Threads Scarf represent the tapestry of memories woven in a life.

 

 

 

For the Fashionista

Keep a fashion-forward friend looking fabulous with a Floral Burnout Velvet Kimono.

 

 

 

For the Far Away Friend

She may not always be beside you, but you can remind her you are thinking of her with an Always With You Key Ring.

 

 

 

For the Adventurer

She’s always down for an adventure. Now, you can help her keep track of all the places she’d like to go with a Bucket List Bucket with 30 Blank Cards.

For the Year-Round Beach Bum

She loves the beach—even when it’s 32 degrees outside. Warm her up with a pair of Pink Flamingo Furry Slippers that call to mind an 80-degree day.

 

 

For the Friend Who Won’t Let the Devil Get Her

Ain’t nobody got time for the devil. Give her a gift that’ll remind Satan to get back with a Not Today Satan Insulated Tumbler.

 

 

 

For an Awesome Sister

She’s an awesome sister, who has an awesome sister. Remind her of that with an Awesome Sister Mug.

 

For the One Who Always Runs Late

Beauty takes time, right? If she tends to run a little behind, give her a 20 Minutes Late Cosmetic Bag to show her you love her no matter how late she arrives.

The Dos and Don’ts of Surviving Thanksgiving

 

There’s something ironic about having to “survive” a day of gratitude. However, with the busyness of the season, the ever-increasing list of to-dos, and, of course, the arrival of family, it might be a good time to brush up on a few dos and don’ts to help you have the happiest Turkey Day.

 

 

Do Bring Wine

Not only will your relatives and friends thank you for being so generous and thoughtful, a glass of wine might steel your nerves for any unpleasant topic your Uncle Raymond or your long-lost cousin Barbara may bring to the table. We suggest making a toast to the occasion with this personalized wine glass, which will also help you keep tabs on your drink.

 

 

 

Don’t Count Calories

There are days to diet, and there are days to dig in. Thanksgiving clearly falls into the latter category. This holiday revolves around gratitude and food, so grab a fork (we like these cute hand-stamped utensils) and feast for the day.

 

 

 

Do Stock Up on Necessities

Whether you’re hosting a lunch or overnight guests, make sure you’ve got everything you need for friends and family to feel comfortable. For example, keep ice, drinks, and extra napkins in easy-to-find places when you’re serving a meal so guests can replenish as needed. For overnight company, stock up on toiletries (yes, this includes lavatory mist) and keep towels, snacks, and books or magazines out for them.  

 

 

 

Don’t Isolate Your Yourself

If the holidays are sticky for you, stick to the buddy system. Find a friend and tag team the gathering. This might be a spouse, a sibling, or any other confidant who gets you. You can even make a game of it by using code words when it’s time to head out.

 

Do Bring a Hostess Gift

Nothing breaks the ice like a little treat to thank the hostess. Not sure what to get? Candles, baked goods, and tea towels with witty or wise words are always a good option. We like this cheeky “You will eat it and you will like it” towel.

 

 

 

Don’t Stress

Most importantly, just relax and remember to breathe. Even if the day seems daunting, it can actually be a beautiful time of togetherness, deepened relationships, and, yes, gratitude. Keep that thought in mind and look down at this “Just Breathe” bracelet if you need a reminder.

 

 

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude

 

As we fall deeper into the days of autumn, our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving celebrations here in America. For many this brings to mind images of family togetherness, parades and football on TV, and, of course, pumpkin pie. While all of those are highlights, it’s also a great time to set aside some time to practice gratitude. In our fast-paced world, this can be easier said than done. So, here we’ve giving you four suggestions on how you can put gratitude into action.

 

 

 

Write Letters to Loved Ones

There are thirty days in November, which gives you thirty opportunities to write a quick note to let someone know how much he or she means to you and how thankful you are to have them in your life. If you’re not sure you can commit to thirty, opt to write one note a week for the month. It’s not the quantity of thankfulness, it’s the act of expression, so even if you only write one note, know it’s meaningful.

 

 

 

Start a Gratitude Jar

Count your blessings by writing them on slips of paper and stowing them in a decorative jar (we love this option!). Keep the jar in a convenient, easy-to-see place such as on your kitchen counter, so you’ll be reminded of your blessings and can add to the pile any time.

 

 

 

Pay It Forward

We’ve all heard stories of someone paying for the person behind them in the coffee or food line. That is a quick and simple way to put gratitude in action and pass on positivity. However, if you want to go just a bit deeper, seek out those who are going through a difficult situation in which you have been through in the past. Even if you are only a sounding board, you’re likely to give them perspective and they are sure to be grateful for your help and kind thoughts.

 

 

 

Volunteer

Seek out an organization you admire and see how you can help. Whether it’s rescuing animals, raising funding for schools or medical research, or cleaning up city parks, the one thing all of these groups have in common is a need for volunteers. Whatever the cause, helping others is sure to remind you of all you have to be grateful in your life.

Meet Blingsting Founder: Andi Atteberry

 

Blingsting products are designed to empower women and give them a sense of security. From glam-styled pepper spray to pink first-aid kits, the company knows that women not only want to have the tools to be safe, they want them to be pretty. Here, Andi Atteberry, founder of the Dallas-based company, shares a bit of Blingsting’s history along with a couple of tips to help keep you safe.

 

 

 

Femail Creations: How did Blingsting get its start?  

Andi Atteberry: My dad wanted mom and I to be safe, so he bought us pepper spray at the hardware store. He would always ask “why don’t you have your pepper spray with you?” And we told him if it were pink and sparkly we would carry it—and so would all women. At the time, I was living in NYC and working in sales. I took my bonus check that year to make 5,000 units of the pepper spray and almost all of it sold immediately. We were featured in Cosmopolitan at the same time, and it began to take off. My dad is also responsible for thinking of the name Blingsting.

 

USE THE FULL KIT HERE:

 

FC: Aside from your dad’s initial influence, why do you feel self-defense is such an important topic for women? And why did you want your safety products to be pretty?

AA: Every day, we see more and more stories on the news that make personal safety a topic that’s top of mind for everyone. I feel like girls really get our brand, and that’s important if you want them to be engaged and actually use the product. All of our products are non-lethal, very affordable, personal safety devices that can empower women. They are all practical but with a boutique trend look. Of course, you hope you never have to use any of these.

 

FC: Tell us a bit more about the different types of products you offer.
AA:
Sure. We have a personal alarm called the Ahh!-larm that is like a purse charm that can clip onto your bag and produce a really, really loud sound when you press the panic button. We have a Glammer that is great for moms because it can cut seatbelts and help you to break out of your car in the event of an emergency. We have a First-aid Clutch with all the necessities you would find in a typical kit. We also offer a non-lethal Stunning Gun that gives a 1-2 second shock. It was the result of numerous requests from customers. And then, of course, we have the Pepper Spray.

 

FC: Other than carrying these products, do you have any safety tips for women?
AA:
Yes, the biggest things I would note are stay off your phone and be aware. A lot of us are on our phones we are walking, whether that’s down a city street during the day or across campus at night. It’s hard to be aware if you are on your phone. I also recommend always taking your pepper spray with you—whether you are jogging or walking to work.

 

 

 

Last-Minute Halloween Fixes

 

Halloween is just around the corner. Are you ready? If not, don’t panic, we’ve got quick fixes for all your spooky conundrums. Read on to find solutions to four common Halloween frets.

 

PROBLEM: You Need a Costume

SOLUTION: We’ve got more than a few options for simple, understated, and cute costumes. For instance, pop on this LED Skull Headband and you’re sure to get “glowing” reviews. Want to stay stylish and be festive? Throw on this Rest in Pieces Skeleton Poncho to add a spooky but chic touch to your Halloween festivities.

 

 

 

PROBLEM: You Don’t Have a Treat Bag

SOLUTION: Try one of these: Show up to your couples’ Halloween party with a Vodka is my Candy Bag or this Witch Tote. Headed to a neighborhood block party, toss your essentials into a Day of the Dead Shoulder Bag.

 

 

 

PROBLEM: You Want Your House to Feel Cozy and Festive

SOLUTION: Spread cheer by serving hot chocolate or coffee in these Oh My Gourd Mugs? Or, liven up your front entry or dining table with a few Green Burlap Pumpkins  that can easily translate into Thanksgiving décor for November.

 

PROBLEM: You’re Not Super Into Halloween But Still Want to Participate

SOLUTION: We get it. You don’t have to be over-the-top to enjoy October 31. Keep it subtle and stylish with Halloween Charm Jewelry or a Pumpkin Spice & Chill Hat.

What’s Cooking for Fall?

 

When you think of fresh fruits and vegetables, spring and summer months may come to mind. But, don’t let cooler temps deter you. We’ve put together three recipes that are sure to make you want to visit the farmer’s market (or your own garden!) this fall. From a soup starter to a delectable main course and a sweet dessert, find inspiration in these recipes.

 

FOR STARTERS:

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter, separated

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 (32-ounce) cartons of chicken stock

salt

pepper

toasted pepitas, for topping

sour cream, for topping

 

PREPARATION

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the carrot and squash and continue to cook for approximately 5 minutes longer. Pour the carton of stock over the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing it to simmer for 20-25 minutes. In batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot, stir in the salt and pepper. Spoon into a bowl and top with pepitas and sour cream, if desired. Serve warm.

 

 

FOR THE MAIN COURSE:

 

 

Roasted Veggie Honey Hash

INGREDIENTS
12-14 Brussels sprouts, halved

2 carrots, sliced

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

2 ½ tablespoons olive oil

salt

pepper

2 tablespoons local honey

 

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line two baking sheets with foil. Place the Brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Variation: Add smoked sausage for a meat version of the dish.

 

 

FOR DESSERT:

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Bake

INGREDIENTS

6-7 medium apples, cored, peeled, and cut into wedges

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons butter

2 pre-made piecrusts

vanilla bean ice cream, for topping

whipped cream, for topping

 

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the first five ingredients together, covering evenly. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour the mixture into it. Top with pats of the butter. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil, stir, and cooked uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Bake the piecrusts according to the package directions. When the apples are finished baking, pour the mixture evenly into the two piecrusts. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.

Trick or Treat Yourself

 

Halloween is just around the corner. Will you play it nice with a treat-filled celebration or throw in a few playful tricks? As the day nears here are a few ideas for both. We’ll let you decide: trick or treat?

 

 

Trick: Front-Door Scare

Think beyond opening the door with a bowl of candy and give your trick-or-treaters (who are of a reasonable age) a bit of a fright. For example, hide behind the door and slowly pull it open to reveal a goblin holding the treats. Or, play spooky music with ghostly sounds or claps of thunder that seem to accelerate as the little ghouls get closer to your door.

 

 

Treat: Dinner and a Movie

If you’re not into the hubbub of Halloween, place a bowl full of candy on your front stoop and head indoors to treat yourself. Cook a delicious dinner, open a bottle of wine—don’t forget a festive wine glass— and tune into one of the many scary movies playing on television. Add a pair of cozy socks and we’d say you have the perfect evening.  

 

 

 

Trick: A Prank Call

The invention of Caller I.D. really took away the fun of a good old-fashioned prank call. While you may not be able to call just anyone to ask if his or her refrigerator is running, you can still trick those you know best. Ring up a buddy and let your imagination run wild with a monster of a tale (maybe you came into a large inheritance or maybe you need bail money?!?). Just when you think you have them hook, line, and sinker, tell them the joke is on them.

 

 

 

Treat: Dead Ringer Hot Chocolate

If you prefer a different kind of “ring,” dial up a good time with a cup of Dead Ringer Hot Chocolate. Don’t forget a cute mug that’s sure to help you savor the cool days of fall while you drink your hot chocolate.

 

 

 

Trick: A Less-Than-Tasty Pie

Get your friends at the office with an age-old trick. Offer them a slice of what appears to be Peanut Butter Pie. However, instead of peanut butter create the filling from refried beans and top with a heavy portion of whipped cream. Be sure to ask who wants seconds.

 

 

 

Treat: A Goodie Bag

You don’t have to be going door-to-door for candy to appreciate this statement bag. Whether you’re toting sweats and shoes to the gym or party supplies to a friend’s, we can all agree this bag is totes fun.