A VERY Bitter Christmas!

Hi Gang! We are almost in the home stretch.

Bittersweet Susie

In my family Christmas is a casual affair. We get together on Christmas Eve, draw names for a gift exchange, eat until we can’t move and are in bed by 9! Christmas day we just eat leftovers in pjs. I usually eat candy for breakfast to really keep with the manic sugar fuel frenzy that some of us get when we go all in to the holiday spirit.

Bittersweet Susie

What are your traditions?

Today is my BAKING MARATHON DAY! I am pretty excited about it. Also, I have pretty much watched EVERY holiday movie and special there is, some of them twice (I am looking at you White Christmas). I, as I do every year, had GREAT PLANS for all the crafty things I was going to make and per usual I did almost NONE of them. Typical. There is always next year!

I DID manage to make these cute mid century putz-style glitter house inspired from a tutorial on Retro Renovation. It is one of my FAVORITE blogs if you have not had the chance to check it out.

Bittersweet Susie

I also made these HOMEMADE Vanilla Extract that I posted here a few days ago. Look at me posting TWICE in the same month.

And as a HOLIDAY Tradition here on the blog I have for you the 2016 Bittersweet Christmas Playlist! I had a theme going for a minute. First a Country Christmas, then it was a bluesy Christmas and now it is just A RANDOM CHRISTMAS! Like our year this playlist has some ups, some downs, and some total turds! Not everything can be the best thing you ever heard, right? I will be listening today while I finish up (or start) wrapping, and baking, and meditating on being the MOST FESTIVE I can be!

Bittersweet Susie

Cheers to a great Holiday!

No homework! CHRISTMAS VACATION!

 

Last Minute Gifts – DIY Vanilla Extract

Oh crap! Christmas is a week away! Are you ready? Do you have all your gifts wrapped? Cards sent? Meals planned? NO!?! Me either.

That is the joy of the holidays, seems like it goes on forever (with no help from christmas decorations showing up earlier and earlier each year) but it sneaks up on you and bites you square in the butt!

Dearest friends I have a super easy last-minute gift for you to make!

Vanilla Extract!

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Ohhhhh fancy

What you need:

• Booze

• Glass bottle with tight fitting lid

• Whole vanilla beans

This is seriously the easiest gift to make – and is something that I (as a frequent baker) go through fairly quickly.

First you need some BOOZE. I have seen homemade vanilla made from a number of spirits. Vodka, bourbon, rum and someone even used GIN! Vodka is a good place to start – sort of blank canvas for the vanilla beans but bourbon also sounded like it would be good – I think I am going to try RUM in another batch.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I raided my fathers liquor cabinet for this little project. My parents are always reliable for a good bar stash!

Dad gave me some of this Bakers Bourbon to use – the bottle was practically empty before I used it – SHUT UP – it wasn’t ME.

I don’t think he got that I wasn’t going to drink it straight. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Filled your cleaned bottles with your booze of choice! These little stopper bottles came from Cost Plus.

Next – fresh vanilla beans! I get mine from this AWESOME spice shop in Santa Barbara store called Vices and Spices. They ship! They also have amazing teas and coffee.

Make sure your vanilla beans are not dried out.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Cut off the ends – but keep them! Don’t waste the vanilla! Slit the beans open so they can get completely infused – I also cut mine in half because they fit in the bottle easier and they need to be completely submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I used two beans per bottle.

Shake up your concoction and warp it up for a friend. I have no friends so these are FOR ME.

Give them a good shake and let them sit in a cool dark place for a month. Some people leave it longer for a stronger vanilla flavor. Just check on it weekly for a good SHAKE SHAKE and to make sure the beans are still fully submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

The great thing about these is that it lasts practically forever (or until the beans flavor weekends)

Always make sure beans are fully covered in liquid. I top mine of every time I use it – NEVERENDING VANILLA EXTRACT!

YAY! You domestic badass! People are going to be impressed with your fancy gift!

Here are some posts of Christmas’s PAST to get you through this holiday:

Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Christmas Dance Party Playlist

Holiday Craft Bonanza – part 2

DIY Wrapping Paper


Stay tuned this week for this years Christmas Playlist  – and check out my instagram for all my holiday baking for the BIG DAY. I hope Santa is down with paleo.

Homework:

• What are you making for your holiday meals?

• What dishes or desserts are tradition that you MUST MAKE year after year?

• The best homemade gift you made or received? 

 

Christmas Greetings

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Dear friends and family,

I hope that this letter reaches you in time for the big day! It has been such a busy season that this is the first time I have gotten a chance to sit and write you all. Despite my normal bah humbug attitude I actually DECORATED for christmas. I put up the tree and decorated the mantle with care in hopes that my new roommates would be there. They aren’t and won’t until new years but I did send them a little video that DOCUMENTED this festive and rare show of Christmas Spirit.

I am writing you this from the comfort of bed, in fuzzy matching pajamas, watching Ernest Saves Christmas because I AM A GROWNUP.

This year (and last year while we are pointing fingers) has been complete and utter BULLSHIT. Hardest two years on record for me and most people I know and love. There were absolute highlights (so many weddings and babies and puppies and kittens) but the lows make it hard to trudge through and be merry. I am absolutely ready to pack it in and just hibernate until 2016 – BAH HUMBUG with my fellow grinches!

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 presetOne of my dearest friends, Ashley, plays this little game with me. She is the sunshine to my negative nancy tendencies and the polar opposites of our outlook helps me get through. Every time I say something I hate she makes me say something I love. It is a good reminder to see that I am indeed blessed and am going to make it through (see even this is hard for me to write without snark and with a straight face) and this list is dedicated to Ashley – because she fucking RULES.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 presetThings I love:

• My friends – I have had a LONG year of sifting through friends that don’t really have my best interest in mind, BUT have really built friendships with people that I admire, respect, and adore. I am surrounded by the most talented and truly caring people and I am grateful every day for all of them!

• My parents – they rule. They have always ruled and I really won the parent jackpot with them.

• My new living situation – I have the best roommates and live in this magic castle on the hill. This house has INSTANTLY made me feel like I am home.

• My job and coworkers – these lovely people are also in my FRIENDS category but I feel they need a double shout out. I am lucky enough to get to do photography as a JOB and also work with the strongest, hard working, creative, hilarious, and kind group of bad ass babes I have ever encountered in my LIFE. The whole PUG team (production – to corporate – to the boutique – to customer service) is full of hard working rad chicks.

• This space – this blog and my instagram have really kept me on task to keep up with being creative. Thank you so much for the friendships I have built through here and for looking at all!

I know a lot of people out there have had a rough year too, and as hippie hippie as it sounds it really helps to write down the things you DO have. I am also really grateful for cheese. That shit is magical and delicious!

And as my gift to you I have this years Bittersweet Susie’s 2015 Christmas Playlist. Get in that holiday spirit while you wrap that last minute gift and cut yourself peeling the potatoes. Break out the booze early BEFORE the in-laws get there! It’s Christmas Damnit, we are going to have a dance party or bust.

I heart your guts – Susie

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Here are the playlists of Christmas’s Past:

2014

2013

Homework:

• Write down three things that you love and are thankful for! Feel free to share them here!