12 days of blogging

merry christmas to all of you.


welcome to day 12 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “merry christmas eve”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

can i just say how wonderful it’s been over the last couple of weeks to spend some extra time reflecting on the christmas season for this linkup? this has been such a wonderful experience for me, both in how it encouraged me to be extra thoughtful as christmas approached, and in how many new people it helped me find. a GIGANTIC thank you to my lovely sister-friend amber for running this with me and being just generally wonderful.


and thank you to all of you who have been here with me over the past year. whether you’re a commenter or a secret reader, i hope this christmas brings you all that you could wish for, and peace and love and warmth on top of all of that.

i’ll be taking a break from regular posting to enjoy the holiday with my sweet husband, crazy family, and dear out of town friends that are back home for the quickest of visits. see you on the other side.

love and peace and blessings from the ‘z’ family.


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

recipe: spiked hot cocoa with candy cane vodka [holiday cocktail]


welcome to day 10 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “holiday cocktail”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

today we’re sharing the christmas spirits! get it? see what i did there? spirits, like alcohol? but then it’s like a play on the phrase christmas spirit? you get it.

there are so many festive cocktails around this time of year. pomegranate martinis, bailey’s in everything, and cider cocktails abound (check out chelsea’s amazing creations to see what i’m talking about!). but this recipe is one of my favorites. it’s so festive and so easy, but people will be completely impressed that you infused your own vodka with candy canes! it’s so martha stewart of you!

now you can enjoy some spiked hot cocoa in front of a fire, while watching your favorite christmas movie, or maybe even in a travel mug while you’re outside in the cold…the sky’s the limit.

spiked hot cocoa with candy cane vodka

  • candy canes
  • vodka
  • hot cocoa mix
  • mason jar

break up 1-2 candy canes into a mason jar (depending on the size of the jar you’re using, you can adjust amounts). pour vodka over the candy canes, enough to fill the mason jar. let the candy canes dissolve into the vodka. the smaller your candy cane pieces, the faster they will dissolve. the vodka will turn a pretty pink color. once the candy canes are all dissolved, make your hot cocoa, leaving room in the mug for a shot of candy cane vodka. protip #1: i recommend using a large mug for a whole shot of vodka, a small mug can be pretty strong! protip #2: enjoy with a christmas cookie. protip #3: this makes a really good gift. mix up individual mason jars, tie a ribbon and an extra candy cane around the top, and give with some nice hot cocoa and/or a mug!

let me know if you make any this weekend, i hear it’s going to be cold out there!


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

presents are fun too.


welcome to day 9 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “christmas wishlist”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

i really try to keep the meaning of christmas at the top of mind throughout the season. i give back where i can, i share moments with family and friends, and i give thanks to God for all that i have and pray for the presence of mind to do more for others that don’t have what i do.

and yet, i still like to get presents. and maybe everyone else who writes about their wishlist today will be more selfless than i and write about their wish for the simple things, and i will look like a crazy materialistic person. and that’s okay. but you know what? this is my space and i get to write about what i want to write about.

and i want to write about the little luxuries that i would love to unwrap on christmas morning. you see, we’re on a nice budget, Mister Man and i. so i don’t shop for myself during the year for the most part. since june, i’ve purchased exactly one item of clothing, and some replacement makeup from target. most purchases made over the last 6 months have been for the house (which i love!). but that means that any gift i receive that’s just for me feels like a luxury.

1) laura mercier face polish. this stuff makes your face feel as smooth as a newborn baby’s bottom. it’s amazing. it’s not too harsh but it still exfoliates the crap out of your skin. and the best part is that it doesn’t break me out. i tried this in a sample size a while ago, and i made that tiny bottle last for two years worth of business travel. imagine what i could do with a regular size bottle?

2) camera tripod. you may have noticed that i like to take pictures of the food i make. you may have also noticed that i live in the tundra, where it’s dark by 4:30pm. that makes taking good pictures in my kitchen very difficult. sure, i could only make food and take photos of that food in the mornings on the weekend, but let’s be honest, that’s just not going to happen all the time. so a tripod would come in real handy for when my shaky hands can’t handle the slow shutter speed needed for a bright photo.

3) caramel booties. these are mama z’s fault. she made me try them on in nordstrom. and they were so beautiful. and so caramel-y. i mean, who can resist boots like that when they are just  begging to be worn with everything?? jeans, dresses, tights, leggings, winter, summer, i’m pretty sure i would never take these things off.

4) ice cream maker. okay. it’s winter and i know that i’m not supposed to be craving ice cream right now, but i can’t get ice cream makers out of my mind. i just have all these ideas for homemade flavors, and i feel like this summer i’m being called to make them a reality! maybe santa can find one on sale since we’re in the off season…

5) buffalo plaid shirt. (similar here.) because i don’t have any flannel shirts. and i think that’s a travesty. the one type of clothing my husband won’t let me borrow are his flannel shirts. sweaters, sure. t-shirts, go ahead. but the flannel is off limits for some reason. so i’m thinking i need my own. gotta embrace that inner hipster/lumberjack at some point.

i hope that whether you wish for world peace, ryan gosling, or a new car, you wake up happy on christmas morning, for all the right reasons.

sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

recipe: chocolate covered cherry cookies. [christmas cookie exchange]


welcome to day 8 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “christmas cookie exchange”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

it’s not going to surprise anyone who’s been around here before that i am the MOST excited about today’s post. COOKIES! RECIPES! ALL THE GOOD THINGS! i can’t wait for all the ideas i’m going to get today.

and i know i just talked about cookies on monday, but honestly, what do you people expect from me? variety? of course multiple christmas favorite things are going to be about dessert. only i can’t give you the recipe i talked about on monday. that’s a family secret and if i put it on the internet there would be  consequences. probably a lot of yelling too.

so instead, you get the next best thing: my go-to christmas cookie recipe. i got this recipe from Mister Man’s old roommate, megan. he and megan were living together when we started dating, and i owe her a lot of my happiness today. see, she trained him into how to live with a girl so i never had to, and he is so much better for having been her roommate. she and her husband are still dear friends (although we’re currently trying to find ways to get them to move back to minnesota from upstate new york…) and you can thank her for this deliciousness that i’ve turned into my signature christmas cookie.

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

i highly suggest making a double batch of these cookies, because they disappear very quickly, and you’ll be sad when they’re gone! even my dad, the cookie connoisseur, says that i need to make these every year or else. i have none left in the house and after writing this post i’m contemplating making more.

chocolate covered cherry cookies (makes about 2 dozen for a single batch)

  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries (drained, save the juice)


  • 1/2 C. Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. reserved cherry juice

in a large bowl, cream butter, egg and sugar together. add vanilla extract and mix. add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. the dough will appear a bit crumbly, but will come together once you start to make the balls. roll dough into balls about one inch in diameter and set on baking sheet (they will seem small, but spread out when they bake). make thumbprints in each cookie, and place one cherry into each cookie. spread frosting over the top of the cookie so the cherry is fully hidden. bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

for the frosting: melt the chocolate chips with the condensed milk over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. remove from the heat. add the salt and cherry juice. if the frosting starts to thicken or harden, either heat it up briefly, or add another 1/4 tsp. of cherry juice to thin it out.

merry christmas and happy baking!


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

it’s gotta be the christmas pajamas.

welcome to day 7 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “favorite christmas tradition”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

i know all families are different when it comes to opening presents. some go early, some choose christmas eve, and some are purists who only open gifts on christmas morning. there is no right way or wrong way to open presents in my opinion. it’s all good!

growing up, i’m pretty sure my parents went seasonally deaf from the roars of, “CAN WE OPEN A PRESENT TONIGHT????” they heard every christmas eve from the five of us. it’s probably largely due to this that they started a tradition of allowing us to open one present on christmas eve before we went to bed. the only catch was that we had to open the present they chose for us to open.

and goodness my parents were smart. because can you imagine letting a child open a toy on christmas eve and expecting them to go to sleep after that? yea right. i can barely go to sleep after i open a package that i ordered FOR MYSELF, how could you expect a child to after that? so my parents strategically decided to have us open the one gift that could guarantee a swift bedtime: the christmas pajamas.

the christmas pajamas were the best idea ever. give the kids a gift that will make them want to go to sleep AND that they’ll look absolutely adorable in the next morning while opening presents? kablam! two birds, one christmas pj stone.


(i wouldn’t mind getting either of these under the tree!)

we don’t do this tradition as regularly as we used to, mostly because we all still fit into the last 6 pairs of pajamas we’ve received, and no one can possibly wear that many pairs in their life. but every so often we’ll get a surprise pj delivery. two years ago, the christmas that Mister Man and i were engaged, my parents had pajamagrams (such a good word!) made for the whole family that had the phrase, “magnif 7” embroidered on the chest. that’s short for “magnificent 7”, which is the name of my family’s theme song. (oh, your family doesn’t have a theme song? i highly recommend getting one!) and even MM was included in the club, only his said, “magnif 7 + 1”. because obviously. it was amazing.

i’m not sure if the pajamas are coming back this year or not, but i do know that when there are little “z” babies running around, i’m starting the pajama tradition up for my own little family, at least every few years. who can resist seeing kids in matching pjs on christmas morning? who? no one, i tell you! although Mister Man doesn’t normally wear pajamas to bed, so maybe he’ll just have to receive christmas boxers?

sources: 1 | 2


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram