Sense Appeal XXIV - Christmas Edition


for the eyes:
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Santa's workshop chez moi

for the mind:
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Though all retailers push spending during the holiday season, some aren't as eager to spread Christmas cheer.  The American Family Association published a list of the "naughty" and "nice" retailers based upon the extent they promote Christmas.

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Turns out, Barnes & Noble, Office Depot and Radio Shack, among others, are in fact against celebrating Christmas, which may make you re-think where you get your books, binders and batteries come this time next year. But no coal for the companies below, who as indicated by the photos, clearly made the nice list.

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Home Depot

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Neiman Marcus

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and Target

for the ears:
DAVE BARNES - CHRISTMAS TONIGHT from Salvador Lleo on Vimeo.
Mainstream musicians of today have a tendency to absolutely ruin a classic Christmas carol. That means you, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and One Direction. So, when I find an artist who takes proper care of the quality of Christmas music, I feel compelled to share it.

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Like this guy, Dave Barnes. He has the soothing voice of the Michael Bublé sort who beautifully carries the charm of both traditional Christmas songs and his own variety. I'm particularly fond of his duet with Hillary Scott--"Christmas Tonight." It serves as a satisfying replacement for when I've overplayed my all-time favorite, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

fashion for feel:
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Over a year ago, I posted about my fetish for leather accents, and it's only grown since as I'm becoming more open to all leather pieces, particularly skirts. During the winter, donning denim day in and day out grows tiresome and I crave something to satisfy my more feminine taste.

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Leather skirts used to give off an edgier vibe, worn strictly by those who preferred to be seen as the tough-girl type. Now, with full-body skirts, ruffles and lace cut-outs, leather can be--dare I say--ladylike.

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Whether faux (like bottom left pleated magic leather skirt) or for real (like top left Neil Barrett burgundy leather mini skirt or middle Mugler Origami leather skirt in praline), the options are nearly endless.

for taste:
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It seemed only fitting to post a Christmas-themed sense appeal. For many, Christmas looks like snow, smells like the pine of a Christmas tree, and tastes like eggnog, gingerbread or peppermint bark from William's Sonoma.

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In my household, Christmas tastes like my mom's Christmas candy crack(ers). The addictive nature of these treats comes from the mixture of salty and sweet, and packaging them for friends and family is always one of my favorite annual duties as my mom's little elf.

1 sleeve (1/4 box) Saltine crackers
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of light brown packed sugar
12 oz./2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 oz. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400
In a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan with a 1" edge, line it with heavy duty aluminum foil.

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Lay the crackers in the foil-lined pan with the edges touching and no overlap.

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Melt 2 sticks of butter and the cup of brown sugar over medium high heat.

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Bring to a boil. After 3 minutes, pour the boiling mixture over the crackers as evenly as possible.

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Place in the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly across the hot mixture. Wait 2 or 3 minutes for the chocolate to melt, then spread evenly with a spatula without disturbing the crackers. Sprinkle about half the bag of almonds across the top.

Cool one hour at room temperature, and then place the crackers in the freezer to harden for 45 minutes. Break into bite size pieces and share with friends and family--and leave the rest out for Santa tonight! Merry Christmas Eve!