This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Every extended family has that one person that champions Christmas. That person that rallies the troops for holiday baking, sets a date to see Christmas lights or plans the secret Santa gift exchange. I have someone like that in my family. It's my sister-in-law, Nicky Vender. Her home is always decorated beautifully for the holiday, she bakes the best cookies and she gives the best gifts wrapped to perfection. She is always the person you secretly hope picks your name for the gift exchange because you know your gift is going to be awesome. Well, this year Coca-Cola has asked me to highlight my unsung heroine of Christmas as part of their #ShareACoke campaign, and I would like nothing more than to #ShareACoke with Nicky. Truthfully, her jolly Christmas actions go unthanked a lot, and I want to thank her with the ultimate gift basket!

Her energy and excitement for the season is what keeps me going because I think my energy peeks shortly after hosting Thanksgiving or maybe it's because my kids tire me out...Either way, her holiday spirit and joy make Christmas much more fun. To honor her, Coca-Cola personalized her favorite drink, Diet Coke, with her name on it, and then I put together the ultimate gift basket.

Gifts always feel more special when they are personalized. Wouldn't you agree? You can get 40% off a personalized six pack of Coca-Cola using shopping code HOLIDAY40 at checkout.

To take the personalization one step further, I had a wooden sign made for her family that she can hang on a wreath year round. In addition, I packed some more of her favorite things in a lovely basket. 

1. Diet Coke - Her favorite drink
2. Madonna ornament - Her favorite 80's pop star
3. Chocolate and caramel - Her favorite treat
4. Bottle opener  (similar)- To help her enjoy her Diet Coke, of course
5. Personalized wooden sign for any wreath or basket - It can be used in many ways
6. Hand cream - Beauty products always win.
7. Nail files - Her toes are always painted to perfection
8. Wrapped soap - Who doesn't like to bathe in the scents of Christmas?! Haha!
9. Throw - To keep her warm and cozy
10. Beautiful basket - Something that she can use to store things in her home
11. Boxwood wreath - It's a beautiful and neutral gift for the season.
12. Bouquet of Holly - Everyone loves flowers, especially Christmas ones. 

I left the basket on her doorstep like a good little elf to let her be surprised, and she sure was! I got a call with tears and joy. I'm sure Santa would be proud. The fun doesn't stop there though. I want to give you something special too.

You can win your very own six pack of Coca-Cola that's personalized with your name, as well as a $100 gift card. The total value of the prize is $130. To enter, please tag your Christmas hero or heroine in my Instagram post (click here). Contest ends on December 11th at 11:59 PM, and one winner will be chosen by December 12th and contacted via direct message on Instagram. Please make your Instagram account public so that I can contact you if you win.

This prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this campaign.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

How to Style Your Bar for the Holidays


This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola Licensing.

Holiday cookie exchanges, open houses, parties and intimate gatherings...Chances are you will either host or attend a holiday party this season. If you are hosting, you will most likely have to put together a spread of goodies on a table, island or bar top. Today I'm going to share with you how to make your spread look special for your event.

1| Set your food and drinks out first. You'll want to make sure you have enough room for everything. Keep the sweets with sweets and savory with savory.


2| Place any utensils you may need next to the food. Don't forget the bottle openers! I always forget those, but how can I forget this cute one by Coca-Cola? You can even have some drinks already poured into glasses with straws just like we did with the Coca-Cola Heritage Glasses.


3| Go back through and add design elements that very in height and size. You may want to add different sized vases, candles or maybe even create a fun winter scene with figurines, fake snow and an old crate like this one from Coca-Cola. We also created winter terrariums to add dimension and spirit to the space.

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4| Add some sparkle - Place ornaments, glitter or tinsel around the area. We hung ornaments above our bar to draw the eyes upward to our chalkboard wall. Think about what you can add above or below too.

5| Add some live greens or flowers - Fresh flowers or even fresh pine is a nice way to liven things up. If you don't feel confident arranging bouquets, simply add branches of pine in vases.

Photos by Melissa Jill, Art Direction by Alex Evjen, Florals by Hoot and Holler, Chalk writing by Katie Sterbenz

Toffee Caramel Bundt Cake


This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

"It's a cake!" Name that movie!...

It's from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which happens to be one of my favorite movies. In the movie the Greek family is trying to understand what a bundt cake is. All I know is that once you try one you will always remember it. Bundt cakes are a popular sweet to make during the holidays. Today, I have a yummy recipe to share with you that you can make the day before your party so that you are stress free and you can enjoy every moment of your gathering.

You can't go wrong with toffee and caramel, and this cake recipe has both. Mmm! It's a moist cake, especially with the caramel, and use can use the extra caramel drizzle for apple slices.

Toffee Caramel Bundt Cake (adapted from Lady Behind the Curtain)


  • Non-stick cooking spray with flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz. toffee pieces (about ¾ bag of Heath chips)
  • ½ cup pecans bits
  • Caramel Drizzle (see below)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick spray with flour.

In a medium bowl, wisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Measure out milk in a liquid measuring cup and then add the vanilla to the same cup. Alternate mixing in flour and milk, until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.

Fold in toffee chips and pecans by hand with a spatula until distributed through batter. Spoon batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Bake for about 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover top of cake with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary

Remove from oven and cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully invert the pan onto a wire and allow the cake to cool completely.

After the cake has cooled, make the caramel drizzle below.

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Caramel Drizzle:

  • 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Photography by Melissa Jill, Art Direction by A.V.E. Styles, Food created and styled by Nicky Vender

Holiday Party Favors


This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

When hosting a party, you always want to give your guests a little something special to take home. We've come up with a cute and festive gift that is inexpensive and easy to make yourself.

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Kissing beneath the mistletoe is a longstanding tradition during the holidays. So, what better way to remind your friends and family that you love them than mistletoe bundles? We even created "xoxo" tags to go with them, and paired them with a classic bottle of Coca-Cola.

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Mistletoe isn't easy to come by, so you can use any type of white berry or holly to take the place of mistletoe. Simply tie some string around your little bundle and hot glue your handmade "xoxo" tag to it. Vintage soda crates make the perfect display, and I particularly love this vintage Coca-Cola one. You could place ornaments in it for some sparkle.

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For more holiday entertaining ideas, check out this other post.

Photography by Melissa Jill, art direction and styling by A.V.E. Styles, florals by Hoot and Holler and calligraphy by Katie Sterbenz Design.

Holiday Monogram


This post is brought to you by Coca-Cola.

Everyone has a different way of decorating their home for the holidays. Your choice of a green tree or a white tree is a personal expression of the celebration of the season. A great way to make your decorating even more personal is to use monograms.

My last name is Evjen, so the letter 'E' has a lot of significance in our home. It's also the first letter of our daughter Elle's name. I found this metal E that was once part of a neon sign at a vintage market. It has been sitting in my closet for almost a whole year collecting dust. This year I thought I would use it to attempt a Pinterest inspired DIY I saw a ways back. It was a letter filled with succulents, and I thought it was the coolest thing.

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With the help of my friend Malori from Hoot and Holler we schemed up an idea to put holly berries and pine into this metal E. It turned out great. All you need is your metal letter, floral foam, and your choice of greens. Rosemary and herbs would smell and look amazing too. I like the pop of red the berries bring, but you could choose white berries if you don't use red too much in your home.

1| Cut the foam blocks to size so that they fit snuggly in the letter

2| Wet the foam

3| Start placing your stems of greens tightly packed together into the foam

4| Fill until you are happy with it.

Photos by Melissa Jill, Florals by Hoot and Holler, Art Direction by A.V.E. Styles