Holiday Décor: Under $25

I love redecorating my apartment each year for Christmas. I swap out peonies for poinsettias,  picture frames for nativity scenes and coffee table books for classic Christmas stories. There’s nothing quite like coming home at the end of long work day during the month of December. Plugging in the Christmas tree, lighting a pine scented candle and curling up on the couch to watch a Hallmark movie while enjoying the festive and cozy ambiance.

I’ve linked six of my favorite holiday home décor items below and with all items under $25, you can afford to stock up and really deck the halls this year!


Clockwise from top left: Wooden Star $9.99, Spoon Rest $4.99, Christmas Coasters $24, Cranberry Hurricane $15, Wall Hanging $3.99, Holiday Candle $20.


Gifts for Her: Under $50

This year I’ve put together a list of my top gift ideas for your besties, your sister, your mom…maybe even you (just drop a hint and forward this post to Santa)! All gifts on the list are $50 or under, meaning you can spread holiday cheer and give thoughtful gifts without going broke this season. These gifts are sure to be a hit with all the ladies on your list!


Clockwise from top left:

Metallic Faux-Leather Boots – Give your fashion-forward friend a pair of statement making booties that will help them shine all winter long. ($44.99)

Kendra Scott Elisa Necklace – Wear as an everyday necklace or layer with longer necklaces for a more dynamic look. With 27 colors to choose from, there’s a shade for everyone. ($50)

Floral Portable Charger – This portable cell phone and tablet charger is not only pretty, but it holds 3-4 hours of charge, perfect for the gal on the go. ($30)

Stripe Slippers – Stock up on these cozy and cute slippers for all the ladies in your life. At this great price, everyone deserves the gift of a cozy Christmas this year! ($29.95)

Voluspa Mini Tin Candle Set – Get five gifts for the price of one with this candle set from Voluspa. Gift all five candles to a friend, or break up the set for easy hostess and co-worker gifts to keep on hand. ($40)

Jo Malone Christmas Cracker – For a gift that is almost as fun to open as it is to use, three beauty goodies come hidden inside a traditional Christmas cracker. The travel sizes are perfect for out of town guests or frequent travelers. ($48)

Cuffed By Nano cuffs – These cute cuffs come in a variety of colors with many messages to choose from. My favorites are Good Vibes Only and Death Before Decaf. And for only $55, you can purchase a cuff with custom engraving. ($28)

S’well Water Bottle– Give this cute Palm Beach inspired water bottle to your #fitnessgoals bestie. ($35)

bareMinerlas Warm Me Up Kit – I’ve been using bareMinerals for years and always want to tell everyone how great it is. With their selection of gift sets – including this $12 bronzer kit – you can share the gift of glowing skin with your friends and family too! ($12)

Happy Shopping!

Pink Velvet Three Ways

Velvet continued to be a huge Fall trend this year (see my post from last year featuring black velvet and lace). What I loved most about velvet this season, were the vast selection of velvet pieces in unexpected and bold colors, especially my signature color, pink! Before even the first chilly Fall day, I was on the hunt for a pair of pink velvet boots and as the season continued, I found many more unique velvet pieces that I just couldn’t live without!

See below for three of my favorite looks from this season, all featuring pink velvet, of course! Which outfit are you most likely to wear? Comment and let me know!

New Phototastic Collage

Jacket: LOFT, similar here and here, Dress: LOFT, similar here, Bag: Chanel, Shoes: Steve Madden


Velvet Top: Old Navy, Skirt: ASOS, similar here, Clutch: Marc Jacobs, Scarf: Nordstrom, similar here, Bracelets: Bourbon and Bowties


Top: LOFT, Velvet Jeans: Old Navy, Earrings: similar here

2017 Christmas Playlist

Releasing the year’s carolsandcocoa Christmas playlist is one of my favorite days of the season! I spend a lot of time finding the latest and best releases and I listen to a lot of songs before deciding which ones will make the cut. From jazz to country and everything in between, this year’s playlist has it all! I’m especially loving the songs from Hanson and 98° – two boy bands of Christmases past that got back together to release new Christmas albums this year. I hope you enjoy the mix of holiday classics and new favorites as much as I do!


Follow me on Spotify (elmishler) to get access to the 2012-2017 Playlists!

carolsandcocoa turns 5!

Greetings carolsandcocoa readers! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. Though I was away from family this Thanksgiving, I enjoyed a day off to sleep in, cook and attend a SOULcycle Turkey Burn class…and of course I celebrated my favorite tradition of all – curling up on the couch after dinner and watching Elf! I can’t think of a better way to bring in the Christmas season.

This year marks five years of carolsandcocoa! When I started this little blog five years ago I certainly did not dream of all that it would become. I am so grateful to all the friends and family members that have helped me with photo shoots, DIY projects and so much more! And of course, I owe a huge THANK YOU to all my readers! I hope that carolsandcocoa has been able to bring a smile to your face and a little Christmas joy to you everyday!

Head over to @carolsandcocoa on Instagram to see a few of my favorite posts from throughout the years. Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram for your daily dose of holiday cheer and sign up for e-mail notifications so you never miss a blog post! Cheers to 5 years!


Tablesettings Two Ways

It’s Christmas Eve and soon everyone will be gathered around their tables enjoying a wonderful meal with family and friends. There may be a lot of work left to complete in the kitchen, but don’t forget to set the table! See below for two easy and festive table settings!

For my first look, I wanted a classic holiday feel with accents of gold and silver. I used these paper placemats with gold dots as a base and then layered a white plate on a silver charger. Then, I tied a plaid ribbon around a simple white napkin for a pop of color. Be sure to use ribbon with wired edges – this will help you get the perfect bow every time! I finished off the place setting with a glass of Ruby Red vodka and club soda from this Naughty and Nice glass set (similar here).



Quite different from the traditional setting above, but equally as festive, I wanted this table setting to play up the pink and gold winter napkins I found while shopping at World Market. To start, cover your table with a long roll of white paper. Then set your placemat, plate, silverware and glassware at each seat. Use a simple strand of twine to tie up the napkins and to finish, use a gold sharpie or paint pen to write each guest’s name at the top of the setting.



How To: Natural Glow in the Winter

Earlier this Fall I set out to master a new everyday makeup routine that I could complete in less than 10 minutes. This simple makeup routine is full of subtle sparkle and brightening tricks – guaranteed to give you that natural glow!


b.o.d.y. –  During the winter, Target Self Tanning lotion serves as my daily moisturizer (compare to Jergens Natural Glow), keeping my skin from drying out and adding subtle color – helping me hold on to that summer tan just a little bit longer. When I want a little more color, for example the day of a party, I’ll use Neutrogena Micro Mist. Color sprays on evenly and last for a couple of days! I use the Deep Intensity shade, but there are several lighter options for fairer skin or those who might be nervous about self tanning at home.


f.a.c.e. – I’m a huge fan of Bare Minerals, so my everyday face routine includes many of their products. I start with Prime Time Primer, to even out my skin for a smooth and flawless base. Next, I apply Matte Powder Foundation all over. The next step is one of my favorite tricks for creating that natural glow! I apply Faux Tan Bronzer in the shape of a three – starting at my forehead, under my cheekbones and along the chin line. Then, I add Blush in Vintage Peach and finish with Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, swiping just across the tops of my cheekbones and above the eyebrows.



e.y.e.s. – For a natural glow, I like to use various shades of gold eye shadow. This eyeshadow trio from LORAC is a fool proof way to get my look, but you can also use any eye shadow palette you might already have on hand, but keep in mind the following – apply lightest shade all over lid and brow bone, apply medium shade to eyelid, and lastly, apply darkest shade to crease of eyelid to create a look with depth and definition. Finish with a few coats of mascara. I use Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara on upper and lower lashes and apply a second coat to top lashes using YSL Babydoll Mascara for extra definition and volume.


l.i.p.s. – As most of you know, I’m partial to a bold red lip around the holidays, but to complete this natural glow look, I opted instead for a neutral shade of lipstick. I first lined my lips, which helps color stay in place and last all day, and then applied Loreal Fairest Nude Lipstick.