Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

What’s the best thing ever to have in the winter? Hot chocolate.  What is even better? Peppermint hot chocolate.  And how can you make that even better? If it was just a tad bit boozy.

Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate; A Boozy Cold Weather Cocktail

Thanks to the leftovers in my cabinet from the beautiful lady I am subletting my apartment from, I found myself with all the ingredients to create some delicious spirited hot cocoa.   Not so surprising, it’s super easy but SO delicious.

This is the perfect amount of boozy goodness to warm you up, but not make you afraid of walking a straight line from couch back your kitchen to get more. Though, you could always help it get to that level with just a splash of vodka.  I recommend vanilla-flavors.

I made mine originally with almond milk, and it was tasty; very rich.  I later tried it with regular milk, and it was equally as good.  I think pretty much any milk substitute will work for this.  Probably any sugar substitute as well, I just happen to like raw sugar more.  (I know, I hate me too.)



Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa


  • 1 1/2 cups Milk, or milk substitute of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 shot Peppermint Schnapps

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small pot, slowly heat milk. Add cocoa and sugar, stir until combined, then add vanilla extract and Schnapps. Add to giant, winter-themed mug and add a candy cane for garnish!
  2. Makes 1 large mug of delicious, minty (and slightly tingly!) hot chocolate!


Christmas Beauty Wishlist: Lorac, Becca, Hourglass, Tarte, Kiehl’s, and Nailtique

Lorac Mega PRO 2, Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit, Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadows, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Cocentrate, and Nailtique
In today’s “If I had a million dollars…” episode of my Christmas Wishlist, I decided to focus on beauty.
Many of these are cult favorites, so it’s absolutely shocking that I’d want them.  I’m not a trend-follower or anything (she says so sarcastically…)

1. Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette

I’m in love with the mauve-y tones of this palette, and have heard nothing but good things.  I also don’t own any Tarte products, so I think this could be a great introduction.  I can see this as being really great post-Christmas Winter colors, when I know I’ll be sick of the gold metallic shades from the holiday season.

2. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I’m just starting to finally realize the importance of adding oils into my skincare routine.  And– shocker!!– it’s really helping to clear up my acne.  So I figure why not go right to the source and get one of the OG face night oils?  The price tag seems reasonable for all the reviews claiming it to be a must-have in your skincare routine.

3. Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette

I mean, just look at the colors. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this palette, and it has a lot of shades I don’t have already.  Mama like.  Mama want.

4. Nailtiques Protein Formula 2 Plus

I’ve been having a hard time with brittle, peeling nails lately, and have heard of this being a really great find.  Then KathleenLights talked about it in her recent favorites, so I have to assume that it’ll be great.  I’ve been using Sally Hansen and Essie treatments, but they seem to get thick really quickly.  Hoping this one will hold up a little better!

5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit

This is my hail-mary choice.  I can’t imagine actually asking anyone I know to spend $80 on a piece of make-up for me, even if it is 6 gorgeous highlight, bronzing, blush shades.  $80 on skincare, yes (because your face is your face forever!) but make-up? No.   But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

6. Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector – Champagne Pop

I don’t think I really need to explain this one.  It’s got more rave reviews than I could ever even hope to read through in my lifetime, and (I’m preeeeetty sure, and correct me if I’m wrong) it’s limited edition.  I just want my highlight to be on fleek.  Please just let me be on fleek.
Dear Santa, please check this out.  I just want to be superficial and cover my face is gorgeous things.  Talk to Mrs. Claus if you have questions, I’m sure she understands.
PS. I promise I’ve been good.  Just ignore whatever Gracie says about that, she’s a compulsive liar.  I am on the “nice” list for sure.


The Best Christmas Playlist

I’ve been listening to Christmas music basically nonstop for the past month, with absolutely no shame.  It just puts me in the best mood, no matter what.  And with the snow “storm” we got here in Chicago this weekend, rocking out to some Mariah Carey Christmas was basically the best cure for cold weather blues.

Seriously– try walking down the street, while it’s snowing, with Jackson 5 “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” in your ear.  You will be so happy, even if you can’t feel your fingers.

To that end, I thought I’d share my favorite Christmas songs at the moment.  Songs that make me squirm-dance in my seat at my computer, while dreaming of putting up my tree next week.

If you’re feeling festive (or even if you’re channeling The Grinch, pre-Cindy Lu Who, and need a little help), here is my favorites playlist.  You’re welcome.  Good luck waiting the full month and two days left to the best holiday in the entire world now.

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist | Candidly Kelsey



The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent Calendar GIVEAWAY!

The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent Calendar Giveaway!

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but I am a celebrate-Christmas-the-day-after-Halloween kind of gal. November 1st usually starts peppermint mochas, cranberry candles, and Christmas Pandora.

Ho, ho, ho, bi*ches.

I know.  Based on the fact that I’ve already tweeted about watching Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at least three times this month, you probably had no idea, right?

There is just something about the feeling of Thanksgiving and Christmas that I think it’s never too early to start celebrating.  My extended family is in the habit of celebrating both around Thanksgiving while we’re all together, so Thanksgiving and Christmas may as well be one 2-month long holiday for me.  Thanksgivingmas??

And because of that, I wanted to start the season off early with a little GIVEAWAY!

The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent Calendar Giveaway!

The gorgeous The Body Shop 24 Happy Days 2015 Advent Calendar is up for grabs for one very lucky friend.  I managed to grab the last one in the shop near my house this week, and I’ve been told these puppies are going fast, thanks to all the treats inside.

The goodies inside are all listed online at TheBodyShop.com, but to also give you a little sneak preview, these 24 little beauties include:

Frosted Cranberry Shimmer Lotion
Shea Body Butter
Fuji Green Tea Bodywash
Elderflower Eye Gel
Shea Shower Cream
Almond Hand & Nail Cream
Strawberry Lip Butter
Vitamin E Night Cream
Wild Argon Oil Shower Gel
Colour Crush Nail Polish
….. and more surprises that I won’t give away.
The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent Calendar Giveaway!
I actually got a sample of each of the body butters that is inside the calendar and have been using them the past few days.  They live up to the hype, and smell gorgeous. My favorite is the cranberry; it makes me want to lick my arms.
The giveaway is open internationally (woohoo!).  Enter below, multiple times per day if you’d like.  Share this giveaway with your friends, then split the goodies if you win!  The more, the merrier!

Happy Christmas! 



A Season of Giving

A Season of Giving

The season for family, the season for commercialism, the season to hold your loved ones close, and most importantly: for giving.

I’m a sucker for random acts of kindness.  An extra smile, holding the door open for someone, an extra big tip, or a random compliment can mean so much to a person, even though it may not be a lot of effort for you.  You never know what kind of day someone is having, and how your small actions can affect their life in a big way.

Last week, a young couple– around high school age– sat down at a booth in my section of the restaurant.   They ordered waters, and asked about prices of desserts before ordering one to split.  It was clear that they were on a first date, and it was absolutely adorable.  Immediately next to them was a booth of four very outgoing people: a grandmother, her daughters, and an older grandchild. They immediately noticed the young couple at the table next to them, and pulled me aside quietly.  The ring-leader of the group asked for me to put the couple’s dessert on their check, and tell them that Secret Santa had taken care of it for them.  It touched me so much that they wanted to do this for them, but made it clear they wanted it to be anonymous.  I almost teared up at the gesture.

Time came for the couple to ask for the bill, and the look of shock on their face when I had the privilege tell them that their bill was already taken care of was priceless.  The young man who was going to take care of the bill actually said “Is this a joke?” and made me assure him he wasn’t going to get in trouble if he left without paying.  They were in genuine shock and awe that they had just gotten a free meal, courtesy of a total stranger.  I was so happy I got to be the one to witness their excitement that they were the target of such an act of kindness.  (And the tip they left me after getting a free meal didn’t hurt either.)

It’s things like this that really made me love the holiday season.

People are so grateful, and giving to one another.  It’s been my dream each year that I would one day be in a financially stable enough situation that I would be able to play Lay-A-way Santa, and anonymously pay for someone’s Christmas presents on lay-a-way at a store.  The holidays can be such a burden financially and cause so much stress at a time that is supposed to be magical, which is exactly the opposite of how it should be.  Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate!) should be about family, friends and giving back, which is something I think we tend to forget.

Though we see tons of stories on the news and online about the not-so-nice things that tend to happen this time of  year (see: Black Friday Shopping stampedes, and mobs at stores for special deals around the holiday season– like the pepper-spray incident at my local mall over some fancy shoe sale?), it’s things like this that really make the holiday season.

So, while you’re out getting your friends and family gifts, and taking advantage of the theme for the holiday season, remember to pass it on as well.  Giving should never feel like an obligation, as so many people view it, but should be viewed as a privilege.  The group that took care of the young couple’s dessert said they were fortunate enough to be able to have nights out like they do, and just wanted to pass it along.  Tossing a few cents in the holiday collection bucket, or dropping off a toy to a local toy drive can make a world of difference for someone else in need, while it may not affect your life as much.  It never hearts to pass the joy along to someone else.

Happy Holidays!