Thursday, December 29, 2011

happy holidays

I anticipated being busy the days leading up to Christmas and boy, was I right! I'm not sure why, but no matter how much preparation is done in advance there's always a ton of little last minute things to do. It was all very well worth it though..

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all spent enjoying the holiday festivities. First, it was the holiday lunch at work along with Secret Santa. Lucky for me, they also let us leave early because I had some cupcakes to make! After the car bomb cupcakes (recipe coming soon) were done, I was ready for round 2 of the gift exchange..this time with friends. They definitely hooked me up but I was most excited to give my friend her peanut butter themed gift basket. I packed the basket with a peanut butter cookbook, peanut butter sauce, peanut butter vodka- yum!, and homemade peanut butter (again, recipe coming soon) that I was very impressed with..especially since it was my first stab at it. Some pizza, 3 bottles of wine, and a dance central marathon later day 1 of the holiday extravaganza was over.

Saturday morning was spent trying to wrap a rather large tv box, packing up the car, and heading off to mom and dads for a Christmas eve tradition- laying on the couch with loads of snacks and hot chocolate with a marathon of Christmas movies. This tradition never seems to disappoint! It was the most relaxing day ever, with the exception of some last minute ornament making. And the gift exchange went well too! My parents didn't put up to much of a fight when they opened their new tv. Hubby and I also exchanged our gifts on christmas eve and he definitely spoiled me! He got me the two things I wanted most-

the Vera Bradley duffle

and my new camera!!! He's the best.

Then it was time for the big day- Christmas! It was so nice to wake up with my favorite guy and just have it be the two of us, enjoying our first Christmas morning as Mr. and Mrs (and our 9th in total). We opened presents that his family had sent, laid around, wrapped some last minute gifts, and then it was off to see the family who we haven’t seen since our wedding. It was nice to be welcomed to “Mr. and Mrs. H are here” and “Here come the newlyweds!”. It was also a welcomed change of pace since they catered in yummy, delicious Italian food (finally got to try a stuffed artichoke!) and we didn’t do anything. Just lounged around and hung out (that seems to be becoming a theme with this holiday weekend). Then, we did something we never do on Christmas- party hopped! We went to see the other side of my family, my parents, and brother. Since it’s always a good time with them we ended up staying out MUCH later than originally intended. I think we walked through the door at 1 a.m..ugh.

So, now that Christmas is over and all of the eating is done I now have to really focus on losing weight. Since our wedding (2 months ago) I’ve probably put on an additional 5 lbs on top of the 10 lbs I had gained pre-wedding. Oh joy! I’m currently 3 days into counting points (ala weight watchers) and I’m staying on track, mostly because I now have some motivation. What’s this motivation you ask? Well, I was very generous to myself this Christmas season and booked our first little getaway! 4 marvelous days at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas (that’s one check off the to-do list for 2012). Since we’ll be joined by our favorite travel buddies and sharing a room, the price was just too good to pass up. I cant wait!!! Now all I have to do is get skinny…

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

cherishing the mundane

In a season cluttered with parties and events, I just want to take a minute to recognize the nights where there's absolutely, positively NOTHING to do. There's no agenda, nothing that needs to be done, no plans are made...just a night filled spent lounging in front of the tv, starting a little project, just doing whatever you damn well please. These nights are rare in our lives, with Ryan not knowing how to sit still for more than 2 minutes and me making every little thing a big social event, we always have something to do or somewhere to go. Then tack on the craziness of the holiday season and it just never seems to end. Well, last night was one of those dull, do nothing nights....and I loved it.

We spent some quality time together, watched tv, enjoyed our Christmas tree, and I was able to make a pretty yummy dinner.


I cooked up some of the Omaha Steak burgers we received as a gift, made a sundried tomato mayo with a dip mix I bought, and after being inspired by a dinner we had over the weekend, I dressed up regular old french fries with minced garlic and some pecorino romano cheese.

The hubster was nice enough to handle the dishes so all I had to do was find my way to the couch, which is where I spent the remainder of the night.

All I can do now is savor the memory of last night because every night up until Christmas eve is going to be say the least.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'tis the season

With less than a week to go before Christmas I'm really getting into the holiday spirit...especially since all of the hard stuff (shopping and decorating) is done!

This year, we had to start from scratch with all of our decorations now that we finally had our own apartment to decorate. It look a lot of after-work and weekend trips to every craft store in a 20 mile radius but I think we finally got it just right- which was a bit of a task being that I'm a little eccentric and the Mr. is very traditional. Here's the finished product...

Our entertainment center which apparently doubles as a mantle...

And my crowning achievement...our first Christmas tree...
(Not sure why it looks so crooked...I swear its not...)

I'm also extremely proud of myself that I finally got our Christmas cards out! With all of the large mailings I did for the wedding (save the dates, shower invitations, wedding invitations, shower thank you's, and soon enough wedding thank you's as well-ugh!) I've learned that I despise doing them and therefore put it off for as long as humanly possible. I wouldn't have done Christmas cards but the cards I found were fabulous and it was a great way to get our new address out to everyone.


and our new address stamp (which I raved about here) was put to very good use...

This year, I also had my mind set on doing something cute and festive for the holidays. We got together with 2 of the best people we know and made our way out to Port Jeff for some dinner, holiday shopping the best part- passing by all of the houses we could find that go above and beyond with their Christmas decorations. I already had the dinner location scoped out (being the planner that I am). I wanted to hit up the Gourmet Burger Bistro and was I glad we did! Their garlic fries were amazeballs and I discovered Cupcake Vineyards..I will divulge all of the awesomeness that is Cupcake Vineyards once I receive the um...crate..of wine I ordered. Then we hit up a few shops..the christmas ornament shop, fudge shop, and the hot sauce shop for the best dip mixes in the world!! (which can all be purchased here, I highly recommend the sundried tomato and garlic)- ya know, an average shopping trip. After a quick hot chocolate pit stop, it was time to see the houses!

The first one we stumbled upon by mistake while driving to another location. After a quick turnaround we realized it was totally worth the stop.

The next house was a light show that was set to music. The picture doesn't do it much justice but it was so much fun to watch

And the 3rd house just put all the others to shame...

It was phenomenal. More lights than you could ever imagine, Santa's everywhere, a lawn full of toy soldiers, and beautiful displays in glass cases. I never wanted to leave.

And this house was so great because it allowed us to take our FIRST ever picture with Santa

Well, a fake Santa, but it still counts!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

why anthro, why?

Shame on you anthropologie! Sending me a catalog just weeks before Christmas knowing damn well that I only shop your gorgeous, yet overpriced, racks for myself. After reviewing the highly glossed pages of your catalog, which may I mention was one of the thickest ones I’ve received this holiday season, my credit card was threatening suicide if I dare pull it out of it’s cushy slot in my wallet to make a purchase either in store or off of your website. Let's run through some of my must-haves, shall we?

First, let's talk about this coat. You'll recognize her as the Runway Lapel coat and she's going for a mere $198 (insert eye roll here). Actually that's not THAT unreasonable for a coat and she's quite the beauty. The cowl neckline is so perfectly tucked under and the black buttons on the winter white fabric is a lovely contrast. It's also perfect for showcasing your favorite scarf that normally gets hidden underneath your coat.

Next up is something cute to wear to the office. The Tie neck sweater dress is better than your average sweater dress. The sleek silhouette and contrasting colors is what attracted me and might I also mention, anything with a bow at the neckline belongs in my closet. But for $158?? Ugh! Give me a break.

Now, this pretty little thing is the Sessile Harvest top and will cost you $68. She consists of all things that I happen to be obsessed with. Mustard yellow- so flattering on me, that pleating that resembles ruffles- love it, and lace?? Neeeeeed it!

At first glance, I passed up on the Nolana skirt, priced at $158. Then, I saw this picture...

..and I fell in love. The lace stands out and looks so perfect paired with a heavier sweater and tights. See,'re a sly one. You know just how to reel me in.

The Polished Platinum Dress is the ultimate holiday party dress, whether its business or with friends. My only question is what's with the $388 price tag? Is the thread used to make it 14k gold??

Here goes the Audrey Tulle Dress, another one pushing the $400 mark- $398 to be exact. But really, it's friggin gorgeous. The lace has this victorian-esque detail to it and the draping at the neckline is beyond flattering. I already have a go to LBD but what girl couldn't use another?

The Lorna Dress would be great for a summer a matter of fact I know of a summer wedding coming up that I could wear this to! It also reminds me of a BCBG dress that I kinda loved and the $188 price tag for the Lorna beats out the $400 one for the BCBG

The Iced Garland Cowlneck (in white- $128) and the Plaited Illusion Cardi (in taupe- $88) both look so comfy! I just wanna cuddle up in them all winter long.

Looking forward to spring we have the Fresh as Air top (in green- $78) and the Ruffled Cape Tank (in blue- $58). The Fresh as Air would be perfect paired with ink rinse skinny jeans and red patent leather flats and the blue of the Ruffled Cape Tank will be my go to color for the spring. It once was peach. Clearly, I've moved on.

If this shopping spree actually took place my grand total would be $1,908 (without tax). Really Anthro?? What are you trying to do to me? If your going to make expensive clothing could you at least make them ugly? This newlywed who's trying to build up a savings would be forever grateful...

Monday, December 12, 2011

it's bridal shower time

This weekend I attended my first bridal shower as a Mrs. I will say it was SO much more enjoyable then attending a shower as a soon to be Mrs. Here is the lovely bride-to-be, my friend Courtney, in all of her bridal glory.


In my lifetime, I've now been to a total of 8 bridal showers...5 of which I went to while I was engaged, and the first two I was to young to even be contemplating my own wedding. During those 5 showers, I went in inspecting everything. How's the venue, what kind of food are they serving, what games did they play, how many gifts did the bride get. I might as well have broken out a pen and paper and took notes. I was also (disclaimer- I promise I'm a good person!) VERY judgmental. I had something to say about pretty much everything. From paying close attention, I learned a lot- what I did like, what I didn't..good ideas, bad ideas. But, I was so busy paying such close attention to the different aspects of the party I missed out on the best part of the day- the bride enjoying this amazing party that was thrown just for her. Yesterday, I finally got to enjoy that.

I went in feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew I wasn't going to be worrying about what color scheme they used or what favors they were giving. I was just there to have a good time. The party reflected the bride so well and she seemed so happy. That's really all that should matter.


And it was great to watch her open any type of lingerie, she had the best reaction!

Going to this shower did bring back all the feelings I had at my own shower. Just remembering how truly blessed I felt to have the friends and family that I'm so lucky to have. They all did so much and the love I felt in that room was incredible.

Every bride should experience that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a year of firsts

I know I'm only 1 month into this little thing we call marriage but I'm loving all the "first time as a married couple" experiences we're having. Our honeymoon was actually our first vacation ever that we weren't going to either visit family or going away with a group of people and that was SOOO nice. Doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted definitely spoiled us. We had our first Thanksgiving which was the first major holiday after our wedding. I was so excited to experience the holiday in a whole new way, as a married woman. Besides it being the first time extended family has seen us since the wedding and the excitement that brought, it was pretty much the same as past years. However, it was nice to not have anyone ask "So, how's the planning going?" as they have been the past 3 years! And coming up- our FIRST CHRISTMAS! First time decorating our new place, putting up our tree, collecting all of our adorable ornaments that will be on our tree for years to come, and of course our first gifts we're giving to each other- I'm hoping since it's a special year that it'll be a good one! Am I making it to obvious that I adore Christmas?

There's also all of those little experiences that make you warm and fuzzy inside. Like hearing him introduce me as his wife for the first time. I literally swooned when he said that. It was the sweetest thing ever. Even a month later, I'm still not used to it. It still makes me smile. Then there was the ordinary task of combining our car insurance that we did just last night (whoopdy doo, right?). But it was the first time I got to select the "Mrs." box as my title and "married" as my marital status. That made us both all giddy & lovey- it apparently doesn't take much, we're both so corny when it comes to that stuff as it is. I could go on forever with all of the little things that have made me say "aww" in the last month but I'll do us all a favor and stop this list right now.

We've had so many experiences so far but the fun hasn't even begun...besides all of the other holiday's throughout the year we have a wedding we'll be attending in February- first time I won't be getting up to catch the bouquet, a trip to lovely San Francisco is in the works around Valentine's day to see one of my nearest and dearest friends and her equally as awesome boyfriend, a springtime couples trip to Lancaster, the hubster's big 3-0 (that will hopefully include an awesome gift for my equally as awesome man), a possible puppy come next September??, and I can hopefully *crosses fingers* pull off a grand finale of our first year of marriage with a trip to Europe. Our savings may be begging for mercy after all of this but we need to celebrate...we have our whole 2nd year of marriage to recoup!

Monday, December 5, 2011

she's crafty

Yesterday was an ornament making extravaganza!

First, I'll start off by saying that whenever a project is started whatever time was allotted should be automatically multiplied by 3! I had these ridiculous goals of finishing about 30 ornaments AND making cupcakes. Well, I need to start setting smaller goals because I was only able to get 7 ornaments done. In my defense, I had to run some errands in the morning so I had a later start time than expected.

I started off the day with this little guy. He's a squid, I guess. He was supposed to be an octopus but I got lazy with the legs..oops. I made his frame with thin wire, covered him with masking tape to bulk him up and then paper mâchéd him with a cheap book.

This one seemed a whole lot easier to make on paper. Just paper mâché a glass ball, right? It's time consuming, messy, and it was hard to match up the leopard print. The finished product is worth it though.

My felt creations came super cute. They both just consisted of cutting shapes, gluing, and the owl required stuffing and sewing around the edges. Not to bad. Next felt ornament project- Zombies!

The Alice in Wonderland frames were by far the quickest and cheapest to make. These frames were found in a $1 clearance bin and the images were printed off the Internet. Place photo in frame, attach string for hanging in back, and done!

The whole day spent making these was WORK, but fun. My favorite cousin was over making her own ornaments as we popped in a Christmas movie, had some snacks and we were good to go. I guess it's not such a bad thing that I need to schedule another ornament making day!