Friday, December 31, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen 2010!

Today is the last day of the year....eeek! Over the past 12 months we've had so many adventures that I'm almost hoping 2011 is somewhat of a calm(er) year. In January we were jumping on frozen lakes in Ithaca, in March I wrote a break-up letter to to our 'gorges' town, I flew to Seattle in May to visit my sis for the annual Cheese Festival and Chris finished his grad program (yippee!), from June to July we zoomed around Europe (collectively one of the best experiences of 2010, except for when people thought we were sibs), a week later we packed our things and moved south, and since then we've been settling into our new Richmond neighborhood we now call home. To finish things off,  we've also had the good fortune of spending the final two weeks of the year visiting family and friends in California and Oregon. After all of this running about I'm ready for a long winter's cat nap in my own fluffy bed (with my own fluffy cat).

Whew! See you in 2011 and thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello, breakfast.




Plates of sugar cookies, nights of endless feasts, and lots and lots of wine. The eating never stops. A warning to Continental Airline employees: I'm going to have to be rolled off the plane. Magic cookie bars (layers of butter, grahams, chocolate chips, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk) are in the oven right now. Never before have I needed a New Year's resolution so badly!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Home for Christmas

It's finally here! We arrived in Portland this morning---our flight was even early---and spent the afternoon eating cinnamon rolls, drinking coffee, and opening presents. We were in California for the past couple of days (where this picture was taken) without any internet access, so I'll be posting our adventures at Disneyland as the week progresses. Now off to relax, feast, and partake in the annual viewings of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and It's a Wonderful Life by the fire. A merriest Christmas to all of you!

P.S. Can you tell someone was trying to give us bunny ears this picture? Sneaky, sneaky.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And We're Off!


Another White Christmas clip for you---I can't resist, this is probably one of the best Christmas movies out there. I watched it over the weekend and am always blown away by this tap number with Vera-Ellen and John Brascia. She makes it look so effortless in her little mustard yellow outfit and heels.

In other news...we're off to California today! I'll be posting here and there over the next two weeks, but I expect us to have a jam-packed holiday break. Enjoy the last few days leading up to Christmas and be sure to squeeze in as much cookie baking and Christmas movie watching as you can!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas Darling

What a weekend! We wrapped presents, listened to Christmas music and got some things in order for our upcoming trip to the West Coast. On Saturday we met some new friends at Balliceaux, and I could have sworn I was back in Portland. We stayed for live music and drank Dark & Stormys that really packed a festive ginger punch (the Dark & Stormy intrigue began after reading this).

On Sunday morning we celebrated 'Christmas #1' to exchange gifts that were unpackable for Portland. Husby got me a fantastic radio + iPod dock (so excited to listen to NPR and my new French album)! Santa is bringing his present to Portland, so more gift-giving ahead!

P.S. We're leaving tomorrow. TOMORROW. Eeeee!!!!! Must pack.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'll Drink to That

These sweet ceramics were available in Portland for "Little Winter" (I discovered them via some pictures posted after event). I wish I had gotten my hands on one before they all sold out online! My favorite is the optimist cup---guaranteed to make you smile in the morning before heading out to take on the world.

Have a festive weekend! Only one week until Christmas Eve!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Favorite Things

As previously mentioned in this blog, I have been a longtime fan of The Sound of Music. "My Favorite Things," for me at least, has always been associated with thunderstorms, pillow fights, and sibling harmony orchestrated by a kindly governess. This is why it perplexes (read: annoys) me that it's become a shoe-in for a handful Christmas albums. The version below by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass Band is probably my favorite (and the only one I can tolerate)---it makes me want to do a Christmas polka or something.

Also, I've wrapped my Christmas gifts this year as 'brown paper packages tied up with string' to switch things up a bit. With the red and white baker's twine I found at Crate & Barrel and the DIY idea from Design*Sponge, they look like they've just arrived from the North Pole. Or Fräulein Maria's musical imagination.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Week!

Exactly one week until we fly out to begin our Best Coast Christmas! In California we're looking forward to spending time with old friends, a trip to Disneyland, and the huge Christmas Eve party with 30+ relatives. A few days after that we'll be in the beautiful city of Portland eating my dad's famous Christmas morning 'cinnamon buns from heaven,' partaking in the annual girls' downtown shopping trip (my mom, sister and me) and seeing as many of our beloved Portlanders all the way through the new year. I. Can. Not. Even. Wait.
[Image via Squidoo]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good Morning, Old Man Winter

I woke up this morning, quite sniffly and sick
But I looked out the window--"It really did stick!"
And what with my wondering eyes did I see?
At least an inch of snowfall, and each tiny flurry.
I love festive weather, especially this time of season.
Looks like Trudy does not (I think I know the reason).
A happier morning I could not have had
(except for my cold...it's making me mad).
Hoping tomorrow brings the same kind of weather
And that watching movies at home makes me magically better.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Have a Cozy Weekend

I think some Christmas movies, down blankets, and hot chocolates with Baileys are in order this weekend.

Portland in two weeks from tomorrow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Judgement


I'll be honest--I absolutely judge books by their covers. A poorly designed cover turns me off to picking up the book and actually reading it. It makes me want to hide it in public. If one book has the option of coming in multiple exterior designs, I might even pay a smidge more to have the cover of my choice. That's why I am loving these Penguin Classics in beautiful hardcovers. I want a whole bookshelf of them. And lucky for everyone, these editions are on sale right now at Anthropologie and Powell's.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas on the Rocks

With Christmasy movies on every night and a multitude of festive lights about town, I thought I'd share this excerpt from David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice. The story is called "Six to Eight Black Men" and is about Sedaris' discussion with a local about Dutch Christmas traditions. Earlier in the story he finds out that the Dutch Santa is skinny, lives in Spain, used to be the bisop of Turkey and threatens to beat up kids who have been bad that year. Oh, and he does this all with a posse of six to eight black men. Who used to be his slaves and are now his friends. Find the whole story here.
While eight flying reindeer are a hard pill to swallow, our Christmas story remains relatively simple. Santa lives with his wife in a remote polar village and spends one night a year traveling around the world. If you're bad, he leaves you coal. If you're good and live in America, he'll give you just about anything you want. We tell our children to be good and send them off to bed, where they lie awake, anticipating their great bounty. A Dutch parent has a decidedly hairier story to relate, telling his children, "Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before you go to bed. The former bishop from Turkey will be coming along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you in a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don't know for sure, but we want you to be prepared."
 Pack your bags, kiddies. Santa's a-comin'.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Disneyland Ruins Everything

Well, except Disneyland.

I lived in Southern California until I was four years old. I have one set of grandparents in the San Diego area, and the other pair lives roughly thirty minutes from Anaheim. Needless to say, I've been to Disneyland. Probably more times than I can count. There is definitely a sense of magic when you grow up watching princess movies and then, as you are led down Main Street though the giant castle only to come out on the other side to see flying Dumbos, your little adolescent head is filled with dreams and rainbows and bibbity-bobbity-boo-ness.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hibernation Preparation

The stockings are hung and the windows are caulked. The apartment is aglow with festive lights and not a breeze is to be felt through the closed windows (anymore). Christmas music is on continuous play and I'm counting down the days until we're back on the West Coast (two weeks from tomorrow!!!).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gift Guides

There have been so many wonderful gift guides floating around in blogland lately. Joanna at A Cup of Jo is posting new lists everyday for each person in your family, and Design*Sponge posted some fun ideas for various budgets. 

A few weeks ago I discovered a treasure---hands down my favorite holiday helping guide this season. Gifted is an online magazine with embedded links, so when you see a great gift idea you can click on it and voila! The website appears before your eyes. Brilliant.

Have a lovely weekend! We are meeting friends on Saturday to drink hot chocolate and watch the Richmond Christmas parade. It might even snow a little! [Image via How's Your Weekend?]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And the winner is....

For the ugliest driver's license design.....drumroll please...
THE STATE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA!!

I should have taken a clue from my time at the DMV. I had never seen a Virginia driver's license before, but I didn't have high hopes. When I stepped up to the counter to file my various forms of paperwork to register, re-title, and the license the car, I had no idea they would only give you one try for your photo. Or that they wouldn't let you approve it before it went off into DMV no man's land. Or that you couldn't even smile with your teeth. Things were doomed from the start.

So I'll look like a dweeb, I thought. What can I do? Then it came. In the mail. Last night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Season's Greetings

I broke down and ordered Christmas cards online from a well-known photo website last night. Gone are my hopes of a letterpress Christmas card, beautifully designed and sure to 'wow' every recipient on my list. (Doesn't the card above look like Trudy carrying a Charlie Brown Christmas tree? Available here on Etsy.) 

Oh well, tis the season of budgeting and penny-pinching (hence the choice for $0.54 photo cards). Earlier this holiday weekend, in my quest to find the most wonderful card of the year at a local paper shop, I came across some other hilarious options that I would never actually send out for fear of repercussions from my dad (no matter how many times I'd explain to him what a brilliant joke it was...).
  • "May the winter solstice bring all the secular happiness to you and yours."
  • "May your family be functional and may the batteries included."
  • "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" (Inside: Somewhere else, somewhere else, somewhere else)
  • "Peace on earth and joy to the people I like."
Hey readers, you're lucky I like you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Chill in the Air

Brrr... it was chilly this morning! Weather with a bite in the air is a good way to usher in the holidays. 

Isn't this a magnificent picture? It's one of Hilda Grahnat's latest posts from a winter walk in Sweden (find the full post here). A glitch in the internet at work today had me home earlier than usual, so I enjoyed a cozy nap and some secretive Christmas shopping for husby. I love it when you stumble upon just the right thing for someone... (Also getting excited for Portland in less than a month!)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Open the Floodgates...

IT'S OFFICIALLY THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!
Christmas songs, twinkle lights, and festive movies OH MY! To get you in the spirit, here's a clip from one of my favorites. Ah, good ol' Bing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

"So each one gave thanks for love and for living
and they all had a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving."
-Excerpt from 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey [Image via here]

Have a lovely holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in VA

Yippee!!! The holiday weekend begins! Some of you might be dashing through the snow (literally---I'm thinking of YOU, Portlandians and Seattleites) to spend time with your friends and relatives come Thursday. We're staying put in Richmond enjoying cooler weather, the beautiful lingering fall, a Skype date with our families on Turkey Day and maybe catching a movie (Harry Potter or Love and Other Drugs....or both I hope).

I'm not one for the Black Friday rush, so I'll be lounging in elastic waistband sweatpants come Friday morning recovering from my intense carb hangover and worrying when my jeans will fit again. I might do some crowd-free online browsing and work on some handmade projects to check a few items off of my gift list. Whether you are insane enough to join the intense 4:00 am crowds or not, be sure to check out the incredible treasure trove of DIY projects on Design*Sponge. They're the perfect inspiration for holiday gifts and a great way to spend some of the non-stuffing-your-face moments this weekend. [Image via Design*Sponge]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sew Green


As I'm finding time to pick up craft projects (if I get my act together, I might do some more handmade things for holiday gifts), I'm wishing Richmond had a great little fabric store like Ithaca did. I've discovered Hancock Fabrics and there's always tried-and-true JoAnn, but the Sew Green shop in Ithaca was a brilliant idea. 

Housed in a tiny space in the same building as the famous Moosewood restaurant, Sew Green was an extension of the women's community center. The idea was that people in the community donated their extra fabric (I always have some left over from a project) and other craft items (thread, pens, knitting needles) for Sew Green to sell. The money was then put back into community programs like sewing classes for teens after school. They always had a great collection of fabrics for extremely reasonable prices, all folded and stacked so nicely by corresponding fibers and textures. It would be so fun to find (or start!) something like that here. [Image via Soule Mama]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Mornings

The way to kick off a stellar Monday is by listening to the right song in the morning. Here's my new addiction after last week's Glee episode. It also helps that we've got a short work week leading up to a deliciously carb-filled Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Toast to the Weekend

  • Holiday drinks are buy one, get one at Starbucks this weekend! Mmmmmm soy latte with a hint of peppermint....I treasure your holiday goodness. (Though I'll be a little grinch-y when I say that the red cups this year were kind of a design disaster....really Starbucks? You couldn't think of anything better than a robot looking penguin/snowman for my cup?)
  • I just got an email announcing that the REI Winter Sale starts today. With a forecast of sunny and 67 tomorrow, I'll leave the winter gear purchases to those of you not living in the South.
  • Harry Potter.... Husby and I were planning on having a marathon of the previous movies before heading out to see this one, but since we don't have any idea where we'll track them down I'm hoping we'll just bite the bullet and go.
Have a lovely weekend! Start getting excited for a short work week and feast of feasts coming up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tradition

"Twas the day before Thanksgiving and all through the trees,
the fall leaves were spinning aloft in the breeze.
Eight children had boarded their school bus with grins
in hopes that a field trip soon would begin..."

My first copy of this book came from a book fair in elementary school. Remember book fairs and book orders? I lived for book fairs and book orders. Every year we would read this story, and for a handful of years my mom could never find where she put it the previous year so she bought a new copy. I'm sure she has at least six copies (buried somewhere) right now. I bought my own and have it ready to go for this year's reading....less than a week away!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Be Merry

I love the advent of subtle hints of Christmas around town. When I worked at Starbucks last year, it was like Santa came one night and vomited white glittered branches and stacks of red cups---too much glitzy Christmas at once. This collage of festive attire by Fossil (as shown on their blog here) is just the right touch of polish and class. And that red dress...I can hear it calling my name.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Date Night

Tonight husby and I are celebrating our seven-and-a-half year dating anniversary! We're trying out a restaurant called Avalon and might even do a little reminiscing about those early dating days in high school. Stress of the world be damned, tonight is date night!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey for Two

Image via Guidespot
I've come to terms with the fact that Thanksgiving is going to be a party of two. It seems that everyone else around here has family in one of the adjacent states and it's just too darn expensive (and equally time consuming) to fly back west for a larger gathering. 

After a trip to TJ's today, I got pretty pumped for turkey day. It's going to be low key in the kitchen but downright delicious. We've got gravy, potatoes, a pumpkin cheesecake, and a festive bottle of wine. Over the next 12 days I'll track down a turkey breast to pop in the oven (there is NO way I'm going to attempt an entire bird, gizzards and all) and cranberries for some homemade cranberry sauce. 

One thing I will definitely miss this year is making buttery pan rolls with my family. Imagine rolls made with butter then rolled in butter before baking. A few years ago we doubled the recipe and made 80 rolls(!). Like the rest of my family,  as a (former) Newton I'm a carb-lover at heart. Unfortunately, if you don't make the rolls just right they turn out like buttery hockey pucks---still delicious but not a chance I'm willing to take this year especially because the prep takes hours.

The more I think about it, the greater this day is sounding. Macy's parade in the morning, just-enough-but-not-too-much effort in the kitchen, football in the afternoon, and a satisfied stomach by evening. And the pumpkin cheesecake. Oh the pumpkin cheesecake is going to be highlight of the holiday.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin on Wheels

Have a wonderful weekend! I'm going to crunch some leaves underfoot and try to convince myself that the holidays are actually coming. Oh, and pick up a pumpkin cheesecake at Trader Joe's to make sure we have one for our Thanksgiving! Too delicious to turn down.

Chilly Time of Year

At the end of my haircut yesterday the guy asked me if I wanted to book another appointment in six weeks. "Where exactly does six weeks put us?" I asked as he looked at the calendar. The week of Christmas. THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS. Can we really be that close already?

So I decided to get down the (single) Christmas deco box and retrieve my red and white mug (don't worry, the lights and 2' tree will have to wait until after Thanksgiving). While I was reaching to the high lofts of the closet (Kelsey, I needed my tall neighbor around!) I also pulled down all of my hats, scarves and mittens. Nevermind that the last time I wore these chill-stopping items was on Mother's Day when it snowed for the last time in Ithaca... I was excited to rediscover my favorite yellow hat, and equally excited to add a new winter treasure to the mix--some absolutely amazing fingerless gloves made by my friend that were expertly cable-knit with needles probably the size of toothpicks.
This year I've decided to employ my set of vintage suitcases to house my collection of winter warmers. My sister got me the floral printed one at an outdoor market in Seattle (my first suitcase love!) and I picked up the green set last month at a new little consignment shop. I especially love the old hat box; the green color makes it look like a happy pear. And the table? Someone had it out for the garbage to pick up, so I rescued it and made it the official suitcase holder. I might paint it someday. I might not. It's a little rough around the edges, but it works.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the Town

Chris and I are headed to our first concert in Richmond tonight....the first one in about a year and a half. During high school and college, Chris and I would see bands all the time (Paolo Nutini, All American Rejects, The Fray, Pink Martini, Ingrid Michaelson, Matt Nathanson, and others) at places like the Crystal Ballroom, Aladdin Theater, The Roseland, and Pioneer Square. It's nice to live in a city again where bands actually stop by on their tour (sorry Ithaca, I think you were too teeny tiny for that).

P.S. That's us having our own party at the Crystal Ballroom last year.  Did I tell you that Chris and I actually went to our senior prom together at the Crystal too? But I have to say that wedding trumps prom any day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sparkapolooza

Cat is taking the blog world by storm! Her first debut (well, outside of this blog) is on Sparkapolooza, a super fun blog I discovered just the other week. Check out what it's all about:

WHAT IS SPARKAPOLOOZA?
How many times have you wanted to do something creative but just didn't quite round to it? We know the excuses- no time, don't know what to do, I'll get to it one day....
Well, this is a project about forcing creative juices out- this time no excuses!
We have two things to get those juices flowing- a brief and a deadline.
It's simple, it's an open brief, so all you have to do is respond creatively and submit an original creation before the deadline. It can be anything, send me your photo, poem, yoga pose...whatever floats your boat.
Then all you have to do is e-mail your submission (and a link if you want) to sparkapolooza@gmail.com (max 2MB). Easy!
The latest brief was "Brown Box," so I submitted a great picture of Cat in her favorite play place. Too bad I didn't have the old picture of myself at Halloween when my dad painted a "J" on a cardboard box and I went as a letter block.... Stay tuned for the next brief and join in on the fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bundle Up

Our apartment is cold. Single-paned window cold. We decided to get a space heater to tote around with us from room to room instead of paying to heat the entire apartment (and subsequently lose all that heat through the single-paned windows). The one we picked out has convenient roller wheels. I'm thinking of making a leash for it and have it follow me around like a puppy.

Don't those cable knit throws remind you of a cozy winter scarf? Perfect for curling up next to a fireplace with a good book.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Field Trip

In my book, a trip to Trader Joe's is like going on a field trip. Anticipation on the drive out, my face glowing as we see the sights, and a ride home with a special treat and a twinkle in my eye. Who knew the joys of childhood could be recreated with a simple trip to the grocery store? (Last year TJ and I had a long distance relationship....read about that here in "I Miss Joe.")

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bag Lunch

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It Happened One Night

Er...day. This afternoon, to be exact. I was alone. It was raining. Christmas music was calling my name. So I played a few songs.

If Starbucks can whip out the red cups this early, it's anybody's game. Except for the malls. I hate it when the malls start early.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winter Wishing

I would love to go to this! I know it will be good because the font on that poster is too lovable for it not to be. And bonus--it's neighboring the Ace Hotel, which means Stumptown and Kenny & Zuke's (and Powell's!!!) are just a hop, skip, and jump away. Find more info about Little Winter here and on the Portland-based blog Unruly Things

Oh, Portland. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome, November

Image via Hilda Grahnat
I love how baking serves three purposes in the fall:

1. The production of tasty, homemade decadent treats in roughly 30 minutes (I'm talking about you, little TJ's Reduced Guilt Brownies in the oven right now.)

2. The opportunity to lick the bowl (maybe I should move this to No. 1).

3. The byproduct of the heated oven also heating your chilly, single-paned apartment.

November, I welcome you in all your autumn-y goodness. And I blame you in advance for all of the baking apartment heating via the oven I will do in your honor this month. 

Holiday season, here we come.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Epic Halloween

For the third year in a row, husby and I went as ceiling fans (hey, it's totally legit if you've lived in three states...three different crowds to impress with brilliant wit.) We had a fun time at a shindig on Saturday night and got right back into costume on Sunday to help pass out candy to all the costumed kiddos.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Get your skeleton...

Image via Design Crush
See you in November....as if that isn't scary sounding enough!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking Notes

Image via TV Fanatic
Does anyone else watch Glee? I resisted last season, claiming that it was too over the top for my liking (and that coming from a musical lover) but I've since given in. And I'm in love with Emma's high-waisted skirt and cardigan pairings. It's like she's stepped out of the pages of an Anthro catalog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knit & Purl

The afternoon finished off with a quick but rumbly storm. The gray clouds moved in and the sky got a bit darker. I plopped onto the couch and mindlessly twirled some mustard yellow yarn into a ball while I watched reruns of Gilmore Girls

I almost thought I was back in Seattle.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Takes Me Back

If you ask my mom, she might say that I ate a lot of weird things as a kid. Frozen bread slices. Mustard sandwiches (to clarify,  just mustard on bread). But one of my elementary school lunch staples has made a comeback: applesauce and yogurt.

Okay, people made fun of me for it back then. Husby makes fun of me for it now. It's weird looking, I'll admit. There's just something about it that intrigued me after all these years of abstaining.

This time around I make the grown up version....TJ's unsweetened Gravenstein applesauce, TJ's nonfat plain greek yogurt, and a sophisticated dusting of cinnamon. 



For beginners I'd go heavy on the applesauce; for a protein-packed snack, give the yogurt an even chance. Swirl it around until it looks like cottage cheese. 

Now if I just had some leggings and braces, I'd be right back at the cafeteria lunch table at Durham Elementary.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beach Day

Everyone said it would be too cold, but 75 degrees sounded like a perfect day for it. Especially to an Oregonian. We drove out to Norfolk and met some old friends from college for brunch. Then we spent a few hours on the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the last days of October. I still can't get over the fact that it was warm at the beach in October...

There was also wave running.
video
Frisbee throwing.

Bird watching.
Sun setting.
I hope we can go again soon. I don't mind bundling up next time.