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...

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


"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


"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


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:

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.