Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

via WeHeartIt
When I woke up this morning I had to run Christmas presents by J's house for his family to open before my family came over for the celebrations. On the way home I decided,

"you know what, I'm going to get my mom and I a Starbucks drink treat because well... it's Christmas"

I pull up to the drive-thru (which was at least 10 cars long and growing, surprising to me for the holiday but whatever) order two Grande, Nonfat, Extra Hot, Caramel Brulee Lattes (yum) and am prepared to pay $8+ for coffee that neither of us really needed and I didn't really have the money to spend on.

I get to the window, stick my arm out of the car with my credit card in hand and the barista-lady says to me...

"the person in front of you paid for your order. Merry Christmas"

Made. My. Day!

That is what the Christmas spirit is truly about. It never ceases to amaze me how something so little from a complete stranger can mean so much and how there will always be people out there with warmth, kindness and giving in their hearts. I hope everyone was able to be blessed with an amazing celebration today filled with great company, joy and a little rejuvenation.

PS- I will be MIA from blog land until after the New Year. Tomorrow is going to be spent packing and running last minute errands before J and I leave on our amazingly perfect trip to Hawaii that I'm jumping out of my skin in excitement for! Eeeee! I will be enjoying Mai Tais on the beach, sight-seeing and spending some much needed quality time with the man in my life. Please have a happy (and safe) New Years and I'll be back in 2011 with lots to post about some homemade gifts I made for the holiday season I couldn't share until now.

via WeHeartIt

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dreaming of a White Christmas

With the holiday's approaching there will hopefully be many White Christmases adding some joy to our lives this weekend. This specific post was inspired by a good friend of mine, Sarah, because she is traveling to the lovely (and snowy) Wisconsin this year. While it may seem like second nature to those of us that grew up around the snow there are many people who simply have never experienced a good blizzard (minus the DQ kind) and accordingly don't know what they'll need.

So Sarah, and any other native Southern Californians, here is my break down of what to bring when traveling to the snow.
[1] You will definitely, and I mean really, need some sort of winter jacket. A sweatshirt just wont cut it when its below freezing. I personally have a pea coat from American Eagle that I adore and I'm also a fan of North Face anything.

[2] There is nothing worse than freezing hands in my opinion. If I had to pick between all the rest of the items on my list, I would never ever give up gloves. I personally can't function in any way if my hands are frozen.

[3] Depending on how much snow you're expecting or how freezing it's going to get, a scarf and hat are next on the list. Scarves are great when it's windy because they keep the cold breeze from going down your jacket and hats are great when you're planning on being outside for a longer amount of time. Don't you lose like 50% of your body heat through your head? Maybe I'm making that up.

[4] Boots. And no they don't have to be Uggs if you have something against them. They serve multiple purposes when it's nice and wintery. They keep your feet dry which is the first step to keeping warm, they insulate, and they have good traction. I would highly recommend getting a pair with more traction that you think you'll need because there's nothing worse than slipping on ice.

[5] This one might seem like a stretch but (at least for me) sunglasses are important. You see, when it snows in CO, the next day is usually a bright blue sky with lots of sunshine. And given that there is a fresh blanket of snow, there is lots and lots of reflection off it's shinny white surface. Believe me, it gets bright out there and you want to make sure you can see where you're driving/walking/moving in another fashion.

Now the rest of the items on my list are things that I always use but I would give up if I was crunched for time, didn't have the money, or the situation didn't call for it. But I digress.

[1] Snow and ice scrapers are only necessary if you're going to be driving. You never know when you'll get more snow and it makes for a miserable rest of the day if you have to use your sleeve to clear the windshield. (I speak from experience.) If you're going to a busy city and will be taking taxis then skip this part. Also skip it if someone else who lives where you're traveling will be driving because I can bet they'd have one of these already.

[2] It never hurts to carry a portable shovel in the car with you too. When I know it's supposed to snow here in CO I always make sure there's one of these in the trunk because, like usual, people who predict the weather can't always tell a difference between 2 inches and 2 feet and you'd hate to get stuck. But like above, skip this if you aren't driving.

[3] Nothing warms you up quite as well as a nice cup of hot chocolate or a mocha or a latte of any kind whatever your preference. I love coming home from a long day of shopping or an afternoon of sledding and curling up with a good book, a blanket, and something warm to drink.

[4] Let's face it, the cold will dry you out. You'll need extra lotion for your skin, more moisturizer for your face, and something that's often forgotten about, a good chap-stick of some sort. Chapped lips can hurt and bleed and are sometimes hard to get rid of once you have them. So while it might not have the best scent in the whole world, I really love Carmex to keep my lips soft.

[5] Again with the moisturizing theme, I absolutely love aloe infused socks during the winter. Not only are they more snuggley than regular socks but they leave your feet both warm and soft. I throw them on as I'm jumping into bed and wake up to some cozy toes.

[6] While shoes are obviously more important for outdoors in the winter than they are for indoors, it can be nice to have something to throw on in the house too. If it's snowy and wet outside you don't want to keep your outside shoes on and track wet footprints all through the house. But sometimes it's too cold to wear only socks, especially if you have wood or tile floors, so a pair of house shoes or slippers would do the trick.

I know these are all things I use (or would be using if we could get some dang snow around these parts already, grr). I hope I've added some items to your packing lists for the season and I would love to hear any of your Essential Winter Items if you'll be spending the holidays in the snow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Welcome home?

Here's the layout of my day yesterday

5:33 am: alarm goes off, I've been awake since 2:57

5:45 am: packing the car with last minute things

6:18 am: off we go to start our drive

8:07 am: traffic in San Bernadino because of construction, losing time

10:09 am: venti Starbucks in Barstow (yum), Ollie eats breakfast standing at the gas pump

2:44 pm: "Check Engine Soon" light turns on

2:45 pm: shoot, what does that mean? Freak out. We have 500 more miles to drive. Do we pull over? Good thing we have AAA

2:47 pm: Tim says it's fine. "Keep driving till the car starts to smoke"

4:41 pm: Richfield, UT. Enough said. Hopefully we'll make it the 180 miles where there's no services and cell phones don't work

7:10 pm: Yay Grand Junction. This means we're finally in CO

8:00 pm- 11:16 pm: white knuckles, icy roads, no visibility, hills, blind curves, and down pouring snow. Seriously, CO? Thanks for the welcome home.

11:17 pm: Thank you Eisenhower tunnel. Only 40 more miles and way less snow

11:59 pm: We're finally out of the mountains and on C470. My butt is soo flat, I need out of this car

12:22 am: Pizza before bed because I'm starving.

It was a long, pretty easy drive until we hit the blizzard in Vail. Needless to say, I'm tired today. On the agenda for today, running some errands, wrapping some presents, hopefully a nap and.....

best of all hanging out with these loves. I love my two boys and they are just two peas in a pod already.
Travel safe this Holiday Season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas List #2 (oops)

See I told you I'd think of something(s) else that should have been on my original list but weren't. Some of these items are things I forgot about and some of them are things that recently, due to the events of today, have now made the list. More on that later.
[1] Weekly Planner from Barnes and Noble by Silver Lining. Preferably the 5x8 size and any pattern.

[2] Sephora Glass Nail File

[3] Starbucks Christmas Blend Espresso Roast whole bean coffee.

[4] Tazo Vanilla Rooibos full leaf tea (also sold at Starbucks)

[5] Black Dress pants from Ann Taylor Loft (or somewhere similar)
or an Ann Taylor Loft gift card

*This is one of the new items to the list because I officially need new fancy clothes, well just pants. What's the reason you might ask? Because I received my very first Medical School Interview today! I have a great suit jacket but only decent pants and must look sharp. I'm absolutely overwhelmed with happiness about this interview so it will get it's own post soon.*

[6] Money for our trip to Hawaii (no link here because I can't link to your bank account ;-) )

*This is also one of the new items since J just recently decided to book us a trip to Ohau for new years. It was completely out of the blue and I could not be more excited to go on our first trip together.*

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fa La La La La

If you're anything like me then one of your favorite things about the Holiday Season is the music. I absolutely adore all Christmas music. A-D-O-R-E! Sometimes I want to skip through the mall while doing Christmas shopping just because one of the classic songs is playing.

I love them all.

Oldies/Originals like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole all the way to the new renditions by Lady A or Mariah Carey. My heart is currently singing just thinking about them.

Well if anything I just described is somewhat like you or if it's not but you want a good laugh then you have to check out Straight No Chaser's "The Christmas Can-Can." It'll get you in the holiday spirit for sure!

If you've never heard of SNC then I highly suggest you check them out on YouTube because these guys have got some skills in the vocal department. I'm especially a sucker for anything a cappella.

Happy Caroling!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I absolutely love decorating for the holidays! I wish there was more I could do in our little apartment but I've made due with what we have. I'll start with our awkward entrance ledge that I first mentioned here, and the decorated for fall here.
I already had the red candles which is always a good thing when you're trying to be thrifty. A few empty wine bottles and coffee filters later and I had some extra decor for the season.
My favorite part of the shelf though has to be my subway-inspired art that I made. I created a jpg of the sayings, fonts and colors I wanted, had it sent to Costco to print as an 11x14 (for under $3) and stopped by Dollar Tree for a cheap frame. I was just looking for one the right size with the plan to paint it but it just so happened that it was red so I left it alone.
A quick skim through the holiday fabrics at Joann Fabrics and this little beauty was on clearance. Bought it, sewed it, stuffed it and we now have a festive holiday pillow that coordinates with the classic colors of our decor. I also have enough fabric left to make Ollie a matching scarf like the one I made him for fall.
Yet again another cheap transformation for the frame over our couch. Ollie helped me collect some pine cones on our walk one afternoon and with a little ribbon and a lot of hot glue, it's really starting to feel like Christmas around here. I love the idea of the pine cones because I wasn't really feeling the traditional wreath look (which I do usually enjoy.)
Last but not least, the tree.
We had this tree last year but only had silver ornaments on it thanks to a giant box of random ornaments from Ikea. I wasn't sure what other colors I wanted our home to have until this year. I love when people make their tree unique with purples, blues, etc but I wanted to keep it traditional.
Plus I don't think I could part with this tree skirt. My grandma handmade it and it's been on her tree, my family's tree and now my tree for many decades. So red ornaments it was. The best part about all of the ornaments on the tree: they're either plastic or shatterproof. Perfect for a home with a puppy who's never seen a Christmas tree before :-)

Now a few close-ups of note worthy ornaments.
If you don't know who this little guy is, his name is Opus. He's one of the main characters for the Bloom County comic strip from the 80's. Why is he on my tree, you ask? He was my dad's all-time favorite comic character and was a staple collectors item in my house as a kid. Sweatshirts, stuffed animals, ornaments and all. He holds a special place in my heart.
Yes this bird is creepy, I'll be the first to admit it. I honestly can't say I know where these birds (yes they're are multiple) came from or how my family got them but the moral of the story is that we have way too many of them. They're weird, but they're traditional for my family. It wouldn't be a true Christmas tree without one of them and my mom was nice enough to give force upon J and I one for our tree. Plus I heard somewhere that it's lucky to have a bird on your tree? Maybe?
Some side knowledge is required for this one. Before J and I got Ollie, my family has had a Golden Retriever since I was 11. Because we're all dog lovers it was natural for us to get a Golden ornament for Christmas one year. However, Basil (my family's dog) looks nothing like this. He's red-colored with long, not fluffy, hair and has a much skinnier build. This ornament does happen to look exactly like Ollie. So my mom was kind enough to bring it with her for Thanksgiving.

I love our festive apartment. It looks and even smells (thanks to our Glade Apple Cinnamon plug-in) like Christmas.

Happy Holidays everyone!


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