Wednesday, December 26

Christmas Festivities

This year we didn't have to travel far for Christmas - we had it at the house and made everyone come to us! I wasn't on the computer at all yesterday, but I did think to snap a few photos throughout the day.
Here's a little Christmas recap:

It snowed on Christmas Eve! The snow didn't stick around for long but it was so nice to watch it fall; it certainly put us in a jolly mood. I also couldn't help but shoot a few photos of my new dress courtesy of my grandmother. I thought this photo showed off some our Christmas decorations and all the gifts piled under the tree splendidly. There's also a cat hiding in the corner there.

Shawn's mom brought over a pretty bouquet for the table. I love that there's a pinecone and twigs in there! And those messy looking cookies are my first attempt at rugelach. I used the recipe for chocolate raspberry rugelach in my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Shawn was ecstatic - he loves rugelach!

This year, we hosted Christmas dinner! Actually, in our case it was Christmas lunch. Shawn's mother, brother & fiance came over and everyone made a little something for nommin' and then we all exchanged gifts. This was the first year I didn't get to see my family for Christmas! :( My sister and her boyfriend came over later in the day to exchange gifts, but it's just not the same. We still had a great meal though, and it was the first time we felt as though we made Christmas 'our own'. Here's to the start of our own traditions and celebrations!

Speaking of traditions, it's not Christmas without a buche de noel and some champagne.
Shawn felt the need to photo-bomb all the pictures I tried to take of the buche. This year I wasn't ambitious enough to make it myself, so I got a small one from work. It's chocolate cake, filled with chocolate mousse, and topped with chocolate ganache and various sugar decorations. I think it looked so pretty!

This is the only picture I took of my gifts; these are all from Shawn. It really helps to make a wish list because you end up getting lots of things that you want! ;) My brother also got me the adorable succulent tea lights from my list, and my sister got me an awesome wooden-looking owl candle and a cookie cookbook. Shawn's mom got me a really pretty sweater and his brother got us some sweet popcorn snacks and a cactus. Actually, we got a lot of snacks from friends this year... I wonder what that says about us. We got so many thoughtful amazing gifts this year, I am so grateful! And I'm even happier about the fact that everyone else enjoyed the gifts that were given to them - I think I may like giving gifts even better than receiving them :)

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate - I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 19


The last few weeks I've been kept busy with last minute gift shopping, long and busy work days, and trying to get enough sleep to get through it all. I did the majority of my gift buying online this year, because going out to stores once was enough to remind me that I don't want to be anywhere near people or retail establishments this time of year. I'd say I've been pretty successful in keeping my sanity, despite 9+ hour work days, not-quite healthy eating habits, and other peoples' insanity.

The highlight of this past weekend was getting to meet Deb Perelman of the food blog Smitten Kitchen. I've been following her blog for over five years! She recently put out her first cookbook, with all new recipes, and I saw that one of the stops on her book tour was our local Barnes & Noble. The signing was on a Sunday though, and I usually work Sundays so I didn't think I'd be able to make it. Imagine my surprise upon looking at my calendar and realizing that her book signing was on Sunday, and as luck would have it, I happened to have the day off! So I trekked on down to Barnes & Noble and waited in line with dozens of other people, all of us clutching our copies of her book. She was so nice and all smiles, and she actually wrote down the name of the bakery where I work and seemed genuinely interested in stopping in at some point. Now I only wish I could have made it to one of the Young House Love book signings when they were in the area... damn you, Hurricane Sandy!

I've seen a lot of these "Currently..." lists on blogs these past few months, and since I don't have much else to say, I figured I'd do my own. So here are some currents in my life lately:

Watching: We just finished the latest season of Psych and have also been working our way through the latest season of How I Met Your Mother. On my own time, I've been re-watching the many seasons of Malcolm in the Middle. I love Netflix.

Listening: Shawn switched up all of the CDs in the car so I've been hearing a lot of Don Henley, Bon Jovi, Santana, and Blues Traveler lately. And at home I've been turning on the Supertramp station on Pandora.

Reading: This category actually deserves its own post - I've read 16(!) books this year and I so want to talk about all of them. Right now though, I just started reading Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. It's a memoir of her time in a woman's prison. Not what you'd expect!

Offline: I've mostly been wrapping gifts and sleeping. I can't seem to get enough sleep these days - I go to bed at 8:30/9pm lately! But, I do wake up at 5:30am most days, and don't sleep past 6:30am on my days off, so I guess it's only natural to be dozing off early. I can't wait until the holiday season is over... I love my job, but I could sure use a break after these past two months.

Wednesday, December 5

Mo's 2012 Gift Guide / Wishlist

While I've been busy thinking of gifts for others, a few people have asked me what I would like for Christmas this year. So, for all my family and friends, here is a list of things that I would really enjoy seeing under the tree. I'm also calling this a gift guide because I'm sure there are other people you know out there who would also appreciate some of these things. You can thank me later ;)

1. Whimsey Box: a monthly subscription that arrives in your mailbox full of DIY projects.
2. Succulent Tea Lights: even easier than taking care of succulents, and still adorable!
3. Nuts About Entertaining Shaker: squirrels, nuts, and shakers- enough said.
4. Make Your Own Kaleidoscope Set: THIS IS SO COOL.
5. Trunks Full of Taste Shaker: adorable loving elephant salt and pepper shaker set.
6. Two Toned Square Earrings: I'm diggin' the color blocking going on here.
7. Stardust Earrings: they look like the universe! A really tiny wearable universe.
8. Triangle Earrings: tiny triangles for my ears!
9. Elephant iPhone Case: I like switching up my iPhone case, and this elephant one is really neat.
10. Blue Moon Clock: it's been far too long since I got a new clock!
11. Vinyl Record Wall Clock: a clock carved out of a vinyl record? Awesome!
12. DavidsTea Caffeine-Free Sampler: I am always on the look-out for good decaf teas.
13. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz T-Shirt: classic book covers t-shirts for bookworms like me.
14. Anthropologie's Tonalities Boatneck: I love striped shirts.
15. Anthropologie's Banter Tee: bunnies!!!
16. Anthropologie's Here & There Tee: foxes and some rad colors- adorable!

A few more things that I didn't think to include when I made the nifty graphics list...
The Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs Pop-Up Book: I've been wanting this for years. YEARS, people.
This dress from Shade looks so comfortable.
This bikini from Shade as well, even though it's not the season for it at all!
This ring and this ring in a size 8, please!
This iPhone tripod: I would get so much use out of this!

Monday, December 3

Decking the tree

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas around here!

We picked out a some ornaments at Michael's today - a few different colored globes and some birds - the tree doesn't look quite as barren anymore! Shawn also hung some lights up in the living room. And I filled an advent calendar with Hershey's chocolates and mini Reese's. It's also the perfect time of year for hot chocolate, which Shawn and I call 'our drink' because we first met over hot chocolate... but that's a story for another time. Enjoy the gratuitous cat photo!

Saturday, December 1

Happy December!

I can't believe it's December already! This year has really been progressing incredibly quickly... and the holidays always seem to speed up the process too. I've been so busy working overtime these last few weeks that I barely even got a glimpse of November. December is one of my favorite months though; I get so giddy about the holidays! I could do without the bombardment of Christmas music e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e, but I love the decorations and I really do believe most people are in better spirits this time of year too.

But back to November for just a moment. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Shawn's grandparents' house this year. Even though we've known each other for eight years and counting, it was my first time ever meeting any of his family, other than his mother and brother. Actually, he's never met any of my extended family either! (But I have an excuse... none of them live in this country.) Shawn's family was nice though, and his grandmother cooked up quite the feast. I went back for seconds of everything, but the stuffing was particularly delicious. And I must have impressed her too because apparently she's very picky when it comes to food, yet she had four (yes, FOUR!) pieces of the cornbread that I made for the occasion. Remind me to post the recipe for my amazing grandmother-approved cornbread one of these days!

I have no photos from Thanksgiving, but here's a taste of the last two weeks of November...

1. One of our staples: sausage, peppers, and onion.
2. I can't find Sour Punch Straws around here so my friend brought some back from Ohio for me.
3. Another staple: chicken, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.
4. Roasted zucchini, tomato, onion, and cheddar quiche!
5. Breakfast wraps... both of those were for me the monster in my belly.
6. Snow! Not our first one of the season, but snow nonetheless.

The most exciting thing to happen recently though is we got our very first Christmas tree!

Look at the size of that thing! I'm 5'6", if that gives you any perspective.

We don't have many ornaments though, so just some lights will have to do for now. My mother left some of her older ornaments behind, so we do have a few on there, but not nearly enough for the size of it. I guess we're going to have to buy some of our own this year!

I'm so excited for Christmas! I really love giving gifts. Even more than I like getting them :)

P.S. You can tell how excited I am because I use so! many! exclamation! points! in! this! post!
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