Happy Halloween

Halloween ranks pretty high on the “days that are especially awesome when you have a kid” scale. Happy Halloween from our little Clark Kent!

Superman/Clark Kent toddler costume | Claremont Road

jingle all the way

As we live amongst boxes and try to find our sanity, this adorable family’s annual Christmas video has managed to put me in the Christmas spirit. Apparently they create a new video every year in lieu of Christmas cards, and I’m betting that it’s something their kids will love looking back on when they’re older. What an awesome tradition (and what very cool parents they have!).

Jingle Bells – Christmas Video Greeting 2011 from Jared Foster on Vimeo.

Found via Design Mom

lovely day

Nick and I keep things very low-key for Valentine’s Day. We’ll exchange cards tonight and maybe get fattening Chinese take-out (a treat we rarely allow ourselves… particularly because I’m partial to General Tso’s, which we have nicknamed “General heart attack”), and perhaps rent a movie OnDemand and pass out on the couch. It actually sounds like a perfect evening to me.

Early in our relationship, I went ALL. OUT. for Valentine’s Day. The first time we celebrated February 14th together, I planned this awesome scavenger hunt throughout the neighborhood in Philly where I lived (and where Nick and I met), and gave him a bunch of silly and cute little gifts with each new clue. It was kind of awesome. Clearly I’m not 23 anymore because this sounds like a whole lotta work, but I guess after 7+ years together, we don’t need anything fancy anymore. We’re getting old!

I like keeping plans minimal, but I do think Valentine’s Day will be a whole new ballgame once we have kids, so we’ll just say we’re saving our energy up for then. There are so many fun projects to do with kids at V-day; I remember getting so excited to give and receive Valentines in school as a kid. Brooke from Inchmark always has the best ideas for her kids’ Valentines, so I’m keeping these tucked away until it’s my turn.

images via inchmark

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

giftapalooza 2010

Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday. And not just because there are gifts involved…though opening gifts with my family is a FUN event. When it’s Christmastime, I love the festive spirit in the air, the homes bedecked in sparkling lights and luminaries, the cheerful music, the excuse to watch holiday movies (we saw It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen a few weeks ago), the tasty treats, and the abundance of family time. It’s all so warm and cozy, and there is nothing else like the holiday season! I’m sad that it’s now officially over and the chill in the air is a lot less charming — now it’s just plain cold. Blerg.

I did my best to get shopping done early this year or ordered things online, so I really never felt stressed about getting things done. And, we all know how pleased I was with myself that my cards got in the mail on time. We also kept the home decorations at a minimum since few people ever see our apartment over the holidays, but all of our Christmas cards taped onto the panes of the French doors separating our living room and my office made things just festive enough without a lot of work. (You can see our mini tree peeking out on the left!)

But…back to the gifts! We spend Christmas eve with my dad, stepmom, her mother and some of their friends for gift exchanging, good food and good company. Christmas morning consists of my mom, stepdad, brother, sister-in-law, Nick, and me, all gathered at my mom and George’s house. With the fire glowing and the Christmas tunes spinning on Christmas morning, we go around and each open one present at a time, so it takes about an hour and a half to get through everything. We don’t even go overboard (like we used to) with the gifts themselves — it just takes a while because everyone gets their turn! Nick did not understand this when he first started spending Christmas with my family — he wondered why we didn’t just tear into those gifts one after another and get it done so we could eat and nap sooner — but I think he’s finally learned to appreciate the way we do things. Each gift, no matter how large or small, gets its own time in the spotlight as the recipient excitedly tears open the package, which is likely meticulously wrapped, if SIL Kim or I had anything to do with it. Nick and I get another shot at exchanging gifts later that evening, when his parents join us for Christmas dinner.

I got some lovely gifts this year — some that were on my wish list, and some that were thoughtful surprises. Here are some of my favorites:

Grey Chuck Taylor All Stars; Neo-Geo belt in Lilac from Anthropologie; aqua Divine Twine; Color Study locket from verabel on Etsy; recipe cards by Rifle Paper Co.; Astro Pants from lululemon; DSW, Fossil, and Stephen’s gift cards (the gifts that keep on giving!); and this flip style case for my Kindle.

The favorite gift that I gave? This army watch from J.Crew that Nick has been blabbing about for months. Any time he mentioned it I’d brush it off, saying it was more than we budgeted for each other this year, maybe next year, but little did he know that I bought it on sale the day before Thanksgiving! I loved his reaction of genuine surprise, and he has already picked up a few more bands to go with it.

What are your favorite gifts that you got lately, for Christmas or any other reason?

goodbye, 2010!

Hmm, so it looks like I took the week off from blogging! And now, here it is New Year’s eve and I have nothing profound to say. Well, here’s hoping for more insight in 2011 ;)

I hope you all have a happy and safe last day of 2010. It has been a crazy and awesome year for me, and I am looking forward to more growth and change in 2011. I don’t really have New Year’s resolutions anymore (since I much prefer continuing to work through long-term items on my 101 in 1001 list), but if I had to specify something, I’d say my resolution would be to continue turning my dreams into plans.

image source

Next week I’ll be back to tell you a bit about my latest workout of choice, since fitness is usually at the top of many resolution lists (and I think you’ll get a kick out of what I’ve been doing). I’ll also have an obligatory show-and-tell-what-I-got-for-Christmas post, because I’m pretty excited about my new loot!

Thanks for following along with my rambling in 2010, and for hopefully sticking with me into this new year. I love my readers :) Happy New Year!

Number 84: holly jolly

It may have been down to the wire, but yesterday I crossed number 84 off of my 101 in 1001 list:

84. Mail Christmas Cards out before Christmas

I have been a slacker with holiday cards over the last few years, so I feel pretty victorious that I accomplished this one. In 2008, we should have been sending our first Christmas cards as newlyweds, but instead we were saving our pennies after hearing that Nick was laid off in early December. In 2009, I just couldn’t find the time and instead sent out Valentine cards a few months later. This year, I was determined to design, print, and mail our cards before Christmas!

Sticking with a small, flat, typography-based design (much like my V-day cards), I based the layout on the lyrics of a classic holiday favorite, by Nick’s request. I gave it a bit of a weathered look which worked great with the cards I chose — Paper Source’s A2 flat cards in Paper Bag. I used red Riso ink and printed the design with my Gocco, and I think the final result is pretty cute.


Now I just have to pick up a few more gifts and finish my wrapping, and I’m officially all set for Christmas this weekend!

Anyone else coming in right under the wire with their holiday cards? Do you make your own or do the smart thing and order them from somewhere? (I’m a glutton for must-design-and-print-them-myself punishment. It’s just my way.)

Christmas tunes

Okay, so we may not be getting a real tree this year (thanks for reassuring me that it doesn’t make me a Scrooge!), but we have been blasting the holiday tunes on repeat, so that must count for something on the Christmas spirit scale. I pride myself in my mean mix-making skills, and I must say I am especially proud of the Christmas CD that I made for the Peach and Pearl CD swap. I can’t send copies to everyone (well, I probably could, but I gots things to do, people), but if you’re interested in replicating it, here’s the list of songs with links to purchase them!

A Very Merry Christmas Mix

1. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
2. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
3. A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
5. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
6. Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – Billy Squire
7. All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
8. Winter Wonderland – Dean Martin
9. Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty
10. This Christmas – Donny Hathaway
11. Here Comes Santa Claus – Elvis Presley
12. Last Christmas – Wham!
13. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Jackson 5
14. Sleigh Ride – The Boston Pops Orchestra
15. What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
16. Joy to the World – Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong & Bing Crosby
17. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
18. Christmastime is Here – A Charlie Brown Christmas
19. Father Christmas – The Kinks
20. And So This is Christmas – John Lennon
21. Frosty the Snowman – Ella Fitzgerald
22. Merry Christmas Baby – Bruce Springsteen
23. Christmas Don’t Be Late – Alvin and the Chipmunks
24. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney
25. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

Happy listening!

to tree, or not to tree…that is the question.

For the last two years, Nick and I have not gotten a real Christmas tree. It started in 2008, when he got laid off at the beginning of December, and, not knowing what the future held for us, we decided to save our money and instead got a little fake (and fairly hilarious) tree for $6.99. We spruced it up with lights and a few of our favorite ornaments; it looked silly, but we kind of loved it. We decided to break it out again last year, and it was nice having something that didn’t take up so much space. Plus now, our crappy little $6.99 tree has some sentimental value to us. It’s a nice reminder that we don’t need anything big and fancy at Christmas (or anytime of year) as long as we have each other. Cheesy, but true :)

Nick decorating “mini tree” last year

This year, we are torn. We both miss the smell of the real tree (it’s the best!!) but neither of us is very enthusiastic about going to pick out a tree or moving our furniture around the squeeze it into our living room. In short: we’re feeling lazy. We know we’ll love it once it’s here, but aside from Nick’s parents being here for a short time on Christmas weekend, we’ll be the only ones to appreciate a real tree (and we’ll all be able to enjoy my mom’s real 8 foot tall tree on Christmas day!).

I love the holiday season, but I’m just feeling “meh” about the tree thing this year. Am I officially a Scrooge? Or are you forgoing a tree this year, too?

sweet Thanksgiving place cards

It is difficult to believe that tomorrow is December 1 already…where did November go?

We had a great long holiday weekend with Nick’s family in central PA and I think I have just about recovered from the over-indulging. There were 25 of us at Thanksgiving dinner (and that’s not even everyone that’s usually at family gatherings!) and my job was to make place cards for everyone. Clearly, I love paper and papery things, but if there’s one thing better than paper, it’s cookies. So that means the only thing better than paper place cards are edible place cards.

I already had some 4.25″ x 2″ labels and cellophane baggies, so I decided to make my favorite ultimate chocolate chip cookies and package two in a bag for each person. I threw together a little design and made a label with each person’s name on it, which also doubled as a seal for the bag when folded over to secure things. The final result looked really cute on everyone’s plate (and served as a little dessert-before-dinner for those with a super sweet tooth!).

The labels looked like this when I printed out a full sheet — you can see that once they were printed, they were folded over between the two “give thanks” banners and over the folded bag to close it. (Names have all been replaced with my name and Nick’s name so you can’t stalk our family members :)

Needless to say, they were a hit. But really, what crazy person wouldn’t love cookies?

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well!

thankful.

I’m usually feeling really overwhelmed when the holiday season begins and I feel like I have a bazillion this to do. This year, I’m feeling excited and thankful for all of the wonderful things and people in my life (and for the sales that I hit up this morning — crowd-free — that allowed me to knock out half of my Christmas shopping)!

I am looking forward to a great long holiday weekend celebrating Thanksgiving with family, and I wish all of my US readers the same this Thanksgiving. If you don’t live in the US, I still wish you a happy weekend :)

I’m ready to indulge in some turkey-day goodness. In the words of my sister-in-law: “when you’re dining and feeling stuffed, just remember it would have been a much easier meal to handle had you been wearing Pajama Jeans.”

(Yes, these are a real thing.)

I’ll be back to blogging next Tuesday. Until then, happy Thanksgiving!