2012: A Year in Review

Monday, December 31, 2012

Some days, months, and years are easier than others. Life has funny, and sometimes inconvenient, ways of reminding you that it can be messy, trying, simple, complex, interesting and breathlessly fun all at once. Yes, life is messy and complicated -- there's no way around it. I'm learning to embrace my life, imperfections and all. I want it because it's mine. And because it's real. 

Here are some snippets of our adventures from 2012. Many laughs were shared and lessons learned. Looking forward to what 2013 will bring. And I bet you are too!

Ode to My Oven

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh, oven. You're the best. Truly. You have tolerated my years of baking adventures with great aplomb and patience. You have been there, through thick and thin, to witness my baking successes and defeats. But mostly successes, right? You know it's true. Your multi-tasking skills are beyond admirable. I fear you have prevented a few mishaps with your trusty timer. Only a few. But I still give credit where credit is due. So, credit given. Gold star and all that.

I'm convinced that my banana bread is your absolute favorite. Don't lie, it's okay to have favorites. I won't tell. Promise. You always do your part and make it the stuff of legends. Nothing quite compares to the aroma of banana bread baking. Somehow, it always makes me feel at home, comfortable, and cozy. I think that most can attest it is pure love. The husband definitely can. You must be a fan too. Thank you for all the warm love you give to my baked treats. Thanks for getting me through another holiday season! I think we make a great team. Looking forward to our continued culinary endeavors!

P.S. I'm getting new potholders. I know you were tiring of the old ones. Get excited!

Merry Happy

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All things merry to you and yours! Our kitties couldn't wait and opened their gifts early this morning! Knowing them, the rest of their day will be spent lounging in their respective boxes and bags. As always, the tissue paper was a hit! Happy Holidays!

Baking Buddy

Monday, December 24, 2012

I love to bake. A confessed health nut, I am that nerd swooning over vegan and gluten-free recipes and goods. For the holidays, I whipped up a dreamy mixed berry crumble with the help of Miss Taylor. I don't know what I'd do without my little sous chef. For those of you who are skeptical of the glory of plant-based and gluten-free fare in general, let alone dessert, fear not. It really is double the fun and double the yum. I'm lame, I know. But trust me -- if my brother-in-law approves, it's gold. 

What kind of desserts do you like to make for the holiday season? Traditional, non-traditional, or a mixed take on both? Lay it on me!

Dear CT

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear CT,

With horror and heartbreak, we watched the scene unfold on an early Friday morning. While there is nothing that I can contribute to the conversation that hasn't already been said or would prove effective, I would feel remiss if I didn't acknowledge this. The loss is devastating and far beyond words. My heart breaks at this senseless tragedy and the lives of those that were stolen, not only from themselves, but those that loved them.

As part of the public education sector, this situation is especially sensitive and strikes a universal chord. School is a place in which all children should feel noticed, safe, supported, praised and loved. To violate this trust, sense of care and community is unconscionable. While I am not yet a mother, I hope to be one day. I cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak of these families, but am overcome as an observer. Please keep these bright, brave children, fearless teachers, and their families in your mind and heart.  If you feel so compelled, please send letters of support and care to the families of this unspeakable tragedy. As shared on A Cup of Jo earlier this week, all correspondence to Sandy Hook Elementary School and families can be sent to the following address:

Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Newtown, CT 06482

Can You Keep a Secret?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can you? As a young girl, I was notorious for inadvertently telling immediate family members what we got them for Christmas. You know that skateboard you wanted? Oh, yeah. It's yours. The Mrs. Tea tea maker? Under the tree. Yikes. But please know, it wasn't intentional -- I started out strong, denying any knowledge, but caved when pressed. The pressure! 

For the first several years with my then-boyfriend/now-husband, I fell into a similar pattern. Those surprise-haters sure know how to work those with gift secrets! I was so excited about his gifts that I often told him about them straight away or gifted them early. I just couldn't help myself -- I couldn't wait! There really is a gift in giving. Gifting is my favorite part. That and making pretty packages. Well, I am proud to say I have learned a few things since then. I have been a successful secret-keeper and gift-hider for a number of years now and plan to keep it that way. How has your track record been? Do you spill the beans or keep it locked up tight? As shared, I now keep mine under lock and key. And in my car. So if I see you going for my keys around this time of year, you've got another thing coming. 

Smiling Is My Favorite

Monday, December 10, 2012

There's no denying it -- I've tried! The holiday season is here! One of my favorite traditions is basking in the comforting glory of holiday movies. Or movies that feel like the holidays to me, even if they're not. Seriously, vegging out to movies with family and friends are among my favorite memories. However, I confess The Holiday does get pretty regular play around here -- as in year-round. Hey, it's a great movie! The characters, the soundtrack -- it's perfection, don't judge.

Here are a few of my other favorites that I hope to cozy up to soon. I'm convinced it isn't the holidays without them. What movies are you looking forward to this holiday season? Are there particular movies that just feel like the holidays to you? 

Crush // Rent the Runway

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rent the Runway is a dream come true! A way to look fabulous and make the high-end accessible without paying a literal arm and leg or having our closets become overrun with event dresses a la 27 Dresses. I have compiled quite a few favorites for occasions that, apparently, will only happen in my dreams! While I love their styles and designer offerings, I seriously don't have anywhere to wear any of them should I choose. No weddings coming up. No balls, either. Despite my repeated attempts, family holidays are decidedly lowkey too, so that's out. It can be awkward to be the only one dressed up! So, unless I want to hangout in my house with a fancy dress on, I'll have to keep storing my favorites away until one of these lovelies is truly needed. I'm still hoping for New Year's. Here are some of my favorites -- what are yours?

1 // Nicole Miller Pretty Woman Lace Dress
2 // Kenneth Jay Lane The Black Tie Bracelet
3 // Camilla And Marc In The Zone Dress
4 // Whiting & Davis Black Mesh Glam Clutch
5 // Badgley Mischka Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress
6 // Lilly Pulitzer Handbags Opening Night Clutch

via Rent the Runway

Word Wednesday

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"I am a part of all I have read."

John Kieran

And It Begins

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Evergreen - Letterpress Printed Holiday Card

With Thanksgiving down and Christmas and New Year's to go, the countdown (and mad dash!) has officially begun. Every year, I have high hopes of finishing my holiday shopping before December. And every year, I am disappointed. It has only happened once -- my freshman year of college, I completed all my shopping by Thanksgiving. I was so proud. Those were the days. What happened? My to-do and gift list has expanded quite a bit since then, so I blame that. That and, well, time! Each holiday season, I vow to be better, more diligent, more organized, more together -- but it's always the same. Chaotic, rushed madness, thanking the USPS/UPS gods for looking after me yet again, and baking/wrapping all-nighters. It scares me to think just where I would be without online shopping. Apparently, I like to walk the line. I would deny it until the end, but with this same scenario unfolding year after year, I must subconsciously get a thrill out of being on thin ice. How is your gifting going? Are you finished? I don't want to know. Please tell me you're just like me. Let's be in denial together.