tis the season!

day 2: favorite holiday memory.

i’m participating in 11 in 2011, hosted by kit from a step into my life and and mj from teaching in heels. for the first eleven days of the year, there are specific topics about which to blog. yesterday was new year’s resolutions. today’s topic is favorite holiday memory.

my favorite memory is more of a whole lump of them. i really love and cherish all the little christmas traditions we have in our family. every year, the hubster, sis, and i get matching or coordinating pajamas for christmas eve/morning. hubs and i spend the night at my parents’ house, and get up early to open presents.

later in the day, we gather with my mom’s side of the family. the best part is watching the kids open their presents. we really don’t have “little ones” left on that side anymore!  the oldest is eleven. i suppose it’s my cousin’s and my job to start the next generation of grandkids, but to that i say, “pffft. don’t get your hopes up. not anytime soon, at least.” the next best part? chinese christmas! (also called dirty santa or white elephant christmas.) it’s always fun and filled with laughs.

we celebrate with my dad’s family the next weekend day after christmas, since a few family members have to travel a little bit to get here. since christmas was on saturday this year, we gathered the day after. again, the most fun part is to watch the little ones open their presents. we have more little ones on that side. 🙂  the next generation of cousins. lol

obviously, the most important thing in the world to me is family. times with loved ones are my favorite holiday memories. i wish we were able to spend christmas with both of our families, because we really miss a lot with the hubster’s side. i love them as much as my own! the very first time i met them was at christmas. that was definitely intimidating! hahaha…but they’ve always made me feel welcome and loved.

we were also lucky enough to spend christmas with great friends this year who didn’t have family nearby. we consider them part of our family anyway. 😉

what are your favorite holiday memories or traditions?


my year in pictures.

well, it’s new year’s eve! i don’t know about you, but i’m ready and excited to celebrate 2010 and watch 2011 roll around tonight. i thought i’d do a little look back at 2010 in pictures. we did so much traveling and tried so many new things this year!


we started the year out in texas with willy’s family. so much fun! i love his family as much as my own. ❤

new year's even 2010! willy still had his beard. heehee.

while we were in san antonio, we took our niece to sea world. so fun!


we went skiing with friends in north carolina. it was my first time ever! i didn’t do so well, though…heh…

real, actual snow! we hardly ever get to see snow.

our good friends josh & becca. poor becca broke her tailbone when she fell off the snowboard!

pouty face! i’m no good at snowboarding or skiing. i didn’t know snow was so slippery! silly me.

just when i started loving snow, we actually got some!! over three inches worth! i built my very first real snowman.


school was in full swing, and i had my very first photography class. loved it. here’s a scan of one of my final project photos.

signs of spring were everywhere!


hubster, sis, and i went to disney world! we also had easter dinner at my aunt’s house and went to georgia for our cousin’s first birthday. ❤

sitting on a bench, waiting on a bus to take us from the magic kingdom to epcot!

hiding easter eggs is almost as much fun as it was hunting for them as a kid.

our cousin's baby, alexis, turned one in april!


i met some girlfriends in athens, georgia, to see bobby long at the 40 watt club. later in the month, we went back to texas for our cousin’s wedding! it was so beautiful!

le sigh... bobby long, how i adore thee.

the gorgeous bride and handsome groom!

our beautiful nieces ❤


the first part of the month was very sad. we lost mimi (hubby’s grandma, who was more like his mom), and we traveled to texas and oklahoma for her memorial. it was lovely to hear all the stories the grandkids told and remember the fun times with her.

the second part of the month found us in north carolina for a family reunion. we visited the biltmore estate, which was amazingly beautiful.

we spent the fourth of july in austin

the "back yard" at the biltmore estate.

biltmore estate


the hubster had a three-day weekend for some reason or another. he came home one day and suggested we take a short trip to new york city. um, yes please! i’d never been before, and i fell in LOVE with it. so many amazing things to see and do.

the metropolitan museum of art. i thought i'd died and gone to heaven!

the hubster took me to tiffany & co. and bought me new engagement/wedding rings! i was *so* surprised! i had some sort of weird reaction to my original ones, and my finger was so swollen i had to have them cut off. :/ i still can't believe the amazing surprise.

i love this picture.


we went to nashville to visit friends–another place we’d never been! we had a wonderful time there. for some reason, i don’t have many pictures. i guess they’re on my old hard drive.


the fair was in town! we also saw band of horses at the performing arts center, but i don’t have any pictures from that either. :/

i love petting zoos. animals are so adorable.

hubster and sis in a fun house!


we did a lot of fun things in november! at the beginning of the month, one of my besties, my sister, and i went to see OK Go at the music farm. best. concert. EVER. we snuck back in afterward and got to meet damian. since it was after midnight, and officially my sis’s birthday, he sang happy birthday to her! it was awesome. the hubster and i also went on a cruise for my 30th birthday! p.s. i still don’t feel thirty.

picture taken by the band from the stage. they’re so interactive with their fans!
us with damian kulash of ok go. he is so cool!

colorful houses in curacao



my sis and i spent a good portion of december doing crafts and stuff for christmas gifts. we made soap, necklaces, and scarves. christmas day was spent with my mom’s side of the family, and we celebrated the next day with my dad’s side (since people have to travel, it’s always easier to celebrate christmas shortly thereafter.

in front of our tree, wearing the gryffindor scarf i made for my little cousin

my gifts! i got tons of books!

our little cousin alexis in the cutie hat we got her

our aunt got my sis & me the cutest aprons!

2010 was such a great year. i hope 2011 will bring just as many new friends, new adventures, and fun times.

happy new year!!

things i love sunday: christmas edition!

1. the very best thing about christmas: spending time with family!

2. hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows

3. building a gingerbread house. our friends’ cutie little girl haiden was a big help!

4. amazing friends & adorable puppies!! (my aunt’s puppy–she breeds peekapoms, pekingese, and pomeranians. this adorable one is only 5 weeks old)

5. holiday festival of lights!

6. this awesome book my sister gave me. i cannot *wait* to try some of these!

7. chinese christmas (or white elephant or dirty santa) is the most fun. everybody brings a gift and draws a number. you pick a gift from the pile, and then people can steal your gift, and you open a new one. it’s hilarious & just plain fun. ashley got a gift bag with wine, summer sausage & smoked cheese, and chocolate.

8. i got the fujifilm instax mini! so fun. i can’t wait to use the tiny pictures for art journaling.

9. christmas morning is always so dang exciting. i took this while hubs & i were sitting on the couch with coffee, waiting for everyone else to wake up. lol

10. this freakin’ adorable hat we got for our little cousin alexis. she’s so cute, and so dang funny!  ❤

my day in pictures.

woke up at eight and went back to sleep. i prefer to call it “taking an early morning nap” instead of “sleeping in.”  😉


added the day’s ornament to the advent calendar.


finished crocheting a cowl neck scarf.


worked on some christmas gifts.


finally stamped and mailed our christmas cards.


found one of my outdoor ornaments on the ground and put it back up.


hubster brought chocolates home! hooray! i ate a few with my afternoon coffee. 🙂

things i love sunday.

1. watercolor illustrations by caitlin mcgauley. they’re so simple and beautiful. check out her blog for some daily nyc sketchbook entries.

2. a pretty updo with an accessory like a huge flower. so gorgeous!  via vintage life online magazine.

3. i love old-fashioned magazine/newspaper ads. but really, who the hell can move like this in a freakin’ girdle? lol. i’m fairly certain no woman is this ecstatic while wearing a girdle.

4. oh-my-god-are-you-kidding-me-beautiful bridal shoes by emmy shoes. these make me think of the great gatsby.

6. pin-up girl art from the 1950s! my sister gave me a book of taschen pin-up illustrations for christmas a couple of years ago. 🙂

7. rag wreaths! i love how you can make these to suit your own style. you could make them eclectic or traditional. i’m going to make one after christmas using bits of old clothing. i like the mixed-up eclectic look. 🙂  i also like this fleece one, though.

8. etsy has a new tool called taste test. it’s so cool! you pick your favorite items from sets of pictures they present you, and then they show you a whole page of awesome stuff that’s just your taste. one of the items i got in my set. i love and want it! (find it here)

9.  i really love dresses and tops that have pretty details and cut-outs in the back. i think clothes should be just as interesting in the back as they are in the front. i like this vintage dress from kind boutique.

10. my most favorite movie of all time: meet me in st. louis. did you know judy garland didn’t even want to make this movie? she was tired of playing the role of the average young girl. her future husband vincent minelli (liza’s dad, of course!) convinced her to do it. and i’m so glad she did. it really is an amazing film. if you’ve never seen it, you really should. it’s magical. the song “have yourself  merry little christmas” was written for this very movie. 🙂  “roses are red, john’s name is truitt. esther’s in love, and we always knew it!”  teehee.

deck the halls.

well, i think i’m finally finished with the decorating of our house for christmas. my mom loves decorating and crafts, so i grew up in a house that was decorated early and muchly. lol. every little space had some sort of christmas decoration. anything that stood still held some sort of bow or garland or trinket. we even had the whole miniature village thing, complete with people and cars and snow. and of course there was the requisite train around the christmas tree.

while it was incredibly festive and fun to have everything so christmasy and beautiful, it was a pain in the butt to put it all away after the first of the year. hahaha… so i like just a few christmas touches here and there in my own house.

our christmas tree has a red  & gold theme, because i just think it’s elegant and aesthetically pleasing against the bright green of the tree and the soft white lights.

we are very, very bad about throwing things on our dining room table to get them out of the way and just leaving them there for a…long time. heh… so to try and combat this, i’ve started making centerpieces for each season. i like simple, clean lines, so they aren’t usually anything big. for halloween/thanksgiving, i had a pumpkin made of grapevine and two orange pillar candles on off-white ceramic holders. or christmas, i found this pretty poinsettia basket at michaels (50% off! whooo!) and filled short vases with red & green christmas ornaments. i also added the mickey/minnie mouse candlesticks my aunt got me for christmas one year. ❤  i love sentimental decorations. i also hung pine cones from the chandelier.

here’s our advent calendar. i love it. each day, you open up a little drawer, which holds an ornament that you place on the wooden tree. it’s so cute!

and a few little things given to me by my mom:

and here are a few pictures of the outside of our house. i hate, hate, hate our next door neighbors’ decorations. they are gaudy and ugly. they have every huge light or blow-up decoration you can think of. i kid you not. again, i like simple things that go together in some way without being matchy-matchy. we have a wreath and a garland around the door and one around the garage with red bows and lights. i want to put another string of lights around those “column” thingies on the porch, but it’s been so cold lately i can’t stand to be outside for more than a few minutes. ha.

so that’s it. our lovely christmasy home for the holidays. 🙂  i’d planned on doing a tutorial on how to make the wreath i made for our front door, but unfortunately all the pictures got deleted. sooo…yeah.

things i love sunday.

1. everybody likes the kinks, right? i dare you to not like them. you probably know them best for their song “lola” (incidentally, one of the first full songs i learned to play on the guitar). but this is one of my favorites. like i said, i dare you to not love the kinks.

2. our christmas tree! (more on that later this week…)

3.  bright, colorful quilts! (plus that awesome tree house!)

4. i’m in love with snapcrafty. i just bought a bunch of cabochons & beads from them for extremely reasonable prices!

5. joe pasta is such a good local restaurant. i love their “build your own pasta” feature.

6.  this is so cute. especially because i’ve started crocheting again.

7.  re-creations of scenes from alfred hitchcock movies. this one is scarlett johansson & javier bardem portraying grace kelly & jimmy stewart in rear window. head over to all the pretty to see more. 

8.  i love that my hubster like to do crafts with me. we made these bracelets during an arts & crafts session on the cruise. the other night while i was crocheting a scarf, he even went online and found tutorials to teach himself how to knit. it does, however, tick me off when he proves to be much better at something than me. 😉 

9.  i love how my hubster, sister, and i laugh so hard when we’re out and about. we pick on each other and laugh at fart jokes, but i love it when we laugh til we’re literally crying. 

10.  absolutely gorgeous cowl neck scarf from mojo spa style. there are some truly beautiful things in this shop. all handmade, of course!