Half of me wants to run to Mexico for the month of December, and spend my days and nights juggling the all-inclusive taco bar with 5 types of salsa and deciding which high-calorie drink I want at the swim-up bar. But then, on my last trip to Mexico both me and the baby got Montezuma’s revenge, I came back hating Mexican food (it wore off), and, let’s face it, the drinks are always watered down.
The other half of me, however, wants to embrace my yearly December traditions: winter tablescapes, setting goals for next year, vision boarding (follow me on instagram to see my latest), the yearly Christmas trip to NYC, reflecting on all the reasons why this was a damn good year, and looking back at last year’s goals to determine what’s to come. But if Thanksgiving is the 9th month of pregnancy, December is the baby at 1 month. You’re just hangin’ on, draggin’ through the days, and doin’ the most pressing that needs to be done at that moment. On top of work, I’ve done 3 tablescapes this month already (Thanksgiving, Hannukah, and Winter), am hosting a small holiday party for my local crafting group with all sorts of special touches, I’m headed to NYC next week to visit Martha Stewart’s offices, and I feel completely swallowed up by the enormous and de minimis tasks that need doing before January 1.
Last night, I enjoyed a few hours of art journaling that cleared my mind and got my zen realigned so that I could finish this marvelous project today–DIY Party Stirrers–t0 add to my holiday line-up.
My upcoming holiday party is a cookie exchange and crafting party with a small group of friends: everyone has been instructed to bring a dozen or so cookies and we’ll all be making a holiday craft together (string ornaments) in my craft room (which is still unfinished since our move). These stirrers are to use with 1 of the 3 holiday cocktails I’ll be offering: egg nog, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider–each with an election of either rum or chocolate liqueur.
To create, I simply stamped the top third of popsickle sticks with black ink and, on a few, adding embossing to give them a fancier, more sparkly effect. The mugs I’m setting out for the party are shallow, so there will be no risk of ink bleeding inot anyone’s drinks. I’m also setting out some of these classic peppermint stick stirrers, which I got from Sur Le Table along with these scrumptious handmade marshmellows.
One of the most memorable displays of drink decadence I’ve witnessed was at Nigella Lawson’s event in Chicago earlier this year. The forum’s coffee set-up included various types of rock candy stir sticks, honey, a bowl of hand-whipped cream, chocolate shavings, chocolate pearls, and vanilla pirouettes. That vision was my inspiration for this holiday drink bar with some additions, of course.
How cute would this DIY be with individual kids’ names on each stick for, say, a child’s birthday party favor or with girls’ names for a baby shower?
This project re-energized my weary self as the 2013 steamrolls to an end. I’m already dreaming and scheming about the various ways I can have fun with this craft, which happens to be both both adorable and functional (aye, a servant of 2 masters).
I was thrilled to be spending Thanksgiving 2013 with loved ones in a warmer climate: the southwest. I had to share a few photos from the day, which was so special, refreshingly low-key, and perfectly orchestrated from a creative design perspective.
The Thanksgiving tablescape was set with silver wishbones, autumn-colored gold-lined ribbons, paper leaves, gold gelt, antique candleholders, mini-paper turkeys, pomegranates plucked from a nearby tree, and a pumpkin drilled with holes (of course). This was the first time I had witnessed one of my gifted homemade banners hung from a tree.I’m giddy with delight these days at any invitation to dine outdoors on long rectangular tables, and I particularly love the night views. Our divine hostess included padded mismatched placemats on the chairs and benches for extra “cushion”–the addition was romantic and charming in a secret garden sort of way.The backdrop for our meal was peppered with country vintage elements, including rusted watering cans and gardening equipment, in the midst lush greenery and potted flowers. My favorite–a dozen or so generously supplied birdfeeders that attracted all sorts of colorful visitors (even hummingbirds!!) throughout the duration of our Thanksgiving meal and into the evening. A very persuasive distraction for me and my curious 2-year-old.
We ordered the majority of the meal from a favorite local restaurant–high on my list was the chocolate mousse pecan pie, the garlic chive whipped butter, and the orange poppyseed dressing–a combo I’m planning on trying again. Here are pictures of our beloved host and hostess along with their new grandbaby:
And the spectacular night views that we enjoyed on a full belly…
which can only be experienced in this way on a Thanksgiving in the Southwest.
‘Til next year!
Welcome back to the world my lovely blog readers! I’m hoping you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and the weekly series of Black Friday and Cyber-Monday, followed by my personal favorite: Credit Card Debt Tuesday. I, for one, am exhausted. While I’m in the midst of processing the large number of Thanksgiving photos I took, I thought I would do something a little different on the blog today and share a piece I wrote a few months ago when I was in the midst of editing my blog bio–a task which my blogger friends can surely relate. Enjoy!
I’ve shuffled off all of the work I’m supposed to be getting done today (ie that which I get paid for) so that I can edit my blog bio. I’ve been meaning to edit my blog bio for about 2 years now or whenever the last time was that I forced myself into a corner with the threat of no food, water, nourishment, or sunshine until there was an updated bio published.
Here’s a timeline for writing your blog bio, which usually takes anywhere from 1 day to 5 years.
- Browse all of the bios on your favorite bloggers and realize that everyone is wittier, more stylish, and more accomplished than you. You don’t even deserve to have a bio, you’ve never been published in __________ or ________, like _______, ____________, and _____________. Give up.
- Make lunch, twice. Look online to see if you can book a session with a psychic to tell you whether you’ll ever be successful enough so that you will feel worthy of writing a blog bio. Finish the chocolate bar in the freezer instead and give up.
- Light a candle, next to your workspace. Put on some inspirational music. Clear your mind with some deep breaths. Call your friend to tell her that you really need to update your bio and complain how much you dislike the current one. She agrees and tells you that you need help from a “writer” and then asks if you know any. Give up.
- Take a bath, with epsom salts. After your 2 big lunches and chocolate bar, your heading off into carb coma county. Hope that the epsom salts will detoxify you while you examine your back molars to determine if you are getting a cavity. You are. Decide to give up.
- Search online to see if you can find a “writer” to write your bio. Conclude that everyone is too expensive and even if you wanted to pay for it, they wouldn’t have anything to write about anyway. Give up.
- Realize that you only have a few hours left to edit your bio and begin to shop online. Buy a bunch of crap you don’t need and then feel remorse because you’re sinking into credit card debt that you will most likely never. be. able. to. pay. off. Give up, again.
- Get a glass of water. No, sparkling water. No, sparkling water with lime. And lemon. Your throat starts hurting so you need some tea. Now a bathroom break. Decide there’s no time to write a bio! Give up.
- Check your site stats. 500 times in 3 minute increments. Give up.
- You can’t concentrate on writing a bio when all the laundry needs folding! Give up.
- Open the page to the bio. Decide you hate your current bio content because it sounds too _______, _______, ______, and just plain dumb. Try again to find a “writer.” Give up.
- Open the page to the bio again. Save your previous bio in case your computer freezes (you have a Mac so that never happens) or, even worse, if your edits are worse than your current bio and you have to revert to the original.
- Type,type, clickity-clack, clickity-clack. Who came up with the idea of a blog bio anyway? Keep working. Call your husband to run your new bio by him, but decide you don’t really want his comments after all.
- Your time is up, Publish and be done, you can always edit it later.
And you will.
Moving into a new home always forces me to pare down and organize. Both rituals I steadfastly avoid and procrastinate doing so long as there is at least one other thing that needs to be done (like, anything else). But, once I organize, it invariably frees up mental space and brings more lightness to my daily experience.
This past week I completed a greeting card cleanse, sorting through years and years of cards stored in a basket in the corner of my office. Between our engagement, marriage, the baby, bris, my husband’s 40th birthday party, holidays, and Judah’s 1st and 2nd birthdays, we must have had thousands and thousands of dollars worth of greeting cards. I sorted the cards into two piles: one pile with sentimental cards and really stunning or unique cards that I want to save for keepsake books or mood boards. The other pile was of cards that I’m planning to reuse and recycle in various ways, which I’ll feature on the blog in upcoming months.
It took 3 hours to sort through my basket of cards and, as each hour passed, my resolve to create/make all of the cards I give became stronger and stronger. during that period, my proclivity for making cards whenever I can was reinforced. Not because I don’t want to spend money to buy greeting cards (although that’s a huge plus), but homemade cards are just more meaningful. And, let’s face it, what is America doing with the hoards of the greeting cards being exchanged? The best case scenario is that they’re being stored in an office or closet nestled along with a million other store-bought cards or, more likely, thrown away. So, I decided to make thank you cards for my son’s 2 year-old friends that came to his party, and here’s how they turned out.
Just off my card cleanse, I was dreaming of a card that could be useful/educational (however de minimis), instead of just decorative (these are 2 year-olds, after all). I’mm adoring the idea of postcards and mini-cards lately–who needs all that excess paper anyway? So I took off the corners of red and yellow (for the firetruck theme) paper notecards and taped them together with double-sided tape. I used a glitter sticker with the first letter of each child’s name on the front, and stamped the remainder of the card with the same lowercase letter.
I wrote a short message on the back (from Judah), tied a piece of twine around it, and hot glued a spring of hypericum (from the party) to each one. These will be hand-delivered to the cubbies at school and the rest mailed (without the hypericum) in envelopes. I initially wanted to create these as post-cards, but there wasn’t enough space to hold an address on the back!
One more trick for kids thank you cards (this would even work from the perspective of your pet or houseplant). Try starting off the card with a funny exclamatory, such as, ”Wowoza! Holy Moley! Jimmy Crickets! Geez Louis! or Heeehaww!” It’s so much more enjoyable writing the dreaded thank you notes if you can find a few ways to have fun with it. My husband includes lots of slang in his, which was even funnier when Judah was a baby, like “Dude, you rock!” or “You’re secretly my favorite chum, don’t tell Mommy.” With this technique (and possibly a glass or two of wine), you’ll speed right through your own homemade thank you cards.
It’s nearly snowing here and the days in Maryland are beginning to chill me to the bone. It was lovely and refreshing to finally have a “down” weekend with nothing planned except for lunches and brunches with friends, yoga, and various play meals from Judah’s new mini-kitchen. On Sunday morning, we woke up to our ever-entertaining toddler screaming, “HHHHiiiii! HHHHiiiiii! HHHHiiiii!” About 2 dozen times. And then, “I seeeeee youuuu!” My husband and I have gotten into the habit of playing a daily game of chicken since our son was born, where we both pretend to be asleep until the other one flinches and finally gets out of bed to resolve the dirty diaper, wet bed, or crying issue. It’s also our nonverbal way of communicating to each other who is more exhausted than the other, and just like survival of the fittest, whoever gets up first is just not as tired as the one still in bed (theoretically).
So we were both laying in bed, around 7 am Sunday morning, pretending to be fast asleep, while knowing that the other was awake, and trying to figure out what our 2 year old son was saying. Luckily for us, Judah waits in bed for us to come get him or for us to tell him that he can get out of bed each morning. He knows that when the “Sun is sleeping” it’s time for him to sleep and that he has to stay in bed until the “Sun wakes up.” After his initial greeting that morning, he exclaimed, “Sun’s awake, Sun’s awake!!! Mommmyyyy!!!! DDDaaaddddyyy!!!!”
One morning, my husband and I were debating who’s turn it was to get up early, and Judah screamed (he’s in the room next to us), “Mommy’s turn!!!”
Now, onto Thanksgiving…
Next year, we’re planning on starting, for the first time, preparing Thanksgiving dinner at our home and creating our own Tofurky Day traditions–I can’t wait. But this year, we’re spending the day with loved ones and jetsetting, for a few days, to a warmer locale for our Thanksgiving Day holiday. I made this DIY Thanksgiving banner this weekend as a gift for our hosts. We’re going to be eating outside so I wanted decor on the simpler side, easily transportable, and using colors that would blend with any tablescape.