Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting Ready and Finally Home

            Merry Merry, sweet stalkers!  I am finally home after an exhausting week of work and could not be happier to be spending the day wrapping presents, baking gingerbread, and perma-smiling 'cause of this time with all of my family members under one roof.  And though I love Christmas Eve and all of it's preparation and anticipation for the big day, I have to say I think my favorite part of Christmas weekend already happened.  When I arrived home last night after a red brake light filled trip up I-95 with my sister and the puppy love, my family and I headed into the Friendly Village to the White Dog Cafe for a late night dinner.  My prosciutto wrapped, crab-stuffed, trout was and eating at the White Dog is like having dinner in a cozy kitchen straight off the pages of my girl Martha's magazine.  And as I was eating up both the atmosphere and the food, I kept thinking to myself, "I am just so lucky."  On my right at the table was a sister who doubles as a best friend, without whom I think I would feel like my left leg was cut off.  And across sat two little brothers who, in the blink of an eye, have become men who open doors for their sisters and order beers at the dinner table.  And to my left were parents who support us and love us and make us laugh.  Yeah, I'd say we're doing alright. 

            And though tomorrow morning is the real deal and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited for some Christmas loot, right now I am content just being around my people and soaking up all that this holiday stands for.  Touche, Christmas, not even here yet and you've done it again.

Wishing you lots of love this Christmas and the chance to step back and really notice all of the ways that we are so very blessed.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finally Caught that Christmas Spirit

            It eluded me for a while.  Work was zapping all of my Christmas energy know, that extra emergency energy fund that you dip into around the holidays so that you can tackle enjoy little things like pushing through crowded shops on M Street, icing a rickety gingerbread house, and whipping up cookies for the office holiday party (at 11pm the night before).  Yeah, that emergency fund was running a little low over the past few weeks.  But all that changed tonight when I got an extra shot of Christmas cheer in the form of a stroll through the National Zoo's annual Zoo Lights with some of my favorite DC friends.

            I'm a sucker for Christmas lights.  And though I'm usually partial to the kind that can be viewed from inside a warm car with some B101 playing in the background, there is something special about that cold winter air that leaves me rosy cheeked and holding tight to a warm peppermint mocha.  Take that empty emergency fund.  Consider yourself re-filled.

Sorry for the cell phone pics...still paying the price for my wild ways on my 25th birthday.  New camera, Santa?

            So now I'm ready.  Ready for stockings and Christmas pj's and time spent with people that I love.  Guess all I needed was a little reminder that behind all of the stress and busy-ness of this time of year is a whole lot more know, that whole reason for the season thing.   Wishing you a very happy week, safe travels, and more Christmas cheer than you know what to do with.

Sugar Overload

            In another life, I swear I was Martha Stewart and Franck Eggelhoffer's love child.  Translation for those of you who don't have an affinity for 90's rom coms and floral shelf paper...that's an overzealous party planner who loves all things festive and covered in sprinkles and/or glitter.  And to prove that throwing a festive little party is my true calling, my roommate and I hosted a cookie exchange last weekend for a bunch of girlfriends to kick off a seemingly endless string of holiday parties.  It was the perfect combination of old friends and new friends, sugar rush and champagne buzz.  Throw in the fact that one of my best friends from life in Music City was in town for a visit and you've got a very happy girl.
            Party prep began early in the day with a trip to the Social Safeway for necessities and a set-up of sugar cookies, icing, and Kevin McAllister just to set the mood.

And with multiple batches of cookies (including one that was neglected and ended up in the trash...don't tell Martha) fresh from the oven, a fire in the fireplace, and Pandora tuned to Rockin' Christmas, it was party time.

Look who came to visit all the way from New York!  Okay, so she was here visiting that manfriend of hers but I like to think she came to see me too :-)

If you're looking for a one last way to ring in this holiday weekend, I highly recommend this easy party idea...very little preparations, not a lot of overhead (your friends provide the treats!), and leftover cookies for days.  Don't mind if I do.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh, I Also Like This


Ladies, winter is coming up and we have to get ready. With the equinox just 5 short months away, what does the modern woman need to do to get ready for sweater season?
1. Start practicing with your parka. Wear it around the house, to a barbeque or to the beach. When a dude says, “You look hot,” say, “Thank you, this jacket is certified to minus 60% below zero.” Then wink. You know what he means ladies, right? Right?

2. Try doing everyday stuff with mittens on.
 Like typing. Have fun!  E.g. ahudfnjk;afbdjfbjkls093u84urahlu = happy holidays
3. Eat gingerbread willy-nilly. You’re welcome.
4. Q. It’s the holidays! Calories don’t count, right?  A. Correct. You must adopt this attitude to successfully attain a winter steaze.
5. Fly some family members out to see you, preferably more than can fit in your apartment or house.Make them share towels.  Watch the magic as it happens.
6. Rock some Christmas tunes at work. People will love this. No one loves ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ more than your co-workers. Play it loud.
7. Time for pajamas! You sweat at night? Too bad! You have to suffer for a winter body.
8. Festive sweater time. Get comfy in your sweet Cosby with X-mas trees or a menorah. Let everyone know what’s up.
9. SPF 1 zillion. Do it.
10.  If it doesn’t have a crust, don’t eat it.  All the best winter meals start and end with pie. Embrace this, now.
Well that’s all I have.  Attaining a winter body is a challenge, but with enough perseverance and ambition, you can do it.  I know you can.

Find more of Zooey's genius here!

I Like This

Stay tuned for lots of pictures of fun things I've been up to recently...and please forgive me for the lack of posts in the past few weeks.  Doesn't mean that there hasn't been anything going on or that I've forgotten about y'all.  Just means I've been out there living the color.  Hope you have too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feeling Thankful

            The turkey has been eaten (along with the majority of the leftovers), some unnecessary dollas have been spent at the Black Friday sales, and the Cooperman and I have made the trip back to the district after a very happy Thanksgiving.  Though I certainly missed the hustle and bustle of the busy Fox Point kitchen, it was nice to just keep it simple this year and spend a cozy day at home.

Since I'm a little bit crafty and like things like stickers and scrapbooks, I was put in charge of placecards.  I think they're a whole lot cuter when the 7 year old cousin is given this responsibility.

Some serious turkey prep

The end result...

Was delicious, albeit ready 2 hours ahead of schedule...oops!

             I loved getting to spend time with my grandmother and cousins and hugging my brothers after being away from them for months.  Other highlights of the mini-vacation included a trip to the doctor that ended with a z-pack, inhaler, and some delicious combination of cough syrup and codeine for my little cough (aka bronchitis).  And a night out with my favorites from high school that ended in a broken heel, a killer hangover, and a best friend, puppy, and myself all passed out snuggled up in my little twin bed.  All in all I'd say it was a pretty great weekend and this girl certainly has lots to be thankful for!  Hope you had a happy one too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's That Kind of a Day

            It's been raining for what feels like days.  I have a cold that just won't quit and I think I'm starting to annoy my co-workers and freak out my patients with my relentless coughing.  I still have one more day of work before I can head home for a very brief Thanksgiving break.  Remember that post I wrote around this time last year about sticking out the gray?  Well, it's been that kind of a day, which meant that a little afternoon pick-me-up and a reminder that the color is on it's way were just what I needed this afternoon.

Here's hoping you're enjoying a cozy night and a very color-filled week!

When I Grow Up...

            ...I wanna run off and join the circus.  Or Cirque du Soleil...because those jump-ropers and teeny tiny acrobats that get tossed into the air like rag dolls have the most ridiculous job ever.  Okay, so maybe I'm scared of heights and double-dutch has never really been my thing but watching the performers at Cirque du Soleil's Quidam on Sunday made me kind of wish that I had chosen a cooler career.
            I am a huge fan of any of the Cirque du Soleil performances (checked Disney World, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City Cirque's off my show, Vegas?) but I have to say that this was one of my favorites.  The music, the costumes, the rubberband-bodied performers.  I loved it all.  And I loved the fact that I got to take in the show with my grandparents who made the trip down from Philadelphia to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday with Katie and me.

            Oh, and on the way home we passed one of the many restaurants in D.C. that I have been dying to try.  Mike Isabella's (Top Chef, duh) Graffiato.  Guess I'll be making a trip back to Chinatown sometime soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2nd Annual Friendsgiving

            It's that time of year again.  The time when I get all crazy about things like sweet potato souffle, handwritten placecards, and haven't-seen-you-in-so-long hugs from my siblings.  The time when I believe that anything tastes better when it's pumpkin flavored and a drive up I-95 in Wednesday night traffic makes me giddy, not grumpy.  That's right, it's Thanksgiving week and to kick off the celebration some favorite friends and I spent Friday night in my cozy grown-up house eating turkey and toasting to the second annual Friendsgiving.  Last year at this time, I was still a Music City resident (hard to believe, right?) so my participation in the festivities was only as an out-of-town guest.  I was thrilled to make the upgrade to hostess (with Liza as my co-hostess, of course) this year.

My cozy little home...just waiting for guests to arrive!

            Along with volunteering to host this little party, I got ambitious and also signed up to make the turkey.  Quite the feat for this beginner chef.  But with a little help from Whole Foods and a few hours reading up on turkey prep advice from my favorite food blog friends, I think we ended up with a pretty delicious bird if I do say so myself.

Sorry for the lack of a group was way too hard to wrangle all 16 party guests into one room in my little mini house.

            And though the food was delicious and definitely a huge part of why I loved this night, I think what I loved even more was the combination of turkey coma, new friends, fire in the fireplace, James Taylor on Pandora, best friends, red wine buzz, and the underlying sentiment that this year, and every year, we all have so very much to be thankful for.  Wishing you a happy, thanks-filled week with those you love the most!

Occupy D.C.

            Last week, residents of the district decided to get in on the Occupy action and hold a rally in my neighborhood.  And by my neighborhood I mean at the base of the Key Bridge in Gtown.  And I was a little bit excited about all of the commotion because, let's be honest, who doesn't like some extra excitement on a Thursday?  But I have to say, I wasn't all that impressed with the statement made by protestors clad in black "Our D.C." t-shirts who were embarrassingly outnumbered by Washington Five-0 who managed the scene on foot, in cruisers, and on horseback (cause that's really necessary).  For the most part I am grateful that chaos did not erupt at the bottom of my sleepy cobblestone street but I would have had much better pictures had things gotten a little rowdier.  Instead, I snapped a picture with one of our city's finest who was casually smoking a cigar and clearly not at all concerned about the spectacle unfolding in front of him.

At least they had the support of the local liquor store, right?