WIAW – Post-Christmas Catch Up

Happy New Year! I can’t believe another year has come and passed. I’m back in Texas and getting excited to ring in 2015 tonight, then get back in the zone and make 2015 a great year! What are your plans for tonight? : )

It’s been foreverever since I’ve done a WIAW post, and I have some catching up to do, so this will be perfect. I’m stretching all the way back to Christmas Day – seems like forever ago!

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONSI can honestly say this was the first year I enjoyed all types of holiday food, in moderation, guilt-free. I tried balancing out richer meals with healthier breakfasts and workouts… I did the best I could!

I’m so ready to get back in a routine for 2015, though. Preaching to the choir, right? ; )

It’s catch-up time!

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Holiday Highlights of Home

Merry Christmas! It is just sooo nice to be home. =) Ever since I arrived back in town on Friday, I’ve been running around seeing friends & family, baking, wrapping, and doing some last minute holiday errands. It’s been non-stop, but just the way I like it!

I figured photos are the best way to summarize the highlights of home so far. Here we go!

Baby Cousin Claire

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Claire and her Mom (my cousin Nicole) live about 3 hours away, so we always treasure the time we get to share when they are in. She is just the SWEETEST baby!

Catching Up with Friends

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I haven’t been taking a lot of photos, but I’ve spent most nights with my best friends. We all live here & there now, so when we’re all able to get together, it really is a special time. Like our matching sweatshirts? ;D

Cookie Baking

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As per tradition, my Mom and I baked our chocolate chip, chocolate crinkle, and Italian anise cookies. I am chief taste tester/beater licker.

Seeing Lucy

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This old lady is my 14 year old dog, Lucy. She got sick in August and we actually thought we’d have to put her down, but she has been hanging in there and doing really well. So glad I’m getting to see her this week!

Painting Ceramics with Mom

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As part of my Mom’s Christmas present, I took her to ceramics. She used to go to class regularly in the 80s and 90s, and we always said we wanted to go together. I surprised her and took her to paint some ceramics on Monday! My guy is the one on the right : )

Running Through Town

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So far I’ve gotten 1 outdoor run and a few indoor workouts in. I was actually looking forward to my chilly outdoor run … really I just wanted to prove to myself that I could still run in the cold weather! : ) It was a slow run, but it felt good. I hope to get out on Christmas Day, too.

Our Tree

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I did my own tree in Texas, but it’s definitely not the same. My Mom’s tree & decorations are beautiful, and truly make me feel at home. It’s all about tradition!

Now that I live away from home, I feel like I appreciate it so much more. Seeing my friends and family is way less frequent now, so it makes it 100x more special. I’m so happy and thankful to be spending my Christmas here at home. ❤

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, everyone!

A Christmas Survey + Home Bound!

Today’s the day! I’m super excited to fly home to Pennsylvania for the holidays. Having spent the last 7 months in Texas, I’m really looking forward to relaxing at home and spending time with my favorite people.

I’ve got a half day at work, and my flight leaves Austin around 4:00. It’s pretty surreal to think I’m at work in Texas, but will be home in Pennsylvania tonight!

To get a little bit more in the spirit, I thought it would be fun to do a Christmas Survey! Thanks to A Piece of Cait for sharing this 🙂

1. Favorite Christmas movie?
This is so tough – I have tons of favorites. I’d have to say that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (claymation) is a must-see every year.

2. Hot chocolate or egg nog?
If I only have one cup of each of these each year, that’s enough for me. But out of the two, definitely HoCho!

3. Christmas eve or Christmas day — and why?
I’d have to say Christmas Eve. I love our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, going to church, and the magic of looking forward to Christmas Day! : )

4. Favorite Christmas tree decoration?
We have a Santa lying in a hammock that’s always had a place in the front of our tree.

5. Where do you place your tree in the house?
In the corner of the living room – the only place it fits!

6. Favorite holiday sweet?!
Cookies – I don’t discriminate on which. ; )

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7. Family tradition you do year after year?
We would always read Noel, The Night Before Christmas and the story of baby Jesus before going to bed.

8. Or one you plan on doing with your family one day?
Hopefully going to cut down a real tree!

9.  Do you get all your shopping done early? Or late?
Ehhh, medium ; )

10. Favorite Christmas song{s}/ artist?
My favorite is O Holy Night. It’s so beautiful!

11. Fake or real tree?
We’ve always had an artificial one, but I love real ones! We had one my senior year of college and it was soo nice!

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12. Do you partake in any cookie swaps? if so.. what are you bringing this year?!
Uhh, I wiiish! ; ) But I did bake chocolate crinkles and chocolate chip cookies for my coworkers.

13.  Ever had a WHITE Christmas?
Many=)

14. What did your parents do to make this time of year special?
Everything!

15. Do you still get a stocking?/ stocking stuffers?
Yes : )

16.  What kind of Christmas lights do you like? Clear, colored, icelces?
Colorful ones.

17. When do you open up gifts?
Christmas Eve with my Dad’s side of the family, Christmas Day with my parents, and then again on Christmas with my Mom’s side.

18. Christmas cards/ letters?
Love ’em!

19. What does Christmas day look like for you this year?
Not entirely sure, actually! Hoping to spend it with the extended family like we did last year.

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20. Candy canes.. yay or nay?
Not my fave, but ’tis the season!

Your Turn-

  • Will you be heading home for the holidays?
  • Real or fake tree?
  • Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Office Holiday Party on the Roof of Whole Foods

Have I mentioned that one of my favorite things about Austin, TX is the Whole Foods headquarters? (Yes.)

Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, TX

The Whole Foods flagship location downtown is no joke. Picture the biggest Whole Foods you’ve seen … doubled in size. I seriously hang out here for fun. When friends ask me where I want to go for dinner, I secretly want to say “Whole Foods!” Although I’ll usually settle for a real restaurant.

So when one of my coworkers suggested hosting our office holiday party there, I was sold!

One of the views from the roof

One of the views from the roof

As part of our Holiday Party Planning Committee, it was a bit of a challenge to figure out a venue, menu, date and activity that would appeal to everyone. Planning a wedding some day will be interesting! Ha. But after lots of phone calls and meetings, we solidified our holiday party, with help from the awesome event planners at Whole Foods corporate.

The space on top of Whole Foods has a playground, picnic tables, and a ton of open space. Any time of year, you’ll see people eating lunch and just hanging out up there. In the summer, they host free weekly yoga classes. And in the winter, they turn the roof into an ice skating rink.

office party ice skating at whole foods headquarters
My company rented out the rink for an hour, and spent the rest of the time eating, drinking, exchanging Secret Santa gifts, and celebrating a great 2014.

I didn’t snap a photo of the food, but we enjoyed cheese, roasted veggies, mini sandwiches, meatballs, bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts, fried shrimp and arancini – all catered by Whole Foods.

We also chose a variety of wine, beer & sparkling water to supplement the Mexican Hot Chocolate and Hot Apple Cider that Whole Foods supplied.

Shiner Cheer, ya'll! ; )

Shiner Cheer, ya’ll! ; )

It’s always a bit of pressure to plan an event that everyone will enjoy, but I’d say the party was a success. Who doesn’t want to leave work early on a Friday, enjoy free food & drinks and go ice skating in Texas?!

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Your Turn-

  • What’s the coolest holiday party you’ve ever attended? Mine was, hands down, the Urban Outfitters holiday party when I worked at the home office. Sooo over the top and amazing!

What Christmas Means to Me

Hey, dusty old blog… it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve seen ya. Was it because I got lazy? Busy? Just didn’t have anything to say?

Honestly, it was probably a combination of the three. As I like to say … life happens. Nothing bad, just life. Late nights & early mornings at work, prepping for the holidays, exploring new parts of town, and a 10-day visit from an old friend. All great things that I feel very lucky for.

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So, no, I haven’t had much to talk about. I have no recipes to share because I’ve been eating a whole lot of candy, tacos and cheese. I’ve participated in more “holiday cheer” than my kidneys would like to acknowledge. I’ve also done damage control with a whole lot of boring salads, fish and oatmeal – nothing very inventive to share.

I’ll be honest – I’m letting myself enjoy the holiday season as I said I would, and it’s amazing! I bet I’ll gain 5 lbs. I bet I’ll lose it by mid-February. I seriously don’t care.

So instead of staying quiet through my holly jolly holiday prep, I was inspired to share what the holiday season means to me.

What Christmas Means to Me

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December Promises to Myself

New Year’s Resolutions are so overdone. I’m all for setting goals and refocusing, but why wait until January 1st?

After my Thanksgiving vacation, I was honestly excited to settle back into a routine. My stomach was hurting and my body was craving healthy, wholesome foods. Vacation was great, but I knew what I needed to do. Monday, December 1st seemed like a perfect time to start fresh.

With the holidays coming up, I know I won’t have the “cleanest” or “fittest” December. I mean, Christmas cookies? I’m all over it. But I did set a few realistic goals for myself this month that should help me stay on track and feeling like myself.

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I Love LA: Vacation Recap

There’s no longer any question… it’s Christmastime! Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m in full-fledged Christmas mode. I love it! I’ll post some photos of my decked out apartment soon. =)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was so much fun, spent seeing old friends and living the Southern California lifestyle for a few days. I think that a photo update is the best way to recap, don’t you?

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Friendsgiving in LA, 2014. Photo dump, gooo!

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