Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

See that outfit? A black blazer with a green blouse underneath (+skinny jeans and black boots)? It was my Christmas Eve outfit. I got to wear it three days in a row!

My fears about not making it home for Christmas . . came true.

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in Detroit this year, stuck halfway between D.C. and Omaha . . without my luggage.

But God took care of me.

The Girl was there visiting her family, and they took me in.

I had a lovely time with them, and I flew home to Nebraska the day after Christmas.

My family waited to unwrap gifts, and our celebrations with cousins had even been postponed due to the blizzard.

Today I'm watching movies with my niece (Sophia-4) and nephew (Micah-6). Maybe I can convince them to bake a treat after this?
Hope you had merry Christmases!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Skins Game

2009 was a bad year to decide to cheer for the Redskins. I've always been a college football-only girl, but living in a city with a professional team, I thought it was high time I got into the NFL. I would cheer for the Washington Redskins, of course.

But it never really happened. It may have been easier if the team was having a good year, but nearly every game has been painful to watch. I'm all about loyalty when it comes to teams, but who begins cheering for someone awful? You have to fall in love with a team first, and losing doesn't win my love.

Nevertheless, I was thrilled to win tickets to one of their biggest games of the season, as they played the Giants on Monday night. Our seats were great, too.

skins vs.giants

I took my roommate Katie, who also had never seen them play.


It was freezing. They were terrible. But it was still fun.

Especially when I held a pull-up for 36 seconds during half-time and won a Marines lanyard.



Storm, Storm, Go Away!

With the impending winter storm in Nebraska, I'm already preparing myself for the possibility of not making it home for Christmas. Just the thought makes me very disappointed and sad, as I think of all the traditions and special moments I'd miss. There is nothing I love more than holidays with my family. Nothing. But I also hate worrying, pouting, and feeling sorry for myself.

I've been praying about it, and I know the Lord can bring good and joy out of any situation.

Plan B is all lined up, and while it doesn't sound even remotely exciting compared to being home with the whole family, I am ready to embrace it if I must.

But I am certainly praying that the storm won't be as bad as predicted, and we can all gather safely at my grandmothers' homes on Christmas Day.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

North Carolina Wedding

I didn't hesitate to RSVP 'I will attend' upon receiving Em's wedding invitation in the mail this Fall. My former bedroommate, we had grown close during one year of morning and bedtime routines, sharing the details of our days, laughing, singing, and taking Saturday morning walks to our favorite bagel shop one mile up the hill.

The harder invitation decision was choosing between filet mignon and salmon for my dinner entree.

Although the bride would be my only friend at the wedding, I didn't have to attend alone. She e-introduced me to her fiance's friends, and the 3 of us rode down together, getting to know each other through iPod shuffles and deep conversations.

Despite the icy scare and a couple hours of terrible visibility, we made it to Durham, North Carolina in one piece - more specifically, the Duke University campus where my friend and her new husband met at law school.

The snow hadn't accumulated much, so it was more pretty than it was a nuisance.




We checked into the lovely Washington Duke Inn, whose halls were beautifully decked for Christmas. I wandered through the hotel for awhile, admiring the fabulous trees and decor.


In addition to setting me up with carpool buddies, Em also suggested I share a hotel room with her former college roommate. The situation worked out well, and we laughed as we both remembered Em as a morning person who would cheerily greet us each day with a "GOOD MORNING!" and sleepily bid us goodnight with a sweet "Sleep Well".

We awoke on Saturday to attend an amazing brunch at the hotel, filling our plates with beef tenderloin, ham, eggs benedict and pancakes, as servers offered us mimosas and bloody marys for drinks.

I assumed I would be seated near some of Em's other D.C. friends at the wedding, but she asked that I move my place card to Table 1 and take my seat next to her at the reception. I felt so blessed!



The salad, filet mignon, potatoes, and green beans were delicious, in addition to the ice cream and raspberries that followed soon after and prior to the red velvet cake.

There was dancing to be done on the dance floor, in between acquainting myself with some of the groom's college buddies, and soon the bride and groom were out the door and off to a honeymoon in the Caymans.


I'm thankful I was able to witness the union of my dear friend to the godly man she'd been waiting to meet so patiently.

{Oh and um, gorgeous dress! Maybe my favorite ever!}

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Days

Capitol snow
{Photo courtesy of a friend.}

Remember how I said my neighbor kids deserved a decent snow?

Well, they certainly got one this weekend. It was the biggest snowfall in the D.C. area since 1909 apparently!


I experienced a scare on the drive down to Durham with friends on Friday in a few moments of sliding down the icy highway with absolutely zero control. Praise the Lord we didn't hit anything!

The North Carolina snow melted almost immediately and only accumulated an inch or so anyway.

But back in Northern Virginia, it was snowing all weekend, with over 16 inches piled up when I returned. My ride couldn't even drive down my street to drop me off! We got terribly stuck even attempting it.


The man in blue up ahead in this picture was carrying my suitcase right to my front door, so I could focus on not slipping in my traction-less cowboy boots!

My snowed-in roommates were waiting inside with pancakes and cheesy eggs. We put on our boots and snowpants and headed outside to shovel and play.




Yet, even after 3 hours of shoveling, the roommates were not convinced they could make it down the street. And one day later, we're still awaiting the snow plow. The poor mailman is stuck on our hill as I write.

Thank goodness for my four-wheel drive! And for government closings!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Wish List

It is December 18th, and I am done shopping. A Christmas miracle!
I had a very successful evening at the mall Wednesday night, and I'm happy to say that I feel good about everything I'm giving. It really can become so stressful to find the perfect gift and stay on budget. I had a couple of fun, unique ideas that had to be tossed out the window, because sadly, they were just too expensive. I've been loving Etsy this past year, but handmade can certainly come with a hefty pricetag. And understandably so.
I've been loving the gift guides being posted all over the interweb, so I thought I would post one of my own. I actually only gave family members 3 ideas this Christmas, but if I really sit down and think about it, I can come up with plenty more! I really think I must be the easiest person to shop for. It seems I can walk into just about any store and find something I love. Well, almost.
This year I've been slightly {or more than slightly - just ask my roommates} obsessed with antlers. It's super trendy, I know, but I want a pair! I would really prefer them in white, but these are lovely, too. Not only cute, but practical!

Basically anything from Anthro. Anything! I die every time I walk in there. Example: their lovely dessert plates. I love dessert, and I love their plates. Maybe I should collect them?

Anthro Paint-by-Number Dessert Plate

I think it's about time I invested in an apron since I actually spend time in the kitchen every so often. This one is very pretty.

Anthro 3-D Toile Apron

I'm still plugging along with my room decor {and basically I still have done nothing}, and I'd love to use these curtains. I'd just need to decide between gray and ivory.

UO Waterfall Ruffle Curtain

I really enjoy design books, although I only own a couple. I just read a great review for Downtown Chic, which confirms what I orginally suspected - I would love it and need to have it! :)

Downtown Chic: Designing Your Dream Home

My feet are always freezing at home, but I'd love something cozier than plain old socks. These moccasins would be perfect!

L.L. Bean Wicked Good Moccasins

While I'm thinking about things to put on my feet, I should also mention these ankle booties. It's a trend that I'm loving right now, but I just need to find the perfect pair for the right price. These are lovely, but very expensive.

Pour La Victoire "Brenda" Booties

In reality, I want for absolutely nothing, but it is fun to look at pretty things and occasionally find them in your closet or on your shelf.

Well, I'm off to Durham, North Carolina to see a dear friend get married this weekend on the Duke University campus.

Have a productive and fun weekend before Christmas!

Vacation: Key West

Our first of two stops on the cruise last month was Key West, Florida, and I have to be honest - I had set my expectations extremely low.
I had no idea I would find a Charleston-esque tropical beach town. The architecture was so charming, from the open porches to the shutters to the picket fences and occasional bright colors.




I didn't expect to find so much history there either. Renting bicycles was the perfect way to explore! I loved every minute of it!




We rode around town for what must have been miles and of course made a stop at the beach. We were greeted by massive amounts of seagulls and a load of seaweed that had washed up after a storm.


Of course I did plenty of eating in the several hours we were docked, trying conch fritters and some strange fruit/vegetable from Cuba. Not even the woman behind the counter knew what it was.


Unfortunately no key lime pie for us, as the place I'd chosen to stop was closed . . but we did grab some gigantic cookies and ice cream on our walk back to port.


The one and only disappointment of the day was just barely missing an opportunity to meet a long-time blog friend, Girl from Florida. Just one more reason to return to Key West. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Treats Exchange

This past Sunday, my roommate Katie and I hosted a Christmas treats exchange. Our second party at the house, I once again realized the kind of planning that goes into it. I mean duh, right? But other than showers, I haven't done much hosting. I wanted to just go crazy on the Christmas decor, but we kept it simple and thanks to Katie's last-minute creativity, I think our mantle looked fantastic!



I had been eyeing those glass mosaic trees at Target for well over a week, and I'm glad I finally snatched them {on my third visit!}. We picked up the vases for $1/each at Goodwill, filled them with pine and cranberries floating in water and topped the cranberries with votives. I honestly love it, although part of me wishes I had gone with the larger trees.

Katie's sister came over and helped us prepare. I spent Thanksgiving with their family, and they really know how to throw things together and help around the house! :)


We also threw some clementines in a bowl for our coffee table. Nice and simple.



I'm not sure people realized they could help themselves to the candy dish, but I'm almost glad they didn't. A full bowl is much prettier than an empty one. :) I bought these candies while in Williamsburg, because they remind me of my grandma.


I passed up a day of wine tasting in Virginia and spent Saturday baking up a storm. Initially disappointed to miss a birthday celebration, I really enjoyed having all day to follow recipe directions and not feel rushed!

I decided to bake two kinds of made-from-scratch cupcakes . .


. . both involving peppermint, of course.


Peppermint Cupcakes
{with cream cheese frosting, white chocolate shavings, and peppermints on top}


Peppermint Patty Cupcakes
{with patties hidden inside brownie cupcakes and dark chocolate ganache on top - Can someone say rich?}


Katie's sister whipped up one of my Christmas favorites. We call them hopscotches at my grandma's house.


Katie made delicious homemade fudge and the best apple cider I've ever had.



And The Girl brought some yummy Christmas cupcakes!
{yellow cake with cream cheese frosting}


We threw some fake presents under the tree and hosted {what I think was} a great party!