December 23, 2011

merry merry!

Well folks, I'm sure for many that the festivities begin today. I know they do for us! 
On the docket for the weekend:

1. Party at work today with lots of yummies and a yankee swap with gifts from home. I hope I don't inherit someone else's crap.
2. Crochet my head off at work so I can finish a scarf for my niece.
3. Christmas with my side of the family! Two parents, two grandparents, two brothers, a sister-in-law, a lovely girlfriend, three nieces, three nephews, the husband and a pug. Brother and lovely girlfriend in California will be dearly missed. Oh and Chinese food, hallelujah.
4. Bonfire tonight at a friend's house, post family gathering.
5. Presents with parents Christmas Eve morning.
6. Grocery shopping for our Christmas Day feast for two.
7. Back home to make three of Will's gifts (yikes) and then wrap my head off. My poor head will receive quite a beating this weekend.
8. Try to relax and wait for some snow.
9. And on Christmas Day? A little of this action...


Boo ya.

I'll be taking a hiatus for a spell as we all party and make merry.
And I have a week of vacation next week! Rejoice. Thanks college :)
I'm in dire need of some extreme R&R. The perks of living far away on our distant point is that is 
allows me to justify being a shut in and I love it. The other tidbit to note is that we don't have
 internet at home, and it's actually quite great. I know, "GASP!" you're thinking. 
Most people would panic at that thought, but it's nice to unplug at home after being at a computer all day.
So on my internet fast at home, you'll be seeing less of me.

some fun for the season...

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and remember the King who was born on this day.

December 21, 2011

the wishlist

Everyone's doin' it, so why not. Here's mine. 

All things considered, I'm not after a ton. I'm very very excited that this is my first Christmas to be spent with the hub, which will be super special. We're doing our own thing this year - just us. Woohoo! Blaze the trail! Establish our own traditions! The world is our oyster! It shall be grand and minimalistic to boot. We're also dog-sitting right now, so it'll be us and the pooch. 
Heaps of fun, joy and merriment will be had by all.

But besides the obvious joy, I've also had my eye on these few things...

1. a fabulous flick | 2. smartwool striped baselayer | 3. j.crew keeper chambray shirt
4. fossil stella plated stainless steel watch; rose | 5. mountain hardware sarafin hoodie; snow

December 20, 2011

a kitchen craft

A long while ago, I posted about a random craft that I did around the homestead. 
Baldwin craft number two, comin' your way...

kitchen inspiration board

1. 12x12" black frame (yes, with a bowl of raisinets for good measure)

2. 12x12" piece of cork board

3. Hot glue a little left over wedding burlap on for style's sake. Obv.

4. And now my "10 ideas for boneless chicken breasts" clipping from Real Simple has a home.
Right beside the crock pot recipes and my husband's boutonniere. 
He thought that was a nice spot for it. I'm inspired already.

Once again, a 10-15 minute project has brought us to 
a fun and creative new level of organization. Win.

December 19, 2011

can't get enough

I seriously can't have too much Christmas music. I'm the one who would willingly start listening to it long before Thanksgiving, and you'd need to force me to shut it off sometime after New Year's. I hate saying good-bye.

I work at a college so Christmas break is nice and quiet for us - bye students! Enjoy your ridiculously long break that I covet so much. But with their absence comes a few good things for the faculty and staff.

1. better food because they're cooking for fewer people.
2. plenty of open tables (the good ones).
3. Pandora can become louder because we're all alone!

Now that I've cranked up the tunes, check out some of my favorites this year and look em' up!

What are your favorites? Am I missing any must-haves?

Enjoy & be merry.

December 16, 2011

a different kind of wilderness

I've left you on the edge of your seat long enough! My deepest apologies. Things have just been a bit nutzo since we've returned from our glamorous weekend expedition. So here's a clue as to where we were...

Mountains right in the city. 

Okay, well how about this?

More mountains... bright and sunny.
Not yet, huh?

Surely this will help:

Feliz Navidad from sunny Arizona!

Sheer awesome-ness, I know. I'm such a clever wife with a surprise cross-country venture. Will was so surprised and we had a fabulous time. Initially I wanted him just to find out at the gate, but he wanted to hear where we were going from me and not from the screen. So after making sure he was definitely ready, I handed him my half-empty bottle of Arizona tea. I got it with dinner - total coincidence. Cool, huh? He was so excited :)

We're used to the kind of wilderness with our lovely deciduous trees - not the dusty kind with my new bffs cacti [I love them] growing everywhere. They are so wonderful and the landscape is absolutely stunning. We were technically staying in Scottsdale and there were mountains everywhere. Isn't that the dream? To be living in your normal bustling city but be surrounded by mountains? I think the most amazing thing about their mountain ranges out there is that they're not covered in trees. It allows you to see everything, every feature.

We arrived late on Friday night to learn that our economy car through Enterprise was no longer available. Folks, don't let people reserve more than you have. It's just dumb. So what were we barreling around the desert in?

Oh you know. No biggie.

A 2012 Chevy Silverado. Will called it our red sled, which then became known as our toboggan.
I felt like I was in a Chevy commercial when the dust trailed up behind us. Yeah, we're that cool.

After we settled into our classy resort (thanks to my parents' timeshare swap!) we snoozed, but not enough. Thanks pesky time change. I did not take that into consideration! Even though it's only a two hour difference, it can really mess you up!

Saturday, we were major gluttons and had an enormous brunch. What Will didn't know was that we were just killing time. So we went to Starbucks, picked up some groceries, investigated a motorcycle rental.... but it's really hard to put urgency in a person when they don't see a reason. So as Will was lolly-gagging and putzing around, I know that these two were back hiding in our hotel room!

The photo is kind of shoddy because it was in our shadowy hotel room, but my brother Tony and his girlfriend Cecily drove out to visit from San Diego! It was just over 5 hours or so for them, and it was phase two of the surprise for Will. And boy was he surprised! Tony leapt out at him from behind the door and Will probably thought we were about to be mugged. It was great.

Luckily they were only waiting for us for just under an hour, but I was so on edge trying to get Will back to the hotel. Then we went swimming, did some hot-tubbing, made dinner, had wine and played Apples to Apples for hours. It was just like this summer and it was excellent.

Then on Sunday, we drove (in order) here,

and here,

and here,

to get here:

(that photo deserved to be bigger.)

Grand Canyon has been on my life list and in my daydreams for years and it was stunning. But for some reason we weren't expecting two things:

1. The amount of touristy hype (sad day)
2. And the 40 degree weather with snow. I thought we were in Arizona?! 

We did as much hiking along the South rim as I could bear. But my yoga capris, Nikes and cotton socks weren't too thrilled trudging through like 6 inches of snow.

My poor, poor extremities.

But it was gorgeous. A sight you don't see advertised much is the snowy canyon. It was gorgeous.

And on Monday, we spent some time in Phoenix before our flight took off at midnight. And it was raining. Say what? Arizona, you're not supposed to do that. Cheap shot.

Still pretty though. 

Evidently Phoenix is huge and has a massive population... it didn't seem like it while we were there, but I'll take their word for it. Maybe they all feared they would melt in the rain.

We landed back in Boston on Tuesday morning jet-lagged and groggy just before 6AM, and then I headed to work like a champ. I was so not champ-like. I was a hot mess, practically asleep at my desk.

Was it worth it for our first big vacation? You bet!


December 8, 2011

the travel bug strikes again.

Over the past 5 weeks, I have done the impossible.

My darling sweet husband is great at surprises. He surprises me all the time - big things, little things - he's so good at it and gets so much joy from surprising me. In general, I'd say that I hate surprises. I'm a planner, so I don't like being caught off guard. But since I love him and trust him and he's proven himself to be trustworthy with such things, I have grown to love surprises from him.

But this month, the surpriser has become the surprisee! That's right folks - I did the master planning this time around. And I know what you're thinking - she's the planner so no problem, right?

Well what I neglected to say is that the planner also is the one with the enormous mouth who can't keep a surprise secret to save her life.

Yep, that's me.

I can keep normal secrets (like I'm not some huge blabbermouth) but not when it's a surprise from the person I tell everything to! Come on people. He's my other half for crying out loud. It simply can't be done. I don't know how he does it all the time.

But my surprise is huge. I booked us a mystery trip! I know. Awesome Wife Award. Send it here.

I feel a little selfish because the trip is actually to a dream location of mine. So yes, it is a surprise end-of-the-semester trip for my hub, but the location is a teeny tiny bit more catered toward me. I'm sure he'll love it, but let's just say that if he surprised me with this trip, I'd basically keel over and die.

We leave tomorrow after work and will have all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday at our destination, and then return home at an ungodly hour Tuesday morning, where I will continue on to work and spend the day in a vegetative state. Hey, it's worth it to save a vacation day.

But I've researched tons of fun things that we can do on our mini vaca, and I'll let Will be the one to decide what we do. After all, it's a surprise weekend for him ;)

Can you believe that he still has no idea where we're going? Neither can I. I'm just so eager to get our travel on. We've been stagnant for far too long.

So stay tuned to see where we're headed! I'm bringing the camera and I'll be sure to tell all upon our return.

Wish me luck though - I still need to keep this secret for 30 more hours.

December 7, 2011

whirlwind weekend

Whoa, where on Earth have I been? I've been so MIA lately! This weekend was jam-packed, and last week I was on a time crunch to finish my Christmas card orders by my self-induced deadline. But they were all printed successfully and look beautiful! Thanks so much to everyone who ordered!

Do you ever have those weekends that soar by and have close to zero moments of relaxation? If we could just have one more day to recover from the madness!

Friday we...

 saw this guy at the House of Blues:

Dallas Green of "City and Colour"

He's Canadian, he's hilarious, and oh so talented. See the post I featured him on here and check out his music!

Saturday we...

- Sold my car! We're now a one car family, folks.
- Got our first Christmas tree! It's adorable and I'm seriously in love. It's perfect. Photos to follow.
- Made a wreath. I love making wreaths and having pine-sappy hands. No sarcasm. It's great.

hiiiii wreeeaath.

- Cleaned the house like mad. Pine needles everywhere.
- Baked a blueberry pie.
- Baked two batches of the world's best cookies with the help of friends. You must try these lemon cookies.


- Had a Christmas party with almost 30 friends - wowza! Big success, tons of fun.

Sunday we...

- Went to the advent service at church. Every week of advent is in total darkness with just candles. Very cool.
- Had my dad and step-mom over to see our new place!
- Went to Latitude 43 for lunch with them - used a sweet coupon. Thanks, Eversave.
- Made Ghirardelli hot cocoa with milk on the stove. Unreal.
- Played Christmas music on my guitar!
- Were woken up at 3:30AM by a little guy who had snuck into our room through a hole in our wall behind our radiator. He looked like this:

Meet the northern flying squirrel. He was cold and really wanted to snuggle with my cozy hub, evidently. Will felt him scurry on the bed from his head region own to his feet. No offense dear, but I'm so glad it wasn't on my side of the bed. He's awfully cute, but I would have like passed out. At least he wasn't doing this when I saw him:

That's a lot less endearing. The state I saw him in was far cuter. 
So then Will spent some time trying to coax him out the door - luckily our bedroom has a door that leads to an outside staircase!

We were probably back asleep - safely on our couch - around 5AM.

And with that, Monday held a sick day for me. Sometimes your body just doesn't appreciate being that busy! But that was our weekend, in a nutshell. No pun intended... squirrels... love it.

Hope your weekend was packed with fun, but relaxing as well!

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