Getting Excited for Christmas: Our little Christmas Tree

Happy Wednesday! It's been a busy week, so I thought I'd share my little Christmas tree that we have in our bedroom. I love it because all I have to do is set it out and I'm done! I also traded some sad looking votives for two new candles that I got last year at Target after Christmas. They smell so good, and I like the added sparkle that they give. Yes, I know that it's a bit tacky, but it makes me happy...kind of like those tattered books below. And, yes, my husband is pretty darn tolerant. The upside is I think our apartment looks a bit better than last year. What decorations are getting you excited for Christmas?

Getting Excited for Christmas: West Elm Picks

I've never shopped at West Elm in person, but I found their online store a few weeks ago, and several items have caught my eye as perfect Christmas gifts.

For my grandmother who has no material needs whatsoever, but loves animals, I think this mug would be perfect. I think she will enjoy looking at the dogs on the mug, and half of the cost is donated to the SPCA. I also think that these bowls are so unique looking, and would be a lovely addition to any kitchen. And finally, a part of me really loves these cosmetics bags. I think they'd be perfect for my old college roommate who likes things with "an edge." I think these are nice because they aren't too "sweet." I was going to get the gray one for my sister, but they sold out too quickly! Are you a fan of West Elm?

Our Christmas Tree is up!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving break! I really enjoyed having the opportunity to go to my parents' home and visit with my family. My husband and I came back to our home on Saturday, which gave me time to put up our tree and start wrapping presents! I know our tree isn't fabulous looking, but I've had it since high school. My mom got it for 99 cents, and I enjoy putting it up every year!

In a moment of pure lunacy (originating from me), my sister, husband and I went to Target to participate in Black Friday at midnight. We were after a Kindle, and I don't think that the majority of the people there could have cared less, so after over an hour of standing outside, we headed back home. The good news is that they still had them the next morning! So, the husband has his Christmas shopping done. I am super excited about the Kindle; I think I'm going to get a lot of use. The selling feature for me is that any book written before 1923 is free, so I really think it's going to be cost effective. Did any of you participate in Black Friday or are starting to put your Christmas decorations up?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I get to leave work at 2:30 today, and I'm looking forward to cleaning up the apartment and getting ready for our trip home! I'm looking forward to being with my family and husband, and I'm especially eagerly anticipating hanging out with my sister. I love being with my family, and I'm truly blessed. Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.

Thankful

Last night, I made two pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and they made the apartment smell so good. Now, the real trick will be not eating them before the big day and making sure they actually make it to my parents' house. I bought the pie crusts that you have to place into the pie pan. It didn't turn out perfectly, so the husband thought I made the crust from scratch. It's funny how the hallmark of homemade things are their imperfections sometimes.

Sometimes I get really stressed out about the logistics of the holiday, which is why I appreciated being able to participate in the I'm thankful for...series. Here's some of the few things I'm so thankful for. I hope that you find a few moments to reflect amidst the preparations for family and friends.

Getting Excited for Christmas: Christmas Cards have been Ordered!

Going home for the weekend was really wonderful. Even though my mom is still in a decent amount of pain and has quite a bit of recovery to go, it was really great to see my family. I can't wait until this short week is over and we go home for Thanksgiving!

While at home, I did order our Christmas cards. I'm looking forward to when they arrive. I also set up a Christmas tree at my parents' house and started going through some of our Christmas decor and some of the things I purchased on sale last year. I'm looking forward to wrapping up a few gifts, but this year I'm going to really try to give things that are meaningful instead of just filling an obligation. I don't know how successful I will be though, because obligatory gifts definitely exist. I'm interested in hearing any ideas in how you give thoughtfully.

A Lucky Day!

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my sister and family this weekend. My mother had a hip replacement on Monday, so we're going home to see what we can do. Fortunately, she's progressing as planned, but the recovery is still quite a process and I think she's in a decent amount of pain. My brother and his wife live close by, so they have been doing quite a bit to help my parents. I'm happy that I only live a few hours and can go home relatively easily for the weekend. Also, I haven't seen my sister since Labor Day, and I miss her so.

In other news, I won something! To be specific, I won these four pillow covers from the lovely blog Roost. I truly cannot believe my good fortune. I rarely win anything, and if I do it's rarely useful. I've been nagging my husband about getting throw pillows for our new sofa that we bought a few months ago. I think that the colors will work beautifully. Even though pink is very feminine, my dear husband is nice enough to let me have pops of pink in the living room. In fact, he actually buys me pink accessories on rare occasion. See these little pink vases next to our t.v.? He bought those for me a few Christmases ago. I think that they will go well with our new pillow covers! Here's wishing you a happy weekend!

Late to the Party: Something Borrowed

My husband likes to save money by only seeing movies via Netflix. So, I hadn't seen Something Borrowed. I didn't think I would like it very much, since the idea of cheating really bothers me. Cheating with one's best friend's finace bothers me even more. But, the husband was working late last night, so I decided to watch it. And it wasn't actually that bad. I actually thought that all the actors and actresses did a great job, and it was perfectly cast. Any other movies that you've been surprised you liked?

Getting Excited for Christmas: Holiday Stamps

I care about a lot of trivial things, one of those being stamps. Specifically, I like to send cards with "cute stamps" that match the occasion. The problem is though, that you have to go to the post office to get cute stamps, and I'm at work when the post office is open. (Which might be why I found myself "stocking up" on the flower forever stamps like a crazy person before the husband and I moved to D.C.)

Unfortunately, I got inspired by the holiday themed stamps that the U.S. Post Office issued and really wanted them them for our holiday cards. Enter ordering stamps online. All you have to do is go to the website, and for a dollar for shipping, those stamps will be in your mailbox in a few days. Considering I don't have a post office I can go to during the day, and the lines that you have to stand in anyways, I'm happy to pay this dollar. And aren't they lovely? I can't wait to put them on our holiday cards! Anybody else particular about something mundane?

Decor for the Husband's Office

The husband has a pretty nice office, but it's extremely barren. Considering how much time he spends there, I asked him if there was anything he'd like to bring in. He requested a cactus and a picture of either our undergraduate school or his beloved VA Tech stadium. Sounds easy enough, right? I didn't really know where to find a cactus, but I thought that maybe Lowe's or Home Depot would sell them. But I didn't know where either of those stores were in our new locale. And I'm not going to lie, driving in NoVa on a weekend scares me a bit when I have no clue where I'm going. I did discover a Home Depot, and aren't these cacti cute...err masculine?

Then all I had to do was figure out a picture. Since we already own three VA Tech framed pictures, not to mention all of the other paraphernalia, finding a photo we didn't already have was tough. So, the husband decided he'd rather have one of our undergraduate institution. I made a collage, and I think that it came out pretty well. The husband actually liked everything, and now both items are happily living in the office. Anybody else have any ideas for making an office feel more personable?

Macarons: Part Three

So, to continue the insanity, I decided that I wanted to try making macarons one more time. This recipe gave me hope that they weren't that hard. And you know what? For someone who doesn't cook regularly and her baking involves mixes, I think they turned out beautifully. The husband even remarked that they tasted as good as the ones you buy. Well, he will certainly be getting some more macarons sometime soon. I had some issues piping them onto the wax paper, but by the second pan, I was getting slightly more adept. By no means did they turn out perfectly, but I can see feet, they at least resemble macarons, and they are tasty! Maybe the third time is the charm? I can't wait to try another batch with food coloring...I'm thinking red for Christmas!

Another Friday!

Happy Friday! I guess the husband's weekend will be pretty full of work this weekend too, and I think my weekend will be pretty quiet. However, I think we're going to try to go out with some of his co-workers this evening to celebrate all the passages of the Bar.

I am going to attempt to make macarons again, if only to provide me some entertainment. Also, the mess ups taste pretty delicious, and the hubby isn't picky about how they look. I also fully expect to be taking full advantage of my Netflix instant play, and to get some cleaning done around the apartment. Hopefully, we will just have a minute or two to just relax. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Coffee Tables

The husband and I have been thinking about getting a coffee table. You wouldn't think this would be a very big deal, but it is. Typically, the husband doesn't like coffee tables, since he thinks they block a lot of open space. However, we both agree that they are handy to store the remote control and to put drinks on, etc. I've thought about putting a large upholstered ottoman there, two little ottomans, or two little tables, but I think a coffee table would be best, since we want a place to be able to play board games and we don't have a kitchen or dining room table. Ahh, the joys of apartment living. I don't think we're going to get one anytime soon, but I like to dream. One of our limitations is that the coffee table must be wood/look like wood. Obviously, I didn't set this stipulation...

Here's what the space looks like: See, plenty of space for a coffee table, right? Also note that the husband is busily working away, trying to ignore me.
Option 1: I love this coffee table from Pier 1; I think that the rounded edges feminize the space a little bit. I don't think the husband will go for it though, and it's almost two hundred dollars. But isn't she lovely? Option 2: The other option is to buy the coffee table from Target that matches are entertainment stand. I know that having things match too much is bad, but I feel that just buying another random table might feel chaotic. And this one is just under one hundred dollars.
Option 3: And finally, we could spend a mere twenty dollars at Ikea. It might not last forever, but at least if we don't like it, we'd only be out twenty dollars.
I'd love to hear which one you would choose or any suggestions!

A Few Flowers

Last Friday, I picked up a few flowers from Whole Foods when I bought the ingredients to make macarons. I love fresh flowers, even though they're a waste of money, and I'm still enjoying them. Look what one little five dollar bouquet can do.

On my nightstand: I really love waking up to these, instead of just seeing the alarm clock glaring at me.

In the bathroom:

And next to the tv: I don't think the husband was as amused.What's your favorite pick-me-up? Can a few carnations brighten your day, or do you prefer something else?

A Baking Success and a Baking Failure

So, the macarons that my friend and I made this weekend didn't turn out perfectly. They did, however, taste really good! I bought the super expensive Almond Meal (literally costs 14.00 at Whole Foods), and I think that made a huge difference from the time I made them two summers ago. When I made them two summers ago I had really NO baking experience, but I was able to get the egg whites to peak. My friend and I struggled with that yesterday, which gives me hope that I might not actually be a complete klutz in the kitchen. Even though I went home yesterday convinced that I would never attempt to make macarons again, I think the husband has convinced me that I might want to try again. But I think he just wants to eat some more malformed macarons. So to be continued...

In other news, a super easy treat that I blogged about early were Oreo cupcakes. Mine actually turned out like the inspiration! These turned out great and I made them twice because they were such an easy but fun treat before Halloween. Anybody else have any recent successes or failures in the kitchen? I'm trying to think up a Christmas treat to make my co-workers in the office, and right now all I can think up is peppermint bark.

What's up for the weekend!

The husband will be busy working all weekend, so I've decided that I'll be watching Jane Austen's Emma on instant play via Netflix. I've been reading the book on the Metro, and that's made me want to watch the movie again. I think it will be a fun distraction in between the usual errands and cleaning that takes place on a typical Saturday.

I'm also planning on getting together with a friend to make macaroons. I've tried to make them before, but they didn't end up cooking properly. Hopefully, the two of us can figure them out this time! What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Seven Years!

It's been seven years since the husband and I first started dating. We've been through undergrad together, my grad school, his law school, three years of me teaching, time living far apart, time living near each other, time dating, time engaged, and now time married. They've been the best seven years of my life.

A Very Late Weekend Recap!

I usually don't recap the weekend, since most of my weekends consist of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and just hanging out (not exactly thrilling activities, but I like them anyways). Of course, my weekend included those things, but the husband and I did venture to the Air and Space Museum and the Botanical Gardens on Sunday after "surviving" the Saturday snow. Even though we live really close to D.C., we really are bad about getting out and doing stuff.Most importantly, though, we made a trip down to Richmond for a short visit with my parents and also for the husband's swearing in ceremony. I took the day off to be with him and see my parents. It was really wonderful to have the extra time, and I enjoyed being home for just the short time.

Sometimes just an extra day can give you such perspective and some renewed energy. We arrived back home by four, which gave me just enough time to register our car (something I haven't been able to do because of the M-F, 9-5 hours). It's funny how little things can give me such a sense of accomplishment. I feel the same way when I get to go to the Post Office. Do you have any errands like that?

*Photos from Google Images

All about Argyle!

With the cooler weather (and even snow on Saturday), the husband and I have both started to break out our winter clothes. Lately, it seems that there has been quite a bit of argyle making it's way into our home. I'm really shocked that the husband likes argyle, since I feel that it's a little progressive for him. It's kind of fun to see what he gravitates towards now that he is assembling a work wardrobe.

Exhibit A: The husband purchased this from Banana Republic in a light gray and purple. Surprisingly, the color combination looks nice on him. But again, something I'd never have thought he'd like in a million years.Exhibit B: Shockingly, he also suggested that he'd enjoy wearing some argyle socks. Again, since I'm a fan of argyle, I didn't hesitate to pick some up at Target over the weekend. When I told him they were three dollars, he wondered if I could pick up some more! (This is quite a surprise for the husband who already has a plethora of black socks and really just doesn't buy clothes). I'm happy to oblige, though. Exhibit C: And of course, I had to get myself a little argyle, and couldn't resist this pink and navy cardigan. Anybody else ever surprised by what your significant other chooses? Or any loving argyle this season?