Hello, again!

So I really fell off the blogging bandwagon for a few reasons.  I haven't been feeling very inspired at all and work and my new exercise plans have left me feeling tired.  However, last weekend, I got to see a good friend and celebrate her birthday.  She loves orchids, so I was excited to get this safely to her house.
I also bought her a few gifts; here they are all wrapped up.
It was so great to see her.  We've been friends since undergrad and things have certainly changed since we were 18, but we still always have a great time together.  Isn't it funny how your interests change? What have you been up to lately.

New Etsy Jewelry Loves

One of my newest obsessions has been browsing Etsy jewelry.  I really feel that some of the pieces are just gorgeous.  With my mother-in-law's birthday coming up, I'm tempted to buy her a new little sparkle.  I love this necklace and these earrings.
Image from Elephantine
Image from Elephantine
She loves green and both pieces feel so organic. I am kind of tempted, but I hate knowing that if she doesn't really like it, she can't return it. I also stumbled upon Olive Yew Jewels, and really liked these two necklaces, but unfortunately they both sold. But that's okay, because they probably would have ended up as a present to me!
Image from Olive Yew Jewels
Image from Olive Yew Jewels
Do you all ever buy jewelry from Etsy as gifts?  I think it's kind of risky, but it's hard to resist such beautiful pieces!

Buying only what I love

After surveying my closet and thinking about my shopping patterns, in 2013 I would like to purchase only things that make me excited to wear them.  I think a lot of times I buy things because I'm terrified that I won't have something to wear (which is the craziest fear ever).  But if it's cheap, I'm tempted to buy it, even when it's a hot mess.  It's silly to just buy "filler clothes" because when I buy something I really like, I wear it over and over again. Let's do a case study with these three pictures
Last year on my b-day

Celebrating our two year anniversary 
And a few years ago in an engagement photo
 And I actually wore the scarf yesterday to work too.  Seriously, I think I probably should be buried in that scarf. I bought it about four years ago for less than five dollars, but I like it because it's soft and I love that raspberry color. (I probably should branch out with my color palette) When we moved, I ditched a lot of clothes that I was pretty indifferent too, but I another purge needs to happen soon.  And then I'd like to buy my dream blazer from J.Crew.  I totally would to, except for the fact that final sale is scary to me and I have no idea if it would fit me correctly. Or even look right assuming it fit.  But I can still dream, right? It is in my favorite color after all.

On Cooking

With the advent of the  new year, I've decided that I'm going to focus more on cooking a few homemade meals when the husband will be home for dinner and exercising when he's working late. I have to admit that my new year's resolution is off to a slower start than I would like. Last night he had glazed salmon and mashed potatoes, but the rest of this week looks like I will have the opportunity to hit our apartment gym. 
For Christmas, I received Ina Garten's Foolproof and her At Home cookbooks (lucky me!).  As I was reading her At Home cookbook, I was struck by the idea that cooking is one way of making her home feel like home. I think this sentiment actually gets to the heart of my new year's resolution this year. Even though it's hard to do after a long day at work, it really does make our little apartment feel cozier and nurturing. As I've mentioned before, the husband is a pretty picky eater and I just went from being a vegetarian to start to eat fish, so finding recipes we both like is definitely going to be trial and error.  So far I've made Ina Garten's shrimp and fennel and risotto and shrimp.  I cheated and used a risotto mix, but the husband was a fan, so I think I've  found another easy weeknight meal (which is the point of this whole thing).  What are your go-to meals?

Weekend Recap/Recent Ikea Purchases

I went to Ikea during the holiday break, and the weekend allowed us time to get a few of those purchases integrated into the apartment. The husband hung up curtains that I had bought, and it's exciting that our apartment finally has curtains! It took us awhile because our window has blinds and the husband just doesn't really like curtains that much.  It's hard to tell, but I think it adds a little bit to the space.

I also like that they are super neutral.  Yay for Ikea!
I picked up a few 2 dollar frames and  hung up a few pictures in a little nook by our balcony door.

While at Ikea, I couldn't resist this little lantern.  I had thought about spray painting some lanterns this color at the end of last summer, but I am not going to bother if Ikea has already done the work for me.  I can't wait until it's warm enough to sit outside.
It was really nice to have the time at home.  The husband billed almost 60 hours last week despite the fact that it was a holiday, and it looks like his workload is going to stay pretty intense for awhile, so I am content whenever we have some time together. How was your weekend?

A Birthday Gift: Pride and Prejudice

Today is one of my good friend's birthdays!  She lives three hours away from me, so I sent her some chocolate covered strawberries.  I came to the realization this past year that it's really fun to get something on your actual birthday, so I'm going to try to be better about that this year.  I just have a few close friends, so this won't break the bank.

When I see her, I also plan on giving her Mr. Boddington's copy of Pride and Prejudice.  When we were in undergrad, she watched the whole mini-series, so I think she'll really appreciate owning this edition.  I also am giving her some lotion and soap from the spa in Colonial Williamsburg and some fancy looking chocolate bars.  Three of my friends have birthdays in January, so it's hard not to get burned out so closely after Christmas.  What's your favorite gift to give friends?

Christmas Recap

It's hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone already and it's time to take down the tree. I definitely enjoyed having the time to celebrate with our families.  On the Friday night before Christmas, we drove down to my parent's house, so we could celebrate with them.  We did a gift exchange, and it was good to be home and see my sister who was home from Florida. On the 23rd we went to the husband's family, and celebrated with them.  Since his parents are divorced, the time is a bit more fragmented, but it was nice to see them.  We also went to a Christmas Eve service, which always feels special.  The husband and I also took a little walk on Christmas Eve to see his town's Christmas tree.  Pretty, isn't it?
We came back home the night of Christmas due to the upcoming forecast and the husband went back to work, so I took two little more trips back home. I also was able to see two of my good friends from undergrad, which was fun. Unfortunately, we didn't really take any pictures, so I think that might have to be a new goal for 2013!  How was your holiday?