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Christmas Recap

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
We certainly had a blessed Christmas celebration!  I was a little late in getting in the Christmas spirit this year, but added a few holiday decorations before it was too late.

Andy's sister Kathy flew in from Colorado to surprise the family.  We were in on the little secret so we got her all to ourselves on Friday night.  We ate dinner in our neighborhood on Friday and on Christmas Eve, Kathy and I went to Georgetown for a little shopping before heading out to their parents for the big surprise.  Apparently Andy had it right all those years-- Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve!  Georgetown was festively decorated and not crazy busy.

I was so excited on Christmas morning when I unwrapped my present from Andy-- a new tripod. Before heading to celebrate Christmas with the family, I snapped a picture of the two of us.  Didn't quite have my timing right on the first one.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

A Bar Worthy of the Holidays

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
There are a few key requirements for getting ready for the holidays... festive decorations to get you in the spirit, present shopping to spread the love and a well stocked bar to get you through all the craziness.  Here's a bar that is completely worthy of holiday celebrations.

New Arcadia Arabesque Glasses // Antique Cordial from Antiquaria
William Yeoward Crystal Decanters: Diana and Helen

Catching Up

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I certainly have been saying this a lot-- where does the time go?!  I now understand why people decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  If you don't do it at that point, next thing you know it's December 17, you haven't done your Christmas shopping, your home looks no different than it did on a random Saturday in October because holiday cheer is lacking.  Now I didn't get into this predicament because I was just sitting around doing nothing.

I'm a chronological thinker and doer... I don't eat lunch until I've eaten breakfast and I certainly can't chat about how it's beginning to look (and smell!) a little like Christmas at our apartment until I catch up on the past few weeks...

Surprise!  Stacy's 30th was a few weeks ago and it was a surprise party!!  That seems to be the theme with our friends and their 30th birthdays.

Also making an appearance (it's 4th appearance), is the 30th birthday pinata.  We had a great dinner at the Sulgrave Club.  Stacy's parents surprised her not only with the party but also with their visit to DC!  Lots of fun and definitely kicked off the holiday season... check out that Christmas tree!

Next up, Holiday Supper Club.  I wish we would have gotten a group picture!  Heidi was the most gracious hostess and made standing rib roast... yum!  What a long way she has come from always signing up to bring wine when Supper Club was first founded.

We always eat well at Supper Club but this meal came together and was perfectly cohesive!  Prosciutto wrapped and stuffed dates, Andy's Spicy Ginger cocktail mixed up and holiday styled, a perfectly placed pear and arugula salad and of course, the rib roast.

Since it was our holiday supper club, we brought in live music.

Not pictured.. a quick trip to Dallas to visit with family.  Not pictured because I packed so light and didn't have room for my camera.  It was a jammed packed weekend but I wish it could have been longer!

Mama S's Kitchen!

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Well now I know why A said her mom's kitchen was her dream kitchen!  Check out these pictures that A shared with me of Mama S's kitchen...

From A: There were two sets of original stain glass windows from when the house was built. One set they broke apart and made into cabinets and the other set they physically removed from one side of the house and put it on the other side where the table is located (they built that little nook which looks onto a small patio).

Love the stained glass window cabinets! Great combination of a new, modern kitchen but with historic charm.
You know I'm a sucker for banquette seating!!
How adorable is she?!  And I love the coffee nook.
Great overview.  Love the farmhouse sink.
Thanks A for sharing these!  And thanks to your sweet mom!

The Heart of the Home

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The other day my girlfriends and I were talking about kitchens (interesting bunch aren't we?), and Adriana mentioned how her mom had her dream kitchen.  When A's mom redid her home, the kitchen came first and everything else was based around it.  That philosophy makes total sense to me.  I know in our future home, the kitchen will be the heart.  Both Andy and I love to cook and entertain, and everyone always seems to congregate in the kitchen.  Thankfully, our current apartment has one big common room that serves as the living area, dining space and the kitchen.  It's great (but lacking in storage!).

It's a rarity that I find a picture of a space and say "I'll take it as is!".  I can be quite picky.  But I found it in the Carlton Street Kitchen by Tommy Smythe.  I'd happily build a home around this kitchen!

Carlton St. Kitchen by Tommy Smythe // Photo by Michael Graydon // Click the Picture to Enlarge
I'm well aware that I'm not going to walk into a house and my dream kitchen will be waiting for me (but a girl can dream, right?).  So I'm sure I'm going to have to be patient and wait for that day.  But in the meantime, maybe a little facelift could do the trick?  I've always loved this before and after of Anne Turner Carroll's kitchen.  While it's certainly more than just a "facelift", it has some wonderful ideas for working with what you've got!

Anne Turner Carroll's Kitchen Redo - via Urban Grace


This is by no means a new or innovative design tip, but this illustration brings it to life.

Picture from the HomeGoods Blog - Hang 'Em High by Cathy - May 4, 2008
When I was attempting to decorate my apartment in Dallas, I remember my mom telling me that I needed to hang the curtains as high up as I could.  I definitely questioned her and thought that was strange, but of course, she was right (not the first time...).  It makes such a big difference and makes the space feel grand and open, not choppy and dark.

A Simple Salad

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I am not a salad person.  Heck, I'm not a vegetable person.  Cheese, pizza and bacon top the list of my favorite foods, but sometimes a meal needs a leafy green salad.  Thanks to a trick that my friend Joanna taught me, I've found a salad that I make not because I feel like I have to, but because I actually enjoy it.

Salad Prepped - Waiting to be Dressed at the Pizza Party!

The simple trick that Joanna taught me-- you chiffonade the lettuce.  Yeah, yeah, I know you're thinking "how can the way you cut the lettuce, make it taste better?"  Well, I don't know how, but I know it definitely does!  With a sharp knife, cut the lettuce into strips as thin as you easily can-- try it!

Simple Salad

Romaine Lettuce, chiffonade cut and washed
Red Onions, thinly sliced
Parmesan Cheese, shaved into big slices with a vegetable peeler

This is just what I used, but obviously toss in whatever you love.  Just make sure you chiffonade the lettuce!

Simple Vinaigrette

2 parts olive oil
1 part red wine vinegar + more if you like your dressing tangy
1 dollop dijon mustard (I love Maille which is interesting because I don't like mustard)
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk everything together and toss with the lettuce right before serving.

Rebekka Seale

Monday, December 5, 2011
If you read Young House Love (and really, who doesn't?), then you saw their Rebekka Seale giveaway.  I usually skim right over these posts.  Don't get me wrong, they have great giveaways but my luck in giveaways is slim to nothing.  I still remember (and I guess am still bitter about) the giveaways during our high school graduation all night after party.  There were prizes all night and basically everyone won something.  People were getting great things-- like discmans which were still cool back then-- and I got one of these...

Image from Here
A fake fish tank.  Awesome.  But I digress...

So I usually skim right over YHL's giveaways, but today's caught my eye.  Rebekka's illustrations are sweet and charming and had me at first glance.  I skipped entering the giveaway and instead clicked right on over to her Etsy shop.  When I saw her ranunculus illustration, I had to have it.  I love ranunculus and my wedding bouquet had golden ranunculus in it.  A few clicks later, and this beauty is mine!

Golden Ranunculus by Rebekka Seale
It will be perfect in our gallery wall that I hung, oh probably, 4 months ago but still has 5 empty frames.  This is progress.

Thanksgiving 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I have so much to be thankful for that I don't even know where to begin!  Guess that's a good problem to have, eh?

Andy and I packed up and headed to Mississippi for an extended Thanksgiving holiday.  We started the week in Jackson visiting with dear friends Sara Jane and Jeff.  Jeff was kind enough to host Andy all day as I arrived later Tuesday evening.  It was a tough job-- watching TV while the rain passed through then playing 18 holes of golf.  Sara Jane was hard at work and her sweet mom was hard at work at the house cooking a delicious dinner for us!  SJ-- I've got to get that rice recipe!

We headed to the Farm on Wednesday and dined at Petty's in Starkville on our way.  Dad placed the orders for everyone.  I'm a purist when it comes to my BBQ, so when he ordered the Grilled Cheese BBQ Sandwich, I was a bit hesitant!  I love a grilled cheese and I love a good BBQ pulled pork sandwich, but together?

I stand corrected.  It. Was. Amazing.  And we're not the only ones who think that; the folks at Garden and Gun agree.

Andy was assigned the task of frying the turkey-- not an inconsequential duty!  Not only had he never fried a turkey (or cooked one for that matter), he had never deep fried anything!

It was a group effort, but Andy's fried turkey was a complete success!

On Friday, we had the extended family out for left overs and cocktails which was quite festive and enjoyable.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key and relaxing.  The boys (Jeff and Sara Jane's dad Clinton came up for the Egg Bowl) played golf and watched football.  There was lots of time spent outside as the weather was perfect for sitting in the Adirondacks and enjoying a fire.

I absolutely love holidays at the Farm (well, any time at the Farm but the holidays especially!).  We spent Christmas here every year growing up and this is where Andy and I got married.  It will always be so special to me.

Anyone still there?!  Ha!  Thanks for bearing with me.  This blog has morphed into more of a personal diary of sorts, but I'm enjoying that... hope you are too! 

As if there weren't enough pictures in this post, more here.

The Celebration Continues...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
It's amazing that Andy and I have been together for 5+ years, yet I had not been to see his beloved Redskins play!  Honestly, by the way he described the games, I can't say I was chomping at the bit to go but that all changed when the right invitation came along!  Sweet friend Adriana had tickets to a suite with a rock star parking pass and asked if Andy and I wanted to join her and her boyfriend... uh, yeah!!

This is my kind of sports-- front row parking, private entrance, greeted at the door with a brownie and unlimited hot dogs!

And to top off a wonderful day, Stacy had us over for homemade deep dish pizza-- ooey, gooey, cheesy, goodness.  I had such a fun and wonderful weekend-- perfect weekend to end my 20s!