Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Many of my beautiful blogging buddies (take that alliteration!) do weekly gratitude posts.  Let's be real about this, I may do weekly gratitude posts buuut there's also the chance it might not be right on schedule, so I'm just going to call mine gratitude.  I might also include a grievance every now and then, cuz sometimes you just need someone to vent to, and often times you all can relate.  So here goes...

  • That my neighbors don't seem to mind my Christmas lights and loud playing of Christmas music (and singing along) 24/7.
  • This time last year I was getting ready to leave one job and was waiting tables to keep myself busy.  While I had a lot of fun with my restaurant buddies and got to go to yoga a whole lot more, I am so grateful this year to have a job that I enjoy that is also so fulfilling. 
  • To have someone like Mac who will humor me by wearing Santa hats, puts my name into every Christmas song, and sends me daily texts that say things like "I love most everything about you xo."
  • For my family who fill my mailbox with Christmas cards.
  •  It's the holidays people, yes most of us are bustling getting gifts, buying groceries, traveling.  News flash, we're all waiting in lines and sitting in traffic.  Have a candy cane and a smile, and enjoy the season, it's Christmas after all!  

Photos taken on one of our light walks :)

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Jazz For Beginners-Christmas Edition

    It's been a while since I did a Jazz for Beginners post so I thought why not bring it back Christmas style. 

    I'm going to be honest, a large part of my musical knowledge comes from Christmas songs.  I grew up listening to jazz Christmas albums my parents would play by Kenny Burrell, Ramsey Lewis, Lou Rawls, the Swingle Singers, Herb Alpert, and of course Vince Guaraldi.  

    Sitting under our white Christmas tree (yes white) playing with our train set I thought it was just totally normal to hear "Jingle Bells" played by the Tijuana Brass...I realize now that may not have been played in my classmates houses.   But it did turn me on to jazz at an early age and when I was a little older I was able to appreciate some of the  popular jazz songs from artists who had played my favorite Christmas carols.    

    I love listening to these Christmas songs now.  They hold so much nostalgia for me.  Give them a listen and let me know what you think.  What did your family listen to, anyone else have favorite Christmas songs? 

    It doesn't get much better than Vince Guaraldi

    I used to listen to this falling asleep every Christmas Eve.


    This is actually a live performance they did for T.V. love it!

    Lou Rawls does this song amazingly, by far my favorite version.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Christmas Light Walk

    Every year my family gets together for a "Christmas Light Walk" there is a neighborhood near where my aunt lives that goes all out crazy with Christmas lights.  Blocks and blocks of lights, people playing Christmas music, kids selling hot chocolate as a school fundraiser (and churros this year, yummmmm).  It's so much fun

    So last night, too keep the fun going, Mac and I decided to get our our coats and walk my neighborhood in search of lights and we came across some really pretty lights, and houses.  I love bundling up and feeling the crisp air.  What a great start to the week of Christmas!

    P.S. I am craving those boots!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Garden Lights

    The Cambria Pines Lodge by my parents house has some beautifully laid out gardens (seriously they must host at least two weddings a day during the summers) and every year they decorate with brilliant lights at Christmas time.  Our family has made it a tradition to walk the gardens every year with warm (slightly alcoholic) beverages and then play a game of hide-and-go-seek, I never win.  

    This was the first year that Mac was able to come and I love some of the pictures we got.  Yay twinkle lights!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Brown Butter Cookie Happiness

    What's that you say?  Cookie exchange? Yaaaay!  

    They are always so much fun, but I never know what kind of cookie to make...the really pretty ones that taste so-so or the ones that don't look like much but taste like little drops of heaven?  To make things easy I left it up to Mac and without a doubt he said "brown butter cookies" his favorite discovered at the Brown Butter Cookie Co. in Cayucus, CA. 

    Now there was just the work of recreating them.  Luckily a few people have become fans of them over the last couple years and created similar recipes...and Mac and I have eaten a lot of them for reference. 
    You need a lot of butter

     (browned butter slightly cooled, adding in the flour mixture)

    (rotate cookies after the first five minutes for even baking)

    Cooled and ready to be eaten!


    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Classic Cocktail-Hot Buttered Rum

    Mac and I got our Christmas tree this weekend and I got it into my mind that I wanted hot buttered rum while we were decorating it.  I think Mac was a little skeptical of drinking a cocktail that consists of rum, butter, spices, brown sugar, and water but put all together they were so cozy.  Our friends Leslie and Brad ended up in the neighborhood and we all spent Saturday night listening to Christmas music, decorating the tree, and drinking hot buttered whiskey (Mac prefers it to rum).  Give it a try, so much better than it sounds!

    • 1/2 stick butter
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • boiling water
    • rum or whiskey
    • cinnamon sticks to garnish
    Cream first four ingredients together, add a 1 tsp or 1 1/2 tsp of the butter mixture to each mug, a shot or two of rum and top with hot water.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick for extra flavor.  I liked mine with 1 1/2 tsp of mix and less water, Mac liked his with less sweetness and more water and whiskey, play around and find your taste.  Enjoy!

    photo via we drank ours to fast to photograph

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Thanks For The Compliment?

    I love when someone gives you a compliment without meaning to.  This was Mac and I last night...

    Mac: Are you wearing false lashes?
    Me: No.  Why?
    Mac: Just wondering.

    I take this as an accidental compliment that my eyelashes looked long and full, cuz I'm sure that's what he meant to say ;) 

    Anyone else ever have these moments?

    P.S. I don't normally wear false lashes but Mac did witness me in front of the mirror for about 20 minutes last weekend attempting to get them on straight before our friends grand opening party, ugh!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Real Gifts For Guys

    Ok, let's be realistic here.  As cute as it is, I know Mac doesn't really want a photo book of all the pictures from our last vacation....the flask I got him with a favorite picture on it is now in the back of his closet and the custom made poster never got hung.  Slowly I'm learning about how to shop for him, practical, practical, practical. 

    The whiskey I got him for Valentines Day seemed to evaporate and the vans I got for his birthday have now almost been worn through. 

    I haven't gotten him the hammer bottle opener but I did get this credit card sized bottle opener for him last year and it fit perfectly in his wallet.  

    And if you have anyone who loves design or things mid century modern Case Study Houses is a must, you'll always find it on Mac's coffee table.  

    Vans, Hammer Bottle Opener, Case Study Houses

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Gift Idea

    Some of the men in my life are ridiculously hard to shop for so I've started to put together a few ideas.   They always seem to have the same things that they need but for some reason Costco tee shirts just don't seem to say "I love you, I'm so glad to have you in my life, Merry Christmas!"  

    So this is my first bit of inspiration "A house is not a home without beer" thought this would be great for a home office or might even find it's way into the man cave.  

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Happy Weekend!

    Well darlings, it's been a long week.  I absolutely adore my job but I sure wouldn't mind coming home to something like this tonight!  While there probably wont be surprise roses waiting for me, a quiet night with a glass of wine by the fire sounds therapeutic right now.

    Anyone have fun weekend plans?  Our friend Nick opened a just shop in Newport beach filled with great mid century furniture so Mac and I will be going to his grand opening tomorrow night, so proud of him! Have a delightful weekend!    

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    DIY Wreath

    I know not everyone has time for this but if you have family around or find yourself inside on a rainy day this is such a fun, inexpensive and easy project.  These photos are from last year when our family was all together after Thanksgiving.  We decided to go on a hike and collected bits of greens and berries as we hiked to turn into a Christmas wreath and it turned out beautifully. I suggest having some cocoa and gingersnaps on hand!

    (our finished product)

    Here is a quick how-to:
    • Green cuttings-many tree lots will give you their scraps, or take a hike and collect like we did.
    • Wreath frame-I would suggest getting a wicker frame from a craft store, I've used these before and they work really well.  We didn't have a craft store near by so we used a wire coat hanger and formed worked but can't handle too much weight. 
    • Assemble the cuttings and berries into small bouquets.  
    • Wrap floral wire around the frame to make an anchor, then place a bouquet on the frame and wrap the wire 1/3 of the way up the bouquet. 
    • Over lap the additional bouquets (hiding the new wiring under the foliage of the previous bouquet) and wire wrap onto the frame hiding the wiring as you go. 
    • Add any ribbon, bows, glitter and ta-da!  You have a wreath!
    Partially assembled, cocoa on hand 

    One of our many green bouquets and our finished wreath!

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Your Father's Christmas Party

    Isn't this picture wonderful!  Mac's sister Erin found this of Bill, their father, and Jean, Erin's mom.  Bill is dead center holding the cigarette and Jean is wearing the pink blouse. I would love to be a fly on the wall at this party, judging from the bar on the right they must have had a pretty good time.  Every now and then I come across pictures of my parents in the 1960's but it is so special to me to see these of Mac's family and imagine what fun they must have had.  

    Of course, now I'm wanting to plan a vintage themed Christmas party for next year maybe "Mad Men Office Christmas Party" so we can have some pictures like these of our own.     

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Ugly Apron Party

    My brother Sean sent me this picture yesterday and it got me aunt has a cookie exchange every year, why not make it an ugly apron party also.  I know, I know these aprons aren't that ugly but "tacky apron party" isn't as fun to say. I go picking with Mac every now and then and I always seem to come across these tacky (yet fabulous) vintage aprons.  How fun would it be, sharing, laughing, drinking champagne, and all with fun vintage Christmas cheer.  

    Here are a few fun ones I found on etsy: candy cane, nylon Christmas tree, Christmas tree with pom poms, poinsettia

    P.S. The cookie exchange idea is brilliant.  I've been to cookie parties before where everyone bakes theirs at the hosts house, no thanks.  Here you bring your cookies already baked and enough copies of the recipes and everyone gets to share and visit without making a giant mess.  

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Old Meets New

    I saw this and thought "for me?  please and thank you!"  It was instantly added to my Amazon wishlist (wink wink Mac).  Each room in my apartment is decorated with stacks of old books and this would blend so easily! A few years ago I got one of these great hallowed out books to use as a jewelry box, brilliant!  Love the idea behind these but wish the ipod dock could be slightly less expensive.   

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie

    I can't believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  I'm working through this afternoon which leaves almost no time to make the five pies my family has requested, yes, five pies!  Soooooo in anticipation I made some last weekend and froze them, I know, I know brilliant right.  Last weekends project was bourbon maple pecan pie.  I didn't use this exact recipe but Pinterest does provide some great inspiration.  I followed a basic pecan pie recipe, Karo Syrup bottle, and made these changes:
    • subbed 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown in stead of 1 cup white sugar
    • added two shots of whiskey 
    • subbed 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. maple flavor in stead of 1 tsp. vanilla

    Have a happy Wednesday and have fun prepping!

    photo via pinterest

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Happy Friday!

    Well friends what are you up to this lovely autumn weekend?  One of my friends is having an autumn party tonight, because we love all things pumpkin and any excuse to drink wine with good company.  Saturday and Sunday I'm hoping to get in some yoga, spend a good chuck of both days in front of the fire reading, and hopefully have a date night with Mac at the movies!  Beyond excited to have a quiet, relaxing autumn weekend.  Have a cozy Friday and weekend!

    P.S. How adorable is this picture of Paul Newman!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Excited for Eames

    My life has been so busy the last few days, I can not wait for the weekend and I have the feeling Mac and I may be watching this for a Saturday night date.  I admit that before I met Mac I was only slightly familiar with Eames and now a few years later I am nerding out excited to see this movie.  It is amazing to see the legacy that they created.  Anyone else gonna check it out?

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Forget Your Troubles, C'mon Get Happy!

    Just a little happiness to get your day going, this clip always makes me smile.  And I totally dream of having a vintage style photo shoot in this outfit one day, I'll take all the guys for the shoot too...I guess...if I have to ;)  Happy Friday dears!

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Because We Can

    Ever have those nights where you're just feeling fancy?  I embrace those!  Yes, last night was just a Tuesday, but did that stop me? Nope,  I enjoyed painting my nails, having a sip from a champagne coupe, wearing something pretty, and topping it all with a bit of chocolate.  Why...because I can.  I try to savor those moment of alone time and femininity.  Anyone else ever do this?

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Nine Lives By Paul Varjak

    It's a Paul Varjak kind of day.  Well, maybe a Breakfast at Tiffany's kind of day but I am craving Paul.  I want that cozy autumn feeling, curling up in front of a typewriter with a bourbon. I've always had a crush on Paul, which may have something to do with me ending up with Mac...he's got that vintage feel now we just need the New York flat. I don't just want to be in New York...I want to be in New York in the Breakfast at Tiffany's.  

    shoes, typewriter, tie

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Rainy Day Skinny Cupcakes

    What's better then sleeping in on a Sunday morning?  Sleeping in on a Sunday morning to find that it's raining!  I was so thrilled to have a cozy day in and it gave me a great excuse to spend the some time in the kitchen trying out this recipe I found on Fashion Meets Food.  It is rediculously simple and takes away more than half of your normal cupcake calories, cuz lord knows my hips don't need more of those.  

    You can find the recipe here and I'm sure, like me, you're going to think "you want me to put 7-Up in my cupcakes...not happening, but that's for the laugh."  But believe me they taste just like real cupcakes and the texture is fluffy and pure happiness.  The frosting doesn't taste exactly like the real thing but for almost no calories it's great. 

    I baked mine for about 19 minutes and they were great!

     I was shocked by how good they are!

     Mac was having fun with the cupcakes. 

    Sneaking a taste. 

    A cupcake from me to you.  I can't wait to try more combinations, next week I may try something with chocolate cake. 

    P.S. I got the cupcake wrappers at Target, aren't they fun!

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Happy Rainy Friday!

    It's raining in Southern California!!! Can you tell I'm excited?  I love, adore, and cherish rainy days (I know and I choose to live here).  Mac and I are the kind of people that get excited days in advance when rain is predicted.  So tonight will probably look something like this-leaving my wet galoshes at the door, drinking Irish coffees cuddled up under Mac's Hudson Bay Blanket watching Frasier by the fire.  Because yes, we are that cool that we spend our Friday nights watching Frasier.  I can't wait to relax, cuddle up, and listen to the rain!

    blanket, galoshes, frasier

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Sick Days

    Well I've been sick off and on since Sunday but I am convinced that my body knows when I have plans.  It's illness schedule is going something like this:

    Sunday-pumpkin carving with friends...sick
    Monday-Halloween plans with friends...sick
    Tuesday-no plans...feeling so much better
    Wednesday-housewarming party/one chance to see visiting fried...sick
    Thursday-work dinner...feeling so much better, so far

    I think my body is plotting against me.  This on and off pattern of sick when I have plans to see a visiting friend, and healthier when I have a free night is not very considerate. Anyone else ever have this on and off pattern?

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    60's Inspired Comfort

    I've been invited to a costume party and I came across this picture of Jane Fonda looking for 1960's makeup inspiration.  I love how sexy and cozy she looks at the same time!  Next time I'm at home with a book I may just have to draw on some winged eyeliner and pull out my favorite nude lipstick.  No reason why you can't feel sexy even in your lounge clothes.  

    sweater, lipstick, eyeliner

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Treat or Treat

    We had an interesting little trick or treater last night, well group I guess.  It was towards the end of the night and a group of about five kids and four adults came, we were thrilled to have more show up.  

    This cute little bat girl (about six or seven years old) comes up as I hold the bowl down for her and she says "a little or a lot," I say that she can take "a couple."  She then grabs a handful and the next four kids do the same.  The parents come up and grab candy as well, then the little bat girl comes back and grabs three more handfuls emptying our candy bowl except for one piece which her father then comes and takes.  Bat girl then turns to my brother and says "got more junior?" 

    Is it just me or is there a type of trick or treating etiquette?   Almost all the other kids we had that night took no more than one or two pieces.  We were so excited to pass out candy to the kids and the greediness of this group brought down our night a little.  The saddest thing of all was having to turn down a big group that came right after because bat girl and her friends had cleaned us out.  Anyone else ever have a similar problem? I guess next year we'll have to hand it to the kids ourselves. 

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Grim Grinning Ghosts

    Ok, so Christmas is everyone's favorite holiday but I have to say Halloween is right up there for me.  I love, love, love it.  The costumes, candy, chilled nights, that little bit of fear going out trick or treating on your own for the firs time...there's nothing like it!  I still get excited every year.  

    I had plans this year to dress up with my darling friend Blake and hit the town but sadly, I got sick yesterday.  I'm so sad that I don't get to go out there and enjoy one of my favorite holidays but I think Mac may come over tonight and watch scary movies with me so at least it still feels spooky!

    Have a great Hallowe'en and remember, the Great Pumpkin is watching. 

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Two Years With Mac

    Well, Mac and I met two years ago today.  We celebrate the day that we met not the "first date" because that's kind of a hard thing for us to determine.  The night we met was a type of blind date set up by my friend Abbey and since then Mac and I haven't stopped seeing each other, so we count that night as our first date.  

    The 2009 picture above is from that first night and the 2010 is from our first anniversary dinner.  We've had a lot come our way since that first night, a lot of changes...but I'm glad we're both still here two years later.  I know two years really isn't that long as far as relationships go but I'm glad he hasn't ditched me yet ;)

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    October Weekends-Oktoberfest

    The chicken dance!

    Has anyone ever been to an Oktoberfest?  This year was my first and it was quite an experience.  We got there early...then drove back to Huntington Beach because I forgot the tickets,thank you Mac for not murdering me, then arrived back in Torrance right on time.  

    The music was amazing, the beer lines weren't too long and it wasn't too crowded...yet.  About an hour later the place was packed and having snagged a big table early our group made a lot of new friends. I have to say though the crowd made the experience, everyone singing and doing the chicken dance.  It was so much fun!  

    Downside, opening a port-o-potty full of vomit.  Didn't need that.  But now I know, if ya gotta go...hold it, lesson learned. 

    This is what happens when Mac sticks a pretzel in my face and probably why I can't stop craving them now. 

    Mac and I acting like dorks and my cousin and his beautiful girl.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    October Weekends-Scottish Games

    Wow, I just realized what a slacker I've been about posting our wonderful weekend photos.  So here are a few from the Scottish Games, Oktoberfest to follow.  

    I don't know if I've mentioned it but my mom is Scottish (born near Glasgow) so every year we go to the Scottish games in Ventura.  It is such a fun day out.  We meet for breakfast in the morning, walk down to the grounds to see the games, listen to bag pipes, and of course I never turn down event that involves beer and fresh chips.  

    The caber toss, say what you will about men in skirts but there is nothing girlie about this. 

    My brothers and I.  True 75 degrees and palm trees isn't too authentic but I know some of my family in Scotland can't wait to come out and visit.

    Apple Pie With White Cheddar Crust

    Well, this weekend I finally took the time to make my apple pie...and it was so happy tasting!  I decided to spice it up a little bit by making a white cheddar crust similar to this recipe and it was divine.  At first as the crust was browning you could smell the cheesy buttery goodness then the cinnamon apple smell came in, let me tell you there was a happy little parting going on in that oven.  

    I soaked my apples in cinnamon and whiskey over night, which tasted great but made them a little softer then I wanted.  All in all, despite the mess I made making it, it was time well spent. Sorry there aren't any "during" pictures but my hands were way to floury to be near the camera.  

     Love the darker flecks that the cheese gave it.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Get Happy!

    Just a little pick me up to boost your day.  This photo just makes me smile.  If I had the wall space this would be hanging in my living room right now.  Have a great day and have fun!

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Mac and Shadow Cat

    I don't think I've told you about Mac's cat Shadow yet, but as you can see there is a close bond.  These are the pictures I received this evening at work with the caption "We keep it classy around here, even on casual Fridays..."  One of the perks of working at home I guess. 

    And this is what I came home to about a month ago when I told Mac we were holding interviews at work.  
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