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!
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