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Quick Christmas (and New Years) Recap

5 Jan

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday! I really took the time to immerse myself in the spirit of the season which felt fantastic because it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all. As I had mentioned, I had last week off and unfortunately I spent a couple of days sick on the couch with an awful cold. It was nice to have a reason to relax and we still fit in so much great food and fun with friends and family. I figured it would just be best to let the pictures do the talking.

We kicked things off on the 22nd with “lasagna night” at our house where the lovely (and talented) Natasha taught me how to make her amazing lasagna. Lots of laughs (and wine) were had that evening 😉

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Christmas Eve morning began with a new tradition of preparing eggs benedict for brunch followed by the not so new tradition of making deviled eggs to enjoy later that evening at Grandma’s house.

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Please excuse that all of my photos are from Snapchat. My phone storage is full and it’s the only way I can save a picture 🙂

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As many of you may know, Christmas Eve is probably my favorite day of the year as it is filled with so many traditions and we get to see lots of family and friends!

Christmas Day we opened presents at allll the places and enjoyed a delicious roast at Grandma’s. Dan received reindeer footie pjs from me for Christmas and he wore them for most of the day. We had Chinese food at my sister in law’s house with Dan’s family (another tradition) and ended the night with many drinks with Dan’s half sister and half brother. It was a packed agenda but I enjoy it so much every year.

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Our niece Aubrey

The rest of the week consisted of Dan, my Dad and some of our friends installing a new back door and screen door for us which I absolutely love. We also spent Thursday and Friday in Newport which I will recap in another post. Friday evening was spent at Dan’s aunt and uncle’s home for Hanukkah which was a lot of fun.

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New Years Eve was spent at Dave and Melissa’s house and there was lots of silliness and drinks (goes without saying).

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We ended our vacation on Monday evening with this veggie and chicken detox soup. I have been basically inhaling the veggies the past couple of days as my body is craving them after eating a lot of heavy foods and lots of wine during my vacation.

detox-soup

I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your week and I will be back very soon with some more good stuff, including a recap of our little getaway in Newport.

 

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Christmas Home Decor Tour

22 Dec

Happy Thursday! I can’t believe that Christmas is only 3 short days away. I’m soaking up every single second of Christmas cheer that I possibly can (Dan can attest to that) which is why I have been a bit absent although we have also been insanely busy as well. Today I’m sharing what is probably my favorite post of the year, our Christmas home decor tour. It’s even more special than usual since it is our first Christmas in our new home.

I used a lot of decor that we already had but I have definitely mixed in some new pieces because we have a lot more space to work with. We also have two trees, a real one in our upstairs living room and an artificial one in our basement. This way we can embrace the Christmas spirit regardless of where we are hanging out. I’m sharing a picture of two outdoor decor items, our HUGE Santa and our beautiful wreath that our friend Kylia made but we also have multi-color lights all around the roof line of the house, but they are acting up some nights so I haven’t been able to get a great picture.

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Santa says hi!

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I got that garland at Christmas Tree Shop for only $7.99! It’s one of my favorite pieces of decor.

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I took a lot of pictures of our tree, during different times of the day/night. This is the real tree that we got at Glastonbury Fire Department’s Company 4 Firehouse.

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Bella loves this blanket that I picked up this year from TJ Maxx.

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I’m obsessed with the above Santa lamp that I got at Christmas Tree Shop! It reminds me of some of the classic pieces that my Grandma has.

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As you can see, I took these a while ago but have been SO busy!

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I built the above kitchen table centerpiece all with items I found at Michael’s. It was so much fun to come up with a vision and put it together!

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I mean, how could I not get this?

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I thought I would end it with a shot of our artificial tree downstairs. Although I am impartial to a real tree, I adore the way that this one lights up our sometimes dark basement.

I intend to be back tomorrow with another post with some last minute festive things. In the event that doesn’t happen, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Dan and I both have next week off so I hope to have some time for writing.

Holiday Stroll in West Hartford

6 Dec

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing a sentence by picture recap of a fabulous blogger event that I attended this past Thursday evening in West Hartford. This was hosted for us as part a way to participate in the Holiday Stroll that West Hartford hosts each year on the first Thursday in December. I had no idea that this event happens every year and it was right up my Christmas-obsessed alley. I brought my friend Hanna as my guest and it happened to be her birthday that day too!

We began the evening at Max Burger where we enjoyed some delicious appetizers and drinks. My personal favorite were definitely the candied bacon “lollipops” and I will let that photo speak for itself. Max Burger was great and I will definitely be picking up some gift cards (as should you!) as Christmas gifts this year as I would love to share the deliciousness with my family and friends!

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The next stop on our stroll was at another favorite of mine, Cook Shop Plus. This store definitely warms my newly cooking obsessed heart. I loved all of the holiday items they had in stock and we were also able to enjoy some incredible hot apple cider.

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The Conard High School Jazz Band was there playing Christmas carols too 

BK & Co is a women’s boutique that was next on our list and I wanted to try on everything in the store! They also provided some bites to eat and cocktails as well.

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Lux Bond & Green is a fantastic jewelry store that I could literally spend hours browsing around in. We had so much fun trying on the unique pieces that they had to offer which were absolutely stunning. Hanna was the perfect hand model for us! 🙂

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Look at all that bling!

We ended our stroll with a stop at Savoy Pizzeria which is a relatively new pizza restaurant in West Hartford. Savoy Pizzeria’s specialty is craft pizza and also craft beer. We were gifted a growler of one of the delicious beers that they had on tap that evening.

It was a delightful evening filled with so much holiday cheer and it really got all of us into the spirit. Thank you to Kat from A Little Bird Told Me for hosting another excellent event!

Disclaimer: I was invited to this blogger event by the marketing company and management that represents these establishments.  All opinions are entirely my own. 

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

30 Nov

Happy Wednesday! What a crazy week back at work it has been, but I can’t believe it’s already almost halfway done! I’m definitely reveling in my Christmas glory right now and soaking up every single second of holiday cheer. I figured I would do a brief “sentence per picture” type of recap to catch up on what we did this past weekend.

Wednesday night consisted of lots of wine and laughter with the ladies and gents.

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Our contribution to my Grandma’s Thanksgiving feast was this glorious baked pumpkin mac and cheese with roasted brussels sprouts.

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The turkey was perfection as usual.

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Naturally we ate alllll the food and loved every single bite.

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Christmas card photos were taken. (PS. my dress and boots are from Old Navy)

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Aunt Beth’s cheesecake looked absolutely incredible. Sad to say, I didn’t have any as my survival tactic for three Thanksgiving dinners was skipping dessert 😦

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We actually took the time out to make breakfast on Sunday morning! Well it was almost noon but brunch is just as good 😉

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I used up our turkey leftovers to make some turkey and corn chowder on Sunday night. Last night I also made my first attempt at turkey pot pie and according to the hubby, it was a hit!

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That’s all for today folks! I’m attending a fun blogger event tomorrow evening so I will be back in the near future to recap that. Have a great rest of your week!

Christmas Survey!

23 Dec

I can’t believe Christmas is only two sleeps away! I’m doing as many Christmassy (not a word – I know) things as possible and I’m feeling quite festive this week as well. There is a Christmas survey going around the blog world and once I saw Sarah do it today, I knew I had to participate as well!

Christmas at alex's house

Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I was strictly a hot chocolate girl, until this year when I purchased some vanilla egg nog on a whim and added some homemade kahlua that we received as a Hanukkah gift and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, hot chocolate is still my jam.

Christmas hot cocoa

Multi-color tree lights or white?

Multi-color! I know my girl Natasha will disagree with me on this one, but I think that multi-colored lights are the prettiest and that is what I’ve always grown up with so I’m sticking to it 🙂

Christmas lights

Do you hang mistletoe?

No. I’ve always meant to, but I don’t remember actually ever seeing while I’m out and about shopping.

When do you decorate for Christmas?

I start immediately on Black Friday and it unfolds from there. We usually don’t get our tree until the following weekend but it seemed like everyone was in a hurry to get the holiday season underway this year so we just went with that and got ours right after Thanksgiving as well.

Christmas Decor 2015

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What is your favorite holiday dish?

I would definitely have to say it would be my Grandma’s homemade steak sandwiches that we have for dinner on Christmas Eve. They are amazing! And my Mom’s Bloody Mary’s on Christmas morning. I can’t really choose.

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Last year’s Bloody Mary! Can’t wait to enjoy one this year

Favorite holiday memory?

I don’t know if I can pick a specific holiday memory but I always find it fun to take our annual Christmas card picture at my Grandma’s house. It’s such an attempt at organized chaos, and Dan was able to be in the picture this year (benefits of getting hitched!).

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

Since we just got married and got a ton of wonderful wedding presents, I didn’t have a lot on my list this year. I did develop more of an interest in makeup this year so I’ve asked for some of that as well as gift cards. I also would really love a FitBit but we shall see what Santa brings!

Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?

I am a purist about this as Dan and I always wait until Christmas morning. We do open a few gifts that are given to us at my Godmother’s house but besides that, it’s always Christmas morning.

How do you decorate your tree?

We have multi-colored lights and an assortment of ornaments that I have picked up over the last few years and some really fun ones that my Mom has gotten us, such as a margarita and a cruise ship.

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Snow: love it or hate it?

I love love love it! I wish it wasn’t so warm this year (it’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees tomorrow!) and I’m hoping we get a lot of snow in January and February.

Real or fake tree?

Real. This is not a negotiable topic with me, just ask my father. 🙂

Favorite holiday tradition?

It would have to be a tie between our annual Christmas party and going to look at the amazing lights on Felt Road in South Windsor. Our party is always SO much fun and this year was no exception, mainly due to a certain someone’s grab bag gift which had everyone practically rolling on the floor in laughter. The lights on Felt Road are insane and I encourage everyone who is local to check them out!

Christmas party 2015

Felt Road lights

Favorite Christmas carol?

This is an impossible question to say the least. My Spotify Christmas playlist that I made has 70 songs on it so I’m not sure I can choose one. I am a huge fan of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” specifically Carrie Underwood’s rendition.

Favorite Christmas movie?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I’m totally obsessed.

Christmas morning tradition?

Dan and I usually set an alarm to get an early start on our busy day. We open presents here and then head to my parent’s house to open gifts there and enjoy our bloody mary’s. We then head to my Grandma’s house for lunch and then to Dan’s parents house after that.

Do you write Christmas cards?

YES! This year was fun because we used one of our wedding photos and I also included a picture of Billi and Bella.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed filling it out. It was probably one of my favorite posts to write because I just love Christmas that much. If I don’t get a chance to check in tomorrow, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

 

Five Things Friday: Feeling Festive

11 Dec

Happy Friday! Happy two weeks until Christmas! Happy all the things! As you can see, I am in a great mood and super excited about the upcoming holiday. More holiday plans are on the agenda for this weekend, including what should be a fabulous blogger event in West Hartford and celebrating Hanukkah with Dan’s family in Rhode Island on Sunday. I’m feeling quite random today (possibly due to too much coffee) so I will share a few bits and pieces with you guys today.

I attended a wonderful event this past Wednesday evening with Natasha in Wallingford at The Confetti Bar. It was a holiday candle-making event put on by Northeast Nutmeg. It was BYOB and snacks and such a fun time, especially since I was able to make one of my favorite things, a Christmas candle! Thank you so much to Vinny and Erin for hosting such a great event!

the confetti bar

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natasha and I

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candle done

Our meals have been all over the place this week due to many holiday plans and just simply not wanting to cook most nights. We did enjoy some beef stew which I made in our crock pot on Sunday for a few nights. Also, after the event on Wednesday, Natasha and I shared a couple of apps at The Library Wine Bar & Bistro. The restaurant is owned by Gouveia Vineyard and was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever dined in and I can’t wait to go back!

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I have been listening to Christmas music non-stop, at work, in the car, and at home. I am especially loving anything by Straight No Chaser, particularly their rendition of the ’12 Days of Christmas’.

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Hanukkah in Rhode Island this Sunday should be an absolute blast. I love hanging with Dan’s family, drinking way too much wine, and enjoying yummy homemade food.

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There have been so many fun and festive things going on at work this week. We had a catered lunch on Tuesday which was delicious and on Wednesday, all of the managers made cookies and desserts and provided us with hot cocoa as well. Today we have a pot luck to celebrate the end of a contest that has been going on for the past month. I definitely find that the days go by much faster when we have fun things going on!

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That’s all for today! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with so much laughter and love!

Five Things Friday: The Week in Review

4 Dec

Happy Friday, once again! I found that some parts of this week went by super slow, while other days were over before I knew it. I’m trying to enjoy every single moment of this holiday season as it is my favorite time of year, and I think everyone can agree it always goes by way too fast. I figured I would use my five things today to provide a little recap of my week.

Monday:

Due to a lot of cleaning, meal-prepping, and just prepping for the week in general, I started off the week feeling very on top of everything and totally ready. I came home from work, completed a new-to-me video, Jillian Michael’s Killer Arms and Back, and had a delicious dinner with the hubby. On a side note, I will say that I absolutely loved this new video from Jillian and I highly recommend it, not just to work out the arms and back because it definitely provided a full body work out (aka I was sore as heck the next day). Our dinner consisted of a power bowl including apple chicken sausage, brussels, and brown rice, all drizzled with some Frank’s sweet chili sauce. SO good!

Power bowl

Tuesday:

Still feeling quite on top of things for the week, I came home from work and completed Jillian’s Killer Abs video which I also love (weird, I know). Dan had a fire department meeting so he prepared these delicious eggplant pizzas from Kalyn’s Kitchen. It was our first time cooking with eggplant and we definitely enjoyed it! I have already pinned a bunch more eggplant related recipes. I also enjoyed a green smoothie made with spinach, frozen peaches, raspberries, and blackberries which was delicious. I spent the rest of the evening in front of our Christmas tree watching Real Housewives and catching up on some blog reading.

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green smoothie

Wednesday:

Randomly on Wednesday morning, I decided it was time to beef up my Spotify Christmas playlist that I had made last year. I added about forty more songs that I love and spent the entire day at work listening. Can you say Christmas obsessed? I think so. For dinner we had a good ol’ standby of chicken & avocado quesadillas made with our favorite quesadilla maker (thanks Mom and Dad!) after I completed level two of Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. I will say that I was not feeling so hot as I had a major headache but I somehow powered through that workout and felt better because of it.

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Thursday:

I had all intentions of coming home from work, having a salad from Subway and getting some things done around the apartment. I did have that salad from Subway and it was so delicious! However, earlier that afternoon I had received a text from Natasha to attend Wethersfield’s tree lighting/holiday kickoff so I ended up meeting up with her, Alex, Alexandra and her sisters and did a little shopping and walking around there. We ended the evening with dinner for them/a bowl of chili and glass of wine for me at Birch Hill Tavern. I’m so glad I ended up going out!

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birch hill chili

Friday: 

I’m working from home today and I woke up early to tackle a chilly two mile walk around town, ending with a skinny peppermint mocha from Starbucks. After work, I am hoping to grab some grinders from Nardelli’s for dinner and relax in front of the tree with a Christmas movie before we head out with our friends.

morning walk

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend doing all kinds of festive things!