Christmas in Suburbia

Rifle Paper Co Keds 6

Hi, how’s it going? Are you surviving the wintry weather we’re having?

People back home in California always comment that I must be used to the cold after living on the East Coast for many years. Sure, I’ve made it through several winters in Connecticut and NYC, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoy having snowflakes pelting me in the face or losing all sensation in my limbs. Looking at these photos reminds me that I was warm, once upon a time (I know, I know, I’m being overdramatic).

Rifle Paper Co Keds 10 Rifle Paper Co Keds 19

In all seriousness though, it was wonderful to get the chance to go home for nearly two weeks during the holidays. I was long overdue for a catch-up with friends that live in CA. I hadn’t been home since July 2016!

Ahhh, suburbia. I did miss you, a bit. I was just thinking that it’s wonderful that my siblings and I can still come home for Christmas. We haven’t yet reached that stage where people can’t make it home for Christmas for various reasons. I’m sure I will feel quite weird about if/when we do get to that point in the future.

Rifle Paper Co Keds 18 Rifle Paper Co Keds 2

I tend to keep things fairly casual when I go home, because that’s the style in my hometown. Also, I spend a lot of time in the house when I go home (i.e. loungewear all dayyyy).

Boy, do I love these Rifle Paper Co. sneakers. They are both casual and dressy, with their gorgeous, metallic gold pattern. My friends know that I am obsessed with Rifle Paper Co. and want pretty much every product they make. I’ve had my eye on their sneaker collaboration with Keds for a while. I missed out on the first collection because it sold out so fast. Turns out that their second collection was even better and I’m very happy to have this pair in my wardrobe now.

Thankfully that was a shopping story with a happy ending. Do you guys have any shopping tales like that as well? Where a product you like sells out, but you’re still able to snag it, or a better version, later?

Rifle Paper Co Keds 9

And finally, I’ll leave you with one final picture of me being my true goofball/corny self!

Rifle Paper Co Keds 21

Outfit Details: Abercrombie & Fitch sweater, J. Crew Factory skirt, Rifle Paper Co Keds sneakers c/o Wikibuy, LOFT necklace | photos- my sister

London, Here I Come!

london, london tourist, christmas in london, trip to london

I’m so very excited- a week from today, I’m jetting off to London to spend Christmas with my family! My family is flying over from California and we’ll be visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live there. It will be so great to see my relatives again and to meet my littlest cousins, who weren’t around yet when I last visited.

I’ve been to London twice before and the last time was in the summer of 2010. This will be my first time going as an adult though and I can’t wait to do some exploring. Just thinking about seeing London all dressed up the holidays brings a happy tear to my eye!

Since we’re going to visit family, I imagine a good chunk of time will be spent at their home, but there are a few places I’d like to visit if we have the time. I’m still putting together my list, but here are a few of the spots on my radar:

Sketch (afternoon tea): This place is pretty pricey, but also very pretty. Also, I’ve never done a proper sit-down tea before and I feel like it would be really fun.

Persephone (books): You know there will be at least one book store on any travel list I’m making! This company publishes really beautiful books and I’ve always been jealous of my bookish friends in the UK who have easy access to their store.

National History Museum: I’d love to go to a museum or two while I’m there and my cousins suggested that we go to one with an ice rink outside. Museum-hopping and ice skating sounds like the perfect winter day to me.

If you have any London recommendations, I’d love to read about them in the comments below. What do you have planned for the holidays?

(image via)

9 Things I Love About the Holidays

holiday ideas, holiday traditions, holiday favorites, holidays 2016, christmas 2016

All of my friends know that I’m an absolute nut when it comes to the holidays. I can’t help it- I just love Christmas so much. As we’re getting into the holiday spirit, I thought it would be fun to share a few things that I love about this season.

1. Decorations: Being in the city during the holiday season is the best because it’s so festive everywhere. The city gets all dressed up for the holidays and I freakin’ love it. Some moments, when I’m strolling through the streets and see all of the lights and decorations, it really feels like there’s holiday magic in the air.

2. Holiday music: Give me all of the Christmas albums. Of course I love the classic songs, but I love a good pop Christmas album as well. My absolute favorite song though is The Christmas Song (the Nat King Cole version), which I’m listening to right now as I type up this post.

3. Holiday cards: I’ve been sending holiday cards for several years now and it’s one of my favorite traditions. I remember that the first year I sent holiday cards on my own (my first Christmas after college), I felt so adult. I’m a big fan of snail mail in general and I think it’s lovely to send a note to my friends to let them know that I’m thinking of them and wishing them a happy holiday season.

4. Christmas trees: Christmas trees line the streets all over the city and it definitely adds to the festive feeling (see item #1). Plus they smell so amazing…

5. Traditions: I’m someone who likes to have a routine and stick to it, so our family traditions make me feel very comforted. When we were younger, we’d spend a day decorating the house together as a family. My dad and brothers would tackle the lights outside, while my mom, sister, and I would pull the decorations out of storage and deck the inside of the house. My favorite family tradition is this one though: each year, my mom, sister, and I (and sometimes my brothers help too) have a baking extravaganza and make an assortment of cookies. We then package some of them up to give to our neighbors and friends. We also keep a reserve of cookies at home so that we have homemade cookies to offer when people come over to visit.

6. Baked goods: This ties in nicely with my previous point. I just feel like there’s an abundance of free baked goods during the holiday season. As someone who has a major sweet tooth, I’m not mad about it at all. Each year when I’m home in CA, people bring over cookies, fudge, and other sweet treats, and I sample it all. There’s this one pound cake that our family friend makes for us each year and my mom actually has to hide it and ration it out to the kids because we would devour it all in one sitting if given the chance (it’s that good).

7. Holiday parties: Let’s be honest: I’m a total homebody. But, even I enjoy getting gussied up from time to time and going out to socialize! There are the work parties and the parties hosted by friends, and even when my introvert self wants to stay at home, I typically have a lot more fun than I think I will.

8. Quality family time: I love my family and I’m always telling them that I wish California was not quite so far away from New York. I usually only make it home 1-2 times a year, so I always appreciate the time I’m able to spend with family. This year I get an extra special treat: I’m going to see my immediate family, as well as some of my cousins, because we’re traveling to London for Christmas (more on that soon)!

9. Rest and relaxation: I love doing nothing. I know some people get anxious or restless when they’re stuck at home, but give me hours and hours of free time to read, blog, watch TV, etc., and I’m a happy camper. When I go home, there’s not that much to do in my hometown, so most of my time is spent hanging out with family and friends. When I was in school, I remember that it felt amazing to have a mental break, and now it’s the same way with work. It’s so nice (and necessary) to not think about work for a little while, and to just rest and relax.

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

images via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 – my image // 9 – pajama set, slippers (similar)

Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with Shutterfly, but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. I’ve used Shutterfly’s services multiple times in the past and I’ve always been happy with the products created!