9 Things I Love About the Holidays

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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!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

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I’ve been looking forward to this wedding for years. When my best friend got engaged in 2013, I was so excited for her and her fiancee. We’d been talking about the wedding for so long, it was almost hard to believe that the time was finally here. The last stop on my whirlwind vacation last month was San Diego, where I attended the best wedding I’ve ever been to.

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As the day approached, I could barely contain my excitement. I took the train from LA to San Diego (which featured a lovely stretch along the coast) a few days early so that I could spend time with her and help with any last-minute preparations. As she showed me all that she’d planned for the wedding, I could see how much love and care she’d put into every detail.

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Erica and Carlos were married in a gorgeous church in downtown San Diego, with soaring ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows. When they talked about why they loved each other and said their vows in Spanish, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

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After the ceremony, we had a bit of a break before the cocktail hour, so the bridesmaids and groomsmen headed to the venue to help set up a little bit. I loved the venue, which had a beautiful outdoor area with a koi pond, as well as indoor seating. Soon after, the guests started to arrive, and from then on it was one big party!

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My family has been friends with Erica’s family for years now, so my parents and sister were also invited to the wedding, and it was so fun to have them there. I was also able to spend time with some of her wonderful family and friends (who I met when Erica and I traveled to Spain together in 2009) who flew all the way to California for the wedding. To top it off, several of my oldest and best friends from high school were there, so it was wonderful to see them and have a mini reunion. Basically, the room was full of so many of my favorite people in the whole world. I felt really lucky to be there to celebrate the union of this beautiful couple.

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There was much dancing (Erica and Carlos actually met in a dance class- is that way too cute, or what?!), singing, and general merriment. After so much preparation and anticipation, the time disappeared in the blink of an eye. I had the best time and I wish I had a time turner so we could go back and do it all over again!

Fifth-Year Reunion Photo Diary

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A couple of weekends ago, I went to my fifth-year reunion and had a surprising amount of fun. It wasn’t that I thought I wouldn’t have a good time, it’s just that with the move and everything else going on, it kind of snuck up on me. In fact, I thought maybe I would skip it, but instead, I ended up registering about a week before the event.

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I started to get really excited on the train ride down to New Haven. I made the train trip with one of my really good friends who used to live in NYC, but now lives in San Francisco. It was so good to see her and catch up, and that’s really what the whole weekend was like. With the exception of a couple people, all of my good college friends went to reunion and it was so wonderful to have everyone in the same place again.

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We laughed, we reminisced, we danced, and we chatted. I’d been seriously lacking in friend time thanks to the move, so it was just pleasant to have a weekend away to relax and stop thinking about the apartment for a bit. Also, every time I step back onto campus, I’m reminded of how beautiful it is.

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I’m really glad I went to my college reunion. I’ve heard rumors that some people have started to plan my ten-year high school reunion next year, so that should be interesting!

 

Currently 04.

currently, death to stock photo

I really miss blogging. I thought that after my last post, I’d ease back into blogging regularly, but that was right around when I started apartment hunting. Looking for an apartment and then moving took over my life for about 6 weeks, but I finally feel like I’m coming out on the other side. I’m all moved into my new place and about 80% unpacked. There are just a few bits and bobs that I have to figure out how to store, and then I get to focus on the fun part- decorating!

I do plan to work on putting more content on the blog (starting with all the ideas I mentioned a couple posts ago). I may also tweak the design a bit, which usually helps me get inspired. Since it’s been a couple months, let’s catch up, shall we?

Listening to James Blake’s recent album on repeat, particularly “I Need a Forest Fire.”

Watching Game of Thrones. It’s kind of exciting that we’re all in the same boat now (meaning that even though I’ve read all of the books, the show has now moved beyond the plot in the books that have been published). Anything could happen!

Reading Dragonfly in Amber, which is the second book in the Outlander series. The second season is currently on air and I wanted to read the second book before I watch the TV series. Although, I couldn’t quite wait, so I’ve seen the first few episodes. I’m still trying to stay ahead in the book though, so I’ll catch up on more recent episodes once I read further in the book.

Eating a lot of junk food, to be honest. Between moving and then being out of town, I haven’t cooked a proper meal in weeks. I’m going to fix that though and make a trip to the grocery store sometime this week.

Anticipating my trip to California in July. I’m so excited to see family, friends, and be a part of my best friend’s wedding.

Wearing a pair of printed pants from H&M. They were under $15, are very stretchy and comfortable, and I love the pattern, so it’s a win, win, win!

Planning my family vacation this summer. We’ve booked the tickets to Seattle- now we have to figure out where to stay and what we’d like to do/see.

Admiring this bright and airy West Village studio. I’ve been spending a lot of hours on Pinterest to gather inspiration for my new place and I’m very inspired by what she’s done with her space.

What’s new with you? Did you have a good weekend? 

(image via Death to Stock Photo)