A Clean Slate

1 Jan

It’s January 1st which signals the end of the holiday season for me & the start of putting the decorations away. This holiday season was alright for me. Not the best.Nothing can hold a candle to Christmas in the northeast. Period. Sure,it’s easier for me to get into the holiday spirit with a little one, but he was oblivious this year. He preferred to play with his old toys instead of playing with the wrapping paper & boxes which held his gifts.

Like my son, I started feeling nonchalant about the holidays as the new year approached. I wanted the hustle to die down. I was tired of all the commercials on tv, of all the traffic to the malls. Yes, I was even tired of all the sweets that go along with the holidays. My pants were starting to get tight, which is a sign to stop eating. I loved being able to spend Christmas with my family, but by December 31st, I was done.

Christmas "clutter"

Christmas “clutter”

I was proud of how I decorated the dining room table, but found it to be just clutter once Christmas came since it got in the way at meal times since we have family in town.

Today, I was eager to put all the decor away. What I was left with was a clean slate that was pleasant to see. The new year is my clean slate; it’s my chance to de-clutter my life. New Year’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because it gives us all another chance to start fresh. To learn from our mistakes and grow stronger. 2013 was a very difficult year for me but without a doubt, it made my skin a lot thicker.

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Later on today, I took a walk on the beach. Even after living here for 7 and a half years, it doesn’t get old. Looking out into the ocean gave me a calm and peaceful feeling like it always does. The ocean seems endless. Just like the ocean, I felt like my options on how to spend these 365 days were limitless. I held on to that feeling extra close today and I hope I can keep this warm feeling in mind through the year.

Welcome 2014. I am ready.

What I’m Loving Wednesday

18 Dec

Is it really the week before Christmas? Man, that was fast!

This week, I love that I am finally done writing all my Christmas cards. Sure having return address stickers help, but man, my wrist was super sore after writing 50 or so cards. It’s a good thing that I have so many people to write to, but man!

Speaking of cards, it always feels like Christmas each time I open the mailbox & get a card. I wish this would happen more often during the year. That’s why I like to send my friends random letters from time to time so they could get that Christmas feeling off season.

A couple of you asked about the salt dough handprints I made last year. There are many recipes all over Pinterest, but here’s one from Imagination Tree.

My Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel in Innsbruck. It’s a diaper bag but it looks like a handbag & ever so snazzy!

Speaking of handbags, I love my new Kate Spade. Such classy bags! Gotta be dainty with them though.

While we’re on the girly theme that I somehow made over here, I was invited to a Stella & Dot party over the weekend. I hadn’t seen the host in so long, it was great to catch up. I also ordered some cute pieces. I rarely get things for myself, so it’s nice to have a treat every now & then.

What are you loving this week?

Twisted Mixed Tape: Teenybopper Edition

16 Dec

Yup, you read that right. Tis the season for all things sugary sweet including music. I know some of you have love for boy & girl bands so sit back & enjoy my favorite teenybopper songs. Don’t worry, no one’s watching!

1) Ok first of all, I have to give it up to the boy band that lead to my love of pop music. That would be NKOTB. I was a youngin when they first came on the scene at a mere 8 years old. Joey McIntyre was my favorite & he’s aged pretty well too. With that being said, my favorite NKOTB song is Please Don’t Go Girl where Mr McIntyre sings lead.

2) Along came the Backstreet Boys 10 years after NKOTB took their final bows. I wasn’t as hardcore a fan, but I did like their songs with I Want it That Way being my favorite.

3) Of course I need to include pop princess Britney Spears… this was after she shed her good girl image with Toxic.

4) However, I always preferred Christina Aguilera to Britney. My favorite song and my anthem to this day is Fighter.

5) Finally, here’s NSync with someone you may know by the name of Justin Timberlake. I was more of a BSB fan than NSync but I totally dug their later albums like No Strings Attached & Celebrity. It was tough but my favorite song is It’s Gonna Be Me

I hope this mixed tape wasn’t too syrupy sweet for you. I like to listen to these songs when I’m in a carefree mood or need some cheering up. Join us at Twisted Mixed Tape & share some of your favorites.

 

Old School Blogging: Holiday Edition

16 Dec

First things first: 1 Holy Night or 8 Crazy Ones? (Do you Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both?)

Christmas! I will admit after moving from NY *cough* 17 years ago to states w/ warmer climates, it feels less like the Holidays.

Peppermint or Chocolate?

Peppermint. I like how it makes my mouth cold.

Sing us into the Holiday Season, what is your favorite Carol this time of year?

If I sing, you will stop reading so I give you my Twisted Mixed Tape all about Christmas Carols.

Tell us about a Favorite Family or Personal Holiday Tradition?

Again, have a looksie at my Finish The Sentence Friday all about Fried Rice and Fortune Cookies 

C’mon you know you remember your favorite  (Christmas, Hanukkah) gift, tell us all about it:

 Hands down, my first CD player. I still remember how excited I was when I opened up the CD compartment for the first time. 

That magical moment? (Your favorite scene in a Holiday movie…it’s okay if you have 2)

Ummmm? Pass!

Kissing under the mistletoe? Who do you hope is standing underneath (We know it’s normally your spouse but if it didn’t have to be, who would you choose?)

How old are we again? ;)

 Swans- a- swimming, lords- a- leaping, golden rings; which gift of the 12 days of Christmas would you like most?

5 golden rings because a house full of animals isn’t my thing

Play Secret Santa, what inappropriate gift would you love to give this year?

 A fruitcake! 

Martha Stewart or the Grinch? What is your decorating style? (Pictures would be awesome!) 

 Hehe, not quite Martha but we try!

What is ONE WORD that defines the holiday season for you? (Examples: Believe/Wonder/Bah Humbug?)

Believe

If Santa could assure its delivery, what’s the first thing on your CHRISTMAS LIST? 

That we could spend Christmas with both of our families.

Join us at Old School Blogging

Ten Things of Thankful

15 Dec

Wow, it’s been a really busy week. Two cookie parties, a trip to a new bakery,Stella & Dot party and some skating in the mix as well.

It was a fun week but to be honest, I am so worn out & I feel like an old lady. I need a vacation from my week for sure! Before I get all cranky, I’d like to reflect on what I’m thankful for this week.

1) As cranky as I sound, I AM thankful I was busy this week. Yes I’m not a spring chicken anymore & need extra time to recoup, but at the same time, I get bored super easily. So with a week like this past one, there was no time for that at all.

2) One of the most things I’m thankful for this week is getting my grandma’s ring back. We were burglarized 3 years ago & I never thought I’d see this ring again. I am so glad to have it back & I’m guarding it with my life. It gives me just a bit of closure.

3) I got to catch up with two friends whom I rarely see this week. I’m still used to the life I had in college which included friends living just up the street. It’s something I miss. So I enjoy seeing my friends when I can since our visits are fewer these days.

4) I’m thankful my car didn’t break down during both of my long trips over to see my friends. I’m also thankful I made it to their houses & back to mine safely.

5) My son has been sick this week. The worst he’s been since he was born. I’m thankful that the pediatrician is only a phone call away & I’m thankful my husband is helping me take care of our sick little one.

6) Since my son has been sick, he’s been a lot more snuggly. I’m taking full advantage of this since he likes to run and play when he’s feeling well.

7) I’m thankful for my skating family and my coaches who encourage me, especially with a sport in which you spend years learning & refining basic elements.

8) I am so glad I finished my needlepoint this year. I started it in August when I thought I gave myself enough time to finish it before Christmas. Then I started doubting myself, but I in fact finished 10 days before. Whew!

9) I’m glad I joined MOMS club. I’m still fairly new but it looks to be a good group.

10) As cheesy as it sounds, I’m thankful you’re reading this. There’s been several times this year when I was thinking of quitting my blog. It hasn’t been as easy  has been difficult to keep up, more so than my food blog. But your comments are encouraging.

What are you thankful for this week?

Ten Things of Thankful

Fried rice & fortune cookies

12 Dec

One of my Christmas traditions is going out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve. No, we never planned on it becoming a tradition. It started when we were hungry after Christmas Eve mass and a Chinese food place around the corner from church was the only restaurant open. Before we knew it, we were going to the restaurant every Christmas Eve, so it became our random tradition.

I’ve never been a huge Chinese food fan, but thanks to this obscure tradition, I always crave some fried rice and fortune cookies every December 24th. I know it’s a chain, and I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at the computer screen for saying this, but we tend to go to Panda Express for our “traditional” Christmas Eve dinner.

Christmas dinner 2012 Braciole & Verdure al Forno (roast & vegetables)

Christmas dinner 2012 Braciole & Verdure al Forno (roast & vegetables)

Speaking of traditions, I’ve never had a traditional Christmas dinner. I don’t even know what that is. My husband said they pretty much had Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas. For me, that’d get old really fast. One day of turkey is enough. Since I never had a traditional Christmas dinner growing up, I plan something different every year. One year it was crabs, the next it was what I referred to as “all around the world in one dinner” where I made dishes from Italy, Japan, and the Philippines. Last year, I made a roast. Not sure what I’ll make this year. I love cooking because it’s an easy way to taste food from around the world without leaving your kitchen.

Last year, I made a Christmas ornament out of my son’s hand print. I’d like to continue that every year to see how he has grown. My husband was given Christmas ornaments every year from his grandparents, so maybe we could do something like that for Andrew. At any rate, I look forward to making new memories and traditions as Andrew grows! What are some of your Christmas traditions? Join us at Finish the Sentence Friday.

 

Finish the Sentence Friday

What I’m Loving Wednesday

11 Dec

This week is just whizzing by! I don’t know about you, but it’s my busiest week this month by far. Not that I’m complaining since I get bored so easily. I have a few parties this week, including two cookie exchanges. I’ll be doing extra laps at the rink for all this junk food, but it’s all worth it.

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Kicking off this week’s loves is my visit to 85 degrees, a Taiwanese bakery in Gardena. I visited their Orange County location back in 2011. It was super packed & I clearly remember signs on the door that declared no photography was allowed. We also had to wait outside. This location was busy, but not as crazy as its sister branch thankfully. I picked up some sweet treats including a tasty chocolate croissant, a massive half moon cake, and some salted ice coffee. All delicious!

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My week of sweets continued today with the first of two cookie exchanges I was invited to this week. After today, I’ll be wearing my sweatpants! I love these cookie exchanges because it’s a great way to try new cookies, and to hang out with other mamas too!

I love having my gym membership, which I definitely need to abuse this week, along with the aforementioned extra laps at the skating rink!

I’m loving my morning dance parties to Christmas songs with my little man. I love how he bounces & claps his hands to the beat. One day I will get it on film. Up until this point, he just pauses when he sees the camera. I hope he’s not embarrassed about his dancing because it’s cute.

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Speaking of Christmas, with our tree & decor up, it’s finally feeling like the holiday. I am very proud of this stocking I made last year. I finished on Dec 26, whoops! But at least it’s ready to go this year. I’m working on another stocking now. Been at it since August & it’s not done. It’s a lot more intricate too but I didn’t think it would take this long. Hope I can finish on time. It’s all good though. I love listening to Christmas carols while I sew. Like I said last year, Christmas is more fun with a little one.

What are you loving this week?