Closing 2009

2009 was a great, fun-filled year for me, despite the economic climate. Here was my Resolution/Goal List for 2009...think I accomplished most of them! 1. Travel somewhere amazing! And it must be outside of North America (I'm not going to limit myself to Europe alone, but that would be my destination du jour) Went to Italy and Croatia with my family for 3 weeks in the summer - CHECK! 2. Run a half marathon - this is the year! (I was slated to do another triathlon in 2008, but I broke my pinky toe - of all the bones to break)... Ran in the Seattle Inaugural Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon, in just over 2 hours, CHECK! 3. Save money for my own place...While I have a fabulous apartment, I'd love to have my own place, that allows pets so I can get a little furry friend. My parents helped me buy my first home in October 2009, CHECK! 4. Treat myself to nice restaurants, good wine, and not-so-practical-but-have-to-have accessories (every once in a while...) Went out to eat as often as financially possible, found a few new delightful eateries, CHECK! 5. Make more of an effort to get groups of friends together more often. Lots of memories, evidenced by lots of photos taken, CHECK! What a great year! Now I have to make my "goal" list for 2010... images/wisheskisses

Off on Holiday

I'm off to Michigan for few days to celebrate Christmas festivities and hang out with my boyfriend's family. Taking a few day vacation from blog-land, be back for New Years! Cheers!

May Your Days Be Merry & Bright

Merry Christmas! I'm spending today relaxing with my family, watching 500 Days of Summer with my sisters, going to early mass, and indulging in Christmas Eve dinner with my family at my aunt's house. Happy Christmas Eve and have a very merry Christmas tomorrow!


Slice of Pie

Apple pie is a holiday - well...make that celebratory - staple in my family. I've often opted for a birthday pie in lieu of a birthday cake, as have my siblings and parents. The apple pie recipe we continually bake was my great-grandma's, that became my grandma's that became my mom's, and now I've had snippets of lessons of how to continue the tradition. We had that same apple pie on Thanksgiving, and will again on Christmas, it's just a family tradition I guess.

So, when I found this recipe for Apple Pie French Toast, imagine my excitement in learning a way to create my own twist on tradition. I can't wait to try this over my Winter Break.


Christmas in Venice

Love these pictures of Venice around Christmas time. Imagine Gondola rides in the snow, or wandering along the famous bridges with a Christmas tree in tow!


Stocking Stuffers: Jewelry

I'm loving this delicate little necklace. In jewelry I tend to go with the less is more approach, and something sweet and simple is often preferable in my book.


Cozy Cocoa

I'll have a cocoa with a side of gingerbread house, please.
Oh the magic of Christmas...

image/ designmom

Sweet Wrapping

I love creative wrapping, this year, wrap up your gifts with gumdrops!

Great Reads

As you've probably been able to tell if you've ever read my blog, I'm a pretty avid reader. It comes with a territory I guess, being an elementary school teacher and all. My life revolves around teaching kids how to learn to read, and then read to learn. I usually try and keep my blog friends in the loop about my current literary indulgences, since I gain a lot of my book recommendations from blogland. Megan asked me if I could put together a list of fave reads I've posted over the years in my sidebar section "Currently Reading."The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
One of my absolute all-time favorite books. I read this for the first time in high school for a school project, and have probably read it about 3 times since. It's a unique story, but I'm one for elaborate description, and this book truly paints the picture for you.The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
A beautifully woven story about cultures colliding, first generation Indian children growing up in America, and growing up "American," much to the chagrin of their traditionally rooted parents. I absolutely adore this author, she writes in through an honest, relateable, and poignant lens.Bel Canto by An Patchett
This was recommended to me by a friend, and while I wasn't interested in reading it at all after skimming the "blurb" on the back of the book, I read it anyway. The plot is totally unique and different than most stories I prefer, but really engaging, moving, and thought provoking. I enjoyed this book.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
This book is one of those that while it's pretty recent, it has an old soul. The story is sweet in a powerful, love conquers all kind of way. I devoured this in like 2 days...

Other notable faves
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

Still Alice
by Lisa Genova

Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell

Next time, I'll give you a run down of my fave Children's that could be a LONG post.
Now...tell me your faves- I'm always searching for new great reads!


Stocking Stuffers: Slippers

I got a pair of these from a student for Christmas. These down-filled booties are the lightest, fluffiest, comfiest slippers ever. I'm in love!



For your weekend viewing pleasure...I agree with my friend Anna that the ukelele is an highly underrated instrument (and on a side note - this kid is awesome at it remixing Jason Mraz's ballad, "I'm Yours"!)

Holiday Weekend Begun

This weekend, I'm stringing up Christmas lights. Yes, yes, a mere 8 days before the holiday, but better late than never right?

Also on the agenda - the boyfriend and I are hitting up an Ugly Sweater Party (still searching for the perfect ensemble)...then Saturday, brunch with old friends, a dual birthday party + dancing, and the Sunday afternoon, the 5th annual ornament exchange with my sorority gals...

And the best of 2:40 today, I'm on winter break! School's out til January. Recipe for a fab weekend if I do say so myself!



Stocking Stuffers: Novel Idea

Who doesn't love to read? Stocking stuffers for everyone, (including me...Um, Mom are you reading this?). Here's my fave pic of books from every category.For the Francophile: What French Women Know, by Debra Ollivier.
Can't wait to pick up this one! Ollivier is also the author of one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads, Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to her Inner French Girl. All the secrets told by an American woman who infiltrated Parisian life after 10+ years living abroad in Paris.

For the Kids: The Pencil, by Allen Ahlberg
This book is such a delight, clever, creative, and laughter provoking. The adventures of a pencil and all he draws until life gets a little too complicated and he eraser (and that's just the beginning).

For the Traveler: Rough Guides: World Party
This one I actually own, but I don't think enough people know about this gem of a book. If you've got the travel bug and like to party, this book details every fantastic festival 'round the world from Running with the Bulls to Mardi Gras to Hogmanay. Don't forget to pack it in your suitcase...

For the Listmaker: Listography: My Amazing Life in Lists
Move beyond your grocery list and list all the fave things in your life; foods, holidays, moments, etc...and the list goes on.



How could you not love J. Crew's crewcuts catalog. Man I wish I had they had stylish options like this around when I was a kid. I'd be rockin' my tartan, scarves, and bright colors all through elementary school!



It's official, my boyfriend and I just booked a romantic getaway for February 2010 - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! I'm already excited for white sandy beaches, azure blue water, amazing food, and of course...sunshine!! Let the countdown begin...


Dinner Last Night: Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach & Pine Nuts

I could eat pasta everyday of the week, but lately I've been trying to add more veggies to balance out my carb cravings. This recipe was incredibly easy, fresh, and delicious. Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts. I'll definitely make this one again!


The Verdict

So I did go ahead and sample that Caramel Brulee latte I blogged about a while back...and I'm pretty convinced Starbucks just remarked the former Toffee Nut latte under the guise of "Caramel Brulee." Seriously, immediately upon sampling I thought, "I've tried this before..."

Regardless, it's pretty good, I'd recommend going with 2 pumps of syrup to make it a little less sweet in case you're in the mood for a flavored cup of jo.

Frozen Falls

This weekend my boyfriend and I went to hike around Snoqualmie Falls, which has frozen in the unusually chilly Seattle weather. It was fascinating, aside from a steady stream of falls, most of the water has underneath and around the waterfall has frozen into frigid icicles. Snoqualmie Falls is a popular Seattle-area tourist attraction in the summer time, but turns out it's equally gorgeous in Winter!

Friday Night Lights

Happy Friday, enjoy the Christmas lights in your neck of the woods!

Dinner Last Night: French Onion Soup

My boyfriend and I are both getting over colds and decided it was the perfect night for soup. Together we made French Onion Soup using this recipe per my friend and sorority sister Carol's suggestion. It was delicious, and surprisingly easy. I'd totally make it again!


Stocking Stuffers: Feathered Out

Add a little glamor to your look - I love this feathered headband, super cute!



Hoping to be kissed? Then wear your own mistletoe in your hair and it's sure to happen.


Stocking Stuffers: For the Foodie

This looks AMAZING. If you like food (as I do) and you like travel - put your hands together for an extraordinary journey within a book - Food Journeys of a Lifetime 500. This massive volume is filled with culinary greats, my stomach is rumbling just thinking of the endless edible wonders you'll find around the world.

The only trouble might be a little too big for your stocking...


Christmas Cookies

It's the season for Christmas cookies. My absolute favorite holiday cookie is gingerbread; gingerbread men, trees, candy canes - you name it! I just picked up some new cookie cutters to whip up a batch of gingerbread myself, but I'm loving these from William Sonoma. Once I have a fancy kitchen with copper utensils, I'll invest in these.



I saw this trailer over at Marvelous Kiddo. While I've never been one for documentaries, I've enjoyed all of Leigh's recommendations, including this one. This documentary follows four babies born on opposite corners of the globe, rural Mongolia; Tokyo, Japan; San Francisco, California, and Namibia and follows them through their first year of life. Looks pretty interesting, I love learning about different cultures.


Holiday Traditions

When I was little, one of my family's Christmas traditions was to drive up to a wooded tree farm, rent an axe for the day, and stomp around in our wellies searching for the perfect tree, it was a group effort. Since we're all grown up now and scattered across the country, that tradition sadly hasn't survived, but I hope to revive it with my own children someday.

What are your holiday traditions? What is something you do every year to ring in the season?


Stocking Stuffers: The Office

Was it Colonel Mustard, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick?

Wrong...try Dwight, in the conference room, with the Bobble head doll. Meet The Office Clue! This is absolutely awesome! Clue was one of my favorite board games, and still is I guess if I owned a board. I'm adding this to MY Christmas list!

via designcrushblog

Happy Friday

It's been cold and crisp here in Seattle the past few days, temperatures have dropped to the mid-thirties but the silver lining is - there are brilliant blue skies! Despite the cold, I do appreciate the dry weather. Another busy weekend ahead of me, seeing the Nutcracker ballet with my bf and another couple, and some other fun holiday activities. Happy Friday!

Stocking Stuffers: Bejeweled

Way to jazz up your fridge - bejeweled magnets. You'll be oohing and ahhing at these shiny gems every time you stroll by the fridge.


Stocking Stuffers: Pop the Cork!

Ideal for a holiday party, these darling silver pooches hold the popped corks from a holiday shindig.


Matchbox City

Ideal for the architecture enthusiast...matchboxes with illustrations of different architectural styles, Renaissance, international, and Gothic. What will they think of next?


Stocking Stuffers: Light it Up

Tis the season, get out those Christmas lights and start stringing. Or, you can enjoy the sweeter alternative, pick up a box of Christmas light cookies at Flourpot Cookies instead. Either way you'll be glowing!


It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

One of my favorite times of the year, I'm so excited!


Dinner Last Night: Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans & Greens

This was an easy recipe to make once I had all the proper ingredients - Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans & Greens. Perfect for a laid back weeknight.


Stocking Stuffers: Give Me S'more

Loving these s'mores kits. What a delightful treat to wake up and open on Christmas morning. I'd definitely enjoy roasting marshmallows in the living room fireplace while opening presents beside the twinkling tree.

via youaremyfave

Parisian Love

As if I didn't love Paris enough already, I think I love it even more after watching this commercial - City of Light and love!