Every year I buy one new ornament for our hodgepodge Christmas tree. Well this year we moved across the country so I figured the glass bauble probably should have something to do with San Francisco, but I was having a hard time finding that perfect something something. And no, I definitely didn’t want a Giants ornament.
Then I happened to find this ornament online and it was very shiny and featured multiple big important landmarks and the Golden Gate Bridge. Score one for me! But then it arrived and it was absolutely enormous. Minus one for not reading the dimensions on the site. So yes, this Christmas ornament is the biggest thing on the tree by far (aside from the star). It looks ridiculous but at least I’ll obviously remember the back story behind that one without having to rack my brain from year to year.
In addition, here are the bonus 2011 ornaments that my mom mailed to us. Aren’t CK and I cute as snowmen?
Below you’ll find the fantastic Christmas Crackers that I impulse shopped and CAN’T WAIT TO PULL OPEN ON CHRISTMAS! Yes, all in caps definitely illustrates my level of excitement over these nutcracker themed tchotchkes. Pop!
Rue La La got me again. I simply couldn’t help myself. I haven’t had a set of bedding that made me feel like a fairy princess in years, and the Amanda Duvet from Blissliving is seriously pretty pretty princess purple and I love it. I can’t wait to re-do our bedroom in shades of purple! Thankfully CK is a very easygoing boyfriend. I could probably festoon the room in glitter and paper cranes and he’d just lay beside me happily snoring away. Besides, a lady’s bedroom should be her sanctuary and right now my bedroom looks like man central with a side of cats. Dear: CK, Watson, and Dexter – look out! There’s a new sheriff in town and she carries a mean wand.
We had a fire alarm go off at work this morning so I meandered over to Paper Source to kill some time with my co-worker Elisabeth until the building could sort itself out. I didn’t intend on buying anything but then I stumbled across these Gone with the Wind sticky notes and I “fiddle-dee-deed” myself right over to the register.
My favorite is, of course, the Rhett Butler notes that declare, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” My only wish is that one set sported my absolute favorite Scarlett quote: “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Which is pretty much how I’ve been dealing with my entire life since the move, but I digress…
I’m keeping it real this year and have decided that my motto for the gift giving (and receiving) season is “be practical.” That means if you’re expecting a present from me it will be something that you can actually use, wear, or should it come to it “re-gift” without shame. To that end I’ve made my own wish list a compilation of items that will serve me well throughout the entire year.
1. I tried to make homemade strawberry jam this summer for the first time and ended up with a very large batch of strawberry sauce. Unfortunately my jam never solidified but it’s great on ice cream. I blame operator error and the fact that I didn’t really have the right equipment to get the job done. This kit appears to be the key to my becoming a canning and preserving Queen.
2. The obligatory Apple product this year is the new Magic Mouse. I inadvertently picked out a really bad mouse when I started my new job and I really dislike it. So if Santa puts one of these under the tree for me my aching right hand will thank you and I’ll also be able to scroll from left to right again.
3. I love Julie Powell. She was my “I hate being an assistant and there’s hope for me yet” inspiration for many years. Now that I’m no longer working in an administrative capacity I thoroughly look forward to reading her latest memoir, Cleaving, about butchering, adultery, and quite probably lots of drinking.
4. Make cheese at home. Need I say more?
5. During the holidays I always curse the fact that I don’t own an extra bowl for my KitchenAid. When I’m in the midst of a baking marathon it is such a pain to constantly re-wash my one bowl. If I had another I could definitely be more efficient. This means more cookies for you!
6. I’m trying to branch out a bit and lately and I’ve been doing a little crafting. I’m not sure how long this interest will last, but frankly I’m sort of modified that I’m almost 30 years old and I can barely sew a straight line. If the zombie apocalypse happens tomorrow how will I sew clothing for my family in hiding? We’re all going to have to flee from high-rise to high-rise in tattered rags!
7. I adore Ellie. I also desperately need to start incorporating more light and healthy meals into our dinner repertoire. You know…dishes that aren’t slathered in butter and sour cream…
8. Ad Hoc at Home sounds like an incredible cookbook. Thomas Keller doing comfort food — how could you possible go wrong?!
On Labor Day I happened upon a curious tweet from Marie of Boston Bibliophile pertaining to her excitement over the fact that the New England Mobile Book Fair would be open normal hours. Any time I see the word “book” a little happy leap happens in my heart, but I honestly had no idea what she was referring to. Was this some sort of gigantic version of a roving Scholastic-style tent sale? A quick google search later and I discovered that the New England Mobile Book Fair was not in fact a band of gypsies selling best sellers, but actually a bricks and mortar store in Newton Highlands that sold cheap books.
I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to paw through a huge warehouse of novels so I sent a text to my friend Anna, rounded up CK and off we went on a little literary adventure.
Now the New England Mobile Book Fair does sell new titles of books but what truly excited me was their overwhelming selection of extremely low priced remainder copies. I spent almost the entire time in the Young Adult section and came away with several books that I have always meant to buy or pick up at the library but never quite managed to. The best part though was that the books ranged in price from only $1.98 for paperbacks to $4.99 for hardcover titles. It may be a bit dusty and the aisles are close together but I can’t imagine any of these thing will deter you once you begin filling your shopping bag.
Here’s the list of treasures that I picked up:
Sorceress by Celia Rees
From the Publisher:
A Native American teen experiences a life-altering encounter after reading about Mary Newbury the 17th-century protagonist of Witch Child who may be connected with one of her own relatives.
Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi
From the Publisher:
Becca Syng, 14, becomes Peggy Shippen’s maid and enters another world. For over a year, she assists Peggy in her revelry, culminating in her mistress’s marriage to General Benedict Arnold. Like the Arnolds, Becca is faced with decisions about loyalty: to her country, to her family and, above all, to herself.
A Break With Charity by Ann Rinaldi
From the Publisher:
Boredom and frustration in a small Puritan town provide fertile ground for a band of teenage girls to incite and nurture deadly mischief. Susannah English, caught between the desire to be a part of the group and her revulsion toward their wickedness, finds herself an unwilling party to what would become the Salem witch trials.
The House on Hound Hill by Maggie Prince
From the Publisher:
After her parents’ divorce, Emily, her brother and mother move to a ramshackle but historic row house on Hound Hill. Emily’s peculiar visions begin when an oddly dressed, strangely formal boy named Seth comes to Emily’s door, searching for his cat, and gives his address as her own. As Emily hears clanging bells at night, smells bitter tallow candles, meets crowds of beggars and confronts a supposedly extinct black rat in her chimney, she finally realizes that she can perceive the events of another time and even visit 1665.
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
From the Publisher:
The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt’s brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers, and so the rumors fly. Is Delphine’s companion a slave? Could they be spies for the South? Are the Pruitts traitors? A masterful tale of mystery and war, and a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact one person can have on another.
I was so excited to learn about the Harvard Book Store warehouse sale this morning. I immediately jumped in the shower so I would be able to arrive as soon as the doors opened. I managed to score some really excellent deals including a number of new hardcover titles for only $1 and a stack of my favorite young adult novels from childhood. I can’t wait to curl up with some of these books and reminisce.
From left to right:
How to Cook a Tart by Nina Killham
The Perfect Elizabeth by Libby Schmais
Waiting by Debra Ginsberg
Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusa
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos
A Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
Ghosts Beneath Our Feet by Betty Ren Wright
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
The Girl in the Window by Wilma Yeo
Behind the Attic Walls by Sylvia Cassedy
My mother has already started to send me emails asking what I want for my birthday. Usually I just say, “Oh whatever…” but this year I’m going to regress back to a time when I used to be the Queen of Wish Lists. The best way for me to illustrate this would be for me to have you think way back to a day in the Fall when we were all still watching shows like Family Ties and Jem and the Holograms and the mailman would deliver the gigantic Sears Wish Book. In some ways that day was more exciting than Christmas. I’ve heard tell that many families had to share the Wish Book and each child would circle what he or she wanted with a particular marker or crayon color but I was an only child and that coveted Wish Book was mine all mine.
And I didn’t just circle things I wanted. I made charts complete with quantity, description, size, item, and page number. Yes, I was a control freak even at 8 years of age. So just for old times sake I’m going to provide my family with this cute visual list of things that I would love to get for my quickly approaching 29th birthday. According to the calendar June 3rd is only 21 days away. Yikes! I can’t believe I’m only going to be in my twenties for one more year. How did this happen?! Oh well…on with the list:
1. I’m hoping to spend the evening of my birthday with a few close friends at Cuchi Cuchi.
2. I’ve wanted this French Bull Utensil Set for several years now and it’s almost always out of stock, but via some miracle it’s actually available right now. Obviously it would fit right in with my whole pink kitchen theme.
3. So I shrunk my blue Reading is Sexy shirt and can now only wear it as pajamas because it would be scandalous for me to be seen out in public with it on. I’d love to have the new pink ringer version though, preferably in extra large so that when I forget and dry it again it will still fit around me.
4. When I bought that Julia Child prayer candle a few weeks ago the owner of the Etsy shop assured me that she can make any kind of prayer candle that you want. So what I really really really want is a prayer candle with Ina Garten on it.
5. This write-on mug is just awesome. That is all.
6. I can’t make homemade strawberry jam or chicken stock if I don’t have a proper stock pot (in Caribbean please).
7. The new iPhone comes out in June. My iPhone is now two years old and is practically a Mac antique. This one is all CK. No worries Mom.
8. I’d like to read Michael Ruhlman’s new book Ratio so that I can hopefully start to figure out how to compose some of my own recipes.
9. Zombies. Need I say more?
10. I really need a mani/pedi. If someone were to get me a gift certificate that would be outstanding. I don’t care where I just need to go.
Completely unbeknown to me these amazing Lotuspad yoga mats have been for sale literally right down the street from me for years. I had a pretty avid yoga practice when I lived in Portland, usually doing a routine 5 days a week and alternating with weekly classes at The Yoga Center. I’ve never felt better in my life and more in shape. But when I moved to Boston in the late summer of 2005 the time I spent on yoga slowly dwindled until it became completely non-existent. My yoga mat sat in the closet collecting dust and I forced myself to try to get on the elliptical or go for a run a few times each week. Unfortunately neither of these exercises has ever made me feel the way that a vigorous yoga practice can.
Then a few weeks ago CK shared a story with me on Google Reader about how Lebron James uses yoga to give him an extra edge in his training. I took this as a not-so-subtle hint that my boyfriend was asking me to go to yoga with him. So we looked around online to find a studio we could check out. Yelp had quite a few recommendations and we finally decided to try out Om City Yoga. While perusing Yelp though we also came across some absolutely stellar reviews for a local company that makes eco-friendly yoga mats.
According to the website: Lotuspads are earth-friendly, biodegradable yoga mats with vivid saturated colors, organic dual surface patterns, and an amazing cushion and grip that will help you go deeper into your poses with comfort and style. Personally I’d like to curl up on mine and take a luxurious cat-nap all afternoon, but that would really defeat the purpose.
So far I’ve been very impressed with the mats I purchased. I picked up an “Earth” yoga mat in shades of green and brown for CK and a “Lotus” mat for myself. The Lotus mat is, of course, gorgeously bright pink. Apparently pink is said to encourage compassion. These mats are definitely thicker and much easier for me to use on our hardwood floors in the apartment. Part of the issue that I personally had with trying to start-up my home practice again was the awful wrist pain I would get from trying to hold various poses while using my old cheep mat. The quality of the Lotuspad seems to cut down on the sometimes harsh impact that I feel when I’m out of shape and hopefully this will encourage me to continue to ramp back up into a more frequent practice.
For all the moms out there you should also take note that Lotuspads makes mats for children as well. By the way, if you’re local to the Boston area you can place your order online and then have the option of picking up your mats and accessories in person at their location in Central Square. You can even connect with the founder of the company, Katy, on twitter.
I’m so incredibly excited to try to get back into yoga on a more consistent basis and I definitely owe a portion of this joy to my new Lotuspad mat. Thank you Katy!
Last week I saw an image from Confessions of a Shopaholic of Isla Fisher using a pink MacBook. It was a lovely lovely thing. I originally thought it was done via the ridiculously expensive ColorWare process, but then CK pointed out that it was only a pink case. I just had to have one so I ordered it immediately and it arrived this morning. I didn’t think it was possible to love my MacBook anymore than I already do, but this pink Speck cover is seriously the best thing ever! But if pink isn’t your thing it also comes in blue, red, black, purple, green, and orange.