Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas in Miami

We are back from our Caribbean cruise! I'll be posting full recaps of all of our destinations next week.

For now, I'll start at the end of the trip, with Christmas in Miami...

We spent both Christmas day and Christmas eve on South Beach. It was so relaxing, but honestly I kept forgetting it was Christmas. So odd.

We ate Christmas eve dinner at an amazing restaurant in South Beach called "The Dining Room." This place is foodie food for foodies. If you're ever in Miami, go there!

Despite it being the least "Christmasy" Christmas ever, we did find a place in the lobby of our hotel to take our obligatory "by the Christmas tree" photo that we do every Christmas eve.

I realized that this is our 6th Christmas that we've spent together, so I put together a little "look back" at our Christmas eve tree photos. Enjoy!

(2006: dating, 2007: engaged, 2008-present: married)

Hope you all had great Christmases!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm on a Boat!

By the time you see this we'll be sailing across the Caribbean, probably singing this song at least a few times.

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Welcome to our 2011 Christmas Decoration Tour!

When you arrive at our condo you'll see our front door wreath...

This is our entryway tree. The theme is "beach" and I just love it!

Here is a closer look at some of my favorite ornaments from our beach tree. Some of these I made and some I bought.

In our living room are our window lights and our main tree.

The main tree doesn't have a theme. It's just an assortment of Christmas ornaments -- some that are old and some that are new.

I love our mish-mash tree. This year I'm going to buy a better topper and some new red and green balls an after-Christmas sale to complete it and make it a little more bright.

Here's a close up a few of my favorite ornaments.

A bunch of these ornaments are from my childhood. Some of them were made by grandma when I was little. Some are more recent. The Starbucks cup is from when I used to work in Seattle. The green tree has a picture of us from our first wedding anniversary. And The Rockettes girls are from my trip to NYC.

Around Christmas I leave up a small festive table scape on our dining room table.

I also exchange a bunch of the items on our living room shelves for Christmas items.

Well, that's all for the tour! Hope you enjoyed it.

We wish you a ...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December Life Tips and Tricks

I feel like December is always such a crazy busy month for everyone. Shopping, decorating, parties, and more! But I have a few tips and tricks to make the month of December a little bit easier.

1) Clothing

Every December turn the hangers around "backwards" in your closet like this...

Then as you wear the clothes put the hangers back "the right way." If you get to the next December and there are still hangers "backwards", remove those clothes and give them to Goodwill before January first to get one final tax write-off and make room for the new clothes you get for Christmas.

(Don't you love the mismatched hangers in my closet?)

2) Shoes

With the holidays usually comes a slew of holiday parties - work parties, church parties, friend parties, etc. And if you're a girl, you'll be in heals for most of those parties.

To find a pair of heals that don't kill your feet, shoe shop at DSW.

Why DSW? At DSW you can try on any shoe in any size without the help of a sales person. And then you can walk around the store in the shoes you try on. I always put on the shoes I want (with socks or footie stockings) and then walk around the store while I shop for more shoes. I figure if I can wear shoes while walking around a store for 15-20 minutes and they still feel good, I can wear them to a party or night out.

3) Weight Management

I always gain weight around the holidays. But this year the Mr. and I are tracking our calories on the "My Fitness Pal" app (available on iPhone and Droid for free!) and we've actually lost weight this month!

The interface is super easy to use. It has the calories thousands of food items stored in the app and you can create your own favorites too. And there's a social aspect to it as well so your friend/friends can keep you honest.

We've also kicked up our number of workouts per week because My Fitness Pal calculates your workouts and gives you more calories for the days you work out. We need those extra calories for cookies and wine!

4) Shopping

I don't do Black Friday shopping but I do do "Day after Christmas" Shopping. There are some GREAT deals on clothes but also on holiday decorations for next year.

My favorite place to "Day after Christmas" shop is Crate & Barrel. I always stock up on holiday candles and decorations for next year for SUPER cheap. Then when I open my Christmas boxes next year I already have new stuff!

I think Crate & Barrel opens at 9:00 AM the day after Christmas. Get there early to get the best stuff. It runs out by later in the day.

What tips and tricks do you use to make your December easier?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

This post will make you want to move to Southern California

Last weekend we went down the St. Regis in Dana Point (South Orange County) for another "staycation". We had two free nights that I earned from a Starwood promotion that were expiring in mid-December.

Here is the view from the resort!

And this was the view from our room.

We spent some time in the pool and spa...

And took some long walks on the empty beaches...

The weather was great. Clear and warm during the day and clear and chilly at night. We watched sunset from our room.

We also really enjoyed seeing how decked-out the St. Regis gets for Christmas...

We loved the "California Snowmen"

There was also an amazing sand sculpture in the lobby.

The lights all around the property were stunning.

I thought this inverted Christmas tree was pretty cool!

And this tree was HUGE.

Overall we had a great time at this beautiful resort. The one negative about the resort is that it's really isolated. There is literally NOTHING to do around it. So if you ever go, be sure to pack some good books to read!

Have you seen any fun Christmas decorations this year?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Our 2011 Christmas Cards!

I'm excited to present to you ...

Our 2011 Christmas Cards...

Thank you for all of your input when I asked about which card to pick. A lot of you suggested combing the design of one with the images from the other so that's what we did!

And I really like how it turned out!

The pictures are from: Salt Lake City ski trip in February, my Hollywood company party in June, a USC Alumni brunch in July, and my Brother-in-Law's wedding March.

I've got Christmas Card assembly down to a science. Look at the Mr. working away!

I'm glad we got them out early this year. One thing out of the way!

Are you doing Christmas Cards this year? Have you gotten them out yet?

I'm linking with with Faith and the Christmas Card Carousel.

Visit Faith's blog to see lots more Christmas cards!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Christmas Time in NYC one year ago (Flashback Friday)

Happy December everyone! To help get in the holiday spirit I thought I'd do a little "flashback Friday" post about one a year ago when I spent 3 wonderful days in New York City with my Mom in early December. I never blogged about this trip because I was on a little blogging break.

We arrived Thursday night and went straight down to Rockefeller Plaza to see the Christmas tree. So pretty!

Then went to dinner at the Stardust Diner (sadly no pictures but it was so fun) and we then back to our hotel, the Sheraton Times Square, to rest up for the next couple of days.

Friday we got up early and went down to NBC studios

We both LOVE the Today Show so we hung out on the Today Show Plaza for a while and caught some glimpses of Ann Curry and Al Rocker!

Here's the world's blurriest picture of Ann Curry (she's in the long black coat).

Then we went around exploring New York at Christmas time. We popped into the lobbies of a tons of hotels and office buildings to see their amazing decorations.

This Hilton lobby had Christmas trees with ornaments made entirely of Chocolate!


It's amazing how decked-out for Christmas NYC gets!

We also went to Magnolia Bakery that day... twice. Holy amazing cupcakes.

Friday nights we went to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

Such a great show! Seriously it's a "must-do" if you're ever in NYC around Christmas.

Saturday was our shopping day! We shopped all over town including the famous Macy's.

The we went to Christmas party at friend's Tribecca loft and finally to a Broadway show called "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." It isn't playing anymore, but it was great play. Very funny and avant-garde.

Here I am in the red red theater at Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

On Sunday we had great weather so we took a long walk across Central Park.

Central Park was so pretty on this crisp early-winter day.

The famous boathouse.

We ended the trip on a somber note and took a trip down to the World Trade Center site.

We went inside the Winter Garden to view the progress on the World Trade Center Memorial.

As you know, the memorial is complete now, but here's what we could see in December 2010.

I had never been to New York around Christmas time, so it was so fun see all the holiday chaos /fun and do my holiday shopping. I'd love to do it again some year!

Where is your favorite place to visit around Christmas time?
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