For as long as I can remember, The Polar Express has been a part of our family tradition on Christmas Eve. It is by far my favorite tradition at Christmas.
The Polar Express was released in 1985, the year I was born. That Christmas, my Aunt gave our family a copy of the book that was accompanied with a bell ornament, and the book on tape, read by William Hurt. Since then, we have listened to The Polar Express every year on Christmas Eve before bed.
We all snuggle up in the living room, with the soft glow of the Christmas tree, and listen to the wonderful story. My Dad and I usually snuggled up with pillows and blankets on the floor, and my sister on the couch with my Mom. Mom always has the book with her, so she can follow along as we listen, and see the pictures.
As you can imagine, a cassette tape for 1985 has seen better days. They do sell copies of the book with a CD, but Liam Neeson is now the narrator. And while I'm sure it wouldn't matter to most, our family is partial to the copy with William Hurt as the narrator. One year, we even bought the CD to try it out, but ended up playing the cassette tape afterwards, because it just wasn't the same. Thankfully, Andrew came to the rescue. He was able to put the tape to CD for us, so we now have a digital copy of the story read by William Hurt!
It seems the story has become quite popular since the movie with Tom Hanks. But I'm partial to listening to the story each year on Christmas Eve. I actually haven't seen the movie, I'm afraid it will "ruin" it for me, since the story has such a special place in my heart.
I think it's a favorite memory for all of us after so many years. This year, I'm excited that Andrew will be joining us. But it is bitter sweet, because for the first time my sister won't be with us. They're starting their own traditions this year, on Phillip's first Christmas. But I'm sure Santa heard they needed a copy of their own to continue the tradition at their house.
I can't wait to get home tonight, snuggle up in my new Christmas pajamas, and listen to The Polar Express. Merry Christmas everyone!
We had a wonderful, family filled weekend. Andrew's mom was in town staying with us since Thursday, and my parents came down to spend the day with us on Sunday. We thought it would be fun to go downtown and see the holiday decorations and play tourist in the city.
We started our tour at The Fairmont to see the two story Gingerbread house in the lobby. The lobby was so beautiful, and the gingerbread house was quite impressive. I learned that my great grandmother, whom I was named after, lived at the Fairmont! They had a beautiful garden outside where we snapped some photos and took in the beautiful San Francisco views and weather before heading off to continue our little city tour.
We walked through Union Square, saw the tree in Neiman Marcus, rode the glass elevators at the St. Francis Hotel, went to Macy's and ended our tour at the Ferry Building.
It was such a beautiful, and warm, December day. I loved spending time with both our parents and taking in the Christmas cheer around the city. It was fun to play tourist and see all the festive window displays and hotel lobby's.
After our long day out and about, we came home and made a delicious dinner complete with my Mom's home made apple pie. It was nice just to relax and visit after a long day. It's hard to believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and we'll be driving up to spend Christmas at my parents. Then Friday we're off to San Diego to continue our Christmas with Andrew's family.
The Fairmont Hotel Garden
Views from the glass elevators at the St. Francis Hotel
Christmas is right around the corner! I can't wait to be home, spending time with my family. One of my favorite traditions Christmas morning is opening our stockings to see what Santa has brought us. Once we're up, with latte in hand, we head upstairs to open stockings. It's always a fun mix of necessities like toothpaste and socks, with a few fun items like makeup and nail polish.
Andrew has a very playful side, so this year, I tried to think of a few fun things, as well as a few necessary items to surprise him with. I think he'll be pretty happy with what Santa delivers! I usually wait for the last minute, but I was prepared with a list for my shopping this year. Now all I need to do is wrap, wrap, wrap....At least the stocking is easy!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We have Andrew's mom staying with us this weekend and my parents are coming down Sunday as well. I can't wait to all spend time with family, and enjoy the magic of San Francisco at Christmas. I hope we can get downtown to enjoy the lights and festive holiday decorations! I'm thinking we'll make a few Hot Toddy's to-go, and go check out some lights in our neighborhood!
My good friend Kasey had the brilliant idea to host a blogger Christmas Swap this year! I was so excited to participate and meet some new blogging friends!
I was matched up with the lovely Brandi over at Realities of Brandi! I feel so lucky that we got pared up! We had so much fun emailing back and forth, getting to know each other. She is just the sweetest little thing!
I was so excited to receive her package in the mail. How cute is the box? I didn't even think to decorate the packaging, next year...
I was so happy when I opened up my goodies! Santa Brandi got me a scarf, socks, a necklace & earring set, and a Starbucks gift card! What more could a girl want?! All the bases were covered! It was so funny, just the day before I received the package, I almost bought almost the exact same necklace! I've been wanting a white bauble necklace, and this one is just perfect! Plus, matching earrings, so cute! And the scarf is the softest material I've ever felt seriously, I want to get more and make a blanket! I have a bit of a scarf fetish, so it was a perfect gift for me. And the cute little socks to keep my toes warm will get a ton of use. I'm saving my Starbucks card for when we're out and about this weekend, it will be the perfect treat to keep me warm!
Thank you SO much Brandi! It was so fun getting to know you and I love my thoughtful gift. It was so fun to participate in the Christmas Swap. I can't wait to see what everyone else gifted!
And a big THANK YOU to my girl Kasey, what a fun idea! I know I've said this before, but this blogging community is what keeps me coming back day after day. I love all the amazing girls I've met, and it's so wonderful to be a part of it. Merry Christmas ladies! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
One of my favorite things about the holidays is receiving holiday cards from my closest friends and family members. I seeing the photos and reading about the events and milestones people have had during the year. I think it's such a wonderful tradition.
Growing up, creating the Christmas card for our family was always a big event. At some point, we started creating a picture collage (we did pictures before it was a thing)! We'd all look through the pictures from the year, and help choose which ones should be included in our card. Making sure everyone one had the same number of pictures on the card, of course :)
In addition to photos, I also really enjoy reading about our loved ones, and any exciting news or milestones they've had that year. For our family Christmas card, my Dad writes a newsletter to accompany our picture collage. He writes about our family; vacations we've taken, and significant memories from that year. I love looking back on them years later. It's like a little window back in time, and I'm so thankful that our family has them.
When I still lived at home, I remember how much I loved reading the holiday cards, and looking at photos as they arrived in the mail. We kept them out throughout the holiday season, and I would often pick them up to re-read, and stop to look at pictures as I walked by. Now that many of my friends are married and starting families of their own, it has been so wonderful to receive Christmas Cards from them at my own home.
I wanted a fun way to display our cards so that we could appreciate them throughout the season. When I was working with Tiny Prints for this post, I came across this holiday card that I loved. The card reminded me of a way my friend had displayed her cards a few years ago, and I wanted to recreate my own version of that in our home. It's the perfect, simple holiday card display that will only take a few minutes to put together. Leaving you more time to read all those cards from loved ones, and get your own holiday cards in the mail!
You'll only need a few supplies: I used mini clothes pins, spray adhesive, gold glitter, string, greenery and holly left over from wreath making, wire, nails, and of course your holiday cards!
Once you've selected the wall you'd like to display your cards on, put in a couple nails at your preferred height and distance apart (this will depend on the wall you display them on). I wanted two rows, so I started a little higher than if I was only doing one. Next, you'll tie the string to each nail, creating a line to attach your cards to later. Even though you'll want the line to droop a little once you're cards are displayed, secure it tightly for now. The weight of the cards will create the drooping affect once you attach them.
Now, much like I did when making a wreath, I gathered a small bunch of greenery and piece of holly. I used wire, twisting tightly at the back to secure. Using the excess wire, twist around the nail to add a decorative touch at the ends of your line. I also added a bow using my gold string to cover the floral wire, bows make everything cuter! Next, repeat these steps to add another row to your display.
Now, you'll need to get your mini clothes pins ready. I had some spray glue and glitter lying around, and thought it would make this project a little more festive for the holidays. I went into the garage and laid down an old towel. Then I simply sprayed a generous amount of glue on my clothes pins, and poured the glitter over top. I let them dry for about an hour while I added the 2nd row to my display, then went down and shook off the excess glitter.
Finally, the fun part, displaying your cards! Now that you have sparkly and festive clothes pins, you can display Christmas cards as they arrive in the mail!
I've been having so much fun displaying cards as they come in! I love seeing the photos of my friends and their growing families. This year, Andrew and I decided to do our first Holiday card together. I'm so excited to start this tradition with him. We spent forever looking at all the cute options Tiny Prints offers, I can't wait to share the one we picked with you. Don't they have so many cute Holiday Cards? It took forever to narrow it down to the one, I wanted like five!
Have you come up with a creative way to display your holiday cards? If so, I'd love to see it!
I was so excited when Brilliant Earth contacted me to do a post with them for their Personality Style Challenge. They asked each of us to create a look that reflects our own unique personality style. It was so fun to look at their beautiful pieces of jewelry, and see the wide variety of pieces they have that would match any woman's individual style.
As I was looking through the different styles they sent, I realized I am sort of a blend between both Vintage and Glamorous. I'm drawn towards vintage pieces because of their history. Much like the necklace from my Gram, I love wearing jewelry that holds value in my heart. A family heirloom, or a gift from that special someone. And while I love the aesthetics and history behind vintage pieces, what girl doesn't love a little glam every now and again?!
I realized, I don't quite fit into just one of these personality styles, but rather, I'm a blend of both Vintage and Glamour. But isn't that what makes our own individual styles so unique and special? Because it's just that, unique, specific to each of us, and therefore all the more beautiful.
I think my Christmas party outfit is a good example of how I like to mix classic, vintage style, with a little glam. My necklace had a very vintage feel, and reminds me of the broaches I often played with at my Grandma's. While my black stilettos, sparkly earrings and red lips, gave a little glam to my overall look.
I put together a few inspiration boards that combine my love for both Vintage and Glamour. I think these looks would be perfect for any upcoming holiday party, or to ring in the New Year! Brilliant Earth has so many beautiful and unique pieces. But the reason I love Brilliant Earth, is because of their dedication to ethically sourced diamonds. They are dedicated to providing the highest quality diamonds using socially responsible practices.
I knew Brilliant Earth made beautiful and ethically sourced Engagement Rings, but I didn't realize they had so many other beautiful pieces. Their collections of unique necklaces and earrings would make a perfect accessory for anyone this Holiday Season.
Holiday party season is in full swing! Last Friday, my office held our annual Christmas party. I work at a very small, family owned consulting firm. We're basically one big family, and I was so looking forward to our Christmas party this year.
My boss goes all out throwing us an amazing party at the Four Seasons in downtown San Francisco. We got off work a couple hours early on Friday, so we had enough time to get ready before the party started.
Andrew and I got checked into the hotel early so we could get ready and have a cocktail before heading down to meet everyone. I wasn't sure what to wear this year, but I feel like you can never really go wrong with a Little Black Dress. I mean, what says "Holiday" like an LBD, bright red lips, and sparkly jewels!?
Just being at the Four Seasons feels so festive, with the amazing view looking out over Market Street towards Union Square and the Financial District. You can see the festive holiday lights and the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers and party goers.
It was such a wonderful party. I am so blessed to work for such a wonderful company, and most importantly, amazing people!
What's your favorite look for the Holiday's? Do you use it as an excuse to get really dressed up, or stick to a more casual look?