(image via Style Me Pretty)
Happy (almost) New Year’s Eve!
Work has been extremely slow this week, like excruciatingly slow. Because it’s been slow, I’ve had the time to read and look at everything on the internet. Yes, everything. A few things I stumbled upon and loved this week…
…a beautiful wine + cheese party by Camille Styles.
…the bag-o-black leggings from Emerson Made. I’m pretty sure I need these.
…this post from Thought Catalog about the huge moment “girls” are having right now.
…a new year’s inspired photo shoot via Style Me Pretty.
2011 turned out to be a pretty big year for me…
…After three months of unemployment, I started working full-time again in January.
…In March, Ben and I moved from our tiny Manhattan apartment to a more spacious apartment in Stamford, Connecticut.
…I turned 26.
…I traveled to Los Angeles for the first time. A short work trip but certainly fun!
…Ben took me to see Hanson at Toad’s Place in New Haven.
Ben at McGill
…Ben and I went to Montreal and I suddenly felt the urge to learn French again.
…I celebrated my second Hanukkah.
…After five years of dating, Ben and I got engaged.
Among many other, wonderful, things.
2012, what will you bring?
Before we close the book on Christmas 2011, I wanted to share our first (annual?) holiday party! Ben and I prepped, got engaged (!!!) and celebrated with our friends.
I created a playlist on Spotify, which included songs from my number one favorite holiday album, Hanson’s Snowed In.
We decided to have an Open House style party so that our friends could feel free to come and go as the please. With friends coming in from other parts of Connecticut and Manhattan we didn’t want anyone to feel pressure to get to our apartment on time. Of course, once they arrived, no one really left until pretty late. Everyone had a great time. So great that I think we’ll make it an annual event.
On the menu:
Part of the spread
I’m not really one for spring cleaning, I’m definitely one for post-holiday and pre-new year cleaning. Who doesn’t like to start the new year fresh?
As I’m cleaning and organizing my life today, I’m enjoying the new Florence + The Machine album. Mostly “Shake It Out” on repeat.
Twelve days ago, Ben and I were getting ready for our first holiday party.
Truth be told, I was slightly hungover from my work holiday party the night before. So really, Ben was getting ready for our holiday party. He rearranged the furniture, did the last minute grocery shopping and even got me a Happy Meal. My go-to hangover cure.
Together, we did some last minute decorating before we had to run a few errands. While we were decorating, Ben informed me that he had gotten some extra decorations and that he’d give them to me after dinner.
Fast-forward to after dinner. Ben presented me with a gift-wrapped box. Inside were two Christmas stockings. Perfect, I thought, we can hang these up for the party! Inside the first stocking were two ornaments. The first was a dog. I’ve been begging to get a dog for months. The second ornament was house. Our future dog and our future house, Ben said. (cue, awwwww!)
He handed me the second stocking. Inside I felt a box. A box that I thought had a fancy, glass ornament or something. Instead I found this:
I was SO surprised! Ben and I have been together for five years so we’ve certainly discussed marriage and I knew a proposal was coming but I had no idea he was going to do it when he did it!
Looking back on the day, I should have know something was up. The next night we had our party and it was so fun to have our close friends and our new friends over to celebrate the holidays and our engagement. (I’ll post more about the party soon!)
Needless to say, the past week or so has been a whirlwind of phone calls, early stages of planning, telling everyone who asks about how he proposed. Everything was so perfect and I couldn’t be more excited to marry him!
This year, Ben and I are hosting our first holiday party. Our first party altogether, really. This weekend a couple dozen friends will squeeze into our one bedroom apartment for snacks and spirits at our Holiday Open House.
I’d been planning in my head for weeks but finally got down to business and made my to-do list/timeline last week. I’ve seen plenty of these outlined in my favorite magazines but it’s not until you are having your own shindig that you really need to plan it all out.
Here is my (top-lined) Party Prep To-Do:
Two Weeks Before Party:
- Determine decor and shop for items (place online orders, if necessary)
- Finalize menu (place catering orders, if necessary)
- Work on any DIY pieces (e.g. place cards, photo booth, decor)
One Week Before Party:
- Purchase alcohol (or order for delivery day of party)
- Shop for non-perishable food items
- Read-through all recipes
Two or Three Days Before:
- Clean party space, especially bathroom
- Wash serving dishes, glasses, barware, etc.
- Shop for remaining food items
- Cook or bake any food items that can be made ahead of time
- Prep as much food as possible (e.g. cut crudities, prep items for other recipes)
- Rearrange furniture, if necessary
- Set table and bar
- Set up decor
- Chill beverages (white wine, champagne, beer, mixers, etc.)
- Pick up flowers
- Pick up ice
- Tidy up, (again) especially the bathroom
- Beginning cooking/putting together food
- Finish setting up
A few hours before
- Shower and start to get YOURSELF ready
(image via Hostess with the Mostess Blog)
Do you like chocolate? Do you like peppermint? Or candy canes?
If they answer is yes, I urge to RUN, don’t walk, to the nearest Trader Joe’s store in your area and pick up a box, or five, of these:
These are heavenly. Chocolate cookies filled with peppermint creme. With real pieces of candy cane. Just look:
I have Ben to thank for sneaking a box of these into our cart during our trip to TJ’s on Friday. I’ll be going back this week to pick up some more for our Holiday Party this weekend. Because, ya know, we already ate the entire box!
Really, RUN, don’t walk to TJ’s!
In between a nearly endless loop of holiday tunes I’ve been rocking out to Rihanna’s latest. I even put it on my gym playlist. Whether or not I’ve actually gone to the gym…well, that is another story.
Don’t you think Rihanna’s boyfriend in the video is prettier than she is? If that’s even possible.
The holidays sure snuck up on us this year, didn’t they? For no good reason, I felt very behind when we started decorating this weekend. But now, it finally feels a lot like Christmas in our apartment.
On Sunday we headed out to Maple Row Tree Farm in Easton, CT to pick out and cut down our very own tree. It took us about 45-minutes but we found the perfect tree. Ben sawed it down himself and we tied it to the car. It’s a miracle that we did not try to kill one another during this process.
Our tree is a little fatter than we had planned for but I think it looks wonderful. We are slowly building up our collection of ornaments. Every year my Granny gives me one or two for Christmas. Last year my Mom passed down some of my personalized ones from growing up. Ben and I try to pick out an ornament from our travels. The nutcracker below is from our trip to Montreal this past summer.
(nutcracker ornament from Montreal trip, our chubby tree!)
(our tree again, fragrant Christmas wreath, our small but lovely Christmas Village collection)
How is it December already?
A short work week that felt so very long is almost over. Who is ready for the weekend? Fridays can be a little slow, especially this time of year, so here are a few things I’ve been loving this week…
…a wine and champagne bowl would be perfect for my upcoming holiday party!
…although I have approximately 20 pairs of jeans, I could use another. So, I’ll be donating a pair in the Madewell Denim Drive. If you donate, Madewell will give you 20% off a new pair after the new year.
…read this piece from The Atlantic called The Glory of Oprah and learn more about why women connect so well with her.
…every single recipe from How Sweet It Is is to die for! Especially this one.
…Sophia Grace and Rosie, a.k.a. the Super Bass girls, are the most adorable tiny humans I’ve ever seen. Watch them go on a shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us here.