First and foremost, Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2014...I feel like we should be riding in flying cars and taking pills for meals - Jetson style. At the very least they should be taking all the calories out of food by now, right?
Anyways, it's been a week+ since I've been in blogging land, but after a lot of relaxing and enjoying the company of family, friends and books (and binge watching TV shows) I'm ready to come back to the land of the living. Blog living, that is.
I thought I'd give you a summary of what's I've been doing over the course of the most wonderful time of the year. I always love to see how other people spend their days, so hopefully you'll humor me and take a peek into mine?
It's hard to summarize a few weeks of jam-packed time, so I will pick a few things and just go with it. Sometimes random tangents are best, don't you think?
So once upon a time before I got married, I spent all my holidays with my family and my best friends family. Kalle and her fam would always bring this amazing chocolate cake that I somehow thought was a long lost recipe from her family archives. It turns out that I totally made that up because it's actually a recipe for Beatty's Chocolate Cake cooked up by my fave barefoot chef, Barefoot Contessa. Old family recipe or not, this chocolate cake is easy to make, rich and delicious. Man I love me some Barefoot. I made this cake twice in the course of a week. Totally normal. I don't get obsessed with things at al.
Here it was for Christmas in all its chocolate glory:
And then here it is again for New Years Eve with a champagne buttercream frosting (and some NYE sparkle):
Christmas was spent at my sister in-laws house and she set a beautiful white and silver table with greenery. The food was comforting and the laughs were plentiful. It was a great day.
For New Years Eve we had a low key celebration at an awesome local restaurant (Beef and Bottle) followed by the aforementioned cake, extra dry champagne (which gave me a ginormous headache the next day-a telltale sign I'm getting old) and a rousing edition of the cringe worthy card game Cards Against Humanity. Also, can we talk about how fabulous these stemless champagne flutes are? I picked up these bad boys at World Market for literally next to nothing. Here's a secret - when a wine glass or flute is stemless, you're less likely to spill it. Score!
Speaking of sweet things, my mom and I spent one December morning making some yummy cookies. I highly suggest making either of these delicious cookies ANY time of year!
Oatmeal Carmelitas (these make large cookie bars and are EXCELLENT!)
Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies (these are super light and I guarantee you can't eat just one - Danger!)
Other noteworthy celebrations:
In what's become a yearly tradition, we put our pinkies up and headed out for Holiday Tea at the Ballantyne Hotel. This year we had a male join our all-ladies afternoon, my brother Matthew. What can I say, he just loves the little sandwiches.
My little niece Brookie has grown so much! There she is on the left at last years tea. So maybe this makes me want to cry a little...don't judge.
I also hosted a mini girls gift exchange. It was super casual and fun. I provided cocktails including this festive Sparkling Pear Prosecco drink with cranberries:
And some yummy bites (including Martha's red velvet cupcakes which are always a winner - my favorite red velvet recipe):
Pat Conroy and other books:
In addition to the massive headache following an evening of champagne, another sign I'm getting old is how much time Mr. Fo and I spent reading over the break. We would have days where we'd get out of bed, sit on the couch and read until Noon without even turning on the TV. It was simply glorious. I spent time re-discovering my love for Pat Conroy with his latest work of art:
My mom found out that I'd never read Prince of Tides so I got that in my stocking and read it as well. What a beautiful book. If you're looking for something a little lighter, I read this next book in a day. It's a quick read, perfect for a plane ride or beach if you're planning to leave this frigid weather I keep hearing about:
If you are in the Carolinas you know how heartbreaking it can be to be a Carolina Panthers fan. Until this year that is. The Panthers have roared to victory this season, making it to the 2nd week of the playoffs with a stellar record and some heart-pounding last second wins!
I hope they beat the 49ers San Fran butts this weekend.
Here I am with my little cutie pie niece Claire Bear, both of us sporting our Panther gear:
Our friend Matty (aka the biggest Panthers fan known to man) got me this fabulous "Ice Up Son" t-shirt:
You can check out the source of the "Ice Up Son" quote by watching this You Tube video. I love Steve Smith.
We tailgated for one of the big games this season in true Italian style - Sausage Pizza and a delicious Pinot Noir aptly named "Al Dente." Who needs chilli when you've got pizza and wine??
Resolutions and such:
Since the New Year started, I've been thinking about the upcoming year of course. I've got a wedding in less than 2 weeks so I need to get my game face on! I've also been thinking about the dreaded New Years resolutions... mine consist of making myself lift weights in addition to just sweating it out on my runs. Does anyone else HATE lifting weights? It's hard and boring, pretty much the worst combination ever. Ugh. It's good for your metabolism or something which I guess means I can eat more - always a plus.
Of course I have other resolutions, here are just a few: Be more organized, be less anxious, stop worrying about everything, be better at meal planning, be cleaner. Oh, and blog more. Seems manageable, right? (HAHA!) Hopefully I can just stick with the weight lifting and call that one a success for 2014.
Instead of accomplishing this ridiculous list of resolutions, I've just been binge-watching Scandal instead. I highly recommend this for a guilty pleasure to rival all guilty pleasures.
And I'll take Olivia Pope's coat collection please.
Did I mention my little trip in February? Oh I didn't? My bad. We're heading to a little place called:
The big island, to be exact. To be precise, we'll be spending 8 glorious days in Kona.
The trip has seemed so far away but as soon as the clock struck midnight and it officially became 2014, I've got Hawaii on my mind! I have to say that I'm a little overwhelmed with the planning and frankly have no idea where to eat (most important question obvi) or what to do. Has anyone been to Kona and if so, what do we HAVE to do while we're there? I may just get so overwhelmed that we just lay on the beach all day and drink. That would be terrible, wouldn't it?
So there you have it! A wonderful holiday season with an amazing trip to look forward to. It's not a bad life I lead.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and good luck on those resolutions...gotta go lift me some weights and meal plan.