Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

As always, a few days late, but better late than never. Here are my 2010 and 2011 recaps if you care to check them out.

In 2012 Taylor and I :

Paid off his car early (the VW Jetta). Then, just a couple of weeks later, had a huge issue, where we brought the car in to the dealership to check out a problem with the door lock. They said it would be several hundred dollars to repair the lock, and we said, no thanks. Then later that same afternoon they called claiming that there was gasoline in the diesel engine (um, there’s no way in hell!!) and it would require major repairs (to the tune of at least $8,000 dollars, and you better contact your insurance company to get them involved.) After many talks with insurance and the car dealership and about 6 weeks of the car being in the shop, we paid our insurance deductible, turned in our rental car and traded that sucker in. So we also…

Bought a new car. A 2012 Toyota Camry SE.

Celebrated my 31st birthday, our 3rd anniversary, and Taylor’s 29th birthday.

We also did a lot of mentally preparing and budget planning for buying a house in 2013.  EEK!!

Taylor’s sister had a baby, so this year we became Aunt Andrea and Uncle Taylor! Here’s our sweet nephew from just a few days ago. He’s about 4.5 months old here.

Tristan 014

And I:

I didn’t cook as much as I’d like to throughout the year. This year was the first time I in my 31 years that I didn’t go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, so I cooked my First Solo Thanksgiving Meal for my in-laws. And for the first time ever, I also didn’t see my parents on Christmas day, so I cooked a ham dinner on Christmas. I didn’t take any pictures.


  • Las Vegas (March)
  • Washington DC/Arlington, VA(April)
  • St. Louis (July)
  • New Orleans (August & October)
  • New York City (September)
  • Dallas (October)


I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas in 2011 and I also joined Goodreads and set a goal of 30 books for the 2012 year. I didn’t make 30, but I did read 24 books, so not too shabby.

I enjoyed everything I finished, some more than others. I started Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, The Art of Fielding, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but didn’t finish. The only one I legitimately quit because I simply could not get into it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. My favorite books were the John Green books (in order of my personal preference) The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.

Here are all the books I read.

  1. The Hunger Games
  2. Mockingjay
  3. Catching Fire
  4. Divergent
  5. Paper Towns
  6. Girl Over the Edge
  7. Wife By Wednesday
  8. Water for Elephants
  9. Looking for Alaska
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why
  11. The Fault in Our Stars
  12. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  13. Juliet, Naked
  14. Fifty Shades of Grey
  15. Fifty Shades Darker
  16. Pretty Little Liars
  17. Flawless
  18. Perfect
  19. Unbelievable
  20. The Book Thief
  21. Gone Girl
  22. Flight
  23. An Abundance of Katherines
  24. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I am too lazy to link those books to another site and/or list their authors, but if you’re interested in knowing more about something and can’t find it, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.


  • True Blood (Season 4)
  • The Tudors (Seasons 3 & 4)
  • Dexter (Season 6)
  • And plenty more miscellaneous episodes of Sister Wives, Family Guy, South Park, The New Girl, and Tosh.0

Listened to/Discovered MusicA few of these albums aren’t new, some are especially played out, but I loved them this year anyway. Saw Two Door Cinema Club at House of Blues in Houston in October.

  • Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
  • Fun – Some Nights
  • Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
  • The Lumineers – The Lumineers
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
  • The Black Keys – El Camino
  • Keane – Strangeland
  • O.A.R. – Rain or Shine

Did nice things – As a sort of informal resolution, I tried to do more  nice things this year. I kept track for myself, but don’t care to post the tally here. In general, I sent cards and care packages to friends and family who needed it, and I also did nice things for people I didn’t know. I really enjoyed it and I hope to continue this year.

How was your 2012?


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For the first time in my 31 years of existence, my parents went out of town for Thanksgiving. So, I cooked the full meal on my own. Thankfully, I’ve helped my mom cook Thanksgiving a lot in the past few years, so I had it pretty well under control, but it still felt weird not to be in the kitchen with my family.

Initially it was just going to be Taylor and me, but Taylor’s parents decided they were going to come over. I was already planning on cooking enough food, so I didn’t have to change my plans at all. And cooking at home meant I finally had a fancy excuse to use my wedding china for the first time in 3.5 years.

I bought a small turkey. It also did not have any wings or legs, which was fine with me, since I don’t eat dark meat anyway.

I cooked macaroni and cheese (the blue box, for T) and mashed potatoes, with plenty of butter and milk.

Frozen yeast rolls that rise up to look like homemade.

Crawfish cornbread.

Stovetop stuffing, broccoli and gravy.

I rounded out the meal with a fresh-baked (frozen) apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream.

It was a delicious meal and I’ve still got plenty of leftovers.

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For Taylor and I we don’t usually do anything big for Valentine’s Day. I like to exchange cards, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes we’ll do small gifts, sometimes not. We always go out to dinner somewhere.

A couple days ago, Taylor asked, “Do you already have a card for me?” I coyly smiled back at him*, so of course he was like “WHAT? When did you have time to get me a card?!” So I told him that I have been out shopping alone in the past few weeks.

So yesterday a little before 5, I remembered that I had to go to the hospital after work to do crafts and give Valentine’s Day goodies to the kids in the pediatric unit. Since we carpool, I joked with him that my hour at the hospital would give him time to go get me a card.

When I got in the car after work he handed me a campus mail envelope. See, we also work at the same place, so on occasion someone will send something meant for him to my box or vice versa. So I wasn’t terribly surprised, and started to open the envelope to see what it was.


He tricked me. It wasn’t actually something sent to the wrong address. He made me a card at work. It apparently took several drafts to get the alignment right, but it was so sweet.



Inside he wrote an incredibly thoughtful message about how he loves how much we laugh and enjoy each others company and that he wishes more people had relationships like ours. It was very touching.

After my hour at the hospital passing out funfetti cupcakes, crafts, pizza and goodie bags to the kids, we enjoyed dinner at Freebird’s Burritos and then spent the rest of the evening watching How I Met Your Mother. It was pretty much exactly the same as every other night. Right before bed, I remembered I brought home a few pink frosting-ed, heart sprinkled cupcakes, so we ate them and called it a night. We’ll probably eat a fancier dinner this weekend. But yesterday was absolutely perfect and wonderful!


*Of course I just picked up a card yesterday afternoon! Taylor hasn’t figured out yet that even if you wait until the last minute, you don’t have to tell on yourself! I had already picked up a pair of boxer shorts with a candy heart design on them. In his card I listed just a few reasons why I love him including the fact that when we do the dishes together, he almost always pinches my butt with the tongs. Don’t tell him I told you! 🙂 Also, don’t worry if I ever cook for you, I promise they are properly cleaned after. 


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My mom’s jewelry box

On Christmas Eve, I asked my mom if we could look through her jewelry boxes at some of her jewelry, and she kindly obliged.

So for probably two hours, my mom, sister and I got a kick out of looking at all my mom’s stuff. From the fancy to the ridiculous. It was so fun! Want to see how much fun it was?

My mom had spectacular taste in HUGE costume jewelry back in the early 90s. This is just a small sampling.

Swirly AND clip on! Also comes in a darker purple version.

My sister is much better at posing than I am. Hand painted baby!

Hello rainbow!

Her modeling style is more ambivalent. “What, I didn’t even know you were there taking a picture of me and these awesome earrings.”

Mine on the other hand is more aware/awkward.”Oh hi, let me tilt my head just so. I want you to be able to see the earrings, not my double chin.”

Look, these are so huge they actually have their own shadow.

Mom was such a good sport about it all and even got in on some of the modeling.

After all the fun, and being the good daughter I am, I brought home some of her old silver stuff and polished it up for her. Here’s just a sample. (The pictures are kinda crappy, but you can definitely see a big difference!)

We also went through some of my memaw’s old costume jewelry. When she was alive, people would always ask her if her rings were real. She’s always tell them yes. And of course, they are real rings!

After she died, I brought some things to a jeweler to be sized for my mom, and when I went to pick the things up, the jeweler very quietly brought me aside. “You know this big stone in the middle isn’t real, right?” I laughed a little bit, and said, “Yes, I know. Thank you though.”

Anyway, I’d really recommend getting together with your mom (or grandma or aunts or any other family members) and having her go through her jewelry box. She’ll have plenty of stories to tell about everything, and you’ll probably recognize some of the pieces from when you were growing up. Even Taylor saw how much fun we were having and asked his mom to go through her jewelry box with me sometime.

And in case you are dying to own any of those earrings, let me know. I currently have them (and many more) in my possession. We could strike a deal. 🙂

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My best friend gave me a really great gift for Christmas this year and I thought doing something similar would be a really nice and thoughtful gift.

She typed up her family’s secret spaghetti sauce recipe and included some of the ingredients in a box. We’ve known each other since our freshman year of college, and I am so honored that her family allowed her to share the recipe with me.


She also printed out some pictures from our Italy trip and put them in photo coasters and also threw in a colosseum ornament.

Since I have been lucky enough to go on several trips with friends and family, I am definitely going to keep this idea in my back pocket.

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Here’s the thing

Christmas was great. I have a half started post all about it.

I’m tremendously enjoying being off from work. And will continue to do so for a few more days.

But here’s the thing.

I’m having a hard time getting up my motivation to sit down and write blog posts right now.

Not that I’m all that regular in posting usually, but I sort of anticipated in my free time I’d sit down and finish up telling you about my Italy trip. And start to tell you about some of the fun things I got for Christmas. And about how I spent my time off from work.

But instead, what I have done is spent several mornings staying in bed until after 10:30, just enjoying the coolness of my blankets, and the fact that I had absolutely nothing planned for the day. Spent countless hours watching Netflix. And when I’m not watching Netflix, I’m helping my husband figure out how to kill a giants and lighten his laod on Skyrim. I’ve also spent many hours playing with my new Kindle. And reading an actual, physical book. (No reading books on my Kindle just yet.) I’ve spent some family time. And some in-law time. And a little too little friend time. But thank goodness for friend time via text message and twitter.

It’s been a great break so far and I’m going to try to milk the final days.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll get to those posts I hoped to write. But if not, I’ll see you in the new year.




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