Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back: 2013 in Review

Like 2012 before it, 2013 definitely wasn’t the best year for me, especially as I faced the loss of my beloved grandfather Pat just six short months after also losing my Nana. Overall, I've additionally continued to feel that I’m struggling to find my “place” and determine the right path in life.

Still, despite the difficulties, there were some bright moments, too, including an amazing trip to Hawaii, memorable visits with loved ones and plenty of new experiences. As we now head into 2014, here’s a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2013.


-- Celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday, along with the two-year anniversary of adopting our beautiful kitties Molly and Twix
-- Supported Stephen as he began his first semester of grad school
-- Comfortably watched from home as crowds gathered in DC to see President Obama sworn in for a second term
-- Began blogging for All Women Stalk, where I shared advice posts focused on weddings, travel, beauty and more
-- Toured the exquisite Fairy Garden exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden


-- Attended an opera master class led by the talented Patricia Racette as the first of many 2013 trips to the Kennedy Center


-- Began working as a publicist to help represent a wedding-related startup company
-- With news of my grandfather Pat’s deteriorating health, traveled to California to say my final goodbyes before he passed away


-- Visited America’s Teaching Zoo in Southern California, where I got a firsthand look at a 90-year-old tortoise, an emu, a serval and many other cool creatures
-- Attended a performance by opera star Diana Damrau at the Kennedy Center
-- Was interviewed by the Washington Post Express about my experience living in our now previous apartment complex and neighborhood
-- Attended a Show Boat dress rehearsal at the Kennedy Center
-- Toured DC’s iconic cherry blossoms and headed out to Virginia wine country with a visiting friend from California


-- Coordinated a beautiful vineyard wedding for clients Lia and Matt
-- Celebrated our third wedding anniversary by attending a fun wine-and-sushi-tasting event
-- Attended a DC Jazz Festival concert at the Kennedy Center


-- Traveled to Hawaii's Big Island and Oahu for a spectacular vacation and the chance to be a bridesmaid in my sister-in-law’s wedding
-- Purchased our new Honda CR-V


-- Traveled to California to attend my friend Jess’ winery wedding and spend time visiting my family
-- Said goodbye to my 20s and hello to 30
-- Attended a birthday weekend performance of Tristan and Isolde at the Kennedy Center
-- Met up with my longtime blog friend Diana for a fun-filled day touring DC museums


-- Took in a Force of Destiny dress rehearsal at the Kennedy Center
-- Participated in the Favorite Fall Things Blog Swap


-- Moved to a new apartment in a neighborhood we love
-- Attended performances of The Nutcracker and the annual American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center, along with a musical theater master session led by Sutton Foster
-- Purchased a Karlstad couch from Ikea to help spruce up our new place


-- Attended Jazz Piano Christmas and Elf performances at the Kennedy Center
-- Caught up with my grad school classmates and friends at various holiday parties
-- Celebrated Christmas with my mom and sister in New York City
-- Toured the Christmas at Mount Vernon holiday displays  

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone, and here’s to a great 2014! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Big Apple Christmas

The countdown is on! In just two days, my mom and sister will arrive here in DC as the three of us get ready to head up to New York City to celebrate Christmas.

Even though I’ve been to NYC during the holiday season at least once before, I’ve never actually been there for Christmas itself or with my sister and mom. To say I’m excited would be an understatement, and I just can’t wait to get caught up in all of the holiday hustle-and-bustle while also enjoying plenty of fun sightseeing and taking in several Broadway shows.

Happy holidays to one and all! 
After our trip to the Big Apple, my mom, sister, Stephen and I will also spend another week back here in DC touring museums, visiting our favorite restaurants and heading to the Kennedy Center on New Year’s Eve to see Elf live on stage.

I’ll be back soon to share my 2013 year-in-review post and also recap our trip once it’s over, but for now, I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a very joyous New Year!

How will you be celebrating? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sweater Weather Blog Tag

I love reading tag posts to learn more about my fellow bloggers, and since I also love doing them myself, I decided to play along with this tag I recently saw over at the fabulous Elle See’s blog. Read on for a quick look at a few of my holiday season favorites!

1. Favorite candle scent?

Right now, I love all of the Bath & Body Works holiday scents, especially Twisted Peppermint and Vanilla Bean Noel. Even more than the candles, I tend to go for body lotion and shower gel.

2. Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Hot chocolate. I’m not a big coffee drinker but will occasionally drink mint or green tea during the colder months. I also have a container of Mountain Thunder’s Kona Coffee Cherry Tea that I brought back from Hawaii and absolutely love.

3. Do you switch up your makeup routine for the season?

Not too much, although I sometimes gravitate toward darker shadows with a bit more sparkle. I also like wearing holiday-themed jewelry and nail polish.

4. Favorite Thanksgiving food?

Peppercorn salmon, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, all of which we had this year. I also miss my Nana’s delicious mashed potatoes, since no one can make them the way she did!

Peppercorn salmon makes for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. 
5. Hats or scarves?

When it’s really cold, both, along with gloves. I can’t stand being cold!

6. Most-worn sweater? 

My cozy brown LOFT sweater cardigan, which I’ve been wearing for at least three seasons now. It’s warm and easy to pair with a dress or top.

7. Must-have fall nail polish?

Green and purple jewel tones, along with glittery top coats for the holidays.

8. Football games or jumping in a pile of leaves? 

Leaves and being outdoors earlier in the season, and staying inside with a good book once it gets colder. I never have been and probably never will be a football fan.

Staying warm indoors with a good book is my idea of a perfect snow day. 
9. Skinny jeans or leggings?

Leggings or yoga pants for days around the house, and a dress with tights or jeans for going out.

10. Boots or UGGs?

This is a silly question, as UGGs are, in fact, a type of boot. I have plenty of boots I love, but must admit I don’t even own one pair of UGGs!

11. What is your favorite thing about fall?

The start of the holiday season, complete with tasty food, pretty decorations and Christmas carols.

12. Do you have a song that gets you in the fall mood or a song you're loving at the moment?

I recently discovered Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” from the new Disney movie Frozen. I truly love it and have been playing it nonstop!

13. What is the fall weather currently like where you live?

Winter has pretty much arrived here in the DC area, with two snow days already under our belts. I definitely think snow is pretty to look at, but don’t especially enjoy going out in it.

Tag, you’re it! What are a few of your own favorite things right now? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Season Kickoff

I absolutely love the holiday season, and every year, I look forward to Thanksgiving weekend as the perfect time to kick off the celebration. This year was no exception, and we've already managed to squeeze in lots of holiday-related fun.

Here’s a quick look at what we've done so far and what we’ll be up to in the weeks to come. 

Thanksgiving Weekend Festivities

-- Feasting on a delicious dinner of peppercorn salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie in keeping with the pescetarian diet I’ve been following and loving for almost a year now

-- Putting up our tree and decorations, even though we’ve decided to keep things pretty simple after just having gone through the hassle of moving and reorganizing everything we own

-- Buying a new couch to spruce up our apartment and get it looking nice for holiday guests later this month

-- Seeing The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center

-- Listening to carols while enjoying glasses of wine and a tasty cheese platter at Vintage Ridge, one of our favorite Northern Virginia vineyards

Peppercorn salmon and roasted sweet potatoes. Delicious!

More Fun to Come

-- Heading to a happy hour reunion with my grad school classmates, along with a couple other parties

-- Traveling to New York City with my mom and sister for Christmas itself, which I’m incredibly excited about

-- Attending a piano Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center, along with a New Year's Eve performance of the musical Elf

-- Checking out the Christmas at Mount Vernon holiday displays

Twix wishes you all a very joyous season!

What’s on your list of holiday musts?