SERIES

New Year, New Look

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First off, I apologize for my unexplained absence this week! We are only a week into 2015, and it is already turning out to be one of the most exciting years yet. I’ve been spending the last couple of months getting The M.A. Times’ new blog platform up and running, which (fingers crossed), will be making its appearance next week. I’ll be checking out early this week to wrap up some major changes I have going on, but be sure to check out The M.A. Times’ new look next week, and resubscribe to receive post alerts by email! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

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(A family toast)

It has been a relaxing start to the New Year so far. I’ve been off work more than I’ve been there, and spent one entire day being lazy. It’s something I don’t do often – it makes me feel like I’ve wasted the day. Much to my surprise, staying in bed until 11 and eating Chinese takeout on the couch really isn’t that terrible. It was nice to have a day and some time to recharge, and get energized for all of the exciting things 2015 has in store for me.

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(A great dinner with family and friends to ring in the New Year)

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(Taking down Christmas // putting out  my new coffee table books)

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(Out-takes from a fun shoot with Ryan)

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(A relaxing evening all to myself)

A Review of 2014

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Looking back over the last year, it’s hard to believe I fit so much in. I looked back through all my old posts at the close of  2013, and remember being impressed then. Now, that I doubled the amount I have blogged, it is crazy to go back, and look at how much I accomplished or changed in the last year. Here are some posts that stood out to me as I looked back through – some are because they were favorites, some because I had a great time doing them, and some, well, they are just funny. Hope everyone has a very happy new year!

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My Christmas Story

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Yesterday, Cupcakes & Cashmere posted about Holiday Traditions. It was so fascinating to read about what other people do year to year that makes the holidays special and unique to them.  Whether it’s shopping sprees or Christmas dinners that are traditional, it seems like everyone has a little something they just can’t have Christmas with out. I’ve always joked that my family has so many Christmas traditions that it makes us seem a little ritualistic/crazy – but I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Here’s what my holiday will look like starting tomorrow afternoon!

Sometime Christmas Eve afternoon, I’ll load up my presents into my car, and send a text to my family saying “Santa’s sleigh is on the move,” meaning I’m headed over to my parents’ house. I’ll arrive, decorate the mantle and the table, and help cook Christmas Eve dinner. We will eat chicken parmesan, go to mass and then come home and my sister and I will take a picture under our Christmas tree (a “foot pop” is usually involved). Next, we receive our annual Christmas jammies – they are always cute, comfy, and well coordinated. Another picture under the Christmas tree follows. At this point, we all retreat to our separate rooms, and finish up any wrapping or card making we have left. My sister and I usually always fell asleep listening to our parents wrapping presents and laughing.

Christmas morning, I’m always the first one up. I’ll make sure my parents are up, then go to my sister’s room, shake her gently, an say “wake up, it’s Christmas!” She will reluctantly roll out of bed, and finish up making a card (or three). We will get all of our presents together, and sit and wait at the top of the stairs. Our parents meet us at the bottom (usually stopping us for a photo op halfway through), and then we head into our small family room for stockings.

We listen to the same Christmas CD every year, and stockings never take any less than an hour or two – it’s a little ridiculous, but always my favorite part. Next, after we finish stockings (and the overflow piles), we pause for eggs benedict for breakfast. We then move into the other living room, that has the tree and our gifts, and take turns opening until there is nothing left under the tree. Christmas is a several hour long procedure in our house, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year, my Christmas story will be changing for the first time. My sister got married this past summer, and we will be welcoming Pat into our Christmas Traditions. I’m excited to see how our growing family adds for even more fun and love on Christmas. Some things may change, but how happy being home and around family this time of year will always stay the same.

Winter To-Do List

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I always use the changing of seasons as the beginning of a new period of time. It’s always on the first day of the season that I map out what it is I want to accomplish most. Most of the things on the list have to do with holidays or cliche season-realted things, but others are smaller tasks I have been putting off. Here is what has made it onto my list this holiday season, and what will be keeping me busy during the long, cold months ahead. (You can see my past winter to do list here).

1. Actually manage to stay awake until midnight on New Years Eve.

2. Find a way to organize my closet that I will stick to.

3. See snow (this will make the list year after year).

4. Spend a weekend with friends and family cozied up in the cabin.

5. Attempt to build (and if all else fails, buy) a coffee table.

6. Experiment with making new types of pasta from scratch.

7. Launch a new blog design (coming soon – stay tuned!).

8. Attempt to read all of the magazines I get delivered (and make some of the recipes, too).

9. Take a weekend getaway, or plan a trip for the near future.

10. Get my craft area under control so that I can get re-inspired for some home DIY projects.

*Images via Pinterest 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

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(Love my hometown this time of year)

I can’t believe the week before Christmas is already over. I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again – this truly is the best time of year. I love everyone’s festive spirit, the hustle bustle, the brisk weather, and the constant get togethers with friends and family. I’m looking forward to a weekend full of fun, including a date night tonight, a gingerbread house party with my Aunt Joan tomorrow (something I haven’t gotten to do since I was a child), Christmas parties, and a day spent with my mom. It’ll be a jam packed weekend, but I can’t wait to indulge in all the festivities. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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(Sometimes I love the fact that my boyfriend is a total five year old)

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(Had several perfect nights spent by my twinkling tree this week)

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(A morning spent wrapping up my Christmas presents)

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(A sneak peek at our annual Christmas card photo)