What are you doing New Year's Eve?

I'm happily spending New Year's Eve shooting a friend's wedding and Teresa is warm and cozy at a cabin in the woods. I hope have a wonderful night surrounded by family and friends. Happy New Year to you all! 

PS. Happy anniversary to our good friends Danielle & Chris, pictured above. 

Monday Motivation

Do you know what "Auld Lang Syne" means? 
Lets be honest, it's sort of weird to sing a song that sounds like it's telling you to forget old friends. This year, I found myself on the Auld Lang Syne wikipedia page looking for an answer.  It turns out, the song is based on an old Scottish song and "should old acquaintances be forgotten" is meant as a rhetorical question. 

"Auld lang syne" literally translates to "old long since", meaning long long ago. 

So it turns our Harry & Sally, in their twisty Nora Ephron wording of it, have it right. Remember old friends and memories as you toast the new year tonight! 

Friday Roundup

After recapping our favorite posts of the year this week, I thought it was fitting to dedicate the last roundup of the year to Best of 2012 lists from around the web. So while you're waiting for the ball to drop, check out some of the best things of the past year and have a great weekend!

Time's Top 10's of everything entertainment related

Entertainment Weekly's Best/Worst of lists

Craziest tweets from Cher

Best Heroines

Best Cheese

Best Animal Videos

Best of Seattle

Check out #My2012Favorites on twitter, and add your own.


Jenny's Top 8(ish) Posts from the Year

I'm so glad Teresa had this idea to pick our favorite posts for the past year.  (Did you see her list?) I've really enjoyed going back through the months and coming across posts I'd completely forgotten about, I can't believe there have been so many! This is post #455.

It's been a whirlwind year for me, lots of work and travel, both fun and mundane. I've so enjoyed the blog throughout it all, to keep track of my journeys and keep me connected, whether I was in the middle of nowhere Kenya or the middle of nowhere West Virginia. And then at home in the dark days of winter, it was my little ray of sunshine and happiness.  Thanks so much to all of you out there for stopping by to check out all of the things we blog.

Without further adieu, my favorite posts of 2012:

Thinking about Childhood: 90's Fictional Characters Who Shaped Me

Do not try this at home: Cat Bath

My favorite Monday Motivation posts with inspiration from Tupac & Tolstoy

Documenting wanderlusty visitors: Teresa's Photo Booth Guestbook

A different kind of wanderlust: The time I kissed a giraffe

For all the aspiring iPhone photographers: A Photo Lesson

First ever Wedding Wednesday post: Three Tips for the Big Day

This is the type of thing I think about when my mind is left to wander: Becoming Angela Lansbury...

PS. I encourage you to go back through the archives, they are all good, really, I promise. OK, just one more...my favorite movie.

Teresa's Top 8 Posts from the Year

It's hard to believe we've been blogging for nearly a year now! Happy Blogiversary to us!!

Since this significant milestone also coincides with the end of the year, we want to share some of our favorite posts of the year.

Teresa's Top 8 Posts from 2012 (in no particular order):

The First Post: Sporty Vs. Athletic
Our very first post! Hard to believe it's already been a year. This one also brings back great memories of our time at Priest Lake last summer.

Auntie DIY: A Kitty Quilt for Kenedee
Becoming an aunt was one of the highlights of the year and I loved sewing this kitty quilt for my niece Kenedee.

Hometown Love: 36 Hours in Seattle
Loved doing the research for this post! :)

Favorite Weekend Away: Tie - Cannon Beach or Oregon Wine Country
One of the benefits of having a husband who works in Portland, exploring Oregon! Both weekends were perfect weather and company.

The Big Hit: WW: Photos Before the Ceremony?
The post that went big! This insightful post by Jenny has brought in more readers than any other with over 500,000 hits.

Blogging Inspiration: Telling My Story: Anne Lamott
It was a treat to hear Anne Lamott speak last spring, she inspires me to write more.

A Simple Summer Moment: Drink of the Month, Lavender Cocktail
These pictures bring back fond memories of summer sunshine and being able to sit outside. Love these ladies!

Trying Something New: Seattle Sailing Adventure
I pushed myself to do a lot of new things in 2012 and sailing with my dad was one of my very favorites! Hopefully we can hit the water again next spring/summer.

Friday Roundup

Christmas is finally here! We are packing the long weekend full of family gatherings and gift exchanges. Definitely looking forward to all of the celebrations! Hope you have a great holiday, we'll be back on the 26th. Merry Christmas!

Some links to get us started:

A wonderful Christmas cover from The XX.

Unique holiday drinks to try this weekend.

Animals opening presents.

Some of the coolest wrapping I've seen.

Hilarious gifs to make you smile.

In case you actually have time for some DIY this weekend: mason jar snow globesmap ornamentsChristmas crackers.

Have you seen this new movie trailer. Whoa.

Great last minute gift idea, I want this.

Cat made an honorary crossing guard in WA, so cute!


The Carols of Christmas Present

Here's my last Christmas playlist for you. These are my new favorites. 

Sufjan Steven's Songs for Christmas became an instant classic in our house when it came out a few years back and this year he released Silver & Gold which has a bit of a different, techno vibe. If you're in the market for new Christmas music, I highly recommend Sufjan, also A Very She & Him Christmas and the compilation Holidays Rule. You'll find songs from all of these below. Enjoy! 
New Christmas Favorites by The Things We Would Blog on Grooveshark
Image: Jason & tree in front of our cute little house.

Happy Birthday Jenny!

Today we celebrate Jenny -- Here’s to the best best-friend a girl could ask for!

I’d like to share two things I love about Jenny to celebrate her birthday.

1. When Jenny say’s she’s “there for you” she means it literally. As in she’s at your house helping to arrange furniture, flying across the country to visit, driving you to the airport, on the phone listening to you complain about the same thing for the thousandth time, and cooking your Thanksgiving food for you. In other words, she’s the best. 

2. I think I owe her about $10,000. For the past 10 years we have done a TERRIBLE job of keeping track of how much money we owe each other. We shared all our food for four years in college, rarely split the bill when going out (I don’t have cash, I’ll get it next time), have traveled around the world and throw parties/showers together at least once a quarter. I’m fairly convinced that over the years Jenny’s generosity has tilted the scales my favor and I owe her a lot of money. At the very least I owe her for the hundreds of meals she’s cooked for me (despite what you might have been lead to believe based on this blog, I don’t really enjoy cooking).

Her birthday falls very close to Christmas but we still usually manage to celebrate in style. Last year we went ice skating and this year we’re going to see this exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. 

Happy Birthday my friend!

Christmas in Ireland

Two years ago we spent Christmas in Ireland. As I've mentioned, Patrick and I spent the 2010-2011 school year living in Dublin while he studied for his MBA. While we would have loved to have gone home,  ultimately we decided that flights were too expensive and we'd rather spend our limited funds on traveling within Europe after the program. But....we ended up having one of the most memorable and magical Christmas' I could have imagined! 

One of Patrick's best friends in the program, Christopher, invited us to join his family in County Sligo for the holiday at their 250 year old "farm home" in the country. That week before Christmas brought a very unusual foot or two of snow to Ireland and the country was a winter wonderland. We had a "picture postcard" experience on the farm, joining in all the Irish traditions and loving every minute of our white Christmas. We were so blessed to be embraced by a wonderful family. The photos tell the story better than words I think, thanks for indulging my walk down memory  lane. 
Christopher's family home in Co. Sligo, Ireland

A Christmas Eve stroll on the frozen pond and through the woods
Christopher and his mother and brothers

View from the living room on Christmas morning
Church we attended on Christmas day, this church has no power or heat and it was about 25 degrees. Quite and experience with everyone all bundled up in the pews!

After church we took a walk on the beach with my favorite dog, Tiffin! One of the older guys even decided to take a dip in the sea, brrrr.
Having some a "picnic" at the beach. I love this photo

Christopher and Patrick
Christopher's parents opening gifts - everyone wears a funny hat while opening!

Christmas dinner in their huge old dining room with a blazing fire. We all did "crackers" and wore our crowns.

Wedding Wednesday: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Just a little holiday fun wedding style...

JKoe Photography

Santa Letters

Did you write letters to Santa as a child?

Here's a letter I left for Santa one Christmas Eve...

Holiday Traditions With Friends: Little Women

Last week, I wrote about family Christmas traditions, but do you have any annual holiday traditions with friends?

For nearly 10 years Jenny and I have gathered with some college friends, family and whoever else is around to snuggle up and watch the best "holiday" movie ever: Little Women. I cannot get enough of this movie so I only allow myself to watch it once a year at Christmas (or if I'm really depressed once in the summer too) and it's always a fun treat to spend a couple of hours with Jo, Laurie and the gang. This year Jenny, Brittany, my mom and I gathered on a Monday night in front of the Christmas tree and a blazing fire to eat macarons, watch the March family, and make clove oranges.

Jenny came up with the fun idea of making designs on oranges with cloves! The whole house smelled AMAZING and we had a cute display afterward. Plus it felt very late 1800's New England of us. 

How do you and your friends celebrate the holidays?

Holiday Shopping Tip

Have you finished your Christmas shopping? In case you're not quite done yet, tons of stores online are offering free shipping with holiday delivery today only. Check out freeshippingday.com for a list of participating shops.
Avoiding crazy shopping centers...it's like an extra gift to you because I promise, no matter where you shop, Keanu Reaves won't be there to drive you home and serenade you with a ditty about Ohio.
Now I want to know who else remember's the 1986 version of Babes in Toyland starring Keanu Reaves and Drew Barrymore?

(image via)

Monday Motivation

In looking for happier things, I stumbled upon this last week. I hope it makes you smile. 
Tell someone you love them and do something good today. 

(image via)

Friday Roundup

Christmas is getting closer! My birthday is next week! This is my favorite time of winter. I'll be spending the weekend working away so I'll be able to relax and enjoy my birthday and then Christmas. The ups and downs of being self-employed...I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of parties, eggnog and holiday cheer.

Holiday movie recommendation: The Shop Around the Corner (pictured above) Have you seen it? It stars Jimmy Stewart and Margret Sullavan. This is the movie You've Got Mail is loosely based on. It's super cute and free on Amazon Prime streaming right now. Image above via.

Christmas Traditions in Seattle

I happened to stumble across a website of avocado recipes. I want to try all of them.

Crispy Lemon Zest from Lovely Little Things

DIY Ornaments & DIY Stalkings

Tips on tipping for the holidays

Law & Order tally for Jason, who's watched every episode.

Give the gift of Ryan Lochte this holiday season.

Fatherly advice from Frank Sinatra.

Holiday Gifts that Give Back

Here are some great gift ideas that are not only cute but give back to some great charities. Win-win!

10 cute mugs from West Elm - each one funds a different charity. 
Punjammies -- bright and beautifully patterned sari-inspired pajama pants made by girls who have been rescued from forced prostitution in a holistic aftercare center in India.

14k gold bracelet from Kate Spade benefiting Women for Women International.
100% of the profit from Viva Glam makeup products from MAC goes to help women, men and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Krochet Kids beanie hats made by women in Peru and Uganda who are learning a trade to bring sustainable income to their families.
One of our favorite local shops, Glassybaby, gives a portion of the profits from special candle holders to different charities. 

Kiehls limited edition Creme de Corps benefiting RxArts which fosters artistic expression for kids in pediatric hospitals. 
Love these owls from West Elm that benefit St. Judes Children's Hospital.

PS. Celebrities making a difference through holiday giving and Jenny's fair trade gift guide

Family Christmas Traditions

One of our Christmas Eve traditions since I was a little girl is to eat dinner at the round coffee table in my parent's living room. When we were kids it was such a unique and fun experience for that one day a year to have our meal sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the fireplace. We usually have salmon and shrimp as the main course and after dinner we go around the table and share our best and worst memories from the year before. This is always a special time of reflection, some years we can all share in the joy of one another's accomplishments or good luck while other years it's a time to comfort each other.

Next we open two presents that my mom gets us, one is pajamas and the other is an ornament for the tree. Over the years I have accumulated enough ornaments from my mom to fill my own tree because of this tradition! When we were little kids we used to have a dance party to Christmas tunes in our pj's before we went to bed. Those are some great memories that I'd love to recreate with my own children someday.

Nowadays it's a tight squeeze with five to seven adults sitting on the floor around the coffee table, but it doesn't quite feel like Christmas unless we're cross-legged in front of the fire.

What are your Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Last Christmas,  I thought it would be fun to wrap all of my Christmas presents in brown paper and tie them with string. I'm a huge dork and The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies. Although I never really understood who decided that song was a Christmas song...

I was astonished at how practically everyone who walked through my door got my little joke. Although, to be honest, my "string" was actually yarn, there were some yarn pompoms involved too. I also used strips of white fabric I had on hand for bows.

Jason took photos of me being a creepy elf and putting out the packages. Please note the cat in the bottom of the photo. You can't see his face, but I promise he's looking at me like I'm a crazy person. My cat thinks I'm a weirdo.  

Then I took an elf nap under the tree. This was supposed to be a joke for the photo, but I'm pretty sure I actually fell asleep. It was just so cozy and Christmasy. 

I just got some pretty new string and am getting ready to wrap some more brown paper packages tied up with string to put under my tree this year. Now it actually does make my list of favorite things!

80's & 90's Christmas: Holiday Playlist #3