Posts from — December 2011
2011 was an incredible year and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to share it with you. Thank you for reading along and cheers to a happy and promising 2012.
| January |
| November |
| December |
December 31, 2011 Comments Off
As mentioned here, I’m crazy for Christmas lights and couldn’t think of a better way to cap off my wonderful Wisconsin jaunt by excitedly driving through Madison’s Fantasy in Lights while oohing and awing with each passing display. Though our family visited Oglebay’s Festival of Lights (one of the nation’s largest shows) several times throughout my childhood, I loved donating a few dollars to a smaller display that still gave me the same holiday cheer and enchantment as the grander scale operation on the East Coast.
December 30, 2011 Comments Off
When you’re the daughter of a football player and coach, you tend to inherit the same (albeit weird) obsession with exploring major gridiron stadiums across the country. Despite my diehard love for Penn State, I possess a strong admiration for the remaining Big Ten schools — in particular, the Wisconsin Badgers. Whether the program’s solid tradition of excellence, the university’s high standard of academics or the campus’ spectacular beauty, all three aspects offer strong and well-deserved selling points of becoming a Badger. And while I never gave Wisconsin a thought when applying to colleges over a decade ago, I can easily see the appeal of proudly wearing red and white.
December 29, 2011 Comments Off
For someone who finds great joy in dates that involve bowling, you’d think I’d be a little better at the game itself. That’s why tonight, when I bowled two consecutive strikes, I almost fainted in anticipation of bowling a turkey (three strikes in a row). Though I came up short with a spare, I won the overall game by 22 points, which boded well for my confidence a bit later when playing a few rounds of pool at the Great Dane. (Note: While the scoreboard above reads Blaire, I can assure you that the screen and score is mine — I just (oddly) enjoy testing out different first names when in a playful setting).
December 28, 2011 Comments Off
Wisconsin is a state famed for its cheese, bitterly cold winters and ice-cold bottles of beer. But, as I discovered on this morning’s impromptu road trip, Madison is a cosmopolitan college town located at the state’s capitol that also keeps its nearly 300,000 residents attuned to music, arts and politics. The liberal sidewalks along State Street are packed with bustling bookstores and restaurants, while the city itself is uniquely situated on an isthmus between the area’s two largest lakes — a setting which offers impressive beauty and a wide range of recreational activities (especially in the summertime!). Madison consistently ranks as a top community in which to live, work and play and after my first day of exploration, I couldn’t agree more.
December 27, 2011 Comments Off
After the buzz and rush of yesterday, I appreciated the late-morning leisure of relaxing near the lobby’s Christmas tree and savoring the gift of not being confined to the office on a Monday. The sunshine hasn’t subsided once over the holiday weekend and I couldn’t be happier.
December 26, 2011 Comments Off
Christmas morning felt delightful. Between festive music, bottomless mimosas and movie marathons, my day was absolutely wonderful (even though I didn’t spend the holidays with everyone that I love). And while the fun gifts are certainly appreciated, I’m especially grateful for the amazing people I care about the most in my life and wish nothing more than their unconditional love, good health and continued bond in the year to come. I hope they realize that they are my world and I couldn’t image my life without them.
December 25, 2011 Comments Off
| Baskets of pretty ornaments |
Designed to resemble a little German village in the heart of the city, we celebrated Christmas Eve at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket, an annual festival that draws thousands of people and features European timber houses, beautifully decorated Christmas trees and delicious German delicacies (like spiced wine and strudel). After negotiating the crowds and browsing the homemade crafts at each tent, we walked home with a new cuckoo clock, hand blown ornament and very full stomachs (promptly followed by an afternoon nap).
| An authentic bratwurst topped with mustard and sauerkraut |
| Displays of hand painted nutcrackers |
| The scent of traditional Austrian strudels wafting in the air |
| Colorful strings of handmade Sherpa hats from Nepal |
| German potato pancakes with a side of applesauce and sour cream |
| Dainty dishes and bowls perfect for meting out servings of little nibbles |
December 24, 2011 Comments Off
In preparation for the holidays, I spent a few quiet moments to myself and reread one of my most cherished children’s stories, The Polar Express. The book has been a treasured holiday classic in my family since my sister and I were little girls, so after I dried my tears and hugged the finished storybook, I felt inspired to utilize my leftover silver bells to decorate a large glass canister on my window seat. Every time I walk by, I can’t help but savor the sweet ringing of the bells and once again believe in the spirit of Christmas, even as an adult.
December 23, 2011 Comments Off
‘Tis the season for dinner parties with friends, glasses of champagne and hand-in-hand midnight strolls with the beau — all three of which require the accompaniment of a solid musical mix. Since I adore playing songs at all times, it’s pretty standard for me to have a myriad of different playlists on my iTunes that can adapt to any given moment. Whether lying low at home, driving in the car or working at my desk, below are some of my newest, non-holiday favorites of the month.
- Radical Face | “Welcome Home”
- Bon Iver | “For Emma”
- Gavin DeGraw | “Where You Are”
- The High Road | “Broken Bells”
- Florence + The Machine | “Cosmic Love”
- Kate Nash | “Nicest Thing”
- Hook the Captain | “Temple”
- Adele | “Turning Tables”
- The Morning Benders | “Excuses”
- Iron and Wine | “Lovesong of the Buzzard”
- Erin McCarley | “Lovesick Mistake”
- Local Natives | “Wide Eyes”
December 22, 2011 Comments Off