Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cleaning Up After Christmas and Winter Wonderland Party Prep

Bit by bit, I'm removing my Christmas decorations from my house.

Happy New Year's Eve! Today I'm playing a bit of hooky from work - taking my dogs to the park, and then taking down my Christmas decorations. I'll swap out my red tablecloth for a white one, take the red-and-green wreath off my door and replace it with a snowy evergreen one, and make other small alterations to my decor.


A dozen organic eggs I'm hard-boiling for salads and egg salad sandwiches in the week ahead

  • Do you have any time off this week? Can you catch up on a few things and get a little bit ahead before your next workweek? Things that will make your life easier when work resumes? I'm cooking a few things to put away and/or freeze to make my January easier.
  • For example, do you have any breads you might bake ahead of time, soups or casseroles you could freeze, hardboiled eggs for your upcoming salads? Desserts to share or gift to neighbors?
  • Have you cleaned up your living room, if you hosted Christmas, of all the extraneous gifts, ribbons, wrapping papers and trash bags?
  • After the festive holiday dinners and parties I attended, I feel a little unhealthy. I'm making extra effort to avoid sugar and fat, and eat some healthy fruit and veggies. Do you have fresh produce in the house?
  • If you traveled for Christmas, are you caught up on your laundry and unpacking?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Cleaning Up Christmas

I housesat this lovely home during the week of Christmas.

I didn't spend Christmas in my own home this year. Instead, I housesat for traveling relatives and spent the holidays with my grandfather. The small town I was in had a generous amount of snow. After my grandfather went to bed every night, friends bundled me up and took me out to bars and festive late night gatherings at their homes.

It was nice to shake up my yearly routine a bit (and nice not to have all the work of hosting a big Christmas dinner for multiple family members). However, my dream will always be to spend Christmas in my own home. That might not always be possible, since I don't have any children of my own to host Christmas for.

I can't really complain about making myself at home in a castle-styled house with an indoor wine cellar, basement movie theater and outdoor hot tub! Also, I'm counting my blessings that I was able to finally have a White Christmas!

I decorated minimally this year - check out my tiny tree!

Now that I'm home, I'm making time today to take down my Christmas tree and decorations. I'm usually very prompt about removing decorations on New Year's Day - pajama clad and aided by my last round of Christmas music, a fire, and a generous mug of bourbon-laced hot cocoa. Normally I've overdecorated my house and am quite glad to have some of the festive Christmas clutter gone!

These silver ball trees will be part of my Winter Wonderland party decorations

This year I'm in an extra special hurry to swap out the festive red and green decorations, anything with a poinsettia or Santa on it, or anything that screams "Christmas." I'm having a "Winter Wonderland" party in a couple weeks and need to get the house staged for that.

These silver ball trees were heavily discounted after Christmas, so I bought several

My decorating theme for that party is a snowy winter woodland with silver and gold accents. I don't normally care for the way silver and gold look together, so decorating for this party has been a bit of a mental challenge for me. But I brought this upon myself!

When I'm done undecorating, vacuuming, and redecorating, I'll have just enough time to eat a quiet hot dinner, then make my way to a friend's house where I am babysitting tonight. They'll come home before midnight so I can safely get off the roads before any dangerous drivers come out. I can look forward to coming home, lighting a fire in the fireplace, pouring a small bit of champagne and spending a quiet New Year's Eve with my pets. This is my first New Year's Eve at home alone and I'm excited I have chosen to celebrate this way this year!

When do you remove your Christmas decorations? Let us know in the comment section below.

LOVELY BLOGS: Champagne & Macarons

I'm surprised this lovely blog doesn't have an About page. I had to dig around a bit to find out the blogger's name: Brenda. (Not stalking her, just curious about the woman behind this blog!) She lives in St. Louis Missouri, and specializes in design & decor, fashion & beauty blogging. I especially enjoy her travel blogging - her photographs are so gorgeous and make me so intrigued to learn more about the places she's been. She also shares beautifully photographed recipes and the occasional cocktail.

Check out her post from September on Inspiring Baths!

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LOVELY MOVIES: Pretty in Pink 30th Anniversary

It makes me feel old that Pretty in Pink will celebrate its 30th anniversary this February (2016). This film meant a lot to me when I saw it as a 17 year old. Like all John Hughes films, it celebrates the smart, nerdy outsiders which I of course identified with heavily.

I also about wore out my Pretty in Pink Soundtrack, which I had on vinyl. So many good songs on that album - "Left of Center" by Suzanne Vega, The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please, Let me Get What I Want," "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen, and of course the titular song by The Psychedelic Furs.

I'm so looking forward to hosting a Girls Night Out complete with cocktails, pink dresses, and Duckie fangirling.

Pretty in Pink Showtimes at


Boozy Adventures and How to Make Homemade Limoncello (Multiculturiosity)

Broccolini and Sausage Pasta (Bonbon Break)

Chickpea Potato Soup with Pesto and Lemon (Eat in My Kitchen)

Chocolate Cherry Scones (Cooking Light)

Cranberry Brie Bites (The Rose Table)

Cranberry, Lemon and Poppy Seed Breakfast Slice (Dolly and Oatmeal)

Five Useful Tips for Off-Season Storage (Vintage Zest)

Gingerbread Layer Cake (Smitten Kitchen)

Kourabiedes - Greek Butter Cookies (Sailus Food)

Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (My Recipe Confessions)

Lemon Ricotta Cookies (Kitchen Nostalgia)

Lemon Truffles (Keep it Sweet Desserts)

Meyer Lemon Tart with Gingersnap Crust (Grits and Pinecones)

Meyer Lemon and Thyme Roasted chicken (The Unorthodox Epicure)

Olive Oil Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Frosting (Cuisinovia)

Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Prosciutto (Little Broken)

Sunny Pie (Milk and Bun)

Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Mascarpone Cheese (Whidbey Island Girl)

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