Trim the Tree

tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

No shortage of square footage should ever get in the way of the Christmas spirit. At least, that’s the justification I used to validate squeezing a 6-foot tree into a 300-square-foot studio. Getting it inside was a struggle, and it took us three separate tries before it was actually standing up straight. But now that it’s decked out in twinkly lights and cheery little ornaments, our tree looks right at home.

Trimming the tree has always been my favorite holiday tradition. Back at home, we’d ward off the Minnesota chill with mugs of spiced cider and The Muppets Christmas CD. Even though we’re several thousand miles away, I keep those same traditions by hosting a tree trimming party for our friends. But this time, the cider is spiked!

My lovely mother-in-law is a fellow Christmas lover, and last year she sent us an amazing collection of ornaments that had special meaning. Throughout Jim’s life, she picked out a new ornament for him every year and dated them. Now every time we hang the ornaments on the tree, we get to experience a little chronological journey of Jim’s childhood. Down the road, I might have to take a page out of her book and do the same.

We’re so grateful to our friends for filling our home with laughter and joy. It hasn’t always been easy making our home so far away from where each of us grew up, but having good friends definitely makes it feel a lot like Christmas.

tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

paper snowflakes, holiday decorations, christmas party

gingerbread men, gingerbread cookies, christmas party

gingerbread cookies, tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

gingerbread ornaments, homemade ornaments, tree trimming party

tree trimming party, tree trimming, christmas party

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Wine on the Lips

fall sweaters, Thanksgiving outfits, wine country style

fall sweaters, Thanksgiving outfits, wine country style

I know it’s all about snow and trees in most of the country right now, but here in the Bay Area, we’re in a state of perpetual fall.┬áJim and I trekked (ok, drove a whole 45 minutes) up to Allyson‘s place a few weeks ago, and we managed to squeeze in a few quick photos in her backyard before dinner. Dexter the cat kept his watchful eyes on us, but he eventually gave in and decided to ham it up a bit for the camera.

Since my first foray into lipstick two years ago, I’ve worn bright pinks, bold reds, and the occasional nude. I’ve stayed completely away from deep or dark colors, fearing that I’d look like a reject from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer casting. But the new deep wine and burgundy lipsticks look surprisingly fresh when paired with a mostly-bare face, and it was time to give it a shot.

Every time I head up north, visions of a dog (or a barn cat) and backyard dance in my head. I’ve always felt a split between my small-town roots and infatuation with urban life, and usually they stay balanced. But when the sun dips down low and the vineyard turns gold, it’s a tough act to compete with.

I’d like to pretend that I kept this grown-up ensemble on for the rest of the evening, but we all know I put on my footie pajamas the first chance I got. At least I wasn’t the only one!

fall sweaters, Thanksgiving outfits, wine country style

fall sweaters, Thanksgiving outfits, wine country style

fall sweaters, Thanksgiving outfits, wine country style, Texas necklace

country cat, barn cat

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Holiday Gift Guide: Picks Under $100

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fab shades ($69) / bookish iPhone charger ($68) / pretty fragrance ($68)
dictionary iPhone wallet ($85) / measuring cup set ($70) / decorative plates ($60)
french press ($60) / cozy throw ($68 – just marked down to $40!)
gold-rimmed glasses ($54) / pave ring ($96) / clever canister with chocolate ($69)

With nine days left until Christmas, it’s time to roll out the big guns. That’s right- we’re now on to the gift guide between $50 and $100. From a funky iPhone charger to a refreshingly honest canister filled with chocolate, these are my favorite luxe picks for friends and family this year.

And as a bonus, the cozy little throw I picked from Anthropologie just went on sale this morning from $68 down to $40. Score!

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