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EAT IT // Party Appetizers

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zach and I are in crazy-people packing mode right now.... but I wanted to stop in and say how much fun we had at our going away party last night! I wasn't able to capture many photos of our friends (I was too carried away with catching up with everyone) but I definitely grabbed some photos of the food before everyone showed up. 

I love any excuse to entertain, so I think I went a little crazy with the appetizers we served. Oh well, they were delicious. 

Like I mentioned, we have to pack up our whole house (and paint it white!) by Wednesday, so I don't have time to type out the recipes for everything, but I thought I'd include links in case you want to try some options out at your next party.  

We served tiny brie bites (made with crackers, slices of brie, fig jam, and rosemary sprigs), bruschetta (my own recipe involving lots of garlic, salt and olive oil), bacon wrapped dates (stuffed with pistachios and apricot,) Italian pinwheels (pesto+cheese+turkey+spinach+rolled tortilla,) and caprese skewers (a simple take on the classic salad.) 

For dessert, I made my great aunt's chocolate crinkle recipe, some molasses gems, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Overall, the party went over without a hitch! Except for some minor conflicts with our downstairs neighbor (involving her banging a broom on our floor) and a super messy kitchen this morning, it was so much fun. Thanks to everyone who made the long trek in the rain to send us off - it means the world to both Zach and I!

More updates on the move tomorrow!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We've heard that San Francisco isn't a great place to have a car (or two.) So we made the very practical decision to sell my Jetta before we moved up there.

But it wasn't until she sold (24 hours after we put it up on Craigslist) that I realized how attached I was to that little red Volkswagen. We've been through a lot together, she and I: she taught me how to drive stick, accompanied me on the long journey from Portland to LA, put up with every scratch and bump I gave her, and at one point she even let me live in of her for a while (but, that's another story.)  I fear that I've become one of those weird people who gets emotional about inanimate objects... Then again, I should give myself a break. There's a lot of change happening in our lives right now, so I should expect to be a little emotional, right? Right?!

Please tell me I'm not alone... Ugh. Change is hard.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I L-O-V-E photobooths. Like, really love them. Maybe it's because I'm horribly self-centered and love to stare at my face all day. Or, maybe it's because I love the story that a collection of photobooth pictures can tell (zero words required.)

We'll go with the later.  

Anyway, there was a photobooth at the holiday party last week... so you know that Zach and I were all over that. Although now that I'm looking through them again, I'm not sure what particular story these images are telling...

 It's weird. That's for sure. Also, we have no clue who this child is. He just popped up into our photo and we went with it. Because that's what photobooths are all about. 


Friday, December 7, 2012

With the big move coming up (wow, it feels so good to finally be able to say that!), we decided to keep our Christmas decorations simple this year. Except for a few items bought on serious sale last January, I made most things myself.

We're pretty particular about our tree being a noble fir. They're more expensive at the lot, but they're waaaaay prettier. And this year's tree is so pretty, I think I would've been happy just stringing a few lights around it and calling it a day. Then again, I love my little ornament collection so I'd have been sad if we didn't use them.

My favorite ornaments this year might be the pom poms I made last month. They were REALLY easy to make, and add some nice contrast against the other glass ornaments we have. (If you want to make some of your own, designlovefest has a great tutorial here.) Also new this year was our tree star (from World Market) and a few chalkboard ornaments.

AH! Just looking at these pictures makes me so happy. I love this time of year so much!

Are you decorations up yet? What do they look like?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

I've been trying to think of an eloquent way to say this. Something like "life has seasons...." or "the next step in the journey always comes..." or "there comes a time when..." But, instead of showering you in cliches, I'll just try keep this simple.

After 6 completely wonderful years in Los Angeles, Zach and I are moving. Zach's accepted a position as the lead designer at an app company in San Francisco. So, come January 2 we will no longer be Southern Californians.

I'm still wrapping my head around what all this means. And I feel like the last week has been an emotional roller coaster: I'm excited about starting a new adventure with my best friend! But, I don't think I realized how hard it's going to be to say "goodbye."

Also, since Zach's family flies into LAX for the holidays on December 20 and then we leave for Austria on December 25, I've got about 2 weeks to get our whole life packed up. (Feeling a little overwhelmed right now!)

Anyway, I'm sure we'll share more in the upcoming weeks. But we wanted to update everyone on our big news (and no, mom, we're not pregnant.)

photo via loving fast 

MAKE IT // Chalkboard Ornaments

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

 I haven't been crafty in foreeeeeeever. We've just been really busy - and with some big changes coming in our life soon (more on that tomorrow) my time has been split between 14(ish) different directions.

But, after we got our Christmas tree last week, it seemed like it was missing a few ornaments. I'd seen a picture of chalkboard ornaments on Pinterest, so I decided I'd make a few for our little tree. The process ended up being fairly easy! I just struggled with drawing with chalk at the end (chalk is such a finicky medium.) As you can probably tell, mine got a little messy... so I'm going to spend the next few days perfecting the designs on each ornament.

BUT, if you're interested in trying it out for yourself, here are the steps I took:

First, I removed the metal loop at the top of each ornament. That way, I could easily stick my finger in and dunk the ornament into the chalkboard paint. After I dunked, there was a lot of excess paint that dripped off, so I used a sponge paintbrush to wipe off any excess. Then, I placed each bulb on a skewer so they could dry without smudging.

When the first coat was dry, I dunked each ornament and repeated the process again to make sure none of the glass showed through.

Once everything was dry (the paint can says 3 days, I say a day and a half) I covered the ornament in chalk, then wiped it clean (supposedly this helps the chalk become more easily erasable or something.)

Then came the hard part - drawing out the designs. I tried to do mine really fast, and that didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to. Unless you're some kind of freaky chalk artist, this might take you a few tries. Also, as you can see in the ornament below, chalk smudges... that can be annoying.

But ultimately, I'm happy with the way things turned out.

Have you done any fun projects this holiday season?


Friday, November 30, 2012

In our house, the only music that's allowed in December is Christmas music. We're not going to waste precious moments listening to music we can hear any other time of year.

But, let's be honest: the stuff that's played on those smooth jazz stations gets really old after a while (if I hear "Christmas Shoes" one more time...) So, this year I'm excited that many of my favorite artists now have Christmas albums. Since Thanksgiving, I've been overdosing on She & Him, Pink Martini, Sufjan Stevens, Good Lovelies, and Mindy Gledhill (among others.)

For your listening pleasure, I've put together a super-long mix to help you get into the Christmas spirit. If you've got Spotfiy, you can listen straight from the app below - or you can always subscribe to my Playlist from your own computer. If not, I've included the album names & artists below.

Also - I'm always looking for new Christmas music. So, let me know if there's anything else I should be listening to!

Joy To the World (Pink Martini,) Silver & Gold (Sufjan Stevens,) Holidays Rule (various artists,) A Very Merry Perri Christmas (Christina Perri,) A Very She & Him Christmas (She & Him,) The Hotel Cafe Presents... Winter Songs (various artists,) Winter Moon (Mindy Gledhill,) Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In (various artists,) On This Winter's Night (Lady Antebellum,) Under the Mistletoe (Good Lovelies,) Songs for Christmas (Phil Wickham,) Very Merry Christmas (Dave Barnes,) Christmas Swing (Ella Fitzgerald,) This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 2 (various artists,) A Very Special Acoustic Christmas (various artists,) Christmas in the Sand (Colbie Caillat,) Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep on Giving (various artists.)

For older playlists, click here & here.

image via weissesrauschen


Thursday, November 29, 2012

From the moment our plane touched down at LAX on Monday, I was reminding Zach that we needed to get our Christmas tree... like, ASAP. I convinced him to head straight home, drop off our luggage, and visit the Christmas tree lot a few blocks from our house.

Christmas tree lots in LA are so funny. It was at least 60 degrees and everyone was still bundled up. (My beanie? Totally unnecessary.) And there were 2 huge palm trees 10 feet away from the cash register... Needless to say, it was a far cry from the rural forests my Oregonian family would hike to every Christmas. But, I guess you take what you can get.

Our apartment's too small to get a big tree. So, we picked out a little guy. He's shorter than I am, even with a topper. I love him. 

Right now our decorations are almost done, although I still have a few things to pick up before I show pictures of the final product. What about you? Is your tree up yet? (Also, does Target sell fake snow?)

GIFT GUIDE // For Your Friend, Girlfriend, Wife, Sister, Sister Wife, etc.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This year, Zach and I are spending Christmas with his family. On December 20, they're all arriving at his sister's place in Venice and for a solid 5 days we'll be partying it up! Since there are so many of us now (marriage and stuff,) we have the tradition of playing Secret Santa for the gift-giving... but it always comes with a twist. Last time, each Secret Santa had to MAKE their gift. This year? Our gifts can't cost more than $25.

To help our relatives out, we're supposed to put together a wishlist. And, since I've been working on mine this week - I thought I'd share it here too. That way, if you're stumped on what to get that sister wife of yours, I've got ya covered.

What do you hoping for this Christmas?

ring   //   socks   //   slippers   //   scarf   //   hat   //   collar   //   head scarf   //   tights


Monday, November 26, 2012

Zach and I just returned from our Thanksgiving trip to visit my family in oh-so-very-rainy Portland.

I always forget how cold and wet it is up there - and we definitely didn't bring the right clothes for the weather. On Friday, we ended up borrowing my parents' coats for an afternoon walk in the country... and then I spent most of the time whining because water soaked through my boots and into my socks (boo!) 

But seriously, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. So it's always special when I get to spend it with my family. We've only been back for a few hours now and I'm already missing them.

What about you? How did you spend the holiday?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Have you guys heard Selah Sue's music? I just started listening to her this week... and now I'm officially obsessed.

New Amy Winehouse?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Last year, I splurged on an expensive wall calendar at Anthropologie. And now after a 12 month love affair with this changeable art installation in my kitchen, I think I've turned into a calendar gal. For the past few months, I've been on the hunt for the perfect 2013 edition. So, when I discovered Rifle Paper Co.'s Cities Calendar, I was completely sold. 

Think it's too early to put it up?


Hey, guess what?! Zach and I are selling our chalkboard side table. We've used it in our living room, but I also think it'd be cute in a kids bedroom.

To give a little background on this gem, I found it at The Rose Bowl Flea Market (it's an antique.) Then I gave it a little love with a few coats of chalkboard paint and wrote out my favorite passage from Pride and Prejudice. The knobs are from Anthropologie. 

Right now, I'm asking for $60 to try and recoup *some* of my costs. But, I'm always open for negotiation. :)  Email me: alison(at) if you're interested!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Until today, I never understood why people didn't like going to the dentist.

Then again, until today I'd never had to get a cavity filled.
I'd never had a 2-inch needle shoved into my jaw (4 times!)
I'd never had my entire face go so numb that I couldn't even open up my eyes.
I'd never had my lower lip feel so much like swollen rubber.
I'd never had a dentist stand over me with a chisel.
I'd never had a nurse laugh at my failed attempts to ask a simple question.

I'm sorry, I just never knew... and now I'm already dreading having to go back and do it all again next month.

Hey guys, I get it now.

(via pinterest


Thursday, November 15, 2012

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