I can’t believe that Christmas is just four days away! Thanks to a work trip earlier this month, my holiday season has been compacted into two whirlwind weeks. And for all my early gift pinning, I still have several more presents to buy. Sandwiched in between all the shopping and packing I’ll be doing this weekend, Kate is hosting a little holiday party tonight. I’m excited to be with friends (there will be wine! and caroling!) and kickoff my week of vacation. It feels like the holidays are flying by — I haven’t made a single cookie and I just started playing Christmas songs last week — but looking back over the past month, I’ve still managed to squeeze in quite a few lovely seasonal moments. Here are some of my favorites!
1) We had nine people over for a Friendsgiving dinner, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of cooking and hosting. Our menu included turkey (free-range, organic and the first one I’ve ever cooked!), vegetarian gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cheesy herb & apple bread pudding stuffing, popovers, roasted butternut squash and shredded brussel sprout & kale salad. For dessert, I made a pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust; Steph brought a caramel apple pie and Marissa brought a chocolate pecan one. Everything was made from scratch and tasted really good. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to my cooking but I think I’ve hit my Thanksgiving stride.
2) Benton and I woke up before sunrise to take pictures on the pier for our holiday card. It was all his idea — I can be a grumpy morning person — but I’m already treasuring these photos. We don’t have many good pictures together as we’re always taking shots of each other! We had a little hiccup with receiving the cards when one week of delivery turned into almost three, but I *think* it all worked out and everyone will get their mail just before Christmas.
3) My work trip to NYC happened to coincide with the day the Rockefeller tree was lit. My hotel was a total zoo — large and crowded — but also located within walking distance to Radio City Music Hall and so many gorgeous holiday displays. I wouldn’t trade the 70 degree weather in Los Angeles for New York’s chill but Christmas in Manhattan is pretty special. Because of all the heavy foot traffic, it seems like every single building, window and sidewalk is decorated. I just couldn’t help but feel sentimentally swept away in the moment every time I went outside.
4) I got to quickly visit my family while on the east coast, and my mom and I made a special trip to cut down a Christmas tree. The next day we decorated it with all the ornaments that our family has collected over the years, beginning when my parents were children themselves. I haven’t been home to cut and decorate the tree in years, so it felt especially lovely to take part in this tradition.
5) Rachel had her winter season Cirque School student showcase performance and she ROCKED it. She did a new routine on straps that was her best to date. And she and her balancing partner Hope brought down the house (that’s Rachel pictured above on the left, with Hope). Rachel looked so strong and elegant during both of her acts. I always look forward to her showcases because she trains hard and it shows — she’s so talented. I wish I could see her in action more than twice a year!