Christmas 2013

Oh, Christmas.  Once again, you've come and gone like it didn't mean one little thing to you at all.  Seriously though, I know I'm not the only one who felt like the holidays blew by.  Jason said it has something to do with there being one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which could very well be the reason!

I had the pleasure of using a little vacation time to road trip down to my pretty home city of Houston to see friends and family.  Last last Thursday (the day before I was to leave for Houston) I contracted a horribly awful stomach virus from Jason and spent literally all day on the couch nibbling on saltines and carefully sipping ginger ale.  Luckily, the worst of it was over by the next morning, and all day Friday I just experienced some bad cramping in my stomach that caused me to walk around hunched over like a ninety-year-old grandma.  I got into Houston that night and went straight to my mom's where we picked up some chips, queso and salsa from Iguana Joe's because, oddly enough, that's the only thing that sounded appetizing to me after being sick.  So we spent the evening munching and watching bad reality television.

Saturday morning, we decided to go over to my Aunt Kelley's to bake and decorate some Christmas cookies with her and my cousin, Kirby.  It was a fun few hours of frosting little christmas trees, snowmen, gingerbread men and stars while enjoying each others' company.  That night I drove over to Kingwood to my best friend Sam's apartment for a little Christmas get-together with my best ladies.  We exchanged presents, drank lots of wine and sangria, danced like wild women, took silly pictures, giggled and carried on as we have for many years.  I hope we never change!  It was the most fun I've had in a long time.  I love that no matter how much time passes since our last visit, when we all get together, we can easily just pick up where we left off and have the best time.

Sunday, my mom, my sister, my brother and I all met up with my aunts and cousins at the Galleria.  I'm so excited I got a chance to see it during Christmastime!  It's always decorated so beautifully with the huge Christmas tree in the center of the mall surrounded by the ice skating rink.  I wasn't really shopping for anything, as I'd finished all of my Christmas shopping quite early this year, but it was still fun to window shop and watch my sister and little teenage cousins get their makeup done at Chanel and peruse the glittery glass cases at Tiffany's.  Of course we ate lunch while we were there.  That was practically the first thing we did once we all met up!  And, of course, we chose The Cheesecake Factory.  I had to get my sweet corn tamale cakes on ;).

Monday, I went over to Tomball/Spring to my grandparents' house to celebrate Christmas with my dad's side of the family.  Meme made a traditional Christmas dinner spread, as she always does, and it's always so delicious.  After dinner, we opened presents and chatted for a while before I headed back to my mom's.

On Christmas Eve, we went back to my Aunt Kelley's to celebrate Christmas with my mom's side of the family.  Uncle Steve made a yummy gumbo with chicken and sausage, and there were treats all over the place for us to snack on before and after lunch.  It's always so wonderful to have all of my maternal cousins all together in the same place.  It was great getting to see my Aunt Kim and Uncle Dale, along with Esther, Sarah and Abigail.  I'm so jealous of Sarah right now because she just left on a 7-day cruise with her boyfriend yesterday!  I know they'll have a blast so I'm really happy for her.

On Christmas Day, we went over to my mom's finace's sister's (woah, that's a jumble) house for brunch and MORE present opening.  Yes, I get a ridiculous amount of gifts, and my family is only growing so it's only getting more obscene, haha.  After hanging out there for a couple of hours, my mom, Randy (her fiance) and I went for a two-mile walk around the park by her apartment, and then Randy made us sour cream chicken enchiladas for dinner, and of course, I made my mom make us some margaritas with her pineapple-vanilla bean infused tequila.  I live for that stuff!  Pretty sure I drank about four of those bad boys and then started passing out while we were playing Sequence and Yahtzee.

The day after Christmas, I hit the road fairly early to get back to Austin for an afternoon of work. Speaking of work, it really hasn't been too bad lately.  We're smack in the middle of our slow season so now is the time to clean everything out, get re-organized and relax a little before March madness begins.  And I'm not talking about basketball.  I'm referring to the madness that ensues in Austin in March - SXSW, among a couple thousand other conferences and events that take over around that time.

Well, my apologies for the lengthy post.  I know Emily will not approve! :)  I just had to tell you all about my fabulous Christmas events, and I hope everyone had a cozy, warm, family-filled holiday like I did.

Happy New Year! 


Tagged: The 10 Days of Christmas

1. What do you love the most about Christmas time?
Mostly being with family.  It's the one time each year I get to see EVERYONE I love.  I always get super depressed when it's all over, haha.  I also love all of the food that comes with Christmastime (hot chocolate, cookies, casseroles, pies, etc.), the music, the energy, the mood, the cold-ish weather, decorating the house, all of the beautiful twinkle lights that take over neighborhoods and city streets and of course, all of my favorite Christmas stories and movies (Love Actually, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Family Stone, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.)!

2. Do you celebrate the holiday in style or is Bah-Humbug for you?
I'd say I celebrate in style.  I'm all about the glittery, festive nail polish and makeup.  I attend every holiday party that I possibly can, and I definitely go all out with the decor.
3. Are you leaving anything out for Santa Claus this year so he remembers to leave your presents?
I used to leave cookies and milk as a child, but I haven't done that in quite some time.  Probably won't until I have kids of my own.
4. What is the one gift you are most looking forward to GIVING? {It can be to your kids, another family member, etc – remember to be discreet if they read your blog}
Welllll, I got some really cute (if I may say so myself) gifties for my best friends, and a couple of awesome things for Jason that I know he'll love.
5. What is your all-time favorite Christmas movie? Either Meet Me In St. Louis or The Family Stone
6. What is your all-time favorite Christmas song?
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland & "Blue Christmas" by Elvis
7. If given the opportunity, would you participate in an “Ugly Sweater” party and what sweater would you wear? Peruse one on the Internet or even if your own closet and show us!
Been there, done that. 
8. Have you started any Christmas traditions this year that you plan on carrying forward? Not this year really, but last year, Jason and I decided that we would eat at 24 Diner and then celebrate Christmas together early because I typically journey to Houston for Christmas, and he has to stay here in Austin and work like a crazy person.  So we pick a day before I leave to open each others' gifts and eat at one of our favorite places.
9. It’s Christmas morning… what does it look like outside where you live?  Last year it was fairly warm, but I hope it will be ice cold this time around!
10. You just found yourself standing under the mistletoe… who comes up to give you a kiss first?
A handsome gent named Jason.  :)

I'm a little late in the game, so I tag anyone and everyone who wants to do this!

Happy Holidays!


Photography Friday Link-Up

I'm pretty excited to be participating in my first Photography Friday Blog Hop hosted by Jessica of This Analog Adventure and co-hosted by Sarah of Sarrrahgirl.  I am by no means whatsoever a self-proclaimed "photographer."  I'm just a lady who likes to take pictures occasionally, but Sarah encouraged me to try this out, and I'm glad I did.  I'm always searching for new ways to get to know myself and one of the best ways to do that is to express yourself artistically as much as you can.  I surprise myself on the daily when I let my freak flag truly go wild.

I like to call this series of photographs Procedural Beauty.

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Christmas Traditions

With Christmas drawing near, I've been doing a lot of thinking and remembering.  I miss being a kid, so overwhelmed by the magic of this time of year.  I miss believing in Santa, baking and decorating sugar cookies with my mom, going to the Galleria and seeing the tallest Christmas tree I'd ever seen in my life and sitting by the fire while opening my stocking and presents.  

When my mom was a kid, she and her sisters would put together a huge jigsaw puzzle over the holidays, so she carried that tradition to our family.  It was fun for a while, but to be completely honest with you, I would always get either bored or frustrated with it the first day we opened it up, so my step-dad was usually the one to finish it.

When I would celebrate with my dad's side of the family, I loved decorating the tree with my Meme and playing the role of Santa by passing out everyone's gifts to be opened.

Remembering all of these special moments make me a little sad, but also make me excited for when I have kids of my own.  We can continue these traditions and make new ones for our little family.  


Thanksgiving 2013

Sadly, I had to work another Thanksgiving so I was unable to travel to Houston to celebrate with family, and I was scheduled to work the evening shift so I didn't get to join Jason at his parents' house.  In light of everything, we decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner a couple of days early.  Jason made the turkey and candied sweet potatoes, and I happily made some of my family's traditional holiday dishes.  It was my first time to make my Nana's cornbread stuffing, and it was really much easier than I was expecting.  I remember her always talking about how difficult it was to make perfectly because it was passed down from her mother, "MeeMaw Hatcher", and she never wrote down specific measurements, just "a pinch of this" and "a dash of that."  I was pleasantly surprised at how simple the recipe was to follow and pleased that it came out not only edible, but quite delicious.  I also mastered MeeMaw's slow-cooked green beans and a copycat recipe for Black Eyed Pea's baked squash casserole (one of my all-time favorite dishes).  For dessert, I made a buttermilk pie, which I've made a few times before.  Everything turned out really scrumptious, and we made so much food that we couldn't even fit everything on the table!  On the plus side, we've had amazing leftovers all week.