I have been lucky enough to have time off from work during the holidays and have been enjoying the days with B and FW, celebrating with my family, B’s family and some friends.
It’s going to be hard to go back to work this week; I had such a great time bonding with FW – who is now 6 months old! – during our time off and I love love LOVE the holidays so much.
our little 6-month-old boy!
Speaking of the holidays, here is how we spent our time – I should have written a few posts about them by now, but B, FW and I have all been sick on and off (mostly on) this week and my brain has been too fuzzy to put down thoughts.
1. Spending time with family. We went to NY and saw my family, some of whom had not yet met FW! We also spent time with B’s family in Cleveland when we returned after Christmas.
meeting cousin Max
with B’s aunt Patty and cousin Meghan
2. Seeing friends! While in NY, FW got to see my friends Katie and Jane. They had both met him before, but of course were excited to see how big he had gotten.
3. Running. Because how can I have time off of work without running? I started the week off with a 7 miler on the treadmill but after getting sick have been struggling to keep up my workouts. I got in 2 runs in NY (including one stroller run with B!) and I also started off 2017 with a 3.5 sloooow treadmill run/walk.
4. Going shopping. We hit up the West Side Market several times … I just can’t get enough of shopping there and having time off to do it during the week was great.
5. Eating lots of good food. Not just B and me – but FW is trying out some real food too!
how FW feels about most food
the meat and cheese platter we put together for New Year’s
love it when B makes me breakfast!
date night east – Vietnamese cabbage salad
5. Relaxing. Being sick, we didn’t get in nearly enough relaxing – or sleep – but it was nice to read and spend time with one another. I finished the book, Nightingale and loved it!
6. Dressing like one another. We couldn’t help it – one day FW, me, my dad and our cousin’s dog were all in similar attire! And another day, FW and I both wore navy sweaters and corduroys (and B was in his navy too!). Guess that’s what happens when you spend a lot of time with one another.
7. Enjoying the great outdoors. We lucked out with some great weather in NY and in Cleveland and got in a few outdoor walks and runs over the time. I think FW likes being in the burbs 🙂
New Year’s Day walk with FW and B – such blue skies!
FW loves looking out the window / doors
8. Going to the movies! B and I hadn’t been to the movies in FOREVER and it was so great to finally be able to enjoy a movie – in fact, we went to TWO during our time off! I highly recommend La La Land!
Some questions for you:
What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?
Did you get some time outdoors during the holidays and nice weather?
Welp, it’s been more than a week since I last wrote – yikes! The main reason – craziness at work, business of the season AND the stomach flu. Yes, the stomach flu. (this is a BIG DEAL. The last time I had any stomach issues – including pregnancy – was January 2010!! B even remembered)
B and I both got sick last weekend and I was definitely on the mend all this week. I luckily didn’t have to miss any work and powered through the week, but man, I’m tired! So here are a few things we’ve been up to the past few weeks or so:
A little bit of running. I’ve been getting my mileage up to 20+ a week (minus this week when I was still recovering and took 3 days off) and it feels good! And last week I got in my longest post-baby run 6.5 miles!
A lot of momming. (Side note – my computer wants to correct that to Miming Lolz) Seriously. Being a mom is no joke especially when you’re sick. And your husband is sick. And your baby – who thank goodness didn’t get the said flu but got a cold instead – is starting to roll all around! So it was really cool when I got this package in the mail from Sway and Walgreens – a Well Beginnings Diaper Kit! You know you’re a mom when you are excited for surprises like these. (And yes, so far these diapers live up to the hype)
Baking. Yes, I went to my annual holiday cookie baking event and it was great. If I get my act together I’ll share the recipe for the spice cookies I made. B really likes them.
Celebrating the season! We’ve already had several holiday events and I know they’re going to keep on coming. And that’s okay – I love this time of year! Check out the gorgeous lights in my hood.
And yes, any chance I get to dress FW in a holiday-ish outfit, we’re doing it. He doesn’t seem to mind.
And of course, we had our annual Love Actually night – complete with wine and cheese. Because it’s our annual tradition that I love!
And that’s about it – what about you?
Do you like Love Actually? I still find it crazy when I find someone who doesn’t!! (ahem coworker who shall remain unnamed)
Welp, the holiday season has come and gone. I had such a great time spending time with family and friends, and it seems like ages ago I was back in New York.
I had a great trip home, as always. I had a week home with my parents, some time with my family for Christmas, and then B and I took a few days off and visited Newport, Rhode Island. All in all, a successful holiday break. If only I were ready for 2016!
Some highlights from my trip back to New York:
Decorating the tree with my family. When I was younger, we used to go out and cut it down ourselves – it was a great tradition.
Going out to dinner in Saratoga. We went to one of my favorite places and had some delicious fries. It was a little chilly and we spent some time walking along the main street of the downtown area.
Tons of baking for Christmas. Of course.
Taking walks with my family. One day it was 30 degrees, the next it was 60! SUCH seasonably warm weather! We had some 50+ degree days before and after Christmas. It was incredible!
selfie taking a walk
one of the 50+ degree days. Doesn’t look like December!
Running while home. B wore shorts and short sleeves on Christmas – I told you it was warm!
Going to the movies. A usual Christmas tradition is seeing a movie on Christmas – this year, a group went and saw Carol, while another group saw The Big Short. I saw The Big Short – it was really good! Christian Bale was so good.
Seeing two of my best friends, Jane and Alisa. Jane and I got to hang out several times, taking walks (in above said warm weather), eating cookies, watching holiday movies, grabbing lunch, etc. It was great!
Some (but not nearly enough) quality family time.
And tons of reading. I finished All the Light They Cannot See, Station Eleven and California. All of them were so good! Next up I’m reading 1Q84. What else should I add to my list?
And that was about it. A perfect relaxing holiday!
It’s December and I’m fully embracing the holiday season. We’ve been lucky enough to have had seasonably warm weather (for the most part), no snow, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. This past weekend we were able to get out and enjoy some holiday-ish things around town, and it made me so giddy for this time of year.
lights in my neighborhood
Here’s what a holiday-ish weekend in CLE looks like:
Running a few miles outside. Yes, it’s cold (36 degrees), but there’s still no snow so it was GREAT!
Baking a bunch of holiday cookies with some wonderful ladies.
Comfort food out to eat. Superior Pho deliciousness. Plus a stop at the Asian market for some ginger candy.
A 5 miler with B in 40 degree temps on Sunday. The hat was a little overkill – didn’t need it! It was beautiful out and I’m so grateful it’s not icy or snowy yet and we’re still able to enjoy the outdoors and trail and road runs.
That afternoon, we met up with Dave and Anson to check out Circlefest and the great holiday events going on in University Circle. We got free admission to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and got to check out their decorated trees and gingerbread houses.
a MUPPET show decorated gingerbread house!
Along with ice sculptures outside – in 50 degree weather they were starting to melt!
For me, the holidays also includes a great Italian meal at Trattoria in Little Italy. Followed by their amazing tiramisu dessert. Their tiramisu is one of the few I like – not too coffee-ish, lots of cream and looks like ice cream 🙂
AND Sunday night Cleveland Orchestra holiday concert. A PERFECT ending to a holiday weekend – my favorite concert all year!
I’m so in the mood for the holidays. How about you? Some questions:
What’s one thing you do this time of year that signifies the holiday season?
What’s your favorite dish at an Italian restaurant?
As we start to wrap up 2014 and the holiday season, I just wanted to share some highlights of my few days in New York celebrating the holidays with family and friends. ❤
This tree. I love the lights, the ornaments we put on together, and how at home I feel when I’m standing right here.
Sushi with friends at my favorite sushi restaurant in New York. Nothing beats it!
Holiday baking with my mom. We don’t actually bake together, but rather discuss recipes and baking choices and then pretty much bake on our own. We enjoy finding new recipes, like this year’s raspberry almond thumbprint jam cookies.
Seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages. My three best friends from high school this year lived in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Finland – a.k.a. waaay too far. I’m happy to share that this lovely lady is back from her Finnish stint and living in the U.S.A. again!
“Is this going on your blog?” was probably said a few times.
And seeing my cousins. We haven’t had a cousin photo in a while.
Slightly change of running scenery pace. For example, one day I ran past cows. Grazing. On snow. A little different from my downtown Cleveland runs, huh?
How have your holidays been so far? What’s your favorite part about this time of year?
Sorry for not posting any life updates n a while. I know, you’re all probably wondering what I’ve been up to besides baking (because let’s face it, that’s all I’ve been posting about). Well, I assure you, the days these past few weeks have looked pretty much the same. Wakeup. Workout. Work. Go to ____ holiday party/get-together/dinner/drinks/etc. Go home, finish up last minute holiday activities or work, go to bed. Repeat.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOVE all my holiday gatherings and love a chance to catch up with different people – I realllly love this time of era and the holiday lights, drinks, get=togethers, sparkly outfits, etc. but it hasn’t given me a lot of time to blog! Anyway, here are a few ways I’ve been enjoying the holidays in Cleveland before heading home to New York:
Running in the mornings when it’s cold and dark can be tough but with views like this? It isn’t soooo bad:
Drinks (and dinner) with my sisters-in-law! Every year in lieu of gifts during the holidays we all make time to hang out – for dinner, drinks, or really anything we want. We were going to get manis this year but it didn’t work out so instead, a delicious meal and tasty festive drinks.
Holiday party with my coworkers! We hit up Platform Brewery for a tour, tasting and fun.
Holiday baking makes me happy. I wish it were acceptable to marathon bake like this yearround! (Recipe for the below peppermint Oreo bark is here)
The Holiday Flea! I love the Cleveland Flea (giant flea market with crafts, local food, antiques, etc.) all year long, but there’s just something about the Holiday Flea that makes me feel all warm inside (and it could be the holiday beverages).
More treats! Holiday cookie exchange with coworkers.
FaceTime with my brother who is on the opposite coast. Happy to be able to see him thanks to technology – even happier to see him in person for Christmas!
Making limoncello. And finding it to be easy and quite delicious! (Recipe coming soon)
Holiday parties with friends. Because holiday drinks+treats+Santa outfits make this time of year splendid.
Buying gifts for our adopt a family, wrapping them, and delivering them.
Groceries, blankets, etc. wrapped up and ready to be delivered with gifts!
And enjoying this lovely lights right in my neighborhood. So. Beautiful. I stop to take a picture nearly every time.
So yeah, that’s what we’ve been busy with. How about you? Any holiday events still to come? What are you most looking forward to now that December is halfway done?
Yikes. There is suddenly less than one week until Christmas? I know what you’re thinking – that’s plenty of time to get my holiday baking done, right? Well, okay … it probably is. But if you’re looking for a sweet treat to make that won’t take too much time so that you still have time for some holiday shopping (or napping) then this one’s for you! This bark is sweet, delicious and takes no time to make (and no oven to preheat). Pack it up in a fun container and you have the perfect hostess gift (it pairs well with a bottle of wine too …. just saying) for a holiday gathering this year.
White Chocolate Oreo Peppermint Bark
Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped / crushed andy canes (about 2-3 regular ones or 8-10 mini candy canes)
Melt milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Mine took about 1 minute 30 seconds to melt and I heated them up at 30 second intervals, stirring after each Pour onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and spread flat with a spatula.Let cool for at last 10 minutes or until hardened.
Add white chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and melt like you did with the chocolate chips, stirring about every 30 seconds. Pour over chocolate layer and spread to the edges of the milk chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped candy canes, chopped Oreos and sprinkles.
Chill until set, then break into pieces enjoy!
Some questions for you:
What’s your go-to hostess gift?
Do you still have some last minute shopping to do?
Warning- this post was written after a run, while listening to some holiday music, so it may be a little too cheery and full of holiday spirit.
What a great weekend! I really love this time of year and I definitely got my fill of holiday cheer this weekend.
Friday night I finally got to check out the lights in my neighborhood downtown. It was slightly warm and drizzly, but don’t they look great?
Then B and I went out for a late dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. We enjoyed a few appetizers (including a cheese plate and clams with chorizo!), a great meal (I love skatewing …) and festive drinks (I had a spiced mulled cider with rum). I have leftovers too to enjoy thank goodness. My meal was amazing.
Saturday, B and I went out for a 5 miler together. I hadn’t run with B outside of a race in forever – so I was so grateful to have him with me. He paced me the entire time so we were able to finish with a sub-9 minute mile pace.
After our run, we hit up the West Side Market. Again, it had been so long since we’d ben there – and the place was all decked out in holiday lights and even a live band playing holiday songs!
Then it was time for my monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting. This week we were making holiday cards! Finally, a craft I could somewhat excel in. Earlier in the week I had seen this story on the Today show about a 6-year-old girl whose dying wish is to receive hundreds – or more – holiday cards. So sad – I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So LCBS made our cards in honor of Addie – I can’t wait to send her and her sisters all the cards next week!
When I got home that evening, it was time for an Italian feast! Well sort of. B had bought all the goods to make sauce and homemade pizza and I finished making homemade limoncello while we decorated our apartment for the holidays and listened to Christmas tunes. I told you – it was a festive weekend!
homemade limoncello – almost done!
We finished the night watching my favorite holiday movie – can you guess which one?
Sunday, B had tickets to the Browns game with a friend, so I was able to spend the afternoon being somewhat productive – I did some laundry, cleaned up a little, listened to more holiday music and even caught up on some work. And since the sun was out, I had to get out for another 5 miler. Without B to pace me, I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the same pace we had done yesterday, but I decided to put on Serial (if you’re not listening to this podcast you MUST) and was able to get in the groove and get it done.
This used to be easy … i’ve gotten slower this year!
Sunday afternoon we met up with B’s family for another Italian meal-this time in Little Italy.
After dinner, we all caught the Christmas performance by the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. What a great show – I always love to hear them perform Christmas music and it really gets me in the holiday spirit. As if I needed any help, right?
Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays
How was your weekend? Did you do anything to get into the holiday spirit? Yes, see above 🙂
What’s your favorite holiday movie? It’s a tie between Love Actually and Christmas Vacation and Muppet Christmas Carole 🙂
If you could eat only one genre of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oooh a tough one (not sure why I am asking this – I don’t like difficult questions!). I’d choose Italian.
Let the countdown begin – Christmas Eve will be here in just a week! If you’re looking for a great cookie to add to your holiday cookie collection, look no further – here is a keeper.
Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam are a staple in my household and one of the cookies we have nearly every year during the holidays. When my friend Melgar, who typically joins us for dessert during the holidays (but sadly won’t be there this year), asked me to share the recipe, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already posted it here! So here you go – enjoy!
Thumbprint Cookies with Jam
Here’s what you need:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
about 1/4 c jam of your choice – I love raspberry!
Here’s what you do:
Cream butter with sugar in large bowl of electric mixer until fluffy.
Beat in egg yolks and vanilla, stopping machine as necessary to scrape down sides of bowl.
Add flour and continue beating just until mixed through; do not overbeat or cookies will be tough.
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes for firmer cookies that will not spread very much.
Shape dough into 2 tbs. size balls* and flatten with your palms. Transfer to cookie sheet.
Smooth and round cookies using knife (or your finger) dipped in cool water. To make a simple filled cookie, press thumb into formed cookie to make an indentation. Fill with jam.
Transfer to greased baking sheets.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cookies one sheet at a time until edges are brown and centers are just firm to touch, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on racks.
Makes about 2 dozen or so cookies.
*Feeling crafty and have extra time? Feel free to roll out dough and cut into cute, festive shapes instead of shaping dough into balls, before putting thumbprint onto dough.
Plus, as always, some questions for you:
Have you made these before? What do you do that’s different?
What’s your favorite type of jam?
What’s your favorite holiday cookie? I love these! And Buckeyes, do they count?
And here are two more of my favorite holiday cookies:
Spoiler alert: This post contains 1 dose of bird poop and 6 Christmas movies. In one weekend. You’ve been warned.
I don’t know what’s up with me this year, but I just can’t get enough of the holidays. Christmas may be more than 2 weeks away, but I’ve been feeling SO in the holiday spirit. Really – I’m like the anti-Grinch. From watching waaay too many holiday movies, to decorating my apartment, to seeing the Cleveland Orchestra holiday performance to attending not one, but two, holiday festivals – I had quite the holiday-themed weekend. And it was amazing. Here’s a little peek at some of the fun:
Friday night B and I made plans – to stay in and do our annual decorating/Love Actually night. It was awesome. This year, we added red wine and sushi to the mix – a combo that was pretty amazing.
another dinner thanks to Sushi 86
Best holiday movie.
Saturday we slept in for the first Saturday in a while – which was definitely needed. I deemed it was too cold and slippery for an outdoor run, so we headed to our apartment gym and I was able to get in 5 miles on the treadmill plus a kettlebell workout. Yes, my muscles are still sore.
After our workout, B and I decided it wasn’t too cold for a walk to Ohio City. Grocery bag in hand, and super bundled up, we walked over the bridge to get in some shopping at West Side Market, as well as check out the Ohio City Holiday Festival. There, we were introduced to mulled Christmas Ale, which made standing outside and drinking a little less cold and miserable. Oh, and I also got pooped on by a bird. Which I hear is good luck, right? I’m not making it up – MSN says, “if a bird lets loose on you, then good things are coming your way. One idea is that it’s a sign of major wealth coming from heaven, based on the belief that when you suffer an inconvenience (albeit a pretty gross one), you’ll have good fortune in return.” Can’t wait to see what luck I have in store!
bundled up along the walk to Ohio City
watching them make the mulled Christmas Ale
After hanging out at Great Lakes for a little while, we walked back downtown and decided to hit Gallucci’s and pick up supplies to make pepperoni bread for dinner. When we got home, something amazing and hard-to-believe happened – B gave me the remote control and I promptly turned on the Nightmare Before Christmas and then a holiday movie I hadn’t yet seen – 12 Dates of Christmas, starring Mark Paul Gosselaar. It’s a pretty cute holiday movie, if you ask me (don’t ask B what he thought), and with that as the backdrop to our cooking pepperoni bread, I was pretty content.
B headed out to watch the OSU game, but I was pretty stuffed from our pepperoni bread and previous beers, so I decided to take on the daunting task of seeing how many other cheesy holiday movies I could get in before the game was over. How many holiday movies can I watch during an OSU game? The answer is nearly 2 whole movies: I’ll Be Home for Christmas (starring JTT and Jessica Biel) and Holiday Engagement (originally a Hallmark channel movie). So yes, that brings the total to 5 Christmas movies.
Sunday B and I had big plans – we were going to go to the east side for their holiday festival, Circlefest, before catching the Cleveland Orchestra’s holiday performance. I of course had to fit in another holiday movie – so I set my alarm so I could get up early, run on the treadmill, and watch my next made-for-tv holiday movie, Holiday in Handcuffs (starring Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez) at the same time. Don’t worry, I didn’t finish the movie so I never made it to 6 full movies.
Anyway, after my workout, we headed out east. We started out at the Cleveland Museum of Art for a holiday lunch with a few other members of the Cleveland Phi Beta Kappa board that I’m on. The food in the cafe is pretty good – I had a great beet and butternut squash salad with some pork and barley soup and we enjoyed the view (and some live music) in the Atrium.
After lunch, we walked around the holiday Circlefest and checked out the food trucks, live music, ice skaters and ice sculptures. Most of the institutions were letting people in for free, so we got to ride around Lolly the Trolley and check out the Botanical Gardens (and the Gingerbread House contest entries) AND MOCA!
old stone church gingerbread house at botanical gardens
outside MOCA – it’s all reflective!
After Circlefest, it was time for the Orchestra. Each year, B’s family gets together and gets dinner in Little Italy before seeing the Cleveland Orchestra perform their holiday repertoire in a private concert for St. Ignatius students, alumni and their families. I loved it! They even played a few songs from Home Alone – don’t worry I am not counting those songs in my tally of Christmas movies, but it was a fun and festive show!
It was a great weekend – filled with tons of holiday fun. And I can’t wait to continue the holiday fun this week – I’m traveling to DC for work (I’m getting a major award!!), celebrating the holidays in our building holiday party AND seeing A Christmas Carol this week!
Some questions for you:
Do you like running outside in the winter or do you prefer the treadmill? I always prefer outside. Even though I had a cheesy holiday movie to keep me entertained on Sunday, I was still wishing the roads were cleared and I was outside.
What’s your favorite holiday movie?
Have you seen any of the holiday movies I mentioned above?
Any fun travel plans this week? DC on Tuesday – and then that’s the last travel until I go home for Christmas!