Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Friday, January 2, 2015

So This is Christmas...And A Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season. This holiday season for me was all about keeping it low key - keeping things simple, not too much running around and sticking with family. 

I was able to send out some last minute Christmas cards, thanks to Treat and their ability to pick a card and send it out directly from their printing center. 

It also really helps that you can customize the cards to the recipient, or send out a whole slew of general ones depending on the holiday or time of year. I have to think about a Valentine's Day card for The Aussie, and soon - Valentine's Day comes 2 days after our 15 (!!!) year dating anniversary, so it's a special one. 

There were so many to choose from, so I decided to use three different cards: 
I loved this one because the bike and tree just screamed to me, "Christmas in NYC" (or rather, Brooklyn!). I sent this out to Ashley, and a coworker who is on my Christmas card list. 
I loved the "Keep Calm and Merry On" because it was perfect for my crafty friends. The card on the right is for my Nouna ("godmother") and I loved the classic, chalkboard feel and that you can add names to the front for an extra personal touch. She loved the card. 
My dad's birthday really kick-starts the holiday season in my family every year because his birthday is so close to the holidays - December 22. My sister and I call him the Jolly Greek Giant - he is 6'3" and well, as the picture below indicates, always jolly and smiling: 
Christmas Day was filled with good food, a lot of laughter and the best thing to have entered our family: card games. I received Cards Against Humanity for Christmas, and gave my godbrother a set of Apples to Apples, which is a family-friendly version of CAH. My godsiblings aren't quite ready to play CAH yet! 
Adults play Cards Against Humanity...
...and then its Apples to Apples with the small fry. 
Adele seemed a little overwhelmed by the whole proceedings, so she tried to hide in the stairwell at my parent's house. 
One of the great things about Astoria is the plethora of Greek and Italian bakeries. I am talking about old-school mom and pop bakeries that have been around for decades and passed down in the family, with a little bit of a reboot to keep up with the changes (for good and bad) that have occurred in Astoria the past 5 years. 
Chocolate and raspberry mouse cakes, and napoleons from Artopolis.
Mmm...Christmas chocolate yule log! From New York Bakery. 
My mom's homemade karidopita (walnut cake). 
Of course, it would not be Christmas without the furbabies donning obligatory Santa hats and other hilarious miscellany. Adele merely tolerated it: 
And Ollie just flat out disagreed with the whole thing from beginning to end. 
Poor Ollie. He puts up with so much! 

The Aussie took down the tree yesterday, and now it is sitting bare in our living room. It makes me a little sad - the buildup and the feeling leading up to the holidays is a lot of fun and exciting and then right after there is such a let down. I definitely felt it today, since I was grading all morning and plan to continue after I publish this blog post. 

Every year, The Aussie and I get a year ornament, and some new ones to add to our tree: some of them are random and fun, other are from our travels and others reflect our interests. My mom got me one of my new favorites which represents my love for my favorite tv show: 
To close out the post and welcome the new year, I leave you with our tree (pardon the iron in the background!). I love the way it glowed with the lights off, and wanted to really enhance that during the editing. What do you think of the photos? I took and edited all of them with my new camera, and I am having so much fun. 
How did you spend the holidays? Did you send out any fun holiday cards? 
 photo cheers.jpg

Monday, December 15, 2014

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks...

New York City during the holidays is at its best: all of the lights are out, there is a chill in the air, but everyone is still cozy because of the warm sense that the holidays tend to bring.
Looking out from the Promenade of Rockefeller Center towards Saks 5th Avenue. 
I love this time of year in NYC. When I was in college, I would walk down the block from my campus over to the Time Warner Center to see the snowflake light show in between classes, and then meet up with The Aussie over at Rockefeller Center to see the tree. 
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
I must confess, however that sometimes my inner cranky New Yorker does come out - especially while I was at work. The office where I worked was a block away from Rockefeller Center, and I learned very quickly to walk in the streets and dodge traffic from cars, if only because the pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks moved so slooooowly. 
Toy soldier at Rockefeller Center
That being said, I never minded when tourists would ask me directions (though there was one time when I redirected a tourist onto the wrong subway line, only because I was so tired from class - I still feel bad about it!) and did my best to help them out. 
Tiffany's and 5th Avenue. 
These days, I am not in Manhattan that much anymore, but that hasn't stopped me from getting the most out of the holidays. Winter break is coming soon (6 more wakeups!) and that means I have a week and a half to get out and make merry. 
Sneak peak of our tree - stay tuned for more photos! 
Do you have a break over the holidays? What are your plans? 
 photo cheers.jpg

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY: Patriotic Cupcake Toppers

On Memorial Day, I co-hosted with my parents and Little Sister our second annual "Friends and Family BBQ." What started as a way to BBQ for my and my sister's friends, with my parents graciously hosting, as they love these things and they like our friends, turned into a huge extravaganza with their friends, and my in-laws for a total of about 50 people. 

Our leftovers had leftovers. I still have leftovers from the cupcakes I made this weekend, which is the focus of this post's DIY. 

If you have been reading the blog long enough, you know that I am not the best of cooks. That is The Aussie's purview. I recently got into the America's Test Kitchen cookbook series (thank you, Jasmin) and decided I wanted to make cupcakes.

From scratch. With homemade vanilla frosting. It cannot get any more classic than chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting on a warm summer day. 

Still, I wanted to jazz things up a bit and decided to make my own cupcake toppers. It takes a bit of patience and nimble fingers, but it turned out really nice! 

Here is what you need (I purchased everything from Michael's): 

~1 hole punch in the shape of your choice (I got a star shaped one)
~1 piece of cardstock in the color of your choice (I purchased red, navy and gold polkadot   brown paper for some variety).
~Toothpicks (the number depends on how many cupcakes you want to make, I used 24)
~Glue stick.

And this is how to do it: 
Use your hole punch to punch out DOUBLE the number of shapes you need. I made 24 cupcakes, so I needed 48 stars. Since I am the type to want everything in even groups, that meant 16 stars in each of my colors for 8 cupcakes in red, blue and gold dot respectively. 
Using the glue stick, place glue on one side of the star and center your toothpick. 
Place glue on the other shape and put on top of first shape and toothpick. Pinch the sides around the toothpick; what I did was I used two more on either side and pressed down, then flipped the topper over and did it again to make it even. Use your fingers to center the shapes on top of one another as needed. 

Enjoy your cupcake toppers! I definitely plan to do this again (Christmas themed stars, anyone?) and love that it was quick and easy. Once I got into a rhythm, it took less than one episode of The Tonight Show to finish them all off.  

How would you use the star toppers and for what holiday? 
 photo cheers.jpg

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Aussie Earned His Pinterest Stripes

Over the summer, The Aussie and I installed a DIY chalkboard on one of the walls in our kitchen. It's really tall - 6 feet - and it's vertical. We even put our own mitered corner frame around it.

While I was getting my holiday playlist onto my iPhone, I heard noises coming from the kitchen. At first I thought nothing of it, but when I really stopped and thought about it, it sounded like incessant pounding. Light, but incessant.

The Aussie was getting crafty.

Earlier this afternoon, he purchased sidewalk chalk from Staples - we are having a "Friendsgiving" this Saturday and he wanted to decorate the chalkboard. After a quick google, this is the final result:
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Happy New Year!

I have been quite busy since coming back from Montreal and the week coming back after a vacation is always filled with getting back into a routine. Since the new year has started, I have had a lot of grading to catch up on, report cards and IEP reports to do and a grad school observation as well. All in the space of 3 days!

The grad school observation went well - the best one I've had thus far. I also spoke with my AP and she said that my formal (dun dun DUN) observation went really well so we can postpone the post-observation meeting.

I did miss my little minions. They drove me CRAZY on Friday but that's what minions do.

That being said, let's begin with the holiday catch up!

Christmas was very low key. The Aussie and I hosted my family and his brothers at our place. As such, we brought the dining table into the living room (the joys of NYC apartment living) and went all out with the wedding china. One Christmas day, we went to my baby godsiblings' house.
Earlier that week, it was my dad's 60th birthday. Happy birthday, Jolly Greek Giant! 

There was a LOT of washing up to do. There was one casualty -
one of the bar glasses broke when I was washing up.
Mom's famous peas and carrots - it isn't the holidays without it.  
Pot Roast with garlic glaze. 
First course is always a Greek Salad. 
Tiramisu for dessert. 
Family Portrait. Pardon the double chin.
My in-laws and sister in law were in South Carolina. 
Next up on the events docket is Vogue Knitting Live and there will be a meetup! Right now, we are planning to meet at 1:30 after the Ysolda lecture. I am still sourcing a place and will scout on the Friday before, so I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Episode 46: Logical

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Pom Pom is the knitting magazine for intelligent, creative types! Head to our website for an independent take on patterns, witty and interesting writing, great photography, and much more at  

Off the Needles
BFF Cowl Seed Pod link - loved knitting this. It made so much sense. I was a bit confused in the beginning with the chart bc I didn't realize that is was akin to a lace chart, but looking at the pictures made me realize tis before I started the flower bc it was logical. You could get a sense of what will happen next.

On the Needles
Bella Mitts. I really want to try and finish the second one before Montreal or within the first day or two of landing. I am also planning to bring the long hibernating Dionysius socks, and the Larch Cardigan.

Spin Right Round
Spinning after a month, of not being at the wheel. Not really liking pencil roving.

Knitting Finds
Craftsy App for iPad and iPhone
The Great White Bale
Wool People 4

Swatch and Learn
Got an Elmo, knit stitch accomplished except for 3 kids. One is still struggling to cast on - has horrible handwriting and holds his pencil weirdly. Any tips for those with hand issues? I know knitting will help him but running out of ideas.

History on Two Needles by Annie Modesitt. Available through Cooperative Press and Ravelry Direct Download. 

VKL giveaway - Winners are maglascock and yourmomsays. Congrats! I will contact you for your passes.
2 Year Podiversary/50th Episode Giveaway - ask a question on the thread to enter for a chance to win a skein of Northbound Knitting Handspun in the colorway Only the Lonely.
QAL update
Downton Abbey swap signups are still open
Last minute knitting find - Tin Can Knits from Canada is offering a free pattern of your choice with the code SHARETHELOVE until January 1. Thanks to Amy of Threadpanda for posting this, and spread the word. I got Snowflake for myself.

Happy Holidays and thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Carol of the Bells" by The Bird and the Bee

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's the Best Time of the Year...

...and also the busiest!

This year, The Aussie and I are not putting up a Christmas tree for two reasons:

Adele - it's her first Christmas and we quite haven't figured out the logistics for handling a puppy and a Christmas tree, as her playpen takes up the Christmas tree spot. And The Aussie likes to get a big tree - at least 9 feet. Our ceilings are 10 feet high. Gotta love the pre-war buildings.

Here is what are tree looked like last year:
We have gotten the ornaments mostly at Macy's ever since we got married because their Christmas floor has awesome sales. They usually reflect our interests and where we have been. We also collect ornaments from places we travel to; our most recent one is a snowman made out of sea glass from Turks and Caicos.

Instead we have a few nutcrackers out, and I plan to take out my vintage Otagiri Christmas music boxes. My mother had a bunch when I was a child, and I took a few of her old ones that my sister didn't want and have been scouring eBay and Etsy for others. I currently have my eye on two others right now to add to my collection.

The second reason is Montreal. The Aussie and I are going December 26-30, and people sy we are crazy in going but it was affordable and close by. Prague was the original choice and we would have gone there instead, if it weren't for the 20+ overnight layovers in Madrid. If those layovers were during the day, we would have gone.

With the end of the semester and preparing my kids for midterms it's been a bit crazy around here.  I am definitely looking forward to my Christmas break, and even plan to put an "Out of Office" email for the email I give to my kids.

Expect some catch up posts over the course of next week! I am catching up today and scheduling them over the course of next week.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Special with A Playful Day

greentrianglegirl on Ravelry, was nice enough to host my crazy self over on her podcast A Playful Day for a twixtmas holiday special. There was talk of stash, Hyperbole and A Half, KNIT ALL THE THINGS, our hopes for the next year, and a Great Debate over who can have Jared Flood.

No shame, really. But in all seriousness of podcasting, I would like to interview him one day.

So long as I can get over my giggle fits.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmastime in the 212

Merry Christmas everybody!

Last night was a very classic NYC Christmas indeed - my mother was very gung-ho about going to "The Tree" at Rockefeller Center. We (as in, my parents, sister, a cousin, Mel, myself and Mel's 2 brothers) took the subway, got off at 5th Avenue and 60th Street, and walked down 5th Avenue to Rockefeller Center.

Earlier in the day, Ollie was eyeing the Christmas gifts:
Where are my toys? I smell catnip!

and dreaming of Santa and catnip while I was tracking his location on NORAD.
Santa...please bring me catnip. I've been a good cat this year!
When my family got out of the train, we headed over to the windows at Bergdorf Goodman and saw the star that is at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 59th Street:
 Then we headed further down to Tiffany (on the left) and Cartier wrapped up in a bow. 
Then we finally made it to The Tree - so crowded! It's been awhile since my family and I walked down 5th Avenue which was a tradition of ours, so it was nice to start it up again.
  After a quick rest stop in the Starbucks at the Rockefeller Center Concourse, we headed over to Times Square then took the train home and had Christmas Eve dinner at the local diner.

Happy Holidays!!!
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