Friday Faves: December 21, 2012

I’m feeling especially TGIF today — it’s my last day of work before my Christmas break, a massive two-year project wrapped up at work and we’re having a celebration lunch, and corn casserole is on the menu for dinner tonight (it’s the little things).

Tomorrow we head home to be with my family for Christmas, which is one of the things I most look forward to all year long. So in honor of Christmas and all that comes with it, here are some of my favorites of the season.

Last weekend was my birthday, and although I told my husband no gifts since we went away, he still surprised me with this wonderfully cozy slippers. They’re on final sale now, so snatch up a pair before they’re gone.

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, and that day has turned into what is affectionately known as “grazing day.” We all makeĀ hors d’oeuvres and eat. All. Day. My contribution is bacon-wrapped dates. I think it’s imperative to stuff with cheese first (can’t believe there are recipes thatĀ don’t involve cheese). And while I’ve used parmesan like this recipe calls for, I’ve also used goat cheese which is equally delicious.

I’m a good planner, especially when it comes to Christmas gifts. In fact, my husband harasses me to no avail because I’ll sometimes start my shopping in say, May. I like to pick up the right gift when I find it, whenever that may be. But, inevitably, there’s always that last minute small gift I need. These spiked hot cocoa bundles are perfect for that.

I’m quite certain that some in my family probably think the creators of these nativity scenes are going to hell, but I think they’re damn funny.

Every year I think I’m going to be creative with how I display my Christmas cards, but this year I actually did something that I think is pretty darn cute (thanks for the idea, Pinterest). (We have received more than three cards, this was just the beginning of the project!)

Christmas cardsThe one thing I hate about this time of year is when it ends, and I have to take everything down. Chicago has this amazing non-profit that we’ve used the past two years to help in our Christmas dismantling — specifically, tree removal. Do The Right Thing comes to your house and either picks your tree up from the curb, or will come inside and take it out for you. Genius.

And while I’m on the topic of recycling, don’t forget that you can send your Christmas cards — or any greeting cards — to St. Jude’s.


Wanderlust Wednesday: Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Mexican SunriseI’m sorry I’ve been MIA for nearly a month now. I have no good excuse. I’ve been lazy, basically. But I’m back and with a few fresh trips to share.

This gem is from last weekend in beautiful, sunny Playa del Carmen. We woke up to sights like this pretty much every morning. And while I relished the warmth and sunshine, I’ll admit being happy to be back in cold, grey Chicago. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas, otherwise.