the year that was

Here we are.  
Just a few hours left of 2013.

I've seen several year-in-review posts around blog land today, so I thought it'd be fun to do one myself.  And in keeping with a personal annual daily tradition, I just spilled my beverage all over the coffee table to get this post started!  Don't believe me?

Proof... real-time blogging:

{You know, I'd like to say this is adult on-set klutziness, but one of the most oft-repeated phrases by my mom in our household growing up was "Go get a towel!"  That was usually after I'd spilled my drink at the dinner table.  EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.  Bless my mom... no wonder we rarely got to eat in the den!}

OK - back to wrapping up 2013.

:: My favorite movie I saw in the theater this year was 'The Way, Way Back'.

Sam Rockwell absolutely MADE this movie.  Loved his character.  And it was fun to see Steve Carell playing a scuzzball for once.  

:: My favorite book I read in 2013 was 'The Year of Magical Thinking' by Joan Didion.

I wrote a little bit about this book earlier in the year here, and it ended up being the best of any of the others.  Close second was 'Through Gates of Splendor' by Elisabeth Elliot... another non-fiction title.  I should make a resolution to read more Elisabeth Elliot in 2014.  Stat.

:: My favorite song this year was 'Most People' by Dawes.

I know this song sounds so drippy when it starts out... but I can't help but love Dawes.  Their tunes and words just stick with me, in the very best kind of way.  I loooove this song.  And that catchy little break-down at the 2:50 mark in this song sent it over the edge to be my favorite pick.  

:: And, my favorite place I visited this year was San Diego.

You can read all about that trip here, here, and here.  It was an oasis in the desert... a balm.  And just really fun that I got to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life!

So, those are the high points of 2013 for me.  To bid you adieu, here's one of the only photos I took during Christmas.  {Sorry, no holiday wrap-up here.  It was a great vacation.  The End.}  It's my nephew, roaming around the woods behind my parents' house:

I call this 'Little Urchin in the Straw'.

I hope you have a joyful 2014!  I mean that sincerely.  

I'm personally looking forward to turning the calendar page.  The first week of 2014 is stacking up to be really more than I can handle with 'Downton Abbey' coming back this Sunday (!!!) and watching my Auburn Tigers in the national championship the very next day!  Excitement abounds.

Cheers, readers.


fa la la la ha ha ha

Who's ready for some time off and a nice, relaxing Christmas?!

{I'm giving the timeless "raise the roof" gesture in response, 'cause I'm cool like that.}

Look.  In the past two days, I've run an entire wash cycle without actually putting the clothes in the washer, and {no shocker here...} spilled half a cup of coffee in the slap-dab middle of my living room rug.  Goooooood morning!
I think my psyche is telling me to shut it down for the season.  I will gladly oblige.

As we are coasting into Christmas week, I thought I'd share some holiday-related funnies here:

For the 'Home Alone' fan...



I would love to see someone wearing this with pride on a snowy Christmas day!

 And for the 'Elf' fan...


And did you see 'SNL' this weekend with Jimmy Fallon hosting & JT singing?  
Pretty big line-up.  
Here's the monologue -- it was cute and classy, just like Jimmy! :)

Wishing everyone a cozy Christmas!


another year

Well, the big day is almost a week out.  Everybody ready?

Because of that early shopping I got under my belt this year, I am done.  D-O-N-E.  Done.  
Not to gloat... I'm just really glad about it.

So, with my gift list all crossed off, that's given me time to enjoy baking and wrapping in a non-frantic fashion...

It's also given me a chance to decorate and enjoy the added festive elements around my abode.  
Just like last year, I'll give you the very short tour...

 I picked up this ornament this summer during my excursion to the Pacific coast.

 Big year for the Tigers... wow.

That's basically a pot o' gold there in the forefront... Cadbury chocolates -- the Easter mini eggs dressed up in Christmas goodness.  God bless us, one and all!

That concludes our tour, ladies & gents.

In other news...

Did you know Pope Francis celebrated his birthday today?  The big 77!

Today is my birthday, too, Padre.  {Not quite 77 for me...}

What can you say?  December birthdays are... interesting.

But here I am on my birthday today, sporting my best Marty McFly look:

I just wanted to document that I do exist, and I am thankful for another year of God-given life, even though I don't appear in most of my posts.  Always behind the camera!

I enjoyed a birthday party at home this weekend, along with my dad.  {Remember, our birthdays are very close!}  He got his caramel cake, and I got my chocolate meringue pie.  I am most definitely a pie person.  I got a new camera for my birthday... just learning how to use it, so no photos to show yet.

To my fellow December babies out there, I salute you!  {That includes you, Pontifex.}



This time of year lends itself to more opportunities for a get-together or four, whether it be a totally casual dinner for a few friends or a large, formal gathering with lots of "acquaintances", shall we say.  T'is the season!  And from time to time at these soirees, you might enjoy a cocktail... or two.  {PSA: drink responsibly, friends!}

But forget the cocktails... I love the napkins.  Tell me this: who doesn't love a good cocktail napkin?!  They can be the perfect ice-breaker and a great {cheap!} vehicle to inject a little punch of color and fun spirit in even the dullest of get-togethers.

Now, before I drive you to drink over one more boring sentence about paper goods, let me show you some goodies I've found around the interwebs...

First and foremost, a classic:

Ha!  I've felt this way often lately, as I've stayed up late decorating for Christmas or wrapping presents, or baking... all things that I enjoy a great deal, but would be so much more fun if I could indulge in these activities in the middle of the day when I have more energy.  I just remind myself that my job is the reason I get to do those things in the first place so I'll keep punching that clock, thank you very much.

OK - enough with the commentary.  Here are just some fun ones that are particular favorites of mine with some cute holiday-themed napkins mixed in:



Enjoy the festivities, one and all!


hey, it's December!

Hellooooooooo everybodyyyyyyyyy!  {say that like Oprah on her now-defunct  'favorite things' show}

How was Thanksgiving, you ask?  It was great.  I managed to cook and serve the holiday lunch without any major incidents of klutziness and enjoyed a nice visit with my parental units.  Win-win.

Speaking of winning... THE game.  That's all I'm going to say.  

I actually did something pretty unorthodox this weekend.  Something I've never done before.  Something most people in this state look at you like you've got two heads when you tell them your plan.

I went Christmas shopping during the Iron Bowl.  I didn't even watch it.
And I would do it all over again IN. A. HEARTBEAT.  
{Believe me, I've seen the highlights and replays enough since -- I am satisfied.}

Do you see that photo above?  Virtually every store was like this.  You could do cart wheels in the aisles!  Crickets!  

I'd always heard the lore that the day of this particular sporting event was the best shopping day of the year.  I'm here to tell you it lived up to every bit of the hype.  I wasn't looking for deals.  I was seeking a serene shopping experience.  No lines.  No crowded parking lots.  I got a lot crossed off my list.

So, now it's December and Christmas is fast-approaching, but I feel ahead of the game at this point.  And while we're entering this holiday season, can I just say that I'm so thankful Elf on a Shelf did not exist when I was a child?  I was terrified of Santa Claus, as it was... could barely stand the thought of him entering our house while we slept, even if it was to bring gifts.  I can't imagine how I'd manage 24 nights of knowing there was a creepy, beady-eyed little elf running around the house creating mischief!  I know my mom thanks the good Lord that she didn't have to deal with that on top of my Santaphobia. :)  

Merry Christmas to all.  Maybe I will blog again between now and the actual holiday!


cornucopia of randomness

Hello, pilgrims. 

{Lame pun straight out of the shoot... I'm on fire today!}

Sooo.  Everyone ready for the Thanksgiving celebration?  I have been pretty busy lately, so I'm looking forward to some down time and being with family.

I set out on a trip with my mama to Virginia via Kentucky to spend some time with her sisters a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't take many photos.  {I was driving... A LOT.}  The mountains of West Virginia are serious business... curvy roads galore.  Brilliant scenery. 

I snapped this photo as we were leaving out of Louisville on a sunny day:

And this photo will be peculiar to most...

... but this is one of the glasses my Granny used to have in her home.  The set has a new home with my aunt in Louisville now, and I couldn't be happier about that.  When we got there and she asked if I wanted my drink in a "Granny glass", I didn't know what she meant at first.  Then I saw that textured turquoise glass and instantly thought of all the times I'd seen these washed and dried and served at my grandparents' home in North Carolina.  Don't you love the texture of the glass?  They are nothing fancy, I'm sure.  But they are treasures nonetheless.  {and Diet Coke just tastes better in them, without a doubt}
Since the trip, I've been furiously planning for Thanksgiving at my house.  Yep, I'm hosting this year.  Granted, there will only be three of us, but that still involves serious effort... at least that's what I've been telling myself.
Exhibit A:

The grocery list before the actual grocery list.  I don't play around when it comes to grocery shopping, and that is only out of my general disdain for having to go to the grocery store -- I want to spend as little time in there as possible.  So, in an effort to achieve that, here's my mad method:  I just start writing everything down that I know I'll need.  Then I color code each item per section of the grocery store {as seen above}... that gets generated into the final list which is written out by section.  You'd better believe I cross off each item as I put it in the basket.  Crazy?  OCD?  Sure.  But it preserves my sanity and keeps me on track.

Side note:  to further streamline my time in the grocery store this week, I chose to go after 7PM on an early week night.  This was a good move, as the store was not crowded in the least -- especially since it was pouring down rain.  {Oh well, you gotta compromise somewhere!}  However, I've learned now that maybe they put the B Team baggers in the game during these last few hours of operation, because I'm here to tell you -- I had no less than 45 plastic bags of groceries when it was all said and done.  We're talking this guy put a single block of cream cheese in one bag.  OH, THE HUMANITY!  {*first-world problem alert*}  Thank you, Lord, for feeding me.

I did a trial run with some Fall foliage/Thanksgiving d├ęcor last week, because I felt like my large Hive vase was begging for some autumn leaves.  I took my clippers to the trees out my front door and just stuck the branches in the vase...

It was beautiful and lively for 2 days... then all brown and crinkly.  I didn't add water or anything.  I just wanted to experiment and see how long the color would last.  Now I know.  And now all the leaves are gone from the trees.  So, back to the drawing board!


I know Thanksgiving can promote an "interesting", shall we say, dynamic among families when everyone is gathered together for more than 24 hours.  I read this post by Russell D. Moore {he's a great follow, by the way -- wise, in touch, and quick-witted} earlier in the week and thought I'd share with any of you interested in a "few quick thoughts on what followers of Jesus ought to remember, especially if you’ve got a difficult extended family situation."  I got more out of it in a broad sense of dealing with people in general on a daily basis from a Gospel perspective.  Humbling.

Now, remember to mind your manners and enjoy your Thanksgiving in style, kind of like this fellow I got behind on the drive to work last week...

Vanity plates for the win!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.