Monday, December 31, 2012

What I'll Miss After Christmas

Monday, December 31, 2012
I hope that everyone enjoys their New Years eve and their New Years day as well. This year, like every year, I feel that December came and went so fast. I barely had time to drive around and look at Christmas lights on houses - one of my favorite things to do with S and a to-go cup of hot chocolate. I will, and already do, miss the little adventures that December brings. 
One thing that I had to show off from my December was this duo that arrived in the mail from a dear friend, Jen of Jennipho. In highschool, Jen was the one who taught me how to knit and the one I would have my craft days with. For Christmas she sent me the cutest crochet cup cozy with a cookie charm, as well as, be still my heart, this macaron ring. In the photo below I was enjoying a whiskey + ginger ale while hemming S's new pants from H&M. The cookie cozy was perfect for clutching the glass without touching the condensation - a bit of a pet peeve of mine. 
If you know me, you know my love of all things French - I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to All Things French. Jen made the cookie charm and this adorable + tiny macaron out of clay. She makes custom Dunny's too! So, if you ever want any crocheted or sculpted goodies, she makes and sells them in her Etsy shop
Another thing I love about this time of the year is all of the candles! Not only do I burn a ton of candles during the cooler nights, but people give plenty of them as gifts too! I honestly don't think any two of my candles are similar in scent, and I love every single one of them. Some new ones this year include "wild honeysuckle" that reminds me of growing up in New York since we had a honeysuckle bush on the side of the house, "tarot deck" which smells of pencil shavings + nostalgia, and of course Bath + Bodywork's  "Paris" candle which smells so fresh + reminds me of summer time. 
I love the hustle and bustle that this time of the year has. The shops and sidewalks are full of people, and everyone is in a good mood throwing out "Happy Holidays" with every breath. All of this movement must have aged me a bit this year because I found my first gray hair. At first I felt surprised and humorous, then I was kind of alarmed, and now I'm just hoping it's the only one I have for a while. But I definitely had to photograph it, being only 22 (almost 23!) with a stray gray. 
Decorations... holiday decorations around the house are some of the cheeriest things to come home to. Every year when I put the decorations away in January I feel a bit sad, knowing I have to wait 11 months to see these items again. There are plenty of items that I have started to keep out year round because I just can't seem to put everything in a box. Like our Christmas lights on the porch, I always end up keeping those out until mid-January for my birthday, but something always comes up and they end up staying up until March. And this dried-grapevine bird's nest, I bought it a few years ago for Christmas decor, but ever since, found a spot on a frame for it to hang all year long.
I realized that I never shared my new camera. It's a basic Nikon D3100 with the stock kit lens. I figured since it is my first DSLR that I would start with something basic and upgrade the lens next. I'm thinking 35mm or wide angle, but it doesn't really matter because that's not happening for a while. I'm happy with my new camera and it's stock lens!
Note the pastel green walls in my bathroom, inspired by Deyrolle of Paris. Anyway, I'm happy to be spending the holidays with family, using my camera as much as I can to document these moments that I always cherish.
Adieu, Yelle

Friday, December 28, 2012

Party with... Coco Chanel

Friday, December 28, 2012
New Year's Parties can be elegant and at the same time, extraordinarily fun. The perfect woman to leave NYE up to would be Coco Chanel. She would bring the right amount of class as a party hostess, and at the very same time, she would keep her ultra-cool while letting loose a little bit. Guests ought to wear a little black dress, which Coco invented in 1926. Add some gold sparkling touches because, after all, it's New Year's Eve and what other day is perfect for glitter?
Definitely don't be shy with the costume jewelry, which she popularized as well. Add some pearls and large cocktail rings for this cocktail party.
Coco would keep the drinks classic, champagne is a tradition for NYE, but I would suspect that she would add her own little twist on the presentation. Introducing golds, blacks, and whites would keep the glamour in a very 20's way. 
Being such a proponent for the feminine figure, I think she would bring the ladylike daintiness through in the table setting. Bringing in lots of candles, glassware, and petite flowers, to make quite an elegant affair.
I can see Coco serving something somewhat luxurious yet easy to eat with a glass of champagne in your hand like baked clams. Seafood and champagne go well together, so better to put the pairs out together for this fete.
Salut, Yelle

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day in Philadelphia

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I hope that everyone had the most wonderful Christmas eve and day! Since we've been traveling we spent Christmas in Philadelphia and got to experience Christmas morning with little kids around. I haven't done Christmas morning with presents from Santa in a very long time, and it's always something else to see kids light up over the largest castle and even the littlest puzzle pieces. 
We arrived in Philly on Christmas eve and experienced our first drive in the snow. We both grew up in the north so we have been in the snow, but we have lived in Florida since being able to drive so we have never driven in it. The rain in Virginia turned into snow when we hit Delaware and Pennsylvania. It was kind of special to unpack the car and great family with snow sticking to our shoulders.
There was even just a bit of snow left on the ground the next day so that we walked around the neighborhood and make tiny snowballs after opening presents in the morning. We opened our gifts to each other before our vacation, but Santa thought of us too so we were able to open a few thoughtful gifts with the kids.
Now we are looking forward to enjoying the company of family even more while we play tourist. We have plans to visit a few museums in the area, some with the kids like the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Franklin Institute, and some without the kids like the Mutter Museum. Hoping that it will snow again as we explore the inner city!
If you know of a place in Philadelphia that I would like, definitely let me know! Right now I'm relying on S and his previous visits experience. As for NYC, we have Sibella Court's Stylist Guide to NYC to take us to the best shops for when we stop in Manhattan. Definitely going to have to stop by Zabars in the morning to stock up on coffee and have breakfast. I am so looking forward to that; it's such a special tradition with our family.
Adieu, Yelle

Monday, December 24, 2012

Being in the Moment During the Holidays

Monday, December 24, 2012
I wanted to let you know that I will be on and [mostly] off of the internet the next few days as I take time to enjoy the company of family that we are visiting. Enjoy the rest of your holiday season and take a moment to be in the moment. Like taking care to wrap each present with custom Christmas song lyrics and handmade gift tags.
We decorated our naked fig tree because he looked sad without his leaves.
I indulged in a sweet treat from one of my lovely coworkers: a peppermint cake-pop  Really, I do have the best coworkers (and boss!) ever. I don't think anyone else has a green wall, and gets nearly daily sweets including peppermint bark, cake, and candy.
Taking walks around the neighborhood  enjoying the balconies strung with lights, and the lit Christmas trees peeking out windows.
Making DIY gifts inspired by A Beautiful Mess for beautiful friends.
And, taking some time off to road trip up north to visit family. We are driving from Florida to as far north as New Jersey, and taking a train to Manhattan from Jersey at some point! Our stops include Charlotte, NC, Philadelphia, PA, the Poconos in PA, Cranford, NJ, and Manhattan. This is S + I's first long road trip together, and we've been together 5 1/2 years! So far it has been fun, full of Car Talk, new music, and mandolin serenades.
I gave S his presents early since we weren't going to be home for Christmas day, and one of them was a mandolin that he's wanted for a while (years). He brought it along for the ride and played it a bit.
Yesterday we enjoyed a short stay midway in Charlotte, NC. The weather was beautiful so we visited a park to enjoy it, ending the day with making sugar cookies in the shapes of candy canes, trees, and stars.
I wanted to take time before the new year to thank all of my followers. As much as I love commenting, I love comments from you so much more. It makes my day every time I receive a comment and I love to read every single one of them. This is only my first year blogging regularly, and I loved it, because of all of you. Merry Christmas!
Adieu, Yelle

Friday, December 21, 2012

Party with... Zooey Deschanel

Friday, December 21, 2012
Can you begin to imagine how adorable a Christmas party with Zooey Deschanel would be? I see a lot of cute decor and whimsical details. Smiles would be easy to come by at Zooey D's party. With eyes that sparkle like hers, she makes the perfect winter cocktail party hostess. Details aren't lost on Zooey like this printable sign and berry wreath propped up casually on a bookshelf. 
Dinner would be served on these gorgeously textured snowflake white china. For dessert, something as charming as these chocolate tartlets, full of hazelnuts, cocoa, and topped with walnuts, apples, and fudge pearls
This wreath is so delightful and girly, made of twisted and dried grapevines, along with fresh white flowers and a DIY yarn family letter.
I could see Zooey D serve up a homemade vegan (thanks Erin!) chocolate cake for the holidays, topped with powdered sugar for a touch of snow. Her chocolate cake would turn the cuteness up a notch with the use of a paper stencil snowflake, hand made just like in grade school. 
For a hint of Naughty or Nice, there would be a whiskey tasting station. On the rocks to keep your cool, or neat to warm yourself from the inside out.
Of course, while the party is moving right along in all of it's cute glory, the   She & Him Christmas album would be playing softly in the background, truly setting the mood for a cutesy Christmas party.

A little track by them to truly set the atmosphere for this Party With post.

[Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]
Sleigh Ride by She & Him
Adieu, Yelle

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY Wreath from Christmas Tree Scraps

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Growing up, I always had a real Christmas tree and the best part about it was the smell of fresh balsam fir in the house. It's the one smell that always brings me back to Christmas + winter. Among others such as burning fire wood and my mom's flan baking for dessert. 

These past few years I've been living on my own and in order to retain the same nostalgia every year, I've been burning balsam fir candles. And yet, it is never as potent as the Christmas trees growing up.
So this year, S and I finally decided that since we love the smell of fresh fir so much, and we already have an artificial tree, we might as well get a fresh fir wreath. We set out to the road side merchant to purchase a wreath for our home. We get there just in time to find out that they have sold the last of the wreaths and won't be getting another shipment in for a few days. Instead of waiting, we did what every other crafty couple would do: we asked to buy some of the tree scraps to make our own! The merchant was so kind and let us take a box full of scraps with us for no cost.
We set ourselves up on our balcony with the box of scraps, a scissor to trimming, and a spool of twine to make our DIY wreaths. We took the pliable scraps and tied them together with twine, our hands sticky from the fresh sap. S and I each made our own, one for inside and one for outside so that at all times we could smell fir, reminiscent of Christmas trees in my childhood. 
We listened to one my favorite Christmas vinyls, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. Last year, that was one of the only things that I  wanted for Christmas. I usually only came across a vinyl of "Waltz of the Flowers" or "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" but I wanted the entire concerto. S found it and gave it to me last year on Christmas morning, and as happy as I was to have it, I was disappointed that I would have to wait a whole year before I could listen to it in the spirit. While we made our wreaths it was the perfect occasion to play it. 
I've been sporting new glasses lately, and I really love them. I never thought I would be the type to adore tortoise shell glasses, but I can't get enough of how studious they make me look! These aren't a pair from the lot I tried for my wedding day glasses on this post, but they are fun for now! 
Do you want to help me win a gift card for our wedding bands? I entered a contest with this ring company that I love called Minter + Richter. The contest was to pin a board inspired by one of their rings. We love their titanium and deer antler ring, so I made a Pinterest board based off of it and you can see that board here. To vote for my board you have to:
That's it! Voting ends on December 21st! I hope that you want to help me win this contest, it would make me so happy. I have been eyeing these rings since I first met S. If you do vote for me, please comment letting me know so that I may personally thank you!
Adieu, Yelle

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Recap @ Christmas in the Park

Monday, December 17, 2012
One of my favorite things about living in this city is all of the free events that our town has. There is such a sense of community here and I really feel like a part of it this time of the year. For being just outside of a major city in Florida, our city has such a small town feel. 
We have brick roads, family owned shops, community events, and beautifully kept parks. There's always something to do on the weekends, there's always a new restaurant that we have to try, and the streets and shops are full of people. 
This community event happens every winter, and for me, it really kicks off the holiday season. Christmas in the Park is when the small museum up the block puts its collection of Tiffany windows in the park, lights them up, and choirs ranging in age sing Christmas carols on the stage. People bring blankets, hot cocoa in mugs, bottles of wine, candles for their night picnic, and their families to enjoy it all with. 
As usual, it was beautiful albeit crowded. The city blocks off a portion of the brick road, police officers patrol on horseback, the shops extend their hours, and the restaurants extend their seating onto the sidewalks. 
There is a historical house + property just north of the festivities that hosts an event as well. They boast hot cocoa, cookies, and Santa for the kids. The rooms in the house are all decorated for the holidays, and the outdoor patio is lit up with market lights strung across the courtyard.
This week I have a few days off after spending the weekend with family. I'm going to spend it planning our road trip to up north! We're going to stop at a few places including Pennsylvania  New Jersey, and even Manhattan! It's so strange having a few days off now that I am done with classes. The best is how I have enough time to catch up on some reading, as well as some TV shows! I plan on getting a little farther in Game of Thrones since I just finished Blog, Inc. And as for TV, there are plenty of Dexter episodes I have to watch before I can see the finale that everyone was posting about last night! You'll find me with my new road atlas in one hand today, a cup of jasmine tea in the other, and Dexter playing in the background.
Adieu, Yelle

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Feast + Entertaining

Friday, December 14, 2012
We recently had a visit from S's brother and their two friends from as far back as middle school. It's always nice to have visitors, someone to enjoy good meals and drinks with, share great stories with. 
One of our days we cooked at home with ingredients gathered from Whole Foods. We had a fresh loaf of bread, chorizo sausage, key lime shrimp, and sage butter pasta. It's an unlikely combination, but this trio is definitely a delicious sort of surf + turf! We also pair it with some butter and goat cheese for the bread. So much sweet, spicy, and savory in this meal. 

We also had good drinks like beer, bourbon, and red wine. All of our palettes were pleased, and our bellies even happier. 
Being that we all love and appreciate food, for lunch the next day we all went to the local Indian restaurant around the corner. It was so delicious. I devoured my saag, which is spinach and cheese, and there were other delicious plates like goat curry, chicken madras, and plenty of naan bread. So many wonderful flavors and the perfect weekend meal.
Weekends with food and friends are always the best. These are the times that we will remember, and no dinner is too small to be photographed. Each day is a party. 
Since I've finished with classes + exams for the semester I feel that I have gotten so much done this week! It's amazing how much time I have without having to juggle 5 classes, working part time as an event coordinator at the museum, and, oh yeah, planning a wedding. I've had so much time to cross things of my winter to-do list like shopping for holiday gifts, drinking hot cocoa, planning our impending vacation, listening to Christmas music, + wreath making (more on that to come later!). I hope all of you are able to live in the moment like I have been lately! With all of the hliday cheer, this is the best time of the year to do so.
Adieu, Yelle
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