Home sweet home

Vacation.  Sweet, sweet vacation. How I adore you.

I needed this.  Time away from work to visit family and friends and mostly, to be.  Dan and I spent last week traveling to New York and Massachusetts and now we’re back home in Philadelphia.  And as lovely and wonderful as it was to visit loved ones, there is nothing better than sleeping in our own bed.  I think Lucy is glad to be home, too.

I’ve been unpacking and organizing all of our Christmas gifts and settling in.  Tomorrow, I will start to chip away at my to-do list.  I can’t hardly wait to start crossing things off.  It feels so good, right?!  I have also left some time for me: knitting, reading, catching up on TV shows, yoga, blogging.

I’ll leave you with my favorite picture from last week’s trip to Lake George, New York.  That background looks fake.  But it’s not.  It’s real life.  How lucky I am to know that place and call it my home!

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Christmas tree picking

Happy weekend, friends!

Yesterday was the first day of winter vacation and I have been thoroughly enjoying every minute so far!  Yesterday, I ran to Target at the end of the school day to pick up some last-minute Christmas items and treated myself to a bag of peanut butter m + ms.  Then, I continued the celebration with a Chipotle lunch (man, those burrito bowls are big!).  When I got home, I promptly put my pjs on and took a nap with Lucy…too much Chipotle will do that.  When we woke up, we went to the dog park.  Usually, Lucy is pretty antisocial when it comes to playing with other dogs at the park (she prefers humans because she thinks she is one), but yesterday she made friends with another yellow lab, Winston.  Progress!

Anywho. Back to the original post!

A few weeks ago Dan and I went to visit his sister and to cut down our very first Christmas tree together!  We brought Lucy, planning to take some photos for our Christmas card and to get her out of the city for a bit.  I did a bit of research and made some phone calls beforehand to be sure we could have her on the farm.  We ended up at Beck’s and it was a good choice.  Not only was the weather spectacular, the views were incredible, they had an enormous amount of beautiful trees to choose from, and not to mention, they took good care of their customers, helping to package and load trees on to cars and Santa handed out candy canes to the little ones and dog treats to the furry ones.

Before we left we took measurements to make sure we didn’t get a tree that was too big.  We don’t have a ton of space to work with in our cozy apartment.  We decided on a Fraser fir when we got there for the shape and traditional Christmas scent.  We walked around for a while and finally decided on the perfect tree.  It was the right size and the most perfectly shaped tree I had ever seen!

I will spare you the details, but in the process of cutting down our perfect little tree, Lucy got excited, pulled Dan’s sister to the ground and we ended up in the ER for the remainder of the afternoon.  Lucy is so unaware of how big and powerful she is!  We ended up getting our tree before leaving and Dan’s sister was such a good sport about the whole situation.  I don’t know if I would have been as calm and understanding as she was.  So sorry, M!

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Below is the finished product.  Felt garland is apparently a hot item this year.  I tried to order it at West Elm, but they were sold out, as was Paper Source.  I bought a small strand of garland from Crate + Barrel which was made in Mexico at a women’s co-op out of dyed straw as a back up.  I was still set on finding felt garland, and stumbled upon it at Anthropologie in Rittenhouse Square.  I even tried to DIY it, but I couldn’t find felt balls anywhere.  So, I settled for the pre-made stuff.  And, I think it looks pretty darn cute with the Crate + Barrel strand and the rest of our ornaments.  The skirt is just a  piece of red sparkle burlap I found at Michael’s wrapped around the base of the tree.  Maybe next year I’ll plan ahead and make my own felt garland.

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 In the meantime though, I did DIY some sparkle garland, which I absolutely LOVE.  I found a tutorial online tutorial at Dear Friend Blog.  The only difference was that I glittered both sides of the card stock and made smaller circles.  Pretty, no?

Despite the chaos, cutting down our own Christmas tree was lots of fun and I was glad to be able to share the day with Dan and his sister.  I think it will be an annual tradition for us.  I think we’ll even invite Lucy next year, but make sure to keep her on a short leash–HA.  Merry Christmas!

 

Thanksgiving in Philadelphia

Happy Monday! Here is a late Thanksgiving recap.

For the first time, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house in Philadelphia.  Dan had to work that night, so rather than spending the holiday alone, we decided to have our families come to us.  My mom, brother, Dan’s sister, Dan and I all packed into our tiny little apartment!

We sat at our leaf table, which was small for 5 people, but worked out just fine.  We set up the food on the peninsula in the kitchen and we all grabbed our food there and went back to the table to eat.  The table decorations were pretty simple; most items I already had (the pumpkins, candles & holders, napkins and table runner.

I bought the place tags at Target.  I had been looking for something to put names on and I just so happened to be walking by the sale section where the sales clerk was in the process of putting them on clearance.  Score!

The flowers were from Trader Joe’s and lasted for 3 weeks.  That’s a long time, people!

I had big plans to pick up some new chairs from an antique store.  I love nothing more than old furniture and un-matching dining room chairs.  Unfortunately our apt. is jam packed and we don’t have anywhere to store more furniture, so we stumbled upon the red folding chairs at Target for 11ish dollars each.  They’re actually pretty cute and I have some DIY ideas up my sleeve for these babies in the future (seat cushions, painted design, ?!?)

Here’s the table all set up!

The recipes I used are listed below (Thank you Martha Stewart, for not making my first Thanksgiving as a hostess a complete cooking disaster!)

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mushroom and Walnut Stuffing

Scalloped Potatoes
Trader Joe’s Green Bean Casserole (recipe on side of mushroom soup box)

Trader Joe’s Premade pumpkin pie

Butternut Squash:

1. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and strings.

2. Add butter (the more the better!)  I use a couple tablespoons for each half.

3. Add brown sugar (2 tablespoons-ish).  You can also use maple syrup.

4. Sprinkle with salt + pepper

5. Roast at 425 degrees until you can put a fork through the squash

6. Enjoy!

I put my mom, brother and Dan to work and all the food came out on time and edible.  I would do a couple of things a bit differently next time so that the food would be even better, but over all everything was a success (except when I cut off the tip of my thumb.  Note: Ikea knives are NOT good knives.  oops!).

 

It’s what the blog is named, after all!

Lucy.

I know everyone thinks that their dog is the cutest. But really, she is the cutest dog I have ever known. I mean, check out these photos!

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I knew that I wanted a dog of my own before I even lived on my own.  I always had dogs growing up and so the minute I graduated from St. Lawrence, I was itching to get a puppy.  My first job didn’t allow me to have one until I was there for more than a year.  So, in the spring, I started to do some research; I bought the local newspaper and it just so happened there was an ad in the classifieds for yellow lab puppies ready to be taken home on June 1st.  I called and sent in my deposit to reserve a female yellow lab puppy the same day.  Waiting to meet Lucy was the longest two months of my life!  I couldn’t wait to pick out my new puppy and start loving her!

My friend and roommate at the time, Amy, and I went to pick her up.  When I arrived, the woman at the house told me there were only two females, and I was second in line, so she handed me the dog and off we went!  I had picked out her name before and after meeting her, I knew it fit her.  The whole ride home she snorted like a piglet.  I should have known she was going to grow up to love food!

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Lucy at 6 weeks old

Lucy was never a difficult puppy, except for the time she chewed my airbag wires in my brand new car, costing me $700 to replace.  Oh yeah, and the new carpet I bought for my living room that she chewed a hole in just days after it was bought.  Now, the worst behavior she has is getting into the trash.  Check out that guilty face.

Lucy lived with me for three years while I worked at boarding school and when I decided to take a new job in Philadelphia, I had to leave her with my parents for the year because the apartment I was living in didn’t allow dogs and I couldn’t afford to live on my own.  Every single day of that year was hard–I missed her like crazy.  The hardest part was going home for vacations and seeing her sad face every time I left.  She still has a look of fear when I leave the house, which makes me so guilty!  Thankfully, my parents were perfect doggy-surrogates and she had a happy life there.  But oh man was I excited when Dan and I officially put a deposit on an apartment in the city that allowed dogs.  I was not only over the moon that I was going to be moving in with Dan, but that Lucy was going to be mine again.  My only worry was that Dan and Lucy wouldn’t get along.  Little did I know that they would be fast friends and Dan would be Lucy’s new favorite human.  They are inseparable!

Need I say more?

Study Buddies

this is pretty typical...