Decorating for the Holidays

You may recall that last year, I didn't decorate at all for the holidays. But this year, I was in my first big(ish) house, hosting my annual holiday party there, and just happened to have inherited some old holiday decorations from my Grandma. Plus, there's Pinterest.

This year, despite how stressed I was or how busy I was, I was determined to decorate our house for Christmas.
The photo on the right was Joe's Christmas present - his old house in Soulard. 
My bar cart in all its glory! Still working on stocking it with better liqour...
I spray painted some of these old decorations metallic gold to give them a more modern look.
And would you look at that, I even hung up some lights on the back porch! (Ignore the trash bags.)

My Annual Holiday Party

Every year, I host a holiday party for my friends and this year, I was particularly in need of some Christmas cheer. I had been so busy, so stressed out (see this post for proof) and was out of town for both my and Joe's work holiday parties. 

The perfect prescription? Ugly sweaters, holiday PJ's, and Santa hats, of course!
We drank apple cider sangria and pudding shots, snacked on cheese, crackers, crab rangoon dip and bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes, and played some intense games of Jenga, Cards Against Humanity and MarioKart 64. It was a great time with great friends and I can't wait to do it all again next year :)

BIG thanks to Oh Happy Day for creating the prinatble photo props (they were a big hit at my family Christmas too!) and to Signature T-Shirts for making my awesome 'This Girl Loves Christmas' sweatshirt.

Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

Made these for our holiday party and they went so fast, I only got to try one! I guess you could say people liked them.

Plus - they were SUPER easy. I mean, cut a sweet potato into big chunks, cook in butter for a minute and then wrap in bacon? So easy. And unfussy ingredients. We actually prepped it all beforehand, and then popped it in the oven just as people were getting there so they'd be hot.


  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • Ancho chili powder, salt, pepper, honey or brown sugar 
  • 2 medium garnet yams, scrubbed (leave the skin on), cut into about 30 chunks
  • about 10 strips bacon, cut horizontally into thirds 


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. 
  • Add the chili powder, salt, black pepper and honey or sugar. Stir well to combine. 
  • Add the yam chunks and stir well to coat them in the butter mixture. 
  • Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then transfer the sweet potatoes to a clean plate and allow to cool.  
  • Wrap each yam chunk with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place seam-side-down on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat until all the yam chunks have been wrapped.  
  • Bake the wrapped sweet potatoes for 40-45 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the sweet potatoes are tender.

Recipe (and picture) from BrokeAss Gourmet

Apple Cider Sangria

I made this sangria for my annual holiday party and it was a big hit! I'm always worried cocktails and sangria will have an overpowering alcohol flavor, but the apple cider really came through in this. Delicious!


  • 2 bottles of pinot grigio
5 cups fresh apple cider

  • 2 cup club soda

  • 1 cup ginger brandy
6 honey crisp apples, chopped

  • 6 pears, chopped 


  • Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving. Makes approx 3 gallons. 

Inspired by (and picture) from How Sweet It Is


Chicken stock is making the house smell great. I'm still in my PJ's at 4:00pm. It's snowing outside. And the house is clean(er) than it has been in days.




Seeing Wicked at the Fox tomorrow and have a party at our office on Thursday... and all I can think of is how that's taking up evening time to cook/clean/wrap presents/decorate. Isn't that sad? All that is getting me through is the promise that Sunday will be filled with Christmas movies, coffee, present wrapping and naps on the couch. Just gotta get there. 

4 days til my annual holiday party (and 1st official party at the new house). 
6 days til Christmas Eve. 7 til Christmas Day. 

Too busy. Too stressed out. Too much to do. 


DC Bound

Heading to spend the weekend in Washington, DC and Quantico with my family. My brother is graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant from Marines OCS on Friday morning and I couldn't be more proud.

Our agenda includes the Newseum, the Hobbit, manicures and a few(strictly-scheduled) visits to Quantico.

Here's to quality family time, not freezing my butt off and hopefully bumping into the cast of NCIS.


Denim on Denim

Denim on denim, and red flats. Fall uniform making an appearance in December.

jeggings from Target. chambray shirt from Old Navy. red flats from Gap. 


House Tour, Before

Even though we moved in October, we're still unpacking boxes, filling up closets and trying to figure out the best place to store cleaning supplies. These pictures are from moving day two months ago, but honestly, the place doesn't look too different now. 

What can I say. It's a work in progress. 
View of the front door from the hallway. Coat closet and stairs to the left, living room to the right. 
This is the living room, now complete with two couches and a TV. 
The (someday) dining room. Right now, it's still mostly boxes. 
I like to call this 'Joe's Kitchen'. The first room in the house that we unpacked, and probably the one we live in the most. 
The basement. Not as scary as it looks. 
Our forest, aka backyard. 
 The stairs and exposed brick wall are probably my favorite part of the house. 
 Master bedroom, which is a lot bigger than it looks. It also has an actual bed in it now. We aren't sleeping on a mattress. 
 The second bedroom / office / TV room / excercise room / linen closet / craft supplies storage etc.
A very large bathroom, with very little storage. And a clawfoot tub that I thought I would love and I actually despise. 
Our landing, aka awkward space. 

More (hopefully more impressive) photos to come.... Stay tuned. 

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