Last Days of 2014

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The holidays are winding down and Doug and I are settling back into life at home in Newburyport these last days of 2014. We had a fun Christmas in Boston last weekend with his family, and then we headed down to Connecticut on Christmas Eve to see my family for a few days. We also took our annual trip to New York City — we saw a Broadway show, visited the tree at Rockefeller Center, had an amazing dinner in Greenwich Village, went shopping at Bryant Park’s Winter Village market, and had brunch in NoHo before we hopped back on Metro North to come home. A little more on this later — but, of course, it was so much fun!

The picture above is from our holiday card this year. Taken on our last night in Costa Rica, I raced home and ordered our cards on Shutterfly (with 50% off, yet $25 worth of shipping) before I even unpacked my bags. I searched for a “tropical” themed holiday card, but the only one I could find required 4 photos, and alas I only had one. So I settled on a turquoise card that was sending “warm” holiday wishes. Close enough, right?

New Years is around the corner and I’ve been thinking about “resolutions” — I put them in quotes because I think resolutions is a daunting word. To me it sets such high standards and, personally, it inevitably sets me up for failure. I prefer to think of them as a New Year’s To Do List, or New Year’s List of Goals. Call me crazy, but it sounds more attainable that way. Anyway, I know 2015 has a lot of greatness in store for me…

I’ll be finishing my Certified Professional Coaching program and with a successful oral exam I will be certified and able to officially start my own business as a Professional Coach. (If you have any questions about this you can send me an email — as part of my credentialing I need to log a certain amount of hours of complimentary sessions!)  I am also excited about heading to France again — not sure when, but I have visited 3 years in a row now, so that totally makes it a tradition, n’est-ce pas?

I have also thought a lot about this blog and what I want to do with it as I grow and change with each passing month and year. I’ve always stuck to my core values of writing things that mean something to me, and although I like to post 5x a week, I am not afraid to skip a day if I have nothing good to say. But I always have lots of ideas floating around, so please stick around!

I know that 2015 has lots of great things to offer us all! 

Girl’s Best Friend

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Coat: Ralph Lauren / Shoes: Aldo (similar) / Bag: Gigi New York

Last weekend I got the chance to hang out with my pal Talen before heading into the city for the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. Talen is Doug’s husky/Australian shepherd mix that lives the good life up in New Hampshire. I never had a dog while I was growing up, so I like to play with Talen whenever I’m up to visit. Here we are posing with our fur — his is real, of course, but mine is a faux fox stole by Robinwoods Design.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the Nutcracker.  I believe they are performing at the Boston Opera House until New Year’s Eve, so grab your tickets before this holiday show closes for the season!  Its truly a magical performance!

Modern Girl Gift Guide: From the Heart

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I’m trying my hand at something different this year — no gift guides! I’ve seen so many on my own Feedly page, that I just don’t think there is anything else out there I could offer, except for my own plan for Christmas gifts this year. I’m a little late in the game due to my vacation in Costa Rica, but I’m hard at work this week finishing up making all (err… most) of my gifts. Thats right. This year I am giving mostly handmade-by-me Christmas gifts.

Its not for lack of money, and surely purchasing my gifts would be the easier route with regards to time, but I thought that it might be really nice to give someone a handmade gift thats truly from the heart. They may not turn out perfect, but they will be from me and made by me, and hopefully that is better than anything else!

But for those of you who may be lacking in the creativity department, I have rounded up a few ideas for you:

Custom calendar — I made one of these for my Dad two years ago and he loved it! It was quite silly as every month was a photo of me jumping somewhere in the world (Napa Valley, Paris, French countryside, Cape Cod, etc.).  I think I used Vistaprint.com, but there are so many sites you could use.

Painting — Even if you don’t think you can paint, you can! Guided painting places like The Paint Bar in Boston are popular in so many cities and they walk you step by step through the painting. You even get to enjoy a glass of wine or beer while you do it!

Scarf/Hat/Blanket — If you can knit or crochet (like me!) you can try your hand at making one of these items. A scarf is definitely the easiest, but hats aren’t too much more difficult. YouTube videos are really helpful!

Canning — For those foodies out there, try your hand at canning your own homemade jams and butters, or savory items like picked vegetables and salsa. I’ve had this on my list for awhile — maybe next year I’ll try it!

Whatever you decide to do, the recipient is sure to love it. To me, the best part of receiving a handmade gift is knowing that someone one took their (precious!) time and used it to make something just for you.

*Picture above is from an Etsy shop called eineIdee because 1) I can’t actually show you my gifts here yet, and 2) they are just the most adorable crochet bunnies!