December 22, 2014

The Importance of a Safe Word

'Tis the season of family gatherings, holiday parties with lots of cocktails and lots of judgment on your current life situation from people that "know better."  Just kidding, I really love this time of year and we had an absolute blast on our trip home.  BUT sometimes you need to plan for the crazy.

One of our favorite Christmas movies is Four Christmases.  Vince Vaughn is a favorite in this household.  If you've never seen the movie, it is about a couple that has to visit each of their parents and put up with the craziness that comes with it.  They have a safe word in the movie - "mistletoe."  Turns out, this theory is brilliant when traveling with your significant other over the holidays.

We joked about "mistletoe" for our trip, but agreed that if anything got to be too much - we could use the word and take the time we needed to regroup and the other would hold down the fort.  

Turns out, we needed it a few times:

Mistletoe - Justin was repeatedly being jumped on by our three nieces for a good 20 minutes while we were supposed to be having "movie time."

Mistletoe - After a Friday night xmas with my family and an early coffee date with my sister in law, I needed a 20 minute nap before meeting friends for a late lunch.

Mistletoe - Chuck E. Cheese - there were multiple mistletoes here which resulted in handing off the tokens to each other to shift the attention from all the children.

Mistletoe - 10 hours into our final day of driving and we both needed fresh air and to move around.

Not so bad, right?  If you take any advice from me this holiday season, come up with a safe word.  Enjoy your time with family and don't get overwhelmed.  If the safe word doesn't work, then just go shopping - or at least enter this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 19, 2014

Holiday Road Trips

Road Trip Essentials

We just returned from our holiday trip back to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas and take care of some work stuff.  It is exactly 1203 miles each way in the car with dogs (they DON'T fly and we wanted to take them.)  We did each leg of the trip in two days.  It was good quality bonding time for us and the dogs.  The weather was awesome, the hotels we found were decent and the Chicago traffic was barely a thing.  I think we are getting good at this road trip stuff.

In my opinion, you need 5 things for an easy, successful road trip.

1. Entertainment - We caught up on Serial and a few other podcasts, listened to part of a Bill Bryson book and had a 3 hour 90's music singalong with Spotify.

2. Comfortable clothes - Fleece lined leggings and warm socks are requirements for me when traveling by car in the winter.  My husband usually rocks some sweatpants and a comfy hooded sweatshirt.  Who cares what you look like when you have to sit in the car for 10 hours?

3. Health food - We stocked up on juices before we left because otherwise we knew we would stop for sodas and sugar drinks all the way through the Midwest.  The juices were in a small cooler along with carrots, apples and other healthy finger foods.

4. The opposite of Health food - We always share a bag of combos.  Even though we packed mostly healthy stuff, you have to have at least one gross item.

5. More comfort - I packed our U-shaped travel pillows for ourselves, but we quickly discovered that Lola fits right inside of those and they were perfect for her to sleep in.  Everyone was more comfortable when she was comfortable.

What do you need when you travel?  Are you headed anywhere for the holidays?

December 18, 2014

2014 Favorites - Part 1

The year is coming to an end and the gift guides are starting to die down.  That means it is time for 2014 in review posts.  I love these, so I'll be sharing a few.  Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorites. I should warn you that I'm not always on top of the newest trends, so some of these did not come out this year, but I enjoyed them this year.


These were my 3 favorite books that I've read this year.  I know they are a little random, but these are the three that I couldn't wait to pick back up every time I put them down.  Plus, we all know how much I love Andy Cohen - total guilty pleasure.


Gone Girl & This is Where I Leave You were my two favorite movies.  Turns out I didn't see many this year, but I have a lot I want to see this holiday season.  Hopefully I'll add a few more to this list.  The plan is to see: Wild, Unbroken, Mockingjay, Into the Woods and the Theory of Everything.  I better get to the theater sooner rather than later.

TV Show Binges

Breaking Bad - We started the first season over a year ago and then realized that it would just be easier to wait until the show was done and watch the whole thing beginning to end.  Incredible.

Scandal - I get the Olivia Pope fascination now.

Gilmore Girls - Not sure how I missed this show the first time around, but it's my guilty pleasure now.

30 Rock - Because Tina Fey

Songs  - I'll admit that I loved Fancy for the first three weeks it was out around my birthday and then I started to hate it.  These are all songs I have listened to a ton this year and have not gotten sick of yet.  I'd call that a win.

The Best Songs Of 2014

Linking up with Helene for the best songs.  Tell me your favorites from the year.  I could use some new stuff to check out.

December 17, 2014

I'm BACK!!!!

I'm back from the motherland of Minnesota with an extra 5 lbs of fat and my sanity intact.  The craziness that usually comes with the holiday season has passed for us.  We celebrated a work holiday party, both family Christmas parties, 4 weeknight dinners with friends, one large friend get together, 2 brunches, 1 trip to the Minneapolis holiday market, 1 Chuck E Cheese date and a successful bridesmaid dress shopping trip.

Our next few weeks are just the two of us with the pups.  It will be quiet and peaceful, but better than last year because we got our family time in face to face.

When we arrived back home late Monday night, it felt so good to be home.  I missed certain little things about my routine that I had never really thought about before.  In Minnesota, we were jumping from guest room to guest room.  

I missed my Keurig that I can start in my underwear in my kitchen before I jump in the shower so I have a hot cup of my favorite coffee as soon as I'm ready.  I missed my closet where things can be hung up.  I missed being able to just throw dirty clothes right into the washing machine.  I missed my couch (although our friends, Brady & Kelsey, have the same one, so that was nice.)  I missed my early AM/late night reading & writing time.  I missed my treat cabinet that I can sneak into if I need a little snack.  I missed the juice place downstairs that can help me bounce back if I spend too much time in my treat cabinet.  I missed walking.

I could go on and on, but I have a point.  I realized how much I enjoy my daily routine.  Traveling is so much fun, but I finally feel the same amount of joy when I come home.  I've never been able to say that in the past.  Maybe it's our current location or maybe it's the awesome daily routine I have, but whatever it is - I like it.

There is so much laundry and work catch up to be done, so I'm off to have my second cup of my favorite coffee.  Happy Hump Day all.

December 10, 2014

'Tis the Holiday Season

Minnesota is not as cold as it probably should be this time of year which means I haven't had to purchase additional long underwear yet.  We have been busy hopping from place to place and filling our week days with work meetings and lunch dates.  It's been hectic, but it's been absolutely wonderful.  This is the motherland and these are our people.

We have some pizzas cooking in the oven and some dogs that just visited their favorite vet and need some love, so I'll leave with you my favorite picture from last weekend.

If you want to see pictures of the happenings, make sure to follow me on Instagram @stephgregerson and you can also follow J @justingregerson.  In the meantime, I just wanted to remind you that the giveaway for the Etsy gift card ends tomorrow night and I have some awesome ladies on the side bar for you to check out.  Hope you are having a wonderful week and staying warm wherever you are.

a Rafflecopter giveaway