December 30, 2015

2015 Favorites


The year is coming to an end and that always seems to be a good time to share some favorites. I won't get too deep today, I'm just going to share some of my favorite forms of entertainment this year as well as some of my favorite items that I've discovered (there are some referral links included.)

Movies, Television & Theater:




Star Wars wins all movies this year. We saw it last Monday and loved every minute. My husband is a giant Star Wars fan, so we watched zero trailers and skipped over any articles beforehand. We didn't even know that Adam Driver was in the movie. It was phenomenal. I think the series is the perfect amount of cheesy and entertaining, but there are a few duds that you have to sit through. The new characters are awesome and we will definitely see it again.  Honorable Mentions: Jurassic World and a bunch of movies we haven't seen yet, but I swear we will get to it this winter.

In TV this year, Netflix won. I loved Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Gracie & Frankie. We continued watching Scandal and Homeland. We also just watched the first episode of True Detective. I'm proud to say that we have been without cable for almost a year and that has definitely led to less television watching, but when we watch TV, we watch with purpose.

On the stage this year, we saw the best play we have ever seen and I'm not sure anything will top it. We saw Emma Stone & Alan Cumming in Cabaret. I can't say enough good things about the show. Everyone was extremely talented and the show was incredible. I think topping this one will be a challenge for us, but it's a challenge that we are up for.


Books & Music


As far as books are concerned, I had a good year. It's hard to pick my favorite, so I wrote down the first three that came to mind. All the Light We Cannot See was a book I grabbed in the airport and I couldn't get enough of it. I loved the way that Anthony Doerr told the story, he moved back and forth between characters so quickly and it kept me interested. I Am Malala is a book that everyone should read just to help get an understanding of who she is. I don't think that I can find a word that is fair to describe this incredible human and the struggles she's faced, but it doesn't matter - I don't have to, because you can read her story yourself. Last, but not least, is The Art of Racing in the Rain. If you love dogs, you should read this book. You should prepare yourself for a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but it's a must. I couldn't put it down.

Aside from those three, I read a lot of funny memoirs this year, a lot of JoJo Moyes (who I can't get enough of) and a few duds. I think I'm going to give this reading challenge a try this year to get outside the "usual." 


In the music world, I was all over the place this year. We added this little gem to our apartment this year and it changed the way we shop and listen to music. I know that seems silly, but there's something about putting on a record that makes both of us actually sit down and enjoy the music. 

We saw some great concerts this year including two of my bucket list performers - Counting Crows and Stevie Wonder. 

I love all kinds of music and this year was no exception. I listed the three that have been played the most on my spotify (or record player) from beginning to end, but don't think that I wasn't jamming out to Bieber or T. Swift throughout the year. Variety is the spice of life, people.

Material Things


I needed a place to randomly list out the other things I discovered this year that I love. 

My Instax Mini was a hit this year. We started a new routine of taking weekly family pictures and they are pretty hilarious. Not to mention, this has become a really fun party trick.

The hats pictured above are part of the Minnesota campaign to Keep the North Cold. You can read all about it on Wit & Delight and then go support Kate and all of our Minnesota friends by rocking one of these yourselves this winter. Justin and I each have one and we love them.

All things Icelandic have been big this year - but especially their yogurt. I'm a little pissed right now because Target and Acme both stocked Siggi's for about 5 minutes and now I can't find it anywhere again, but I'm on the hunt.

This shirt from The Daily Tay. So much money has been given to charity and I love supporting a good cause and having a comfy t-shirt.

Jamberry became something new for me this year - I'm still working on my technique, but I like the concept and the variety. I'll report more on this in the future.

The onesies we are wearing in the picture above... also featured on our Christmas card this year. They were a drunk Amazon purchase and once the weather finally gets cold, I think they will be worn daily.  You can find mine here and Justin's here.

Also, I'm not mad about man bun's and I don't care who knows it.

So that's what I have to share for today. I'll be back tomorrow sharing my 2015 resolution and whether or not I kept it.  Now, it's your turn...

What's your favorite book, movie, album or thing from 2015??? 

December 28, 2015

Our Christmas Weekend

We finished up our 12 dates of Christmas. We watched Elf and Christmas Vacation. We enjoyed a game night with Christmas music blaring. We handed out gift cards to random people on the street to help spread Christmas cheer. 

I did a horrible job of taking more photos. I was too excited for my mom to come to town. She landed on Christmas Day and we wore pajamas, watched movies, drank mimosas and relaxed. We hit the city on Saturday and Sunday and did lots of walking, snacking, cocktailing, etc. I took lots of photos of my mom taking photos which always makes me laugh.




Holidays can be tough when you are getting used to new traditions away from your families. This is our third Christmas away from Minnesota. We were lucky enough to have my mom come and visit, but we were missing the kids, grandma and the big, loud Christmas meals. Maybe next year, we will have a white Christmas in Minnesota with the family... or maybe we need to be on a beach. Only time will tell.

I'm excited to do a little 2015 reflection the next few days before heading upstate for a relaxing New Year's weekend. Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2015

12 Dates of Christmas: On the Sixth, Seventh & Eighth Date...

We looked at Christmas lights - 3 different ways, 3 different places.

First up was our annual visit to the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. We enjoyed a slice from Tony's Pizzeria - our favorite in that neck of the woods - and then we spent an hour just walking through the streets checking out the lights. That neighborhood really goes all out and it's become a fun tradition to stroll around there. You can see more pictures on this post from last year.






dyker-heights

The next date was a stop at our absolute favorite Christmas house in all of the tri-state area. It's been officially named "Santa's Corner" so you can search for that on Instagram for tons of pictures. I didn't take as many this year, but it was as lovely as ever. Plus, we were able to bring a few friends along that had never been. It's a fun place to share.

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And our last date involving Christmas lights was a holiday light tour of the city from On Location Tours. We were given tickets in exchange for a review, but all the opinions to follow are my own.

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The tour starts at Columbus Circle and ends up at Herald's Square with lots of fun stops and sights on the way. I think doing tours like these are especially helpful if you are visiting because it allows you to check out places in the city that you may not have found on your own. Plus, you get lots of extra movie trivia. The store windows along 5th Avenue are not to be missed during the holiday season and everyone should take a trip to Macy's during the holiday season.

I would definitely recommend this fun tour during the holiday season to get a different perspective of the sights. Take the later tour if possible since the first one starts before it's dark outside and you really want to take in the lights more than anything else. Also, don't plan on having too much time at the stops - instead, just take note of places you want to spend more time exploring.

So that wraps up our Christmas Light dates. I have a few more to share. Let me know where you go to look at lights. Have you ever been to Dyker Heights or done a light tour?

Merry Christmas Eve Eve.

December 21, 2015

12 Dates of Christmas: On Our Fourth and Fifth Dates...

We had movie nights in pajamas with the best Christmas scented candles burning.


We watched The Santa Clause and guzzled down the greatest hot chocolate this side of the North Pole. We mixed Salted Caramel hot chocolate from Swiss Miss and Bailey's. We curled up on the couch and watched the whole Santa Clause trilogy. Well, I fell asleep during the 3rd one because who can watch three movies in one day?

Our fifth date was another movie night. We chose our two favorite Vince Vaughn holiday choices - Fred Claus and Four Christmases. We didn't really have anything movie related to enjoy while watching these, but drank hot chocolate again and enjoyed every second.

Planning these dates was extremely easy. Even though I'm a little behind recapping them, we've enjoyed having this special time during the holiday season. Choosing to do six at home has helped us relax a little bit more this year and I love it.

I'll be back tomorrow with some Christmas lights.

December 20, 2015

Prepping for Holiday Guests

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #holidaymoments #collectivebias

costco-procter-and-gamble #shop

During the holiday season, we often have guests come to town. Who doesn't want to spend Christmas walking around New York City and enjoying the best food and entertainment around? This year is no different.  My mom is heading to town on Christmas Day, so we made a Costco run to pick up some of the essentials.

I'm excited to team up with P&G to share with you my tips for being a great hostess to out of town guests - even when you have a small apartment.

1. Have a Breakfast Plan

Having a nice warm breakfast is one of the most welcoming things you can do for a guest. We have quite a few favorite egg bake recipes that can be prepped the night before and thrown in the oven when you wake up for ease. See recipe for an egg bake that is super easy to prepare at the end of this post. Since we are looking at New York City out the window, we also like to have a morning that features the famous New York bagels.

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2. Stock Up on Beverages

No guest should ever go thirsty, but you can take it to the next level by stocking your fridge and coffee selections with their favorites.

For example, my grandma only drinks decaf, so I always make sure we have some decaf in the cabinet. With my mom coming for the weekend, I'm going to make sure I have the fixings for some good mimosas.

At a minimum, make sure you have coffee, water and something local to share. We love offering guests a local beer or wine when they arrive. Craft beers are popping up all over the place and it shouldn't be hard to find something to share with your guests.

3. Get Your Bathroom Prepped & Ready

We have one bathroom in our apartment, so it's important to make sure it is as clean and welcoming as a hotel bathroom. We always do a big deep clean when people are coming to town and make sure that there are extras of anything people might forget. We always try and have extra P&G household products on hand for visitors. You don't want to get caught without them.

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Costco is the best place to stock up on P&G cleaning supplies and household products. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and Swiffer Dusters are the best way to quickly clean up and make everything look brand new. The Magic Erasers are great for cleaning walls and hard surfaces including soap scum. We always keep these in the bathroom and kitchen. They have been great on our white trim and bathroom surfaces.

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You never want anyone having to search for extra toilet paper or a nice air freshener. We stocked up on Charmin Bath Tissues, which is America's softest bath tissue, and Febreze Air Effects, to help eliminate any odors. The holiday pack of Febreze Air Effects is an absolute delight. I usually keep out two different ones to change things up a little bit.

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Once you have everything ready for your guests to arrive, all that is left is to have some fun and enjoy the holiday season. 


Make sure to check out all the P&G household products at Costco to help you prepare for your holiday guests. Add in a little extra local flare in your food and beverage options and you are set.

What's your must have for holiday visitors? Do you have a favorite breakfast to serve or must have item?

December 16, 2015

12 Dates of Christmas: On Our Third Date...

We got a large cheese pizza, all for ourselves.


I am not skilled at taking a picture of pizza that makes it look good, but who cares, because we all know pizza is amazing in all shapes and sizes.


We had our third date at home (remember we are doing 6 at home and 6 out on the town.) We watched Home Alone 1 and 2 in our pj's and stuffed our faces with pizza. It was absolutely wonderful. It also felt like most Friday nights, but with more Christmas spirit.

Let me tell you - watching Home Alone with pizza makes it even better.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.

December 15, 2015

12 Dates of Christmas: On Our Second Date...

We went to Lincoln Center and saw the Nutcracker Ballet.

The ballet isn't really my thing, but as a kid, I remember seeing the Nutcracker and loving it with my grandma. Justin had never seen it, so I thought it would be amazing to go to the New York Ballet.

The Sunday evening show is at 5:00 PM and the weather was so warm that we were able to enjoy a glass of rose outside on their balcony.


What we weren't prepared for was not being able to bring our wine into the theater. I don't know why we assumed that we'd be able to, but we also didn't want to chug it or throw it away. So, the classy people we are, we hid our glasses behind a table on the 4th floor and enjoyed them again during intermission. #noshame




We left the theater and walked around a little before deciding to end our date with a giant slice for $2.50. Nothing like eating pizza in your Sunday best.


I do want to say that if you are headed to the ballet this season, please leave your jeans and tennis shoes at home. It's fun to dress up and this is the perfect occasion. Even if you hide your wine behind tables, at least you'll look like you belong there :)

Excited to be linking up with Katie Elizabeth for all things Christmas. Join the party!

December 11, 2015

New York Riveters

A few weeks ago, Justin and I were shopping near Little Italy in a Canadian store called Roots. We struck up a conversation with someone working there and of course she was from Minnesota. As we stood there chatting, a group of women entered the store and somehow hockey was brought up (not that weird because we were in a Canadian store.) These women were part of the New York Riveters, which is one of four professional women's hockey teams.

Guys, this is a big deal. There have been lots of people working to get women's hockey at the professional level for a long time. It's the inaugural season, so it was on our list to check out at least one game here in town. After talking to these women for a few minutes, we had scored ourselves tix to home game the following evening.

If you live in or near Buffalo, Hartford, Boston or NYC, do yourself a favor and go check out a game or two or ten. The tickets are cheap, they serve beer at the games (also for cheap) and the games are so fun to watch.  Plus, I love going to the games, so if you plan to head to a NY game, let me know and we'll meet up!

I'm a Riveters fan because they are the hometown team. Plus, they play at the coolest venue I've seen. It has a climbing wall, a gymnastics area, a full bar and tons of parking - all in Brooklyn. Here are some photos from our first game. I can definitely say that there will be many more.







This is not a sponsored post, I just really want to help spread the word. Please share this post, like them on Facebook (links below) and if you are in the New York City area tomorrow and love shopping, go and check out an event they are having at Roots (20% off!!!) Event Details here

NY Riveters Facebook Page
NWHL Facebook Page
Buffalo Beats Facebook Page
Boston Price Facebook Page
Connecticut Whale Facebook Page

It is so cool that there are games that young girls can go see and imagine themselves playing there when they grow up. If you love hockey (or sports in general), go check out a game.

And if you didn't know that I was a bit hockey obsessed, read this. Go Riveters!

December 10, 2015

12 Dates of Christmas: On Our First Date...

We decked the halls... well, we decked the apartments and then watched an appropriate movie for the occasion.

We got our table top Christmas tree, pulled out the ornaments and decorated the apartment. We spent some phone free time pulling out ornaments and decorations (we only keep one small plastic bin) and drank eggnog mixed with Rumchata - highly recommended.


A few years ago, we watched as many holiday movies as we could between Thanksgiving and Christmas and found a few new favorites and introduced each other to our old family classics. In that month, we discovered that we love the cheesiness of Deck the Halls with Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick as well as Jingle All the Way (filmed in Minnesota) starring Arnold and Sinbad.



Seriously, there is nothing better than "tough guys" in Christmas montages. Christmas with the Kranks is another great one, plus Tim Allen is great in holiday movies.

We turned on these two classics and decorated the tree and then wrapped the presents (because we have been done shopping for weeks) and put them under the tree.





Daina from New York State of Mind has been posting her 12 dates of Christmas and I loved the idea. Once we found out that it was just the two of us this holiday season, I wanted to plan some fun stuff that would keep us occupied. Six dates are at home and six dates are out and about. This idea has been fantastic so far.

More to come...

December 9, 2015

Christmas Garden: An Icelandic Adventure

Santas_summer_home

While in Northern Iceland, we stumbled across a magical place. We were just cruising around looking for a fun place to stop and this place was impossible to miss. We pulled in and couldn't find a single person, but we were able to explore. It seemed like just the place that Santa Claus would spend his summers. It is called the Christmas Garden, or Jólagarðurinn. 

There was a small shop filled with candies, ornaments and all things Christmas. In the yard, there were all kinds of props and photo opportunities set up. There were signs for cocoa & cider and games to play that were all Christmas themed. They have a tower you can climb up in at the back of the Christmas Garden.

It was such a happy accident for us to stumble across it. If you are ever visiting the Akureyri area, it is only about a 10 minute drive from the city. It is worth a visit even if it isn't the holiday season. They have some really cool Icelandic gifts there.

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Christmas_Garden

I am fully submersed in the Christmas spirit now. I am dreaming of a return trip to this beautiful place.

Have you ever stumbled across something wonderful on a road trip?