Christmas Cards

I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards. It seemed they came a little later this year than most. People must have been a little behind with the ordering/sending. But I love that we have a gorgeous collection from friends and family now – including two with announcements of a new baby in 2015! For me, our Christmas card is a way to recap our year for our family and friends; especially those we don’t see during the holidays.

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We actually ended up ordering a second set of cards after we addressed the first 45. Who knew we had so many cards to send out this year? I went ahead and spent the extra money on the return addressing (and my sweet husband got me  a new return address stamp for Christmas!). For $18 more dollars, I could have had all of the cards addressed to the recipients but we didn’t mind writing out the addresses.

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Since we sent out cards in March announcing we had moved and bought a new house, we didn’t include that on the holiday card. Instead, we included our one-year anniversary (photo by Taken by Sarah) and our trip to St. Martin to celebrate.

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We got all gussied up so many times this year for our friend’s weddings that it seemed only appropriate to include a picture from one of those. And since travel is such a big part of our lives, we included a photo in front of the bean in Chicago. Spoiler alert, next year’s card will have Paris, London, Ireland, Cape Cod and Key West on it! Can you tell I’m excited for our travel?

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We ordered this card from Photo Affections. I have enjoyed ordering items from them as they come quickly, look professional and are in adorable boxes. Definitely recommend trying it out if you’re looking for announcements or holiday cards!

Weekend Wrap Up [Christmas #1]

Our first couple Christmases together, we tried to do both families in one day. They were only two hours apart, so what could go wrong? A snow storm. That’s what. We got stuck in a snow storm coming back to NC from VA and I watched cars sliding off the road in my rearview mirror. The only time in my life I’ve been thankful my SUV has 4-wheel drive (otherwise not necessary in NC!). So, ever since then, we’ve tried to alternate. This weekend, we celebrated an early Christmas with my in-laws.

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My mother-in-law made a delicious dinner of fried turkey and delicious fixins for us and had a beautiful table where we dined.

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Santa came and was good to everyone, even the dogs!

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This guy has been obsessed with his stocking ever since we put it up. Every year he’s obsessed, but it’s to a new level this year. He seriously LOVES Christmas.

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On Saturday, we went to hear a storyteller at the Fearrington Barn. Donald Davis made us laugh, made us want to hug our families and made us want to visit the Grand Canyon but never ride a mule. If you ever have a chance to listen to him, DO IT.

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One of our families favorite things to do is play games when we’re all together. We’re big fans of Apples to Apples and Cranium. This year, we got new games which made us laugh until our bellies hurt. Smart Ass and Telestrations were this year’s choices, with Telestrations being played the most. Smart Ass challenged us all a little more with trivia but was definitely fun!

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On Sunday, after days of being tempted with cookies and squash casserole, I had to get in my 7-mile training run for the Key West Half Marathon.

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Not going to lie, I didn’t want to do it. I was a little sore from T25 the day before. It was cold outside. There was beer and football in the house. I had a million excuses. The first 4 miles SUCKED. I even took a break at one point and gave myself a pep talk.

IMG_8149Once I hit mile 4, I actually got in a groove. I felt pretty good and also, the setting sun sparked a fire under me (I am terrified of the dark so running after sunset is out of the question!). I got to see some pretty awesome stuff like the Fearrington House decorated for Christmas…

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And from the side:

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And I finished just before dark with my legs telling me I couldn’t run another mile and chills from my sweat combined with cool winter air. I didn’t hit my pace that I’ve been aiming for with my training. It was actually probably my worst 7 mile run ever but I told myself “Done is better than perfect.” And it’s true. I did it. It’s done. I ran 7 miles. Maybe not in 1:03 like I wanted to, but I did it.

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Oh, and my timehop reminded me on Saturday of a date my now husband and I had on our 6 month anniversary. Weren’t we cute?

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Hope everyone had a wonderful last weekend before Christmas (or just a good weekend if you don’t celebrate Christmas!). We’re both off work this week and excited to relax and spend some quality time together (and with our pups!). Happy Monday!

Wednesday Wish List

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? 43 days away, to be exact! While I’m not sharing a “Christmas” list, I am going to share some things that I’m loving right now. Since we’re still in our first year in our new house, we’re still figuring out some things we want/need and where they’ll go once we have them. One thing we can definitely agree on is a firepit.
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I am smitten with this dormat from Lulu and Georgia that says “You & Me,” and is the song we danced to at our wedding. I would love to put it out on our screened in porch. Isn’t it darling?

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While we’re on the topic of Lulu and Georgia, I LOVE this book shelf. It’s so different from traditional book shelves and would look great separating our dining room and living room.

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I have also been swooning over bar carts but haven’t made a purchase yet. Society Social has a great one, but is definitely high-end.

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This vintage-chic one that I found on Etsy is also quite charming:

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Target also has a couple, one which is very simple but I do love that price!

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The other is gold bamboo which is unique, plus it has places for your wine glasses:

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We still want bikes so we can ride around our adorable neighborhood, but with winter quickly approaching (Friday’s “low” is 25 degrees! Brrr!), I doubt we’ll be riding bikes ANYWHERE in the near future. I’m not much of a jewelry person but occasionally I will find items that I love (mostly staples). I sent my husband this Kate Spade watch recently. I have a watch that I wear almost every day to work, but I think this one could be more of an every day and night kind of watch!

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I also love this simple gold bar necklace. I saw a similar one in Monkee’s when shopping with my BFF Amy. This one is less than half the price (I know, I know, you get what you pay for!), but it’s just as cute!

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I rarely splurge on high-ticket items for myself, so this baby will have to wait but I am definitely in need of a David Yurman Pearl ring. I have looked at this for years and just can’t ever seem to suck it up and buy it. Maybe for a push present when we have a baby (don’t get excited moms, Baby E and Baby L are still a long ways off!).

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These vegan Tieks are amazing. I have said over and over again that my Tieks were the best shoe purchase I’ve ever made. I love my gold ones, and after two years, they are finally starting to show wear. I would definitely by the same ones again, but if I were going to switch it up, these would be a close second.

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I’ve been eyeing GiGi clutches for a while now and this eggplant color is all the rage this season. Plus? I love anything monogrammed!

1gigiclutchMost of these things are just nice-to haves. I always have such a hard time coming up with lists of things I actually want for birthdays and Christmas. What are some things you’re loving lately? Would love to hear what’s on your wish-list this year!

What a week!

Last week was intense. We were so busy it felt like we only saw each other in passing. But I can happily say that big things are on the horizon for us! Luckily, this weekend we were able to regroup and spend time together now that the hubs is done with grad school til 2014 and we had no planned events to attend (and of course being stuck inside on Saturday voiceless and with a sore throat helped). So here’s a recap of LAST weekend and also a new recipe that left us licking our fingers!
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After spending the holiday with my family and finally getting our kitchen back in order, we spent Friday night watching the Bobcats play (but of course we were wearing our Hornets colors!). We even got cute toboggans for showing up early!
w3While Saturday marked the last day of November (and no-shave november for my husband), it was also the day that we had Fall photos taken with our city in the background. I love this one that our photographer shared from the back of her camera. A little late on the Christmas cards this year, but I am glad we will have these beauties in our home and on our family’s fridges.

w2Later we explored NoDa and met up with our friends to see Matrimony in concert at the Chop Shop. We had dinner at Revolution Ale House and stopped in the Crepe Cellar for some post-dinner drinks (coffee for this girl – who was yawning at 8 PM).

w4We capped off the weekend by picking out our first real Christmas tree together. I love starting new traditions with this guy – and this is one we will definitely continue. It’s all decorated, with a brand new tree skirt and colorfully wrapped presents beneath it now.

While it seemed like a busy weekend, it also seemed normal and calm for us. We’re at “that age” where every weekend holds something (most of the time that other people have planned), so it’s nice when we have a weekend at home where we can pick and choose what we do, hang out in pajamas if we want and curl up on Friday nights and watch a movie on our own couch instead of in a hotel room somewhere. We’re thankful for those moments, but also thankful to be blessed with so many friends and family members that we get to travel to see. We’re especially looking forward to all of the upcoming weddings we’ve been invited to – with a few more that I’m betting get added to the list (wink, wink):

Dec 21 – Pittsburgh, PA
April 26, – Nassau, Bahamas
May 4 – Austin, TX
May 17 – Wilmington, NC
June 6 – Baltimore, MD
June 7 – Blacksburg, VA
Sept 20- Winston-Salem, NC
Oct 11 – Charlotte, NC

Looks like 2014 is going to be a busy one for us! Even more reason to soak up our weekends at home!

Here’s last night’s dinner, which was delicious – my husband told me at least 3 times this morning that he couldn’t wait for lunch to eat the leftovers: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (click on the picture once there to go to the recipe)
buffalo chicken enchiladasThis was the perfect meal to accompany Sunday night football. When you want wings but would rather a real meal, go for the enchiladas. Yum!

Secret Swap!

It might seem a little early to be discussing the holidays, but Christmas is only 7 weeks (+2 days) away! Hard to believe, right? I’m with you on that one. This year has literally flown by. After looking for our traditional Christmas ornament (and the first one as a married couple) I had an idea to do something fun to celebrate the holidays this year …

Secret SwapThat’s right – a holiday ornament exchange. I’m leaving it open as to whether you purchase or make the ornament. There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest and Etsy! Go with whatever holiday ornament you think will make someone’s holiday season merrier! The exchange will be a secret, you won’t know who or where your ornament is coming from until it arrives!

So here’s how it works:

1. By November 15th: Leave your name and 5 words that describe you (e.g.: Ashleigh runner who just got married)
(*this will give your partner an idea of what type of gift/ornament you might like)

2. By November 15th: Email me (ashfar3@gmail.com) with your mailing address (this will only be given to the person who is sending you an ornament)

3. All ornaments will be mailed by November 29th (the day after Thanksgiving when it is acceptable to begin decorating for the holidays)

4. HAVE FUN! What a great opportunity to brighten someone’s day, make a new friend and spread the love during the holidays!

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Be sure to share this with your friends, the more the merrier! And if you’re trying to save a little during the holiday season, join me in No-Shop November!

 

No-Shop November!

Holy cow! I cannot believe it’s already November. I can’t believe it’s been 2 months today since we said goodbye to my sweet Paw Paw. I can’t believe that we are hosting our first Thanksgiving this year (and I only have 27 days left to prepare!). And I can’t believe that it’s officially no-shave November! no shave novemberJust kidding. I couldn’t resist posting this after finding it yesterday when sifting through hundreds of Halloween pictures shared with my college roomie (MOH). This was one of the “conservative” nurse costumes available when we were in college. These days, I search for the warm costumes, or the funny ones, or at least something that covers my skin (e.g. Thing 1 and Thing 2, Mario & Luigi, Pacman & Mrs. Pacman, etc.). I will not be growing a beard this month, although I’m sure my husband will continue letting his grow.

I am going to participate in No-Shop November. I got my friend Courtney on board the other night. Basically, this means that when I go in Target, I will leave with what I went in for and not running clothes, new pajama pants or shirts for work. I won’t “swing by” the mall on the way home and I won’t spend time in the evenings browsing online (please stop emailing me this month, J. Crew and LOFT).

I will buy for others this month while we approach Christmas (and birthdays for both of our mothers!), but I won’t buy extra little things for me. I’m excited to see how much I actually save this month. I’m sure Mint.com will let me know that I didn’t break the bank with a shopping spree.  And I’m sure my husband will be happy to hear that, as well. Mostly, I just want to stop buying things that I don’t have to have or need. I’m lucky enough to be able to buy the things that I want, but I don’t always need to make those purchases.

Speaking of Christmas, I plan on sponsoring someone through Hope Match this year, to help make their Christmas a little brighter than it might be otherwise. If you’re financially able and have a big heart, you should consider this as well. You can be matched with an individual, couple or family based on the size of your donation and you get to pick out the gifts for the family. While I didn’t grow up in need, I did grow up with a single mother and I now realize it can be hard to buy all the new things that your children are asking for when living on one salary – and what parent doesn’t want to make their child’s holiday happy? If you can’t sponsor a whole family, you can make a smaller donation which Hope Match can use to help a family in need. It’s a really great organization and you can count on your gift – of any size – being very much appreciated.

Anyone else joining me and Courtney in No-Shop November? Can you resist the urge for 30 days to buy superfluous things that you don’t NEED?

Happy November, y’all!

RINGing in the New Year!

Based on my Facebook newsfeed, I saw lots of folks got engaged this holiday season. Always a popular time. I was happy to be ringing in the New Year with my love and traveling all over NC. As I mentioned before, we spent Christmas with my family in Virginia (almost 30 people this year!).

2013-72013-8Then we spent a few nights back in our own house with our doggies, recovering from Virginia and driving before traveling to Chapel Hill for fun with my soon-to-be in-laws!2013-2

We took a sweet, little puppy to his sister that they had agreed to rescue from Charlotte. We saw Life of Pi as a family. And we celebrated Christmas with his family on the 29th and 30th, because we went to The Fearrington House on the 30th. Yum! (Hot Chocolate Souffle – aka HEAVEN – pictured below).

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Then we drove to Greensboro for New Years Eve! After our J. Crew shopping spree (he loves me!)… we checked out Natty Greene’s Brewery. And boy were we impressed! They have got their act together. We love the local craft beer scene in Charlotte but Natty Greene’s blew us away. The food was delicious, beers were tasty and the staff was fabulous!
2013We checked in at our hotel and prepared for another tasty meal (man did we eat well this trip!). Landon’s childhood friend’s husband owns Nico’s in downtown Greensboro. Real deal Italian food. Seriously, the best we’ve EVER had. Obviously, I love all desserts, but nothing compares to Tiramisu… and honestly, nothing compares to Nico’s tiramisu!
2013-1And then it was on to ring in 2013 with The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee! They are so fun to watch – and so talented! Amos Lee too, what a beautiful voice. And at midnight, we were showered in balloons and confetti and we entered: THE YEAR OF OUR WEDDING!
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