happy Christmas

Is it time to get back to real life already?  I love this time of year, if not just for the fact that it means spending a goodly portion of time with family.  This year we got a week with Nemrows at Thanksgiving and a week with Toblers at Christmas.  I'm a happy gal.

We picked up both Midwestern siblings + spouses from LAX on Friday and promptly got ourselves to Balboa the next day.
I've Christmased in Orange County for most of my years, but somehow I never really thought of going to the island to enjoy the festivity and Christmas lights.  My loss.  It's completely charming (of course) and meeting up with cousins and seeing darling babies was a plus as well.

PS - My New Year's resolution this year is to stow my iPhone more often and get out a real camera (after I get it fixed)...till then, bear with me. 

Of course our second order of business was to get to South Coast Repertory for our annual showing of A Christmas Carol.  We've been seeing this production for a good many years (back before I can remember) and it is definitely my favorite Christmas tradition complete with a cookie and apple juice at intermission.  There is an extra special sweetness about the play for me as I get older and especially this year.  It's a tradition I plan to keep no matter where we end up (but Hal Landon will always have my heart).

We normally spend an unconventional Christmas Eve brunching in Laguna Beach and this year was no different.  We pulled up to our annual cute cafe, and were extremely dismayed to find out its been closed...for a year!  It almost ruined Christmas, but we persevered and suffered through lunch on the beach at the Laguna Hotel.  Life is rough.

In my opinion, Christmas ought to always be a relaxed, easy day where one stays in their PJs far to long, eats good food and keeps good company.  This Christmas was precisely that, complete with sleepwear and slippers till 3PM.

The day after a big holiday is always a tad depressing, but Christmas is especially so.  Cheerful Christmas music is cut off abruptly and the walls seem oh so bare without their previous festive decor.  In an attempt to keep the merriment going we made a family trip to the temple.  It was most effective.
Also I've decided to break tradition and keep the Christmas music playing till January one.  That helps too.

A trip to Disneyland on Friday also helped to wipe away the post-Christmas blues.  The happiest place on Earth tends to have that effect.  I also took, roughly, a kajillion pictures - you've been warned.
We went on the swings entirely too many times, checked off a Disneyland bucket list (always wanted to canoe around Tom Sawyer's Island), and ate at the delicious Cathay Circle in California Adventure.  De-lightful.


And that was a wrap for our week with the Toblers.  It was festive, fun, and entirely too short - as time with family always is.  We're still working out the kinks of our master plan of how to all live within 1 hour of each other, but until then, this is what we get.  Happy Christmas all!



Has anyone else ever had a Cara Cara Orange?  I just discovered them this weekend and I think I've eaten one every day since.  They're a hybrid cross between an orange and a grapefruit and they are oh so tangy, sweet and juicy.

David peels his like an orange and I cut mine like a grapefruit.  To each their own right?

P.S. Did you know that you can get samples of the produce at the grocery store?  You learn something new everyday.


highlights #80

Happy one week till Christmas!  Surprisingly enough all my Christmas shopping is done and wrapped and under the tree.  Not a normal occurrence, I assure you, but done all the same.  And it feels oh so good.

What am I going to do with all this time leading up to the 25th?  Something productive I guess - while I figure that out here are some fun posts from the around the web:

digging these free gift tags! (they're on all my gifts this year!)

artsy fartsy

the correct way to spray paint - who knew?

some great product placements


the best Christmas card alternative 

I just made caramels...and now I want to make this fudge 

the cutest holiday printable

easy peasy scarf DIY

I want (need?) this dress (& it's 50% off right now with free shipping so...justifying??)

and the perfect holiday home front




It's mid December, and today it was in the 80's.  There were bees buzzing in the trees and I had to turn on the A/C it was so stinkin' hot. 

Is it just me or does something about this scenario seem oh so wrong?  I was just warming up to this brisk(er-ish) weather and now this.  Ah well, we do live in California.  David laughs at me while I show a stink eye to the heat when this is exactly the reason other people live here.  The irony.

So in an effort to feel more Christmasy I took copious pictures of my little poinsettia and blasted the Christmas tunes.  The things we do to feel festive.


a holly jolly weekend

There's nothing more Christmasy than making treats to pass out to friends (and visiting/home teachees) and family coming to hear you sing Christmas songs in your stake choir.  Both were done this weekend, and both were festive successes - the caramel only barely so, but I'm still calling it a win.

On Friday I decided to be incredibly daring and try my hand at this homemade caramel recipe.  Gutsy indeed.  It was fair battle, and the caramel almost had me beat when it decided it was going to need a bigger pot than I had anticipated right in the middle of my 30 minutes of pouring/stirring, but we persevered.  And the end result?  Not too shabby my friends, not too shabby at all.  Lets be honest, I'm just really happy they're edible and that it's not too hard to clean spilled caramel off my stove.

As the cherry on top of the weekend, both Toblers & Nemrows were able to make it to hear Dave and I sing in our stake's annual Christmas choir on Saturday night.  Side note, one of the perks of living so close to the entertainment hub of the nation is that we've got a whole lot of talented folks right at our finger tips.  A full orchestra and Richard Rich as our conductor?  I'm not complaining.  But it was even more fun to have all our family there to enjoy it with us. 

They even stayed to hear Dave and I sing a duet the next morning in our ward (count it: that's 4 performances this weekend - I'm pooped).  What great folks we have.  We're pretty lucky like that.  And now it's just a week & a half til Christmas!  Where, oh where does the time go? 


from LA with cheer

We wish you a Merry Christmas & a happy new year! 

xo, David & Carly



So, our back wall has finally gotten Christmas-fied (with a week and a half left to go), and I just gotta say:  I'm diggin' it.  Like, I think I should have a glittery banner up on my back wall all the time.  Who's with me?

When all this Christmas decor comes down our little living room is going to feel mighty bare...

P.S. I sprayed a clear gloss over those glittery letters in hopes that I wouldn't have glitter all over my house and...it actually worked.  Call it a Christmas miracle folks, but I haven't seen a shiny speck anywhere (knock on wood).


highlights #79

So, it's been rather chilly around here lately - and I do mean legitimately chilly, not just wimpy California chilly.  When you wake up and it's 36˚ outside I think that qualifies as actually being cold.  Of course my weather feed tells me it's 0˚ in Utah so of course they win, but that was a given.  And, in case you were wondering, I love it.  I've actually worn coats the past week (they take up so much closet space they better get some annual use) and boots and scarfs too!  Dave thinks I'm crazy, but I sure miss a good winter snowstorm.  I love California, but part of me hopes we will one day end up somewhere the leaves turn red in autumn and it dumps buckets of snow in December. 

While I dream (and go make more paper snowflakes to compensate), here are some fun finds from the web:

this seems appropriate: the LA arctic chill!

how to get more out of your perfume

I'm digging this temple print - this one too!

the best salt & pepper shakers

a moment of carefree-ness


the difference between seniors & freshmen

tips for healthier nails (must...resist..cutting...cuticles!)

I love these prints (especially Day 3)

and the world's best finger painting



it's beginning

...to look a lot like Christmas!!  I actually had all these decorations up before we left for Utah so, that was like, what?  November 23rd?  I was really excited to pull out the bobbles and lights this year (like I am every year), and even though I caved and let Dave talk me into getting a fake tree last Christmas, I still love to get it all up and trimmed (and one day I'm tossing it out and we're getting a real evergreen in here, just not this year...)

I may have gone a little bit crazy with the paper snowflakes and putting them all over the living room, but I'm not even sorry about it.

Happy Christmas!