Oh man...oh MAN. It's been awhile, I know. In fact, it's a new year since we last spoke. I guess the holidays got the best of me? And a trip to NYC. And a yucky sickness. Between eating cookies, holiday traveling and tons of cold medicine, I've neglected my blog. But I'm back and I'll hope you'll forgive me. Sit back and relax, this is a long one....
Believe it or not, I actually started this blog post before Christmas to write about our 4th annual Cookie Exchange Party. The holidays have passed, but the party is still worth taking about! You can see our 3rd annual party HERE and our 2nd annual party HERE. The original has to live on in our memories because it happened before this blog existed! Here are pictures of this years Gingerbread themed soiree!
We found Gingerbread flavored Peep marshmallows for the hot cocoa, how adorable are they?
The cocktail this year was simple, a Gingerbread White Russian made with Kahlua Gingerbread (amazing) and milk. It was a HIT! I hope they bring back the Kahlua Gingerbread again, it was fantastic.
The cookies went home in these adorable boxes.
Gingerbread Men danced around...
... and the Gingerbread Man and Woman (found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off!) chilled on the mantel to welcome everyone. How happy do they seem? I want what they're having.
My new obsession with stamping things led to these hand stamped napkins with a gingerbread stamp from Michael's.
Some of the most memorable cookies were:
Melting Snowman Cookies (made by my BFF Kalle) which won Most Creative - How adorable are these?!
I loved the presentation of the Rosemary Shortbread cookies. They were nice and savory!
And these homemade Samoas were amazeballs.
As were the Kissy Pies which were made from pre-made pie crust and had a chocolate kiss in the middle.
The cookies sat on a bed of "snow."
Here was my plate of cookies... so many good options! Best tasting was Homemade Baklava, and it was well-deserved. (I'm in awe of anyone that can make this.) The overall winner was the Lemon Sandwich Cookie, which would honestly be a perfect cookie any time of year.
I'd say this overflow of cookies started the holiday eating season off right. To continue the gluttony, we headed to NYC where my brother lives. My dad, bro, Mr. Fo and I ate our way through the city until it almost wasn't fun anymore. For serious.
Obviously we spent some time at Eatlay...you can see my previous post on Eataly HERE and how much I adore it.
Note: The below picture is my idea of a really good time, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto:
While in the city, we saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall which was a blast. Man they are really in shape. It made me tired just watching them kick.
We hung out with some celebs by the tree. We were lucky to be staying less than a block away from the tree so we would go visit it after dinner each night. And if you're wondering if I hit up the Today Show Plaza one morning, you'd be right. I totally geeked out...
how could I NOT being that close to Rock Center?!
Funny story: This Santa told me he also moonlights as the pyschic on the show "Ghost Hunters." He actually pulled down his beard to show me his face (which I didn't recognize because as I told him, I don't believe in ghosts so therefore I don't watch the show). Then he asked for a tip. So did Elmo and Cookie Monster, which I didn't think was very Sesame Street of them. Some Christmas spirit guys.
Speaking of tips, I bet you've never been asked for a tip by a Human Cannoli. After we ate at the fabulous Little Italy restaurant Il Cortile, we were harassed by the guy in the cannoli suit to take a picture with him. If we're being completely honest, I actually harassed him to take a picture with my dad and I and then he made us tip him. I believe the direct quote was (and imagine it with a gruff NY accent): "Don't forget to tip the cannoli." Whatever. It was worth it because now I have an awesome photo with a cannoli.
We went to NJ for Christmas Day to visit the rest of our family and enjoy some home cooking. Even though Grandma explicitly told my dad NOT to bring anything because they had enough food (and believe me, they did), we swung by this amazing Italian Bakery called DeRobertis. They have a website AND they ship their goods. One of these days I'm shipping myself a plateful of pignoli nut cookies just for fun. There are some things you just can't find in NC!
Mr. Fo and I had a blast walking around the city and hanging with my fam, it was a non-traditional Christmas but it's so fun being in NYC for Christmas. I love all the hustle and bustle :)
After our busy trip, I was looking forward to a few days of relaxation at home and boy did I get it. In the form of this:
(Side note, who looks this polite when they sneeze? I'm certain I look like a wild beast when I sneeze.)
Yup... I got totally knocked on my ass and was out of commission for a solid 5 days with a fever/sore throat/congestion situation. Which means my New Years Eve plans consisted of me on the couch with medicine and tissues, and no live Avett Brothers concert like I had planned. Sad face. It sucked, but I thank my lucky stars I didn't get it while I was in NY. On the bright side, it allowed me to catch up on some reading and movie watching. And sleep...lots of sleep.
I highly recommend 2 books I read during this time:
Both books were excellent and both true stories (which makes them even better). Wild is about a woman who after dealing with devastating issues in her life decided to solo-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Needless to say, she's a badass as I am positive I would have given up after 3 hours with a) no one to talk to and b) no phone. You may have heard of Unbroken, about the wonderfully amazing Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was a captured POW in WWII. The book is about his life and his time growing up, what he went through in the POW camps and then the aftermath. It's absolutely, unequivocally one of the best, most inspiring books I've ever read. Make time to read it, I promise you won't be sorry!
I'm catching up on my life now and getting back to the "real world" as they say. I'm gearing up for a busy season at work, preparing for a baby shower next weekend and putting together details for my 2013 weddings. In the meantime, here are a few articles I've written lately that I'd love for you to peruse in your spare time!
Quick and Easy Appetizers - including my go-to recipe for Miniature Baked Bries that is a fabulous dinner party starter!
For those of you with snowy weather, check these out. Also send some snow my way please, I'd love to get some!