365 Days Ago.

The blankets against my skin were a soft fleece material, thin but substantial, with a deep mustard  and white pattern. They scattered their way across two beds, pushed right up against one another – an L shape – and the cheapest (and comfiest) couch there could be. The bright off-white paint on the walls bounced light around, and at the time they were left blank and inspiring. A desk was setup and tucked into the corner sat a crystal table lamp, that perplexes you with its intricacies if you look at long enough. A wicker chair, nestled under the desk tried desperately tried to reel me in – but the cheap makeshift couch was much more enticing.

There I sat, computer propped upon my knees. Some version of classical music was creating background noise  and although I can’t 100% guarantee this, I am pretty sure I was dreading another day of work in the morning.

That was the scene a year ago. It was cozy and warm, although most of my memories from the evening are those of discontent – hence sitting in a room with just my thoughts.

I promised myself on that day that I was going to write, every day, until my fingers fell off…. write so that I ended up doing something that was better than anything I had done before.

365 days ago, I made that commitment and I saw it through, and for that, I am proud. I still have my fingers, but I also have over 200 days of my writing documented, and memories and accomplishments that I would have never even fathomed experiencing, all to call my own.

One of this life’s most beautiful qualities is the surprise that each day brings, over and over, each and every day. There is no predicting what may come our way the moment our eyes open.

It could be a person. An opportunity. A thought. And it could change your life as you know it.

365 days ago, on a quiet night, I wrote down a thought. In less than 500 words I made a promise to myself that changed my life, in a very scary and real way. I showed myself how easy it was to open a door to endless opportunity to do what I love, as long as I work really hard.

So because of that thought, the promises of 2012 seem endless. I feel blessed, but overwhelmed, and excited but also a little intimidated, mostly because, what next? 

2011 was as wonderful as it was tough. There have been moments where I have felt like this wasn’t my life, both in positive and negative ways, but overall I am proud of what I have created and I am proud to be doing it all on my own. Today, independence is hard to come by.

2011 was also quite unplanned. With gumption and a lot of moving and shaking, I hope to follow through with a few actual plans this year. Occupying prime real estate in my mind, a business and upgrades to the site. 

I want to grow in knowledge, confidence, success, and love. 

And without the support from so many of you, none of that would be possible. So Thank YOU ALL for this year. It hope that this little piece of me has brought you some sweetness in your lives when you have needed it. 

To a 2012 full of dreams come true.  

xo

Your Top Five Recipes of 2011

Guess what? I am still in La La land. No, not Los Angeles, although I love that use that term to refer to L.A. , literally the land of la di da. No normalcy, no schedule, no routine. It may sound nice to some of you, but I think I am getting a wee bit sick of it. 

I miss going to the gym every day, and being able to drive around without having to play bumper cars to get from one place to another. How about shopping? I miss that, as right now, I dread it.  

The day I actually wake-up early, workout, get work done, and then throw together a healthy dinner, and not eat 100 cookies for dessert…. where the hell are ya?

While normalcy eludes me, I thought I might as well use the opportunity to look back over the 30,000 plus clicks GtoG has gotten this year and see what 2011 was really like. 

The Top Five Most Clicked Recipes. 

#5

Hand Rolled Gnocchi 

#4

Homemade Organic Granola Bars & Bites

#3

The Best Homemade Pizza Ever

#2

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

#1

Daddy’s Delicious Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

For the recipes, click each link!

… let’s also please acknowledge the growth of my camera skillz. oy vay. where was the white balance?

What were your favorite recipes this year? On GtoG or elsewhere…. 

I’d love to hear about them!

Crumbs & Leftovers.

You can always count on the memories to hang behind while all the other cookie crumbs and crumpled up wrapping paper scamper into the trash.

There is very little like the days after Christmas. Weird feeling right? The tree still twinkles and there could be a few gifts left wrapped up – stragglers for the friends and family you haven’t seen quite yet. But, even as you relax and try to work off (or continue to feed) the food baby, that sad, empty, Christmas is over feeling is still hanging around.

But that’s what the memories are for.

This year, I cooked Christmas Eve dinner for the family. I decided to make everything, from bread to dessert from scratch. That up there? The makings of homemade olive bread. My pregnant lady cravings for olives are definitely to blame for that. 

Two kinds of lasagna. Some steamed vegg. My crispy fried calamari. A fresh arugula and greens salad with beets & pine nuts….. And really bad lighting too… all made their way to the table. 

And what is Christmas eve without Santa’s cookies?

Continue reading

Oh, Christmas Tree.

I tried to hang up Christmas lights in my bed room window a few days ago. My make-shift hooks held for ehhh…. 5 minutes, until the wiring miraculously unhooked itself from them and went swinging across to the other side of the window frame. Crash boom went the big red bulb and hello said my carpet to little teeny weeny ruby colored shards of glass. 

I am doing all I can to not be that bulb this week…. and doing a half-assed job of it. Funny how we always forget how stressful you can allow the week before Christmas to be huh?

Gifts or no gifts, we decided on no gifts, somehow there is always something that needs to be done in order to maintain the tradition that is Christmas. I’ve said it before, and I will say it every day, I LOVE tradition, but staying up until 4 am to ice cookies last night? Mmmmm not sure how that fits into the balance. 

This is my favorite tradition. 

A Christmas Tree. 

Homemade Christmas bulbs. Clear glass ornaments stuffed with gold sparkle covered plastic netting. 

Bits of twisted golden wood thrown in throughout the tree. Twinkling next to each light it hangs off of. 

I forgot my tripod. Pardon the shakeys. 

Tomorrow morning I plan on waking up with a post-it note to do list plastered to my forehead. 

All for the love of tradition… 

which is okay with me. 

Whatcha think of the cookie trays I put together today for a few customers of Spa Car Wash in Berwyn?

‘Tis the season for sugar overdose!!

 

Christmas Clicks!

I couldn’t avoid the unavoidable with that title. Alliterations are my life. I use them whenever possible, and seem to find men that have alliterations for names all too frequently 😉 Anyyyyyway… I have been looking forward to my Christmas Clicks post for the last few weeks now… collecting little bookmarks of fun here and there. However, last night’s find sealed the deal. 

I am not even going to make you click a link. I had to post the video front and center because it is AHmazing. 

And with that, I applaude Apple’s sheer genius again and say ’tis the season for my favorite festive internet clicks. 

A Modern Christmas Partay

Press Play. You’ll love it. Promise.

Want to throw the coolest Holiday/NYE party, ever? THIS.

A Secret Santa, in the most generous way

Never run out of wrapping paper, ever again. 

These people must not sleep for a month. 

Leave a bowl of thisss for Santa. 

Your sugar cookie headquarters. 

Why not buy the ultimate holiday house?

Honestly, with the Angry Birds obsession.

Separation Anxiety – Elf on the Shelf style. 

Track if you believe!

…..and for those of you that still need a little nudge into the Christmas spirit. 

Aly’s Christmasy PinBoard

Ho Ho Ho!

Guess who I got to meet this Sunday?

Mmmmhm… Mr. Clause. Be jealous. He was definitely the real deal… like on his last visit from the North Pole before his week from (I can’t say hell can I?) begins. How could he miss a brunch with the munchkins at this awesome place on Gay Street in West Chester.

I am going to save all the adorable photographs for West Chester Dish to reveal, but for now I cannot stop gushing about how much of a picture perfect holiday morning it was. 

The room was full of the most adorable little kids, pancakes, parents, and of course the jolly man himself. 

The light definitely showed up for the occasion too..  It gave each picture that warm Christmasy feeling, right?

What a cutie!!

Merry So CLOSE Christmas!

’11 Holiday Gifties. To: The Cool Dad.

Love,

Your Kid who frequently gets embarassed but loves you all the same. 

1. Soft Wash Slim Fit Gingham Shirt ($59.50) @Banana Republic     2. Beardo Hats ($35.00) @Busted Tees     3. Fabric Knot Cufflinks ($12.00) @J.Crew     4. Personalized Grilling Gloves ($29.95) @Grillinggifts.com     5. Ulimate Brushless Shave Cream – White Eagle ($19.00) @Kiehls     6. Ugg Ascot Wool Slipper ($99.95) @Nordstrom     7. Spitfire MX3 Reader ($35.00) @Urban Outfitters     8. Old School Calculator iPhone Case ($11.99) @Perpetual Kid     9. Zevro Dual Dry Food Dispenser ($44.00) @Amazon.com     10. Stereo Art Print ($15.00) @Urban Print Shop     11.The Beau Men’s Citrine Collection ($24.00) @The Belle and The Beau Etsy Shop     12. Vintage Selvedge Chambray Utility Shirt ($98.00) @J.Crew

So, I have “The Cool Dad”…. actually he really is cool, and I love him to pieces. This year, we aren’t doing gifts in my family (if we can all stick by that promise we made of course, not spending money is harder than we thought.)- but if we were a combination of some of these fun finds would definitely put a smile on his face. All under $100.00, what’s the harm in making the cool dad, just a little bit cooler?

Countdown to Christmas Eve. 

7 Days

Get to gifting darlings! … Online shoppers have till the 20th to press buy and still guarantee that their gift gets to the lucky one’s door by Christmas! 

La di daaa 

… time to watch the few snowflakes fall outside my window!

To see the other gift guides

Click Here.

Here.

And Here.