Sorry I’ve been away. My blog has suffered because I’ve been engaged in real communication, both face-to-face and written correspondence in the form of Christmas cards. I’ve also been engaged in Advent baking, Advent cleaning, Advent decorating, and Advent socializing.
Let’s take a trip through the last few weeks in the form of pictures. (Don’t fret, I haven’t forgotten that I left you smack dab in the middle of my trip to Rome. It’s just that when I have ten minutes to blog, it’s easier to post a bunch of pictures than to wax eloquently about an incredible experience.)
I had the day off on December 8th, so I spent the day finishing up Christmas shopping and then cleaning my apartment. It would be embarrassing to admit that there were still boxes in my bedroom that needed to be unpacked from my move, so I won’t admit it. But it was very, very productive day. I went down to my storage closet and brought up all my Christmas decorations and started to decorate by the evening, but then it was time to go eat tiramisu and drink red wine to celebrate my friend Manda’s birthday. So I finished up a few days later.
Here’s my tree, a shot of the shepherds up on the bookshelf, watching their sheep and waiting for Christmas, and then a new little thing I did in the window between my kitchen and living room. You can’t really tell, but those are little red and green jingle bells hanging from sprigs of berries.
The following week I had a lovely birthday. It included a trip to the Grilled Cheeserie food truck for lunch with friends, dinner with friends, and The Bishop’s Wife (a lovely movie if you haven’t seen it!) with friends.
I didn’t take pictures of my lovely friends, but I did take a picture of the lovely cocktail Laura made us while we watched The Bishop’s Wife. (She also made a peanut butter pie that was amazing.)
I also took a picture of the fabulous cookies my friend Liza made for me. Nutella sandwich cookies. That recipe clearly had my name written all over it. (I’m beginning to worry about myself. I only take pictures of food and drink.)
A few days later was our office Christmas party. I’m sure many people groan about their office Christmas party, but I was really looking forward to ours. We’ve never really had an official Christmas party — the typical dress-up affair where you bring your spouse and drink wine and mingle. We’ve had luncheons, and I guess there was an unofficial party a few years back, but no one really remembers a time when we had the classic office party.
I brought it up to our president at one point, and she ran with it. She put me in charge and told me to have at it.
I think there was some doubt in the planning stages amongst some of my coworkers, but we didn’t let that bother us. My friend Jennie and I went to a local hotel to see if they could help. They worked hard to keep us under budget, and the Sisters gave the okay. Jennie designed beautiful invitations, I helped put them together, and suddenly, people began to look forward to the shindig. The plan was to have a Holy Hour at 5, then head to the hotel for heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
I really wanted it to be a dressy affair, but all I could do was hope the beauty of the invitation conveyed that to people. It’s hard to begin a tradition (although looking back at my time in college, I seem to have a knack for it…) because you don’t have much to work with and you want to start things off right.
Not to be prideful, but I think this tradition started off right.
First of all, we had a macaroni and cheese bar. Who doesn’t like a macaroni and cheese bar?! When Jennie and I met with the hotel and heard that was a menu possibility, I think that was the deciding factor for the hotel. At least it was for me. And it didn’t disappoint.
photo courtesy of M.Koshute
Seriously, how fun is that? Macaroni and cheese in martini glasses? It was a hit.
We also had butler-passed wassail for the first hour. Also a hit. At least with me.
It was such a lovely evening. I think most everyone appreciated the time at the end of the semester to wind down, chat with coworkers, meet spouses, exchange presents with “Advent Angels” (that’s a future post in and of itself) and pose for pictures in front of the Christmas tree. In some ways, we were back in 8th grade. But that’s besides the point.
(I’ve asked none of these people for permission to post the following pictures. I hope they don’t sue me.)
photo courtesy of P.Downey
Those are the awesome people who work in the same
trailer building as I do. Some may accuse us of being the cool kids on campus. They would be correct.
photo courtesy of P. Downey
Aren’t our fascinators fantastic? Yeah, in all honesty, it wasn’t the macaroni and cheese bar that made the party. It was our fascinators.
Liza and I made them the night before. (Maria just wanted a single flower. I know- it’s hard to believe someone wouldn’t want feathers on their head, right? I don’t understand it either.) You can’t really get the full effect of them in this picture (and no, the lights are the chandelier in the room, they are not attached to my head) Not only was it fun to create them, it made for hilarious quotes such as, “I’m not hot-gluing your head” (Liza to Joannie) and “Go big or go home” (Joannie to Liza) or “I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more feathers!” (Liza making fun of Joannie wanting more feathers)
We may have gotten some funny looks, but I think secretly everyone wanted one of their own.
The next day I recovered from the party and spent the day listening to Christmas music (I had made a playlist for the party that was 9 hours long. So I had plenty to listen to…) and baking holiday treats. These were the highpoint:
Tiramisu cookie balls. I won’t show you the low point (chocolate peppermint cookies that were a bust). But after a day and a half of baking and making treats, I had enough to fill little bags for my friends!
Yesterday afternoon was spent drinking tea and watching Miracle on 34th Street (don’t worry, Dad, the old one) with my friends. Now the Advent festivities continue, as we continue to prepare for Christmas by watching MORE Christmas movies. Tonight– It’s a Wonderful Life — on the big screen!