Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in christmas (32)


Christmas 2013 Recap

I took a nice long break from blogging (and real life!) over the last couple of weeks and celebrated a wonderful Christmas with my family. Today I'm back in action and although everyone has moved onto New Year's, I'm finally getting around to sharing our Christmas 2013 Recap.

Since my office was closed during the week of Christmas, I ended work on December 20 feeling so ready to welcome the holidays in all of their glory. I spent most of Saturday cleaning, organizing and prepping snacks for a visit from my favorite West Coaster, and my long time bff, Catherine. She was in town for Christmas, and man was it so great to spend a few hours with her! Of course, I didn't get to snap a photo this time, but here's a sweet throwback from my bridal shower back in 2008:


As usual, time was too fleeting!

Sunday we headed to Brooklyn for brunch at Kimberly and Nick's apartment. Once again, I was having too much fun eating and mingling to remember to snap a few photos, but I did steal this photo of their beautiful (and enormously tall!) tree. Gotta love apartments with high ceilings!


Monday was spent relaxing and doing that last bit of gift wrapping while also making this awesome corn dip for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Again, no photos. Sorry! Just trust me, it was so so good and with a couple of edits, this is my new favorite dip.

Tuesday morning, we were up and out bright and early for our annual Christmas Eve breakfast with my family. My dad started taking us to breakfast on Christmas Eve as kids in order to give my mom some solo time at home to prep for the evening's festivities. Now that we're grown, she joins us. And I was really excited to introduce this tradition to Penelope! 

Lots of Christmas Eve breakfasts in her future, for sure ;)


I cannot get over her. Sigh.

After breakfast, we headed back to the house to prepare for the evening. We chopped, plated, decorated and set the tables for a night of food, drink and merriment. 

Of course, Penelope was the belle of the ball.

And her sweet Christmas dress didn't last long...instead, she was in her Santa's Little Helper shirt & leggings in no time.

Though Penelope didn't quite get the whole 'opening presents' thing this year, she did enjoy her fair share of paper (ripping and eating). 


We got our first taste of 'put-this-together-right-now' fun, with the whole family cheering us on.


Unfortunately, P wasn't so into the put-together version of the toy to actually sit on it and play, but she did admire it from afar.

We also took some photos by the Christmas tree.

Tough to get a good one with a 10 month old in tow.


We did manage to get a nice group shot on the stairs:

Late in the evening, Shaun went to church with his family and I stayed behind to relax with mine. Around 1AM, Shaun and I exchanged our gifts. My favorite gift? A new soft and snuggly blanket for our evening couch relaxing. My man knows me so well ;)

On Christmas morning, P actually slept until around 8:00. She then proceeded to actually hug and snuggle with me in bed for a little while.

It was the best Christmas gift I've ever received :)

Once the family was up, we all headed downstairs for leftover cookies, coffee and gift opening.

Santa brought lots of gifts to us all, especially for Penelope.

Note her reindeer feet. #whyarebabypajamasthecutestever

After some relaxing, we got dressed and headed over to Shaun's parents house for Christmas Day celebrations.

Penelope once again received so many generous gifts. That is one lucky girl.

And I, of course, got to dress her in yet another adorable Christmas outfit.

I think I was pictured out by this point, because this is where my photos end. We had a great day with family and headed home late that evening. 

Unfortunately Shaun had to head back to work on Thursday, and I spent the rest of the week snuggling with my little bear. Now it's off to celebrate the New Year! I hope you have a fantastic and safe New Year's Eve...I'll be back in the next couple of days with my hopes for 2014!









Weekend + The Holiday Spirit

It's a super snowy morning today and although I had to traipse through it to drop Penelope off at daycare, I still love it. I finally have reason to wear my fancy snow boots. I get to wear a scarf all day and drink copious amounts of tea, and watch the snowfall from my office desk next to 10 ft loft windows. All in all, not too shabby I guess.

This weekend we really got into the holiday groove. It all started on Thursday evening with picking out our Christmas tree! Though it cut into her bedtime, Penelope helped pick out a beautiful first Christmas tree and a poinsettia to boot.  

We decided to downsize a little this year since we have less space with P crawling around, but still fell in love with a 6 ft beauty from the 14th Street Garden Center in Jersey City.

Friday evening, we just couldn't get it up to trim the tree since we were a) completely spent from the week and b) prepping for a weekend of picture taking and cookie baking. Instead we watched an episode of Sons of Anarchy (can't believe the season is almost over...still one of my faves!) and were snoozing by 11.

Saturday we were up bright and early to head out for Penelope's first Christmas photo shoot. It was so sweet and fun and I'll be sure to post the photos when I receive them! Penelope was a champ through the entire thing and all of my anxiety over her sitting still and/or being a cranky butt were put at ease. Tempting fate, we decided to try our hand at seeing Santa that afternoon. I had visions of parking space fights (If anyone has done the Jersey mall scene - esp at Christmas - you know what I mean), mobbed lines, and a crying baby who would ultimately have pooped through her clothes once we got to the front of the line. Luckily, we must've gone at the exact right time - or God was shining down on us - because we easily found a spot, the line was only 5 people deep and Penelope once again was a champ.


I was secretly hoping for a crying photo with Santa (does that make me a bad Mom? The woman taking the photos seemed to think so), but she did ok and was mostly only concerned/scared by the woman dressed as an elf who was trying to make her smile. #fail.

Saturday night we headed to my parents house since Sunday was our annual Christmas cookie baking day with my mom! Penelope was enamored with their Christmas tree, as I expected. 

It was fun to have Penelope with us for baking this year, though she did mostly floor sweeping and baby cheese doodle eating while the rest of us carried the hard labor. 

8 batches of cookies later, we were completely spent and headed home in the snow. Sunday and Monday were spent hanging lights and trimming the tree. Times have sure changed since we could get all of that done in one night! 

Just missing its skirt and a topper (that's the final piece for tonight!)

And lastly, I'm excited that we got our Christmas stockings! Shaun and I never got stockings for Christmas (outside of our childhood ones at our parents' houses), and so when I got one for Penelope, I thought the whole family should match. I'll post more pics once they are hung by the chimney TV with care.

So that's how we spent our whirlwind weekend and how we've been getting into the holiday spirit lately.

Are you all decorated for the holidays?

Where do you go to see Santa?



What's Your Favorite Christmas Song?


I always refuse to begin listening to Christmas music until Thanksgiving night. It's tough, but that allows me to focus on Thanksgiving before letting Christmas creep into daily life for the month of December. Don't get me wrong - I love everything Christmas - but some boundaries are needed, no?


My music of choice last year and this year (so far) has been the Rockin' Holidays Pandora station. It plays all of my favorites - modern hits with some classics thrown in. I got to thinking about what my all-time favorite Christmas song is...do you have one?


It's tough to narrow down, but I think my ultimate Christmas song is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It just embodies everything about the holiday season that I love so much. It makes me simultaneously happy and sad...happy for the joy the season brings to so many and yet also invokes a bit of sadness in its melody and the evocative feelings of loss and emptiness.


So what do you think? Do you have a favorite Christmas song?