Happy New Year! + 2014 Things

{on our 6th wedding anniversary in Aruba} 



How are you?

I've really enjoyed taking a nice break over the last week from blogging and, in truth, from real life in general. We had a really, really nice Christmas and continued celebrating into the weekend. The last few days I've just been sleeping in a bit, relaxing with Penelope and just having no obligations. It's really the only week of 2014 that has been like this and it's really enjoyable and liberating. I've had lots of blog ideas but just not the stamina to write any of them. But! I wanted to end the year with looking back on what a great year it was. I'm not one for New Year's or New Year's resolutions, but 2014 was particularly great and I'll be sad to see it go.

Tonight, we'll be ringing in 2015 with a big steak dinner prepared at home, some champagne and perhaps a viewing of the Newsroom finale. And to really close out the year, I put together some twenty fourteen highlights. I hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and please...be safe!


{kinky boots on a snowy day}


{celebrating penelope jane's 1st birthday + talking about pj's birth day i/ii/iii}


{celebrating fEaster + Easter


{i bought tieks}


{portobello mushroom pizzas}


{mdw at the beach}


{dukan breakfast: scrambled eggs + canadian bacon + a lotta coffee}


{so much great TV; heartbreaking, hilarious and totally consuming}


{4th of july in liberty state park}




{amazing mini donuts} 


{sunset in siesta key}


{amazing salted caramel apple cheesecake bars}




{cookie butter bars for a baby shower} 


{fun in the orchards}


{best bloody brunch}


{mickey mouse}


{holiday cookie baking}


{christmas eve celebrations}



see ya in 2015!




Have a Merry Christmas!


Well, another year and another Christmas has arrived. I hope that you all have such a wonderful holiday and get to spend it with those nearest and dearest to you. I won't be blogging much for the rest of the week as we'll be doing the Jersey Christmas circuit and having a little Boxing Day celebration (aka Christmas Morning Part II) for the three of us on Friday. I'm really looking forward to having a week and a half home with my sweet Penny Jane, it is so needed and welcomed. Thank you for hanging out with me this year...every year that I write The Avid Appetite, I love it more and more. Have a very Merry Christmas! I'll see you next week.









PS: I took about 100 photos to get what you see above. Little nugget wanted to RUN! and I swear she intentionally turned away from the camera when she saw it. Just keepin' it real for ya ;)

Lots of Random Christmas Fun


Happy Christmas week!

We had such a nice weekend in and around Jersey City. We actually had no commitments this weekend and it felt really nice to just take some time to enjoy doing Christmasy things. This post is a bit of a mash up of all of the Christmas things I want to cover before Christmas is here, so it's long and random. I hope you enjoy it though!

On Saturday, I really had an itch to do some baking and so I got to it!



On the list were peppermint brownies with buttercream, creamy eggnog cookie bars, funfetti cake balls, and dark & sticky gingerbread loaf cake. Everything turned out so decadently, but my favorite of the bunch was the gingerbread cake.


So sticky, so delightfully gingerbready and just all around delicious. I plan to make up some treat plates this week to share with co-workers and to bring for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.



On Saturday evening, we took Penelope to the Turtle Back Zoo. They had a holiday lights special and a Frozen-themed night so we thought it would be such a fun outing for Penelope.


In addition to hating on her picture with Santa, she essentially cried and/or whined throughout the evening and so we called it quits pretty early on. Still glad we went, and her Santa picture is pretty priceless. Even the other parents in the queue couldn't get over it. 

Ah well.

I also took some time this weekend to photograph some of our holiday decor!

I've been meaning to document some of my favorite Christmas ornaments for a few years now and never really had the time to photograph everything. Well having a free weekend right before Christmas really helped me get 'er done! Once I started snapping away, I realized that there are SO many ornaments on our tree that I love so much. I always try to purchase a Christmas ornament on any vacations or travels and love having them to commemorate key milestones in our lives! I had so many that I grouped them into some collages below.

{pirate ship/estonia bell/baby's first}


 {jackson hole moose family/budapest egg/albuquerque balloon fest}


{swarovski snowflake for our new home/cookie monogram/aruban palm}


{siesta key/london things}


{our new home/estonia bell 2/swedish horse}


{favorite target ornaments/our first christmas/rainbow row}

and our stockings:

No mantle up in this place, but we do have a nice ledge underneath our living room window. A little clear tape in lieu of stocking holders did the trick {I'm terrified P would pull heavy holders right down onto her noggin}.



On Sunday, we hit the park so that Penelope could burn some energy. It was cold, but still fun. 



After heading home for the rest of the day, P napped and then we made a gingerbread house! I had never done one of these before and I feel like I've been missing out on something major for many years. We had a blast putting this together and Penelope LOVED it. She mostly enjoyed snacking on gum drops and mini marshmallows, but she also really liked sitting at the kitchen table like a big girl, listening to Christmas music and occasionally adding a few {previously licked} candies to the mix. We tossed the mini jawbreakers that came with the kit, so the colored candy is a little sparse {noted for next year to have some other toddler-approved candies on hand!}. It's not gorgeous, but it was made with love and I'm happy to have this new tradition for us to do together. With all of the frosting and sticky hands, i didn't get to snap any photos of her enjoying the process and so I asked Penelope to take a picture with the finished gingerbread house. This was her response:

I swear, we really did have a great weekend aside from this moment. And the whole Santa thing. Just keepin' it real for ya!


Have a GREAT couple of days leading up to Christmas! I'll be back tomorrow with a quick post before the holiday.

How did you spend the weekend?

Have you ever done a gingerbread house?

What are your favorite Christmas ornaments?


also: our favorite traditions {which have changed since P came along!},  how we spent christmas 2013, my favorite christmas song.