Christmas, Decorating, NaBloPoMo

Trading Turkeys for Trees

(Second to last day of NaBloPoMo)

FINALLY!

I can stop shame-listening to Christmas music in the car along and blast Burl Ives and Mariah Carey proudly in the house!

The Thanksgiving decorations are down, and I’m ready for the 47 bins of Christmas decor to make their way up from the basement! Today we got our trees, and those will go up in the stands either today or tomorrow. One full day getting acclimated to the house and they can be decorated!

Today on the way to get our trees, Little Mister asked me why I like Christmas so much.

“Is it because Santa comes and you get lots of presents?” he asked me.

“No,” I told him. “It’s because Christmas is magical and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. And we get to have lots of people over our house all season long to visit us. We make cookies and have parties and stay up late and eat yummy foods.”  And because I get to buy lots of presents for people!

December is by far the busiest and craziest month of the year. Between work and family, there is so much to cram into those 24 precious days: Santa visits, shopping, family parties, work parties, cookie making, Christmas Light spectaculars, decorating, wrapping and…whew!

But I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

In our house, Christmas means the music is always playing, the bar’s always stocked, and we have snacks at the ready – because you never know when someone is going to stop by to say hello and have a cup of cheer.

And that includes a drop-in visit from Santa!

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Is there anything more magical for a child than seeing Santa?

Growing up, I remember many years with our artificial out-of-the-box Christmas tree, and bending the branches into shape and trying to cover up the green pole that held the tree together (my how artificial trees have come a long way!). We’d set up our tree in the basement where my playroom was. I have always been an early riser, and I distinctly remember waking up before the sun had come up, begging my parents to get out of bed in the dark to see if Santa came. (Now that I’m a parent, and we tend to go to bed rather late after our Christmas Eve dinner and putting out all of the gifts and filling stockings, I realized that my parents were likely exhausted and hung over when I wanted them to get up. Somehow, I was blessed with a child who prefers sleeping in no matter what day of the year it is).

At some point we started getting real trees, and I remember going to cut down a Christmas tree one year. I feel like that’s someone you feel you need to do once – bundling up and trekking out into a field where every tree literally looks the same and you have no concept of how big of a tree you need (every tree looks small in the forest…and then you bring it into your living room!). And after that year you realize you’re just as happy going to a place that has already cut the trees for you and you can simply browse them like winter coats on the rack at the mall.

As an adult, we are a ‘real tree’ and an artificial tree family. Each year we get two real trees – one for the family room and one for the kitchen – and we have a small white artificial tree that goes in the Little Mister’s playroom.

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There’s decor throughout our main living space, and there’s always a ‘Christmas Cookie’ or ‘Sugared Plums’ candle burning.

I hope the Little Mister continues to love the traditions we’ve started: getting our trees as a family, decorating, ginger bread houses, cooking making with my mom (he’s mostly a cookie taster!) and having family and friends over throughout the month.

No one loves a party more than our Little Mister, who can work a snacks table like it’s his job!

Time to get decorating! Only one more day of NaBloPoMo!

Christmas, favorite things, Gifts

Best gifts for 2019: kk’s favorite things

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it a good time to unveil my favorite gifts of 2019!

So here they are, kk’s top 10 favorite items for the kitchen, closet and home.

kk’s best gifts of 2019

1. Go-anywhere insulated wine tote

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Mr. kk and I recently went out to eat at a BYOB restaurant, and as we were getting ready to leave – wine bottles in hand – we realized that we had nothing to carry them in. Not wanting to brown bag it, we had to borrow my in-laws wine bag for the night. I never want to be caught traveling with wine – and without a chic tote to carry it in – again.
Insulated wine tote, Amazon. $22

2. Thermopop Digital Thermometer

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Now that the weather is cooler, we’ve started cooking more and more indoors (even though we DO grill in all weather). These meals usually consist of a hearty meat of some sort, and what better way to ensure everything is cooked to perfection than a stylish thermometer. Bonus: this one is the same color as my stove!
Thermopop thermometer, Thermoworks, $34

3. Ann Taylor Velvet Feather Slides

I think every woman needs a pair of shoes in her closet that are pure froufrou. And this is that shoe. First off, they are a soft velvet. Second, they come in two soft colors that complement any outfit (they are both so beautiful it’s hard to choose!). Third, they have feathers. I’m not sure if I should wear them with my pajamas and robe, or out for a night on the town. Either way, they are gorgeous!
Ann Taylor Verena Feather Flats, $98

4. Silicone lids for pots, dishes and everything else

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These are the kitchen item everyone should have. Cover a saucepan and your sauce or soup can go right in the fridge. Use them to keep foods covered while heating in the oven (they are oven safe!). Or, toss them on a bowl and you’ll have no need for plastic Tupperware. The website says, “They sub in for saucepan lids, store leftovers, keep dinner warm from oven to table, and yes, there’s much more.”
Food 52 Airtight Silicone lids, $40

5. Ninja blender

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I use a blender about 10 times a year (5 of those times when I’m making Ina’s penne vodka sauce). The blender I received for my wedding shower is past its prime, even though it didn’t get a lot of use. We’ve already replaced one cracked plastic piece and now the base is cracked so that when I turn the blender on, the liquid just oozes out the bottom onto the countertop; not exactly a quality you look for in a blender. I don’t need the fanciest blender in the west, but I’d like one that kept the liquid in the glass jar!
Ninja Professional Countertop Blender, Amazon, $69

6. Mer Sea Catalina Travel Sweater

The ultimate travel accessory is not only cozy, but comes in a ton of amazing colors (this is the pink which is gorgeous and the coral is the perfect accent to a tan). Part sweater and part poncho, this goes-with-anything sweater is the perfect travel companion. Lightweight AND warm, drapey AND flattering…it even comes with a cute little bag for easy packing.
Mer Sea Catalina Travel Sweater, $98

7. Camouflage Neoprene Cross Body Bag

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I love me some camo, especially when it’s a stylish accent piece such as sneakers or this chic bag. The subtle camo juxaposed with the black and red stripe make for a striking design and perfect weekend bag that will go with just about anything. Bonus: comes with a small camo wristlet.
Lori’s Shoes Camo Bag, $78

8. Camel Poncho – the perfect layering piece

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I should preface this by saying that I already own this poncho in gray, and I absolutely love it so much I want the camel. And the best part? This poncho is from my favorite place on earth, Target, so you know it’s priced right. A girl can’t have too many ponchos!
A New Day Poncho, Target, $28

9. Ultrasoft comfy pullover

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It’s time to snuggle up for winter! This sweatshirt is perfect for a snow day, or for weekend errands. And because it’s from LL Bean, you know it’s made to last. Comes in 3 neutral colors: gray, black and navy. This top even comes in Petite for us shortys.
LL Bean Ultrasoft Funnelneck Pullover, $54

10. A gorgeous platter for every occasion

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Mr. kk told me I’m not allowed to have any more cheese boards, or else I would have put this on the list. So instead, I’ll share this beautiful serving piece. We do quite a bit of entertaining and this pretty platter will be perfect for Mother’s Day, the Kentucky Derby and a impromptu brunch.
Eres Platter, Anthropologie, $42

Happy shopping, everyone!

 

Amazon, Christmas

This is when me and Amazon Prime become BFFs

First off, can I just call out that today is Day 19 of NaBloPoMo and I have posted every day for the last 19 days and Mr. KK hasn’t divorced me yet. NaBloPoMo can be a pretty stressful time in the KK household (especially when it’s 10pm and I haven’t written a post yet, like tonight…) This year, however, has gone rather smoothly with only 11 days left.

A few days ago, I wrote about ordering groceries online for the very first time, against every fiber of my being. Not because I’m not a fan of online shopping, but because I’m a control freak when it comes to picking out my own food.

In case you were wondering, everything turned out fine. The delivery guy insisted on bringing the groceries IN since it was my first delivery, which made Rocco go nuts, but everything was accounted for and the fruit and veggies I did order were fine. And even though I only ordered 4 bananas they sent a bunch of like 9, so Mr. KK is getting his fill of potassium.

I’m actually a frequent online shopper, for everything from clothing to furniture, to books to household items. You name it, I’ve likely ordered it online because it was easier, faster and cheaper. And there’s no better online shopping companion than my friend Amazon Prime.

Because while me and Amazon Prime (AP for short) are good friends throughout the whole year, it’s during the holidays that our true BFF status shines through.

It starts off slow, but then our relationship blossoms quickly. My BFF Amazon starts doing little things like:

  • sending me 2-4 emails a day to see how I’m doing
  • always thinking about me, showing me stuff they think I would like
  • checking in to see how our time together was, asking what they could have done better
  • shows up at my door step bearing gifts

And it’s not uncommon, for Amazon’s daily ‘gifts’ to look something like this:

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That’s 6 packages right there, folks. In one day. Broken up over 3 different deliveries. All Christmas gifts for Little Mister (and one hilarious item for Mr. KK)

And this isn’t a fluke. I’m so enamored by my BFF during the holidays, that I’ll check in with them multiple times a day. Getting their opinions on a certain items. And I hate to admit how many times I’m swayed by the temptress knows at Amazon Prime. Not only do they have everything I need, they also have everything I never knew I always wanted (but didn’t need).

My mother-in-law likes to say that you can find everything on Amazon, even a dead body. And while I hope that’s not true, my BFF AP does seem to be taking over the world.

They recently opening a distribution center in my town, and the delivery time is now like 23 minutes or something. (obviously, I jest)

If it wasn’t for online shopping – and Amazon in particular – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive the holidays. They are my lifeline, and they make life so much better.

Do I care that Amazon Prime is fickle, and being super nice to about 8 billion other people this holiday season? NOPE.

Does it bother me that they are showing me an item that I would like and then they are turning around and showing the same item to Karen in the PTA? NOPE.

I know what me and Amazon Prime have going on is special, and that’s all that matters.

Christmas, Decorating

Hurry it up, Thanksgiving. I’m ready for Christmas.

If you’re like me, in the last few weeks you’ve been wondering where the hell this year went. I could swear it was just 100 degrees out and we were sweating.

Now the trees are bare, we build a fire every night, and the holidays are knocking on my door.

And, to make things even MORE fun, this year there are only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That’s only 3 weekends to prepare for Christmas: tree getting, house decorating, present buying, holiday meal planning. How is a girl supposed to get everything done and have time for a holiday manicure?

And while I like Thanksgiving – we host every year which is fun, though I could do without the turkey – I’d jump right into full-blown Christmas mode and trade my turkeys for trees if I didn’t think my Thanksgiving guests would be confused by the holiday mash-up.

My holiday worlds are colliding; on Sunday I started my Christmas shopping and made a Thanksgiving menu in the same afternoon. The season says pumpkin but my heart says gingerbread.

Because of how late Thanksgiving is this year, that long weekend is going to be jam-packed with all things Christmas (sorry, Thanksgiving; you’ll still get your one day).

So here’s the game plan on the big holiday switcheroo:

Thursday, November 28th: Thanksgiving! Turkey! Pumpkins! Gourds!

Friday, November 29th (aka: Black Friday): SEE YA, Thanksgiving! All Thanksgiving decor gets packed up, Christmas decor gets brought upstairs and the Christmas trees (yes, trees plural) are purchased!

Last year’s decor prep:

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There are about 20 holiday bins in our basement. When putting it all away last year, I tried to label everything to make it easier on myself this year:

Saturday, November 30th: decorate, decorate, decorate!

Last year I was pretty proud of my red tractor sideboard:

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And the mantel:

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Sunday, December 1st-24th: FULL BLOWN CHRISTMAS MODE. Shopping. More shopping. Planning. Santa visit. Wrapping. Hosting. Last-minute shopping. More hosting.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the garage shame-listening to Christmas songs on Sirius in the car.

 

 

Christmas, Elf on the Shelf

I can’t wait for the Elf on a Shelf to return.

I know some of you will cringe when you read this title; not because it’s about the Elf on a shelf (the creator of whom I’m sure receives hate mail) but because I’m talking about CHRISTMAS before Thanksgiving has even happened.

But I love Christmas. And if I didn’t think my family would boycott, the tree would be up and the house would be decorated before Thanksgiving this year. (Thanksgiving is LATE this year, y’all!)

Last year, I spent time debating whether to Elf or not to Elf, and in the end, decided that I wanted to start the Elf on a Shelf tradition because the Little Mister would get a kick of out if. And, if we’re being honest, I had fun with it, too.

I didn’t do anything too crazy with him – like have him poop Hershey Kisses, or make a snow angel in sugar on the counter (who wants to clean that up?), but our Elf, Jack, had enough antics that made the Little Mister smile every morning.

 

I commend him on his appreciation for fine bourbon, and for leaving the house just as he found it.

Jack will arrive on the Friday after Thanksgiving, in a big box from the North Pole addressed to the Little Mister, with a Christmas book and Christmas pajamas inside.

Suggestions on what antics Jack the Elf should find himself up to this year?

Christmas, NaBloPoMo, shopping

kk’s favorite things: 2018 edition

Everyone is coming out with their best gifts of the season lists, so here are mine!

  1. Lou & Grey Poncho

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A girl can never have too many ponchos, that’s my motto. And, it’s in my signature color: GRAY.

2. Everlane Commuter Backpack

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Speaking of gray, I love the shade of this backpack, perfect for my trips to Boston. This compact size will make it easy for the train rides, and the outer pockets made it easy to reach water, my phone or kindle.

3. Turquoise utensils from WayfairScreen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.04.17 AM

Our kitchen utensils are approaching 14 years old – which is like 150 in human years. This bright turquoise color will complement my orange stove perfectly.

4. Lap DeskScreen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.28.57 PM

I haven’t had a lap desk since college, when I would write my papers on my Brother word processor on my bed. This lap desk would be perfect for the times I’m writing blog posts on the couch, trying to balance my lap top…like right now.

5. Anthropologie Spreaders

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These are almost too pretty to get dirty! I love the bright colors and patterns. One more reason to entertain.

6. Crate & Barrel Marble Cheese BoardScreen Shot 2018-11-25 at 5.44.08 PM

One of the gifts I gave to my mother-in-law recently was a square marble cheese board. Every time I’m at her house and it’s out on the table I’m so jealous – and mad that I didn’t get one for myself.

7. Opalhouse Holiday Wreath from Target

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I have resisted the urge to buy this about 73 times (even today, when it is 30% off!). I just love how fluffy and festive it is, everything Christmas should be.

8. Felt Laptop Sleeve

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Just when you thought I couldn’t add any more gray into my life, there’s this awesome laptop sleeve. My Mac will fit snuggly inside, and this case will fit snuggly inside the commuter backpack above.

9.  Scout Duffle Bag

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Oh, how I love me a Scout bag. This duffle is the perfect size for an overnight trip (hint, hint, Mr. KK!), with lots of pockets and a shoulder strap. And a cute little dachshund logo to boot.

10. L.L. Bean Cozy PajamasScreen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.01.04 PM

I’m always cold, so these cozy flannel pajamas are perfect for me when the temperature drops below 55 degrees. Bonus: they come in petite sizes!

Hopefully you saw something here that would be perfect for someone on your list! Happy shopping!

Uncategorized

To Elf, or not to Elf

Kids and Elf on the Shelf
It’s like his creepy eyes are staring me down. (Top right corner, as he declares his gender)

The year Little Mister was born, his Grandma’s bowling friend gave her the infamous “Elf on the Shelf”. And while it was thoughtful, the message was, “I’m passing on this horrible elf and all the stress that goes with it!”

Granted, Little Mister was just a few months old at his first Christmas, so the Elf on the Shelf stayed in his little Elf box that year. And the next year. And the next year. And the year after that.

And here we are, on the brink of the Christmas season (or, in the full Christmas season, depends on who you ask) and I’m faced with the dilemma once again: to Elf, or not to Elf this year.

Reasons Why The Elf on the Shelf Should Maybe Stay in the Box

The reasons To Elf:

  • He’s at a good age for this; he’s into the idea of Santa coming AND he is easily influenced by threats that the Elf will report on his bad behavior to Santa each night. Elf = better behavior
  • Every other kid in the universe is doing it. They even do it at his daycare. Elf = peer pressure.
  • Mommy likes the idea of testing her creativity each night as she moves the Elf around the house, putting him in compromising situations. Elf = Challenge Accepted.

The reasons NOT To Elf:

  • I will have a stupid Elf hanging around my house all holiday season. Elf = permanent decor.
  • The Elf –and, consequently, Mommy – does NOT take a night off during the festive holiday season. Elf = month-long commitment.
  • Once you start, you can’t stop. Elf = forever (or, until he stops believing in Santa, or that a stuffed Elf is traveling to the North Pole every night).

Who knew such a small little toy could be the cause of so much angst each holiday season?

Elf on a Shelf tradition
He looks all cute and innocent now Wait until the first night I fall asleep early, and he doesn’t move positions around the kitchen. That’s when the sh*t will hit the fan.

I’m a creative person by nature, so I enjoy all of the funny scenarios that I see on social media with the Elf. I can appreciate them (probably, because I don’t have to come up with them each night).

But I’ve been socking away fun Elf tricks over the last few years. Elf pooping M&M’s on the potty. Elf leaving footprints in sugar on the table (that one’s a little messy for my taste). Elf doing upside down yoga from the chandelier. Elf sneaking a glass of red from the wine fridge. Wait, what?

I’m nervous to take the plunge, but I think it might be time.

Perhaps I’ll post about our Elf and his crazy shenanigans for the 30 days AFTER NaBloPoMo.

This year, kk is taking on The Elf.

Uncategorized

Hey, Christmas: Bring It!

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Today’s holiday catalogs. Keep ’em coming!

Every year, I think the same thing: THIS is the year I’m going to be organized, get my shopping done early, be wrapped and ready to go, so all I have left to do on Christmas Eve morning is put my feet up and enjoy a cocktail.

The only year that I was able to achieve this, was the year Little Mister was born. He was about 2 months old when the holidays hit, and I was enjoying a maternity leave during a season which – IMHO – is the best time to be off from work. There was nothing better than hitting the stores at 9am on a random Tuesday when everyone else was at work. And don’t even get me started on the Mother’s Room at Nordstrom’s…a mom could live in there it’s so gorgeous.

This year, I’m primed for a successful holiday season. I have already started listening to holiday music on Sirius! (I draw the line at decorating, but only because we host Thanksgiving. But on Black Friday, all bets are off!)

Here’s how I’m going to do it:

  • Shop early and often. I will once again be Prime’s customer of the year (self-appointed).
  • Take advantage of the extra week. Thanksgiving is early this year, folks. That means we get one additional week of Christmasing.
  • Make a game plan. I have already mapped out each and every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, including:
    • Tree-buying day
    • Window Shopping Day (this is the day early in the season I got out and browse in stores without committing; so that I can make a list and go back later and get what I want)
    • Actual Shopping Day
    • Cookie baking day
    • Visiting with Santa
  • Watch the Michael Bublé Christmas Special (I hope he does one this year!)
  • Daily 5am gift wrap sessions (I get so much done before everyone wakes up!)
  • Taking the Little Mister to see a holiday show
  • Decorating early and often

I already have a few gifts bought, and many ideas for others. The goal is to be all bought and gift wrapped and under the tree by December 22nd. It’s on!