Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

So as much as I wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm, I promised myself last year that we would buy our tree from the same spot my mom snagged a deal on her 15 ft tree Xmas 2011. Needless to say we did not buy a 15 ft tree, but we did get a good deal on this 7 ft beauty. I'd like to present our Christmas tree 2012

Merry & Bright

At the Xmas tree lot trying to decide between a Noble Fir & Douglas Fir . . . 

 So here was the Xmas tree dilemma:
I grew up with the Douglas Fir every Xmas--it wasn't until last year when Aaron & I got our first Xmas tree together, that I had my first Noble Fir. But I like them both for different reasons . . . 
The Noble Fir has the perfect branches for hanging heavy ornaments and makes decorating a little bit easier. The branches are spaced evenly and it is just a perfect looking tree overall. Also, the pine needles definitely do not shed as much at the Douglas.
But the Douglas Fir has something that the Noble doesn't--a strong pine scent. The Noble still has a light fragrance, but it won't fill your home like the Douglas. It is also a little bit cheaper than the Noble! The biggest drawback with the Douglas is it sheds a lot more, and there aren't as many strong branches (so valuable ornament go on the top sturdy branches!). It is a bushier tree, almost wild looking until you put some ornaments on it. But for me it is a reminder of childhood and growing up with my mamma who always seemed to pick out a tree that was taller than our ceiling. We would always end up cutting off the top of the tree, but our Santa tree topper would still be hunched into the ceiling.
So this year we went with the . . .  Douglas! It was simply because this year that was our "perfect tree". I am thinking about switching it up every year. Aaron grew up with fake trees because his mom is allergic, so he doesn't have a childhood preference, and I am always up for trying new things.

Below are a few pictures of us with our tree (I try to document everything & have always been"the girl with the camera")
Aaron spotted it, but shortly after I saw a couple of families eying it up so I stood guard like a true Xmas freak.

Growing up Mamma was always the one to do the lights. I don't know why but I have never really enjoyed putting the lights on the tree. So now it will be tradition for Aaron to light things up.

Ta Da!!! Our beautiful tree!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmastime is Here!!

This is the season I have been waiting for all year long! It is only December 5th, but I know this month will just fly by. I have thought about Christmas 2012 for a while now, and have planned many special events, activities and surprises. I am all about starting new traditions while incorporating childhood traditions our parents and family have shared with us. 

I know the holidays can be stressful for people, so I put together a little list of ways to make the holidays a little bit merrier:

1. Make a list, check it twice. When playing Santa the more organized you are, the easier shopping will be. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and jot down ideas next to their names. I will even put in parenthesis next to the gift item where I can buy it. There is nothing worse than forgetting a family member on Christmas (which I have done!) or rushing out last minute to get a gift you forgot about.  Invest in a little black book and keep it in your purse or back pocket during the season.

2. Learn how to shop online.  If you are anything like my husband, and would rather go to the mall to do your shopping, that is just fine, but you should still know these facts about online shopping. First of all, many retailers offer free shipping (with no minimum purchase!) during the holidays (if not year round). Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, L.L.Bean, Saks, & Piperlimeare just a few to name. Most other stores offer free shipping with a minimum purchase of $50, $100, or $150. Secondly, you can find additional deals and coupons online that aren't available in stores. For example, Victoria's Secret had a limited time offer for a free pair of slippers with the purchase of one of their "most loved" pajamas. When I went to the mall to buy the pajamas I wanted to give to Aaron's mom for Christmas, I found out the deal was only online. So I ended up leaving empty handed, and getting the better deal online. RetailMeNot is a great place to look for these online promo codes. Finally, there will almost always be more in stock online than in the stores. I can't tell you how many times I have driven all the way to the shops only to find out they ran out of the items I wanted to buy (or the size, fragrance, color, etc.). 
So although I will still enjoy a latte while wondering through the mall on the weekend with the hubby, the majority of my shopping is done online. You can save so much time & money by taking advantage of our modern technology!

3. Have a wrapping party. Instead of bribing and begging your spouse or children to wrap the pile of gifts in your closet, make a date with some girlfriends,the neighbors, your siblings, etc. to have a wrapping party. Set out some snacks, pop some bubbly, put on some holiday tunes and push aside the furniture to create a big work space. Everyone can bring something to the party--wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbons & bows. Make sure you have plenty of tape, several pairs of scissors, tissue paper, etc.

4. Bake. Cookies and baked goods are the perfect way to get the season rolling. Keep some at your house and give the rest to neighbors or coworkers. Instead of worrying weather you should get something small for everyone you know and care about, by sending them sweets, you can do something nice for everyone that doesn't require a lot of work. It's the little things that make people happy sometimes. If you aren't the best baker, chocolate covered pretzel sticks are a great alternative and make cute little gifts.
5. See a show. Plan in advance to go to a concert or Christmas show with your family. My husband has made it a tradition since the year we met to get dressed up and go to a concert every December. In the past we have gone to The Nutcracker (my favorite!) and have seen Chris Botti. We have also attended a couple of Christmas concerts that our friends' siblings have been in. There are plenty of local productions that you may not know about--simply do a Google search and find out what is going on close by. No matter what you decide to see, the point is to just sit down, relax, and enjoy the holiday spirit all around you.


Friday, November 30, 2012


So I have finally decided to start a blog after writing regularly for the majority of my life. When I was a kid I use to write stories and keep journals up until I graduated high school (even though I knew my sister had hacked into my diaries several times).
So a little bit about me . . . I am 23 and married to my best friend and biggest crush, Aaron Gonzalez. We have an adorable yet bossy 1.5 year old Miniature Schnauzer named Darcy.  I was born and raised in Long Beach, California where we currently live. I went to Wilson High School (yes, the Freedom Writers school) and graduated from the University of California, Irvine.
I have a passion for running, shopping (I have become quite the online shopper lately), and dogs. I also love to hike, kayak, garden, do yoga, sunbathe at the beach, and go on adventures. I love tea, red wine, Moscow Mules and juicing. I enjoy everything DIY, from arts and crafts to finding and trying new recipes. As you can imagine, pinterest is a favorite place of mine. My favorite night of the week is girls night. I absolutely love seasons which is ironic since I do live in Southern California where it is sunny 90% of the year (today, I can happily say is part of that 10% exception). I love fall and winter, and am a total Christmas freak. I get so excited for the holiday that I will secretly listen to Christmas music in the heat of summer sometimes. 
This is all for now, but I can't wait to update this blog and start writing on a regular basis!