this season is so merry and bright.
below are a few links that are currently making me joyful this holiday season.
christmas movies : who knew netflix had such a great selection? i love the array of older christmas classics. think i may have to cozy up with b and watch one of these one night soon (when he isn’t working like a mad man).
darling gift tags : i love the font, the pretty colors and the sayings she selected for these gift tags. and the best part? she provides a free printable. thanks a million, alexis! i used this free printable for gift tags last year.
festive cookie recipes : my sister swears by smitten kitchen and this pecan florentine with eggnog filling recipe looks completely scrumptious. i love eggnog (homemade preferrably) and if you do too, i made these eggnog cupcakes a couple years ago which were a hit during a white elephant christmas party.
hot chocolate bar cart : this solidifies the fact that i need a bar cart asap. bar carts aren’t just for alcoholic beverages anymore!
the reason for the season : with the hustle and bustle that comes along with christmas, sometimes it is hard to remember the true reason for the season and that is christ’s birth. this free printable would be a great addition to my or any holiday decor.
i also love the interview with the designer and how she explains what christmas means to her.
holiday greetings : another great part of the season is receiving christmas cards in the mail. oh holiday cards make my heart so happy. i love to see pictures of people that i love and read updates on their lives. don’t want to send a picture? these are the best holiday card options around.
this thanksgiving, we celebrated in the rocky mountains of colorado.
i had never been to colorado before.
we had been through that denver airport numerous times but never actually left and so i was so excited to step foot outside.
my oldest sister hosted our whole family in their brand new home. with all of us traveling to her, she completely took on the task of making 80% of the thanksgiving feast (we helped a little on the day of so we were not completely useless). oh and did i mention she is pregnant? that my friends, is one amazing sister.
my sister is the foodie of the family and so this thanksgiving did not disappoint. she laid out a wonderful menu with many new dishes i will need to add to my repertoire. she cooked all the pies (including crusts) by hand and never skipped a beat. i am completely inspired and need to develop my cooking skills further.
this sister of mine even thought about the tablescape! of course, i took the lead once she gave me the supplies but she picked it all up from the store days before we arrived. every last detail was perfection on this joyous thursday.
she made two different pumpkin pies, pecan and apple with crumble topping. best apple pie i have ever had. and that homemade whip cream made it that much better.
how darling is my little nephew? he kept us all laughing throughout the meal. he is the smartest three year old i know. and although he is usually obsessed with his “lala” (my mom) when we are all together, this time i got a little one on one time with him. he asked me to put him to bed twice in row. i felt so honored. when we were singing songs in bed, i felt like my heart would burst. i love this little.
last week went by in the blink of an eye. i wish i could relive it all over again. i love my family more than anything on this earth. you can instantly feel love when you are around any one of them. we played games and laughed till we cried every night. i am so incredibly thankful for them and all they have taught me. they are all my best friends. i just wish we could see them more often.
thanksgiving makes my heart full. it is such a great time to remember everything we have.
i am thankful for the kids i teach at church because i feel christ’s love when i teach them.
i am thankful for my job because i really work for some of the smartest and most kind people out there.
i am thankful for our home.
i am thankful for my church.
i am thankful for my bay area friends.
i am thankful for rain and greenery.
i am thankful for my family.
i am thankful for my savior, jesus christ.
and i am especially grateful for my husband, b. he is my sunshine.
reading: the vacationers. i am about 50 pages in and am not truly captivated yet. the book is about 300 pages so i would have thought i would be hooked by now. will keep you updated as the story progresses. it does make me yearn for a trip to mallorca.
i also recently finished “the one and only” by emily giffin. now that book sucked me in. but more like a gossip girl or 90210 show sucks you in. it was a little bit of a soap opera but, sometimes my mind just wants to unwind and romantic novels tend to take me to a different state of being. who is with me? have you read any life changing books? i will still attest that “me before you” was one of the best books i have read in a little while. it changed my perspective on life. the characters were so real and identifiable. i cried when it ended and still think about it often.
craving:a crisp fall day sipping apple cider. don’t get me wrong this indian summer has been nice but i think i am ready for a change of pace. here is a great recipe for homemade apple cider.
dreaming of:our new home. we signed a lease yesterday on a house. it is still in the area (only about 4 miles from where we currently reside) but we are so excited to be able to live in a home with a garage and a yard. it is a lot larger than our current apartment so all i can think about right now is how to position all our furniture and what more we will need to fill the space. we finally have space! b and i are over the moon.
have my eye on:this coat from hm. i do have a good selection of coats but what is one more to ring in the new season? and it is such a great price point. we will be traveling to colorado and utah for the holidays so that is just another reason i need this coat in my closet. or can we count that as two more reasons?
my mom is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. she loves to make everyone feel comfortable and appreciated. she buys all my favorite cereals and breakfast items even if I am only visiting for one day. she calls me several days ahead of my visit to see what she can make for dinner in the evening. she makes welcome baskets for guests full of late night goodies. and most importantly she welcomes everyone into her home with a big hug. she is the quintessential hostess.
i am working on this attribute because i admire it so much. when b’s parents decided to come visit us I knew this was the perfect time to put my hostess skills to the test. besides the amazing restaurants and recipes we indulged in (as you may remember I revolve all good trips around food), i thought it would be nice to surprise them with a small welcome basket full of california goodies. i had to welcome them to the bay area in style, you know?
i also felt terrible that we were not able to host them at our own apartment since it is a one bedroom and rather small and thought some goodies in their hotel room would make it feel more homey.
i grabbed ribbon and a basket from the dollar store (score!) and filled it with some tasty local treats.
And, of course you have to include a fun rhyming note. I was inspired by emi of the well traveled wife. she always creates the most darling notes for every occasion.
reading: delancey . so far so good. it is about a recently married couple who decides to open a restaurant together. it is a fun read and easy to get into. i really love learning about the research that goes into opening a restaurant. i enjoy how genuine the author’s words are for such a personal story. she really allows you to see a window into their marriage and their corporate lives. the author also shares original recipes from their home kitchen as well as the delancey restaurant (will let you know once i make something)! oh and another bonus is she references restaurants she adores in new york, seattle and the bay area. i know where i am eating next date night!
craving:the cookie dough cafe. last night, b and i were watching shark tank when these cute sisters came on to feature their idea of edible cookie dough. They had concocted the perfect recipe for eggless cookie dough and marketed the product all over illinois. how amazing is that? it comes in 4 different flavors and encourages you to eat cookie dough by the spoon! since the show, they have expanded to select grocery stores in the south and east coast. when they presented their product, i instantly became a fan. the sharks also thought of the idea to bring cookie dough cafe to sports arenas and hotels. i love cookie dough more than the cooked cookie product. please come to the west coast cookie dough cafe!
trying to remember: this quote. i will be the first to admit, i get down and sometimes feel like i am not pretty enough or skinny enough or have clear enough skin or my hair is awful. society paints an unobtainable picture of beauty. i have to remember to rise above and remember my soul is what should matter.
dreaming of: an adventure somewhere overseas. b and i have been discussing our travel goals for the future and i can’t help but want to do it all right now. i want to see the world. i want to experience new cultures. i want to meet people that change my perspective. i want to have it all.
beauty need:i have decided i would like to go a little blonder. i used to be incredibly blonde while b and i were dating and in the beginning of our marriage. then i had the bright idea to go dark. i thought it could be my destiny. i looked at olivia wilde and thought if she looks better dark what if i do too? granted i am no olivia wilde but i would always wonder if i never tried it. i liked being a brunette okay. i didn’t feel like myself though. since then, i have been slowly lightening to this golden/jennifer aniston color over the past year. every time i tell my hair stylist i want to go lighter she says she will do it but wants to keep the golden undertone with my complexion. sure, whatever you have to do but make me blonde! long story short, it is never that much of a difference and she is charging me an arm and a leg. i need a new hair stylist that specializes in blondes. anyone have any recommendations in the bay area?
i am so excited to announce that i have been nominated by Shots and Socks for the liebster award. according to shots and socks, “the liebster award is a cyber award (it exists only on the internet). it is given by bloggers to other bloggers. liebster could mean anything from dearest, sweetest, lovely to kind & valued. it was created years ago to discover new bloggers and is awarded to newbie bloggers. once awarded you have to nominate newbie bloggers to receive the award and link back to the blogger who nominated you.”
shots and socks has asked me 10 questions i must now answer in an effort for the blogging community to get to know fellow bloggers a bit better. here goes nothing..
1. why do you blog? i blog because at my day job i have to be focused on analytics and logistics. i felt like i was not being as creative as i wanted to be. i figured a blog was a good outlet to unwind and put my ideas, thoughts, suggestions in one place. i decided to focus more on travel and local adventures because i love researching and planning a great trip or day. i put a lot of effort into it and thought why not share what i find? i wanted to give back and inspire the blogging community to travel and explore their own city.
2. what is the story behind your blog’s name? i studied french in high school. i had a tight knit class and for some reason once we learned the word “vivre” we used it constantly in all different scenarios. we essentially used “vivre” like the costa ricans use “pura vida” which greatly annoyed my french teacher. it is a word we used to celebrate and rejoice.
when i decided i wanted to start a lifestyle blog, “vivre” was the first word that came to my mind. it means “to live”. this little corner of the internet is a space for me to document the little things in my life (like travel, exploring, food & events) that make me feel alive.
3. if you could live one day over again, what day would it be? either my wedding day or the day b proposed. both days are very dear to my heart.
4. describe yourself in 3 words. free spirit, genuine, daring (sorry i made it 4)
5. cats or dogs? dogs no questions asked. cats actually scare me a little bit…
6. who is that 1 person who has influenced you? it would be a toss up between b and my mother. both have influenced me in such different ways and always for the better.
my mother has taught me to live life to the fullest and love others unconditionally. she has taught me to put my whole self into everything i do and never give up.
b has taught me to never take myself too seriously. he has taught me to let little things roll off my back and to always think about the long road ahead (which is hard for me because i live more in the moment). he has taught me to believe in myself.
7. what is your must visit holiday destination? oh my goodness this one is so hard. it really depends on what type of holiday you want to have. i really love costa rica and italy.
8. the worst movie you have ever seen? b will hate when i say this but, transformers. it was so boring and had no plot.
9. your favorite color? it changes between coral and emerald green.
10. what makes you laugh? b makes me laugh more than anyone, followed by michael scott (the office).
and now i get to nominate 10 bloggers for the liebster award and make them answer my questions. the nominees are:
and here are your questions — can’t wait to read your answers!
1. why did you start your blog?
2. what is your favorite quote?
3. what does your perfect day consist of?
4. what are your pet peeves?
5. do you have any guilty pleasures? if so, what are they?
6. who inspires you?
7. what is the best book you have read recently?
8. what is your favorite childhood memory?
9. what is your favorite restaurant in the city where you currently live?
10. if you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would it be and why?
don’t forget to link back. can’t wait to see your answers and get to know you all a little better!
this month i had the opportunity to participate in a blog series hosted by esther called lovely letters: a snail mail exchange. this program was created by esther to help bloggers connect around the world.
once signed up, you are assigned to another participating blogger where you can interact via social media, email, in person, skype, etc. it is a great way to get to know other bloggers and learn about their blogging journey. on the 20th of every month you send out a care package (no more than $7 in value) that pertains to the month’s theme.
i had the opportunity to get to know esther herself. score! we emailed back and forth for a couple weeks and i really felt like we had a lot in common. i have a new friend now and feel more a part of the blogging community.
this month’s theme was hometown. i took that to mean where i am currently living which is the bay area, ca. i was racking my brain for some innovative knick knacks to share with esther. i wish i would have had a little more time because between our vacation and my birthday i felt a little rushed to send out my package. next time i will better prepare and think more creatively. here is what i came up with in the end:
ghirardelli chocolate – ghirardelli originated in san francisco and i may have the biggest sweet tooth ever. giants pen – gotta love the sf giants living here. an afternoon at the giants stadium overlooking the water cannot be beat. i will forever be a giants fan now. notebook with a print of the city – i figure every blogger needs a notebook to write down thoughts, ideas, day to day life, etc. i decided to grab a notebook and put the sf city print i use for #cityweekly on the cover. one lovely letter – a letter sealed to esther thanking her for putting together such a lovely event.
and then i got esther’s amazing package in the mail and i felt a little silly by how basic my care package was. she really was so creative and thoughtful. here is what she gave me:
las vegas post card, playing cards and magnet – esther is currently living in las vegas. i can’t wait to start playing speed or egyptian rat screw with the new cards! peachy tea – esther previously lived in atlanta, georgia korean candies – esther was born in korea instagram photos – one photo of the bellagio and one of her grandma’s hands a photo of her and her husband, jacob
one lovely letter
i can’t say enough wonderful things about getting to know esther more and participating in lovely letters. next month i will be sure to bring my a game and think a little more outside of the box for the care package.
reading:me before you – i am only through the first couple of chapters and am surprised by the plot of this book. it is very insightful and a quick read. i am loving the character development. have you read it? thoughts? no spoilers please!
craving:this hot chocolate cake. how scrumptious does that look. the only thing holding me back from making this tonight is the fact that it is an estimated 3 hour prep time…don’t know if it would compare to my mississippi mud cake.
watching:is anyone else’s guilty pleasure reality tv? i am loving bachelor in paradise and real housewives of oc this season. i am all the way team michelle money (bip) and shannon beador (oc). you girls are both strong, beautiful and witty. let’s all hang out. oh and morgan from rich kids of beverly hills you come too! you remind me of a modern day gilmore girl. a lunch with those three would be the most entertaining thing of my life.
trying to remember:love this quote. i am an emotional human being. i grew up with 3 sisters. tears come naturally to me but i often time fight them back because it may make me look weak. washington irving describes tears perfectly.
dreaming of:one day being a home owner. i know it won’t be for a while but i can still day dream all i want about white homes with green landscaping and a breakfast nook where we would host brunch.
fashion find:i am all about big floppy hats in the summer but i have never felt confident enough to rock them in the fall or winter. miranda kerr has inspired me to rethink this notion. deciding between this one and this one to purchase. which one do you like better?
sometimes you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
sometimes you learn exactly what it means to endure.
sometimes your heart is heavy and there seems to be no remedy.
sometimes someone you love is experiencing a battle and you can’t help but cry because there is really nothing you can do to take the pain/sorrow/disappointment away.
it’s times like these where i rely heavily on the words of those wiser than me. these quotes give me inspiration and peace.
i also try to write a list of all my blessings. this helps me to realize that i am not alone like i sometimes have thought. my heavenly father is blessing me. my heavenly father knows my name and the desire of my heart. my timing and his timing are not necessarily in sync, but he is watching and guiding me.
as you may already know, my birthday is a double edge sword.
on the flip side, i love everyone else’s birthday. b’s birthday might be my favorite day of the year. i love planning for weeks to make sure his day is extra special. i love the small details of organizing a party with loved ones and friends. i love showering b with extra love so he knows how special he is to me and how grateful i am that he was born. this weekend i now remember where this love of others’ birthdays came from. my darling mother.
this little lady surprised me with homemade ice cream pie and flower balloons the night before my birthday. she hugged me tight and told me how she vividly remembers my day of birth 24 years ago. she made me feel excited for the following day.
the 10th day of august began with eggs and toast cooked with love by my b. the afternoon brought lunch and lounging by the pool. you better believe i basked in the sun on the swan. i came back from the pool to find the hotel room completely decorated with streamers, party hats, flamingo center pieces and straws. my heart was beaming. this is the way birthdays should always be celebrated. completely over the TOP!
i haven’t spent my birthday with my mom and dad for about 5 years so this was such a treat. yes, b makes an incredible effort to make my birthday special but, there is nothing like a mother to make you feel like the most loved person in the world.
my mom and sister, m, spent 4 hours baking that cake up there. yes, 4 hours!
m lovingly bakes a treat for everyone’s birthday. she called me a couple weeks ago to see what i was lusting after this year. i found a recipe on martha stewart for mississippi mud cake and knew i had to try it. baking a mississippi mud cake is not complex but, is comprised of four layers so it is very time consuming.
she assured me she was up for the challenge.
i have never tasted a better cake. it had everything i have ever wanted.
first layer is oreo cookie crust.
second layer is flourless chocolate cake.
third layer is dark chocolate pudding.
cake is topped with whip cream.
i may have to have this cake every year…
the night ended with everyone going around the room and stating why they loved me. this is a tradition in b’s family and i love how we have extended it to my family. i hope to keep the tradition in our own family someday. it is a great reminder of what other people see in you and that you may not think about.
i think 24 may be the best year yet (crossing my fingers).