Thursday, December 23, 2010

frohe weihnachten

When I was in high school, I went on a whirlwind trip through Europe one summer and was lucky enough to visit seven countries in three weeks. One of my top spots was in Germany - Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Rothenburg is this picture-perfect Medieval town full of history {and, consequently, tourists}. It's home to a beautiful church, a gorgeous city square, the Medieval Crime Museum {complete with torture devices and an impressive collection of chastity belts} and my personal favorite : the Kathe Wohlfahrt store. The store has the most amazing collection of Christmas treasures I've ever seen and it had me wishing of a Bavarian Christmas, especially since it was the middle of a hot and sticky summer.

The other day, my 1,000 Places to See Before you Die calendar surprised me with this:

Although it's not Rothenburg and the Kathie Wohlfahrt store, Nuremberg's Christkindlmarkt has me adding a trip to Germany to my Christmas list for next year. Anyone have an in with Santa? I've been a very good girl this year...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

smitten kitten | red lipstick

I'm totally obsessed with red lipstick at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I love a smokey eye and a pale lip, but it's always fun to mix it up once in a while.

This is totally my type of look : big, bold, glossy lashes and a bright pout.

:: five red lipsticks to try ::
chanel passion
mac ruby woo
wet n' wild red hot
shiseido 415
estee lauder rich red

*image courtesy of weheartit

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

christmas in the office

This weekend's cookie-making madness was so that I would be able to share yummy treats with my coworkers for Christmas. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, wrapped six cookies in cellophane and tied each with Christmas ribbon.

A little something extra : if your recipe calls for room-temperature butter and you forgot to pull it out of the fridge in time {like me}, cut the butter into small cubes and let it sit out at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes. While you wait, pre-measure the rest of your ingredients.

Monday, December 20, 2010

i need. i want. i absolutely must have!

A keychain from the famous Parisian landmark, Laduree. Macarons + the Eiffel Tower + a pink bow? Oh, be still my heart.

image courtesy of paris in pink.

weekend update

I don't usually wait until the last minute to finish my Christmas shopping, let alone wait until the last minute to even start, but such is the case this year. From 8 a.m. Saturday to 10:30 Sunday night, I was going non-stop.

Saturday morning started with a hike up South Mountain's Telegraph Pass with two friends, then to America's Taco Shop with Mark. Neither he nor I had been there before, but I'd been dying to try it for a while now. It was so yummy that I didn't stop to take photos of all the carne asada goodness.

Then I was off to do some Christmas shopping...and in the middle of suburbia {San Tan Mall, for those of you who live in the Valley} were three deputies on horseback. Welcome to the Wild West!

Sunday morning had me up-and-at-'em early again. House chores mixed with some more shopping and a stop by Lux Coffee for a mid-morning pick-me-up.

~that's a non-fat iced caramel latte - delish!~

Mark and I headed out for a quick lunch at one of our fave fast-food burger joints - Five Guys. They just opened one near our house. And while they're delicious, you can't eat more than one every couple of months.

And then, cookie-making madness {photos to come tomorrow} followed by selecting our Christmas tree - told you we were pulling off a last-minute holiday.

~decorations to come soon~

~another great find from Trader Joe's. Only $5!~

And back to work today. I need a day off from my weekend! How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

love letter

It's been so nice to have Mark back in town {he even finally met some of the girls from my team}, and a bit of an adjustment, as well. But nothing beats coming home to his smiling face after a long day.

He's the night owl to my early bird and since he goes to bed later than I do, he had the chance to sneak a sweet note into my lunch tote.

He's taking his mom, aunt and cousin away for a two-day trip up north, where they plan on hitting all the hot spots : Flagstaff, Sedona and, of course, the Grand Canyon; so I get to hold down the fort for a few hours before his dad flies in for a holiday visit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

before and after

An early Christmas present from my wonderful fiance. I've never been so excited to do laundry.

Monday, December 13, 2010

when it rains...

Do you ever notice how tough things happen in clusters? Threes, fours, fives...

This past week has been rough for me, but there are some really wonderful things that kept my spirits up.

Of course, it's Christmastime, and you can't really be too sad when there's so much cheer around. And if you're feeling really down, donate time, money or in my case, socks and blankets, to those who don't have as much as you do. It helps give some perspective.

~via here~
Let me know if you have any used {and clean!} or new blankets and new socks you'd like to donate. I'm working part-time as an elf for a special secret santa who will be donating these items to the homeless around town.

Another thing that keeps me sane? One word - kids. From the gummy, two-toothed smile of my little V or the big bear hugs from my two little nephews, they always make me forget about what was bothering me.

~check out the heels~

Each one on their own is great, but put them together, and the combo just can't be beat. I'm talking about being active with friends. Endorphins + catching up? Yes, please!

Going hand-in-hand with spending time with my urban family is spending time with my blood family. My parents and grandparents are the only family I have here in the desert, but I never want for family togetherness. My dad can fix anything and my mom always helps me put things into perspective.

What helps get you through the rough spots?

Friday, December 10, 2010

parfait v. perfect

Are you Team Paris or Team NYC?


~la romantique~

A tally of two cities, indeed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

medicine ball

A few weeks ago, I had some indications that a cold may be in my future. Scratchy throat, funny feeling in my head. I didn't have time or energy to be sick and, in chatting with one of my best friends, learned about Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Medicine Ball. It's not on the menu, but ask if they have it.

The Medicine Ball is a delicious hot tea that soothes a sore throat and comforts you when you're feeling under the weather. Totally worth a shot if you're not feeling well. It worked wonders for me!

~via here~

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

maui wowie

Finally! I've gone through the hundreds of photos from our trip to Maui and, boy, what I wouldn't give to go back.

We relaxed on the beach  
{so much so that I actually napped on the sand. And in the lounge chairs by the pool. Several days in a row. Highly uncharacteristic of me since I'm always begging Mark to go-go-go.} 
We drove the Road to Hana
We hiked to some waterfalls
We explored a lava tube
We enjoyed each others' company

Here are a few of my favorite shots. Please excuse the plethora of SPS {self photo shoots} - it's what happens when you vacation a deux. And Mark is a fantastic SPS photographer.

~don't you just love mark's duck face?~

~very lara croft : tomb raider, non?~





~a gorgeous old banyan tree~







Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a trader joe's holiday

I love Trader Joe's any time of the year, but I especially love Trader Joe's during the holidays.

I went there over the weekend and picked up a few things.

And my little Christmas tree inspired me to {finally} put away the fall pumpkins and start to bring out the Christmas decorations. I'm waiting for Mark to come home later this week before I bring out the big guns, but I thought this bowl of glass ornaments was a lovely start.

Monday, December 6, 2010

i hope this gets to you

Have you seen this? It's been floating around for a bit, but I couldn't help sharing it with you. It's so sweet {and, of course, topical for me!}.

Friday, December 3, 2010

so this is christmas

I like to celebrate one holiday at a time, so now that we've successfully feted Thanksgiving, it's time to formally ring in Christmas time!

Retailers and radio stations are playing the sounds of the season, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. 

One of my other all-time favorites is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland. The best video I found on YouTube had the embedding function disabled, but you can check it out here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

outfitted | a gilded nye *updated with shopping info

Part three of four in the Stephanie series!

This one is all about standing out in the sea of NYE black. Sure, there's black, it's classic - but this time, there's a little bit of golden glamour.

Get the look here.

As always, if you're in need of some style inspiration, drop me a line at or leave me a comment. Be sure to include your event, the time of year and the city!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

smitten kitten | aprons

As mentioned here and here, I love to bake - and with my baking comes an obsession with aprons. For my birthday, my parents even gave me a sunny yellow apron adorned with cupcakes and embroidered with my name.

Arguably, Anthropologie has the best selection, but you can also find some gems on Esty.

Here are a few of my current faves, just in time for Christmas cookie-baking!

~perfect for baking cookies for santa~

~pink and damask? yes, please!~

~don't you just expect one of the girls in waitress to be wearing this? ~

~who can go wrong with bows and polka dots?~

* images via here, here here and here.


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