02 January 2017

Life Lately - Happy New Year!

Hello dear friends and Happy New Year to you all!  I didn't mean to take a week long hiatus, but we were enjoying some down time with my family back in New England and I couldn't tear myself away.  We had a fun and relaxing week in Rhode Island.  Here's a peek into what we've been up to...

My college closed for Winter Break on Friday, December 16.  That meant I had some time before we left on our trip to take care of some things.  Some of those things included dinner prep.  Roasted cauliflower is one of our standard side dishes with dinner.  Chop the cauliflower and toss with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 415 degrees for 24 minutes, turning the cauliflower over at the halfway point.  This is also how we roast our broccoli and our sweet potatoes.

One of my errands was to run by the jewelers and have my ring cleaned.  They jeweler has this ginormous ring in their entry way.  Every time I see it I think of the Big Blue Bug on I-95 in Providence. #rhodeisland

Apparently, at the ripe old age of 11.5, my cat has developed an acne problem.  My vet has recommended stridex.  Which in theory I think would be great, but in practice is not working.  Jack freaks out over the pads.  #sigh

I had some time before we left to make one of my mom's favorite treats to bring home to her - Ina Garten's Peanut Butter and Jelly bars.  These are so delicious and pair really well with a cold glass of milk.

We took the train to the airport.  We have a train stop outside our apartment so taking the train is a convenient and inexpensive way to get to the airport.  For real, it's $2.50 per person each way.  Compare that to $36 each way for two people on Super Shuttle, or $8/day for 8 days to park in a lot.

Thursday was the perfect day to fly.  I'm thinking most people were planning on flying on the Friday.  We breezed through check-in and security and had time to sit down in a restaurant and order dinner before heading to our gate.  We didn't feel rushed or pressure into grabbing something on the fly, we were able to take our time and relax.

We were flying JetBlue so we were able to watch all of that week's episode of Top Chef on the plane!  Yay!  Personally I'm rooting for Brooke and Shirley.

Friday we got to spend the day with this little miss.  We started by going to breakfast.  She colored and played with the jellies and creamers while Phillip and I ate.  We always go to the English Muffin in Johnston, RI.  They have the best home fries.

Then it was off to bowling!  We had a lot of fun.

There is nothing like the sheer joy of knocking down all the pins on the first try!

We had game night with my family that night.  My brother has virtual reality set up that was a lot of fun to try.  I hiked a little bit of Mt. Everest.  It was pretty cool.  We also played Yahtzee, which the little miss is pretty good at.

Saturday was Christmas Eve and we had a bunch of errands to run before heading to my Uncle's house that night.  We stopped for lunch at a local favorite, Chelo's.  Mainly we stopped there because I wanted chowder and clam cakes.  If you aren't local to RI, a clam cake is like a fritter.  It's savory fried dough with chopped clams in the batter.  I like to dunk mine in the clam chowder.  Phillip tried it.  He thought it was ok but wasn't something he would order on his own.  #moreforme

My sister arranged a meet and greet with Elena of Avalor for my niece.  This is my niece's favorite Disney character at the moment.  She knows all the songs and loves to play Elena.  She could barely contain her excitement when she came into the living room and Elena was there!

sweater | top | necklace (similar)

I am in love with this sweater!  And...right now (through January 3), it is 40% off!  the navy and purple work so well together.  I paired it with a button down, jeans, and boots and some fun jewelry.  We were all dressed up and ready to party!!!

We had such a good time at my Uncle's house.  Our favorite Christmas food and snacks, great company, tons of family, and I got to spend time with this little cutie.  Isn't he a sweetheart?  He's my cousin's little boy.  Such a doll and he has the best temperament.

That fella on the left is the father of said cutie pie.  He is one of my 8 million cousins.  Not really.  More like 20, but those 20 have lots of kids, so that stretches us to close to 40.  Not counting aunts and uncles. 

Selfie with my mama on the left and Auntie Kim on the right.

cardigan | pajamas

After the party it was time to get into our jammies and get ready for Santa.

A very early Christmas morning called for a cup of coffee, or two...

It was fun to be there when the little miss opened her gifts.  She was excited about everything, especially the gifts she got for all of us.  She picked them out herself at 5 Below.  Phillip and I got hand sanitizer and t-shirts. Phillip's was a Minion shirt featuring her favorite Minion, Kevin.  Mine had Angelica from Rugrats.

We had a little time Christmas morning to squeeze in a run, so Phillip and I headed out to the local high school and made use of the track to get a couple of miles in.

After we got back from our run, little miss and I made a cake for GiGi (my grandmother, she calls her GiGi for great-grandmother).  Grandma's birthday is Christmas Day, so we baked her a chocolate cake.  My niece picked the icing color, of course.

After Christmas lunch we played Pie Face.  We all got hit.  Phillip...

My sister...

But my poor sister-in-law got hit the most.  I think she got hit 5 or 6 times.

And then we heard the sad news about George Michael.  That was a blow.  I loved his music.  From Wham all the way through the Too Funky/Freedom days.  This was only compounded by the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds days later.  So sad for their family to lose them so close together.

Some family fun at lunch.  We hit up a local favorite for lunch the day after Christmas, Blackie's Bull Dog Tavern.  It's good comfort food.  If you find yourself in Northern Rhode Island you should check it out.

Monday night we decided we were going to have game night over at my sister's and then watch Monday night football as the Cowboys were playing.  Phillip and I ran to the store for dinner and snacks.  This native Texan was disappointed in the salsa selection, and with good reason.  We really don't have the options in Rhode Island that there are in Texas.

So. Many. Shopkins.  And she would ask me to play with her.  I am more than happy to play with my niece.  Dolls, games, other toys, but I just can't with the Shopkins for some reason.

top | jeans | booties

Tuesday night we went out to dinner with my parents, so I got a little more dressed up, including my favorite grey booties.  This particular print is out of stock, but J. Crew Factory has other colors and it's on sale!  $29.99 plus an extra 40% off (expires on January 3).

Little miss got some Build a Bears for Christmas so we took a ride to the mall on Tuesday.  My mom used to have a Westie, so she named her new one Callie, like my mom's dog.

And then of course the cat and the dog needed beds, so Auntie was the sucker in this equation and bought them.  #sigh #itshardwhentheyrecute

Wednesday night was out last night in town and we had dinner at my dad's house.  Little miss and I were being silly for the camera.

Friday night I made one of our favorites for dinner, pesto pasta salad.  I wanted something light since I knew we were going to be eating well on Saturday for New Year's Eve.

NYE we had lunch at his parents.  I had the brilliant idea to stop at Cake Bar for dessert for later that night #brilliant #theircakeistodiefor #neapolitan #oldfashionedchocolate

Cake Bar is at Trinity Groves, which is over the bridge from downtown Dallas.  This is the view from Trinity Groves.  Isn't it spectacular?  i never get tired of the Dallas skyline.  Day or night, I love it.

The weather in Rhode Island was a little chilly, so it was nice to return home to weather that we could keep the patio door open for.  Jack spent hours out there over the weekend.

Kate thought it was the perfect place to nap.

top | jeans | watch | necklace | bracelet

I love this top, especially that ruffle detailing around the collar!  How darling?  I've worn it with jeans but I also plan on wearing it with dress pants for work.  I love a versatile top, don't you?

dress (similar) | purse | shoes (similar) | watch | bracelet | necklace

We had NYE dinner reservations at one of our favorite steakhouses, The Keg.  It's fun to get a little dressed up.  This dress is so comfy.  It's no longer available, I bought it last year, but I linked to a similar one.

Here we are, all dressed up, ready to go celebrate the new year with dinner.  A year ago we took a similar picture before we went to dinner in Vegas.  Little did I know that my guy here was preparing to propose.  It's hard to believe that was a whole year ago.  This year went by so fast and there's less than 300 days until I get to marry this guy. #luckygirl

We were back from dinner by 9 or so and planned to make it to midnight, ha!  We played SkipBo (I won), we ate our cake, and then decided we were too tired and called it a night.  We're super early morning people, so getting to midnight is a little tough.

I know it's a super long re-cap but we were busy!  I hope you all had a restful, peaceful holiday season.  Come back Wednesday, I'll be talking about my goals for 2017 and I also have a giveaway....


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