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One of the coolest things I got to do on my recent trip to Charlotte, NC was going to Christmas Tea at the Ballantyne Hotel with my college roommate Rebecca.
Had to do a quick selfie with my pretty dress and my festive flower crown on; you can’t see it here obviously, but I am also wearing a really kick ass pair of peep-toe booties from Poetic License. I’ve had them for years, but I hardly ever get the chance to wear them. The Ballantyne was holiday perfection, rich elegant seasonal pieces adorned most every surface, and the tea room, right off the lobby, was perfectly appointed yet cozy and inviting. While perusing the tea selection, we were offered celebratory class of cranberry accented champagne. I’ve been to plenty of afternoon teas of all shapes and sizes, and there has been some really great food, but this was without a doubt the best afternoon tea spread I’ve ever encountered. Everything we ate was delicious and left me wishing for just one more piece. Since there were two holiday inspired teas in addition to their usual offerings, we each selected one to try. Rebecca went with the cranberry tea, and I had the Christmas spice blend. Just to say we tried everything, we each sampled a cup of the other’s brew; the cranberry was poppy and wonderfully fruity, but it couldn’t hold a candle to spice blend. The only thing I can say to describe the spice blend was that is tasted like Christmas. It was dark, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg with just a hint of citrus. I would drink it for the entire month of December, from now til forever if I could. I think this is how most people feel about the PSL. Oh yeah, and there was a harp player playing classics and Christmas carols. A. HARP. PLAYER. Does it get any fancier than that?
After finishing our tea, we took a leisurely stroll around the hotel to enjoy the decorations and check out the Gingerbread Lane contest they do every year. Meh on the gingerbread houses, but we decided that at least one of Rebecca’s daughters needed to get married there. Also, that she would need to start saving for that now.
What is it about long weekends that makes Mondays suck even more? I should feel extra rested and accomplished, but no, I wake up and all I can think is “Ugh! Why can’t I have just one more day!?” First world problems, right? This weekend ended up being incredibly productive for me. I cleaned house, did laundry, started my holiday shopping, and even got some gifts wrapped; imagine what I could have done with an extra day.
The only thing I didn’t manage was pulling out our Christmas decorations. I had every intention, but you see, the boxes live in the garage, which has spiders, so I make Andy pull out the boxes and de-spider them every year before bringing them into the house. And while I did mention it once, I used up a lot of wife points making him help me shop and clean so I felt like nagging him about the one thing he didn’t do was petty and not at all something to do to the person currently buying my Christmas presents. However, while I didn’t get any actual decorating accomplished, I did manage to put together this wish list of things I’d love to add to my holiday decor collection.
- Metal Floral Wreath – Free People
- Vined Monogram Ornament – Anthropologie
- Glitter Leaf Garland – West Elm
- Copper Star Light Strand – Urban Outfitters
- Magic Mantle – Terrain
- Firefly Cloche Light – World Market
- Glitter Butterfly Clips – West Elm
- Champagne Star Ornament – Pier One
- Faceted Mirror Tree – Pottery Barn
I am curious; how do you guys decorate for the holidays? New stuff every year? Older stuff that has been passed down? A bit of both? I am currently rocking a mixture of the two, but I could see going completely one way or the other?
Sometimes it seems like the weeks leading up to Christmas are actually more fun than the day itself. There is always so much to do to “get ready” gifts to be bought, lights to be strung, cookies to be baked – not to mention all of the pre-celebrating that there is to do as well. This year my mom has been in town since Thanksgiving, so we have been indulging daily in holiday themed activities and shenanigans. Here are a few of the moments I actually remembered to take pictures of.
Waiting in line at Grassroots coffee to get our first cup of holiday hot chocolate, my mom took it one step even further and added a shot of peppermint.
That’s right I am wearing flip flops; we Floridians are donning our holiday sweaters with flip flops as the thermostat hovers in the high seventies.
Not my car, but my mom used it to bring up yet again that she thinks I need to add something festive to my auto décor. Reindeer antlers perhaps, maybe a strand of lights in the back window. Sorry, mom – the answer is still no.Craft day! I had a few friends, over and we laughed, singed ourselves with glue gun, and created some pretty snazzy vases and sleighs made from candy and ribbon.
My sweet old man sleeping peacefully under the tree; he may be grumpy and needy, but I love him so very much
My mom wove faux poinsettias around the cats’ wicker basket, and it is now the place to sleep and look haughty.
The Christmas tree, the greatest cat toy ever. We now have two water bottles sitting on the coffee table to keep the tree maiming to a minimum.Not everyone is as excited about Christmas as I am. Oliver is quite over all the fun toys he isn’t allowed to play with, the rearranging of his furniture, and mommy doing things that aren’t scratching his ears or snuggling him. He has taken to sitting in the middle of whatever I am working on and glaring at me. It’s really cute.
As I’m sure you remember, I was a little anxious to dive into the Christmas-ing this year. So much so, that I cheated on Andy’s “not until Thanksgiving” rule and decided to tackle some of the DIYs on my Christmas Craft board. The first thing I made was this Tea Advent Calendar(full tutorial) for our cat sitter, who is an avid tea enthusiast. Here is how mine turned out.
As you can see, I went a more colorful route. The best thing about this particular craft was the price. Andy and I drink a lot of tea, and between gifts and what we buy ourselves, we always have a large variety of blends stashed in our pantry. I also have plenty of wrapping paper and cardboard in my crafting closet so the only thing that actually had to be purchased for this project was the clothes pins, bringing the total cost of this wreath to $2.50, which is pretty awesome. Since I loved the large wreath -so much so I had a little trouble letting go of it-, I am considering making a few smaller ones (12 days vs. 25) for a couple of the people in my office, as well as myself, maybe even one for Andy to take to work with him. Hopefully, the cooler weather will hold on, and things will be perfect for a steamy cuppa first thing in the morning or before bed.
This weekend we engaged in what is one of my favorite holiday traditions, picking out the Christmas tree. Last year, on the advice of a co-worker, we decided to go local and get our tree from the Tallahassee Nursery. It was a wonderful place, and our tree was absolutely gorgeous. This year was even better because Andy and I got to share the tree trip with my mom.
Of course we had to walk around a bit before getting down to the main event. While we Floridians don’t get to enjoy much in the way of traditional winter weather, the upside is that there are always lots of beautiful things blooming. We also discovered that the nursery had made three fuzzy acquisitions since our last visit. Tiger, Willow and Tally were brought in to help with the mouse problem; the mice however left as soon as the kitties moved in. We spent over an hour poking around the various areas at the nursery and exploring all the fun things they set up for the holiday. We even got to enjoy warm glasses of spiced cider. Before picking up our tree, we stopped by the koi pond and said hello to the pudgy little fishies. They were quite excited to see us, but I suspect they treat every one that way. While they were trying the tree to the top of our car, I saw this angel and had to walk over and take a picture. I’m not a huge Doctor Who fan, but my husband watches the show and ever since he told me about the episode with the weeping angels I have to admit that every time I see an angel statue they make me just the tiniest bit uneasy. She was pretty, but I still wouldn’t want her in my job.