Monday, December 19, 2011

Trees That Will Make You Happy

Maybe it's because we don't have a tree up this year or it could be because I saw a tabletop tree outside Stop & Shop that I am coveting hardcore.  Maybe it's just how joyful these old, leafless branches look, but I'm crushing on these gift-covered trees in a big way.  Leave it to the lovely Swedes to be whimsical in freezing weather. 

Or maybe I'm picturing how hysterical it would be if Anthony and I tried to pull this off ourselves.  I wish the display was closer so I could see the decorations in person. 

Images courtesy of Tottinyon

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hello, my name is Crystal...

...and I am a compulsive gift buyer.  No matter how many presents I get for the people on my list, it never seems like enough.  For my parents, I always feel like I should buy them more and tend to lose track of what I've already purchased.  For my brother and sister-in-law, they are so easy to buy for that I can't stop myself sometimes.  And for someone like Anthony, I just want to show him how much I love him, and get him the best presents ever since he is so generous and wonderful year-round. 

I know this doesn't sound like a huge problem, but I wind up spending tons of extra money on additional gifts that don't have a designated recipient.  Then, at the end of the holiday season, I wind up with a bag in my closet full of presents that I didn't give out (right now, that bag includes a Crate and Barrel vase and two Hello Kitty ornaments).  For the entire month of December, it's like I'm on a constant quest for the perfect gifts. Am I too generous or am I am obsessive shopper?

This only happens to me around Christmastime; I am cautious to a fault with my purchases throughout the year.  But I can't be the only one with this problem, right? How do your shopping habits change around the holidays?

Image courtesy of weheartit via imyeritgirl

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Cards for Sweet Messages

I'm trying to finish writing out my Christmas cards this weekend, but can't help falling in love with these cards I found on Etsy.  I'd love to get one of these in the mail.

Also, I feel like I'm thisclose to finishing my holiday shopping but I've kind of hit a wall.  Sometimes, I just run out of ideas.  We don't have a tree up but tonight, we'll hang stockings and add some cheer to this apartment.  I can't remember a year when I've had so many festivities happening weeks before Christmas.  It's hard to believe December 25th is only 2 weeks from today!

Top image from Erindollar via Etsy; bottom image from finestimagery via Etsy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Unexpected Marathon Shopping

Last weekend, we were on our way to breakfast when I asked Anthony to stop at Marshall's.  I wanted to see if the store had something specific for Christmas and since I almost never spend more than 10 minutes in the store, I didn't think it would be a big deal.  Anthony kindly obliged, and we then proceeded to fill a shopping cart with some really great gifts for the next hour and a half.  I was fully aware while we were there that this was probably the last time Anthony would ever step into Marshall's again, but he tried to make the best out of the trip. 

His reward was breakfast at IHOP, and it was well-deserved (my scrambled eggs and pancakes could not have been greasier or more delicious--it's a good thing we only go there once a year).  And for the record, I kind of wish we bought that giant ornament.  If only we had a giant tree to hang it on. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gift Guide Adoration

The end of the year means it's time to start buying Christmas presents.  It also means that some of my favorite sites and blogs (like Design*Sponge and Cup of Jo, etc., etc.) start posting gift guides.  These bloggers and writers always have the best taste and find the most creative things to feature.  More often than not though, the things on these lists are items that I love and want to buy for myself, but that I don't think I can give to anyone on my list (like I can't think of any friend or family member who would want this awesome wood wall art but I'd love it for our apartment!)

Below is my own amateur attempt at a round-up of great stocking stuffers I've seen online the last couple of weeks.  What's been your favorite purchase so far? Mine is a cookbook for one of my bosses called All Cakes Considered by NPR's Melissa Gray, which I found at Chronicle Books

Adorable dog balloon animal ornament via Urban Outfitters

Mixed tape stamp kit via Yellow Owl Workshop

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Brave Little Christmas Cactus

I do not have a green thumb.  In fact, I think that both of my thumbs are probably red, signaling to unsuspecting plants that I will most likely cause them harm.  Plants enter our apartment healthy but don't stay that way for long.  It's sad, and even though I've placed a fair amount of blame on our old apartment's mold problem, I just don't think that I'm a nurturer of potted plants.

But...last year, a sweet co-worker gave me a Christmas cactus for the holidays.  I loved this little plant but knew its days were numbered.  It looked great until February, then it started to wrinkle and shrivel.  No amount of water or sun could save it.  When we moved to our new place in May, I took the plant with us.  What harm could the move do since it was already pretty dead?

Here is a look of this brave little Christmas cactus today, almost a year after I received it:

I don't know what happened, but it somehow beat the odds.  I feel like a proud mama every time I look at its beautiful bright pink flowers.   Let this be a lesson to us all to never underestimate a little bit of perseverance, although part of me hopes that I don't get another plant for a long time.  My success with this specific cactus might very well be a gardening fluke, aka a gardening miracle.