December 31, 2012

My new toy

We kind of splurged on ourselves this Christmas: we got a Canon Rebel T3i! I haven't been this excited about a Christmas gift in a long time. I've only used a simple point-and-shoot, so this is quite an upgrade. I've already had so much fun taking photos and practicing different settings and functions. It is a little intimidating. I definitely feel like an amateur and my photos are not stellar yet. But it's awesome to have such a nice camera that most of the pictures turn out great because of the quality of the lens! It will be a while before I get experienced, but here is a peek at what I've been photographing since I opened the box.

some fun Christmas presents

my favorite niece (for now!)

handsome man

oh, the lights!

Charlotte skyline

a neighborhood walk

my beautiful sister

December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I realize that Christmas day has technically passed already, but in my mind it's still Christmas season! We had a lovely long weekend visiting with my in-laws. Lots of good food, good conversation, and a few little kids running through the house. It was the first time we had done Christmas morning together at Michael's parents' house, so it was really special for me to be a part of their traditions and celebrate with them. We also went to a Christmas caroling party, complete with a full band and a woman who played the piano and the accordion at the same time!

After Christmas we headed home to welcome my family for a couple nights at our place! We didn't technically "host Christmas" but it was fun to have all of them come stay with us, now that we have a place big enough to fit everyone (my brother was on the couch, but I don't think he minded too much). We still opened presents, my mom gave us stockings, and we had our traditional sausage strata and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, so it felt Christmasy enough. We also fit a Les Mis showing and some Cheesecake Factory in there, which were some extra Christmas gifts in themselves!

It's been a wonderful Christmas and I'm starting to get sad it's almost over. But we've still got a big bright new year ahead of us! That's something to be excited about. Am I right? I hope you're still enjoying a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

December 12, 2012

Gift ideas: For her

Presenting: the Women's edition of Christmas gift ideas. We've all got moms and sisters to buy for too. And if you don't, it's always fun to look through things to buy with money and giftcards you get for Christmas (*crossing my fingers*). I've pretty much fallen in love with Etsy over the last few months, as evidenced in the collage below. Almost all of these are on my own Christmas wish list, so I hope you enjoy! Bonus: everything is under $50!
What's on your Christmas wish list this year?

December 11, 2012

Gift ideas: For him

Let's be honest: guys are hard to buy for. Most men don't love little accessories in every color or bakeware or candles or giftcards to Loft. They do, however, like technology. And while they may not admit this, they kind of need clothes for living, and they like it when you pick them out. So here are my favorite guy picks this Christmas (some of these have been requested by my guy, so they are credible). What will you be getting your favorite guy this year?

two: Ron Swanson print (Parks & Rec anyone?)

December 6, 2012

Christmas is here.

You guys, it's all sorts of Christmas up in here! We actually got our tree last Friday night, but we've been so busy that we didn't really have time to finish decorating until tonight. But we finally did, and it's glorious. I've never had a fireplace right next to the Christmas tree, and let me tell you, it's so cozy! I just love all the twinkly lights and red and green and sparkles. I feel ready to tackle this weekend. Tomorrow my Christmas cards are going in the mail and in the evening we'll be attending a Christmas party. Then Saturday we're going to the Nutcracker! I kind of bought the tickets on a whim for a show at NC State. Hopefully it's good! There will also be some Christmas shopping and baking mixed in there. Doesn't this season just make you feel so wonderful? It took a while for me to really feel like it was here, but it's kind of contagious, you know?

Hope you all have a magical Christmas weekend!

Linking up with
Ten June's link party:

December 1, 2012

Christmas Ornament Exchange

When Christina & Rachel announced they were hosting a blogger ornament swap back in October, I jumped on it! I love Christmas ornaments and I love getting to know other bloggers. I got paired with Amy from Dreaming, Wishing, Doing and it has been so fun getting to know her! She is the first person I've ever met from New Zealand, and she has an amazing story about her lifestyle change that she's been undergoing this past year. She is so positive and honest, and has a love for life that is contagious! Amy is also secretly an incredible decorator - just check out her Christmas decorations, some of which she made! I knew she would send me something adorable, and she delivered...

These little critters are both icons of New Zealand so I will always remember who gave them to me. I'm so excited to get them up on my tree!

A huge THANK YOU to Amy for sending a little Christmas gift to someone she's never met before - it's been so much fun to meet you and get to know you through this crazy little world of blogging!