A Fun Holiday Break

When I last left you all, I was sifting and sorting, planning and creating the most amazing (and exhausting) Christmas cards on earth. I recalled photographing almost each and every one before putting them in the mail, only to find out later that I was so tired while doing it that I didn't actually photograph each and every card. Instead, I photographed about 25%. :( I've been too lazy to upload them to my computer yet.

While I was busy working on cards and barely getting them sent out before Christmas, my dear husband set out to make the most amazing coconut cake on  this side of Charleston. (The recipe actually originated in Charleston.) It is a 6-layer cake made over the course of 3 days with filling, buttercream frosting, and of course a lovely (pound?) cake. Each slice, when you cut the cake into 12 slices, weighs approximately 1 pound. If you buy a piece from the Peninsula Grill in Charleston where they sale it, a pieces costs approximately $10 a slice, and you either need to go on an empty stomach (for just the dessert) or take a few (4) family members with you to consume it. One glass of milk and 1/4 of the cake later, you will be in heaven. :) You don't have to take my word for it though; you can make it yourself. :)

We settled down just enough on Christmas eve to enjoy a hibachi night out with our families before waking up super early to go make breakfast at my parent's house on Christmas morning. Hashbrowns, eggs, biscuits, thick applewood smoked bacon, chariese (?) sausage, and a bit of fruit shared between mine and Justin's families made Christmas morning fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. Then, we were off to my grandparents to celebrate with my grandfather and step-family before making our way to Justin's uncle's house to celebrate (and eat again) with his family. (We did a lot of celebrating and eating.)

I'd like to say the days following Christmas were much calmer and more relaxing than those leading up to Christmas, but I would be lying. First of all, Anthro and Free People had a sale that I had to take advantage of.

We bought the white version of these stockings which I had watched go from $48 to $30 to $20… all the way down to $14 a piece the day after Christmas. We got 2 to hang on our staircase since we don't exactly have a mantel.

We also went to Anthropologie and bought a book on designing flower arrangements (for me). I always get so frustrated going to the Farmer's Market and buying flowers and not being able to piece together an arrangement like I envision it. I love that the book shows not only which flowers to use (using pictures and descriptions) but also how exactly to do it. I'll become a florist in no time! ;) We bought something else at Anthro, but I have no idea what.

Before leaving the mall, we headed to Pottery Barn to take advantage of their "sale" which wasn't a sale. I confirmed the "sale" with the lady standing at the door and then we went off to finish buying the things for our bed. When we got to the counter, they said they weren't having the sale… and the manager confirmed it. Having done this to me before, I left angry and irritated enough to call the 1800 customer service line. You know what they did? Nothing. Pottery Barn customer service sucks, and I'm not sure I ever want to shop there again. Every time I go in there I feel like I'm being lied to, and then they don't care enough about me, the customer, to make the sale. If I go into Anthropologie on the other hand, they will find out of stock things for me, check prices, and allow me to return things up to a year later. What a difference!

Of course, we also took advantage of Christmas sales elsewhere getting some poinsettias for our tree at 70% off, some red Christmas balls from Target marked down 50% and some ornaments from the shop at Lake Lanier Magical Nights of Lights when we went with Justin's family. (Eight of us piled into my mom's Ford Explorer that was only really designed for 7. It was exciting and crowded.)

We did see a few movies over the holiday. First Saving Mr. Banks, which wasn't as good as the commercials suggested. Then we had a movie night in to watch Taken, a movie about a girl who visits Paris and becomes involved in sex trafficking. I played on my phone during most of the movie, but I have to say the movie's story was much stronger than that of Saving Mr. Banks. (Of course, I'm also extremely picky and judgemental since I don't see many movies.)

A few more family dinners occurred, some fireworks… and then the realization that a friend I had known for 13 years was suddenly and completely off my radar. A bridesmaid from my wedding not even 2 years ago had changed her address (for the first time in 13 years), quit her job, changed her phone number, changed her e-mail address, and has never had an internet trail leaving me without a way to contact her. This definitely put a damper on my holiday spirit, and I can only hope that at some point in the future we find ourselves in contact again. :(

And now it is Thursday. It is time for me to return to life as it was before Christmas. No more celebrating, eating, parties, or depression. We have an exciting trip to Europe planned for this year that we need to prepare for. We are hoping to gain greater control of our finances, and, now that we have amazing insurance (not Obamacare, thank you very much), Justin and I need to take advantage of it.

I hope each of you, my readers, had a fantastic holiday break and are ready (as much as one can be) for the regular day-to-day life that is now upon us. The good news is that tomorrow is Friday. :) Yay! I wasn't ready for my break to be over, so I am thrilled that the weekend is coming so soon.

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