Monday, December 23, 2013

Embracing the Nail Art Trend

I love having my nails painted. For some reason, I just feel more 'put together' with perfectly polished fingers and toes. It's such an easy way to add a little color to an outfit or get festive on a holiday. In recent years (or maybe just to me) it seems that nail art has become a big trend. Going from simple colors to crazy designs. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it!

I'm not terrible at doing my own nails, but it always seems to turn out better when I get them done at a salon. This year for Christmas however, I was able to do my own fun nails since I was home sick. They turned out fairly well (considering I was sick and this was my first time using a nail pen)!

Christmas nails 2013 (Essie: Forever Yummy and Silver Nail Pen)

Thought I'd share some of my other creations over the years. I'll probably add to this post as I come up with new ones!

Fourth of July 2012 Nails (Essie: Forever Yummy, Mezmerised and Set in Stones)
Orange nails for a Flyer's game! (Not sure of the polish as this was done at a salon. Safe to say it's Essie though)

Fourth of July 2013 (Essie: Forever Yummy and Mezmerised)
Essie Sand Tropez (neutral) and Sew Psyched (green) 

One of my favorites for summer (Essie: Turquoise and Caicos with white stripe accent nail) 

My Wedding nails! (Essie: East Hampton Cottage)
Winter mani using Essie's new line sampler! (Mind your Mittens and Toggle to the Top)
Valentine's Nails

Valentine's Nails

As you can see, the designs are far from perfect, but I have fun with it. Typically some of the crazier designs I won't wear to the office. However, a muted accent nail I most certainly will! 

Have a very merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zoe's 6th Birthday Weekend

Fair warning, this is going to be a very picture heavy post. 

I can't believe my niece turned six this year. I feel like it was just yesterday I was holding her as a tiny, red, screaming, colicky rug rat. Now she's a sassy, hilarious, energetic kiddo. Sassy being the understatement, you should hear some of the stuff the comes out of this kids mouth. (Coming home from my honeymoon she put her hands on my stomach and goes "Where is the baby?!" Oh my...) 

One of my favorite pictures of Zoe
For her birthday this year Kyle and I really wanted to have her come visit us in the city. She had been up to visit before and she really enjoyed it (and we enjoyed having her). 

Although, at age six, she really needed something to open on her actual birthday. A promise of a trip wasn't going to cut it. I rounded up all of poetry skills and design skills - turns out they are both lacking - and made her a book about the trip. 

She loved the book and her weekend in the city was so much fun. Lesson learned, however? It is very challenging having a child in the city! We're so used to it just being the two of us, it was difficult trying to get her from place to place. Funniest moment:
We passed a very intoxicated woman sitting on the street being consoled by a friend and Zoe (who was tired from walking around) said to us "Can I sit down too?" Ah!

Here is some of the 'book' we put together for her and pictures of each event (full book at the very bottom). PLEASE pardon my incredibly forced rhyme. This is not my forte. =)

The front and back cover of the book:

Train into the city

Taking in the view on the roof

Duck Tours around the city

Cab ride on the way over - she wanted to wear Uncle Kyle's mickey ears

We didn't get many pictures of the Duck Boats as she was a little nervous - as you can see

Much happier off the boat and quacking at every single passerby
Dinner at Max Brenner the Chocolate Man

On the way to dinner after a Starbucks run

The worlds largest Sundae 
3D movie night at the apartment

We told her she was only allowed to quack outside. It's the most annoying sound.

Pancake Breakfast

We had a wonderful (albeit stressful) time having Zoe stay with us. She said that she wants to do this every year for her birthday, which suits us just fine. A great weekend!


Full book:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family Vacation 2013

Every year my family and I make the trip down to North Carolina for a week to soak up the sun, sand and each others company. We started doing this trip when I was very young and actually made the trek from Canada for several years - 20 hours or so in the car with two young children. My parents are brave! The drive is a bit more manageable now and each family tends to leave in the middle of the night to avoid traffic and awake spouses requesting bathroom breaks.

Click here for our 2014 trip.

Over the years we've had many different people join us: extended family, family friends, my brother and my friends and various love interests. As adults now (in age, not maturity level) our spouses have started joining us and these trips have really turned into a bunch of friends on vacation. We spend all day on the beach, shopping or on the golf course, cocktail hour on the porch in the evening, followed by all evening around the dinner table talking and laughing. It's fantastic!

Two years ago, my niece (now six years old) started joining us. It's so wonderful to be able to have her be a part of the tradition. We quickly realized we had to change the formula of the trip (beach, cocktail hour, many hours long dinner) to accommodate the short attention span of a child. So this past year, we created theme nights for 4 of the evenings. 

EVERYTHING had to be on theme: costumes, food, games. Each family was responsible for a different portion of each night (main course, game, dessert, etc.). We thought this would be a good way to get the whole family involved in something that Zoe would enjoy. Now, I tend to be a bit type A (my family may disagree with the 'bit' in that sentence). A few weeks before the trip I sent out a spreadsheet indicating what was needed for each theme, some guidelines for each component and who was responsible for purchasing and bringing the items down to NC. (I do realize I'm bonkers btw.)

Here is a quick view of the vacation theme planning spreadsheet:

Theme Night Planning and Organization
I knew that the way this would work best is if everyone participated, but I was still expecting varying levels of enthusiasm. Let me tell you - everyone got super into it! Each night everyone had brought everything they were supposed to, were excited about the dishes they had planned and had fantastic costumes. On top of that - we had a blast! 

Description prior to event: Hola! Let's bring the Spanish flare to North Carolina with this belated Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Attire: Sombreros, fiesta colors and fake mustaches
Food and Drink: Tacos, Chips and salsa, ceviche, Jarritos soda, margaritas and Tecate
Games: Pinata and pin the tail on the donkey

Feeling festive!

Pin the tail on the donkey
Fiesta 'photo booth'

Under the Sea: 
Description prior to event: Ahoy mateys! We will be travelling under the sea for this night of adventure! Pirates, sailors and the like will delight in this maritime themed night. 

Attire: Pirates and hula girls
Food and Drink: Crab cakes and other seafood galore, beach cake
Games: Water gun fight and boat races 

We had temporary tattoo fake mustaches and tattoos for Under the Sea night (here on Kyle on the left)
The icing turned your tongue blue 

Side note: We don't have many pictures of Under the Sea night because we spent most of the evening drenched! Between water guns, water balloons and Zoe discovering the hose, we couldn't stay dry!

July 4th: 
Description prior to event: God Bless America! Let's celebrate this fine nation Southern style, with a twist on the classic fourth of July picnic. 

Attire: Anything red, white and blue!
Food and Drink: Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and American beer
Games: Glow-stick parade, potato sack races, glow-stick dodge ball on the beach

Glow-stick dodge ball on the beach!

Side note: this game was invented when we found an inflatable ball with glow sticks inside. We made our way down to the beach, picked teams, and had a VERY challenging game of dodge ball. All you could see of the opposing team was their glow-stick on their hats, glasses or around there necks. GREAT game!

Glow-stick and sparkler parade to the dock

Things got pretty serious

Fantastic hosts/parents/grandparents

Description prior to event: We will wrap up our themed adventures with a glamorous evening among the stars in the movies! The dress is fancy and the experience will be unforgettable. 

Attire: Hollywood glam
Food and Drink: Various hors d'oeuvre, popcorn, champagne, and sparkling cider for Zoe
Games: Red carpet, awards show

Ladies and Gentlemen, the stars of the red carpet

The award show

As always, this was the best week of the year. We will absolutely be doing this again next year! We're in the process of thinking up four new themes that will be fun for the whole group. Zoe had a fantastic time, so we'll definitely count the theme nights as a success!
Singing on the dock
Can't wait for family vacay 2014!