A Perfectly Magical Winter Break

I’ve been back in school for a week now, and I’m already hardcore missing winter break. It may have something to do with leaving the mountains, or returning to school work, or the fact that it is way to warm in Raleigh to feel at all like winter. I also had quite a long winter break (over a month!) since I didn’t have any final exams (perks of design school) so getting back into the daily grind and constant work work work has been a bit tricky.

So while I should be writing code, learning about shape grammars, and researching inclusive design, I’ll take a minute to share my winter break with all of you.

My whole goal of winter break was to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Since the full effect of cold winter weather hadn’t fully settled in yet, I found myself on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost once a day. Since both my siblings were still in school and I didn’t have my usual hiking buddies, I spent a lot of time alone which was actually super refreshing. I’m the kind of person who actually enjoys spending time by myself so having afternoons on the trails with only my camera and my thoughts was nice after a long grueling semester.

I’m realizing it now as I look through the pictures that I took over break and realized that I didn’t actually take too many photos. I found myself leaving behind my camera on several occasions and just going off for a drive and stumbling upon a trail to explore. It was a challenge to try to get nice shots on my phone, but I made do with what I had available.

Somewhere in the midst of all this hiking and outdoors stuff I managed to drive over to Nashville, Tennessee. My best friend is currently part of Nashville Ballet’s second company, and was performing in the Nutcracker. I haven’t missed one of his Nutcracker performances since we became friends, so the five hour drive surely wasn’t going to stop me now. Looking through my phone, I realized that I have absolutely no photos of Nashville, which sort of upsets me. Ah, oh well. I’ll just make him dress up like the grandfather when he’s home again and get a photo with him. Peyton, you down with that?

I also went exploring with the fam-bam and we all shared some of our favorite hikes with each other. While I enjoy the solitude of an hour on the trails, its nice to share the scenery with other people and discover new places in the process.

We all have a major love for snow skiing, so we made a ski trip a priority on our winter break list. We met up with an old family friend (not in this photograph) and had a fun filled weekend of snow tubing, decorating Christmas cookies (which we’ve been doing since I can remember), kids vs. parents games of Heads Up, and a day of skiing. It was a perfect day of skiing with 50 degree temperatures and sunny blue skies.

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Probably the most exciting part of winter break was having the company of my aunt, uncle, and Oma for Christmas. They made a last minute trip to North Carolina to spend the holidays with us. It was such a treat to have them here for a few days. It was Oma’s first time to North Carolina in roughly ten years. It was like a true family Christmas.

During the last few days of my winter break, North Carolina got a mini monster of a snow storm. It started on Friday morning and by the time I woke up on Saturday morning we had a good 6 inches on the ground. On Sunday, the snow still hadn’t melted but I packed my car up and got ready to go back to Raleigh. I had just hit the road to go back to school when I got a text informing me that my first day of classes had been cancelled, so I got one extra day of break. It was a nice little surprise to have one last home cooked meal and a few hours more with the parents.

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Blogmas: Day 5

This blogmas thing is a lot harder than I expected. I guess deciding to do it on a whim with no blog posts planned wasn’t my smartest decision. Also, now classes have officially ended, and exam week has begun. My life is super crazy, and I have so much to do with so little motivation. Anyway, never the less, I promised you 24 blog posts, and that is what you shall get! So, I will post an extra one this weekend to make up for yesterday’s absense. This is called day 4, because it should have been posted on day four, and I hope you lovely crew of readers will understand that. I also understand that these posts aren’t the best in the world, but I promise, I have much better ideas and plans for when I finish my exams and get back home.

Anyway, my little “sorry, but I’ve been busy” rant is over, and now I’m ready to show you my wrapping paper for this year.

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Ahh! Isn’t it so cute! Now this is the first time that I have ever bought my own Christmas wrapping paper. Usually, I just use whatever is laying around the house. My mom picks it out, I use it, end of story. But this year, being away from home, I got to put on my big girl pants and pick out my very own paper!

I got this paper from Michaels, because I was in there anyway (craft stores are one of my favorite places just to wander around, and they’re even better during this time of year… Christmas is EVERYWHERE!) and they were having a wrapping paper sale. I found a few rolls that I liked, but nothing that I was dying over. I spent probably 15 minutes at the bins of wrapping paper until I spotted this one out of the corner of my eye.

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Is so perfect, I can hardly stand it. And as soon as I came back from the store, I started wrapping all of my gifts. I don’t know if I have ever been more excited to wrap gifts. I don’t know if it is the craft paper kind of feel, the mountains, or the old cars that gets me so excited, but I just love it.

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Geesh, I didn’t think I would be able to get a blog post just out of my wrapping paper, but lookie there! I did it. I can’t wait to bring all of my gifts home and set them under the Christmas tree. Oh goodness, I just love Christmas so so much!

 

I hope you guys are had an absolutely magnificent day, and are getting excited for the holidays! Where is your favorite place to shop for wrapping paper? Share your favorite paper in the comments below, unless you’re not a Christmas freak like I am and don’t get attached to your paper… then just quietly shake your head and come back for a post not about paper, tomorrow.

Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure.

Blogmas: Day 3

I was strolling through the wonderful world of the internet, looking for Blogmas post ideas, when I ran across a list of some really interesting Christmas prompts. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the web address, and now I can’t find it at all, but I did copy some of the ideas into my handy dandy blogging book.

So, the prompt today is:

If your year was going to be encapsulated in a snow globe, what would be included inside?

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Golly holly, this has been such a wild year for me, so its hard to choose what to put in my snow globe.

I would definitely have to put my family, because without them, who knows where I would be. They’re always there to pick me up when I stumble, pull me down to earth when I’ve lost sense of reality, and celebrate my successes in all areas of my life.

I would also have to put the NC State logo in there, because afterall this is my first year of college, and frankly I’m loving it. Its like the start of the rest of my life.

Then I would put some mountains in the background because while Raleigh is a great city, it is lacking high altitudes and hiking trails.

I think that is about all. Oh yeah, I would probably put a Dutch windmill in there too because my Dutch roots are such a big part of me. Plus, this past summer was the first time I ever traveled there on my own money. (And big news… I’m going again this coming summer! More on that after Blogmas).

I know this was a short one, but I am starting to feel the heat of finals week. While I only have one formal exam, I’ve got enough projects, portfolios, and papers to keep me busy for the next week. What would you put in your snow globe?

Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure!

Blogmas: Day 2

So, better late than never, but here is my second post for blogmas. And today I’m going to list my favorite Christmas movies.

  1. Elf (Its a classic. What more could you want in a Christmas movie).elf-smile
  2. The Santa Clause (really, all three of them, but the first is my favorite).
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  3. The Grinch (both the new and the old. The old one is a classic, but who can resist Jim Carrey)
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  4. Love Actually (I feel like this movie must be on everyone’s favorite Christmas movie list. The beginning and the end are the best scenes)
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  5. The Holiday (mostly because I’m envious of the whole storyline).
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So, there are the top five. The ones that Christmas just isn’t the same without. Now of course, I always watch the really cheezy ABC Family movies where the girl always gets the guy, and the snow falls at the exact moment when they kiss, but all those movies start to run together for me. Although Holiday in Handcuffs was a contender for the top 5 list.

I hope you are still having an amazing week, and a wonderful December. What are your favorite Christmas movies to watch??

Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure.

Blogmas: Day 1

Hey guys! Like I told you on my last post, I am going to attempt to do Blogmas. For those of you who don’t know what blogmas is, it begins on December 1st and finishes on Decemeber 25. For those 25 days, many bloggers post at least once a day, and all of the posts are related to Christmas. This will be my first year trying to do this, so I’m going to try my best, but I can’t promise anything. I’ve got exams coming up and my last two weeks this semester are about to get really busy, but I’m going to do my best.

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Okay, so I thought I would get things started with the Christmas tag! I did this about two years ago, so we’ll see how different my answers are, if at all.

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Definitely hot chocolate. Hands down, no questions asked.

Colored lights or White?

I’ve never had anything but white lights on my tree, so I think I’ll have to go with white lights.

Stocking or Presents?

I think I’m going to have to go with presents. While I like all the little things that are in my stocking, I prefer the more meaningful gifts that sit under the tree.

Give or Receive Gifts?

Giving. I love giving gifts no matter what the occassion, although some people (my father) can be so hard to shop for.

Angel or Star?

I don’t know if I am supposed to choose what I prefer, or what sits on top of our Christmas tree. I do prefer stars, but neither of those particular objects sit on top of our tree. Instead we have a handblown tree topper that is a spirally pointy thing.

Open Presents Quick or Slow?

As a kid I always ripped right through my gifts but my parents were really good at trying to get us to savor the moment by taking turns. We would either go from oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest. It made Christmas more special to me.

Warm Fires or Sleigh Rides?

I’ll have to go with warm fires on this one. I have never personally been on a sleigh ride so I can’t say that I enjoy them more than the warmth of a fire.

Snow Ball Fight or Making Snowmen?

Geesh, this is a hard one. I do love making a snowman, but we don’t really get enough snow to make a proper snowman. Also, I start to get bored with it after the second huge snow ball, so I think I’ll gow with snow ball fights.

Caroling or Christmas Stories?

I’ve never been caroling or had carolers come to my house (small town living!), well not that I can remember at least, so I would have to go with Christmas stories.

Red or Green?

Green. It reminds me more of Christmas trees. And I do love a good Christmas tree.

Fake Tree or Real?

I can’t imagine that anyone would prefer a fake tree. Nothing can beat the smell of a fresh tree. It makes Christmas that much better!

Were you Naughty or Nice this year?

No one wants to admit they were naughty, but I don’t know if anyone can truly say that they were nice. I leave it with that I guess.

What’s your favorite Christmas food?

Every Christmas morning we have a Dutch pastry called banketletter. It is a pastry filled with marzipan paste and formed into a letter or a shape, most traditionally an “S” for Sinterklaas, Santa’s Dutch brother. Its my fave.

Do you shop early or late?

Usually I shop a little bit here and there. This year, I got it all done on cyber Monday! Let me tell you, cyber Monday is a blessing. Black Friday deals with out the huge crowds. And it all gets delivered right to your door!

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Its still early in the Christmas season, so I haven’t had time to pick favorites for this year, but my all time favorites are “Grown Up Christmas List” by Kelly Clarkson, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Michael Buble, and “Baby, Its Cold Outside” by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Yes, but I don’t remember much of it. I haven’t had one recently.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?

A few years ago, my parents decided to send us (my brother, sister, and I) to the Netherlands to visit our family instead of giving us the usual presents. After that year we’ve done it quite a few times, and I much prefer it to normal Christmas presents.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Well, of course! There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen and Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen and I do recall the most famous reindeer of all Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

What is your Christmas wish this year?

To follow all clichés, I want all this horrible fighting in the world to stop. I want everyone to get along, and I want everyone to be nice and help eachother. Is that too much to ask?

Well, there’s is my Christmas Tag for 2015, and first day of blogmas. I hope you are all as excited for Christmas (or whichever winter holiday that you celebrate) as I am. What are you most looking forward to this winter? I hope you have an amazing week, and I will hopefully be back again tomorrow with another Christmassy post!

Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure.

 

The Christmas Tag!

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

I am personally more of a hot chocolate person. Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows is the absolute best though. Eggnog is a little bit too heavy for me, but it is quite delicious. I usually do a half eggnog, half milk which leaves the taste of the eggnog but makes it lighter. 

 

Colored lights or White?

I am pretty traditional when it comes to lights… so I would have to go with white lights. I think they are more classy.

 

Stocking or Presents?

This is a hard one. As a kid I always loved stockings because we opened them before the presents under the tree and it was always more exciting to open our stockings but now a days I prefer presents because they have become more personal as we have grown up. I like giving gifts and seeing people open what you got them.

 

Give or Receive Gifts?

Whoops, I guess I should have stopped sooner on that last question. I love giving gifts. Sure, receiving gifts is fun, but the reaction of the recipient of your gift is what gift giving is all about. Too great.

 

Angel or Star?

Probably a star. I feel like angels are more religious than stars and I am not a particularly religious person, however I am educated in religions. Plus, there are five points on a star and five people in my family. 🙂

 

Open Presents Quick or Slow?

As a kid I always ripped right through my gifts but my parents were really good at trying to get us to savor the moment by taking turns. We would either go from oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest. It made Christmas more special to me.

 

Warm Fires or Sleigh Rides?

I’ll have to go with warm fires on this one. I have never personally been on a sleigh ride so I can’t say that I enjoy them more than the warmth of a fire. 

 

Snow Ball Fight or Making Snowmen?

Usually I’d rather go for making a snowman, but I always enjoy a playful snowball fight with the family.

 

Caroling or Christmas Stories?

I’ve never been caroling or had carolers come to my house, well not that I can remember at least, so I would have to go with Christmas stories. Christmas movies are a big favorite of mine too.

 

Red or Green?

I personally don’t like red and green together but choosing one is difficult. I like red and white together, but green reminds me more of Christmas with the christmas tree and wreaths.

 

Fake Tree or Real?

Is this even a question!? Definitely real. The way a real tree makes a house smell… mmmmm. So good. The smell of Christmas trees is one of my favorite smells in the world and we only get it at Christmas.

 

Were you Naughty or Nice this year?

I don’t think that anyone can say that they were “nice” because everyone has bad days. But, does doing one thing bad make you “naughty”? For the most part I would say I’ve been nice though. 

 

What’s your favorite Christmas food?

Every Christmas morning we have a Dutch pastry called banketletter. It is a pastry filled with marzipan paste and formed into a letter or a shape, most traditionally an “S” for Sinterklaas, Santa’s Dutch brother. 

 

Do you shop early or late?

I would say I shop early. Not super early, like in August, but like early December before the madness of Christmas shopping starts.

 

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

It always jumps between a few different ones but this year it has been between “Grown Up Christmas List” by Kelly Clarkson and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Michael Buble. I love the sound of Michael Buble’s voice and I could listen to him all day.

 

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Yes. I can’t really remember what year or how much snow we had or any of that fun stuff, but I have definitely had a white Christmas. I just remember singing “White Christmas” that year.

 

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?

The best gift I have ever gotten was most definitely a family trip to Holland. For the past two years we have traded in all other presents for a family trip to the Netherlands where we visit my father’s family. This year we couldn’t do that with me at Miss Hall’s and my sister in college because things are so crazy and everyone is home at different times. 

 

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Well, of course! There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen and Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen and I do recall the most famous reindeer of all Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

 

What is your Christmas wish this year?

Not to sound like a complete cliche but I just want everyone to be happy. I want everyone to be told something nice, a compliment of any kind. That is how I want to make the world a better place. If you can help me by telling anyone something nice and tell them to pass on the kindness! It can be anything as simple as “You look nice today.” or “I love your smile.”

 

What part of Christmas do you look forward to the most?

I look forward to spending time with my family and creating memories I will never forget.

Christmas is here!

Sorry again for the long pause in my blog. It gets a bit tricky to manage school, sports, and a blog all at the same time. Putting that aside, its almost Christmas! My favorite time of year!

Last week I was home for Thanksgiving break and let me tell you, it was nice to be home. I got to see my family and friends for the first time in three months. I had a pretty relaxing break and didn’t do anything extraordinarily out of the ordinary. On Monday, I went and visited my old school and saw all my friends and teachers. It was nice to be back wandering the halls with everyone giving me that “Wait, why are you back?” look. I also did a lot of baking while I was home. I helped my sister make cookies for the neighbors and her roommates, made banana bread, and cookies by request of my father. Turns out, I haven’t lost my baking ability! My sister came back home late Monday night after driving all the way from Wilmington. Tuesday was my dad’s birthday and he insisted that we treat him like a king for his birthday (not like we don’t do that everyday)! On Wednesday my brother got out of school for a few millimeters of snow. It was nice to have the whole family at home though. On Thursday all the women in the house (my mother, sister, and I) cooked the traditional Thanksgiving meal. We had turkey, stuffing, green beans, brussel sprouts, twice baked potatoes, and my most delicious pecan pie!

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On Friday morning I went to get a tetanus shot which was a little aggravating but needed to be done. My brother, sister, and dad went to pick out a Christmas tree while I was getting my shot. After everyone was back home, we went to go see the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. Oh, my, goodness. If you have not seen it yet, you need to get on over to the movie theater and watch it. It is absolutely amazing. If you thought the first movie was good, this one blows the first movie out of the water. I give it 5 stars! On Saturday, my best friend (BFFFF) Corbin came over for a few hours. It was good fun. We had a sword fight (won by Corbin) played H.O.R.S.E. (won by Corbin) and he helped me out of a cave (on Pokemon). Not to brag on myself too much, but while playing H.O.R.S.E. I felt like being experimental and I tried to headball the basketball into the net. Well, being the incredibly awesome person that I am, I GOT IT IN THE NET! But, unfortunately I forgot to call it a headball so Corbin did not get a letter :(. On Saturday night after Corbin had left we decided to pull out the old Christmas decorations and decorate both the tree and make the house all festive and stuff! On Sunday I spent almost the whole day baking with my sister which was nice. Sister time is always a good thing! After we were finished baking, my sister, mother, and I all played cards until my sister had to leave to go back to college. After she left I played cards with my mom for a while longer and then relaxed afterwards. I had such a great time on break!

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Now, I have two more weeks of school until I am back home again for Winter break! I really do apologize for the choppiness of this blog recently. I’m still trying to figure out a balance in my busy schedule. I will hopefully talk to you soon, but if not, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a terrific new year!

I’ll let you go with the wonderful words of Louis Cole… “Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure! BOOOOM!”