Thankful Thursday: Halloween!

Happy Thursday!

Today, I am thankful for the upcoming Halloween weekend! It’s kind of silly actually because I have to work this weekend and instead of dressing up and handing out treats to local tots, I’ll be in Fort Worth, TX at a convention (lame!). I have to admit, I’m not actually excited for this particular Halloween, but I am thankful that it’s here because I’m taking advantage of all the holiday fun early.

I’ve been checking out dog costumes and kids costumes (even though I don’t have a kid, yet, they are too cute!). I’ve been eating Halloween candy and made Carmel Pears last weekend. Tonight, the spouse and I plan to carve our pumpkin and I’ve decked out the house in Halloween and fall-inspired decor.

So, even though I won’t be hitting up Halloween parties, dressing up my dogs, or participating in the Trick-or-Treat fun, I’m still so thankful for this time of year and the ongoing celebration that I’ve enjoyed.

Hope you’re taking advantage of the fun this week and weekend! Here’s a few of my favorite blogs and fun Halloween ideas!

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Homemade Carmel Corn via Cupcakes and Cashmere.
Hands down the best pug costume EVER via Carrots ‘N’ Cake.
Super-cute kiddo costume via Cup of Joe.
Definitely my costume next year: The Hamburgler via What I Wore.
Easy Halloween Decor via Twig & Thistle.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds via Carrots ‘N’ Cake.

Here’s to Dad!

Happy Friday & Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

For all you fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, god-fathers, and anyone who has taken the role of a Father in someone’s life, I wish you all a wonderful weekend and a very happy Father’s day!

‘Dad’ via Pinterest

I thought I’d use today’s toast to celebrate Dad’s everywhere by telling you a bit about my own father. Like most little girls, I grew up looking up to my Dad and thankfully have started to find a lot of the traits that I most admired about him in myself as an adult.

My dad spent most of my youth working as the leader of a sales team, striving to provide for me and my three siblings, no matter the hours or cost to him. Once I entered college, he left the sales world to pursue baking and eventually enrolled back in school full-time. Today he is a student and his dedication to schoolwork and his degree are truly inspiring.

As a kid, I remember growing up always looking forward to the camping trips my mom and dad planned. I credit my own love for camping to his excitement and dedication to getting off the beaten path to camp in quiet, private locations. Dad was always the parent that you asked first if you could stay out past curfew, the one who took us to McDonald’s (when we rarely ate their otherwise), and who let us have soda with dinner – score!

He made Sunday’s a day for family and put absolutely all his energy from early fall to December 25th into making Christmas the most special day of the year. It’s thanks to my dad’s passion for Christmas that I now start celebrating the day on November 1 (Publicly. I really start celebrating and eagerly anticipating Christmas some time in July).

My dad has battled difficult times and has seen ups and downs but with hard work and determination he’s still kickin’ and goin’ strong. I know his next chapter of life (finishing his degree and becoming a grandpa!) will be as exciting and even more full of joy than the past 50+ years have been.

Dad & Me

To my Dad, thank you. I’m so thankful for you, for the lessons you’ve taught me, and for the love you’ve given me. I hope you have the most wonderful Father’s Day! 

Cheers!

Word to Yo’ Motha

Happy Friday!

This Friday is a little different than other Friday’s cause I don’t just have a quote in store fo you. Since Mother’s Day is only a couple of days away, I’d like to tell you all about my mom….one of my Modern Day Superhero’s.

My mom is a strong, independent, and gorgeous women. She’s enrolled in school full-time, working on her nutrition degree, and is cultivating her natural talent for photography along the way. She is truly one of the most naturally gifted people I know, she has no formal training in photography and took ALL of the pics in this post!

She’s a mom, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a godmother, a cousin, and is about to be a GRANDMOTHER! BAH! No, no, no, it’s not me that’s elevating her to this new status. Just in case you’ve somehow missed all my other talk about my expecting sister, I’d just like clarify that it’s my sis that will be having a son and you better believe my mamacita will be the best grandma you’ve ever met!

I’ve told my mom countless times that she’s one of the strongest people I know and that’s because it’s 100% true. She’s kept her held high and charged her way through very difficult times determined to create a life surrounded by love, happiness, and nature. She’s truly an inspiration to me and I only hope that when I’m her age that I’ll be able to say that I’ve accomplished half as much as she’s done (and still look like her too…the woman doesn’t age!). She has a huge, caring, loving heart and will drop anything to help one of her kids, family members, or friends in need. Her selfless attitude and dedication to enjoying all of the little things in life motivates me daily to be more like her.

Aside from her strength and her motivation, my mom is just plain fun. I have countless memories of my youth with my mom teaching me to bake (thanks for teaching me to cook, pssh), taking my siblings and I on camping trips, spending summers with our east coast family, and spending many a night in my 20’s pouring red wine and listening to classic rock. Thanks to a mom and daughter cross-country excursion in college, every time I hear the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John, I think of my mom and the memories created on that trip.

My mom – an inspiring soul, an artful eye, a beautiful face, and tender heart. I love her very much and am so thankful to  have all the gifts she’s passed on to me, all the advice I have sometimes listened to, and all the memories you can only create with someone you truly love. Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

“Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band. Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man. Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand. And now she’s in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand.” ~ Elton John 

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

Doesn’t Barley look like a little Pug Thug in that picture?

I hope you all remembered to wear green today! To celebrate St. Patty’s, I couldn’t resist dressing up my (obviously unhappy) pups this morning! Silly dogs (silly me). Further celebration plans include baking Irish Soda Bread and meeting up with friends after work for a St. Patrick’s Day toast. What are you doing to celebrate?

Real quick – today’s 30 Day Blog Challenge is to post a picture of something that has impacted your life recently. Well, see above. That cute pup in the bundle of green boa feathers has been a BIG impact. Not only do we expect her to eventually be between 130-150lbs but introducing this big lady to our existing tiny pug, in our tiny house, as a new member of our tiny family, has been quite the adventure!

Well, I hope you all enjoy your St. Pat’s – I usually reserve the toasts for Friday but since it’s such a special day (read: second Christmas), I thought I’d better find a luck o’ the Irish blessing for you all.

“May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live!”

Beannachtam na Felie Padraig!

P.S. Would really appreciate your nomination on the Women’s Health Blogs We Love Contest! A big Thanks for your time with all my Irish heart!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

What a great weekend!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well and are enjoying Valentine’s Day!

Our Beer Tasting Party went great and my spouse had a lovely birthday! I made a batch of Guinness Cupcakes this weekend for the party, but then my mother-in-law surprised us with a big batch of cupcakes that she had made. We decided to serve hers instead so I frosted my cupcakes with red sprinkles and brought them to work today as a V-day treat for my co-workers.

I got the recipe from my good friend, Jesse, and I believe it is from this book. You can also download it here.

And…..I have a one more, last-minute Valentine’s Day idea for you that I picked up over at Smart, Pretty and Awkward. If you want a unique way to send a quick message to your love, your sister or all your pals, send them a scrambled text and ask them to unscramble the message.

Example: “Unscramble Please:  ypapdvhyaetnilnse!”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the answer but just in case you haven’t had your coffee yet it’s: Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought it was a pretty fun idea and sent out quite a few scrambled messages this morning. So far, good responses! I pre-scrambled up a few more messages for you to save you a couple of minutes if you’d like to send some yourself.

  • liyvo!eu (I love you!)
  • cate!eroyuu (You Are Cute!)
  • emiben (Be Mine)

Have a Great Valentine’s Day!

What Christmas Vacation Means to Me

Born in December as Stacey Connolly, I quickly realized two things about myself; I share a birth-month with Jesus (ha…..I’m totally getting into heaven) and I have the same initials as Santa Claus.

My memories of growing up in the Connolly household are full of fond, watercolor pictures of Arizona and Saturday mornings at home, blasting musical classics such as Sloop John B and Let me Sleep on It, by the Beach Boys and Meatloaf, respectively. I also remember moving to Wyoming and being surprised to find it was not the forested wilderness I expected but a flat, treeless prairie instead.

I recall early viewings of Vacation and European Vacation; the song Holiday Road gives me goose bumps to this very day (I know cause I purposefully listen to it when I need to get excited). That being said, my appreciation for comedies and my admiration for the comedic genius of Chevy Chase sprouted at around age 8. But above all other childhood recollections, the one thing that really stands out in my early years is my father’s zealous and impassioned celebration of Christmas.

My awkward teenage years brought birthdays celebrated by blowing out the candles with Christmas lights twinkling in the background and Billy Squire’s Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You playing right after my family’s loud rendition of Happy Birthday. I learned to drive in empty parking lots next to cut-down Evergreen and Blue Spruce sales. And I received combo-gift after combo-gift from my girlfriends banking on my birthday’s proximity to December 25th.

My early associations with Jesus and the big S.C., impressionable teenage years intermixed with holiday décor and music, and my Dad’s celebratory devotion instilled within me a great love and passion for Christmas that I’ve found difficult to match. Its my most anticipated, celebrated, and hap, hap, happiest day of the year.

After this jolly childhood, I found my way off to college. My first visit to Laramie, WY landed me at the Sigma Chi house and I vividly remember the first time I met Sully. We were playing a card game called Trapped and we became instant friends. I also met my future spouse, John, and later met Jesse (future BFF and Sully’s future wife). Four years of college, two weddings, and six years of living close-by in Fort Collins have cultivated a pretty strong friendship between the two households.

John, a lover of Fletch and Caddyshack but not as impassioned by Christmas as I, has always agreed to watch Christmas Vacation with me (and refuses to watch any other holiday film). Sharing this movie with my spouse and reminiscing in childhood memories of the original Vacation and my Dad’s holiday dedication earned Christmas Vacation a pretty high spot on my “favorite movie” list. My excitement bubbles over just thinking about the cinematic masterpiece and did so one day while hanging out with the Sullivan’s. Over homebrew and football, Sully and I realized that we shared the same enthusiasm for the film, as well as all other things Christmas. I had met my match when it comes to Christmas cheer….we are, you might say, kindred spirits. (Cue Jesse and John eye-roll).

Well, the discovery of this shared fervor led to excited talks of reindeer, jingle bells, caroling, and naturally, watching Christmas Vacation. Alarmed by the early arrival sugarplums, holly, and ol’ St. Nick, John and Jesse quickly established the “No Christmas until November 1st” rule.

Ever since, on November 1st, John and I jump in our old front-wheel drive sleigh and head on over the Sullivan’s to watch what has become the most important of Christmas symbols to me, Christmas Vacation. In recent years, we’ve expanded to a double-feature with Elf quickly becoming a group favorite. I now look forward to November 1st with the same anticipation, zeal and excitement that I used to hold only for Christmas.

To me, Christmas Vacation means it’s the second best day of the year and I get to spend it with my best friends. Although the movie is truly an American Classic for reasons far beyond this egocentric narrative, my own appreciation for the film has quadrupled thanks to our now-traditional celebration of November 1st. I think Clark Griswold said it best, “The most enjoying traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin.”

Thith movie is a thymbol of the thpirit of the November 1st kick-off to Chrithmath.