New Years (And 33rd Birthday) Eve

We had the prettiest sunrise here in Charlotte this morning. Pink and blue, fluffy cotton-candy skies. The last sunrise of 2014 ... and my oh my, how this year has flown by.

Gettin' bubbly.

Tomorrow we will ring in 2015, and I will also turn 33. Good gah, how the years do fly. I mean really, I feel like I was just celebrating my 21st birthday with my college girlfriends at my family's lakehouse. We sat around in our pajamas and decorated dollar-store champagne glasses with hot glue guns, sequins, pom-poms, and ribbon. It was low key and girly and awesome. Mental note: do that again soon. 

I don't have photos handy from that celebration because I didn't own a digital camera back then, but here's one from 2005 in Charlotte:

And 2006 in Charleston, SC:

And 2008 in Greenville, SC:

And 2009, when Kerry and I watched the ball drop in Times Square and then drove the next day to spend my birthday weekend in the Hamptons ... we did it up BIG that year!

And now, 2015. This has been a helluva year. Some of the most exciting and emotional moments of my life have been experienced this year. And some of the most trying, too. I'm an optimistic person by nature, so I bounce back as easily as I can. But 2014 -- a year that called for strength.

As I enter this new year and a new age, I am thankful for my family, my friends, the friendships I've made through this blog, and all of the positivity that has come from blogging. Several of you have reached out to me with personal emails, and I just love that. Makes my day.

Joy is a choice

Tonight we'll surround ourselves with friends and celebrate like we did last year ... although this year, this girl will be able to partake in THE BUBBLY! Yeehaw!

Thanks for being a part of my 2014, I treasure you!

Awake My Soul Floral Print 11 x 14/Mumford and Sons Quote


Our 2014 Christmas

This Christmas was spent with Ian's mom at the mountain house in Boone, NC. We alternate families for the holidays, and as much as I missed seeing everyone on my side of the family, it was also nice to have a low-key mountain escape and get in a lot of rest.

We drove up Christmas Eve morning in separate cars, and I was feeling miserable. I was exhausted and a little nauseated. It was raining and gray and my whole body just hurt. As soon as we made it to the house, I fed the baby and then took a two-hour nap in the basement. After waking up and checking in on everything, I went back to sleep for another hour. If you know me in real life, you know I am NOT a napper, so this just shows how badly I felt. Luckily, my mother-in-law and husband were rockstars and took care of the baby beautifully, allowing me to recuperate.

One of the holiday traditions Ian wanted to start with Camille was a reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas before she went to sleep. We took turns and read the pages to her, and my mother-in-law snapped some photos which I really treasure.

That night Ian's mom cooked a great dinner of filet mignon, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole and salad, and I ate as much as I could muster. Then Ian gave me the best Christmas present of all ... a night of good sleep. He and his mom got me settled in a bedroom upstairs and he was on daddy duty in a different room with Camille. I felt badly not sleeping with them, but I woke up feeling a lot better and ready to have a great Christmas with the family.

..... Can we even talk about Camille's outfit.

A very sweet friend gave us this little number. Can you even? I could just eat that baby up, she's so delectable.

Ian got a fire going, and we took turns opening gifts from under the tree.

Oh, and taking more photos of the baby, course. 

Camille just loved this silver rattle, a gift from her Great Grammie. 

And Ian started her with an add-a-pearl necklace. Throughout the years, he can give her pearls for Christmas, birthdays, good grades, or "just because" -- resulting in a full necklace that she can wear for special events like her high school and college graduations. 

We had an experience that resulted in a major outfit change for Camille -- and new pants for me -- and a couch cushion cleaning -- but I'll leave it at that. 

The tap-a-tune piano was a hit, as was the sit-to-stand walker and the banana toothbrush. My heavens, she goes crazy over that banana. Cracks. Us. Up.

I got some fun items including the baby's first Christmas ornament I wanted, a Fitbit Flex, and a cozy full-length robe.

We cooked a big dinner that night with turkey, ham, and all the fixins. I made the cranberry sauce and Paula Deen's green bean casserole ... always a hit.

Ian had to leave after dinner Christmas night to drive back to Charlotte and work the whole next day. Camille and I had a great girls day with "Mimi" (her grandma name) and I scored some great finds at Old Navy and TJ Maxx. That night it was just the gals, but Ian and I cooked up a plan for him to drive up the next morning -- the day Ian's mom thought Camille and I were leaving -- and surprise her. So we all stayed Saturday night in the mountains, too, and Ian and I even were able to get out for a date nite to The Gamekeeper, our favorite restaurant. His mom was just overjoyed to have an extra night with Camille, who she loves to pieces. 

Camille's first Christmas was a very special one, and I love starting new and meaningful traditions. From our family to yours, happy holidays!


Five On ... TUESDAY (Christmas Eve Eve)

It's a short week (hallelujah) and we will be taking a break from Five On Friday this week due to the holidays. So how about five on ... Tuesday?

Thank you to everyone who supported my craziness in taking Camille to see her third Santa of the season. This one was the real deal. Blacklion in Pineville has the prettiest setup!

This weekend we were treated to a gorgeous holiday tea at the Ritz with our friends Sarah and Gigi! Loved every minute and I'm still dreaming of those macarons. They even had a life-sized tree made out of macarons.

Recently we attended a little cookie swap with some friends and the babes wore their pajamas (soooo cute). After Christina recently went to a cookie swap, she highly recommended these Special K bars, so that is what I made ... and Christina, you certainly did not lead me astray. They were DELICIOUS! I hope Santa heard my request for a Fitbit Flex ;)

F O U R 
This year I went with my favorite card company, Tiny Prints, for our Christmas cards and I did a little happy dance when they arrived. They were SO beautiful! I upgraded to the antique gold envelopes and the wrap-around return address labels for them which I think made a big difference. I have always been so pleased with Tiny Prints, and will always be a devoted fan. :)

I have just loved having our house decorated for the holidays. It makes working from home that much more enjoyable. I could live in a holiday-themed home all 365 days of the year. PS, Camille's daycare ornament cracks me up.

But wait! One more thing ... a little Christmas bonus. Do you know about Portable North Pole?? A friend of mine introduced me to it. It is a FREE website/app where you can make (in just a few minutes) a personalized message to someone from Santa Claus! You can even specify whether the child has been naughty or nice, and if they need a reminder to eat their veggies or be nice to their siblings! Once done, you can upload to Facebook or email it out. It is truly the cutest, sweetest thing and it will bring tears to your eyes with how special it is. I can't believe it's free -- they could charge a lot for it. It's that awesome.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Signing off for a few days!

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