my new red hat

I knit myself a new red hat using the Jul Hat pattern by Wiksten. It fits a little big for me, likely on account of the thicker ply yarn I used, which could have been pre-empted by checking my knitting gauge first. But, let's be honest with each other, you guys don't really do that either, do you? Anyhow, people keep calling it my Santa hat which wasn't actually what I had in mind, but oh well.

And here's my contribution to the fashion blog world. A full-on denim outfit, cardigan and worn-out mauve slippers. I expect to see this on the runways soon. Merry Christmas from this floppy hat-wearing elf!

Knitting is one of my attempts to embrace the winter season. It's permission to be sedentary and wonderfully complements a hot toddy or cocoa. The dark winter nights and cold mornings only add to the click clack of the knitting needles and the feel of yarn slipping through your fingers. It's a good way to pass the time. Plus, you have a nice new hat to show for it. So long as there are the winter blues, there will be a lot of handmade hats. 

the pixie cut series: even shorter

As you know, I grew out my hair last winter and played around with a few different styles before deciding to once again return to the world of pixie cuts. I can't stay away. The pixie cut is so distinctive. Defining. Empowering. At first I left my bangs long and swept to the side. Then I cut it all off.

I remembered my Pinterest board full of super short 'dos from Michelle and Emma and company and decided to crop it. I mean, really crop it. It was the shortest cut I've ever had and it took some getting used to. At least with bangs, you can kind of style them differently depending on the mood and they soften your look a bit. But with super cropped hair, that's it. It's just you, your face and the world.

Out came the big earrings and loud accessories. I really liked my close cropped pixie cut. I felt so cool. So edgy. So rad. But here's the thing with short hair:  even if you look awesome, there are people who will hate it. Who will tell you how much they loved your longer hair. People who will wonder, out loud, when you will get over this phase. They'll ask you what made you cut it so short. (Answer: I wanted to be awesome.) It's ridiculous, but it's reality. And you have to just remind yourself that haters gonna hate.

It's good practice for the rest of life, isn't it? You can't please everyone and you shouldn't even try. Especially with your hair style. Because IT IS JUST HAIR. Just hair. Not a big deal. Who cares? No one.

Except to be honest, I do care. I care about my hair. I care about looking (and feeling) good. That doesn't mean I have to look a certain way, be a certain size or follow a certain trend, but I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and in my body. So when I feel some negative pixie cut energy, I turn that nonsense right off and strut down the street knowing that I'm a badass lady with a badass hair style.

Take the plunge. Cut it off. I'm thinking of letting it get a little long in the front while keeping the back nice and tidy. Reverse mullet. (These photos are all from this summer, when I still had my freckles. My hair is more or less the same right now, but my skin is pasty winter pale.)

The Pixie Cut Series
Part 1: Chopping it all off
Part 2: Rocking the pixie
Part 3: Growing it out An Update- 8 Months Later
& The Asymmetrical Bob, just for fun

welcoming winter

Did everyone have great Thanksgiving dinners? It landed on my birthday this year, which is fine by me as it guarantees a birthday feast. Chris and I spent the weekend before Thanksgiving bundled up in Vermont during a particularly cold few days to celebrate our one year anniversary of being married. It's nice to have all of these holidays and celebrations to look forward to this time of year, because otherwise it can seem pretty grim to me. A few people cautioned us not to marry in November because it was so close to both of our birthdays and Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I say, the more things I have to look forward to this time of year, the better!

The transition to winter is so hard. I seem to take it as a personal offense, a slap in the face from Mother Nature. One week I was running every day before work with plenty of daylight and comfortable temperatures. The next week it was pitch black and cold. It's tough for me to stay upbeat and adventurous and energized when the days are shorter, colder and grayer. Summertime is easy. You can sit on a stoop with an iced tea and people watch. You can throw on your bathing suit and a pair of shorts and be dressed. Laying in the grass, after dinner walks, margaritas... it's all so easy. But winter is harder, don't you think? Waking up in the dark, coming home from work in the dark. Winter requires that I really celebrate the small moments and cherish the little delights that define the season. I find myself on Pinterest, eagerly scrolling through whimsical photos of thick socks and rosy cheeks and cups of coffee, trying to will myself into enjoying this brutal season. Because I do like parts of winter, the cozy parts and the nights when you lock the doors and lock out the rest of the world. I like knitting on the couch with a cup of tea and lighting candles around the house, just because. I crave this season for pushing me to turn inward and slow down.

Here's to colder temperatures and darker days! To finding new routines and buying light therapy lamps. Tell me, do you have a hard time with the transition? I hope it's not just me!

a baby shower for sister

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 6.44.37 PM.png A few weeks ago we gathered up a group of fantastic women to celebrate my sister's baby! Little Baby Girl M is scheduled to arrive in early January and we are all so over the moon. My mom and I wanted to throw a cozy little gathering for Kate and her ladies, so we decide to host a lunch at a local coffee shop. They were easy to work with and affordable, so it suited us perfectly.

The overwhelming theme of the day was, of course, sending so much good cheer and love into the universe for Kate and her husband and their yet-to-be-born wee one, but there were some cute details thrown in too. Here are the little bags of organic strawberry jelly beans and m&ms.

My mom made an incredible banner with hand cut letters and polka dot background paper. We also handed out cards for everyone to share their well-wishes and advice for the new mama. On the back, guests could fill in their wishes for Baby M. My cousin had a similar card at her shower and so I searched Pinterest to find inspiration for the wording.

Though we skipped the games, we did have one other optional activity at the shower. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was the only person who would like it, but my mom assured me no one would roll their eyes at it. We had pages, each with a letter written on it, and then supplied markers and crayons for everyone to make their own page of an alphabet book for my future niece! The drawings turn out pretty hysterical and odd, which is just what we were looking for. At least Baby Girl M will know one thing... what her mama's friends may lack in drawing skills, they make up for with creativity and enthusiasm.

Love you, Sister, and can't wait to meet that little puddin' soon. I am going to dress her in baby jeggings and teach her how to terrorize you :)

Also, here's a beautiful post my mom wrote about becoming a grandmother.

Acorn squash soup with celery root & other such things

As I patiently waited last night for trick-or-treaters to ring our doorbell, I set out to make a nice autumnal soup. We were greeted by only a handful of older kids, barely dressed in costume, so I had plenty of time to putz around with some crazy veggies. We came across another CSA box this week and if you know CSAs, you know that you can get some funky produce this time of year. Kohlrabi, I'm looking at you. Celeriac, yep, you are a weirdo.

I riffed off of a recipe from the fabulous Love Soup by Anna Thomas. Her undoubtedly delicious recipe called for kabocha squash and turnips. I had acorn squash and carrots, so I swapped those out.

To make a great soup, you should buy her book. To follow my adaptation, slice an acorn squash in half, scoop out the crap and then roast it on an oiled baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes alongside with three peeled and chopped carrots and a peeled and chopped celery root (celeriac). Meanwhile, sauté up a chopped yellow onion with a pinch of salt and rosemary in your big soup pot. Add in the roasted veg, a thinly sliced leek or two and a combo of vegetable broth and water to equal 4-6 cups. Two tablespoons of lemon juice, three spoons of maple syrup and a touch of cayenne rounds it out for a nice 20 minute simmer. Your immersion blender and a quick taste test finishes the job!

For years we lived on a street just a few blocks away, and no one came to our building to trick or treat. Now we live in what we thought was the epicenter of Halloween festivities-- walkable, well-lit, populated with families, well-decorated stoops and front doors-- and still, hardly any trick or treaters. The weather wasn't great, so I'll blame it on that. Meanwhile, I enjoyed this soup with a festive pumpkin pie martini and a crusty French baguette.