it's the holiday season

Christmas has come and gone! Every year, it seems to pass by so quickly. We prepared for the holiday by blasting Christmas tunes and decorating the house, sipping every variety of egg nog and faux nog you can think of. I do love fully embracing different seasons. If it's Christmastime, then there shall be Christmas music and eggnog. On a hot summer day, you need pitchers of iced tea and mojitos. Birthdays and anniversaries must be celebrated. Distinguish the days and months and seasons through celebration. Build up traditions to look forward to. Seize the moment!

Ok, the month has gotten away from me and my planned exploration of all things house and neighborhood related. But here we go: I'll be back later this week with some thoughts for the new year and then we'll get back on track. One goal for 2015? Write at least a post a week here, and some longer form musings once a month.

Good luck to everyone this winter, it's a tough season
An old Christmas card of ours

christmas wreaths

Our new house is the coziest. I'm sure I will love it once summer comes around, but if I had to move into a house right before the darkest, coldest season... I would pick this one over and over. We build fires in our fireplace, light balsam fir incense and snuggle up on the couch. It's just too much coziness for me to comprehend sometimes, but I try. In an effort to get our home ready for the holidays, I've done two things.

The first thing was to make this wreath. I made this wreath! My co-worker and I took a class at a local florist shop last week during a nice snowstorm. I have no idea how this turned out so nicely, but I can only guess that having a bright red door as inspiration and a tiny bit of experience with making floral crowns helped.

The second thing I did to deck the halls was complete an obsessive, worldwide hunt for the perfect Christmas window candles. As soon as we moved in, I thought, "This home would look lovely with Christmas window candles." You know the type, right? Well, the perfect ones aren't as easy to find as you might think. Retailers are sold out or only sellings one with a terrible haunted orange glow. I searched far and wide, increasingly worrying my loved ones with my singular focus. I'm happy to report that I found the perfect ones. Battery-operated, on a timer and with the perfect glow.

The bulk of our Christmas spirit came out on Friday, when we bought our tree and put up all the trimmings around our home, while sipping on faux eggnog (trying to save the real stuff for closer to Christmas) and blasting holiday tunes. What are your go-to decorations for Christmas? 

turning 30

I turned 30 right after Thanksgiving, and had plans of checking in here to tell you all how it felt. To declare plans and goals and resolutions for this next decade. To reflect on my twenties. To lay bare my worries and hopes and all of it. I've had grand ideas of how I would ring in this new decade, ranging from a 30-mile run to a 30-point bucket list. I figured I should go big. 30! Whoa! Better prove how adventurous/zen/young/wise I am even though I'm no longer a twenty-something. I'm a list-maker, resolution-setter, challenge-accepter and accomplishment-collector. It's hardwired in me, for better or worse. But then I paused for just a moment, long enough to hear something in me say:

"Relax! You don't need to prove anything. You don't need to induce an a-ha turning point moment."

So for my 30th birthday, I took a proverbial chill pill and instead am trying to gracefully glide into this new age bracket. To quietly reflect, prioritize and let go of any nonsense. I have a few intentions that I'm sure I'll revisit and restate for the new year, but until then? It's all eggnog and cozy fireplaces and staying in the moment. It's appreciating who and where I am, at this exact moment in time. It's realizing that I'll never be younger than I am now, than I am right this very minute.

How do you celebrate milestone birthdays? Anyone have a big one coming up soon? Turning 30 was funny because some people couldn't believe how absolutely OLD I am and others couldn't believe how very YOUNG I am. I guess that means that being 30 years old is the best of both worlds, right?

a mile a day, every day

I needed a little kick in the pants to get back on track running. There's been a lot of commotion this fall (new house! etc!) and I've fallen off the wagon. In hopes of jump starting a running habit again, particularly as the weather turns winter-y, I'm doing the Runner's World #RWRunStreak! That means from Thanksgiving to New Year's, I'm running a mile a day, every day. Some days I'll run more and other days I'll just do a slow, easy single mile. But every day, I'll lace up and get out there. Even though I can easily convince myself that it's better to stay inside on the couch, I know that running always boosts my mood, confidence and general outlook. Plus, in the dark months of winter, it's a reason to get outside in the fresh air. We'll see how it goes, but wish me luck and join along if you'd like :)

You can read more about the #RWRunStreak here and follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram with the hashtag.

Happy Thanksgiving! Fall is a big time for us, especially this one. Our 30th birthdays, our first house, our second wedding anniversary... so much cause for celebration! I'll be back soon talking about turning 30 and resuming our little chat about neighborhoods and houses. Stay safe out there, snowpeople!

our apartment, a look back

We are all moved into our house! It's awesome. I'm in love. But I thought I'd share a few photos of the old apartment, now that we are moved into our new home. One day, assuming we ever unpack our boxes, I'll show you the new place too.

Chris and I have lived in two apartments together and before that, many apartments with roommates. When we decided to move in together, we decided that an itsy bitsy apartment in a big old brownstone would be a good first step. You remember the one with the tiny kitchen, right? It was on the third floor of a walk-up, a block away from restaurants and pubs and overlooking one of the nicest parks in Albany. It had a quirky layout that we loved and lots of quirks that we didn't love. At the time, I know the apartment frustrated me but looking back I'm filled to the brim with nostalgia.

Then we upgraded our space and moved into the bottom two floors of another historic townhome a few blocks away. It felt much more like a real home, with a bigger kitchen and living areas, storage space and even a shared back yard and deck. We lived in the first floor and garden level (that just means basement) of a four-story brownstone. The building owner and our landlady lived on the second and third floors. Our main living space was upstairs and the bedrooms were down below grade. The whole first floor was open. Kitchen melded into the dining area which led into our sitting area and then to the living room.

Funky exposed brick! Our apartment had a lot of that. It's a conversation-starter, for sure, and I think it made our place ten times cooler. There's that door that Chris cleaned and hung up as a room divider. I was skeptical at first, but it was the number one most complimented feature of our space.

Our bigger kitchen! One of the first things we bought when we moved 2+ years ago was this Ikea island and I'd say I spent 75% of my waking time in the kitchen or at that island. We also had a dishwasher for the first time in both of our lives.

And the bedroom, with more funky exposed brick and purple walls we inherited from previous tenants. I will just say that we are really happy to be sleeping above ground, where the sun has a fighting chance of peeking in and passersby have a lesser chance of watching us sleep.

This apartment is right in the heart of Center Square and we walked everywhere. It had a small city yard and a back deck, too. When we first started looking for homes to buy, we included the neighborhood in our search but ended up falling in love with an adorable Tudor home with a bright red door in another 'hood. So that got me thinking a lot about different neighborhoods, and I think that's where we'll pick up in the next post...