Friday, December 30, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

Since our family has grown and three of us siblings are married, our Christmas plans have changed slightly with a few adjustments along the way. We have done a pretty good job of keeping with our most important and sacred tradition: opening all gifts from Santa and the family on Christmas morning followed by mommy's famous poppyseed bread for breakfast. Even to this day, gifts from our parents are wrapped under the tree prior to Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve, Santa makes a pit stop at the house leaving unwrapped gifts in each of our designated places. This will never change. Ever. I do not care if we are 95 years old, we will always hold onto this tradition.

Moving on. With Ryan & I having various family traditions, we have 6 total celebrations for Christmas. First this year was the Thompson side (Ryan's dads). Second was with Shane & Amanda since they go to Michigan where A is from for actual Christmas. Third & fourth are celebrated on Christmas Eve doing the immediate Thompson side and then dinner at Kendahl & Peter's with my cousin and her family. Fifth is Christmas morning with my immediate fam, and last but not least is the Lee family (Ryan's mom's side). While it can be extremely exhausting sometimes, we always manage to have a great time at all of the celebrations.

Here are a few snapshots from the Collins/Lee/Thompson gatherings:

dinner with Amanda & Shane

princess Collins

Bishop boy

hello doggie!

newlyweds ;)

a white Christmas

Amanda & her new luggage

the boys

Collins on her new toy

Mr & Mrs Thompson

Thompson girls in the  kitchen

Shane ready for some presents!

my special stocking

Beau wants you to meet him under the mistletoe ;)

Corrigan Clan

Collins girls

the hostess and her gorgeous dining room set up

Samantha & Collins

Collins on her new toy from Santa

our first married Christmas!

Lisa, Perry, Olivia, & Connor

The Rice Fam

The Thompsons

Lee fam dirty Santa exchange...always a good time!

Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday season & Santa brought all you dreamed of and much much more!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Dash of Holiday Fashion

For obvious reasons, I loathe the color red (i.e. UL colors). However, I do find time to wear those few select pieces of crimson around the holidays. 'Tis the season right? And as I mentioned a few posts ago, I am working on being a more fashion conscious dresser while stepping out of my comfort zone. I decided that the holidays were a perfect time to exercise this new trend.

So behold a few of my holiday choices:

red & black beaded dress
(dress: my mom's closet FREE)

red tights with my black Aussie shorts
(tights: Forever 21 $5)

pink British-like dress, paired with some brown boots
(dress: Forever 21 $22)

love the back of this

mistletoe tester shirt
(shirt: Target $20)

a little winter cream & winter skirt
(sweater: Forever 21 $5.99, skirt: Bebe $55, tights: Forever 21 $5)

love this ornament dress for the holidays
(dress: my mom's closet FREE)

Friday, December 23, 2011

A CAT-tastic Christmas Surprise

The feeling of entering Rupp Arena never ceases to amaze me. And it doesn't matter the opponent, from Duke to Radford, the place is always packed and the crowd is always roaring. Over the years, I have tried to get back for games as much as I can. **Usually courtesy of my dad or younger siblings who were in college at the time.

So when Ryan let me open one of my gifts early on Tuesday morning, I was overjoyed to see those tickets to the UK game at Rupp. Nevermind that it was against Samford. I am always game to see my boys play a little ball. Not to mention that I had the perfect outfit planned within minutes.

My UK outfit!

Wildcat fans ;)

We headed down to LexVegas and pulled right into my secret parking garage. After getting lost in a sea of blue and white, feeling the wave of college, and grinning from ear to ear, we entered Rupp with the other wildcat fans. No sporting event is complete without a hot dog & peanuts, so we each grabbed a snack and settled into our seats. Lower level in the corner behind the UK basket. Not bad hubby!

and the starting line-up is...

sweet seats!

The team came out storming and took a dominant lead. Well they actually just dominated the whole game, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the 3 sick freshmen show their skills. Plus D. Lamb and D. Miller displayed great leadership by putting up big numbers and showing upperclassmen heart.

CATS baby!

CATS dominate

Looking forward to a great basketball season especially as we head into conference play!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thompson Family Christmas

Because Ryan's parents both come from big families, we do three Christmas gatherings with that side of our family. We have Ryan's dad's side at Kara's each year. We have Ryan's mom's side at Grandma & Grandpa Lee's house in Lebanon. And we do the immediate family on Christmas Eve at MT & RT's home.

We decided to do the Thompson Thompson side (I say this because I am a Thompson but our Thompson fam is just the two of us for now ;) ) before Christmas since a few of us were heading south post Christmas. We gathered Sunday for a feast of family, food, & fun. We enjoyed the potluck dishes made by each aunt/uncle/cousin. Specifically Laura's ham & cheese pretzel balls and her cookies & cream cupcakes. Simply divine.

MT & I

Gussie, Leo, Laura, Pat, Carissa, & Ben

the newest Thompsons

Next we participated in the Secret Santa gift exchange. We split up the genders so the girls don't get stuck with tools and the boys don't get stuck with bath & body products! I came away with the most prized possession: Thompson crocheted piece. Courtesy of Kathy, Harold's wife. It is going to look lovely framed and hung in our house. Yes I am confident we will have a house someday ;)

picking a winner!

the Thompson fam

the prized gift of the year...and I took it home!

And the evening commenced with the show of Kinlee & Sarah. Last year was the start to this cute tradition, but this year they really stepped it up. They designed "tickets" for entrance as well as a few choreographed acts with music. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

trampoline show

Happy Holidays to you & yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Farewell to San Fran

Like most moves I have made in my short little life, San Francisco had its own to do before we leave list. Most of the list consisted of seeing people who we had come to love in the city or had been a part of our lives for a long time and just happened to reside in the greater bay area. So we spent the 5th week of our honeymoon (I'll explain in a later post) doing just that: seeing friends of old & new.

Monday while the movers packed all of our belongings, I got the pleasure of meeting little Adella Mary Pollaro, nee Addie. She is absolutely adorable, and she belongs to Tarrah & Joe. Tarrah and I worked together at IMG- Bank of the West Classic while ironically Ryan & Joe both work for JP Morgan. It was so much fun following the journey of Tarrah's pregnancy, even throwing a surprise office baby shower for her in August. Little Addie is so snuggly, and she even woke up to greet me during my visit. Their new house is amazing and beautifully decorated especially with all of the Christmas decor. Tarrah was such a mentor in my career here as well as my road to becoming a wife, and I will miss our life chats!

Tuesday after heading into the office for a few goodbyes (to Rhea, Emily, Kim, Doidge (despite him being an IU fan!), and Steve), Ryan & I headed north to Petaluma for dinner and a sleepover with Kim & Jerrad. It was a must to check out their new pad and catch  up prior to storming the east coast. Their house is awesome, and I had to admire Kim's craftiness throughout the 3 bedroom spread. With a fenced in yard, Beau & Miller will enjoy playing together when we come visit. We enjoyed a gourmet dinner, lots of wine, and great story-telling. It felt like grown up college ;)

gossip girls

the chef

their outside lights!

their fireplace

her "B" craft from pintrest

Jerrad's pick for their tree!

We kicked Wednesday off with a drive to Napa and a pit-stop lunch at Grace's Table. The world gourmet kitchen offered some lovely selections as we fueled ourselves for wine tasting. Of course we had to stop at the antique shops just to have a peek. We drove along St. Helena Highway up to Duckhorn, a fab recommendation from Kim & Jerrad. The winery was tucked away in the beautiful landscape of Saint Helena. The picturesque tasting room sits back behind the vineyards, and they offer table service for your tastings while your view consists of the pristine garden off the side of the house. We enjoyed a nice sunny afternoon of wine.

French Laundry

just a little drive by


the tasting menu

reading the wine makers guide

wine expert

Then we headed back south to taste German fare with Jules & Stan. They have the best insight into the San Francisco restaurant scene, and literally know all of the best kept secrets to dine. We met Jules when we were apartment hunting before moving here, and we have really gotten to know them as individuals and as a couple over our time here. We really will miss them a lot and have already planned trips all over the globe to visit one another. Always a good time, Wednesday night was no different with recaps from the wedding, honeymoon, New York, and Stan's famous Scotland stories.

Thursday, the finale as I have deemed it, started with a mani from Pampered Hands as I bid farewell to my friends who own the shop. If you live in SF or are ever visiting, this is a must for a mani/pedi. They are the best and provide the utmost customer service. Ask for Lisa or Nancy (the owner). Next up was a lunch date at Town Hall with Jeb. Despite being nearly inseparable quasi-siblings in San Diego, his job and my travel schedule didn't allow for too many get-togethers this year while both living in SF. But when we are able to hang out, we have a roaring good time. Always. It meant so much for him to be at the wedding, and I know that he will be in the northeast sooner rather than later...hint, hint Jeb! Our lunch was divine, and we talked life which is bittersweet given our lifestyle in SD. We have definitely grown up a lot since then!

Part two of the finale day included happy hour with Ryan's co-workers from the SF office. A fun bunch who I have gotten to know thanks to weddings, weddings, and more weddings. The Berry's hosted this festive gathering in their place on Berry Street. I just love that the Berrys live on Berry. We capped off our adult bevs and headed towards the Marina for a few sweets. Hosting the UHS tennis girls, we indulged in American Cupcakes which I will miss somethin' terrible in NY. Must find cupcake spot immed upon relocating to the Big Apple. Then just for fun we walked around Union Square to see it all lit up for the holidays. The perfect way to end our time in NorCal.

American Cupcake farewell

toasting with champagne

Union Square

Jingle Bell world record
Adios California. It has been a great 3 years, and it is ultimately where my life as I know it today began. I owe a lot to you, but we are thrilled to be starting a new chapter in our lives!