To my mother’s house I go! Okay, so it’s not grandmother’s but she’ll be down for Christmas tomorrow so it’s going to be a true family holiday season!
Since I’m sure you’re just as exhausted as I am with all of the gift guides finals, I thought I’d share a little Christmas cheer and showcase my mother’s AMAZING cooking and decorating. Though she politely declined to be photographed for this post, I can assure you she’s every bit as beautiful as the confections and decorations she creates!
Every year we put up two trees – crazy, yes but my mom does enjoy the holidays. Until this year I always saw it as a bit of a chore but now that I’m on my own There’s something about starting off the season the day after thanksgiving with my dad and I bringing down the Christmas trees and rearranging the living room furniture.
Next up is the dining room where my mother hosts elaborate dinners fit for a Queen (No really, just ask any of her friends who have been invited for a birthday ‘lunch’ and were treated to a 5-star meal!) The tree in here is only for Santa and Snowman ornaments and since my mom and I find them so cute we have more than enough ornaments to fill the tree.
The tree affectionately known as “the Charlie brown tree” usually goes wherever we have room and this year that’s the dining room sideboard. We put the teeny-tiny ornaments that would otherwise get lost on a normal tree on this tiny one!
This year we decided to go a little crazy, since the aforementioned grandmother is visiting (with an aunt, an uncle and two cousins in tow). There’s a THIRD tree upstairs! This tree is really special to me because it has all of my storybook ornaments on it: the whole crew from Oz and the Nutcracker are there.
There are also a few really cute displays that didn’t involve ornaments:
I couldn’t end my Christmas gift guides without mentioning the great Harry Potter products available out there! I’m such a Potter-head so I find things everywhere that relate (seriously, check out my pinterest board). Here are a few favorites:
Don’t worry, this is the penultimate gift guide for Christmas 2012. I wanted to share a few gifts that aren’t books or makeup so here are a few DVDs I’d love to see in my stocking!
1. Audrey Hepburn Collection (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Sabrina): Hello, my name is Alexandra and I’m addicted Audrey. Though I probably shouldn’t admit my addiction (or feed it with more movies) this movie deal was too great to pass up! It doesn’t include two of my favorites (How to Steal a Million and Charade) but it has all the big name classics!
2. Party Girl : Though I haven’t had the privilege to see this movie yet, all of my SILS professors keep raving about it!
3. Desk Set: Another movie I haven’t seen but my professors love!
The wish lists just keep coming folks! Since I moved to my newapartment near UNC, I’ve been loving fragrance. I wasn’t allowed to burn candles at Kenyon and my dad hates stinky things in his house so I haven’t had the chance to experiment with wonderful smelling candles and perfumes. Here’s a list of what I want to add to my collection soon:
1. Charles Dickens’ Library Candle : Candle + Library Scent + Badass Victorian Author = BEST candle ever. It’s homey, woodsy and makes me think of wood-panelled walls and cigars.
3. Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis: This would be a good addition to my Jo Malone layering collection — fresh, fruity, with a little spice!
4. Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Candle: I wear this perfume nearly every day and I love the scent so much it’d be perfect for my apartment! It’s spicy and just a little mysterious.
5. Vera Wang Princess: Though I generally prefer more oriental/masculine scents, this girly scent has quickly become a favorite. I received a sample at Nordstrom a few months ago and took it on a trip as an easy-to-pack fragrance. I don’t have a full-sized version of this scent yet and I think a rollerball would be the perfect in purse selection!
And here you thought I was through with my book recommendations for the year! I couldn’t do another Christmas guide without mentioning my favorite YA books for the year. Most of them I’ve read within the past 10 months or so but a few old-school favorites made it onto the list.
1. Secret Letters by Leah Scheier : Victorian setting + strong female character + Sherlock Holmes-ian mystery? Count me in! This is the book that I thought The Name of the Star would be — and this time I wasn’t disappointed. Scheier is a genius with words: the story is fast-paced and enticing. My biggest disappointment with this book was realizing the sequel won’t be out for far too long. As a side-note, this is a YA version of Dust and Shadow by Lyndsey Faye that I reviewed earlier this year and mentioned in my books I recommend post.
3. Looking for Alaska by John Green: As a Kenyon alumna I’m practically required to be a John Green fan; luckily for me, his novels are spectacular! I had to read Looking for Alaska as part of my YA Literature class (INLS 530) and I’m so glad it was a requirement. The story is so heartbreaking, “coming of age” done correctly. Drop everything and go pick it up, now!
4. Divergent by Veronica Roth: Another book for those Hunger Games fans, Roth writes about a post-apocalyptic US where families have been replaced with groups called factions. Teens are tested and placed into a faction based on their abilities, but once they get there the teens are forced to prove themselves. Terrifying in the way the Hunger Games are, the series is a way to keep Collins fans reading.
5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: I came late to the party on this one! It came out ages ago but it bears mentioning here. The story follows a young girl in WWII Germany who learns about the power of words through stolen books.