Saturday, December 26, 2015

KUWK Christmas: Days 21-25

(huge massive deep breath)

We made it. 

It is officially December 26th, and while I'm headed to Colorado (a 12-hour car ride - pray, people) I had to recap the last 5 days of Keeping Up with Katy's 25 Days of Christmas.

Here we go!

On Monday night, I had my Dallas Baylor girls over for our 5th annual Christmas party! We were all in the same sorority at Baylor (#thinktheta #yeahIsaidit) and still laugh about those "good ole college days." We live all over the metroplex, and while we do a pretty good job of getting together throughout the year, Christmas is a must. 

 This year, Lauren was a sweetheart (though her face above may not show it) and brought us all surprises! She got four adorable Kate Spade mugs with cute little "titles" and we all had to decide who they went to. The verdict:

Life of the Party - Krystal
One in a Million - Kelsey

The Bees Knees - Emily
Sweet Talker - Yours Truly

Thank you Lauren!!!

And okay okay, fine. I was really excited because I got to use my Christmas dishes. You know on Thursday how I mentioned that some of my friends know that I really throw get togethers to use my dishes and that hanging out with them is just a bonus? These are those friends. They're the best :)


On Tuesday, Jeff and I braved the crazy. We set out against the masses to get all of our Christmas shopping done! Fun fact - I've lived in Dallas for 5 years now and this was my first time in the Dallas galleria. #milestone 

Another fun fact - we wore our tacky Christmas sweaters. His is red/white/OU and mine is green/gold/Baylor. We got quite a few chuckles and comments from random passerbyers :)

And after that, I wrapped (whilst watching Hallmark), and my shopping was COMPLETE. 


Wednesday started the Christmas festivities! Jeff and I gave Charlie his Christmas, which was quite entertaining. He may not believe in Santa, but he believes in new toys and treats. He was literally frolicking around with his new stuffed animals. Meet Marvin (the moose) and Peter 2.0 (his second porcupine). That is pure joy on that dogs face. 

I'm sure there's joy on his face in this one too...but we wouldn't know. And yes there are treats at the bottom of that bag. 

Wednesday evening, we went over to Jeff's parents and did some really good eatin' and some really fun giftin'! I'll just say it - his mom spoils me rotten. Jeff had to wait on all his presents until Christmas Day, so he did a lot of eatin' and a lot of poutin'. :) 

AND she got me a selfie stick. Heck to the yes. To my family and friends - you.have.been.warned.

Love these three!


Christmas Eve (and Christmas) were a little different this year. Normally we're back in Beaumont, but since Amy has a 2-week old infant, we decided to do Christmas at their house. And while it may not have been the usual, we tried to keep all the traditions - even if it called for me and my dad watching White Christmas on a laptop in the kitchen :)

#becauseweLAAAHVEhim #weLAAAAVEhim

I love my sweet dad and our love of White Christmas :)



So this was our first year to relive "Santa." Now that Brooklyn is three - we did the whole shabang (cookies, milk, carrots for reindeer, etc.). So it was really exciting waiting for her to get up and see this little number.

Funny how the one thing she asked Santa for was a lego dump truck, and while the car was nice and shiny and pretty, she immediately went for the dump truck. Girl knows what she wants. The first hour of the morning consisted of a lot of playing and presents..

 ...while I held this little bundle of joy! :)

 Okay. Brag moment on my dad. He was a busy little elf this year! So he is most definitely a "jack of all trades," but is especially handy in the wood department. My brother hates any chair that doesn't rock, so my dad MADE him a rocking chair. Like from scratch. Like with his own two hands. 

And it is a beauty, people! 

And I got a wood gift too! My sweet dad built me this gorgeous little box from walnut (I mean notice the detail, people - this box has crown molding)...

And then BAM!! It's a spice holder!! I mean how cool is that?! He's just the greatest. I'm obsessed.

THEN Brooklyn was ready for some car action. So around mid-morning, we taught a 3-year old how to drive. If you're friends with me on facebook, then you saw the cutest 20-second video ever of her driving around. If you missed it you can watch it here.

Daddy and Grandaddy had to be on standby since we don't quite know our left from our right yet. Nor do we fully understand that whole steering thing :)

Allen and I bought Brookie a massive bean bag chair....cause we're just the coolest aunt and uncle ever. It was a huge hit :)

We also realized it was a really practical infant holder....

"You lookin at me?!" 

So then when we were getting ready for lunch, we look over and these two were OUT. Christmas overload for Grandaddy and Easton :)

But Christmas smiles for Brookie and Uncle Allen!

It was different being not at my parents house, and it was different being 75 degrees outside, but it was with the same people I love the very most in this world. So it was a fantastic Christmas, indeed :)



Twenty five days of something Christmassy, people. 25 Days. 

Now I'm headed (and I wrote this last night because I was headed at 3 am this morning) to Colorado to hang out in the mountains for a week. Jeff is turning 30 (ollllld man) so a big group of us are going to escape for a week in the 100 inches of snow. I wish I was kidding. There's that much snow. 

I will not be blogging over the next week (homegirl needs a break), but I will be back the week of the 4th!. I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Christmas with their favorite people, and remembered the real, and only, reason for why we celebrate. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GOOD. NIGHT. 

Until 2016,
Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Traditions: Party Dishes

Merry Christmas Eve! 

I'm currently primping and prepping to get ready to head to my sister's house for Christmas Eve dinner, and since most people begin their family traditions this year, I wanted to share a special tradition that is near and dear to my heart! 

I've always loved Christmas, always loved baking, and always loved party planning. About ten years ago or so, my grandmama (mom's mom) took note of this and started giving me a Christmas dish every year. She wanted to contribute where I was desperately lacking. I mean, what freshman in high school has party-hosting dishes? So she gave them to me and my mom held them until I graduated college and got my own place (don't worry, I paid interest by allowing her to use them!).

A few years ago, when my grandmama's health started to decline, my mom stepped in and took over the tradition. So now I have quite the little collection of cute Christmas dishes given to me by two special women...and amazing party planners!

 My friends may or may not (except they 100% do) make fun of me for my Christmas plates. Only because half the time I throw Christmas parties just to use my plates. I mean, I love hanging out with them and everything, but I also just really love getting out my pretty plates :) 
#theygetme #andlovemeanyway

Aren't these just the cutest? I'll be honest....part of the reason I'm doing this is as an inventory for me and my mom. After a decade it's a bit difficult to keep up with the dishes you already have....

Of course you gotta have a few bowls in the mix. A bowl full of Christmas goodies is a coffee table staple in our family!

In 2012, my mom have me this plate, which is hands down one of my favorite Christmas plates ever. Except I don't even really use it as a plate. I prop this puppy up on a stand and use it as a decoration!

In 2013, my mom took into account my love of baking and bought me this precious cake plate!

And last year (2014), she gave me this AMAZING cake plate/chip and dip combo plate. Like it's a 2-in-1. You can use it as a cake stand, OR flip it over and use it for chip and dips. Is your mind blown? I thought it might be. 

And THIS year, we went outside of the box a little and she got me this precious chip and dip holder in a sleigh. I mean how cute and festive is this? 

I have other dishes I've purchased/been given, and if you give me a dish it's not like I'll reject it because it's not from my mom/grandmama (I will actually squeal and hug you tightly), but I just love knowing that each and every year I get another special piece to add to my collection. Who knows, maybe I can pass these down to my little party planning girl one day. 

But all in all, I just wanted to share a special tradition that started between me and Gee, and is now between me and my mom. To me, traditions make Christmas. And this is a favorite of mine :)

And now? I'm off to do another favorite.

It's time to watch (and sing along to) White Christmas! 

Jeff has never seen it. His mind is about to be ba-loooown. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Until next time,
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Book Review

It's the Tuesday before Christmas and all through the house...
All were snuggled reading and quieter than a church mouse.

Said no one ever. 

The hustle and bust is in full force, people. Full. Force. 

You should see my room right now. I mean between the gifts that need to be wrapped, laundry that needs to be done, ski-wear that needs to be poor dog is like 'hey mom, can you at least make me a bath from my bed to the front door?' Sorry Charlie.

BUT - while these next few days will likely be both rushed and loud, come Saturday you're going to be like...what on earth do I do with my life? And the answer: snuggle up and READ. Come January you're going to be all over those resolutions, so you might as well take some down time for yourself the last week of December. 

So I've totally missed the boat on the last two months of book reviews...wamp wamp. But today I have FIVE books to share with you! And three of them are holiday themed! I've actually never read a "Christmastime book" - and I have no idea why. They're so good and festive! 

Alright enough chatter... 

 For the Love
by Jen Hatmaker

I can't say enough completely wonderful things about this book. It's hilarious, it's inspiring, it's for every single female (not just mothers), it's easy to read but makes you think. It's just an amazingly well written book. And I want to be best friends with Jen Hatmaker. 

Each chapter is a thought, or revolves around a thought, so you don't have to sit down and read it all in one sitting. You absolutely can, girrrl do whatchuwant, but I personally read a chapter with my morning quiet time. 

I know you have ohhhh like three days before Christmas, but if you need a stocking stuffer - THIS IS IT.

The Husband's Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Okay, so ironically, in September when I told you all about how I read "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty, several of you contacted me telling me how you bought The Husband's Secret by Ms. Moriarty per my recommendation and absolutely loved it. It was weird. The covers do look a little similar, but it was just odd at how many of you read the wrong book :) BUT since so many of you said you loved it, I had to read it myself! 

Jeff's mom let me borrow her copy and I will say - it was hard to put down. Liane's books give you tid bits and make you wonder the whole dang book. It's like a mystery without being a "whodunnit." You will probably be able to finish this in a few days - it'll grab your attention and not let go!

Winter Street and Winter Stroll
by Elin Hilderbrand

I'm doing these two together since they're a series (with the last installment coming out next Christmas). My friend Lauren told me about this book, because her Kindle account told her about it, and I of course had to read it. This is when I scolded myself for never having read a holiday book. 
I love Elin's books in general because you hop characters. Each chapter is written from a different character's perspective, so it keeps you entertained and on your toes. These were no different. What I REALLY loved about these books is they're pretty short. On my nook each book was less than 200 pages (while most books on my nook are between 300-400). So if you're thinking you just don't have time during the holidays to sit down and read a novel, no worries, this isn't a novel :)


There's Something about Christmas
by Debbie Macomber

This is actually my first Debbie Macomber book! My friend Kristie has read like all of them and recommended them to me. While I'll admit I have not yet finished it (the hustle and bustle, people, the hustle and bustle), I will say so far so good! It's fun to read a new author every now and then - sometimes you get used to how the others write. I plan on finishing this in Colorado next week, but I don't think I won't like it :)

And there are my five! Be encouraged to slow down and curl up before 2016 hits. You live a fast paced life 51 out of the 52 weeks of the year....slowing down for one won't kill you :)


Until next time,
Monday, December 21, 2015

KUWK Christmas: Days 14-20

Christmas is rapidly approaching!! And I'm officially on Christmas break! 

And what am I doing on my first Monday of break? 

Well, I'm up early. Currently I'm blogging (and accompanied by Christmas coffee and Hallmark), and I'm making my list and checking it twice - because Jeff is meeting me at my house this morning and then we're tackling last minute Christmas shopping. Call us crazy. We know. 

But more on that later - right now we're recapping Days 14-20 of my KUWK 25 Days of Christmas! I can't believe Christmas is in 4 days. How on earth is it already here?!

So, if you recall my weekend on my Days 7-13 recap, you know that I was pretty dead on my feet come Monday morning. As in, I was falling asleep at work. So - on Monday I started my day with Christmas blend coffee, listened to Christmas music all day at work, and fell asleep watching Home Alone. And that is the extent of my Christmas. What do you want from me!? I still think it counts. Even elves need a little down time every now and then :)

Tuesday night was date night with Jeffrey. We originally planned to do a little Christmas shopping, but I had to work later than originally planned, so it turned into dinner and a movie. And because Jeff is completely flabbergasted that I've never seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (I still think that title is WAY too long), that was his movie of choice. And I will say, I got a few good chuckles in :) 

I told you on Friday that I don't like the movie Elf- so I was certain I wouldn't like this one either. But I quite enjoyed it! I don't know that it'll be on my yearly Christmas movie tradition list - but I'd see it again :)

Day 16 was a traditional night! When I first moved to Dallas (back in 2011), Lisa lived in the apartment complex right across the street from me. During Christmas we started the tradition of getting hot cocoa, piling in the car, turning on Christmas tunes, and driving around Highland Park looking at the Christmas lights! We missed last year since she moved to Canada Addison, but this year we made a point to start it up again. Because you can't have KUWK's 25 Days of Christmas without this night!

[disclaimer - not a good picture of us, but a mug selfie is a requirement]

So each year we drive around Highland Park, but really, our goal is to find this one corner house that is the epitome of a winter wonderland. As in people get out and take pictures type of winter wonderland. So, naturally, we were no exception. :)

...I mean look at this!

Oh and you can't forget the wreath as big as your....self. 

Loved this Christmassy night with this favorite girl of mine :)

Thursday night, Kelsey and I had plans to go to the Dallas Arboretum, but due to Kelsey completely having no voice (no really, none at all), we decided to postpone. See Day 20. So since there isn't much to do with a roommate who can't speak, we decided to bring a date to the party: Mr. Jude Law. Day 17 consisted of wrapping presents and watching The Holiday!

Day 18 makes me laugh. This was absolutely a Friday night fail. So Jeff and I originally had plans to go to West Village for a patio dinner among the lights and do a little Christmas shopping. 

Then Jeff got sick.

So then I call Lisa and we decide to make gingerbread houses after she stops by a birthday party. 

Then Lisa lost track of time at the party. 

So on Day 18, I addressed Christmas cards, drank hot chocolate, and watched the Santa Clause marathon on TV. Which wasn't a sad thing - because I'm slightly obsessed with those movies and have been since I was a kid! #ihearttimallen

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed down to Midlothian to bake/decorate Christmas cookies with my sweet niece! We started this last year when she was two - and let me just say we have a learning point of improvement each year. Last year we learned that one really should bake cookies BEFORE Christmas (ya know, for Santa), and this year we learned that the cookies need to be thin, or the cute little Christmas shapes you make in dough form will turn into giant blobs once baked. Maybe...just maybe...we'll perfect this by the times she's six. 

But as a three year old, I think she had a great time. I mean why wouldn't a kid have a good time putting a pound of sprinkles on one cookie and sucking the frosting out of the tube? #kidwin

And don't judge the decorated cookies. I'm a firm believer that pinterest uses photoshop. 

Sunday morning we went to our church's Candlelight Service - and it was A.MAZING. If you have some down time, missed it, or attended it and want to see it again (raises hand), you can watch the service here. The amount of chills (and tears) I had during this service were almost impressive :)

And last night, Kelsey and I finally made it to the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Dallas arboretum. PS - Kelsey and I were trying to figure out why there are only 12 days instead of 25...? Anyone know? 

Neither of us had been to the arboretum, but this is exhibit was quite impressive. Each gazebo represented a day and was intricately decorated with the "item." Which we also realized that the first half of the days are all different types of birds....partridge, hen, doves, swans, geese...I mean, so many birds. 

Here's all twelve!

And...funny story. So Kelsey hates pictures. Always has. Well, after she whined about me wanting to take a picture, I asked her to pick her favorite day. She said March 26th. I said how about a day between 1 and 12. She said she liked the #8. So I sang the song in my head, and then said "REALLY? the MAIDS A MILKING?!" We got quite the kick out of this. 

So here you go, ladies and gentlemen. Here's our roommate picture at the exquisite 12 days of Christmas exhibit. Me, Kelsey, and a cow hiney. #sigh


TWENTY DAYS DOWN!!! 5 more to go. And boy do I have a lot to do in those 20 days. 

Have a great week everyone!

Until next time,