Diary No. 22

First diary post of 2020! I have a lot of catching up to do…


I spent a whole night wrapping gifts and felt a bit like Santa loading everything into my car. I love wrapping presents– it’s such a fun task. And I have an obsession with wrapping paper. I started collecting some beautiful rolls and sheets in the basement. 🙊

Philharmonic Christmas

Months ago Meghan and I bought tickets for the New York Philharmonic Holiday Brass concert. It was the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Very entertaining. The highlight for me is when they asked the entire audience to sing “Silent Night” with them. I had goosebumps and choked back tears it was so moving.

Le Ski Oui Oui

I couldn’t resist buying this sweatshirt during Cyber Week. I didn’t get to ski too much last year (just one trip to Jackson Hole and it wasn’t my favorite skiing ha!). But I’m heading to Stowe next week and then Mike and I are going to Canada in a couple of months!! So I’m trying to mentally pump myself up for good ski trips. That Jackson Hole trip freaked me out and, if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t too keen on getting back on the slopes. But Stowe is one of my favorite mountains so I’m hoping I get my confidence back there….

Finishing Needlepoint Ornaments

I stitched a Nestle Tollhouse needlepoint ornament for my mom and decided to finish it myself. It’s a skill I wanted to learn, so I figured why not just give it a go. (Plus moms are always forgiving if it’s not “perfect.”) This is the tutorial I used as a jumping-off point if you want to learn to finish too.


I had so many trips to and from the post office during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. So many things to ship between Christmas gifts for my family and the corporate gifts I send out to the people I worked with over the year. I’m pretty sure the postal workers were sick of seeing me by the time Christmas rolled around.

54 Main Nachos

If you’re a nacho fan and find yourself in Madison, NJ… you have to get the nachos from 54 Main. Warning: they’re huge. Honestly, they’d be an appetizer for four-six people and a meal for two or three. I told Mike I wanted to celebrate the final sponsored post of 2019 with the nachos and I didn’t have to sell him too hard on the idea.

Swivel Chairs

Obviously this is not a styled shot by any means, but I had to share our new swivel chairs!!!! We knew when we moved in that we wanted to do two additional chairs in the family room. And because the television is on the wall (not, say, above the fireplace) we wanted swivel chairs so they could easily be spun around if people we were watching tv or movies together. Let me just say, it was very challenging to find the right size swivel chairs. So many were HUGE meant for grand living rooms or super tiny meant for small apartments.  And the ones that were the right size all seemed to have nail heads (which I’m just not personally into). I spotted this style in the S&L store in Summit and they were so comfortable AND the measurements worked out perfectly.  We’re loving the extra seating and functionality.

U Turn Record Player

Funny little picture here, but I got Mike this Orbit record player. This thing is absolutely incredible and we’re having so much fun playing records. I hooked it up (with this cord) to our Sonos speaker system so we can actually play the record now throughout the house, which feels even cooler. I popped into a record store in Summit and picked up a bunch of Christmas albums that we played on repeat!!


I think the highlight of our Christmas holiday was throwing a huge party for our friends at our house. We’ll definitely be doing it every year. Mike was in charge of all the food and I did all the desserts. Definitely a lot more work to make everything ourselves versus having it catered but we had so much fun in the days leading up to the party getting everything ready.


And what did I decide to do? Hang a chandelier 50 minutes before the party started. Maddie and her husband came over early to help us set up and she hung it up for me!

Holiday Party

I spent so much time chatting with people that I didn’t even get to the food!! Mike went crazy and we had cheese and charcuterie boards, all the dips/crackers/breads, a seafood tower, steak, and crudités.

Matchbook Diaries

My friend Katie came over to help hang some artwork so the walls wouldn’t be so bare. These are all from matchbook diaries– I started collecting them for our special places and thought they were so fun above the bar cart.

After the party, I basically did nothing for days. I pretty much sat on the couch or laid in bed needlepointing and watching Scandal on Netflix. I have zero photo evidence of those days, haha.


And then! It was Christmas. Taylor and I came downstairs for Christmas dinner in the same outfit 😂!!


I was still relishing the days off and thought it could be a fun time to whip out my sewing machine and start practicing. Elsa and I took a field trip to JoAnn’s for some fabric and I picked up a bunch just to have for projects.

Needlepoint Ornament

My second finished needlepoint ornament. The canvas is Lycette Designs and I knew I wanted to turn it into an ornament; I just needed to figure out my inspiration. And then I found this gingham ribbon that was a perfect match for the blues. I ruffled it with my sewing machine and did a simple blue on the background. It’s not perfect (don’t zoom in, ha!) but I definitely felt more confident with this one than the Nestle one for my mom.

Tissue Box Cover

So I bought this new sewing machine weeks ago, but told myself I couldn’t take it out of its box until after I was done with the holiday rush. Then the time came and I was thinking that maybe I was in over my head. I picked out an easy project (tissue box covers!) and it ended up being the PERFECT way to learn my machine. I’m going to be picking out a few projects to keep practicing.

Lots of people asked me what tutorial I used… I followed this one. I would consider it beginner but you have to have some experience with sewing machines because sewing the corners felt tricky to me at least! (And make sure you measure ALL sides of the tissue box… Mine did not have four sides of equal width as I originally thought, hahaha.)

Christmas Decor

And last but not least… we said goodbye to our Christmas decorations. The house feels a little empty and the outside looks a little naked, but I was ready to put things away. Kind of crazy that our first Christmas in the house is already in the books!!! It was definitely a great one and one that we’ll remember forever.

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I love your style and your vibe 🙂 Your blog is going to be a regular read for me this year! Love from France (Bretagne)


I’m a take down the ornaments fast type of girl. They go up the weekend after Thanksgiving and down the weekend after Christmas. I love them so much when they’re up, but I can definitely breathe better when they are put away!

Brigid Devney-Rye

So fun to see what you have been up to. You are part of the start to my day so I def missed you. My husband and I have been hosting an annual Christmas party for years. It is so fun and a highlight too. I keep a notebook with the invite, party list, menu and then notes on what went right (and maybe what didn’t-ha!). It’s super fun to look back on and not to mention helpful! Happy New Year!


A quick suggestion for something I’m so glad I started 21 years ago. Start a Christmas photo album. I do a 2 page spread for each year. On the left page I put our photo card, write a little bit about where we were living, what we did on Christmas Eve and Day and who we were with along with the year. On the right I put our favorite photos from Christmas and always include a group photo and a family photo in front of the tree. It’s the best thing to reminisce on all of the memories on a cold snowy day!


I hate putting Christmas decorations away 🙁 I’m still procrastinating on putting mine away, although I did take down my Christmas tree because it was so dry.

Becca Barnes

We’re currently having showings on our house and I’m trying to decide if the house looks better with Christmas up or if we should take them down to make our house look “prettier” 😂


I adore the matchbook prints! What a unique way to remember places one’s lived or visited. Thanks for sharing!


I used to live in Madison, and I when I return to the area at Christmas I will ship back to my current place from the Madison Post Office. The employees there are awesome and it is the most chill/cozy post office.

Marie M.C.

Where to start? Liked everything! How do you get the tissue box out/in of the liner?