Last week I blasted you with my November life update, and today I’m here to share scenes from December and the holidays.

Life Lately

The month kicked off with two girls nights in a row, and both were on school nights too! The first was a midweek fitness date with my gym friends Liz, Ashley, and Mary. We took a class at The Studio Empower and then treated Liz to a belated birthday dinner at Farmstead Table in Newton. It was so cute in there, and our farm to table food was perfect.

Studio EmpowerFarmstead Table

The following night, I met up with my friend Erin downtown for dinner at Rustic Kitchen before we saw The Nutcracker! <–Recap post here.

Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker

Tim and I spent the first weekend in December enjoying some quality time together. Friday night was spent at home before heading up to Portsmouth on Saturday for our annual overnight. We typically go in the fall, but this year we didn’t have a weekend to use our free Marriott night until December. It was really nice being up there at Christmas time for a change. Everything was decorated, and we were able to get a lot of Christmas shopping done during the day on Saturday.

Portsmouth NH 2014

We ate dinner out on Saturday night at Cava, and it was one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life. We sat at the bar downstairs, drank a bottle of wine (oops!), and left happy and full from all the delicious small plates we sampled. Crazy new try of the night? Octopus ink! Ever had it?

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

Finally, on Sunday we grabbed coffee and a quick breakfast at Popovers on the Square before hitting up the Kittery outlets for some more shopping. Neither one of us wanted to head back to Boston that night!

Popovers on the Square

The following week we decorated and got our Christmas tree. Every year we get it from McKay’s trees, which isn’t anything special, but it’s close by, and the people there are so nice. Our tree this year almost didn’t even fit in the house. Tim had to get his saw from the basement. I didn’t even know we owned a saw? Good to know.

Christmas Tree 2014Christmas

Despite turning down a few invites, the rest of the month was one holiday gathering after another. Luckily, since we did most of our shopping in Portsmouth, the weekdays weren’t too crazy, which made the busy weekends more manageable. The weekend of the 12-14th kicked off with Christmas dinner and a slumber party at Katrina and Geoff’s new house on Friday night. I almost had a mental breakdown in the amount of traffic we hit getting there, but once we got there and started cooking all together, drinking wine (confession: I have completely turned into a wine-o if you couldn’t tell from my life lately posts the last couple of months), and laughing, I was fine. I’m still mad I forgot my cranberry and pistachio bark though!

Wally World Christmas 2014Wally World Christmas 2014 Wally World Christmas 2014Wally World Christmas 2014

On Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family at my grandfather’s house in New Bedford. We did a Yankee swap instead of a secret Santa this year, and since it was my uncle’s birthday, we also had a cake for him.

New Bedford Christmas 2014New Bedford Christmas 2014New Bedford Christmas 2014

Finally, on Sunday after a really hard workout from all the food we ate on Friday and Saturday, we headed to my godfather’s for a holiday luncheon with all my second cousins. The following weekend we had my work Christmas party at Julia’s house on Friday night, and on Saturday night we had the 15th annual Christmas party with my home friends at Shannon’s apartment. I can’t believe she’s hosted this party for 15 years straight (or that we’ve all been friends for so long!).

Shannon's Christmas Party 2014Food for Shannon's 2014Shannon's Christmas Party 2014Shannons Christmas Party 2014

This brings us into Christmas week. On Christmas Eve Eve, I went to Liz’s last kickboxing class (end of an era!), then Tim and I met some of my home friends at Rudy’s in Somerville to celebrate Shannon’s new job and Esk getting into medical school.

Liz's last kickboxing class

This year was the first year that we had Christmas Eve off from work, and it was so nice to spend the day at home together before heading to Tim’s cousin’s house like we do every year.

Pesto Stuffed TomatoesChristmas Eve 2014

Tim and I also have two Christmas Eve traditions of our own. The first is to do a random act of kindness for someone. This year we gave a ten-dollar bill to the person working the tolls on the mass pike, and we asked him to please pay the toll for however many cars it would cover after us. We also always exchange an ornament before going to bed. My ornament was my favorite gift that I received during the entire holiday season this year. Tim had a custom one created with a picture of the lighthouse where we got engaged this summer. Love!

Christmas Eve ornament

On Christmas Day, we woke up and exchanged our other presents for each other and opened our stockings before cooking a festive breakfast (our other holiday tradition together!). We each got each other a new winter jacket and winter hat. Does that make us lame? Tim also got me a kettlebell, a couple of new workout tops, and a cozy infinity scarf, and I also got Tim tickets to a beer and cheese festival in February.

Stockings on Christmas 2014Healthy french toast casserole

The rest of the day was spent at my parents’ house with my mom’s side of the family! Seemed like it went by in a flash.

Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014 Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

The weekend immediately following Christmas was our 8th and final wedding of 2014, which we have officially dubbed the year of weddings. Tim was a groomsman in this one, so we spent Friday night at the rehearsal dinner at Smith and Wollensky’s, and Saturday was the wedding itself at the Boston Public Library. Holy fancy! We had such a fun time, and I enjoyed getting to know some of these friends a little bit better.

Doug and Carolyn's Rehearsal DinnerDoug and Carolyn's Wedding Doug and Carolyn's Wedding: GirlsDoug and Carolyn's Wedding Doug and Carolyn's Wedding

Finally, we finished out our month (and year) with dinner out at Solea on Moody Street and meeting up with friends at Hopsters to count down at midnight.

NYE 2014

I have no idea how we survived the last two months, but somehow we did!

Readers, let’s chat! What was the best part of your holiday season? Tell me about your favorite traditions, the best party you went to, or your favorite relaxing day at home.

I just love sitting on the couch with Tim with our tree lit up, a cup of tea, and a Christmas candle lit! I am looking forward to more of this (sans tree) in January now that our weekends are no longer jam-packed. I know I haven’t written about my 2015 intentions yet, but one of them definitely is to create more space. I need to be more mindful of living in the moment so I’m not always thinking about the next place we have to go. This is something I struggle with! Tim and I are both social butterflies despite still turning down more things than we ever have this year.

Hope you guys are having a great week so far. <3

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