christmas 2011

I spent the Christmas holiday in Wisconsin.  It was so nice to be up north at Christmas with the whole family and cooler weather!  There is something great about celebrating the holidays in the elements, or at least looking outside at the elements, while staying warm indoors.  I flew to Minneapolis and caught my connecting flight to Wisconsin; during my layover, it started to snow! I captured a photo of at the airport, as I was getting really excited for the upcoming adventure home to celebrate the holidays!I got into my family’s home and couldn’t help but take pictures of the Christmas decorations. I’ve come to think this is standard operation in everyone’s household but have since realized how lucky I am to have had such a warm and inviting home every season.The Christmas festivities have taken on a new and exciting meaning this year with the new additions to our growing family.  My brother (and sister-in-law) have 2-year-old twins and a 3-month-old, which are really starting to enjoy and understand the magic of Christmas!  The twins know “Santa” and Ho, Ho, Ho and PRESENTS! Lots of presents! And Santa is watching, don’t do that.  Works like a charm!  It’s been a really fun transition for the Christianson household to go from three adult couples to now three amazing children running around!I’m excited for the years to come where they truly understand the Christmas traditions.  Aunt Sarah is really excited to conger up more lies about the North Pole, reindeers, and Santa!  They will thank me, too, because I’ll be right there with them yelling at Grandpa C, as he tries to explain the necessity to take a shower prior to anyone heading downstairs to see what Santa has brought them!


We had our annual family traditions of eating and drinking way too much and celebrating with the ladies on the Christianson side with our annual lunching on Christmas Eve day!  I love this tradition and am so lucky we have such strong and vocal women in our family.  This extends to my Michalik side as well!  After lunching, we have the whole Christianson clan over for Christmas Eve dinner.On Christmas day, after opening all of our presents, we decided to frost Christmas cookies with the twins!  I think this will be another Christmas tradition!  It was so much fun for them.  Though we did find sporadic cookies on the floor licked clean of any frosting…  I wonder who that was?

The twins loved the sprinkles!!I’ll leave you with my favorite holiday pictures!  Kids in jammies! Except I didn’t get Ms. Eleanore in her princess ones…What a magical Christmas!  Seeing Christmas through children’s eyes makes everything more fun!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

a few of my favorite holiday things

door decor

fresh cut christmas tree’s

fireplaces & stockings

holiday baking

christmas cookies – with old school cookie cutters.

puppy chow

new places

my 5 favorite holiday movies… minus It’s a Wonderful Life.

a big yellow dog

starting my new year’s resolution early… but realizing the need to bring the point-and-shoot.


vino, lots of vino.

Happy Holidays.

chicago nesting style

One of my favorite activities is observing personal style and their individual likes and dislikes, making for a cohesive living space, or nursery, or bedroom. I personally feel like I don’t have a style but like it when people have a vision. I spent this weekend working on an assignment: Mission Nursery.. and living… and dining/office place at the Frankel residence in Chicago. My best friend, Wilyna, is expecting her first baby, and I couldn’t have been more privileged to help her decorate for the new baby boy!

First we lunched at a cute restaurant in Chicago, Jerry’s Deli.

We spent the better part of the weekend painting, putting up frames, organizing and making her adult bungalow into a place for their first, or at least help with that process.

We started by painting the nursery. I’m a big fan of spending money on samples. Buy two or three of your favorites and paint squares in the room. Walk through that room (a lot) in the morning, midday, and at night; that way you really get a true sense of the color in your place. I sometimes paint a couple squares in different areas, depending on the light. Sometimes one wall can make the color pop and the other make the whole design drab. We did that with Winnie’s nursery on Friday.

We walked in and out of that room on Friday and woke up Saturday to pick the right color for the space! Winnie went with Benjamin Moore HC-159 Phillipsburg Blue, a fabulous grey-blue! And we painted.

We did allow ourselves some down time to watch one more of my favorite (top 5) Christmas movies, The Family Stone. We actually watched it twice; Winnie’s friend Jenni expressed great interest when we said we had watched it, and we were invited over to her house Saturday for a second viewing. Oh, how I love that movie. Winnie and I both want big families with all the crazy family dynamics! I don’t get through that movie without crying but it really makes me happy!

During the first viewing of The Family Stone, we multitasked and made some internet purchases and some wish list items for the nursery. Because I’m a planner and I have no visions of children of my own in the near future, I shared with Winnie some of my own nursery ideas, some which she liked, and some which she tweaked for her own nursery. It made me happy to share my personal ideas and help inspire some of her own!

Here are some of the items she chose:

The owl playing the guitar is a series of prints which has a whole band! So nursery cute, but inspired by both Wilyna and Tyler’s loved for music. I loved it!

Overall, it was such a wonderful weekend with my best friend, in a city that just makes me happy. Even that crisp cold air feels so refreshing! Winnie promised me once she gets all of these items, she will send me a few pictures… but I’m hoping to make it up at least one more time for a baby shower and my own photography angles of the new space.

And yes, you might be wondering, where’s the pictures of you and Winnie, or Winnie’s face or ANY pictures of people… this will be on my new year’s resolution list. Ha. Heck, maybe I’m just a macro-photographer and I need to accept it!

feasting, laughter & STL loves.

The holiday season has always made me giddy for Christmas and the New Year.  I’ve made this season no exception, trying my best to visit all who I love throughout this holiday season. 
I spent the first weekend of the holiday season in Saint Louis and could not be happier with my decision. It was such a fun experience with two of my favorite ladies and a sweet labrador, Chief (and his jolly ball).
I must say this weekend was spent with good friends and a lot of food! Good food! Our first stop was Dewey’s pizza Friday night and I’m very disappointed, I forgot my camera but we did snap a picture before we were off.
Here’s a summary of our weekend festivities via a food photographer’s eye…
Note: Though I consider myself a foodie, love baking, and cooking, and looking, and tasting, and photographing food, I really need to take more pictures of the people I am enjoying those loves with! At least I brought my camera… baby steps.
Mrs. Sarah (35 weeks) which I honestly believe is the only pregnant lady that when asked how far along she was, told me she had to get back to me with that one; somewhere in the 30’s maybe?!?  I love her zest for life and extreme laid-back attitude! It takes being around her to realize life IS way too short to sweat the small stuff or big stuff or anything and just smell the roses… or the ebelskiver’s!
 Sarah has this fun way of finding random things to do or make… which can sometimes, take the better part of the day, but when you’re with her, it’s completely fine to spend a whole morning making labor-intensive-ebelskiver, mini-goodness!
Goodness, I tell you! We made William-Sonoma cinnamon-bun filled pancakes.  Yummy!
After breakfast, we headed out for some girls’ weekend essentials: some retail therapy, manicures, pedicures and a place for lunch that our spouses tend not want to go and we actually kinda enjoy, but would never admit it!  It was good, too!
Afterwards, Sarah left, not to take a nap or complain that her feet were hurting, no, just that she had another event to attend that night… which left Andrea and I… and this has never been a good idea, to others besides us.
Besides all the food, these girls make me so happy and carefree. I’ve laughed more than I have in a long time. I also realized how important friendships are. They are both so unique and important; I’m so lucky to know them, to call them true and great friends.
Here’s to new chapters in both their lives: Sarah, the most amazing, relaxed, wishes-she-had-symptoms or people-tell-her-weird-comments, pregnant lady I know! By the way, when I asked if she thought it was a girl or boy… she was like, I have no idea.  You?  Seriously, chi-laxed!
And Ms. Andrea, my shopping partner, veg out partner and just up for anything. She is such an amazing lady and is moving north to a fabulous new state… Wisconsin! I wish her all the best and secretly hope I’ll meet her up there!  This lady is a magnet for a good time, funny sayings, and is willing to work on her Chewbacca speak.
Okay, what’s Sunday without Sunday brunch…. I love coffee, and this place was a coffee lover’s and foodie’s dream!
Thank you Saint Louis, Sarah, and Andrea (Adam & Chief, too) for a fabulous weekend! I was a little leery to come back, but you made lemonade with my lemons! xoxo
I also checked off one of my top five must-watch-during-the-holiday-season movies.
The Cutting Edge. No haters please.
Happy Holidays!