Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.-Paul Theroux

Christmas wasn’t as magical as it usually feels. I was still lucky enough to see many people I love over the holidays and for that I am grateful. December was incredibly busy and January is looking like things will calm down soon which is great. Winter SHOULD be a season of recovery and preparation–I don’t think I could have found a more appropriate quote to describe my feelings about the season. It’s all the best time of year for soup and awesome rich foods, which I love.

During December, I spent time with family and friends pretty much the entire month. Matt and I won tickets in the lottery to see Christmas at DePaul which was so great! Shout out to Laura for killin’ it on the oboe:


I was able to bake with mom, Sarah, and Lauren. It was Lauren’s first time making Potica! Not our recipe, but gives you an idea. The picture on the right is my mom instructing Lauren on kneading:


My mom is AWESOME and was able to score tickets to Hamilton in Chicago. Mom, Tammy, Sarah, Matt, and I went to Christkindlmarket to enjoy some spiced warm wine then looked at the Macy’s Christmas window display before the performance. This show was so great. It’s really an introduction to a shift in musical theater. I am sooo lucky to have been able to see it so early. I didn’t realize how weird it is that I’ve always been able to do that growing up (Lion King, Wicked, Book of Mormon). #blessed.


We went to Matt’s family Christmas Celebration and played 7-11 after the show. It was such a nice day! So glad to have been able to see everyone. I made Santa hat cheesecake bites (SO GOOD), but forgot a photo. The collage below includes a bunch of things from the Christmas season. Starting at the top left: Dan’s Candies (truffles & dark chocolate dandies/turtles), Nola playing with Emma at Zarobsky Family Christmas, A Festivus Pole at Empirical Brewery’s taproom, Snickers by the tree, Rob trying on an “old man mask” that he “won” in 7-11, The STOP-IT Team (minus Rachel) at our bowling work Christmas party, my mom’s tree, s’mores cookies (baked for my team’s Christmas party at my apartment), and the gift I received from my Reddit Secret Santa (yes, I’ve had a good experience two years in a row being matched with a stranger on the internet and exchanging gifts with them and others)(my Reddit Secret Santa got me a “travel kit” with which to visit Eastern Europe–ADORABLE).


Here are some more photos from the season. Again, starting at the top left: Matt decorating the tree, Southwestern Pinwheels (for a Christmas get together at Andi’s), my gift for my Reddit Secret Santa, Christmas cards (best part of the season), my cozy ass apartment all decorated, Cranberry & Rosemary White Christmas Sangria (for our annual get together at Alec’s),  gifts wrapped and ready to go, a small cute “holiday survival kit” from the neighbors (truffles and chamomile tea to relax during the hectic season), and my Department 56 village.


Instead of the zoo this year, my family took a trip to the Morton Arboretum Illumination (Light Display). It was fantastic!


We spent Christmas Eve at Kim and Kerry’s house and my family came (Mom, Sarah, and Buddy). I made a Christmas Tree of garlic knots which was super tasty (Kim served homemade pizzas, so I went with the theme). Christmas is so fun with little ones around! Somehow, I didn’t get a picture of Kenzie, but here’s a few of the rest of our awesome nieces. We also tried to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, but fell asleep almost immediately after turning it on this year:


Christmas Day was alright, mom got the stomach flu (which I then came down with the next day–what a nice break -.-). It was just a day of hanging out and eating, but we saw the family and went over to Uncle Joe’s to bring his gifts.


I took a few really nice walks when I was on vacation (after the puking was over):


Sara and Rob were in town for New Year’s Eve! I missed them so much! I’m looking forward to when they’re closer. Kindred spirits, you know? Sabrina hosted and we knew quite a few people at the party (special shout out to Annette and Nick!), so that was nice. She had all of the details planned out and it was so sweet! Matt and Rob started eating meatballs directly from the crock pot by the end of the night (top right).


Sara got a sweet new camera and took some nice quality shots of Matt and I (thanks girl!). Of course, we screwed around for some of them but they turned out pretty darn cute:


Great way to end the year! You know what was a great way to start the new year? With Matt brewing beer with his brother Mark and Shannon and I hanging with the girls. And of course, eating steak and lobster.


The last fun thing I did to ride out the end of the holiday season (January 8–it’s close, the Epiphany ends the Christmas season right??) was to see The Little Mermaid at the Paramount with Sarah, Mom and Lauren. Such quality performances there!


I hope you all had a great Christmas season and that you haven’t crashed TOO hard after the holiday season!





New Years and Christmas!

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all were able to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. I took a good amount of time off, spent time with family and friends, and tried to have a few “lazy days” here and there (self-care!). I won’t go into too many details, but I did want to share some snapshots of treasured moments this month. The first thing to note is that I made two traditionally Slovenian desserts: Potica (pictured first) and Apple Strudel (pictured second). These are family recipes and the desserts of my people. Neither of these are the recipes that my family uses, but it gives you a good idea of what you’re getting into when I offer you these dishes around the holidays:

Potica 2014Apple Strudel 2014

I was able to go to Christmas at DePaul with Matt, which always puts me in the Christmas Spirit! It’s a gift to the community from the church/music program at my alma mater.

Christmas at DePaul 2014

There was a Christmas celebration with “church” friends (Matt, Andy, Alex, Alec, Emily, Laura, Mark, Jon, Molly, and Sean). This is a note from my secret Santa:

Secret Santa 2014

I spent time with Emily by going to lunch with her and another friend, Jen at Hamburgerseria in Joliet. Always good to spend time with one of my most long-term pals!

Emily.Jen.I.Christmas 2014

During that little adventure, we got Riley a treat from 2 Paws 4 U, a new pet bakery in Joliet. Matt thinks those are the dumbest places, but it was actually super cute and Riley enjoyed the treat! See?

Christmas Cookie 2014

My sister and I celebrated our annual trip to Christkindlmarket and Piece:

Christmas Trip 2014

Followed by the annual Lincoln Park Zoo Lights trip with Mom, Aunt Nancy, Uncle Buddy, and Boot:

Zoo Lights 2014.1

I spent Christmas Eve with Matt and his family at his brother and sister-in-law’s (Kerry and Kim), where they had taco night and merriment:

Christmas Eve 2014

And most of Christmas day was spent with my family. Here is a picture of Shadow on the presents:

Christmas Shadow 2014

My mom’s tree does not change much each year, but still fills me with the warm and fuzzies each time I see it:

Christmas 2014

I ended the year at The Globe and then my apartment with Matt, Alec, and Emily. We were supposed to go to a super fun masks required NYE house party, but we left The Globe and realized “holy crap, it’s so cold my ears might fall off!” and decided to go back to our place. Here is a picture of Emily and I, donning our masks:

Emily and I NYE 2014

I hope you all had a season full of good food, warm blankets, fantastic company, and cheer! I am hoping for a much less tumultuous 2015 and much more stability. Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

Until next time,