Beautifully packaged sweets from abroad

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A coworker spent the holidays in Guatemala and brought me back some chili-spiced chocolates. I ate all of them before I could take a picture, but I adore this chocolate box. I’ve decided it’s too pretty to toss. And if I ever had a chocolate shop, I think the name Chocola la la is beyond cool.

And I finally got the last of my paperwork finished up from Japan! That only took a year and a half (whoa), but I still got a little nostalgic when I saw my old hanko and checkbook and bank card. My Japanese supervisor also included some Japanese sweets, and in complete Japanese-style, they are packaged so gosh-darn pretty and the candies themselves are itty bitty.

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They looked like teeny tiny flowers and tasted like Sweet Tarts!

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#GoldenGlobes

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imageOn Sunday, Mindi came up to visit from Windsor, VT. We watched the Golden Globes pre-show as well as the the entire Golden Globes award show, and over the course of several hours drank coffee and Prosecco, ate cheese and crackers/popcorn/cookies, painted our nails, read the paper, and browsed many magazines. So fun!

Things I loved: Tina & Amy’s opening monologueBOYHOOD won big time. Lupita wore a frilly purple dress AND glasses! Jared Leto rocked a man-braid. George & Amal and her Je Suis Charlie pin on her purse. Why everyone was sweating. Discovered the show Jane The Virgin (binging on it right now). Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

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Merry Merry Merry Cheers! Holidays 2014.

Holidays 2014

A little recap of my holidays in Ohio! Overall, I tried to unplug and unwind, but I also wanted to take more pictures with my DSLR (instead of my phone) over the holidays.

My flight to Ohio came in early, which thrilled me to no end, and my sister Allison picked me up at the airport in Columbus. We laughed when we realized that we were wearing the exact same sweater. I hung out with her in Columbus for the winter solstice – went out for pizza @ Harvest/drinks @ Curio in German Village, saw Wild, walked around Target (Vermont doesn’t have one…..), and stayed up late watching Bravo while eating nachos at her place!

*Did you see Wild? I liked the book better but was obsessssssssed with its soundtrack.

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Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014

On Sunday morning, we drove to my parent’s place in Springfield. Ohio’s landscape.

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Terrible photo from the car, but gas is 1.99 there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Allison and I walked Weber Road, a 4-mile hilly road in the neighborhood, before COOKIE BAKING at my aunt’s house with my mom and sister Kim.

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I walked this route almost every single morning. It was one of two things on my “list” that I actually did over break. I also saw Elf for the first time!

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Sweet baby Amelia’s favorite thing is to steal my mom’s iPhone and wear her reading glasses upside down, HAHAHAHA!

Holidays 2014

Aunt Nettie and her new grandson Asher.

Holidays 2014

Christmas Eve and Christmas were a blur of amazing meals, but unfortunately no food pics. One evening most of us all wore plaid though: plaid-people-picture.

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And for some reason I kept taking pictures of the same breakfast. Maybe because mom made breakfast for me every morning – so awesome – and it was super healthy. We always had eggs (usually hard-boiled) with yogurt and fruit, and occasionally some of of dad’s homemade sourdough bread. A nice way to start the day before all the holiday meals and cookies.

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Holidays 2014

(Psssst! Picture of my family glaring at me if I tried to include them in the morning photo!)

Holidays 2014

All the presents under the tree! Mom said she didn’t realize how small the tree was this year until they brought it home. I thought it was kind of adorable, but I cracked up going through photos. Look how big everyone looks next to it!

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Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014

The day after Christmas a bunch of us went hiking at Glen Helen, a 1,000 acre national natural landmark in Yellow Springs. It’s gorgeous. The Little Miami essentially carved a 2-mile long dolomite limestone gorge. There’s a spot high up at the glen called Simon’s Leap, and legend has it Simon Kenton jumped across to the other side to escape the Shawnee.

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Holidays 2014
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Holidays 2014

Post-hiking mom, Allison, and I had lunch at Ye Olde Tavern in Yellow Springs. It’s an Ohio-fave. I feel like I go back in time and they have an awesome beer selection.

Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014

We walked around the shops in town for a while after lunch. I saw the biggest cat ever at a jewelry store – is it pregnant?

Holidays 2014

A few days after Christmas, mom had everyone over for lasagna. We ALL love her lasagna so much that we call it her “party lasagna”!

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Holidays 2014

I brought up old photo albums, which were a hoot to look through. Look – I’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl!

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Otherwise, we all just chilled.

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Holidays 2014
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Holidays 2014
Holidays 2014

And I discovered that mom is also a hoarder of pens:) She read this Japanese book on tidiness, so we’re all inspired at the moment to DECLUTTER. We like our things a little too much….

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On my last day, we checked out this incredible PERSONAL art exhibit, which featured a mind-boggling number of Picasso paintings, at the Wexner Center on OSU’s campus. There was a moment of me worrying about time and fitting in lunch and being a brat (hahaha – ooops), but I got lunch and got to the airport. I always get so sad to say good-bye to my family – tears tears tears – but it was nice to have a few days in Vermont before going back to work.

Here’s to 2015!

P.S. I had a lovely NYE out in Fairfax, VT, but then I got sick, but then I got to listen to 10 HOURS of Serial podcasts. YES! All caught up. Oh man, that was twisted.

P.P.S. Currently loving the Vimeo short-series called High Maintenance, discovered via A Cup of Jo, of course. I’ve watched about half of the first season. I’m so intrigued to find out more of The Guy’s life. WHO IS THE GUY REALLY?

P.P.P. S.  The “Rachel” episode also features Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey, just sayin’.

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Happy 60th Bday Dad!

Dad's handmade guitars.

Dad turned the big 6-0 today! Capricorn in the house. We FaceTimed and sang happy birthday and he blew out candles on cookies my mom made. (These cookies, his favorite.) I had a few cool ideas for gifts, but he requested socks. (These socks, also his favorite.)

Happy birthday dad, xoxoxo.

1.7.77 / Mom & her amazing hair @ dad's 22nd Bday!

1.7.77 – Mom and his friend Woodsy at his 22nd birthday.

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Me and dad on his motorcycle. 1983.

Dad at 14. On a beach (next to grandma in the car). In Hawaii. With a pineapple. #alohagram #latergram @btska @terryreid55 @allisonareid @kimberlyjolie

Dad, age 14, posing on the beach in Hawaii with a pineapple. Grandma’s in the car. One of my favorite pictures EVERRRRR.

@leahsaywhat 🎉😻👯💖

Dad and his girls this past spring.

A picture from mom + dad. @btska

Dad and his animals. This was when my parents watched Merlin while I worked in Japan:)

Dad totally crushed the homemade holiday gift competition. New Year's resolutions: find something I can make / start now.

Dad and his crafts! All my friends want them! He totally needs a website: handmade guitars, cutting boards, and coasters.

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* NYE Dinner in Vermont *

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I visited a few friends outside of town and had THE GREATEST NYE dinner, hands down, like ever. It’s the same friends who hosted the amazing holiday dinner, but this time I got food pics. Yay yay yay! We had homemade Caesar salad, followed by a crab bisque, and then the star of the show: bacon wrapped tenderloin with mashed potatoes, green beans, and black-eyed peas (for luck). I pressed them on the salad dressing deets  – olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and a coddled egg white – so I’ve been on a salad kick the past few days trying to recreate it.

I had flown back to VT well after midnight the night before, so I just picked up dessert from Mirabelle’s downtown. I went for Buche de Noel, or more popularly known as the yule log. Have you ever had one? It’s not only festive, but a delicious chocolate mousse/sponge cake goodness. I highly recommend one, and maybe next year I’ll make one myself. Maybe that shall be my 2015 resolution, eh?

HAPPY 2015!

P.S. Yesterday I was a slug, but today I went for a long walk, binge listened to 6 Serial podcasts (after episode 4, it gets addicting!), washed my car, ordered new contacts, cleaned out my bathroom, cleaned out my cabinets, mopped my floors, washed my sheets, and dropped off a garbage bag full of old clothes to Goodwill! I just felt like cleaning and purging all day long. Oh, I also made this casserole that my friend Amanda really likes. It was pretty tasty, and I’ve been on a salad kick with homemade dressing, so I had some greens on the side.

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I’m flying back to OHIO tomorrow!

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I’m flying back to OHIO tomorrow morning! I’m going out in Columbus tomorrow night for the winter solstice with the little sis, so will make sure I get some beauty rest tonight. Got a million things still to do, namely PACK and buy food for my cat while I’ll be away. He’s got two French-speaking cat-sitters for the break, so he’ll be spoiled.

My ten days home will be sure to fly by, but I’ve got some goals for winter break: go for a walk or do some yoga every day, finish Serial podcast, finish Breaking Bad, finish Christmas shopping, watch at least one holiday movie (I’ve seen none so far!), bake loads of cookies, start a quilt, and go winter hiking at Old Man’s Cave!

Happy happy happy holidays, xoxoxo.

(Baby Amelia last year on Christmas Day. She’s, literally, doubled in size.)

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Some friends hosted a holiday dinner

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Some friends hosted a holiday dinner and Yankee Swap on Sunday night. Check out this gorgeous table setting. Swoon! Unpictured-but-absolutely-delicious-feast included, New England clam chowder, Caesar salad, salmon, scalloped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and raspberry cheesecake. Twas magical!

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