Silent nights and twinkling lights.

There's something inherently enchanting about a cold, silent and still, winter evening when all you can see are small twinkling lights and all you can hear is the pounding of your feet and the sound of your breath. I've discovered a new found love of jogging in the dark, which is typically thought to be an absolute no n0 on my scale of risk taking. Let me not fool anyone here. I'm most certainly not a runner. On occasion, should the inspiration hit, I will throw on a pair of sneakers and take them around the block, which is precisely what I've done a few times this week.

There's something so magical about running at night in the dark of early evening this time of year. Perhaps it's the ambiance created by all of those small, mini Christmas lights everyone has decorating the outside of their homes. Or maybe it's the lack of crickets, a sound I love during summer, but one which creates an entirely new experience during winter where once there was sound and now there is silence.

Did I mention all of those twinkling lights? I'm in love. So much pretty to look at, it hurts my eyes. Aaaand simultaneously makes me want to purchase about 10 more strands of lights, garland, wreaths, and bows. No, really. I've been having to resist the urge. Now that we have what I consider our first "real" house, it has taken all that I have not rack up a little bit more holiday cheer on my credit card.

But as I've been pounding the pavement, I've been playing a game of thankfulness. Even during this time of year, when spending is an expected indulgence, I'm trying to remember what really matters in life. And here's a surprise. It's really not about how beautiful the outside of your house looks. Or the inside, for that matter.

So, without further adieu, here's our sad little display of lights. It's not all. But it's something. There may just be a few more strands popping up by the end of the season, but nothing over the top. It's unlike that anyone will drive by and stop to admire our display but that's okay. I'll just stop to admire theirs and I'm perfectly okay with that for now. 

Merry Christmas!

A recap: turkey & thanks for giving 2013.

Thank goodness my mom was here to assist in the turkey preparations because there was absolutely no way I was sticking my hand in that raw, beheaded bird. Oh, and did I mention the story of how we ended up with two? For the sake of posterity, I will explain.

I'm a complete novice when it comes to purchasing a turkey. I'm vaguely aware that there are two key differences: fresh or frozen. After milling around the grocery store for a good two hours, about a week or so ago, I went over to those vast bins in the meat department and proceeded to select a turkey. I had a coupon for Butterball, so I immediately zoned in on that brand and started by searching the tags for the right weight. When I felt confident in my selection, I lifted the 18 pounds by that little mesh loop they so kindly provide for easy maneuverability. Into the cart it went and soon enough I found myself shoving the bird into my refrigerator's freezer. That's when I noticed it.

It didn't quite feel rock hard. The outside of the bird felt.. soft. Like it had thawed a bit. I immediately called my mom, a bird buying pro, and asked if that was normal. She assured me that no, after all her years of buying turkeys, they're always distinctively solid and cold.

So then I called the grocery store to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. The meat department guy confirmed that yes, those bins are freezers.

And then, to the exasperation of my husband's nerves, I continued to worry and discuss my angst over the possible spoiled turkey. I mean really. What is more critical to hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner than the centerpiece itself!?

Eventually, at the insistence of my husband, a second bird was purchased. And for the record, the second bird, much to my relief, turned out just fine.


A brief picture diary of the day/evening:

Champagne gelee cocktail, to kick start the day. Recipe available here.
Delicious, freshly plucked pomegranates.
Finally, an excuse to bring out my PotteryBarn cheese markers.
My loving husband & I.

My beautiful sisters & mom. Sorry Dad & Brandon, somehow you managed to escape my camera's flash.
The table, prior to the serving of the main dish. And the mock "kids table" for my youngest sister. HILARIOUS doesn't even begin to describe her reaction :)

A late Thanksgiving dinner makes for the perfect ambiance.

A tinkling of glasses and the beginning of a beautiful evening.