Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday.  I’m still nursing my second cold in the last 3 weeks so it’s been slow going on the restart here at Chez Sledge.

What is it about the last 2 Decembers that they just flew by?  Another holiday season, I blinked, and next thing you know Jefe and I are hauling our sad, dry skeleton of a Christmas tree to the curb for recycling. We had all sorts of plans this year, most of which we accomplished.  It did, however, leave little time for blogging.  So here’s a little recap of the Holidays with Sledge:

Black Friday – Jefe and I continued our tradition for the 5th year in a row of braving the masses at Disneyland.  It truly is the happiest place on Earth and best place to start getting in to the holiday spirit.  Everything is covered in lights, ornaments and general festiveness.  This year we decided to try out a few new restaurants as we’ve done all of the rides so many times.

After watching CHEF, we were craving beignets and heard raves about those shaped like a Mickey at Cafe Orleans.  Our lunch was delicious, especially Jefe’s Croque Monsieur, but we were left so full that there was no room for beignets.  Sad Mickey :-(.

For dinner we trekked over to California Adventure to Carthay Circle.  It looked like something you’d find in Beverly Hills in the 1920’s.  Just a stunning combination of art deco meets spanish mission.  And the food was good enough to rival any trendy restaurant in Weho.

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Disneyland - Jefe & Sledge

 

The next day we piled in the car and headed to our favorite tree lot to pick this year’s winning Noble Fir.  After little deliberation, we decided on the fullest pine tree I have ever tried to decorate.  He stood about 7 feet tall.  We debated whether we could have gone taller, but the 8-9 foot Firs were not looking nearly as Noble.

Chauvet Farms Tree Stand - Culver City

The Noblest of Firs

We invited Jefe’s parents over that night to help decorate and quickly realized that next year, we can definitely go with a taller tree thanks to our 9-foot high ceilings, but I’m still more than pleased with this year’s selection.

Holiday Coffee Spread

 

A holiday coffee spread to invigorate for tree decorating!

So the next 24 hours we spent decking the halls.  The only new addition to this year’s festive artillery was a $2.99 traditional star tree topper from Ikea and a few ornaments from Disneyland.

Morning Coffee Done Right

Hines Ward Ornament!

 

Xmas Tree 2014

Stockings

DSCN1910

DSCN1930

Nutcrackers!

 

More Nutcrackers

 

Nutcrackers!!!

Holiday Cards

 

Little Village

The following weekend Jefe and I jetted off to New York to celebrate my birthday and decorate tree #2, Jefe’s brothers.  We did it last year and it was so fun to be able to continue the tradition this year.  I also managed to drag Jefe to the ballet for the first time to see “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center, did some holiday sight-seeing, did an awesome #museumhack tour of the Met and caught up with my high school friend Beth!

The Met

NY Public Library Lions

Rockefeller Tree

The ballet!

SM #1 and #2

This brings us to mid-December already!  After 5 months of living in our new place, we finally decided to host a housewarming / holiday / birthday party.  Things were a little harried prepping for guests so I didn’t manage to get any photos but I can say that Trader Joe’s can make a mean appetizer.  You really can fool anyone in to thinking something was homemade when it’s fresh out of the oven and artfully displayed on a Santa platter.  I’m pretty sure 95% of the food we offered came from TJ’s.  Seriously, it’s the best way to host – no cooking, just artful arrangements.

Falalala

Falalala sign courtesy of Oh Joy!’s line at Target

By the following week, Jefe and I were packing our bags to head back east.  Within the span of 7 days, we slept in 5 beds and traveled via UBER, plane, train and mom’s automobile.  We made merry in Los Angeles, Lancaster and Tyrone, PA and New York City.  It was quite the whirlwind.

Family Cousins

Cousins reunion in Tyrone, PA

Jefe & I Xmas Eve 2014

Jefe & I on Christmas Eve

Casey & his Elf

My brother Casey and his “elf on a shelf” (our nephew Raylen)

And here’s a little tour of my mom’s place all decked out.  I get the Christmas love honestly…

Mom's Dining Room

No fireplace means stockings go on the chairs 😀

Mom's - Dining Room

I love me a good tartan tablecloth!

Mirror on display

I love this old window-turned-mirror.  Wouldn’t be Xmas without some lit garland though.

Mom's Xmas Tree 2014

Excuse the lack of focus.  This was prior to 9am and I hadn’t had ANY coffee yet….

And some of Christmas in NY (Jefe was so bummed he missed the Met #museumhack tour, we went again!):

The Met - Again!

30 Rock

Time Warner Center

And then I caught the plague which had me laid up on my mother’s couch for the next 5 days.  New Years Eve was spent with my family, one good friend who braved my contagion thanks to a hearty dose of antibiotics, and a piping hot mug of green tea.  No champe this year for the Champe Champ.

Then Jefe and I headed back to LA where we undecked the halls and dragged our poor tree out to the curb.  Nothing makes me sadder than seeing Christmas trees on the side of the road.  Their time is so short….

Packing Up

Leftover Candy Canes

We have a lot of candy canes to get through in January….

Boy and his toys

Jefe got distracted from un-decorating by a Christmas present…

And to wrap it all up, one final shot of our beautiful tree of 2014:

Christmas Tree 2014

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‘Tis the Season

I don’t know about you all, but I am 120% ready for the holidays.  My Jefe, not so much.  So in an effort to keep the peace at Chez Sledge, I’ve managed to temper my public displays of holiday affection and keep it confined to my Pinterest boards.  (Although what festive music I blare in my car when Jefe isn’t around won’t hurt him……)

I have admittedly been all over the place lately so my pinning may seem a bit erratic, but until I get my next DIY project up and running for you, I thought I’d share a little holiday eye candy.  And now that I have them all layed out, it strikes me that most of these are simple DIY’s that I’m dying to try myself.  Most of it is fall/harvest themed as I am trying to pace myself and not OD on Christmas before I even reach December :-D.

Tree trunk candle centerpiece

Tree Branch Candleholder

Fall Hydrangea Wreath

Autumn Hydrangea Wreath

World Market Thanksgiving Napkins

Thanksgiving Napkins

DIY Wood Slab Centerpiece

Wood Slab Centerpiece

Couple Wrapped In Lights

Couple Wrapped In Lights

Mason Jar Pinecones

Mason Jars Tied with Pinecones

NYE DIY Candles

New Years Eve DIY Candles

If you check out my Holiday board, you’ll also notice a TON of holiday cards as I’m anxious to get those going.  Jefe and I did them for the first time last year and really enjoyed it.  He actually likes the picture I posted above of the couple wrapped in lights , which is a bit cheesier than he normally goes for.  He is, however, skeptical that I can pull it off.  Challenge ACCEPTED.

So this weekend I’m thinking of blowing the dust off my glue gun and getting my craft on.  I haven’t decided which DIY I’m going to tackle (maybe a burlap printed runner?!), but I’ll be back next week with the results.  Jefe and I also have the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market to look forward this Sunday.  We’ve really been working to find pieces that have a bit more character and charm to fill up our home so it will be nice to see the new offerings as we missed last month due to Soxtober.  So we shall see what spoils we’ll come home with!  Happy Friday!

Christmas 2012

So better late than never, I bring you Sledgehammer’s 2012 Christmas recap. Every year, Jefe and I kick off the holiday season by spending Black Friday at Disneyland. Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit like frolicking down Main Street, mouse ears on your head, surrounded by a million tiny lights.

Happiest place on earth! Disney 2012

The following weekend, Jefe and I scoured West LA for a great tree lot. Christmas tree hunting in LA is a bit of an art, particularly for an East Coaster with high standards who’s used to chopping down her own tree. So spending $80 at Home Depot on a dry-tipped tree that was cut 3 weeks ago and sat in the blazing LA sun is not exactly my idea of good investment Lucky for us, LA was experiencing a rainy and cold streak so we found a lot that had some great freshly cut, well watered trees just in from Oregon.

Tree lot 2012

XMas Tree 2012

We found a great tree that was STILL standing in our living room, full, green and pine smelling until two days ago. That’s over a MONTH of tree awesomeness. In addition, I had a total design geek freak out when I recognized a fellow tree-hunting family who’s place in Culver City had recently been featured on Apartment Therapy. (Bonus points: they’re Steelers fans and one of them is from Harrisburg!)

The next day, we invited Jefe’s family over for a bit of tree trimming and holiday goodies. To make things easier, we grabbed a bunch of empanadas from Nonna’s down the street and Jefe’s mom and aunt made pristinos to make it a real Ecuadorian Christmas. I, however, always like to make more food than necessary and decided we needed another goodie. Due to an excessive amount of pecans left over from Thanksgiving pie making, I decided to make some great Pecan Rolls (recipe courtesy of Jenny Steffens Hobick).

We had a great time and managed to get all of our decorations up in no time.

XMas Wreath 2012

Xmas Tree 2012

FIreplace XMas 2012

Dresser XMas 2012

Dining Table XMas 2012

Dining Table Runner XMas 2012

Sofa Table XMas 2012

Island XMas 2012

A few days before Christmas, Jefe and I headed east. We spent the first few days with Jefe’s family in NYC. We travel to the city pretty frequently these days, but I hadn’t realized that it’s been 10 years since I’ve been there during the holiday season. And it was just as magical as I remembered. Despite all the tourists, Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue still are worth every minute of crowd fighting it required. Jefe and I even trekked out in the rain late on Christmas Eve to see the sights.

Mallory &Jefe NYC XMas 2012

NYC XMas 2012

Christmas Day we hopped on the train and headed to Lancaster to see my family. I think it may have been the whitest Christmas week I’ve ever seen. It snowed almost every day. I was in heaven. I even enjoyed shoveling, much to Jefe’s confusion (you can take the boy out of SoCal but you can’t take the SoCal out of the boy).

Snow XMas 2012

Although I missed seeing some of my childhood ornaments on the tree, mom opted to go the less stress route (who can blame her for not wanting to drag 100 boxes up from the basement) and decorated with more of a theme this year. I think it turned out great. She and my stepdad also chose to go with a smaller, but live tree in hopes of being able to plant it in the yard once the ground thawed a bit.

Mom's XMas Tree 2012

Mom's Lit Xmas Tree 2012

Overall we had a great time back east with the family and as per usual, the trip was much too short. We wrapped up with a fancy dinner out in Lancaster on New Years Eve with one of my besties, Sara. I now give you a Jefe Sandwich:

Mal Jefe and Splay New Years 2012

But alas, the holiday season has to come to a close and it’s time to pack it all up for another year. It’s just amazing we fit all of our stuff in 5 small storage bins (minus the tree stand).

And last but not least, I bring you Sledge & Jefe’s 2012 Christmas card:

Sledge & Jefe XMas 2012 @ the Grove

Happy Holidays! ~ From Mallory & Jefe

Christmas Come Early

Our Christmas Mantle 2011

The Christmas season is my happy place.  I’m not religious in any way, but there is something about the time of year, from the music, to the food (oh god, the FOOD!) to the glittery, sparkling, twinkling, jingle-y decor that gets me more excited than a fat kid in a candy store.  But when it comes to the holiday season, I have some firm rules:

  1. I force myself to wait until Nov 1 to cue up the Jingle Bells, Rudolph, and Mariah so as not to OD on it before Santa shows up.  (I may have caved a day early this year while driving home on Halloween after a particularly rough day at the office.)
  2. I won’t subject Jefe to the music until Black Friday.
  3. I’m not allowed to decorate until Black Friday (although I sometimes cheat if I get a second wind after the Thanksgiving meal).
  4. As of this year, I’m not allowed to buy any more holiday decor until I get rid of some of the things I already have.  I just have no extra space to store the 4-foot inflatable abominable snowman I may have scoped out at Home Depot yesterday:

So although I LOVE the season, I try to refrain from getting too engulfed in it earlier than necessary.  But I’ve noticed a growing trend – Christmas seems to have arrived in October this year.  From the glassy ornaments at World Market to the Target dog running amok in a snowy town in their latest commercial, it appears that the retailers of America have decided that the holiday festivities will now start in mid-October.  Poor Halloween is suddenly getting the short end of the stick.

I love fall almost as much as I love Christmas, but with all the red and green pressure, I don’t feel compelled to decorate for the season or get excited for Turkey Day (the 90 degree LA temperatures don’t exactly help).  I feel like I’m being peer-pressured into buying jingle bell vase filler and listening to Nat King Cole on constant repeat.  Is anyone else having this problem?  It could also be that I’m a tiny bit bummed that I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year.  It was a bit stressful cooking it all myself last year, but I kind of loved setting the table, having the house smelling amazing, and feeding the family a meal that I made that wasn’t just edible, but was actually pretty damn good.   I’m still amazed I successfully brined a 20 lb. turkey all by myself (with Jefe doing a bit of the heavy wet-turkey lifting.)  And I set a pretty mean table if I do say so myself.

Turkey Day 2011 table

Despite all of this though, I’m trying to power through my holiday confusion as I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it, be it Turkey Day, Christmas, Winter Solstice or Hanukkah (who doesn’t love a little dreidel spinning, am I right?!)  I’m still planning on making my Grandma’s infamous apple pie and Momma Sny’s sweet potatos (no marshmallows allowed!) to take with us to Thanksgiving at Jefe’s aunt’s house.  I’m also currently contemplating a few quick and easy spruce ups of the aparment with some fall-themed decor in addition to my sad little $1 mini pumpkins and a burlap runner.  But my stipulations are that it’s got to be something either a) reusable for next year or b) easily disposable.  Because we all know I’ll be busting out the snowmen and reindeer antlers in 3 weeks anyways.

This year’s sad fall display. Why can’t their just be a maple tree nearby that I could swipe a few branches and leaves from?! Ridiculously warm LA weather – that’s why.

All kidding aside, I’d be lying if I said my Christmas playlist wasn’t on constant repeat and is helping to get me through some tough times at the ‘ol 9-to-5.  (God, how I wish those were my hours).  There is just something about a little holly, jolly music that seems to make everything better.  But I get it honestly.  Momma Sny starts in September.  At least I have the decency to wait until October 31 November 1.