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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West Elm DIY Workshop: XMas Stockings

Last week I had the pleasure of finally ditching my day job before 6pm and heading over to my local West Elm in WeHo for one of their evening DIY workshops.  The night’s event was hosted by Chelsea of Lovely Indeed.  I recently discovered her blog prior to the workshop and am totally in love.  Commence girl crush.  And she’s just as lovely in person!

The workshop activity was just up my a-little-too-early-for-Christmas loving self: monogrammed stockings.  For the price of the West Elm stocking you purchased just prior to the event, you got all the crafting tools you needed and some delicious local treats.  Here’s the line up for the night:

West Elm DIY Workshop: Treats Menu

As I’m already a frequent patron of Simple Things’ delicious pies, I opted for a gluten-free brownie.  Chocolate-y goodness!  Later on I powered through a LOT of complicated scissor work with the help of a delicious hot chocolate courtesy of Ticket Chocolate.

West Elm DIY Workshop: Ticket Hot Chocolate

(Cup of hot milk + stick of chocolate awesome = HEAVEN!)

For those that know the WeHo West Elm, we were in the center section of the store surrounded by warehouse windows.  They cleared the pre-set holidays tables for all of us and set them with these great centerpieces:

West Elm DIY Workshop: Tablescape

(Don’t you love their mercury glass votive holders as pen cups for our supplies?!)

West Elm DIY Workshop: Tablescape 2

You’ll notice at each place setting above we had a cutting mat and two very different letter templates of card stock. I opted for the prettier (and obviously more complicated) option.

Hanging on the wall next to our table and conveniently right next to my spot, Chelsea had pre-made a few examples for us:

West Elm DIY Workshop: Stockings Examples

I opted for a slightly more traditional take on all of the above.  Needless to say, I was too busy crafting (with a dying iPhone) to remember to snap any “in-progress” photos.  I did have two stockings to get through; I knew I couldn’t come home with a masterpiece for myself without one for my Jefe.

So after meticulously cutting cardstock and felt for an hour with the tiniest, cutest scissors you’ve ever seen (similar here), I finally managed to crank out these two beauts:

West Elm DIY Workshop: Two Stockings

And a little bit closer:

West Elm DIY Workshop: MDS Stocking

West Elm DIY Workshop: MDS Stocking

As I was leaving, everyone was showing off their finished work.  Chelsea referred to mine as “the professional ones”.  Swoon.

In addition to bringing home this awesomeness, they also gave us each a little gift bag:

West Elm DIY Workshop: Gift Bag

West Elm DIY Workshop: Gift Bag 2

And my favorite item in the bag were these pencils from Amanda Catherine Designs:

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I’m 100% a blue pen kind of gal, but after checking out the Etsy shop, I may certainly need to consider converting.  She also has some adorable prints I’m dying to find a place for.  If only my Jefe didn’t loathe typography art…

All in all, it was a great night of crafting away from my Blackberry.  I definitely need to find more activities like these to keep my creative juices flowing and meeting other like-minded bloggers.  West Elm has a few others coming up including one from the ladies over at Bash, Please that I am dying to attend!

Thanks Chelsea for a great time!

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