I know I’m a few days late, but isn’t that just how life goes around the holiday season?? I think it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the end-of-year-holiday-season. To get down by the early darkness. To spend extra time sleeping. And to do a ton of stressed out shopping. But I tried to make an extra effort this month to stop and breathe a little more often; to soak up all the gratitude I feel for the small things. Cus life tends to really happen in the small moments, you know?
This month I made a conscious effort to get outside as much as possible, despite the shorter hours of daylight. I like to start my days off early at the gym and get home just as the sun is coming up, have a cup of coffee with my husband, and then take our pup to the dog park before heading into work. Al and I have been walking to work more often this month — and why wouldn’t we when it’s only a mile away!? On the weekends, I try to make the extra effort to get down to the beach to witness our beautiful West Coast sunsets. And we’ve been sitting down at the kitchen table to dinner each night together, usually over a meal cooked by my wonderful husband. For all of these things, I’m grateful. I’m beyond grateful. And that’s what November — to me — is all about.
But anyway, here is my lookback on the month of November … it went incredibly fast but comfortably slow all at the same time. And so much good is going on during this time of year, I can’t help but to burst with happiness (and excitement to see my family in just a few short weeks)! I hope you enjoy it!
NOVEMBER IN REVIEW:
Guys. I’ve really fallen off my “2017 Book A Month Challenge” here at the end of the year. But I’m not completely mad at myself because I’ve been filling my time with a lot of making this month. Pretty much all the spare time I’ve had this month has gone to creating, which to me, is just as productive an activity as reading a good book. It’s all about exercising your brain.
What I have read this month though, is the winter edition of The Magnolia Journal — Chip and Joanna Gaines’ magazine subscription. This magazine is full of heartwarming stories, awesome and unique gift ideas, and some really stellar recipes. My friend, Lauren, gifted me a subscription for my birthday this year, and I can’t tell you what a wonderful gift it has been! Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a gift that will continue to brighten someone’s day all year long 🙂
So, I’m one of those annoying people that everyone hates because I like to have most of my Christmas shopping done before Black Friday, and this year was no exception! I keep a list in my phone of the people who I plan to buy for, and any ideas that may crop up throughout the months leading up to the holiday. It makes it way less stressful and somehow it feels better to get the spending out of the way before all the extra traveling and holiday expenses associated with this time of year. I also am one of those people that likes to go shopping with a set plan…I don’t like to just wing it! I try to support local businesses or small shop owners and buy items from them when I can. 🙂
Additionally, our beloved Leah of the Redondo Condo turns 30 in December! We’ve been busy planning her birthday bash, as she always goes above and beyond to throw any and every type of celebration possible. Something tells me she’ll really enjoy what we’ve got planned 😉
Fixer Upper is finally back on HGTV for it’s final season! I am so happy. That’s what I watch every Tuesday.
Alex recently got me interested in Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is in it’s 9th season after a hiatus. It’s a sitcom about Larry David — the writer/creator of Seinfeld — and it’s hilarious. A little crude at times, but so good. It’s become a favorite in our apartment complex thanks to Al, and now we all make sure to watch the newest episodes together! It just finished up the season last week I think it was, so we’re hoping he decides to do another!
The wonderful Laur Pags hooked me up with –> this awesome Beef Stroganoff recipe
in the crockpot. I followed it directly, but Laur sticks with the classic butter noodles when she makes it. It was delicious. Crockpot meals around this time of year are my favorite.
Earlier this month I spent a day in Venice with my friend, Emily, and she took me to all her favorite spots after a morning full of roller blading at the beach! We hit up a little corner bar near her house for lunch, and finished up with ice cream from Kippy’s! Kippy’s is my favorite ice cream in LA because it’s all dairy free and organic and they have tons of really unique flavors and toppings.
Al’s latest beer obsession is Modern Times Beer, from a brewery in San Diego. His go-to is the “Dank & Juciy” one. I think we’ll need to be taking a trip down to SD to try it straight from the source here pretty soon! (And to bring some back, of course).
And winter means one thing: red wine! Somehow wine tastes even better when it’s accompanied with the smell of a fresh Christmas tree 😉
Another totally awesome place that Al took Josh, Laur, and I to is called Rob Ruben’s Brewery & Distillery in El Segundo…it’s basically a secret Speakeasy and is totally decked out with big leather seats, red velvet curtains, and lowlit lamps. It is seriously the coolest little place ever. Since they don’t have their liquor license, you can only order one cocktail per person, but you can order as much beer as you want! I’m already begging Al to take me back…
It has been busy busy busy over here in my little makeshift studio! This month I found the cutest grey fabric with golden reindeer heads on it and knew I needed to make a shirt from it. I drafted up my own pattern based on a shirt I already own and made this cute little top in an afternoon! Perfect for the holidays!
I kept the sewing going with –> this
adorable Puppy Advent Calendar! I made one for Marty and a few more for some of his closest buds! We’ve had to since move the location of our tree because Marty figured out how to push the kitchen chair aside, hop up onto it, and steal treats from the pockets!! He’s smarter than he looks, that one…
And I’ve been busy with lots of custom weaving and macrame orders this month! I’m nearing the home stretch though, right before we head back to the East Coast to spend a few days with family 🙂
And probably the MOST EXCITING part of my month was the day that a local boutique in El Segundo reached out to me to sell some of my weavings in their store!!! Uh, what!?! This has been a dream come true!! Last year at this time, I wrote down a couple of my New Years Resolutions for 2017, and getting some of my work into a store was on that list. But when I started working day time + longer hours, I kind of put that goal on the back burner as I’ve had a lot less time to weave. Well, out of the blue I got contacted by Remedy Spa + Retail on Instagram, and now I have a few weavings featured in their beautiful store. I love this place for a few reasons: it is run by two bad ass Lady Bosses. It supports local makers. And it especially supports local female makers. I am beyond thrilled. And even if I don’t make any sales in the store, I am so grateful for the extra exposure and the extra kick in the butt it’s given me to make more time for making 🙂
We were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving this year down in San Diego with Josh’s family! With our families being on the East Coast, and with Christmas so close to Thanksgiving, we always opt to stay home over Turkey Day. We’ve always felt so welcomed by Josh’s family, and so when we got the invitation to come for Thanksgiving, of course we said yes! It’s so important to be surrounded by those that you love over the holidays…but it doesn’t mean that they have to be related! My favorite part of the day — besides the damn delicious food — was when everyone (15 of us!) went around the table and said what we were thankful for.
Al and I spent a weekend day with all the pups — Marty, Stone, and Banjo — at Huntington Dog Beach. We had heard from a couple different dog owners about how great this beach was for pups, and it had been on our To Do List for awhile! So when all the neighbors were out of town for a day and we had all the pups to ourselves, we thought, “why not!?” I was a liiiiittttttle nervous about keeping an eye on all three pooches just the two of us, but the three of them stuck together like a little Pack and they were just happy to chase me nonstop along the water! It was one of the absolute best days.
As always, my little family. Everyday it feels like we grow closer and get happier. And I’m so very grateful for these two boys in my life.
It is now officially acceptable to be listening to Christmas music! Although, if we’re being honest, I’ve been listening to it since the second week of November 😉 My favorite Christmas Playlists on Spotify are: 1. “Christmas Jazz.” 2. “Jazzy Christmas.” and 3. “Behold” album by Lauren Daigle.
This month we celebrated Thanksgiving, of course!
We celebrated Marty becoming “Mr. March” in the 1 Fur 1 Puppy Calendar Contest to benefit the non-profit that provides therapy dogs at no charge to groups who cannot afford them.
And we celebrated the upcoming Christmas season! With the Manhattan Beach Pier Lighting, as well as the Hermosa Beach Tree Lighting celebrations! This was our first year attending the Hermosa Beach lighting, and it was such a fun day of events! They had sales all day at all of the little shops downtown, and then live bands into the evening leading up to the tree lighting! And this was also our first year attending the Manhattan Pier Lighting…with friends! Usually Al and I just go ourselves, and I’ve also gone by myself when Al had to work…so it was extra special sharing it with everyone else this time around 🙂
I touched on this earlier, but I am feeling beyond thankful for everything lately! For our daily walks to work. For the opportunity to showcase my creativity in a real store. For a job with responsibilities and leadership roles. I am thankful to work with my husband. To eat lunch at home with my pup. And to have neighbors to share the days events with in the evenings. I’m thankful for early morning classes at the gym, and for a crew who is always willing to explore a new place, catch drinks at sunset, or break all the rules to “no gifts this year” Christmas with 😉
And on the other hand, I am completely heartbroken for what our beautiful state of California is going through right now. The wildfires here are insane…some of the worst they’ve ever seen. And hundreds of thousands of people are being displaced and/or losing their homes and all of their belongings. It makes me sick to watch it on tv. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude towards all of the firemen and women who are working endless hours to keep the fires contained and to get people evacuated safely. It’s just hard to watch a force of nature destroy the lives of so many without being able to do anything to stop it. We will definitely be donating where and when we can, and I urge all of you to help where you can too! Whether it’s your time, your money, or some belongings, please think about all of the families who have lost everything during this time of year.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Until next post…
ps. thanks for putting up with all the dog photos 😉