Every summer I have one dress that I wear non-stop and this year it’s this beauty from Urban Outfitters. It’s the perfect summer party dress: cute, casual, and a little sexy. And with the balance of the deep V-neck and the midi length it totally […]
I started celebrating Christmas a little earlier than usual this year (because Lord knows we need any excuse for some joy these days) and I’m starting to get so excited, guys! I broke out the decorations, put up my little Christmas tree, tuned into the local Christmas station – I’m totally admiring my handiwork as we speak!
I’ve even done a good amount of my gift shopping, which has to be some kind of record because I famously wait until the last minute every year. All this holiday spirit made me want to share some thoughts on the holidays including the best Christmas tree ever and where not to see the Nutcracker this year…
Putting Up the (Aluminum) Christmas Tree
My mom’s never been one to do things the traditional way, but when it came to buying a new christmas tree she really outdid herself. We’ve always had fake trees because she’s allergic to pine (it’s actually a secret dream of mine to get a real one just to see what it would be like – sorry mom!) so we grew up putting the tree together, untangling the lights, the whole nine yards.
A few years back she said she’d ordered a new one online – let’s say we were not expecting it to be silver and made out of metal. My brother and I thought she was insane! But of course, now it’s my favorite thing ever and I can’t wait to have one of my own some day.
Drinking Mulled Wine at Christkindlmarket
This is definitely our newest tradition, but it feels like one we’ve been doing for years. My mom moved downtown a few years ago and I have to say that nothing beats Christmas in the city. Everything is lit up and Christmas is everywhere – I literally went to a random bar last last weekend and Santa was there! (I got so weirdly star stuck!)
Christkindlmarket on Daley Plaza has become our go to for a dose of Christmas spirit. We get mugs of mulled wine, eat potato pancakes, and browse through the incredible collection of handmade glass ornaments. They seriously have everything. My dream is to one day have an entire Christmas tree of alcoholic beverage ornaments and this is definitely where I’ll start – the Germans know what’s up!
Seeing the Nutcracker
I’ve been a longtime fan of ballet – I danced all the way up until senior year of college and always felt really lucky to have one of the best ballet companies right at our doorstep, the Joffrey. So, of course, we frequented their version of the Nutcracker every year. I remember crying the first time I saw it (I know, cheesy lol) because it’s just a really incredible production.
Unfortunately, they decided to change things up last year and maybe we’re just curmudgeonly creatures of habit, but we felt like it missed the magic of the old version. We’re going to give the Madison Ballet’s version a try this year so fingers crossed! Regardless of the production itself, it’s just so nice to get dressed up, people watch, and drink champagne at intermission. Really looking forward to it this year!
I need no excuse to bake, but Christmas makes baking seem extra cozy and wonderful. I pour myself a glass of red wine, put on a Christmas movie, and I’m a happy little clam. Plus, I have an office filled with hungry developers to eat all my leftovers!
My go-to are classic chocolate chip cookies (I swear by the Martha Stewart recipe – they stay soft for days), but I’ve been trying to branch out lately. This year, I want to go total classic and do gingerbread. I’ve never actually made them before, but I think I’m ready for a little bit of a challenge. Frankly, I’m more worried about the decorating than the baking – I’m honestly tragic at that sort of thing. Keep an eye out for some total fails!
Spending Time with My Family and Friends
I know, I know this is the most cliche answer ever… But it is genuinely my favorite part of the holidays. As I mentioned on Instagram recently, the holidays can be really tough. I know the years after my parents got divorced I dreaded the holidays – it was hard to see our family traditions change and I always felt like I was letting one parent down by being with the other.
But we all got older and made new traditions and I’ve really come to learn that home can be anywhere when you have the right people. It’s still not perfect and we always manage to find something stupid to fight about, but we also always figure it out and I feel lucky that I have a family who loves me enough to fight for our time together. Sappy, yes, but true!
Last thing: can we talk about this jumpsuit for a second?! I love that it’s subtly festive and can totally be dressed up or down – I might wear it with heels to the Nutcracker next week or with slippers to lounge around in on Christmas Day. It’s the perfect cross between formal wear and pajamas, which is my ideal holiday outfit aesthetic.
I stopped into Anthropologie last week do some Christmas shopping and of course immediately found something for myself… I’m not sure if it’s still going on, but they were having a 40% off sale on sale items in store, which is a whopper for them. If you love Anthro, but gawk at their prices it’s a great time to pick up some goodies as gifts or, if you’re like me, as a little secret santa to yourself.
What are you guys up to for the holidays? Do you have any fun holiday traditions that have stuck? Funnily enough we don’t have anything in particular we do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we focus mainly on the lead up to Christmas, but I always love to hear what other families do!
Last weekend I was in a treat yo self kind of mood so I bought myself a smoked salmon sandwich and a La Croix and went shopping. For me, shopping is an event: I love going to the stores, people watching, trying things on, listening […]
With thunderstorms in the forecast all week, I thought I’d share a sunny outfit to brighten up a rainy day. I bought this dress last summer when I was in Dublin, where it never actually got warm enough for me to wear it. So, I was extra excited to break it out this summer back at home. It’s from the brand Louche, who carries a lot of easy day dresses in really fun patterns. I was kind of skeptical of this dress on the rack, but loved the fit when I tried it on. The flare on the skirt is really flattering and sleeves are almost bell sleeves – the whole look is super flowy and perfectly twirlable.
I also want to mention these shoes, which have become my go-to for everything from dinner to church to hitting the bars. They’re from Michael Kors and I got them ages ago for my college graduation, but love how versatile they’ve become later on in life. They easily dress up day dresses, but I also love them with jeans. I got a pair of wide legged cropped jeans recently and love them paired together. Plus, the wood wedges make them way more walkable than heels, which is super important to me.
What pieces are you loving this summer? Cannot believe that it’s already the middle of July. I feel like I’ve been hearing the phrase “the older you get, the faster time goes” a lot lately and it is feeling scary accurate right about now. Hoping to get a few more wears out of this look before fall rolls around!
My mom moved into Chicago when I was in college and it was a big step for both of us. She was leaving my childhood home for the big city and I remember being a little nervous and sad to see our life in the […]
Old J. Crew Denim Jacket (similar here) – Vintage Dress from Om Diva in Dublin – Adidas Superstars (on sale here) – Olivia Burton Watch from Bow & Pearl in Dublin – Old Dooney & Bourke wristlet (love this and this wristlet from D&B).
Spring is here, guys! FINALLY. It was 85 degrees yesterday and I’m unnaturally psyched. After living in Dublin last summer, I’ve missed those sunny days and hot sticky nights. I know, I’ll be kicking myself for saying that soon enough. I literally forgot bugs existed until like last week… I’ve obviously selectively remembered a lot about Midwestern summers lol. The temperature is starting to go up, but in Wisconsin we’re still having those really nice cool days, too. This outfit is perfect for that sort of in-between weather and I love that it’s a mix of new and vintage and a hilariously old Dooney & Bourke wristlet that I wore on my first date in 7th grade…
Since I totally have summer on the mind, I thought I’d share some things I’m really looking forward to in the coming months. Moving to Madison in November was pretty rough – the city is in hibernation – but everyone tells me how much the city comes alive in the summer. So, here are 10 things on my summer bucket list…
- Run the Madison Bubble Run with my mom in June. It’s sort of giving me unfortunate college foam party flashbacks, but I think it’ll be hilarious. Knowing my mother, we’ll make a day of it with mimosas and endless chats, too.
- Order a pitcher of beer for a long night with friends at the Memorial Union at UW.
- Paddle board yoga. I’ve been going to Dragonfly since I moved here and I love their classes. They always do cool events, but this one in particular caught my interest. I paddle boarded for the first time in Barcelona last summer and truly cannot imagine doing yoga on one so I’m super curious.
- Go on a long, sweaty run and come home to a cold Miller Lite that’s been sitting in my fridge since my friend, Mario, left them there in December.
- See Tig Notaro at the Barrymore. I watched her documentary, Tig, last year and I think her ability to turn so many awful, human things into comedy is genius. Just hoping her mother-in-law shows up to tell the joke…
- Go for a hike. Anyone who knows me is probably making this face right now 😱 But I can be outdoorsy for like an afternoon! Give me some credit! Taking recommendations, but I’d like to check out the Cave of the Mounds area.
- Have a glass of champagne on the roof of Fresco.
- Buy antique furniture and house plants (that I will inevitably kill) on Willy Street.
- Spend Saturday morning at the Madison Farmer’s Market. I already do this, but I’m determined to try every local cheese and stock up on enough all-natural bloody mary mix to last through the winter.
- Rent a boat on Lake Mendota. Would love to spend a long day out on the water and properly learn how to drive a boat while I’m at it. Found this place online, but send any suggestions my way!
Photography by my bro, Ian Brady.