i’m dreaming of a white christmas.

it’s currently the day before christmas eve (christmas eve eve, as some like to call it), and i’m watching some snow fall from the sky. none of it’s sticking, but i have high hopes that if it lasts long enough into the evening, it’ll get cold enough for the snow to stay. i mean, i know that plenty of people survive christmas with no snow, but i’m from MINNESOTA people. a green/brown christmas is simply unacceptable. there must be snow so when we put on our parkas, it feels like there is a reason for it. so yes, i’m dreaming of a white christmas in a big, desperate way.


we’ve got some big holiday plans lined up for the next few days. celebrating christmas with both our families and both our extended families, seeing friends in town, and my favorite: watching amelia open presents and hang out with her aunts, uncles and grandparents. i’m so excited to see everyone and i can’t wait to watch amelia slightly comprehend christmas this year. she’s opened a couple presents already and has REALLY enjoyed that process, so it’s shaping up to be a hilarious wonderful christmas morning. i’m so excited that i’m tingly and a little twitchy and i’m fairly certain i’ll want to stay up all night long until everything starts. totally casual and normal, i

and now for the love…

i hope that all of you are with people you love this christmas, and that you feel so much grace and peace surrounding you during this time. i am so thankful for all of you (i’ve said it before and i’m saying it again, because it’s true). every time i get to interact with one of you, whether it’s in the comments of a post, online talking about a recipe or a cocktail that you tried, or in person talking about our lives, it brings me so much joy. i write here for me, yes, but i also write for you, in the hopes that something i make or something i share will inspire you. and so even though i don’t know most of you, i’m wishing you a merry christmas all the same, and i mean it from the bottom of my heart.

may your days be merry and bright, and may all your christmases be white.


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holiday gift guide: for her.

it’s that time of year. stores are putting out christmas decorations altogether too early, i’ve heard a couple christmas carols on tv, and people are starting to ask around, “what do you want for christmas?” bro, it’s not even thanksgiving yet (although, it’s like two weeks away, which means december is almost here which means i go back to work way too soon…) don’t get me wrong, i think that christmas belongs in december, but since i’m trying out this new thing called “preparing for future events ahead of time”, i thought that i’d put together a couple fun gift guides, since i always am at a loss for what to ask for and, more importantly, what to get that dang husband of mine!

i’ll be starting today with a gift guide for the ladies, which, let’s be honest, is basically my own personal gift guide. i’ll also be doing a gift guide for the gentlemen, and a gift guide for the miscellaneous lovely people in your life. i thought for about two seconds about doing a gift guide for baby, but it would have consisted of a wet washcloth to suck on, and maybe a piece of wrapping paper to play with if they’re old enough. our little amelia will be getting a donation to her savings account from us this year, because she doesn’t know the difference, and we have no room in our house for more of her stuff.

feel free to add items from your wish lists in the comments below. i’m nosy like that and love to know what people are coveting!

1. new makeup is one of those gifts that just makes me happy. but also makeup is super personal, right? so the only logical answer is a sephora gift card. every time i see that black and white bag under the tree, my girly heart skips a beat.

2. i’m super partial to leggings and yoga pants of any kind these days. call it the cliche mom in me. my usual favorite is athleta (seriously, who can i talk to about getting a sponsorship yo?), but i just ordered these trina turk gems from yoga outlet, and i’m really digging them. the perfect stretch and coverage for if i ever want to leave the house. but really, what lady wouldn’t want a new pair of leggings for christmas? i’m sure i don’t know any.

3. in keeping with the comfort theme, long comfy shirts are one of those things that seem like such an afterthought when you throw them on, but the good ones are so hard to find! you know, the kind that cover your bum, or are the perfect blend of comfy and stylish? i am really into bright colors that can also kind of pass as neutrals, and in my book this neon yellow top from dv by dolce vita totally fits that bill.

4. maybe some ladies would think it was odd to receive a fitbit for a gift, but i would love it. just for the sheer perverse knowledge of how many steps i wasn’t taking…

5. i know that so many people do the new pajama tradition for christmas, and i love that so much. my family does it some years, but not every year. this year, i am jonesing for a set with matching top and bottom, the kind of pajamas that are sophisticated yet comfy, and keep me warm when getting up in the middle of the night with the little lady. these look pretty lovely.

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sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

merry christmas to all of you.


welcome to day 12 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “merry christmas eve”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

can i just say how wonderful it’s been over the last couple of weeks to spend some extra time reflecting on the christmas season for this linkup? this has been such a wonderful experience for me, both in how it encouraged me to be extra thoughtful as christmas approached, and in how many new people it helped me find. a GIGANTIC thank you to my lovely sister-friend amber for running this with me and being just generally wonderful.


and thank you to all of you who have been here with me over the past year. whether you’re a commenter or a secret reader, i hope this christmas brings you all that you could wish for, and peace and love and warmth on top of all of that.

i’ll be taking a break from regular posting to enjoy the holiday with my sweet husband, crazy family, and dear out of town friends that are back home for the quickest of visits. see you on the other side.

love and peace and blessings from the ‘z’ family.


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holiday style in the tundra.


welcome to day 11 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “baby, it’s cold outside fashion”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

i know a lot of you that read this little blog here understand me when i talk about the cold and its various challenges. but i know that a lot of you don’t. for those of you fortunate enough to live in warmer climates, let me tell you, this whole getting dressed business becomes a doozy of a challenge when it’s below zero, and snowing, and you have to go somewhere that sweatpants are not acceptable as your fashion choice.

so what’s a girl to do during the holidays when there are parties to go to? the only answer my friends, is layers. layers upon layers upon more layers. also tights. i’ve said this before and i’ll say it again: tights are sweaters for your legs and should be embraced as often as possible.

and thus, i present to you, erin’s christmas outfit of 2013:

i should also mention that most of my christmas parties are with family. and for some reason that makes me feel like i have license for a little fashion adventure, hence the faux leather shorts. because if you can’t wear faux leather shorts at christmas, when can you, eh?

but you see, it is possible to not look like a marshmallow when you layer for cold weather. i’m wearing a (thin) long sleeved shirt under a wool cardigan, and i have thick tights on under faux leather leggings. if i was feeling really chilly, i probably would have thrown some socks on underneath those booties too.

(i am definitely laughing at my husband here, not pose laughing for the camera)

and to make it a real holiday outfit, i’m a big fan of working in some festive colors like red, gold, burgundy or green. i could have done black tights with a green shirt, or all black with a red cardigan on top too. no shame in bringing the christmas colors into the mix, it’s the time to be festive!

i’m wearing: sweater, banana republic (old) || black shirt, banana republic (old) || faux leather shorts, forever 21 (similar here) || tights, target || booties, target (similar here)

hmmm, this may have been my very first style post on here….thoughts/feeling/concerns about this type of thing? any interest in hearing me awkwardly describe my style choices again on the blog?


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recipe: spiked hot cocoa with candy cane vodka [holiday cocktail]


welcome to day 10 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “holiday cocktail”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

today we’re sharing the christmas spirits! get it? see what i did there? spirits, like alcohol? but then it’s like a play on the phrase christmas spirit? you get it.

there are so many festive cocktails around this time of year. pomegranate martinis, bailey’s in everything, and cider cocktails abound (check out chelsea’s amazing creations to see what i’m talking about!). but this recipe is one of my favorites. it’s so festive and so easy, but people will be completely impressed that you infused your own vodka with candy canes! it’s so martha stewart of you!

now you can enjoy some spiked hot cocoa in front of a fire, while watching your favorite christmas movie, or maybe even in a travel mug while you’re outside in the cold…the sky’s the limit.

spiked hot cocoa with candy cane vodka

  • candy canes
  • vodka
  • hot cocoa mix
  • mason jar

break up 1-2 candy canes into a mason jar (depending on the size of the jar you’re using, you can adjust amounts). pour vodka over the candy canes, enough to fill the mason jar. let the candy canes dissolve into the vodka. the smaller your candy cane pieces, the faster they will dissolve. the vodka will turn a pretty pink color. once the candy canes are all dissolved, make your hot cocoa, leaving room in the mug for a shot of candy cane vodka. protip #1: i recommend using a large mug for a whole shot of vodka, a small mug can be pretty strong! protip #2: enjoy with a christmas cookie. protip #3: this makes a really good gift. mix up individual mason jars, tie a ribbon and an extra candy cane around the top, and give with some nice hot cocoa and/or a mug!

let me know if you make any this weekend, i hear it’s going to be cold out there!


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