Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cheers to 2016

I wish you all a very very happy new year and many blessings for the year to come.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who read here daily - I can't wait for all that 2016 has in store for Christina Lea Loves.

I'm also sharing a review of this fabulous year so just scroll below to see what we were up to this year!

Cheers, happy celebrating & be safe!

Year in Review: 2015

How is it that this year is coming to a close.  I honestly feel like it just started.  I guess what they say is true, time really does fly when your having a good time - the days just seem to go by faster and faster.  It's been such a fabulous year and I couldn't feel more blessed.

I've had such fun looking back at the things we did this past year and thinking about all is to come this next year.  Some highlights include celebrating one year of marriage as well as one year of our house building completion, all of our travels {Bermuda, Boston, California, Dallas, Providence and little weekend getaways}, visiting friends and having friends visit us, celebrating all the holidays, birthdays and hosting "just because." Celebrating others getting married, plenty of football/tailgates/meeting Sam Ponder, And of course, adding one little puppy to our family.

The blog was rebranded from The New Mrs. to Christina Lea Loves and I couldn't be happier with the change.  I enjoyed so much sharing recipes (with many many more to come in the new year), date night ideas, travel details and spotlights, holiday celebrating ideas, monthly hopes and recaps of each month, sharing all the details of our wedding and fashion inspirations.

January: (full month review here)
We started off the year celebrating with friends in a low key celebration at home and with a family party on the actual holiday.  We made a trip up to Penn State for a hockey weekend and enjoyed many date nights.  It was our first snow at the new house and we were like little kids with excitement.  We decided to expand on our family and met a puppy who would become ours early the next month.

February: (full month review here)
We got Stella right at the start of the month and the month was really all about her! Having an eight week old puppy really limits you but we loved having our little five pound puppy around.  We went to the car show, got together to celebrate Mom's birthday, had a few snow days, visits with a few out of town friends and date nights rounded out the month.

March: (full month review here)
March continued to have abnormally cold and snowy weather but we hit the six months of marriage mark (hard to believe now we're at a year and three + months).  We made a second trip to State College for a hockey weekend, had a staycation in the city and booked a trip to Bermuda.  Other highlights include trying to housebreak a puppy, many more snow days, girls nights, nights out with friends, prepping for spring, going to an annual casino night that my aunt hosts and helping my brother ring in the big 3-0.  I finished up sharing most of the photos/details of our wedding by month's end.

April: (full month review here)
We finally were able to break out some shorts and enjoy the deck plus a huge closet clean out to prepare for spring.  We celebrated our first married Easter and even hosted an Easter Eve dinner at our house before doing the traditional church/brunch for Easter morning.  We made a trip up to Derek's family farm in NY and bundled up for our first Phillies game of the season. Relaxing on the couch, tanning and lounging on the deck were low-key highlights of the month.  We finished out the month celebrating Steve's birthday as well as a fabulous trip to Bermuda - both of our first time and we loved it!

May: (full month review here)
In the spring of last year we were peeking out at our deck being built and this year we were able to lounge on the porch furniture each night and we took full advantage!  We hosted plenty of gatherings, celebrated Cinco de Mayo, did date nights and went to more Phillies games with the season underway. We celebrated Mother's Day and Stella even brought me flowers to start the celebrations.  We go big with birthday celebrations and the pups are no exception to that - we celebrated Nash towards the end of the month.  The summer officially started with a Memorial Day BBQ and a weekend trip to Saint Michael's.

June: (full month review here)
The summer months brought some bright colors into our house (my favorite! It's usually all neutral but who can turn away some brights when the sun is out!?)  I tested out some frozen dog treats for the pups since Stella had her lady surgery and they were quite well received - she handled it like a champ too.  We kicked off many weekly family dinners once Dining Under the Stars started as well as some brunches to take in the nice weather.  Picking strawberries, Phillies games and the Lilly Pulitzer Annual Sale rounded out the month.  Our friends visited for a mexican fiesta and we went back to Derek's home to visit his family and friends.  We celebrated Father's Day with a round on the golf course with all the kids and Steve and let's just say - maybe next time it'll be better if I just play nine holes.

July: (full moth review here)
Summer was in full force and we fully enjoyed our deck - every night, every weekend, hosting gatherings, date nights - we couldn't get enough.  We had a BBQ to celebrate 4th of July followed by a weekend away at the lake to celebrate - we enjoyed more time at the lake the rest of the month.  July also marked the one year mark for closing on our house (even though we didn't even really begin to make it a home until the previous September).  Our family always takes at least a trip a year and this year we all met up in Boston - so much to take in around that city and we enjoyed it all.  In other travel news we made a weekend trip down to see some of our best friends in DC and we also had a few best friends visit us.

August: (full moth review here)
This month was primarily about our anniversary trip to California since we spent eight days out west (already looking forward to the "annual" anniversary trip).  I had the best time having a stay at "home" upon departing for the trip.  We made a weekend trip to NJ to see Derek's family, friends and a visit to my best friend's house for a few pool days.  I had the best time reflecting on our honeymoon just prior to the one year mark of going and having a summer vacation series while we were traveling.  We got the most of outdoor dining including a great mexican night with my parents as well as much time on the deck.  My little garden kept growing but reached it's limit this month and we logged our final times at the lake house.

September: (full month review here)
The month started off with taking a peek at my summer bucket list and seeing all the fun things we checked off.  We celebrated one year of marriage with a full wedding celebration day a couple days before the anniversary since we traveled back to Providence for a wedding on our actual anniversary.  We had a great time visiting with our college friends and adventuring through our old stomping grounds.  The summer was finished off the same way it started - with a Labor Day BBQ on my parent's deck.  Football season returned (as did crockpot meals) and two great weekends, tailgates & wins in State College.  While one season starts another ends and we went to our final Phillies game of the year - against Derek's Mets.  Mom and I got some girl time in on one of our usual shopping trips.

October: (full month review here)
We were loving anything and everything fall this month including another rainy Penn State game and our annual away game tailgate party at our house.  We celebrated another wedding as well as a weekend away to visit friends in DC and some out of town friends make a visit to us.  We got in some great date nights and also a day date in the city.  We took in as many Halloween and fall activities as possible including a trip to Pumpkinland, Pumpkin day at the arboretum, a Halloween party and a Halloween dinner right here at home. We covered up the patio furniture to prep for winter and are still missing it dearly.

November: (full month review here)
We made our final trip of 2015 at the start of the month down to Dallas for the Cowboys game and other  activities.  In other travel news, we made a weekend trip to Long Island for our final wedding of the year.  Derek turned 30 and we celebrated plenty of times including a night out in the city with friends.  After years of trying we finally celebrated "Friendsgiving" with our friends.  A trip to the food bank, friends visiting, nights at Sotherden's Saloon rounded out the month.  We made one final football weekend trip to State College for a chilly game and tailgate.  Mom and I made our annual "Thursday before Thanksgiving Christmas shopping trip", our little Stella turned one and we prepped our Christmas Cheer for the holiday season.  For Thanksgiving we were able to see both families and enjoy a brunch as well as big dinner.

I celebrated two years of blogging to start the month as well as had a blast putting together gift guides to share with all.  We got the house all set up for Christmas and had a much anticipated low key weekend at home spent mostly in pajamas.  All of the Christmas movies were watched, cards were sent out, lights were looked at, cookies were baked, cheer was drank - it was all about Christmas activities all the time.  We had our annual family Christmas dinner at Maggiano's as well as another shop and dine impromptu night.  Derek got a new car.  An ugly sweater party, date nights with friends an an army navy tailgate rounded out the month - complete with meeting Sam Ponder!  We took Stella to meet Santa and saw the Nutcracker in the city before heading to New York to celebrate my 27th birthday.  We got all the gifts wrapped and celebrated Christmas Eve Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and a Family Christmas party.  It's been the best closing out the year with a relaxing week at home!

Looking forward to seeing what this next year brings! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015

Oh Christmas.  Such a sweet and special day.  Last year we traveled ON Christmas so this year just felt extra special to be in one spot and just e-n-j-o-y what the day had to offer.  I used to force my brother to wait for me to walk down and "see what Santa brought" (no way am I giving up my childhood) but this year I abolished the rule and I must say, it was quite enjoyable.  I ran down to wish my mom, Derek and Stella a Merry Christmas (the others were still upstairs) and since I'm in charge of all the kids gifts to our parents I had plenty of time to set them up under the tree.  We got the deck door and some windows open as well as the fan and that really helped to cool things down despite the crazy weather.  New this year was making some "Kris Kringle Punch" which I got together just as everyone was coming downstairs.  
I've got way too many photos from Christmas but it is my favorite time of the year to have the camera out and just keep snapping...

 Once we were all downstairs, Steve ran back up and reappeared in this elf onsie complete with a hat and jingly botoies - it was too much! I couldn't stop laughing and he said he did it to surprise me, ha! 

Nash always gets his stocking/bag of toys first to keep him occupied and this year since Stella was there we did them both at the same time and they both were more interested in each other's items than their own.  First up is always stockings (and the huge overflow bags - the stockings are everyone's favorite parts) - kids go first then the parents.  The first gifts opened are always the gifts from Davey and I to each other… and now Derek too followed by all of Santa's gifts.  Instead of just ripping through, we try to take our time and just overlap a little bit so everyone can see what everyone else gets.  (In the past this wasn't always true but now…) I love seeing what everyone gets and I especially love seeing the gifts that us kids pick out for my parents being opened up.  The whole morning is such a special time to me.

 Stella took to using mom's stocking as a head rest while she plaid with all the new stuff
Steve used to be a trainer at Penn State and mom found a little lego PSU trainer golf cart - it was the best stocking stuffer!
These boxing gloves (and a pair for me) were gifted to Derek and I and of course he couldn't wait to use them.

It was also our little Stella's first Christmas and we had the best time giving her gifts and watching her take it all in.  It got to be a little overwhelming for our little lady (who hid under the couch) but we quite enjoyed watching her enjoy herself with her toys all weekend long.

We got Nash a game that you hide the treats in one year and each Christmas it gets played with non stop
Nash took a liking to the cosmo and the "chewy vuitton" and "sniffany and co." toys I think I enjoyed more than the pups
Stella loves liking the outside of a wine glass - she always goes right to it.  She was also nice enough to team up with mom to "gift" me a jacket to walk her in.

As I've said before, the weather this year was just crazy.  I went out on the deck to jokingly ask if we could get our Christmas morning photo out there and when I saw the table/chairs were dry, I asked to move the dining room tablescape outside and have our Christmas brunch outdoors - for probably the only time in our entire lifetime.  Unsure at first, everyone ended up agreeing and we did Christmas brunch outside in our pajamas and bare feet - never again will that happen in PA (well, most likely) and it's now such a sweet, fun memory.  (it was especially sweet because the sun went down and the rain reappeared just a couple hours after we finished outside).

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and napping - such an enjoyable Christmas day.

We got ourselves ready and headed over to my aunt's house to spend Christmas evening.  She had quite the spread, we had plenty of Christmas Cheer to drink and we all just enjoyed being together.

When we got home we had intentions of watching some new movies that we'd gotten earlier but I'm pretty sure everyone was falling asleep within minutes.  It was a very blessed and special day - already looking forward to next year.