Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter To Do List

As we approach the "official" first day of winter on Sunday, I thought I'd put together a little list of things I'd like to do this season. some are Christmas related and others are not. With the craziness of the Christmas season upon, it seems a bit late to be posting a list like this, but we still have January, February and March to do wintry things!
1. Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and/or whipped cream
2. Drink tea
3. Wear warm scarves and hats
4. Ice skating
5. Sledding, if we get the right kind of snow here
6. Festival of Lights in Cincinnati 
7. Wrap presents
8. Eat cookies
9. Eat soup and cold weather dishes
10. Use the good camera more (This requires that we actually bring it with us when we are travelling, which we've been neglecting to do on our last few weekend trips. :/)

*Photos by Sean last winter around our neighborhood

Monday, December 8, 2014


I know it's not Christmas yet, but I'm officially in the Christmas spirit now. We spent this past weekend decorating, shopping, and having fun with family and friends.
Friday night, Sean and I continued our yearly tradition of trimming the tree while watching Love Actually. We always pick a small tree since we don't have much room in our living room to spare, but I think even small trees can be mighty. It's fun to see how our collection of ornaments grows each year, and I enjoy thinking of all our loved ones who've given them to us or the places they've come from as we place each one on the tree.

After Love Actually was over, we decided to watch Uncle Buck, which isn't a particularly Christmas-y movie, but it just makes me smile. Macaulay Culkin and John Candy have perfect delivery, and even though it's been awhile since I've seen it, I still remember all the best lines. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it!
Saturday night we had "Sibs" dinner with the family after Sean and his sister Maggie baked some cookies for us to take to our Christmas celebration in Charlotte, NC this year. We even got fancy and broke out the Christmas dishes.
Sunday, we started the day off right with a blueberry pancake breakfast. Then Sean and I had very successful (and surprisingly stress-free) day of shopping. We finally rounded out the weekend with a lovely dinner at a friends house, that included contemplating plans for our upcoming trip to Ireland at the end of February!

How are you celebrating the season?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November in Review

Well, I've made it to the final post for November. I'm pretty proud of myself for making it to the end. This week was a little sporadic on the posting because of my birthday and Thanksgiving, which we visited my parents to celebrate in Northern Kentucky. I didn't bring my computer and had some trouble with posting from my phone, but I'm all caught up now! It's been fun November! Now on to December and full on Christmas mode! Here are a few photos from the month.

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This weekend we've been enjoying the holiday with family and friends. Here's a shot from my parents' house last night. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Shopping?

Now I don't really like going out shopping  for Black Friday at all. I was just telling my friends last night that I would rather just pay the extra money than to get out in that mess (although I do appreciate the satisfaction of getting a great deal… just not on this day).

But if I were to go out today, I would take two people with me: Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation .…because TREAT YO' SELF!

I think Donna would be pushy enough to get us through the crowds, and Tom would know all the latest and best gifts to  buy! Another perk of bringing these two along? They would probably keep my rage for the crazy shoppers at bay and keep me laughing for the whole day. 

Completely Frivolous, Indulgent Christmas List

This post for the #30for30 challenge was actually supposed to be for Tuesday, which was my birthday. I missed posting on Tuesday and Wednesday because even though it was a two day work week, it was a crazy busy two days. But anyway, here is my "completely frivolous, indulgent Christmas list."

So here goes...
This passport case from Cuyana for our upcoming trip to Ireland!

Louboutin flats found on Pinterest.

An exotic vacation sounds nice right about now...

I've had this bag on my Pinterest wish list for a while now, and Sean actually got it for me for my birthday!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Favorite Thanksgiving Family Tradition

My family does it every year. We go around the table each saying what we are thankful for... cliche but hey when else are you going to do it? It's a nice tradition that I look forward to each Thanksgiving.

Another family tradition that we have not just on Thanksgiving but at all of our O'Neill celebrations is a little game called Left, Right, Center. Everyone chips in three dollars and at the end, someone wins the whole pot. Last Saturday we played a special "high stakes" version (each person chipped in $15!), and my dad won! Sean took this video of his final roll to win it all, and it just makes me smile!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Recipe: Maple Pecan Pie Bars

Image via the kitchn
Sean and I made these pecan pie bars as our contribution to my mom's family Thanksgiving celebration that was over the weekend. They were so simple to make and they were a hit with the family. I found the recipe on one of my favorite websites: the kitchn. They were easy to throw together quickly, and easy for transporting to a party. Also, thanks to my dad, we discovered they are extra delicious with a side of whipped cream! We are always quick to add whipped cream in the McPhillips household!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish

I think my favorite Thanksgiving dish is probably dressing/stuffing (it's up for debate what you want to call it). It's just the thing that makes it feel uniquely Thanksgiving. Many of the other dishes we have at my family's celebration are things we have at other holidays, or they are dishes that are substituted with different variations throughout the years. But dressing means that it's Thanksgiving, and it's always there for the O'Neill celebration. We celebrated yesterday in Northern Kentucky, and my mom made the dressing this year. (It's her mom's recipe that we've always made.) It was a beautiful dinner, and I love being with such a wonderful family. Thanksgiving truly is my favorite holiday, and I'm thankful to have such wonderful family and friends with whom to celebrate it. 

This year's centerpiece: a serving dish passed down from my great-grandmother O'Neill

Friday, November 21, 2014


Today's post is "how synchronicity changes your life." I think the best example of this is how Sean and I met. He was returning from a study abroad trip to Austria and I was leaving to go on mine to Spain, and our respective Bellarmine groups found each other in the airport... in Atlanta, not Louisville. I didn't know Sean then even though we were both Bellarmine students, but my classmate Ashtin was good friends with him, and they found each other at the airport that day. I actually took this picture of them:

My uncle told me that this trip to Spain was going to change my life, and little did I know it would change my life before I even left the country! But it was the start a wonderful friendship with Ashtin, which later led me to Sean. We didn't start dating until about 6 months after this trip. But I just think it's funny that we were students at the same school, both going on a summer study abroad trip through the same program, and our first meeting happened in the Atlanta airport!

Ashtin and I on the plane later that day (We look like babies!)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Favorite Pinterest Accounts

Katie Armour

She is Pinterest OBSESSED! My feed fills up with her pins daily... always beautiful home decor and fashion picks.

Kathryn Grady of Snippet & Ink

I found her blog when I was wedding planning, and started following her on Pinterest soon after that. I like the recipes and fashion that she pins.

Kendi Everyday

This is also one of my favorite blogs that I did not include on my list last week. (I've been trying to mix it up on all the social media posts to include all my favorites.) I love all of her fashion pins, as well as some hair styles and inspirational quotes that she finds.

My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter by pinner Tiffany Beveridge

Finally, I have to include my absolute favorite Pinterest board. This one is there to give all of my other boards a reality check. My picks above are pretty centered around fashion, decor, and beauty. But staring at all of this beautiful, most times shallow stuff all day can get quickly mind-numbing and overwhelming. Snark, sarcasm, and hilarious toddler names are sure to brighten your day and snap you back into reality after staring at the ridiculousness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dinner for Three

If I were to have three famous dinner guests, I think these three would be my choices...

Amelia Earhart: Since grade school, I have  been enamored with her. The mystery of her death/disappearance has always heightened my curiosity, but I also admire the way she lived her life up to that point. She seemed like someone who was so sure of herself, and I think she would be an awesome dinner guest!

Stephen Colbert: He just makes me laugh so much. I would love to see what he's like outside of the character he plays on The Colbert Report. I think we could be friends in real life, so I'd invite him to my famous people dinner, definitely!

Teddy Roosevelt: I caught the first two episodes of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on PBS (There are seven episodes and I want to watch the rest!), which mostly focused on Theodore's life. He was kind of a crazy person! But also very driven and seemed like he might be fun to be around/have for a dinner guest.

If you could choose three famous people to invite to dinner, who would they be?

*Photo above:A beautiful table set by my Aunt Mitzie for a birthday party she hosted over the summer... I'd get some tips from her for hosting my famous guests!

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I love the first snowfall of the season. Although, this year it seems a bit early for it to be starting, I still enjoy it. Everything looks so beautiful and peaceful, and I love walking through the snow before anyone else has, making those first footprints. I guess winter is here... and I felt like we were just getting started with fall.

*I missed yesterday's post but for good reason! It was Sean's birthday! I'll try to be back later tonight with it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Winter Essentials

Today's #30for30 blog post is about winter essentials, and this could not have fallen on a more perfect day based on the weather here in Louisville.... nice work Graylin! We have gotten our first snowfall of the season and it's kind of a lot for the first one of the year (for Louisville)...probably about 2-3 inches.

Starting from the top and going clockwise, here are a few of the things I enjoy having during the winter.

Flannel Sheets: You guys, I didn't discover the joy of flannel sheets until last year. I always thought I would hate them because they would be too hot. I don't like being hot at night, so I always stayed away from flannel sheets, but someone gave us these as a gift and I am a convert! Here's the thing with flannel sheets, they are warm AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO BED! You don't need to experience that biting cold that is the norm with regular old cotton sheets.

Burt's Bees lip balm: This lip balm is the only one I've found that is affordable and long-lasting. I don't feel like I need to keep putting it on every five minutes. I also love the slightly tinted version they have if I'm feeling fancy.

Old Man Sweater: This one is just from Target, and I don't know what it's made of, but it's toasty warm and usually the first thing I put on when I get home from work every night once the temperature starts dropping.

Moccasin Slippers: These are from Target too and usually the second thing I put on when I get home every night. :)

Scarves: I love scarves really any time of the year, but in the winter they are an absolute necessity. Added bonus, they always add a new element to your outfit, even if you're wearing the same old things... just add a scarf to change it up.

Gloves: I've been wanting a pair of leather gloves for a while now, but my mom got me these wool ones last year and I love them! They are the perfect mix of being warm enough yet not too bulky. (And they have the touch screen fingertips.) I might not really need those leather ones after all.

Moose Cup: I love drinking hot tea and hot chocolate in the winter, and I found these cute moose mugs for Sean and I last year. (The tail is the handle!)

Blanket: All of these items are displayed on top of my favorite blanket. I stole it from my Mom and Dad a few years ago because it's SO WARM. It's my favorite thing to snuggle up under it and watch some Netflix or read a book!