Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good Bye 2014!

It's time to say goodbye to 2014 and look towards a new year. I always look forward to a fresh start or a new year. It's rather like starting a new school year, anything could happen! This year we are very low key as my entire family has been down with a nasty variation of a cold since the 23rd of December. So good bye 2014! 2015, can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traditional vs. Prep?

Here's a question for any one out there who still might be reading this blog, is there a difference between being traditional which I have recently seen abbreviated as "Trad" and being "Preppy"? I'm at work this week and things are quite and slow so I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Prep and found this post discussing the subject. I had always considered the two things to be somewhat synonymous but reading the post and the comments was interesting. It is true that there has been an explosion of "preppy lifestyle" blogs recently, not that this is a bad thing but it seems like "Prep" may be slightly more flamboyant than "Trad". I personally do not fit the classic definition of "Prep". I grew up out West in California and although I attended college at a small New England university, returned home for law school and live in the Bay Area now. I have however, always been traditional, both in dress and actions. I have variously been described by family and friends as conservative (although not politically), traditional and preppy. I believe in manners and write thank you notes on my monogramed stationary and so do my kids. I value education and charity and believe in giving back. All of these seem like traditional values and yet some what prep. The comments on the linked post above seemed to say that someone who was "trad" was a grown up "prep" but one commenter seemed to sum it up best and said ""trad" can be used to described a person with quiet good manners, a preference for classic clothing, a decent education or at least good critical-thinking skills, a preference for a quite lifestyle and a good strong sense of ethics. There are more descriptors I could use, but basically a trad is someone with good taste and good manners who tries to do the right thing and feels a sense of obligation to others and to the world." That says it all. It certainly describes me as I see myself. Trad or Prep, does it matter?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Glamour

 One of our holiday traditions is the annual Hunt Ball. This is a lovely party held at a very fancy club. My parents are the Master of Foxhounds in our local hunt and both my sister and I were whippers in prior to the arrival of our small ones. My daughter CMB and my niece both go out with us now. CMB also attends the event. Above is a picture of my hubby and I. It's fun to get all dressed up and party. One of our members was a concert pianist before he went to law school so he plays carols and everyone sings at the end of the night.
                                                                Hubby, CMB and me,
                                                                 CMB and my father
CMB dancing with her grand father. My dad has always been a great dancer but was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's which is one of the reasons CMB attends this party at age 11. I want her to remember dancing with her grand father before he can't any more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prepping for the Holidays

One of my very favorite blogs to read is The Daily Prep. I love the authentic feel and down to earth vibe. I'm not living in New England any longer and am originally from out West anyway but the values I was brought up with and am trying to pass on to my family are similar. I wanted to share the fabulous list of Christmas music from that site. Click here for the original post which has some fabulous pictures.

My personal favorite is the Classic Christmas Carols from the Choir of King's College in Cambridge. I also love the Nutcracker of course. Do you have favorites?

Some suggestions (with links to playable music samples on Amazon):

Friday, December 19, 2014

Complients of the Season

One of my favorite of our holiday traditions is the Nutcracker. When I was a child, we went very year. Now that I have kids, my parents take my daughter and I as well as my sister and her children every year to San Francisco. My two boys don't attend and neither do either husbands. We ride the train up from down the Peninsula, a nice lunch and attend a matinee.  The SF Nutcracker is a little different. Unlike the more traditional versions, the Nutcracker Prince is played by an adult male dancer, not a boy. As a result. the final Grand Pas des Deux is danced by the Nutcracker Prince and Clara, transformed by the Sugar Plum Fairy's magic into an adult woman for that one dance. The Sugar Plum Fairy dances what would be the Rose Fairy role in a traditional performance. It's a bit different but the dancing this year was the best so far. I admit I prefer the more traditional staging but it is a beautiful performance and the Opera House in SF is beautiful! Above is my daughter, CMB. She's 11 now and we have been going every year since she was 3.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dressed Up Dinning

Now that we have school aged kids and a crazy life (3 basketball games, one school concert and 2 office parties are already on the calendar this week) we rarely get all dressed up and go out, just the two of us. When all 5 of us go out it's usually to our favorite sushi place or someplace equally casual and hubby and I are the same. Add to that the fact that we live in the Bay Area where fleece is considered "fancy" and dressy dining just doesn't happen that often. However, it's a wonderful treat when it does and one I still dream about doing more. The Brooks Brother Magazine (yes there is such a thing) has a lovely feature this month on places where dressing up to dine is a must. Yes, they are all in NYC, but a girl can dream!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Just Because

I do a post with this picture every December just because I love it. This model, I don't recall her name, was my favorite J Crew model back in what I think of as "the good old days" of J Crew. She's happy and smiling and I love the clothes and colors. I have this coat in red and it's as perfect as the day I purchased it. Sometimes I think I'd love to find that skirt in yellow and create this look reversed but I never have. It's just a picture that makes me feel happy and that's what the Holidays are for right?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Advent Calendar Traditions

When you think of Advent Calendars, usually the first thing that comes to mind are the ones with little paper doors that you opened each morning to find a little chocolate as a child. I've done those with my kids too but when I was growing up my mom made an advent calendar that had little pockets. Each morning there was a note or maybe a little gift. Sometimes the note just said something nice, sometimes it announced a holiday themed family fun like hot chocolate and a holiday movie. When there was a gift it was a small token, like candy canes or maybe a lip gloss. My sister and I called the magic person responsible the "Advent Fairy" and we loved it so much that our freshman year a college, the Advent Fairy sent each of us a package with a little something each day until we came home to the calendar! Now that we are grown, my sister was the lucky one to whom the Advent calendar came and every year, for several years I planned to make my own. This year I finally did and the product is above. This morning there were little chocolate Santa's but on Saturday we baked holiday cookies as a family and then ate them after dinner with hot chocolate while watching Home Alone. Tomorrow? Who knows? The Advent Fairy hasn't decided yet! Do you have any Advent Calendar traditions?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Attire for Young Ladies

This is the time of year for Holiday parties and dressing up. Not a problem for me, I have several lovely frocks that just don't get out enough. Dressing my lovely daughter is a challenge this year. At 11 and in the 6th grade, she is to old for smocked dresses and mary janes. And at 5 feet 4 inches tall with super long legs and blond hair as well as starting to have a young ladies body, that type of dress just wouldn't work, even if she was willing to wear one. However, she's not old enough for the short, tight "teen" dresses shown in catalogues and at the mall. Let me add that no matter how old she is, that type of dress doesn't fly at my house. She is a young lady, not a young street walker. Enter this beautiful dress from, where else, but Brooks Brothers. It's 100% silk, lined and lovely. Just mature enough but not to much. With slightly sheer black tights and black velvet ballet flats and the pearls my parents gave her for her First Communion. Sounds perfect to me, what do you think?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Now, the Holiday Season May Most Merrily Commence!

I know I ranted all last week about enjoying Thanksgiving before jumping into Christmas. And I did enjoy Thanksgiving. We went to my parents and spent some lovely time with my Mom and Dad as well as my Grandmother who is 93 as well as my sister and her family. Sunday, however, all bets were off and I dove head first into the Holiday Spirit. Our family tradition is to cut down our own tree over in Half Moon Bay. We then have lunch at our favorite sea food place on the water and bring home Dungeness crab right off the boat for dinner. Here is our tree all decked out. Does your family have any special tree decorating traditions?