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It has been a strange year…and then I decided to spend Christmas in LA by myself. I figured I should do something somewhat festive and mustered up what holiday spirit I have and put together a mish-mosh tree…taped to the wall.  Never underestimate leftover decorations. And I so much enjoyed getting all those lovely Christmas cards in the mail this year! Forgive me, for I lack the focus to reciprocate the cards. In the past I always got up to the point where the names and sometimes address’ were printed on the card, but never actually put stamps on any of them. After countless failed attempts, I eventually just gave up.  One day!!

I feel like I am somewhere between the Grinch and Clark Griswald this year. Christmas traditions have changed so much in my family with all the new families and I think I am still figuring out what it means to me.   But as I sit here listening to my favorite Johnny Mathis Christmas album, perhaps somewhat torchering myself, I dream of all those Christmas mornings as a kid where I was spoiled rotten and Christmas lasted for hours as we each took turns opening up our gifts, taking breaks for cinnamon rolls and the bathroom, my dad would almost always guess what his gifts were, and just when you thought it was over the stockings were stuffed full of goodies too! I cherish those memories and moments with my family. I am lucky.

I look forward to the day when I can perhaps spoil my very own family. But this year, I will spoil myself intentionally with lots of food and lots of TV. I hope Scrooge is on cable this year!

Much love to my family and friends whom I love so much! I hope your holiday is full of love and joy, cherishing old memories and making new ones!

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This is my friend Allan. He loves Christmas, he loves egg nog, and he loves my dear friend Stacy! And I love him…one of the bestest guys I know and a brilliant comedian! I couldn’t upload the video…but click on the link. Some special guests as well!

Merry Christmas!

This piece is by David John from YHBHS, (please check out his blog…it’s amazing!), whom once owned the house I currently live in.  He wrote this piece for the most recent issue of Apartamento, one of my favorite magazines.

 David, was still living in the house when I moved in.  He welcomed me into this home he created, one that obviously already held so much history for him, something I would think could be a hard thing to do.  I so much enjoyed our conversations, his advice, and hearing stories about the house.  He sent me the article yesterday and as I was reading it, I could understand and feel that connection to this house, even though I have only lived in here for a year and a half. David handed over the keys to the new landlord and then they handed over the keys to me. Six months later David left his side of the house  and the keys were handed over to a dear friend of mine. Now the time has come to hand the keys over again. It is hard to see someone leave, someone whom helped you create a home on top of someone else’s once home.  Furniture will leave, the dog and cats, a certain amount of comfort as well. Although I often crave change, I can also find it difficult, especially saying goodbye.  I admit I get a bit to sentimental about things and people. However, I welcome the new neighbors (and luckily I do know them),  but I do wonder what will life be like? How will things transition? Will I miss my old neighbor and friend? Will the new neighbors love the house as much as I do? Will the house mean the same thing to me? What does the future hold in this house?

I don’t think the landlords will ever have a problem renting this place out.  People were lining up at my party last weekend wanting to move in! People LOVE this place!! All the blood, sweat, and tears David and his ex-husband put into this humble home really shows off! In it’s own way, I think it is the perfect little house and it will continue to serve its purpose for me, the new neighbors, and the people after that and after that.

Check out the actual article on David’s blog YHBHS, the photo and story resonate a bit better there!

Life is ever changing. People come and they go.  Needless to say, I can sometimes have a hard time with that.  My old roommate once told me that I keep my friends. And I do, to the best of my ability.  Last night was a true testament of that for me.  I hosted a little holiday party.  Throughout the night I looked at the people around me and the majority were old friends. Friends whom I have had since those first few years in Hollywood when we are all trying to get our foot in the door, girlfriends whom are like sisters to me, old roommates, people whom inspire me, make me laugh, and whom are just damn good people.  New friends as well, who feel like old friends.  It warmed my heart immensely.  I may not get to see some of these people all the time, or talk to them often, but there they are. The memories are there and the opportunity to make new ones.  It was a pleasure to be amongst my eclectic group of friends  knowing each and every one is dear to me.

It’s true, I am uber sentimental.  But on to the decorations for the party! I got so busy talking and enjoying my lovely friends I forgot to take pictures of the people, but here are the pictures of the holiday table and the menu.

The start of the set up. I used brown paper for packaging as a tablecloth and labeled all the dishes on the paper itself.  Mason jars for drinks! I also recently bought some liquor decanters from the thrift store to go with a silver tray from ikea. I love the idea of having your liquor displayed in pretty glass ready for you to pour a drink at a moments notice!

Got the idea for these tinsel skewers at OdessaMaySociety!

Setting up for the fire! Found piñon wood and it smelled oh, sooo good!

Crudités and buttermilk dip from Martha!

This was my favorite part! Laying the cheese platter directly onto the paper with the labels.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies via Poppytalk and Glittering Almond Cookies via thepurlbee.

Some red velvet whoopie pies via Paula Deen in the background! I had a thought while I was eating one for lunch today to add peppermint extract to the cake! It is Christmas after all.

The full menu displayed! Below are links for the other recipes!

Artichoke Dip

Fennel and Parmesan dip

Sopressata puff pastry

Chipotle and Rosemary Nuts

Spicy Ginger Man

I would say the party was a success! Everyone was full of compliments and super into the food! My favorite was the puff pastry and the artichoke dip. I wish I had leftovers right now! Thank you to all for coming over and sharing an evening with me!

Infused liquors! Why not?

Choose your liquor and choose your flavor.  I did apple cinnamon whiskey ( per Donna G!) and vanilla vodka!

Clean your jars ( I sterilized mine) and add the ingredient for flavor.  Pour liquor over and put the lid back on. Shake it! And then shake it some more…3-5 times a day for about 3-5 days! Store in a cool, dark place.  Go here for more detailed instructions!

Pretty much the same thing for these babies! Choose your flavors, bottles, and olive oil. I did garlic and rosemary.  Boil the oil for about 1-2 minutes just until warm. Then let the oil cool for about 5-7 minutes.  Place ingredients in bottle first and then pour over the oil. Let it sit to infuse about 2 weeks in a cool dry place! You can also place it in the refrigerator.

Good gifts for yourself or the holidays. My friend Hilda took home one last night!!