almost MERRY CHRISTMAS!

10735026_1501653370093061_1937709513_n

10784924_1510772692504941_794764714_n

my favorite time of year has started and my favorite holiday IS ALMOST HERE!
over the last few weeks {well, month *cough* KOHLS *cough*} I have seen trees go up, ornaments go up and fake snow placed around the displays at select stores. starbucks introduced their Christmas drinks the first day of November {yep, ittttt happened and I totally drank my favorite peppermint mocha}. we have a tradition here in this house that we go tree picking the first weekend of december. we chop it down, decorate it and enjoy it all weekend. I would love to decorate earlier this year, but I am all for enjoying the holiday and time in between Halloween and New Years Day.

one of my favorite memories revolving around Christmas involves my grandma frahlich. which, almost every one of my favorite memories involves her. I would spend the night the weekend after thanksgiving, or even thanksgiving night. we would stay up late watching movies, making our signature nightly snack and I would spend it trying to convince her decorating that year was a good idea. I was always convincing her, and she was always thanking me I had after.

we would get up, have our breakfast and slowly make our way to her storage closet. box by box, I would bring the Christmas decorations back to her apartment. it was always a gamble to see how many boxes at one time I could bring back to save the most time. I would get inside and she would start unpacking. “I can’t believe I have so many Christmas decorations. Alex, is there anything you want? I need to get rid of so much.” I would always find a place and if not, there was no shame packing it back up and sticking it in the closet.

my absolute favorite thing to decorate with my grandma was the Christmas tree. I would set it up and she would unwrap the ornaments. slowly, and with careful eyes, we hung each one. we topped it with a sparkly star and then held our breaths as we turned the lights on and stepped back to admire it. and then she would hug me and thank me for decorating. and every time it made me so happy. because those moments, alone with my grandma, were my favorite and I miss them every Christmas.

one of the first things I requested when she passed was that Christmas tree. and I still have it. I put it up last year {the first Christmas without her} and it wasn’t the same. I eventually took it down before Christmas. but I know when I have my own place, I will put it up proudly the weekend after thanksgiving and remember every memory of every decoration and ornament I have of hers and know she is with me the entire time.

xo

frustration.

I’m going to be pretty honest.
one of the absolute must frustrating things I deal with on almost a daily basis is worry. worry that is attributed from melanoma. every new freckle, bump, or different colorization puts me on the alert.
and then I do one of the worst things ever and that’s going on Google.
but quickly, I calmly talk myself out of it and look at my symptoms logically. is that bruise from when I bumped into my desk at work the other day? oh, yeah, probably.
was the freckle by my scar always there? no, but it looks normal and I just had my scan a couple months ago.
and ladies, let’s be honest. we all aren’t the best at updating our bras when we probably should and those underwires hurt under our arms. so is that bump that hurts an irritation, or is it a sign of cancer.

my mind goes straight to cancer and I hate that it does.
so I wait it out. I keep my mind off of it. I monitor it. but when it doesn’t go away, I panic and you can bet nothing much else is on my mind. because last year we all thought the mole was nothing. and then it was everything wrong.

so it’s hard when something isn’t going away to not worry. and then i’ll ask a million questions to my doctor this Friday when I see her and hopefully it will all be okay.

because if there is anything I learned from my whole melanoma experience last year, it was to just take one day at a time. there is nothing you can do today about it. don’t think so negatively and drastically. just think rationally and logically and know that the results will come when they do. the doctor is going to give you good or bad news regardless. so enjoy the moment. enjoy the little things. don’t let it consume you. because you will drive yourself insane and find your nights falling asleep are spent crying in fear. and really, who wans puffy eyes the next morning? I’ve had them too frequently lately.

the new york city ballet.

holy moly guacamole. I was introduced to this city.ballet series by a cup of jo and fell in love. I have never been able to dance. ever. slow dance, sure, and teach me something and I will eventually get it. I think I did ballet when I was four for a year or two but I have always had such an appreciation for the dance and the dancers. one of my favorite movies is center stage.
so when Joanna blogged about this, I checked it out and finished the entire first season in one sitting {because, you know, I don’t have a dozen other things I should be doing…}
and there is a second season, so you can only guess what I will be doing at some point this week.
anyway, check it out. it’s mesmerizing.
new-york-city-ballet-justin-peck

image from a cup of jo from city.ballet

happy halloween weekend!!!!!!

halloween 94
I pulled out some of our old photo albums and stumbled upon this little photo. my mom was pretty cool to dress up with me. actually, she probably still would if I asked her to!

Halloween is so much fun! all of the pumpkins everywhere and the excuse to make everything pumpkin flavored is valid.
anyways, I will be dressing up this year…I think…for a Halloween party. thinking of going as Mary Poppins because I fell in love with Saving Mr. Banks this year and seriously, how cute would that outfit be?
but what makes me most excited about this time of year is that tomorrow, I can officially start listening to Christmas music without feeling guilty. I was made fun of at work {all in good fun} for listening to Christmas music and I get it. it was a little early. but I can’t help it! Christmas is just so magical.
but first comes thanksgiving and in our family, we have something super exciting happening this year! celebrating thanksgiving on my mom’s side a little early! I cannot wait, guys!
what do you love about this time of year?
xo

it’s autumn. and it’s friday.

two of  my favorite things. the air has been crisp outside. the leaves have all officially turned and hot chocolate and plenty of coffee during the day have all been necessary. my sweaters have been moved out from the back of the closet, my scarves are hanging up and I found the best hat for when it gets a little chillier out. this girl is happy. fall is here.

boots
pumpkins2
{this is the latest we have ever gone to get pumpkins! our porch looks so much better with a little orange}
big pumpkins
pumpkins4
pie pumpkins{these had me itching to make a pumpkin pie. or anything with pumpkin, really}
pumpkin6
harvest{sadly, it was pretty gloomy out. but I think it added to the whole Halloween vibe}
stalks
broter{my brother got stuck with the heavy lifting}
ghost house{and this is the house on the property. can you imagine living here? I think it looks so creepy!!!}

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead! mine will be spent with family and friends and babysitting the cutest kids.
xo

a beautiful bracelet.

a few months ago I connected with a lovely girl on The Giving Keys Instagram page over something we have in common: going through melanoma. it felt so SO good to connect with someone who got what I had gone through and continue to deal with daily (scars, fear, the unknown). we chatted through Instagram and eventually on Twitter and got to know a little more about our journeys.

I noticed she was making such pretty bracelets and she offered to make me one and I was so excited! when I got it in the mail I fell in love with it.

IMG_3924.JPG
the charm is so pretty and the color of the thread is a favorite of mine.

IMG_3937.JPG

Connect with Sarah just to chat or to purchase one of these pretty bracelets. She is just lovely to talk to!

we came back smelling like campfire.

it was the perfect weekend for camping! sure, it was a bit chilly (I think the high was 55) but that’s what campfires are for which we had going all day long. it was fantastic! we spent time with family and enjoyed being outside all day. there were even some fall activities going on.

have I mentioned how much I love fall?

camping1{my new Diana came in the mail and I have been reading and reading about how to take the perfect picture. but what I have found out is it’s the not so perfect ones that are phenomenal. so I brought this lady out and snapped some shots}
camping2
camping3{one of my most favorite things about camping is getting up early in the morning and enjoying everything around me before everyone is awake}
camping4
{our view from one of our camp sites}

camping5camping6
camping8
camping9
{the moment in the day I regretted only bringing one sweatshirt. it was a bit chilly. but then I looked around me and all was good again}
camping10
camping13
camping15
{even camping, zip has to be “proper” and cross his arms}