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In holidays, travel on
December 28, 2016

oh christmas tree

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when I read an article a few weeks back about how the biggest tree in canada was at the toronto eaton mall, I knew I had to see it! I had been to the massive mall in the heart of toronto before and they have just about every store you can imagine so I was excited to go again. the tree certainly didn’t disappoint and was probably close to 6 or 7 stories tall! I had seen massive trees before but never indoors and never with so many ornaments! we also looked at the beautiful window displays at hudson’s bay and saks fifth avenue which I thought were every bit as beautiful as the displays on fifth avenue in new york city. we walked around some more and bought some last minute gifts then piled in the car and headed to christmas eve service. tho it was last minute and we had to wake up early, spending christmas eve day in toronto was the highlight of my christmas in canada this year!

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In holidays on
December 27, 2014

happy christmas

happy belated christmas! this year was certainly a good one. it was filled with my favorite things like baking and good food and walks by the beach and presents but best of all, it was filled with spending time with people i love. here are a few snapshots of my wonderful christmas.

//christmas eve//

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{on christmas eve morning, we went on a walk around balboa island}
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{for christmas eve dinner, we went to cucina enoteca at fashion island, which is the new location of one of my favorite restaurants. i didn’t get any good pictures but the snapper i had was superb and i ended up really loving this new location. after dinner, we came home and had dessert and opened a few presents. i made a dark chocolate beet cake which i really regret not photographing but it ended up tasting much better than it sounds. i received the cookbook plenty more and i can’t wait to try some of the recipes!}

//christmas day//
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{christmas morning went from chill and quiet to stressful and crazy real fast. after we woke up, we sat around the tree and started opening presents. i got a lot of clothes, another fjallraven backpack to lug my laptop around school and a beautiful necklace i had been eying, which was a huge surprise because i was convinced the store had sold their last. after present time, my mom and i got down to cooking then we were off to grandmas house}
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{every christmas afternoon, we go to my grandmas house with the rest of our family and have a late lunch together. it was a really warm day so my dad and i walked the dog around the neighborhood before we ate. when it finally was time to eat, we had italian soup, courtesy of my mom, shrimp and grits, courtesy of my aunt and a quinoa apple salad, which i made. after lunch, we had desserts and opened more gifts and chatted around the table}


In holidays on
December 20, 2013

oh but california

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tomorrow, i’m heading home to cali for christmas!! when i first signed up for this program, i didn’t think i would be able to come home at all, which would be so sad because, like 99% of the world, i think christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and i love spending it with my friends and family. but they changed the schedule of the program and now i’ll be home for a few weeks. last christmas was one of the best christmas’s, and even times, of my life so i’m so excited to come home in the middle of this glorious season. for me, everything about christmas screams LA. weird because most people would think los angeles is as unchristmas-y as it gets but treats at joan’s, last minute christmas shopping at the grove, church services at reality, christmas parties with friends, the just-cold-enough-for-a-sweater weather and long car rides listening to christmas music sums up the feeling of this season for me. i love france but let’s be honest: nothing will ever beat home during the holidays. i just feel so blessed that i get the opportunity to come home because i know there are so many that have to spend the holidays away from home, friends and family. thanking Jesus for my many blessings and remembering that above all, He is the reason for this season.

//photo of our tree from last year//
In lists on
December 15, 2013

grateful for…

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1. christmas markets
2. randomly warm days
3. my package from home finally arriving after over a month
4. roasted chestnuts
5. rick steve’s european christmas
6. this book i can’t put down
7. miraculously getting an appointment for my visa checkup
8. crazy late nights with friends
9. the heater in my room that has become my constant companion
10. home in 5 days, christmas in 10 days!

//photo via pinterest//


In travel on
December 13, 2013

all is bright

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this city is so beautiful and magical lit up. there are lights scattered everywhere throughout the city and there is a huge pillar of multicolored lights right outside of the gate to my apartment. the christmas market, which will have its own post soon, takes on a life of its own at night with random disco balls and christmas music (in english!) blasting. but the pièce de résistance is the ferris and tree grove in the center of town. i never get tired of taking pictures of it so i hope you don’t get tired of looking at it. it surely is a sight to behold and i’ll be so sad when it leaves after the holidays

In travel on
December 9, 2013

it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas…

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nice at Christmas is so lovely. all the shops decorate and the fancy streets put up mini trees with red felt ornaments and there are lights everywhere! in the center of town, there is a Christmas village with ice skating and a ferris wheel and little booths selling sweets and overpriced presents. being here is such a change from being in New Zealand last year because kiwis are sadly not the biggest fans of Christmas or decorating so I’m getting my double fill this year. sometimes, when I have time to kill,  I’ll walk around to window shop and take in all the creative ways the city decorates for noel. there is a massive Christmas ornament in place garabaldi, pillars of brightly colored lights on the side streets, a Christmas tree grove in front of one of the state buildings and giant light-up presents suspended above the main street. it’s all a sight to see and it makes me wish Christmas was year around

In holidays on
January 12, 2013

twas the season

my computer is finally fixed! actually apple gave me a new computer but that’s a whole different story… but now i’m back and have tons to post about! i know the holidays have come and gone but here are some snapshots of my favorite time of the year

christmas eve
of every day of the year, christmas eve is always the one i look forward to most but this one beat all others. besides scurrying like a crazy person trying to get my semifreddo done in time to put in the freezer, it was a fun and delicious christmas eve. we went to five crowns, my favorite holiday tradition and enjoyed the good food and holiday cheer. there are carolers that come round to every table and its just not christmas eve without hearing them sing ‘the holly and the ivy’. afterwards, we went back to our house for a little dessert get together.  it was a truly wonderful and magical night

christmas day
christmas day around here is alot more chill and casual than christmas eve. we usually gather at my grandmas and have mexican food and open the remaining presents. i made a quinoa mexican salad which was a nice alternative to the usual heavy, meat filled mexican dishes and a ricotta blood orange cheesecake which i plan to make again in the near future.

In holidays, life on
December 24, 2012


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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

since i’ve been back from new zealand, life has been quite the wild ride! this week has been a whirl of christmas shopping, meeting up with friends, hot yoga, christmas parties and fun times, as well as not so fun times like my computer breaking and having to make nerve-wracking decisions about my future. despite the insanity, this may have been one of the best weeks of my life! i cant help but to smile when i look back at my instagrams since i’ve been home. christmas has long been my favorite time of year but the older i get, the more i appreciate it for what i can give and my time with loved ones instead of what i get (i literally don’t even have a christmas list this year!). but ultimately, i love that this is a time of year to meditate on Jesus’ birth and love for us. that’s what makes christmas most meaningful to me. while it’s great to be away, there is nothing like coming home to friends and family after being abroad. little things like hanging with my mom, movie nights and coffee with friends, playing with my dog and sleeping in my own bed seem so much more special. i’m so blessed to have two places full of people and things i love.

*ps: as mentioned above, my computer broke right when i got home. its getting fixed right now but all the posts i planned for this week are pushed back till i’m reunited with my computer. i still have pics from my last few weeks in new zealand to post, as well as some posts of my adventures from this week but this iphone post will have to suffice till then.