For the next few days I plan on unplugging, wearing only pajama pants and spending some much deserved time lounging around with my family. Oh, and eating half my weight in holiday treats and sweets—self control can wait until the new year.
I’m a big fan of elaborate holiday lights displays. Though some friends and I drove through Jolly Holiday Lights a few weeks ago, now that I’m home for the holidays I thought it might be fun to find something festive a little closer to suburban Chicago. Thankfully over the weekend a friend asked if I’d like to tag along with her and her family to the Larsen Christmas Lights Show in Elburn, IL.
With almost 1 million lights, the family created their annual lights show in under 21 days this year to take top prize in ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”—a light bulb trophy and $50,000. The display is incredible and if you happen to be in the area it’s definitely worth a trip. We sweetened the deal with coffee and our favorite candies (Peanut M&M’s and Swedish Fish) for while we waited in line. The light show runs during the week from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and until 12:30 a.m. on the weekends. Donations are accepted to help offset the cost of production, and don’t forget to set your car radio to 88.5 to hear the coordinated music!
Larsen Christmas Lights Show, 42W891 Beith Road in Elburn, IL
Growing up one of my favorite holiday traditions was piling in the back of my mom’s station wagon to drive around snowy neighborhoods and admire the Christmas light displays. Every year my brother and I would get into our pajamas and pile into the backseat with blankets, armed with thermoses of hot chocolate and freshly popped popcorn, and ready to spend a good hour admiring the holiday lights.
While it’s a tradition we haven’t taken part in for some time, I was feeling nostalgic over the weekend when some friends and I ventured to Water Works Park for Jolly Holiday Lights, a holiday light display put on by Iowa’s branch of the Make a Wish Foundation. Admission is only $10 per car and the display spans over the park’s 3.5 mile trail, ending with Santa’s Workshop where little ones can meet the big man himself and munch on cookies. As twenty-somethings we had a great time, but this event would absolutely be a lot of fun for families with smaller children.
Jolly Holiday Lights, Water Works Park in Des Moines, 5:30-10 p.m. through Jan. 1
This year more than ever I’ve realized how quickly the holiday season can slip away—case in point, it’s already December 3rd. So in an effort to take a deep breath every once in awhile and remember to enjoy this time of year, I’ve compiled a holiday to do list, complete with some of my favorite winter activities.
- Go ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza
- Bake & decorate Christmas cookies
- Host a movie marathon to watch “Elf,” “White Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” & other classics
- Shop for families in need through the toy drive organized through my office
- Eat lots of candy canes
- Pack some hot chocolate & drive around looking at Christmas lights
- Make homemade marshmallows
- Visit the Christkindlmarket in Chicago
- Try to make as many DIY holiday gifts as possible
- Take a drive through Jolly Holiday Lights in Water Works Park.
This year I have a lot of things to be thankful for… A supportive family (and cuddly golden retriever). An incredible network of friends both near and far who go out of their way to keep me sane. A new apartment. A group of immensely passionate and selfless individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with at my new job. The ability to travel and have adventures every once in awhile. And the chance to live in a wonderful little city like Des Moines.
Per usual my Thanksgiving day plans include spending time with my family, eating a lot of mashed potatoes and (potentially) a Turkey Trot 5K. Here’s to hoping that the start to your holiday season is equally merry and bright—and that you don’t eat too much turkey wherever you may be celebrating today.
A very happy Thanksgiving from Olio in Iowa!
I’m finally starting to get into the holiday swing of things and slowly adjusting to the beginning of winter and colder weather. Something about the approaching New Year gets me in the mood to get organized so for the last few weeks I’ve already to perusing new office gadgets and 2014 calendars. I’m pretty picky when it comes to choosing a planner but I’m loving Kate Spade agenda. And these “long overdue” notes from Modcloth are too adorable not to use for holiday catching up with friends.
Growing up I was never much for peppermint-flavored things, but now that I’m older I absolutely love this seasonal flavor. Some of my favorite peppermint treats include Trader Joe’s Holiday Joe Joe’s and—an old standby—the peppermint mocha.
For about a year now my friends have been fairly opinionated when it comes to my celebrity doppelganger. While it originally started with comparisons to Amy Farah Fowler from “The Big Bang Theory,” looking back at some of Mayim Bialik‘s earlier TV appearances it was pretty clear that I could also pass for Blossom, ’90s sitcom tween (and lover of ridiculous hats).
So when my friends and I decided to celebrate Halloween at a ’80s & ’90s themed party—at one of my new favorite places in Des Moines—it didn’t take me long to come up with the perfect costume.
Growing up my mom made every single one of my costumes. Now that that’s no longer the case I still can’t bring myself to drop major cash on a Halloween costume that I’ll wear once and likely never look at again. So I raided by closet for the perfect Blossom outfit—using the photo above as inspiration.Continue Reading…
The weather is starting to get a bit chillier and the colorful autumn leaves have begun to fall, which means I’m spending a bit more time indoors curled up on my couch.
Warm knit leggings and these chunky knit throws are perfect for cloudy afternoons filled with Netflix or a good book. Speaking of, the latest additions to my bookshelf include: Marc Ecko’s new book about creating a personal brand and The Riveter, an incredible independent magazine highlighting women’s work in journalism.
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. So in honor of some of my favorite things, I’ve decided to start writing posts about some of the things I’m into each month.
This month I’m obsessed with my simple black Dolce Vita booties—snagged for $15 during one of Piperlime’s killer sales—and this tiny Phillip Lim for Target purse. Both have quickly become go-to accessories when I’m rushing out the door.
I also can’t get enough fresh apple cider—though I’ve given myself a limited daily allowance so the unpasteurized deliciousness doesn’t make me sick. And, as overdone as its gotten, I still love all things pumpkin-flavored: especially Panera’s pumpkin muffins and this pumpkin with sweet onion quesadilla (look for the recipe soon!).
When I was younger, my parents were hard-pressed to drag me off of my trusty banana bike. Fully outfitted with neon wheel beads and a glittery basket, there were few places I didn’t peddle off to during the warm summer months. Now that I’m older (and in the market for a new bike – mine was a garage sale pick and a major clunker), I don’t get on my bike nearly as much as I should.
But during a rare glimpse of sunlight this past Sunday I decided it was high time for a ride and peddled off to one of my favorite Des Moines neighborhoods. Though the “hill” part of Sherman Hill isn’t as appealing, I love riding past all of the old houses and gardens spilling with blooming summer flowers.