There is a deep sadness in my heart as I write this post because my favorite time of the year is now over. And while I'm already looking forward to next year, I think it's going to be pretty hard to beat Christmas 2014...so here's a look back at a crazy event packed December with us Schneiders!
While in Asheville for Our Christmas Present, Tom and I decided to check out a local craft brewery that everyone in town seemed to recommend. Go where the locals go right? We definitely consider ourselves "beer snobs", (yes that's a thing) so it takes a bit to impress us, but we loved everything about The Wicked Weed Brewing Company.
It's concept is based on Henry VIII's declaration that hops would ruin beer. Regardless of this stance, some brewmasters still sought out to use hops with a "rebel integrity" in order to create a beer for the "untamed palate", something that The Wicked Weed Brewing Company still does today.
Husband and I actually ended up here twice during our short time in Asheville (yes twice), once on a Sunday night and again on a Tuesday afternoon. Not exactly what you would consider peak bar hours but both times, the two story building was packed with a crowd; young and old sharing stories and swigging beers. The vibe of this place just cannot be beat!
Loved the wall art of Henry VIII and the green and metallic ornaments hanging from the ceiling...
We came for the beer, but while we were
there we figured we would eat. Not your typical
bar food people, it was actually much tastier than some
of the food we had at Asheville's fancier restaurants. It was
And if you ever happen to go I recommend the truffled cauliflower soup.
Cute Edison Bulb Lights! And loving that their taps are attached to beer barrels.
Tom loved their IPA's which is no surprise, but if you give him the chance he will rave on and on about the "Falconer's Flight" IPA.
And I finally found a milk stout that I liked thanks to The Wicked Weed. I don't know if it counts though since this one was called "Milk & Cookies". It had cinnamon and oatmeal as some of it's ingredients so who wouldn't love that?
We enjoyed it so much that we even picked up some growlers and other goodies to give as gifts and share.
When I requested that this year's Christmas present trip be filled with over the top Christmas magic, I had no idea that I would get everything I asked for and more. While in Asheville North Carolina, we discovered that it was the home of the National Gingerbread Competition so we of course had to go. Candy and artistry rolled into one, um count me in! And this guy below was one of my absolute favorites....I love all of the scrambling elves.
Interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to bring you "Notes on the Yearly Clothing Budget". Don't worry though because Blogmas will resume, including a post later today. For now, let's talk about clothing budgets. This year I did things a little bit differently by having an annual budget instead of monthly. This allowed me a little more wiggle room from month to month without having to worry about going over budget. Now this was definitely a struggle, especially these last few months when funds started to run a little low. However, it definitely taught me to be more disciplined and I even had a couple of months this year where I didn't buy anything. I am definitely going to stick with the annual budget for 2015, I just have to decide on what the budgeted amount will be. As, I didn't make any purchases this month, I thought I'd share my best and worst purchases of 2014.
Hey folks, I'm combining yesterday and today into one post. I'm sick as a dog right now and spent a good bit of yesterday in bed, but I definitely wanted to share more of our Christmas celebrations. Having each set of parents live in different states has disadvantages, including having to alternate for the holidays, but on the plus side we do get two Christmases. And I do love Christmas. After spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my parents, we headed to hubby's parents house on the 26th. Here's a little bit of the fun...
Merry Christmas Everyone! And thank you for stopping by and celebrating with hubby and I. Part of this year's Christmas gift to each other was to spend a day touring the historic Biltmore, home to the Vanderbilt railroad barons. Christmas at the Biltmore is quite the spectacle with thousands of poinsettias and wreaths, miles of garland, and enough Christmas decor to appease even me. Can't get anymore Christmas-sy than this.
As you know Husband and I don’t exchange traditional Christmas gifts (read whyhere). Instead we give each other the gift of experiences and time together. Last Christmas in the Dominican Republic was an experience of a lifetime for us, but it didn’t “feel” like the old-fashioned Christmases that we are used to. My one request this year was that we have an
exceptionally Christmas-sy Christmas. So we headed to one of the best places
there is to spend Christmas…Asheville North Carolina. And boy did it deliver.
We loved that no matter where we were in town,
there were always tons of towering Christmas trees AND
the most festive holiday wreaths
Everyone was so friendly and full of
I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the ridiculously amazing chocolates that Asheville is known for…..especially the ones at The French Board
The line wrapped around the outside
the building, but it was worth the wait to have the best truffles I’ve ever tasted.
And we didn’t even care that it was
cold outside, Husband and I ordered a sparkling wine float with cranberry
ice-cream and a milk stout beer float to enjoy with our goodies.
Asheville is also the site of the
historic Vanderbilt home...The Biltmore. And “Christmas at the Biltmore” is quite
the event! Every December, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to this
beautiful chateau to take part in their Christmas celebrations. Isn’t it
we were so lucky that the cutest nephew and his parents happened to be in the
area at the same time as us. CJ and Mary were kind of enough to take us out to
lunch at the yummiest Indian Street food restaurant…..wish this was in my town so I
could eat at Chai Pani everyday, especially those delicious samosa chaats and
After lunch, we all enjoyed yummy hot
cocoas and roasted marshmallow lattes at the cutest bookstore, I seriously
loved the ambiance there.
Filled with wall to wall oriental
Eclectic people and yummy scents from the coffee and wine bar…the
perfect spot to read or hang out and be with family.
We exchanged Christmas presents, but I
think that Noah liked “eating” the wrapping paper and bows more than anything else.
Plus we got to go to the most
beautiful historic galleria (yes those are spiral staircases...swoon)
to see little Noah have his photo taken with Santa…
Seriously, no one should be allowed to be that adorable.
Husband and I continued to explore the
city by foot and by horse drawn carriage…
And we found that The Biltmore wasn’t
the only place filled with over the top Christmas extravagance. The Grove Park Inn
hosts the annual National Gingerbread Competition so we had to go see it.
Can’t even believe these are
made out of gingerbread and other edible treats.
The details are fantastic!
And when all of our Christmas
frolicking during the day was done, we would retire to the quaintest bed and
breakfast covered in holiday style...
Husband and I took a few days for ourselves as apart of our new Christmas tradition. With us living in different parts of the country and our very busy schedules, we really needed some us time. One of my favorite things that we have done so far was a horse drawn carriage ride. It was a bit impromptu, but so very much fun and so very romantic to be...
Today is officially the winter solstice and that's a fact that I'm not so happy about. While winter does lend itself to the opportunity to wear beautiful coats, drink hot chocolate, and cuddle by the fire; the bitter cold reeks havoc on my sensitive skin. Itchy dry skin and chapped lips are not my fav and I'm assuming that you all feel the same so I thought that it would be a good time to talk about winter skin care. Here are a few of my favorite items to fight off the cold weather.
Christmas break officially began at 5PM last night and I kicked things off right with a bake-a-thon. I know right, I'm so young and hip. It's hard to keep up with me. Many yummy treats were made, but one of my favorites didn't require any baking at all. Thought that I should definitely share it. Seriously, it's so easy and so delicious.
This time last year, my husband and I were packing for our honeymoon to La Repulica Dominicana. We knew that we would be there on Christmas Day, so we started to discuss the logistics of exchanging gifts with each other. Should we do it before we left or when we returned? Or maybe we should just pack them with us. Well that last idea was just ridiculous because that would mean less room for bikinis.
So I just suggested nixing the whole concept all together.
Instead of buying each other gifts, we focused on giving each other experiences during our trip.
parasailing over the clear waters of Punta Cana
(my absolute fave!)
Zip-lining through the canopies of the forests in Higuey
Snorkeling among the corals
Horse back riding through the countryside
Kayaking on the ocean
Well Tom kayaked, I mostly took in the sights
And we indulged in lots of fancy dinners
Including a secluded dinner for two on the beach
Experiencing these things together was beyond memorable. Our long distance relationship makes time together the most valuable gift that we could give each other.
Thus, we have decided to do the same this year and for many years to follow. We are creating our first tradition as a married couple and a new family. In the near future, hubby and I will not be exchanging traditional Christmas presents with each other, but rather experiences.
Stay tuned to learn about this years gift experience!