Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry Holiday Party

My Eat, Drink and Be Merry Holiday Party was last night and it was fun! Five of my friends, from three different circles of mine, showed up to my small cocktail party.

Here are a few photos taken after my first guest arrived:

two kinds of cheddar cheese and three kinds of crackers
and Ferrero Rocher chocolates


and be merry!
Panera's Panettone on Crate & Barrel Plate in front of
Holiday M&Ms in my grandmother's glass dish
and my chocolate chip cookies on my Cheers! plates

I finally tried Panera's Panettone at my party, which I expressed my curiosity for in this post. It was delicious! I highly recommend it! I know it looks more like a cake than a loaf of bread here, but it's fancy bread; it has that texture. It fit on my themed plate perfectly!

As it was potluck, of course my guests filled up my table much more than this. You can see one contribution, the makings of mulled wine in the first photo. There was also a seafood pasta salad, a fancy Italian antipasto platter (they know me well!), a huge bottle of Maryland red wine, chips and salsa and multiple two liter bottles of Coke. Grazie you guys!

As for decoration, I put lots of white lights on my balcony, had my perfect little Christmas tree out and a few little things here and there. The whole thing was accomplished on a shoestring budget ...and with alittle help from my friends (which I sang in my head since it's a Beatles lyric). 

Everyone told me that they had a great time and I am so happy to have thrown it. I am officially in the Christmas spirit now.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ramblings from Michelle's Day Off


I had a dentist appointment today, just a six month cleaning. I love my dentist and his assistant. They are so nice, and Dr. Johnson is a traveler like me, so we talked about the art of Italy, the food of Philadelphia, and the shows of New York this time around. It's nice that going to the dentist isn't such a chore. ...which makes for going in to fill a small cavity in January a bit better too. I truly believe life is all about attitude. I'm trying to be optimistic, so there you go.

I also update the two of them on my life every six months. Since the summer, I've moved into my beautiful one bedroom. This year, I started a new job in a new field and changed my living situation. That is a lot, but I feel like a change already! Don't get me wrong, I adore my apartment. I have truly cherished living here for the past three and a half months. Everything reflects me, which I love, and I often entertain in my own space. One of my life goals was to live alone again and I have enjoyed it. However, it might be time to move on, to move forward with my life. This is how goal-oriented I am! If I want to move to Italy and live there for as long as I can in the next five to ten years, all of my money now shouldn't go towards rent, but savings and to pay down debt. Right now, my work situation is just a bit unknown. I'm sure I'll update on that more later, as it develops. So, I may wait until things work out there until I make major decisions. I usually am very decisive, so it's weird that I'm not set on a change, or not to change. I can see me saying that I'm ready at the new year though, a perfect time for being motivated for something new. If I stay or go at work, I may invite my sister to live with me. Although I'm not sure if she would want to, with me being so wide open to change, thus being an unstable roommate. With this job, I'm not locked into a lease. I certainly have enough space in my spacious 681 square foot one bedroom for her. And since I could see myself living in those tiny apartments half this size that they show on House Hunters International, one of my most watched shows lately. I couldn't see us affording anything more than a one bedroom! It would be nice to live with her. Not perfect, but, like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed a pretty perfect place while I had it. I could charge her what she could afford and that much could go towards debt per month for me. As soon as I figure out what is happening at work, I may offer it to her. I could also just move to a Northeastern city and live with roommates. I don't have any attachments, other than being in student loan and credit card debt, my anchor weighing me down a bit. Of course, living in Philadelphia again would be a dream. In addition, I would love to finally break into the Internation Education field as well. Yeah... I might really be ready for a change... I know I'll figure it all out.

Anyway! After the dentist, I went out for a cup of hot chocolate. Starbucks truly does their's so well! I also hit the nearby Pier 1 Imports intent on just browsing, but I couldn't resist one of their adorable wine bottle stoppers that I had already seen in a mailing. That $8 is a splurge is yet another change over the last year! Isn't he cute? His carrot nose is stuck up in the air like a little wine snob!

I am excited to go over to my parents' for dinner. My dad had made lasagna and my mom is serving it tonight. I've never made lasagna before and have always wanted to try it... I've been thinking of having an Italian-style Sunday afternoon dinner lately. A pasta first course and a meat and vegetable second course, with wine, as the Italians do. It can't be too big until I have more funds or advance my culinary skills though! I'd love to make that a routine, but maybe I should ask my friends at my party what they think Saturday night... and start it following football season!

I am looking forward to my small Christmas cocktail party this Saturday night! The RSVPs are often yes or at least maybe. It's shaping up to be a great time. I love to entertain... I am also hoping that I can convince my girlfriends that wanted to see the movie New Years Eve to go see it after a couple hours of partying...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

*Season's Greetings*

Happy Holidays to all!

Here's my perfect little four-foot-tall Christmas tree:

I am hostessing a Christmas party here next weekend. The theme is "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry." I love the invitations I sent via I am so poor, but I still really wanted to throw one, so I think I can manage a small casual potluck cocktail party. I am serving cheese and crackers, Coor's Light, red and white wine, holiday M&Ms, my own chocolate chip cookies and Panettone (which is the traditional Italian Christmas cake/bread mentioned in my previous post) at the very least. One of my friends is bringing some Coke, which really helps me out. The invitation instructs my guests to bring finger foods, Christmas cookies or the ingredients of a holiday cocktail. Any food, drink, or merriment would be fantastic. I am also limited in time since I get off from work just two hours after I've asked my guests to arrive. Luckily, I simply arrange most of my eat and drink offerings. I can whip up Betty Crocker's chocolate chip cookies in fifteen minutes flat. And I can decide what to wear beforehand. I love dressing up a bit for occasions. Even though I wish it could be a fancy feast with some sort of gift or ornament exchange, I think it's nice to throw something casual and absolutely no pressure at my guests during this stressful time of year. This holiday in Italy is about eating (and eating), yes, but more about togetherness, than something big, consumerist, and ...American. I think it'll be fun.

Panera's Panettone

Love this. I bought two of these from Crate & Barrel, perfect for my party theme.