A Winter Wonderland Shower <3 & Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi!

Merry almost Christmas! Wow, the holidays seem to come quicker every year and with the baby due so close to the new year this Christmas has really snuck up on me! We’ve officially got less than 4 weeks til baby and I am not so sure I feel prepared yet. I have yet to pack a hospital bag or get the carseat out of the box but thanks to two fabulous baby showers, we have got a beautiful (almost done!) nursery and plenty of baby gear!

My sister threw me a darling baby shower in TN over Thanksgiving and just a few weeks later I was lucky enough to be treated to a second shower at home in HHI by my sweet Aunt Vanessa. The theme was Winter Wonderland and it could not have been more beautiful.

I aspire to entertain as well as Vanessa does someday as she truly outdoes herself with each event! The food was to die for, a beautiful brunch spread complete with a low country shrimp and grits station and egg cups with caviar!

The decor was beautiful and the little details, like this sweet Christmas tree and the elephants tucked away everywhere were absolutely precious!

Tree

I knew with Vanessa at the helm that the shower would be wonderful, but it truly couldn’t have been more perfect.

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A Thanksgiving Shower and Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Happy bi-week! I think that’s a football term for an off-week which is pretty much what this week is right? The week between Thanksgiving and December. AKA time to shop til you drop, get all of your Christmas decorations up and get so sick of leftover turkey sandwiches that you vow not to eat it again for another year, or at least until Christmas.

For once my family avoided turkey overload and didn’t eat a single leftover. Why you may ask?

Ren

This guy….

My parents and sister both own small dogs and therefore aren’t accustomed to “counter surfing”. Unfortunately for Renly, his efforts proved to be for naught and he didn’t actually consume any leftover turkey either.

Robert, Renly and I traveled to Tennessee for Thanksgiving this year. My grandparents were also attending and it was our last trip before baby (hallelujah because riding in the car for long periods of time is getting less comfortable for me by the day). After we ate our Thanksgiving meal at my parents house we went over to a friends home to visit and have dessert. Upon returning we discovered that my mother had inadvertently left the lid off of the tupper-wear container she had put the leftover turkey in. She also left it sitting too close to the edge of the counter. The tupper-wear container was now flipped over onto the ground and pushed into the corner of the cabinets. I didn’t take a picture at the time but it looked something like this…

Turkey Tupperware

My theory is that Renly, at the urging of the little dogs no doubt, flipped the open container onto the floor with his head and it landed perfectly upside down, with all of the turkey still trapped inside. They then probably all took turns pushing it around the floor, trying to get to the meat inside until they pushed it into the corner and it became stuck.

Turkey that has been used to sweep the kitchen floor isn’t high on my list of things I’m willing to consume so thus, no leftover turkey for any of us…or the dogs, although it is likely that my father the notorious dog feeder snuck them some without my knowledge.

The rest of our Thanksgiving was lovely; we did lots of relaxing, watched a few movies, I got all of my Christmas shopping done (hooray), spent wonderful time with family and friends

and to cap it all off my sister threw me an adorable baby shower!

Gifts

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30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 3

We started our last full day in New York the same way as our second, at the bagel shop.

Pick a Bagel

Today, it was Pick A Bagel, an almost as highly rated and much closer to our hotel stop than Best Bagel and Coffee. The line was long but moved quickly.

I opted for a sesame bagel with chive cream cheese while Robert again went for a breakfast sandwich. After breakfast we walked down to Rockefeller Center.

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We wandered around the garden fountains, a few nearby stores and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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Our next stop (my favorite!) was the New York City Public Library.

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I’ve had a long love affair with books for as long as I can remember and couldn’t wait to see the iconic Library Lions.

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The Library was definitely the most beautiful I’ve ever been in and Robert was a great sport, letting me explore to my heart’s content.

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Love that man.

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Next up, Grand Central Station! Another must do on my list after seeing it in 8 million movies but never having been myself.  Continue reading

30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 2

Of course we decided that our first full day in the city must begin as every proper day in the city does, with a very good bagel. We made our way down to Best Bagel and Coffee, a hole in the wall with great yelp reviews (always sure to be a winner!).

Best Bagel

There was already a line out the door but it seemed to be moving quickly so we joined the queue. Once inside it looked more or less like your run of the mill bagel shop with endless tubs of flavored cream cheese and baskets full of bagels.

Although I was dying for lox (no smoked fish while expecting :() Robert and I both opted for variations on egg and cheese bagel sandwiches.

Best Bagel Sandwich

They were of course delicious and very filling. Stuffed, we gave up our table and walked towards the subway, Central Park bound!

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I find the subways more than a little confusing but they are definitely the most budget friendly and often the quickest way to traverse the city. Enter our first real adventure of the trip: Robert made it on to the subway car headed for Central Park and I didn’t. In case you are under the impression that Subway doors are like elevators and you can stick your arm out to cause one to re-open, they aren’t.

Luckily a few kind New Yorkers saw what had happened and took pity on me before I became full blown Home Alone 2 Lost in New York. They told me which car to take and where to get off. Meanwhile Robert was busy sending me text messages that read: “I miss you.” Very helpful under the circumstances.

Trump Towers

Soon enough we were reunited and found ourselves in front of  Trump Tower (Gross) and right outside the park! We bought a map and started at the south entrance.

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I had been to New York several times prior to this trip but Central Park was one landmark I had never experienced and I couldn’t wait to check it out.

Central Park 3

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30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 1

Now that it’s in writing I guess I am officially 30! I’ve said it out loud plenty over the last month but this must be the first time I’ve actually typed it out because it looks so old  odd!

Robert’s family always makes a big deal out of celebrating birthdays and I am lucky that he has passed that on and makes sure that I feel special and celebrated each year. I met Robert a few months shy of my 21st birthday. We hadn’t had the DTR (defining the relationship) talk before I left for Las Vegas with my girlfriends to celebrate finally being legal. Upon checking into our hotel I learned that Robert had surprised me with a day at the hotel spa the morning after I turned 21. It was such a thoughtful gift and I returned from that trip with an “official boyfriend”. It also kicked off a long line of very sweet and special birthdays (except for the one fluke year where he forgot to get me a card and we ate McDonalds for lunch…but we don’t talk about that 😉 and this year was no exception.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, dinner with friends is always nice and a party (while pregnant) didn’t sound too fun so we decided to take a trip. I hadn’t been to New York City in years and Robert hadn’t been since he was in middle school so we decided it would make for a perfect long weekend. In true crazy planner fashion I started our itinerary right away. There were LOTS of sights I wanted to see, but more so there were LOTS of places I wanted to eat (I mean what else is a pregnant girl supposed to look forward to on vacation?). If you are planning a trip to the city I highly recommend you start following a few NYC Food Instagram accounts but prepare for your mouth to water.

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We flew out on Thursday and arrived in NYC around noon, just in time for lunch! Of everything I wanted to try, I was the most excited about trying soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. I tried a giant soup dumpling once when I was in China but couldn’t wait to try the cute little ones I’d seen all over instagram (and that aren’t available in any restraurants anywhere near where I live 😦

Pinch

We wet to Pinch Chinese on Prince Street, a menu I had scoped out well ahead of time and couldn’t wait to order one of everything from. Much to my dismay, they weren’t serving the snow crab over glass noodles for lunch, so we opted for pork soup dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings and Shrimp and Pork Wontons which come in the most delicious broth. EVERYTHING was delicious, highly recommend, A+++. Everything we didn’t order that I saw others around us eating looked delicious too. If we return to NYC anytime soon we will definitely be making another visit to Pinch, preferably at dinner so I can get my hands on those crab noodles.

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The cutest little soup dumpling you ever did see
Making dumplings
Loved Watching this guy handroll each dumpling!

After lunch we walked around Nolita (Soho? The boroughs confuse me) and browsed through a few shops before stopping at Milk Bar for dessert.

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