There are few things pure in this world anymore,
and home is one of the few.
and home is one of the few.
Why hello! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Years with your families and friends. Ours was great and it was our first Christmas getting to decorate the Bither Bungalow. One of the first weekends in December we headed out to Cowards Farm in Southwick MA with our tenants/friends who live downstairs to pick out our Christmas Trees. I was SO excited to be getting a live tree because for the past 20 years my family has used a fake tree. Nothing beats picking out a tree and the smell of fresh pine that fills your home over the Christmas season. After walking around and debating for a good half hour over the thousands of trees on the farm, we each picked trees that were right next to each other! Sister trees! Nick and I and Chris and Kayla chopped them down and the boys lugged them over their shoulders back to the farm. I love these pictures I snapped of Nick on my phone carrying our first tree. So sweet!
Couldn't leave the farm without a group selfie! We had a great day with the housemates and it was a lot of fun to get in the Christmas spirit.
We ended up choosing a balsam fir. It had nice soft branches and the best scent! We got it home safely thanks to Chris's SUV, and was able to set it up pretty easily in a corner of our living room. I found the tree skirt and basket that covers the stand at Christmas Tree shop.
I loved how this basket covers the ugly tree stand! Where has this been all my life!?
We strung some lights from Home Depot, and topped it with a pretty glowing star from Joann Fabrics. Since we are just starting out, we had to buy a lot of Christmas decor this year, but hopefully going forward we can just add to the collection little by little each year and not have to buy as much.
Next up came the ornament decorating! Nick and I actually came to the table with quite the collection of ornaments. My Mom had been buying ornaments for my brother and I every year for the last 15 years. She always gets us a hand painted 'Li Bien' ornament from Pier One every year, so I had a bunch of those and a few bags of others I had been given throughout the years. Nick had the same, with lots of handmade ones from his Mom and Hallmark collectibles that he has had since he was a kid. I wasn't sure we were going to be able to fill the tree, but we definitely did! It looked really cute and it was nice that all of the ornaments are really personal to us and hold memories of our childhoods and families. Nick also had a collectible train that fit perfectly around the base of the tree. Unfortunately it isn't working but still adds to the aesthetic!
Check out our sweet "fireplace"… a $20 Craigslist find. It is still for sale online right now for $120, so we got a total steal and it keeps our living room toasty without having to turn the that up too much. There is nothing better than the glow of a Christmas tree, its so magical and just makes you feel so good.
Nicks sister Kat and Kayla from downstairs ended up coming over one night to bake Christmas cookies. We made Italian anise cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and "Christmas crack". They came out great and I only ate about a dozen of them in the process...lol. The holiday season is all about indulgence, thats for sure!
Love this view- so cozy!
Nick's Mom has an old advent calendar that I have been obsessed with since the first time I saw it a few years ago. It is a fabric Avon countdown calendar with the cutest little mouse that you move from day-to-day. I have no idea why, but I literally am in LOVE with it. Nick loves to mess with me and tell me that he isn't going to let me move the mouse, and I freak out every time. He ended up going over to his Mom's before me a few times, and sent me these evil snap chat pictures and videos of himself moving the mouse! What a little brat!! I did end up getting to move it a few times though, so I was happy in the end. I tried to see if I could buy one online or on eBay, and they are a surprisingly hot commodity! Some were selling upwards of $200! Maybe someday I will have my very own mouse advent… but until then I will just admire Nick's Moms and try to get to it first!
Nick and I decided to have a small holiday gathering with some of our family and friends. We planned it for the day before Christmas Eve, so we called it the Christmas Eve-Eve party! We got busy decorating the house and getting it festive and ready for people to come over. I did a new "chalkboard chronicles" on the chalk wall in our kitchen, and it came out pretty cute! A play on a favorite lyric from Dave Matthews Band.
This is the little invite photo that we sent out via Facebook and text message.Everything was decorated and it came out nice and festive! We got most of the decor from Christmas Tree Shop, Joann Fabrics, and Home Goods. They had tons of stuff and the prices were really good too, almost everything was on sale or clearance as it was almost Christmas. Enjoy the photos of our holiday house tour!
A sweet housewarming gift from my Aunt!
Nick did a great job on these cranberry bowls! We floated tea lights in them and they were super cute. Thanks to Evan and Brenna for the glass bowls, they are from their wedding centerpieces!
We loved getting and hanging up christmas cards on the archway between the living and dining room! We weren't expecting to get any, and we got almost a dozen by Christmas! Not bad!
This is my prized possession! Our DIY gold bar cart! We made it ourselves for about $50, following instructions from a tutorial we found on a website called Brit+Co. I LOVE it and can't wait to keep decorating it and changing it throughout the year for different seasons and parties. The cart was literally still wet with paint at the party- we finished assembling it in the nick of time thanks to Nicks Step Dad! It looks great and really pops against the navy blue walls in the dining room.
Can't wait until it's fully stocked!
The map in the corner is another DIY. It is a framed map on cork board and has pins in it from all the places we have traveled together.
The living room! "Skipper" blue paint by Benjamin Moore.
Some of our sweet nautical ornaments!
Our radiator covers actually make great places to put decor and were the perfect place to hang our stockings since we don't have a real fireplace or mantle.
Our stockings for some reason came with a little mini stocking attached to it. We decided that it was the perfect nip stocking and that we would each surprise each other with a nip on Christmas morning.
Even the sun porch got a little Christmas love. This mini tree was $3 at Ocean State Job Lot! Can't beat that! I added a small strand of lights and some silver ornaments and it was perfect.
We also lined all of the porch and house windows with candle lights, for a nice glow from the outside at night.
Outside, we added a wreath that I made and wrapped the staircase railings in garland which I failed to photograph.
Christmas Eve-Eve came and it was time to party! Nick bought a Christmas suit and I told him he had to wear the pants for the party! They were too festive to only wear once.
Kayla has some uber festive (and crazy comfortable) LuLaRoe leggings on too, her and Nick were twins!
I didn't take many photos during the party, we just enjoyed the time with our family and friends! We ate and drank and listened to Christmas tunes. It was really nice to have everyone over! My family came up from CT too, which was nice. I like when our families get to be together.
I had a little station set up for my "Naughty Hot Chocolate" recipe. Milke chocolate lindt truffles, warmed milk, and peppermint vodka! Mix it all together and it is a Christmas miracle in your mouth! Try it, you won't regret it!
Nick's cousin Chelsea made this AMAZING baked brie! I think it lasted about ten minutes before it was gone… I am glad someone got a photo!
Kayla made these super cute snowman oreo balls. You literally cannot eat just one, they are so addicting and delicious!
Some of the girls hanging out on the couch!
When everyone left we turned the lights down and just sat by the glow of the tree, it was so nice and peaceful.
Here we are Christmas morning at Nicks mom's house. I was donning my new LuLaRoe leggings! Thanks Auntie Susan. We had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas day with our families. We got a lots of really nice gifts that we can't wait to use! We even got an outdoor movie projector, so get ready for some outdoor movie parties this summer.
For New Years Eve, we had planned a night out in Northampton for "First Night". We got a group of 16 of our friends together and made reservations at Osaka for Hibachi at 8:30pm. After dinner, we planned to go bar hopping and then watch their mini ball drop in the town center at midnight. We had a bottle of Veuve ready and waiting, and planned to pop it at midnight!
We got up to Northampton a little early, so we made a pre-game stop at the famous 'Tunnel Bar'. It's a really cool bar in the tunnel of an old a train station. They make great drinks and excellent martinis.
Evan and Brenna made it in time for happy hour!
Brenna and I!
Hibachi was so much fun and they did a really good job getting us in and fed and out in a reasonable amount of time considering we were a group of 16! Everyone enjoyed it and all of our meals and food were delish.
This is one of Nicks best friends from work, Eric, and his girlfriend Alicia! They are great fun!
The sake was making it's rounds! The guys were champs at taking it down.
After dinner, we headed over to the brewery in Northamton. They had a DJ set up and a big bar area. It wasn't too crowded yet and it was a great place to accommodate our large group. We all got drinks and started dancing the night away! It was a lot of fun!
The firefighters and their ladies!
Just before midnight, we headed out into the cold to the town center to watch the ball drop over Hotel Northampton. It's like a mini Times Square!
We busted out the champagne and got it ready to pop!
5….4…3….2….1! HAPPY NEW YEAR! So happy to ring it in with a smooch from this hunk!
I had to document all of the couples. First photo of the new year!Evan and Brenna!
Mike and Linds!
Deanna and Kyle!
Stephanie and Stephan!
And here is the infamous ball! It actually rises instead of drops.
Cheers to the New Year! The bottle was popped and we all took a swig for good luck!
It was a SUPER fun night with a great group of friends! I had not had that much fun going out in a while!
Okay…. so maybe we had a little too much fun…. or, too much champagne. This was us the next day, not loving life! But, I would do it all over again. It was a great night!
And to end off this holiday season, a picture of my home of 28 years….my entire life. The first home my Mom bought after getting married thirty years ago. I got home one night and just felt the urge to take this picture as it may just be the last Christmas we have here. I am gone now, and my Mom and step-dad are planning to move down to shore (a long awaited dream) within the calendar year. I can't even begin to count the memories we have made and stored in these walls. We have never known any place else, and no matter where we end up, this will always be home.