2017 Highlights

I cannot believe another year has almost passed. I know people seem to say this every year, but time really flew this past year. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2017 for us.

January – Traveling to Detroit to celebrate Christmas with Ryan’s family.

February – Showing our friends Biz and Rob around our new city, which included seeing Wicked on Broadway.

IMG_4022

March – Checking off items on our NYC Bucket List (walking the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the 9/11 Memorial) while showing my parents around NYC.

April – Celebrating Ryan’s birthday by going to our favorite neighborhood bakery, Martha’s Country Bakery.

May – Traveling to Watertown, WI to celebrate Ryan’s sister’s graduation from college!

IMG_4150

June – Exploring NYC with Ryan’s family — parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and grandma — while they were here visiting the city.

July – Taking an anniversary trip to explore Maine and Rhode Island and taking advantage of a work trip for Ryan to see friends in California! July was a busy month; we also had my good friend Stephanie come visit for a weekend.

DSC00291
Acadia National Park

August – Taking in the spectacular NYC city views from the Top of the Rock with my sister and her fiancé while they were here visiting. (Also worth mentioning, celebrating my birthday at the beach!)

IMG_4641

September – Exploring more of NYC and finding new places to take family and friends when they come visit — notable mention: Neal Caffrey’s house from White Collar. Where are my other White Collar fans at??

DSC00881
Fangirl moment: Seeing Neal Caffrey’s house!

October – Sightseeing around the UK and Ireland for 2 weeks, which included staying with our friends Josh and Annie in Ireland. (We had been planning this trip since we got married 4 years ago!)

IMG_4990
At the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

November – Spending time with my parents and grandparents as they came for a quick visit to show my grandparents the city.

December – Hosting friends and family during the weekends leading up to Christmas and showing them the iconic Christmas sites in the city.

This brief glimpse into our past year doesn’t even give me the time to mention visiting many new coffee shops, getting more involved in our church, developing new friendships, trying all sorts of new foods, and so much more. This has been quite the year for us, and I cannot wait to see what 2018 holds!

2017 Collage

Happy New Year! 🙂

Christmas Traditions

Thinking back to our first Christmas together 4 years ago, I remember being so concerned about starting our own traditions for the holiday season. As each year passed and no traditions seemed to be sticking for us, I began to worry that we would never develop traditions as our own family. But then I stepped back and took a look at the last 4 Christmases and realized that we did have our own traditions; they just so happened to change based on where we were living. So this year I have decided to not spend my time worrying about what traditions we are developing but rather to just sit back and enjoy where we are right now.

A tiny look at our traditions through the years

Michigan | 2013-2014 
– Listening to Christmas music while decorating the Christmas tree
– Watching our favorite Christmas movies (Home Alone and White Christmas)
– Decorating Christmas cookies together
– Spending Christmas Eve with my Papaw
– Spending Christmas being surrounded by family (Tanis family in the morning and extended Archibald family in the afternoon/evening)
– Watching and being a part of the Christmas program at our church

Maryland | 2015
– Taking a trip to 34th street in Hampden to see the amazing display of Christmas lights
– Taking a trip to Washington D.C. to see the national Christmas tree
– Decorating Christmas cookies
– Watching our favorite Christmas movies
– Attending the Christmas Eve service at my parents’ church

NYC | 2016 – Present
– Taking a trip into the city to see the famous Christmas sites
– Walking down our street to look at the Christmas lights
– Hosting friends and family who have come to see the famous Christmas sites
– Watching and being a part of the Christmas program at our church
– Listening to Christmas music as we decorate the Christmas tree
– Decorating Christmas cookies
– Watching our favorite Christmas movies

As you can see, we do have some traditions that stay the same year after year while others are unique to a specific area. This gives you a small look into how we celebrate during this exciting time of year, and even though it may not be the most exciting, I love it!

Whether you have traditions that stand the test of time, or your traditions just seem to keep changing, I hope you don’t let this season pass without taking time to remember what Christmas is really all about: God’s gift to us, Jesus. Taking time to praise God for His precious gift is a tradition that I hope never changes for Ryan and me.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

fullsizeoutput_424b

NYC Winter Essentials

Winter did not sneak up on us here in NYC this year…it came in full force! I am definitely not ready mentally to face the cold winter temps but, thanks to having survived one winter here already, I am more prepared physically to take on whatever winter has in store. These 5 items are MUST HAVES for me, and they have helped me survive quite a few cold winter days already.

  1. A tissue in every jacket pocket – Go ahead and laugh at me, but when you walk in cold temperatures with crazy winds, you never know when your nose is just going to start running. I have learned to always be prepared.
  2. A good hat/ear warmer – If I am not wearing an ear warmer or hat when I leave my apartment then I make sure I have one in my bag. This item is absolutely essential during the winter months to survive the bone-chilling winds. I have learned from experience that no good hair day is worth the price of cold, throbbing ears. (If NYC winds are this bad, I can’t even imagine what Chicago winds must be like!!)
  3. Gloves (especially a pair with tech touch ability) – I have worn mittens for the last several years, but I quickly realized that I needed full use of my fingers as I ran errands. I purchased a pair of gloves last year with tech touch ability, and they really were a huge help as I was able to check my phone when I was out and about. Unfortunately the tech touch isn’t really working this year, but the gloves are still such a necessity when transporting groceries from the car or walking from the market.
  4. A good quality jacket – Ryan promised me after we moved from Michigan to Maryland that if he moved me further north than Maryland, he would buy me a nice, down jacket. My husband is a man of his word — One of the first things he did after accepting the job to move us to NYC was to buy me a jacket (similar to this one). The only thing I wished I had looked for was a fur hood. I had always thought the fur hoods were just a fashion statement; now I know that their purpose is to help keep the wind from stinging your face so much.
  5. Comfortable snow boots – Once we knew that we were moving to NYC, I knew that we needed to invest in comfortable snow boots. I have a good friend who lives in Philly, so I asked her for advice on what kind of boots to get. She told me to pay the money for name brand boots because the cheaper options just aren’t worth it. She was totally right; spending the money on quality boots (like these sperry duck boots) was definitely a good decision, especially since I have already worn them multiple times in the past few weeks! Ryan and I both have Sperry brand boots and absolutely love them!

Winter will never be my favorite season; however, with the help of some key items, it has become a lot more bearable.

Is it spring yet? 😉

Menu Monday

Monday – Breakfast for dinner – Try this quiche recipe paired with hash browns and toast

TuesdayOne Pot Spinach and Tomatoes

WednesdayCrockpot Chicken Teriyaki – Check out the other crockpot freezer meals included in this link as well! (**This is the first time I am making this recipe! I am anxious to see how it turns out – Update: This recipe was the best crockpot chicken teriyaki recipe that I have tried! I am excited to make this again)

ThursdayMeatball Subs served with steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes

Friday Enchilada Skillet – We like to eat this as nachos! If you are looking to try something different, give these sweet potato tortilla chips a try!


I hope these quick and easy recipes help your meal planning during this busy time of year!

Happy Cooking 🙂

TJ Seasonal Favorites: Christmas Edition

Trader Joe’s sells amazing products year round, but this time of year they really outdo themselves. This year, I decided to finally try some products that I have had my eye on for a few years. Let’s just say, I have definitely found some new favorites!

Gingerbread Coffee – This coffee just tastes like Christmas! If you are a gingerbread fanatic like Ryan and me, you NEED to go pick up some of this coffee.

Jingle Jangle – This is a delightful mixture of dark & milk chocolate covered pretzels, dark & milk chocolate peanut butter cups, chocolate candies, dark chocolate covered caramel popcorn, and chocolate covered sandwich cookies. Seriously guys, this is so good! If this sounds good to you, make sure to pick up a tin quickly. This mix has a tendency to sell out quickly! – If Trader Joe’s sells out of Jingle Jangle before you can pick up a tin, don’t fret; pick up a quart of Jingle Jangle Ice Cream instead. This is definitely another tasty option.

Apple Cranberry Herbal Tea Blend – If coffee isn’t your thing, give this tea a try! Ryan and I had a sample while we were shopping the other day, and it was really good — such great flavors for this time of year.

Mini Gingerbread Men Cookies – Like I said before, Ryan and I LOVE gingerbread, so when I saw this box of cookies in the store, I knew I needed to pick them up for us to try. These little cookies have the perfect blend of spice from the gingerbread and sweetness from the fudge icing.

Take some time to swing by Trader Joe’s this holiday season and peruse their vast array of products! I guarantee you will find more than a few delicious treats to enjoy this holiday season. What are your favorite TJ Christmas season products??