Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Extended Christmas


As I mentioned yesterday, Robbie and I have been on the Ernst Family Christmas vacation. We have been enjoying ourselves in Disney World, riding as many rides as possible, and stuffing our faces with more churros than necessary. I love so many different aspects of Disney that I'm unable to pick a favorite. However, I have absolutely loved how Christmas has been extended throughout this week. The decorations are still up, the carols continue to ring throughout the parks, and the holiday cheer is a plenty!

I'm so excited about the decorations because I don't think I fully embraced the holiday spirit leading up to Christmas this year. I was focused on getting everything in order before our trip (i.e. gift exchanges, work responsibilities, etc.), that I didn't leave time to enjoy my favorite aspects of the holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy myself in December, I just don't think I fully embraced this time of year. Luckily for me, I have an extra week to make up for lost time!

Have you let Christmas extend into this week?
(Photo taken at the Grand Floridian Hotel)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone! I wanted to give you all a quick update on Robbie and I. For the Ernst Family Christmas, we have embarked on a two week vacation in Disney World and the Caribbean. We landed in Disney World on Sunday and have been enjoying ourselves everyday since. I'll be providing more detailed updates (including photos) soon.

I hope you are enjoying your friends and family during the holidays and I will update you soon!
Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a Merry Weekend!

Christmas is just two days away! I can't believe how quickly it has arrived. I am most excited for Christmas Eve (tomorrow night) because that is when my family celebrates our holiday traditions. We all go to my mom's house and spend hours visiting with one another, eating delicious food, and opening gifts from our Secret Santas. I love hearing the laughter from my brothers and sister and watching the excitement on my mom's face as she watches us open our gifts. The whole process always takes way longer than it should, but I wouldn't change any second of it! Merry Christmas!

What are your favorite holiday traditions? 
(Photo: Our Humble Abowed)
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Living in Small Spaces

I am so intrigued to read about people who live in unusually small spaces. I admire their creativity in how they utilize their space. I find myself inspired to live as simply as possible, but I'm unsure I could actually do it. Dwell recently featured a couple who are living and working in a small (600 square feet!) Seattle home. Here is how they've made it work...

Do you think you could live in 600 square feet or less? I think I'm too messy to make it work!
(All photos from Dwell)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wish List - Little Paris Paintings

Paul Ferney, his wife Jordan, and their two boys have been living in Paris for the last year. I love reading about their neighborhood, their picnics, and the sweet shops they find along the way on Jordan's blog, Oh Happy Day. During the summer, Paul painted a series of small Paris paintings and recently made them available for purchase. Each painting has its own sweet quality, and seems to capture a moment or a mood. Wouldn't it be great to have a few hanging in your room? Here are the ones I would choose...

What city would you want a painted series of?
(Photos: Paul Ferney Fine Art)
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SF Renegade Craft Fair Recap

Over the weekend, some friends and I hopped in the car and went to the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. For those who may not know, the Renegade Craft Fair is an amazing event with over 200 amazing sellers. The booths are adorable and each of the items are hand-crafted.

This was my second year and I liked it even more than my first. I knew what to expect going in and I had a much better game plan overall. I was even able to exercise some self-control and not go completely bonkers at the letterpress booths. Saying that, I did not walk away empty handed. I snagged a few Christmas gifts and left with a beautiful new dress that will be perfect for the holidays. To give you a glimpse into what you can expect, I've also included my three favorite vendors below:

Woodcut Maps
These artists produce hand-made wood inlay maps individually created for each customer. They even had Google maps set up on a laptop at the fair! The wood is so beautiful and I would love to have maps of my hometown and favorite cities hanging in my room. Added bonus: Robbie absolutely loves maps, so he would be sure to enjoy them as well.

Mary Kate McDevitt
Mary Kate is a letterer and illustrator based in Portland, OR. I like her work so much because she hand draws each design before screen printing them. I love the detail she puts into each piece. Plus, think of how cheery it would be to have one of her posters hanging in your office or cube!

Flock Home
Flock Home merges two of my favorite things: simple designs and linens. I like the tea towels so much, I wouldn't want to actually use them as towels!

Overall, it was a great trip. I purchased some adorable gifts, allowed myself to be inspired in the beautiful surroundings, and had a blast with my friends! Get ready for the next one: July 2012!

Have you ever been to the Renegade Craft Fair? What are you drawn to most at craft fairs?
(p.s. Check out Sobrina's favorites on Quiet Like Horses)
Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Packaging

With Christmas less than a week away, it's time to start wrapping the gifts you've (hopefully) purchased. For me, the presentation of a gift is nearly as important as what's inside. Great packaging enhances the beauty of the gift and inspires creativity. Plus, everyone wants to have the prettiest package under the tree, even before they know what's inside.

Here are some of my favorite examples of beautiful packaging that is not confined to the usual red and green holiday roll. Enjoy!

Roost Blog - I love the simplicity and warmth this package creates
Catalogued Life - I love the vibrant colors and playful attitude
Allora Handmade - I love the idea of re-purposing what we already have (i.e. newspaper)
Do you have any new packaging ideas for holidays this year? Are you more of a bag person or a paper wrapper?
(Allora Handmade via Quiet Like Horses)
Thursday, December 15, 2011

School is Out!

As you may have noticed, my posts this week have been short, but hopefully sweet. This is because I have been wrapping up my final twenty-page paper. I feel so relieved to have turned everything in, and I feel proud to have accomplished something I would not have imagined at the start of the semester. It has been a challenge, but extremely rewarding at the same time.

Have you completed something you wouldn't have imaged at the start? What is your experience pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone?
(Photo: via Pinterest)
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Eclectic Room

How would you feel about a stallion leering over you as you sleep? Normally, I would answer "No thank you!" to that question, but I think this painting fits perfectly in the overall decor of the room. It seems busy, but the colors and character seem to work together. Also, I'm loving the grey wall; grey seems to go with everything.

Does this room have too much going on for you? Which elements would you like to incorporate into your own bedroom?
(Photo: Amber Interior Design)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What to Where - A Weekend in Coastal Maine

As you head out to spend a weekend on the coast of the Atlantic, don't forget a pair of waterproof shoes to keep dry. The knee-high socks and shorts give this outfit a laid back feel, while the button-up, checkered shirt and jacket keep it perfectly casual for a walk around town. 
(Photos: 1 - Atlantic-Pacific; 2&3 - Hodgdon Island Inn)
Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet Rings

I used to love wearing large, chunky jewelry. Big rings, big earrings, big necklaces, big everything! Over the last year, I've noticed that I am now drawn toward simple, almost understated, jewelry.  Small gold rings, simple stud earring, and even a thin chain necklace if my neck is lucky. I don't think there is any particular reason for my shift in preference, other than simplicity is what I am drawn to right now. I've found that Etsy is a great place to find simple jewelry, and I usually finish poking around with quite the wish list!

Here are a few sweet rings that I would love to have in my jewelry box. Enjoy!

Are you drawn to any type of jewelry more than other? Do you have anything specific on your wish list this year?
(Photos: 1, 3, & 4 - Style Me Pretty; 2 - Etsy)
Friday, December 9, 2011

Have a Calm Weekend

I have some serious deadlines this weekend, and I keep reminding myself to stay calm, take deep breaths, and stretch. In the midst of all the writing I have to tackle, we have a packed Saturday evening. My parents are hosting a holiday open house, I'll be going to my boss's birthday party, and then we are going to a concert in Santa Cruz. I'm going to have a ton of fun this weekend, but I'll need to remember to keep calm.

What are you up to this weekend? Are holiday parties in full swing for you?
(Photo via Pinterest)
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wanderlust - Four Seasons, Thailand

This week has been kicking my butt. It is the last week of the semester and I have some major assignments due (assignments I should have been working on before this week). After I submit my work, my schedule will be much lighter and I'll be able to fully settle into the holiday spirit.

In the meantime, as I'm faced with mounds of writing I can't help but daydream about a relaxing vacation. Wouldn't it be wonderful to feed elephants off of your porch, or get a massage at the edge of a tropical jungle? Oh goodness, that sounds lovely...

Are you daydreaming about any particular vacation destinations? How do you relax after a stressful week?
(Photos: Four Seasons)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dressing for a Winter Wedding

Are you stumped on what to wear when you are invited to a winter wedding? I am! I have my go-to spring and summer picks, but feel a little unsure when I am choosing what to wear for a winter wedding. Just last week on Oh Happy Day, Amanda Jones posted her ideas for what to wear and what to give when a friend says "I Do" in winter months. I can't take my eyes off of the Topshop Sleeveless Skater Dress in mustard; I want to wear it to every holiday party I go to this year!

Do you have any go-to winter wedding items? Do your gift choices change depending on season? Be sure to check out the entire list here!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What to Where - An Afternoon in France

Don't be afraid to pack a little fun when you head out for a trip. Sometimes feeling as glamorous as your destination is just as important as being practical. This blue dress and short heels are a perfect match for a casual afternoon exploring what the quiet neighborhoods of France have to offer. Enjoy!
(Photos: Blue dress & French street)
Monday, December 5, 2011

I Jumped Out of A Plane and I Survived

Throughout the last month, we've been planning a group skydiving trip to celebrate a friend's birthday. I haven't written about it here on Short Story Long, because I didn't want to be held accountable by any of you if I decided to keep my two feet planted on the ground. Yesterday morning came, it was time for us to drive to the jump site (the Parachute Center in Lodi, CA), and I wasn't confident I made the right decision.

Throughout last week, I completely ignored the fact that I would be jumping out of a plane (a mode of transportation I usually work very hard to stay inside). A few people looked up death rates, potential mishaps, and even a practical joke involving a faulty parachute. I stayed far away from each piece of information. The less I knew, the better.

I was completely and utterly anxious the entire drive there. I didn't want to talk to anyone and I wasn't sure how I was actually going to follow through with my commitment. However, once we got there everything changed. Right as we arrived, a group of people were coming in from their jump. I saw about 10 parachutes floating in the air, slowly making their way down. Seeing other people skydive, and the fact that they were actually surviving, made me feel much more at ease.

Once we met our "leaders" (the experienced person holding your life in their hands), I felt even more comfortable. I was lucky because I got the best lead in the whole place. His name is Jordan and he was nice, funny, and professional. He gave me confidence that I would be fine. Most of the leads in our group joked about our chutes not working, it being their first jumps, or just being unsure we would survive. It may sound strange, but this approach brought me the most comfort. Their lighthearted demeanor made me feel as though the jump was a roller coaster and they were simply strapping me in. If they were super serious about everything, then I would have worried that I was going to mess something up and die.

The jump was incredible. The first 5 seconds felt like I was on an amusement park ride; I felt my stomach drop and my breath was taken away. While we were free falling, the noise and the pressure were amazing. I had absolutely no control over my cheeks or facial movement, and I was a little surprised by the amount of pressure in my ears. Once Jordan pulled the chute open, there was almost immediate silence. I couldn't believe how quickly the experience had changed from loud and crazy to peaceful and serene. We spent the next 5 minutes floating back down to earth, making sure we included a few spins along the way.

Skydiving was a great experience that I would love to try again. I'm proud to say that I tried something outside of my comfort zone and I love that I have such a great experience I can always share with my friends. Since I ignored the whole thing until yesterday, leading to a lack of research beforehand, I've included a few tips (sans morbid death rates) to consider before your jump. ;)

  • Dress warm. You are jumping from about 13,000 feet in the air, free falling at 120mph, so things get cold. I wore a long-sleeve shirt, under a sweatshirt, with jeans and wool socks, and I felt fine. I would also recommend gloves. My lead had an extra pair for me to borrow, but it wouldn't have hurt to bring my own. 
  • Bring cash for tips. Your lead and camera person earn a modest wage for what they do. Show them some love for keeping you alive. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Your leads want to make sure you enjoy yourself and understand that you are nervous. 
  • Go with friends. This is the kind of experience you don't want to have alone. We spent the rest of the afternoon recounting our experiences and joking about our fears. 
Would you ever skydive? If you have, were you completely freaked out when you went?
(All photos taken for Short Story Long)
Friday, December 2, 2011

Have a Silly Weekend

The busyness of the holidays is about to bust wide open for us in the Ernst house. Robbie and I have something planned every night next week (yikes)! With holiday parties planned, classes that need to be finished, and presents to purchase, I'm planning on sleeping in 2012. When my schedule gets crazy, sometimes all I can do is be silly. Remaining lighthearted and relying on laughter helps me remain positive when I just want to freak out. Plus, who wants to hang out with a grumpy scrooge during this time of the year anyway?!

What are your plans this weekend? Has the holiday madness already begun for you?
(Photo: via Pinterest)
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today Marks the End of Movember

Movember is finally over. Sorry gents, but I can never get into the thick lip bangs that hang around all month long, even if it is for a great cause. For those who don't know, Movember is a charity event that lasts the entire month of November. Men grow thick mustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for mens health. For example, twelve players on the San Jose Sharks hockey team participated to raise money for prostate cancer. Individuals can also host their own fundraisers through an organization such as US Movember.

Although it is not my favorite time of year, I will admit that most of the men who participate take it pretty seriously (i.e. my friend Ryan, who went for the "Unabomber" look in the second picture below) and some pretty solid mustaches made an appearance this year. Here are some of my favorites:

Did you participate in Movember this year? What are your thoughts on lip bangs? Am I the only one who is not a fan?! I have to know. 
(Photos: All photos found on US Movember, with the exception of #2. That is my friend Ryan's profile picture. Thanks Ryan! :). 
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