Lately I'm Loving

Things making me smile/on my mind/causing distraction these days: 

Oh my gosh, it's officially the holidays! I always get so excited the day after Thanksgiving when I can start totally obsessing over Christmas. Usually I've decorated long before Thanksgiving rolls around, but this year due to illness and travel, I actually refrained until a more universally acceptable date. That said, I'm diving in full-speed-ahead now! 

--Around my apartment, the sounds of my ridiculously gigantic and all-encompassing Spotify playlist are pretty much all that anyone is hearing lately. New favorites: Marc Broussard's fantastic holiday album and Jazz at Lincoln Center! 

--I absolutely adore my classic, traditional Christmas tree, but this year I've seen two alternative approaches that would be incredibly appropriate for me. Kaitlin showed me this amazing wine bottle tree on Facebook while I was in Boston, and my mom posted the link to this equally amazing book tree a few days ago! If only I had the room, the wine, and the patience to pull these off. (With my luck, I'd put a book I wanted to read on the bottom and then end up ruining the whole thing!)

--I loved last year's Minneapolis Holiday Market, but have to admit it was crazy-claustrophobic crammed into Peavey Plaza outside Orchestra Hall. This year it's right outside my apartment door in Loring Park, and is host to live music, a full-size skating rink, and lots of local breweries and restaurant stands! Best part of all, it's free admission this year, so I'll be spending plenty of time down there wandering and enjoying. 

--On Saturday night, my family attended possibly the coolest "concert" I've ever seen at Orchestra Hall...the orchestra playing the score to "Home Alone" during the movie itself! It was incredible, and led me to this amazing behind-the-scenes peek at how all the booby traps in the finale were pulled off. When you consider that this year marks the film's 25th anniversary, it seems even more fantastic that the filmmakers were able to make some of the pranks look as realistic as they did. 

--In that vein, I'm currently blogging from my parents' living room watching "Elf" with the family, and this list of 40 things learned from the DVD commentary made me smile. (I like to smile, smiling's my favorite.) I think "Elf" just cemented its status as one of my favorite Christmas movies with these revelations. 

--Although I remain resolutely single, Thrillist's list of best date spots in the Twin Cities piqued my interest. A lot of the locations were familiar-but-forgotten for me, and I'm looking forward to rounding up friends for a skyway bar crawl and spending a quiet afternoon wandering the Conservatory once the snow really starts flying. 

Hooray! Happy official holiday kickoff, campers!