A Holiday Lately I'm Loving

I have a SERIOUSLY severe case of the Monday blues this morning after a totally weird weekend...Highs? Seeing the Minnesota Orchestra take on "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" on Saturday, Minnesota getting its first big dumping of snow all day yesterday, and a spontaneous Café Latté stop with Matt to end the weekend! Lows? Being sick as a dog with what I am convinced is a 21st-century version of the plague (aka the common cold and an accompanying fever, bleh). 

Minnesota's unseasonably warm temperatures and a busier-than-usual schedule have left me feeling a bit Grinchy this holiday season. I can't believe we're less than two weeks out! I have yet to get one single present actually ordered, let alone wrapped and under the tree (which Hal and I have yet to set up...EEK). That said, here's how I'm planning to get things feeling a bit more festive around here: 

-I just peeked through this gallery of New York City's holiday windows as I finished this morning's coffee - so pretty! Gotta say, Tiffany's are my favorites. So classic! 

-In lieu of sending traditional holiday cards (because, duh, no spouse/children/significant other/pets, hahaha), I went a little crazy in Emily McDowell's deliciously irreverent holiday shop online. Friends, expect some slightly off-color greetings from yours truly this year...and stay tuned for the Schwegfam Christmas card reveal, it's similarly irreverent and, I think, delightful. 

-The current soundtrack of the season is Leslie Odom's fantastic holiday album...I'm convinced he can do no wrong. Take a listen to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," then add the whole album to your holiday Spotify playlist - you won't regret it. If Christmas carols just aren't your jam, 1. BOO YOU SCROOGE! and 2. Take a listen to DJ Earworm's 2016 United States of Pop. Jury's still out for me, personally...

-As soon as I have a few free days/evenings, I'm hitting up Twin Cities holiday classics with everything I have in me. With Loring Park's Holidazzle right outside my front door, I have no excuse not to take a wander through the Christmas market...but I'll be making a special trip to the Como Conservatory on the nastiest day I can find to soak up the warmth and bask in the loveliness of the holiday sunken garden

-Kitchen-wise, I need to NOT go my usual route of "Bake all the Christmas cookies!!!!!" in the name of fitting into a gown on New Year's Eve...yikes. That said, there are a few festive events on my social calendar that require an offering, and I'm feeling shortbread this year for some reason. These pistachio butter cookies and these rosemary shortbread cookies both sound just different enough to be worth a try...stay tuned, and here's to hoping the great 2013 Christmas Oreo Balls Disaster isn't repeated. 

-Finally, tis the season, after all, to pay it forward. In a totally inspiring turn of affairs, my board's high schoolers decided to go to Feed My Starving Children this holiday season and spend some time giving back...I'll be joining them tomorrow for a morning of packing food and getting back to the reason for the season. So proud of them! Other worthy programs and initiatives I'm hoping to be able to share some time or money with this season: Wreaths Across America, which recognizes fallen veterans each holiday season...the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota's annual Centro Christmas party, which provides holiday cheer for over 1,000 attendees annually...and my office's Toys for Tots drive, which is looking a little sparse so far.