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Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Orangery, a Proper Afternoon Tea in London

Wow, this year has flown by. Christmas is over and New Year’s is just a few couple of days away. As you may remember, Chef and I spent Christmas in Charlottesville last week and our time couldn’t have been any better. Okay, mayyybe if we’d had Mr. Leon with us, we’d have had a slightly better time. Over the roughly 4 full days we were in Virginia, we managed to binge eat everything in sight and drink copious amounts of wine and cocktails. So now, as many other good-time-having Americans are, I’m looking for good running shoes, a quality activity tracker (Fitbit? Jawbone?), and a new insulated mug to drink all of the tea I can get my hands on. Side note: My favorite teas are mint or Stash’s Lemon Ginger. From now on, I will be drinking approximately 48 ounces of tea at work to stay hydrated and start flushing out all of the toxins I’ve consumed.

But that’s not exactly why we’re here, is it?

My absolute favorite picture.

My absolute favorite picture.

No, we’re here to discuss the absolutely amazing time I had in London last year while also drinking copious amounts of tea. Read the rest of this entry

Getting Ready for Christmas in Charlottesville

Can you believe Christmas is in exactly one week? Where did time go? I just barely finished my Christmas shopping, which is pretty much a miracle it happened this far in advance. Little by little, I’m starting to get in the Christmas spirit.

Just last week I shared with you that I’d be heading across the country for Christmas. I’m starting to think all of my Christmases will be spent traveling far from home, as last year I ventured to New York and London before settling down in Paris for Christmas. Ooh, next year in somewhere tropical is sounding pretty delicious right now..

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Meet Tony Danza, our really sad Christmas tree.

But, this year will be spent in Charlottesville, VA where the average high during my stay will be a chilly and rainy 46 F. Not quite tropical, but I’m still very excited! I’ve never been to Charlottesville, but from everything Chef tells me, I think I’ll love it. And after looking at the Visit Charlottesville site, I’m pretty happy to see they share my priorities (see their whole page dedicated to Vineyards, Breweries and Cideries in the area)! I think we’ll get along just fine, Charlottesville.

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

All last week it was raining in Napa. It’s supposed to start up again this week and I’m definitely less than thrilled. I know we need it desperately, but all I want to do is stay snuggled up to Mr. Leon with a cup of coffee, some tasty treats, and a good book. Sort of like I did when I discovered I had leftover cookies from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! Lucky for me, dogs can’t have chocolate, so I got to keep them to myself.

The perfect breakfast.

Can’t this be breakfast everyday?

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A Tourist’s Guide to Christmastime in New York City

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Like, where did the time go?

And while I’m still not exactly sure when specifically it’s okay to start talking about the “holiday season” (before Thanksgiving? After Halloween? Thanks for the confusion, big retail), I think I’m in the clear at this point in time. Thanksgiving just happened and Christmas is less than 3 weeks away!

Third only to birthday month and the entire fall season, the holiday season is truly one of my favorite times of year. We get to spend time with friends and family, sure, but I really love baking (obviously) and seeing how others celebrate. Whether it’s a different culture, city, or even just a next door neighbor, I love seeing what the holidays mean of other people! This year, I’ll be heading to Viriginia for Christmas with Chef’s family. I’m really excited to be heading to a new place to celebrate the holiday and learn which traditions make the holiday special for their family. My feelings of excitement and wanderlust for Virginia are very reminiscent of what I was doing this time last December.

Merry Christmas from the Tide Snowman

In Napa, we don’t get snow. So, this guy made my day!

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What I’m Thankful For

The clamor of our carving knives has subsided and we’ve woken up from our tryptophan-fueled naps. That’s right, guys, we made it through Thanksgiving! I wanted to give you all a break from reviving the economy while shopping for your friends and family this #CyberMonday to share with you how my holiday went. Never one to follow the rules completely, I had two Thanksgiving dinners! One with my family on Wednesday and one with my friend-family on Thursday. Both were simply perfect. And now, to continue on the tradition of sharing with you what I’m most thankful for (see here and here), I give you the 2014 edition:

My family– Throughout the holiday season, despite some living as far away as New Orleans, we always make a point to be together. My family loves and supports me, even though I can be pretty particular. Except for Marvin and Betsey– they simply tolerate me.

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Chef and Mr. Leon– I’m not really sure what I’d do without these two goofballs. They take care of me when I’m sick, are always down for a good cuddle sesh on the couch, and give me reasons to smile every single day.

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My friends– always down to get together, be it for an earthquake relief concert, cocktail and gab sesh, or grown-up girls’ sleepover, these people keep me going throughout life’s ups and downs. And they know all of my secrets, so we kinda have to stay friends.

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And finally, I’m forever thankful to you. You read my blog, share my recipes, and every once in a while send me sweet little notes and comments. I’d originally started In Natalie’s Shoes as both a way to document and share my misadventures around the world and in the kitchen. But all of you are what keep me posting. I love meeting you in real life, swapping cookies/recipes in the mail, and regularly being inspired to cook what you cook and travel where you travel. You guys are pretty darn awesome. So thank you, I truly am grateful for you.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and I look forward to continuing this internet friendship! xo Nat