Thursday, December 23, 2010

Autumn in Florida

J and I are up visiting his mom for a short while to celebrate Christmas and since she's a bit north of where we live, the colder temperatures have changed the leaves to beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow.  I get my favorite part of autumn this year!  It is one of the things about living up north that I truly miss - the spectacular coloring of the trees.  So lovely!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I've had all of my gifts planned out/purchased for a while now (a necessity since Hanukkah was so early this year).  One of my planned gifts involves lots of homemade sweets, all of them of the chocolate variety.  Luckily my parents surprised me with a visit on Sunday and we were able to knock out all of them in one day!  I spent last night packaging and prettifying them.  I was an idiot and forgot to take pictures, even though I had reminded myself to earlier in the day - but here is what they would have looked like if I had, as well as the recipes for the chocolate truffles (I split the batch of ganache and used Disarono and Chambord instead of brandy) and everyone's favorite, the chocolate coconut balls.  Yum!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Did anyone see the lunar eclipse last night?  Once I fall asleep, I'm dead to the world (and according to J, apparently snoring as well....) so I didn't get a chance to view it.  But there are a lot of pictures online and they're absolutely beautiful!  The red color the moon turned is just stunning.  Enjoy the pictures because this is the last one we'll see for a while (until 2014).

(Photo via the Huffington Post)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Deco Design

After my mother passed down an Art Deco ring to me that once belonged to my great grandmother, I have been obsessed with the Art Deco movement in jewelry.  (Yes, this is another post about my love of vintage)  According to Wikipedia, Art Deco is a purely decorative artistic and design style which had its origins in Paris in the 1920's and continued in the States through the 30's.  It is influenced by African, Egyptian and Japanese themes, and Art Deco jewelry is famous for its geometric designs, sharp lines, and bright colors.

I have gone on multiple ebay searches for filigree rings and other authentic art deco designs.  I haven't quite been able to shore up enough funds yet to make the plunge and actually buy one yet.  But I have identified some fantastic and affordable knock-offs that share the same design aesthetic...
This ring grabbed my attention when I first saw it (and ultimately purchased it).  It is a near replica of the vintage rings I find on ebay.  I wore it endlessly until I lost it.  Thinking I may have to invest in another one...
While shopping this past weekend I saw this bracelet while strolling through Banana Republic and I fell in love with it.  I was advised by my boyfriend that it is perfect as a gift giving idea, so I'm holding out for the time being on buying it. I couldn't find it online, but I'm sure they will still have it in your local store.  There are some other pieces from Banana Republic's deco inspired collection that I was able to find on their site, though.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shuttle Update

I had to wake up super early today to support in the firing room for the External Tank tanking test that was run today.  Basically we filled the tank up with fuel as if we were getting ready to launch and then ran the countdown until T minus 31 seconds.  Sensors applied to the tank over the last couple of weeks collected data to determine the stresses on the tank during the fueling procedure.  The good news is the test is now complete and it appears that everything went well.  The bad news is I'm ridiculously tired....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid Century Modern

I am obsessed with Mid Century Modern furniture.  My dining room is a slightly worn mid century modern set that a friend of the family gave me before I moved down to Florida, I bought two tables from craigslist for a $45, and just this past year J and I bought a bedroom furniture set from an estate sale in Cocoa Beach.  A king size headboard, 2 dressers, 2 mirrors, and 2 nightstands for $375!!!  This particular era of furniture has made a comeback in recent years and deals like this are practically unheard of, which is why I'm so thrilled with it. 

Despite the fact that my house is now filled to overflowing with furniture (seriously, I have my old bedroom set in my upstairs hallway...) I am for some reason still fixated on hunting down deals on this amazing furniture style.  I search ebay and craigslist every now and then - my dream, to find a freestanding electric cone fireplace and a bar cart, both of course in the mid century modern style.  Since I can never seem to justify making the purchase, I have lately been consoling myself with the following blog, a great take on the styles of the era: Atomic Living

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


So it's actually been kind of cold down here in Florida lately.  I know, I know, those of you up in the midwest are currently experiencing negative temperatures with the wind chill and so I'm not going to get a lot of sympathy here.  And to be honest, I don't really mind the cold.  I love that I get to break out my sweaters and boots, drink hot soup, tea, and chocolate and not sweat profusely every time I step outside. 
 However I do have a beef with the people running my office building.  I realize that in Florida it is far more common to run air conditioning as a form of temperature control rather than the heater, but once the temperatures outside slip below 50 I'm pretty sure that the AC is no longer necessary...  Seriously, I'm colder at my desk than I am outside!

(Picture from here)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rocket Inspiration

Since I work in a a cubicle farm it was absolutely necessary for me to spruce up my work area.  I have some gorgeous shuttle posters hanging as well as a shuttle mock up I got when I won my Space Flight Awareness award and a mission pin and patch for every mission that has launched since I've been here.  While here I've also accumulated an awesome number of other shuttle related posters and flags and such and ever since the collection started to grow I've been inspired to, one day when I have a house big enough to do so, dedicate an entire room to a space theme.  In addition to my poster collection I've also saved links to other awesome rocket paraphernalia that I may one day be able to use:
This is an incredible 12 x 9 foot entire wall mural.  How incredible to be the one who saw that view...
These are some fantastic vintage looking wall hangings that qualify more as art as opposed to the photography that dominates my space themed decorations.  
Speaking of vintage, this is the most incredible wallpaper I have ever seen.  Of course it's not actually for sale, I found it on this blog.  If I ever saw it, though, you can bet I would buy up as many rolls as I could.  So gorgeous!
And finally, because so far everything has been for the wall, an awesome solar system mobile.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Foolproof Gift Idea

Everyone will always love gifts of food (with the possible exception of my friend K who is on an elimination diet in which she can't eat wheat or sugar and idiot that I am, I gave her Kinder Bueno bars last time I saw her...).  But aside from brain farts like that, it's always a good way to go.  This year I have decided to make my food gifts at home.  I already tackled a double batch of chocolate chip cookies last week and chocolate covered pretzels and nut bark are on the agenda for this week.  In the event you don't have quite as much free time or inclination as me, here is my absolute favorite food gift website: Zingerman's

Their cheese selection is phenomenal.  Any of their individual or cheese packages alone with a loaf of their homemade bread would be a fantastic gift idea.
They are also known for their baked goods and they have a huge selection.  Due to my egg yolk aversion I am unable to consume most of it, but I have tried their chocolate orange passover torte and their macaroons and they were so incredible that they actually make me look forward to giving up bread for a week in the spring...
And finally, the gift I have given previously to wild reviews, their special Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread. Based on my earlier ravings about Nutella, I am obviously crazy about this particular flavor combination.  And when I visited K, said gift recipient, and tried it, I was sold - it was delicious.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bye Hanukkah

Well, yesterday was the last full day of Hanukkah.  I hope all of my Jewish friends and family had a lovely holiday!

 A few interesting Hanukkah facts to leave you with:
- Due to the differences in the Jewish vs Gregorian calendar, in the year 3031 there will be no Hanukkah!  However, in the year 3032, there will be two - one in January and the other in December.
- The custom of Hanukkah gelt originated in 17th century Eastern Europe when children used to give real coins to their teachers and to the poor.
- A different dreidel is used in Israel than in other countries.  In Israel the four sides read nun, gimmel, hay, and peh, whose letters mean "A great miracle happened here".  Everywhere else the fourth letter is shin, which translates to "A great miracle happened there"

(Facts taken from the The Best of A Little Joy, A Little Oy 2010 Calendar)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sparkling Personality

I'm normally not a glitter and sequins person, but for some reason lately I've been obsessed with all that sparkles.  I just bought a sequin covered gold skirt (I justify it as a New Years Eve purchase), and now I can't stop wishing I had a pair of Kate Spade's glitter adorned heels.  They are so festive and beautiful!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Falcon is Space Bound!

Falcon 9 Rocket launches from Cape Canaveral this morning at 10:43 am! 


Wrap It Up

I love wrapping holiday gifts.  Even though I hate waste, I can't still can't forgo using beautiful new wrapping papers and tons of ribbons, ornaments, and bells.  I usually wait until the end of the season sales or stalk Target and Ikea's gift wrapping sections for deals, but lately my attention has been drawn to a number of other options:

Anthropologie has started offering wrapping paper and decorations on their website.  As much as I love Anthro, though, I just can't stomach spending $16 on what is essentially yarn.  But I will be using their beautiful pictures as wrapping inspiration and, as I do with all Anthro things I love, wait to see if any it goes on sale.
Felt and Wire Shop is a new discovery of mine.  They have really unique patterns in beautiful, vivid colors (I'm really loving that hot pink architectural design).  They also offer pretty reuseable fabric options, which may help to alleviate my wrapping paper guilt.  The prices are ok and I have a feeling I just may have to cave in...
Snow & Graham is known for their beautiful prints and paper products.  Their calendars are immensely popular and while perusing those, I noticed they have a wrapping paper section.  True to form, the prints are simply gorgeous.  Definitely a bit pricier than I'm used to spending on wrapping paper, but still priced low enough for a splurge!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Best/Easiest Breakfast Idea

Ok, who am I kidding.  We're talking Nutella here, so I'd pretty much eat it any time of the day.  It's so simple - just add a dollop of Nutella into one of those Pillsbury croissants, roll it up, bake and voila!  Homemade hazelnut pseudo pain au chocolate! Yum!

(Idea courtesy of this blog)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lovely Saturday

Spent the day out and about.  Had a delightful asparagus and goat cheese flat bread pizza with my boyfriend J followed by some holiday shopping.  I just love finding the perfect gifts for my friends and family!  Not to mention how much fun I have wrapping them...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Here I Go

Sunrise from Mt. Masada

After recently providing a long list of blogs I frequent to my friend K and also noting how many pictures and links I save from said blogs, I decided to start a blog of my own and share my own throughts... a record of the many things that I love and that make me happy.  So here I go....