Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Countdown

I don't know what's wrong with me. I've never felt like this before. It's November 20, and I desperately want to buy a Christmas tree. I usually wait until December, sometimes even after my birthday (Dec. 6), but I might have to break my own rules this year.

Something about this house makes me want to go overboard with twinkly lights and boughs of holly and candles that smell like pine trees. I have a real mantle for the first time in years, a bannister that's just begging for an evergreen garland, and room for a 12-foot tree if I want it. And Christmas music? It's been on heavy rotation since last week.

When do you start decorating for Christmas? I'll try to restrain myself until after Thanksgiving, but after that — no promises.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thirty-something: 7 Things

I'm turning 30 in a few weeks. I haven't really thought too much about this milestone, but every now and then when I say it out loud or write it down, I start to feel like ... an adult. This means I can no longer make fun of my husband for being "old." I can no longer call myself a twenty-something.

I'm happy with where I am at almost-30, but I have been thinking about who I've always imagined I'd be as a 30-year-old. Who would have thought I'd still be feeling like an awkward teenager every now and then? Here are a few 30-year resolutions I'm keeping in mind as I enter this new decade.
  1. Get comfortable in the kitchen. As much as I love food, I'm really not a great cook. I have a few dishes that I can make without a recipe, but I want to branch out and try new things, and add some more complex recipes to my repertoire. 
  2. Be nicer. I tend to be a little snarky and sarcastic. I think 30-year-old me should be nicer.
  3. Expand the fam. I love our furry babies, but tiny humans are starting to sound fun to me, too.
  4. Refine my wardrobe. Last weekend I threw out nearly a third of my wardrobe — some stuff with tags still on it, some stuff that doesn't fit, some stuff that just doesn't suit me anymore (so many strapless dresses!). I want to open my closet and only see things I love, and if that means having a small wardrobe, that's OK with me.
  5. Refine my home. No more disposable furniture. It's time to fill the house with quality, long-lasting pieces that I actually love — even if that means it'll take a lot longer for it all to come together.
  6. Be more drink-savvy. I love cocktails, but I rarely make them for myself at home. I want to have the fixins and the skills to make a few of my favorites myself. I want to learn more about wine, too.
  7. Get more national bylines. Time to kick the freelance game up a notch.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Favorites: Puppy Love

It's been a fun week here at Casa Curran. We celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary (with dinner here), took in a sweet, sweet puppy that we found in the park (temporarily!), and basically soaked up Richmond's glorious fall foliage (including at Maymont, above). A few other things on my mind this week:
  • I wrote this article about Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout in The Local Palate. This limited-release beer has been known to sell out of stores within hours!
  • Alton Brown was in Richmond this week and he managed to visit an impressive number of local restaurants in one day. Putting all of these places on my to-do list.
  • 15 slow-cooker recipes.
  • I love how the couple behind The Fresh Exchange hosts a dinner party.
  • These cake toppers are cute.
  • Also I wish I had $451 for this mailbox. Darn.
  • One more Maymont photo below! Stupid pretty.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Green Thumb.

I come from a family of gardeners. Growing up, my mom would spend hours at plant nurseries, or digging around in the backyard, or thumbing through landscaping books. Botanical gardens were worthy of a day trip. When we visited my grandma, they could spend all day walking around her beautifully landscaped yard, talking about plants and digging up a car-load to take back home.


I used to think plants were incredibly boring, but as I've gotten older, I've found my thumb turning greener. It started with two or three houseplants. Then my grandma passed along a few cacti to me. Now that I have a yard, I fantasize about herb gardens and raised beds and banks of hydrangeas. I've got a lot to learn, but luckily I have some amazing teachers.