Cappuccino Time #3

Hi friends! It’s 10 days until Christmas, and I have yet to buy a SINGLE Christmas present. Ordinarily I’m someone to take care of things early and immediately, but I am the worst at buying Christmas gifts. How is your shopping coming along? Have you found anything cool that you’re really excited about giving?

The reason I have such a hard time with Christmas shopping is because I’ve come to realize that I don’t really like most things. I’m a big believer in the “experiences over things” idea, which is why Pete and I will save up for several hundred dollar dinners at Michelin-stared NYC restaurants, while others would never ever consider doing that. But, trips and experiences have become more and more appealing to us as ways to enjoy and experience pleasure and leisure in life.

At the same time, we have also vastly reduced our belongings over the past few years, and have about a quarter of the stuff we both owned when we got married. There was SO much stuff we never used, and we had no idea why we kept it around. Between all of our Navy moves, my husband getting me the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last Christmas, and discovering this fantastic blog Becoming Minimalist, we’ve been getting rid of more and more stuff. It truly has been so freeing, and it always makes me think twice before I buy something new. I have a feeling this Christmas I will be gifting more experience-related presents.

This year I’ll be celebrating Christmas in NYC with my husband and little brother Stephen (who also lives in the city), and it will be the first time we haven’t visited family for the holidays. I will miss being back in California with my family but Christmas is a gloriously beautiful time in NYC. Lights everywhere, and I always feel like the city goes all out to spread the cheer. It’s something I recommend everyone try to do at least once.

While we’re still on the topic of Christmas, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Christmas traditions. My brothers and I didn’t grow up with many family traditions, and it’s something I really desire to create more of. I loved this post my friend Bree posted about her favorite Christmas traditions, and it has some ideas that I really like. Do you have any Christmas traditions that your family loves? The traditions my husband and I already have are mostly food-related, like always eating a special fish-centric meal on Christmas Eve, and eating this Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner, but I think I want to start some sort of Christmas breakfast tradition too. I’ve heard a lot of people do cinnamon rolls, which sounds appealing, but I also want to try doing danishes from scratch. I will try that this year.

I have a few more cookie posts coming your way before Christmas, but I will go ahead now and wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thanks for being here and may you have an extra cheerful rest in the coming weeks.

I have less links than normal this time around, I think because the internet abounds in political and ISIS articles these days, and those aren’t the types of posts I share. Here are some interesting articles I’ve read over the past few weeks:

The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying the Long Winter – This was a fascinating read to me. It’s yet another example of how our frame of mind and attitude can really affect how we experience things. I admit that long, cold winters can get to me over time, but at the same time, there are so many positive and beautiful aspects to wintertime as well, and I do cherish those.

When Does ‘Eating Clean’ Become an Eating Disorder? – I remember reading about orthorexia a couple years ago, specifically about a woman who kept cutting out more and more foods from her diet until she was only eating five things, one of which I remember was ARTICHOKES. The reason it happened is because she kept reading reports about certain foods being unhealthy, until eventually she cut everything but 5 things out. I mean, artichokes? The only reason artichokes probably haven’t been demonized is because there aren’t many studies on artichokes. There is a lot of food shaming that happens around the topic of “eating healthy” and I think it’s important to try to limit that.

Let’s Not Make Small Talk – My friend shared this on Facebook, and I like the message. I’ve always made an effort to go beyond small talk, and I know some people are resistant to it, but that’s where the real magic and connection happens.

I really want to try this Tomato Sauce recipe. I admit I’m extremely skeptical of how good it could be, but the reviews for it are ridiculously positive, and many say the recipe is a revelation. Have you tried it?

An Interview with one of Food & Wine’s 2015 Best New Chefs, Chef Bryce Shuman – One of the first restaurants I went to when I moved to NYC is Michelin-stared restaurant Betony, which is run by a brilliant chef named Bryce Shuman. Last month I got to interview him (!!!) and his story is fascinating. He traveled a lot as a child, to far places like the Arctic, and I love how he says, “Open-mindedness, even to things like raw seal bones, has served me well as a chef.” He’s so cool!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

xo Joanne