A couple nights before Christmas I went to my home community's (like a Bible study) white elephant gift exchange where we were instructed to spend no more than $1 on a gift. I gave away a copy of the Martian Chronicles and the Bell Jar -- two of my favourite books -- because we already had a copy of each. Needless to say, these were way cooler than a white elephant gift should be, but never the less, they got into good hands and I think they will actually be read.
So I made a little white elephant to go on the top. I had to marvel at the fact that drawing the little guy took less time than it did to tape him onto the wrapping paper.
Our little tree! Charlie Brown's tree even trumps ours. But maybe I'll get some Anthropologie points for using metal and a deciduous tree for an unconventional, yet crafty, Christmas tree alternative.
Then Christmas Eve we had several people over for dinner. It looked lovely but in the end, the netting on the table ended up not being the best idea (my shoe got snagged and I felt! A loud crash, there was no hiding it).
We had a really lovely evening. We even got the dishes done in record time.
Then we had some coffee before heading off to midnight mass at The Grotto Catholic Church.
And it wouldn't be Christmas without satsumas and carra carra oranges. Delicious citrus!
Christmas morn! Joel and I sat next to our Anthropologie-anemic-Christmas-tree-alternative and opened our gifts. These are mostly for Joel's mom to see, but at any rate, these are our Christmas gifts that we got for each other and from our families. (Click for a bigger version, as always)
Joel tried on some of his Christmas presents, one from my mom, one from his.
Cooking Christmas breakfast.
No more presents under the tree-thing.
As you'll notice, I got a DSLR for my graduation present (yay, I graduated!!!) and so I've been testing it out. So Christmas night I took the opportunity to photograph my handsome cat. Mostly there haven't been a whole of things to photograph since I got the camera. Mostly its been grey and wet outside and there haven't been a whole lot of things going on inside...
And to top off Christmas day we made a roaring fire and sat by it, relishing in the heat and the crackling bliss.
One thing that Joel and I have been talking about doing as soon as I get back from CA (I'll be visiting my family and going to a friend's wedding) is starting on the "Paleo diet." It is known my many names, the most common are the paleo diet and the primal diet. It is actually less of a diet than a lifestyle and it is in line with our philosophies on food. For those who are not familiar these are the basic tenets of the diet:
• No sugar
• No gluten (bread, cake, pizza, pasta)
• No processed food (pretty much all packaged food)
• Fat is good (saturated, and natural fats found in meat, milk, fruits & vegetables -- not vegetable, soy or canola oil)
• Meat is good
• Vegetables and fruit are good (especially ones high in vitamins, fats and protein)
Some people simplify it to simply "No white food" which then covers sugar, gluten products, [most] potatoes, and makes a lot of sense: there aren't a whole lot of beneficial vitamins and protein in many white foods.
For those who are interested Joel has been really influenced by these two sites:
At any rate, we'll see how this goes. Along with a community center pass (pool! dance classes! yoga! gym!), this should be a good start to better eating and being in better shape. I'm looking for a nice change of pace and more conscious about what we are eating. It will also be a nice counteraction to all the junk we've been eating the last year with me being in my thesis year and feeling too busy to spend much time on a meal. Now I have time and luckily, eating meat and vegetables really doesn't have to be long or time involved. It is simply a matter of being a little more creative than we have been as of late. Here's to a new, healthier year!