Road trip: Back to reality

So pretty

So pretty

So, I was browsing my Google Reader today when it hit me: hey, I totally have a blog I’ve neglected since Christmas. We’re going to just go ahead and blame that on the Post-Holidays Funk. Do y’all go through that? I had a really bad case of it this year — it’s that funk you get into when you get back to the real world after spending a week or so in the warm, caring embrace of family.

Of course, the fact that the sun is REFUSING to shine here in D.C. probably has something to do with that.

But no matter. I’m sorry for neglecting y’all. Did you have a nice holiday? Mine was excellent — so excellent, in fact, that it was hard to get on the plane to come back.

If you had to leave these two goofballs, though, would you?

I can just hear Mom: "Y'all are going to break that chair in a minute."

I can just hear Mom: “Y’all are going to break that chair in a minute.”

My Christmas was fantastic. My big surprise this year was a KitchenAid stand mixer (cue my squeals of joy, y’all) in a beautiful tangerine shade. I’m not sure how it’s going to get up to my house in D.C., but it will. Oh, it will.

And then I will bake ALL OF THE THINGS.

Mwahahaha.

As part of “quality family time at home,” I went out with my parents to feed the cattle on Sunday. There, I was reunited with my show heifer from sixth grade, Mary. She’s one of the few cows that will still let you touch her.

In the background, Daddy's yelling, "She's not going to pose!  Take the dang picture!"

In the background, Daddy’s yelling, “She’s not going to pose! Take the dang picture!”

It was great to get back home for a while. I don’t know when I’m going to be able to get back to east Tennessee, and that saddens me. (This is one of the major drawbacks of not keeping a car in the city). I’m already searching Etsy prints to bring Tennessee to me.

For now, though, it’s back to real life in D.C. The Inauguration is on Monday, which means I’m going home tomorrow night and won’t be leaving my neighborhood for any reason until Tuesday morning. You couldn’t pay me to try and fight the crowds on Monday morning.

That’s definitely my Daddy’s influence coming out in me.

But on one final note, I met a Ralph Lauren model over Christmas. And I took a picture. Want to see it?

Okay, so maybe he's just a model in his own mind.

Okay, so maybe he’s just a model in his own mind.

Hope everyone is able to kick the January blues! If you have any tips, send ’em my way!

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Holiday Happiness: ‘Tis the season!

I don’t know about y’all, but as soon as the days prior to Thanksgiving arrive, the holiday rush just takes off for me. I’m catching flights, enjoying that brief time with my family, catching up with cousins I haven’t seen in forever.

Oh yeah, and stuffing my face with turkey and my Mom’s dressing (trust me, monuments should be built to this stuff — it’s that good).

This week is going to be an absolute blur between work, holiday parties, and getting everything done that needs to be done before I fly home for Christmas. It’s important to take time and reflect on the true meaning of the season. My current church (Wisconsin Avenue Baptist) is helping with that. Every morning, I receive a daily Advent devotional in my inbox. The theme is “Waiting for the Light,” and finding a quiet time every day to reflect and read the word of God helps keep me centered in this time of stress.

And there’s also my family. I love seeing them when I can. Living in DC without a car, I don’t get home as often as I would like, and so getting back to Tennessee is a really big deal for me. I took these photos when I was home for Thanksgiving, so you can enjoy my holiday through Instagram. 🙂

Always a welcome sight!

Always a welcome sight!

The animals were waiting to greet me when I got home!

Such sweet faces

Such sweet faces

I think Dad's done a pretty good job with this crop of calves :)

I think Dad’s done a pretty good job with this crop of calves 🙂

Every Thanksgiving, we spend the holiday at my great-grandmother’s home in North Carolina. Even though she is no longer with us, it’s still great to get together at her little mountain home and enjoy the fellowship of family.

Dory Jane -- a champion sugar cookie decorator in the making

Dory Jane — a champion sugar cookie decorator in the making

On Friday, the men head to the golf course or the fishing hole while the women head to Burnsville for a little bit of shopping/wandering around town.

Women of the Houston-Buchanan-Georges family

Women of the Houston-Buchanan-Georges family

Mama and her babies

Mama and her babies

When we got back home to Tennessee, we make a point to put our Christmas trees up that Saturday night. For me, it’s because the odds are that I won’t be back to see them before Christmas — we spend the holiday with my Mom’s side of the family in west Tennessee, and I usually fly straight to Memphis. For my parents, they a) like having the help, and b) know that if they don’t get it done right then, it might never get done!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

The family Christmas tree

The family Christmas tree

And the formal Christmas tree

And the formal Christmas tree

Decorating for the holidays is one of my favorite traditions! (Yes, Mom, it is. I only complained growing up because fluffing that fake garland we used to use was murder on my hands).

Also, egg nog. Egg nog is delicious.

Daddy and I toasting with our Christmas Vacation moose mugs

Daddy and I toasting with our Christmas Vacation moose mugs

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Holiday Happiness: This is Halloween

Spooky

Did y’all know that my favorite month of the year is October? Probably not. I mean, I love the summertime — I’m an August baby, and I will take being hot over being cold any day of the year (it’s my thin Southern blood). But October — there’s just something about it. The leaves are turning beautiful colors, there’s a slight nip in the air that just begs you to pull out your long sleeves, scarves, and boots.

And of course, there’s Halloween.

Listen. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. But Halloween has a special place in my heart. I love, love, love dressing up in costume, carving pumpkins (or turnips? Definitely trying this as well!), and handing out candy to trick or treaters. And yes, I will be wearing my costume to work on Halloween; I don’t care if I’m the only person in the office who does so (and that’s a distinct possibility). I also love Halloween music.

What? Halloween songs? Pffft.

No, really. While Christmas has some awesome songs (and we’ll cover those closer to time), I just can’t resist a good playlist of Halloween tunes. So, for my dear readers (all ten of you), I’ve made up a delicious Halloween playlist on Spotify for your enjoyment. It’s a mixture of classic and classical; a bit eclectic, but it’s all seasonally appropriate. 😀

And if you’d like the link, you can find it here: Virginia’s Halloween playist. It’s a work in progress, and please feel free to let me know of any songs you think deserve to be on there — I’ll add them in!

On the playlist is “The Hearse Song.” Does anyone remember that from elementary school? I remember reading it in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Fun fact: I HATE horror movies — but I’ll read horror/scary stories. Go figure.

Anyhoo. To jog your memory — or to introduce you if you lived under a rock from ages eight to fourteen — it goes like this:

“Don’t you ever laugh as the hearse goes by,
For you may be the next one to die.
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.
All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle in your snout,
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out our eyes.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You’ll spread it on a slice of bread,
And this is what you eat when you are dead.”

Creepy, isn’t it? Or at least it was to a ten year old.

Can’t wait to carve my jack o’lanterns!

What are some of your favorite Halloween memories? Favorite memories, costumes? Do you love horror movies, or are you anti-Saw like me?