Thursday, December 25, 2008

o christmas tree

Merry Christmas! I hope this finds all of you having a joyful, fun-filled day, whether or not you're celebrating Jesus' birth. Since none of you will probably see our home in its holiday finest, I'd like to show you our tree. We're very excited about it.

First off, I'm psyched because it's real! My family has always had artificial trees (albeit very realistic-looking ones), because poor Andrew is allergic to something conifer-related and, of course, we'd rather have a healthy, happy brother/son/self than a genuine Douglas fir.

Secondly, we practically cut it down ourselves. Well, not really. We did do some market research, though. On the day after Thanksgiving, a whole bunch of Christmas tree vendors set up shop along the sidewalks, so you'll probably hit one every 10 blocks or so. In our area, there happen to be two that are across the street from each other, so we were able to price things out by walking 20 yards. Boy, did we get a deal. (I don't really know if it's a steal or not, but it was less than we counted on spending, so it's a deal, no?)

Thirdly, we made all the decorations ourselves (except the hiding hog). I wish I could say it was because we are uber-creative and had planned it all along, but we just ran out of time. Nonetheless, they are lovely and we both think it's a wonderful first Christmas tree (yep, we've never had one that was exclusively ours).

Here's how it all went down:

Last Saturday: We picked out a tree. There had been an ice storm the night before, so everything was looking particularly rustic. We were hoping to get a three-footer. Not so much.

See? The place looks like a regular Christmas tree lot only skinnier. After the nice attendant got it all trimmed, packed up, and ready to go, we threw it in the trunk of a cab and took it home. How many of you can say that's how you got your tree home this year? Yes, we are an unusual bunch.

Last night: Remember how I said we bought 4,500 cookie cutters? Well most of them were Christmas- and winter-related ones. Ian made his favorite gingerbread cookies and cut out a few dozen for our tree (and more to eat).

And then our resident pastry chef decorated every single one of them. We finally finished everything at 2:45 this morning!

Today: Here it is! Our Christmas tree. It's so cute it's hard not to hug it!

We're planning to save our best ornaments (and, of course, the hiding hog) and make some other kind of ornament for next year's tree. Any ideas?

So, though this nice, relaxed holiday has been a welcome change of pace from the insanity of our everyday lives, "we miss you" barely begins to cover the way we're feeling today. Thank you all for your greetings from afar, and especially our families for the massive amount of gifts and goodies. You're beyond generous. We are so blessed to be loved by you and are looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth together once again.

How was your day?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

let it snow!

It. Is. Snowing! Here! In New York! Where the temperature has barely dipped below 40 since February.

The snow started at about quarter til one as I was getting ready to go to the gym during my lunch break. The first flakes were sparse (about one per cubic yard of sky), but they were humongous, as if the clouds were clogged and had finally burst.

(The view from my desk)

(And the view from The Knot Cafe -- wish I sat there.
But who am I to covet? At least I have a window!)
The snow has since tapered off, but it's still coming down. The cars and roofs have a nice dusting, and the swirling wind is creating little drifts where buildings meet the sidewalk. Hallelujah!
PS You may have been wondering for quite some time, and it is completely my fault for not explaining (after all, I've had nearly two-and-a-half years to do so)...My married (and professional) name is Ellie Martin Cliffe; well, Elizabeth, really. Not just Ellie Cliffe or good ol' Ellie Martin. I know many of you didn't know at all, so I forgive you. And if you're rebelling because you think it's dumb, humor me! It's my name, for Pete's sake. People don't take shortcuts with Sarah Jessica Parker. We wouldn't even know who Sarah Parker was. So say it with me. Ellie Martin Cliffe. There! You did it. Well done. Now please use it -- it's very much appreciated. And thanks to those of you who have been getting it right.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

it's beginning to look a lot like...

The first time Ian and I saw snow this year, we were cruising at an altitude of about 40,000 feet. We'd been getting fairly jealous of all the snow they're getting in we decided to see it for ourselves.

Actually, the white weather was only a perk -- we went to Waukesha to celebrate Ian (and to ring in his new year). We spent two very restorative days with some much-loved family (mine came too!), great friends, and delicious food.

Thanks to everybody who was able to make the weekend so special for us. You are an incredible group of people. It's good to be back in our New York routine, but we're definitely looking forward to another weekend like this in February...stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

for he's a jolly good fellow

Today my quest to feel more grown up reached a new milestone. My husband turned 28 years old. Sounds mature, right? Well that must mean that I, too, am mature, since I am married to him and such.

We both had to work (given our upcoming long weekend), but still managed to enjoy our evening at Double Crown, a new restaurant in the East Village that Ian has been wanting to try. We both agree it was phenomenal! If you like Indian and/or English food and ambience (it has, perhaps, the coolest decor I've ever seen), we're definitely going there when you come to visit.

Here is our Birthday Boy opening his gifts. (This is Heat by Bill Buford, a culinary memoir.) He's very thankful for everybody's good wishes.