Cookies, Candies and Cocktails 2015! [Seventh Annual Party]

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I realize that I am bit behind on getting some of these post up, but whatever, I’m going to assume it doesn’t really matter. I mean in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t, right? Anyway, on with the post!

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I cannot believe I have hosted this party for seven years now. This was the first time outside of Brooklyn, I missed a couple years while I was in transition. But now it is back and just as awesome as it was all those years before with an entirely different crew. Not to say that the old group was not missed or on my mind that day, (I do love all my New York friends! Thank you for starting this party with me!), but we had a great time. I named it “The Three C’s Party,” for Cookies, Candies, and Cocktails. It was later brought to my attentions that it should have been “The three C’s and No Seamen Party.” Next year.

I didn’t do anything crazy for appetizers this year, just chips and salsa and cheese and crackers, but I did have some awesome cookies prepared. The weekend before over Thanksgiving, we made candy cane cookies at home that I shared and I made angeletti cookies too. Now that I have the secret recipe, (EC, I PROMISE TO NEVER SHARE IT!!), I can share my favorite little cookies with my friends in Montana.

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I did spend some time making a couple awesome drinks for us. The first was a Spiked Chai Latte  and second was Caramel Hot Chocolate. I’ll share the Chai Latte below. The hot chocolate drink is just that with caramel vodka. Peppermint schnapps is also great to mix in your hot chocolate. I didn’t mix the alcohol in the drinks to start so people could mix them as they wished. MK brought over a strawberry champagne drink for us too. We were set on drinks.

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There were a lot of different things made this year. I went with my traditional chocolate cover peanut butter balls, peanut butter sandwiches  and oreos balls. One friend made some adorable snowmen on a stick with oreos, there were sugar cookies, chocolate cookies and fruit cookies/shortbreads. Everyone did awesome. My favorite was these frosted peppermint brownie cookies that I will be making in the future. They were not too sweet and perfectly pepperminty.
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After the party, most of us headed downtown to the annual Christmas Stroll. We packaged up the extra treats and shared them with the boys that have yet to be invited to the party. I can’t wait to see what people come up with next year!
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Spiked Chai Lattes (via)
Makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups bourbon (I used Bulleit)
  • 3 cups chai tea
  • 3 cups milk (I had almond and whole milk on hand)
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • ice
  1. Make honey syrup: Combine honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature. (Cover and keep extra refrigerated for up to 2 weeks)
  2. In a glass with ice mix 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz honey syrup, with 3 oz each chai tea and milk. Stir with a cinnamon stick.

Enjoy!

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fifty-eight]

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would probably be tea. I have been nursing another silly cold. A constant runny nose is getting old, but I think I am on the mend. Fingers crossed it’s the last one this season.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that last weekend was spent in Livingston. The Sexy Master Electrician had to do some work over there on Saturday and Sunday so we just stayed over. I worked on random projects in a coffee shop while he was working. We had another amazing dinner at the Second Street Bistro and a drink at the Murray before crashing for the night.  The next morning we grab some breakfast at the Beanery and watched a huge train pull in with a plane on it. It was a perfect weekend out of town.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you to watch this video. It’s a great reminder of what design is, what people make it to be. Design is inherently neutral, something we should remember.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you I was sad to see Clemson loose to Alabama in the National Championship. At least it was a good game to watch.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the game called “Pandemic.” It was interesting because there is no winner, you all work together to eradicate the world of four different deadly viruses spreading across the world. We defeated the game, but we played it on the easiest level. It was fun to play, and I would like to try it again now that we have an idea how to play.

 

Pick Your Decade Prom

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Just before Thanksgiving, a friend invited me to be her “date” to her friend’s house warming party that was prom themed. You got to pick your decade and group of us decided to go all out. By all out I mean we borrowed dresses from our mothers or found our old 1990’s early 2000’s prom dresses, bought corsages, took a photo on the stairs and booked a limo. It was a blast and I am really sharing this because I think it was a brilliant idea that I will one day steal.

I borrowed an old 70’s dress from my mom. I think it was actually a bridesmaid dress, but it works just the same. MK ordered us corsages from a local flower store, requesting them to be as guady as possible. We would have liked them to be a bit more ridiculous, but at least they were full of carnations as requested.
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Another friend found us a limo for the ride to the party.
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We all met at his house and filled the car with fireball and prosecco and proceeded downtown to take a couple shots at different bars and bewilder the clientele.
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Our host had spiked punch and a lovely food platter set out, just like you might find a prom. And he added a real bar as you might find at an adult party. There was a disco ball and sparkly things every where. In the back a photo wall was set up.
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It really was a wonderful party idea. Everyone had a great time and was happy we had DD’s to take us home when it was over. Now how long do I have to wait before I can host my own version…?

 

 

Meet Shorty

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When I finally moved to Montana, I borrowed a car from my parents for a bit until I found Mercedes. She was a VW diesel Jetta and I wanted to love her so. However, she was a bitch. Other  people who have the same car and love it, would ask me how she was for gas mileage and then not believe me when I told them how low it was (for that car). She was constantly need to be fixed in some way and after her first Montana winter when she wouldn’t start for week because it was too cold, I installed a block heater. I tried so hard to love her for the last two years, but before Thanksgiving,  I took her in for some routine maintenance work. I was told that there was some rattling that they couldn’t find the source of and might need to take out the transmission to find it. I called my dad and told him what I knew and he said, “sell it, I’m done with it.” And I agreed.

I started looking into crossover SUV’s. Something a little bigger and able to go up in the mountains with much less trouble. Sure the gas mileage is much less, but after Mercedes, I didn’t care. I wanted something that was certified pre-owned or new. New was going to be a stretch with my budget, but if it was certified, at least the factory warranties were still in place and they were already checked for any major issues. And the car shopping/research began.

My top choices were the Honda CRV, Nissan Xterra and Nissan Rogue. I was really like the Xterra, but I also don’t really need an all-terrain vehicle, plus they discontinued them last year. I love the CRV, but hate the latest body styles. I had not really heard of the Rogue, but it had great reviews and is basically the same as a CRV. While we were in Billings before Christmas we did some test driving with no intentions of buying.

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Of course, after driving a 2012 Rogue with less than 20 000 miles, heated leather seats, a sunroof, (didn’t think I would be able to get those in my budget!), navigation and the rest of the works, I was sold and they were offering me trade in value I couldn’t resist. After a couple hours debating in the hotel, we went back and purchased Shorty right before my office holiday party.

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So far, she is a bad ass. all wheel drive is a wonderful thing I have never had before. With all the snow we have had this year, Mercedes wouldn’t have been able to get into our office parking lot. The Bluetooth connection to my phone is great, something I didn’t know I was missing. We are in the middle of a great love affair so far. Hopefully that doesn’t change and head down the path stupid Mercedes did. Fingers crossed this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
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The Sexy Master Electrician’s favorite thing, light up logo.

 

The new Rogue.

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [Happy New Year!]

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would be a wonderful catch up. The holidays are always mess up my schedule, time with friends, etc. It seems like we are all traveling somewhere and all of a sudden, you realize you haven’t seen or talked to your friends for weeks and you miss them. No offence family, but it’s just not the same as hanging out at your friends house making fun of the bachelor or the voice or something while drinking wine. So, I am happy the whirlwind of the holidays is over and normal live can commence again. Starting with Sunday Coffee.
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Catching up after the holidays.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would discuss how our holidays went. I was in South Dakota for Christmas and was given some pretty sweet gifts this year. Especially the dress form and spa gift card. My new watch is pretty sweet too.
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I think everyone had a pretty great time this year and received some awesome gifts. My parents are now smoking everything since my sisters and I gave them a smoker. Oh and it was fun to see the family. I made my little sister workout with me every day except Christmas, part of my gift to her;)
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We may have ended up with matching long johns thanks to Black Friday…
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One way to survive a long trip home

I was also able to see Alta, my childhood babysitter who is basically like an extra grandmother to me. She came over for lunch one day with her dog Apollo. He’s adorable and so spoiled. But he looks pretty cute all groomed.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I saw the movie “Room” last week. It was a great book and the movie did a great job as well. It’s been at least two years since I read the book, but definitely one of the best book to movie adaptations I’ve seen and the acting was really good as well. I highly recommend it, thought you should be warned that it is not necessarily a happy movie…

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would show you my new hair cut. I finally gave up on the long hair, sort of, and have an asymmetrical long bob. I love it so far, it works really well with my wavy/curly hair. I just need to get rid of the bangs…
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And it looks good straight too!

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I went back up to White Sulphur Hot Springs last weekend. It was my first hot springs this year in truly cold weather and it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I wish it was a bit closer, but then I suppose it would be much more crowded.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about my new air plants. Here’s hoping I can keep the little guys alive. They look awesome.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that one afternoon at my grandparents I found their old high school yearbooks and some random “guidebooks.” The yearbooks were fascinating to go through and read the notes that people left for them. Apparently our grandma killed it in bookkeeping and was called Dorty.

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The guidebooks are pretty funny. Reading about how they thought you should tell your son about sex is entertaining with its 1950’s thoughts. Some thoughts on prostitutes and gays are down right ludicrous. Thank god (most) people don’t think like that today.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am excited for the snow this year. I am going to do a better job of skiing, downhill and cross country, as well as snowshoeing and maybe even some sledding. Yeah winter!
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The Crazy Mountains

 

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [Fifty-seven]

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that the new job is going well. Even though I have had a cold and have not had much of a voice for the first two weeks. It is keeping me very busy and I like it so far. My main project is a middle school renovation and expansion in Bozeman. I am learning a new cad program, Revit, that I had been meaning to learn for years, but never really needed to, so hadn’t yet. I am still adjusting to the whole 8 am thing. I hope it doesn’t take much longer to get on board. And my coworkers are great, even if the boys out number us 2 to 4.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would also tell you about the company holiday party last weekend. We went to Billings for it and stayed over night at the Northern Hotel. That day happened to be the peak of my voicelessness, so that part was not so fun. I felt bad meeting people for the first time, and not being able to really talk. I picked a great gift at the exchange before dinner. Who doesn’t want a poop emoji pillow and some toilet paper? Dinner was at the Bistecca at the Granary. It was delicious and so were the hot toddies. We left after midnight due to my cold but the party was just really getting going. I can’t wait for the next company outing and hopefully I won’t be sick.

If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you it was so great to catch up with some collage friends who live in Billings. We meet for brunch at the Fieldhouse last Sunday morning. They are only two hours away, but we rarely see each other. Normally, I’m running home and not taking the time to stop and their families are in Great Falls, so they don’t end up in Bozeman often.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, there is a good chance it is your birthday. Last night we celebrated four birthdays that are one day after another and I have several other friends with December birthdays. Is there something about July people getting along with December people? Happy Birthday to all of you December people!

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If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you about the Scheels in Billings. It is massive. There is a ferris wheel and for some reason there are several president’s statues around the place. Some move and talk. You can pick out a hunting knife while listening to the Gettysburg Address. Definitely my style… Although I did get a yoga mat and headphones.

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My Christmas “Tree”
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would say “Happy Holidays!” I should be heading to South Dakota Tuesday night after work or Wednesday morning to spend Christmas with the family. I hope it’s as white there as it is here. Last week we got over 24″ in two or three days. It’s time to start thinking about cross country skiing again!

 

Career Update: A New Position

Today is my first day in a new job at A&E Architects. it happened rather quickly and unexpectedly over the last few weeks.  A colleague asked me, ” After getting so close to that fellowship, how are you going to go back to working at your current firm?” I understood what she was saying, I had been thinking hard about what I really wanted to be doing with my career. I really enjoyed working at Envi Design, I had a great boss and working environment, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing.

I told a friend at A&E that I didn’t get the fellowship and was trying to figure out my next move. He said, we are hiring in Bozeman, send me your stuff and I’ll get it to the right people, I kinda thought he was joking. Bozeman is in demand, finding any kind of professional job here is not easy. Most firms that have offices in multiple locations, want you to go to a different office first, there is a queue for the Bozeman location. Less than a week later, I was meeting with one of the principles and had a job offer a week later.

A&E does a variety of projects and hopefully I will be working on more of the public/government type projects that provide great design for the masses, not just the 1%, (though they do have those kind of projects too). They also do a lot of preservation work that can be really interesting. The Bozeman office just started a year or so ago and it is currently being run by a couple of my classmates. I will be the sixth addition to the office. Even though it will be an adjustment to go back into straight architecture, different office dynamics and being at work at 8 AM (that hasn’t been the case for 8 years!), I think it’s going to be a fit and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.

I am grateful for my time at Envi and sad to leave such and awesome office and people. I hope they find a replacement that is even better than me and they continue providing awesome designs. Maybe down the road we can work on a project together.