Friday Favorites: My people and the holidays

Hi everybody! If you celebrated Christmas yesterday, I sure hope it was a great time for you. I’m still coming at you from my parent’s house in Port Charlotte. Since arriving in Florida on Saturday night, Dave and I have had quite the trip with my birthday and the holidays. But boy, how does it go by so fast?

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both lovely and low-key. On Christmas Eve, we hung out around my parent’s house mostly, except for when my Mom and I attended a midnight candlelight church service. And yesterday, on Christmas Day, we all had breakfast, opened presents and then went on our annual Christmas Day beach barbecue at Boca Grande. The beach barbecue is something we started several years ago and has become a standard tradition. We bring a small grill for hot dogs, pack a cooler with salad, chips and other nibblies and have a nice lunch at a picnic table before walking around the beach. Although the weather report told us it wasn’t supposed to be very nice out, yesterday’s weather was perfect for sitting in the sand and people watching. We saw dolphins playing just off the coast in the surf, we watched some entertaining boogie boarders ride the waves, and we even observed some fishermen and crazy swim-suited people swimming in the cold water. We weren’t the only ones there either. The nice weather brought out the crowds, and it was the busiest I’ve seen it on Christmas Day.

After the barbecue, we went home, relaxed, took an evening boat cruise on the canals behind my parent’s house, had dinner at the table and played some board games. A great day indeed.

A different kind of “Friday Favorites”

Now I know I promised you a special birthday and Christmas “Friday Favorites” today, but rather than sharing all of my gifts with you at once, I just want to share a few favorites moments with my favorite people, during my favorite time of year. Sound good? This week is more about the memories than the mementos, so it’s not all material today, except for the last one. But don’t worry, I’ll be showcasing some of my loot very soon. My family and Dave’s family know me very well and they all did an incredible job in the gift department. But I’d like to think I did okay too. Because truly, I love to buy gifts for people. So let’s get to it …

My favorite holiday

Really though, who doesn’t love Christmas? Friends, family, holiday music, sparkly decorations, presents, nice meals and time off of work? I’m a fan of all of those things, and I look forward to Christmas all year long. Here’s a look at some of the holiday cheer in my parent’s house this year …

Christmas Eve funShown above from top left to right: Our Christmas Eve dinner table for five, my Mom and me, my parent’s Christmas tree and some of our stockings hung by the fire.

My favorite people

My family! We’re a small and mighty crew, with just my parents, Brother, Dave and me making up our party-of-five, and I cherish our time together. It doesn’t get to happen all that often because of distance — with Dave and me in San Francisco, my Brother in Atlanta and my parents in Port Charlotte. Nonetheless, we try to make our visits count, and we have a few family traditions that I so look forward to, like playing board games in the living room after dinner, and of course, our lovely annual barbecue. Here’s the scene from yesterday …

Christmas at the BeachShown above from top left to right: My Mom and me, a view of Boca Grande beach, Dave and me in our Christmas Day casuals, and my family sitting in the sand.

My favorite gift

So I said I wasn’t really going to get into the gifts I received, but this one is worth putting out there right away. I’ve been using a pretty old laptop for a long time, which was completely full of pictures, music and videos. It was super slow, prone to unintentional shut-downs and way ready to be retired.

MacBook AirShown above from top left to right: Checking out the blog on my new computer, the view of the laptop from above, the box and my surprised face when I opened this gift on my birthday.

Dave had this computer delivered to my parent’s house so he didn’t have to travel with it, and I was very shocked to receive something so huge for my birthday. Yes, I’m using it right now. Yes, I love it. And yes, I’m also excited to share that Dave bought me a year of one-on-one sessions with a team member at the Apple store, so I can make sure I’m using this computer to its fullest. Ohhhhh I love this little beauty and am still settling on a nickname for it. My old Dell laptop had a dark espresso cover, so I called it “Brownie.” This computer is thin, sleek and silver, so clearly the name needs to be a bit cooler. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

My favorite reads of the week

Hey, it’s the holiday season and you may not have been in front of the computer as much this week. If that’s the case, here’s what you missed on A Lady Goes West:

And that concludes today’s “Friday Favorites” session.

Soaking up the rest of the time

I’m very sad to report that tomorrow Dave and I fly back to San Francisco. These days with my family and friends in my home-state of Florida have been nothing less than awesome, but are always too short. We never get to see everyone we want to, but we certainly enjoy the moments with the people we are able to see. I’m already excited for my next visit to the Sunshine State. Until then, Dave and I have a lot of big changes coming in early 2015, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride.

Enjoy your day and your weekend, and I’ll be back with you as usual on Monday. Take care, friends!

Read more Friday Favorites

If you’ve enjoyed browsing through this post, see below for previous editions or visit the the link-up hostesses, Heather and Katie

  1. A snack, a purse and a ritual
  2. A delivery, a bra and a guy
  3. A sweet, a wine and a read
  4. A drink, a gadget and a plan 
  5. A time, a bottle and a powder
  6. San Francisco edition
  7. Beauty edition
  8. Beach vacation edition
  9. Hidden meanings
  10. Kicks, a book and a bowl
  11. The very best sweatshirts
  12. Party hosting and froyo
  13. Fourth of July daytime activity
  14. Beauty basics edition
  15. Workplace edition
  16. Shopping, sales and a show
  17. The foods I always buy
  18. Sushi, a game and pants
  19. Fitness apps
  20. Delicious and healthy products
  21. Comfort, fitness and function
  22. Beauty, buddha and blog events
  23. Dining, the city and gift ideas
  24. POPSUGAR, sweets and such
  25. A bunch of fun stuff
  26. e-book, food, picnic and tunes
  27. A link, a superfood and a mask
  28. Pants, shoes, food and links
  29. Dining, protein and goodies
  30. Shopping, events and a book
  31. A gym bag, pumpkin and juices 
  32. Workout gear, a top and a massage
  33. prAna, a watch, tea and more
  34. Tasty stuff and gift sales
  35. Decor, bars, boots and a drink
  36. Flowers, music and more
  37. Coqueta, a brush and food

Questions of the day

What’s something that’s been making you smile? What are you up to this weekend? Did you receive any good gifts for Christmas?

Ashley signature

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49 Comments

  1. I have that same computer and absolutely love it! I got it last year at Thanksgiving before I started school. It is so light which is nice for me because I carry it everywhere with me in Chicago. Hope you enjoy it! Sounds like you have had a great time in FL! Merry Day after Christmas!

  2. That laptop looks beautiful!! So fun, im in desperate need of a new one as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ and I know what you means it’s so hard going back to your hometown to see everyone and to do what you want….never much downtime! Have a good flight back to the west coast!

    1. Hi Marielle, Yes, we have to run around town to see everyone and so we tried to less of that this year. Hope you had a great Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Heather! Yes, it was phenom. Definitely not something we could do in SF right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you had a great day too! Thanks for hosting the link-up.

    1. Hi Lauren! I know. I’ve used Mac computers before, but I want to learn allllll the good stuff. Can’t wait to take my lessons. Hope you’re having fun in NJ!

  3. What a fantastic, thoughtful gift! Our Christmas gathering is also a small, immediately family only affair, which is a great way to make sure you really maximize the quality time with the people you love most. Glad you had such a wonderful holiday!

    1. Hey there!! Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello. Yes, I’m loving the computer. And glad you had a nice intimate family gathering too! Have a great day:)

  4. Quality family time is truly the BEST! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful Christmas! It sounds perfect.

    Your new laptop is SO pretty!!! What a great gift! I’m thinking of switching over to an Apple within the next year or so too. So glad to hear you love it so much!

    1. Hi Ashley! Thanks. I’ve used an Apple before at an old job, and they are soooo good. I’ll let you know wha tI learn at my Apple store lessons. Hope you have a great day and weekend:)

  5. What a wonderful holiday!! Love that you saw dolphins and that you were able to spend so much time with family! I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your time in FL and have a safe trip home. Totally drooling over your MacBook!!

  6. Christmas is definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year–people just seem so much happier and more giving then. I wish it’d be like that all year round! ๐Ÿ˜›

    I love your Christmas decorations, and it’s awesome that you got to spend time with your family (+ hooray for your new laptop! :] I’m hoping mine will last me a little while longer–these days, it keeps turning itself back on even after I’ve shut it down).

    1. ahahaha Rebecca, that’s funny, because mine was definitely going to die too — it was a Dell. And one of the amazing things about the MacBook is how light it is. Sooooo easy to pick up and move around. Hope you can get something new soon.

    1. Hi Jill! Isn’t it great to check out every once in a while? I definitely have my phone put away a lot more than normal over the last week and enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Cassie! It was hard to leave Florida, and I can tell you it doesn’t get easier, no matter how many times you have to do it. But we live in SF because we love it, so the sacrifice has to happen for now. Hope you enjoyed your holiday!

  7. Looks like you had a perfect birthday and Christmas! I love your family’s beach barbecue tradition. That’s the best way to do it.

    And can we talk about how jealous I am of your Macbook? I want one so bad! It looks awesome.

    I hope you have a safe trip home, lady!

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