My holiday was absolutely bless-ed. As I write this on the plane, on the way home today, I must say - I feel sad. That last day of summer camp sad. Sunday scaries x 100000 sad. Coming home after a long weekend at Breanna Hill's house in 4th grade sad (she had a trampoline, a Nintendo Power Pad and a tanning bed). Three weeks in Aspen gets me in a groove where it feels like home. I've finally found my mojo with the house decorating - and it's extra fun to nest there.
I need to nest wherever I am. I used to be ashamed of saying that out loud, b/c nesting sounds simple, and girly, and dumb. Like a 50's housewife that had no option but to stay in her nest. But, alas it's my true nature to want to feather up a fort. It sparks joy, keeps my brain churning and it connects me to a space. And nothing is dumb anymore because it's 'girly' - whatever you want to do is great - girly, gay as a goose or ganderly guy-like (just go with it).
Aspen is also special because I get to spend time with Tad there - it's a place where I can count on long days together, fun dinners, welcoming guests and memory making (now I'm sounding goose-y). It's hard for us to achieve really good time together elsewhere, but in the mountains, it's on. Let's talk in another post about how I've found that spending time apart from your partner is so freaking crucial/healthy for me personally, and for the wellness of the relationship.
This time we packed in lots of QT, a few house-guests, I got back to skiing after 20 years (2022 Beijing watch out) ((jk)), and we caught up with our awesome alpine friends who excel in crafting, cooking, laughing and dog wrangling. And it was extra-special to have my best buddy Rowdy with me this year - he was a true pleasure-dog and at 11 years old, did amazingly well flying, fooling around with his dog friends, and taking daily romps around Crown Mountain Park in the snow. Oh, and the snow! We had a TON of it, and it made things extra-magical indeed.
I also took an unprecedented break from working. Like, 2 or 3 days would go by and I hadn't touched my laptop. It's been at least 10 years since I closed this bad boy up and lived totally IRL. The last time was practically TRL-days - that's not true but a TRL reference is always fun, isn't it? Also, remember The Grind?? What a time. Can we please do a new version of this with JUST DANCING! for 1 hour, on a cruise ship in Negril, in biker shorts and bikini tops, with Spice Girls! I will manage the instagram account for this reboot. One more fact: did you know that Biggie performed Juicy live on The Grind in 1992, in Copper Canyon (??), on a barge, in a damn Coogi sweater. If I weren't on a plane and could watch more Youtube videos of this, we would not talk about the mountains at all and we would just reminisce over pre-milennial pop-culture.
Anywu-tang, I hope you had a happy holiday and got to connect with your people and chill out a bit. We're slammed right back into the real world aren't we? -with the fires, earthquakes, plane crashes and war games - sometimes it seems like floating on a raft in Zuma Beach wearing Hypercolor with a Vodka Fresca and C&C Music Factory playing might've been as good as we got.
First things first - as soon as I step off the plane, we head to get our Christmas tree. It's 12/20 and times a'tickin. I got my Raleigh tree way early this year for maximum enjoyment, and I came in hot with the Aspen tree so we could festivus for the restivus. I'm tickled to have started a little ornament collection there - this was our third Christmas there, and we've got a nice little stash going.
Sidenotation - that sweater is vintage Ralph Lauren that I scored at a local thrift store there. It's super-thick and wooly and just boxy enough. You can search the interwebnations for one of your own, or might I suggest looking at RL's current section, which I popped in the store and checked out in person last week. It's good!
Tree up, sweater on - it's time for holiday baking. Over the hills and through the woods to our friends' house in Carbondale where the kitchen concoctions are next level. My friend Audrey had already researched and found this year's inspiration for cookie making (check out this article in the NYTimes , it's really cool). She was set to go with dough in the oven, all the ingredients lined up, aprons for all and Charlie Brown Christmas on the music machine. The cookies turned out legit AF - we did the abstract art cookie: topped with dried rose petals, pomegranate seeds, fresh lavender and freeze-dried raspberries.
And then to really dial up her culinary cunning, she made the team latkes - out of the prettiest pink and yellow beets. holy cow. christmas was on.
So much progress on the house has happened - culminating in the fun finishing layers we added in this trip. New bedding, rugs, window seat cushions and art were there when I arrived, so my first few days were a flurry of unboxing and setting up the new sitch. We finished just in time for our houseguests to put our magic to the test, and the suggestion box doth not run over, so I guess we did ok! Fave thing is the custom-made turquoise rug I designed in Jaipur - it's definitely a different take on a mountain-vibe, but I think it kicks the cozy up a notch. I had the bench cushions made in Colorado - we found a great upholster out there - and the rest is a vintage mix of thrift-store finds plus a few big-box purchases. Check out sourcing below for where you can score a similar look.
GET THE LOOK
Perhaps you wondered why I was often in aspen but never doing the ski (maybe not b/c my therapist recently told me everyone is not, in fact, thinking about me). It's because I've had 2 ACL repairs, and 1 reconstruction - I have a cadaver's ligament in my knee now! - and although it's been 20 years, my knee feels wonky, and I was afraid and nervous about fucking it up again. So I did the apres ski, and the pre-ski and all the things in betwixt, but never could I join the convo at dinner about the runs of the day - all I could think about what that everyone else had earned their 1000 calorie hand roll dinner and I was just packing them in without packing anything out.
But I put my big-girl bibs on this time, and I got back on the hill. Audrey patiently was y cheerleader the first day, and she did it right - a morning of skiing with the promise of a fancy lunch at the top of the mountain. #goals. We met Tad and David for a lovely lunch at Sam's, and it was really nice to feel part of the team. It wasn't so hard after all to get back on the ski-wagon, and you get to eat bucatini and drink hot toddies as a reward, so I was sold. I skied again with just Tad a few days later and I didn't yell one single time at him for helping me improve my Western North Carolina ski-in-jeans ski style. Huzzah, etc.
Lord, have we just gotten to Christmas?
This post is too long. Intermission - go get a drink in a sippy cup (theaters are smart, right?).
Christmas Eve we had a lovely dinner with an old friend of Tad's family. OG Aspen people with the best classic mountain house. We brought the charcutes (apparently charcuterie is now a 'yuppie' thing, and the term 'yuppie' is being used again as a reference to people who are, I guess a little more woke than others?), I drank bourbon on snow (great in theory, melty in practice), and we made out in the rec room Tad used to drink beer in when he was 15. Tis the season.
LESS IMPRESSIVELY, WHAT I WORE
And after New Years, Asher visited for a quick weekend, and the highlights included a little apres-ski at the new Surf Lodge pop-up at the base of Ajax mountain (the DJ wore ski googles), some ogling at the Chanel pop-up shop, a visit to my fave thrift store (the cowhide ottoman!), dinner at Matsu, and some window shopping at Ralph Lauren. Notable: I'm v. into these Missioni beanies - super thick and warm and come in some chic color combos.
thank you for your time and attention. I'm gonna blog more this year, promz.