{ Wassail party }

For those of you who requested to see the pictures from Trish's annual wassail party, here's the one shot I got from the night. Hot Hot! Nothing says Merry Christmas like ugly sweaters and piping hot mugs of wassail.

wassail party

{ New hair idea... }

So...on my Idaho extravaganza, I saw a girl with an adorable short little pixie hair cut, and for a split second I thought "Hmmmm...maybe I could do that." So, I approached the girl I came to know is named Nina and I took some photos of her hair. Now, thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, we can see what I would look like with her cute little hair cut. I think it would be interesting, maybe even a little bit sophisticated, and possibly a lot like Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music.

nicki with short hair

{ Saving $78 and getting a cute shower curtain in the process }

So, I've been obsessing over this Anthropologie shower curtain for at least two years. The only problem is, it costs $98.00. That's right, $98 for a shower curtain. No way, Jose, I told myself once I saw the price tag. But that left me with no adorable shower curtain to call my very own. So, my solution: I made my own! After a modest cost of $17.99 + tax for a Laura Ashley queen sheet set (much cheaper than buying the necessary fabric at the fabric store) and 30 hours manual labor. The 30 hours were a bit intense and pretty annoying at times, but now that all is said and done, so worth it. If the shower curtain had been $40 at Anthropologie, it probably would have been worth buying it, but at $98, I think I went the right route for sure.

The Anthropologie version

shower curtain
The Nicki, $20 version

{ 2nd Early Christmas with Kates family }

I had another early Christmas with one of my closest friends Katy's family. We celebrated two days early this time, and I would like to say that I felt so at home and so loved while I was there. It was like I was one of the crew, an insider, part of the team. The Broughton's are simply wonderful, and they even got me a scrumptiously comfy pair of pajama pants for Christmas. What more could I ask for? The 5-day trip included two days of snowboarding in Grand Targhee, delicious meals around the dining room table with a pristine view of the Rexburg temple (I am pretty sure it is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen), lots of guitar hero and rock band playing, and building a snowman. I really like this whole celebrating-a-holiday-multiple-times thing. It just makes for more fun and more good times all around.

gingerbread igloo
Kates and I opted to make the (un)traditional gingerbread igloo, while Julie and Diana went for the good old house version. Check out Kate's collar bones in this pic -- "I could snap you like a chicken!"

ski masks
It wouldn't be a Nicki-Kates get together without taking a picture in random clothing/accessories. We found these lovely face warmers at the outdoor store in Idaho Falls while Katy's brother, Gary, was trying on shoes.

And this is one of my new favorite places -- the Grand Targhee resort (on the Wyoming side). We had heavy snow both nights before we went, so we spent most of our days boarding backcountry in 2-3 feet of fresh powder. It felt like we were flying -- seriously heaven on earth.

nicki julie village
Doesn't the resort look like a little Christmas village? Here's me a Julie before we headed up the first day.

Don't mind the creepy guy in the back -- that's just Gary.

nicki on lift
It was friggin cold on the lift.

feet buried
This is how my feet looked most of the day when we were backcountry

nicki kates view
It doesn't hurt that it's absolutely beautiful there.

captain kates
top of world
This is at the top of the highest lift. We are above the clouds even.

{ Early Christmas with the family }

This year, the Schmidts decided to celebrate the holidays 9 days early. It was kind of nice -- minimal traveling traffic at the airports, cheaper air rates, and a couple free days on the actual holiday to relax around the house. Overall,it was a successful holiday -- my mom made piggies in a blanket "Christmas" morning, we opened half of our presents "Christmas Eve" to ensure we would have sufficient time the next morning to finish before church. My sister and brother-in-law blessed my niece Honor in church (it was great to have the while family there -- we took up two rows of the large benches). And I got two of the coolest gifts I have ever received -- from my mom I got a queen-size, hand-stiched quilt that I'm sure she spent countless hours on (it's beautiful, mom) and an awesome, homemade cutting board from my dad. He cut strips of three different colored woods then glued them together in a geometric pattern for each of the boards (all of the siblings got one), then finished them off by rounding the edges with a sander and screwing little rubber stopper feet on the bottom. It is about an inch and a half think, and it is sweet.
nicki and honor
My niece Honor -- I met her for he first time on the trip. She was born in July.

nicki honor and alaina
Me, Alaina (my nieces best friend and a Schmidt family member related by love) and Honor. Those super sick boots are Alaina's. She was kind enough to let me wear them for the picture.

dad and nicki
My sweet dad and I - I just love him, and i just realized that I didn't take any pictures of my mom and I this trip...

anza crying
My brother put my niece in this getup, and she hated it, as you can see by the sad little expression and tears that she is wearing. As mean as it may sound, I can't help but laugh every time I see this picture.

schmidt fam
The Schmidt family posing nicely -- I like that none of us are wearing shoes.

family throw
I announced that I wanted a silly photo of the family before we finished our photo session, and this is the result. My brother, Andy, told me he was going to trow my niece to me when the picture was being taken (despite my sister-in-law telling him not to) and the outcome is now one of my favorite family pictures we have ever taken. The candid reactions are priceless.

nza flip off
My brother and I left from neighboring gates at the Denver airport only a half an hour apart, so I got to hang out with the Seattle Schmidt's until their flight left. This is me and my niece, Anza. While this picture may not seem too exciting, I'd like you to note that Anza is flipping off the camera, that little devil. I bet she didn't think I would even notice.

{ Toooooooobing. Tubing. }

I went to my company Christmas party earlier this month (sorry for the late update) and took my awesome roommate Jessica as my date. The party was at Soldier's Hollow -- a tubing hill near/in Midway Utah. I'd never been tubing before, and thankfully we got through the night without any injuries. Plus, it was pretty dang fun, and I have to say there is something so distinct about being on a snowy mountain at night. It's kind of magical -- little snow flakes dancing and glittering through the air. Everything is quiet and peaceful. As long as I'm dressed for it, I love it. Here are some photos of the night. We made sure to cap off the evening with snow angel making before we headed down the mountain. Awesome.
The Group

nicki and Jes
Me and Jes on the mountain -- I like that our benies match our eyes.

nicki and marie
Me and Marie at the bottom of the tubing lift

awesome face
Awesome face picture at dinner. Surprisingly, I like this picture.

snow angels
The snow angels

jes thermals
Aye aye, Jes!

{ Not at work in Utah }

The other day I was searching through a photo-database Web site looking for a photo of something-or-other to put into a brochure I was designing, and when I saw this photo, I wanted nothing more than to be in that boat in that body of water doing what those people were doing. It just looks so relaxing and fresh. So incredibly enticing. So idealistic just to get away for a few hours. It's not even like I'm stressed at work, it just looked so wonderful I just wanted to be there.

{ Tis the Season }

A great big happy holiday to you!
Click here to see the picture dance.


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{ Best pre-Christmas Christmas present ever }

Erin did it again... she successfully gave me the coolest pre-Christmas present I have ever received. I think she is amazing. Made of grocery bags ironed flat (and double up), the grocery shopping bag she made me is incredible. Not only does it say "I'm Earth friendly" to my fellow shoppers at the grocery market, but also "I have the coolest friend who makes me rad presents." The bag is sturdy and completed with a homemade tag that reads "Virginia Paige: Protegeant la planete Depus 2007 (Protecting the planet since 2007)" I love it. Her method: Doubling up plastic grocery bags then ironing them between sheets of wax paper to produce strong plastic sheets that she then sewed together with a zigzag stitch to form a useful, attractive, reusable grocery bag.

She gave me the bag within two minutes of getting back from Thanksgiving at her parent's house in Arizona. She couldn't wait she was so excited, and I am glad.

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{ I love my brother and holidays at his house }

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday (i love that word -- holiday; it just carries a little something more than the words break or vacation) in Seattle with my brother Andy, my sister-in-law Chele, and my ADORABLE (all caps necessary) niece Anza. I never realized I could love a little person so much. Even when she was crying or upset, I still loved my little niece to pieces. I KNOW! Impossible you'd think, but it's true. The three-day festivity included walks to the store and little hikes/uphill strolls through forrested parks that led to lookouts over the Puget Sound. We made our way to the Pike Place Fish Market after I got in on Wednesday morning, and we had breakfast in a restaurant overlooking the Puget Sound; so relaxing and enjoyable. I am a fan of Seattle -- it has the big city feel, but it also houses an organic air of earth friendliness and general respect for all things.

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Here's Andy, Anza and I in a park overlooking the Puget Sound. It's right next to Pike Place Fish Market -- we stopped to take a pic before we went in for breakfast.

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My breakfast: a delicious breakfast quesadilla. Totally worth the $10.95 -- thanks Andy.

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Anza Rhe -- named after a desert in California. I love her little gloves.

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Andy, Anza and me running down a trail leading to Snoqualmie Falls (the black blobby blur ahead of me is my brother holding Anza). Andy thought running past all the people on the trail to get ahead was a good idea. I agreed.

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Snoqualmie Falls from view of the rocks beyond the obsevation deck.

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Happy photos from Thanksgiving dinner.

{ Come Come Ye Kates! }

Miss Katy Broughton came into town the week before Thanksgiving just for a little visit. Activities included shopping at the gateway (while waiting for Katy's sister's lost luggage to be recovered at the airport -- we got it safe and sound after approximately 2 hours), D.I. shopping, apple-cinnamon pancake making (complete with fresh whipped cream and raspberries), a picnic lunch up the Provo Canyon, and general enjoyment of the company. I like it when Kates comes to visit. In fact, I love it. Here are some photos of the general splendor.

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The hat series at the gateway -- furry hats from American Eagle, knit hats from Anthropologie and men's plaid hats from Jcrew.

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We found these little jems at Jcrew. Leave it to them to make men's long underwear irresistablely silly. We didn't buy, but you better believe we couldn't stop ourselves from trying on and taking photos.

{ Yellow Wedding }

I went to my friend Kara's wedding the other day, and I'm pretty sure I hadn't seen her in at least 5 years, possibly six. She looked lovely, and her reception (yellow-themed and held at the old courthouse in downtown Provo) was classy and beautiful. Complete with live jazz band and coned trees made of marangue puffs, it was simply delightful; sort of like a big, yellow hug. I carried my yellow clutch at the reception (to match my yellow bracelets), and was thanked more than once for matching the wedding colors :)

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{ Mixed on the reSPECTOR: 55/45 }

I went to a Regina Spektor concert in the Venue when she came to Salt Lake last month, and I don't think I've ever been so mixed feeling-ed at a show before. Musicality: AMAZING. Voice: BEAUTIFUL. Piano: BRILLIANT ans FLAWLESS. Stage Presence: COMPLETELY CAPTIVATING. Content of songs: At times, WONDERFUL...at others, just plain shoddy. It was weird to listen to some of her lyrics and subject matter and think "Ya -- this woman's got it together. I totally agree," then at other times think "How crude and needlessly juvenile." Not that I'm better or anything, but it was just interesting in and of itself to be so torn regarding one person's music. Overall I would say I liked it 55%.

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{ Jicama gone wrong. }

OK. Perhaps you have never heard of jicama (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/jicama or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jicama), but it happens to be a tasty, white vegetable that I enjoy on salads and sometimes just dipped in dressing. I've recently learned that it doesn't stay good for months at a time in a storage drawer in the fridge. I found this tasty little treat on Sunday. Thank goodness it was in a ziplock freezer back. Have you ever seen red mold before?

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{ Making a dress #1 }

I have an incredible roommate named Erin who thinks it's easy to make and modify dress patterns based on dresses I already own. She executed these talents by making a super cute pattern based on one of my favorite, vintage dresses in my closet (it's the red, polka dottish one for anyone who may be really familiar with my wardrobe). And, for roomate bonding time earlier this month, we made dresses! It's my very first sewing project based on a pattern, and really it's the first piece of clothing I've ever made. It makes me feel less guilty for owning a sewing maching now that I have confidence that I can actually make things. Up until now I've just been a clothes mender. Erin and I decided that if we start a dress shop in some quaint, boutique-lined street, we're going to call it "Virginia Paige" -- it's a conglomorate of our two middle names (compliments of Erin and her naming brilliance).

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Erin ironing her emerald/tinker-bell green fabric for her dress. I went with a brown, textured suiting fabric (as you can see below)

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The finished product. I think I get more pleased with it as time goes on. The night I finished, I was like "Ehhh...not a huge fan." The day I wore it, I was like "Ahhh...it's OK." And now I'm to the "It's not too bad" stage.

{ present of the year. }

I'm not quite sure why I was so drawn to this oversized, prince-frog stuffed animal from IKEA, but when I saw it, I HAD to buy it for my niece for her birthday. It was just too awesome to overlook. The zippered mouth is complete with a cute embroidered fly, and if you turn it inside out, you can actually zip the frog inside itself. As pictured below, it also doubles as an excellent hat. It will definitely swallow my nieces cute, little, one-year-old head, and I think it will provide hours and hours of entertainment for all parties involved.

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{ I'm an Elizabeth Bennet }

Great news everyone! After taking a short, yet highly informative quiz, I found that the Jane Austine heroine I am most like is Elizabeth Bennet. This, of course, was excellent news seeing as she is poised, confident and funny while still maintaining a kind and loving heart. I was quite flattered at the results and will think of myself happily in this light for some time to come I'm sure...

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

{ Night of Nerdiness }

Me and Matt went to his ward's nerd-themed opening social the other night. Matt looked awesome (I couldn't stop laughing when he came to the door to get me) and I most definitely sported the most amazing nerd glasses DI could provide. The festivities at the party included a group spelling bee, a math and klingon-speaking relay, Dance Dance Revolution, a twinkie eating contest and sack lunches featuring cheese and crackers, fruit cups and chocolate pudding. I tell you what, no matter what you're doing at a nerd party, it's always funnier. Even just people doing normal things (eating, dancing, whatever) was funnier because they were dressed as nerds. Really...it was a lot of fun. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.

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Busting out the chocolate pudding and Matt with what he informed me is his "mad face"

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Matt looked awesome in my glasses. How could I not love that face?

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A bit of DDR on the left and to the right Matt demonstrating that he is the limbo king. Seriously. And, as you can see in the photo, he usually puts himself through a lot of pain to keep that title.