Deck the Halls

O Christmas Tree

Ho, ho, ho!


It’s officially Christmas season in this house!

Dress the Tree

The soreness from finishing the Hot Chocolate 15K is finally starting to subside, the tree is up, and the lights are, er, lit. After surviving an incredibly overwhelming trip to Michaels, I think I can safely say that the merriment has arrived!

Holiday Madness
Michaels = Serious Christmas madness. And a single rack of Hanukkah stuff.

There’s a reason why this is my favorite holiday. And it’s not because of such brilliant holiday fare as this:

Yes, I watched it. Yes, it was awful. I don’t want to talk about it.

No, this is my favorite holiday because in spite of the inevitable family drama (last year I made a tearful proclamation to my brother that he ruined Christmas — true story), the retail madness (thanks to increasingly expensive Christmas lists), and the bipolar weather (seriously? 64 degrees today?), it’s just a happy time. Coworkers are friendlier, strangers are kinder, and people are just… jollier!

Christmas Schnauzer
You tell ’em, Daxter.

Whether you celebrate an actual holiday around this time of year or not, there really is just something in the air. They don’t say it’s the most wonderful time of the year for no reason!

Ornamental Ornamental 2

Plus, if nothing else, it’s just a great excuse to pretty up your house, hehe.

Holiday Bow
Light Purty

It’s hard to pick just one part of the holiday season as my favorite. I love everything from the decorating to the baking of cookies to the wrapping of presents — and, of course, the unwrapping of presents (all skills that I’ve slowly been perfecting over the years, hahaha.)

I’m the best at Christmas!

It can be stressful, the weather truly can be frightful, and goodness knows I can barely even afford Christmas this year, but… I just love it. In fact, if you’re a holiday hater, you may want to push pause on this blog for a hot second. I plan on singing a lot of carols and watching a lot of Christmas movies (actually, really just anything that will to block out “Christmas Cupid” from my memory) over the next few weeks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


What’s your favorite thing about the holiday season?

My “Grown Up” Christmas List

Ho, ho, ho! It’s December 1st, my friends, and you know what that means…

Ho, ho, ho!


Omgomgomgomgomgomg. My favorite holiday is almost here, and it’s officially December which means I’ve already been playing Christmas music for a week I can really get my holly jolliness on!

Unfortunately, we haven’t ventured out to get our Christmas tree yet, nor have the decorations gone up yet at the Casa de Powell, Jr. (I came to the realization that my brother and I don’t get to call our house the full Casa de Powell until we live further than half a mile from our parents.) But I’m hoping that this weekend will bring a tree into our living room and joy into our hearts (provided I don’t die from the hilliest 15K route that has ever been, er, routed.)

Until then, however, I thought I’d try to get into the spirit (of getting presents) and do what every other blogger is doing: post some of the things that made my Christmas list this year! After all, what’s more fun than making lists of stuff that you want and will probably never get? Granted, some items are more realistic than others, and hey! You never know… one of these years Santa might decide I’ve been really good, and get me that outrageously expensive dutch oven or that Kate Spade handbag to add to my “collection“. Hope springs eternal!

In the spirit of full disclosure and not wanting to be totally skeevy, please note that some of the links below may contain affiliates.

Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker

Because my obsession with sparkling water wasn’t clear enough, right? Ha! I have been obsessing over getting a Sodastream forever, but I’ve held off (which, given my penchant for retail therapy despite that whole debt situation, is something to be commended, no?) I don’t even care about all the soda syrups and mixes and whatnot. I just want something to make my water fizzy. So if Santa feels like putting a full-sized tank of CO2 under the tree, I suppose that’d be okay too. Fizzy water FTW!

Vita-Mix 1300 TurboBlend 4500

What self-proclaimed foodie’s Christmas list would be complete without a Vita-Mix? I have heard nothing but amazing things about these high-speed, industrial-strength blenders, and for the price tag on them (upwards of $400!) they’d have to be. It’s been on my list for the past two years. It wouldn’t be the prettiest addition to my counter (which is already filled with more kitchen gadgets than I’d like to admit), but I’ve heard they can pulverize pretty much anything. In fact, word is that you can throw whole fruits and veggies in there and it will puree them so finely you can drink them like a juice, but with the fiber still included! Which probably would mean I could finally give my mom her juicer back.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Last Christmas my beloved siblings bestowed on me my DSLR: a Canon Rebel XT. As with all first loves, I absolutely adore my camera, and I think I’ve taken some pretty great photos with it. That said, it’s a pretty outdated model at this point. I would love to be able to upgrade my camera body to something a little newer, with more megapixels, a larger screen, and video capability as well (gotta keep up my vlogging, right?) Oh, and while we’re at it, a 50mm f/1.4 lens of my own wouldn’t hurt either. Just saying. 😉

15-inch Apple MacBook Pro

In case you had forgotten what the state of my current computer is, it ain’t good. There is a glorious collection of spider cracks sprinkling down it’s sad, sad screen due to a spastic kick and my habit of keeping my laptop on my bed. So, for the past 6 months I’ve been working with a broken screen and a system that can’t really handle the amount of time I spend in editing photos. Oh, and the battery doesn’t hold a charge anymore. Womp womp. Suffice it to say, I would really like a new one. But alas, I have to accept the reality that, barring any unforeseen lottery wins or leprechaun befriendings, I will probably not end up with a $1,800 ‘pooter in my stocking. Le sigh.

Okay, so now that we’ve taken a quick trip into fantasy-land, let me assure you I’m not solely about ridiculously expensive kitchen equipment and electronics. In fact, despite the fact that I so clearly behave as a mature, highbrow, elegant adult all of the time (HA!), I will fully admit to having the following items on my list as well:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Blu-ray

Well, this is kind of a gimme. I mean, I love Harry Potter. You know this. And since the deluxe box set of all 8 movies won’t be released until sometime next year (oh, the humanity!), I don’t want anyone spending their money on me procuring the dinky little set that is currently out, since I’ve already got all the individual movie anyway. So I just need want the last movie to watch over and over and over, until said deluxe set comes out. ‘Cause, you know, I definitely did NOT see it four separate times in the theatre. Nope, not me.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about Mindy Kaling’s hilarious book, and they were only confirmed after reading an excerpt from it on Glamour (so funny and SO true!). Other “literary” items on my list include the Parks & Recreation book as well as the second volume of the Twilight graphic novel. Yes, I already own volume one. DON’T JUDGE ME.


AHHHH! THEY EXIST! What better footwear to compliment my sushi footie pajamas?! (Though, granted, I guess I don’t really need slippers if I’m wearing footies… but still!)


EEEEEEP! These also exist! Thanks to Mandee for letting me know about these… if I get them I guess I can finally stop tying Harry and Daxter around my ankles as a stop-gap! I mean… what?

So there you have it, a sampling of the things I’m hoping Santa will drop (gently) down the chimney this year. Nothing like a wish list to get yourself in the spirit, right?

What’s on your list this year?

Homecoming (Giveaway!)

Look who’s back!!


Daxter is back home after his stay at the hospital and is on the road to recovery!

He’s still sleepy and having some, er, backend issues, but it’s nowhere near as bad as before. In fact, the doctor said that it is normal, and the main thing is to make sure he can eat, drink, and keep his meds down. He actually has a really good appetite, which I am beyond thrilled about since he had lost 2 whole pounds! And while two pounds is not generally a lot for someone like me, to a 17 pound dog it is a big effing deal. As long as that’s the case — and so far so good (knock on wood) — he is definitely on the up and up. $1,800 well spent, and I really do say that without a trace of irony (and luckily, thanks to pet insurance I’ll be getting a large chunk of it back.)


All I can really say is this: you know that emotional roller coaster I am constantly referencing was talking about? Well, hopefully this is the last loop-de-loop on that ride. I am SO ready to get off. And I’m sure that you are all ready to move on to happier things too! Can you tell how much my mood has already improved?

Now, due to the many hours that were spent at the emergency vet clinic, lack of sleep, and dehydration due to crying (don’t bother acting as though you’re shocked), I don’t really have much to talk about today. So for now, let’s just revel in the fact that it looks like Daxy is going to pull through. In fact, let’s revisit all the things that I said I’m thankful for last week, and put Daxter’s recovery as number one with a bullet.

While today’s post might not have too much going on, be forewarned/get excited for all the festiveness that is about to come. It is officially CHRISTMAS SEASON (slash whichever holiday you’ll be celebrating: Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, etc.) and that means cookies will be baked, decorations will be hung, and dogs will be clothed. What, you think a little life-threatening sickness was going to get Daxter out of sweater season? Ha! Think again.


Oh, and don’t think you’re being spared of this fate either, Harry.

What you looking at, fella?

And okay, so I lied about there being absolutely nothing of interest in this post for you. In fact, if you’ve made it this far there’s something fun, festive, and most importantly (as always) FREE! In order to celebrate Daxter’s momentous-ish homecoming, the impending holiday, and just because I like you, I have a giveaway for you!

My awesome graphic designer Bailey (who designed my logo, header, and sweet business cards!) just launched her new business, think pretty, ink. She has a line of adorable, personalized holiday card designs, and is offering a free holiday card design to one lucky winner!

Ways to enter (leave a separate comment back here for each thing!):

1. Check out think pretty, ink.‘s Etsy page and comment on which design is your favorite (and don’t let the models in the example above bias you, hehe.)

2. Like think pretty, ink. on Facebook!

3. Blog/tweet/facebook about this giveaway! Make sure to reference @shrinkinggretch (Twitter) or my fan page (Facebook) and link back to this post! (Short link:

I will be randomly drawing a winner on Friday, December 2nd, so get your entries in and your list of holiday-card-worthy recipients ready! It’s going to be a grrrrreat day!

Update: And the winner is…

Sara L.! Congratulations! Email me and I’ll put you in touch with Bailey. Happy Holidays!