Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It’s A White, White Post-Christmas!

Well, we sure didn’t have to dream of a white Christmas this year. It was right in front of us, and for our entire drive home, we couldn’t see anything but white.

After the Christmas festivities in NorVA, we found ourselves trapped outside Virginia Beach. Home to North Carolina we went! 
slowly but surely...
It was a loo-oo--oong drive (8 hours instead of the usual 4), but we eventually made it back and are camping out until I can make it back home. 
our house upon arrival
The upside to all this snowy madness? I can't even leave the house to get back to Virginia Beach.  Hello, forced vacation time!
The night we got back, my parents and I took a little trek through the snow. I donned my very stylish childhood skiing hat four our walk through the winter wonderland that was Albemarle Plantation.
I know you're jealous of my awesome bear hat. you can borrow it if you're nice.
And we left our mark with some snow angels by Lyssa and Gin.
snow angel pros
Halter Christmas Card 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas sure was a fun one with the kiddos. I got to spend a whole bunch of quality time with my nieces, especially Adelyn, who is already “TWO” (as she will tell you)! 
Addy loves her mac & cheese
Since my camera is missing in action, we used Amy’s fancy new one to take our yearly pictures in front of the tree. Clearly, we needed a lot of “takes” to get this one right with the timer on Amy's new camera.
take one..
I'm lovin' Kylie's face!
the best part of this beaut is not Adelyn's awkward wriggling.
It's the overcompensating my mother is doing for everyone else's struggles.
Noticing the awkward bandage on my dad's face? No, he didn't get in a Christmas Eve bar fight... he is the victim of a "scope bite" which he got the night before Christmas Eve when he was hunting with his buddy. That's right, my dad's now a hunter in his North Carolina retirement adventures.

The girls eagerly awaited Santa’s arrival in their new Christmas pajamas and were up at 4:50 a.m. to see what he had left for them. Fortunately, my sister was able to hold them off for a few hours!
Christmas pajamas, yippee!
And no puppies were found under the tree... but I do have an approaching birthday on January 8th!

this little treasure was found in my dad's stocking, though... ;)
My momma's good friend Andie tried to solve all my problems with a Christmas gift... it was a solid effort, Andie!
I still like my stuffed pup.
I have to say, all the long distance family members were very missed. Every year, I long for the days everyone would crowd into our little Medford house.  There were SO many presents under that tree!  I will always dream for the return of big Christmases, complete with the Poppop, Jones and Jones family, and all those other long distance family members I miss so much. I love you all!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, magical Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ahhh, relaxation!

This is the first time I've been home for a vacation from work since entering "the real world."

I got home to Hertford after a half day of work yesterday, I plopped on the couch, and I did nothing but watch TV and play mindless games on my iPad.

have an iPad? download this hot item. can you say addicting?
feeeeels good!
I can honestly say this is the first time I've missed college.  I was salivating when I noticed all the college students home for a lengthy break.  I could use one of those!

Breakfast was pretty eventful this morning. My dad made ..."bambi sausage." Insert my sister's hysterical impression of the deer scene from My Cousin Vinny (if you're lucky, I may get a flip camera clip of her doing it on here). ;)

Don't judge; I wasn't so excited about eating venison meat at first, but it's so good and spicy and so low in fat.  Trust me when I say it's worth a try. And it's a great breakfast side with pancakes and a whole lotta syrup!
"daddy shot my my breakfast."
Honestly, I'm like Buddy the Elf. I think I could put gallons of syrup on any food and be completely happy.

After a day of relaxation, I'm heading to Fredericksburg to spend Christmas at my sister's. Stay tuned for some Christmas recaps - woohoo!

Do I hear any barking packages under the tree?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Learning my way around a limited kitchen

There should be an instruction manual for learning to cook yourself healthy, satisfying meals on a low budget, a limited kitchen, and limited time to cook. Doesn't every new college grad need to learn those basics?

I was pretty psyched about the little dinner I made myself last night, especially considering the way I've been eating when responsible for cooking just for myself.

The thing is, I get home late from work, typically don't have much time to run around a grocery store, and usually root through my refrigerator to find that something I bought fresh three days ago is already bad. Boo!

Last night, I threw a little something together (WITH MY NEW STOVE!) that looked a little something like this:

Ronzoni smart rotini pasta, spinach, smoked turkey breast, chopped pico de gallo, laughing cow
light garlic & herb cheese, some sprinkled feta cheese, and a pinch of garlic salt!
[apologies for the very poor photo quality as of late. I left my camera in James' car over the weekend, and I've been making do with my phone's camera.]

I've been on a big feta kick lately (I must just want to be greek like my favorite greeks, The Kraniases), and I am always in the mood for pasta.  After a good run at the gym, this really hit the spot!

And who believes it takes a second round of a recipe to make it look SO much better? This girl!
oreo balls take two - with crushed peppermint toppings!
Isn't that Christmas platter adorable? My good friend Cynthia got this for me for Christmas, and I love it!

James and I are having our Christmas tonight since tomorrow we both leave to go to our respective families for the holidays. I'm excited!

Monday, December 20, 2010


That's what I've been doing... sorryyyy!

The time leading up to the holidays has just been so hectic.  I've been running around doing a lot of this...

personalized wine glasses are a great holiday gift! ;)
and some of this...
coworkers need some holiday goodies... and I made a lot of 'em!
and a whooole lotta this...
holiday treats at work... yuu-uum.
and this!
guess who...
recognize this dolphin?
Okay, so maybe it's not my job per say, but I got to be Henry the school dolphin this afternoon.  It's not Cinderella at Disney World, but I still had a whole lotta fun giving out hugs to the little ones. :)

my dream, cinderella. laaalalalaa!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Virginia Beach SNOW DAY!

It's official.

I've had my first VB Snow Day!

Picture it: 5:50 a.m. My phone's vibration rudely wakes me up, and I hit the "Send" button to pick up the call.  I hear an automated message telling me that, due to weather, school is CLOSED for today!

Yeeesssssss! Suddenly, I'm 12 years old in my footie pajames doing the celebratory running man with pumping fist beside my disheveled bed.

My mounting excitement took me to my bedroom window to see the snow.

THIS was my view:

womp womp.
But hey, I'm not one to complain when I'm being handed a day off to sleep in. I happily snuggled back into bed and slept until 9:45. Woooohoo!

After some puttering around the house and working up a nice breakfast appetite, I checked outside again.
Just try and tell me that backyard wouldn't look better with some puppy footprints in it.  If I had a pup, that little girl would have gone nuts. And I would have played in the snow with her.
gimme, gimme!
And she would have looked like that.

I busied myself by making a nice yogurt bowl of Dannon Light & Fit and blueberry muesli.
a match made in heaven.
Is Trader Joe's not the money? I first got turned on to muesli on our cruise last spring break, and I recently found this baby at TJ's. I'm not one for soggy things (cereal, oatmeal, whatever), and muesli is the perfect combo of filling, crunchy, and sweet.

And when paired with the new Orchard Pear flavored yogurt, it was fabulous!

You know you're an adult when a Snow Day makes you so thrilled you can get things done.  The remainder of my day will be spent finishing some glasses on Christmas order for bLyss Designs and setting up my wireless.

Gotta get that TiVo back! ;)

Happy Snow Day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Oreo Ball Adventure

I follow a few blogs, and I was completely inspired by Jessica's oreo balls. After reading her recipe, I was sold on the oreos, cream cheese, and chocolate. Uh, hello best foods combined ever?

Since I just moved into my new digs and have a kitchen appliance population made up of a refrigerator, a microwave, and a blender, I had to get creative when thinking up a fun treat to take to a recent holiday party. Thank you, Jessica, for the delight that is oreo balls.

these bite-sized suckers will find their way to your mouth in threes. 
What you need:
1. a package of oreos (I used regular reduced fat.. you can use the mint-filled as well!)
2. an 8 oz. tub of cream cheese (also reduced fat.. obviously, my route is to eat as many oreo balls as I can for less fat grams)
3. any type of chocolate chips (I used white chocolate)
4. parchment paper
5. 2 cookie sheets

Since I had no food processor, I put the oreos in a ziplock baggie and crushed them with a cup.  Since I also have no mixer yet, I kneeded the oreo crumbles into the cream cheese with my hands (FUN mess!).

Then, I took the doughy oreo and made little bite-sized balls.  Remember to keep them small, cause they'll get bigger when you dip them in chocolate.
Anastasia was my partner in crime/fellow oreo baller
Stick those oreo balls on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and keep them in the freezer for about an hour.  Since they'll be cold, the chocolate will harden faster in the next step.
WARNING: melty white chocolate will be cosumed.
Melt the chocolate chips one cup at a time in a shallow bowl (I used the microwave), and keep stirring to ensure it's still a little thick. Then, take a tiny spoon and roll the balls in the chocolate.
Stick them back on the wax paper, put them in the freezer for another hour, and you're good to go for toppings!


I wish I had more chips... I only one big bag, but if I had more, I would have covered the oreo balls with another layer.  It just makes 'em prettier.  :)
after one coat of chocolate
I added some red frosting for some color, but crushed peppermint as a topping (Jessica's suggestion - hers looked beautiful!) or sprinkles would have worked wonderfully.

Make these for a party, and they'll be a crowd favorite. Happy oreo ballin'!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New House, New DIY Project

For your average 22 year old girl, I'd say I'm pretty handy dandy.  Growing up, when my dad fixed something for me, the engineer in him would typically tell me how it worked and how he was putting it back together.

Fast forward to 16, and I was helping my dad flip houses after his retirement from chemical engineering in Philly.  I learned how to tile a floor, replace doorknobs, and paint walls and trim until my arms were sore.

Anyway, my learned skills are frequently put to good use in my day to day life  all the time  usually.

...I'm not going to mention the time I called my dad in a panic because I couldn't figure out how to put my new bed frame together.

So, new house = new DIY projects for me.  I've been working on my black and white room with a "wineberry" (think a ruby color) accent.  I have awesome throw pillows and fake flowers from Michaels in the plum color, but I needed to add some more.

Enter... homemade earring holder!

I used an old earring holder my dad made for me when I was younger.  The frame matched my bedroom at the time, and I wanted to refashion it to match my new room. That's a screen from our porch in New Jersey in a painted picture frame!

I picked out a fabric to match my room at JoAnn fabrics.

All I did was stretch the fabric over the frame. The earrings will pull the fabric down if it's not tight enough.

ta-da! matching earring holder!

I'm a visual person, so a way to view all my choices is easiest for me to pick out what to wear.  The only problem? I'd need a frame three times this size to fit all my earrings. ;)

What DIY projects have you added to your abode?

soon to come: my adventure with oreo balls! woooohoo!

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Running Necessities

Everyones got a few things they'd be lost without for their training routine, and I've decided to take a moment to pay tribute to mine.

1. Ouchless hair ties - I NEED my hair completely out of my face and I need an ponytail holder that won't fall out.  My go-to style necessity is an no-slip grip headband with a thick goody ouchless hair tie. I've got a lotta hair, so a skinny hair tie doesn't work for me

proof! matching no-slip grips for the VA Beach Rock & Roll
2. Asics. I've got high arches, and only Asics will do for my tootsies. I've been wearing them ever since high school track, and I've refused to stray from the brand ever since.

Mag and I even had matching Asics. the best part? completely unplanned.
3. A great water bottle. I do a very poor job with keeping hydrated, so a water bottle that makes me drink water/propel when working out is moneeeyyyy.
I hate water. But with this baby, I'll suck it down!
4. My iTouch Pedometer. I love running with my iTouch, and my Pedometer app is awesome.  It plays my running playlist within the app while showing me how many steps I've taken, how many miles I've run, and my time. When I take my outdoor runs, I can't live without it!

5. The Wright Sock.  If you're prone to blisters like I am, these guys have got ya back.

6. A great running jacket.  I'm big on layering when it comes to working out, and my blue C2 jacket from Target is perfect for running in lower temperatures and tying around my waist if I get too hot.
and it's my favorite color!
What's a necessity for your training?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"When I grow up..."

Most kids, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, answer something to the tune of, "a doctor," or "a firefighter," or "a lawyer!"

Should I add here that I wasn't exactly your average kid?

I was also clearly graced with a mouth full of perfect teeth. 
Please, my teeth are practically begging for an orthodontist up there.

As a little one, I loved when people asked me my future plans. Because no one else wanted to be what I wanted to be.

At 3 years old: 
"Alyssa, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
"A baby cow."
Not a calf.  Don't get it confused. A baby cow.
I wonder if my parents were worried.

At 11 years old: a nail technician. 
In fourth grade, I had an obsession with painting my nails a different color ever day. When I told my parents my future plans, they laughed at me.  Apparently, a baby cow is more socially acceptable than a nail technician in the Halter house.

At 16 years old: the next Ron Burgundy.
Anchorman was and is a classic, and it was after that movie I decided I'd major in communications and become a star news anchor.  I do a mean RB impression, and I habitually warm up with "unique new york" each time I speak in public.

I wanted that to be me.
That's a joke.

As I'm sure you've figured by now, my dream changed a little. Due to the depleting need for news anchors (news is becoming more and more automated), I decided I liked PR better.
okay, so Roush Fenway wasn't my best look.
An internship with NASCAR and a couple of stints in the restaurant industry later, I think I ended up where I belong.  ;)
Cocktail waitressing at Catch 31
and then supervising Tortugas!
But now... three cheers for "Electronic Media Specialist and Communications Coordinator!"

What did you want to be when you grew up? I'll bet my baby cow and your dream career went well together. ;)

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