This year I’ve been very late in getting ready for Christmas. I normally put my tree and Christmas decorations up on Black Friday; this year, I delayed and delayed and finally put my (bare) tree up about a week ago. But this weekend, it was time to amp up and get in the holiday spirit!
Work this week helped, with not just one but two (virtual) team happy hours on Thursday that helped me start getting excited for the break. Friday was a regular work day, but I woke up and started the day with Denis’ 30 minute holiday ride on Peloton, which I loved. And at lunch, we had our companywide “holiday party” (aka webcast), where we hired Leon Bridges to play for everyone. I had never heard of him before, but his music was pretty good, and I took advantage of the hour of the music to go out for a run with Sadie. I miss dressing up and drinking with friends / colleagues, but I have to say, I kind of liked being able to go running instead of doing so!
And to make that “holiday party” run even better… although I didn’t really look at my watch until about halfway through, Sadie and I ended up running quite a fast pace – and finished 10K in 48:58 (7:50/mile pace)! I was thrilled; all the hilly trail work we’ve been doing lately is clearly paying off in terms of speed.
In the afternoon, I got asked to do a last minute presentation to a new client, and it went really well – so that put me in a great mood for the rest of the afternoon, even though I ended up working a bit longer than I would have liked in order to get some loose ends tied up before many people would be off the next week.
My mom unfortunately wasn’t feeling well; while she didn’t have many side effects at the beginning of chemo, it’s definitely starting to accumulate in her system and make her tired and sometimes nauseous. So in the evening, I figured out to adapt my favorite comforting avgolemono soup recipe for the Instapot, and then I hopped into a yoga class while it cooked. It was perfect – easy for Mom to eat, but still comforting and full of good stuff. We wrapped up the night on the couch together with Sadie, watching Sweet Magnolias on Netflix.
The next morning, Mom was feeling a lot better, which was especially great news so she could participate in my annual cookie swap! To keep her safe, I kept the invite list really small (only friends who I knew were being careful about COVID19 and who had mentioned they were sad to miss my cookie party), and made the event as safe as possible. We each baked as many cookies as we wanted (most people did one batch but a few did multiple), then divided the cookies up into individually wrapped bags for each person to take. We met up outdoors and fully masked at a local park and each put our cookies in different spots, then walked around collecting the different bags. We didn’t stop to chat there, but headed straight home, and then jumped on a Zoom call to eat cookies and catch up. I was worried people would think I was being too over the top with insisting that we not hang around the park chatting in person, but… better safe than sorry? And the friends that I invited seemed pretty happy with the set up.
But speaking of set ups and preparations… what was my contribution to the cookie swap? Well, I woke up early on Saturday morning intended to do a workout, but decided to get a round of cookies into the oven first, since I knew I had ambitious plans to make multiple batches. I actually ended up making all four batches before finally heading down to the gym!
Starting on the healthier side, I made chickpea chocolate chip cookies, flourless peanut butter chip cookies, pumpkin spice snickerdoodles, and white chocolate lemon pudding cookies (I also made homemade lemon curd to go into this last batch). Honestly, they all came out pretty good, but I’d say the white chocolate lemon pudding cookies were the biggest hit… probably in part because they were so buttery!
I normally don’t like baking cookies because I hate dealing with the actual baking part. I get nervous trying to scoop just the right amount of dough onto the cookie sheet and space them perfectly, and then I always either under or overbake them. But as it turns out, my mom hates the mixing part of making cookies and loves the baking part, so we made a great team! We had a blast baking the morning away and listening to lots of holiday Christmas music – particularly when I hit on a Pentatonix Christmas playlist and stuck with that for a while.
After the cookies were done, we both headed down to the gym – I did a 60 minute yoga class while my mom called her brother, and then she joined me to walk on the treadmill while I did CDE’s Pentatonix ride on the Peloton bike. Halfway through, I started trying to close the (big) gap between where I was and my PR… and I ended up pushing myself so hard that I beat my PR by 17 points! I was really proud of myself, especially in such a weird ride where there was lots of instructor silence and not much encouragement. The leaderboard is definitely great for getting me to work harder 🙂
Between my workout and the cookie swap, J came over and we watched a bit of Sugar Rush Christmas on Netflix, and after the cookie swap, it was a bit more of the same – this time, J and Mom and I watched Schitt’s Creek. I have been a little iffy on this show since J persuaded me to start watching, but s1e10 “Honeymoon” was hysterically funny and made me finally start to really like this show. (It’s the one where Johnny and Moira go to Roland’s Hawaiian party, David and Stevie consummate their relationship, and Alexis and Ted host a super awkward couples’ dinner party.) This was by far the best episode of the first season, and now I’m psyched to watch season 2!
But we didn’t get to that Saturday night! Instead, the dinner party made me really want wine, so I made a pasta dinner for all of us that would pair with red wine. We spent the evening watching Happiest Season on Hulu, and I really loved it! Even if you read this after Christmas, I’d still recommend it; it was really sweet and funny.
The next morning, I did a Peloton bike bootcamp with Jess Sims, and then headed into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone. I definitely wanted something savory instead of sweet after all those cookies the day before (let’s not talk about how much “tasting” I did of both the raw batter and the finished results), so I made dutch babies topped with bacon, kale, and cottage cheese.
With that brunch in hand, we settled in for my friend Heather’s holiday tradition, now pivoted to virtual – a Hallmark movie brunch! We all watched The Sweetest Christmas together on Zoom, and spent the commercials gossiping to each other. (J gobbled up his brunch and then hightailed it out so he wouldn’t be stuck watching, haha.) I hadn’t seen a Hallmark movie yet this year, though I had intended to watch many, and this sweet treat was the perfect way to spend a Sunday getting even more in the holiday spirit!
But lying around watching TV makes me feel pretty sluggish and lazy, and that mood continued into the afternoon, when I spent a lot of time procrastinating rather than getting stuff done. One of the things I was procrastinating on was taking Sadie out for a solid run – oops! But I finally got us both out right before sunset, and we did a nice 7 miles at an 8:30 pace, with beautiful pink puffy clouds filling the sky.
I did a quick 20 minute hamstrings yoga class as soon as I got home, which ended up being amazing post-run. I bookmarked this class to do a post-run cooldown in the future – it was a great class! I had to race from there to a work call at 5:30pm, but then transitioned from that back to relaxing with the help of one more Peloton yoga class – a 45 min flow with Aditi.
Longtime readers know I’m not much of a yogini, but I’ve been doing a PeloYoga Bingo Charity Challenge with a bunch of Reddit friends, and I decided to be brave and do the intermediate+ card. It is a lot of yoga to do in one month (especially when I got a slow start and skipped a few days right at the beginning of the month when I was in ski instructor training), but now I’m really getting into it – and actually am starting to look forward to my daily yoga class. Although I committed with a few (IRL) friends to a daily yoga challenge in November, we didn’t have a time limit on it, and I definitely took advantage of that to do a lot of 10 and 20 minute classes just to get it done. But with this card specifying that I have to do longer classes, I’m actually starting to enjoy them! And I only have five classes left to complete the board, so I’m well on pace to finish by Christmas.
Since I likely won’t blog again before then… Merry Christmas to you (if you celebrate)!