Tuesday Travels: Borgo Argenina

Welcome to Borgo Argenina, a truly magical stone estate in the hills of Chianti. IMG_2414.JPGIMG_2419.JPG

Visiting Borgo Argentina was an experience like no other and my absolute favorite part of our Newly Newlywed Italian Adventure. The 998 AD Peasant Farmer home had been abandoned for years when, now owner, Elena Nappa, discovered the property while on a holiday from Milan. A former fashion designer, Elena quickly fell in love with the estate. She knew in her heart it was a calling for her to restore the hamlet into a stunning seven room Bed & Breakfast and that is exactly what she did. Her story of how she transformed this property without electricity and running water into a fully functioning Bed and Breakfast is really remarkable. IMG_2416.JPG

Adam and I drove from Florence to the Chianti hamlet. Passing thousands of grape vines and olive trees, around curvy bends, narrowingly escaping head on collisions with Italian drivers and through the rolling hills to get to Elena’s. Upon arrival at Borgo Argenina we were greeted by Elena’s four-legged friends, Giuseppina and Pasqualina along with other guests who were sitting on the grand stone patio, enjoying a glass of vino taking in the sunset over Chianti. IMG_2420.JPG

“Welcome! You must be new! Elena is upstairs in the Kitchen.” one guest said. Instantly we were family.

Our journey at Borgo Argenina began as we passed the bell to ring for Elena if you arrive after hours and opened the original wooden double doors adorned with iron locks and handles. IMG_2415.JPG

Once inside the main house, up the narrow stone stairway with one tiny window over looking the garden, we found Elena, tooting around her kitchen. IMG_2433.JPG

“Ah! Bella! Benvenuto! I’ve been expecting you! Fett, si?” Elena asked.

She grabbed the keys and escorted us to the Piccola Suite, our home for the next four days. We had a quaint sitting room adjacent to our bedroom, an attached private bath and views of the rolling Chianti Hills and Elena’s garden. PicTapGo-Image-5.jpg

Each room is equip with a mini bar and tea kettle that is refreshed daily, wifi and a hairdryer. (Yay! One less thing to pack!) There is no air conditioning at Borgo Argenina, thankfully, even during the Summer months the nights were cool and a flowing breeze filled our room. Elena took us downstairs, showed us the Parlor and Breakfast Room before heading outside.PicTapGo-Image-2.jpgIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2423.JPGIMG_2422.JPG

After a tour of our suite and parts of the property we sat down with Elena on the stone patio outside. She shared some of her favorite places in Tuscany with us over a glass of wine. PicTapGo-Image.jpg

We chatted for what felt like hours of friends catching up before we realized the time and that we were late for a supper reservation she made for us at Giorgio’s. We will share that experience with y’all a little later. Delizioso!

Every morning, Borgo Argenina guests are greeting to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by two of Elena’s three employees. On the daily menu: Fresh Coffee, homemade Yogurt, local meats, cheeses and honey, fresh fruit, and varieties of Elena’s Coffee Cake.  PicTapGo-Image-3.jpgPicTapGo-Image-1.jpgPicTapGo-Image-4.jpg

Elena also invites her guests to a nightly Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina. If you’re staying with her, this is a MUST! It was by far the best food we had during our time in Italy and if she had extra room we would have taken the class a second time! Each guest is gifted with her Borgo Argenina Cookbook-filled with Elena’s family recipes and traditional Italian dishes. The time we spent in the kitchen with Elena and other guests was a highlight of our trip. Pop over next Monday to see what was on our Menu! IMG_1196.JPG

Y’all, I really can not express how much HeliHubby and I enjoyed our time at Borgo Argenina. It is in a perfect location to be a “home base” for Montepulciano, Volterra, Siena and more little Tuscan Wine towns. It’s truly an enchanting, one of a kind Italian escape. Elena is absolutely wonderful. She is warm, welcoming and lovely. We felt like we had known her for years and yet we just met. Leaving we all three got a bit teary eyed as we said our “goodbyes.” I don’t know when the Newly Newlyweds will get to return to Chianti to visit Elena, but I do know HeliHubby and I both left a piece of our hearts in Tuscany at Borgo Argenina. It is just magical.

If you’re considering a Tuscan Vacation I highly reccomened you consider Borgo Argenina as your home. Have questions about the hamlet or want help planning your vacation? Feel free to message us- I am happy to help! PicTapGo-Image-7.jpg

Fino all prossima volta, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Tuesday Travels: Girls Trip!

Sorry @HeliHubby, but you’re not invited on this impromptu Girls Trip!

Two weeks ago I bought a plane ticket, packed my suitcase and decided to set sail with my best girlfriend and Sorority Sister on my first Royal Caribbean Cruise to Key West and Nassau!

Why you ask? Why not? Ann Marie was on Winter Break from school, Adam was on-call and would be working late every night, so the two of us decided to take a little long weekend “Mardi Gras” themed Girls Getaway!

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DIY Surprise: All the staples you’d need on a Cruise for our Mardi Gras themed getaway! 

Samson spent the week at his Tonna and Buddy’s. Adam was wife and puppy free! Don’t let him fool you! He was loving “his” time while I was sailing the seas!

We flew Delta from ATL to FLL and used Uber to get us to the Miami Port. It’s so much cheaper flying into Fort Lauderdale than Miami and the Uber ride was less than $40 each way. We got to port around 10am and only waited about 20 minutes before we could get on our ship, The Empress of the Seas.

When on vacation it’s always cocktail time! We wasted no time finding a spot on the ship  to sit and sip while we waited for our room. IMG_5737.jpeg

Obviously, our room was the cutest on the entire ship! Laissez les bons temps rouler y’all! We were ready to let the good times roll on this girls getaway!

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We spent the day checking out the ship. EOTS is the oldest in the Royal Caribbean fleet. It is a smaller boat, but was nice to get the lay of the sea quickly. The main areas have recently been updated, but the rooms were very outdated.  We waved Bon Voyage to Miami and like the old women we are, went to bed before 8! {Hey now, getting up at 3am for a flight and traveling all day will do that to you! Besides we couldn’t wait to see what towel animal we got!}

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Day 2:

We docked in Key West on schedule. We had breakfast at the main buffet full of all sorts of options- you could be healthy if you want or load up on all the pastries. They had someone making omelets to order and were more than willing to help make my meal as Whole30 Compliant as possible. Afterwards we hopped off the boat and went to do a little site seeing. We visited Mallory Square to see the Kissing Couple and The Southern Most Point in the US. {Everything in Key West is the “Southern Most.” You’ll see it everywhere when you go.} IMG_5768.jpegIMG_5862.JPG

If you’ve not been to Key West before, Duval Street is the main street in town. It’s full of shopping, restaurants, night life, art galleries and touristy gimmicks like coconut water that I just had to have!

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Duval Street reminds me of New York City. It is the Street that doesn’t sleep! When you’re out and about shopping check out The Spice & Tea Exchange. It’s a franchise store, but each location has speciality teas and spices specific to their store. Since I starting getting into loose leaf teas in December, it has become a favorite store! This location has a Creme Brûlée tea you’ve got to try it! Oh-so good!

Everyone loves Kermit’s Key Lime Store. Pop in for a sample or a Key Lime Pie on a Stick! Everything in the store is made with Key Limes. They are proud of their products. There are a ton of touristy gift shops around town that sell similar items at a lower cost, just so you know! If you have time, pop into The Key West Rum Distillery. I was on a #Whole30 and didn’t do any sampling, but we did come home with a few surprises for the boys from here. They offer tours, tastings and all sorts of products. I will say the staff was not the friendliest, so be prepared! Just down from the Distillery is a great Lilly Pulitzer store and we all know how AM and I love our Lilly! Our favorite find {and where I did the most damage} in Key West was Antica Sartoria. Y’all this store is the cutest! We had the best customer service and such fun shopping in the store. They only have 4 locations and some of the most unique pieces. They are on the higher price end, but so worth it! You will not find another person with the same outfit as you! I got the most adorable *camo* top– LOVE! Holly in camo? Who would have thought?

After shopping and being tourists we headed back to the ship to work on our tan before sailing away to Nassau!IMG_5861.JPG

The Crew of Empress of the Seas is phenomenal. Yes or Yes? I know, I really don’t have another Cruise to compare it to, but in general compared to other hotels and experiences, they were great! Hugo, the Cruise Director, was full of life and personality. Always entertaining!

We did the My Time Dining and ended up having Milton and Wimbo as our servers in the main dining room. What a great team! They were so nice- my water glass was never empty and when we couldn’t decide which dessert we wanted to try, they brought them all to us! After supper we went to the nightly show before heading to bed for our big day in the Bahamas!

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Day 3:

We were at sea all day and arrived in Nassau that evening for a surprise overnight. All the crew that we spoke with suggested we stay on board the ship that night as Nassau can be a bit dangerous. If the boys were with us, we might have explored a bit, but since it was just us two we were just fie staying on the boat. Good call!

The nighttime entertainment was fantastic. Vegas Showman, Tony Tillman, is quite an entertainer! He came out in a sparkly suit and y’all the man sings, dances, tells jokes, he does it all! It is a show for all ages- even the kids. I’d go see him again! The second show was an adult comedian. He was hilarious! Definitely for the adult audience, but really funny! Both Adam and David would have liked him. Next time boys…

Day 4:

Nassau did not disappoint! We started the morning heading to the Queen’s Stairs in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex in Nassau. Sixty-five stairs made of solid limestone rock around 1793 and provided a direct route from Fort Fincastle to Nassau City. It is free to visit the area and is a quick walk from the port. (We walked along side others from the ship and felt relatively safe. You walk through neighborhoods and passed a hospital to get there.) The Fort itself is very small, but has some of the best views of the city you will find. It was about $3/person. The area is surrounded by local vendors and “tour guides” that tell you about the Fort for a donation.

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We walked by the Straw Market, but did not do much shopping there. Everything was the same and haggling with the vendors is just not fun. We headed to the Duty Free shops instead! The main street off the port is full of Duty Free stores like David Yurman, Kate Spade, Gucci, you name it and they probably have it. AM and I took full advantage of our shopping opportunities! We were just saving the boys money!

Our trip flew by! We had such a good time! We had one last meal in the main dining area with Wimbo and Milton. They save the best for last- Lobster tails were on the menu and were oh-so delicious! The boys took care of us bringing us out an extra…or two and even cut it out of the shell for us! We even got a little Dining entertainment with a dance from the staff.

Just like that we awoke to the Port of Miami. Getting off the boat and going through customs was a breeze. No line. No wait. It was a great experience. Finding the Uber pick-up location was a bit chaotic, but overall not bad. I would do it again!

I am missing the sun and the ocean breeze, aren’t you? Such a great time with a great friend and the most perfect weather for a little weekend getaway! Can not say enough great things about the Ship’s Staff and the cruising experience. Guess it is time to book our next trip! Maybe the boys will be invited this time!

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Are you an avid cruiser? Share your tips and tricks with us! We are foodies and I have to say I was a little disappointed in the food…it was just ok. Tell us your favorite cruise lines and why- we want all the details y’all!

Signing off for now! Time to pack up and get ready for our next trip…DISNEY! Tune in next Tuesday for a little Disney fun!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlyed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Whole30 Bangers & Mash

Y’all this recipe is one of our absolute favorites! Adam has said multiple times he could eat it every day. It’s so delicious and left overs are even better!

We discovered the recipe during our first Whole30 from Melissa’s Whole30 book,  “The Whole30: The 30 Day Guide to Health and Food Freedom,”  and it has become a staple during (and after) our Whole30s.

You’re 29 days in! If you’ve not given it a try, tonight is the perfect night! Enjoy!

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Banger Sausage Patties with Sweet Potato Mash and Caramelized Onions

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For the Sausage (I like my sausage to be full of flavor and add more seasonings than the recipe calls. My notes are in parentheses.) 

1 pound ground pork
¼ teaspoon ground sage (1 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (1 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (1/2 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon onion powder (3/4 teaspoon)
¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
¹⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon salt
¹⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the Mash

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
4 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
½ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

PREPARE THE SAUSAGE: In a small mixing bowl, combine all the sausage seasonings.

 

In a large mixing bowl, mix up pork and add seasonings a little at a time. {TIP: If you have plastic gloves, they are great to use while you fold in the seasonings and form the patties so your hands don’t get icky.}

Form pork mixture into (about) 8 small patties. (I typically get about 6) Place on a plate and chill in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes while starting the sweet potato mash. (I don’t always chill my patties and they turn out just fine.

COOK the sweet potatoes in the boiling water until fork tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of the ghee and coconut milk. Using a potato masher, immersion blender, or large kitchen fork, mash and mix the sweet potatoes with the ghee and coconut milk. (I add salat and pepper to the mash.) Cover the pot to keep warm and set aside.

REMOVE the sausage from the freezer and place on the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake the sausage patties in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, and no pink remains in the middle of the patty.

MEANWHILE, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. When the ghee is hot, add the onion and cook for 15 minutes, turning them periodically as they begin to brown and caramelize. (Do not rush this step—the browner the color, the more concentrated the flavor will be.)

TRANSFER the mashed sweet potatoes to the plate. Top with the pork and gently set the cartelized onions ontop of the pork. Enjoy!

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This recipe can easily be doubled- I actually recommend it so you have left overs for breakfast or lunch the next day! You can also pre-mix the seasoning mixture and save in little zip-lock bags or in mason jars so you already have it ready when you’re making this dish. It will just save you a little time!

If you make this dish- let us know what you think! What’s your favorite Whole30 Dish? Share them with us!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed (Whole30) moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Whole30 Favorites Homemade Chicken Salad

Happy 2018!

Can you believe we’re already 22 days into the New Year? It seems like just yesterday we were gathered around the TV, watching the ball drop and counting down to 2018. The New Year brings new beginnings, new goals and new resolutions.

Like most of America, one of our resolutions is to get healthier. Oh, I know, I know….we all probably say it, but as January 1st came and went, so did our first day of another Whole30.

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Here we are, 22 days in and feeling great! You might remember we began our Whole30 Lifestyle about this time last year. It was fantastic. We lost a few pounds, felt great, slept great, craved healthy food and then….Football Season happened. While all of our hard work didn’t go down hill, we did notice all the changes and honestly didn’t like how we felt. Together we pledged to continue what we started in 2017 and get back on the Whole30 Bandwagon.

We’re often posting photos on Instagram of our daily dishes and are constantly getting comments and messages asking “What’s the recipe,” “Can you send me your favorite whole30 dishes,” or “Oh my goodness! That looks so good! How did you make it?”

Seriously, I love the Whole30 love! It gets me so excited to continue this journey, play with recipes to make them compliant and share our story with you. I’ve loved connecting with friends over the Whole30 and helping each other continue this journey for whatever reasons they have for doing it.

You can betcha for weeks and months to come our weekly Monday’s Menu will be Whole30 inspired. Most of the recipes have come from Melissa Hartwig’s Whole30 books, Whole30 Recipes on Facebook or Instagram and from a few of my favorite Whole30 Bloggers. Wherever we find the recipe, we will make sure to add the link and give credit where credit is do.

One of my favorite Whole30 recipes comes from Anya’s Eats, Homemade Chicken Salad. It is a great basic recipe and is so versatile- you can really make it your own! Which is exactly what I’ve done.

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Homemade Chicken Salad

  • 2-3 chicken breasts or equivalent in leftover roasted chicken (dark meat is fine too)
  • 32oz oz chicken broth (only if you don’t have chicken pre-made)
  • ⅓ cup red onion, diced (I use about 2/3 cup)
  • ⅓ cup celery, diced (I use about 2/3 cup)
  • ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped (I use about 1/2 cup)
  • ¼-1/3 cup Primal Kitchen Foods mayo (I use 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste ( I use about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup chopped grapes, into forths

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. If you are cooking the chicken, place in a large pot and cover with chicken broth. Or if you’ve got your Kamado Joe is hot, Adam will often inject the chicken with broth, season with salt & pepper and pop on the grill.
  2. Bring to a boil then turn down to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Chicken is done when it falls apart very easily.
  3. Drain broth and place in large bowl.
  4. If you are using leftover chicken, you can start here. Place chicken in a large bowl and pull apart with two forks until shredded. (TIP: Put your chicken in your Kitchen Aid stand mixer, attach the dough hook and turn on high to shred the chicken quickly and easily)
  5. Add onion, celery, pecans and spices and mix together with chicken. (Add grapes here.)
  6. Add mayo and mix until fully combined. Start with ¼ cup and add more if you want it to be less dry.
  7. Serve with celery sticks, sliced cucumber, or over a bed of lettuce. SO GOOD y’all!

I love this recipe. Like I said you can really interchange the ingredients and make it your own. Trust me…you won’t even know its Whole30 and not your normal Chicken Salad! The Primal Kitchen Mayo is delicious!

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Adding the grapes and a few more ingredients helps to make the dish go further. It lasts us a week of lunches in our home and if you’re on the Whole30 you know how wonderful it is to not have to be in the kitchen all the time.

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Do you have a favorite Whole30 Chicken Salad recipe? Have you made this with your own additions? Share your recipes with us! We’d love to give them a try too!

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We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed (Whole30) moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

FaLaLaLa Fett’s Countdown to Christmas Continues….

Day Six is for success. 

Tuesday was a Dewey Date Day! A successful Dewey Date Day at that.

After Adam got home, we had supper and started cleaning the kitchen when we noticed a little date box from Dewey. Inside? A Gingerbread House Kit. So with six days left in our FaLaLaLa Fett’s Countdown to Christmas we made a Gingerbread House!

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We are by no means pros at it! Our skills are about as good as a six year old’s! Icing everywhere and Samson anxiously waiting for tasty treats to drop for a quick retrieval.

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It might not be pretty, but we’d like to think it was a success…it was still standing this morning! Yippie! FullSizeRender-8.jpeg

Does your family build a Gingerbread House at Christmas time? Do you make the cookies from scratch or like our little Elf Dewey, do you use a kit? Do you have any tips for keeping it together? Share them with us!

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Day Five is for Festive Festivities.

Who needs Miracle on 34th Street, when you have Miracle on Monroe?

Just kidding, Miracle on 34th Street will always be a favorite Christmas movie for me, but a new holiday favorite for the FaLaLaLa Fett’s is Miracle on Monroe. The ultimate festive festivity. Santa’s Workshop. Toy-Land. The North Pole. A “Christmas Dreamland” right here in Atlanta.

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Miracle on Monroe is a pop-up Christmas bar that popped up in Atlanta last Christmas. Open from November 24th to December 24th, Wednesday to Sunday it’s quite the popping place! Expect to wait 2-6 hours to get in to explore this festive Adult Santa Land.

The walls are covered in wrapping paper. Strung lights cover the ceilings. A life size gingerbread house set up for photos and Christmas decor fills this Holiday Land.

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Last week a few of my favorite ZTA ladies and I put on our most festive attire and popped by the pop-up bar to get in the HOLLYday spirit! It was a first for all of us and being that we wanted on Santa’s Good List, we were nice enough to invite Adam along too!

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All the drinks are served in Christmas themed glassware and were oh-so tasty too!  The “Bad Santa” was my favorite- a mulled red wine concoction. Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 8.42.42 AM.png

Smells of Sugarplums {ok really Trader Joe’s Cookies] filled the air.

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While visions of ZTAs cheers-ing danced in my head.

 

If you’re in Atlanta between now and the 24th and you’re at least 21 make the time to pop on by this Favorite Festive Festivity of ours! We are already counting down the days for it to reopen next year!

Share your photos and thoughts of Miracle with us if you get a chance to visit!

Day Four is for {NOT} So Forced Family Fun. 

You may or may not know this, but I LOVE Disney. Not in a weird obsession sort of way,  but I definitely go more often and know more Disney facts than the average person. This is probably not one of Adam’s favorite things about me….actually I know it isn’t.

Two weekends ago the FaLaLaLa Fett’s and Giamfortone’s packed our bags and headed out of Atlanta (just before the snow) to the happiest place on earth. DISNEY WORLD! What says Christmas more than spending the holidays at Disney World???

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Saturday we bundled up (in Florida) and headed to Disney Springs, aka Downtown Disney to shop, have lunch and visit the tour of trees.

{Disney Tip: If you’ve not done the tour of trees I highly recommend it!} IMG_6480.jpeg

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There were probably twenty different trees all in different Disney themes. Basically I wanted a picture with all of them, but Adam wouldn’t let me! We did however get our picture for next years Christmas Card! If you’ve not heard a few months ago we bought an airplane. The paint color on her just happened to be “Disney Blue.” After months of looking, Adam knew it was meant to be. We gave her the perfect name, “Elsa,” after Adam’s (not so) favorite Disney movie, Frozen.

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As the sun went down, Mom, Dad, Adam and I took a bus over to the Wilderness Lodge– it is stunning year around and probably my favorite hotel on property.

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Before heading back to Casa Mickey we returned to Downtown Disney (clearly I haven’t gotten used to calling it Disney Springs) to look at the main Christmas tree all lit up and take in the tunes of the Strolling Piano.

 

Sunday Adam and I braved the cold and did a little hotel hopping by the Polynesian and Grand Floridian before meeting up with my family at the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Not to mention we just happened to have arrived at the Grand Floridian in time for a little toddy. Who says adults can’t have fun at Disney too?

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IMG_3277.jpeg(Disney Tip- Spend a day hotel hopping while you’re in town- ask me more about it and I’ll be happy to share our tips and tricks!)

Adam and I did MVMCP last year and thought what fun it would be for a little Forced Family Fun to kick off the holidays! It’s an after hours event from 7pm-Midnight on select nights during the holiday season. You do not have to have an additional park ticket, but you do have to buy the specific ticket to the event. It is a wonderful time to see the park with NO lines for rides, special character greetings, parades and fireworks. Plus your ticket gets you unlimited treats and sweets during the party. It is the best way to do the Magic Kingdom at Christmas time. IMG_3308.jpeg

Not having to wait in line for our favorite rides is worth it in itself! IMG_3313.jpeg

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We found the perfect spot to watch the Christmas parade and fireworks and did a little shopping before the clock struck twelve. We couldn’t be turning into pumpkins after all!

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the Mouse House without trying on a pair of ears or two!

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Have you been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Did you love it as much as us? We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed Very Merry moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

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FaLaLaLa Fett’s Countdown to Christmas “Not So Silent Night”

Day Seven is for “Not So Silent Night.”

All is not calm, all is bright on our Tacky Sweater Night!

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The FaLaLaLa Fett’s Tacky Sweater Party has become an annual tradition with our friends near and far. SLUSH, Snowmen, Sparkles, oh my! Glitter, Buttons, bows or vest, we tell our friends to come in their tackiest!

Slush is a must for this soirée. I put my Sandra Lee skills to the test, to make my tablescape look the best! RenderedImage-1.jpeg

Our Guestroom’s are booked, well in advance. There’s no reason to make Santa’s Naughty List! IMG_6960

We love starting the holiday season with all our friends that are like our family. The night is filled with fun, frivolity and lots of laughs. We never know just how the night will go or exactly who might show!

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This years party was quite a success. It was difficult to pick just who was the tackiest!

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Another FaLaLaLaFett Holiday Tradition in the books! What are your thoughts on a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party? Do you host one for your family and friends? Share your party ideas with us!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

FaLaLaLa Fett’s Countdown To Christmas

The Christmas Holiday Season is my absolute most favorite time of the year. Maybe it’s the chill in the air, the joyous smiles radiating from everyone’s faces or the fact that I’m an {almost} Christmas Baby. Christmas has always been my favorite. Always.

We had all intentions of beginning our Christmas Countdown on Wednesday, but alas…here we are on Sunday, eight days to go until the Big Man shows and I am just sitting down to write this post.

So lets begin by backing up a few days and get caught up on our countdown.

Day 12 is for Traditions.

One of my {our} favorite Christmas Traditions began our first year of marriage. Christmas is a wonderful time- cheerful, full of family and lots of love, but it can also be a stressful time- I am sure you can all relate. Running from home to home visiting family, shopping and wrapping until the last minute, Christmas parties, are you tired yet?

Our first Christmas Adam and I were with my parents in Peachtree City. We spent the night on Christmas Eve at their house, woke up to gifts from Santa, followed by our usual Christmas Brunch. We packed up in our PJs, headed back to Atlanta to FaceTime with Adam’s Family from Michigan, change, have supper and meet up with his family that is local to Atlanta. Long story short…things didn’t quite go as planned. By the time we got back to our house in Atlanta making a fancy Christmas meal was not in the cards. Everything was closed and all we had was a Frozen Pizza, which is exactly what we had. Frozen Pizza on our Kate Spade China. Classy! Our brand of choice? Screamin’ Sicilian.

Three years later it is one of the things we both look forward to. It’s our time to enjoy the holiday together – just the two of us. Don’t get us wrong, we love spending time with our families and taking part in all the holiday fun, but there is something so comforting in spending time together, relaxing and enjoying the Christmas night just us two {for now anyways.}

This year the pizza is already in the freezer and depending on how our Annual Tacky Sweater Party goes we will hopefully have some Slush to go with it!

Does your family have a holiday tradition? Share your favorites with us!

PS: Wouldn’t you know after all these years I don’t have one single photo of our Christmas suppers?

Day 11 is for Elves. 

Before “Elf On The Shelf” was a thing…I had a Elf. He stayed at my Grandparents- Honna and Grandaddy’s-  House. I don’t remember his name or what his “powers” were, but I remember him having a little felt outfit, hat and shoes. He was a special Elf that us kids could not touch unless we had permission. He typically sat on the fireplace mantle and watched our every move. IMG_6531.jpg

Another Christmas tradition that Adam and I now have incorporated into our holiday season is our visiting Elf, Dewey. Dewey is a joyful, energetic, full of life Christmas Elf that makes his way to the FaLaLaLa Fett’s on December 1st. He helps us countdown to Christmas by bringing holiday surprises, planning Christmas themed Dates and of course sending reports to Santa. Why should kids have all the fun? It’s so fun having a little Christmas Spirit in the house and see just what tricks and treats Dewey has up his sleeve!

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Does your family have an Elf or two roaming around this holiday season? Tell us all about him or her! Are they as tricky and mischievous as Dewey?

Day 10 is for the Perfect Christmas Tree. 

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If you’ve followed us the last 3+ years, you may have seen our previous posts about our Christmas Trees. Yes, you read that correctly. We have multiple trees at Christmas.

I grew up with 6 artificial Christmas Trees. Each one had it’s own theme- from Gingerbread to Barbie and the Great State of Texas to Sports for my brother Joey. Six different rooms in my childhood home was home to a tree at Christmas time.

Adam on the other hand, well….thats where our story about the “Perfect Christmas Tree” comes into play. He grew up with a Fraser Fur Tree. His family would go out to a local farm in Michigan, cut down their tree and haul it home. Well friends…that is us. The FaLaLaLa Fett’s turn Griswold Family Christmas.

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Photo credits: www.rainforestislandsferry.com

We can’t just drive a half mile down the road to our big box home store or a mile to the nearest local Christmas Tree lot, instead we take a little 3 hour tour to North Carolina. The closest place to Atlanta where Fraser Fur trees are grown.

Are we sounding more like the Griswold’s now?

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Photo Credits: http://www.people.com

The two of us pack up the car, drop Samson off at his Tonna and Buddy’s and hit the road for North Carolina around the first weekend of December. Our first Christmas we went up to the Highlands, while the last two years we made the trip to Asheville.

What an ordeal it is! Adam is SO picky. My only requirement is the tree be skinny to fit in a particular spot in our little condo. Adam on the other hand…oh lord…let’s just say our tree hunt ends up with a few good laughs and a great topic to remission on for the next year.

He spends hours looking up the farms in the area- scoping out prices and reviews. Then once we get there we drive from farm to farm, in and out of the car, up and down the mountains of North Carolina to find the perfect tree.

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It can’t have holes of any kind. The needles can’t be droopy or have any dead spots. It can’t be too short. It can’t…it can’t…it can’t… The man’s list goes on and on. By the time we find out tree, Adam cuts it down using an old fashion saw and we get our picture with her, there is normally mud on his jeans, sweat dripping from his forehead, and me…there just “cheering” him on.  {Of course you would never know any of this by the looks of our pictures! HA! HA!}

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This year we came across the true spirit of Christmas and restored our faith in humanity a bit while on the hunt for our tree. We had already visited two other farms in Asheville. The first one didn’t allow us to cut down our tree, the second had extremely over priced {to the tune of $200+} for a tree the size we needed and by the time we pulled up to our third farm without a tree it was just about closing time.

The owner greeted us at our car, asked what we were looking for and said, “Come on. It’s just me, but I’d be happy to show you what I have.”

It was after looking around a bit and finding a tree we realized he only took cash or checks, something neither of us had with us. The Farm owner said not to worry about it and send him a check when we got home!

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Y’all, is that not the BEST story? In the world we live in today you rarely come across someone that would have faith and trust in a total stranger like that. Just goes to show there is still kindness in the world and by sharing it with others, we can all make the world a happier place to call home.

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Are you a real or artificial tree fan? How many trees does your family have? Tell us your stories!

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Day Nine is for Nostalgic. 

Is there something that is now part of your Christmas that you had growing up? Perhaps an artificial tree? An “Elf on the Shelf”? Or even the tradition of cutting down your own family tree?

In our home we have slush. Ah, the Famous Fett Family Slush.

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{Well, that is what our friends call, but it actually started on Adam’s Mom’s side of the family.}

Growing up Adam’s family always had Slush at Holiday Parties. There was “Fun Slush” for the Adults and “Kids Slush” for the kids…if you catch my drift. {wink wink} Think of an ice cold frozen Slurpie from your local Seven-Eleven, but BETTER!

Adam tells stories of his Grandma Yonker making it every year. Green was for kids and red was for the adults. There’s a secret to making it and let me tell you people…its a sneaky, sneaky drink. If Slush is invited, there will be no Grinches at our parties!

The FaLaLaLa Fett’s have incorporated it into our Christmas celebrations. Every year we host a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party and the Slush is a staple. Our friends talk about it all year- those that have come in years past tell the new comers all about it. Everyone is warned early on. Uber to the party the Slush will get you!

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We always get asked, “What’s in this? How can we make this? Can we have it at all your parties?”

Until last year Adam would NEVER give out the recipe for Slush. Sort of like my Strawberry Cake. It’s a Family Recipe, you don’t just give those out.

{Ah, but when you do you, don’t ever give out the full recipe. Their’s just can’t be better than yours!  Sorry friends!} 

Now the infamous Slush recipe hangs proudly in our Kitchen for all to see….hence the reason to why Adam now “gives it out.” Last Christmas we received our favorite, favorite, favorite Christmas gift from Adam’s parents. They know how much we both love incorporating our family’s traditions into our Christmas and what a big part of our FaLaLaLa Fett Christmas Slush as become.

Together they made a frame for the original, hand written Slush recipe by Adam’s Grandmother, who is no longer with us. The frame has a little wire basket attached with some of his Family’s favorite holiday recipes and extra cards for us to add some of my family’s and recipes we create together.

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I absolutely love it. 

Now when friends ask about it, we jokingly say we don’t give it out. If they happen to notice the recipe hanging they are more than welcome to take a picture, but Adam doesn’t go into detail about how its made, what all exactly is in it and how to make it just perfect.

Cheers!

Day Eight is for eclectic. 

I’d like to think our holiday decor is somewhat eclectic. The artificial tree is more funky, free spirited, glitz and glitter, while the real tree is more antique, filled with old fashion Santas and old wooden toy ornaments. All the other decor in the house goes along with those two themes.

Of course ANYTHING I see with “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” Happy HOLLYdays,” or something about Holly in general I just have to have. We basically have a little Santa’s Workshop in Atlanta, GA. Adam may or may not love it…

One decoration that I absolutely love and I know he appreciates too is my antique ceramic tree. While these are all the rage now popping up in Vintage stores or replicas  in big box stores, mine is truly a priceless antique.

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Like most of our favorite things on this year’s countdown, a ceramic tree was something I grew up with. My Mom had one she purchased her first married Christmas, I believe. Someone at the school she taught at handmade them. Our green ceramic tree covered in tiny multicolored lights always sat on our entry way table for all to see. It was always my favorite thing to put up when our family came together to decorate the house for the holidays. To this day, it is still one of the “jobs” I help Mom with when I come over.

Two years ago, right around Christmas, my 100+ year old Great-Grandmother Gran passed away.  She left behind a ceramic tree, similar to my Mom’s for me. It is the first decoration to go up. The last one to come down and of course it’s home is on the entry way table. She is dusted with snow and adorned with miniature pink lights. She is perfect.

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Does your home have one theme for Christmas decorations or is it more eclectic? Do you have one favorite piece? The Christmas Season is our most favorite time of the year. We love our stories, but would love to hear yours too. What makes your house feel like a home over Christmas? What makes your heart the most joyful this time of year?

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

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Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!