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everyday vita: winter break

This past Friday was the first day of my winter break!  I know I haven’t posted in a very long time (thanks to winter track practice and a crazy amount of major assignments due right before the break).  But instead of boring you all with excuses of why I’ve been MIA for the past two weeks, let me tell you about what’s been going on with me lately.

celebrating the break with tessa at panera
Monday through Thursday was jam-packed with major assignments (A big math test, two 5-paragraph papers, a Chinese Test, and a quiz in chemistry…). However, it was also full of little bits of holiday cheer to keep us all going.  We had a grade-wide game of Secret Santa.  On Monday, I made my Secret Santa a little box full of “Christmas Crack” (recipe soon… this stuff is quite addictive) and other holiday cookies.  I wrapped it up in red and white baker’s twine and sneakily handed it over to a friend to deliver.  Sadly, my Secret Santa knew that I was behind her present the moment she got it.  I don’t know if it was the vast variety of cookies in there (that could only be achieved by an obsessive baker like me), or the Pinterest-y baker’s twine that gave me away.  On my next gift I wrote a poem:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
You may think Erica’s your Secret Santa
But I swear that’s not true!
… sadly, my poem wasn’t very convincing.

Speaking of poems, our school has the holiday tradition of sending Candy-grams.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Mean Girls, you know what they are. Basically, you write little notes to people and they are delivered to them in their classes along with a candy cane.  Last year, I didn’t send any Candy-grams, so this year I had to go all out. My friend Tessa and I collectively spent about $20 on Candy-grams (they are 25¢ each… think about it).  I wanted to get my moneys worth, so instead of writing a quick message or a joke that would probably get censored by the SSC, I wrote poems for everyone.  I sent this one to one of my friend’s English classes (we are reading Othello).
            My love for you is as boundless as the sea
            This Candy-gram’s better than Othello’s soliloquys.
… I think that I am quite clever.

On Friday, I helped my friend Emilia bake some holiday gifts for a few of our friends. My friend Erin has been asking for lemon bars for the past year – we finally made her a huge tray of the thickest, gooiest, most lemon-y lemon bars in the world (using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe).  We also made some peppermint bark (using this recipe) – which was one of the easiest and most delicious things I have ever baked.  We came up with creative ways to smash the peppermints – from bashing them with a rolling pin to stomping on them with the heels of these Kate Spade booties.

Next, Emilia and I wrapped everyone’s presents.  This will sound cliché, but I honestly enjoy wrapping presents even more than receiving them.  Picking out the perfect wrapping paper, meticulously folding and creasing it – all while imagining the receivers reaction when they pull back the colorful wrapping paper.  Emilia shares my love of arts and crafts.  We started making customized gift tags with washi tape, and before we knew it, two hours had passed! Time flies when your playing with tape.

On Saturday, my friends and I all got together to celebrate Christmas and Hanukah together.  We made homemade pizzas and opened each other’s Christmas presents.  It think what makes opening presents so much more fun than regular shopping is the element of surprise and the reactions people have. 

Speaking of surprises, my birthday was this past week as well – and my friends all surprised me with a birthday cake!  I had no idea that they had planned this, and was truly surprised when they came out carrying a cake glowing with candles.  It was a great birthday thanks to them. 

Do you like surprises?

With love,

P.S. I have a ton of posts prepared for you all – including tons of holiday cookies and a super special recipe for peppermint hot cocoa. Stay tuned!


  1. So glad you are back!! But, since I work in Education (community college, Online Learning Office), I know how busy the end of a semester can get.

    Looking forward to many, many new recipes! :)

    1. The end of the semester can be pretty insane (not to mention that we have exams right after the break)... but there is ALWAYS enough time to make a batch of cookies!


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