Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Presents!

Did everyone have a good Christmas? I sure did! This year, it was a quiet one for us. We didn't go anywhere at all, besides to the movie theatre for a Christmas Eve showing of It's a Wonderful Life and the midnight mass service.

I did, however, find some nice presents waiting for me on Christmas.

From Santa, I received a white headband and a candy cane:

Unbeknownst to me, Maman and Papa had sent over a package a few weeks ago. It was surprising to see a package from them, as they haven't sent me anything in quite awhile.

Inside, I found a red vest, a white long-sleeved tee, and black stretch leggings. I'm particularly excited about the vest because I've been wanting one for a few years. I managed to miss out on the one in Nicki's Ski outfit, and this one is almost just as good. I love the fact that it's red, since red looks so good with my dark hair and eyes.

In another package, I found a cute pair of tan Uggs from Juliette, my twin sister. I LOVE these! Laura has an identical pair in her size, and they are all she wears. I'm sure these will be all I wear, too.

What did you receive for Christmas and/or Hanukkah?


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Fair Hollow Winter Festival 2011

...or carnival, depending on whom you ask!

This holiday season has been rather mild weather wise, so the students of Fair Hollow School for Girls decided to hold a winter festival on the school quad.

We decided to make this celebration more about school spirit, rather than religion, which is why we've called it a winter festival rather than a Christmas festival. We wanted to accommodate those students who celebrate Hanukkah as well as those of us who celebrate Christmas.

The Fair Hollow Glee Club performed many a Christmas carol that night, with several Hanukkah songs thrown in to appease Becky. Most students praised the Glee Club for their pretty voices, but the club had its critics, too. "How that girl thinks she can sing, I will never know," Lindsey was overheard while muttering to herself, likely in reference to Becky.

I spent the evening on the synthetic ice rink, trying to remember what Nathalie had taught me about skating. The skaters at Rockefeller Center last year made skating look so easy! Alas, I still have trouble gliding.

Eventually, I got the hang of it well enough to skate around the little rink a couple of times, but I think I'm going to write Nathalie a nice long letter about returning to Fair Hollow in the future. I need a figure skating instructor!

When I got tired of trying to ice skate, I joined everyone else at The Copper Horse Pub & Eatery, which has just been opened by our very own Lindsey and Anya! As they are Jewish, the pub is currently adorned in Judaica, and they only serve kosher foods. However, the pub is already a hit! It's a great place to get together with friends and classmates. A hang out is something we Fair Hollow students have badly needed as it gets boring hanging out in our dorm rooms all of the time!

Before the evening ended, we all took our holiday portraits. Here is mine! I am wearing the snowflake sweater that I received for Hanukkah the year I celebrated it with the Valdez quintuplets:

Finally, we had a group picture taken, which is a rarity at our school. From the top left, you can see Nellie, Samantha, Chiara, and Jessica. From the middle left, you can see Kit, Molly, and Emily. From the bottom left, you can see Anya, Lindsey, Becky, and finally me, Sophie!

We also made a video of the winter festival, which you can view here:

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Does your school - if you attend one - have a winter festival?

If I don't get online tomorrow, I'd like to wish all of my friends and fellow bloggers a very Merry Christmas, or as we say in French, Joyeux Noël! Happy Hanukkah, if you celebrate it!


Friday, December 23, 2011

What's Cooking?

Hey, everyone!

School has kept me busy these past few weeks. Needless to say, I've really been enjoying holiday break this year. I've indulged in many a favorite Christmas movie, finished up my Christmas shopping, and helped decorate the house.

I started a new holiday tradition this year, in addition to all of that usual stuff. I actually set foot in the kitchen to help make tamales. Yes, I did say help! You don't suppose I could've operated all of that gigantically sized kitchenware on my own, do you?

While I don't normally enjoy cooking, I do like trying ethnic cuisine, hence my enthusiasm for aiding in the preparation of the tamales. If you don't already know, tamales are a Mexican dish comprised of masa [corn meal] dough wrapped around some kind of filling, which is usually some kind of meat. Basically, they are another variation of burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. What is interesting about tamales is that they are steamed in cornhusks!

I volunteered to stir the dough. I persevered, although it wasn't easy as the dough thickened. I wasn't allowed to help with the messy parts, so I just watched carefully as the meat sauce was ladled onto the masa dough.

Here are the tamales fresh out of the pot! In addition to the meat-filled tamales, we also made a few stuffed with chocolate chips. I had a hard time sitting for these photos because I was so anxious to eat them. The chocolate tamales were particularly good!

I made a slideshow of my cooking experience, which you can view here if you want:

Do you like cooking? If so, what is your favorite dish to cook and/or eat?


Friday, November 18, 2011

My Room!

Hi all,

This is a picture heavy post because I wanted to show you my new room! It is constantly getting shuffled around because a certain person around here gets bored with seeing the same things. So, if my room changes in the next few months, don't panic!

I really like how my room looks now, though, so it probably won't get changed for a while. I've carefully arranged some of my travel souvenirs around my room, so that I will always remember the fun I had traveling.

So, are you ready for the tour? Then, let's go!

This is my bookcase. We built this out of a wooden shoebox and an extra plank of wood (for the shelves) that we bought at the craft store. I painted it blue, one of my favorite colors. It also contrasts nicely with the lavender walls. On the shelves, I have some of my favorite books, dolls, and stuffed animals.

My desk is a roll-top desk from the 1930s. Isn't it beautiful?

I keep my laptop, iPhone, iPod, and camera on top of my desk, along with several travel souvenirs. My diary, celebrity scrapbook, and photo album rest on top of the desk, as do a gooseneck lamp and the Eeyore figurine Marsali gave me.

I have several movie and travel posters up around my room, but my favorite wall hanging is my ribbon board. I like to keep treasured postcards, awards, and school photos on display, and this is the perfect way to display them.

Down here I have my beloved travel trunk. I brought this thing all the way from Paris. It was a gift from my grandparents, and it's packed full of souvenirs and treasures from home. Most importantly, this is where I keep my passport!

My current bed is a simple wooden bed with a silky purple comforter. I have another comforter that I love even more, but it doesn't fit well on this bed. I've packed that one away for now, but I'm sure I'll use it again sometime. I keep my two UglyDolls, Ice Bat and Abima, on my bed. Yes, I have Ice Bat now! I fell in love with Ice Bat when I saw Inky's, but it took me a while to track one down. When I finally found him, I gave Moxy to Lindsey. I didn't really want more than two UglyDolls, and since Abima was my first ever, I knew I had to keep him.

Behind my bed, I have another bookshelf for larger books. On top of the bookshelf, you can see my beloved traveling gnome, my Belle doll, a totem pole from Ketchikan, Alaska, and a shell I picked up while in Florida:

I keep some of my favorite clothes in my room, although since all of us girls in the dorm like to share clothes, we keep most of them in a larger armoire. I like to have my French flag on display in my room at all times, so I have that hanging over my clothes rack.

Finally, here is an overall look at my room:

Thanks for letting me share it with you!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Home again, greeted with presents!

So, I'm home! I arrived home completely exhausted on Halloween. I was so tired and dirty that I just refused to be seen, heading up to my dorm for a much-needed bath.

The following day, I had a thorough medical exam, followed by an emergency eye surgery (I'm good as new now!). I went into the hair salon and had my hair re-conditioned. The ends had gotten quite frizzy during my extensive travels. While I was there, I decided to put some curl into it. I knew the curls wouldn't stay for long, but I think my hair looks better with a little bit of volume to it.

When I was finally feeling up to it, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood, getting the feel of it again. It felt so surreal to walk the streets I was once familiar with! It was a gorgeous day out, though, and I had fun looking for signs of autumn.


So, here is an up-close look at my hair. I've always wanted to put some curl into it, but I've never been brave enough to do it until now. How my hair looks curly reminds me of my favorite character Angélique in the film À la folie... pas du tout!


When I got back from my walk, I found a package waiting for me, from my best friends, Sora, Lorikeet, Violet, Lyre Chickadee, and Zipporah Valdez! They had been hinting about having birthday presents for me, but they didn't want to send them until I made it home.

When I opened the package, I pulled out a black tee with a jeweled Eiffel Tower on the front. How cute is that?


I also found the book Lassie: Adventures in Alaska (reminding me of my cruise!), a beautiful travel journal, a bottle of my favorite soda, several little Disney toys...


...and, best of all, this wooden Eiffel Tower! The quints obviously know how much I love to be reminded of Paris. I'm going to have so much fun painting this!


Also in the box was a message in a bottle. After carefully pulling the message out with a pair of tweezers, I read what it said:

True friends
are always
in spirit.


However nice receiving physical birthday presents is, the best present of all is definitely friendship! In this very modern world driven by individual success, friendship can be hard to come by, so I feel very grateful indeed to have best friends like Sora, Lorikeet, Lyre Chickadee, Violet, and Zipporah Valdez!

Thank you, girls, for the nice birthday gifts, but also for your friendship!

So, to my readers, what is the nicest gift you've ever gotten from a friend?


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 7: Victoria, B.C.

Victoria, B.C. was our last stop! When we got off the ship, we fell in love with this bush sculpture of a mama and baby killer whale. How cool is that?

We didn't get to explore Victoria too much (guess I'll have to come back!), but to culminate our British experience, we HAD to ride the infamous double decker bus. It was just like the Night Bus in Harry Potter - wild ride and all! We rode on the top level and hoped that our driver wouldn't crash into anything.

Our last towel animal of the cruise was this little monkey who we found hanging from a clothes hanger. Isn't he cute?

So, that was our cruise. I know, I know, it wasn't the most exciting one, thanks to the weather, but that couldn't be helped. I still had a LOT of fun spending time with new and old friends alike, and it was a treat for me just to go on the cruise itself. I've never experienced anything like that before.

Marsali's mama surprised us all - me, Marsali, Novya, and Taryn - with our very own souvenir cruise shirts. Here we all are in our new shirts, which read, "I sailed Holland America, Alaska 2011."

Well, I am currently on my way home as we speak. It has been about a week since I left Oregon, so I should be home really soon. I hope so! I SO need to stretch my legs!

Talk to you later,

Day 5 and Day 6: Ketichikan and another day at sea!

So, our fifth day on the cruise found us visiting Ketichikan, Alaska. Fun, right? Not really. It was so wet that we didn't bother to get any photos. If you'd like to see what Ketichikan looks like, see this album from 2008! It hasn't changed much since then, as I've been told.

We got off the ship to do a little shopping and to stretch our legs, but no sight-seeing was in our schedule.

We spent Day 6 at sea, staring at the seemingly endless water before us. We encountered stormy weather again, and some people were feeling sick. Luckily, we were feeling well enough to spend the day on the lido deck.

Here are some photos of what we saw on our last day at sea:

See more photos HERE.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 4: Tracy Arm Fjord

Today, we encountered more rain - what a "surprise"! Needless to say, I was more than a little discouraged by now.

The girls and I spent a lot of the day looking out at the beautiful scenery that lay before us. In addition to the rain, we saw icebergs, waterfalls, and even dolphins and sea lions!

When we got bored, we took turns roller-blading around the halls, which amused us greatly. Marsali and I also spent a lot of time just chatting, catching up as girlfriends tend to do.

By the way, how do you like our outfits? Marsali's mama sure worked hard to outfit us well on this cruise!

At the end of the day, we were greeted with another towel animal - an elephant! Isn't he cute?

To see the full album - complete with lots of Alaskan scenery - click HERE.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 3: Juneau, Alaska!

As my friend Taryn has already written, we woke up raring to go explore Juneau, Alaska. We were excited to begin that scavenger hunt we'd planned to do. So, we frantically dressed in some of the cute outfits Marsali's mama had made and headed off for breakfast on the lido deck.

As we were heading to breakfast, we noted that it was, in fact, raining. Again. This obviously put a damper on our sightseeing in Juneau, but we tried not to let the rain get our spirits down, too. Instead, we enjoyed our breakfast and then went off to the pool area. There was a dogsled on display, and we wanted to play on it:

We got some nice shots of the wet day from our place on the lido deck:

We went downstairs to another room where we could watch our ship as it eased into the Juneau port. There were five other ships in port with us, so between the rain and the crowds, we decided to give up the scavenger hunt idea. Marsali and I went off the ship with Marsali's mama to do some shopping, but that was the extent of our visit.

By the end of the day, I couldn't help feeling a little sad that our Juneau visit had been rained out. However, it's not like one can control the weather...

To see the full album, click HERE.



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