Sunday, December 28, 2008

happy hong kong

There's been a lot of "happy" during our first week in Hong Kong.

Here are just a few of the downright delightful details — thus far. (In no particular order.)

1. The skyline
Isn't this gorgeous? My parents live among these beautiful buildings, which overlook the Victoria Harbor.
Photo courtesy the fabulous Sister Garn.

2. The mother's touch
This photo doesn't do justice to the beautifully decorated tree in front of their stunningly circular window. My mom is magic.
Many of you already know about her famous table settings.
Here's just a snapshot of what we've enjoyed this Christmas.

3. The virtual Christmas
Most of our family is back home in Utah, so we had a Web Cam Christmas — complete with a talent show and testimony meeting. Here are Erin and Emma singing "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
In case you were wondering, Adam and I sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for the second year in a row — by request. Yes, we're that good at it.
We also had a virtual Sister's Night. We're basically the Jetsons.

4. The temple

We took in a session at the Hong Kong temple.
Beautiful temple.

Photo, once again, courtesy the fabulous Sister Garn.
Us looking fancy in front of the temple.

5. The shopping. Oh, the shopping.
Adam and I have made out like bandits.
The best part, though, is I've finally found a world where Adam likes to shop! It's a happy world.
This is Stanley Market, which has ah-ma-zing deals.
This is the Jade Market, where we got too many wonderful things to count. (Think jewelry and home decor.)

6. The yuck
Adam has been obsessed with getting some "street meat," seen here.
No, thank you.

7. The 'Happy Feet'
Adam, Dad, Mom and I all went to "Happy Feet," where we got a 50-minute foot massage. Afterward, Dad did a little jig in the elevator. His feet were that happy.

7. The sights
We walked up the famous Pottinger Street in Central.
We rode the longest continuous escalator in the world.
Yes, the world!
We waded through crowds and crowds and crowds of people — a Hong Kong standard.
And we posed with a Foo Dog in front of the Peninsula Hotel. Foo Dogs are thought to bring protection and happiness, so bring it on, 2009!

Well, Zai Jian for now.

Up next: The Peak, Big Buddha, Ocean Park and more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

merry blogging — day 7

Well, it's been merry. But as the great John Denver sang ...

"All our bags are packed, we're ready to go."
We'll see you kids in 2009.

merry blogging — day 6

OK, so this is really day 7, but it's not my fault.

Adam and I gave each other this for Christmas, and I was a wii bit distracted.
Forgive me?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

merry blogging — day 5

So this next post isn't really holiday-esque, but it is a very merry occasion. I changed my hair ... again. This time it's a touch more brunette, with just a hint of red. I really like it.

But the best part is when I got to my office this morning, co-worker Shelley told me my hair looked like Suri Cruise's hair. You know, TomKat's daughter.

I was pretty flattered she compared me to the most stylish toddler around. Until, of course, I realized I was flattered to have my hair compared to a toddler's.
Suri has a fuller bang, but other than that I'd say our 'dos were cut from the same block.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

merry blogging — day 4

My Mom took me back today when she posted this photo on her blog. It's of our long-lost home in Hawaii, circa the 1990s.

Now, I loved our house. And I loved, loved it at Christmas time. Excitement decked the halls.
So in honor of my Christmases of yore, I thought it'd be fun to list some "did you knows" about the way we Hallstroms celebrated. (Not to be confused with my traditions post of yesteryear. This is so totally different.)


... Due to past burglaries in our beautiful home, my mother began to hide our presents in the pantry and dryer when we went to Grandma's house for Christmas Eve. Yes, the dryer! It still makes me giggle.

... Sister's Night was born all because Erin got a white board for her birthday and wanted to use it as a sign to welcome Kara and I to a party. If my memory serves correctly, it was Aunti Heather who got her that white board. Bless you, Aunti Heather.

... My mom always put on the tree lights, and my dad always took them down. Good teamwork, you two.

... Upstairs we had a "kid tree" with our various (read: non-matching) ornaments. I got to put the lights on that one — and take them down!

... On the evening of Christmas day, we'd always drink eggnog by the fireplace. And yes, it was 80 degrees outside when we sat by said fire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

merry blogging — day 3

Don't double check your Google Reader. This IS Bri's blog, and this IS a recipe post. A holiday recipe post, no less! (There's hope for me yet, my friends.)

In any case, this is a recipe I got from my co-worker, Ashley, that I absolutely fell in love with. Every bite is a burst of scrumptious, knee-buckling chocolate heaven.

Grandma Hallstrom would have loved it. (I come from a long line of chocolate lovers.)

It also happens to be one of the easiest recipes on the planet, although I fully recommend taking the "aww shucks" route when people rave about it at your holiday party. It'll make them think it's really hard and that — by extension — you're a gift to the culinary world.

See for yourself.

1. mix together 1 package of Oreos and 1, 8 oz. package of cream cheese
2. roll into small balls and place onto cookie sheets lined with foil
3. chill them in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes
4. melt almond bark in a bowl for dipping (add some chocolate chips to make it extra tasty)
5. dip the chilled balls individually into the bowl of melted almond bark, covering them completely. then pick each ball up with a fork (let it rest on the flat part — don't stab it), letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl
6. place the chocolate-covered balls back onto the cookie sheets, and chill once more (i like them really cold)
7. melt some white chocolate almond bark, and sprinkle it over the truffles with a fork for a fancy finish

Monday, December 15, 2008

merry blogging — day 2

This is what I was doing two Christmases ago ...
Dumbo, We're Not In Disneyland Anymore
My Dad took this National Geographic-worthy shot during our family trip to Thailand. I shared an elephant with my cute mom, whose knuckles were white from tightly grasping the bar.
Hello, Elephants
When you get to the elephant camp, you're greeted by these two cuties.
Don't I look wistful, calm and collected?
So not like me.
Feeding Time
Dad and the girls holding "the grub" to feed our new friends.
Erin and I were a little grub-shy when feeding the elephants.
that's more like me.
That form!
By the end of the day, Erin was an old pro.
This elephant stole my Dad's bananas when he wasn't looking.
Sneaky creature.
Elephants Do the Darndest Things
Yes, that is an elephant painting.
We saw him paint this with our very eyes.
Circus, Anyone?
The elephants did all kinds of tricks, and they were the biggest hams.
They loved it when the crowd cheered.
Babes in Thailand
So fun to share this with my sisters.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

merry blogging — day 1

We leave for Hong Kong in seven days, and I'm constantly fighting the urge to skip and breakout into song.

But instead of subjecting myself to strange looks from strangers, I thought it'd be fun to celebrate my excitement with seven straight days of merry blogging.

You're welcome, mother.
So to begin, here are seven of my favorite Christmas traditions — both past and present.

1. The delightful amount of effort and planning my mom puts into Christmas continues to amaze me. Seriously. This woman makes Santa's elves look like Scrooge. See the above stockings? My mom made those. I know, right?

2. My Dad always lead us down the stairs Christmas morning by covering our eyes. It made the "big reveal" so dramatic, and I loved it.

3. Performing the nativity (complete with elaborate sets, props and costumes) and the Hallstrom family testimony meeting are Christmas Eve traditions I will never forget. How lucky we were to learn at the feet of Grandpa Hallstrom!

4. Sisters' Night, baby! Erin began this tradition more than 20 years ago in which the Hallstrom sisters slept in the same bed on Christmas Eve — even despite long legs and my cuddling tendencies. Last year was the first Christmas we didn't do this (thanks to Mr. Stewart over here), but I got us matching PJ pants because "if we can't sleep in the same bed, we can at least sleep in the same thing!"

5. Singing/giggling "Rise Up Oh Shephards Run" with Megs almost every year for our Hallstrom Family Talent Show is definitely up there. We even sang a verse in Spanish. (ole!)

6. Cocktail wieners. 'Nuff said.

7. Adam and I are still forming our traditions, but it was a pretty merry morning waking up to him last Christmas. I'd say that tradition's a keeper.