I am so super pumped about the holidays this year. That's right, I said super pumped.
I should confess that the past few years, I have been bordering on Scrooge-like behavior. Like I could take it or leave it. Maybe it's because of the mild, usually gorgeous weather here in Los Angeles. There are very few environmental signs of the pending season to get me all geared up for mugs of hot cider and big roasted birds and special holiday recipes. I'll be galavanting about in the sunshine and 72 degree weather with springtime in my bones for weeks straight, and then BAM!--all of a sudden the crazy old hippies across the street decide to actually light up the trampoline-sized, garland-trimmed peace sign that hangs in their yard all year long. Living in Santa Monica, the holidays always sneak up on me.

But this year is different. The husband and I are preparing for our big move to San Francisco, and when we arrive in our new hometown just a few short days from today, we will have a couple of cooler, maybe foggy (!) maybe drizzly (!!) weeks to get us in the Christmas spirit before heading to Chicago to be with family. It could be the thrill of such a big life change, but I am filled with excitement and joy about the holidays this year. Frank and Bing have been the soundtrack to my packing. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

Of course, there will be things I miss about this city I've called home for the past four and a half years. The aforementioned beautiful weather is unbeatable. I've made friends here who have become like family (and who will surely remain as so). The lessons I've learned have forever changed me. I've discovered more about myself than I expected to, and what I found is that I'm more of a Midwestern girl than I ever realized. Although there were many great moments, pursuing things in the entertainment world that seems to rule everything here could sometimes leave me feeling empty, depressed; like somehow me just being me wasn't enough. Getting creative in the kitchen and reconnecting with my lifelong passion of cooking and baking has been a balm during those times. That passion blossomed into this blog and reignited my love of writing, leading to new, exciting opportunities in the food world that I never would have thought to pursue before.

When I first came to L.A., I remember thinking that my time here would have to be an apex of sorts, the absolute living end, that nothing would ever top what this city held for me. Turns out it might be more of a means to an end, rather than the end itself--a vantage point from which to see what else is possible, way beyond what's in this city. I'm so grateful for that discovery. And even more grateful to have San Francisco be our next stop. It is a city so full of character and charm and great people who love to eat and drink. Sounds good to me!

While the coming days continue to fill up with corrugated cardboard and then miles of road, I'll be brainstorming all kinds of holiday recipes that I can share with you as soon as I get back on track. In San Francisco, people! It's all too much! Anyway, I'm betting that a week or so from now, when I'm snug in our new home in a foggy city, cranking Frank and Bing once again, I will be tearing at the box marked "Baking Stuff" like a crazy person. 'Tis the season!

Life Stories, NewsShauna Sever