Holiday Q & A with TBB

I’ve wanted to link-up with The Blended Blog for a while, but this is the first time I remembered! Just in time for the holidays…

1 Real or Fake Tree?
I hope that I will always be in the real tree camp. Growing up we always had one real tree in the house at Christmastime. I didn’t know multiple trees was a thing. As an adult, I admit that we have a fake tree at the PI office and a fake tree on the ledge at home. Our main tree in the living room will be 100% real, though (when we get it).

2 Favorite Christmas Cookie?
I’m boring. I love my mom’s iced cut-out cookies. So good 🙂

3 Home on Christmas Morning or Travel?
I guess we technically travel? We drive about 10 miles out of town to my parents’ house in the morning, then we spend the afternoon/evening at K’s parents’ house (which is about 5 miles from our house)… We consider those places “home”, though. And we do a quick gift exchange when we wake up at our house with each other and the pups!

4 Clear or Colored Lights?
Honestly, I kind of like color on a tree, but clear on a house. We stick to clear, though. K has always preferred clear.

5 Send Christmas Cards?
Yep. Every year. I looove sending & receiving cards!

6 Favorite Christmas Present Received?
Uhhh… I’ve added a lot of pets to my family in December so let’s go with that! Enzo & Ly both came home on the 7th, my mom got me a bird on the 23rd one year (Noel!), and I got a hamster for Christmas once (his name was Jazz but he wasn’t healthy and he died pretty quickly).
Edit: I was reading other answers from bloggers and I remembered that one year I got my first cell phone. That was awesome 🙂 Also, Erica gave me/us a Lylee ornament one year and it’s seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten!

7 Favorite Christmas Present Given?
Our first year together I made K a fleece tie-blanket. For some reason that’s one of my favorites because I was so happy to give it to him. I love finding the perfect thing for him.

8 Stockings or No Stockings?
Wait… why wouldn’t you do stockings?? Of course stockings!

9 Christmas PJ’s?
Kind of? Every year on Christmas Eve I wear my penguin pj pants to bed. I don’t know why I’ve deemed them the Christmas pants, but it’s become a thing for me. Lol

10 Favorite Christmas Carol?
I love ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ Most Christmas music makes me happy. Exception include: Santa Baby, Last Christmas, & All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

11 Favorite Holiday Tradition?
I like picking out the tree with K (and sometimes a dog or two). I also love decorating my parents’ tree, which we go over and do each year. And Christmas Eve service at the church!

family_photo
Coming at ya from 2015

12 Early Shopper or Last Minute?
I get 75 to 80% of my shopping done early, but I fully utilized Amazon Prime til the end and I like popping into stores and seeing the decor.

13 Favorite Christmas Movie or Show?
The claymation movies are my favorite. A Year Without A Santa Clause, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc. I also love watching John Wayne movies on Christmas Day.

14 Favorite Holiday Beverage?
I love hot beverages so winter is really my time to shine 😉 Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Starbucks Caramel Brulee latte. Anything spiked with Southern Comfort… ha.

15 Cookies and Milk for Santa?
Of course. And some carrots for the reindeer!

Well that was fun! 🎄

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Live Your Best Holiday Life Finale

As I mentioned earlier this month, Alexandra and Shea hosted this mindful month-long challenge and I decided to participate. Their LYBHolidayL challenge was a relaxing and healing way to take on November and the holidays 🙂 Now that it’s over, here’s how I finished the month out! (Check out the first half here!)

To kick us off, here’s the second half of the gratitude log:

November 16 – Set a bedtime alarm to prioritize sleep.
We dropped the ball on the 16th because we were catching up on the last few episodes of The Mindy Project, but we’ve been going to bed around 10pm every night which has been good for us!

November 17 – Share a gratitude quote on Instagram that speaks to you, inspire others!

November 18 – Take a load of items you no longer use to Goodwill/another thrift store!
After the move I made a pile of donation items. Of course I haven’t done anything with them. Until today 🙂

November 19 – Go for a fall walk
This day was m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. I definitely didn’t go on a hike. I went shopping. Ha. But next month I’m doing a girls’ weekend at a cabin with my friends & I’ll take my fall/winter walk then!

November 20 – Allow yourself a small indulgence this week (a sweet treat, a long bath, an item from your wish list)
I might have grabbed a Three Musketeers while checking out at the grocery store.

November 21 – Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
My nails are partially gelled (because I picked some of it off), but my toes were holding on to polish from… September? I didn’t repaint them, but I did strip the polish off my feet and give my toenails and cuticles some love.

November 22 – Unexpected color combo: pumpkin & blush
I had no blush items in my closet. K and I tried to take a mirror selfie just to record my outfit for the day, but we obviously need some practice. Lylee looks straight up lost.

November 23 – Put your phone away and just be present today… Facebook and Instagram can wait
Sooo… I kept my phone away as far as texting, IG, and FB were concerned… but Animal Crossing just released their Pocket Camp app and I’d be lying if I said I avoided that all day 😉 In my defense, I bonded with my cousins and K’s siblings and cousins over the app!

November 24 – Take a few minutes to look at old photos and reminisce
I’m in the process of setting up my office at home and every time I open a box or folder I find senior pictures of friends or prom pics of K and me. So sweet 🙂

November 25 – Have a hot cocoa date with your significant other, best friend, or other loved one
K and I woke up early to hit a hardware store. We swung by Starbucks for some cocoa (for him) and a latte (for me) before we made the trek!

The gel on my thumb is still intact so it makes for good pics 😉

November 26 – Call, text, FaceTime, etc. a friend or family member that you are not able to see this holiday. They’ll be glad to know that you are thinking of them!
As strange as it sounds, almost all my family lives near me. My uncle lives in St. Louis but he was home and we had a Thanksgiving lunch with him this day! Coincidence? I think not!

November 27 – Hand write a letter or note telling someone how grateful you are for them & why
Done!

November 28 – Discuss with family existing ideas for new holiday traditions, planning ahead will make pulling it off next month easier!
My brother & his wife live two hours away but come home for Christmas Eve and morning. This month we discussed his plan and now I know when he’ll be around and what dates we’ll have him in town for celebrating! (They head to her family for Xmas night and the days that follow.)

November 29 – Schedule 15 minutes to de-stress, break out that grown up coloring book
These are my favorite kind of puzzles to do. I can sit and fill these in for hours. De-stressing with a fill-in puzzle is the perfect 15 minute break!

November 30 – Try a new coffee, tea, or coffee creamer
I bought a new amaretto creamer! I don’t usually put anything but milk or half&half in my coffee, but it’s been a nice treat!


Thank you so much, Alexandra and Shea, for hosting this challenge! I definitely fudged some stuff in the second half, but the daily challenges were a reminder in self care and preservation. I definitely needed that this month.

Next month they’re keeping the fun going with these prompts!

I’m excited to join in when I can 🙂

A Christmas Movie List

I was typing out the Freeform 25 Days of Christmas movie list as I obsessively do every year and I thought to myself, ‘I should make an ultimate Christmas movie list for my blog!’

This isn’t an official challenge and you don’t need to keep track or put any pressure on yourself to finish (or even start!) this list, but I thought it’d be fun. I’ll probably report my progress some time at the end of the month. (And if you watched some of these in November it totally counts. I would never restrict Christmas cheer to December!)

Feel free to play along if you want to!

Claymations:
A Year Without a Santa Claus (AV) (F)
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (F)
Jack Frost (F)
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (F)
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (F)

Animated/Kids:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (N) (F)
The Polar Express (AV) (F)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (HBO go)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (AV) (ABC go)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (F)
Arthur Christmas (F)

The Classics
White Christmas (N)
It’s A Wonderful Life (AV)
Miracle on 34th Street (AV)
Holiday Inn
The Bishop’s Wife

The Contemporary Classics
Love Actually (N)
The Family Stone
The Holiday (N) (AV)
Jingle All the Way
Serendipity (N)
Trading Places

The Overly Played:
A Christmas Story (AV)
The Santa Clause [bonus points for each sequel watched] (N) (F)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [uncensored, of course] (F -censored)
Home Alone (HBO go)
Elf (AV) (F)

Half-Hour Specials:
The Bells of Fraggle Rock
The Little Drummer Boy
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (F)
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas [animated]

BONUS: Weird Animated Movies From Our Past That We Barely Remember:
Babes in Toyland
The Nutcracker Prince
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Edit… [Find it on: (H) hulu, (N) netflix, (AV) amazon video, (F) freeform]
Some of these might not be free. And some might be incorrect. Hey, I tried.

While I didn’t include Die Hard, it can be found on Amazon Video 😉

I know I’m missing a million movies. What are some of your favorites?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like we were so overdue for a holiday, ya know? Thanksgiving arrived just in time.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends or family or pets or strangers- whatever or whomever you have that make you feel loved and grateful.

I addition to all the normal stuff (husband, dogs, fam, etc.), I’m incredibly thankful for the blogging community that I find myself immersed in daily. From the random packages to the planned gift swaps, from my blogger pen pal group to the people I email with and befriend on Facebook… I’m just really grateful for you all ❤︎

If you find yourself here over the holiday/weekend, I hope you know that I’m glad you’ve stopped by. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait for the guests to arrive or the turkey to cook or the bloating to subside 😉 be sure to check out these posts:

Have a great Thanksgiving & weekend!

Live Your Best Holiday Life Update

(or LYBHolidayL from here on out.)

Alexandra and Shea are hosting this wonderful, mindful, month-long challenge and I’m doing my best to slow down and participate. October was a hectic & rough month for me. I had fun, but it was at the expense of my patience and sanity. I’m determined to finish out the year in a better state mentally. Alex and Shea’s LYBHolidayL challenge has helped so much with that. Since we’re halfway through, I wanted to share an update!

November 1 – Make an effort to write down one thing you are grateful for every day or week

November 2 – Read this article about raising Thankful kids

November 3 – Do something to welcome the Thanksgiving season
I packed up the Halloween decor and brought out the fall and winter stuff (but nothing too Christmasy yet). We have some Thanksgiving-themed decorations so I’m letting those hog the spotlight for a while. 🙂

(also includes day 1 & 2 of gratitude!)

November 4 – Make pumpkin waffles for breakfast/brunch/breakfast for dinner
Kyle doesn’t like pumpkin flavor so he got french toast.

November 5 – Shop your closet and try to come up with a couple of new outfits from old pieces
I’ve seen other bloggers try this. It was fun to take the time to put these together!

November 6 – Give back this month: decide as a family how to “give back” to your community
It’s not much, but this year when Christmas shopping I will say “yes” any time a cashier asks if I want to round up my change or donate a dollar to xyz organization. Also, our holiday cards came from paper culture and they plant a tree for every order 🙂

November 7 – Schedule in 30 minutes to curl up with a good book
This was great timing. We left on the 8th for a business trip so I needed the reminder to just STOP and relax for a bit with a book.

November 8 – Take a Break: Get your Hygge on
I bought both the Hygge book AND this activity book a while ago. I worked on some puzzles during our drive to Indy since I couldn’t do anything in our home while on the road.

November 9 – Let go of one thing you feel obligated to do, attend, or complete this month.
There’s a Christmas tree festival in my town that happens every year during this week. I try to go every year and I feel like I missed a crucial party of preparing for Xmas when I forget about it or don’t have time to go. This year I’m just saying the heck with it 🙂 I don’t want to go so I’m not gonna.

November 10 – Treat yourself to a new, yummy-smelling candle
I had to postpone this one until we were home, but I finally lit my new Spiced Apple Toddy candle from B&BW!

November 11 – Clean out your fridge & get it holiday food influx ready!
I actually did this one early! Before we left I cleaned out the fridge for the house/dog sitter!

November 12 – Give someone an unexpected gift
We came home from Indy with extra stickers and lanyards so I took them to my grandma’s house and gave my cousins some of our new merchandise.

November 13 – For today, clear your to-do list of all the non-fun things unless they are absolutely essential!
Since we spent 5 days on the road with customers and clients we decided to nix the alarm clocks this morning. I consider waking up to an alarm to be very un-fun.

November 14 – Start making a holiday gift list
Already started the list AND the shopping 🙂

November 15 – Get started on an Advent calendar, or a similar project for another holiday celebration!
Stephanie shared some AWESOME advent calendars… so I think I might need one of those. I’m also brainstorming some other cute Advent or Christmas countdown activities!


At the end of November I’ll share a final post 🙂 Until then, I invite you to join in (even just for a day or two) and slow down this holiday season!

Halloween Housewarming Party 2017

I like to share and record our Halloween party every year. This year I abandoned the theme and didn’t implement the mandatory costume rule due to the housewarming-nature of the party, but we still had some dressed-up guests and obviously it was a good time 🙂 So without further ado…

My brother and his wife arrived Friday night and we each carved a pumpkin. (Can you guess whose is whose?) K and I spent most of Friday and Saturday preparing the house for a party and hiding not-yet-unpacked boxes and random objects 😉

On Saturday one of my best friends arrived around 3pm and helped me get last minute things done. Our first guests arrived at 4:30! (We started the party at 4 so our parent-friends could bring the kids and hang out for a bit before bedtime.) The majority of guests arrived around 8.

We had +30 people show up from 4:30 pm to about 2 am. (It was a looong night.) Some of our guests dressed up and some came as they were. Regardless, it was a fun & busy night!

The ghostbusters also had a little slimer with them but she wasn’t feeling the costume. I’m still dying over Tobin’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume.

My brother and Christina were Scooby-Doo and Shaggy!

Lylee was a cow. I think she might have lost some of her dignity… and her respect for me. Enzo’s costume was also a little degrading, but he makes the cutest little squirrel horse. 😂

Our food spread was on point 🙂 Guests brought taco dip, a veggie tray, a cheese ball-skull, jello shots, and a charcuterie board spread! On top of that I made…

Halloween cupcakes (just yellow cake mix with chocolate buttercream frosting), spinach and artichoke dip via Nadine, and my signature puking guacamole pumpkin. I also made this caramel apple dip and the world-famous Aubrey Johansen put together these incredible charcuterie boards!

We also ordered pizza around 9 pm.

The night consisted of laughing, talking, drinking, game playing, and eating. It was fun to see the new house- which was empty a month ago- filled with all our friends and family. Overall, we had a really good time.

I’ve said it before, but the calm next-morning is always my favorite part…

Another Halloween party in the books 🎃 Happy Halloween, my friends!!

Halloween 101

Some people don’t do Halloween and some people are professional Halloween-ers. I believe I fall into the latter category. Since the blog world is all about sharing how-tos, I decided today was the perfect day for a How To ~Halloween~ post.

(1) First things first… You need to get in the Halloween spirit (pun intended). Halloween movies come in all forms of scariness…

Less Scary: Hotel Transylvania, Monster House, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and obviously It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (airing Sunday at 8pm on ABC)

Moderately Scary: Sleepy Hollow, The Shining, IT (the 1990 one)

I’d recommend some horror/scary movies but I don’t watch them… lol. You don’t have to love horror to love Halloween 😉

Freeform (cough*ABC Family*cough) always disappoints me with their 13 Nights of Halloween, but if you’d like to check out that list you can find it here

(2) Now it’s time to figure out your costume…

Some super simple costumes include: cat, witch, a Grecian goddess or Medusa, a princess, or this scarecrow.

Check these out, too…

(3) If you’re hosting a party this year* you’ll need a few snacks & drinks:

Originally found here

*obviously you don’t need to host anything to enjoy these snacks

(Here are the posts from our Halloween Parties in 2014, 2015, & 2016!)

(4) My go-to places for Halloween decorations include HomeGoods, Marshalls, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and any local craft show or fall festival.

With every holiday and every year I promise this ledge will get better 🙂

In need of some music? This is a Spotify playlist from Alexandra rocks!


What are some must-haves for your Halloween season? Do you have any big plans this weekend? Our annual party is Saturday night and I’m so excited!!