Winter Wonderland Coffee Date

Hello & happy Tuesday before Christmas 🎄

Today seems like a good day for a coffee date. My poor little blog (and blog friends) have been neglected this year. I’m hoping to change that in 2022. Let’s grab some warm mugs (coffee or tea- I’ve been sipping on both lately), add a little oat milk (trust me!), and catch up.

If we were having coffee I’d ask what your holiday plans are. I love Christmas time. I especially love Christmas Eve. Adding M to the mix has been magical, but jumbled. Between a new baby and then COVID, we haven’t had a “normal” Christmas in a while. We’re working on a new normal for ourselves and our families.

Speaking of Christmas, this is my third one as a mom and, ever since M came along, I’ve been very stuck on all the feelings Mary likely felt. I’d never thought about her role in the Christmas story until I understood what it meant to raise a human. Delivering a child in a loud, cold, dirty barn aside- it would break my heart to know that I had to share my perfect, beautiful, fragile child with the entire world. People would hate him, just because he was alive. It’s terrifying and soul-crushing. Not to mention being an unwed mother back then and paraded through the country as such. It’s just…. whew. What a woman. It took a very strong and powerful mother to raise the world’s savior.

(And then she had to watch him die. But those are my Easter-mom-emotions. Don’t get me started there.)

If we were having coffee I would ask about your plans for 2022. We’re scheduled to get our booster soon. My bff is moving back to the state(!!). M is starting dance class in January. My other bff is having a baby(!!).Those are the big moments happening in the first quarter. I think it’s going to be a beautiful year. I’m cautiously optimistic.

If we were having coffee I’d ask where all the bloggers went. I feel like the trendy thing is now tiktok… Is that right? It went from blogs to IG to tiktok? I don’t know. I’m not about to start tok-ing and I like my little space right here. Do we think Blogland will be revived any time soon? (Maybe I’m wrong- maybe it’s alive and well and it’s just me.)

If we were having coffee I would admit that I’m finding less to be more. I’ve taken a step back from my side freelance gig. I’m trying to wake up earlier (per my husband’s insistence). I always feel the urge to cut back and cut out and cut down toward the end of the year. I crave simplicity but struggle with it, too. Does that make sense?

And now I need to get back to work. We were supposed to be on a little trip right now- a much needed pre-Christmas adventure- but sickness spoiled the fun. Fortunately, it’s not COVID. Stay safe, everyone.

What would you like to share with me on our coffee date?

-Aud

The Good, The Bad, & The Cheesy

I’ve been hitting the Christmas movies hard this year. Have you watched any Hallmark or Netflix movies yet? I took my Christmas streaming list seriously and decided to report back. If you’ve watched any of these cheesy love stories let’s discuss in the comments!

Road to Christmas (Hallmark 2018)
Good: I really loved the cross-country trip. The map visual was cute. I felt like the chemistry between Maggie and Danny was great, too.
Bad: The snowman contest left me going w.t.f.
Cheesy: The draaaamaaa was ridiculous, both between the bros and between Maggie & Danny.

Christmas Wonderland (Hallmark 2018)
Good: The acting is surprising really, really great in this movie. Even the kids are talented.
Bad: Her job behavior is sh*t. I think she enjoys her job and I think she’s good at her job… but everyone gives her crap because she moved to NYC to paint and now she’s an art dealer with no inspiration or free time. She’s just a successful adult. *eyeroll* Also, she treated her boss and assistant kinda sh*tty, too.
Cheesy: The godawful dance scene. Things were so good until that point.

The Princess Switch (Netflix 2018)
Good: The setting for this movie is stunning. I also appreciated the deception with minimal drama.
Bad: I wanted her baking career to be more of a thing. She’s not excited about it and it seems like no one else is either.
Cheesy: I mean… the acting is a little cheesy. And the romances. But that’s why we watch, right?

A Christmas Prince (Netflix 2017)
Good: Princess Emily. She was quick and witty from the start but not in a bratty way. I thought her bond and honestly with Amber was a plus. And the prince before he shaved. And the scenery.
Bad: The prince’s bad acting when he’s in proper royal mode.
Cheesy: I hate Amber’s acting. I won’t lie. It all feels forced- including the chemistry.

A Christmas Prince: The  Royal Wedding (Netflix 2018)
Good: It’s a different character, but her dad is great. I love him. Same with Mr. Zabala.
Bad: The peak moment with the bad guy was anticlimactic. That could’ve been cooler.
Cheesy: The wedding itself. YAWN.

The Holiday Calendar (Netflix 2018)
Good: I thought the love triangle was tastefully done.
Bad: Josh’s hair. Sorry, but it’s distracting and I don’t like the style.
Cheesy: The stupid camera thing Abby and Josh do. Honestly. *eyeroll*

Christmas Inheritance (Netflix 2017)
Good: I definitely started crying during the snowstorm when Ellie helped out. Also, the self awareness of the cheese factor is refreshing. I liked it. The letter reading part made me sob, too. WTF.
Bad: The drama for the sake of drama is a little much at times- especially regarding Ellie and her image and her reputation.
Cheesy: The change of heart when she holds a baby. Apparently her ovaries woke up & saved the day. Also, the end, but that’s a good thing since that’s what we’re all looking for.

I also watched:

  • The Grinch (2018)
  • White Christmas (1954)
  • The Santa Clause 1, 2, & 3
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – FINALLY

My favorite was definitely Christmas Inheritance. Let’s hear it for the film where the leading lady DOESN’T have to give up her career!

What was your favorite? Which one(s) didn’t you like?

Christmas Movies to Stream

I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. No denying it now- we’re officially officially into the Christmas season 🎄

Last year I put together a list of classic Christmas movies and I did my best to watch as many as I could. I’m married to someone with a heart slightly larger than the Grinch (pre-Cindy Lou Who), so we don’t binge holiday films every single night. (You can bet your ass I still play holiday music all the time, though.) We almost always watch The Polar Express and The Santa Clause, though. And I like to watch Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas and all the 1970s stop motion films.

Anyway, this year I’m talking over the apps and watching some cheesy Netflix (& Hulu & Amazon Prime) Christmas movies. I kind of feel like those platforms are giving Hallmark a run for its money! Here are the movies I want to see:

The Royal Ones
A Christmas Prince
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
The Princess Switch

The Convenient Love Ones
Holiday Engagement
Christmas With A View
A Christmas in NY (hulu)

The Small Town Feels Ones
Christmas Inheritance
Coffee Shop
A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (Amazon Prime)

The Magical Ones
The Holiday Calendar
The Christmas Chronicles
How Sarah Got Her Wings

The Classics
The Grinch
White Christmas
Love Actually
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street (hulu)
It’s a Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime)

I should note that I’ve already watched A Christmas Prince and The Princess Switch. (Yay, sick days.) Both were cheesy but cute. Which is the norm, I think. Lol. All of these are Netflix films unless otherwise noted.

What holiday movies are you streaming this year?

Amazon-ing for the Holidays

Back in November I shared a post with my recent Amazon purchases. Compared to that one, this list is a monster. Ha. Many, many Christmas gifts came from the smiling box. Nothing here is an affiliated link and I have to give props to Rebecca Jo for the post idea.

Let’s do this…

B O O K S

The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stree Meal Plan with Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System
Purchased for my sis-in-law because she suffers from a very limiting chronic illness.

Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities
Purchased for my other sis-in-law because I thought she’d like the strange and interesting stories.

The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, the Hard Stuff, and Everything In Between
Purchased for my bff because she’s a momma who enjoys a good book.

So far the only feedback I’ve received has been from Erica who is loving The Magic of Motherhood!

The Sisters Brothers
Purchased for my husband’s grandfather because he loves westerns and I loved this book (& cover).

Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal
Purchased for my 10 year old cousin.

The Girls’ Doodle Book
Also purchased for my 10 year old cousin (who enjoys art)!

C L O T H I N G

Sanuk Women’s Yoga Duet Sandal
Purchased for my mom because she liked mine and these don’t go through the toes.

Eddie Bauer Men’s Cloud Layer Pro 1/4-Zip Pullover, heather grey
Purchased for my dad-in-law because I thought he’d like it and most of his clothes get ruined at work. #welderlife

yige Women’s High Waisted A-line Skirt Skater Pleated Full Midi-Skirt, green
Purchased for me because I liked it… lol.

Large Trojan – Mascot Crystal Post Earrings
Purchased for my mom because she’s a school teacher at a school district with a Trojan mascot.

E L E C T R O N I C S

Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera
Includes 720p HD video, 2-way audio, video recording, treat dispenser, & laser game…
Purchased for K (from Lylee and Enzo).

Oh my gosh, we love this thing. We haven’t used the treat dispenser or the laser game, but the video aspect is awesome.

Homeweeks 100ML Auto Off Ultrasonic diffuser LED Colorful Night-Lighting Aroma Mist Maker
Purchased for my 16 year old cousin because she’s a teen who could use some de-stressing scents in her life.

Pure Body Naturals Pure Therapeutic Grade Top 6 Essential Oil Basic Kit
Includes lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange, and peppermint…
I gave Allie the orange and lavender scents from this kit. I kept the other 4 🙂

G A M E S

TableTopics Couples: Questions to Start Great Conversations
My brother and sis-in-law like to talk to each other (weirdos) so I got them this.

Codenames
Purchased for our niece and nephews.

Sleeping Queens
Also purchased for our niece and nephews.

O F F I C E * S U P P L I E S

Blue Skyle 2018 Laminated Erasable Wall Calendar, Double Sided, 36×24
Purchased for me at work. Ha. Super exciting.

MyLifeUNIT Fineliner Coloe Pen Set, 10 assorted colors
I got this for Amber in our blogger swap!

Bloom Daily Planners Classic Planner Sticker Sheets
I also got this for Amber!

K I T C H E N

Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker
Purchased for K as his “big gift.” Hopefully this means I get a few more nights off where dinner is concerned…

Star Wars Lightsaber Salt and Pepper Shakers
Purchased for my bro-in-law who also has the R2-D2 cookie jar.

Ello Cole Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mugs
Purchased one for Kayla and one for Aubrey. I freakin’ love these mugs.

Fred MY TAI Unbrella Drink Markers
Purchased for Aub. (Kayla got the wiener dog ones but I didn’t buy them on Amazon.)

S U P E R * R A N D O M * G I F T S

Knock Knock Personal Library Kit
Purchased for my 19 year old college cousin because she is anal about people borrowing her books. She makes us sign them out. #perfect

Schwinn Air Center Plus Floor Pump with Gauge
My brother wanted a bike pump so I got him a bike pump.

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit
…obviously purchased for Ly and Enzo. Turns out A LOT of people took advantage of this sale on Amazon. I’ll share the results when we get them 😉

Funko POP! Marvel: Dancing Groot Bobble Action Figure
My dad loves Groot and he’s a child so I figured he’d love this bobble head. I was right.

Seeing all the money I spent (through Amazon alone) is quite shocking. Maybe these recaps are a bad idea… hahaha. Fortunately, everyone seemed to really love their stuff (and truthfully I really love gifting people).

What’d you get from Amazon this holiday season??