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!

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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?

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!

Sending Christmas Cheer

This is what I was going to post on Monday… Instead it’s coming at you today 🙂  Also, I know a lot of blogger are taking holiday breaks (good for you guys!!) but I’m keeping the posts coming M, W, F this week and next so if you get bored or need a real life break there will be something here to read. Haha!

Typically I am that Christmas psycho elf that has her holiday cards addressed, stamped, and ready to send on December 1st. This year I was dragging my feet and I mentioned that in Blogland. When Alexandra from My Favorite Things caught wind of my procrastination she offered to design the cards for us!

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I like my Christmas cards to be simple and positive. (This was last year’s card.) Alexandra hit the nail on the head with her design!

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I am in love with the return labels she made, too!

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Check out her website and Facebook for more designs!

Thank you so much, Alexandra! We love them!

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*I wasn’t paid to write this  🙂 I purchased my cards at a discounted priced, but these opinions are 100% my own!

Dear Santa…

Per request of family members (I swear they asked for this), I came up with some Christmas swag that I wouldn’t be opposed to receiving. Some is off my birthday wish list, but most of it is new. For the record, I don’t need any gifts… I just want a pretty tree, some time off work, and a cup of coco.

*Alternative title: dear-santa

So here we go… (Nothing is affiliated.)

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets – illustrated version.
I needs it, Precious. [Er- wrong fandom.]

Any of these books: Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Sweatshirts.
I love a clever, witty sweatshirt. This one cracks me up. Also this one. And this one.  (Large)
(Seriously… I love sweatshirts.)

Taylor’s new dog shirt!
I have the original one but I love that this one alludes to more than one dog. (Runs small- XL)

Anything for the dogs… My brother and sister-in-law once gifted me a 3 month Bark Box subscription and I was more excited than the dogs to open it each month!

*Between gifts and donations and self-indulgences, I’ve acquired an electric griddle, a coffee maker, and a quality cookie sheet since my last wish list post 🙂

I started this post thinking I’d be able to list 100 things… but I really can’t think of anything I want or need. For family members that are frustrated with me over the short list: I always love books, candles, gift cards, and alcohol  😉

What’s on your Christmas wish list? Maybe it’ll give me some ideas!

EDIT: Erin just shared this website with me… And now I want this and this and this and this  😀 (Ladies t-shirt, sweatshirt, or racer back – probably a large)

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Friday Favorites

Hello, my friends.

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I’m so glad this week is over. I’m also happy that for the second time in a row I have a free weekend. (Prior to these past two weekends we were so swamped!) This week K has been off on business, so I’ve been flying solo. And since the Grinch was away this elf was at play 🙂 I started listening to Christmas music this week and I’ve mostly transformed our house from spooky graveyard to winter wonderland.

(I know some folks out there feel like Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick when it comes to people like me. Not true, guys. My dining room table has a festive little fall centerpiece and I fully welcome Turkey-Day in the whole “holiday season” club. I get the same thankful, joyful vibe all through November and December, so I’m not going to fight the urge. No harm in decorating the mantel and hanging the stockings.)

In November I try to establish some kind of social media thankful-post. This year I’m sharing a weekly Instagram pic that sums up a few things I’m thankful for each week. I’ve done blog posts and Facebook statuses in the past, but I think I prefer the weekly post (vs. daily) and I enjoy sharing a picture from my week!

I’m still not ready to talk about the election. I deactivated my FB this week because I’m upset and I just need to avoid the gloating/hate/fear/anger/sadness. I’m worried about the next four years. I will never quietly tolerate xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, sexism, or racism. I know a lot of people feel the same way, but I’m just not ready to talk about this.

Ok, so I promised some favorites from the blog-world. Here they are:

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Like I said, I’m 100% plan-less, but that doesn’t mean I won’t end up in Columbus or Indianapolis for a few hours this weekend. Who knows?  🙂

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