Blogmas 2016 Day 25: Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas! To those of you that celebrate other holidays, Happy Holidays to you, and to anyone that doesn’t celebrate at all this time of year, I hope you have a great day and that the season has been kind to you.

I was going to post about some of the beauty & scent-related gifts I received, but I will save that for another post. Today I just wanted to focus my final Blogmas post on wishing everyone a happy holiday.

As a beauty and scent junkie, it’s been wonderful to receive all of my gifts this year, but of course the products themselves aren’t the real gifts. It’s the kindness that I’ve been shown, for this holiday and really the entire year. I’m truly blessed to finish this year and begin another one knowing that I’ve stuck to my goals of being happy and healthy, and that I don’t have bad blood with anyone. Instead I have a lot of kindness to repay.

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. I’m off to eat a big plate of chocolate chip pancakes.

One last time for the final Blogmas post…

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Body Care Scent of the Day: Bath & Body Works Gingerbread Latte
Home Fragrance Scent of the Day: Goose Creek Christmas Cakes

Blogmas 2016 Day 24: Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve! I’m still sick today so I’m taking it easy. I’m not going to cook dinner or bake cupcakes like I planned to do today. Instead, my mom is going to cook a turkey with a few sides and has a chocolate silk pie for me. I’m going to paint my nails and then eventually curl up on the couch to watch movies. Being sick doesn’t sound too bad right now, does it?

Before it all comes down, I wanted to share photos of some of my favorite holiday decor. I’m slowly turning into an ornament collector, or baubles as they’re called by some. A lot of the things I’ve collected are mismatched and there really isn’t a cohesive theme to my winter holiday decor. It’s just a mashup of whatever I thought was cute! Here are a few of those things:

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I picked out a few of my favorite ornaments. I’ve got some decor that was passed down from my mother, a couple of 3-wick candle holders from Bath & Body Works, some fake and real plants, a Wisconsin Badger snowman, and more. There are some special things that I’m missing here, but hey, there is always next year.

I hope everyone is having, or will have, a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

Blogmas 2016 Day 23: My Christmas Trees

It’s about time that I posted photos of my Christmas trees! I didn’t end up decorating my large Christmas tree this year, so I’ve been surrounded by mini trees all month. My nieces helped me decorate two of them, which is always a fun activity for us to do when they come over to visit. I’m sure I’ll be sad to put the colorful trees away next month like I usually am when the new year begins. My trees have become my favorite part of my holiday decor. I have some favorite ornaments as well that I will post about tomorrow.

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It can be difficult to see it in person, but there is a baby tree next to that Santa.

 

I mentioned a few times that I was away from home for four days for work related stuff. I was so excited to come home, but since I’ve been home I came down with a cold! I’m not so sure I’m going to be cooking my Italian dinner for everyone if I’m still ill, since I don’t want to contaminate others. As of now, my Christmas plans are up in the air.

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I’ve been in bed all day, drinking lots of tea and watching all of the holiday episodes from That ’70s Show. It is snowing again, so we’re guaranteed a white Christmas at this point. I’ve had plenty of time to relax and watch the snowflakes drop down all around me through my windows; it’s actually really calming (when I know I’m not going to go out and shovel any of it).

 

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Body Care Scent of the Day: Bath & Body Works Lavender Vanilla Aromatherapy
Home Fragrance Scent of the Day: Goose Creek Vanilla Hot Chocolate

Blogmas 2016 Day 22: Holiday Memories

Every year of my life so far, the winter holidays have been different experiences for me. How I feel about the holidays changes, and how I celebrate them changes as well. As a child, Christmas was thrilling and magical, but New Year’s Eve really had no meaning to me. As a teen & young adult, the opposite was true. I didn’t care much for all of the holiday cheer and just wanted to be out with my friends. Now I’m at a stage in life where I’m responsible for “making” the holiday magic that I loved as a child. It’s not about receiving every toy on my wishlist, and it’s not about going out and partying with my friends anymore either. It’s about spending time with my loved ones and making memories for myself and others to look back on fondly.

A trip down memory lane helped me realize those things this year. Sure, the holiday songs are the same, and some of the movies are the same, but Christmas has never been a repeat for me. Every New Year’s Eve seems like the same ball drop and another count down to midnight, but the years I say hello and goodbye to are quite different each time, even apart from simply growing older every year. Some of my memories aren’t as great as I wish they were, but I’m happy to have all of them.

 

(Please excuse the “photo of a photo” shots – many of these are from frames or scrapbooks that I didn’t want to take apart!)

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This was one of my first Christmases, and of course I’m wearing a dress for the occasion. My mother often reminds me that I only ever wanted to wear dresses when I was little.

 

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A shot of me admiring the sight of Christmas morning. This was a time when we still put up real trees for the holiday and didn’t have any cats around to wreck them yet.

 

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I had Christmas in public school back then, too. I’m not sure if that is still common today. This was my favorite shirt for about a year, so of course I wanted to wear it for the holiday party.

 

Oh, and then came the awkward years as a pre-teen and teenager…

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I had a long phase of not smiling for any pictures, ever. Not even for the holidays. All that I wanted for Christmas was new CDs, and then I’d spend the bulk of my time locked in my bedroom listening to them.

 

Next came my first college years, aka the Myspace era. My winter holiday photos included bad selfies and cheap booze, like any other events with my peers back then.

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I didn’t decorate at home or bake any cookies during these few years. I really wasn’t festive at all. I did see my family, but I think I only stuck around long enough to eat dinner and exchange gifts.

 

And then I received my first little Christmas tree!

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I believe it was on the Target website where I first found this mini tree in a pink/purple color and I became obsessed with having it for Christmas. The person I was dating at the time surprised me with it and now it’s one out of five different colors that I have. I’m in love with my colorful mini trees.

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And I finally decided to be festive again that year, too. I decorated, baked, and wore a leopard print Santa hat all night.

 

The craziest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had was the year that followed, when I traveled to Northern Wisconsin and celebrated all night long on a frozen lake.

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A man was available to drive us around the lake for “sleigh rides.” Some people played ball games, others hung around the bonfire (which I’m surprised I never took a picture of). Simply walking around on the ice was trippy enough, but the fire pit on top of the ice was freaky!

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That night ended with sky lanterns and fireworks. It’s been a little difficult to top that New Year celebration since then, but I’m okay with it. The hangover that followed was brutal. Note to self: Drinking to stay warm isn’t the best idea.

 

This year and the previous two have been all about the children in my family. I bake and decorate with them in mind first and foremost. My most recent holidays have also revolved around my current relationship and the traditions we’ve been creating together. Who knows what will come next – perhaps children of my own? Christmas in a new place? My winter holiday evolution shall continue…

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Blogmas 2016 Day 21: The Bronzeblogger’s Chrunkmas Tag

I’m late getting back home today, so my post for the day is actually one that I started a few days ago. I wanted to do “The Chrunkmas Tag” by The Bronzeblogger on Youtube as well as from this blog. As the rules state, one must be drinking a Christmas cocktail during the tag, and well… when I started this tag the first time, I was drinking a vodka gimlet. It’s not exactly a Christmas drink, but I’d had my fill of peppermint schnapps cocktails at that point.

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When do you get into Christmas mode?
I start decorating for Christmas and burning/melting Christmas scents the day after (or a couple of days after if I’m busy) Thanksgiving.

What’s your typical Christmas day?
I never really know what December 25th will bring each year. I have a lot of early celebrations with my family and friends during December because of everyone’s mismatched schedules. My boyfriend and I stay up late on Christmas Eve and open all of our gifts together around midnight, and then I like to cook a big yummy breakfast on Christmas morning. It’s a twist on what I did as a child, which was to open one gift on Christmas Eve, open the rest in the morning, and then get ready and have brunch together.

What’s for Christmas dinner?
This is another thing that changes from year to year. Last year, we had authentic Mexican food that my sister-in-law cooked. As a kid and still sometimes as an adult, my mom will serve her favorite German recipes like spaetzle (homemade egg noodles) and sauerbraten (German pot roast). Other times, we’ll have ham or turkey with veggies, potatoes, and other sides. This year I’m the one cooking and I’m serving Italian dishes – lots of pasta, meats, seafood, and tons of red wine.

Favorite Christmas tradition?
This one is hard to answer, because my Christmas traditions have changed throughout my life. I’ve had traditions with my family as a child, with the kids I grew up with in my neighborhood as a teen, some with old friends, some with old partners, and so on. As for my life today, I enjoy staying up late on Christmas Eve with my boyfriend, drinking coffee and wine while listening to festive music and opening our gifts together. We haven’t been doing it for very long, but I do hope it continues.

Favorite Christmastime activity?
I love going out just about anywhere in December. It’s one thing to be surrounded by Christmas decor and music in my own home, but there’s something special about going to Starbucks, or Bath & Body Works, the drugstore, any restaurant, or just driving around and seeing and hearing all of the holiday cheer. Shopping isn’t always easy this time of year, but the sights and sounds and the general atmosphere is pretty great. All of the lights outside are nice too.

Fondest Christmas memory?
A fond memory of mine is receving Christmas cookies in the mail from both sets of my grandparents. It seemed like such a crazy concept to me as a child. I have never lived near any grandparents, as one set lives across the country (U.S.) and the others live in Germany. We would receive huge boxes every year full of homemade cookies from the west coast and tins of German cookies from Europe (like the ones I posted about recently this Blogmas).

Favorite Christmas tunes?
I posted some of my favorites already this Blogmas but the list included:
Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
Christina Aguilera – Merry Christmas Baby
Ray Charles – Winter Wonderland
Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin – A Marshmallow World
Louis Armstrong – White Christmas
Il Volo – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby

Favorite Christmas carol?
O Tannenbaum

Favorite Christmas movie?
Goodfellas
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I know this one may be an unusual pick, but my Christmas movie for the past 10 years has been Goodfellas. It was always on TV around the holidays so I’d always put it on. It became another one of my traditions.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
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I also enjoyed watching A Charlie Brown Christmas as a child, and for a few years as an adult I had my own little tree like Charlie Brown’s. I lost this tree to an ex a couple of years ago, which is a bummer.

Favorite Christmas tv special?
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It’s not exactly a TV special, but I love any Christmas episode from The Office.

Favorite Starbucks drink?
Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino
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Favorite Christmas dessert?
Sugar cookies that are soft and cakey with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.

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Favorite BBW candle?
Merry Cookie

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Favorite soap?
Merry Cookie

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Real tree or fake tree?
Fake trees – I have six of them up right now and I will share pictures tomorrow or the next day!

Sugar cookie or gingerbread?
Sugar cookies (see above). I’m a cookie junkie in general and Christmas cookies are no exception.

Hot cocoa or peppermint mocha latte?
Peppermint Mocha Latte, but I’ll drink both during winter.

Eggnog or mulled wine?
Eggnog, but I’ve never had mulled wine. I’d like to try some.

What do you do on NY eve?
I used to party with friends every year, but lately I’m not a huge fan of going out the night of New Year’s Eve anymore. I’ll stay in with my boyfriend and/or family and we’ll eat snacks and drink cocktails and champagne late into the night. We blast music and laugh about whatever nonsense is on TV leading up to the ball drop. We usually have seafood, sushi, or steak for dinner.

Blogmas 2016 Day 20: Kitties and The Office

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Tomorrow night I’m going home to wrap the last of my gifts and give lots of pets and treats to my cats. I’ve had pet cats in my life ever since I was 8 years old and I always liked giving them gifts on Christmas. Catnip toys were usually a favorite, but lately I’ve gone straight to the catnip. The cats that are still with me are older kitty-cats now and don’t get a whole lot of play time out of new toys. They much prefer to roll around in some ‘nip and then have a few yummy treats.

Life has been pretty busy for me ever since Sunday afternoon. Today in particular was a little demanding. Like I mentioned, I don’t have any of my holiday decor, or scents, or treats, or other entertainment available to me where I’m staying. Given that, it’s been easy to keep forgetting that Christmas is coming up so soon. I’ll be happy to return to my festive little nest and celebrate all weekend.

I don’t have many favorite Christmas movies, but what I do like to watch around the holidays are the Christmas themed episodes of my favorite TV shows. The Office in particular has a good selection of these kinds of episodes. I think I’ll load one or two up on Netflix and then crash. One more busy day of work tomorrow.

Blogmas 2016 Day 19: Christmas Music

It’s the Monday before Christmas! This month (well, this entire year) has just flown by for me. There isn’t a whole lot of time left to get Christmas presents or bake yummy treats. I had to place a couple of last minute orders on Amazon Prime early this morning to finally wrap up my gift shopping for this season.

I may not have all of my Christmas trees and winter scents with me where I’m staying for a couple of days, but the holiday cheer that I do still get to enjoy are some of my favorite Christmas tunes. In no particular order, these are a few of the songs I’ll be blasting until the 26th of December.

 

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

Christina Aguilera – Merry Christmas Baby

Ray Charles – Winter Wonderland

Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin – A Marshmallow World

Louis Armstrong – White Christmas

Il Volo – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby