Blogmas Day 15: Sunday Funday

Blogmas - 2019

I have a two week vacation coming up next week and I cannot wait. This time of year, while one of my favorites, is hard for an introvert. There’s just so much going on; potlucks, parties, work, shopping all on top of just regular existing and I’m exhausted. I’m in the middle of making 3-dozen chocolate spoons, I have to make a dish for work on Wednesday and a dessert for Friday and it will all be here and gone before you know it. I thought I’d just do a rambling update post for this evening.

Amilya Regular

I don’t have a metabolism that allows me to not work out everyday. It’s been so cold and icy that I decided to join a gym. So far so good, for $20 a month I can use all of the equipment and attend their classes. I’m liking it more than I thought I would, partly because I also picked up some cute new workout clothes 😝

Amilya Regular

Yup. I’m getting a new kitten, I have one senior cat and one younger cat who is a bit rambunctious. I’m thinking the younger cat could use a companion since my senior kitty is really mellow. I’ll be sure to post about him when he arrives in about 2 weeks.

Amilya Regular

I’ve been doing really well with not buying stuff I don’t need but I’ve been in a shopping mood. I think it’s partly due to the fact that I’ve been gift shopping and keep gifting myself πŸ˜‰ Also though, my birthday is coming up and I’ll get back to better spending habits after that.

Amilya Regular

I totally spaced on sending any cards this year! On the one hand, I don’t mind because they’re just unnecessary waste but this is the first year since I was 18 that I haven’t sent any ☹️

Amilya Regular

I always claim that winter is my favorite season and then we have a winter like this one, we’ve already received 20 inches of snow and the first day of winter isn’t even until the 21st! Also, we’ve been having January temps and it’s been driving my MS crazy. Apparently, it makes me more sensitive to the cold and this year I’m really feeling it.

Amilya Regular

I don’t know where but I’ve had a hankering to see new places and meet new people lately. Unfortunately, all of the places that I’d like to live (in the middle of nowhere) don’t have an abundance of jobs. Living in a metro area has worn on me, I don’t like it but I do like my job. Who knows where I’ll end up but hopefully somewhere new soon.

That’s it for today, let me know what’s on you mind. Thanks for reading!

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 14: Holiday Home Decor

Blogmas - 2019

Fa-la-la-la – can you believe that December is almost over?! I’m serious, why is March – August such a long schlep and the best half of the year just flies by? I feel as though I just put my decorations up and am already thinking about taking them down. This year, I went with jewel tones as I refreshed my living room with new jewel tone elements back in the fall. I still need a new couch but I can’t find one that I like for some reason. The couch I have now is probably 50 years old and it’s fine but it’s really heavy and doesn’t really go with the rest of my furniture. Anyway, I found a lot of stuff at JoAnn this year, I think they had the best ornament selection. I also purchased some items from Target, they had the prettiest sisal trees, their Wonderhop stuff is always the best but it’s a bit overpriced.

IMG_20191214_101048

I have been collecting the cone Christmas trees for a while, I’m thinking of retiring a few since they lose tons of glitter every year. I think my favorite pieces this year are the sisal trees from Target on the gold pedestals and the glitter ball ornaments from JoAnn. I would love to be the type of person who could do the minimalist Christmas thing but I can’t – I love the holiday vomit look πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading!

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 13: Thirteen Festive Facts

Blogmas - 2019

I am delighted that we get a Friday the 13th in December, I’m going to see a horror movie tonight and can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy winter’s eve. I think that there are probably elements of Christmas rooted in the supernatural but I couldn’t find enough facts related to this so just rounded up some kinda’ interesting ones instead!

  1. Evergreen was used during the winter solstice by the ancient Romans and Egyptians as a reminder of spring.
  2. Christmas was deemed a pagan holiday in the colonies from 1659-1681 and anyone caught celebrating it would be fined.
  3. 65% of Americans identify themselves as Christians but 90% celebrate Christmas.
  4. Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25, the date was likely changed to align with the pagan festival of Saturnalia.
  5. The same man who dreamt up the Headless Horseman is also responsible for Santa’s sleigh.
  6. Eggnog was popularized in Jamestown in 1607.
  7. Christmas wreaths began as symbols of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus.
  8. Tinsel was once made with real silver and was outlawed for a period of time for containing real lead.
  9. Christmas is not actually recognized in the Bible as a holy day.
  10. Coca Cola was the first company to capitalize off the holly jolly image of Santa, he was originally depicted much older & creepier.
  11. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa emulates the Dutch practice of feasting on St. Nicholas day.
  12. Mistletoe was thought to be an aphrodisiac.
  13. According to Austrian folklore, Krampus is the demonic opposite of Santa and will drag naughty kids to hell. Way scarier than coal πŸ˜‰

There you have it, 13 festive facts. Thanks for reading!

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 12: Winter Manicure

Blogmas - 2019

That isn’t very wintery at all despite my best efforts. I had not planned to get my nails done last night but spinning was cancelled because of the weather, apparently. I still don’t understand why it was cancelled because it was just cold outside, the snow wasn’t supposed to hit until this morning. Which it did, which led to 150 crashes across the state of Minnesota.Β People.Β Anyway, so I call the nail salon to ask if my gal could take an appointment and she said to come in. Well, I think we got our signals crossed because I assumed that I was scheduling an appointment but clearly I was a walk-in which was fine since I hadn’t planned ahead. I sat there reading magazines for about half an hour, then it took almost another hour to get my nails done because she kept getting interrupted and was doing that thing where she was doing two clients at once. I felt bad because had she just said she was busy, I would have come in on another night. I picked navy but clearly this is purple, it’s a dark purple so I guess it looks wintery. I almost asked for something else but I had already been there for almost 2 hours and just couldn’t. I dunno, I feel like the nail swatches are never totally accurate. I like the sparkles, I think I will try again in a few weeks and do a grey. That was a whole lotta’ complaining to show off my new manicure πŸ˜›

IMG_20191212_123116

Anyway, I’m hitting the gym tonight because that seems overall less stressful πŸ˜›

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 11: A Vintage Recipe

Blogmas - 2019

A little background here, my parents were a lot older than most other kids’ parents in my age group. Growing up, we ate a lot of stuff that was seemingly from the Great Depression era, I don’t know why. Ham salad, aspic, chicken a la king, clam dip and the topic of today’s post, ambrosia salad or marshmallow salad since the kids wouldn’t eat whatever the hell ambrosia was. I have not eaten this in years and probably won’t be any time soon but here’s everything you’ll need to make this unique holiday treat.

Amilya Regular

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 cups grapes, halved, green work best
  • 1 small jar of maraschino cherries, drained
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 8 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 chopped fresh bananas
  • 1 standard size bag of mini marshmallows
  • Chopped walnuts for topping, optional

I’m sure that using pre-whipped cream is also fine but my mom always used heavy whipping cream. She would beat the entire pint but only folded in enough to evenly coat all of the ingredients. The leftover would be set aside for pie topping, the heavy cream is probably the hardest part. All of the other ingredients can just be put into a big mixing bowl and folded together as you add the whipped cream. The acid in the pineapple doesn’t play well with the marshmallows so this salad requires eating almost immediately – it’s not a dessert, just slap it on the plate with everything else. In fact, by the time you get to dessert, the leftover fruits and nuts will just be floating in a pool of melted marshmallows and wilted whipping cream. I really liked walnuts as a kid but none of my siblings did so my mom only added a little bit to the salad and then had some additional for topping, I would just throw all of the walnuts right into the salad if you like them. It wasn’t Christmas without marshmallow salad and I think some of the kids even still make it for posterity’s sake but I can’t say that anyone really likes it. It’s a difficult flavor to describe and the texture is bizarre, definitely worth trying at least once in your lifetime though πŸ™‚

Let me know what recipes you remember from your childhood. Do you still make them?

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 10: Would you Rather Holiday Edition

Blogmas - 2019

Would you Rather Tags are always fun and I found this one that 100’s of questions with a holiday twist. I’ve selected a few without making this too long (hopefully), enjoy!

Amilya Regular

As much fun as Christmas was when I was kid, I enjoy shopping for kids probably more than I recall getting them. Have you heard ofΒ Cabbage Patch Sprouts? They are like Polly Pocket but Cabbage Patch figurines and are super adorable. It’s just fun to look at all of the latest & greatest toys that come out each year.

Amilya Regular

Elf ears, no question because though I like the look of beards, I’m sure that they are a pain to upkeep. Also, talk about an instant Halloween costume accessory each year.

Amilya Regular

Useful, I received a cold weather kit a few years ago and I still have it in my trunk and have used it many times. It has everything you need for a Minnesota winter; jump pack, cat litter, emergency blanket, water – it’s awesome.

Amilya Regular

How about neither? 2100 is going to be Water World and everything probably smelled rancid in 1700 but at least global warming wasn’t a thing and human population growth wasn’t out of control. Fine, 1700, I guess.

Amilya Regular

I think it depends, both are equally important. I would have to consider what would be more beneficial to the recipient.

Amilya Regular

The White House, just once. It’s one of few historical places in the US and I think it would be cool to see outside of a public tour.

Amilya Regular

I have done both and equally enjoyed both, honestly. It can be nice to stay home and not worry about bad weather or traffic but it’s also nice to go somewhere and not have to be the one who cooks, cleans and organizes everything.

Amilya Regular

None at all, I’m not crazy about parties in general but holiday parties are especially exhausting. Often times, it’s a bunch of people who might only see each other 1-2 times a year and there’s this obligation to care about what everyone has been up to. The question is, does anyone really care!? If we did, wouldn’t we hang out more? I much prefer holiday parties with close friends who I see often but could skip those too πŸ˜›

Amilya Regular

Snow! What is Christmas without snow? Although, if it could stop raining before it snowed, that would be great. Thank you, global warming.

Amilya Regular

I’ve never tried a fruitcake, that I can recall but I am assuming that it really is as bad as everyone claims and will just skip dessert altogether.

Old-English-Fruitcake-3

Thanks for reading, I hope that it isn’t 5 degrees where you are but if it is, stay warm!

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 9: A Customer Service Rant

Blogmas - 2019

So, I was going to post something along these lines prior to Black Friday but thought it was a bit snarky so decided not to. A couple of things happened this weekend though that really irritated me and I have some things to say. Friday night I got off work pretty late, I decided to get some take out instead of going home and making a mess in my kitchen. Plus, I feel guilty cooking after 10 at night since I have neighbors next to me and below me but I’m not sure they’d even notice. Anyway, so I’m getting a sandwich and the line is backed up all the way to the door and I assumed that they were just having a rush. Turns out that the guy at the front of the line had requested that the sandwiches that were being made for him be thrown away and that the barista go to look for more of whatever salad he was getting on his because the stuff they had out lookedΒ dry.Β Aside from the fact that there are people starving all over the world, he was ordering a sandwich from a sandwich shop where the ingredients sit out, all day, in a refrigerated counter – stuff might look a little dry. The guy continued to berate the barista saying that they were going to poison someone and he’d be making a complaint to the manager. It was totally nuts and meanwhile, the line was just stacking up so these poor kids were going to be working double time to get caught up. Did I mention that this is a vegan sandwich shop?! It’s not like they had fresh meat just laying around on the counter, honestly.

The other event that set in motion something that really set me off also happened on Friday night. The cashier next to me was cashing out a lady who asked if there were any coupons out. Now, many retailers have membership programs where you can get exclusive coupons but you have to sign up for the rewards program and this lady wasn’t even signed up. We aren’t supposed to just give coupons out so it puts us in a tough spot when customers assume that we can look coupons up or just have them on hand. This lady would not let it go and finally the associate caved and gave her the exclusive discount that was currently running for rewards members. Well, you can get fired for doing this and she did. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post, how not be an asshole customer especially during the holidays.

Amilya Regular

I cannot stress this enough, it slows us down when every other customer who gets up to the register doesn’t have their coupon ready. Don’t ask what coupons are out, if we tell you then it sets an expectation that we may not be able to meet. Don’t ask for additional discounts or if we have coupons, we don’t. It just astounds me the lengths that shoppers go to for a coupon, come prepared and if you can’t afford something without a coupon then maybe you shouldn’t buy it. I understand shoppers having no regard for retail workers but have some consideration for the people behind you. Lastly, read the fine print – all coupons have exclusions so read them. Keep in mind that we have no control over what’s excluded or how clear the coupon is.

Amilya Regular

Again, it slows us down when we don’t have a receipt and usually we can’t give the full amount back without one which sucks for us and for you. Sure, you can talk to the manager but she’s going to say the same thing.

Amilya Regular

We are going just as fast as we can and usually it’s the stupid questions and unprepared shoppers that are slowing us down. Feel free to call them out for holding up the line though. It astounds me how many times I’ve apologized for the long line but rarely has someone in the line ever turned around and apologized for holding it up.Β 

Amilya Regular

There seems to be this assumption that the role of a retail worker is to just take people’s shit. And to the people who think this, do you go to work to get shit on everyday? Our role is to provide the best customer experience possible, within our ability to do so – that’s it. Could some associates be a little more helpful? Sure, I’ve been on the receiving end of some really shitty customer service but on the whole, they do their best.

I’m so thankful that retail is not my full-time gig and that I do it for extra spending money and fun. Also though, when I worked retail full-time years ago, I don’t recall people being so consistently rude. I’m not sure what’s happened to society but just stay home and shop online if you can’t be nice. That’s my rant, I love shopping during the holidays and just want everyone to have a fun time. Is that so much to ask!? What’s been your shopping experience so far this year? Are customers becoming ruder or am I just getting old?

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 8: Winter Skincare Night Routine

Blogmas - 2019

I’ve used a lot of different skincare in my lifetime, loads of brands at varying price points and I find myself less interested in splurging on the next big thing and more interested in finding a simple routine that works. I have dry, sensitive, acne prone skin so it’s tricky to find products that work for me. I’ve recently changed my routine up and have experienced some improvement.

For the first step in my double cleanse, I have been using the Garnier Micellar Water for wateproof makeup. You can’t see it very well in this photo but a portion of the liquid is oil which removes makeup really well and doesn’t dry out my skin. I recommend the value size because it’s way better value and less plastic waste. I wish brands would find another material, I hate how much plastic there is in my bathroom.

IMG_20191208_114608

Currently, I am using up three cleansers all from CeraVe. The Foaming Facial Cleanser is leftover from this summer when my skin runs a little oilier. I really like this cleanser, it is formulated for normal to oily skin and is fairly gentle. The cleanser that I use during the winter though is the Hydrating Cleanser for normal to dry skin, I really like the texture as it feels like I’m washing my face with lotion and it actually leaves my skin feeling hydrated. I have been exfoliating every other night with the Renewing SA Cleanser which says it is just for normal skin but since I don’t use it every night, it doesn’t bother my skin and helps with keeping it clear and smooth. Then I tend to use a facial oil followed by plain ‘ol moisturizing lotion. I like this lotion because it goes on thin, absorbs without any greasyΒ  feeling and doesn’t pill if I feel like I need additional layers.

IMG_20191208_112318.jpg

I also wanted to mention this nifty little silicone tool by Conair that I picked up when my skin was feeling especially congested. It has three different textures and two speeds, I use this on nights when I’m not using the exfoliating wash but want a deep clean. I wouldn’t use it every night if you have dry or sensitive skin but 2’ish times a week works for my skin. Also, not pictured, I found these knock-off makeup eraser cleansing cloths at ULTA recently and they work like a charm. I use them with cleanser but have really noticed a difference in how quickly and thoroughly my makeup comes off.

IMG_20191208_112324

I haven’t found an eye cream that doesn’t clog the pores around my eyes, I just pat onΒ  a little additional moisturizerΒ  instead. I am currently taking a break from retinol because I was experiencing quite a lot of irritation from the one that I had been using. I hope to work it back into my routine soon though since I get such good results from it. Currently, this routine is working for me but it’s been a rocky start to winter so far! Let me know if you have any winter skin holy grails, I’m always on the hunt for great products and thanks for reading!

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 7: What I Actually Want for Christmas

Blogmas - 2019

I’m not big into presents, I never know what I want, I feel guilty asking for stuff and I usually just purchase gifts for myself. I miss being a kid when Barbies, craft supplies and books were the only things I was wishing for. Now that I am in my 30’s and mostly don’t believe in Santa, my wants have changed and here’s what I’m wishing for this year.

Amilya Regular

My place is always pretty clean but I’d really like a maid service to come in and deep clean everything especially all of the things that I hate cleaning like the windows and the oven. I want my bathrooms bleached from top to bottom and turned sparkling white, seriously, best gift ever.

Amilya Regular

Who enjoys having to pay for gas? I don’t get why people give cards to stores that I like because I don’t mind spending money at those stores, I don’t want to spend money on gas.

Amilya Regular

If I never had to grocery shop or cook ever again, it would be too soon. Can someone just cook my meals for me? Is that so much to ask?

Amilya Regular

I really do still love receiving books as gifts, used only please. Paying for my Audible membership would be even better πŸ˜›

Amilya Regular

This goes with the maid thing, I am fairly organized but I’d really enjoy someone coming in and organizing my life.

Amilya Regular

My skin has really been pissing me off lately, I’m sure that it’s just the change in weather but if it could knock it off, that would be great.

I would be delighted to receive any of these things, can you imagine? Sitting around, reading in my spotless apartment, eating food that I didn’t have to cook? It’s the little things πŸ˜› It seems like overall, society is shifting towards gifting experiences over stuff and I am totally on board with that. Let me know what’s on your list and thanks for reading.

πŸ’™

Blogmas Day 6: Sustainable Gift List

Blogmas - 2019

It seems like everyone is talking about sustainability, which is awesome and introducing someone to the movement through gifts is a great way to help others get started. Especially for the person who has everything, there are tons of unique sustainable gifts that anyone can find use for. I’ve rounded up a few products that I have found tremendously useful since having started my zero waste journey.

Amilya Regular

This set includes silicone baggies, stretchy storage lids and beeswax wraps to replace plastic baggies, tupperware containers and plastic wrap. All of the components can be washed with soap and water and reused.

Amilya Regular

These probably seem boring in comparison to all of the cute reusable bags available but these canvas totes are washable which I find very useful because stuff spills. They also don’t take up much room in my car, I just roll them up and throw them in the trunk.

Amilya Regular

Super useful, these are really well-made drawstring bags for fresh produce, I’ve owned a set for a little over a year and they are great quality.

Amilya Regular

I love the weight and feel of bamboo dishes, the fun prints on these will add an eclectic pop to anyone’s kitchen. Now, some people think they are plastic and that I’m a 12 year old when they come over but I think they are cool.

Amilya Regular

I think that I’ve already talked about these, they are fabric rounds that can be used for makeup removal and then washed. A great alternative to cotton balls and a money saver over time.

Amilya Regular

I’m a big fan of the compostable coffee pods but if there’s that one flavor that you just gotta’ have and it only comes in a traditional pod, this little tool will help you dismantle the pod so that it can be recycled.

Amilya Regular

These glass spray bottles are pretty and practical alternatives to one-use bottles.

Some of these might seem a bit too practical for Christmas but I also think that Christmas is great time to give someone something that they might not otherwise purchase. Let me know what sustainable products you’d like to try or can’t live without and thanks for reading!

πŸ’™