On The 25th Day of Blogmas: And to All, A Goodnight

Blogmas

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & if you don’t celebrate, I hope you at least got a day off 😊 It was a quiet day here with some cookie baking, two virtual gift unwrappings, cleaning & spiced wine πŸŽ… Being one of those individuals who experiences a lot of anxiety over expressing enough appreciation, it’s somehow even more stressful over video πŸ˜‚ Am I smiling enough? Am I overdoing it? Probably…it was fun though, gift giving is my favorite part of Christmas.

This will be the final Blogmas post, taking it all the way to the new year sounds exhausting but I hope you enjoyed the festive content. I certainly had a lot of fun & will be getting back to my regularly scheduled Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts.

Let me know what you were up to today. Did you get everything you wanted? Are you planning any after Christmas shopping? I’m debating a LUSH order but simply cannot endure another Candle Day debacle πŸ˜‚ However you spent the day, I hope it was wonderful ❀

On The 24th Day of Blogmas: Merry Christmas Eve πŸŽ…

Blogmas

Merry Christmas Eve, I hope this blog finds you well & safe at home. The recent weather event always reminds me how lucky I am to have a warm home & roof over my head. The temperatures have plummeted & there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on my couch, watching holiday specials. This time of year tends to make me a little melancholy, when the lights come down, the tinsel is packed away & the tree at the curbside – the world looks a little sad. I leave my decor up through my birthday but the holiday feeling markedly dissipates after Christmas.

Anyway, I have two hours until mass & am watching my favorite holiday specials which of course begins with A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) an all around classic. A jaded Charlie Brown is on a mission to discover the true meaning of Christmas which he feels has been hijacked by consumerism.

Next, A Garfield Christmas Special (1987) with Garfield & Odie headed to the Arbuckle family farm for a good ol’ fashioned Christmas. I love Garfield, the old cartoons especially for the dry humor. This one is very sweet & endearing, another true meaning of Christmas trope but I still enjoy it.

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without watching a bitter Grinch breaking & entering then committing grand larceny πŸ˜‚ Honestly though, when one stops to really consider the plot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) it is a bit nutty. How were the Whos just so chill when the Grinch admitted to robbing them?!

Occasionally, I will watch the old clay animation specials that we watched as kids but those make me a little sad too. It’s such an odd time of year, while it’s wonderful to reminisce, it always makes me blue. Also, I cannot do another Zoom anything. I was telling my sister that I’m not sad about being alone on Christmas because I’m a homebody but it’s hard for me to see the strain & sadness in other people’s faces. We’re unwrapping a few gifts tomorrow via Zoom but I’m Zoomed out.

I hope that you’re happy, healthy & just doing the best you can. Merry Christmas Eve ❄

On The 23rd Day of Blogmas: A Christmas Eve, Eve Snowstorm β„

Blogmas

Dear Santa, I specifically requested an idyllic dusting, not a blizzard…

It’s a real barn burner out there; ice, snow, wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, no visibility. Lucky for me, I made it home just as the temperatures dropped & everything was coated in ice. I’m delighted to have a white Christmas but it’s a mess out there. Barring any unforeseen emergencies, I don’t have to be anywhere until Saturday & that is just fine by me. I have books to read, cabinets to organize & skincare to indulge in 😊

First, I’ve ordered a number of airtight plastic bins to put all of my grains, bulk items & kitchen staples in. My kitchen cabinets aren’t terrible but I’ve been wanting to do this for some time & can finally get started.

Next, I have three books that I’d like to read before I go back to work. I’m about half way through Wundersmith, the second Morrigan Crow book & it’s good but I keep falling asleep reading. Nothing against the book, I’m just tired all of the time πŸ˜‚ I also have The Deep by Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger which was one of my favorite reads last year. It was sci-fi/horror meets the Donner Party. Her newest book is another twist on a historical event, this time the sinking of the Titanic. Lastly, Ghosts of the Tsunami is on my list, this chronicles the tragic aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

Finally to the skincare indulgence, though I said I would not be purchasing any new skincare I did pick up some new products πŸ˜‚ In my defense, I had a coupon.

I’m sure there will be too much coffee drinking & junk television as well. If you have travel plans this weekend, be careful ❄

On The 22nd Day of Blogmas: A Holiday Would You Rather

Blogmas

I did this one last year & it was a lot of so I figured that I would revisit the questions this year!

Amilya Regular

A grandparent which, I will never be but I enjoy shopping for kids and checking out all of the new toys..

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.

Thanks for reading, I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday week ❄

On The 21st Day of Blogmas: Least Favorite Holiday Things

Blogmas

I post something along these lines each year and most of it is hyperbole, I know and love that the holidays mean something different to everyone!

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

I know that it’s not raw eggs but I can’t with the texture of eggnog, the flavor or the smell. Why does it always taste and smell like there is booze in it when there isn’t? It’s milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs, I can’t even. Also, booze doesn’t make it better.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

I think that popcorn garland looks lovely but stringing it is a nightmare. I was terrible at stringing popcorn when I was a kid and repeatedly stabbed myself with the needle, I would never subject myself or others to this activity.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

It’s creepy & everyone knows it, lets all collectively stop doing it.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

I’m probably overthinking this but it’s odd to me that children everywhere are excited about their homes being invaded. I much prefer the kindly, charitable Saint Nicholas as opposed to the modern day, breaking & entering Santa. Who, by the way, doesn’t even eat the cookies that are left for him.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

The milk and cookies thing – what a waste.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

When I was a kid, it literally took my mom like 16 hours to cook a turkey. I have no idea why but it was Christmas Eve tradition that she would be up all night basting this stupid turkey. In my adulthood, I have found out that it does not take that long to cook a turkey – even a big one. I’ll never know why she cooked that thing so long.

Forgivenξ€˜ Script

Have you ever really listened to some of the lyrics to popular Christmas songs? Some are really bizarre, Winter Wonderland comes to mind. First of all, who is Parson Brown? Second, that whole are you married bit and the part time husband thing. Again, probably overthinking it but can someone write some new Christmas songs for the love of Parson Brown?!

Let me know what holiday traditions you could do without & thanks for stopping byπŸŽ„

On The 20th Day of Blogmas: Winter Wonderland Tag

Blogmas

Another tag you say? Listen, I’m tired & lazy. Enjoy πŸ˜‚

Amilya Regular

The snow! I love snow, it makes the world so crisp and clean and quiet. I hate driving in the snow but I’m that person who will head out right after a storm when the roads are mostly clear but not clear enough for the city slickers and enjoy the mostly deserted city. I do get stressed out living in such a densely populated area, I much prefer cruising around small towns or country roads in the snow because there are less SUV driving jackasses. I love snowboarding, snowshoeing, running on snowy trails – I think you get the point.

Amilya Regular

Definitely scarves, I think they work more as an accessory than a hat. A hat means business, I’m probably going to be outside for a prolonged period of time and don’t care what I look like. But a scarf can be dressed up or down while still serving a practical purpose. Also, I have a huge head and most hats squeeze my forehead which is stressful.

Amilya Regular

Just one?! If I had to pick, it would definitely be Home Alone because it’s a classic. It’s one movie from my childhood that I distinctly recall watching with my family and it always puts me in a Christmas mood when I watch it. Hell, if I am feeling down or homesick in the dead of July I will put it on πŸ™‚ I love the house, the setting, the very plausible 90’s plot line – it’s just so good.

Amilya Regular

Probably red or gold sparkle or both.

Amilya Regular

I hate them all! None of them taste like they have an ounce of coffee, they are all sugar and syrup – yuck. Back in my early 20’s they had a drink that I really enjoyed but I don’t think they make it and I can’t recall what was in it. I like black coffee with a shot of cinnamon and splash of coconut whipped cream as my festive drink. The Starbucks holiday blend is very good too…I usually buy about ten bags so I have it year round.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees lip balm, it’s the only lip product that keeps the sides of my mouth from splitting. My snowflake coffee mug that makes all coffee taste 100 times better and I swear keeps it hotter. My black lounging cardigan that’s actually just a regular cardigan that I wore so often that the elbows wore out and I can’t wear it in public anymore. It’s so thin and worn and soft, I am going to be totally bummed when it just disintegrates πŸ˜€

Amilya Regular

A robot vacuum!

Amilya Regular

Otis Redding’s White Christmas ❄

Amilya Regular

Nope – never do, never will.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees Original lip balm for day time and the Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask at night. Can we talk about lip fillers though? I have these little lines that look like smoker lines but I’ve never smoked, they are from pursing my lips when I am reading or writing or driving – I don’t know why I do it but you know how your granny would tell you that if you made ugly faces that it would get stuck that way? Wrinkles, she was talking about wrinkles and she was right. So, I’ve been doing some research on lip filler and did you know that a risk of this procedure is that the filler can be injected into a blood vessel and your lip will literally fall off? If you know of any potent lip line products, let me know.

Amilya Regular

Not really, I have a festive turtleneck that doesn’t really look that idiotic. I just can’t purchase something with such a specific purpose that I can only wear once a year and don’t actually need.

Amilya Regular

Most every year and I cannot imagine living somewhere that doesn’t get snow. Also, update, still no snow here.

Amilya Regular

Tree Farm but really, pine scented anything πŸŽ„

Amilya Regular

Same as usual, snowboarding – if South Dakota pulls through with some snow!

I hope you are having a beautiful day and if you do this tag, be sure to let me know ❄

On The 19th Day of Blogmas: A Vintage Recipe

Blogmas

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 πŸŽ…

On The 14th Day of Blogmas: How to Not Suck at Secret Santa πŸŽ…

Blogmas

I am not the biggest fan of Secret Santa, giving gifts is the best part of Christmas for me however, I find the Secret Santa gift exchange quite stressful. This year, I am being a total Grinch & sitting the office gift exchange out – also, I won’t be here for it anyway so I don’t think that anyone will notice. It’s tricky to do Secret Santa with people that you don’t know really well, it takes some reconnaissance. I always want to give something I know they will be sure to like but also not make it seem like I know too much about them. I once received a very nice tea steeping mug because my Secret Santa saw me making tea, it’s personal enough but not in a creepy way. Is this making sense? Does anyone else worry about this? Anyway, if you are not a fan of Secret Santa but also don’t want to suck at it, here are some of my tried & true tips.

Dreameyes Regular

Some people say that gift cards are lazy, I say that gift cards are one size fits all & the perfect gift if you do it right. First, make sure that the gift card is from a merchant that you know they will like or use. Target gift cards, gas cards, coffee shop gift cards are ones that I enjoy giving/receiving. Listen, my boss gave me a gas card a couple of years ago & it was amazing not having to spend money on gas for a few months. I like to pair the gift card with something else like a hand cream, candle or mug just to let them know that some thought did go into the gift. If the limit is $10 or so, then a gift card will do the trick, in my opinion.

Dreameyes Regular

Stick to the agreed upon spend limit but don’t go for the cheapest thing you can find. If you forget, someone will notice if you gift something you found on your desk. If you don’t have a lot to spend, DIY something thoughtful or get creative with gift wrapping. Don’t overspend either, it makes everyone uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be the Michael Scott of the office.

Dreameyes Regular

Humor, yes. Gag gifts, no. I have given Poo-Pourri at least twice at different gift exchanges, it’s a hit. Everyone can use it & it’s a bit funny. Toilet paper, isn’t funny – not even in 2020. This is a totally unrelated PSA but if anyone gives me a mask this year…I swear to God. A funny calendar or cheeky set of sticky notes – all useful but funny. Whoopee cushions, not funny & not useful.

Dreameyes Regular

Everyone may not agree with this one but I once received some cat toys & I thought it was awesome. It showed that they knew something about me & we still have the toys. Or, use treats/toys as a supplementary gift to add a little something extra.

I am of two minds about giving food, if you struggle with disordered eating like yours truly – food can be tricky. If it’s something that can be shared, then I will bust it out for everyone to enjoy. Baked goods tend to be crowd pleasers for most people & do require quite a bit of time & effort to put together. To me, it’s definitely the thought that counts just don’t get too intimate & you’ll be fine. Also, if we never found out the identity of our Santa, that would be just fine with me – I never know if I am acting grateful enough or overdoing it.

Honestly, just give it your best shot & I think it most cases that will be perfect. Are you into the Secret Santa thing, let me know what your tips are for making it a success ❄

On The 11th Day of Blogmas: My Christmas Wishlist

Blogmas

This is a PSA to get your holiday orders in if you have not done so already (& plan on them arriving late). I have a friend who delivers packages, he sent me a picture of their warehouse – waist deep palettes from wall to wall, people! They’ve had to double up on trucks on his route due to the sheer volume & how long it’s been taking to get everything delivered. Also, I would not depend on the retailer ‘Arrives Before Christmas’ cut off date because they are making promises that they simply cannot keep. Anyway, I usually order my own gifts for Christmas/birthday right about now but have decided to wait until after the new year to do so. I’m just guessing that there will be fewer delays & none of this is time sensitive. So I guess this is actually my Christmas & birthday wishlist…

Robot VacuumI have resisted the robot vacuum for a number of years but I feel as though the technology has existed long enough that it’s probably pretty difficult to find a dud. Still, I did some extensive research & this one had overall good reviews & it’s supposed to be really good for pet hair. Reasons I want a robot vacuum: I vacuum almost everyday & think my neighbors would appreciate it if I had a quieter one. They have never said anything but I know that they hear me vacuuming constantly. Also, I would like to spend my time doing other things like napping. Imagine, a spotless floor all while you’re napping πŸ˜€ Seriously though, I need one.

YSL Libre IntenseIf you haven’t experienced the original Libre fragrance, it’s a very warm vanilla scent. The new intense formulation is like full fat vanilla. It smells luxurious & amazing, I was skeptical at first spray because it was little on the alcohol side but the dry down is beautiful. It takes me quite a long time to purchase a fragrance because they are just so expensive. I am about through my summer scents thought & this will be my go-to winter scent. I love the rich caramel color too, it smells just like it looks – warm & rich.

Capricorn Key Ring I always get myself a little something Capricorn themed, I think this resin keychain will be the perfect addition to my key ring.

David’s Tea Tasting ClubMy favorite tea supplier is offering a quarterly tea subscription box?! Sold. Also, I already purchased this for myself & cannot wait for it to arrive. Each box includes up to 8 seasonal teas & other tea lover goodies. I am so excited to see what is inside, I have a strict No Subscription Box rule but it’s tea & I know that everything will be used.

Lash Idole Lashi Lifting & Volumizing MascaraI recently received a sample of this mascara, it’s amazing. It isn’t out yet but I am ordering at least 5 tubes! I have straight lashes & some of them point down after having had lash extensions for so long. I know, I know – lash extensions won’t damage your lashes but the weight of wearing them for so long definitely changed the way they grow. This mascara makes them appear curled & voluminous with just a couple of swipes & the curl lasts all day. It’s really black, not clumpy & just makes my lashes look awesome.

Nora Kisslock CrossbodyHere’s the deal, I would never actually purchase this even as a gift to myself because it’s leather & I have a new bag. That being said, look at how chic & fun this little bag is. I love the modern take on an old style, the gold chain, the size – it’s an adorable bag. Alas…

GAP Ribber JoggersI always purchase a new pair of pajamas for Christmas too, it’s the one tradition from my youth that I’ve continued. I won’t be wearing these beauties on Christmas Eve but am sure they will get a lot of use.

I think that’s it, will I suddenly be struck with a treat yourself mood right around my birthday? It’s been known to happen but I have sworn to myself that I will not splurge on a bunch of skincare that I don’t need. There have been one…or two…times that I’ve gone nuts purchasing anti-aging products right around my birthday. I take good care of my skin, this simply is not necessary.

What’s on your wishlist this year? Do you treat yourself or hope that Santa comes through πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

On The 10th Day of Blogmas: The Blizzard of ’97

Blogmas

I am clearly having snow withdrawals because I have been watching documentaries about the Blizzard of ’49 on Colorado & Wyoming PBS. Listen, I am not asking for a Christmas blizzard but a little snow would be nice. It got me thinking about the Blizzard of ’97 & how even with all of our modern conveniences, we are still fragile in the hands of mother nature.

If you are a Minnesotan or ever lived here, I am sure that you have been regaled with tales of the Halloween Blizzard of ’91. There was a foot on the ground before the kids were back from trick or treating πŸ™‚ There have been heavy snowfalls since I have lived here, nothing that really shut the city down but I am still waiting. Anyway, us Coloradoans have our very own tales of an October Blizzard & it was pretty epic as I recall. I grew up in the San Juan River Valley, we didn’t have mild winters – the chains went on in October & didn’t come off until April. I was in 3rd grade, we went to school in town which was 45-minutes to an hour down the mountain. There were a dozen or so of us that were called ‘the mountain kids’ because we were designated our own bus since the route was so long. Occasionally, the mountain kids would be sent home early because of winter weather but this particular day, we knew it was a bigger deal because we were loaded up before lunch. I also remember the bus driver looking stressed & no wonder, not only did she have to get us home before the roads became impassible, she had to get back down the mountain to her own home safely. I don’t know how she drove that route all of those years, she was at least 70 for my entire childhood πŸ˜›

The atmosphere before a big snow has a a feel about it. The air literally feels heavy & dense, I remember being scooted onto the bus & inching closer & closer to these huge snow clouds as we headed up the mountain. It felt like we were being squished between the dense air below us & those huge clouds above us. About halfway into the journey, we ran into a wall of snow that had been falling in earnest already & only got heavier as we gained altitude. As kids I don’t think we fully appreciated that we were travelling through white out conditions along a twisty, turny mountain road but we were feeling tense nonetheless.

With each kid that was deposited safely in front of their home, a blast of frigid wind & snow entered the bus. We were all sitting in the middle of the bus nearest to the heat blowers but that icy chill was far reaching. There were two times that we had to pull off so that the driver could bang the ice off of the wipers but the ride was mostly uneventful. In my kid mind, it took us 5 hours to get up the mountain because it was dark out but really, it was about 2 in the afternoon by the time we got home & the sun was just obliterated by the storm system. We were the last stop on the route but we made it. Our farm was down a long dirt road & over a rickety bridge that crossed Stoner Creek (which is river size not creek size) that the bus couldn’t actually drive on but my dad was waiting at the opening of said bridge with the toboggan to pull me home. We watched as the bus driver backed across the road & started her journey back to town.

I had a bloody nose by the time we got home, I get them when I am stressed out but was fine outside of that. The blizzard raged for at least three days but I don’t recall sleeping very much. There’s a lot of things that need to happen on a farm & it’s all thrown into hyper-drive when bad weather is an added factor. The animals have to be accounted for, they have to be kept warm but putting heat sources in a barn is tricky because it eats the oxygen up & you can burn it down. Not all of the animals fit in the barn either, so they have to be contained as close as you can get them so they don’t freeze. We had to bring the ducks inside & house them in the bathroom which was the highlight of the blizzard for me. My dad headed out a few times in the tractor to help others dig out all while the snow was still dumping. At one point, the phone lines did go down but we never lost electricity which was a small wonder considering the weight of the snow on the power lines.

When it finally stopped snowing, the amount of snow was breathtaking. My dad spent hours clearing snow, helping neighbors clear snow – we lived on a county road so often had to clear the main road well before the plows arrived. At some points, there was nowhere for the snow to go & the roadways were very narrow with huge snow mounds on each side. I don’t remember how long we were out of school but I want to say it was at least a week.

When I have travelled home in my adulthood, it never ceases to amaze me remembering how isolated those few mountain farms were. To this day, there is one treacherous, narrow road in – you had to be resourceful in an emergency because outside help is scarce. We never had any major emergencies but a number of things could have gone wrong during that blizzard. The worst that happened on our farm was after the blizzard when I was in charge of returning the ducks to their pond, I slipped & fell in some goose shit & this pack of geese descended on me. We had this weird flock of geese that stayed pretty much year round, they were mean.

Have you experienced any memorable weather events in your lifetime, let me know! I hope you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by ❄