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 🎅 Being one of those individuals who experiences a lot of anxiety over expressing enough appreciation, it’s somehow even more stressful over video 😂 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 😂 However you spent the day, I hope it was wonderful ❤

On The 24th Day of Blogmas: Merry Christmas Eve 🎅

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 😂 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 ❄

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 😂 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 😂 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 😛

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!

Forgiven 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.

Forgiven 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.

Forgiven Script

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

Forgiven 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.

Forgiven Script

The milk and cookies thing – what a waste.

Forgiven 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.

Forgiven 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 by🎄

On The 20th Day of Blogmas: Winter Wonderland Tag

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Another tag you say? Listen, I’m tired & lazy. Enjoy 😂

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 🙂 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 😀

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 🎄

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 🙂

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

On The 18th Day of Blogmas: Office Christmas Décor ❄

Blogmas

That’s it’s it, that’s the post 😛 Those little gelatinous window decals are the extent of the holiday décor in almost the entire building. Another admin at the opposite of the building has a lone Santa on her window. Usually, we all decorate our windows with lights & garlands but with so few people being in the building, it felt kind of pointless this year. I spotted these little decals for a $1 at the grocery store & figured they were better than nothing. The pack actually came with two snowmen but I wasn’t being careful & decapitated the other one when I was peeling it off the backing. That pretty much sums up how I feel about it 😛 But couldn’t let the holiday pass without doing something.

It does make me little sad to not see any lights twinkling throughout the hallway or a grand tree in the lobby. I think it’s actually about a 10 year old tree that was donated by a former employee but it does look lovely when it’s all decked out. Ah well, next year’s display will just have to be twice as good!

People keep commenting on how clean my desk is, I’m only here three days a week & I wipe it down every time. But also I am very particular about my work area, it’s easier to focus. Did you decorate your workspace? I think retailers knew we all had plexi-glass to work with so they churned out all of these jelly stickers. Obviously, I had about another 10-feet to work with but I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I will get a few more snowflakes for January, or I will just get back from vacation and rip them all down. Bring on Valentine’s Day! Could we possible be out of quarantine for the single worst day of the year? Wouldn’t that just make complete sense, finally, restaurants are fully open for you & your non-existent partner to enjoy a romantic dinner. I jest, I love Valentine’s day & am actually looking forward to it.

Do you decorate at work? I promise, we usually do a better job than this ❄

On The 17th Day of Blogmas: 5 Favorite Christmas Things

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Quite literally every state around Minnesota has received a significant amount of snow, it’s as though we are living in a weather phenomena that is opposite of the lake effect. This is not what I signed up for when I moved here, in fact I thought that it would be winter all of the time. Nobody ever talks about the miserably hot, humid summers. It is quite cold & overcast but not even a flake in the next 10 days – no snow for Christmas. I’m bitter, I might even take the Christmas décor down 😛 I have all next week off, I was supposed to go snowboarding but I think at this point it would be a trip to South Dakota to make it happen. I was going to post the 5 things about Christmas that I loathe but am posting 5 things that love to feel a little more festive instead 🙂

Baby Chipmunk

Shout out to all of the homeowners in my neck of the woods who really showed out this year with the outdoor décor! I about drove off the road looking at a stunning tree display on my way home last night. Almost nobody decorated for Halloween & I was expecting Christmas to be the same but I have just been delighted by all of the light displays. Oh, except one, there is this old farm house on my way to work & they just have this 6-foot plastic snowman at the end of their driveway. It must be vintage because it’s face is crazy, appreciate the effort though 😀

Baby Chipmunk

One could probably enjoy a glass of mulled wine at any time of they year but I’m not sure that it would be quite the same. I love the smell of mulled wine, it smells like Christmas. Honestly, I only drink wine at the holidays so just wine in general is a holiday favorite in my book.

Baby Chipmunk

I started a tradition a few years back of going to a play or concert on Christmas Eve in downtown St. Paul. There is just something magical about St. Paul at Christmas time. The old homes & buildings all decorated up. Sadly, not only will I not be seeing a show this year, I probably won’t venture into downtown for a number of reasons in addition to the pandemic.

Baby Chipmunk

Old movies, new ones, old holiday specials – I love having the television on while I am cooking or cleaning. I didn’t realize how much I would miss this when I got rid of my television a few years ago. However, my tablet does just fine & it’s portable.

Baby Chipmunk

I don’t go to mass very often anymore but I love midnight mass. There is something beautifully calm about walking into an old Catholic church in the middle of the night. The Cathedral of St. Paul is stunning & I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few services there but there are plenty of smaller churches in the Twin Cities as well that hold beautiful Christmas Day services. I suppose I could attend my pick of services this year assuming they are all online.

What are your favorite things about Christmas? Anyone on the east coast here?! I hope you are surviving the storm ❤

On The 16th Day of Blogmas: Stella’s Favorite Things

Blogmas

Every year I am excited to read through Oprah’s Favorite Things list, unfortunately, even though she now partners with Amazon – the items aren’t that easy to get your hands on. I know that she curates items from small businesses, indie brands & big box retailers but the items go fast. This year, I am putting together my own Favorite Things list & most of the items are in stock because obviously I am not Oprah 😛 Enjoy

BOGS BOMC Wool Snow BootsThe geometric pattern that I have is actually sold out but it’s not my fault 😀 I wouldn’t say that these are perhaps the best boots if you are going to be out for an extended amount of time in some serious snow. However, they are great for pretty much any other winter activity you are planning on doing. They are waterproof however, if you are walking through slush then they will stain. They are really warm, very comfy & the soles are great for slick surfaces.

Sapadilla Grapefruit & Bergamot Biodegradable Countertop SprayThis is a plant based line of household cleaners that smell amazing. This one smells like fresh cut oranges & it’s the perfect pick me up scent for winter. You can find Sapadilla refill stations in some grocery stores which is also eco friendly!

Greenlife Pots & Pans SetI actually own the teal set but I have supplemented them with a couple of the pinks pans as well. Ceramic cookware is the superior cooking medium, it cooks everything so evenly. Now, they do require some maintenance, I give them a good scrub with Bar Keeper’s Friend about once a month to remove any staining but they are great otherwise. I do still cook with oil but the nonstick does work & has so far been very durable.

UO Amped Fleece Throw BlanketThese blankets are so soft, I have one in every room – they come in tons of colors to match any décor & they hold up to consistent washing & drying.

Threshold Bath BasketI think that most everyone went through a hyper-cleaning/organizing phase at the start of lockdown. I purchased a handful of these small baskets to organize all of the little bits hanging out in my bathroom & closets. They are the perfect size to hold any odds & ends, they aren’t terribly expensive & are pretty well made.

Pioneer Woman Pasta Bowl SetI eat most anything but pasta out of these, pasta isn’t something I make a lot. However, these are great for Buddha bowls, cereal, fruits & yogurt, chopped veggies & dip – pretty much anything that you can heap into a pile can go in these bowls. I was never one of those kids who worried about my food touching, I’m a fan of meals that have numerous ingredients that just get chucked together. These are very pretty bowls that fancy up just about whatever you put into them!

Old Navy Balance Yoga LeggingsThese are my favorite black leggings, they aren’t that really suffocating compression material but do provide enough support to be worn as workout attire or casual clothing. They aren’t necessarily comfortable enough to sleep in but very soft with good stretch.

Old Navy Oversized Funnel CoatThis is a very nice coat that is on an incredible sale right now! I purchased it about a month ago for a dressier coat that I could wear to work, this one does the trick. Does anyone else get closter phobic in their winter coat? I have a big duffel coat in my car trunk for emergencies but I can’t drive in it or wear it too long because I feel restrained. This sounds ridiculous, this coat is chic & comfortable to wear.

GAP Modern Crewneck T-ShirtHave you ever found the perfect shirt, not too thick but not too thin, fits right in all places, can be worn anywhere – this is that shirt for me. It’s just a cotton top but I love these, they are a staple in my wardrobe, I hope that GAP never stops carrying them. Also though, I think they are struggling right now & I should probably start searching for cotton tops elsewhere…

OUAI Melrose Place Body Crème – Not the original scent, this one specifically & I think it’s limited edition for the holidays. The ingredients in this crème are pretty standard, it is nicely moisturizing but it is the scent that I really enjoy. It’s a light floral that pairs well with just about any fragrance I am wearing. I think Tree Hut has a whipped body butter that is very similar but I will have to do a thorough comparison before this one runs out.

Opalhouse Stoneware Monogram MugI have already purchased a few of these as gifts & gifted myself one too. Remember when monogram was all the rage? I remember walking into JC Penney with my mom when I was in middle school & there was this table full of teenie purses with hot pink initials on them. I had to have one but my mom said that I didn’t need a purse and well, she was correct. These mugs are so fun & actually well-made. I find that Target mugs tend to be on the thin side & my coffee cools too fast in them. This is a hefty mug that holds a hearty amount of coffee. Back to my Secret Santa recommendations, I filled one of these with assorted hot chocolates & chocolate spoons as an office gift.

A New Day Velvet Twist HeadbandsAdmittedly, a headband with the face mask & then an ear piece is tricky but these are my go-to for adding a little festivity to my all black work wardrobe. They’re just cute, I love that these bulky headbands are making a come back.

Stars Above Kora Moccasin SlipperYou already know that Stars Above has become a fast favorite for pajamas & loungewear, these slippers are pretty great too! They are more of a structured slipper since the sole is hard but the inside is so soft. They match these sleep cardigans that I am constantly including in my monthly favorites posts.

Baby Foot PeelListen, I have not had a pedicure since February and I miss having soft feet. I don’t know what salons use but it seems like nothing gets my feet quite as smooth as a trip to the salon. These come close, they are plastic booties filled with various chemical exfoliants that really take care of tough, cracked feet. They are on the spendy side if you ask me but I use them about once a month & figure that’s less than the cost of a monthly pedicure by far.

Dashing Diva Nail StripsI also have not stopped in for a manicure since February & my nails are still pretty brittle from acrylics. They tend to get really stained when I paint them, I have switched over to these gel nail strips that aren’t too shabby. A couple of recommendations, definitely purchase the base coat unlike myself who didn’t realize that there was a base coat & thought these sucked. They do not in fact suck, I just can’t follow directions. Also, I recommend using a crystal/glass file to fit them to your nail, that makes the cleanest edge – they last about 10 days even with all of the extra hand washing & everything. Plus, look at these little heart prints!

David’s Tea 12 Tea Sampler – These make great gifts but they are also a way to try a bunch of teas! Each little container has a screw top lid to keep your tea fresh & you get about two cups from each one. I have discovered quite a few new favorites from these samplers & who doesn’t love tea?

Bombas SocksWhen I first saw ads for these socks, I was like – that’s outrageous. Then, they released Sesame Street socks & I was like – I need those. They are very nice socks, I have since ordered the ankle socks for my dress shoes, also very nice. I can’t say that I wear a pair everyday but I really enjoy the quality of them when I do.

Pela Case – Unfortunately, these cases do not fit my new phone but they’re still pretty great. It’s a phone case made from plants! They’re extremely durable, I had my old phone case for at least 2 years & it still looks fine. I have the original yellow one that I think was for a save the bees campaign which is another cool thing about this company, they donate to various environmental protection efforts.

I think that does it for my favorite things list, I tried to include a little home, a little beauty & fashion. What things made your favorites list this year? Also, let me know if you get excited about Oprah’s list too – I’m the only one in my friend group who is like – OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS LIST COMES OUT TODAY. Listen, she has taste – she recommended Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie one year & my life has never been the same. Also, she just seems so classy & looks like she smells great. This is getting weird 🙂 Thanks for reading, have wonderful Wednesday!