On The 15th Day of Blogmas: S is for Santa…?

Blogmas

Can you believe that Christmas is only ten days away?! It never ceases to amaze me how the first half of the year feels like an eternity & the latter half like two weeks. Not even just this year either with all of the COVID stuff going on, the holidays just fly by. Kids around the world are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, Babbo Natale or whatever holiday entity they believe in. But what about the kids who don’t celebrate Santa – we get to hang out in the gymnasium with the Jehova’s Witness kids 😛

It’s true, my siblings & I didn’t grow up believing in Santa. I think I was in first or second grade when I heard talk of this mysterious character & asked my mom about him to which her response was; It’s how non-believers celebrate Christmas. She also made it abundantly clear that I should not tell the other kids that Santa wasn’t real. This didn’t answer all of my questions but I did come to the conclusion that all of my friends were going straight to hell which was a bummer. After this discussion my mother penned a note to my teacher stating that I could not participate in any Santa related activities because we didn’t do the whole Santa thing. In fact, I could not participate in any Christmas activities that weren’t religious. My school was fairly diverse but even with numerous other ethnicities & races, most everyone celebrated Christmas. Except the Jehova’s Witness kids & a handful of Native American kids.

Back in the 90’s especially in rural communities, there probably weren’t a lot of discussions around diversity happening. There weren’t separate activities organized for the non-Christmas kids because like I said, most everyone celebrated your traditional Christmas & there wasn’t a need to recognize anything else. As kids, I don’t recall this being a big deal – I mean, we thought that the Jehova’s kids were a little unique but we all got along. Instead of practicing for the holiday pageant, we played kickball & made reading forts under the library tables. We didn’t feel left out because we had our little anti-Christmas gang 😀 I don’t remember Christmas being any less magical without Santa, didn’t everyone find out that he didn’t exist anyway?

This experience definitely shaped how I handled Christmas in my classroom, it still amazes me that many teachers forget that a Santa-centric Christmas or any Christmas isn’t celebrated by all students. In all honesty, given the religious overtones of the the holiday, I think that it should be phased out along with Halloween but nobody consulted me. My mom had very black & white beliefs, you were Catholic or you were wrong 😛 But, she also raised me to respect other people’s beliefs because they were just as important as our beliefs were to us. I guess my point is that the holidays can be a wonderful time for everyone no matter what you celebrate!

Were you a Santa kid? Or, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas? I’m curious to know, thanks for stopping by!

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

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 13th Day of Blogmas: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Blogmas

Sunday night, I did not have a very productive day but I did finish a book that I really enjoyed & that’s the perfect way to spend a day 😊 A friend of mine recommended the Nevermoor series to me & I’m so glad they did! At first I was a bit hesitant because most of the reviews compared the series to Harry Potter & I’m not the biggest fan of those books. Here’s the deal, I grew up on Harry Potter & enjoyed them until they started getting really dark. I just don’t need to read about death & thinly veiled political commentary in a fantasy series that’s supposed to be suited for young adults. I can turn on the news, watch documentaries or read a history book to educate myself on those things. Anyway, Nevermoor is much more lighthearted while still being a fantastic engaging series with endearing characters.

Morrigan Crow is a cursed child who is destined for death on the Eventide of her eleventh birthday. OK admittedly it does start out a bit bleak 😉 Morrigan is blamed for all bad things that happen in Jacklefax. Her father who feels that Morrigan’s cursed status is interfering with his political career, is ready to wash his hands of her as is the rest of the family. Unfortunately, Eventide comes early & Morrigan is hurtled towards her unlucky fate.

Enter a delightful, mysterious, brilliant Jupiter North who whisks her away from the Hunt of Horse & Hound just in the knick of time. He takes Morrigan to a magical dominion, Nevermoor where he owns a delightfully preposterous hotel, the Deucalion. It’s filled with a cast of eccentric characters including a magnificat & vampire dwarf. Morrigan is delighted to feel accepted but also confused as to why Jupiter went to such great lengths to save her.

Jupiter has chosen Morrigan to try out for the Wondrous Society, a very exclusive society of highly talented individuals. Morrigan must complete a series of trials to join the society including demonstrating her knack or very special talent that sets her apart from others. The problem is, she doesn’t have any idea what her knack is & Jupiter is maddeningly evasive.

As Morrigan prepares for these trials, odd things are happening in Nevermoor like trains derailing & wunder shortages. We start to hear about the Wundersmith, a very sinister fellow who was banned from Nevermoor because of his tyrrany & abuse of his Wundersmith powers. Morrigan grows increasingly concerned about her cursed status & wonders if it has followed her to Nevermoor. The citizens of Nevermoor though, fear the return of the Wundersmith.

After a series of very bizarre trials & almost being ousted a few times, Morrigan makes it to the final challenge but still has no idea what her knack is. Only Jupiter does & it turns out that Morrigan is a Wundersmith which is not a widely celebrated thing to be…

I thought this book was just a delight & am starting the second book tonight! Obviously, there are similar themes to Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and even some Handmaid’s Tale but the story is unique enough to stand out from these. I’m fascinated by this mystical energy source & the entire world of Nevermoor. It’s zany, colorful & just good fun. Clearly, I’m a bit old for the series but I think it’s very well written & a pleasant escape.

Let me know what you’re reading & thanks for stopping by 🤍

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 😀 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 😛

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 ❄

On The 9th Day of Blogmas: The LUSH Tag

Blogmas

To start, I am not a Lushie – there are two times each year that I shop at LUSH, Christmas & when I run out of Karma Kream. I am supremely annoyed that my beloved Karma Kream is being discontinued, again, when I know that it will just be brought back eventually. Anyway, I have enough for now but have yet to order any Christmas items which I was ordering today when I came upon this fun little tag & figured I would give it a whirl.

Sweet Husky

A former co-worker of mine was obsessed with LUSH & we would always stop in there when we went to the Mall of America which, used to be a lot more often than I do now. Over the years, I started to find products that I really enjoyed & find that they have the perfect gifts for just about anyone.

Sweet Husky

I don’t go to the physical stores any longer, I think they are too small & chaotic. These days, I usually place an order 1-2 times a year & mostly for Christmas goodies & gifts. I think the stores are very lovely to look at but why are they so small?!

Sweet Husky

Karma Kream! It is the perfect mix of sweet & musky plus it is a really great moisturizer for dry skin. I hope that they do bring it back at some point, I feel that this will be the second time that this product has been ‘discontinued.’

Sweet Husky

Karm & Goddess are my go to soaps but I don’t use them everyday, they are more of a treat. Unfortunately, essential oils wreak havoc on my skin if I use them continually. Karm is a bar of patchouli goodness & Goddess is a jasmine dream. Both scents are beautiful in all of the different formats.

Sweet Husky

I love baths, here’s the deal, the diverter on my faucet recently stopped working though so I have been filling the bath by running the shower. You know what sound I hate? Shower water spraying standing water. Drives me nuts. Now, how long do I let it ride without being fixed before I take that puppy off myself? Probably until my LUSH box gets here. I love all bath bombs from LUSH – Butterball & Shoot for the Stars are probably in my top though. Goddess is again, really fabulous & it makes the bathroom smell heavenly for hours. I think there has only been one bath bomb that I did not enjoy & it was because it made my skin so itchy.

Sweet Husky

Happy Hippy, not contest – it’s a light, fruity scent that is very pleasant at any time of year. Rose Jam is a winter time favorite, a lot sweeter than what I typically go for but still enjoyable. I have not used their jelly products, I’m not sure how they would last & if they would be messy.

Sweet Husky

I have used some of their skincare but honestly, was not impressed for the price. I feel as though LUSH capitalizes on the green beauty, clean beauty, etc. trend & I just don’t think some of the products were very effective. Their shampoo bars though are awesome – I have dry hair so my favorites are both softening bars. I have Honey I Washed My Hair and Jason & The Argan Oil on rotation in my shower. I’ve tried a couple of their conditioner bars but stick to Candy Rain for my dry hair.

Sweet Husky

The Full of Grace solid serum, I loved the concept & thought it sounded like it would be good for my skin but holy break outs. Also, it didn’t melt on contact like other pressed serums I have used do. It really took some tugging & pulling to get it onto my face which isn’t something I want to be putting my skin through on the regular.

Are you a LUSH fan, are all of the stores so small? I’m curious to know what they look like in other regions. I live in close proximity to 4 different locations & they are roughly the size of a modest master bedroom. Let me know what your favorite products are – thanks for stopping by 🤍

On the 8th Day of Blogmas: Scent of the Season

Blogmas

But before we get into today’s Blogmas; a story about renting in America. I rent, owning a home does not appeal to me in the slightest. I figured this out while house hunting the last year or so. Snow clearing, plowing, lawn care, having a driveway sealed, picking out new windows & all of the other delightful things that come along with homeownership just aren’t things that I am interested in. I can appreciate a beautiful home & the hard work that goes into one but it’s not for me. My apartment is my home, it’s not just another stop on the ride to somewhere else as it seems to be for most other renters. I take care of it just as I would if I did own it, the actual owners don’t. I’ve had numerous maintenance needs that I have ended up taking care of on my own or paying someone else to do it because the maintenance here is nonexistent. Recently, my shower started draining slower than normal so I dumped some Drano down it thinking my hair had just backed it up. Not the case, apparently the neighbors below me had a major clog from their washing machine that ended up causing some water main to back up & burst. First of all – what the fuck are you putting in your washing machine & how was I supposed to know?! So my building manager calls me to see if I have had any drainage issues, I tell him about the bath to which he freaks out & asks why I didn’t say anything. Because you wouldn’t have taken a look anyway. My kitchen sink dripped for months until I replaced it, I have water stains on my spare bedroom ceiling from rainwater leaking in while the roof was being replaced. The smoke alarm in my living room goes off randomly which isn’t disruptive to my life at all. All of which, I have requested maintenance for! But me not reporting a maintenance issue is such a huge problem & this sums up renting in America. All of the responsibility falls on the renter when in reality, aren’t we the customers. Shouldn’t we be the ones being made happy?! I’m over it, almost enough to start looking at houses…

Good news on that crazy Bath & Body Works order(s), their customer service was able to cancel the duplicate orders but I will have to keep the additional candles that I had added by accident because of site latency. No complaints though, it’s not like I won’t use the extra candles 😛 Which brings us to today’s topic, my current home scent picks for the holiday season! First, I have this Winter Pine candle from ULTA, that is surprisingly good for a new candle brand! It is a 3-wick soy blend that is the perfect blend of pine, spice & musk. It smells exactly like a sappy, fresh cut Christmas tree – I love it. I will say that it doesn’t burn as clean as a Bath & Body Works candle, I’ve had to skim the burnt wax off a few times to keep it burning but other than that it has been fine. Sadly, it is now out of stock but Fresh Balsam, Tree Farm & Mahogany Balsam from Bath & Body Works are all very similar scents.

Next, are these Fresh Pine & Juniper Airwick that I found at Walmart recently. These are definitely a sharper tree scent but still pleasant & not PineSol smelling – although, I do love the scent of PineSol so I might be biased. I have not seen these ones in year prior but I hope they keep making them. My apartment smells like a tree farm now & it’s perfectly festive.

I’m not totally sure why I associate pine scents with Christmas, I think it’s the memories of wood burning in the stove in addition to the fresh tree in the living room that puts me in a holiday spirit whenever I smell it. What are your favorite holiday scents? I used to really like Champagne Toast but now it just smells like burnt plastic to me. Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you are surviving this holiday season 🎄

On The 7th Day of Blogmas: Holiday Movie Watch List

Blogmas

Have these movies all been watched at least a hundred times by most everyone on the face of the earth? Yes. Are we still going to watch them on repeat until New Years? Given the current lockdown situation, probably. Listen, I just don’t think that the cheesy, made for television holiday romps will ever compare to the classics. They’re cute but they don’t have that re-watch ability factor for me. I can watch Kevin McCallister slap aftershave on his face 50 times over & still laugh…I can only watch a hunky knight kiss Vanessa Hudgens under the mistletoe like…once. Not to mention, those feel good films make myself & most single females bitter – when am I going to be proposed to on Christmas by some time traveling hunk?! Never, the answer is never.

My inner monologue watching Hallmark movies…

I much prefer holiday comedy films over the feel good rom-coms, but everyone’s taste is different. These are just a few that I must watch each year.

Frosty Regular

Just the original for me, please – Lost in New York is pretty good but can the same preposterous thing happen two times over? Seems unlikely. I am sure that we all know the premise of this classic, Kevin makes a Christmas wish for his whole family to disappear & Father Christmas grants this wish when the family hits a flight to Paris & leaves him home alone. Kevin enjoys his newfound freedom until a couple of local burglars case his family home. It’s a classic that I think has aged very well and should not be remade.

Frosty Regular

Probably my favorite holiday movie, I love this quirky, crazy, relatable chronicle of Christmas with the Griswolds. Again, it’s a hilarious depiction of how the holidays can go so wrong but still be so much fun when the family gets together. The turkey scene especially kills me, my mom would start cooking the turkey at about 2 AM & cook that thing for hours. I still don’t know why, when I started cooking my own turkey & realized that it takes a mere few hours, I figured out why my mother’s turkey was always so dry 😛 No, sometimes it was perfect but I still don’t understand the 12-hour cook time.

Frosty Regular

This is a newer addition to my holiday rotation but it became a fast favorite – probably because it is set in 1940 which just adds to its charm. The movie chronicles Ralphie’s attempts to acquire a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. The costumes & sets are simply perfect, it’s just a delight. I’m that crazy person who will actually sit & watch this one on marathon, it’s so much fun & who can’t relate to desperately wanting something for Christmas as a kid?

Frosty Regular

Scott Calvin has stopped believing in the magic of Christmas until he inadvertently pushes Santa off his roof & finds himself having to the fill the role. My favorite parts of this one are when single dad Scott burns the holiday meal & they have to eat at a Denny’s that is fresh out of pie & when Neal receives a Weenie Whistle. It’s a fun move that touched on some very real topics, like navigating a new family dynamic during the holidays & hanging onto the true meaning of Christmas.

Frosty Regular

This one tends to end up on some worst movie lists but I think it’s delightful. Howard is a high-powered mattress salesman who forgets to secure a hot toy item for his son. This leads to a hysterical series of events as he tries to find a Turbo Man for Christmas morning. There are a lot of Minnesota landmarks in this film; Mall of America, Wabasha St. & downtown St. Paul, the Cedar bridge – it’s fun to watch.

My favorite thing to do is have these on repeat while I wrap gifts through the night. Do I have any reason so stay up all night & wrap gifts? No, it’s not like there is anyone in the house that I need to have asleep so I can wrap gifts 😛 Also, I never wrap gifts on Christmas Eve anyway because most of them need to be in the mail well before Christmas. So usually, it’s like a random Tuesday night that I am staying up way too late wrapping gifts & watching holiday movies. What are your favorite holiday movies, let me know if any of there top your list!

On The 5th Day of Blogmas: Dreaming of a White Christmas ❄

Blogmas

December 5th, still no snow. Growing increasingly disappointed in 2020, if that’s even imaginable. I cannot believe that we still don’t have any snow on the ground! We had 2-3 inches right before Halloween & it seemed that we were well on our way into winter. Then November hit with a series of unseasonably warm weeks, not days, weeks. Seemingly, there is no end in sight & very little precipitation in the forecast. I just knew that 2020 would find a way to ruin Christmas. I’m being a tad dramatic, perhaps.

For me, snow is an integral part of the holiday season. I could never live in a climate where snow is rare or nonexistent. I love the smell of snow, the reflection of it on a dark night, the way it sparkles against lights. The best Christmas day memories are those of sledding or ice skating after the indoor festivities had commenced. Many of these idealic days were punctuated with beautiful snow showers. I can’t remember any brown Christmases & yet that seems to be the norm now. This makes me a bit sad, I can honestly say that I’ve witnessed climate change during my lifetime. I mean, it doesn’t just cease to snow in a cold climate for simply no good reason.

The lack of cold weather & snow doesn’t just put a damper on my holiday spirit – I love cold weather sports. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowboarding & ice skating are all dependent on good winter conditions & it’s not even cold enough for a coat right now.

I will be tremendously disappointed if it doesn’t snow by Christmas, I didn’t think that this year could be more of a let down & here we are 😐 Do you have any snow in your neck of the woods? Let me know so I can move there 😂

On the 4th Day of Blogmas: Candle Day

Blogmas

…palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…When I heard that Bath & Body Works was extending their Candle Day event & including an online shopping day – I didn’t pay it much mind. I never make it into the store for the big event anyway because I cannot handle crowds like that under any circumstances let alone during a pandemic. Usually, I just wait until the candles are $14.50 & I have a 20% coupon which brings the candles down to almost the same price as the candle day deal then I go to the store for a leisurely shopping experience. However, on further inspection of said coupon, this year it said that it cannot be combined with other offers or sales. What?! I get it, retailers are definitely struggling & probably less inclined to offer deals on deals on deals. So, here I am, 5 AM (I always get up at 5, I wasn’t doing it for Candle Day), going back & forth on whether or not I was going to give in & purchase some candles online. But, Stella – you just received a box of broken glass that is still sitting in your closet & your online ordering experiences have been less than 10/10.

Here’s the thing, I have a home fragrance obsession & I still needed to replace the candles that I was going to give as gifts because they are going to be the center item in these baskets I’m putting together. Now, I had considered swapping them for a bottle of wine but a couple of friends have stopped drinking during the pandemic & everyone can enjoy a candle. I decided that I was going to replace the gift candles & treat myself to one seasonal scent. Seems reasonable, right? Here’s what actually happened.

To start why is online shopping so difficult? It’s supposed to be easy, it never is unless your are shopping on Amazon which sucks because that’s why people shop so much on Amazon – myself included. I’ve never had payment issues, had an item be in stock when I check out & then received an email saying that the item was actually not in stock, they process refunds incredibly fast, replace missing items – just to name a few reasons that keep me coming back to Amazon. Obviously, being a brick & mortar retailer who also has e-commerce is different than only ever existing as an online retailer. Their logistics capabilities probably blow most other retailers out of the water. I have never heard of Amazon crashing even though they sell an average of 4,000 items per minute. Bath & Body Works goes live with Candle Day & the site almost immediately crashes. Why? Why does Amazon seemingly have access to far & away more bandwidth than any other online retailer?! It’s all the same internet, I don’t get it. So, I just knew that after 5 minutes of the website spinning & then getting the Uh-Oh screen that this was going to be a ride.

I have zero patience for online shopping, I would much rather go to a store in person & stand in line if need be. These retailers want me to wait in an online queue in the world of ones & zeros?! I don’t think so. Also, I am not very online shopping savvy – I’ve heard of shoppers using multiple computers or devices to navigate websites. I literally cannot be bothered. I decided to just leave the site & come back, when I came back it took awhile to load but it eventually did. There were a couple of scents that I wanted that were already sold out, no big deal because I was only getting one for me anyway. I’m adding to bag but had to click multiple times to actually get items to the bag, everything seemed fine otherwise, I’m so close to checking out that I can taste it. I choose PayPal because I think that’s the most secure way to check out online. The website timed out when it was sending me over to PayPal. I back up, my bag is empty, I refill it, select PayPal & this time it works. Huzzah! Back to the B&BW website, the submit order button is greyed out so I refresh the page. It’s clickable, the end is near. Processing, processing, confirmation from PayPal…processing, processing, another confirmation from PayPal….& then another. In the end, I ended up with three orders with multiples of items that I thought I was only selecting 1 each of but I’m guessing that I was adding to bag but the bag wasn’t updating…? Apparently, I have ordered almost 40 candles. I contacted B&BW immediately to let them know that they were all duplicate orders, there is no reason for them to ship 2 additional orders to me when I know they are swamped & nobody needs that many candles!! I can’t believe that the orders weren’t immediately flagged.

I’m stressed, my heart hurts a little – like a tightness in my chest. I think I should lay down. Do people actually enjoy online shopping?! How is this enjoyable, shopping stresses me out anyway but there is something so intangible about online shopping that really makes me anxious. I don’t feel like I have actually successfully purchased something until it’s physically in my hands. My hope is that they see that there are multiple duplicate orders but that still doesn’t remedy the fact that I was obviously clicking around too much & adding more than one item to my bag. Everything is mostly sold out now so I guess I’m glad that I shopped early…?

I’m tired, are you an online shopper? I know that you cannot beat the convenience but gosh, it seems like such an ordeal more often than not. I would probably have been better off just hitting the store tomorrow but here we are. If the candles arrive busted, that’s it for me & online shopping.