Random Holiday Tips

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Over the weekend I hit The Dollar Tree.  Their stuff keeps improving every year.  I bought 6 rolls of wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, tissue paper, tape, and a few other things.  Always go there first!  Afterwards, I hit Target.  

Wrapping Paper:

I bought 3 different styles of wrapping paper.  One will be for immediate family gifts, one for one side of the family, and the other for the other side of the family. I try to make sure they are in the same color family so they look good under the tree, but that’s not really that important to me.  I would rather the paper be cute.  

Coffee:  

Make your coffee special by buying special holiday flavored creamers or add a bit of whipped cream.  Another trick is to use egg nog as your creamer!

Last year I discovered the joy that is bourbon cream.  I would usually have this with my afternoon coffee over the winter break.  In Germany, we got used to a 3:00 coffee and I loved it.  You can also use this with your decaf if you are like me and stop your caffeine intake fairly early during the work week.  

img_4663

If you are invited to someone’s house or if you are having people over, I would keep a good supply of easy frozen appetizers on hand.  Trader Joe’s has the best in my opinion.  But, one of our favorite easy appetizers is a block of cream cheese (I use the lighter Neufchatel) with red pepper jelly on top served with wheat thins.  For Christmas, I cut the rectangle in half diagonally and form a tree!  It’s so easy but festive.  

img_4662.png

Another easy treat is my pretzel rolos but with Christmas red and green m and m’s.  Check it out again here!  

We started a tradition of getting the good chips and salsa on Christmas Eve to be eaten on Christmas day from a local Mexican restaurant and I also make Christmas queso – Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  You just buy the white Velveeta instead of the yellow and with the Rotel it’s Christmas colors.  

What are your random holiday tips?  

Hope you enjoyed these!

Amy 

Hello Monday!

Monday, December 10, 2018

O.k. – 10 more days until break!  I actually got a lot accomplished this weekend. I’m linking up today with My Glittery Heart, Lindsay’s Sweet World, and The Sirois Family.  Check out the other posts here.

I scheduled my Kroger pick up for Friday right after school and it was a semi-disaster.  I had to go back three times before I could get my groceries – long and boring story.  I squeezed in a quick drink at Mojito with a co-worker, and also visited my new Matilda Jane trunk keeper.  If you are local to Louisville and need one, let me know in the comments.  I ordered a black pair of fin pants.  

In keeping with my trying to squeeze in some husband time in the midst of my current situation with my mom living with me and my dad in the hospital, hub and I stopped at this place on our way to visit at the hospital and bring my mom home.  It is on Bardstown Road and has a nice atmosphere.  We should have ordered the fried chicken which they are most known for, but we ordered sloppy joe, spoon bread, and greens to split.  

img_4627.png

In Germany, I discovered this refreshing grapefruit beer.  It sounds weird, but it is really good.  

Look at this cozy private nook.  Joanne, you might like this!  Check out her blog at Europafox.com if you want to fall in love with England!  

Saturday morning I practiced a little hygge with my coffee and candle.  I love mornings when the dog and I are the only ones moving.  

O.k., you have got to buy this and add your own bourbon.  It is so good.  My friend K and I love this.  I need to make time to see her this break!  

I bought this champagne flavored cotton candy and I’m going to put it in my champagne!  It’s a thing!  How fancy, right?  Maybe I will do this on Christmas Eve. 

It was early Saturday morning and my mom and I went to Target and Dollar Tree before the crowds hit.  It was bliss.  

This is my favorite Christmas decoration.  I have all of our cards framed from over the years.  

Looks at these guys!  

We finally put the tree up!  

Egg nog!  

This boy is allowed to sleep with us.  

Sunday morning was the first coffee with the tree up.  I did some meal prep for the week, my mom and I went to Costco, we went to the hospital.  I left my mom there while I did lunch for my boys, they had a friend over, I went back to the hospital with treats for my parents, took friend home, then made dinner.  Whew!  

How was your weekend?  I can’t wait to read about it if you blog.  If you don’t leave me a comment!

Thanks for reading!

Amy 

Friday Favorites

Friday, December 7, 2018

We made it to Friday, y’all! I’m getting a little nervous when I see the date on the calendar already says December 7th and I have so much left to do!  I did start putting a dent in my Christmas gift list last night – thank goodness for online shopping.  This weekend I’m going to hit the local stores – wish me luck!  How about you?  What do you have on tap?  

I’m linking up today with Andrea, Erika, Shay, etc. so check out the other posts here!

Here are my faves from the week!

Bravo does it again!  Unanchored is a show about a group of friends who rent a Catamaran sailboat for three weeks in The Bahamas.  I haven’t finished the first episode yet but it’s going to be typical juicy Bravo content!  Anyone else watching it?  

img_4596

I taped this Hallmark movie because I have this book checked out from the library!  I’m trying to read the book before I watch the movie.  It’s cute so far!  

img_4597

When my boys saw the cover, they laughed and laughed and made fun of the books I read!  At least I read, right?  

I love my Target plastic plates.  I have fall ones that I showed you awhile back and I have spring flowery ones.  I also have these for Christmas.  I keep them in a stack on my table.  I think I purchased 10.  I purchased three different designs.  I can’t remember if they had more than that, but these were the three that I liked best.  

I have been perusing Nordstrom’s website for gift ideas – and for myself, too, I must admit.  I have these Kate Spade glitter studs – I bought them on sale several years ago and wear them all of the time!  I wear them in the summer with my swimsuit and coverup or a baseball cap and in the winter with my scarves.  These would make a great and affordable gift.  Use the filters on Nordstrom’s website and you will find lots of good stuff.  Don’t think it’s out of your budget because they have great gifts for less than you might pay at Target. 

Costco’s Christmas cards are already a great deal, but if you are a member and have not ordered cards yet like me, they are 20% off until Sunday.  Sometimes being late like me pays off!

img_4611.png

How has your week been?  Any favorites?  I’m going to try to not stress out this weekend and just go about my holiday chores with a good attitude, some good Christmas music, and maybe a Starbuck’s seasonal drink or a Chick Fil A peppermint mocha milkshake!  I think we have a chance for a bit of snow, too!  

Check out this week’s posts if you missed anything…

December Bucket list here

Gift ideas here

What I wore here

Thanks for reading and hope to see you back here on Monday!

Amy 

Thursday Thoughts – December Bucket List

Thursday, December 6, 2018

  1. Start shopping!  Shop locally first.  This wonderful leather goods company was started by my former student.  I would love this leather clutch!

img_4594

This is a great local boutique with great unique gifts!

img_4595-e1544056083176.png

2.  Drink my one annual Chick Fil A peppermint mocha shake  – maybe while shopping!

img_4558-e1544056328683.png

3.  Wrap presents while watching Hallmark movies.

4.  Play Christmas songs on the piano.

5.  Attend Christmas Eve service.

6.  Celebrate with both sides of the family even if my side isn’t the way we always do it this year.

7.  Listen to Christmas music – branch out with Spotify channels, maybe.

8.  Plan quality time with family and friends that I haven’t seen much of lately.

9.  Wear festive Christmas clothes.

10.  Do a family charity project.

What is on your list?

Amy

What I Wore Wednesday

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Happy hump day! I think I forgot to take an outfit picture one day – oops! Here are my outfits from the last week:

Matilda Jane velvet pants, JCP Liz Claiborne top, Kendra Scott necklace, Tory Burch flats.

Friday’s outfit doesn’t look good in my opinion: Vigoss jeans, Tieks gold flats, ON mustard shirt, black Target shawl.

Monday’s outfit: Matilda Jane regular black pants, burgundy velvet top from ON (picked it up in a second color and sized down), Kendra Scott necklace, Lotta clogs.

Tuesday’s outfit: ON plaid tunic length shirt, Matilda Jane velvet, Tory Burch flats.

As you can see I love these pants! I ordered them from website but I had a trunk keeper contact me and she lives very close to me. I would like to try their fin pants:

What do you think? They may be too long on me.

I’m also starting to peruse Nordstrom’s website for my prize money purchases and for gifts! They just have the best website. Check out their gift categories.

Here are a couple of things in my cart. Anyone use Clinique chubbettes?

I love the look of Free People but the sizing has been hard for me on a few things. What do you think of this unique shirt?

Thanks for reading!

Amy

Tuesday Tips – Gift Ideas

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

brown pinecone on white rectangular board
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I truly enjoy shopping for gifts. I love wrapping them, too! But, my favorite is watching people open my gifts. I can hardly wait and always want people to open mine first! I love Christmas, but I realize that it can be too much. My husband and I made the decision to give our kids something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. We give them more than 4 gifts, but we use that as a guideline. My husband and I like to give each other gifts and some years I will say we need to do a joint gift to each other or I will say let’s only spend x on each other. My husband usually can’t stick to it. He is a great gift giver and manages to surprise me most years.

As for extended family, we buy for the four grandparents but no other adults. I have 6 adults we could buy for, but we decided several years ago that it was for the kids and we draw names on my side because there are 9 kids. On hub’s side we only have 4 kids so we do gifts for my two nieces.

paper bags near wall
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

My favorite gifts that I have received:

Keurig coffeemaker, breadmaker, Kindle, Ugg slippers, Sam Eddleman riding boots, Clarisonic, Apple Watch

My favorite gifts I have given:

Simple human trashcan, pajamas, slippers, Amazon firestick, breadmaker, canvas family photos, iPad, blankets

Many years I like to follow a theme:

Cozy blankets

Pajamas

Makeup cases

Slippers

Vests

Jackets

I will tend to do the same things for the grandmothers or grandfathers some years.

I don’t really get too stressed about shopping and get it all done between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I like it to feel like Christmas when I’m shopping and if I finish too early I tend to go buy more stuff that I don’t need.

Fortunately we don’t have to mail anything. Some years we do one side of the family after Christmas.

My Favorite Places to Shop:  

Online:

Amazon, Target.com, Nordstrom.com

In Person:  

Costco, Trader Joe’s (check out their personal hygiene products and seasonal products), Target, Kohl’s (usually just for my boys’ pajamas, socks, underwear), Macy’s, Barnes and Noble

What is your shopping style? What are your favorite gifts to give and to receive? What are your favorite online and in person retailers?  

Amy

Hello Monday!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Can you even believe it’s December already?  I am linking up with My Glittery Heart, Lindsay’s Sweet World, and The Sirois Family today for their Hello Monday linkup.

My Friday started off with a bang.  I opened my email before I read Mix and Match Mama blog or Sheaffer Told Me To blog and it said I had one one of their rafflecopter giveaways from the week!  I was so shocked I couldn’t even believe it!  I picked Nordstrom because of their quality and wide range of things for women and men, makeup, shoes, accessories, and I plan to use some for Christmas gifts – of which I have not started buying, by the way!

I had to take a screenshot of their blog with my name on it!

img_4555

Friday was a good day at school and after school I had a teacher happy hour that was good for me.  I made dinner and then went to the hospital for a bit.

Saturday morning was rainy as I went to the hospital early with the new Starbuck’s juniper latte.  How weird, right?  It smells like a Christmas tree but I really liked it.  Has anyone tried it?  I’m sorry I can’t really describe it.  My mom gave me a gift card to Starbuck’s for helping her and I was happy to use it for the first time.  

This is the scary parking garage curve in the rain.  Lol!

I got to attend my school’s annual craft fair for a bit.

I finished this – couldn’t put it down and it’s obvious that there will be a sequel!

I had a much needed pedicure and I got a mani with just a cut down and polish.

It was a restful weekend with just home and hospital.

Hope you have a great Monday and thanks for reading!

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, November 30, 2018

O.k., I have a few random things for you today, but first I feel like it’s a miracle I have made it through the week! I’m linking up with Andrea, etc. for Friday Favorites. 

These are the black velvet/velour Matilda Jane pants that I wore on Wednesday.  It was maybe a bit too festive for work on a Wednesday, but hey I was comfortable and wanted to try out the pants!

Did you read my Thursday post on struggling through a difficult time?  My husband helped me pick up my mom Wednesday night but first we stopped for a quick dinner and we visited my dad.  It was a nice treat.  I can’t remember the last time we ate at a restaurant just the two of us.  

Have you tried Vietnamese pho?  If you are local, try this place!  It has great food, atmosphere and isn’t too pricey.  

Above is the pho which is like a soup with noodles and below are our pork spring rolls.  

We also got a pork noodle bowl.  We shared everything and brought leftovers home.  

My husband also did a Costco run for us this week and this is our favorite salad.  

My sweet friend B brought over spaghetti, salad, breadsticks, and these delicious cookies for our dinner. 

What are your faves this week?  Any fun weekend plans?  I am hoping to get a much needed pedicure and visit my high school’s art and craft fair.  My boys have haircuts and we will be spending time with my dad at the hospital.  My mom is finally taking a break and we are so happy that she will recharge her batteries.  

Happy, happy Friday!

Amy 

Thursday Thoughts -How to Handle a Difficult Season

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I’m going to get pretty personal here today.  Usually I keep this blog to fashion, recipes, and fun.  But, I’m struggling right now and I know there are many of you out there who are, too.  These are things I’m trying to do right now as I am juggling visiting my dad in the hospital and having my mom live with me.  She is reliant upon us for transportation to and from the hospital and my husband and I work full time jobs and have two kids and a dog.  I know there are people dealing with much more than this on their plates, too.  

-Try to continue your normal routine as best as you can.  I thought about not writing on the blog right now, but it is something that brings me joy so maybe I need this now more than before?

-Do not feel guilty about doing some “normal things” or things that bring you joy.  Look for opportunities to get a coffee, polish your nails, read a book.  It’s the old adage that “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

-Let people help.  If people ask, they want to help.  It makes people happy to help you.

-Outsource what you can.  We have hired a driver to help with transportation for my mom a few times a week.  It’s important to me to take my sons to activities myself but I can’t be in two places at once.

-Don’t neglect your spouse and kids and say thank you a lot.  My husband has been amazing and I’ve tried to thank him more than usual and bring him Blizzards from DQ and other things he likes.  My boys have really matured and stepped up to the plate.  We’ve had some deep conversations and that have brought us closer.  

-Look for the blessings.  I have had such wonderful family, friends, co-workers, bosses, students, blog readers throughout this difficult season. People are good and they will help you if you let them.

I have also conquered some fears.  I don’t like driving at night.  It gets dark before 6 now and I’ve done great.  I had a deep rooted fear of parking garages – this hospital has the scariest, curviest garage entrance and I’ve conquered it.  I hate driving downtown – I’ve managed just fine.

-Be very organized.  This week I had a transportation schedule and a meal schedule on the memo board and it has really helped.  

-It’s o.k. to do take out or make meals easier during this time.  

-Use online grocery shopping or delivery.  That’s what it’s there for.  

-Still decorate and participate in holidays as much as you are able.  One of my blog readers said that one year she regretted not putting up a tree because it made her sadder not to have it and it would’ve brought her comfort.

-Take it one day at a time.  If you think too far ahead, you may get more overwhelmed.  I had a really bad day Monday and thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.  I was thinking too far ahead and not focusing on just getting through that day.  

What things have helped you through a difficult season in life?  If you are currently in one, my thoughts go out to you.

Thanks for reading,

Amy 

What I Wore Wednesday, Books, and Stuff

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

You saw this outfit yesterday, but this is what I wore Monday.  Hospital gift store kimono, black pants, black top, Kendra Scott half price birthday necklace, and black booties.  One of my lovely readers, Nancy, commented on how good hotel and  hospital gifts shops can be – also museum gift stores have really unique things.  Maybe an idea for Christmas gifts if you happen by one of these.  

Tuesday’s outfit was my new Old Navy flannel, long black Walmart cardigan, black leggings, very old Target Frye knock off boots, and faux pearls that were half off last year at a boutique.  My hub and I went to a Great Gatsby themed wedding and I wore these with a black dress that looked a little flapper-esque that I’ve had for years.  

I managed to do one coat of this Monday night.  

I just love my library.  These are all recent recommendations from other bloggers.  

An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer

Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

I will let you know what I think.  I have to start on Winter in Paradise because it’s a 7 day only book.

Remember how I have dark green Matilda Jane consignment pants that were $29 and I just found brown and grey ones for $17 at the same consignment store?  Well, I have a confession.  I ordered black and black velvet pants brand new.  They are $58 dollars each which is more than I typically spend.  But, I have been struggling with pants options and feel like all I have is leggings and jeans for winter.  My next door neighbor teacher is a man and he keeps telling me his 5 and 7 year old daughters have the same pants!  So, yes, maybe I look like a little girl.  I just think they are so unique and they are very good quality.  

When you have teen boys in the house, it’s very hard to have letter boards or anything spelled out.  I have these “BELIEVE” blocks as part of my Christmas decor and it has been changed twice.  Right now it is “bile eve” and yesterday it was something about an eel.  They think they are so clever!

img_4532.jpg

Hope you have a very happy Wednesday and as always, thanks for reading and sticking with me!  Your comments make my day and I’ve really appreciated all of your kind words!

Amy