Tag Archives: christmas

Holiday Q & A

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Holiday Q & A

Hi everyone and happy holiday season! Today, I thought that it would be fun to do a little Holiday Q & A to get in the spirit of Christmas. Feel free to copy these questions onto your page and answer them to share in the festivities!

What is on your Christmas wish list? Shoes, shoes, shoes, Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, shoes, some facial scrubs, and a few more pairs of shoes.

What is winter weather like in your area? In Akron, Ohio it’s pretty snowy at the moment. But, earlier in the month we had obscenely warm weather for December.

Favorite holiday treat? Peppermint Mocha drinks from Starbucks! I always treat myself to one or two during the holiday season.

Are you easy or hard to shop for? I get told that I am both. For people that know me really well, I’m sure they would say that I’m easy to shop for. But acquaintances would probably say I’m more difficult, because of my distinctive style and personality.

Favorite holiday movie? I don’t really have one, actually. Although, my family normally watches Step Brothers during the holiday season at some point or another lolol.

Do you prefer a White Christmas? I don’t really care… hahaha I guess not though. I don’t like the snow all that much.

Favorite cold weather activity? Going ice skating at my favorite outdoor rink in Akron!

Favorite holiday memory? I love watching people open their presents from me – it never gets old!

So there you have it, my Holiday Q & A! How would you answer some of my questions? What are some of your own holiday themed Q & A’s? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Oh, Christmas Tree

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Oh, Christmas Tree

Hello everyone and happy holiday season! My family is…eccentric to say the least. We have our quirks and distinctive personalities and I’m confident that people would pay to hear our daily banter. One of our infamous “parlor tricks” is leaving our Christmas tree up for just a little bit longer every year. First it was March, then June, then July…you get the drift. And now, our tree has just been up all year because, apparently, we like it too much to take it down. Take a look:

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My family, especially my father, loves ornaments. On vacations, I normally treat my dad to a new one as a special surprise from our travel destination. Our tree is filled to the brim with lights and baubles and it has become such a statement piece in our home that no one really questions it anymore.

Not only has our tree been up for a year now, but we decided to decorate it for the different holidays, as you can see by our Easter bunnies and eggs that are still up. We revel in our ornaments from organizations that we donate to, and we can’t pass up a good bargain. For example, the speaker that you see by the figure skater ornament (Compliments of when I competed in New York!), is attached to a four dollar strand of Rudolph themed ornaments that sing holiday carols. We were all pretty pleased with that one!

The never taken down tree in our living room has truly become a Mushenheim staple and I think that it’s hilarious. Much like a collector of coins or stamps, we take pride in our ornament collection and have it proudly displayed for the world to see…all year round. Lololol. #ohchristmastree

What is one of the quirks that you and your family share? What is the longest that you left your Christmas tree up? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Non-Turkey Holiday Meal Alternatives

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Non-Turkey Holiday Meal Alternatives

Sorry to say it, but Christmas is less than two weeks away. Of course, you probably knew that already. That ever-ticking time bomb is the main reason why we’re all going crazy for gift ideas and last-minute preparations at the moment. If you don’t know what you’re doing on the day yet, it’s past time you decided. The holiday season waits for no one!

Somewhere among all of this preparation madness, most of us turn our attention to food. If you’re hosting the big meal this year, it’s likely that this is the only thing you are thinking about. At few other times of the year are we expected to prepare so much food for so many people. Lucky for you, there are plenty of guides out there about how to make this task a little easier. But, there’s no getting around the fact that there’s still an immense amount of pressure when the time comes.

On top of which, some of us can’t stomach the traditional option. Turkey is an acquired taste. And, for those of us who most definitely haven’t acquired it, the holiday season can be stressful at best. If you’ve only just managed to push the Thanksgiving turkey from your mind, the last thing that you want to do is eat it again at Christmas. As such, your job becomes even harder.

You’ll be glad to know that, while turkey has become a holiday staple, this is down to nothing more than convenience. While it’s difficult to say exactly when this tradition started, it was fast in place by 1863, when Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This is thought to be primarily due to the size of the things. There were few other types of meat available in the past that were large enough. In fact, beef wasn’t readily available until the late 19th century. So, the only alternative was chicken. For obvious reasons, it wasn’t the best for large meals, and turkeys took center stage. They were a cheap way to feed a lot of people.

We’ve taken up the tradition, and now pay more and more for turkey each year. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re hosting dinner this year, why not try something a little different? To keep everyone happy, you may want to prepare a turkey crown on the side. Chances are, though, that you’re not the only one fed up with turkey. So, before the big event, ask your guests if they’d be interested in the following alternatives:

A few different types of meat:

Turkey may have been the only 19th century choice, but that’s not the case anymore. Now, you have anything to choose from. For some families, a mixture of Christmas meats is standard. You can place your meats in the middle of the table, and leave guests to take what they fancy.

To make this work, consider meats which are relatively different from each other. It wouldn’t be any good serving chicken alongside turkey. Instead, you could opt for a mixture of beef, pork, and turkey. These all offer different taste sensations, which are sure to go down well. And, this way, you can ensure that you get a decent dinner without having to turn to the turkey.

Salmon as an alternative:

You may not realize it, but turkey isn’t the only traditional option open to you. Salmon has also found its place in the holiday hall of fame. Admittedly, most people opt for this as a starter or breakfast treat on the day. But, there’s no reason you can’t make it work as an alternative primary meal. By buying a whole salmon, like those found at Citarella gourmet market, you can ensure that you have enough to go around. These fish are huge!

Bear in mind that, if offering this alternative, you may want to provide a sauce other than gravy. While most meats would work with a standard turkey gravy, your salmon certainly wouldn’t. Instead, offer a creamy sauce or a honey mustard alternative. Other than that, you can serve your salmon alongside the turkey and again, ensure everyone’s happy.

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^^^ Another turkey alternative.

A nut roast alternative:

If you have vegetarians coming, you may already be planning a nut roast. Why not stick with that yourself? By incorporating orange peel and cranberries, you can have plenty of Christmas flavors. And, you can still enjoy all the trimmings which make a Christmas dinner what it is. As a non-veggie, you could even get stuck into pigs in blankets without worry! Still, you’ll be able to steer clear of the turkey.

While it is a traditional vegetarian option, a decent nut roast is more challenging to come by than you might think. They’re nearly impossible to find in shops nowadays, and there are a lot of dodgy recipes out there. Make sure to try this out before the event to make sure that your choice is the right one. It wouldn’t be unusual to have to try a few before settling on your winner.

Often, there are warning signs about whether a recipe will work or not. Look out for the binding ingredient, the vegetables used, and the seasonings. All of these work together to make a huge difference. You may end up having to mix a few recipes to achieve the right effect, and that’s okay. This is very much a practice makes perfect situation. By the time you reach an end result, you can be sure that your vegetarian guests will be glad for your dislike of turkey!

 

Your own concoction:

Of course, you could do away with tradition altogether, and concoct your own dish for the day. While guests may be surprised at first, this is sure to be a standout dinner for them. And, again, as long as you offer a small amount of turkey, too, this is sure to work well. Alternatives worth considering include beef wellington, roast duck, or something like a sausage and stuffing plate. Have a look through your cookbooks and decide which recipes sound most appealing. Then, think about ways to make them festive. Staple flavorings, such as stuffing, cranberries, and orange peel, could all help to get your concoction cooking.

Focus on the veggies:

You could argue that the trimmings are the best thing about the meal. For proof, consider that many vegetarians don’t even opt for an alternative (I don’t!). Instead, they’re quite happy to make do with all the lovely veggies and some fluffy roast potatoes. So, why don’t you just get rid of your turkey, and enjoy everything else?

To ensure a turkeyless dinner works well, go all out with your additions. Make sure your stuffing is extra good and roast those parsnips in honey so they have an extra something special. You could also make cauliflower cheese, which would form an alternative centerpiece of its own. And, of course, don’t forget all of your traditional festive veggies. Brussel sprouts may divide the crowd, but they need to feature on there somewhere. Rich greens, such as curly kale, can also provide a fantastic Christmas taste sensation. You might even want to go all out with your gravy. Adding spices and herbs while cooking this can make a massive difference to the taste.

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Mmmmm

A final word:

You don’t have to eat turkey if you don’t want to. But, if you are going all out with something different, you may want to warn your guests. We are creatures of habit, after all, and a last minute change of plan might not go down well. Instead, let them know what you’re going to do. As mentioned above, turkey is rarely a favorite. The chances are that your guests will surprise you with how willing they are to try other things. And, of course; that small turkey crown will please those who simply can’t go without tradition.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Top Gift Ideas For The Whole Family

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Top Gift Ideas For The Whole Family

If you want to find a gift that the whole family can enjoy, then you are not alone. Every single year, people try and find gifts for a group of people rather than buying gifts for them individually and this can cause real problems. This is especially the case if the family members in question don’t share many common interests. Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas out there for you to choose from and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to find something that matches your family perfectly!

Family Mugs: A lot of people feel a relentless sense of anger when they find someone else using their mug. We all have a favorite mug, one that we use to get us through those cold winter nights and even those long nights after work. If you want to put an end to those mug-wars then why not consider buying a family mug set? You could personalize each one with the name of the person and even a cartoon picture of them, as well. You can also create one for any guests that come to your home, so there will be no more arguing or bloodshed when the time to make coffee approaches.

Ice Cream Machine: An ice-cream machine is a must-have in the summer months. The best thing about having an ice-cream machine is that they are very easy to use and they are also good for the kids to use, as well. All you have to do is add the mixture to the machine and turn it on. The machine will then chill the ice-cream over time and when it’s ready, you can scoop it right out of the machine. This is way better when compared to making it yourself because you don’t have to worry about putting it in the freezer or even blending it properly. You can then add your own flavors if you’re feeling adventurous!

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YUM.

Family Bucket List: We all have things that we want to do before we kick the bucket, so a family bucket list is really fitting if you know that everyone has a mental list of what they want to do. It’s actually possible for you to buy kits that give you the chance to do this, and each one comes with a container and a list of slips for you to write what you want to do on there. Everyone can see the list going down as feats are accomplished, and it’s ideal for those who have adventurous family members!

Games Consoles: A gaming console is a brilliant way for you to get the whole family involved. You can buy quiz games and you can also buy family-fun games as well. If you have a family of console-lovers or even mobile app gamers, then games such as Final Fantasy 15 are great for this. You can even buy in-game extras and this can include currency and so much more, so it’s ideal if you want to give them a head-start.

Family Charades: Charades is quite possibly the game that causes the most arguments in a family. It is incredibly fast-paced and it is also very fun. When you do play charades, you will be given something to act out. It could be a movie, an actor, or anything else. You can get the kids involved with this and it is a great way for you to make sure that everyone is included. These sets don’t cost much, either, so if you want to have something that the kids can play then this is a good option for you.

Sweets Basket: Who doesn’t like sweets? Sweets baskets are the easiest way for you to get something for everyone without breaking the bank. They show that you thought about the recipients and you can put tags on the individual sweets, too. On top of this, you can add extra goodies to the gift basket. This could be a mug or it could be a selection of coffee. You can make something for each family member or you can make a joint one. Either way, this is ultimately the easiest way for you to appeal to everyone and you can do the whole thing yourself with bows, ribbon and more!

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 YUM again!

Finding the whole family a gift is relatively easy and there are plenty of ideas above to get you started. Happy holidays!

Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

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Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

Due to how Christmas has developed over the years, the holiday has become more about giving presents than anything else. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – you can easily show how much someone means to you with a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You don’t have to spend millions; a smaller budget can actually make you think more about the meaning behind the gift that you’re giving.

It’s also a great opportunity to slyly slip forward your wish list for gifts that you hope will turn into reality. And for people with slightly more expensive hobbies, like photography, it can be a rare chance to get something you really really really want. Like some of the following:

Lens:

A lens can cost anywhere between fifty and five hundred dollars easily. And it really depends on the camera you have, the quality of the lens you want, and the type of lens you’re after. If you ask for a lens, maybe ask for a case for one, too. You wouldn’t want any breaks to happen immediately after you get your gift!

Cases:

Speaking of cases, a new case could really change the game for you. You might need a waterproof one, and that might just be for the camera while in use or for storage. You can get a branded case, which is designed to fit your particular camera or a generic one which is designed to house a range of sizes.

Tripods:

Ranging from large and traditional to small and versatile, a tripod is a great way to take your photography to the next level. Plus, they aren’t that expensive. Most tripods can fit a bunch of different cameras, so you don’t have to get the branded one. If you’re going to be shooting off in the wild, you might want to look a bit deeper into the specs before choosing.

Camera:

And then, there’s an actual camera. We all know how costly a good camera can be, and it’s likely that you’ve been saving for a while so you can get one yourself. Rather than asking one person to get you one this Christmas, why not ask it of multiple people? It will spread the cost, and it’ll be more likely that you can get the one you’d really like. Or you can always offer to go halfsies.

When looking for the camera you’d like, don’t just go for the flashiest model. Think about what you actually want the camera to do. Are you shooting outside or in? Will you be using a tripod more than going free hand? Do you need the best low light camera or the best portrait camera? Or even one that’s decent at doing both? There are many things to consider, and if you’re just starting out, it’s worth getting one that covers a lot of different options. As your skills develop, you’ll know exactly what kind you need when you get around to upgrading. Maybe next Christmas?

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

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Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

Howdy! I have been asked a lot recently for advice on holiday shopping, since I finished my present purchasing way ahead of the game last week. I take holiday shopping and birthday present buying very seriously, because I love to spoil my family and friends. Of course, random prezzies throughout the year are nice, but it’s fun to go hard on the major gift giving occasions. Now, I’m going to walk you through a step by step guide on my holiday shopping process to help you finish your purchasing with December to spare:

Make a list: I know that I say this all of the time, but it’s true. Type or write out all of the people that you need to shop for and then start narrowing down the best gift for him or her. What are their hobbies? What is their favorite food or type of music? What is something that they would like to have but would never buy for themselves? These are all excellent places to start.

More on gift selecting: Still stuck? Let’s talk about some of my go to present selections:

  • Alcohol is always a good choice if you’re buying for one of your girlfriends or brothers. Who wouldn’t want a six pack of Christmas ale or a bottle of vino?
  • If you’re buying for a couple, how about treating them to a date night? Gift cards for restaurants and movie theaters are a great place to start.
  • Groupon vouchers can also be a nice surprise. I received two vouchers for a Paint Nite event at a bar one year and my guest and I had an absolute ball.
  • Lotions, candles, and other bath and body care treats are also a fool proof selection if you are buying for a sister, your mom, or a girlfriend. Customize a gift set for them filled with smell goods, fuzzy socks, and a sleeping mask for the ultimate pampering party.
  • Buying a subscription is another really good option. Popping for a few months of a Netflix, Hulu, Ipsy, or Birch Box subscription is the gift that keeps on giving and they are not overly expensive.

Purchasing time: After you’ve made your list and checked it twice, it is time to move on to the actual purchasing of the presents. I prefer to do every possible bit of my shopping online, and then buy the rest of my presents in store as needed. I am a faithful member of Amazon and a majority of my shopping was done on there this year. I then went to the shops on a week day afternoon to do the rest of my buying and eliminated all of my holiday purchasing in one huge swoop.

Online shopping tips: If, like me, you prefer to shop online, then there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are always getting the best deal. Such as:

  1. Signing up for emails or rewards programs. Most websites will give you an extra incentive to sign up for their email updates, like ten percent off a purchase or free shipping. Every little bit helps!
  2. Using websites like Retail Me Not or Honey to find coupon codes for different websites. Note that some websites rarely have promotion codes like Amazon, TJMaxx, and Zara.
  3. Do your research. Read reviews of the products that you are going to buy and Google them, as well. You can’t physically touch and look at what you’re thinking of purchasing so this is the online equivalent.
  4. Check out multiple different websites to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

In store shopping tips: I avoid shopping in store during the holidays like the plague. However, it has to be done sometimes and this is how I avoid the hustle and bustle of hitting the shops:

  1. Go shopping during non peak traffic times. A week day afternoon is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for that, then try going late in the evening or early in the morning. The less people around while you’re shopping, the better.
  2. It’s also important to make a game plan while shopping in store. Know exactly who you’re shopping for and where each item that you need is located in the store. Wandering aimlessly can be stressful and ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Use coupons, in store sales, and apps. Plenty of stores now use apps and rewards programs to give their customers great deals. Find them, use them, and love them. Every little bit helps!

And finally, make sure that you double check all of your items that you purchased in store or online for any defects in the products. The sooner you find a problem and correct it, the less you have to stress about it – especially if you have to ship back the item and rebuy it.

So there you have it, Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips! Was this guide helpful to you? What are some of your tips to holiday shopping that I didn’t cover? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

All Done Holiday Shopping!!

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All Done Holiday Shopping!!

HURRAY HURRAY! As of this week, I am officially all done holiday shopping and I seriously could not be happier. Being finished with gift buying less than halfway through November might seem obscenely early to some but, for me, it is just right. For as long as I can remember, I have never been one that enjoys last minute shopping or even going to the shops as Christmas draws closer. Don’t get me wrong, I love holiday set ups in stores and magnificent window displays just as much as the next person but, my god, the stress can be unbearable.

What if I can’t find just the right present in store? What if the gift arrives broken or the shipment gets delayed? What if the present is out of stock by the time I get to buying it? What if, what if, what if. AHHH! Just typing this out gives me anxiety!! I am far from the home stretch, just because Amazon packages still have to arrive, but the fact that I’m ninety-nine percent done makes me breathe easier.

Not only the aforementioned, but I’m happy to get one big bill out of the way now, rather than have it broken up into December when I’ll be trying to save moolah again. Hello, holiday cash! This is the earliest that I’ve ever completed my holiday shopping before, and I find myself wondering why I haven’t done it like this every year. The major stress of the season is gone and now I can sit back, relax, and sip my hot chocolate while the rest of my family and friends do the December Dash to get all of their shopping done in time! But that’s none of my business. 😉 😉 😉

Who else is all done holiday shopping? Who is a last minute gift buyer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah