Tag Archives: christmas

Shake The Holiday Time Stress – Plan Ahead!

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Shake The Holiday Time Stress – Plan Ahead!

Hi! While the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful. All you have to do is visit a store in October to know that the countdown to the holidays are fast approaching because Christmas decorations have taken over. Some people may thrive on leaving holiday preparations to the last minute and that is okay! But it is so not me and if that doesn’t work for you, either, try the tips below to sail smoothly into the holiday season:

Start Shopping Now:

One of the best ways to shake the holiday stress is, of course, starting your shopping early. In fact, I know some people who start shopping for the next Christmas with the end of season sales in January! You don’t need to be this extreme but shopping a few months in advance is a must. This will eliminate any anxiety about if your packages will arrive before your celebrated holiday. It also provides for extra time to return damaged or not as good as you thought presents.

Shopping in advance doesn’t just ensure that all of your prezzies will get to their designated giftee in a timely manner – it is better on your wallet too. Breaking up your buying between several months will also get rid of the stress of a huge credit card bill come January first!

Sort Out The Spread:

Maybe your holiday stress stems from having to prepare a big meal for the family and your guests. Although you can’t buy your food way in advance, there are some things that you can do now. How about sending invites to your holiday dinner that people have to RSVP to? Don’t forget to ask about any allergies! This way, you will know who all will be in attendance so you don’t end up cooking way too much or too little.

Once you have a firm idea of who is joining your holiday dinner and their food preferences, you can plan out your spread accordingly. It might not hurt to have some back up recipes in place just in case you can’t get your hands on a ham or turkey at the grocery store.

Know When To Excuse Yourself:

If you have a strained relationship with a family member or guest at your Christmas gathering, this can be a HUGE stressor. Develop a plan now for what you can do to protect your mental health if this is the case for you and practice it. This could be sticking with the cool cousins for the gathering, arriving after a triggering person has left, or simply knowing when to step away to compose yourself. You have every right to an enjoyable time and having a plan thought out prior to the big day will add a sense of security since you won’t have to wing responses or reactions on the spot.

The holiday season is a joyous time but can it be stressful? Big time. Plan ahead now to eliminate the mad dash feel. Then, when everything is in place: Sit back and relax – you have earned it! ❤

What are your holiday season stressors? How do you prepare for a family gathering? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

*Super* Early Christmas Present

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*Super* Early Christmas Present

Hi! When it comes to gift giving occasions, I simply cannot wait for the day of and ask my giftees if I can give them their presents as soon as they arrive in the mail. My sweet Johnny knows this firsthand because I don’t think we have ever waited until the day of a birthday, anniversary, or holiday to open gifts! This year, Christmas came especially early for us as we already gave each other presents last weekend lol. Take a look at the best give ever from my husband:

I like to do all of my present shopping way ahead of time so, of course, I had Johnny’s Christmas gift ready to go since the beginning of September. I guess I inspired him to shop early because he let me know that he had my gift too!

Knowing that each of us had our prezzies already was going to make it impossible to wait until Christmas. We decided to give each other a hint and if we guessed right, then we would tell each other. Johnny’s hint to me was “it is something that you have wanted for forever but never want to pay for”.

Right off the bat, I was stumped because there’s a million things that I would love to have but don’t want to pay for – mainly clothes related. Then, it clicked. My favorite comic book series, Sandman, by Neil Gaiman will have its own Netflix show which will be releasing soon. Johnny isn’t familiar with it, so I have been talking about it constantly and every time it gets brought up, I mention how much I would like to have the Sandman Omnibuses so I can have the complete collection.

As you can see, I guessed correctly because that is, indeed, what Johnny got for me for Christmas. It is, hands down, one of the best gifts I have ever received and I cannot wait to reread my favorite series in its entirety for the millionth time – no trip to the library required! 😀

One of my many favorite things about Johnny is how incredibly thoughtful he is. This gift is the ultimate testament of how he listens to me when I’m talking, even if I’m rambling about something for the hundredth time. That is the best gift of all – no matter how freaking cool the Omnibuses are! ❤

Who else is excited for the Sandman series on Netflix? Who has started their holiday shopping already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Better Early Than Never!

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Better Early Than Never!

Hello!!! Question: How early is too early to be thinking about Christmas?! If the answer is the first week of September, then WHOOPS because I have already started my Christmas shopping lol. With over fifteen people that I need to buy prezzies for, I always like to get a jump on my shopping so I am not stuck with one huge bill come December. It is also so nice to be done with holiday shopping early because then I can just sit back and enjoy the season. 🙂

Are you looking to get a head start on your holiday shopping too? Then follow these tips:

Make A List:

I always suggest this but it is so true! I would be nowhere without my “to buy” list and have a Word document that I consult while I online shop. On my list, I name off everyone to shop for with multiple gift ideas per person. Once I have bought the presents for someone on my list, I simply delete their space and there is nothing more satisfying than that! Not only does my list keep me organized but it also assists me with budgeting to help me stay in my comfort zone.

Better Early Than Never:

This is probably the earliest I have ever began my shopping and I’m glad for it. Due to the pandemic, there is no telling how long certain items will take to ship and I like knowing that I will have everything ready to go come Christmas day. There is nothing worse than the anxiety of if something will show up before the holiday and early shopping helps nip that fear in the bud.

If you are planning a customized or commissioned present for someone, I can’t recommend consulting with the business now enough. Local artists and Etsy shops are going to be slammed during the holiday season and they might not have the time to create your gift if you wait too long.

Get Inspired:

When I lack inspiration for gift ideas, I like to think back to what hobbies the person has and what they might need to enjoy it even more. For example, one of my giftees is a grill master so I purchased a wood smoking kit for him to experiment with. Do you know someone with a green thumb? A raised planter box is a great idea so they have even more space to garden with. Is there a coffee enthusiast in your life? How about a customized mug?

I love giving hobby specific gifts because I know that my giftee is going to be able to use it. Once you start thinking in terms of what they like to do in their free time, the present possibilities are endless!

Plan Accordingly:

Getting your holiday shopping done early is great. However, it is smart to look into the return and exchange policies of where you are buying from. If your giftee happens to not like their present, you might not be able to do anything about it once the holiday is over. If the website you’re purchasing from has a return policy that won’t work a couple of months away, try finding the item in store instead. Create a back up plan too in case you can’t find it in store and it gets sold out online.

Also, don’t forget to keep your receipts and gift receipts in a safe space and especially don’t forget where you put them! 😀

It’s not even close to Halloween yet but that doesn’t mean that you can’t think a couple of holidays ahead! Follow the tips above to get an awesome head start on your holiday shopping. 🙂

Are you an early or last minute holiday shopper? What is your favorite holiday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fun & (Video) Games Pt. 2

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Fun & (Video) Games Pt. 2

Hi! For one of my Christmas gifts, Johnny let me pick out a game on the Nintendo Switch store for myself since I haven’t had much to play since beating Paper Mario: The Origami King, which he got me for our one year anniversary. I have always enjoyed playing Mario games and ever since playing the new Paper Mario, I have been in a huge Mario mood. Let me just say Mario one more time… MARIO. 😀

Anyways, for my Christmas gift, I decided to go with a three pack of Mario games that included Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Sunshine. I was most looking forward to playing Super Mario Sunshine, as I can remember always being excited to play it at the Target video game section while running errands with my mom whenever I was younger.

Unfortunately, Super Mario Sunshine was a complete bust and, despite having Johnny help me, we had trouble completing even the first few levels. The catch with Super Mario Sunshine is that there is no traditional jump and punch fighting – you are spraying everything with water! The controls were dodgy and the fact that it wasn’t like a classic Mario game in the slightest were definitely grounds to try a different game so I scrapped Sunshine and went with playing Super Mario Galaxy, instead. And, let me tell you, I am SO glad I did!

Super Mario Galaxy was an absolute blast and I finally beat it this past week. It was so much fun because it was such a completely different version of Mario thanks to the outer space setting. Because of gravity, not only could you explore the top part of the platforms but you could also run about on its bottom and sides without fear of falling off. It made each level thrilling because there was so much to do as there was a lot of space to cover.

In Galaxy, it always felt like something new was happening – a new galaxy or planet being discovered, a letter from Luigi, or the opportunity for different powers like turning into a bee or a bouncy spring. From scaling giant honey combs to exploring underwater caverns, no two levels were alike and it was impossible to beat one level without seeing which the next one (or two, or three) would be like.

The best part of playing Super Mario Galaxy, though, was when Johnny would help me beat the levels I was stuck on. There were a lot of tricky aspects to the game that involved motion, as it was originally for the Wii. Levels that involved rolling around on a ball or surfing on an eel always left me calling for him for help and he would drop whatever he was doing to give it a try. So sweet!

We delighted in beating levels together and even on the ones we couldn’t beat, it was still fun to keep trying until our lives ran out. After beating the game, I found out you could unlock a new world if you beat every single level and, unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen. Lol, so I plan on playing Super Mario 64 next!

What video game are you currently playing? What is your favorite Mario game? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

Hello and welcome to the final Holiday Haul post from this past Christmas! I am so in love with everything that I received and I am already putting all of my gifts to great use. I have had such fun finding special homes for my presents, testing out products, and basically living in my new robe and slippers when I am at my apartment! This Christmas was a bright light at the end of the tunnel of an awful year and I look back on it fondly. I also can’t help but smile every time I see these sweet gifts from those who I consider my “second family”. Check it out:

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In case you can’t tell, Johnny and I are HUGE fans of the Harry Potter books and movies so we just feel spoiled rotten with these gifts. Like Johnny’s parents, my second family had the thoughtful idea to gift us with ornaments for our tree next year and I am so happy with how our collection is already shaping up. Johnny and I are both particularly fond of the one with Harry on his broom. His lil face and scar are just so cute!

During this pandemic, I have enjoyed working on puzzles at my parent’s house and with all of my clients. Unfortunately, Johnny and I just have no space in our apartment to work on a puzzle so I can’t wait until we move somewhere bigger. One of my first orders of business will be placing a small table in the game room we would like to set up so I can get my puzzle on. I think I will start with the one I was gifted with this Christmas first. 🙂

The piece de resistance of this haul was definitely the Hagrid’s Hut LEGO set. Johnny and I made quick work of it the day after I brought these presents home and it turned out SO cool. We haven’t gotten a new Harry Potter LEGO set in forever and Hagrid’s Hut has been on my list for quite some time as I would like to expand the Hogwarts grounds. Johnny and I are planning on getting the Quidditch Pitch, the Whomping Willow, and the Divination Tower sets throughout this year to keep growing our LEGO world. For pics of the completed Hagrid’s Hut set, be sure to tune in tomorrow!

My second family knows me like the back of their hands and Johnny and I could not be more thankful for these amazing Harry Potter themed gifts! I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas more traditionally with them next year and feel so grateful to have such wonderful friends looking out for me. ❤

Have you built a LEGO set recently? Which one? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

Hello! The day after Christmas, Johnny and I visited his parents and it was so nice. Due to COVID, I have not seen them in forever and I was really happy to safely spend time with them. We opened gifts, caught up, and watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as per their family tradition. I feel lucky that this was my second viewing with them and I can’t wait for many more. Johnny and I were gifted with such beautiful presents and I am so tickled that they even got me a stocking for their mantel! Check it out:

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^^^ The adorable “Our First Pandemic” ornament is from Johnny! 🙂

I love all of the gifts from Johnny’s parents so much and I love that many of them are from local businesses in our area even more. The unique earrings came from a local boutique as well as the bar soap and delicious smelling Gingerbread Caramel lotion, which was from Hope Soap. They have a store in downtown Cuyahoga Falls and I have always wanted to check it out so I’m really eager to try their products. And, don’t even get me started on the popcorn from Amaize because it is the BEST. Johnny and I were gifted with a huge sampler of their different flavors last year on our birthdays and we made very quick work of it!

Johnny’s parents also gave us several different ornaments, which was so thoughtful because despite not having a Christmas tree in our apartment this year, we will definitely want one for next Christmas when we are in a bigger place. It will be so much fun to collect ornaments for our own tree and we already have a nice start! I particularly love the middle ornament in the picture above – it is so pretty. 🙂

Being able to spend time with Johnny’s family was the best gift of all. I miss them so and I can’t wait until things are significantly less crazy so we can see them more often. ❤

Do you have an ornament collection? What is your favorite ornament or holiday decoration? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Sister & Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Sister & Family Edition

Hello!! My sister, Kristen, her SO, Ramon, and sweet daughter, Valerie, are my best friends and I love being their fourth wheel more than anything. Being able to share so many holidays with Kristen and Ramon and now their daughter is always going to be special to me and this past Christmas was no exception. Miss Val made out like an adorable little bandit this Christmas and she was even able to unwrap some of her own gifts this year! Her “TT” had quite the haul herself, though, and I am so excited about the gifts I received from Val and her amazing parents. Check it out:

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Kristen texted me earlier in December asking me what I would like for Christmas and I told her that some new face masks to try out would be much appreciated. She took this idea and ran with it, gifting me two face masks by Formula 10.0.6. I am eager to test both masks out – particularly the self-warming clay mask. I used to get a self-warming mask from The Body Shop back in the day and it was one of my favorites. Speaking of favorites, I also got an awesome GUDETAMA lip balm and he is my favorite, lazy egg in the whole world. Don’t believe me? Check out my Facebook posts where I am constantly replying to people with Gudetama themed stickers! 😀

When my sister texted me, I didn’t tell her that I would really like a new pair of Express leggings too but she knows me well enough to have gotten me a pair, anyways. Kristen gifted me with leggings from Express last year and they are simply the best. I am so happy to have another pair because I wear my old ones literally all the time and, although they are still in great condition, it will be nice to have the option to alternate.

Pre-COVID, going to my favorite bars with Johnny and Kristen was always a treat and nine times out of ten, you could catch me drinking a Moscow Mule. I love them! And, with new copper mugs from Kristen and her fam, I’ll be able to make them at home with my go to recipe and not have to put them in coffee mugs like usual, lol. Great success!

Now, you might be wondering why in the heck Kristen gave the game of Guess Who? to me and Johnny and I’ll tell you why. A few months ago, we were all at chez parents and Kristen happened to bring her copy of the game over. We had many rousing rounds with my brother, Andrew, and it was a hoot. I also love the much more culturally diverse update of Guess Who? too! I think Johnny and I will get a kick out of playing it when we are stuck in the doldrums of feeling like there is “nothing” to do. 🙂

Kristen and her family were so generous this Christmas and I really am touched because these gifts are absolutely perfect for me. My sister knows me like the back of her hand and knew that the majority of what she gave me were things that I would like but never buy for myself and that, in itself, is the best gift of all. ❤

Which store has the best leggings? How do you make drinks from the bar at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Big Brother & Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Big Brother & Family Edition

Helloooo! This past Christmas was awesome, but it would have been perfect if my brother, Peter, and his wife, Megan, and their little boy could have been with us too, as they live out of state. Peter, Megan, and their adorable son sent me and my family the most lovely gifts and I am always so happy when we can FaceTime with each other or chat via phone call and text. I can’t wait to be able to see them in person again but opening their gifts felt like a special hug from each of them and I am so in love with all of my prezzies for spa treatments right in my apartment. Check it out:

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I absolutely love the timeless fashion of Ralph Lauren clothing and I feel so spoiled to now have a RL robe that is just as (If not more!) comfortable than it looks. Complete with the RLL monogram and oozing all of the cozy vibes, I want to wrap myself in it whenever I even think about it! My new robe will be great during cold nights in my apartment but it will be even better when I am pampering myself with all of my new goodies from The Body Shop.

I live for products from The Body Shop and being gifted with all of these sets is such a treat because they are something that I wouldn’t buy for myself. Their body butters are so luxurious and each one smells amazing. I am looking forward to kissing my dry winter skin goodbye with my set of five mini butters – I’m particularly excited about the Almond Milk & Honey one because it’s my favorite. 😀

I also received a super cute makeup bag filled with mini sizes of TBS top sellers and am so glad that a Vitamin E moisturizer was included because it is simply the best. Finally, I will be able to take my spa treatments over the top with the Himalayan Charcoal Skin Purifying Kit. I have never used the Purifying Clay Wash so that will be fun to try and scrub in with the charcoal infused buffer. Their Himalayan Charcoal face mask is also, hands down, one of my favorites and I can always count on it to not only remove nasty blackheads but make my skin glow.

An evening in my robe with a face mask on and a steaming cup of tea is the epitome of a pampering party to me and I am beyond happy with these beautiful gifts. Thanks again! ❤

How do you do spa treatments at home? What is luxurious to you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

If The Slipper Fits: Minnetonka Edition

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If The Slipper Fits: Minnetonka Edition

Hello! My adorable mom was a sneaky Santa, as she presented me with a “decoy” (As she called it) shoe box this Christmas before gifting me with the L’Artiste sandals that I had been drooling over. What was in my decoy box, you might ask? An oh so comfy pair of moccasin style slippers by Minnetonka! I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed when I opened my slippers and they weren’t the sandals. But, after testing them out once I got home, I have practically lived in them and I can’t help but smile at my mom’s little prank every time I put them on. Lol, check it out:

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When I was a teenager, I got a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that I still own to this day. I can’t seem to throw them out, even though they are riddled with holes now because I would wear them literally all the time. But, with these new slippers, I definitely might be more inclined to pitch my waterlogged old faithfuls since I now have an upgrade. Despite them being house shoes, they still have a thick rubber sole so I know I can have them on when walking to take the trash out or going to the gas station drive thru.

I was a bit worried that the faux fur lining in the moccasins might be too warm for me but they are just right – especially in my cold apartment! I love my slippers because I have never owned a pair in my life and they are something that I wouldn’t have bought for myself. My mom is basically the cutest person ever and I just adore the fact that she knew exactly what my reaction would be when I opened my Minnetonkas but gifted them to me anyways because she also knew that I was going to warm up to them immediately. The Sneaky Santa award most definitely goes to her! ❤

Have you ever received a decoy gift? What was the decoy prezzie covering up? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

If The Shoe Fits: L’Artiste Sandals Edition

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If The Shoe Fits: L’Artiste Sandals Edition

Howdy!! My parents, AKA Santa, were so generous this Christmas and treated me to a gorgeous pair of mini wedged sandals by L’Artiste that I have been drooling over ever since I saw them on ModCloth. It was the last present that I opened and they clearly were saving one of the best for last! Check out these pretty new babies and let’s discuss:

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Now, the heels on these sandals are, admittedly, pretty low for Lil Red but I am more than willing to sacrifice a few inches of height for them. I mean, just look at the patterns, colors, and details! As soon as I saw my new sandals on ModCloth, I was blown away by how beautiful they are. I love the contrast between the jet black base, the stark white stitches, and the shocking oil pastel style colors on the floral patterns. The chunky buckle adds a touch of edge and I feel like I would be the belle of the farmer’s market in them!

I am so looking forward to sporting my sandals come late spring and summer because they are going to be absolutely charming with sun dresses and shorts. And, even though I could walk for forever in twenty inch heels, the smaller wedge will be a nice break while browsing outdoor shopping centers. Can all of the winter snow melt now, or? 🙂

My parents know how much I love my shoe collection and I am so happy to add these beauties to it. I felt so spoiled this Christmas and am so thankful for all of the wonderful gifts I received. I am also extremely thankful that Santa knows that I’m a size six! ❤

How would you style these sandals? Do you have a collection of anything? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah