Tag Archives: holiday season

Happy Haulidays: Sister & Family Edition

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Happy Haulidays: Sister & Family Edition

Hello! To celebrate Christmas part two, my entire family went to Oglebay in Wheeling, West Virginia all together. It was such a wonderful long weekend filled with good company, good food, and all of the holiday cheer. To kick start our festivities, we began with a gift exchange for all of the presents that hadn’t been opened yet. My sister, her boyfriend, and my sweet niece gifted me with the following:

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I was so happy to give everyone their presents and receiving some for me was the cherry on top. I am very excited to test out my new makeup from Nars and Anastasia Beverly Hills because I have never used anything by either brand before. Be sure to keep it posted on lifewithlilred for some swatch posts soon!

Not only did I get some new makeup but I also was gifted with some pretty copper mugs to make Moscow Mules with – my favorite. As always, the Chipotle gift card will serve me well because that is also one of my favorites. It isn’t quite Taco Bell but it still holds a special place in my heart. ❤

The crowning jewel of my gifts from my sis and her family is definitely the handmade mustard yellow beanie from Discounted Dreams. It is a small business run by one of our friends who is pretty incredible with some needles and yarn. I have already worn my gift several times and it is nice and warm – not to mention one of my favorite colors too!

My long weekend with my whole family was the best gift in the entire world but I sure love my presents from my big sis. Keep tuning into lifewithlilred for more about Oglebay, a brand new OOTD, makeup swatches, and haulidays!

How did your family celebrate the holiday season? Have you ever been to Oglebay before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Haulidays: Bestie Edition

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Happy Haulidays: Bestie Edition

Hello! This past Wednesday, my best friend of fourteen years, Lea, and I had our holiday gift exchange. It may have been a bit late but it still felt like Christmas magic to me. As soon as she walked in the door, we immediately began opening presents and spent the evening girl talking away. I am so in love with what my best girl gifted me with and my new flower pressed coasters she got me from Etsy already have a very special place on my coffee table:

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Lea and I both know the value of receiving bath and body care during gift exchanges so I was very excited for some eos brand goodies to add to my beauty hoard. I have only ever used their lip balms before, which are fabulous, so I can’t wait to test out the lotion and hand cream. Eos is a brand that I have always been interested in, but would never buy for myself so it was a perfect present.

Of course, the piece de resistance were the handmade coasters that she purchased off of Etsy. We both share an affinity for shopping on Etsy and my gifts from her were actually ordered on there too. I have never owned coasters before so it definitely felt like moving up in the adult world. And, what an amazing place to start because they are beautiful! 😀

For over fourteen years, Lea and I have participated in gift exchanges and it will never get old. It is so special to share holidays and birthdays with her and, oh yeah, half of our lives too. She is the best friend a gal could ask for and I love her so much! ❤

How do you celebrate holidays with your bestie? Do you have a favorite Etsy shop? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Haulidays: Husband’s Family Edition

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Happy Haulidays: Husband’s Family Edition

Hello! Due to the high rates of COVID in Ohio, Johnny and I have had to have late Christmas celebrations with our families. This is why you haven’t seen any OOTDs or Hauliday posts recently but keep your eyes peeled because they are still going to happen! This past week, we celebrated with Johnny’s family and one of his aunts who is just wonderful and it was such a great time.

Living during a pandemic is insanely difficult but especially during the holidays as Johnny and I want to protect our vulnerable populations as much as we can. We haven’t seen his family as much as we would like so it was so nice to be able to share a meal, catch up, and open presents. Johnny’s family so generously gifted me with the following:

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Hanging out with Johnny’s family after so much time apart was the best gift of all, of course, but I am so appreciative of everything that they treated us to. I love my cobweb earrings the best of all and I am tickled by the gift from Johnny’s dad of the flashlight/screw driver/whistle/everything else lol. It is such a dad gift and I am obsessed – even if I don’t quite know how to use it. 😀

I am also very touched by the ornament from his mom made for caregivers, although we all had a laugh about how we couldn’t read the sweet sentiments that were on it. Johnny and I have been diligently working through our holiday chocolate – my favorite being the chocolate covered chips. I have never tried one before and it is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. I could seriously eat twenty bags of them!

The piece de resistance of our holiday haul had to be the new air fryer for the both of us. We meant to buy a new one after we got married as ours was on the fritz but we just never got around to it. It finally went kaput a few months ago so we were thrilled with the new appliance. We have been air frying literally everything and have missed it so much. The novelty of air fried food never wears off. 🙂

Although we didn’t keep up with our Miller family tradition of watching Christmas Vacation together, it was still an amazing celebration. I am so thankful to have two beautiful families to join in the holidays with and have my fingers crossed that we can celebrate next Christmas on time altogether! ❤

How did you celebrate the holidays this year? What is your favorite gift in your holiday haul? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy New Year!!

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Happy New Year!!

Howdy everyone and Happy New Year! We are officially in 2022, which means a whole new year of opportunity and, of course, fun on lifewithlilred. 😀 I am so excited to be rolling out another three hundred and sixty-five days of daily blogging and have my fingers crossed that 2022 won’t be as much of a dumpster fire as the past two years. Here’s to hoping, anyways!

In this new year, my wish is for everyone to find comfort in better days ahead. We are living through a pandemic and it is scary on a good day. I wish for safety and good health for all and that we can revel in the happy moments of 2022.

While I also wish that the passing of time would slow down (I’ll be twenty-eight this year!), I am so thankful that I get to spend time with each and every one of you every day. May 2022 bring us good fortune, great successes, and a slightly less anxiety provoking time!

Happy 2022! ❤

What are your New Year’s resolutions (I, as always, have none!)? What are you wishing for in the new year? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas! To those who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with joy, good company, and holiday cheer. For those who don’t celebrate – I hope the same for you! I will keep this post short and sweet so everyone can get prepared for their festivities but I just wanted to say how thankful I am for all of you. ❤

With the pandemic, everything feels crazy and scary. Writing on my blog every day brings a much needed touch of normalcy to my life and I hope that everyone tuning in feels that way too. My audience has turned into such dear friends and I love you all. I love your insights, your kindness, and the happiness I feel to have you in my life – even if it is from the computer screen.

For Christmas and every holiday celebrated, I encourage all of you to take proper safety precautions to keep things merry and bright for everyone. I can’t wait to hear how all of you spend your day and thank you for being you!

Merry Christmas!

Much love. -Sarah

Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

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Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

Hello! I love the way the snow makes everything look like a holiday greeting card… and that’s about it lol. Driving in it is for the birds and as someone who is constantly cold, I can do without the extra dose of brrrrrr. So, needless to say, I like to enjoy my winter activities from the great indoors! If you feel similarly, try out these ideas all from the comfort of being wrapped in your favorite blanket:

Present Wrapping Party:

I absolutely LOVE shopping for holiday gifts but wrapping them? Not so much! Of course, it is a necessary evil and making it more fun can make it, dare I say, pleasant? Invite your friends over for a present wrapping marathon complete with hot cocoa and holiday movies. You can even have a gift swap at the end as a little reward for a job well done.

All Aboard:

In my neck of the woods, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers all kinds of fun winter activities and you can peep the falling snow without being stuck in it! For the little ones, they offer the Polar Express and for adults, there tends to be a beer or wine tasting event as you ride the train. If there is something similar in your area, it could be a fun way to shake things up for a unique winter memory.

Craft Competitions:

There are so many winter baubles and trinkets that you can craft and you can up the ante by turning it into a competition. How about a gingerbread house bake off? Creating your own candles with festive scents? Or decorating ornaments for your tree or mantel? The prize could simply be bragging rights or a small gift to commemorate their victory.

Santa Hat Movie Viewing:

If you’re looking for a boozy time with friends or drinking a lot of hot chocolate, then have I got a game for you! Whether it’s a holiday movie or not, put a Santa hat on the corner of the TV and when any character ends up “wearing” it, take a drink. I promise that it will make the Hallmark movie marathon way more bearable! 😀

Winter Game Night:

Game nights are always fun and, this time, you can put a holiday twist on it. Try charades with famous holiday movie scenes to act out. Or, go around in a circle and each person will have to say the next word of a Christmas carol. Pin the ornaments on the tree? A holiday edition of Never Have I Ever? You could even make a photo booth set up for goofy holiday pictures… The possibilities are endless! Don’t forget a hot chocolate bar or trail mix station for your guests!

Don’t let it snow on your parade with the ideas above and stay comfy cozy all while achieving the ultimate holiday spirit! 😀

PS: Spread the joy by putting a “buy in” to each event you host by having your guests bring a canned good to donate to a local shelter. ❤

What is your favorite winter activity? What puts you in the holiday spirit? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Should You Decorate With Real Or Fake Garlands This Christmas?

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Should You Decorate With Real Or Fake Garlands This Christmas?

From Christmas trees to mistletoe, there are many different types of traditional decorations that adorn homes all over the world come the festive period, and a Christmas garland is another one of these. There is no doubt that you will have a huge assortment of Christmas garlands to choose from. However, before you can decide on the style that appeals to you the most, your main decision is whether to go for a real or artificial Christmas garland. In this post, we will reveal the reasons why the latter is the best option:

Disadvantages of Real Christmas Garlands:

A lot of people mistakenly believe that the only way to benefit from beautiful Christmas garlands is to purchase fresh versions. However, this is certainly not the case. While it is easy to understand the initial appeal of real Christmas garlands – their smell and their appearance – once purchased, people quickly realize that there are many more disadvantages associated with real garland decorations than meets the eye.

Firstly, you are going to need to replace your garlands every year, and, unfortunately, for some people their garlands do not even make it until Christmas Day. And, if they do, they are assured to have lost a considerable amount of their beauty by then. This is because real flowers deteriorate quite quickly. If you are someone that likes to have their Christmas decorations up for a while before and after the 25th of December, then this is going to be a big problem. The fact that you do not get a lot of use out of your real Christmas garlands shows that this is an expensive route to go down.

Not only are fresh flowers costly to begin with, but they are going to need replacing. You then need to consider the upkeep of these garlands. You are going to have to look after them if you are going to protect their longevity. The needles can go brown and they can drop, and the weather is assured to wreck havoc with your outdoor decorations, especially if you use screws or another type of fixture to hang them.

Advantages of Artificial Christmas Garlands:

On the other hand, you do not need to worry about any maintenance when it comes to an artificial Christmas garland. Instead, you will get many years of use out of them and all they will require is a little bit of dusting when you get them out of the box each Christmas. You will get a better value for money as your purchase is going to last you for a considerable period of time. Moreover, artificial flowers tend to be cheaper than real flowers in many cases.

Of course, the main worry for a lot of people when it comes to artificial Christmas garlands is that they are going to miss out in terms of beauty. While there is no denying that there are some companies that sell cheap artificial flowers, which are obviously fake, there are some great retailers nowadays that craft stunning artificial garlands – so much so that you won’t be able to tell the difference.

If you want to give a modern twist to an old tradition, then artificial garlands are ideal. You will get more bang for your buck and still have a beautifully decorated home for the holidays!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

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3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

Tis the season of going home for the holidays, staying close to those you hold dearest, and decorating everything with a sprinkle of joy. Most importantly, tis the season to experiment in the kitchen. Yes, most people have enough extra hours at work, renovating with a Renewal by Andersen Windows, or being a full time parent. But, you’ve seen the films of families getting together and baking a splendid dessert. There’s no reason for you to miss out!

This article will teach you baking is for everyone and give you the chance to impress your loved ones. It’s time to get creative, throw on an apron, and decide what type of dessert calls out to you:

Gingerbread Cookies:

Gingerbread cookies are a holiday tradition and for a good reason. They are a taste of holiday possibility best accompanied by hot cocoa with marshmallows. Baking gingerbread cookies is a fantastic activity for young children to participate in and feel included in the festivity preparations.

Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Molasses
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter

Prepare: For this recipe, you will have to whisk the following ingredients together in a bowl: baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and flour. Next, you will beat the dough and add the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Finally, add the previous flour mixture to the dough and beat until combined.

Then, you must chill the dough, first dividing it into two parts and rolling them into a ball. Next, flatten the ball and wrap it in plastic wrap inside the fridge for close to an hour. Once chilled, unwrap the dough, place it on a floured surface, and use a cookie cutter of your preference.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to ten minutes. Finally, take your cookies out of the oven and let them sit for five minutes. Eat them with a glass of milk, coffee, hot chocolate, or start decorating to enjoy at a later time.

^^^ Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Linzer Cookies:

Nothing like some good Linzer cookies to dip into milk

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Almond flour
  • White sugar
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raspberry Jam

Prepare: Like most baking recipes in this article, you’ll prepare the dough. Have the butter, white sugar, and cinnamon ready to beat in a bowl. Carefully add the yolk and vanilla to combine them. Whisk the salt, flour, and almond butter together in another bowl. Combine both of the mixtures.

Just like the gingerbread cookie recipe, repeat the process of dividing and refrigerating the dough. Take out the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften for five minutes. Roll one disk on a floured surface and use the desired cutter to give shape to the cookies.

Bake the cookies for fifteen minutes and then let them cool for a few minutes. Powder your cookies with powdered sugar and add jam to their center. Cut a hole on top of other cookies and place those on the first ones.

Picture By: Devanath on Pixabay

Cinnamon Rolls:

The smell of cinnamon rolls is truly enchanting. Ask anyone within reach of a bakery and they’ll tell you how cinnamon rolls bewitch the heart. 

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Instant yeast
  • Two percent or Whole milk
  • Salted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla

Prepare: You’ll have the perfect cinnamon rolls to dig into in six easy steps. First, you will add salted butter, yeast, milk, egg, salt, brown sugar, and water in a bowl. When you’re done with the mixture, heat water, butter, and milk together to add it to the butter mixture.

Time to knead the dough! Don’t be afraid to make a mess. With your hands, knead the dough. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and prepare the ingredients for your filling: sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Get your dough, roll it out, spread some butter, add cinnamon, and sprinkle some sugar. Roll the dough and cut it into even pieces. Grease a round pan and place your rolls inside. Allow the rolls to rise for sixty minutes.

Finally, bake the cinnamon rolls until they look golden brown. The only problem left is resisting the temptation to eat them all in one sitting!

Picture By: Monika on Pixabay

Call a friend, bake with family members, or spend this time with whoever makes your day. You will have amazing memories and treats to show for it!

Featured Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

What’s The Skinny?

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What’s The Skinny?

Hi! Before we begin, I am going to put a trigger warning on this post for references to weight and eating disorders.

My weight and self image has always been something that I struggled with. I actually haven’t really thought about it in a while until one comment sent my mind back into a tailspin. With the holiday season in full swing now, I thought that it was high time to give everyone a friendly reminder so let’s get to it:

Due to COVID, it has probably been ages since people have seen their friends and family for a holiday gathering. In that time of everyone staying in and turning to video chat to connect, people’s bodies could change. Whether weight was gained or lost during that time it is NEVER your place to say anything. Why ruin someone’s day with a completely unwarranted comment?

Weight is a sensitive subject for many people and it is also something that can fluctuate for a multitude of reasons. Of course, it’s not anyone’s business but the person themselves and here are a few of many reasons for weight change: Medication, eating disorders, an illness, depression, PCOS, and so on and so forth.

I, myself, am well aware that I have lost weight thanks to everyone and their brother telling me. Just this past week, one of my old skating coaches who I haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic made it a point to tell me that I “trimmed down”. Little did he know, my weight gain came from a time of serious depression and a binge eating disorder. He also has no idea that I am a recovering bulimic.

What this person thought was a compliment hurt me deeply and it took me back mentally to when I could barely stand to look in the mirror. So, yeah, “you lost weight” is a statement that is filled with negative connotations when the person didn’t volunteer information like that they dieted or went to the gym.

Commenting on someone’s weight after you haven’t seen them in a while also can make it seem like the person’s self worth is directly correlated with how much they weigh. A true compliment if you feel the urge to say something would be that “you look happy”. And, if you’re unsure: Say nothing at all.

Words have power and as a writer, I know this firsthand. What my old coach deemed innocent enough has still been swirling around in my head days later. In fact, it originally made me not even want to go back to that rink at all. That’s pretty sad considering how much I look forward to my time on the ice.

This holiday season, I urge all of you to keep things merry and bright and leave comments about weight off the table. Chances are, your words are going to linger well beyond the holiday gathering.

Can anyone relate to the above sentiments? What is your favorite compliment to give? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Flight Of Fancy OOTD Bonus Pictures

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Flight Of Fancy OOTD Bonus Pictures

Hello everyone and welcome to some bonus pictures from yesterday’s Flight Of Fancy OOTD! That Saturday was such a fun day of playing model with my husband, having a libation at our favorite bar, and enjoying a community holiday activity with my family. It was the perfect day immersed in holiday spirit and I loved every minute of it! Let’s get to it:

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Over the past several years, downtown Cuyahoga Falls has transformed itself into a happening little place. Prior to the renovations, this area had more closed down shops and restaurants than open. Now, every storefront is practically filled with unique eateries, boutiques, and novelty shops. Not to mention all of the amazing holiday activities and festivals that are hosted there throughout the year.

This past Saturday, downtown Cuyahoga Falls opened up its outdoor skating rink and had a Santa parade, fireworks, and tree lighting ceremony to celebrate. Johnny and I met up with my parents and niece for the festivities and had an absolute blast. Our niece got to see her TT skate for the first time and she also got to see Santa riding on a firetruck through the streets.

Not only was the area beautifully decorated for the holidays but it was also snowing which made for a scene fresh out of a Hallmark movie. There was music playing, people dancing in the streets, and an indoor area to warm up, sip hot chocolate, and have the little ones write their letters to Santa. So much fun! 😀

A wonderful time was had by all this past weekend and I am so appreciative to my hometown for hosting such awesome events to bring the community together. ❤

How does your neck of the woods get in the holiday spirit? Is there a similar area to downtown Cuyahoga Falls where you live? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah