Tag Archives: holidays

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!

A Former Retail Worker’s Black Friday Lament

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A Former Retail Worker’s Black Friday Lament

Hellooo everyone and happy Black Friday! Boy, I’ve got to tell you – it never gets old not having to work on Black Friday any more. After over four years of working retail, the mall madness is the last place that I want to be, whether it be to work or to shop! It’s so crazy to think that as this post is being published, I would be stuck at work running around like a madwoman – if we were living in 2010 to 2014, of course. #blessed

Some retail workers live for Black Friday and that’s cool, but I was never one of them. I detested Black Friday like a fly buzzing in your ear, the common cold, or the relative that you can’t stand at family gatherings. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I was always very bitter that I never got to fully enjoy it for four years in a row. Of course, I’m thankful for those jobs but my sixteen to twenty year old self didn’t know how to separate the two so that I could still have fun on the holiday, despite dreading going into work in T-minus twelve hours.

As much as I enjoy a fast paced lifestyle, working for over twelve hours straight while on your feet the whole time and rushing to and fro between customers is for the birds. I genuinely don’t know how I did it, especially when I was working two jobs – hello, twenty hour day. And for this reason, among many others, I respect the hell out of retail workers during this time of the year.

It’s funny, because you would think that during the holiday season, people would be full of good cheer and might be even overly kind. Sadly, this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I have memories of delightful customers during the holidays, but those are trumped by people who have almost made me cry because the line was too long, I didn’t have the shirt that they wanted, etc. And for what? The shirt isn’t going to magically appear. The line isn’t going to move in double time. And the craziest thing, is that it was always adults that were speaking in raised voices and being out of line to me and my fellow retail workers. Just SHAMEFUL.

So, having said that, PLEASE be sure to be kind to all of the workers that you interact with today, throughout the holiday season, and always. Working retail is a choice and a responsibility – but how many employees really want to cut their family time short to work a long Black Friday shift? Slim to none. Enjoy yourselves during your Black Friday shopping, but be sure to give all of the employees who made your outing possible a little credit! I promise you that they will appreciate it far more than you know.

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Do you have any crazy Black Friday stories? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: AskIdeas

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hi everyone and happy happy Thanksgiving! I will keep this post short and sweet so that all of you can get back to enjoying quality time with your friends and family. Thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I love to eat! BUT, I also love being able to prepare a big meal with my family and friends and sit down at the table to enjoy it all together. Then, my family always concludes our Thanksgiving feast with movies or games afterwards, which is a total blast because the Mushenheims are a competitive people!

Thanksgiving is an all around fun day. Everyone at home is in a great mood, the house smells amazing from all of the delicious food being cooked, and we even opt to use the fancy dining room table to eat our meal at. In fact, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I can always recall enjoying throughout the years and I have every intention of adding another exceedingly pleasant holiday to the books today.

I hope that all of my wonderful friends, readers, and followers on lifewithlilred have a beautiful day today! Enjoy yourselves, your family, and your loved ones and EAT ALL THE FOOD! How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? What is the best Thanksgiving side dish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Featured Image By: Pinterest

Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

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Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I can’t say that I’ve ever gone Black Friday shopping before and have no real desire to, either. BUT, after working retail for four years, I’ve grown savvy to some pro tips that will get you through the madness with some great deals and your personal safety/sanity still intact. Take a look:

DO:

Know your sales: Most stores do the same Black Friday sales every year. PacSun does, The Body Shop does, Claire’s does, Piercing Pagoda does (All stores that I’ve worked at.). Investigate the sales from year’s past and see if you notice a pattern. That way, you can determine if it’s even worth it to go out and hit the shops. Most stores won’t give you their Black Friday sales info before the day – but it doesn’t hurt to ask, either!

Know your sales Pt. 2: Normally, Black Friday sales don’t end on Black Friday. At PacSun and The Body Shop, their sales didn’t end for a solid month. If you don’t get to the stores on the actual day, I wouldn’t sweat it too much – especially because Cyber Monday is still a thing.

Cyber Monday Savvy: And speaking of Cyber Monday, get hip to it. In some cases, Cyber Monday sales are even better than Black Friday deals, especially if the stores you prefer to shop at have a stronger online presence. Do your research of sales from the past as mentioned in the above sections and make your decision on which day to shop. Or throw caution to the wind and shop on both!

Get there early: If there’s something that you really want, I’d recommend staking out at that specific store front at least an hour before opening. That way, you can get in, grab the item, and get out. It also doesn’t hurt to see if you can put items on hold prior to the Black Friday date so that you can purchase them with the sales and you don’t have to run into the store like a madwoman to get it.

Let it go: If you find yourself in a stand off for the last of something, just let it go. People are literally crazy and I’d rather leave the store in one piece than get the last of something that I’m sure you can buy at a later date.

DON’T:

Be that person: Black Friday is, by definition, a crazy time. Please have some respect. At the mall that I worked in, the store manager of Victoria’s Secret got punched in the face THREE YEARS IN A ROW. That’s pure insanity. You are all better than that. Don’t be that person.

Go in willy nilly: It’s essential to have a game plan during Black Friday. What items do you want? What stores are a must to go into? Can you and whomever you’re going shopping with divide and conquer to get everything on your lists? Devise a plan and stick to it so that you can make the most out of your Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

Buy in excess: Yes, it’s great to get a good deal. BUT do you really need everything that you’re buying? It’s nice to see all of the money that you saved, but don’t buy stuff just for the sake of buying it on Black Friday. As I mentioned before, check the deals. Some stores already have their sales going on now. Think of what is really necessary to purchase and try and do it beforehand, if you can. Being involved in all of the Black Friday hubbub can make you feel inclined to overspend so DON’T FALL FOR IT!!

Black Friday is not everyone’s cup of tea. It certainly isn’t mine! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know a thing or two about how to shop during it. Use my pro tips and have the best Black Friday shopping experience yet! What are some of your Black Friday do’s and don’ts? What are some of the best Black Friday deals that you have scored? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah