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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Recap

Hello blog friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the holidays. I am off all week so I won't be blogging much to allow me time to relax and refresh this week. However, I wanted to give a brief Christmas recap.

I spoke before about how 2016 has been a difficult year for my family so it definitely changed the way we "Christmas" this year. Nevertheless, Christmas was good and there were moments of happiness, joy and delight.

We always start Christmas Eve at breakfast with the women on my mom's side of the family. This year we went to Toast and it was DELICIOUS. I've never been to a restaurant that could cook grits in a true Southern fashion so I was pleasantly surprised and stuffed after breakfast!


Christmas Eve is always with my family and it was at my house again this year. We had a lot of fun eating delicious food and opening presents! This year we opted to do Christmas Eve in our pajamas and it might be our new tradition! 


Christmas Day was the day of many travels as we started out with M's family and then traveled to visit both my mom's paternal family and my dad's family. My sisters found my aunt's old Christmas sweaters and decided a photo opportunity was necessary. It was a long day and we were tired after but thankfully I have this week to recover. :)

I'll be back to my regular blogging schedule next week. For the rest of this week I'll be reading books on my new Kindle Paperwhite and binge-watching The Crown. Happy Week! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My New Favorite Lip Balm

It's no secret that I'm a lip product hoarder. No matter where I go I always have some sort of lip product with me...be it lipstick, gloss or regular lip balm. And because of my lip product obsession (especially matte lipsticks) my lips are constantly chapped. Add in some cold winter weather and the drying central heat and you've got a recipe for dry lips.

After my blog post about how I'd switched to a different lip balm because I thought my beloved Carmex was drying my lips out, the people at Carmex contacted me and asked me to try some samples from their new Carmex Comfort Care line.

Needless to say, I was super excited to try it! They sent me three different balms in the flavors Mixed Berry, Watermelon Blast and Sugar Plum. Since I couldn't feasibly try all three in a reasonable amount of time I enlisted the help of two coworkers to try them out.


The Claims: The Carmex Comfort Care lip balms are specially formulated with natural colloidal oatmeal to provide deep soothing, long-lasting moisture and healthy looking lips. They are formulated with beeswax and Cupuacu butter and contain antioxidant-rich fruit seed oil.

Provides clinically-proven soothing relief to dry, chapped lips.

The Verdict: In short, I absolutely love this. At first I was surprised at the intensity of the scent/flavor and it reminded me a bit of the Lip Smackers I used to love. After smelling it, I was a little nervous that it would work as well simply because it smelled so good. (You know because things that are good for you taste or smell bad usually...cough...cauliflower.) As soon as I put this on my fears were squashed. The texture on my lips was excellent. It stays on but isn't sticky and just absorbs into your lips after a few hours. For someone with very chapped lips I loved that my lips felt smoother after using. With other lip balms, sometimes it feels even drier after the lip balm comes off.

I can tell a difference in how my lipsticks stay on my lips and even in the texture of my lips overall. The thing that really pushed this lip balm into first place for me was the tube. It's an actual lip balm and not a squeeze tube. The squeeze tubes for me are more annoying than helpful and the tips get kind of gross after a while. This is a normal tube and is actually a bit wider/thicker than other lip balms so it covers more lip with each swipe.

But don't just take my word for it, here are the thoughts of my coworkers.

Coworker 1 (Sugar Plum flavor)
I loved this lip balm. It not only felt great and kept my lips from getting dry but it is also all natural which is very important to a mommy-to-be with habitually chapped lips. I would not only recommend this lip-balm but I actually picked up a few for stocking stuffers this year. 

Coworker 2 (Watermelon Blast flavor)
The lip balm felt super great on my lips. I'm usually a user of other brands as I've found Carmex to be too greasy, but this product is great. It made my lips super soft which is especially necessary during these winter months."


Overall, I'm a big fan and I may just have a new favorite go-to lip balm. Bravo Carmex! 

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post. I was provided with a product, free of charge, in exchange for my review. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Things That Make Me... (Christmas Edition)

You may have previously read other parts of my unintentional "Things that Make Me ____" blog series. For your convenience I've listed the other ones at the bottom of this post.

Though I don't have one unifying mood for these, they do all have one thing in common...Christmas. The season of perpetual hope. (Anyone catch that movie reference?)

Things That Make Me Rage at Christmas

Saturday Night Live snl angry season 42 snl 2016

When 2 different grocery stores don't carry Candiquik candy melts. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! This is Christmas. The season of perpetual candy.

filmeditor sad angry crying christmas movies

When people try to make changes to my holiday menu because they don't like it but the entire time say things like "It doesn't matter." or "I won't eat it anyway." This is Christmas. The season of perpetual planning.

christmas angry santa samuel l jackson

When people try to food shame at Christmas. "No, I don't need any of that." Or "I wish I could eat some of those delicious things you baked and brought but I am watching my weight." Bees it is Christmas. The season of perpetual eating.

what are those

When you find out someone bought themselves something you already bought and wrapped them for Christmas. This is Christmas. The season of perpetual selflessness.

Things That Make Me Happy at Christmas

excited done with finals happy crying

Holiday cookie exchanges. This is Christmas. The season of perpetual cookies.

funny cat fun christmas comics

Taking time off work to spend with my dog...I mean my family. And away from work.This is Christmas. The season of perpetual family time.

smug

When someone unwraps and subsequently fawns over that perfect gift you got them.

So on that note!

cute christmas new year home alone new years eve

Things That Make Me Rage (Travel Edition)
Things That Make Me Rage (Office Edition)
Things That Make Me Happy

Friday, December 16, 2016

In the Quiet of Christmas



Christmas is often synonymous with hustle and bustle, joy, jolliness, mild chaos, consumerism and busy-ness. It's just the nature of what we've made Christmas into.

I do love the hustle and bustle of the holidays...don't get me wrong...but there's nothing I love more than to sit in a dark house, looking at the Christmas tree lights, bundled under a blanket and sipping hot chocolate. This is the quiet of Christmas. A time to reflect, meditate, pray and relax.

In the quiet of this Christmas I'm reflecting on my family. This year we had a major malignant cancer diagnosis in my family and well...it definitely puts things in perspective. Gifts and parties and ugly sweaters aren't held in the same regard as before. Family is much more precious.

In the quiet of this Christmas I'm reflecting on how lucky I am. I have a job that lets me live in comfort. I have good health. I have a loving husband and a well dog. I have food in my pantry and no real threat to my beliefs and my way of life. I am blessed.

In the quiet of this Christmas I'm reflecting on not saying yes to everything but letting others handle some of my burdens. I'm reflecting on giving up control in many things and just letting things happen.

In the quiet of this Christmas I'm meditating on how I can handle my anxiety when things get overwhelming.

In the quiet of this Christmas I'm praying for those less fortunate than I. Those who struggle to make ends meet or face violence and tragedy daily. Those who are hurting emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

This Christmas, I'm celebrating the birth of Jesus and ultimately the impact his mission and ministry has on the world.

What are you reflecting on in the quiet of Christmas?

This is my go-to Christmas reflection playlist. Quiet, instrumental, calm Christmas music.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Casual Festive Fashion: Some of My Favorite Looks

I love a good festive outfit. Whether it be the addition of a red top or sparkly shoes there are a lot of ways to insert the holidays into your outfit without going over the top. (Yes, that's a read at those who wear Christmas pins, light up earrings or Christmas light necklaces. #sorrynotsorry)

festive fashion

festive fashion by aprilanne147 featuring tall pants

Left Outfit:
I'm a huge fan of red and gray. I think of it as a good take on the original red and black combo. The gray cardigan is offset by the metallic gold shoes and necklace. (Silver and Gold anyone? I'll be here all night!)

Center Outfit:
Dang I'm obsessed with buffalo check plaid right now. I also love faux fur and I'm forever into a cheetah print. So why not combine all together?? The cheetah print (as do many animal prints) functions as a neutral and the faux fur vest as a completer piece really turns a basic outfit into something FAIN-SEE. (as my rural Southern family says)

Right Outfit:
I'm also really in to duster cardigans since they official can turn leggings into pants! This is a perfect outfit for traveling on Christmas day or opening presents (sub the boots for slippers) and you'll look put together but not like you're trying too hard. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

An Eclectic Christmas Playlist



For years I used to put together an Eclectic Christmas playlist CD for friends and pride myself on finding the newest and best and most unique adaptations of Christmas favorites.

After a while it got to be a little too much, so I stopped. But on li.st someone gave me a list prompt of The Very Best Christmas Playlist Ever and I took the bait. I loved revisiting some of my old Christmas favorites so much that I figured I'd give you, dear reader, the gift of an eclectic Christmas playlist.

For those of you with Spotify, I made this into a playlist here...and even if you don't have Spotify, you can listen below! Enjoy!

 

Friday, December 2, 2016

And That's a Wrap!

I've always been a little wrap-averse.

Wraps, ponchos, shawls, etc. I thought they were shapeless tents made for skinny minnies who had no hips.

Well that still may be the case, but it no longer bothers me. Why? Because wraps are SO DANG COMFORTABLE. Seriously. I recently purchased a poncho/wrap type thing and it was the first one that I've ever owned. I was unsure of how to wear it so I just paired with with skinny jeans, booties and a plain black shirt underneath and I was OBSESSED with how comfortable it was. It also can make you look very put together without a lot of effort. It's my new favorite completer piece for wardrobes and I can't get enough of them this winter. Here are a few of my faves:


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hewitt's Thoughts v.7: Christmas

Hello weirdos, Hewitt here.

I'm dictating my thoughts to mom and being the proper biped slave she is, she's diligently typing them as I speak. Below are my thoughts on Christmas...

Christmas is weird. It's shiny, smelly and there's sparkly stuff everywhere. I constantly have glitter in my fur which is annoying AF. However, there are also many delicious human delicacies to consume so I think they kind of balance each other out.

Things I Like About Christmas

The Tree


I'm oddly obsessed with it. I like to just stare at it. Sometimes I hide under it. Mostly I enjoy sniffing around underneath it as new boxes and bags come to live there. I used to love the tree more because there were always bags with tissue paper (aka my favorite stuff to shred) under there but I think mommy got wise to my scheme and now puts the bags out of my reach. That jerk.

The Food
Sausage balls, pinwheels, cookies, dips, veggies and bacon smells fill my mind at Christmastime. If I'm lucky (and fast) I might have a chance to sample if mom or dad drops anything.

Socks (Dictators Note: He means stockings)
It's weird that there are socks on the fireplace but I'm okay with it because one of them is for me and usually contains delicious dog snacks.

Gift Boxes
I love to nap in them. True story.

Things I Do Not Like About Christmas

Posing for Photos


This is quite unsavory and I do not enjoy it. I try my best to make an annoyed or indifferent face in my posed Christmas pics. 

Clothing

Under no circumstance should Hewitts ever wear clothes. Christmas is no exception.

The Grinch

He is evil and green. Only I am allowed to be the most evil thing in the house. Goodbye, Grinch.

Well that's basically all of my thoughts on Christmas. Catch you later jerks!

Read all of Hewitt's posts here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

In the Air There's a Feeling of Christmas

Over the last two weekends, M and I took to getting our place ready for Christmas. I don't have a TON of Christmas stuff, but we are collecting more and more over the years. This year's additions included a custom art piece, a few more mini Christmas trees for my mantel and more ornaments for the tree. (Because you really can't have too many ornaments!)


The tree was the same tree as last year and I opted for the same color scheme of turquoise, silver and gold. I added some larger turquoise ornaments this year and some silver and gold filler ornaments to make it look more finished.

The Christmas tree pillow was a recent purchase from Kirklands. As were a few other new things. I really love that store and they have great prices!



The star in the middle and the "striped" tree to the right of it were new purchases this year from Kirklands. 


This is the mantel "lit". The star, two larger background trees and three white trees in the front all light up. It's so pretty at night! I'll add some fresh greenery as we get a little closer to Christmas. Last year I did it too early and it dried out from the fireplace below. (Lesson learned!) 


Last year I didn't really know how to display my snowman collection. This year I chose to display on the rustic kitchen shelf that M made and just added a bunch of stuff until I thought it looked good. HA! I think the look of the shelf plus the candles and greenery give it a rustic, farmhouse-y vibe. Maybe? 


The outside of the house is decorated! It looks like we only did half of the large bush on the left but the bush is actually trimmed like that. Like a mushroom shape so we covered the green part. It just looks weird in the pic. I left the outdoor decor scheme to my Director of Outdoor Illumination (that's what M appointed himself as) but I think it turned out really pretty! 

I love nothing more than to turn on the Christmas tree as I get ready in the morning and just look at it. It's so gorgeous! I wish I could keep it up year round.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Recap!

This Thanksgiving we did the typical family thing and spent the first half of the day with M's family and the second half of the day with my family. They are only about a 45 minute drive from each other so it was do-able and NOT stressful to do all in one day.

I didn't get a lot of pictures (though I was blowing up snapchat!!) but rest assured, I did document my food like any basic good blogger. Interestingly enough the food at both places was surprisingly similar. Well, not that surprising, really. I have a feeling MOST Thanksgiving meals consist of corn (in any form), turkey, potatoes (in any form), green beans (in any form) and a bread of some sort. #amiright? Our holiday meals were no different.


This was lunch. The big difference in the two meals was the gravy. Brown gravy was the deal at my in-laws. M's parents are originally from New England so brown gravy reigns supreme!


At my family's gathering, white gravy is king. I think white or sausage gravy is more of a Southern tradition. I do not eat gravy so I did not partake. But M seemed to love his first experience with white gravy and even took some leftover gravy home. Though our families come from two geographically different areas, our thanksgiving plates were quite similar. Swap out traditional baked turkey for fried and add macaroni & cheese (which IS a vegetable, duh) and it's basically the same meal. There's a lesson in that somewhere...no matter how different our backgrounds, we can all gather around some tasty carbs and turkey...or something like that.


M and I along with my sister and her BF decided that the fall foliage was too pretty to pass up so we decided to take a few normal photos. Because, we are totally and completely all very normal people.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are putting the final Christmassy touches on the house this weekend so I'll have photos for a post on Monday. Come back and check it out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving









I have so much to be thankful for this year. A brief list is below:

  • For friends and family who bond together in the face of bad news
  • For friends and family that step into action when a serious diagnosis is given
  • For church family that prays
  • For friends that make me laugh
  • For a husband that cherishes me
  • For a dog that gives me joy
  • For a God that loves me unconditionally
  • For the resiliency of the human spirit
  • For the good nestled at the core of humanity
  • For a good job and the ability to enjoy time off with friends/family
  • For a reliable car
  • For amazing in-laws
  • For good health
  • For happiness
  • For purpose
  • For hope


This Thanksgiving I'll be stuffing my face with all the beige food and enjoying time spent with friends and family. I will most definitely NOT be shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and my turkey hat will get quite the workout this year.

I wish you and your people a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gift Guide: For The Unique People in Your Life

We all have those friends or family members or even coworkers that require a *special* gift. These are the people that don't exactly fit a typical gift recipient mold. They may have unique tastes or hobbies or just be...ahem..."interesting" people. Either way, they require some unusual gifts. Being the queen of unusual gifts, I put together a list of ideas for those *special" people in your life!




Clockwise from top left:
Taco Socks - Because why not?
Fruit Keg Tapping Kit - Turns something healthy into great fun! :)
Poke Ball Serving Bowls - For the Pokemaster in your life!
Brass Geo Terrariums - Everyone loves a terrarium since they are easy and low-maintenance!
Percy the Pencil Porcupine - For the coworkers with funky office stuff.
Oil & Vinegar Infuser - Foodies will love this!
Salsa Grow Kit - This could be for your green-thumbed friends, those that are super granola-farm-to-table ish OR even those that have black-thumbs since the kit is pretty foolproof.
Light Green Cast Iron Teapot - This is so pretty and dainty and really would make a great gift for someone you know who loves hot tea. You could even fill the teapot with different kinds of tea for an extra special gift!
Magical Unicorn Cupcake Bath Bomb - Everyone loves baths. Everyone loves unicorns. Everyone loves cupcakes. So, win - win - win!

Monday, November 21, 2016

I've Come Around

There are some things in life I'm 100% staunchly against. I will always be against these things and no amount of negotiation or bribery could get me to change my mind. Some of those things include eating seafood/veal/lamb, fringe, comicbook lore, cucumbers, uggs and sushi.

However, there are some things that I was mildly against from the beginning that I've come around to really enjoying.



Brussels Sprouts Until I double checked it, I never knew that brussels sprouts is supposed to have the extra "s" on the end of brussels. There's a little knowledge nugget for you. :) But I always thought they were gross and then I had them at a restaurant here in Charlotte and began to love them. Why are they so stinky yet delicious?!

Harry Potter Even though some of my best friends 100% in camp Harry Potter and I just never got into it. I haven't read the books but I love the movies. They are really, really good.

Leggings I love, LOVE yoga pants but never got into wearing leggings that much except for working out. Now that I own some LulaRoe leggings, it has created quite the leggings monster. My only issue is I have to replace mine (non LulaRoe ones) every season or so since they get holes quickly. Boo.

The Great Outdoors Never having been much of an outdoors person and not really being into outdoor sports, I relegated myself indoors and took up indoor hobbies like reading, tv watching, crafts, etc. However, in the last few years I've become very much an outdoor person and have done all sorts of outdoor activities like hiking, camping, canoeing and nature photography. Now, I crave time outside...even sometimes to my detriment. (This being especially relevant now since my fall allergies are the pits and even more aggravated by the lack of rain we've had.)

Hummus I also thought the very concept of hummus was quite disgusting. Ground up chickpeas? No thank you. Well, that was certainly the case until I had hummus at said brussels sprouts restaurant. Now, I can't get enough of it and CRAVE it.

Is there anything that you've "come around" on? I'd love to hear about it!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu & Planning Tool

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. Sound the alarms, people. This is not a drill! I don't know how, but this year's turkey day definitely sneaked up on me. As my sister and I have grown up and moved out we have started making family Thanksgivings more like a potluck. Everyone brings a couple of dishes and it makes for a much less stressful day that you can actually ENJOY! (For us, "enjoying" is watching a parade or football whilst lounging around in comfy clothes and snacking/eating pretty much all day.)

Our family dynamics have changed a bit over the last couple of years but we all still get together on Thanksgiving, no matter what. This year, my mom is hosting and we are all bringing the food.

My friend Sara recently started a blog and she posted a really handy Thanksgiving meal planning sheet that I used to plan our day this year. We make no claims to have a fancy, gourmet Thanksgiving meal...we just always have our tried & true favorites.


Check out Sara's blog if you have a moment. She also posts some pretty cool recipes you might want to incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal like Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Brown Butter and Cheddar Chive Biscuits.

I still haven't decided what I'll do for an appetizer but I might just keep it simple with a charcuterie plate. Really, I just love any excuse to eat cheese and drink wine... Regardless of what I do for an app, I'll still be sporting my famous turkey hat. Yassss.




Friday, November 11, 2016

Positive Vibes

This week has been a doozy. I don't care much for politics so I'm already "meh" about any election anyway, but this one has just brought out the absolute worst in people. On all sides. So I'm bringing in some positive vibes on this Friday. :)

10 Things to Say to Generate Good Feelings
"I agree..." "Thank you..." etc. 

A List of Beautiful Things that Happened in 2016
-Thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment. 
-Pokemon Go players went insane with placing lure modules near hospitals for sick kids.
-Volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours.

Massachusetts Voters Pass Historic Animal Protection Law

Video Game Developer Purchases 7,000 acres of Wilderness in NC for Conservation

Bachelor Party Rescues (and adopts!) Dogs Found on Camping Trip



There is something called The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and this year's finalists are amazing!




For Pete's sake just do a google search of "pugs in clothes" and that will bring the happiness forth.

NBA dance golden state warriors nba fan dancing

Somebody's mom went and got a little cray at a basketball game!

cat guitar lolcat meow

fail bear crash mascot

video mascot worldfull

UCF Knights mascot knights ucf cmas

Images from giphy. :)

And I would be remiss without saying thank you to all of our country's brave veterans. Thank you for serving and making this nation great! Happy Veteran's Day,

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bedroom Swoon + Updates

I love our bedroom. But I've really be yearning to brighten it up a bit. It's a little dark and I want it to be lighter. Our bedroom furniture (which I love) is dark and huge. It's just not a great fit for the size of our room and when we go to sell the place, it makes the bedroom look pretty small. For reference, here's what I'm working with currently...well...sort of currently. We have a different gray duvet but basically the same color palette and look.



And here are some ideas I've seen lately on Houzz. Based on the similarities in the pictures, I guess I should be looking for an upholstered headboard...or no headboard at all and a rustic wood wall. :) We will probably sell our bedroom set and look for something lighter and smaller...or go with no bedroom set at all and just do a headboard and a dresser and something different for the end tables. We aren't in a rush to do anything yet, but it's good to get some ideas, right?

porfolio
Bedrooms
Marsh-side Retreat
Bedrooms
Princess Margaret Residence
Brooklyn Brownstone

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