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.


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: