20 Ways to Show Yourself Love on Valentine’s Day

       Hey guys, the day draws nearer! I know I’m not doing anything huge here for the ol’ commercial holiday, but that’s not the same for everyone. Couples and those who are not in a relationship, can both enjoy this holiday! This post is one for the latter! Even though this is a hugely romanticized “holiday”, it doesn’t mean the same things to us all. And in fact, some may find things generally done on V-Day as cliche and corny.

      While I’m not disagreeing with you, hypothetical new friend, I do think it can be fun and slightly cathartic to indulge yourself in the bright colors and saccharin sweetness of the day. I used to take myself out for the day, so I figured I’d share my favorite self care activities for the occasion!

 

In honor of SweetHearts that are not with us this year, due to Nekko shutting down shop.

 

  1. Youtube and Coffee – My favorite way to do this self care thing! 
  2. De-Stress with some Yoga
  3. Soak up the sun
  4. Watch cartoons
  5. Take a bubble bath
  6. Treat yourself to candy
  7. Start a new craft 
  8. Connect with a friend
  9. People watch at the mall
  10. Go to a new store and try things on that are outside of your comfort zone
  11. Make cocoa and watch documentaries
  12. Binge on Disney Movies
  13. Write out your stress
  14.  Doodle!
  15. Go thrifting
  16. Take yourself out for lunch
  17. Visit an arcade
  18. Take a ride with the windows down and the music up
    1. Seriously, this is so incredible. Last year I drove three hours for a speech, and even though I was stressed, there was something so freeing about just feeling the wind in hair. I was almost giddy by the time I got there and there were no nerves.
  19. Go downtown!
  20. Take the day off and play video games!

      Despite Valentine’s Day being called “Singles Awareness Day” by some, there’s nothing wrong with being single. Sometimes being alone is fun. Who doesn’t enjoy blaring the music while alone in the car? Singing alone in the shower? As I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve begun really valuing and enjoying my own company. Dinner alone? Bring it. Solo Arcade? Done. Lone Festival enjoying a lovely view on the Ferris wheel with no interruptions? Yes, please.

    I know, It can feel odd at first to go to lunch and hog a booth to yourself, but trust me. No one is looking, no one is making any judgements. 

So, go forth my lone venturers and treat yourself! Heck, one thing I didn’t put on the list because it’s technically for the day after Valentines’, is two words: clearance candy. How’s that for some self care?

Sweet Sentimentality; 3 Valentines Dates for Long Term Couples

     Hey guys! I know, I know, I’m late today too! I’m pleased to report that I’m finally able to speak, and I’m feeling good. Since I’m feeling better, I’m starting to really feel Valentines day. I was thinking earlier about places I would love to be other than work on this temperate February day. I started thinking about where I how I would love to celebrate our third Valentine’s day with my better half. I really can’t even believe it’s been that long.

       Really, why should the courtship stop just because you say “I do”, or even just a “Yes”? Make your fellas, or ladies, feel desired and treat them to an idea from this post!  I know how tight things can be while waiting for those long-lost taxes, so I’ll be keeping this one fairly budget friendly! And guys, these ideas are great if it’s not Valentine’s Day too!

Valentines Coffee

Coffee Date in a Neighboring Town!

      You know it wouldn’t be JnJ without me throwing coffee at you! This one is one that’s good for pretty much everyone… and if coffee isn’t your forte, most coffeehouses serve tea. It’s really fun to see what different types of flavors different shops will come out with to commemorate the day!

      Pick a nice window seat and put your phones away. Spend some time rediscovering each other and just chatting. Pretend it’s a first date (without the awkward silence!). Bonus points if you try new drinks, because, why not. After coffee, take some time to wander around the surrounding area or maybe decide on dinner. Take this time to de-stress and laugh together. You can even harken back to an important event in your shared history… like the place you got engaged.

     I suppose, this one doesn’t have to be out of town. If you have a favorite local haunt, feel free to visit it instead!

Hometown Hotel Date

      This is one of my all-time favorite dates! Depending on what place you decide to choose for your lodgings, it can either be budget or a ritzy. My favorite part of pretty much every vacation, is the hotel bed. The pillows are always so extravagantly fluffy, like I’m burying my face in a sheep. Anyone else love hotel beds?

      The other thing I love about vacation, is learning about a new town. This particular idea is literally so fun. Just pick a place and pretend you’re from out of town. Try to look at your town with new eyes. Take advantage of any attractions, events or restaurants that are either not seen or rarely visited.

      Last time we did this, we went to Cracker Barrel, because for whatever reason I only eat there when I’m in another city or state. It sold the illusion for me!

Valentine's Meal

The Great Bake

       So far out of this list, this is the one I’m considering for our valentines day. I really like the idea of preparing a nice meal together, tag-teaming the prep work and everything. There’s something that strikes me as so romantic about that! A million bonus points if you add some candles and some home-made (or just mixed) drinks. We really like making Cucumber Mint Lemonade, which is what we had on our first Anniversary.

    If that sounds up your alley, our recipe is super simple! 

  1. Throw some Milos Lemonade (or whatever brand you like) into a beverage dispenser like you’d find at Walmart.
  2. Chop one or two cucumbers and throw’em in the lemonade 
  3. Add fresh mint to taste
  4. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavor develop

       It goes great in a wine glass and makes me feel so sophisticated, with the added bonus of reminding me of our early days!

     Let me know if you guys have gone on any of these dates, and what you thought! I’m hoping to be able to drag my lovely Fiance` on an adventure to celebrate the occasion, personally. I’m so excited for our third Valentine’s Day together, and I’m hoping for many more! 

      Also, share your own Budget Friendly Valentine’s datenight ideas below!

 

 

 

 

Chain; Starbuck’s Cascara Coldbrew… ew?

Chain; Starbuck’s Cascara Coldbrew… ew?

     Hey there guys! Thank you for joining me for this late post! I know I usually post around noon, but I’ve honestly been swamped. And that’s on top of trying to recover from whatever has me under the weather. I’m bringing us back home with a (somewhat) new-ish drink from everyone’s favorite chain coffee shop; the Cascara Coldbrew!

    I’ll keep this one fairly short, but I want to preface this with a thanks to the gentleman who allowed me to try a sample of this one! Based off the title, I didn’t care for it, but I really liked the opportunity to give it a go! 

     The first thing I did was sniff it- because, this is what I do, especially when faced with an unfamiliar “Cascara”. Right off the bat, I was stricken with how sharp it smelled. I caught the scent of bitter nuttiness that was offensive to my sugar-cravings. If you remember my attempts to like coffee soda, this gave me war flashbacks. Not a fan of remembering a drink I’ve worked so hard to repress.

 

The Drinkening

 

     Onto the actual drink itself; I procrastinated on taking the first sip. Despite the super nice barista assuring me that it was citrusy, and creamy, I found that I did not agree. Once I was able to psych myself up, I closed my eyes and took a sip. Right off the bat, I noticed the froth was mildly earthy, almost nutty with those citrus undertones. 

     The coffee portion of this drink, which I was excited for before having one handed to me, was surprisingly smooth. Not sweet in the least, which I should have figured. It honestly could just be my propensity for sweets, that made me take this as bitter. I did note the citrus flavor kind of peaking through the nuttiness. My general feeling is that it’s like coffee soda, without the carbonation. I think my least favorite thing about this one, is that it’s rich. It’s got a heavy thickness that lingers at the back of your throat and leaves you tasting it for minutes afterward. 

      Honestly, I did look into sweetening it. But I was unsure on how I wanted to go about that. I kind of feel like sweetening it would make it into a different drink, and I may try that next time… If there is one. I think what I’m trying to get at with this post, is that super nice baristas aside, I don’t like the Cascara. And I guess I certainly don’t like cold brew.

 

Taste; /5

     Really, I don’t think this one needs any explanation. I think this is first time since the Cinnamon and Almondmilk Macchiato that I’ve been this displeased with Starbucks. That Juniper latte was rough, but I don’t know… I think this one might give it a run for its money. 

     It’s okay Starbucks, you can’t please everyone!

 

 

Coffee Abroad; Thank you, Mama (mocha’s)!

Drink; Tirraman mocha (heavy caramel and mocha)
Stop; Auburn, Alabama
 
  Hey guys! I’m so sorry that my post for today is late! If you’ve been following on Instagram and Twitter, I’ve been rather sick. I tested the Tarteist Pro Remix palette for my next video (with my updated setup!), but I’ve lost my voice. So… there’s that. 

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       Anyway… let’s get to today’s delayed post! While on my weekend adventure to Auburn, I visited Mama Mochas again. This time I was pleased to see that they had completely rearranged their shop, which changed the aesthetic just a little bit. The lighting was different, I believe, as well! Then again, it could have been an illusion by the seemingly different decor. They changed up their seating arrangement, but despite the changes, it was this still the same old mama mochas. This time I also noticed, that they had a thrift rack. Where you could buy clothing that I assume was donated by the Bristow’s of the establishment. But before I perused the rack, I decided to get my long awaited coffee! Today, I got something new.
 
Mama Mochas tirraman mocha
 
         It honestly took all of my self-control not to get my usual White Russian, since I do gravitate towards the same flavors. I gathered my strength and this time I got the tirraman mocha. It’s their mocha with heavy caramel, and I gotta tell you, it is not the same as my white Russian. So tasting it shocked my taste buds because what I wanted was the white Russian, and it’s what I was expecting. That aside, this is not a bad drink. At first it’s got a very earthy tone underneath the richness of the caramel. There’s a fair bit of bite from the espresso. But once you get used to it you’re able to recognize the sweetness just underneath.This is another one from my trip, that you want to drink and great moderation. Small sips are your friend. Which sucks for me, because I like to drink my coffee fast. I’ll learn one of these days!
 
       Before I left, I perused the aforementioned thrift rack. I found this some super adorable pieces that almost came home with me! I had nearly settled on a super cute Jersey dress, or some really cute shirts that would be perfect for work. But, know I did not get anything I could wear to work. Except, on a casual Friday, maybe. I got an adorable black sweater comet looks like something I would see at the posh peach. With the word Love on the front.  It was only $5, no regrets. 
 
     My final consensus on Mama Mochas for this visit is….
 

Taste; /5

    This one honestly wasn’t for me, I prefer much sweeter flavors than this one delivered. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, so if you enjoy the bite of Espresso, you may really like this!

Instagrameter; /5

A new look means a new score! I wanna say I gave Mama Mochas a similar one last time! I really liked the openness of their new arrangement and found it very welcoming and cozy feeling. You know, despite being a fairly large and open floor. 

       As some real quick final thoughts of post, I want to thank you guys for joining me to check out another selection from Auburn! I sincerely do think that 2019 is going to be a year of content, and travel! Also, I haven’t done a giveaway in a while, so if you guys want in on any future ones that I’m planning, go ahead and sign up for my weekly newsletter! 

    Don’t forget to follow on twitter and instagram! The links are in the sidebar!

 

Coffee Abroad; Auburn, Alabama’s own RossHouse!

            On my Weekend of Content, I took myself on a date to Auburn. I hadn’t been in so long, I hadn’t realized how much there was to do just in a single block! I visited 2 coffee shops and 4 boutiques to gather content for you! Let’s get to the first leg of my trip. Ross House. The weather being as inclement as it was, made my trip have a foreboding air. The rain intermittently drizzled and poured from the sky in torrents. When I walked up to Ross House, it was lightly drizzling but I got soaked to the bone as I left.

       The Ross House doesn’t let you forget that it is, in fact, a house. The aesthetic is altogether cozy and inviting. When you walk in, you’re greeting by a fireplace and chandeliers through the open doorway. There’s a separate room to the left of the entrance with more tables. I didn’t take photos of some of the other rooms for the privacy of the patrons that were set up there. I was honestly a little confused when I walked in, because generally when you walk into a coffee shop, the counter is right in front of you when you enter. 

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       I ordered a Vanilla Gingerbread Iced Latte, thinking I liked Gingerbread because I do like the cookies. That didn’t turn out to be the case, sadly. So, they did offer to make me something more up my alley. I went with a safe bet of Vanilla Caramel, I did find that it was much more bitter and earthy than I had expected.  This is one for people who enjoy the bite of espresso. Luckily for my sweet tooth, after a few sips the earthiness died down. Once I was able to taste the sweetness under the bite, it was smooth and rich. I think next time, I’ll get my drink extra sweet.

      Before we close out this post, I do want to note that the parking is woefully horrible. I had to do a very uncomfortable K-turn to get out. There’s a parking garage next door but it’s not available for anyone other than apartment guests. It was gated off, which I only found out by going into the wrong parking lot. 

 

       My rating for Ross House is below!

Taste; /5

Instagrameter; /5

Ten Coffees for People Who Don’t Like Coffee

 

Hey guys! I’ve been thinking… I’ve done so many posts about coffee that would be good for those of us who enjoy the sweeter things. Or, not what some people would call actual coffee. My Fiance` being one of the main ones I can think of who doesn’t necessarily like coffee, but will be occasionally moved to enjoy a cup if it’s suitable for his palate. 

    I figured, if it’s hard for me to keep track of these less-bitter options, it’s probably card for you too! So, I decided to make us a little round up for the coffees I’ve found since we I started this journey. Let’s get to it!

  1. Merry X-Moose- Origin Coffee

I’m going to be going backwards in time and hunting through the posts here, but I’ll start with a recent find! 

     This one is Mocha, Marshmallow, and Peppermint and it’s absolutely amazing. I opted to get it a little extra sweet, because I have a problem with my sweet tooth. It was exceptionally smooth, I could scarcely tell I was drinking an espresso beverage at all. The bitterness was completely nonexistent.

2. Raspberries and Cream- Origin Coffee

     The chocolate and vanilla mingle and blend in such a way where neither is identifiable alone. You might think that’s a bad thing, but it really makes the creaminess stand out. I thought it was going to be more like a chocolate dipped berry with some vanilla tones. But what happened instead was almost a decadent creaminess with raspberry offering tang and standing out. 

3. The Basic Witch- Iron Bank Coffee

     The basic witch is a drink I would definitely recommend somebody who, like me,  is not big on pumpkin spice. Honestly,  I am really a pleasantly surprised and I cannot wait to see what we come across a little later on in this list. The overall flavor of the basic which, is very mild. I detect almost no bitterness, it has a little bit of acidity that lingers but there’s almost no extreme, earthy presence from the espresso. It’s just a sweet relaxed kind of drink that is good to enjoy all year around. And guys, If they keep the spice on the shelves I may be coming back for this one!

4. Heavenly Caramel Iced Latte- UniquExpressions

     The coffee flavor barely lingered on my tongue, which I attribute to the sweetness of the caramel. Speaking of the caramel, it was the has the final word where the flavor is concerned. This is another drink I would highly recommend for my readers who are just getting started drinking (and enjoying) coffee. It’s one of most sweet, yet somehow mellow coffees I’ve had. I’m still definitely partial to the Prince Harry

5. Cafe` Caramello- My Favorite Muffin

The Cafe Caramello has a name that slightly intimidated me. Honestly, I was expecting something incredibly bitter and to get mowed down by a strong espresso flavor (and then not sleep for a few days). What I got instead was a mouthful of smooth refreshing coffee with a lovely sweet harmony of caramel chiming in. It feels quite delicately flavored. The balance is impeccable. 

It’s nicely light-bodied, and I’m very pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a coffee for those who prefer a more mild coffee drinking experience. If you’re just getting started on your coffee journey, give the Cafe Caramello a try!

6. Be Mine Latte- Iron Bank Coffee

it tastes quite a bit like chocolate milk with cinnamon thrown in. The cinnamon is the predominant flavor with the vanilla and chocolate coming in at a tie and balancing nicely. There’s a pleasant weight to the coffee that leaves a hint of espresso lingering, but nothing particularly biting. 

7. Prince HarryUniquExpressions

The coffee was as fantastic as I remember- the flavors are incredibly smooth and balanced without a hint of bitterness. The toffee was the predominant flavor and followed nicely by the rich mocha and caramel. There is espresso in it, but the flavor is so subtle and sweet that it even my coffee-ambivalent partner was enamored. I did try a second one from them today, since we were there for a while and the prices are so fair.

8. Razzle Dazzle- Midtown Coffee

The most prominent flavor is Raspberry with a soft whisper of mocha undertones. The balance achieved by this is interesting because it’s usually the other way around. The mocha flavor isn’t overwhelming or bitter. Overall the drink is smooth and soft- goes down easy and feels like the perfect drink for the holiday season if I can get away from Peppermint Mocha.

9. Heath Freezer- Fountain City Coffee

The first flavor I notice is a toffee and it’s followed by a nice contrast of slight bitterness that doesn’t detract from the drink but rather complements the sweetness. I honestly can’t recommend this drink enough.

10. Frosted TurtleO’Henry’s

he Frosted Turtle was surprisingly smooth- I didn’t notice the bite of espresso or any unpleasant bitterness. The Caramel and Mocha blended smoothly into a lovely harmony that left me feeling energized. Neither flavor was particularly overpowering, which is fairly impressive for something featuring two strong flavors like caramel and mocha.

I included little excerpts with each of my recommendations so you can see kind of what you’re getting into! I’m hoping to be able to travel a little more and bring you guys coffees, diners and boutiques from towns in a larger radius in 2019. Or, I’m certainly going to try! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this little roundup of coffee that you may have forgotten about, because I certainly did! I may have to go back and try some of these again, actually! 

If you guys have tried any of these previously, or something similar, share your experience in the comments below! Or, feel free to submit a guest review over on our Submissions page!

 

Origin Treats us to Christmas Coffee!

     

     Hey guys, we’re T-Minus 1 day to the big event! I’m so excited! Are you guys ready? We already broke some major ground here on the blog with yesterday’s video and I gotta tell you, that was definitely new. I’m hoping to have more content that you guys will be legitimately into as we move on into the new year! After yesterday, all I’m in the mood for is coffee. 

    The little local place I’m veritably obsessed with, Origin Coffee right here in Columbus has this amazing latte just in time for the Holidays. I thought that the Be Mine from Iron Bank was my Chocolate milk look-a-like, but I hadn’t met this one yet. 

     This one is Mocha, Marshmallow, and Peppermint and it’s absolutely amazing. I opted to get it a little extra sweet, because I have a problem with my sweet tooth. It was exceptionally smooth, I could scarcely tell I was drinking an espresso beverage at all. The bitterness was completely nonexistent.

    My favorite part about the holidays, if you may recall from one of our earlier posts, is peppermint. I love peppermint and what it does for my coffee. Coffee, as we all know, has an earthy flavor that is fairly bitter and grounding. I love how peppermint is able to add some coolness and subtle sweetness. I always knew I liked peppermint, what I didn’t know was how much I love marshmallow.

    Marshmallow being in this particular drink is amazing. It attaches to the espresso and tempers it. Makes it soft and decadent. The richness of the chocolate was magnified and it was made sweeter, somehow. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend this to you if you’re into Hot Cocoa or even Chocolate Milk. This is another one for those who don’t appreciate the bitterness of coffee.

    If you guys aren’t local, and there’s a big chance of that, this one is a good one to order custom from your favorite local place. Your experience may vary slightly, but this is one that I feel will translate well from other Cafe`s.

 

     I’ve been really utilizing our Christmas tree the last couple of days, mostly because we just managed to get our first tree and partly because I’m just really feeling the aesthetic. I also want to give a huge hello to our new readers! I hope you guys stick around! I’m happy to announce that I have some big plans for us here that I hope you like!

   Come back tomorrow for our last day of Christmas post!

On the 4th day of Christmas Starbucks gave to me (roundup!)

     Who doesn’t love seasonal treats that only come out once a year? Everyone has their favorite Christmas Guilty (or, not so guilty) pleasures. Mine, as well as a host of others, love Starbuck’s seasonal offering. As displayed by my Halloween Coffee post, I love Holiday drinks! So of course, I took myself to Starbucks to try each of their seasonal brews!

Caramel Brulee

     This is my number one pick from the current line up over at Starbucks. I love sweet things, and by that logic, I love caramel. Which definitely accurate. This drink is a great substitute if you’re tired of the same old peppermint. I never thought I’d be tired of the peppermint mochas, despite loving them so so so much. 

     This drink has a nice smooth finish, the majority of the flavor is caramel but that tapers off into a mellow espresso flavor. It’s a delicious winter drink that I can’t recommend enough if you fit these two requirements:

  1. You love any and all things Starbucks
  2. You’re like me, and you love sweets

This would be a great drink to sip as you hang out with the girls, or a relaxing night in by the fire with your partner!

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha 

      This one, I didn’t manage to grab a picture of. But as you’d imagine, that’s far from a travesty being that so many of the drinks look the same and taste so different. This one, to me, was not really -good- different. I generally don’t enjoy fruity flavors in my coffee, I’m cream all the way. This latte has a dusting of cranberry sugar on top, and the mingling flavors of caramel and mocha. Strangely, this one is actually too sweet for me and the surplus of sugar comes across bitter somehow.

If you’re really, and I do mean really into sweet coffees and enjoy a touch of fruitiness in your coffees for the holidays, this might be for you. And I think I’m going to let you guys have this one.

Gingerbread Latte

One of the ones I was excited to try this year was the Gingerbread latte, despite not being too huge on gingerbread. I did try this as a frappe a while back, which you can see below. I made the mistake of thinking that I liked Gingerbread a lot. Oh boy was I was wrong. It was too much. During a raining evening after work, I decided to give with the hot variant a try for this post! 

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Really feeling festive here lately! It’s not quite time yet, but why not break out the #gingerbread ? . . #coffeelover #coffeelife #coffeeholic #caffeine #coffeebreak #instacoffee #coffeelovers #coffeeaddict #coffeelove #coffeeoftheday #coffeetime #coffeecup #coffee #morning #yummy #drink #starbucks #gingerbreadfrappe

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While this isn’t my usual thing, it’s not bad at all. Each sip has a nice spice to it that is brought down by the somewhat harsh espresso. I’m not sure that I’ll be getting this one again, because I really don’t care for ginger. It’s pretty true to what it’s based off it. I think it’s a loving homage to a traditional Christmas treat. It’s not my favorite thing on this list, but it’s also not my least favorite. It’s squarely in the middle. If you guys want to enjoy a Gingerbread cookie without the hassel of… y’know, eating it, this is for you! I will add really quick, that I did really like the frappe. I would not recommend pairing it like I did, unless you love ginger.

Juniper Latte

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It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! I was finally able to drag myself over to @Starbucks to try the #juniperlatte that I’ve been so curious about! Look for it in one of the upcoming posts for the #12daysofchristmas . . #coffeelover #coffeelife #coffeeholic #caffeine #coffeebreak #instacoffee #coffeelovers #coffeeaddict #coffeelove #coffeeoftheday #coffeetime #coffeecup #coffee #morning #yummy #drink #holidaycoffee

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I know this post is a little late to the party with the Juniper Latte, but guys, life. That’s all I have to say. Times is hard, in the immortal words of Ms. Lovett.

via GIPHY

    Anyway, I did make it in to taste this unique brainchild. Of course, I sniffed it first to see what the smell was like. It smelled almost savory, which is not a thing I associate with my coffee. The overall flavor is woodsy. It’s sprinkled with sage, so it has a bit of an herbal taste as well. I made the mistake of taking a large swallow, thinking it was coke, and holy. crap. Immediate regret. It has a sharp, earthy aftertaste and not even the good bite of espresso. My question to Starbucks is this: why. Why would you market this? Come on. I guess I understand, it’s a unique idea. “Hey, let’s make a coffee that tastes like a tree,” because of course, we have to try it.

I’m a little rusty on my coffee reviewing skills, and guys, I took a sip and that aftertaste hits hard. I don’t think I’ll be getting this again. Literally, all I can say now that I couldn’t say before is “I drank tree flavored coffee”. And is that a bragging right I really want to have?

I was really hoping to wrap this post up on a positive note. I was hoping it was going to have more a piney, vaguely evergreen vibe. How wrong I was. If you guys took one for the team, what were your thoughts? Will you be buying it again? 

With that trainwreck, we wrap up another day of our countdown! We still have more on the schedule, so be sure to check back tomorrow! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some coffee to hold me over til tomorrow!

I’m dreaming of the perfect Christmas

    Hey guys! We’re so close to the big day and I’m getting more and more excited. This year is a big one for us! It’s not for any major reason, or anything. We just got our first tree. The fire is going heartily, the tree is up, the dog is down by my feet and I’m feeling festive. I figured now is as good a time as any to start thinking about my perfect dream Christmas. 

     Yesterday was Secret Santa was work, I kind of went a little all out and got lots of presents for my friends and the trainers. With those memories of trying- and failing- to wrap artfully presented gifts for under the tree it really got me thinking.

 

    My dream Christmas would start out waking up around 8:00-ish, and walking out to the living room to be greeted by a crackling fire. This would be a fire hazard to keep going all night, so someone would have to get up early.  The tree would be lit up cheerily, and the presents would overflow with cohesive colors and lots of ribbons and bows! The stocking would be hung up above the fireplace with gifts for myself, my darling and all of my furry children (not that the later would appreciate it).

    In complete opposition to my childhood, we would get straight to opening up gifts. Food can wait, presents must happen right off the bat in this dream-world. My darling would open his, and find exactly what he’s been wanting but has been unable to buy, and so would I. I don’t know what everyone else wants, but their favorite things would be in the stockings.

    After presents, we would get to part two of our Christmas morning and fix up some peppermint hot cocoa, with some sugar cookies. I can feel the disapproval, guys. But, it’s the breakfast of champions. Prove me wrong. We would hang out on the couch and peruse the movies on Hulu, and eventually settle on some laughable cartoon movie. From the couch, we can see freshly fallen snow through our windows. Rather uncharacteristic for the South, but I certainly wouldn’t be complaining!

    After the cocoa is gone, we’d get on prepping some fresh french toast. Mine would be topped with lots of whipped cream. Like, pile on the whipped cream. If I’m feeling more sweetness, I’d probably put some caramel on there too, why not!

    The rest of the day would be spectacularly lazy. We stay home and enjoy each other’s company. I’d most likely spend my day playing with whatever gifts I got from Santa. We would relax into the night, and maintain the steady crackling of the fire. Most likely sipping coffee, because… it should go with out saying. Literally can’t have a holiday without having coffee. It’s not acceptable.

     I know my dream Christmas is probably unremarkable. Despite the drive to constantly go and create things, I do have simple taste in the end. If these daydreams tickled your fancy or you want to share your own dream Christmas, share it in the comments down below!

Three of the Best Things About The Holiday Season

    Hey there, guys! Let’s get today’s Blogmas rolling! Yesterday I talked about recapturing the Holiday Spirit, this one is for those of you who’s Holiday Cheer never left! I really don’t want to give the impression that I hate the holidays. To the contrary, although some Christmas songs tend to grate on my nerves. Since I grew up, I had to rediscover my love for the holiday season. 

     The best thing about trying to rekindle that spark in myself is finding new things to love about this most festive time of year!

 

Family (blood, and not)

   Like I went into a little in the last post, I was raised with a large extended family that loved the holidays. Every holiday was a huge event where family from all over would congregate in my hometown. Since I left, I haven’t celebrated but once. And the one time that I did, didn’t really leave a good taste in my mouth. I opted to not celebrate again and my Cheer up and left. 

     This year is different. I did find a new job, partner, friends… Even the coworkers start to feel like family when you’re with them so much. I love the sense of togetherness that this season affords us. Really, I would even be happy without the promise of presents and food, though of course, those are perks. I just love where we are for the most part. 

     I’m discovering that one of the best parts about this season is celebrating, not with exclusively the family you were born with but opening your heart to the family that you have the potential to meet. Family has the potential to be everywhere around you, you just need to look around and be open to forming those connections. Righ now, I’m just at a very grateful (albeit semi-stressful) place. And, in case anyone is wondering if I consider them family; Absolutely. 

 

The Five Senses

Sight

I did briefly go into this yesterday, as well, but the sights are stunning. Depending where you are, you may have snow (lucky) or you may have the remnants of fall shaking themselves free from the sparse branches. Either way, it’s sure to be made stunning by those unsung heroes who decorate and really channel that Christmas feeling. I know in particular, my neighbors go a little crazy with the decorations. It’s nearly impossible to be upset while looking at Christmas lights and decorations. I always found myself begrudgingly enjoying the gorgeous colors, even when I was adamant about not celebrating.

Sound

This is an easy one; the music. I know every word to so many songs even if I haven’t listened to it in years. There’s something so timeless about Christmas music. Not only that, have you ever tried to not sing along with All I Want For Christmas is You? I fail that challenge every time. The other one that always gets me is Last Christmas. I mean, I absolutely can’t not belt out his heartbreak. Some of my other absolute favorites are down below!

  1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); I found the one on again while watching an ABC Family Christmas movie years ago and I made a note to memorize the lyrics so I could find it again. I LOVE this one so much.
  2. All I want for Christmas; This one brought to us by Vince Vance and the Valiants was always so hard for me to find before I memorized the name of the band!
  3. Mary’s Boy Child; I’m not particularly religious, nor have I ever been, really, but I have always loved this song. It has a tropical, islandic feeling that’s like summer in the middle of the harsh winter. I loved this song for so many years! It has a heck of a hook.

Taste

This one is also a rehash of the last post in a way. I love some of the tastes of the season, namely peppermint! I also love the inventive flavors of coffee and cocoa that come out. When we were shopping last week we found some amazing flavors of cocoa in a set. We have plans to go back and grab them to enjoy for our Second Christmas together! I’m legit pretty excited, especially for the caramel flavors.

   I’ve also come across some pretty amazing Christmas coffees too, like the more fall oriented one from Fountain City! Check out the local places to you to see what kind of unique drinks you can find before they’re gone!

Tactile

What does Christmas feel like? Christmas feels like warmth, and being wrapped in soft fluffy fabric. The entire affair, despite being in the dead of winter feels very warm to me. That feeling of warmth and love is something I’ve found myself yearning for over the year.

Scent

One of my favorite things about his season, hands down. Which isn’t remarkable, as that’s what this whole post is about. I love the scents I associate with the holiday. I primarily associate the scent of evergreen with vanilla and the smell of wood from the fireplace. The vanilla in my memories is sometimes interrupted by the smell of cocoa or coffee that became more prevalent as I got older. But vanilla is a smell I associate with almost every precious memory.

 

Tradition

     Another thing I love about this season is that despite the evident prevalence of tradition that permeates time, is that none of it is set in stone. The holidays have the capacity to mean so many different things to so many different people. To some, it can mean what it used to mean to me, large parties with the extended family and making long road trips. Or it can fall more in line with what it means to me recently, solitude with my future husband and enjoying this new family I’ve found. 

     This is the year that we’re trying to start out own traditions together. We’re getting our first tree, figuring out the staple foods and festivities and generally just figuring out what it means to us. Do we want to celebrate with friends? Without? Do we want to partake of cliche` ideas? Gingerbread houses? Stereotypical color coordination? Stockings? 

In short- heck yeah. The beautiful thing is that no matter what you choose one year, you’re free to change your mind next time. The tradtions you build are yours to find comfort in as you please and there’s something so beautiful about that to me. 

This post actually went on a little bit longer than I thought it would to be honest. I guess I’m relieved to know that I was able to find some love for a holiday that ceased to move me years ago. I’m finding the ability to enjoy the nostalgia and the closeness with those around me extremely cathartic. I’m looking forward to making new memories about these times, this year and the in the years to come.

What are you guys looking forward to in the coming holiday?