Friday Four: Holiday Treats

Hi friends! I have a few holiday treats for you this week that I think you will enjoy over the Thanksgiving holidays. Let’s get straight to it!

One: Holidate

I watched a new Christmas movie on Netflix called Holidate. Do not go into this movie thinking it will be like a Hallmark movie; think of it more like a little naughty comedy & you will like it so much more. I laughed out loud multiple times.

Emma Roberts’ character is tired of being setup by her mother, sister, & everyone else so she makes a deal with a random dude for a holidate – a date for every holiday. This movie was hilarious, charming, & not for kids. There are a lot of actors you’d know in it as well.

Two: I read another book

Y’all, I am out of my reading rut. Last weekend I read a book in 2 days – The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller. I loved this book! The whole time I kept thinking the main character was like if Sookie & Lorelai from Gilmore Girls were the same person. If you like GG, or Hart of Dixie, or Virgin River then you will love this book.

I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with these characters.

Three: Dash & Lily

I have another Netflix find for you, Dash & Lily. This is such a cute little show – it is very YA but I still loved it.

This show is 1 season, 8 30-minute episodes. Dash hates Christmas, but he grows to love it through a scavenger hunt, of sorts, left in a journal by Lily. It’s so cute!

Four: Black Owned Small Businesses

Check out this great list of Black owned small business to for your Christmas shopping this year! This list was curated by @paulapromotesstuff on IG.

That’s it for this week; I don’t have a fifth thing. I hope you all have a great, but small & local Thanksgiving. Have fun, wash your hands, & wear a mask.

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: I Did a Thing.

Hi friends! I have five great things to share with you this week…three of which would make great Christmas presents.

One: New Booties

I got some new booties (Joselyne Booties) from ABLE recently that I am in love with! I got them in Blue Grey Suede…cue the Elvis song!

What I especially love about ABLE is that they are a small, female owned ethical business that focuses on sustainable clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. They also focus on employing women & empowering out of poverty.

*Great gift idea

Two: Mascara

Okay, so lashes are my thing when I do my makeup. I’m always on the hunt for a mascara that will do all the things – lengthen, lift, volume, winged, etc. etc. My lashes are long-ish and blonde-ish, so without mascara I look like I have no eyelashes. In this pandemic mask world, mascara is really the staple of my makeup routine as you can only see my eyes.

So, with that said, I have found a new gluten free & cruelty free mascara that is so so so inexpensive. It has a horrible name – Lash Princess, but it is so good! I bought the multi-pack so I could try them all (4 for $18), but one is about $5.

Here is a before, one eye, & after pictures.

Three: Love Lettering

I started this book two weeks ago or so – I have been in such a reading rut during this Pandemic, which has really surprised me. Ashley Spivey (my book guru) recommended this book about a year ago; I bought it then but just got around to reading it. Love Lettering took me about 50 pages to get into it, the lead has a lot of internal dialogue which kinda frustrated me at first. If you love romance, NYC, & nerdy leads you will love this book. I have only been to NYC once (for less than 24 hours), & when I go back I know I will see the city in a whole new way.

The main character, Meg, has a hand-lettering business that basically goes viral. She falls for Reid, who is the ex-fiance of a client & she designed their wedding invitations – cue awkwardness. This book is a heart-warming love story as they navigate the city through signs (literal signs).

Four: Christmas

I did a thing… In a very #2020 fashion, I have already put out my Christmas decor. My house is currently Fall on the outside (business in the front), & Christmas on the inside (party in the back).

As you might guess, I’m very particular about my Christmas decor. For example, the main colors in any given item must be traditional Christmas colors (red, green, white, silver, or gold). I have a very particular order in which I decorate my tree. I also have a love/hate relationship with tree skirts & tree toppers.

First I add garland to the tree – I have faux popcorn garland & red, green, & silver beaded garland. Then I add reflective pieces; years ago I bought these ugly disco ball tree ornaments that I hang in the interior of my tree near the trunk – they reflect light like crazy & make my tree extra sparkly.

They’re ugly, but effective.

Then I add Christmas ball ornaments, dispersing them throughout the tree (don’t neglect the interior of the tree).

Next, I add ornaments that I’ve collected over the years from travels, ones that Mama J gave to me, & all of my Charlie Brown ornaments. Then I finish it off with the “jewelry” & snowflakes.

Lastly, I’ve made a beautiful table scape, & decorated around the house.

Five: Dishwasher

This one isn’t fun or fancy, but I got a new dishwasher! Over Labor Day weekend my washer, dryer, & dishwasher all went out. Yes, at the same time. Luckily, my washer & dryer got fixed quickly as they only needed belts replaced. However, the dishwasher needed to be completely replaced, and because of the pandemic, production has slowed & many people chose this time to renovate – so my new dishwasher just got installed yesterday. In the last two months, I have learned that I suck at hand washing anything other than pots & pans. Whomp, whomp.

That’s it for this week. Are y’all putting out your Christmas decor? Are you traveling for the holiday season? I am personally quarantining right now, so I can go to my mom’s for Thanksgiving. We also are only having four people for dinner, instead of our normal 20 or so people. Please think about the safety of yourself & others during this time, as COVID is quickly catapulting back to Spring numbers.

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: The Purge

Hi friends! Long time, no see. Sorry for my absence, I’ve been a bit busy & haven’t really spent a spare minute to gather five things. Anyway, let’s get to the five things I have for you today!

One: Closet Revamp

Part of the reason for my lack of 5 things is that I have been spending the last few weeks purging stuff from my house & donating. My closet had a big overhaul. First, I went through my clothes & got rid of stuff I don’t wear, doesn’t fit, & things I don’t think I’ll wear again. Second, I got rid of shoes, purses, jewelry, & hats. It ended up being 9 bags of stuff to donate!

Then, I turned all the hangers around backwards & color-coded everything. As I wear the item & wash it, when I hang it back up the hanger goes back correctly & to the back of that color’s section. At the end of the season, what ever is left backwards will get donated.

So, I didn’t color organize my clothes by ROY G BIV (sorry The Home Edit), but I did order it according to the Peggy Lee song “Sing a Rainbow.” The lyrics are, “Red, and yellow, and pink, and green. Purple, and orange, and blue. I can see sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too. Listen with your eyes…”

Two: Documentary

Have y’all seen The Way I See It? It is a documentary about the White House photographer, Pete Souza, during Raegan & Obama’s administrations. This documentary was so good! I laughed. I cried. I can’t say enough good things about it. Kids can watch this too.

Three: Christmas Decor

Y’all, I’m having a daily battle with myself not to put up my Christmas decor. I did, however, buy one little Christmas tree from Target last week & I left it out among my pumpkins.

I have already decided that my tree is going up on Sunday, the 1st. I’m not going to decorate it, but I can no longer be denied pretty, twinkling lights! It’s 2020, all bets are off at this point. Am I right?

Four: New Hat

I was influenced by Carly to get this hat from J. Crew. I’m in love with it! Normally, I’m more of a baseball cap kinda girl, but I was drawn to this one. I got it at 50% off, but it is still 40% off now.

Okay, so I lied – I only have four things this week. But I will be back next week! Hold me to it! Hope you all have a safe & COVID-free Halloween. Tag me (IG @AnaologyofReality) if you put up your Christmas tree this weekend too!

Kiss Hug,

What’s Up Wednesday: December Edition

WUWYou guys, I’m so excited because I’m finally at my computer for a WUW!  The last two months I haven’t been near a computer (yea!) during WUW weeks.

So without further ado, I’ll be answering the following questions.  Questions

What I’m eating this week…

Oh my goodness!  I’ve been eating all the treats!  My birthday was on the 14th, so I’ve been eating sweets to celebrate. 🙂

I made some Christmas Crunch, which is a childhood recipe from my BFF’s mom (and promptly forgot to take a picture before it was gone).

Christmas Crunch:
3 Cups of Cap’n Crunch cereal
2 Cups of unsalted peanuts
2 Cups of Pretzel sticks (broken in half)
1 Pkg. of Almond Bark or White Chocolate
Red Hots are optional (Mama J added this to the recipe)
Mix dry ingredients.  Melt Almond Bark & pour over dry ingredients & mix well.  Spoon onto wax paper & let set until hard.  If you choose to add Red Hots, sprinkle them on top while the mixture is still wet.

What I’m reminiscing about…

Our work Holiday party was last week & the theme was Ugly Sweater.  I’m so proud of mine!  I made it from a plain, black sweatshirt, although I did not win the contest.  Y’all, I learned how to sew buttons; it lit up too!Ugly Sweater

What I’m loving…

I’m loving this season of Vanderpump Rules…it’s so bad, but so good!  VPR

What I’ve been up to…

I have been so busy this holiday season that I don’t feel like I’ve really gotten to enjoy it.  I’ve been extremely busy working, babysitting, traveling to & from my cousin’s wedding & associated events, birthday festivities, etc.  Here, there, & everywhere!

What I’m dreading…

I’m dreading taking down my Christmas decorations, but mostly because I’m lazy.

What I’m watching & reading…

I’m watching all Hallmark all the time, plus a little Bravo here & there.  Hallmark

I’m currently reading The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan, so far so good.  You know I love my romance novels!The Hot SHot

What I’m listening to…

I’m listening to a mixture of Christmas music, checkout my playlists.

Holly Jolly Holiday

Merry & Bright

Christmas Vacation

Bells Are Ringing

Snow Globe Season

Fa La La La-lidays

Warm & Cozy

Under the Mistletoe

Also, I’m obsessed with all the Crooked Media podcasts!

What I’m wearing…

I just ordered these super cute, super soft sweaters.  I love them!

What I’m doing this weekend…

This weekend I’m driving to my mom’s house for the holidays.  Georgetown or bust!

What I’m looking forward to next month…

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to making my New Year’s Resolution & sticking to it.  I’m hoping to finally kick my Dr Pepper habit.

What else is new…

Not much else is going on.

Playlist: Under the Mistletoe

This is the final playlist of the Holiday season…tear.  You may recognize some of the songs as repeats, which I tried really hard to avoid, but these are different versions.  christmas-6

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Listen here: Under the Mistletoe

The Only Gift – *NSYNC

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

Snow – Seth MacFarlane

White Christmas – The Drifters

Run Run Rudolph – Kelly Clarkson

Mistletoe & Wine – Cliff Richard

Let It Be Christmas – Alan Jackson

Happy Holiday – She & Him

Jingle Bells – Alvin & The Chipmunks

(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays – Perry Como

Caroling, Caroling – Nat King Cole

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5

Frosty the Snowman – The Ronettes

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

Carol Of The Bells – US Air Force Band & Singing Sergeants

Santa Claus Got Stuck (In My Chimney) – Ella Fitzgerald

Please Come Home For Christmas – Eagles

We Need A Little Christmas – Angela Lansbury

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder

Silent Night, Holy Night – Julie Andrews

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Let’s Start the New Year Right – Bing Crosby

I hope y’all enjoyed these playlists as much as I have.  Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy lives to check out my blog each week!

Have a safe & happy New Year.

Kiss Hug,

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It’s the Most Wonderful time of the Year!

It’s finally here…my long awaited, often promised post about Christmas decor!  I have a few hard & fast rules that I try to abide.  I’m most specific about wrapped presents, but we’ll get to that later.

Here are some tips & tricks that guide my decorating:

  1. I think it’s super cool, but expensive, to replace all your normal decor with holiday decor.  But, if you can afford it -go for it!  However, if you’re like me & on a budget – just replace a few key components with festive holiday gear.  I’m also a fan of homemade decor if you’re crafty.
  2. Find your one symbolic holiday item & go nuts!  I have a few: snowflakes, moose/reindeer/antlers, Christmas trees, & gingerbread everything.
  3. I’m a really big fan of being extra generous in any way I can this time of year.  I really try to pruchase locally made gifts or to make something myself.  I also really like to buy gifts from charities or that give back to charity, or both when you can find it!
  4. Okay, my biggest pet peeve – wrapped gifts!  Unless it’s alcohol or a super unusual shape, do NOT put the gift in a bag.  Your wrapped gifts should have crisp edges with a handmade bow (no store bought bows in my house).  If you can’t figure out how to make a bow – Google it – by a roll of pompoms & simply wrap it around the gift a few times.  Yarn is also a super inexpensive & charming alternative to a store bought bow.  Super festive, cute, & easy!
  5. I love outdoor lights, but struggle to put them up myself…shortness & laziness are big factors.  Just make sure the lights are straight.  No inflatables in the yard, please!
  6. One of my weird Casey-isms is that I am very strict about acceptable colors during the season.  Green, red, white, silver, & gold are the only colors I allow.  Very traditional.  Also anything plaid doesn’t hurt my feelings. 🙂
  7. Last but not least, all decorating should be done while listening to Christmas music or having a Hallmark movie on the TV.

Here are some pictures of my house.

The stocking in my chair is from my childhood.  Mama J tried to get rid of it when I went off to college; it was quickly saved from a certain purgatory, & now I put it out at my home even though I don’t have a fireplace.  We have another fun tradition in my family…my birthday is on December 14th, so for my birthday every year I get a Christmas ornament for my tree. 🙂  This year was a copper mama moose with her silver baby; my mom got it at The Escape in Georgetown.

This year Mama J & I will be heading to my Dad’s side of the family for Christmas Day lunch.  Then on Monday, we’ll head over to my mom’s side of the family for Christmas brunch.  Our gift exchange theme this year is “something recommended to you.”

What about y’all?  Do you have anything fun planned?

Next week will be the last Holiday playlist of the year…whah, whah.

Kiss Hug,

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Playlist: Warm & Cozy

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For this next playlist, I want you to imagine that you are on a winter vacation.  It’s cold & snowing outside, so you decide to stay in.  Warm, & snuggled in by the fire.  Perhaps you’re sipping on mulled wine or hot chocolate, whatever your pleasure.  Then you click on this playlist.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll also be reading a book or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Christmas Makes Me Cry – Kacey musgraves

Moonlight In Vermont – Seth MacFarlane

2000 Miles – Pretenders

Petit Papa Noel – Josh Groban

Trains And Winter Rains – Enya

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard

Old Time Christmas – Randy Travis

You’re All I Want For Christmas – Caro Emerald & Brook Benton

Never Do a Tango With an Eskimo – Alma Cogan

Hard Candy Christmas – Cyndi Lauper

25th December – Everything But The Girl

Father Christmas – The Kinks

When A Child Is Born – Johnny Mathis

Honky Tonk Christmas – Alan Jackson

Ding Dong! Merrily on High – Choir of Clare College, Cambridge

Dear Mister Santa Claus – Hank Jones

Wish You a Merry Christmas – Kim Weston

Merry Christmas (Wherever You Are) – George Strait

Poppa Santa Claus – Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters

Ole Santa – Dinah Washington

Christmas Here With You – Four Tops & Aretha Franklin

Next week will be the last Christmas playlist; I’ll post it earlier than the norm so you can it enjoy all week long before NYE.

Wishing you peace, joy, and all the best the holiday has to offer.
May this incredible time of giving and spending time with family bring you joy that lasts throughout the year.

Kiss Hug,

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Playlist: Fa La La La-lidays

Y’all this week has been so busy, but in the best way!  Tuesday, I played BINGO at my local Whole Foods with my friend Brigitte.  The BINGO is free, but you have to pay for any food or booze.  img_4017

Wednesday was my birthday – the big 33; I met Mama J half-way between Georgetown (where she lives) & The Woodlands (where I live), in a cute little town called Brenham.  That’s where Bluebell Ice Cream is made!  They have a super cute historic downtown square with cafes, shops, & the works.  We had lunch at a cafe called the Funky Art Cafe.  I had a very funky club sandwich – it had grated cheddar cheese, y’all.  Tell me how this makes sense?!?!  On my way back home, I stopped in Chappell Hill at a store called True Blue Home – I love this store so much & one of my favorite designers, Holly Mathis, helped setup this shop.

Once back in The Woodlands, I had dinner with my sweet friends Amy & Maureen – they spoiled me majorly!  We went to a local staple – Republic Grille.  I had an awesome meal of  chicken with goat cheese & sun dried tomatoes with a  lemon cream sauce.   Good company, good food, & good wine!img_4028

As per usual, I dug into the mashed potatoes before taking a picture.  It was so, so good – I couldn’t wait!

Yesterday (Thursday), we had our work holiday party at Texas de Brazil in City Centre.  The Cabernet was awesome!!!  However, I cannot eat this way easily.  This is the type of place where you get your sides form a buffet, & they bring meat to you & cut your piece table side.  The food is fantastic, but it is so rushed.  I can’t eat like that.  I take my time, & graze more often than not.  Never the less, the party was fun – Ugly Sweater is always an easy theme.  The after party, at Yard House, was more casual.  I tried my first Snake Bite – so delicious!  Guinness & Angry Orchard Cider! IMG_4033.JPG

This weekend I’ll be babysitting, house, sitting, & dog sitting – with a couple brunches thrown into the mix. 🙂

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Anyways – on to the real reason you’re reading this blog post, my 6th playlist of the season!  Listen here: Fa La La La-lidays

Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen

Deck the Halls Boogie! – Asleep At The Wheel

White Winter Hymnal – Kina Grannis

It Must Be Christmas – Chris Young

I Never Knew The Meaning Of Christmas – *NSYNC

Present Without A Bow – Kacey Musgraves & Leon Bridges

The Holly and the Ivy – Little Elves Choir

Feels Like Christmas – Straight No Chaser with Jana Kramer

Song for a Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan

Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea

Lonely This Christmas – Mud

At Christmas – Kylie Minogue

Deck The Halls – R.E.M.

I Only Want You for Christmas – Alan Jackson

The Secret of Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald

Step Into Christmas – Elton John

Past Three O’Clock – Steve Wariner

I Wanna Kiss You So – Girls Aloud

Little Christmas Tree – Michael Jackson

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Alvin & The Chipmunks

I hope you all have a marvelous weekend!

Kiss Hug,

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Playlist: Snow Globe Season

Okay y’all, I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the fifth installment of one of my Christmas Playlists. 😉

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Without further ado…

You can listen here: Snow Globe Season

Miracles – Coldplay

Merry Christmas Darling – Christina Perri

Must Be Christmas – Band of Merrymakers

It’s Christmas Time Again – Backstreet Boys

All My Christmases – Jillian Edwards

Mistletoe – Justin Bieber

A New York Christmas – Rob Thomas

Ribbons and Bows – Kacey Musgraves

Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens

Come Thou Fount – Penny and Sparrow

Man With The Bag – Jessie J

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Dan + Shay

Under the Weather – Chris Young

I Like A Sleighride – Peggy Lee

Merry Texas Christmas Y’all – Asleep At The Wheel

Under My Tree – *NSYNC

Huron Carol – Sarah McLachlan

Mele Kalikimaka – Jake Owen

Warm In December – Seth MacFarlane

Cool Yule – Bette Midler

I hope you all enjoy listening to these lists as much as I enjoy making them.

Kiss Hug,

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Playlist: Bells Are Ringing

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Okay y’all, now that Thanksgiving is officially over…most people consider December 1st the official day you may start listening to Christmas music.  As you know, I listen on July 25th (Christmas in July) & November 1st is my official start date for the Christmas season.

This is the 4th playlist in our lineup for the festive holiday season.  I hope you enjoy!

Listen Here: Bells Are Ringing

Jingle Bells – Jimmy Buffett

Oh Santa! – Mariah Carey

Fairytale of New York – Bob Schneider

Winter Dreams – Kelly Clarkson

Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More – Reliant K

When Christmas Comes to Town – Polar Express

Christmas Don’t Be Late – Kacey Musgraves

A Marshmallow World – She & Him

Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys

Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen

Hoping For Snow – The Vamps

Wonderful Christmastime – The Shins

Winter Things – Ariana Grande

Frosty the Snowman – The Ronettes

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – *NSYNC

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix

Happy Holidays – Megan Trainor

Cuddle Up – Catey Shaw

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – Christina Perri

Let me know in the comments if you have any specific requests.

Kiss Hug,

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