Five on Friday {December 14}

Hey y'all,

I cannot believe that we are halfway through December and I know the rest of the year will fly by. I am excited this weekend will be filled with some barre3 classes, babysitting a little one, attending a party, book club and supper club. I promise I also booked some quiet me time for this introvert into the weekend. Let's get started on five things I'm loving this week:

one. Seasonal Celebration.

On Saturday, my work hosted their Seasonal Celebration. As I joined the company back in June, this was my first Seasonal and it was a lot of fun. It was an amazing dinner, a funny video recap of the year, and a great way to celebrate the company and all of our hard work.

two. Snow Days.

North Carolina surprisingly got a lot of snow this weekend. I didn't sleep the best after the seasonal as I knew snow was forecasted. I was up at 2am and saw the snow had started to fall and by 7am it was everywhere. I had a nice quiet snowy Sunday with lots of Hallmark, Max cuddles, and a nap on the couch.

three. Whole30 prep.

I am going to complete a Whole30 soon (December 27-January 26) and while most people start January 1 I am starting a few days early to account for reintroduction a few days before my birthday! I checked out a few books from the library recently to help get some meal and recipe inspiration. I actually made a meal out of the Whole30 SlowCooker cookbook last night when a friend came over for dinner.


four. Hot Cocoa Cafe.

This little cafe is too cute and a cat scratcher too. It's under $20 at Target and Max is loving his Christmas present. They also make a smaller toy workshop house as well.


five. Contentment Challenge from Nancy Ray.
I have heard a lot about the Contentment Challenge from Nancy Ray and I am excited to join her community in completing the challenge from January-March. I think it's the perfect way to start 2019 and being intentional. I am still working on my word of the year but a content, intentional life are all things I think we crave.
contentment challenge square_Instagram 1-1.jpg

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.  
Also linking up with Tif, Becky, and Katie.
And Erika, Narci, and Andrea

Best,
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TBB Asks {December}

Y'all,

How is it already December 6th? I seriously can't believe there are only a few more weeks left in 2018. They are going to be pretty hectic with a lot of things going on at my job as it is one of our busiest times of the year with the end of the fiscal year. Also, socially it's a busy time with lots of parties, dinners, gatherings, and fun! Here's my answer's to the Blended Blog's monthly prompts, this month is all about the holidays.


1. Candy Canes? Yes or No
I'm not a huge peppermint person so no unless they are the Starburst candy canes.

2. Christmas morning early riser or sleep in? 
Early riser. I still have trouble sleeping on Christmas eve even though I'm in my late 20s and I am typically up by 5am. My parent's rule though is that we are not allowed out of our rooms until 6am and at that time we can only open our stockings. No presents until the parents are up at 9am.

3. Did you shop on Black Friday? Yes or No
Yes but only online. A few times we have gone out on Black Friday in the late afternoon/early evening when all the morning shoppers have left.

4. Christmas Tree up in November? Yes or No
Yes, but only after Thanksgiving. This year though, I broke my rule and put it up the weekend before Thanksgiving as I knew I would be traveling and wanted it up before December 1st.

5. Do you get Holiday ideas from Pinterest? Yes or No 
Sometimes but I mostly stick to the traditional stuff. I did find my hot chocolate recipe through pinterest and I have used that at my annual ornament exchange for a few years.

6. Christmas Glam or Ugly Sweater?
We glam it up for Christmas Eve service but that's the only really glam night typically for my family. I did attend a lot of Ugly Sweater parties in college as my sorority hosted one each year. This year, the alumni event was combined with the ugly sweater party. 


Here's me with two of the four active members of my family. 

7. Stocking Stuffers: Wrapped or Unwrapped?
Stockings are unwrapped but all other gifts are wrapped.

8. Traditional or Modern Christmas Songs?
Both. But no Christmas music until December 1st or I will be sick of them before Christmas even comes.

9. Fruitcake? Yes or No
No.

10. Is your Christmas Shopping Finished? Yes or No?
Yes. I was finished before Cyber Monday.

11. Is there Snow in December where you live? 
There is actually a good chance of snow this weekend here in NC. I am just hoping it doesn't snow like crazy Saturday night as I have my work holiday party that night and don't want to drive in the snow.

12. Classic Show: A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph? 
We watch both but are more Muppet Christmas Carol, White Christmas, the Santa Clause, and the Year Without a Santa Claus people.


Best,
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Wishlist Wednesday {My Christmas List}

Hey y'all,

With the Christmas season officially kicked off now that we have pasted Christmas, I thought I would share my Christmas list. Don't worry, I am the kind of person that had my Christmas list to my family before November so that everyone could enjoy some great sales this past week.

I lucked out that this Fall, I found my favorite cookware at Homegoods. I immediately called my Mom as this is her brand of cookware and grabbed a piece for her as well. So, I was reimbursed and I have been loving using my Christmas present already the last few weeks.
Image result for wmf cookware
I can't find my cookware but it is the same kind my Mom purchased in Germany when we lived there 15 years ago and her pans still look brand new.

NOOK GlowLight 3
I have a first generation nook simple touch that was not working in October when I arrived at the airport so I think it's time to upgrade.

J.Crew Mercantile quilted vest
j.crew mercantile quilted puffer vest with eco-friendly primaloft® : women fleece & vests
I live in these vests during the Fall and Winter and think this green color is gorgeous! I have an ivory, black, and pink vest already.

2019 Yearly Prayer Journal by Val Marie Paper, women's ministry, prayer tools, praying for your kids, how to start a prayer journal, notebook, war room, praying Scripture, praying for your husband, how to make a, for beginners, motherhood
I received the 2018 prayer journal for Christmas last year and I have loved using this prompted journal throughout the year to record prayers for the world, my community, my friends, and my gratitude.

I love Courtney's blog and all of her fun decor and party ideas so I think this would be a fun coffee table book.

product
I mean sloths+pajamas. Enough said.

Image result for bamboo bathtub caddy target
Perfect for relaxing in my epsom salt bath every Sunday after Barre3.

Other ideas:
An airmattress for guests
Crazy Rich Asians DVD
Invisiboble hair ties
Bubba plastic reusable straws

What's on your Christmas list?

Best,
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What I'm Reading Wednesday {October Reads}

Hey y'all,

As usual, I am sharing the books I finished in October. Even with a vacation with family, I only finished three books. They were all okay reads but nothing out of the ordinary. Here we go:

Her Royal Sypness

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1)Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932.
So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.
Everything seems to be going swimmingly until she finds a body in her bathtub... and someone is definitely trying to kill her.

This is the first of a series and which cute, I wasn't too impressed. If you love a good british spy novel, I say read the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig and skip these. I started the second book and returned it to the library as I wasn't loving it.

Trade Me

Trade Me (Cyclone, #1)Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.
But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

A classic rich boy, struggling girl romance but this book included a lot of different discussions on mental health and the struggles behind success. I enjoyed the book and I am interested to read the rest of the series.


Without Merit


Without MeritThe Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.
Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.
Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Another quick read from Colleen Hoover. I love that Colleen is not afraid to tackle some darker topics. I always know I am going to finish her books in under 3 days and I will cry at some point. Without Merit is revolves around a family and how keeping secrets could negatively effect someone to the point of attempting escape. 


Best,
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Thanksgiving in October {San Diego Days 5, 6 & 7}

Hey y'all,

Sorry for the delay in posts, last weekend was very hectic so I decided this weekend would be quieter and slower. I'm finally wrapping up my vacation posts from our trip to California last month. You can read the first few days here.

Saturday

Saturday was going to be one busy day. Our family was coming down from the Orange County area for my cousin's gender reveal and for our Thanksgiving meal. This was the first time seeing some of the family in 10 years. Others I saw when I was out West in March.

Once everyone arrived it was time for my cousins' gender reveal. Of course, my family though had to place bets on which confetti cannon would hold the reveal and the gender.

It's another boy for Michelle. She is already an amazing mom to two little guys and this cements her Boy Mom status. Also, by luck, her husband won the bet-cannon 6, boy.

After the reveal it was time to hang out on the bay for a bit while the Thanksgiving feast was completed. It was nice to all gather for Thanksgiving as we have never had the whole family together for Thanksgiving. Our family has always lived in the South or North East far from Cali for the holidays.

We all ate, hung out some more then it was time for family pictures.
The whole group-my mom's side of the family (minus two cousins and an uncle)
My Mom and her siblings
The cousins and the littles
The cousins. This is 9 out of the 11 of us.
My family
With my siblings

After family photos, it was time for the Wally World photo.
The rest of the night was just hanging out, playing uno with the littles, and enjoying the family.

Sunday


Sunday was another day of relaxing on the bay with family and my best friend who is now living in Southern California for her residency was able to come down and visit.



The rest of the afternoon was more bay time, a sandcaste competition where one of the littles made an Octopus.
The SpaceX launch occurred on Sunday night and it was cool to see the rocket.

Monday

Monday was our last day on the bay. We hung out some more, ate pizza, and there was a hysterical incident on the slip and slide involving my brother crashing into one of the littles. Then we were off back to the East early on Tuesday morning.

And now to plan the next family gathering before it hits 10 years again.

Best,
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TBB Asks {November}

Hey y'all,

It's a new month so of course I am joining the wonderful ladies of the Blended blog for their monthly questions post!

1. Have you ever kept a Gratitude Journal? Yes or No? 

Yes! I love keeping a gratitude journal especially in times where I am struggling in feeling the Lord's provision. You will be amazed of the things you begin to list as you think past being grateful for friends and family. Here are three things I'm grateful for today:
Lara bars for quick breakfasts on the go
hot water for my shower this morning
my friends Shelby and Laura Caroline on their birthdays

2. Hosting Thanksgiving at your house? Yes or No?

No. I will be visiting my family for Thanksgiving as usual. I am attending a Friendsgiving the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I am going to attempt Danielle Walker's herb biscuits from her book Celebrations.

3. Favorite Food from The Thanksgiving Meal?

This is a tie between the green bean casserole, my mom's homemade apple pie, and the smoked turkey.

4. What one thing in Nature are you most grateful for? 

Trees. Trees in the Fall are my favorite! I love long walks and just looking at all the trees changing.

5. Pumpkin Pie: Yes or No?

Hard no.

6. Traditional Cookbook: Yes or No?

I recently purged my cookbooks. I have mostly cookbooks from bloggers. I love Lisa Leake, Ree Drummond, Gina Homolka, and Danielle Walker. My mom still uses cookbooks from our pre-school that was filled with family recipes.

7. Oven Baked or Deep-Fried Turkey?

We started having smoked turkey for thanksgiving. It is already smoked and my dad puts it on the grill to heat up.

8. Thanksgiving Leftovers: Yes or No? 

Yes. We eat a lot of turkey sandwiches over the days following and eventually my mom makes a turkey casserole from my godmother's recipe with the leftovers as well.

9. What is one household product your most grateful for?

I'm grateful for my crockpot during this time of year!

10. Are you most grateful for home cooked meals or restaurant meals?

Home cooked meals from my family. I love a restaurant meal during the week as a break from cooking for myself but if I am home, I love having meals my mom or dad have made. 
Best,
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