Experiencing the holidays as an adult does not feel the same as experiencing the holidays as a child. Remember when you were a kid and Christmas was still magical? When the biggest worry on your mind was if you could make it to the big day without busting at the seams with excitement. When gifts were thoughtful, not car-payment-expensive. When you stayed up as late as you could, just to see if you could catch a glimpse of "the big guy" leaving your goodies. Those were the days, huh? Well, they don't have to be in the past. You can create those same feelings today. That magic is not gone, you just need to find it.
In order to find your magic, you have to find what brings you joy, then, do it. Sounds easy enough, right? What makes you smile? What makes you feel like the kid you used to be? For some it might be spending time, laughing with their favorite people (or animals). For others, it might be their alone time they spend curled up with a fuzzy blanket and a good book. No matter what your joy is, find it and do it often. There is no right or wrong answer here.
Think back to when you were a child; the sights and sounds and smells of the holiday season enchanted you with their magic simply by existing. The shiny bows, the smell of evergreen in the air, the twinkling lights, the holiday tunes on the radio, the scent of freshly baked (or burnt) cookies, weaving their spell as they waft through the air... THAT is the magic!
All the extra stuff is so unnecessary. All the stress of buying and wrapping and visiting and baking and shopping and being on time and remembering and rushing and hurrying... and for what? To come to the end of the holiday season broke, out of energy (physically and emotionally), sad and disappointed with lots of regret and hurt feelings? Yeah, no thanks!
Life is hard enough, don't make it worse by setting unrealistic benchmarks you know you can never meet. If you have three kids and a two hundred dollar budget, each kid will not be getting the newest Game Station 360... or whatever the new thing is. And that's OK! There are zero confirmed instances of a child dying or suffering permanent damage because they did not get the newest, bestest, most shiniest whatever on the market. Do what you can with what you have and it will all be OK. Read that again. IT WILL ALL BE OK. It always is.
No one should have to go in debt to prove to their loved ones that they are loved. I promise you, your grandmother is not keeping a list of who gave what and how much it cost... but if your tail isn't in that chair for Christmas dinner, you can best believe she will remember that! Let your presence be your presents.
Most of the holiday stress we all complain about is self-imposed. Think about it. Other than being on time to parties and gatherings, there are NO RULES. No one says you even have to buy gifts. Maybe, instead of physical gifts, you give of your time. Give from your heart, not your wallet. I would bet my last dollar your girlfriend would appreciate your offer to sit with her kids while she got a few minutes of peace to herself wayyy more than that pumpkin spice candle you were about to give her.
The holidays do not have to suck the life right out of you. With a few ideas and a whole lot of letting-go of your preconceived notions about how the holidays are supposed to go, I can show you how the holidays can suck the life right back into you..... wait.... what the hell did I just say? Whatever. Work with me... Just do a few of these things I am going to list below, hold a door open for an old lady at the store, smile at a stranger (or two, but not for long, then it gets weird), pay off someone's fines at the library... go out and make the magic that you so want to believe in. It is all around you, everywhere, if you just look for it.
Here are a few ideas that you can implement starting today, right now, from the comfort of your own (insert place where you currently are here), and a few more that may require you to wear pants and leave the house.
DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Savings.com for sponsoring today's post.
What's better than getting a new HP laptop for Christmas.... getting a new HP laptop AND a huge discount! From now through December 29th with this amazing deal from Savings.com, you can score 25% off select HP Envy laptops (code VALPAK25) annnnd you also get a $50 rebate on any laptop $500 and up. (this offer IS stack-able) Oh, and did I mention (of course I didn't or else I wouldn't be mentioning it now), you also get FREE SHIPPING on any order over $899.
HP has been a silent member of our family for as long as I can remember. My oldest son's very first laptop was an HP. His grandparents bought it to use when he started high school which was more than 8 years ago, as he is now 24. We still have that old laptop and use it from time to time. Granted it is pretty slow by today's standards, but it came in really handy when the littlest became old enough to show an interest in technology. Maybe it's about time to upgrade, ya think?
This gorgeous HP Envy 17t laptop has amazing features and Micah tells me "It will run Fortnite" and that's all he needs to know, but for the more discerning customer, here are a few of the *real* specs...
DISCLAIMER: A huge "thank you" to Cost Plus World Market for sponsoring this post.
'Tis the season to go shopping fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la... alright folks, lace up your sneakers, make your list, check it twice, it is time to do some shopping. With Halloween in the rear view, we can start talking about holiday shopping without getting glared at by all the "it's-too-soon scrooges".
To kick off the holiday shopping season, your local Cost Plus World Market store is excited to bring you this year's iteration of their super fun in-store game, the Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt. Playing is easy! Every day beginning today, November 1st through Sunday, December 9th your local Cost Plus World Market store will hide 8 Golden Bell pieces throughout the store, your job is to find them.... well, one of them anyway.
Each day at 8 a.m. cst I will share a clue on my Facebook and Instagram pages. Use the clue to help you find a Golden Bell piece and you could receive a reward. Find (1) Golden Bell piece and bring it to the nearest store associate to exchange for a reward coupon worth $10, $20, $25 or $50. (Reward is valid only on the day it is awarded) Limit (1) reward per person throughout the Promotion Period (11/1/18 - 12/9/18) regardless of store location(s) visited. EMPLOYEES and DESIGNATED SHOPPERS NOT ELIGIBLE.
So easy even a cat could play... but no worries, cats are ineligible for prizes. Keep reading below for today's clue as well as my top 10 picks from the new gold ornaments collection at Cost Plus World Market.
Without further adieu, here is your first clue...
While you're at your local Cost Plus World Market store, hunting for the golden bell, you might wanna scope out these golden beauties as well! Every year since I have been a CPWM ambassador, I visit my local Nashville West Cost Plus World Market store and buy each of my kids a new ornament for our tree. It's become a tradition they look forward to every year. I try to make the ornament something personal to each kid and their interests or hobbies or just something that reminds me of them. Here are a few I have my eye on this year...
For a list of rules and regulations, please see this page.
One of the best tips I give friends when they ask me about how to stick with the keto way of eating is: Always have something prepared for when you don't feel like cooking. It's no secret that keto involves a lot of cooking. Most everything I eat is "real food", nothing boxed or prepackaged, so it can get a bit tedious, that's why meal prepping is such a great idea.
I have seen several iterations of this recipe online but never tried it until now... why did I wait so long. These meatballs were amazeballs, but don't take my word for it, try them yourself. They're super easy to whip up and store well in the fridge.
All you need for this recipe is a pack of chicken thighs, an egg, a meat grinder, some seasonings and an oven. I used Montreal chicken seasoning and a little sriracha sauce, but you could use whatever you want.
DIRECTIONS: After grinding your chicken (or buy pre-ground), mix up the chicken, egg, and seasonings and scoop out rounded balls with a tablespoon onto a silpat lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until done (160 degrees) . The 2lb pack of chicken thighs I used made 18 tablespoon sized meatballs and you can find the nutrition info below.
DISCLAIMER: A huge "thank you" to Savings.com and Physician's Formula for sponsoring today's post.
Unless you've been living under a rock (or in the southern hemisphere) you've probably noticed it is hot outside. Not the normal hot, but the kind of hot that quite literally makes it feel like your skin is melting off. The kind of hot that makes you think maybe the nudists have the right idea. The kind of hot that makes you never wanna leave the house, unless it's to go grab ice cream and several box fans. Instead of becoming a home-bound recluse for the next couple of months, you must learn to work with the heat instead of against it.
For example, try to do all of your errands in the late afternoon, when the heat is only mildly oppressive, instead of sweltering. Try not to wear any sequins or reflective clothing as to avoid baking like a potato in tin foil when you are out. And for the love of all that is holy, please do not pile three layers of foundation on your face, because trust me, when it starts to melt, it is not pretty, honey, not pretty at all!
Since most of what you apply will probably melt off anyway, why not save your time and sanity and just go for a minimalist sun-kissed look this Summer?! With the help of these new products from Physician's Formula, you can have an awesome Summer glow in just about five minutes.
Say "hello" to your new bffs! These new "butter" products from Physician's Formula are just what you need to create a quick, sun-kissed look and if you keep reading there might be a $4 coupon at the end of this post too. (SPOILER ALERT: There IS a $4 coupon at the end of this post)
First things first, start with a clean, freshly washed face. This is a crucial step for summer skin. Not only do you need to exfoliate more in the Summer, but you also need to keep all those nasty bacteria off your face, 'cause when they mix with heat and sweat it makes the perfect breeding ground for blemishes and nobody want to be hot, sweaty AND broke-out this summer, so just wash your face.
Second, K.I.S.S. ... keep it simple, stupid. It's summer, it's hot, you will likely be wearing sunglasses anyway, so I suggest keeping it super easy and going with a couple of coats of a waterproof mascara, no shadow, and a little highlighter over your brow bone for a nice effect. The new cream-to-powder butter highlighter from Physician's Formula is available in five shades and is super lightweight and blend-able and goes on so easily you can use your finger to apply it. (a clean finger, never use dirty hands to apply make-up, especially near your eyes)
I used the champagne color and it is perfect for my fair skin tone. I am a natural strawberry blonde who burns easily, (but eventually tans) and this golden shimmery highlighter is everything! The feel is super light and it didn't take much product to get good coverage, as it is super pigmented.
Next, instead of piling up layers of foundation, why not just use a simple tinted moisturizer (with SPF, skin cancer is no joke, guys). And for the nice, sun-kissed effect, try Physician's Formula butter bronzer; it is available in four shades, so you can be sure you will find one that works for your skin tone. I suggest using a sponge wedge for this product and you can apply it as more of a contour or as an all over hint of color, just make sure to blend well.
So now we have about two minutes left and we still haven't done anything with our lips. While I prefer just a simple shimmery gloss, you could also go with a really pretty nude lip and a coat of gloss on top. I definitely recommend looking for a lip color with SPF. Your lips can burn just as easily as the rest of your face and the results can be very gnarly. Do yourself a favor and splurge on lip products with SPF, even if it is just a lip balm type product. (Oh, and remember if you want it to work, you have to wear it, it's not magic)
Now, for the most important part of your sun-kissed summer glow look... your attitude. Yes, I am going there. No matter how beautiful you are with or without make-up, the thing people will notice and remember most is your attitude and how you treat them,
Now for the coupon I promised you... oh, and if you get the Valpak mailer in your area, keep an eye on your mailbox for another $4 Physician's Formula coupon. You can redeem these coupons at your local Rite Aid or anywhere else that accepts manufacturer's coupons.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional or a tick expert, just a southerner who hates ticks.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've no doubt read or heard about how bad the ticks are this year. On Facebook Moms' groups, I'm seeing stories daily of people finding ticks on their little ones and asking for advice on how to remove them or what to do once the tick is removed. My answer: try to prevent the bite in the first place. Of course, no method is foolproof when it comes to trying to outsmart bugs and critters, but you can't just roll over and give up, you gotta give it a fighting chance.
First things first, know your enemy. Ticks come in many colors and sizes, but the most common is small and brown, which makes them terribly hard to see, especially if they get into your hair or on your pet (which can then be brought into your house). If you have pets that play outside, it is imperative that you treat your yard for fleas and ticks. There are several eco-friendly products out there, you just have to look for them. Or you could get a small flock of chickens... or opossum, I'm not judging. Chickens and opossum are both well known for eating their weight in ticks.
Ticks live primarily in the grass, but you don't have to live in a rural area to be potential tick breakfast. Ticks are known for spreading several serious diseases, the most common being Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The well-known bullseye type rash associated with some tick bites might even be the first sign you or your loved one was bitten. This rash can take 3-30 days to develop and always warrants a trip to the doctor for treatment.
According to the CDC... "The rash seen with Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) varies greatly from person to person in appearance, location, and time of onset. About 10% of people with RMSF never develop a rash. Most often, the rash begins 2-5 days after the onset of fever as small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots (macules) on the wrists, forearms, and ankles and spreads to the trunk. It sometimes involves the palms and soles. The red to purple, spotted (petechial) rash of RMSF is usually not seen until the sixth day or later after onset of symptoms and occurs in 35-60% of patients with the infection."
Now that we know what we're looking for, where do we look? Well, in short, everywhere that is covered in skin. No, seriously, everywhere... yes, even there. I remember as a child, coming in from playing in the backyard my Mom would do a tick check in my hair and behind my ears, as I got ready for my bath. I didn't realize at the time how important that little ritual was, but I am so appreciative my Mom did.
According to this fun infographic from WebMD, ticks like to hide in all the creases and crevices you might forget about, so make sure to check your child (and yourself) thoroughly. And don't forget about Spot and Fluffy. Your pets can definitely be an unknowing participant in the tick's master plan.
As the old saying goes, "sometimes the best defense is a good offense". In this case, the offense is the offensive smell of the tea tree oil in the tick repellent I am about to tell you how to make. It is super easy, kid-safe and all natural. And, if you already have a basic essentials oils collection, you likely already have all the ingredients you will need to make it at home.
You can make this two ways, one recipe is for a rollerball and the other is for use in a spray bottle. I prefer the rollerball because I feel it is thicker and the slightly greasy texture makes your skin a harder target for the tick to cling to. (Or at least I have convinced myself of this, it might just be anecdotal, who knows) It's also super handy to toss it in your purse or backpack.
For the spray bottle version, the recipe is... 2 oz Tea Tree oil (safe to apply neat aka directly to the skin), a 2:1 ratio of a carrier oil (I use almond oil, but fractionated coconut would work too) and water. I also add a splash of 99% isopropyl alcohol (I have used PGA in a pinch) as a preservative. Add a few drops of lavender and some lemongrass for added benefits, but you could totally use just the tea tree if you're sensitive to the other two.
The recipe for the rollerball is the same, minus the water and the alcohol. Mix it in a glass jar or bottle and transfer to a rollerball. Use generously whenever you go outside until after the first or second frost when all threat of ticks is gone. Always remember to mix and store your oils in glass, as some oils will react with plastic.
You could also add some tea tree oil to your favorite pet shampoo, it's safe on their skin too, just make sure they don't lick the shampoo while you're applying it.
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