Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas


The time we have all been waiting for is finally here! I am off to spend the next few days with my loved ones, but before I do, I want to wish you a very very merry Christmas!! I hope that your holiday is filled with laughter, warmth, and family.

I will be back next week for some Christmas recaps and birthday festivities!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gift List: Toddler & Hubby (Guest Post)

Today is officially the second last day of Christmas shopping! I am avoiding malls at all costs. It looks nuts out there!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am on vacation so Elizabeth agreed to write here while I'm away. I have been reading Elizabeth's blog, Chasin' Mason, since as long as I can remember! And her snapchats always have me laughing. She always has awesome linkups and giveaways. There's even one going on right now! She explains more here or you can quickly enter at the bottom of this post!
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Hi everyone! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Chasin' Mason - a blog about motherhood and the adventures of daily life with a toddler. I'm so excited to be here today guest posting for Evelina while she is on vacation! I absolutely love her blog and am excited to share some last minute gift ideas with you today.

Since we are all women here (or at least I'm assuming 99% of us are), I'm sure we all know what we want for Christmas. So, I thought I'd share a couple last minute gift ideas for the toddler boy and for the husband with you today in case you happen to be super stumped on what to get.

For gift giving for my son, Mason, I'm big on the "something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read" so I'm going to share some ideas in each category.


Wear

Striped Half Zip Pullover and Jeans - Pretty self explanatory, but basically Mason's staple outfit over the winter. I freakin' love how cute these pullovers are and we have them in almost every color. And these jeans fit him perfectly. Being a preschooler and getting dirty everyday at school, one can never have enough sweaters and jeans in the rotation.

Toms - These and Natives are our hands down favorite shoes to wear during the summer. Well... and even the winter! Thankfully it never really gets THAT cold here so we can wear canvas shoes year round. When I tell Mason to go grab his shoes so we can go somewhere, these are always his first choice. He's outgrown his current pair and he will have the next size up under the tree waiting for him.

Read

The Day the Crayons Came Home - I know I've talked about this book before, but I still haven't actually bought it for Mason yet. This might need to make it's way under the tree as well.

Pete the Cat : Rockin' in my School Shoes - We have one Pete the Cat book currently and Mason LOVES it. I actually found a pack of the first readers ones at Costco a while back that we bought for Mason for Christmas, but I'd love some of the hard back books too. Hopefully Santa Auntie Erin delivers :)

Goodnight, Baseball - As the son of a baseball lover, this book would be perfect. It's to the tune of Goodnight, Moon and would be perfect for bed time!


Need
Need is a hard category to fill. I feel like the things that Mason really needs are books (read) and clothes (wear). So, for the need category, I went with things that are fun, yet still educational.

Hape Numbers 1 to 20 Puzzle - We have the upper case letters one and LOVE it. Mason can easily identify each letter and can put them back in the proper spot if I ask him to. We're working on numbers and he's getting pretty good and I think this would be perfect to continue working on numbers with him.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game - I worried about getting this game for Mason because I thought he was too young and just not up to the level of game playing yet. But, since the game comes so highly recommended from multiple people and since Laura reminded me that it could help Mason practice color matching, I decided to give it a shot!

Pop the Pig Game - Mason's ABA therapist said that he LOVES this game at his school on Saturdays. It's a kind of silly game in the fact that you feed the pig so many hamburgers that his stomach pops, but it still practices color matching and you could also practice counting as well.

Museum Membership (not pictured) - We picked a membership to a local children's museum and my husband's grandmother got the membership for Mason for Christmas. My new job is more flexible now and I can take random days off and go to the museum with him so I thought it would be nice to get a membership.

Want

Lightning McQueen Infrared Remote Control Car - I saw this at Target a couple weeks ago and thought Mason would LOVE this. His very first remote control car. It says it's for ages 4+ but I thought he could probably manipulate it on his own. The link is from Amazon because I couldn't find the exact one on Target's website, but the Target store had this for significantly cheaper.

Step 2 Roller Coaster - I really want this for Mason. He had a BLAST on it at our friends house and I know he would die if he saw it set up for him come Christmas morning; however, realistically, it probably isn't smart to get since we don't have a backyard and we really don't have room for it.

Magformers Racing Set (RC Car) - THIS. I've expressed our love for MAGFORMERS® before on the blog. When I asked for suggestions on what to get Mason for his 3rd birthday back in July, the basic set was at the top of the list. They came highly recommended to me from various people and I made sure to add one of the sets to Mason's birthday wish list. He ended up getting the basic 30 piece set for his birthday (thank you Papa!) and has been obsessed ever since. He's not so good at building things with the pieces yet, but he loves stacking them and matching the colors and the shapes. Seth also loves them and likes to build things with them once Mason has gone to bed. He's always ever so proud of his creations and then Mason wakes up in the morning and crushes his dreams and his creation in 10 seconds flat. So when I found out that they had an RC car, I knew he'd have to have it.

Now, I don't know about you, but I find it EXTREMELY hard to shop for my husband, Seth. I don't know why... you'd think it would be easy given the fact that we're married and live together. It should be easy, right? No. I feel like when you become an adult, you kind of just buy what you want/need when you want/need it, so when it comes to birthdays and holidays, I am stumped on what to buy him. Along with every other blogger in the universe (I know, I know), I've come up with some pretty good go-to's that I know he will always like.


Beer - Pretty self explanatory. At our local Total Wine and More store they have a pretty huge beer section. I've been known to make "beer reindeers" in the past and just make a mix and match 6 pack for several birthdays and Father's Days. But this year I decided to try something new... I made a beer advent calendar! So far Seth is LOVING it. You can find details on how it's made : here.

Baseball - Tickets to an Angels game or a gift card to get new softball stuff (I don't know the proper lingo lol) are always on the list of things that make him happy. Since it's probably better to wait until they release the schedule to buy tickets (always a good idea!), the Angels ticket buying will probably come more around his birthday in March, though the guys always like to go on a guys weekend to Arizona for spring training so some money set aside for that is a good idea too. However, this Christmas he actually asked for a gift card to a local sports store that sells softball stuff in order to get some new cleats and other stuff for his Tuesday night softball league.

Clothes - Seth rarely, if ever, buys clothes for himself. If I drag him to the store for something for me or for Mason, he usually looks around, but other than that, it's up to me. I love to use Christmas as an excuse to replenish and replace his black work undershirts and when I found them on sale after Thanksgiving at Old Navy, I scooped them up. Seth pretty much only wears his work polos to work during the week and just a regular ol t-shirt on the weekends, but I like to get him a new button down shirt every once in a while for holidays/special occasions/dinners out.

Coffee/Coffee Mug - Seth drinks at least one cup of coffee a day, usually more. And in the morning, the very last thing that he does before he leaves for work is fills up his travel mug with coffee. He's pretty easy going on what kind of coffee he has though he is partial to the McCafe one. It comes pre-ground and in a giant bag at Costco and whenever we can find it, we snatch one up. They also have a bag of the Major Dickason's from Pete's Coffee that he's been eyeing and I plan to grab one of those for him for Christmas. He's also been known to leave his coffee mug at work a time or two and then is upset come the morning (though not TOO upset since he then has to go to Starbucks) so I've been on the look out for a good deal on another travel mug for him as well.



Phone Case - We were at Costco the other day when we happened to stop by the phone kiosk. We ALWAYS walk by it without a second thought, but this time we happened to stop since a sign about iPhone 6s's happened to catch my eye. Long story short, they had an amazing deal on a new iPhone 6s for me so we bought it. So for Christmas I'm upgrading my phone (woohoo!) and Seth is getting my old one.... which brings us to a problem of a case. I swear finding a case is one of the hardest things for me. I have no clue why, but I always have a hard time. So, now that Seth is going to have a new (to him) iPhone 6, I was on the hunt for a new case for him. Then, (as if they knew!), the wonderful people at jimmyCASE reached out to me and the problem was solved! Upon glancing at their website, I knew Seth would love a case like this. I actually spoiled the surprise a little and had Seth choose which case he wanted, but it's no surprise to me that he chose this case in the black/blue stripe. Seth likes non flashy and subdued colors so the black/blue stripe is perfect for him. The pocket holds up to 6 cards as well as cash (perfect for your credit or debit card, your license, and a couple other essentials). It comes with full frame protection and a silicone bumper that comes in your color choice of either white or black. It also comes with lay-on-the-table screen protection, which I don't know about you, but is perfect for us with little grabby hands always wanting to play on our phones. And best of all? They are handmade in the USA! This phone is perfect for the man in your life as men put all their essentials in their pockets - phone, wallet, keys, etc - and this case is skinny enough to fit perfectly without being too bulky but still providing great protection. Though we haven't gotten my new phone yet and therefore Seth can't use his new case yet, we tried it on my current phone and it fits perfectly. I love the wooden touches of their signature real genuine mahogany and the pocket has just the right amount of stretch while still being snug enough on the phone case to keep your cards and money from falling out. And I also love the grip on the silicone bumper that helps keep your phone from slipping out of your hand while walking (or running) after your kid trying to take a picture. The people at jimmyCASE have thought of everything!

And I'm excited to tell you that I'm hosting a giveaway for one of these cell phone cases over on my blog! I've included the rafflecopter below if you're interested in entering. Choose one to give to your husband for Christmas or even choose one for yourself! The color options are limitless and there's sure to be one to make everyone happy.

The giveaway runs from Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at midnight PST to Thursday, December 24, 2015 at midnight PST. Giveaway is open to US residents and Canada residents only. Winner will be verified and will be notified by me. Good luck!

Evelina, thank you for letting me guest post today! Happy Holidays everyone!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wigilia

A few people have inquired about what Polish traditions we have around the holidays. The majority of Polish people are catholics and take Christmas rather seriously.

Mostly everything is the same, like the Christmas tree, presents, family time, etc. So I will focus on explaining the main differences between Christmas in Western culture and what I are up celebrating.

The biggest difference is Christmas Eve, which we refer to as Wigilia (vee-GEE-lia). The 24th is the day that the majority of celebrating happens. Families always get together for the evening and a formal dinner is the focus of the night. Because we obtain from eating meat on Christmas Eve, the dinner is 100% vegetarian. The meal starts with barszcz (borscht), and has tons of pierogi and fish dishes. Everything other than the soup is served family-style. Unfortunately for me, I don't like fish so I miss out on a huge part of the dinner. But there's always tooooons of other things to eat, as traditionally there are 12 courses on the table. Cooking before the meal starts days in advance and is usually done by all the women in the family together. Prior to dinner, everyone is given an oplatek (Christmas wafer). This is pretty much the same thing as Holy Communion that is given out at mass. We share our oplatek with each person at the table as we wish that person a Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year, along with a double kiss (or triple or quadruple even!) Another dinner tradition is to set an extra place-setting at the table. This is to symbolize inclusion and that if someone doesn't have anyone to celebrate Christmas with, and happens to knock on your door, you are ready for them.


After dinner, it's time to open presents! The kids would always rush through dinner and constantly ask when its time for presents. The youngest member of the family (that is old enough) plays Santa and hands out the gifts to their recipients. In my family, we always took turns opening our gifts. Because of this custom, we don't have the tradition of believing that Santa travels around the world and drops presents off at night. St Nicholas visits kids in schools on December 6th and that is when he brings present with him.


After presents, many families go to church for midnight mass. This specific mass is called Pasterka. It is the busiest mass of the year and you have to go really early to get a seat. Otherwise there is standing room only and people often have to stand out in the parking lot if there is no room left. The nativity scene is always the main attraction and the decorations are always beautiful.

The next day we have a huge breakfast and go to church again. The 25th and the 26th are known as the first and second day of Christmas and everything is closed. The Christmas season lasts until the Epiphany and many people leave their trees up long into January.

In my experience, Christmas was always a very serious occasion, focused around the birth of Christ. It is a time of reflection, prayer, and being with loved ones. The clothing is very formal and everyone tries to look their best. The songs are beautiful and religious. Here's an example of one of my favourites!

I hope I did our traditions justice through my explanation. The Wikipedia links I added really explain everything better and in more detail so give those a click if you want to know more. I'm sure I forgot a bunch of details!

I struggle a little with how to fuse my Polish Christmas and Mike's North American Christmas traditions together for when we have kids. I guess we will have to take it one year at a time and create our own new blended traditions!

I would love to know how you celebrate Christmas, if it's different from the norm around here. Please let me know in the comments!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Best Christmas Movies (Guest Post)

Happy Monday before Christmas, y'all! Can you believe we have just 4 days to go? I am still vacationing and soaking in the last little bit of Christmas festivities. I can't wait to tell you all about it in the new year!

But first, the very lovely Whitney from Work It Mommy is here! Everyone wave to Whitney! We regularly email each other back and forth and she always has the best craft ideas! Like this paper tree she made with her girls. Adorable! 
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I am so honored to be a guest on Fortunate House today! Evelina is such a sweetie, and I am so glad to have "met" her through blogging! 


I'm Whitney, wife to Brian, mommy to Kinsey and Brielana and fur baby Stella, a cocker spaniel- dachshund mix. I blog over at Work it Mommy where I share about life as a Girl Mom, Preschool activities, toddler fashion, Baby Led Weaning and whatever else tickles my fancy. The other night Evelina and I were having an email conversation about our favorite Christmas movies so I thought, I may as well share them with you, too!


This may look like an eclectic mix of movies and you're right; I have my favorite 'chick flicks', Brian's picks and my 4.5 year old's favorites, all rolled up together! So on to those Christmas movies!

My Favorites: 
Serendipity - I adore Kate Beckinsale and this love story is just so dang cute! Not to mention the fact I first saw this movie with my Bestie, Elisa. It just gives me good feels.
The Holiday- Hello, stellar cast. Who doesn't imagine switching lives with someone? Throw in some Christmas magic and a little romance and I'm hooked.
Four Christmases- Vince Vaughn is my favorite. He can make me laugh like no other.
Elf- Again, an all-star cast. Zooey Deschanel is my hair inspiration (albeit not from this movie.) I can pretty much watch this all year round. 
How The Grinch Stole Christmas- The original cartoon version is a classic. Dr Seuss was a genius. Stella also has long hair on her paws that looks like Grinch feet, hehe.

Brian's Picks:
Jingle All the Way- Brian's favorite Christmas movie ever. I don't get the appeal, but I keep my mouth shut and watch it ;)
A Christmas Story- This one isn't necessarily Brian's pick, more like his stepdad's. This plays c-o-n-t-i-n-u-o-u-s-l-y on Christmas Day and just reminds me of the Holidays spent at my In Laws.
The Nightmare Before Christmas- This actually plays from October through December in our house. That opening scene and song are my favorite but Brian loves the whole movie, which means Kinsey loves it, too.
The Polar Express- So. Much. Christmas. Magic. Brian swears he would hear his bell ring  forever. I like Tom Hanks and think this adaptation of the children's book of the same name is beautifully done.

Kinsey's Favorites:
Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York- Confession: we have watched these two movies pretty much daily since December 1st. I remember watching Home Alone 2 at the movie theater. I just discovered this year it was written and produced by John Hughes, so that right there, attests to it's greatness. Kinsey thinks they are hilarious. You should hear her cracking up! And she may be quoting, "I'm down here, you big horse's ass!" to my horror.
A Charlie Brown Christmas- Kinsey adores everything Peanuts and Charlie Brown. The magic of Schulz will never end. I like the old fashion values his cartoons evoke.
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas& Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas- It's no secret we're big Disney fans here. Kinsey watched this throughout all of last year and still enjoys them during the Holidays. Mickey + Christmas = childhood made ;)

Did I miss any of your favorites? Please share! I love adding new movies to the line up. And thank you, Evelina! I hope you have a wonderful vacation!



Friday, December 18, 2015

Gift Guide: Beauty Lover (Guest Post)

I have a surpriiiiiise today!

Everyone, meet Ashley. She blogs over at Life on Meyers and she's pretty awesome. I have recruited her to say a few words because I'm on a mini vacation and I didn't want to completely jump ship. Also, she has the best beauty tips. Seriously. This post basically changed my life and now I'm obsessed.

So without further ado..!
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I was so honored when Evelina from Fortunate House emailed me asking if I'd guest blog for her while she went on vacation! I was thrilled and of course said yes because she is one of my favorite bloggers. We started blogging at about the same time so I feel like we are going through this journey together and it's been so fun getting to know her.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Ashley and I blog over at Life on Meyers. I love all things beauty, food, friends and traveling.

I also love gift guides… do you? I find a lot of inspiration through other blogger's holiday gift guides and since some of my most favorite posts are beauty related, why not combine the two?

Have that difficult friend or relative that has absolutely everything and you never know what to get them? Well, I can guarantee you that they won't have a few items on this list since they are all new holiday editions.


Gift Guide for the Beauty Lover

1 |  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 |  10 |  11 |  12 |  13 |  14 |  15 

Just look how luxurious all of these are. I want it all. We're still shopping for others…not ourselves, right? 

So sit down, pour a hot cup of peppermint bark hot chocolate (it's been our go-to this holiday season) and write down all of these gift sets and products to go get for your loved ones!

Thanks again, Evelina for letting me guest blog for you while you are on vacation. I can only imagine the wonderful time you are having during the most beautiful and magical time of year! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Guys Behind The Blog: December

Guys. 7 days left until Christmas. Ah! So while I panic and scramble, Mike is here to chat a little about the holidays. 


Christmas 2014

In case you aren't familiar with Guys behind The Blog, it is a monthly link-up hosted by Betsy at Heavens to Betsy and Laura at According to Laura Jean. It spotlights the amazing men in our lives by asking them a few light-hearted questions. I always love hearing from the guys!

Q: What's on your Christmas list this year?
A:  I don’t really have much on my Christmas list this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuff and I love presents, but now that I’m older and have money I can just go out and buy whatever I want - and much to Evelina’s chagrin, I often do. Buying for me can be very stressful and overwhelming for others because I have very distinct tastes and much of what I like can’t be bought in stores, and I recognize that, so I tend to not really ask for anything. Evelina and I did want a new computer, so I just asked for people to help us out with that.

Q: Did you believe is Santa as a child? Do you have any funny Santa stories?
A: I definitely believed in Santa as a child, and I definitely milked it as long as possible. You know that you’re too old for Santa when you ask him for rap CDs that have “EXPLICIT CONTENT” labels on them. I think I was probably in 5th or 6th grade when that happened. I knew then that it was time to pull the plug on the whole Santa thing, and I feigned surprise when I found the receipt for the Busta Rhymes CD that Santa brought me in my mom’s coat pocket. 
I think every kid should grow up believing in Santa. It’s part of the magic of Christmas, and you can only be a child once, so why take that joy away from them?

Q: What is a Christmas tradition you hope to pass on someday?
A:  While it’s not a tradition of mine, I really like the Polish Christmas Eve tradition that Evelina brought into my life. While I could probably do without the thousand fish-based dishes that are served, celebrating on Christmas Eve is such a unique thing here in Canada. Aside from that, I’d like for us to travel somewhere as a family over the holidays. It’s not exactly a tradition that I’d be passing down, but rather one that we can start once our family expands beyond the two of us.

Q: Do you open presents on Christmas morning or a different time?
A: We usually spend Christmas Eve with Evelina’s mom and brother, so we exchange all our presents to ourselves then, and we exchange presents with my family on Christmas day.  Growing up, my family always exchanged the presents on Christmas morning. I don’t really have a preference either way, but I think the Christmas morning gift exchange sort of adds to the mystique and excitement of Santa. There was nothing like running down the stairs and seeing if Santa visited you.

Christmas 2013

Q: What is your favorite Christmas song?  Movie? 
A:  I like a lot of the classic Christmas songs. I like “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee, and I even like some of the modern classics like Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” I know that all Christmas songs need to be original at some point, but I don’t like some of the more current made up ones. I definitely like ones that are classics and that I grew up listening to.
My favourite Christmas movies in order are: 1) Bad Santa 2) Elf 3) Home Alone 2. I probably won’t be able to sit around with my children and watch Bad Santa for obvious reasons, but I remember the first time I saw that movie and I had no idea that it was that kind of movie. The title doesn’t lie when describing Billy Bob Thornton’s character. And for as funny and crude as it is, it actually has a pretty decent message at the end. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift Wrap Ideas

Who is done wrapping all their presents? Not this girl. And with the holiday craziness, I am worried about finding the time to do it! I feel like we have something to do every single day until Christmas! So what is the most rational thing to do?

Look at pictures of prettily wrapped present on the internet. Obviously.

Even though there are some pretty awesome designs out there, there is so much you can do beyond regular wrapping paper!

Let's start with my favourite, adding bits of evergreen to the packaging. This year I'm planning on grabbing a couple branches from my juniper bush from my backyard to add to the outside. Easy peasy. Pine needles, holly, and acorns work perfectly too!



I also love the idea of simply putting the photo of the recipient on to some basic paper. This could work year-round!


Chalk designs are everywhere and you can get some chalkboard paper and a chalk marker for precision. Chalk markers are a little more long-lasting so you don't have to be as cautious as with regular chalk.


Only have a sharpie laying around? Grab some solid paper and create your own design! You can get so creative with this!


And finally, yarn or pompoms are so charming! How adorable is the pink nose on Rudolph?? Love.


Ok I really need to get going on the wrapping. Never mind the custom gift tags that I want to print! Ah wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Real vs. Fake

On the reg, fake is a no-go for me. I don't have faux designer purses, shoes, clothes. I'd rather have no-name than fake.

But there's one department where I am team fake all the way.


The Christmas tree.

I know this is a very polarizing debate. Pro-real tree people are usually very passionate about their real trees. And I am very passionate about my artificial tree. I reserve zero judgement for whichever team you are on. To each their own!

But here's why I am all about that fake pine life:

- Needles don't fall off: The holidays are obviously very busy for everyone and I don't have any extra time to be sweeping up needles from under the tree. Or to worry about my cat munching on some fallen pine branches
- Easy set up: My current tree comes in three parts! I take it out of the box and one, two, three and it's up! It literally takes about five minutes. I also have the flexibility to put it where ever I want in our house. I don't need to worry about keeping it too close to heat sources.
- Pre-lit: Those three parts have lights on already. No need to detangle and make sure no bulbs broke throughout the year. This may be my favourite part of a fake tree.
- Stay warm: Decembers in Canada can get pretty chilly and I want no business trucking through snow to cut down a tree. Never mind the long, scary drive up to a tree farm.
- One-time cost: We bought our tree on Boxing Day the year before we got married. We knew we would need one the following year and got a great deal. It was regular $200 and we got it for $67! Since then, we haven't spent a penny on a Christmas tree! A quick google search told me that a real tree is on average $50. I'd rather spend that money on gingerbread lattes at Starbucks.
Different looks: Don't want a traditional green one? No problem. White, pink, black, silver, whatever you want! (I love the white ones!) You can even get one that is really skinny or extra fat for your particular space.
- No watering: I can't be trusted to remember to water anything. I have enough to think about during this time of the year!
- Lasts as long as you want: This year we put up our tree in late November and it looks as great as now as it did that day. And I don't have to worry about taking it down right away either. A real one only lasts about 3 weeks.
- Easy transportation: I wouldn't know how to strap a tree to the top of our car, nor do I want to. Put it inside the car? Do you find needles in March? No thanks.
- Accessible everywhere: This doesn't apply to me, but to my warm-climate dwelling friends. How do people in, for example, Jamaica get a real Christmas tree? Sounds expensive.


While an artificial tree is no-doubt more convenient, it is definitely not as authentic. I get that. And that's a pretty big deal to a lot of people.

Cons of a fake tree:
- No smell: There's nothing like the smell of a real evergreen. You can pretend all you want with candles and sprays but it's just not the same.
- No cutting down experience: While it can get pretty cold, it's always exciting to pick out the perfect one. Going all together as a family and taking pictures in front of your perfect tree is a lot of fun.
- Not authentic: Fake trees are a pretty new thing, relatively speaking. Most of us grew up with real tree in our homes and it's definitely more traditional.
- Can look fake: While fake trees have definitely gotten better over the last couple of decades, some just scream "counterfeit." Some argue that some trees can look too perfect and cookie-cutter.
- Storage: Our tree is seven feet tall and even in three pieces, it takes up a lot of space. Luckily for us, we have an unfinished basement that is filled with junk and stuff we don't use every day. But not everyone has room to store it for 11 months.

So I am dying to know. Are you on Team Real or on Team Fake? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Not-So-Traditional Christmas Finds

Happy Friday!! Mike specifically wanted me to thank all of those who commented to wish him a happy birthday. I know that all your kind words made him feel extra loved yesterday!

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While I love the traditional christmas decorations, I have a soft spot for things that are a little different. And sometimes little more contemporary.

Here's a round up of holiday decor that has a flair of modern and chic:

Ornaments

 

Christmas Cards


Wrapping Paper




Decor

 

Christmas Trees


What is your favourite holiday style? Sparkly? Rustic? Vintage? Metallics? Boho? Classic red & green? I found a fun quiz that helps determine what your holiday style is. Click here to take the quiz and let me know what results you get! I got "modern" which I'd day is pretty accurate. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mike!

December 10th is always an extra special day around here because it is the day we celebrate Mike the most. And it wouldn't be a true birthday if I didn't slow down and get real mushy for a second about my amazing husband.

He's the person I wake up next to every morning, the handsome fella I am beside in my instagram photos, the person I can't imagine doing life without. One of my favourite things about Mike is his ability to make me laugh with the perfect words. We have gone through some tough times together and he always knows how to put a smile on my face. He is a great big brother (in law) to my little brother. A great friend to our pets. A great teacher. And above all, a great husband.


He is the Zack Morris to my Kelly Kapowski, the Jim Halpert to my Pam Beesly. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Babe, you are my king. I love you more than I know how to say and I wish all of your wishes come true this year (esp the one about UNC winning the college basketball championship!)


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gift Guide: Sports Fan

Do you have a sports fan on your list? I got you covered. I consider myself an expert on the subject since my husband is all about sports and all about shopping. So maybe he's the expert, but he helped me curate this list.


  1. Let's start with the obvious. If you're buying for a sports fan, buy tickets for his/her favourite team. Shop on the team website, Ticketmaster, or StubHub. 
  2. You can get pretty much anything with the team logo on it and these cute gloves are perfect for outdoor football games! I would definitely wear these in the cold winter months. 
  3. A sports magazine is a great stocking stuffer or if you want to go all out, get a subscription for the whole year! ESPN, Baseball America, and Slam are all great options.
  4. While we're on the topic, a subscription for satellite radio is great for the sports fan on the go. It offers sports talk radio, live broadcasts of every game, and quick score updates. You get a version for the car or the app.
  5. Mike insisted that I include this one. We recently got Apple TV and he loves it because it lets him watch games that are not usually shown on our local channels. In case you haven't noticed yet, he loves UNC but unfortunately games are not always broadcast on any TV channels. The Apple TV prevents him from having to watch the games on a grainy ESPN3 stream on the computer. 
  6. A jersey of a favourite player is sure to please! My only recommendation here is to purchase from a reputable site because counterfeit jerseys are very prevalent. Similar to designer purses, if the price seems too good to be true, it is likely a fake! Check out the team/league store, Eastbay, Fanatics, and Mitchell and Ness. 
  7. The iPhone cases from this online store are so different from the usual cases I have seen anywhere else! They incorporate the apple into the design and feature a popular athlete. If you were to guess that Mike has a UNC one, you would be correct. 
  8. Ugly Christmas sweaters have been everywhere lately and of course teams jumped on the bandwagon. If Mike and I were exchanging Christmas gifts, he would surely be getting this one from me. There are tons of teams available and they are all currently on sale!
  9. Basically every team has an official hat and wearing what the players wear is always exciting. Sneak into your giftee's closet and peek at their hat size prior to ordering!
Happy shopping!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Decking The Halls

We spent some time last weekend putting up our Christmas decorations so they would be ready for December. This year I was feeling "less is more." A lot of our decorations stayed in the box and I was going for a cleaner, less cluttered look. And because our tree is gold, we have really only accumulated gold decorations.

Photo dump!














Thursday, December 3, 2015

Recipe: Polish Apple Pie (Szarlotka)

Today I am linking up for the Christmas Dessert & Tacky Sweaters linkup hosted by Whitney, Elizabeth, Jamie, and Courtney. I am so excited for this one because I am always looking for new recipes to make during the holidays!

The rules are to bake one of your favourite Christmas desserts while wearing an ugly Christmas sweater and share it! I somewhat cheated because I am not wearing my Christmas sweaters in the photos. I actually made this dessert for Thanksgiving and took a ton of photos then to send to my grandma in Poland. It was my first time making it using her recipe and she wanted to see! I hope you don't mind the ten thousand photos in this post.

In the spirit of the link-up, here's a sweater that I love to wear every December. Home Alone is my favourite Christmas movie and this line is obviously a classic!


On to the dessert.

This is a Polish version of apple pie, szarlotka in Polish. (Pronounced shar-lot-ka) We don't only make it for Christmas but it's always on the Christmas menu. I am going to try to compare polish apple pie to english apple pie.  Polish apple pie is less sweet, less chunky, less syrupy, and has less crust. Awful description but you can really only understand by tasting both.


You will need: flour, margarine, sugar, baking powder, egg, egg yolk, apples, cinnamon, and powdered sugar

There's a complete recipe below, but here's step by step instructions with photos:

1. Knead flour, margarine, sugar, baking powder, egg, and egg yolk together



2. Freeze half. Spread other half on bottom of greased pan. This will be your bottom crust.

3. Bake at 350F until golden and remove.


4. Peel and shred apples.



5. Add sugar and cinnamon to shredded apples and pour evenly on top of crust.


6. Remove remaining dough from freezer and grate on top of apples, forming the top crust. Grandma's tip: Do this quickly as the heat from your hand will warm up the dough and make it more difficult to shred.



7. Bake at 350F for 1 hour.


8. Sprinkle powdered sugar, cool, and enjoy!



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POLISH APPLE PIE (szarlotka)

- 5 cups flour
- 250g margarine
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 0.5 kg apples
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup powdered sugar

*This recipe fills a 9x9 pan
  1. Knead flour, margarine, sugar, baking powder, egg, and egg yolk together
  2. Freeze half. Spread other half on bottom of greased pan. This will be your bottom crust.
  3. Bake at 350F until golden and remove.
  4. Peel and shred apples.
  5. Add 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cinnamon to shredded apples and pour evenly on top of crust.
  6. Remove remaining dough from freezer and grate on top of apples, forming the top crust. Grandma's tip: Do this quickly as the heat from your hand will warm up the dough and make it more difficult to shred. 
  7. Bake at 350F for 1 hour.
  8. Sprinkle powdered sugar, cool, and enjoy!
Please please let me know if you try this recipe! My grandmother would be so proud!