And this Christmas…

And this Christmas will be...a very special Christmas for me!
And this Christmas will be…a very special Christmas for me!

It should come as NO surprise that the holiday season has got me thinking back (pretty sure I love to live in the past). But the interesting thing is that it was a little candle I got in the mail that really sent me down memory lane.

A few weeks ago, there was a tea light in my December Birchbox. It was in a little silver tin, and I opened the lid and took a good whiff. The smell was very familiar, and almost immediately took me back.

I rolled the tin over to see what scent it was: Red Currant by Votivo.

It was the exact candle they sold in one of the three retail shops I was working in last Christmas. This particular shop made its profit on candles, so I spent a majority of my spare time there smelling the candles and reading their descriptions in order to help sell them.

The Red Currant candle was the least expensive one the store had, and it was a popular scent for the holidays. It was pretty easy to sell.

I spent last Christmas alone. The week of Christmas, I worked 60 hours between my three part-time jobs. I was sad on Christmas Day, but I also needed to literally rest my feet. I spent the day on the couch, and in the afternoon, I completed a freelance assignment. I needed every dime I could get.

It’s crazy just how much things have changed in just a year, or heck, even in just three months. This year, I’m enjoying paid time off from my full-time job. I was able to get nice gifts for the ones I love (even Blanche!), and I tried to do everything I could to make tomorrow special.

I won’t pour over the past any longer — let’s look into the future: Christmas! I’ve stocked my fridge with mimosa and bloody Mary fixins (because of course), and there’s all sorts of ingredients for the perfect meat and cheese tray — I really love making those.

Earlier this week, I made Cranberry Toaster Tarts (recipe from Martha Stewart’s Real Simple magazine) for us to enjoy tomorrow morning.

For Christmas dinner, I am going the non-traditional route and am fixing a recipe from Real Girl’s Kitchen that I’ve been eyeing for months: Short Rib Stew with Horseradish Cream. It looks delicious, and I even got help from a butcher to get the right cut of meat (a foodie’s true delight).

For dessert? I cheated and got something pre-made (a cherry cobbler). I’m all about keeping things simple for the holidays.

I’m really just so thankful to be spending a day full of relaxing, perhaps watching Christmas movies, enjoying some delicious food and wine… with a full weekend still ahead. It’s perfect.

I want to wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas! I have been so lucky to be able to share my testing year with a group of people who are supportive and willing to listen. I hope your holiday is fun, safe, and full of love. I’ll see you right back here, Monday — catch me on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7) in the meantime!


Holly & Blanche (the kitty)

And hey, it’s Christmas Eve, so feel free to sign up for my blog class (or gift it to someone) for just $24 — instead of the usual $59. Happy holidays, y’all! 

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