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You guys, it’s Christmas!

I need all of my presents to look like this.

Okay, so not quite yet but it’s almost here – and man, I feel like it creeped up on me this year even despite the early arrival of Thanksgiving. Oh well!

Tomorrow is my LAST day of work in 2017 and I could not be more ready. Y’all, I’m exhausted. I am looking forward to some much-needed sleep and relaxation and self care for the remainder of the year.

A few weeks ago, I was editing a book for someone and she wrote in said book that traditions are often things people don’t want to do, but it’s an easy way to force people to partake. Like, well… it’s tradition.

I suppose so, but I like all of my traditions. They are small, such as, waiting until Christmas morning to open all gifts (always starting with the stockings first). There are always nuts and an orange in our stockings (a tradition my mom’s family has always practiced), aside from small gifts. It has slowly become a tradition for my mom and I to make a stew on Christmas Day, too.

I’ve spent the last two Christmases in Austin and I’m looking forward to a third! I’ve got all sorts of things planned: Mozart’s, the American Girl pop-up shop (!), the state history museum, Miracle on 5th @ Eleanor’s, the gingerbread village @ The Four Seasons, pedicures, and of course, lots and lots of Christmas movie watching! I even got supplies to make apple cinnamon rolls, from scratch (send prayers)!

Once Christmas is over though… it’s me and the couch for a solid six days. I’m not going to get into it here, but I need a break. Some real rest.

Not to mention my AT&T U-Verse receiver is half-working and AT&T said I have 10 days to watch all 100 hours of precious recordings and toss it (they sent me a new one), so it’s absolutely necessary for me to be glued to my TV until 2018.

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday! I’ll be posting a few more times before the year is over, but just in case you don’t stop by beforehand – Merry Christmas (ya filthy animal)… and a Happy New Year!

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Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

You're the Charlie Browniest.

You’re the Charlie Browniest.

You guys! It’s Christmas Eve, EVE! I just got inside from vacuuming out my car with a little car vac I got for Christmas earlier this week – its gold, and it has little attachments so you can get every nook and cranny, and it even has a pressure gauge so you can air up your tires!

You see, I celebrated my Christmas on Wednesday, when my mom was in town. She got in late Friday night, and we did a whirlwind of Christmas activities, despite it being bitterly cold in Austin. She helped me with some last minute gifts, we stomped down Austin’s Trail of Lights, saw a hockey game, ate Vietnamese food (yummm), saw “La La Land” (more on this later), and watched several Christmas movies.

She had to leave yesterday, so we had our traditional Christmas Wednesday, so now I’m left “playing” with my Christmas loot – like a car vacuum, eyeing my new collection of glass tupperware, and eating bags of sour gummy cat heads. Because that’s what Christmas is all about, right?

I haven’t decided how I’ll spend ACTUAL Christmas day yet, although I have tons of food in my fridge + a few bottles of wine, so I may just get boozed and allow myself to watch one more round of Christmas flicks before I put them away for the year. I do have some gifts from friends that I have yet to open, so I have that going for me.

I don’t have to be back at work until Tuesday, so I’m really looking forward to a few more days of rest and random scheduling – I took a nap yesterday and have already taken one today! It’s all the same things I enjoyed about Christmas break as a kid, really.

I have a small to-do list – some are chores, and some are things like “Read the 2 books on my counter before they’re due back to the library on the 27th”. Whoops!

What are you guys planning to do over the holiday? Whatever it is, I truly hope you get the Christmas (or Hannukah) you’ve been dreaming about this year. I know we could all use some happy times, and probably some laughter, and even a little rest. So, may all of those things come your way + some cool gifts, because even though that’s not the reason for the season, it sure doesn’t hurt!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

And yes, I’ll be right back to regular posting on Monday, although I’m 99% sure “Mariah’s World” isn’t airing Sunday night, I know I’ll have something else to blog about. See you then!

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!

Love,

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!