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THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PARTY PLAYLIST

THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PARTY PLAYLIST

Sometimes I think my favorite thing about Christmas is the music.   Every year starting November 1st I start blasting Christmas music!  We have several Christmas playlists we love, but this one is a favorite of ours.  It’s full of a lot of great vintage peppy holiday music, it’s perfect for a party or to fill your home with Christmas cheer.  We love this playlist so much we’re calling it the Ultimate.   You can easily download these songs and create your own playlist with Apple Music or at Amazon music which I’ve linked down below and it’s free with Amazon Prime membership!

Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley

Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong

Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

A Marshmallow World – Dean Martin

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes

We Wish You The Merriest – Frank Sinatra

Frosty the Snowman – Ella Fitzgerald

White Christmas – The Drifters

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone

Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Dean Martin

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong

Winter Wonderland – Ella Fitzgerald

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas – Johnny Mathis

Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry

Home For The Holidays – Perry Como

The Holiday Season – Andy Williams

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters

Sleigh Ride – Johnny Mathis

The Man With The Bag – Kay Starr

This playlist should definitely get you in the Christmas spirit, have fun!

THE BEST CANDLES FOR FALL

THE BEST CANDLES FOR FALL

Happy fall everyone!!  The last few days I’ve been so busy trying to get our house decorated for fall, and nothing gets me more into the fall spirit than having a fall scented home!  We all love burning candles, but it takes 3 things to meet my candle burning criteria.  First of all the packaging must be a clean attractive design, second it must be highly scented… seriously weak candles can just go away, and third it must be affordable!

Hello, what’s up with all the outrageously priced candles lately??  I mean yeah they smell awesome and I’ve been known to occasionally splurge on some expensive candles, but a problem always develops.  I don’t ever want to burn them because they’re too expensive, and that defeats the purpose!

I try to make $30 my general cut off point in price, unless the packing can be reused and then I don’t mind spending a bit more.  Many of these candles fall around the $20 range though, and they smell incredible!  So in no particular order, here are my 5 picks for affordable fall luxury candles.

 

Tyler Sugar Cookie $7.50-28.00

Tyler Candle Company continues to bring amazingly high scented candles for a very affordable price.  I’ve been a longtime fan and burning these candles for at least 10 years!   For those who don’t live in Texas they can be a bit of a challenge to find, but don’t worry Amazon comes to the rescue.   There are so many amazing scents perfect for fall such as sugar cookie, mulled cider, and pumpkin spice to name a few.

 

Vineyard Hill Pumpkin Latte $12.99-14.99

Vineyard Hill which is sold at Target is a great line of affordable candles, and the pumpkin latte is perfect to get your fall scent on.  I love how you can get this scent in different packaging options.  This clean & modern candle design would compliment any interior, but I’m also really partial to this design too.

 

Voluspa Copper Clove $24

I’ve also been a longtime fan of these candles, and the company puts a lot of effort into making their containers beautiful.  I’ve always loved the pretty metal tins but you can’t go wrong with their glass jar designs either.   They get really creative with their scents and the seasonal collection is always a big hit.

 

Pier 1 Maple Brown Butter $9.99

Fall decorating always means making a few stops to Pier 1, and I am obsessed and can’t stop smelling this candle!  At almost $10 this candle packs a punch, and there are other great scents to burn this time of year… but they had me at butter y’all.

 

Thymes Simmered Cider $39

I love a good cider candle, and this one is highly scented and burns slow, meaning it will last longer.  It’s the only candle I listed over $30 but once you realize you get a reusable moscow mule cup out of it it’s an incredible deal!  Once the candle burns up you won’t be sad because you’ll be sipping moscow mules.  I think it makes a perfect holiday gift too!

Speaking of fall decor I’m hoping to get our fall porch up on the blog soon, it just needs to stop raining so I can take photos!  Until next time.

MAKE THE NEW YEAR THE YEAR OF YOU

MAKE THE NEW YEAR THE YEAR OF YOU

Happy New Year!  This is going to be the year of YOU.  Which way are you going?  What are your dreams?  Are you happy?  I’m not talking about the same ol’ same ol’ New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t know about you but just hearing the words New Year’s resolution stresses me out, and I feel it sets me up for failure.  I’m talking about something so much more….something deeper.

Maybe last year was a great year for you, or maybe it was difficult.  Maybe you need to make small changes or big ones.  Life is all about ups and downs, and even if things are going great there is still room for improvement in all of us.  To those who have struggled or just need life-change it starts now.  What direction are you going to go?  You must choose.

– DON’T LOOK BACK

YOU’RE NOT GOING THAT WAY –

What are the goals or life changes you want to make this year?  When we were recently in Estes Park I told Brian to stop the car because I wanted to take pictures in the road.  It sounded crazy at the time but I saw so much meaning in this moment, not just for me but for you.

We each have a path.  Life is like a road and no matter what life hands us we make a conscious choice to move forward, backwards, or to stand still.  The fear of change and failure will consume your life and set you back if you let it.  Change starts now….we are all going to move forward up the road, together.

I have felt very vulnerable this year.  Nervous and fearful….much like sitting in the middle of a road.  It’s been a struggle, I had a big birthday, started a blog, my kids are growing up, and family members are passing away.  I’ve done lots of soul searching.  Every insecurity I’ve ever had has come flooding back to me this year, as well as 1,000 new ones.  I sit back and think of all the good times I had over the last year and goals I accomplished….but I can’t help to think of my failures.  I guess it’s human nature.  A few things I worked really hard to achieve this year did not happen.

It makes me a bit sad but I’m not going to dwell on these things.  What I am going to do is get myself up out of the road, move forward, and try harder, and you should too.  None of us are perfect or will ever be, but we can absolutely without a doubt improve ourselves and try to be the best we can be.

You may have already known this from some previous blog posts, but I’m a major list person.  I thrive on lists and I can’t function without them.  My advice to you in making life changes is to start with a list.  It sounds basic I know, but the act of writing things down is very therapeutic and it helps to have a visual.  Think about what you need, I can’t tell you….we’re all different.  Do you have problems in your life and you desperately need change?  Do you have dreams you want to achieve?  Write it down, write it all down.  This is how change starts.  Identify areas in your life that need work and put a plan into action, not later but NOW.  The changes may be big or little, it doesn’t matter.  The point is to solve them and become a better you this year.  It will happen and YOU CAN DO IT.

– IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING THE BEST,

IT’S ABOUT BEING BETTER THAN YOU WERE YESTERDAY –

 

There is nothing you can’t do this year, however big or small.  It will be the year of YOU, the year of you because you make it happen.  It may take hard work but it will pay off.  I want to leave you one final piece of advice.  Before real change and work can happen it all starts with a positive mindset.  Negativity will only set you back.  Positive mind = positive life.  It’s time to get to work my friends.  Let’s make this the best year ever.  Ready, set, go….

HOW TO MAKE THE NEXT CHRISTMAS EASIER

HOW TO MAKE THE NEXT CHRISTMAS EASIER

Have you ever thought about how things you do now can really make an impact the following year?  I certainly have because I know for a fact that my Christmas goes so much easier when I plan for the future ones.  Over the years I’ve found some easy methods that will guarantee you have an easier Christmas the following year, but it starts now.  These 7 simple steps I promise will help.

GET ORGANIZED WITH LISTS

Just like Santa you need to make a list, and not just one list but several.  I have a file folder with lists and little notes to help me out the next year.  I suggest not packing the folder away as you’ll most likely need to view it early next year before your Christmas stuff is out.  So you’re probably wondering what my lists are about?  Pretty much anything and everything, here’s a few examples of my lists.

Previous gifts – That’s right I keep a list of previous gifts that I’ve given and look it over before I start Christmas shopping.  I find that this helps because you can’t always remember what you give as gifts and nobody wants a pink cashmere sweater or a pair of black slippers every year.  This also helps me keep track of last year’s budget if it needs adjusting.

Entertaining If you don’t have a set meal that you use every holiday season (we don’t, we switch up a lot) this will help you remember what you served, what worked, and what did not.  I have all my recipes listed that I made last year with notes, and one specifically said “macaroni and cheese casserole was too dry, adjust cooking time”.  That’s good to know and I doubt I would have remembered, it’s not a consistent dish I make.  This can also help you remember who’s hosted Christmas the years before if you need to alternate or delegate tasks.

Improvements & Ideas – Changes that need to be made, ideas you have for next year that you may forget…I wasn’t happy with the brightness of our tree this year.  It’s going on the list!  This is 2 years in a row I haven’t been happy with our tree lights, I’m going to write it in bold with a highlighter…haha.  Brian likes to decorate the backyard more than the front yard, he has some great ideas for next year.  Those are all going on the improvement list, in case he forgets.

TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS OF YOUR DECORATED HOME

This is such a big help for me!  Now, if you have just a few decorations that go in the same spot every year you probably can skip this.  For me I switch things up every Christmas, so photos are a good reference, but every year I like to incorporate some new items into our decorating and I can’t always remember what I have.  I like to view photos before I shop for new items otherwise I overbuy or buy things I already have.  One year I didn’t check my photos well and bought these new silver reindeers before I had my decorations up, sure enough once I got our stuff out I already had silver reindeers, several actually.  This is a crucial step for overboard decorators like me.

Another benefit of having photos is if you keep things in a similar spot every year others can help you decorate and take down decor by just looking at photos, you don’t have to tell them where every little thing goes.

PROPER STORAGE

Yeah, you knew I was going to throw this in.  This is the most basic of them all.  The better you wrap and organize your Christmas decorations the more you will like yourself next year.  I’ve tried to upgrade our all plastic storage bins into clear ones so it’s easier to eyeball what is in there.  Also I organize ornaments by what tree they go on…yes I put up several trees…haha.  I use large ziplock bags to group together ornaments that aren’t fragile.  Then I label the bag to say things such as “the ornaments in glass jar” or “upstairs tree”.

KEEP AN UPDATED ADDRESS LIST ON THE COMPUTER

This year I threw out my old address book, and I enjoyed doing it.  It was such a jumbled up mess of old addresses, scribbles, & post-it notes.  I had such a hard time this year addressing Christmas cards & that won’t happen again.  People move too much for an address book to work anymore.  My new method is having an address list typed out on my computer, in alphabetical order.  This way when somebody moves I can simply update it and I’ve got a clean, clutter free list that doesn’t make my brain hurt.  I also printed the list, stapled it together, and have a copy in my desk drawer, I can write any necessary notes down until I’m able to update my computer.  You can also use this to print addresses easily on envelopes and check the names off the list as the cards are sent out, insuring you don’t leave anyone out.

LOOK AT YOUR BUDGET

Take a look at what you’ve spent this year on Christmas.  Add it all up, how did you do?  Everybody is different.  Did your budget work or was it a financial strain?  If it didn’t work put a plan into action now.  Spending say $600 might have been a real financial struggle, but what if instead you had saved $50 a month throughout the year?  That would have really helped, or even if you had saved half that it would have been less strain come December.  This is a great way to maintain a yearly budget and gives you an idea if you should decrease or if you have the luxury of increasing your budget.

PLAN EARLY

Planning early can apply to so many things.  Christmas card ideas, gift ideas…think if there was anything in your Christmas this year that needed more planning.  Even if you aren’t an early decorator or planner you can still get the wheels in motion.  Maybe you wanted to make your own gifts but ran out of time.  Pick a date and put it on the calendar for next year.  I love making homemade vanilla extract for gifts but it needs 2-3 months, so I pick a date and write on the calendar in September to start the plan, otherwise there is a good chance I’ll forget and it won’t be ready.

DONATE UNUSED ITEMS

Because I like to switch out our decorations each Christmas we were getting piles of stuff we no longer used.  Last year I finally decided to tackle the clean out task.  There is no point to store items every year you probably won’t use again.  It gets in the way when trying to unpack what you really need, so pass it on and help another person out who could use it.

Have any helpful tips for an easy Christmas?  Leave them in the comments below, and be sure and check out some of my other holiday blog posts!