Mixtape Monday: Holiday Hits

Happy December! Happy Holidays!

Coming off a relaxing, yet productive Thanksgiving weekend here. I finished a book, started another one; caught an “interesting” (for lack of a better word) film, The Babadook, at the Silent Movie Theater; successfully completed our “Rocky” movie marathon (gosh, do I love that series!), made it to The Grove for some much-needed holiday cheer, and ate more ham than is probably legal! Suffice to say, all is well at the moment. I have to admit, I’m anxious for the next few weeks to pass. I CANNOT wait for a more proper vacation, where I plan to unplug for 3 full weeks. Ahh!

Until then, why not enjoy what makes this time of year so special, the magic of the holidays! I’m kicking off December in-style with a little Christmas music today. I made a holiday mixtape with some of a my favorites last year and think it’s the perfect way to get in a festive mood.

Listen along if you’d like! Please hit the link noted just after the jump or click here and enjoy!

Have a great week. x

All That Glitters

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It’s official. Some light holiday decorating and a weekend filled with watching some of my favorite holiday movies and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I thought it would be fun to curate a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs – old and those that are destined to be new favorites. My two “go-to” Christmas CD’s have always been Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas and Josh Groban’s Noel. There are also some great tracks on Celine Dion’sThese Are The Special Times that are nostalgic to Christmas when I was a teenTo mix it up a bit, I decided to check out new releases from both Kelly Clarkson and Mary J. Blige. I have to say, I think Mary’s new holiday album, A Mary Christmas, will make it into rotation for years to come! And Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red has solid tracks…

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11 Questions for Thanksgiving

I came across Dr. Karen Horneffer-Gitner’s Huffington Post article, 20 Questions for Thanksgiving, last week and was instantly inspired to play along. In it, she shares how instead of asking the very cliché “What are you thankful for?” question in an effort to create meaningful dialog with her family on Thanksgiving (which usually prompted equally cliché answers) she’d ask more specific and challenging questions about gratitude to help develop an engaging conversation.

I absolutely loved this idea. Around Thanksgiving, I usually blog about what I’m grateful for in life, and it seems to sound pretty similar year-to-year: my health, loved ones, etc. Of course, these things are still of great importance to me that would make any gratitude list again and again. As I read through some of her questions, I thought I would take a different approach this year. I selected 11 out of her 20 questions (some of which I actually did have to spend quite a bit of time thinking about!) and answered them below.

This will be my last post for the week. If you’re anything like me, you plan to be as far away from the internet as possible for the next few days….and in front of a plate of food! Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll see you in December…


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11 Questions for Thanksgiving_ATG FINAL NOVEMBER 2014_part 3 (2)

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons November 2014 _ ATG FINAL

1. | A Honey Baked Ham is on the way…

Naturally, we have to turn our attention to the important part of this week and that’s the amount of food that will be consumed. Without question, I always, always, always get excited for our new Thanksgiving tradition of indulging in the best ham EVER from the Honey Baked Ham Store. We add a few of the necessary sides that we order from Bristol Farms: mashed potatoes, candied yams, honey glazed carrots, and their green bean almondine; bake a pie; and sit back and eat…and eat…and eat. The caveat is that we tend to burn-out on ham because we eat it for breakfast and dinner the next 3 days after Thanksgiving as leftovers. By the following Monday, I’m usually so sick of ham I can’t stand it…until the following year comes and I’m excited all over again. Hooray for ham! (image via.)

2. | A short work week…

It’ll be a relatively quick and quiet work week ahead. This is in large part because a lot of people are taking the entire week off. I’m opting to work through Wednesday and save the vacation days to take a longer Christmas vacation in late December through early January instead (for a much-needed and restful 3 week break!). I have 3 big things I want to get crossed off my to-do list on the work front and then I’m ready to leave it all behind in favor of food, a good book, and finally correcting the error upon learning that my boyfriend hasn’t seen all the Rocky movies, which happen to be streaming on Netflix (minus the last one, which we’ll borrow a copy of) and make it a Rocky movie marathon this holiday weekend.

3. | Snow in LA…

It’s no secret that it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays to me until I make a stop at the best place in LA to get in the spirit, The Grove! (Yes, you read that right). I’ve written before about why The Grove makes me happy around this time of year, so I won’t go into it again. I will say that it’s become a bit a tradition after Thanksgiving to stop at The Grove over the holiday weekend to see the 100-foot REAL Christmas tree, the lights, the music, the people, and Santa’s “mansion,” because there’s no place in LA that does it better when it comes to channeling the magic of the season. I’m willing to overlook the usually way too crowded venue, grab a hot chocolate with my guy and walk around to take it all in, just before they drop the faux snow at 7:00pm. (Hey – it’s LA and the only way we’ll ever get to channel our version of a “White Christmas.”) It makes me smile just thinking about it.

4.| Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

That aforementioned good book that I hope to lose myself in is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s my next book club read that the gals selected for December and I’m excited for it. I don’t know much about it to give you a thumbs up or down since I plan to start it this week, but I’ve have heard that it’s a great saga set during the Christmas season and a wonderful way to compliment to the holidays if you’re looking for something heartwarming and charming.  (image via.)

5.| The Holidays are here…

I like to think that the holiday season officially kicks-off the day after Thanksgiving (though every store I’ve been in somehow got the memo that Halloween was an appropriate time to start shelling Christmas stuff at you). I love the idea that just a few short days from now, it’ll be time to pull out the Christmas music, make lots of cocoa, and go about the business of celebrating.  So I won’t wish you  a “Happy holidays” quite yet, but go ahead and make it a point to save my well wishes for first thing Friday morning. Happy Holidays to you (on Friday)!

I hope you find 5 reasons this week will rock for you, too. They’re there, I promise. Have a lovely week ahead! x

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Happy Thanksgiving

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{Pardon my “french”  but this gets me every year! Haha!}

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I’m taking the rest of this week off from my blog – with uninterrupted goals of stuffing my face silly, watching movies, and indulging in all things relaxing.

Before I go, I thought I would share a few things I’m grateful for at this particular moment:

  1.  A cozy and comfortable place to call home every night.
  2. Steady employment (always a good thing in this business and this economy).
  3. The company of a good book / spending time with my Kindle.
  4. Dirty Chai Lattes (try one the next time you’re at Starbucks or your local Café –  shhh! they’re on the secret menu).
  5. A car I love to drive with the freedom to go anywhere my heart (but more likely, my wallet) desires.
  6. My good health.
  7. And my Stinker, Ryan.

Highlights: The Beginning Toward The End

I love this time of year. It flies by in a flash because we’re in the midst of a season that’s unlike any other, celebrating all the way. After Halloween comes a birthday for a special person in my life, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and then my anniversary with said special person. As we enter the beginning toward the end of the year, I can say with confidence that it will be a memorable holiday season because I intend for it to be. Bring. It. On! Here are a few things that made me smile this week in the meantime:

{Scarf weather is now in full effect in the City of Angels and I’ve rocked them almost every day this week. This makes me happy!}

{After trying to enjoy loose leaf tea using strainers because I thought they were cool, I gave up and went with the more tried and true “T-Sacs” to keep those annoying leaves that still seemed to fall through the strainer out. I got these awesome filters during my recent visit to Bird Pick. The point? There will be lots of tea consumption this season. :)}

{I fell in LOVE with this limited edition Christmas ornament during a recent visit to Starbucks to grab a latte. It’s a ceramic shaped coffee cup encrusted with swarovski elements. It’s so me, a coffee cup that “glitters.” The hefty price tag made me put it down, but I had to get a picture!}

{My new “Fancy Peach” earrings purchased at Scarlet Mare Studio on Etsy arrived mere days ago. My first ever Etsy purchase, but definitely not my last. Check out their site if you like one-of-a-kind, eclectic jewelry.}

Okay, time to stop reading (though I appreciate it!) and head to the grocery store to stock up for all the Thanksgiving festivities coming next week. Have an amazing weekend! 🙂