Saturday, 27 December 2014

You Gotta Love the Holidays!

I'm not sure about many of you but I've had a busy few days and I'm really glad to have a couple of days to myself to get back on track, wind down and relax from all of the hustle and bustle the holidays bring. For me, it all started out with some traditional holiday baking with my husband's family, followed by decorating a gingerbread house with my sister, then my dad's birthday, Christmas Eve and of course Christmas day (I had dinners to attend on both sides of the family). Oh, and Boxing Day! Yeah, I've definitely been busy!

Christmas Day we got up pretty late as we went to bed at 3 am two days in a row (this is how we roll! lol). My husband made eggnog french toast, bacon and tatter tots! It was yummy! Then we got to opening up presents (I will do another post about what I got for Christmas). Later in the afternoon, we attended two dinners; one with my family and one with my husband's family. With my husband's family we had a traditional sit down dinner with place settings, party crackers and the whole nine yards. It was really nice! We were all so stuffed from dinner that we decided to take an evening stroll in the neighborhood (there was about 9 of us). I think the only thing missing from the stroll was a thermos of hot chocolate! I've never done the night time stroll before and it was a really cool experience! I think I would definitely do that again!

The day after, I braved the Boxing Day crowds! We really needed an extra mattress for our spare bedroom, which was the main reason we decided to go Boxing Day shopping. Since the store we were buying from was right beside a major mall, we decided to just walk over and check it out. Big mistake! The crowds were HUGE! Luckily, I did get a few things from that mall and at another location (which had no people). I will share what I got in a future post as well. 

Overall, it's been a great couple of days! I'm definitely going to relax for the next few days before New Year's Eve rolls around. I'm planning to spend my time watching a lot of movies, reading, blogging and maybe trying to attempt to complete a 1000 piece puzzle!

What did you do for the holidays? Do you have any holiday traditions?


Monday, 22 December 2014

How to Prepare for Guests Over the Holidays

Let's face it - we're going to be mingling with a lot of family and friends over the holidays. Whether that means going over for dinner or hosting them yourselves, it's always going to be crazy and fun! Whenever I am hosting (which is very rare since we live in a small town. It's easier for us to go where everyone is), I always assume that everything has to be 'perfect'. Whether it's how the house looks, smells, what you offer to eat, the atmosphere etc...

I hate to give myself that unneeded pressure while hosting and I know that I don't need to feel like that. There are some rituals that I 'stick to' to help ease the pressure. These tips can definitely come in handy around the holidays or really at any other time of the year.

1. Take some time to tidy up the house and clean. - I like to do a deep clean before guests arrive. Doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floors or dusting. Making the house clean makes me feel good and helps me to relax. You also want to ensure that your place looks presentable for guests.

2. Leave an air freshener in the guest bathroom - I don't think I need to say know what I mean! It makes the bathroom smell good as well as helps with other 'situations' as well. I usually get the wall bulbs from Bath and Body Works. Right now I have Mango Dragon Fruit with my Gingerbread man to make
things festive!

3. Have extra toiletries on hand - Whether its extra toilet paper, soap, toothbrush or toothpaste. You never know when someone might have to spend the night or when weather can get bad. Or simply, you might have guests staying overnight or for a period of time and maybe they forgot to pack something. I like to keep extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, soap, shampoo and some other fun stuff. I pick these up and store them away when I get extras from the dentist or from an overnight hotel stay. I also like to keep a separate set of towels and face clothes just for guests.

4. Have some snacks readily available - I don't know about you but it seems to me that my stomach is always growling! I like to eat quite frequently throughout the day by munching on snacks. Be sure to have some healthy options like fruit and yogurt and some other snacks to fulfill that 'other' craving (ie. crackers and cheese, chips, popcorn, chocolate etc..). If you are sleeping in and someone wants to get up and grab something, they know where to help themselves.

5. You can't make everyone happy - If you know that you are inviting that one family member (third cousin twice removed) that always makes a point about something, whether that's cleanliness, your decorations or cooking, try to mentally prepare yourself. You know that this person is going to make a comment. Accept it and just forget about it. At the end of the day, you can never make everyone happy. What counts is that everyone had a good time!

6. The most important tip of all....relax and enjoy yourself! - I can get really caught up in preparing but sometimes I just need to take a step back, relax and enjoy the company. After all, after the holidays everyone will be back to their daily grind. Enjoy the company with family, friends and those that are closest to you.

I hope these tips help to ease the pressure of holidays! How do you prepare for the holidays?


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Survivor Season 29 Review

Any other seasoned Survivor fans out there!? If you've been reading my blog for some time, you know that I am a HUGE Survivor fan! Last night was the finale of Season 29.

The season itself started out very, very slow. I don't think there has been a slower season or more 'boring' season than this one. It took a very long time for me to get interested in the show and players. I'm not sure why this season was the way that it was. There weren't any 'crazy' or 'outstanding' players that fans could fall in love with (maybe except Keith who maybe some fans fell in love with at the end).

However, there were quite a few things that I liked in this season. For instance, when there was an endurance challenge and Jeff brought out food to entice the players. I love when he does this! It really shows who's willing to go for instant gratification versus long term satisfaction in the form of winning Immunity. Another interesting part was when the tight alliance of five (Jon, Jaclyn, Missy, Baylor and Natalie) were talking among themselves at a reward challenge of who to get rid of next. At which point Jeff interrupted the game and asked what was going on. He couldn't believe that this alliance of five was going to just throw a challenge and automatically decide who wins. After all, a million dollars is on the line. Another part that I really liked was when two idols were played at once! It always makes the game interesting!

I wasn't necessarily rooting for anyone in particular to win the million (Although I was very upset when Jeremy was voted out). However, I was definitely cheering on Natalie towards the end as I feel she was the only player that made bold and risky moves. She really did fit the description of Survivor, Outplay, Outlast & Outwit. She made a HUGE decision by voting out Baylor and giving Jaclyn her immunity idol. This really surprised me as her and Baylor had a really great bond. In the end her decisions got her a million dollars! I definitely think it was well deserved.

Other parts to highlight about this season: Keith brought a really good sense of humor to the show! The fact that he had no idea how to play the game made for some interesting and hilarious conversation within in the tribe. I also liked that they brought in a gay Christian couple this season, Josh and Reed. Speaking of Reed, was his speech about the evil Stepmother towards Missy really necessary? He didn't even apologize to her at the Reunion show. What is up with Alec and his open mouth at Tribal every time the camera was on him? And Wes always licking his lips? Gross... Also, I think this is the first time anyone with a major injury (Missy) was allowed to stay in the game until the very end.

To wrap things up, I'm really excited for Season 30 as it's White Collar versus Blue Collar versus No Collar. This will definitely strike some interesting conversation. It is upsetting that they aren't doing something more extravagant and on a much bigger scale for the 30th season of Survivor. I really wish they would bring back all of the winners and runner up winners to compete.

Overall, it was an alright season that took a very long time to pick up pace with mediocre players.

P.S. Check our Survivor Ponderosa on YouTube! There a short video clips of each person voted out on the jury on their return and life at Survivor jury camp called Ponderosa.

What are your thoughts on Survivor season 29?


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Gift Wrapping 101

It's that time of year where we all buy gifts and presents for holiday giving. Of course with that comes gift wrapping! I love gift wrapping! I did all of my gift wrapping on the weekend and I try to make an occasion out of it. The hubby and I play Christmas movies (we had Christmas with the Kranks on this weekend!), sip on hot chocolate with the tree all lit up in our PJs. I love it!

I'm not the 'perfect' gift wrapper by all means and I could probably use a tip or two to improve myself. But I thought I would share a few of the tips that I use to make gift wrapping look as neat and tidy as possible.

I always try to buy wrapping paper with grid marks on it. This wrapping paper I bought from Costco and usually all of their wrapping paper has the grid lines (and their paper is also very sturdy and strong!). I find that the grid lines help to measure out how much paper you'll need and to help you cut straight lines as well.

Start by folding in one side of the wrapping paper on your gift. It's okay to use the tape and apply it directly on the gift as you will be covering it up in the following steps.

Then fold the top half of your paper about an inch in and apply rolls of tape on the fold.

Fold it over to completely cover the gift. The fold that you make in the previous step helps to make a perfectly straight line as well as hide the tape. Say yes to no more scissor cut lines!

Fold in the right and left sides so they are tucked in. This will create a triangle at the top and bottom of the gift. Use tape if you need to secure the sides. 

Try to folder the top triangle in. Fold the tip of the bottom triangle in and put a loop of tape on it to secure. 

Fold up and secure with tape. Remember, use the loop tape so that no tape is showing. Again, yes to no scissor cut lines!

Repeat the folding technique on the other side of the gift.

Flip over and you're almost done! To make the gift look extra crisp (like a neatly ironed shirt) take your index finger and thumb and run it along the edges to get that 'crisp' look. 

Add some ribbon and you're done! 

Like I mentioned, I'm not an expert, but these tips help me.

Do you have any gift wrapping tips & tricks? If so, let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Haul!

Hi All! I thought I would share my Black Friday/Cyber Monday haul! All of my stuff finally came in on Sunday. I figured this would be a nice break from all things Christmas/Holiday related!

Here we go!


La Vie En Rose PJ's! I was in need of some new PJ's. La Vie had buy 2 for the price of 1! I couldn't pass up this deal. The top picture is a thermal PJ set. The pink PJ's are flannel. P.S. excuse the wrinkles, they just came out of the dryer when I took this picture :)

I love Express! I got these two sweaters for 50% off the regular price. I think I might wear the green one for Christmas and the silver one probably for New Years Eve. I love the sequins on the silver sweater!

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector from Sephora. I use this before applying my liquid foundation.

Tarte Amazonian Clay liquid foundation from Sephora. My shade is Deep Sand.

These products from Sephora were regular price. I didn't pay for shipping as it was free.
However, for Cyber Monday, they sent out a Mystery Cyber Monday goodie bag with 7 beauty product samples. Here`s what I got!

Bare Minerals concealer. 

Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer. 

Guerlain mascara.

Jack Black face moisturizer.

Sephora`s tinted lip balm.

Kat Von D`s Tattoo Liner in black.

I got these three samples free with my order online at Sephora. 

Agave Hair Oil, Time in a Bottle & KP Duty Body Scrub.

Overall, I`m happy with everything I bought online. Sometimes it's hit or miss. This is the first year I've shopped so much online. I can't wait to wear my cozy PJ's during snowy evenings leading up to Christmas and of course I can't wait to wear my new Express sweaters! I'm really excited about the samples I got in the mystery bag, as well as the extra three samples I got. These are products I haven`t used before so I`m excited to try out the different products and brands! I will be sure to review once I get a chance to test out everything. 

What did you splurge on for Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping?


Thursday, 4 December 2014

November Favourites

It's that time again, monthly favourites! I can't believe we're at the end of 2014 seems as if the year just started a few months ago....

Anyways, enough of my rambling, let's get right to my November favourites!

I have been loving the St. Ives body lotion! It's been perfect during the colder weather as I find that my skin tends to get a lot dryer. I really like the Oatmeal and Shea Butter scent as its mild and keeps me moisturized for a very long period of time. One application and you're good to go for the day! I recently picked up another scent called Coconut Milk and Orchid Extract. It smells so great and I can just imagine the benefits of coconut milk on the skin. 

I was on a mission to find a new foundation that would work with my breakout prone/oily skin type and... I found it! I recently went to Sephora and got a sample of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Liquid Foundation. I love, love, LOVE this product so much! It's one of those products where I was like, seriously, where have you been all this time??!!! I love the coverage, how it blends, and the airbrush finish it leaves on my skin. I plan to do a full review on this product soon as soon as I receive my full size product in the mail!

Since I have a problem with oily skin, the makeup artist at Sephora did recommend the Becca Poreless Primer. Again, where have you been all these lonely, oil-filled years?! I've tried out a few primers and this by far keeps me the most matte. I usually wear makeup for 12+ hours and at the end, I'm still matte! This product does not get enough praise and recognition. I plan to do a review on this product soon as well - as soon as I get my full sized product in the mail...

My MAC Diva lipstick is the perfect red for my skin tone during this time of year! It makes everything so festive and Christmas-y (if that's a word!). I've had this one in my collection for a couple of years now but I gotta say it's my favourite during this time of year.

My favourite this month has to be these big pink fluffy slippers that I bought from Ardene's a while ago! Even through we have the heat cranked up in the house, I still find that walking on the hardwood floor is cold! During these cold winter months, these babies are on my feet all the time when I'm at home!

I've been really liking Essie's Fishnet Stockings for this time of year. I think I will also be wearing this quite often during December as well. Red is usually not my go to colour in the spring and summer so I gotta get all the use out of it now!

Gone Girl (I know huge!). It is soooooo good! That's all I gotta say - you can read my complete book review here.

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire! I'm dying to see Mockingjay Part 1 but I'm not sure if I'll be able to catch this one in the movie theaters. To prepare myself for Mockingjay I re-watched the first two movies. They are so good! I always get hooked on them! I've also read the books so I know what to expect. I think this would make a good holiday gift. You can also check out my Hunger Games book series review here

Scandal... surprise!... (not)... I can't get enough of this show! This is what I don't like the most about TV.. the show starts, which I watch every week and it ends with a finale... the break in between the finale to the premier is just unbearable... I need another TV series to watch! Any suggestions? I'm also done Suits and I heard Once Upon a Time is also good.

This is more of a dessert than a food but a few weekends ago I made the most delicious M&M cookies! I got the recipe off Pinterest (remember to follow me as well!). Super easy and requires very little skills to make and it's super good!

These are a few of my favourite things (Sound of Music reference)! What were your favourites for this November?