Blogmas | Holiday Dorm Tour!

Howdy!

So this might seem a bit strange since I’m not clearly in college and living in a dorm, and neither is my sister these days, but our nana is in a way. Well, we don’t know what to actually call it, a “dorm” or an “apartment” because even though it does come with her own little microwave and refrigerator, she doesn’t have a stove or anything, so the term “dorm” seems to fit better I think. I had mentioned in my last minute blogmas ideas that I might do a similar post of the holiday house tour I did last year. So there will be things you’ve definitely seen before, but she has some newer stuff too. Everything has basically been compact into a small area just for her.

My nana’s room is located at the far side of the long hallway (of course!) and the first thing you are greeted with when you get up to her door is this very sparkly green, with red baubles wreath. It is perfect for her personality let me tell you!

She has a few things in her bathroom, but I felt it’s not enough to show you everything, even though she took multiple pictures in case I wanted to share more of the beach theme she is going for in there. She has a green “Merry” rags over by the wall, while she found an interesting place for her giant multicolored jingle bells. I don’t know who put them there, but it is a clever place. They are located right by her shower. It adds a nice festive look to her bathroom!

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Now when you come out of there, the first thing you will see is her little “kitchen” area. Her entire mini fridge is covered with different Christmas festive magnets and her counter top has little figurines, like the infamous Christmas tree that she keeps on day and night. She has a random red ornament and IU doll that kind of goes with the theme too. She even has a lone Santa Claus that is just sitting in the corner by her radio and sink.

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Next we have is her table. It’s smaller than the kitchen table she had at the house, but at any given time she has over a hundred different things on it. When we were there a couple of weeks ago, she had a nice round red and white blanket placed on the actual table, and on top of that is this large nativity scene. She went out with my aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving weekend and picked it out at the flea market. However, she took the pictures below before she got it I think.

In this picture, she has two large objects, one is glass purple Christmas tree and I don’t know what in the world this other thing, on the left side is. All I know is that it has little people on the different levels. She has a basket full of fake greens and cherries, plus random ornaments that she must like but can’t find a good place to put them. She has angels and crosses on here too. What is really cute though is the subtle sonogram picture of the little “nugget” on the right side on the table. It’s okay if you didn’t notice it the first time, because neither did I!

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Keep going straight and you see her entertainment center. She doesn’t have much on it, but the two large angels sitting on top of it. If they were any bigger, I doubt that they would’ve fit up there. She must have found those when things were coming down from being upstairs in September, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before.

On the right, is her window display and I’m not joking! When I was there in October, it had all of the angels and crosses standing on the ledge of the windowsill. Now she has a lot of Christmas things, like her Noel sign she got last year, snowmen and Santa Clauses everywhere. If you were wondering what happened to those beautiful ornaments that reminded me of India, she has them hanging on by string or something like that along the blinds. She also has the bigger stuffed Christmas critters on the floor, like the fairly large and jolly Santa Claus and a pillow made out of one of papaw’s shirts.

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Alex is standing on the opposite side of the Santa Claus, she either has a red blanket around her or a shirt. I don’t think she could find the normal dressing gown she normally puts her in for Christmas so she had to improvise. Nana recently got this beautiful picture of a white cat with a violin, which I happen to love! I don’t know where she got it, but she now has it hanging up by the second nightstand.

Now she doesn’t really use her bed, because she can’t get in and out of it on her own, plus it is really uncomfortable for her back and bottom. So she actually sleeps in her lounge chair that she has decorated with her family (with Adam Lambert) blanket that she got a few Christmases ago, but she does like to keep the bed looking pretty. So she got a new blanket, and it fits the red and white theme she has going on, but it has a nice photo of a Cardinal on it. Our family looks for Cardinals as a sign that papaw is around us, so there are a few of them throughout the room itself. She also put out all of the classic creatures by the pillow too!

And that’s it!


For an added bonus, I had her take more pictures around the nursing home so you guys could see what they’ve done to the place!

They have like seven or eight Christmas trees, I think that’s what my nana told me! They have a really nice one over by their outside area. When I was there, I used to spend some free time before going down for lunch over by the green sofa on her hall. Now there’s a fairly large tree there, with some very nice wrapped packages underneath it. Nana said, she helped wrap some of them in activities and decorate several of the trees too!  They have their own nativity scene in the larger dinning room, plus an interesting blown-up elf in a corner by the nurses station. We didn’t see that when we went to visit her a couple of weeks ago for some odd reason!

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What do you think of the holiday dorm tour? What is your favorite decorations to use?

snowflake

Album Review: “Warmer In The Winter” by Lindsey Stirling

22447526_1626421390755518_1809023922_nLast week, I published my review of Celtic Woman’s newest Christmas album and I said that I was thinking about putting up two others to be counted as part of a Blogmas! So this is your second, and I will say, I didn’t know about this until it popped up on my “new music” on Spotify one day and I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity and review it too!

If you are not familiar with Lindsey Stirling, she is usually a electronic violinist. In Celtic Woman both Mairead Nesbitt and Tara McNeil play fiddle and violin, but it’s mostly the traditional way. Lindsey has done covers before, but she always adds her own flare and it can sound very pop or electronica. She was on America’s Got Talent a few years ago and has released three other albums, but this will be her first holiday album. I have not heard any of the songs beforehand so I’m not sure if they’ll be instrumentals or have guest singers on certain songs, which as I’ve seen on the tracklist there are a few featured, so we’re going to dive into this together!

Let’s get started with “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy” and this definitely has that pop, but playful style that Lindsey usually brings out in her music. I actually love this, it’s one of my favorites. If I ever got the chance to see a ballet of the Nutcracker, I’d be one happy camper! I’m happy it still has the slow, but fun sound and it also has that dance vibe going on too. The second is “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” which features Sabrina Carpenter, a singer that I’ve been loving lately! I like the sultry, but fun jazz-y vibe of this track. I say “sultry” because of Sabrina’s tone and the horns section. Next we have “Christmas C’mon” that features singer and rapper Becky G and I know this is going to be weird, but this has a country sound to it. Becky’s voice gives it a nice pop vibe, but it’s actually Lindsey and her skills that are giving off that sound that makes me think of upbeat country music

Fourth track is “Carol Of The Bells” and I was wondering if I was going to like this one or not, but I knew Lindsey would do a fantastic job with it. It is all instrumental, but if you know me very well, you know that I have a soft spot for these types of songs. You still get that familiar sound of the original song, but it’s all violin with an added synthesizer. And then we have “Angels We Have Heard On High” and I really love the classical sound of just the violin and orchestra in the background. You also have these soft little vocalizations too, which I’m guessing is Lindsey giving it an added dash of sparkle to the song. I really do love how artists and bands are trying to modernize these Christmas songs, but sometimes going old fashioned works too!

There’s “I Saw Three Ships” and I’ve never heard of this one, but I found it a little odd that it sort of sounded like an Irish song, since it was so jam packed with tones that you’d normally hear with a traditional Celtic Woman song. I loved it! Anyways, next we have “Let It Snow” and the sound is different, the violin gives it a country vibe again, but then again it also has this jazz-y feel to it too. It’s very interesting. Oh, both of these songs are instrumentals and I love them dearly for that! There’s something cool about this next song though, it is an original Christmas song! I don’t know about you, but I never hear of these anymore! It features another musician Trombone Shorty and I love this. I’m just not sure who is the vocalist though, Lindsey has only done the soft “oohs” and “ahs” in the background of her songs, but never fully sang the songs, so maybe because this is something she came up with and she sang to it too.

“What Child Is This” is next and it’s another instrumental. It has a welcoming, but mysterious sound to it. I love these types of songs, as the more elements the musician adds to it, the more emotion you get from everything. You just feel like spinning in a white dress, or at least what’s I thought as I listened to the song. Next, we have a familiar song and it is “All I Want For Christmas” but I will say that because of the slow tempo of the introduction, you can’t tell what it is until the very last notes and then you want to slap yourself for not knowing it right away! It is upbeat and playful; makes you want to dance along to the beat! It’s great, but I think I miss the words.

The last three songs of the standard edition start with another original track, “Time To Fall In Love” and it features Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low. I think between the two songs that Lindsey wrote for this album, this one sounds more in the Christmas-y theme as far as lyrics go. I’m not saying I hated the other one though, it’s good, but does it match the tone of a holiday record though? Anyways, I also think this one has more of a pop-rock sound to it, and Lindsey is taking a backseat on it, although she has a solo, it just kind of sounds like ATL type of song. Next we have “Jingle Bell Rock” and this has become an iconic song, makes in part to the movie Means Girls but I love the jazz take to it. My papaw would probably like it since he was so into big band music! Lastly, we have one of my absolute favorites “Silent Night” and it is naturally a slow, somber-y, type of song anyways but I think Lindsey went that extra mile and made it even more beautiful with adding only the “ahhs” of the choir instead somebody singing it all the way through, it’s actually really beautiful.

I was very happy with this album! I thought with Lindsey’s first Christmas album, I think she did a great job. It was beautiful and unforgettable. I’m glad she stayed true to her style of music and didn’t force herself to add multiple singers to the favorite holiday songs, sometimes the instruments can say a lot more than what we think, they can bring out more emotions to the listener.

Have you heard of Lindsey Stirling’s new Christmas album, “Warmer In The Winter” yet? What were your thoughts on it?

snowflake

Blogmas | Dear Santa Claus

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Howdy!

My nana found this letter as she was going through her things back at the house in February. It was in the large stack of papers of things she couldn’t part with, and I decided to take pictures of it in case I wanted to use it for this year’s blogmas. The date on it says “1997” which means I was roughly six or seven years old and probably in first grade, so I was only starting to write with my feet. We weren’t taught how to do cursive until second grade and as you will see, my foot-writing is less than impressive to what I’m known to do now.

We had an old home video of our Christmases, and there was a tape that showed my reaction when I was probably four or five years old. I was obsessed with Barney. I remember I got like 4 things that had Barney on it. So I had a lamp, two different sized stuffed Barneys, and a blanket. This had to be the same Christmas, Blondie and I were given this soft lounge chair; it was of Simba and I imagine we fought like crazy to sit in it because somebody had to get another one. It wasn’t of Simba or any other Disney character, but it was still in the animal category. We had those well into our preteens actually!

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Another thing I was obsessed with, were the Olsen twins. It was absolutely insane! I know I’ve already written a post about how bad it was, but it’s nice to know that this letter proves how much I loved them! Funnily enough, three years later it was all about Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Once I hit a certain point, my ultimate favorite gift to receive were CDs. It was on my list every year, even after I got into using my iPod, I would still ask for physical CDs and gift cards if they were going to Walmart to purchase the records. What really gets me is the middle of the suggestions is “scissors to cut paper”. First of all I was never allowed to use the scissors, hell I cannot use them because of the placements of my toes. So the fact that my mom didn’t even try to talk me out of it, is actually pretty hilarious!

If you’ve ever read a child’s letter to Santa Claus, one thing you’ll notice is that they never want to add clothes and tend to get pretty ticked off if Santa brings them any, but once we get older, our directions change. For girls, we do look forward to receiving clothes, we’re just praying that “Santa” picks us something that we generally like and nothing that “he’d” like to see us in. I think one of my favorites to get now are socks! I really enjoy fuzzy socks, they’re a little quirky but soft and easy to put on by myself! Leggings are fun to give as a gift, but I feel like whoever decides to get me another pair, needs to take a look into my closet to see what all matches the shirts before they make their decision. I have so many leggings that hardly go with any of my tops.

A few weeks ago, I posted a question on my personal Facebook page about what they used to ask Santa Claus for when they were children and now that they’re older, what they’re asking for now. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you! Some of the responses that answered for when they were younger were a pony, easy bake oven, video games, baby dolls and action figures. Now they want a day spent around with family, cooking pans, loyalty (which I thought was interesting!) experiences and something we’ve already discussed: socks! Apparently I’m not alone in my love of them.

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Do you remember anything you wanted to get from Santa Claus when you were a kid? What would you like from Santa now that you’re older? 

snowflake

 

Blogmas | Unisex Baby Wishlist

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Hello!

Don’t worry, I don’t plan on talking about Blondie’s pregnancy or the baby this much, but apparently I suck at planning ahead whenever I was busy doing NaNo at the same time!

Since you guys know that I will be entering the role of the “cool aunt” Megz next summer, I figured this was appropriate! Now my views of neutral prints, patterns and colors may not fit what you think as “neutral” so we’re going to be respectful of each other on this post, especially to me because I’m really new to this and I’m just going to share what I liked, okay?

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To me, I think most unisex colors are like gray and black. However, I like to think there are certain pastel shades that can work well for this too, there’s a very light yellow, mint, baby blue, and even lavender. I feel like the bolder colors just automatically puts the child into a box for whatever gender they are, so in the way I went about this, I searched for grays, mint and whites apparently. Let’s just say, I will be a happy camper once we figure out what it’ll that way I get a better idea of which side to look for because this was honestly harder than I pictured it to be!

So I think we’re going to talk about the things I found on Walmart.

4 Pack Swaddle Blanket Set – Although it is not pictured above, I really liked it. I think all four blankets were cute and very unisex, as both genders can be interested in owls and stars. Personally, I liked the baby blue one with the clouds. When I was younger, I wanted to be a meteorologist. and I still enjoy looking up at the sky and the clouds, but let’s be honest here I’m really looking for aliens!

Disney Mickey Mouse Fleece Blanket – Again, I think both genders can be into Mickey Mouse or any other classic Disney character. I know if they have a boy Blondie will still try to incorporate Disney in there somewhere, and Mickey Mouse is perfect. And let’s be honest every person (or in this case: child) needs a good fleece blanket.

Going on Walmart’s website and trying to find anything for the baby was more difficult than I thought it would. It was all confusing whereas going on Target was simpler; easier to read and figure out where everything was on the page. This is the reason why I have a larger batch of things that I liked from there.

Now about the things about Target and one other item that I found on another website!

3 Pack Elephant Bibs – I thought these were really cute! I think I fell in love with these for the mint and elephant print. Some people could think that these two would be considered “boy” items but I think girls can rock a good mint every once in a while too! So I think it works too!

4 Pack Burping Cloths – Keeping with the gray and mint theme I guess, I also found this burping cloth set, they don’t match the bibs perfectly as the pattern for this are arrows instead, but I still think they’re pretty adorable too! I hadn’t heard of these before, but I do think they are handy, especially if you don’t want to keep using up dish rags all the time.

Gray Arrow Blanket = This was another one that I fell in love with, this is a gray blanket. I think it’s just a regular blanket, not fleece or anything. I think it would be better since the baby will be born in the summertime, but also Blondie tends to turn the temperature down throughout the day and night, so it might be handy to keep around.

Giraffe Sleep ‘n’ Play Suit – When I first saw this, I swore the animal on it was ducks, but it’s a giraffe. Somebody needs to tell the designers that giraffes are orange, not yellow! Anyways, I think I just gravitated towards this because of the little feet booties! Any animal faces at the feet are so cute on babies! I mean, I have cool feet myself but I can’t pull off a cute onesie for the life of me!

100% Wired Graphic Jumpsuit – I loved, loved, loved this! I have a real weakness to graphic tees myself, so finding baby versions was too cute to pass up! I thought this was cuter though because I feel like with Blondie and Brandon having one dog and four cats, this kid will be the non-fur animal in this family! Especially in the first couple of months!

2 Pack Mint and Stripes Pants – These were so sweet! They are still in the mint and gray theme I’ve got going on. I really liked this one because of the black and white striped pants.

2 Pack Gray and Stripes Pants – I did find another set of pants in gray, they’re not from the same brand or type, but I thought they were cute too! I liked the cuffs, I’ve always loved that detail. It seals out the cold from the outside, so yes, they’re a personal favorite too.

Baby’s First Halloween Bib – This was actually the first thing that popped up on the screen, plus all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas ones too! I think babies should have seasonal clothes too, as it would be nice to dress them up in but I also know that they’d probably ruin them too within the hour is up, so I thought these bibs were a better option but as I was told, the baby may not be old enough to eat solids by Halloween or even Thanksgiving, so they just need up being a cute decoration for the squirt!

Butler Bulldogs Onesie – This is my only non-Target and Walmart item. I think this baby deserves some Butler Bulldog apparel and I’d be happy to share the Butler love forward with this baby. I honestly wanted to get the baby a Butler pacifier, but they weren’t on the website when I looked but I did find both bibs and onesies instead. And weirdly enough, I picked the gray one automatically, but I think gray would look better for this post as I’ve done nothing but talk about gray on here.

I think Blondie said we might found out what the gender is sometime in February, probably around Valentine’s Day as she wants a party that surrounds a holiday, and honestly that would be easier to plan if she wants to incorporate hearts into the theme, but yes, they have an idea of when they’re going to find out and how they want to share it with everyone!

What are some colors and patterns that you think can be counted as gender neutral? What do you think of my little wishlist? Have I lost my mind already?! You can be honest there.

snowflake

Album Review: “The Best Of Christmas” by Celtic Woman

I’ve never had a moment where I’ve had three open Thursdays (review days) and three holiday related albums come out at the same time. I figured I’d take advantage of it and review all of them for you as part of my blogmas!

The first one is obviously by the lovely ladies of Celtic Woman. They released this album back in mid-November. If you’ve never heard their versions of Christmas carols, you sort of get a taste in the previous album “Voice Of Angels” as there are two bonus tracks at the end. The rich sounds of Ireland are still prominent with the holiday tone and lyrics. The songs included in this album are sung by previous singers as they have released two other Christmas albums back in 2006 and 2012 along with the current members: Susan, Mairead, Eabha and newest member Tara playing the violin and fiddle.

The first song of the album is “Ding Dong Merrily On High” and this brings out your holiday cheer, even if you still feel like the Grinch has wedged itself in between the depths of your heart, this will make you happy! One of the reasons why I love Celtic Woman so much is because they have such gentle voices, they sound very caring and want you to feel at home and exited for Christmas. The Irish tones are very subdued in this song, but I found that to be okay, because I liked the voices of the singers and choir. Second is “Carol Of The Bells” and this is just gorgeous! Everybody is very familiar of this song, or at least they should be, but I love this version as you more of a modern feel to it, but it has that mysterious atmosphere to it. I love the fiddle in this, I think it adds another element to it than just the choir singing behind it.

Next is “Joy To The World” and this is the 2016 version which features all three current singers, and since I’ve already talked about this one, I’m not going to bother talking about it again. So if you’d like to know what I said about that, you can read my review of their newest album here. We have “We Three Kings” and this one you definitely get a strong Irish sound from start to end. I was very happy to see this style shine, but I will say though, I don’t think I’ve heard of the song itself, just shows you how much Christmas music I normally listen to once December rolls in.  And then, we have “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and we’re back on the familiar track! I’m happy to say that this was as beautiful as I remembered it, as it’s all a cappella in the beginning before the subtle little violin just shows up in the background. It’s so gentle and nice. It’s just perfect.

Another favorite is “O Holy Night” and I’ve come to love these slower songs, with the right singers, they can sound really amazing and add a wow factor to the whole thing. It’s weird that there are three singers when it sounds like one person is singing it. It’s so beautiful! Next we have “White Christmas” and I really love Christmas music that has a strong piano introduction. You can blame my papaw for installing that feature into me and basically every other family member on my mom’s side. The eighth song is “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and it is so pretty, full of symphony and a little of fiddle. I’m pretty sure it is originally on one of their older albums, but that is definitely Susan’s voice I’m hearing! I can recognize her voice anywhere!

We have “I’ll Be Coming Home For Christmas” and everytime I hear it, makes me think about those videos of soldiers surprising their family members. They’re so sweet but of course you can’t help but start bawling your eyes out when everything unfolds on screen, especially if it involves children! This has more of an Irish vibe in the beginning, but I love the slowness of it. It’s so beautiful! I’ll always have a soft spot for “Silent Night” but Celtic Woman’s version incorporates both the English and Gaelic languages and it’s so gorgeous! This was one that they included in “Voice of Angels” album, so if you want to know what I thought of it, please go to the link I’ve put up above. And next we have “The Christmas Song” and I love the piano in the introduction. It had a modern feel, but so gentle. I don’t think I’ve heard of this song before, but like I said, I don’t know a lot of Christmas songs, only everybody’s favorites.

Somehow, we managed to switch out of the gentle and Irish sounding, and move to big band and jazz for “Let It Snow” and it literally freaked me out because I was not expecting it! Of course, the more I listened to it, made me think of New York City and Broadway shows! However, I don’t hate it. It’s actually nice. The next is “Once In Royal David’s City” and this is the third holiday song included on Celtic Woman’s previous album, because I can clearly hear both Mairead and Eahba singing, so again please direct yourself back to the link, if you wish to read my thoughts. Next we have “Away In A Manger” and it starts as a capella with a light harp, which is my second favorite instrument by the way! I also love the guitar, that I always think of a Spanish, because it just brings out that sound that you only hear in latin songs. I’m sorry I don’t know more about it.

 “Winter Wonderland” now at first, I will admit, I didn’t recognize the title. It wasn’t until it started playing and then I finally got it. This has a soft jazz vibe to it. I like the upbeat songs, and apparently the upbeat Christmas songs are becoming a favorite of mine too! Next we have “Walking In The Air” and again, this was another I didn’t know right off the bat, but it is very pretty. It has a very eternal sound in the beginning, which for a Celtic musical group, the music usually has that sound that makes it mysterious but gentle at the same time. Although, this doesn’t sound anything like a regular Christmas or holiday song I’ve heard before, but who am I to say anything about that? It is gorgeous though!

These will be the last four songs of the album. We have “O Come All Ye Faithful” and I like gentleness that the ladies give it. The music behind it is so soft and makes me think of ballets (I know, that’s weird) but it’s true! I don’t necessarily like the hymns very much, but when it comes to the holidays for some odd reason I kind of welcome them with feet wide open!  Next there’s “The Little Drummer Boy” and this is one that I haven’t heard very much, even though it’s a favorite to people. I do like this version with the deep male choir and the soft drums, but unfortunately that’s all I really like about it. I’m very hard to impress sometimes. “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and I know everybody knows this one and I’m happy to say that it is very upbeat but it also has that Irish sound that I fell in love with in the first place. It’s a nice mixture! And lastly we have “Auld Lang Syne” and according to Google, translates to “days/times gone by”. It is Scottish song and that means that you will hear both the English and Gaelic languages, and I love it because I’ve never heard of it before doing this review.

So the first Christmas album is done! I actually figured I’d hear the Irish music being incorporated more, but then again I can’t say I was disappointed with it though. It was a good balance with the more modern, pop feel with some of the Gaelic language in it. It was different and I love it for being that way!

Have you listened to Celtic Woman’s “The Best of Christmas” album yet? What were your thoughts about it? Do you have a favorite holiday song?

snowflake