Blogmas | December Playlist

Hello!

Can you believe Christmas is on Sunday?! I can’t honestly, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who are feeling the exact same way.

I usually post my monthly playlists at the end, but since I will be taking my mini hiatus directly after Christmas, it just makes sense to release it as part of my Blogmas content. I’ll actually give you the list now and share some of the stuff going on in the past few weeks below.

Here are my Top 20 favorite songs for December 2022! If you want to check out the full playlist, click here.

Skinny Little Missy by Nickelback
Diseased by Icon For Hire
Bye Bye by Gryffin featuring Ivy Adara
Met Him Last Night by Demi Lovato featuring Ariana Grande
Have Mercy by Chloe
It’s Been Awhile by VCTRYS
The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody) by Bebe Rexha featuring Lil Wayne
What A Man Gotta Do by Jonas Brothers
Running For Your Life by UNSECRET featuring Butterfly Boucher
Ghost Town by Layto featuring Neoni
DICE by NMIXX
Revolution by Bishop Briggs
Reinvented by Ad Infinitum
Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz
Dangerous by Aviva
The Assault by ADIEAUX x Justin Starling
Wild by Effsio Cross
Bones by wens
May It Be by Anuna featuring Sara Weeda
O Holy Night by Lindsey Stirling
Medley by Michael W. Smith
Nordlys by Myrkur
Silent Souls by Moya Brennan featuring Cormac De Barra
Carols of the Bells by Jennifer Thomas
Turn Off All The Christmas Songs by Sam Tinnesz


As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, I was really sick throughout the early part of the month, but I will say, I have had a lot of fun hanging out with my family lately. Our dog Rumer has really enjoyed playing again. She didn’t like it not being able to come around me in those few weeks. However, when I did come out, we’d play ball so much that she would literally jump up on the couch and fall asleep. One day she’ll do this when mom and I are watching Jeopardy in the living room. She tends to be active while we’re watching it, and you’d think her craziness would slow me down at all, but I have found I do better when I’m multitasking and playing with her.

Rumer does not know a lot of commands, we had plans to teach her a lot of different things when she was a puppy, but that takes a lot of time that none of us had a lot of patience for it, and now she’s full of energy and whines quite a bit. She does not do well away from my parents, mostly my dad, and she’s fiercely protective over us on top of that. Anyways, I’ve been trying to teach her some simple things, one is sitting (or lie down) before I roll her green ball to her. I don’t know what made me do this, but I point my big toe at her while leaving my right foot shielding the ball at the same time. She is starting to realize when I point downward, it means she needs to sit. She’s been doing great for this but recently, she’s been learning to go all the way down now. It was just bowing, and they’ve turned into fully calm, cooled and on the ground and everytime she succeeds in this task, I reward her with the ball.

For those of you who are asking about our Christmas tree though, she does pretty good with it considering she doesn’t usually care for the plants in the house. My dad was way too excited to bring our big plant we call “Sally” into the master bedroom for the month, because she can’t really mess with her and Sally has really blossomed in there as well.

If anybody has advice on how to help her anxiety being away from us and/or with the cats, we’ll gladly take it now!

Let’s talk about actual Christmas things now.

I wasn’t going to put up my tree this year. We recently switched my bed, have a new bedside light and other furniture around in the room and it’s been sort of a struggle figuring out where everything can go now, so I just figured I wasn’t going to have any space for it. And then we got the advent calendar which consists of mini ornaments, and it would make better sense to use my tree compared to the family tree and being around Rumer who eats anything and everything she’s not supposed to, so we managed to arrange it next to the TV and I have two very beloved musical Santa Clauses and we put them at the sides of my tree, and it really looks so good together.

These were the day one and two of our advent calendar ornaments. My nephew absolutely loves to do it as I mentioned in my post last Wednesday. I feel bad it’ll end on Christmas Eve though because it is literally the first thing he goes for when he comes over. Maybe I can find an activity for us to do at the start of 2023. If anybody has any ideas about this too, let me know in the comments.

One of Nolan’s favorite things to do lately is coloring, he really cherishes coloring with me and using my markers even though he has his own. We did a series of holiday characters, and he claimed all of them but one, the Dasher reindeer as it was for Mimi or my mom; unfortunately for Pawpaw Nolan decided his reindeer is for someone else, which really made him sad about it. At the same time we did this, Nolan introduced me to a movie on Disney+ and it’s called Prep and Landing, it is about the elves helping Santa navigate throughout Christmas night and it is so cute and hilarious! I’ve actually watched the other two and I figured out why the voice of Wayne sounded so familiar is because it’s the same actor who did Flik in A Bug’s Life: Dave Foley! Anyways, if you haven’t seen any of the movies yet, you should as they are perfect for toddlers and kids at heart obviously!

Here are the end results of our pages.

We have already finalized our plans for Christmas morning, and I get to play Santa this year! I’m not going to lie; this is good karma for me in a way. Nolan will be spending the night, so we have cookies and carrots for Rudolph and the gang, as per to Nolan’s instructions. We don’t want to offend any of the other reindeer of course! I am hoping when Nolan is officially asleep, we can put a couple of presents underneath my tree as he’s been such a good boy making my tree all pretty that I feel he needs to see some holiday magic for all of his good work this past month.

Okay, I think that is it for me today. I hope you have enjoyed all of the Christmas-y stuff going on and maybe found some good tunes to round out the rest of 2022.

snowflake

Blogmas | Our Advent Calendars

Hello!

Even though I am an American, I thoroughly enjoy advent calendars! I like the fact that every day you get a little something to do or eat, depending on your preferred calendar!

What is an Advent Calendar?

An advent calendar is a special way to countdown to Christmas. It is originally celebrated and made with candles and wreaths in Germany, but as with everything in the modern world, it exploded into the mainstream, and we’ve added candy to the mix.

I think I was introduced to them around 2014. It would have been the first time I’d watch Zoe Sugg’s vlogmas on YouTube. Honestly, by that time I had been introduced to the bulk of the blogging community, so they could have helped me along the way as well. Anyways, I thought it was an interesting way to get ready for the holiday festivities.

Afterwards, my nana received a simple advent calendar from one of the charities she supports, and they sent a naked tree, and your job was to decorate the scene from the first of December to Christmas day. She would put it up on the refrigerator and anytime I came over to visit, it would be the first thing I’d do, but on the days when I didn’t, my nana would say papaw did it for me and that sounds like something he’d do. I think the longer we did it, he started to enjoy it just as much too!

The day I wrote this post, this picture popped up on my Facebook Memories and I’ve never been happier!

Fast forward to 2021, I wanted to get my own advent calendar. It had been some time since I did one and I thought it was time to bring it back. I had also hoped I could persuade my parents to do it with me, and within four days they became as excited as I was on what would be inside the little envelopes. I managed to find a very affordable Harry Potter calendar that opens up like a giant book and considering neither one of my parents know anything about Harry Potter, I think they enjoyed learning more about it through the various memorabilia. and they definitely understand my love for everything Harry Potter now.

Our 2022 Advent Calendar!

I can’t deny to you, I’ve been searching for this year’s advent calendar since May, and I feel absolutely no shame for it either.

Originally, I wanted to get either a calendar dedicated to puzzles or socks. I watched Alexandra Roselyn on YouTube last year and she had two different calendars, one for tea and the other was for jigsaw puzzles. I was kind of curious about whether I’d have enough patience to do a puzzle with my parents, and honestly, I doubt they’d last long with it. Now, about the socks, my mom has a lot of various socks and I point them out to her all of the time because they rarely go with her outfits or seasons, so I figured this would be a winner for us but the prices for these kinds of calendars can be expensive. When I looked through Amazon back in August, the prices stayed around $40 and as much as I knew we’d have fun and get use out of them, I just didn’t believe at the time it was worth it.

I actually told my mom about the sock advent calendar, and she was very stunned, and told me next year we need to get one together… I told you, she likes her socks!

Anyways, my mom ended up finding this year’s advent calendars. The first is a red box with little holiday scene and you have to look for whatever day(s) you are on and your job is to break the cardboard door to find a little treasure. A mini ornament. When my mom took these pictures below, we had missed the first two days, so we have a set of golden bells with a red bow in the middle of them, and a little snowman decorated with mittens, a scarf and Santa hat on top. We really love this calendar the most, it is absolutely adorable and since my Christmas tree is on a medium size, it is better to decorate it with mini ornaments so these prizes will be very well-loved with me once we are finished with it.

In each photo of the calendars, I’ve included the link, so if you’d like to purchase or put them in a folder for next year’s Christmas season you can.

For the second calendar, my mom thought this would be an interesting because we both enjoy watching crime dramas–she’s currently on a Scandal kick whereas I am watching FBI. The crimes you get to try and solve are based on Sir Arthur Cohen Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, it is all with a British theme, which isn’t quite ideal, I’ve had to help mom as she didn’t understand some of the names and phrases. The “crimes” themselves are mostly rated PG. This calendar is set up like one of those calendars you flip over to the next and it just sits on your desk. As you’ve might’ve guessed, this isn’t our favorite, but it’s still technically early so we’ll really see if we change our tune after Christmas.

Maybe next year I can do a little list of advent calendars that seem like they could be fun to do with your family. It would also be nice to give you something around a reasonable budget too! If this is something you would like to see in next year’s Blogmas content, please let me know down in the comments.

Are you and your family doing an advent calendar this year? If so, what is the theme behind it? If you’ve done an advent calendar since you were young, what do you look for when you go to purchase them?

snowflake

Book Review: “The Duchess” by Danielle Steel

Hello!

Last month, while I was away, I was able to start and finish two books and they were “Murder On the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie and Danielle Steel’s “The Duchess” and they also were my first reads for both authors, so I might be interested in reading other books in the future. The only reason why I will not be sharing a review on MOTOE is because I’ve already seen the 2017 film and it is considered a classic so thought it belonged in my other journal, but I thought you’d love to know my thoughts on this book instead.

To be quite honest with you, I thought this would be a different story, in my mind I thought it was about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I saw the words “The Duchess” and immediately became excited to finally read the actual book based on the film that came out in 2008, but it wasn’t. The author who wrote that book is Amanda Forman. What I didn’t expect was continuing to read this other story and absolutely loving it!


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The incomparable Danielle Steel breaks new ground as she takes us to nineteenth-century England, where a high-born young woman is forced out into the world—and begins a journey of survival, sensuality, and long-sought justice.

Angélique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angélique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty, and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources—and one bold stroke of fortune.

Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angélique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam—and suddenly sees a possibility: Open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style, and her father’s bequest, Angélique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires, and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own—or regain her rightful place in the world?

From England to Paris to New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society—and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.

taken from Goodreads.

After I quickly found out this wasn’t at all what I wanted to read originally, I never thought to turn away from it. I had surprised myself in a way because I’ve DNF’d (did not finish) a lot of books this year, and I was half expecting this to be added onto that list.

“She had no idea where the future would lead her or what it would look like, but whatever happened, she was determined to survive it.”

And then I learned more about Angelique Lantham’s story, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages and I started to really hate sleeping at night because the pull to hear more about her and the world Danielle was able to create was so strong.

As familiar as relearning the customs of that time, which as a reader you should take note early on because this is based in an earlier setting than most historical fictions. This is set in the later period of the Regency, after George IV is actually king and it goes on until the start of Queen Victoria’s reign. So, being a woman–a daughter, wife, and/or aunt was rough because you were not entitled to inherit anything, especially if you were a daughter of a duke. The young daughters and orphaned nieces of the wealthy were subjected to find a suitable husband during the Season and were introduced to others in their social class, plus the royals of the time.

For Angelique, she was the favorite of her only living parent, the Duke of Westfield, but she had two older brothers Tristan and Edward who knew they were next in line to their father’s titles, houses and wealth after he died. And their little sister would get nothing, or so they believed. Once their father passed away, he couldn’t protect her from their wrath, much less the law keeping her away what should have been hers in the first place.

What I found interesting, and mesmerizing was Angelique’s will to fight the odds in her own little modest way.

Every time I thought where the story was going, it would twist around and lead into a new direction just like life had been for her. After being forced to leave her little world at her beloved home, she was sent to a family who needed a nanny for their five children. As a reader, this puzzled me because taking care of that many children under the age of five–despite the changes in history–seems very daunting, and in the beginning, Angelique was nervous about this prospect too, but she pushed through it with grace until her final day.

Related to kings in two countries, and daughter of a duke, banished by her brother, she was reduced to working as a domestic, and at the mercy of anyone who would hire her.

Afterwards, she travels to France, another ancestral home but with the same heartbreaking results. She finds no job, and everything feels so numb until she comes across a young woman named Fabienne battered and beaten, and she nurses her back to health. Fabienne has had a rough life and has resorted to prostitution, and this part of the book is where things become slightly more interesting, as these two young women decide to create a high-class brothel in Paris, and as the reader, you never see it coming until afterwards; this was the first twist of the story to me and I was stunned by the fact that Angelique would want to do it in the first place and that really threw me for a loop, but then again we are at the last stages of the Regency period–despite being settled in another country!–so the story of brothels, madams, and hookers wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t get me wrong, it was frowned upon respectable women, but sex work has always been available and people (mostly men) have engaged in this sort of act for every part of history!

However, as Angelique has been quick to find out, life can change in an instant, and she has to abandon her life in France and start all over again, but this time she moves to America, and as she’s on the boat, she meets a nice young man by the name of Andrew and he definitely changes Angelique’s piece of mind about what it means to be in love and suddenly wants everything she’s never wanted in the beginning of the story. This relationship was different compared to all of the others she had in Paris, and it’s in this section that two more things turn for this character that makes you feel very happy inside for a while.

For anyone who has never read anything by Danielle Steel, I think you should consider looking into this book and seeing if it had the same effect on you as it did on me. I have picked out a few other books by her to check out in the future. Maybe I’ll find a chance to read them in 2023?

Have you read “The Duchess” by Danielle Steel before? If you have, what were your thoughts on it?

snowflake