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 | A Little Wrap Up

Hello!

Welcome back to Blogmas everyone!

I wasn’t sure I would actually participate this year, especially what happened those two weeks at the beginning of November… If you’re wondering about that, you can read my little update in the monthly playlist I released on Monday. Anyways, we are here now and for some odd reason I have developed a trend during Blogmas and I tend to do a simple recap of the previous year’s holiday posts. I’m still unsure why I started doing this, but it’s become part of my ritual for the first week of December; kind of like publishing a playlist at the end of each month, I guess.


Why I Decided on 8 Days

For anyone who doesn’t know or understand what Blogmas/Vlogmas is, it is a theme in which a person releases a post or vlog (video log) of everyday up until Christmas or sometimes the day after, it just depends on the person. I have blogged every day once and I will never do it again, because I felt so stressed out, so when I wrote this post, I was explaining my need to shrink the timetable just a bit with only eight days. This year, I am doing seven posts, but it could also change depending on my end-of-the-year posts too.

The Christmas Song Tag

This is another annual thing for me to do for Blogmas, and that is at least one Christmas-y tag. I actually love doing them every year, mainly because I am curious about if my answers will change as much as the year before, and since we’ve added a new member into our family, I’m sure that’ll change it up a bit.

I’ve done this tag multiple times over the years, but I think the oldest is from 2014, and again, I enjoy reading about what I had said in that post and compare it to the others. As much as I like this tag in general, I would love to see if anyone’s created any more Christmas tags; I have been tempted to combine all of the tags I’ve done in the post and come up with an ultimate Christmas tag, but I haven’t made my mind up yet, so we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Festive and Winter-y Baby Names

Last December, I decided to do something different and share some of my favorite holiday theme baby names.

Back in 2020, I spent the entire month creating new and festive name combinations on my second Instagram page, and it was really fun, but extremely chaotic as I was posting six name pairings each day. I will say, my page looked gorgeous, and I did feel proud for committing to both Blogmas and the names. I definitely don’t recommend it, and I will not be doing that again but kudos to anyone who is multitasking like that in 2022.

So, when I go to 2021, I knew I couldn’t do that again, so I thought of a different route and honestly, this was so much better! I was able to add more names and discuss which names represent this time of the year the best.

Holidays Reads & TV

I spend a lot of my time on Instagram and scroll through a lot of bookstagrammers and I always see various holiday-ish books that actually sound interesting, but I am very difficult to please when it comes to stories based around Christmas, I mean, there’s a reason why I have never been a fan of the Hallmark Channel. I actually pick that channel and Lifetime out of my guide once November comes around because they drive me nuts!

However, I finally talked myself into listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins, and I think I may end up making it part of my tradition, kind of like what I do with Halloween; I like to watch the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the final day of October. I’ve done it every year since 2009. This year, I wasn’t able to watch the film but I listened to the actual song before I left for the nursing home, and I’m saying that counts for something!

Anyways, I also shared my favorite short Christmas cartoons. They were not produced by Walt Disney, but they are as old as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1939) and I’m happy to know I can actually watch them without having to use YouTube because that’s what I’ve been using since 2015, but now they’re on Prime Video as a collection, and I’m really enjoying having them so easily again.

Wooden + Dot Ornaments

I love giving and making gifts for people. I’ve done a lot of seasonal crafts over the years but being able to do them for Christmas is different for me as a person. I like being able to make someone else special for a day, and Christmas is the perfect holiday to do that. As I continue to do these wooden ornaments, the list of people increases and unfortunately can knock off others, and honestly, I hate leaving certain people off the list, but I can always add them to my 2023 list. I was literally rereading these paragraphs and realized I sound an awful lot like Santa Claus…

Best Songs of 2021

One of the main reasons why I keep track of all of the songs I’ve enjoyed over the past year, and it actually makes things so much easier in the end. I like to be almost done writing the December post before I bring everything into one playlist. It is also helpful to wait until Spotify’s unleashed their end-of-the-year collections as well. It gives you a better idea of which artists, bands, genres, etc. you were loving the entire year.

The list for 2021 is actually one of my favorites. Despite my best efforts, not all of my yearly playlists end up being favorites in itself, but I’ve had a couple of them before, the first was 2016, the second best is from 2019 and this one. I am excited to see what I can do with the best songs for 2022 later this month.

If you would like to check out my 2021 wrap up playlist, you can click here.

Top 7 Books of 2021

For the final post of Blogmas content, it is usually my top favorite books of the year. In 2021, I decided to write about the Top 7 books, and I find it odd that I completed my original goal of 30 books and managed to shrink my favorites list to only seven. I probably wanted to make things easier for myself, especially doing this post in general, and I can understand my need to do it that way, especially if I wasn’t in the mood to do any more Blogmas stuff after Christmas.


Next Monday, I will officially start my Blogmas content, and my schedule will continue as normally, a new post will publish around 7:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am hoping to finish before Christmas arrives and relish in those final two weeks of December before putting my sights on what I want to do in January. So, I truly hope you find something that you enjoy and if you’re a new blogger, looking for advice or ideas to do for Blogmas, I hope you are inspired to spread your own Christmas spirit onto your platform.

How do you feel about Blogmas and/or Vlogmas? Whose content are you most looking forward to this year?

snowflake

June Playlist

Hello! 🌈

June was a long month full of interesting things, some bittersweet and others were wonderful!

During the first week, we had birthdays to celebrate, and you saw the last of the DIY projects I had done in late March; the dotted sea turtle! It was such a fun and somewhat abstract kind of experiment for me, and I do hope to share more artsy stuff soon! The other birthday was my papaw’s. As some of you know, my papaw on my mom’s side died in 2016 and it’s still as fresh as it was then to all of us, and I don’t tend to share a lot of my personal life on my social media, much less on here, but I had shared a photo I had found a few months ago and wrote something special about him for the special day.

Two weeks later, we had another birthday, which was my nephew’s and he turned FOUR years old already! It doesn’t seem like he should be that old yet, you know?! I mean, he definitely seems older because of the way he talks, figures out things, and the fact he’s so excited to go to preschool in the fall! He’s become a little human now and its crazy how time files with him. I hope his sister grows somewhat slower for us, or we need to take more photos/videos…

Besides these celebrations, I’ve had a really good early summer, despite the scorching weather; it’s been in the upper 80’s and 90’s since the second week and my mom and I keep saying, “we’re only in June! It’s going to be even worse by the time we get into July and August!” Apparently, we’re not alone in that assumption as I saw somewhere, cattle have died in Wisconsin and Kansas, which sounds more like they were neglected, because isn’t the farmers responsibility to provide shelter and water to their animals? I mean, that sounds really shady but I’m not animal farmer.

Speaking of farming, my family have really upgraded our landscaping as I’ve talked about in last month’s post, but my parents have wanted to grow our own food on our property and this year seemed like we could do it, so I have decided on doing a garden tour for July or August, depending on what I have time for next month. I am pumped to get it out to you because I know a lot of people have been curious about it and even though I don’t have any role in the creation of the garden, I thought this could be my way of contributing to the whole thing.

All right now let’s turn our focus to music as that is what this post was supposed to be about, but you know, I kind of enjoy summarizing the last 20 or so days for you, so I hope you like this new feature because it might stay as part of this post.

Here are my Top 20 songs I loved in June 2022. If you want to check out the entire Spotify playlist, click here.

Before I Ever Met You by BANKS
Dark Star by Tarja
SOLO by Jennie
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
I Don’t Want To Be by Gavin DeGraw
God Is A Woman by Danielle Bradbury
Everybody’s Fool by Evanescence
Die4u by Rain Paris
7 Rings by Ariana Grande
Boyfriend by Dove Cameron
All In by 2WEi featuring Marvin Brooks
My Heart’s Grave by Faouzia
I Want My Tears Back by Nightwish
Anything But Ordinary by Avril Lavigne
Boston by Augustana
Let’s Go by Trick Daddy featuring Big D & Twista
Heels by Hysterica
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Angel by Sarah Brightman
Simmer by Hayley Williams

What were you loving this past month?

snowflake

Book Review: “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga

Hello!

Last year, I was scrolling through Facebook and this meme had popped up from a library, stating mainly to those who are adults, that it is okay to enjoy reading YA (young adult) books. I took this to heart because I have heard of my favorite booktubers feeling uneasy about checking out books in this genre, and to see this slip all throughout my social media has influenced my own journey branching out from other genres that I feel weird reading like children’s literature. I wasn’t a lover of reading (of any kind) when I was little, so now I’m diving deep into classics I had pushed aside in the past.

This book isn’t part of that list, but it is middle grade, which is targeted for students in junior high or middle school, at least that’s what I believe is the meaning behind it. An example of what is considered middle grade are the Harry Potter books. Of course, they take a darker note after ‘The Goblet of Fire’ but for the most part they are always regarded for pre-teens around the ages of 10-15.

WARNING: there are some spoilers below. So, If you are planning on reading the book in the near future, you might want to skip this post!

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I am learning how to be
sad
and happy
at the same time.


Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

taken from Goodreads.

This was one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and a brilliant read for this month as it is Ramadan in the Muslim communities. As you may know, I love to learn, and a few years ago I was introduced to the holiday event Ramadan and Eid. This was one that I was not familiar with, but I was thrilled to learn what people do to celebrate the month of fasting, praying, and ultimately the renewal of life that comes with it. I’ve learned a lot in the last three years, as I always read at least one book around Ramadan, and this year I chose “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga.

This story of a little girl who spent her early years in Syria, living with her family, going to school, and having the typical childhood, until the start of the violence there breaks every thing she is used to, and it immediately made me remember an old friend of mine, her name was Reem, and she lived in Syria. One of her last tweets was in 2014, and honestly, every time she came on with new updates about her and her outlook on the country as a whole was so heartbreaking for us. I haven’t talked about her much because it hurts to know how close she was to it. I don’t know if she made it out of Syria and I’ve checked her previous accounts on Twitter, but there’s nothing there. I always hope she is somewhere free of the chaos and that’s all I can really do.

For our main character Jude, you are able to see the innocence of this young girl navigating this new world in a way; I liked the way, we as the reader, were able to see the good and bad in Jude’s life. She goes to a school in America with her cousin, who was born here. It was interesting to see the differences between these little girls as they are part of the same blood but has been through different things. For Jude’s cousin Sarah, she wouldn’t be totally comfortable accepting a hijab after starting her period. You get the gist right away that she wasn’t raised like that and isn’t very accepting of Jude to being like that.

and I know I am not back home, but here, in this home.

Despite this, there was one girl that was a great addition to Jude’s life, and her name is Layla. She was born in the United States, but her family is from Lebanon and own a Middle Eastern restaurant that Jude visits to enjoy food and love of her native homeland. Layla is a great insight into what it is like for a child who doesn’t feel like she belongs and feels like she’s punished for it. I believe Sarah and Layla respect two sides of what it’s like being a girl in America. If people don’t understand something, they are afraid of it. I heard this phrase a lot as a teenager, but it really spoke to me while reading about Jude in this book.

A way of getting acclimated to her new school was instantly being in an ESL class. ESL means “English Second Language” and I can remember seeing several students in school growing up, having to be hallways to learn English, because as far as I knew we didn’t have those at the time. Honestly, it wasn’t until high school we were allowed to choose between two languages to learn as an elective, and they were German and Spanish. In Jude’s case, she has three other students in her class, and they were from other parts of the world, and it was sweet to see them learn slang words like “bougie” (which I did not learn about until I was 28!) and phrases such as, “you know?”

There were so many things I truly adored about this book, but I did not enjoy how it ended. I felt like it should have given the reader more of what happens after that final scene, but instead we were left with a cliffhanger ending and it really angered me because I thought it could have continued on a little more, but I’ll get over it.

Have you read “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga yet? If so, what were your thoughts? What was your favorite scene(s) of the whole book?

snowflake

Monthly Favorites | Baby Names

Hello!

This is my final post of the week and In my act to bring something different to my blog this month, I thought about putting together a collection of my favorite baby names since the start of 2022.

If you have been on here a while, you might know I have a HUGE obsession with names; I’ve done a lot of things in the past, but my favorite thing is discussing what could be the next royal baby’s names. I’ve been wrong on Prince Louis of Cambridge, his cousin Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, and Prince Gabriel of Sweden, but I somewhat right for both Princess Eugenie’s son August Brooksbank and Prince Gabriel’s little brother Prince Julian of Sweden!

I love doing those types of posts, but I mainly create them to have fun, so with that, I thought I could come up with something that you as a reader might enjoy, but I would love to look back on to see what has changed in the future.

In 2019, I made up a Pinterest board that would help me keep track of all the names I came across each month, and I attempt to list my ultimate favorites on my name accounts on Facebook and Instagram at the end of the year. I have surprised myself quite a bit, but that’s kind of the point though. For this post, I will be including ALL of the names I’ve been into from January to March, as I say this, I could forget a few just before I publish the post in general. but everybody should be ready and updated for you today.


January

Girls: Anne, Agnes, Arden, Amaryllis, Audra, Betty, Caroline, Cecilia, Chantal, Frances, Freya, Hannelore, Hedy, Henrietta, Hermione, Honor, Iris, Juniper, Lavinia, Leta, Lynlie, Maud, Monaco, Rue, Skylynn, Sophie, Taryn, Victoria, Wilhelmina, Winifred, Wren, Yuna, Zita

Boys: Adolphus, Athelstan, Barclays, Bridgemont, Dempsey, Ford, Isaiah, Joachim, Jon, Kade, Khair, Kohl, Lancaster, Ludo, Odin, Santos, Sherwood, Somerset, Ralph, Winston

Unisex: Asa, Denali, Shiloh, Joss, Lennox

February

Girls: Abigail, Adelaide, Amy, Andie, Ashlyn, Atlas, Arizona, Brielle, Brookline, Brynn, Bubbles, Carlyn, Colbie, Claudia, Daphne, Deirdre, Eleonore, Ethel, Fiona, Freya, Gertrude, Halla, Hannelore, Honor, Imogen, Isla, Ira, Ivy, Jane, Jessamine, Jo, Julissa, Kendall, Kiernan, Kira, Kyla, Laney, Leni, Letha, Liselle, Lovelyn, Mako, Mary, Mayim, Moira, Nercissa, Ocea, Oceanne, Orna, Ottilie, Remy, Riverlyn, Roseline, Runa, Salome, Sierra, Sophia, Soraya, Story, Suki, Verena, Yuna,

Boys: Aiden, Alfred, Alonso, Asher, Braylin, Brexson, Byron, Cameron, Caspian, Gregory, Hayden, Hunter, Falcon, Jaxon, Ledger, Leonidas, Mark, Maverick, Mosaic, Nevada, Neville, Nikos, Orlando, Ptolemy, Ryan, Spade, Spencer, Taurien

Unisex: Albany, Ashton, Eiffel, Emerson, Linwood, Noel, Sayre, Vesper

March

Girls: Adelaide, Alessia, Aoife, Astra, Avril, Beatrice, Catherine, Catriona, Cecilia, Clover, Davina, Dorothy, Edda, Edie, Eliza, Eloise, Ethel, Eydis, Freyja, Gwyneth, Hervor, Ida, Imogen, Ingrid, Kassandra, Katya, Ksenia, Libby, Lilian, Lilias, Lille, Loralei, Lotte, Lydia, Madeleine, Maeve, Magdalene, Mailin, Matilda, Millicent, Mimi, Moira, Noelle, Odessa, Oona, Parisa, Philippa, Posie, Primrose, Savannah, Soleil, Sophia, Sybil, Sybilla, Thea, Violet, Wylla, Yrsa

Boys: Archibald, Aldrich, Alastair, Atlas, Bruno, Calder, Cord, Elias, Ewen, Ezra, Fox, Finn, Gilbert, Hudson, James Jameson, Jasper, Leif, Levi, Loki, Mikey, Nolan, Pluto, Reginald, Rhys, Ryker, Riley, Rory, Silas, Sullivan, Thaddeus, Tobias, Willoughby

Unisex: Daisuke, Namir, Raleigh, Ronan


As you might’ve noticed as you read each name, a lot were inspired by my recent reads. I’ve always loved the various styles authors will name their own characters. A lot are inspired the different eras in history, such as Vikings and their Norse mythology. I’ve finished two books that discuss many parts of their religion, so you have popular names like Odin, Freya/Freyja, Loki but then you have the main characters and even though you are writing about a fictional person, you still want them to have a name that readers can recognize as part of that group, and you get a mismatch of names you might know about and the rest are basically made up, like Halla, Taurein, Rollo, Revna, Runa, Hervor, Eydis, Asta, Calder, and Leif.

There is another group you should have noticed, and they are my Irish/Gaelic/Scottish style of names. I usually keep a nice array of names in the back of my mind of these types, but since March is about spring and of course, St. Patrick’s Day, my usual bag is suddenly larger as we continue on to the next month.

I love the traditional Gaelic names that can be difficult to pronounce for most people. I’ve been interested in everything Irish since 2014, so I’m happy to say I can say several names with ease now. I do have some trouble with others, but it is a slow process and I work on it every day Some of my favorite names of that language are Aoife, (Eva) Ewen, Imogen, Maeve, (Mae-vv) Moira, Oona, (On-na) Ronan, Willoughby (Will-o-be).

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I would like to do this again, keeping with the three months, so you can see how everything changes with the others. I also keep record of all of the name combinations I make from various name games on social media, so if you would like to see what I create with each month, let me know and I can update this post with the names of January through March.

Are you obsessed with names too? If you are, what styles are you most drawn to on a daily basis? Do you keep a list of favorites in a notebook or in your phone throughout the year(s)?

snowflake