Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Monthly Medley: December 2020

A quick update, even though I have nothing specific to which I can direct you just yet... I spent a lot of time writing this December, and I have plans to try my hand at articles for Texas Living's web magazine come January; after writing about 20 articles for the print magazine, it'll be fun to shift gears for my next couple of contributions. And once I finish the three articles I have due between now and mid-February, I plan to pull together a few pitches, as I - for once - have quite a few ideas swirling around in my head!

I started and finished Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf in less than a week - a timeframe I haven't tackled a book within in...I don't know how long. The last few I've read, while finishing strong, have started off slowly. This mystery, on the other hand, grabbed my attention immediately and then kept me intrigued until the final page. I highly recommend this one!

I received a couple of books for Christmas and I have a couple more checked out from the library; here's hoping I can find a little time to read them now that "real life" kicked back in. 

Hallie and I finally watched Hamilton - OH, how fun! I saw the show a few years ago, but I didn't learn the lyrics ahead of time...which would have been tremendously helpful in terms of understanding what the heck was going on. (History is far from my best subject, so I know/remember little to nothing about Alexander Hamilton from a historical standpoint.) Hallie, on the other hand, learned all of the lyrics during quarantine, so she could easy follow - with a little help from the subtitles - while watching the show for the first time. She enthusiastically sang/rapped...and danced...for all three hours.

We also watched lots of Christmas movies - our favorites, like Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf, and The Grinch (the 2018 cartoon is our preferred version), as well as newbies Jingle Jangle and Godmothered, both of which we loved. 

Listening To
This was my first Christmas season as an Alexa owner, and I couldn't believe how having this device in my kitchen changed how we listen to music during the holidays. It was really fun to simply call out the song or artist I wanted to listen to, rather than having to search out and play a specific CD just to hear one or two favorites. 

On a related note, what else do you use your Alexa for? The kids and I pretty much only use ours for music...

No new podcasts from December to recommend - I've just been catching up on seasons of my regularly scheduled programming: Someone Knows Something, Crime Junkies, and Criminal - but I have a new and completely different podcast already downloaded to try this month! 

  • If you're trying to eat healthier this year, check out Skinny Taste (@skinnytaste) for generally easy and always delicious healthy options. 
  • And if you like dogs, fashion, and/or dogs who have their own (inspired by their daddies) fashion sense, follow tika the iggy (@tikatheiggy) for lots of laughs and great ideas on what to wear to work, a tea party, the racetrack, or a nightclub.

I can't say no when Starbucks rolls out new reusable cups...and this set of six different colors, all with color-changing candy canes, was no exception. They're just so fun!

Tom gave me a new phone - an iPhone 12 mini - for my birthday, and so far I love it. But it's possible I love my new Loopy case even more. (The 10 days between receiving the phone and my Loopy case arriving in the mail were ROUGH - I can't seem to hold onto a phone without a loop anymore.) I think this is my third Loopy case, and I can't imagine ever going another route when it comes to protecting my phone!

I did in fact buy the "Dancing and Prancing in Jingle Bell Square" shirts - the same ones I bought for our girls - for me and my friends, and we had quite a few December days on which the temperatures outside allowed for shirt-sleeved Christmas attire. I love Little Mama Shirt Shop, and I highly recommend this family-owned small business for your holiday- and mama-themed shirts, sweatshirts, and hats. (I have no affiliation with Little Mama Shirt Shop - I just love their products.)

I'm also a huge fan of Lindsay Letters, and this year my friends bought me my second Lindsay Letters Christmas sweatshirt. I wish I could afford everything on her website, but alas, I cannot...I could probably purchase one or two pieces, but I find myself paralyzed with indecision when I try to choose between the many beautiful options available.

Last but not least, the kids are loving their newest pajamas from Footed Pajamas Co. I'm not a one-piece pajamas kind of girl, but my kids certainly are, so when a friend recommended this online store, I gave it a try and we haven't been disappointed!

  • This Sour Cream Pound Cake had a delicious flavor, but was a little plain on its own so we chopped two containers of strawberries and served the cake like strawberry shortcake...which we all agreed was PERFECT.
  • On Christmas Eve, Hallie and I made our first Buche de Noel. I tasted one 25-ish years ago in my high school French class and loved it, but every time I looked up the recipe I was too intimidated to try making it myself. But I really wanted a special dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner, and I felt more confident with Hallie and her extra set of hands helping me, so we decided to give it a go. And it was delicious.
  • Finally, we're not eating this Trader Joe's cat advent calendar. We were so excited to get Tux this gift, but he didn't like the salmon and seaweed treats AT ALL. Will tried one too, and he wasn't a fan either...

Feeling Good About
This was Hallie's letter to Santa this year:

On December 23rd, she received this letter in return:

My best guess is that our mail carrier filled in Hallie's name and addressed this letter to her. As if this sweet woman - and the rest of our postal service workers - hasn't already done enough for us this year...what a gift.


And because I want to end on what has made me laugh more than anything else this month...

I'm grateful for a decent - all things considered - December 2020, and I'm raising my glass to what will hopefully be a great January 2021. Cheers!

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