Christmas Traditions From Your Favorite Bloggers

Hello Friends!

It’s December! What? Ok fine tomorrow it’s December, but basically the day after Thanksgiving makes it Christmas so really December.

But whether today or tomorrow, it’s upon us and that means full-blown Holiday fever!

Obviously there will be many posts about gifts and presents and don’t get me wrong, I’ll have a few of those myself coming up if I can get my act together and Not take a week off of blogging again.

But the gifts aren’t what the Holiday spirit is all about, it’s about family and friends, being with your loved ones and giving back to those around you.

My family is huge on traditions. We do the same things year after year and I couldn’t get enough of it! I love traditions!!

 

christmas traditions from favorite bloggers

However, my family is all the way down in TN while I let JB move me up to MA this year. That jerk, making me love him 😉

But this is my blog so I’m pretty muich obligated to share some of the traditions of my family no matter where they are.

  • My Mom and I usually bake all the same treats every year. Sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, and dream bars are a must every year. Fudge with and without nuts of course. And if we’re feeling adventurous, caramels.
  • My Dad, Sister and I venture out to Dollywood to watch the performances and drink the hot chocolate.
  • We always put our tree up Thanksgiving weekend of course.
  • As we were growing up, we all got a new ornament to represent our lives that year so we have a very eclectic tree. It’s so fun to look back over the ornaments every year though and remember why we picked a certain one.

Those are just a few things we do every year. However with my “new” family, aka JB, I need new traditions to make mine, so I thought I’d ask some of my blogger friends what their traditions are instead! I gave fair warning that I might steal them for myself and they still gave willingly. What friends!

 

LittleAslam

Myra from The Little Aslam

Every year, we go to look at Christmas lights and we always make a stop for coffee & hot cocoa beforehand. Usually it’s just Amir & I going to enjoy the lights together wherever we are and when we were in Houston, we used to go to Town Center with all of the siblings to go look at the lights and just to goof off (they usually had decor that you could take pictures with, so we used to do that)!

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Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos

We spend Christmas Eve with my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There are 9 grandchildren on this side of the family, and we all take turns reading verses from Luke about the birth of Jesus. I’m 30 and still look forward to this every year! It’s such a special night and it’s wonderful to stop and remember what Christmas is really about.

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Jen from 500 Days of Engagement

Family: My family is originally from Pennsylvania/New York, so the holidays just aren’t the same when it’s 80 degrees. The one thing that still makes it feel like Christmas is going to a candlelight service every Christmas Eve. Our church sings carols and ends the service at midnight with “Silent Night”, and it’s the most perfect introduction to the big day. I never miss it.

Couple: As bizarre as this sounds, my fiance and I have a tradition of going to New York City at the end of every year. The first time, we went right before Christmas and saw all of the pretty shop decorations and went ice skating at Rockefeller. The second year, we went for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and then stuck around for the Christmas decorations to pop up. It’s the best time of the year in NYC and of course we Texans go out of our minds with joy when it snows. I think it’ll be a forever tradition for us!

[Tweet “A few of your favorite bloggers and their Christmas traditions!”]

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Ashley from The Grits Blog

My favorite family tradition is a new one that I started during my first year of marriage. We started opening one gift on Christmas Eve together and it’s just so special and wonderful! We also have a low-key pizza night on Christmas Eve then have a big family breakfast on Christmas day. Food is a big part of our family and always brings us together – but for some reason it just tastes so much better during the holidays 🙂

HeleneBetween

Helene from Helene in Between

The Annual Flournoy Family Christmas Party
Every year, since before I was born, since before my parents were even together, there was a family Christmas party on Christmas eve in each of their respective homes. (Side note, my parents lived 3 blocks away from each other and have one of my favorite love stories ever). They carried on the tradition of the Christmas party, but moved it to the weekend before because I worried that Santa might skip over our house since there were so many people inside. Each year, anywhere from100-200 people come. I most definitely tear up after a few glasses of my spiced hard cider and see all of the people I love in one room.

 So there ya have a few blogger’s traditions, now I want to hear YOURS!

Do you go somewhere every year? Bake the same treats? Listen to the same music? Spill it all down in the comments

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Secret Blogger Club (23)

Welcome to Thursday,

I seriously am so tired this week and today is only my hump day. Working Tues-Sat really throws off my whole week. :/

And guys….If you follow me on Instagram (why don’t you? Rude) you’ll know that I’ve been buying All the yarn! Why? I’m glad you asked, and no I’m not an elderly recluse with no friends. Actually, I’ve stepped up my crochet/knitting game and have been making lots of Christmas gifts. I started in October……That’s how many gifts I’ve been planning to make.

The problem is, since they’re all gifts I can’t show anyone all the cool things I’ve been making. Like seriously I’ve even impressed myself with the difficulty of these crafts.

Wow, that was super braggy…..I don’t even care, they look rad! After Christmas I’ll do an entire post dedicated to all the creations that I’ve been crankin out!

And in case you missed it, I wrote my THIRD installment of the Not a Bigger Blogger Series that wasn’t even meant to be a series!

But back to the reason you’re even here…..

Secret Blogger Club Title

Secret Blogger Club 

Here’s the round-up, stop by, comment, make some friends!

>> Minday Kaling is My Spirit Animal by Faster Than Forever. Um yes….I may only have a check next to the clumsy one, but this is hilarious anyway. I find Mindy Kaling funny, and despite not being anything alike, I want her as a friend.

>> 5 Ways to Be More Present During the Holidays by Mar on the Run. Yup, it’s time to talk about the Holidays friends. The Holiday’s are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but instead for so many people it can quickly become the most stressful. No bueno. Let’s all promise to be a bit more present these next couple months and focus on what really matters. And I’m clearly talking about the Christmas cookies, duh.

>> 15 Things to Call Yourself Besides a Writer by Avoiding Atrophy. I don’t write for a living. I write for my job, but my job isn’t writing…make sense? So when people ask what I do my first response isn’t writer. However, how does one introduce that they blog? I will forever more refer to myself as a Program Coordinator AND a Language Artist Verb User when people ask me “so what do you do?” haha

>> World’s Most Awkward First Date by Stephanie Orefice. Seriously do yourself a favor and go read Stephanie live tweet session of the most awkward date ever! I even read parts out loud to JB and he chuckled a bit so you know the bar is set high.

>> Ways to Promote Posts and Increase Blog Traffic by Sweet Tea and Hydrangeas. I’m seriously horrible at this so I’ll let Mistle teach y’all about this one….It’s actually embarrassing how back I am at this….

Now link up!

The Blonder Side of Life
The Blonder Side of Life

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Why I’m Not a Bigger Blogger Part 3

Welcome November!

Er mid-November because apparently I can’t be bothered. Actually, all my files got deleted so only things hangin out in random places got spared. This just so happened to be one of them so lucky you, you get Part 3 of an installment that really I should be embarrassed to be writing lol.

I mean really, can you believe I’m writing a part 3 to this series? I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a Big Blogger but seriously 3 parts?? I’s just awful that I can name that many things that make me seemingly incapable of hitting the big time.

In case you haven’t read the other two, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 of why I’m not a Bigger Blogger. I’d say they’re relatable but then again it’s my life so of course I can relate.

why im not a bigger blogger

So what’s the big deal anyway? Why would I even Want to be a Big Blogger? Are you dumb? Kidding, but seriously, doesn’t everyone dream of one day making it big and having companies just pay for them to jet-set around the world staying in fancy hotels and doing all the fun things? Ok maybe, that’s not exactly my end goal, but getting the occasional kick-back to help pay off my loans wouldn’t hurt.

However, after blogging for about 2.5 years, I actually like the place I’ve settled into blogging-wise. I feel like I’m actually writing about things that matter to me and I’ve been connecting to some awesome ladies. I brought the Secret Blogger Club back just for that reason so everyone can connect with other bloggers. As a smaller blogger we can sometimes get buried under the bigger ones and it’s hard to get our voice and blogs out there. Enter the SBC. A platform for bloggers to get their content out there and connect with each other. All are welcome!

Ok, plug over….

Without further ado, let’s get right down to it. Here’s 5 more reasons I haven’t hit that Big Blogger status. Double le sigh 😉

ONE

I can’t command the actions of hundreds or thousands. I held an Instagram challenge in October and through the whole month I had a total of 215 posts that used the hashtag. I should point out that many of those were people showing off their blonde hair for some salon so we can effectively cut down that number as well. To compare, there’s a few bloggers that on a whim create a hashtag for their followers to use and in the first few hours accrue a couple hundred photos with the hashtag. An influencer I am not….

Ok with that, I am…..

TWO

I’m not on Snapchat or Periscope. Apparently these are things. Two things that I will never get on board with. I’m already not a fan of most social media and like to be unplugged as much as possible so using Snapchat or Periscope are two bandwagons I won’t be joining. More power to those who enjoy these two forms of media of course and I may be shooting myself in the foot for not being one of them, but if I can’t even be bothered with Twitter half the time, I don’t need to be snappin pics for y’all to keep up with my extremely uneventful life. Really, you’re welcome…

I know to really hit the big time you need to be present on social media channels. Sorry not sorry blog-self, this won’t be you….

THREE

I have yet to make any real money off this bad boy. I make some, sure. Maybe I’m doing this thing all wrong. Probably am. But my content isn’t really something people go all ga-ga over. I blog about my life. My life isn’t anything fancy, therefore no adoring fans. Except you Mom and Dad! So while I do offer sponsorship’s, I do it to help others not make a bucket load, and I do write sponsored posts occasionally, but I’m not banking on quitting my job any time soon. So yup, basically I’m doing this all wrong….

[Tweet “Just 5 more reasons I’m not a “bigger” blogger and why you shouldn’t care “]

FOUR

I’m Never Ahead of the Seasons. You mean Halloween is this weekend? Let me post my DIY Halloween costume the day of, that’s helpful to other people. Seriously, this is my blogging strategy and it only gets me so far…as in not far at all. I am a planner by nature but when it comes to planning ahead for posting about Holiday stuff it basically happens right on the holiday, or a few days before if I happen to have my ish together that week. maybe one day I’ll bring you awesome Holiday content a whole two weeks before it happens, who knows, I like to dream big!

Oh yea Thanksgiving is coming up, maybe I should think of something seasonal to write about…..

FIVE 

Inevitably I drop the ball on scheduling. I usually post MWF with the Secret Blogger Club going live every Thursday. MWF has been my proposed blog schedule since I started this whole shindig, however if you look back there have been days I didn’t post. Mostly because I had nothing good to say.  Maybe that’s actually a sign of a good blogger, not bogging down your content with sub-par posts. But really it’s a sign of being too lazy ahead of time to actually think of something good to post…I like to make myself feel better and call it a creative slump. The truth is I was too busy knitting, reading, or potentially binge watching One Tree Hill again to even attempt a creative gold strike.

So that about sums up my blogger status…I’m not sure if I’m proud or just extremely lazy and full of excuses to now have 15 reasons I’m, not a bigger blogger. (See the first 5 and the second 5).

Whatever the reason though, I love this blog and I love the friends I make writing it.

Also shameless plug, I love the weekly linkup that was created because of posts like this. (Secret Blogger Club)

So now it’s your turn, why are you not a bigger blogger?

Better yet, leave your blog in the comments and you just might be featured in the SBC!

And of course don’t forget to come back every Thursday to linkup with me!

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When You Can’t Seem to Catch a Blog Break

Hello Friends,

Friends, friends, friends……

The Blog Gods are out to get me it seems.

Remember when I told y’all my laptop died a while back? Rendering me essentially useless?

Well since then I’ve been using JB’s computer when he’s not using it, saving all my files there.

He reworked his hard drive the other night, whatever that means and all my files got deleted……..All. My. Files……

And this was pretty much my reaction when I logged on this morning….

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Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I angered the Blog God’s by not posting to social media every day?

Maybe I should have paid more attention during all those Google hangouts?

Perhaps my Insta game has gotten sloppy?

By chance I didn’t Pin enough to Pinterest?

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Whatever the reason Many of the things I had planned are now just gone in an instant so sorry not sorry for not having anything good to post today….

I’m more sorry that I wasn’t smart enough to back them up somewhere else…

Stupid brain….

At least the Pats won yesterday, in a heart stopping fashion nonetheless.

Here’s to a better week and adopting the Gronkowski way of life. When in doubt, spike it on the ground!

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So to make me feel better, all you gotta do is tell me about something awesome in your life right now….Please?

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Secret Blogger Club (22)

Friends,

I forget the rule on apologizing about being absent from the blogosphere. Am I supposed to? Not supposed to? I don’t know. Whatever.

My laptop finally kicked the bucket after spilling water all in it about a year and a half ago so I’ve been stealing time on other computers when I can. Which hasn’t been a lot, I’ll admit.

So even though I’ve been posting (all scheduled ahead of time) I haven’t been able to read and comment on as many other blogs as I normally like to.

I did find some good reads for the Secret Blogger Club today though!

Secret Blogger Club Title

Before we get into the good stuff, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my favorite hashtag with y’all first. Go read that here and join me!

Secret Blogger Club

>> Six Tips: saving Money (Painlessly) by Gretch Runs. Gretchen linked up with us last week and after reading her post I could’t NOT share it this week. I mean who doesn’t want to save more money? I know even with my new job I’ still perplexed how anyone in New England can afford to even exist. Why so high rent? I’m a big believer in the email tip. If I don’t see the sales right in my inbox I don’t magically “remember” that I actually do need new sweaters for the season and they’re on sale so why not? lol Go read this now you savvy fashionistas you!

>> 13 Signs Your Obsessed With Food by Bethany Georgina. Um yes….my life….I love food and food loves me (sorry hips). I don’t eat as much as I’d like, there’s the whole not wanting to be morbidly obese when I can prevent it, but yea food is my person. I found my Christina to enjoy all the food with me (Hey Nat!) but she lives in TX so now I’ve got food….that’s really sad reading that back out loud….whoops!

>> Why I DO Read Your Blog by To Travel and Beyond. Everyone is always writing about why they Don’t read your blog, so how about a few nice reasons of why someone Does. I think Macy has some pretty darn good ideas of what makes a great blog.

>> Why I Blog by Sweet Tea by Hydrageas. Now that we’ve seen why someone reads your blog, how about some reasons we blog! Mistle might be a little newer to the blog game than some, but she’s dialed in to the best perks of the blogosphere. I wish I had been as insightful when I started this whole thing lol.

>> A Day in the Life of A Grad Student by Blonde Freedom. I couldn’t Not post this after posting about things to know before even going to grad school. Skylar gives a good look into what life might look like once you actually get there.

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My Favorite Hashtag

Y’all….

As I was actually posting every day during my October Instagram Challenge last month, I came across my favorite hashtag…..

P.S. I also found out today when I looked that people are still using the #blondetober hashtag which I’m not sure is a compliment or they’re making fun of me? Whatevs, it’s fun to see everyones photos either way lol.

So, it wasn’t until I was posting every day of October (I’ve since backed off a bit, oops) that I realized just how big a mess my life really is by “world” standards. If a hashtag described my life, it’s this one….

#AdultingSoHard

And I mean it in the sense that it’s not true at all……

Read it as if it’s dripping with sarcasm…..big, fat drops of sarcasm…..

Favorite Hashtag

Let me explain…..

I’ve already written about Adult things I don’t understand and y’all assured me that at 26 I’ve got many, many years of not understanding ahead…..  #coolbeans

I also asked a few questions to make sure I wasn’t doing this whole thing wrong. Some said I wasn’t…others said I was… #OhWell

And can we talk about the fact that I like to use hashtags in daily conversation? I should reiterate that I’m 26, not 16…. #sorrynotsorry

Seriously, if it makes me laugh, I’m going to say it even in the middle of a staff meeting….. Well that one may have been one of those “time and place” kinda situations…..but it didn’t stop me….

So back to my favorite Hashtag.

#AdultingSoHard

[Tweet “I’ve found your new favorite hashtag! Join me in the revolution!! #adultingsohard”]

It applies to most situations in my life.

>> Like when I wore visible Hello Kitty tattoos to work for weeks on end….

>> Or that time that some Parents decided that I was old enough to teach their kids soccer…Did I mention that I’ve never played soccer before??

>> Or when I literally took 20 photos of the title photo in a store….

>> Have I mentioned my constant travel companion is a teddy bear? #noshame

>> How about on the weekends instead of showering I just toss a bandanna on my head?

Now, I do have a brand new adult job that requires office supplies and my own office with a lock and everything. I consider myself a pretty big deal now, but I always do that’s nothing new. But despite being the youngest one at the company (that’s FT anyway, we do have PT high schoolers that serve in the dining room) it’s my duty to step up my adulting game.

So that means….

….no more flower crowns ….at work anyway.

….no more PJ’s in the afternoons….except on casual Monday’s  (I don’t work on Mondays, duh)

….time to put away the dragon eggs….

….THIS face is not accetable for my work photo….

….my motto can no longer highlight fairy tale creatures…..

Ya get me?

I’m an adult now!

At least I’m trying……

I really am, I even told JB the other day that it’s finally time for us to grow up….kinda…mostly….a bit…..

So we’re gonna be real adults now and maybe actually kinda abit live an adult life…..

Here’s to trying anyway lol

What’s your favorite hashtag?

Will you join the #adultingsohard revolution with me?

Seriously, let’s all overtake the #adultingsohard feed!

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5 Things You NEED To Know Before Grad School

Good Monday Morning Friends!

Are you on your way to work? At work? Just home from work?

I’m sitting in my apartment, sippin hot tea and catching up on Survivor and Vampire Diaries. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the television shows they choose to watch. I like to think mine say something like, “I walk on the edge” or “I laugh in the face of danger!” Meh, more likely “I watch dangerous and adventurous shows because I prefer to stay in bed and read a book.”

Anyway……

Can I have your attention for a minute? I graduated with my Master’s degree last May. In case you hadn’t heard….

Yeesh, how did this happen? Where did the time go? How did I survive? And why am I still not impressed?

Anyone tired of hearing about it yet? Well then what the heck you doin on a blog written by a girl who just graduated with her Master’s degree!?!

We’ll forget about that last question, however, because I’m a giver and I like you. I’m gonna let you in on a few things you should know before Grad School if you so choose to torture yourself.

Thinking about going to Graduate School? here's 5 things you NEED to know before you even apply!

Grad School Applications are circulating right about now and I’ve seen a few of y’all are caught up in their midst.

Well don’t worry, I’ve been there, done that and I learned a thing or two along the way.

Not everyone’s journey will look the same of course, the way I got there won’t be the exact way you’ll get there, but there are some basic things you can do to hopefully make your grad school life a little bit more bearable.

So let’s get started!

#1 Find Someone To Pay For It

This was the single best advice anyone every gave me before I went back to school. Still being drowned by undergrad loans, the thought of increasing that sea of debt wasn’t exactly as high on my list as pursuing higher education. So if there’s one thing I say that you listen to, let it be this, FIND SOMEONE TO PAY FOR YOUR GRAD DEGREE!!!

It’s not as hard, and yet just as hard as it sounds. Find an Assistantship in your program. TA, RA, GA, doesn’t matter, but find and apply for them early. Next, find any assistantships even remotely related to your program. For example, my degree Kinesiology & Health Promotion meant I applied for everything under wellness; fitness, nutrition, research studies, any TA position in KHP, and HR. The positions are out there if only you put in the effort to find them.

University of Kentucky gave the sweet, sweet deal of not only paying my tuition, but also giving me a small, but liveable, stipend during the 9 months of each academic year.

If I can do it, you can do it!

I also suggest looking into PT jobs to supplement your income if you’re not already working as you go through school.

#2 Know Your Loans 

Now that you’ve got someone else to pay for your graduate degree, make sure you’ve taken care of your undergraduate loans (if you don’t have them skip to #3 you lucky B)

Mine was the simple process of having UK fill out my deferment paperwork and sending it off to the loan people. However, know the lingo in your loan agreement and whether you need to be a full-time student or not. They tricked me my last semester when I dropped down to half-time, so don’t make that mistake. You’re still poor and can’t afford the payments.

[Tweet “Thinkin about Grad School? Here are 5 things you NEED to know before you go.”]

#3 Craigslist Isn’t So Scary.

If you’re like me and went to school out of state where you don’t know a single soul but also can’t afford rent on your own, Craigslist is your best friend and your frenemy. Some schools have a roommate seeking type website but if it’s anything like UK’s then it blows and won’t be helpful in the slightest.

A few tips to make sure you don’t land yourself your very own Dexter for a roommate.

  • Make sure to get a tour of the place if you can.
  • Don’t sign anything until you’re in person.
  • Deal with the Landlord over the potential roommate whenever possible.
  • Meet-up in person, friend on facebook, whatever you can to vet this person a little bit and them you.
  • Ask for references. I never did this but not a bad idea.

I was always out-of-state right up until I needed a place (think MA to KY) so I had to make-do with photos. I did get burned this past Fall and ended up being homeless for a few weeks. I don’t recommend that…..

So start looking in advance, ask all the questions, and don’t be afraid to speak up!

Also after your first year, you’ll know people and can potentially live with them the following year.

#4 Network Before You Get There

Now this is a big one!

Shoot an email to your advisor asking to get in touch with current students in your program. Talk to them, see what it’s really like.

They can sometimes help you with finding housing as well. Better still, they’ll give you the layout of the land and city!

Assuming they’re nice like me anyway. Whenever my advisor sent my email addresses of potential students I always responded. When I was that potential student I didn’t get the same response though.

So note for when you’re in the program, be nice and helpful to the newbs!

#5 It’s MUCH Harder Than Undergrad

Seriously….And this is coming from someone who has never had to try in school before. Not humble bragging here, just letting you know what you’re signing up for. Of course it depends on the program, mine was writing and project heavy with very little testing. No matter what though, it will be tougher than you’ve ever dealt with before so now is the time to mentally prepare yourself.

On the bright side, grades don’t really matter as much in Grad School unless you have a professor with a stick up their butt.

Perhaps if you plan on continuing for you PhD, but even then your thesis and networking is more important than what grade you got in Grad level statistics….

So anyone considering grad school in their future?

What about applying right now?

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