Okay – first, I have to be honest. I watch Christmas movies all year round. Sometimes I need the upbeat, heartwarming storylines and a good singalong. Fa la la la – don’t be a Scrooge! However, every year, there are seven movies I absolutely, positively must watch to get into the holiday spirit.
White Christmas – Bing Crosby is Christmas. You could never convince me otherwise.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994) – Usually, I’m a purist when it comes to films and remakes, but the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street is so much better than the original.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – For this purpose, I’m combing the cartoon and the live action films. I can never watch one without the other and both make me laugh.
The Muppet Christmas Carol – This movie is pure nostalgia for me. I remember watching The Muppet Christmas Carol on VHS as a kid and rewinding it over and over to sing along to my favorite songs.
It Happened on 5th Ave – I watched this movie for the first time over the summer and it skyrocketed to the top of my favorite Christmas movies list. It’s full of humor and hijinx but ends on a note that drew a tear to my eye. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must! Get on it! Psst… if you buy via this link, you’ll get 3 other really amazing classic Christmas movies.
The holiday season always brings about a wave of reflection, nostalgia, and gratitude. While I firmly believe we should embrace and celebrate gratitude all year long, I can’t help but soak up the spirit of the season. So a quick list for your Sunday afternoon, here are 7 things I’m grateful for…
My Wonderful Husband – Deployments are hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a giant liar. My husband has been gone almost 6 months and through it all, he has been amazing. Small things like emailing me once a day – even if he can only write a few sentences, sending me flowers when things get stressful, and even mailing me handwritten letters made all the difference. He will be home soon and I can’t wait to give him a big ol’ hug.
Our Faithful Companion – Jax has been such a wonderful addition to our family and has become the best companion. With my husband gone, he certainly has taken on the role of man of the house, investigating every strange noise and protecting me from perceived threats by sitting on my chest. He is a cuddly love who occasionally drives me absolutely bonkers but I couldn’t be more grateful to have him as a part of our life.
Health – If you follow me on Instagram, you are very aware that I do my best to stay fit and eat well. I try not to take for granted that this is the only body I get for this life and therefore, I should take care of it. Yes, that does mean I occasionally I have a bean and cheese burrito – but happiness is part of health, right?
Adventures – This year has been full of adventures, including races, Hawaii, and lots of Disney Days. We have been fortunate enough to be in a position to enjoy life to the fullest this year and are thankful to have wonderful friends to enjoy all these adventures with. Speaking of…
Friends and Family – My husband and I have so much love in our life. I don’t know how we could have gotten through this year without the love and support of our family and friends. From the wedding through helping us plan to move back to Arizona, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our lives.
San Diego – As our time in San Diego comes to a close, I can’t help but think about how amazing this city has been for us. We have really grown as a couple here, met amazing people, and had phenomenal adventures (I think Hank is still recovering from the All-Star Game). I now fully understand why people love it here so much and this is definitely a love affair that will last a lifetime.
Being an American – I don’t want to get super heavy for my last one but this is something I’ve thought a lot about lately. Regardless of politics, I’m very grateful this is the country I belong to. As I watch the news, I become painfully aware that I truly am fortunate to be here. Now, don’t get me wrong, “it could be worse” is never an excuse for complacency and I will continue to fight for those things that I believe in. But I’m taking a moment to reflect on the fact that because I’m an American, I have the freedom to believe what I believe and fight for what I think is worthy of a fight. That’s something truly to be thankful for.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week. Take time to hug your family and friends a little tighter. Remember to shop small businesses on Saturday (have you seen my Etsy shop?) More than anything, be thankful.
Ah – Halloween is behind us. Thanksgiving is looming. Christmas is on the horizon. Now that the creepy decorations are safely stored away, I’m taking a moment to refocus and get a grasp on all the upcoming fun. I think it’s good to do this every once in a while – sort out my life and re-evaluate what’s important. I may not always achieve my goals, but at least I have direction.
So with the best-laid intentions, here are 7 goals I’m focusing on right now…
Our Christmas Theme – I’m not ready to announce what our Christmas theme is this year, but I can say, it will be beautiful. I’ve already purchased a number of supplies to get moving on some fun decorations.
Staying Physical – A few months ago, I partially slipped a disk in my lower back. Since then, exercise has been a struggle between physical limitations and fear. Later this week, I have a half marathon to tackle and from there I will focus on proper recovery and rehabilitation.
Bridal Shower / Bachelorette Planning – My cousin is getting married in March and I have the honor of planning her bridal shower and bachelorette party coming up in January. November is the month of laying plans and sending out invitations.
Reading for Personal and for Work – Reading is always on my list. I’d like to read at least two books for pleasure and two books related to work this month.
Creating a Christmas Budget – The key to the success of every Christmas is careful planning. I create a budget and shop early. Hopefully, I can have everything ironed out by mid-November.
2018Blogpost Plan – I’ve found I’m more consistent with writing when I have a plan. This month, I’m sitting down to map out a framework for my 2018 posts.
Gratitude Journal – I know this usually comes around during the holidays and should really be done year round. But the holidays are the perfect time to kickstart this habit.
We’ll see where the next month takes me. It’s the last month of my husband’s deployment and the start of our last holiday season in San Diego. I’m grateful to have plenty to focus on to both celebrate and help pass the time before my husband is home.
Halloween is just a few days away and I’m still soaking up every ounce of spooky fun I can. Follow me on Instagram to see what seasonal shenanigans I’m up to today – @anthropojenic. Trust me… you won’t be disappointed!
If you’re still looking to get into the spirit, why not read up on one of my Halloween posts?
Can you smell it? Can you smell that tangy, gourd-geous smell? It’s pumpkin carving time!
Every year, I get ramped up for pumpkin carving. I start planning in September, scouring the internet for inspiration and templates. This year was no exception but the brainstorming started with my dog Jax’s costume and then the pumpkin. Officially a fur-mom. Oh, but he’s going to look so cute! Nope… I’m not telling you what it is… yet.
In the meantime, you’ll just have to enjoy these Pumpkins of Halloweens Past. These are my 7 favorite pumpkin carvings.
Lock Shock and Barrel from The Nightmare Before Christmas – This carving was my gateway drug into serious pumpkin carving. If I remember correctly, this pumpkin took me three hours due to small holes but the result was so worth it. If only I had a better camera to capture the awesome design.
Rising Ghosts – This pumpkin got such a fun response from trick-or-treaters! The template is from one of those carving books available in the grocery store. The only thing I did differently is carve each ghost as a single piece. Then I used toothpicks to mount the ghosts on the pumpkin as if they were rising.
Bowser from Mario Brothers – I carved this pumpkin for a work event. We did a Super Mario Brothers department theme and I decided the set-up needed a pumpkin to match!
Slimmer from Ghostbusters – Slimmer was a stressful pumpkin to carve! To achieve his rolls, I had to carve long thin pieces that kept making the pumpkin weaker and weaker. I was super stressed but the finished product was beautiful.
Scary, Scary Bird of Death (as my best friend calls it) – This raven piece was perfectly creepy. I left bits of pumpkin guts on the inside to add to the effect.
Eye of Newt – Gosh, this witch was so fun to carve! This pumpkin took the longest of any pumpkin I’ve ever done (I even had to take breaks). But isn’t she just creeeepy?! I’ve often wanted to recreate this pumpkin just for fun.
The Corpse Bride from Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride – In honor of our upcoming nuptials, I carved my favorite Halloween bride last year. And watched “The Corpse Bride” about 50 times. Haha.
‘Tis the season to be spooooooky! Over the years, I’ve collected a number of Halloween decorations whether through buying them myself or being passed down from my parents. Opening my large orange bins every year brings me such joy – and not just because they inexplicably smell of stale candy. As I pull out each item, I’m reminded when I got it and begin to dream up its new destiny amongst my home decor. I love this process.
As I sit here admiring all the fun decorations I have, there are a few that hold a special place in my heart. Here are my 7 favorite Halloween Decorations I’ve acquired over the years.Read More »
It’s no secret that I love Disney and I’m thrilled to see them growing the use of their villains during the Halloween season. Without villains, there can be no heroes. So I’m glad to see the villains getting a little bit of show time.
Naturally, over the years, I’ve developed a fondness for certain villains. My appreciation of them does not necessarily rely on how I feel about the full story in which they exist. Meaning, just because I’ve ranked a villain number five doesn’t mean it’s my fifth favorite Disney movie. Speaking of which, I did think it would be fun to rank the villains for this week so the list will go in opposite order (to build suspense – of course). Read More »
It’s officially October! Ahhh! So excited for all of the Halloween celebrations and activities. I keep Halloween movies and tv specials on repeat throughout the month to keep the spirit alive. However, I am not a fan of horror or traditional “scary” movies so – sorry, but this list is totally family friendly.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: This Tim Burton classic has made the Pumpkin King the face of Halloween. “This is Halloween, everybody make a scene, Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright, It’s our town, everybody scream, In this town of Halloween.” Try getting that out of your head for the rest of the day!
Hocus Pocus: Disney asked Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker to make a tv special about three witches and it turned into one of the most iconic Halloween movies ever. Give it a shot… it’ll put a spell on you.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he thinks is the most sincere. Every year, I hold out hope he’s going to pick Linus’s. Also, I hope that Charlie Brown gets something other than rocks.
Casper: The friendliest ghost you know brings the best silly scares every Halloween with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman.
Halloweentown: Another piece of Disney magic. Debbie Reynolds headlines this made-for-tv movie where all manners of ghoulish creatures live in another dimension as happy residents of Halloweentown. But the evil Kalibar has other ideas…
The Addams Family: “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” I never tire of this creepy family and for good reason. It seems every time I watch this movie, I hear a new line that makes me laugh.
The Corpse Bride: In my opinion, this is one of Tim Burton’s most underrated creations (it also inspired my pumpkin carvings last year!) While practicing his wedding vows, Victor, a shy groom-to-be, finds himself accidentally married to another bride. The only problem is… she’s dead.
Fall is officially upon us! While I love the long days of sunshine and fun summer brings, autumn truly has my heart. In my opinion, nothing compares to that first crisp fall day and all the season promises to bring. And what do I look forward to the most? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Decorating for Halloween – Call it brainwashing, but September 22nd has always been my benchmark for fall. And fall means “Halloween”. The first weekend following the 22nd my home suddenly looks like a residence in Halloweentown, full of bats, spiderwebs, and pumpkins.
Pumpkin Carving – Turning a pumpkin into a gourd-eous creation is what fall is all about for me. I put quite a bit of time and effort into finding the perfect template and beautiful pumpkin to make a spooky creation I can be proud of. I’ve even been known to host a pumpkin carving party to drag my friends into my favorite holiday activity. You can see my past creations in my Pumpkin Carving Gallery here.
Roasting a Turkey – Turkey is my favorite meat due to its ability to absorb different flavors. Whether I’m hosting Thanksgiving or not, I buy a turkey to make in November. I pull inspiration for recipes from my favorite blogs and websites. Making an overly complicated and flavorful bird is always the goal. Fifteen ingredients and twenty steps? Bring it on. Bonus! The delicious bird provides the base for a week’s worth of frittatas, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Hot Chocolate – Truthfully, hot chocolate consumption is a year-round activity. However, once fall comes, the beverage takes on a life of its own. I dress up the chocolate with combinations of different spices. My favorite combinations are cinnamon and nutmeg or cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Regardless, always top the hot chocolate off with a spritz of whipped cream.
Sweater Weather – I’m a jeans girl – always have been, always will be. So when the chilly weather of fall starts to settle in, I love pairing my jeans with a cozy sweater. I’m not a fan of winter cold, but I love this time of year when it’s just brisk enough to comfortably wear a sweater, now we’re talkin’!
Football – A lifelong love of football kicks into high-gear during fall. Sundays are spent working my way through my weekly routine to a soundtrack of play calling and whistles.
Holiday Festivities – My calendar doesn’t fill up just with family events but all manner of fun holiday festivities. Themed races (Turkey Trot, anyone?), pumpkin patches, fall festivals, haunted houses, apple picking, and on and on. There’s so much to do and so little time, but it’s all a blast!
What do you look forward to most this glorious season?
The alternative title for this post is “7 Things I’m Truly Terrible At”. However, since I have accepted these so-called flaws, I like to present them as things I’m not built for. My inability to do these things does not make me “less than”. It just means my skills and attention are better dedicated somewhere else. As such, if you come away from this post with one thing, I hope you look at your “pitfalls” as things you are just not built for – not negative aspects that detract from the wonderful person you are.
On to the fun!
Baking – The chemical science of baking doesn’t click in my brain. I don’t have the patience for sifting flour or making sure I’ve used the exact measurement of baking soda. Also, learning the difference between baking soda and powder was a game-changer for me. I much prefer the fluidity of cooking meals with recipes that can be changed without considering much science of chemical balance. My best friend (who is an amazing baker) and I once attempted to replicate a bread recipe from one of our favorite restaurants. The experiment failed miserably and the result resembled a gray brain mass more than a loaf of bread. While we never figured out precisely where we went wrong, I believe it was my mere presence in the kitchen that caused the attempt to go awry. For the record, we still ate the brain-bread. It tasted just fine – but it was dense. Very dense.
Keeping In Touch – Social media was made for me. I am terrible at keeping in touch with people. I don’t really like talking on the phone and like FaceTime even less. I may forget to text people back even after reading and considering their messages. I’m notorious for neglecting voice mails. Much of this I can attribute to my profession. I spend a significant amount of my time corresponding with people throughout my day. When I get home, I just don’t want to talk. I want to shut down and give myself a break. Don’t take it personally. I talk to my mom almost daily, always calling her as I’m leaving the office to chat over my commute home. If she doesn’t answer for whatever reason and tries to call me back after I’ve walked through my front door, I’m not answering. Not a chance. I’m in decompression mode and we’ll just have to catch up tomorrow. I value my personal time almost to a fault. In this respect, seeing my friends’ lives unfold on Facebook and Instagram has basically given me a short cut to keep up on their lives while expending minimum effort. It’s selfish – I know. But this doesn’t mean I don’t care about my friends. One of my friend’s 8-year-old daughter regularly writes articles for local publications in Ohio and I read every single one. Another friend is off charging a career as a public figure. I watch every interview he does and read every article he writes. I may not call them up to say, “Hey there! How’s the family?!” But through social media, I can stay peripherally engaged. Plus they all still get Christmas cards. That’s something, right?
Competition – If you are a competitive person, for the love of god, never have me on your team. I know I’m really good at history and pop culture trivia, but I will seriously ruin your game. I am the least competitive person in the world. I’m known to give a hint or two to opposing teams during trivia games. I give extra points to people who are falling too far behind in games. I will even scoot your game piece forward a few blocks when everyone isn’t looking to keep everyone enjoying the game. I don’t understand being competitive with other people. (With myself – it’s a totally different story). Games are meant to be enjoyed and competitiveness ruins it for everyone. *Note: I will most certainly change my tune when my kids play sports. Everyone must lose and my child will be the best!
Horticulture – My home is where plants go to die. The only reason I have anything growing in my garden right now is that San Diego has had an unusual amount of rainfall this year. I am a neglectful plant parent. Truly the worst.
Ambiguous Plans – This is starkly different than being spontaneous. I can be spontaneous and fun. What I can’t do is make ambiguous plans. If we’re getting together for plans, there has to be some form of a game plan. There are few people in this world that I can just “hang out” with. Don’t be offended if you aren’t one of them. It’s not personal. If we’re meeting for dinner, let’s figure out where we’re going before I have to get dressed to go. If we are making plans for a day of shopping, let’s have a goal of what we’re looking for and/or what stores we’re going to. Inviting me over for dinner? Give me a specific time you want me to be there. I do better in life with some idea of what to expect in my plans.
Faking Enthusiasm – I am one of the easiest people in the world to read. I am also one of the most authentic people you will meet. You always know where I stand. I will always tell you how I feel. Some would say it’s a fault and a virtue. Unfortunately, this also means I can’t fake enthusiasm when social convention would expect me to. I’m not much into other people’s babies. So when people bring their newborns into the office, I don’t immediately jump up from my seat to go ooh and ahh over the little bundle of joy. I won’t get giddy over your bridal or baby shower gifts. I’m not much into weddings as a whole so I won’t ask about all your plans, the flowers, your ring, your dress – not into it. I can’t bring myself to get overly hyped up for a work social event. These are just things that live inside me but also moments when my missing enthusiasm is noted. I come by enthusiasm naturally for many, many things but when it doesn’t come… eh. It is what it is. I will always be polite. But there’s a difference between having good manners and being enthusiastic.
Being Graceful – I have spent most of my life covered in bruises from running into things. I don’t fall and have disastrous moments. Nothing dramatic like that. But I consistently run into the same countertop corner, leaving a deep bruise on my hip. I trip over my computer cord daily, even though it never moves. The other day, I closed a door on my forehead. My forehead! Yes, this really happened. I try to be graceful. I try to tap into my inner lady and watch out for sharp corners. But unfortunately, as I’m whisking about the house like a 2017 Donna Reed, I will inevitably ram my elbow into a door frame. It’s just who I am.