Monday, December 19, 2016

Blogmas Winter Tag


❄ Top 2 Winter Beauty Essentials
Lotion and lotion stick (I use lip balm year round).  My hands literally drink up regular lotion in a few minutes, so I try to use a couple rounds. I carry a lotion stick which is really thick balm that I can put on the top of my hands without getting my fingertips and palms sticky.

❄ Top 2 Winter Fashion Essentials
Winter is hard fashion-wise for me. Tights and coats.  

❄ Favorite Winter Accessory
Shawls worn as scarves 

❄ Favorite Winter Nail Polish
Nail polish doesn't last between my hand-washing and dish washing and hand-crafts.  

❄ Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
Hot Cocoa with tons of marshmallows. We had multi-pack of different flavors of Swiss Miss chocolate, and I loved the French Vanilla and white chocolate for a change.

❄ Favorite Winter Candle?
I'm not a candle person (that requires more presence of mind) . . . or really a scent person (sensory overload happens quickly for me with sound and scent), but I do like a whiff of vanilla or cinnamon now and then.

❄ Snowboarding or Skiing?
I've tried neither. I'm scared of ski-lifts and am sure I would tear a muscle or tendon or impale myself on skis. I might try skis or snowboarding (seems less dangerous and more interesting but my sister said it is much harder).

❄ Have you ever gone Ice Skating? Are you any good or do you FAIL miserably?
Yes, and I enjoy it. I would like to take lessons like my sisters did for fun.

❄ Does it snow where you live?
Yes, but the most snow occurs in January and February. We usually have a light snow and green Christmas at the end of the year and big snow and ice-storms at the beginning of the year. 

❄ Have you ever made a snowman?
Yes, but we seem to get a lot of sandy snow, so its usually not very easy. Also, most of us are not super interesting in that at our age.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Girls Gifting

I spoke a bit about my "gifting philosophy" on the guys gifting post. Many of my gifts this year are knitted. I don't make huge or complicated knitted gifts for people who could care less, but I do like saving money, so I have been trying to save money and stash bust on smaller gifts. My larger gifts will be appreciated. As I've yet to finish the Christmas gifts, I will save those for another post.

My pride and joy gift is the photobook from Mixbook that I made for my Mom. I just received it today (12/9) which was earlier than anticipated. I picked the matte hardcover in the largest landscape size (11 by 14 inches), and I added a couple of pages, but with all the discounts I paid just under $50 (and I think the girls will agree to help pay), and its SO professional looking. Mom will cry. I'm so pleased. I'm definitely going to make me one for our trip . . . and any other trip I go on.

Here are some photos of the photobook

One of the example books featured a faded, softened photo of the Grand Canyon, and I loved that, so I shamelessly copied it. I cut off the top because it shows our last name.

I matched the faded look for the back

Grand Canyon

Mission Beach, San Diego

Zion and Arches National Parks

After I looked at all the photos as I edited them and after the girls looked at the book, several of us decided we are ready to go back. I loved just watching the landscape change through the windows, and standing in the waves, letting them knock me about.

I bought from these from annual art festival I attend. I bought one for each of my sisters.

More Gift Ideas for Women and Girls

Etsy is a treasure trove for gifts; I've bought so many nerdy gifts on there, and I bought a locket from TheBloomingThread for part of my sister's graduation gift (I think I want to get us all a locket one year; I was thinking about it for this year). One year I bought a pearl cage Cinderella carriage necklace. I bought Princess Elsa earrings for myself from this shop; I don't think they still have them, but they are lovely (you can probably view them under sales), and you could always see if you could request them.

And of course there exist all sorts of options for bookish people. The Modern Mrs. Darcy has a list, and Ginny Shellar has a list.

I love these mini nail polish kits; I've bookmarked this one, and I bought this one for my sister's birthday (and now I want one), and I only paid about $4 because we had a ton of $5 and $10 off (the percentages off didn't work for this brand).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gifting for Guys

My family thinks that I'm good at gifting. I think that I'm good at buying for them. My style works with knowing people well and having a good frame of reference. Also, I can do "tough love" or "tough luck" gifting with close family. With extended family and friends, overthinking hasn't always worked. Some people are just easier to buy for, too. And the less you know the person and the less you want to give a gift, the worse it becomes. I dislike buying gifts as a customary action; I need to want to give it (isn't that really the point anyway?).

My brother gets a lot of clothes which is boring, and he doesn't need us to get them, so for his birthday, I thought I would get him a few gifts that would let him branch out a bit but that were still related to his interests. We've joked about his "culture points" (we meant high culture) and mourned a bit about his lack of reading (he will read history and some other non-fiction though, which really is better anyway!), and I wanted him to branch out a bit from chain restaurants. So, I bought him Target Tokyo because it was listed as a Pulitzer history runner up, a model kit that could double as decoration, and a gift card to a local restaurant. All of it was a hit, and he hoped that I would draw his name for Christmas (I didn't).

I drew my sister's fiancé for our immediate family drawing and bought him a Groupon to a local restaurant. I also bought him Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl (I read the latter and greatly enjoyed it this year) because my sister (the one engaged to him) has said he liked reading but not really the hardcore history books that I'm getting for the other men of the family and he likes middlegrade like all of us girls. Dad likes reading about WWII and Papau likes many areas of history, so Dad is getting To Hell and Back (along with a coupon for all of us girls to watch The Martian with him) and Papau is getting Five Presidents (along with fruitcake).

I have come across a couple articles and videos that mention that guys like different genres; I know that sounds obvious, but I'm not talking about merely action versus romance, but fiction versus nonfiction. I knew that in my family they did, but I didn't give it much thought. I like looking at history book award lists like the Pulitzer Prize for History (don't overlook the runners up), the Francis Parkman Prize list, and the Bancroft Prize list. Dr. Moehler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a good book list here.

I think that nonfiction, models (or even Legos, I almost got my brother some), activities (from movies to rock-climbing), knives and tools, board games (I'll buy video games when pigs fly), and food are great basic ideas for guys, the ones in our family anyway. A lot of these categories appear on gift lists, but you have to personalize them, not just grab something if it is recommended, but if it is a category the gift receiver will like.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blogmas: Decorating, Christmas Cards, Celebrating and Advent Calendar

I'm going to combine a couple Blogmas days as a Q and A

How do you decorate? Real Tree or Artificial Tree?

The three younger girls are the main decorating committee and they've got a nice little pattern. For the family room they decorate the tree with a light hand (we use to have an excessive amount of ornaments) and the stair railing, and we have new stockings this year (so cute). For the dinining room they put a smaller tree in the corner, put lights on the sideboard, and hang ball ornaments from the chandlier. We also have Christmas china on the table. 

We have artifical trees. We've had real a couple years. I plan on having real at my own home (and real branches for decorating), both because I prefer genuine and to cut down on storage space. I've wanted to get a little tree for my room, but I've got so much stuff the decorations would get lost. I am thinking of hanging snowflakes from the ceiling and window where they will be more noticeable.

Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?

I think we are pretty moderate. We can get loud, but we aren't really "party" people.

Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)?

I collect pretty ones, I want to keep one of each of my favorites. I don't always send them, but they are nice to have on hand. We used one in a package we sent. I think I will send one to my grandparents for fun and maybe as a thank-you to friends for our gingerbread house decorating party.

Advent Calendar?

We have this little kiddy one from our childhood that the three little girls use now. I'd love to have a wooden one; I'm considering asking a family friend, the one who made our cedar chests, if he could make me one because I would like it to be solid and specific (long rather than square or tall). I would also like to have a chocolate advent calendar  one year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Blogmas Day 11: Stocking Stuff Ideas Link Post

I have collected several gift posts including a few on stocking stuffers

Here is one from nourishing minimalism Gift cards, food, seeds, candy, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, etc. are good minimalist gifts.

Here is one from A Modern Mrs. Darcy I particularly love the bookish, letter writing, and artsy ideas, particularly the washi tape and pens. Stamps, stickers, paper punches, a lot of small art journal items like that are lovely.

Mom is giving seed packets to her friends, but I love the stocking stuffer idea.

Mom always gives us fruit (I LOVE when we each get our own pomegranate) and chocolate. I think we've gotten Tic Tacs before too.

The coupon idea doesn't always have to be for kids; I made one from all of us girls for Dad to watch a movie he keeps mentioning with him.

Activities are always a good idea; Mom bought the little girls ice skating necklaces and lessons one year.

Beauty items like nail polish, barrettes, and headbands are always appreciated.

A lot of these items are good for our $1 family stocking and the $5 gift exchange.

The gifts I bought my little sisters before we decided to draw names will go in their stockings (they are adorable; I will do a post of the gifts I'm giving later).

I personally would like a couple balls of "I Love This Yarn."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Snippet of Christmas Photos

From my art journal.

 My Christmas Entertainment Basket, some movies and books that I own and some from two libraries. I think I'm set.

Photo from a friend

The chimney was my sister's idea. Do you like my glass, especially the stained glass? I had more elaborate dreams, but this is pretty cute anyway. Thankfully my friend got the above photo because when I came home a little had fallen so I fixed it and then instead of wisely taking the photo right away cleaned up a bit, heard a noise and . . .

It tasted quite yummy.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Break

I bought my final Christmas gifts on Tuesday (I think) and then finished school on Wednesday. This feels like freedom, but I only had to work intensively (and I mean intensively in my terms) the last like 3 weeks, because I'm a procrastination queen. I was reading a Buzzfeed (shDould really stop) compilation about the tragedies of college, and I wondered, "o people really find it that hard?" I'd only be crying if I had to write a term paper in um, a very short amount of time, not because I was loaded with work all the rest of the time (short papers are a breeze), but because I dread long papers and am, as aforementioned, a procrastination queen. I was the one that gave myself (or my Hermione Granger sister*) mini-heart attacks because I was printing papers off moments before class, or, as the case this semester, uploading a paper and PowerPoint 5" until midnight (when it was due). How much is a really loaded course and how much is procrastination? That's what I want to know. I almost always took 18 credits (more two semesters). I guess if you have a decent job it is hard, but I still don't think I would've found it so had I to work more hours, I had so much time left. I feel like it was all me.

Anyway, despite not having a hard semester, I feel like saying, "I'm free!!!!!" Except I have several knitted Christmas gifts to do. I just finished an adorable cupcake hat for a belated birthday present and a week or so ago a cowl for another gift. I will probably do a lump post of knitted items once I get the Christmas ones done (they won't see them).

I also plan on purging. I've got stacks of books I need to return or sell, I want to go through my paper crafts and art stuff again. And my sewing. I need to work on my art journal (and show it here) too. I want to consign our bridesmaid dresses from my brother's wedding since they are all in my closet! (I need to show the dress I got for my sister's wedding, too).

I've got several items of baking on my holiday bucket list. The week after next we have our cookie exchange. I'm making these cookies (I found them here, via Blogmas). I also want to make good fruitcake for my grandparents; last year Papau was a bit annoyed by all the jokes surrounding fruitcake, and he and Mamau said a local company, decades ago, made lovely versions. I think I've bookmarked Alton Brown's recipe.

In addition to the loads of movies I obtained from our libraries, I also requested some Christmas books. I have a few, but I would like to expand my Christmas reading experience. I received some help from this post.

*She's Hermione as to schoolwork and grades, but I'm the in class know-it-all Hermione; I've been ignored for talking too much, but then there were the classes where I said hardly a peep, looking at you "Environmental History of the U.S." Course selections stank badly for such a regulated program). My littlest sisters having been having a Harry Potter marathon. I joined in some although I'm rather sick of the movies. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blogmas Day 3: Christmas Wishlist

I am probably going to catch up because I don't want to do the next few. I am linking up here.

For this past birthday I put together a wishlist because I am so picky that I'm difficult to buy for. I got three things off of it!!!! I updated it and sent it out for Christmas, so I'm hoping I will get more off of it. I put things that are fairly easy to find (except the calligraphy pens) because I can get a lot of my picky stuff myself (like luxury yarns, shoes, jewelry, etc.), and I made sure I made it organized and simple with enough for the giver to be able to choose but not enough to be overwhelmed.

One thing I want to buy this season is sparkly paper and silver cord to make snowflakes and cinnamon candy canes. And perhaps I can find the teeny-tiny white fairy lights I want on sale and Mixbook might go on sale again (although that is too much spending).


Cinderella Soundtrack
Grandma’s German Cookbook (publisher is DK; isbn is 978-0-7566-9432-6)
Madeleine pan
The Shop Around the Corner (with James Stewart)

Handbag Designer 101 (by Emily Blumenthal)
Spätzle maker
The Hollow Crown Trilogy (Shakespearean plays with Tom Hiddleston)
Piano Guys Album “Wonderful”
The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques (By Lynda Maynard)
Left-Handed Calligraphy Pens (these: FP95. Manuscript Beginner's Set or FP90. Manuscript Deluxe FP Set; choose LH under size)

Taylor Swift Albums “Fearless” and “Speak Now”
The Book Thief (hardback)
Wooden Springerle and Spekulatius cookie molds

Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtracks “The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “At World’s End” (I have the middle one already
Festive Baking: Holiday classics in the Swiss, German, and Austrian tradition (isbn is 978-0385197311)
“I Love This Yarn” brand of cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blogmas Day Two: Christmas Movies List

I am linking up here.

We of course watch tons of Hallmark, I will write more about that in another post. I thought I should make more of an effort to watch non-Hallmark movies, especially childhood favorites and Christmas classics.

~Mickey's Christmas Carol
~Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Songs (I bough a vhs because the DVD version has changes :( Ruining childhood memories, Disney!
~Christmas Sing Along (I though this one and the above were combined until we watched it this year and my sister pointed out that we had two sing alongs when we were little; this was not the favorite)
~How the Grinch Stole Christmas
~White Christmas
~Hans Brinker (well, we'll see, "our" version is harder to find and expensive!)
~Its a Wonderful Life I watched this a decade ago and didn't like it, so I thought I had better try it again. I highly doubt it will ever come close to White Christmas though.

Never Watched Before
~Holiday Inn
~A Charlie Brown Christmas
~The Polar Express
~Miracle on 34th Street
~The Bishop's Wife
~The Holiday
Any others that I read about that interest me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blogmas 2016

I enjoyed Blogtober, I think prompts and link-ups like that are fun . . . if I can pick and choose. Also, I like the idea of Christmas posts but felt too pressured by my 12 days of Christmas all in a row. So, I was pleased to find this Blogmas event going on. I will follow along, picking and choosing at my own will. Today I'm going to do the tag.

Whats Your Favourite Holiday Movie?

I love White Christmas. I feel like I haven't seen enough Christmas movies to have a "favorite" plus I'm more of a "favorites" person.

Whats Your Favourite Christmas Color?

I think it depends. I am not usually a fan of only red and green together; I like have more neturals and metals to soften the effect.

Do You Like To Stay in Your PJs Or Dress Up For Christmas?

I like pajamas in the morning when emptying our stockings and then dressing up when we go to Mamau and Papau's for lunch. 

If You Could Only Buy One Person a Present This Year Who Would It Be?

I couldn't do one person, that wouldn't seem fair. I like buying for my littlest sisters.

Do You Open Your Present Christmas Eve Or Christmas Morning?

We celebrate with extended family on Christmas Eve, immediate family on Christmas morning, and grandparents at midday on Christmas. My brother is now married and my sister will be married by next Christmas, so we will probably adjust some. And since Christmas is on Sunday, this year will be different too.

What Do You Like To Do On Your Christmas Break?

Usually, try to get myself into a sugar coma and binge on Hallmark and work on last minute Christmas and sale shopping. I've still got finals, so I cannot see past Wednesday, but I do want to purge (haha), watch a list of Christmas movies plus Hallmark, read some Christmas stories, and bake Christmas goodies. I also have baby and Christmas knitting I need to work on.

Any Christmas Wishes?

A good year? A fun Christmas? A Boyfriend for Christmas (ha, and I'd take that boyfriend).  

Favorite Christmas Smell?

Peppermint, chocolate, cinnamon, its hard to pick.  

Favourite Christmas Meal Or Treat?

Dad makes home-made cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. For sweets, peppermint fudge, truffles, and meringue Christmas trees (all home-made of course). I prefer ham and deviled eggs for my Christmas protein. And we usually have plenty of lovely sides.

What are you doing for the holidays this year?

All of our family is around here, so we stay.

What’s your favourite holiday drink?

Hot chocolate. I don't like cider and cannot remember trying eggnog.  

Candy cane or Gingerbread men?

That's hard, I would probably go with cinnamon candy canes. We had those years ago, and I loved them. I need to get me some at some point.  

What’s your favourite holiday/Christmas song?

I have favorites and of course cannot think of them all (I want to make a list because I don't even know all the titles).

What is most important to you about the holidays?

I enjoy picking out gifts (and I've gained a family reputation for being good at it, but that's because I've developed it; trust me, over-thinking can backfire). I enjoyed the food and family time and watching gift-opening (we always wait turns and watch and its so much fun and really doesn't take too much time).

Friday, December 2, 2016

Personality Link Love

"I'm not a psychopath, Anderson, I'm a highly functioning sociopath; do your research." But is he really? Are the two disorders clearly defined and distinct?

And while we are on EQ, IQ, and manipulation, how is this for disturbing?

I love the four temperaments. I think the descriptors are easily defined, observed, and layered. I took a paper test long ago which numbered my level of each. I need to dig that I out, but this I know, I'm choleric most (don't need a test for that). Here is a description and links. Kindred Grace has tons of nice resources and articles on personality.

Introversion is really popular, at least on the Internet. But are you really an introvert . . . or are you an ambivert . . . or a narcissist?! Do we really want to know that last answer? All controversy aside, I really appreciate this new term (is it new?), ambivert, because introversion and extroversion are two extremes of a contiuum and there are many intensities and there has to be a middle. I'm an ambivert, not from balance more from being a pendulum. I would say most of my family is on the introvert-ambivert side in varying intensities . . . except my brother, Tigger, who is ambivert-extrovert.

Speaking of Winnie the Pooh.

And since we're on Pinterest, how is this for hysterical . . . Meyer-Briggs personalities in love?

Back to disorders or conditions, except this one is interesting and imaginative, so I am not sure it should be called a disorder or conditions: synesthesia. I first heard about this from Ultraviolet. No one has it at this level, this is imaginative fiction.

I've only recently heard about the enneagram, the more tests, the better, as far as I'm concerned; I find everything about personality fascinating.