Songs for Christmas Cheer

I have vivid memories of listening to my mom’s old cassette tapes when we would pull out the Christmas decorations. They were recordings of scratchy, vinyl Christmas records, which made it even more special. I remember how it felt ritualistic to bring them out every year, and we always put them in a safe place so that we would be able to find them. They were the classics, nothing new and fancy. I remember “Nuttin’ for Christmas”, the 1955 version with six year old Barry Gordon was always my top favorite. But, I loved the songs like “Patapan”, “Good King Wenceslas”, and “I Saw Three Ships” because they were nothing like anything I had heard anywhere else, any other time of year. To this day, those are all some of my favorite Christmas carols, but my list has gotten much, much longer.

I decided to create a few playlists that I know are going to be perfect for this holiday season. I’m carefully curating them based on different activities, because this time of year, nothing tangles my tinsel more than trying to screw a Christmas tree base into the trunk of a Christmas tree (and keep it straight) while having a song playing in the background that makes the situation even more frustrating than it already is. Because let’s face it, that’s always the worst part of putting the tree up. Just imagine “Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling” by the Andrews Sisters playing while you do that. Nope. I think even a merry old gal like me would pick that 6ft. tree up, throw it over my shoulder, and toss that ish straight out the window. My point is that curated playlists are important this time of year, and so here we go. This is the first of several. Some songs may show up on more than just one list, because “Marshmallow World” is a perfect song for wrapping presents when it is sung by Dean Martin, but when it is sung by Darlene Love, it is perfect for a kitchen dance party while the smell of gingerbread fills the air.

Songs for Christmas Cheer:

Listen to this playlist when you need a dose of the Christmas classics to get you in the spirit of the season. When I listen to this, I imagine myself in a high-waisted midi-skirt, with a lightweight turtleneck tucked into it, a thick belt, red lipstick and my bangs bangin’, nothing but nylon on my feet since I just slipped off my heels. I’d have just finished a full day of being out in the chilly air, buying Christmas gifts and evergreen wreaths, so I’d listen to this as I sipped a winter cocktail and decorated my home with the treats I found in town. My husband would be sipping his cocktail, alternating between playing with our floppy-eared, shaggy pup, and holding tacks for me while I stood on a chair to reach just the right spot to hang the garland, and he’d give me a twirl anytime I dashed by.

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“I’m gonna tick, tick, tickle him on the tummy because he laughs so funny. He’s so jolly and so fine when he comes around on Christmas time.”  –  Brenda Lee

Mood Board

So, it’s November, and I may have over committed when I made my autumn list of to-do’s. I think I forgot that there are only 31 days in October, and that when November 1st rolls around, I’m in full on Christmas mode. Maybe I didn’t forget. Maybe I thought that I honestly could take a trip to my favorite pumpkin patch near Birmingham, and my other favorite near Florence, and also take a trip to Georgia to pick apples, and also carve these  pumpkins, while taking a trip to Huntsville for my girl to get married, while also having a Halloween party, while also taking trips to the best antique stores, and then also working 40 hours a week. I’m not sure what happened. But, the fact of the matter is, I won’t be able to knock everything off of that list. I’ll make my winter list in the next couple of weeks, but until then, I’ll keep checkin’ things off the autumn one. ENOUGH ABOUT MY FAILURES. MOVING ON.

Today is my mom’s birthday. I wish that I was home celebrating her because she truly deserves all of the celebration in the world. Today is also my in-laws’ anniversary! My younger brother’s 21st birthday is in seventeen days. Christmas is in… *not counting it because the I will think I’m late to the party and I can’t feel that way*.

Yesterday, I felt thankful that my sister in law lives so close to us where she can just come over and watch Stranger Things while she does homework.

Today, I’m grateful for a month that encourages gratitude (even if it does get mixed up with major money spending days that are confusing).

 

Double double toil and trouble…

I’ve always wanted to throw a Halloween party. Always always always. My mom and I would dream them up all the time when I was growing up, but we never actually had them because life always gets in the way. But, this year, my friend Dianne and I hosted one and my dream came true.

We were coming down off of a very busy weekend of celebrating, so we were running on fumes, but it all fell into place. Dianne and her husband Pierce came swooping in, putting the finishing touches here and there. Pierce was a fantastic cohost, and a hilarious Eleven. Dianne, the best Barb ever, took pictures of everyone and made a fantaaaaaaastic taco dip. Luke came as a nerd, or a preacher, and kept snapping his suspenders all night. His wife, Autumn came as a cat, in her nurse uniform. They made corn dip and I’m still thinking about it. Trey whipped up these S’mores brownies, and it just now occurred to me that everyone was telling ME how wonderful they were all night, and I took full credit without thinking. *exhausted brains do weird things* Jerika came in full armor and her girlfriend joined her! Cal and his wife came as a wolf and a deer, and I just have to say that I love all of Trey’s friends. Trey’s sister came in with a plaid shirt, painted Stranger Things-y, and her hair wild and messy. My friend Xanna came as Sandy from Grease, but her cigarette broke immediately, so she was really just Xanna. Oh, and Trey and I were farmers. It was so much fun, and I can’t wait for Friendsgiving.

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One of my favorite things about parties is the snapshots that can be taken the morning after. Candle wax drips make me swoon.

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Halloween is tomorrow and I think that I will be spend the entire day taking naps, watching movies, and drinking leftover boozy cider.

Happy Halloween, ya spooks!

Good Together

This weekend, Abbey married Colby. The ceremony was beautiful with hawks flying overhead, and they were married beneath a tree, in her parents’ backyard behind their barn. Everything was perfectly Abbey. The reception was a wild dance party. Her godfather wore sparkly gold vans that he made himself “for his fashionista goddaughter”. The family brought out the Topper cigars that are present at every Crain/Roth get-together. There were moscow mules and manhattans for the sipping. The dinner was HeAvEnLy, and just so happened to be from the place where Colby asked Abbey’s father ‘s permission to marry her. I’m confident that every single attendee had a wonderful time, which I don’t believe can always be said for all weddings. This was special though. There is so much love on both sides of Abbey and Colby, and so much support that is ready to be given should the need arise.

Here’s a recap of the best wedding ever.

Thursday: I went up for the wedding a day earlier so that I could help finish up a few things and spend some time with Abbey. We went to dinner with her family and her *new* in-laws, and then spent the evening listening to Christmas music and wrapping up wedding to-do’s. Christmas music seemed to play in the background throughout the weekend, which kept everyone extra cheerful, and kept the bride calm.

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Friday: We had a slow start to the morning and sipped coffee on her parents’ back porch. We went on a scenic walk to get our heart rates pumping and to work off a little of that steak and wine from the night before. The rehearsal went well and then there was a Halloween themed rehearsal dinner for the two of them. There was a video, expertly made by her cousin Daniel, and there were speeches given by a few of their nearest and dearest.

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Saturday: Wedding day. The morning was moody and dim, which I’m thinking was meant to be, just so Abbey could  sleep in. We watched Father of the Bride and drank mimosas and snacked all morning, turning Christmas music on whenever Abbey started feeling a little jittery.

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We pampered ourselves, had our hair and makeup done, and just spent time together. Props to Abbey for finding a squad that is so easy to like and love.

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I mean LOOK AT HER. I would marry her.

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I only saw her for a few minutes after the ceremony because brides have to be on the MOVE. But, she looked phenomenal. He looked so handsome.

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BADA$$ BABEZ

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My three favorites. Notice that nod to GoT on Daniel’s jacket.

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Despite the chill in the air, everyone had a smile on their face.

 

Abbey and Colby, “may the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Mood Board

I have been thinking that it’s Monday all  morning, so we are off to a bumpy start. But, this is a huge week. Abbey gets married on Saturday! I’ll be traveling up to northern Alabama this weekend to spend time with her as we finish up wedding projects, and I am so excited.

I have one week from today to gather all of the pieces for my Halloween costume, and I still need to send out the e-vites.

I have to get my home 100% ready for the Halloween party, because we will be coming back from the wedding on the day of the party, and running straight into the kitchen to make goodies.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to scratch everything off of my autumn list, BECAUSE ONCE NOVEMBER STARTS, I’M A HOLLY JOLLY MONSTER. SO. I’ll move some things from the autumn list to my winter list, and all will be right in my world.

Happy Sunday!

Show and Tell

  1. I spent my entire Sunday baking goodies that I had been wanting to try. I baked these GF Chocolate Spinach Muffins. I believe that I added too much spinach, because they turned out well, looked pretty, but I just get this little twang with every bite. So, they’re just sitting in the fridge, going bad. I know that T won’t eat them if I won’t. So… bummer. I also baked this Paleo Apple Pie. I’ve made some goodies from The Bakerita before, and they are now regulars in our dinner line up. But, maybe I’m just so used to the Caramel Apple Pie that I make, that this one felt too dry to me. I know that it was my fault because I added some pizzazz instead of doing a lattice on top, and it resulted in a very bready, crusty top crust. And, the recipe calls for the remnants of the juices or liquids to be left out of the pie, but, I think I should have added them. So, T won’t mess around with Apple Pie because he hates the texture. SO. It’s all on me to eat this pie that was made with some v. expensive ingredients. So…another bummer. I also made this Zucchini Bread, which turned out so perfect, and rich, and it takes just like a very serious chocolate cake.  BUT, I’m so overwhelmed by all of the other goodies in my fridge that are going to waste, that I just feel guilty only eating this zucchini bread. And, to top it all off, as if baking three specialty treats wasn’t excessive enough for you, I made these Whole Wheat Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies. They looked nothing like the pictures, but T ate them all and raved about them.  There’s a lesson here: Don’t try four new recipes all at once, under any circumstances. Even if I had a lot of people around to eat them, it doesn’t mean that the dishes would actually get eaten. So, while it was fun, and I spent the day exactly how I wanted to spend it…I will be sticking to one recipe at a time from now on.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  2. I’m throwing a potluck Halloween party with a friend this year, and I cannot wait.
  3. Anthropologie’s holiday decor has made me very riled up, which you probably gathered from my last post. But, here are some of my favorites: the merry fishmas ornaments (I don’t understand them, but they make me giggle), this pom wreath (I would rather make my own, but this one is so much fun!), every single one of these pearly glass globe ornaments, all of these mini bulbs, these botanical globe ornaments (I’m planning on making my own), this Cardinal clip ornament. My mom always had bird ornaments clipped onto our Christmas tree, and I know that Papa would have loved this cardinal. This pumpkin pie ornament, and all the other food ornaments (but I don’t really want my Christmas tree covered in food).
  4. Trey and I have started watching Newsroom and we can’t get enough of it.F1F915C9-327F-49FD-8EAE-E6BB29C72EB5
  5. Some of my mornings are spent driving around my city, finding things that I haven’t seen before. A couple of days ago, Trey and I stumbled right up on this little Christmas store that has been around for thirty years. Trey had a long conversation with the sweet, elderly owner about Alabama’s football situation this year (that’s all I can tell you). But, the woman was as knowledgeable as he was, and they had fun together. And, we found this stunning home.

Practically Screaming

I’ve said it countless times: I love autumn. BUT  EXCUSE ME BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO COMPLETELY LOSE MY SHIT BECAUSE IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS AND I CAN’T STOP PLANNING CHRISTMAS CRAFTS AND ORNAMENTS THAT I’M GOING TO MAKE AND CHRISTMAS TREE THEMES AND MY MIND IS A NON-STOP SLIDESHOW OF CHRISTMAS TREE FARM PHOTOS, ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS CARDS, IMAGES OF GARLAND STRUNG UP JUST SO, AND I AM JUST LOSING MY MIND OVER HERE BECAUSE I DOVE IN TO CHRISTMAS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE WAITED JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER. BUT EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I START EARLIER AND EARLIER, AND I THINK I’M JUST ABOUT TO GET STARTED BECAUSE OF HEART PALPITATIONS.

I MADE A LIST YESTERDAY OF CHRISTMASSY CREATIONS THAT I’M GOING TO MAKE, AND THEN JUST NOW I WENT TO PINTEREST, AND BECAUSE OF ALL THE INTERNET COOKIES, OR MAYBE CHANCE, OR PINTEREST’S ALGORITHM, OR BECAUSE OF SOME GODLY FORCE, EVERYTHING ON MY FEED WAS CHRISTMAS AND THAT IS WHAT SPARKED THIS VERY EMOTIONAL POST.

I spent the last several days nose deep in Anthropologie’s Christmas preview, and it has wrecked me. “Where are you, Christmas? Why can’t I find you?” Oh, because it’s still over two months away? That makes sense.

I just realized that I didn’t even mention Christmas baking, and I haven’t even started researching recipes, so now I want to scream about that. BUT I WON’T.

 

Someone help.