Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions have always been important to me. My family had a few over the years that stuck with me and now that we’re getting closer to starting our own family, my husband and I are starting our own to share with our kids. While some of these may not stick, here are some ideas for Christmas traditions to bring everyone together during the season.

Drive around to see Christmas lights
This is something we did as kids – packed up in the van and drove to the fancy side of town to see how the big houses were decorated for the holidays. Now that we’re out of the city and in the nice suburbs, this is something I look forward to doing.

Start a Christmas Village
My great-grandmother had a big Christmas village with sweet, lit homes and an ice skating rink with magnetic skaters. I have one of her old churches and plan to build upon that over time. I love having it next to me on the shelf and keeping it lit next to my favorite candle.


Buy new Christmas pajamas

What better way to look your best on Christmas morning than in a brand new pair of themed pjs? Last year I got a nice Tommy Hilfiger pajama set from my mom that I wore to open all my gifts.

Make (or commission) personalized holiday cards

Every year we try to send out custom holiday cards, it’s always a fun project to work on for me. My favorite one (so far) has been our gingerbread men from 2011.


Host a Christmas movie night
I’m planning to add this tradition to the list in 2014 (and will blog about it later!). Grab a group of your friends, make some shareable snacks, and pop in your favorite holiday movies. I hope it will be a great, low-key way to celebrate with loved ones.

Add something new to your Christmas decor every year
This is a new tradition that my husband and I started when we got married. Our first year together, we bought a Mickey and Minnie newlyweds ornament while on our honeymoon at Disney World. For our second Christmas we added a musical snow globe. Year three was the addition of our handmade ceramic nativity set. This year we bought a beautiful hand-crafted ornament from Poland while visiting Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, MI.


What are your favorite Christmas traditions?


Being Grateful For Being You

If you haven’t heard Mary Lambert’s new song yet, give it a listen:

Girl knows how to write a good (and catchy!) tune and this one speaks to those of us who might struggle with self-image issues. Blame the media? Sure, I bet things I’ve seen in movies and magazines have given me slight complexes. Blame kids in school? Definitely, they can be cruel – especially when you’re chubby, wear glasses, and have braces. Blame yourself? YES – embrace who you are, don’t let other people define who you are.

Easier said than done, right? I’m still working on my confidence and sharing who I really am with others… and I’ll be 30 next month. But I’m grateful for who I am – grateful for the life experiences and relationships that have shaped me. In the spirit of sharing and expressing gratitude for being me, here is a list of some of my ‘secrets’ – I don’t care if the world knows them 🙂

  • I have a bossy streak. It was worse when I was younger (my sisters will agree), but I have to fight the urge to control every. single. thing.
  • Dancing makes me happy. But I’m terribly uncoordinated. I still dance though, haters gonna hate.
  • I’m extremely emotional. I don’t think that’s a bad quality to have – it makes me compassionate and empathetic. But I will cry if you look at me cross-eyed.
  • I am a planner. Organizing things gives me this high I cannot describe, how very Type A of me.
  • I fight being jealous of my pretty friends. But it’s my own fault for have such a gorgeous group of girlfriends – lucky me!
  • I love Disney World. Most people know I love Disney, but it’s really focused on Disney World and the films of the late 80s through the 90s. I don’t know much trivia, I don’t idolize Walt, but I will cry when I see Cinderella’s Castle or watch the fireworks show (see third bullet).
  • I’m passive aggressive. To the max. I will talk about the bad service I’m getting from a waitress 0.3 seconds after she’s turned around, loud enough so she can hear me. It’s not the best quality, so I’m trying to fix that bad habit.
  • I really, really love to sing. But I’m timid about singing, like letting it all out, in front of other people. I have a playlist that I only listen to when I want to belt it out during a nice shower when no one is home.
  • I am super competitive. More like dangerously competitive. I’ve been known to break game controllers by throwing them against walls (oops). I also get mad at people when they are better than me. Just a game? Don’t even utter those words in my presence… I’m mostly kidding.
  • I struggle with being overweight. I was always a chubby kid, it’s in my DNA. I wouldn’t say I had a full-fledged eating disorder in high school, but I definitely skipped 75% of my meals when I could get away with it. Right before our wedding, I was over 200 pounds. Yikes. I got focused and dropped the weight – down to a size 10/12 at my lowest (that picture below still blows my mind). I’m up a little again and now fit comfortably into a 14 size jean (still not too shabby), but I’m getting back on track and hope to get down to my goal of 8/10 through eating healthy and exercising more.


September 2014 Edition // Travel


I travel a lot, both for pleasure and for work, and there have been months where I’ve spent more nights in a hotel than in my own home. This month alone I have trips scheduled to Fort Lauderdale, New York City, and Gatlinburg, TN! In addition to sharing my adventures, this month’s posts will feature my favorite tips for making travel less stressful, whether you’re going on a camping trip with a group or you’re traveling solo to a work event.

Some of my favorite memories are attached to a trip I took with family and friends. Recently, my BFF Ashley and I took a few days off to visit Ocean City. We had a great time parasailing, checking out the boardwalk, and dancing the night away… but the best part of our trip was going to the beach at 3am and eating a bag of chips while sitting on a lifeguard post, just talking about life and the universe. Can’t get better than that, right?


As I might have mentioned before, I love all things Disney – specifically, Disney World. I was blessed as a kid to have parents who took us there every other year to celebrate Christmas. I remember one trip where we stayed at the (now defunct) Disney Institute Resort and waking up to find that Santa had left us presents! I do have plenty of wonderful memories of family vacations to visit the Mouse, but my most memorable Disney vacation is of our honeymoon in 2011. I didn’t dream about weddings as a young girl, but I did dream about my Disney honeymoon. My favorite memory is the night we spend at the Grand Floridian – after dinner at the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s, we had champagne and dessert on our balcony while watching fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. It was incredible, romantic, and one of my sweetest memories with Alex.


My last big family vacation before I moved out on my own was to Myrtle Beach. We had such a great time playing in the sand, taking pictures of old guys in Speedos, playing seriously competitive mini golf, and generally being goofy together. When I think of this trip, the first thing that comes to mind is the night we found baby sharks washed up on the shore. I was sad for the little guys… but chances were there were some that did make it, so I refused to get back in the water for the rest of the trip.


What about you – what are your favorite vacation memories?