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Christmas Q and A with My Fiance!

When searching for ideas for Blogtober, I did a Q and A with my then boyfriend. Since it was such a post to write, I decided to do a Christmas version of it for Blogmas. Little did I know that he was not going to be doing it as my boyfriend, but as my fiance (more details to come). The holidays are a weird time of year, especially if you’re just starting out, so this post is here just in time.

Read on to read his answers, and follow him and I on Instagram!

1. What are your tips for couples who are experiencing their first Christmas together as a dating couple?

The best tip I can give for your first Christmas as a dating couple is to be generous, and not just in gifts. Yes, your significant other will remember the gifts, but they’ll more likely remember how you may have introduced them to your family if that’s your first holiday together, or the interactions with family members if it’s not. 

It’s a holiday where you give gifts, I’m sure you have a favorite gift I gave you, and I’m sure it made your holiday. However, you’re more likely remember the moments that came on the holiday rather than that one gift.

2. What do you think of Christmas proposals?

They’re nice, I know my parents got engaged on Christmas, so of course I think it’s pretty cool (Note from Natalie: I told him that I did not want to get proposed to on Christmas). People love the holidays and honestly, it’s probably the second or third best holiday to commit your life to one other on (Valentine’s Day and New Years Day being the others).

I think that proposals during the season are slightly better though. The Christmas season is just so magical that you can find about ten different ideas and places to do it. From doing tree lightings (Note from Natalie: he actually did propose at a tree lighting) to arranging your own Christmas holidays to horse drawn carriage rides, there’s stuff you may not be able to do on the actual holiday. 

3. What are your thoughts on balancing both sides of the holidays?

I think that it’s something that is good for a relationship, provided everyone is on good terms with one another. To be able connect with your significant others family members is something that can really go a long way in terms of connection.

It may not seem like too much, but showing you care to both sides, is something that is under appreciated. We recently did it for Thanksgiving, and you could see how much your cousin and his wife appreciated it. 

4. What are your gift ideas for guys looking for gifts for their girlfriends, especially it being their first Christmas together?

If it’s a first Christmas together, jewelry is a safe bet, maybe some kind of knick knack. As time goes on and you learn more you can try stuff like pajamas and clothing but if you do it the first time, there’s a higher chance it may not go over well. 

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Christmas Wishlist

Every year, this list seems to get shorter and shorter. This year, I am planning to move, so I am considering what I ask for for Christmas. That said, I enjoy writing these posts (you can check out 2019’s and 2020’s here). I also wanted to add that these are items that I don’t expect to receive, but definitely have my eye on.

Ikea Giftcard: I am actually looking to get a new mattress, so I am asking everyone who is interested in getting me a giftcard from Ikea. Is that adulting?

Stoney Clover Lane Mini Tote: I purchased the cozy mini tote off of Poshmark, and now, I have my eye on a black regular nylon with the N initial. I might get that as spring gets closer, but is definitely something that is on my wishlist.

Engagement Charms: I recently got engaged, so I really want to get the James Avery charm.

Engagement Ornaments: This is actually the first Christmas that I am engaged in, so I want to get an ornament that says “Our First Christmas Engaged” or something along that nature since this is our first Christmas that we will be an engaged couple.

Pandora Charms: I love Pandora, and I definitely have my eye on a few charms this holiday season, including the snowglobe charm, the Christmas tree, and the snowflake.

Year Necklace: I have been wanting a silver necklace that has the year 1994 on it. My favorite is from the Etsy shop Caitlyn Minimalist, but I am sure there are so many options out there.

What is on your Christmas list? Let me know in the comments below.

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Friday Faves: December 3, 2021

Happy Friday everyone! This Friday Faves first comes with an exciting announcement. . . I am engaged! I will get into further detail about it probably later on, but I am so excited (and overwhelmed) for the wedding planning process. I am sure that there is going to be a ton of wedding content in the next few years, including the story on how it happened.

That said, this week’s favorites are actually all over the place. . . shocker. However, I can’t wait to share them with you!

My Engagement Ring: I am obsessed with my engagement ring. It is a morganite from SamnSue. When I finally do a post about my engagement, I will definitely share further, but if you’re looking for an engagement ring that’s affordable, I highly recommend them.

Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack: I decided to watch Saturday Night Fever last weekend, and all throughout the week, I have been playing the music all of the time. There is a lot of disco music, but it’s still really good.

Pandora Sparkling Eternity Ring: This is one of the many items that I picked up from the Pandora sale. I bought this ring because I had moved my favorite Tiffany ring to my right hand, and I wanted another ring to stack. It definitely was worth the purchase, and it makes a great gift.

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A New Kind of Blogmas: Why I’m Changing Up How I’m Participating In Blogmas This Year

If you don’t know, Blogmas is the craziest time of year for a blogger, next to Blogtober. Blogmas, like Blogtober, is basically when you write a blog post and publish it every day from December 1 through 25. I have participated in it for the last two years, and it is one of the biggest reasons why my blog has grown to be what it is today. Up until a few weeks ago, I was planning to participate in it.

Then Blogtober happened. Blogtober, like Blogmas, is when you publish a post for the entire month of October. My blog’s audience again has expanded so much during Blogmas. However, I was burnt out by the time Halloween hit to the point where I had no desire to write a blog post — even some of my favorites such as Friday Faves.

So I took a break to help recover and did my best to put out the best content for the month of November. Thankfully, I had a few post ideas, but I choose to not post as much. But, as Blogmas prep time approached, I quickly realized that I did not have it in me to do Blogmas. However, I still wanted to post as much as humanly possible.

After a week of thinking about this, I decided to try posting every other day versus everyday. My blog is important, but yet, my mental health is also important. This blog started about me talking about my mental health journey, and now, it’s time to put it first. I still have a lot of fun content planned, just less so I don’t get overwhelmed. I also really love this time of year, so I want to make sure that I enjoy it.

And, that is perfectly okay.

So, be prepared for posts — just not 25 of them.

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Friday Faves: November 26, 2021

Happy Black Friday everyone! With all of the sales going on, I wanted to share some of the items that I’ve picked up at recent weeks. I think at the time of publishing it, all of these items are on sale, and I might be placing a few orders in a few minutes. That said, please see below for this week’s Friday Faves:

Pandora Pave Heart Hoop Earrings: I love these hoops, because they are perfect for everyday wear. I have been purging a lot of my hoops, so I have been wanting to get a few that I know are comfortable. They are a little on the smaller side, but they are so lightweight (which is great because I have the most sensitive ears when it comes to earring weight tbh). These make a great gift, and are 30 percent off thanks to Black Friday!

Bath and Body Works Scents: I have been dying to try some new perfumes. So, I did what I do best and headed to Bath and Body Works. The three scents that I have been obsessed with are: snowflakes and cashmere, Pure Wonder, and a Thousand Wishes. And, I am obsessed. These all are great gift ideas, and they give a fresh scent for anyone looking to change up their perfume for the holiday season.

Charlotte Tillsbury Pillowtalk Lipgloss: I have finally had the Kool-aid for this, and it’s safe to say that I am obsessed with this color. I am not a very heavy lipstick users, if I am going to be honest. This color is go gorgeous though. It has a enough pigment, but still looks very natural. It is a little pricier than some of my other lipsticks, but I think it’s worth it.

Will by Will Smith: I began to listen to the audiobook of this, and I am obsessed. If you can, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, because it’s that good. The story, which is basically Will Smith’s life story, is told by the author himself, and it’s very entertaining. His delivery is outstanding and entertaining to listen to. I am only a few chapters in, but I can already say that I really am enjoying it.

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The Holiday Spirit Is Bright: Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater Opens Holiday Light Spectacular

Nothing says holiday spirit like Christmas lights. Last year, so many different venues such as Wallingford’s Oakdale, have opened their doors (or parking lots) for holiday light spectaculars. This year, Bridgeport’s Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater joined the lineup with their Holiday Lights Spectacular presented by Hartford Healtcare’s St. Vincent Medical Center.

The show, according to the website, opened on November 18, 2021. Tickets are by the car load, and are $40 per car. You can purchase tickets in advance here. The event is open 7 days a week, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

This past weekend, I got a sneak peak of the lights and I was amazed. As we drove through it, we had a playlist of holiday music blasting on our radio. It was just what the doctor ordered to get me into the holiday spirit.

That said, I am going to let the photos do the talking, so be sure to scroll through all of the photos I was able to snag.

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Friday Faves: November 19, 2021

Happy Friday, everyone! I have so many favorites to share with you this week, especially since I have been going a little crazy with the online shopping because everything is on sale, and there are so many crazy good collaborations. These are only a few of my favorites, and I feel like there are so many this week since I didn’t post last week. That said, here are this week’s favorites:

Stoney Clover Cozy Collection: I am so happy that Stoney Clover brought back their cozy collection. My bank account, on the other hand, not so much. I went a little nuts during this drop, and I am okay with that. I bought the hazelnut in the small and large, the sherpa mini pouch, the fanny pack, and the white in the small. And, I am so obsessed. They all give me a cozy winter vibe, and I am here for it. I love having these pouches because they are so versatile. I use them in my purses and they help keep me so organized. I honestly recommend them as a gift, however, if you get them customized, then I am unsure if you’ll get them before Christmas.

Tiffany Venetian Link Bracelet: Thank you Poshmark for this clutch find. This bracelet retails $300 on the Tiffany website, and I paid $115. I have been wearing it with my Tiffany beaded bracelets (also purchased on Poshmark) and they look great. It’s become one of my go-to pieces and I am so happy to get it.

Red (Taylor’s Version): Okay, I loved this album when it came out in 2012. Now, I am obsessed with it, and have refell in love with the music that got me through my freshman year. I am obsessed with the “All Too Well” 10 Minute Version, but this whole album is honestly amazing. I am seriously considering getting it on vinyl.

Books: This is going to be a general category, because I read three amazing books in the last week. The first were Let Me Hear a Rhyme, and Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson, and Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. All of these were the perfect medicine for a reading slump. I am currently reading When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk, and I am loving that one as well.

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Tips To Throw An Awesome Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving: a Thanksgiving celebration with friends instead of family.

This past weekend, I hosted my second friends giving. This was the largest amount of people that I’ve ever hosted, and I am so proud of myself that it went so well.

After 2020, it might be a good idea to host a Friendsgiving to help gather friends or even to have a night to invite some of your closest friends to your home. Since this is my second time doing a Friendsgiving, I wanted to share some of my tips to having a successful party.

  1. It’s not going to be perfect. Your party may be inspired by Pinterest, however, it’s not going to be perfect. Therefore, just make it look the best that you can, and go from there. I would recommend just making sure that your house is clean, and adding some fun fall decor if you want. Nothing fancy.
  2. Make sure you have a plan for your pet. For the last year or so, your pet wasn’t used to having a large amount of people. It is definitely outside of the normal for them. Therefore, make sure that you either put them on a leash, gate them, or even make sure that they get their energy out prior to your visitors coming. Remember this is their home too, so you need to make sure that they are taking care of.
  3. Take pictures! Instagram or it didn’t happen, right? Kidding. Taking photos for me is a great way to remember a night, so definitely be sure to get some snaps.
  4. Do a pot luck. This is great for those who are balling on a budget, or just want to try something new. Plus, everyone has a favorite dish that they love to make, so it’s fun for your guests too!
  5. Know the allergies of the people coming. As someone who is lactose intolerant, this is something that definitely has been helpful because it eliminates any accidental food. I am not saying that you shouldn’t make them, but I am saying to definitely make it known if a certain dish contains an allergen.
  6. Be flexible. No one is ever exactly on time (which sucks for my type a self). However, I always do a window of when I want the party to start and when I want it to end. Definitely keeps things casual, which I like.
  7. Get a message board. I have one for my kitchen, and this is honestly so fun to have at parties!
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Tips on How to Actually Save Money During Black Friday

Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com

I saw somewhere that the best deal on Black Friday is 100 percent off on Black Friday by not buying items that you don’t need. I am going to be honest. To me, that’s not realistic. Black Friday, in my opinion, is the best time of year to pick up gifts and items that you have been wanting.

However, you do need to do your shopping wisely. Last year, I went so overboard with Black Friday shopping, it’s not even funny. This year, I want to approach it differently. So, here are some tips on how to actually save money on Black Friday:

Have a Plan Before You Go Online or Step Foot in a Shop: It honestly depends on how you’re shopping. That said, before you log onto your computer or go to the mall, come up with a plan or make a list. What are some items that you want/need that you’ve had your eye on? What gifts are you looking to buy? For example, what I’ve been doing is developing a game plan. For myself, my game plan is to purchase Aerie leggings, which have become my favorite, as well as a few Pandora goodies. The same goes for gifts — those I won’t share with you.

Have a No Spend In The Weeks Before: Other than the Stoney Clover launch and the Stoney Clover Sale, I am trying to avoid shopping all unnecessary items prior to Black Friday. That way, I’ll have as much money as humanly possible to spend guilt and debt free.

Sell Items: Before the holidays, I go through my closet to purge all items that no longer fit or I don’t reach for. This not only creates room for the new, but creates extra cash.

Research: Many of the stores out there are having Black Friday sales now. Do your research now, so you can avoid paying more for an item later. However, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger if you think you’re getting a good deal now.

Set Aside Some Impulse Buy Money: You’re going to see something that is a great deal. Therefore, then set aside a certain amount of money for that purpose. Then, you won’t be broke and guilty for it.

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Bag Talk: Is That Madewell Transport Camera Bag Worth It?

Madewell has created the perfect Goldilocks bag — not too big and not too small. Just right. That is the Transport Camera Bag.

The Transport camera bag has two different price points. The regular is priced at $128 and comes in black and their English saddle color. The large Transport Camera Bag is $148, and comes in three colors: black, English Saddle and Dark Cabernet.

I have the larger versions in both black and English Saddle, and this bag has become my go-to. Both of them are made out of leather, and the quality is there, folks. I first purchased the English Saddle, and it goes with everything. I mean, everything. I wore it when I went shopping, meeting friends for dinner, going apple picking, and so much more.

What I love about the bag is that it fits everything that I would need — my Louis Vuitton Recto Verso, my Louis Vuitton Six Ring Key Holder, Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette, my sunglasses, my phone, and even my Kindle. I also have put my Stoney Clover mini pouch and had plenty of room to spare.

I recently got the second one at ThredUP for an incredible deal. Originally marked at $148, I ended up paying $30. I got the black because I just loved this bag so much, and you can’t go wrong with a black bag. And, I am so so happy that I did. It goes with a lot of my leggings, because I have a ton of black pairs of leggings. I have zero regrets with this purchase.

I highly recommend this bag for many reasons. One is for the price, you are getting a classic and sturdy bag. The quality of the bag is there. You can tell that the bag was made very well (haha, get it). I got my first one brand new over a year ago, and it looks like it did the day I got it. Secondly, you can bring this bag with you when you travel, and it will go with everything without you having to worry that it clashes. And, it fits a lot of stuff, including a water bottle, so you can truly be on the go.

And, finally, it’s one of those bags that is just a classic in my opinion. The style is something that you can wear for years, and not have to worry that it’s going out of style. It kind of gives me the Gucci Soho Disco bag vibes, but without the price.

I can’t say enough good things about this bag. However, here are some tips for you to avoid that hefty price tag. The first is to try sites like Poshmark or ThredUP. Secondly, is to become a Madewell Insider. When it’s your birthday, Madewell offers you a discount, and they have sales throughout the year. And, if you accumulate enough points, you’ll be able to get this at a lesser discount.

While this is not my only Madewell bag, this is perhaps my favorite. Therefore, it is one thousand percent worth it.