Tuesday, November 28, 2017

add it to my list: christmas edition

I felt like the Christmas creep was stronger than ever this year with people posting their Christmas trees on twitter on like, November 1st (WHAT?) so it felt like it took forever for Thanksgiving to end and for it to finally be time for decking the halls. In August, my Christmas-loving husband started saying we should get a new tree. As the main decorator in our house (and also, the cheap one), I had no idea why we would need a new tree, but Home Depot sales and Andrew's enthusiasm got the best of me and, well, we can barely reach the top of our new tree, but it looks great. It's really full and seemed like the best I could find for the price. I'll send you the rec if you're in the market.

Anyway, all of that to say that I am totally in the Christmas spirit this year. Add to it that my old job was super stressful in December and my current one isn't and I feel like I can really enjoy the holidays. So, why not have a Christmas-themed edition of Add It To My List?

If somehow you are reading my blog for the first time, let me know and I will share the linkup origin story. For those who have linked up before, this may be the last one ever due to my laziness in blog life (though, to be fair, Bre and I still email one another things to do/try/watch so....). We will see what 2018 brings!

Christmas Traditions:

- Hot cocoa. Williams Sonoma's is the best in my opinion and though it is expensive, it's like, four trips to Starbucks and makes probably eight cups. We drink a ton in December, with whole milk and marshmallows because Christmas only comes once a year.

- Finding the good lights. Every year at Christmas, I search area Facebook posts to find people who go all out with their lights and Andrew and I visit all of them and park outside for an extended period. It never gets old.

- Pier 1 Li Bien Ornaments. When we were young and broke, it felt like a huge splurge to spend $10 on a Christmas tree ornament when the ones from the dollar store hung on the tree just fine. I don't remember how this started -  I think I just thought one of these ornaments was so pretty that I had to have one - but every year since, we go to Pier 1 at the start of the Christmas season to pick out an ornament for the year. It's one of my favorite things. This year, we got the cozy kitty.

- DVRing Rudolph off of TV and watching it while we do something Christmas-y. I know we could buy the DVD and it's probably streaming somewhere, but for whatever reason, Rudolph has to have commercials. We record it every year (it's on tonight) and I insist on poorly singing all the songs because who doesn't want to hear me use my falsetto when singing Clarice's solo?

- Watching Love Actually while I wrap presents. I think I started this because I have it on my iPad and Andrew hates it but now it has to happen.

- And I think we started a new Black Friday tradition, at least when we are in town by ourselves (since some years we travel, and others his family is here). For the second time in three years, we have picked a restaurant that is normally on the expensive side and had lunch there between running errands. A good meal for cheaper at a time when no one else cares about lunch? It's perfect.

And since it isn't a list without some things to buy... here are things to add to your Christmas list, to give or get.

Dr. Bronner's Lip Balm - Someone posted about this in the linkup forever ago and I couldn't find it so I had to get it from Amazon. The orange ginger is a fun change and the unflavored one is truly unflavored. I love them all.

Double Decker Keds - I love Toms and I think they are really comfortable. I really wanted the Rifle Paper Co. triple decker floral Keds, but they looked really platform-y online. I tried some double deckers on at DSW and they were SO comfortable that I needed them. They have a ton of support and are insanely comfortable plus they are really affordable. The only drawback is the ones I got snag really easily but I can live with it.

No-Show Socks - I wore the aforementioned Keds to South Dakota and froze. I ended up at Target and a coworker (who lives in the midwest) said that socks would make a difference. I was doubtful but thought it couldn't hurt. My feet became infinitely warmer and these have little plastic things on the heel that keep them in place. I never would have bought them without being that cold and now I'm glad I did.

I'm excited to see what's on your list!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

thinking about

I have a lot in my head and it can't all be conveyed in tweets and texts. I hate posting on Facebook. I see friends but in person it doesn't always spill out, either. I am starting to miss my work friends, and having someone always nearby to spill the latest thought out to. That combined with not making time to blog just feels like I always have something to say and nowhere to say it.

On blogging
I just need to not care and write what I want and publish when I want and be fine. I need to not feel compelled to follow or comment on someone else's post because they comment on mine and feel like that is an okay decision to make. Doing that - so much reading out of obligation - stopped making this fun for me. It was another thing on the to do list.

But how do you like to keep in touch with your blog friends? I mean I feel pretty connected to many people and I miss our interaction and even if I read a post and choose not to comment (I know, I should comment), I miss that bit of interaction. Twitter is fine but I don't want to be the creeper responding to every tweet (just half, probably) and not enough people instagram story the things I want to see. Is instagram enough? Am I the needy friend here?

On South Dakota
I went to South Dakota for work a few weeks ago and it was an amazing opportunity. I was supporting a summit for the Native community and I learned so much. Like I knew Thanksgiving was a crock of garbage and I realized that the Dakota Access Pipeline was a terrible idea but witnessing these people who have been marginalized for hundreds of years working to keep their cultures alive despite extreme poverty was just... incredible? Inspiring? It was so interesting. We live in a world full of Instagram and wanting the latest, cool thing while these people work so hard to preserve the tradition of their ancestors because that is what's important to them. We went to an area that has a daycare with teachers and elders so that their language doesn't die off. They also have a workforce commission (providing jobs) to build affordable homes so that Native people don't leave the reservation to get an education and then never return because there is no housing. Reservations aren't viable communities so it's nearly impossible to get a bank mortgage. People have to leave where they grew up to further decay so that they can get ahead in life.

I saw a real Powwow and there was no other word to describe it than beautiful. Photos didn't do it justice. I learned about community and welcoming everyone and so much more about inclusivity and reservation life. Oh, and I read Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and it was fascinating. Don't let the poetry scare you off - it was a great book for me to read to and from this trip.

One of the speakers was a water protector and we watched half of this video (SO hard to watch) and again... this is our country? The pipeline isn't the answer, and I can't claim to know what is, but attacking humans who are peacefully protesting with tear gas and attack dogs definitely isn't helping anything.

On the iPhone X
It was literally $2 more per month and my old phone had issues like not connecting to my provider's network, so I upgraded. I like the size of it (larger than my 6, smaller than a plus) and the amount of space so I don't have to delete apps anymore. I haven't used the camera and the animojis are fun for like five minutes but then that wears off. The facial recognition has been hard to get used to, but not as hard as I thought. Getting rid of the home button was a way easier switch than I thought. Just my two cents since I haven't seen many real people talk about it.

On the state of the world
It continues to be a dumpster fire. Okay, so I will admit that I am not always the most news-savvy person and my interest has increased in being aware the past two years. I was in second grade when Clinton was elected president but how did I not know there were some pretty intense rape allegations against him? I knew 45 invited a rape accuser to one of the debates but these allegations were fully glossed over and I think it's pretty justifiable in light of recent events to revisit this. I mean, there are enough awful men in the world but I feel like this is worth our time. And I know I linked to wikipedia because it's the easiest overview but I have done some reading that is pretty damning... if you have a solid defense, I would love to see it.

On Good People
I should save this for Add It To My List, but I tweeted it anyway so it's fine. In the past week, I have listened to the Fresh Air podcast episode with Pete Souza (Obama's official photographer who throws amazing shade) and the Oprah Super Soul Conversations podcast with Joe Biden, which... Joe Biden is like the wise uncle we probably all want. He seems so wonderful and he said his son was his soul and the way he talks about the people he loves is great. And I missed Oprah and her interview style, though she does put words in people's mouths sometimes and that is distracting. It was still great, though. Both of them just reminded me of how easy it was to have a president who didn't take us to the brink of nuclear war using twitter alone... Also, John Lewis needs his voice amplified for as long as he is around. What a human.

On being perpetually awkward
I went to Ulta this weekend to use a birthday coupon and grab a Christmas gift and they were doing an in-store event with It Cosmetics. I thought I should treat myself and let them make me look good and just buy the damn product. So despite slightly insulting me ("are you looking for maybe a better eyebrow pencil color? Are you moisturizing in the morning AND at night?" [Lady, I work from home, I brush my teeth and that's it...]) the anti-redness powder and foundation worked and the eyebrow pencil seemed legit. I picked what I wanted to buy and then "shopped around" so I could peek at the prices because OF COURSE they weren't marked. Couldn't find the price on one so I did a google and thought I knew. Well, I got to the register and I was wrong. I had sticker shock and just couldn't spend the money. I mean I have the money and my husband doesn't care but the point was like... just why is it so expensive and can't something from Target do the same thing? Anyway, so I awkwardly at the register mumbled something about "never mind, guess I'll add these to my Christmas list" and scurried out. And now I need a new Ulta to shop at.

This is a wall of text that was mostly just for me but this is what it's like in my head lately - a bit scattered and a mix of the serious and mundane. Maybe now that I have a phone that works and can hold photos, I'll take more.