Iced In

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I cannot take credit for the photo, but that is what most of North Texas currently looks like.  I am iced in!!!  I took full advantage of having no school and enjoyed an unexpected day of relaxation, complete with hot chocolate, a good book and 2 Christmas movies.  Speaking of ice, here is my December 6th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday weather?  As a California native, I have had my fair share of warm Christmases.  When my family moved to Texas, we were iced in for 3 days, and I realized what I was missing out on.  Cold weather is my favorite holiday weather.  I cannot fully explain why, but low temperatures heighten my holiday spirit.  I think Christmas is associated with snow because snow is associated with winter, the season during which Christmas is celebrated.  Cuddling under blankets and sipping hot chocolate puts me in a winter mood, which puts me in a Christmas mood; it is a chain reaction.  That is the only logical explanation I can concoct at this moment in time.  Now it’s your turn.  What is your favorite holiday weather: chilly or warm?

I would like to apologize for my late blog posts.  Despite my best efforts to balance blogging and finals, school has overwhelmed me this past week.  Thankfully I only have one more week left.  I should be back to my merry self very soon.

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“…The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

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Christmas Cinema

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Some of my favorite times during the holiday season involve hot chocolate, warm blankets, and a holiday movie, preferably one that involves romance.  Here is my December 5th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday movie?  My favorite holiday movies are Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas (I consider them one movie) and The Nativity Story.  Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas is set in the time period of Little Women and is heart-warming and romantic.  The Nativity Story brings the Christmas story to life with beautiful scenery and a convincing cast.  The majority of the plot is accurate, but I would still recommend that you read the original book; it is 100% accurate.  :)

If you need advice regarding a holiday TV playlist, I can be of service.  I have years of experience using a remote and DVR, watching shows, movies, and specials, and refining my list of what to watch annually.  I cannot tell you what to watch because everyone has their own personal preference regarding entertainment, but I can help you get started.  My first tip is to keep an eye on the channels that play Christmas movies all day every day; my channel choices are ABC family, Hallmark Channel, and Lifetime.  My second tip is to utilize the search engine on your DVR; look up keywords such as Christmas, snow, and holiday and record anything that catches your eye.  If you are an admirer of holiday movies, trial and error is required in order to create a list and refine it.  Make sure you are ready for the challenge because new episodes and movies premiere every year, ans the list will get longer and harder to remember and manage.  The holidays come with many challenges; Christmastime is not for the weak!

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something.  Thank you to all my faithful readers. Stay merry!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

– Steve Martin

The Red Cup

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If you do not recognize the red cup, you have obviously never set foot in a building designated by a green sign with a white mermaid.  When Starbucks starts serving their beverages in red cups, Christmas has officially arrived.  The red cup brings with it 3 holidays flavors: caramel brulee, gingerbread, and peppermint.

My December 4th Favorite:

What is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?  My favorite fall (Thanksgiving) beverage is a salted caramel mocha frappuccino, and my favorite winter (Christmas) beverage is a peppermint mocha frappuccino.  I recently tried a gingerbread frappuccino and was impressed.  It did not dethrone my reigning Christmas favorite, but it was good enough to make it into my holiday beverage rotation.  My next taste-test endeavor is a caramel brulee frappuccino; let me know if you have an opinion regarding this beverage.  By now, you may be questioning my motives for drinking frappuccinos during one of the coldest times of the year.  Truth be told, I like hot beverages but have more of a soft spot for cold beverages.  I do suffer because of my choice, but what a delicious way to suffer!  Now it is your turn; what is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Keep calm and drink coffee.”

Holiday Confections

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Going right along with yesterday’s post on food, today is about anything and everything sweet.  My December 3rd favorite:

What is your favorite holiday dessert?  My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pumpkin pie, with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  My favorite Christmas dessert is grandma’s cookies; cheesecake is a close second.  For as long as I can remember, my grandma has mailed a cookie package to every member of my paternal family.  Christmas is not official until that package arrives and the cookies have been displayed on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes, I ring in Christmas morning with a piece of grandma’s chocolate bread and a cup of hot chocolate.  Sssshhhh!  That is between you and me!  As for my mention of cheesecake, my family has always accompanied our main course of steak with a cheesecake.  I think the entire meal has something to do with my dad’s east coast upbringing.  Shout out to New York!

What is your favorite holiday food?

Stay merry!!!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  – Ernestine Ulmer

Holiday Feast

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Thanksgiving is still visible in the rear-view mirror, and food should be the further thought from our minds.  In my crazy mind, the next logical subject to discuss is food.  So, without further adieu, here is my December 2nd favorite:

What is my favorite holiday food?  My answer cannot be said in a simplistic manner, the reason being that my family is not super traditional.  My favorite main course food is steak; turkey is a close 2nd.  My dad has always grilled steaks for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but here is the kicker: The accompanying main course is always pizza.  How did that happen?  The “grown-up” food did not always satisfy the taste buds of me and my younger brother, and the tradition remained, even as we got older.  I will take this opportunity to mention that my family now eats turkey for Thanksgiving.  My favorite side dish is green bean casserole; baked macaroni & cheese is a close 2nd.  Green bean casserole is always my responsibility to cook therefore I might be slightly bias.  I find it delicious regardless of who makes it, but I know deep down inside that my satisfaction is based primarily on pride in my successful cooking efforts.  Now that I have finished my spiel, what is your favorite holiday food?

Chanukah sameach, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“A recipe has no soul.  You as the cook must bring the soul to the recipe.”  – Thomas Keller

Chanukah Sameach

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The day is finally here!  Today, December 1st, begins the Lauren Michele Poetry/Photography holiday favorites mania.  My December 1st favorite is as follows:

What is my favorite part of Chanukah?  Reconnecting with my Jewish heritage.  I am very proud of who I am, and the holidays are a reminder of how special my heritage is.  My traditions include putting my little blue menorah on display, saying the Chanukah prayers at night with the help of Youtube, reading “Alexandra’s Scrolls”, a book about the first Hanukkah as told by a young Jewish girl named Alexandra, and watching Maccabees, a DVD by NEST.  Also, when I was little, I had a teddy bear named Judah Maccabees.  :)

If you do not know the story of Hanukkah, allow me to enlighten you: The Jews were, at one time, oppressed by a Greek king; he killed Jews, outlawed their religion, and defiled the temple, their place of worship.  Despite their small number and “underdog” status, Judah Maccabees and his army were successful in their rebellion.  The temple was restored, and a celebration took place.  There was only enough oil to light the temple menorah for one night, but the lamp miraculously burned for eight straight nights.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we celebrate Hanukkah.  Tonight is the 4th night of Hanukkah; please take the time to celebrate the Light: Jesus.  Chanukah sameach!

What is your favorite part of Hanukkah?

– Lauren Michele  :)

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, she’asa nisim la’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim ba’z’man ha’ze

Christmas Decorations & A Food Coma

Children decorating a Christmas tree

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and first night of Chanukah.  I spent a cozy day at home cooking green bean casserole and mashed potatoes, eating upstairs with my mom, and watching 3 holiday movies courtesy of Hallmark channel; the night ended with a family Skype session and Chanukah prayers.  Today has been just as good.  I slept in and ate yummy leftovers.  Not too shabby!  I am thankful that my “food coma” was less severe this year; I did my very best to practice self-control, as much as humanly possible on Thanksgiving.  What are my plans for the rest of the day?  Decorating for Christmas, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and saying the Chanukah blessings.  Stay tuned for a Chanukah-themed post coming very soon.

Chanukah sameach!

– Lauren Michele :)

“Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.”

“Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, she’asa nisim la’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim ba’z’man ha’ze.”