Masha & the Nutcracker

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I cannot seem to get over the theme of memories so I am once again focusing on Christmas memories but through the eyes of a child.  Christmas is so special to me as an adult, and I truly believe that has to do with Christmas being made so special throughout my childhood.  Here is my December 11th favorite:

What is your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?  I started ballet at the age of 6 and continued on until I was 17.  When I moved to Texas at the age of 8, I joined a dance school that was involved in the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker every year.  I was an angel my first year and a Spanish divertissement my last year, my favorite part.  Dancing in a professional ballet with ballerinas from Russia, the capital of ballet, was an incredible experience that I was fortunate to have 8 years in a row.  I did not go on to dance professionally, but I will always have a special place in my heart for dance, especially my time dancing with the Moscow Ballet.

What is your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads…”                                     – “The Night Before Christmas”

 

Tradition!…TRADITION!!!

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I hope you thoroughly enjoyed my nod to “Fiddler on the Roof” because I thoroughly enjoyed belting out the song.  Moving on to all things Christmas, here is my December 10th favorite:

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?  My favorite family tradition is not one that has been passed down from generation to generation nor is it one that has been around since my birth.  My favorite family tradition started in 2009 (only 4 years ago); I am not quite sure how the idea came about, but since then, my family has attended the movie theater at least once around Christmas time, usually on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, or the day after Christmas.  The first year we went, it was Christmas Eve; we saw “Sherlock Holmes” and came out to a blanket of snow.  Not too shabby!  This year, we are planning to see “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.”  We saw The Hobbit last year so we are all eagerly awaiting the sequel.  What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.”  – Roman Polanski

Ghost of Christmas Past

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Coming off of a Christmas memory high, I am about to get a little gloomy (temporarily).  We all have at least one horrible Christmas memory.  Why not vent and get it over with???  My December 9th “Favorite”:

What is your worst Christmas memory?  Thankfully, I have never had a horrible Christmas.  However, my answer to this question would be last Christmas and this Christmas combined.  Why?  My dad’s job is in California, and I am still finishing college in Texas; my brother lives with my dad, and my mom lives with me.  My dad came home for Christmas last year, and he and my brother are coming this year.  Why is that bad?  I only get to share Christmas day with my entire family.  It is, of course, a blessing to spend anytime with them, but I miss sharing the entire month of movies, music, shopping, and Christmas spirit with them.  That is why Christmas 2012-2013 is my worst Christmas memory.  May God bless this Christmas and reunite my family next year!

Do you have any bad Christmas memories?

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

Memory Lane

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Let us take a walk down memory lane for my December 8th favorite:

What is your favorite Christmas memory?  Me and my mom have a Christmas tradition of watching White Christmas together.  That movie gave me the desire to experience a white Christmas, but growing up in California, snow was nonexistent.  I never complained because, after all, California is pretty special.  However, I wanted to experience a white Christmas at least once; you could say that it was on my bucket list.  On December 24th, 2009, I was pleasantly surprised when my family walked out of a movie theater: North Texas was blanketed in beautiful white snow.  It fell all night and lasted through Christmas day; needless to say, I spent a lot of time outdoors that day.  I have experienced at least one other white Christmas, but I will never forget my first.  What a day!  “Sherlock Holmes” and snow!  Have you ever experienced a white Christmas?

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland”

Silent Night

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My house is still covered in icicles; yet another opportune day to stay warm and let the spirit of Christmas sink into my soul.  That was rather poetic, was it not?!  Moving on.  My title is not only a reference to a timeless Christmas song but also my December 7th favorite:

What is your favorite Christmas memento?  Years ago, a small, blue matchbox music box caught my eye while I was shopping.  The top had a picture of shepherds, and when the inner box was pulled out, three wisemen spin around the nativity scene while “Silent Night” plays; if the box was pulled out the opposite way, a wind-up key could be found underneath.  I was enchanted by the small music box, but instead of buying it right then and there, I walked away.  I was not convinced that my decision was the right one, but I still walked away empty-handed.  I could not stop thinking about the music box; I even dreamed about it.  Finally, my mom convinced me that if I wanted it that much, it was worth a 30 minute drive.  I cannot remember exactly how much time passed, but I did finally get my music box, a music box that is my favorite Christmas memento.  You don’t have to do an extensive internet search to find a picture; just look directly above the first few sentences of this blog post.  Isn’t it charming?  Look up “matchbox music box” on Google, and you too can own one.

You probably noticed that my post has not one but two images.  I cannot bring up my favorite Christmas memento without mentioning that I also have a fascination with snow globes.  There is something very relaxing about staring at snow swirling around a scene while music plays.  The Christmas story is one of my favorite Bible stories, and I have wanted a nativity snow globe for quite some time.  My mom was kind enough to find and purchase one for me.  The picture at the beginning of this post is not the snow globe I won, but it is similar.  When I feel my Christmas spirit fading, I listen to my music box and stare into my snow globe.

I apologize if the sappiness and sentimentality is overwhelming; I will stop now before I cause anymore damage.

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round young virgin , mother and child
Holy infant so, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace!”

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!”

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