Another year, another failed Blogmas. I like to be consistent. 😂 This year my excuse isn’t work because I had less shifts than I’ve ever had in December thanks to 20% capacity in malls. My excuse this year is . . . um . . . well, I’m not actually sure what it is. Lack of motivation? I was excited for the holiday season back in October, but something inside me fizzled as the days went by. I didn’t put up my family’s nativity scene or watch my favorite Christmas movie The Nativity Story. In fact, I barely watched any holiday movies. I did listen to a fair amount of festive music, but that was about it. If you’re feeling left out in the cold over here on my lifestyle blog, I didn’t do Vlogmas for my YouTube channel either. I desperately wanted, nay, needed to be in the Christmas spirit this year, but I just couldn’t muster up the energy to celebrate. Despite an undercurrent of sadness draining my energy, I still managed to have a lovely day at home with family on the 25th. I watched The Santa Clause & played Crash Team Racing with my brother, cooked a repeat of Thanksgiving with my mom, & watched the Lakers game with my dad & brother. The Lakers beat the Mavericks! 💜💛 We ended the festivities with a fire, popcorn, & Wonder Woman 1984. I didn’t like it as much as the first movie, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Highly recommend! After that my brother & I watched Friends until midnight, the official end of Christmas. I guess all of that is a good metaphor for 2020, feeling down but making the best of the situation. In the words of Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane, “From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow so have yourself a merry little Christmas now.” 💚 🎄 ❤
H A P P Y H A N U K K A H 🕎 M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S 🎄 H A P P Y N E W Y E A R 🎉
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Thoughts: I admit that I was in a MAJOR Grinch mood after a long day at work. That being said, this movie wasn’t for me. There was not even one redeeming factor that would motivate me to give it a second chance. I felt zero chemistry between the lead actors, & the story never gave me the warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings I expect from Hallmark. I’m acknowledging I watched this movie once & walking away with no intention of looking back. Onward & upward!
Thoughts: This is classic Hallmark so I own a DVD copy. It isn’t at the very top of my favorites list, but it is on the list. Christopher & Candace are adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story has lots of festive cheer to warm your heart on a cold December evening. Tom Arnold is always quirky & a little cringey in his Hallmark roles; it can be annoying at times, but in this case it doesn’t affect my rating too much. A solid, above average Christmas movie to turn on every holiday season!
Thoughts: Chad & Erica had some chemistry, but even though there were a handful of cute moments, I wasn’t blown away by them as a pair. Erica’s personality as Lauren was bubbly; I could see how it would annoy some, but honestly that was the least of my concerns. Canadian actor Chad Connell played a British character. I’m definitely not an expert, but I was able to notice the accent wasn’t authentic. It was fine at times, albeit a bit generic, but at its worst it morphed into a caricature of the posh upper-class. The side character Maryam also had an interesting accent that left me scratching my head; I wasn’t sure if she was meant to be American or British because the accent was a strange blend of the two that often sounded like a bad Katherine Hepburn impression. Overall this isn’t the worst that I’ve seen, but it isn’t the best either, falling just short of average.
Thoughts: This is another film I try to watch annually. It’s not creme of the crop, but it is a good one. Andrew & Arielle work well as an onscreen pair. Arielle’s character Jessie is annoying throughout film due to her inability to commit, but not enough to stop me from rewatching. The storyline about a bet to marry a girl in order to win a better office is offensive so I’m acknowledging the issue & taking it into consideration with my rating. I’ve also considered that Andrew’s character Aiden realizes his error before the film ends.
Thoughts: There’s nothing outright bad about this film. Brendan & Lacey have good chemistry, & the story is fine. The main issue I have is the title which references Jane Austen’s famous novel “Pride & Prejudice.” There are expectations that come with such a reference, & this movie is only a subtle nod to the story of Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet. In fact, the use of names is the main connection between the source & the Hallmark version. One of my favorite movies is the 2005 Focus Features adaptation so this was never going to live up to my standards. Basically this movie let itself down by referencing a classic romance & falling short.
Thoughts: The leads had some chemistry, but I never reached a point when I was rooting for them as a couple. The side romance also felt lukewarm. My love for Erin Krakow & her stunning wardrobe wasn’t enough to overcome a missing puzzle piece or two or three. I need to mention that the teddy bear Edward gives Ella is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Still trying to shake that image from my brain! I really wanted to like this movie, but it just didn’t blow me away so Pride, Prejudice, & Mistletoe is still my favorite Hallmark movie loosely inspired by Jane Austen.
Thoughts: Becca & Kevin were adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story was sweet. It was good, just not great. I have yet to be blown away by a Hallmark Christmas movie about a singer/songwriter. That being said, I’m willing to rewatch this because it’s one of the better Hallmark offerings centered around music.
Thoughts: Keep in mind my family made jokes during the entire movie so I was definitely distracted. Ashley’s character was fine, but I didn’t feel any chemistry between her & Paul. Because most of these Christmas movies are centered around romance, zero chemistry guarantees a low rating. I didn’t feel much of anything, & that is why I seriously considered a 1 mistletoe rating. I raised my rating slightly because I, as a viewer, was not fully focused. I would consider giving it a second chance at a later date.
Thoughts: This is another movie that’s earned a spot on my watchlist. It’s not perfect but does enough to get the job done when I’m in the mood for some Hallmark. The leads have good chemistry, & I’m a sucker for the “fake dating” trope. I want to note that the moment when Elise breaks down in the parking lot during her business Christmas party is cringey; the stilted dialogue & acting feel forced. The ending is also cringey but not as bad. Just want to be transparent about both the pros & the cons.
Thoughts: After the Holiday Date fiasco, I was extremely cautious going into Hallmark’s second Hanukkah 2019 offering. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT! It wasn’t perfect, but it had much, much more heart. I was not expecting the leads to have such great chemistry so that was a pleasant surprise. I was also not expecting to cry, but I did! At a business Christmas party (SPOILER), Chris put Rebecca & her family center stage, asking that they share the Hanukkah prayer with the other guests. It may sound like he put them on display like a museum or zoo exhibit, but it came straight from his heart, wanting to make up for taking them away from their intimate family celebration for a business function. This movie restored my faith that Hanukkah has a place on Hallmark.
Thoughts: Based on the marketing I saw beforehand, I wasn’t sure this pairing would be convincing as a couple. I was pleasantly surprised by great acting & sweet chemistry between Alison & Lucas. The final kiss was a bit awkward, but that didn’t spoil the whole movie. It wasn’t perfect but good enough to be labeled “above average.”
Thoughts: Shenae & Steve were so stinkin’ adorable together! One glance at the poster makes me squeal all over again. Obviously the chemistry was great, but that’s not all. The acting was good, & so was the story. Not only is this “above average” but also a candidate for receiving a higher rating in the future. Only time will tell!
Thoughts: At first I was convinced that the leads had no chemistry, but in a positive turn of events I was converted to a believer. Actually, they ended up being great together! I also loved their dynamic with Laurel’s daughter Scarlett. When a child is involved in the plot, trio chemistry is just as important to me as the romance. There was some focus on a side story so I’ll give it a quick mention. One or two parts felt a bit too awkward for interactions between a married couple, but I think Wade was meant to be a bit quirky as well as anxious about keeping his surprise hidden from Betty. Their scene together at the end was sweet so all’s well that ends well. Overall, I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. What a pleasant surprise!
Thoughts: After an unconvincing start, the chemistry between the leads & the warmth of the story did improve. However, it wasn’t enough to convince me this movie deserves a spot on my annual watchlist. I didn’t connect enough to care about the main romance. In fact, my favorite part was the side story about author Tina Finnegan learning to love Christmas again after a painful loss.
Thoughts: To be fair, this movie was better than I expected. The Cape Cod setting was pretty; the story was interesting enough to keep me entertained; & the leads had decent chemistry. It wasn’t amazing enough to be a new favorite but good enough to earn a middle of the road rating.
Thoughts: First of all, I want to mention how great it was to see Tamera in her own Hallmark Christmas movie after watching Tia in A Gingerbread Romance. Seriously, I LOVED them growing up. Still do! ♥️ Back to A Christmas Miracle. Brooks & Tamera did have chemistry, but it took me some time to warm up to Marcus as a character. I know there was supposed to be tension in the beginning for the sake of drama, but he just didn’t come across as likeable until later on. Tamera’s radiant smile & sweet personality were perfect for a plot centered around positive, heartwarming stories. This movie isn’t perfect, but it did put me in a good mood & pour some much needed holiday cheer into my life.
Thoughts: Kellie Martin has been my girl since her Christy days. Because I’m such a big fan, I’m picky. Based on the trailer, I wasn’t sure if I liked her paired with Colin. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because I was w-r-o-n-g. Their chemistry hit me out of nowhere! Some of the “saying the same thing at the same time” moments felt forced, but that didn’t spoil the entire movie . Not only did Sara & Travis have chemistry with each other but also with Sara’s daughter Chloe; their dynamic as a trio worked well onscreen. I also loved the cozy Montana setting & all the side characters. Definitely a new favorite & an addition to my annual watchlist.
Thoughts: I was nervous going into this movie; it was highly anticipated because of the leads, & I didn’t want to be disappointed. Good news: I wasn’t! The story was very festive; Alexa & Jonathan had great chemistry; & I loved all the side characters. As Steven’s guard came down, he got a little goofy at times, but as a dedicated Food Network viewer, I know that’s part of Jonathan’s personality in real life. On a serious note, he surprised me with some tender, well-acted moments. Alexa, as always, was fantastic & a joy to watch. Another new favorite!
Thoughts: I love Eloise & Sean as an onscreen couple in Christmas With Holly, but this movie doesn’t compare. The chemistry was there, but it wasn’t on the same level for reasons that I can’t place my finger on. All I can say is that it just wasn’t the same. The character Joe felt overacted at times, not very natural. Actually, that goes for some of the side characters as well, specifically Joe’s Aunt Nellie. Because there were some truly heartwarming moments, like Grace’s reunion with her dog Christmas, my rating is less severe.
Thoughts: I didn’t feel much chemistry between Benjamin & Cindy. Actually, I didn’t feel much of anything during the entire movie. To my surprise, the ending had quite a bit of chemistry & feeling. It wasn’t enough to make me like the film, but it did make me question why I didn’t feel anything sooner. Even though she had very little screen time, I enjoyed Kathie Lee Gifford’s performance; she put a smile on my face which goes a long way in my book. Those two redeeming qualities saved this movie from a worse rating.
Thoughts: I wanted to like this because I felt chemistry between Chaley & Rome. Unfortunately I had a difficult time connecting to both the characters & story. The acting left a lot to be desired as well; it was noticeably patchy throughout the movie. I just never reached a point when I felt invested in what was happening therefore this is not a new favorite.
Thoughts: I have to be honest & admit that the story about Kristin’s daughter writing a song that turns out to be Mariah Carey’s holiday hit “Oh Santa” is too cheesy, even for a Hallmarkie like me. That being said, my rating is high because Brennan Elliott & Lacey Chabert are my favorite onscreen couple on Hallmark. Their chemistry is on a level yet to be reached by another pairing. They’re in a league of their own, & I can’t bring myself to give them a lower rating, even though it should probably be a 3.75 or 4. In this case, I’m definitely biased.
Thoughts: Andrew & Meghan had good chemistry, & I like the idea of two strangers falling in love while forced to take a road trip together in the airport’s last rental car. However, all of that was overshadowed by the idiocy of the FBI. Ashley is wanted for questioning, & unbeknownst to her, Dash is the agent in charge of keeping a close eye on her. Suspicions grow because she speaks Romanian & is transporting a mysterious red box. Turns out she has some Romanian friends, & they are the recipients of the red box that is JUST A PRESENT. After a dramatic arrest, the situation ends up being a giant misunderstanding. I know mistakes can be made, but the whole thing looks so idiotic from the outside looking in. I cannot get over such incompetence, even on TV.
Thoughts: The setting is The Plaza Hotel in New York City which makes the movie feel like an Eloise book come to life but for adults. I didn’t know if Simmons would work with anyone other than Fitz ( AOS reference 😉 ), but Elizabeth had great chemistry with Ryan. Following Jessica’s job setting up a historical exhibition about Christmas at The Plaza was fascinating, especially when she decided to focus on the unique tree topper displayed each year. If you want to sound extra smart, the official name is finial d’arbre. The only issue I have has to do with makeup. For one whole scene, Jessica had lipstick on her teeth. Poor thing! The crew should be keeping an eye on details like that because it’s embarrassing for the actor & distracting to the viewers. 😡 Since that has nothing to do with the cast or story, my opinion remains the same. In the middle of the movie I started to overthink my rating, but at the very end when Nick decorated Jessica’s house, I knew for certain I had found a 2019 favorite. 🎉
Finial – A distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure in a building or an ornament at the top, end, or corner of an object.
Thoughts: Brooke & Daniel had chemistry, but it didn’t feel romantic, more like friendship. They just didn’t work as an onscreen couple. The story was fine, & the overall vibe of the movie wasn’t a total turnoff. Basically, it was just okay. I was considering 2.75, but I rounded up because it’s Christmas. I could change my mind after the holidays.
Thoughts: Unfortunately this was not for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads, & the acting was patchy throughout the movie. The story did warm up in the middle but not enough to change my opinion. Actually, I might’ve been too generous with my rating, but I’ll leave it for now.
*Note: To clear up any confusion, the title of the movie did change.
Thoughts: From what I saw, Chelsea & Drew have the potential for good chemistry; unfortunately I didn’t feel it in this movie. Actually, I had a difficult time connecting to anything. I didn’t care about the characters nor feel anything from the story. It all left me feeling cold, no Christmas warmth.
Thoughts: I refused to feed into the hate surrounding this movie until I’d watched it for myself. Having seen it, I’m unfortunately siding with the majority. I didn’t like the characters, especially Joel; his personality was too goofy for my taste. I felt no chemistry between the leads which means I wasn’t invested in the romance. For the record, I’m totally fine with a cheesy Hanukkah movie because all the Christmas movies are cheesy too. My problem is what’s lost in translation. Even though this is a minor Jewish holiday, I don’t think that makes it any less special. What I’m missing from Hallmark’s interpretation is the heart. The prayer scene was a missed opportunity to share an intimate look at a family home during the eight nights of Hanukkah. I know the story is relying on the “holiday date” trope, which we’ve seen before in Hitched for the Holidays. However, it would be nice to see a Jewish family celebrating together rather than one Jew on his or her own in a gentile home, a bit like an exotic animal on display at the zoo. There’s nothing wrong with a teaching moment, but I’m craving serious, heartfelt family moments that are seen in all the Christmas movies. I decided on a rating of 2, but even that feels too generous. Fingers crossed that Hallmark’s 2nd Hanukkah 2019 offering is much, MUCH better.
Thoughts: Brooke had good chemistry with Trevor, more than she did with Daniel in Christmas in Love. Unfortunately I didn’t feel any onscreen chemistry between Trevor’s character Keith & his daughter Jessie. There was no ease about his parenting; it felt more like he was watching someone else’s child. Everything else – the atmosphere, the characters, the story – were fine. I wasn’t blown away by anything, but I’d be willing to watch it again.
Thoughts: The leads Andrew & Nikki had great chemistry. There was strong acting from two Hallmark veterans which gave the story much more depth than one might expect. Another pro is the story which relies on one of my favorite tropes: A woman wishes for a better life, gets her wish, & wants her old life back. I have one stupid complaint so please bear with me. Nikki’s character Penny is the main character because she’s the one who’s unhappy with her life & gets a wish. However, I can’t help feeling the absence of her husband Stuart during a portion of the movie. In the grand scheme of the plot, it makes total sense, but in my own little La La Land it sticks out enough to (slightly) distract me. This isn’t a “girl falls in love with boy” type of romance so my complaint isn’t valid, but I think it’s worth noting just to be thorough. A Dream for Christmas isn’t perfect, but there’s something very sweet about watching a wife fall in love with her husband again because she didn’t realize what she had until it was gone.
I thought three days off from my retail job would be sufficient enough to recharge my batteries. I underestimated the amount of items on my to-do list therefore I went into the first of five straight shifts even more exhausted and on the brink of illness. I could cry thinking about what I have left to do & my efforts to hold everything together. However, I don’t want stress to ruin this time of year for me once again. Let’s all take a moment to bask in the glow of some Christmas humor. Please, on my behalf, laugh until your sides hurt. ❤️
I feel like such a failure! I promised more blog posts, & here I am starting Blogmas 2018 on December 7th. I hate to give excuses so all I will say is . . . life happened. 😢
In years past, I’ve opened up about my lack of holiday spirit. This year I’m craving the joy that’s been missing. The past few months have been an emotional roller coaster ride, and it seems like the medicine I need is a heaping spoonful of cheesy Christmas romance best served by Hallmark. Unfortunately my schedule filled up quickly. On top of my retail hours, I’ve been filming, editing, & uploading Vlogmas videos on YouTube. This week I’m participating in TisTheSeasonAThon, a holiday-themed readathon, & next week I start working on Artmas 2018 for my art blog. Other than that, I’m free as a bird. 😂
I’ll end with some positivity. I am currently sitting in a recliner with a homemade frappuccino watching holiday baking shows. A Christmasy end to a bah-humbug day! I promise to check back in with you very very soon. 😘
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Most of us are currently going through the motions on Black Friday still recovering from a (sweet, glorious) turkey coma. Not to mention the delicious leftovers! Now that Thanksgiving has come & gone, the coldest of hearts can admit that Christmastime has officially arrived. If you’re an eager gift giver, this blog post is for you. I have put together a Bookish Gift Guide for the readers in your life.
1. The products are organized by a common theme such as Book Sleeves, Candles, Home, etc. That being said, some stores in one category might have items from another, but I only focused on something specific. Make sure you take a good look at everything so you don’t miss out.
2. I am only human so naturally I have not purchased from every single one of these shops. I simply did the research & compiled a long list to give you as many ideas as possible. It is up to you to read reviews & decide for yourself whether or not you’re going to make a purchase. If you’re curious, I will indicate where I have shopped with a star – > 🌟
3. The pricing information, in American dollars, is based on what I saw while researching but is subject to change. If a store is from a country other than the United States, assume that I had to convert the prices using Google, & it may not be 100% accurate. Also, shipping charges are not included due to the variance from country to country.
4. Most of these businesses are small shops so products will be limited, & the time between purchase and arrival will take longer than a typical shopping trip. The face behind a small business is more often than not one single person doing everything so please show your holiday spirit & be gracious. Pro Tip: For the best updates, follow social media accounts.
5. Any images used that are not mine are credited to their owners. They are only being used for advertisement purposes & not for my own benefit.
🎁 Specialty: Bags inspired by book covers | Faux leather or leather | 5 sizes ranging from clutch to large messenger bag/tote | You can add a page of text from the book of your choice to the empty space that is revealed when you open the bag.
🎁 Specialty: They used to sell book jewelry but currently only have clear Christmas tree ornaments with miniature books inside. Keep an eye on their shop for future gifts because they might eventually bring their jewelry back.
🎁 Specialty: Gloves, headbands, & scarves that feature book passages | Each book has an assigned color & should match across the entire product line. | There are also pillows, shirts, & totes, and the pricing is included below.
🎁 Specialty: Magnetic bookmarks that resemble book characters | Lots of Young Adult options – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Illuminae, Shades of Magic, etc. | There are also book sleeves & pins, and pricing is included below.
🎁 Specialty: Standard size bookmarks inspired by characters, locations, & quotes | The overall style is not cartoonish but rather focused on the graphic design elements, sometimes veering into (what I would consider) minimalism.
🎁 Specialty: Book sleeves in the following sizes: Mini (mass market paperbacks), Indie (paperbacks), XL (standard hardcovers), & Jumbeau (Large, Harry Potter-size hardcovers) | They also sell Book Beans for $29.99, a pillow shaped with readers in mind.
🌟 Specialty: The website is currently down for maintenance so I can’t give exact information. What I can tell you is that I paid $16.95 for a paperback-size book sleeve & $19.95 for the hardcover size.
🎁 “Bring Your Own Book is the game of borrowed phrases, where players search through books for text to take way out of context. It’s easy. Players take turns drawing prompts from the deck, then race to find the best phrase in their own book that satisfies the prompt. Since you can use a different book each time, you can play it with any audience, and there’s a practically infinite supply of source material.” – Taken from the BYOB website | Think of the game as a bookish Apples to Apples! | An app version is currently in the works. | Made by Do Better Games
🌟 “After hearing the details of the case, you will move around the streets of London, visiting various locations where you will collect clues – cryptic, factual and even misleading – before using your powers of deduction to solve the case and returning to Baker Street with the correct solution.” – Taken from the John Lewis website | If you like Clue but crave a “meatier” game, this is for you. | Made by Jay Moriarty / Antler Productions
💰 Pricing: I purchased from John Lewis & paid $23.50
🎁 This bookish version of Trivial Pursuit is no longer sold officially. It sounds like an item worth searching for as a collector so let me know if you find it in good condition. | The multi-colored pieces you collect to win the game are miniature books that you store on a mini bookshelf. The Great Penguin Bookchase is the same game, but the book pieces look like Penguin editions. So adorable! | Made by Art Meets Matter
🛒 B Y T H E B O O K: A N O V E L S T A C K I N G P U Z Z L E 🛍️
Location: Massachusetts 🇺🇸
🎁 “In this original 3D puzzle, stack up to 12 differently shaped books – and one clever cat – so that the upper shelf lies evenly across the top. Use the special included level to make sure everything is perfectly aligned. Master all 40 challenges and you’re on a level above the rest!” – Taken from the Brainwright website | Ages 8 & up | Made by Brainwright
🎁 “In Ex Libris, you are a collector of rare and valuable books in a thriving fantasy town. The Mayor has just announced a new seat in the Village Council, Grand Librarian. The prestigious and lucrative position will be awarded to the citizen with the most extraordinary library! Unfortunately, several of your book collector colleagues (more like acquaintances, really) are also candidates. To outshine your competition, you’ll need to expand your personal library by sending your trusty assistants out into the village to find the most impressive tomes. Sources for the finest books are scarce, so you’ll need to beat your opponents to them when they pop up – especially if they match your library’s secret focus! You only have a few days before the Mayor’s Official Inspector comes to judge your library, so be sure your assistants have all your books shelved in time! She is a tough cookie, and will use her Official Inspection Form to grade your library on several criteria including alphabetical order, shelf stability, prominent works, and variety. And don’t think she’ll turn a blind eye to books the Council has banned! You’ll need shrewd planning, cunning tactics, and perhaps a little magic to surpass your opponents and become Grand Librarian!” – Taken from the Renegade Game Studios website | Ages 10 & up | Made by Renegade Game Studios
🎁 Liebrary is similar to Apples to Apples except you’re making up your own first line for a book; you win a round if your answer is chosen. | This game is not sold in stores anymore so you have to search on Amazon & eBay. | Made by Discovery Bay
🛒 T H E A R T O F C O N V E R S A T I O N L I T E R A R Y E D I T I O N 🛍️
Location: Australia 🇦🇺
🎁 “TAOC® comes with 300 starter questions plus a 32-page guidebook that includes informative and comprehensive endnotes . . . Even reluctant readers will be drawn in! Readers of all stages and ages will find themselves being educated, all in the name of fun . . . Ideal for book clubs, but can also be adapted to friends, family, workmates, students or even solitary readers . . . Covers all genres – fiction, poetry, drama, biography, autobiography, science fiction, fantasy, crime, romance, historical writing – essentially, the whole bookshop!” – Taken from the TAOC website
🌟 Specialty: Therapeutic Rice Bags | They can be stored in the freezer or warmed in the microwave. | My family has used them for cramps, migraines, & knee pain. | Small, medium, & large sizes available + eye masks with or without straps | Three scents available: Eucalyptus, lavender, & peppermint – You can purchase rice bags unscented.
🎁 Specialty: Literary dolls such as Alice (in Wonderland), Anne Shirley, (author) Edith Wharton, Hermione Granger, & the Wicked Witch of the West | Custom options are available; just contact the shop owner Marcy. | Doll orders probably won’t be available until January, but now you know for the future.
🛒 L E T T E R F R O M M Y B O O K B O Y F R I E N D 🛍️
Location: Massachusetts 🇺🇸
🎁 Specialty: Thanks to Bookified, you can receive a letter from your literary crush. When you make a purchase, take advantage of the”Notes” section to specify exactly what you want.
💰 Pricing: $3.99 (3 lines, customized for an occasion), $6.49 (standard letter that is sent out over & over again, not personalized for you), $8.99 (5 lines, 1 page, customized), & $12.99 (10 lines, 2 pages, customized)
🌟 Unfortunately this shop no longer sells a customizable cellphone case, but it was one of my inspirations for this Bookish Gift Guide. It’s still open so you can take a peek here ➡️ etsy.com/shop/yazrajadesigns
🛒 S W E E T S E Q U E L S 🛍️
Location: Texas 🇺🇸
🌟 Specialty: Original art on prints & lifestyle products | Customization is available. I paid $235 for a custom oversized blanket with 9 total illustrations. Haleigh already had three of the book cover designs I wanted, and then I paid $30 for the six other covers ($5 each). I also requestedbacking that didn’t have long fur due to my sensitive eyes, and she was more than willing to oblige. I cannot recommend her shop enough!
⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ DISCLAIMER: My intention is not to spoil the movie for you, but spoilers are hard to avoid once you’ve seen and want to talk about it. You have been warned! ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️
I recently saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and loved it, but I’m still dealing with a lot of feelings. The severity of my emotions caught me off guard, and it wasn’t just because of Carrie Fisher’s death, although that sadness is still very fresh. This is the end of an era, a transition from the old to the new. I’m excited about the next generation of characters, but that doesn’t make the change any easier. When the twins reunited, Luke said the words “No one’s ever really gone” as he placed Han’s dice in Leia’s hand. From that point on, I couldn’t stop crying. That one poignant moment sums up my experience with this film. I know that’s a really short statement about a really big movie, but I honestly can’t bring myself to say anything more.
Put the flour, milk, salt, & a 1/2 cup of sugar into a saucepan. Over low heat, stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil it for 1 minute & remove from the heat. This can take a long time due to the small amount of heat so once I saw a few bubbles, I used a lid to capture the heat and encourage the cooking process, and it didn’t affect the pie at all. Mix in the gelatin, which should now look a bit like a sugar scrub, and set the mixture aside for 15-20 minutes. Once it’s completely cool, whisk until all the lumps are gone.
Beat the cream of tartar & egg whites until the mixture becomes stiff. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar and beat again until soft peaks form. Fold this mixture into the saucepan mixture, and then fold in the flaked coconut.
Divide the filling between two pie crusts/shells. The recipe does not fill both all the way to the top so if you’re better than me at math, feel free to make the recipe a teeny bit bigger to fill two pies to the brim. If you want to stay traditional, sprinkle flaked coconut on top of the pie. If you want to be fancy, use a piping bag to decorate the top with whipped cream before sprinkling with coconut flakes. If you want a bit of Christmas color, use crushed up candy (the peppermint flavor of candy canes would be a delicious addition) or dyed coconut. I saw a pie online with a wreath of red & green coconut flakes around a white coconut center; you could take it one step further and enhance the color of the wreath with some candy. Now we come to my genius idea. I love the combination of chocolate & coconut so I decided to use a chocolate graham cracker crust. At the last minute, I decided to go all the way with my non-traditional pie & toast my coconut flake topping.
The original white Christmas pie was good but a little too sweet for my taste, an easy fix with an unsweetened pie crust rather than a sweet graham cracker shell. I might be a tad bit biased, but my pie was definitely the winner of the two. The chocolate and toasted coconut made the pie less sweet but no less delicious. Success! I will definitely be using this recipe again.
I’ve been a busy bee working on Artmas, Blogmas, & Vlogmas these past few days. I’m working at my retail job almost every day for the next two weeks so the time to get ahead is running out. I’m trying to think happy thoughts to keep my mind off of the impending insanity. First of all, I’m seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi tonight with my family. FINALLY!! Second of all, I have a funny story to tell about my neighbor:
A few days ago, I was standing at the kitchen sink looking through the window at the backyard (let’s pretend I wasn’t simultaneously looking and wishing for snow that will never fall). Out of nowhere, a medieval-looking tool moved into view above the fence and slowly made its way to a frond on the nearest palm tree. Against such precise motions, the poor frond never stood a chance. The tool disappeared from view only to reappear and cut down another frond. This seems like a good time to mention that the palm tree is in my family’s backyard. It would’ve made more sense if any of the frond victims had been hanging over the other side of the fence, but they weren’t. I know there is a certain amount of give and take between neighbors, but that sort of action seems so childish. Oh well! It gave me a good laugh. 😂