Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday's Feature {12/4}

Feature: December
It's the most wonderful time of the year - we are right at the height of the holiday season.  The days grow busier but the day but they are also completely filled with festive activities, holiday togetherness and of course, a little bit of shopping.

Looking Forward To…

Christmas (& Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve Eve): My favorite days of the year.  Christmas Eve Eve might be my favorite day, that's when it all starts.  We traveled last year on Christmas afternoon so I'm really excited to be staying put and fully enjoying the day.

The usual: Decorating for christmas (well, that's already done), wrapping the gifts, watching all the movies, Christmas shopping, Christmas Eve service, moving the mouse on the advent calendar, etc.

Christmas Break: We still go into the office once or twice during the week between Christmas and New Years but very casual and very quick - I'm looking forward to that refresher and time to just enjoy, relax and spend with family.  Plus, it's an "on" year for our extended family so I'm looking forward to all the gatherings over break.

Traditions: Angel Tree gift buying, Christmas lights looking, annual Christmas dinners, Christmas morning matching pajamas… the list could go on and on.  I can't wait for the traditions I've grown to love since I was little plus the ones Derek and I have started making on our own.

Christmas Eve Breakfast:  Okay, I said I wouldn't go into traditions because we'd be here all day, but just this one.  Since I left home I made it "my thing" to lead a Christmas Eve morning breakfast for us all - starring cinnamon rolls and various sides.  

Birthday: Jesus and I share a birthday week and unlike most people in December, I actually like it - it adds to the excitement.  I can't wait for my favorite cake, all the family attention on me and for my favorite mexican place.

NYC at Christmas Time: When we were dating long distance Derek worked at a nice boutique hotel in New York City and I loved when we got to stay there.  With the wood burning fireplaces, it's so cozy and you forget your in the middle of all that tourist craziness.  We skipped going last year together (I went with a friend) but we'll have a very short but fun trip this year.

Stella & Santa:  Call me crazy, but I'm taking (well I want to take) my baby my puppy to see Santa.  I checked out the local mall's hours and there's one night a week that pets are allowed for photos with Santa.  SIGN US UP! 

Final Tailgate:  It won't be for Penn State (although we will have a football party to cheer them on in the bowl game) but the Army/Navy game is next weekend in Philadelphia some mutual friends of ours have a huge tailgate - Hello, Samantha Ponder - getting my game day sign ready now.

2016: I wouldn't necessarily say I want 2015 to end, for the most part it was a very blessed and joyous year but it will be fun to celebrate the start of something new.  Plus it's becoming our holiday to host with a little casual football party on New Year's Day.


Baking throughout the month: We always save all our baking until right before/after Christmas.  Partly because we're too busy and partly because we don't think of it until then.  I'd like to get a couple sweet treats made before the holiday week.

Finish shopping by the end of next week: I always say "I want the shopping done early."  But I'll keep slipping into the mall and various stores until the last minute "just to see" if there's anything else to give - it's fun, it's festive, it's enjoyable.  But really, I'm hoping to be finished up next week at this time.

Accomplish a few things on our "local holiday bucket list": Since I moved home from college I've had a holiday bucket list with the local attractions on it - I'm hoping to cross one or two new ones off this year {example - tree lightings, the city's Christmas village, etc.} Embrace the local! 

Christmas movie night with all the snacks: How fun!?  We watch ALL the Christmas movies in this house but a night with movie after movie and a nice snack setup would be ideal.

Carriage Ride:  We've done one before (in the summer - who does that?!) but it would fulfill a lot of festive goals to mark this off in the winter and gaze at some Christmas lights and displays

Giving Back: Last year Derek and I got into a competition of "who could do the most good that day" last December.  In addition to the usuals {food bank, angel tree, etc.}, we tried to do simple little things like letting someone go in front of us in line, always putting money in the salvation army bin, etc.  Anything and the competition part made us both try even more than usual.

Shopping Dates:  Shopping dates are my thing.  With my entire family.  With Derek.  With just my mom.  Shopping is such fun if you have the right company.   

Christina Lea Loves Gift Guide:

previous 2015 CLLoves gift guides… 
stocking stuffers {under $25, under $50, splurge}
gift guide for the wine lover
christina lea loves gift guide {something for everyone}

For Less Than $35… 
It's always tricky finding those smaller gifts for a secret santa, neighbors, co-workers, friends, etc.  Once you can find the perfect item, sometimes they end up being the cutest! The sparkle tray is my absolute favorite and I'd love a C & D to decorate in our basement.  You can never go wrong with a cocktail themed gift… or a monogram, of course!

For the Lilly Lover…
For Lilly products sometimes it can be tricky finding something on the less expensive side.  I've rounded up a few of my favorites under $50 and under $100 that would make fabulous gifts.  Also, this weekend with a $100 purchase you can get a little treat for yourself - a Lilly makeup brush set! Lilly Pulitzer stores have a wrapping station set up with beautiful paper to wrap for you right away.  Plus, it's free! A few of my favorite splurges (and possibly on my list) can be found here and here.

Of course the items at the bottom of the page {the $60 gift card, wine coaster, wine tote and wine glasses} would make a fabulous gift or a nice treat for yourself!
Under $50: {one} {two} {three} {four} {five} {six}
Under $100: {seven} {eight} {nine} {ten} {eleven}

Other Happenings:
+ Thanksgiving weekend to enjoy was fantastic but catching up after the holiday weekend, not so much.  I feel like I've been behind on everything all week.  Is it 5pm yet??? The cyber shopping however, has been insane - the sales are TOO good to pass up.  We've also been dealing with a sick little puppy this week.

+ My most favorite sale of all the sales is back this week - Macy's Family & Friends Sale.  We met my parents and brother at the mall last night for a little shopping and dinner and Derek and I are headed back today.

+ I shared a full gift guide of all my favorites including something for everyone this week {the lady, the gent, the jet setter, the monogram lover, the home, the puppy lover} be sure to check it out here, if you haven't already.

+ RHOBH came back this week, my FAVORITE.  These ladies are the real deal and the most glamorous and fabulous of all the franchise.  So happy to have them back.

+ I love to keep track of what movies we watch each year - silly, I know.  With all the movies out there, it helps me keep track for the next year.  The classics are easy but now that I love the Hallmark Chanel movies AND the 25 Days of Christmas, sometimes I have a hard time remembering the names of all of them.

So, this week, it was… Rudolph, A Christmas Detour (I love Candace Cameron Bure - guess she's taking over the holidays now too!), 12 Gifts of Christmas, Help for Christmas.  Lots of watching ahead this weekend.

+ Lastly, Have you entered to win these fabulous Lilly Pulitzer goodies yet?! These fabulous items would make a great gift to give for the holidays or the best treat for yourself.  If you haven't entered, make sure to do so in the rafflecopter below.  The giveaway runs through Monday night at midnight! 


  1. So many fun things for you this month and I think it's great you get to share christmas week for your birthday - the bonus is all your family coming in this year!!! Have a great weekend! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. You're a girl after my own heart with wanting Mexican to celebrate your birthday! :) Lots of fun stuff ahead this month for you--birthday AND Christmas? Present overload!!! hehe Awesome stuff that's on your want list!

  3. So much to look forward to!! Loved reading about all that you're anticipating! Hooray for Christmastime and your upcoming birthday! Soak up every bit of this special month!!
    xo - Brenda // Chatting Over Chocolate

  4. Sooooooooooooooooo many amazing things this month to look forward too, lady! I love Christmas morning brunch, it's seriously the best brunch EVER!!!!

  5. Love this post! This is my most favorite time of the year, too. :)

  6. anything NYC related for the holidays is good in my book! love a christmas tradition to boot. what a lovely post girly! have a great weekend!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  7. I would LOVE to go to NYC over the holidays, definitely on top of my bucket list!

  8. Happy Birthday Month gurlie! So many fun things to look forward to, and I loooove NYC this time of year - purely magical <3

    Green Fashionista

  9. So excited about all the Christmas things too! Happy Birthday month! Love these boards too.

  10. So so so many wonderful things during the month of December!! If only it didn't fly by so fast! Love your idea of a giving back competition - I can totally picture Nick and I doing that, haha! Happy Friday, lady!

  11. I love all the holiday plans you have! It's so awesome that you embrace having your birthday close to Christmas...I do think that it would make it even better, too! There is such so much to comment about on this post, I don't even know what to all say! This week has been a tough one for me too...just getting back into a full work week, getting back to the gym, finishing up has worn me out! TGIF!

  12. Can Mike just wrap all of those Lilly things and put them in my stocking?? When are you headed to NYC this year? I think we are planning a trip sometime around Christmas :)

  13. So many things to look forward to this month! It is so really is the best time of the year! NYC is so pretty during Christmastime, can't wait to read about your trip there. I hope you have a great weekend!

  14. Great gift suggestions! I love that you cook breakfast on Christmas Eve. I want to start some traditions like that. We didn't have a whole lot growing up. And this year we'll probably be moving on Christmas so things will be crazy!

  15. We re going shopping for our angel tree kid this weekend! I can't wait!!

  16. I love that you guys had a giving competition. Haha! Dan and I get competitive like that as well. Have the best weekend, lady!

  17. You have so much to look forward to this month. December is so magical for all ages. Makes my heart so happy! You are killing me with all of the fun gift suggestions. LOVE!!

  18. I have a December birthday too and love it! Samantha Ponder is great, and I adore her style, and Scout!! Finally, the Hallmark Christmas movies are some of my favorites! Loved this post!

  19. My birthday is around Christmas too! I'm the 29th. When is yours?

  20. Eee! So much excitement in this post! This truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

  21. Oh my goodness I hope that you take Stella to see Santa! That would be too cute! And there really is no other place like Christmas in NYC! That's so much fun that Derek used to work there, and that y'all try to make a trip up there every year. I can't wait to hear all about it! And I'm so happy that RHBH is back too! This already sounds like it'll be an intense season! PS- I'm so sad about Yolanda and David breaking up! They seemed so happy!

  22. You have SO much to look forward to this month! I love that you have so many traditions with your family as well as a few new ones with Derek - I think that's so important since you're now your own little family unit! Okay, what is with all the doggies being sick since Thanksgiving? We had an emergency vet visit with Finn the day before the holiday, and he's just now finally back to himself. I hope Stella is better, too!