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Decor & Entertaining

Decor & Entertaining

Chi’s Guide to Christmas Cheer

November 28, 2016


Hi Guys! How was your Thanksgiving? Did you make it through the meal without a family member storming off?! If you did, it was a success in my book lol. Mine was pretty awesome though. I had a great time laughing with family, eating, shopping, and even getting a couple workouts in.

Speaking of shopping, there were (and still are) some amazing deals going on. The Limited was doing 70% off everything, Charlotte Russe was doing $20 and under for everything, and ASOS came through with a 30% off coupon code which for them is a big deal. Needless to say I ended up doing a little more shopping than I anticipated but I got some great stuff. The sibs and I even bought matching sweaters! We’re so cool.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the countdown to Christmas has officially begun. But what if you’re not feeling the holiday tingles yet? Just breathe. Everything is going to be okay. Whether it’s post-election blues stealing your Christmas cheer, job stress, or family drama, I’ve got some tips on how to get yourself in the Christmas spirit. Just so you know that these tips are legit, I used them on myself a few weeks ago when school stuff was stressing me out so I can confirm that they do work.

The key is to focus on engaging your senses – scents, sights, sounds, taste, and touch. I see the holidays as a period of heightened sensory engagement when compared to the rest of the year. There are beautiful Christmas displays to see, yummy foods to eat, wonderful smelling candles to burn, great Christmas albums to listen to, and cozy blankets to snuggle under. If you’re struggling to get in the Christmas spirit, then read on for your sensory guide to getting the holiday feels.

First up is…

Baking! Making home baked goods does double sensory duty because it provides amazing aromas while the food is baking and tasty treats once their done. If you’re going for that holiday feel then I suggest baking with spices often featured in holiday desserts like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger. If you need some inspiration check out my sweet potato pecan pancakes or my white chocolate sweet potato pecan cookie recipes. As a nice gesture, (and to avoid eating them all), try gifting any leftovers to friends, family, or neighbors. Although there’s no judgment if you keep them for yourself!

Tea. Tea manages to one up baking by doing triple sensory duty. It’s warming and comforting to the touch, which I immediately equate with the holidays, plus you get both scent and taste. I’d opt for tea with cinnamon or chai. Having both together is even better! I’m not much of a mint-in-my-tea kind of girl so I don’t go for teas with mint in them, but if you like this then by all means go for it. I know white chocolate peppermint tea is quite popular this time of year.

Sweet Potato Pecan Cookies

Candles. There is nothing like lighting some candles and letting their scents completely inhabit a space. They’re also great because they provide extra warmth during particularly chilly days. I leave a few candles out on my kitchen counter, coffee table, and side tables so I can light them when the mood strikes. Some of my current favorites candles have eucalyptus, mint, and cinnamon in them. I also have a peppered citrus candle that I got from TJ Maxx which smells divine.

Music. Listening to the right music is a game-changer. It has the ability to completely transform our mood. Getting into the Christmas spirit is no exception. For Christmas music, Mariah Carey’s 1994 “Merry Christmas” album is a cult classic. I also really like Tamar Braxton’s Winter Wonderland, the soundtrack to Best Man Holiday, and Josh Groban’s version of “Noel” – so beautiful. Random, but there’s also this one Hershey’s Kiss commercial that I listen out for every year. It’s been around for ages and whenever I hear it, it gets me all in my holiday feelings. You’ve probably seen it. The Hershey’s kisses are in a triangle formation and they play “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” At the end the Kiss with the final note goes “Whew!” Hands down it’s my favorite Christmas commercial.

Fuzzy Socks, Slippers, and PJs. I absolutely love slipping into a pair of warm, fuzzy, socks or slippers during the holidays. That and a pair of flannel or thermal PJs. Anything that makes me feel warm and cozy, I equate with the holidays. I nabbed the sparkly black pair of socks pictured above from Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar.

So there you have it! If you can do something to engage each of your senses, then that’s the key to getting in the holiday spirit. Also, be sure to reach out to friends and family. A big reason why I love this time of year is that it’s a time to gather with loved ones. Give them a call, send them a text, or mail Christmas cards. Host a little get together. It doesn’t need to be super elaborate or expensive. It could be a movie night with some caramel popcorn and cocoa, or you could do a game night with a cheese and crackers spread.

What’s that one thing you do that gets you in the Christmas spirit? Tell me below!

Decor & Entertaining Food

Snack Easy Series #5: All PoPcorn Edition!

September 26, 2016

Happy Monday Guys! Did you enjoy the first official weekend of fall? I did. For one, I gave my apartment a thorough cleaning on Friday. Between studying for  my comps (which I passed by the way!) and working on my proposal, my apartment hadn’t had a deep cleaning in a while. I vacuumed, scrubbed the shower, toilet, and sink, swept the kitchen, dusted, and wiped down surfaces. I also did and folded laundry. It felt amazing when I was done. There is nothing better than a clean space. After that I sat down with some tea, lit a candle even though it was still way too warm for that, and worked on my proposal. I submitted a draft to my advisor on Friday evening so he’d have time to review it in advance of our meeting tomorrow. That means that I get one more day to bask in blissful ignorance before I get his feedback. Pray for me!

Moving on to a tastier topic, I’ve got this month’s Snack Easy round up for you. Popcorn lovers rejoice, because this one is an all popcorn edition! Besides prayer, hard work, and staying active, snacks are a big part of what’s getting me through my PhD program. When I talk about some of my favorite things to snack on, I have to talk about popcorn (which made this all popcorn edition a no brainer).

I’m big on finding ways to make my meals and snacks a little more enjoyable. Besides doing things like turning off the tv when I eat and sitting down at a table, I also like to pay attention to presentation. This includes everything from how the food looks to what I put the food in.

World Market Popcorn Bowls

Enter these adorable popcorn bowls that I found at World Market. Aren’t they the cutest?! Whenever I eat popcorn now, I have to put it in one of these bowls. They’re the perfect size and they make me smile. They have a larger size of these bowls that I also bought. These would be great to bring out if you’re ever hosting a movie night at your place.

Popcorn Bowls: World Market

Retail Price: $4.99/little bowl; $9.99/big bowl (if you’re patient like me wait and you can get them on sale)

Healthy PopcornNow on to the yummy stuff that you can fill these bowls with. Spoiler alert: Every popcorn in this month’s round up I would buy again. Full disclosure: I already have. Now popcorn can be a healthy snack if you choose the right kind. All of the popcorns on this list have under 45 calories per cup and are a good source of fiber.

Popcorn aficionado, popcorn connoisseur – I’m not sure which title I like best but it all means that I know my popcorn. Now let’s get it poppin’ (couldn’t resist!)

Skinny Pop Dusted Dark Chocolate

Skinny Pop Dusted Dark Chocolate

Bought at: Harris Teeter

Price: $2.50 (sale price, retail: $4.29)

Repeat Purchase: Yes

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, but I’m so glad I decided to give it a try. The dusted dark chocolate gives this popcorn a nice cocoa flavor but you can detect a hint of salt. It’s a great balance. I’ve only seen this particular flavor at Harris Teeter and once at Publix. It’s not a flavor I buy all the time as I have to be in a specific mood for it, but when I am in the mood for it, it’s great. I’d definitely give this one a try if you’re a chocolate lover.

Live Love Pop Lime Fresco

Live Love Pop Lime Fresco

Bought at: Home Goods

Price: $1.99

Repeat Purchase: Yes

The lime is really faint on this one, so don’t be turned off by the name. It does come through ever so slightly at the end of the bite which I like. The trick here is to shake the bag before you pour out the popcorn because the lime seasoning tends to fall to the bottom of the bag. As you can tell by the name there’s something that’s light and fresh about this one. The hint of lime flavor gives it a nice, fresh twist. I really enjoy this popcorn and highly recommend it. My one caveat is that if you want to buy it because you’re expecting it to have a strong lime flavor, look else where. Otherwise, get it!

Lesser Evil Chia Pop Aged White Cheddar

Lesser Evil Chia Pop Aged White Cheddar

Bought at: Home Goods

Price: $2.39

Repeat Purchase: Yes

You can never go wrong with white cheddar popcorn. Who doesn’t love white cheddar?! This is a classic popcorn flavor and Lesser Evil did it justice. One three cup serving has 110 calories with 5 grams of fiber. Do yourself a favor and pick up a bag. It’s delicious.

Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Salt with Coconut Oil

Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Salt with Coconut Oil

Bought at: Home Goods

Price: $2.39

Repeat Purchase: Yes

This one is so simple but it’s so good! The coconut oil really comes through but not in an overpowering way. If you twisted my arm and forced me to pick a favorite out of the bunch, I’d be able to narrow it down to this one and the lime fresco, along with the white cheddar and the… haha you see where this is going. The point is I really like this one. Unlike some of the others I don’t need to be in a special mood for this one. I could eat it whenever.

Smartfood Delight Sweet & Spicy BBQSmartfood Delight Sweet & Spicy BBQ

Bought at: Target

Price: $2.50 (sale price, retail: $3.69)

Repeat Purchase: Yes

A part of the reason it took me so long to get this all popcorn edition up was because of this flavor. In true Chi fashion, I had to find a snack I liked that was near impossible to pin down for a repeat purchase. When I was traveling a few months ago I came across this popcorn at Walmart, but when I got back home I could not find it anywhere. I must have gone to four different Walmarts looking for it. As fate would have it one day as I was perusing the aisles at Target these caught my eye. I wasn’t even looking for them but there they were. And they were on sale. Jackpot! I may have let my mildly hoardish tendencies come through by grabbing four bags (since it took me so long to to find them I wanted to make sure I had a stock). I’ve yet to find these at a Walmart, but hopefully you’ll have better luck than I did. These have a nice BBQ flavor to them. The bag says spicy but don’t be alarmed by it (they’re not all that spicy). Similar to the dusted dark chocolate this is one that I have to be in a specific mood for. It’s still good though for when I want to switch things up.

Healthy Popcorn

So there you have it! What are some of your favorite popcorn flavors?! Sharing is caring:)

Decor & Entertaining Style

Furniture Shopping

January 23, 2014

Fortunately we’re not dealing with the “snowpocalypse” that our northern friends are currently enduring but it’s still pretty cold here in the Palmetto state. Despite that I managed to get out and do a little furniture shopping. My move is next week and while I’m really excited, there’s a lot to get done. Today I was on the hunt for an accent chair.  I checked out my favorite thrift store and found a great option but unfortunately the chairs were being sold as pairs and I only need one. I also checked TJ Maxx and found some beautiful chairs but they weren’t exactly what I had in mind. The hunt continues…

Coat: Asos, Top: Topshop, Jeans: Forever 21, Bag: Gifted (Just Fab), Shoes: Dolce Vita, Watch: Asos
just fab
tj maxx
Gorgeous chairs from TJ Maxx. I seriously love these. I’m still contemplating getting them as dining room chairs!
I hope you all are staying warm wherever you are! Happy Humpday!