Tinsel Philly: Happy Hour Meets Christmas

So if you love Christmas and you love drinks and getting out this is your bar. This pop-up Christmas bar is the envy of anything holiday that I have attended. Tinsel Philly Pop-Up bar is your go to. What is Tinsel and how should you prepare? Bring some friends, be ready to drink, bring a fun attitude and leave the decorations, great fun and awesome Christmas atmosphere to Tinsel.

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First of all you are going to want to be in the holiday spirit from the door until it’s time to leave. From the window display to the bathroom, there is no corner or ceiling that is left unturned. I loved it.  The ceiling even has real drop down presents.

It is an eye pop of happiness. If you had the unique opportunity to attend last year, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that its bigger and better. It features a 33 foot bar. Say it with me, dranks!   I was impressed. Being a lifestyle blogger I feel as if it is my job to be able to bring anything that makes your life fun, easier, and gets you out and about and this had all of that. I am going to start from the front of the venue to the back.

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I found super convenient street parking. I only had to walk less than one block away. This was not a turn off for me. Tinsel is not hard to find. Once you are on the block it literally sets itself apart from all of the other venues around it. It’s the most lit Christmas display and that itself reassured me I was in the right place. Once inside, I walked into an overhead of lights. Lights engage me. Once inside, the 33 foot bar is undeniable. The bar was absolutely wonderful. Now I am going to keep it real. Bars sometimes for me can intimidate me, but not at Tinsel. The staff was warm and welcoming and let me know their favorites off the bat. Now I had my sight set on the Tinsel Snow Globe. It is a keepsake.  Let me say the inner child kicked in as I shook my globe and enjoyed the tastings of Grey Goose La Vanile, White Cranberry and the best part edible snow. Yes, you read that correctly, edible snow. The slew of drinks that Tinsel has to offer has something for everyone. From cold Christmas drinks and specials to hot drinks and wines and beers, you are sure to be pleased. I was super happy not just with the themed drinks having great names but making sure it didn’t lack in quality. At Tinsel, that is not the case. You know I love to be on point and if I am spending my coins, I want my drinks to be worth it. You will find my personal stamp of approval. I love adult juice so when I am out and about I want to be able to get out and know that I am getting what I paid for.  Knowing that last year’s Tinsel Philly was packed nightly I can definitely see why.

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So let’s hit you with the Logistics:

Where is Tinsel Located:

116 S. 12th Street, Philadelphia PA, 19107

What drinks Does Tinsel offer?

Like I stated above there is something for everyone. The coveted Take Home souvenir drinks include the Tinsel Globe, Canned “Good” which is what it sounds like, a canned good can that is filled with your choice of either Deep Eddy’s Vodka or Bacardi Cuatro, Cranberry or Cinnamon (proceeds benefit MANNA) and Makers Mark Stocking Shot or the Neat X-Mas Ornament. I personally tried the Tinsel Globe, the Canned “Good” and the Makers Mark Stocking and they all were worth their price because one the bartenders were awesome and they didn’t short change me on the liquor.

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Tinsel Philly is donating $1.00 for every “Canned Good” drink to Manna who prepare and deliver meals to those are in need and are battling sickness and would otherwise not be able to have nutritional meals. Learn more about MANNA.

They have cold and warm drinks like the Hot Toddy, and the spiked hot chocolate that was made with either Stillhouse Mint Cocoa or the Bacardi Coconut. Absolutely everything that the holidays drinks  are about.

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There is also an assortment of holiday beers, wines and what we all need to know about the happy hour which is Monday-Friday from 5-6 pm with $2 off most drinks.

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Oh and for my Mall or any other professional Santa, you get one drink free and 50% off at all times. You must be wearing your full attire and credentials may be asked to verify.

Music

No bar is complete without music. When you come into Tinsel you will be welcomed by Philadelphia DJ Robert Drake aka Mr. Christmas. He also in addition to spinning at Tinsel will host his 26th year on XPN which is the Night before Christmas with 24 hours of nonstop sounds bringing everyone into the holiday spirit. You can check out his music takeover on XPN

Tinsel Holiday Take overs

DJ Drake will be spinning Monday Mixers on December 10 and December 17 from 5-7pm where there will be prizes. Yes prizes.  That means you can have some fun, dance, drink and win a gift for you or for someone else and have one less gift to purchase. Come on out!

Letters to Santa

This year Tinsel will have brand new post cards to the first 500 patrons. Tinsel staff will take these postcards that can be sent to Santa, or to spread holiday cheer to others. Staff will take these cards and mail them off for you!

Santa’s Throne

This was one of my favorite spots. It was a great place for that coveted Instagram pic! I had to make sure I got one! The room attached to the Santa Throne was well decorated and completely inviting. So make sure you bring someone who can get that great shot and angles for you. Definitely well worth it!

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Holiday Events Coming Up:

Saturday December 22, 2018: Jingle Bars Holiday Crawl. For tickets and more Info

Follow Tinsel and keep yourself updated you don’t want to miss, The White Elephant Party where you bring an unwanted gift and exchange it for something else. Also they will announce Day parties and New Years Eve Party and you don’t want to miss out!

Shout out to Craft Concepts Group which includes,Teddy Sourias (owner of Trademan’s BRU Craft, and Wurst, U-Bahn, Cinder Cooper and Lace, Uptown Beer Garden, Finn McCool’s Ale House) and the local artist  who worked to make sure that they opened up the space to exceed the space from last year to this year’s bigger, and definitely decorated open space. The intrict detail in all of the artwork was mesmerizing and appreciated.

And as always thank you Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for having me.

Make sure that you don’t let the holidays over take you, take some time to have a drink at Tinsel where you can have a drink and leave the cleaning and stress up to them. You deserve to have a ball and celebrate. Grab your friends and family and Pop-up to Philly’s Christmas Pop-Up at Tinsel. You will not be disappointed!

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Holiday Etiquette

The holidays are high time. Between happy hours, holiday parties, and company parties the list is endless in how to celebrate it. One of the things we must tackle today is holiday etiquette.

Invites and the NO Game

We know that for most of us we are going to get swamped by so many invitations. Keep in mind that you have to understand that not all invitations will be a go. I used to be the type that felt like I had to spread myself thin trying to accommodate everyone’s event. That is not the case now. Between working, my family, blogging, friends, it is impossible to be everywhere at the same time. For that my NO muscles gets worked extra during this time of the year. I get so many people caught in their feelings but what I remember most is that others will do the same so I have to take care of me and mine. Do Not feel obligated to attend all events. Do you know how much it cost? You may need an outfit, transportation, a hostess gift, a regular gift depending on the event, babysitter if you have kids like me and everyone wanting no kids to be included, and just man hours to juggle it all, someone is definitely getting a NO. I have the holidays to prepare for on top of all of that and my own traditions to uphold too. Juggle but don’t break or break the bank attempting to be something to the very folks that wouldn’t extend themselves to you.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts

I love giving gifts. However instead of buying for everyone I find ways to one cut my cost. I stick to my budget and I always come under it. I hate attempting to feel as if I am overspending. I have goal and none of those goals will be accomplished if I am feeling guilty and having to recover after the Holidays from spending too much. There are ways to get around the whole spending too much. Instead of attempting to give each kid a gift in the family, make family baskets, filled with holiday classic movies, popcorn, candy, etc.  What you have created is a great family day in. The snow is going to come and that is the gift that keeps on giving especially where little kids are concerned. I also like to give the gift of entertainment. I can get families with children a gift card to an activity that I know they would love. Trust me with 3 kids of my own, someone paying for my kids on activities they know I am already going to attend is a savings. I also elect not to do gifts. If I am meeting up with friends, having dinner or drinks, sometimes just the gift of time is priceless. This means that us getting together and me spending time brunching, etc is a gift in itself. I have one friend that we meet up New Years Eve and do an early dinner.

Dranks, Pour it Up!

Be careful who you are around and the company you are keeping as you indulge. If you are at a company event, be smart. Have a drink or two but never more than that if you know that you are the type that has loose lips or will behave out of character. Worst than a one night stand walk of shame is the walk in shame the day or weekend after the holiday party where you got a little too loose. Don’t let this be you. Get a Uber or Lyft or have a designated driver. Do not drink buzzed or drunk. Trust me the price is more than you are willing and can afford. The most devastating time is having someone die at the hands of a drunk driver and around the holidays. Be careful.  Limit the amount of drinking you plan on enjoying. Make sure that you know your limit. Do not test your limit in a mixed crowd.

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Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Pot Lucky Unlucky Moments

Please do not be a hero making a new dish to bring to the potluck and it’s a meal that hasn’t been approved. This is not the time to flex. Opt to bring the adult juice or at least something that is edible. Also if you have pets, for the sake of all of those involved even if you think it’s a great idea to have your cat or dog in your kitchen, leave them out while you cook for others. This is an issue as to why I always ask, who made that? Why? Everyone ain’t as clean and pet hair in my food is not what I call a Holly Jolly Time. Please practice hand washing and make sure you aren’t cross-contaminating with the food or cooking utensils either. How you cook is just important to what you bring to the potluck.

This is a small list. Like I could have included re-gifting items you don’t want. If you plan on doing so, make sure it’s at least a gift thar a person would actually like. Don’t give gloves just for the sake of not having a gift. Put some thought. Gift like you would want to be gifted. There are so many price points to keep in mind. If you are attending an event, attempt to go to the event. I have had times when emergencies have come, but be sure that you aren’t RSVP to something you have no plans on coming. Also be sure to limit your drinks. Nothing is worst than having to figure out as a hostess how to get your guest home.  Be considerate of others. They may have said no to your invitation because it’s too much for them. They may not want to come or they may just been bombarded by so many invites that it could be too much for them to handle.

Have some fun. Show holiday spirit but be considerate of others around you!

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

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Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

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One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

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One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

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So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

Keep your Thanksgiving Wits

So this is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that the grocery stores will be super crowded. So take your patience with you as you travel out. Between stores and traffic it will be a testing time.

Prepare for the holidays with more than what you will eat. Think about who you will invite and if you can find it in your heart to give towards others who may not be as fortunate. Think about ways you and your family can assist others either by donating food to food banks, volunteering to serve meals to others on Thanksgiving morning, or finding a family to sponsor. Either way let’s open our hearts to one another.

Another way to get ready for the holidays when going to the grocery store is to go with a list. I would attempt to get all that you need and treat it as if it was the day. This will help you to make those trips and you may find it may take more than one.  You will always need extra milk, eggs, and butter. So stack up early. I for one know that I need to get the list going so I don’t forget the key items. Thanksgiving eve is not the time to go to the store. All of the last-minute folks will be on super edge. Avoid them if you can.

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Also think if you are doing a fancy seating chart, how you want things decorated and who will sit where. Also don’t forget about the kids. It’s best to have activities to keep the littles occupied.  This will save from the necessary meltdowns. If you are having dinner at a specific time and you know you are the late type person, have appetizers for others to enjoy while they wait. It’s super annoying to go to someone’s house, arrive on time, and they still making key dishes and they have ZERO snacks. Think about your guest and have good appetizers as well as great drinks.  Trust me you will be the hostess with the mostest if you have the necessary food in place.

If you can’t cook let me stress this isn’t the time to train. You should have been practicing all year-long but not today. Today is the day you stick to the things you do well. Maybe that means you should bring the wine.  Either way don’t be out here telling folks you got a speciality dish and your food ain’t hitting. I don’t know about you but the way my family is set up, you getting clowned. Stick to what you know and stick to the basics. If you have kids also bring them extra activities. Not all host will keep your children entertained although they should if they invited guests with kids. Even with our kids being a little older, we come prepared with extra outfits, entertainment, and we have a code word if we think things are getting out of hand. We have a code word between my husband and I for everywhere that we go. We use this word if one of us is ready to go or something is happening that is too much. This has been our saving grace.

If you go to someone’s home bring something. I always try to bring something. Like the times we go to my mom’s house. I bring a dessert, something. I have 5 folks in my home. There’s no way I am coming to someone’s home squad deep with nothing in my hand. Unless the person insists, bring a dish. Or even bring a bottle to share. That is always a gift. If the person of whom you are going doesn’t drink, make a non alcoholic drink that is festive to share. There are ways around no alcohol. Get on Pintrest, online, anything and make it special.

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Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Think about what you are going to wear. Some people wing it and that is fine, but if you want to be dressed up, make sure you have your outfit together. My uncle doesn’t require fancy attire so unless I get the kids Thanksgiving shirts, I just stick to being comfortable.  If your gathering is requiring more formal affair, be cute and comfy. Do not over do it and especially with kids. They are going to get dirty. They are going to play. They do not ever care about dressed and dress shoes. So go into the situation knowing that and always bring a back up outfit for them so when the pictures are done being taken you can move along and enjoy your day!

Above all be grateful for what you have. Think about the day and what it is all about. More than prepping food, it is about making sure that you spend it with those you love. It’s about being grateful for all advancements that we have. It’s about sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company. So enjoy as you prepare it doesn’t have to be filled with stress! Don’t forget to call your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on the day as well and tell them you love them!

Christmas at the Storr Household 2017

My family is blessed.  I can’t even begin to think that we aren’t.  Even on hard days when it seems a bit crazy, we are blessed.  Christmas at the Storr household is about events, spending time then it is about gifts.  Now they do get gifts, but we focus the attention off of that as much as we possibly can.  We have a limit that we set to the amount that we give them.  It’s not a cruel thing but it is due to the fact that there should be a limit and two they have two sides of the family that gives them things. We do not go broke keeping up with all of the trends.  We woke up the day after not regretting anything.  We get whatever we want and I look for as many deals as I possibly can.  Why?  I like to keep my coins accounted for.  So for all of those who spent the light bill on gifts, that’s your choice.  I for one like stability and love seeing their smiles within a budget.  However let me say this too, the debate on how much to give is a personal choice.  No one has to do it my way and I don’t have to do it your way, what we do works in our home.  You do or don’t do what makes sense in your home.

Larry the Elf

We do the Elf on the Shelf in our house.  I am not quite clear on all of the rules so I make them up on my own.  He comes out at on Thanksgiving day and he goes back Christmas Eve.  The kids absolutely love him.  He is a focal point for them.  I caught my son on Christmas Eve make up a story and read it to Larry. He was seated so cute next to him and was so upset when Larry left a note explaining he would see them again next year.  I know that the holidays aren’t about elves, presents, Santa, but for kids to be kids is always going to be what we push in our home. Larry was doing the most though let me say.  He was into a lot of things.  It kept the kids from getting into mischief.  It was super fun having the kids say oohhhhh I am telling mom you’re not supposed to be in that.

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GingerBread Houses

I love and hate gingerbread houses.  I love the fun that they bring and the creativity but I do not like the stress of making sure this house stays in place. It took me and my husband holding this house up to make sure it was fit for the kids to decorate.  Shout out to the parents whose houses look glorious.  For us it came down to making sure the roof didn’t cave in and there were no tears.  We made it though!!!!! I had a great time anxiety and all.  The kids, well whatever candy they didn’t eat, made it to the house and they were making sure there was more candy at the end so they could watch movies and eat them.  Just believe we made sure I was like a sergeant in the bathroom making sure there teeth were nice and clean afterwards.

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Hot Chocolate

It’s a standing tradition in our home to make sure if not the entire month, that we have one dedicated movie and hot chocolate night.  The requirements are simple, have candy and toppings available, have warm pajamas on, come with smiles, and leave with memories.  As always we nailed it! The kids and I love this time. As soon as December comes, I get the whole when is it mom?  They know and I love how excited they are.

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This month we were able to attend a lot of Christmas themed events.  Check out my blogs for all of the fun. One of the things I also enjoyed was watching my oldest perform in the choir for Christmas eve service.  She always looks so beautiful when she’s super dressed up.  I loved her performances.  On Christmas we got up, opened up presents, had breakfast and traveled to my parents home to have Christmas with them and my siblings and their families.  It’s always a lot of fun. The kids love playing with one another as well as eating well and opening up more presents from everyone.

I am truly grateful for the things that God has blessed me with that don’t have price tags attached to them.  I am also for a family who honored my weight loss journey with gifts that will keep me accountable.  I wanted a kettlebell and got one, as well as my new ear phones that are wireless so I can stop pulling the cord during my weight lifting or runs.  I am grateful for friends who gave some of the best gifts this year as well.  Overall my family had a great time.  We had the most jam-packed month to be honest.  I was actually super tired Christmas morning and that was with a lot of the gifts being pre-wrapped.  I hope that if you celebrated with your family that far above what you received you were able to give.  I pray that your family and friends had peaceful holidays.

Before we open gifts we always remind our children that there are a lot of things they aren’t getting.  We let them know that there are children who woke up that morning with nothing or didn’t wake up.  We reminded that life is precious and that enjoying the small moments is just as important as the big ones.  We try to instill this all year-long, however because of the holidays and gifts I feel its important for our children to give back to their communities and they do.  We make sure we donate, and get involved.  It’s not important to simply exist in this world, we are all connected to one another.

Ask Toi: Christmas Concerns

It’s 7 days before Christmas and with that in mind, let me answer a few Ask Toi that have been sent my way these last couple of days.  Keep in mind that in order to submit a question, please email them to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Although I am preparing for Christmas, end of the year, etc I will always and forever be available via email or any of my toitimeblog social media sites

  1. What do I do if I am early in the dating stage and the new boo family gives a gift to me? ANSWER: One I would always go to a family event even as a new dater, with a hostess gift. Ask the boo if the family drinks, or bring something that can be used in the home. It doesn’t have to be expensive. This holiday season I bought these wine bottle holders from Michaels for 3 for $5 and one bottle can be around 10 so there’s a gift for under 20.  Do not feel the need to get anything that is too personal yet.  You want to be appropriate and welcoming.  Be yourself and enjoy the time.
  2. Do I have to go to all of these holiday parties? ANSWER: No.  I would get the list of parties that you are going to and go to the ones of those who you are the closest.  I know that some folks will be bummed but the reality is no matter how much money you may or may not have, holiday parties can become expensive.  You have to be smart in how you do them.  If you want to go to them all, then do.  Find a black number, and dress that same outfit a number of ways.  If you are asked to make something, find a signature dish that you know will take little to no effort like a pasta salad.  Make sure you know how long you want to attend and make an entrance as well as an exit.
  3. My family can be a handful, how do I politely tell my new boo that I do not want him to interact with the fam bam just yet? ANSWER: Go to your individual celebrations with your own family and meet up and do something that is just for you and the new boo.  Let the new boo that you don’t want to bring them around just yet.  This will only work if you are being truthful and honest.  If you have multiple boos and you trying to be slick, trust and believe things will reveal themselves.  Don’t ghost you’re new boo just because you aren’t sure of where you, spend time with them and make them feel like you are trying to put in the energy you want in return.

Keep in mind that no matter what stage of life you are in, not everyone is in a jolly spirit.  This doesn’t mean you need to water down who you are and what you want to please them.  Be yourself and enjoy or not enjoy it as you seem to fit. If drama is on your menu, kindly exit stage left.  People all around the world are practicing self-care and don’t be surprised if a few of them look at you sideways or exit left.  Don’t nobody have time for the foolery any year.