December 28th, 2013

Home for the Holidays (Christmas!!)

A lifestyle post + OOTD + nails + foodie post!

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Sorry for the inactivity on the blog these past few days, I’ve only just awoken from my holiday-induced food coma, from spending Christmas at my mum’s house.

Truth is, it was nice to take a few days off from blogging to spend time with family and revel in all things Christmas. But you weren’t very far from my mind – I brought my camera and got snap happy during the festivities so I could bring you all along.

If you follow me on twitterinstagram, or facebook, you’ve already seen a sneak peek of my holiday celebrations. Instagram was really fun on Christmas Eve and Day. It was a nice way to spread some holiday cheer and see how people around the world were spending their Christmases. (And getting to see everyone’s beautifully decorated trees!)

On that note, let’s start there: at the tree. Here’s a glimpse of ours this year:

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If you’ve been following the blog since Christmas last year (thank you!) you may remember my first ever Christmas tree.

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That makes this little guy our second tree ever! Mum and I got a little nifty with the decorations, because we try not to spend tons of money on ornaments and things. Instead, we kept it as DIY as possible.

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We used fairy lights and silver tinsel saved from last year, and added some candy canes and glittery snowflakes as ornaments.

As a final touch, we made popcorn garlands by stringing popcorn along some thread with a needle. So simple and inexpensive, yet a charming, old-fashioned way to decorate a tree!

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Even our tree topper was very DIY: we used a little sequined handbag I used to wear when I was a young warthog (which mum dug out of storage). We tucked the strap inside it and stuck the tip of the tree into the bag’s opening to keep it in place. (That sounded dirtier than I intended. Whoops.)

We couldn’t believe how perfect it looked, like it belonged there! Even the color matched.

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Here he is in all his glory guarding the array of presents beneath him. (You may notice we’re not much of a gift-wrap family. We’re more of throw-it-in-a-gift-bag-and-toss-in-some-crumpled-tissue-paper-to-disguise-it types.)

At least I tried to make it a little fancy with my stuck-on curly bows. (The red and green gift bags on the chair are from me.)

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The big green one is for mum, the red one is for her boyfriend.

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But yeah, proper gift wrapping really isn’t for me. I do admire people who go through all that effort, though. It looks lovely!

More on Christmas presents later.

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I started Christmas Eve at my mum’s house doing my annual Christmas Eve day tradition: watching Love Actually.

It’s one of my favorite movies ever, and certainly my ultimate favorite Christmas movie. (If you follow me on twitter you’ll have seen me live-tweeting my favorite lines from the film.)

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Another (new-ish) Christmas tradition: wearing my Santa hat non-stop all throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I guess now’s a good time to go into my Christmas Eve outfit. (This post in a little all over the place, sorry.)

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I wore my favorite new ugly Christmas sweater. It says, “Merry Christmas ya fithy animal,” a hilarious quote from the classic holiday movie, Home Alone.

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They were sold out of my size when I bought it, so I bought it a size larger and figured I’d just rock it comfy and oversized.

If you want to be matching Christmas sweater buddies, they come in a couple of colours and you can get ‘em here: ladies (sold out), and gents.

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I wasn’t going to a huge formal dinner or anything, just chilling at home with my small famjam, so I kept it comfortable. My outfit consisted of an oversized sweater, black jeggings, and thick knit socks. (Jeggings are the BEEEEEEST.)

My nails, on the other hand (ha!), brought the fancy.

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I used a creamy red polish (Sephora by OPI’S “And a Cherry On Top”) as the base, with a silver sparkle topcoat on the lower half of each nail. (Sephora by OPI‘s “Flurry Up!”)

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Hooray for festive Christmas nails!

While dinner was being prepared, we played cards, listened to Christmas music, snacked, put the finishing touches on our presents, and drank.

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My holiday drink of choice was Noel Nog, which is essentially vegan “egg nog” made from almonds instead of milk and eggs. It’s really delicious, and lighter and healthier than the traditional stuff.

(Don’t be fooled into thinking our Christmas was healthy, though. We were grubbing on chips, chocolate and all kinds of yummy goodies.)

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Pour it into a fancy goblet, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg on top, and garnish with a candy cane harvested from the Christmas tree, and you’re good to go.

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The perks of edible tree decorations is that you get to sneakily harvest them throughout the holidays. Mmm.

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Mum and I unfortunately aren’t much in the kitchen. (Mum, if you’re reading this: I’m sorry.) Luckily, mum’s boyfriend is. For Christmas Eve dinner, he prepared a wonderfully hearty turkey and vegetable soup, along with salad and perogies. (They were delicious, but not very photogenic.)

As good as that dinner was, the real feast took place on Christmas Day. But I’ll get to that.

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After dinner, I insisted that we open presents. I know many people open theirs on Christmas morning, but I’m impatient, and, let’s face it, the Santa myth has long since gone kapoot. So why wait ‘til morning? (And anyway, I intended to firmly sleep through my morning.)

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I’ll start with what I received, and then go into what I gave mum and Winston.

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(I got my dad the Beats by Dr. Dre wireless headphones he’s been secretly eyeing since forever, but doesn’t dare treat himself to. I wanted to really splurge on him because he’s given me so much over the years, and now that I have my first adult job, I can afford to do something nice for him.)

My first gift to mum was lending her my copy of the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. She doesn’t like collecting books, because she usually only reads them once – so she’s happier borrowing mine than if I’d bought her another copy.

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Mum is a bit hard to buy for, because she doesn’t like collecting physical things. Over the years I’ve learned she prefers more practical gifts that she can use on a daily basis. For example, last year I bought her good quality makeup brushes from Sephora, which she uses every morning!

I’d noticed that she always brushes her hair while it’s still wet after she takes a bath, which is very damaging because that’s when hair is in its most fragile state.

I gave her this Macadamia No Tangle hair brush, which is specifically designed to be gentle on wet hair and detangle it without breakage. This set also came with little sample sizes of their oil treatment and deep repair masque (a favorite of mine).

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I also got her a few goodies from MAC. I’d been trying to talk her into wearing MAC’s “Chili” lipstick since FOREVER, and finally dragged her into a MAC counter last week to try it on for herself. Lo and behold – she loved it. I persuaded her not to buy it right there and then, so she knew this was coming.

I also gave her the closest matching lip pencil MAC had, called “Redd”, as well as a matte brown eyeshadow (“Saddle”) that she uses daily and needed to replace.

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Edible treats are a good choice for mum, because she doesn’t have to make room to store them. Just eat ‘em and they’re gone!

I like to give people things they can’t justify buying for themselves. That’s what gifts are for!

I know mum loves white chocolate and almonds, so this white chocolate almond bark from Purdy’s Chocolatier was a pretty perfect choice.

And lastly, one more sweet treat:

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These decadent popcorn treats I found at Indigo. It’s buttery caramel corn with crunchy roasted almonds, crisp salty pretzel bits, and drizzles of Belgian white and dark chocolate. A little sweet, a little salty, and utterly delicious.

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My present to mum came with this gorgeous sparkly, gold card by Papyrus. Mum and I both share a love for beautiful things, so I knew she’d particularly appreciate it.

For Winston, I gave a pair of Everlast weight lifting gloves, an electric razor with a multitude of length and styling settings, and some Jack Black Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shaving Lather to go with it.

And now for the presents I got!

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Mum gave me the “Paris is Always a Good Idea” gold scripted pillow I put on my Birthdaymas wish list. I’ve loved this pillow from the moment I saw it in stores. And now it’s mine!

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This is me being pretty damn pleased about my pillow. (Mum also threw in these funny paper glasses, so obviously I had to wear them.)

She also gave me a beautiful Lancome makeup bag, a grey cable-knitted cardigan, and this eco soy candle, since she knows I love them:

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It smells amazing, and EXACTLY like the description! Deliciously pine-y but also wonderfully sweet. I have it burning right now.

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Winston got the tip-off from mum that I desperately wanted this book, so he very kindly bought it for me!

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I am so excited to have this! I fell in love with the Humans of New York blog almost as soon as I stumbled across it. You can check it out here.

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The book follows the same idea, with stunning photography of the multitude of human life that exists within New York City, with snippets of their life, their experiences, and their wisdom. A gorgeous idea, and a fantastic gift!

Mum and Winston exchanged their gifts, too. Mum gave Winston a new winter coat, and Winston gave mum the mirror she wanted.

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Top marks for gift wrapping efforts.

After all the gifts were unwrapped and the first day of feasting had ended, the grown-ups meandered off to bed.

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I changed into my pjs and eagerly waited until midnight for Santa to drop in. (Before remembering I was in a condo with no fireplace.)

Christmas Day was a flurry of feasting and family activities. I spent the entire day in pajamas, and we played cards, ate chips, played board games, ate cookies, talked, ate popcorn, joked, ate chocolate, and watched Bridesmaids. Then we ate some more.

You probably want to see the food, right? Here we go.

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Luckily for mum and I, Winston cooked up an entire feast all by himself. We had salad…

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…Baked potatoes…

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…Steamed veggies….

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…Cranberry sauce…

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…and the main event, turkey. Since there was just the three of us, we didn’t see the sense in roasting a whole bird. If we did, we’d be eating turkey leftovers for the rest of our lives.

Instead, we opted for a few breasts, cooked to perfection in their juices.

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Here’s what my plate looked like!

For dessert, mum broke out a few of her presents, which we all happily munched on:

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The white chocolate almond bark I gave her…

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…and the chocolate popcorn.

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Don’tcha just love presents that give back to you? ;)

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All in all, Christmas was awesome, and I spent most of the next day eating whatever leftover food I could find in the fridge. A fabulously gluttonous few days – but hey, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? (Or something about Jesus…? I’m not sure.)

How did you spend the holidays? Did you get what you wanted? Let me know in the comments, and happy holidays everyone! xx

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