What I Learned From Blogmas This Year

We’ve finally made it to Christmas Eve and I’m all sorts of excited to be nearing the end of Blogmas. It’s been a really great month, but also a really exhausting challenge of constant blogging every day. Not everything I’ve pumped out have been great quality, which I apologize for, but next year I’ll start writing early instead of deciding a few days before that I’m going to roll with it.

This was, quite obviously, my first year attempting Blogmas. I learned about it around Thanksgiving and thought it was interesting. After speaking with the other writers for Inbetween Thoughts, we decided to split up the work and do it for our blog.

But at the end of November, I was still on a writing high from winning National Novel Writing Month and decided I could survive Blogmas on my own.

I wasn’t wrong.

During this month of torture adventure, I’ve learned a few things and I wanted to share with all of you in case you decide to attempt Blogmas next year:

  • It’s really hard to write 25 posts that are all focused on Christmas. While there are plenty of topics to talk about, sometimes they seem to get a bit repetitive.
  • Like NaNoWriMo, you have to really plan around getting everything written on time. Except Blogmas requires you to be a bit more time sensitive since you have daily goals and not a monthly goal. I like this, because it really gets you in the habit of writing on a daily basis.
  • Blogmas is the chance to research everything you want to do for the holidays – be it gifts to purchase, outfits to wear, food to cook, or decorations to put up. I really liked this part of the month because I got to learn about a lot of cool things that I wouldn’t have read about otherwise.
  • You need to branch out in order to reach your Blogmas goals. There is no theme other than Christmas. I could have tried to write fashion and beauty posts all month but I wouldn’t have made it to the end. Branching out is a lot of fun as well, especially when it comes to things you wouldn’t touch normally.
  • If you have huge goals like this, it is better to start early. I can’t count how many times this month that I wished I didn’t have to write something that night. If I had made the time to get ahead and start writing early, it probably wouldn’t have been as stressful. And my posts would have been better quality.
  • I really like writing and blogging and just being a part of the world of words. This month was stressful but also rewarding in that it only grew my love for what I’ve gotten myself into with this blog (and others).

I’ve one more post to go for Christmas and I think you’ll enjoy it. Keep a look out for my North Pole interview tomorrow morning.

I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas! How are you spending the holidays? Did you attempt Blogmas this year? What were some of the things you learned? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Love,
Brittany

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Keep Your Skin Glowing This Holiday Season with These Skincare Tips

While dreaming of a white Christmas is a lovely thing to do, none of us can deny the pains that colder weather brings our skin. While we’re all busy preparing for the holiday season and running around to all the glam parties, it can be easy to forget that our body requires a little bit different care in the winter.

Cold weather prevents our skin from taking care of itself as well as it can in the summer. The skin cracks, loses the ability to retain moisture, and gets inflamed. I’ve had my fair share of winters where my hands were so dry that my knuckles dried up and there was slight bleeding (blaming eczema there).

So if you want to keep your glow this holiday season, check out these skin care tips that I’ve rounded up.

  • If you have dry skin, the cold weather will cause it to get even drier. Double up on moisturizing and use products that focus on preventing moisture loss, such as an oil-based cleanser.
  • Dial back on the long showers and baths, and make sure to avoid scorching hot water. The hotter the temperature, the more it causes dry skin.
  • Wear soft, breathable fabrics when your skin flares up. Itchy materials will just help irritate the skin more.
  • Put a humidifier in your room to help increase moisture levels. It is recommended to keep moisture levels between 30% and 50%.
  • Don’t rely on facial oils for moisturizing. They help add a layer of protection from cold wind, but do not moisturize your skin.
  • Avoid exfoliating more than necessary. This will only help irritate and weaken your skin.
  • Remember to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water. While it can be great to turn to warm drinks like hot chocolate and tea, you can’t forget that your skin requires water as well to keep its glow.
  • Overnight moisturize by by slathering lotion over your hands and feet. Then cover them in gloves and socks to wear overnight.
  • Make sure your cleanser is good for the winter months. Avoid anything with glycolic or salicylic acid to focus on cleansers that promote hydrated skin.
  • Face mask it up! Find face masks that have ingredients like chamomile, aloe vera, avocado, or anything else that promotes hydration.

Keep on top of your skincare and you won’t have to worry about drying up too much. I’ve been slacking a bit and have noticed my knuckles and fingers getting super dry! Time to slather on the lotion so that I”ll have pretty skin for the rest of the holidays.

Do you have any winter skincare routines that you’d like to share? What are some of your favorite moisturizing products?

Love,
Brittany

21 Christmas Songs to Add to Your Holiday Playlist

It isn’t Christmas until you have a holiday song or two continuously stuck in your head. I tend to stick to the classic holiday songs, but it is fun mixing it up with more modern Christmas music every now and then. I wanted to share some of the songs that I enjoy listening to the…

via 21 Christmas Songs to Add to Your Holiday Playlist —

Shop Locally This Christmas at These 5 Austin Businesses

Christmas shopping can be hard, especially because of the large number of businesses out in the world to choose from. If you’re wanting to bring your shopping experience a little closer to home and support local businesses, I’ve rounded up find stores in the Austin area that you need to check out.

Cotone Clothing+ Beauty Bar

I absolutely love this local retail store. They sell clothing and jewelry both from local designers and Italian designers. The owner, Jentri, also has her own beauty line that she sells in store with a gorgeous collection of makeup. The sales team is super sweet and helpful every time I go in. And there’s also a gorgeous collection of tulle skirts – eventually I’ll have one of them hanging in my closet. Visit their website to shop online:  http://www.cotoneclothing.com/

Passport Vintage

I just discovered Passport Vintage a month or two ago and I’ve been in love ever since. I got the cutest top from their store when it was located on the East Side (they’ve since relocated to SoCo). They’re also well known for their collection of jeans. You can’t go wrong with getting that fashion lover in your life a new pair of denim jeans to rock for the holidays. Visit their website http://www.passportvintage.com for shopping.

Feathers Boutique

Vintage clothing is definitely fun to shop – and you can find a great selection of it over at Feathers Boutique. They’re reasonably priced and have really cute pieces on sell at their store. You can also get some online shopping done on their website: http://www.feathersboutiquevintage.com.

Luxe Apothetique 

This is another nice local store to visit – they have stylish clothes, a great beauty section, and just the most fun gifts collection as well. You can find a lot of great things here. They have two locations – one at the Domain and one on 2nd Street downtown. Check out their website at http://www.shopluxe.com.

Archive

Archive is another great local store that’s been nationally recognized. They’re a little out of my price range unfortunately, but for those of you who can afford it – it’s a great place to get some nice vintage clothes. You can get some shopping done on their website: http://www.archivevintage.com.

There’s obviously a lot more stores to shop in Austin, but these are some of the clothing stores that I highly recommend if you’re buying any new fun pieces for that fashionista in your life.

Have you found a new store that you want to visit? Do you have any other top stores in Austin that you recommend for Christmas shopping? Let me know in the comments down below!

Love,
Brittany

Make All Your Friends Jealous with this Simple Hot Chocolate Fudge Recipe

I love getting to bake and make fun desserts during the holidays (or just any occasion, really). I usually go for my usual: confetti cake, brownies, or cookie brownies. However, I made fudge for the first time with my mother for the Thanksgiving holiday and really wanted to do something for the Christmas season with fudge. After browsing around Pinterest, I found one that really interested me: Hot Chocolate Fudge.

The name alone is reason to like it. However, the other great part about this fudge is that the recipe is super simple. Seriously, it only requires four ingredients: white chocolate, dark chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk.

Really, there’s no way to mess up this recipe unless you manage to overcook the chocolate.

The end result is chocolatey and delicious! I definitely recommend it.

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You’ll need 2 cups of dark chocolate.

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And 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate. Grab a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk. Put 5 tablespoons with the white chocolate and the rest goes with the dark chocolate.

You’ll also need mini marshmallows. The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups, but I say make that however you want.

Microwave the dark chocolate for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave for 15 seconds and stir until the chocolate is all melty and smooth. Layer it at the bottom of a 9 x 9″ pan (greased first, of course).

Then microwave the white chocolate for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Pat down on top of the layer of dark chocolate.

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Top off with a layer of mini marshmallows. Press down gently so that it sets into the white chocolate layer.

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and then enjoy!

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You can find the original recipe here at wonkywonderful.com.

What kind of goodies do you like baking or making during the holiday season? Spread the love and share down below! My sweet tooth is aching for some more deliciousness.

Love,
Brittany

6 Fun Gifts to Use As Stocking Stuffers This Year

I don’t know about you, but I have some deep fascination for Christmas stockings and all the goodies that go into them. It’s always an adventure because there are multiple little gifts that always put a smile on my face. If you’re trying to figure out stocking stuffers for your loved ones or friends this…

via 6 Fun Gifts to Use As Stocking Stuffers This Year —

7 Christmas DIY Decorations to Add Some Festiveness to Your Home

I’ve been needing to step it up on my decorating in my apartment. I definitely don’t have unlimited funds to go purchase all these amazing decorations (cue the tears streaming down my eyes), so DIY decor is the way to go to make it cheap and fun. As with everything, the best place to turn…

via 7 Christmas DIY Decorations to Add Some Festiveness to Your Home —

The Best Holiday Pajamas To Cozy Up In This Christmas Season

Ah, Christmas! In most parts of the country, it gets a little cooler and warrants some nice, comfy pajamas to laze about in on days that you don’t have plans. And of course, you need to have sleepwear that fits in with the holidays. They might even have to be a part of the festivities…

via The Best Holiday Pajamas To Cozy Up In This Christmas Season —

On the First Day of Blogmas

On the first day of Blogmas, my true love gave to me-

Wait, scratch that. I don’t have a true love yet. Unless maybe I can count myself?

Today marks the first day of Blogmas, a holiday event for bloggers to post something every day of December up through the 25th all in dedication to one of the biggest joys of the year – Christmas. While I’m slightly exhausted from NaNoWriMo last month, I figured I’d take the dive and see how I’d fare doing Blogmas for the first time. I have a few of my posts planned already for Inbetween Thoughts, but I’m kind of wandering around blind for my own personal blog at the moment (don’t worry, that will change soon).

With Christmas just around the corner, December ends up being a rush excitement to find the perfect gifts, plan out trips, and decide what dishes to bring to the family dinner. But there’s a ton of simple things that make the season so wonderful – the perfect hot chocolate and the mouthful of whip cream that you inhale with your first sip (is that just me?), the twinkling lights that seem to reflect the wonder in your eyes, dazzling holiday outfits, and the simple joy of being with loved ones.

So, as I move forward into the month with Blogmas and celebrations and traditions, I want us all to remember to embrace the little things – to not get lost in the chaotic mess that can sometimes occur when trying to prepare for the holidays. We deserve to be happy, too!

Expect a lot of fun topics to spread throughout the month – gift ideas, outfit inspiration posts, DIY crafts, and maybe some recipes (though I’m so not a cook). If you have anything that you want to learn or hear about specifically, let me know and I’ll see if I can work it into my publishing schedule.

Happy Blogmas!

Brittany