A Holiday Survival Kit

A Holiday Survival Kit

December is one of my favorite months of the year.  However, it can also be one of the most the most stressful months.  Between running around trying to check off every item on your shopping list, and getting to every fun winter activity and party, life can get pretty hectic.  I keep a few items on hand to stay sane this time of year that I have dubbed my Holiday Survival Kit.

Holiday Survival Kit

A Festive Sweater – When you’re out and about shopping or going to a casual party, nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like a festive sweater.  I’m quite partial to penguins!

A Well-Organized Planner – Keeping track of every event and person on your present list can be hard to stay on top of.  My planner keeps me from forgetting everything I need to get done.

A Strong Latte – Late nights crafting happen.  The next morning calls for a strong latte.

A Christmas Movie – There is nothing greater than a Christmas movie on when trying to wrap presents or tie bows.

A Warm Jacket – It’s cold outside.  You don’t want to run errands and not be prepared to be outside for any length of time. I love a jacket that’s versatile enough to be worn to a party as well.

A Stylish Watch – I’ve been in Target how long?! Thank God I have a watch to keep me on schedule!

A Nice Camera – You just never know when a gorgeous holiday moment will arise that you need a picture of.  By gorgeous I mean adorable and by moment I mean my dog.

A Binge-Worthy Show – Sometimes you just need a break to relax.  When it’s cold outside trying winding down with a good binge-worthy show.

A Good Book – This is a year-round must for stressful times.

I’m pretty good about getting all my to-dos checked off my list with the help of my Holiday Survival Kit.  The one thing I do stress about are the presents for the men in my life.  Why are fathers/grandfathers/husbands so hard to shop for?  This year I found pretty awesome gifts for these special guys at Man Crates.

Man Crates are the opposite of your boring gift basket.  You can get food, video games, gear, or gadgets in (you guessed it) a crate that’s so manly it comes with its own crowbar for opening.  Here are a few of my favorite gift options from Man Crates:

Man Crates - Zombie Survival Crate
I’m not sure how you can go wrong with any gift for the man in your life that includes a large knife and Gorilla Tape.  Bonus points if he’s a big Walking Dead fan

Man Crates - Retro Gamer Man Crate

Candy and retro video games?!?! I might want this crate for myself!

Grill Master Crate

Man Crates - Grill Master CrateA Brass Knuckle Meat Tenderizer? Your man will feel so tough he’ll want to cook you steaks for dinner every night.  Win win I say!

With your own holiday survival kit and a Man Crate for the man in your life, I think we will all survive the holidays stress-free.  If nothing else it will be Zombie-free.

What are your go-to items to survive the holidays?

How to Blend Holiday Traditions in Your Marriage

Blending Holiday Traditions In Your Marriage

Today I am over at Life With Amberly and Joe sharing How to Blend Holiday Traditions in Your Marriage.  I was so honored when Amberly asked me to guest post on her blog this month.  Amberly’s marriage posts have been a constant inspiration for me to continue to grow and challenge myself as a wife. Also, her Marriage and Relationship Monthly Goals link-up has really pushed to find the areas that I need to work on to better myself and my marriage.  I am so excited that this coming year I will be co-host for Marriage and Relationship Monthly Goals with Amberly. Go check out my post and be sure to stay a while to get to know Amberly.  I think you will really love her and her blog!

12x12x12 – A Recap Of My Year In Photos

12x12x12 - A Recap Of My Year In Photos

It’s 12/12 and I am joining The New Wifestyle for a photo challenge to share “twelve photos that highlight the best, worst, happiest, saddest, coolest, adventurous, or most terrifying moments of our year!”

I love taking photos so it’s been really hard to narrow it down to just twelve, but I did it.  (not without serious sweat on my brow!) Here are my favorite photos from 2014.

1. My husband took me to Dollywood for my birthday and it was spectacular

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Dollywood

2. I got all dolled up to take some photos

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Photo Shoot

3. My bestie and I braved a rainstorm to go to CMA Fest

12x12x12 - A Recap Of My Year In Photos - CMA Fest

4. Mr. Kitty took the Ice Bucket Challenge

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Ice Bucket Challenge

5. And the hubs surprised me with kind gestures.

10706779_285042401690302_159198802_n

6. We got dressed up for a wedding

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Wedding Guests

7. And goofed off on dates

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Goofy Dates

8. My parents came to visit and we ate lots of ice cream

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Ice Cream Run

9. And I got the most special gift for our first anniversary

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Anniversary Gift

10. Zack experienced Disneyland for the first time

10351335_10152346898206371_1003390684053710692_n

11. And we spent some time in my hometown

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Santa Barbara Visit

12. Then I went to Cancun for work

A Recap Of My Year In Photos - Cancun Retreat

How was your year?!

The Underground Girls Of Kabul – A Book Review

The Underground Girls Of Kabul: A Book Review
 
*Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  All thoughts are my own.
 

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction (hence why I chose this a non-fiction book for the category “Read a book from a genre you don’t usually read,” for my Winter 2014 Reading Challenge. Despite my general love for fiction, I found this book completely fascinating.

In The Underground Girls Of Kabul, Jenny Nordberg, a reporter for the New York Times, discovers while work in Afghanistan, that the desperation for wives to give birth to sons, often leads some women to temporary raising their daughters as boys.  These girls or bacha posh as they are called in Afghanistan (translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) provide families without son a sense of pride and security.  These bacha posh are able to work outside the home and are given the freedom to go to school and behave as boys.  This phenomenon illustrates just how oppressed Afghan women are.

Women often must stay at home and cannot leave without being accompanied by a male relative or husband.  Many women are not allowed to attend school and those who do attend school rarely get to continue past puberty.   Husbands are chose for thee women regardless of if that man ends up being violent, women cannot get a divorce without losing custody of their children and becoming a social outcast.

I was aware of most of these tragic realities.  What I was surprised and shocked by were the women who raised their daughters as boys just so that these girls would have a chance to experience freedom.  I was impressed by the stories of girls who refused to assume their roles as women once they were of marrying age, and continued on to adulthood as males. I was astonished by the descriptions of fathers that bravely allow their daughters to go to school and choose men for them to marry that they know will allow their daughter to work and progress as citizens.

The stories of these women were written beautifully, and I felt myself being invested in each and every one of their lives.  I was rooting for them to succeed and to make progress in a society that hasn’t come very far in the area of woman’s freedoms.  It really put in perspective the circumstances of my life and how thankful I should be that I was able to have access to a good education, my own choice of job, and the freedom to marry a man of my choosing.

 

 

Dear Friend

Dear Friend - A Letter To The Woman Who Doesn't Love Her Body

Today I have the privilege of guest posting on my friend Keri’s blog Living In This Season.  I have been so fortunate to have gotten to know Keri the last few months, and when she asked me to write something for her “A Letter To” series, I jumped at the chance.

Since I’ve been working the past few months on feeling more confident with my own body, I figured a letter to a friend that doesn’t love her body would be the most appropriate letter I could write.  We all know someone (or are that someone) who has every reason to feel beautiful, but for some reason only sees faults and flaws. This letter is for that friend.  May she feel beautiful today.

Go check out my post on Keri’s blog and let me know what you think. Be sure to also stop by all the other wonderful posts on Living In This Season while you are there!