My grand holiday ideas and how I failed at each one

Now that we are a little more than one-week away from Christmas, I feel comfortable admitting that I 100 percent failed at checking items off my holiday ideas list. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only one who let themselves down this year.

I know, I know. From today, I still have 10 days to spread as much Christmas cheer as my Grinch-like self can muster, but I am just not feeling it and am ready to tap out. I think I will go ahead and write Christmas 2016 off as a “try it again next year” year.

Perhaps 2017 will be kinder to this list of fails:

Continue reading

How I ‘popped the question’ to my bridesmaids

As a woman, having girlfriends I can depend on at every stage of life is a blessing. I truly have some of the best, most selfless, friends anyone could ask for.

That is why when Justin and I began planning our wedding there was no question on who I would ask to stand at my side on the happiest day of my life.

I didn’t want to ask these women to be in my bridal party in any simple way, though. I wanted to make it special and do something to demonstrate how thankful I am for each of them.

Being the DIYer that I claim I am, I did many Pinterest searches for “Will you be my bridesmaid?” gifts. There were a lot of great ideas that popped up, but the one that stood out most was a wine bottle with a personalized label for each lady.

It was something that would be fun for me to easily recreate and it would be a gift that my bridesmaids could keep and display in their home (if they want).

Continue reading

Stocking stuffers for him

Stockings are possibly my most favorite part of Christmas morning. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I look forward to rummaging through that oversized sock more than anything else — slowly reaching my hand all the way to the bottom to reveal all sorts of prized knickknacks I probably do not need.

I don’t just love getting a stocking, though, I cherish stuffing Justin’s stocking, too. And yes, the 13-year-old that lives inside of me is fighting the urge to make an inappropriate joke out of that statement. I’ll spare you, though.

Even during the Christmases that Justin and I were already struggling to put food on the table each day, we still managed to fill our stockings with small trinkets in an attempt to keep this holiday tradition alive.

So, believe me when I say that Christmas stockings are my thing and I believe that I have mastered the fine art of filling them — sometimes even over filling them — with goodies. I take the time each year to find a variety of items for my fella’s stocking — from toys and games to candy and coffees and CDs and socks and beyond.

stock-stuffers-for-him-01

Continue reading

Updated motherless daughter thoughts on the holidays

For the first time in a long time, I am truly excited about Christmas.

When you are dealing with grief from parent loss, even years after your parent is gone, the holidays are an especially difficult time.

For the last 8 years or so, I feel as if I have gone through the motions and celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas because that’s what everyone else around me was doing. Underneath the surface, though, there was a large part of me that wanted to just get through the holiday season and into the new year as quickly as possible.

This year is different. I am actually looking forward to decorating, Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, visiting family, doing generous things for others, and simply enjoying the spirit of the season.

I don’t know exactly what changed this year because I still miss my mom very much — the desire to have her here is a feeling that will forever be present in my life.

Continue reading

How my Christmas wish list as an adult is actually the same as my childhood wish list

Remember when you were little and every Christmas your entire family (mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) asked you over and over for your wish list? And your parents probably stood in line for an outrageous amount of time at some overly crowded shopping mall just so you could tell Santa what you wanted.

That’s how Christmas happened in my family, at least. Beginning Thanksgiving Day, my aunts and grandmother started pressing us children for gift ideas. My cousins and I would spew these elaborate suggestions thinking we were doing our elders a favor by telling them exactly what we wanted. We were making Christmas fool proof for them.

Now that I am grown and have a home of my own, my aunts still ask me what I want for Christmas each year, but for some reason when I hit a certain age it no longer felt appropriate to present to my family  — even though they ask for it — an actual list of things I want. I usually respond to their question with, “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.”

Really, Hali? You know good and well that they are going to give you presents whether or not you tell them what you want.

However, I of course still prepare a list in my head of the most desired and elaborate items I can imagine receiving, and in doing so I have come to realize that my wishes haven’t really changed since becoming an adult. Remarkably, I desire the same things I did as a child, but those items happen to be real and far more expensive than their toy counterparts. Continue reading

What to get the NC craft beer lover on your holiday shopping list

I am a lover of craft beer, especially when it is made in my home state of North Carolina. I know I am not the only human in Cackalacky who avidly supports the more than 180 homegrown breweries and brewpubs of our state.

North Carolina is home to the largest number of craft breweries in the American South. The industry has an annual economic impact of $1.2 billion on the state and provides roughly 10,000 jobs paying $300 million in annual wages (North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild).

Wow. That’s huge.

With that being said, here are five gift ideas for the NC craft beer lover on your shopping list.

Continue reading

25 days of blogmas

Happy holidays, y’all.

I am excited that it is finally December and almost Christmas. Even though this time of year is particularly difficult for me as a motherless daughter, I love the holiday season because of all the magic and cheer it brings.

I am also excited to try something new this year by celebrating blogmas. 25 days of it to be exact. Go big or go home, right?

My creative spirit has been starving, and I think spending 25 days creating new content is exactly what I need to stay busy and focused on feeding the beast.

So, for the rest of the month, I will be bringing you posts to inspire holiday spirit, more confessions on being a motherless daughter, as well as sharing some wedding planning tips and expanding the new section of my blog titled “At Home with Hali.”

Merry blogmas to all. I hope you enjoy!