I’ve neglected my blog this month, but with 9 days off work, it’s nice to immerse myself in hobbies and leisurely activities. Meticulous responsibilities, such as my half-ass efforts to revamp this site, have been avoided. Hoping to transform this new domain by the end of December. On a side note, recent times with friends and family have proven very therapeutic. Other than the bachlorette party in Gatlinburg, this is my first vacation since Bonnaroo. This is also my first vacation in years that I’m actually enjoying at home and not on the road somewhere.

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I felt stressed. Both the cats fell ill to upper respiratory infections and the house was briefly reconstructed due to mold issues. Luckily we rent from a decent landlord, and everything came together in time for Christmas. The girls enjoyed their stocking stuffers on Christmas Eve: A few cans of cat food and dental seafood treats. After growing up receiving cheesy tidbits of advice from adults like “You have to endure the rain to appreciate the sunshine”, I can understand how relief from the stressful phases of life can heighten a sense of gratitude regarding the uneventful periods.

We are fortunate for our pets and to live in a healthy, suitable environment. I’ve come to realize how negative my thinking became after the time change. Meeting Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips last Thurday re-framed my desire to improve my somewhat cynical nature. Funny how positive circumstances and opportunities seem present themselves when you’re paying attention. Blame it on the holidays, but this season is a good time to revitalize the spirit, am I right?

Despite how often Christmas falls under criticism for making it’s appearance too early, this is truly my favorite holiday. From ornament crafting sessions to searching neighborhoods for lights, Christmas offers interactive traditions to anticipate. As we press further into our first year of cohabitation, the enchanting effects of the holiday season fill the air.

I have slightly tortured my significant other with old school Christmas movies, holiday candles and jingle earrings. Twinkling Christmas lights and tinsel dress the tree. Frank Sinatra crooned sweet Christmas tunes one afternoon in the background as I baked “Brownie Trees” topped with green homemade frosting and candy sprinkles. And we can’t forget the coveted Cranberry Pulled Pork slow-cooked with Crushed Pineapple. And as if my love for Christmas wasn’t bad enough last year, I had free reign to decorate this year.

My favorite aspects of Christmas this year revolved around decorating and crafts. Also, Keegan taking me to Opryland Hotel for Christmas was the best. Although we agreed it was his gift to me, I still wound up with presents. Needless to say, the man spoils me.

Finally, I’m eager to reunite 2 estranged members of my family this weekend. These individuals haven’t caught up in over 2 years, so I’m excited to carry out this surprise and see how it unfolds.

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Ornament Crafting Party
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Snacks (Take note of the brownie trees towards the right)
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Makeup samples from Granny
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Cookie swap
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View from our balcony at Opryland Hotel
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Lights at Opryland
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My love and I
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Beautiful flowers near Cascades
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Hanging with Caitlin
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Coffee with Nichole. Loved her gift!
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Jewelry and scarf from Caitlin
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Touring the lights in Murfreesboro

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Jesus Christopher Walken Candle….hilarious.

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This year didn’t turn out as expected, with the exception of knowing Keegan and I would move in together. I landed a new car, became accepted into grad school, reunited with two former friends and learned how to garden and hoop. This year has been phenomenal! I appreciate the intimate circle of friends and family I’m surrounded by. I’m determined to embrace yoga again in the next few weeks and eager to realign my chakras myself with amateur reiki skills and meditation techniques. Also I plan to add more to my “rock collection” once Stone Keepers announces the times of their sales.

With the New Year approaching quickly, I still have very few New years Resolutions for next year. Please feel free to share your resolutions for next year or any ideas concerning advice you might like to read about.