After the craziness of 2020, which has spilled into 2021, it's so crazy to already be in a new year. I thought for my first blog post back I would talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish this year.
GET STRONGER: PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY
CREATE HIGHER-QUALITY CONTENT
FINALLY READ THE BIBLE COVER TO COVER
SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY
MAKING MONEY WITH CONTENT CREATION
I've also signed up for the TikTok creator fund, which pays you depending on how your videos perform. This came after meeting requirements that several people may not have met yet.
I'm hoping that these revenue streams become something my family can rely on. I really would love to do more on YouTube as well, but I'm much further from reaching the requirements there.
So, what are your new years goals? Let me know in the comments below!
1. DOG/PUPPY IN ANTLERS
2: MUG OF HOT CHOCOLATE
3: GRINCH PHOTO SHOOT
4: WRAPPED IN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
5: GRINCH THEME
If you celebrate Christmas, it's likely that you have a few traditions within your family. Sometimes, when we share our traditions, we hear one that we like from other families and adopt it into our own.
So, with that in mind, here are a few of my family Christmas traditions:
1: MATCHING CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS
2: READING THE CHRISTMAS STORIES
3: OPENING A GAME AND PLAYING IT ON
My family's side has a get-together where Santa stops in to bring an early Christmas present. After a certain age, my mom stopped sending the gift off to Santa and just gave it to us herself.
It's always a game, and we always play it when we return from the get-together. Since there is no get-together this year, we will get to spend more time playing our games and eating yummy snacks!
4: BAKING TOGETHER
One thing I love to do around the holidays with my mom is baking. We will make all sorts of Christmas treats for our family to enjoy the morning of Christmas.
We make things like rum balls, chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies, sausage balls, rice crispy treats, rolo pretzels, and much more.
I find baking to be fun and I love when I hear that something I made tastes good!
5: FINDING THE NEW ORNAMENT ON THE TREE
Each year, my mom buys or we make a new ornament that had something to do with the year.
This was the year that I found out I would be the drum major of my college's marching band. And, as you can see, we did hand-made ornaments this year.
My mom made this one! However, in a year where she buys them and we don't know which is which, we stand around the tree, staring intently until we find the new addition to the tree.
This is a tradition Jonathan and I have also adopted and I hope to do with my future children!
1: SEND OUT A VIRTUAL INVITATION
First things first, pick a date and get a virtual invitation out to your attendees. There are a ton of free websites out there where you can create your own unique invitation which you can download and embed into an email. One of my favorite websites is Canva.com. You can find a ton of templates, or can upgrade for premium access options.
2: FIND OR CREATE GAMES
Since this event will likely have to be virtual, as I know mine is, you'll need to find some games you can play over Zoom or video chat. I've become somewhat of a holiday game guru in my office.
I love the Christmas/Holiday jeopardy, but you can also find plenty of Kahoot or Family Feud games out there, or make your own!
3: COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR FOOD/SNACKS
As I mentioned, my office usually does a potluck event where we all bring a dish and have lunch together. Since we don't want anyone bringing their food in in case of contamination, we considered a few ideas:
4: HOST YOUR PARTY
Now that you've done all the leg-work, it's time to enjoy your party. For me this year, I'll be the game hostess. I usually do this every year, but the game is going to be the main activity.
Put on your best holiday gear, or just a big smile, and celebrate with your team. It's been a tough year, and you all deserve a break to enjoy an hour with one another!
1. A SUBSCRIPTION BOX
2. VACATIONS OR EXPERIENCES
If you have an adventurous loved one or friend, a vacation or experience may be a great gift. This could be a family vacation, tickets to a concert or the opportunity to drive your dream car around a race track. The options are unlimited. Make sure you know what the recipient loves before purchasing. Vacations and experiences are generally pretty expensive, so you want to hit the nail on the head when you purchase this alternative gift.
3. MAKE THEM A LORD OR LADY
No, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians scene where Scott Disick became a Lord in the UK was not faked.
I’ve seen a ton of ads on Facebook where you can, for a nominal fee, make someone you love a Lord or Lady in various countries. I think it would be super interesting, and a fun thing to joke around about.
4. DONATE TO A CAUSE
If you have someone in your life who really doesn’t like receiving presents themselves, you can always give them the gift of donating to their favorite cause in their name. If your loved one is a die-hard supporter of a reasonable cause, consider donating on their behalf. This could include a wildlife adoption where you can adopt an animal in the wild to make sure they’re taken care of and protected!
5. PAY A BILL
This may be a little controversial to some, but I’ve seen almost every 20-something on my social media timeline say that they’d love to have the money someone would use toward a gift to go toward a bill. Even if you can’t directly pay the bill, giving cash or a check with the purpose that it should be used to pay a bill could be really helpful to many, especially right now.
1. VISIT A PARK FULL OF LIGHTS
There are so many parks and venues around the country that have annual light displays that you can drive or walk through. One of my favorites is Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights. Located in Clemmons, N.C., this festival is open now until Jan. 1 from 6 to 11 p.m.
Google your area and “Christmas Lights” to see what venues are located nearest to you.
2. PUT TOGETHER A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
3. CHRISTMAS TREE & ORNAMENT SHOPPING
4. PUTTING UP YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
5. HOT COCO CONTEST
6. CHRISTMAS MOVIE NIGHT
Since it's Dec. 1, I thought I'd share a few things you can do today to get into the holiday spirit:
1. DONATE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY TODAY!
Today is Giving Tuesday. On this day, several agencies in your area will match the gifts you give to non-profits you donate to. This can be a nation-wide non-profit such as United Way, or can be a local college or university, your church, or a social services organization that helps those in need in your area.
Check your favorite non-profit's website today for more information.
2. GO SHOPPING FOR WEEK-LONG DEALS
Although Cyber Monday was yesterday, there are still deals to shop throughout this week and moving forward through the holiday season. You can find deals on Amazon and other bigger retailers.
Just search for deals in your area using Google, and you may find that perfect Christmas dress on sale at Macy's!
3. GET BAKING
Nothing quite signals the start of the holiday season than breaking out the baking apron. I personally love to bake, no matter if its cookies, cake, banana bread, or something else.
Start making your favorite Christmas and holiday treats now to get into the spirit and kick off the holiday season right.
4. HAVE A CHRISTMAS CRAFT DAY
I just did this with my mom, brother, and family friends. Christmas crafting is a great way to make more ornaments for your tree or decorations for your house. You can even make some DIY gifts if you choose. Get together and come up with some Christmas or holiday crafts and do them with your family, or people you know who have been safely social-distancing and wearing their mask. If you want to see what we made, check out the video below!
5. START LISTENING TO CHRISTMAS SONGS
For all the Grinches who didn't want to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, now is the time! Switch on some Christmas music on your Spotify or Pandora accounts while you're driving around or getting ready for the day. There's nothing really like the sound of familiar Christmas songs to get your mind into the spirit of the holidays.
What are you doing to get into the spirit? Leave a comment below, or catch up with me on social media!
1. SQUAD GOALS PAINTING
This is something that Jonathan and I DIY'd a few Halloweens back. He is a great artist, and I'm OK with coloring inside the lines.
After he drew out the design, I colored it in using some acrylic paint. I believe we got all of our materials from Hobby Lobby.
I like Hobby Lobby because they almost always have a sale on, or a coupon you can use to get a good discount on your materials. We got a huge pack of these smaller canvases for a pretty small amount of money. I'm a huge Hocus Pocus fan, so I was beyond excited when he agreed to draw it out for me!
2. SUNFLOWER SKULL DIY
Another DIY decoration I made was this sunflower skull. I created this by purchasing a hallow plastic skull from Old Time Pottery and getting some floral foam and plastic sunflowers from Walmart.
All I did was cut a hole in the top of the head and slip the floral foam inside of that hole. Then, I just placed the flowers in the foam so it looks like flowers are coming out of the top.
Sunflowers are my favorite flowers, and skulls are my favorite type of decoration. I was super happy to make this DIY, and it is super simple. Go on over to www.YouTube.com/gemusiclover to find my DIY video on this!
3. SKELETON WALL TAPESTRY
This guy stays up year-round in my office space. I saw this tapestry last year and had to have it. I found it on Rosegal.com, which also sells a top of holiday clothing for all shapes and sizes.
They have a small home decor section, which has a number of cool items for your home.
I personally love the flowers and the nonchalant peace sign that the skeleton is throwing up.
I think it is beautiful, and I think skeletons and skulls are beautiful in general, since they are real and living inside of us! That probably sounded weird, but I love the beauty of the human body, down to the bones!
4. SUGAR SKULLS AND ARM CANDLE HOLDERS
Sugar skulls are just so beautiful to me. I have always adored the cultures which celebrate Dia de los Muertos, and the various traditions they celebrate. These pieces didn't come together, but I paired them together because it just made sense with this sugar skull.
I got these pieces from A.C. Moore, and the candles I purchased from The Christmas Tree Shoppe.
5. OOGIE BOOGIE PAINTING
Another DIY creation, Jonathan drew out Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas for this painting.
I think that this movie is one of Jonathan's favorite Halloween/Christmas movies when it comes to animated films.
While he did a great job drawing this, it is clear that the paint strokes are uneven, which is on me! However, it is less noticeable in person. I just adore the things that we make together. It is always fun to sit down and create something hands-on with one another.
6. RAINBOW SKULL BOTTLE
This is a bottle that is shaped like a skull. When I first saw it in A.C. Moore, I fell in love with it.
We have chosen to keep the bottle empty, but I'm sure you could fill it with sand or something else.
The bottle is sealed with a cork, which could easily be removed. This is a glass container, so it is pretty sturdy.
I am happy to have this skull as a part of my collection. It is a cheery version of an otherwise rather gruesome part of the body, I guess, which is why I like it so much.
7. DIY RHINESTONE SKULL
I created this guy and he is certainly looking a little worse for wear lately. This is actually the same exact skull as the sunflower one. All I did was paint is with acrylic paint and place rhinestones on this teeth, in his eye sockets, and on his head.
I will suggest spray painting plastic items with white spray paint first. You can paint it just with the acrylic paint, but it will take a lot longer to stick and a lot more coats of paint for it to be vibrant enough.
1. MAKE A PVC PIPE SHOOT
2. PICK A NUMBER
Instead of giving out individual pieces of candy this year, you could instead give out little treat bags. You have more options to fill these with, besides candy. You can find Halloween pencils, erasers, rings, and small toys at your local dollar store.
Safely assemble your treat bags ahead of time and add numbers to them. Lay the treat bags out in the yard and have the children pick a number. They can then find the bag with their number on it and pick it up without contaminating the other bags.
You will need to know about how many trick-or-treaters you have to know how many treat bags to prepare.
3. DRIVE THROUGH TRICK-OR-TREATING
4. SKIP TRICK-OR-TREATING AND DO A SCAVENGER HUNT FOR CANDY WITHIN YOUR FAMILY
MAKE SURE TO CHECK AND SANITIZE CANDY!
- No Munching Rule: Kids will want to open a piece of their candy (or 10 pieces) to enjoy before you get home. Don't let them!
- Put on gloves and sift through the candy when you get home. Pick out any pieces that are open or seem to have been tampered with and throw them away.
- Use a cleaning wipe on the outside of the candy. After wiping it down, do no touch it with your gloves again, as these are now contaminated. This means you may need two people for this process.
- Let your child enjoy!
TIM BURTON-INSPIRED LOOK
I have adored this black-and-white-striped skirt since the day I got it. It is super comfortable and made of a stretchier fabric.
If you're a bigger girl like me, you should look for clothing items with stripes going vertically instead of horizontally. This makes you look taller and thinner. That was just a quick tip for all my fashion-loving ladies with bigger hips!
I paired it with some white slip-on shoes, kind of like Vans, and a black 3/4 sleeve shirt. I added the bun and the dark lipstick to bring it all together.
I would wear this any time of the year, but it just gives off the right amount of spooky vibes, in my opinion!
HALLOWEEN TOWN DRESS
I just took a photo in this dress again this year, but I actually rocked it for the first time last year. I got this from Rosegal. It is pretty good quality, and was pretty inexpensive.
The hitch with Rosegal is that it takes forever to get your items unless you pay for premium shipping. The best time to shop on this site is either a month or two before the holiday you want items for or after the holiday has ended. If you're someone who wants something special and festive to wear this Christmas, you should check out their site now!
I usually wear between a 24 and 28, depending on the item. They have a great plus-size collection, though most is made from stretchy material. They also have straight-size clothing as well, so it works for everyone!
MERMAID FOR TRUNK-OR-TREAT
Last year, we had a fun trunk-or-treat event at our church. We go to a pretty large church, so it brought in thousands of trick-or-treaters, which brought me so much joy.
I love handing out candy, but we don't have many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, so this was a welcome event for me.
I got the dress from Rosegal as well. I had the shoes and the comfy sweater. I made a sea star hair clip and the shell necklace with some craft items. The triton was made with expanding foam and a shower curtain rod!
I added some "scales" on my face for good measure by using some fishnet stockings and shimmery purple eyeshadow. The kids loved my outfit!
HALLOWEEN FIGURES PRINT DRESS
Yet another favorite from Rosegal, I added a cute little witch hat headband that I found in the dollar section at Target!
This is one of my favorite dresses because it is colorful, but still festive for the holiday. I only really can wear this when it is pretty cold outside, as I get hot really easily.
âEither way, I thought this outfit was really cute, and I can't wait to wear it some time this year. I have no idea where the headband is, though!
Around this time last year, everyone was going crazy for the new Beetlejuice musical. I still haven't seen it, but I've seen a ton of performances and love the soundtrack.
I think I did this makeup for a TikTok video I did to one of the songs on the soundtrack, actually.
I just used eyeshadow on and black lipstick over my usual makeup routine. In the TikTok, I used the skirt from the first post as a kind of top to mimic Beetlejuice's suit.
I really liked doing this. I wish I were better at makeup. I have the patience to do it, but not much of the talent!
FREDDIE MERCURY-INSPIRED LOOK
So this was not actually taken around Halloween. However, it was a costume that I DIY'ed to death, so I had to share it.
We were invited by a local baseball team to attend a game for free. We chose to go to Queen tribute night.
I went for the FLASH shirt with some aviators. Jonathan simply wore a white undershirt with his jeans. I knew he wouldn't want to be too hot, since it was summer and baseball season!
I've always been a fan of Queen and absolutely loved this look. I was glad to be able to go!
NETFLIX AND CHILL
By far the easiest, this DIY costume was fun for a Halloween night in.
We just bought red and blue sweaters from Walmart as well as iron-on letters. We added puffy paint snowflakes to Jonathan's sweater.
We already had the cute little popcorn boxes, because I'm OBSESSED with popcorn as it is. Jonathan just added a blanket so he looked nice and cozy. A lot of our friends liked this costume, too.
Overall, this was the most comfortable thing ever, and I've worn the Netflix sweater on a ton of other ocassions.
LADY IRON MAN
Please ignore my massive eyebrows. One thing I did with my family was go to comic-con in our city. My mom and brother came out to stay with me and attended! I had these glasses that I think someone bought for me.
You can't see it, but I made a red and yellow tutu. My mom has a picture somewhere, but I can't fine it.
The point was to look like a DIY female version of Iron Man, who is my favorite super hero.
âOMG, I'm cringing looking at my eyebrows though!
I know the teeth are awful! This is from college. I used to love to just play with makeup, and I still do. Obviously, there is a filter on this. However, I think it mostly looks OK!
I am pretty sure I just used eyeshadow and maybe the black oil paint you get in one of those costume makeup kits they sell at Walmart.
It looks pretty good to me today, and is probably better than I could have ever done.
Last one. I think it was Halloween night when my jazz band had a concert, and I had to go perform. Our director told us we could dress up, and a blues brother only seemed fitting for the occasion.
This was me with one of my sorority sisters in our sorority house before I had to leave. I think Greek Life was doing some sort of event that they were also dressing up for. I don't remember what she was, either.
But, I liked this outfit. It was easy and comfortable.
All Lives Matter
Black History Month
Black Lives Matter
Civil Rights Movement
Drive Electric Week
National Women's Day
Old Mother Hubbard
Save A Life
Stop The Bleed
The Ingham Family
The Opinionated One
The Pioneer Woman
Things I Love
What I Learned
Year In Review