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This is the first time I have ever done a "Insert Month of the Year Favorites" thing before. I really don't buy all that many cosmetics/toiletries that often, but recently my face took a nosedive and it was also Christmas (aka SALE season) so I got one other thing I normally wouldn't have. And my tree was really pretty this year and made a good backdrop. So here we go. 


Garnier "DISORDER"  Power Wax Spray for Men

Ok. I bought this for T.W. because he had run out of his styling paste stuff. He doesn't do much other than use it to keep his hair in place. No crazy waves etc. So I thought this was a less-messy version he could use, bought it, and gave it to him. Then one day I wanted to do my hair in an updo but my hair was just washed (AKA super soft fine hair with NO hold). So I sprayed some of this in my hair, brushed it through, braided some parts and did my updo and went on my merry way. Midway through the day I realized it hadn't loosened! It hadn't budged! The little hairs I'm trying to grow out in the back from a bob hadn't slipped out of their bobby pins! It's a Christmas Miracle! 
Nope, it's DISORDER!!!

I don't use this unless I'm pinning my hair up in some kind of up do, and it has a very "manly" smell, but it fades. If you have super fine hair like mine that slides out of anything you try to put it up in, try this! I'm sure there are other products out there, but this is definitely a functional budget friendly option! 


Yes to Grapefruit Correct & Repair "CC" Cream (Light)

Like I said earlier my face decided to rebel against me. I had bought this Biore junk at the nearby drug store which I am convinced had probably been on the shelf a year or more at the looks of the other dusty bottles around it. I have adult acne that still crops up when Aunt Flow comes,  and then come November it just didn't stop. I was left with uneven skin, really bad redness that wasn't getting covered with my makeup... just nightmare skin. This was on one of those "last chance" sales at Walgreens (last I looked a couple days ago it was still there btw) and bought it on a whim. I promise it was like a commercial. I put it on the next morning and my face looked SO much more even. I've used it almost every morning under my base and it's given me a more luminous look. Some days it's all I wear with a little powder! It's the junk. Buy it. I have oily skin and it's really helped control the oil throughout the day too! 


Oil of Olay Fresh Effects Exfoliating Scrub

I bought this at the same time I bought the CC cream because of that awful no good terrible Biore cleanser. I could tell when I put on makeup that I had tons of dead skin that wasn't getting scrubbed off and my skin was just splotchy unhappiness. Enter this stuff. It's a bit more expensive, but for good skin that keeps improving, I'll pay the extra! It has definitely helped to even my skin tone, gotten rid of the icky dead skin and helped my skin look brighter. It doesn't have any acne meds in it which means I have to use some spot treatment instead, but after using salicylic acid washes I think it was just stripping and not helping with the acne at all. So I went with a "non acne" wash that has done way better! Go figure! Plus this smells so much better than chemical-filled stuff. I love honeysuckle!


Bath and Body Works Golden Magnolia Sun Body Mist

HOORAY FOR SALES! Got this for $5 the other day and it just makes me happy. My sense of smell is SO sensitive, and it's hard to find things that don't overpower me and give me a headache. Especially at B&BW. But they "did good" on this one. It's sort of strong at the start, but powers down for a subtle magnolia yumminess. It's definitely not anything you need, so I have a hard time saying "go out and buy this NOW!" but if you have some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket this is a nice little treat. And if you're like me it will last you a long time because I forget to put smelly stuff on unless it's the weekend. P.S. With the winter season on us, good smells can lift your spirits, so this is an investment in your sanity! Woohoo! 

And that is my exceptionally wordy December Favorites.
Hope you got some good ideas for your next Walgreens/CVS/Target/Walmart/B&BW Run! 

I see you… perusing the aisle of Target. You're looking at the yoga mats. You pick it up. Envisioning a thinner, more flexible you with skin tight stretchy pants cellulite free and a perfect pony tail draped down your back as you look up to the ceiling arms extended….
"I think I'll make a resolution to lose weight"
Three weeks later I'm sitting on the couch binge-festing on netflix with some high butter content popcorn. 
Yeah that was me last year. Good job self! You FAILED!
And it wasn't just yoga. I thought "This is the year I’m going to get healthy. I'm going to lose all sorts of weight and be the hottest chic at the Christmas parties next year." I even legitimized my desire to lose weight thinking "I need to get in shape anyway before we start having kids! I can't be fat before I get FATTER!"
HA! I have actually gained weight this year to be the heaviest I've ever been. No numbers will be revealed, but lets just say I had to go up a couple pants sizes. I plague myself with guilt thinking about how much time I really have especially now that I live and work in the same town for the first time in two years, and have no children. My cat counts right? I have to go home and take care of my cat… Heh. 
Why kid myself? I LOVE new starts, new beginnings, clean slates, broad horizons, blank pages. Especially when we have a new digit to write behind "201_" But as a person who is really good at procrastinating and then guilt tripping after nothing gets done or changes I have a hard time making myself write down any resolutions this year. BUT I do have some hopes for the year.
I think if we are growing in Christ then we will be exhibiting changes in our lives that may not look like everyone else's gym memberships and new stretchy pants, but could be even better. 
So here are my hopes;
- I hope to realize that my body is a temple needing care and attention so that I can serve God better. Yesterday I realized that losing weight could actually be considered a visible sign of repentance as we cast aside the sins of slothful, gluttonous living! WOAH. That doesn't make you feel guilty does it!?
- I hope to utilize the gifts God has given me to serve Him and others. Through many circumstances and events over the past few years I feel like I have lost touch with who I am.

 It could be a quarter life crisis, or it could be all of the changes that trigger some pre-existing depressive tendencies. Whatever it is, I hope to have strength to go back to being "me". 

I'm not going to promise more blog posts, more pictures, etc. But maybe as that second hope up there is realized these things will come as a result. If all of the blank notebooks and planners and pens I have bought and received this Christmas are any indication of untapped potential who knows? I could write a book this year! 

Woah there Nelly… Let's start with baby steps.

Here's to prayerfully considering what needs to change in our lives. Even if it's just organizing the linen closet or throwing out all the junk food and eating "clean" for a few weeks. We must be willing to change for the LORD not ourselves. Once we are doing something for Him, we have a greater chance of completing those goals. 

Let's HOPE together! 

Embroidery has recently caught my eye again with the help of Pinterest. There are so many things you can do, and I love how one little design can spark an idea for a larger one. Here are some pretty things others have made. 

Happy Scrolling!

Click pictures to get to their source site.

Embroidered star / Cazadora de inspiración © Anna Tykhonova

{this is a DIY link!}

Scandinavian embroidery birds. By Handwerkjuffie.

Bugambilö's Galatea

♒ Enchanting Embroidery ♒ embroidered fox and monkey
(source unknown)

Embroidery is often used to decorate knitted hand garments all over Scandinavia.

(source unknown)

When embroidery goes from something functional, or even ornamental to something artful all I want to do is stare at it until I have soaked up every thread. Yes there are countless hours put into something like this, but at the end of it all there is something truly unique and special to give or keep in your house to be the heirlooms of tomorrow.

The tree is up and decorated, I have blankets all over me, a space heater running and our lovely neighbors - an art studio downstairs- are blasting all about that bass. I have a tummy full of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and T.W. is studying for the last two exams of his seminary career. 

Tomorrow is his last day of seminary. 

Wait. Am I really writing this? Will it all be a dream when I wake up in the morning? Like so many other mornings where he's off to class and some days where he doesn't get home til after 8? I think... we have reached the end of this tunnel! 

I'll spare all the minute details of four years of Tom being in seminary. Suffice it to say there has been many a day where I felt like I was second or third fiddle. Yeah cheese-ball analogy. But it's true! Being married to a guy who is in masters level classes for four years straight while you earn the main source of household income isn't fun! I don't know how many pastor's wives you know, and I don't know exactly what scenario their seminary years looked like, but when you look at them I am ready to bet that you are looking at a marital relationship that was forged in the fire. Whether that fire was years and years of school part time while he worked full time and she worked as well, or whether it was three quick years with a couple of babies that came along the way while he worked full time and went to class full time, and she worked full time as well! There are loads of other couples who have gone through grad school, medical school, law school, you name it. Any time a spouse is in school it's like being a mistress. Or mister...? Wow I'll leave that alone...

From all I've read the first few years of marriage are tough anyway, so we threw seminary into the mix and decided to make it even harder on ourselves, willing to get this done because T.W,'s call is strong and all signs have been pointing forward. Forward...while I've cried myself to sleep wondering how we were going to pay for unexpected emergencies that would have been a drop in the bucket if T.W. were working full time. I've come home after working 9 hours with the public while he got to sit and read all day. And I have learned a lot. I mean a lot. About sacrifice. Some of us have smooth uneventful lives, but you know what, the saying is true. 

Printable - Inspirational Quote Art - "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." - English Proverb

Here's to the waves. 

You've still got turkey leftovers in the fridge, you're thinking about what you bought on black Friday, or are thankful you didn't go out in that mess, and you're looking at the calendar thinking: "Woah... it's only three and a half weeks til Christmas!" 

And you panic.

Or if you're me at least, that's what is going on in your little brain. I looked at all the ideas I have pinned in my boards for Christmas and how I won't get them all done. There is also this pressure to have to best darn Christmas in the history of Christmas EVER. Because T.W. is finishing up seminary in December, and he won't have a church with all the busy responsibilities that happen at Christmas time. So we really are set up to have a great Christmas. If we take advantage of it that is. 

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and because my love language involves gift giving, I REALLY enjoy it. Birthdays are my second favorite. I seriously have to stop myself from buying all the things for people when I'm walking down the aisles of Stuff-mart. (please tell me you got that reference)
If you're anything like me you stress out about getting your friends and family things that the really want, can use and aren't going to break the bank.

WHICH is why I'm in full on LIST MODE.

What to get T.W.
What we should do as a fairly care-free couple this year to make lots of memories
What to start as new Christmas traditions
What to get my sisters
What to get my mom and dad
What to get for friends and co-workers
How we're going to do the Christmas cards for church 
What I want to make for goodies to bring to get togethers
What I want to do in my down time
What I'm going to handmake vs. what I'll buy in the store.


Let's take a breather and remember:

We are in a highly commercialized season and I need to remember that there is something way more important. This time of year people are singing songs about Jesus being born in a manger, and many have no idea why they are singing it! 

Here's why my friends:

And we can't forget this. At any time of year.
Especially Christmas. 

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