Lifestyle

Personalized, Affordable Gifts for the New Year

We all have that family member who is impossible to shop for. It could be the husband who has everything, the mom who refuses to hint at what she needs, or the dad who just buys what he wants without waiting for holidays. I personally have so many family birthdays in the month of January – my mom, niece, husband, and father-in-law – so it’s forced me to get creative.

With Jeremy’s birthday fast approaching, I surprised him early with these coffee mugs from Snapfish. Snapfish is an online photo printing site featuring budget-friendly photo gifts and home decor that look fantastic. Since Jeremy and I’ve had a long-time running joke about who our dog’s favorite parent is (it’s obviously me), I thought it would be fun and cheeky to gift him these unique presents.

I was initially intimidated about the design process, but I couldn’t believe how easy and fast it was. You select the card, calendar, mug, or home decor item you want to personalize and then upload your images from Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos and more. I pulled photos straight from my computer, dove into the project space and added text and embellishments. In under five minutes, I had created my mugs and approved the design!

While I was on Snapfish designing Jeremy’s gift, I may have snuck in a little something for myself too! I needed a desk calendar for the new year and Snapfish has endless under $25 options. I opted for the brand spankin’ new Wood Block Desk Calendar and added a personal photo and text for each month. I loved the results and apparently I’m not alone…

True story – Jeremy’s bestie was over recently and saw my desk calendar. He got married a couple months ago and his wife works at a salon and needed a wall calendar for her room. He immediately hopped on Snapfish and began uploading their wedding photos to create a special gift for her. For minimal cost and effort, he was able to create something that she could cherish all year long!

Snapfish was sweet enough to offer a 40% off discount code for my readers which makes THESE MUGS only $9 and THIS DESK CALENDAR under $15! Simply use code CHEERS40OFF HERE to begin creating your perfect gifts.

Thank you to Snapfish for sponsoring this post. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Fruity Pebbles Christmas Tree Treats

Happy Thursday, y’all! Hopefully your shopping is done and you’re looking forward to the long weekend and spending time with your loved ones. Now that I’m married, Christmas is a bit hectic because we have two families to celebrate with. But it’s also amazing because there is double the love! My mother taught me to never show up to a party empty handed, but unfortunately she never taught me how to bake so I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that is great for those of us who are baking-challenged or if you want a fun treat to make with kids. Scroll to the bottom for ingredients and recipe. Happy Holidays, loves!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 (16oz) bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 (11oz) box Fruity Pebbles cereal (about 7 cups)
  • Cookie Icing, preferably with a small tip
  • Multicolored Sprinkles
  • Pecan Log slices for the tree stumps

Instructions

  1. Spray a 13×9-inch baking or casserole dish with baking spray or grease with butter.
  2. In a large non-stick stock pot at medium heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until melted.
  3. Remove melted marshmallows from heat. Add Fruity Pebbles cereal and stir/fold until the melted marshmallows are evenly distributed amongst the cereal.
  4. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Spray the bottom of your measuring cup to evenly flatten the mixture into the dish. Allow to cool and harden for 1-2 hours. (The longer you wait, the easier the treats will maintain their shape when cutting)
  5. Carefully flip the dish and dump the treats onto a buttered piece of parchment paper. Then cut the cereal rectangle in half lengthwise. Then cut off one end at an angle and cut back and forth creating triangles. Place the triangles on parchment or wax paper.
  6. Heat the cookie icing for a few seconds so it reaches your desired consistency. Then draw zig zag lines over the trees. Immediately add sprinkles and allow icing to harden.
  7. Attach the pecan log slices with either a dab of the icing or with half of a toothpick.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Sweater: Aerie (Runs large, wearing a size XS) | Denim: TopShop | Boots: Goodnight Macaroon c/o | Beanie: Aerie | Earrings: Forever 21


Happy Halloween, y’all!

My favorite holiday has come so quickly and I’ll be sad to see it go. This month was packed with some of my favorite things: haunted houses, escape rooms, bonfires, football, dressing up (check out my costume HERE) and pumpkin carving. But one of my best parts about October are the scary movies and TV shows that are released. As a horror junkie, I’m always binging the latest and greatest the genre has to offer.

Suffice it to say that I’m not a romantic comedy kind of girl.

As such, I wanted to recommend my favorite free or streaming podcasts, TV shows, and movies so y’all can join me in getting your scare on today. All of the podcasts are free downloads and the shows/movies are all currently on Netflix. I’ve rounded up a little something for everyone so I have to include that if Hocus Pocus is more your speed, Freeform is broadcasting it all day today! But if you are looking for something a little spookier, read on for my picks.

TV SHOWS

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE: Netflix did it, y’all. They created one of the first genuinely scary TV shows, second only to the ensuing program on this list. The Haunting of Hill House features a great cast, especially when it comes to the children (you’ll recognize them from a ton of recent hit movies). It flashes between past and present as you learn about what happened to the Crain family growing up in the Hill House and what drove them from it. When they are reunited by tragedy as adults, they all must face how this house has affected them.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: If you are in the market for a series to binge, then American Horror Story at eight seasons and counting, is the show I would recommend. AHS has something for everyone: ghosts, the criminally insane, witches, circus freaks, mass murderers, cults, and of course, Jessica Lange. Each season up until the current are all unique stand-alone stories, but regardless I would begin at the beginning with Murder House. It centers around the Harmon family, who have unknowingly moved into a house in which countless deaths have taken place, all while trying to repair their family after Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermot) has cheated on his wife (Connie Britton) with one of his students. The Harmon family encounter a series of unwelcome guests who aren’t quite what they seem and their lives get even darker than they could have imagined. Just to pre-warn you – AHS really pushes the boundaries to put it lightly. There is nudity, language, gore, and more so keep in mind that this series is definitely risque.

THE STAIRCASE: Now for a couple of true crime documentaries beginning with The Staircase, which is as captivating as it is frustrating. In December of 2011, author Michael Peterson called the police reporting that his wife had fallen down the staircase. The investigators had a different idea about what happened, though, concluding that he must have bludgeoned her to death. He was charged with murder and this documentary follows the trial from Peterson and his lawyer David Rudolf’s perspectives. As Peterson’s secret life becomes public, you’ll go back and forth on your opinion of his guilt or innocence. Once you near the end, be sure to Google the Owl Theory as well!

EVIL GENIUS: This four-part miniseries comes in hot. I’m not squeamish, but even I had to change it over to Animal Planet before I went to sleep to give the first episode out of my mind. Evil Genius is the true story of America’s most diabolical bank heist. In August 2013, the police were called to a bank robbery underway in Erie, Pennsylvania. Pizza delivery man, Brian Wells, was captured leaving the scene with a bomb strapped round his neck. He’d been following a complex scavenger hunt, searching for a specific set of keys to unlock the collar bomb. But does he have enough time to complete the tasks and save his life? And who was responsible for this? You’ll learn all the crazy details surrounding the case and how everyone is surprisingly connected.

PODCASTS

SWORD & SCALE: I’ve mentioned this podcast time and time again because after listening to all things true crime, I keep coming back to this one. Sword & Scale covers a new crime every episode or two and goes into the twisty details that would never make the news – we’re talking interviews with the murderers, NSFW content, descriptive details of the crimes, etc. So let this be a warning, this podcast is not for the faint of heart. Many episodes are rough. But host Mike Boudet is such an amazing storyteller that it is tough not to get hooked.

DR. DEATH: This is the newest true crime podcast I’ve listened to and after binging it in a day or two, I am terrified to ever have surgery. This podcast follows how the medical system failed innocent patients and let a corrupt and inept doctor continue to practice. After visiting Dr. Duntsch for neurosurgery, multiple patients were left with nerve damage, paralysis, and even death. Was this physician intentionally harming people? And how did Dr. Duntsch continue to have A+ reviews online? Find out in this six-part series.

UP & VANISHED: Documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey got far more than he bargained for when he decided to tackle one of Georgia’s coldest cases, the disappearance of teacher and pageant queen, Tara Grinstead. He reexamines the largest case file in the history of the state of Georgia and actually inserts himself into the narrative, interviewing all of those closest to Tara and re-sparking interest in this cold case. What’s most fascinating about this story, other than how it unravels, is learning about who people really are when they think no one is watching. Lindsay wrapped up Season 1 in stunning fashion and has already begun Season 2 investigating the disappearance of Colorado mother Kristal Reisinger.

MOVIES

THE CONJURING: While the latest installment of The Conjuring franchise, The Nun, was a poorly executed flop, the original is a must-watch. This gem is finally streaming on Netflix and is honestly one of the scarier movies for me as of late. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren try to help a family that is being potentially haunted in their new home in Rhode Island. Every night, unexplained events happen around the farmhouse and the clock always stops at 3:07am. The Warrens find out that a series of murders and suicides have taken place in the home and determine it needs an exorcism. But it’s not going to be that easy…

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING: There’s some of us that like ghost stories, some that like jump scares, and then there are those of us who like gore. In the world of scary movies, they call this genre horror porn and the likes of Wolf Creek and Hostel come to mind. This prequel to the classic remake follows a group of friends who leave on a road trip as one last hoorah before one is deployed to Vietnam. Along the way, they encounter corrupt law enforcement who take them to the home of a young Leatherface as he is just learning his way around a chainsaw. Spoiler alert… it doesn’t end well for them.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: Quite possibly one of my favorite movies of all time, Interview With The Vampire is two hours of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise… in their prime… as vampires. Need I say more? This novel-turned-movie is an American gothic horror film, so it’s less gore and jumps and more overall creepiness. Lestat (Cruise) turns Louis (Pitt) into a vampire in 1791 and the film follows Pitt’s account of their life together, the turning of a 10-year-old girl (Kirsten Dunst), and how vampires have lived among humans throughout time. It’s as re-watchable as they come.

CABIN FEVER: Nothing makes me feel older than when they remake a movie from my childhood, but I was excited to see that it was one of my favorites. Hello, Rider Strong! But only 14 years later, they did it. This movie slathers on the camp, which I’m not gonna lie, I like every so often! A group of good-looking friends travels to a cabin in the woods, sans internet or phone service, for a weekend of partying. What could go wrong? At a rest stop, the local rednecks warn them that there has been reports of campers getting sick in the area. Turns out, something has happened to the local water supply.

CHERNOBYL DIARIES: I may be partial, because truth be told I’m a huge fan of Jesse McCartney and Jonathan Sadowski, but I really enjoyed this movie! The story follows a group of friends traveling to Europe. Instead of visiting Moscow as planned, Sadowski’s character convinces the group to go on a less-than-professional tour of Chernobyl’s neighboring city Pripyat which has stood abandoned in the 25 years since the nuclear meltdown. What starts as fun, albeit extreme tourism, quickly turns dangerous when the group returns to their vehicle to find the wires cut and no way out. Is Pripyat really as abandoned as it seems?

Netflix also released their own scary movie, Open House, which I thought looked promising when I saw that it stars Clay from 13 Reasons Why. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t really go anywhere and the jump scares fall flat. I would skip over this one and opt for another on this list. Now, I need your suggestions! Is there anything I missed? Let me know your favorite scary movies, shows, and podcasts in the comments below!