New Year’s Book Tag 2019!

Blogmas 2019

Hello, happy Sunday! Today’s post will be one I post every year, the New Year’s Book Tag! This will be one of many end-of-year related posts, and I’m rather pumped about it. I’ve been reading everyone’s favorites lists and all sorts of stuff and I just love it. Keep it comin’.

This tag was created by Heather @bookables and updated to reflect the end of 2019.

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2020?

Like last year… probably 50. That’s the goal every year. Sometimes I barely make it, other times I double it. But 50 is a good, solid number.

2. Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2020.

I just made a post about this on Thursday! Check it out.

3. What genre do you want to read more of?

Same answer as last year: fantasy. It’s already my top genre but I have so many unread fantasies… I gotta read more fantasy.

4. Name 3 non book related goals for 2020.

I’m doing what I did last year and setting only one: Don’t set any new year’s resolutions aside from this one. I don’t know what it is with defining solid goals but I tend to do worse when I do than if I don’t and just naturally make my way in that direction. Who knows.

5. What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

The War of the Flowers

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. I can’t remember what year I bought this but I remember distinctly getting it from Borders… so it’s been a while. I put it on my 10 in 2020 list for this year, so I’m hoping to like, actually get to it, y’know.

6. One word that you’re hoping 2020 will be:

Slimming. Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially. There’s just too much of everything and I need to streamline.

7. Tag a friend!

Katy! DO IT.

The Christmas Eve Book Tag!

Blogmas 2019

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s finally here! All the gifts are wrapped, all the cookies are made, all the things are thinged.

I posted this tag last year (and probably the year before too) so it’s basically tradition at this point, I guess. Wasn’t tagged, as per usual. The tag was created by Sam @Sam’s Nonsense.

1) Christmas Eve morning: what is a book you wake up excited to read? one you anticipate reading or one you read in the past that you want to get back into?

Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1)

At the moment, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I’m buddy reading this with a pal of mine and we have just over a hundred pages left and honestly I kinda wanna stop writing this and go read that instead. No offense, blog.

2) Christmas Eve breakfast: what are your favorite treats during the holiday season?

Lately I’ve been munching on all the cookies that Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff sent me. It’s been a tradition since probably 2012, that we send each other cookies every year! This year I made out, man. Everything is delicious!

3) Family Time: What is a book that fills you with happiness and love? the warm fuzzies in general?

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, both for content reasons and for nostalgic ones. I first read this series my sophomore year of high school, so it reminds me of all the friends I had then (some of them I still have!). Basically we all were in a group, and all of us owned different manga, and when we wanted to read a series, we just went through the grapevine to see if anyone in the group owned in (there were a lot of us) and it would make its way to you, whether you actually knew the person who owned it or not. Like I said, there were a lot, so sometimes someone would lend you the series by giving it to a friend, who’d drop it off to another, who’d drop it off to another, who’d give it to you, and you wouldn’t actually meet the person until you found them to give the books back. It was a huge trust system obviously, but it usually worked out pretty well.

4) Christmas Carols: What are your favorite Christmas Carols or holiday songs?

Each and every rendition of Carol of the Bells. Every. One.

5) Anticipation: What is a book release you are very much anticipating?

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 5

O Maidens vol 5, which is technically already out, but I just haven’t picked it up yet. But it’s the last of my 2019 anticipated releases, and I’m pumped about it.

6) You hear sleigh bells on the roof and are so excited you can’t sleep!: What is a book that kept you up all night?

Wild Ones, Vol. 1 (Wild Ones, #1)

Most recently, Wild Ones by Kikyo Fujiwara – It’s a shojo romance about a girl who goes to live with her grandfather after her mother dies, only to find out that he’s a yakuza boss. It’s cute, it’s sweet, it’s funny, and it is definitely addicting.

7) It’s Christmas morning, and Santa has come!: What is a book on your wishlist that you hope to unwrap?

I made an entire post the other day on books I hope Santa brings! So literally any of those would be great. But out of all of them, the one I think I want the most is Jade City by Fonda Lee.

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)

And that’s it! Tomorrow, I’m giving myself a break because, well, it’s Christmas. But starting the 26th, all my ‘end of the year’ type posts will start coming out, and will continue to do so through the first week of January or so.

So Merry Christmas everyone! Happy holidays! Happy bank-holiday-where-you-can-(hopefully)-get-the-day-off!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are Bananas


Anyone who is married, engaged, dating or is otherwise in a situation where more than one set of parents and/or grandparents host things know that Christmas Day (and Christmas Eve too in my case and likely in others’) is just a madhouse. It’s a blur. It’s enjoyable for me, for the most part, but my husband gets peopled-out pretty quickly. But mid-day Christmas Even he’s about done, but at that point we’ve only visited one or two of the places we needed to.

He never quits though, and I appreciate that.

So this year, I told my parents and my inlaws that instead of us going up to their city (they live in the same one) to have dinner, they all need to come down to our place and I’ll cook instead. I had thought it would make things easier but man oh man, hosting a Christmas dinner is a lot to prepare for.

So today’s post is basically all the planned things we’ve got goin’ on in the next couple days. I’m looking forward to everything but at the same time, I kinda wanna just take a nap, hehe.

Christmas Eve

We live about 30 min away from each of our parents, having moved here in October. So this year, there’s more commuting time to consider than there normally is.

12:30pm – Husband’s parents house for lunch and presents with his extended family. For this, we’re bringing a side. Luckily his mom was all ‘just bring bread’ so I don’t have to do any cooking 😀

9:30pm – Friend’s house for dinner and presents with her extended family. This girl is like my sister – she’s been one of my best friends since I was twelve, and her entire family has adopted me. So, I have a standing invitation to their Christmas dinner every year. 😀 Husband’s parents’ thing will likely last ’til 5pm or so… and friend lives in the same city as husband’s parents. So instead of coming home, cooking, and driving back up with the food, we’re going to stay up there, go to friend’s early and commandeer her kitchen to cook. 😀

Christmas Day

Normally for Christmas Day, we do breakfast and dinner. And since there’s nothing to do in between because everything is closed, I didn’t want to have to drive up, have breakfast, drive home, then drive up again later for dinner – this wasn’t an issue before we moved. So we’ve changed it up from what we usually do.

10am – My grandmother’s house for breakfast and presents with my extended family. My parents and I won’t exchange gifts at this point – just cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma, etc etc. This is probably my favorite place each year. So much nostalgia here – we’ve been doing breakfast for Christmas every year since I was born.

5pm – My place with my parents and sister for presents. Now we’ll exchange gifts. 😀 I saved up a butt-ton and got my sister a laptop this year. She’s gonna cry, I’m so excited. My goal every year is to make her bawl. She’s 25, but she still reacts to gifts with as much joy and excitement as a 10 year old, I love it!

6:30pm – My place for dinner with my parents, sister, and husband’s parents. Usually we don’t see his parents at all on Christmas Day, but since I moved the dinner from my parents’ house to mine, I figured we could invite them too. 😀 Having them over a tad later than 5pm because at this point we have already exchanged gifts and I don’t want them to feel awkward hahaha.

9, 10, 11… a billion pm – Time for bed. I’m gonna sleep so hard. SO MUCH SOCIAL.

And that’s it! 😀 Hopefully hopefully I find the time to do Christmas nail art tonight for tomorrow’s post, but if I don’t, I’ll have something up at least.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Traditions – Blogmas 12/24

It’s Christmas Eve! 😀 Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and happy holidays to those who don’t!

Head’s up, this post is about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions, mine personally, from when I was little and what I do now. So if a personal-type sappy blog doesn’t float your boat, I suggest you back out now. :”D

When I was little and in elementary school, my family was a single income, lower middle class family. We were able to pay the bills (most of the time)  but as far as money that didn’t need to go to food or bills, there was rarely any, ever. I realize a lot of people have had it worse than me, but I feel that I need to explain this bit to make you understand why the rest of the traditions we did around Christmas meant so much to me, turning me into a Christmas lover for life.

When I was in elementary school, a few days before Christmas Eve, my school would host a ‘Santa’s Workshop’ that would offer toys and trinkets that the students could buy for their families. A lot of the gifts were rather inexpensive. There was a three dollar-table, a five-dollar table, all the way up to a fifty-dollar table. My parents, each year, would manage to give me and my sister both ten dollars. Meaning we could spend about three dollars per person for Christmas (father, mother, sister). This was my favorite day of the year.

I didn’t fully understand at the time what it meant for my parents to come up with ten dollars each to give my sister and I, but now I do. Anyways, my sister and I would haunt the three dollar table for as long as we were able to, trying to pick out the best present possible for each person. And to the school’s credit, the three-dollar table had some nice things on it, considering they were to be gifts from children to their parents. One year, I found a small angel figurine for my mother. I remember her opening it, looking at it, then grinning up at me and saying “It’s perfect.” I think I was six or seven that year – it was the first time that giving a gift really had any impact on me. I mean, nobody had reacted too strongly to something I personally had given them before that, so seeing my mom grin and carry on about this three-dollar angel figurine, well. It really struck a chord.

Needless to say, I’m a rabid gift-giver during the holidays now. 😛

So these little grab-bag gifts as my parents called them, we would open on Christmas Eve. That was our first Christmas Eve tradition. A second one came a few years later when Mom put on A Christmas Carol for my sister and I to watch for the first time when I was about eight. I loved it. I’ve made a point of trying to watch some version of it every year since then. I haven’t watched one yet this year, but there is still time. Actually, looking at the cable listings, it’s going to be aired in about a half hour. :”D So good timing for me, yay.

Those were the two Christmas Eve traditions established during my childhood. The first tradition we don’t do anymore, but the second I still try to, even if I’m by myself when I do it (like right now – SO is asleep, that goofball)

Christmas Day on the other hand was always and is still full of tradition for me. This is where my parents’ socioeconomic status comes in that I mentioned before. No matter how hard of a time my parents were having at the moment, they always found some way to make Christmas for my sister and I magical. Every year, Santa would come, leaving a pile of gifts under the tree. Once I found out Santa wasn’t real and realized my parents were doing all of it, I asked them once how they managed to do all this when a lot of the time they couldn’t afford to buy cereal. This is another one of those memories that just kinda stick with you, crystal clear. My parents looked at each other and smiled at us. “We make do, you’re more important” was all they would answer. I suspect they would either charge up their credit cards or take loans from family members, but they wouldn’t answer me about it.

Since then, while my parents are still single-income, my father has a much better job, meaning they’re not nearly as stretched anymore. They can afford food and some gifts and stuff like that much easier now (and even more so since I don’t live there anymore, running up the utility and food bills) But hearing that “You’re more important” stuck with me too. This is why I ran my bank account down to three dollars this year buying gifts. I’m rather addicted honestly. And most of the money I spent when to my parents’ and my sister’s gifts. After my sister opens hers, I think I’ll take a picture of it and post it here. I had it commissioned for her and it’s just so beautiful. Anyways.

So what I’m saying through those paragraphs and paragraphs of rambling is that my parents, through their generosity even though they often shouldn’t have done it, instilled in me a love of Christmas and a value of ‘others first’, which I really, really appreciate them doing for me. They’re wonderful parents and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else.

So right. Christmas Day traditions. When I lived with my parents, Christmas Day would go as follows:

Wake up, everyone go pee. Nobody’s allowed out in the livingroom! Everyone pee first so we’re ready! Okay, every ready? Let Dad go out first and get the camera! Let Mom go out and start the coffee pot and get food in the oven! Okay kids, come on out.

My sister and I would walk out in our nightgowns, hair sticking up in every direction, to our parents sitting in the livingroom, Dad posed in the best position to capture our expressions in a picture upon first seeing the gifts under the tree. He would snap a picture of our jaws dropping and Mom would sit there, drinking her coffee and smiling like a wild woman, “Santa came!” someone would yell, usually her.

Sister and I would sit down on the ground and we’d all open gifts. Even the cats would get gifts. Dad would look over the pictures he’d take of our faces – that was why we weren’t allowed out in the livingroom until everyone was ready. Dad wanted a picture of our faces.

After all the gifts were opened, we’d get dressed and Mom would pull the food out of the oven and we’d drive the two blocks to my grandparents’ house (on mom’s side). There, the extended family would meet and eat breakfast together (this is where the breakfast bake I’ve mentioned in past posts would come into play). We’d all eat, all fifteen or sixteen of us. Then we’d crowd into the family room and open more gifts. My cousins and I would get the job of sorting, which we still do today. After sorted, we’d all open. Someone is usually running around with a camera during this time, being goofy. Usually my uncle.

After my grandparents’ house, we’d go home and my parents would nap. I never understood the nap when I was little. Now I do. It’s vacation. You sleep. I get it now, haha. Then, we’d get ready and go to my grandmother’s house on my father’s side and the same things would repeat. We’d eat and open gifts. Now, my father’s side of the family was a bit bigger than mom’s side, so often the tree would be partially buried under all the gifts for everyone. It was really cool being a six year old and seeing a six foot tree completely hidden by presents. I always remember pie. There were also always a billion pies everywhere. And candies and cookies and… my dad’s side of the family was a ‘go big or go home’ family, haha.

We would do this pattern every year until my grandmother on my father’s side passed away in 2002. After that, we didn’t really meet up with Dad’s side anymore. Everyone moved away. Now we see each other maybe once  a year. :/

So today, my traditions are a bit different.

Christmas Eve: Watch A Christmas Carol, watch A Christmas Story. Go to SO’s parents’ house and do food and gifts. Go to friend’s grandmother’s and do food and gifts. Go home, bond with SO over movies or games or whatever floats our fancy. I like all of these traditions. 🙂

Christmas Day: Open gifts from SO in morning, go to grandmother’s for breakfast as usual, go home to apartment and nap (see, I told you I get it now) go back out either to aunt’s or parent’s for dinner. If aunt’s go for food and go to parent’s afterwards for gifts. If parent’s, go for food and gifts. This year I think we’re just going to my parents’ place. It changes. Go home, clean up all the wrapping paper, probably take another nap. I like all these traditions too.

While all of these are good, I feel like Christmas for me right now is missing children. My SO has a nephew and we kinda go crazy when buying for him since he’s the only kid there. And same for my cousin’s kid at my grandmother’s. Go crazy for her too. They’re the most fun to watch on Christmas. The magic is still there for them. Whenever I have chillins, I’m going to stride to be like my parents and give them good Christmases year after year. I want them going into adulthood liking this holiday as much as I do.

So yes, those are my traditions and how they’ve changed over the years. Got a bit sappy, but it’s Christmas, so I’m allowed. 🙂 If you read through this whole thing, thank you, I know it’s a bit rambley.

And since he’s awake now, I’m off to start what I hope is a new tradition with my SO – going out for breakfast on Christmas Eve. ❤ Merry Christmas everyone, hope all your holidays are magical. 😀