December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas + Happy New Year

Last  night TJ and I went to the Denver Zoo Lights, and then ordered sushi and made Christmas cookies. Traditions in the making people, traditions in the making ...

I'm taking the rest of this week off from blogging to regroup and focus on my wants and needs for myself and this blog in the New Year. In the interim, if you could help me out by taking a quick moment to answer the questions below, I'd really appreciate it!

I'll be back on January 1st! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year :) 


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December 23, 2013

One Of My Favorite Holiday Memories

One of my favorite holiday memories reflects back on the times when I would take a yearly bus trip to NYC with my mother and grandmother each December.

About 50 or so of us would hop onto a chartered bus super early in the morning, and we'd arrived in New York City around 7am. The day was filled with shopping on Canal Street, gawking at the stores on 5th Avenue, eating at a fancy restaurant (which I'm sure wasn't truly "fancy", but felt like it because it was in NYC!), taking in the sights and lights and sounds, and making sure to catch the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

New York City's Five Boroughs || An infographic by the team at Marriott New York
Marriott International is a leading hospitality company with over 3,800 properties in over 74 countries and territories around the world.

I'm not sure how we packed so much fun in before we boarded the bus at 10pm, but I think that all of the rushing around just added to the excitement of the day! It was true and pure holiday magic, and the memories continue to make my heart smile.

(1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6)

When I reflect on Christmas's past, I love that all of my absolute favorite holiday memories have nothing to do with gifts ... they all revolve around good holiday fun, and quality time spent with family and friends.

So to anyone who is worrying about whether you've picked out the perfect present, or who is stressed out because you haven't found a gift yet and Christmas is only a couple of days away ... I bet if you reflect back on your own childhood you will remember that your favorite holiday memories have nothing to do with presents, but have everything to do with who you were present with.

Tell me in a comment below:
What is your absolute favorite holiday memory?

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.


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December 21, 2013

Establishing Holiday Traditions

So this is totally crazy considering this is my seventh Christmas with TJ - but we haven't started or created any special holiday traditions together! None, zip, zero, zilch.

For the first three years he spent Christmas with his family and I spent it with mine, and then we kind of just "winged it" ("wanged it?" lol) for the two years after that, and then last year, our first Christmas as a married couple, he went over to Germany before I did, and we didn't get to spend the holiday together. Sad face.

So technically, this is our first Christmas together as a married couple and I'm realllllllly looking forward to establishing a few special traditions that we can carry on for years to come.

But where do we start? I feel like we're marking history in stone this year, it needs to be special, you know what I mean?

So far we're thinking of having a little cookie decorating day, hunting for a special ornament keepsake, maybe finding a neighborhood to drive through to take in some Christmas lights (God I hope none of his teammates ever find my blog, lol) ... but what else should we do? What do you do?

I asked the lovely girls who are on my sidebar this month what their favorite holiday traditions are, and they gave me the following fun and unique ideas to consider and run off of:

One thing that I know is probably different is in my family we ALWAYS eat dessert before dinner. Our theory has always been that if you eat dessert first you don't have to worry about saving room for it while you eat dinner. I know that this is odd and it has taken time for the married-into-the-family folks to get on board. We always eat it again after so who doesn't love dessert twice? 

Sara from Life as a Hughes || twitter / instagram / pinterest

Every year after Christmas Eve Mass, my family meets at my grandparents for Christmas Eve dinner. Back when we were kids we would all go outside and look for Rudolph's nose after dinner. My dad was the only one who could ever see it, but when he DID see it, all of the kids scrammed to the basement to pretend to be asleep for Santa's arrival. When he arrived, he would stomp and ring his bells and talk to the adults, and he would leave gifts for us to open. Even though the secret's out now, I still sometimes wish I could go back to the days of hiding in a basement closet, hoping Santa didn't actually check my bed.
On my side of the family Christmas Eve is the biggy for us! All of the extended family that are visiting or still live here in Alaska (that is between 30-60ish people), get together at my grandparent’s house for food, games, and the classic Nativity Play that most participate in. It’s always fun to have, what some of us call, “sweat-togethers” with my huge family! I’m going to miss it this year though, because I will be spending Christmas with my husband’s family for the first time! I’m excited to see what their traditions are and see how my husband and I can incorporate both traditions when we decide to start our family! 

We start each holiday season with going up to the mountains to pick a tree and then continue to make the month magical by doing a book advent calendar, reading under the christmas tree with hot chocolate, making christmas ornaments etc. We also each pick out one new ornament for our tree every year, and after 7 years have quite the interesting collection! 

- Darlene from Young Mama Tales || twitter / instagram / pinterest

My husband and I love Christmas and have way too many traditions that we like, but my favorite one has to be watching The Polar Express. Since our first Christmas together we always set a date to watch the movie snuggled up on the couch. We make popcorn and drink glass bottle Coca-Cola. Half way through the movie we pause it and make delicious hot cocoa. That is definitely my favorite tradition and I hope it keeps going for many many years.

- Melissa from Blush and Jelly || shop / twitter / facebook

My husband and I just got married this past October, but as a kid my mom always bought my brother and I Christmas PJs and put a star on the wrapped gift. Every year she'd ask, "Who wants to open a present?" But would only let us open that starred gift, and it was ALWAYS the Christmas Jammies. Last year I carried on that tradition with my now husband, and I can't wait to do it again this year! I am still looking for the perfect Christmas PJs for him.

- Brittany from Happy Is A Choice || twitter / instagram / pinterest

My husband and I have been married two years, and most of the time we have been moving during the holidays so we don't have any traditions. I guess moving would be a tradition, but we are staying in sunny Arizona for the holidays!! One thing that I have always done is look at Christmas lights. I love seeing what people come up every year.

My immediate family (parents + brother) and I take food (sandwiches, snacks, and drinks) to an area hospice each Christmas Eve in memory of my grandmother who passed away at the facility on Christmas Eve 2003. Time is precious, especially at the end -- we were grateful for those that brought food so we wouldn't have to leave even for a few minutes, so we've paid it forward each year since.

- Christina from Route Bliss || twitter / facebook / instagram
Morning: A caloric breakfast of champions sporting sweet Santa hats, followed by taking our dog Stuart on a long walk through Heidelberg's old town. Midday: Open a bottle of red and begin baking my Grandma's famous thumbprint cookies and then our Holiday movie marathon begins. Evening: Out of the kitchen and off to dinner at a swanky Tandoori Indian restaurant down the street that we've always wanted to try followed by skype sessions with friends and family.

On Christmas Day my dad and I traditionally go on a hiking trip into the mountains. This usually involves the two of us getting some pea soup at a roadside cafĂ© before wading through snow that’s hip high. It might not sound like much fun to the outsider, but it’s quality time spend with my dad. After our hike, we usually return home to a nice, warm living room with our beautiful Christmas tree in it and my mum waiting with our dinner.

- Miriam from CL&I || facebook / instagram / pinterest
A tradition that we have on my mom’s side of the family is getting all of the girls in our family together for a sleepover a few weeks before Christmas to play games, eat, and watch Christmas movies. We have done it for the past 10+ years and it is something we will continue to do as long as we can.

- Melissa from Two Miracles || facebook / twitter / instagram

I LOVE all holidays but Christmas holds a special place in my heart. Every year as soon as Halloween is over I am in full on Christmas mode. I started the 'Elf on a Shelf' tradition with my nieces last December and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite traditions. The girls are always wondering what Candy Cane will be up to next and I love how into it they are!

Do you have any special or unique Christmas/Holiday traditions? 
If so, leave them in a comment below :)


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December 12, 2013

18 Things That I've Been Too Afraid To Publish Here ...

I never fill this blog with fluff. All of the words that I type come from my heart ... and I have to assume that you read whatever I publish here each day because I'm honest and real, and because you can relate to me in some way.

But I hope that you realize that this blog is only filled with half of the truths. There are a whole bunch of other things that go on each day behind the scenes of the edited and filtered life that I choose to put on display here and on Instagram and Twitter.

I carry lots of things and thoughts in my heart that scare me ... there are dozens of blog posts that I've drafted about all of these things, but I end up deleting them out of fear of judgement and vulnerability and embarrassment. 

But not today.

What I'm about to publish today is actually quite frightening for me ... it's a list of all of the things that I've been too afraid to publish, but I've finally decided to publish because I've realized that these are the things that truly make me relatable and honest and real ... so without further ado:

I have a love/hate relationship with this blog. I wonder if it's worth it, or if I should try harder, or if I should try less. I wonder if I should focus on it more to take it to the next level, or if I should focus on my real job instead. I wonder if blogs are dying, and if this space is even going to matter in five years.

I'm currently at my highest weight ever and I'm incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.

I have a close family member who is a heroin addict.

I can count the people who I trust in this world on two fingers.

I am incredibly guilty of choosing blog projects and work over spending quality time with loved ones, and I need to focus on getting my priorities in order asap.

I think marriage takes more work than I ever expected or planned for. It's been beautiful and fun ... but the first year was also the hardest year of my life.

I seriously considered divorcing TJ this past summer. I'm probably going to kick myself in the ass for publishing this onto the interwebs ... but after the aforementioned months that we endured together, when we came home from Germany and I was able to collect my thoughts after the miscarriage and all of the lows that we experienced, I kind of hit a breaking point and kept thinking "Is this it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? Is this what marriage is? Because if it is, I want out." We were able to work through it all and ended up better and closer than ever ... but for a few weeks in the early summer I let our marriage completely fall apart.

I'm proud of TJ, but I never like telling people for the first time that he's a professional hockey player because they have this preconceived notion that he's a million-bajillionaire or that we're loaded ... and we're not.

I'm currently just under $8,000 in credit card debt. It's pretty embarrassing and I have close to nothing to show for it.

I have to sometimes step away from Instagram or Twitter for a few days because I become filled with intense feelings of jealousy.

I am really, really good at shutting people down and cutting them out of my life without a second thought. It's a blessing and a curse.

I carry a lot of negative feelings and borderline hatred for the family and friends who didn't acknowledge my miscarriage or ask how I was doing when they damn well knew what I went through.

I was convinced each month for the last three months that I was pregnant. And then I wasn't. And then I was sad. And then I was angry. And I'm still angry.

I told a little white lie a few months back when I said that I wasn't sure if I'll ever be able to start trying for another baby again. We've been trying since August and I'm starting to become scared that something is wrong and I will never become pregnant again.

I struggle with turning my inner monologue off to focus on what other's are saying. I listen to respond, and I need to work on that.

I'm becoming more introverted as I get older ... I am much more accepting of people, but I am finding that I actually "like" people less and less.

I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Anything really, can set it off. Busy grocery stores, getting cut off on the highway. Sometimes I can laugh these things off easily, but other times it's like a switch flips and I can't breath / I feel like I'm going to explode. 

I sometimes feel like I'm stuck standing in what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life-ville. I see and hear of girls who are five years younger than me who I used to teach dance or cheerleading to who already own homes or have families ... and I still live in my parent's basement in the summer and it's just ... sometimes I feel like I'm so behind, and that I'm failing to thrive as a human.

And there it all is ... a few of the little and not so little things that I've never published here. And now, I need a drink and it's not even noon yet. Fabulous. 

Good thing blogging is cheaper than a $250 an hour therapist, huh?

Please be nice and try not to judge me too hard, k?


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December 10, 2013

Very Hearty Chicken + Dumpling Soup

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Kleenex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KleenexTarget

It was inevitable between all of the hospital visits and boarding flights back and forth between Denver and Massachusetts over the past two weeks that I'd end up sick.

Symptoms hit me like a freight train on Saturday afternoon, which left me craving homemade soup immediately. As strange as this sounds ... I think that I was subconsciously looking forward to getting sick so that I could treat myself to a nice warm pot of soup, and relax on the couch with my hot tea and Kleenex within arm's reach for a day or two. 

If it weren't for the coughing, sneezing and plugging my nose with tissues ... this is basically what I envision heaven to be like!

I did not want to wait for soup to simmer, so I decided to shortcut a few steps, and I had half-homemade soup filling my belly and comforting me in under an hour. This soup was delish ... and I'm pretty sure that the hearts gave it a few extra health and healing benefits, too ;)


1 48oz carton of natural chicken broth
1 can (10 3/4 oz) of cream of chicken soup
3 medium carrots, chopped like hearts
3 celery sticks, chopped
Two pounds of cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 can of refrigerated biscuits, pulled apart and shaped into small hearts


In a large pot heat chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, carrots, celery, chicken, garlic salt and pepper over medium-high heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium-low and drop biscuits one by one into the soup pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping the biscuits to ensure that they are cooked through.

Prepare for your next cold or flu by heading to your nearest Target to pick up any of the ingredients that you need above, and don't forget to print this coupon to receive $1 off a 4-pack of Kleenex.


Do you have a special soup that you look forward to when you're feeling under the weather?

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© Kym Fox | Our Fox Tales