Motivational Monday | Getting Through the Holidays

The holiday season is officially here and aside from my birthday, it’s my favorite time of year. I love Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. It’s beyond the gifts. Everyone just seems to be nicer and more courteous. Unfortunately, this time of year can be bittersweet.

For me, not having my mom around has been rough. It’s been 8 years without her and I find myself lately bringing up how I feel. This time of year just always gets to me. Thankfully I have an amazing support system, but it doesn’t fill the hole inside. Is that the case for everyone?

Continue reading “Motivational Monday | Getting Through the Holidays”

Top 5: 2015 Obsessions

This year I decided to switch things up in terms of my yearly favorites. I’ve  usually done an entire recap of my music favorites along with my non-muis favs, but music just didn’t strike me this year. When I first started blogging it was all about music news and reviews, but I felt stuck in a bubble which is why I took the leap of faith and changed my blog name from MusicMovingForward to ChaoticCritic. The blog is clearly more than music and I’ve been in quite the planner craze, but there’s a lot more content coming in 2016 that I can’t wait to share. ChaoticCritic will be undergoing a lot of changes and I hope you all stick around for the transformation. Continue reading “Top 5: 2015 Obsessions”

Happy HAULidays 2015!

MERRY MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS! I wanted to share my Christmas gifts with you all similar to what I did last year (click HERE for that post). Now on to this years HAULidays.

Like usual, there was nothing in particular that I really wanted. Although I am planner obsessed and would’ve been fine with a boatload of stickers, but my friends and family also know how much I love sentimental gifts. The one thing I did want this year was a bed in a bag since my comforter ripped in the dryer and thankfully my grandmother gifted me with just that.

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I received an outfit from Forever 21 from my sisters and my sisters know me so well to keep it super neutral. As I grow more into my style I know the colors that I like, the fit that I like, and where I like to shop. I haven’t purchased anything from Forever 21 in quite sometime, but expect a future outfit of the day featuring these items in the near future.

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I received a lot of gift cards from the parents at my job. Majority of those gift cards were to Target and I’ve spent most of them. Target is definitely my  weak spot. A Target haul will be coming soon. As for the other gifts I received from parents one gave me a super cute set from Bath & Body Works with the scent Winter Candy Apple. My favorite detail of the set would have to be the bag. I’ll definitely be putting this on in my car and swapping out the current scent I have, Sensual Amber.

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The other gift that I absolutely loved from a parent was a personalized thermos. It’s pictured above with the saying ‘Wise & Wonderful.’ The box I received it in says it was purchased from Zulily and I give a lot of credit to this parent because her gifts are great. It’s nice to receive money/gift cards around the holidays, but you can never count out thoughtful gifts.

I received a little owl notepad which I had to share since I’m obsessed with owls, but two of my other favorite gifts were a mug and the ‘List Your Self’ book. The mug is from Pier 1 and it’s so cute that I don’t want to take it out of the packaging. I have accumulated so many mugs that a mug collection is coming soon. The ‘List Your Self’ book is so nice and will be great for journaling on those days that I want to journal of something different.

I’m very happy with the gifts I did receive, but more importantly I enjoyed spending time with my family and friends. From my holiday party to my Christmas Eve family dinner. As I get older I really enjoy the time spent over the gifts received.

Merry Christmas To All…

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Christmas has changed so much for me and my family over the years. When I was younger I was the typical child that enjoyed waking up in the morning and opening all my toys. Now as I’ve gotten older I’m more into sentimental gifts and spending time with my family. Christmas has never been about gifts, but in this society Christmas has turned into a manmade holiday. It’s about gifts galore and while gifts are nice the real meaning has been forgotten. 

Looking back on Christmas past I’ve always wanted to do the infamous YouTube Christmas Tag so, let’s get to it. 

1. Do you like to stay in your PJs or dress up for Christmas?

Being that my family celebrates on Christmas Eve, I’m Team PJs for Christmas. 

2. If you could buy one person a present this year who would it be?

Definitely my grandmother. I made her a calendar this year filled with old and new family photos. 

3. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

For the past few years Christmas Eve.

4. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?

Yup, a few years ago. Not the best work. Never ate it, but then again, aren’t they more for decorative purposes?

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5. What do you like to do on your Christmas break?

I’m not in undergrad anymore so I don’t have a Christmas break. When I did I liked having time to myself whether it be occasionally hanging with friends or binge watching TV. Oh, and of course, catching up on sleep.

6. Favorite meal or treat?

White hot chocolate with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

7. Favorite holiday movie?

Any version of A Christmas Carol. 

8. Candy Canes or Gingerbread Men?

Sweet candy canes.

9. Have you made a snowman?

Yup. Lots of snow here in the tri-state area, although my snowman have never been real circles.

10. Which do you like better, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

The older I get I definitely enjoy Christmas Eve more. Christmas Day has turned into a day of napping and watching movies, which is fine, but Christmas Eve is filled with lots of family, great food, and laughs.

11. White lights or colored lights?

White lights for sure!

Today, December 25, 2015, I spent my Christmas staying up until 5am and then waking up at 9 to watch a few movies on Netflix. Although Netflix movies can be pretty corny and generic I ended up watching:

  • Christmas Bounty
  • The Fitzgerald Family Christmas
  • 12 Dates of Christmas 

I added to my planner and then took an epic Christmas nap. Now I plan to spend the rest of my evening with my boyfriend with hot cocoa and Christmas movies.

Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the ones you love! Enjoy some of my favorite Christmas tunes below:

 

Plan With Me: December 14th-20th

Welcome to another plan with me! I’ve been super sick courtesy of the spring weather in December which has thrown me off in terms of blogging. I’m back this week with a snowy themed layout. I’ll be doing more of these in January. As for last week, I used a set from the etsy shop Fabulously Planned and I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s not super ‘Christmassy,’ but I love it. Definitely one of my favorite layouts of the year. Be sure to click the pic to check out last weeks plan with me.

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This week I centered around the Darice  sticker book ‘Snow & Ice’ along with scrapbook paper that I had precut to fix the boxes of the ‘Good Things Are Going to Happen’ happy planner. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, this planner has longer boxes. The other versions of the planner, aside from the box kits, have headers similar to that of the Erin Condren Life Planner. The paper I used was difficult to deal with because with it being adhesive paper opposed to typical scrapbook paper it was hard for me to move it around when it wasn’t completely straight. Thankfully I didn’t ruin the layout.

I then went into my sticker binder and found blue headers that would match. I went back to my usual ‘to do’ / ‘today’/ ‘blog’ format. Being that the paper was light blue I also added teal and grey and gold and I just love how it all came together. Other than the checklists, headers, weekend banner, and the other usual stickers I use, all the other stickers are Erin Condren. I never thought I’d use to many EC stickers in one layout, but I love how it turned out. I find myself writing that a lot, but a successful spread means I’ll actually use it.

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Be sure to click the links below for to purchase stickers/washi used:

Personalized Gifts

It’s difficult to shop for someone who has it all. You don’t want to do the typical gift card although cash is always a great option. The person can buy what they want, but you can really give cash anytime of year. Shopping for my grandmother is always the hardest because she really has everything. I have to get creative with gifts, but this year I’m taking the personalized route.

My grandmother, like many grandmothers, save just about everything. Anytime something was made for her by me, my siblings, or cousins, she’d save it. As I get older I know the little things mean the most to her. With my family scattered across the U.S. and abroad, my grandmother is a fan of pictures and loves showing everyone off. Knowing that, I knew exactly which route to take when creating her gift.

With Christmas less than 2 weeks away, I’m running out of time in terms of ordering a gift and making sure it gets here in time. One of my favorite go to websites for customization is Shutterfly. There’s a lot of other similar options such as:

The great thing about sites like Snapfish and Shutterfly is that you could find promo codes online and by searching on YouTube. Then there’s Chatbooks which takes your Instagram photos and puts them in a book for just $8. It creates volumes of your pictures or you can pick and choose which ones you’d want. As for stores like Walgreens, CVS, Target, and Walmart, you can now pick up in store which is a super convenient option this time of year.

As for what I’m creating for my grandmother, I’m going for a calendar. There’s canvases, mugs, photo books, phone cases, pillows, and more. Anything you can put a photo on, you can customize. I’m going for a calendar because most photo books can’t be carried on the go. Also with a calendar, it can be customized by month with a specific persons birthdays, or just a collage of pictures.

Since I am running low on time, I would more and likely do same day pick up with Walgreens. I’ve created previous photo projects with Walgreens and the quality has always been amazing. If I had more time I’d more and likely order from Shutterfly, but I’m interested in trying Snapfish just to check out another platform.

Lastly, I can’t mention personalized gifts without shedding light on Etsy. I frequently shop on Etsy for planner stickers, hence my planner obsession, but Etsy has amazingly talented vendors. If you search enough, you’ll find someone with just what you’re looking for.

Holiday Party Planning | 2 Weeks Before

Christmas is quickly approaching and I am hosting a girls night on the 23rd and on the 24th my typical Christmas Eve dinner with my family. On Christmas it’s usually a day of sleeping in and lounging around and a trip to the movies later on. This year I’m thinking of seeing either Concussion or Creed. 

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Photo from Paperless Post

Back to my party planning. I sent out invitations in a group text, simply because it’s easier, but I used the website paperlesspost.com. The website offered an array of free templates to choose from and the one I chose fit perfectly with the theme I’m going for. The website was easy to maneuver and you do have to create the invitation from your computer along with signing up on the website.Prior to sending out invites I definitely checked with all those I planned to invite to see if the date would work for everyone.

Next was for me to create a master list of everything I wanted to get done around my house prior to the party and I broke my timetable into four increments: 2 weeks, 1 week, day before, and last minute. I’ll be sharing my entire process here of course. I highly recommend writing down what it is you want down opposed to your phone. Having it on paper and physically checking it off assures that you’ll get it done. I have all of my party planning in my Erin Condren notebook, but you can write it anywhere.

With my party being on a Wednesday my cleaning would get done on the weekend. My entire downstairs will be deep cleaned and in deep cleaning now by next week I will still clean, but just not a deep clean. A deep clean takes more time and with that clean you simply tackle the areas you often avoid. I’ve zoned off how I plan to deep clean. I know that my kitchen will be an entire day and my bathroom will take a couple hours. Don’t tire yourself out, find a playlist to keep you moving, and get it done.

I’ve also created a Pinterest board of all the ideas I may want to use from easy appetizers to decorations, games, a DIY photo booth, and more. Unlike the list I mentioned above, Pinterest is easy to use and you can create as many boards as you want and pin on the go. In adding appetizers I’ve began to create a menu and I’ll narrow it down in my next post, one week before the party.

Lastly, keep in mind a BUDGET! My party will be roughly 4 hours and I just want to enjoy time with my favorite girls with good food, wine, and sweet treats. Regardless of how many people you’re having make use of what you already have and don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a dish. For my party I’ll be covering the appetizers which I think is easier so that there’s more options and my guests have offered to bring the sweet treats.

Two weeks out I’m really just focused on cleaning. Next week I’ll be sharing my menu and any DIYs. Until next time…