Friday, December 6, 2013

Lust List: Christmas Gifts for My Parents

I really struggle with buying gifts for my parents. It's not super difficult to find something for my mother, but Christmas is also her birthday, so finding two presents at the same time can be a bit much. And my Dad has pretty much always been impossible to shop for. He doesn't give any clues, and while he collects stamps, he always puts a specific list together and my mother buys those for him. So I tend to get my parents repetitive gifts. My sister and I usually split the cost on some sort of sentimental piece of jewelry for my mother, and then I panic on the second gift until she tells me what she wants. And then I buy my father some sort of desk tchotchke, but he's specifically told me he doesn't want one of those this year. After scouring the internet for what felt like forever, I think I've finally picked out gifts for both of my parents, but here's some of the other stuff I was considering.

For Mom
click to enlarge

Cozy Robe     $24.99 (5 additional colors)
Peacock Pill Box     $12
Wire Art Tree     $20
Knitting Bowl     $36
Ceramic Cup     $26

For Dad
click to enlarge

Charlie Brown Shirt     $19.99
Antique Map Paper Cup     $19.95
Apple Paperweight     $18.95

My sister and I already purchased the bracelet set for my mother (as well as another bracelet from the site), and I'm trying to convince my sister to go for the candle holder as well. I bought the vintage baseball for my father a couple of Christmases ago, and he loved it. This year, I'm probably going to go with the teacher nutcracker (my father is a teacher, you'd be surprised how hard it is to find teacher nutcrackers that are men).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Things I Loved in November 2013

I'm having a very hard time accepting the fact that it's December. I feel like this year has just flown by so fast. I have made virtually no progress on my New Year's Resolutions, which is disappointing. But I have managed to start graduate school, which means that this year is automatically more successful that 2012. At least I have that. Hopefully, December is fairly kind to me (and limited in the snow department until I'm done with classes for the semester). I'll probably be spending the month with family and watching my bank account drain as I attempt to buy everyone's Christmas presents. But this post is about November, not December. November was fairly low-key to me. I spent a lot of time on the computer (just like every other month, really), but I did manage to get up to Buffalo to visit my two best friends. I also had some great discoveries!

I made three different things for Thanksgiving dinner, but this fruit dip was definitely the biggest hit. Even my cousins children (who are always picky eaters) devoured it. It's also incredibly easy to make, all you do is measure out three ingredients and mix them together with a spoon. In addition to the apples recommended at the source, I put out strawberries and bananas for everyone to dip into it as well. Personally, I though the bananas went best with it, but I had multiple servings of each fruit.

The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell
This is the second book in Mitchell's The Vespertine trilogy. I thought the first book was great, but this one is my favorite so far. It focuses on a characters introduced in the first book, as she recovers from tragedy and moves to a frontier town in Oklahoma to help her aunt. Much like the first book, it contains magic and romance, but I especially loved watching the main character develop. If you like historical fiction and fantasy, you should definitely check it out.

I have no shame in admitting that I love a good boy band. And Big Time Rush is definitely my favorite. There music is so much fun. I've been listening to in the car lately, and it's a great way to beat the freezing cold early mornings when I drive to work. And the freezing cold darkness when I leave work at night.

Agents of SHIELD premiered to huge numbers a few months ago, but had a bit of a hard time finding its footing. I've been watching since the premiere, and it definitely gets better with each episode. After episode 6, things start to get really good. At this point, I've completely fallen in love with this show, and I spent a lot of time talking to friends about it. In fact, my interest may have reached the point where fan fiction is involved.

I was fully prepared to rant to you about how much I love AoS, and leave it at that. But about 10 days ago, a friend finally talked me into checking out Haven, which airs on SyFy here in the US. I marathoned all 50 of the currently aired episodes in 8 days, and now I'm anxiously awaiting the start of it's two-part season finale. It's a great fantasy show, and I love all of the characters so much. You should definitely give this show a try, seasons 1-3 are currently up on Netflix. You won't regret it.

Like I said earlier, I flew up to Buffalo to visit friends earlier this month. And, in general, Buffalo is really cold. So the night before I left, I ducked into Target and bought a pair of cheap gloves. These aren't incredibly warm, but they do really well for their $3 price tag. And they have the special tips that allow you to use your phone/iPod without taking them off. And they're small enough that my tiny hands actually fit into them properly. All in all, a very useful purchase.

I have really oily skin, which is naturally prone to acne. And ever since I started using this cleanser, my skin has been the best its ever been (aside from when I was taking pills for acne... maybe). I'm so happy with this product (and all of the REN skincare items I've tried). I did go through my first bottle of it very quick, though, so I'm trying to be a little more careful with the second.