Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

I know I haven't been writing a lot lately, as I have been extremely busy with my life, so I just wanted to write a quick blog post wishing you all a wonderful Christmas. My original goal was to be more active with this blog, but I have been so busy with my life that I have kind of neglected that. And to my readers, I wholeheartedly apologize.
 
My Christmas is ok. I got quite a few things from my family and friends. We had the chance to enjoy a great breakfast. Red Velvet Pancakes, Banana Bread French Toast, Lemon Curd Muffins and a bunch of other great things including homemade orange juice and sweet tomato smoothie. And in a few hours, we (my family and I) will have a delicious dinner. I am very anxious to enjoy a Gardein Roast for the 2nd holiday dinner this year followed by an array of sides including Persian Tahdig rice, Caprese kabobs, Sweet Corn Casserole, Pineapple Salad, Pretzel Salad and more. For dessert this year, I decided to make mini lemon bunt cakes with homemade cream cheese frosting, a red velvet cake with the same frosting, masala chai gelato and chocolate chip cookies.
 
So, to everyone who reads my blog, I hope you are having an amazing holiday with your family, friends and other loved ones. I hope you are surrounded by flavorful food, holiday hymns and laughter. I hope that this special day brings you happiness, peace, love and joy. Remember to never stop until the goal is reached and to always think positive.
 
From my home to your home-Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nails Inc. London in Mayfair Lane

 
As part of the 2013 Christmas Cracker Collection, Mayfair Lane is a stunning new addition to Nails Inc. This is a full-coverage, red glitter polish. Although the red is intense, it isn't bright and quite cool in comparison to most red shades.
 
As this is considered to be a nail topper used to accessorize your nails and bling up your polish, it's quite pigmented when worn alone. As you can see from the swatch, it looks like a full-coverage, red glitter polish. And when I originally swatched the above photo, I wore Mayfair Lane by itself.
 
Would I use this product again? As this product is great, it is not for me to wear on a daily basis. Would I recommend this nail product? Yes. As popular as this polish was in 2013, I haven't been able to find it online at all as it is sold out virtually everywhere. I'll update this review with a link when I discover one.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Run Rudolph Run by Sarah Afshar

The holidays are my favorite time of year. There is something so liberating listening to Christmas and hearing the classics on the radio. And what better way than to celebrate and honor the holidays than by going on one of my favorite apps, Smule to record Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry. That is exactly what I did a few minutes ago.


To listen to my rendition of Run Rudolph Run simply watch/listen to the video above. If it doesn't play, just click here right now. I recorded this using my iPhone while wearing headphones. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

O Holy Night by Sarah Afshar (Take One)

O Holy Night is a very beautiful yet popular power ballad that epitomizes the Christmas season and what it is all about. If you were to ask anyone on the street what their favorite Christmas song is more than likely most would say this one. I have been wanting to record this tune for quite sometime, but haven't really got around to doing so until today. To be honest, I am not feeling the best, as I woke up today with a little bit of a cold and sore throat. I went on Smule just now and recorded this. 


To listen to my rendition of O Holy Night just watch/listen to the video above. If it doesn't play, simply click here right now. I recorded this right from the Smule app on my iPhone. To be honest, I am feeling a bit under the weather today, so I will re-record this song when I feel better. In the meantime, this will have to do. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

When I think of how the holidays were when I was a child versus now, a lot has changed. I believed in Santa for the longest time and assumed he was real until my mom finally told me he was a myth. I remember I would wake up early so excited to find presents under the tree. On December 23rd and Christmas Eve (the 24th) I would write several Christmas lists and place them all over the house. I would even leave cookies all over the house too hoping to get "Santa's" attention. I also believed the more cookies I would bake for Santa, the more presents I would get in return.  
 
Then, I would be so happy to see my grandmother (who is now deceased and has been for quite sometime, RIP) the early morning into the early evening of Christmas day. We would celebrate Christmas at her house, as it was a tradition. She would cook and my mom, aunts and other family members would join her in the kitchen. It was different then. Back then I was all about the presents, the food, the music and getting time off of school. The memories. I also knew the origin of Christmas, as it was the birthday of our father, Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Evidently, I appreciate a lot more now than just that.
 
In fact, what I love about the holidays goes beyond decorations that dangle on the tree, hearing Christmas music on virtually every radio station, bright white snow sinking into the earth's crust for the season or the gourmand scents that manifest the kitchen when cooking kringle. What l love about the holidays goes beyond opening gifts, enjoying time off from work to sleep in and sipping on classic grade A Moscato.
 
What I do love about the holidays, Christmas in particular, is living in the moment. Whether it means placing a new ornament on the tree, shopping for Joe or simply cooking a new recipe for the first time. I also love being surrounded by good energy. And by good energy, I mean by wonderful people. By those who I love and those who love me. The holidays are the time to not only love life, but appreciate every moment and memory breeding experience life offers, as if it were the last. Experiencing them is one thing, but sharing those experiences with wonderful people is always a blessing to me.
 
Everything has been the same since I can remember and yet every year there is "something" new and unique. Whether it is a new experience or even a memory created by another one. Nothing ever fades and that is the beauty of the holidays, of Christmas. To me, that is what this day is all about.
 
I hope you enjoy today, as I hope you are having a wonderful day. From my house to your house, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Top 10 Christmas songs of all time

I love music and can appreciate every single band and artist under the sun, which is why it was a lot harder than you think to create this top-10 list of Christmas songs. There were quite a few that I contemplated adding, as there were a few that I wanted to add. Evidently those would have made another top list that was longer in length. Either way you put it, Christmas is approaching in just a few days so what better way to enjoy this amazing day with wonderful music. Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas songs of all time
 
 
What are your top 10 favorite Christmas songs of all time? I would really love to know. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Beauty of Christmas Day, a poem

The holidays are looming towards the present, as the stars up above shine ever so brightly. A holy night where we come together with everything we are grateful of, ever so tightly. Near the old, habitual chimney lies the stocking and greeting cards given by friends and foes. Under the Christmas tree lies gifts and presents worthless to and worthy of those. 

Dead leaves continue to fall off the leafless trees, as the ice continues to cultivate and grow. Splendid wind chimes move readily, as you're inside wrapping each gift alone, with a bow. Unanticipated guests show up at the front door, hoping to earn your admiration and overall respect. The phone rings off the hook, as you occupy your precious and treasured time to reflect.

Mucky incognito populace attempt to ruin the moment and encourage the plight. Optimistic people who live in the moment with goals and accomplishment have the spotlight. Holiday galas have their ups and downs, the life we inhabit is sublimely imperfect precision. The life we choose is the life we befall, one big accomplishment, one big mission.

Santa Claus, Christmas Gifts, Cards, Fruitcake, and Old Fashioned Egg Nog. Glossy chestnuts roasting peacefully on a fresh new wooden log. Christmas is a celebration that promotes immaculate joy and splendid glee. Despite the adversity endured, we are approaching a special day. Can't you see?

This is the time to cherish, a time to bear, the love of God and the birth of his son. Christmas is the time that brings us together, together as one. The old and the new, the rich and the poor, the black and the blue. The weak and the strong, the fat and the thin, no matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all belong.

The circle of life, controls the prosperity and richness of the soul. Peaceful meetings of sublime happiness are in our control. Stillness is golden, in that final month, six hundred hours until the day. A time to give, a time to receive, and a time to love the beauty of Christmas Day.

TBT: Christmas 2013

Today is not only Christmas day, my favorite holiday, but also Throwback Thursday. Although Christmas is great this year because I get to spend it amongst loved ones and snow, I had a great Christmas last year. In fact, I don't think I ever had a horrible Christmas ever because even through the rough times in life (death of my grandmother, for instance) I still managed to love, cherish, value, and appreciate this amazing day.
 
 
 
For Throwback Thursday, I want to share my Christmas Tree I had last year and prior from my home in Bozeman, MT. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and just remember, if your day is not as bright as it should be, think of all of the wonderful things that have happened, that are currently happening, and the best that is yet to come.

Merry Christmas everyone!

2014: Merry Christmas

Can you believe it's Christmas? After months of waiting for the big day to arrive, it is finally here. Right now I am attempting to make a kringle, but I am unsure how it is going to turn out. I think I am a little ambitious. I know, I haven't been blogging as I should be and I do apologize.
 
I know being busy should no longer be an excuse, as I am in the process of several things which include working full time until January 2015 before making my permanent move to Pennsylvania from Montana to live with my amazing soul mate and best friend, Joe, along with writing for Examiner and AXS. I have had to endure quite a few things so far, but so far so good.
 
On top of that, I am working with several companies/people on future projects for 2015. Although I don't want to tell you everything (and I do have a habit of doing this sometimes because I get excited and think so far ahead), I will say that one of them includes an amazing partnership with one of my favorite vegetarian food brands where I will attend an online culinary arts school and use their products to create and execute recipes.
 
There are a lot of things just getting started, as there are a lot of things coming, so expect the unexpected. I do apologize for not blogging as much as I should be, but I promise when I get everything settled, you can expect me to blog much more. In the meantime, check out my "Best in Beauty 2014 Awards" via Examiner.
 
On that note: Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be happy, joyful, cheery and as bright as you are.

Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Gifts: Decorative Deep Fried Oreos

When it comes to the holidays the word creativity should always be in your forte. I am not saying that the holidays are necessarily the epitome of creativeness, but they do allow you to get inspired. I love everything about the holidays. Whether it be the music, the decorations, the love in the air, the entire ambiance, the food, etc. It is a well known fact that money doesn't grow on trees and not everyone can afford to spend an obscene amount on the latest item. Homemade gourmet gifts are not only incredibly affordable, but highly effective as everyone can and will appreciate them. Do you know anyone who doesn't love food?

Recently, I had the opportunity to discover one of the best homemade gourmet gifts. I was inspired at the local grocery store when shopping for cookies. I know there are many people that cannot stand Oreo cookies at all, however, once they try a decorative deep fried oreo they are hooked. Before you decide to make oreos, you can look at what type of oreos you want to buy. I like to buy all different types, however; I am fond of the original oreo cookie the most because it's the most common and it is what everyone expects when they bite into an oreo, especially a decorative deep fried oreo. Let's get started!

Ingredients:

Deep Fryer (If you don't own a deep fryer, a thick cast iron pan is helpful and will work.)

Paper Towels

Metal Tongs

Oreo Cookies

All Purpose Flour

Granulated Sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Coconut Oil

Almond Milk

Butter

Eggs

 

Decoration:

Icing
Edibles decors (Everything from sprinkles of sorts to actual images, whatever you intend to use to decorate your deep fried Oreos.)

Powdered Sugar (optional) 
 

Preparation:

Pour about 2 quarts of vegetable oil into your deep fryer. If you are using a thick cast iron pan, you want to pour about 1 quart of vegetable oil into it. You want to set the stove on high, but do not walk away from it. You want to only put it on high for about 5 minutes and then set it to a medium temperature.

As you continue, you want to make your batter. Although you can use pre-made pancake batter, I do not recommend it because the deep fried oreos taste better when you use homemade. You want to add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar into a big round bowl.

Once you combine the ingredients, using a mixer (I love to use my Kitchen Aid for this, however; any mixer with do) you want to mix them together until you have a relatively thin consistency. It should not be watery, but it should not be thick either. For those of you that have made crepes, it should be on the same wavelength. If you are looking to create a flavored deep fried Oreo, you can add just about any type of spice or extract to the batter.

Sit aside your batter. You want to get the oreos together. It is important that you look at each Oreo to make sure they are not cracked. Although some people like to take melted butter and apply it onto the oreos before applying the actual batter, I usually leave that step out. I tried it once and the batter didn't turn out the way I wanted it to turn out.

Using a pair of tongs, take each Oreo and dip it into the batter. If you are skeptical about doing several oreos at one time, try one and see how it turns out. You want to fry 6 at the most. You want to fry the deep fried oreos until they have reached a golden brown color. Most of the time, they will rise to the top when they are done, however; if you are confused, just set the time for 5 minutes, as that is the maximum time they can cook.

Now this is where the paper towels come into play. You want to make sure you have several paper towels laid out. They must be laid on a hard, flat surface so any flat plate will do. Also, make sure they are not crowded together because you are going to decorate them later. Using the pair of tongs (and they are highly recommended) you want to remove them from the deep fryer and apply them on the pair towels to dry. Let them dry for at least 10 minutes minimum.

Once they have dried, you can start decorating them. Some people like to leave them the way they are and just sprinkle powdered sugar. I like to decorate them. I love to apply icing all over them and apply an array of different edible decors. During the holidays I love breaking out my crystal sprinkles, as well as, sprinkles of seasonal things such as Christmas trees, snowman, and Santa Claus. You can be simple or you can be like me, creative. I also like to decorate my deep fried oreos a little over the top because it's fun and exciting.

Congratulations! You just made your first decorative deep fried Oreos. Now, all you have to do is box or bag them up and give them to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son, your wife, your girlfriend, your husband, your fiance, your boyfriend, your BFF, your father-in-law, your mother-in-law, and everyone else you can think of. Trust me, in the end, people not only love, but appreciate homemade gourmet gifts and the Decorative Deep Fried Oreos are one of them. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

American Greetings talk Care Bears, Christmas, and the new Advent Calendar app

American Greetings presents the Care Bears
Advent Calendar app.
American Greetings is the biggest greeting card company in the world. Established in 1906, it's been around for over 100 years. American Greetings allows you to personalize and send greeting cards in a variety of ways, making every experience memory breeding and fun. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Janice Ross, the VP of brand marketing and public relations of American Greetings Properties about Care Bears, Christmas, and the new Advent Calendar app. Here is what she had to tell me...

(Q) First and foremost, as a huge fan of Care Bears, I have to ask you more about the latest app you have available for the holidays. Tell me a little more about it...

J.R: The Care Bears Advent Calendar app stars the lovable and friendly Care Bears and invites children to countdown to Christmas with all the sights, sounds and anticipation of the holiday. With wholesome themes and fun activities, the app is a great way for parents and grandparents to connect with children during the season.

In the app, which begins on December 1, children can start the countdown by ‘unlocking’ activities like holiday-themed puzzles, videos, coloring pages and more, returning each day to unlock another activity to get them closer to December 25. Kids can color with Tenderheart Bear, do a puzzle with Share Bear, wrap a gift with Cheer Bear and much more. And just like the traditional advent calendars, on December 25, the app gives users a sweet surprise with a full-length Care Bears video episode.

When not visiting the Care Bears each day, the app also provides activities for kids. Children can design hundreds of snowflakes and create their own white Christmas with the Care-a-Lot Snowflake maker, decorate the Care Bears Christmas tree with special ornaments found within the app and enjoy other wintry fun activities.

(Q) Can anyone download the app?

J.R: The app is available now for download on iPad and can be found on iTunes for $2.99. There is also an app for PC and MAC desktops that can be found on the American Greetings website here.

(Q) In the past days, weeks and months Care Bears has created a buzz for implementing fresh marketing tactics like crowd sourcing, Tell me more about the campaign and how it is engaging fans...

J.R: Earlier this month, we announced a fast moving, creative video campaign with the popular crowd sourcing digital platform, Tongal, with Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears. This contest is a chance to create video content that will connect with people who already know and love our brands and attract a new audience as well. Tongal seemed like the perfect community to tap into with a big range of ideas and people who might already have an emotional attachment to our lovable characters. Tongal challenged its creative community to come up with fun and engaging videos that will celebrate each of the iconic '80s franchises. There will be three winners for each brand, with first-place video winners earning $15,000.

(Q) I read that you have signed an exclusive deal with Netflix for Care Bears. Tell me about it...

J.R: There is a massive shift in the way kids consume content, and we have strategically positioned the Care Bears to be at the forefront of new media. We continue to focus on key collaborations and partnerships that allow a new generation of fans to discover Care Bears on the platforms that they want, and just announced that we're partnering with Netflix to create an exclusive new original Care Bears series called Care Bears and Cousins, expected to premiere in 2016. Our fans love the ease of streaming video and this partnership with Netflix will make it easy for our younger fans to connect with Care Bears on any device on demand.

(Q) Care Bears have their very own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, how do you engage fans on those pages?

J.R: Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake fans span from young kids and their parents, all the way up to grandparents who enjoyed these characters when their kids were young - and they are all super connected through Social Media. Whether it be through apps - we have more than a dozen - or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, YouTube or more, we have exciting and unique content to extend our brands everywhere and on every platform for our fans to engage with them!
For more information, visit American Greetings today.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Deals: CheapOair

When it comes to the holidays and traveling, you can expect the unexpected, as traveling is something to expect, especially if you have family and friends who live far away. As a world traveler, I find myself interested in grabbing the best deals for the season and one of them I recently discovered is at CheapOair.

CheapOair is currently offering the following deals for the holiday season:

-Get 40% off of your next flight. Use code: HOLIDAY40. (ongoing)
-Save up to $15 on your next flight. Use code: NVB15. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
-Save up to $20 on your next flight for Thanksgiving. Use code: TURKEY
-After November 30th until December 31st, use code: CHEAPAIR15 to save up to $15 off.
-What are you doing the day and weekend after Thanksgiving? You may want to take advantage of these super savings. Get up to $20 off now. Use code: BFCM2015(Black Friday & Cyber Monday)
-Do you have any plans for the New Year? Check out more super savings. Use code: NEWYEAR2016. (New Year)
-Round Trip Flights for Under $150.
-4-Star Hotels Under $99.
-Get $10 off your next rental car. Use code: RENTACAR. (Expires: December 31st 2015)


Other offers:
Save up to $30 on your next flight to New England. Use code: NEWENG30. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
Save up to $15 on your next flight to Europe. Use code: EURO15. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
-Save up to $15 on your next global flight. Use code: WORLD15. (Expires: December 31st 2015)
-Save up to $15 on Last Minute traveling and get 40 to 65% off now. Use code: LM15. (Expires: December 31st 2015)
-Get $50 off group packages. Use code: GROUP50. (Expires: December 31st 2015)

Whether you are heading home for the holidays or simply heading to a new destination, you may want to check out CheapOair for your next flight. Just click here to book your flight now.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Hot in Music: Top 10 Christmas Albums of All Time

Christmas Eve and Other Stories from
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is definitely
the best Christmas album of all time.
I don't know about you, but Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. Everything from the decorations to the food and many more, including the music. Yes, the music. Because Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and because I love music, I have decided to countdown the many Christmas CDs put out by the numerous artists and bands to only the top 10 Christmas records.


10. The Lost Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra never fails to disappoint, especially when it comes to the holiday season. They are always on top of their game. This CD is exceptionally astonishing because it provides you with more than just good music, but compositions filled with raw masterpieces. The songs include: Music Box Blues, Faith Noel, The Lost Christmas Eve, Christmas Dreams, Wizards In Winter, Remember, Anno Domine, Christmas Concerto, Queen Of The Winter Night, Christmas Nights In Blue, Christmas Jazz, Christmas Jam, Siberian Sleigh Ride, What Is Christmas?, For The Sake Of Our Brother, and The Widom Of Snow. Whether you are looking for an amazing Christmas gift or simply looking to enjoy amazing music, this Trans-Siberian addition is it. (Check out my interview with Paul O'Neill of Trans-Siberian Orchestra here.)


9. Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald is a jazz legend. I never get tired of hearing her naturally gifted vocals. The songs include: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, O Holy Night, We Three Kings, Away In Manger, O Come All Ye Faithful, The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, Sleep My Little Jesus, and O Little Town Of Bethlehem. If you are looking for a great gift to give, give the gift of Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald.


8. Jingle Bell Rock by Brenda Lee. Christmas isn't complete without Brenda Lee. The songs include: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, This Time Of Year, Jingle Bell Rock, Strawberry Snow, Silver Bells, Winter Wonderland, Blue Christmas, A Marshmallow World, Christmas Will Just Be Another Lonely Day, and The Angel And The Little Blue Bell. Every time I go anywhere after Thanksgiving, I am always hearing Brenda's classic "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree" and to be honest, I never get tired of hearing it.


7. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. Nat King Cole is a legend in his own right. The songs include: The Christmas Song, Deck The Halls, Adestes Fideles, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, O Tannebaum, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, I Saw Three Ships, O Holy Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, A Cradle In Bethlehem, Away In A Manger, Joy To The World, The First Noel, Caroling Caroling, O Come All Ye Faithful, and Silent Night. "The Christmas Song" may have been covered by many artists and bands, but none of them touch Nat King Cole's rendition.


6. Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey proves why she is ultimately amazing, when she made this holiday album. The songs include: Silent Night, All I Want For Christmas Is You, O Holy Night, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Miss You Most (At Christmas Time), Joy To The World, Jesus Born On This Day, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and Jesus What A Wonderful Child. This is one of Mariah's best records to date and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" will go down in history as a classic. If you are looking for a last minute gift, give the gift of Merry Christmas Mariah Carey. Everyone who receives this is most definitely certain to love it.


5. Christmas Spirit by Donna Summer. Disco diva and soulful soprano Donna Summer's CD is truly a force to be reckoned with. She proves that she still has it with this album, making this a definite top Christmas record. The songs include: White Christmas, The Christmas Song, O Come All Ye Faithful, Christmas Is Here, What Child Is This, Do You Hear What I Hear, Joy To The World, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Christmas Spirit, Breath Of Heaven, O Holy Night, and Lamb Of God. This Christmas CD is very much worth owning.


4. White Christmas by Bing Crosby. If you have ever watched the classic holiday movie "White Christmas" (or commonly referred to as "Holiday Inn") chances are, you have heard Bing Crosby. The songs include: Silent Night, Adeste Fideles, White Christmas, God Rest Ye Gentlemen, Faith Of Our Fathers, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, Silver Bells, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Christmas In Killarney, and Mele Kalikimaka. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Yes, I've heard "White Christmas" covered numerous times, but let's face it, the song belongs to Bing Crosby. This CD is a classic.


3. Christmas Album by Michael Crawford. Michael Crawford proves why he is and always will be the true Phantom of the Opera. This CD is wonderful. The songs include: The Very Best Time Of The Year, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Peace Peace, Silent Night, Mary Did You Know?, A Journey To Bethlehem (Christmas medley), O Holy Night, Scarlett Ribbons, Candlelight Carol, Angels We Have Heard On High, The World, and All Is Well. I have to be honest, I don't think there is anyone who can cover "O Holy Night" as good as Mr. Crawford. Looking for a last minute gift or just a great CD to listen to overall? This is it!


2. Christmas Songs by Elvis. If you don't own this Christmas CD, you really are missing out on a great album. Brought to by the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, this holiday inspired album is the best Christmas Album to date. The songs include: Blue Christmas, Silent Night, White Christmas, Santa Claus Is Back In Town, I'll Be Home For Christmas, If Everyday Was Like Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me, and Mama Like The Roses. I absolutely love all of the songs, however; if I had to choose my favorite, I would definitely choose "Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me" followed by "Blue Christmas". Whether as a gift to yourself or that music lover who appreciates great tunes, this is it.


...and the #1 Christmas CD is...


1. Christmas Eve And Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you are a fan of rock or a fan of symphonic metal and industrial, chances are you are going to love this album. If you are not, well, you are still going to love this amazing addition by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The songs include: An Angel Came Down, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Star To Follow, First Snow, The Silent Nutcracker, A Mad Russians Christmas, The Prince of Peace, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, Good King Joy, Ornament, The First Noel, Old City Bar, Promises To Keep, This Christmas Day, An Angel Returned, O Holy Night, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I know you have heard "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" played everywhere, because it is a brilliant work of art. Whether you are looking for a last minute gift or a great holiday CD, this is it. (Check out my exclusive interview with Paul O'Neill of Trans Siberian Orchestra here.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holidays 2014: Top 10 Gifts for Zebra Print Lovers

Zebra Print Scale + Toothbrush. Two
amazing essentials that make wonderful
gifts.
One of the most popular animal prints in the world is definitely the zebra. This print is not only incredibly chic, it's addicting in a sense because it replicates a trend that is used in virtually everything. As a zebra print lover myself, I can honestly say that I have almost everything in the popular print. So, what are 10 gifts for zebra print lovers?


10. Cupcake Studio Baking Activity Kit. This kit is a lot of fun and includes: a frosting pen, decorating sugars, zebra print cupcake papers, and a safari baking map that gives you so many different ideas. You will also receive an all-natural chocolate and vanilla mix along with frosting. Whether you are looking to channel your inner cupcake master skills or simply looking to give this to someone who will, whoever receives this gift will not only love it, but appreciate it too. Great for all ages, you can grab this at Chocolate.org for only $17.50 today.


9. Wallpops 'Zebra' Wall Art. This amazing Wallpops addition includes three 18 1/2"W x 26 3/4"H sheets which are not only 100% Vinyl, but both spot clean and residue-free. They are also repositionable and reusable, making application quite easy. What is better than that? Available at Nordstrom for $56, this makes an incredible gift for the zebra print fanatic in your life.


8. Woodland Importants New Metal Zebra Lamp. When it comes to any kind of decor, some of the best gifts are those little gems that you can't find just anywhere. When it comes to this lamp, you aren't going to find this in just any store. Made balanced metallic base structure, tis exclusive piece is great for every table. You can find this lamp at HandHelditems for $99.  


7. Safari Zebra Car Set. What I love about this set is that you get 15 pieces that work for virtually every SUV under the sun. You get a set of zebra print animal print seat covers, which include one for the front and one for the back. That is four total. You also get a rear bench seat cover, a steering wheel cover, along with two seat belt pads, two front carpet mats, and two rear mats. Available at Buy.com for only $46.99, this set is perfect for not only a car enthusiast, but zebra print one too. 


6. Bathroom Shower Curtain. The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year. What is better than being surrounded by family and other loved ones? Aside from the joy, the music, and the food, another thing to admire is gift giving. One of the greatest gifts of  2014 is definitely a zebra print shower curtain and every single enthusiast who receives this will love you for getting it for them. You can purchase this shower curtain at Buy.com for $21.99. 


5. Jonathan Adler 'Zebra' Porcelain Stacking Dish. Can you believe the holidays are approaching us? Available at Nordstrom for $24, this Light Blue, zebra print addition is as unique as the individual that loves and appreciates it. If you are searching for a great zebra print gift, this is definitely the one.


4. Embroidered Beach Towel. What do you get when you combine an oversized towel with zebra print? Not only do you get to choose the color you want, you can also get this amazing zebra print addition personalized. For $49.95, this extremely versatile towel is definitely a must-have and one of the best gifts you can give this holiday season.


3. Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. What is better than cooking this holiday season? If you're anything like me, the holidays are simply not complete without the joy, the happiness, the laughter, and of course, the food.  Available at Buy.com for only $19.38, this will make any zebra print enthusiast's holiday better in more ways than one. 


2. Taylor Glass Digital Scale. Are the best things in life really free or are they just zebra print? If someone asked me today "Sarah, if you were to give a great gift to someone, what would you get them?" I would say this one. Available at Dollar Days for $24.99, this is definitely one of the best gifts you can give to the zebra print lover in your life.


1. Pursonic Dual Handle Rechargeable Toothbrush. If you can think of one thing everyone in the world needs, what would it be? Definitely the toothbrush. With a one year warranty available, this toothbrush not only includes so many features. It is the gadget to end all gadgets. You can grab this amazing zebra print addition at Best Buy or your nearest retailer for $99.99. Looking for the ultimate gift? This is definitely it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IfOnly, Extraordinary Experiences for Good

Established in the heart of San Francisco, CA IfOnly continues to prove why they are one of the best destinations, for only the best experiences. IfOnly not only works with global industry leaders, they search the planet for only the best memory breeding experiences.


And if that isn't priceless enough, IfOnly believes in seizing the moment, rather than living day-to-day. IfOnly infuses an inspiration into every experience. Every item and/or experience goes towards helping various charities and causes. And every luminary's proceeds go towards a different charity. For instance; Joseph Gordon-Levitt's proceeds go towards Stand Up 2 Cancer whereas; Miley Cyrus's proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House.

Individual luminaries (or individuals who inspire) range from celebrities to people like you and me. Some of them include: Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Mike Tyson, Bruno Mars, Kobe Bryant, Shakira, Fall Out Boy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Cornell, Demi Lovato, Joe Montana, Justin Bieber, Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Brian Boitano, Dan Jansen, Salman Khan, Justin Tuck, Summer Sanders, Andrea Agassi, Ray Lewis, Jerry Rice, Stefanie Graf, Bonnie Blair, Greg Norman, Rajat Parr, and much more.

Don't miss out on this year's
Meet Demi Lovato with
VIP Jingle Ball Package which
will benefit the Ryan Seacrest
Foundation.
With experiences such as Pasta Making Class + Dinner for 2 with luminary Thomas McNaughton to a meet-n-greet with luminary Kobe Bryant to the Greenmarket Tour with luminary April Bloomfield to a VIP experience with luminary Mike Tyson to a meet-n-greet with luminary Justin Bieber to a recipe showcase with luminary Tyler Florence to a 1 hour figure skating instruction with luminary Brian Boitano to a weekend tennis getaway with luminary Andre Agassi to a private workout on the hill with luminary Jerry Rice, and more; you can make someone's life brighter with just the click of a mouse.

IfOnly also offers last minute gifts that range from personalized gifts from your favorite luminary to individual gift sets put together by your favorite luminary to signed memorabilia that is actually owned (or was once owned) by your favorite luminary, and much more.

And when you become a member, you have additional access to all of the categories that you can't see if you were lurking IfOnly.

You can contact IfOnly directly where they offer Concierge via telephone from 9 AM to 6 PM PST and email. Whether you want to inquire about an experience or even suggest one to a specific luminary, you can. For instance, if you want to hang out with luminary One Direction, you can suggest this to the staff of IfOnly.

Would I recommend IfOnly to a friend? Absolutely. Especially to those that are interested in engaging in an experience they will remember forever. And the best part is, the proceeds go directly to charity. There are simply no words to describe the experiences you will have, as they will be something you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life.

To get started right now with IfOnly, simply click here right now or click the banner below...

The IfOnly Constellation Caramel Collection - Order Now!
 
 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with IfOnly. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas at the PPG Place in Pittsburgh

The holidays are my favorite time of the year and what better way to enjoy than in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As you are aware, I am visiting my boyfriend Joe who I have known for over 15 years. When it comes to Joe, there is never a dull moment, as he and I always have great times. And today, we had a blast going hanging out in Pittsburgh. We decided to head to the PPG Place to enjoy some holiday fun. Here are some great photos and glimpse of what the holidays are like here in Steeler country. 


The day started with here. This shining yet very stunning immaculate building is home of the Winter Garden and the Pittsburgh Ice Skating Rink provided by MassMutual. The first time I saw PPG Place, it was back in  the Fall of 1999 when I started college. 

Other photos from PPG Place today: 








Overall it was a great day. Happy Holidays! 

Photos by Sarah Afshar

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana, America's Christmas Hometown.

Christmas Lake Village.

Holiday World.

Holiday World and Splashin' Safari parking lot entrance.

Louis J. Koch and Christmas Blvd.

Holiday Foods, the main grocery store in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Are you going to call Santa's mom?

Holiday Blvd.

The largest church in Santa Claus, Indiana.

The Santa Claus Christmas store offers more than Christmas
ornaments and decor. It even offers food.

A glimpse inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Christmas Blvd.

Old Tyme Liquors, the Wines & Spirits state store of Santa Claus.
The Santa Claus Christmas Store located at 33 North Kringle Place in the heart of Santa Claus, Indiana. Open Monday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until 8 pm.
The Santa Claus Christmas Store is fascinating and possesses so many beautiful Christmas items, that truly do put you in the spirit of the holiday. The best part is, they allow you to shop from home. With 5,000+ ornaments alone to choose from, there are so many things to love and appreciate, including their extensive personalized selections. + Free Shipping over $40 or if you purchase 4 or more personalized ornaments. Don't believe me? Just click here right now.
I've been to many holiday stores (including amazingly exciting Christmas stores) and this is one of the best Christmas stores you will visit.
Inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

If you ever decide to visit Santa Claus, Indiana, you must check out
the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Look at all of those Santas...

Lots of Christmas trees and Christmas accessories. The
ornaments are amazing here.

You can even get your picture taken with Santa.

Frosty, is that you?
I absolutely love this sleigh, inside the Santa Claus Christmas
Store.

A look inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

I am struck by the Christmas trees and the color coordinating ornaments. To purchase one of these ornaments, just click here right now.





You just have to love this snowman.

I absolutely love Santa Claus, Indiana. It's an amazing place. You can travel the world and see a lot of incredible places, but there is nothing like this place. It's Christmas every single day. Whenever I get struck by the glory of being in a fairytale-like place such as Santa Claus, what I find fascinating is that the people who live here treat it as an amazing place to call home. 
The post office in Santa Claus, Indiana.


Location: Santa Claus, Indiana
Photos/Pictures by Sarah Afshar