Beauty Find Friday: Christmas Gifts

Our first Christmas in Arizona was a success. We didn’t get sucked into the bog of homesickness! Keeping busy helped, and choosing to focus on the gifts and blessings we have. Here’s a few:

Our annual youth group Christmas party went well, even though I wasn’t able to get off work until the end, and Brian fell on the ice and got a nice black eye and a sprained/hairline fractured wrist. He’s recovering well, and was able to still take care of all the kids until I got there. The youth group moms provided most of the food, and the youth group girls took care of serving dinner in my absence, and even washed the dishes afterwards!

We spent time with some of our Arizona family on Sunday night, playing games and hanging out with them and their family members who were in town, laughing until we cried. (By “Arizona family,” I mean friends who are our family here. Friemily?)


Christmas morning brunch consisted of our Williams Sonoma Double Chocolate Peppermint pancakes, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs. Our verdict on the pancakes? AMAZING. Not too chocolately, with just enough peppermint!

And Brian got to use his Christmas present from me: 
He’s been asking for that pancake flipper for months. No joke. I also bought him a stand with speakers for his phone. I’m hoping he’ll be inspired to spend more time in the kitchen!

We spent time with my family via Skype on Christmas Day! We got to talk to all of my siblings, my niece, and even my parent’s dogs. Later in the afternoon, we watched Elf, walked the horses, played games, and had Christmas dinner with our other friemily (spellcheck doesn’t like my new word).

Our families sent us lots of presents, and there’s more on the way! I’m happy to extend Christmas for as long as possible.

What did Brian give me for Christmas, you ask? Since he complains about not knowing what to get me, I actually gave him a list this year with two instructions. First, don’t go to Half Price Books and get random books for me, because I have limited reading time, and there’s a few books I’ve been dying to get. Secondly, don’t get a present for yourself and pretend it’s a present for me. I’ve heard of men doing things like that, and I’d rather he just bought himself a present instead of pretending it’s for me.

So, Brian did both of the above.

From the half price bookstore, he bought me a book called Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that’s Changing Your World, written in 2004 when blogging was in it’s infancy, and the only blogs out there getting noticed were political. I had asked for a book about blogging called Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Cho. The blogosphere is a different world in 2013 than it was in 2004. Still, it was nice of him to get me something close to what I asked for.

The second book he got me is Mint.com for Dummies. If you haven’t heard of Mint, it’s free online tracking and budgeting for your finances. And I’m not going to make any excuses here: this was a terrible gift idea. I only use Mint.com’s basic functions since Brian is in charge of our finances. After I opened it, Brian admitted, “That’s actually more for me that it is for you.” Thanks, babe.

And then, he totally redeemed himself.

The Williams Sonoma Baking Book wasn’t on my list either, but since October I’ve been addicted to the Joy the Baker podcast and devouring the Joy the Baker and Shutterbean blogs. Listening to these ladies rebirthed my desire to be a good baker, and seeing the gorgeous photos, now I’m totally sold. 

There’s a variety of skill levels, lots of technique instructions, and photos of every single recipe.

You can bake your own bagels! Who knew?

These are in my near future:

I’m so excited about this book! It’s like reading a magazine. I’ve even been taking it with me in the car to read up on how to sift, and the difference between cocoa powder and Dutch Process cocoa powder. Just kidding, I already knew the difference between those, thanks to the Joy the Baker podcast.

Back to presents. Brian topped it off by buying me a Vera Bradley.

It’s a Vera Bradley tea towel, and it’s adorable! I didn’t think he was paying any attention when I commented on them at the Vera Bradley store a few weeks ago. I should know better!

Just when I’m about to be disappointed, he always totally redeems himself.

What Christmas presents are you most excited about? How are your husbands/boyfriends at gift giving?