Sunday, December 5, 2021

Festive DIY Holiday Decor Ideas


Happy Sunday friends!

It's December, which means it's socially acceptable to start decorating for the holidays! I love decorating the house, especially for Christmas. This is my son's favorite holiday and even as a teenager, he gets excited when it's time to pull out the totes and start livening up the house. 

Grab your coffee and let's get started! Today I'm showing you how we decorated this year and providing lots of ideas, tutorials, and inspiration along the way.

We'll start with the tree this year. You know I've had it out since October, haha! It sat in the corner until a few hours after we enjoyed our Thanksgiving feast. Once I had the Gratitude Tree put up and moved everything (all my workout gear) out of the way, it was time to decorate. We kept it simple this year, just ornaments. Everyone jumped in to hang them up. Unfortunately, my new tree topper was too heavy, so we opted for the Bah Humbug Santa hat. It fits. haha!

Moving on to the mantle.. I'm thrilled with how it turned out this year.

We bought icicle lights, intending to hang them from a doorway. Unboxing them, we realized how heavy they were. It just wasn't going to work out. No worries. Adapt and Overcome. They look gorgeous hanging from the mantle! As you can see, I have my new Christmas Cactus hanging out next to my Tinsel Snowman from last year. Isn't he the cutest? 

And of course, The Grinch. I found these festive Grinch Kisses from Target and thought they looked perfect next to the plush. 

Our Charlie Brown Tree has a new spot this year. We've had this for about 9 or 10 years now and it's definitely looking worn. I love it. I think it adds to the charm of the tree and really represents the whole idea overall. We always add a few extra ornaments to it, along with our Snoopy and Woodstock plushies. On either side, I put our collection of old glass ornaments. Those were a gift from my husband's grandparents our first Christmas together. I never use them because I'm always worried that they'll break. I'm happy I was able to figure out a safe way to include them in the décor this year. You can't see it very well, but the Scrabble tiles say Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal. haha!

I may not have been able to use the tree topper as intended, but I did find a creative way to include it in the festivities. I've had this old wooden box a long time! When I was little, it held my cassette tapes. (Yeah, you read that correctly.) I've held onto it all these years and it's had a few different purposes. At one point, it housed my fitness DVD collection, but for the past little bit, it's sat on top of the mantle empty. I thought it would be perfect to hold this tree topper, with a few ornaments and a little Santa figurine. It fits the rustic look I was half attempting. ha!

Some years I feel ambitious and create a little tree shape with our DVD's and books. This year I was ambitious, knowing I'd have guests throughout the month. It turned out cute, I think. I wrapped our new bell LED lights around the center to spruce it up a bit. Up in the corner is my rustic angel.

This was originally intended to be a reindeer, but as I was putting it together I realized it didn't look like a reindeer at all. haha! I turned it into an angel instead.  

I made a few new pieces this year. The mini tree and the snowy scene in a glass jar are two such items. I was inspired by my husband's John Deere Christmas tin and wanted to make something new out of our old Christmas tree. You can find the tutorials in my article 4 Simple Christmas Decor Ideas. The gnome is an older project, but a piece that stays out year round. Check out how I made it here.

And as you can see, the owl and skeleton from Halloween will be hanging out year round. 

A candy cane garland and my Tinsel Christmas Cactus jazz up this area. I added my multicolored LED lights for fun. 

Even my flamingo got in on the action. I've had this sparkly wooden flamingo for a long time. It's a bit of a catch-all for the random pieces I receive from yoga and jewelry companies. Recently, I had to clear him off because I had so much stuff hung around him for decoration that he was lopsided. I think he's much happier like this... for now. 

Isn't this candy cane wreath darling? Last Christmas, I received this as a wreath mold and I was so excited! The family gets me and my love for crafting. I added two strings of old red tinsel garland and I'm in love with how it turned out. 

Our typical light and garland over the door display. I always hang up the handcrafted snowflake ornament from our neighbor here.

How adorable is this reindeer wreath? I have him hung up in our front hallway. You can make one too. Check out my tutorial here.

After watching a video on YouTube, I decided to purchase these big Christmas lights. I didn't realize they were a DIY situation, but whatever. I had intended to string them on the Christmas tree... but then I realized how hot they get. Long story short, I don't recommend getting these. I ended up not using them at all. 


Well friends, that's all for now. 

Happy decorating!


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Coffee With Crimsn: Coffee Chat #12 - Keep On Keeping On


coffee beans

Happy Sunday friends!

As I was prepping the title, my heart skipped a beat in excitement and nervousness. It's been an entire year, we made it, I thought. Then, I was like, oh shoot! I have to set out my goals for the year ahead... and then I realized, no, it's still November, Alyssa. haha! 

That pretty much sums up my month, I think. A lot of changes, a lot of twists, and a serious need to chill out. 

It's all good, though. It always is. 

I had a brief moment where I couldn't keep my face out of the snacks, so I employed my tried and true trick of holding myself accountable on my Instastories. Worked like a charm. I got right back on track and started seeing the results I was looking for. 

I went through a few days where I had the worst attitude. I was tired, annoyed for no reason other than the fact that I needed break, and running on fumes. What did I do? I got my shit done, took a rest day, and slept in when I could. 

You gotta keep on keeping on, my friends. Especially now during the holidays. It's the most wonderful time of year? I think many of us would argue that it's actually the most stressful time of the year. 

But the Earth keeps moving, life keeps going, and we have to as well. 

I encourage you to schedule time for the things that make you happy and remember to breathe. 

And with that, I'll step down from my soapbox.

A short coffee chat this month.

I'll be back December 26 and we can chat New Years and goals. 

Until then, 

Have a fantastic week and a wonderful December!

I have some festive posts planned for the next three weeks. 

Talk to you soon!

Take Care!


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

November Favorites - 2021 Edition


Happy Wednesday friends!

Can you believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving already? We're actually having our dinner as a family today, but before we feast, let's chat about this month's favorites! I have quite the interesting list for you, so grab your coffee and we'll dive right in!

Fire Dept Coffee - Spirit Infused Irish Whiskey and Rum

fire dept coffee

fire dept coffee beans

fire dept coffee

fire dept coffee beans

Speaking of coffee.... I finally took the plunge and purchased the coffee I had wanted to try for so long. Let me tell you, this coffee is amazing! I made a pot of the Irish Whiskey as soon as I received it, and my entire house was smelling festive and fun. This coffee is definitely a treat and a little goes a long way. It's packed with flavor and caffeine, giving you the push you need to get through your day. Now, the Rum was my favorite, I think. They are both delicious, but the Rum had just the right amount of sweet. I will be purchasing these again in the future as a treat for sure! 

Death Wish Coffee - Valhalla Java and Dark Roast

valhalla java

death wish coffee

I have a confession. Death Wish is quickly becoming my favorite coffee and I discovered something even better -- ordering online is way more cost effective than picking up a bag at Wal-Mart. I got both of these bags for much less than two bags at Wal-Mart. I'm ordering online from now on, my friends. Anyway, these two coffees are delicious and pack a punch! I love, love, love the Dark Roast, and buying whole bean, grinding the coffee myself, is super satisfying. 

The End of Forever - Steve Berry and M.J. Rose

steve berry, mj rose, the end of forever, novel, reading

I've been wanting to read this for a while, so when it was finally my turn, I set everything aside and devoured this book. It was a thrilling, fast-paced adventure and well worth the read! 

Tragedy has found Cassiopeia Vitt. The woman she admires most, Esmerelda Fontana, has been brutally murdered. Then Cassiopeia’s castle rebuilding project is viciously attacked and people are hurt. Are the two incidents related? The answer comes when her old friend, Nicodème L’Etoile, is threatened and she finds herself drawn into a tangled web of revenge that leads straight to the person she loves the most.

Cotton Malone.

And his life will depend on what she does next.

From the rocky coasts of northern Spain, to a medieval building site in France, and finally into Italy and the oldest surviving republic in the world, Cassiopeia must confront a devil from her past, a man obsessed with her destruction. The choices she has to make will be the toughest she’s ever faced. Life and death decisions that force her—to the end of forever.

Five Total Strangers - Natalie D. Richards

novel, natalie d richards

I came across this novel by chance as I was searching through my library app. The description was intriguing and I decided to give it a try. Wow, what a ride! Everything that could possibly go wrong with 17 year old Mira, as she was trying to make her way home from Christmas, absolutely did. It was a thrilling ride that kept me hooked until the very end. Something else fun.. Natalie Richards is also from Ohio. How cool!

She thought being stranded was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.

Mira needs to get home for the holidays. Badly. But when an incoming blizzard results in a canceled connecting flight, it looks like she might get stuck at the airport indefinitely.

And then Harper, Mira's glamorous seatmate from her initial flight, offers her a ride. Harper and her three friends can drop Mira off on their way home. But as they set off, Mira realizes fellow travelers are all total strangers. And every one of them is hiding something.

Soon, roads go from slippery to terrifying. People's belongings are mysteriously disappearing. Someone in the car is clearly lying, and may even be sabotaging the trip—but why? And can Mira make it home alive, or will this nightmare drive turn fatal?

Lasher - Anne Rice

anne rice, mayfair witches, novel

Well, Anne Rice did it again. Is anyone surprised? She's amazing! I finally finished Lasher, the second novel in the Mayfair Witches Trilogy. It was fascinating, thrilling, intriguing, all the adjectives you can possibly think of. I'm currently getting ready to read the third and final novel. I'll keep you posted.

The Talamasca, documenters of paranormal activity, is on the hunt for the newly born Lasher. Mayfair women are dying from hemorrhages and a strange genetic anomaly has been found in Rowan and Michael. Lasher, born from Rowan, is another species altogether and now in the corporeal body, represents an incalcuable threat to the Mayfairs. Rowan and Lasher travel together to Houston and she becomes pregnant with another creature like him, a Taltos. Lasher seeks to reproduce his race in other women, but they cannot withstand it. Rowan escapes and becomes comatose as her fully-grown Taltos daughter is born. The Mayfairs declare all-out war on Lasher and try to nurse Rowan back to heatlth.

Michael remains entwined in the Mayfair family and learns how he comes by his strange powers. Michael's ghostly visiting from a long-dead Mayfair reveals the importance of destroying Lasher. In the investigation, Lasher's origins are revealed, the new Taltos Emaleth returns, and the climax of death and life engulfs the family.

Interesting Fact:

A taltos is a sorcerer from Hungarian folklore who combats evil witches and has the ability to detect them. Anne extended this concept to create her own Taltos, a being born knowing what they need to survive independently and immediately upon birth grow to be nearly seven feet tall and able to do everything adults are. Their brains are complex, they are hypnotized by music, and are beings of reason. 

Well my friends, that's all for now. What were your favorite things this month? Let me know in the comments! 

Have a happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 21, 2021

5 Easy Side-Dishes and Desserts For Thanksgiving


Happy Sunday friends!

Thanksgiving is this Thursday!

Do you need some side-dish or dessert ideas? 

Your old friend Alyssa has your back. Today I'm sharing 5 easy and simple recipes that you're entire family will love!

Grab some coffee and let's get started...

Homemade Sweet Corn Pudding Bake

corn, pudding, side dish

This is a great twist on plain 'ol corn. It's a little sweet and oh so delicious! 

Easy Old-Fashioned Applesauce

applesauce, apples

This is the best applesauce ever! Just be warned, you'll want to make a double, or even a triple, batch because it won't last long.

Apple-Grape Salad

side dish, apples, grapes

This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish! It's sure to be a hit at your family's Thanksgiving!

Old-Fashioned Nut Cake

peanut, dessert bread, bread

Switch things up with this sweet and salty bread! It pairs perfectly with coffee!

Double Chocolate Espresso Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies, dessert, coffee, espresso

Look no further for the perfect dessert. You've found it. These cookies are EVERYTHING! Again, you'll want to make a double or triple batch because everyone is going to love them!

Have a wonderful week and a Happy Thanksgiving my friends!


Sunday, November 14, 2021

16 Sassy and Inspiring Mark Twain Quotes

Happy Sunday friends!

How is it going?

One thing I always love is a sassy Mark Twain quote. Some of the things he's said and written are absolutely hilarious. To honor the literary great during his birthday month, he was born November 30, 1835, I thought I would share some of my favorite Mark Twain quotes.

Let's dive right in.

Have a wonderful week friends!