My Absolute Favorite Christmas Commercials

Nowadays, there are very few Christmas commercials capable of evoking the true spirit of Christmas, they just don’t make them like they used to anymore. Here are a few classics that I look forward to each year. Although my favorites do not always make it on the air, I remain optimistic of seeing them one day and feeling as joyous as I did as a child.
As a little girl, I would literally wait in front of the television to catch this catchy tune, "The Hess truck's back and it's better than ever, for Christmas this year, the Hess trucks here." As the years progressed, a few words from the jingle have been changed for the purpose of the product but it still evokes that same jolly feeling within me. As far as I'm concerned, the Hess commercials are synonymous with Christmas.
This Folgers commercial is truly a classic and should be the standard for all other Christmas commercials. I got a bit emotional watching it just now because it's so genuine and it embodies everything Christmas is supposed to be about -- love and family. 
I adore the simplicity of this Hershey's commercial. It's delightful to have the individual kisses serenade us with "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," while wearing the two colors that denote Christmas more than any other -- red and green
This Campbell's commercial does'nt have a Christmas theme but I'm so accustomed to seeing it around Christmas time, that it has made the list as one of my absolute favorites. Each time I watch it, I just want to go outside, build a snowman and rush home to snuggle underneath a warm cozy blanket with a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. Let it snow indeed!
This Pamper's commercial makes me yearn for motherhood. The babies look so peaceful in their silent night slumber. This is a commercial that makes you want to stop, listen and immerse yourself in the magic of Christmas.
What is Christmas without Mr. humbug himself ? Only Christmas and apparently a bowl of honey nut cheerios can turn the ultimate Mr. curmudgeon, merry.

Goodbye November – Hello Winter

I know winter solstice doesn’t officially arrive until December 22, but for me, nothing heralds the beginning of winter more than the last day of November. Yes ladies and gents, I’m in a winter state of mind.
Our tree and stocking stuffers went up the day after Thanksgiving because we are such Christmas fanatics over here. I’ve even added Christmas accents throughout my bedroom for a more festive mood. I love this time of year and I simply can’t wait to participate and relish in all things merry.


My Newest Addiction: Sweet Tamarinds

When my mother’s doctor told her she was deficient in vitamin C, she began stocking our shelves with boxes of sweet tamarinds from our local grocery store. Since then, I’ve done nothing but crave these little pod-like treats.

Furthermore, they’re so much fun to eat. You have to nibble your way through their sweet yet tangy pulpy center to get to their glossy, almost mahogany colored seeds. As you can see from the picture above, I’ve used them to decorate my tiny glass pitcher.

If I’m going to be addicted to something, it might as well be high in vitamin C, with ample cancer fighting antioxidants.

Word Of The Day: Nosegay

Nosegay [nohz-gey]
A small bunch of flowers; bouquet; posy.
Interesting fact: People rarely showered during the medieval times so to mask unpleasant odors from their surroundings, they carried fragrant nosegays -- thus -- keeping their nose gay.

The Reading Den: Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

I adore the classic children’s books, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, P.L Travers’ Mary Poppins, Louisa May Allcott’s Little Women, which I recently read for the first time (don’t know what took me so long), Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and many more.   

As I was flipping through the pages of my Alice in Wonderland book the other day, I found myself in awe of Carroll’s expressive diction. He has such a knack for injecting a hint of realism into his unique brand of fiction. His protagonist, Alice, is one of the most memorable characters in children's literature. For her seven years, she possesses such a distinguished sense of self. Throughout the novel, I marvelled at seeing the constant fluctuations of her emotions as well as her struggle to retain her identity in the illogical world that is wonderland. 

Alice in Wonderland is brimming with unusual characters and they all say the darndest things. However, with some in-depth analysis, you will find that the bizarre quotes uttered by those curious characters carry quite a bit of verity. Take a gander at some of those quotes below and judge for yourself.
It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
The Mad Hatter
Have I gone mad?
I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?
I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!
Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!

I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see.

The Duchess
If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.
If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.

The Hatter
Why is a raven like a writing desk?

The Hatter
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at.

The Queen
Off with her head!

The Duchess
Tut, tut, child! Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

The Duchess
Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.
The Mock Turtle
We called him Tortoise because he taught us.

The Mock Turtle
Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.

The Mock Turtle
Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.

The King
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it.

The Queen
Sentence first -- verdict afterwards.

You're nothing but a pack of cards!

But then, shall I never get any older than I am now? That'll be a comfort, one way -- never to be an old woman -- but then -- always to have lessons to learn!

A cat may look at a king. I've read that in some book, but I don't remember where.

I think I should understand that better, if I had it written down: but I can't quite follow it as you say it.
The Duchess
That's nothing to what I could say if I chose.

The Queen
Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!

Mad Hatter
No wonder you're late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.

Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is -- oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!

It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits.

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin; but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever say in my life!

The Duchess
There's a large mustard-mine near here. And the moral of that is -- The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.

The Mock Turtle
What is the use of repeating all that stuff, if you don't explain it as you go on? It's by far the most confusing thing I ever heard!

The Mock Turtle
Ah! Then yours wasn't a really good school. Now at ours they had at the end of the bill. French, music, and washing -- extra.
Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.
Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all. This is a serious question, my dear, and you should not go on licking your paw like that -- as if Dinah hadn't washed you this morning!


My Locket

I’m astounded by the degree of my attachment to my locket. Generally, I’m not one to rely on the comfort of physical objects, but these delicate links have so rooted themselves to my emotions.
The sentimental factor lies solely in the details, all of our names are engraved on the surface of the tiny heart. My name and Alex’s name are on the front and our mother’s name is displayed on the back. The locket is 14ct gold and was purchased from one of my favorite little boutiques, Things Remembered.
I received this little gem as a birthday present from my mother, she loved it so much that I purchased a duplicate for her on her birthday, same engravings and all.


Introducing, Mr. Charming

This is Ayden, he's such a precocious little one. Look at those puffy cheeks, couldn’t you just squeeze them to no end?  I babysat him today because his mother, Marilyn, was feeling under the weather. He was such a treat to look after.
Ayden is a fearless little tyke, he will leap just about anywhere without any hesitation. He also possesses such a keen intelligence. At just five months old, I could already see his reasoning skills begin to unfold.
The temperature of our thermostat was a bit too high this afternoon, naturally, when he began to perspire, I opened the fan. As soon as the cool air registered on his skin, he began to look around, trying to find the origin of the foreign sensation he was feeling. After a few failed attempts of eagerly looking to his right and his left, he finally lifted his little head towards the ceiling and pointed at the fan.

He has made such an indelible impression on me so I’ve dubbed him Mr. charming and judging by that face, isn’t that just fitting?


The Best Part of Thanksgiving: Leftovers

After endless hours of cooking on Thanksgiving day, my family is often left with tons of food after our wonderful meal. I can’t wait to turn those yummy leftovers into a whole new feast. The possibilities are endless, mounds of turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey pot pie, stuffing hash and so much more.
Take a look at some of last night’s leftovers. They taste even better the following day.


Thanksgiving's A Go

On November 1621, a man by the name of William Bradford organized a celebratory feast which brought the Pilgrims and the Native Americans together. That feast was our very first Thanksgiving. While the precise menu of that day remains a mystery, a pilgrim named Edward Winslow recorded in his journal that deer was served that fateful day, what we now know as venison.
That’s right, none of the contemporary staples of Thanksgiving were accounted for, meaning no ubiquitous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving fact: In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. While each state celebrated it on a different day, the South remained unfamiliar with the tradition.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated each November. Since then, Thanksgiving has remained solidified in the American consciousness. However, Thanksgiving had no specific date until president Franklin D. Roosevelt took office. On December 26, 1941, Congress declared that all Americans would celebrate the holiday annually -- on the fourth Thursday of November.

Millions of people all over the United States celebrate Thanksgiving each year; here is my family’s version of the celebratory feast.
A few Thanksgiving ingredients…
The whiskey is for my pumpkin bourbon cheesecake pie, Yum!
Fresh out of the oven, isn’t she a beauty? Instead of putting the stuffing into the bird, we opted for aromatics such as rosemary, sage, thyme, onions, celery and bell peppers.
When it comes to moist, succulent turkey brining is the way to go. Don't take my word for it, give it a try my darlings. All you'll need is a big container with water, salt and whatever sort of flavorings you prefer. Mix everything thoroughly, make certain that all the seasonings have dissolved, then dunk the bird into the solution. Leave the turkey in a cool, dry place overnight (or in my case for three days) and Voila! The best turkey you've ever tasted. Bar none!
Everything was absolutely delicious, I especially enjoyed the stuffing and the pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, from my family to yours!


Dinner At Tgif And A Movie

I hung out with my good buddy Yves tonight, I hadn’t seen him in awhile so when he suggested that we go see Twilight Breaking Dawn, I was all for it. Yves is not what I would call... what's the term? right, a Twi-hard. Few guys are. But it was awfully nice of him to sit through the entire movie because he knew I wanted to see it.
I felt horrible throughout the entire night, I kept glancing at him, fully expecting to see him roll his eyes or fall into a Twilight induced coma -- but he was such a champ and did very little complaining. In the end, he merely found it tolerable and said if he were watching it at home he would have turned the channel at a blink of an eye. Tolerable is good enough for me.
Afterwards, we went to TGI Fridays, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the dessert course because I’m such a sucker for pretty china. I had the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake and Yves had the Oreo Madness. I would have taken a better picture but my battery died after the first shot was taken.

Guilty Pleasures Thanksgiving Edition: Pumpkin Pie with a Twist

Next to the stuffing, pumpkin pie is a must have on my family’s Thanksgiving table. Since I’m usually in charge of desserts, I decided to transform the traditional pumpkin pie into something, extraordinary (In my opinion, anyway).
Here is the recipe for my fool-proof, drool inducing pumpkin bourbon cheesecake pie. I’ve been making it for the past two years and it was my very first foodgasm. Enjoy!
  • 3 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (no half-and-half for this one)
  • 1/2 stick melted butter (but I usually add more, I’ve got impulse control issues)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you can find vanilla beans it’s even better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 piece pre-made pie dough (I’ve tried to make homemade pie dough but it never comes out right)
  • Whipped cream, for topping
  • A dash of good quality Bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cover the pre-made pie dough with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is firm and brown in color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar, salt and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, heavy cream, melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and bourbon and beat until well incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a table and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream. Bon appétit!


Simple Pleasures

Don’t you just love those perfect evenings? Those evenings when family and friends unite in the living room with trays of sizzling buffalo wings, dips galore and homemade cocktails that do not quite taste like the real thing are utterly magical.
I had one of those nights last night. Bobby, my new favorite buddy joined us for a soiree full of thought provoking conversation, tons of laughter and a hefty side of silliness. Our discussions ranged from Wall Street, favorite childhood memories to the many different personality traits of women. Everything flowed so effortlessly that during the concert of loud chatter, I looked around all the familiar faces and wondered if life could get any better.
I gorged myself silly with the Merlot Bobby brought because I didn’t want to appear as a light weight. I ended up going to sleep around 4:00 am with a colossal headache, I should have known better because I’m not much of a drinker. But, what a great night it was. Simple moments like those are one of life’s greatest pleasures.


A Little Discretion Please

My family is very candid about certain topics that would make most people cringe. They do not sweeten or use alternate names for sensitive subject matters, like it or not, they let you have it raw. I love each of them dearly and although I admire their courage, I do things a bit differently.
My father was a stickler for manners. At a young age, he would teach me to sit up straight, close my legs, especially around the opposite sex and eat with my mouth closed. Needless to say, manners have become an important part of what makes me -- me.

To some extent, my mother is very similar to my father on the manners front. But, it’s a different story for the rest of my family. Sometimes I laugh at their candor but mostly, there are certain words that are so hard on the ears, I would prefer not to hear them at all.
Allow me to clarify things a bit. We are not a cursing family, there are no trading of f-bombs around our dinner table. It's the depths they’re willing to discuss the most private situations that makes me want to dig a hole and crawl into it, especially when we have a visitor. My grandmother has no filter, she has the tendency to blurt out anything about me that comes to her mind. And it’s never something cute, It’s usually the most delicate moments, the ones where I would prefer to die before sharing them with anyone else.
Do I want my family to exercise a little discretion? You bet I do. Especially when they disclose my personal information to others. But they are who they are, embarrassing or not, I wouldn’t change them for the world.

Thank goodness for muzzles.  

Miss Curmudgeon

We all know or have at least encountered someone who is always in a perpetual bad mood. This sourpuss behavior is even less attractive when it’s coming from a young woman. I had dinner with an old friend the other day and to my absolute dismay, guess who decided to pounce along? Miss cantankerous herself, along with her bosom buddies sarcasm, difficulty and argumentative.
I met this young woman, who will remain nameless, at a gathering a few years ago and I left that evening groggy from the blows of her terrible attitude. I had never been so offended by someone and I wasn’t even the target of her ill-temper at the time. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my last encounter with this woman. I thought people like that only existed in sitcoms because surely someone would have to imagine such a person to life.
She isn’t just a pessimist, no that’s too light of a word for her. She behaves like she’s seen it all before and we, the people she continuously stomp upon are what’s wrong with the world. And there’s no debate about that, oh no. Because that’s just how it is and she, the pillar of all things righteous, has accepted that fact. Don’t you just want to hurl? For someone that righteous, she must have a statue of herself somewhere. I want to find that statue just to (fill in the blank) all over it. Guess that wasn’t too ladylike, oh well.
Anyway, let’s fast forward to the dinner table. My friend Reginald walked in before her and in retrospect, I guess it was a warning of her arrival because he did this eye squinting thing as he approached me, a look I can only describe as a pre-apology. She sashayed over to the table with an unnecessary flair, declaring her own special brand of self importance. I actually gave myself a little pep talk during her little show, "don’t judge her for her past behavior" I said, "maybe she’s changed since the last time you saw her."

When she sat down, she greeted me and actually apologized for crashing our dinner, I told her it was alright and was hopeful for a nice, calm and drama free evening.
Reggie, bless his soul, made a couple of jokes to try to lighten the mood a bit because after her surprisingly nice greeting, the only thing that flowed between us was the water being poured into our individual glasses by the waitress. But things would not remain so mum.
After the waitress took our order, miss righteous indicated that I was the reason for the world’s problems. No, she more than indicated, this is her exact quote “You know, people like you is what’s wrong with the world.” Remember that scene from the exorcist, when the young woman's neck did that 180 degree turn? I’m pretty sure if I was capable, that’s what I would have done. And what you may ask did I do to deserve such a monumental diss?  I ordered a salad. Yes I said it.
Apparently, I’m the reason young girls far and wide are purging everything they eat. She went on and on about watching some stupid show on MTV. I didn’t quite understand the connection with MTV and eating disorders and chocked it up to her being insane. 
Reggie looked around to see if anyone had heard her insensitive comment, I figured it was so blatant and out of place, he assumed she announced it to the entire restaurant. Then he looked my way as if pleading with me not to make a scene because he knows I have zero tolerance for rudeness. With anger oozing out of my pores, I simply stood up from the table and marched out of the restaurant because I was more than ready and willing to spew a couple of not so well meaning adjectives her unmerry way.
Reggie called that night, he was so apologetic that It made it difficult for me to remain upset at him for bringing her along to what was supposed to be a nice dinner between two friends. I simply told him next time we have dinner to remember that only human beings are allowed in restaurants.


Spec Ad: Seventeen Magazine



HEADLINE: New Trend Alert: Bohemian Rhapsody

The Bohemian look can be easily achieved with just a few key wardrobe staples

Invest in colorful ethnic print Maxi dresses and flirty tunics
A billowing scarf around your neck will add extra flair
 Play the mix & match game with your bathing suit
Pair a solid colored top with a patterned bottom
Strap a wide leather belt around your waist
it's a true attention-getter as it cinches your waistline.

When it comes to accessories: Think excess
Wear big chunky necklaces, large colorful cocktail rings, exotic feather earrings, over-sized
 sunglasses, and elaborate floppy hats
Wooden bracelets and exotic bangles are all the rage
Stack them up for a fun fashion statement
Top off your Boho look with a pair of strappy gladiator sandals
Your Bohemian transformation is complete!
These pieces are not only versatile; they have longevity and lasting appeal

Spec Ad: Chanel Chance


HEADLINE: Sometimes logic fails. Dare to be daring and claim your reward.
                                 COPY: She dashes down the street in the pouring rain
her stilettos striking the slick pavement
in harmony with her rapid heart beat.
With one thought driving her forward
her feet devour the distance.
But before reaching her destination
an onslaught of doubts barrels into her core
threatening to derail her journey.
She collapses from the assault, her slender shoulders hunched
while she heaves uncontrollably.

As the rain clears and the sun's rays caress her with its warmth
she wills her body to move
and was surprised when her brain and limbs became in-sync
With her future dangling before her eyes,
 she drags herself up the grand steps.
 takes a deep breath.

Then hauls the majestic double doors wide open
just before he utters those two little words
I Do

TAGLINE: CHANEL: Take a chance.
(Picture via here)

Spec Ad: Tacori

I adore the Tacori ads, they exude such timeless elegance, don't you think? Here is my own interpretation of one of their vivid ads.
HEADLINE: When the thought of everything that can go wrong roam around in your head, focus on the one sure thing, the ring. Tacori makes it possible to be present on the most important day of your life.

COPY: Tacori diamond engagement rings are visual sonnets. A mixture of old world glamour and modern elegance, each ring is hand-crafted by expert artisans to fit your specific need.


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(Picture via here)


My Love/Hate Relationship With The Twilight Series

Why don’t I hate the Twilight movies? They are just brimming with reasons for me to detest them. First and foremost, I read the Twilight series and Stephanie Meyers writes like a scatterbrained twelve year old with a serious grammatical disorder. Then there’s Bella Swan, I just want to beat her down a majority of the time because she’s so weak, useless, vapid and not to mention nauseatingly whinny. Her unhealthy obsession with Edward Cullen leaves her little time for much else. She has no real friends other than Jacob black, whom she has placed in the friend zone and tortures at every turn, no future aspirations, unless it involves gazing into Edward's soulless stare till the depths of forever. Have you ever wondered why Edward cannot read Bella’s mind? It's because it’s vacant of any thought other than his bedroom eyes, his boyish visage and skinny bod.
Let’s talk about Edward shall we? what's with the pained expression that's always painted on his icy puss? We get it, you're a tortured soul. Did I mention he sparkles in the sunlight? Meyers portrayal of the vampire species is so blatantly unrealistic, not once has she ever mentioned anything about their fangs. In addition, we only receive bits and pieces about their struggle with blood lust. That is, if you can call it that because the Cullen clan are vegetarians. Yes you heard me! they only feed on the blood of animals.
The only character who somewhat behaves like a vampire is Jasper. In a shocking turn of events, shocking by Twilight's standards anyway, he tried to drain Bella of her precious life force. Something she has been waiting for with bated breath because, wait for it...she wants to be with Edward till the forever of evers. Unfortunately, Edward and the rest of his vegan clan stopped the attack, forcing me to watch Bella whine some more about being a pathetic human. It's a shame that Jasper's character storyline is so underdeveloped, I bet after the almost attack on Bella's life, he locked himself up in his room and cried for days. At times we catch glimpses of Alex’s tame blood lust but all it takes to calm her vampire urges is a trip to the next room.
Let’s get back to Edward and his goody two shoes ways, his downright girlish qualities really. He refuses to touch Bella, which would be honorable if he wasn’t supposed to be a big bad vampire. I nearly died laughing when Bella said he made her feel like she was "a villain out to steal his virtue." Edward hasn’t been with a woman for over a century, stop being such a gentleman and give in! You’re a vampire, no impulse control is required. We won’t think ill of you if you do the deed for crying out loud. Sometimes, I wish he would bite down hard on Bella’s neck and drain her of the human life she’s so desperate to abandon just to stop her incessant whining.
Oh, did I mention Edward used to sneak up to Bella's room and watch her while she slept the first time they met? creepy much? Speaking of creepy how about Jacob’s eternal bond (imprinting) with Bella’s soon to be born daughter Renesmee (yikes). Renesmee, what kind of a stupid name is that?
Despite all of the things that absolutely annoy me about the Twilight books and movies, I still want to go see it in theaters when it comes out this week. The films rank a ten on the cheesy scale and the acting leaves something to be desired but I dare say, I 'm even giddy about seeing what I read in the books translated to the big screen (in spite of the bad writing). The only explanation I can leave you with is I’m a sucker for seeing love everlasting, even if it is fictional. I guess that’s what guilty pleasures are all about.
Anyway my darlings, check out some Twilight pictures below. I must say, they are tantalizing.
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