United Monogram Pieces to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll! We are officially halfway through the week, and another day closer to the weekend!

If you’re like me, you love being comfy and cozy during the holiday season but also want to look good and put together.

I’ve been buying pieces from United Monogram for about a year now, and let me just tell you I did a little happy dance when they dropped their Holiday Collection!

It’s full of the things we know and associate with the holidays; snow, snowmen, candy canes, cute little red trucks, and all the stops! Did I mention they added glitter designs this year too?? *insert heart eye emoji here*

Today, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pieces from this collection that are giving me all the merry and bright and festive vibes! These are great “treat your self” pieces or great gifts to give to someone else! Did I mention that they’re all on sale too?!

What piece(s) will you be rocking this holiday season?


Your Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

These cooler temps and all things holiday season have really been getting me in a festive mood!

Growing up, my mom’s homemade hot chocolate mix was always something I looked forward to. Now that I have a home of my own, I love finding ways to incorporate that tradition into my little family!

This year, we opted to add out hot chocolate to our coffee bar! From now until the end of winter, if you stop by we’ll have all the options for your hot chocolate drinking pleasure!

Every good hot chocolate bar starts with good hot chocolate! Three of my favorites from Target are the Swiss Miss packets, Good & Gather Double Hot Chocolate, and since I’m slightly lactose intolerant, I always like to have a dairy free option on hand like this Swiss Miss Non-Dairy mix!

In my mind, the perfect cup of hot chocolate has lots of marshmallows. The more the better! I found these vanilla star and Christmas tree shaped ones along with the peppermint flavored ones on the Holiday section at my local Target. Both are by Wondershop and so yummy! I may have eaten a few of the peppermint ones just by themselves…

Before I found the peppermint marshmallows, I used to sometimes stir my hot chocolate with a candy cane to get that pepperminty flavor. Something about the chocolate and mint combination just gets me! This crushed peppermint shaker is perfect and so cute to sprinkle on top of a peak of whipped cream.

If you’re looking to have single serve and individually wrapped options on hand, these Hot Cocoa Stir Spoons from Wondershop are perfect for you! I picked up a few for my hot chocolate bar as well as to give along with gifts at Christmas!

What are you hot chocolate must haves?


Holiday Giveaway

Happy Monday, y’all!

2020 sure has been a year for the history books, and I’m pretty sure none of us could have even dreamed that this year would turn out like it has.

With all of the chaos and uncertainty, I’ve been trying to focus more on the moments of joy in my everyday life and on actively choosing joy! It can be found in something as small as a hot cup of coffee or something as big as a new home. The ways joy can show up are endless!

In honor of the holiday season and hoping to spread a little joy to someone, I’m hosting my first ever giveaway over on my Instagram (https://instagram.com/alongftride?r=nametag)!

Entering is super simple too!! All you have to do is give me a follow over on Instagram and like and comment on all of my posts until this Saturday (11/21). You also get a bonus entry if you subscribe to my blog!

The winner will be announced on my Instagram in stories and on the original post with the winner getting a gift card to my favorite monogram store (United Monograms) a Rae Dunn mug, and a Target gift card to buy something to fill your new mug with!


Merry Christmas!!

Today’s post is short and sweet in honor of soaking up as much quality time as we all can this time of year!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I can tell y’all how thankful I am for each and everyone of you that has come along for the ride with me and supported me on this new adventure! It really does mean the world to me!

I hope your holiday season is merry and bright and that you are surrounded by so much love and light as 2018 comes to a close!



Dealing with Holiday Anxiety

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time of the year where we get to reconnect and catch up with loved ones, eat yummy food, and make great memories, but what happens when it’s also the most stressful time of the year for you?

I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays, for as long as I can remember. I was always the girl that needed several hours tucked away in my room after any kind of family gathering to decompress. I still am that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the happy things that the holidays bring. Some of my best and fondest memories involve them, but I think it’s important to talk about the not so great feelings the holidays can bring with them, and most importantly, ways to help make things better.

1. I’m a people pleaser by nature. I don’t like confrontation, so I try to avoid it at all costs. The biggest thing for me around the holidays is knowing and respecting my own boundaries. It can be draining between all of the travel and going from party to party and worrying about what to get people for gifts. The older I get, the more I’m learning that it’s okay to politely say “no” when I need to. It’s not being rude, just me taking care of myself!

2. God bless my sweet husband! When someone has been in your life for a long time, chances are that they’ve picked up on when you’re getting overwhelmed and anxiety is kicking in too. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good support system in place. Having my husband there with me helps tremendously since I have that peace of mind that I have a safe spot to land. If there isn’t someone that is physically there with you, don’t underestimate the power of a quick text exchange! Even having someone to call or text when you need a break can make a big difference!

3. Whoever planned the holiday season to happen right when cold and flu season happen wasn’t planning too well. With that being said, I really try to be mindful of my physical health as well as my mental and emotional. Have you ever noticed how your anxiety seems so much worse when you’re not feeling well? I know I have! This time of year, it’s so important to try and make sure to get enough sleep, eat foods that nourish your body, and stay hydrated to combat all of those illnesses that are going around.

4. If you’re like me and the holidays kick your anxiety up a notch, chances are that you already have a few tricks up your sleeve for when you can only take a few moments to yourself. It’s especially important around the holidays to know which of your coping skills are the most effective for you. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve found a spot away from all of the noise and commotion to take a few good, deeps breaths in. No, it doesn’t magically fix everything, but it does help for the time being. For the times that taking deep breaths doesn’t work, I check in with my husband to.

5. If I got to choose between playing with my niece and nephews over another “what are you doing with your life” talk with adults, I’d choose the little ones all day! At holiday parties, most kids are just thinking about playing and having fun, not having deep conversations about life. Join in on their game and tap into their easy and fun energy! This can also be applied to pets! It’s no secret that petting a cute puppy can help reduce your blood pressure, elevate your mood, and in turn release endorphins.

At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself first! There is nothing selfish or rude about it; it’s just something that needs to happen, and there really is no time like the present! So this Holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself too!


25 Fun Winter Date Ideas

I love everything about Christmas time; store fronts decorated with sparkling lights, snowmen, and snowflakes, mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows, getting to see family and friends, and all of the festivities that the season brings.

While I love going out to dinner or a movie with my husband, we can go on those kinds of dates anytime of the year. As we get older, quality time spent together is that much more important to us and all the more special!

Today, I’m helping you get a jumpstart with 25 things that should be on your bucket list this holiday season!

1. Decorate the house and fill it with the holiday spirit!

2. Bake and decorate holiday themed cookies. This is a tradition that is still going strong in my family!

3. Attend a tree lighting ceremony.

4. Go skiing or snowboarding, even if it is just on a hill by your house!

5. Drive around to look at Christmas lights and decorations. Some neighborhoods really go all out!

6. Unleash your inner child and have a good old fashioned snowball fight.

7. Make homemade ornaments. They can be as simple or intricate, uniformed or sentimental as you want!

8. Binge watch all of the Christmas Movies!

9. Make homemade hot chocolate mix. Another tradition in my family, and it will always be one of my favorites!

10. Have an indoor picnic. Spread out a big comfy blanket, have the candles or fireplace burning, and enjoy!

11. Make peppermint bark, or any kind of chocolate bark for that matter! There’s no limit to the combinations you can create.

12. Make and decorate a gingerbread house! This is a lot easier nowadays since you can buy the kits at the store.

13. Build a snowman complete with a scarf, buttons, and a carrot nose!

14. Roast s’mores over a fire. If you don’t have access to a fireplace, there are some great indoor s’mores kits too!

15. Go on The Polar Express train ride. To find the one nearest to you, a simple Google search will do!

16. Make all of the winter comfort food; soups, casseroles, breads, etc.!

17. Volunteer at your favorite charity or organization. If time is limited for you, donations are always appreciated, especially around the holidays!

18. Take Christmas pictures to document the end of another year and to be able to look back in the years to come.

19. Go for a carriage ride on a snowy night.

20. Make a pillow and blanket fort. This would be a great place to watch all of the Christmas movies from too!

21. Bundle up and go window shopping. I’ve found some of the best and most unique Christmas gifts this way!

22. Go ice skating. I am by no means a great skater, but something about it just makes me think of the holiday season!

23. Host a game night! Sometimes there’s nothing better than good food, good company, and playing good old fashioned board games.

24. Make snow angels! I’ve loved doing this since I was little, and now that my siblings have little ones, it’s fun to keep the tradition going with them.

25. Dance around the house to Christmas music. Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than the songs I’ve been listening to all my life!

What are your favorite things to do during the holiday season?