Music Friday – Christmas Edition

Over on Tumblr, I frequently post songs at the end of the week that lived on repeat. I tag this "Music Friday." With it being December, and me listening to pretty much nothing but Christmas music, I've started tagging them all "Christmas Edition." In the past here on LJ, you know I've done "25 Days of Christmas Music," but there isn't much participation in it (which is true for most of my blog posts these days, eh) and so I decided to skip it this year. But, since I'm still finding new Christmas tracks worth sharing, I figured I'd compile a small list here in case any of you are actually reading and looking for some new Christmas tunes. Ready? 🙂

This first track comes from what is easily my favorite Christmas album this year, "August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin' Hill, A Holiday Album." I am typically a fan of musicians taking a stab at a Christmas album anyway, but I'm even more delighted when it's a band I really like, putting out an unconventional Christmas album in a style of music I really love. This is totally the case with this album. Now I could really make a post strictly for this album because there are so many great tracks on it, but I won't. Just know that you should seriously consider checking out more than just this track.

August Burns Red – "Flurries"

I'd never heard of this next band until I heard this song and while I've yet to hear anything else by them, I'm really looking forward to it. I don't even think I was much of a fan of this song prior to hearing their rendition of it, but there is just something so mellow and perfect about it and I can't stop listening to it. I'm especially fond of the turn it takes at 2:45 and how it sounds almost nothing in the end like it did when it began. Also, the piano is just… well I mean, come on, if you know me, you should already know I'm drawn to it because of the piano. 

The Head and The Heart – "What Are You Doing New Years Eve?"

I admit I've always really wanted to sing this song with someone, but I doubt that day will ever come. And so, I find enjoyment in other people singing it and what better than the likes of Mindy White (from States) and Anthony Green (from Circa Survive)? Mindy's voice, in particular is perfect for Christmassy tunes. She should totally put out a holiday album. Aside from their voices though, I really enjoy the dips in the music itself. 

Mindy White & Anthony Green – "Baby, It's Cold Outside"

This last song is just one of those feel good songs. The story in it's cute, the video for it's cute. It's sort of what I consider a typical, happy Christmas song. But I thoroughly enjoy typical where Christmas is concerned. I want songs to make me feel cheery, as I want anything that has to do with Christmas to make me feel. 

Train – "Shake Up Christmas"

I've got an enormous Christmas playlist, but I don't want this to get unbarably long. Perhaps I'll do another before the month's end if there's a demand for it. Do you have any newer Christmas song suggestions I might want to check out? I'd love to hear them if you do! 

P.S. I really wanted to post the song I'm currently listening to in this batch too, because it's strings are ridiculously beautiful, but I wasn't able to find it in an embeddable way and so all I can do is link you to it. You should really click HERE to listen to Punch Brother's version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."



My Christmas!

My Christmas was amazing! Partially because of my nephew, Gideon, though. There is just something about watching children experience Christmas that makes it so much more rewarding. I can’t wait for next year, when he’s 1-1/2 years old and far more entertained by the event.

I truly hope all of you had as perfect of a Christmas as I had!

*If you’d like to see the rest of my family Christmas album, click HERE!


25 Days of Christmas Music – Day 25 (late)

Darn it, I just missed the deadline for the 25th. Sorry. Christmas Day is so busy!

Rosie Thomas – “Why can’t it be Christmastime all Year?”

I wonder the same thing. I would love to live in a place where everything was as feel-good as Christmas is 24/7. If only such a place existed.

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope you enjoyed it with your loved ones like I did. 🙂



25 Days of Christmas Music – Day 24

August Burns Red – “Carol of the Bells”

I had a different song chosen for today (back when I prepped this Christmas playlist), but leave it to  to still corrupt me musically even when I’ve set out to listen to nothing new.

I realize I already posted Carol of the Bells, but I said in that post that I’d like the song no matter what rendition it was. Clearly, this is proof of that statement since this version is so much different!

Enjoy & Merry Christmas Eve, friends! 🙂



My Best Friend is made of Awesomesauce!

Why, you’re wondering?

Because she published a freaking book for me for Christmas this year!

I never talked about it here for some reason (probably because I suck at cross-blogging), but back in October Heather made THIS for me. (Be sure to read the explanation behind it.)

Well this year for Christmas, not only did she send me framed art of our characters (even featuring my latest novel’s lead male!), she also published a book – all shiny and colorful – called, “Torture Christmas Art,” the first volume of more to come hopefully!  I can’t show you every page or this would be a mighty long post (and spoilerific!), but check out the pictures I have included! It’s awesome, right?

Yeah… my best friend rocks! You jelly? 😉 

P.S. See that snarky blonde haired boy? His name is Arden. You should check out this Christmas short story featuring him called, “Holiday Sneer”!


Sad to see it go…

It’s definitely no longer Christmas, but my tree still shines in the living room reminding me that it just was. I have a strict policy of only keeping Christmas decorations up from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after New Years, but I couldn’t bring myself to follow my own “rules” this year.

I think it’s mainly because I failed to get my decorations up in that first week of December so I didn’t get to enjoy them as long as I would have liked. I’m just not ready to say goodbye to them yet. So I’ve decided to let them live for one more week. Hopefully by next weekend I will be ready to part ways with Christmas again until next year.

My tree isn’t the only thing I’m sad to say bye too though, my mini holiday breaks are also going to be missed terribly. I won’t have off for more than 2 days again until the end of April. This seems so incredibly far away. I didn’t even do anything of actual value during my breaks, but that’s what made them so great. Doing whatever I wanted to do. I rarely have that kind of time on my hands. Over the past week I read 4 books and started into the 5th last night and I even got some writing towards my WIP accomplished. I can’t remember the last time I had such a nice stretch of time to be used like that.

How about I just say, “See you later” instead of “Goodbye” to Christmas/New Years and all that’s associated with it? Would that be easier? I don’t know, but right now I don’t want to even think about the reality of it actually being over. I’ll wait until 6am tomorrow morning when I’m getting ready to return to work to let the actuality of it all sink in. Right now, I will read and pretend like there’s still all the time in the world to enjoy my favorite time of year.

Peace – Sarah



Christmas Loot (Aka: Books Galore)!

When you ask for around 40 books for Christmas, it’s a given that they will be the bulk of your gifts this year, but actually having almost that many new books in my possession at the same time is blowing my mind! How will I ever pick which one to read first?!

In case you can’t see the titles of all of those books they are: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa, The Vampire Diaries (The Awakening & The Struggle) by L.J. Smith, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Unleashed by Kristopher Reisz, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, The Fallen 1 (The Fallen & The Leviathan) by Thomas E. Sniegoski, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston, Ruined by Paula Morris, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, Life as we knew it (Book 1 of The Last Survivors Series) by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter Book 2 – Hardback) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter Book 3 – Hardback) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Beastly by Alex Flinn, Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph, Other by Karen Kincy, Sleepless by Cyn Balog, Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Percy Jackson & The Olympians Boxset (The Lightening Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian) by Rick Riordan, The Wicked Lovely Series (Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows) by Melissa Marr, The Magician (Book 2 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series) by Michael Scott, and The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty.

In addition to all of these fun reads, I got the Webster’s Vocabulary Builder to help with my writing as well!

And of those books I also received one duplicate. I’m sending that book back and in exchange getting three in its place. Those books are: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Daughters of the Moon: Volume One by Lynne Ewing, and Fallen by Lauren Kate (because I’ve already read it, but don’t own a copy myself).

Aside from books though, I did receive some other awesome gifts as well, such as:

Other gifts included: An exercise ball, motions lights for my Christmas tree next year, a bookmark, a funny notepad, a Barnes & Nobles gift card (as if I need more books – lol, oh, wait, I always need more books!), a decorative scarf, a thick scarf-gloves-hat set, a cupcake scented car freshener (so me!), a Vera Wang change purse, a CD, Love Actually, LOST Season 6, TRUE BLOOD Season 2, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 6 Aeropostale tank tops (my favorite), fuzzy socks, a Troll bead pen, Troll beads, and handmade earrings. And see that framed photo? Those are MY characters (Brynn, Bryce, & Teagan)! My fabulous friend and critique partner edgyauthor made this for me for Christmas! Isn’t it just awesome? Seeing my characters like this makes me SQUEE! (Note: Both of my critique partners spoiled me with amazing gifts this year. Their friendship alone was a gift enough so everything they sent me was a total bonus!)

I won this awesome Troll bead pen as the “Pickle Gift” this year. The Pickle gift is something my sister and I have competed in for years. Every Christmas morning (though it wasn’t the case this year because Rachel could only be there on Christmas Eve) my dad hides a pickle ornament somewhere on his 16’ packed to the brim tree and whoever finds it first gets an extra gift. Rachel wins almost every year, but this year I found it before her! And I’m especially excited about this years gift because it’s a sweet pen (since I actually hand write some of my book) and it’s loaded with Troll beads that I can remove and interchange with my Troll bead bracelet. And speaking of Troll beads, I also got several new Troll beads as well! *Also, you can’t see them that well, but the earrings hanging off of that box were handmade by a friend at work – don’t they rock?*

As mentioned in the previous post, Dad gave Rachel and I 15 of his old world blown glass ornaments, some of which have been in the family for many, many years and one additional new blown glass ornament to begin on our own collections so one day our tree’s can look like his. Below is my starter box and my newest ornament (in honor of Tay).

And lastly, also as mentioned in the previous post, my Maw Maw’s handmade goodies. YUM!

I feel so tremendously blessed right now. I know Christmas isn’t about gifts, but there’s no pretending they don’t make people happy. I am one of those people 😉

How did you guys all make out for Christmas? Did you get what you wanted? Share your Christmas Loot!

Peace – Sarah



My Christmas

Christmas seemed to arrive far faster this year than any year before it, but it was wonderful nonetheless. Unfortunately, Heath was sick for Christmas so he wasn’t able to attend any of the festivities with me, but he’s getting better now and I brought Christmas back to him in the form of food, gifts, and pictures of what he missed.

Christmas Eve went something like this:

My dad’s side of the family came over for dinner at my parent’s house. We had two different kinds of lasagna’s (one regular completely made from scratch, the other seafood), two different kinds of salad, and fresh yummy bread. There were an assortment of appetizers as well, but I arrived after they were served. I missed out on a seafood chowder, smoked salmon, and crab dip.

After dinner we all opened gifts, but since all of the kids are no longer “kids” gift swapping is a pretty short event these days. It was full of laughs though because my dad got all of his brothers and parents “puzzle” like gifts that had everyone scratching their brains and received some interesting items himself like: chocolate covered bacon (I know, sounds gross, but is actually surprisingly yummy) and a DVD with a fire playing so you can pretend to have a fire roaring (which is a bit strange for my dad since my parents actually have a fireplace). My sister and I got 15 of our dad’s old world blown glass ornaments and one additional new one so we can start our own tree like his, which was exciting (for me at least because I am in love with his tree). Since Rachel wouldn’t be there on Christmas Day, Dad had us search for the pickle gift on Christmas Eve which felt odd, but I won! Maybe the fact that it was a different day threw Rachel off since she wins almost every Christmas. (There will be more about the pickle gift tradition in my next post where I showcase my gifts.)

After gifts we had dessert and several of them to choose from: Cheesecake, Holiday Spice Cake (aka Prune Cake), and Plum Pudding (which was supposed to be lit on fire after dousing it in Brandy, but it didn’t exactly work out that way). With an officially fat belly, I headed home to get some sleep and get ready for an even longer day on Christmas.

Christmas Day began at 8am:

I got to my parents and we shared presents. Dad got an Xbox 360, with 4 games, Xbox live, Xbox points, and a headset. He was, as always, a large child. Mom got a Nook and was super excited, along with some other cool items like UGGS and perfume. My big gift was… BOOKS! Mom & Dad got me 17 books alone and that wasn’t all of the books I received this Christmas (I will tell you more about that in my next post!).

After exchanging gifts we headed over to my grandmothers (Mom’s side of the family) for breakfast. This breakfast is something we almost demand every Christmas. It is by far, hands down, the best breakfast in the world. I look forward to it all year. My grandparents are from the south and they cook breakfast the way it’s meant to be cooked: fattening and delicious. Our plates were full with biscuits and gravy, eggs, fresh made cinnamon apples, hash browns, bacon, and sausage. It was phenomenal! It’s the kind of breakfast you get mad at your stomach for being full over because you always want seconds, but there’s never any room.

We traded gifts there as well, but for the most part everyone basically traded money with each other – lol. Maw Maw & Paw Paw did make homemade candies for us as well as chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, and peanut butter pinwheels (these being my favorite!). I’m knee deep in sugar right now 🙂

By the time I got home I needed a nap, but it was short lived because Heath was feeling better enough to run to his parents for a little bit since they live semi far away in comparison to my parents and there was all this talk of snow (which still hasn’t amounted to much a day later). We didn’t stay long because as the night wore on Heath felt less and less “okay,” but everyone loved their gifts and it was good to see all the family actually on Christmas.

I spent the remainder of my night last night staring at my awesome gifts and taking pictures of them for my next post entitled, “Christmas Loot” which is really just short for “Check out my books and drool with me!”

I hope everyone had as amazing of a Christmas as I did and I’d love to see pictures of your festivities so please post if you’ve got them! Even if you don’t have pictures though, stories about your holiday would be wonderful too 🙂

I wish Christmas wasn’t over, I miss it already.

Peace – Sarah


To see the complete Christmas Eve Album click HERE

To see the complete Christmas Day Album click HERE


Short Stories

The Christmas Princess



It hasn’t snowed like this on Christmas since I was seven, but I don’t remember that Christmas so much because of the white-out or because my mom had just died. I remember it most because of the girl that found me in the snow on Christmas Eve. She had called herself “The Christmas Princess.”




Losing my mom that Christmas made me lose faith in a lot of things, including Santa Claus. It’s amazing how death can make even the youngest child grow up almost overnight. At seven, death was the last thing on my mind until she passed, but suddenly it was all I thought about. I became very cynical over the prospect of life and was angry at any and everything that could end it. For a seven year old, I was mighty bitter. Child-like glee was something I knew nothing of anymore. All the anger though, was really just a mask I wore to conceal my fear. I couldn’t sleep, for fear of never waking up again. I was scared to eat, for fear that I’d choke to death or be poisoned. I was even scared to go to school, just for the fear that I’d never see my dad again.


Given the circumstances, I’d rather have just skipped Christmas that year. There was no freshly-baked-cookie smell warming our house, no Christmas stories at bed time. Mom’s voice wasn’t carrying throughout the house singing non-stop Christmas tunes until the big day. It just wouldn’t be the same without her. I could tell Dad felt the same way, but he tried really hard to hide his pain from me.


Putting up the tree felt more like a chore than anything else. There was no excitement leading up to lighting it, no Christmas music playing in the background to get us in the spirit. We felt dead, because she was dead.


I’d finally had enough of pretending. I dropped the string of lights in my hand angrily and said, “Dad, I don’t even believe in Santa Claus anymore. Why bother?”


Dad looked even more defeated than he had just a few minutes before as he sunk into his chair and stared blankly at the half decorated tree. We never finished it; it just stood there for the rest of the month naked and never lit. Christmas, like my mother, had died.


That month had to be the longest month ever, but probably because we just wanted it to be over with already. There was talk of a great blizzard coming on Christmas and while most of the kids in my class were excited over the possibility of having a white Christmas and missing school, I was dreading being stuck at home –indoors- with my miserable dad in our miserable state. Even though I was scared to wonder too far from him, being around him without Mom on Christmas was just going to be too hard.


The snow arrived early on Christmas Eve. By the time I woke up there was already a thick blanket of it coating everything. At the rate it was falling there’d be several feet by nightfall. I had to get out of the house one last time before I was actually trapped in it. Dad never even got out of bed. I guess the day was just too much for him.


2010 Target Christmas Commercials

So this year Target featured several really great Christmas themed songs to promote shopping at Target for the holiday season and they also offered all 14 of those songs for free download HERE. Of those songs and commercials though these two were my favorite!

Blackalicious – “Toy Jackpot”

Download/listen to the full song HERE!

Crystal Antlers – “10,000 Watts”

Download/listen to the full song HERE!

Download the album, maybe you’ll find some new favorite Christmas tunes! 😉

Peace – Sarah