It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

Hi y’all!

Now that it’s December 1st, I think it’s okay to assume we are all in the Christmas spirit, even though I have been since last week 🙂  I’ve been listening to so many good albums and playlists on Spotify while at work and I wanted to share them with you! If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for) then you know I absolutely love me some jazzy Christmas tunes. Honestly, my taste in music is so diverse that I think you can find something you’ll love on my list. Plus, it’s mostly various renditions of Christmas classics and everyone loves Christmas music, right? Let’s go ahead and get straight to the list, guys!

  1. Jazz at Christmas: As previously mentioned, I just love jazzy Christmas music and with that being said this playlist had to be first on my list. There is just something about the way it makes me feel. It truly gets me feeling the Christmas spirit ❤ This playlist has all your favorites/big names like, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. One of my faves on this playlist is ‘Christmas In New Orleans’ by Louis Armstrong. He just paints such a beautiful picture of the city and atmosphere. Gosh, I love New Orleans!
  2. Christmas CoffeehouseThis playlist just starts off right with ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ sung by Daniela Andrade. Never heard of her before this, but she has a beautiful voice and the song sounds a little more folk like. It’s a nice change. A great duet on here is ‘What are you doing New Years Eve’ by Johnnyswim. I can only imagine their entire Christmas album is great. I think these would be great morning tunes to enjoy with your coffee. It’s a lot more chill, but still all about the holidays.
  3. French Christmas SongsAlright, so I don’t speak nor understand French, but I love listening to french music. I usually go with a French Coffeehouse playlists. When it comes to this one you can basically make out what song they are singing based on the melody. One of my favorite French artists is Carla Bruni, made famous (at least for me) by (500) Days of Summer, and she is on this playlist. I love this one because it shows how universal music truly is. Doesn’t matter the language, music is music and it can move you, or in this case, get you in the holiday spirit!

Moving on to Christmas albums. There are a ton out there. Pretty much anyone who is anyone participates in singing these songs we all love with their own spin. Here we go!

  1. She & Him: Alright, I couldn’t choose just one, but seriously why should I! haha. Both their ‘A Very She & Him Christmas‘ and ‘She & Him Christmas Party‘ have all the popular classics, plus some I had never heard. I’m already a fan of this band, it’s very indie-ish, so if that’s your jam you’ll love it. Honestly though, Zooey’s voice is so unique and beautiful. They have fun renditions of ‘Run Run Rudolph’ and ‘Mele Kalikimaka’, which make me think of some of my favorite Christmas movies. These albums are a must for me every year!
  2. An Oscar Peterson ChristmasThis artist was recommended by a co-worker. He’s a jazz enthusiast and when he learned my Christmas jazz obsession he offered his faves. I’m so glad he gave me this one! This instrumental album is so fun and cheery, and incorporates unique instrumental sounds. ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ is the best on here. It has the nice soft snare and cymbal going on with great piano solo pieces. Love! Guys, I wish I knew how to play piano. Still a life goal of mine.

Here’s a bonus because I found it as I was writing and linking this blog, Christmas Jazz Coffeehouse.

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I can’t deny my love for this season and it’s music. Out of them all, I think ‘Let it Snow’ has to be my favorite! If only we could get some snow here in San Antonio now, haha. Do you have a favorite Christmas tune? Be sure to share with me!

I hope you guys take me up on these suggestions and check them out. If you do, please be sure to let me know which one you loved in the comments!

P.S. I’m going to attempt Vlogmas this year, so if you want to follow along check out my channel and subscribe! 🙂

Happy Holidays!

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Zoo Boo!

Hi Guys!

As promised I wanted to share more about our experience at the San Antonio ZOO BOO! and give some tips. Since we had our daughter we have gone to Zoo Boo 2 of the 3 years. The first year she was about 10 months and this year she is 3. What a major difference their age makes. Since I went at completely different times I really gained insight on the best times to go, I think. I also did a vlog on our day there so if you’re not a reader feel free to scroll down and watch the video 🙂

#1 When to go!

The first year we did Zoo Boo we went on a weekday after work. Everyone had the same idea. The line was extremely long, not even kidding, we probably waited at least 35-45 minutes to buy our tickets and get in. Parking was so difficult to find so my family and I were spread out all over the area. This year we  went on a Saturday afternoon and though you’d think it would be insane it really wasn’t. Our wait time to get in was about 10 minutes, if that. Parking was pretty full, but we easily found a decent spot. I would definitely say when we went in the evening the first year it was far more crowded than a Saturday. Due to the price I’d suggest really trying to get the most for your money, so if you do not go to the zoo often you should make a day of it rather than just going for an hour or two to trick or treat. It was nice because we were able to see the animals in the daylight which was a lot easier than trying to find the animals in the dark. The only you really have to put up with is the heat. I’d also say go before Halloween not on it. You spend money, time, or both on those costumes so get some wears in!IMG_6391

#2 Free Activities

Yes for free activities! Aside from checking out all the animals and exhibits there are free things for you and your kiddos to do. That includes petting zoo, hay maze and playground, a costume contest, a play put on by the Magik Theatre, and of course trick or treating! From what we came across these were additional things to do that did not cost extra. This is why I think you can make Zoo Boo a full day thing. These things are spread out throughout the zoo and there are schedules available everywhere. Olive loved brushing the goats, leading the way in the maze, and she took part in the costume contest. Which by the way they have several, I think 2 or 3 throughout the day. It’s a great way to show off that homemade costume or just encourage your little to be brave and get up on the stage. Olive has come out of her shell so much so it was so stinkin cute to see her in the contest.IMG_4706

#3 Paid Activities

If you’ve been to the San Antonio Zoo you’ll still find your favorite paid activities like feeding the birds at Lory Landing or the giraffes, the carousel, and face painting. In addition, you’ll find a small pumpkin patch where you can pick one out and decorate it for about $7 and there is a photo op in a hay-globe for a fee. Olive wanted her face painted which we were happy to do, but thought how long will it really last with this heat and humidity. Thankfully they offer free touch ups all day so I think it’s really worth your money if your littles want one. One of my favorite things I noticed this year from our last was that the Mold-O-Rama’s now take credit card. If you’re from San Antonio you probably collected one of these every time you went! I was very excited about this, haha. They even added Halloween molds for the season!IMG_4709

#4 Avoiding the Crowds

So one I will say is that the event and areas within it can get pretty crowded. As I mentioned above we loved that we went and made this a full day event rather than getting there for only the trick or treating which is very busy. Check out the outdoor animals first. I know it’s hot, humid, or both but it’s far more enjoyable because you are not constantly bumping into people in the smaller spaces like the aquarium, bird exhibits, or reptile room. We focused on the outdoor animals and just as the trick or treating started (4-6pm) we went indoors to cool down and check out everything else without the floods of people. The photo below was taken at the entrance with the famous lion statues and the Zoo Boo sign. It’s very popular and most people try to snag the perfect photo when they make their way in, but I advise you to wait. We were able to not only get a photo without a ton of other kids/families in our photo, but the statue was also not blistering hot because we took our photo right about 5:30pm as we were leaving the zoo. IMG_6428

#5 What to bring or do before hand!

We ended up starting our day about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. We made it a point to feed ourselves before going in because eating inside any zoo or theme park can add up very quick. I would advise that you pack some snacks, especially for your kiddos. We of course didn’t pack anything, we are sometimes so unprepared haha. I saw many parents handing their children zip lock bags of cheerios, grapes, and chips. Oh and one last thing, if you have a stroller bring it. Even with Olive being a 3 year old it was so useful, especially when she decided to take a nap. Toddlers are heavy y’all! Plus if you bring your own you save on the cost of renting a stroller at the zoo.

Alright, now that all the tips are out of the way what’s this going to cost you. Well for a family of 3 (with a paid child admission) we spent about $53 to get in. Since we didn’t eat a full meal there and just snacked I would say we spent at least about $30 and then $10-$15 on the face painting.

The San Antonio Zoo Boo is a must because it’s just all around a good time and can be an all day event. Don’t forget to check out my Zoo Boo Vlog on my YouTube channel.

Disney with a Toddler? Why it’s worth going!

Hey y’all!

Yesterday morning my family and I found ourselves sifting through photos from our Disney trip this past December. We seriously miss it so much! I remember when Andrew and I had our second date the topic of Disney World came up over a bowl of pho and I shared my love for the place. ❤ Andrew, being a young, single man just couldn’t see the excitement of it unless you had kids. Over time though I was able to show him more and more and slowly I could see his eyes widen every time I brought it up. I constantly told him that I wanted to take a trip there, the three of us, but he was convinced it would cost a fortune. He’s not wrong. Disney can easily turn into an expensive vacation, but luckily I was able to convince him last year that going to Disney BEFORE Olive-Lynn turned 3 would be our cheapest option. If you have a little and want to satisfy your Disney itch or if you just love Disney keep reading 🙂IMG_3827Our flights: At this point Olive-Lynn was already passed the 2 year old mark to fly for free, but you could certainly save more money by making your trip before that age. In our case, she was a couple of months before turning 3. However, I was able to to use our points with Southwest Airlines to pay for our round trip flights which only cost us about $33! Don’t underestimate the power of a great travel credit card, but of course use it responsibility and you can really get a lot out of it. If you don’t have points search for the lowest fare. Our flight cost about $94 each way which isn’t bad at all.IMG_7984IMG_8015Our hotel: I was very fortunate at this time that I still worked in the hotel industry because we were able to find a hotel for $49/night with my employee discount. (Let me know if y’all would like to learn more about working in the hospitality industry.) That’s a good sign in general though, typically those discounts are only available because occupancy is low in the hotel, which means they are selling those rooms cheaper. Take advantage of that time. Also, book early!IMG_3840IMG_3859IMG_3867IMG_3887IMG_3898Our tickets: We decided to only visit two theme parks in order to minimize costs as much as possible. Magic Kingdom was a must for anyone’s first visit so that was on the list. Our second choice was a bit more difficult, but we landed on Hollywood Studios, because it had both Disney JR and Star Wars 🙂 Under 3 you get in free, so we just paid the price of our tickets which were just under $450. On top of that, our first day in we spent wandering Disney Springs which is FREE! Perfect way to get things started before taking on the parks.IMG_3834IMG_2799IMG_2814Our timing: The original plan was actually to go with my oldest brother and his family, on Christmas Day, but that didn’t happen. Having gone to Disney only in the summer I had dreamed about seeing the parks in both Halloween and Christmas time. To allow us more time to plan/save we shot for December and it worked out perfectly. I’m actually really happy we didn’t go on Christmas, as magical as it would’ve been, that would’ve been nuts! We went the second weekend in December and the weather was perfect, the crowds had not fully taken over yet, but you still got all the Christmas magic ❤ IMG_8043IMG_2708Here are a few other reasons.

  • She napped! We arrived early to the parks and she thankfully took naps as she normally would which helped not have a cranky toddler.
  • We could share food! On top of being able to bring your own food into the parks, yes they allow that. We could share our plates with her which helped at the restaurants we did eat at.
  • There is actually A LOT they can do! Not many realize, but your kiddos can ride quite a bit as long as they have a parent with them. Like I really needed a reason to get on DUMBO though, haha. Plus, there are endless shows to cool down in, rest your feet, and make for a nice dark place to take that nap I mentioned before.
  • You get to experience being a single rider! I don’t know about you all, but I’ve always had someone to get on rides with. This time around we signed up for FastPasses and took turns getting on a few rides she couldn’t. It was a fun experience and neat to talk about how it went for us once we were done.
  • They don’t want EVERYTHING! lol Okay, maybe this one can vary on the child/parent relationship, but for us it worked out. She didn’t beg and cry for every item that had her favorite characters. She was content with just taking everything in. Don’t get me wrong we still snagged a couple of things, but I could only imagine that it is far more difficult to negotiate with a 5-10 year old than it is a toddler in this case.
  • Meeting the characters! The only thing better than you meeting the characters you love is watching your kid(s) meet the characters they love ❤

Our first trip to Disney together was amazing and we can’t wait to do it again. We’re hoping to make several trips in the future to include one just for the adults. 🙂

Share any tips you have for doing Disney with a toddler and share any of your favorites in the park. One of mine is simply walking onto Main Street USA. I just get the best feeling ever and know that I’m going to have one of the best days ever!IMG_8121IMG_8063IMG_2604

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I hope you all have had an amazing week so far! It’s been a busy week in our home, what with just getting back from Arizona and getting ready to head out again soon. Andrew and I have this thing where we typically pack all of our trips within the same few months so it makes life a little crazy, but very exciting.

Before we left to Arizona for the weekend we made it a point to decorate with our daughter. It happened to be on November 30th, so it was perfect to get it done in time for December.

Continue reading Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree