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Last year, I recorded my “Year of Gratitude” through pictures on Instagram with the intention of creating a physical scrapbook. I still fully intend to create that scrapbook; however, it may take me some time. In hindsight, I should have scrapbooked by the month to keep up with it. I am a SLOW scrapbooker. HA! It will include all the people, places, things, books, and experiences that I was essentially grateful for in my life during 2021. In all fairness to myself, I was not really sure how my project would evolve or if I’d even keep up with posting a daily picture. Now that the year has ended, I have some ideas.

As part of my #Read21in21 Challenge last year, I read Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee (December). I realized shortly after reading it that the pictures I posted for my gratitude project were of people, places, and things that brought be a great deal of joy and provided me with lots of happiness boosts. I loved documenting my Year of Gratitude so much, I decided to do another project for 2022, Year of JOY.

Now, I have been taking joyful pictures since the new year started, but I am a bit behind on posting them on Instagram. I will catch up in the coming weeks. I recently read a post, “JOYSPOTTING 101” on Lee’s blog called The Aesthetics of Joy where I downloaded her Joyspotter’s Guide for free. According to Ingrid Fetell Lee, “Joyspotting is a simple practice of tuning your attention to the joy in your surroundings.” Additionally, I joined her 7-day Joy Jumpstart program. It is self-guided, so I can work on it at my own pace which is generally a snail’s pace. Furthermore, I have requested to join Lee’s FaceBook group, The Joyspotters Society. I think this group will add more joy to my year.

In addition to joyspotting, which is physically seeing something you could not see before, I will also be joyfinding. What is the difference? For me, joyspotting is finding joy in the wild. It is unexpected, a joyful surprise. However, the more joy you SPOT, the more noticeable it will become in your life. Whereas joyfinding, in my opinion, is something acquired or that you already own (a physical object); it is already a part of your life (a person, a fur baby, your home), or it is something abstract like love. You basically FIND joy interacting with people, places, or things that already exist in your life or expecting to experience at some point in your day, month, or year. Either way, the goal is to experience more JOY in 2022.

Dear reader, you bring me joy every time you stop by to read my blog posts. I hope your year is off to a spectacular start. It is hard to believe that January is almost over. I finished my time-tracking challenge scheduled for 10 January-16 January but decided to track my time for an additional week which will end tomorrow night. I will share my results with you soon. Also, if anyone is interested, Kelsi and I will be hosting our live discussion on Misery tomorrow 23 January at 2:00 PM CT. Click the link below to set a reminder. In the meantime, I hope you have a joyful weekend. Happiness!

“You have a whole world of joy right at your fingertips. There’s no method you need to learn, no discipline you need to impose on yourself. The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you.” ~ Ingrid Fetell Lee

As you may already know, dear reader, I am a HUGE fan of Stephen King’s extraordinary storytelling. The “Master of Horror” made an indeliable impression on me way back in the 8th grade when my Uncle Robert’s girlfriend at the time gave me her paperback copy of The Stand. Stephen King caught my attention and captured my heart with his character-driven story set in a post-apocalyptic world. Since then, I have read at least 40 of his novels (some of them more than once) and several of his short stories.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that Kelsi and I decided to spend each month of 2022 exploring King’s extensive body of work by reading a novel, a novella, or short stories written by him, then watching the screen adaptation of it afterwards. Subsequently, we will host a monthly livestream on Kelsi’s YouTube channel to discuss our thoughts on both the written work and the movie. Back in October, Kelsi and I had one of these chats where we discussed Cycle of the Werewolf and Silver Bullet. We had a blast!

Our January selection is Misery. I am more than halfway through reading this incredible novel and will be watching the movie later this week. Our livestream for Misery is scheduled for Sunday, 23 January at 2:00 pm CT on Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel.

For those of you who are interested in joining Kelsi and me on our journey through Stephen King’s universe throughout 2022, I have created a list of our selections for the entire year. We will encounter fanatical fans, menacing monsters, ghastly ghosts, the devil, and so much more, making this year frightfully fun.

Year of King Schedule

  • January: Misery
  • February: Gerald’s Game
  • March: “Langoliers” (Four Past Midnight)
  • April: The Dark Half
  • May: Pet Sematary
  • June: “The Mist” (Skeleton Crew) and “1408” (Everything’s Eventual)
  • July: It
  • August: Cujo
  • September: “Lawnmower Man,” “The Mangler,” and “Graveyard Shift” (Night Shift)
  • October: Needful Things
  • November: Dead Zone
  • December: The Shining

Needless to say, dear reader, #13 on my 22 for 2022 list is not going to be difficult to accomplish this year. Let me know if you are a Stephen King fan or may consider joining us on this literary adventure. Happiness!

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” ~ Stephen King

How do you spend your time, dear reader? I know I am not always the best steward when it comes to managing my time. However, I have made strides in the area of time management since reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. While we all have the same 168 hours a week, we spend those hours differently. Keeping a time log of how you spend your 168 hours is a worthwhile endeavor when trying to accomplish goals. January is the perfect month to keep a time log and track exactly how you are spending your 168 hours.

Therefore, I joined Laura Vanderkam’s annual “Time Tracking Challenge” which will start on Monday 10 January. She will send out an email on Sunday with details about the challenge. After I log how I spent my 168 hours for the week, I will analyze my time log to see exactly how much time I have left (after work, sleep, and family commitments have been deducted) to work on my aims for 2022. I actually enjoy tracking my time and will track it periodically throughout the year, especially when I feel overwhelmed or feel like I am not making any progress with my goals for the year.

In addition to tracking my time next week, I am also participating in Gretchen Rubin’s free New Year’s Resolution Challenge which she announced on her podcast this week. The challenge starts on Sunday, 09 January, and for 7 days, Gretchen will text you 7 tips “for making (and keeping) effective resolutions.” I have done SMS challenges with Gretchen before, and I enjoy them.

I am off to a great start with accomplishing the items on my 22 for 2022 list. Time-tracking is the first item on my list. My time log will help me accomplish the second item on my list, which is to tweak my morning routine. I am excited about the upcoming week and embracing CHANGE. Happiness!

“It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.” ~ Marcia Wieder

Note: Photo at the top is by Giallo on Pexels.com.

Change: 22 for 2022

Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of a new year with endless opportunities waiting for us to experience, explore, and embrace. I am excited about 2022 for many reasons which will emerge as this year unfolds.

CHANGE is my word for 2022. I have been craving change for my life for quite some time, and Hurricane Ida has inspired me to engage change. Today, I am enthusiastically embarking on a journey to change several areas of my life.

In addition, I created a 22 for 2022 list with my aims for the new year. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over six items from last year that I did not complete but feel they will encourage me to make changes this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2022.

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

Other Plans for 2022:

  1. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Rest22in22. Basically, you rest for 22 minutes every day in 2022. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Research shows that rest is an essential element of working well and working smart. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking time to rest can refresh the mind, boost productivity and focus, and replenish mental energy.” Rest will look different to me from day to day depending on my schedule for the day; however, rest could be taking a nap, meditating, reading, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting on my front porch, or talking with a friend.
  2. On Goodreads, I joined the 2022 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
  3. I will continue reading daily (#Read21for21) for at least 21 minutes per day, so no day goes by without having read something for pure enjoyment. Instead of reading nonfiction books during this allotted time, I have chosen to read children’s literature. This will allow me to track the number of books I read during that time frame and read the piles of unread books I currently own in that category.
  4. I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
  5. I will continue doing Collabs with Kelsi. Our collabs can be viewed on her YouTube channel, Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. Consider subscribing to Kelsi’s channel in 2022.
  6. I will continue my walking streak and walk daily for at least 20 minutes (#Walk20in20).
  7. I will participate in Frugal February again. This is a NO spend month.
  8. I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2022. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too. 
  9. In 2021, I did an Instagram project called #yearofgratitude2021 which I plan to scrapbook. I posted a picture every day of someone or something I am grateful for in my life. This year, my Instagram will focus on JOY and is called #yearofjoy2022. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).

As you can see, dear reader, I have quite a bit planned for this year. What do you have planned in 2022? Have you made some resolutions or a 22 for 2022 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“If you are going to reach your goals and create the life you desire, you will have to make new choices that will lead you to new actions.” ~ Debbie Ford

Note: I do not own the image in this post, nor do I claim to own this image. 

Reading Roundup 2021

Congrats to me, dear reader! I surpassed my 2021 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. My goal for this year was 50 books, and I read a total of 52 books. I think my reading success this year is attributed to developing a daily reading habit, creating a book club, participating in a Halloween readathon, and adding books to my thematic fun lists.

I participated in Gretchen Rubin’s #Read21for21 challenge, and I am amazed by how many books I read this year just by reading for 21 minutes every day. Establishing a daily reading habit and sticking to it has been an eye-opening experience. According to Gretchen Rubin, “If you read for 21 minutes per day for 365 days, that’s 7,665 minutes, or almost 128 hours of reading. You can read a lot of books in 128 hours!” And, she was correct. I read a total of 24 books. With the exception of The Money Tree, a fictional story implementing the steps to running a successful business, the books chosen for this challenge were nonfiction selections. They fell into the following categories:

autobiographies/biographies

  • The House of Kennedy by James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen
  • I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart with Neil Strauss
  • Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

self-help

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Money Tree by Chris Guillebeau (business parable)
  • High Performance Habit by Brendon Burchard
  • Joy at Work by Marie Kondoand Scott Sonenshein
  • Fish by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D, Harry Paul, and John Christensen
  • How to Be Everything by Emilie Wapnick
  • The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
  • Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher
  • Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

improv

  • Improv Wins by Chris Trew and Tami Nelson
  • Improv Nation by Sam Wasson
  • How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth by Will Hines

inspirational/spiritual

  • Rewriting A New History by Havilah Malone
  • Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly
  • Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson
  • The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
  • Rediscover the Saints by Matthew Kelly
  • Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly

writing/literary criticism

  • You Are a Writer (so start Acting like one) by Jeff Goins
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

I enjoyed the majority of these books and found some value in all of them. Reading the books on my list taught me some interesting facts, provided me with new strategies and resources, inspired me to take action in different areas of my life, and exposed me to new ideas and ways of looking at the world.

In addition to my daily reading challenge this year, I co-created the online Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club with my friend Kelsi. We scheduled a meet-and-greet with members in April where we voted for our first book club pick. In May, we met for our very first book club meeting to discuss our first selection, Later by Stephen King. No thanks to Hurricane Ida, I did not finish A Deadly Education. I am half way through it and plan to finish it (more like reread it) some time in 2022. And, as you can see from our list of reads this year, we opted out of reading a club selection in December since the holidays can get pretty hectic for everyone.

  • Video Night by Adam Cesare (June)
  • Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz (July)
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (August)
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (September)
  • The Halloween Tree by Raymond Bradbury (October)
  • The Reckoning by Ruby Jean Jensen (November)

We chose some terrific books this year. I enjoyed all of the ones I read; however, my favorites were Later, Mexican Gothic, and The Halloween Tree.

Reading is one of my absolute favorite activities, and I am grateful to have such a wonderfully rich reading life. I am looking forward to continuing my daily reading habit of 21 minutes per day; however, instead of using that time to read nonfiction selections, I will be reading children’s literature. This will allow me to read quite a few books I already have stacked up in piles waiting to be cracked open to take me on new adventures. I will also participate in the Goodreads challenge. For those of you who like to read, please follow me on Goodreads @ Katherine Loyacano. I would love to see what you are reading. The Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club will resume in January. Our January selection is Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar. It is our first nonfiction book club choice.

And, last but not least, Kelsi and I will be engaging in the Year of King in 2022. We are SUPER excited about this literary adventure. A couple of years ago, I did a Summer of Poe and spent the entire summer reading as many short stories, poems, and one novel written by Edgar Allan Poe. It was a wonderful experience. So, why not spend a year reading my favorite author? Kelsi and I have decided that we will devote each month to reading either a novel, a novella, or short stories written by Stephen King. In addition, we will watch the movie or television adaptations of the literary work chosen for the month. Towards the end of each month, we will do a livestream together discussing both the book and its screen adaptation. To kick of the new year, we have chosen Misery for January. We would love it if you would join us, dear reader. What’s more enjoyable than reading a book? Talking about it with others. Happiness!

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” ~ Garrison Keillor

Kelsi and I have neatly wrapped up watching the Christmas horror movies on our Christmas Fun Lists this year. When creating our lists, we lamented that we watched all the best Christmas horror movies in 2020. She fared far better than me this holiday season because I chose quite a few duds and barely eeked out a Top 5 list.

The Mothman Prophecies, which was a rewatch for me, topped my list. If you are a fan of The X-Files, urban legends, or Richard Gere, you may enjoy this slow burn movie, dear reader. A reporter’s personal tragedy leads him to the discovery of a mysterious entity in a small West Virginia town. Second runner-up is The Lodge, another slow burn that is dark and disconcerting. It is a psychological horror film about siblings marred by a sudden tragedy that leads to disturbing consequences.

The third movie on my list is a Christmas comedy-horror film that took me by surprise. Mercy Christmas is a “when something seems too good to be true, it is” kind of story with an unexpected twist and social commentary. The protagonist, Michael Briskett, is a likeable but lonely guy, who is spending yet another Christmas alone when a beautiful co-worker invites him for Christmas dinner at her family’s home. Horror ensues shortly after he arrives and serves the perfect blend of bloodshed, brutality, and black comedy.

P2 took fourth place. This horror thriller fairs well as a one-and-done film for me. It is a predictable story about a workaholic who quickly learns that working late on Christmas Eve can be deadly. Finally, Dead End snags the fifth place spot on my list. This is another slow burn horror film about a dysfunctional family going through an existential crisis after taking a wrong turn on their way to a family member’s home to celebrate Christmas.

Except for Christmas Evil, the other films on my list are not really worth mentioning; however, of the remaining movies on my list, Black Christmas (2006) and Slay Belles both earned 2 1/2 stars. While they are not the greatest Christmas horror films out there, they may warrant a watch from horror fans, but do not expect much. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I would steer clear of Krampus: The Christmas Devil, The Traveler, Mrs. Claus, and All Through the House.

Kelsi and I had a chat on December 12th about the films we had in common this season, which included The Mothman Prophecies, Mercy Christmas, Slay Belles, and Mrs. Claus. It was a terrific talk.

Last but not least, Kelsi and I wrapped up our ongoing debate of Christmas Evil. I reluctantly agreed to rewatch this film and participate in the Christmas Evil Challenge. Bantering back and forth with Kelsi about this ridiculous film, which is one of her all-time favorites, was a great deal of fun. Surprisingly, I did discover some new insights about the film and even bumped it up another 1/2 star for a total rating of 2 1/2 stars. Kelsi and I had a lively livestream on December 23rd where we revealed the winner of the Christmas Evil Challenge.

I may have completed watching all of the Christmas horror movies on my list; however, I still have plenty of traditional Christmas movies to watch and a sufficient amount of holiday reading left. The Christmas season has been enjoyable, and I am loving my time off. I hope your Christmas was merry and full of good cheer, dear reader. Happiness!

“To hear a voice is one thing. But this isn’t just a message, it’s a prediction. It came true.” ~ John Klein (Richard Gere), The Mothman Prophecies

My TA-DA List for 2021

Many of you know I am a superfan of Gretchen Rubin and her work on happiness and good habits. On her podcast back in September of 2017, she talked about writing a “TA-DA list” if you are feeling dragged down by your to-do list. This year, I decided to keep a TA-DA List of activities I participated in or endeavors I accomplished throughout 2021, so I would not beat myself up too much for not completing everything on my 21 for 2021 list which I reviewed yesterday on my blog.

TA-DA 2021

  • Instagram (Year of Gratitude Project)
  • Collabs with Kelsi (Movie Musicals, Holiday Horror, Zombie Awareness Month, Slashers, Fear Street Trilogy, Halloween, Christmas…check out her fantastic channel for horrorific content)
  • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
  • Became Mr. Mike’s Godmother at the Easter Vigil (attended weekly RCIA classes with him; huge honor)
  • Travel (visited Helen in Colorado in April; visited my Aunt Carolyn and cousins in Utah in July)
  • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
  • Weekly lunches with friends and family (part of summer fun list)
  • Created the Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club with Kelsi (meet and greet was in April; monthly Zoom meetings)
  • Zombie Awareness Month
  • Completed Level 3 Improv Class (in-person in June)
  • Improv Showcase with The Improvables (June)
  • Friday the 13th Date Night with the Hubster (August)
  • Survived Hurricane Ida (still dealing with the aftermath; currently in recovery mode)
  • Survived Tendonitis in my right wrist (finally had to get the shot)
  • Welcomed Ice Cream Bar to the Family
  • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (October)
  • Vlogs (Hurricane Ida, First Day of Fall, Halloween Decor Shopping/Thematic Fun Day with Kelsi)
  • Halloween ReadaThon
  • Mrs. Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill, at the Columbia Theatre (October/November)
  • Successfully throwing Mrs. Billie a surprise 90th birthday party
  • Halloween Fun List
  • Christmas Fun List
  • Christmas Evil Challenge

As you can see, dear reader, I kept busy in 2021 even though I did not cross off every item on my 21 for 2021 list. I am absolutely grateful for all of my experiences this year. Every single one of them carried a blessing into my life, making it richer and creating wonderful memories. Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure. Happiness!

Ta-da list: I was surprised to learn that many people get very fired up by making a ta-da list. By reminding themselves of everything they’ve already accomplished, they find the drive to continue.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

Review 21 for 2021

Today is the first day of my much-needed winter break. What a perfect day to reflect on my 21 for 2021 list! I chose FOCUS as my word for 2021, and for most of the year, I did a pretty good job. I completed nine items on my list and sort of completed two others.

  • Manage time. YES (accomplished this item by periodically tracking my time and then scheduling my time weekly)
  • Maintain a regular fitness regimen. YES (accomplished this item by walking at least 20 minutes daily)
  • Create weekly meal plans. SORT OF (only during the nine-week Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Eat more vegetables. YES (proud of this accomplishment; tried new recipes; will continue)
  • Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean). YES (accomplished with Fast Burn; same author; continued intermittent fasting since the Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Declutter and organize each room in my house. NO (too ambitious; need to be more concrete)
  • Write a will. NO (procrastinating and don’t have any clue why)
  • Try one NO spend month. (accomplished this – Frugal February; beneficial; will do this again in 2022)
  • Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. NO
  • Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin). NO
  • Read Atomic Habits by James Clear. YES (accomplished this item; beneficial; recommend to anyone who wants to develop good habits)
  • Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. NO
  • Create a vision board. NO (procrastinating)
  • Take a WordPress Blogging course. YES (still working on this course; like the P2 community; made a friend across the pond, fellow blogger Rita; beneficial; renewed for 2022)
  • Take a WordPress Podcasting course. NO (did not make the time; renewed for 2022)
  • Purchase podcasting equipment. NO
  • Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins). NO
  • Try 12 new restaurants (one per month). YES (not one per month, none in February, September, or December; 18 new restaurants for the entire year; 4-Colorado and 4-Utah)
  • Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow. NO (disappointed that I did not accomplish this item; will attempt in 2022, especially since I will be doing another Instagram project)
  • Scrapbook at least two times per month. SORT OF (January, February, March, June; needs to be a priority for 2022)
  • Learn how to use my Cricut Maker. YES (thanks to Shelly; took online workshop; beneficial)

Additionally, I participated in two reading challenges which I am still participating in until the end of December. I joined Gretchen Rubin, her sister Liz, and the rest of the Happier community in the #Read21in21 challenge where I read daily for 21 minutes. I read only nonfiction books for this challenge. I joined the Goodreads Challenge again and set my goal to read 50 books in 2021. The nonfiction books read for #Read21in21 will be included in that total number of books. In addition, I kept a TA-DA list for 2021. I will be sharing more information on all three of these activities in the coming days.

Overall, I think I did pretty well with my 21 for 2021. I knew when I made my list last December that it was a bit ambitious, especially wth all the courses. However, once COVID restrictions relaxed with vaccination numbers increasing, I was not much of a homebody like I was in 2020. In addition, the impact of Hurricane Ida on my home and in my community affected some of my plans. I am still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that our home will be back in order soon (praying for January), and Andrew will be back in his bedroom before the start of the spring semester at SLU. We FINALLY got a new roof last Friday, and sheetrock installation in Andrew’s room happened on Saturday.

I am currently working on my 22 for 2022 list and will reveal it and my new word for the year in January 2022. In the meantime, dear reader, for the rest of today, I will read, go for a walk, watch television, basically enjoy the first day of my winter break. Happiness!

“Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it, but your arrow may fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.” ~ J. Howes

Ho, Ho, Ho! It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my neck of the woods which means it is time to reveal my Christmas Fun List. I recently purchased some new Christmas socks with gnomes on them from Cracker Barrel in Hammond. I will be wearing Christmas socks and pins to work again to show my Christmas spirit. And, talking about spirits, the Christmas season would not be complete without mixing a Christmas cocktail. I have my eye on the Sugar Cookie Martini. I will try my hand at making a Christmas dish or baking a Christmas treat. I subscribe to a bunch of magazines that feature holiday-related recipes this time of year, so I am sure I can find one that is not too complicated. Additionally, my hubby and I will be attending a play with friends, Shelly and Kerry, on Saturday evening. Our friend Karen is performing in the musical, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, at Slidell Little Theatre. It is based on the wonderful children’s novel by Barbara Robinson about the havoc six misfit children cause when they decide to perform in their town’s annual Christmas play. We also plan to have dinner and cocktails prior to the performance.

Reading is definitely on my Christmas Fun List again this year. As of this moment, I have four books on my list that I will be reading along with Kelsi throughout December. Kelsi Kringle is gifting me a copy of Silent Night by R.L. Stine which will be my first Fear Street read. It is about a spoiled brat that gets her comeuppance when she acts naughty during Christmastime. Another book on my list includes Robot Santa by Dean Koontz. It is the follow-up to Santa’s Twin that Kelsi and I read last season. Bob is up to his old tricks again, causing Santa to have another stressful Christmas Eve.

I read the terryifying NOS4A2 written by Joe Hill last December; therefore, it should be no surprise that the graphic novel, Wraith also by Joe Hill, has made it onto my TBR list for this month. It reveals the “twisted beginnings” of Charlie Manx, the monstrous antagonist who feeds off the souls of children after luring them into his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith that takes them to Christmasland.

Happy Krampusnacht! Today is the celebration of Krampus, the dark and hairy, horned beast who wanders the streets on the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, scaring children who misbehave. I will be reading another collection of short stories edited by Kate Wolford that centers around the Christmas demon. The anthology includes twelve tales and is titled, He Sees You When He’s Creepin’: Tales of Krampus. Kelsi has already finished it and tells me it is FUN.

12 Days of Christmas Horror

While I am on the subject of Krampus, I have included a film about the horrifying creature on my 12 Days of Christmas Horror. Movies are a HUGE part of my Christmas Fun List. I will watch all 12 of my horror movies for the first half of December. Kelsi and I have five Christmas horror movies in common that we will be chatting about on Sunday, 12 December. I watched my first movie (Mercy Christmas) last night, and it was a terrific way to start off my holly, jolly horror movie marathon.

12 Days of Classic Christmas

For the second half of December, I will be watching Classic Christmas movies leading up to Christmas Day. Not everything about Christmas has to be horror-related. Elf and Love Actually are two of my favorite Christmas movies, and I must watch them at least once during the holiday season. Kelsi and I only have one film (It’s A Wonderful Life) in common for this half of the Christmas movie marathon.

Last but not least, Kelsi and I are having a Christmas Evil Challenge that kicked off on December 1st and will last until December 22nd. She and I have been debating the merits of the film, Christmas Evil, since we both watched it for our movie marathon in December 2020. She ADORES it! I DESPISE it! Therefore, we thought it would be fun to reach out to our friends, family, and online communities to settle this debate once and for all. Additionally, there is a giveaway and an Instagram activity connected to the challenge.

Kelsi put together a video explaining the challenge, the rules of the giveway, and how to show your team spirit on Instagram. If you participate on Instagram. please include the hashtag #ChristmasEvilChallenge along with your picture. Team Kat wears green and is a NO for Christmas Evil. Team Kelsi wears red and is a YES for Christmas Evil. And, for those of you who are on the fence about the film, wear white to show that you really don’t know how you feel about it. A livestream is scheduled on Thursday, 23 December at 6:00pm CT where the winner of the challenge will be revealed. We hope you consider joining the challenge and our livestream. It should be a great deal of fun.

Of course, like all of my fun lists, I am open to adding activities if something fun pops up throughout the month. I am open to reading more Christmas-related books, short stories, or articles if time permits. What activities do you have planned for the Christmas season, dear reader? Share in the comments or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Maybe something you plan to do will strike my fancy, and I can add it to my list this year or maybe the next. In the meantime, ’tis the season to be jolly. Happiness!

“Christmas,” said Santa, “is about living your life with love and a spirit of giving, friendship, compassion, peace, and bright hope.” ~ Dean Koontz, Robot Santa

It is the last day of November, dear reader, and I am finally wrapping up the spooky season which was a HUGE success. The only activity I was unable to do on my Halloween Fun List was the New Orleans Zombie Run which was an extra activity that I thought would be fun to do if my schedule permitted. However, I just could not fit it into my schedule once I accepted the role of Eleanor Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill.

Kelsi and I participated in our first Halloween ReadaThon which was successful. Even though I had to rearrange my original TBR list, I still completed all of the prompts and read some fabulous books and short stories. In fact, I read one more book this season than last season. As for short stories, I read three this time around which was two less than last season.

Horror movies were also on my list, and I was able to watch 20 movies this season which is amazing. I only watched 13 movies last year. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch Near Dark or Trick ‘r Treat because they were both unavailable; however, I replaced them with The Halloween Tree and Dark Was the Night.

I accessorized my work wardrobe with Halloween/Fall earrings, pins, and socks. My hubby bought me a Halloween t-shirt which I wore on Halloween Night for when I handed candy out to trick-or-treaters. Ironically, it has the face of a creepy clown on it, and clowns freak me out. I added some Halloween decorations in the reading area of my bedroom, but unfortunately, never added any to my fall decorations on my front porch. Kelsi and I hung out together the first weekend of October and vlogged about our wonderful day having lunch, shopping for Halloween decor, and more. It was definitely one of the highlights of the spooky season. Two activities that I left off my list was sending out Halloween cards to a few of my friends and posting a daily Halloween-related Snoopy picture on my FB story. I even received a Halloween card from Kelsi. Happiness Boost!

I tried a new spooky adult beverage called the Drunk Witch Cocktail. It consisted of Vodka, Grenadine, and Blue Curacao topped with Sprite. I enjoyed it, but it was strong, so drinking one was quite sufficient. I also drank fall flavored coffee throughout the month. And, I baked an Autumn Pumpkin Cake from a recipe featured on the blog, It’s a Charming Life (itsacharminglife.com.). It was simple to make and tasted delicious.

Kelsi and I had several wonderful chats about all the enjoyable activities we did during the spooky season. Our final one was a Halloween 2021 Wrap Up Chat where we discussed our thematic activities, including The House on Haunted Hill. What an exciting opportunity! I had the best time performing in the play and will eventually share my incredible experience with you.

That’s a wrap, dear reader. As Kelsi mentioned in her description of our chat, “we put a bow on the 2021 Halloween season.” Kelsi and I could not have asked for a better spooky season, especially following the turmoil of Hurricane Ida. Planned activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday boosts happiness, creates fond memories, and enriches one’s life, especially if you share those activities with a friend, a family member, or your significant other. Do you plan activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday? If so, please share in the comments. In the meantime, I need to finish my Christmas Fun List. Happiness!

My Halloween decorations I bought while shopping with Kelsi along with the Halloween card I received from Kelsi.

“Make a commitment to having fun. See your best friends and make time for your hobbies and passions.” ~ Robert Holden

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