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Archive for December, 2020

Merry Christmas Horror! I successfully completed my 12 Days of Christmas Horror movie marathon a couple of days before Christmas. What a thrilling experience! This movie marathon was part of my Christmas fun list for the month of December.

Out of the twelve horror movies I watched this month, three of them revolve around Krampus, the half-goat/half-demon who is believed to have emerged from German folklore. His role is basically to punish the naughty children. The first time I had heard of Krampus was back in 2015 when the film Krampus, starring Toni Collette and Adam Scott, hit the movie theaters. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it in the theater and essentially tucked it away in the back of my mind until this year. Out of all the Christmas horror movies that I watched for my marathon, this was my absolute favorite. The movies are ranked in the order of how much I liked them and the stars represent my rating.

My top six movies all received 5 STARS from me with my first three favorite films featuring Krampus. Out of my top six movies, five were new watches with one being a superb rewatch (Gremlins) that I had not seen in decades. Better Watch Out is a rollercoaster of a ride with many twists and turns and an ending that keeps you wondering long after the ending credits. Anna and the Apocalypse was a pleasant musical zombie surprise. Think High School Musical meets Shaun of the Dead. I would highly recommend all six movies to anyone who is a fan of horror or dark comedy.

Out of the remaining six movies on my list, five were new watches with one being a rewatch (Scrooged) that I had not seen in decades. The Children and Black Christmas were both wonderful surprises. They were disturbing in their own right and left you, the viewer, to decide the ending. Scrooged was surprisingly a bit of a disappointment because I recalled liking it much more when I first watched it. Wind Chill was slightly dull, Christmas Evil was moderately creepy and somewhat over the top, and Saint was simply awful.

I would highly recommend The Children and Black Christmas (1974 version). Even though I was a little disappointed with Scrooged, I would definitely recommend it. It is more of a dark comedy/fantasy than a horror movie; however, it features the delightful Bill Murray in the role of Scrooge and the hilarious Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present. As for Wind Chill, I would bypass it unless you are a fan of Emily Blunt and want to see her earlier work. I half-heartedly recommend Christmas Evil (Kelsi would disagree), and I definitely do NOT recommend Saint. Shockingly, the last two movies were recommended on Christmas Horror movie lists and rated well on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Not only did I get to watch horror movies related to the Christmas season, but I also had the opportunity to talk about them with my good friend Kelsi. We had an entertaining conversation about our likes and dislikes, surprises, my introduction to Krampus, and much more. While we generally have similar tastes regarding the horror genre and agreed for the most part on many of the films we mutually watched, there were a couple of films that we did not see eye to eye. I invite you to watch our conversation to learn more about the horror movies we watched this season. And, if you have any suggestions for future Christmas horror movies that we should watch next year, please share in the comments of our chat or this blog post.

Finally, I teased in my “12 Days of Christmas Horror” post back in November that I was working on a piece of writing to complement my Christmas Horror movie marathon. Well, I wrote a song called “The Twelve Days of Christmas Horror” using the music from “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It features many of the elements in the horror movies that I chose to watch this month. On a whim, I contacted my voice coach Laura to see if it was even possible for me to sing it, much less record it. We only had three sessions together to practice and record it in the midst of work, commitments, and Christmas hullabaloo. Laura graciously edited it for me, so I could include it in today’s post. While it’s not perfect, I am pretty proud of it. And, I can always tweak it. After all, I am a work in progress.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Horror

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, dear reader. As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed my 12 Days of Christmas Horror. The rest of my holiday festivities for the month of December have been less creepy and more classically Christmas. I am wrapping up my Classic Christmas movie marathon and reading my last Christmas related book which is all about Krampus. Soon, Kelsi and I will have a conversation discussing all of the other items we completed on our Christmas fun lists, and I will post a recap after the first of the year. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Happiness!

“Moments later, from the orphanage roof, a creature made of Christmas nightmares and holding a bulging sack that looked to hold doll-shaped toys made its escape through the silhouette of the city, not to be seen for another year.”Sebastian Gregory

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2019 was a terrific year for me. I had made significant strides in different areas of my life (health, home, acting). Along with so many people, I was excited about 2020. I felt like it was going to be my year to make a breakthrough as an actor. I started improv classes in January. I knew from the very first class that improv was going to be an important piece of the puzzle concerning my acting career. In February, I completed a series of private sessions with my acting coach, Lance Nichols, and we had outlined acting goals for the remainder of the year. And, then COVID-19 derailed everything in early March. 

Since 2018, I have made a list of tangible goals to accomplish throughout the year with that year setting the number of items on the list. I got this fun idea three years ago from Gretchen Rubin, who is the author of The Happiness Project. In 2018, I completed 14 of the items on my 18 for 2018 list. In 2019, I completed 11 of the items on my 19 for 2019 list. In 2020, I have only completed 5 of the items on my 20 for 2020 list. For me, like for many people all over the world, the pandemic affected the accomplishment of several items on my list this year.

Therefore, let’s start with my 5 accomplishments. I took my first improv class (#7) back in January. Since we can’t meet in person for classes, my improv teacher, David Hamilton, graciously offers bimonthly virtual hangouts to his students to keep our improv muscles in shape. What an awesome gift! I read So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer (#3). Reading this book has taken my desire to create a podcast to the next level. I finally bought new bras (#12). I found a new eye doctor and scheduled an appointment for January 2021 (#14). Lastly, I spent the summer with Poe (#16) by reading a great deal of Edgar Allan Poe’s work.

There are 3 items on my list that I almost completed, but couldn’t quite finish. Is there a possibility I can complete them by the end of 2020? Anything is possible, but it seems highly unlikely with other activities that I have planned between now and the end of the year.

  • #8 Organize the home office. (moved in, not completely organized)
  • #18 Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. (several layouts lack journaling)
  • #19 Organize my master bedroom closet. (two attempts made, with so much more to do)

There are 4 items on my list that were impacted directly by the pandemic, so I was unable to complete them the way I would normally.

  • #6 Get professional headshots.
  • #11 Try 20 new restaurants. (only tried 8 due to restrictions; 2 of the 8, curbside pickup)
  • #15 Host a Bunco party.
  • #20 Run a 5K. 

There are 7 items on my list that I made NO attempt to complete. Lack of motivation and poor time management are the culprits for not accomplishing these items. I definitely had the time to complete them.

  • #1 Create a vision board.
  • #2 Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  • #4 Try intermittent fasting. (Clean & Lean)
  • #9 Organize the kitchen pantry.
  • #10 Learn ways of living sustainably to be more eco-friendly.
  • #13 Write a will.
  • #17 Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Workflow

Last but not least, there is 1 item on my list that I failed to complete in the most miserable way. And, there are NO excuses. I did not lose 20 pounds (#5) this year. In fact, I gained weight and added two more pounds to my blubber. As of today, I am 161 pounds which makes me about 40 pounds overweight. I won’t sugarcoat the situation, even though sugar plays a big part. As I have written in previous posts this year, I have the knowledge. Apparently, I lack the desire to make health and wellness a priority as demonstrated by a weight gain instead of a weight loss. 

Indeed, dear reader, I am not humming Beck’s “Loser.” There is no need to beat myself up or get down on myself. Am I disappointed? Sure, only because I had expectations. Keep in mind, I may not have accomplished most of the items on my 20 for 2020 list, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish other things this year. Life certainly can be unpredictable, as illustrated by this year, and uncertainty can wholeheartedly make us anxious, frustrated, and unhappy. However, unpredictability can also be adventurous, interesting, and exciting. Maybe that is one reason why I’m drawn to the art of improv. Therefore, I choose the latter attitude towards unpredictability. For me, making this type of list is a more enjoyable approach to achieving goals than traditional New Year’s resolutions. It will definitely not thwart my intentions of making a 21 for 2021 list. In fact, I’m looking forward to making a list for next year. I already have ideas swirling around in my head as well as my one-word theme for 2021. Happiness!

“The unpredictability of the future means absolutely nothing to the dreams of an ambitious positive mind.” ~ Edmond Mbiaka

 

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I strive for positive living and look for the silver lining in the most precarious situations. It doesn’t take much to fill my happiness bucket. As a result, the littlest of things tend to give me a happiness boost and bring a measure of joy to my life that I embrace with delight.

I am a fan of the podcast, Happier in Hollywood, which is hosted by television writers, Liz Craft and Sarah Fain. They had rainbow silipint cups made for the show, and I wanted one. So, I ordered one when they first came out which was when the pandemic started, so I had to wait a very long time to get one. My patience finally paid off, and I received one in the mail about two months ago. I get a happiness boost every time I use it while working in my scrapbook room.

I absolutely adore pineapple. Until just recently, I ate pineapple out of a can. It seemed complicated to cut a fresh pineapple with a knife. My friend Shelly had a Pampered Chef party a few months ago, and I decided to buy a pineapple slicer. I already have a slicer that cuts apples and pears perfectly, so I thought this gadget might work just as well. And, thankfully it does…for my hubby.

Receiving a selfie of two of my favorite people on the planet in the middle of a work day provides a ginormous happiness boost. My friend Karen works as a florist at Rouse’s, and our friend Jeff popped in on her at work last week. This picture makes me smile BIG.

I’m a huge fan of children’s literature and cherish picture books. Jan Brett is one of my favorite children’s authors and illustrators. I picked up this gem at my school’s recent Scholastic Book Fair. This delightful tale has been added to my Christmas Fun List for 2020.

Stephen King is my absolute FAVORITE author. I’ve loved his work since I was introduced to him in the 8th grade and read The Stand. I now have three of his POP figures. The first one is Stephen King with his dog Molly aka The Thing of Evil. The middle one is Stephen King as the shopkeeper in It. And, the third one is Stephen King holding a red balloon (reference to Pennywise the Clown in It).

On Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings, I get a gigantic happiness boost from watching my friend Kelsi’s live stream on Twitch. She talks about so many terrific topics that I find both interesting and entertaining. Kelsi and I will be conversing soon about Christmas horror movies.

Today, I added a touch of whimsy to my Christmas shopping adventure at The Home Depot. I’m Kat the Elf, spreading a little Christmas cheer at this joyous time of year. As my friend Kelsi would say, “this is ridiculous,” and I would have to agree. However, adding a little whimsy to your day can be a tremendous happiness boost. This would actually make a good picture on a Christmas card. HA! I tried to convince my hubby to take a picture as the Grinch with Max the dog, but he would not hear of it.

These are just a few objects or activities, dear reader, that add some happiness to my day. I can honestly say that every day there is something or someone that boosts my happiness. The gestures or items may be small, but they are blessings, and their effects are huge. What are some things, activities, or people that give you happiness boosts? Happiness!

Comet aka Tooty gives me a happiness boost every single day.

“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” ~ Humphry Davy

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December is in full swing, and I’m in the midst of writing Christmas cards to send out to family and friends. My hubby and I have started buying the handful of Christmas gifts for the holiday season. And today, I will start reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This Christmas season I opted to create a Christmas Fun List to help get me into the spirit of the holiday.

I’m a bit behind on my 12 Days of Christmas Horror Marathon which is one of the items on my Christmas fun list. Every day this past week, I had some kind of commitment after work which did not allow time to watch movies. At the moment, I have only watched two Christmas horror movies, Krampus and A Christmas Horror Story, and they were both delightful. This upcoming week will afford me more time, so I can catch up. My goal is to complete my Christmas Horror Marathon first and then start watching traditional Christmas movies. Also, Kelsi and I have discussed having two Zoom conversations, one on Christmas horror movies and one on our Christmas fun lists which will include traditional Christmas movies as well as our other holiday activities. 

Yesterday, my hubby and I drove to the South Shore and visited by parents to celebrate their birthdays. My Daddy’s birthday was the day after Thanksgiving, and my Momma’s birthday is today. They wanted to eat at Zea Rotisserie and Bar where we all enjoyed a scrumptious meal. Afterwards, we headed over to PJ’s Coffee and enjoyed coffee and dessert.

Of course, what I look forward to the most this month is my two-week holiday break which starts on 18 December. It will be a time of reflection on the past year and preparation for the upcoming year. I love new beginnings, dear reader. Although the pandemic will not be over and a new president will take office in the United States, I remain hopeful that 2021 can be better with a change in perspective. I’ve already started tossing around ideas for my theme for the new year and items for my 21 for 2021 list. Happiness!

“The Christmas spirit is simply an honest spirit of love for all humanity. It is the force that moves us to give what we can, to help as we are able, and to always be of kind comfort.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons

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