2018 Christmas Gifts

Gifts I Got for Christmas 2018

As you might recall, I shared what I got for Christmas this time last year and I really enjoyed creating the post!  So, I decided to share my Christmas gifts this year, too.

Like I said a year ago, I do this to share my gratitude for the wonderful people who gave me these. Hopefully, it will inspire a few gifts for you to get for loved ones, too. Spread the love!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Clothes & Accessories

Pajamas

If you read my Blogmas post about Christmas traditions, you’ll know about our annual Christmas Eve jammies! This year’s featured some adorable llamas–matching for me, Rachel, and Mom! Mom got the sleep shirt while Rachel and I got the top/pants set in the same design.

llama pajamas

Fuzzy socks

Something you should know about me if you don’t already: I’m nearly always cold!  The past few months, cold feet have been a particular annoyance (don’t tell my future husband!). So, I’ve been wearing fuzzy socks as much as possible.  These were a great trio to add to my collection!

Llama keychain

If you haven’t caught on yet: Hi, I’m Jules. I adore llamas (also, alpacas). That being said, this little fuzzball (in my favourite colour) was a perfect gift!

llama keychain

Necklace

While my mom doesn’t actively sell Paparazzi jewellery any longer, she still purchases some from time to time.  When she gave me this necklace, she prefaced it with “I thought of you when I saw this because it seems very Victorian.” She isn’t wrong and I love it! The green stones are the perfect touch.

victorian-style necklace

Beauty

Wet n Wild

Having gotten much more into makeup this year (thanks, RachhLoves, I entirely blame you for my obsession–in the best way possible!), one of the top items on my Christmas list this year was this holiday zodiac-themed set from Wet n Wild. I’m a Scorpio (and a very stereotypical Scorpio more often than not!) and I knew the gorgeous blue-toned shades in the Water set would go beautifully with my eyes. I’d already fallen in love with the lip shades, so this was a must-have!

Mom was wonderful enough to find me the set!  And, soon enough, our local Walmart had the whole series (all four elements) on sale. I picked up the others to use as some goal incentives for 2019–I can’t have them until I’ve paid off a certain amount of my credit cards!–and as a gift for my sister who, despite being a fellow Scorpio, was mildly obsessed with the Fire set.

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen that I’m on a bit of a search regarding that Fire set. Ours came with a smashed compact mirror which, the bad juju notwithstanding, was so disappointing to my sister.  I contacted Walmart and Wet n Wild, who each told me to contact the other, so no luck there.  So, if you or someone you know has the Fire set and would be willing to part with the compact to make a sad teenager’s day, I’d be eternally grateful!

I also got a few other makeup goodies from my mom and my grandparents! I’m especially excited to test out the blush–I had some bad experiences with blush years ago (the colours I had were all wrong for me and looked horrid!), so I haven’t tested it out in years. I’m excited to play with it once again!

wetnwild water

Haircare tools

Another thoughtful gift from my grandparents was this stunning champagne/rose gold set of brushes and other haircare tools. The colour is absolutely perfect and I was desperately in need of a new brush!

haircare & makeup gifts

Electronics

Headphones

I work in transcription when I’m not blogging or writing, and all those hours with $10 Walmart headphones pressed to my ears weren’t doing me any favours, neither for my consistent migraines or my ability to work in anything but absolute silence.  Mom found an amazing deal on some Beats headphones* and it has made such a difference!

beats headphones

Webcam

You might remember me mentioning several times that I’ve been preparing a Youtube channel for For the Sake of Good Taste. It’s definitely been pushed to the backburner over time, but it’s definitely something I hope to incorporate at least a bit in 2019 (perhaps videos once a month or so?).  With that in mind, Mom picked up this webcam* that I’d had on my wishlist and actually forgotten about!

This is going to get its first use with an interview I’m doing soon on the poetry side of my life (learn more about my writing at my writing site, if you’re interested!).  From there, I’m hoping to get a space together to start vlogging! I’d love any tips you’d like to share so feel free to reach out in the comments or on social media if you’ve got any experience or tips for new vloggers!

HP Sprocket*

This was definitely the most surprising of my gifts! I’m in quite a few bullet journalling groups on Facebook and the HP sprocket (and similar products) are constantly appearing as favourite items. I’ve always thought they were neat, but I never in a million years thought I would have one of my own. Between the relatively high price point (at least for my personal budget) and needing to buy paper going forward, I had resigned myself to never testing out instant prints in my bujo.

Well, Mom listened to my thoughts on this more than I had. She found a great deal on the 2-in-1 sprocket*, which actually takes photos as well! I haven’t played around with all of its features yet, but I have printed out some cute photos of Fitz because priorities.

sprocket

Stationery

Harry Potter stationery & wand pen

One of my best friends, Monica, goes to visit her sister in Ireland regularly (one of these days I’ll follow her!).  On a recent trip, she picked up this gorgeous Harry Potter stationery and wand pen for me for Christmas!  I’ve already told her that we *will* be writing letters now.

harry potter stationery

Dot grid journals

Back to my bullet journal obsession, Mom got me two of my favourite dot grid journals from Michael’s, which should keep me going bujo-wise for at least half this year!

Stay tuned for a look at my 2019 bullet journal next week! 

dot grid journals

Pens

I adore Papermate flair pens* and these were the perfect addition to my collection!  Apparently my parents’ dog agrees, though . . . if you look closely, two of the caps have been attacked!

papermate flair

Recollections Creative Year Planner Books

While I keep lots (and lots and lots) of collections in my bullet journal, there are a few things that I’d love to have a pre-set layout for (and maybe transition into my bullet journal eventually).  These little booklets are perfect!  I’ve already been making huge strides towards my 2019 goals (posts on those coming soon!) with the Goals book!  In total, I got the menu planning*, goals*, important info, and bucket list books.

recollections creative year

Letterhead

In probably the most touching of my individual Christmas gifts, Mom had some letterhead made for my brand-new literary magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, which I’m thrilled to say has taken off beautifully so far! I haven’t decided just yet as to what I’ll be using this for, but I can’t even tell you how much it means to me that she thought to do this.

nightingale & sparrow letterhead

Bullet Journal Organiser

While we’re already on a sappy note, I’ve got to share this organiser that Mom put together for me.  I’ve been saying for ages that I need to find a better organisation system for my bullet journal supplies. While this won’t hold all of my goodies, it’s absolutely perfect for holding my most-used items!  She included my bullet journal supplies, letterhead, and other goodies in this with a note reminding me to follow my dreams.  I’m tearing up again just writing this!

bullet journal organiser
Of course, it’s storing some other Christmas goodies in this photo while I work on my bujo!

Books

Cookbook

For weeks, my sister has been pointing to a Harry Potter-wrapped package under the tree and reminding me that it’s the gift she’s picked out especially for me. It turns out that that packaged housed this lovely vegan cookbook*!  I’m looking forward to playing around with some of these recipes!

Whiskey in a Teacup

I’m a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon (to the point that I’ve written a micropoem titled “In which I am played by Reese Witherspoon,” which will hopefully be published soon!). This book* has been on my TBR since months before its release.  Once I get caught up on some of the pieces I’m reviewing & blurbing, this is next up!

whiskey in a teacup - reese witherspoon

Bonnies Crew Anthology

While not technically a Christmas gift, I won a giveaway for a copy of this lovely little poetry anthology. It arrived just before Christmas, so I think it still counts!

Misc.

Kuchi Kopi blanket

Like last year, I got a few Bob’s Burgers gifts!  This hooded Kuchi Kopi blanket* is a personal favourite–he’s my favourite character from the show!

kuchi kopi blanket
I had the flu while finishing up photos for this post, so no selfies with Kuchi Kopi just yet–keep an eye on Instagram for some future shots!

Sheep finger puppet

My friend B is going to school back in England and sent me this adorable finger puppet of a sheep. While we were both living there, she got used to me getting excited each time we came across a field of sheep (which was, thankfully, quite often). This was the perfect reminder!

Burger pillow*

Mom loved the irony of buying this for her vegan daughter. But, I could definitely replicate it as a vegan burger!  It’s also the perfect amount of fluffy.

burger pillow - fitz
Fitz agrees.

Wand

Another gift from my wonderful friend B! This personalised wand is meant to be a reminder of my being “badass.” She knows about my struggles with mental health, so this was, again, a perfect gift!

Fish ornament

Back to the earlier topic of Christmas traditions, this was the first year that we received a special ornament as part of our Christmas Eve gift. My sister, a lifelong proponent of Chinese food, got a little soy sauce bottle, while I got this beautiful goldfish! Mom and I have referred to each other as “fishy” for years now, so it was the perfect touch.

Like in years past, I’m blown away at my friends’ and family’s talents at giving the perfect gift.  What Christmas gifts were your favourite to give or to get this year?

2018 Christmas Gifts

My 2018 Favourites

My 2018 Favourites

We’ve been slacking when it comes to sharing my monthly favourites since our hiatus this past fall.  So much so, in fact, that I struggled a bit when I first sat down to write this post!  Still, I knew I wanted to write out some of my 2018 favourites, along with a year-end update for you all.

Catch up on our past months’ favourites here, then read on for my 2018 favourites!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

WEARING:

I purchased a huge men’s flannel shirt while I was back in England and it’s remained a staple item from in my closet.  I highly doubt it’s a flattering look, but it’s comfy as anything and reminds me of “home.”

My Dobby shirt from June’s monthly favourites is still one of my favourites!

Especially working from home, I’ve pretty much lived in black leggings as much as possible.  They’re cosy, versatile, and they’re easy to dress up if I suddenly need to leave the house.

Thanks to my heel issues earlier in the year, I’ve got a comfy pair of slippers on hand and I’ve stocked up on fuzzy socks!

Most surprising to me, I actually got relatively decent when it comes to doing my makeup this year! I attribute this largely to watching far too much YouTube (more on that below).  I’ve built up a lovely little collection along the way too, as I work to purge my beauty supplies to all cruelty-free.

USING:

Along the lines of the oils I’ve diffused, I’ve also come to love the Thieves cleaner* from Young Living!

I started using the TV Time app a few months ago and it’s absolutely revolutionised the time I spend watching television.  Even with tracking my favourite shows in my bullet journal, it got unorganised from time to time–this makes it even easier to keep track.

I’ve used YouTube casually for years now, but I only recently began utilising it to a fuller extent. From recipes to makeup tutorials, I’ve used it for anything and everything!

We’ll be launching our YouTube channel soon–subscribe now to be the first to know when our first video goes live!

Of course, my bullet journal is an ultimate must-have.  I’ve used a few new tools with it this year, but I think my Paper Mate Flair pens* and Tombow adhesive* are my top picks for 2018.  I also got an HP sprocket* for Christmas which I’m loving so far, though I’m not sure I can really count it for a favourite of the year after just a few weeks!

I got my Fitbit* towards the end of last year to try to manage some of my symptoms (#spoonielife) and it’s helped me quite a bit in terms of tracking!

LISTENING:

I started to list some of my top songs for the year here, but I suddenly realised I could do even better . . . check out my 2018 Favourites playlist!

EATING:

One of my most-eaten meals this year was a tomato white-bean pasta bake that I adapted from a recipe my grandmother passed on to me.  I’ll be sharing the recipe in the new year!

I’ve also eaten far more salt & vinegar chips (or crisps!) then any rational human probably should.

Black beans & rice were a staple in my final months of college and they’ve remained a favourite ever since.

And, while it’s been a while, the chick’n salad, soy ravioli, and vegan BLT from my alma mater’s dining hall is still a favourite!  I’m slightly ashamed to admit just how frequently I daydream of it. Servo, if you see this, I would cry infinite tears of joy if you would forward those recipes.

DRINKING:

I can guarantee none of these will be a surprise!

Coffee & tea are consistent favourites–I go through a variety of brands, flavours and varieties! Dunkin’ iced tea is a long-time favourite, too.

I might not be McDonald’s’ biggest fan, but their $1 sodas are a godsend when out and about. For some reason, they actually help my migraines more than a standard glass of coca cola!

READING:

Despite increasing it a few months back, I managed to exceed my Goodreads Reading Challenge!

Some of my favourites from the year:

WATCHING:

Thanks to TV Time, I actually know what my favourite TV shows were this year!

Some old favourites, revisted:

  • The Office
  • FRIENDS
  • Adventure Time

And some new (both to the world and some new-to-me) discoveries:

  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • A Million Little Things
  • New Amsterdam
  • Manifest
  • This Is Us

Some favourite films:

DIFFUSING:

If you’ve read our previous monthly favourites this one should be easy to guess: my favourite oils were lavender, Trauma Life, Stress Away, and peppermint!

WORKING:

While my “day job” isn’t a great fit for my health issues, it’s helped me get by financially this year! The transition from undergrad to student loan bills was a bit painful (literally), so every little bit helps.  I’ve moved up to the highest rank of transcriptionist, which is pretty cool even if it’s not necessarily a long-term possibility.

As you probably know, when I’m not working or blogging, I’m probably writing! After months of limited progress, I’m thrilled to share that I have twelve poems published or pending from 2018!

  • Cauldron Anthology
  • Royal Rose Mag
    • “Dream Dissonance”
    • “Boleyn” (forthcoming)
  • Marias at Sampaguitas
    • “Reading Between the Lines”
    • “Screaming and then silence”
    • “Pastels and Neons” (forthcoming)
    • “Recording the Stars” (forthcoming)
    • “Atonement” (forthcoming)
    • “Dreamsong” (forthcoming)
    • “Engulfed” (forthcoming)
  • Reclaim: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry
    • “Broken Bodies, Broken Hearts”
  • Paper Trains Literary Journal
    • “Ethereal”

I also launched my own literary magazine!  Nightingale & Sparrow is currently accepting submissions for its inaugural issue, flight, which is due to be published in mid-February!

Here on the blog, we’ve grown so much, despite our technical difficulties! There’s still a ways to go as we further define our niche, but I’m confident we’ll keep getting better!

This year, we’ve gotten extremely close to reach out 2018 blogging goals (stay tuned for our full final update soon!).  We’ve done sponsored posts with Pure Journi and Opportuniteas and we’ve been able to do a bit of social media work, too.  We’ve featured four amazing guest posts and I was lucky enough to guest post for the lovely Scarlett and Liu Miao.

While we didn’t launch our vegan lifestyle course as originally planned, we did quite a bit of prep work for that and our upcoming book, Swap It!.

Top posts this year:

10 Movies for Self-Care Days

How I Published a Poetry Chapbook

Bullet Journal Basics

Easy Things to Organise Right Now

Top Finance Apps to Manage Your Money

Tools for Organisation

Self-Care Tips for Working at a Computer All Day

101 in 1,001

Blogs to Follow ASAP

My Top Office Supplies for College Students

WHAT WERE YOUR 2018 FAVOURITES?

My 2018 Favourites