Get Your Good Going (Giveaway!)

GOOD MORNING! Er, I mean, good afternoon. Ha! I got a little behind on my posting schedule today, but I promise that I’ll make it up to you because I’ve got an AWEXOME (yes, it’s so awesome that the S has been replaced by an X) giveaway for you all!

Now, this probably bears discussing in more detail later, but the reason for my tardiness is because I spent the morning at the orthodontist. Yep, I am considering joining the adult braces club. I had braces when I was 12 – 13, but my teeth have still shifted a ton since I got them off way back when (much to my parents’ chagrin). So, I went in for a consultation.

What came out of this consultation, you ask? Why, the knowledge that braces are HOLY CRAP SO EXPENSIVE OMG. But I got a few different options, with different prices attached to those options, so I basically just need to decide how much my vanity is really worth. But given how many self-portrait photos I post to this here blog, I’m gonna guess it’s probably worth a lot. Hahahahaha.

Hokay. So. With the holidays approaching, and all the changes going on in my life right now (my book, a new position at my (day)job, exciting changes in my family, all that stuff!) I’ve got a lot of good going on right now. But keeping all the good stuff in the forefront of my mind when it’s cold and dreary and our heating bills are skyrocketing and my weight loss efforts are going turtle-slow… it’s not always the easiest thing.

Which is why it’s extra important for me to ensure I’m doing all that I can to make those not-as-good things better. There’s not much I can do about the weather, but I can certainly combat the cold with my fuzzy sweaters, Santa hat, and miniature schnauzer bedwarmers. In terms of my weight loss, well, it’s the holidays, and I’ve already admitted that maintenance–not loss–is my main priority right now. But that doesn’t mean I want to lapse out of control completely (I don’t want a repeat of last year’s 10-pound holiday gain!).

Doing things like ensuring I’ve got appropriate foods to eat in between cookie exchanges and holiday parties is a pretty important part of that process. Lucky for me, I’ve got that covered right now, too. I was contacted by Blue Diamond Almonds a couple of weeks ago to see if I was interested in doing a sponsored post and giveaway! Naturally, as someone who is already a huge fan of their products (Blue Diamond Coconut Almondmilk FTW!!!!!) I gave them a RESOUNDING yes! Their current campaign is all about “Get Your Good Going,” and, well, here we are!

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They sent me a can each of their brand new flavors: Rosemary & Black Pepper, and TOASTED COCONUT. Firstoff, let me just say that these are literally like crack almonds. Like, almonds that are equivolent to crack cocaine. (Granted, I’ve never actually done cocaine, but I imagine that it evokes a similar feeling… and addiction.) I have always been a huge proponent of nuts (haaaaaaaaahahahaha, please never take that line out of context, bahaha) as a healthy snack component. They are SO good for you, SUPER filling, and, um, oh yeah, delicious. These two flavors are certainly no exception.

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You get 28 almonds for 160/170 calories (depending on which flavor), which is actually a lot of nuts (yes, I’m laughing again, and yes, I’m a 14-year-old boy). The pic above depicts 28 if you combine both flavors… unless I can’t count. Which might be possible. Both of new flavors are sold exclusively at Target, and I swear. They are just, urrrrrgh, so good. SO GOOD! And in order to help get YOUR good going, too, we have a fun giveaway! Huzzah!

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Two (yes, two!) of you will receive one can each of the Rosemary & Black Pepper AND Toasted Coconut almonds. To enter, simply leave a comment saying how you get your good going during the winter months!

As always, you get extra entries for liking my blog on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and tweeting/posting/blogging about this giveaway.

And hey, since we’re in book-release-countdown-mode too, you get an additional entry if you go like my author page on Facebook as well!

Entries for all! Make sure you come leave separate comments on this post for each thing you do, cause that’s how the giveaway selector plugin thing I use determines who wins. Two random winners will be selected on Wednesday, December 12th (book release day!)

The above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds, but the photos, words, and, most importantly, opinions are all my own.

One last thing: since we’re in the season of giving and all, I wanted to throw out a quick mention: reader Nicole recently reached out to me with a request that I think is really wonderful. Nicole’s friend, Rhonda, has a grandmother who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The doctor says that this Christmas will be her last, and so Rhonda is asking for people to send holiday cards to her grandparents for Christmas. I thought this was a really sweet, touching thing, and wanted to spread the word. If you’re interested in sending a Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/Christmahanukwanzakkah card to Rhonda’s grandparents, the address is here. Mine went in the mail yesterday!

Christmas Swag: A Poem

‘Twas Christmas that came on Sunday past,

Stockings

With gifts for all, it came at last!

Santa's Little Helper

An iPhone for Mom,

Mom on Christmas

A Keurig for Pop,

Santa for Papa

New running gear from Jenny,

UA

Presents were nonstop!

Swag

With new plates from Taylor,

My food photos will improve,

As my kitchen arsenal keeps growing,

Even though Instagram’s still my groove.

Tuckered Out

These are just a few examples
Of our awesome Christmas swag.
So as you can see,
We had this holiday in the bag.

This showcase doesn’t show all,
The best part isn’t yet pictured:
Come February I will be,
Amongst the witches and wizards!


My parents are taking me to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in February! AHHHHH!!

So spill: what did you get for Christmas?

Christmas Eve Eve

Happy Friday, folks!

TWO DAYS.

At the last minute I decided to take today off from work and get a four-day holiday weekend out of Christmas (since I only actually get the 26th off). Huzzah!

Other than that though, I don’t really have much to report. Today will be spent making the gingerbread house, decorating cookies, and spending time with the fam. Can you believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve?! Ahhhh! I LOVE IT.

And just in case you weren’t full of enough holiday merriment, I present the following video of sheer adorableness to you. Apologies if you’ve already seen it through my posting it on Facebook. Actually, I’m not sorry. It’s so cute, you know you want to watch it again!

(If you’re reading this via email subscription, be sure to click through to watch the video!)

What’s your Christmas Eve tradition? My family’s is to go to church, have a light dinner afterward (to ready ourselves for the actual Christmas Beast Feast), and open a single present before bed. SQUEE CHRISTMAS!!!

Holiday Playlist

So I spent almost my entire evening last night rehearsing with some of my coworkers for my office’s holiday potluck next week. Apparently last year they performed some holiday tunes with great success, and I was recruited to sing for this year’s festivities. I’d feign some complaints here, citing potential embarrassment and whatnot, but let’s be honest: I’m a huge ham. I love performing! So we spent a couple of hours figuring out our playlist and ironing out some harmonies. Should be fun as long as I don’t freak out. As much as I love being the center of attention, I do still get some pretty intense stage fright. Urk!


Even Santa gets scurred.

At any rate, the whole process has helped me dive even further into the glory of Christmas music, so I thought I’d share a few of the albums that have been loaded up on my Spotify playlist since before Thanksgiving all month!

A Very She & Him Christmas

In case you weren’t already aware of this, Zooey Deschanel is just about the cutest little thing that has ever graced this planet. If her bangs weren’t enough to make you fall in love with her, her voice definitely is. Her band with music veteran M. Ward, She & Him, is a little bit indie, a little bit quirky, and a lot awesome. Their version of “The Christmas Waltz” might be my favorite yet!

Glee: The Christmas Album Volume 2

I know that Glee can be a pretty polarizing show, and people either love it or they hate it. That said, I don’t think anyone in either camp can deny that the actors on the show are very talented, and the songs they perform are generally really well done. The second Glee Christmas episode only just aired last night, but the album’s been available for a while and is fantastic! Naya Rivera’s (Santana) rendition of “Santa Baby” is perfectly suited to her voice and character, and Kris Kolfer & Darren Criss (Kurt & Blaine) performing a jazzed-up version of “Let It Snow” is just amazing. In fact, here’s that one too:

Am I right, or am I right? Oh, they scat so good and they scat so true. Okay, okay Onward!

Michael Bublé Christmas

There was evidently a lot of hub-bub surrounding Michael Bublé’s Christmas album, and it’s easy to see why. He channels the crooners of old, and since Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were the originators of many of our favorite songs, it’s easy to get on board with this album. Some of the renditions are almost a little too similar to the originals, so while they’re obviously very good, they’re a little boring. I really love his version of “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” though.


Let It Snow Baby… Let It Reindeer

This isn’t a new album, but Relient K’s 2007 Christmas album remains firmly at the top of my holiday playlist. For people who like modern, rocked-up versions of traditional songs, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” is for you. They also mix in a handful of original songs, which are a little softer, more soulful, and just stellar.

Case in point.

And finally, for your aural pleasure and delight, I present:

Straight No Chaser Christmas Cheers

If you only click on one of the videos in this entire post to listen to (they’re all just songs, by the way, not actual videos) it needs to be this one. Straight No Chaser is the Indiana University a cappella group, and their “12 Days of Christmas” is seriously the best thing you’ll hear all season. The 1998 group got a recording deal from this one arrangement and performs under the same name. The video is a little dated at this point, but the hilarity and musical mastery of it will still wow you. I’ve seriously listened to this one song more than all the others on my playlist combined. Love.

So there you have it! There are a few other songs thrown in here and there, but these albums comprise the majority of my holiday listening and I couldn’t be happier about it. So now it’s your turn!

What’s your favorite Christmas song? I’ll take either a song in general (my favorite traditional carol, for example, is “O, Holy Night”) or a specific artist’s version. Augh, I JUST LOVE CHRISTMAS!