Friday, December 30, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life, "Home" Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros


The worlds a changin'.
People are reverting back to a more migratory life, leaving possessions behind and trying to find themselves elsewhere. They say jobs are on the rise, but where? Now where I came from - if you have a job back east, you hold onto it because there aren't many to come by. At least no good ones.

I read an article the other day stating that crime was at an all time low. People were shocked, in a depression (or recession, whatever you choose to call it) people aren't stealing, aren't being violent... I don't believe that either, what I believe is people will do what they need to for those they love, regardless.

I know I would. I would leave it all behind for those I love - no questions asked. Some may think this is a weakness, but I don't see it that way...

I know nothing about Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but I know this song, "Home".

This road I've been on, moving from Ohio to California - Cleveland to L.A. - has been interesting in all the ways I never expected it to be. I knew there would be adjustment periods, I knew there would be people who never spoke to me again, I figured I knew who most of the were - I assumed a lot of things.

I assumed about work, school, play, adventure...

Every day I try to take a moment to sit and look at me and look at my life and what I've come up with is 2 simple things: #1 - everyone has terrible things happen to them, but those moments don't define you, how you react to them does. #2 - I will never question why I married who I did because I know why:

Ahh, Home,
Let me come home
Home is wherever I'm with you
Home, let me come home
Home is wherever I'm with you


People will tell you this from the moment you're born till the moment you die - it doesn't matter where you are at, but who you are with. Look at your husband/wife. Look at your family/friends. REALLY look at them and then look at you.

At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, what we look back at with love and fondness won't be the things we have but the things we've done, or haven't done. It'll be the people we've loved and those who made you feel so wonderfully beautifully yourself that you smile for weeks. That's what I see for 
me at least...

We laugh until we think we'll die,
Barefoot on a summer night
Nothin' new is sweeter than with you

And in the streets we're running free
Like it's only you and me
Geez, you're something' to see

"Home" made the soundtrack of my life because the lesson I've learned in the last two months is that if you can't carry it with you (and your heart counts as luggage), then you probably don't need it.
 

Now enjoy Home, by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros 




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Week with a Car

I have to say, it was rather anti-climatic... with the holidays and family visits, my time with a car was hijacked by day tripping through LA, visiting touristy locations and all of that. (My original plan was to cruise down Muholland Drive and make it to beachy holiday events, but alas... there's always next year!)

Can't really complain, prior to last week my day tripping in LA was no more than a drive by, finger pointing, and a off hand remark - "Chinese theater. Footprints. Ya know... Old Hollywood."

There are many locations I still plan on visiting, but last week was a good start.

Stop #1 - Fox Studios

I have no photos, photography is not prohibited on the lot (can't  blame them, the place is rather cool), but I did see some great things like Manny (Rico Rodriguez
) from Modern Family, a ton of random clowns, huge murals - one was of Star Wars, some crazy set locations, and of course Nakotomi Towers, from Die Hard.

Stop #2 - 
Westwood Village Memorial Park

Buried here is Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Mel Torme, Natalie Wood, Peggy Lee, Jack Lemmon, and on and on.
Since moving here I've visited Hollywood Forever, which is by far the most famous cemetery in LA, but Westwood Village is now my favorite (well if I should have a favorite cemetery, this would be it). It's small, very well hidden, extremely well kept and extraordinary for sure.

I recommend a visit if you are ever in this area. I recommend you visit both because they are both amazing things to see, but at Westwood you get to see Marilyn Monroe's grave, which covered in kisses & Dean Martin's  site. The moment I did I couldn't help humming "That's Amore" the rest I the time I was there.

I also made a trip to Hollywood Blvd (not to hoe myself out, but to see the walk of fame) & have photos of that too. That blog will be coming either later today or early tomorrow morning...
(for some reason good old blogger here won't let me post the photos I want, so stay tuned for an all photo blog... one of these days..)





More soon. Since it's still holiday season, I'm heading out the door in a few for another drive around town - this one should be fun... (going to Hand Moody's house - woohoo! And maybe I'll finally get to drive down Mulholland...)


So STAY TUNED!! And if you have a second, check out We <3 TV because soon I'll be writing on there too!! (may as well enjoy living in TV & Movie Land) 
And come back here OFTEN because starting next month I'll have me some interview to post! Who, you may ask (valid question) well here's the short list:

Are just a few of the people who have been kind enough to allow me to interview them! (There are more, I'll post their names soon) All are published or aspiring authors, and all of them are people you should take a moment to get to know (and of course READ!!)



Now go eat a cookie!


((HUGS))
-Aryn

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus




Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York'sSun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.



[courtesy of newseum.org]

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Treat! Vegan Nutty Fingers!



These were very much one of my VERY favorite cookies as a child. The sad thing is that I forgot that until one very nice fellow - BW Smith (who writes this blog here) - reminded me of them by sending me to this blog here (The Southern Epicurean psst... is this also you?)

Here is the ORIGINAL NON-VEGAN recipe)

Nutty Fingers

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Additional confectioners' sugar

Directions:

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into 2-in. logs. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375° for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 2 dozen.


Here is your Vegan Version:


Vegan Nutty Fingers

Ingredients:


1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Additional confectioners' sugar


Easy Peasy!! And all you have to do is follow the direction above, then find a tin, wrap them nicely and send them to me in L.A.!! YOU'RE SO AWESOME!


(((HUGS)))

The Soundtrack of my Life "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" Brenda Lee



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all that you love and all who love you. Remember to say thank you and to hug all those you care about with all of your might.

With love, from me - to you.

-Aryn

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Treat! Vegan Lasagna

There are many traditions out there during the holiday season. They differ from culture to culture, family to family - and in my family the biggest holiday tradition out there is Christmas Lasagna!

As far back as I can remember Christmas Eve will filled with this noodle layered treat. Meat, cheese, sauce - repeat!

I haven't had it in years, but this year I will - my vegan recipe for this delightful holiday treat.


You will need:

2 packages Tofu Italian sausages - Chopped (Tofurky is my favorite & it's 100% vegan)
1 package Vegan ground beef (like Light Life or make your own - recipe below)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 jars vegan tomato sauce (Trader Joe's makes a really good organic vegan sauce that is clearly marked with a "V")
1/2 cup water (or a red wine of choice - I love Louis Jadot Beaujolias)
2 tablespoons sugar (Florida Crystals - Whole Foods Vegan sugar, etc)
3 teaspoon Italian seasoning (equal mixture of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary & sage)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 lasagna noodles
2 packages of tofu ricotta cheese (recipe below)
2 (or more) bags of Dayia mozzarella cheese shreds 
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (blend up day old bread and a tablespoon of our Italian season in a food processor.)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or vegan butter of choice)

Vegan Ground Beef Recipe:
1 package TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein - this is soy, so if you're allergic to soy, beware)
2 to 3 Cups of your very favorite Vegan Vegetable Broth (low sodium if you can)
4 tablespoons Soy Sauce (tamari or braggs liquid aminos will work too)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Vegan Ricotta Cheese  Recipe: (double this for the above recipe)
1 package FIRM tofu
2 Garlic Cloves chopped (or more if you love yourself some garlic - which I do)
1/2 Mediums Onion - chopped
1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (or 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon  Basil
1 tablespoon Oregano
Make this a day in advance and let it sit in the fridge so every things comes together.

GET TO BUILDING!

Get yourself a big backing dish - 9x9 will work. Grease it with your Earth Balance and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375*

Have all your ingredients set up:
Jars of sauce OPENED
Saute up (in olive oil) the onions and garlic, add chopped Italian Sausages, and Vegan Ground Beef;  brown (especially if you're using the Light Life) - add tomato paste, mix until not lumpy - add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt & water (or wine) - allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so and then add the 2 jars of pre-made sauce - mix well and set aside.

Boil water and add the lasagna noodle (follow the direction on the package of the box)

Place a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan, cover with noodles (over lapping the noodles will help keep things in order) then begin to layer - ricotta, dayia, meat sauce, noodles - Repeat. When you get to the top cover with the rest of your dayia cheese, sprinkle with Italian Bread crumbs and drizzle with butter.

Cover with tinfoil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Pull off tinfoil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes (until top is brown).

Cool for 20 minutes before serving. ENJOY!! Yum!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas & Writing - It's a death match!





It's Christmas time in this house so my last few weeks have been consumed with visitors, baking, travels, shopping & other very non-writing like activities. With each morning I remind myself the time will come & soon I'll have time to write again. Each afternoon I work on plot points, outlining the next journey for my characters. Every evening I find myself fondly dreaming of having an agent, a book deal & publication.... Today has been no different. Standing in my kitchen listening to a Christmas version of pachelbel canon & baking cookies, the ideas began to float through my head & I sighed - like I always do.


Heart heavy & destitute.

It hit me tonight how I am nothing more than a 14 year old girl pinning over a "boy". Crying how I'll die alone, in a dark dank Victorian home where its always rains, surrounded by cats & wilted pages from my never published manuscripts. The fragile pages have yellowed with time... & my last breath is an airy "why?" 



BAM! Dead.

Yes, it hits me each time. I need to meditate a bit more, keep moving, keep writing, keep trying - & it's not that I'm NOT trying or quitting out if fear, its that I haven't had time.

When I don't write, I feel lazy.

ggrrrr..... Stupid holidays with your sparkly lights & fanciful presents. Damn you adoring family & loving friends! What is this joy? What is that blasted music? Why must you BE SO CHEERFUL?! Leave me be! I need to write! I need to find places to query! I need... a cookie... damn you soy egg nog... damn you rum... *hick*

Being a writer means you have an overactive imagination... and w
aiting sucks.


Happy Holidays! teeheehee! I need a valium. 


Holiday Treats! Jam & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies!


Thumbprints! These are just the best and totally remind me the Christmas and family. The joy is the versatility of the cookie. You can make the base and fill it with pretty much whatever you like! Different types of jam (red currant, raspberry, or blueberry for example) or you can fill it with a chocolate ganache or... you can do BOTH!

So here you have it.

Part one - the Chocolate Ganache:

1 bag vegan Chocolate Chips (if you live by Whole Food 365 has a vegan chip, if you don't look for Enjoy Life chips)
1/2 soy or rice milk. (If you are not allergic to soy buy the Silk Coffee Cream. It's thicker, and if you're feeling spunky, get one of the flavored variates. Try Hazelnut. Yum!)

Place the chips in a heat proof bowl.
Place the creamer/soy/rice milk in a microwavable container and heat for 2 minutes. Once it's heated through, pour the hot vegan milk over the chips and begin to stir. Stir until the chips are blended and have a nice sheen to them. Set aside to cool off.

Part two - the Cookies

1 Cup Earth Balanced (room temp)
1/2 Cup Florida Crystals
2 portions of egg replacer (or if you'd like to make the dough more dense use 1/4 C canola oil. The original recipe calls for "egg yokes" - personal I like the egg replacer.)
1 tspn Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 Cup Organic Flour
1 1/2 tspn Baking Powder
1/3 Jam of Choice (once again, I recommend the Red Currant, but if you like something else, have at it.)

Get to Getting:
Heat the oven to 350*

Cream together the butter, sugar, egg replacer (or oil) and the vanilla - set aside
In a second bowl sift (or whisk) together the dry ingredients). Slowly begin to add the dry to the wet. You should end up with a soft pliable dough.

Break off into 1" pieces and roll into a ball. Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and make your thumb print (you can use a spoon).

Part Three - Baking (I give you choices)

#1 - Bake for 5 minutes
Pull out of oven and fill with the jam - place back in oven for additional 10 minute (or until brown)

#2 - Bake for 15 minutes
Remove from over and fill each thumbprint with a wee bit of the chocolate and top with the jam of choice. Place cookies on cooling rack, dust with powder sugar and (if you have any of that delicious ganache left) drizzle over the cookies once they are mostly cool.

Consume. Give to friends as gifts. Bring on world peace with their goodness.
;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Treats! Molasses Cookies


I love Molasses. Honestly, it's something that came with age. As a child I didn't care for the taste, but these days I'll drizzle it on most thing - sweet potatoes, my husband - the possibilities are limitless!

So Molasses Cookies are just YUMMY all around - and very easily made vegan. Here you go!

3/4 Cups + 2 TBSP Earth Balance Butter - melted
2 Cups Florida Crystals, divide (1 for the batter and one for rolling molasses balls in)
1/3 Cup either Unsulphured (my favorite) or Blackstrap Molasses <- it's a flavor issue. These two are your best choices.
2 1/2 Cup Organic unbleaced All Purpose Flour
1 egg replacer (sticking with ener-g)
1 1/4 tspn ground ginger
1 tspn cinnamon
3/4 tspn baking soda
1/4 tspn salt (I normally just add a pinch)

Oven at 350*
Vegan Egg-nog in your glass, spiked with rum!
A glimmer of holiday spirit in your eye!!

In a bowl mix the melted butter, molasses and 1 cup of sugar - mix well. (save a spoon for licking)
Add the egg replacer - set aside

In another bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Slowly add (a cup at a time) the butter/sugar/love mixture into the flour - stir until you have a nice sized ball of soft dough.

Break of a small portion at a time and roll into small balls (about 1") roll around in the other cup of sugar.

Bake on an UN-greased baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool.
Devour.

yum!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Treats! Vegan Pancakes


When I started going through my recipes to post for the old holiday, my initial reaction was COOKIES! But there is a part of Christmas that makes me want a big old HOLIDAY BREAKFAST!

As a vegan, finding good pancakes can be a challenge. If you go to a traditional diner, they'll put so much butter on top of the cakes you'll be unable to ignore the buttermilk and eggs tucked away inside. (& if you're me, then you'll be ill all night long)

So I give you PANCAKES!!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups soy or rice milk
  • 1 egg replacer 
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, melted
  • *1/4 cup water

Directions

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the vegan-milk, egg replacer and melted earth balance; mix until smooth. (* if the batter is super thick, which it can be due to the wheat flour, add water until you reach your desired consistency)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Top with fresh fruit, chopped pecans (or nut of choice) and real maple syrup. NOT table syrup... it's not the same... 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Write on, baby!


I crawled into bed last night and set aside the 4 books I've been reading here and there and pulled out an old favorite. Ender's Game. I've read this book so many times and have bought so many new copies over the years I've lost track.

I made a decision last night.

Writing is scary. Following your dreams is terrifying. Not giving up is nearly paralyzing.

When I finally decided to begin the querying process I read everything I could get my hands on that would prepare me for the rejection to come. "Pick a high number of rejections to get prior to beginning, that way you will allow yourself a cushion." That is what one site read. The woman who wrote it picked 100, so I went higher.

But rejection is still rejection. Even if you sit in front of a mirror and have an hour long chat with yourself about the perilous path in front of you - it's still stings. Even though you pick an obnoxiously high number of rejections you'll allow yourself to get before moving on - each letter makes you go - "Oh. Ok... Guess I'll need more names..."

I'm not planning on giving up.
I don't plan on giving up even when I reach my number (which is 400 by the way).

That's the decision I made last night - I want this.

I want it more and more each day and while there is a small pang in my heart when I see that, "Thank you for contacting me, but we're not interested at this time." note, I just want it and I'm not going to stop until I get it - that said, today I'm working on my vision board and yes, it's including book awards and all sorts of grand things that I just want.

This post it merely me saying it out loud, because until I do, it's not 100% real. So now it's real.

In the end, if it was easy then everyone would be doing it and easy is boring. Who wants boring? I don't - I want adventure and this is just another one to enjoy.

Clear eyes. Full Hearts. Can't lose.

The Soundtrack of My Life "Father Christmas - The Kinks"



Christmas. Christmas. Christmas.
We ask every year what's the meaning. People lose their mind over the "Christ" v "X" debate.
"DON'T TAKE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS"
The first time I heard someone say this I was 7. My second grade catholic nun teacher had a melt down in front of our class because someone had written "My X-Mas Holiday" on the top of their paper.

I hate this debate, because this debate means we're not celebrating - it means we're being angry and picky and missing the point.

What is Christmas but the time of year when we're supposed to show love, compassion and selflessness to those around us, and that's why I give you the Kinks, "Father Christmas".

Firstly, the Kinks are awesome. Everyone goes on their tangents about music in the 1960's and for some reason they clamor towards the Stones and the Beatles. The Kinks brought us Lola, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues, You Really Got Me, 20th Century Man & Waterloo at Sunset just to name a few.

Secondly, if there is a song that encapsulates the BS that is going on in this world this holiday season, it's this song.

Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys 

-or-

But give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one
He's got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street 

I've picked this song because so many people are worried about the image of the word "Christmas" but they're really not worried about the essence of it. We all know that the holiday season is about giving - it's not about what sales you got because you got in line at 3am to get a cheap TV at Walmart. 

I've always loved this song, it's been a favorite for many years and this year is no different.  

If you haven't been paying attention to the Occupy Movement - maybe this is the moment, this holiday season, is the time to sit back as try to understand what it's really about. It's about equality. It's about fairness. It's about doing what's right. It's about this holiday season - however you celebrate it. 

"Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine" 

Be grateful for what you have and enjoy - Father Christmas, by the Kinks ->
Cheers!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You're Weekly Adventures!


Hello Ladies and Gents! I am here today because I've been doing a lot of thinking and it has come time that I'm going to give a little bit of formatting to this site.

It's been a long time coming. With the Friday "Soundtrack of My Life" and the "Monthly MeMe" posts, I've been doing a lot of thinking of where to go next with this blog.

Now, don't get me wrong - intertwined with the new structure I still plan on posting my mindless rambles about my life, the universe and everything (and maybe I'll post a review on how much I like that book too).

Things have been changing in my life in leaps in bounds. Between finishing these books, working on new ones, looking for an agent, settling in L.A., embracing my life as a vegan, finding my space for yoga, my family, friends and the future plan for world domination through my love of words and music - I need to give a little bit of an outline for me to follow because any more I'm all about the distractions and not very centered on the task at hand.

I'm also looking for suggestions in both the food and music areas of life. Maybe your product is a worth Vegan treat? Maybe your band has the next song that will define a generation? I'd be happy to check it out!

Starting in January, outside of my personal self interviews, I will be interviewing writers, vegetarians, and music peeps. (I'm keeping all of my yoga stuff here)
There are thousands of adventures I want to have and it's time to start - so besides everything else I'm going to start working on this old life list. What am I waiting for? Death?

As previously noted, starting the middle of this week I'll have a car. That means I'll be tripping the light L.A. and embracing the corny touristy part of town. Starting right on Hollywood Blvd and working my way outward... and when my car is gone and I'm back to me, a toddler and my 5 year old sneakers - I'm going to see how much of this "un-walkable" town I can take down.

I've had a pity party the last couple of weeks (mostly in my head) because I feel trapped. Well the last time I checked I have two good legs and it's time to get to using them.

SO - want to see L.A. by foot? Let me know what you want to see and I'll try my best to get my butt there to tell you about it. The biggest goal is by summer I want to be ready to walk the ballona bike path from start to finish so we can spend the day at the beach.


For now I'm off to write! Next week I bring you more holiday recipes and there are only two more special Holiday Soundtrack of My Life posts before Christmas!!

So merry HO! HO! HO!

Monday, December 12, 2011

& then... a Christmas MeMe! (ho! ho! ho!)



1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? 
Hot chocolate with cinnamon and vanilla marshmallows or with a candy cane used as a stir stick! I do like the Nog, but I'm the only one in the house that will drink it and it's a waste to buy the Silk Egg Nog and watch it rot... such a shame... now what am I going to do with all this rum?

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? 
Santa is a wrapper and he's also a fan of ribbons too!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
We have white lights in the window and the colored light our in our son's room. I need to invest in more festive lights. Honestly, white used to be "nice" and now it's just not doing it for me.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? 
Not since I was a kid. All the kissin' that's gonna happen in this house will happen with or without deadly decorations.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
After Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? 
Lasagna 

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? 
Christmas morning. Waking up at first light to run into our parents room and yell until they woke up and then run down stairs to open all of Santa's gifts. I also have this great memory where my Grandma wrote "PJ" on my gift box, clearly a reminder to her that the gift was - Pajamas. But for a while I thought our dead cat, PJ, hand sent me a gift... oh PJ... oh Aryn...

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
 I don't remember. I've tried to figure it out, but I know I was one of the last people of group to figure it out. But every year I like to re-read the letter to Virginia O'Hanlon from Francis Pharcellus Church of New York's Sun wrote in 1897. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
(I guess this means I still believe.)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
 Yes. We open "family" gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa's gifts on Christmas Day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? 
With my hands. How do you decorate your tree?

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? 
This year I LOVE snow. This year I live in Los Angeles.

12. Can you ice skate? 
I can ice (slide on my butt after I fall off my ice) skate (s)!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
 I like whatever I get.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Normally I'm not a big holiday person. Too many years in retail I suppose. Too many years of mean people yelling at each other over something so unimportant, and yes I mean "gifts". But this year, this year my son knows who Santa is, he even said hi to him at the mall the other day. So THIS YEAR the most important thing to me is seeing that smile on his face when he plays with all the cartons and boxes his toys came in. 
Yes. His smile is the best.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? 
Chocolate. Anything covered in chocolate. Like Chocolate covered chocolate. 
OH! Chocolate covered cherries! Haven't had one in ages. Can't find any vegan ones... :(
(now I'm sad)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I'm looking forward to making some with my family.

17. What tops your tree?
 A star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? 
Yes.

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
 Yum - as long as they're traditional mint.

20. Favorite Christmas show? 
Die Hard.

21. Saddest Christmas Song? 
I'll be home for Christmas.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?
 Silent Night