Neat Living Monthly #2

Happy New Year. I hope your holiday season was lovely, calm, and relaxed, and you made great memories! I was offline through all of December. Part of me wanted a break, but also, the demands of preparing for the season did not give me a chance to sit for more than 15 minutes at any given time. It was fun, calm, relaxing, and exhausting all at the same time!

I still have my Christmas tree up! Yes. Traditionally, in my family, we wait until Epiphany on January 6th. Growing up, we would leave our shoes at the feet of the Manger the night of January 5th for the Three Kings to bring us chocolates and maybe some cash the morning of January 6th.

Sleeping in is nice. But having a cup of coffee by the Christmas tree while everyone sleeps, it’s even better!

While I do not continue this tradition at home, I do like to keep my Christmas decor up and enjoy it a bit longer! Not only I finished setting up for Christmas late in December (around the 14th), but its beauty gives me so much peace I want it to last at least an entire month. Don’t you agree?

I want to show you how the wood slice Christmas ornaments look on the tree. When I posted the tutorial on December 3rd, I did not have my tree up yet, so I only photographed flat lays. Take a look at them hanging on the tree!

On Instagram & 2023

You guys! Instagram is my nemesis! I can’t even start to explain. I do not want to make a long story even longer, but I could tell you many reasons why I choose NOT to use Instagram (as intended for a blogger) until I am blue in the face.

While social media was created – initially – with the idea to connect people, if there is a place where I feel the most disconnected from my essence, and my audience, that is Instagram. No wonder I never grew it as many bloggers and influencers do. It’s just too much work, too many ads, too many trolls, and too many changes. I can’t keep up!

If you have followed me from day 1, you might know that I once was @flaviablogger on Instagram. In 2018 that profile was hacked and duplicated by some troll (or a robot!), and they took around 20 pictures from my profile and created their own feed. But the ugly twist is that in all those 20 pictures that they/she/he/it took, I was posing with my son (8 years old at the time). Needless to say, that freaked me out!

So, I decided to deactivate the account and start from zero with @neathousesweethome in 2019. That didn’t work too well, either. On December 3rd, Instagram deactivated my account for no apparent reason. At first, I received a message saying that I needed to ‘confirm my identity,’ and I followed the required steps. But, it seems like to them I was a robot account, and they deleted my profile. Poof! Gone! Even my handle can’t be used. Either someone took it, or it’s gone forever.

So, what do you say? Is all this aggravation worth it? If you’d like, you can give me a follow @neathouse_sweethome, and I will let you know in a month what I decide to do. For now, I have my ‘mandatory’ IG business profile but no posts yet.

Needless to say, I will always be here, on my own blog, setting my own rules, writing my own content, and connecting with real people. I appreciate your support! Love you, guys!

Things That Caught My Eye

So, here are a few things that caught my eye this past month. No affiliate links here; just spreading the news and sharing the love!

  1. Affordable TV Art. Every time I decorated our entertainment center, I glanced at the TV and hated how the giant black screen stood out. After decorating it for Christmas, I wanted the screen to reflect the season. So, I followed this tutorial from Tasha and purchased a few images that made my TV look like art!
  2. This Classic Beef Stew from Garlic & Zest is to die for! I crave comfort food year-round, but this beer beef stew hits the spot, especially on chilly winter nights.
  3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The older I get, the closer I am to my faith. I want to be able to defend my beliefs without coming out as a fanatic. Putting it lightly, we live in a disconnected world, and I do not want to be disconnected from what ultimately has made me the person I am today. This book compiles Catholic teachings in an organized way like never before.
  4. The Soup Kitchen. Every morning on my commute to school, there’s a line of cars turning right onto The Soup Kitchen. It never occurred to me to look them up and see what they actually do. It turns out they serve over 800 hot meals a day, 365 days a year, to people in need. In 2017 alone, they rescued over $8,000,000 worth of food from grocery store shelves. How’s that for a local charity? Impressive! Better yet, they are signed up for Amazon Smile Donations. Maybe you can find a similar charity in your area. Find charity lists on Amazon Smile.
  5. Our Parish grounds on Christmas. Strolling through these grounds at nighttime during the Christmas season is one of the greatest gifts in life!

Things I am Loving Lately

Oh my goodness, where do I start? The holiday season is full of shopping, gifting, and receiving. Here are some of my favorite things this month. Some links are affiliate links; read my full disclosure here.

  1. Giant Monthly Wall Calendar – I will put these tiles up next week. I think it will be a fantastic way to keep track of my editorial calendar this year!
  2. Sherpa Plaid Blanket – I actually purchased this two years ago, but I only use it during the winter months, and I forget how much I love it! Super affordable too.
  3. 5-Pc. Lip Gloss Wonder – I am in love with these colors. It’s sold out! Mark it as a favorite; it might come back next Christmas!
  4. Wet Brush Detangler – Where has this brush been all my life?
  5. Dooney & Bourke Gretta Brenna – They have a huge sale event right now. I snagged this one last week!
  6. Floral and Black Blouse – I wore this one on Christmas Day. So comfortable, fairly priced, and has 42 color options!
  7. Wood Beads Garland – I added one more to my collection. This one is a mix of whitewash and gold. It looks beautiful with the Christmas decor, but I think it’ll look great year-round.

Coming Up Next

Lots of plans for 2023! I am not ready to spill the beans just yet; you might have to stay tuned! See you next week.