Healthy Habits to Keep Up in the Holiday Season


The holidays are the perfect time to indulge and maybe not stick to your usual healthy habits. But, even though you might be eating more desserts and skipping a couple of days at the gym, it’s still important to try to make some healthy choices during the holidays. If you suddenly throw all of your healthy lifestyle habits out the window, it can be hard to get back into them once the holidays are over. Plus, you can find that you run out of steam halfway through the holidays and you suddenly feel very sluggish and rundown. If you want to stay somewhat healthy during the holidays, here are some habits to keep up.

Keep Your Diet Balanced  

There are lots of tasty treats floating around in the holidays, and it’s expected that you’re going to indulge a bit more than normal. There’s no need to deny yourself all of your favorite things, but it is a good idea to try and keep your diet balanced. So, even as you reach for the cookies, make sure you’re also balancing it out with plenty of vegetables. Be sure to get all of your essential nutrients, have plenty of fiber in your diet, and try to control your portions too.

Get Outdoors

Even if you’re active normally, the holidays can feel like a free pass to be a bit more sedentary. You might not keep up your usual workout schedule, but it’s still a good idea to try and be somewhat active even during the holidays. Suddenly not doing anything active could affect not just your physical health but your mental health too. It might be cold outdoors, but getting outside for a walk or bike ride can be the ideal way to work off all the food you’ve been eating. If you’re feeling full after Christmas lunch, a brisk walk could perk you up again.

Control Your Alcohol Consumption

The alcohol is usually flowing during the holidays, and it can be tempting to accept any drink that’s put into your hand. But you’re not obligated to drink through the holidays, and it could make your experience much less pleasant. If you struggle to turn down a drink, you can find resources like that can help you. If the holidays stress you out, there are better ways to unwind than to keep drinking.

Take Some Time to Yourself

Being around a lot of people during the holidays can be exhausting, especially for introverts. If you’re getting tired of socializing, make sure you take time for yourself. Everyone deserves some time to relax and have some time alone, even if it’s just half an hour or so. It can be your time to take a nap, read a book, listen to some music or do some yoga. Try to carve out some time just for you at some point during the holidays.

Keep up these healthy habits during the holidays and you’ll feel healthy and happier in the festive period.

Hallmark Channel Original Premiere of “A Royal Queens Christmas” #CountdownToChristmas

If you are anything like me, you are always up for a Christmas movie. From November to January, that’s pretty much all I’m watching. There is a new Hallmark Christmas movie coming out this Saturday, called  “A Royal Queens Christmas and I hope you decide to watch it. This time, not only is there a movie, but also a twitter party where you can win awesome prizes.

Of course- this being Hallmark, there are 41 new and original movies premiering this year on Hallmark and the Hallmark Mysteries channels.

Premiere Date: Dec. 11, 2021, 8/7c
Original Network: Hallmark Channel
Programming Event: Countdown to Christmas
Lead Actors: Megan Park, Julian Morris

About “A Royal Queens Christmas”

“Dee Dee works at a well-established bakery in Queens, New York after returning home from a tour of duty in the army. The bakery is commissioned to supply desserts for an international Christmas gala and fundraiser in Manhattan. When she goes to meet with the chef, Dee Dee has a run in with Colin in the lobby, and he knocks over her plate of precious pastries. When she learns Colin plays piano and could play in the local Christmas show, she asks him to help as payback. Dee Dee assumes he works for the hotel but really…he’s a prince!

Colin conceals his identity as he feels at home in the Bayside community among Dee Dee’s family and friends, participating in the neighborhood’s holiday activities. All is going well until his parents, the King and Queen of Exeter, show up in New York with a princess they hope Colin will marry, ruining Colin’s cover story.”

You can learn more about the movie on the Hallmark Channel website.

hallmark movies

You can find and follow Hallmark on these links-

-HMNow- (Hallmark Movies Now service)-

-Hallmark Movie Checklist App-

Hallmark Channel Wines–

Holiday Cookbook–

The Holiday Home Decoration-

Very Merry Giveaway-

win prizes

Make sure you join us on Saturday, Dec. 11th at 8pm/7c for the Twitter party– you can win some great prizes. See you there!


(1) “Holiday Happiness” Package includes:

(1) One Hallmark Channel Gift Wrap Package

(1) Hallmark Channel Wines digital gift card (

(1) Holiday tea tin from Republic of Teas (

Christmas plants that are toxic to pets

poisonous plants to pets

It’s important to remember if your pets consume any of these toxic plants, contact your vet straight away.

10 most toxic winter plants for dogs and cats:

  1. Holly – If the berries or spiked-edge leaves from a holly plant are ingested, this can result in irritation of the mouth, drooling, gastrointestinal upset (such as vomiting), and diarrhoea. It may also cause excessive head-shaking if consumed in large quantities.
  2. Mistletoe – Though varied in types, the berries from mistletoe contain chemicals including polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins which are harmful to both dogs and cats. When ingested in small quantities, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation such as vomiting and abdominal pain. Consumed in large quantities, it may cause abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure and incoordination.
  3. Poinsettia plants – Widely known for their bright red and green festive foliage, the milky white sap from the coloured leaves contains a chemical which could cause not only nausea, vomiting, drooling and diarrhoea, but also irritation in the skin, mouth and oesophagus.
  4. Christmas trees – If the pine needles from Christmas trees are chewed, the oils released may cause irritations in the mouth as well as stomach upset. Due to the prickly nature of the needle, these could also be hazardous to the mouth, throat and stomach if ingested.
  5. Ivy (Hedera species) – Ivy can cause severe skin irritation if pets come into direct contact with this plant. If ingested, ivy can also cause stomach upsets.
  6. Amaryllis – The whole amaryllis plant contains toxic substances, but higher quantities are contained in the bulb, so be careful of pets who like to dig. If consumed, they may experience severe gastrointestinal upsets (such as vomiting and abdominal pain), loss of appetite, lethargy and tremors.
  7. Lilies – Dangerous for both cats and dogs, if any part of a lily is ingested (even in small quantities) this could cause severe gastrointestinal damage, which may lead to kidney failure for cats.
  8. Laurel – Laurel plants including bay laurels (which are often used in cooking) and cherry laurel, contain toxins located in all parts of the shrub which cause vomiting, abdominal pain, hypotension and in extreme cases, muscle weakness and even seizures.
  9. Snowdrops – These small white flowers contain toxins in their stems and leaves, with the highest concentration in the bulb. When ingested, they can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, incoordination as well as a drop in heart rate and blood pressure.
  10. Yew – All parts of this plant, (including the leaves and berries) are highly poisonous as they contain taxines. When ingested they can cause vomiting, weakness, breathing difficulties and in critical cases, life threatening change in heart rate and blood pressure.

Salman Haqqi, pet insurance expert from comments:

“Pets are often curious creatures and can be found chewing anything around the house, especially at a young age. While decorative plants can add a bit of a life to your interior during winter, it’s important to remember that these could present problems if consumed by your furry family members.

“Taking the necessary steps, such as placing plants out of reach or adding barriers will help to ensure that pets do not ingest or come into contact with them. If your four-legged friend does consume a toxic house plant, it’s important to seek expert help and advice from your vet as soon as possible.”

Please see the following sources for more info on the guidance above: PDSA, The Kennel Club, PETMD and Pet Poison Helpline.

Christmas 2021 Planning (& No, It’s Not Too Early After Last Year’s Disappointment)

Let’s face it; Christmas 2020 wasn’t our greatest. While normality hasn’t truly returned, there is no doubt that this festive period is set to be far better. 

If you truly want to make up for last year’s subdued celebrations, now is the time to get planning. Here are some items that should be on your checklist to ensure that this festive period is just like the ones you used to know.

Dress To Impress

Looking festive will put you in a festive mood. So, checking out Christmas t shirts for women, men, and children is highly advised. You can also wear festive hats and jewelry to heighten the experience. In truth, a lot of families couldn’t see the point in wearing festive items last year, especially if they couldn’t see friends. However, it’s one of the best ways to spread some cheer in the weeks leading up to December 25th. 

It is very likely that there will be a rush. So, it’s probably wise to buy the items in advance.

Decorate The Home

You probably added some home decorations last year, but it’s likely that you were a little more subtle than usual. After all, you wasn’t going to host anyone else. The situation has changed for 2021, which makes it a great time to think about getting a new tree and decorations. Festive garden lights and wreaths are great too. Last year, seeing those items actually felt disappointing. This year, it will fill you with joy.

Family meals and watching festive films will feel better than ever.

Make The Most Of Markets

Many attractions were closed last Christmas for obvious reasons. They will return in 2021, however, and their previous absence has made the heart grow fonder. Visiting Christmas markets can provide some truly magical moments. Cocoa, handmade gifts, and carol singing recitals will all bring the magic back to our lives. And it will go a long way to making life feel normal once again after what has been a very testing 18 months.

Local events that promote a united community should be a key feature of Christmas 2021.

Plan The Ultimate Meal

Whether it’s Christmas Day or another date in December, the big group meal is vital. You may find that you want to do something completely different with a winter BBQ. Even so, being surrounded with people that you saw very little of in 2020 will feel extra special. And knowing that members of your household are back to enjoying life to the max is rewarding too. It’s something we took for granted before, but will adore this festive season. 

You may also want to think about purchasing some games for the festivities.

Giving Back 

While last year’s festivities were subdued, they taught us to gain some perspective. The heightened sense of gratitude and appreciation for what we have should encourage you to give back. Families have lost loved ones while refugees have had to flee warzones too. There are many ways that you can show altruism this festive season. And when you do, the benefits for your personal mindset are clear.

And when you end 2021 in such a positive way, it’ll help you start 2022 in style too.

WIN PRIZES! Hallmark Channel Original Premiere of “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” on Saturday, Dec 12th at 8pm/7c! #CountdowntoChristmas


With the start of Hanukkah and Christmas right around the corner, it’s officially holiday season for quite a lot of us.  This year is a little (OK, a lot) different then other years and past celebrations, since there is so much quarantining and social distancing- not as much gathering as usual. TV and movies have become pretty important around here, more then usual. I’m typically a Christmas movie addict, but this year is a whole new level of addiction! I can’t get enough of them. Thankfully, there are 23 new original movies premiering throughout the Countdown to Christmas– and you can bet I’m watching all of them.

Please feel free to enter the Hallmark Channel’s Very Merry Giveaway Sweepstakes (, SiriusXM’s Christmas music destination, Hallmark Channel Radio; Hallmark Channels’ Bubbly Sesh Podcast; and the Holiday Home Decoration Sweepstakes (

Make sure you watch the Hallmark Channel movie premiere, “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” on Saturday, Dec. 12th at 8pm/7c.

Stars:  Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage, and Marilu Henner

As Christina prepares her restaurant for Christmas, a DNA test reveals that she’s Jewish! The discovery leads her to a new family and a new, unlikely romance over eight crazy nights.

Make sure you visit where you can find more information about ALL Hallmark Channel #CountdownToChristmas original holiday movies.

One of you can win a really cool price pack! Feel free to enter using the RC code below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


(1) “Holiday Celebrations” Package includes:

(1) Monopoly game: Hallmark Channel Holiday Edition

(1) The Republic of Tea Countdown to Christmas themed tea tin

(1) Hallmark Channel branded Ugly Christmas Sweater

(1) Hallmark Channel branded holiday mug

In addition to the prize pack, are also some really fun items from Hallmark you can check out, including an all- new Monopoly game: Hallmark Channel Holiday Edition, The Republic of Tea Countdown to Christmas themed tea tins, new holiday titles from Hallmark Publishing, Bissinger’s Countdown to Christmas chocolate calendar and Hallmark Flowers! They would make great gifts to anyone this holiday season.

Stocking Stuffers that Give Back

Looking for a holiday gift that gives back? These are a great alternative to the usual stocking stuffer and also gives back to the planet: a tree planted by Tree-Nation (300 varieties to choose from) to help reforest the Earth and reduce CO2 emissions, all in one present.

The Earth loses about 36 football fields worth of forest each minute and during the holiday season, the U.S. alone sells 2.65 billion cards and spends $12.7 billion on wrapping paper, so this is the perfect time to give back. Gifting a tree with Tree-Nation can cost consumers as little as a dime and supports climate change and reforestation projects across the globe—here in the U.S., Brazil, India and many more. Recipients will receive access to the platform where they can track their tree growth and check in on the CO2 emissions they are offsetting all via their personalized “forest” page.

Cool idea, yeah? Check it out. Happy holidays 🙂

Christmas Markets Tips for Families

Christmas markets are an absolute joy to visit during the Holiday season. As someone who considers themselves a Christmas market aficionado, I have come up with a list of the best possible tips to get the most from your Christmas market visits. 


Tips For Getting The Most From Your Christmas Market Visits: 

  1. Visit At Night. 


One of the things that you should do is schedule your Christmas market visits at nighttime. While you can visit them during the day as they are typically open, they are going to be much prettier to visit during the later hours of the day. That way, you can experience the sparkling lights in the dark and experience the changed festive atmosphere at night. 


  1. Visit Different Markets. 


While it might be tempting to visit one and be over with it, you will want to broaden your horizons. Instead, you should look to visit at least three different markets. After all, each market has its own ambiance with its own decor and specializations. Because of this, you should be planning a trip to a minimum of three to get the most out of your entire experience. You will only be able to reach the one located at Fraueninsel via boat transportation. It is the only one that you will find in Germany on an island. Whereas, in Munich itself, you will find 17 unique Christmas markets each with its own specialization. Check out this list of the best top 10 traditional Christmas markets.


  1. Go Thirsty and Hungry. 


One of the best things about Christmas markets, in general, would be the food and the drinks. Because of this, you will want to go hungry and thirsty. You will find all kinds of different foods especially at a German Christmas market where you can find specialty foods and beverages that are only available during the Christmas time of the year. This includes must-haves like Lebkuchen which is gingerbread and even Kinderpunsch which tastes much like Kool-Aid. You will be able to take advantage of the regional specialties at the market which can really be a fun and rewarding experience. 


  1. Visit With Your Friends And Family. 


Another good tip to implement is to try visiting with both your friends and family. You will be able to have a much better overall time by visiting with your friends and family because you will be able to hang out with them in a great atmosphere and celebrate the time of year with them. If you are going to be hanging out for a long time with your friends and family, you should dress appropriately because the weather can get very cold. 


  1. Look For Local Specialties. 


Whenever you are going out to Christmas markets which specialties, you should be seeking them out. You want to look at each market individually and try the specialties it offers. For instance, the one in Nürnberg specializes in gingerbread. Therefore, you want to ensure that you try it. Whereas, other markets specialize in other foods. 


  1. Wear Gloves. 


Wearing gloves is a good tip because these markets can get very cold. However, you do want to be sure that you are going to be able to hold objects like cups while at the market. The best way to ensure that you remain warm but don’t lose the inconvenience of having a strong grip without gloves is by wearing finger-less mittens or gloves.

Ideas for your next Christmas card

Tis the season once again and you must be riveting from all the Christmas card ideas that you have in mind. Whether you choose a theme such as construction Christmas cards made especially for your builder husband, or an astronaut theme for your little dreamer, this article offers some of the freshest ideas on exactly what you should write inside.


First things first


It can be tricky to let your loved one feel how special they are through Christmas cards. As it is tradition, almost every one of them can seem repetitive. When you think about it, at least 9 of 10 cards that you have received last Christmas probably read something along the lines of “Dear Mom, Merry Christmas. Love from all of us.”. Christmas cards have become predictable and, worst case, insincere. So if you are writing a Christmas card, try to find inspiration to show your loved one how much Christmas together means for you.


The first thing you ought to do is to choose a Christmas card design. This is not always easy given possibly the million choices that you can select from. You can start by narrowing it down to themes that you think fits your the one you are giving the card to perfectly. There are some considerations you have to take into account as well like religious beliefs, stature, relationship with the receiver and even cultural background. From cute to formal, from straightforward to touching, there is a design that will fit each one. But, if you think you are up to the task, you can also design one yourself. Keep in mind however that it may take a few skills with the photo editing tool and a lot of work and patience if you are not used to it. But that extra mile you do will definitely be appreciated by the receiver and you should do that if you could.


As is tradition, Christmas cards often come with pictures with families or loved ones. You pick the most gorgeous one you have in stock, or better yet, make a new one each year so you can commemorate each Christmas how much things have changed since the very first Christmas.


Now with all of the preliminaries out of the way, it is time to write your Christmas card message. Here are some tips for you that will hopefully add to the joyful spirit that is Christmas.

Brevity is key


Whilst you want to tell your recipients all about the entire year your family has went through, you have to keep their attention and a lengthy message will not afford you that. Keep it short and think of a feeling that you want to convey rather than a story that you want to tell. Typically 2 to 5 lines should be enough with no more than 15 words. Keep in mind that a picture already speaks a thousand words but would not take as long to read.

For your parents or grandparents


Sometimes when making cards for close family members, you might think there might be nothing else you could say, after all you call your mum and dad every day. You may be right, but it does not mean that you can’t give your loved one something a bit more special. Our suggestion is to recreate some of the pictures that your parents or grandparents have of you. As you may be living far away from them now, these pictures are all they have of you to remember you by, and now they will have the grown up version. Print the original photo in front and put the recreated photo in the back. You can then choose to have a printed message inside or you can leave it blank so you can personalize it for each recipient.

For your colleagues at work


There is a certain balance that you have to maintain when writing construction Christmas cards for your coworkers. While you would not want them to seem bland and generic, you do not want it to be too personal as it may seem insincere. Either way, the most important thing is that you give each one a card as anyone missing a card might feel like he/she is being targeted. You can have different cards for your close workmates like the ones that sit beside your desk or those you know well enough and you can do a different one for your boss. You can add a little personalization in it as well as long as you do not feel like you are overstepping any bounds. All in all, these people are probably the ones that you will be mingling with the longest throughout the year so it is important to show them that you remember them for Christmas.

Make the cards sing


When you are all out of ideas, there is nothing that feels a lot more like Christmas than sharing Christmas song lines. Pick a favorite one of better yet pick the recipients favorite line and make that the message of your card. While it may not feel as personal or as original as most would rather have it, it is a sure way to let them know that you are one with them in celebrating Christmas.

For close friends


Friends are the easiest people that you are going to talk to in your entire life because as they say friends are family that you get to choose. There is no issue in keeping it casual when talking with your friends. Write long cheesy lines to make sure that they know how you feel about them. To let them know just how exclusive is the friendship between the two of you, make sure to add a few touches that only the two of you would understand. This will make them realize that you have especially written the construction Christmas card for them. And most important of all, send them Christmas love by sending them a picture of you both.