Valentine’s Gifts for Him

Valentine’s Day is in two weeks and I am so excited. For some reason,I love V-Day even though I have no significant other. I don’t like to limit the love just for a special someone but to all of those that have shown me love over the past year. Everyone from my parents, sisters, friends, sorority sisters, and readers all deserve some sort of love from me; after all, they are the ones that have extended some sort of love to me these past 365 days.

Over the last 10 days or so, a bunch of bloggers have been posting some amazing gift guides for all of the women but I have yet to see a great gift guide for guys. Although I’m sure some men might check blogs to find out what their special someone might like, we also need to remember that the guys need a little love too. I’ve pulled together a pretty great list of Valentine’s Day goodies for the men in your life ranging all different price points. So if you’re a little stumped on what to gift your guy for Valentine’s Day, this is a great place to start. As always, everything is stoppable down below! Enjoy!

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Classic Black St. Mawes in Rose Gold • Daniel Wellington • $229

Mophie Juice Pack Air Iphone 6/6S Charging Case – Red • $69.95

Ugg® Ascot Suede Slipper • UGG • $110

Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker • $129

Men’s Vineyard Vines Love Whale Pocket T-Shirt • Vineyard Vines • $48

Lotuff Leather Bi-Fold Wallet • $195

S’well Rowboat Red 17-oz. Reusable Bottle • Swell • $35

Lobster Belt – Tucker Blair – $145

Embossed Leather Sunglasses Strap- Tuckernuck – $42

Engraved Cufflinks- Tuckernuck – $40

Valentine’s Day Bowtie – Vineyard Vines – $55

Lambswool Scarf – Barbour – $50

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Life Update: Christmas is about Family, Friends, and Faith

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa treated you well! I can tell you he sure did make a stop at the Smith house and was very kind to all of us here. I took a break from the blog for just two days to spend time with family and friends. Don’t worry, I took plenty of pictures because I wanted to share the weekend with everyone.

Over the past 72 hours, so many fun things have taken place. Christmas Eve kicked off the festivities with church, as explained in my previous blog post. After church, my family met up with all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles for a fun Christmas Eve dinner. That evening, there was a Chinese gift exchange where I copped the ultimate prize of a two pound bag of Sour Patch Kids. I can’t explain to you how absolutely stoked I was about this gift because I felt the need to redeem myself from last years gift exchange.



The following morning was slow and easy. My family gathered around the table around 9am to enjoy a delicious Christmas morning brunch. My mom went above and beyond and created the most beautiful table along with the most delectable breakfast treats. Following brunch, the family took the rest of the morning to open gifts and laugh together — the way Christmas morning should be spent. A stop from the maternal grandparents and nap later, we were off once more to my paternal grandparents’ house to spend the evening once again, with family.
Monday evening, as many Instagram followers saw, my family and some of our close friends took a tacky light tour all around Richmond. Richmond is the tacky Christmas light capital of America so why miss out on the opportunity to see some amazing creations! My dad was so generous and rented a party bus for all of my sisters and I to bring one friend to enjoy the ride. So last night, my sisters, mom, dad, and four close friends all piled into a party bus singing songs from the top of our lungs taking in the city. It was one of those nights I will never forget — the love in that party bus was one of the best feelings in the world. The love my sisters and I had for our friends, the love my parents had for one another, and the love my sisters had for our parents showed me that Christmas really does have a deeper meaning than gifts.



This Christmas I came to realize how powerful family and faith are. God’s message is so powerful, it is impossible to ignore his triumphant words. Adjusting to college has been a lot tougher than I thought it would be and I didn’t rely on Christ as much as I should have. This Christmas opened my eyes to how He is always surrounding me; God is everywhere. He is in the people who give me their table at the Library when they’re finished. He is in the kind lady who makes my food at the dining hall so I can eat another hot meal. He is in the crossing guard who makes sure I get from my dorm to class safe. He is in the friends I have made over the past years who still stand by my side. I always knew He was there, but I never called upon him as often as I do now. I am extremely grateful that this Christmas He woke me up from my passive acknowledgement of him. I now actively see him in absolutely everything.
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Christmas Traditions

I cannot believe that December is almost over and Christmas is in less than 24 hours. Christmas is my favorite holiday to celebrate because along with the fun side of presents and gift-giving, there is a side full of faith, family, and tradition. Faith is very important to my family and that’s what most of our Christmas Eve and Christmas traditions stems off of; in fact, faith is what kick off our Christmas Eve celebrations. 
I saw a few days back Carly Heitlinger from The College Prepster shared her family traditions on her blog. I loved the idea and how thoughtful her post was. I wanted to join in on the fun and share my Christmas traditions, but make sure to check out her Holiday Traditions post too!
One of the small traditions that the Smith family has is counting down to Christmas. A few years back Hallmark had an ornament that would digitally count down the days until Christmas. Now it seems as if we set up the countdown earlier and earlier each year. I know that this year, the ornament has been counting down to Christmas since Halloween!
When we were in Elementary school on the night before Christmas Eve, my sister, Lisa, and I used to stay up late on the family laptop and track Santa on the NORAD Santa Tracker. This website tracks Santa all over the world beginning in the early morning of December 24th. When he reaches a major city, there is a small video of the sights that Santa saw. It was always so exciting to track him throughout the day, keep updated on where he was, and where he was going next.
The festivities really kick off in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We all prepare for Christmas Eve mass which begins at 4pm. I’m Catholic and my Dad’s side of the family (22 cousins, 14 aunts and uncles, 2 grandparents) is Catholic as well. All 38 of us head to mass to praise the birth of Jesus the Savior. Christmas Eve mass is my favorite of the entire year. I love the music, the homily, and the joy that overflows the room.
Once mass is concluded, the entire family (yes, all 38 of us) head over to an aunt and uncles house for dinner. There are seven individual families that make up the entire Smith family so,  each year families switch off for hosting Christmas Eve dinner. 2017 is the year that my family will host again, the last time being 2010 and even further back, in 2003. Sometimes there are fun little games at dinner: gingerbread house competitions, Chinese gift exchanges, “Just Dance”-offs have been apart of the list.
Once my family returns home from dinner, we all slip out of our heels and into our most festive Christmas pajamas.When we were little, my sisters and I would immediately go to bed, get on Pictochat on our Nintendo DS’s and predict what we think Santa might bring us. Now that we’re all grown up we spend the late evening together watching a Christmas movie.
As the movie concludes, some of us dwindle up the stairs and off to bed (usually me) and others stay until the credits are over. As my sisters and I have grown up, I have come to realize that there’s something about setting out cookies for Santa that never gets old. Each year, on the same Santa plate we used when we were 5 years old, my family sets out a few cookies for Santa and a nice ice cold Diet Coke. The Santa Clause that visits our house doesn’t necessarily care for a glass of milk…weird.
When we were younger, my sisters and I used to wake up extremely early on Christmas and wait in the hallway to see what Santa brought us. We were never allowed to go downstairs without our parents though and we were absolutely not allowed to wake up mom and dad either. We would sit in the hallway and play Nintendo DS or gather in Lisa and I’s room (because we shared) and pace waiting for our parents to wake up. Now, we sleep in until about 9am and still wake each other up, but are way more patient than we once were. My mom still takes the obligatory “kids coming downstairs on Christmas morning” picture but now I’ve come to love our lazy and relaxed Christmas morning.
Once we are all downstairs, we open stockings first. Usually Santa fills it with a few gift cards, Bath & Body Works, earrings, socks, and something sweet. Once we all spent plenty of time digging through our stockings, we distribute gifts. Each person has their own pile. We all sit at our piles and go in a circle opening presents. We all take turns opening one gift at a time and repeating the circle. I love this slow way of opening gifts because it helps show the appreciation and gratitude for everything I receive. The rest of the morning features Christmas brunch and Christmas naps with a visit from my grandparents on my Mom’s side of the family.
We head to my Dad’s parent’s house around 4pm to meet up with the same 38 family members we spent Christmas Eve with. My Grandmother, Lady, cooks a delicious Christmas feast and we all spend the evening eating, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. The night concludes with opening Christmas presents and dessert. Then it’s back home, with another Christmas in the books.
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Q: What is your favorite Holiday tradition?? Share it in the comments below! 

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Since Thanksgiving I have been dying to try out a good gingerbread men recipe. I always loved the taste of gingerbread and molasses cookies and I wanted to give them a try in my own kitchen. I spent all night Tuesday researching through my mom’s library of cookbooks and found a great recipe from the Southern Living 2012 Christmas Cookbook.

Each year, Southern Living publishes a new holiday cookbook for just $10 where the proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House. As an ADPi and having RMH be our philanthropy, I highly recommend that everyone purchase the 2016 cookbook! Each year, Southern Living packs the book with delicious and easy recipes for everyone to enjoy. My mom has probably the past 10 years cookbooks and whenever I am looking for a new cookie recipe to try, I always look there first. And $10?? What a deal!
This cookie recipe, like I mentioned, is from the 2012 cookbook and can be found on page 215. I only used the cookie dough recipe for these cookies. The royal icing recipe was found on and is from Alton Brown (down below).
For the cookies you will need…
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
5 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
1 and 1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
Parchment paper
1. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy
2. Stir together 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda with 1/4 cup of water until dissolved. Then, stir the baking soda and water mixture into the 1 cup of molasses. You will see the baking soda begin to react, that’s okay.
3. Combine flour and the next four ingredients. I sifted them all together in a big bowl. Add flour to butter and sugar mixture alternately with the molasses mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Shape dough into a ball and let chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll dough to 1/4 of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack for about 20 minutes to finish cooling.
Royal Icing by Alton Brown 
For the Icing you will need…
3 ounces of pasteurized egg whites (about one and a half egg whites)
1  tsp. of vanilla extract
4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla extract until frothy.
2. Add confectioners’ sugar slowly on a low speed, once all combined, turn speed up to high and beat until mixture turns stiff, glossy peaks.






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Tips for Throwing a Last Minute Christmas Party

The other day some friends from high school and I were all talking about how I used to host a Christmas party each year. Each year, the main group of us were always there as some people in our lives changed but the small group of us always remained the same. Two days ago, we decided to get the gals back together and have another Christmas party. It turns out the day that everyone was off of work was tonight however, we decided the plans for the party four days ago (if that many!). I wanted to make this Christmas party so fun for us because we haven’t all been together since we left for college in August!

1. Hot Chocolate — my mom makes some really delicious home made hot chocolate and all of my friends are obsessed with it. It’s also fun to turn simple hot chocolate into a hot chocolate bar including all sorts of toppings such as whipped cream, marshmallows, sprinkles, chocolate, candy canes, cinnamon ect.

2. Gingerbread Houses — My friends and I love to make gingerbread houses. I was at Wegmans a few days ago and found a gingerbread manor kit. I think making gingerbread houses are so classic and are so fun to make!

3. Secret Santa — I am a sucker for secret santa. This year because my friends and I couldn’t all be in the same place for drawing names, we used a website called Elfster to help us figure out who if buying for who this Christmas. This website is easy to use and keeps everything very anonymous when it comes to gifting! If you want a last minute secret santa swap this Christmas, I highly recommend Elfster!

4. Christmas Crackers — I love the tradition of Christmas crackers in the UK. I think the surprise and youthfulness they bring to a party is so spectacular. This year, Costco is selling Christmas crackers in a set so you can host the jolliest of parties and top everything off with a little party favor for your guests!

5. Cookies — Whenever I hosted a Christmas party, we never cooked dinner. Instead, it was always asked that guests eat before hand but save room for dessert! My mom and I would cook cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and anything else we could think of to serve to guests. There was always an open invitation for friends to bring their own sweet treats to share if they wanted! I think this is way easier than cooking a meal and cleanup is way easier as well!

6. Christmas movies — My friends and I always loved to turn off all of the lights (excluding the Christmas tree) and turn on a good classic Christmas movie. All of us shared a common favorite movie, Elf. I swear, we could recite what movie backwards and forwards if asked. It’s just so perfect that when the party winds down, those willing to still celebrate the season were welcome to stay, snuggle up under blankets, and watch a fun holiday film.

7. Photo Booth — Being a blogger, I am a sucker for a cute picture! Last year, we set up a cute little Photo Booth for friends to take Instagram’s at! We hung  white sheet on the wall, strung lights along the edges of the sheet, and included cute little glasses cut outs, funny hats, and little chalkboards to write fun messages on! The combination of the props, background, and a great camera made for some amazing memories!

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15 Favorite Christmas Songs

There are only 15 days until Christmas so I see it extremely fitting that I share my favorite 15 Christmas songs this season. If you’re following my SnapMas on Snapchat (@dailydoseofprep), you would have seen that I am obsessing over this year’s Pentatonix Christmas album. I have included all of these songs and 100 more on my Christmas Spotify playlist that you can follow here! Make sure to follow along so we can enjoy all of the Christmas tunes together!

If you are looking for a few really great Christmas albums as wholes, I would suggest Christmas by  

Michael Bublé, A Pentatonic Christmas by Pentatonix, or for a more Christian based CD I love the Peace on Earth soundtrack from Casting Crowns. Seriously though, I am so in love with Pentatonix at the moment. I really enjoyed their 2015 album, especially Mary, Did You Know but this new CD of theirs is amazing! It’s worth downloading on Spotify or purchasing from iTunes! 


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Leave me your favorite Christmas song down in the comments below! 

Bucket List: December 2016

I know, I know, it’s not December yet but we only have 36 hours until it’s December and we flip to the last crazy cat picture on our calendars. I am so pumped for December and I am even more excited for this bucket list! I love Christmas, the holiday season, and all of the traditions that come with it. Being in college, the holidays seem a little more special to me because I finally understand how amazing it feels to be with family for Christmas. For those 17 years I lived at home, I am not realizing that I took for granted all of my siblings and I being home and I definitely didn’t expect to be craving home so badly! I am also missing waking up every morning for a month and a half and seeing the gorgeous Christmas decor around the house. I’m making due with a Lilly Pulitzer stocking and a mini pink nutcracker for decorations — pathetic, I know.

I have 18 days at JMU until I can return to RVA yet again and spend just shy of a month’s time with my family and friends. My pals and I already have so many fun things planned and cannot wait to get the ball rolling after we (hopefully) survive finals. Below is my bucket list for the upcoming month! Let me know what you plan to do this month!! I would love to chit-chat our goals for the next 31 days!

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