Merry Friendmas!

I threw my first Christmas Party last night! I have always loved this season, but this one has been especially difficult for myself and friends. Our studies have grown a lot harder and I feel like we have all been so focused on school that we haven’t had much time to see each other. We normally have weekly dinners together, but that fell out as the semester progressed and we got busy with exams and assignments.

So I wanted to throw a little something together to celebrate the end of finals and the end of this semester! This is particularly exciting for some of us as it’s the penultimate semester of our undergraduate careers. My finals this week were pretty brutal, but I am glad they are over and I can enjoy the company of my friends before we go our separate ways and enjoy the company of our families.

I wanted to keep the menu pretty simple since I wouldn’t have a lot of time to cook, plus it is a celebration so all I really wanted to eat was a bunch of junk food. I baked most of my cookies last weekend, partly for my enjoyment, partly for Andrew, and partly for the party so I mostly had to just throw thing in a crockpot or pull it out of the fridge!

Peanut Butter Hug Cookies
Peanut Butter Hug Cookies

The Menu

Appetizers:

  • Toasted Ravioli, served with marinara dipping sauce
  • Rotel Dip, served with tortilla chips (and whatever else you want to dunk this glorious spicy cheese dip with)
  • Vegetable Tray, served with French onion dip and ranch
  • Little Smokies, served in KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce
  • Crackers, cheese, and summer sausage tray

Dessert:

  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Brownies, with green icing and sprinkles to look like Christmas Trees
  • Milk Chocolate covered pretzels
  • White Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Peanut Butter cookies, with either a Hershey’s Hug or a Reece’s Peanut Butter cup in the middle
  • Haystacks, which are butterscotch coated chow mein noodles and peanuts

Drinks:

  • Hot chocolate
  • Jello shots, stacked in the shape of a Christmas Tree
  • Seagram’s Wild Berry, Strawberry Daiquiri, and watermelon flavored beers
  • Various assorted vodkas, rums, juices and soda (I am no bartender)
Christmas Tree Brownies
Christmas Tree Brownies

My Outfit

Friendmas Outfit

A couple of weeks ago, I found this cute holiday skirt at Kohl’s that I just couldn’t pass up. It was originally $25 but I got it down to about $17 with some coupons that I had. I paired it with some black leggings since it’s a bit cold out and the skirt is a bit short, a black shirt, and some fuzzy polka-dot socks because my feet always get cold. If I were to have been going out, I would’ve opted for either some plain black flats or heels. I also had a green scarf to make the outfit less dark, but I ditched that because it kept getting in the way of my food, haha. Food before fashion!

The Party
We had seven friends over, which seems kind of small, but it was perfect for our tiny apartment. I’m not sure we could have fit many more. :P We ended up having waayyyy too much food. We didn’t even hardly touch the desserts I made!

We started out watching Jurassic World, though about halfway through we all got really chatty and didn’t pay much attention to the movie. It’s the booze talking. Then we did our Dirty Santa / White Elephant gift exchange. I ended up getting a cowbell. :D I keep teasing Andrew I’m going to ring it to make him come to me. :P We also gave out the presents we individually got for our friends.

We finished the night with Cards Against Humanity. Somehow earlier in the night, my grandpa’s racism came up as a topic of conversation, so I kept getting all the racist cards. My friends are terrible.

It was a really fun night. It’s something that I definitely want to continue in the future!

Just as a reminder, my blog survey is still open. I’d appreciate if you filled it out and it only takes a couple minutes. Now’s your chance to tell me my posts are too wordy or that I am the best thing since Kelly Clarkson. Thanks!

You Clean up Nice

I tend to clean up my blog when I have the least amount of free time to do so. Usually it’s a form of procrastination because at the end of the year, I have the desire to do some tidying up curiously right around finals week. The timing may not be perfect, but it is necessary and is something that I needed to do! I thought I would share some of the things that I’ve changed around here and some of the back-end things that you might not notice.

New Layout
A few months ago, I desperately knew that I needed a new design. I was tired of looking at the same theme and I felt that it didn’t accurately represent Jovers anymore. So I switched between a couple of ones I found online but none of them seemed to fit. So about a month ago I purchased my first theme! I have always been so wary of doing this because I think it’s silly to spend money when there are probably hundreds of thousands of free themes out there. However, with how much time I spend on here and how important this blog is to me, it was definitely worth it.

I didn’t have much time to tweak it at first, but I’ve recently worked with it to get it where I want. I updated the font sizes to be a bit bigger and the color to be darker to overall just make my posts easier to read. I updated some of the font faces as well since they seemed so squished. I’m really pretty happy with it! It looks very clean and open, which is what I wanted.

The only thing I’m having problems with is having my front page show recent summaries of my posts. I fiddled with the content.php file and changed “the_content” to “the_excerpt” which worked in the past, but for some reason this theme is making it so when you click on the individual post in the feed, it’s only showing a summary. So there is no way to read the whole post.Thoughts, anyone?

Updated the Emoticons
This was also a bit overdue. I loved the elephant emoticons but somewhere along the line they got squished and I just wanted something simpler. I quite like these! :D :P :) :O :( XD :heart:

Organized Categories and Tags
I finally reorganized my categories. Some of them should have been tags so I converted them over, merged a couple that were basically the same thing, re-titled some to either be more specific or more broad to encapsulate other categories, and have made some plans for future ones. I hadn’t used tags very often previously, but after reorganizing I should be using them appropriately now!

Cleaned out Drafts/ Some Old Posts
I’ve had several half-written posts in draft status that I knew I would never finish or publish, but felt like I needed to keep them for “history reasons” or something. So I deleted those. I then was going through my archives, and couldn’t believe how far back some of my posts dated (back to 2010!). This was something that I’ve been debating back and forth on because I feel like these posts are really important to me, for reasons I can’t explain. No one hardly views them, I’m not using them anymore, and some of them really make me cringe! The horrendous sentence structure and grammar and complaining – I just don’t feel like it reflects who I am anymore. Plus, I had written them at previous sites, so I feel they didn’t represent Jovers either.

So I decided to remove some of them. I changed all of the posts that I had written prior to moving to Jovers to draft status, because I wanted to go through them and make sure there really wasn’t anything there I wanted to keep. Then after getting comfortable with the idea, I deleted them. It sounds weird, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder! Plus, it’s nice to now go to my archives and see the first post I wrote here “Hello, World” right there at the bottom.

Updated Pages & Sidebar
Probably nothing that anyone besides me noticed, but I reworded some awkward phrases, added a few more links to social media, took a few away. Updated my About page a little bit and fixed my Goodreads widget which broke about a month ago and wouldn’t update the books shown.

Planning for Next Year
Reviewing what I’ve written over the year always motivates me to keep writing next year. It also gives me some new ideas of things to write and things I want to avoid writing. It’s also curious to note the big things that happened and the things that I consider important to me that I didn’t actually blog about. I’ve been reflecting over that and I think that will be a big improvement in my blogging next year.

Finally, I’ve decided to take after Holly and Georgie and post a blog survey. I think it will really show me my strengths and areas that I can improve. Also, I want to get to know my readers a bit more and see what you guys are interested in! I would really appreciate it if you guys could take it – shouldn’t take more than five minutes. I am very excited for what next year holds for www.l2dragonwind.com!

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