Friday Favorites: Ho-Ho-Holiday Edition II

Welcome back! It’s great to see you again!

Oh, wait. I wasn’t talking to you, although as always it is great to see you. I was talking to the Friday Favorites, which if you’ve been paying attention know have been MIA for the past month.
Or two.
(You also know that it isn’t unusual for me to talk to my computer screen. Let’s not forget, it’s why I started this blog.)

But you guys, I’ve been busy. I’m a working woman now. I mean, sure, I’m only a working woman like 15 hours a week, but that’s 15 hours less that I have for Target and napping, so you can understand how the Friday Favorites–not to mention other writing endeavors–have had to be prioritized.

It’s okay. They’ve had things like laundry and paying bills to keep them company.

But more on the new job adjustments later (maybe), we’ve got some favorites to get to. This time of year is chock full of them, isn’t it? It’s the most, favoritest tiiiime of the year!

And you know how over the past six months or so I’ve started every FF post with an apology for being lazy skipping a few weeks? Not today, my friends. Sure, I haven’t posted for awhile, but instead of an apology I’m going to say this:

You are welcome.
Because after you get through this list I’m fairly certain you’ll be thanking me.

Today’s FF post is a holiday bonanza! A favorite-a-palooza! A pinata exploding with favorites that you’ll be picking out of your carpet well into the new year! And at the risk of (futher) overselling them, I’ll even go so far as to offer you a guarantee: If you don’t find at least one of these favorites enjoyable or take away at least one nugget of goodness, I will publicly apologize to you.
Over an Appletini later.

So let’s get to this list of holiday favorites! Grab a beverage or a snack (although you might want to wait until you’ve read the entire FF list to make your choice), get a pen and paper to make some notes (trust me, you’ll be making a Target run sometime today), and close your office door (or turn your monitor away from your cubicle opening, furrow your brow and make small noises as you nod your head so your co-workers will think you’re reading a Very Important Report).

Here we go-ho-ho!

Favorites holiday edition

*some items may or may not have been recycled from past years. So nice they’ve made it twice! 

A Pentatonix Christmas


Here’s the thing. I like Pentatonix. I don’t loooove Pentatonix. I’m not one of those people who goes crazy over them. I mean, I think they’re remarkably talented and their songs sound super cool, but do I have Pentatonix songs on a regular playlist? No. But do I have Pentatonix songs on a Christmas playlist? Um, yeah.

I love their take on Christmas classics (previous year’s favorites include Hark, The Herald Angels Sing and Joy To The World) but having said that can’t really listen to an entire album of their songs at once—I admit that after about four or five songs I need a Nat King Cole palate cleanser. But their newest Christmas album is, much like their previous ones, really good. Check out the cool Lion King vibe of O Come All Ye Faithful, the rapid-fire pace of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and the retro-popness of I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

And then, when you want to be covered in chills, listen to and watch this cover of Hallelujah (which is also included on their latest Christmas album and which may or may not include actual Jesus) ~



Pepperidge Farm Ginger Family

This box of crispy, gingery goodness has been a favorite around here for years. When I spy the box on the shelves at Target I get a delicious feeling inside for two reasons: one, I know that the Christmas season is near, and two, I know that it’s finally time for these adorable family members to get in mah belly.
Don’t even try to eat just one; it’s impossible.
In fact, it’s practically a rule around here that if you’re going to have a cookie you have to eat the entire family. And this year I’ve discovered something that has almost made my mind explode with delicious delight; I pair the ginger family with …

TAZO Wild Sweet Orange Tea


You guys, I’ve never been a fan of hot tea.
It’s blah and watery and makes the back of my throat constrict.
And then I discovered this tangy, sweet TAZO tea and realized that I’ve never been a fan because I’ve clearly been drinking the wrong kind of tea. 

Last year when Thing 2 was getting strep throat (but we didn’t know it yet) we went to Starbucks and she ordered tea. (It was peppermint, I think, which isn’t relevant to this story but I’m adding it for color.)  I took the first sip to see how hot it was and my tastebuds tingled to the point of near bursting. (That was a good thing, btw.)
“What is this magical tea?” I wondered aloud.
No one answered me, so I wondered it again in the direction of the Starbucks man.
“What is this tea?” I asked. “And how can I get it by the truckload?”
He lifted up the box for me to see while not even looking at me and continued taking the person’s order which I had APPARENTLY interrupted.
Rude. (Talking about him, obvs.)

The next day when I was ordering a Skinny Peppermint Mocha (don’t be ridiculous, I’d never forego a SPM for tea, no matter how delicious it is) at the Starbucks in my local Target—where the servers know me and ARE NICE—I was told that Target sells TAZO tea, which I did not know because since I do not drink tea I do not shop in the tea section (but knew exactly where it was, because Target).
You. Guys.
There are like a million enticing varieties of TAZO tea.
After way too much time deliberating (between cinnamon, peppermint, and orange if you must know) I settled on the Wild Sweet Orange … and by the fact of its inclusion on this list the rest is history.

But seriously, you have to try it with a ginger family. The combination of sweet orange and spicy ginger is insane. It’s my new early afternoon treat and I am obsessed.


When you want to make your own cookies, however, here’s a little trick that has become a favorite. Use these —

Wilton Sugar Crystals


I often use these tiny nuggets instead of regular sugar to top my sweets and add some pizazz … and extra sugar, obviously. (I get mine at Michaels only because Target doesn’t have it. #DearTargetBuyer)

Peanut Butter Hershey Kiss cookies

Pumpkin muffins

Crunchy, sugary, pumpkin muffin top? Yes, please.

The crunchy sweetness adds so much more than regular old sugar … plus, it looks pretty.

*BTW, that pumpkin muffin is a huge favorite in this house and comes from Krusteaz … and Target.

And while you’re now thinking how much you want to eat that peanut butter kiss cookie up there, how’s this for easy? Betty Crocker (and Target) has your back.


My bag actually had a picture of a peanut butter blossom on the front, but I threw it away before remembering to take its photograph. #bloggerfail
Same mix. You get the idea.
I’ve made these cookies from scratch for years and I promise you, this mix is better. Do I say that because it takes 1/16 of the time and uses only two ingredients, one of which comes from my kitchen sink? Of course, but just take another look at that cookie up there and tell me it doesn’t look like it wants to live in your belly.

Another (store bought) cookie I’m obsessed with lately and that I practically need a restraining order against?

Pepperidge Farm Peppermint Milano Slices


Don’t even attempt to open a bag unless you’re prepared for regret.

And speaking of regret …

Archer Farms Cinnamon Almonds and Pecans


You might want to have a buddy around before you open these to keep your gluttony in check. Or not.

And here’s a tip: Pour some of these in a cute jar or bag and leave for workers like your mail carrier (if you like her). She’ll think you made them yourself. Just make sure you get an extra canister for that so you don’t have to share one nut of yours.

Moving on to other delicious things.
I finally found a way for my house—or at least my family room—to have my favorite sweet pine smell 24/7.

Pier One Holiday Forest Diffuser

PIer One Holiday Diffuser

I replaced their ugly burlap bow with a jolly red one

While I usually have a 3-wick Bath & Body Works holiday candle burning at some point during the day, it’s nice to still have a yummy holiday pine scent hanging around even when I don’t. The Pier One Holiday Forest scent smells almost exactly like the Thymes Frasier Fir collection you see (and smell) in a lot of boutiquey gift stores this time of year which is unbelievably fabulous … and unbelievably overpriced. At $13 (on sale), this little Pier One knock-off is a huge new favorite.

I’m going back this weekend to get another one.

The Fundmentals of Caring

I get it. You might not get how this movie goes with the rest of this holiday list. I mean, Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez don’t exactly scream It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, right? But I’m betting that over the Christmas break you might like to have a good movie or two in mind to watch, amiright?


My family watched this together over Thanksgiving weekend and loved it. It’s sweet, serious, funny, sarcastic, thought provoking, and heartwarming. We laughed out loud and teared up. Four enthusiastic thumbs up.

Fennellly’s Mint Chocolate Liqueur

Need a beverage to accompany movie night? Why go for the tired old glass of wine or craft beer you go with every other night? (Oh, wait. Just me?) Years ago Baileys used to have a chocolate mint variety but astonishingly and disappointingly discontinued it a couple of years ago and I’ve been in a chocolate mint vortex of depression ever since.



I found this deliciousness at Total Wine last week and you guys, it’s all I can do to not drink more than a tiny shot of it every night. If my jeans — and my common sense — allowed it I’d drink a full glass like chocolate milk. Easily. You’re not welcome.

Speaking of deliciousness, make sure to check back next week for YMFT’s annual Santa’s Little Helpers post!! I’ll be sharing my 2016 favorite martini concoction — and reminding of you a few oldies — which will come just in time to help get you through the madness. Or if you’re already in need of some help, just click here. No judgment.

That’ll do it for today, folks. I need to make a cup of tea and eat a ginger family.
And hey, while I’m napping (because obviously) be sure to let me know some of your holiday favorites in the comments below! 

For more Friday Favorites, click HERE


  1. NinaN on December 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Well I guess I’m heading into work early today so I have time to check Pier 1 for that reed diffuser.

    • Michelle on December 2, 2016 at 11:05 am

      They’re on sale 2 for $25. Trust me, get two. They have a big ol’ stopper so you can close it up if you don’t use it all (which is unlikely). And there’s other good scents so you could mix it up, I just happen to love the Holiday Forest. 🙂

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