Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring On 2013

I know everyone always says this, but this year went by so fast! It feels like 2012 just started!

It's true what they say... "The days are long but the years are short."

As you might already know, I set a New Year's resolution for 2011 to "become a runner" after years and years of remaining resolutionless.

(Actually, that's a lie. My resolution was always "get a resolution next year". Typical sarcastic pain in the ass. How cute.)

So of course, I had a grand old time setting some resolutions for 2012 and typed them into my trusty iPod touch. Well, the iPod touch died a slow death in July and with it went all my resolutions.

It's okay though; I remember setting a "make homemade sushi" resolution, but I'm just going to say I forgot that one.

I made like 12 different types of salsa in Mexico, no joke. So I'll just count that as the sushi one.... Yes, that makes perfect sense to me.....

Other resolutions, such as "read more often for fun", were successful! I think I read close to 30 books this year for fun. I've always loved reading but I claimed I was too busy with school or work to read as often as I wanted. It was rare in 2012 that I didn't have a book in my hand or carried around in my purse....

So I'm sharing with all of you my resolutions for 2013! Hopefully I won't make any dumb ones this year that I'll regret (homemade sushi...... really, Taylor?!) but now I will never lose them on a silly bit of failed technology!

Sub-30 min 5K - I think I can accomplish this by the end of 2013! I'm consistently in the 31:xx range when I'm on my A-game. And I have an entire year to run faster!

Don't to anything stupid going leading up to your first half marathon - I have some time goals in the back of my mind, but in all honesty I don't want to make those big important goals. My goal should just be finish alive. So I just really want to make it to the start and finish line with an injury free smile on my face!

Smile, Tay! Take some better pics while you're at it!

Learn to cook - I'm a terrible cook and don't really like eating out, either. If I could just snack all day and get rid of meals I probably would. But I'd like to be like my Italian family and just throw together a gourmet meal in my sleep.

Eat more veg - I'm not a vegetable person. AT ALL. I wouldn't willingly eat vegetables if there was another option. But the other day during a post Christmas meal with family, I was eating all the veg on the table and loving it! (I think it's because I was so sick of turkey, so I just went for anything) It was exactly then that I knew I needed to just find healthy options that I genuinely enjoy instead of eating things for the sake of being healthy.

BE HEALTHIER!! This is not healthy, but it's oh so scrumptious! (If you've been to Canada and didn't eat a Beaver Tail, you haven't lived!)

Enjoy my wedding and don't get overwhelmed trying to please everybody - The past couple of weddings I went to, it just seemed like the couple was running around constantly talking with people, meeting and greeting, and trying to keep everyone happy. It's going to be a lot to juggle lots of family and friends from multiple continents, but I need to focus on my special day more than anything.

Get UK drivers license - I got the wheels turning on that already (sorry, pathetic pun intended... I know it was bad...) but next year I'd like to be more skilled. And fully understand all 3 pedals down there. And actually get out on a real road.

Hello passengers seat! I mean UK drivers seat.... I just realized I'm wearing the same cardigan in two photos... I swear I'm not like a cartoon character; I don't wear the same thing everyday...

Happy New Year, everybody!

What are some of your New Year's resolutions?? What are you looking forward to most about 2012??

Friday, December 28, 2012

Inside The Wardrobe: NYE

New Years Eve is great! Most people I've spoken to aren't particularly thrilled for 2013 to come along because of the negative connotation with the number 13. But 13 is my lucky number, so I genuinely cannot wait!

I've had a little ponder about some New Years resolutions and I think 2013 is going to be one hell-of-a year!


I don't really like going out on New Years Eve like normal people. I'd rather stay at home and watch the New York ball drop or Big Ben at midnight depending on which continent I'm on.

But when I saw this dress in store, I couldn't help but think that it was perfect for a  NYE night out! (Even if I'm not partaking in it myself)


(The quote is inspired by my home girl Taylor Swift's song "Starlight". I love it. I want to dance to it all day long and throw sparkles in the air. I asked the Fiance if we can play it at our wedding celebration and he said, "well, it's customary to play songs that people actually KNOW." I'm the bride; I'll dance and throw glitter to whatever songs I want!) 

Normally I'm not this "matchy matchy" with my outfits. But the silver/blue/black just sort of caught my eye. It started with the shoes (if I could only walk in heels.......) and then just worked its way up with other accessories. 

Side note, I've been in love with stackable rings. I think both that and Essie nail polish are my 2012 staples that will continue on in 2013!

What do you do on New Years Eve? Do you go out and party or have a quiet night in? Have you thought about resolutions yet?? 

(Link up with My Friday's Fancies)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gifted

It's Christmas Eve! 

I can hardly wait for tomorrow. I love watching everyone open their presents more than anything. And I'm especially excited this year because it's my first Christmas where I don't have to be sad about going back to America. (Yes, I live here now. Do I mention that enough??) 

And I think this new "home status" for England is my favorite present of all time. 

It can't be wrapped or put under the tree, but I know it's there!

I say that it's a great present, but I've also had some amazing and thoughtful presents throughout my life. 

The one that stands out in my mind is from when I was 8. (Side note, it was around the time cassette tapes were becoming obsolete and CDs were becoming increasingly popular... I didn't have a CD player yet though...) The first present I opened was 'Nsync's Christmas CD. 

(You know the one I'm talking about...)




Talk about #90sGirlProblems

Anyway, I was so upset. How could Santa not know that we didn't have a CD player?! He knows everything!! What was he doing giving me CDs for?! Clearly, he was losing his touch. 

The last present I opened, however, was a 3 CD disk changer stereo. Well played, Mom. I mean Santa.

That was quite amazing. 

I've also gotten some absolutely dreadful presents, too. 




When I went to England for the first time, it was also the first time I spent Christmas away from home. Maybe my parents were trying to spite me, because when I returned home in January all jet lagged and sad (from leaving the Fiance for 5 long months), I got the worst presents of my life. 

I asked for a Blackberry, but instead got just about every item from Walmart's "As Seen on TV" section. 

I got a Pepto Bismol colored Snuggie, a picture frame, some twist hair clip thing, and.... (I'm not even kidding) Smooth-Aways. If you don't know what Smooth-Aways are, look it up, but don't judge me. (Just because I'm Italian, it doesn't mean I'm an overly hairy individual.)

In the most grateful but curious way I could, I asked WTF they were implying with the Smooth-Aways. They said that I like cosmetic things so they thought I'd want to try it. I wanted to say, "When I say Urban Decay, do you misinterpret that for Smooth Away?!" 

But I didn't.... 

Hope you don't get any Smooth-Aways in your stocking this year! (Seriously, they're worse than coal)




Whether it's an object or something completely intangible, what is the best present you've ever received? Have you ever gotten any really terrible presents??

Friday, December 21, 2012

Inside The Wardrobe: Jolly For Jumpers

I've been wanting an "ugly sweater" for a while now. Finally after the millionth time of me saying "ugly sweater", the Fiance said "it's not an ugly sweater, it's a Christmas jumper!"

Oops! Expat lingo always gets the best of me.


Whether you get them from charity shops, eBay, or the back of your mom/mum's closet/wardrobe, ugly Christmas jumpers are making a comeback in 2012! I can't even count the amount of photos I've seen of friends going to "ugly Christmas sweater" parties or "tacky Christmas jumper" pub crawls!

Clearly, I'm a big fan. I'm definitely rocking a jumper sometime in the next few days for Christmas family celebrations!



Not only are jumpers super warm and cozy, they are comfortable. I'm the youngest in the family (both sets... The Fiance's family and my own) so that means that when we open presents I get relegated to sitting on the floor. Therefore, my Christmas outfit has to withstand many hours of Christmas fun all over the place! Simple but festive outfits like this are perfect for me!

What are you wearing this year for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?? A jumper so ugly that it's cute? Do you dress up a bit more?? 

(Link up with My Friday's Fancies)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fa La La La La La Florida

Before we get to the meaning behind my cheesy post title, I'd like to say a major thank you to Melissa at Smitten by Britain. She allowed me to do a guest post for today!

I've been thinking a lot recently about the differences between Christmas in Florida and Christmas in England. This year will be my fourth Christmas in England, so I decided to write about my 5 favorite things to do during Christmas here in England

So please make your way over here to read it!

I also had a good think about what I liked to do during Christmas in Florida. Instead of focusing on the cultural and weather differences between the two locations, I thought about what I liked to do the most. And while "going to the beach" and "sunbathing" didn't make the cut (but so should have!), I also wrote my 5 favorite things to do during Christmas in Florida!

1. Putting up the tree - In my family, buying the tree and decorating it is a pretty big tradition. We have to find the perfect tree. Decent height, no "bald patches" as my step-mom likes to call it, and a strong smell to fill the house! Then, we spend an entire night decorating, eating, and drinking while listening to Christmas music. My parents fight and threaten to divorce each other while trying to put up the lights while I laugh my ass off and just try to keep the cats in check. The ornaments have to go up in a specific order. It's serious business, but it's such great fun! 

I'm stuck! No, I'm kidding... Gotta love doing the grunt work!!

2. Pretending 50 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10 degrees C) is cold - Oh, yes, Florida's "cold fronts" are kind of a joke. But any excuse to wear a scarf and boots, right?? It's fun to dress up like it's winter, even fully knowing that by next week we'll be back in shorts and t-shirts. My friends and I like to have small bonfires outside and make s'mores! 

3. Driving around and seeing the Christmas lights - When I was little, there was a water tower that had the best Christmas lights display! My mom and I would drive around (sometimes twice at my request) slowly and look at them while listening to Christmas music. Since then, the water tower no longer does their massive displays. But I love going around my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods to look at the impressive lights. It feels magical!

4. Seeing old friends - Once I reached college, a lot of my friends and I went separate ways. Christmas vacation was always the best time to meet up again to reminisce, talk about our semesters, and of course do lots more eating and drinking. If the weather was nice, we'd have a pool party. Typical Florida December. My favorite thing to do, however, was go painting with my best friends. There's a local place where you can paint your own pre-made pottery. We'd spend hours upon hours there painting potential Christmas presents!

5. The local parade - One of the things I miss most about South Florida is our local parade. I was actually IN that parade for a majority of my life; first with my dance studio and then in high school with marching band. I never really got many chances to spectate it; however, when I did I thought it was absolutely amazing! It's no Macy's Day Parade, but it's still pretty good for a little beach town in Florida.

IT'S CHRISTTTTMASSSSS! I hope you said that like Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" song.

As you can see, Christmas in Florida and England are completely different experiences! But they both have the same priorities in mind.... Eat.... Drink... And be merry! 

Where do you normally spend Christmas? What are your favorite things to do there that make it so special and unique?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Half Marathon Training Week 8

Preface: I had a really hard time debating what to write today. I went back and forth about actually going on with my half marathon training week 8 post since I've missed a few of weeks, but I felt really guilty considering what happened on Friday. 

There's so much to say about gun control or lack thereof, especially because of the completely differing opinions on the subject in my old home and my new home. But to be honest, I prefer keeping my opinions to myself. With any tragedy, whether it be personal or global, I tend to stay away from the internet for expressing what's on my mind. I always have. Others have posted beautiful words all over blogs and social media sites, but it really is not my thing. All I know is that words just aren't enough.

My heart goes out to Newtown, CT and everyone affected by the shooting.

That all being said, I had a great week for running but I'll make it quick.






Monday - LRR group run. I believe we covered about 4 miles of just slow circuits around the park. Nothing fancy.

Tuesday - OFF

Wednesday - 6 miles

Thursday - OFF. I had planned to do a short run but my hip had been bothering me for a while. I decided to rest instead so it was okay for Saturday.

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 7 miles in total starting with the park run 5K. I pushed myself a bit but I knew I could have done better. I started getting lazy because I knew after the 5K I'd still have about 4 miles to cover. Nonetheless, I came out with a PB of 31:13 which I was proud of. Still in the 31:XX funk which I've been in for about a month or more... Anyone want to pace me? When I say "pace me" I mean chase after me violently with a stick so I can sub 31:00?? Thanks in advance.

Sunday - OFF

What motivates you to do speed work or go faster during a race?? Do you enjoy going beyond your comfort zone or would you rather stay at your "happy pace"?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Inside The Wardrobe: Serious Sparkle

Sparkles are kind of my best friend. 



Love them on nail polish.

Love them on shoes (glitter Toms for the win).

Love them in any way, shape, or form.

Top . . Trousers . . Necklace . . Clutch . . Flats

What's great about Christmas time is that you can always get away with wearing sparkly outfits. (and naturally, buying more sparkly outfits!)

I fell in love with these shoes because they're a unique twist on the two tone flats that are popular these days. I normally don't go for gold accessories, but I thought it complimented the sparkly top better than any other color!

And of course, a girly play on "keep calm and carry on". Very British, indeed!

Lets talk about sparkles. Only for special occasions (New Years Eve, parties, etc.) or for daily use?

(Link up with My Friday's Fancies)

Driving From The Passenger's Seat

I've tackled many challenges in my life. Some fun. Some annoying. All (mostly) worth while.

Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING could have prepared me for this:


Yes, the steering wheel (and, well, me) is on the right side of the car. You know, because that's how they make 'em in England.

And yes, as like most of the cars in England, this one is a manual. Which I have never driven before in my life.

2 challenges in 1? Why the hell not!

But it happened, and I'm here to tell you that it was kind of amazing.

Despite the Fiance saying that I did better than him and his brother on their first times driving (whoop whoop!), I had a few (read: 72983) oopsies along the way. But I'll spare you the novel and just tell you the important ones.

Oopsie #1: The clutch does a hell-of-a lot more than I thought it did. Surprise! I'm used to the car doing all the work, and now all of a sudden my left foot having to do something! I literally thought the clutch was just needed to change gears.... It's not. It's like you're doing a little dance with your feet.

Oopsie #2: Turning the wrong way when reversing. When you reverse in America, you turn your body to the right (to look over your right shoulder). That works really great when you are sat on the left side. Doesn't work so great when you are sat on the right side and find yourself staring at your seat belt and door. Yep, my brain went into car reversing mode and automatically turned right. WRONG.

Oopsie #3: "Driving like an American". There's no other way to describe it. Driving in a "new seat" gives you a completely new perspective. So most of my car depth perception is screwed. Apparently the car was always too left when I was driving and I had loads of extra space on the right side that I should have utilized.

I should also say that I didn't even make it on to a road. (Hence why I'm probably still alive...)

We stayed in an empty lot the entire time while I dealt with my 2 challenges in 1.

Next step is to perfect the whole "not stalling" thing and make my left foot not so lazy before hitting the streets of England. I'll let you know how things progress.

(By the way, I'm in the process of getting my provisional license in England, but I can drive here on my American license for one year. Make sure you check your country's driving laws before you embark on adventures in your car!) 

Has anyone ever tried driving in a country that drives on the opposite side as your own? How did it go? If you've never tried, would you consider it? Why or why not??

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dear Santa... Love, An Expat

Dear Santa,

Merry Christmas! Hope you're not too busy to read my letter. I know, I'm 22. I'm still allowed to do this, right?

I hope you got my address change for this year. I'm in England now... FOR GOOD. You understand my love of cold weather, right? I mean, you live in the North Pole!

Anyway, I've had a pretty good year! I got engaged and had a great summer, I survived my 22nd birthday, my UK visa got approved and I moved to England, I signed up for a half marathon in February, and I'm even done with Christmas shopping before the tree is even up!

More was even added AFTER the picture was taken. Thank you Royal Mail!

I've been very lucky this year, so my list isn't going to be very long.

But now that I'm an expat, there are some new items on the list I'd like to address.

1. Can you bring Target to the UK? Don't get me wrong, stores here are great! But nothing really says "one stop shop to blow your money on things you don't need" like Target. For the sake of humanity, England is really missing out.

TRUTH.

2. I'd really like some subtitles to travel around with. Nothing fancy. But when I talk, sometimes people don't get me. Portable subtitles that people can read would be really helpful when I'm out and about.

Just like this.

3. Can add something to my sisters Christmas list, please? She probably didn't ask for one, but I know she'd like a private jet this year so she can come see me in England whenever she wants. It'll fit in your big bag of presents, right?

4. You know how tiny and crowded English roads are? Well, I'd like a car that was just invisible to damage please. That way when I am driving on these roads no cars (or people) get hurt! Or better yet, the car could be like the Knight Bus from Harry Potter (and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the way it slows down time to squeeze through small spaces and stuff! That would be a life saver (pun intended).

(More on my UK driving later in the week!)

I'm a fantastic driver in America. Look at that concentration! And that steering wheel cover! Priorities...

5. A Mary Poppins Bag. Easy as that. If I had one of those, I wouldn't have thought I packed millions of things that I actually didn't pack (like my favorite Lululemon top.... 2 months later and I'm still bitter).

Work your magic, Santa! I know you can do it!

As per usual, can't go wrong with anything with owls on it or anything Harry Potter related.

Love,

Taylor the expat

Join the fun! Write one thing (or five!), preferably whimsical or crazy, that you would ask Santa for this year!  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Inside The Wardrobe: What Is Plaid?

Whenever I say "plaid" here, I get strange looks.

Apparently, the American "plaid" is the British "check".

Noted.

Personally, when I think of checkered print, I think of a checkered (racing) flag. More of a distinct tessellation, less of an overlapping pattern. (I can't believe I just used the word tessellation. #MathNerd)

But going on the "I'm in England and speak English" thing, I shall use the word checkered. 


I LOVE checkered prints. I secretly wish I had a uniform in school so I could have worn polo shirts, checkered skirts, and knee high socks. Call me crazy.

But nowadays, anytime I wear checkered shirts with my glasses (too lazy for contacts most days), I get called a wannabe hipster. (As opposed to any other day where I just get called Amy Farrah Fowler. PICK A SIDE, PEOPLE! I CAN'T BE BOTH!) For the record, I'm not a wannabe hipster. Just a girl with poor eyesight.

So I'm going to go with a more subtle checkered print.


I really like layers as the weather gets colder. I think check shirts go great under plain jumpers with the collar over the top and the checkered sleeves rolled up over the jumper's sleeves.

(Since the red is a bit of a contrast to the green trousers, I'd definitely keep the check shirt tucked in but leave the jumper out.)

And how cute is that dog necklace??? I know normally I'm an owl fiend, but I couldn't resist this little pup! 

How do you like to style check/plaid prints?? 
And totally off topic, do you have a celebrity look alike? Do people constantly tell you that you look like someone else?? (Like I get, "hey, you look like that girl from The Big Bang Theory!")

(Link up with My Friday's Fancies)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not-So Home For The Holidays Gift Guide

In my X-Mas For Expats post, I talked about sending care packages to family and friends.

You don't need to spend a fortune to show the ones you love that you're thinking about them from another continent!

My parents are coming to England for the first time for the wedding. More specifically, they are leaving the country for the first time for the wedding. I don't know how they are going to take to the cold, the food, or even the accent. But this Christmas, I'm going to try to prepare them with these lovely gifts for my parents across the pond!


Passport Holders - My parents are getting their very first passports to come see me! Yes, over 40 years on planet Earth and they never got a passport. Passport holders will be perfect for them this Christmas, or any traveler in your family! (Side note, the Fiance hilariously wanted to get them holders that said "My First Passport". The best part was, it had pictures on baby toys on them and were baby blue and pink. I still say we should have done it!)

Amazon Gift Card - I'm 99% sure my step mom is getting a Kindle Fire HD this Christmas, and I'm sure she's not the only one getting on the tablet wagon this year. Gift cards are great (whether they are for Amazon or Apple), that way they can buy different apps and books for when they're on long plane journeys. Just be careful of the currency you buy it in!

Plug Adapters - Obviously a must for anyone going across the pond. Nothing worse than buying some and then finding out your plugs don't fit into the adapter (true story, happened to me many times). So giving them these as an early traveling present will spare them the hassle of buying them once they arrive (or having to buy those "kits" with every plug under the sun). And if their American plugs don't fit, we still have plenty of time to get ones that do fit!

Sweets and Treats - Of course, you have to give them a taste of what they will be enduring when they come to visit. Throw in your favorites and hopefully they will enjoy them, too! (By the way, LOVING Dairy Milk Oreo Flavor these days. Anyone else agree??)

So instead of buying your dad a tie/cufflinks set and your mom some oven mits, try sending them their own personal travel care package! The possibilities are endless (language guides, sightseeing books, a photo album for all their pictures). But these are the things I've found most practical for my family!

And how amazing is this card??

Happy Christmas from Southampton! So cool!!

Such a cute idea (from the Card Factory)! My family should definitely look out of these, too! Cards are so underrated in the States. Nothing made me happier as a kid than getting cards. I completely fell in love with sending cards again once I came to England!

What do you send home for the holidays? Whether you're across the country or across the world, what would you include for the perfect "care package" to your family that's unique and personal?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You Eat WHAT For Breakfast?!

Take a second to watch this video. (Major kudos to Sam for introducing me to the video in this post!)



Alright, now what did you learn?

"Biscuits and gravy" does not mean McVities and the stuff you pour all over your Sunday roast.

Biscuits and gravy is a southern style breakfast that looks a little something like this:

WTF is in that? Looks like a whole bunch of mush.

When I say "southern style", I mean that it's more common in the southern and stereotypically "country" states.

(Florida is a funny place. North Florida is more "southern" and South Florida is more "northern". Lot's of people move to South Florida from New York, New Jersey, Eastern Canada, and New England, therefore making it more northern. North Florida is closer to Georgia and Alabama, therefore making it more southern. My mom was from New Jersey and my dad/step mom's family is from North Carolina, making me a whole bunch of confused.)

I thought when I moved to England, that would be the end to some of my favorite meals. This one included. But that's definitely not the case!

First things first, we need to define some words for everyone in the UK. Yes, it's your turn to get an English lesson today!

Biscuit - I'd say this is a savory version of a scone. It's not sweet like they are for a cream tea. They're more buttery. Typically if you think of American fast food chains such as KFC or Hardee's, you think of these biscuits.

Before and after pics of the biscuits. Helpful hint: we used the rim of a pint glass to cut out the biscuit from the dough! Talk about getting crafty!

Gravy - There really is no British equivalent to this. Gravy is the result of mixing all the flavors of spiced breakfast sausage (but not the typical links of it like in a fry up), mixing it with milk, and thickening it with flour.

(The sausage we used was found in the frozen food section of Sainsbury's and was without the encasing normally found for sausage links.) 

Sausage made into patties before grinding it up and adding it to the "gravy"

We (and when I say "we", I really mean the Fiance. I'm useless in the kitchen.) based our recipe off of this one and my family's own southern recipe.

It just goes to show that with a little extra effort and some trial and error, "home" cooked food doesn't have to feel thousands of miles away!

(If you want me to do a full post on how to make UK-friendly biscuits and gravy, let me know and I will!)

What meals do you miss when you're not in your home country? Have you ever tried to make something "foreign" and succeeded? Or failed miserably?

Monday, December 3, 2012

X-Mas For Expats

Well, it's December!!

And in case you didn't know, that means everything Christmas is acceptable!!

Unless your name is cranky the cat.

(That's my cat by the way. Bundle of joy, she is!)

I miss my cat. And I miss a lot of things about America. But this will be my fourth consecutive Christmas in England.

I honestly can't remember Christmas anywhere else but England! It's felt so normal since my first Christmas here in 2009. In fact, I'd probably be very confused spending Christmas in Florida.

But this year is different.

The good thing about it is that when the new year rolls around, I won't be getting on a plane and going back to America! The bad thing about it is that when the new year rolls around, I won't be getting on a plane and going back to America.

And I really don't consider it a "bad" thing that I'm not leaving by any means. Seriously, I've stopped calling Florida "home" and there's never a moment where I regret moving. But it also means that everything I miss stays very distant.

I've thought about it, and I made a list of ways to cope with not being in your native country over Christmas.

Send a care package to your family/friends - Nothing too big or expensive, but lots of things that they can't get where they live. Since my parents are coming to England for the wedding (first time EVER leaving the country for them), I'm sending them a box full of the things they will need for their long international journey across the pond.

Hope for a care package for yourself - I know this is the season of giving, but come on, you know you're craving that massive bag of your favorite sweets. It's perfectly acceptable to drop hints at your friends/family members to immediately drive to Target and buy those little things you miss.

Do something incredibly American (or whatever country you're from!) - She's Not From Yorkshire is probably the queen of doing the stereotypical American thing to dodge homesickness. I will officially announce that I will be the Vice Prez of that club. Go and order a Venti of your favorite Starbucks drink. Find a TGIFriday's (like the Fiance and I did on Thanksgiving) and order your favorite appetizers and laugh at their "flair". You'll feel so American that you'll need to get back to reality by watching a Stephen Fry TV show.


And then take a picture of it like a tourist because you're a really really cool person who takes pictures in Starbucks

Don't worry about holiday indulging - You have enough on your plate (no pun intended), the holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, and eating. And then lots of eating with your loved ones. Don't worry about having more Christmas pudding with lots of cream or drinking that extra glass of mulled wine.

Schedule a family Skype date - Hopefully your family knows how to use technology (mine suck at using technology). Plan a group Skype date so you can see everyone at once and it's like you're at a family get together! Dress up, reminisce, hint about the care package that you desire.

Do something new - Go to the zoo, eat at a new restaurant, find the town's local German market, go to a Christmas pantomime. Do something weird that you've never done before! Take pictures and tell your family that you'll take them the next time that they visit you in your new home!

Has anyone been to the London Dungeons?? Do it! It's fun!!

For me, I don't get "home sick" easily. When I was in Florida, I would say I was "England-sick" because I missed it so much (and of course the Fiance). So me being here feels right. But that doesn't mean I don't miss my cranky cat every once in a while. And these things definitely help!!

Where do you normally spend the holidays?? Do you go away? Stay at home? Where would your ideal December be spent?? 
Any other tips for spending the holidays far from your native country?