Todd’s Tasty Home-style Chili

Todd’s Tasty Home-style Chili. It’s a cold night. You’re hungry. Could there be anything more tasty than home-made chili? I think not! Follow’s Todd’s ridiculously simple tips for a best pot of chili in North America. (Thanks to Jeff Stout for his excellent chili tips.)

 

Looking for more cold weather recipes? Try our Roast Pork Leg here, or Todd’s Tasty Fall Dishes here.

5 Fresh Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve

 

(Image credit via Flickr: Simpleinsomnia)

5 Fresh Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve. Erin here… I have to be honest–years of hosting New Year’s Eve events as a radio “personality” leaves me with a loathing for the Big Drunken Bar Fest. It’s depressing being the only sober one in the room and trying to give away prizes to people too drunk to remember their name, much less read the teeny tiny numbers on their winning tickets.  Maybe you’re just looking for something different because you’re different–you’re a mom now, or you’re newly single.  Here’s some ideas I found poking around New Year’s Eve celebrations across the globe. (Editor’s note: stop by our Amazon.com page– I’ve picked out affordable options to help you enjoy all of these traditions.)

5 FRESH WAYS TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE

red undies

(photo credit: The Style PA)

1. Wear Red Lingerie: In Italy it is considered good luck to wear read underwear and lingerie on New Year’s Eve.  It is believed that wearing something red will give you good luck in love and relationships in the year to come.

 

night run

(photo credit: Peter Mooney)

2. Run: you don’t have to be training for a marathon to want to be stronger and leaner in 2019.  What better way to bring in the New Year than while exercising?  If you can run outside, bring a group of like minded friends and champagne in the water bottle.  My friend Cheryl snow shoes through the forest with her family to greet the New Year in utter, perfect silence.

 

jumping into the pool

(photo credit: Charlie G)

3. Jump: in Denmark they have a tradition of climbing onto a chair and jumping off at the stroke of midnight. How about going a little bigger?  Jump into a (heated) pool or body of water. Jump without fear into the New Year and all the adventures you’ll bring with it.

 

paying debts

(photo credit: Quazle)

4. Get Rid of Loose Ends: one of the many traditions of New Year’s celebrations in Vietnam, is a purging of unfinished business. Return all things you’ve borrowed and pay off any debts you can. Start off the new year with a clean slate.

 

flash paper

(photo credit: Chrls Blakely)

5. Burn, Baby Burn: pick up flash paper from a local magic shop or order online from here.  Write your worries, troubles, frustrations and things you want to leave behind as you head into the New Year.  Light and throw into a big pan or barrel–they flash white light with a very satisfying “whoosh!” as your troubles disappear along with 2018.

 

Our personal New Year’s Eve tradition? We use sky lanterns-write down a worry or trouble you want to leave behind from 2018, and a new wish or goal for 2019. Your worries fly away to be consumed by the flame-and your wishes are marked down by Fate to come true. (Obligatory warning: we of course check with the local fire department wherever we do this to make sure we’re following local regulations.)

Porch Pirates & Christmas Shopping… Todd & Erin Style

Porch Pirates & Christmas Shopping… Todd & Erin Style. Did you know that Salt Lake City is number two in the NATION for porch pirates? You know, those sleazebags who cruise your neighborhood, spot a package on your front step and steal it? Todd and Erin discuss this and the “true” meaning of the holidays. Happy Holidays!!!

(Cover image credit: US AirForce)

Heartbreak And The Holidays

Heartbreak And The Holidays

Losing MacLean swamped me again last night. We were driving aimlessly with our kids Zachie and Zoe, looking for Christmas light displays. Like most parents who have lost children, my life is separated into “Life with MacLean” and “Life without MacLean.” As we drove, we kept up our annoying Collard commentary on some familiar sights, and that’s when it hit me that my son had been in the back seat laughing and enjoying the displays the last time we’d seen these lights. And that I would never get to see them with him again.

MacLeanie and his twin brother Zachary were born neurotypical and hit all their milestones as they should until around two and a half, when they abruptly regressed into autism. Then, at nine years of age, they developed seizure disorders. Despite diets and treatment and medication and everything possible, my MacLean passed away from SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death by Epilepsy) about 18 months ago. He’d woken up that morning around 4:30am, so I got to kiss him before leaving for our radio show. By the time our nanny frantically called us at 8am, my boy was gone.

To be honest, I really didn’t want to write this. A therapist friend of mine convinced me that we might have coping tools that could help other parents, so here goes…

Everything turns into milestones- another Mother’s Day without my MacLean. Another un-shared birthday for Zachary. But the holidays are the toughest for most people- where the warmth of the season and the focus on family hones our grief into a razor-sharp point. When you have other children, you don’t get to crumble and fall apart. They deserve happiness- and just as important- seeing you happy too. But I cried last night because missing MacLean turned me inside out, and my seven year old Zoe sagely remarked, “Oh, you’re missing ‘Cleanie again. That’s all right, Mom.” I think you have to show grief as well to the rest of the family- let them know that it’s okay to be sad, and that yes, it’s normal that happy things and experiences can still make you cry.

But you can’t cry all the time.

So, Todd and I have developed some coping mechanisms over the last 18 months, some we’ve discovered, some suggested by smart friends and fellow parents who have lost a little one. And if you’re mourning a loved one gone this holiday, maybe they’ll help you too.

 

Create a special place for your child.

I have MacLean’s tree, which we placed just outside the door so he has a beacon when he flies by. I like to think of my son roaring along with the wind- he always loved it. In fact, on the one year anniversary of the day we lost him, a wild 60 mph wind rose out of nowhere. My boy: such a drama queen! But I stood outside in the backyard and laughed, appreciating his little greeting. His angel wings are placed on the top, and his sister and brother decorated his tree with all his favorite things, like his little birdhouses and ridiculously large candy canes. Maybe it’s a collection of framed photographs. A tableau of beloved toys and images of from some of your best memories. Todd keeps a picture of MacLean on the table at Christmas dinner so he’s “sharing” it with us. Whatever you choose to display gives you a focal point and a feeling of peace that your little one isn’t gone.

 

 

Include an activity or tradition your little person loved.

MacLean loved the Dollar Store run, where he’d pick out his gifts for everyone in the house. Even though Zachie’s older and capable of making more sophisticated presents, he and Zoe trek through the aisles to pick up a little something for each of us. The goal is to stimulate those happy memories of enjoying this experience together and letting them bond your family more tightly. (This picture includes a frame from MacLeanie’s Dollar Store adventures.)

 

 

Make a Memory Video.

I do this on every birthday, having guests share a memory to honor the new milestone for my kiddo’s lives. But the holidays tend to be when more of us get together, and I asked everyone to remember a favorite moment with MacLean. There was lots of laughter, some crying (I’m from a Scottish family, there’s always a lot of laughing and crying, often at the same time, which is quite impressive) and some incredible memories- several that I’d never heard before. Afterwards, a couple of my sisters, then a stream of nieces and nephews confided that the ritual brought them a lot of relief- that they weren’t sure if they could say that they missed their cousin or if they should even bring up his name. Everyone felt more relaxed and happy after being able to talk about MacLean. (This image is from a big Christmas-themed photo shoot – slash – video. MacLean was so thrilled by it all that he fell asleep. Twice. I’d forgotten until a girlfriend sent this to me. I’ll treasure it forever.)

 

Don’t pretend everything is the same.

Nothing is ever going to be the same, and it’s all right to accept that. Maybe every tradition at the holidays is centered around the child who is no longer there. It’s okay – important, actually – to create new traditions, too. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten your child, but some fresh rituals that make you happy are a small, but important sign of moving through the sadness and allowing yourself and your family to experience more simple joys. Zachie and Zoe wanted to start sledding the minute it snowed this year. MacLeanie was never a fan of being cold, so we didn’t do it often. This year, I pulled out the sleds and hauled the kids into their snowpants the minute the first flake fell from the sky.

 

Say his/her name. Please.

Zoe asked me once, “Why doesn’t anyone talk about MacLean any more?” People, trying to be kind and not upset you, will often never speak about your lost child, never use his name. MacLean’s siblings needed to know that he was real, that he mattered- it helped Zoe to hear about her brother, because she was only 5 when he passed away. It gives her and Zachie (and us) peace and security knowing that MacLean is not forgotten. When our extended family reminisce about MacLean- sharing a memory that might have just popped up or sending a video or pictures they’ve just found- it brings him here to us again. I’ve had to ask friends to please say his name, share a memory, anything! My girlfriend Debbie breathed a sigh of relief and said “Thank you! I’ve wanted to tell you about MacLean and this little craft we’d made together, and I just found it, and…” I can’t speak for any other parent who’s lost a child, but I can say that every parent who’s shared their experience with me all wanted the same thing. “Say his/her name. Talk about my child. He didn’t disappear.”

 

Heartbreak And The Holidays – This is so important:

If you or someone you know is going through the grieving process this holiday and needs help- it is SO important that you ask for it! Here’s some resources I want you to use, please. And a huge hug from me and all the love in the Universe.

Grief Source Network has several different numbers from excellent sources here. 

Grief Support Directory has a host of resources here.

Compassionate Friends specifically operates support groups nationwide to help parents who have lost children, reach them here.

Please do not be afraid to reach out to friends and family. Remember when they said “Anything I can do…” when you lost your little one? They meant it. And they will be grateful to actually be able to help.

 

And if you have experienced the loss of a child and have suggestions or ideas to offer- PLEASE DO SO HERE- I learned almost everything I know from other parents who have gone through this grief before me. So please share and help others.

Go For “Good Enough” This Holiday And Be HAPPY!

Go For “Good Enough” This Holiday And Be HAPPY! When did the holidays change from “This is GREAT!” to “Oh, I hope I can make it through the holidays.” Probably around the same time we all decided we had to be perfect and only post perfect things we’ve baked, crafted or decorated on social media. Here’s our new challenge: post something imperfect and show that “Good Enough” is great. Here’s a wonderful pep talk from Dr Julie Hanks teaching us how. Make this your happiest holiday yet by embracing imperfection.

 

Go For “Good Enough” This Holiday. Erin here- as you can see from the picture above, these are my totally feeble Milano Reindeer Cookies- it’s a miracle the cookie company hasn’t emailed me, begging me to not make them look bad. But they were made with my 7 year old Zoe and a lot of… uh… heart. We don’t have to be perfect to be happy for the holidays. I am embracing my imperfections! (Editor’s note: If you still want to try the no-bake Reindeer Cookies, because they really are tasty, find the video and recipe here.)

The Todd & Erin “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Rogliano’s Italian Dressing

The Todd & Erin “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Rogliano’s Italian Dressing.

I have a 6’6 mountain of a brother that’s a hard-core carnivore. He was “Keto-friendly” before there was such a thing. So I buy him a case of Rogliano’s Italian Dressing every year for his Christmas gift. Aside from being ridiculously tasty, this stuff acts as a marinade… part of your crockpot meal… ribs… pasta salads… pork… sandwiches… shrimp… it even makes a perfect gourmet grilled cheese sandwich and panini when you baste dressing on your bread instead of butter. 

 

 

But here’s why I love Rogliano’s. Jeff and Veronica.

They’re the owners of this lovely, tasty business and they’re at every local fundraiser, every community event, and they epitomize “shopping local.” Rogliano’s is carried in every local grocery store, from Harmons to Dick’s Market, in fact you can find all the locations that carry them here. If you don’t want to have to actually leave the house, you can order them online as well at Rogliano’s.com. There’s all kinds of lovely recipes online as well, just in case you have “chef fatigue” and you can’t think of one more thing to cook. Jeff describes their tasty dressing like this:

“The recipe for Rogliano’s Italian dressing has been a family tradition since 1922. The authentic Italian tastes comes straight from the old country and is not only a delicious salad dressing, but makes a great dipping sauce, seasoning or marinade that is superb for grilling.”

 

Everybody loves them. Governor and Mrs. Herbert…

 

 

They’ve dressed up their dressing bottles for the holidays, so it tucks nicely into a Christmas stocking, a gift basket (or in my gigantic brother’s case, a side of beef and a case of Rogliano’s) and part of anything that needs extra tastiness. 

 

 

Supporting Rogliano’s by throwing a boatload of bottles in your shopping cart is one of the best ways to support a local business that supports all of us right back at charities… community events… Erin’s Night Out… Look! Even Kevin (Hercules) Sorbo loves them. And so do I. 

 

Have you met our other “Shop Locally” Legends? Thank you for your support of our local businesses, and please take a look and see if these folks can take care of your gift list. Karma points for keeping your money in our community!!

Kathy Cushman – Utah DIY Wedding

 

Michelle Brooks – Mary Kay custom gifts

 

Mrs. Lewis and Jazzy J – Perfectly Posh pampering, body and skin care

 

Brittany Jones – Color Street Manicure Goddess

 

Pure Romance by Brenda Winters

 

Bonnie’s Joy Pin-up Boudoir Photography

 

Rebecca Segar’s Skincare

Stuff I Do Not Get About The Holidays

Stuff I do NOT get about the Holidays. A few years ago on Christmas Eve morning, The Todd and I shared in something utterly amazing. Late the night before, I’d been on the phone with a frantic coordinator from one of the local community refugee services.  Four families from the Sudan just arrived in Salt Lake City pretty much with only the clothes on their backs, family members lost along the way, but here.  We had only a few frantic hours of social media begging and pleading before we (hoped) everyone would:

  • Spring into action on the busiest day of the year during our morning radio show which starts at 5AM.
  • Bring 4 families everything from boots and coats to microwaves and bedding.
  • Wrap and organize all the presents, remembering what sweater went to which kid in which family.
  • And.
  • Help us deliver everything.

stuff-i-do-not-get-2

(photo credit: Ridvan Yumlu)

(cover image credit: Dwight Burdette)

This is how made of Awesome our friends and listeners are: they did it.  In less than 3 hours.  With so much left to spare that we had to make another stop at the YWCA to drop off presents there, too.   It was like the Attack of the Christmas Ninjas.

pile of presents

(photo credit: JustinRussel)

After meeting these little people, getting snuggles and dropping off the gifts, I don’t think I could be more in love with them.  Their first Christmas. How do you even PROCESS something like Christmas when you come from the war-torn Sudan?  We tried to explain.  But since there’s things about the Holiday I sure as heck don’t understand, I’m not sure how well I did.

Stuff I Do NOT Get About The Holidays

elf on the shelf

(photo credit: Michael Kappel)

1. Elf On The Shelf: Really?  Where is this from?  Why is he here?  Why are parents required to spend hours rearranging him into thousands of different scenarios that would likely have gotten me spanked as a child if I’d tried them?   Anyone remember the last loveable children’s doll that started moving around by itself?  “Chucky” ring a bell?  Look at that face.  The Elf on the Shelf is not your friend.  Those beady eyes and insincere smile are identical to those of the guys who roll tourists and steal their organs for the black market.  Trust the Elf on the Shelf and I’ll bet you wake up in a bathtub of ice with your kidneys and pancreas missing.

santa radio

(photo credit: Don the up north memo)

2. The Mad Dash For Christmas Music: the curse of my career. Listening to Program Directors fret. This conversation is precisely why I am so happy I don’t work in radio anymore.

Him: “Should we go All Christmas? Should we do it now?”

Me: “Don, it’s August 16th.”

Him: “Yeah, but the guys at KZOW will go All-Christmas before October.  You know they will!”

The true horror of this conversation?  K-whatever likely will go All-Christmas before you’re even figuring out what the kids are wearing on Halloween. And then we’ll have to go All-Christmas. And guess what?  There are like, 3 Christmas songs you actually know, along with Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah” which we throw in for “diversity.” So, we have a playlist of maybe 30 songs and I am forced to listen to listen to the Backstreet Boys sing “Jingle Bells” 3,912 times before the personal hell that the Holidays have become is over.

Which leads me to…

chriatmas shoes

3. The Christmas Shoes: I recognize that anyone I haven’t managed to offend by thinking the Elf on a Shelf is creepy is going to hate me for believing with every fiber of my being that this Holiday staple is an abomination. Look, taste in music is subjective and personal. Like Patrick Henry and freedom… or… like… whatever he was defending… I will defend to the death your right to love this song as long as you know it is created from carcinogens, murder and the tears of small children. You do not know what it is like having to hear the overwrought wailing of the singer from New Song caterwauling “Hiiiiit was nearly Chriiiiiistmus tiiiime” over and over and over again during the Holidays. I want you to be happy, I do. I want you to be sitting in your car gripping the steering wheel with a single tear coursing down your cheek as you realize the True Meaning Of The Holidays. I want you to be listening to our show when this happens. I just don’t you to be listening to “The Christmas Shoes.” Because that means I am being forced to listen to it, too. (Editor’s note: if you really, really hate “The Christmas Shoes” too, you need to watch Patton Oswald’s diatribe. You will laugh so hard you will sever an internal organ.  (Be warned that it has naughty language. Like swearing and sacreligious stuff. Very, VERY very naughty language. Very. Wait. Never mind. Don’t watch it.)

red kettle

(photo credit: 19melissa68)

4. Smarmy Bell-Ringers: Dude, I am here for you. My kids save a portion of their allowance every year for the Bell-Ringers because they love to put the money in the bucket or boot or whatever you’re using. We have had the discussion of where their money goes. They know little kids like them need a nice Holiday, too. But while we’re doing it, could you avoid doing the following?

  • Hitting on me. Did you notice I’m wearing a wedding ring, Casanova?
  • Hitting on my underage children.
  • Commenting on the cake in my shopping bag, “Man, that’s got a lot of calories. You sure you need that?”
  • Yelling at my children when they drop the change and have to try it again. It’s windy. Your bucket is a moving target, brother. Chill out.

(Editor’s note: let me say that I was a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army and proud to be so.  They are good people and an amazing organization. I cannot tell you what these people go through. During the course of one live radio morning show from my chilly corner, one kid stuck his chewed gum under my bucket like it was the underside of his desk. Several people flipped me off. One guy agreed to give a one dollar donation but “only if I could break a $100.00.” So I get it. I do. But maybe find a date on your time off, okay?)

bad christmas

(photo credit: Steven Yeh)

5. Spending The Big Day With People You Hate: I learned this important fact a long time ago. Family is sometimes what you create, not what you were born with. I’ve heard unspeakable stories of abuse, (emotional, physical and more) during the holidays. I have friends who go into a deep depression this time of year because they can’t take another day of dreadful memories, but they feel obligated to revisit the House of Horrors. “It’s the Holidays!” Family members hiss, “We’ll all be there but YOU!  What’s wrong with you!” If this is you, I want you to click on this link right now and listen to Dr. Julie Hanks talk about spending the holidays alone, rather than with a toxic family. It will change the way you look at the holidays.

I feel very lucky to have been blessed with a riotous, weird, wonderful family that I’m thrilled to see.

(Editor’s note: Not that it’s perfect. Last Christmas, my sisters and I actually invented a drinking game where we took a swig of eggnog for every time our Dad told us we were:

  • Fat
  • Had big feet
  • Had weird teeth–“Are those fake?”
  • Took away our dessert and ate it, saying “I’m trying to save you from those calories.”
  • Said… “Your child is badly behaved.”
  • “Is that the adopted one?”
  • “Where’s the smart one at?”
  •  “That one is too short to be related to me.”

All of us were three sheets to the wind by 10pm. Although my father has always done this, he now has dementia and we can’t do anything to him. Except smile vaguely and walk away.  Sorry, that was a long Editor’s note.)

You didn’t get the good, weird, fun family? Gather with friends you like, change up the holiday and go bowling and eat Thai food. Do what makes you happy and honors a day where we celebrate something that is sacred to each of us. And if all else fails, come over to my house. There’s usually, like 256 of us and with all the add-ons, only half or so speak English. I’ll find you someone who speaks the words you understand. Unless you’re the annoying one.  In which case I’m sitting you next to my father.

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The Todd & Erin “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Rebecca Segars Skin Care

The Todd & Erin “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Rebecca Segars Skin Care. Meet today’s Shop Locally Legend: Rebecca Segars. She’s a Master Esthetician with 17 years of experience, and the woman believes in helping you age gracefully. We actually ran into Rebecca when the Todd got a recommendation and went in for his VERY FIRST skin care session. What should have been a brisk exfoliation/extraction thingie turned into this epic, hour-long masterpiece with a foot rub and warm booties, a shoulder rub, steam… towels… lotions… (I’m quoting the Todd at this point. He was a little giddy and had a misty expression of happiness for a good 36 hours.) PS: his face looks amazing. 

Anyone familiar with spa services will gasp and clutch their pearls like a maiden aunt at this- her prices are amazing:

Brow wax: $18

Full Leg wax: $50

Chemical peel: $60

High-frequency anti-aging facial: $80

Brow tint: $12

Lash tint: $20

But there’s so much more, you can find all of Rebecca’s glorious offerings here.

Rebecca works out of a beautiful vintage home in Salt Lake City- you feel serene the minute you enter, even if you have no idea what serene means. A simple spa service turns into a wonderfully nurturing experience- seriously, with 119 reviews, she scores 5 out of 5 stars. Every time. If you’re looking for a new expert to place your tired self in their capable hands, Rebecca is your girl.

As for gift certificates and December specials, they’re spectacular. After the Todd’s experience, I’d strongly suggest buying a gift certificate for the man in your life who could REALLY use some help. She does back waxes. Just saying…

Have you met our other “Shop Locally” Legends? Thank you for your support of our local businesses, and please take a look and see if these folks can take care of your gift list. Karma points for keeping your money in our community!!

Kathy Cushman – Utah DIY Wedding

Michelle Brooks – Mary Kay custom gifts

Mrs. Lewis and Jazzy J – Perfectly Posh pampering, body and skin care

Brittany Jones – Color Street Manicure Goddess

Pure Romance by Brenda Winters

Bonnie’s Joy Pin-up Boudoir Photography

Todd & Erin’s “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Bonnie’s Joy Pin-up

Todd & Erin’s “Shop Locally” Holiday List – Bonnie’s Joy Pin-up. I can’t imagine a more satisfying gift than one that makes you look and feel beautiful, and gives you photographic proof. I’ve been wanting to do a vintage, “pin-up girl” photo for the Todd for a while, he loooves that style. And there’s nothing more satisfying than that look of misty gratitude on the face of your partner when they see a picture of you all dolled up for them.

 

Meet today’s “Shop Locally” Legend- Bonnie’s Joy Pin-up. Photographer Alyssa Chambers, the brains behind the concept, says “I founded the service on a love of the pin-up style, Bonnie’s Joy is a retro centered photography company based out of Salt Lake City. I have a variety of services and ever- changing themes, so Bonnie’s Joy is a fun, unique experience for each guest.”

 

Essentially, you can book a single session for $120: including professional hair, makeup, photoshoot, style guide, custom pinup or boudoir theme, wardrobe available, 8 to 10 edited digital prints, and print ordering through Smug Mug. Half the fun is seeing how much these cute women enjoy being transformed into luscious creatures during the photoshoot. We all want to look beautiful, but Alyssa also makes you feel beautiful- and it shines through in your photos. (Editor’s note: this is an extraordinarily low price for a photo shoot. Including makeup and hair, these shoots usually run between $350-700.) Alyssa’s also offering this special right now: mention code “Erin” and receive $30 off for your group party good till Jan. 31st.

 

https://www.instagram.com/bonniesjoypinup/ https://twitter.com/bonniesjoypinup https://plus.google.com/109042519053785416834 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN2rz3k4orhP4vxPKNCiqcA?view_as=subscriber

 

Why not make a party of it? A little mutual support, a lot of giggling… Bonnie’s Joy provides group parties up to 4 people for $360, which includes everything in a single session with the addition of bingo with prizes, double the amount of digital prints and a polaroid keepsake.

 

 

 

 

 

Please meet the rest of our “Shop Locally” Legends… And thank you for shopping locally and supporting our local businesses, artists, creators, writers and servicepeople!

Kathy Cushman – Utah DIY Wedding

 

Michelle Brooks – Mary Kay custom gifts

 

 

Mrs. Lewis and Jazzy J – Perfectly Posh pampering, body and skin care

 

Brittany Jones – Color Street Manicure Goddess

 

 

Pure Romance by Brenda Winters

“I Need HOW Many Lights?” A Guide To Decorating Your Christmas Tree

“I Need HOW Many Lights?” A Guide To Decorating Your Christmas Tree. I know I’m not the only frustrated Martha Stewart wanna-be who’s done the Decorating Walk Of Shame to the store at midnight, buying 16 more packages of lights for the tree because I ran out halfway through.  And you can’t stop–the thing is just sitting there, looking forlorn and unfinished. So I tracked down my girlie Carla, an interior decorator who specializes in decorating for the holidays (is that a cool job or WHAT?) and got the dimensions. Here’s her no-fail guide.

(Image credit: frankieleon)

(Editor’s note: by the way, if you’d rather have your lovely, live Christmas tree shipped to you, there’s all kinds of lovely options here, and you can find an inexpensive tree stand and good quality lights here. It’s a great holiday when you never have to leave the couch!) If you’re looking for some holiday light shows to inspire you -or overwhelm you- have a look at our guide to Every Single Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front here.

Print off this handy guide and take it along with you when tree shopping.

No Decorating Walk Of Shame. I’m here for you, honey…