Riley Heruska
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Although most of us like to think of the Lone Star State as a place of Southern hospitality and general safety, Texas is not immune to the horrors of the modern-day slave trade that takes place within America. Hundreds of human trafficking cases are reported in Texas every year, both by victims/survivors of the trade and those who observe the crime being committed. 

Within the first half of 2017, 433 cases of human trafficking had been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and most of those cases involved women trapped in the world of sex trafficking. Many of these reports came from the DFW and Houston areas. Studies also estimate that there are roughly 79,000 child victims of sex trafficking in Texas, according to a 2017 report by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. That same study indicates that there might be more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas. 

Many have critiqued the Texas government for not doing more to end the slave trade in our state, but Texas has made a few steps towards battling human trafficking. Last year, the state hired its first Director of Human Trafficking Prevention, and the government is striving to implement more coordinated efforts to target the illegal activity. Still, as a state, it's clear that we could do more to put a stop to human and sex trafficking. 

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, so let's talk about what we can do to lower the reports of slavery in Texas and throughout the United States.  

First, we must understand what human trafficking is. It occurs when one person is manipulated through violence, unfair coercion, or lies to enter a field of commercial sex, servitude, or any kind of forced labor. Human trafficking tends to arise in places with large urban centers, which makes Texas a prime candidate. Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio are all hubs for this terrible crime. It's a lucrative business, bringing in as much as $600 million for traffickers across the country who exploit sex, construction, farm, and restaurant workers. 

To help, we must learn to identify victims of human trafficking. Victims are typically living in poor conditions, hindered in their ability to speak to others, showing signs of abuse, lacking proper identification documents, and potentially residing with an employer. They are often kept locked up and hidden from view in restaurants, nail salons, and hotels. 

If you believe someone might be living in a human trafficking situation, try to subtly ask about their situation. Inquire if they have been threatened, if they can leave the area, if they have access to their forms of identification, and if they are residing in proper living conditions. In many cases, the victim's family or personal well-being may have been threatened, so make sure to ask them about their situation in private to avoid risking their safety. 

Additionally, keep in mind that not every victim of human trafficking is kept in a seedy motel or some sort of villainous secret lair. Some victims continue to lead fairly normal lives by attending school. The Texas School Safety Center encourages teachers, parents, and school officials to keep their eyes peeled for middle schoolers and teens who might be involved in slavery. To learn more about how to identify a victim, visit this website

If you believe you've found a victim of human trafficking, reach out for help immediately. Alert your local law enforcement or call the 24-Hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Another way you can contribute to the battle against human trafficking is by simply raising awareness. Many Americans believe slavery is a thing of the past, but in reality, slavery is far from dead. More than 40 million people around the world were estimated to be victims of modern slavery in 2016, with one in four of those victims being children. Educate your friends and family so that they can be on the lookout for traffickers and victims in their cities. Take to social media to share helpful articles and information. 

You can also donate to anti-trafficking organizations that ceaselessly toil to find and eliminate incidents of modern slavery in America. Check out this website to find one you might be interested in financially supporting. 

To learn more about the statistics of human trafficking in Texas, visit

Riley Heruska
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Whether you're a fan of award shows or not, the Golden Globes certainly highlighted several amazing shows and movies that are worth watching soon. Take a look at these winners and decide which one you're going to enjoy first. If you love one of the winners and want to encourage other BubbleLife readers to give it a chance, make sure to let everyone know in the comments! 

Television Series 

The Handmaid's Tale

This Hulu-original series definitely made waves over the last few months. It tells the tale of a future in which women have little to no power in America, which is now governed by an oppressive theocratic dictatorship. Unflinching and shocking, The Handmaid's Tale will definitely keep you watching, and it's no surprise that it won two Golden Globe awards (Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series and Best Television Series, Drama). Once you start watching, you won't be able to look away. Find out what all of the fuss is about and catch up on the series before season two hits Hulu in 2018.  

This Is Us 

It's no secret that millions of people adore this emotional drama. The series follows a unique cast of people who all share the same birthday as they navigate through the ups and downs of life. Critics have labeled it as "heart-tugging" and "disarming," which is probably why so many families continue to love it. Sterling K. Brown was awarded Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama at the Golden Globes, which is just one more reason to finally give this tv show a shot. Warning: you might want to keep a box of tissues on hand for some of the more emotional episodes. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 

The creators of the beloved Gilmore Girls series are earning praise once again for their new Amazon series,The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hilarious and downright delightful, the show whisks the audience back into a colorful version of 1950s New York. Be prepared for old-timey tunes, commentary on women's roles, plenty of wit, and of course, a fabulously engaging plot. Rachel Brosnahan was awarded Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Miriam (aka "Midge"). The show was also awarded Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy. If you've been hesitant to leap into this comical show, let this be the sign that pushes you to take the plunge. 

Big Little Lies

Undoubtedly one of the most popular television shows in 2017, Big Little Lies has sparked conversation around the country. Everything in the series, from the stunning acting to the gasp-inducing plotline, will have you begging for more. The secrets, murder, and mystery can keep any viewer guessing, which is probably why the HBO series has been described as the most addicting show of the year. The show swept the Golden Globes with not one but four different awards: Best Television Limited Series, Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series (Nicole Kidman), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series (Laura Dern), and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series (Alexander Skarsgard). 

Master of None

If you've been looking for your next favorite comedy, look no further: Master of None is packed with humor and a refreshing premise. Aziz Ansari tells the story of a 30-year-old immigrant who must face all of the difficulties that come with moving to America. Every episode will have you laughing and smiling, which is probably why the show has an impressive 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Ansari was awarded Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy, at the Golden Globes, which just gives you an even stronger incentive to sit down and have fun with this unique series. 


Although this series first hit the air in 2014, it's never too late to enjoy a gripping crime drama. Based on the 1996 film of the same name, the show tells the story of a pair of local police officers who are trying to solve a series of murders that may or may not be connected to a drifter and an insurance salesman. Audiences love the series' intelligence and stellar plot, as well as the fascinating characters and dark sense of humor. Ewan McGregor was awarded Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series for his portrayal of two twins, Emmit and Ray Stussy. 


The Greatest

Perfect for viewers of all ages and lovers of musicals, The Greatest Showman is a visionary tale of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman) and the circus he creates. The songs are incredibly catchy, and the choreography and effects will have your eyes glued to the screen for every minute of the film. Although most of the songs on the soundtrack are totally worth listening to, none are more impressive than "This Is Me," which was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Run, don't walk, to the theater to catch this holiday release as soon as you can. 

The Shape of Water

Picture this: a lonely janitor working in a 1960s research facility stumbles across a top-secret creature that's being held in captivity. If that doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will. Master storyteller Guillermo del Toro received a Golden Globe for Best Director of a Motion Picture, and the film's music by Alexandra Desplat was named Best Original Score in a Motion Picture. Although this movie might seem a little too out-there at first glance, give it a shot and you might be surprised by the beautiful emotions and story it encapsulates. 


Although this might not be the most popular movie released by Pixar in the past few years, Disney doesn't disappoint with Coco. Full of Mexican lore, family-friendly themes, and a dose of enjoyable tunes, the film is a must-see for people with young children. The attention to detail in the animation is downright impressive, and once again, Pixar taps into a side of human emotion that leaves every viewer with a full heart. The film was named Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, so as soon as it comes out on DVD, snag a copy for your next family movie night. 

I, Tonya 

Based on a true scandal that took place in the 1994 Winter Olympics, the film follows Tonya, a competitive ice skater who faces a huge setback when her ex-husband intervenes in her career. The talented cast, including Allison Janney who was awarded Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, makes the movie one that's difficult to forget. Before you know it, they'll have you laughing and gasping in horror as they tell the tale of a woman full of passion and strength. 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Haven't heard of this one before? Many haven't, but you probably will now that it has taken home four different Golden Globe awards. The story follows a woman named Mildred (Frances McDormand) as she attempts to solve the mystery behind her daughter's murder. The authorities might have failed to catch the killer, but Mildred won't rest until justice is served. Full of controversy, tragedy, and cleverness, the film has won admiration from critics around the country. No wonder it was named Best Motion Picture, Drama and Best Screenplay. McDormand was awarded for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama, and Sam Rockwell was awarded Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. 

Lady Bird 

Audiences simply adore this artistic film about a seventeen-year-old girl coming of age during the early 2000s. Christine, aka "Lady Bird," might be from the wrong side of the tracks, but she longs for a life full of adventure. Follow her as she experiences many firsts in life, including heartbreak and graduation. Saoirse Ronan's portrayal of the teen is lovely, which is why she was awarded Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. The movie itself was named Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy category, so sit down and immerse yourself in this touching, witty film as soon as possible. 

Darkest Hour 

Critics are calling this film utterly transformative and compelling. Based on a true story, Darkest Hour details the events that led to Winston Churchill's induction as Prime Minister of Great Britain on the precipice of World War II. Rarely are historical films this entertaining and enlightening, and Gary Oldman's portrayal of Churchill is wonderfully convincing. In fact, he was awarded Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture for the role. Take a few hours to learn about one of the world's greatest leaders through a film that's as informative as it is captivating. 

The Disaster Artist  

The Franco brothers, James and Dave, come together in this poignant film to present a story of friendship and dreams. Their on-screen chemistry makes the movie unforgettable, as well as a little depressing and strangely humorous. James Franco took home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, so you know it has to be a film worth watching. 

Riley Heruska
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It's a new year and a new you, am I right? Most of us are currently working on our list of resolutions for 2018 in hopes of building better versions of ourselves in the future, and although it's a great idea to think about positive changes you can make in your life, resolutions are typically difficult to stand by after a month or so. In fact, a study conducted a few years ago found that only 8 percent of people actually stick to their New Year's resolutions. Resolutions are usually well-meaning, but let's face it: most of us are back to our normal routines within a few weeks after wrapping up NYE celebrations. 

Instead of promising to make monumental (and probably unachievable) changes in 2018, consider picking ten smaller habits to work on. If you need some ideas, here are some resolutions that even the laziest of us can stick to over the next year. 

1. Instead of signing up for a new hobby, build upon one you already have. The idea of starting from square one on a new activity can be overwhelming, so instead of starting your first guitar lesson or signing up for kickboxing classes, consider focusing on the hobbies you already know and love. If you adore novels, make it a goal to read a certain number over the course of the year. If you enjoy painting, buy yourself some new supplies to encourage more creativity. 

2. Vow to add a little variety to your life. If you haven't been on a vacation in two years, plan something, even if it's just a weekend getaway. Try a new restaurant once a month or finally visit that new bowling alley you've heard so much about. There's no correct number of steps to take; simply make a conscious effort to add a little spice to every month so 2018 stands out. 

3. Do one thing that terrifies you. Pick one of your biggest fears and face it, if you dare. For some, this means leaping out of a plane that's 12,000 feet in the air or holding a snake at your local zoo. This resolution is easy to check off in one brave moment, so take a deep breath and tackle the scary adventure head-on. 

4. Organize that one part of your home that drives you crazy. We all have a closet, drawer, or maybe even an entire room that could use a little TLC. Instead of planning to clean your entire house from top to bottom or reorganize every nook and cranny, isolate one problem area and get it done. You'll find it's much easier to focus on one spot than it is to think about dealing with an entire home. 

5. Pick one charity and donate to it on a monthly basis. We all hope to be more giving and thoughtful during the new year, but doing so is often easier said than done. To give yourself a little encouragement, do your homework and find a charity that you'd love to support over the next 12 months. Then, make a note in your calendar to donate to that organization at least once a month. It doesn't have to be a big donation; even $10 helps, and you'll feel good knowing you picked a charity you're really passionate about supporting. 

6. Work on your sleep routine. Saying you're going to get eight hours of rest 365 days in a row is a totally implausible statement. Of course there will be nights you get more or less, so don't set yourself up for failure. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make changes in your nightly habits. Research done by the CDC indicates that 30 percent of Americans are sleep deprived and that cellphones (or other kinds of blue-light technology) might play a roll in your poor sleep routines. Do yourself a favor and spruce up your bedtime ritual. Invest in a lavender-scented oil, a sleep mask, a sound machine, or maybe even a new mattress if you think it'll help you get more sleep on a regular basis. 

7. Don't make weight or gym-oriented goals. Instead, try to get moving however you can. If you're one of the thousands of Americans who is going to sign up for a gym membership in January only to cancel it in February, think about changing your resolution a tiny bit. Make an effort to simply get moving, not to lose a certain number of pounds or visit the gym every day. Taking long walks, hiking, using the stairs, and many other forms of activity will make a huge difference in your health, and you're much more likely to engage in those activities than you are to completely restructure your week around a new workout routine. 

8. Reduce your intake of one unhealthy beverage. So many Americans vow to eat healthier, but that's a vague resolution that's difficult to stick with. Think about what you drink on a daily or weekly basis and see if you can cut your sugar levels by making a change. All of those sodas, coffees, alcoholic beverages and teas add up, so pick one and consider it a treat rather than a normal part of your diet. 

9. Adopt the five-minute rule. When you see something that needs to be done, either around your house or on your to-do list, ask yourself if you can finish it in under five minutes. If you can, get it done immediately. If you can't, it can wait until later. You'll be surprised by how many small tasks can be accomplished in under five minutes (*cough cough* making your bed in the mornings), and you'll find yourself procrastinating less and staying on top of your daily chore list.

10. Focus on building muscle instead of losing fat. Many people forget the benefits of strength training and opt for long stretches on the treadmill instead. Although aerobic exercise is fantastic for your heart, it's also important to train your muscles on a regular basis. Forget weighing yourself every morning and set your sights on physical improvements instead. The more capable your body becomes, the more confidence you'll have in your appearance and abilities. 

What are your New Year's resolutions? Leave other suggestions in the comments! Happy New Year from all of us at BubbleLife, and best of luck in 2018, whatever your goals may be. 

Riley Heruska
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With hundreds of books hitting the shelves every month, it can be difficult to sift through new releases for the best finds. There are only so many hours in a day, and you want to spend your evenings curled up with a book that's worth your time. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Here are ten of the most popular novels that were published in December of 2017. 

Year One by Nora Roberts

Beloved author Nora Roberts returns with this epic bestseller and now is the perfect time to pick it up. The plot begins on New Year's Eve when a sickness suddenly sweeps the world. As society begins to fall apart and more than half of the human population drops dead, chaos reigns. Magic and witchcraft spring up to replace science and technology, and it becomes clear that no one is trustworthy when the world comes to an end.

"A fast-paced, mesmerizing, and thought-provoking novel that will no doubt add to Roberts' legions of fans." - Kirkus Reviews 

Roomies by Christina Lauren

When Holland Bakker is saved by a stranger from a dangerous subway attack, she pays him back by pulling some strings and getting him an audition with a huge musical director. Things work out in her savior's favor, and he ends up on Broadway. The only problem? He entered the country illegally. Holland marries the man, Calvin McLoughlin, to keep him in America, but how long can they pretend that they're just friends? 

“Lauren brings her characteristic charm to the story. Holland’s tale is more than an unrequited crush; it’s about self-expectations, problematic friendships, unconventional family, and the strange power of love.” - Booklist 

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs 

When people are on the brink of ending their lives, they call End of the Line in search of some last shred of hope. Unfortunately, one of the End of Line workers doesn't want to give them hope: she wants to destroy any remaining shred. She adores talking people off the edge. However, someone is on to her, and he'll do anything to find out the truth. Disturbing and unique, this is one you might want to read with the lights on. 

“One of the most exciting, original thriller writers out there. I never miss one of his books.” - Simon Kernick

The Hookup by Kristen Ashley 

Best-selling author Kristen Ashley has made her fans proud once again with her newest release. The story follows Izzy, the new girl in town who falls in with charming Johnny Gamble. The problem is, Johnny's heart is still on the mend from a previous relationship. Can the two of them work through their pasts to be together, or will old problems resurface to pull them apart? 

The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites, Translated by Alison Layland 

Told across two generations, this heartwrenching story comes from German author Mina Baites and is translated by Alison Layland. The Silver Music Box tells the tale of a Jewish family divided by World War II and how a simple music box brings them back together half a century later. 

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills 

This novel for teens details a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and it's packed with lessons on friendship, first loves, and standing up for yourself. Claudia might not be the most popular girl in school, but she knows what she's willing to do for her friends and for herself. 

“With sporadic references to Jane Austen's famous characters and wickedly inventive language, Mills closely observes the social milieu of an American high school... A fresh, smart, inventive, and altogether impressive debut.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle  

The last thing Lily Michaels-Ryan expects is to fall for Abelard. After all, she was diagnosed with ADHD and he has Asperger's. They couldn't be any more different on the surface, but they soon discover that they share a love for ancient letters. As they start to fall for one another, they question if two people on such divergent paths can stand together. Hilarious and heartwarming, you'll enjoy every minute with these two struggling teenagers. 

"Readers will be moved by the sacrifices the teens make for each other, and the open-ended conclusion invites speculation while providing reassurance that the bonds formed between these characters won’t easily be broken." - Publishers Weekly

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde 

Everything changes for rancher Aiden Delacorte when he can suddenly sense the emotions of all the living things around him. Suddenly, it's impossible for him to ignore the feelings of those close to him, and he's forced to face things he thought he buried long ago. A story of compassion and bravery, The Wake Up is pure magic. 

“Prolific novelist Hyde, author of Pay it Forward (1999) [and] Allie and Bea (2017), delivers another touching story of resilience and hope that feels cinematic in scope.” Booklist

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden 

The followup to The Bear and the Nightingale, this bestselling novel follows Vasya as she flees her home and pursues a life of freedom. She soon finds herself wrapped up in the politics of Moscow as it comes under siege, and she must decide if her freedom is worth the price she must pay. Don't worry, this sequel is just as full of magic and Russian lore as the first book, so you won't be disappointed. 

“Arden’s lush, lyrical writing cultivates an intoxicating, visceral atmosphere, and her marvelous sense of pacing carries the novel along at a propulsive clip. A masterfully told story of folklore, history, and magic with a spellbinding heroine at the heart of it all.” - Booklist, starred review

What Remains True by Janis Thomas 

When five-year-old Jonah is killed, his family falls into turmoil. Guilt, fury, sorrow, and grief envelop them until the family starts to lose their grip on one another. The story follows their descent into chaos and their struggle to cope with the unimaginable. Full of raw emotion and heartbreak, this is one novel you won't soon forget. 

"This is the kind of book you stay up late to finish—whatever your morning alarm clock setting may be. If you enjoy being dropped headlong into the middle of a family’s story, feeling the weight and hope of their emotional journey, then I suspect you will love this novel like I do." - Danielle Marshall, Editor 

Riley Heruska
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Starting to feel a little underwhelmed by your options on Netflix? Never fear, the company will be adding a large selection of new shows, movies, and documentaries during the first month of 2018. Which January additions are you most excited to binge-watch?


January 1
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 
Maddman: The Steve Madden Story 
Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World 
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable 

January 15 
2018 Olympic Winter Games Preview: Meet Team USA & Go for the Gold 


January 1
10,000 B.C. 
30 Days of Night 
Age of Shadows 
America's Sweethearts 
Apollo 13 
Batman & Robin 
Batman Begins 
Batman Forever
Batman Returns 
Breakfast at Tiffany's 
Bring It On 
Bring It On Again 
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish 
Bring It On: In It to Win It 
Definitely, Maybe
Furry Vengeance
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days  
King Kong 
Lethal Weapon 
Lethal Weapon 2
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
License to Wed 
Like Water for Chocolate 
Love Actually 
Marie Antoinette 
Midnight in Paris 
Monsters vs. Aliens 
National Treasure 
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming 
Strictly Ballroom 
The Dukes of Hazzard 
The Exorcism of Emily Rose 
The First Time 
The Godfather 
The Godfather: Part II 
The Godfather: Part III 
The Italian Job 
The Lovely Bones 
The Shawshank Redemption 
The Truman Show 
The Vault 
Training Day 
Wedding Crashers
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 

January 2 
Mustang Island 
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 

January 5
Before I Wake 

January 8
The Conjuring 

January 10 
47 Meters Down 
Alejandro Riano Especial de stand up 
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie 
In the Deep 

January 12 
Disjointed: Part 2 
Somebody Feed Phil 
The Man Who Would Be Polka King 
The Polka King 
Tom Segura: Disgraceful 

January 14 
Wild Hogs 

January 15

January 16 
Dallas Buyers Club 
Katt Williams: Great America

January 17
Bad Day for the Cut 

January 19 
The Open House 

January 23
Todd Glass: Act Happy

January 24 
Ricardo Quevedo: Hay gente asi 

Television Shows

January 1
Chef & My Fridge: 2017
Eastsiders Season 3
Glacé Season 1
Lovesick Season 3

January 5 
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Devilman Crybaby Season 1

January 6
Episodes Season 1 - 5

January 12 
Colony Season 2

January 16 
Rita Season 4

January 17 
Arango y Sanint: Riase El Show 
Friday Night Tykes Season 4

January 18 
Tiempos de guerra Season 1

January 19 
Drug Lords Season 1
Grace and Frankie Season 4 
Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Season 1

Riley Heruska
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The morning of December 25th is arguably the craziest of the entire year. Between navigating the mounds of discarded wrapping paper and handling children bursting with adrenaline, you barely have time to think, much less get everyone fed. To make things simpler, plan breakfast for the family in advance! These seasonal dishes are unbelievably simple (and delicious). Whip one of these up for your loved ones so you can start the special morning right. 

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake 

If you really want to make things easy, start this incredible dish from Averie Cooks on Christmas Eve and just pop it in the oven the next morning. Everyone will adore the buttery-soft bread that tastes like gingerbread and molasses. You can leave it in the fridge for up to twenty-four hours, so heat it up whenever your family starts to get hungry. One less thing to worry about on Christmas! 

Hot Cocoa Pancakes 

What's more fitting for a Christmas meal than a whole lot of hot cocoa? These pancakes by Lisa at Wine and Glue are just as fun to make as they are to eat. Drizzle them in chocolatey goodness and top with a handful of little marshmallows for the best results. 

Christmas Egg in a Hole 

Not all Christmas breakfasts need to be filled with sugary ingredients. This dish is super easy to make and a little more nutritious. Simply take a holiday-shaped cookie cutter and make some fun shapes in a few slices of bread. Then cook some scrambled eggs inside the bread cut-outs in a frying pan. Ta-duh! Protein mixed with a little bit of Christmas magic. 

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting 

This is another great breakfast to make the night before. Julie from Lovely Little Kitchen has perfected her cinnamon recipe. It's packed with sugary goodness and the best cream cheese frosting you've ever tasted. Family members of any age will gobble these treats up faster than you can say "Jolly Ol' Saint Nick." 

Christmas Tree Waffles 

These delectable little trees take less than half an hour to prepare and are such fun. You can use your regular waffle mix, some green food coloring, and candy to make a breakfast that's as memorable as it is delicious. Don't forget to snap a few pictures! 

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake 

My mouth is watering just looking at this tempting recipe. All you'll need is butter, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, buttermilk, kosher salt, and of course, fresh blueberries. Mix them all together and let the dish bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Once you give it a try, you'll probably never want to serve a different breakfast on Christmas again. 

Eggnog French Toast 

This recipe by Jaclyn at Cooking Classy puts a fun holiday twist on a traditional dish that's easy to make. Mix all of the ingredients (eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, and rum) together and soak some thick bread in the mixture. Then place the bread slices on a buttered griddle until their perfectly golden. Glaze with some warm maple syrup and you're good to go. 

Cake Batter Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup 

If you adore fluffy red velvet cakes, then you'll fall head-over-heels for this scrumptious breakfast by Gimme Delicious. You can use pretty much any store-bought red velvet cake mix as the base, then you'll use the recipe to turn the cake into pancakes smothered in delicious cream cheese. 

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones 

This is the best time of year to use cranberries in your cooking, and these scones are the perfect partner for a fresh cup of coffee on Christmas morn. Full of fruity flavor and drizzled with white chocolate sauce, they're sure to be a hit with everyone. Follow this recipe from Chew Out Loud and you'll have a batch ready in less than an hour. The recipe also tells you how to prepare and store them if you're making them in advance. 

Christmas Mimosas 

All of the children are having bunches of fun, so why should adults relax a little, too? Embrace the holiday spirit with these yummy morning cocktails. How Sweet Eats combined the perfect amount of champagne and cranberry juice for a drink that's wonderfully festive. 

What dishes do you love to serve on Christmas morning? Let us know in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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From now until next week is the absolute best time to embrace a cozy atmosphere within your home. According to the current weather forecast, we could be seeing some pretty cold temperatures this next weekend, so let's bundle up and make our homes the perfect holiday retreat. Here are a few recommendations that will take your home to a level even Santa himself would take pride in. 

Drape blankets across your couches and chairs
. Whether you're a fan of comfy knits of fuzzy faux-fur pieces, nothing makes a home feel warmer than an abundance of blankets to cuddle up with. Bonus points if you can find blankets with holiday patterns and colors. 

Swap out your usual throw pillows for more festive decor. HomeGoods, Target, and many other stores have a plethora of adorable Christmas pillows to choose from, and they'll definitely up the coziness factor significantly. 

Light a few candles throughout the space. Hopefully, your house already smells amazing from all of the Christmas baking, but a few extra yummy scents never hurt anyone. Plus, who doesn't love looking at the flickering lights? Go with holiday-themed scents like pine trees and vanilla for a little extra cheer. 

Get a toasty fire going. Although it's not that cold here in Texas, we'll take any excuse to get a blaze going in the fireplace. Roast marshmallows or simply warm your cold toes up while listening to Christmas tunes. 

Set out some tea and hot chocolate mixes in the kitchen. You can never have enough warm drinks during this time of year, and it gives you an excuse to use all of your favorite holiday mugs. 

String up plenty of cheerful garlands and soft lights. The glow of sparkling lights and the warmth of green garlands will make any home feel festive and welcoming. 

Let holiday movies play in the background. Even if you aren't planning on sitting down to enjoy a film together, put on a classic Christmas movie as you bake and hang out. Personally, I'd recommend It's a Wonderful Life or perhaps A Charlie Brown Christmas

Place some festive plants around the house. Trader Joe's has an awesome selection of poinsettias and other flowers, along with amazing cinnamony decorations. 

Leave snack trays scattered throughout the kitchen and living area. Peanut brittle, cinnamon candy, brownies, cookies, whatever floats your boat. By placing them in easily accessible locations, you'll encourage people to relax and indulge. 

Adorn your coffee table with holiday-themed books for both children and adults. Snuggling up to read a Christmas novel together is a great way to pass cold evenings. Don't forget to include picture books for the little ones. 

How do you make your home feel cozier at this time of year? Leave recommendations for other BubbleLife readers in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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So, you've been too preoccupied with the local holiday festivities and Christmas movie marathons, and now you're on a desperate last-minute hunt for a gift. You don't want it to be obvious that you forgot to pick something up, but you also don't want to shell out the big bucks for this final present. We got you. Here are ten gift ideas that can work for pretty much anyone and that you can order or pick up just in time for December 25th. 

1. Scratch-Off Travel Map: Your favorite globetrotter will love marking their latest adventures on this giant gold map from Amazon. Get it today for just $31.99 and it will ship in time for next Monday. 

2. Chique Set of Notebooks: Everyone needs a few fancy journals in their life, and it's a super easy gift to pick up at any bookstore. Check out all of these beautiful options at Barnes and Noble. 

3. Cocktail Books or Cookbooks: Sophisticated but simple, this gift is something your friends and family can actually use. I highly recommend Tasty Latest and Greatest and The Home Bartender

4. Card Game for Adults: Whether you're a fan of Cards Against Humanity or looking for something a little newer, fun games for parties are always a good bet. 

5. Set of Luxury Bath Bombs: Give your giftee the chance to relax with a couple of Lush's exquisite holiday bath companions. You really can't go wrong with the shimmery "Golden Wonder" or "Star Light Star Bright." 

6. Fancy Version of Their Favorite Classic Novel: Browse Amazon's book department, which is full of gorgeous covers and special editions. This version of The Princess Bride is definitely on my wishlist! 

7. Eye-Catching Bookends: I know this sounds kind of lame, but think about it: how many people really buy bookends for themselves? They're a great way to add some spice to a bookshelf or desk, and this set is just so pretty. 

8. Tile Mate Anything FinderThis is the perfect gift for your friend who's always asking "Where did my keys go??" Attach it to a set of keys or other devices, then track the item's location via your smartphone. 

9. Duffle Bag for Weekend Getaways: If your sister has been totting around the same weekend bag since she went to college, gift her a nice leather replacement. Trust me, she'll totally use it. 

10. Puffer Coat or VestOld Navy has some great quilted vests and jackets that are super comfy and perfect for fashionistas or casual dressers. Order them ASAP to get them in time for Christmas. 

Now, what are you waiting for? Get moving! Christmas is just around the bend. 

Riley Heruska
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This month is always the month of movies. Something about the holidays encourages families to flock to the theaters for the latest and greatest, and Hollywood has brought their A-game this year. If you're in the mood to grab some popcorn and settle in for a new film, here are the top flicks to check out over the next few weeks. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

Easily the most anticipated movie of this month, this newest installment in the Star Wars saga brings emotional twists and epic battles together to honor one of the most beloved series of all time. Daisy Ridley returns in her role as Rey, a young woman who has become enveloped in the world of the Force and Jedi. As she trains with Luke Skywalker, secrets from the past begin to unravel, and she must embark on a new adventure with Lei, Finn, and Poe. Find out if the dark side is more powerful than anyone thought on December 15. 


Young Miguel can't stop making music, but his family won't hear of it. After one of his ancestors abandoned his family to pursue the life of a musician, music has been banned from the house. On the hallowed Day of the Dead, Miguel attempts to enter a contest to begin his career as a world-famous musician, but he accidentally stumbles into the Land of the Dead. Full of bright colors, Mexican culture, fun characters, and of course, catchy songs, Coco is a film the entire family can enjoy. Catch it in theaters now. 


Paul Safranek (played by Matt Damon) is an occupational therapist who decides to undergo a new medical procedure alongside his wife (Kristen Wiig). Together, then enter a "downsized" world where life is full of luxury. Clearly a social satire, the film tackles big themes like saving the environment and what it means to be happy. Amusing and original, Downsizing is definitely worth checking out on December 22. 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 

Many of us grew up watching the Jumanji movie with Robin Williams, and now the story is returning in a new form. Four very different teenagers stumble across an old video game and decide to give it a shot, only to be sucked into a strange world as adult avatars from the video game. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, this is one comical holiday release you won't want to miss. Look for it in theaters on December 20. 

The Greatest Showman

Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman takes on the role of P.T. Barnum, the legendary showman. When he loses his job, Barnum decides to create a spectacular show unlike any other witnessed before. Told in the form of a musical, the tale follows Barnum's show as it becomes a worldwide sensation full of brilliant stars and heart-stopping performances. Catch big names like Zac Efron and Zendaya in this larger than life production, which hits theaters December 20. 

Pitch Perfect 3  

The Bellas are back for one last time in this third film. The girls may have won the World Championship, but they aren't content to retire to quiet lives just yet. Together, they head overseas for a new competition full of catchy tunes, new characters, crazy antics, and friendship. Join Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe, and the rest of the gang once more on December 21. 

Phantom Thread 

Reynolds Woodcock (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) is one of the best dressmakers in post World War II London. His creations are at the center of British fashion, and he spends his days dressing glamorous stars, debutantes, and even members of the royal family with the help of his sister. However, when he meets one woman, his world is turned upside down. Alma (Vicky Krieps) is unlike any other lady he's known with her strong will and inspiring personality. His life quickly becomes overrun with their romance, but will it wreck his career? Find out in theaters on Christmas Day. 

In the Fade 

When her husband and son both die tragically in a bomb attack, Katja's life begins to fall apart. The only thing that seems to drag her out of her mourning is a plan for revenge. Deep and emotional, In the Fade tackles xenophobia and other pressing issues. Head to the theaters on December 27 to witness this intense story told by German director Fatih Akin. 

What movies are you most excited to see? Tell us in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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Everyone has a friend that's always jetting off to new, exciting places. Whether they're traveling with family, with a significant other, or solo, they'll totally appreciate a few thoughtful gifts that can accompany them on their next adventure. Show them that you support their wanderlust by wrapping up one of these travel-friendly presents. 

Luxurious Sleep Mask: When you're on the road or in the air a lot, grabbing some quality zzz's can be challenging. A silky eyemask will help block out the light and encourage your traveling bestie to get some much-needed rest on their next vacation. This one from Amazon is a must-have, and it's so affordable! 

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See... RankedEvery avid traveler has a bucket list that's a mile long. Help them add to theirs with this amazing book. They'll love flipping through the gorgeous pictures of faraway destinations, and you might even give them some inspiration for their next big trip. Plus, it's the perfect coffee table book for your globetrotter. 

Travel Jewelry Box: No one likes unpacking their bag only to find that all of their necklaces and earrings have become a tangled, unsolvable mess. Travel jewelry boxes are perfect for keeping everything separated and neat, even during mad scrambles through busy airports. 

Set of Packing Cubes: These things are a genius solution for keeping your suitcase organized, even on long trips. Travelers can dedicate specific purposes to each cube, then zip them up and keep them neatly tucked inside their luggage. Later, it'll be easy to find everything and keep dirty clothes separated from the fresh ones. 

Noise-Cancelling Headphones:
 Try sitting next to a screaming infant on a ten-hour flight back to America from the U.K., then ask if noise-canceling headphones are really necessary for frequent travelers. 

Instax Mini Polaroid Camera: Chances are, the traveler you know adores preserving their epic adventures in pictures. Even though they probably already have their own camera, they'll have so much fun with a Polaroid camera that allows them to quickly print and share photos with their companions. 

Bathroom Bag Set: Spilled bathroom products, smashed makeup, and other toiletry messes are a terrible way to begin any vacation. Buy your traveling friend a set of nice, versatile bathroom bags that will keep all of their liquids and products easily stored. Make sure to get one that's water-resistant and easy to fit in carry-on luggage. 

Quality Skin Care Products: Travel can take a real toll on a person's skin. Windy hikes, sunny beaches, long hours of travel, and busy schedules can leave people on the move looking haggard. Help your giftee combat dark circles and dry skin with a set of high-end skin care products. Make sure they come with SPF! 

Personalized Luggage Tags: Spotting a traditional black suitcase at baggage claim can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Help your friend's luggage standout with a set of personalized, eye-catching luggage tags. It's a thoughtful gift that they'll be able to use for years to come. 

NorthFace Jacket: It's nearly impossible not to feel a little chilled while riding on an airplane, and a NorthFace jacket is a perfect way to warm up a traveler. Trust me, they'll take that jacket with them everywhere, from long flights to hikes along The Great Wall of China. You simply can't go wrong with one of these high-quality, multi-purposed layers. 

Hiking Boots: Frequent travelers are often some of the most outdoorsy people we know. Therefore, a pair of sturdy hiking boots is a must-have. Purchase them a pair that can carry them up and down mountains, as well as long hikes through National Parks and other places. However, do be careful: not all hiking boots are created equal, so try to find the brand and size that will work best for your giftee. 

What are you going to buy for your traveling friend? Leave other ideas in the comments!