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Archive for the ‘Holiday Fun’ Category

Yup, it’s that time again – time to wash away the old and bring in the new. It’s time to reflect on the past year – all the ups and all the downs – and think about our hopes and dreams for the coming year. This act of self reflection is typically represented in the setting of New Year’s Resolutions. I once heard a quote that went something like this: “I make my resolutions by the day, not the year.” I’ve always thought that was a good motto to live by, but when it comes to the end of the year, I still scribble down some resolutions and gear up for the next 365 days.

In coining my resolutions, I’ve noticed a common theme that has developed over the years – my resolutions are pretty much the same year after year. I’m pretty sure I have this whole “resolution” thing wrong, because aren’t you are actually supposed to accomplish the resolution so it’s not needed on next year’s list??? For some reason, I have such a hard time keeping even the simplest of resolutions – take a multi-vitamin every day, drink more water, workout more, etc. I’m good for about a month, and then it’s all downhill once February hits. Ever notice how the gym is packed every day in January, starts to thin out in February, and then clear out in March??? Well, there’s a reason for that – very few people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions. According to research led by John Norcross, psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, only about 19 percent of people who make resolutions actually stick to them for two years – that is less than one in five of us

Sue Shellenbarger, writer for the Wall Street Journal, set out to determine why some people are able to keep resolutions and others are not – what the winners do differently that makes them success stories. She details three success stories in her article, A Cheat Sheet for Keeping Resolutions, and discovers that there are several rules to the art of resolution maintenance. Her article explains each tactic in full and outlines examples, but I’ve provided you a “cheat sheet” to her “cheat sheet.”

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Get a little help from your friends – Enlist like-minded friends to join you in your resolution (such as “exercising three times per week”) and hold each other accountable
  • Change your environment – Alter your surroundings to support your new behavior and chart/record your resolution progress
  • Announce your intentions – Committing to the public makes it more difficult to shirk on your resolutions
  • Figure out your attachment to bad habits – Figure out what your bad behaviors do for you and find healthier substitutes – for example, if you overeat to ease stress, start practicing deep breathing or meditation
  • Expect setbacks – Brush off inevitable setbacks and get quickly back on track; don’t criticize or blame yourself for slip-ups

Have a great New Year’s Eve everyone! Good luck with your resolutions! 😉

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I am a dreamer – not only am I lost in thought at many points during the day, but I dream so much at night that it’s sometimes exhausting (no pun intended). Almost every morning, I wake up distinctly recalling at least two dreams I had the night before, and I actually have one reoccurring dream I stumble upon during slumber at least 5 times a year. In this dream, I’m going on with my life, la-de-da-ing throughout the days, until it suddenly hits me that it’s only one or two days before Christmas Day. Instead of worrying about my lack of gifts for my family and friends, I kick myself for letting the month pass me by without listening to my favorite Christmas tunes and watching my favorite holiday movies. Yes, it’s a rather strange dream to have over and over again throughout the years, but now I live in fear of missing out on Christmas. Oh no, I hope I’m not stuck in some holiday Lifetime movie and this is all just a part of the secret script…

Nonetheless, while I am frantically listening to “Have Yourself  a Merry Little Christmas” on repeat and watching “Love Actually” while baking holiday treat after holiday treat for my friends (and myself) to enjoy, I hope you guys take some time to relish in all the joys that December has to offer. Check out some of the fun ways to celebrate the month and make your own holiday memories and miracles.

  1. December is “Stress Free Family Holiday” month. Yes, I know this seems quite an oxymoron (“December” and “Stress free”), but according to Ladies Home Journal, the concept is possible. Read up on stress-free tips and sit back, relax, drown out the sounds of Fluffy knocking over the Christmas tree, your kids tearing the house apart hoping to find a hidden Zhu Zhu pet Christmas gift, and your mother-in-law’s persistence six-a-day phone calls reminding you to stock the refrigerator with prune juice for her visit, and slowly sip (or chug – whichever combats stress better for you) some eggnog washed down with a sidecar of brandy. Remember, you’ll get to everything eventually, and everything doesn’t always have to be perfect or go smoothly. That’s the beauty of the holidays – the disasters and crazy turn of events are what make the best memories (Mom – remember when our huge Christmas tree fell down the minute after we had finished decorating it and we just stood still and cried looking at all the broken ornaments until we both started laughing? I love that memory) 🙂
  2. If you are properly observing “Stress Free Family Holiday” month, take advantage of the stress-free atmosphere and curl up with a good book in observance of “Read a New Book” month. Find one at Barnes and Noble (one of my most favorite weekend destinations).
  3. December 4th is “National Cookie” day – I am honored to celebrate this holiday (In fact, if you want to send me some cookies to ensure that I actually follow through, I will happily pass along my address… 😉 ). If you are in the mood to bake some yummy cookie treats, try one of the fabulous cookie recipes from Joy of Baking. Before viewing the site, I must adequately warn you – the cookie images you are about to see may cause unprovoked salivating and hunger pains. Please proceed accordingly.
  4. Let us not forget the monumental attack that occurred on December 7th, 1941 – a “date which will live in infamy.” Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii killing more than 2,300 Americans. This attack on Pearl Harbor was a major factor in ushering in World War II. Learn more about the significance of Pearl Harbor and take a moment to honor all those persons whose lives were lost on that day.
  5. Hanukkah (Chanukah) begins on December 11th! Learn more about Hanukkah FAQ, traditions, and stories from Chabad.org.
  6. On December 14th, 1819, my state of Georgia was provided an irreplaceable gift – Alabama became the 22nd U.S. state and Georgia would forever have a border state to pick on. Hey now, Virginia has West Virginia, Alabama has Mississippi, and Georgia has Alabama – call it survival of the fittest.
  7. December 23rd is “National Roots” day – take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and eating to celebrate however you see fit – pop in a Nappy Roots CD, dye your hair (or let those roots show girlfriend!), discover your heritage, or weed your yard.
  8. Christmas Eve is on December 24th – take a few minutes to enjoy Clement C Moore’s classic poem – “The Night Before Christmas.” May Sugar Plums dance vividly in your head.
  9. December 25th – Merry Christmas! No matter your religion, I hope that everyone enjoys this day and is able to spend it with those they love. If you are Christian, please do not forget the true meaning of Christmas – to celebrate the birth of our Savior who gave His own life so that our own lives could endure.
  10. The holiday decorations have begun to come down, the Christmas music has been replaced with “Americas Top 40,” and the tree is starting to die in the corner of the living room – Yup, its New Year’s Eve – December 31st. December 31st is also “Make Up Your Mind” day so grab that pen, establish your New Year’s Resolutions (this time – try and stick with “I will workout at least four three two times each week month”), and then head out on the town to ring in 2010!

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Well right now it’s 5:30 P.M and I am plumb stuffed! After three platefuls of turkey and gravy, mashed sweet potatoes with brandy sauce, cranberries, mashed potatoes, rolls, peas, carrots green beans, stuffing, oyster dressing, pumpkin cake, and pumpkin pie all washed down with white wine, the tryptophan effect is in full force. But before I pass out in a food-induced slumber, I want to make sure that I adequately count my blessings on this day of thanks. I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for and want to share just a few with you. I hope that you will also take some time to give thanks for all the wonderful joys in each of your lives.

I am thankful…

  • For God who stands with me each step of the way in my journey through life, who always listens when I want to talk, and who always knows what’s best for me – even if I haven’t recognized it myself.
  • For my loving and supportive parents who have been there for me through thick and thin and who have always encouraged my sisters and me to express ourselves and to relish in our uniqueness. For that, I am so thankful.
  • For my two wonderful older sisters who laugh with me, cry with me, smile with me, and just feel it all with me – I couldn’t ask for two better women in which to experience all facets of life.
  • For my niece and nephew who have validated the concept of unconditional love and who have helped to rekindle in me the simplicity and innocence of childhood.
  • For my fabulous, crazy, inspirational friends who are never too busy to stop by my apartment with cheese dip during a break-up, never too tired to play wingman all night at a party, never too nice to not tell me if my shoes don’t match my dress, and the list goes on and on. It’s so true – a good friend is like good wine – she/he only gets better with time.
  • That I am spending this holiday with the people I love most (all those I described in the bullets above 🙂 )
  • For the opportunity to follow my dreams.
  • That within this last year, I have come into my own and really discovered who I am and what I aspire to be.
  • For all the kindness that flows through this world and all those persons who take the time to spread love and happiness to others whether they know them on a personal level or have never met them.
  • For my blog readers and all the support and feedback you’ve provided – you make this hobby so worthwhile. Your positive comments and kind words solidify the reason I created this blog, and I hope you know how much you all inspire me.

Okay, I’m starting to fade and the couch is looking real cozy right about now…Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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It’s that time of year in which we are, once again, faced with the decision to either set our alarms at 3:30 A.M, drag ourselves out of bed, and shlep our way to Best Buy or Target, or…keep on sleeping and possibly miss the “deal of the year.” Yup, we are only 9 days away from Black Friday. Every year, as Black Friday approaches, I always tell myself, “this is the year I’m gonna do it – this is the year I’ll stand in line, glue myself to the sliding doors at Best Buy, and bound into the store with the rest of the herd. Because I am not yet a mother who must get my child a Wii before they sell out in 3.7682 seconds or run the risk of ruining Christmas, it has never been absolutely imperative that I brave the elements (weather and mean mommas) and venture out on Black Friday. This year, however, I am in desperate need of a laptop (I don’t have a personal computer right now) and a new T.V (and I promise this is a necessity – my T.V is so old that I have to smack the side of it at least 5 times during a show so the picture won’t go out), so I am truly contemplating living out the Best Buy scene I described above. Luckily, I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family back in Roanoke, Virginia, so I won’t have to deal with the “big city” Black Friday back in Atlanta where you have to park in the next city just to find a spot “close” to the mall.

For all of you out there who are vacillating on the decision to celebrate Black Friday or not, I have found an article with a “sneak peak” to the best Black Friday deals to watch for. If you are hoping to obtain one of the hot items mentioned on this list, you may want to seriously consider hitting up the mall. Obviously, arming yourself (and in many instances, you really do need to arm yourself!) for a Black Friday adventure may not be worth it if you are only saving an Alexander Hamilton ($10) on a new microwave, but saving $400 on an LCD T.V is a whole other ballgame. Check out the top 10 Black Friday deals to look for which will hopefully help to solidify your decision to either engorge on leftover turkey and pumpkin pie all day or to power walk your way through aisle after aisle of toys and gadgets.

P.S – I’ll get back with you shortly after Black Friday to let you know if I actually did make it out to Best Buy or if I was still suffering from a food-induced coma and slept through my alarm. If I did make it out, it may take me a few days to recover so bear with me if my post is slightly delayed…

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friday-the-13thSo, as I thoughtfully write this post, I fully expect for some dude with a mask and a chainsaw to come up behind me with a cheesy grin whispering some sinister words like “say your prayers cause you’re about to die.” Okay, not really, but my peripheral vision is in overdrive and I have looked behind my shoulder once or twice now and I’m only on sentence two. Hmmm…maybe these kinds of thoughts are why I don’t watch scary movies and am still haunted by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark I saw as kid (Okay, it’s pitiful enough that I was afraid of Are You Afraid of the Dark but it’s even worse that I’m now admitting that the actress in the episode was Melissa Joan Hart – I mean, who could be afraid of Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Hart for that matter – now just a poor, innocent castoff of Dancing with the Stars???). Nonetheless, scary movies (or scary T.V shows, or scary books, or scary <fill in the blank>) and me just don’t mix.

Since I have already made myself look like a loser, I might as well continue revealing my vulnerabilities and fill you in another one of my fears – I am phasmophobic – I am afraid of ghosts. I have been afraid of ghosts for as long as I can remember and, as a child, I would often urge my mom to stand at the top of the stairs to make sure I didn’t get snatched up by a ghost as I ventured into the deep abyss – the basement. Okay, I’m obviously not THAT freaked out now that I’m older (and hopefully a little more courageous), but you can bet your bottom dollar I would still not step foot in a place if I knew it was supposedly haunted.

So in honor of Friday the 13th (imagine you just heard a creepy “mwahaha” echo in the background), I am honoring all of the crazy phobias in the world and urging everyone to come out of the woodwork and not only acknowledge, but also delight in, your fears and phobias. Do you have a common fear like aviophobia (fear of flying) or are you one of those strange people that has appeared on on the Maury Povich Show to be tortured by bundles of yarn in an effort to overcome your linonophobia (fear of string)? Whatever your phobia may be, I say that today, you embrace it! But first, check out this comprehensive list of phobias so you are well-informed of the actual phobia name when you tell your first (and last) date that you are a philematophobic (have a fear of smooching)…yeah, that may be a good one to go ahead and try go get over…

*Disclaimer: If you are phobophobic, I apologize for this post…

Fear of People with Phobias

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Remember Our Veterans Growing up, I used to think that Veterans Day was a day honoring only older people, like our great-grandparents who fought in World War I and our grandparents who fought in the Korean War or World War II. Now, as an adult who recalls the exact moment I first learned of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America and who knows a number of men and women, both younger and older than me, who have enlisted in the military and seen, first-hand, the consequences of war, I realize that Veterans Day is so much more than my ingenuous preconceived notions. It is a holiday dedicated to honoring the much-deserving men and women, of all ages, who have sacrificed or are currently sacrificing their livelihood day in and day out so that the citizens of our country and other countries around the world cannot only have a chance at freedom, but can also have a chance at life. Everyday, these men and women run the risk of losing their lives so that they can save the lives of  millions of people they have never even met. What more of a selfless act can there be?

Please take a moment today to pay your respects to the 23.2 million veterans living in the United States including 1 who served during WWI, 2.6 million who served during WWII, 2.8 million who served during the Korean War, 7.8 million who served in the Vietnam War, 5.2 million who served in the Gulf War, and approximately 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s also not forget the nearly 120,000 men and women who are stationed in Iraq and the 68,000 that will be deployed to Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Veterans and current soldiers – today, and everyday, we honor you and thank you for the greatest gift you could ever bestow upon someone – the opportunity to live. Because of your courage, selflessness, strength, and protection, we, Americans, have been awarded the irreplaceable opportunity to thrive in the greatest country in the world. For this, we salute you.

Frank Buckles - World War I Vet

The man in the wheelchair is Frank Buckles - the only World War I American veteran alive today. He is 108 years old.

American Veteran

Honoring Veteran's Day

Veterans Day Parade

Salute to Veterans

Honoring Our Veterans

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Thanksgiving TurkeyWell, October’s gone – it disappeared as quickly as my Halloween candy stash – but now, we venture into November as we all look forward to the fourth Thursday of the month in which we engorge in turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. But, we have many days leading up to Turkey Day, so lets take some time to discover the other joys of November, shall we?

  1. November is National “Peanut Butter Lover’s” Month which I will fondly be observing. I know I’m no longer seven years-old, but PB&J (white bread, crunchy peanut butter, and strawberry jam) has always been, and will always be, one of my favorite foods. Although I do love peanut butter, I must bow down to the true King of Peanut Butter (and Rock ‘N’ Roll), Elvis, who was known to eat up to 15 PB&B’s (Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches) in one sitting. The recipe for the “Elviswich” is below – If you’re “Lonesome Tonight,” start frying a “Hunk of Burnin’ Love (Yes, that “burnin’ love” you’re feeling is heartburn), and enjoy!
  2. Election Day is the first Tuesday in November (November 3rd) and, as Americans, we are able to choose elected officials for our city, state, and country – so let your voice be heard and rock the vote!
  3. November 11th is Veterans Day – Take some time today to truly honor those persons who sacrifice their lives to protect our country and secure our freedom. Today, I personally honor my great grandfathers (World War I vets), my grandfathers (World War II vets), and my father and uncle (Vietnam vets). I can’t thank you enough for your service.
  4. November 15th is National “Clean Out Your Refrigerator” Day – Grab your rubber gloves and oxygen mask and venture into the unknown. If the dish is moldy and a completely opposite color than it was when you first ate it, do yourself a favor and chuck it. After five weeks, Grandma’s “Pasta Surprise” is probably a lot more “surprise” and a lot less “pasta.”
  5. November 16th is National “Button” Day – I suggest celebrating by helping sweet, little Corduroy find his missing button for his green overalls (Corduroy by Don Freeman).
  6. On November 18th, we celebrate the births of the great American rappers, Fabolous and Pastor Troy, as well as funnyman Owen Wilson; but more importantly, we celebrate my daddy’s birthday 🙂
  7. On November 22nd, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the “shot heard around the world.” Lets celebrate his legacy by remembering some of the great things he did for our country – like creating the Peace Corps!
  8. November 25th is National “Parfait” Day – “Everyone loves a parfait” (Thank you for reminding us of this, Donkey from Shrek).
  9. November 26th is Thanksgiving! Eat, give thanks, and watch football – enough said.
  10. The Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday (however, I think it can also be called “National Leftover’s Day”). If you dare, wake up before 5 A.M and venture to the mall or mega store and nab some serious deals. I’m thinking about pulling an all-nighter this year and fighting my way to a cheap laptop at Best Buy. I’ll let you know if this thought actually becomes a reality…

Elvis Sandwich - Peanut Butter and BananaElvis Presley’s Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich:

-2 slices of white bread
-2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
-1 small ripe banana mashed
-2 tablespoons butter

Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the mashed banana on the other. Press the slices gently together. Melt the butter (or to be truly Elvis-like, melt bacon fat!), over low heat in a small frying pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Eat it with a glass of buttermilk to get the full effect.

My Dad and Me

November 18th - Happy 63rd B-Day Big Dave!

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