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Holiday Sanity Savers

Every year around this time, I start to get all panicky and sweaty and wonder how in the world am I ever going to get/buy/do everything that needs to be gotten/bought/done before December 25th?? Every year I think surely THIS will be the year that finds me  weeping uncontrollably into Santa’s beard when I pass by him in the department store and yet every year, I somehow make it through. All gifts end up wrapped and under the tree, all Christmas goodies get baked and delivered to neighbors, and on December 26th I high-five myself and give myself a pat on the back for making it through another holiday season.

I started to get that sweatypanicky feeling again today, but then I remembered that there has never been a Christmas, not a single one, where I wasn’t able to do All The Things. I had to remind myself that I’ve always had enough money for gifts, I’ve always managed to buy what I needed, and Christmas has never, as of yet, gone down in flames in a fiery crash of tinsel and bows.

I can handle this.

You can handle this.


And because we have skills /technology/support at our disposal to help us do ALL THE CHRISTMAS-Y THINGS.

What might those things be? Glad you asked! Take a gander at what we’ve got going for us:

  • We can delegate. If you’re like me, you have kids who are nearly grown adults who are more than capable of clearing the clutter and vacuuming the living room so the house can be decorated. Or maybe you can call a friend over to help you clean and decorate. Or maybe you just hire someone to do it because you are just OVER IT this year and it will be money well spent. Point is, don’t do it all yourself by yourself – enlist the help of someone close to you (or someone you can pay, whatever).
  • We can schedule things ahead of time. Did you know that you can schedule a text message? I only recently learned of this amazing bit of technology and it is a game changer for me. Sometimes I want to send a text but the person receiving my text might be sleeping or in a meeting. With my Galaxy phone, I am able to compose the text, then schedule when I want the recipient to get it.  Need to send a text to Janet reminding her to bring cookies for the class party, but you know she’s getting a massage right now? Schedule that text to be received in 4 hours when you know she won’t be blissed out on lavender massage oil and Enya. Need to remind your college student to pick up a pie from the excellent bakery next to the university but you know he’s in class right now? Schedule it to be received when he gets out of class. See? Technology is a little bit helpful. *Edited to add: I’ve learned that this may only be an Android thing. Sorry for getting your hopes up iPhoners. 
  • We can adopt the “less is more” attitude towards Christmas decorating (and spending and eating): Did you know that there is no law that says you have to put up every single decorative holiday item you own???? Truly!! Pick out the things that you actually love and display them. It’s really okay if you don’t set out the ceramic Santa that Aunt Linda made in her Beginner Ceramics class that she took at the Vo-tech twelve years ago. Really, let’s just let that sad little guy stay in storage this year, okay?
  • We can embrace online shopping. I mean, if you haven’t already. Seriously, take advantage of the fact that you can have most of your gifts delivered right to your door. RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR. No crowds, no beleaguered sales-people who can’t answer your question, no impulse buys that blow your budget…only the soft clickety-clack of your keyboard or phone. Aaahhhhh. So nice and quiet.
  • We can take time to enjoy and appreciate the little things: Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while sipping hot cocoa, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, delivering some blankets and food to a grateful shelter (human or animal – either one is fine), the absolute silence of nature that comes with that first heavy snowfall (don’t you love that??? I love standing outside and being in awe of the quiet), snuggling up with those we love the most…let’s try and do more of these things this month, shall we?

I am going to try my hardest to not be a Grinch this year. I will enjoy this season and float through it with ease and grace and style…okay maybe I’ll just try not to trip while I gingerly tiptoe my way through it. Either way, I will remember to be mindful and appreciative of everything this month has to offer.

Do you have any Holiday Sanity Savers of your own? What do you rely on to make the season merry and bright? 





In my last sad, depressing, Grinchy post, I lamented that I just don’t enjoy the holidays as much as I used to. I bemoaned the fact that it was all just too much pressure and too much money and too much time.


Let me tell you that I had one of the best Thanksgiving weekends I’ve had in a really long time. Grinch be gone! Maybe having low expectations is the secret to happiness?

I took a short road trip and got to visit with family I haven’t seen in years and HAD THE BEST TIME. I got to see my cousin and her kids, and my aunt, and then I jetted over to my hometown for a quick visit with my BFF and her family. (I’ve got a post brewing in my head about my hometown; I was overcome with nostalgia over the weekend and need to put it into words)

It was just so nice to be able to get out of town and see family, and the town of my childhood and feel connected to something again. My youngest daughter went with me and I got to show her the area where her mother grew up – I think she actually found it interesting!

So yes, now I am looking forward to this holiday season. I’m ready to put my tree up and decorate the house. I’m ready to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and make Christmas cookies. Can’t really say I’m ready to start shopping yet, but that will come.

I think I just needed a change in the Thanksgiving routine. Traditions are great, but when they become stale it’s time to switch it up and do something that feels fulfilling. And I am deeply fulfilled right now.





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How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety Like an Adult

It’s only Tuesday and I’ve already seen at least 5 articles this week on how to get through the holidays with your sanity intact. And I’ve read every one of them because I’m already feeling the strain.  No doubt, ’tis the season for all of our anxieties to come shining through like a flashlight in the face!

But doesn’t this seem wrong, somehow? Why do we feel obligated to put ourselves through this year after year? Yes I get that traditions are important but does being super stressed out have to be a tradition too?

Truth be told, I don’t enjoy the holidays any more. I have a hard time finding the joy in it all when it all just feels TOO MUCH. Too much pressure, too much money, too much food, too many things to do, people to see, places to go…and for what? So we can post some Norman Rockwellesque photos on social media? So we don’t disappoint someone in our family? So we can feel like we did it “right”? I feel like the whole thing needs to be reworked.

But until I’m able to escape to the Caribbean for the months of November and December (someday!), I’m going to have to suck it up and deal. And here’s how I plan to deal with it:

If you love this time of year and you feel like you are on top of it, more power to you (and also, I envy you)! But for the rest of us who tend to feel like we’re caught in the undercurrent of TOO MUCH, let’s just take it easy on ourselves, okay? Let’s agree to do what we can and let that be good enough. Let’s agree to take spectacular care of ourselves and maybe, just maybe we’ll surprise ourselves and come out on the other side of this with some good times and warm memories.


Holiday Gift Ideas (Subtitled: Things I want that you might want, too)

Dear Holiday Season: WE ARE IN YOU.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday only days away, now is the time to start thinking about what to get your loved ones, your liked ones, and your barely tolerated ones for Christmas. I love this time of year when my anxieties about money shoot through the roof! Which is why I tend to avoid Oprah’s Favorite Things because I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy an $800 mattress for anyone on my list. And is that really the kind of thing you buy for someone else??? I prefer to choose my own mattress, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of MY favorite things…things that are totally affordable and practical. Because wouldn’t that be embarrassing if we all showed up to the Christmas Eve party with a $400 cookware set??? (Incidentally, there is a list of Oprah’s Favorite Things for Under $50 that has some pretty cool stuff on it too.)

So let’s begin, shall we?


Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance


I haven’t read this, but I think it looks fun. And it’s so preeeeetty!


And look at this cute lil fox!! Isn’t he adorable? Because sometimes you need to jot your ideas down in a cute lil notebook!
If foxes aren’t your thing, there are lots of other designs as well.


I don’t know…I just feel like this would be perfect for your 12 year old nephew or for that Millennial guy in your office whose name you drew for the Secret Santa.


I love this stuff so bad. Actually I kind of like the whole Tarte line, but this stuff is my favorite. And why not make it a set? I’ve had my eye on this Tarte eyeshadow palette for awhile now.


I canNOT STAND to wake up with mascara on my eyes, so every night before bed, I swipe my eyes with these. These would be great for Santa to put in someone’s stocking.


Oh man. THIS. This is my favorite favorite favorite body lotion. It smells like luxury and feels like rich Corinthian leather. I have the perfume that goes with this lotion and it smells divine also.



For those times when he wants a hammock but can’t find any trees:

You don’t even have to blow it up – just wave it around like you do a trash bag and it fills up with air instantly!


My 20 year old son has had a full beard since he was a senior in high school. Why it never occurred to me to get him something like this before is beyond me. (But he’ll be getting it this year for sure!)  Gotta keep that beard looking fresh for the ladies!


My BFF got these for me for my birthday and I absolutely love them! If you love Tyler candles, then you will love these thick card stock sheets that make your clothes smell beautiful, and they last quite a while.  The Glam Wash is excellent too (I was my robe and my favorite pjs in it), but it is a little pricier.


I am in love with this little clock! The cute fluffy birds, the old time-y font of the numbers, the slate gray color…this would be perfect on my night stand. (hint hint)


These are just a few ideas to get your started on your shopping.  I have a lot more ideas to add to this list, but frankly, I have run out of steam for today.  What are your go-to gift ideas? Have you started your shopping yet? Are you a Black Friday shopper or do you wait until Cyber Monday? Or are you more of the panic-at-the-last-minute shopper? I aspire to be finished by December 15th but I always seem to be shopping til December 23rd. Oh well, it all gets done eventually.


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Bad Food Combos That Just Need to Stop it Right Now

Hey Again.

So I just finished eating one of these:

And I thought I would like it when I saw it in the store. It’s LITERALLY just 1 apple and 20 blueberries all smooshed up. I like apples. I like blueberries. How bad could it be?


I really wanted to like it; I thought maybe it would be like a Fig Newton without the Newton, but sadly it was nothing like that. As soon as I bit into it, I remembered something very important: I don’t like the taste of dried apples. You would have thought this would have entered my mind beforehand, but it didn’t. And this bar tastes like a whole lotta dried apples. So it was no-go from the start, but I really like the idea of these bars. It’s literally just fruit that has been mashed together and formed into a bar. I mean, you could just grab an apple and a (very large) handful of blueberries and eat that, but if for some reason carrying around fresh produce just isn’t your bag, then these bars might be for you. There are a lot of other flavors, so it might be that a different flavor would taste better, but seeing as how apples are the main ingredient in all of them, I don’t think I would like them very much. I’ll just keep eating my apples the way God intended: in a pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. (I’m kidding) (No I’m not)

But this whole idea got me thinking, what other foods sound good together but actually taste like death?  Another one for me is Greek yogurt and peanut butter. *shudder* I just can’t do it. I don’t think peanut butter should be tangy. Ever. OH! Celery and peanut butter. CanNOT deal with that. No. Mainly because I don’t like celery.

You know what else makes me mad? Canned soups. Sounds like a good idea, right? Make some soup, stick it in a can to be enjoyed at a later date. But why FOR THE LOVE OF INA GARTEN, WHY do all canned soups taste the same? Do they taste the same to you? They all taste like mixed vegetables to me…and not in a good way. Yick!! Maybe I’m just not eating the right kind of canned soups, but this is another thing I tend to pass on.

Also, Kale + anything at all ever. Go home Kale. Your 15 minutes are over.

So, what else? What other food combos should be banned? Is there some combo out there that everyone seems to love that you actually loathe? Fess up! Let the world (or at least those of us reading here) know what food combos you would ban if it were up to you!


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What I read in 2017


I don’t really have anything to say today, just felt like coming over here and writing for a bit.

OH! Let’s talk about books! What’re you all reading right now?

I just finished reading Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty
(and I think I heard that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman bought the movie rights to this one) for my book club selection for November. We had our meeting yesterday to discuss it and even though only two of us were there (usually there are 5 of us, but yesterday was one of those dreary, cold, couch-sitting days where you don’t wanna get up and go out, so I understand why hardly anyone showed up), we both decided it was…weird and icky and it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t find the characters to be particularly likable and the unveiling of the mystery of what happened at the bbq was sort of anticlimactic. And it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I’ve read a few other books by this author and I’m always left feeling sort of “meh”. But that’s just me.

For December, we decided to keep things light and easy and Christmassy, so we are going to read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Has anyone read this one yet? Did you like it? It’s available on the Kindle App for only $1.99 right now if you want to read along with us.

I need to make a list of all the books we’ve read this year. Well I suppose I can do that right here and now…

We started in March I think, nope…just checked and we had our first meeting in January with our first book discussion in February. Wow – I can’t believe it’s been almost a year! Anyway, here’s a list of the books we’ve read so far:

February: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

March: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

April: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

May: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

June: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

July: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

August: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

September: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

October: The Dry by Jane Harper

November: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty 

December: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Just as a side note, we loved all of the Ruth Ware books, and the Ember book. We didn’t so much love Claire DeWitt and we all pretty much hated The Zookeeper’s Wife (it read like a documentary instead of a story). You’ll notice these are not serious literary efforts, but honestly I think what we all want out of this book club is a good story and a reason to get out of the house for a couple of hours, that’s all.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations for future books? We’re always open to suggestions – and if you want, we can have some book discussions in the comments too. 🙂

These were just the book club books that I read, I usually try to read another book after I finish my book club book. I’ll have to see if I can remember what else I’ve read this year, but I’ll save that for another post later.

Oh, and as always, Amazon links are affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and buy anything from Amazon within the next 24 hours, I get a small commission on whatever you buy. Thank you for clicking! 

Me Too, sort of…

With the stories coming out about the trainwreck that is Harvey Weinstein and his scummy nasty history of sexual harassment and abuse, I think every woman in America is reflecting on her own stories of harassment and/or abuse. It is amazing how many women even have stories – I would bet 99.9% of women have been at least one story of harassment. It’s ridiculous.

And now there is a #Me Too trend on social media, where women are speaking up about their own experiences with sexual harassment and/or abuse. And some women don’t want to speak up about their experiences and that is perfectly fine too – no one should be forced to participate in something that makes them uncomfortable, especially when it has to do with social media. As I was reading about all of the Me Toos, this thought went through my head:

I’m glad that I was only harassed a few times and not seriously abused.

Um…how messed up is that??? I’m glad that I was ONLY harassed? It’s sad that I feel lucky that the harassment did not escalate. It’s sad that I was harassed at all.

So that’s why I feel like, #Me Too, But Only A Little Bit. It’s weird. And here’s why I say “only a little bit”:

When I was sophomore in high school, I was doing a play and if you knew anything about the drama department in high school, you’ll know that we were a cozy bunch. It wasn’t uncommon for someone, boy or girl, to walk up to you and throw an arm around your shoulders while you were waiting for a set change, or for someone to give you a back massage, or whatever. So when Jeff walked up behind me and put his arms around my waist, it didn’t surprise me. However, he then put his hands in the front pockets of my pants and began to massage my pubic bone with his fingers. That did surprise me. I froze. And being the naive good girl that I was, I simply said “uh can you stop that…it tickles” (it tickles…THAT’S the best I could come up with???) and he immediately walked away. What I wish I had done was kneed him in the groin and slapped his face and reported him to my teacher, but I didn’t. I don’t think I told anyone.

Another one off the top of my head is when I was working at a restaurant in college, there was one guy who worked there who I thought was funny and nice.  The weather had turned really cold and we were all talking about walking to class in the brutal chill when he said, “Did you know that the warmest part of the body is between the legs?” I thought this was like some sort of science-y anatomy lesson and I was all “Really? I didn’t know that.” (See above, naive) and he responded with a sly smile “Yeah next time my ears are cold, I’ll let you know.” EWWWWWWWW!!!! I think I freaked out a little and probably laughed because it was so unexpected. I walked away feeling super uncomfortable. I’m sure that’s not the worst thing that was ever said to me, but it’s the one that I remember the most.

Again, in college, getting ready to head out for the evening when an older neighbor at my apartment complex calls my roommate and I over and invites us in (his door was wide open and he saw us walk by). We didn’t know him very well, other than a friendly wave in passing. We go in (making sure door stayed open) and see that he and a couple of buddies are watching some hardcore porn and he starts asking me question like “Do you know what that’s called” and “have you ever done that before”. My roommate luckily grabbed my arm and we got out of there ASAP. We avoided that guy as much as we could for the rest of the year. No telling what could have happened if we had stayed any longer.

Also, one time I had this green shirt that I loved. I felt good in it, it fit well, I loved this shirt. I wore it to work one day and a coworker saw me and said “I like that shirt. Yeah…I like it a lot…that’s a niiiiiiice shirt.” It skeeved me out so bad, I never wore that shirt to work again. Oh! And same guy, after I had gotten my hair cut really short: “I like women with short hair, makes them look sexy.” I didn’t cut my hair short for 2 years after that – I let it grow as long as I could. I don’t know if that could be considered sexual harassment, but it made VERY uncomfortable. Asshole ruined my green shirt AND my cute haircut for me. Jerk.

I feel like I dodged many bullets in high school and college. There were many times things could have gone so, so wrong for me, but for whatever reason (a roommate with excellent intuition, a mom who prayed for my safety every night, guys who stepped in to make sure I was okay) I was left unscathed. And I am so thankful for that. I pray my daughters will remain unharmed also.

So yes, #Me Too, but thankfully, I didn’t get hurt.







Summer of Suspense

I mentioned in my last post that I belong to a bookclub. The name of our book club is “We Don’t Talk About Book Club” and so by talking about book club here, I’m violating the number one rule of book club. If I seem to drop off the face of the planet anytime soon, you’ll know who to blame and you’ll know why. We take book club seriously.

Very. Seriously.

(just kidding, no we don’t. I mean yeah we love it, but sometimes wine is involved, so…)

Anyway, one of our selections earlier this summer was Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood.

I loved, loved this book! (And I have to tell you, my favorite thing about this book is the joke that Tara made when we selected it: “Is it cherry? Mahogany? Walnut? What kind of wood is it????”) If you love a good old fashioned whodunit, you will enjoy this book. Very Agatha Christie. There is a moment in the book where the main character is ticking off who the suspects are and their possible motives and I actually squealed with delight “YES! I freaking love this book!” The rest of the Bookclubbers loved it also, so we all agreed that our next selection should be:

The Woman in Cabin 10 also by Ruth Ware. I also really liked this one and it kept me guessing the whole time. It takes place on a smallish luxury yacht with interesting characters. I especially love the end and the way… well shoot, I can’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who haven’t read it, but trust me when I say it is suspenseful and a really great read.

At this point we thought well heck, let’s just stay on a roll and finish out the summer with Ware’s final book:

This book is about 4 school friends who get in over their heads while playing…you guessed it…The Lying Game. I didn’t care for this one as much as the first two, but it was still suspenseful and it kept me entertained. Mel, another book club member, really liked it, but there was something a little darker about this one that disturbed me that I couldn’t really put my finger on. Maybe it was the setting (and old dilapidated Mill in a marsh) or just the subject matter, but I was glad to be finished with this one.

Since we ran out of Ruth Ware’s books to read, we turned to another suspense writer, Jane Harper.

I just started this one and I’m only a few chapters in, but so far so good. The story is set in Australia where a cop is called home to attend the funeral of a friend, and he sees that things are just not adding up right, so he stays to try and figure out what really happened. If I remember, I’ll come back and do an update once I finish the book.

I really loved our Summer of Suspense, but I think we might all be ready for something a little more light-hearted for awhile. Maybe a love story or a comedy. Have any good suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments below!

Happy Reading!


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Socially Introverted

It seems these days, being introverted is the new black. It feels to me like identifying as an introvert is the latest fad. Do you see this happening too? Everyone claims to be an introvert now, and I wonder…is this really a fad or are we just more accepting of it, so people feel better about admitting it?

Having said that, I think I tend to lean toward the introverted side of life myself, but I think I am more of a social introvert. You would think, just by the way it sounds, a social introvert would be someone who wants to avoid all social contact, but that’s not true. A social introvert loves small gatherings but finds them draining and needs time to recharge in solitude afterward. For example, I love my book club – there are 5 of us who get together once a month to discuss our book selection at a local restaurant. I have a great time with these gals and I look forward to it every month, but at the end of each meeting I am simultaneously fulfilled and completely drained. All I want to do is go home and stare at a screen for a few hours or roll myself into a blanket burrito and nap.


I love getting together with friends or attending family gatherings, but I have to make sure I have time afterward to be alone or at least be in my own home.

I wonder though, are most people this way? I mean doesn’t everyone like to have time to rest and relax after a social gathering? Are there really people who can schedule back to back events and totally thrive on the energy and excitement? (Good gravy I’m exhausted just at the thought of that last sentence)

extrovert cat

I just don’t understand those people. When do they rest? How do they have that much energy? Are they shotgunning Redbulls in the car on the way to the party??? HOW DO YOU DO IT, EXTROVERT? Educate me please.

So what about you, gentle reader? Do you describe yourself as more of an introvert or an extrovert? And how do you care for and honor your -verted selves?




What’s on your coffee table?

I have a niece who is a very stylish, elegant, always-put-together kind of woman. She posted on Facebook recently asking for recommendations on coffee table books, because she is the kind of person who has a stylish, elegant coffee table which she can decorate with stylish, elegant books. Here’s her post:


But me being who I am (and I am afraid I am the Cousin Eddie to her Clark Griswold), hijacked and ruined her post with these suggested gems:





See? As I told her in her comments, this is why I’m not an interior designer. I have no eye for style. I don’t even own a coffee table anymore because it became a dumping grounds for all of my kids’ stuff – it was always completely covered with papers and books and socks (yes, socks) and cups and wrappers and pencils and just STUFF. So when we got new furniture, we did away with the coffee table and now I have a wooden tray that I set on the middle of the couch as a place to set drinks. When I checked this morning, here’s what was on that tray: earbuds, a book, my reading glasses, a coaster, socks (WHY????), and a pen. I can’t win. But at least the mess is contained to a small 12×18 area that can be quickly cleared. I wish I had thought to take a picture this morning but ya know…Monday.

Here are some more ridiculous coffee table books that I would totally read if I saw them on someone’s table:


GUYS! You can buy this on Amazon for $.90!! For less than a dollar you can OWN this bad boy! What a time to be alive!!!



Because dogs are proof that God loves us.



I could have written this book.

And here are a few that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole because…ew:


So, I’m curious – do you have a coffee table and if so, what’s on it right now? Do you have elegant coffee table books or do you have macaroni and cheese that has cemented itself to the top? Bonus points if you have socks on your table. 🙂

*All of these rare and precious gems were found in this article. I appreciate that someone went to the trouble to find these books before I did. Cheers to you, man. 

*Amazon links are affilitate links.


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