Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What are you doing today? Wherever you find yourself, I hope you're taking it easy and surrounded by loved ones. I'm once again instituting my Internet-Free Thanksgiving and am looking forward to a day of games, food and some much-needed time with family!

With everything going on in the world right now, we all still have so much to be grateful for, so much to cherish and so much to look forward to. Let's make sure that we don't lose sight of that thankfulness today and every day. I love you all and I'm sending you lots of e-hugs. I'll see you back here on Monday, and have a wonderfully delicious and safe holiday!

[Photo via Making Lemonade]

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Four Ways To Survive Thanksgiving With Relatives

The tableau is all too familiar by now. In fact, some may say it even borders on the cliche: Family members come together to "enjoy" a meal. After a few uncomfortable shuffles in their chairs, some awkward eye contact and clanking of silverware, the most popular topic of conversation is decided upon.

The Turkey.

Yes, he's quite a popular fellow, apparently, inspiring awe and unifying people across politics, race, religion, etc. He can calm all that tension and fuss.

But, I'm not naive. I'm a modern girl, after all, and I do understand that these are stressful times in which we live. Even if we're *thisclose* to our family, the holidays can no doubt be a tough time, full of unknown and surprisingly minefields -- and mindfields (pun intended). We're forced to navigate a sometimes-uncharted territory of feelings, personalities and eccentricities that, if we're not very, very careful and delicate, could translate to one very uncomfortable and looooong day for everyone.

So! If you'd like to enjoy the Day of Thankfulness beyond the standard Turkey Talk, follow these four tips. They'll have you wishing it was Thanksgiving every day of the year. Well, maybe not every day, but you get the idea...

1. Games, games, games: No, I'm not talking about emotional games here. Set out some classic games to play after dinner -- or before, if you're desperate -- to diffuse some of that tension. We did this a couple years ago and the time just flew by!

2. Reminisce over family photos: As long as they're not the embarrassing ones that will cause everyone to make fun of you, of course! Family history, especially those happy memories of yore, unites people. I mean, one minute your grandmother is nagging you about getting married and the next she's back to being her adorable self, telling you about the wild trouble she'd get into during weekends at the beach with her friends in the '50s. See? Problem solved.

3. Make the conversation a competition: It's no secret that family can bring out the Olympic competitor in all of us, so why not make things a little more interesting? How about the first one to say something negative has to clear the table or help with the dishes? I pretty sure that will seal everyone's lips really quickly.

4. One word...Netflix: Seriously, if all else fails, pop some popcorn, pick a movie (one that the majority agrees on...remember, no fighting, please!) and just chill on the couch. Like family photos, people become united around the television, especially when Netflix is involved. We've spent countless hours binge-watching shows like House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Damages and Bloodline. Also: Three Nostalgic Movies, 100 Best Releases on Netflix and The Best Movies of 2015. Like I said, Netflix is just the gift that keeps on giving.

There you go, friends! Now you can go bravely to those family gathering tomorrow, knowing that you're armed and ready with all the knowledge and armor you'll ever need to combat any sticky family situations. What other tips would you add? What's worked for you in the past? What hasn't? I'd love to hear... xoxo

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"But if you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms...And if you like having secret little rendezvous...If you like to do the things you know that we shouldn't do...Then, baby, I'm perfect...Baby, I'm perfect for you..." --One Direction

[Photos via That Kind of Woman]

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tunes: Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights"

Editor's Note: Song lyrics denoted in bold italics.

Now before you start letting your vivid imagination run wild, no, this is not a song about engaging in certain after-hours activities, if you get my drift. I mean, sure, that may be what it looks like on the surface -- a song about letting go and just surrendering to all sorts of pent-up passion and yearning and longing and feelings and desires and...

Wait, where was I...??

Oh, right, the song. No, that sort of reckless passion is most definitely not what it's about. Still, I suppose, it is sort of about a passion of sorts -- the kind that's more emotional than physical, more surprising than planned and less like you than anything you've ever known in your entire life. For me, there's really only one song that captures that sort of experience for me, especially since it's one I've lived over the last few years...

Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights"
From Richard Marx

Yes, look beyond that '80s mullet and really listen to the words from this crooning genius.

How do we explain something that took us by surprise
Promises in vain, love that is real but in disguise
What happens now
Do we break another rule
Let our lovers play the fool
I don't know how
To stop feeling this way

Of course I don't advocate cheating of any kind, I do know what it's like to fall for someone you know you shouldn't, whether it's because you know it's bad timing or because they're just not the type of person you should be falling for. And for the life of you, you can't quite figure out what your heart is trying to do. You certainly can't explain it; you've tried and ended up 10 times more confused than you were before.

Well, I think that I've been true to everybody else but me
And the way I feel about you makes my heart long to be free
Every time I look into your eyes, I'm helplessly aware
That the someone I've been searching for is right there

So you go on, not coming right out and saying anything, but all the while knowing that you have this connection with someone. All the while knowing what a rare thing that kind of connection is. You know you should "turn off" those feelings -- heck, that would be the mature, rational, logical thing to do -- but you know what? Maybe right now, you don't want to be logical. Maybe you've had just about enough "logical thinking" for your entire life. Maybe that's the last thing you want to be right now, at this very moment.
You know that you're never, ever going to be the same because of this person, and, yes, maybe they don't know it (at least in my case...), but that's OK for now. You just never know what'll happen in the future, do you? I mean, if Richard Marx was able to live down that mullet, then I'm guessing there's hope for us all... xoxo

Etsy Love: Thanksgiving Salt and Pepper Shakers

Here's a sure-fire cure for that inevitable awkward conversation around the Thanksgiving table on Thursday: Pilgrims, Turkey, Nut, Acorn, Squirrel and Pumpkin salt and pepper shakers!

That way, when your aunt asks you for the 65515584556 time if you have a boyfriends, you can say, "Nope, but I've been doing lots of online shopping. Aren't these shakers cute?"

Problem solved. Plus, the woman pilgrim sort of looks like me, don't you think, friends?!?!? xoxo

In The Pursuit of Happiness: Adele on Being Yourself

Hello!! Adele is certainly having a moment, isn't she? After a four-year hiatus, the tell-it-like-it-is singer is back and better than ever -- she's even toppled *NSYNC's first-week album sales record! And if that wasn't enough, she recently shelled out a heavy dose of inspiration in an interview with SiriusXM...

"I do have body image problems, for sure, but I don't let them rule my life at all," she says. "And there's bigger issues going on in the world than how I might feel about myself. There's only one of you, so why would you want to look like everyone else?" she said. "Why would you want to have the same hairstyle as everyone else and have the same opinions as everybody else?"

We see celebrities like Adele and think they have these glossy, airbrushed, perfect lives. They seem to have the right clothes, the right hair and the right makeup. So when they come out and "get real" about life, you can tell that it comes from a genuine place. This is why we can all relate to Adele. She's our Spirit Animal and basically says everything we're all thinking, which is so refreshing, if you ask me. In a world of fakeness, we definitely need something real to counteract all that negativity.
Are you an Adele fan, friends? What's your favorite song? You all know I'm in love with Someone Like You -- I've been known to walk roll around the house singing it all day long. Thanks for all the Girl Crush inspiration, Adele! xoxo

P.S. A new Tuesday Tunes is coming up soon! :)

[Via Marie Claire]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dealing With Negativity (Or, My Life According To Haters!)

We're a whole bunch of fakes.

It's one of the great complaints about bloggers. That we lead curated lives and create these fantastical ideals that no one could ever live up to. In a word, our lives are styled and staged to the max, and it's reached the point where we're doing things and trying things and going places for the sole purpose of generating blog content.

Translation: Nothing even remotely reflects reality anymore.

Well, thankfully, I can count my lucky stars that I don't belong in that group. I recently came across a conversation about Yours Truly on a popular gossip/snark site for bloggers. Yeah, I'm sure you know the one. It's was the sort of discovery that brings with it a certain level of elation. As in, "OK, I guess I've finally made it! This must be my version of an US Weekly cover!"

Anyway, their hard-researched verdict?

My life is all too boring.

Hmm. They did have a point, I think. After all, that fear does creep in every so often, like on the days when I sit at my window and watch the snow fall, and I have to wonder: What has my life become? Thank goodness for these wise, eye-opening souls who are here to enlighten me as to the error of my ways. Without them, I just might have perished into the blog oblivion. Among their other criticisms...

1. I have an overly idealized/romanticized vision of love: Wait, you mean Prince Charming is really just a fictional character? And there's no white horse either? Gosh darn it, and to think I had my future all planned out. I was so looking forward to meeting Mr. Charming and jumping right into a story book. Wait, you mean that's not possible either?

2. I don't go out of the house except to go to Target or CVS: Haha, gotcha here! My drugstore of choice is actually Walgreens, not CVS. But I do see your point. I suppose I am boring. Maybe I should start staging design projects, kitchen cooking sessions and fashion shows -- you know, make myself "appear" more interesting and livelier than I actually am. I mean, it doesn't really matter if it's true, right? It's all about how it looks.

3. I'm stuck in my ways and I hate change: Very true! I'm mad at the world for making a full rotation every 24 hours and I'm so frustrated that the seasons change. Maybe I'll just curl up in my house and never come out! Now there's a thought!

4. I refuse to try online dating, which may lead to my Forever Spinster status: You're right. I guess there are just no other options for me; all hope is officially lost. At least I have my cats and a warm blanket to keep me company during my lonely, lonely years, since everyone knows that romantic love is the only kind of love there is. There's no other kind of love out there. If you don't have romantic love, you're a hopeless loser, so thanks for letting me know.

5. I would never date someone in a wheelchair/with a disability: Oh, I know, right? I can barely tolerate me. Can you imagine having to put up with another me? That would just be downright exhausting and I just don't think I could get past that glaring wheelchair.
By now, I hope you've caught on to my wit and sarcasm in this post -- no doubt cultivated by my many hours by myself, indoors, with my cats as my audience.

And one more thing: One of you said that you'd feel guilty starting an entire thread about me because of my disability. Well, don't worry -- there's no need to be a superhero martyr. I'm not a China doll. In fact, I'm pretty tough. I can take it. Just don't expect me to take it sitting down -- pun intended -- because I will fight back. So might I suggest that the next time you'd like to give me "life advice," you step away from the comforts of your computer and your cutesy screen name (heyyy, Mediocre Snark Attack and Polarburr!!) and say your piece to my face. Because while you may think you slayed with your words, at least I have enough guts and self-esteem to use my name.

Who's the superhero now?

Best Take on Classic Pumpkin Pie

Everyone's favorite Thanksgiving staple has seen plenty of reinventions over the years, like mini pumpkin pies, pumpkin pie bars and pumpkin pie fudge, but never in all my food-loving days have I seen something as glorious as this: FUNFETTI PIE CRUST!!

I'll just let that sink in for a moment...

Perhaps even sweeter (pun intended...see what I did there?) is the funfetti whipped cream that is oh-so-generously dolloped over the top. Can't you just imagine slicing into this deliciousness on Thanksgiving night? Ahhh, I'm sold... xoxo

P.S. The secret to Thanksgiving pies! :)

[Photos by Jeff Mindell]

Man Candy Monday.

Good Monday morning, friends! I don't know about you, but this is one of my absolute favorite weeks of the year -- Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday! Another one of my new favorite things? Country's crooning men. I've long been a fan of country's tough women, but there's something about a guy with a soulful drawl. Today's guy fills those boots perfectly. He's a good ole Georgia boy. He's got an abundance of charm. And he makes playing the guitar look downright sexy...

CHASE RICE!!!!!!!!!!

"If you wanna go away out where there ain't nobody around...And let your long hair get to fallin' down...And let your red lips leave their mark all over mine..."

Friday, November 20, 2015

Have a cozy weekend

Happy Friday, friends! Got anything special planned for the weekend? We're supposed to get the first significant snow here in the Midwest, so my plans include hunkering down with a side of guilty pleasure TV. And next week, I've got some fun posts planned to get us all ready for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend, and here are my favorite findsfrom the wonderful Web...

10 outrageous turkey questions from the Butterball hotline.

Instamoms are the newest trend in capturing your child's life. Thoughts?

Why men go MIA in dating.

I love this inspirational cuff.

How do you perceive color?

12 signs you're originally from the Midwest (yay!!)

How to defeat your inner critic.

Claire Danes on body shaming.

Thirty years ago, Mr. Snuffleupagus shocked Sesame Street.

SO EXCITED about this upcoming Big Bang Theory plot line!

Speaking of Phil Collins, here are 100 reasons why he's awesome!

The Do's and Don'ts of social media.

Great blog post ideas if you're stumped.

New Barbie commercial finally breaks down gender stereotypes.

Work from home more efficiently.

Carly Simon gives us some insight into the subject of You're So Vain.

One woman threw a party to toast her last period before undergoing a hysterectomy.

Gawker will now focus "intensely on politics."

Zayn goes his own direction -- see what I did there?

Oh, yum, these pumpkin spice bars look de-li-cious!

Woohoo, the Holiday Gift Guides are coming! Here's a great one from Marie Claire!

And as always, feel free to connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube! See you there!
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