11.30.2010

how sweet.

This came on my breakfast tray one day in Ireland.

The super-sweet and gorgeous Alivia from Alivia Thinks This recently gave me a thoughtful blogger award! I'm so terrible at playing along with awards...I'm always so thankful to get one, and mean to play along, but until recently I haven't really been on the blogger-ball. So, this one's for all the times I never played along. Sorry about that. :)

The rules state that I'm to list seven random things about me and select seven fav blogs. As for my blog picks, I simply cannot trim it down. I've decided it's time to start a link list on my sidebar, so look for that soon. I'll be sure to let you know when it's ready!

My Seven Randoms

One. I am left handed. Picking up a pen can be the equivalent of a circus trick in the right group, as this quirk continues to amaze people I've known for ages, but who have forgotten that I write with "that other hand."


Two. I subconsciously count stairs as I climb them. There are 22 stairs to my apartment, 52 to my art history classroom, 64 to my journalism class. On Tuesdays, I climb 356 stairs...and today I climbed in heels. :)


Three. Were you to look in my armoire, you'd probably think I was goth. Black. Grey. Navy. (Remember goths? They were taken over by emo kids, and goths are a rare sight these days.) I simply don't know how to mix colors in my wardrobe...I'm so insecure about color mixing. Don't get me started on trying patterns. Hives will erupt, I tell you!


Four. I haven't the slightest clue what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know how I want to feel when I grow up. The latter is more important in my mind, and someday, in the right time, I'll bump into what I'm supposed to do from now until forever.


Five. York Peppermint Patties are my weakness. I can eat an entire bag in one sitting. That is also like a circus act.


Six. My alter-ego is a woman named Marlene. Marlene is a 30-something single art historian who spews historical facts at the most inopportune moments, much to the annoyance of everyone around her. Even I am annoyed by Marlene...but I cannot help it. Sometimes she just takes over, and I feel the need to teach my family about Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns so they can correctly identify them in the future.


Seven. Someday, I want to publish a book. I have no clue what it will be about, but I feel that there are a lot of words, stories and emotions in me that will only ever be able to be shared in written form. Even if only my mother and best friend buy it or it pervades discount shelves everywhere...I will be the happiest woman in the world.

Your turn. Give me a random about you!

11.29.2010

understated holiday.


My dear friends, has Thanksgiving passed already? I feel as though I'm in a stuffing-based haze. Is it possible? Truthfully, I'm exhausted and have not yet been able to name a reason why, as I've not gone much beyond eating, lounging and simple homework. Although, that's nothing new. I had grandiose plans for this Thanksgiving's table, but quickly scrapped them when Wednesday night arrived and I'd not lifted a finger. So, I fell back on a base of polka-dot lace tablecloths, a burlap runner and a light green seersucker overlay runner.
 

 My grandmother recently passed down a twelve-person china setting from the 1930's with all the trimmings, salad, dinner and dessert plates, cups, bowls, saucers...and it made for the perfect eye candy. I picked up adorable seersucker cloth napkins at...The Dollar Store. Yes, indeed. Six dollars for twelve napkins, and they couldn't have been more perfect.
 

I opted out of napkin rings, as the things are so expensive I can't bear to purchase them. So, some simple baker's twine was a nice stand-in and pumped up the texture. Is it silly that I think it's charming when silverwear is mismatched?


All in all, it was my easiest table yet, and cost all told: Sixteen dollars. Thankfully, both burlap and pears were on sale which saved me a fortune. My sister and mom tackled the meal, and did a deliciously excellent job. I'm a lucky girl in that my mother and sister respect my inability and disinterest in cooking...perhaps that will change someday when I'm cooking for more than one. But, for now I delight in more visual pursuits. :)

Do tell: Are you the cook or the decorator during the holidays? Are you one of the lucky girls who excels at both?

11.26.2010

gratefulness.

My Thanksgiving table, a few hours after the feast. I like when the candles burn low.

I recognize that I'm tardy to the bloggers' Thanksgiving, to which some have faithfully contributed for weeks. It's not that I haven't been thankful, but moreso that I haven't been diligent. And, although the turkey has been roasted, the dishes washed and the pie raved over, as long as there are leftovers in the fridge, I figure it's not too late to join those who have verbalized their thankfulness. This year, I'm thankful...

...for a family who accepts that my calling is not to the kitchen, but rather the dining room display.

...for a boyfriend who sweetly sent flowers to my mother who was hosting our twelve-person dinner.

...for a mother who cooks the stuffing outside the turkey, honoring my squeamish vegetarian ways.

...for two days reprieve from work + school. Tomorrow I dig into a paper on baroque furnishings in film. (Secretly excited!)

...for a few extra dollars to spend on frivolous Black Friday purchases, like this sweater in grey.

...for my size 10 jeans. Hello, old friends, and thank you for accommodating this weekend's carboloading ways.

Truly, I'm thankful for pretty darn-well near everything in my life. Family, dear friends, romance, transportation, inspiration...everything. It may be far from perfect, and a little rough around the edges, but I know I'm a lucky girl. Here's hoping that the remainder of your Thanksgiving weekend is simply sensational. :)

P.S. Pass the stuffing. Again.

11.23.2010

little moments.

Another sweet item from Kari's barn.

In the midst of...

...backing ever-so-slightly into someone's bumper.
...pulling a near-all-nighter to finish a project.
...dealing with the least pleasant campus employee I've ever faced.
...malfunctioning computer programs, leading to three hours of lost work.
...complete, and total frustration.

...a boy I love in Iraq received his care package and is, as I write this, decorating his tree. And that, if anything, makes life worth smiling about.

Fa-la-la-la-fabulous. :)

11.21.2010

a vintage gem.


My co-worker Kari recently entered the antiquing business, and several times a year transforms her gorgeous 1800's barn into a welcome shop-space for eager antiquers...lucky for me, I found out about this just a few days before her big Christmas sale. And, although it may have been below freezing outside on Saturday, inside this big ol' Wisconsin barn there was nothing but warm hearts and toasty spirits.


Between the piping hot apple cider Kari was dishing up, and the cheery laughs with which she greeted each guest, it was clear that this entire undertaking is a work of heart. The milky morning light filtered through the slats of the barn, illuminating each gorgeously placed glassy bauble and vintage good. The whole barn was decked out in Christmas beauty, and staged to perfection--white, twinkly lights, Christmas trees, ornaments and antique cards...enough to make a Christmas-freak like me cheery for weeks!

Now, I can't show you any of my scores, because they're all about to be wrapped up as gifts...but I will say this: I walked away with a bulging bag of vintage finds for a little over twenty bucks! The photos below should give you a little taste of the beauty within that magnificent barn.



 
It was beautiful...the most excellent way to start a weekend, and an incredible kick-off to the true holiday season. If you're in the area, be sure to hop over to Kari's blog to keep up to date with her spring barn sale dates. Even if the Augusta barn is a little out of your way, I can promise you it's worth every mile you drive! :)

11.19.2010

many thanks...and a winner!


One of my favorite Irish windows...could it be any more adorable?
My Ramblings

I owe soooo many 'thank yous' to the blogosphere this week:

...For your sweet comments about the Christmas care package for my guy...I am blushing. Creating it was truly a work of heart, and your words were a heavenly treat during the last few days. Additionally, your mutual Christmas excitement? Let's hug. Thank you, thank you.

...For openness and honesty, both in the comments left for me and in the words shared on your own blogs. As a girl who finds honesty easiest in written form, I cannot express my thankfulness.

...For all the gosh-darn thoughtfulness I've found in this little world. Cheery emails from people I know only virtually, ornament swaps with girls from around the globe and Christmas craft parties thrown by warm blogger-hostesses who welcome all...isn't this place amazing? Seriously.

...And one enormous a-thank-you-so-much to everyone who played along with my first month with Give for Good. Together, your comments helped raise $75.00 in the name of curing addiction. Hooray!

The Good Stuff

Random.org has chosen a winner, and the winner of the G4G giveaway is...

Shannon of Shannanigans! Shannon, zip me your mailing address, and I'll send this sundae-fund your way. :)

Spooky truth: Yesterday I won a giveaway on Shannon's blog...I swear this wasn't loaded. But, please DO note that Shannon has the cutest, most expressive babe on the planet, with whom I am completely in love (although I've never met him). His name is Gabe. Gabes and I just go together like PB and J.

Happy weekend!

11.18.2010

learning to love.



I didn’t cry this time. I was proud of me.

But I did hold my breath while I waited. The scale flashed three zeros at me, and I hung in the balance. It felt like forever. Flash. Flash….Was it as bad as I imagined? Was I going to fall apart? I ran over the last three months in my head. Innumerable calories, meals, days, even weeks that I wished I could erase from my food diary. I’d not even tried to say no. Life had been a 24-hour buffet, and I’d not left for 90 days.

One more flash of zeros, and then a number. And not a happy one, for the girl who had previously fought so hard to take off every ounce. There it was—concrete, numerical evidence of my sins, and there was no denying it. I felt silly, standing in my bathroom, wearing only a towel, like someone would catch a glimpse of me, and I’d hear them call me chubby. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, overwhelming shame brought the sudden need to cover up. Every wiggle, every jiggle seemed more jiggly than before. Hot, angry tears behind my eyes threatened to spill onto my cheeks, which now felt like the size of giant Christmas hams.

The words of a horrible, selfish man I once dated echoed in my mind, "Your achilles heel is your weight. No man wants to fall in love with a girl who's practically overweight...she'll only get worse with time."

And then, so filled with hatred for the wretched man, I swore that not a tear would fall. I looked myself in the mirror and thought, "Absolutely not. I will not let that terrible man win...or tear me down anymore. I will learn to love myself, beyond the bounds of numbers and scales."

I have so much love for others. Regardless of height, weight, age, hopes, dreams...I easily see beyond these things, find the worth in the person next to me and love all of them for it. But, I feel like I'm just beginning the long journey of learning to love myself. I can think of a million reasons why I shouldn't love or accept myself. And I'm not entirely sure how to start.

Can one ever, truly accomplish this or is it only a pipe dream?

11.17.2010

baby steps.

Quietly, I laughed to myself as I fell desperately in love with a pair of baby shoes. There I was, innocently eyeing miniature sweaters, mittens and stockings in search of baby shower gifts, when the sweetest pair of tiny baby boy sneakers stole my heart. At 24, two years of school lie infront of me, I've yet to get married and am one of those silly individuals who believes in having two years of marriage in before starting a family. Babies are far, far, far from now, and typically I'm thankful for that. But there are moments in which I could be convinced otherwise.

My sister, by my side as the baby shoes found their way to the checkout line, knowingly smiled and asked me, "Those shoes aren't for a gift, are they? You're not going to part with them."

"No." I responded, laughing, fully aware of my craziness.

Life is never what you expect or plan. And thank God for that. Had I written my life-plan when I became an adult, I'd already be a wife and mother, and certainly wouldn't have made room for this precious 20-something time to find myself, experience life, love and growth. But, I'm occasionally eager for that distant future. In rare moments, I cannot wait. Every year I buy a new book for my someday children. It's not ceremonial, and I'm aware that its completely loony. There's no given date for when I do this crazy thing...it just slips into my shopping basket and finds it's way home, joining the smallest little growing stack of hopes and dreams.

And, now, baby shoes.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thank you all for your loving cheer-up messages on my last post! Miraculously, both my instructors graciously granted project extensions. I am one happy girl, who snagged FIVE, yes count 'em, five whole hours of sleep last night. :)

In other news, don't forget that tomorrow (Thursday) is your last day to comment on the giveway! I'll announce the winner on Friday!

11.16.2010

dreaming of being carefree.

A lighthouse on the beaches of Santa Cruz.

Heaven help me. This week I'm smushed between an enormous feature article on decorating a new nursery and a massive set of paintings and color studies, both conveniently due on the same day. I imagine that there's a secret society of evil professors who meet underground and maliciously sync all their project due dates...somehow, all of my professors this year belong to this secret society of darkness. Also filling my days: packing in enough work to pay the bills, and enough sleep to stay alive.

My best friend and I...she can always make me smile

Weeks like this I get by on wispy memories of where I was just a few months ago. Like, a California afternoon spent on the beach with Gabe + me, my best friend + her husband. She and I soaking up the sun, gossiping and giggling, our boys off exploring, looking for fish and wild life...or whatever it is manly men do. Simple perfection, and perfect repeat mental vacation.

What I'm saying is: Forgive me if I'm absent for a few days. Oh, and hurry up, Christmas break. I'm dying here.

11.15.2010

a labor of love.

Please forgive the poor lighting on these photos, as it's currently 2am and there's no natural light to be found!

After several hours scheming + shopping, plus a few nights wrapping, I've nearly completed the advent calendar care package for my love. Luck of all luck, I also found a manageable-size Christmas tree for just a few dollars. I am so elated!

Each little numbered package is a fun treat or something usable, with an itty-bitty note inside which sweetly ties the trinket to a reason he holds my heart. (Some are silly, some are saucy, some are truly-heartfelt. I'd give a few example, but the boy reads my posts regularly, and I don't want to give it all away!) Seven of the twenty-five days are actually numbered DIY ornaments on the tree into which I slipped a small love note with a favorite memory from our time together.


As a creative type, the quickest way to my heart is acknowledgement and true appreciation of my creative efforts, something that has typically fallen flat in my past relationships. But not this time. Gabriel is such an appreciative guy and I consider myself a lucky lady. I cannot count how many times he's thanked me for this package (although it's still stateside!), or let me know that he loves the creative time and energy I spend on things like this..down to the ridiculous felt flowers and coordinating ribbon. Isn' t it the best when your guy notices your artistic efforts?

Now, I can barely wait to get this enormous box in the mail and will hold my breath until I know it's found it's way to the sweetest guy in Baghdad!

11.11.2010

taking care.


Here’s the thing: I forget that it’s okay to take care of myself, beyond buying my necessary cosmetics and groceries. I'm not talking about picking up a latte, or throwing a York Peppermint Pattie in my cart at checkout. Those things are instinctive. But the actual up-keep of self: haircuts, a lucky manicure, trips to the gym, the occasional bra fitting or a relaxing walk about the block. Six weeks ago, Gabriel was so sweet to remind me that taking care of self is nourishment to a girl’s soul and, that more than how I look, it’s about how I feel when I take care of myself. This spurred my first trip to hair salon in years, after which I felt so good that I actually strolled down to Victoria's had a bra fitting, something I've so nervously avoided for a decade. Talk about "up" keep.

He was so right. Taking care is a different feeling than buying a new pair of shoes (although that’s a beautiful thing), or another pair of gold dangly earrings. It’s a quiet, peaceful feeling of thankfulness and self-contentedness. It's knowing that I'm lucky to live a life that allows for little 'take care' splurges, but knowing that with luck comes the joy and responsibility of taking care of those who have bigger concerns, like putting meals on the table or keeping a roof overhead. I guess it's all about passing on what you've been blessed with, no matter how small, right? That's so much easier to remember around the holidays.

Anyway, after this weekend's second visit to the hair salon, I'm truly seeing the benefits of taking care of me...soft, shiny, bouncy benefits. Ooo…and get this: I can now run my fingers through my hair without breaking off 20 strands. Sexy.

Happy weekend. :)

holiday spirit.



I save bits and baubles all year long. Strips of ribbon, extra buttons that come with new sweaters, and small pieces of felt are stored just for this time: gift wrapping time. Those little extra touches are what I feel make a thoughtful gift the pièce de résistance under the tree. 

I'm aware that it's only November, and a tad early to be wrapping, but yesterday my friendly local post-woman informed me that if I want to get anything over to my boy in Iraq, I best send it within the next week before millions of holiday parcels hit the air. Millions? Oh my. Now I'm rushing to get things packaged in time. Truthfully, it makes me a little teary to think of him spending the upcoming holidays in a dusty lack of holiday spirit. No Christmas tree, no holiday tunes playing, not even an attempt at a Thanksgiving meal. So, I'm tracking down a mini-Christmas tree, and wrapping one gift for every day of December, advent-calendar style...hoping to infuse some daily Christmas joy onto his military base that's seriously lacking it.

Some exciting news: I was contacted by an anonymous-someone who offered to donate one additional dollar for each comment on this giveaway post! We're DYING to max out the donation, so you may now comment once per day, each comment is worth a $1.50 donation, and another entry for you in the giveaway! The whole shebang ends on Thursday, November 18th, with the winner announced on Friday, November 19th.

11.10.2010

warming up.


Given that scarves and gloves have made their appearance in the midwest, I decided it was time to warm up my small living room. So, I swapped out my light white throw for a chunky brown one, and also picked up this snuggly sweater pillow from IKEA. My kitchen has so little storage that I often try to find useful ways to keep bowls and platters in other areas of my home...so this scalloped blue guy often sits on my coffee table with some seasonal fruit. This way, when I'm gorging myself on reality TV reruns, I can at least reach for an apple and feel like I made one good decision that day. :)

I also crafted this piece of artwork (is it artwork? I'm not sure what to call it...):

Forgive the photo, I took it this morning, and the light is leaving a little to be desired.

It was really quite simple, even for a DIY-dropout like myself:

Step 1: Paint away the scary gold frame with a brush and a can of off-white paint. (I left it a little rough because I like the imperfect look.)
Step 2: Rip four pages from an antique book to which you have no connection, coat their backs with glue and attach them onto a cardboard surface or sturdy cardstock the size of your frame. (There was already a cardboard piece in my frame...so I just used that.)
Step 3: Spend 5 minutes in Word finding a liveable font, and simply print out your letter in font size 454...or something equally enormous.
Step 4: Cut the letter out.
Step 5: If the black from your printer isn't quite punchy enough, go over it with black paint and let it dry for ten minutes, before gluing it to the now-vintage paged cardboard.
Step 6: Then the whole thing goes in the (dry) frame...and la-dee-da!

Thirty minutes to new artwork. :) The entire room feels much cozier, and I'll admit that I've spent more time lounging about than usual! The next item on my to-do list is adding twinkly lights to my windows, and covering the ceiling in hanging snowflakes. Yes. Like a 2nd grade classroom.

Riddle me this: Do you make seasonal changes to your textiles...swap out pillows or throws, or even curtains?

11.09.2010

like gold.

A few weeks ago I picked these up at Forever 21...under six dollars. Not. Even. Kidding.

Although I'm a Christian, it's always irked me a little that the Bible frequently talks to men about good women, how much they are worth...but I've never seen a passage that states the worth of a good man. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what's up with that? If I could make an addition to the advice offered in the Good Book, it would be this:

"Blessed is the woman who finds a warm-hearted man, for he is worth far more than gold."

I've dated nice guys, and I've dated absolute frogs. (1st half of 2010: The year of the frogs.) But the warm-hearted men have been few. Someone who is mature enough to have kindness, generosity and sympathy in spades. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm with a warm-hearted, mature man who is open to a future together, whatever that brings. Someone who...

...listens to my silly dreams...and dreams with me.
...never forgets to tell me good morning and sweet dreams, although he's 9 hours ahead of me.
...tells me daily that i can do anything i set my mind to.
...pushes me when i believe i cannot.
...can write one heck of a love letter.
...remembers the little things.
...encourages me to eat cake, because he doesn't care about my pants size.
...reminds me that my insecurities are crazy.
...makes my heart feel full, even from 6,000 miles away.

That type of man? Definitely worth more than gold. I love my gold jewelry, but I'd choose that man over a glitzy bangle any day. :)

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

11.07.2010

give for good: letter a...and the giveaway!


Last week I squawked about a new feature, Give for Good: From A to Z, which is a three-part deal:

1. I feature a new organization that’s doing so much good for those in need.

2. Your comment on the post gets a 50 cent donation from me to the featured organization.

3. Your comment also enters you in a little giveaway.

The Cause
 
So, Letter A...is for Addiction. And, this month's organization: AllTreatment. When this organization contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I could spread the word about their work, I couldn't help but take a spin around their website, finding myself surprised by the heart and scope their organization. My mind started twisting and turning, trying to find a way that I could help them out...and routinely invest a little more in people who are doing so much good. And thus, my brain gave birth to Give for Good.

I was lucky to correspond with AllTreatment's managing editor, Denny, who kindly filled me in on how they started, and even fielded a few questions for me!

Their Roots: In 2009, a group of software and internet search executives crossed paths, soon realizing they all had one thing in common: They each had a friend, relative or family member who had battled addiction. So, together these guys started AllTreatment, a website dedicated to connecting people in need with resources and treatment centers in their area.

Their Goal: Aiming to make locating an appropriate treatment center easier and faster than ever, AllTreatment offers an online database (and hotline!) of treatment centers, searchable by tons of different factors (addiction type, location, special programs). Their site also features some incredibly honest, raw articles and interviews that cover everything from alcohol addiction, to gambling to overeating.

So, Denny, what is the most common addiction we see in society? And for those who might be struggling with an addiction, what should be their first move?
"The most common addiction in our society is caffeine!  Hah!  (Insert a guilty-faced Bethany here.) But the most harmful one, the one that's most prevalent, the one that takes the most lives and effects the most families is alcohol, and it's by a lot." (A recent study shows that alcohol is 25% more harmful to the user and 48% more harmful to others than heroin.) "The first move for someone looking to beat their addiction is definitely to reach out to their friends and family and ask for help.  It takes massive amounts of courage and determination to do so, it can be humiliating and the hardest thing someone could do, but those are the people that will help you through the recovery journey, and telling them will make you accountable to others, helping you along even more."

What has been the most rewarding part of working at AllTreatment?
"The most rewarding part of working at AllTreatment for me has been hearing how people have taken a situation that is so hard to face (their addiction), and face it full force, growing through that pain and recovery.  It's amazing to see how people can change in such a dramatic form, and inspires me to grow (or try to!) every day."

Wow. Talk about warm-hearted goodness deserving of some serious high-fives.

The Giveaway

Thirty dollars! Yes, indeed! AllTreatment generously offered me a sponsorship amount of thirty dollars, but...I'd rather pass that along to a reader. And lest you think giving away cash is cheesy, I settled on this: The holiday season is upon us, and I'd rather leave the spending up to you! So, a lucky winner will put that cash to use however he/she desires. :)

So, leave a comment to say hello, or if you're feeling ambitious let me know how you'd put $30 to work. Dinner? Movies? Christmas gifts? For extra entries in the giveaway, share a link to this post via your blog or Facebook, and double back to let me know you spread the word!

Win, win, win, right? :) So get to commenting, lovely readers...the more you comment, the more I give, and the more likely you are to be thirty bucks richer!

11.03.2010

new feature: give for good, from a to z.

As bloggers, we feature the beautiful. The edited. The Photoshopped. The proofread. Life is at its best in our digitalized world. But what about our unedited ugly moments? The moments behind closed doors which leave us crying on bathroom floors, knowing that we need help, but not sure how to move forward? The ugly is near and dear to my heart. The last three years of my life have brought plenty of low moments as I’ve wrestled with depression, anxiety, obesity…a trifecta of sadness. But, it was in my lowest lows that I realized this: No one can walk alone. We need others. Those who have trod where we are, friendly souls that can reach down into the darkness, light our path and show us the way out.

So, in an effort to raise awareness for help in our less-than-lovely moments, I’m starting a new series: Give for Good: From A to Z.


This whole shebang has three parts:

1. Every month, I’ll feature a new organization that’s doing so much good for those in need of a hand. My first organization is tied to the letter ‘A’…and December’s will tie to ‘B’…and so on. I hope you’ll take the time to click over and make yourself aware..or at least catalog it in your mental Rolodex. (Wow. Rolodex. I bet kids don’t even know what those are these days.)

2. Your comment on the post gets a 50 cent donation from me to the featured organization. (Up to 100 comments total. Believe me, I would LOVE to send off a $50 donation!)

3. Your comment also enters you in a little giveaway. A thank you from me to you for making yourself aware of other's battles, and for taking time to discover help available should you or your loved ones find yourself in need.

In short, I write. You read and comment. Good people get my money. You (might) win. Everyone wins! I truly hope to keep this going until I run through the entire alphabet, you become so bored that you beg me to stop, or I’m completely broke. Don't worry...in between each month I'll still pack this place full of life overshares, emotional meltdowns, latest obsessions and all sorts of things that make you feel significantly more sane than me. But, I feel like it's my turn to do some good in the world, so why not start here? :)

Check back on Monday to read up on the first featured organization, and find out about the giveaway! (This is a giveaway that’s good for all types. Even boys. Seriously.)

Deal? :)

11.01.2010

overeager, party of one.

(A trip to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis is one of my newfound Christmas traditions.)

Society wants me to bemoan the early onset of Christmas decor in the stores. To curse marketing departments everywhere for turning Christmas into a commercialized holiday. But, can I be honest? It makes my heart beat faster. My palms get a little sweaty. My pupils dilate. I cannot wait. Infact, I so cannot wait for trees, treats and traditions...that today, November 1st, I allowed myself to start listening to Christmas music. I've already sewn a new Christmas table runner and dug out the handmade stockings I crafted last year. Overanxious, are we?

But this year, nearly everyone I know and love has made pacts to skip the gifts. Rather than racking our brains in the aisles over something no one will remember by Valentines Day, my family and I are taking a trip to Chicago right after Christmas...finally seeing Wicked and enjoying the holiday. My co-workers and I agreed to donate to a local food bank rather than buy each other trinkets. My best friend and I have a long-standing no gift policy...but that's mainly because we're too lazy to mail each other gifts. :)

And...he'll be home for Christmas, all the way from Iraq. My love and I are meeting up in San Francisco, just hours before New Years Eve, which we're spending with our very best friends in Ghiradelli Square. Not quite home in time for Christmas, but you best bet that I'll be kissing in the New Year!

I cannot wait to see that boy. He makes everything in life right. :)

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