Merry Christmas: Love to Love Ya!

love you

Merry Christmas!!!  I had an entirely different topic that I was prepared to write about today, but now…..I’m not feeling it.  Instead, I’m going to keep it short & sweet 🙂  In celebration of this day to commemorate the birth of Christ, the ultimate exemplar of Love – I just want you to know that you are loved.  I love you, and more importantly, God loves you…..and there’s nothing you can do about it 🙂  Now that’s a gift that requires no gift wrapping.  Enjoy one of my fav songs by ‘The Commodores’ & have a fabu Christmas Day!

Inspired – Different Christmas Traditions

love candy canes

It’s Christmas Eve – the day before the big day!  I’m finishing up some last minute shopping before hitting the road to visit my fam, (majorly procrastinated this year!), how about you?  Hopefully you did the  complete opposite and completed all of your tasks super early and are now able to chill-ax (i.e., chill + relax).  I’ll get there one day….actually, scratch that – I look forward to not having to get there one day.  And by that, I mean that I really want to institute some different Christmas traditions among my close friends and fam, ones that deviate from the consumerism normally associated with this time of the year and instead focus on what Christmas really is about.  Honestly, I have everything I need….and a lot of what I want – and would be completely fine with not receiving gifts, and instead having that money (& shopping time) allocated elsewhere.  Now I’m not sure how on board other’s would be about my seemingly radical ideas – but here are some that I would like to see done, collectively, one year:

  • Kiva – If you’ve never heard of Kiva before, consider yourself informed 🙂  This organization is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs around the globe, to help fund business ventures and alleviate poverty.  You can select the borrower of your choice and lend as little as $25 towards their efforts.  It’s an easy and impactful way to spend Christmas funds, and you will receive your initial loan back to re-lend to another borrower, to donate to Kiva for operating costs, or you can withdraw via Paypal.
  • Adopt a family – There are formal as well as informal ways to accomplish this category.  Formally, there are organizations in place that will connect you to families in need, like the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ Program.  Some churches also have a formalized process for giving to families.  Informally, you could also organize a more personal approach to give to a family that you know – in the form of paying a needed bill or buying Christmas toys for children.  If this is the desired method, having a clear means of communicating with the family about their needs and reaching an agreement about the need that will be met is a good starting point.
  • VolunteerDosomething.org is an excellent resource for volunteer opportunities, from serving in a soup kitchen, to helping out in an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc.  Wherever your interest lies, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that fits.  But if not, you could always create your own volunteer experience by connecting personally with an organization that fits your interest.
  • Random acts of Kindness – Ok, technically, this category should extend to the entire year and not just during the Christmas season.  But random acts of kindness are just that – doing something kind for someone else.  Are you like G. Garvin in the kitchen (the crush I had on that man……or maybe the crush stemmed from the fact that he simply could cook….and if I were with him, I wouldn’t have to….WINNING!)?  If so, whip up that dish and give it to someone you know who would like it – just because.  Standing behind someone in the check-out line who seems stressed over a bill amount that you know you could afford?  Offer to pay for their purchases!  I witnessed this very act this week, and to call it beautiful would be an understatement 🙂  Now random acts don’t have to be uber-expensive either.  They could be as simple as holding the door open for others longer than what would be considered normal, returning your cart after shopping to the inside of the store *gasp*, or saying ‘Hi!’ with a genuine smile to everyone that you come across on a given day….something I would’ve considered (more) weird before moving to the south.  Actually, out of all the things my sister and I have done for my mom for her birthday, the one that she reminds us of the most was also one of the simplest – the year we snuck home when she and my dad were out of town and cleaned the entire house.  So yeah, simple random acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way and majorly brighten someone’s day!

I’m looking forward to stepping up or starting to act on these areas for next year!  However you’re spending your Christmas, I hope that you are continually reminded that you are loved 🙂  Have a fabu Christmas Eve.

Friday…..I think it is!

buddy elf excited

Is it just me, or is the Elf gif making you dizzy too?  Try not to stare at it for prolonged periods of time, and instead – embody his same level of enthusiasm by focusing on the fact that today is FRIDAY!!!!  Yes, it’s the Friday before Christmas and the official start of my Christmas vacay 🙂  Whoop whoop!  To say I’m excited about this much deserved work-hiatus is an understatement.  I am so looking forward to having some downtime to visit my family (and meet my new niece Ryan Mckenzie), as well as catch up on some sleep, continue my ongoing organization project, and to dedicate time towards planning for the new year.  I’ll be turning 30 next year, and so I’m trying to approach 2013 with a focus that reflects my coming-of-age, so to speak.  Yeppers – I’m excited, and motivated – all at the same *bleep* time (cue Future)….who knew?  This weekend should be consequently pretty fun, though I don’t have any solid plans…..yet.  But here are some things that I’m contemplating doing in and around the Richmond area.  I hope that you immensely enjoy your weekend also, and to end my quasi-boy band dedicated week, I will leave you with my all-time fav Backstreet Boys song.  And seeing as it is the weekend & the start of my holiday break – I most definitely want it that way 😉 I’m corny, I know, but this was the jam!  Have a fabu rest of the day 🙂

Tango After Work at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Third Fridays from 6-8pm

ComedySportz Improv Theatre – Saturday @ 7pm & 9:30pm

Sunday Expressions at Aurora – Sunday @ 6pm

 

Sweet Thing

andy confetti gif

“I would love you anyway

Even if you cannot stay

I think you are the one for me

Here is where you ought…to beeeeee”

I am in LOVE…..or maybe I should say strong like.  I mean, I’ve known about the object of my affection for awhile, but it’s only recently that I’ve come to the full appreciation of its being.  It’s sweet, sugary, cream cheese icing laced, get in my belly IMMEDIATELY being!  And yes, this post is dedicated to red velvet cupcakes.

red velvet cupcakes

Yummy!  For some reason, last week I had a random craving for red velvet cupcakes.  I’ve never been into sweets, so I gave into said craving and, wow – Martin’s did not disappoint.  Those cupcakes were the bomb.com…and my housemates agreed.  Needless to say, those cupcakes didn’t stand a chance in my house (and I learned a valuable lesson, that when you offer something as delicious as red velvet cupcakes to others, some people take that as license to eat all that remain…except for one, which is yours….le sigh).  Fast forward to this week, and I give into the same craving while shopping at Walmart…only this time, I purchase a single serving to keep myself in check…..and so I didn’t have to share. Man oh man, Walmart might be the devil (though they were the only ones open during the time of night that I chose to go shopping), but that piece of cake was so good!  In general, I try to eat pretty healthily, so I didn’t feel super guilty about my recent excursions into red velvet-land.  And on top of that, I’m planning to start a 30-day fast/detox in the beginning of January – so I’m allowing myself a few sweets until then.  But I’m going to have to learn how to make these babies for myself….and possibly in a healthier (maybe vegan?) form.  Hmmmmm *strokes invisible pondering beard*….I’ll keep you posted.  But the moral of this story is: Walmart = bad (seriously, they’ve been criticized on multiple occassions for offering inadequate benefits to their employees, among other things…), but red velvet cupcakes are always good.  That’s why they’re my ‘sweet thing’, tell’em Chaka:


Today’s my 20th!

high five gif

Nope – not my birthday, that ship has sailed almost a decade ago.  Today marks the 20th post that I’ve made to this blog *launch the confetti canon*!  While this might not seem significant to some, to me this is a momentous occasion because I wasn’t sure how consistent I would be with this newest creative endeavor.  In the past I’ve started some things and haven’t always seen them through.  Some for legit reasons (lack of time or resources), but for others….I simply lost interest.  I might be a little bit of a flake, or, to take a page from Emilie of Puttylike.com, I’m a ‘Multipotentialite’ who naturally moves from one project to another…honestly, depending on the day, it could be a combination of the two, but I digress.  However I choose to psychoanalyze the motives behind my actions (or lack thereof), I’m excited not only about my consistency with this project, but at how much fun I’ve been having doing it.  Seriously, just letting my brain have at it on an almost daily basis has been quite liberating and enjoyable, and I find myself cracking up at the things that come out of my….fingers.  This also signifies that this project might be worth continuing to invest into, and who knows where things could lead.  And I definitely appreciate all of you who’ve taken the time to read my random tales, motivational excerpts, or just daily thoughts, and would love to hear from you!  What do you think, any ideas, suggestions, things you’d like to know or see?  Let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at differentnorm@gmail.com.  I’m def planning on getting some pics and videos up soon – so be on the lookout for the new hotness in the ’13 (…..wow, that sounded wack…I  feel for the high school seniors who are graduating in such an “un-cool” sounding year, makes me appreciate my 2000 graduation a little bit more).  So yeah, much thanks to you, and I hope to be connecting with all of you a bit better in the future.  In honor of this celebratory day, and the fact that I graduated during a non-wack year, here’s one of my fav songs from 2000.  This week must be the week of the boy band for me, but I loved N*Sync & Backstreet Boys back in the day…..I knew the choreography and everything….  Enjoy & have a fabu Hump Day!

 

Get Your Life – I’m a Pinterest Party Planner!

home alone merry christmas

It’s Tuesday, and not just any Tuesday – it’s exactly one week before Christmas – let the countdown begin *insert fist pump*!  I just started checking off my Christmas list yesterday, and hope to be done by the end of this week *insert another fist pump* – though I really don’t have a choice, seeing as Christmas is next week 😉  With the holiday season being in full swing, I have relied heavily on the interwebs for inspiration on gifts, recipes and even outfits for holiday parties.  I mentioned before some amazing sites that have been super helpful to me accomplishing some holiday goals (here), but today I really want to give one site in particular a special shout-out: Pinterest – I heart thee!  Seriously, Pinterest is very resourceful for a host of holiday needs, as it is essentially an online pinboard where users can post images of things that interest them.  Still trying to figure out what to give someone for Christmas – Pinterest can give you ideas.  Need a recipe for your holiday party – Pinterest has got your back.  Looking for inspiration for a classy (or tacky) Christmas party outfit – look no further, Pinterest is here!  Seriously, I have looked to Pinterest for all of the above.  I even got the idea for a dish (shrimp & grits baby!) I contributed to my office’s annual holiday party from Pinterest – and it was a big hit!   So yeah, I loves me some Pinterest, and will eventually be starting up a page of my own.  But for now,  I will enjoy the pins of others.  If you’re still in need of some inspiration this holiday season, I highly encourage you to do a google search and include ‘Pinterest’ in your title – and I guarantee you’ll find something useful – or at least intriguing…..kinda like this pic I found of a Batman birthday cake:

batman belt cake

Hmmm……this might work for my 30th…….  Anywho, enjoy your Christmas Countdown (along with this 90’s Christmas throwback by N*Sync…my Lord this video was cheesy, but I love them still) – and have a fabu rest of the day!

Monday Morning Motivation: Appreciate the Little Things

Good Morning & Happy Monday!  I hope that you all had an amazing weekend, mine was pretty good – though I’m still processing the events that took place on Friday.  Tragedies such as the one that occurred in Connecticut have a tendency to stick with me, but rather than trying to understand the “why” behind the events, I tend to focus in on the importance of life itself.  It’s easy for me to get on “auto-pilot” with my life, as there is a lot that I would like to accomplish.  And while I don’t see anything wrong with having ambitions, I do think it is equally as important to appreciate the small pleasures that occur, sometimes outside of our awareness, every single day.  Yeah it can seem frustrating to not be exactly where you want to be, or to have to go about the hustle and bustle of the day.  But in spite of life’s frustrations, there’s always something that happens, some bright spot throughout the day, that is worthy of appreciation.  For me, it’s finding a great parking spot, or seeing that my dog didn’t poop on the floor before I’ve had a chance to take her out in the morning, or hearing Michael McDonald’s ‘I Keep Forgetting’ as the first song on my Pandora station (I love that song!) – a friend of mine says that God is winking at me when moments like these occur.  Bottom line, we all have things to be appreciative of, and no matter how sucky life may seem for you now, find some semblance of good and allow that to motivate you beyond the bad.  And enjoy every moment of this precious life that we’ve all been given 🙂  Have a ridiculously amazing day and rest of the week!