Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

jesus birthday shirt

 

source

Happy Monday everyone!  I’ll be taking a break over the next two weeks to spend time with family and friends in the DMV over Christmas and New Years.  2014 has been an amazing year in so many ways, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store 🙂  I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years – and look forward to keeping this random convo going in 2015!

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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.

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!

Get Your Life – Christmas Spending

14 days til christams

Today marks exactly two weeks before we are to be visited by the fat man (allegedly) and Christmas will be upon us!  I am so not ready for the holidays, lol, and don’t even have my little fiber-optic tree up yet, smh…..get it together Angie!  But one thing I’m happy to report that I have accomplished is my Christmas spending plan.  I am a strong supporter of the real meaning behind Christmas *cue the Jackson 5’s rendition of ‘Give Love on Christmas Day’*, but also want to provide my loved ones with some small token of the love that I have for them…..without completely annihilating my budget in the process 🙂  Thanks to my bff Google, and newer companions like Pinterest, Tumblr & various blogs, I have come across some very inspirational (and low budget) Christmas gifting ideas.

I’ve convinced my immediate fam and close friends that we should do a Secret Santa gift exchange, to avoid having to get gifts for multiple individuals.  We’ve also placed a price cap on our gift exchange, to foster creativity and conscientious-spending.  If you’re friends & fam aren’t in the same area, sites like SecretSanta.com can help make the gift exchange process a bit easier.

The kiddies in my family (and there are a lot of them now…..6 total under the age of 7!) will be getting a S’mores gift basket from their Awesome Auntie, complete with a kid-friendly book that they can read with their parents whilst eating their S’mores.  I love S’mores, takes me back to my days as a Girl Scout 🙂  HGTV gives a really cute instructional on creating your own S’mores kit.

And lastly, coworkers of mine (the core team) will be gifted with a coffee mug and a nice set of coffees – courtesy of Target.  I plan to divide up a mug set among the six of them, and nicely package each set in gift wrapping.  This Pinterest also contained some amazing DIY gift ideas for coworkers.  Tis the season to show love whilst expressing creativity!

I hope you all enjoy this holiday season, including the gift-giving process.  I would like to leave you today with the soothing sounds of JD & Turk as they talk/sing the Christmas classic ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’…..love these guys 🙂  Have a fabu day!