Blog Archives

The Column: Single Bells.

All by myyyyself...

All by myyyyself…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? The holidays are often associated with cheer, get-togethers, and gifts, but for singletons, the holidays can be a lonely reminder of what we’re missing.

Blame it on the chilly weather or the party invitations, but it often seems like the holidays are made for couples. And hey, good for the couples. But where does that leave the rest of us? Out in the cold, hanging with Frosty?

If there’s vodka and candy canes, it actually doesn’t sound half-bad.

Think about it: there’s Thanksgiving, followed by Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. If that midnight kiss doesn’t send you over the edge, don’t worry, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

But these next few weeks don’t have to be couples-only — it’s time we take December by the reins. Move over, Santa!

My very first boyfriend and I broke up right before Christmas (many years ago), so I returned his gift and bought myself some nice makeup instead.

Side note: his last name was Garland, and I used to wonder what it’d be like if we got married (Holly Garland).

Anyway, this started a personal tradition: spoil yourself a little this time of year. When you’re out shopping for everyone else, pickup a little something for yourself.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t purchase a few gifts for myself each year, wrap them, and write “From John Mayer” on the tag (excuse me while I hide now).

A few years ago, I suffered from a much more devastating breakup in November. I was not in the mood for Christmas cheer.

But instead of pouting, I told myself I would say “yes” to every holiday event I was invited to. In return, I went to several parties, a brunch, and baked dozens of cookies. I was too busy to be sad, plus I met new people and had fun.

It was also the same year I discovered alcoholic whipped cream. Put that in your cocoa and let me know how it turns out for you.

If nothing else, think of it this way: you’ve only got to buy gifts for family and friends. No need to stress over finding the perfect gift for that special someone. And to top it off, no judgment from a significant other when you get too drunk on New Year’s Eve.

One tradition I always look forward to is baking on Christmas Eve. It’s something I started doing several years ago as a way to get into the spirit; plus, it looks like I’ve really got it together when I show up to the next gathering with a festive, homemade something.

It also doesn’t hurt if you want to eat the entire thing yourself — no one around to witness it, yet another perk of the single life.

So, cheers to being single this holiday season. May you have an electric blanket for warmth, a stocking big enough for Santa’s visit (or John Mayer, in my case), and one of those wine glasses big enough for an entire bottle.

Solo Survival: Enjoying the Holidays as a Singleton

  1. Better Not Pout — Don’t feel sorry for yourself; it’ll just make it worse.
  2. Get Festive — Peppermint cocktails, ugly sweaters, whatever you love, enjoy the perks of the holiday season on your own (or with friends, of course).
  3. Rule It- If you’re miserable at the Christmas party, then leave. Want more pie? Eat it! The perk of being single is getting to do whatever you want, so do it.

Fresh Friday: Fan di Fendi.

Hawt.

Hawt.

This week’s Fresh Friday profile is Fan di Fendi… by Fendi — say that entire phrase five times fast. I’ll admit that I’m kind of loving this scent, and not just for the winter months, but for the entire year!

It’s got warm base notes of leather and patchouli, middle notes of jasmine, tuberose, and rose, and top notes of tangerine, black currant, and pear. The overall effect is this solid scent that has many layers upon its first spritz.

As described by Macy’s, “Fan di FENDI is the object of pure desire. A glamorous piece of sensual gold; a sexy scent on the skin; and a radiant, sensual, and addictive fragrance. Notes include pear, black currant accord, tangerine, pink peppercorn; the heart is comprised of damascena rose and yellow jasmine; and the finish is of soft leather accord, patchouli. Experience the sensual fragrance by FENDI, Fan di FENDI with the Fragrance Collection for Women.”

If you get the chance to at least get a whiff of Fan di Fendi — do it! I think you’ll like the complexity of this feminine fragrance.

Pic of the Week.

Hoping to rise from the ashes... with my trusty notebook.

Hoping to rise from the ashes… with my trusty notebook.

In the first volume of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring), J.R.R. Tolkein wrote a poem:

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.

For the last month, I’ve mentioned that times for me have been tough, and I finally feel like I’m able to put some words together to share my story with you.

Five weeks ago, I lost my job. At the end of a Thursday, I went to a scheduled meeting, equipped with my iPad (to take notes), and upon sitting down, I was told that my services were no longer needed.

This was the job I took right after graduation, so I’ve worked there for nearly seven years. It’s the reason I stayed in Baton Rouge. Just four months prior to this meeting, I’d received the highest raise in the office, because I was told I’d gone above and beyond what I was asked to do — and I’d done so with (mostly) a smile on my face.

Quickly, I was told that I needed to turn all of my work belongings in, I was given papers to sign, and I was told that I should pack my things immediately, and would then be escorted out of the building. I was also told that I could never work there, or at any of their associated offices, and in return, my blog class was also taken away.

“Do you have any questions?” Someone asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Why is this happening to me? I’ve never even been in trouble.”

I was told it was an “at-will” termination, meaning they didn’t have to tell me a reason. With that, I was watched as I packed seven years’ worth of my crap into boxes (they even had those ready for me), and I carried them to my car (wearing my slacks and high heels) as my coworkers watched.

Losing my job is something I never expected to happen to me; and it’s been an incredible ebb and flow of emotions since that day.

Of course, I started applying for jobs immediately. So far, I’ve applied for 36 jobs that range from seasonal work, to part time and full time positions. I’ve learned that Baton Rouge isn’t really THE place for someone like me — a writer, editor, blogger, digital media awesome-sauce.

So, I’ve applied for a few jobs that fit my talents and degree-field, but most of the work has been retail just to get some work while I decide what’s next for me.

Around Thanksgiving, I accepted a part-time sales associate position at the mall. On my first day, I worked a shift from 9am-11:30 pm (14 hours). I cried on my short drive home.

I worked really hard to get a degree; and I (think) I worked hard at my job… but it was taken from me. And now, my punishment is a tunnel with no light at the end — long shifts at $8/hour, standing on my feet, smiling at hundreds of customers as they shop.

My first week in retail, I worked more than 40 hours. I also accepted two additional jobs, mainly because $8/hour is about 1/3 of what I made before, and I’ve got bills. So, I am currently juggling three part-time retail jobs.

In these last few weeks, I’ve learned so much information I never thought I’d need to know, and in a way, I’m sure that’s some sort of blessing. This entire journey has been a branch of soul-searching. I’ve really had to dig and figure out what I’ve got to offer an employer, aside from my obvious strengths.

I now know that I can learn three different cash register systems, often working two of them in one day. I am really good at bagging trash and mopping floors. I can memorize shoe style numbers and organize towers of candles. I can also tell the difference between a matte finish and a shiny finish on red, vintage Christmas ornaments packed in dusty boxes. My coworkers also tell me I “don’t look old” — most of them are 19 — and that I’m “silly.”

Above all: I know I will do anything to keep my head above water; will only take what I deserve; and will never, ever accept a handout (or pity, so please, no).

I was out Christmas shopping last week, and I came across a sale bin of notebooks. I found the one in the picture, and I loved the quote so much, I bought it for myself. Ever since, I’ve been using it to keep notes for my various jobs, write to-do lists and grocery lists, and keep my schedule and hours-worked/money-earned. I usually use my iPad for such tasks, but on my first day of work, I caught someone going through my purse, so… notebook it is. And this trusty notebook has been my LIFE, and has given me a little motivation as I go through my day.

The parting with my old job is like a messy breakup; it’s got no closure. I am constantly wondering what I did to piss someone off enough to kick me out. I know I had the Twitter issue, but as far as I know, it was resolved. Some of my coworkers have speculated that it was things I said in my column.

And I know, that this blog and the column can be viewed as a gamble to an employer. I also delayed posting this, because I’m terrified that saying all of this will keep me from getting a job. Of course, I don’t want that. I don’t want someone to ever think that I’m not a professional, or more importantly, that I’m not a hard worker. I am. I am not a liability.

Instead, I hope my future employer can look at it differently. That I’m brave for putting myself out there. That I’ve managed to find a way to turn my passions into a salary, and that I’m disciplined enough to stay on deadline, keep people interested, and manage a blog and all of its corresponding marketing and social media, all on my own!

Someone asked me why I didn’t just write with a pen name from now on? My heart sank. Because that isn’t honest. And honesty has always been my biggest promise. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed that I write about dating, and drinking, and sometimes (very rarely, might I add) sex. Those are all things most people do, they just don’t publicize it. Why should I have to hide it?

Working three jobs, plus hunting for one full-time job that I will actually kind-of like, has taken up so much of my time, I haven’t been able to do the things I enjoy, like go to the gym, hit up the spa, or even sit down with a book. I spend a lot of time in bed, with my feet on a heating pad, working on my laptop (my “vintage” one, I had to give my swanky one back to work) between shifts. I have also come to enjoy eating a peanut butter sandwich in my car as I drive from one job to the next.

And then there’s this blog. Like a best friend, it’s always there. I wanted to make CERTAIN that this blog did not waiver during my time of distress, so I made sure to never miss a post, and hopefully, keep things interesting. I hope I’ve done that for you. This blog, along with my cat Blanche, are often the only things that keep me smiling lately — and they’re not going anywhere. Well, unless Blanche decides to hightail it out the window.

I know these next few months are going to have ups and downs. I really have NO idea what’s on the horizon — aside from the certainty of filling out unemployment every Sunday. I do know that this happened to me for some reason. Something great is out there, I just have to find it. And I might not find it without tears and confusion, but if I stay true to myself, good things are going to come.

I’m waiting on the day.
When my life on the run
Bleaches out in the sun
And shows my age.

—John Mayer, Waiting on the Day

When you’re not invited…

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride...

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride…

Over the years, I’ve been to some really great weddings… and I’ve been to some not-so-great weddings, of course. But now that we live online — we can see everything anyone we even slightly know does — it’s easy to see when someone gets married.

Which, in turn, makes it easy to figure out when you’re not invited to a wedding. Now, I know a lot of people who’ve gotten married in the last five years, most of whom I don’t know well-enough to be considered on their guest list. But there have been a few weddings I was disappointed I didn’t get to attend.

Of course, there are reasons a bride and groom can only invite a certain number of people to their wedding. Such as:

  • Finances. Small budget = small guest list.
  • Wishes for a small wedding. Intimate wedding ceremony means only close friends and/or family are invited.
  • Location. Destination weddings are often planned for a small amount of people, unless the couple honestly thinks a bunch of people will be flying around the globe.
  • Tit for tat. You didn’t invite them to your wedding (or other events). This is debatable (more on this later).
  • Acquaintance. Are you just an acquaintance of the bride or groom? A coworker? If you’re not talking to/hanging out with this person/couple on a regular basis, you might not make the cut.
  • Past issues. Have you gotten in a fight with this person and they’re holding a grudge?
  • Party animal. Maybe you’re a crazy loud drunk and you’ll cause a scene. Just saying.

According to Martha Stewart Weddings (!), you don’t HAVE to invite someone to your wedding just because they invited you to theirs. However, if it was a recent wedding and you are close friends, of course you should.

So, what do you do when you’re not invited to someone’s wedding that you felt you should have been invited to?

If you’re really upset, you could ask the person why you weren’t invited — no, seriously, New York writer Chris Chafin did.

I think it depends on the situation. If you’re REALLY close, then hopefully the person will be able to tell you upfront why you can’t attend their special day. If you don’t feel close enough to discuss the matter, then perhaps that’s why you weren’t invited.

In the cases where I’ve felt upset that I wasn’t invited, I brushed it off as thinking me and that person just aren’t close enough. And that’s okay.

After all, Justin Timberlake didn’t invite ANY of his NSYNC band mates to his wedding. Rude much?

Fresh Friday: Dior Addict 2.

Looks like cotton candy... no?

Looks like cotton candy… no?

Dior is so hard to resist, so I’m tickled they’ve got a scent called “Addict” — or formally, Dior Addict 2.

As described by Amazon, “Dior Addict 2 was introduced in 2005 by the design house of Christian Dior. Free spirited, fresh and invigorating blend of verbena, with a heart that is a perfect blend of fressia, lily of the valley, lotus, rose and fruits. Finishing down with tangy fruits and more florals.”

I thought it also had a touch of that powdery-scent, but perhaps it was just me.

The only downfall? It doesn’t have staying power. I wore it yesterday and definitely put it on in the morning, and again in the evening.

Survival Guide: Solo and Sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

It’s that time of year, and by that I mean: cold and flu season. Yuck! If there’s one thing worse than being sick, it’s being sick with no one to care for you.

When I’m sick, which is at least once every fall/winter, I throw a massive pity party for myself. Let’s face it: getting out of bed for food or Kleenex is a giant pain in the ass — don’t even mention leaving the house.

This is why being single and sick is terrible. No one to tuck you in, bring you soup, change DVDs in the player, etc. But it IS possible to get through it, and here’s how:

  1. Actually call in sick. At least, if you have that luxury. Being at work while sneezing your head off is not attractive, productive, nor is it efficient — you’re not going to get well soon if you’re at work.
  2. Stock up on goods. I keep a stock of stuff I like to have while I’m sick. Sounds a little dramatic until you venture to Wal-Mart mid-fever. It ain’t fun. Some of my favorites are: Alka-Seltzer Cold & Flu day/night tablets, Theraflu, cough drops, canned soup, and popsicles.
  3. Pamper yourself. Now’s the time to pull out your favorite pajamas, fluff your pillows, pop in a season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and guzzle Gatorade from a wine glass. Chances are, you’re sick because you’ve been running like crazy, and your body needs rest (and proper hydration).
  4. Don’t touch the phone. If you’re anything like me, being sick sometimes leads to a pity party, and within 15 minutes, you feel like one giant failure, and no one has ever or will ever love you. Do not take this opportunity to text others and invite them to your pity party. Probably a better idea to drink some Theraflu, and sleep all day.

Sure, having someone to deliver you goodies while you’re sick sounds nice, but let’s face facts, there’s a lot of other crap you’d have to put up with in return. What are you favorite ways to comfort yourself when you’re feeling feverish?

Pic of the Week.

Necessary items for Christmas spirit.

Necessary items for Christmas spirit.

I mentioned last week that I’m having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year, and I think it’s because I didn’t travel home for Thanksgiving. Usually when I do, my friends and I open gifts and watch the tree lighting in Downtown Indianapolis.

I put my Christmas tree up, in hopes that would help, but I haven’t been home much to enjoy it. While enjoying my coffee the other morning, I realized I don’t have any wintery/holiday coffee mugs. This was a problem. So, I ventured out to find one, and fell in love with the one in the picture. Cute little owl in a Santa hat — the other side features an owl in an argyle sweater.

During said shopping trip, I also found a few holiday radio stations (including Holly on Sirius XM, channel 17)… but it just wasn’t doing the trick.

Then I got to thinking, per usual, that I don’t often associate the holidays with joy and happiness. I’m usually not with family, or a boyfriend, and many years, I’ve been tight on money. The holidays are stressful, as an adult, anyway.

As a kid, I could not wait for Christmas break! It meant two whole weeks away from school, sleeping in, and waiting for Santa. My dad and I would decorate the house inside and out, and we always made a slew of cookies — some we decorated with icing and red hots. One year, we made a gingerbread village with snowmen made of popcorn balls and coconut.

As I’ve gotten older, there’s been many years where I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit until Christmas Eve (when I bake my annual holiday dessert) — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just hate to waste the whole season being a bump on a log.

So, I furthered my efforts, and got out a stack of Christmas movies (Home Alone, my all-time fave!), and lit my first wood-wick (the flame crackles) candle in vanilla cinnamon brulee.

But it wasn’t really until I remembered some Christmas songs I really wanted to hear… I dug through my iTunes libraries, finding a few but not the ones I was after, and then started digging through my car… and voila: Happy Holly Days, a mixed CD I made in December 2011, which includes songs from:

I’m not quite the Jolly Holly that I was as a kid, but hell, I may never be — at least I’m on my way. What are you doing to get into the Christmas spirit?

Was Harry right about the friends thing?

It's all fun and games until someone falls in love.

It’s all fun and games until someone falls in love.

“You realize of course that we could never be friends… What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” —Harry, When Harry Met Sally

Harry might have been the first person to make the statement, but it’s the age-old question: can men and women really be friends?

I’ve talked about the (dreaded) Friend Zone on this blog, and really, I do believe that there’s not always a spark when it comes to men and women — because the spark has to happen between both people. But I do think Harry was/is on to something.

If one person in a friendship feels something more, there’s only so long they can sit back and watch the other person date, or be romantic with someone else. Perhaps the question is this: How long can men and women be friends?

When it comes to the Friend Zone, I thought it’d happened to me twice, but the most recent time, actually the guy was seeing someone behind my back, so there’s that option.

But the one time I was placed in the Friend Zone (I’m only sharing this as proof that men do put women in the Friend Zone), it was terrible. I was in high school, and I had the biggest crush on this guy… we did everything best friends did.

But once I came out and told him that I liked him, he started going on dates with lots of different girls, and telling me all about them, even bragging about the sex he had to me one night (he ran outside with the used condom and put it on my car antennae)… why did I even like him?

Years later, he told me that it just wasn’t the right time for us to date. Sure. We still never dated.

The thing is, there are actual benefits from befriending the opposite sex. You can get good opinions and dating advice from them, and it’s always interesting to hear the different perspective.

So, yeah, I do think men and women can be friends —but for how long? — I’m not so sure. And ps. none of this goes for people who are emotionally unavailable.

The Column: Going the (Long) Distance.

Shots, shots, shots!

Shots, shots, shots!

There we were: kissing on a bench outside The Dungeon in the French Quarter. It’s the start of any classic love story, right?

I met my friend Brooks in high school, though we weren’t friends until I was nearly out of college.

Like most people our age, we reconnected through Facebook, and over the years our friendship turned slightly romantic.

Brooks is tall with blond hair, and carries himself with an air of coolness – he’s very “take it or leave it.” Luckily for him, I’ve got a soft spot for skater shoes and fitted jeans.

For work, he’s a freelance sound tech, which means he’s always on the road, setting up for tours. Read more…

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

After seeing (what feels like) a million previews for it, Bravo debuted their FIRST scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, last night.

Based on the Girlfriends’ Guide series by Vicki Iovine, the show revolves around Abby, the author of said Girlfriends’ Guides.

Though she writes about all things related to family, in last night’s episode, she reveals to the world (via TODAY) that her husband, Jake, is cheating on her — though they are still living together, for the kids.

To cope, and to get advice, she starts hanging out with the local “poster moms for divorce” — two  girlfriends and a lawyer who’ve recently survived splits.

The thing is… now that she’s revealed the secret of her life, will her career as the perfect mom and wife author survive?

I think I’m really going to like this series! I’m a sucker for any show/movie about writers of course, and it’s refreshing to see something about the OTHER side of love, because we all know it doesn’t always end up so great.

What did you think of the show? It airs on Bravo Tuesdays at 10/9pm C.

Pic of the Week.

Tree is up!

Tree is up!

If I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a huge fan of putting up the Christmas tree — swear I’m not a Grinch. It’s just that, I’ve got to drag the tree down from the top shelf of my closet, plus all the bins of decorations, etc. I’m sure you all know the drill.

Full view of the tree.

Full view of the tree.

But, I sure do love it once it’s up and decorated!

I bought this tree three years ago, because my apartment called for something very tall. However, my apartment doesn’t have a lot of room as far as floorspace. So, I found this perfect “Pencil Pine,” that’s 9ft tall —big enough for all of my ornaments but skinny enough for my apartment. Plus, I really wanted one that wasn’t pre-lit, and I actually found one!

While I am not a fan of putting the tree together, fluffing the branches, and getting the lights on, I do love the memories that come flooding back to me when I pull out all of the different ornaments.

In year’s past, I’ve decorated my tree in themes using non-traditional Christmas colors. But, I ditched all of the fancy stuff and found LED lights that look like the old ceramic bulbs — colored and clear.

I use a lot of ornaments from my childhood, even some I’ve made or some from teachers (I’ve got one from second grade). My tree skirt was sewed by my mom (using Holly fabric, of course).

Even though Thanksgiving is over (and let’s be real, I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since Halloween), I don’t feel the holiday spirit just yet. I’m hoping seeing my tree every day will bring on some cheer.

If not, there’s always a little “cheer” in a mug of hot cider, right?

Boyfriend Recipe: White Choc Cookies.

The bigger the cookie...

The bigger the cookie…

I know everyone is probably still full of turkey and pie, but I couldn’t help but post one of my favorite recipes just in time for the Christmas holiday season — White Chocolate and Pecan Cookies.

I made them many years ago, the ONLY time I’ve spent Christmas with a boyfriend (read about the details here), and I felt it necessary to bring a huge box of cookies to his family’s home. At his request, I made his favorite: white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

I used a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery in London, and just replaced the pecans for macadamias (and simultaneously discovered how expensive they are).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 1/2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup shelled pecans (OR macadamias, or almonds), chopped

Put the butter and sugars in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Turn the mixture dow to slow speed and beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour, salt, and backing powder and mix well with until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate and nuts until evenly dispersed.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a roll about 4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide. Wrap the rolls in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer to set completely for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove the plastic wrap and cut the dough into disks about 1-inch thick. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Make sure that the cookies are spaced apart to allow for spreading while baking.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and quite flat. Let the cookies cool sightly on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

…And try not to eat the entire batch yourself!

Giving thanks.

Pretty for the turkey!

Pretty for the turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Last year, I was pretty fresh off a breakup, and although it was a breakup for the best, the holidays always have a way of highlighting the doom and gloom (blame it on the lights and glitter).

I know that around this time of year, everyone is thinking about what they’re thankful for. Many times, my list of things to be grateful for is long, and very obvious.

But this year, I really had to think hard about what’s in my life.

I’m still unable to discuss some major moves in my life right now, but I promise I can explain soon! Just know that these last three weeks have been some of the toughest I’ve had to endure, ever.

What am I thankful for? I’m thankful for bravery. Because keeping your head up is not easy, and I’ve managed to keep my breakdowns to a minimum of two.

I’m thankful for my education, because it has given me more feet in the door than I sometimes deserve.

I’m thankful for my kitty, Blanche, because even though I set my alarm and coffee pot every day for 6 am, she is there to help wake me up and keep going when the mornings are bleary.

For the first time in 8 years, I didn’t get to travel home for Thanksgiving. And it’s been hard, knowing that I’m missing out on some of my favorite traditions.

But that is the thing about life. Things happen that we don’t expect, and sometimes they aren’t fun. On the other hand, good things can happen in a split-second. And in the mix of it all, we’re all just trying to find some sort of rhythm.

I haven’t had Thanksgiving with my family in 10 years; I have always relied on my friends.

Today, I’ll be spending my time with a friend who would’ve also been alone. Together, we plan on cooking up a feast big enough for a football team, and drinking as much wine as possible (no one to judge us)!

And for that, I am thankful.

So, to you, my dear readers, thank you — I appreciate you, every single day. Thank you for reading my words, even in the tough times.

I truly hope your day is fabulous, delicious, and full of love in any form.

May we always have old wines, good friends, and fleeting cares. 

The Column: Presence Over Presents.

Exactly the wrong gift.

Exactly the wrong gift.

Given that there’s a giant, decorated tree at the end of my street, and bins of cinnamon pinecones at my neighborhood market, it would seem the holidays are here.

I’ve only spent one Christmas with a boyfriend. We’d been together for three years, and had yet to take things seriously – we hadn’t exchanged gifts.

It was about this time of year (many years ago) when I suggested we buy presents for each other. He liked the idea, and asked me to make a list.

I asked for a necklace, an oversized watch, and Mignon Faget’s Single Knot ring. I was giving him options.

I knew exactly what I wanted to get him: one of those single-blade, old fashioned razors and a nice shaving kit. I ordered it off Amazon, and was so excited when it came in the mail. Read more…

Pic of the Week.

Gifts for Barthenia.

Gifts for Barthenia.

It’s Thanksgiving week, and one of my favorite parts about kicking off the holiday season is purchasing gifts for someone in need.

Several years ago, the company my mom works for started buying gifts for residents at an Indianapolis nursing home. The nursing home would provide the office with a list of names of residents that had no one to buy them Christmas gifts. It would have their size, for clothing items, and any items they wanted.

The items on the list are often simple things we take for granted, such as soap and lotion, hats and scarves, sweaters and slippers.

My mom and her coworkers had so much fun shopping for the residents on the list, I really wanted to be a part of it. So, two years ago, I picked a name — a woman named Barthenia.

I know nothing about her, other than her clothing size. That year, I purchased a velour tracksuit for her (matching pants and a jacket), leopard slippers, a hat, scarf, and glove set, toiletries, and a book.

When the gifts were delivered, Barthenia opened the slippers first. She told my mom’s coworker they were the most beautiful things she’d ever seen. We were kindred spirits.

The following year, her name was on the list again. I chose her, and bought similar items for her (including a sparkly thermal henley from Old Navy).

This year, I hoped to see her name again. And there it was — only this time, the nursing home said Barthenia often wore the same outfit, and that she was “always cold.”

Holly to the rescue! Over the weekend, I purchased several gifts for Ms. Barthenia, including:

I am also making one of the infinity scarves for Barthenia (that’s my project this week) to keep warm.

Seriously, giving to my CASA boys and Barthenia is what makes the holidays special for me. I’m truly thankful that I’m in a position to help others, even if that means less shopping and splurging on myself.

If you live in the Baton Rouge area, and want to give this year, consider giving to my favorite two charities: The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (A one-time donation of $100 will provide food for a local senior citizen for one ENTIRE year!) and CASA (donations help recruit, train and screen volunteers to help abused children in our area).

Here’s to hoping Barthenia — and all of those in need — gets a little joy this year!

 

 

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