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BBC: ‘Landline’.

If you’re still at work today, hang in there – Thanksgiving is riiiight around the corner! I’m traveling today, which is a relief, because I always feel like the the days leading up to traveling are so hectic and crazy and then when I finally get on that plane, I can take a nap.

But anyway, let’s get into this week’s read from Blanche’s Book Club! It’s “Landline” by Rainbow Rowell. Here is the description from Amazon.com:

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless.

TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past — all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up.

And hope he picks up.

Because once Georgie realizes she has a magic phone that calls into the past, all she wants to do is make things right with her husband, Neal.

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over …

Does Georgie want to start over?

From Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park andFangirl, comes this heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love.

Landline asks if two people are ever truly on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway, no matter where you end up.

This book had me at “TV writer”, so I was in pretty quick. But I also really liked the concept of this plot, primarily because I think cell phones have ruined us in ways we can’t get back, and I still wish landlines and answering machines were a thing. I hate being “available” 24/7.

But anyway… this is a fun read. It feels like a true story, minus the whole “magic telephone” thing, which even that doesn’t seem so crazy (oddly enough). The book takes a rather common problem: a longtime marriage beginning to fall apart, and adds a twist: the ability to time-travel via landline.

What happens is obviously up to the characters… and fate.

I read this book pretty quickly, and I liked it so much that I’ll definitely be reading some of Rowell’s other books: “Fangirl”, “Carry On”, “Attachments”, and “Eleanor & Park” – they all seem to have that slight, fantasy twist. And let’s face facts, I think we could all use a little break from reality every now and then.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder” by Carolyn Murnick.

Have a great Thanksgiving y’all! Tune in on Friday for a fun surprise 🙂

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My Thanksgiving menu.

A perfect Thanksgiving spread from Saveur.

A perfect Thanksgiving spread from Saveur.

Thanksgiving is one week away! I know everyone is saying it – but it’s come up so fast, and before you know it, Christmas will be here! But, let’s not skip Thanksgiving, as it’s pretty much the most important meal of the year, and it’s truly a holiday to be savored.

I really do love Thanksgiving. Think about it, it’s a meal that embraces the flavors of fall, and we get two days off of work to celebrate it! Then there’s the Macy’s parade (complete with terrible lip syncing), the drinking… really, nothing beats it. 1014001_hm_holiday_hosting_associate_300x250

Today at work, we’re having our potluck Thanksgiving lunch. I’m not a fan of potlucks, but it is the company tradition that the CEO provides the turkey, so you can at least count on that. Last year, for my first Thanksgiving in Texas, I discovered that even on Turkey Day, Texans eat BBQ-style – the turkey was sliced and served with thick, white toast, BBQ sauce, and crinkle-cut pickles. Because why not?

I am hosting a low-key Thanksgiving meal this year, and wanted to share my menu with you, in hopes that you’ll find some new ideas for your table, even if it’s not for this meal in particular. Out of all the great recipes I’ve got in my stash for Turkey Day, it was really hard to choose a few for my menu, but here’s what I’m cooking up:

Starters: New Orleans Baked Brie

Baked Brie from The Mediterranean Dish.

Baked Brie from The Mediterranean Dish.

On Thanksgiving Day, I’m a really huge fan of having the large meal later in the afternoon, and serving up yummy, filling snacks and appetizers until then.

I am obsessive over homemade meat and cheese trays, serving various textures and ages of cheese with meats, mustard, olives, fruit, jam, and chocolate. It’s a perfect excuse to sip on wine while watching the parade and checking on the turkey.

If you want step-by-step help with building the perfect cheese tray, hop on over to What’s Gaby Cooking – she is always whipping up complex snack platters.

One thing I wanted to make this year was baked brie – it’s easy, delicious, and it’s really impressive.

I’m making a “New Orleans” baked brie, named because of my topping choice of pecans and Worcestershire sauce for a lil kick. Should be delicious.

For the baked brie, you’ll need a wheel of brie (any size will do), 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard, and 1 cup of chopped pecans. If you want to wrap your brie in pastry, you will need to add a frozen sheet of puff pastry to your list, along with one egg, and a little bit of all-purpose flour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, wrap brie in foil, top with the mixed toppings, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese gets soft (you don’t want it to melt).

If you’re baking it inside the pastry, you need to thaw the pastry, then wrap the brie with it, sealing the edges with the single beaten egg and brushing the top for browning. Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden brown.

Serve warm with sliced pears and apples, along with crackers, and pepper jelly if you really want to stick to that Southern theme.

Entree: Turkey & Cranberry Sandwich

Can't be a Thanksgiving sammy.

Can’t be a Thanksgiving sammy.

I found the recipe for this sandwich in the latest issue of Better Homes & Garden, which listed it as a way to spruce up your Thanksgiving Day leftovers. However, it seemed like the perfect entree for my low-key Turkey Day, as I was trying to find something that wouldn’t require me to bake a huge turkey and a ton of side dishes.

This sandwich captures nearly all the flavors of Thanksgiving – stuffing, cranberry, and turkey, all in one bite. I say, serve it up with some sweet potato fries and you’re good to go!

For the sandwich, you’ll need 1 cup of halved and sliced red onion, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 cup of cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, 3 cups shredded cooked turkey, pretzel buns or other sturdy bread, bibb lettuce, sliced mozzarella cheese, and sliced jalapenos, if desired (YES),

Cook and stir the onion in the oil over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the cranberry sauce, bbq sauce, and the chipotle. Add turkey, toss to coat, and heat throughout.

Add lettuce to the bottom half of the buns, and top with the turkey-cranberry mixture along with the sliced cheese. Add bun tops and serve with additional cranberry sauce and jalapenos. Yum!

Sides: Chopped Green Bean Salad

Green bean salad.

Green bean salad.

I love a green bean casserole, and this “salad” from Better Homes & Garden is a great twist on a classic that I’m really excited to try.

For this green bean salad, you will need 1 1/4 pounds of green beans cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup minced shallots, pinch of salt and pepper, 4 ounces of shredded manchego or parmesan, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups of cooked farro, 3/4 cups toasted almonds, 3/4 cup golden raisins, and 2 ounces of chopped manchego or parmesan.

Cook the beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 minutes before transferring to ice water. In a blender, combine the vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper, along with the 4 ounces of cheese and olive oil. Blend until smooth and then add to the beans (after you’ve taken them out of the ice bath).

Finally, add the farro, almonds, golden raisins, and 2 ounces of cheese. Finished!

Dessert: Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie from the New York Times.

Sweet Potato Pie from the New York Times.

I am a sucker for pumpkin pie. Seriously, I love the stuff. But, I heard that a sweet potato pie is actually sweeter and more flavorful than pumpkin, so I want to give it a try. It better be good, or else I’l be running to the nearest open store Thanksgiving night to get my fix of pie!

Remember last year when everyone lost their shit over Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie at Wal-Mart? Truthfully, no one cared much about the desserts until a YouTube-r made a video of himself tasting the orange pie and broke out into song because it was so delish. See the video here – it’s worth it.

The video got more than 5 million views and Wal-Mart was selling out of Patti’s pies left and right, and Ms. LaBelle even expanded her dessert business to include other options, including apple cobbler and pecan cake.

So, I’m making my own sweet ‘tater pie and I hope it’s as good as Patti’s (even though I’ve never tried hers, or anyone’s). For this pie, you will need a piecrust, 1 1/4 pound of sweet potatoes, 1 cup of whipping cream, 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of whole milk, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Prepare the piecrust as directed (I will probably get a frozen one) – although don’t let it get brown. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Wrap each tinfoil, and roast for about 70 minutes or until tender. Reduce oven heat to 375.

Let sweet potatoes cool before peeling and placing in a bowl and mashing with a potato masher. Combine the mashed potatoes with the cream, brown sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. You can use a food processor or a blender if necessary.

Pour the filling into the pie crust. Cover the crust edges with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes until evenly puffed. Let cool before serving.

And there’s my menu (aside from the wine, wine, and wine). What are you guys cooking for the big day?

Hand-Picked: Fashionable holidays.

Baton Rouge's first Fashion Week!

Baton Rouge’s first Fashion Week!

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the week’s final installment of “Hand-Picked” – it probably won’t be the last time ever for it, because, well I only went through maybe 1/4 of all the little mementos I have stuffed in boxes in my tiny apartments. But nonetheless, I do hope you’ve enjoyed all of my memories this week! I’ll be back to my regular posting next week, and this gave me a few days to unwind (very much needed) and think about the next direction for the blog.

Okay, first picture (above) is a few pieces I kept from Baton Rouge’s first Fashion Week, hosted by the one, the only Ryan Auld! Ryan was a contestant on Project Runway, and while he didn’t win during the standard season, he was later a contestant on Project Runway All Stars, where he completely knocked the socks off everyone and WON!

One cool thing about Ryan is that he’s from Louisiana! I actually met him while he was still in college, studying fashion at LSU. He was winning fashion competitions then, which is how I met him, because I wrote a story on him, and he got to study in Paris due to his winnings. I later ran into him again – as we unknowingly lived in the same apartment complex. He told me then that big things were happening for him, but he couldn’t tell me what. It was Project Runway.

The other cool thing about Ryan is that he is a two-time cancer survivor. Plus, he makes amazing clothes, and now he has a store in San Antonio. I have had a great time following his career, and cannot wait to see all the cool things he does in the future.

A merry Christmas party!

A merry Christmas party!

There are many cool perks to being a bartender, and one of them was the annual Christmas party. This particular party was always dressy, and included bottomless drinks, of course. That particular year, I loved the dress I bought – white and black color-blocked satin, with leopard-print heels. I even got my makeup done; and had asked my date by rewriting the words to “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” and leaving it in a Santa hat outside his apartment. We had a blast!

Just a few...

Just a few…

This is about 1/4 of the tickets I’ve got from John Mayer concerts – this is the downfall of digital tickets; that there’s nothing cool to show for it unless you print it. But, as John Mayer would say, we’ll remember it by seeing it with our own eyes.

Did it.

Did it.

In 2012, a few attorneys I respected started a team for Race for the Cure. This was prior to my sheer hatred of anything benefitting the Komen Foundation, but giant, pink margaritas were at the finish line, so I was in. My best friend had come to Baton Rouge to visit, and we did the race together. I’d never done anything like that, and it was fun!

Murder Mystery party!

Murder Mystery party!

Many years ago, I was party of a Mardi Gras Krewe for a short period of time. One of the cool things they did each year was a Murder Mystery Christmas party – I’ve never gone to one of those, but I’d always wanted to after that Murder Mystery weekend episode of “Saved By The Bell” – no, seriously. My character was Sandy, and I was a lifeguard. I wore a whistle, and lots of bronzer, and was carrying sunscreen. I was NOT the murderer.

Hoorah for writing contests!

Hoorah for writing contests!

When I was in college, The New York Times hosted a writing contest for college students, which asked contestants to write about an aspect of their college experience. I entered, and although I did not win, my piece was featured on The New York Times website, which was a very proud moment for me. I have entered many-a-writing contest, and probably will continue to do so (I’m actually working on another entry this weekend), and they are always an interesting challenge.

So sweet!

So sweet!

My best friend’s sister gave me this note – and I thought it was too sweet not to post! And yes, she IS a good friend and sister!

Cheers to the weekend, guys! I’ll see you right back here on Monday!

Give a Little.

Giving, in relationships, is what it's all about.

Giving, in relationships, is what it’s all about.

Is it just me, or has it been incredibly difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year? I feel really old when I say, “It’s crept up on me this year,” yet I keep saying it.

I blame my Scrooge-like spirit partly on the weather, given that it’s going to be in the 70s on Christmas Day; how am I supposed to feel all wintry when I haven’t even had a chance to break out the boots?

I blame the other half of my Grinch-ish attitude on the fact that my car was broken into and my iPad was stolen (not to mention the $350 it cost to replace the shattered window).

It got me thinking about my favorite movie (all year), “Home Alone“, when Harry and Marv are scouting out the houses they want to rob before Christmas. Marv is in the McCallister home, dressed as a police officer, talking to Mr. McCallister.

“It’s Christmas time,” he says. “There’s always a lot of burglaries around the holidays.”

Is that why someone busted into my car? In hopes of giving their child an iPad for Christmas? Maybe.

In “Home Alone“, it’s essentially the Wet Bandits and their taunting that send Kevin back into the arms of his family members, with an understanding of what Christmas is all about.

When I saw my shattered window, I was already on the phone with my pseudo-boyfriend. We’re in that stage where it’s pretty obvious we like each other, I’d be pissed if he went out with someone else, but we haven’t had any serious talks about the future of our relationship.

And I’m fine with this, for now, anyway (he is really, really handsome).

But as any good man would do, he did what he could to help me in my time of distress, and has been there to listen to me whine when I have fits of rage over the incident, even weeks later (I miss my iPad, y’all!).

While our bond has taken years to form, it’s safe to say that our sometimes-gloomy pasts have deepened our connection. We’ve both had rocky relationships that have shown us exactly the type of person we’re looking to be with, whether that’s each other or not is to-be-determined.

Over Thanksgiving, my best friend asked me if I ever get on Facebook and look at my exes’ profiles to see just how much better we’re doing than them. I hadn’t, until she asked, and then I did. I’ll guiltily admit it was quite nice to see my exes looking plump and loser-like.

But neither of those reasons are why the relationships of my past have failed. When I really think about it, it comes down to how much a person is willing to give.

And I don’t mean material things, I’m referring to the general spirit of giving and someone’s ability to compromise. Outside of general compatibility, if a person is selfish, a relationship isn’t going to work, period.

Some of the most giving people I know are the ones who don’t have much. But they’ll give their ear to listen, their time to talk, a sip of their wine, or a couch to sleep on.

And that’s what I’m most thankful for this holiday season. I’ve got people around me who care enough to give, even if it’s something small. My hope is that you feel the same way this holiday season, and all year ‘round.

Looking to start a blog and join me in the blogosphere? Take my 4-hour class on Blogging for Beginners using my discount code ‘Hurray’ for 60% off, making it just $25! Check it out!

Pic of the Week.

YES! Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow! I went shopping for my feast last night and I’m SO excited about all the delicious food I’ll be chowing down on Thursday. Below is the menu… and don’t let me fool you, I pretty much bought everything already prepared.

  • Turkey breast & drumsticks
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Green beans (with shallots & bacon)
  • Corn
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Cranberry-orange sauce
  • Twice-baked potatoes
  • Pumpkin pie

And wine, wine, wine!

Now, in my family, growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at dinner time, so we would snack during the day, and THAT is probably what I love most about this holiday. So, I decided to build a fantastic cheese board to snack on. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Pepperdews & goat cheese
  • Various Greek Olives
  • Summer sausage
  • Prociutto
  • Smoked, aged gouda
  • Various soft cheeses
  • Cranberry preserves
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Hot mustard
  • Water crackers
  • Nuts & dark chocolate

YAASSSSS!!!

I would love to hear what’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year, what your favorite traditions are, or what your plans are this year.

Also, I got lots of great messages yesterday regarding my post on giving back during the holiday season. I wanted to share part of one of the messages with you to fill you in on an effort driven by social media:

Last year, over 30,000 corporations partnered with 92nd Street Y and #GivingTuesday to give back during the holiday season.  Held annually on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, #GivingTuesday is fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. This year, in its fourth consecutive giving season, 92Y has set out to work with partners to expand the impact of this global movement. .  

Major, national corporations and non-profit organizations have committed to participating in this year’s efforts, including Salvation Army, Honest Tea, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Squarespace, Smile Train, Cole Haan and more. Possible Health, for example, a global health organization that delivers healthcare in rural Nepal, has committed to rebuilding the healthcare system in Nepal since the devastating earthquakes this spring. On #GivingTuesday, they’ll be launching a special way to get involved not only once, but for the entire year, in order to support a long-term healthcare system that can be resilient against future natural disasters.


Since its inception in 2012, there has been an estimated 470% increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and 40+ civic campaigns around the U.S.
However, financial donations aren’t the only way to give back to the community. Through this annual tradition, #GivingTuesday hopes to inspire and encourage acts of kindness – big or small – just as a local Baltimore resident demonstrated last year by donating her piano to a local school for their music program.  

Alright, y’all! So, let’s hear it… what are you going to be eating this Thanksgiving?

 

Giving back during the holidays.

I heart giving back.

I heart giving back.

We are just a few days away from Thanksgiving and I’m so, so excited! Thanksgiving means the official start of the holiday season, and of course lots of food and drink, but I’m also looking forward to donating my time Thanksgiving morning.

On Thursday morning, my best friend Sheena is joining me to help Operation Turkey, which is an organization that will be delivering turkey diners to approximately 8,000 homeless people on Thursday. You can see if Operation Turkey is in your city; if not, you can still make a donation that will help those in need!

Sheena and I will be helping to pack the hot meals that will be delivered — we are on cranberry sauce duty. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have my friend by my side while we do even a small part to help those who need it most.

Our upcoming volunteer opportunity got me thinking about other, simple ways to give back during the holiday season. I know you probably have charities you already give to — which is awesome — but there’s so many opportunities to give out there, and some of them are easier than you think!

One thing that’s been on my mind is the military. I feel for the families who have loved ones still overseas, and I also think of soldiers who possibly don’t have family back home to show their support. The AARP website has created a great list of ways to help the troops and veterans all year long.

One really easy way to give? Shop! Many companies have the one-to-one model, where if you purchase an item, a second item is donated to someone who needs it. How easy, and AWESOME! A company I stumbled across last week is donating beanies to the homeless. All you have to do is buy a beanie, then you get a new hat and so does a homeless person — visit the website to check out their selection of beanies.

Also, shop using Etsy. Many Etsy store owners give a percentage of their sales to charities, so look for certain shops that donate to charities you love. You’ll be able to check Christmas gifts off your lists while giving back at the same time.

Keep your eyes out for “UberSleigh” this holiday season. In Christmas’ past, Uber has held events asking participants to bring todays to donate. Uber and its drivers then donate the toys to children all over various cities. Very cool!

At the very least, perhaps donate to your local food bank, or adopt-a-family. A little bit can go a long way, and it feels so good to help someone, even if it’s something small. I’d love to know how you’re helping this holiday season — leave a comment and spread the word!

 

Fall is for Lovers.

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu...

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu…

We’re less than two weeks away from the official start of fall! And yes, I know, Baton Rouge doesn’t really get a fall season.

Instead, we get “slightly less hot,” and the leaves start to turn brown instead of that burnt orange color I saw growing up in the Midwest.

But still, we wear hoodies and go nuts over pumpkin spice… everything. Fall is the first sign of the holiday season, and when I think about the holidays, all I can think about is cuddling up with a cute guy.

I’ve survived many, many years being single during late September, and all the way through January. Trust me, it has its perks.

While the cooler months definitely seem prime for finding a match (see: body heat), it also seems like every season has found a way to make singletons feel a little left out.

There’s a John Mayer song, “St. Patrick’s Day,” from his debut album, “Room for Squares,” that explains my theory.

In it, he sings about how everyone wants to be in a couple for Christmas, then right around the corner is New Year’s, followed by Valentine’s Day, therefore every relationship is safe until St. Patrick’s Day.

But in Baton Rouge, St. Patrick’s Day means you definitely need a date for the parade and funnels of green beer, right? And you can’t leave out Mardi Gras or baseball season. After that, we’re on the fast track to summer, and who doesn’t want a summer love? I know I do.

At the close of summer, we’re right back where we started: football season.

Of course, there is much more to a relationship than the season it falls in or the weather surrounding it, but I think there’s some weight to it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but it seems about right to say that any time of year is a good time to jump into a new relationship.

An article on YourTango.com, “Seasons of Love: When is the Best Time to Fall in Love?” proves my idea wrong, on the account of science.
According to the article, winter is the most difficult time to fall in love with someone because we are less sociable and spend more time indoors. The spring season that follows gives us more confidence, but not enough to start a new relationship. And while summer love seems like a hot idea, we’re often traveling and too “on-the-go” to get involved in anything serious.

However, according to the article, the summer months prep us for the perfect time to fall in love: autumn. Fall is the best time for a new relationship because we’re getting into the swing of things; we’re back in our normal routines.

In 2012, Facebook Data Science published a study on what times of the year users’ relationship status changed. Across all age groups (under 25, 25-44, over 45), the month of February saw the biggest change from either “Single” to “In a relationship” or from “In a relationship” to “engaged.” Every age group also produced a massive trend of relationships ending during the months of June, July, and August.

Interesting.

Not to overwhelm you with data, but the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology published a study that proves the need for bodily warmth during the cooler months actually makes us crave romantic comedies. No, seriously!

Apparently, romantic comedies provide us with psychological warmth, which fulfills our need for physical warmth. Who knew?

This news makes me even more excited to stock up on the pumpkin products (are dudes into that?), break open my stash of rom-coms and perhaps cozy-up to someone new.

A gift guide for December lovers.

December is for lovers.

December is for lovers.

The holidays are here, and no matter how much we try to agree with the whole, “It’s not about the gifts,” mantra, there’s a lot of pressure to get the perfect present.

When it comes to that special someone, the pressure can be overbearing. But leave it to DIG – we’ve got you covered with a guide on what to buy for each stage of your relationship and even something for the singles.

0-3 Months

A new relationship right around the holidays doesn’t mean you’ve got to go all out for your sweetheart. In fact, skip on a tangible gift and go for a sweet experience.

Perhaps a fancy, dress-up date night (Dinner, drinks and an overnight at The Renaissance), a couple’s massage (BumbleLane.com), wine tasting (food and wine pairings, complimentary wine tasting at Bin 77), or a home-cooked meal for two. Think “meaningful,” while still providing an opportunity to get to know each other. Read more…

Single Girl Survival Guide: The Holiday Season

I’ve been single for every Christmas/holiday season, except one.

During that year, I was so in love with my boyfriend and I just could not wait to spend Christmas Day with his family–I made dozens of fancy cookies for the occasion and I spent hours hunting for the perfect gift for him.

While I do know that I was in love and that I was excited, I don’t recall the holiday season being any more joyous than ones I  spent as a single woman.

Perhaps it was because ultimately, he was an asshole. But that is not my point.

It’s really easy to get the blues when this time of year rolls around, the weather drops, and everyone seems to be cozied up together while you’re cooking dinners for one.

But fear not, I’ve got another survival guide for you!

  • Say yes. Not to the dress. Say yes to holiday parties, dinners, dances, whatever it may be. A few years ago, I made a promise to myself that every holiday gathering I got invited to, I would make myself go. It was a great way to stay busy, meet new people, and get into the holiday spirit. You don’t have to stay for long, but at least go, have a drink, and then head out if it’s not your cup of tea.
  • Give thanks. I know, we just had Thanksgiving. But take a moment to be thankful for the things you already have, instead of moping about that boyfriend you don’t have. Sure, I don’t have a boyfriend, but I do have great friends, and a job that affords me things a boyfriend might get me. And hey, that digital fireplace of mine comes in handy when the nights get chilly.
  • Donate something. Whether it’s time, money, gifts, or food, find a cause that you care about and donate. Giving is good for the community, and it’s good for the soul. Each year, my mom and I shop for gifts for people in an Indianapolis Nursing Home. We have so much fun shopping for people we’ve never even met! It warms my heart to know that even the small items we purchase will make them smile on Christmas Day.
  • Bake. As a child, baking was such a big part of my family’s holiday tradition and it’s something that still brings me joy today. While I do not have a boyfriend to bake for, I do have friends, family, and coworkers, and they all love the sweet treats I share with them. Not a baker? Try something simple like peppermint bark or dipping pretzels into chocolate.
  • Decorate. Sometimes putting up the whole tree and everything can be a hassle; so if you’re not in the mood, put a wreath on your door and call it a day (trust me, seeing that little bit of cheer when you come home from work will make you smile).
  • Treat yourself. I remember buying my very first boyfriend a Christmas gift (I was 16), but we broke up right before Christmas, so I returned his gift and used the money to buy myself some MAC makeup. Ever since then, I always buy myself a Christmas gift—because I deserve it, and just because I don’t have a boyfriend doesn’t mean I should unwrap one less gift (don’t tell, but I usually wrap my gift and write the tag, “From John Mayer”).
  • Go easy. If you’ve tried everything on this list and you’re still having a blue Christmas, go easy on yourself. Do things you know will make you feel better; hit the gym, get a massage, invest in a new outfit. The holidays are a cheerful time for some, but they can be hard, too, and in hard times, you just have to do what is necessary to get through.

If you’ve got more suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Try any of these out? Tweet me @OrangeJulius7 …Happy Holidays, y’all!

“But just remember on the way home that you were never meant to feel alone, it takes a little while, but you’d be fine, another good time coming down the line.”—John Mayer, On The Way Home