It’s Thanksgiving Eve, eve! Tomorrow morning, I’m hopping on a flight to get my travel on for the holiday break, and just perhaps, I’ll get my dose of freezing cold weather for a few days.
I don’t want to get too cheesy here, but the approaching Thanksgiving holiday definitely makes me think about what I’m thankful for, and this year, my list is a mile long.
I am so thankful for my mom, my friends, everyone I dance with, my kitty Blanche, and well, everyone who has a part in creating “The Daily Show” (this year just wouldn’t have been possible without that).
I am also just generally thankful for my health, my health insurance, and doctors, everywhere. I’m really thankful for my job, for all of my freelance clients, for all of the students who’ve taken my blog class, and for everyone who’s shopped in my Etsy shop – all of these jobs and projects have allowed me to clean up my financial mess, pay off a credit card, invest in hobbies I love, and even do some traveling.
It’s not quite the time to reflect on the entire year (we still have another month to go!), but this year, I’ve lost a lot of people. Some literally, some figuratively, some have cut me out, some I’ve cut out – but I know it’s all part of a bigger plan for each of us. If you’re in my life, it’s because I want you to be, and I’m really appreciative of you.
Of course, thank you for reading my blog. I have been in a weird space with blogging these past few months, partially because of time, and partially because I feel like sometimes this blog does more harm to myself than good.
I have started journaling as a way to get my thoughts out in an unbiased, totally unedited way, and it’s helping me in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t know if those words will ever see the light of day, maybe so, or maybe not. I just know that right now, there’s people watching my every word, and I’m not willing to provide food for their fights.
Regardless, this blog is here to stay. And hey, I am, too.
In the past, I’ve put so much energy into maintaining traditions when it comes to holidays, but I’m finally feeling like I’m coming into my own. I don’t have to do the same thing every year for the holidays – in fact, I can do whatever I want!
I’m not chained to locations, menus, houseguests, or expectant family members. I do what I want – it’s not the life I dreamed of, but perhaps that’s just because I didn’t know the option existed.
So yeah, tomorrow I’m bundling up (with the new John Green book in-tow), and I’m heading out for a few days to indulge, and upon my return to Texas, I’m SO happy to have some time off of work to decorate my apartment for the holidays, catch up on some TV, and work on my Etsy shop.
I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving – I’ll be posting this week’s Book Club read tomorrow, and I’ve got a special surprise for Black Friday.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am up early this morning, as I’m about to prep my turkey, and really, I just couldn’t wait to get this day started. Is it just me or is there something glorious about still waking up early when you don’t have to work or tend to other, serious obligations?
My only goals for the day are: 1. get the turkey and pie cooked and baked, respectively, and 2. don’t miss the parade (thanks, DVR). And that’s it!
I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of reading on this long, chilly weekend, so I’m excited to share with you the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club: “The Nest” by Cynthia Sweeney. Here’s the description from Amazon:
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.
…So, yeah. I put this book on my reserve list after it was suggested to me from Amazon. It sounded interesting. I’ll say this is a thick book, but it’s very descriptive in a good way – I could really picture all of the scenes, which I enjoyed.
Also, I feel like this is a subject that’s not visited much – at least the “inheritance” part, and how it would affect a family and their relationships with each other. This was Sweeney’s debut novel, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for her next release.
I know we’re also not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, we all do it, and this book is gorgeous! It’s got an embossed cover, and the paper its printed on is really thick and textured. It felt regal just reading it.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “99:Stories of the Game” by Wayne Gretsky. Whoop! I’ve been waiting for this one. Read it with us by commenting on the blog, or finding me on social media @OrangeJulius7.
Speaking of which, I’m sure I’ll be cooking a ton on my SnapChat today, so maybe I’ll see you there! Happy Thanksgiving!
Remember last week? Last week, when I was so excited to join Operation Turkey (the North Austin branch) and hundreds of volunteers to serve thousands of homeless people?
Well, the actual experience completely blew. Here’s what happened…
After I signed my friend and I up for the volunteer job (for which I signed us up to serve cranberry sauce), I got emails instructing us to arrive by 8am on Thanksgiving morning.
Despite being at the bars on dirty 6th until almost 2 am, we were there before 8am ready to serve until noon.
Around 8, a woman, who I’m going to assume was running the operation, came outside equipped with a megaphone. And despite the fact that there were nearly 1,000 volunteers present, half of whom couldn’t hear her, she proceeded to yap her head off via the megaphone, until 9:15, when we were asked to form a single file line that nearly rounded the block.
Around 9:30, the line slowly started to move into the P.F. Chang’s building where the meals were being packed. But very soon after, we started seeing volunteers coming out of the other side of the building, carrying one boxed meal each.
We soon figured out that we were merely going to carry the styrofoam box through the line, while it was packaged, and then go to the end of the line, and wait until we could get another box to fill.
But once we actually got inside the building to receive our boxes, it was a yelling match like I’ve never seen.
Once we got inside, we were walking through a Thanksgiving disco line, with volunteers on either side of us. And they were all yelling, equipped with spoons and vats of yams and corn.
“DO NOT STOP AT THE FOOD, KEEP IT MOVING. WE WILL PUT THE FOOD IN YOUR BOX!!!”
I think I heard that about five times before I started firing back to “STOP. FUCKING. YELLING. AT. ME!”
I don’t know who instructed these volunteers to yell at us, or what audacity was coursing through their veins on that rainy morning, but the absolute LAST thing this hungover singleton is putting up with is being yelled at when I came to do something good.
If I wanted to be yelled at, I’d have gone home for Thanksgiving (#ThanksgivingClapBack).
So, after walking through the line, getting yelled at, and having food thrown into my container, we went home. I was pissed.
Why did we sign up for that? Operation Turkey boasts itself on the fact that they don’t turn away volunteers, but there were clearly WAY too many volunteers there. And that’s a great problem to have! It was really heartwarming to see that many people give up their holiday morning to donate their time, but don’t fool us into thinking we are helping if there’s nothing we can do.
If the food was covered, give us something else to do. Can we help sort clothing or pack drinks or deliver maps to the drivers? No? Then by all means send us home, or direct us to other food shelters that are struggling for volunteers.
Don’t worry, I let Operation Turkey Austin know how I felt via Twitter, and I’ll say it again that I will never be donating my time or money to them again. A volunteer experience should be met with positivity and encouragement — not yelling orders in my face.
I guarantee that on every other day of the year, shelters and other volunteer efforts aren’t lucky enough to have the problem of too many volunteers. And, according to other posts on Twitter, other branches of Operation Turkey looked like positive experiences. Volunteers were high-fiving each other, and everyone looked like they were having fun.
So, I do apologize for offering Operation Turkey to you as a good option to help. This was my first year with them (and my last), so I didn’t have anything to go off of. But, I’ll be in search of other opportunities to help — maybe not on a holiday.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the fall weather, a few days off from work, and of course, the food.
I love to cook (especially for a guy), I really like to eat, and the fact that pigging out is perfectly acceptable for this holiday is just the whipped topping on my pumpkin pie.
Almost every year, I’ve traveled to spend Turkey Day with my best friend and her family. My family is split, and frankly, I just don’t do all of the drama.
Last Thanksgiving, I’d just lost my job and had no business traveling. Thankfully, a friend in-town invited me to spend the day with her and her son.
Although it was just the three of us, we had a fantastic feast, capped off with lots of wine. It was a great, great day.
The truth is, I think of Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, and while that’s exciting, it’s also the most difficult time of year to be single.
It’s chilly outside, there’s couples snuggled up all over Instagram, and it’s just… depressing.
I have always wished that my Thanksgiving Day would be filled with turkey, and a little love from a sig-other.
I came close one year. I was head-over-heels for this guy and I invited him to come home to Indiana with me. He would fit right in — hunting gear and all. I even offered to cover his flight.
But the sad truth was, I was more of a booty call to him than anything significant. I don’t even think he’d told his family about me, while I was gushing to everyone how great he was, like a fool.
After we parted ways the following year, I read an article that outlined all the benefits of being single on Thanksgiving. No Stress! No worrying about overstuffing yourself! No introducing-the-guy-to-the-family drama!
True, but no matter how much I kid myself, that sting of being single cuts a little deeper this time of year.
So, what is one to do to combat holiday blues? I’m stuffing my Thanksgiving weekend with everything that makes me happy.
My best friend is coming in town, and we’re spending Thanksgiving Eve at the bar. There’s almost nothing a tumbler of spiked cider can’t cure!
On Thanksgiving morning, we’re doing something I have always wanted to do: we are volunteering to serve approximately 8,000 people in need. We will be plopping cranberry sauce into containers for delivery.
After that? It’s kitchen time — cocktails and Turkey Day food, and of course, watching the Macy’s Day parade while recovering from a food coma.
I really cannot wait.
I know the holidays aren’t just for the coupled, and there really are advantages to flying solo this time of year.
At the very least, I’m happy that I’ve got the freedom to do whatever I want this year, and I don’t have to worry about a schedule or what to wear. I’ll be wearing sweatpants and I’ll be drunk before 3pm.
If you’ve found love, that’s definitely something to be thankful for this year. But if you’re single, I say go ahead and be thankful that you’re not with the wrong person. And while you’re at it, have another piece of pie — treat yourself!
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!
Y’all… it’s FRIDAY!! The exciting thing about THIS Friday is that for most of us, next week is a short week, then we get a looooong weekend. I cannot really explain how happy this makes me.
I’ve felt so stressed this week; stressed over things that are out of my control (isn’t that the worst), and I finally just gave up, pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind as best I could… and bought a pumpkin pie and ate half of it for dinner. No, seriously. Because why not?
I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving SO much, but I’ve got lots to accomplish before Turkey Day arrives — I know many of you are in the same boat.
Today, I’ve got another new perfume for you, but it’s called “Not A Perfume” and it’s made by Juliet Has A Gun. Unique name, huh? It came in my November Birchbox, and at first, I was a little confused by the name.
But, I’ve been wearing it these last few days. According it its description, it’s made out of a single element called Cetalox, which is usually a scent that’s featured in the background of perfumes. It’s completely allergen free and has no other ingredients.
So, what’s Cetalox? To be honest, I couldn’t find a lot of information on WHAT cetalox is, but it’s said to have an amber scent, kind of woody. Which… I love!
I’ll be traveling to see my CASA boys this weekend (and sneaking in a hair appointment from my favorite stylist), so I’ll find some fun things to post on SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7).
Next week, I’ll be posting a few things about Thanksgiving and the holiday season, but I’m taking Thursday and Friday off from blogging. I’ll be entertaining my guest, and I doubt many of you will be on the computer.
Meanwhile, I am still working hard on creating my blog class! It’s taking a little longer than I expected, but only because I’m packing so many learning materials in one class. So far, there are 10 lectures, presentations, video lectures, and quizzes. I promise I’ll keep you posted (and keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive coupon)!
Alright y’all, I’m off to work — have a great weekend!
Thanksgiving is one of my FAVORITE holidays, and a true HAPPY THANKSGIVING is in order! Don’t worry, the #tb series will be back tomorrow—I just couldn’t let today pass by without saying a few words.
Every year, I travel to my friend Angela’s home. Her and her husband have welcomed me into their home over the years, once in San Diego and several times in Indiana, where we grew up.
On Thanksgiving Day, Angela and I start the cooking pretty early—we make almost everything from scratch. Her parents and brother join us for dinner, and sometimes other guests come over. It is always a fun day, with delicious food.
I am really lucky to be surrounded by people who love and support me on this holiday, and I usually don’t ever have to grit my teeth and answer any questions about my relationship status, which is usually single.
However, there have been years that I’ve had a boyfriend, but he couldn’t come with me, or years where I’m fresh off a breakup and I was crying into my turkey. Any holiday, no matter the situation, can be hard to endure as a single person.
But fear not! I’m here with my trusty guide; we will band together, unite as one single-woman front and have a JOYOUS day, being single and proud.
- Do give thanks. If you’re single, and don’t want to be, it’s easy to get down in the dumps. But chances are, there’s a TON you’ve got to be thankful for—so focus on that! Me? I’m so thankful that I have such a fun tradition with my friends and extended family each year. I am thankful for my job which affords me things I need, and the things I wish for, and I’m thankful that I’m in good health and good spirits.
- Think about your freedoms. I’m not talking about ‘Merica—I’m talking about your freedoms as a single person. You don’t have to deal with in-laws, you don’t have to fret over impressing people, and frankly, you can do whatever you damn-well please!
- Eat, drink, & be merry! Some holiday survival guides say not to binge, because you’ll regret it later. Tsk. Tsk, they say, Mr. Right isn’t in the bottom of the pie pan! Well, if you’re anything like me, you spend 95% of your year counting calories and busting ass at the gym in order to look hot, so today, I’m eating that cranberry sauce and I’m not going to give a damn!
- Take it with a grain of salt, a slice of lime, and a shot of tequila. Depending on the gathering you’re at, people are probably going to ask about your dating situation, and if you’re REALLY lucky, they’ll offer their advice (since they are experts, and all). Let them say what they will, and then forget it. Literally. Don’t dwell on it. If needed, make a drinking game of it, and take a shot anytime you being “single” becomes a talking point. Drink!
- Try new things. Whether you’re whipping up a new pie to bring to the gathering, or you’ve got a new lipstick you’ve been dying to try, give it a go! Trying new things, big or small, boost confidence and who doesn’t want that?
- Mend your wounds. If none of this works, and a case of the lonelies strikes you down, do what you have to do—grab an extra mug of spiked cider, make a list of all the Black Friday sales you want to hit, and sneak away to watch reruns of Very Mary Kate. Trust me, it’ll at least make you laugh.
And so, wherever you are today, enjoy the food, have a drink, and happy, happy Thanksgiving!