In case you haven’t heard, it is Jesus’s birthday and there’s no better time to spend with family, friends, and those you love. I’m doing just that with my friend’s family, who’ve graciously opened their homes to me the past two days.
However you spend the holiday season, I hope you find peace and joy during what isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year.
Spread love, lend a helping hand, do your part to make the world a better place. And if you can find some time to relax in there, too, that’s all the better.
In the final WO of 2018, I think it’s only fair to reflect on the past 52 weeks and how much has changed.
I traveled thousands of miles for various trips between SF to Minneapolis, Cabo, Tampa, NYC and Kenya. I navigated new challenges at one job and earned a new role with my dream company. I forged new friendships, let go of some others and started learning to say no to things more.
And beyond me (or I, I, I), the world still turns despite scary headlines, and turmoil between family and strangers, and all of the nuances that make up this crazy thing called life.
I hope you find peace and joy this holiday season, especially if you are struggling. Whether it’s publicly known or privately fought, you matter to me — and likely a whole other slew of people out there.
Sending you warm holiday wishes and blessings for a prosperous 2019!
The holiday season is in full swing, and as if I needed another reminder of it, today was the FOURTH White Elephant I’ve participated in this month. Over-commit much? I’m rocking my special sweater, tree earrings and festive fur so you better believe I’m trying to ward off my usual Grinch-y tendencies and embrace the season wholeheartedly.
- SF Ballet’s Nutcracker: Thanks to a monster group discount and the Junior League of San Francisco, I’ll be enjoying tonight’s performance of this winter classic for a nominal fee. Sugar plum fairies and pirouettes await to fulfill all my wildest prima ballerina dreams. I have no doubt my intro to the SF Ballet will be a memorable one.
- Suppenküche: A dear friend hosts an awesome annual dinner at this SF staple during Hanukkah, and this year’s celebration was no exception. From dreidel spin-offs to giant potato pancakes and banana beer, it’s a tradition I remember fondly every year. Who knows? Maybe one year I’ll even break tradition and go twice.
- The Exploratorium: Despite living in SF for 4+ years, I hadn’t yet ventured into this museum of curiosity, adventure and education. My department holiday party was here last weekend, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the activities at every turn. The food and photo booths helped, too, but I’d happily revisit on a “normal” day.
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey: Duhhhh. I can’t help myself and refuse to apologize for it. Between last week’s viewing of “Love Actually” and Carey’s always entertaining holiday antics, this is about the only seasonal tune I can listen to more than once a day. Don’t @ me, you knew it was coming at some point.
I have about an hour of energy left in me today, which is reserved especially for a wonderful co-worker’s farewell celebration. Alas, the show must go on:
- The Radio City Rockettes: I mentioned a few weeks ago how my family was going to see the ever-iconic Radio City Rockettes while visiting New York, and let me tell you, it was worth the 30-year wait. From the incredible choreography to the set design, it was one breathtaking scene after another. My faves? The toy soldier fall and live nativity scene were tops.
- A Life-Changing Letter: Get the tissues ready. This letter, penned by the terminally ill 27-year-old Holly Butcher, will make you rethink everything. From finances to traffic, from cake to Christmas presents, Butcher outlines all of the things on her mind as her battle with cancer came to a close. Even recapping it now, I’m misty-eyed. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.
- “I, Tonya”: Something else you don’t want to miss? This Golden Globe–winning look at the scandal that rocked the professional sports — and 24-hour news — world in 1994. I remember watching it unfold as an elementary school kid then, and I’m even more fascinated by it now. If nothing else, you can’t look away from Allison Janney and Margot Robbie’s insanely believable… insanity.
- “Pitch Perfect 3”: That’s right, guys. I went a whole 18 months without seeing a movie in theaters and then saw two in just a few weeks’ time. Yes, it’s a little silly. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. And yes, you will enjoy the ridiculous end to the Barden Bella saga. C’mon, you know you want to!
In case you didn’t know it, Christmas is in five days, people. FIVE. If you’re like most of the folks in my circle, it kind of snuck up on you and now you’re stressing to get some gifts in time. Well have no fear, y’all. I’m here to save the day:
- Ban.do Agenda: You know how there are just some products that have a cult-like following, thousands of reviews, and are both functional and fashionable? The ban.do agenda is at the top of that list for me, as I’ve committed to switching over and am completely in love. There are different options to keep the party planner in your life organized, and it ships quickly too!
- A Subscription Service: These days, we’re all about automating. Whether it’s curating your wine selection or replacing your razors without a second thought, check out this list of subscription services your Nice List will love. No matter your budget or recipient, there’s something for everyone.
- GiftTree Basket: The ultimate in gift baskets, GiftTree really knows how to make a statement. I recently received an ultra decadent collection from a friend, and it inspired me to gift my boss with a spa-centric basket for a restful and restorative holiday. Again, there are tons of options for different price points and recipients, and it ships next-day without an extra cost. Boom!
- Your Presence 😉 Finally, there’s often no better way to celebrate the holidays than being with the ones you love. While last-minute travel plans aren’t exactly relaxing, it can help put the cheer back in your spirit. I’m more than pumped to say I’ll be spending most of next week with some family members in NYC, and it’ll be worth every dingdang penny.
However you celebrate the holidays — and no matter what gifts you send (or not) — I’m wishing you and yours a wonderful winter week ahead. Be safe and stay thirsty, my friends!
I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is not, in fact, more cowbell. Being sick in December is litchrlly the worst, but here’s what I’m doing to keep calm and carry on:
- #AllTreesAreBeautiful: After many people took to Twitter complaining about the shape of their Reese’s Christmas Trees this year, the brand responded with a call to end “tree shaming” and it was glorious! Check out some of the highlights here.
- “Love Actually”: In my humble opinion, there is no better holiday movie. Sure, we all enjoy “Home Alone” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but it doesn’t get any more festive, actually, than Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street.
- “Billy on the Street” with Will Ferrell: Here’s two guys who are likely to disagree with my previous statements. And that’s OK — because they’re at their best when yelling at innocent people in NYC. Fa-la-freaking-la.
- Las Vegas: I’m suuuper pumped to spend part of next week in Vegas for my cousin’s bachelor/ette party! The sights, the slots, the spirits… hope Sin City is ready for some naughty troublemakers right before Christmas!
The rainy season is back in SF, and despite the drought, we’re actually getting some storms. What better way to take shelter from the showers than with these feel-good finds?
- Send a Card to Safyre: You’ve no doubt heard of this little girl, who was the lone survivor of a house fire in 2013. Now in the care of her aunt, Safyre’s one Christmas wish is to receive holiday cards from around the world. Send some cheer to this strong survivor at:
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady, NY 12306
- Free Rides with Uber: I doubt there are many who haven’t yet tried Uber. If you are one of those special unicorns, though, you can get $15 in free rides with my promo code: 939DW Whether it’s for errands or post-holiday parties, Uber can litchrlly be your lifesaver.
- Macy’s Friends & Family: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Macy’s Friends & Family sale can save you big bucks on holiday shopping. Take an extra 25% or 10% off most items, plus try Buy Online Pick Up In Store or Same-Day Delivery if you’re in a rush. Promo code: FRIEND is your little holiday helper.
- “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – *NSYNC: We’re 15 days away from Christmas, so I can officially start listening to holiday music without losing my mind. This classic from my elementary school daze is sure to bring more merriment to the moment.
Was last week a whirlwind for you all, too? Even with Thursday off from work, I can’t quite believe how fast Thanksgiving came and went. Oh, and it’s December. Where does the time ever go?
- “The Talented Mr. Ripley”: Speaking of time, step back to the 1950s (or 1999, because that’s how far behind I am) and soak up this thrilling tale of deception and lust. The book was better — yes, I’m an asshole — but the movie is pretty damn good.
- Ryan Gosling Hosts SNL: If time continues to move at warp speed, then Christmas come early indeed. My love for The Gos has become a parody at the office, but my excitement for Saturday is fully genuine. Here’s hoping there’s at least one shirtless sketch!
- “California Christmastime” – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: This CW show continues to surprise me week after week, and this finale number from Monday’s episode was another showstopper. It’s a little more referential to SoCal than San Francisco, but all Californians alike are finding ourselves.
- Spiced Pork, Squash & White Bean Soup: I’ve obsessed over Blue Apron for most of this year, and there are often recipes I’d repeat again. But never have I felt so compelled to share — this soup not only made about five servings, but it was so easy to make (once you hack through the squash)! Enjoy 🙂
11/11: Make a wish! Or, you could consider one of these more productive ideas 😉
- Veterans’ Day: I say it every year, but today is just one opportunity of many to thank the servicemen and women who sacrifice it all to serve our country. I’m fortunate to know many active and retired military members, whom I can’t thank enough. I won’t get on a soapbox, but the freedoms we’re fortunate enough to enjoy come at a hefty cost — so JUST DO IT.
- Coffee Cups Cause Commotion: Surely, we have better things to do with our time than debate a coffee cup and its “hidden meaning.” I’m a Christian, and I celebrate Christmas because of Christ — not because of a billion-dollar company’s alleged agenda to take down Jesus. Unfortunately, it’s another example of a few bad apples (or pumpkin spices?) spoiling the bunch.
- Blue Apron Donates Thanksgiving Dinner: It’s no secret I love Blue Apron for its (literally) life-changing service, but here’s another reason to obsess. Now, you can donate your Thanksgiving box of food OR an additional box (and still receive your own). Either way, Blue Apron will match all donations to help feed local families in need! You can donate now until noon ET on November 20.
- “Hotline Bling” Parody – SNL: Last week’s SNL episode, hosted by Donald Trump, left much to be desired… until this ridiculously silly parody popped up. I’m still laughing so hard, I cry — not sure if that says more about the video or me. Either way, enjoy!
There have been a lot of awful headlines lately — and while I understand the News 101 concept of “If it bleeds, it leads,” I’m particularly tired of hearing all the bad. Here’s my attempt to bring the smallest bit of sunshine to your day:
- Garmin Vîvofit: Santa was kind enough to supply my mom, sister-in-law and me with our very own Garmin Vîvofit activity trackers. We’re in a friendly competition to shed some lbs and have fun while doing it. I don’t love the app, but daily goals and gentle reminders to get moving are super motivating.
- Instacart: I loathe the entire act of grocery shopping since moving away from Publix. But thanks to this handy app, I no longer have to muddle through aisles and lug large bags. Pick a store in your area (or Instacart Plus), select your items and set your delivery time. It’s that easy!
- Rampage Ivory 50/50 Stretch Boots: In the words of Lloyd Christmas, “Killer boots, man.” These stretchy rider boots are so comfy and lasted well through my 10,000 daily steps 🙂 And at this price point, how can you say no?
- “Title” – Meghan Trainor: My favorite songstress of 2014 continues to impress with the, err, title track off her album. Its message couldn’t be more appropriate for my current love (or lack thereof) life. And though people have complained it’s anti-feminist, I think perhaps they’re just not really listening. I say preach, girl!
Audio only … girlfriend needs to get on this music video, stat!