Gifts for a Badass

People always want to know the level of Jew you are when you’re Jewish.

Real life questions I’ve received: so, does your dad have curls on his head.
Real life answer: roll my eyes.

While we weren’t the most religious part of the tribe, my family was never Hanukkah Bush Jews, meaning, we didn’t decorate for Christmas or exchange gifts, and there was never a Santa in my household. Or a Hanukkah Harry if you were curious. In actuality, we loved being stereotypical Jews on christmas- hang out, get Chinese food, and see a movie.

Now, as a Jewish girl in a predominantly Irish / Italian catholic town, you would think I would stick out like poor old Rudolph, but unlike Rudolph I never needed to cover up my true identity. What I’m saying is, I was invited to play the reindeer games! Lucky me! I spent quite a few christmas eve’s with my best friends family enjoying the most delicious foods you have ever tasted and spending quality time with wonderful people. I think they were prepping me for my pseudo Christian life in the future. Everyone knew it was bound to happen that I would wind up with a nice Christian boy. Even in the Jewish pre school I went to, the only boy I wanted to play with was Hunter, the only little Christian boy in class. Thank you for just trying to prepare me for my future of christmas dinners, a Christmas tree (even though I am totally calling it a Hanukkah bush), and misleading my unborn children about that guy in the red suit- don’t get preachy on me about that statement, folks. Its my blog. I will offend Santa if I want to. Now I spend the holiday with John’s clan but those memories are always so special to me.

On Christmas Eve we go out to dinner at a place we go to every year. This meant that unlike Christmas morning where no makeup and pajamas suffice, I had to get ready.

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My big decision for Christmas Eve. What color, what color? When your most challenging decision of the day is lipstick, it’s going to be a damn good day!

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Lipstick decided. Fur is fake.

We met up with family and friends and had a table going with thirteen people. We laughed, ate, fought over politics, and possibly offended nearby patrons of the restaurant- it was a great time.

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John and I headed home to exchange gifts with each other. As a girl who loves bling I have to admit that I requested no jewelry- true statement. And he held to it and bought me gifts that any person that has a blog about running and staying active would want. A nike fuel band! A package for kick boxing! An SD card for my new camera! He’s the best! Athletic gear is a girls best friend! And boxing gloves – with a special note attached if you saw my previous post. For John, I got him new running sneakers and snowboarding gloves. An active couple? Us? Not one year ago.

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I immediately sat down at the computer and set up my new toy- the fuel band. The fuel band measures and tracks your daily activity as you set up goals. So I got some kind of jewelry. I will do a full review on it next week I want to see how it works this week. We tucked in early and got ready for Christmas Day.

I love christmas morning because it means no fuss. I showered, threw my hair up in a wet bun, put on my casual clothes that could simultaneously look cute and fit an expanding waistline, and headed over to John’s family’s home for French toast and eggnog with an extra special treat in it. After filling our bellies we sat around to unwrap gifts prior to heading over to our next location for Christmas dinner.

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Of course he gets the crock pot. No one trusts me with cooking devices. He also got truffle oil! Cooking time!

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I know this season can be a huge challenge despite the message it brings with it. As much as we adore our family, the pressures of running around, cooking, cleaning, and purchasing can take a toll on us. And as much as we adore our family, they can drive us crazy and they usually do. More crazy than we knew was possible. But I love family. And that’s why I’ve always loved Christmas. And clearly it’s not a religious holiday for me, and I understand that for many it is, but I love the message. I love love, and I love family, and I love togetherness. Isn’t that what this season is all about? That and food. Love, food, happiness, togetherness, and family. It doesn’t matter what religion you were born into, you can appreciate those things.

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas- I know I did.

Stuffed like a Bird

I may have had stuffing for dinner, second dinner, and breakfast. I then proceeded to finish all of the leftover stuffing this afternoon. I’m not sure there is any greater side, or possibly it’s the fact that eating stuffing is relegated for this special time of the year. I got so stuffed on stuffing I think I’m good until next turkey day.

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I am thankful for stuffing.

But enough being ridiculous, I’m thankful for the warm home I can always come back to and spend hours laughing with my bizarre family.

This year there was a lot to allow myself to get bogged down in. Hurricanes and health problems topping the chart. But that doesn’t come to mind when I think about the year as a whole. I think of making changes and progress in my own life. I think about my growing family which just added the most beautiful new member this year. I think about creating new friendships with amazing people that have recently entered my life and I adore. I think about building stronger friendships with the people who just get me because they’ve been stuck with me for that long. I think about my relationship and how fortunate I am to have someone that truly loves me, which is saying a lot.

I am thankful for two functioning legs that I have taken for granted all of my life. They have at times been a source of frustration when they caused me pain. At times they have been a source of insecurity when they rubbed together. They have carried me on mountain hikes with friends. They have taken me throughout the windy streets of unknown cities. They are now what allows me to run. I am so thankful for them.

Last night my mom gave me an awesome present and reminder:

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Run hard when it’s hard to run.

I have so much to be appreciative for this year. And now some new inspiration to get to the gym. Running is never easy, but knowing I have supportive people in my life who have my best interest in heart has made this year extra special. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to reflect on the good in their life as well.

Getting Thankful on Hanukkah

Welcome to thanksgiving eve night. Historically, the night of Thanksgiving eve is notorious as one of the best going out nights. So naturally, I’m already in sweatpants on my couch waiting for Chinese food. This is how I roll. Now, that’s not the whole truth, in actuality, I would love to be a social being. I have to admit that I’m not feeling 100%. I hate admitting that. Besides a cold I am fighting, my knee is acting up and my joints are stiff. This is turning into the most complaint ridden and boring post ever… So I’m going to stop now before it gets worse and I’m going to discuss presents and how I plan on spending my night.

Tonight is not only thanksgiving eve, but also the first night of Hanukkah. I would like to believe that overall I am a grateful person and never ask for too much. In part because I know if I want it, I can buy it. All my ladays who independent throw your hands up at me! In part because I’m indecisive. In part because I hate asking and expecting things. Now, don’t get it twisted, I do enjoy a beautiful bag, some nice shoes, and pretty much anything shiny, but I never have a true need for anything. As a result I’m pretty tricky to shop for- imagine how challenging that would be to date me?!

To help demystify gift giving, I have taken to Pinterest. No longer just the place to create imaginary weddings on or the place to inspire bound to fail creations (ie: http://www.pinterestfail.com.) Classic example from website below:
20131127-171241.jpg Pinterest now serves to help boyfriends all over the world. John has picked up on my affinity for pinning and he takes to my “things I like” board when ideas get tough. As a result I’ve received some pretty spot on presents including a personal favorite:

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This first night of Hanukkah we exchanged some presents. As a good old confirmation receiving Christian, John has not yet been assimilated into Jewish life. I decided to give him 8 nights of presents so he can fully understand how frustrating life is for a Jewish child. Eight nights of semi cool stuff. I even allowed him to pick out which one he wanted to open. He had to decide strictly based on looks, no feeling, shaking, or kicking the gift allowed. Night one: he chooses the headphones. I needed to get him these since I may have adopted his headphones as my own months ago. Gift for me?

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Swoon, my love of watches continues! The boyfriend strikes again.

Tomorrow I take the drive north to spend some quality time with the familia for a full day of hybrid thanksgiving Hanukkah, or as my people call it, Thanksgivukkah. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on being thankful since I began writing this blog, and for that alone I am thankful. I am thankful that I have a forum that allows me to continuously recognize how fortunate and blessed I am. Now, I bid you farewell. For the rest of my night, while the rest of you are getting loose on liquid, I’m going to pass out from NyQuil.

Treat Yo Self 2013

Whenever I want to buy myself something nice I reflect on all of the ways I could spend my money instead. Truth be told, that money usually goes towards food or a purchase that I will never appreciate or remember (see: food).  Over the weekend I decided to buy myself a just because present. In all honesty, as I sat there filling out the purchasing information on the website I was getting pangs of spending remorse… you can put that towards your imaginary house or your pinterest wedding.

riiiight. 

click. confirm. bought.

And just like that I had my very own Treat yo Self Day.  For those of you that do not know what this blog title refers to- please stop reading now and go watch Parks and Recreation. Or just click on the video below and try to appreciate this day for all it’s worth: Treat Yo Self 2011

That video confirms my treat yo self decision.  How often do you treat yo self?

I grew up in a selfless home.  My mom was the kind of woman that put everyone’s needs before her own. To this day, despite having adult children, she still continuously puts our needs first, and she will never change.  For that I am grateful, but I am also aware that everyone needs to self-appreciate every once in a while.  And I’m not just saying that to justify my purchases- My purchase was justified when I got home from work and found this beaut:

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I’m convinced that we have been conditioned since childhood to experience that gratifying moment of tearing open a package and unlocking a gift.  It doesn’t even matter if you were the one who picked it out somehow it is still like, woah, I picked this awesome gift out for myself?  

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So, an open letter to myself.

Dear Me,

It’s socially acceptable to treat yo self every once in a while- you don’t have to go too crazy.  Make sure you are paying your bills before you go on a spending spree.  Also, get scissors next time instead of tearing up the box… that was unnecessary.  

And to you folks, the same thing goes.

Now off to yoga where we will probably discuss the trivial nature of material items.