December 31, 2010

To Start Fresh in 2011, I Must Forgive

I am a fan of Joel Osteen.

As a practicing Roman Catholic, I tape his sermons each week and when I get a chance, I watch the program and take notes in a journal.

Something struck me about his sermon on 11/21/10. It was titled, "Forgive So You Can Be Free."

Wow. I was immediately hooked.

I have been carrying around anger and hurt from many people for wayyyyy too long and the only person affected is ahem . . . me.

Joel said "forgive to take away their power to continue to hurt you" and "what they did is not worth you missing your destiny."

So for the new year, I cannot continue to carry around all of this crap. It is too much.

Staying stuck in the past prevents me from living in the present and prevents me from making an excellent future for myself.

I will try to not "let that person that hurt me keep me in prison."

So, I am off to write a letter forgiving all of these people. I won't mail it of course. But I will get rid of it somehow.

On the list will be family members, friends, exes, former colleagues.

I will forgive them.

Because, I have to.

I need to.

For my own care and concern and well being, I must forgive.

"Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future."
- Paul Boese

December 30, 2010

My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, I can say for sure that it was not a good year.

This blog has been a saving grace and for that I am grateful. I have "met" some incredible women and I thank you for reading my blog.

Here is a recap of some of my most popular posts.

Enjoy.

#10 - Christmas visit to Manhattan's Rockefeller Center Anthropologie store.

#9 - Finally! Organized Makeup as posted here!#8 - This post about my Dad and how he was handling the loss of his only son really touched a lot of my reader's hearts. Your comments, in turn, touched me.#7 - Who knew a redo of a wreath would receive so many wonderful comments!#6 - Seashell Burlap Artwork#5 - Mouthwatering post about Dad's Delicious Zucchini Flowers#4 - Turquoise and White Christmas post. Will I ever go back to red and green? Don't think so.#3 - After not finding a dang thing while thrifting, I finally found something.#2 - Picture Frame Necklace Organizer. I love this project. I have since added a few more necklaces.#1 - And finally, my front-row seat visit to The Martha Stewart Show.
Wow. I have done quite a bit this year.

I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

Here's to even more blog love in 2011!

December 29, 2010

RIP Teena Marie

I am so saddened by the passing of Teena Marie.

Known as The Ivory Queen of Soul, her voice is amazing and her songs, so much fun!

Her first album for Motown didn't have her photo on it for fear that people wouldn't buy it because she is white.

I was actually thinking a few weeks ago that I have to go see her in concert.

How sad!

I will always groove to this song and I think you should get up and groove to it too!

Here is a recent appearance of hers on The View where she sings her hits.

RIP Teena Marie. Your music will live on. As a matter of fact, I am turning on my iPod right now and will get my groove on!

December 28, 2010

Gift Cards Are The Lazy Way Out

I know I will upset some people with this post but I need to get some things off my chest.

Giving gift cards as gifts is the lazy way out, especially for loved ones.
source

I know it's the thought that counts.

BLAH BLAH BLAH.

But, what if no thought goes into a gift?

Let me explain.

I am the kind of gift giver who takes great care in what I give as a gift. I think about the recipient and what they would love to receive. What would put a smile on their face. It brings me great joy and happiness and I do it with much love.

And you know what? It really doesn't take much effort.

This year, I gave my two nieces a Coach wristlet, a Calvin Klein sweater, Sephora makeup and handmade artwork that I will post about in the new year.

Why is it that my nieces and sister-in-law put absolutely zero thought and effort into what they give me? I see them put lots of effort into buying gifts for other people, but not me.

It is the same every year. And by the same, I mean THE SAME.

A gift certificate to my nail place, a Target gift card and last year, things were shaken up with a $10 gift card to CVS.

Yeah for me! I can buy tampons!

There was a time when my sister-in-law would, every year, buy me a Precious Moments figurine. She likes Precious Moments. I can't stand them. I don't know where she got the idea that I liked them.

I play a game with a few of my friends as to what I will get each year. And every year, I am spot on. Kind of like the dad in the cell phone commercial who can guess what his monthly bill will be.

Before my brother met his wife, he was a great gift giver. He stood on line for hours to get me a Cabbage Patch Doll one Christmas. I still have her; Sabrina Lynette and I can cry thinking about it.

Once he met his wife, the gift giving went down hill. While they were dating or engaged, her first gift to me was tube socks. Yes, three pairs of white socks.

Some of you may say I am ungrateful. I don't know. But what I do know is that I am hurt and saddened that every birthday and Christmas is the same thoughtless gifts.

Does my family really think so little of me? I do so much for them, and since my brother's death, I am trying to do double.

Am I that hard to buy for? Look around my home. Or . . . ask me.

I have tried in recent years to protect myself from this yearly nightmare by telling them not to get me anything. I just want to give to them. I was even more adamant this season.

I am trying to save myself from the hurt because I know what is going to happen. I will be bitching and moaning to my father and my friends the next day.

Which is what happened yet again this Christmas.

Now, get this. For my older niece's 18th birthday this summer, I got her a gift card mainly to make a statement and you know what? She was pissed at me. Can you believe it? I gave her what I always get from her and she didn't like it. She said that I always give such great gifts. (Unlike her mother's sister who has given her gift cards since birth.)

So, what do I do?

Do I just accept that this is the way they are and that what has happened in the past will happen yet again so just shut up?

Or, do I share with them that I am hurt when so little if any, thought goes into my gift?

I really don't want to receive anything. I don't want the hurt anymore. I don't want the thought of feeling like I don't matter.

I just want to give and then I won't be so let down.

"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift."
- Pierre Corneille

December 26, 2010

Santa Claus Gets No Respect

While out for a morning stroll around the 'hood, I thought I saw a body in the middle of the street.Upon further inspection, I saw that it was Santa.Poor Santa. After flying around the world delivering gifts, this is what he gets.

December 23, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas Wish

While at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular which you can read about here and here, I noticed a bunch of children in the lower lobby writing feverishly on cards and mailing them in a "Santa Mail Box."

I wandered over to take a look and thought hmmm, I am going to send Santa a wish.

Mind you, I was the only adult writing anything but who cares.

Here it is.

A girl is never to old to write to Santa.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

"Alas! How dreary would be the world
if there was no Santa Claus!
There would be no childlike faith then,
no poetry, no romance
to make tolerable this existence."
- Francis P. Church

December 22, 2010

The Christmas Tree Shops Artwork

In keeping with my turquoise and white theme this Christmas, I decided to add some "artwork" to my decorating.

Using a $2.99 frame and a $.69 Christmas bag from The Christmas Tree Shops, I came up with this.
Easy and thrifty and turquoise and white of course.

The seashell was given to me during a grief seminar at my local church and the glittered Eiffel Tower ornament was purchased this week at Pier 1.

December 21, 2010

Nutcracker Gold Tablescape

I love this gold tablescape.

It makes me feel glitzy!
Not sure which I like better. With or without the gold leaves purchased from Michaels for $2.50 each. What do you think?
Nutcracker - $5.99 at Joanns from this year
Twine Tree - handmade
Glitzy Tree - 50cents at Dollar Tree
Candlesticks - purchased years ago at Bath & Body Works
Candles - The Christmas Tree Shops
Garland - Ikea
Ornaments - Ikea
Tray - Pier 1 ?
Butterflies - Pier 1
Broken Ornament - priceless!


"I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas
with a note on it saying
toys not included."
- Bernard Manning

December 20, 2010

Anthropologie White Feather Christmas Tree Knockoff

Some of you may have read my Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center post here where I was inspired by their feather trees but not by the price.

I decided to see if I could make mine. Here is my attempt.

Feathers Feathers Everywhere!

The styrofoam tree was about $2.00. The feathers with a coupon from Michaels came to about $1.25 and the glue was on hand.

I like it. I could do better but not too bad. And hey, you can't beat the price!

Take that Anthropologie!

"Christmas is not a time or a season
but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and good will,
to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
- Calvin Coolidge

December 19, 2010

Sundays at Tiffany's on Lifetime

So, I am not particularly a fan of Alyssa Milano but I watched this chic flick on Lifetime the other night.

I am a sucker for love stories set in Manhattan at Christmas time.

I have to say it was quite fun.

And the male lead, Eric Winter was some nice eye candy on a cold Single Nester night.

If it is on repeat, check it out.

December 18, 2010

Straight No Chaser - Christmas Can Can

How true is this song?! Love these guys!

December 17, 2010

Casting Crowns I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I first heard of Casting Crowns during a White House Christmas Special and I was mesmerized with the performance and the words.

Always gets to me.

Enjoy!

December 16, 2010

Grave Wreaths

For the past 19 years, I have made the wreath for my mom's grave. I find that the prepared ones at the florists are just not nice. Tacky actually.

This year, I must make two; one for mom and one for my brother.

I purchased the wreaths for $7.99. They smell so good.I then gather various decorative items and personalize the wreaths the way I want to.

Here is Mom's.Here is my brother's that I decorated with my younger niece.I glittered seashells but ahem, the day after placing the wreath, a big rain storm came and washed away the glitter.

Does anyone know how to make glitter stay put in wet weather?

December 15, 2010

Twine Rope Christmas Tree

Inspired by so many wonderful crafty bloggy ladies, I decided to see what I could do with some twine.
Here is the result.
Round and round I went. This was oddly, a very relaxing craft project.
The cardboard tree was $1.49 purchased with a coupon from Michaels and the decorations have been on-hand for years.

This tree is extra-special to me because the twine was given to my dad from my brother.

"When we recall Christmas past,
we usually find that the simplest things-
not the great occasions-
give off the greatest glow of happiness."
- Bob Hope

December 14, 2010

My Nativity - Where is Baby Jesus?

This is my nativity for this year.

The set was my mom's and is from Avon. I do have the rest of Joseph's staff. Maybe I should get around to gluing it back on.

The house (inn) and the bottle brush trees are from the Martha Stewart collection at Grandin Road.

I purchased them last season for 75% off!! The trees were in a set of three as were the houses. They were dirt-cheap people!Epsom salt provides for a snowy scene.Where is baby Jesus you may ask?

It is a tradition in my family to not put out baby Jesus until midnight because he isn't "born" yet.

My youngest niece gets the honor.

"Great little One!
whose all-embracing birth
lifts Earth to Heaven,
stoops Heaven to Earth."
- Richard Crashaw

December 13, 2010

Turquoise and White Christmas Trees and Decorations

I posted here about why I was not decorating for Christmas this year.

I didn't want to do "traditional" decorations; meaning, decorations from my last Christmas with my brother.

So, I decorated a bit differently.

After Christmas last year, I purchased from Target 2, two-foot turquoise Christmas trees. I believe they were $4 each.

For followers of my blog, you know I LOVE TURQUOISE!! Along with some white Christmas trees purchased from Michaels, my Christmas tablescape was set.
Using coupons of course, I purchased feather boas, Christmas picks, snowflakes, etc . . . I decorated each tree with a different garland and different ornaments.You may have noticed some dangly ornaments that look an awful lot like seashells. They are. With Martha Stewart glitter (of course), I went at it and I love the results.Every Winter Wonderland needs glittered polar bears and reindeer!

Every deer needs a doe.

Every tree needs an angel.

Every Christmas needs Santa.

And a crafter can never have enough glitter.These candle votives were purchased last season at The Christmas Tree Shops. They were something like 75 cents for two. I picked up three sets. I am really pleased with my choices this year for my non-Christmas Christmas.

"The perfect Christmas tree?
All Christmas trees are perfect!"
- Charles N. Barnard


Ain't that the truth!

December 12, 2010

Christmas Thank You Giveaway Winner

Thank you everyone for entering my Christmas Thank You Giveaway and for your sweet comments.

Congratulations to Michelle of Emerald Cove for winning my Christmas Thank You Giveaway!

This was her response to my "what is your favorite Christmas food" question.Check out Michelle's blog. It is lovely just like her!

December 11, 2010

Trader Joe's Sold Out of Dark Chocolate Stars for Christmas

For the last few years, around this time of year, I have stopped by Trader Joe's to pick up Dark Chocolate Stars.


These delicious morsels only grace us with their presence at Christmas.

I purchased them before Thanksgiving and went back today to another TJ's to pick up an additional box, knowing that they would not last until Christmas.

What? No Dark Chocolate Stars?

Surely this can't be?

Maybe I am just missing them.

Went to speak to the manager and was told that the plant stopped making them for the season so what was on the shelves are now gone.

Excuse me? Can't they make more?

source

Maybe TJ's can make Dark Chocolate Hearts for Valentine's Day or Dark Chocolate Bunnies for Easter.

I cannot believe I cannot buy such a tasty treat until next year.

Santa Claus will not be getting any cookies this year to warm his belly for his sleigh ride around the world.

These babies are all mine!

December 10, 2010

Jane Monheit - Merry Christmas Darling

I have seen Jane Monheit twice in concert and she is UH-MAZING!

Her Christmas album is one of my favorites and I love her version of this song. I also loved it when Karen Carpenter sang it.

Enjoy!

December 9, 2010

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Radio City Rockettes

We have finally arrived at the show!

Here are some photos.

Enjoy!

Sleigh Ride - nothing like the Rockettes to pull your sleigh!This is one of my favorite numbers. The Rockettes tap out The 12 Days of Christmas and it lasts forever. The strength in their legs is amazing.Parade of the Wooden SoldiersThis is a favorite number of mine. New York at Christmas. Complete with ice skaters, fireworks and of course, the Gray Line Double Decker Tour Bus.I forgot to tell you. I am a Rockette. Can you see me? Third from the right in the back. Hey. If Lindsey Lohan's mother can claim to be a Rockette, why can't I?
This is one of my niece's favorite numbers - Here Comes Santa Claus. Magic is ThereLet Christmas Shine - I can't describe to you have magnificently shiny these costumes are. There must be some Swarovski action going on. This scene always makes me cry. The Living Nativity complete with sheep, donkeys and camels.

Here are two videos you might enjoy.





Well, I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my excursion to Manhattan for the Christmas Show at Radio City.

My Christmas wish for you is that one day, if you haven't already, you will be able to check out what truly is a must-see for all visitors to the city during the Christmas season.

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas
if you stop opening presents and listen."
- Author Unknown
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