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Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.32 PM

This weekend feels so strange… not really the weekend before Christmas but I am definitely feeling the pressure of heading into the week before Christmas. Because let’s be realistic; there will not be a lot of people working next Monday. It is basically an upcoming 4-day weekend with the celebration of Christmas. In fact, each time I look at the calendar, I think, “gosh it is almost Christmas!” It is coming so quickly!

Have you been feeling this, too?

Therefore, this was a weekend of preparation. That is how I spent my holiday celebration time of which I have been blogging for the past 2 weeks.

Day 14: Friday: Made plans for Christmas Eve. Wanted to be certain I had a plan. I will be staying in the city this year and not returning to Rochester to my family’s so for me it was important to have a plan. Which church service was I attending, what volunteer work would I be doing, where would I celebrate with friends before church? All the details got worked out. Plan in place.

Day 15: Saturday: A beautiful day in NYC. Warmish for this time of year and a day that I had set aside entirely for fun. No work. Just “me time”. That “me time” included the most relaxing walk through NOHO and SOHO- looking in store windows with all holiday items displayed in the window. So much creativity and happiness everywhere. Plus, the walk was with my best friend who I had not seen since before the Hurricane due to all kinds of obstacles so this was just a wonderful, leisurely holiday celebration.

Day 16: Sunday: Since I decided not to send all my hundreds of holiday cards this year, I wanted to make a mini-plan for holiday greetings and beyond. Sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, I wrote a mini-list of family members who deserved a holiday greeting from me- regardless of the fact that my work life is so uber-busy that I determined that I would not be sending out cards.  I decided that family members would be the exception.  I then made a list of friends and clients who I wanted to be certain to celebrate. That list will be tackled after the New Year with a deliberate sit-down in a coffee shop to write individual notes to each one. I would rather sent a heart-felt note to wish them a Happy New Year than a generic holiday greeting just to get it in under the wire of December 31. Hopefully, they will all feel the same!

Now, we head into the week before Christmas. Wow.

Be Merry and Bright!

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.00 PM

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coal in my stocking

Bad Blogger.

Probably getting coal in my stocking.

One full, exciting and life-changing week in my business equals ZERO blogging.

But believe me, I was still out there looking for those holiday moments. But even those were a stretch. Therefore, vowing to get back in the groove for this last 12 days of my 25. And I will catch you up now on the past week’s activities.

Maybe it will spark an idea in your brain regarding how to bring a little holiday cheer into your life:

Day 7: I was working all day so I played Christmas music on Spotify all day. Singing along. Laughing at some of the funny old songs and really loving the instrumentals. What is your favorite holiday album? One of my top choices is Jewel’s 1999: Joy- A Holiday Collection

Day 8: It was a Saturday so I headed to Bayridge Brooklyn to meet a friend for a movie and lunch. Met him on the corner with all the Christmas trees and wreaths because why WOULDN’T I stand in that amazing fragrance while I waited?  Then after lunch we walked around the neighborhood as it started to get dark and looked at the decorations and the lights. Fun day.

Day 9: Spent the day getting my “life” and home together in preparation for my first day on Wall Street with my new client. Conclusion. Those holiday cards are simply not going to send themselves. I have basically already missed Hanukkah’s window.  The cards are going back into storage. Feels a little disappointing but terribly sane.

Day 10: Monday. First day at the new client site on Wall Street. Ummm… can we say Hanukkah extravaganza with delicious looking jelly donuts and black/white cookies on a big table right near my office? I partook a little tiny bit…I mean, it is Hanukkah and I was the new girl so….

Day 11: Coming down with a cold. Headed to that new client’s holiday party anyway. Planning to stay through the entertainment and head out at dessert (like any good wedding escape plan- works here as well) and then, I got stuck on the subway for 45 minutes.  So that took care of that. Just went home.

Day 12: Received my first Holiday cards complete with beautiful family pictures from my dear friend Ellen (and a pic of my adorable Goddaughter Emily) and one of my longest-standing friends (not oldest- we are NOT old) from Brownies and her beautiful family from their new home in Texas. Joy.

Day 13: That was yesterday. Made plans for next week to not work compulsively and instead head to mid-town to see the Rockefeller Tree and some of the windows. If I don’t make the plan, it just won’t happen.

Okay- this “bad blogger” is back on track! Happy Holiday Cheer! 

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Screen shot 2012-12-06 at · Dec 6 @ 6.28.22 AM

In my quest to enjoy the holiday season one day at a time from December 1 through December 25 (and who knows- maybe this will continue straight through New Years Day), day 5 and 6 were all about planning. Planning forward.

  • The holiday cards came out and now scream at me from across the room
  • The decorations were found (they were secretly tucked away in this one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and required a “if you were a Christmas decoration where would you be hiding?” moment)
  • Since I have not joined a church since moving to Washington Heights, I needed to scope out options for Christmas Eve
  • RSVPed to several holiday get-togethers
  • Changed my Facebook cover photo to include the Rockefeller Plaza Tree and the gorgeous angels (my favorite)

So while I would have liked it better if I was VISITING the Rockefeller tree as my holiday activity to blog about, I will say that there are some wonderful plans in motion for the remainder of the month thanks to my planning.

What have you got planned?

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New Apartment Building in a New Neighborhood.

Yesterday, I decided to decorate the door to be more welcoming at the holidays as the “new girl” in my building!

Hung this wreath in the morning and when I arrived home, it made me so happy to come up the stairs and see this greeting me!

(and it jingled every time I open my door or when a neighbor slams theirs – there is a silver lining in all the door slamming!)

my holiday door

But even better is the situation with my neighbor across the hall who has a daughter under two. Since Thanksgiving they have had this Santa on their door and each and every time someone knocks on the door to visit (or when her parents arrive home to greet her) they say “ho ho ho”. She squeals with delight so loudly, I can hear her in my apartment.

santa on the door

Simple pleasures. All it takes is a few decorations on the door to make me smile.

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This morning in my journal writing I got this clear “hit”. Time to celebrate the holidays in a new way. You see I love the holiday time- especially December and the lead into Christmas. So much sparkle and song! But during many holiday seasons past the days fly by and before I know it, it is New Years Day. Very disappointing. It is just not the same finally being in the mood to celebrate in January.

Therefore, I decided to do one “holiday activity” each day for the first 25 days of December and blog about it. Share about it. Celebrate it!

Today’s kick-off was the tree lighting in my neighborhood. Courtesy of the Washington Heights Business Development Council, Fort Washington Collegiate Church and many local businesses.

In August, I moved to Washington Heights and immediately fell in love with the diversity and energy of this magical part of NYC. My best friend calls it “secret NY”.  Today marks the beginning of the holiday season for me in this new neighborhood.  New traditions. New experiences.

The tree lighting ceremony was simple. Children running everywhere- meeting Santa, decorating cookies, singing songs- and then we all gathered around a crooked tree in the front of the churchyard and counted down to the lighting. I stood with some new friends and felt a part of everything. Cheers from the hundreds of neighbors as the tree glowed in colored lights and then we all sang carols.

My idea of a holiday kick-off.

2012-12-01 12.56.20Washington Heights tree lighting

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Coffee Location:  My sofa surrounded by three sleeping kitties

Today’s Beverage of Choice: Brewed coffee in a big red mug

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Bedazzling Makes Everything Better!

You heard me. Bedazzling makes everything better.

A little sparkle. A little glitter.

Shine a little brighter. Add a little pizzazz.

This is a lesson learned this week from two of the most important little people in my life~~

My almost 10-yr old niece Ashley-lyn and my 5-yr old Goddaughter Emily

 

In summary:

  • The only way her Mom (my life-long friend Ellen) could get Emily to wear her headdress to the school Thanksgiving celebration was to allow her bedazzle it! Look at the happiness on that face!
  • Ashley ran for student council to represent her 4th grade classroom. After losing the race last year, she was determined to make an impact in the voting this year. Not only were her leadership skills and positive attitude key to her WIN this week, but I am certain that those glitter letters and sparkle skirt played a huge role!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where could my life use a little burst of color?

What activities have been feeling lackluster and need to twinkle?

Where could I feel a little more confident if I just added some pizzazz?

Time to begin with a little creative time in my schedule. A few moments ago, I took out my calendar and put aside time to play a little each day. Some days I blocked 30 minutes and others an hour based on what the calendar looks like.

Thank goodness last year my friend, Debra sent me a mini-Bedazzler and my friend Jessica sent me Opi Muppets glitter nail polish. Plus there are all those boxes of pens, stickers, markers, post-its etc. that I packed and moved to my new apartment. Seriously, I have everything I need to get started!

How about you?

 

 

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I cry every time I vote.

Presidential election. Mayoral election. Local elections. It doesn’t matter.

I cry.

Proudly.

I don’t hide it.

Right there at the polls. Tears streaming down my face.

 

 

The sheer overwhelm of it all:

  • That there are women in the United States still old enough to remember when they could not vote. Before 1920. Before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Less than 100 years ago.
  • That there are women around the world who were granted that right in MY lifetime or still cannot cast a vote in an election specifically because they are women.
  • That men and women of the military are fighting this very moment to allow me to retain that right. The right to voice my opinion and vote without fear of retaliation for my family or myself.

And here is what I know about me. When I cry, it means that there is something there for me to learn. Something to look at.  An issue that is moving me to tears and demands my attention. Time to study something new.

Full disclosure: I have bookcases filled with books, arranged by category (my own little Dewey Decimal system) and just waiting to be read, studied and poured over. There is certainly a “women’s rights section” (do you have one also?) Certainly there are a few books in there on the women’s suffragist movement here in the United States and around the world.  Heck, I went to Wellesley College,  grew up in Rochester, NY- home of the National Susan B Anthony Museum and House and right down the road from Seneca Falls and the National Women’s Hall of Fame– so there ought to be more than a few books on the topic in my collection.

I have interest. I have motivation. I have desire. I have emotional connection. I have resources.

NOW… and you will have to hold me to this… I must make TIME. Don’t get me wrong- I have time. I must simply choose to use it in this way.

 

 

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