Self Care Challenge

Today is Day 4 of a gratitude and self care challenge I am participating in.  I wanted to open it up and reach out to others in hopes of promoting some self love.

Today’s self care challenge was to buy a new candle or light an already owned one.

I am totally wanting to splurge on this one, I have been eyeing it for years. It is about time I DESERVE IT!

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It is SO easy to fall into the same routines, mindset and mood.  Every day we have a choice how we want to spend it. We can let one little thing set us off and make our entire day miserable OR we can choose to accept things, let them go, and move on.

The idea sounds wonderful. I realize it is difficult to actually do.  However, being grateful and showing appreciation for the many wonderful things (And people) we have in our lives, REALLY does help!

My friend, R, inspired me to create a “Gratitude Memory Jar” (She has actually inspired me to do MANY things). My family and I are writing little (or big) things we are grateful for. I am excited to look through the jar next year and see all the wonderful memories.

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Which brings me to today’s topic and question.

WHO is someone that I really admire, and why?

Some of the heartfelt responses……….

“God, because of his strength, love and power” – anonymous

“I really admire my mentor…….she taught me so many things about how to conduct business…I’ll light a candle :)”  – anonymous

“I admire people who can foster animals and foster children to give them a better life. I don’t know if I could handle handing them over”  – – anonymous

” Chris for all she has gone through with Matthew and Matthew leaving. Not sure how she gets through each day without Matthew but I have suspicion its due to her love for her daughter”  – anonymous

” My sister. I admire her strength and the ability to hold everything together.”- anonymous

“E, her attitude and her handling of her illness and how much she learned about herself and others. She is one hell of a person” – anonymous

“Parents, for unconditionally loving their children and putting up with snot, tantrums and giving up their own free time” – anonymous

“Irene, for always being a warm, caring, loving person.  She has the ability to make me instantly feel good whenever she is present. Her attitude towards life and trying to find happiness. She makes me KNOW and FEEL  I am loved ”  – anonymous

“Matt,  for always offering to help someone no matter what” – anonymous

“Tina, her desire to want the best for EVERYONE, her unconditional love for her children, and the fact that she does not realize (And really should!) how smart, amazing and beautiful she really is”  – anonymous

“Cliche answer lol but my mom. She  always encouraged and believed in us and wasn’t afraid to be brutally honest (which at the time i hated, but i look back and appreciate she didn’t hide the world from us). The older i get the more i realize how strong she is and how much she’s overcome. – anonymous
 
“Babcia. When i think about her,the first thing that comes to mind is strength. She left her home with 3 young kids and started over in a foreign country to give her family more opportunities. That’s pretty amazing.” – anonymous
“My mom for never giving up on me, loving me during good times and bad, and being the strongest person I know………” – anonymous
“Mike, for always giving 110% to everything and anything he does”  – anonymous
“Jim, for his constant desire to do better and learn more. He is always looking for a way to challenge himself, pure example of MOTIVATION”  – anonymous
 “Denise for ALWAYS being there when she says she will be, her dedication and love for animals. Her warm beauty shines inside and out”  – anonymous
“An old boss, I still haven’t found a role model I admire since. He was encouraging and just knew how to make me feel good about myself.  He encouraged me to be more of ME”
– anonymous 
“Robin, for always fighting for what she feels is right, her amazing details, awesome ideas for adventures and inspiration to SO MANY students, children and people…….she has taught me so much, most of all that I am just perfect being ME!”  – anonymous
 “My dad, because I know he would do ANYTHING for me, even though he likes to irritate me at times (a lot) he would do (and does) everything and anything for me, even though he has a difficult time admitting it”  – anonymous
“Ben, for being there for me when I desperately needed a friend. He listened to me and helped me make my own decisions, also his determination for not giving up and going after what he wants”  – anonymous
“Denise, for caring about me (and others) when I least expected someone to notice or care”  – anonymous
 
 “Desire, for ALWAYS being positive, encouraging and up for anything. One of the most humblest people I know”  – anonymous

 

You may never know the people’s lives you touch or change, BUT just know that you do, no matter who you are. Someone out there needs you, your smile, your kind words… Lets be kind to one another. Let’s be kind to OURSELVES

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Monday Blues

 

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It is SAFE to say I am feeling the Monday”Blues” today. It carried over from “Sunday Blues”.  Between the weather and another full week ahead, I am feeling down in the dumps.  I am trying to improve my mood, but nothing is really working (the fact that I am feeling a bit under the weather is not helping either)

It is one of those days where I am tired, yet I am not

I am bored, yet don’t really want to do much

I am here but not present

SO, I am just going to accept this is how I feel at the moment, BUT that is just it. It is only the moment. Tomorrow will be different, a new day.

Some things that are SAFE to say will improve your mood 🙂

  • I Don’t Know What is Best For You – I loved this so much!  I know I am at the age where I am finally realizing that I truly do know what is best for me. For years, I doubted myself and relied on OTHERS to tell me what to do and how to do it. I am sure MANY of you can agree on similar experiences……I think its finally time we start trusting ourselves! We don’t need approval or assurance from anyone else!

The thing that is best for me??  Making my own mistakes. That is how I learn best!!

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  • Go ahead, TOSS IT!! That’s my motto 🙂 Anyone that knows me, knows I love to throw things away! Love this simple yet incredible list of 60 things to toss out in 60 days!  When you de-clutter your stuff, you de-clutter your life!

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  • Struggle. Some days I feel like my life is a circle.  I very easily form habits and routines. Some are great and productive, others, NOT SO MUCH.

I have struggled with disordered eating since I was a teen.  I finally feel like I have a grasp on my ED and part of that is because I am NOT caring what others think. I do , eat, say what I want.  I still get comments like “Wow, you eat that?!” or “Oh, salad, that is why you are so thin”

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NO!   I eat what I eat when I want. Please stop judging others choices. Think twice before commenting. Food is food. People have their likes and dislikes!  Judge free zone! Worry about you and your belly!

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My latest (unhealthy) obsession is ……….exercise. Yes I think about it way too much. I can listen to my body (and do) and move when I want when I feel like it, BUT it is those other times where I beat myself up for not feeling like moving…….and I do not mean an hour or so, ALL DAY LONG. I am miserable, depressed, sad, guilty, upset, anxious. All those feelings because I feel like I did something wrong…..I am tired of putting that pressure on myself. I want to free up my head from the anxiety and just LIVE my life. If I could let go of all the unrealistic expectations and demands on myself, I may just be able to enjoy life a bit more. So that is my goal.  I am tired of trading one habit/obsession for another.

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It is not an argument of whether exercise and movement are good or bad, necessary, unnecessary. Its the guilt that eats away at me. The terrible things I tell myself for not doing something I really do not want to do.

I definitely have an Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder, not OCD, very different (check out the differences here).

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If you want to know more about OCD, read “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop”.

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Many people say or think they have OCD, but until you read this , don’t be so quick to confuse it with OCPD.

  • So , time to get out of this RUT I am in.   I want to be happy and make others happy. I have a lot to offer, but until I can take care of myself and be kind and gentle to ME, it will not happen.  Come join me in this Self Care challenge (Free 21 days of journaling prompts and messages)  I think we could all use a little sunshine and happiness these dark, cold , dreary days of winter

Your Turn

  1.  What does your ideal Friday night look like?
  2. What are you watching on Netflix?
  3. Are you participating in a reading challenge this year?

Sundays are for “dreaming….”

Happy Sunday!

It feels wonderful to have an extra day off tomorrow!!  I am so grateful for all the amazing things Martin Luther King stood up for and fought so hard for.  He fought for equality in such a beautiful, peaceful way.  We need to continue to hear and SHARE  his message. We need that reminder for ourselves and those around us that we really all ARE the same.

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Speaking of differences…..before my love of books, I relied mostly on the news, media, teachers, friends , etc for my information. There is nothing wrong with that, but since opening my world to books (I would like to thank my amazing mother for this)

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I feel like I have so much more awareness, compassion and understanding about myself and the world.  I have learned so much about different cultures.  I have put to rest my misconceptions about various topics I really had not much knowledge of. I am proud to be able to spread the so many messages I am gaining from various books! I am learning something new with every book and page that I read. (corny I know, but so true!)

So, books…..Today I went to a book club in Philly that was organized by Book Riot.  I am going to try the 2017 Read Harder Challenge (Interested?  check it out here)  This was such a great group because we did not discuss one specific book (no monthly reading “assignments”) But instead talked about some of our favorite (Or despised) reads of the month. I got so many great ideas for new books!

If you are interested in the challenge OR finding a Riot Books club in your area, check it out.

Interested in what I added to my list?

Nevertherless:  a Memoir by Alec Baldwin

Beauty Queens

Fear of the Dark

Homegoing

The Color Purple

I also voiced my “dislike” of fantasy books but am challenging myself to read something from the genre, so It was great to get feedback of what I should like with mini synopsis…..I am going to TRY Harry Potter…….surprisingly I was not the ONLY one in the group that has not read it 🙂

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I shared my love for Lilac Girls (debut novel), The Absolutely True Diary Of a Part Time Indian, and my current read , The Mothers.  All are tops on my list!  Plus they meet so many genre challenges

So from the 2017 Reading Challenge list, these will be MY challenges:

Read a graphic novel

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read a book you’ve read before (Ugh, nooooooooo I hate doing this ! )

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Ok, maybe 

all ages comic

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Read a book about sports

**IF you have any recommendations for me from the above genres, please let me know!

Enough about books (for now). Let me get back to differences. What makes you different?

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I used to feel so ashamed for being different. Today I am working towards not caring what others may think about me.  I have so many (false) beliefs that who I am  IS WRONG.  It is taking me some time to get comfortable with the fact that I am different and that is OK!

I have learned a lot about myself such as, I enjoy doing things by myself

I am OK with sitting in a large group and just observing and listening and not feeling like I need to speak all the time…..

I enjoy being single and do not want to be in a relationship at the momentIMG_5538

I prefer quiet Friday nights at home

I love getting up super early

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I like eating the same thing over and over and over…..

Oh there are SO many things, but what I am realizing is that all these things I “thought” were weird and different, really aren’t……..and if someone thinks they are, then OH WELL!

Your Turn

What genres do you enjoy reading? What feels like torture for you?

Its 2017….

Image result for culture and societyI am so sad and upset with our culture and society. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder it is so clear and apparent why we, women, never feel good enough. 

The expectation from society and from ourselves……..

From skin color to  weight. 

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Being a perfect momImage result for perfect mom

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…..and of course documenting all of this EXCELLENCE on social media so that we can prove that we are good enough to ourselves and everyone else.

Image result for facebook and instagram! YET we don’t believe this about ourselves. 

Beautiful picture perfect from the outside. The inside is a whole different story 

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Fighting for equality when our skin color , hair color or sexuality are not “ideal”. It is all so upsetting and disappointing. It is 2017 and we are living In a bubble.

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Placing unrealistic expectations on others and ourselves.

We are the first ones to point out everyone else’s flaws yet fail to see what is right there in front of us

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So what do we do?

Stuff it away.

 Stage those perfect pictures. 

Deprive ourselves of delicious foods.

Tell ourselves we are not thin. Enough   Fit enough.  Beautiful enough.

We try to change everything on the outside. Keep focusing and fixing the “outside” of ourselves…… Those perfect family photos.

The organic paleo foods we eat and spend hours perfectign

The hours we fool ourselves that we really enjoy and love the gym, yet end up dreading it because it feels more of a punishment than a reward

  It’s all an act and cover up; to do in place of dealing what is really there inside is.  Not feeling good enough

How can we? We have these expectations from society and ourselves that is impossible to live up to. Yet we keep pretending that we are happy ! 

So what can we do???

Please stop reading into society’s mixed messages. Ignore the ridiculousness of it all. Find out what really matters to you.

Would you rather be 10 pounds lighter but BE miserable and a slave to restricting, dieting. Exercising. Obsessing?

OR

Instead try to work on being happy. Doing things that give you pleasure. Doing things for others. Spending your time and energy on people and experiences that matter.  We are the only ones that can change the future for ourselves and our children. The main word here is YOU.  You need to take care of yourself, do what you want and feels good and is right for YOU, not what everyone else says is right. You know yourself better than anyone. Start TRUSTING yourself!

Be open and willing to learn new things about others and ourselves. Don’t shun someone immediately for making a mistake.  Instead take he time to inform and teach.  

Enjoy life and seek pleasure instead of inflicting pain and shame.

I spent the past 36 years living and striving for perfection.   What I did not know is that I already am perfect just as I am. So are you. 

Life’s too short  Make the best of each day. And eat the chocolates cake (if you want it!)

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Saturday Safes

Image result for cozy snowy weekendWhat a perfect (snowy) weekend to snuggle up and catch up on some reading!  I want to share some of my “safe bets” from around the web, personal touches/experiences and some things of interest 🙂

If you are snowed in, or just looking for a comfy, cozy way to spend your night. Check out some of my favorite finds!

SAFE!

At school my 8th students are working on a “Letter to my Future Self”. They are writing it NOW to their future self in 4 years, when they will be seniors! Shortly into their senior year they will get a fun “blast from the past”.  This inspired me to want to do the same for me!  I love snail mail.

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There is no better treat that getting something fun and fabulous in the mail, that is personalized!

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However, knowing myself, I will FORGET to send this letter, or read it prior, or just ruin things somehow. So I found this awesome site called FutureMe.org which is based off the same idea. However you can email your FUTURE self (much more practical).  I currently am using it as a little journal and emailing myself gentle reminders to help me stay focused and on track.

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The cool part is you can customize WHEN to email!  one month, 3 months, 2 years, you choose! 🙂

Hope you can put it to use as well!

SAVE?

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I have not tried this yet, BUT have uploaded the app to my iPhone.  It is a new year. I love being organized and productive and ……….making checklists (this is a whole other issue!) Trello is great because you can use it solo, or adapt it and get coworkers on board to share and customize with you.  There are checklists, to-dos, tasks (you can assign tasks to yourself and/or coworkers), upload photos, videos, comment on others task. The possibilities are endless!  Best of all, it is FREE!   I will be checking this out and reporting back!

Safe!

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Still not feeling the “dating” bug. I am pretty content and happy with my life as it is 🙂 However, I love reading things like this to keep me focused in the event I do get that dating bug again  Great read about healthy relationships.  

Safe!

First Comes Love:  If you have been reading some heavy, emotional or intense books, I have a great easy, breezy, fluffy read for you 🙂

Two sisters with two very different lives, the one thing that they share is grief over their brother who died in a tragic car accident 15 years ago.   Meredith is a bit up tight, married with a bubbly, “Rabby” loving 4 year old.   She is a lawyer, has always tried to please everyone, has the perfect family, house, husband……..except she is miserable. Josie, who I felt like I could really relate with, is a late 30s, first grade teacher that is the complete opposite of traditional.  She lives with her male best friend Gabe, eats what she wants, drinks too much, puts herself first and …..has a terrible relationship with her sister (that she wishes she could improve) Its a fun read with a great message……you NEED to put yourself first. It is NOT selfish and don’t let anyone tell you other wise!

Now, if you are looking for a book with depth , I highly recommend Lilac Girls. I loved this book and breezed through it. My mom is currently reading it and I just overheard her say “I love this book so much, I can NOT put it down”……….so there ya go!  You can read about the book AND my review here 

SAFE!

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Goodreads.  I love tracking what I read, writing reviews and going back to see what I read and what I wrote!  Seriously, if you are not on goodreads. GO NOW , sign up, log your books, do the challenge ! (reading challenge here)

Let’s be friends and swap books!

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Safe!

Yes, Yes, and YESSSSSSSSSSSS!

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Please forget all those unrealistic goals you have carefully selected (with society’s help!!!) and read this instead!!! The One Thing We Should All Aim to Do More in 2017

Your Turn

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Do you set any challenges for yourself for the New Year?
  3. What would you love to tell your future self?

 

Goodbye 2016

Image result for new years resolutionsThis is the time of year we all make those dreaded RESOLUTIONS.  Personally I am trying to stay away from rigid, set routines; SO my resolutions will be a bit different this year. Ma  I love this idea from amazing blogger, Fairyburger (read her list here). Instead of giving yourself one year to make (unrealistic) changes, you get 1001 days, which equals about 2 and ¾ years.  This is much more realistic as many things can not possibly happen in a year.  Changes only work if you ………….change.  Huh. That simple 🙂

For me, it is a lot less stressful knowing  I do not have to accomplish all my goals in one year, it is more of a “work in progress” which is so much healthier for me and my ritualistic ways. So here is my list for things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. 

Start: December 29, 2016

Finish: September 26, 2019

Personal

1)  Be open and willing to change (including this list!)

2)  read 100 books (log and create your own reading challenge)

3)  Journal 5x per week (currently love my bullet journal AND Stigma app)

4)  move back home

5)  create a cozy reading nook

Cozy reading spot: So gemütlich kann man sich den Winter machen                                                                                                                                                                                 Mehr:

6)  Continue to voice my opinion and thoughts even if others do not agree

7)  practice gratitude

8)  purchase random stranger a coffee at Wawa (1x per month)

9)  Say No when I really mean it (without feeling wrong or guilty)

10) More flexible, less rigid

11) make and create new recipes (for myself and others)

Health + Fitness

1) Give up chewing gum .(Yes, chewing gum addiction is a REAL thing 😦   )

2) walk and talk with others

3) Refer to “exercise” as movement, instead.

You go girl!:

4) Move when I feel like it, rest when I feel like it

5) Allow myself MORE rest.

6) encourage others to move instead of exercise, DO WHAT FEELS good.

7) Drink more water per day.

8) try to avoid getting stuck into patterns/routines by trying and doing new things.

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does this picture bother you??? LOL

Giving

1) Volunteer after school to teach Yoga to teacher 1x per month

2) Find a volunteer organization to work with

3) give my full attention to my students while I am teaching.

4) give my parents the patience they deserve

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Academic/Career

1) become highly qualified in language arts and math.

2) collaborate with other teachers

3) observe in other classrooms

4) develop a homework system

5) simplify a google document for progress monitoring (some google docs in the classroom ideas)

6)  Plan novel units for all grade levels and students

 

7)  tutor

8)

9)

10)

Budget/Finances

1) Set up a budget and stick to it when I move home.

2) Keep better track of what I spend (yes this means I have to look at my statements more and admit I am spending TOO much on coffee)

3) Help my parents Donate/sell the things they don’t need.

4) Make monthly payments on student loans.

5) Apply for loan forgiveness (special education teachers)

 

Learning/Hobbies

1) Sew something

2) Improve Polish (use duo lingo app to practice).

3) learn painting techniques

4) learn how I can paint at home to relax.

5) Take yoga classes at various studios to compare

6) accomplish head/hand stand

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7) have mom teach me various polish recipes

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8) make a cheesecake

9) start my own book club

10)  try and take as many free library classes as I can

Travel

1) Visit California (and Des) again

2) Road trip with family

3) Go somewhere with my godson and nephews

4) Swim in tropical blue water

5) Plan weekend mini trips away

6) plan a night or two of relaxing (reading, eating, hot tub, candles etc)

7) explore Europe

8) Continue to try to practice yoga in every state

9)  Plan a girls getaway with my mom, aunt and cousin ❤

10)

Family & Friends

1) Send Birthday cards to friends and family

2) Leave “just because” messages/gifts for friends and family (every other month)

3) Attend more meetup groups that interest me (hiking, biking) Find one that is a great fit

4) Visit my cousins in Poland

5) Try various breakfast places

6)  Have separate “dates” with my mom AND dad

Purchases

  1. A new television for my home.
  2. A hybrid bike

 

Food/Blog-Related

1) Publish at least 2 blog posts per month

2) Try (and) publish at least 12 new recipes

3) Get more followers

4) get more comments

5) meet up with fellow bloggers

6) Make my blog more functionable, easier to search, etc (clean it up)

7)  Publish my top ten books 4x per year (books with reviews)

 

Miscellaneous/Fun

1) participate in themed school days (make costumes)

Final Three!

1) Do things out of my comfort zone.

2) continue with therapy

3) update my 101 in 1001 list!

Unstarted: 

Ongoing/Continuous:

Completed:

 

Sunday Safes

Tis’ the season…………to stay home where it is safe!

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Sheesh! It is C-R-A-Z-Y out there!  The crowds, the anger, the rush. I am trying to make the best of this “Most Wonderful time of the year” but it is sad that the whole purpose of the holiday’s is getting lost.

Another big thanks to our society.  Be thin. Exercise more.

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Do more. Be more

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Shop more. Buy more. Give more……So before I share some of my favorite material things, lets take a look at some things that are REALLY important.

 

Family and Friends.

I had the BEST weekend with friends and family.  Work get together’s, cookie exchanges, baking with friends and a family cookie swap. This weekend was full of love and laughs. Here are a few snapshots of our first family cookie swap (I think this will become a yearly thing!)

I am sharing a few of our favorite recipes:

Orange Spritz Cookies

Orange Chocolate Spritz Cookies

Iced Oatmeal cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies

And of course these amazing Red Velvet cupcakes with Buttercream frosting (Robin’s recipe from Magnolia Bakery in NYC)

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Great time, great people, great cookies. Life is good 🙂  I am truly blessed!

Now for some FUN stuff !

I love McDonald’s new holiday coffee cups  LOL They sure are SPREADING the cheer 🙂

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$20 Loft Cardigan (Thanks Tina!)

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Love this unicorn sweater, after all aren’t we all unicorns?? 🙂

Off the shoulder dress , perfect for NYE

Really loving these candy cane leggings

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Snowtubing at Blue Mountain (Groupon Deal!) What an EXCELLENT way to spend a day during winter break!

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Really loving these classic pearl earrings (So simple yet gorgeous)

I don’t know about you, but I am all cookied out and ready for a nice burger and fries!

The Pop Shop - Golden Triangle: American Comfort Food at The Pop Shop (Up to 40% Off). Two Options Available.

Your Turn

  1.  What is your favorite cookie recipe?
  2. Any New Years Eve plans?
  3. How are you keeping yourself calm and cared for during all this madness?