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Showing posts from December, 2013

On the Bookshelf Recently

I seriously can't say enough good things about being able to download e-books from the DC public library. I think I've read infinitely more books this year since I was in high school (when it was required).

I'm planning on doing a 2013 book round-up, but here are a few recent additions since I last updated:

Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan: I read Sullivan's first book, Commencement (about a group of friends from college), and really disliked it, but this one seemed different enough that I thought I might like it? It was better than Commencement, but I wasn't really wrapped up in the story.

Where'd You Go Bernadette: I was SO excited for this book. I spent five months on the wait list for it. Anndd I was underwhelmed (which often happens to me when I read a popular book. See: The Nanny Diaries, The DaVinci Code). It's gotten a lot of praise for being a creative way to tell stories (through emails, journal entries, etc.) but I finished it thinking "that…

Merry Christmas!

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Faith makes all things possible,
Hope makes all things work,
Love makes all things beautiful,
May you have all three this Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!


'Tis the Season to Spend Money

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Usually Christmas commercials annoy me (though I am one of those rare people who like the Lexus December-to-Remember commercials, sorry). But I do have a few that I "have" to see every Christmas:

M&M's "He Does Exist"


Corona: Feliz Navidad


(and now my favorite):

Hershey Kisses Bell Choir

phew

Do You Hear What I Hear?

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I have a strict rule to not listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. But I don't spend much time in the car anymore (hello, public transit!), so I've been lacking in the Christmas tunes department lately. BUT, if I was listening to music allthetime, this would be my playlist (links where I think you may not know the song):

1. Step Into Christmas\
2. Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime (haters gonna hate . . .)
3. We All Need a Little Christmas
4. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

5. All I Want for Christmas Is You (Love, Actually version)
6. Christmas is All Around Me
7. Christmas Canon (though if you see the movie Ordinary People, it's not as cheery a song . . .)
8. Christmas Day 

9. Do You Hear What I Hear
10. O Come All Ye Faithful
11. It Feels Like Christmas (see: Muppet Christmas Carol)
12. River
13. Last Christmas
14. Christmastime is Here (Peanuts Christmas)
15. Happy XMas (War is Over)
16. The Chipmunks Song
17. Good King Wenceslas
18. I Want a Hippopotamu…

Christmas Movies: Kiddie Fun (and my favorite Christmas movie EVER!)

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Alright--I think I saved the best for last with this bunch: my favorite kiddie Christmas movies (though some of the "classics" could also be considered kiddie movies too). These movies are ones that were specifically marketed to kiddos, and were a charming part of my childhood:

Home Alone (1&2--let's pretend the series stops there): I remember intense discussion happening with my parents over whether or not I was old enough to see the first Home Alone when it came out (I think I was five or six?). The whole scary-furnace-in-the-basement scene was one of the sticking points, as well as the whole concept of being forgotten by your family and having to fend off intruders. Luckily, my parents decided to be cool and take me to see it.

 The second one has long been my favorite of the two--my mom and I love NYC so seeing it at Christmastime is a ton o' fun, and I just like the overall premise better. But, in recent years the simplicity of the first one has grown on me. A…

Christmas Movies: The Classics

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Confession: I've never seen White Christmas or Holiday Inn. But my classics are still crowd-pleasers with a few wild cards thrown in to keep things interesting:

Miracle on 34th Street: I remember the first time I went to New York, I took a photo of the 34th street sign outside Macy's. I don't actually love the old version, but I do like the more recent (mid-90s maybe?) version with hottie Dylan McDermott. And Sir Richard Attenborough does play the sweetest Santa.

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol: If you ever want to be scared out of your mind as a child, check out the Ghost of Christmas Future in this movie. Terrifying! But, there are some good tunes in this one, including a whole song about razzleberry dressing, and a heartbreaking one about Scrooge not having a family. It includes the line "A hand for each hand was planned for the world, why don't my fingers reach?" Geez, on retrospect, Mr. Magoo, you're depressing.

A Christmas Story: This really needs no d…

Christmas Movies: Chick Flicks

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This year seems to have a bumper crop of terrrrriibble (yet awesome) Christmas movies. Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and a new channel called "ION" have an endless loop of movies with titles like "A Very Merry Mix-Up", "Fir Crazy", and "Hats Off to Christmas" (I would explain the plots, but honestly the titles are the best part). While I've been logging a lot of time watching these (they're great hangover cures), I recommend some of my favorites from below:

Love, Actually: I can count on one hand the number of people I've met who don't like this movie (I'm actually having a debate with a friend who just saw this movie for the first time and claims to not have liked it). My parents and I watch this every year (luckily, we're over the awkward-to-watch-with-family parts), and my wireless password is based on a line from the movie (which my dad set up, a sign he's given this movie a thumbs up). Even with the storylines I don…

Running Just as Fast as We Can

I consider myself a runner--I pay money to run a certain distance, own running shoes, and have a few favorite routes. I don't promote my running status with decals on my car, but I certainly don't hide it when I finish a big race or end up in conversation about it with someone.

So a recent Wall Street Journal article struck a chord with me. It was entitled "Ok, You're a Runner, Get Over It" Essentially, backlash against the decals with "13.1" and race t-shirts.

Here's the thing--running is an active, physical sport. If someone is participating in running events, whether it's a 5k walk or a full marathon, they're doing something beneficial for their body and their mind. Why hate on that? Why roll your eyes at someone's success? If someone wore a shirt that said they quit smoking, or participated in events that encouraged other people to quit, that person would be praised to the ends of the earth. The Facebook Likes would be plentiful.

I d…

But it's Tradition (Or, Why Its Not Christmas Until I've Sung with Kermit)

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In my family, we don't have a long list of tried and true Christmas traditions. We're pretty flexible with our plans, which can make traditions hard to keep. However, there are some things that are non-negotiable at Christmas:

I must watch Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. 
Coffee on Christmas morning usually has Baileys or spiked egg nog as creamer (this is a post-21 tradition)Presents and stockings are done Christmas morning. No presents are opened on Christmas Eve.While You Were Sleeping is watched between Christmas and New Year's.Love Actually is watched on Christmas Day more often than not.Extended family present-opening takes place a few days after Christmas. Even if we get together on Christmas or Christmas Eve, we don't open presents, we do that later.

#BusyTrap

I blame a lot of things on being "too busy". Not returning phone calls, delaying errands, letting weeks go by without seeing friends.

We're all guilty of it, especially at this time of year when holiday party invitations and present shopping pile up. I found this article from the Harvard Business Review to be a timely reminder of what is making us busy and what "being busy" has become.

What struck me the most was the statement that busyness has become a badge of honor for being. Almost brag-worthy, talking about double-digit hours spent at work, ticking off a to-do list a mile long. But it points out that by saying you're "too busy" to return a phone call or an email, you're saying that your time is more important than the person on the other end, that you're "winning" this ridiculous race we're all competing in, whether we want to or not.

Anyways, worth a read, especially when you're feeling overwhelmed by the holidays …

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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As evidenced by my lack of posting, I've been a little busy. Each time I thought of posting, I thought of something else I needed to do that would delay. So a mini-catch-up, and then we're off to the races of the 2013 holiday season:

Thankful for:
a full week at home with my family for Thanksgiving. Nothing like taking the family dog out for long walks, running to Target for random odds and ends (yes, suburban Target is a highlight of trips), catching up with a few friends, and even going to a few bootcamp sessions with my old trainers. While I love my DC life, I'm reminded of how happy and full my Dallas life was.A fun Thanksgiving dinner with the larger extended family. So glad we don't have family feuds or drama that keeps us from celebrating the season.Being able to work remotely--I didn't have to take vacation time to go home, my company lets us telecommute at times like this. So thought I was completely slammed at work, I at least got to work from the comfort …