I loved Valentine's Day in elementary school.
We would each decorate a box for our cards and treats from the class, with a prize going to the best-decorated one. We'd have contests like who could come up with the most words from the letters in "Valentine's Day" (my personal favorite). And we'd gorge ourselves on conversation hearts and chocolates.
But Valentine's Day also brought a lot of pressure with it. How do you choose who gets what valentine? How do you strike the balance between "Aw, that's sweet" and "Why are you stalking me?" Each and every word carries great weight with it. Do you put yourself out there and declare your undying love (absolutely not, under no circumstances, not happening) or do you play it safe and find the most generically written love notes on the market?
Take this collection from momitforward.com:
"You're sweet" would be an easy choice to give to the other girls in class. I mean, unless they weren't that sweet; if they were, in fact, anything but sweet than you couldn't very well give them a card declaring the opposite. But they don't make cards that say "Why do you keep talking about me behind my back?"
"You rock" seems generic at first, but how would a boy perceive it? Is it saying "you rock" more than any other guy in this class and why can't you pick up on the less-than-subtle hints I've been dropping the past month? Or "you rock" as in I feel obligated to give you this card because we're supposed to give everyone a card but please oh please don't read anything into it.
This message from zazzle.com appeals to my Dutch roots, but it's way, way too forward. You might as well write your digits on the back of it and give a big wink when you hand it over.
You might be thinking sports themes would be neutral. But you'd be wrong.This collection from NHACreatives Etsy shop features cute athletic themes, but "I get a kick out of you!"? Hello, brazen!
It's true. In grade school, my mentality was that any card with potential love-message landmines had to be avoided at all costs. And don't even get me started on what I read into the cards I received! Did anyone else get this neurotic about Valentine's Day, or was it just me?
Looking for a valentine for your favorite pop culture fan? Here's a little something for everyone, whether you're really into memes, TV, YouTube, or movies.
This fall the OKC Philharmonic had a Sci-Fi Spetacular theme night, featuring the music of John Williams and with George Takei as emcee. Basically, it was just a smorgasbord of goodness. After the concert, Overture, the Phil's young professionals group I'm a part of, put on a party with special guests of honor...
My favorite dance partner of the night...
Our next event is right around the corner. It's a Midtown Men concert on January 25 with the original cast of Broadway's Jersey Boys belting out songs from the 60s. I can't wait! The theme for this concert's after party is "upscale lounge," and it's going to be so much fun. OKC residents, you won't want to miss it!
In honor of tomorrow night's U.S. premiere of series 4 of Downton Abbey, here are some fun DIY projects that even the Dowager Countess couldn't object to:
You could also go all out with your own Downton Abbey Gingerbread House like Curtis Jensen did in the video below! How else are you going to while away the hours until the premiere?
Or, if you're not feeling very crafty, then hop over to one of these Etsy shops and purchase one of their fabulous Downton creations:
This year, for the first time, I spent Christmas apart from my family while they gathered together in California. A few weeks before the holiday, the disappointment of not being with them really hit me, and I was bracing myself for how I'd feel when the actual holidays arrived. However, my friends made it as joyful a holiday as any I've had.
Earlier this month, my editing buddies and I got together for an ornament exchange (photo above). Having them as coworkers and now outside-of-work friends has been one of the best things about moving back to Oklahoma. In spite of our widely varying views on politics, religion, etc., we share a love of the written word and all the nerdy things that go along with that. And we just genuinely enjoy one another's company. Two girls even drove from as far away as Tulsa (1.5 hours) and Dallas (2.5 hours?) to be with us. Worth it!
Three of us hit the pop-up shops (those adorable igloo-looking things you see below) for some Christmas shopping and catching up. I was prety excited about my finds: green ornament-y earrings and, at the Myriad Gardens pop-ups, a beautifully illustrated copy of The Gift of the Magi, a story my siblings and I loved as kids. (It's the one where the wife cuts off all her hair and sells it to buy her husband a chain for his watch, and the husband has already sold his watch to buy her gorgeous turtoise-shell hair combs. So sweet!)
On Christmas Eve some dear family friends invited me to go to the service at a local church and then to dinner with other "Christmas strays," as they jokingly referred to all of us. We were given snazzy Christmas hats to wear (a great ice-breaker), and we feasted on chili, salad (with picked-that-day lettuce fresh from the garden), egg nog, and some mouth-wateringly good desserts. I had never heard of putting pecans into dates and then all of that being baked into a cookie, but dang those were good!
On Christmas Day my friends Dani and Mike and I met up for a wonderful lunch and an attempt to see Saving Mr. Banks, which was sadly sold out, but the new Hobbit movie was not, so off we went!
Dani outdid herself with a whole chicken, green beans, bread, corn, cookies, pie, etc. In addition to salad and Hawaiian ham buns, I tried to make Texas Roadhouse's Love at First Loaded Sweet Potatoes:
Nailed it! (Note to self: try out new recipe at home before attempting to make them for others.)
Thanks to everyone who made this holiday such a memorable one!
I thought I was being so clever with the title of this post, and then I realized I had used the same title and idea a few years ago. Oh well!
Here are some of my posts from Christmases of yesteryear. :)
Surviving Finals, 2006: my first year of grad school
Preparing for a Family Visit 2008: a song parody about frantic cleaning
2008 in Pictures: From studying in Italy to teaching at a dance camp in Poland to getting my Master's degree, that is a year I'll never forget!
Snowed in on Christmas Eve 2009: aka the time my sister accidentally nailed me with a chunk of ice.
"I Will Not Be a Grinch", 2009: trying not to get sucked into the busyness of the holiday and the grumpiness that sometimes comes with it
Fun Family Christmas Traditions, 2010: We entertain each other when we're all together at the holidays with a family variety show.
Keeping up with trends doesn't have to cost big bucks. Here are few ideas for the style watcher on your Christmas list!
I'm obsessed with scarves, especially since Oklahoma was recently hit by its first major winter storm of the season. This beautiful All Eyes on Me scarf is the perfect way to class up a casual outfit or put the polishing touch on a dressier look.
This lace and sequin tank top is perfect for glamming out on New Year's Eve. Layer up with a fun sweater and skinny jeans for a look that's comfortable able to dance in or break out an elegant skirt and tights for a fancier night.
I'm loving the idea of this two-pouch set for glitz on the go!
This super cute headband works for a New Year's Eve night out on the town or for snuggling up on the couch to watch "New Year's Rockin' Eve."
If you're hitting the dance floor, the last you want to do is lug around a big purse. This stylish textured clutch holds all the essentials without weighing you down while you're out and about.
These days my phone is the only thing I use to check the time, but for a little arm candy, I'm a big fan of this Porter cuff watch.
The Walk By Scrabble Board is perfect for the word aficiando on the go! I think the only time I get to sit down for a full game of Scrabble is when I'm playing with my grandma, aunts and cousins over the holidays.
For a new word game to spice things up a bit, try Wordie Wars and test your spelling, proofing, and more!
Or go the DIY route and make this adorable Christmas tree out of book pages:
Find instructions on loveoffamilyandhome.net.
Some fly faster than the speed of light and others wield the power of words!
Who doesn't love getting a handwritten card, and one with books on it no less!
This Pride and Prejudice iPhone dock is the perfect blend of old and new.
A hollowed-out pumpkin becomes a beautiful vase for a fall floral display.
Leaves make a vibrant showpiece for your living space.
Write what you're thankful for on leaves and string them together on a garland.
Adorable wreath with floral embellishments and Scrabble tiles...my inner word nerd is thrilled.
Thanksgiving table place cards out of pine cones!