Think Positive Mondays: Celebrate the Small Things

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love having an excuse to celebrate. A reason to break open a bottle of champagne, dig into some cake, gather around with friends, or take a night off from the regular routine. 

In our home, we make it a priority to celebrate the small moments and wins. Those small milestones need their own time to shine just as much as the big life accomplishments. When you think about it, those big accomplishments most likely wouldn’t have happened without the smaller ones. 

Finish a project at work? Receive an A+ from your dentist? Manage to de clutter your home office? Follow your workout regimen to a T? Pass a hard text at school? Go on an awesome date with a potential new partner? Make it to a Friday on a particularly bad week? Let’s celebrate!

By celebrating the small milestones in life we are acknowledging the journey, not just the destination. We all can benefit from celebrating the unique path that our lives are taking us and not just focusing on the end game. 

Also, when we acknowledge these small moments it allows us to recognize the gifts the journey is presenting us. We are forced to pay attention to the little positive aspects of our life, making us aware that good things DO happen to us. In turn, those positive memories stay with us for a lifetime. Reinforcing the idea when we truly need it, when the road gets tough. 

So take a moment. Celebrate the small moments, the small changes, and the small accomplishments before they slip away. Savor the champagne and enjoy every bite of that cake. Cheers to you! 

 

Celebrating in NYC

Sometimes life has a way of throwing you subtle reminders of what is important in our little lives. This weekend that reminder was given to me by a screaming mentally ill street person in the East Village. But let me regress…

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I spent the weekend in NYC celebrating the 30th birthday of one of my best friends, Jeanette. Being in NYC at Christmastime, you find yourself surrounded by all the glamorized Christmas cheer – the tree, the ice skating, the window displays, the pop up Christmas tree vendors, the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The thousands upon thousands of people. I was so excited to get off the train, find my friend a few blocks away and start celebrating. And then I stepped foot into Penn Station and wanted to escape the swarms of stressed out and angry people.

Walking the three blocks to the subway station to meet Jeanette took longer than my commute to work. People were just standing in the streets looking around and NOT moving. The idea of staying in this midtown crowd and attempting to walk to Rockefeller Plaza was dismissed as easily as the idea of eating sauerkraut for the rest of my life. Once we finally made it onto the Subway, we felt like smushed cattle and were sweating like pigs. Not exaggerating. I was literally counting the seconds in my head until we reached our stop. I don’t know how anyone could live in Midtown NY and brave doing any errands during the month of December. All the things that could be enjoyable were not.

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No, This picture does not document the crowds that were around Macy’s and Penn Station.

We literally jumped out of the subway and ran up the stairs and were greeted with the much more friendly and livable NY that I love, the East Village. Although I couldn’t live here now, the village always fills me with romantic thoughts of what life could have been like had I chosen to go to school in the city and lived the bohemian life as a poet. (everyone had a crazy dream like that, right?!). I love the vast array of cafes, bars, boutiques, and pop up street shops, and the fact that there are zero crowds anywhere. Jeanette also asked for perfect weather, and mother nature did not disappoint. We were greeted with beautiful 70 degree weather on the weekend before Christmas.

We and two other girl friends rented out an apartment from AirBnB. With a refrigerator, bathroom, and two beds it suited our needs. We were ready for a night of roaming the streets and bar hopping. Girls’ weekends are like a little retreat. A time to recharge your girly batteries and laugh about silly things. I got a serious workout this weekend by laughing alone. I hardly took any photos – the night flew by.

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After we shared two bottles of the finest champagne (ie J Rogets at $7.99 a bottle – still on a tight budget at 30!) we hit up a Cuban place for dinner. Other highlights included a few champagne cocktails at the French inspired Bougioues Pig, bourban drinks at the highly pretentious speak easy themed Death and Co. and finishing the night as the oldest people in the bar at The Library (but thank god for cheap drinks!).

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As I end my 30th year, I am definitly starting to feel older. My hangovers are more intense, I get tired very easily, food sticks to my hips like superglue, I choose staying home over going out and yoga pants over tight dresses and I managed to go out in NY without going broke or feeling like death the next morning. It was pretty fantastic! I’m all about being a thirty-something. Aging is something to be proud about. Twenties were a confusing and fun mess, thirties feels like a new life is starting.

No, I didn’t forget about that subtle reminder life threw my way this weekend:

As we were walking out to get provisionals for the evening (cheese and Champagne), life handed me my subtle reminder. While crossing Houston St we crossed paths with a man who could barely stand up straight and looked like he just drank his weight in grain alcohol screaming “I’M AWAKE! I’M WALKING!”

How true dear man. How true.

Yes, this is the gift we should be most happy for. To have the ability to wake up every day, to go out into this world and make the most of it. We are given the gift of living – the rest is up to us. We are blessed with the power of freedom and choice. As long as you are awake and walking you have the power to choose how you want to live your life. Go out and be and that person. Don’t waste another minute.

I’m going to embrace my life.

xoxo katie

 

5 Reasons I Celebrate Christmas “Early”

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This year there seems to be more ho0-ha about people celebrating Christmas too early. The internet is saying that some people think this is a big no-no and that they are forgetting all about Thanksgiving.  I don’t know why this year seems worse than overs – every year stores start putting out Christmas items and decor at the end of September. Have no fret, worry worts, we will all still take the time to be grateful for all our blessings, stuff our faces, and enjoy down time with our family’s over turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving isn’t going to disappear.

(Although I  STRONGLY disagree with Black Friday now starting on Thursday, tearing retail workers away from their families and the right to take a long cozy nap after that carb overload and encouraging individuals to shop in a crowded mall instead of sitting around catching up with their families and leftovers.)

Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. I love that it gives an excuse to make every one be kind to each other and to celebrate. I feel all warm and fuzzy all season long.

As of today, I am all done shopping (minus some stocking stuffers), have the house nearly decorated, our Christmas cards are ready to go, and have planned out our holiday festivities – Christmas movie watching, Baileys hot chocolate sipping, tree cutting down and decorating, festive holiday party throwing and attending, cookie baking and decorating and so on.

So, to clear up some questions for you Scrooges out there that think Christmas celebrations should be strictly held off until midnight on December 1 (at the earliest) here are my 5 favorite reasons to celebrate Christmas “early”.

1. I’d rather spend the month of December reveling in all the Holiday Cheer

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I like to get all the Christmas errands, shopping for gifts, shopping for wrapping paper and tape (why am I always running out of tape?), shopping for all your cooking and baking ingredients, cleaning up your guest bedrooms, etc so that I can actually relax and enjoy all the fun activities and events in December.

I’d rather spend my time cuddling with Ryan watching Christmas movies with some spiked hot chocolate than rushing around last-minute trying to find the perfect gift for the in-laws. I’d rather spend my time listening to our favorite Christmas music and decorating sand tarts with my mom rather than bailing because I haven’t had time to dig out my Christmas ornaments yet. I’d rather put the finishing touches on my holiday outfit and relax with a glass of champagne before my guests arrive  than cursing myself because I have to run out to the store AGAIN to pick up napkins 30 minutes before the holiday party starts.

There is simply too much to do (and eat) to squeeze it all in a few short weeks.

Thanksgiving is very late this year which only allows a short 3.5 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are too many parties, too many events, too many movies to watch and tunes to listen to, and old and new recipes to make. I never can seem to squeeze all that I want to do during the holidays in. Add the fact that Christmas is on a Wednesday this year, which means only one day of work off that week. Boo! So really only 3 weekends to do all the things you need and want to do.  So, why not start earlier? Why limit yourself on Christmas cheer?

2. Less last-minute stress

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I love Christmas, but there is no doubt that the holidays are stressful. You are often pulled in five billion directions between family and friends and you also want to fit in some reflective down time for yourself. More money is being spent, you’re under pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and there is the daunting pressure of New Years Eve looming in the future. There is a sense of urgency around it all.

By starting early, I give myself some breathing space the week before Christmas. This allows me time to reflect on the past year and for the blessings I’ve received. I can take time to spend time with friends and family and do the things that make me happiest. You’ll never find me running out to the stores the week before Christmas. A crowded mall is the last place I’d ever want to be.

3.  Spread out the budget

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You’ll never find me rushing around on Christmas Eve sweating over what to get my great Aunt and finding myself spending $40.00 on a ridiculous bird tray because I couldn’t decide between another scented candle or necklace she’d probably never wear?  I like to spread out my shopping throughout the six months prior to Christmas. Not only does this put less pressure on finding the perfect gift in a short time frame it’s also easier on my budget.

From August to December, I allow a certain amount of money each month to go towards Christmas gifts. I often discover unique gifts for people while travelling or while I’m not under pressure. There are deals all the time – so don’t you worry about all those “Holiday Saving Events”. At least this way I’m not pinching for pennies to pay for all the additional things you find yourself buying or paying for during the holiday season.

4. You get to enjoy the decorations longer

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I love to decorate – it take a full weekend to get everything lugged up from the basement and to decide that year’s decoration scheme. Fact: Ryan and I spent a full 1.5 hours on Wednesday night hanging the garland on our banister. We just couldnt’ seem to get it “just so”. Since it takes so much effort and work to decorate – why not enjoy it for as long as you can?

I dread the day I have to take everything down and hide it away in the basement for another 10 months. The house always looks so depressed, so empty, so cold after all the festive decor goes away.

5. It makes me happy and relaxed

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There is no simpler way to say this. The holidays make me feel wonderful inside. Love is all around. I love the comfort of knowing all the words to my beloved Christmas tunes. I love knowing that I can throw on a feel good holiday movie at any time. I love the lights, the trees, the decor, the cookies, it’s all so beautiful and magical. I love the memories of innocence and childhood it brings up. I love that my family all comes together and celebrates the same exact way we have since I was born. I love all the traditions.

I love that everyone is happier this time of year. I love that it gives us a reason to be grateful to be more loving and to be more accepting. I wouldn’t put that off any longer than I have to.

What is your opinion on starting to celebrate Christmas before you cut the turkey on Thanksgiving day?

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xoxo katie