I Am Thankful for Me

Today is Thanksgiving, a day to remember what we’re thankful for – and I’d like to touch on a subject that’s tough for many modern women:  being thankful for our beauty, both inside and out.

We spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves, particularly when it comes to beauty. I promise you, though – no matter who you are, you possess a beauty like no one else.

Peasant WomanSo today, I’m asking all the readers out there to stop wishing for bigger eyes and smaller butts, and to simply take one day to be thankful for what makes you beautiful.  Whatever it is.

Take a real look at yourself. In the mirror, in your actions, in the reflections of you in your family’s eyes. In fact, it’s probably the things that you think make you ugly that actually make you beautiful.

Look at Jennifer Grey and Renee Zellweger. They were pressured by Hollywood to change their most distinctive features to make them fit a more traditional definition of beauty; yet once they did, they somehow lost the magic. That’s because what made their faces unique was what made them beautiful. It’s true on the outside as well as the inside.

So take today to celebrate your Roman nose and your Irish temper, and quit envying your sister who got the “good hair”. Because here’s what: those things, the things you hate the most (like how nerdy I think my voice sounds and how my nose bends a little to the right) all make you the gorgeous gal you are.

Happy Thanksgiving. Now go hang out with your family or something. After all, your drunk Uncle Ronnie only makes it out twice a year!

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

How to Enjoy Being Single During the Holidays

This year, I decided I would do something a little different over a holiday. For Thanksgiving, my family celebrated the weekend before. Since I didn’t have in-laws or a boyfriend’s family to visit, and had 5 days off from work already, I decided to take a vacation.

And I vacationed all by myself.

Instead of sitting at home over the holiday thinking of places I’d like to visit one day with a spouse, possibly feeling sorry for myself, or shopping for things that I didn’t need, I decided to take a trip.

I put my money towards an experience and memories that would last longer than any Black Friday purchase.

It was my first trip by myself. To say I was anxious about the details would be an understatement, but I bought my tickets, got to my destination, and had a great time!

I went sightseeing, saw some theatre shows, wrote and read in my hotel room with a view of mountains and the downtown lights below, and enjoyed the little luxuries of a really nice hotel. I was mindful about traveling around by myself, checked in with my family daily, and was able to get some great deals with smart planning.

The ability to do what I wanted to do and go where I wanted to go, on my own schedule, was a nice change and made for a great trip!

I gained more confidence in my season of life and myself. And it kept me in tune with God’s constant hand of protection over me.

In the past, I’ve gone through different phases of how I feel about being single during the holidays. The truth is, I’ve been single for the majority of Christmases I’ve celebrated.

Looking at it one way, this gives me freedom to do what I want with my time. It’s a sweet time. A time to have “extra” downtime with my family and friends while others may have more obligations to celebrate with their “other half’s” side.

It can also be a time that highlights the fact of singleness. It’s hard being by yourself without a romantic interest to share in the holiday with. That is why it’s so important to accept the love, covering, and companionship that God brings our way.

It might not be romantic, but it can be even more fulfilling.

So this Christmas, if you find yourself unsure of how to move forward through the holiday, here are some tips for making the best of it in during your “season” of singleness:

1. Love on your family and friends.

Your family, as colorful, small, or big as it may be, is important. God gives us the greatest commandant which is to love the Lord our God and secondly to love our neighbors as ourselves. So love on your family and friends! Enjoy the moments you have with them this Christmas. We aren’t promised to have them with us next year, so make this year count.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)

2. Answer the infamous “Are you seeing anyone?” question with grace.

Sure, when you feel like you’re standing in front of a target range with a big flashing arrow pointing down above your head that says “SINGLE” on it, it can feel a bit overwhelming. And yes, sometimes the question can strike a chord. But remember this: The majority of the time people are just asking to ask. It’s not malicious. So check your heart. Make peace with your life as it is this Christmas. Try to answer with grace and a smile and remember the blessings you do have.

3. Do something different. Get out of your comfort zone!

I’m not saying to skip your family time, but if you have a chance to take a trip during your time off and do something you’ve wanted to do, you should go for it! If the idea of going anywhere alone seems sad or depressing, by all means, grab a friend or two and go together!

4. Remember that many people are lonely. Not just you.

It can be easy to live in a bubble during the holidays. To get on Facebook and see picture perfect scenes and think you’re the only one lonely this year. But remember that whether you’re single, married, divorced or widowed, anyone can be stressed, anyone can be lonely, and everyone needs love!

And when it’s all said and done, the main reason for Christmas, the get-togethers, dances, and dinners are rooted in the only important fact: The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Keeping in mind that Jesus truly is the “reason for the season” can put your own “season of life” in perspective.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

5 Ways to Meet a New Guy During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it seems like everyone has a boyfriend — or at least a hot date. If you’re single, don’t despair. You can find a new guy during the holidays; you just need to know where to look.


Head to the gym

Park your butt on one of the more complicated machines near a cute guy, then ask him to help you use it. Head to the free weights and ask the nearest hottie if he can spot you.

Go to a sports bar

It’s football season. Head to your neighborhood sports bar on Sunday afternoon. Plenty of single guys will be available. Brush up on your football facts to have some material to start up a conversation.

Brave it alone

Next time you are invited to a holiday party or community event, don’t turn down the invitation just because you don’t have a date. Go alone and you are sure to meet a new guy in the same boat.

Attend church functions

Around the holidays, you’ll find plenty of church functions and charity events going on. Make an appearance at as many events as possible. It’s a numbers game, and maybe you’ll meet a nice guy.

Go to the mall

You have to do your Christmas shopping anyway. Scout at the men’s section of department stores and look for single guys. If a hottie catches your eye, ask his opinion on a sweater or shirt for your brother or dad.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

LONELY Holidays?—3 Tips on How to Cope with the Blues

When the holiday season arrives, it can feel like the rest of the world is scampering through a winter wonderland of parties and family reunions.

Popular culture and social media feeds filled with celebratory images prime us to believe that our troubles should, in the words of the ubiquitous Christmas carol, be far away.

But the truth is, the dark, cold days of December can be difficult. While we often hear people acknowledge their overeating or overspending or stressing about having too many social obligations, this is also a time of year when many people are deeply lonely.

“At any given time, roughly 20% of individuals—that would be 60 million people in the U.S. alone—feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives,” write John John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick in their book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. And that feeling doesn’t disappear when December hits.

So, if you’re feeling isolated this holiday season, take some comfort in the knowledge that you’re in good company. Then, consider the following salves to soothe your December melancholy.

1. Lower Expectations 

Holiday hype is hard to resist. You probably don’t realize it, but movies and advertisements and songs leak into your subconscious. And suddenly, you’re wondering why you don’t have a tiny wrapped box under the tree or a date on New Year’s Eve, even though you were perfectly fine with your single status in November.

“There are commercials filled with images of couples getting engaged, children opening presents with their smiling parents in the background,” says Matt Lundquist, a psychotherapist in New York City. “What’s particularly challenging around the holidays is the contrast between the ideal and the reality.”

So switch off those jewelry commercials and remember that most people don’t have holidays that unfold like a movie. No party invites? No boyfriend? Who cares? What about hosting a movie marathon with a couple friends? When it comes to holiday plans, or anything else for that matter, you can write your own script.

2. Warm Up

There’s research to suggest that the simple act of taking a warm bath or having a cup of hot coffee might help to counteract feelings of loneliness.

“It seems as if the body can be fooled into feeling welcomed by applying a little warmth in the right places,” write researchers Hans IJzerman and Justin Saddlemyer in The New York Times. “And the effect is reciprocal: Studies in our own lab and at Yale have found that adults and young children are more social after they’ve touched something warm.”

Now, hot chocolate isn’t going to heal your heavy heart if you’re suffering from intense loneliness, but treating yourself to physical warmth could be just the daily boost you need. Interestingly, another 2009 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that a “warm television” can drive away feelings of loneliness. While it’s no substitute for human interaction, your favorite program might just keep you company for a bit.

3. Reach Out 

Maybe you didn’t really make plans for the holidays—after all, if you’re lonely, then you probably waited for others to call or reach out to you. But if you’d really like to spend the days around Christmas with others, it’s not to late to do something about it.

“I think there are very few people who could not post, ‘No plans for Christmas—anyone want to hang out?’ and not get at least a few invitations,” says Lundquist, who also suggests reaching beyond your inner circle. “The holidays are also an opportunity to build new relationships. Churches and synagogues offer lots of programming and volunteer opportunities abound.”

In other words, take a risk. Make a few phone calls. Find a local organization or a Sandy relief effort still looking for volunteers. You might be surprised to find that there are other people out there looking for some connection just as much as you are.

Loneliness is something we all experience from time to time. It’s not always rational, either—for instance, it’s possible to feel more disconnected from others in the middle of a Christmas party than you do by yourself at home with a good book. But no matter where or when the holiday blues strikes, remember that you’re not alone. Try to keep realistic expectations, take care of yourself, and make a little effort to connect with others in the same boat.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Get Even Closer Together Doing Good During the Holidays

The reason why Christmas is a national holiday, whether you celebrate it or not, is because it symbolically represents the season of giving. Many of the other religious holidays in December including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are the same way.

Personally, I’m a giver. It’s more fun for me to figure out unique ways to bless someone with a gift than it is to think about what I’m going to receive from other people. Don’t get me wrong. I still act like a little kid on Christmas morning when my wife gets me the gadget I’ve been salivating over the entire year. But, I really enjoy giving to others. It’s a huge motivator and it helps puts life into perspective for me.

I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but think about giving back to the community, especially during the holiday season. Even if you read this article after Christmas or even during the Spring or Summer, it’s never too late. You can be generous any time of the year. In fact, you might put even bigger smiles on people’s faces because you showed generosity during a time when they least expected it.

Here are 4 creative ideas you can use to give back this holiday season.

1. Anonymous Giving

Giving anonymously is great because the recipients won’t know who the gift came from. As a result, they won’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of needing help. If you really want to make someone’s day, seek out that single mother who busts her butt to provide for her kids or that struggling family that works hard but can’t seem to get ahead. Buy a $50 to $75 toy for each kid and a grocery store gift card for a Christmas dinner. If you have a coworker in mind, get to your office or workplace a little early and deliver it anonymously to their desk or locker.

2. Over Tipping

You probably have people in your life who you see regularly throughout the year such as hair stylists, mailmen, dry cleaners, restaurant servers, and garbage men. Some of these people expect tips and some don’t, but during the holidays especially, you can put a smile on their faces by giving them a big tip to show your appreciation. There’s nothing better for people in the service industry than to get a big fat tip.

3. Give Away Your Christmas Decorations

After the holidays, give away your Christmas decorations to your neighbors and other young couples that don’t have much. After all, if you’ve been married for more than a few years, you start realizing how quickly you accumulate Christmas decorations. Decorations are expensive, and you could bless other families by giving yours away and starting fresh the following year.

4. Take a Homeless Person To Lunch

The majority of homeless people I’ve come across are either mentally ill or just had a tough break in life and don’t know how to turn things around. However, interacting with homeless people can be a wildcard at times, not knowing if they’re going to try and hurt you or be cool. Be sure to take precautions if you do choose to try this tip out. The idea is to get together with a few other people, find a homeless man (or woman), take him out to lunch around the holidays, give him a gift card to a hotel to use for a night’s stay, and buy him a new outfit. You’d be surprised at how receptive they’ll be. They’re not all just looking for booze money.

Seriously, try giving if you haven’t already. If nothing else, it’s pretty fun, and the more creative you get with it, the more memorable it becomes. Also, the more you give back, the more blessings you end up receiving because your eyes are opened to all of the good things you have in your life.

How are you giving this holiday season?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Holiday Couple’s Issues and How to Deal

It’s not unusual for us to fall in love with people who are quite different from us.

Once the initial infatuation evaporates, those differences will not only become annoying and difficult — they won’t go away. When this happens, “Why aren’t you me?” is the question that underlies our annoyance. “You don’t see things the way I do; therefore, you’re wrong. You don’t like the people I like or value the experiences I care about. Even worse, you fall asleep at football games or at concerts.”

Add holiday stresses to that tension, and the situation can play out dramatically. The way we feel outside the relationship will affect the way we feel within it, and vice versa. Whether you’ve been together since last year or for decades, high-stress periods can cause you to be more reactive and defensive. We give our partner less of a break at just the time when we really need to cut them some slack.

Generosity is key here — that, and a willingness to find ways to tolerate our differences. These efforts are what will fortify a relationship, and keep yours from falling victim to holiday anxieties. Here are a few of the major points of conflict couples face this time of year, and my strategies to handle them healthily:

1. Problem: Money and Gifts

Say you’re the type of person who wants to show your love to everyone in your family by buying thoughtful and beautiful gifts. Your partner, however, thinks Christmas is a marketing scam and is already stressed out about next year’s taxes. You want two parties: one for friends and colleagues, then a festive dinner for the extended family. He, on the other hand, wants one small potluck.

Or maybe he sees gifts as objects of love, while you see them as an unnecessary strain on an already tight budget, or a surrender to commercialism. He plans on getting you a MacBook Air, while you ask, “Do you really want a present this year? You just got some new fishing equipment this summer.”

Solution: No Surprises

That’s the first essential here. Plan in advance and come up with a budget you both can agree on. Factor in gifts, travel, and entertaining, and come up with a sum that lands in the middle: It might be more than one of you wants to spend but still less than the other would like.

Your spending limit will be a difficult decision, but it will be the only one you face on this topic. Once you settle on a dollar amount, you’re done. Agree not to complain, blame, or bring up the issue again.

One of the most common reasons people don’t like giving gifts is that they don’t feel they’re good at choosing something their partner will like. Let’s not view a gift as a measure of our partner’s love. Gift giving is an art. Some people are good at it; some aren’t. Or else they’ve developed so much anxiety about perfecting the selection process, they seldom get it right.

Reminder: Gifts Can Mean Everything to One Partner and Nothing to the Other

The solution is not to try to make your partner see it your way. It’s to see beyond your different points of view to the source of the pleasures that brought you together in the first place.

2. Problem: Family — His, Hers, Ours

A client of mine loves to invite over his big, expressive extended family, with five cousins and four siblings, for a New Year’s Eve spread. His wife tells me she feels like hiding under the table when they start telling bad jokes and seeing who can burp the loudest. For one partner, the happiest moment in the holiday season is when the doorbell rings and family and friends come in to make merry. For another, it’s when the last person leaves, and she can finally breathe.

Solution: Alternate Your Preferences

This is a fair way to accommodate your conflicting desires. When the calendar calls for “the more the merrier,” the more introverted of the two of you should feel free to take breaks, walk the dog, or spend a few minutes outside looking at the stars. At some point during the festivities, the two of you should meet alone for a five-minute connection, just to check in with each other on how it’s going. The one-on-one connection, even if it’s a hug and not a conversation, can give the quieter partner a morale boost as he or she copes with the social whirlwind.

Then alternate the following year and host only a small family gathering. This time the extroverted mate should be encouraged to go out and enjoy other social events during the season with friends or other family members.

Reminder: Nobody Is Wrong

To have these kinds of temperamental differences is fine and normal. The challenge is to make the effort to accommodate each other’s feelings and needs.

3. Problem: Traditions

Let’s say you want to keep the traditions of your family, or of your religious or cultural history, which are meaningful to you at this time of year. Your partner, however, would rather watch movies all day or play games with the kids. You love the music of the season and a big tree dressed with ornaments — the kind you decorated throughout your childhood. He remembers holidays as miserable and just wants to get through them with as little acknowledgement as possible. Or maybe he loves Christmas carols, Solstice parties, or Hanukkah candles, while you find these customs all a pointless hassle.

Solution: Take the Time to Hear Each Other

Then ask yourself this question: “What could I do to make my partner happy?” Empathy and kindness are important here, because this is the way to make room for both of you.

Reminder: Your Differences Are an Opportunity to Create New Traditions

You can combine the things you love to build memories designed by and for the two of you. You might even agree to adopt some elements from the season’s varied festivities to build a holiday celebration of your own. Take a walk in the snow, visit the zoo, have a candlelit dinner, just the two of you, and exchange cards.

Every couple has intractable differences. Most couples face conflict on a host of universal issues: money, sex, holidays, gifts, families, housework, etc. The most effective response is to decide that your partner isn’t wrong simply because he or she is different from you. Instead, look for ways to collaborate. Care more about meeting their needs than your own.

This attitude of goodwill is guaranteed to put you far along the road toward a deeply happy marriage and partnership. The holidays are an opportunity to practice strategies and skills that will help your relationship thrive all year. The difference between couples who fail and those who succeed is less about the quality or number of conflicts they face and more about how they respond to them.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Couples Christmas—Make it Sexy

The festive season is here and you are concerned about what to do with your spouse and what to buy to make Christmas different yet romantic.

Children often shy away from giving sexy gifts to their parents – as if Mom and Pop’s sex life is dead – but they, like the spouses, should really think outside the box and give gifts that are naughty and nice to spark the couple’s sex life. Sex is to be celebrated, especially in a monogamous relationship in which couples have grown together in the union. This provides the basis for selecting very personal gifts which would also fuel sexy activities over the holiday period. It is even more poignant if couples are experiencing the empty nest with children having grown and moved out.

Sexy Christmas for Two

If you are going to spend the holiday season with your loved one, this is an excellent chance to plan a romantic holiday, probably putting some sparkle back into your love life. The cool temperatures already set the stage for twinkling lights and soft carols as part of intimate, steamy evenings of passion.

Hotel ‘nights out’

If you are tired of the home and the efforts it will take to create the magic of the season, you could spend one or two nights in a hotel with full service. With adequate notice, any hotel should be happy to set the stage for you. This is an opportunity for children to pool funds and send parents off to a nice resort with some sexy items in tow. They should take:

  • Sexy lingerie and silk boxer shorts.
  • Scented candles for mood creation.
  • Music of choice to keep it light and easy (include a CD player).
  • Aromatic oils so you can give each other long, sensual massages.
  • Grapes or strawberries which you can feed each other as you soak in a bubble bath.
  • Champagne for sipping as you enjoy the ambience
  • Your gifts which you can open together and share.

Home together

If you are accustomed to trimming your tree, get a small one for both of you to enjoy. Decorate the tree together in a skimpy Christmas outfit and revert to the old practice of kissing under the mistletoe by hanging them around the house. Place all you gifts under the tree for opening on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Home-made dinner for two

A graduate from my cooking course for ‘men only’, boasted that he used his culinary skills to prepare a sensual meal to mesmerise his wife last Christmas, their 10th wedding anniversary. He made plans for lobster dinner, used the rarely-used fine china and best silverware from the breakfront and made sure that his wife and son were busy helping his mother with last-minute baking. They agreed that their son would stay with Grandma that night as the couple would be going out to dinner. When she arrived home to get dressed, she was blown away by the surprise.

Drive out for the Christmas lights

Driving out could be reminiscent of your days of courting. Drive out and look at the Christmas lights and décor in residential and shopping areas, although scaled down this year. You may want to take a blanket and snuggle close in a safe place as you enjoy the lights.

Exchange Gifts

Whether you are at a hotel or at home, exchanging gifts is one of the best parts of Christmas. What gifts can you give for that sex appeal? Naughty gifts are ideal since both of you will be together and no one will see what you got each other.

  • Breakfast in bed is always appreciated and starts foreplay of what is to come later. You can place one exciting gift at breakfast.
  • Sexy robes are easy to slip on and off and they are nice to wrap in as you stroll about the house.
  • You can buy sexy Christmas-themed outfits to wear for the rest of the day while you goof around.
  • Sex games for lovers.
  • Toys are toys, so adult sex toys should not be excluded. These can indulge your fantasies and add variety to your intimacy.
  • Sexy books with a range of topics to suit him or her.

You can search sites online which would provide hundreds of topics you know your partner would like. Also, consider a book for lovers, focusing on how to spice up your love life. It does not have to be explicit or full of photos that make you uncomfortable. Couples can read passionate literature to each other as they may not want to go the mainstream route like watching X-rated movies. Why not give one another passionate books and read passages to one another? You can spice it up by acting out romantic scenes from the descriptive books and you will be able to learn from each other.

Stocking stuffers for her may include:


  • A personal coupon for a one-hour massage.
  • Gourmet chocolates.
  • A gift certificate for her favourite restaurant.
  • Bath products like bubble bath, shower gel and lush soap.
  • Her favourite perfume or body spray.
  • Bath toys for couples.
  • A diamond bracelet, necklace, or ring or some other type of jewellery.

Stocking stuffers for him to cater to his fantasies and passions may include:


  • Sexy lingerie for you, with a promise that you will model it for him later.
  • A personal handmade coupon for his favourite sexual activity, to be performed on demand.
  • A gift card to his favourite store, hobby shop, car-parts store, or whatever his interests are.
  • His favourite fragrance.
  • A life-size photo of you in a sexy outfit for the bedroom (G-strings and high-heels are exciting).
  • French tickler condoms to provide added stimulation.

Wrap it sexy

To make your gift sexy, use your imagination and wrap it in a sexy way. For creativity and recycling, you can create your own wrapping paper by using pages from a sexy magazine.

Christmas does not have to be boring for you and your lover. Be creative and get stores and gift shops to help you. Make this Christmas one your spouse will never forget by spicing it up with sexy gifts and activities this holiday season.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Spending Holidays Apart as Husband and Wife

Last Christmas Eve, my wife Kim and I performed our annual holiday ritual. No stockings were hung, no champagne was toasted, no duet of “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” was sung, no gifts were exchanged, just a couple of simple “I love yous” before drifting off to sleep — 270 miles apart.

For ten years running, we’ve spent the holidays apart. And it’s not just Christmas. We usually go our separate ways for Thanksgiving, too.

Kim heads north to join her family in suburban Boston; I go south to sit in my mom’s dank living room in her urban Philadelphia neighborhood. Why, you ask?

Isn’t it obvious?

We adhere to a foolproof system for reducing the holiday-related torture known as in-laws.

No, not really. Yes, that’s the standing laugh line we use when people look at us like we’ve just told them that we’re swingers with a “Hey, what’re you doing this weekend?” look, but chronic familial avoidance was actually never a major factor for us.

It seemed logical, reasonable, and economical in 1999, so we did it. And kept on doing it year after year. At this point, the reason we split up on the two biggest holidays of the year is that it’s become a tradition.

Some people have their big dinner Christmas Eve, others on Christmas Day. And some people’s time-honored Christmas ritual includes holding hands in the cold on 8th Avenue in Manhattan before tearily boarding Bolt buses headed in opposite directions on I-95.

That’s a slight exaggeration. Kim gets up much much earlier than I do, so our parting is usually a kiss on the slumbering cheek and an unrequited, “Tell your Mom I said ‘Merry Christmas.'”

To us, it seems like no big deal, but last year when I started a new job, some of the women in my office found this whole thing truly remarkable. One thought it a perfect synthesis of modern marriage; another an interesting precedent to look into; another couldn’t believe either mother-in-law would allow it; while a fourth simply looked at me with sad eyes and said in a muted tone, as if our puppy had just perished, “Wow, that’s too bad.”

The thing is, though, it’s not. From our perspective, the idea of the importance of holidays trumps the actual events of the day itself.

We don’t have any kids (yet), so it’s not like we’re missing out on the joys of watching our footie-pajama-clad-brood roll around in shiny wrapping paper. And we have spent a few Thanksgivings together at home in New York City, but only when there were special extenuating circumstances, like West Coast visitors or being tasked to march with Barney in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As for Christmas, well, it works out for the best. Kim’s family celebrates traditionally with a big tree, a big meal, and a big discussion on how early they should get up to work out on Dec. 26.

Mom and I, we spend a lot of time on her couch. She lives alone in a ramshackle rowhouse in a decaying neighborhood, so decorating isn’t all that high on her holiday priority list. We watch TV; we talk about the old days; we call my brothers; and then I get drunk with my cousins. This isn’t to say that we don’t have a fine time together; it just lacks 95 percent of the typical holiday hullabaloo.

Quick! Outside of some major food catastrophe or bizarre visitor, try to remember a specific Thanksgiving dinner. Pleasant? Absolutely. Memorable? Meh.

Except for the year my dad made cold pumpkin soup. (Three decades later, I still shudder.)

My Uncle John always cooks up a nice prime rib on Christmas Day, and the night before, Mom and I go out to eat. One year, the only place we could find open was a Shula’s Steakhouse. Their menu comes on a football, an actual leather football. God bless us, everyone!

Kim’s experience is a little more Bedford Falls to my Pottersville, which suits us both just fine. Her upside is the Christmas-y feel of hot cocoa in her pajamas; mine is that Mom no longer has the desire to attend Christmas Mass.

The most important part is that it works for Kim and me. If there was ever any in-law badgering about the standing arrangement, it went by the wayside as soon as a lack of grandchildren rendered us more or less irrelevant.

At the dawn of a new decade, however, our perfect holiday system may have run its course. When we met back up at home, Kim announced that she didn’t want to split up for both Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore. And as much as I enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal and forgotten family trivia served up at the Palm in Philly (FYI: It’s housed in the same building where my mom’s high school prom took place), it may be time for Kim and me to start our own damn traditions.

Or not.

Nothing wrong with celebrating the second Monday in November, or the holy day of Dec. 28.

After all, it’s not the calendar, it’s the company.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Romantic Relationship Tips for the Holidays

Getting through the holidays when you are in a relationship is never easy – that’s why there are relationship tips for the holidays that will ensure you still have a relationship after the holidays.

I know that the holidays and all of that family time can cause some strain on a relationship. These relationship tips for the holidays will not only help you survive the holidays with your partner, but they will make sure that you relationship stays strong – even through all of the stress!


One of the most important relationship tips for the holidays that we’re going to start out with is not to overbook yourselves. Honestly girls, you can’t split the holidays and go to two different family homes or do two different Christmas Eves in the same night. That is where the stress can actually start and that is how you can get yourself into a fight. Just schedule down and talk about a plan!


So your boyfriend hasn’t wrapped the presents or hasn’t sent out the Christmas cards yet – it’s okay! Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not worth it and it’ll cause way more problems than do good. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, talk to your boyfriend about your feelings and see what he has to say.


Always, no matter what, set boundaries for yourself during the holidays. Make sure that your partner can tell when you are getting in a bad mood or even just walk away when you are starting to feel annoyed. This can actually save a lot of pain and a lot of fighting. Remember, it’s the holidays and they shouldn’t completely stress you out.


Wherever you are, always make sure that you are trying to create some kind of intimacy. This could mean anything from a small date night before the holidays or even just some cuddle time on the couch together. That intimacy can really create a good bond and will help you get over the stress.


During the holidays, it is always good to reflect on why exactly you and your partner are together. Remember the great times, remember the times when #things weren’t super stressful and remember why you started to go out. If you feel like you need a break and that you are being pulled in a million directions, reflect on your relationship, girls!


The holidays are stressful, girls – you’ve got to #face reality that this time of year is when stress leaks into the simplest of things! Whether you are shopping with your boyfriend or you are planning a holiday dinner, #everything is harder around the holidays. So girls, calm down and remember, don’t sweat the small stuff!


One of the biggest problems that I have in my #relationship is – how much do I spend on my partner? How much #money is appropriate? Well girls, this is why discussing gifts and even price options in advance is a great idea! This will eliminate the stress of how much or little to buy your #partner!


You know your family. You know just how great they can be, but you also know just how stressful they can be. You’ve got to realize that if this is the first time that you’ve ever had a boyfriend during the holidays, he might be scared of your family at first. Just take it all in stride, girls!


Finally, allow the two of you to have some time alone, to take a breather from everyone. During the holidays this year, when I head back to Michigan, I’ve got plans to make a little getaway for my #girlfriend and I. It’ll make our holidays that much better.


The holidays can be particularly hard for you if you’ve never had a boyfriend during them and aren’t used to a. splitting the holidays or b. spending time with anyone else’s family besides your own. This is the #time you’ve got to realize that his family might have different traditions, might do things differently but it’s okay — and it’ll be worth it for you to learn how his family does things!


Yes, your family might be more than willing to open up some Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve, but his family might not. Why not learn some new traditions and even start some of your own with your #boyfriend?

I know that being in a relationship around the holidays is never easy, but remember, keep it simple and don’t stress! It isn’t worth it! So, what other #relationship tips during the holidays do you have to share? Give up some advice!

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Spot Your Soulmate this Holiday in a Crowd

It is now officially the season of love, light and laughter. This is the best time to be with someone special and snuggle up together.

Many of us are open to finding that special soul mate that will complete us. With the romantic backdrop of glistening Christmas lights and the undeniable power of mistletoe, anything is possible.

Take advantage of all the festivities and parties to maximize your chances of meeting the right person for you. However you could have a close encounter of the soul mate kind at the cheese counter in the Supermarket, anything could happen! If you are open to meeting your soul mate it is more than likely it will happen. If you are serious about meeting your soul mate make sure you take the following action:

  1. Send out a message to the Universe that you are ready for a soul mate experience. Do this by meditating and visualizing how it would feel to be totally in love. Ask Archangel Chamuel to manifest the perfect partner for you.
  2. Make sure that your confidence levels are high and that you feel good about yourself.
  3. Don’t allow preconceived ideas about your perfect partner ruin your chances of meeting them. Be open to all possibilities. Love doesn’t have trivial tick boxes.
  4. Believing is seeing, know that it will happen!

So what is a soul mate and how do we identify them?

A soul mate is someone that has shared previous lives with you. They are from the same soul group. They make your heart sing, challenge your preconceived ideas and allow spiritual growth. Many soul mates meet again because they were not able to fulfill their destiny together in previous lives.

Here is the lowdown on identifying a true soul mate

  • It is an incredible instant attraction that pales any other romantic encounter into insignificance. The instant chemistry between you is magnetic and undeniable.
  • There is instant soul recognition by one or both parties.
  • They feel so familiar, you know that you have been with them before
  • Look into their eyes (preferably when sober) and feel the special connection.
  • The physical chemistry is so much stronger than an every day relationship. When you know them well enough to get intimate, sex takes you to another level, its magic.

Give yourself the best Christmas present ever by asking our psychics when you will meet the love of your life. Have a cracking Christmas!

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Become More Intimate Through These Romantic Holiday Traditions from Around the World

‘Tis the season!

A New Year’s kiss and a smooch beneath the mistletoe are widely known holiday traditions, but pouring molten tin into a bucket of cold water? Not so much.

In collaboration with Vashi, a UK-based diamond company, illustrator Marie Muravski created heartwarming drawings of some of the most romantic (and festive!) holiday customs enjoyed in countries around the globe. Learn more about them below:

  • Vashi
  • Vashi
  • Vashi
  • Vashi

Finding Your Ho, Ho, Ho this Holiday, When You’re Single

Happy Holidays, Fellow Single Folks!

Ho, ho, ho …. you’re alone!!! Do you ever feel like the holidays put a great, big, exclamation point on the sad fact that you currently aren’t with anyone? Does all that mistletoe, tinsel, and Christmas cheer make you feel all kinds of lonely? Yeah. Me too. Whether you are divorced, single, nursing a broken heart, or even widowed, like me – the holiday season can really do a number on your ability to feel joy. In fact, it can be downright depressing.

But it doesn’t have to be. Sure, singing Christmas carols and harmonizing by yourself, or making a gingerbread house for one, doesn’t sound like loads of fun – but there are ways that you can turn the holidays from a time of “woe is me” to a time of something special and meaningful. And perhaps even have some fun and do something a bit different in the process. Really. All it takes is thinking a bit outside the box. Here are a few ways to have a purposeful, meaningful, joyful holiday – while being single:

Get Outside: 

Maybe in past years, you have done the same tired thing, over and over and over again. Perhaps its time to change it up, do something new. If you’re single, guess what? You don’t have to answer to anyone, so if you feel like spending Christmas week in a casino, seeing a Broadway show, or on a beach in Florida, who says you can’t? Sure, you’ll still be alone and single, but suddenly that doesn’t seem so awful with a coconut rum drink in your hand while floating along in a pool. Also, when you do something completely different and new with your holiday, think of all the stories you’ll have for the rest of your friends and family. They might even end up being jealous, and that’s always fun.

Start New Traditions:

So you watch “A Christmas Story” on a loop, every Christmas Eve, every single year, for your entire life. That doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that until the end of time. If you want to do that, then great. But sometimes all it takes to feel new joy is a little bit of change. If you normally have hot cocoa with marshmallows, be a rebel and switch to whipped cream! Perhaps you could even gather together with other single friends, and together, create a lovely holiday dinner or evening, complete with your own brand new traditions. The good thing about new traditions, is that they feel very personal, because YOU created them. And now, you already have something to look forward to next year!

Help Out:

It is very easy to get caught up in all the ways that your own life kind of sucks during the holidays. One good way to help take the focus off of that for awhile, is to find ways to give to other people whose lives probably suck a lot more than yours does.The Thanksgiving after my husband’s death, I volunteered at a women’s shelter serving food for the holiday. The people there were so nice and so appreciative of everything, it took my mind off my own stuff for awhile, and it also helped me to engage in something that was far outside my own life circle. I actually had fun, and ended up doing more things like that going forward.

Be a Kid, Play with Kids:

Just because you’re officially an adult, that doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. Children love the holidays, because they get to be kids and just have fun! Who says you can’t do the same? If you have kids in your family, play with them. Build a snowman together. Build a fort. Make Christmas cookies. Make silly videos on Instagram and make each other laugh. If there are no kids in your life (I have a niece and nephew, so it’s always fun to be silly with them), bring back the kid in YOU, and have some fun this time of year. Go sledding, or snowmobiling. If you’re in a warm climate place, take a swim or a stroll.

Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, being single isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it can be sad and it can certainly be frustrating when everyone around you seems to be part of a couple. But, if you can focus on the celebration of love in all it’s forms – the holidays will start to become much more enjoyable.

So Happy Holidays, Fellow Single Folks! Here’s a toast to you, in all your awesomeness!

5 Ways to Get Through Awkward Holiday Situations with Your Significant Other

Let’s face it, as fun as the holidays are, they sure can be awkward sometimes.

If you are headed to your partner’s hometown this festive season, you’ll want to be prepared.

Here are five situations and solutions to get through awkward holiday situations with your significant other.

1. A nosy mother

Let’s face it, all moms want to do is protect their children. If you encounter a mom who takes you aside to ask some intrusive questions, or flat out interrogates you at Thanksgiving dinner, just take a deep breath and don’t be impulsive. Remember, while a mother may come off as a little too nosy, she’s just being a mama bear to her baby. If the conversation gets a little too awkward, just direct things back to the celebration at hand—comment on how good a dish is or thank whoever brought the wine. Chances are, it will lighten the mood and quite possibly help your significant other’s mother feel more at ease with you.

2. A creepy uncle

Ugh there’s always one and unfortunately, even in the #MeToo age, they are still around. It’s important to set your boundaries as soon as you get odd vibes from a creepy uncle. Don’t be afraid to tell him no, loud and clear. Stopping things early is the best option to keep you safe and avoid any not only awkward, but dangerous situations too. Your significant other should respect you for sticking up for yourself. If they don’t, it might be worth having a talk about your relationship, as your own self-worth should be the most important aspect of your life.

3. A grandma who means well but really wants you two to marry.

Oh goodness do I have a meddling grandma! My last surviving grandparent is now 90 and is pretty tech savvy for her age. Thank goodness she did this via text instead of at a holiday table, but she once texted me a huge message saying that my boyfriend hasn’t married me yet because he only wants friendship and I leave him and should try CatholicMatch.com instead. I kid you not! I am cracking up again now as I write this. After being utterly appalled, I now laugh about it. I sent my grandma a text saying I appreciate her watching out for me but my partner and I are happy. That’s exactly what you should say at a holiday get-together too. Most of the time, all grandparents want is to make sure their grandchildren are happy. Sometimes they just show it in mortifying ways!

Thanksgiving Celebration

4. Kid cousins who ask a lot of questions

I adore children but my goodness, can some of them ask a lot of questions! If you find yourself in the hot seat with your boyfriend or girlfriend’s kid cousins, answer what you want to. If things get to be too much, start turning the conversation around and asking them questions. Kids love to talk about themselves and many will be happy you are taking a genuine interest in them. If you are not great with kids, this recent SNL skit was so funny and may help with any nerves you have. Also, as someone who used to be the oldest of my brood of siblings and cousins, I remember adoring aunts and uncles who took an interest in me and what my life was like at that moment of my childhood.

5. Dads big on the dad jokes

Dads and their dad jokes will withhold the test of time! The best thing you can do if you encounter a dad who loves to make embarrassing, cringeworthy jokes is to laugh at them. He will be so happy that someone finds them funny and endearing. However, the only time you shouldn’t laugh at jokes dad makes is when they are racially, sexual orientation or gender insensitive. If they are in poor taste, take your significant other aside and explain that you are not a fan of their father’s sense of humor. It’s up to them on how they want to take it up with dad. As much as you want to be welcomed into their family, it’s not worth it to risk your personal values. 

How to Focus on Friendships This Holiday Season

The holidays should be about family and friends.

There is so much to do during the holiday seasons. There’s family to see, presents to buy, work to catch up on, events to go to. Sometimes friends get forgotten when you have so much more going on. You forget to call, tell each other you don’t have time to go out for a coffee or a drink just now, and before you know it, it’s mid-January and you haven’t seen any friends for months.

But maybe your friends don’t have to take a back seat during the holiday season. There are ways to not only include your friends this season, but to make sure they feel like they’re apart of your holiday fun!

How to Focus on Friendships This Holiday Season

There’s so much to do during the holidays: There’s family to visit, gifts to buy, and events to attend.

You might be rushing to clean up the house before family comes over or maybe you’re speeding to pack your bags in preparation to go head home for the holidays. But no matter your plans, this season can get busy.

With so much going on, it’s not uncommon to find friendships taking a back seat in December.

You and your bestie may forget to call each other, you might miss your friend group’s usual coffee date, and before you know it, it’s mid-January before you realize that you haven’t seen any of your friends for a long time.

But maybe you don’t have to forget about your friendships this year. This season, make a point to focus on your friendships with these 4 tips and tricks for a friends-filled holiday.

Happy Friends Holidays

1. Show them you care, with some gifts!

I know, I know, you already have so many people on your shopping list. You’re probably already panicking about what to get your grandma, what to get your baby cousin, and what on earth to get your boss.

But even if it’s something small and silly, like a funny t-shirt or a scented candle, a gift that says “I’ve been thinking of you” can go a long way for a friend. Of course, you probably don’t even have to work hard on this gift. Picking something out on Amazon or ordering some cookies online is pretty painless. Plus, you can usually find a good deal while online shopping.

Just remember: the more personal you can get with a gift, the better. Your friends probably don’t need anything fancy or expensive from you, but they’d probably love something that reminds them of you, or an inside joke you share.

To help with your shopping, here are some fun (and simple) present ideas that make for wonderful friend gifts:

-A bottle of wine you think they’ll love

-An order of fruit, chocolate covered fruit, or cookies from online retailers like Harry and David or Mrs. Fields

-A hat or scarf in a color they look good in

-Drop off a pie or cheesecake on their doorstep

-A gift card to get a manicure (with a note saying you’ll plan to do your nails next time you’re together)

-A book or movie you loved (that you can talk about next time you hang out)

-A cute planner for 2020

-A holiday puzzle (you can even get a personalized puzzle with a photo of you two on it!)

-Silly socks featuring their favorite animal

2. Set aside time… ahead of time.

Making time for friends shows them that you care about them. It proves that, not only do you like seeing them, but that spending time with them is a priority to you.

But making time for friends in the middle of the holidays can be a tricky business. For me, it’s already difficult to plan hangouts during the non-holiday seasons. Between my work schedule, their work schedule, and miscellaneous commitments to worry about, it’s tough to set aside time. So, when you throw in extra holiday errands and family events? It can be tough.

The best way I’ve found to make time for friends is to set up a hangout date, weeks in advance, at an event that’s extra special and really can’t be moved. Think late-night movie premier or special live holiday show.

If you’re like me, it can be easy to ask a friend for a rain check if you only make loose plans to meet up for something like happy hour “one day this week.” But if you set aside time for a special event, buy the tickets ahead of time, and put it on your calendar weeks (or a month) before, you’ll both probably stick to the plan.

holidays with friends

3. Do holiday chores together.

Sometimes, you simply can’t set aside extra time for friends during the holidays. The idea of making time to see a movie? Impossible. Going out to dinner? Nope.

But you don’t necessarily have to carve out exclusive “friend time” in order to see your besties. Instead, team up with your buddies to get your holiday chores done together.

Meet up at the mall to shop together. Chit-chat as you wait in long lines. Help each other figure out what to get your parents or significant others. Try on Christmas sweaters and tell each other, honestly, if they look okay. As a reward, maybe you can sit down together for a drink once the shopping is done.

If you’re not crazy about the idea of shopping together, consider inviting friends over to your place on Christmas Eve to make pies (or appetizers) that you can bring to each of your family’s homes the next day. It takes about the same amount of time to make two or three batches as it does one—but baking together makes it twice as fun.

Or, if baking isn’t your thing, you could just meet up to wrap presents.

One of my besties and I love to meet up before Christmas and wrap presents together. We drink wine and eat cookies as we wrap, and over the years, it’s become one of my favorite holiday activities!

4. Involve friends in your traditions.

Another great way to include friends in the holidays is to make at least one of your traditions friend-friendly.

One option is to can make a tradition especially for your friend group. “Friendsgiving” is such a hit, you might consider organizing something like that (perhaps a little present exchange or ice skate party) in December. Or, if that’s too much work, you could always include friends in your existing family traditions.

You could slide some more chairs up to the table for Christmas brunch—or why not invite some friends over for some spin the dreidel?

Of course, you might be thinking this is probably easier said than done.

You might assume that your friends probably have their own plans with their own families—so why would they want to join in on yours? The truth is, you might be surprised at how many of your friends don’t live near family, or if they do, have low-key family gatherings at holidays. You might even have friends who do their “big” celebrations on different days.

I once went to a friend’s house for “Christmas Eve-Eve” which was a big thing in her family. All the cousins, extended family, and friends would get together for a big potluck. For them, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were small and pretty quiet, but December 23rd was more about neighbors and friends. It was a great tradition.

The holidays are all about spending time with the people you love—and that should mean your family and friends. While your season may be busy, these tips can help you rearrange and refocus to find some extra room for your friends this holiday.