Why Stores Open on Thanksgiving Have Ruined Tradition

Verse-Picture-1-Thessalonians-5_18It all started back when my sister and I were teenagers. We decided we wanted to ‘check out’ what kind of deals the stores had the day after Thanksgiving. We split our parents gifts so why not save a few extra bucks and maybe also buy something extra for ourselves (that was of course, always my thinking!)?

For you young kids, there was a store called Mervyn’s that ran this hilarious commercial with a woman waiting for the store to open. She was up against the door window saying ‘Open, open, open’. It still makes me laugh to think about. It’s amazing the things people will (and will not) wait for.

And so the tradition began! Bright and early after each Thanksgiving, my sister and I would get up and go shopping. The tradition never changed. I made breakfast that consisted of toast with butter and jelly as well as packing along waters, apples and the my aunt’s famous pumpkin bread for the long day ahead. We both wore sweatpants and I would have to wake my sister up (a few times!) to keep with our schedule. Schedule? Oh yes, we had a schedule. We mapped out our stores along with times we had at each store and coupons/deals. We each had a copy we guarded with our life (I can’t tell you how many times we were pushed in stores!).

We’d start at Kohl’s (it always opened the earliest) then head off to Sears for my dad, then JC Penney for the free ornament (yep, you get a free ornament for being an ‘early bird’ which we were every year!) and then Panera for food around 8:30AM to which we’re quite delirious and then from there it was the usual, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Limited, Macy’s, etc. Our store choices have changed over the years and our needs (bye bye clothes for ourselves hello housewares) but still…it was tradition, it was our tradition.

But now, that is gone. That is gone because Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s and all you other A-HOLE stores decided you weren’t making enough money that you needed to be open on Thanksgiving Day. Really? No, really?

My sister and I refuse to go out on Thanksgiving. This is a day to give thanks and spend with family and friends. The fact that these stores are now open is a mockery to the holiday. To make your employees work is truly a shame and it has ruined the tradition of Thanksgiving.

It has ruined a day devoted to giving thanks with family and friends all for some added revenue in the books. I’d like to see the CEO of Kohl’s or Macy’s in one of their stores on Thanksgiving Day. You want your stores to be open? Then you should be working! Sure, people may argue with me and say that I went out in the madness and I did. It was fun as hell and my sister and I have some memories and moments we will never forget, but it wasn’t on Thanksgiving Day. Was it at 5AM the following day? You bet! But it wasn’t on Thanksgiving.

What is wrong with our society? Since when did we think it was okay to put materialistic things before values? Since when did the latest ‘toy’ that every child wants or the biggest flat screen you can get become priority over spending time with family and friends? Is that what we’re teaching our children? Money triumphs all? I sure hope not.

We don’t exchange Christmas presents in my family of origin anymore (we stopped a while back). Each year, one of the couples (my parents, my sister and her husband or me and my husband) plan an outing or event we all pay our own way and go to. Instead of buying gifts, we value the time spent together as a family so that is what we do. Many of you might be thinking, so what did my sister and I go out to get? Well, we both got engaged, got married and moved so let’s just say there were a lot of things each year we found we needed (or didn’t need and bought anyways!).

I’m not here to judge by any means, this is just the tradition we’ve developed and continue. Here is what I would like to say though: If you choose to go out on Thanksgiving day to buy presents for yourself and others, then that’s up to you, I just know that I cannot support it. I cannot support making people work on a day they deserve to be home with their families. Maybe this year we can all focus on the simple things. The blessings we’ve been given, the priceless gifts we have and the family members surrounding us…because you never truly know when that can all be taken away from you…and it can be, in an instance! Wishing all of you a happy, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving!

No One’s Life Looks Like it Does on Facebook

Bragging-on-Facebook-ecard
Alright, let’s get real here for a minute (or two). Facebook is not real. It’s an illusion. An illusion of people you know or don’t really know (yet somehow you are “friends”). There is nothing real about Facebook. Heck, some people don’t even use their real names (gotta love those ‘first and middle name only’ individuals…I get it, keepin’ it private, because you know, Facebook is all about that, WINK)! Facebook, or as I like to call it Stalkbook, wasn’t designed to keep you ‘in touch’ with your friends/acquaintances/ex-lovers/etc. No, no my friends, it was not. Facebook was designed so that you can literally stalk what any one of your 800+ “friends” and see their incredible lives. Did I say incredible? I’m sorry, I meant ridiculously fake.

First, I am an avid user of Facebook. My husband and I constantly argue over it. He finds it to be incredibly pointless…kind of like the way I find the video game on his phone to be! So, we agree to disagree. But nonetheless, I use Facebook often. My blog has its own page, I post lots of updates and share things I find to be interesting or important (DUH, like my blog!) but I also share how incredible my life is. Yes, there is some sarcasm in that last sentence. My life is great, it is. Not everyday is a fairytale but I’m very blessed and that I don’t BS about. I adore my daughter and enjoy showing off her sweetness as well so most of my posts are now consumed my her. Still, I do promote the ‘incredible’ because it’s better then the latter. When you see the same people posting the same drama filled status updates, don’t you kind of want to punch them in the face? Please stop airing your dirty laundry on Facebook. Please. Take that shit to People’s Court or something (at least you can filter your news feed now!). But again, in the reverse, people could say the same about all those my-life-is-so-amazing posts. Thank you for showing us what we can never have, a-hole.

Because I’m a frequent Facebooker, I can say that no one’s life looks like it does on Facebook. No one. The pictures? Edited/cropped/enhanced/filtered….. The lovey-dovey marriage/anniversary posts? Not as ‘happily ever after’ as it seems. The sales pitches to join some period scheming pay structure job because it’s ‘the most incredible opportunity ever’? BEYOND ANNOYING! Facebook has crafted a beautiful bubble where people go to see other people’s lives and get depressed about their own.

If you haven’t seen my post ‘Dear Victoria’s Secret‘, please check it out. Photos are edited ALL THE TIME! Models are edited ALL THE TIME! It’s a fun little program called Photoshop. So when you look at these ‘pictures’ on Facebook, just remember that. As for the relationship posts? I knew a girl who was posting thanks to her ‘hubby’ on Facebook for her birthday present (a romantic vacation for two!) when they were in the process of getting a divorce. A divorce. Again, an illusion. And the ‘who wants to join my team’ crap for all those products out there nowadays sorry, but stop. Stop with your fourteen paragraph status updates. I’m happy you have the most incredible job ever (really though?), I am, but I don’t need your amazing job shoved in my face every other day. I’m not here to judge either, I’m really not, but the amount of BS posting is astronomical.

Wait, there’s more! Facebook isn’t just to for stalking, but it’s also magical. Yes, this magical site will tell you where people are and what they’re doing even though you can’t see them (ooooooooooh) and even provides visual pictures (aaaaaaaaaah). Selfie anyone? Don’t forget your duck face!

Honestly, I don’t mind Facebook, but the more I find myself ‘stalking’ the site, the more I realize…what am I doing? Why am I on here? To compare? To see pictures of vacations I wish I was on? Am I really that bored? Or worse…have we as a society become so consumed my technology and social media that we have to ‘show’ our lives instead of ‘live’ them?

The other day my daughter cuddled up with me on the couch. It was sporadic and so wonderful. I quickly took a photo and shared it. Then I thought to myself, why did I do that? Can’t I just enjoy the moment without having to make it a public affair? On the other hand, what’s so wrong with sharing it? I guess I see both sides. This is an eye-opening article from Parents Magazine, it’s called ‘How Social Media is Affecting Your Parenting,’ I suggest you read it.

I have a lot of friends that have left Facebook or ‘deactivated’ their account for a bit (I have this feeling you’ll never really be able to delete your Facebook account). When I ask them why all the answers were quite similar…’I was sick of the things I was seeing on there’, ‘I was wasting time just reading about what other people are doing all the time’, ‘I just didn’t want to be on there anymore’. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great avenue to connect with old friends, colleagues, etc. As I’ve stated before, I use it frequently. I’m just starting to wonder what kind of impact it will have on us and future generations in the long term. Will my daughter one day ask me what people said about a photo of her I shared? Will I be forced to let her have an account because I do? What if she is being bullied on there? How will I handle that?

Sometimes I wish life wasn’t so technology driven. It wasn’t all about the internet and texting and immediacy. No one’s life looks like it does on Facebook, sometimes not even mine! But many will never admit that (yep, I just did!)…and I guess that’s just all part of the illusion 😉

Why You Need Your Girlfriends…

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Good girlfriends are hard to come by. Why? Because in all honesty, girls can be bitches. I mean let’s face it, at some point (or multiple!) in your life you’ve been one. Did a girlfriend steal your boyfriend in high school? I bet you were a bitch then (and she was kind of a bitch too). Or talk about you behind your back? Oh, I bet bitchy came out then (and that was pretty bitchy of her too). Maybe you have a bitchy boss who’s intimidated by you or that bitchy woman you always get on the phone at the doctors office (I’m a first time mom, OKAY?!). Was someone mean/hurtful to your child? Your bitch level probably hit the fan when that one happened.

But, it’s not just women either. There are some mitches out there too (for those unfamiliar with Kevin Hart, that would be a man-bitch, or ‘mitch’). Because we are innately flawed as humans, we have developed these behaviors/attitudes/ways of living that we justify for our actions. We feel we have the right for our ‘bitchy/mitchy’-ness. But do we?

I had some shitty girlfriends in my lifetime. A few talked behind my back when I thought they were my friends, a few went after guys I was dating and some even ended up dating them (!) and a few just wrote me off based on changing circumstances. I wasn’t a perfect friend either. I gossiped about some of my friends and said hurtful things to them too (I just felt more on the receiving end of the backstabbing then the giving). There were friendships that naturally fizzled, others that went down in flames and a very few to this day that have remained as my closest and strongest.

It’s natural for friendships to change, especially when everything else in our lives do. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve found an amazing group of girlfriends I feel so blessed to be a part of. They all went to high school together and had what I wished I did…a group of girlfriends that stayed friends and true to each other. I feel like I have been friends with them my entire life and have to say now that we are all moms, I rely on them more than ever!

The best part about aging and friendships is how you mature. You realize what’s important in life. You don’t have time for drama. Your gossiping is restricted to celebrities and reality TV shows. You complain about your husbands and sometimes your kids but never one another. You support, love and respect each others decisions. You never judge. You never fault. And sometimes when its needed, you always forgive.

The older I get, the more I realize how much I need my girlfriends. I need to vent about how marriage is hard work or ask questions about something regarding my daughter. And sometimes…just sometimes I just need to let loose! I need to go out and enjoy drinks and lots of laughs with just the girls. And when Channing Tatum happens to be involved, that’s an extra perk!

As women, whether we are close friends, co-workers or strangers on the street, I hope we find more ways to be accepting of one another, our own personal struggles and successes and really embrace the power of womanhood instead of tearing each other down. Whether you have one or one hundred girlfriends, cherish your friendships…they’re an extension of you. I’m so happy to have the girlfriends that I do! 🙂

Why I Will Always Love My First Home

home
Home. A four-letter word that can invoke so many feelings. A place of childhood memories, family traditions, laughter and love. A place of entertaining, good food, good friends and the best’s night sleep you’ll ever have. A place of security, new beginnings and new adventures. A place of comfort and peace. Home is where the heart is. While I am so excited to move into our new home, I am also having increasing feelings of nostalgia about leaving our current one. 

 This was my home of ‘firsts’. The home where my husband made me dinner when we were first dating (I remember the meal like it was yesterday: grapes, wine, white and milk chocolate chunks to start followed by grilled chicken kabobs, vegetables and salad), the home where he first said ‘I love you’ to me as we stood in the kitchen, the home we shared all of our dreams, goals, fears and innermost secrets, the home where we had our first fight (and make up), the home that we cooked together, danced together, laughed so hard we cried together in, the home snuggled on the couch night after night in, the home we welcomed our daughter into, the home where we were grew our garden (that I will desperately miss!) and fruit trees (and these too!) and the home that even though was solely my husband’s before we got married, feels just as much mine as his. 

 Leaving our current home feels like I’m leaving a piece of me with it. A piece that has experienced so many incredible memories in it. While I’ll always carry those memories in my heart, it’s hard to leave the place that created them. I will never forget cooking dinner and dancing to One Republic’s ‘Feel Again’ in the kitchen with my husband or playing peek-a-boo through the living room curtains with my daughter. I’ll never forget the moment I took that pregnancy test and running up to tell my husband ‘we’re pregnant’ or even the simple moments like doing the dishes in the kitchen and watching my husband out the window cutting the grass or working in the garden. These are just some of the reasons I will always love my first home. 

 So as we pack up of our home of ‘firsts’, I smile through a few tears feeling blessed for all God gave us here. I know future blessings and memories await us, and I welcome them with open arms.

When Did I Stop Caring Completely?

tired lady
There came a point in my life when I stopped caring about what I looked like. I didn’t stop caring completely, I just ‘wasn’t as concerned’. It happened after my wedding. I was in the best shape of my life and I was newly married. I had a husband so my desire on ‘dressing to impress’ vanished. I found someone who loved me for ‘me’, even when that me had no make up on or was covered in acne creams. He loves me through all it all, even in the moments where I am the furthest thing from ‘sexy’.

We found ways to continue to stay in shape so we didn’t fall into letting ourselves go as a married couple, but when you live together, there isn’t really time to impress or a need (I think the vows ‘for better or worse’ could probably be applied here). Sure, we got dressed up for date nights, work functions, holidays and other events, but it wasn’t all the time. It wasn’t like when we were dating. And even after a while, you become comfortable enough to stop ‘trying’. I remember the first time I decided not to wear make up to hang out with my now husband. As I drove over to his (now our) home, I had this pit in my stomach filled with worry about what he would think. I entered with the bold statement, “well, this is me without make up” as he told me my face is beautiful and he always wants to see me that way…

Well, his wish is my command! I’m sure he didn’t mean ‘all the time’ but these days, that’s definitely what he gets. I have completely stopped caring about how I look. I think the worst part is it’s spilled into the rest of my life too. I go grocery shopping in sweat pants, I sometimes don’t even brush my hair before throwing it up and heading off to work and when we have parties/work functions/events to attend, it’s truly a struggle for me to fully dry my hair and put a somewhat presentable face forward.

I have become a beautifying slob. I have stopped caring completely about what I look like and it’s not okay. I have become lazy with my looks. I am embarrassed…except, I’m really not! I can scold myself a million times but I just don’t care that much. I should…but I don’t. I had a friend mention to me who got a new job that she wanted to dress better because she thinks people take you more seriously when you do. I tend to agree. Putting on my business suit, fixing my hair and applying some make up goes much farther than my baggy sweaters and maternity pants (which I completely need to stop wearing but I refuse until I return to my pre-pregnancy weight!). Or does it? Do people really care? Seriously, do they?

I need to work on getting back to trying with my looks, I really do. I guess there is just so much else going on in my life I don’t have the time or the will. Because as much as I say I don’t care, i still have that desire to feel pretty. I want to look it and be told it. Not all the time, but every now and then. So today I dressed better for work, wore my hair down and even applied some make up. Does it make me feel more confident or that people are taking me more seriously? Not really, but at least it’s an effort. And without effort, we would never have results. Beauty is only skin deep, but it never hurts to give that skin a good house cleaning once in a while.