THE STAR! The Premiere

The magic of films, the power of storytelling and the glitter of Hollywood remain a few of the reasons I choose to live near Los Angeles. Films entertain and educate us, they change our perspectives, and expand our views of our world – or what exists beyond. My favorite trend right now revolves around telling historic or well-known stories from a different perspective – whether showcasing a lesser known person who had a significant role in history, telling a side of history that we’re not familiar with, or telling historic stories through fictionally-enhanced side-stories. My new fascination with history lies not with people’s outcomes, but with their journeys.

When invited to the world premiere of Sony Pictures The Star, the twin angels on my shoulders, Oprah and Shonda, eagerly responded: Year of adventure! Year of Yes! Despite working at a film studio for many years, I rarely participated in a project’s release. What a fun opportunity to see a film first and a festive way to ease into the holiday season! Plus this was another amazing destination on my journey this year. With two of my #OMagInsiders blogging pals – Camesha [MamaMotivator] and Rachel [RachelSimmondsFitness] – we set out to support Oprah in her film project, and hopefully thank her in-person for inspiring my Year of Adventure in person.

Approaching the Westwood movie theatre, crowds of fans outlined the streets huddling to catch a glimpse of their favorites from this star-studded cast. The snowy white carpet glistened as elegantly decorated Christmas trees reflected the flash of paparazzi bulbs.

Glimpsing the well-choreographed dance between the celebrities and the press fascinated me – especially the young media with a larger camera and staff than ours.

To our surprise, we effortlessly walked past the will-call line and crowds to the back of the festival set up along the white carpet for the guests and their families! Stocked with comfort finger-foods and carnival games, smiles shone bright from all who lingered in this carved out Winter Wonderland before heading into the screening.

This film exceeded my expectations in so many ways because of the balance in the film. While it’s a familiar story, this film presents the stories of many less-visible characters, little obstacles we hadn’t thought of before and the shock of experiencing it first-hand. While it’s a story of great magnitude, it’s presented in a sweet, simple way that people of all ages can follow with a great balance of good, evil, struggle, humor, skepticism and faith. While it’s a religious story, the amount of religion infused in the story isn’t too much, or too little – it’s just right. I highly recommend this film for families this holiday season. I can’t wait to take my mom, children and my niece!

Seeing The Star film in this huge theatre filled with the magic-makers – who took months, even years to complete this film – escalated my excitement for this project. I always try to sit through credits but in this moment we could applaud the creators as they closed this chapter in their amazing journey! Plus this amazing soundtrack had us dancing in the aisles!

There were a few messages from the film that resonated with me, especially reflecting on my personal journey this year, yet will benefit all ages. Whether your destiny remains unclear to you so far or it shines like a beacon as obvious as the star in the sky, it’s not just reaching the point of achieving your goal that defines you as successful. Equally as valuable are how well you stay your course, face fears or evolve when unexpected things happen or undesirable situations are put in your way. If your faith in your journey and in your goals persevere you rise above the naysayers and reach your goals.

No, we did not congratulate Oprah this time, but I left the afternoon with amazing memories, new life experiences tucked under my belt – shared with my newest best friends, and a new holiday family film tradition (to balance out our tradition of watching Christmas Vacation)!

For more shots of who I met on the white carpet check out my Instagram!

What about you?

  • Have you seen The Star?
  • who was your favorite character?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity voicing a character in this film?
  • What was your favorite holiday song/performer from the film
  • What holiday film do you traditionally watch?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite role that Oprah has played?
  • What was your last new experience that you were excited about saying yes to?
  • Are you ready for the holidays?

#thestarmovie #sonypictures #Oprah #OprahWinfrey #TylerPerry #TracyMorgan #Sony #AnimatedFilm #Animation #HolidayFilm #ChristmasMovie #ChristmasMusic #ChristmasCarols #Soundtrack #MerryChristmas #FirstChristmas #Mary #Joseph #Bethlehem #Thestar #film #movie #premiere #makesmewander

SONGS MY HEART SINGS

kind

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are your favorite Love Songs listed here?

Every day, but especially Valentine’s day, music has the ability to alter my mood. With today being the national reminder to love one another, I pulled together a soundtrack of songs that put me in the mood… to skip down the sidewalk tossing confetti hearts at everyone I pass.

Love Will Keep us Together by Captain & Tennille

Your Song by Elton John

I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder

Crazy for You by Madonna

Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins

(Everything I Do) I’d Do it For You by Bryan Adams

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

Silly Love Songs by Wings

Still the One by Shania Twain

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Bublé

BONUS: Baby Baby by Amy Grant

I know, I missed a whole bunch that commercially were bigger love songs, but these are my songs that can break my heart and make it sing at the same time – what are yours?

What would be on your Valentine’s Day Mix Tape?
Share your all-time favorite love song – if you can pick one!
Any other favorite ways to say “I Love You!”
Any favorite Valentine’s Day traditions?
Wanna buy any of the songs? Click thru on the song title!

#lovesong #love #IHeartYou #Valentine #Baby #ILoveYou #LoveYou #Crush #BeMine #CaptainandTenille #Madonna #EltonJohn #StevieWonder #PhilCollins #BryanAdams #CelineDion #Wings #ShaniaTwain #MichaelBuble #AmyGrant #Soundtrack

FAVORITE (& A FEW NEW) HOLIDAY ALBUMS

Whew, what a long spell without blogging! I’ll admit that I was surprised how events happening earlier this month on 11/9/16 scrambled my brain a bit and threw me off my blogging path!  Though I’d love to blame it on the election chaos, the truth lies in the fact that holiday music started playing around the clock on one of my favorite stations that same day – weeks before Thanksgiving!!  Now don’t get me wrong, music single-handedly gets me in the holiday mood faster than ugly sweaters and outlandish Christmas lights! Just call me old fashioned (or call me scarred from when I used to work in music and would hear holiday music heralding the halls in July) but I can’t listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving is done.

Now that you know my quirks, here are my traditions. We always buy one new Christmas album every year.  Below I’ll share with you our all time-favorites, and the highest contenders for this year.

CLASSICS
ELVIS PRESLEY – IF EVERY DAY WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS

xmaselvis

Nobody keeps you warmer on these cold winter nights. He’ll wrap you in his voice and sing to you as if you were cuddling by a fire. It has my all-time favorite song “Blue Christmas” and even has a holiday message from the King himself.
Runner up:  BING CROSBY – White Christmas

COMPILATION
THE BIG 80’s

xmas80s

From Billy Squier to Hall & Oats, Pat Benatar, Queen, The Pretenders, The Smithereens and The Ramones – to name a few – my childhood favorites come together to perform the ultimate holiday concert!   It features the funtastic “Christmas Wrapping” song about the girl and the guy trying to hook up all year but holiday magic brings them together for cranberry one holiday eve!
Runner up: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL CHRISTMAS

DIVA
MARIAH CAREY – MERRY CHRISTMAS

xmasmariah

Just last night on the Disneyland Holiday TV special, this diva belted out her instant classic (that she wrote back in 1994) and the world sang with her: “All I Want for Christmas Is You!” Her gospel tracks on this album get you rolling into the holidays and praying for her to do a whole gospel album. I know there was MERRY CHRISTMAS II YOU but it just wasn’t as DIVAlicious!
Runner up: CELINE DION – These Are Special Times

CAST
GLEE: THE MUSIC: THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM VOLUME 2

xmasglee

Not only do we miss our favorite voices singing to us regularly, but the arrangements on this show have always been worth a closer listen. They artfully highlight everyone’s voices through their choices of songs and partners. My favorite features Santana (Naya Rivera) singing “Santa Baby.” I love how her voice captures the classic tune, but one can sense the power she’s holding back!
Runner Up: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

CHILDREN
DISNEY CHRISTMAS FAVORITES, VOL. 2

 

xmasdisney

Honestly, pick up any Disney Christmas album and you’ll find a wonderful collection of classics and a new song or two. Characters will make you smile with songs, or you’ll find classic holiday tunes from the Parks.  I’ve never gone wrong with any holiday album from them and my kids love each one.
Runner Up: TIM BURTON’S A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

A CAPELLA

THE NYLONS – HARMONY

xmasnylonsWhile Pentatonix is bringing a capella to the forefront again, I’m guessing The Nylons probably helped influence them.  You may know them best from their song “Lion Sleeps Tonight” but you need to know their version of “Carol of the Bells! Rather than a Runner Up in this category, let’s turn right into… 

2016 CHRISTMAS MUSIC

PENTATONIX – A PENTATONIX CHRISTMAS

xmaspent

Speaking of Pentatonix, their career crescendo has hit a high note with the release of this, their 2nd, Christmas album. This group of vocalists who came from a variety of colleges (even one high school) and singing backgrounds to form the group that got its start on Youtube.com. Their “Hallelujah” video, released just 5 weeks ago, already has close to 12 million views.

SARAH MCLACHLAN – WONDERLAND

xmasmclach

Sarah’s angelic voice brings me to tears when singing any song, so pairing her with classic Christmas tunes truly brings the most golden sound you’ll hear.  After hearing her ethereal version of “Angels We Have Heard On High” you’ll feel as though angels were singing directly to you.  

SHE & HIM – CHRISTMAS PARTY

xmasshehim

Amazon Exclusive Deluxe Edition!

For those of you who may not know who makes up this duo, it’s a musical partnership of actress Zooey Deschanel on vocals and ukelele and M. Ward on guitars.  Their throwback sound perfectly teases us with an island holiday wishing “Mele Kalikimaka” – a classic everyone knows the chorus to, but now you can learn the rest of the verses.

What about you?
What is your favorite Christmas album?  Will you add to your collection?
If you wrote a holiday song about your life what would it be called?

 

#Pentatonix #Elvis #SheandHim #TheNylons #Glee #Gleek #Celine #CelineDion #Mariah #MariahCarey #Christmas #Holiday #NewYear #Soundtrack #Album #Disney #DisneyPixar #IBelieveInDisneyMagic #BingCrosby #NightmareBeforeChristmas #TimBurton #CharlieBrownChristmas #Peanuts #SarahMcLachlan #80s

MY FAVORITE ADVENT CALENDARS

Christmas shopping

Updated for 2019! (Note: This blog post contains Affiliate Links which means I get a few magical cents – at no additional cost to you – if you decide to buy any of these magical advent calendars, but I only share the ones I’d actually want to have in my home!)

Now that we ate our way through Thanksgiving I feel like life becomes a game of Chutes and Ladders leading up to Christmas!  On the one hand, time slows down the hourglass a bit as your to-do list becomes filled with larger projects and many social gatherings. On the other hand, it always comes too fast for me. I always wish I had a few more paychecks between now and then to play, gift and donate to everyone I want to.

So let me start by leap-frogging to December 1st!  For me, anticipation builds my excitement for any holiday! For Christmas, my internal clock gets a break because Advent calendars builds my holiday spirit – one day at a time! While some people carry a traditional method of counting down, I love to mix it up a bit to keep my kids on their toes.

In no particular order, because my vision of the holidays changes annually, here are my family’s favorite Advent Calendars! 

 

2019 advent anna elsa

 

Frozen Anna and Elsa – Frozen 2 is the MOST anticipated sequel this year! The beloved characters will have us all singing into the next decade as we live our fantasies of snowy kingdoms and adventures through their eyes! Being a huge Disney-nerd who lives in So Cal and does not get real snow, this film will get me in the right mind for winter!

2019 advent funko marvel

Marvel 80th Anniversary Funko Pop – These collectible adorable blockhead characters take over someone’s room so quickly! But I’m just as obsessed with these as my kids and to have miniature versions is SO fun!  You get so many of the Marvel universe with this amazing calendar!

2019 advent harry potter

If Harry Potter is more your style, wave your magic wand (mouse) above!

2019 advent starwars lego

Lego Star Wars – After getting these calendars you may not need to do Christmas.  Lego and Star Wars tie for favorite toys with my children so the life of the daily toys lasts longer than the season. Plus these daily lego toys spawn creativity and the engineering side of my children’s minds which also goes a long way. 2019 starwars microFor younger Star Wars fans: Star Wars Micro Force Rise of the Skywalker gives a sticker or character every day to help introduce them to holidays in a galaxy far, far away!

2019 advent thomas

Thomas the Train – Back when my kids were young they traveled miles of imaginative journeys playing with their Thomas the Train set. Having a special calendar just dedicated to the land of Sodor would have been a dream come true!

advent-chocolate

Treat yourself!

Chocolate – Coming off of Halloween, you may not be as eager to rush out and get a chocolate calendar – until I tell you it’s made by Cadbury!  You may want to buy one for yourself (and a bottle of red wine) and treat yourself during the season where you’re considering everyone else’s treats!

advent-ring

For a how-to tutorial, click the picture!

DIY Paper Rings – I’d say most of us made these rings out of construction paper and hung them on the wall or framing our door to count down days for the holidays or vacations. Whether as a calendar or decoration, its a fun tradition to sit together and make these. During these still quieter moments, the fun stories of old come forth again.  

advent-mel-doug

Melissa & Doug Tree – This lovely calendar will become a family tradition as everyone remembers their favorite ornaments to hang on this wooden tree.  The whole family’s excitement will grow as the ornaments decorate more and more of the tree! Melissa & Doug products last long enough to be passed down.

nativity

Nativity Scene – As a beautiful reminder for the reason for the season, these calendars recreate the Nativity story with a new addition each day. This gives one plenty of time to ponder each new addition to the story and stop to really consider its significance!

 

2019 advent bathbomb

 

12 days of Holiday Bath Bombs – Your most likely the one organizing, planning, shopping, shipping and everything else to make sure everyone has an amazing holiday season. Don’t forget to take time for you to relax and recharge!  Again, the value of spending a few moments to yourself will outlast the holiday!

paper

I love the simplicity of this look from the allfortheboys.com blog!

DIY Grab bag – Who doesn’t love opening presents?  This way your family gets a small daily gift you can tailor to fit your style!  Go as simple as a brown paper bag with raffia, all the way to decorative cellophane bags. Gifts can range from Bonus tickets: Watch an extra Christmas special! to favorite treats, or notes to your family! To really torture them, give them 1 clue a day about some surprise that will come their way at Christmas!

advent-grat

Click thru to learn how to make the Gratitude Calendar (originally from pragmaticmom.com blog)

Gratitude – I saw this idea on another blog and LOVE it!  This idea is similar to the one above, only fill each bag with a random act of kindness to complete for others.  OR you can create a Gratitude Journal as they do in the blog post and write down the things you’ve completed – or write down one thing you’re grateful every day. Warms your heart better than hot chocolate and the memories are rich when you look back each year!

advent-alcohol

Alcohol calendar – To warm your hot chocolate one step farther – may I suggest Alcohol Advent calendars.  I found a company that creates a calendar for you featuring scotch whisky, bourbon, rum or vodka (to name a few). You can peruse their site like a kid in a candy store and custom make your own calendar.  You’re welcome!

2019 advent christmas scene

 

Classic Christmas Tree Decorations – or that relative who has everything, why not surprise them with this amazing calendar. I love that this calendar can be used year after year and it becomes part of the tradition to build excitement as you slowly decorate the tree with the little ornaments found in each drawer! The picture and the anticipation of a finished tree set the tone for a warm family and tradition-filled holiday.

2019 advent sweater

Ugly Christmas Sweater Winner – The perfect thing to wear around the Christmas tree, to your work party, to your child’s holiday school concert! …and it’s not that ugly!

What about you?
Do you mix it up each year or use an heirloom calendar?
Can you share other ideas for wonderful ways to count down to the holidays?
Feel free to share ideas or links!

 

(C) Disney

MIDLIFE MOTHER’S DAY REMIX

Am I the only one who was glad to not be harshly yanked from my dream of driving down a scenic cliff side road in a vintage convertible with sun on my face, breeze in my hair only to find cinnamon toast showering her sheets as the kids get ready to rumble?

wake up

Even as  youngsters, holidays never started at the crack of dawn. For my now tween and teen – Rewritten Mother’s Day rituals (as they dawned on me today):

Sleep in or entertain yourselves until the clock passes 10am – This morning I am loving watching them sleep, listening to their snoring like I used to when they were babies in their cribs. Advanced kid move: If you wake up early, silently read in bed or make a list of 10 things you love to do with Mom.

The little (free) things matter most – While I love any great adventure that the kids dream up, please know that one sibling-bicker-free day, not having to repeat myself/find it for you or the gift of a longer-than-fleeting smile while your games reload makes me feel rich! Advanced kid move: Good long hugs earn you almost anything.

Leave no trace – As the amazing day you planned draws to an end, put the house back into better shape than when you found it without Mom lifting a finger. Cinnamon toast in bed – you strip the sheets and wash them. After the celebrations make time pass too quickly – go work on your homework without being told so her glow doesn’t turn to glowering. Advanced kid move: Set up the next day in advance so Mom eases her way into Monday, too – backpacks and sports gear packed, clothes out, lunches made (bonus points if you make Mom’s lunch), coffee machine locked and loaded.

cleanAll Mom’s deserve days of appreciation for their relentless dedication! For me, laying in bed since I woke up 3 hours ago, blogging from bed, looking forward to watching a mom rom com and take a walk together will be the best Mom’s Day yet.

Photo by SprayedOut.com

Here’s to you (& single Dads who mother too) and those many who support you all in being the best mom’s ever! Thanks to my kids whom I love more than words and who truly amaze me every day!

RED STARBUCKS CUP (inspired by Toby Keith)

red

RED STARBUCKS CUP

Inspired by Toby Keith’s

“Red Solo Cup”

.

Now Red Starbucks cup is the best receptacle

To fuel me through work-days, ball games and festivals

And their coffee is strong but some say they lack testicles

To Decorate Merry Christmas

.

Hey Red Starbucks cup is trash, inexpensive

In all my years, ain’t seen folks so offended

And unlike most gripes it’s something NOT printed

Folks seein’ red ‘bout missing holidays

.

CHORUS:

Red Starbucks cup, I fill you up

Order a grande, why not a venti?!

I love you Red Starbucks cup, I lift you up

Why’re they so whiney? Had too much caffeine!

.

Now I’m cracking up how you’re taking a stand

But I don’t relate, these’re First world problems, man

Cause you’re pouring your passion into the wrong plan

Am I wrong, it’s just a cup

.

But the “Merry Christmas” name campaign ain’t that hard-hittin’

All’s lost anyway when barista fouls the name written

On you with a Sharpie when they get real busy

Take a sip, steamed milk hit… relax

.

Chorus

.

Now I’ve seen you in white and I’ve seen you in green

But only you, Red, will do for this coffee queen

Cause you are the palette on which I scribble scenes

To bring the real warmth of the holiday

.

Red Starbucks cup, your season won’t last, it’s

More than a color, you’re contents – fantastic!

And believe me that I’m not the least bit sarcastic

When I look at you and pray:

“Red Starbucks cup, you’re not just Winter (No, no, God no)

Stay all year, yea (Year-long)

Thank you for bringing me cheer”

.

Chorus

.

[repeat]

.

I couldn’t help it, I had this rolling around in my head since the issue started simmering in the press.  Now it’s hit a boiling point with politicians chiming in and competitors taking the chance to do it better.  Without pointing out the obvious – if this is ruining your hoilday, the cup ain’t the problem.  Ellen said it best with a hand-crafted dose of holiday humor.

For real holiday cheer, buy someone who’s not expecting it a warm Starbucks drink and see how THAT makes you feel! Warmer than a Quad Latte in winter!

random

BEST MOTHER’S (OR OTHER) DAY GIFT

In our house the kids get excited about holidays – especially those involving gifts. We like to put thought into gift giving when we have the luxury of time, and they enjoy planning for me just as much. They start planning what they’re going to give me early on but considering they don’t have an allowance, the school no longer offers their gift fair (where the kids bought the family’s gifts), nor do we have another parent to take them shopping, their options were limited. Additionally, considering how much stuff resides in this apartment with us, the last thing I need are more tchotchkies. Pinterest didn’t exist yet in my universe so what now?!

I wish I still had the article that provided this gem so I could credit the woman. At her suggestion, I purchased a nicer journal and every Mother’s Day and birthday the kids now each design a page in the journal. So far, I’ve received pictures of our house, poems, and love notes with bouquets of flowers. One of the best parts becomes looking back reliving the love of previous years and laughing at what was on someone’s mind. I love seeing how the children’s abilities and interests grow each year as well.

Lauren working on her masterpiece!

The rules are simple – anything goes. It can be handmade or store bought then glued in the page, drawn, assembled as a collage, painted, stickers, glitter, anything! Realizing that children evolve, as do their moods, written words aren’t required but if you include them they can be original thoughts, song lyrics or whatever communicates your sentiment. Being realistic that kids will pass through teenage years, the philosophy “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” stands. I fully expect trends to waver from flowery sweetness to minimalist.

Carson keeps his back to me so I can’t see. Not too secretive but it worked.

Even if you do have another parent in the house to take the kids shopping, I’ve yet to see any gift that will beat the journal. While we started it for the holidays, my goal is to showcase it and make it available for any OTHER day as well so whenever the children feel so inclined, they may savor its pages, relish the memories and add to its richness.

Lauren’s 2011 masterpiece! (I haven’t seen 2012 yet!)

BEST DAY EVER – I WONDER AS I WANDER!

My son gave me a Valentine’s Day certificate for a day to do anything I want!  I carefully considered my plan, sorting events into two days – with or without kids. This reflects Part I of “My Day” (I go by hours, not calendar date).

Best gift ever – power to choose my day!

Picked up before cleaners: The early morning wake up, to chase down my kids’ toys running rampant throughout the house, was worth it when I left for my day of endless opportunities while someone else vacuumed behind my couch.

Grabbed coffee at 7-11: For someone who loves ordering the longest-named drink at Fivebucks, six pots of 7-11 flavored coffees, plus a lazy susan of creamers, thrills me.  I’ve had blueberry+cinnamon+vanilla coffee with caramel creamer. Today I had butter toffee+hazelnut with chocolate.  BONUS: It’s cheaper, faster and less bitter!

Trip to library: I located books from my wish list, strolled through new non-fiction – choosing a few about writers, then drooled over a cookbook Bacon! – a global collection of mouth-watering recipes that happened to use bacon, not just “slap bacon on anything and call it an improvement.”

So many books, so little time!

Napped: Rerouted my plans to home realizing I told the cleaners to not worry about locking the door when leaving. In our neighborhood, nobody’s going to walk in – EXCEPT a sign on my lawn says “For Rent – Apartment Open!” Later, while snoozing on my couch, someone walked smack into my locked door, then knocked asking to see the apartment.

Dinner with TNTers: For me to enjoy a meal with amazing people without thinking about marketing plans, the next event or volunteer roles to recruit them for, was a treat!  I really enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories …and got recruited for a Zombie Run.

Wine: I love red wine with a tiny square of chocolate.  I picked out two richer wines than usual thanks to a 30% off coupon. I did a social media Cheers! asking my Facebook friends to choose which wine to open first, and was invited to an online wine group.

Image

HANDS-DOWN WINNER: Malbec

I’m hoping Malbec goes well with shiny vampires – I still never made it past the bonus features. While watching I will find a new recipe to try – wanna bet it’ll involve bacon?!

WHAT IN TARNATION YOU GOT BREWIN’ THERE?!

Moonshine Kitty Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I started compiling my list of favorite movie kisses, one of which was the Twilight Prom Gazebo kiss. This reminded me that I wanted to finally watch the newest DVD release tonight now that I’ve lived with it in my home for 3 days. A glass of wine and a tiny piece of chocolate could make the evening even more perfect, so I narrow down my selection from the variety of sugar bombs.

Then, Oh Crap! We still need to make rock candy as our last requirement for my son’s Scout Scientist belt loop, patch or pin – I never could keep them apart – in order for him to bridge to Scouts.

We read the instructions and realized that we needed wooden sticks or clean string for the rock candy to grow on. Turns out neither were staples in all of my crafting stuff. With no option to reschedule, we moved on to Plan B for brilliant! I dreamed up the plan to pour molten sugar water in a shallower dish using wooden toothpicks as the sticks. To keep them from slipping in, I improvised quickly and used a plastic sandwich bag over the top of the small jar and pushed the toothpicks through the plastic and voila! It held the toothpicks upright and in place. Rock candy crystals may appear as early as tomorrow but will take at least 7 days to grow completely.

Rock Candy with cover holding the toothpicks upright!

Immediately things rolled right into reading time and while my daughter read, “The school bell rang. It was time for…” I blurted out “Timer!!” Time for Timer pranced across your screen Saturday mornings TV teaching you things about your body and health. He had us hankerin’ for a hunk of cheese and craving sunshine on a stick – a toothpick, really. I couldn’t believe that watching those PSA’s over and over would result in the perfect solution 34 years later!

Remember him?!

Turns out I do have popsicle sticks in the house, but honestly, I love that my mind did store things through the years and smaller rock candies are even cuter than the real size. Speaking of real, my valentine date with the Cullen’s awaits.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Sunshine on a Stick

WTF VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT

Candlelight makes everyone look perfect…

You are dressed to the nines, your lover looks delicious, dazzling eyes, skin warm in the glow of candlelight and starry night. They reach for your hand, pull it close to their heart, your heart skips a beat as you look into their eyes and try not to get carried away in butterflies.  You soak in every word of their pledge of love and affection for you, how they enjoy every minute with you and when you’re apart thinking of you makes their heart smile.  You’re perfect for them and complement each other better than ever hoped. They pull out a very personally wrapped present and slowly push it towards you. Your heart flutters with anticipation for this gift that they carefully picked out just for you. You shake the box gently as they pull you closer in an embrace. They are kissing your ear as you slowly untie the ribbon. The velvet kisses move down your neck as you remove the lid exposing a small envelope inside. They slowly push aside your collar, nuzzling your shoulder with their lips as you gently slide out a gift certificate for PLASTIC SURGERY?! You smash the box on their head, take the certificate and run.

Just want to change a little something…

I’m not above plastic surgery, I say do what makes you feel as awesome as you deserve, but receiving this gift from a loved one feels an awful lot like “I love you, BUT…”  Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that feel a tad superficial (although this is So Cal)?!  To give them the benefit of the doubt – perhaps they meant that you should do the work for “yourself” to make you feel better and then surprise your loved ones with newly enhanced parts.

Well OK, then…

To me, this gift ranks with those gifts one knows to never get a loved one like a vacuum, tools, or aprons – although I’d LOVE one of these.

I’d cook all day looking this cute!

Back to the story… you get a rush of endorphins running away, free with possibilities. The gift certificate does good bringing lots of love and money raised for the silent auction you donate it too. Hell, use it yourself, if you want – but only for yourself, not for anyone else!

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