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CURRENTLY – OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS!

As a Californian, it’s sometimes tough to notice the seasons changing and for many years the holidays always sneak up on me. BUT NOT THIS YEAR!  This year, I kicked off the holiday season in the most fabulous way I ever dreamed of!

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I was invited to attend the Oprah’s Favorite Things reveal holiday kick-off party!  The evening fulfilled every dream I held onto since watching Oprah give away her list of Favorite Things for many years on her show and, now, in her magazine. While I was invited to attend the event, the decision to share my opinion, and the opinions given, are always my own.

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I’m so humbled and grateful that three of us #OMagInsiders, Tonya, Rachel and I, received the invitations as a result of being recognized by our peers for our community-building efforts within the #OMagInsiders group. 

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While this VIP invitation rewarded us with many comforts (Thank you O, The Oprah Magazine!!), the most rewarding gift is being a part of this group and celebrating this festive night with the other #OMagInsiders who inspire me and motivate me daily! My excitement grew exponentially each time another O Mag Insider walked through the door to celebrate the with us!

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Everyone’s been asking me – what were your favorites, what should I get? I’ve compiled a list of what I’m CURRENTLY OBSESSING over to help inspire you!

CURRENTLY INSPIRED
As the elevator doors opened on one of the top floors of a high-rise in Manhattan, the excitement of the people in evening attire and the colors of the inviting packages flooded my senses!

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I loved that in the spirit of giving and Oprah’s Favorite Things, we brought children’s books as donations to Books for Kids Foundation. Oprah and I have that in common – I always gift at least one book with every child toy I give! I love the idea of encouraging kids to keep reading hard copy books!

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CURRENTLY CRAVING
The enchanting twinkling city lights drew us farther into the room while inviting us up to Cloud 9 with an endless view of downtown. Delicious appetizers passed by featuring Oprah’s Favorite flavors from sweet to savory!  Savory won me over.

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The Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese – served in mini tart crusts are perfection! The Truffle Burger Kit makes burgers impossible to ignore! To unassuming guests, it’s a juicy mouthful of quality beef until the truffle flavor dances across your taste buds! If you haven’t done a lot of truffle stuff yet, start here. Beef and truffles go together!

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CURRENTLY PLANNING MENUS
I’m following Oprah’s suggestion to make holiday morning french toast using one of Roy’s Panettones. The multi-dimensional flavors and texture melt into your mouth! Red Velvet Gourmet Bundt (other flavors also available) brings on the holidays looking like something Santa would favor – but translates well to every other occasion as well! Bundts are the best because they pack as much cake goodness as possible in a slice!

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Put aside my status as a highly-caffeinated individual – you know that nothing goes better with baked goods than COFFEE! Look at the various options that Nespresso Lattissima One Silky White  indulged us with! …and so easy to use!

img_8595In my other hand, I held a signature cocktail made from Oprah’s favorite Casa Dragones Tequila – now in a size suitable for stocking stuffing!  

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CURRENTLY INDULGING
I rarely make self-indulgent purchases but, after this trip, I’m changing my philosophy. I can’t take my eyes off the clean, bold patterned Tory Sport color-block tracksuit because the pattern commands my attention and accentuates the strength of women. This weekend I’ll be the calmest shopper out there (or online) on Black Friday comfortably navigating sales while wearing fashionable Ultra Lite Caftan.  

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I love the power of scents to help me make sense of my day.  I love the La Chatelaine Deluxe Hand-Cream set because what woman doesn’t love options and a world of possibilities?

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CURRENTLY BEING SCHOOLED
While I always spent money for well-built shoes to train for endurance events, I’m the opposite with my daily wear shoes. Now Oprah’s Favorite Things boasts two footwear options with technology, structure and style to help me outlast my to-do lists. While already partial to the APL: TechLoom Bliss after hearing they were created by twin USC Trojans, I was sold by the sleek elegance of the shoes. The warm red color promoted them from athletic wear to chic wear.  

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My feet eagerly anticipate sliding into my Vionic Gemma plush slippers when I’m finally home for the night. They cradle my foot with the softest fluffy lining topping an orthotic footbed engineered to give my feet a second wind (after I’m finished reading my O Mag).

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CURRENTLY GIFTING
I’m over the idea of gift cards. I love dreaming up gifts that people will (hopefully) love and use – and remember!  I look for gifts that dazzle me like the Rainbow Tumblers – and everything else from Glitterville.com. They’re beautiful and enhance every event!  

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I love the Empowered bracelets because they share six beautiful but powerful mantras you wear on your wrist (without getting it permanently inked).

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The next gift warmed my heart and my hands because we got to hear the history behind these Knitted Faux Fur Mittens and how Oprah’s feedback helped shape the final product.  The Power of O made them happen! Your hands will thank you!

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For my sweetest friend, who invited us to stay at her home on our last trip back east, I left Face to Face Designs Napkins knowing that she’d have a house full of guests this holiday week!  Use them as napkins or bathroom finger towels! 

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CURRENTLY FASCINATED BY
I cannot stop dreaming about this item and while I personally can’t afford it, nor do I have a wall fancy enough to test it on, I’m dying to see this Samsung 2018 X7FN QLED TV in person! When it’s on, it’s a TV – when it’s off, it DISAPPEARS on the wall!?! Please call me for movie night if you get it, I’ll bring the popcorn!

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I love LOVE this idea and wish I’d thought of it first – the Lumos Kickstart Helmets that show lit up blinker signals on the back of a cyclist’s helmet to indicate where they’re turning.  Whether you have 2 or 4 wheels, you’re welcome! #ShareTheRoad

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CURRENTLY RECEIVING HINTS ABOUT
My kids had renewed interest in Oprah and the list that she and Adam Glassman carefully procured when they heard iPhone XRs were on the list.  Maybe I’ll give in for the one leaving for college this fall (let’s see if he reads my blog). Perhaps I’ll buy time with the other child’s current phone by upgrading her ear buds to AirPods.

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Tell me, do you have Amazon Echo Spot in every room of your house to play tunes throughout, or for shopping? Convince me why I’ll love it!

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We waited forever to take an Elevator Selfie!

Whether this was my one time experiencing Oprah’s Favorite Things in person live, or if I ever get invited back again, or I’d even volunteer as a helpful Elf – the evening met and surpassed every idea of what I thought this evening could be.  

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Dream come true to tour the O, The Oprah Magazine offices!

Waking up the next day and finding out it wasn’t all a dream was the best feeling! I love that even on any other year, I still have fun sampling a few things off of her list!

Wanna see the whole list of 107 Oprah’s Favorite Things?!

What about you?

  • Did you splurge and buy anything off of her list?
  • Are you doing #BlackFriday or #SmallBusinessSaturday?
  • Will you be braving the stores or shopping online this holiday season?
  • Which Oprah’s Favorite Thing would you buy if money was no object?
  • Have you considered doing a “Favorite Things” exchange with your friends where everyone exchanges their own favorite things?
  • What are your Favorite Things that you feel should be on next year’s list?
  • Have you checked out the new OprahMag.com – it’s where I live now!
  • Want to subscribe to the O, The Oprah Magazine?
  • Have you seen the special edition “Let It Go!” (it’s like curling up with a good book)!

What are you Currently up to?
Consider these:

  • CURRENTLY AVOIDING
  • CURRENTLY DRINKING
  • CURRENTLY WATCHING
  • CURRENTLY PANICKING
  • CURRENTLY COVETING
  • CURRENTLY COOKING
  • CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
  • CURRENTLY NEEDING
  • Or dream up your own!

#OMagInsiders #OprahsFavoriteThings2018 #OprahsFavoriteThings #OMagazine #OprahMag #OFT #HolidayShopping #BlackFriday #CyberMonday #ShopSmall #SmallBusinessSaturday #MakesMeWander

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LOOKING FOR AN IN WITH THE OUTSIDER

Only one celebrity inspired me to write a fan letter C. Thomas Howell.  I was in 8th grade, an outcast in my new school (5th new school in 8 years), and he played an outcast high school Greaser in a little story turned big movie.

Be still my heart!
Thanks Fanpop.com for the great shot!

While it boasted a pile of heartthrobs, his heart of gold stood out. I never finished that letter but it probably went something like this:

“Dear C. Thomas,

Do you prefer Christopher or Thomas?  I wanted to tell you that I loved you in The Outsiders, and E.T.! It must be really cool being a movie star, but I love that you still take time for your horses!  I ride too! English, mostly, except when I hit the trails in my western saddle or bareback. If you’re ever in San Diego, please look me up – we have great trails!”

I settled for one-way conversation from the big screen to my heart, but was heartbroken when I didn’t hear much from him after Red Dawn!

Wolverine!
Seriously, they remade this?!

What brought this on? Yaani York’s 2012 blog that featured Letters to Celebrities!  She thought of everything you’d want to ask or bring up to smack sense into celebrities, not just adoring them as I did.  I can think of a few celebrities who need her to give it to them for real! The thing that I love most about her nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award in May is that she proudly calls herself a writer.  For me to get recognition from someone in a position that I’m striving for feels amazing! So Thank You, Raani, for your support, your publications and fun letters!

Ironically, 20 years after penning my letter, I stood in line at a grocery store at the next cashier over from C. Thomas Howell.  Did I talk to him? No after such a long time with a one-way conversation, I didn’t know what else to do but check out imdb.com and to see what he’s been up to and what he might be filming in my neighborhood.

We haven’t aged a day!

I was pleasantly surprised that he’s been working steadily this whole time so now I have 20 years of catching up to do!

#TheOutsiders #CThomasHowell #SEHinton #Greasers #Socs #Horses #Cowboys #TeenAgeHearthrob #celebritycrush #penpal #whatcouldvebeen

SWEETER THE SECOND TIME AROUND

WTF: Wave Two Fingers!

Are things sweeter the second time around?  Here are two arguments with two sides and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

MEN
Girl meets boy. Girl loves boy. Boy breaks up with girl. Girl gets over boy. Boy comes crawling back to girl when they’re both home for the summer…  In my case, it didn’t fly.  Now, Girl is great friends with Boy. Then, there was no chance of the romance reaching the same marks so awkwardness ensued.  The reasons we weren’t right still weren’t right.   I’ve known people who married, divorced, then were so friendly and fun they remarried, remembered why they divorced, only to do it again.  Yet, I’ve also had friends who dated someone in high school, their lives went in two different directions until years later their paths cross again when the timing was golden!

JOBS
Girl gets job. Girl loves job. Job’s corporation closes company. In a pre-emptive strike, Girl leaves job.  Now temping, Girl accepts assignment at barely-standing old job to see friends.  Again, with no chance of the job respect to ever reach the same marks, awkwardness ensued. Yet, I’ve had friends who leap from their job to another company then pinball back into first in a higher position within carefully calculated timeframes to maintain seniority and retirement.

THINGS I KNOW ARE SWEETER THE SECOND TIME

Children – While I’d heard 1 + 1 (kids) equals 11 times the work, not 2, the payoff of having two amusing offspring amazing the heck out of me was 11 times as rewarding!

Marathons – At my 2nd mile 25, instead of cursing the course creators for their never-ending finish line, I remember a distinctly jubilant moment as I ran the last 1.2 miles!

Blog Awards – While it’s an honor to be nominated, to be nominated twice is superb!  I thank Caitlin at What She Writes for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award – again!

So looooong overdue! Thank you Caitlin!
I’m working on my crazy questions but couldn’t put this off any longer!

I get a kick out of knowing people keep reading and it means a lot that they respond!  I love that people in my blogosphere share similar or creative thoughts so check out Caitlin’s blog if you like mine.

So, pipe in! I could use a second opinion!

YOU WANT ME TO WHAT?

The Mega Lottery jackpot hit $500 million! The community buzzes with anticipation for Friday night’s draw and the endless possibilities! My son drafted a plan for our winnings – he assures me he’s a big money financial whiz. Everywhere I go, people cannot stop talking about their hopes and plans.

LOTTERY STRATEGY:

1) Picking numbers – I prefer quick picks, I don’t favor any numbers. Many people stick to sentimental numbers including wedding dates, athlete jersey numbers, or children’s ages.

2) Buying Tickets – I conservatively purchase single drawings, but this time I’m investing up to $10 plus the gas to drive to the Top 3 “Lucky Store” in the state, #1 in two counties – Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne. The debate between buying individual vs. group tickets comes up often.

Some people theorize the darkest, hidden liquor stores are the luckiest!

That brings me to…

3) The odds – Buying with a group of 10 people improves your odds of winning from 1 in 179,000,000 to 1 in 17,900,000. I don’t buy into averages – blaze your own path!

I'll retire the jar if I win!

4) The winnings – People babble about early retirement, traveling, paying off loans – endless opportunities! Even the lesser winners with 5 of 6 numbers yield over $300,000 that still significantly impacts your life.

FRESH FINANCIAL ADVICE

1) Keep working – My son advised me that I may not quit my job and must continue on my 7-year plan to work at a university to pay for their college. MY PLAN: Donate a building to the university of his choice if he’d let me reduce my hours.

2) Fun Allowance – He will invest and donate most of it and spend $50 million a year for a fun family vacation. MY PLAN: Take family on an around-the-world trip and fly family in to see the kids monthly no matter where we are. We’d still have so much extra that we’d be forced to buy exotic animals and have loads of plastic surgery. The intern shot this down.

Bon Voyage!

3) Investments – My advisors suggested buying stock but didn’t know how. MY PLAN: I do.

My son needed clarification about if they print out the bills to pay us – all 500 million of them. Truthfully, no matter how the drawing turns out, these conversations were priceless. GOOD LUCK!

BETTER THAN BADGES?! BLOGGER BLING!

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Today I wallowed in self-pity over this cold lasting FOREVER – really, 8 days – and my cold med-muted creativity. Then, something sparkly caught my eye to draw my vision beyond the walls of my Kleenex box.  Vanessa Chapman nominated ME for a versatile blogger award!  This means a lot because I frequently ponder whether my career seemed too versatile, not focused enough!  So thank you Vanessa – this nomination feels great!   For those of you reading this posting, I recommend you check out Vanessa’s page as she, like me, has 2 kids, but successfully freelances and acts!

So the rules of the award are to present 7 unique facts about me and to give kudos to 15 sites that I love (>365 words tonight)

MY SEVEN UNIQUE FACTS:

1)    My parents thought girls were easier to raise than rough-and-tumble boys, but I’ve required more stitches than most men I know – not counting babies’ births.

2)    I got one job interview because I listed “hat-writing” (embroidering on Mickey ears) as a skill on my resume and it peaked their curiosity. Didn’t take the job at the trigger (handguns) factory.

3)    Most people assume I am Hawaiian, except the Hawaiians don’t fall for it to offer me the local discount.

4)    I’m half Korean – I don’t know what the other half is

5)    The first 3 places I worked for went bankrupt.  The 4th noticed but said they weren’t worried – Disneyland.

6)    I love watching any sport live but not on TV.  Perhaps crowd-watching is the proper sport!

7)    While I’m totally star struck, I hold it together when my job depends on it. I couldn’t help it when I phoned Bill Cosby: “I’m not supposed to say this, but I have to tell you how much fun my family had watching the Huxtables for years!” He seemed truly flattered despite me being the million gazillionth person to tell him that.

MY FIFTEEN FAVORITE SITES:

1)    lovemymslife.com – High School friend – MS Advocate – MS Awareness week!

2)    joechacon.wordpress.com – His writing on a variety of mediums – versatile

3)    jenniferstgermain.com– Sweetest perspective on her big life

4)    planetmarce.blogspot.com – One of the most talented designers I know!

5)    housefullofmenandme.blogspot.com – A supermom who gets it all done

6)    cupcakesbyjoyce.com – Everything more delicious than the last!

7)    marcandangel.com – Endless inspiration

8)    dudecraft.com – Dude, crafts!

9)    karaspartyideas.com – I love planning parties

10)  theangrytherapist.com – Nuff Said!

It’s getting really tough to choose at this point but will recommend 5 more, and notify everyone by the morning to fulfill my duties as Versatile Blogger!  Thank you again, Vanessa!

SOLAR STORM YIELDS A POCKET FULL OF SUNSHINE

Woo hoo!  Three cheers for the sun this week!  A solar flare threatened to tan us all to a crisp or frazzle our GPS to mess up our commutes!  We received warm enough days for kids to jump in the ocean – no sane adult would do that without a wetsuit. Then, as I left work, I discovered I’d received a pocketful of sunshine from Beth over at weight4us.  THANK YOU for The Sunshine Award nomination!

Check out these amazing ladies!

Made My Day - Thank you!

This award spread a smile across my face and put a spring in my step! To receive this nomination from two ladies who so honestly share their life experience – past, present, and future – and the challenges they face together while on their journey means a lot.  Everyone’s challenges differ, but we all experience them and the journey goes better with someone to travel the road with you.

Rules

  • Place up the award picture, link back to and thank the person who nominated you – hopefully I did that right
  • Answer the ten questions posed to you
  • Pass on the award to 10 or more bloggers

Questions

  • Favorite colorRed – Passionate!
  • Favorite animalHorse
  • Favorite number5 – as in o’clock
  • Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Arnold Palmer
  • Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
  • My passionKindness
  • Getting or giving presents: Giving
  • Favorite pattern:   Hidden Mickeys
  • Favorite day of the weekSaturday – as far from the workweek as possible
  • Favorite flower: Tuberoses – heavenly scent

I am excited to pass on the Sunshine Award to 10 bloggers who I feel bring overflowing pockets of sunshine into my day.  I chose blogs that a) I’ve met only in the blogosphere; b) Must contribute beauty to this world! Please check out their blogs and if you like them as much as I do, follow them!

kevinscottdavis

The Positivity Page

From Nonsense to Momsense

Single Dad Laughing

Smile, kiddo

The Struggler’s Handbook

Eggton

Sarsm

Julia Hedlund  Write Up My Life

Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Sunshine relaxes me, envelopes me, soothes me, surprises me.  Thanks again Beth, for presenting me with the closest sunshine-in-a-can substitute for the real thing!  You and Elysia inspire us all!

Enjoy your weekend!

Best,

Sarah

I’M STUCK ON GETTING UNSTUCK DAILY

Waking up Friday, the first thought sneering and challenging me counted “10 hours til Friday night!”  Still high off the me-time from last week I counted on the zen to return once the 5 o’clock hour hit.  Only one job, a short commute, and Tae Kwon Do class to carpool first.

Then, I got a sunshiney email saying that another really creative and fun blog that celebrates 365 day projects and getting UNSTUCK featured MY BLOG today! Check it out!

So excited I didn't need coffee this morning!

It put a spring in my step and a smile on my face! Validation flowed through my veins. I became community property, shared with another blogger’s audience!

Then, ironically, I got stuck!  Now, expectation looked over my shoulder watching what I typed.  My daughter moved my shoulder to tally today’s total views. My son hugged my shoulders asking about today’s topic. Now, he literally sleeps right behind my shoulder on the fold-out couch meaning I’m not alone with my thoughts.  I do love that they’re interested in my passion, and I hope they learn the pleasure of expressing themselves through creative mediums.

The saying goes “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Today’s attention took this project from a personal challenge to the general public. Yet thoughts of the obvious perks from turning my treasured pastime into my life’s work turn fuzzy when considering business plans, budgets, and SWOT analysis reports.

Running low on time, I went to the room where I get my best thinking done and a book offered advice “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…” A bookmark still saved the spot where I meant to continue reading back in 1998.

Anyone else find it ironic that this advice is found in a self-help book?

The chapter teaches that instead of forcing ourselves out of a bad or challenging mood after heavy self-analysis and exploration (who me?!) that if we understand and even celebrate bad moods as much as we celebrate great ones, we’ll see that this, too – even writer’s block – shall pass! I love this nightly opening of the dam and letting words flow onto the page.

Smooth sailing from here on out!

So, thank you Noah and thank you readers, whether you’re floating through for your first or fifty-fifth time, I’m glad you’re wandering with me!

 

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