Thursday, December 19, 2013

Socially Inclined Gratitude

Something I truly love about the holiday season is the outpouring of love and appreciation that comes along with it.  I love that, as we deck the halls & trim the trees & jingle the bells, we also reflect on all of the things that make us thankful.  'Tis the season for gratitude.

With that in mind, I am about just going to go ahead and say it.  I am thankful for social media.  

Go ahead, laugh.  Provide me with links to all of the articles condemning social for being a time suck or for offering us a distorted view of our "friends'" lives or how a woman, so distracted by Facebook, fell into the ocean.*  Tell me I'm trivial.  Go ahead.  But I stand by my social praise.

Of course, there's the obvious reason for my devotion:  social puts food on my table & clothes on my back (thanks, Microsoft!). But my benediction does not stop there.  

Thank you, social media, for reconnecting me with old friends & distanced relationships.  Without you, it's very unlikely that we would have mended those fences, cleared up those misunderstandings, and received friendships do-overs.  

Thank you for the visual showcase of my friends' and family member's lives.  My heart is full when I see my feeds full of photos of weddings and births, of smiling children going back to school and sitting on Santa's lap.  My twinge of jealousy is more nice than naughty as I read their travel blogs and peek in on their far-away adventures.  Their gratuitous food porn not only makes my stomach rumble, but also makes me a better cook and more well-versed in Seattle-area restaurants.  The bikini pics & Nike running apps inspire me to put down my bagel & get my ass to yoga - an ass, I might mention, made by said improved cooking & dining.  And when my entire Facebook feed of profile pics turns red in support of equal rights, I am moved to tears.  

Thank you, social, for connecting me with family members, those separated from me in age & distance, and giving us a place to get to know each other - and their spouses and children too.    

Thank you for providing me with a home for this blog.  Because of the readership and positive feedback I have garnered through social, I am inspired to continue to write.  

Thank you for being a place where we can find new jobs, solicit parenthood advice from a network of experts, share music, books and culture, celebrate births, grieve deaths, engage with colleagues, re-meet long lost friends, stay in touch with far away loved ones, receive support and champion others, and share inspiration and gratitude.   

And thank you, my friends, my communities, my networks, for allowing me to be a part of your lives. It's a privilege for which I'm deeply grateful.   

*Public Service Announcement:  This is a true story.  Please don't Facebook near ledges.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013

Another holiday season is upon us which means it must be time for another edition of My Favorite Things!
Again, I should remind you, Gentle Reader, that while you won't be gifted with many any of these things this year for being a loyal follower of this blog, you WILL receive riches and wishes beyond your wildest dreams when I, along with Baby In A Bar, become revered across the land.  I expect this to happen just as soon as I find time to write regular bi-weekly blog posts.  You do the math.

My Favorite Things 2013

1.  Pomegranate Seeds

I was first introduced to these little beauties by my friend Nicole of Savory Pear Catering, early in the year, and I had had no idea what I was missing.  Not only are they delightful little pops of yumminess in your mouth, they are also incredibly good for you.  I love them mixed into Green yogurt, tossed in a salad along with oranges & beets, or thrown into a morning smoothie.  Don't be scared of seeding a pomegranate - it's really not hard.  But if you'd prefer the lazy convenient way as I often do, you can buy the seeds prepackaged.

Full disclosure:  I would not have purchased these sheets if I didn't have a gift card that needed to be used up.  Not generally a Bean Girl, I had a dig deep into the website to find something to spend it on when lo & behold, I came across the bedding.  The weather had started to change, and a new pair of flannels sounded mighty fine.  I would not normally pay this much for sheets, but again, the gift card!  Gentle Reader, these sheets are like sleeping in a hug.  So soft, so warm, so inviting.  Plan on spending more time in bed - never a bad thing. (Winky smiley.)

3.  Parenthood (TV series, streaming on Netflix)

Ah, yes, I realize that I am officially acknowledging that I am old when I tell you that one of My Favorite Things of the year is a television show about being a parent.  But this show is so good, I don't care.  If you're like me and binge-watching is usually reserved for shows that involve drug production or vampire-slaying, a family dramedy is probably not in your Netflix queue.  Watch an episode.  Suddenly it will be 3am, and you'll be wondering how you can get the Bravermans to adopt you.

My friend Davia preached to me about this BB Cream for a good hour, and I will preach the same - although slightly abridged version - to you.  Girls, go out and yourself some of this SPF 35 miracle cream.  Your face will look smooth, even & glowing. I expect to see a lot of selfies in the near future.  

I am completely & totally in love with New Roots Organics, our CSA delivery.  My favorite day of the week is produce delivery day.  Yes, I'm a total veggie whore.  You can customize the size of your bin, the frequency of your deliveries, as well as what you receive.  I love that I can sub out kale for yucky fennel.  I love that I can add additional items.  I love that it comes directly to my door just like a yummy bi-weekly present.  I love their customer service.  Oh, and if you sign up, use me as a referral, okay? I'll make you some kale chips in return. 

6.  Books

I want to read my books in book form.  I want to love them up and crease their spines and fold corners of their pages.  I want to tuck them under my arm while I look for a seat at my coffee shop.  I want to feel the weight of them in my carry-on.  I want that new book smell from a hot-off-the-presses novel from a first time author.  I want that musty, moldy aroma from a classic that hasn't been checked out of the library in years.  I want to see row after row lined up on our many bookshelves and stacked in piles next to our bed.  My son will inherit beat-up copies of The Runaway Bunny and Good Night Moon, and, later, The Hardy Boys and Harry Potter.  We will run our fingers over the yellowed pages of the final The Ends.  And then we'll read them again.  

7.  BevMo!

Oh, BevMov!, where have you been all my life?  BOGO wine deals, incredible coupons. both cheap & spendy options, craft beer & hard A, you are my kind of party store.  Let's stay together.

I received a tube of this hand cream in one of my Birch Boxes this year, and I was completely hooked.  It's literally the best hand cream I've ever used.  And it smells delicious.  Oh, and a what a lovely stocking-stuffer too! 

If you know me at all, you know that I love me some popcorn.  My favorite bachelorette dinner is a giant bowl of popcorn and an equally giant glass of wine.  Although I usually bust out my own trusty airpopper, sometimes I really don't want need that much popcorn.  This is where the SkinnyPop comes into play.  First, it's effing delicious.  Second, it only has 39 calories per cup.  Third, it's effing delicious.  And if your child has inherited your incredible love of popcorn as mine has, you might want to start buying in bulk.

10.  My Girls

And last, but certainly not least, My Favorite Things of 2013 are My Girls.  My gang, my club, my confidantes, my strength, my mirror, my sounding board, my champions, my fellow Mommies in the Bar, my BFFs, my girls.  Distance may separate us.  Our busy schedules may keep us from each other.  Miscommunications may create some challenges.  Disagreements may occur.  But after everything is said & done, you are my heart.  

Happy Holidays!  May Santa bring you all of YOUR favorite things this & every year.