Christmas Memories

One of my favorite Christmas memories of my youth was when my sisters and I got our tabby cat, Tansy. I adored the breath out of her (really, I did squeeze her too tight sometimes- but it was all out of love). I remember her sniffing around the tree, batting at balls of crumpled up wrapping paper. I thought she was the best present Santa Claus ever left and was delighted to wake up to her Christmas morning and the mornings afterward.

This Christmas, I decided that I’m going to focus on making memories- vivid memories that make my heart insanely happy- instead asking for things. Sure, a new pair of tennis shoes shoved in my stocking would be great but I rather spend a couple hours playing mancala with my little sister (and of course, letting her win every time). Perhaps have a snow fight my dad (if southern Nevada did get any powder). Snuggling with my family on the downstairs couches, watching a ‘Charlie Brown Christmas,’ eating the spritz butter cookies we baked an hour ago.

Dear reader- I hope that this holiday seasons brings you nothing but comfort and joy. Of course, I hope you get everything you ask the Hanukah fairy for but please remember that this is a time of memory making with friends and family. Bust out the Canon camera, throw on your mittens and snow boots and enjoy this time of year.

Happy holidays, everyone. Love! Love! Love!

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Turkey Day

“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.” Robert Caspar Lintner

The groceries are bought. You’re combing through food blogs looking for the best way to cook your turkey or what kind of fruit pie to serve as dessert. Your running shoes are by the front door, ready for you to throw on for a day of Black Friday shopping. You’re still debating whether or not to by your Christmas flight now (or will the airline’s offer be a better deal tomorrow?). You’ll buy that for him for Hanukah, but wait- no! You will buy this!

Oh man- how crazy is the holiday season? The above quote rings true. Sometimes, I feel like we all make a big hoopla about the holidays. Sure, they are great reminders of what we have and should be thankful for: armfuls of loving friends and family, delicious food on the table , warm shelter over our heads. The list goes on and on. I hope you, dear reader, take the time this holiday week to be grateful for the things you have in your life. But also, think about how you can recreate such thankfulness and love during the other days of the year, like on a random Wednesday in March or August. We should keep all these warm thoughts and feelings in our hearts and actions every day of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Stay safe!

I’m thankful for these ladies (and the photo bomber)!

November is National Writing Month!

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn make us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” –Norbert Platt

Another thing that I’m especially thankful for (and proud of) is my gift of writing. Despite trying the best I can, I know that I’m not the best at prose and poetry- Hemingway has that title in my book. But I think I can get my feelings across better on paper (or computer screen) than the words that escape my lips and the emotions that others read on my face. Writing relaxes me, encourages me and it always inspires.

My high school English teacher encouraged me to join the school paper my sophomore year. It was her suggestion that sparked my interest in global news, fashion journalism and the dream to one day write in New York City for major magazines and papers (thanks Miss Powell!). Now as an elementary school tutor, I help students with their reading and writing, their sentence structure and grammar. I do hope they listen to and understand my mini-lessons and develop a genuine love for text and the like. I stress the importance of sharing your love of writing (or anything other positive thing you enjoy doing) with a child. They really do benefit from your passion and you can watch them flourish right before your eyes.

November is National Writing Month and like many, I joined a site that helps me to write a full novel in thirty days (the writing isn’t going so well but that beside the point). I encourage you, dear readers, to take this brief moment in time to grab the nearest pen and paper- hell, write on your desk if you must (I’ll admit that I’m always writing on things that I’m not supposed to); pop your finger joints while sitting in front of your laptop’s key board and write down your thoughts. You don’t need to write a novel or even a full page. Write down whatever is floating around in your head. What you had for dinner. The name and features of that pretty girl you have your eye on. The zombie you dreamed about last night. How painful your current life is. Whatever. Let the words be freeing and clear a special and sacred spot in your head for more wonderful ideas to pen about. The joy of writing is that it’s a process of discovery- of yourself; your heart and soul.  Let that joy sink in through the ink or lead and feel uninhibited.

Inspiration

“This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto [the past] with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to develop intimate friendships…But they don’t do those things…

Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal…

Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned this year? What parts of my childhood am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe life is good and a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.” Shauna Niequest

Sunday Gratitiude

This week, I’m thankful for…

  • Beefy’s, the cutest café on Virginia Street that serves up a really mean grilled cheese.
  • The brave men and women who protect and serve in the United States military.
  • My cell phone.
  • The amazing caseworkers at my internship. Not only do they help Reno’s homeless population get back on their feet but they give me constant advice and encouragement. I love them all.
  • Drunken silliness, especially when it comes to hugging newly made and very old friends
  • Woody Allen. For always making me laugh.

Go Out and Vote!

Have you voted today?

It doesn’t matter what party you belong to. I believe that voting is the greatest right we are given as American citizens and I’m shocked by those who are simply “too busy” or “don’t care” enough to spend ten minutes in front of a ballad machine.

We have the right to change our current situation and make history. But we can’t make those changes if you’re not willing to get up to do so.

Please vote today! (If you need help figuring out when and where to vote in your state, please visit www.canivote.org. Thank you!)

Don’t let Them get YOU Down!

I love my parents but last night, we had a conversation that seriously peeved me. We spoke about the next couple years and they asked me if I had a five-year plan. I explained to them my desire to finish school, move back to New York City to find a magazine job and move to South Africa once I’m thirty to live and volunteer for a year. They were taken back with my planned details and told me to think of more realistic things to achieve. I was heartbroken.

I never wanted to be the one sitting at a cubicle desk for the rest of life. I like moving around to various cities and exploring little holes-in-the-wall. I’ve always wanted to write for big publications. I’ve always wanted to live an extraordinary different life. My parents do have the best intentions for me but they don’t see my big picture- what my dreams and my passions and my life goals are. I went online and found pieces of advice that are helpful to people me who need a little push to break from the herd and follow their on path…

1. You can follow your dreams someday, but right now you need to buckle down and be responsible. When is “someday?” “Someday” is not a day at all. Today is the only day guaranteed to you. Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life and pursuing your dreams is what life is all about. Make today, not someday, the first day of the rest of your new life.

2. You’re totally screwed if it doesn’t work out. You’re not even close to being screwed. In fact, the worst case scenario is that things don’t work out and you have to go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now.

3. It is safer to stay at your day job. You know what’s even safer than that? Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom and never coming out. Just like that, you will have flushed your entire life and your dreams down the toilet. Remember, safer doesn’t always mean better.

4. That’s impossible! It’s only impossible if you never do anything about it. The reason certain things seem impossible is simply because nobody has achieved them yet. If you truly dedicate yourself to an end result, almost anything is possible. You just have to want it bad enough.

5. Only a lucky few “make it.” Those lucky few got off their bottoms and did something about it! They had the drive, determination and willpower that you have right now. You can be one of them!

6. You might fail and failing is bad. Failures are simply stepping stones to success. The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake. If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success either.

7. You don’t have access to the right resources. It’s not about having the right resources; it’s about exploiting the resources you do have access to. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has twenty-five Grammy Awards to prove it. Get it?

8. You need more money saved before you can take the first step. You don’t need more money. You need a plan. You need a budget. If pursuing your dream requires you to leave your day job, figure out the absolute minimum amount of income that you realistically require to live. Take baby steps. Ask yourself, “What actions can I take right now with the money and resources I have right now that will bring me closer to desired goal?”

9. You don’t need any help. It’s smarter to go after it alone. Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.

10. That sounds like a lot of hard work. Find hard work you love doing. As long as you remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values, and dreams, you can find success through passion. Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now working in a career field you despise, wondering how the heck am I going to do this for the next thirty years? So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop. You’re onto something big. Because hard work isn’t hard when you concentrate on your passions and dreams.

For more inspirational list and words of advice, please visit www.marcandangel.com.

Counting my Blessings: (Thursday and) Friday

Happy November and happy weekend, everyone!

This Halloween was probably the best one I’ve had in a long time. Having pizza with good friends, handing out candy to the two trick-or-treaters that visited and watching a handful of scary movies = AWESOME. Just another mess of things to be thankful for!

I am thankful for cats. When I walked to the library this morning, this charming cat with orange tipped ears ran up and started rubbing itself on my legs. It was such a doll as I pet it and wished it a good Friday. Then, it ran away looking for another new friend to greet. So adorable. I look forward to the day I finally get my own place so I can adopt a slew of shelter kitties and have us all snuggle on my beat-up couch, watching bad reality television.

I am thankful for cute baristas. Especially those who look like Harry Potter wrapped up in red plaid and who spend twenty minutes flirting with you (when you’re feeling rather unattractive), talking about bike parts and cream cheese.

I am thankful for dreams. The ones that you build when you’re little. Wishing to one day be a firefighter. A doctor. A zookeeper. You want to visit outer space or swim all day with dolphins and seals. Own your own version of Barbie’s dream house, complete with your own Ken dressed up in a designer tux. These dreams change as we get older and reality hits (even though sometimes, I still want to be a zookeeper). I don’t know about you but my dreams keep me going. I’ve been getting a lot of negaviety from my parents (even though they do mean well) about the dreams I want to pursue within the next few years of my life: Graduating with my undergraduate degree. Moving back to New York City. Writing for travel and fashion magazines. It hurts but I’m keeping those dreams alive. They are what move me and inspire me to fight, being as awesome as I can be. Continue having those big dreams- you’ll grow into them.

I am thankful for salads. The older I become, the more my body craves vegetables. I think it’s pretty crazy how carrots bring me more comfort than chocolate. Oh, the joys of being almost thirty.

I am thankful for stumbles and falls that make you stronger and wiser and for the bad days that make you cherish the good days even more.

I am thankful for my friends! I love them so much and am thankful for them, calming my craziness…