Tag Archives: Christmas SHopping

BUSY is a four letter word!

I saw a report on the news last night that stated 1 in 5 KIDS under the age of 6 are stressed out. For teens, the number is 3 in 5 and for adults, 1 in 2  are feeling so stressed it is effecting their health, their happiness, and they psychological wellness.

These numbers staggered me. If this is the normal amount of people experiencing stress on a daily level, what the heck must it be like during the holiday season? Those levels must jump to the stratosphere.

I found this definition of stress in my computer’s dictionary: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

What is so demanding that 1 child in 5 under the age of 6 has to be stressed about? Well, the answer is probably clearer than I think. Single parent households, poverty, not having enough to eat, bullying. All those things will increase a kid’s stress levels, so I get that. Teens are so hormonally off the charts anyway, that the slightest tweak in a day can set their stress skyrocketings. Adults, well we all know the stressors attached to trying to make it in the world these days. Add in the very possible threat of nuclear war or a homeland terror attack and, well…’Nuff said.

The title of this blog is another factor in the stress I feel too many people around the holidays experience: we are friggin’ BUSY. Busy trying to squeeze in a little present shopping; having to attend the annual office party; getting the traditional cookies baked and wrapped and sent via a postal service that is getting more crippled every day. Then there’s the added stress of the relatives. People you’ve managed to avoid all year are now going to be sitting across from you at grandma’s table talking about stuff you’d rather not like politics, religion, healthcare.

Simple equation: BUSY + Holidays = STRESS. So when I call BUSY a 4 letter word, you know what  I mean.

Now, the antidote for all this stress, if there is one, should be bottled and given away for free. My simple solutions have worked well for me for years. I don’t stress out about all the stuff I need to do, places I need to go, or the people I absolutely need to see around the holidays anymore. This is what I do instead.

  1. Less is more in decorating. I used to decorate the entire inside of my house for Christmas. It got so cluttered I couldn’t move around in it. So, less decorations=less time decorating= less stress. ( Yes, I still have 4 trees, but 3 of them are little!)   
  2. You don’t need to have the party of the decade every year. I used to have a HUGE holiday party and did all the food prep. Yeah. It’s a wonder I wasn’t institutionalized for exhaustion after each one. Now, I have a simple, small dinner once a season with my closest friends, that I call a Christmas Comfort food Dinner. The menu is all comfort foods – mac and cheese, fried chicken, chili, and of course desserts. I tell my guests they can come in slippers, pajama pants, sweats, if they want. This is an evening filled with fun, good friends, and no stressing about what to wear, what to bring, and how long to stay. In fact, I have to shoo my guests sometimes out the door!!
  3. Do a Secret Santa for family gifts or have a Yankee swap. Now, I love presents, especially presents for me. This concept of not getting a present for and from every family member was a hard one for me to accept. But. In the end, it works out better. Less time spent trying to find the perfect gift for everyone, less time spent shopping and fighting the hoards, less time wrapping, carting, and obsessing if they’ll like it.  
  4. Realize the people you want to see and keep in touch with are the ones you already do. AKA, no Christmas cards. I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago because 1. it took forever to do, 2. I hadn’t seen nor heard from a lot of people on the list since college. With Facebook and other social media now, you can keep in touch with the people you really want to very easily. I don’t really care that a girl I spent one semester in college with now has six kids, all are traveling abroad ( and I’ve never met them) and she needs back surgery in the new year. I haven’t seen this chick since 1980. Wouldn’t know her if she passed by me on the street.  

Now, those are only 4 things I do to make the holiday season less busy and stressful. I’m sure you’ve got some good ideas as well. Share them in the comments section if you do!

And when I’m not busy – because I’m not! – you can find me here during the workday: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 ANd because I’m a shameless self promoter ( AKA WRITER!) another way to destress is to sit back and enjoy a good book. I’ve got one sale right now for one more day. It’s alittle Christmas tale of love and family and food. Enjoy:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

 

Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

 

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

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My #ChristmasList…

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If you were thinking I was posting about gifts I want for this holiday season, sorry. My list isn’t filled with ideas for unnecessary jewelry or tropical vacations or home improvements, although that last one should never be a gift, but a necessity!

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No, my Christmas list is full of all the goals and others things I need to finish by December 31st of this year. Let me, ‘splain.

In January of every New Year, I sit down at my laptop and think of all the things I want to do/start/finish for that year. For example, in January 2015, my list included( but wasn’t limited to): lose the 40 pounds I’ve gained during menopause, finish book 4 of the MacQuire Women series, look for a new publisher. ByDecemberr 31 of 2015, of those 3  things, I had accomplished 2. I’m still working on the 40 pounds.

I’m still working on the 40 pounds. I needed to write that again so I don’t forget about it and start eating like a house on fire because, hey! it’s Christmas.

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Before December 31st arrives this year, I still need to do the following:

  • finish the 1st draft of book #3 in the Will Cook For Love Series
  • work on my Baby Boomers powerpoint presentation for NHRWA and NECRWA
  • Write 6 book proposals ( 2 for Will cook for love, books 4 and 5; and 4 for my new small town series)
  • blog 3-4 times per week.

Okay, so the first 3 items are still in motion. Since I’ve been faithfully blogging 3-4 times per week, I can check that one off.

Now, add to it shopping for real presents for people, baking, attending parties, and doing all the regular life stuff like laundry, house cleaning, et al,  and I have to admit I’ve been neglecting my list just a little.

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Okay, A LOT.

But….

I’ve got a week until Christmas and my shopping is pretty much done. My house is spitspot ( thanks, Mary Poppins for use of that word), and the laundry is getting done, so I can devote time, effort, blood sweat and very real tears to getting these  3 items complete.

Now I just have to write the list for 2017……

When I’m not obsessing about lists you can find me here Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

And there’s still time for you to get a very special gift for the Woman or Women ( not judging!!) in your life. My newest book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is out and available in e-copy or print form. Here are the links:

amazon // wild rose press // barnes and noble

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The Thrilling #Life of a #RomanceWriter…

Yesterday I did a blog piece concerning two cookie recipes from my new holiday release A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Then, because I inspired myself ( heehee), after I posted that blog I went and made some Christmas cookies to bring to a holiday party.

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Here’s where my life got thrilling.

While I was mixing cookie dough, my Kitchenaide mixer broke. Like, completely! While it was spinning dough, two of the metal pins that keep the parts together rotated themselves from the force of the spinning, fell out and off the mixer, subsequently putting the kibosh on further dough making. Although I was royally pi**ed, I needed to get the dough done so I went in search of my hand mixer. Only I forgot I got rid of it when I got — you guessed it– the Kitchenaide. I had to stop everything I was doing, turn the oven off, wrap the cookies that were cooling so they wouldn’t harden, put the dough I’d made already into the fridge, and get washed up because I now had to leave the house ( something I hadn’t planned on doing today) so I could get to Bed Bath and Beyond ( or as we call it in my house, Mecca)  and get a new friggin’ hand mixer. I wasn’t going to purchase a new Kitchenaide since I figured tool man hubby would have had a conniption at spending another 300 bucks when he could probably ( hopefully) fix it, and a hand mixer was only, like, 15 dollars.

So…

An hour later, back from the unplanned shopping trip, mixer in hand ( literally!) I started up again only to stop right after  I put the dough in the oven because….and this is the really thrilling part – only not the way you’re thinking – my oven was on fire.

I’m not kidding.

There was a fire in the bottom of my oven. As soon as I saw the flames I realized what I had been forgetting I needed to do these past two busy weeks: clean the oven. Luckily, I was able to snuff it without (a) the smoke detector going off and giving me a heart attack, (b) the fire department being called, and (c) sacrificing any yet to be made cookies.

So…

I now had to clean the oven. It’s a self cleaner so there went another 3 hours of my cookie baking time.

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Around 4-ish I finally got everything done that needed to be done, baked that needed to be baked, and I sat down and made a cup of tea. Only, once the water was ready I realized I had no tea bags. #FML

From now on when I get the urge to bake I’m running to our local bakery and buying stuff. It’s easier, cheaper, and doesn’t involve using the fire extinguisher.

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When I’m not having a nervous breakdown over baking, you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor