Page 56: I Don’t Do Resolutions, But…

This is the part where I tell you, like everyone else does, that I’m not really into resolutions, but…

Here’s the thing—I don’t need to make any resolutions. Did you read my last post?? Enough is going to change in 2016 on its own. Other years, resolutions have been important. This year though, the concept is utterly unnecessary for me.

That being said, however, I love a list of goals. I love a good bucket list. So instead of resolutions, I’m going to write a to-do list. And I want to encourage you to do the same! This is a list that only includes one-and-done items. There’s nothing (well, not much, anyway) about this list that encourages a habit. I think that’s the important distinction between a list of resolutions and a to-do-list.



So here we go with my list of 25 things that I want to do in 2016:

  1. Have a pot-luck style brunch party with my friends.
  2. Take a long road trip with my husband.
  3. Really, really figure out how Evernote works.
  4. Monetize this blog.
  5. Bring a new plant into the house.
  6. Drink a Sazerac in New Orleans
  7. Send out gift cards randomly to people.
  8. Do a 30 Days of Yoga Challenge
  9. Have a BBQ.
  10. Interview my friends.
  11. Go to an Indian Restaurant for the first time ever in life.
  12. Meet Jamie for lunch ½ way between where we both live.
  13. Walk all the way from Wall Park to Lakeside Park on the walking trail (it’s not hard, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do and never done).
  14. Find a perfect lipstick.
  15. Donate a bunch of clothes.
  16. Explore cool things in Kansas.
  17. Explore cool things in Kansas (I want to do it at least twice).
  18. Put away all of the laundry in the bedroom (it has literally never all been put away before).
  19. Have my nephew, Owen, stay the night.
  20. Pay off my dental bill (this one might actually not be very reasonable).
  21. Paint—this time with watercolors, maybe.
  22. Finish a book (I didn’t finish many books last year and I mean to change that).
  23. Bake something with a kid.
  24. Make a really good homemade pizza.
  25. Make choux pastry.

Full disclosure: there are a few other things that I am going to do this year that I’m just not going to tell you about but they will happen and when they do you’re going to be so pumped! Probably. If I know you like I think I do, and I think I do.

What do you think? Are there any one-and-done things that you want to make sure that you try this year? Anywhere you want to visit? Any food you’ve been dying to try?

I really do hope that all of your most reasonable (and a few of your wildest) dreams come true this year.

Page 53: The Holiday Gift Guide–White Elephant Edition!

The holiday season is well upon us, my friends! And along with that comes parties. And along with THAT comes at least one White Elephant Gift Exchange. Some people call it Dirty Santa or Nasty Christmas or Yankee Swap?

I remember my first White Elephant Gift Exchange. In college, I got an invitation to a party. The invitation said that the party would include a White Elephant Gift Exchange and I had no idea what that meant. My friends tried to explain it to me, “You just bring something funny.” Okay, well, this was not very helpful. And I was a college student living on about $64/ mo so I had to get really creative. I was overwhelmed and went to the thrift store and found a stuffed Gizmo from Gremlins. Surprisingly, he was a hit!

I always have a ton of fun at these parties though they do come with their own levels of anxieties. It’s always so much fun to see what everyone else brought but there’s so much pressure to impress with your gift! It has to be funny and something that would appeal to everyone since anyone could end up with your gift! And when you’re talking about, say, an office Holiday party—there could very well be a large cross-section of the general population represented in that group and sometimes humor is just not a universal characteristic. With so much pressure it’s easy for your mind to go blank. But don’t give up! Let me help you with some ideas. Try one of these out and let me know how it goes!!

1. DIY is an obvious way to keep costs low but what if you kind of half-assed it? Give an incomplete DIY project. Knit half of a mitten, frame a ½ finished paint by number, or wrap up a bottle of Elmer’s glue, a bag of popsicle sticks, and some printed instructions on how to build a bird house.
2. Go big or go home, go way overboard in the DIY department! Take on a very simple project and make it a big friggin’ deal. Transform an ordinary photo frame into something covered in feathers, glitter, and crystals. Go further and include a photo of yourself.
3. If you’re like me and it pains you to give a useless gift, look to the internet to find a silly version of something useful. A few years ago, my best friend gave us a pair of wooden spoons that looked like drumsticks (my husband is a drummer). Another time, my sister in law gave me a set of measuring cups made to look like Russian nesting dolls. Here’s a link to the Fred and Friends website which is chock-full of silly versions of useful things. Including my favorite, the Pizza Boss 3000.
4. A big play on an inside joke. If you’re close with all of the people at your party (if it’s with a group of close friends or a class or office party), odds are pretty good that you all have an inside joke or two that would be funny to bring up. Maybe you can cross-stich a sampler with an oft-quoted phrase amongst your group.
When my older brother worked for a company in town, they held Christmas parties where the employees went all out for their White Elephant gifts. My brother took this very seriously and one year he created an entire new-hire manual that looked past all of the obvious how-to stuff about work and, instead, focused on the things that you learn after time at your new job. Things like, I don’t know, who is the one who always tries to leave early, catch phrases, and hilarious tricks for maneuvering the social landscape of the workplace.
5. The ultimate, classic White Elephant gift is an awesome thrift-store find. Something that is heinously tacky but so perfect that you can’t ignore it. And for this example, I will share the best gift anyone in my life has ever received. This gift was won by my sister at last year’s office party. I give you The Backstreet Boys Clock:


BONUS IDEA: Have you ever thought of just giving a White Elephant? Here are a few to consider.

I hope this helps! Let me know what you think. Have you ever gotten or given a White Elephant gift that you’ve been really excited about??