Seven Ways to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

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Some spend New Year’s Day packing up ornaments. I’d rather sleep in and go to brunch. I’m in the league of defiant revelers that leave their holiday lights up through the first week of January. Why? Because we’re trying to stave off the impending doom of a long, cold winter. In fact, many believe that all the hoopla surrounding Christmas is just a way to distract us from the misery gaining steam outdoors.

Here’s how to keep your spirits up after the holidays:

A Little Twinkle

We’re all a little taken aback at how stark a room looks when stripped of holiday accoutrements. Hold on to a strand of white lights, and wrap them around an indoor tree, or gather them into an oversized glass vase, to keep a bit of sparkle in your home.

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Getting Fresh

Don’t toss those candy canes! Swirl them as swizzle sticks in your hot cocoa or mocha. Smash them to pieces and lay them in an empty Altoids tin to use as mints on the go. And if it really feels like you’re going cold turkey after the holidays, here’s a little-known fact: You can get peppermint mochas at Starbucks year-round, though they don’t advertise it.

Get Moving

It’s no secret that working out is good for your heart, but the endorphins improve your mood and the exertion results in a great night’s sleep. Besides, when you peel off your sweater this Spring, how nice would it be to find a strong, lean body beneath it?

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Busted court aside, my favorite ways to blow off steam are tennis, yoga and dancing

Get the Party Started

Plan a small party! It’s so much easier to corral your loved ones in January than it is at the height of the holiday season. Plus, everyone needs something to look forward to. My go-to this year will be an Oscar party! Since it’s a weeknight and the show runs late, it will be a pajama party. People will be cozy, well-fed and filled with Prosecco. Go LaLa Land!

Green is Golden

If you can’t spend ample time outdoors, bring the outdoors in. Buy a palm and place it by a sunny window.

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Add whimsy to plants you bring indoors, with funny planters and conversation pieces

Doors to Enlightenment

So your holiday wreath is down. It doesn’t mean your home should go unadorned. Have something beautiful waiting for you every day when you return. There are plenty of gorgeous wreaths you can use year-round. You can even create one.

Think Spring

Spring may be a few months away, but now is a perfect time to imagine how you’d like to use the green space outdoors. Whether planning a vegetable patch or a fire pit, enjoy researching the best place to plant, the best deals on materials and read reviews if thinking of buying plants or seed online. My son is obsessed with blueberries, and I’m a fan of raspberries. When Spring arrives, I won’t be making a mad dash to plant these bushes before the heat of summer sets in.

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We added this pergola to our home to accommodate our Concord grapes – Max not included

…and then before you know it, the holidays will be back.

Happy 2017!

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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If you’re throwing a holiday party, rest assured yours will be one of many during the season. What can you do to make your party stand out? Everyone will have cocktails and a nice spread, but I’m all for an activity that keeps people engaged, whether they’re laughing or crafting. A cookie decorating area with to-go bags add more to do and an instant party favor.

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The Spiked Peppermint Cocoa was adorned with a candy cane in each cup.

This year, I put together a photo booth at my Christmas party. Holiday-themed props are easy to come by; Santa hats, reindeer andlers, red nose etc. I threw in a couple of converation pieces, such as a plastic butcher knife from Halloween. It guarantees funnier photos.

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And along with my friend Jules, we hosted a Yankee Swap (or, a White Elephant Exchange). All guests were encouraged to bring a wrapped present, unmarked. All presents were piled under the tree, and people drew numbers. Guests took turns picking out a gift, and the following players had the opportunity to steal a gift they coveted.

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Grinch santa hats

From stacks of lottery tickets to a box full of DVDs, guests laughed, lamented and stole items from one another – multiple times. From the next room, it almost sounded as if I had a movie theater in-house, as all the reactions were loud and silumtaneous. As the exchange got more heated, I passed out slices of pumpkin pie and refilled drinks, such as Jules’ spiced mulled wine and my spiked peppermint hot cocoa.

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Happy holidays to all!

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Hamilton helping with the set-up

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Part of the fun is destroying him

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Canapes: Mexican polenta bars and artichoke parmesan spread over toasted baguette slices

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Yes, someone brought a case of beer to the Yankee Swap

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The Yankee Swap gets heated!

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Carpe Autumn.

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Autumn was a little dramatic this year. There was no “jacket weather.” A frosty night jumped out at us after a summer’s day. Acorns and walnuts are falling from trees four stories tall, pelting our cars with a metallic ting. Every time you look up, leaves are spinning in mid-air.

A year ago, I blogged about how autumn had snuck up on me. It was halfway over before I stopped to smell the pumpkin spice everything. I had just had a baby, and autumn is a very short-lived party.

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playing in a giant pit of corn kernels

Last year I was determined to enjoy autumn despite having a kid. Now I’m enjoying it because I have a kid.

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I started last weekend. We hosted a bonfire in our backyard. Like us adults, Hamilton was mesmerized by the fire, clutching his Curious George doll with eyes as wide as saucers. We sipped sarsaparilla whiskey and shared old stories.

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Other things you can do:

It may be tempting to pick up a pumpkin at the grocery store while shopping, but take a day to slow down and visit an old-fashioned pumpkin patch. Enjoy the hayride, sip on some cider and let the child run free in the fields.

Even if your toddler is too young to go trick-or-treating, it doesn’t mean you can’t dress up! Put together a clever costume (extra points if it’s not store-bought) get a great shot and share it on social media.  Get into the spirit!

Jump into leaf piles.

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at a pumpkin-carving party with fellow Pinterest-obsessed girlfriends

Toddlers are just beginning to learn color, but you can make it fun by taking walks and hunting for special leaves. Especially beautiful ones can be used to decorate their rooms or be tacked onto their mobile.

Carve a pumpkin and toast the seeds with different spices. It teaches the child to be industrious, and less wasteful. You and the family can enjoy the treat while doing an official lighting ceremony for your new jack-0-lantern.

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comfort foods like imported Danish kringles, quiche and cookies helped us stay in “the zone” while crafting

Succumb to the shameless marketing and grab a pumpkin spice latte. A sip or two won’t hurt your little one.

Carpe Autumn!

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Party tip: A dash of spicy ginger beer takes apple cider to a whole other level

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Top 10 Ways to Kick the Post-Holiday Blues

Christmas 0091)  Instead of being sad that Christmas is over, remember your actual Christmas. Not the one that Frank Sinatra sings about, but the one with your drunk aunt and the watery dollar store lotion your co-worker re-gifted you.

I don't know about you, but I spend Christmas with these people.

I don’t know about you, but I spend Christmas with these people.

2)  Don’t focus on the shorter days – focus on the longer nights! Slip into your PJs moments after walking in the door. Spike your hot cocoa with some Kahlua and settle in for a night of Netflix.

3)  Winter is the least expensive time of year to fly off to a sunny locale. And honestly, who’d want to pay peak season rates to leave a warm and sunny place, just to arrive in another warm and sunny place? Going in winter also earns you social media bragging points. Don’t overdo it – everyone hates that guy. Not jealousy, actual hate.

4)  The stores have already shamelessly stocked their shelves with Valentine’s Day tackiness. Forget the crowded restaurants with the overpriced prix fixe menus, which is an old restaurant trick to push out a surplus of expiring food. Instead, send those you care about a nostalgic surprise; a children’s Valentine’s Day card in the mail, complete with candy hearts. And on February 15th, snatch up some high-end chocolates on discount. Godiva will be dying to purge their heart-shaped candy boxes.

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Dinner party at our L.A. cabin

5)  Liven up these drab months for others too, and throw a dinner party. Not only will you be surrounded by good company, but your home will be spruced up, and if your guests were brought up right, you’ll have a couple of extra bottles of something!

6)  Just because the forecast resembles the hideous weather from California Dreamin’, doesn’t mean you need to go pasty. Exfoliate that dry winter skin and do a self-tanner at home. Yow will look fantastic naked.

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No sun? No problem! Thank you Lancome Flash Bronzer!

7)  Learn some new crock pot recipes. Those warm, hearty meals are perfect for this time of year, and will make your house smell of heavenly meat potpourri.

8)  Whether or not you made resolutions, there’s no doubt that exercise gets your endorphins up. If it’s cold where you live, take up an indoor activity that you’ll be more likely to do. Yoga Today is offering a free, 14-day trial which will get you two weeks of freebies. And Amazon hosts a plethora of used exercise DVDs that come at a fraction of the price of a live class.

9)  Take a cue from Elle Woods and go get a mani pedi! Avoid the Bend and Snap.

de2eb6f2-73c7-4881-998c-411742189b6810) Instead of waiting for it to warm up, take advantage of the cold weather. If it snows, go sledding. If it’s cold inside, start up a fire and roast some marshmallows. If there’s an ice storm, know that it’s like earth porn for photographers. It’s gorgeous. Grab a camera, be careful and capture the beauty of it. And always remember, we can’t truly appreciate spring without a harsh winter to precede it.

My Favorite Things – Holiday Edition

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Hideous Christmas cards – look closely

Season’s Greetings!

To celebrate this magical time of year, I’ve listed some of my favorite things. It feels good to be reminded of countless little blessings that often go unnoticed. Such as…

watching children open presents

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the red cups at Starbucks

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Christmas boat parades! This one is themed after the holiday classic,

A Christmas Story!

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Sledding weather, and the grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and hot cocoa that follow the sledding.

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awkward presents – the gift that keeps on giving01db5fba69e76c63be9dcd6a4042a4fa0ac68c9e25ll

baker’s twine on brown paper

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Vince Guaraldi’s classic Christmas album

B000ICLSMY.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V39732079_Happy holidays to you and yours!

October Waits for No One

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Halloween party in the hills of Brentwood! (That’s me as Snooki)

Walking my greyhounds last night, a gust of wind hit and it had the delicious smell of wood smoke. Prior to that, I was staring at the ground going over my to-do list. But the wind made me stop and look up. That’s when I noticed pumpkins stacked on front porch steps and barrels filled with mums. I noticed that the leaves on our Japanese maple had turned crimson. “Oh my god,” I thought, “It’s October.” And October is halfway over.

I usually revel in Octoberfests and haunted hayrides. I even give in to that sentimentality-based marketing scheme/religion pushed upon us by Starbucks; the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I see what you did there, Starbucks.

But then I had a baby. In the mad dash of my new routine, I had forgotten to take in this last gorgeous month before the nip in the air begins to bite, when Halloween parties promise a good time and when the Shenandoah Valley is afire with  color.

I’m not letting October go without a fight. Neither should you. Get out there!

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October dinner party at our L.A. cabin – sometimes setting the mood is more exciting than the party itself