Treat Yourself Tuesday: Holiday Edition

Today I am linking up with the lovely Becky to participate in my first ever ‘Treat Yourself Tuesday’! And with it being December, I thought it would be fun to highlight the ways I will be treating myself this holiday season! Let me pull up my Pandora Country Christmas station and we’ll get started.

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This holiday season, I fully intend to enjoy my favorite Christmas treats, butter, sugar, and all.

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On that note, I will also be treating myself to homemade hot cocoa by the Christmas tree. Most likely on the daily. There is something so therapeutic about curling up on the couch and enjoying a hot beverage each evening.

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This season, I will take the time to drive and stroll through neighborhoods full of holiday lights. While of course, listening to even more holiday tunes. You can never have too much ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’.

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And most importantly, I will spend as much time as I can with the people I love. Whether it be by taking a yoga class or watching Hallmark movies with my mom or having an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party with friends, I will appreciate the season for the opportunity it provides to spend quality time with loved ones.

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Tell me, how will you treat yourself this holiday season?!

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Lessons From My Brother

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

God gained another angel on July 4, 2004. That’s the day that my big brother “came to know God’s love and mercy firsthand and in a place we can only dream” as my sister so eloquently put it. While I don’t usually talk about it, much less write about it, I have been thinking about my brother a lot lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the lessons he taught me in his 24 years on this Earth. And to tell you the truth, those lessons are just too damn good not to share.

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People come first. My brother lived in a way in which he valued relationships and experiences over materialistic items. His life was not focused on acquiring more, it was centered on his family and friends.

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Give without expectation. Jason didn’t do things for others based on what they could offer in return. He gave because it was the right thing to do.

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Live every day. My brother truly experienced life to the fullest.

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Jason was passionate about life. He allowed others to see the good in the world through his sense of humor, his compassion, his love, and his enthusiasm. I am proud to be his sister. He left this world a better place. And if you ask me, that is the real definition of success.

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In Heaven there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here.

Workout in the Park

What a week. I am not sure I have ever clicked refresh so many times on the CNN homepage. Since Monday I have been almost entirely absent from the blog world. My thoughts were in Boston, as I am sure all of yours were as well. And although writing is typically my therapy, the words didn’t come. I instead opted for going out to dinner with my parents, and spending time with Dan and Nola at home. I appreciated the moments that I so often take for granted. I counted my blessings.

Today I am diving back into the blog with a focus on fitness. Last weekend was my inaugural ‘workout in the park’, where I invited friends to come join me for Brooke’s Deck of Cards Workout.

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You can only imagine how cool the 6 of us looked doing burpees and the stars that I exchanged for squats. This workout kicked our butts in the best way. I am meeting my friends this morning for our second ‘workout in the park’ and I have yet to decide what that will be, so I should probably get on that.

Reader Questions: Do you prefer to work out alone or with others? What is your favorite way to work out?

525,600 Minutes

I am officially celebrating my blogversary today! In typing that, I have a hard time believing that blogversary has yet to make its way into the dictionary. Quarter Century Southern Living has become so much more than I ever intended or imagined it would be. It has become…

A place to connect. I have ‘met’ so many amazing ladies through blogging and I truly feel so blessed and grateful to hear your stories and to learn from you. There are blogs that I read more often than I put on make-up or do my hair. Combined. I care about your lives, I celebrate in your successes, I share your struggles, and I appreciate you for allowing me a look into your life.

My outlet. Blogging has offered me the opportunity to share my story. To write about my family, friends, vacations, engagement, and mid-20s living feels like a privilege.

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My inspiration. You all inspire me, to accept myself for who I am, to embrace my imperfections, to appreciate each day, to live in the moment, and to be a better person.

My passion. This is what I love to do. I love to read your posts and I love to write mine. I love to sit on the couch after a long day and to settle in and see what is happening in your life. I love to have something that challenges me and encourages me all at once. I love to blog.Image

Reader Question: Why do you blog?

A Letter To Me

My posts have been a bit all over the place lately, I realize. In fact, I tip my hat to you, or curtsy, if that’s more your style, for continuing to read my haphazard writing. My goal for today is to stick to a theme. But, I’m not making any promises. 

With my 26th birthday on the horizon, I can’t help but think how crazy it is that it has been 10 years since I turned 16 years old and felt so on top of the world backing out of my family’s driveway in my hand-me-down Mercury Tracer. A lot has happened in my life since then, and I would love to take a page out of Brad Paisley’s book, and write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself at…16. I would start by saying…

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It’s okay that you suck at algebra. You will be grateful that you struggled to pass and that you had to work hard. Not everything in life comes easy. 

Tell the people you love that you love them. Even though it seems like you will always have another chance to say how you feel, there are no guarantees in life.

Be present. Enjoy the pep rallies, football games, cross country meets, state soccer, and sleepovers.

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Realize how amazing your parents are. Stop worrying if your mom hears the guys in your grade cuss, or if your dad comes to grab a pop while you and your friends are watching a movie in the basement. Your parents will end up being the people you choose to spend your weekends with, believe it or not.

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Be you. It’s okay that you aren’t the prettiest, smartest, most popular, or most athletic girl. Be yourself and be okay with it.

Respect everyone. Don’t ever rank people or treat people a certain way according to what they wear, how much money they make, what they do, or where they live.

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Reader Question: What would you write in a letter to you at 16?