November 2016: In a Nutshell.

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Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We’re in the final stretch, everyone! December is here- and that means Christmas is right around the corner and 2016 is nearly over! We’re almost to 2017!

I fully intend to finish the last of my holiday shopping within the next couple of weeks so I can actually enjoy Christmas this year and not have to worry myself with finding gifts, facing large crowds of people at the stores (or paying extra for in-time-for-Christmas shipping costs with my online orders) wrapping them to deliver, or mailing them if necessary- so on and so forth. I really just want this last month of the year to be as relaxing and as stress-free as possible. I don’t think I’m asking for much, right?

But I digress. Before we can get into the full-swing of December and Christmas- we have to talk about the month of November, first- and it was quite the circus, wasn’t it? Between the election (and I won’t even start on the fact that the results are now being reviewed/investigated in certain states since that’s a whole new can of worms I don’t have the patience to open right now), the subsequent protests, feuds and overall continued division within this country- it all seemed to sort of overshadow the rest of November- including Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people can and usually do have some sort of tension at family gatherings due to differing political opinions- but this year the tension was multiplied considerably for a lot of my friends who spent this past weekend with their extended relatives whom they don’t always see eye to eye with even when politics are taken out of the equation.

Thankfully, I managed to escape that most dreaded of family traditions all together. We didn’t talk politics at dinner- that was the one rule in the house- and instead we all gathered around to watch football and a couple of the Christmas movies the networks had already started to air before the night came to a close and some of my family had to prepare for their Black Friday shopping. I’m happy to report that no one got trampled this year- and my mom was really excited that she picked up a brand new toaster for a pretty good price- so it was a win, I think?

The election and Thanksgiving aside- November was a pretty busy month anyway. My hours at work were recently adjusted- meaning that I have my weekends off again for the first time in nearly a year- which is really exciting! I rounded out the 2016 Comic-Con season by meeting the amazing Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Providence (and to confirm in case I didn’t mention it in my original RICC post- yes, he’s very handsome in person), I watched the Cubs win The World Series in one of the most intense and satisfying games imaginable, and not that it impacted my schedule in any way- but it is worth noting we had our first very light snow this month, too!

I’m looking forward to sharing a couple more recipes over the next month, some of my favorite holiday activities and local destinations to visit in order to get into (and stay in) the Christmas spirit- and of course I’ll be summarizing 2016 in it’s entirety before we head into 2017. It’s going to be a long one- I can tell you that.

See you all in December!

xx

Dessert Table! Thanksgiving 2016

Dessert Table! Thanksgiving 2016

Giving Thanks

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alwaysbethankfulAlthough things have seemed downright bleak and depressing lately- be it the daily news, Christmas music being played everywhere before we’ve even finished Thanksgiving, or (in my case, anyway) the dropping temperatures and occasional snow flurries outside- tomorrow’s holiday is a reminder that even in the most trying of times: there is always something to be thankful for. It may be a difficult thing to remember or even believe now and then- but it’s true.

It goes without saying that I’m thankful for my family and my friends, or that I’m thankful for my career and for my company for taking care of me as well as they have over this past almost-year since I first started there. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back and the food (specifically the pecan pie) I’m going to enjoy in the company of loved ones tomorrow. I’m thankful for my good health and the advantages/blessings I have in my life that those less fortunate than me do not have. Those things are certain. They don’t need repeating.

But I wanted to take the opportunity to give thanks to some of the other, not-so-conventional things that I’ve been thankful for in 2016:

  • My Breakup: I know this one seems a little unusual, considering how much stress and heartache my split from my ex caused me earlier this year- but I truly am grateful it happened. Otherwise I would have carried on being blissfully unaware of what was going on behind my back. Now that I know the truth and I’ve mustered up the courage to walk away from him and the toxic nature of our relationship- I’ve felt less tense, more optimistic and confident about myself and my future- and proud of my resilience and strength (that I didn’t even know I had in me, to be honest.) It’s nice to have a blank page to start a new chapter with. It gives me something to look forward to.
  • My Car: I’m not a materialistic person, and I know being thankful for an automobile might be a little crazy- but I truly am thankful to have a safe and reliable vehicle to get to/from work and my daily affairs. My last car- destroyed by my since-fired “mechanic”- was a danger to myself, any passengers I had in it, and other people on the road. It’s such a weight off my shoulders to know the car I’m driving runs properly and efficiently. The extra bill I have to pay each month for it isn’t enjoyable by any means- but it’s a small price to know I’m safe and can commute without issue. I’m truly grateful for my local dealership who took care of me and helped me get it on the road.
  • My Special Event/Comic-Convention/Upkeep Team: I wanted to give a special shout-out to the team of women (specifically Barbara and Stephanie) who always make sure I look on-point when attending any type of special event or comic-convention. These ladies pluck, pin and pamper me so that my hair, skin and nails are always done perfectly when I have somewhere I need to be that isn’t work or the gym. They’ve made me look as superb as they can for multiple weddings, celebrations and costumed gatherings this past year- and I cannot thank them enough for it!

I also want to thank those who have helped me with crafting props and accessories for some of my costumes during the convention circuit in 2016. You are all so immensely talented and I truly admire and appreciate the work and effort you’ve put into making sure I look legitimate over these last few months. I really hope to work with some of you again in 2017.

  • Opportunities From the West Coast: Although I’m still in the “carefully considering” phase of potentially leaving for the West Coast- I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for the opportunities that have been rolling in- both from Southern California and Las Vegas. The offers aren’t just for gainful employment, but for adequate housing as well- and that’s amazing. Although I still have a lot to think about before ultimately making any type of decision- I am so beyond grateful that these sorts of things are even falling into my lap right now.
  • The Brands I’ve Partnered With: This blog was never intended to be lucrative by any means, and I never expected it to go that route since I always thought “Legally Redhead” was purely a hobby- but despite my hardships over this past year- brands still reached out to work with me and I am truly flattered and grateful that they did. Not only did I network with some fantastic companies who provide wonderful services and create life-changing products- but I was able to extend their reach to my readers, too. It was a win/win for so many people and the opportunities are forever appreciated.

And finally:

  • My Readers/Subscribers: For any and all of you who had followed “Legally Redhead”, linked to my social media, shared my content, left comments, or contacted me privately to voice your support- THANK YOU. This blog would be nothing if not for you and your continued kindness and I want you to know that I love and appreciate each and every single one of you. Your continued support is the reason I continue to write. I could not do this without you and I am truly thankful for all of you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Again, I thank you so, so much.

I think that’s pretty much it right now. Anything or anyone who may have been accidentally omitted will surely be included in my 2016 wrap-up post at the end of December. I promise.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday tomorrow- and if you’re planning on going shopping for Black Friday- please be careful and look out for one another!

Happy Thanksgiving!

xx

Giving Thanks.

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I come from a big family- with plenty of aunts, uncles, and way too many cousins to count (seriously. I lost count. There’s just so many of them.) Some of my fondest memories- especially around the holidays- are of nearly all of my relatives crowding into my parents’ home for Thanksgiving and the weekend before Christmas for huge dinners and festive parties that extended well beyond my childhood bedtime. Although I can recall only some of the conversations and jokes I’d overheard at those gatherings, I vividly remember sneaking food from the kitchen with my cousins before it had been officially “served,” much to my mother’s dismay- and sitting next to our Christmas tree with my grandfather while we listened to the classic holiday albums my father would play on our old stereo.

As I got older, those gatherings became less and less crowded. Some relatives moved, others became so busy with careers or raising their own families, some simply didn’t get along anymore, and others sadly passed away. It’s all a part of life and the trials and tribulations of family, of course- and although Thanksgiving and Christmas are still a blast to celebrate with the family that still live in the vicinity of where I grew up and whom I still see on a regular basis- I haven’t really had a big festive get together in a long time.

All that changed yesterday, however- when I celebrated Thanksgiving with my mother, aunt, uncle, cousins- and for the first time in eight years- both of my older brothers, their wives, and my niece! My mother’s house was filled with people, food, and conversation- and reminded me of those family gatherings I looked forward to so much when I was a kid. At one point, my brother’s best friend, and who is also a dear family friend I hadn’t seen in years- stopped by, too- which made an already wonderful evening even better.

In a year where I am thankful for so many things and have been blessed in countless ways, I think the thing I’m most thankful for is that my family, once scattered and estranged- are back together again. It feels wonderful, like a hole in my heart has been filled. I wish my dad could be here to be a part of it- more than anything- but I’m sure he’s pleased, wherever he is.

When I wasn’t stuffing my face with the feast that was big enough to feed a small army, or making the above-pictured chocolate truffle with my niece for dessert, I was getting into the Christmas spirit (without participating in the 3 a.m. Black Friday insanity,) by compiling a little playlist of some of my favorite holiday songs from when I was a kid. Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, and others- they’re all on it!

Side note: Even though my parents were pretty lax on my Catholic upbringing- I think the more religion-themed Christmas songs are my favorite. I’ve never understood why. I just think they’re more beautiful than, say, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Anyway- feel free to give it a listen! I’m off to eat leftovers (and will probably be eating them for another week and a half!)

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xx

November 2013: In a Nutshell.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent mine at my mom’s house with some of my family, stuffing my face (the serving set-up pictured above) until I could barely move. Afterwards, I was provided with enough leftovers to last me a good week or two, so I don’t think I’ll need to go grocery shopping anytime soon.

I can’t believe we’re heading into December, and that 2013 is almost over! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. November was probably my most laid-back month of the year. I spent a lot of low-key, quality time with friends and family, worked overtime more than once at the firm, and didn’t venture too far from home. I suppose it could be considered the calm before the storm that is the holiday season- with Christmas shopping, traveling to see loved ones and exchange gifts, festive parties, and then preparing for New Years.

I had a couple of ambitious efforts in November, namely my spur-of-the-moment/last minute decision to participate in my first NaNoWriMo. I came nowhere near the set 50,000 word goal due to time constraints and my own poor planning, which was disappointing- but there’s always next year- and I’m determined to be more prepared for it when I try again.

December, as it undoubtedly is for most people, is looking to be a very busy month, and although I’m not a fan of the single digit temperatures or hazards that come with the snowstorms which typically plague Massachusetts this time of year (and for the next few months, God help me,) I am, however- looking forward to Christmas. The music, the decorations, wrapping gifts for friends and family, watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and the “Home Alone” movies, etc. Last year’s Christmas was a bit non-traditional, what with it being the first without my father and everything- so it’ll be nice to recreate some of the holiday magic I’d missed while I was trying to adjust.

I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit, excited to share my holiday-related adventures, and although I’ll be sad to see it go since it’s been tremendous and pretty amazing so far- I’m hoping to end 2013 with a bang and welcome 2014 with style.

xoxo

Friendsgiving 2013.

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Every year around this time for the past few years, my friend Stef rounds up our ever expanding circle of friends for our annual “Friendsgiving” dinner at her apartment, which is basically a huge Thanksgiving-style meal- sans blood-relatives- before we all get swept up in the inevitable stress and mayhem that is the busy holiday season. Everyone brings a dish or two (I was on apple and pumpkin pie duty this year,) a bottle of wine and/or beer- and we all sit down together at a long table, stuff our faces, and nine times out of ten- get a little tipsy. This year’s celebration was particularly poignant, however, since it was Stef’s last Friendsgiving in her longtime apartment. She’s moving into a new condo elsewhere in the city this coming weekend.

It’s a tradition I look forward to every year. In my teens and up until my early twenties, my friends and I were inseparable. We spent pretty much every day together, mornings and well into the later hours of the night. Of course, as we got a little older, some of us started careers that demanded more of our time and attention, others started families that demanded even more of those things- and others moved away- some a town or two over and some across state lines. As we settled into adulthood, our daily adventures became more of a weekly/monthly sort of thing- so to be able to sit down, all together, and enjoy good food and each other’s company without worrying about our everyday responsibilities for a few hours- is truly a wonderful, and very fun thing.

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Not wanting to be overdressed for what is typically a casual affair, I wore leggings and my new favorite oversized “festive” t-shirt, courtesy of HUMAN. Stef loves Hall & Oates, so I thought it would be appropriate. Unfortunately, it was freezing last night, so the additional layers were necessary.

Thanksgiving is, of course, a time to give thanks, and although I’m a couple of days early, let me take the opportunity to say how thankful I am for my friends- whether it be my life-long ones I spent time with last night, to the ones I see occasionally or the ones I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like, to those who live far away and/or overseas, or to the ones I talk to online almost every day about anything and everything- from Sephora addiction, to terrible horror movies, to how adorable Tom Hiddleston’s overall demeanor is, or to how traumatic this season of “The Walking Dead” is turning out to be.

And even to the friends I haven’t met yet- I’m thankful. I truly am. They all, YOU all- have helped me through so much in recent months and over the past couple of years with unyielding love, support, and humor- and there aren’t enough words or space on this blog of mine that could ever properly convey my gratitude. I cherish and love my friends, near and far, more than anything in this world. I am thankful for many, many things- but to be blessed with such good friendships is definitely at the top of the list.

xoxo