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Holiday Gift Ideas: 2010 Part One

Hello and Happy Holidays!

With Christmas just a couple weeks away, I wanted to write a “favorites” blog. So many people struggle with gift ideas for the holiday season, and hopefully this list will help get your “creative juices” flowing.  The entire list is comprised of items that I have and currently reach for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or products from brands that I know and love.

For The Beauty Addict

Many makeup companies offer great holiday kits for this time of year. I personally love makeup kits because it allows you to get a feel for that brand and what they have to offer.

A great example of this is the “Back to School Beauty Kit” by Stila Cosmetics. Stila is a higher-end cosmetics brand that is used and loved by celebrities, makeup artists, and the like. In this kit, you are able to experience some of the best products that Stila has to offer at an incredibly reasonable price.  For $15, your Beauty Addict will receive the following (I have included my short descriptions of the products as well):

Stila's "Back to School" Set

  • Stila’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer- Shade 01- this will provide you with a touch of radiance in your skin, restoring a youthful and dewy appearance.
  • Exclusive Eye Shadow Trio shade in Anya- this exclusive trio is beautiful. The three shades complement one another and would look great on any skin tone.
  • Exclusive Lip Glaze shade in Mayberry- this berry tone will give your lips a youthful, flushed appearance.
  • Sample of One Step Prime Color in Per Suede- this is a primer that will help keep your makeup in place. It should be applied after you moisturize, but before applying foundation, concealer, or powder.

All of these products together would normally retail for over $60. At $15, it is a steal! Click here to check out the Stila “Back to School Beauty Kit.”

For The Music Lover:

Of course everyone has their own individual taste in music, but the following are CDs that seem to consistently be in my CD player in the last month:

Taylor Swift- “Speak Now” Although she is deemed a “country” artist, Taylor Swift does not have the signature “twang” that you either love or hate. Her lyrics are authentic, heart-felt, and original. I can’t help but keep this album on repeat. Favorite tracks include: “Back to December,” “Dear John,” “Last Kiss,” and “Long Live.”  On Amazon, “Speak Now” is available on CD or in MP3 format for just $8.99, and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING when you spend $25. It really takes the hastle out of Christmas shopping. Click here to listen to samples of the album tracks.

Jason Mraz- “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” I can’t help but be happy while listening to this album. Jason Mraz has catchy lyrics and upbeat rythms. Since this album was released in 2008, many of the tracks are already recognizable including “I’m Yours.” Click here to hear a sample of the album. Again, it is available on Amazon for $11.19. It is also eligible for free shipping.

Album highlights: “Live High,” “If It Kills Me,” and “Beautiful Mess.”

There are a couple of suggestions to get you thinking, and I’ll be back with part two…

Here’s a SNEAK PEEK.



Sometimes it’s hard to move forward…especially when someone has wronged you.  Thoughts of justice can be invigorating. You play several different scenarios over and over in your mind…like an endless reel of tape. I should have said…Why didn’t I?…Why didn’t they?…If only I could…

In my experience, it is easier to look in the past and try to imagine “justice” rather than to look forward and move on without the apology or reconciliation I was looking for, even longing for…

Even though this may be the easier option, it is by far much more destructive. With the reel of tape stuck on repeat, you are just that…STUCK. You will not move forward in analyzing the past, wishing you could change it. Instead, your feet stay firmly planted in bitterness, anger, and hate.

A quote I heard yesterday really struck me. “Forgiveness is about absorbing the wrong that has been done to you.” Who wants to do that? I don’t know anyone that would prefer absorbing someone else’s wrong over seeking their own justice. But, in absorbing the wrong that has been done to you, you are taking a step (a very LARGE step into adulthood). You are no longer waiting or hoping for an apology (that most likely will never come). Instead, you have chosen to live a life of forgiveness…not excusing the wrong…not offering trust…but, extending forgiveness to those who have wronged you.

In absorbing the wrongs done to me, I am determined to move forward. I am no longer allowing the wrong-doer to take any more power or control in my life. I am my own person. I am an adult.

I will choose life.

I will choose hope.

I will choose forgiveness.

I will protect my mind.

I will protect my soul.

I will protect my heart…

Here’s to moving forward…in a mindset of forgiveness…bravely absorbing the wrongs others have done…guarding my trust, and protecting my dignity.

Here’s to moving forward…a new life…in the future…I will no longer look back and count the wrongs…

I am an adult.

Strong. Courageous. And reconciled to who I am called to be.


“Remind me this…with every decision, I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I may never know…

To my great great great granddaughter, live in peace.”

The above lyrics belong to one of my favorite Sara Groves songs, “Generations.” Sometimes, I find it easy to forget that many of the positive or negative choices I make in life could possibly impact future generations in my family or outside of it. In our society, it is almost natural to  be concerned about just ourselves and our immediate future. We can quickly become consumed with What about ME?

I wonder how different each day would look if each of us stopped and thought will this positively impact my legacy? Now, I am not talking about what you would have for dinner, or what shoes you decide to wear. I’m talking about the major decisions. The decision to stay bitter. The decision to love instead of hate. The decision to say what you mean, rather than waiting until it’s too late. The decision of standing up for the values and dreams you believe in…

What would life look life if we all thought of our great great great grandchildren every once in a while?

Soundtrack of My Life

I love music.

This is only my third entry, yet the second time I have started an entry this way.

Dave Matthews is currently at the top of my playlist…his voice belting “so much we have dreamed…”

I have dreamed much. With dreams come disappointment. Disappointment can be used towards change…or you can become jaded.

As my birthday recently passed, I have thought about my 28 years. If you asked me as a young child what life would be like at 28, it would have looked very different than my current state. There would not have been heartache. No lies. No letdowns. No broken dreams. Only hope. Only creativity. Only love.

We have one of two choices–when our dreams die (or don’t materialize in the way we thought they would), will we change our expectations or continually expect disappointment?

When you have experienced true disappointment and heartache, it is easy to expect the other shoe to drop. In my own personal experience, I have been afraid to experience true happiness. What if I experience happiness only to have it taken from me? What if I am just setting myself up for more disappointment, more heartache? Even though it is tempting to subscribe to this way of thinking, it is a sure fire way to lose all hope.

I want to…no, long to experience life to its fullest. I want to stop and smell the roses, even when they may not be what I expected. Dave Matthews is right. So much we have dreamed.

And I will continue to dream…

I will always dream.

One day they will come true.

“The House That Built Me”

I love music. I always seem to have a new “mix cd” in my car, although I do miss the 1990s mix tapes. One of my favorite songs lately is  Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me.” The song chronicles a young woman’s journey back to the house she grew up in.

This got me thinking.

I wonder who is living in my old house? What would it be like to revisit that place? The first house I lived in (that I remember) was built by my dad, and it has a special place in my heart. When I lived in that house, my dad was Superman and my mom protected me from the monsters underneath the bed. My best friends were Kid Sister and Barbie. I snacked on animal crackers and animal cookies. I didn’t worry about how many calories were in a glass of juice. To put it plainly…

Life was a little bit simpler.

So then I got to thinking, why can’t life still be this way? The answer is sadly simple–we grow up.

I will never be that child again, but I can still claim innocence in my adult life. I can still dream big. I can still ask my mom for advice. I can still enjoy some cookies and milk…without calorie counting and guilt.

I can return to The House That Built Me everyday.

Little Courtney

The Wide World of Blogging

I’ve never written a blog. Heck, I just joined Twitter yesterday (apparently I’m SO 2008…). But I was reading behnnie’s blog, and I thought, hey, why not? So, here it is. My first blog.

Earlier today, I was posed a challenge <insert dramatic music here>. The challenge was to re-cast one of the greatest movies of all time, Clue. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. If you have, well, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

I digress.

Anyway, I was posed this challenge since the 25th Anniversary of the movie is upon us (December), and a remake is inevitable. The challenge was to not only choose the cast, but also choose the director.

Drumroll, please.

Here are my choices:

Director: Baz Luhrmann


Mrs. Peacock– Meryl Streep

Wadsworth– Hugh Laurie

Mrs. White– Cate Blanchett

Professor Plum– Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Mr. Green– Jude Law

Colonel Mustard– Dustin Hoffman

Ms. Scarlett– Teri Hatcher

Yvette– Scarlett Johansson

Mr. Boddy– Stanley Tucci

The Cook–Kathy Bates

The Motorist–Evan Handler

The Singing Telegram Girl–Natalie Portman

The Cop–Morgan Freeman

The Original Cast