Happy New Year! The gift-giving holidays are over, but now is the time when all the hype is about our personal resolutions and how we are going to accomplish them. To some extent, this day is a motivating factor to get our butts in gear, but in reality it almost becomes a habit for us to blurt out some easy-to-say resolution and then make an excuse a couple of months later when we don’t follow through.
When I think New Year’s resolutions I think of weight loss, more time with the family, exercising, traveling, quitting smoking etc. However, when I posted the question of “What is your New Year’s resolution?” on Facebook, aside from the obvious, I did get many other ones such as: “To live within each moment and give back,” “to stay focused and enjoy everything life offers,” “to enjoy the little things as much as the big things in life.”
Most of the responses have to do with giving back to each other, the community, your family. Staying focused on your endeavors and remembering that every moment you have you should feel gratitude.
I feel that due to our environment and our economy, we are realizing that life is more than having lots of money, fancy houses and cars and things that we want. Be grateful for the small stuff. Be thankful for what you have instead of what you don’t.
In 2010, make sure to exercise, keep yourself healthy, spend more time with the family and follow your dreams. Remember, you are your own judge and when you complete your inner goals you will have a strong sense of accomplishment. Once you have that, you can start giving back to the world one person at a time.
I found this great article from Businesswire.com regarding a study commissioned from Dorothy.com and conducted by Harris Interactive. It states that while women are more likely than men to make New Year’s resolutions (74 percent of women versus 58 percent of men) among adults who have ever made a resolution, men are more likely than women to always or often keep them (22 percent of men versus 14 percent of women). Ladies, isn’t that interesting?
Their survey polled more than 2,000 adults in the U.S., asking how the population sets and achieves their resolutions. During the study they also found out that 66 percent of adults have ever made a New Year’s resolution, but only 17 percent always or often keep them. Men and women who have dreams in life cited financial limitations as the No. 1 obstacle (36 percent) preventing them from achieving their dreams, followed by lack of time and/or motivation (14 percent) and 33 percent of adults who have dreams in life have used online tools such as search engines and social-networking sites to help them achieve their dreams — gotta love modern technology. Ladies let’s kick it up a notch this year, and try to even out these statistics.
By the time this column is published, Christmas will be a few days away and I’ll bet that the majority of you will be doing your last-minute shopping. Of course at this late time, the traffic is horrendous, people lose their patience easily and the lines are extremely long at pretty much every store. It’s a shame because this time of year is supposed to be joyous and gratifying, but concurrently it can rapidly turn into a stressful and burdensome time.
Stress from the holidays can affect every aspect of your life, including making decisions you may regret — especially when you are lacking in the money department. Your willingness and intentions of purchasing gifts for your loved ones can quickly become an unpleasant experience and the stress from the mixed emotions may cause you to make irrational decisions. Examples include purchasing something on your credit card when you know you can’t pay it back for awhile, or going over budget, or even as severe as spending your savings. All this just to make everyone happy and to follow “proper” protocol for holiday gift giving.
Please don’t do this to yourself. Especially now in this down economy when most of us are in the same boat. We can all relate. According to Elizabeth Scott, in an article she wrote on managing the seemingly inevitable holiday season stress, she gives five non-monetary reasons for this situation.
1. Doing too much: Too many activities, even if they are fun activities, can culminate in too much holiday stress and leave us feeling frazzled rather than fulfilled.
2. Eating, drinking and spending too much: An over abundance of parties and gift-giving occasions lead many people to eat, drink, and be merry — often to excess. The temptation to overindulge can cause many people the lasting stress of dealing with consequences that can linger long after the season is over.
3. Too much togetherness: Even in the most close-knit families you can overdose on togetherness, making it hard for family members to maintain a healthy balance between bonding and alone time.
4. Not enough togetherness: Loneliness can be a huge problem. When the world seems to be gathering with family, those who rely more on friends for support can feel deserted and alone.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This is an often-unrecognized problem, which is a by-product of the seasons changing from fall to winter. As daylight diminishes and the weather causes us to stay indoors, many are affected.
So, as you can see, it is manageable to handle this holiday stress if you can remember some of these things. However, when the holidays are over and you are still just plain old stressed out, here are some tips to help with that stress reduction.
First, stay positive throughout the holidays. Next, be sure to keep yourself in shape and exercise when possible. Also, eat right and decrease your fat and sugar intake. Third, don’t drink too much coffee or caffeinated beverages. Get plenty of rest (at least eight hours a night) and try to meditate or do Yoga right before the big family gathering. A message from a special someone on Christmas morning would be nice, too. Finally, remember that you can’t control everything and that you can always ask the friends and family with you to help with certain problems that do arise.
And remember to be safe while traveling and shopping. There are many people who are out there drinking excessively, spending too much, being careless and still getting behind the wheel. Be aware of your surroundings and most of all take time for yourself. Although it may sound selfish, you come first because if you are not in good health or good sprits then the people around you will be affected. This is a time for joy and quality time with your friends and family. Use it to your advantage and treasure all of the happy moments.
I recently wrote about the great feelings of being with family and how you can uplift your spirit by giving back to the community, but there is a negative side to the holiday season that we all know about.
I was inspired to write this column from a caption my friend Jen had on a Facebook picture: “Shopping at the mall during the holiday season...SCARY. Fighting over the last item on the shelf...CHILDISH. Keeping a smile on my face [and] the X-mas spirit...PRACTICE. Getting home [and] hanging myself with an oversized candy cane...PRICELESS!!!”
Does that sound familiar to anyone? I laughed when I saw that because it is probably the way most of us feel. We may not want to admit it, but we sure know that when it comes to buying gifts we tend to procrastinate. And when we procrastinate we rush to the stores at the last minute, and when we rush to the store that’s when we start to get a little crazy.
First there’s road rage. I mean seriously, you can’t go near a mall without getting cut off by someone. Just a few days ago some guy decided to pull out in front of two lanes of traffic and then got stuck because he was too close to a stopped car trying to make a left, so he held up everyone. Second, there are frantic shoppers. This is totally crazy. People are going at each other trying to get the last of certain items. My friend said it right when he told me, “I don’t understand it when people say that the holidays are sneaking up on us.”
He is so right, it’s not like they suddenly fall at a surprising time of year. So really you should have plenty of time allotted to buy gifts. I mean you can shop online now just as easy, if not easier, than getting in the car and going to the mall. During this “joyful” time of year, we sure are stressed. But we have to put on a happy face for our family. Especially now in this economy where, unfortunately, many local workers have been laid off and there is less income in the household. We all want to please our loved ones with great gifts, and when we can’t provide we feel bad. However, like I wrote in my last column, personalized gifts are preferred by most, so something handmade or something with thought may just be the ticket to having a guilt-free holiday. And please people, stay away from the oversized candy canes.
This week is Christmas and it will be quiet in the area, but there are still some great places to go on Christmas Day if you don’t celebrate Christmas or even if you and the family want to go out after your holiday routine.
I know that the hubby and I usually go to the Chinese buffet and then the movies. The cheesy movies typically come out that day, but good thing I like those kind. I’m hoping to see It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Can’t go wrong, right? I know that hubby is not looking forward to that, but hey, you got to take the good with the bad.
Then during the week it will be time to start planning for New Year’s Eve. I know that the Tropicana is having 12 hot parties and a live DJ in The Quarter. Tracy Morgan will be at the Borgata and at the Taj you can check out Jerry Blavat’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. If those options don’t tickle your fancy then maybe you can check out Harrah’s for the Jimmy Eat World show. Not to mention there are many local restaurants that are having specials for this exciting evening. I know I am torn between a house party and a casino party. Either way I know that I will have a fun but responsible evening; please make sure you do the same. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday and new year!
Buying gifts for people can be very intimidating. However, picking the right one is definitely rewarding.
The popular question during this time of year is usually what does SHE want? We all know that if mom/wife/girlfriend is happy then we are all happy, right?
That statement may sound funny, but it is very accurate. But let’s flip the script for a second, especially during a time when both sexes are trying to please one another. I am curious to know about what HE wants.
Women are stereotyped as hard to buy gifts for and that is certainly understandable, but good gifts for men are always assumed to be the usual tie or a pair of socks. I started wondering if those gifts were truly what men really wanted. So this past week I set out to find the perfect gift for the men in our lives. I picked the brain of a few guys and although they mostly all laughed at the socks and tie idea I think you will be intrigued with some of their responses.
One guy said he actually hates gifts because clothes don’t fit and things are usually useless. Another added that gifts are more trouble than they are worth between returns and exchanges. I asked him what he would like and he said something personal such as a nice card or some kind words. That surprised me — it wasn’t a “typical” answer to hear from a guy.
Another guy said that he would love cologne if it was from a significant other, even if it’s not his normal scent. His theory is that she’ll buy something she likes the smell of, ultimately making her happy. Hmmm, interesting.
The next day I talked to a prominent businessman in the area who said that men like gifts that involve short get-a-ways, tickets to a game or concert, or even high-tech gadgets such as iPods or video games. He followed with another great gift idea; something personal such as a photo box with pictures, or even a book that relates to a personal life situation.
I took from this that a small personal gift would make the gentleman in your life as happy as the big-ticket items that he would also enjoy. Then over the weekend one man I queried said he preferred gifts on the expensive side, such as a sports fishing trip. In the same room I heard another guy say that he actually likes getting socks and although others heckled him in the room, he stood firm on his decision. One guy said that he would like the gift of a massage and facial and a few others agreed.
Then there was some consensus on another simple, personal, inexpensive gift — a coupon book from a significant other having them do the honors of a massage or something like doing the laundry or preparing a nice meal.
Everyone has their own taste and style and you really need to know a person before you get them something personal. If you are in a bind then it’s a safe bet to go with the good old tie and socks. However, while many guys will take the expensive gifts, most of the men interviewed agreed that the inexpensive touches that involve thought and preparation were definitely popular.
Speaking about getting a present for someone special, I found something that is inexpensive, great quality and best of all unisex. It is the Branigan Weavers Scarf. They are handmade in Ireland and made from alpaca fur so they are super soft and come in beautiful natural colors such as browns and taupes.
The best part is that they are un-dyed and eco-friendly. You can find them at a charming store called Ireland & Old Lace located on the Village Green in Historic Smithville. Owner Kelly Coleman says, “Sales on the scarves are up 30 percent this season. Because of the economy, people aren’t going out and buying new coats. They are buying new accessories to dress up an old coat.”
These handmade scarves come in a flap scarf that crosses your neck with a little flap and a long scarf. Between the two, prices range from $22-$32. You can check out the store’s Web site at irelandandoldlace.com, but definitely stop by the store as the entire shopping and dining area is in the holiday spirit.
The major holidays are upon us, and we’re all scrambling for last-minute gifts and figuring out the menus for our family dinners. Life seems so hectic, yet we expect to feel this way and we know that, in the long run, all of the work we are doing is to show our families that they are loved and that they have a safe place to be during “the most wonderful time of the year.”
What we sometimes fail to realize is that we are so lucky and so fortunate that we have the means to buy basic necessities such as food. Recently I saw a story on our local news about the great people who donated food and lots of turkeys to the local Community FoodBank during Thanksgiving. I wanted to know more, so I went to their site and saw that they collected more than 3,000 turkeys and 24,000 pounds of food. I was so happy to learn this and realized that when our community needs to come together, we do it right and we go big or go home. The truth is, everyone wants to be able to help others in need but sometimes we just don’t know where to go or what to do. So I contacted Margie Barham, executive director of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey-Southern Branch and asked her a few key questions.
What does the FoodBank need the most?
Donations of money and food. For every $1 donated we can purchase $8 to $10 worth of food. The food items we need the most are: peanut butter, canned tuna, baked beans, baby foods and formula, Spaghetti-O’s ravioli, Beef-a-roni, applesauce, mayonnaise, jelly, dry pasta, rice, instant potatoes, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables and even laundry detergent, soap, diapers, shampoos and other personal hygiene products.
If people want to drop off food, is there a specific place or time to do so?
There are drives usually going on all the time, but if they want to drop items here at 6735 Black Horse Pike in EHT, then they can do so Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm, and most Saturdays from 8am to noon. They can also call us to check on times at 383-8843.
Do you work closely with other local charities?
The FoodBank distributes more than 95,000 pounds of groceries each week to over 300 charities throughout Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and parts of Burlington counties.
How does the food get dispersed?
We make up packages, which are distributed based on the number of people in the family.
Here are some other statistics that Barham felt we should know. The first is that last year the FoodBank distributed a record 5.1 million pounds of food. And from January through November of this year they have seen about a 40-percent increase in food distribution over the last year. More people than ever before in the history of our local FoodBank are struggling to put food on the table. She also wanted to note that donors will be happy to learn that Charity Navigator, American’s premier independent charity evaluator, recently awarded the Community FoodBank four stars for the organization’s ability to efficiently manage its donor’s funds. “For every dollar collected, 96.4 cents goes directly to support our programs and feed those in need. So you see, your contribution will indeed go a long way in helping others,” says Barham.
On Barham’s feeling about working at the FoodBank, she says, “I am so blessed to be working for this organization that does so much good for so many people. At this time of unprecedented need in the history of the FoodBank it is a challenging job. But I am inspired by our agency partners, the FoodBank staff and the people who come to us for help. Being able to make a difference is the most exciting thing about this position and meeting people who help us to help others.”
I am very proud to be a part of such a wonderful community that comes together in a time of need. We have done an excellent job helping people who are less fortunate, so let’s keep the momentum going.
Happy Holidays South Jersey!
Calling all divas! With all of the holiday parties coming up, you’ll want to make sure you look your best. I am a big fan of the all-natural look, but sometimes we have to spice things up with a little makeup.
Doing your own makeup can be intimidating and we all know it isn’t as easy as it looks. But that is why there are so many local talented people who can help you in your crisis. One great option is to go to Mac at The Pier Shops at Caesars or Hamilton Mall or do a home party for Mary Kay with local Katrina Haviland marykay.com/katkleva.
Another excellent option would be to look up Lori Galinski from Picture Perfect Makeup (992-5678). She has been doing makeup professionally for years and will help you with any occasion. These options are definitely worthwhile, but I have to say that my personal loyalty lies with a local makeup artist who is truly phenomenal. Her name is Stacey May and she is a certified Motives consultant as well as a custom blend specialist with Image by Design.
I am blessed because every week when you see me on TV (during the AC Weekly/NBC-40 “Entertainment Minute”), I have flirtatious hair by Art Is salon in Brigantine, a trendy wardrobe from Serenity Boutique in Smithville and fabulous makeup done by Stacey May!
Now granted, she is doing my makeup for me, but she shows me how to apply it. Her smokey eye makeup is one of a kind and is really popular amongst her clients. Not only that, I absolutely love the Motives by Loren Ridinger makeup line, which is what she uses. Yes I know you’ve heard that before, I love Mac makeup and Kohls’ makeup, but a girl can’t ever have enough! Seriously, after I tried the quality of the Motives makeup products I fell in love. What is the line all about? “Through meticulously selected color combinations, state-of-the-art simplicity, and the ability to customize your own individual style, Motives has taken traditional makeup to unimaginable heights while developing a comprehensive collection that complements the look for women of all ages, skin types, and skin tones. Furthermore, these breakthrough formulas are paraben free and infused with natural ingredients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants designed to benefit your skin long after the makeup is gone,” reads the description. The coolest thing is that they have customizable foundation that is infused with antioxidants and an exclusive multi-minerals complex which protects and hydrates your skin — and it is free of oil, wax and talc.
My makeup stays on all day and it keeps my skin looking smooth. You can find out more at IBD.MotivesCosmetics.com. To contact Stacey, call 287-4781 or check out imagebydesign.biz.
While you are getting yourself all prettied up for these holiday parties, maybe you can start the celebration a little earlier this year and treat yourself to a fashion show for some inspiration. Come out next Thursday, Dec. 10 (5:30-9:30pm), to the Tun Tavern in Atlantic City as they will host the first A.C. Fashion Fusion event. This will be a “deliciously fabulous celebration” put on with Go Jane News and hosted by yours truly.
This event will showcase the Tun Tavern’s new wine list of over 80 wines by the bottle and 40 by the glass. It will also showcase women’s and men’s fashions from Serenity Boutique of Smithville and Simply Fly of Northfield. The Tun will be serving complimentary hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks and offer a full cash bar. Admission is only $15 with proceeds benefiting the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Not only is this a fashion show, but there will be prizes, give-aways and gift bags for all attendees. And by all attendees we mean men and women, everyone will be there. Plus, this will be a great opportunity to mingle with friends, meet new people, have great wine and food as well as check out the latest fashions. What more could you ask for on a Thursday night? For more information you can call 425-0958 or log onto tuntavern.com.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.