Holiday Traditions – Part 2

I realized last night, after posting yesterday’s blog installment, that I was wrong to say that Christmas was first and foremost all about the tree. Christmas back then and still today, is first and foremost, about the birth of Jesus Christ. Going to Christmas mass at our church was the biggest part of the holiday season and one I still look forward to attending. I love the old Christmas hymns, the playing out of that first Christmas in the manger, the garlands, trees and wreaths that adorn the altar and rafters of the church, the cheerful greetings of friends, family and strangers and the feelings of love and community that envelop me as I sit in my pew surrounded by all that is beautiful about Christmas.

I have said more than once that I am a woman of faith. I believe that my love of God has pulled me through many difficult times and so at Christmas, I try to be especially grateful for this blessed time and the sacrifice God made to allow his son to be born to bare our sins and eventually by giving up his life, Jesus saved us from our wrongdoings. by opening the gates of heaven. I know many don’t believe as I do and that is for each individual to decide for themselves. I don’t judge or push my beliefs on others.

Simply saying, Christmas for me is about Christ and I will keep that thought close to my heart as I prepare for the holidays. What is Christmas about for you? What are your most treasured traditions of the season? I hope you are able to Be Pretty, Plus and Proud throughout the busy days ahead and are able to enjoy this special time of year!

Holiday Traditions – Part 1

For many of us, December is a very special time of year. No matter which holiday you celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or anything else, it’s a time of year to savour time-honoured traditions that have been passed on from one generation to the next.

For me, growing up as a child in Nova Scotia, Canada, Christmas was all about the tree first and foremost. My Dad was from a small Acadian village, Chezzetcook, so we would trek to the country and venture into the real woods to find the perfect tree.  No need for tree farms back then although today I suppose it would be considered trespassing and stealing for what we did to get our “Chezzetcook” tree. As we meandered deep into the forest, our Dad would show us how he, as a child, would pick gum off the trees and chew it, no Wrigley’s chewing gum back then. I think we may have tried it once and unanimously agreed to never try it again, yuck!  He would also point out the tracks in the snow, teasing us by saying they were left by bears. Of course, this would put quite a scare into us. We eventually figured it out that the tracks were left by harmless bunnies, being far too small to be left by bears. Ahh, the innocence of youth. We would eventually agree on a tree and Dad would cut it down. We’d haul it back to the old station wagon and tie it to the roof, bringing it home hoping it would pass our mother’s inspection. Sometimes it would be deemed ok, other times, we were told it was too skinny or bare. Despite any disagreement over whether it was the perfect tree or not, we would lavish it with all the old glass ornaments, garland, lights and tinsel. In the end it was always the most beautiful tree we had ever seen.

While we don’t go out into the woods anymore, picking out a tree with my husband and daughter, is still a special tradition. We always bring our good friend, Mike with us as he’s tall and we know if he can touch the top of a tree, then it will be the perfect height for our living room. Sometimes we cut it down at the tree farm, but most often we choose one that has already been freshly cut. We put it into the back of our truck and once home, the usual struggle to get it straight in the stand begins. Mike and my husband don the lights and beaded garlands, then my daughter and I take over with the ornaments. In the end, it’s always beautiful. It’s a joy to look at all the old ornaments and reminisce about when certain decorations were purchased or made.

What traditions do you have for this time of year? I would love to hear about them. Over the course of the coming week, I will share other special things I do with my loved ones while celebrating the days leading up to and including the day of Christmas.

Emotions may run afoot over the holidays so remember to stay Pretty, Plus and Proud and calm despite the hurrying and scurrying!

 

“Just Do It” Like Nike Says!

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Images in today’s blog are courtesy of Instagram posts from Posh Nail Bar and Spa, who by the way do the best nail job of anyone, anywhere! Check them out if you’re in the Oshawa area. Book your appointment today 905-240-7771, located at 1341 King St. East. 

I love this quote! Do what makes you feel beautiful and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Colour your hair or don’t. Cut it short or let it grow long. Wear makeup or go natural. Wear colourful clothing or go all black. Wear heels or flats. Use designer handbags or thrifted finds. Dance alone in your living room, grooving to your favourite tunes, enjoying the movement of your luscious curves. Wear flannel pyjamas or lingerie whether you sleep alone or with a partner. Treat yourself because you deserve it. Get your nails done and add some sparkle.

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Get a facial, a massage or a pedicure. Do things for yourself that give you confidence, that make you feel strong and beautiful. Do things that will help you conquer the world because you have it in you to accomplish. As the Nike commercials tell us, “Just do it.” Do whatever it takes to Be Pretty, Plus and Proud because that is who you are!

Who Do You Surround Yourself With?

I am shamefully aware that I have failed people in my life, both family and friends. Did I do it intentionally? No, as my intentions are always pure and kindhearted, but yes, I have failed. Alas, I am only human and while I do my best to be there for my loved ones when they need me, there are times that I may have been preoccupied with my own life and therefore didn’t give them the support they expected or needed.

I think what we can all take away from today’s blog post is this:

  • Treat others how you wish to be treated. If you want loving, supportive relationships, then be a loving supportive person in return.
  • No matter how busy you are, find the time to be with the people you care about. Surround yourself with people who do the same for you.
  • Be conscious of the people who “suck” the life out of you. While you don’t wish to be cruel or disrespectful, some people are better takers than givers. If you’re not careful they will drain you until you are emotionally dry. Limit your time with such people if you don’t wish to completely cut them loose. Be okay with that decision because you sometimes have to take care of you.
  • Apologize when you know you’ve failed and could have done better but also remember that you are human and have limits and are capable of making mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too badly.
  • Be Pretty, Plus and Proud of who you are. You make mistakes but we all do. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. The people who count, who really care will understand and forgive your mistakes. That is because they know how amazing you are and know you’re worth keeping around. If they don’t know that, then you don’t need them either.

Be Calm

Body positivity is hard to achieve at any age for many different reasons.

EARLY TEENS:

In your young teenage years it’s hard to love yourself because we compare ourselves to our peers way too much and always come up short; our hair isn’t styled right, our clothes aren’t cool enough, we don’t feel pretty if we have to wear braces, glasses or we have problem skin. As we move through these years, sadly many are the victims of mean girls who feel they have to tear others down so they can be the queen bee of the class. If you’re not part of the “cool” or “popular” crowd, then you feel like a nobody. Kids at this age are trying to figure out who they are and body image is something about ourselves we feel least comfortable with. Both girls and boys suffer in much the same way, trying to fit into a world that may not want to accept their differences.

LATER TEENS:

As teens age towards young adulthood, they may continue to suffer from poor self-image if they can’t find a group where they feel they can fit into. Finding friends with similar interests and characteristics is key to accepting and embracing who you are.

ADULTS:

As we move into adulthood, how we feel about ourselves can still be influenced by others. If we don’t secure the job we wanted, we question whether it’s because of our looks that we weren’t chosen. If we have trouble finding a romantic partner, we automatically assume it’s because we aren’t attractive. We hold ourselves back from enjoying life until we are successful at changing the parts of ourselves we feel aren’t good enough.

MIDLIFE TO SENIOR AGE:

Somewhere in the middle of these is where I fit, well past midlife but certainly not quite a senior. At 50+, I am finally learning to love who I am and I sincerely hope that others who fall into this category are learning to love the skin they’re in and have given up on the idea that they have to change themselves in order to “fit in” or be happy. At this stage of the game, I strongly feel that I have worried enough about what other people think of me and I’m seriously trying not to care. I would rather spend time with people who value  my intelligence, my talents and my actions rather than my looks. If anyone feels I’m not good enough for them because I don’t look the way society feels people should look like, then guess what?; they’re not good enough for me!

If you feel healthy, energetic and happy, then that’s all that matters, no matter what shape or size you are. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and calm. It’s not worth your time to get your feathers ruffled over the ignorance and stupidity of people who think you have to be a certain size or shape to be valuable.

Happy American Thanksgiving!

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Image courtesy of hey.its.terri on Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Even though we celebrate this special holiday a month apart from each other, the sentiment is the same whether you’re in the USA or Canada; hope, thanks and gratefulness.

HOPE FOR:

  • peace and harmony within families and across nations
  • kindness and goodwill towards those less fortunate than yourself
  • love because everyone deserves it
  • happiness and fulfillment in whatever way speaks to your soul

THANKS FOR:

  • all the blessings bestowed on you that many take for granted; plentiful food, a warm home, adequate clothing, access to good education and career opportunities
  • the love and support of friends and family especially in times of hardship

GRATEFULNESS FOR:

  • the little things that make life enjoyable; books, entertainment, bubble baths, scented candles
  • good health so life can be lived to the fullest
  • clean water that comes straight out of your tap
  • electricity that lights your home and makes tasks like cooking and doing laundry infinitely easier than what our parents or grandparents had to deal with
  • the tools available for communicating with friends and family that may be far away in miles but not so bad if you can talk on the phone, FaceTime or Skype

These are but a few things for which you can keep at the forefront of your thoughts this weekend as you sit down at your table with a big turkey sitting in the middle of it and surrounded by your loved ones.

My wish for everyone celebrating this holiday is that you are happy, safe and enveloped in love. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud of what you have for you are indeed blessed with so much.

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you!