Important Holiday Check List

Through all the holiday “hustle and bustle” (which may include a few unfortunate shattered ornaments) I always make sure to do a few things.

Here is my Stay Sane Holiday Check List:

☐ Put on your slipper socks – the ones with the sticky bottoms

☐ Watch Love Actually

☐ Check doorstep for holiday shipment from Crate and Barrel

☐ Smell the pine (unless you opted for a fake tree*)

☐ Indulge in a handful of fancy dark chocolate covered almonds, like Amie’s of The Healthy Apple (or, a flute of bubbly and light Prosecco**)

☐ Connect with your spirituality, wherever you find it

☐ Make a wish/say a prayer for someone special

☐ Dress up (break out the bow ties and Carrie Bradshaw red lips)

☐ Order the After-Dinner Coffee Cocktail

☐ Toss three ugly ornaments (hey, you can use that extra storage space)

☐ Reminisce about past holiday blunders and successes

☐ Pamper yourself (you only get the excuse for spa treatments so often; guys – I am talking to you, too)

☐ Cook a colorful meal, like pizza with red sauce, spinach greens and fresh mozzarella (you could always order it in, too – wink)

☐ Listen to at least one Alvin and The Chipmunks holiday song

☐ Burn a batch of cookies (there is plenty more dough)

☐ Get at least 8 hours of sleep

☐ And don’t forget to shower (the dishes can wait)

☐ Do all things with a loving touch

☐ Give as much as you can to the local food pantry

☐ Discover wire ribbon. Trust us. (Family tip.)

☐ Call your grandparents, if you are fortunate enough to have them

☐ Arrive on time with a semi-full stomach and a hostess gift (you never know what the party food is going to be like)

☐ Kiss under the mistletoe. A lot. If you don’t have anyone to kiss, give yourself a hug. You deserve it.

☐ Pay the bills (you are still responsible for your rent, even though you’ve spent it all already)

☐ Find new places in your downtown community where you can celebrate and shop (I buy #MadeInUSA whenever possible)

☐ Visit with friends and family, whether nearby or by Skype

☐ Forgive someone, even if it’s just in your head

☐ Did I mention, watch Love Actually?

*Long story short, Kevin and I decided not to brave the Christmas tree bugs this year. We will never again take scented candles for granted.

**La Marca is one of our favorite, which is also completely affordable. (Note: Bottle is best when shared.)

What is your #1 Holiday Stay Sane Tip?

A Playlist for Entertaining: Cocktails and Cheer

Have a twinkling time decorating the Christmas tree, gathering with friends, or toasting the year’s accomplishments with Cocktails and Cheer, my latest playlist on Spotify.


You can download a free account here if you don’t already have one. Have fun!

Holiday Preparations: Time to Get Festive

Pie and Brownies

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, Apple with Almond Crumb Crust and Sinful Fudge Brownies

The holidays are a wonderful time of year.

Let’s kindle the festive spirit  so that the glow of wonder and magic lasts throughout the long winter. Here I am going to share my favorite seasonal tips, treats and topics over the next few posts. Please join me on this sleigh ride!

And, if you’re feeling the spark, share your fave thing about the holidays below.

Donate Blood

Blood Bank

Cate and Diana at Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Do something good for yourself and for others this holiday season. It’s the best gift you could give and it’s free.

Here’s my story:
I recently moved from Massachusetts to Florida. Quite the ride in the overstuffed UHAUL, let me tell you.

Each day in Sarasota has been a glorious blessing. Aside from the job hunting, I have been charged with getting to know the area, settling my hubby and I into our condo and taking care of dinner, to name a few things. So each day I have carved out some time to take a long walk or go to the gym. I am on a mission to improve.

That day, my walk took me on the same path past the usual scenery. The lush landscaping in the housing complex, including the pond with the treasured ibis. The dumpster where the cardboard goes, not the plastic, and the gate to the “outside world.” Along the hot and humid, but shaded path beyond where we live to beyond the blood bank on the left-hand side of the walkway. I had one simple thought and – turned back…

I am not one to just go walking into a blood bank, believe me, but something compelled me to do so that day. My thought was simple. It’s time to start making people feel good whenever possible. Whether it’s my Mother, a random stranger on the street, a community of individuals in need or even just little old me. If I can do something each day to make someone “feel positive,” then I am going to do it.

So I made an appointment to donate blood. When I left the bright, cheerful office, I felt so charged up. Good things are happening. (Even if I am petrified of needles.)

Well, needless to say, it was a success. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish and I felt great afterward (just a little tired). My arm was a bit sore for a few days, but it was completely worth it. I know it might not seem like much, but to me it represented a shift in who I am and what I know is possible.

Have you ever donated blood?

Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Just a little bitty mark!