friday favorites: organizing my 2015


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!

If you are like me, you realized that this week marked the first week of the last month of the year.  Repeat after me, "Oh My Goodness!"  That means, yes, New Years' resolutions are Right.Around.The.Corner.

What is my resolution almost every year?  To get organized.

This is a "relative" term in my world as I tend to be a creative type personality so while on the outside we appear scattered and chaotic, on the inside, I am actually pretty put together.  Still, I do love me a good planner and colored pens to help keep some resemblance of order.

This Friday Favorites is dedicated to my new organizer and accessories.

snow is cold or the tale of being more vulnerable

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting my best friend from high school and her lovely family who were visiting from Texas.  It was the first time I opened up my new home to real guests - not just my mom and dad who stay from time to time.

The experience was different for me.  Opening my house and inviting people to see me at all times of the day - from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed.  It was strange.  I was vulnerable.

But an amazing thing happened during this vulnerability.  I became more open.  I stayed up late to just talk to my friend - a late night talk that was like long overdue therapy for both of us.  And I opened myself up to let someone in.

For so long, I've put barriers up around myself and tell others, "no, I don't need your help.  I've got this."  And yes, maybe at times I do have it together.  But oftentimes, I don't have it altogether.  And truthfully, most of us don't have it all together, all the time. And that's ok.

That's where friends come in.

They open their arms and offer help and support.  They lift you up when you are falling down.  And they just hug you when you need a hug.

This weekend, I needed a little help.  Silly as it sounds, I was purchasing a car for Kevin 3.5 hours away and asked my parents to give me a ride.  (No problem there - they are always there for me).

Instead, my best friend changed her departure plans to stay one more day and take me to go pick up Kevin's new car and to spend one more day with me.  I didn't ask her to do this, she just offered.  And instead of my usual, "oh no, I got this" attitude, I stopped a second and said, "ok - that would be great!"

So Saturday morning, we packed up 3 adults, 3 kiddos for a 3.5 hour ride (one-way) up the mountains to go pick up a car for my husband who (mind you) lives 1200 miles away.  Strange?  Of course it is, but that's our life!

On our way up the canyon, we stopped in Vail and got the kiddos out so these Texas kids (and my Colorado one) could play in the snow.  And what do you know - its cold!

By the time the kiddos got back in the car, they were freezing, but had a ton of fun getting stuck in the snow banks.

I couldn't ask for better friends who offer to help me with a very odd request.  We were gone for almost 12 hours to pick up a car for a guy who lives far away and won't even have access to it for several months.  But nothing in my life sounds normal anymore and my friends have likely figured that out.

Just like the snow banks we played in, I have built up barriers around me to help protect myself.  But I am working on breaking them down to be a better friend and accept help from my friends.  Besides, its more fun, don't you think?

Do you find it hard to open up and be vulnerable, even to your closest friends?  How have you broken through your barriers and accepted help from others?

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5 alternatives to the dreaded white elephant exchange

It's that time of year! The dreaded white elephant gift exchange mayhem is about to begin. Whether you are planning a corporate holiday party or a friendly shindig at your own abode, your guests will likely leave the soirée disappointed with the selected gift in hand.

So how do you avoid disappointing your guests, but still provide a fun gift exchange?  Try these five alternatives to the traditional white elephant exchange that will sure please everyone who leaves your party.