November to Remember

“The thinnest yellow light of November is more warm and more exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.” -Henry David Thoreau

November. The 11th month of the longest year of all of our lives, but we made it. We are 2 days out from election day…I’m not going to touch that one, except to tell you to GO VOTE. Who would have thought that when the clock struck 12 on January 1st of this year, this is where would be. I know I was expecting great things for this year. It isn’t over, so there is a possibility that those great things can happen in the next 60 days. I haven’t given up hope that something good is waiting somewhere in the dark corners of this year. I never expected to be homeschooling my 6 year old, having my senior go through her final year distance learning, looking head on at a second wave of a pandemic, nationwide protests, a severely detrimental election on so many levels, and just plain exhausted. If you feel exhausted, that is perfectly fine. If you are over this year, that is ok too. If you are putting up your Christmas tree, with your Halloween decorations still up, and Thanksgiving/Fall decorations mixed in…that is fine as well. Guess what? We have all had one hell of a year at this point. Doctor’s are saying stay away from big family gatherings this holiday season to lower the spread, so the holiday’s are looking a lot like a Zoom meeting. Upside, less cooking for me, downside, no family game nights.

Although we do have some limitations because we are still going through the scourge of 2020, it is possible to make it a November to remember. First of all, let us remember that we must be thankful we are still present and accounted for. If you don’t believe in Covid, I’m ok with that, that is your choice. However, I have several family members that didn’t make it home once they contracted it. One of my good friends just lost her ex and her daughter’s father to complications from Covid. Whatever you believe, be grateful that you made it this far this year. Are you gainfully employed? Be thankful. There are millions of people who lost their jobs and businesses this year and still haven’t found an alternative. Do you have a roof over your head? If so, that is another reason for you to be thankful. What I’m saying is, we tend to take things for granted when we should be thankful for the basic necessities we have in life because so many people have lost those comforts this year. As I watched the news Friday what I say was saddening and maddening at the same time. Families, disabled veterans, elderly people all being evicted from their homes because they couldn’t pay their rent. Homeless in a pandemic. Homeless in the coming winter, homeless for the first time in their lives. It was a sobering thing to watch, but just knowing that our government – who couldn’t reach a consensus to keep these people protected from evictions, but would stay in town long enough to vote in a new Supreme Court Justice was a kick in the teeth to me. It was a middle finger if you will to their constituents who now find themselves without a roof over their head. So I ask that you think of these people when you are comfortable at home tonight with a hot supper and a roof over your head. Consider a donation to your local food bank or Salvation Army. When you want to complain, think about how bad it really could be and say, “I am grateful for everything…even the bad.”

I am guilty of complaints and not being grateful this year. I have learned that you cannot truly appreciate the good without accepting the unfortunate things that life throws at you. I can’t say enough how tough this year has been for us, and how things continued their roller coaster ride throughout the year. I wanted to give up, keep complaining, and throw in the towel on several occasions. However, when I see the suffering of others, knowing that at any moment – that could be me or someone I love, my thankful and grateful heart reappears and lets me know, be better, do better, because you know better. We have to stop being so closed minded to the thoughts and challenges of others. We have to start being more respectful of the people around us, who we come in contact with – in person and on social media. How do you make this a November to remember? Show your gratitude to someone, say thank you for something small, and do something kind for someone without expecting something in return. Let’s get back to being decent human beings and show that we are capable of love, compassion, and common human decency.

Halloween Looks Different This Year

Here I sit, on the eve of Halloween, thinking about how different this year’s festivities are. Not only are celebrations different, but the entire vibe is not what it normally is. I decorated, as usual. The house is full of pumpkins, skulls, ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, but even with all of that – it just isn’t the same. Me and my husband are currently sitting here watching Jamie Lee Curtis play her role as Laurie Strode in the must watch movie of the Halloween season – HALLOWEEN, but I still don’t feel completely “in the season.” Even with a Halloween movie marathon. My daughter went out with her friends to the newest fad of 2020, drive through carwash scare-fest and we plan to make homemade costumes tomorrow and have a family “party.” She’s sent me pictures, and it seems pretty cool. It is a safer option than going to a haunted house. You stay in your car. The monsters scare you from the outside of your car at a safe distance, and you drive through the carwash for more scares and you get a carwash. Now, when I say family, I mean: me, dad, daughter, son. As much as I would love to have my nephew and little cousins come over and make all sorts of noise, eat all kinds of goodies, and send them home with bags full of candy, I cannot. Like other states in the country, our state is seeing a rise in Covid cases, and where our city was seeing a decline, we are now seeing more cases on a daily basis.

Normally this time of year, we have planned and bought costumes. We’ve visited the pumpkin patch, we’ve had Halloween class parties and family get togethers, but this year Halloween looks different. This month started out with a hurricane, my husband was injured during the storm at work, and 2020 has not let up one bit. Regardless of the hurdles we’ve had to jump and overcome, we are still standing. If you’ve had to adjust your yearly Halloween plans, that is ok. We still painted pumpkins, we are having our family day tomorrow and we are going to carve a pumpkin for our trick or treaters who decide that Halloween will look the same for them this year no matter what. We have candy placed by the door on our entry table, near the Lysol, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes. While things may not be 100%, we have made some adjustments and we will still have a lot of fun. We’ll even go mingle with the neighbors if they decide to sit outside and pass out candy like a “normal Halloween.”

I was given a list of appetizers to make and I will go forth to the kitchen and cook. I was told I had to make my famous nachos, meatballs, and my sweet and spicy little sausages. I am going to take down my triple slow cooker, throw everything together and keep it warm while we play games and watch scary movies. I love that my children have acquired my love of horror films and I can enjoy it with them. No one is scared and screaming, but laughing and questioning the choices the characters make the are so absurd sometimes. It is a guilty pleasure we can all share. So whatever your Halloween looks like this year, make it memorable, make it fun, and by all means; do not allow 2020 to steal anymore of your joy. We all deserve a little sunshine after our cloudy year. 💋💋

Happy Halloween ! 🎃🎃🎃

New Week, New Start…

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” -Brené Brown

Sunday, the first day of the new week. The day I like to rest and reset. While I do get some things done on Sunday, it is mostly things that I can do from my bed or my sofa, on my computer or iPad. We all need a day to reset, and here lately I’ve found myself needing at least 2. The last few months have been a never-ending barrage of mishaps and misfortunes, but I will not complain. I’m going to do what I have always done, put on my “big girl panties” and handle it. Life throws you curve balls and you have to be prepared with your head on a swivel. 2020 has been one curve ball after the next, but if you’ve made it this far, in one piece, still getting it done, your family is intact, and you are doing what you need to do for your mental health…you are getting it done.

Sunday Reset is a part of my self care routine. I’ll read, watch a little football, and if football becomes too stressful…bye football. I’ll do some meal planning, set up a grocery order, and for the most part, stay in my pajamas all day. I may wash and deep condition my hair and give myself a facial, but it’s mostly about decompressing before the hustle and bustle of the next week begins again. This year has taught me that I have to be more aware of what I need and what my body needs. Last year was very demanding, and by the end of the year I’d basically worn myself out. I was sick for almost an entire two months because I would not rest, I refused the advice of my doctor, and by the time January rolled around, I was full of steroids, antibiotics, and still running a fever and living off coffee and energy drinks. That’s no way to live. Guess what? I ended up slicing my hand open, which slowed me down, catching the flu along with my husband and son, and had no choice but to stop.

I’m saying this to you because now more than ever it is important to take care of yourself. I’m a wife and a mother, but I’m not invincible! If I decide to not take these days to reset, I become worthless and very moody towards my family which doesn’t do any of us any good, especially when we’re spending so much time together. Taking care of your physical and mental health is important and vital to being 100% for your family and those around you. It is impossible to pour into someone or something else if your cup is empty.

Here are some ways to be a better version of you by practicing self care: – Take care of your body. Eat healthy, rest, exercise @ least 30 minutes. Don’t skip your medical checks and limit alcohol.

– Be social. Check in with friends, schedule meet ups – you need to be around other like-minded people.

– Do something for you daily. Whatever you like: reading, trashy tv, journaling, writing, sitting outside. Make time for you daily.

– Relax. Stress kills. We’ve all experienced our fair amount of stress this year, so whatever you can find to relax you, by all means do it. As long as it is safe and healthy.

Taking time to reset, take care of you, and preparing your mind for the week to come is as important as whatever else you have going on. Not doing so leads to burnout, anxiety, depression, and undue stress. Make time for you, I promise it isn’t selfish.💋💋

Just Relax

Give Yourself a Handclap!

“Scarcity of self-value cannot be remedied by money, recognition, affection, attention, or influence.” -Gary Zukav

So often we find ourselves seeking the approval of others. We want people to like us, we look for other people’s approval, we live our lives not for ourselves, but for the recognition and attention from others. Let me tell you that is no way to live. I am guilty of this myself, but not any longer. I decided a while ago that I did not care if someone liked me, wanted to be around me, or even took the time to pick up the phone to call or text. One of my favorite singer’s is an R&B artist by the name of Ledisi. She has a song called “Bravo” and that song has been my anthem for the year. It isn’t even one of her newer songs, but it doesn’t matter because it has meaning, and all of her music is great. Sometimes, you just have to give yourself a handclap. If you have any interest in music, and like R&B…look up Ledisi if you don’t know her. The bridge into the chorus of the song says:

“See, it’s the same pretty woman with the brand new smile
Same Ledisi but she ain’t walking, she’s flying
A new game, making big moves
See if love found me it can surely find you, say it

I ain’t even got one sad tear left in me
All I really want is to see the whole world

Stand up tonight, take off, aye
Yeah, we celebrating life, the only way
It don’t matter who you are or where you’re from
If you been working hard give yourself a round of applause

Bravo, bravo, bravo, come on, clap for yourself now
Bravo, bravo, bravo, yeah, yeah”

This song resonated with me this year because I started working on a lot of my goals. As I started telling some people who I thought had my back, I noticed that there wasn’t a level of excitement for me, or the goals I wanted to accomplish. I found better reception from people who have known me for a tiny fraction of the time that some of these individuals I shared my dreams with have known me. I adjusted my attitude and said, “If you been working hard give yourself a round of applause.” I know that I have been working hard. I have been putting in the late nights and early mornings. I’m creating a path for me, and if no one is excited about the path but me, then so be it.

No matter what you do in life, there will be people who you would think are in your corner but are secretly praying for your downfall. You see, people prefer you when you are ignorant to your own feelings. When you depend on their approval. There are individuals that thrive on you seeking them out, even when they do not respond. Well I am here to say, stop shrinking yourself to make people comfortable, and start living for you! The way you speak to yourself matters, and it is time to start encouraging yourself regardless of what others think of you. There’s a saying, “make your haters your motivators.” I say, regardless who hates you, who fails to encourage you, be your own cheerleader. Be your own motivational speaker. Speak good things over your life, your dreams, whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Speak those things into existence no matter who is on the sidelines giving you the side-eye.

It is human nature to want others to see your potential and to want them to celebrate your accomplishments, but everyone isn’t capable of doing that. Even the people you think should be first in line to do so. That is why it is so important to love yourself enough to know that you are wonderful without anyone else’s validation. You have to love and appreciate yourself consistently if you want to be successful because self-doubt = self sabotage. Talk to yourself. I know it may seem weird that I am telling you to talk to yourself, but try it. Leave little encouraging notes tacked to your computer, your mirror, your iPad, the book you are reading, the coffee maker, anywhere you know you will see it. Talk to yourself like you would your bestfriend when they need a little motivation. Be your own bestfriend. Let yourself know that you don’t need anyone’s validation and you’ve got this, then go get shit done! That is my motto for this year, like “Bravo” is my anthem. Get Shit DONE! Block out the crowd noise, block out the knowledge that you are aware people want you to fail, block out all the negativity and get it done.

What I am telling you is that you are worthy. No one can take your worth from you because they don’t want to “ride with you” on your journey. When you make it, they will come around and that is when you have to tell them; the train left the station, I gave you a ticket and you refused it. Do so humbly because you do not want to become one of “those” people. Celebrate you, clap for yourself, encourage yourself, and if they didn’t want to experience the full process – the tears and frustration, then they are certainly not allowed to reap the benefits of your hard work. Find you some good motivation music, turn it up real loud – or a sensible volume will do, and go get shit done! BRAVO.

It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas

Hey you guys, this weekend starts the beginning of Hallmark Christmas Movie season. While we have enjoyed Christmas movies from our favorite channel since July and every Thursday night, the new movies will begin this weekend. I wrote a previous post about each movie, the stars, which channel it would be on, and what day it would be premiering. So, in the spirit of keeping you informed; I wanted to remind you to watch or set your DVR if you are still enjoying “Spooky Season.” You could plan accordingly by adhering to the schedule I provided and enjoy Christmas and Halloween at the same time. After all, this is 2020 and the entire year has pretty much been a ride no one wanted to get on and we deserve an overdose of the magical holidays. Check your local schedules for The Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and grab ahold to good tidings of comfort and joy.

**See Previous Hallmark post and schedule below.**

These are only The Hallmark Channel movies, there are more on Movies & Mysteries outlined in the previous post.

Know When to Let Go

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” -Steve Maraboli

It is Sunday once again friends, and we are going to talk about something regarding self-care. Knowing when to let go is a form of self-care. Hanging on to something or someone that has passed its expiration date in your life is not good for your well- being. We know once we lost the underwire in our favorite bra it no longer becomes supportive – thus it is time for us to let it go. If a power tool needs coaxing and constant charging then it has become more of a liability than an asset, and it is time to be replaced. Just as bras and power tools are no longer supportive and become a liability, other things that are more precious to us reach that status as well and we must learn to let them go.

There are people in our lives who we love dearly, but we find once we reach a certain level; they no longer fit in the equation. Listen, it is not about being better than someone else because at no point in life should you feel superior to anyone else. That my friends is just human decency. As much as we hate to admit, we outgrow people. We end up not wanting the same things in life and traveling the same paths, and the commonalities we once shared no longer exist. These individuals may be people we have known our entire lives and may even be family, but if they have become a hinderance, a liability, or a non-supportive entity within your life; it is time to let go. They will not show support for your achievements, they may seem a little judgmental of what you want to accomplish or what you are accomplishing, and they may just be blunt and tell you what they really feel. The thing is being able to decipher the true nature of the individual and their intentions.

When you are looking to improve yourself and your situation, you want people around you that are uplifting and supporting – like a good bra with strong underwire. Not someone who will have you questioning yourself and dragging you down with every opportunity they get. The question you may be asking is, “how will I know when to let go?” I think if you ask yourself the following questions you will know.

  1. Do you feel drained after being around this person? If a friend/family member doesn’t challenge you in a good way, but leaves you feeling mentally and emotionally drained; it may be time to re-evaluate this relationship.
  2. Are you anxious about meeting? Does the knowledge of being in the presence of this person cause you undue stress?
  3. You find that you are the one initiating contact. You may try to get together with this person, but they are too busy or what you need or your time is unimportant. If they don’t value you your time and/or friendship, maybe it is time to move on.
  4. You don’t like who you are or the way you feel when you are around this individual. If you can’t be your natural self and have to “accommodate” to be in their presence, it’s not worth it.
  5. They don’t add value to your life. The people around you, in your circle should be like minded individuals. Pushing you to be better, challenging you to do the hard things you think you cannot, and inspiring you when you feel down. If you find that this is not the case, re-evaluate! You can’t soar with eagles, if you are hanging out with chickens, am I right?

Having a history with someone does not make them a part of your life for a lifetime. Everything has a season and seasons change. We have to know when to let go for our mental health, for our own stability, and for the ability to be a forward moving individual. As you grow older, you evolve as a person. You gain values and priorities that were not always there. Some people live in the past and remain in a state of complacency. You can love that person from afar, but you have no obligation to keep ties because of the history that you share. Some people are temporary in our lives and that is ok. Accept and appreciate that time that was and the memories you shared, but move on. There doesn’t have to be a dramatic break from the individual, allowing things to naturally resolve themselves will oftentimes do it for you if you are that far apart in your way of thinking and being. If you do have to make a break, be cordial, be precise, and simply let them know that your lives are not moving in the same directions. Your mental health is the most important part of the equation, and no one should be allowed to take your peace.

To The One’s We Lost

An angel wrote in the book of life my baby’s date of birth, then whispered as he closed the book, “Too beautiful for earth.”

Today is Thursday, October 15. Today is pregnancy and infancy loss awareness day. As a mother of two, one of the first worries that came to my mind when I found out I was pregnant was, “what if I lose this baby?” You immediately do everything within your power to make sure that your baby is healthy. You make sure you are eating correctly, you make sure you are sleeping enough, and you do everything you can to take care of the growing child inside of you. Sometimes, some things are completely out of your control, and there is nothing that you can do. That doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. I have held the hands of friends and family members who have experienced this loss. I have cried tears with them in their most darkest times. So today, I light this candle in the memory of that child that didn’t get to come home, or that child that didn’t make it past the first year of life.

As I write this, it may be another day where you are. You may be ahead of me or you may be behind me, but I want you to know that I am thinking of you. I was supposed to have two beautiful nieces that didn’t survive the journey to this side. 1 in 4 women have experienced pregnancy loss – that is a alarming number. That is why it is important that we always be kind to those around us because we never know what someone is going through. Be a wave of light tonight and every night for your friends and family, or for yourself if you have experienced loss. The loss may lessen, but it will never go away. Keep those who didn’t get to bring a child home with them in your thoughts tonight.

Take Care of Yourself

An empty tank will take you nowhere. Time to refuel! -Unknown

I’m not sure who said that self-care was selfish, but I am sure it was someone who doesn’t have to give 97% of themselves to someone else on a daily basis week after week. Just as a car and appliances need maintenance, we as humans do as well. Especially when we have to continuously give so much of ourselves, and we are expected to show up everyday without fail. I know that as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother – so much is expected and required of me. Oftentimes, I allow myself to go without the necessary time I need to recharge and refuel which has an affect on the relationships that mean the most to me because I am literally exhausted. I have exhausted every brain cell, my last nerve, my ability to reason, and sometimes my ability to care. If I don’t take the necessary time for me, it all goes to hell rather quickly.

Your self-care day doesn’t have to be Sunday. It can be a Saturday, or even a day during the week that you find isn’t as busy as others. I think Self-Care Sunday came about because it went together so well. You don’t have to take the entire day, but enough time to gather yourself to the point that you can effectively be YOURSELF. I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, I had plans to go and walk, get my exercises in early and then do housework that didn’t need to be done, but was more of the monthly things you do around the house. Clean drawers, clear out mail, the cleaning of stuff that no one really sees. Well, that didn’t happen. I dropped my daughter off for her SAT, realized that I had a little over 4 hours to burn, and decided I was still tired and went back to sleep. I picked her up, came home, drank coffee, and finished a really great book nestled comfortably under my chenille blanket in my recliner. I moved only when necessary, didn’t answer to Mama because Daddy was home, and I enjoyed that time. When I was finished, I felt renewed and refreshed by resting and reading – doing something I love to do. Once I addressed my needs, I dressed and told my husband it was time to hit the pavement. Two plus miles and 40 minutes later, I was kissed by the sun and received my dose of vitamin D; and my lungs were clear and full of fresh air. That made my day more complete on the self care front.

My self-care may not look like yours, but you have to find your version of what self-care looks like for you and incorporate into your weekly routine if possible. Waiting until your tank is bone dry is only hurting your overall system. Just as waiting for your check engine light to appear before you decide to change your oil, check your car’s operating systems, or do other maintenance your vehicle needs only hurts the overall health of your vehicle. So whether you are a woman or a man reading this, self-care is for everyone. It’s not just for someone like me juggling mom, wife, and the demands of everyday life. It is also for the person juggling the corporate job, the 9-5, the depressed and anxious person trying to climb out of their hole…it is for everyone! Take the time to:

  • Meet your basic needs.
  • Move your body.
  • Get proper reset.
  • Meditate.
  • Love Yourself…Self love is the best love!
  • Get outside.
  • Control your worrying.
  • Incorporate positive thinking.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Skip that extra cup of coffee…eek!
  • Whatever makes you happy!!!

As I said, my self-care is not yours. You have to do the things that make you happy and keep you in your comfort zone. Find something that keeps you centered and gets you out of your head. Your self-care may be reading a book, watching a show on Netflix, or mountain biking for a few hours, but by all mean; find that thing and do it. The world needs happier, less stressed, and more positive thinking individuals right now, and taking better care of yourself can help achieve that.

It’s a Hallmark Christmas

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. – Agnes M. Pahro

If you are like me, you cannot wait for the holidays. As soon as Fall is within reach you are putting out your pumpkins and decorating your home to welcome the change of season. Soon thereafter you are decorating for Halloween! I don’t know if you do like I do, but I tend to go out for every season. The last few years have been a downer because we’ve flooded twice in the past 3 years; so some holidays have failed in the decoration department. I know one thing for sure, the weekend after Thanksgiving and sometimes the very next day is dedicated to decorating for Christmas. While I love all the holiday’s, Christmas is my FAVORITE! I decorate my 8 foot tree that can barely fit my ceiling with the star on top, I place my Nutcrackers all over the house, and this year – I am ordering a couple of extra trees to place around the house and decorate because we are HOME! Oh yeah, I have already started Nutcracking hunting as well. I may have a little obsession with those little statues. Last year, we were in a shoe box apartment sharing walls with loud neighbors, and I believe Hagrid from Harry Potter lived upstairs. Prayerfully, nothing keeps me from enjoying my holiday or my Hallmark in the comfort of my own walls this year.

There is something else I look forward to during the holiday season, and that is the wonderful world of Hallmark and the beautiful Christmas movies they give us each year. I was a little scared this year that with the pandemic we would have to recycle previous years movies. Which would not be a problem at all because they always give us the best! However, Hallmark with their ever giving spirit has gifted us with a list of new movies that I believe will definitely put us in the holiday mood, get us out of our heads of the year that has been 2020, and help us to look forward to the New Year…which I personally think we should be able to get a preview of. I wonder if Hallmark could make that happen in their final Christmas movie this year? Dear Hallmark, can you make that happen?

Thanks to myEntertainment Weekly subscription, I was able to get a glimpse of the joy and wonder we would experience via Hallmark and their holiday lineup. We will see a lot of our favorite actors within the Hallmark family and some newcomers as well. What would a Hallmark movie be without Candace Cameron Bure, Barbara Nevin, Benjamin Ayers, Ashley Williams, Niall Matter, Catherine Bell, Holly Robinson Pete, and Allison Sweeney. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more regulars and newcomers that I am sure will wow us in there performances. You will be happy to know that Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries “Miracles of Christmas” campaigns will start a week before Halloween on October 23. We will get the adventures of going back in time, holiday romances, homecomings, a charming little inn, and so much more in the 40 films set to air through December. So without further delay, let me deck the halls with the list of movies and when you can expect to see them.

  1. Jingle Bell Bride (Starring Julie Gonzalo and Ronnie Rowe Jr.) Premiers: October 24 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “A wedding planner (Gonzalo) travels to Alaska in search of a rare flower for a celebrity client and is charmed by the small town at Christmas, as well as the local (Rowe) helping her.”
  2. Christmas Tree Lane (Starring Alicia Witt, Andrew Walker, Drake Hogestyn, Briana Price). Premiers: October 24 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Music store owner (Witt) leads the community effort to save the Christmas Tree Lane shopping district from demolition. She finds herself falling for (Walker), a recent acquaintance; only to find he’s tied to the developer.”
  3. Chateau Christmas (Starring Merritt Patterson and Luke Macfarlane) Premieres: October 25 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Margot (Patterson), a world-renowned pianist, returns to Chateau Newhaus to spend the holiday with her family and finds her ex, (Macfarlane) and he helps her rediscover her musical passion.”
  4. Deliver by Christmas (Starring Alvina August and Eion Bailey) Premieres: October 25 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Bakery owner Molly (August) meets Josh (Bailey), a widower who recently moved to town with his young son, but she is also charmed by a mysterious client with whom she’s never met and doesn’t realize they are one in the same.”
  5. Christmas with the Darlings (Starring Katrina Law and Carlo Marks) Premieres: October 31 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Just before the holidays Jessica Lew (Law) is ending her tenure as the assistant to her wealthy boss to use her recently earned law degree within his company, but offers to help his charming, younger brother (Marks) as he looks after his orphaned nieces and nephews over Christmas.”
  6. Cranberry Christmas (Starring Nikki DeLoach and Benjamin Ayers) Premieres: October 31 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A separated couple feign marital bliss on national television to help their town’s Christmas festival – and their business. What happens when love is rekindled, but new opportunities are presented?”
  7. One Royal Holiday (Starring Laura Osnes, Aaron Tveit, Krystal Joy Brown, Victoria Clark, Tom McGowan) Premieres: November 1 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Anna (Osnes) offers a stranded mother (Clark) and son (Tveit) shelter in a blizzard, she learns that they are the Royal Family of Galwick. Anna shows the Prince how they do Christmas in her hometown, encouraging him to open his heart and be true to himself.”
  8. Holly & Ivy (Starring Janel Parrish, Jeremy Jordan & Marisol Nichols) Premieres: November 1 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When Melody’s (Parrish) neighbor, Nina (Nichols), learns that her illness had returned, Melody promises to keep Nina’s kids, Holly and Ivy, together. To adopt the children, she must renovate her new fixer-upper, which she does with the help of contractor Adam (Jordan).”
  9. Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater (Starring Ashley Williams and Niall Matter) Premieres: November 7 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Single mom Maggie (Williams) is facing Christmas alone until Lucas (Matter) crashes into her life and becomes an unexpected houseguest. Together they overcome Christmas while finding comfort in their growing bond.”
  10. The Christmas Ring (Starring Nazneen Contractor and David Alpay) Premieres: November 7 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A reporter (Contractor) searches for the love story behind an antique engagement ring. With the help of the ring’s owner’s grandson (Alpay), they learn the legacy his grandparents left behind.”
  11. On the 12th Date of Christmas (Starring Mallory Jansen and Tyler Hynes) Premieres: November 8 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Two seemingly incompatible game designers team up to create a romantic, city-wide scavenger hunt themed for The 12 Days of Christmas.
  12. The Christmas Bow (Starring Lucia Micarelli and Michael Rady) Premieres: November 8 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When an accident puts her music dreams on hold, gifted violinist (Micraelli) reconnects with an old family friend (Rady), who helps her heal and find love during the holidays.”
  13. Christmas in Vienna (Starring Sarah Drew and Brennan Elliot) Premieres: November 14 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Jess (Drew), a concert violinist whose heart just isn’t in it anymore, goes to Vienna for a performance. While in Vienna, she finds her inspiration and love.”
  14. Meet Me at Christmas (current working title) (Starring Catherine Bell and Mark Deklin) Premieres: November 14 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When Joan’s (Bell) son’s wedding planners unexpectedly quits, she must coordinate his Christmas Eve nuptials with the help of Beau (Deklin), the bride’s uncle. Working alongside each other, they discover their fates and pasts are intertwined.”
  15. A Timeless Christmas (Starring Ryan Paevey and Erin Cahill) Premieres: November 15 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Charles Whitley (Paevey) travels from 1903 to 2020 where he meets Megan Turner (Cahill), a tour guide at his historic mansion, and experiences a 21st century Christmas.”
  16. The Christmas Doctor (Starring Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes) Premieres: November 15 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A week before Christmas, Dr. Alicia Wright (Peete) is offered an assignment away from home. A mysterious man (Holmes) from her past journeys to find her before Christmas and brings with him a revelation that change her life forever.”
  17. A Nashville Christmas Carol (Starring Jessy Schram, Wes Brown, Wynonna Judd, Sarah Evans, RaeLynn, Kix Brooks, Kimberly Williams – Paisley) Premieres: November 21 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Vivienne Wake (Schram), a workaholic television producer in charge of a country music Christmas special showcasing newcomer Alexis (RaeLynn), never lets personal feelings get in the way of business. On the verge of accepting a job in L.A., and with the return of Gavin Chase (Brown) – her childhood sweetheart and manager to the special’s headliner, Belinda (Evans) – she receives a visit from the ghost of her recently deceased mentor, Marilyn (Judd). Her mentor warns her current path leads to a dark future and has recruited both the Spirit of Christmas Past (Brooks) and the Spirit of Christmas Present (Williams-Paisley) to help get her back on track. The Spirits’ time-jumping adventures force Vivienne to take hold of her life.”
  18. A Little Christmas Charm (Current working title) (Starring Ashley Greene and Brendan Penny) Premieres: November 21 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: ” Holly (Greene), a jewelry designer, finds a lost charm bracelet and teams up with an investigative reporter Greg (Penny) in hopes of finding the owner and returning it by Christmas Eve.”
  19. Christmas House (Starring Robert Buckley, Jonathan Bennett, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence & Brad Harder) Premieres: November 22 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Working through some difficult decisions, Wade family matriarch (Lawrence) and patriarch (Williams), have summoned their two TV star Mike Wade and Brandon Wade (Buckley and Bennett) – home for the holidays. It is their hope that bringing the family together to recreate the Christmas house will help them find resolution and make a memorable holiday for the family and community. As Brandon and his husband Jake (Harder) make the trip home, they are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child. Meanwhile, Mike reconnects with Andi (Ayora), his high school sweetheart.”
  20. The Angel Tree (Starring Jill Wagner and Lucas Bryant) Premieres: November 22 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A writer (Wagner) seeks the identity of the person who helps grant wishes that are placed upon the angel tree, and in the process, reconnects with her childhood friend (Bryant).”
  21. New Movie to be announced…(Stars and Synopsis TBD) Premieres: November 23 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel
  22. A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Starring Rochelle Aytes and Mark Taylor) Premieres: November 24 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Erin (Aytes) is planning the town’s Christmas celebration and must win over firefighter Kevin (Taylor) in order to obtain the beautiful spruce tree from his property for the celebration.
  23. A Bright and Merry Christmas (Starring Alison Sweeney and Marc Blucas) Premieres: November 25 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Two competing TV hosts (Sweeney and Blucas) are sent to a festive small town over Christmas. While pretending to get along for the sake of appearances, they discover that there is more to each other than they thought.”
  24. Five Star Christmas (current working title) (Starring Bethany Joy Lenz and Victor Webster) Premieres: November 26 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “After moving back to her hometown, Lisa (Lenz) plot with her siblings and grandparents to help her father’s new bed and breakfast get a five-star review from an incognito travel critic (Webster), but ends up falling for him, not knowing he is the real critic.
  25. Christmas by Starlight (current working title) (Starring Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell) Premieres: November 27 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Annie (Sustad), a lawyer, must help her loved ones this holiday season. Her family’s restaurant, the Starlight Café, is slated for demolition. The heir to the development firm responsible, William (Campbell), makes her an unlikely proposition: He’ll spare the café if Annie spends the week ‘appearing’ as the legal counsel his father is demanding he hire in the wake of some costly mistakes.”
  26. Christmas Waltz (Starring Lacy Chabert, Will Kemp and JT Church) Premieres: November 28 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “After Avery’s (Chabert)) storybook Christmas wedding is canceled unexpectedly, dance instructor Roman (Kemp) helps her rebuild her dreams.”
  27. USS Christmas (Starring Jen Lilley, Trevor Donovan and Barbara Niven) Premieres: November 28 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Maddie (Lilley), a reporter for a Norfolk newspaper, embarks on a Tiger Cruise during Christmastime where she meets a handsome naval officer (Donovan) and stumbles upon a mystery in the ship’s archive room.”
  28. If I Only Had Christmas (Starring Candace Cameron Bure and Warren Christie) Premieres: November 29 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “At Christmas, a cheerful publicist (Bure) teams up with a cynical business owner
  29. Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing (Starring Holly Robinson Peete, Colin Lawrence, Rukiya Bernard, Antonio Cayonne, and Barbara Niven Premieres: December 5 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “As Michelle’s (Peete) wedding approaches, Hannah (Bernard) steps up to help finish the launch of the new Evergreen museum while questioning her relationship and future with Elliot (Cayonne).”
  30. Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (Starring Lacey Chabert and Stephen Huszar) Premieres: December 5 @ pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn to celebrate Christmas. With the help of the owner Ben (Huszar), Sarah (Chabert) discovers that an event from the past may connect them and change their lives forever.”
  31. Christmas She Wrote (Starring Danica McKellar and Dylan Neal) Premieres: December 6 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Kayleigh (McKellar), a romance writer, has her column canceled right before Christmas, she heads home to reconnect with her family. Kayleigh gets an unexpected visit from the man (Neal) who canceled her column. His visit is a fight to not only bring her bcak to the publisher, but also to win her heart.
  32. A Godwink Christmas: First Loves, Second Chances (Starring Brooke D’Orsay and Sam Page) Premieres: December 6 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “After 15 years, Pat (Page) moves home from Hawaii with his two sons and through a series of coincidences, or Godwinks, ends up stuck in traffic next to his high school sweetheart, Margie (D’Orsay), at Christmas.”
  33. Cross Country Christmas (Starring Rachel Leigh Cook and Greyston Holt) Premieres: December 12 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Former classmates Lina (Cook) and Max (Holt) are traveling home for the holidays, until a storm hits and they have to work together to make it home in time, no matter the mode of transportation.
  34. A Glenbrooke Christmas (Starring Autumn Reeser and Antonio Cupo) Premieres: December 12 @ 9 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “As Christmas nears, heiress Jessica Morgan (Reeser) seizes what seems like her last chance to experience a relaxed Christmas and heads off to the small town of Glenbrooke, where she meets a handsome fireman (Cupo).”
  35. Christmas Carnival (Starring Tamera Mowry – Housley) Premieres: December 13 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Emily (Mowry-Housley) is a top newscaster who has achieved her career dreams but still has regrets about the guy (Xavier) who got away five years earlier. When the Christmas carnival comes to town, a ride around the carousel takes her magically back to the carnival 5 years before…giving her a second chance at love before she has to return to present-day Christmas.”
  36. Christmas Homecoming (current working title) (Starring Taylor Cole and Steve Lund) Premieres: December 13 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When a mysterious key and a holiday riddle arrive on their doorsteps, Kate (Cole) and Kevin (Lund) embark on a Christmas romance adventure they will never forget.”
  37. A Christmas Carousel (Starring Rachel Boston and Neal Bledsoe) Premieres: December 19 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Lila (Boston) is hired by the Royal Family of Marcadia to repair a carousel, she must work with the Prince (Bledsoe) to complete it by Christmas.”
  38. Swept Up by Christmas (current working title) (Starring TBD) Premieres: December 19 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “An antique seller and cleaner clash over how to downsize a magnificent estate right before Christmas. As the two uncover the house’s treasures, they find a way to reconnect the reclusive owner with his own Christmases past.”
  39. Love, Lights, Hanukkah! (Starring Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage and Marilu Henner Premieres: December 20 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “As Christina (Kirshner) prepares her restaurant for its busiest time of year, she gets back a DNA test revealing that she’s Jewish. The discovery leads her to a new family and an unlikely romance over eight nights.”
  40. Project Christmas Wish (current working title) (Starring TBD) Premieres: December 20 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “For years, Lucy has played Santa to her small town’s community by making their holiday wishes come true. But when Lucy grants a little girl’s wish for a Christmas like she used to have with her mom, she unexpectedly finds her own wishes coming true in life and love.

There you have it. The list of the newest lineup of holiday movies coming to you from our favorites at Hallmark. So, set yourself a reminder, watch the schedule in case something changes, and get real comfortable to enjoy the holiday season. Some of the movies have yet to assign starring roles and I am sure may still be in production with our ongoing pandemic. Lets hope that each of these films are able to air, and we are able to see some of our favorites from years past. If you are feeling nostalgic and having withdrawals, get yourself the Hallmark or Friendly app. You can get all of the Hallmark channels and watch your favorite Christmas movies and your favorite shows on demand. Happy watching and happiest of holidays to come! 💋💋

The Art of Intimacy & Keeping The Fire Burning

“Physical intimacy isn’t and can never be an effective substitute for emotional intimacy.” -John Green

I have been married for 14 1/2 years. I have been with the same man for the past 20 years. Intimacy is something we strive to keep going, but how do you do that after all the years and all the responsibilities? Someone is working, someone is busy, the kids need this, you want to get away but it is damn near impossible. There are a laundry list of things that can inhibit intimacy in a relationship. When I say intimacy, I don’t just mean – the act of sex, sex is merely a medium of intimacy. Sex is just sex if there is no love, no intimacy, no feeling of “oneness” when it actually happens. It is just a water hose bringing forth water to a garden – something needed at the moment.

Yes, we all know the the art of lovemaking can be completely sublime, but there is more to it than that. Sex is an intimate way of expressing oneself, but it is not intimacy…let’s talk. It can be the most intimate and glorious expression of love that you share with someone, but it has become a tool for some to demand proof of love, and for others to give in hopes that love will be returned. Yes, there will be those feelings of euphoria, delight, elation, joy, all the good feelings from the feel good hormones our bodies are producing, but if those feelings fade and love never comes into play…what then?

That last paragraph was an ode to the single people reading this, the engaged people, and those who may be in a purely “physical thing” type of situation. It is my belief that every time you are in a physical relationship with someone, you share a piece of yourself, your soul, something not everyone gets to get a glimpse of. You also take in something from the person with whom you are sharing that with. A transference of energy of sorts. You have to be very careful with whom you share and receive energy with because not all energy is good energy…you feel me?

Now, let me address my married readers. The one’s who have experienced the ebbs and flows of the “married with kids and responsibilities” stage. You know what I’m talking about – don’t play like you don’t. Especially if you have as much time in as I do. That honeymoon phase is over, but it shows up every once and a while and gets you all excited. Then, you’ve planned a “special night,” but one of the kids get sick. They decide to stay up late because they know “you have plans.” You are now forced to plan getaways – which I love to do, you have to work around schedules, responsibilities, and whatever else life throws at you.

How do you keep things EXCITING?? First of all, no one wants the monotonous routine right? We want to keep it fun and exciting like it was in the beginning! That is going to take effort from both partners to make that work. Can you still surprise your spouse? Can you walk up and whisper something that will make them blush? Will it make you blush just saying it? I’m telling you; you have to make the ordinary – extraordinary! Routine is fine, it gets the job done, but sometimes we all want more than routine. If you are not dating your spouse, it is time to start. Remember how things were exciting and unpredictable when you were dating? Holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes. You would sneak kisses and chase each other around like little kids. Get it back by going to where it started. You can do that literally and/or figuratively. Don’t allow your marriage to become a place where boredom resides, but where all the fun happens.

What else can you do to keep it spicy? Surprise your partner. Tell them that you have plans, don’t give any specifics, and make it the most unforgettable night they will ever experience. I’m thinking candles, roses, couples massages, champagne, and some delectable treats. Surprises are a perfect spice in the marriage pot, if done correctly. Leave notes and send text messages reminding them about the upcoming surprise without giving it away, but to keep building the anticipation. You can hint at all kind of things of what it possibly could be, but keep that anticipation high so when they do get their “surprise” things are hot and smoking!

Finally, always let your partner know what you like. Using your voice is critical in a relationship, and it is equally important when it comes to being physical with your partner. Let them know what turns you on, what feels incredible, what you like and don’t like. Being vocal lets your partner know that you are enjoying yourself, it increases their enjoyment, and takes your pleasure to an elevated position. Enjoy one another, learn each other’s body, and things can only get better from there. Communicating with your spouse, yes – even during the most intimate time is necessary because it reassures them that what is happening is very fulfilling. When something is not fulfilling to you, do you find yourself wanting to do it or doing it at all? Hmmm….??

While intimacy isn’t solely about sex, it is a component of it. Knowing your partner, having the ability to keep things fresh, and having the willingness to work to keep it fresh it very important. Compassion in guiding your partner to where you want to be in your intimacy, what you want to adjust, and how to gently guide them in the right direction – literally if you must. Do not get annoyed with your partner, communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE! Actually talking with your partner is the most important component of intimacy that you will encounter. Conversations resolves things and moves them forward if they are done correctly. So again, be compassionate, accept constructive criticism if you are giving it, and most importantly, KEEP ENJOYING EACH OTHER!