Thanks, Mom and Dad

You may have seen my Thanksgiving day post where I not only explained why Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year, but also wrote about the people, places, and things that I am grateful for. Among those people that I am grateful for are my parents, who I had the pleasure of spending some much-needed quality time with this weekend. Between all the glasses of wine, movies, pumpkin pie, shopping, and laughter, I realized just how important my parents have been to my development. I may throw the word “literally” around a lot, but I literally would not be where I am today without them.

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So, as I attempt to recover from my never-ending turkey coma, I will say little prayers for all the things my amazing parents have done for me over the years.

Mom and Dad, thank you for carrying me, feeding me, and changing my diapers before I could do anything for myself.

Thank you for holding my hand.

Thank you for teaching me all of life’s great lessons — from potty training and tying my shoes, to sewing on buttons and parallel parking cars, to language and logic and love of learning.

Thank you for teaching me to be independent.

Thank you for the hours of helping me with homework over the years.

Thank you for answering all of my questions.

Thank you for providing me with a beautiful, safe, and comfortable home.

Thank you for providing me with food, love, and warmth.

Thank you for making my childhood magical.

Thank you for letting me believe in Santa Claus.

Thank you for being there for me through everything, and for letting me know that I can tell you anything.

Thank you for always reminding me how proud you are of me.

Thank you for always reminding me that you love me.

Thank you for loving each other, thereby showing me what love looks like.

Thank you for teaching me to love myself.

Thank you for teaching me to respect myself.

Thank you for teaching me that to gain respect, you must give it first.

Thank you for teaching me to polite.

Thank you for letting me see the good in the world.

Thank you for teaching me to be skeptical.

Thank you for teaching me to be trusting.

Thank you for protecting me.

Thank you for knowing what was best for me, even when I didn’t know what was best for myself.

Thank you for giving me my space when I needed it, and for being strict when I needed it.

Thank you for teaching me about actions and consequences.

Thank you for teaching me to have a strong work ethic.

Thank you for teaching me to take pride in who I am and what I’ve worked for.

Thank you giving me my first car, and for sitting in the passenger seat through hours upon hours of frightening behind-the-wheel training.

Thank you for helping me fix my mistakes.

Thank you for putting up with me through mood swings and nervous breakdowns and late-night phone calls.

Thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to cry.

Thank you for teaching me how to laugh at myself.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of learning from my mistakes.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to forgive.

Thank you for always trying to make me happy.

Thank you for letting me be myself.

Thank you for letting me explore.

Thank you for my surprise 13th birthday party, even if it was exactly four months after my actual birthday.

Thank you for creating special memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Thank you for teaching me the value of good etiquette.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of loyalty, honesty, integrity, and faith.

Thank you for fostering my curiosity.

Thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself.

Thank you for realizing my potential before I ever could.

Thank you for providing me with the emotional, financial, and mental means necessary to go to college.

Thank you for your unwavering support.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of education.

Thank you for teaching me that success isn’t all about money.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be happy.

Thank you for helping me fulfill my dreams.

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My parents with me on my 21st birthday last year. As if I weren’t already tall enough, I just had to wear six-inch heels.

What do you have to thank your parents for? Send me pictures of you thanking your parents and I might retweet you!

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Why Black Friday is the Most Underrated Holiday of the Year

IT’S HEEEERRRREEEEE!

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For those of you who missed my last post, I explained that Black Friday marks the official start of the Christmas season. Although yesterday was filled with turkey, football, and all things Autumn, today, it is entirely acceptable to blast Christmas music, hang Christmas lights, and begin your Christmas shopping. And since we all know that Christmas is not so much a single day as it is an entire season, we can infer that today, truthfully, is Christmas.

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Let’s set the mood, shall we?

Ahhh, nothing sounds quite as sweet as the sound of Christmas. Before today, it would have been socially unacceptable to listen to such music. Today, however, is all about indulging in all things Christmas, while still reaping the benefits of Thanksgiving leftovers.

And let’s not forget about the shopping.

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Black Friday is teeming with incredible deals from practically every store you could possibly think of. Smart shoppers know that today is the absolute best day of the year to save money on Christmas gifts for all of your friends and family. What could be better than a holiday based on shopping? That’s why I believe that Black Friday is the most significantly underrated holiday of the year.

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In fact, Black Friday gets a pretty bad rap. We’ve all heard stories of Black Friday shoppers trampling each other at midnight when the doors open at Wal Mart. Believe me, I think that is awful, just as I think it’s awful that some stores now open on Thanksgiving day, rather than Black Friday. People should spend time at home with their families on Thanksgiving day, and should leave the shopping for after the tryptophan has worn off.

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The reason this whole holiday started was because people who had Thursday through Sunday off for Thanksgiving needed something to do after the real holiday ended. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered from all over the country to spend one turkey-filled day together, only to be struck with boredom the following day. So, the brave forward-thinkers of the inaugural Black Friday buttoned up their coats, grabbed their credit cards with the highest spending limits, and hauled their family members to the mall for some quality Christmas shopping.

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I invite you to do the same! For a list of incredible deals, check out TheBlackFriday.com, and don’t forget to shop local this Small Business Saturday, and online this Cyber Monday! May your Black Friday be filled with all the merriment and joy of the Christmas season, and may you save big on amazing deals!

Where is your favorite place to shop on Black Friday? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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I’m Thankful For…

Last year, I decided that Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. Compared to Christmas or Valentine’s Day, which each come with unrealistic expectations perpetuated by Hollywood blockbusters, Thanksgiving has relatively low expectations. Still, everyone in the nation is given anywhere from four to ten days off of work or school to relax over this All-American holiday weekend.

For college students, the day before Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” is all about reconnecting with high school friends at hometown bars we used to only dream about getting into.

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And let’s not forgot that the day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas season.

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But today, Thanksgiving day, is all about a few things: food, football, and family. Oh yeah, and giving thanks.

Being it my last year in college, I am thankful for the wonderful time I have spent at my amazing university, which I have come to love so dearly. I am thankful for this brief moment in time that I will one day view in hindsight as my college years. I am thankful for the here and now. I am thankful for the opportunity to actually be in college, furthering my education in pursuit of a career. I am thankful for all the doors that college has opened for me. I am thankful for everything I’ve gotten to do in college, and for getting to experience it all one last time.

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I am thankful for the friends I’ve made, the incredibly wise professors who have supported me, and for all the things I’ve learned from each of them. I’m thankful for those things I’ve learned outside of the classroom, which have helped me mature into the woman I am today. I’m thankful for each of the little ups, downs, twists, and turns that college has thrown at me because they taught me that I was strong enough to survive them.

Mostly, I am thankful for my parents, and all that they have given me. I am thankful for them providing me the means necessary to receive a higher education. I am thankful that they have always believed in my dreams, and that their dream is for me to be happy. I am thankful for the times they pushed me to keep going when I didn’t believe I could. I am thankful that they’ve always known I could. I am thankful for them answering my late-night phone calls, for helping me through my mental breakdowns, for proofreading my essays, and for helping move me in and out of my dorm room, sorority house, and very first apartment. I am thankful for the occasional Sunday morning money transfer. I am thankful that I can tell my parents anything, that I’ve always known that I am loved, and that my parents are proud of me, no matter what.

I am thankful that, for now, home is only a four-hour drive away, and that my agenda for the rest of the day consists only of cheering on the Niners and helping Momma Collins in the kitchen. Do you think she’ll like this turkey recipe I found?

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What are you thankful for this year? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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