Five reasons to stay in this New Year’s Eve

Last time I checked, 2015 didn’t require a rave and red lipstick. Bringing in the new year from your living room still means you can turn down for what and here is why.

1. Because there is not enough champagne in the world to tear us away from the television screen when Taylor Swift shakes off 2014 at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest live tonight on ABC.

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2. Another opportunity to wear flannel pajamas for a few hours. Magical.

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3. Stumbling ten feet into your own bed and not wanting to kill things in the morning. Eight hours, folks. It does wonders.

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4. Nobody asks what your resolutions are. As if they didn’t already know.

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5. No cold, scary drive home. New Year’s Eve is the second  holiday that statistically has the largest number of drunk driving fatalities. Please be safe this New Year’s Eve.

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The art of the thank you note

Thank you cards from Marshalls. I didn't pay full price for fabulous-ness.
Thank you cards from Marshalls. I didn’t pay full price for fabulous-ness.

Gifts, gadgets and  goodies oh my! December 25 came and went with plenty of holiday hoopla. I personally hope everyone enjoyed the day with family, friends and food (while remembering calories don’t count during Christmas).

Now drag yourself out of the hot cocoa coma because it’s time to say “thank you.”

Contrary to popular belief, a thank you note never goes out of style and is always welcome. Here are a few tips to ensure your gift-giver’s generosity doesn’t go unnoticed.

  • Be quick about it. A note takes but a few minutes to write, but will give the recipient warm fuzzies for days.
  • Be personal and sincere while mentioning what you received and how you plan on using it. Example:

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for the gifts. They are great.

versus

Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for the katana. You know how much I love Michonne from the The Walking Dead, so this was a well-planned gift. Hopefully I won’t have to put it to use, but should the zombie apocalypse happen, I will be slicing and dicing.

  • If you receive some cash-money or gift cards, relate to the giver what you plan to use it for.
  • As you would with any email, spell check! And rmbr that gma prbly doesn’t txt enough 2 no this lingo. K bye.
  • Nervous about writing in ink because you have commitment issues? Work out a rough draft in pencil first and follow up with a pen.

While author Sarah Ban Breathnach may have been slightly exaggerating when she said, “Every time we remember to say ‘thank you,’ we experience nothing less than heaven on earth,” I think her thought process is on point. Say thank you because gratitude is the best gift you can give.

$10 and under gift guide

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We might be out of a recession, but my wallet isn’t. If you’re already looking at the price of textbooks for next semester, you know the gift guides with budgets of $50 are going to kill your holiday cheer rather than boost it.

Thus, out of necessity, I give you the $10 and under Christmas gift guide. All of these products are available at Target stores or Target online. Who doesn’t love a one-stop-shop? Save some sanity and keep it simple.

Sony’s not-so-merry Christmas

Despite this being the season of giving, movie-maker Sony Pictures has not been feeling the love. This month the company has been hacked so hard it makes the leaked nudes of Jennifer Lawrence look like an accident. The FBI reports North Korean cyber attackers are the ones with a new interest in the happenings of Tinsel Town.

Besides leaking embarrassing company emails (we’re all on your side Angie), Sony Pictures received threats from the cyber attackers warning if the movie “The Interview” was shown, it wouldn’t be a merry Christmas after all. The film, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, features the the comedic duo attempting the take out North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un.

It would seem Kim Jong-un wasn’t a fan of satire. Or fun in general. Sony Pictures received this email, directly threatening movie-goers if the film was released as planned.

Warning
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

Since announcing their decision to not release the film in theaters, celebrities and the like have been lining up to put coal is Sony’s Christmas stocking. They criticized the move, saying Sony is allowing a terrorist to strip our creative freedom. Even President Obama took Sony off the nice list, saying they made a mistake.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary they don’t like, or news reports they don’t like,” Obama said.

Of course there is always more to the story. Sony CEO  Michael Lynton said major movie theaters across the country were pulling out, refusing to show the film citing safety concerns.

Stuck between a rock and hard place, Sony pulled the plug and is now feeling the heat in the dead of winter. But what are those criticizing Sony really asking for? Creative freedom over the safety of theater-goers? A quick reminder that movie theaters, while great for watching action flicks, make attendees sitting ducks for a shooter. In 2012, a midnight viewing of “The Dark Knight” turned much darker when James Holmes killed 12 and injured 70 inside the Aurora theater.

Plenty have said the threat against movie goers was an empty one and Sony caved too quickly. It’s an empty threat until someone is hurt and then tide turns for Sony with crashing waves asking, “Why didn’t you pay attention to these threats?”

While no answer is a happy one, I’m betting the events surrounding this film is a movie script akin to “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” waiting to happen. But I am hoping in the remake, they let Franco’s younger and cuter brother David play James.

Big announcement!

 

Important announcement: I am doing blogmas! Until after the new year, I shall be writing you two posts a week with all sorts of Christmas gift ideas, fun stories and maybe a secret family recipe or two when my Mom’s not looking.

In fact, I have one I promised from the beginning…

The cookie recipe of the century. Or at least in my mind.
The cookie recipe of the century. Or at least in my mind.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 12 oz. package of chocolate chips

Directions:

Dough should be soft and creamy. That's because of the butter.
Dough should be soft and creamy. That’s because of the butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer (you must use a mixer), whip butter and sugar until sugar is smooth. Add in eggs, vanilla, pudding and mix. Mix in flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until creamy. Fold in chips. Chill dough for two hours. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for six to seven minutes on each oven shelf. Serves three dozen.

Tip: Get the good butter and chocolate chips. Your taste buds will thank you.