Monday Dare (& Giveaway): Big Things Poppin’

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Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Think big. Follow through.

I’m not bogged down by trivial factors such as time or money or skill or reality when I’m setting bold plans for the future.

Every year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I budget ten or so minutes each day to think about the upcoming year. I sit on the pristine hardwood floor of my meditation room in an organic hemp tunic and spritz a little lavender water into the air before I close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Then, I unwrap a preserved cherry blossom branch from virgin wool and trace my intentions for the New Year in the air. The words may be invisible to the eye, but they are engraved onto my soul.

I have no idea what I just wrote, but clearly, my make-believe skills are off the chain.

Do I look like someone who would shell out for organic clothing? I AIN’T ABOUT THAT LIFE. I just mute the TV during commercial breaks and scribble some shit on the back of a Cap’n Crunch box.

I ping pong between big lofty goals and smaller doable ones. (Sidenote: I just spent seven minutes rooting around on Google to figure out if “ping pong” needed a hyphen, but it was all very confusing, so I finally said fuck it and gave up.)

Last year, my list looked something like this:

  1. Become a kinder, gentler, more compassionate person.
  2. Be the kind of mom Cal deserves.
  3. Be the kind of wife Harv deserves.
  4. Treat my physical body with care by working out daily and eating healthier.

By New Year’s Eve, I had revised the list a little:

  1. Become a kinder, gentler, more compassionate person
    Stop referring to everyone as “bitch”
  2. Be the kind of mom Cal deserves
    Pick Cal up from school on time every day once in a while
  3. Be the kind of wife Harv deserves
    Quit threatening to set Harv’s electronics on fire when he brings home the wrong flavor of Sun Chips
  4. Treat my physical body with care by working out daily and eating healthier
    Drink less soda once a month season

I didn’t fulfill a single goal. Failure was an eye-opener for me this year. I figured out that it doesn’t really matter how low I set the bar if I don’t have follow-through. I plan to THINK BIG for 2013. And I intend to do whatever the fuck it takes to taste success. I assume this is going to require hard work. I hate hard work. I hate breaking a sweat. I hate cuffed shorts. That doesn’t really fit, but I’m pretty passionate about cuffs.

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I FUCKING LOVE PRESENTS giveaway #6

I fucking love presents. Maybe you do too. To celebrate this holiday season, I’ll be doing a giveaway each week until the end of the year. Get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page and on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress) for giveaway updates, not-seen-on-this-blog pictures, (t)hug life thoughts, and other random shit.

This week: Whatever Your Little Heart Desires (Um, under $50)

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There’s a high likelihood that you’re not going to get everything you want on your Holiday Wish List. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m just trying to look out for your fragile little heart when you open up a hand-knit mug cozy instead of that diamond necklace you wanted.

Welp, I’m not going to give you a diamond necklace either, but if you’ve got something lingering on your Wish List ,and it costs less than $50, and it’s easy to purchase online, and it’s an actual item (not a gift card), then it’s yours.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with a hope/wish/goal for 2013. Only comments left on THIS POST qualify.

LAST WEEK’S BESOTTED CUSTOM STAMP WINNER: Brittany Rae (the word “peace” is in your email address) please email me at elizabeth at flourishinprogress dot com with your mailing address.

first image via knockknockstuff.com

Monday Dare (& Giveaway): Even at the age of 7, I was an asshole

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(A Monday Dare on a TUESDAY? MY BAD. I’m finally on WORDPRESS, motherfuckers. How do you like the new blog design? Old comments are still transferring over, but don’t worry, I GOT THIS.)

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: More contentment, more of the time

I find holiday gift exchanges daunting. Now that I’m thinking about it, let’s replace “daunting” with “mentally draining and traumatizing to the psyche.” White Elephant swaps require the most emotional preparation because I know I’m going to be opening up some bullshit that’s been rolling around in the bottom of a linen closet or a storm drain. Not only will I muster up an audible laugh to seem good-natured, but I’ll make some kind of gesture with my hand like a thumbs up or a gang sign to let people know I’m really embracing the silly side of the holiday season.

Even when the participants are supposed to bring “good” gifts, I always end up picking the one item in the communal pile that would make even Jesus cry. When will it be my year to take home the snowflake-shaped gylcerin soap set smelling faintly of pine and happiness instead of the rubber balls I’m supposed to hang off the bumper of a truck I don’t own? WHEN??

I try to temper my dissatisfaction and urge to acquire a whole new set of friends by thinking about Sophia.

The last time I saw Sophia, we were both 7. At the beginning of our second grade holiday party, all of the kids sat in a circle with the gift we brought for the exchange. Mrs. Tubb played a Christmas carol on her tape deck, and whatever was in our hands when the music stopped was ours. No swaps. No whining. I didn’t care who’s gift I got, but I didn’t want Sophia’s. She was the only one who had wrapped her box in newspaper. It was the Sunday Comics Section, but still, I just knew in my little asshole heart that it wasn’t going to be anything “good.”

While the other kids ripped open their gifts right there on the floor, I took my comic strip covered box back to my desk and peeled back one piece of tape at a time. Inside, I found a pair L.A. Gear leg warmers. Sophia walked over. “My grandma and I picked them out together. They’re so pretty.” When I didn’t respond, she went back to her desk and starting coloring with her gift, a brand new box of crayons. I heard her singing softly as I folded the leg warmers in half and stuffed them back into the box.

Sophia didn’t come back to Mrs. Tubb’s class after winter break. I never saw her again. I still wonder why she didn’t tell anyone she was moving. I wonder if she even knew herself.

My L.A. Gear leg warmers are still folded in half in my sock drawer. I think of Sophia often. I think about how content she was with her gift. I think about how some people are able to find joy in small everyday things. I think about how even now, at the age of 32, I could learn so much from that 7-year-old.

Sophia, you’re right. They are so pretty.

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I FUCKING LOVE PRESENTS giveaway #5

I fucking love presents. Maybe you do too. To celebrate this holiday season, I’ll be doing a giveaway each week until the end of the year. Get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page and on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress) for giveaway updates, not-posted-on-this-blog pictures, (t)hug life thoughts, and other random shit.

This week: Besotted Brand Custom Monogram Stamp

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If I’m being real, I can’t even believe Tristan, the creative GENIUS behind Besotted Brand, agreed to be part of the holiday giveaways. Her custom stamps and paper products are some of my favorite things. I love fancy shit, and Besotted’s high quality everything makes it easy to give beautiful custom gifts to others…and to myself. Tristan will create one custom-designed monogram stamp for the lucky winner.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with a holiday gift exchange item you’ve given or received. (P.S. What do you think of the new blog design?) Only comments left on THIS POST qualify.

LAST WEEK’S TRILOGY WINNER: Steph (the first part of your email is SCYLE) Please email me at flourishinprogress at gmail dot com with your address.

first image via blueq.com, second and third images courtesy of Besotted Brand

Monday Dare (& Giveaway!): Happy Shanksgiving

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Trust my first instinct

This is actually the second Monday Dare I am writing today. I finished the first, read it over, and then scrapped it. Something didn’t seem right to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I decided to take a break and browse the Honeybaked Ham website to clear my head. I made a list of all the delectables I intend to buy one day when I’m rich and successful. My plan is to refer to the page from time to time when I feel extremely discouraged or lazy. Hopefully, the promise of the HoneySweet Chutney Duo will propel me to work hard and stay focused. Losers don’t deserve the $43 Malibu Marvel featuring an irresistible assortment of tropical fruit, toffee, and almonds, I will tell myself. Be a Winner. 

Perhaps it was the promise of katrillion dollar hams in my future, but my razor sharp focus came back. I understand now why the first Dare didn’t work.

I challenged myself to reach out to the family members I no longer speak to and make amends. It seemed like something a Real Adult would do- someone with a bigger heart who has the capacity to forgive and recognize that family is forever.

The holidays are always a weird time for me. I see my friends grinning and bearing it, spending time with people they dislike, making small talk and generally being tolerant while secretly thinking of ways to slash some motherfucking tires with a shard from a broken eggnog glass.

I just can’t. I refuse.

For years, I have felt a tremendous amount of guilt for our small family get-togethers. Then, of course, the guilt is temporarily replaced by relief and happiness as I enjoy those precious days with the people I love- eating shitloads of food not purchased from Honeybaked Ham, feigning surprise as I unwrap gifts I forced them to buy me, and decorating our fake Christmas tree with fancy ornaments I got at Pottery Barn one year when I was actin’ a fool and feeling flush. Then, the guilt again.

This morning, when I made the commitment to bridge the gaps in our family by being the first to reach out, an ugly dread settled over me, but I ignored it. I convinced myself that I was just being childish and immature. But, no matter how hard you work to make your head believe something, matters of the heart can only be resolved by the heart.

I allowed myself to remember all the reasons why I no longer consider these people my “real family.” These bits and pieces aren’t something I ever allow myself to dwell on for too long, but I gave myself a pass to root around in my past today.

I tried to trick myself into doing something I didn’t want to do. Something that would not have been good for me. All for the sake of being a Real Adult, whatever that means. Fuck that shit. There are some doors that need to stay closed. There are some people who don’t deserve a place in our lives. It would be a waste to spend any more time or thought feeling guilty. I’d rather give that space to my real family instead.

Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. I fucking love presents. Maybe you do too. To celebrate this holiday season, I will be doing a giveaway each week until the end of the year. Get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page, on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress), and on Twitter (@ElizabethJLiu) for giveaway updates, (t)hug life thoughts, pictures, and other random shit.

MYSKIPPER GIVEAWAY!

I ADORE Mariella Bowman’s MySkipper dolls. Cal is the lucky owner of several of her creations, most recently an Anne of Green Gables doll that Mariella custom designed for Cal’s birthday. When I opened a surprise package from MySkipper last week to find a Tupac doll, complete with a gold chain and “THUG LIFE” tattooed on its stomach, I laughed until I cried. She totally got it right and gave my day such a boost. I’ll be posting a picture of Tupac on Instagram later today.

MySkipper is giving away one doll to a lucky reader. YOUR CHOICE from any pictured above. Mariella’s Etsy shop is regularly updated with new dolls, but she is also currently taking custom orders until the end of November.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with your favorite holiday tradition. Only comments left on THIS post will count. I’ll announce a winner next Monday.