On How Panicked Shopping Kinda Worked Out

As I JUST discussed in my post about how appreciative I am of my family, I had SUCH a hard time with Christmas gifts for them this year (and I’m actually not completely done either).  I prefer to do my shopping online, so today was pretty much crunch time (because I’m cheap with shipping and all…not sure if I can totally call it panicked shopping).  I did pick out a few good ideas from my blog crushes, so I figured I would pay it forward and share my picks too in case anyone else is struggling!

For my dad, I wanted these booties from Eddie Bauer, but I saw them on the Today Show and Matt Lauer is just about as awesome as Oprah, so they were all sold out.  I got a  less expensive version from Cabela’s, that he’s probably more likely to wear anyway since under pants, they will look like regular shoes.

For my mom, I was surprised by this necklace while checking out Eddie Bauer, but I think it’s something I’d want to see in person and she might be concerned it was too young for her, but still I like it, so I wanted to share.  I usually get her a big purse, but the last time I was at their house she showed me one she just bought herself (the nerve)!  Kenneth Cole is a friend to all women with his beautiful bags, like this one that is out of my price range, but since she doesn’t need a new purse anyway, let’s just enjoy its beauty.

I’m also giving my parents this sign, which is an Apache blessing. (It reads: May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.) I’m into the history and culture of the Southwest, but not the cheesy design often associated with it and this is a nice way to pay homage to the influence without reverting to turquoise and kokopelli.

I got my sister a pink tank top with a Hindi-inspired design WAY back in September, which gave me the false sense that I might actually do my shopping early this year.  She may also get some fun jewelry.  She’s not afraid of statement pieces, so I accessorize vicariously through her (more so-not-in-my-price-range Kenneth Cole love).

My future brother-in-law is getting this grill toy as I’ve been referring to it because I’m not entirely sure what it is or does, but I know he likes his meat.  (This set was full-priced when I bought it just a few days ago and when I went back for this post, they had knocked $10 off.  I asked for a refund of the difference and they happily obliged…go Sur la Table!)

Beyond liking to grill, my sister and her fiance love to entertain, so I got them this cute serving display, which I am going to fill with chocolate-covered pretzels and cookies to take to their Christmas party.

My grandmother is often the hardest to shop for because she’s not one of those grandmas that loves crap.  But, she does love to read and I heard that this year’s Best American Short Stories is very good, so I hope she’ll enjoy it.  I also would like to find something else for her, maybe a pin, since jewelry seems to be my go-to for my female family members.

This led me down a very dangerous path.  I went to Barnes & Noble and realized I could have completed all my shopping there.  And that I’m a big, book-loving nerd.  I orgasmed in half of the aisles and my “Books” note in my phone grew by at least ten.

I wasn’t really planning on getting anything for Rebel, but I saw a section on Arizona and since he recently moved here and is interested in exploring his new home (love that), I just wanted to get him this book and a subscription to Phoenix Magazine.  They’ll be fun resources for him and perhaps we can get lost exploring together! I’m definitely feeling more affectionate (and still no oxytocin)! 

Other books on my list…
Paddling Arizona for my dad (saving it for his upcoming birthday)
We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier or anything by Celia Rivenbark for my sister (and then me!)
My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline for my mom (and then me!)
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things for the perpetual 12-year-old (bro-in-law)

And finally, items I may or may not have bought for myself while attempting to shop for others and/or items on my wishlist:
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
Cuisinart Food Processor

nightgown (aka dress) from H&M and knee socks from Target
a pretty, little, brand-new Toshiba laptop
running gear, including a Garmin
Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald
girly Steelers gear
a spin bike
a hybrid bike

Okay, I only bought myself the two things in bold and one was with a gift card and the other was to qualify for free shipping!  I’m still doing great with my December budget and will get around to another update on that soon. 

I’m trying to remove myself from all these things that I WANT, WANT, WANT because I don’t WANT to be a materialistic person (and, for the most part, I don’t think I am). 

I decided today that I kind of give up on the holiday season this year, but that next year, I’m totally going to do it right…early shopping and no other obligations around this time of year so I can focus on actually spending time with family and friends, baking, decorating and Christmas movie marathons!  But, then again, isn’t this always the BIG idea that NEVER really seems to happen?

Oh and here’s hoping this blog hasn’t been discovered by any of my loved ones or else there goes the element of surprise!

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Community

Reverb 10, Day 7 Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

In 2010, I definitely found myself in the blogging community.  I think it was in 2010 that I discovered the awesomeness that is Google Reader and began to actively jump into strangers’ lives on a daily basis (and stopped thinking of them as strangers).  I lost a little of that when I switched blogs and I actually felt that loss.  It’s why I was upset with my mother in a way that I hadn’t been since I was a surly teenager.  The blogosphere is a funny space because you put everything out there but then think you can stay anonymous.  I’m trying to balance that now and am happy with the growing sense of community I feel around my new blog.  I’d like to nurture that in the new year and even meet some of these bloggers with whom I sometimes feel so kindred.

In 2010, I left my job at a resort, which had hundreds of employees but never felt like a community.  Everyone there was out for blood and only looking out for number one.  I joined a small office as the sixth employee and feel much more connected with the people I work with now.

In 2011, I’d like to find a sense of community in my city.  I proclaim, probably a little too loudly, that I don’t fit in here.  I always wanted to live in Scottsdale, but now that I’m here, it feels like L.A. East and I left L.A. because it’s not my style.  That’s very narrow-minded of me and I know that.  Stereotypes are typically there for a reason, but they are not absolutes. I think with a little effort, I will find a niche in Scottsdale in which I feel comfortable, whether it’s with other bloggers/writers, through a running group, by volunteering or something else.