Category Archives: love

Holiday Shopping vs. Holiday Spirit

You’ve heard it all before, right? Complaints about retailers who put up Christmas decorations by Halloween, the commercialization of a religious holiday, and the stress and exhaustion (and emptied checkbook) caused by hunting down “the perfect” holiday gifts.

I’m not sure how you handle it all, but I’ve tried different techniques to cope with the madness that is Christmas in America.

This is the time of year I inventory all the coats, boots, clothes, toys, and other gently used items in the house that would better benefit others in need. Not only is it freeing to purge the closets and drawers, but also it feels good to know that these donations will end up helping others less fortunate than me.

Another thing I’ve done in the past is ask my family not to send me gifts, but to take whatever money they might’ve spent on me and donate it to a charity (if they pick a charity of my choice, I match it). One year I was able to buy two new kitchen appliances for a shelter for abused women thanks to my family’s cooperation. I didn’t get a single gift, but it might be one of my favorite Christmases ever.

Thirdly, the older I get, the more I realize that the truly memorable things in my life revolve around things I’ve done rather than things I’ve owned. Therefore, now that my kids are teens, we’ve switched from buying “stuff” to buying a meaningful experience (a camp or lesson). Hopefully, later in life, they’ll appreciate that idea more than they do right now.

Finally, this year I also want my kids generate an idea of their own that is in the true spirit of giving (as opposed to “buying”). That reminds me, I need to check in with them to see if they’ve come up with something.

Care to share any special traditions you and your family have that showcase the real meaning of this holiday season?

xo–Jamie

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Who Else Loves a Sad Song?

My brother and I were laughing about this recently, because he and I share an unusual affinity for all things melancholy. We love sad stories, sad movies, and sad love songs. To us, there is a cathartic quality to each of them. It’s oddly freeing to allow that heaviness in and then let the tears out.

Perhaps we like it because that emotional exchange takes place at a safe distance, far from the reality of our own life struggles? I don’t know, but I’m curious, are we alone, or do you like these things, too?

Here’s a list of some of my brokenhearted love songs:

Spotify Playlist

What’s one of your favorites, or are you only looking for the upbeat love songs and stories?

xo-Jamie

Fired Up for Fall

Game of Thrones fans may get excited when they hear “Winter is coming,” but I’m bouncing on my toes because autumn is coming! There’s so much to look forward to, how could I not?

46425130 - autumn landscape

46425130 – autumn landscape

Sweater Weather: I’ll admit, I’ve been craving a drop in temperature and the pop of golds and reds in the sea of green outside my window. Neither has quite happened yet, but it’s coming. I can feel it.

Structure: I also love the return to structure that fall imposes. School is back in session, so each day is parsed into segments of compromised of school start and end times, sports practices, lessons, and tutors. Structure makes it easier to be productive (at least, it does for me), so I’m optimistic about what I’ll accomplish this last quarter of 2016.

My Birthday: It seems like my family and friends have been celebrating this for weeks now, but this weekend I turn 50. Yep, a half-century and counting, people. Someone told me that’s roughly 18,200 days on the planet. That’s a lot of days. I’ve made the most of my time on the planet so far, but there’s still much to do, so I don’t want to waste the next 18,000 days (if I’m lucky).worth-the-risk-cover

New Release: Although excited to share my upcoming release, Worth the Risk, it’s also a little bittersweet. I’ve loved the St. James family since I conceived of David, and it’s not easy to close the door on them. I hope, however, that series’ fans will enjoy the way everything is wrapped up for Jackson and his siblings.

Holidays: Two of my favorites, Halloween and Thanksgiving, are on the horizon. I used to love coming up with imaginative costumes when I was younger, but now I just love the fistfuls of chocolate at my fingertips! As for Thanksgiving, it’s one of two times per year that I get to see my entire extended family, so that’s always something to look forward to.

Food: I’ve eaten enough spinach and kale these past three months, so I’m eager to sink my teeth into some fall favorites: hearty soups, roast chicken and gravy, and pumpkin pie. Add a warm fire and some new television shows, and I’m one happy camper.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

XO-Jamie

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“Promposals:” A Good Thing or Not?

It’s that time of year again: Prom season!

Some things haven’t changed throughout the decades, like mothers and daughters going shopping for the perfect dress and shoes. Of course, gone are the flouncy princess dresses of yore. I still remember my purple silk-organza gown, with its ruffled, off-the-shoulder neckline, fondly. It looked perfect with my Eighties-style big hair, I swear! Sadly, all the pictures are at my mom’s, so I can’t share.

Other things have changed a lot, most notably the latest trend: the Promposal. Teen boys (for the most part) across the nation nervously planning some way to wow their prospective dates with an Instagram or YouTube-worthy plan.

I can’t decide whether or not I think these Promposals are a good or bad thing.

They range from the sweet:

 

To the touching/tear-jerker:

 

To the painfully awkward:

 

My initial response to the hoopla is that it is a result of the reality-TV / selfie-obsessed generation that’s been trained to believe every second of every day needs to be larger-than-life and recorded for posterity. That side of this craze isn’t healthy. Not only does it create a tremendous amount of pressure on kids to come up with bigger and better ideas, but it’s also proven that chronic social media focus is actually causing depression…but that’s a topic for another post.

On the other hand, and particularly when watching some of the cuter Promposals that go well, I have to admit that I love watching creative kids who are willing to make themselves vulnerable in such a public way. There’s something courageous and inspiring about it.

And maybe these bigger milestones deserve to be recorded. Honestly, I can’t remember how my boyfriend asked me to Prom. We’d been dating all year, so it’s possible he never formally asked at all. We just assumed we’d be going!

So what’s your take on the Promposal: yay or nay?

XOXO-Jamie

 

Romance 2.0

I’m feeling whimsical today. Maybe it’s because of the perfectly sunny fall day. Or maybe it’s thanks to that last Tate’s chocolate chip and walnut cookie I just ate. Or maybe the upcoming release of Accidentally Hers has me focusing on romance.

I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. The point is I’ve got romance on the brain today, so I might as well be productive about it.

As a woman who has been in the same relationship for twenty years and counting, I know how it can sometimes feel like there aren’t any surprises left. If there are things I don’t know about my husband, it’s because he’s hiding them, right?

Well, maybe not, actually.34252037_s

When I step back and think of it, we’ve both changed a lot over the years. Sure, we’ve been together for those growth cycles, but I can’t say we’ve always discussed them in detail, or that I know he who really is now as opposed to who he was when we married. Honestly, who has time for philosophical discussions when one is stuck in the middle (of life, of careers, between needy kids and aging parents)?

With so many important matters vying for one’s attention, relationships often get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list, and you talk less and less about non-essential things. But those dreamy, non-essential things are precisely what people spend so much time discovering about in the beginning of any relationship. What if that on-going dialogue is the key to keeping a relationship fresh?

With this idea in mind, I thought it would be fun to make a short list of little things anyone can do to boost his/her real-life romance and renew intimacy:

  1. Daydream together (what if we won the lottery, where would you most love to retire, if you could be granted one wish, who’s your current real-life hero…). You know, just make it fun and see where the conversation leads.
  2. Give your undivided attention to your partner when you ask about his/her day. I mean it! Look him/her in the eye and really listen.
  3. Hold hands while driving/riding in the car.
  4. Make a list of your partner’s best/most admirable traits and surprise them with it.
  5. Ask him/her what you can do to make their day better.
  6. Make his/her favorite dinner on the weekend, when everyone can relax and enjoy it.
  7. Send a sexy text (no, not a “sext” pic) in the middle of the day to set the mood for later that night.
  8. Make a list of relationship goals (be specific, like twice-a-month date nights, one weekend per year road trip, and so on).
  9. Let each person choose a movie (in my house that would be heavy drama for me and anything with Will Ferrell for my husband) and then watch them each together (no complaining allowed…or at least keep the eye-rolling to a minimum).
  10. Role reversal! Basically, walk in the other person’s shoes for a day. Cooking, laundry, yard work, whatever. Get an appreciation for what your partner contributes to making life a little easier in the household and talk about it later.

Hopefully these little efforts will yield big payoffs in the romance department. And don’t be shy. If you’ve got an idea to share with the rest of us, please do so in the comments!

XO-Jamie