Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bye, November! Holiday Travel & Packing Tips

November was a whirlwind of fun in the Benjamin house. The first weekend was my brothers birthday. The next week, we spent a long weekend in San Francisco. We came home and promptly hosted our Friendsgiving #KikkomanParty - our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. We wrapped up the month by celebrating Thanksgiving with family and kicking off holiday shopping with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. December will be just as exciting and chaotic!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Homemade Pressure Cooker Cranberry Sauce

This past weekend I volunteered to bring the cranberry sauce to our family Thanksgiving. I am all too familiar with the bland, overly-sweet cranberry log. Fresh cranberries run $1-$2 a bag, and for a group of 30, I could make a double batch of my homemade sauce for $4 (since I already had sugar at home). Packed with flavor from the fresh berries, my homemade pressure cooker cranberry sauce was a hit. Ready in under 10 minutes, it's a great go-to for holidays and easy to customize.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bring Hope #into17

Thanksgiving is often a time to reflect on the year past, a chance to express gratitude.  According to the CDC, 25 million Americans suffer from depression each year. That's about 1 in every 12 people, so chances are, you know someone battling depression. During 2014,42,773 turned to suicide and almost 494,169 visited the hospital for self-harm behavior. Despite these alarming statistics, suicide, self-injury and depression are highly stigmatized and treatment, research and awareness campaigns are underfunded in comparison to other charitable organizations. For those battling depression, self-injury and suicidal thoughts, the holiday season is not always so bright. It can be wrought with anxiety or loneliness. Although this is not my battle, I have been on the sidelines. For this reason, every day, especially during the holiday season, I count my blessings that despite any dark periods, my family is still whole. I take these weeks to hug tighter, love bigger, and most importantly, pay it forward to those still looking for help.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Friendsgiving: My Kikkoman Brine a Juicy Bird House Party

dairy free thanksgiving friendsgiving
Flexing with my pies!
Earlier this year I signed up for House Party, a website that sends you branded party kits (for free!) to help promote new items and generate buzz around specific products and brands. Each month several parties are posted to the home page, members apply, complete activities to get product information out there and then hosts are selected. I was selected to host the #KikkomanParty, a Kikkoman themed party to generate some buzz about product line and how it can be used at Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Your Next Move

Life is like a game of chess. We see several choices ahead of us, and we make our move based on the situation that we perceive to have the best possible outcome. But the player on the other side of the board, be it an actual human or some outside force, may make an unexpected move. And suddenly we're faced with a potential outcome we didn't see coming....In those moments, we have to ask ourselves: Do we surrender? Or do we keep playing in the hope that we will somehow be able to make it out that situation on top?
 You still have moves left to make, even if you can't see them right now. So please don't give up because the road ahead seems impossible. Don't give up because you think you won't win. You have no idea what victories you'll win in the future if you stop playing in the present.
So keep playing.
Always keep playing. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy Election Day!

According to the US Census, only 65% of US Citizens age 18 and over were registered to vote in the last major election. A total of 56.5% of US Citizens age 18 and over got out and hit the polls in 2012. That means about 102,300,000 stayed home and kept their opinions to themselves.

Get out and vote! It's your right! Make your voice heard - share your opinion!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Friday! - Planning Wallet-Friendly Weekend Getaways

You can say that again! I'm super infatuated with Friday's in November since half of them are holidays! This coming Friday, we observe Veteran's Day, which is a great opportunity to take a long weekend and explore America. At the end of the month, we celebrate Thanksgiving - another long weekend full of family, friends, and food.

Next weekend, Ross and I are taking advantage of the long weekend, plus a few days, and some awesome travel rates to head out to San Francisco for a few days. I can't wait! Neither one of us has been and we would love to explore a new city with the few days off from work. This is a much better way to spend a long weekend than sitting home doing laundry!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Happy Birthday, Coco!

Ross and I adopted Coco and her mama Chanel when Coco was only 3 months old. She and Chanel were rescued together on the streets in Kentucky when Coco was only 2 weeks old. Before we met Coco, she had been adopted out twice and returned. Although she was old enough to be off on her own, she cried when she was separated from her mama. Once we met Coco and saw the love between her and Chanel, we could not separate them one more time. Instead, we adopted both dogs. To this day, they sleep curled up together, clean each others hard to reach places (ears, tops of head) and wrestle like maniacs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hello November

November is a busy month in the Benjamin household and across the United States. Over the 6-day Thanksgiving weekend, travel of 50 miles or greater increases by 54%, according the United States Department of Transportation. (It only rises by 23% during Christmas time!) This year, we are not part of that statistic, but we do have quite the month of travel, family and friends planned out...