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  1. A Cry for Help: Naganator 3.0

    March 20, 2017 by ginacolley

    Women who have survived their 40th birthday, come hither!  Cheer on with overused and condescending phraseology such as, “life is just beginning”!  You must do something, as a cantankerous cloud of doom has shadowed this house so fiercely that I have been dubbed “The Naganator” by the 3 children I not only birthed, but provide 24-hour maid service.

    Your advice is appreciated- is this a midlife crisis or normal behavior for a woman on the eve of 40?

    • Anyone ever try on their wedding dress 14 years after the last time they wore it…when they were YOUNG and FUN and FIRM?  Bad.idea.
    •  Although it may be somewhat common to need distance glasses and READERS by middle age, but in desperation to forego Benjamin Franklin bifocals- is it ok to not only purchase overpriced neon blue readers but Edna E. Mode black framed mens glasses ….to feel edgy?
    • Anyone else have a very specific Plastic Surgery Wish List?
    • Anyone burst into their hair salon and ask their stylist to think “90’s punk rock chic” and cut off all their hair (or what remains of it after all the hormonal shifts) and dye it blonde? (Thank you, Jason, the copper highlights are a much better alternative).
    •  Is it normal that during a routine ultrasound screening to abruptly stop the tech midway through and ask to see how many eggs are left?  To stare longingly at all the black follicular blobs?    To tear up and hear faint cries of the ghosts of Babies Future ?
    • Any of your husbands find you curled in a ball on the couch inconsolably crying because your eldest is going to college….in 6 years??
    • Is it common to progress very quickly from a very PC person to NOT GIVING A RAT’S ASS about what you say and whom you say it to?  For example, freaking out the fellow gymnastics moms by admitting your celebrity crush is Abby Wambach?
    • How about frequent cursing around young, impressionable children?  Anyone of you have a 6 year old who says, “What the ass??”
    • Do you find yourself wearing leather spandex to the grocery store?  Not because it makes you feel 22, but keeps all the jiggly bits in place?  More to the point, is it ok to still wear leather spandex?!?!
    • Anyone else find themselves morphing into Stiffler’s Mom?  How about during your son’s snowboard lesson overtipping the hottie twentysomething instructor, “Josh”, with ice blue eyes who uses phraseology you typically deem irreverent such as “right on” and “my man”?  Further, then seriously contemplating signing up for ski lessons regardless of the fact that you’ve been skiing for 29 years??

    Make haste, T minus 10 days until 40 rings of the bell….I need counsel!

    Love & Stuff,

    Naganator Magee


  2. Parenting Fail #498621, The Disasterous Pumpkin Cupcake Episode

    October 29, 2015 by ginacolley

    Know this, the following tasks needed to be completed TODAY to ensure a weekend of utter parental devotion to the childrens’ Halloween experience:

    1.  Correction of question #1 on COM502 midterm, core concept theory, requiring an entire Chapter 3 focused re-read and examination
    2. Two page critical analysis on survey research along with an inventive handout to be created for Tuesday evening’s grad school class
    3. Actual grad school homework and reading- again, due Tuesday
    4. (Please note procrastination methods to avoid completing tasks #1 & #2 & #3, have resorted to this blog entry, only a mere 4 months after the last, to delay school work)
    5. Puppy dog required long, long walk
    6. 4 year old daughter demanded to be fed, entertained and cared for
    7. November promotional campaign was to be created for client

     

    None of these crucial tasks were completed, due to my primordial urge to create the perfect sweet treat for The Middle’s Halloween party tomorrow.  Overshadowed by the extroverted blue eyed children in the house, (The Eldest could outtalk Trump and Baby Girl is an impish wave of toothy snorts and giggles), the only true introvert in this house, The Middle, NEEDS MY FOCUS.  He’s who inspires my 3 a.m. wake ups in a sea of worry.  You know, because he’s the middle child and neglected and desires the love and attention from me that only a soft ‘n’ fluffy Pinterest worthy cupcake could provide.

    Oy vey.

    Did I mention my oven is broken?  Well, my oven is broken, which throws a curve ball in this whole “I will bake ze cupcakes and ze children vill lov zem”  theory, so I had to venture to my pal, KM’s house, to gossip, discuss crucial PTO business, ascertain the meaning of life to make and bake 23 nut-free cupcakes.  I should have cut bait an hour into the cupcake making when I realized I failed to add the 1 cup of water to the batter.  At that point, either I should have the sense that the gods gave a goat to head on up to Giant and buy a tray of the delicious Lofthouse soft butter frosted Halloween cookies the children will want anyway, but noooooo, I endeavored to persevere.  An hour of cupcake making turned into two, my daughter marathoned on Sophia the First and overdosed on Hershey Cookies ‘N Cream miniatures… and this happened.  The “M&M pumpkin with a Laffy Taffy stem nestled in the chocolate jimmie soil”.  It really just doesn’t look so appetizing.  In my defense, I felt like I had to appeal to the 8 year old crowd, you know? Therefore, by adding the premade-hard-as-rock-confection-pumpkin-that-someone-will-break-a-tooth-on really enhances this cupcake experience, right? It’s like the M&M pumpkin birthing the perfect Great Pumpkin??  Calling Giant bakery, stat.

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    Seriously, would you eat this?  

     


  3. Product in Question #2, Super Cheap Pinot Grigio- An Extensive Review

    July 3, 2015 by ginacolley

    I love wine. love.lovelovelovelovelovelove.love wine.  (Who doesn’t?)  My appreciation for good wine began at my alma mater, Florida State, where Wine Tasting 101 counted towards my business minor.  Best.College.Ever.  Unfortunately, wine was not in my food & entertainment budget during senior year, so only during class could I enjoy a flight of red varietals.  Rather, we Tri Delt’s banded together at Yianni’s to share a $20″fish bo”,  a concoction of vomit inspiring flavored liquors and diet Sprite mixed together in a large plastic goldfish bowl.  With 7 swirly straws.  Super classy.

    I am not really establishing my vino bona fides, am I?

    Onto post-college.  A nice perk to the first year of my job was client dinners, for a multitude of reasons.  1.  I could eat a meal on the company credit card, 2.  I could drink on the company credit card,  and 3.  Although I was no longer a destitute college student, my salary the first year of my job required strict budgeting.  Client dinner =FREE sustenance.  No Disco Kroger shopping that day.  I sampled some grape finery in those days.

    The days of client dinners are a foggy memory barely conjurable in my Swiss cheese brain.  These days,  I am always on the hunt for a good value wine.   But really, can a $6.99 bottle taste good?  Yes, I can see you virtually cringing.

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    Yes, yes I am shouting from the rooftop. This $6.99 bottle of The Naked Grape Pinot Grigio is quite tasty.  Imagine if Total Wines carried it? $4? Probably $3.99 with the coupon.  It sings of aromas of pear and Meyer lemon. So light, so refreshing, so clean. YES! $6.99 wine be palatable.

    Back to my vino credibility.  One of my fondest memories early in my career is a dinner with my former boss and a client. He is a true aficionado, a very serious wine person.  Last I heard,  his name is branded on acres of Napa vines.  He also happens to be one of the most extroardinarily generous people I know.  He ordered a $1500 dollar bottle of Cabernet, and offered neophyte me a very large pour.  Yes, the wine was spectacular, yet I recall while savoring every last drop, I probably would have rather had my $500 worth in cash to pay rent.

    So while my expense budget afforded me the opportunity to sample various fine wines during client dinners throughout the years,  the house budget doesn’t allow for a $1500 bottle of wine on pizza Friday…..now I live for <$10 wine that doesn’t pickle cucumbers…..and The Naked Grape works!


  4. Product in Question #1, Organic Deodorant- An Extensive Review

    June 25, 2015 by ginacolley

    Organic Deodorant?  You question, is that an oxymoron?  Quite possibly.  Wasn’t deodorant devised in a very sterile laboratory of materials not found in nature to mask one’s own *organic* smell?

    Due to budgetary constrictions over here at Hyphenista Incorporated, a mere five-day experiment was conducted within the confines of one test subject.  To protect the privacy of said Cavia porcellus, we will name her the ubiquitous Ms. X.  Ms. X had been overloading on Aluminum Zinconium Tetrochlorohydrex for over 25 years and her armpits were in a sad state of affairs.  Itchy, bumpy, discolored…eek.  It was time to bring it back to the basics, as it is doubtful that Cro Magnon had chemi-pits.  She was always active, quite spastic and broke into a sweat multiple times a day.  Perfect testee material.

    Ms. X chose Whole Foods to make her organic selection.  No doubt Whole Foods would have the best representation of expensive organic deodorant.  Nourish Organic “Forest” flavor was chosen.  1.  It was the cheapest of the organic selection at $6.99 for the cream version, and 2.  It smelled delightfully Christmas-y in the bottle (Yes, Ms. X being incognito and all that and took a sniff before she purchased).

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    Day 1 & Day 2-  Ms. X was organically euphoric in her constant state of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree pit sniffage.

    Day 3-  Hmmm…a slight aroma was detected during Humble Warrior…

    Day 4-  She was up at 4 a.m. with her youngest who spiked a fever, followed by her middle child’s 4 hour swim meet and rounded out the day with her oldest child’s 2+ hour baseball game.  She forgot to smell her armpits.

    Day 5- 90 degree creek hike day! Ms. X admitted she felt she smelt a bit gamey.  The balsam-cedar-fir aroma was quickly overpowered by the au naturale whiffs of pure armpit.

    In conclusion, Nourish claims it is “organic and effective”.  Ms. X regretfully reports the delightful scent was no match for her organics.

    Next up, Product in Question #2.

     


  5. Happy Father’s Day ???

    June 22, 2015 by ginacolley

    I wrote the post below while on the verge of hysterical eruption.  48 hours later, I am just slightly less furious with the person called “Dad” in this house.  Although I  contemplated rubbing poison ivy oil all over his shiny bald head, I remind myself that this man has logged in 102,839,849 hours of baseball catches with The Oldest.  At bedtime, he sings to our daughter his homeade lullabies.  His tired, achy back will still willingly haul our 66 lb middle kid around when he says, “Daddy’s shoulders?”  Further, he woke up extra early today to make each of them cooked to-order breakfast before a long travel week.   He truly is the perfect Dad for this family.

    Happy Father’s Day???

    I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic Father’s Day. Perhaps you took the father of your children to brunch, maybe you had his car detailed?  For sure you orchestrated the creation of all the childrens’ “homemade” gifts. Who doesn’t want more fragile pottery creations to clutter up counter space?  Pat yourselves on the back, ladies. I am sure you provided a lovely day for the dad of the house.

    I must report that this household didn’t share in such joy.  I was on a bit of a boycott.

    My husband made an error on Saturday afternoon.  A mistake so profound, it caused me to … call his mother crying.  Let’s just say there will be NO social media postings with me declaring him “best Dad EVER”.

    Why, why such anger, you ask?  (Am I being melodramatic?)

    MY HUSBAND instructed our friend to  SHAVE OFF OUR SON’S BEAUTIFUL HAIR. (Officer Scott,  RUN the next time you see me.)

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    Know this, The Middle is MY child.  He is the only one of our brood whom my husbands’ dominant genes has not overtaken.  He is wild and silly and a little bit weird.  He still holds my hand and will sneak into my bed in the middle of the night when he has a nightmare.   You will find me during his wedding reception laying on a bathroom floor sobbing.

    He has spectacular hair that has been described as something you’d buy off a Starbucks menu. Caramel in color with blondish highlights, silky and wavy.  I.love.his.hair.  The lady who works at the Giant deli loves his hair.  EVERYONE LOVES HIS HAIR. As a toddler he had auburn ringlets I used to trim myself.  When I am an old lady waiting for death to come take me,  I will have visions of his hair.

    Yes, of course, the buzz cut was requested. And, yes of course, said child loves it.  And, yes, I know it will grow back, but all Dad haircut priveledges have been forever revoked in this house!

     

     


  6. A Letter To My Adult Children Somewhere in the Distant Future,

    May 10, 2015 by ginacolley

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    Firstly, may I offer my condolences to you. I’d too be pissed if I had me for a mother.  I hope you accept and love me regardless of how much therapy you need now.   I beg your forgiveness, pray you boys married capable women and baby girl learned how to fold laundry under her Dad’s tutelage.

    My transgressions ran aplenty, allow me to beg your forgiveness on the following:

    *  Apologies on the ironing situation.  Really, it is such a long and arduous chore and you immediately wrinkled your clothing back up, so really, I didn’t hardly ever bother.  It was far simpler to throw ironable clothing into Dad’s drycleaning bin.  He never did notice…

    *  Terribly sorry super tasty meals weren’t provided.    No one in the history of time has botched blue box macaroni and cheese worse than me.  Now if you had been good little bambinos and liked chicken proscuitto lasagna …   My heart hurts to think you will have come home from college for holiday break and your homecooked meal will be raspberries and shredded rotisserie chicken.

    *  I am aptly apologetic that as young children you were aware of Walking Dead plotlines and were schooled on how to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse that  never came to the suburbs of Philadelphia.

    * I am regretful of my tone.  I hope you weren’t too scarred by my “outside yelly voice” that I used inside. A. Lot….aka All of the time.

    *  I am sorry you showed up at every birthday party you were invited to with a movie theatre gift card.   Really, who has time to buy and wrap presents for other peoples children?

    *  Do ya’ll still have potty mouths? I guess I should have played the part of the grownup and not laughed at all the toilet humor. Or said dammit so much.  Oops.

    *  Firstborn, do you remember the time when you were 9 years old and we were on our way back from another hellacious “field trip” (do I get bonus points for going on those migraine inducing ventures) and you cried tears of joy when upon inquiry I told you that all we were doing that Friday night was watching a movie? Yikes on the overscheduling.  I am guessing you quit all your atheletic and musical pursuits by middle school due to overexposure.

    *  I do you hope you don’t still eat food that was dropped on the floor.  We had a 30 second rule during your childhood…as long as you could grab the Cheez It before the ants did…

    Happy Mother’s day to me, a low-average mother of questionable parenting.  Much Love, Mom

    P.S. Under no circumstances do I apologize for being the Mega Homework Nag. Ya’ll should be leaders of the free world…


  7. Dear Mother Nature,

    March 1, 2015 by ginacolley

    As March commences, we are hit with another 2 hour delay tomorrow.Oh, hell no, (the Bostonians are shouting a string of much more creative expletives…) you didn’t! But of course you did!  The Philadelphia suburbs and apparently all of Washington D.C. would like to graciously thank you for today’s ice storm, which put the lingering 3 inches of dirty grey snow on our yards in ice lock down.  On March 1st. Super.  Can we cry Uncle??

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    I guess today begins the unofficial miserable ending to the coldest winter in the northeast in 36 years. Thanks, by the way, not sure how super helpful record breaking cold is, but it sure kept all of our kids housebound for the last 2 months.  Begins the ending, you say? Yes, if we are to look at your track record we can only deduce that this is the dawn of an approximate month-long Springtease. (By the way, you’ve had the Floridians in a frenzy. You gave it to them good- making them endure days in the 40’s.  I hope you were checking your social media to see how upset they were.  Next year, they’d like some snow.  Just for fun.) This has been a doozy. Clearly, the pharmacuetical lobbyists have gotten to you (too!).  Was this the year of record numbers of northeasterners crushing up any seratonin producing pharmaceutical in sight???

    At this point, the weather channel has run out of edgy, masculine storm names. They’ve been reduced to envoking ancient battle states. We are onto Sparta, which probably has dads invoking Gerard Butler’s Leonidas shouting to the children, “Spartans, ready your snowshovels!”

    Here’s the deal.  Rita’s Water Ice opened today.  We’d like to start enjoying the real stuff without having the option of chipping it off of our gutters.  This is tremendously torturous … throw us a bone!

    Love ‘N Stuff,

    The Entire East Coast


  8. Resolutions … Fuhgeddaboudit!

    January 4, 2015 by ginacolley

    Happy New Year!

    Know this, all evidence of our holiday was eviscerated from our living quarters and banished to the arctic chill of the attic as of December 27 th.  This is not shocking when one is wed to a supremely organized human and his order taking minnion, The Firstborn.  The rest of us try to avoid them at all cost during “Christmas clean-up”and can be found hiding in the laundry room snacking on stale mini saltines whilst perusing www.loveandknuckles.com.

    Due to this unexpected gift of extra time, what did I accomplish during the last few days of break?  I have been ferociously brainstorming a 2015 New Year’s Resolution List.  The irony of the fact that it is January 4 th is not lost.  In my mind, as New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday, the annexed weekend simply does not count as the new year. A fresh 2015 begins for me Monday morning, January 8 th.  That was 4 BONUS days to imbibe on my bad habits.

    If you can’t be bothered to generate one or are simply too busy, I am here for you.  As a courtesy to my readers, I have banged out a few resolutions for you that are guarenteed to ensure a happy 2015.

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    8.  Do less housework! Why fold laundry and do dishes when you could be reading a trashy celeb mag or getting your nails done? Rally the children. Why else did you create them?  Pretend it’s 1940’s in rural Idaho where a child’s purpose was do do farm work.  Culturally, we are way too soft on this generation of offspring.  Gather up your toilet brushes and get your kids a’ scrubbin’. 

    7.  Be disorganized. Studies show that sloppy people have creative, sparkly minds that shouldn’t be supressed.

    6.  Eat very fatty meat.  There are so many toxins in pesticides these days, you are probably doing more harm to yourself eating blackberries and kale.  Organic pig product on the other hand, while full of artery clogging fats, is tasty and full of protein.

    5.  Mental Well being!  No complaining about snow, ice and other treacherous weather.  Better living through chemistry- go get a happy pill script and a monthly tanning bed package.   

    4.  Stop doing hard excercise classes.  It’s silly, really. Alternatively, because you must take advantage of your gym’s free babysitting, jump on the treadmill for a nice leasurely walk. Don’t go too fast, you need to be able to safely access your social media so you can see pictures of all the parties you weren’t invited to last holiday season.

    3. Sleep more! If you just train your oldest child how to use the microwave to make organic pig products for breakfast and leave the milk in the easiest accessable shelf on your fridge, you could sleep in at least an extra 45 minutes every morning.

    2.  Be present!  Stop nagging/yelling at kids.  Instead, perfect the pulverizing above rear elbow pinch when they behave badly.  They will be paralyzed and if you are swift, no one else will notice your ninja pinch move.

    1.  Stop drinking wine!  It’s much, much too caloric.  But, by all means, don’t stop drinking.  Rum on the rocks or with diet coke is a healthy alternative. Don’t forget gluten free vodka, because we all know if it doesn’t have gluten, it is automatically healthy. 

    Godspeed, friends!


  9. Rosalita

    December 15, 2014 by ginacolley

    This post has been sitting in my draft folder for almost 2 months.  I click back to it every week or so, finding myself staring at my screen in doubt.  It’s one of those emotional posts that I always hesitate to click “publish”.  After all, I know people who have lost a daughter, sister, husband, father, son, grandfather this year.  It seems perhaps innapropriate to wallow in pity over the loss of a very sick 12 year old Chihuahua.    But recently, my friend Kim had to put her beloved LuLu to sleep, and I thought it maybe it is time to revisit this post.   I hereby declare it is ok to be sad about missing a dog, even in the midst of others suffering worse pain.  To Rosie and LuLu, together may you be drinking bacon grease from the doggie dishes on the Rainbow Bridge! You are so very missed.

    12 years ago, I dragged my reluctant (on a lot of levels) Then Boyfriend/Now Husband into Haines City, Florida, looking to acquire a prized pedigree white tea cup chihuahua as a companion for Meester Fernandez, my very cranky chi purchased from a bucolic town in Georgia 2 years prior.  As the internet presented, I was under the assumption we were going to an esteemed breeder. Instead, we stumbled into a trailer park with 88 chihuahuas stuffed into 3 metal crates presided over by a lady with an overstuffed doll collection and a decades younger boyfriend.  To this day, I still regret not calling the authorities.

    While we were presented the 1 lb “Brenda’s Beguiled Beastly Love”, who I initally inquired about and who was lying on a satin pillow in a baby crib, (YES THIS PLACE WAS UBER CREEPY) I couldn’t help but notice a crate in the kitchen with a few dejected puppies.  When I inquired, I was told those pups were unfit for sale- runts,rejects, deformities, etc.  When I asked her what would become of them, she whipped her greasy, wiry ankle length braid over her shoulders and gave me a “whatever” face.  I looked hard at My Then Boyfriend/Now Husband.  There was a tiny puppy in the corner…she was whimpering, had a gash on her side, and mites were crawling out of her ears.  I don’t know much but I knew then we had to take her and save her from becoming chihuahua potpie.

    And save her, we did.  Every day was a gift – she went to the vet in Tampa, and I was scolded for buying her from a puppy mill. The normal inoculations sent her to the ER as she filled up like a puffer fish and needed Benadryl to get through the night.  Ever tear your ACL?  Well, Rosie blew out three of four and we never go them fixed.  Named after the protagonist in the Springsteen song Rosalita, she took on that artist’s penchant for blue collar strife – seemed like every day was really a gift as this dog was always up against it in the early days….

    …..fast forward 11 mostly glorious years ….three kids have shown up, and all she did was kiss and love all over them….never once losing her cool….

    After a recent rapid weight loss and near constant thirst, the formerly obese Rosie was diagnosed with diabetes during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2013.  The day of her diagnosis, I tearfully made a promise to care for her as an atonement for the neglect she suffered as each new baby popped into our lives.  I spent the following 11 months dutifully giving her twice daily insulin shots which left her yelping in agony and always flinching when she heard me coming to fetch her in the laundry room.  And now I was the scary monster from whom my dog cowered.

    Her anxiety level, which was always high, skyrocketed in the beginning of the summer.  We started hearing repeated ramming on the laundry room door at 4 AM.  Over and over again.  Rosie was ramming her head into the door to get out.  I would rush downstairs to let her out, to just watch her amble back onto her bedding.  Our compassionate and wonderful veterinarian (by the way- what veterarian have you met that isn’t an amazing human being?) told us that was a sign of the beginning stages of doggie dementia.  On top of diabetes. On top of blindness, on top of just being a severly nervous dog.

    How agonizing for her.

    I had to make a choice on her behalf.  A choice that I avoided making at Thanksgiving.   But we I waited.  I knew she was never going to recover, but the fact that I was deciding to extend or cease her life was a burden to my conscience.  And it had to be my call, because Rosie was truly The Husband’s dog…

    The morning we called the vet to bring her in, I intended to spend the day holding and caring for her.  Telling her how loved she was, thanking her for always adoring the next baby I brought home, giving away that one more slice of our love and attention.  It was easier to sit at my kitchen table and look at her as she lay sunning herself.  I remembered how she loved the backyard sun of our Tampa house and the warm saltillo tiles.  How I emailed my mother-in-law every day of our honeymoon checking in on her and Meester dog.  How nothing made her more happy than hearing The Husband come home- well, maybe bacon grease poured over her dog food.  How she tried to attack the armadillos that used to nose around our shubbery in Tallahassee during her last patrol of the evening.  For the record, she hated snow the most.

    As torturous as the decision to put our pet down was, the process was completely peaceful.  She would be the last appointment of the day.   She was given an overdose of barbiturates, and before the plunger was even halfway down, she was gone – in the arms of The Husband.  It happens so fast and all at once, I lost control of the situation.  Rosie was gone.

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    The Husband, My Dad and I buried her at my parents’ Pet Cemetary (of course they have one), wrapped in The Middle’s favorite green tattered shirt, right inbetween Luca and Bear, much more ferocious dogs who are helping her defeat the evil armadillos that may be lurking at the Rainbow Bridge.

    Rosie lived a great life, considering how unfortunate it began.  In retrospect, I wish I had the courage to end her pain earlier than I did, but feel solace in the fact that she is at peace.

     


  10. Put Some Klass in Your Christmas; A 5 Step How-To Guide

    December 7, 2014 by ginacolley

    After 14 years of constant sunshine in the state of Florida I made the questionable decision to return to my hometown in suburban Philadelphia. Although I am pretty sure I may be suffering from a mild case of seasonal depression, I still look forward to the Christmas holiday when I can embarrass my neighbors by decorating my home like I am contestant on TLC’s Invasion of the Christmas Lights.

    If you want to set your house apart you have to take several crucial steps. I have compiled them in what I refer to as the Colley-Holgate Family Christmas Extravaganza.

    1. You need a staff.  

    Staff is crucial to the expedition of this project. ENTHUSIASTIC staff. Luckily, mine comes in the form of The Husband and my-over-eager-people-pleaser- firstborn.  If you possess neither of these types of people, there are overly expensive landscaping companies you can pay to decorate.

    1.  Forget the white lights.

    Embrace trashy. The secret lies in diversity.  While Target is the place to go for twinkly, purple LED strings of blinking icicle lights, you are going to have to frequent a few more joints if you want some real nitty gritty old skool illumination.  Where else can you purchase “Merry Brite” glitter candles but on the dusty back shelf of aisle 8 at CVS?  Think outside the box: Walgreens, Costco, the Christmas section at Boscov’s.  SPRING YARD SALES! Bingo. Know what is hanging on my backyard fireplace? A set of red chili pepper string lights purchased from a drug store in Tallahassee, Florida 10 years ago.

    1. Fake spray snow. 

    Remember that fake spray snow of yonder year they used to sell at Kmart?  (My mother used to find me sniffing the snow-encrusted pine needles).  Guess what, doll? THEY STILL MAKE IT.  Buy cans of it and turn your pristine Evergreen into a chemical laden flurried tree looking as if it was shipped in from Switzerland.

    1. Tinsel. 

    Here. There. Everywhere. BOOM.  Bonus points for purple with gold strands weaved throughout.

    1. Large inflatables and plastic characters.

    We have yet to purchase the nativity inflatables, but rock pretty much every available kind. The plastic 4 foot Snow men might be harder to come by, I found ours in my cousin Amy’s attic. The kids in your ‘hood will be sure to envy your Spongebob and R2D2 flapping in the wind, and that neighbor across the way who is only allowed to put up and extra large wreath will surely be jealous of your A Christmas Story Leg Lamp…

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    Happy Decorating!

    The Hyphenista