7 Tips to Gather Responsibly This Thanksgiving!

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is a week away…. It’s crazy. For most of us Thanksgiving will look a bit different this year. It might be a bit smaller, a bit sadder, it might be missing some important people, and if you are following California’s rules, then you might be freezing your butt off outside for dinner.

I don’t think most people are following the rules and guidelines for Thanksgiving, but if you truly are worried about this years Thanksgiving… here’s some tips to remember going into next week.

  1. If you haven’t done so already make sure you quarantine for 14 days before visiting your family. Especially if there will be elderly people in your house, or those with pre existing conditions that tend to be more susceptible to Covid 19.
  2. If you haven’t been quarantining… I suggest you start and get a Covid test ASAP! No later than Monday and that could be pushing it. Although I believe they have some rapid test now in some areas… Don’t know how accurate those are though. Most tests results get back to you within 3 days, but there have been an increase in people at the testing locations, so hopefully they can keep up. A Covid test is going to be the most secure and reassuring way to spend time with your family during this holiday season.
  3. If you’re truly scared and worried about bringing Covid home, then opt for a zoom Thanksgiving. ( I know a few families who are doing that this year). You can try to make it memorable, and interesting, whether you all get take out and eat together or maybe play a game.
  4. Be sure to practice social distancing when you are around your family.
  5. Be sure to be open about what to expect. Talk about if you want everyone to wear mask, communicate with how you’ve been feeling the over the last week, and really listen to your body for those of us who might be silent spreaders.
  6. If you really want to exercise caution, and people didn’t get their Covid test or quarantine for 14 days, then you can always keep Thanksgiving closed to you and your immediate household. Thanksgiving for two might not be the ideal way to spend such a large family holiday, but it’s best to keep an open mind and make the best out of the situation.
  7. You can always bring the heaters out, dress warm, and gather outside as well to reduce some risks… If the weather permits.
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Gather responsibly! Eat and be merry! Don’t forget the pie!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Xoxo, Bri

Once Upon A Time: A Childhood Story That Will Leave You Cringing For Days

Once upon a time …..

There was a girl, not just any girl, and extraordinary girl. A girl who looked danger in the eye, a girl who learned to survive the wrath of three crazy brothers. A girl, who, instead of running would just stand her ground.

A girl, who, one day walked into the kitchen to find one brother running around the kitchen island, and another brother chasing him with a butcher knife, screaming … “I’m going to kill you, I swear to god”. The initial reaction you might ask? Obviously jump in between the brother with the knife and the brother that was running for dear life. Thus, ending the cycle of running and buying time for the grandparents to come in and break up a “fight?”.

It was like walking into a slow motion bounty commercial, and I was the person with the bounty paper towel, who was there to save the day and clean up the mess.

Once I successfully got in between the two, keeping one brother on the complete opposite side of the kitchen island, and guarding the other brother, who was catching his breath. I began the art of slightly coaching my older brother to put the knife down.

Then came the mediation between idiot number one and idiot number two. Finally, as I stood between my older brother and my younger brother, an adult walked downstairs and asked “what was going on?” I looked at both of them. They both started to walk away. Crisis was averted. Ok so it was not that bad… but…

Welcome to my life.

You know what they say. Not all heroes wear capes. That is me. I do not wear capes… ever.. maybe that one time, when I dressed as a vampire for Halloween.

I swear some of you have never had your siblings chase you around with a kitchen knife, and threaten your life and it really shows.

I saw that in a meme last year and it really resonated with me. Just saying.

I have yet to decide if this was a normal occurrence? I mean most siblings do this stuff right? Attempted murder? No? Yes? Maybe???? I mean it was a normal occurrence in my house, so I just assume, healthy sibling rivalry? What would others do in this situation?? I am curious.

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry, or grab my own knife.. Growing up with an out of control psycho, was a character building experience. You never knew if he was going to burn the house down, hire a hit man, stab you in your sleep. You just knew you needed to lock your doors. Now that my friends is cringe worthy.

Side Note: Tuesdays I like to post funny stories about me if you have yet to catch on. If you’d like to hear more about the crazy thing that is my life leave a comment. I’d be happy to switch it up! I’d also be happy to share more crazy WTF moments as well.

If you like what you read, don’t forget to subscribe.

XO Bri

Post Christmas Gratitude

Well, we did it again! Made it through the holiday season. Adios Christmas, see you in 2020. It was so nice of you to take my bank account with you on your way out. Literally jumping with joy at the idea of not having to attend another large family gathering for at least another 11 months.

The holidays are great don’t get me wrong, but oh my lord the gift of giving takes its toll.

It always cracks me up that we are expected to give gifts to every single person that has crossed our path, and we tend to feel guilty when we leave someone out. Christmas has and will probably always be an over the top holiday in my household.

I mean talk about gifts galore.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

What I have come to notice the last few Christmas’s is that giving gifts is hard. Especially as everyone gets older. I mean all I really want is money to pay off my student loans.

This year as I watched everyone open presents, I couldn’t help but notice the utter disappointment that came across their faces, partially because they didn’t know what to do with the books I had gifted them.

#readmore2020

Not to mention no one know’s how to pick the right sized clothes. Which means we are now left with the task of returning, or throwing the clothes into the back of our closets, because someone forgot a gift receipt.

Opening gifts is always a bit of an awkward moment, because everyone is waiting for your initial reaction. My face always shows everything… it’s very unfortunate. I guess that’s why I am a writer not an actor. Both of which are hiding behind two very different screens.

I think it’s natural for people to get a little bummed, when they don’t get exactly what they wanted. Some may call this being ungrateful.

#newiphoneplease #wheresmylulus

I am lucky I am at the age, where I get to buy presents for myself, otherwise I’d be sitting there slightly disappointed too.

It’s important to remind ourselves that it’s not about what we don’t have, it’s about what we do have, because so many people have far less.

Opening presents is a fun activity that honestly just shows you that people care.

It’s also a way for parents to encourage their small children to behave well, or else a really overweight man will not be breaking into their house on Christmas Eve…

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Santa… Stranger danger..?? I don’t know. Truly a weird concept. Who’s to say he isn’t trying to lure kids to his sleigh.

Just Saying… “He’s always watching” Watch Out. Potential stalker alert.

On a more serious note.

All the presents set aside, be grateful, because you are here and there are others that are not with us this holiday season. It’s important to be thankful for the life you have and the people in it, and to celebrate that life with the people you love.

Dear 24,

We loved, we lost, we graduated college and we lived through it all. I can’t believe I am about to say this.. but words cannot described how happy I am to turn another year older.

Graduating college was a huge accomplishment for me, even if I took a little longer to do so. Graduating from UC Berkeley was something I never dreamed possible. Especially not after I took so many years off, before I decided to attend college.

Living through one of the hardest break ups and loses of my life was a true growing experience. I learned time truly does heal all wounds and I hope it continues to do so. All in all, I did not expect to be where I am sitting here today.

Where I expected to be today was starting the career of my dreams, married and waking up everyday next to my best friend. Twenty four year old Bri was pretty naive.

I can’t complain though. Life has a funny way of showing you exactly where you need to be and even the hard times can bring about something you never expected.

Even though I felt as though I lost something important and dear to my heart and I was overwhelmed with figuring out life post college. I can truly say that I found something more amazing than any one person could have given me. Love for myself and a true voice within me. I found new motivation, ambition and I am extremely excited and happy to see where 25 takes me.

#Thailand2020 #Europe2020 #Firstbook2020 #thebluntlybripodcast2020

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Cheers to letting go and moving forward!

Cheers to chasing dreams and reaching your goals!

Cheers to hard work and determination!

And Cheers to 25!

Me, Myself and the Dog: A Holiday Guide To Gift Giving

Winter is upon us, and so are the holidays, which means staying in with the space heater I call my dog. My partner in crime, fartbox, butt cuddling, bundle of joy. If his toots don’t kill me the ever present loneliness coming into this holiday season might.

My fur child and I spent a lot of time coming up with the perfect gifts for all the members of the family this year. As he laid snuggled up beside me binge watching life of pets.. I frivolously surfed the internet for the perfect bunch of presents. After finding absolutely nothing, and realizing this is such a waste of money, because who needs gifts anyways? I looked at my dog and as he gazed back at me, with that intense blank look in his eyes, I realized we are going to give the gift of giving.

Everyone is going to get the gift of giving to a charity! How philanthropic of us.

I hit google to find some gifts that give, and I stumbled across Good House Keeping’s article on the 26 Best Gifts That Give Back, and they made my life easy peasy. I found gifts for just about everyone.

For example my Step Mom is getting a succulent trio, that uses its profits to provide clean water to people around the world.

My sister is getting the Kiehl’s Collection for a Cause Skin Care Set, which donates its profits to help feed people this holiday season.

My mother is getting the grounds for hounds coffee trio set, which donates money to animal rescues.

My grandma is getting the “When Life Gives you Lemons” bangle bracelet from Alex and Ani, because she is a jewelry queen. They donate money to cancer research, which my grandma would fully support. Considering we lost one of our own to cancer.

And of course the the charity pot body lotion, as my white elephant gift this year, which donates its money to multiple causes such as human and animal rights.

The charity stuff works well for the girls, the men in my family all get 49er inspired gifts, you can’t mess with tradition! What can I say.

How to Get Into Your Dream College and Not Break the Bank

Hello there, 

I bet if you are reading this you may have been like me, using money as an excuse to not attend college, or one of those people, who did not think they were smart enough for college. I was one of those people who took two years off of college after high school, and then reluctantly decided to attend  junior college. On the bright side anyone with a GED can attend a JC, as long as you take the placement tests.

When I first started attending JC, I noticed there were a lot of negative stigmas that surround the idea of it. It was associated with those, who did not take their education very seriously and people who spent more than the needed time to obtain their AA or transfer to a four year. It was a go at your own pace on your own dime, way of education.

Junior college is sometimes considered a place for people who are a lost cause. It comes with a level of judgment. You get the “oh that’s cool” response. As opposed to if you go to Berkeley you get the “wow that is really impressive, you must be really smart” response. I’d like to think that isn’t the case for the majority of those attending. I did come across many people, who had no intention of finishing college. A lot people use junior college as a stepping stone to get into a great four year college, and the best part is we never have to take the SAT. 

The idea of junior college is becoming more popular, and a lot of people are going to junior college, because it is a fraction of the cost. Therefore, financially it is a very smart decision. You don’t have to pay for room and board, if you live at home, which is obviously not all that appealing. You can also apply for financial aid to minimize costs. Most of the classes that you take for your general ed transfer over as well! So you aren’t wasting all this time at a four year college, trying to figure out what you want to do for quadruple the price.

 Financial Aid is a beautiful thing, I got reimbursed for my first semester, granted, my first semester only cost me about $700 for tuition, books and supplies. Which, is nothing compared to what Berkeley cost me a semester. Berkeley was $14,000  for tuition each semester, and their parking permit added on another $380, their books would add on another 400+, and that doesn’t even incorporate the cost of rent. Living expenses are absurd.

For those of you, who use the excuse that they can not afford college, you most likely qualify for financial aid and grants. My junior college offered a BOG waiver, which actually waived my tuition, if I maintained good grades, and went to school full time. This was fine by me, because I was trying to get out of there as fast as I could, and financial aid provided me with 4-7k every semester. It was crazy, but who doesn’t love free money.

Getting out of high school, I had pretty much given up on my grades, I did not apply for college, I did not take my SAT, I did not even attend graduation. I was a flaming hot mess. I took two years gathered myself, and took my placement tests for my JC. I unfortunately had to take math and Spanish again, which was not fun. Two years off apparently makes you stupid. I signed up for 16 units, and I never looked back. I even took summer classes every year… 8-12  units each summer.

 I started off pursuing marketing, and business, and I later switched to political science and philosophy.  I was entertaining the idea of law school. I always had this go big or go home mentality, which seems to backfire occasionally, because political science and philosophy isn’t what jobs are looking for outside of college. They are, however, great for law school. #Ooops. 

It took two years to obtain the 60 units I needed to transfer, and I applied to UC Davis, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Cal Poly, and San Jose State. I know I sound like an overachiever I apologize. I’d like to believe it was my overly personal, personal essay that got me into Berkeley and LA, but i’m sure the 3.9 GPA I somehow managed helped wonders. I applied to colleges I would have never been able to attend outside of high school. And I did it in exactly 2 years, because when your you want something you get it done.

This is where people screw up, you have to just knock it out of the way and understand that the money comes later. I put in minimum effort for my classes, and still managed to pull off straight A’s. You have to be actively trying to fail the classes at JC, to do poorly. If you attend you should succeed, office hours definitely make the difference between As and Bs. Do not be afraid to get to know your professors at JC, I know my professors would practically beg for students to come to office hours. 

 I narrowed  down my options to UC Davis, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, because those were the three, who had offered me full rides. Yes 25k -30k of financial aid and scholarships. No I did not apply for any of them, I just applied for my FAFSA, and the rest was apparently done for me. I get that not everyone will get this same luxury, and a lot of people have to go through hoops to get scholarships, and grants, but just know they are there for you, and you need only apply. Make sure you fill out your FAFSA every year, because most people do qualify for a pell grant. Most of the people I came across in college were in the same boat as me, and had free rides as well. The grants and scholarships typically require you to maintain a high GPA, and attend school full time, for those of you considering attending part time. 

I almost finished Berkeley a whole semester early, but I decided to change my major to Political Science after my first year. I still graduated at the same time, and even before some people, who had started college years before me. Now that I have graduated a lot of people have asked me how on earth did I get into Berkeley (which means they probably thought I was dumb), and what did I write for my personal essay?

First of all, I was so embarrassed by my personal essay, that I had anxiety for months, thinking maybe I shouldn’t have wrote what I wrote. Thinking it was too personal.  My personality oozed off the page as it does with all my writing. I deleted every copy of it… But I guess it couldn’t have been that bad, because I didn’t scare any of the UC’s off.

However, I remember the gist of what I wrote, which was basically my story and my journey. The real thing I’m sure those UC’s ate up was my concluding statement. I had said that I am the first in my family to attend college, and I am the second oldest out of seven kids. None of which, think college is an option for them, all of which are in dire need of a role model, and that is what I aspire to be for them. 

I learned that in your personal statement for college, while you are limited on words, it is good to be personal, and not to write what you think they want to hear, because they are interested in you as a person, and not what they can already see about you on paper, given your transcripts. For many years of my life I thought that college was off the table for me, and it was amazing to see what I was capable of, and I’m sure everyone is capable of it if they allow themselves to get into the right mindset. You have to want it. 

Steps to get into your dream college- (in a nutshell). 

  1. Take Junior College Seriously
  2. Get good grades
  3. Figure out what you need to transfer for your major on assist.org 
  4. Complete all prerequisites
  5. Utilize the Transfer Admissions Guarantee (TAG) program for a college you want to get into (Mine was UC Davis)
  6. Apply for other colleges that are not on the TAG program, because not all UC’s or state schools are on it. 
  7. Write a killer personal essay, with emphasis on the personal part! -You are unique so stand out. 🙂
  8. Don’t be lazy- get into a good college then slack off. Kidding. Kinda. 

Taking on Thanksgiving: A Full Proof Way To Maximize Family Bonding

Where did 2019 go? I cannot believe Thanksgiving is days away. I hope all the singles out there have found someone impressive on Hinge, to bring to their thanksgiving feast. Don’t worry, they probably wont be there next year, according to my experience… but at least you can avoid the lingering family judgement on why you are still single.

The holidays are such a fun time, because it brings the family together, well forces the family to get together. It is also the best excuse to drink, and holiday drinks are delicious. Apple Cider Sangria anyone? The holidays can be stressful, because if you are anything like me, then you have to make an appearance at multiple households. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to the  realization, that pleasing everyone is impossible, therefore, we should all just stop stressing about making the holidays perfect. 

This year I have decided to host Thanksgiving on my mothers side. So that they are on my terms, and I control the narrative. That is not to say I will be miserable doing all the work in the kitchen, but I will be the head chef of all my minions. I rudely took over Thanksgiving this year, because most of my mothers family does not cook. I honestly do not know, how they survived all these years before I took up cooking as a hobby.

Last year, they ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Save Mart, all of the food was grey and no one ate it. There wasn’t even enough alcohol in the house, to save us. This year my mother said she was making Italian food… I do not know what holiday she thinks this is, but we can eat spaghetti any day of the week. I had to tell her NO, we are not boiling water for Thanksgiving. I had no choice but to take over, so that no one was forced to starve or die from food poisoning.  

I started off this years Thanksgiving preparation, by making a punch bowl invitation. I invited everyone and their friends, and I sent out a google doc with the menu, as well as a sign up sheet for deserts and drinks. Now here’s the thing…I do not plan on being overwhelmed making turkeys and what not all day, so here is how you kick Thanksgiving off for maximum family bonding time. 

Step 1: Send out invitations

Step 2: Make a menu

Step 3: Make a grocery list, and go grocery shopping in advance for all the items you need. 

Step 4: Buy wine, lots of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages

Step 5: get everyone matching aprons so you can be cute

Step 6: Organize the shit out of Thanksgiving-prep the night before

Step 7: Drink wine while cooking

Step 8: Have fun games handy for everyone to play(white elephant, pictionary, what do you meme, cards against humanity)

Step 9: Print out a quiz for everyone, that tests their Turkey Day knowledge and provide a prize. 

Step 10: Ask everyone to bring a white elephant gift

Step 11: Don’t forget your Thanksgiving playlist. Music makes life better.

Okay. When I say organize the shit out of Thanksgiving I mean make a menu, print out the recipes, and set up stations in your kitchen and delegate the tasks to different people. See I delegate my tasks based on age, and competence. I have my sister in law making pies, I have my brother making the side dishes, I have my younger sister setting timers, I have my other brother doing prep work. And I am the finishing touches on all the items/ head chef. I also make the big dishes, like the turkey, ham, and roast.

This may sound anal, which it is, but I am making the kitchen my bitch this year. It will be a learning experience for everyone, and they will all feel a sense of accomplishment. Only after hours of me telling them that they are doing everything wrong. It will be great! But no one will be slaving in the kitchen by themselves this year to put out a feast for the ungrateful masses. We will be playing games, drinking, singing, all while attempting to not chop our fingers off together.

And that my friends is how you take on Thanksgiving for maximum bonding time, and minimal stress. Delegate and do not procrastinate! Enjoy and Relax. Maybe have a first aid kit ready, it’s always good to be prepared. 

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving!