Thanksgivings From My Childhood

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Homemade sweaters and toy shotguns. My Nebraska childhood in a nutshell.
Thanksgiving circa 1989.
It was always the table leaves that pissed me off first.

Something about the task of having to go down to the creepy basement, sneak around the hundreds of land mines in my mom's "holiday storage room," and dig out those long pieces of wood so we could extend the dining table two additional seats, just annoyed the shit out of me.

"I'll eat on my lap, I don't need to sit at the table," my laziness would offer, but would always immediately get rejected.

Bringing up the wood planks was almost as bad as bringing up the "fancy folding chairs."

"Did you get the leaves yet?" My mom would ask, already knowing the answer.

"I have to finish the turkey cookies first," I'd bark back, a classic stall tactic.

In truth, the turkey cookies were a far cry from a chore, but more like the best activity ever. There was something so enjoyable about slapping a mini reeses and some candy corn on a fudge striped Keebler cookie. And those Keebler cookies were a delicacy in themselves, they only made their appearance around the Wolfe home once a year- Thanksgiving, naturally.

"Leaves now, because then you have to set the table," my mom demanded.

Oh hells no. I was about to come back with a rebuttal but then she added, "with the nice china." And I knew.

I knew without even looking at her to see that twinkle in her eye that it had officially begun. My mom was in holiday mode.

It made sense, right? It was the night before Thanksgiving at 10 p.m. and she was sewing together a new table cloth whilst also hot-glueing together pinecones and twigs to be made into "name cards" for each plate setting, just in case our relatives weren't quite sure where to sit.

And yet every year the return of Holiday Mom surprised me.

I wouldn't be able to finish my cookies, or the Schweddy Balls SNL sketch I was gleefully watching while doing my "work." Nope, I had just been given a task even worse than bringing up the fancy folding chairs; I had to set the table with the NICE CHINA.

I never understood the point of "nice china." It was used but twice a year, on people we saw but twice a year? If it was that nice, why not use it daily, with the people you saw daily?

And let's not forget the nice forks and spoons- the aristocrats of my mom's silverware, if you will. They were too good to be kept with the other silverware, instead they were kept in a weird velvet lined briefcase holder, stored in my mom's hutch. The hutch that was home to my mom's sad looking judgmental figurines; also known as the Precious Moments collection. Also known as that precious moment I'd hastily pull on the hutch door too hard (which was always stuck shut) and break a figurine or two, usually the sad girl holding the sad lambs.

But I digress.

I think what made me so upset about setting the table was the fact that it didn't matter how well I did it, if I put the fork in the right spot (I MEAN LEFT), or folded the napkin correctly (a wadded up ball is more festive) because no matter what, Holiday Mom would always reset it.

Holiday Mom says she wants help, but does she? Does she, really?

With the table leaves and folding chairs, yes. But everything else? I'm not so sure. Sure, she wants you to offer help, but that's about it. Because Holiday Mom has a holiday vision. A very clear holiday vision. And no one must get in the way of that, because Thanksgiving is only the start of it.

It's the opener for Christmas. And if the opener goes well, God only knows what the final act could bring! Perhaps the best Christmas ever? A write-up in "Best Holiday Mom of the Year" magazine? The possibilities were endless.

But if it doesn't go well.... actually, let's not even go there. Because my mom, the ultimate Holiday Mom, pulled off Thanksgiving every single year when I was a kid without a hitch. Who needs sleep when you can stay up until 4:00 a.m. making a centerpiece out of figs, pearls, and determination? Forgot to defrost the turkey? Doesn't matter, one look from Holiday Mom and that turkey will defrost itself in no time.

Mashed potatoes? Done, not a clump to be found.
Stuffing? So good even someone like me who doesn't eat stuffing might take a bite.
Cheesy biscuits? In the oven.
Cranberry relish? Well no, but only because my dad probably forgot to buy the cranberries. He forgets them every year. Literally, every single year.

All that to say, the holidays are officially one week away, friends! And with that, so are the Holiday Moms. God bless them for making the holidays as good (and just little scary) as they've ever been.

*This post was approved by my mom before publishing. I'm not an idiot.*

I Decorated Early For Christmas And This Is How I Feel About It

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I typically try to stay away from controversial posts, however today I can't help myself. I'm about to tackle a subject that seems to have a lot of people completely divided.

So here it is.

On Sunday, November 12th,  nearly two weeks before Thanksgiving, I decorated my house for Christmas. And I don't care what you think (MOM) I'm feeling pretty okay about it!

I can only assume you're probably thinking one of three things right now:

1. "TOO EARLY. You can't have Thanksgiving with Christmas up!"
2. "I love it! I decorated too!"
3. "I couldn't care less, please get a life."

As for person number three, just know that I would if I could! Trust me, I've tried.

As for person number two, I KNOW, RIGHT? It feels good!

And for person number one... well let me explain myself.

This is the earliest I have ever decorated before. I've always been a "not until after Thanksgiving kinda gal." But this year we're having a holiday party this weekend and we wanted it to look extra festive, then we're out of town the following weekend, and the next weekend it's already December, so it just made sense.

And so last Sunday while Chris was out running errands, I tip-toed down to the scary basement of our building like the scary little elf that I am, found our ten foot tall tree buried in the corner, strapped in on my back, and hauled that shit up four flights of stairs.

I have a surprising amount of strength when it comes to home decor.

Chris finds it "humorous" I'll leave a UPS box downstairs for him to bring up that might weigh five pounds, yet I managed to carry our oddly proportioned, hard to grab, Christmas tree all by myself.

Mind over matter.

Once I got the tree inside our condo, I blasted the Christmas music, burnt the cinnamon candles,  and decorated with complete ease and zero lack of urgency and it felt wonderful.

*sidenote: the fact I ever feel "urgency," to put up stockings or garland around my home is quite silly, I'm aware. But it's a trait my mom passed on that I just can't seem to shake.

I took a stupid amount of time putting up each ornament, getting all misty-eyed at my favorite "Harlow's First Christmas," paw print, and his second Christmas photo, and his third, and fourth, ext ext.  (Just kidding that would be weird.) We all know I'm not kidding...

I just felt like I had so much more time to enjoy the process. But keep in mind I pretty much only decorate one room, so it's not like this an all-day kinda thing. It's more like a four hour kinda thing.

Long story short, I like having our tree up this early. I feel like I get two additional weeks to be a sentimental weirdo like I am, where I just like to sit in the glow of our lights at night and let that warm holiday feeling wash over me. If decorating early brings me just a little more joy, why wouldn't I embrace it?

So no, I don't really care if the calendar says I'm jumping the gun by two weeks. And let's not forget what an odd tradition all of this is anyway- everyone bringing in a tree from the outside (or buying a fake one at Lowes) and then decorating it with a bunch of random stuff and then displaying it in our front window to "show off" to all of our neighbors as if we're the first to do such a thing. (Yes, I can be sentimental whilst also being very self aware.)

All that said, here's a photo of my hutch "all decorated."  I really went for it, can you tell?

And the table is a work in progress. I shouldn't share this messy photo, but I'm going to anyway! #risktaker

Use the code DAILYTAY15 to get 15% off your entire order at CompassModern (where we got our table!)

All that said, which type of person are you when it comes to holiday decor? Early? Late? Or not at all?

PS- I'm hosting a ten hour FLASH SALE on my site. Take 20% off your ENTIRE ORDER- but only until 11 p.m. tonight! Stock up on those holiday goodies!

My Favorite Holiday Hair-Do!

Friday, November 10, 2017

With the holidays right around the corner, I figured there's no time like today to talk about what else, but my favorite holiday hair-style!

Naturally, I mean tying your hair "in rags" to achieve that perfect "holiday curl." Who needs boring old curling irons or foam curlers when you can just cut up an old pillow case or t-shirt and tie it in your hair?

And by "holiday curl" I mean an odd frizzy puff that has an eerily similar look to a wig you might find in a high school theater prop box that hasn't been combed out since the 1979 production of Grease!

Personally, I'm a BIG fan of this look. I rocked it every single holiday from 1989-1998. However, I will admit it's not the easiest to achieve. But follow my steps below, and you might get close!

1. Must dress in a Jazzercize t-shirt at least thirteen sizes too big, OR, a very chic teddy bear sweater WITH a turtleneck underneath, prior to tying hair in rags. This is a must.

2. As mentioned above, the "rags" can be made by cutting up an old t-shirt, (just NOT the jazzercise one!) or an old pillow case, sheets, a dusting cloth, really anything works. The name of this hairstyle is literally "rags," so let's not get too picky here.

3. Cut the rags an inch to fifty-five inches apart, depending on if you're me or my sister doing the cutting. I suggest doing this whilst watching Troop Beverly Hills, Death Becomes Her, or The House Sitter.

4. After rags are cut and ready to go, take a break to eat homemade popcorn from a large metal bowl.

5. When it's time to "tie in the rags," first promise your mom you won't throw a huge fit like you do every Christmas because you have a very sensitive scalp and it hurts when she pulls!

6.  Immediately throw an insanely huge fit once first hair is pulled too hard.

7. Calm down a bit as sister sits quietly while mom ties in sister's rags because sister is the nice one.

8. Go find a red and green sprinkled Little Debbie zebra cake to munch on while tears dry on face.

9. Return to living room and say you're ready to start again.

10. Post cry-hiccup while mom proceeds to start the tying/knotting process again to ensure she remembers just how much she scarred you only 20 minutes previous.

11. Forget about pain for a moment because it's your favorite scene in Troop Beverly Hills when they're all dancing and singing, "it's cookie time! it's cookie time!"

12. Immediately resume sad face once scene ends so you don't blow your cover of how much this hurts your head.

13. Let mom finish, but still occasionally scream "OUCH!" right up until the very end. She must never forget.

14. Take a photo in front of Christmas tree to make sure you always remember this wonderful moment (eyes still very glossy from tears shed.)

15. Sleep like garbage because there's 100 pieces of old t-shirt (also known as actual garbage) knotted up all over you head.

16.  Wake up the next morning, take out the rags, and relish in your beautiful Curly Sue hair! Then slap that shit with a bucket of hair spray (go heavy on the curly bangs) and put on your crushed velvet/gold lace holiday dress and smirk for a pic like the badass 90s bitch you are.

It was all worth it. It always was.

An Invite To My First Pop-Up!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My very first POP-UP is just around the corner and I am so excited! And also very nervous. But mostly EXCITED!

Going from strictly online, to in-person sales scares the hell out of me, but if there's one thing I love... it's a holiday party. And that's the goal for this pop-up. LET'S GET FESTIVE! So we're going to have drinks and treats and freebies and discounts! (This is me persuading you to come because I have that "what if no one comes to my birthday party," fear going on just a little.)

So please come to my birthday party!

It's all going down Tuesday, November 21st from 6-9 p.m. at the very cool space known as the STUDIO LNK, located at 2124 Y Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.

That pretty little STAY MERRY sweatshirt you see above is just a sneak peek of my new holiday line. There's a lot more coming... I've definitely put more time and work into this collection than any other, so I'm very very excited to finally reveal it!

And because I don't want you to be lost in a sea of tees and sweatshirts, I've also asked a few of my favorite Lincoln boutiques to bring in some additional pieces as well.... it's going to be a one stop shop for all of your holiday needs, friends!

Stella Collective will be joining, an absolutely gorgeous boutique located downtown (and online!) Check them out! I find something every single time I go in there. I suggest you start with this midi skirt. And we all know how much I love their wide leg pants (how perfect would these be for the holidays?!)

Another favorite of mine, Paper Kite, will be sharing some of their home decor and paper goods! They have the most beautiful and unique gifts, and their baby selection is out of this world. Omaha friends, make sure to check out their balloon bar!

And I can't rave enough about Sapahn! Talk about an incredible company that gives back, Sapahn was created in April 2010 and currently partners with nine artisan communities throughout Thailand, empowering nearly 500 artisans, check out their story here. And you can browse all of their beautiful bags here.

Finally, what would a holiday party be without decadent treats? The very best bakery in Lincoln, The Rabbit Hole, will be serving an array of their awesome treats Tuesday evening. This is my dad's personal favorite in Lincoln, last Saturday he came out of there with eight pieces of carrot cake... because why not?  Lincoln friends, if you haven't had their carrot cake, GO GET IT. It's insane.

I really admire all of the businesses I've invited to attend this pop-up, and most of all, the kick ass women who run them.

Lastly, none of this would be happening if not for the help of Chloe (she made this awesome invite!)

But more importantly, she was the one who said, "hey, you should do this." Even when I was like, "ah I don't know, new things are scary!" But Chloe wouldn't have it and she proceeded to hit the ground running and HERE WE ARE! We're doing it! A holiday pop-up!

Consider this your official invite, I really hope to see you there :)

*after party TBD.*

Click HERE for STAY MERRY sweatshirt and Let's Get Festive shirt!

The Ghost of Shingles Past

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"David, how ya doing?" an elderly woman asks as she walks in on an even older man (whom we assume is her husband) in immense pain, trying to get up.

"It just hurts so much," David says and then he gives up and goes back to bed.

"This is a typical day living with the shingles virus," the voiceover kicks in. And then it proceeds to tell all of us watching the daytime commercial that it's most common "in the elderly, as your immune system breaks down as you get older."

It's also common in 29 year olds who live in Chicago with their dog named, Harlow.

I don't usually watch daytime TV, but today's an exception as I've been struck with a terrible cold (or am still recovering from the 78 beers I drank over the weekend, still up for debate) so I've spent the day on my couch sipping Theraflu and watching bad TV, thus I saw the commercial that sent chills down my back. Or maybe that's just my nerve damage?! (That's an inside joke for all of my fellow Shingle survivors.)

So as we head into the holiday season, I'd like to take this moment to remind everyone to up their probiotics, or protein, or pro whatever the hell you take, because no one wants to be sick right now, and yet it always seems to happen. It got me last year right at this exact time. And if you've had chicken pox, then the virus is already in you, just waiting to come out at the worst possible time...

Which brings to me part two of of this post. What To Expect When You're Expecting The Shingles Virus!

Pain. Lots and lots of fiery pain.

When I was in the thick of it, I actually cried myself to sleep like a toddler one night. I know that sounds dramatic, and I knew it was dramatic even while it was happening, but I did it anyway because I felt like there was lava on my back and that seemed like an okay time to be dramatic to me.

And I'm going to toot my own horn here for a second and proclaim that I even consider myself to have a semi high pain tolerance. I lived with H1N1 for so long that one day I actually fainted before seeing a doctor. I had a tumor in my toe I played basketball on day in and day out until my foot blew up to the size of whiffle ball bat before thinking, hey maybe something is up? And I had shingles for about two weeks before going to urgent care.

So like I said, I'm kind of a dip-shit when it comes to health sometimes.

Initially, I thought my back was on fire because it was "just a skin rash." Maybe I was using weird detergent? Or perhaps it was a pesky spider getting me at night? Or... a reaction to strawberries? I made up 1000 excuses until the virus took a turn and I became physically ill- think flu symptoms x ten when my doctor friends urged me to go see "a real doctor." (Not just google.)

The commercials featuring the elderly show the most gnarly looking rashes, that span their entire body. But I was lucky (if you want to call it that) and my rash never got bigger than a golf ball, and was only on my lower back. It basically covered that lower back tattoo I never like to talk to about- which yes, I'll admit was a part of my dilemma as well.

1. Do I go to a doctor and suffer through the shame when I inevitably have to reveal that I have a tattoo on my lower back from when I was 16 in Vegas?

2. Or do I live in severe pain for another two weeks and just hope it goes away? (The shingles and the tat.)

After my doctor-friend told me that leaving shingles untreated can cause permanent damage, I decided it was time to go.

The doctor confirmed it was in fact shingles and she also told me that they'd seen an increase in young people with the virus as of late, as well as increase of young people with my similar tat. Coincidence? You tell me.

Anyway, the "treatment" was antibiotics, but since I had probably lived with the virus for 2-3 weeks it was unlikely the antibiotics would even work. So instead I was given fire cream (capsaicin cream) and as it turns out, by rubbing something on your skin that burns, it takes away the itch!

And this is the time in the post when I realize that perhaps I did take one too many cold pills and I'm wondering why I've just spent the last hour writing about when I had shingles. Just trying to educate you, I suppose! DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU.
*Get the shot, however I guess even that doesn't work, so we're all screwed.*

Long story short, once you've had shingles it's more likely to come back. (Usually when you're sick or under a lot of stress.) Like when you run a retail business and Black Friday is coming. But the most fun part in my opinion, is the longterm nerve damage! Out of nowhere, it will suddenly feel like I've been stung by a bee, or pricked with a needle on my lower back, and I'll shoot straight up, just like the hairs on my arms and think to myself, oh shingles!

It keeps me on my feet, I'll tell ya that much.

Hope you enjoyed this. I'm going back to bed.
Oh my gosh I am David.  !!!!! 

Lots of Sales, Lots of Possible Holiday Gifts...

Monday, November 6, 2017

And now for a list of some killer sales. Why? Because it's 11:00 p.m. and I'm not tired. So more like WHY NOT? Everything, I repeat, EVERYTHING listed below is on sale right now. However if you're reading this in like a month that may not be true. But for now, at 11:00 p.m. it is true.
*update: since publishing this last night, I've learned that a few of these items are no longer on sale, my apologies. I tried.*

I hope you like some of my top picks, but if you don't that's okay too, just come back tomorrow for something Harlow, or holiday, or who-knows-what-else related?

LET'S GET STARTED. (Click any image to be taken to the site.)

Basic long sleeve tees.

Sweaters! Omg! Both 30% off- the cable zip up is only $39 right now! And the other one has MOOSE on it!

More cardigans... The black one is $29 (and also comes in grey!)

Beanies and scarves.

Peacoats and puffers.

Pjs and Joggers.

BOOTIES! These petty booties will not let you down.

Joes and AG's - two of my very favorite brands of jeans. They're pricey, so I always wait for a sale like this to buy them.

And there you have it. Now I'm officially tired and ready to call it a day. SEE YOU LATER!

Seven Way To Have Festive Fun In Chicago This Holiday Season

The minute November rolls around I've got holidays on the mind. I want to do all the festive things, all the time.

Christmas movies? Bring them out. Holiday radio station? Turn it on. Apple cinnamon candles? Get them burning! The season is fleeting, you guys! We must take it all in!

If you have a trip planned to Chicago for December, you are in luck! It's one of my favorite times in the city. (Second only to summer.) Fall is a close third. And if you don't have a trip planned, book one now! There is so much to see and do to get you in the festive spirit.

Simply writing this post is getting me so excited already. Let's start with some of my favs that will surely get everyone in the spirit, whether you're visiting for a weekend, or have lived here for years:

1. Zoo Lights!
Located in Lincoln Park and it's FREE. Although I'd bring some cash for mulled wine, but that's just me!

2. Check out the Christkindlmarket.
Located downtown in the Daley plaza starting November 17th, it's a good old fashioned German holiday market. Get the mulled wine in a tiny boot because it's just fun. I also like the warm nuts and potato pancakes.

3. Ice skating in Millenium Park.
We do this every year and it's a blast.

4. Lunch under the tree in the Walnut Room at Macy's!
But don't come too hungry, the wait is usually pretty long!

5. Champagne at the Drake on Michigan Avenue.
Because it's fun to feel fancy when you're all dolled up for a night out in Chicago.

6. Catch a holiday show downtown in the theater district.
Check out the list of shows here. 

And finally,  #7 is get that Christmas shopping done!

I started a little bit early (for myself) because I've been wanting a fun new rose gold ring for the holidays. I love rose gold year-round, but I'm especially partial to it during the holidays. I just think it adds a nice touch of festive flare!

When I saw this Designer Fashion ring at Michael Hill Jewelers, a favorite local jewelry store here in Chicago, I was all about it. I knew it would look great with daytime outfits right now, and also with a sassy holiday dress at night when December rolls around. And this is the first pear shaped ring I own, so it's been fun to add a little versatility to my everyday jewelry.

If you're unfamiliar with Michael Hill Jewelers, it's a New Zealand-based company that brought it's speciality jewelry to the U.S. ten years ago.  Founded by Sir Michael Hill, they now have several locations located in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. The best part? They have a wide variety of price points!

They're one of the few jewelry retailers to have an in-house master craftsmen. So it makes sense they have an awesome selection of wedding/engagement pieces, watches, and collection pieces. (Not a bad place to start your holiday shopping- they even have a wide selection of pieces under $100 for those shopping on a budget!) If you're coming to Chicago, make sure to check out one of their locations- start by clicking here.

This post was sponsored by Michael Hill Jewelers, but all opinions are my own!

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