Happiness is in the Harvest – Fall Fun for Friends

Happiness is in the Harvest – Fall Fun for Friends

autumn friendship quoteAutumn is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of sauerkraut. Finely cut cabbage fermented by various lactic acid bacteria is one step away from eating Kale (for you Dana!) – it hardly seems to me to be something to bring about happiness; much less something an entire town and its inhabitants would plan a fall festival around. But each fall, Waynesville, Ohio does exactly that, drawing thousands upon thousands of people – including me – to a weekend celebrating sauerkraut in all its glory.

The days are getting shorter, cooler, summer is on the wane and autumn is fast approaching. You can feel it. So it’s time to celebrate the harvest in a thousand different ways in a thousand different small towns – it is the happiness brought about at harvest festival time.

Whether it’s the Apple Festival in La Crescent, Minnesota, the Pumpkin Fest in Crest Hill, Illinois, or the Sussex County Harvest, Honey and Garlic Festival in Augusta, New Jersey, celebrating the prosperity, joy and happiness of the harvest has been a part of the human experience since time began.

Fall festivals are a reminder that there are fruits born of our labor, and that the labor isn’t always easy, but worth it in the end. I personally use the occasions to spend some time with my girlfriends. I’m thankful for the growth and harvest of real friendship. A festival is a great place to catch up on life, browse the arts and crafts, sample some unique food offerings, people watch, and do a great deal of smiling and laughing. Festivals make me happy.

Fall festival season has begun girlfriends, and continues through Thanksgiving, so do a little looking to find a few fall festivals in your area that would be a great way to spend a day with your girlfriends. Then make it a date!

And if you get to the Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival, make sure to try the sauerkraut pie! Seriously.

For more FALL INSPIRATION:

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Happy Birthday Girlfriend!!!

Happy Birthday Girlfriend!!!

Happy Birthday from Girlfriendology, celebrating girlfriends and their birthdays

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIRLFRIEND!

Today – all day – is YOUR DAY. Today your friends and family celebrate YOU and the difference you make in their lives every day. This day is a day to look back at the previous year and look forward to the days and dreams to come in the new year.

Take a moment to reflect on the previous year – all your accomplishments, memories with friends and family, all the lessons you’ve learned. Breathe in and out. Today is YOUR DAY! Be grateful for the people who make your life special, for your home and health, for your unique style and the difference you make in the world. 

To help you celebrate, we’ve created some birthday quotes just for YOU. Post them on your social media, share them with a friend on her birthday, or just enjoy knowing that your girlfriends – whether they’re near or far away, love and care about YOU. 

 

Happy Birthday! Enjoy these Birthday Quotes just for YOU!

Birthday Paris hilton quote

The way I see it, you should live everyday like its your birthday.
Paris Hilton

wrinkles birthday quote

We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.
Lauren Hutton

 

Skillet birthday quote erma bombeck

A FRIEND never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.Erma Bombeck

(We hope you don’t get a skillet for your birthday, unless you REALLY want a skillet for your birthday!)

Life in your years lincoln quote

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln

celebrate birthday wine quote

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
Plautus

Lucille_Ball quote secret to staying young

The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. Lucille Ball

Diplomat birthday quote

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. Robert Frost

age cheese quote

AND AN IMPORTANT ONE …

Age is not important unless you’re a cheese. ~ Helen Hayes

Birthday-Chocolate-Cake-best-birthdays-quote

The best birthdays of all are those that have not arrived yet. ~ Robert Orben

NOTE: The yummy Chocolate Cake photo is borrowed (with permission) from our friends at WannaBite.com. Check out their ‘Mostly Clean Chocolate Cake.’ (Wouldn’t that make a fabulous birthday cake?!) 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Girlfriendology!

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10 Girlfriend Traditions You Can Start Today – You’ll be Glad You Did!

10 Girlfriend Traditions You Can Start Today – You’ll be Glad You Did!

Girlfriend traditions, female friendshipHow often do you see your girlfriends? Not enough?! You need some Girlfriend Traditions!

The best way to remedy that is to start some girlfriend traditions (or several!) of getting your favorite female friends together on a regular basis so you stay in touch, make memories and have an excuse to laugh and share with your girlfriends!

We’ve got 10 Girlfriend Traditions you can start today!

(and welcome you to share more in the comments!) What girlfriend traditions do you have?

1. Book Club – For book (and/or wine) lovers! Our book club happens to be ‘no stress’ meaning “reading the book is optional, having fun with your girlfriends is not!” Get the girls (neighbors, friends, soccer moms, women from church) together and start a book club. (Here’s a great appetizer to take to book club!)

2. Dinner Club – Admit it, we all love to eat and drink together! Girlfriends, dinner, wine and just time together are all the ingredients for a great dinner club. Plan a theme, let everyone know what to bring (or make it all yourself), just set aside a night every month (or so) to break bread with your BFFs.

3. Birthday Club – My friend Carole has an awesome ‘Diva Group‘ (lower picture above). They celebrate their birthdays together. On birthdays ending in an ‘O’, they make it a HUGE celebration. The birthday ‘girl’ receives the number of gifts as is her birthday. Make your own birthday celebration tradition with your girlfriends. Just celebrate the day and the gift of their friendship.

4. Seasonal Shopping Fashion Friends – Which girlfriends are your source of fashion feedback and the girls with all the coolest clothes? Start a fashion friends tradition where you meet for lunch and look at fashion trend magazines. Then scout through the stores for the best deals on the latest fashions. Shopping is much more fun with friends!

5. Swap PartyLove her sense of style? Does she always recommend the best books? Have an annual or quarterly Swap party where you exchange books, fashion accessories, home decor elements – whatever works for your girlfriends. Just bring things together and trade them. It’s almost like shopping but without spending!

6. Volunteer TogetherBe a friend to your city and spend time with your girlfriends by volunteering together. Pet cats at a rescue center. Do construction on homes for Habitat Humanity. Make a family in need’s holidays happier. Whatever you decide to do to volunteer, it’s even better together!

7. Sending Thoughtful Cards – I love to get a sweet card from a girlfriend, don’t you? Why not be the one sending the cards and spreading the happiness? Make your tradition to send a card to your girlfriends on their birthdays and those in-between ‘just because days.’ You’ll make their days, guaranteed!

8. Chick Flick Club – Post the sign ‘No Boys Allowed!’ and invite the girls over for popcorn, snacks, and your favorite chick flick. Or, meet the girls at a theater and watched the latest fun film. Make it a monthly tradition or every time a good chick flick is released. Everyone can be the best supporting girlfriends! (Here’s our list of the top 100 Chick Flicks! And here’s more on having a great movie night with girlfriends!)

9. Brunch Bunch – At your favorite restaurant or trying a new place to dine every month, set a schedule of doing brunch with your fave BFFs. Get the coffee going along with the great stories and laughter! (Not up for brunch, plan a monthly lunch. Just find a good time for all the girls to get together!) (Here’s 5 Girlfriend Brunch Ideas!)

10. Girlfriend Get-aways – Maybe it’s an annual camping trip like my friend Anitra and her friends take, or a weekend away every fall to the outlet malls (like Colleen and friends do), or maybe it’s a little more luxurious or exotic. The destination is secondary. What’s important is that you get away with your girlfriends and enjoy time together. Make memories, take photos, laugh, enjoy. Life is too short not to plan a girlfriend trip!

10. Find time for a Friend – Whatever the tradition, set a schedule of finding time for your friends. Make it and them a priority. Wine time on the porch, coffee on the deck, dinner at a new restaurant or just walking together, find time for your friends. You’ll be so glad you did![Tweet “10 Girlfriend Traditions you should (& can!) start TODAY!”]

BONUS GIRLFRIEND TRADITIONS:

  • Holiday Traditions – from gift exchange to holiday concerts, girlfriends make the holidays even better!

 

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Month of Friendship, Day 24: Surprise your BFF

Month of Friendship, Day 24: Surprise your BFF

Surprise your girlfriendsWhen was the last time you surprised a friend, or she surprised you? Love a good surprise? I bet she does!

Was it a ‘big’ birthday or graduation? Was it a girlfriend gift you found that made you think of her? Was it a surprise visit when she had no idea you were nearby? It’s the “peek-a-boo” syndrome – generally, we love being surprised, when it’s a good surprise!

Or maybe we’re more like Oprah, who has said: “I love surprising people, I don’t like being surprised.” (But remember how her Producers LOVED to surprise her?!)

A Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.

Boris Pasternak

Today’s ‘girlfriend challenge,’ in this Month of Friendship, is to surprise a friend and make her feel as special as her friendship is to you. Here’s a few idea on ways to surprise a friend:

  • Friendship Jen Mindy girlfriend surprise

    “School of Thoughtfulness” – Mindy and Jen are the two fabulous friends featured in the photo. Mindy returned home from vacation late one night. On her doorstep, a cooler filled with ‘breakfast’ – food for the following morning. Knowing she wouldn’t have anything to eat, her BFF Jen filled a cooler with everything needed to wake up to a great breakfast on her first day back home. (As Mindy says, she “studies at Jen’s ‘School of Thoughtfulness'” in this previous Girlfriendology blog.)

  • Have a Surprise Party – Even if it’s not her birthday or an official day of celebration, throw her a party – like Jill’s friend did for her (aka: Happy Jill Day!). Any day is a great day to celebrate and surprise a friend, right? Show up where she’d least expect you. Invite other friends to join you. Make it all about her and making sure she knows how much her friendship means to you. (Here’s 9 Tips to planning a Great Surprise Party!)
  • Send a Surprise – Women love to receive flowers (like this bouquet of ‘friendship flowers‘), which can be an awesome surprise. Or get creative and send a box of helium balloons or a bunch of little gifts that you know she’ll love. Make your own gift basket filled with all her favorite items/products. Or send a card – or one every day for a month. Just let her know that you’d thinking of her.

And we had some amazing girlfriend surprises shared by our Facebook friends:

  • Cynthia Lee shared: One of my best friends just sent me a goodie package from Harry and David! She is the best!
  • Denise added: One of my friends sent me an email telling me to go outside and look under a bush near my driveway – she had left me a little garden statue that just spoke to my heart and left me smiling for days!
  • Paige offered: My dear friend in St. Lucia just sent me a monogrammed leather belt! We’ve never met in person, but I just love this girl!
  • Janelle broke our hearts with this story: I found out my friend was living in her car in another state (a week until her apt was ready) I canceled my vacation plans and sent her the money for a hotel. She tried to pay it back but I won’t take it. I’m glad I was able to help her. A gift of love is just that!
  • Janet shared: One of my best friends from high school just invited us to a villa in Cabo. Unfortunately, I can’t go because I have a convention that week, but I was so happy that she thought of us. Means a lot to me!
  • Janelle also offered: I would like to give special thanks to Deanna. I was in another state after back surgery and someone intentionally broke my cane, after seeing the trouble I was having trying to walk she gave me hers. We had just met.

Doesn’t that make you feel like surprising your BFF? What are you going to do for your best friend? Share and inspire!

Thanks for celebrating this MONTH OF FRIENDSHIP with us! Tomorrow … it’s cool to go to school with a girlfriend!

[Tweet “Surprise Your BFF 🙂 Be a Better Friend! Make her feel as special as her friendship is to you!”]

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Month of Friendship, Day 16: Get a Mani/Pedi Together

Month of Friendship, Day 16: Get a Mani/Pedi Together

Mani Pedi happiness friendshipYou can’t buy HAPPINESS but you can buy a Mani/Pedi and that’s kinda the same thing 🙂

Need a little girlfriend time? And maybe some pampering?

Spending time with our girlfriends is perhaps the most wonderful experience of female friendship. The way that we communicate and share is unique to our friendship. Sometimes we laugh, we share, cry, laugh some more or walk side-by-side in silence. Always we connect like no other relationship and feel all the benefits that female friendship provides.

We’re exploring lots of ways, during our Month of Friendship, to reconnect with old friends and build new friendships. Today’s girlfriend advice: get a mani/pedi together.

How is that building into friendships? Well, we girls generally like a little pampering, right? We also all love time with our friends. Combining the two is, well ,,, just ‘efficient’ – not to mention fun! It is the perfect opportunity to sit side-by-side, enjoy the experience and talk about all kinds of silly things like TV, People Magazine, kids and all the fab conversations we have when we’re just hanging with our friends.

We got a few tips from our girlfriends (and added some ourselves) for making this a perfect way to spend an hour or two together:

  • Jennifer shared this great girlfriend advice: “I bring my own polish for pedi’s. That way I know I’ll have a color I like and if I get a chip, I can easily fix it instead of running back for a whole new pedi.” (Thanks – love that one!)
  • @ShaynaBurns tweeted: “Salon with a friend! I don’t find idle chat with strangers relaxing, so it’s nice to haveFriendship Girlfriend Toes someone to talk to.” (I agree!)
  • Pick a slow day for the manicure and/or pedicure – often the rates may be lower on a Monday or Tuesday and it will be less crowded so you can definitely sit together and feel like you can take your time a little more.
  • Make it a Pedi Party – Schedule a salon for multiple manicure or pedicures and invite a bunch of your girlfriends. Many spas will let you bring in snacks and beverages. Make it a party or host a shower in a spa.
  • Give each other Manicures and Pedicures – You don’t have to go to a spa. You can save money and have your own snacks and music by doing the spa treatments at home. Buy some manicure/pedicure tools/kits (or dig some out of your own nail supplies), get your favorite polish, remover, soaking dishes, etc. and take turns pampering the other. (Here’s info on how to do your own manicure/pedicure.)

Just have fun with it and spend time with your girlfriends! Share your mani/pedi stories and advice too!We’ve got the rest of the month to keep celebrating International Women’s Friendship Month. Tomorrow … we’re going into the closet!

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Month of Friendship, Day 15: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Month of Friendship, Day 15: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Ways to practice random acts of kindnessWant to make a friend’s day? Practice Random Acts of Kindness!

AKA: Surprise her! Make her day! Make her feel special!

Call her when she doesn’t expect it, leave a note in her cube, send her a really sweet tweet. Just do something out of the ordinary to show her how much her friendship means to you.

Want to REALLY make her day? Practice random acts of kindness. Mow her lawn. Help her paint her house. Leave a gift certificate for a spa in her desk drawer. Bake her favorite Mac & Cheese (shared by Cathie – thanks!), do her laundry (thanks, Alison) or weed her garden (thanks, Joan!).

It’s a great exercise actually. To get in the habit of going out of our way for a friend, or even a stranger. It’s the stuff ‘pay it forward’ is based on … your kindness inspires your friend, she passes it along to someone else, who pays it forward, and so on. It’s how things are supposed to be, right? I care about you and I want to make your life better. To quote Diane Warwick and Friends: “That’s what friends are for.”

Well,  with a little research, I found out that it’s actually more than just making her life better and/or easier. Practicing kindness is beneficial to your health. Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, like:

  • Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
  • A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
  • Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
  • Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.

Practice Random acts of kindnessSo, today’s Month of Friendship ‘assignment’ is to practice random acts of kindness toward a friend(s).

Do something kind and unexpected. Challenge yourself to carefully and thoughtfully identify a need or want that would make her happy. Be the kind of friend you’d love to have.

And, then experience the ‘euphoria’ of kindness. Feel the benefits yourself of being generous, considerate, a friend. Be a better friend, because life really is better together.

Share your random act of kindness story – what did you do for a friend? How did it make you feel? How did she respond?

How’s your Month of Friendship going? Ready for tomorrow? Your toes will appreciate it! (Come back tomorrow for more Month of Friendship ideas!)

[Tweet “Surprise a friend with a Random Act of Kindness – here’s how 🙂 “]

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