“Autumn 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.
Best friends don’t necessarily have to talk every day. They don’t even need to talk for weeks. But when they do, it’s like they never stopped talking. ~Author Unknown
Do you and your Bestie have your own language? Do you and your BFF have funny ways of communicating that only you two ‘get?’ Does your Best Friend speak your language?
Girlfriend Crystal Collins and her BFF Monique not only have their own dialect, but they even have their own #hashtag! #MoCris And their own awesome girlfriend YouTube channel (hilarious!). Watch below for their fun friendship video and see if you and your Bestie share these …
24 things only Best Friends Understand
1. You have conversations that are impossible for other people to understand…too many stories, and too many inside jokes.
2. You also have your own language. The random grunts and strange acronyms couldn’t even be deciphered by Harvard linguists.
3. It’s normal to look at each other and know what the other is thinking.
4. Finishing each other’s sentences is a normal thing.
5. Saying the same thing at the same time is also a normal thing.
6. People thinking that you and your girlfriend are crazy because you say the same thing at the same time is normal as well.
7. You totally get jealous of your BFF’s other friends.
8. She’s the only one that you can say “I’d help you bury the body” to, without getting “side eye.”
9. She’s the only one allowed to give you the side eye.
10. You frequently see other people acting crazy, and have a knowing look that happens between you two.
11. Your BFF’s crush is completely sacred and cannot be touched by anyone else.
12. You run point keeping others away from your BFF’s crush.
13. Your BFF’s crush is never good enough for her.
14. But you’d still do anything to see your BFF happy with her crush.
15. You’ll also ruthlessly tease her about her crush on a regular basis.
16. You two have your own theme song.
17. You bicker like sisters but eventually get over it with a slice of chocolate cake or wine. There’s usually wine.
18. When the two of you make a room of people laugh, your theme song plays in both of your heads. P.S. It’s usually something along the lines of “Girls, we run the world!”
19. You already have the nursing home picked out where you know you both will end up.
20. You already know that the two of you will be the life of the party at the nursing home.
21. You have stories that no one would believe, and declare constantly that you two should have your own reality show.
22. You’ll always have her back and defend her, even when you know she’s in the wrong.
23. You’re her biggest fan and will cheer her on louder than anyone else in the room.
24. You’d do anything for her because you love her unconditionally.
Be sure to check out more good stuff from Crystal Collins and her BFF on the Mocris Show.
[Tweet “24 things only Best Friends Understand – Do you & your BFF have your own language?”]
Is your girlfriend book club beginning to get a little stale?
Are you worried that it might not last through another bestseller? Then it’s time to take some steps towards making your women’s book club fun and something that your girlfriends look forward to each month.
“There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.” Irving Stone
I love my book club. We have so much fun eating, drinking and talking – that we sometimes ALMOST forget to talk about the book. Even though this girlfriend get-together is a blast, there are always opportunities to make it even more fun – right?! So, here are 7 Tips to Improve Book Club Night:
1. Branch Out – People make the mistake of sticking to books that are on the bestseller list. Branch out. Read classics. Read books written by independent authors. Read the book a friend has been raving about. Don’t limit your choices. More importantly, give everyone a chance to pick a book by alternating who picks each month or have everyone write down their choice and pick next month’s book from a hat.
2. Create a Themed Menu of Snacks and Drinks – People are more apt to have fun when there are drinks and snacks involved. Things are even more fun when you create snacks and drinks that revolve around the book’s theme. For example, if you’re reading a book set in Kentucky serve a bourbon-based cocktail and bourbon pecan pie. (For the book, The Help, one of my neighbors brought chocolate pie to Book Club! What a scream! For more ideas, read ‘Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons‘ by Lorna Landvik – very fun read about girlfriends in a book club.)
3. Watch the Movie – Another great tip is to choose book club books that have a movie and then watch the movie during the meeting or, if it is a current movie, go to the theatre together. You can then compare the two by discussing the actor choices, how close the movie stuck to the story line, etc.
4. Have Giveaways – Everyone loves giveaways and you don’t have to give away expensive stuff. It can be some cheap paperbacks you picked up at the local dollar store, bookmarks, $5 Amazon gift cards, etc. You could then give away items during the discussion or you could even have a contest on who brought the best snack to the meeting.
5. Swap Books – Chances are all the book club members read a lot of books each month. Why not do a book swap during the book club meeting each month? This is a great way for everyone to get more books to read without spending any money. (Note: my book club also does a magazine swap every Summer. We all get to try new magazines and take a summer vacation from reading a required book.)
6. Choose Fun Discussion Topics – Last, but not least, choose fun discussion topics. Talk about the sexy hero. Discuss who would make a great cast for a movie version. Talk about any loose ends and how you think the author should tie them up in the next book, etc. Just have fun with it and don’t stick to the discussion guide you found in the book or online. It should be fun, not an assignment.
7. Bring a New Friend Night – Our Fave, of course, is to make it a very social evening and invite other women to join you. They can choose to read the book or not, and may get out of bringing an appetizer or dessert (or whatever guidelines you have for eating at book club!). It’s just fun to meet new friends and to have new conversations with new women.
Your girlfriend book club doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many easy tricks you can use to make the meetings more fun. Whether it’s talking about the intriguing characters in the books or turning each meeting into a book swap, you can definitely improve your women’s book club.
Even if we might not let on, our milestone birthdays (birthdays ending in zero) are always the most highly anticipated, feared, sometimes dreaded – and quite often most fun and memorable birthdays in our lives. Fun and memorable because there’s one thing we can always count on – our girlfriends coming to our rescue on these important milestone birthdays, making the day a special one.
To accomplish that momentous memorable experience is no easy task. So whether you’re taking on the mission of planning something simply special for a friend’s zero birthday, or have one coming up yourself, here are: 6 fabulous fun ideas for you to consider.
6 Milestone Ideas to Celebrate Milestone Birthdays!
1. Paint your way out of that corner. Join your girlfriends in a “paint and sip” evening and brush your way into a great zero birthday frame of mind. Put together a painting party with a few of a bunch of your friends and go home with your very own masterpiece to mark the special birthday. You’ll paint and party with your girlfriends at bar or restaurant near you, inspired and instructed by a local artist who will take you through tricks and techniques in creating a work of art – a work that your girlfriends will share. Here’s some info – paintnite.
2. Take a birthday ride for a great life segue. A segue is defined as “making an uninterrupted transition,” kind of like the one you’d want between a something-nine year and a zero birthday. Why not experience that segue on a Segway? This amazing piece of balance technology transport has gained great popularity as an amazing group activity. If you’re in or near a major metropolitan area, chances are good that there are several different Segway tours available. Tour a lakefront or a downtown, it’s all about keeping a great balance in your life and sharing that two-wheeled experience with your girlfriends. Click to find a Segway Tour near you.
3. Do what the guys do! Those traditional bastions of “guys’ night out” aren’t just for the boys. Why not bust into the boys club and find out how much fun these guy get-togethers can be. Get the girls together and get your carnivore on at a local steak joint. We’re talking red meat and great wine and a la carte sides that you’ll definitely want to split. And don’t get lured into the “queen cut” filet – it’s your special day so go for that marvelously marbled rib eye or Big Apple-sized New York strip.
Or keep the boy’s night out idea a little close to home and have a classic poker party. Learn your girlfriends’ poker playing tells and twitches as you bluff your way into winning and find out how going all in can be a wonderful BFF bonding experience. Yes, play for money – (change) it brings out the best in the experience. In any event, it’s your day. Cigars are optional!
4. Create a Chick-Flick Sleepover. We’ve all got our favorite chick flicks, from romantic comedies to outright tear-jerkers. Kick the chick-flick experience up a notch and create a marvelous movie marathon that will run well into the night. Get together with your girlfriends ahead of time and pick out four or five of your all time favorites. DVDs, Netflix or movies-on-demand are all options. Be sure to plan some time between feature films for food and critical discussion. Take that discussion well into the night and cap things off with the girlfriend classic that never goes out of style: sleepover!
5. Create the magic of a Moveable Feast. A memorable meal is always a part of an amazing birthday experience. Celebrate your progress in lice with an all-play progressive dinner party! This event works well with a good-sized (15-20) group of girlfriends. First, pick a food theme: Mediterranean, comfort food, 50’s, movies. Get creative right from the start. Then pick the progressive meal locations, three works really well, with hors d’oeuvres first, followed by the main course at location two and of course, a selection of delectable desserts (including birthday cake!). Finally, divvy up the dishes so that everyone participates in the joy of cooking for your special day!
6. Countless Gifts. My girlfriend Carole does this with her ‘Diva Girls Group.’ Every milestone birthday by a Diva is celebrated with tiny gifts that equal her milestone age. Everything from little gifts of nail polish or candy, to fun girlfriend gifts like pictures of the group together or tickets to a concert to go together, the milestone birthday is celebrated with age-less friends in a wonderful, happy way!
Whatever chick-centric special event you chose to mark the moment, the important thing to remember is that planning a special, nay, a momentous occasion milestone birthday doesn’t happen overnight. I’m all for completely spontaneous girlfriend get-togethers but there are times, like milestone birthdays, when a little (or a lot) of preplanning makes for a smooth running, memorable and marvelous event that EVERYONE can enjoy.
What are your ideas or stories on celebrating a milestone birthday? Share and inspire other women!
Here’s some more birthday inspiration for a milestone birthday or one that ends in whatever number!
When I’m in front of an audience, I often ask, “How many of you are lonely?” As you might imagine, the inclusion of the dreaded L word means very few hands go up, though I do see a few heads nod. But when I ask, “Do you wish you had more deep and meaningful friendships?” nearly every hand rises.
Some would say only recluses and “loners” are truly lonely—and most people are neither. But to limit the classification of loneliness to only those whom professionals might consider chronically lonely (or even depressed) is like using the word “hungry” to describe only those dying of starvation with no access to food. Just because I’m not malnourished doesn’t mean that I don’t regularly feel hunger—and that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t need to respond to my hunger. Likewise with our loneliness: just because we aren’t extremely lonely doesn’t mean we don’t experience loneliness. We do, and we need to respond to it, because the reality is that many of us are far more disconnected from intimacy than we want to be.
When I ask my audiences to call out what comes to their minds when they hear the L word, common responses include: depressed, sad, isolated, and bitter. Given those replies, it’s no wonder we’re so afraid to concede to feeling lonely. To utter the word “lonely” might reveal that something is wrong with us, that no one likes us, that we have no friends.
We’re fine, we tell ourselves. We know people we could call. We talk to people everyday, sometimes all day long! Our friends really would be there for us if we needed them. In fact, we’re actually too busy to stay in touch more than we do now, right? We already feel guilty for not being better friends, parents, daughters, and partners.
Truthfully, we have so many responsibilities that we really don’t even have the time or energy to do much more than we’re already doing. In fact, if given the choice between a quiet night in the bathtub with a favorite magazine versus an evening of going out, we’d prefer that quiet night— so doesn’t that prove we’re not lonely? Put simply: we are so resistant to the possibility that we feel lonely we can talk ourselves out of any hint of the truth.
Indeed, many of us aren’t lonely because we don’t know people; we’re lonely because the vast majority of those relationships lack the depth and ease and intimacy that we crave. For many of us, it’s not that we need to meet new people, it’s that we need to know how to go deeper with the people we already know. We all seem to instinctively know the difference between having a social life versus feeling that our lives are supported.
If you resonate: you are not alone! When I was doing the research for my newest book Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness nearly 75% of us are reporting dissatisfaction with our friendships, a wish that they could be ever more meaningful. The most important thing is to recognize our desire for deeper friendships and realize that we can’t leave our relational needs to chance. To acknowledge our loneliness, however small it may or may not feel, is healthy and will motivate us to lean into greater friendship intimacy, or as I call it—Frientimacy!