Not-so-black Friday | The Day After Thanksgiving

Not-so-black Friday | The Day After Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Black Friday quoteIt’s funny how during Thanksgiving we’re thankful for what we already have, but then we practically trample each other for stuff we don’t have on Black  Friday. – Unknown

I know that Black Friday got its name because it is the day many retailers go from being “in the red” to “being in the black.” I know black can be sophisticated, timeless, and chic. But for me, the day after Thanksgiving is less about black and more about…well, orange.

Much as I love my family and the Thanksgiving get-togethers, I treasure the day after. For me, it’s a day to catch up with girlfriends, find out how my “chosen family” is, and appreciate the wonderful women in my life that share their friendship every day of the year.  The day after Thanksgiving is a time for shopping (or enjoying the quiet of not shopping), for relaxing without the pressure to have the Pilgrim-perfect day, for enjoying leftovers. It’s a day for going to the gym, seeing a movie with friends, and eating leftovers. It’s a day of indulgence in things around the house, getting to projects I’ve put off for too long, and eating leftovers.

I am grateful for so many things: health, friendship, family…the list is so long. One day is not nearly enough time for all this gratitude. So I carry it to the day after Thanksgiving.

Also, I really love leftovers.

What are you thankful for on this day after Thanksgiving? Will you join me in being grateful for girlfriends and take a few minutes for orange Friday?

More Thanksgiving inspiration:

 

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Pumpkin Muffins Recipe | A Thanksgiving Tradition

Pumpkin Muffins Recipe | A Thanksgiving Tradition

friendship thanksgivingWhat are your Thanksgiving Traditions girlfriends?

Feasting with family and friends? Are you carbo-loading for Black Friday shopping? Relaxing at home (in parisian pajamas)?

Our fave friend, JUDI COGEN, shares her Thanksgiving Tradition – making this Pumpkin Muffins Recipe!

I have never been accused of being the world’s greatest chef. I have never actually set the house on fire, but I have caused the smoke detector to go off more times than I care to admit.

There are a few recipes I manage to produce consistently and flawlessly. Some of these have turned into family traditions.

One family favorite is mini pumpkin muffins. This is a recipe my mom discovered someplace. It has the advantages of

  • Being simple (even I don’t get confused)
  • Having just a few ingredients (shopping is a breeze)
  • Yielding zillions (which is good because everyone eats them even before they’re cool)
  • Tasting fabulous (need I say more?)

Because the recipe makes so many, there are plenty to serve the family with enough left over to make little packages of Thanksgiving muffin hugs for my girlfriends. Sometimes I wrap muffins in a piece of fun fabric and tie with a ribbon. Sometimes I place them in bright paper bags to deliver them. OK, fine. Both of those happen in my Martha Stewart fantasy world. Usually, how I deliver them is far less important than the fact they are delivered.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Mini Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

1 can (30 oz) Pumpkin Pie Mix (you know, the stuff in the orange can that lines grocery store shelves this time of year)

2 packages (17 oz) Nut Bread Mix (personally, I prefer making it with Date Bread mix because I don’t like nuts in my muffins. I’ve also used pumpkin bread mix in a pinch.)

1 egg, beaten

1 Cup raisins

Mix everything together (don’t you love how simple this is? Definitely my kind of recipe.)

Put batter in greased muffin tins (you can use regular sized muffin tins but then they won’t be mini muffins. I always use mini muffin tins).

NOTE: Yes, the muffin tins really need to be greased. Not just before you start baking but before you refill the tins. And yes, they still need to be greased if you use the silicon type.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (use a heavy hand).

Bake at 400° for 8 to 12 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the muffins you’re making and the cooperative nature of your oven.

Remove from muffin tins (I generally use a spoon to help ‘scoop’ them out if they are sticking).

Find someone else to clean the muffin tins, and try not to eat them all at once.

Enjoy!

thanksgiving recipe for friendshipHappy Thanksgiving everyone!

Judi is the Chief of Pumpkin Muffins at Girlfriendology.com. She can currently be found snarfing muffins and trying not to burn dinner.

And here’s our Thanksgiving Recipe for Friendship!

More girlfriend inspiration on Thanksgiving: (check these out for great Thanksgiving quotes and videos to share!)

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Ten Tips for Helping a Friend with Breast Cancer | Advice from Stacy Randall

Ten Tips for Helping a Friend with Breast Cancer | Advice from Stacy Randall

Helping Friends with Breast CancerCancer is a word, not a sentence.  ~John Diamond

Girlfriendology was founded partly because of two girlfriends dealing with cancer. I needed to be around my friends – not just them but my other female friends. I needed them for comfort and support. I knew that women do that – and we should celebrate girlfriendship.

Cancer is way too common. It happens to ourselves and our friends and family, WAY too frequently. As women, we want to take care of others and sometimes aren’t sure what to do. Guest blogger STACY RANDALL shares her insight into Ten Tips for Helping a Friend with Breast Cancer:

Finding out that a friend has breast cancer can be one of the hardest things in life. After the initial feelings of fear, confusion, and anger, you’re probably going to wonder how you can help. And although there’s no formula for how to act or what to do when you find out a friend has cancer, here are a few suggestions:

1. Don’t Compare
Although you might think it’s comforting to tell your friend about someone else you know who survived cancer, you might come across as insensitive. Your friend’s situation is very unique so don’t take that away from her.

2. Keep the Gossip on the DL (Down Low)
This one may sound obvious but if your friend is telling you about what she’s going through, don’t automatically think she’s telling everyone that information.

3. Say Anything
Sometimes when you are at a complete loss for words a simple, “I’m praying for you,” or “I’m thinking about you,” goes a long way.

4. Bring Flowers
Flowers can brighten your friend’s day. And sometimes cancer patients can lose their apatite so food isn’t always the best option.

5. Make Crafts
Depending on what stage of cancer your friend is in, making crafts together is a low key activity you can both enjoy. If she’s not up for it, making her something special will help you get your mind off what’s going on and make you feel better that you’re small gesture will brighten her day (because it will).

6. Water her Plants and Feed her Fish
Simply saying, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help,” is too vague and winds up being unhelpful. Take the initiative by mowing her lawn, doing her laundry, watering her plans, and even feeding her goldfish.

7. Make her Laugh
Your friend will look to you to give her the funny details of life outside the hospital. If you’re not much of story teller, show her a funny e-mail, YouTube video, or card.

8. Give Distance
When your friend says she needs time to be alone, respect her. It’s nothing personal and it’s not a cry for attention either. She simply needs alone time, like we all do.

9. Take Care of yourself
Dealing with your own emotions and feelings in a healthy way will help you be the rock that she needs.

10. Shave your head
Shave your head to show support for your friend. Just like her hair will grow back so will yours.

helping a friend with breast cancerIn addition to being a great friend by supporting your friend who has breast cancer, you can also help raise awareness and help raise money to cure breast cancer every October (or year round for that matter). Participate in walks, fashion shows, marathons, pink ribbons or do any other outward act you want to support breast cancer.

STACY RANDALL is a writer for the Nebraska Medical Center. She enjoys writing on topics in the health field. The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest healthcare facility in Nebraska and is known for its cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, etc.) and heart treatment units as well as being the designated trauma unit three days a week.

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What are your tips for supporting a girlfriend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Girlfriendology cancer quote, friendship quotesFor more girlfriend advice on dealing with cancer, see:

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How to Make & Keep True, Lifetime Friends

How to Make & Keep True, Lifetime Friends

true friendshipA True Friend reaches for your hand & touches your heart.

Unknown

True Friends who are THERE FOR YOU. Could anything be better?

We’re celebrating those friends today in this great guest blog by KAREN ROCHESTER, author of ‘BE BRAVE – for those hurt by another.’ (Share her story with your friends who might need some inspiration and a reminder that you’re THERE FOR THEM!)

It is completely normal to share your life with your friends, but what if you want to share something that has been a secret for a long time and you are afraid how your friends will react? What if after you tell them this secret they won’t want to be your friends anymore? Do you take the risk?

This happened to me. There was a time in my life when things were not going so well, not well at all actually. I was an emotional mess to be honest. I still had friends and tried to make my life look normal and together. This in itself took a lot of effort. As time went on I realized I needed to get professional help and I did.

Girlfriend trust, friendshipAfter some years of therapy, I trusted my psychologist enough to tell her that I had been sexually abused as a child and we started to work through that as well as the PTSD issues and physical impairments I has sustained from a major motor vehicle accident I had been involved in while serving in the military. With a lot of love and support from my husband and psychologist, I put in place many and various strategies to get my life back on track. However, it became clear that from the time of my disclosure about my childhood trauma I started to get better, a lot better, both physically and emotionally.

All my friends knew that I had had a serious motor vehicle accident and they were very supportive, but how was I going to tell them what happened to me as a child? The shame, guilt, and pain were enormous and at times, unbearable. But, as time went on and I became emotionally stronger I was more determined than ever to improve my life and that meant sharing all of it, including my past, with my friends. But how would they react to the secret I had kept from them for nearly 25 years in some cases?

Eventually I plucked up the courage to tell my friends what had happened to me. What I discovered was:

Karen Rochester, frienship trust

  • Every single one of them was pleased that I trusted them enough to tell them.
  • Every single one of them was supportive.
  • Every single one of them hugged me.
  • Every single one of them asked if there was any more they could do to help.
  • Every single one of them wanted to know why I had not told them sooner.
  • Every single one of them expressed sadness and empathy to my situation.
  • Some of them opened up to me and told me things I didn’t know about them!
  • EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS STILL MY FRIEND!

Now I feel as though there are no secrets between us. My disclosure made our friendships stronger and definitely more open and honest. It created an environment where we actually understood each other even better. Nothing bad came out of my disclosure and now I know that the friends I have are truly lifetime friends. I am so happy and grateful to have them in my life.

Trust your friends enough to tell them how you are feeling and why… if they are real friends, they will want to help you – they will not abandon you. There is an old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and I have found this to be so true.

be brave, honesty with friendsKAREN ROCHESTER was an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) before a major car accident saw her medically discharged. Needing a full facial reconstruction so she could breathe (meaning 6 plates and 31 screws) and still suffering some residual physical disabilities, Karen transformed her life by working very hard to recover both physically and emotionally. She is the author of BE BRAVE – for those hurt by another. She loves scuba diving (soon to be an instructor) and underwater photography. Completely adores her husband and Tenterfield terriers. See: www.bebravebook.com

Thanks, Karen – and that for being brave with your true friends. Lovely reminder!

For more girlfriend inspiration on TRUE FRIENDSHIP:Girlfriendology a true friend, friendship quote

 

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Losing the Girls | A Story About Breast Cancer from Girlfriend Survivor Anne Day

Losing the Girls | A Story About Breast Cancer from Girlfriend Survivor Anne Day

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month we are featuring wonderful stories from girlfriends who have been touched in some way by breast cancer.

How to be a better friend to a girlfriend with cancerToday’s guest blog is by ANNE DAY. Her story will make you smile, maybe cry a little, and hopefully, it will remind you how important early detection is.

Ten years ago — January 9, 2005, to be precise — I lost two close friends. I’d known them all my life; we’d hung out and even worked together. It was a true loss, and life was not the same without them.

That’s the date when I had my double mastectomy.

Now, this was my second bout with breast cancer. The first had been when I was thirty-nine and my daughters were little. Like many women, I found that first lump myself. It had spread to my lymph nodes, so I had the full regime — lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation.

Denial was my main coping strategy. I wasn’t going to die; that just wasn’t an option. I simply had to get through this, and my life would continue as before. But of course it didn’t.

I learned a lot through those tough months and it was my girlfriends who got me through it. Taking me home after chemo, cooking meals, looking after my daughters, sending me cards and letters saying how much they loved me. I felt enveloped and cocooned in a sea of their love.

But some friends just totally could not handle it. They didn’t know what to say, were scared for me, and for themselves, and just disappeared. I decided that this was their problem, not mine, and I tried not to take it personally.

On the other hand, mere acquaintances just appeared with random acts of kindness. One neighbor would bring dinners for the family on days when I had chemo. My daughters so loved her cooking that they asked if she did breakfasts.

I chose to stay working. It gave our lives some normalcy. I didn’t want to be sitting at home having a pity party, and probably, on reflection, I also didn’t want to spend too much time really thinking about what was happening or, more to the point, what could happen.

But it wasn’t all bad either—it sure changes your attitude and makes you focus on what’s important. I tried not to sweat the small stuff. I also found out how much people loved me.

After fifteen years, I got lulled into believing I was safe. But I had forgotten that once you are a member of the exclusive C Club, your membership never really expires. And sure enough, in 2005, I had to pay my dues again. This time I had decided that I wanted both breasts removed. As I explained to my girlfriend, “I want a level playing field.”

Our breasts are very much part of our womanhood. At first I didn’t like seeing myself in the mirror; although, with both gone, I felt less disfigured.  But my body is not who I am; it is not my essence.

As someone who works with women, I felt I had a responsibility to speak out and share my news with Company of Women members. I wanted to encourage them to go for the mammograms, do the self-check, and show that having cancer is no longer a death sentence.

Injecting some humor into the situation, I talked about being “upfront,” making a “clean breast” of what was happening to me, and the fact that as a weight-loss strategy it stunk, because they only weighed two pounds at the most.

There was a hush in the room at first, as the women grappled with the news. Some cried; others looked horrified, likely reflecting on how they would feel if they lost their breasts. But there was laughter, too. As I was quick to point out, I was not planning to “check out” as I had too much to do.

I was later flooded with cards and letters of love from people. It was like hearing the eulogies at your funeral without having to die first.

So much of life we take for granted, but when it all could disappear just like that, you learn to enjoy the moment, speak your truth, and be who you are meant to be.

Plus, the really good news — no more mammograms!

ANNE DAY is the founder of Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. She is the author of Day by Day – Tales of business, life and everything in between. You can reach her at anneday@companyofwomen.ca or www.companyofwomen.ca or follow her blog at www.companyofwomen.blogspot.com

Thanks Anne for this touching story and wonderful reminder for taking care of ourselves, our girlfriends and our bodies.

Who has been there for you when you needed them? How could you be a better friend to a friend going through cancer? Share in the comments.

For more girlfriend advice on cancer and female friendships, check out these blog posts:

That’s why we’re here – to inspire you to BE A BETTER FRIEND – even, and especially, when life hands you or a girlfriend tough situations.

COMFORTING GIFTS FOR FRIENDS: HEALING BASKETS provides gifts to comfort and support the broken hearted. From sympathy, and loss to cancer, get well, divorce and caregiving. These gifts encourage, comfort and inspire.

What other tough situations would you like us to cover on Girlfriendology? PLEASE SHARE below!

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Breast Cancer and Friendship | Girlfriend Point of View by Shasta Nelson

Breast Cancer and Friendship | Girlfriend Point of View by Shasta Nelson

Shasta Nelson GirlfriendCircles breast cancerOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As we celebrate with the survivors and remember those who bravely fought, we come together as girlfriends to remind ourselves and each other about the importance of fighting all women’s cancers.

In this guest blog, SHASTA NELSON (of Girlfriend Circles and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen) reminds us to work together, to support each other, and to recognize what is most important in our lives.

“Slow down! Don’t do it alone!” the stranger said to me as he passed me on my morning jog. I tried to smile, but what I really thought was: “What kind of a guy has the audacity to tell me what pace to set as though he thinks he’s my coach?”

Then horns began honking, pink pom-poms were everywhere on passing cars and in front of me a group of five women cheered in response. And two more in front of them followed suit. And as those cars made their way down the busy street, small little groups of women, flashes of pink dotting the sidewalk, seemed appreciative of the praise. I looked over my shoulder and quickly realized that my typical exercise route was being shared today with the amazing women participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Race for the Cure. I was on their course. I glanced down and chuckled, for unintentionally my outfit was black and pink. He had thought I was one of them.

And I suddenly felt somewhat guilty. Not only for being cheered as though I were steps away from completing the 60 mile, 3-day race when in fact I was simply a girl trying to get a few miles in on a day that otherwise was a lazy Sunday; but also because I had appeared to be a solo jogging dissenter in an event that promoted community and walking.

If Life Could Be…
I crossed the street and spent the rest of my run pondering how amazing life would be if we could model this race:

  • Where who you do it with counts more than how fast you do it.
  • Where in fact, pacing oneself for the long-haul is of higher value than speeding past someone.
  • Where the journey matters more than simply reaching the destination.
  • Where we care more about our health than our appearance (I saw some seriously ‘over-the-top’ outfits today! LOL!)
  • Where slowing down to walk with someone who’s tired is more the purpose than a delay.
  • Where it matters more to us that we “all” make it, not just me.
  • Where strangers feel bonded because of a combined passion for a cause.
  • Where women cheer for each other, rather than compete.
  • Where men look overjoyed to be driving in cars covered in pink, honking for women and their success.

Oh to live in such a world! If it simply sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream, consider the headlines we’ve all seen from research out of the University of Chicago: Loneliness Heightens Risk of Breast Cancer. While we all feel the pull to do more, be more, and be better than everyone else, a reminder that sometimes just increasing the stress in our lives to be the one jogging up the hill, while everyone else walks in groups, isn’t necessarily success.

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness!
So this October, as we celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, send your cards celebrating their lives to the women who have survived this disease, and honor the memories of those who didn’t. Wear your pink proudly and buy those products whose proceeds support the awareness and research we still need in this battle. Schedule your mammograms and value your breast health more than your breast size.

But above all, perhaps the wisdom of the stranger who cheered me on this morning might become your mantra this month? Words to be taken seriously: “Slow down! Don’t do it alone!”

SHASTA NELSON (@girlfrndcircles) is a relationship strategist, life coach, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen, and founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a womens friendship matching site in 35 cities across the U.S. She blogs weekly at Shasta’s Friendship Blog and for the Huffington Post.

How has cancer impacted you and your female friends / friendships? We’d love a guest blog on this for October. Please share!

For more girlfriend advice on cancer and female friendships, check out these blog posts:

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