NEW YEAR, SAME ME

It’s that time of year. Everyone is all, “New Year, new me,” and here I am just trying to avoid all these posts from my friends and family. I hate the new year for this reason. Why do we need the new year to make us want to change?

Let’s be honest, January 1 is the day when everyone is declaring how they will be new and improved this year. As if the first day in January is any different than March 15 or August 2. Why does January 1 make everyone want to go crazy?

Personally, I stopped making resolutions a few years ago. I found myself setting unrealistic expectations for myself that I wouldn’t normally do. Instead, I made myself some goals and checked in on it a few times a year. Then, toward the latter half of the year, I would review what I had done, what I maybe could still do, and what I could just cross off. It put me in a better headspace. I felt more in control. It is the act of “failing better” – when you stop putting resolutions on yourself, it gives you an opportunity to fail and recover. Nothing is written in stone, which means you can get back on that horse and try again.

Let’s talk about some of the not-so-healthy things we do in the name of the New Year, and how to change that mindset!

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DIETS

Maybe you’re not aware, but there’s a movement for body positivity and loving yourself. Some of us have had to teach ourselves how to love the body we have. Many of us still struggle. I try to gas myself up, and gas up the women around me, because I want them to love themselves. I hate hearing my best friend talk about “when I’m down 30 more pounds I’ll be comfortable.” No sis! You’re gorgeous the way you are! If we keep telling ourselves that 30 pounds from now “I’ll be worth loving” or “I’ll be worth buying this dress” or “I’ll be worthy,” then we’re not doing ourselves any favors.

Diets and fads are the most harmful thing. Obviously, if you’re on a specific diet due to lifestyle, sure! Examples are vegan, gluten-free (for medical), etc. But to follow a diet because it’s trending is insane, in my opinion. Especially when there are many reputable articles out there telling us how harmful diet culture is.

Let’s not forget that we are showing our kids this. When we constantly go on fad diets, we’re showing our girls that we have to keep up with the Joneses (or the Kardashians) in order to be accepted in society. We’re telling them that their bodies aren’t okay the way they are.  

Instead, why not just try healthy eating rather than a fad diet? Why not try to love yourself? Make that your resolution to love yourself unconditionally.

Like Mama Ru says: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else? Can I get an amen?” Amen, Mother Ru.

GYM MEMBERSHIPS

Why do you wait until the new year to join a gym? They count on all of us to want to rush to the gyms. They prey on you to get into this contract with them so that they can charge you for a whole year. And for some of these gyms, good luck getting out of that contract. I have seen in some gyms that you literally need a doctor to tell them why you are unable to work out. Then they will consider to let you out of your contract.

Instead of joining a gym, why not join your local rec center? How about the YMCA? A local fitness group that meets in a park? Or just watch The Fitness Marshall on YouTube and dance along with him. He’s amazing and you can get in a good workout. Also, there are tons of fitness apps you can download on your phone, tablet, or smart TV/device. Save some money and gas.

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ONLY 10% OF PEOPLE KEEP THOSE RESOLUTIONS

Yeah, that small of a number. Shocking isn’t it? Depending on the source, you can find numbers that range from 10% to 39% – but a lot of it has to do with the age demographic and the specific goals. But still, it’s not a lot!

It also doesn’t help that people tend to focus on the things about themselves they don’t like and the things they want to change. By doing this, you’re evoking these negative emotions in yourself. Generally speaking, these negative emotions aren’t going to motivate you.

RESOLUTIONS SOUND SO FINAL

The word resolution – close to resolute (read: unwavering) – sounds so final. As if it can’t be changed. Instead, try making goals! Some goals to try this year:

  • Join the ACLU

  • Meditate more

  • Enroll in school

  • Try to keep in touch with friends more often

  • Make time for yourself x times a week/month

  • Eat healthier, but don’t deny cravings

  • Be kinder to yourself

  • Read more books this year

 See? Aren’t those better goals than some of those resolutions?

Toward the end of the year, and for the first few weeks at the beginning of the year, the commercials are all aimed at “New year, new you”. I say bull****: New Year, same you. Maybe a better you, but not a new you. You’re already perfect. And if you don’t have a vina to tell you that, let me be it! I’m here to gas you up.

Making goals and motivating yourself to reach them is way easier with vinas by your side! Download the Hey! VINA app to find your tribe. 

 

CHAMPAGNE TASTE ON A BEER BUDGET: THE ULTIMATE NYE BASH FOR LESS

The trick to falling in love with New Year’s Eve is to not take it so seriously. I went through a phase where I hated the holiday because it just felt like too much money and too much hype, and I was always disappointed by one or the other. So, a few years ago I decided to take back NYE by taking it less seriously. One of my favorite ways in the past few years to do this is by throwing my own party. Not only do you literally not have to leave the house, but you also get to control a lot of how your evening plays out (I’m not a control freak, I swear). But, parties get pricey quickly, so below are a few tips to stay in budget while also throwing a killer bash.

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The playlist is everything. This will prevent everyone else from putting on their terrible music and help keep the vibe up. Mix it up between some old classics, ’90s music, and as we get later into the evening, some serious dance party jams. Just in case you were briefly considering hiring a DJ, don’t.

All you need is lights. Don’t even worry about other decorations. String lights and twinkle lights and lantern lights. NYE is all about the glitter, so it’s really the only special decor you’ll need to get the vibe going. (Plus, string lights are on super sale right now since the holidays just ended!)

The dollar store is your friend. Hit up your local dollar store and stock up on party hats and noise makers because they’re really the thing that separates New Year’s from any other party. Don’t forget the obligatory 2018 plastic sunglasses!

BYOC: bring your own champagne. When you send out your invite, tell your vinas to all show up with champagne in hand, this way you never run out and you don’t have to spring for several cases.

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Thrift for your dress. It’s easy to feel like you have to drop a chunk of change on the perfect dress, but it ain’t so. People make tons and tons of donations during the holidays. It is one of the best times to go scouring through the racks. Some babe’s 2017 dress is your oh-my-gosh-it’s-perfect 2018 dress.

Delegate duties to your vinas. You’re hosting, which is arguably the most important job for any party, so feel free to call on the troops and ask them to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s making appetizers, grabbing extra booze, or helping you clear the furniture from the living room to make room for a dance floor—chances are, they will be excited to help!

Late night junk food is a crucial party element. On NYE, the drunchies will strike and, as host, you’ve got to be ready. As we get older, we almost expect to be fed when we go somewhere, whereas at a younger age I was fine with drinking all night long. Food is a must at some point. But this can be the biggest spender. It might sound silly, but frozen pizza is the best invention ever. All you have to do is put it in the oven, and then cut it up into little pieces on a cute wood cutting board. People will be ecstatic when you bring it out, and they start at just a few dollars in the frozen section. Don’t get fancy here, everyone’s going to be too smashed to notice.

Most importantly, remember that simple is best. The biggest money drains come from the little things because they add up quickly. No one is going to miss the $25 dollar candles that you didn’t buy at the farmer’s market, no one cares if the orange juice for their mimosa is freshly pressed, and last year’s dress is still just as cute as ever. The key to a killer New Year’s Eve is to care less and enjoy yourself more with your friends!

What are your NYE plans? Check out the Hey! VINA plans in your city to end 2018 with a bang!

SPICE UP YOUR EGGNOG GAME WITH THESE MUST-MAKE COCKTAIL RECIPES

You grabbed the obligatory carton of Eggnog from the grocery store, just because, but rather than leave it in the fridge and sip from it over the next few weeks, here are a few new ways to spice it up for your Vinas.

Esquire’s Spiked Eggnog

Brighten the holiday spirits with a little Don Q and Hennessey ‘nog. Your vinas will be praising your mixology skills all night long!

5 large eggs
8 oz. cognac
4 oz. Gold rum
1/8 whole milk
nutmeg

Method:

Crack the eggs and separates the whites from the yolks. Keep both. In a bowl, whip the sugar with the yolks until dissolved. Gradually stir in the spirits, then milk. In another bowl, whip the eggs whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the mix. Grate half a nutmeg on top. Refrigerate for one hour, then serve.

MERRY & BRIGHT EGGNOG

from Natasha David, NiteCap

For serious drinkers only, this “no Eggnog needed” Eggnog will liven up any holiday fête.  Get it at the infamous NiteCap in NYC or make it at home with Natasha’s recipe.

4 oz. Truly Spiked & Sparkling Colima Lime spiked sparkling water
1 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. Stevia powder
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg

Method:

Combine spiced rum, vanilla almond milk, Stevia powder and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Begin by shaking without ice to incorporate all ingredients. Next, add ice to the cocktail shaker and continue to shake. Strain the liquid into a Collins glass without ice and top with Truly Spiked & Sparkling Colima Lime. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Mrs. Claus called, and she’s ready to party.

CHUBBY HONEY EGGNOG

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Choose to head somewhere warm to celebrate the holidays while others stay home. For those who cannot travel to Hotel Arts Barcelona during this busy season, the hotel’s head mixologist Diego Baud has it covered with this recipe.  And can you say “cute!” with these eggs as the cups!?

12 large eggs
500g organic honey
10oz brandy
12oz Amontillado sherry
1L whole milk
24oz organic heavy cream
Grated nutmeg or cinnamon on top

Method:

Using a mixer on low speed, beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar until they are fully dissolved. Add the Torres 15 Brandy, Amontillado sherry, milk and cream. Refrigerate overnight and serve in empty eggshells or small chilled cups. Sprinkle nutmeg or cinnamon on top before serving.

Have a fave eggnog recipe yourself? Share the cocktail fun by hosting a little get-together at your place! Download the Hey! VINA app to meet other spiked eggnog-loving vinas like yourself.

5 WINTER CRAFTS FOR DIY ENTHUSIASTS TO DO WITH THEIR VINAS THIS MONTH

It’s that time of the year where the cold weather rolls around and we can’t be outside as much. We wonder what kind of fun things to do with our best vinas that don’t require us to actually go through all the fuss and put on our boots and puffer jackets. So I’ve gathered for you, five of the cutest, easiest, AND holiday-themed DIYs perfect for this season. Most of the materials can also be found at your local dollar store, so super doable as well! Whip out that artsy soul of yours and make some great decors and gifts!

HO-HO-HO WREATH

 

Materials Needed:

  • Floral wreath ring
  • White tulle
  • Santa hat
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Scissors

What to do:

  • Cut the tulle into 4-5 in pieces.
  • Tie each piece of tulle to the ring and drop a little bit of glue on top of the knot to make sure it’s stable. Continue doing this until you reach about halfway on the ring.
  • Take the Santa hat and place it on top of the ring and hot-glue the ends to the ring.
  • If you want to hang it on your door, I recommend also getting a wreath holder and placing it on the door when you decorate.

YARN CHRISTMAS TREE

Materials Needed:

  • Yarn of any color of your choice
  • Glue
  • Styrofoam cone
  • Assorted snowflakes or buttons (optional)

What to do:

  • Take your yarn and start wrapping it around the cone as much as you want. Make sure the beginning is snug to hold its place.
  • Take the glue and squeeze it onto the yarn. You can take a paintbrush or even your finger and spread the glue all over.
  • Let the glue dry. I recommend at least an hour or two just to be safe.
  • You can also add on your little tidbits to make it more special or can leave it plain if that’s the look you want.
  • Once completely dry, carefully take out the cone from the inside of the yarn and voila!

PERSONALIZED WINE GLASS

 

 

Materials Needed:

  • Wine glass
  • Paint markers (gold or silver)
  • Printed paper with whatever word you want to be written on it (optional)
  • Masking tape (optional)

What to do:

  • If you decide to use the printed paper, tape that toward the top end of the wine glass with the masking tape.
  • Take your paint marker and slowly start to write on the glass over the place that you placed the paper. Or if you decided to freehand it, then do the same thing. Let the first layer dry for a minute or two before you go over it again.
  • Once completely dry you can take out the paper with the masking tape.
  • Open a bottle of wine with your favorite vinas and enjoy your new glass!
  • Reminder: This glass should only be hand washed very gently. Hard scrubbing on the glass can chip the paint.

PRINGLES COOKIE CAN

Materials Needed:

  • Empty Pringles can
  • Wrapping paper or any type of paper you like to use
  • Ribbons, charms, bows (optional)
  • Hot glue gun

What to do:

  • Clean the empty Pringles can thoroughly.
  • Cut the paper of choice to the size of the can.
  • Take your hot glue gun and make a line going from top to bottom
  • Place the end of the paper over that line of glue.
  • Continue the same method around the can every half inch or so until complete.
  • Decorate the can to your liking with ribbons or charms.
  • Put the top back on!

JAR MAKEUP BRUSH HOLDER

Materials Needed:

  • Empty jar
  • Gems or colorful rocks
  • Makeup brushes
  • Good gone or acetone
  • Cotton balls

What to do:

  • Grab an old jar and make sure it is clean of the previous contents.
  • Take the good gone or your acetone and put some of it on the label of the jar while scrubbing it off with the cotton balls until clean.
  • Rinse the jar again to get a good cleaning.
  • Dry it off very well or let it air dry.
  • Once dry, grab your gems or colorful rocks and pour them into the jar
  • Take your makeup brushes and put them into the jar; place on your armoire and be dazzled by your crafty-ness. 

Up for a DIY-filled vina night in? Go over to the Hey! VINA app, join the DIY community and plan it!!

VINA BOOK CLUB: YOUR HOLIDAY BOOK READING LIST

The thought of sitting next to the fireplace with a cup of some decadent hot chocolate and a good book is pretty cliche – but there’s no denying it’s a good feeling this time of the year. The holiday season calls for relaxation and indulgence. So here’s a list of novels that are on-theme and will induce that warm, cozy feeling this season! 📚 ☕🎄

One Day in December by Josie Silver

For all those hopeless romantics, this is a powerful tale of love, friendship, and loss. Laurie is mesmerized by a man she sees on the bus during a cold, snowy evening. Locking eyes for a moment, her mystery crush is gone forever. Laurie spends a year looking for him. One day, she attends a Christmas party with her best friend Sarah, who can’t stop talking about her new boyfriend. Lo and behold – Sarah’s new boyfriend Jack is the one Laurie has been searching for. This book isn’t your typical love triangle! Beautifully written and cinematic, you’ll gobble up this read as fast as your holiday dinner.

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology by Christopher Golden

Halloween came and went, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it all up now that the holidays rolled along. This one is a collection of 18 Christmas horror stories. There’s a spectrum of eerie and creepy styles, so you’ll definitely find a story you’ll love. From cult holiday parties to a haunted Christmas hotel, this is a light read that will surely transition you from autumn to winter!

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Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrimur Helgason

This one isn’t holiday themed but it sure is cozy. Herra, an 80-something-year-old Icelandic woman waiting for death in a garage recounts her entire existence. She has lived a full yet tragic life during World War II and through the struggles of immigration. Part comedy and part drama, this novel is a truly poetic piece. Helgason can perfectly paint a vivid scene in his style of writing. You’ll feel as if you’re right there with Herra as she tells you the stories of her life.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

A warm tale of growing up and rolling with what life gives you, this novel will keep you feeling cozy this winter. This classic is a story of young Taylor Greer and her mission to leave her hometown. Along the way she encounters a parent-less child named Turtle and makes a new friend on her journey. While trying to find Turtle’s home, Taylor seeks a stable and happy life in this heartwarming tale. If you’re looking for a book with strong character development and female relationships, this is the one.

A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

William Heming will be the most interesting and creepy character you read about this season – no, EVER! A successful realtor who is good at his job, he has the biggest secret in his town: he keeps the key to every house he has ever sold. When a dead body is discovered in one of the properties, things escalate at a rapid pace. This shocking mystery will be hard to put down.

Ready for some warm and cozy hibernation with these books? Everything’s better with some good vinas. Go over to the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping in the Lit Lovers community. We see a stellar book club in your future!📚👍

HOW TO END 2018 STRONG

Hey vinas! So, the holidays are around the corner and it’s almost time to write out those resolutions! Don’t have any in mind yet? It’s okay. The current year is still here, and you still have time to make things right and accomplish your goals. But what is the real secret to finishing out the year strong, before the new year? Well, go out and experience life!

LIVE YOUR LIFE

As humans, we get the most out of experience, so that will always be number one. How were you best able to grow? Well, you were pushing yourself out there into the world, experiencing life itself. I can make all the vision boards I want to, but some of the best life-changing experiences and catalysts for true self-growth are the pictures that aren’t on the board. Mistakes will be made, vinas, but it’s okay. Sometimes we want to carefully plan out our every step. That is totally fine, but there is a plan B – Z, that we always make, ladies. And why? We all know the famous excuse, “Just in case, plan A, doesn’t work” Now, a second way to make things work and finish the year strong would be to visualize and attract what we want, which is what some people set out to do and achieve their dreams. Also, a third way to finish 2018 strong is to never give up. Life is hard sometimes, but perseverance ensures that the fire will always burn deep within you.

EXPERIENCE LIFE

We all say that life is full of ups and downs. That is because the statement is truer than ever before, vinas. We can never wait and plan too much, because life will go on, with or without you. I never want you to go out into the world aimlessly, so yes, have a plan, but don’t think it is the end of the world if you don’t achieve your goals right away. There are little side roads that may appear, but they are there to teach a lesson. Know that you’ll always get back onto the main road again, so live your life, vina!

LAW OF ATTRACTION/MANIFESTING

This powerful duo goes hand in hand. We all know to “attract what we want,” but how can we do so? There are various books on the subject. This is an essential key to getting what we want. The mind is a powerful thing, so why not use it to your advantage? We can have what we want if we simply believe. I am definitely using this method, and it has given some amazing opportunities, so put this on your list, vinas!

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PERSISTENCE

Yes, vinas, I still want you to make that vision board and write those resolutions down. Do not think that your plans will not happen. They will. The key among many, is persistence. My point of life being full of ups and downs, applies greatly with this key point, because many give up when life throws them a curveball. You can not give up, if you really want to manifest and make your dreams a reality. Never, ever give up vinas.
I know that all of the essential keys in this list will take you far, in not only accomplishing goals for this year, but for yourselves moving forward. To really finish this year strong, visualize yourself and where you want to be in your life. There’s no better time than the present, to grab life by the reins and enjoy the ride, uniquely built for you, vinas!

Happy holidays and a happy new year to all you vinas!

Looking to make some new friends for the holidays? Try downloading the Hey! VINA app today and start swiping! 

30 ACTS OF KINDNESS: MAKE THIS THE MONTH OF GIVING BACK

November is the second last month of the year, as you all know. This means it is the second last month to make a difference in 2018. The second last month to be kind, and make those around you happy. And after all, it is the month of giving thanks! So why not give back? If you’re not sure where to start, here are 30 different ways to be kind in the month of November! Challenge yourself to a daily act of kindness, see how many you can accomplish in the next 30 days!

DAY 1

Since acts of kindness are a lost art and many people have stopped doing them, we’ll start with an easy one. On November 1st, call your mom and tell her you love her. If you live with her, buy her some flowers. If you live in a different city, she’ll love the call. Just call and say “Mom I love you, thank you” and it will make her day. And remember, a mother figure can be any woman of influence in your life that deserves to know how much you appreciate her.

DAY 2

On November 2nd, let someone go in front of you in line. Nobody likes lines, and it will make them happier. It’s simple and small, so why not?

DAY 3

On November 3rd, compliment a friend. If they did their hair up nice, say something. If they have been working hard, acknowledge their accomplishment. You never know how wonderful a simple “you look nice today” can make someone feel.

DAY 4

On November 4th, call up an old friend. See if they want to grab coffee. Ask them what is going on in their life. Spend the time to listen, laugh and love.

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DAY 5

On November 5th, write a letter to your family. Explaining everything you are thankful for that they have done for you. This one might be hard if you aren’t close to your family, but anything counts. You can write about any small moment that made you smile. You don’t have to actually deliver it unless you want to. This letter is to appreciate where you came from. You can use this to spread the joy within.

DAY 6

On November 6th, bring some toiletries to a homeless shelter. Even spare soap will help. Giving back to those in need is essential. We often forget how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and soap in our showers. Just a simple spare toiletry you bring in could change someone’s month. Spread the hope and joy.

DAY 7

On November 7th, donate food to a local food bank. Many grocery stores have donation bins by the cash register that are never full. Buy something, a can of soup or a loaf of bread. It will again change someone’s month.

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DAY 8

On November 8th, give away old gift cards. If you have gift cards that you haven’t used that you keep holding onto because you “may need it one day,” give them away. Hand them out on the streets, leave them in a coffee shop, give them to a friend. This will declutter your life and makes someone’s day all in one!

DAY 9

On November 9th, offer to rake your neighbors’ leaves. Once those beautiful colors start falling from the trees, the nightmare begins. It just becomes another item on the never-ending to-do list. Offering to take care of this chore will remove some stress for them, more than you think!

DAY 10

On November 10th go out for dinner, enjoy yourself! Bring friends and family and have some wholesome quality time. When it comes time to pay for the meal, take the check. Fight for it if you have to. Then leave your server a generous tip. If you usually tip 15% try 20% this time. Even if the service was horrible, tip them well. Give them a tip that they will brag about to their co-workers – trust me, I would know as a server myself. It will make their life a little brighter.

DAY 11

November 11th is Remembrance Day. On this day, go to a Remembrance Day ceremony, and take time to remember why we are where we are. Pray for those who are still in active service to our country, protecting our rights and freedoms, and for those who have lost a loved one in that same act of service.

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DAY 12

On November 12th, really challenge yourself. Only say positive things, both to yourself and in conversation with others. Avoid all negativity. You’ll be surprised at how hard it is, and again by how big of a difference it makes.

DAY 13

Make November 13th extra special. Buy a homeless person something to eat. If they are sitting outside a Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s, ask them what they would like to eat. If they are on a bench outside the mall, bring them a meal from the food court with a big bottle of water.

DAY 14

On November 14th, volunteer at a soup kitchen. Even if it’s just a one-time thing, it will make you value what you have. If you love it, go back.

DAY 15

On November 15th, give up your seat on the bus. There’s always someone who needs it more than you do. Whether it’s a pregnant woman, an elderly man, or a small child, they will truly appreciate this gesture.

DAY 16

On November 16th, lend your favorite book to a friend. Let them keep it as long as they need, and when they’re done, get together to discuss the plot and what you love most about it. This is also a great way to go screen free for a day.

DAY 17

On the 17th, donate coloring books or toys to a children’s hospital. This is another one that could be a one time thing, but once you visit you’ll probably want to make it a regular thing.

DAY 18

On the 18th take the time to call a good friend. Practice listening more and speaking less. Ask about their week or what’s been going on in their life. Even a 10 minute chat is worth the call.

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DAY 19

On November 19th, buy someone a coffee. Go to your favorite coffee shop and pay for a strangers’ drink. You can buy the coffee for the person behind you in line. Alternatively, give the cashier some money so they can hand out “free” drinks.

DAY 20

On November 20th, buy a homeless person a blanket. By this time in the month it can be pretty cold outside and many suffer from low body temperature. It is terrible for their health and could kill them if severe. Buy them a big warm blanket, or a thick and heavy sweater/coat. You can give the blanket/coat to a homeless shelter or to them directly. Share warmth for the winter!

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DAY 21

On November 21st compliment a stranger on anything. Cute shoes? Bright smile? Infectious laugh? Anything.

DAY 22

On November 22nd, post an inspiring quote on a social media platform. Instagram, Facebook, or even on a community bulletin board. You never know who’s looking for a sign.

DAY 23

On November 23rd, offer to read books for children in your local library. Many libraries have programs looking for volunteers, but if your local library doesn’t, you can start the trend!

DAY 24

November 24th: bring donuts to work. Need I say more? You might get employee of the month for this alone.

DAY 25

November 25th gives you five more days to make a difference. To make it special, donate money to your favorite charity. Choose an organization that means something to you and make a difference in the world. For me, it would be to a medical research foundation. Since it’s November you could follow the “Movember” trend and donate to prostate cancer. It can be any amount for any reason, you choose.

DAY 26

On November 26th, leave happy notes on people’s car. Happy little notes with smiley faces, cheesy puns, or any words of kindness.

DAY 27

On November 27th buy mittens, hats, and scarves and donate them to a homeless shelter, or give them to homeless families you pass on the street.

DAY 28

On November 28th hand out flowers on the street. Flowers are one of the worlds most universal ways of saying “I love you,” or in this case, “hey, you matter, someone cares about you, and you are important.”

DAY 29

On November 29th buy Christmas gifts for foster children. Foster families often have multiple children living in their homes, which makes it hard to supply Christmas presents. Angel Tree is also a wonderful organization that provides specific info about children in need of someone willing to support their Christmas this year!

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DAY 30

And lastly, on November 30th, wrap up the month by calling your dad. We started the month by calling our mom’s or an influential mother figure in our lives, and we’re rounding it out by doing the same for our dad’s or influential father figures. Let the people you care about know they are loved this holiday season!

However, the journey of kindness does not have to end after a month! Let’s make this apart of our daily routines. Spread the love, give back, and enjoy life, vinas!

Are you inspired? Get the Hey! VINA app now and challenge your vinas to the 30 day kind-a-thon!

STARTING HOLIDAY TRADITIONS IN A FAMILY THAT NEVER HAD ANY

For as long as I can remember, my family never had those traditions that most families have when the holidays rolled around. Whenever it came to anything holiday related, my dad would be working for the extra money, and sometimes we’d go and see him at work for dinner. That was basically our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration every year for as long as I can remember.

About four years ago when I started dating my now husband, I began to see what the holidays should really be like. His family is very big on holidays to the extent of arguing over who gets to host which holiday each year. And that’s when I started to see how much fun the holidays could actually be.

My sister and I decided right then and there that we were going to make our own traditions. Forget the fact that all these years we never had any. We just decided with the snap of our fingers we needed to do this for us, and if we met others along the way that would join us, great! If not, we would still make it happen.

photo of green leafed plants

We started with little things like watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) and listening to Christmas songs when they played on the radio. Pinterest wasn’t as big as it is now, but we were able to find ideas through that and Google. We saw that “Elf on a Shelf” was big with parents, and how adults in general were using the idea of naughty elves to make funny jokes.

That year my husband actually bought us both an “Elf on a Shelf” for Christmas. It was one of the best things we’d ever received because we’d never had anything like it. We kept it in the box because we didn’t want to ruin it, but we put it to use the next year. The second year was a little hard to do anything because of health issues with my dad, but the year after we decided to wear ugly Christmas sweaters with our significant others, and they were FUNNY! I bought mine but my sister made hers and my husband’s that year.

Last year, we brought my husband’s cousin into the family traditions. We all chose to wear some kind of Grinch themed clothing and it was great! It made us all happy that we could start doing these small things which meant a great deal. This year we’re still trying to decide what we are going to do, but we are steering towards actually dressing up as our very own “Elf on a Shelf.” We are very crafty people so we might even sew our own costumes!

What hits us especially this year is that my sister is pregnant and will be giving birth around Christmas time. We’ve promised to give her daughter these traditions that we never had growing up, because we want her to be happy during a time that always felt like a chore to us as kids. It just takes one person (or two in our case) to decide that the holidays are going to be happy time, rather than something to dread.

Find new friends to start your traditions with by downloading the Hey! VINA app today!

HOW TO BEAT BLACK FRIDAY

Hello. My name is Jessica, and I love Black Friday. There, I said it. But more than that, I can give my opinion on it from two standpoints: I worked in retail management, and I am an avid shopper. The struggle of Black Friday in the retail world is that you know your store will be the loudest, messiest, and most chaotic place on earth. But that was exactly what made it so worth it. Ironically, that is also the reason why I’m no longer in the retail business. As a shopper, it’s the one day of the year where you can run down aisles, put your hand on something and say “I got here first,” and actually buy that $800 TV for half price. Whoever you are, we can all agree that Black Friday is exhausting – but fear not! Here are a few pro tips on how to beat Black Friday before it beats you!

KNOW WHERE TO GO

If you do a search on the internet for Black Friday deals, there will be a lot of websites that pop up giving you the 411 on when and where the best deals are taking place. If you start your search early, you can see where last year’s deals were and get a nice idea of which store is going to run a similar deal this year. You can also search the hot sales according to your area. This will help you figure out what stores to hit when depending on the area you’re going to be shopping in. We’re going for maximum efficiency, dot all your i’s and cross those t’s!

MAP IT OUT

Listen, Black Friday is a competition. If you don’t know where that $5 toaster is sitting, you’re toast. Pun intended. The day before Thanksgiving, take a dry run over to the store that you know is going to be the busiest on your list. Take a look around the ends of aisles and large open spots for free-standing displays, but remember, it’s not uncommon for that handheld mixer to be hiding in the toddler boy’s section come shopping time. If possible, make a pal in the store. Find an employee with a friendly face and strike up a Black Friday convo. Ask questions about the products that you are looking for, deals, and possible product placement. Chances are if you’re a kind shopper, the employee will be more than willing to offer up some details.

building christmas tree indoors mall

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

 

GO VINA, GO!

The best part of shopping is doing it with friends. Grab your vina and decide where and what you both want to buy. One of you holds the place in line while the other makes the mad dash for that last phone stand/bottle opener. Plus you’ve got two extra elbows to help you make your way through the crowd. Never doubt the buddy system! Be on the lookout for your vina’s items, and your vina will look for yours. At the same time, agree that you will both grab whatever you think your vina may be interested in. You never know who might want that Star Wars dining set!

BE SAFE. BE SMART.

Remember that you will be out with a mass of people. Large crowds can create large problems. Be aware of your surroundings and carry as few personal items as possible. Take your cash or credit cards, ID, and the absolute bare necessities on your shopping trips to avoid being a target to predators. Make sure whatever you take with you is securely attached to you, no backpacks, back pockets, or slinky handbags. If ever there were a time to use a fanny pack (whether you think they’re totally making a comeback or should be left in the 90’s) that time is now. When packing things into your vehicle, throw in an extra coat or two to cover up the bags you leave in your car while going into another store.

Black Friday is a great way to score some awesome savings on those items that you’ve been wanting but can never afford at regular price. And if you do it right, you can get a crazy jump on the holidays. It can be a lot of fun to go out and see what you can score last minute, but it can be just as fun to chill at home with leftover pumpkin pie, fuzzy slippers, and a laptop waiting for Cyber Monday deals! Whatever you choose, be safe, have fun, and rock this holiday season!

Looking for your tribe to take on Black Friday with? Download the Hey! VINA app today and start swiping! 

 

ALL THE BEST THANKSGIVING EPISODES TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

The best way to prepare for the holidays is to curl up with your vinas and hit play on the TV theme that brought us the most drama, laughs, and heartbreaks: Thanksgiving! Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of the most iconic moments in holiday TV history.

And for any shows not listed, here’s a tip: the Thanksgiving episodes generally tend to fall on the 8th-11th episode of a season (mid-season, give or take), so if you’re wondering if your favorite show has any holiday spirit, now you know where to look first!

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Friends is kind of the king of Thanksgiving episodes. With the exception of season 2 (which technically mentions Thanksgiving in episode 9, but barely) each season has a dedicated episode centering around what it’s like to celebrate a holiday with the 6 best friends that anyone could have.

Season 1 Episode 9: The one where underdog gets away

Season 3 Episode 9: The one with the football (return of the Geller cup)

Season 4 Episode 8: The one with Chandler in a box

Season 5 Episode 8: The one with all the Thanksgivings

Season 6 Episode 9: The one where Ross got high (the infamous half trifle half shepherds pie is created)

Season 7 Episode 8: The one where Chandler doesn’t like dogs (and Ross hates ice cream)

Season 8 Episode 9: The one with the rumor

Season 9 Episode 8: The one with Rachel’s other sister (crazy plate lady is born)

Season 10 Episode 8: The one with the late Thanksgiving

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Coming in at a close second to Friends in the Thanksgiving department, HIMYM gave us some pretty incredible holiday memorabilia. They feature a dedicated TG episode in 5 of the 9 seasons and none of them disappoint us even a little. Here are the top moments:

Season 1 Episode 9: Belly Full of Turkey

Season 3 Episode 9: Slapsgiving (the episode that gave us “You Just Got Slapped,” lyrical moment of the century)

Season 5 Episode 9: Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the slaps

Season 6 Episode 10: Blitzgiving (the turturkeykey is invented)

Season 9 Episode 14: Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra

flat screen television

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

GOSSIP GIRL

Nobody serves up just desserts better than GG, especially if it’s Thanksgiving and someones checking into the Ostroff Center. Whether it’s a Van Der Woodsen inviting a “bump in,” or a Humphrey screwing everyone over, secrets will come out. Check out our top picks:

Season 1 Episode 9: Blair Waldorf must pie!

Season 2 Episode 11: The Magnificent Archibalds

Season 3 Episode 11: The Treasure of Serena Madre (the episode that gave us the greatest dinner scene in television history, and the most memorable 4 minutes: 19:34-23:11)

Season 6 Episode 8: It’s Really Complicated (the one where Nate punches Dan in the face…FINALLY)

NEW GIRL

Vinas, New Girl kind of came out of nowhere and unexpectedly gave us one of the most heartwarming and hilarious shows in television history. When it aired in 2011, I don’t think anybody had any idea that this show was going to produce 5 TG episodes that give Friends a run for its money. Ok, nobody can outdo Friends, we know, but this is a pretty good attempt.

Season 1 Episode 6: Thanksgiving (the one that gave us a play within a show, “Big Time”)

Season 2 Episode 8: Parents

Season 3 Episode 10: Thanksgiving III

Season 4 Episode 9: Thanksgiving IV (or otherwise known as “bangsgiving”)

Season 6 Episode 7: Last Thanksgiving

THE OC

It’s been 12 years and I think we’re all still crying about the ending of The OC. But in the haze of Chrismukkah, some of the most eventful TG moments got swept away. Yep, that’s right! The OC actually does have holiday episodes that don’t revolve around Seth Cohen’s made up (none the less iconic) celebration.

Season 1 Episode 11: The Homecoming

Season 4 Episode 3: The Cold Turkey

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

While these shows don’t have a laundry list of Thanksgiving gold like the aforementioned, we think their holiday moments are still totally worth the watch.

One Tree Hill Season 8 Episode 9: Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace

90210 Season 4 Episode 10: Smoked Turkey

Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 12: Taking This One to the Grave

The Office Season 7 Episode 9: WUPHF.com

Full House Season 1 Episode 9: The Miracle of Thanksgiving

The Vampire Diaries Season 6 Episode 8: Fade Into You

Download Hey! VINA to find a binge-watch vina for all your holiday hibernating!