When those Christmas Presents are Found Early

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Once upon a time there was a mom who found the coolest gifts for her spunky little man. The mom was doing such a great job keeping them hidden in the midst of packing boxes for a big move, until one day when the mom needed to move everything and somehow left one a gift lying out. The kid had superhero duplo radar and immediately sprinted to the box. He then held up the box and begged for me to open it for him.

It was the best thing that could ever have happened.

There are a lot of things that happen on Christmas morning. Paper is flying everywhere, squeals and omg’s, everyone is cherishing what was under the tree, but something is missing. The pure joy of watching someone give 100 percent of their attention to one thing and one thing only. On Christmas morning as magical as it is, your child’s attention span is minimal. With Logan finding this gift, one that I knew he would love, I got to watch him play for hours with just one toy.

So while I still am a firm believer of the gasp and large doe eyes on Christmas morning, Logan finding this one gift made me more of a believer that kids don’t need more than what their heart desires, undivided attention during a super secret superhero mission.

Dear Santa,

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It’s the most magical time of the year, Christmas! I love that people are more willing to give. I love that people are more willing to love and love fiercely. I love that family and friends come together to create their traditions which may or may not be an extension of what they did when they were little.

One of those amazing traditions is writing Santa. I still believe in Santa; he represents magic, hope, and faith. Santa brings out the child in all of us. I don’t know about you, but becoming Santa is probably the best thing since being a mom. Logan adores Santa and when it was time to write our letter we packed up the car headed to Hobby Lobby and searched for the perfect paper and stickers. I save all Logan’s Christmas Lists and put them in an ornament at the end of the season. One day, when he becomes Santa, I am going to give him his Dear Santa letters.
His letter went a little something like this (just in case you can’t read his “writing”).

Dear Santa,

My name is Logan, and I am 3 years old. This year for Christmas I would like a Superman Cape, a Batman Cape, M&Ms, and Tacos. That’s all. I will leave cookies.

Love, Logan

p.s. Would you like to have dinner with me?

Sign, Sealed, and Delivered — The letter is on it’s way to the North Pole.

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When Ten Dollars Makes a Difference

Giving 10 Dollars

How many times do you get caught up in thinking to give back it has to be grand? For me, it was all too often. The industry I work in carries a lot of zeros behind a paycheck, of course not the case for me, but the crowd I am around are very wealthy folks. I watch them give and contribute things I could only dream about. It started to take a toll on my “I can help too” attitude, because really what was I accomplishing with a bag of food here, and buying one-dollar chocolate bars from co-workers kids?

Then I met Jayden. I was having dinner at Chipotle with Logan, and I overheard a guy talking to the table near me, he asked if he could have whatever they didn’t finish eating. As he walked away, the table laughed at him. I watched as he walked to the corner to take a seat. Once the table behind me was done, they put their garbage in the trash, walked by Jayden and told him to get a job. Jayden looked down, waited until they left, and went over to the trash can to try and salvage food. That is where I drew the line; he was hungry, and people laughed at him. I invited him over to my table; Logan said hi, and I asked him why he thought he deserved food out of a trash can. His response “because ma’am, it’s free, and I don’t have any money.”, then I asked him why he didn’t ask me for my food, “because ma’am, you were with your kid, and I didn’t want to scare you.” He was hungry but didn’t want me to feel uncomfortable.

Since I was finished with my food, I told him to hold on. Logan and I bought him a $10 dinner, with a side of gift card for more when he needed it. “You don’t know what this means to me; this is huge.” A $10 meal was huge in his life. Which made me realize that a small act really can make a difference.

Fast-forward a couple of months; I was thinking about what one could do to make a difference with a nominal amount. So I brainstormed with my team, and we came up with a $10 challenge. The rules were simple; you spent $10 and $10 alone (tax not included) to buy as many school supplies as you could, take a photo, submit it for the pride, not prize contest. Nine people took the challenge, and we choose back to school because of the timing. We had three garbage bags worth of stuff. So while I only gave $10 worth of supplies, together we gave $90 worth of pencils, notebooks, glue, etc. and since it was on clearance, we raked in so many more items.

We donated to a local title one school, and the teacher was thrilled. It was like Christmas to her, and she couldn’t wait to share with her students and fellow teachers. So I guess it goes to show that if you want to make a difference, you just have to do it. It may not touch everyone’s lives; it may not touch a big groups life, but it will touch someone’s life. And isn’t that what it is all about?

With the holiday season upon us, how could you and your friends help a great cause with just $10 each?

What Five Years of Blogging Taught Me.

Five years ago I celebrated my 25th birthday. I clicked publish on my very first blog post. And then I grew up, and I grew up in front of people I never met. A few things I didn’t realize when I began blogging was how much I would grow. Let me tell you; it was a lot.

When I began blogging, I felt that I was a great fit to be a fashion blogger, but quickly found out that I didn’t have the money to buy new, fresh, and on-trend fashions continually. So, I thought, how about blogging about fitness. I started Lazy Girl Fitness, but it wasn’t my passion because I didn’t know what my passion was. So then I had a baby, and I thought “ah-ha” I’ll be a mommy blogger, let me tell you how that worked out (hint: it didn’t). Then I had some bumps and bruises in my personal life and decided it was time to take a break.

The break was good for my mind, body, and soul. I’m invigorated to be able to write this blog post, one of the first blog posts I’ve published in the past six months.

I continually visited my blog hoping to have the inspiration to write again, but it wasn’t there. Then one morning it hit me, I don’t feel inspired because I wasn’t honest with myself. I started VioletSage to give a voice to my inner devil and angel, to inspire someone hopefully, or at the very least put out in the universe that I’m going through the same thing everyone else is, just on my path.

Looking back here is what blogging has taught me.

1. People Change, Including you.

As you go through your day-to-day, in most cases you don’t notice changes in your life unless they are huge. But, when you write your every day for all to read and follow you start seeing shifts in your personality. As I mentioned before, what I was when I first started is not the woman who is writing this now.

2. Villages Change Because You Don’t Remain the Same.

Many people say “Find your Village, Love your Village, and Live in your Village,” Honestly, though, sometimes that village changes. For me, I have one friend who has known me since I was 16, after that its sporadic, and now I feel that I have more connection to some of my blogger friends than I do people in my city. When you change, the people around you change too. It’s not sad; it’s a part of growth. I’m thankful for all of my past villages and treasure the time I had with them, but we are all in different places.

3. You May Pretend to be Someone Else, but…

Being who you are not will end up biting you in the ass. In my case, I tried to be what was popular in the blogging world, but I wasn’t real, and everyone could see right through it. It’s not about sponsorships, monetizing your “brand,” it’s about being genuine and honest with yourself. Then and only then you’ll succeed.

If anyone still reads VioletSage, my name is Meg, I have an amazing family, I work in a super fun field, and I am officially obsessed with red wine. Pleased to meet you! Can’t wait to chat.13669597_10208351762086325_2153133225214710974_n

That Giggly Butterfly Feeling When Buble Comes On!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go,
Take a look in the five-and-ten, it’s glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes that glow.

Cue heart swooning wrap in a blanket and binge watch Hallmark holiday movies season. It is time everybody, time for Christmas! Judge me as you will, but Buble starts making it through my Spotify playlists starting on November 1st, but now, it’s 100% Christmas music until December 25th at 11:59 pm.

This time of year is my favorite. It has also been one of the most stressful in times past, but luckily I’ve made some adjustments throughout the years, and now I’m going to share them with you.

1. When it comes to shopping.

Start saving on July 1st, pre-shop on November 15th, then pull the trigger during your four-day Thanksgiving break.

Saving in July. This gives you five months to put away additional funds to help you not feel stretched during November and December. When I started a few years ago, I only put $20 a week away and had $400 by the time I began to shop, but the amount you save is up to your budget.

Be like Santa, make a list and check it twice. This golden rule applies to everything in life, but during the holidays when your mind is in giving mode it can be the most important to stay on financial track.

Shop Online. There are so many consumer goods shoved into a store that your mind can become dazed and even with a list you wander and end up with things you don’t need to buy for Christmas. You can sometimes find a better deal online because you can find promo codes.

The only thing I don’t buy online is wrapping paper and bows. I love picking those out in person

2. When it comes to decorating.

Your home can look Pinterest worthy with minimal effort, and minimal cost. Long are the days where a house that has thrown up Christmas looks good.

Here is what I like to do.

Here is what I want to do.

3. When it comes to wrapping.

Choose a theme, something that you can mix and match (bows, paper, ribbon, and tags). I wrote about what I’ve done before; nothing has changed.

4. When it comes to cooking.

Crockpot as much as you can. I mean it! During the holidays there are so many experiences that are out there, cooking should be the last thing on your mind after a long days work. Soups, Meats, and even Cinnamon Rolls on the weekends will make decking the halls and enjoying the season so much easier.

5. Experiencing the season.

This one is easy. Since everything else has been simplified, I can get up and get out to enjoy everything the season has to offer. We have time to skate the rink at the mall because we don’t have bags to lug around from shopping. We have the ability to walk around the stores and see their window displays because we are not focused on stopping to buy gifts every two seconds. We can drive around the neighborhood and see lights, dance around the house to jingle bells, and overdose on chocolate chip cookies.

Santa only comes once a year, and these years the suspense is real. Logan is now officially a Christmas junkie. Here is to enjoying everything Christmas has to offer! You can follow me on Instagram or Snapchat: MeghanBaylee – I can’t wait to see your holiday season either.

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

Ever since Logan was born holidays have taken on a whole new meaning. A heart exploding life is good holiday meaning. Thanksgiving is always a nerve wracking holiday for us. Logan’s eye checkup falls the Monday before Thanksgiving every year. We road trip to California, barely sleep, get to the hospital too early, and hold Logan a little tighter.

I am happy to report we are still cancer free and no changes to Logan’s eye are present. Which means this Thanksgiving was full of laughter, food, and football.

Every year we have our annual Gobble Bowl. A toss the ball around pray you get picked on Logan’s team, so you win Football game. You can watch this year’s here. After football we invite tons of people to our house to eat and toast the night away. I was so wrapped up in celebration this year I didn’t take a picture of our dinner, but it wasn’t blog worthy because I cook it upside down to keep it super juicy.

Things I am Thankful For:

Health
Family
Friends
Anyone who reads this blog
The Santa at the End of The Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade
Red Wine

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family

I turned 30, so I decided to write a letter to my 20’s self.

To my 20’s self,

Happy Birthday. You are now 20 years old. You’ve been thinking about being in your 20’s for a while. It would finally mean that you can do more, be more, and see more. People will finally look at you as a grown up and you can make significant strides in your life.

While this is true, these will also be some of the most challenging and stressful days of your life. You will have all the gumption in the world, and you will think you know all you need to know about life, career, family, and finances. Spoiler alert; you will be knocked on your ass more times than you can count.

You will be laid off, broken down, sick, depressed, and feel like your world is crumbling around you more than one. But, it is all going to be okay. Stop and enjoy being young.

It’s okay to max out your credit card to see the Yankees play in the old stadium before they tear it town. It’s okay to fall madly in love when society tells you that you are too young. It’s okay to fail at a job because you will succeed moving forward.

Your frustration will lay within your expectations of yourself. And, it’s okay that you have set the bar high, just try to roll with it sometimes (even though I know you won’t). You’re going to feel the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. You will see others be given hands up when you’re just trying to get by. Every single thing that you go through is going to make your smarter, stronger, and more adaptable to the next situation.

You’re going to meet people who will become lifelong friends. You will meet people for the time and place you are. Learn from both kinds of friendships and know they are equally as important.

You will experience office politics, and a rumor that will shake your confidence, make you angry, and show you that you can fight back and come out stronger if you just keep turning up.

Spoiler alert, you are going to meet your heart, he will only be 7 pounds and will take you on the wildest ride of your life. You won’t sleep, you won’t eat, you’ll worry too much, you’ll stress out, you’ll feel so much guilt, and you’ll be so deep in love it won’t matter one little bit.

If I can give you one final piece of advice through your 20’s, it’s to open up and trust a little more. Yes, your teens broke you, but if you let a handful of people through, your life will open up in ways you never thought possible.

Enjoy the cake and vodka – it won’t mix as well later in life.

Love always,

You on your 30th birthday

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