I truly hate malls and at Christmas I will not step foot in one for any reason whatsoever, and you will NEVER catch me getting up at 4 a.m. to stand in line outside some store's doors.

I do ALL of my holiday shopping online these days - most of it at my own Gift Stores (links below!) . Let's face it, why should I waste gas driving to a mall, deal with finding a parking place, shove through crowds of rude and/or slightly insane bargain hunters to grab some so-called "deal" of a piece of imported, mass produced crap? Then after I shell out my hard earned cash for that crap I still have to box it up and schlep it to the Post Office, wasting even more gas, and stand in a line to mail it out!

Holiday Shopping in this day and age has become an unpleasant, stress filled miserable experience, not at all like the Christmas shopping I remember from my youth. Once upon a time the shopping experience was almost as much fun as the exchange of the actual gifts! My family looked forward to the Holiday shopping almost as much as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a family outing, much like getting the Christmas tree. Our whole Thanksgiving weekend was like what they call a "staycation" these days.

Thursday, of course, was the big food day where we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on television as the wondrous smells of turkey, baking pies and home made rolls wafted through the house. We ate our dinner early in the afternoons so poor Mom was always up before dawn in the kitchen cooking away most of the day. She would come out to enjoy a bit of the parade during moments of cooking hiatus. Later the sounds of football games filled the air as we helped Mom clean up. The rest of Thanksgiving Day was pretty much spent in a Turkey coma - pumpkin and minced pies were served during the Holiday specials on TV. Charlie Brown and Burl Ives will always make me think of pumpkin pie.

Friday was NOT our shopping day, it was the day we went out as a family, bought our tree then came home to decorate it. (There were no deals on that Friday. In those days the stores weren't living in fear of bankruptcy, there were no sales until after Christmas and the Friday after Thanksgiving was the start of retail profitability!) I think this was my Mom's favorite day of the weekend, she truly loved our Christmas Trees. She insisted on the same kind of tree each year, a Douglas Fir. She wanted that smell that only a real live tree brought to the holiday season. We would play Christmas music during the trimming of the tree and every year Mom would yell at Butthead and me for throwing big clumps of the aluminum tinsel at the tree! Mom wanted that tinsel draped strand by strand, lol. We had turkey sandwiches, home made cookies and enjoyed the experience of unpacking the traditional ornaments we hadn't seen in a year. Then when it got dark we all piled in the car and drove around looking at the Christmas lights on all the houses in town.

SATURDAY was the big shopping day in our family. The whole family would get dressed up and off we would drive Uptown to the Shopping District. All the department stores had wonderful window displays with animated Santas, Elves, Model trains running in and around Christmas trees, tons of beautifully wrapped boxes or maybe a Nativity scene or a tableau of a family opening presents. Does anyone else remember those wonderful window displays? This was my favorite part of the holiday and I looked forward to those every year.

Mom and Dad did another little shopping trip later in the week to procure the toys and gifts we had excitedly pointed out or asked Santa for, but this Saturday was our traditional "shopping day" complete with lunch out at a fancy restaurant!
We split off in groups in order to buy presents for each other in appropriate secrecy then meet back up for a cup of cocoa or some treat. This was also the day we got to sit on Santa's lap and whisper in his ear what we wanted for Christmas. It was a happy day of family, laughter and love.

Yes, Virginia, once upon a time Christmas Shopping was a Wonderland filled with sugar plum fairies and ho-ho-hos and not a Black Friday of Scroogism and corporate avarice. It was a time of giving to friends and family, sharing and magic that somehow got lost in the stampede of greed. In today's world Santa's naughty list is larger than his nice, Rudolph is now a celebrity spokesman for brand of sports clothing, the Elves are doing movies in Hollywood and the North Pole is in foreclosure.

So maybe you'll all forgive me if the idea of getting up before the crack of dawn, dealing with mall parking, getting pushed, shoved and maybe even trampled to death by the hoard crazed humanity for the sake of 80% off an item that was marked up 200% just doesn't quite seem like Christmas to me. I have opted out of the insanity. I would rather sit home, stay warm and cozy, click my mouse a few times and be done with it because Christmas shopping has become a chore and not a joy anymore. Ho Ho Ho even has a new meaning now.

Where did the term BLACK FRIDAY come from?

In shopping lingo the term Black Friday is the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red to being in the black financially. It originated somewhere in the early 1960s, during a time when stores kept normal business hours. Some say the name Black Friday was coined by the Philly Police Department in 1966 as a negative term for the traffic jams and mobs of people crowding the sidewalks.

Black Friday (aka the Fisk/Gould scandal) was also the name given to September 24, 1869 when two gold speculators tried to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange and caused a financial panic in the United States.

Reasonable Business Branding - Logos, Business Cards, Web Graphics: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS Holiday Shopping Made Easy - Happy Holly Daze for Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine's Day and all Special OccasionsShop for Martini Art & Gifts at The Martini Diva Boutique Carousel Corner ShoppingRANTORIUM EMPORIUM Shopping, Tees, Gifts for Snarky, Bitchy, Grumpy People Cocktail Napkin Wit, Wisdom & Happy Hour Humor ShoppingShop for Cool Tees & Gear for Normal Challanged Artists! TweetleBirdie - Shopping for Facebook, Twitter Tees, Gifts



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What to do with leftover Turkey

Thirteen Things to do With Leftover Turkey
  1. Have Turkey dinner again. . . and again and again and again. . .
  2. Feed it to the pets - chop it up, add some rice and make the cat and dog happy.
  3. Make a Sherry Turkey Pot Pie.
  4. Give everyone a doggy bag full of it.
  5. Grind it up, add some flour and water and sculpt a whole new turkey from it.
  6. Have a turkey food fight.
  7. Wrap it in foil and freeze it. You'll forget about it for six months but by then you can throw it away and blame it on freezer burn.
  8. Put it out for the wild animals.
  9. Make Turkey Soup
  10. Make Turkey Sandwiches
  11. Make Turkey Casseroles
  12. Make yourself a lot of martinis because you're gonna be sick of Turkey anything
  13. Just throw it away - you know you want to.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING - Enjoy your Turkey!!!

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Prices for originals starting at $25!


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Why I Started Painting Again - Digital Art vs. "Real World" Art

13 reasons why I started to paint the old fashioned way again:

Fifty years ago I knew I wanted to be an artist and my parents knew it too. If I didn't get my box of 64 Crayola Crayons for Christmas they were greeted with a crestfallen little artist in the making. No matter what else they might have given me or whatever Santa might have dragged down the chimney to stuff into my stocking if I didn't get my crayons it just wasn't Christmas!

I've spent all of my life with some form of art utensil in my hand, from crayons to pencils to brushes, and I have lived my life creating things with my imagination and my hands. In 1996 I got my first graphics software and became enamored of what could be done on a computer IF (and that's a big IF) you were an artist.

After I had to retire from the art shows because of back and hip problems I stopped painting "real world" art and concentrated on digital art. I love creating on the computer - don't get me wrong - I still love it and it's now my main creative outlet but I found myself missing the feel of a brush loaded with paint. The vibration of a pencil across paper and the sheer sensuality of mixing colors and pushing those lush hues across some form of canvas are a very elemental form of creativity - getting your hands covered in a rainbow of dabs and smears of paint somehow keeps you connected to the great Muse in a way that a Wacom tablet can't. So, I picked up my sable brushes and my number two pencils and got my hands dirty again after a long hiatus.

Here are my 13 reasons for painting without pixels again:
  1. There's nothing as gratifying as getting your hands dirty - especially with any kind of artist's paint or material.
  2. There is an almost cosmic connection to something out there that rules the lives of artists and this connection is strongest when you are closest to the actual materials that come from the Earth - graphite, oil, paper.
  3. I wanted to keep my skills before they faded away - that can happen if you don't stay tuned in and stay working.
  4. I love how I get physically connected to a real piece of art, how I transcend the physical world and become part of the art work. That is harder to do with a monitor and keyboard.
  5. I wanted a physical original - not something that existed only as dots of computer code.
  6. I love the experience of sitting in a studio with only the art and some music in the background.
  7. There's nothing like the ache you get from getting so involved with what you're doing you forget time and work too long - and you sleep like a damn baby those days.
  8. I love the smell of art materials - the smell of the wood in your pencil as you sharpen it, the smell of linseed oil.
  9. There's nothing as exciting as a big ass empty canvas or sheet of watercolor paper.
  10. There's a certain danger to doing art that doesn't have an "undo" feature. There's often no going back in "real world" art - especially watercolors.
  11. There's also a certain enjoyment of the emotionalism that comes from making a mistake you cannot correct with a keystroke - sometimes it's fun to rant and throw jars of paint!
  12. It's fun to mix paint and see the colors as they change and evolve.
  13. I now have Christmas presents that are one-of-a-kind originals.
I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - Georgia O-Keefe

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I LOVE my New Hand Painted Martini Glasses!

are now available for purchase - just in time for Christmas!

I am really happy with every one of my new Hand Painted, Original MARTINI GLASSES - I'm so excited about them I'm posting them on every one of my blogs, lol.

Check out what else you can do with them besides drink martinis in them:

To read all about them and get more information on how you can order a set check out my new blog dedicated just to my original paintings and creations - The Original Art of Pop Art Diva.

or you can go right to my New Etsy store where I sell the glasses as well as my one-of-a-kind pop art paintings:


and get ready to give yourself or a friend the gift of One-of-a-kind Happy Hours for years to come!


STUCK IN THE SIXTIES - Old Hippies Don't Pass Away, They Tye Die

Harold peaked as a political protester in college. He never quite understood the Sixties had come and gone. You know him, you've seen Harold or someone like him while you were out and about. If you notice him at all your first thought is probably, "wow, still stoned after all these years" or "OMG! Look at that hippie - I thought they were all dead!"

Harold is one of those poor, time challenged people who pine for "the good old days". He still smells like stale Maui Wowie smoke and patchouli, his closet consists mainly of tie dye from five decades of street vendor shopping, his home decor is reminiscent of Haight -Ashbury head shops and, yes, he still drives a VW and it's not one of the new, cute ones.

If people feel anything for Harold and his kind, it's probably pity. Maybe a bit of disdain is mixed in with the pity, maybe not, and they certainly don't envy him. But I wonder if maybe Harold might have the right idea. Is it possible he's found a way to be happy in an increasingly chaotic and unexpected life?

To Harold the world is still a place of peace, love and trail mix, not a landscape of tumbling economies, increasing stress and fear of the future. Harold ignored the future and stayed in a time and place where he felt safe, comfortable and at home. Harold's maybe not so pitiful after all.

I wonder what I did with my tie dye tees and hemp sandals?


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