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Issue #38: Embrace the Small – But Make It Festive ✨

via @bbbliteration

From Gill:

Today I looked at my calendar and realized that Thanksgiving is next week. And thought, Huh. 🤷

I thought I’d be overwhelmed with sadness. This is normally when I’d be in whirlwind prep mode for our beloved Friendsgiving dinner – making lists, assigning dishes, getting creative with seating (it’s always just a wee bit snug with 20 people packed into our apartment’s not-huge living room).

But we decided months ago that we would have to cancel this year’s festivities, so I grieved about it then, along with all the other pandemic-scrapped plans. And now I feel… fine, I guess?

I’ve mostly accepted that the holidays will look different this year. I’m sad to forego annual traditions and be far from my family. But with so many things out of my control, I’m trying to focus on what I can do – and hope that this year’s sacrifices will let us celebrate safely in person next year.

Here are some things I’m doing to make this Thanksgiving feel special, despite it all:

Embrace the small. Brian and I are going to make a scaled-back Thanksgiving meal just for us – which will definitely include way more mashed potatoes and stuffing than is reasonable for two people. Cocktails, comfy clothes, fewer dishes, all the leftovers.

Connect. I know some folks are doing Zoom dinners (and Zoom is even lifting its 40-minute time limit for free meetings on Thanksgiving Day). That’s not really my jam, but if it’s yours, I love that journey for you! I do hope we can catch loved ones for quick FaceTime chats throughout the day.

Take time off. I’ve lived outside the U.S. for almost a decade, and it can be tempting to treat Thanksgiving like just another weekday. We usually have our Friendsgiving on a Saturday since Thursday isn’t a Spanish holiday. This year I plan to take Thursday and Friday off completely for a real long weekend – no work, no email, no guilt.

Express gratitude. This is a tough year. And I have a lot to be grateful for. I want to find a few small ways to channel that gratitude into action this holiday – reflecting on my Three Good Things, donating to an org doing work I care about, reaching out to people I love, maybe even writing some snail mail thank-you notes if I feel like getting really wild?

How are you making Thanksgiving special in this strange year? Hit reply and let me know what you’re looking forward to 💕

🎙 Latest Episodes: 

Pressing the Reset Button

Anyone else still feeling wound up and anxious after the election? 🙋‍♀️

We’ve all been through a lot in 2020 – especially the last few weeks. It’s time to press the reset button to renew our energy and hope. We share how seven key strategies from the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski – including movement, laughter, and creative expression – are helping us move through built-up stress.

Thriving with ADHD, with Dr. Michelle Frank

Melia shares surprising news: she was recently diagnosed with ADHD, at age 40 😲  ADHD is often missed in girls and women – and a big misconception is that it’s limited to physically hyperactive boys.

Melia talks about her experience, we debunk five common myths around ADHD, and we interview Dr. Michelle Frank, a clinical psychologist who co-wrote a workbook for women with ADHD.

👉 Steal This Tip: Differentiate between stress and stressors.          

A stressor is a thing that is causing you stress – the pandemic, your job, your kids’ virtual learning, your worries about your family’s safety, etc. A lot of stressors are out of your control, but you don’t have to wait for the stressors to go away before you can feel better. You deal with the stress caused by the stressors by completing the stress response cycle. Learn how.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

via @JulieAbridged & @richardmarx

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia:

From Gill: 

  • Yay, Dan!
    I’m a recent Schitt’s Creek convert (at Melia’s enthusiastic rec), and while I love the entire cast so much, Dan Levy has a special place in my heart. He’s so talented and hilarious and very much himself. He’s making his debut in People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue this year, and his interview is a delight. I also can’t wait to watch Hulu’s upcoming holiday rom-com, Happiest Season, in which he has a supporting role alongside Kristen Stewart, McKenzie Davis, Alison Brie, and Mary Steenburgen.

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Game-Changer for a Stressful Year and Beyond
    Gill and I talked in our last episode about how much we were learning from Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by twin sisters Emily & Amelia Nagoski. I’ve since finished the book, and it’s now among my top 5 life-changing books. I’ve been consciously completing stress cycles daily with guitar and dance breaks (a perk of WFH), deep breathing, and 20-second hugs. I felt both ragey and empowered listening to the Bikini Industrial Complex chapter, about how companies make billions when we feel bad about our bodies. I’ve adopted “the new hotness” as my new self-accepting mantra for whatever I see when I look in the mirror. It’s a great complement to “Silver Vixen” (the female version of Silver Fox) when I spot gray hairs.

    I recommend the audiobook, which the sisters read with enthusiasm and humor, and audiobooks in general because I finish so many more books when I can listen as I clean, cook, drive, or exercise.

From Gill: 

  • It's the Small Things 
    We’re both huge fans of Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s research-based approach to strengthening relationships. The books Eight Dates and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work are SO GOOD. I just discovered The Gottman Institute's newish podcast, Small Things Often. Each episode is less than five minutes long and explores a small way you can turn toward your partner every day, because, “Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Creamy Salmon Chowder
    I’ve never looooved fish and mainly eat it because it’s good for me. The other day I bought a large bag of salmon filets, not realizing that we already had one in the freezer. This prompted Darren to sing, to the tune of “Sugartime”: “Salmon in the mornin’, salmon’ in the evenin’, salmon at suppertime. When Melia’s buying salmon, we’re gonna have salmon all the time.” (Side note: It blew his mind that this tune was from a real song and not just an 80’s Bagel Bites commercial.) He put a dent in our abundant supply by making creamy salmon corn chowder with red potatoes and dill, which was rich and comforting in this cold weather.”

From Gill: 

  • Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
    This vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe is an excellent way to indulge my constant craving for mashed potatoes, while also consuming a few other vegetables for good measure. I usually use fresh or frozen mushrooms plus a bag of frozen mixed veggies. Depending on my mood, I’ll top the dish with traditional mashed potatoes (this Instant Pot recipe 😍) or mashed sweet potatoes.

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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