Attempting To Plan A Holiday Season With My Significant Other

Attempting To Plan A Holiday Season With My Significant Other

I'm new to this whole "relationship during the holidays" thing, and I just don't get how it's supposed to pan out.
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Not only is it the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the time most people find themselves being cuffed.

Yes, boys and girls, it's cuffing season. For many, that means finding their seasonal bae to walk through pumpkin patches with, or drink hot cocoa by the fire, or kiss under the mistletoe. But for some, it ends all too soon, just as the holidays come to an end.

I was lucky enough to beat the start of cuffing season, by getting cuffed towards the end of the spring. At that time, it wasn't getting cuffed, it was getting into a relationship, which happened at a time that I thought I was going to be alone forever, as a form of karma.

Now that I have a boyfriend, Brandon, it will be my first holiday season with a significant other. When I was little, that meant spending every waking moment with that person, decorating Christmas trees, riding around in a horse-drawn carriage through a snowy forest, and kissing each other as the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve. Oh, how wrong was I.

Brandon and I have been trying to plan our holidays together since October. He hails from Winter Park, a good four hour drive from my hometown, Miami. Well, apparently, it's hard to defy the law of physics and be in two places at once for the holidays.

My family is split, so I used to live with my mom and stepdad, and visit my dad and stepmom on the weekends. For the holidays, it would switch off as to whose house I would be at for whatever holiday. I usually spent Christmas Eve (Noche Buena, which means "The Good Night") with my mom's side, then Christmas morning I'd open presents with her, go to mass, and then rush to my father's house to open presents with my little brother. My boyfriend's family is also split, so he's known the struggle of racing to one parent's house with his brother to open presents and spend some time with them for the holidays.

Now, as "grown-ups", we have to decide how to spend the holidays with four families, in two different cities, while also abiding by our work schedules. Brandon has only been given eight days off for the entire holiday season, none of which match up with what we had planned for the holidays. We have to plan to spend time in Winter Park with his mother and father, respectively, then drive to Miami to spend time with my mom and dad, just the same. Meanwhile, we'd be traveling with a car full of presents for each other and our families.

I've begun to wonder how couples who are from different cities, sometimes different states, manage to spend the holidays together. It must be a lot of compromise. Although Brandon and I are rather good at that, we're still trying to figure out how we can spend equal time with the multiple parties while still enjoying time with each other.

I've never had a serious boyfriend for such an important time of year, and it seems that planning any kind of time together and with family is going to be quite the challenge. I applaud those that have figured out a way to see family and their significant other over the holidays. I wish their wisdom and planning skills would rub off on me.

Even though this is all very stressful and rather exhausting, I couldn't have asked for a more special person to share this time with. The holidays are a time to reflect upon all that you have, and all that you are blessed with, and I am blessed with Brandon. I'm sure our holiday season will turn out just right.

Cover Image Credit: Elisa Nuñez-Rodriguez

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19 Things To Do On Your 19th Birthday

You only turn 19 years old once, so spend the day doing these awesome things!
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Nineteen isn't a fantastic birthday. It is not your 18th birthday where you can start saying, "I'm legal," it's not your 16th birthday when you can have a Sweet 16 birthday party and it is not your 21st birthday where you can finally drink legally.

So here are 19 things that you can do to celebrate your 19th birthday and make the most of it.

1. Sleep in.

Unless you need to wake up early for something, don't set your alarm. Catch up on your sleep and relax for the morning. Enjoy waking up and not having a place to be.

2. Make yourself a nice breakfast.

You only turn 19 once, so make sure it is a good breakfast to start your day off right. Make yourself some eggs, toast, bacon and a nice cup of coffee.

3. Go get a manicure.

It is your birthday; make sure you treat yourself right! You deserve to be pampered on your birthday!

4. Go to the beach.

There is nothing better than getting some sun on your birthday! Enjoy the warm weather and the heat. Swim in the water and soak up some sun.

5. Go to an amusement park.

For those of you who like the thrill of roller coasters, an amusement park is the way to go. Ride roller coasters and eat some fried dough with your friends.

6. Have a party.

This is the most common way to celebrate your birthday. Invite friends to come over and make food. Spend your birthday surrounded by friends and family.

7. Have a bonfire.

This is what I love to do on my birthday. Surround yourself with your best friends, enjoy some s'mores and sit around the fire.

8. Go on a hike.

For the nature lovers, this is the ideal way to spend your birthday. Grab a friend and go to the Adirondack mountains and spend the day hiking.

9. Buy yourself something nice.

That pair of boots you've been staring at for the last two months or that Michael Kors wallet you've been dreaming of? It's your birthday! Go buy it. You deserve it.

10. Have a movie night.

Invite a couple friends over, make some popcorn and have movie theater candy on hand. Watch a couple movies and eat some snacks with your best friends.

11. Call up an old friend.

I'm sure that old friend has been thinking of you too, so why not give them a call? See if they want to go out and get lunch with you.

12. Buy some lottery tickets.

Who knows? Your birthday could end up being your lucky day. Maybe you'll lose all of your money, but maybe you could win some back too.

13. Go to a concert.

What is better than music on your birthday? Hopefully there will be some good music groups in town during your birthday.

14. Bake a cake.

If you love to bake, then make a birthday cake! Decorate it all specially and put your favorite colors and flavors of frosting on it.

15. Do something on your bucket list.

At one point or another, all of us have made a bucket list. Take it out and find something on your bucket list that you can cross off and complete!

16. Spend your day with family.

Enjoy your day surrounded by your family. They will know exactly what to do for the day and how to make sure your birthday is a good one.

17. Visit your favorite place.

Whether you love going to the zoo and seeing the animals, or there is a nearby city that you love going to, spend the day there.

18. Get a haircut.

It is a new year and a new you! Get a haircut!

19. Do something you love doing.

Whether you love reading or love to run, spend the day doing whatever it is you love. It is your birthday and you should spend the day doing what you love.

Cover Image Credit: Cross Cards

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Why I've Never Not Had A Valentine

It's the day of love. It does not mean it has to be romantic.

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If my memory serves me correctly, I have always had a valentine. By that, I don't mean that I have had a boyfriend every single year since I was five.

In Spanish, Valentine's Day is also referred to as "Dia del Amor y la Amistad", which translates to the day of love and friendship. I'm not a big fan of the holiday, because to me someone should show me love every single day, not only one specific day because "everybody else is doing it".

On that note, however, I have always had a valentine. In elementary school, we celebrated the holiday and everyone was each other's valentines. Even that girl (the one who stole your game that you won on Friday because you accumulated enough points to pick it from the prize box) would be your valentine.

In middle school, my grandpa or dad would get me those little chocolate hearts, which are about a dollar at Walmart. I don't recall ever going without one. Then, the next day they'd take me to stock up on candy because of price drops!

In high school, once my friends got their driver's licenses and part-time jobs, we'd finish classes and go to Highway 55 and celebrate Galentine's Day or stock up on cheat day food and go to the park. This year we've all gone our separate ways. We've gone to different schools and maybe communication was just lost, but I'm so thankful for the memories I have with everyone.

This year I'm my own valentine, (which no, it is not shameful) because I learned to love myself enough to celebrate it with myself. Love doesn't always have to be romantic, it does not always mean dinner dates and engagement proposals. Love means calling your mom, your dad, or grandma and wishing them a happy Valentine's Day. It means telling your friends that you're proud of them.

Love means recognizing yeah, it's been a hell of a week, but you got through it. Valentine's Day sometimes means going to your nearest Target, grabbing a bottle of cocktail juice, and putting on a face-mask while catching up on your favorite TV show. Valentine's Day is so generalized to be about romantic love that some people feel alone. You really shouldn't.

If you feel alone, just remember someone loves you for you and maybe it's not your time for romance. If that doesn't help, then I count as your valentine.

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