My Family Killed Thanksgiving

My Family Killed Thanksgiving

And now we're going to cook it.
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For some families, Thanksgiving Day means the womenfolk in the kitchen and the menfolk watching football. For some families, the womenfolk and the menfolk both watch football. In some families, the cooking is carried out by whichever-folk are inclined and the football-watching is the same.

This is not so for my family.

My family is a family of contradictions, a family that will scream at the television during the Olympics and fight tooth-and-nail over where the best Mediterranean food in the Portland Metro area is (my grandfather insists that it’s in his kitchen, but the rest of us disagree).

My family takes Thanksgiving way too seriously.

Planning for Thanksgiving begins several months in advance. No one is exempt from cooking. Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is given some responsibility for the menu. The menu must be haggled over accordingly. Fights will be had over the contents of the stuffing, over what vegetable to cook and leave on a plate as the obligatory nod to health food. Little to no health food will be consumed.

Thanksgiving in my family is about consuming vast amounts of the tastiest, most fattening food in the shortest possible amount of time and falling into a coma shortly afterward. Blood has been shed over the making of pies. Every year, my grandfather will suggest that we cook duck instead of turkey. Every year, he will be voted down.

Once the menu is agreed upon — or more accurately, everyone gets tired of arguing about it and capitulates – it’s time to buy groceries. Sometimes we do this in groups. Other times, we go it alone. Both approaches have their drawbacks. There’s safety in numbers, but numbers will slow you down; a death sentence in Thanksgiving crowds. Alone, you’re vulnerable to being picked off by stressed-out moms with overfilled shopping carts.

Every year someone gets lost in the warrens of the grocery store and emerges an hour or two later, shell-shocked and missing several of the items they were supposed to purchase. Typical protocol is to castigate this person for being “weak” and “shaming the family” and send someone else in to retrieve the missing items.

Cooking commences early on Thanksgiving Day. Kitchen space is at a premium, and so are ingredients, because despite the exhaustive list-making and trips to the grocery store, something that someone needs will inevitably be forgotten. The person with the missing groceries will not leave the house again.

Rather, they will lurk in the kitchen, attempting to pilfer the missing ingredient from someone else’s stash. Guard your groceries, and your counter space, with your life. Don’t get involved with the queue for the oven. If possible, choose a dish that requires no baking time. You do not want to fight with the turkey for space. You will lose.

Somewhere in the cooking process, there is always a lull of sorts, as things bake and boil and simmer (and, in one memorable year, grill). Members of the family collapse onto the couches to rest, complacent. If you are wise, you won’t be fooled. Stay alert, because the last 20 minutes before dinner is served are the most hectic.

If you can survive the last-minute rush in my family’s kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday shopping will be a cinch. Not even a shopper stampede can compare to the feeling of nearly being bulldozed by the turkey on its way to the table.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and as you enjoy your idyllic family gathering, send up a prayer for those of us engaged in a culinary battle of wills. We envy your calm and peace.

But our food tastes awesome.

Cover Image Credit: room317 / Flickr

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19 Struggles Only Girls With The 'Looks Thin In Clothes But Not In A Bikini' Body Type Will Understand

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided one-pieces were cool again.
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We grew up thinking the world was black and white. There's tall people and short people. There's old people and young people.

There's fat people and skinny people.

But as you get older, you realize there is a lot more in between those two ends of the spectrum than you ever thought possible. Especially when it comes to weight. And you do a lot more realizing if you're in an awkward position on that scale... Literally.

1. People always tell you to stop saying you are fat

Obviously, your friends SHOULD prevent you from talking negatively about yourself. And if you only saw you when you were fully dressed, you'd probably tell yourself to stop saying you're fat, too.

2. And are kind of surprised by your actual weight

You've definitely had friends who are shocked by the number on your scale because you can carry it pretty well when you are fully dressed.

3. Sometimes you feel like a catfish

Have you ever changed out of your super cute, flattering outfit and looked at yourself in the mirror and thought... Wow, am I lying to people?

4. But you know this is probably true for most people

When you're wearing clothes, typically the parts of a body that bring about insecurities (stomach, namely) are covered. No matter the body type, you realize most people are more comfortable in clothes than out of them.

5. Your confidence is often contingent on the month

November? Yep, won't need to be in shorts or a bikini for about 7-8 months. I am good to go.

February? I'll need to be in a bikini soon.. I could use some work.

6. You are thrilled by the one-piece bathing suit making a fashion come back

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided it was time to give one-pieces a try again. The stomachs of us in-between gals are appreciative.

7. Crop tops are 95% of the time not your top of choice

Yeah, okay, clothes are supposed to work for me and not against me.

8. You honestly don't understand jean sizes

I have fluctuated in weight a lot of my life, most recently losing 25lbs, and I still did not budge in jean sizes.

9. You wonder what other people think when they see you

Do other people see me as thin in clothing? Or fat in a bikini? What size am I perceived as?

10. Shopping is kind of a nightmare

Have you ever found about 27 items you liked, added the prices and thought, ah, it is going to be so tough to choose from all of these items? Only to go into the fitting room and realize only 2 of the items fit you well? Yep, me every single time I go to the store.

SEE ALSO: 7 Struggles Of Being The Girl Who Is "Not Skinny" But Also "Not Fat"

11. You're thankful that at least you've got boobs

You can kind of hide them in clothes, and then let them steal the show away from your tummy in a swimsuit.

12. You have a hard time setting weight-loss goals

You aren't really sure how overweight you are (if you are, at all) and you don't want to be at an unhealthy weight on either side of the spectrum.

13. Body positivity comes and goes

There are days, weeks or even months when you feel like the most beautiful person on the planet, and then something happens (old jeans don't fit, you try on a new bathing suit, etc.) and you convince yourself that all of that confidence was wrong and undeserved.

14. You always try on the biggest size first

Either this or you're in a weird limbo between the smallest plus sizes size and the biggest generic sizes size.

15. Half of you knows every body is a bikini body, and half of you is convinced that yours is not

You know that your body is worthy of wearing whatever you want to wear, but looking at yourself and seeing what society (and you) sometimes deem as unattractive can eat away at that knowledge.

16. But you also know self-love and confidence are key to beauty

Even if you have to fake it, you know that feeling confident is going to carry you pretty far.

17. Being in a bathing suit is a constant game of readjustment

Okay, I am sitting. Pull the bottoms up to cover as much as my stomach as possible and the back of the top down to cover any back rolls.

18. You've avoided the mirror after a shower before

You know that you are just going to lose all the comfort you felt in your body during the day when you see yourself, so sometimes it is best to just avoid it.

19. Ultimately, you know your beauty is not contingent on what you are wearing

The goal for everyone should be to get to a point where it doesn't matter if you're in a snowsuit, a bathing suit or a birthday suit... You can see your beauty no matter what and feel confident despite what you have on. It'll take time, but falling in love with the way you look is worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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6 Ways To Start Pre-Gaming Your Summer Plans Today

A few ways to help you prepare for summer.

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Summer is coming sooner rather than later and we all need to get ready for it.

1. Start making trip plans now.

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If you are wanting to do a getaway over the summer, I would suggest starting to plan for the trip now. The closer you get to the time in which you want to go, the higher the prices of plane tickets and rooms go up. Also planning ahead gives you the chance to pinpoint exactly how you want to spend your trip and not waste your time. Nothing is worse than going on a trip and being stuck at the hotel the whole time because you have no idea what is our there for you to do.

2. Buy sunscreen.

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Do you really want to end up like her? I don't think so. Even if you are the type of person with the mentality that you will only be out in the sun for a short period of time, it doesn't matter. We all need sunscreen. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and we need to take care of it. Think of it this way, do you want to have sunspots when you're old? Or would you rather maintain your youthful appearance for as long as you can?

3. Find a new hobby.

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Let's be honest here for a minute, the majority of us do absolutely nothing over summer break and feel no guilt for it. I have done this several times over the years, and I now look back and realize all the time I wasted not learning or doing something new. If you are working full-time, have summer school, or a summer internship this does not apply to you unless you have the time to do so.

For the rest of y'all, get up and learn something. Learn how to knit. Take a kickboxing class. Try out new hiking places. Start learning another language, or continue practicing the one you learned in school at places where the language is commonly used. Get outside of your comfort zone!

4. De-stress and dispose.

You are so close to summer sometimes it stresses you out trying to get everything done. You need to realize that summer isn't going anywhere and you will get there eventually. Take a deep breathe and keep going. What I like to do is start throwing out the paperwork from this semester that I know I will never use again, don't want, and papers that I don't plan on using for the upcoming final. Disposing of those papers helps me visualize that the semester is almost over.

5. Buy a new swimsuit.

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Before you go out and buy a bunch of new swimsuits, try your old ones on first and see if they fit. Sometimes you just need a new top to match the bottoms that you already have or vice versa. Also, if you know that you are not going to buy a swimsuit for the pool or beach several times throughout the summer, don't waste your money on a new swimsuit. The one from last year that you never wore will do just fine.

Save Money

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The simplest way to understand it is no saving = no money to spend during summer. If you have all kinds of different trips and things you want to do that cost a fee, it would be wise to start saving up for all of your other expenses that you would normally have to pay per month like insurance, phone, or a car payment. I will be in the car payment category since I just bought a new one a few weeks ago.

That being said, my first car payment is due the week I am in New York. I don't want my New York money to be used for a car payment, so I've been taking extra shifts at work to compensate. I have also started going through my closet and selling the items I don't want anymore. There are several resale stores and places online for you to sell your unwanted clothes and other items to put some extra cash in your pocket.

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