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How to Pay Thankful Forward

My daughter asked me the other day what my favorite holiday was. Clearly hers is Christmas, though it was a toss up between that time the tooth fairy came and her birthday. She also rocks Valentine’s Day like it’s her job. Anyway, I told her that my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. I love everything about it. The food. The family. The football. The food. But this year, it’s a little more than that…

Amidst the chaos and mayhem that seems to be happening more and more frequently within a world so very close to home, I fear we are more saturated with sad than ever before. What happened in Paris is grossly disturbing and heartwrenching and I sat glued to the web just like everyone else. And in the days before and after and for the weeks prior and far into the future, we worry that the worst might happen.

And yet this world, namely our world, is so much more than the sad and the worry. It’s tradition and culture, it’s passion and crazy love. It’s doing what you were born to do, it’s praying with every fiber of your heart, it’s living your very best life. It’s having children that make you laugh, it’s having parents who cheer you on, it’s having friends that build the foundation of your every day. It’s getting a fancy coffee with someone who makes you smile, toasting a champagne with someone who gives you butterflies. And knowing that you have a warm bed to crawl into after the day has unleashed it’s fury. We are the lucky ones.

In all of today’s goodness, I hope that we take a moment to teach our children just how lucky we are. To show them what humanity really means. To take them with us as we help someone who might not get to cuddle up with the ones they love. Whether it’s through time spent in a soup kitchen or shelter, through a gifted brown bagged turkey sandwich and a piece of really good pie or in simply saying a meaningful family prayer for those affected by the Paris attacks. Let us all remember that not everyone is as warm, as cozy and as happy as we are right now. Pay it forward SMP-ers.


1. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or shelter. For a list of kitchens or pantries in your area, click here.

2. Bring a new toy to a local women’s, family or youth shelter. Toys don’t need to be reserved for Christmas, they will be so unexpectedly appreciated today.

3. Bring coffee and donuts to a local retirement community or nursing home. Or volunteer with the Holiday Project to coordinate companionship with those in nursing homes.

4. Annoynmously leave a basket of goodies – think scones or muffins, a great book, a pretty candle and some chocolate – at the door of someone you know who could use a pick-me-up.

5. Bring flowers to your neighbors. Grab a few grocery store blooms and cleaned out tin cans and deliver a smile to people that you love.

6. Donate to Paris through the French Red Cross.

7. Send a care package to the troops.

8. Have food delivered to someone who is housebound through meals on wheels. Doesn’t have to be today, can be any day, always a welcome gift. Better yet? Be a driver for a day.

9. Bring blankets to a homeless shelter.

10. Host a birthday party for a child who has never yet experienced the joy of new toys and birthday streamers.

Easiest Way Ever? Invite someone who you know is in need of a friend, to enjoy the evening and a slice of pie with you. It doesn’t take much to show gratitude.

Photos by: Ruth Eileen, White Loft Studio and SMP Living

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Things You Can Do Tonight for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and if you’re hosting tomorrow (and you’re anything like us), you’re probably freaking out. The good news is, there’s still plenty of time to tackle the bulk of your list and have a Thanksgiving that runs smooth-as-pie. Take six deep breaths, read our quick tips, and start checking things off- you’ve got this!

Things to Do Tonight for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
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Things to Do Tonight for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
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How to Mix + Match Patterns at Home

Mixing patterns is an art, and one that can be a little daunting to master. Polka dots and stripes? Totally. Florals and ikat? Definitely. Just like with anything else, practice makes perfect when it comes to finding patterns that work together. But, lucky for you, Abby Larson is sharing her expert tips and tricks to mixing and matching patterns like a pro!


More Pillows to Love

Super Stylish Throw Pillows
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Super Stylish Throw Pillows
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Videography: Elysium Productions