It happened the other day.
I was just sitting down on my cozy couch with a steaming cup of tea, getting excited to binge watch episodes of Revenge, Scandal, and Parenthood, when I looked up at the TV and I saw it...right before my very eyes.
It was loud.
It was jolly.
It was red, white, and green.
It was a holiday commercial.
And those feelings of panic started to rise up into my chest. I was just getting excited about putting a light cardigan over my tank top. I still had an un-carved pumpkin on the front porch. I hadn't yet created the menu for Thanksgiving dinner and it's 20 days away, ahhhh!
Know the feeling?
The seasons are changing, it's getting darker and colder outside, and the holiday season (a time of joy and celebration) is just around the corner. And, if you're like me, you're starting to get those feelings of panic and stress coupled with the desire to put on your coziest socks and turn up the Mariah Carey holiday station on Pandora.
And, if you're like me, you want less of the icky panic and more of the steamy hot cider feel goodness this holiday season.
So this year, I'm pledging to do it differently.
Knowing that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner, I want all of us to get in a better mindset that has us feeling joyful and calm by the time the turkey is carved.
And the key to a happier mindset is gratitude.
You've heard Oprah rave about it and you've probably made a note to think about it more, but gratitude is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and boost happiness levels (we're talking happy hormones!) in your body.
Cultivating a grateful heart can be a total game changer this holiday season. So I want you to join me for a little experiment.
I'm calling it the 10-Day Gratitude Experiment.
For just 10 days, beginning November 17th, we'll do one simple daily task that will add up to a more meaningful and joyful experience this holiday season. And it's a social experiment, so we'll be sharing pictures of our experiences with each task on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #GratitudeExperiment.
Doesn't the name Handmade Bourbon Vanilla Extract sound so lovely, so artisanal, so much like a delicious, indulgent treat? That is the feeling I want people to feel when I give them one of my handmade gifts. I want it to feel delightful and meaningful with a touch of magic.
So, for those of you who are feeling ready to get an early start on holiday season gifts, this is an easy one. You can make it ahead, forget about it for a few weeks, and tie a bow on it before lovingly handing it over.
Handmade Bourbon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- Glass Bottle
Slice your vanilla bean down the middle, exposing the seeds. Then place the whole bean in a glass bottle. Pour the bourbon over the bean, filling it to the very top.
Place the bottle in a cool, dark cupboard for 4-6 weeks so the alcohol can extract the vanilla flavor from the bean. You'll see the color of the liquid darken over time, which will give you a good indication of when it's done.
When ready to use (or gift!) you have the option of removing the bean but I rather like the look of having it in the bottle. I find that the people I gift it to really enjoy being reminded of what it is they are using when they pull it out of the pantry.
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