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My Favorites of 2011

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I’m still living off the happiness of Christmas but I’m also looking forward to the New Year’s celebration. Side note: this year is especially special because my parents are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary on January 2. But as I was saying, I love this week because it is a time back while simultaneously looking forward. So while looking back, I hope you’ll walk down memory lane this year, looking at your happiest and favorite memories. Here are some of mine to get you started!

Favorite Movie: I just saw “We Bought a Zoo” last night but this was a lovely, feel-good movie. This movie is a must-see; from the animals to the characters, this movie was outstanding.

Favorite Book: “Think” by Lisa Bloom. This book changed my life and I think every girl should read it. Here’s my interview with her here.

Favorite Story of the Year: I loved working on the story of Rachel Beckwith. As tragic as it was that this little girl passed away, her wish for clean water was far surpassed when her cause raised over a million dollars. Here’s her story in more detail.

Favorite Food: I’m all about the breakfast croissants.

Favorite Trip: I loved going to Washington D.C. this year with my mom. I’ve wanted to go on this trip for a long time and seeing our nation’s history meant so much to me. That was an unforgettable trip. There are three separate blogs on this trip, so you can see them here, here, and here.

Favorite New Experience: Snowmobiling! I had the BEST time trying this out in January. Definitely making plans to head back to the snow this year! Here’s what I had to say about that!

Favorite Song: “Walking on Sunshine.” This song always makes me happy when I hear it—always.

Favorite TV show: This is a tie between Glee and Once Upon a Time. I’m not a big TV junkie but I always settle down to these shows when I’m stressed out.

Favorite Memory: Getting my Disney internship! That was my Christmas present this year. I talked a little bit more about it here.

Favorite Person to Meet: Bill Nye the Science Guy. After growing up watching him in seventh grade biology class, I loved getting to spend some time with the science guy. Here’s my experience in more detail.

What were some of your favorite memories this year?

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Please follow me on Twitter by clicking here

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

What I Learned this Christmas

I got to practice what I preached yesterday. I had an interesting talk with my dad at the end of the day about presents and how much they really add to our happiness. I came to the conclusion that in much of middle class America, many of us may not necessarily be happier to receive gifts, however, I think we would be unhappy if we didn’t get what we wanted. It’s like we need the gifts to just be at baseline. They don’t necessarily make us happy, yet without them, we would be unhappy. Coming to this idea, my dad said that people who lived this way are going down are dark path of which there is no happiness—it’s never enough.

We then talked about the people who would trade away all the presents in the world for certain things—certain things that are so easily taken for granted until we have them taken away. People who are sick would probably sacrifice all the pairs of pajamas and purses in the world if they could be healthy again. Or people who have no family, few friends, and no love in their life, they would probably give up all the gifts they could get if it meant they would have someone to share their life with.

When my dad told me all of this, all the petty concerns of presents seemed to fade away. It really doesn’t matter—these things are simply that, just things. They don’t have a spirit to them, they don’t make us healthy or truly happy, and they don’t give us company. Learning all this meant a lot this Christmas and I hope I will remember this for the rest of my life. I’m grateful for my dad who reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas.

What did you learn this Christmas?

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Please follow me on Twitter by clicking here

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

What’s Your Christmas Wish?

The holidays are about more than this.

I always love starting my day by watching The Today Show. I was watching a segment on families who lost their homes this past year in Texas due to tremendous wildfires. Of course the Today Show saved the day partnering with Walmart to give a Christmas surprise to two families. It was so touching to watch one little girl’s face light up when she received a new Barbie Doll, something that she had previously lost in the fire. Seeing acts of love like this is what Christmas is all about.

We may get wrapped up in what’s wrapped up under our tree sometimes but if we look closely, we’ll remember that this season is about so much more. It’s about celebrating health, love, and strong family ties. I hope this Christmas you get what’s on your wish list—but I hope your wish list includes more an iPad or a new pair of boots. We have so much to me thankful for—so much that can’t necessarily be tied in a bow but still, these are much more meaningful presents if you ask me.

This year my personal wish for Christmas is that I will get along well with my parents (it’s always an adjustment after coming home from college!) and that I will be as much of a help as possible when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. I can’t believe how fast the holidays have come upon us this year but I hope you’ll make the most of the time you have left. With so many people wishing you “Happy Holidays,” don’t you think it’s only fair that you feel happy?

In these last two days before Christmas, I hope you are truly happy spending time with family and friends.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Please follow me on Twitter here!

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook