The Crush Letter No. 40

. 9 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife. Because honestly we've never been more confident, self-aware or empathetic.  We've earned these the hard way. And it's not hot.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Are you having a hard time swinging into the holiday feeling this year?  Me too.  If only I could stop reading the news.  (And if you are in the spirit, please send me your vibes.)  

But swinging into the holidays we are, dearest CRUSH Readers.  There is no stopping time.  Or the upcoming Winter Solstice.  So I put together a sort of "how do we acknowledge that they're here, but not be too saccharine or serious about them?" approach.  Wherever you are on the festive scale, I hope that some of these very good stories and articles by our wonderful Crush contributors help you find your cheer, or celebrate it.  Enjoy -

In This Letter.  +Leave the Husband, Bring the Cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla  Snowed in at the ex-husbands with him, your daughter and his girlfriend, Darla makes the best of an awkward situation.  +The Holiday Anti-Checklist. By Liza Lentini Doctor’s orders and boss’s projections aside, you’re good enough the way you are. +Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher An original reimagining of the traditional holiday festivities shines some glittering light on everything.  +How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude They’re the ones who arrive at a party understanding the assignment: to share a spark. Here's how.  +Effortless, Natural Holiday Makeup. By Lauren D. Weinstein Friends would gently tease that I must have come out of the womb wearing mascara and my signature, shimmery, bubblegum pink lip gloss.  +Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Mrs. Eaton's Mincemeat.  By Lynn Eaton.  Our resident Wiccan graciously shares a treasured family recipe.  +Our Song of the Week  Wishing you bright blessed days, dark sacred nights.

Snowed In

Leave the Husband, Bring the Cannoli.  By A.K.A. Darla

Snowed in without warning with her ex and his new partner the night before Christmas turned out to be one writer’s Christmas miracle.

One Christmas Eve at the crack of dawn, my ex-husband phoned to ask a favor.  He had broken his right foot while skiing the previous day and was unable to make the drive to pick up our daughter for their Christmas Eve visit. With urgency in his voice, he asked if I could bring our daughter to the suburban home he shared with his girlfriend and promised that his girlfriend would drive our daughter home that night. In the spirit of the season, I agreed.

Visions of sugarplums did not dance in my head. This would be my first time meeting the “GF” and I feared this would stress my daughter as much as it stressed me. Besides, her memories of me and her father together in the same room were not the happiest. Over breakfast, I explained the situation. She asked questions appropriate of a seven-year-old, then dressed in her new Christmas outfit, and we were on our way.

Continue Reading Here

How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party.  By Evie Arnaude

Want to be someone who’s invited to all the most sought-after soirées? We have the perfect cheat sheet for you.

A great guest list is much like a recipe: the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, with the all-import element of surprise. There’s a reason some people are always at the top of everyone’s list. They’re the ones who arrive at understanding the assignment: to share a spark and brighten the entire event. They don’t go through the motions, they enter the room conscious of contributing to other guests’ good time.  Instead of focusing on their own shyness or self-consciousness, they turn it around and ask themselves, how can I make someone else feel more comfortable and less awkward?  How can I show interest?  Make it easier on the host?  Increase the fun?  Their presence effortlessly allows this gathering of people to feel their very best.

Whether you’re throwing or going, we’re offering our thoughts on how to charm the jingle bells off of anyone this holiday season.

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Holiday Perspectives.  By Dean Christopher

What might our familiar holidays have been under other circumstances? One writer explores fun and clever reimagining.

We are so accustomed to the yearly routine being broken up by occasional holidays, that we never bother to wonder where they originated.

Of course, some, like religious holidays, preserve sacred traditions dating from ancient times. Or they celebrate the changing of the seasons. Some honor significant people in our personal lives. Others commemorate the lives of famous personalities or social or cultural icons.

Yet others recall military victories, or national liberations or revolutions. Some are perishable "holidays," artificially contrived for commercial or promotional reasons...and so it goes.

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The Holiday Anti-Checklist

The Holiday Anti-Checklist.  By Liza Lentini

A very different sort of guide that goes inwards and honors what’s really important, because holidays aren’t the same—and neither are you.

Everything’s different now, including you. It stands to reason the holidays—and your approach to them—will be a little bit different, also. Instead of listing all the things you need, as has been done ad nauseam, this list includes everything you can leave behind this holiday season, so that when you show up—whether it’s an intimate home gathering or a nontraditional getaway—you’re showing up for yourself first.

Here’s your checklist of what you can likely live without:

  1. The weight of other’s expectations. Endings make the best beginnings, and what better way to end the year than shedding the weight of what you’re “supposed to be” doing, what others expect of you, and comparing yourself and your yearly achievements with anyone else.
  2. Uncomfortable clothes. We all joke about living in leisure-wear over the last year or so, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that you don’t need a starched shirt to be more powerful. Point of fact, stretchy pants are best for yoga and dancing.
  3. Leaving outfits for “someday”. The above (#2) comment aside, if you want to wear your ball gowns for breakfast—do it. Do it for you. Do it on an average Tuesday. Mostly working from home, this is something I started doing before the pandemic, and it starts every day off with a fun, whimsical initiative. If you’re like me and a tulle skirt makes your life more complete, don’t wait—wear it. (Conveniently, they go perfectly over leggings.)
  4. Big group gatherings. For some, it’s important to gather and visit with loved ones on a larger scale. For others, we’ve learned that the smaller the celebration the better. And if you’re alone and that’s where you want to be—all the more wonderful.
  5. Traditional family. Same as above, if you love your blood family more than anything, the holidays won’t be the same without them. For others, it’s more important to create a new family with new traditions that speak to who you are now. Also like above, if your family is just you and your four-legged child or simply your healthiest, happiest thoughts—wonderful.
  6. “Holiday food”. If you’re someone who lives for holiday food—excellent. For someone like me who has a sensitivity to turkey, I’ve always craved lighter, easier meals that have nothing to do with tradition. In my house, we tend to opt for a tasting menu of choice favorites, holiday “appropriateness” aside. They’re foods that are sourced locally and affordably, and make us happy.
  7. Obligatory gifts. I hope the one lesson we’ve all learned over the last year, is that the greatest gift we can all have is the simple things. The more time we spend at home, the more we realize we don’t have room for stuff we don’t need. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of people are still suffering significantly from pandemic layoffs, and if you know this person and you really want to help them out, a gas card or grocery-store gift card are more help than you’ll ever know.
  8. Shopping “Big”. If you are purchasing presents and want to make the absolute most of your well-earned dollars, shop small. Please, please, please shop small. This includes your local stores, that woman selling cookie baskets, a sculptor/painter/potter, a knitter—there are so many. When you shop small, you help someone keep the lights on and feed their family. Jeff Bezos will be fine without your holiday purchase, I assure you.
    “Doing better next year”. Why do we always think we need to do anything differently? Why do we assume we need to be “better”? Doctor’s orders and boss’s projections aside, you’re good enough the way you are and don’t need to change a thing.
Natural Holiday Makeup

Effortless, Natural Holiday Makeup.  By Lauren D. Weinstein

If you’re looking to perfect your natural-makeup look, our resident expert has the tips and tricks.

Pre-pandemic, I always wore makeup, even to throw out the trash. (Don’t judge me). Yes, I’m vain, but makeup helps me to feel awake and ready…for anything). Friends would gently tease that I must have come out of the womb wearing mascara and my signature, shimmery, bubblegum pink lip gloss. I love everything about makeup and its transformative powers over my mood and appearance.

Then COVID engulfed us with its destructive presence, canceling plans and stamping out lives. It created chaos, uncertainty, Zoom meetings, remote learning, drive-by birthday celebrations, and shiva calls. Isolation was my friend and days that turned into months of lounging, wearing my worn-out flannel PJs, became both my comfort and prison. This new reality signaled the demise of the world as I knew it and the end of my daily makeup ritual.

Continue Reading Here.

Love/Sex/Moon Magick:  Mrs. Eaton’s Mincemeat.  By Lynn Eaton

Our resident Wiccan shares a decades-old family holiday recipe and recalls the Magick of never-forgotten family

This time of year has always been a Magickal time for me and my family. A time to travel backward and forwards in time. A time for remembering Yuletides gone before, making memories in the present, and projecting traditions into the future.

I am blessed to have both of my grandmothers’ handwritten cookbooks. Seeing their familiar script on the paper warms my heart. This is especially true at this time of year.

The familiar smells of the recipes transport me back into their kitchens. Memories of Gramie helping my mother with the seasonal baking on the old wood stove. Gran making War Cake (basically a dark fruitcake) and ginger cookies. Baking sweets with Mom and my sisters as soon as we could reach the counters. Oh! The smells of chocolate cake with boiled icing, shortbread cookies, and ginger balls still linger in my memory. And they have been revived each year with my children and grandchildren.

Continue Reading Here

Song of the Week.

And if all that doesn't add some spirit to your step, I've got one more sure-fire attempt.  Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World (live 1967).

Watch it here

Wishing you bright blessed days, dark sacred nights.

Dish Stanley XO,

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend!  And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curated by Dish Stanley on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?

We Dont Want You To Miss A Thing. Links to Previous Favorites (in case you were on a sailboat in the middle of the Mediterrian and had no wifi)

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