Who Would You Pick to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner With?

by Desiree Miller on November 26, 2014

turkey_prep

It’s typically a given–an expectation, really–that you’ll be joining family around the table for Thanksgiving, and chances are you’re going to have many of the same conversations that have taken place countless times before, so what if you could change things up this year and pick the people to share your meal with this turkey day?   If you could have Thanksgiving dinner with anyone–anyone at all (loved one, celebrity, historical figure, artist–literally anyone–living or dead), who would it be and why?

Would you want to see someone who is no longer in your life?  Or, would you prefer to dine with someone you’ve never met before who led what you consider an intriguing life?  

I asked this question of my friends on Facebook and was incredibly touched  by their responses.  Read through them below.  I think seeing this may get you thinking about what matters before your holiday and may even change the conversation around the table.

Do you know who you wish could be joining you for dinner?  Leave me a comment below letting me know who you would love to share your holiday with and why.

  • Lindsay I’m sure you know mine. My mom. She loved thanksgiving and I would give ANYTHING to have one more with her
  • Todd The pilgrims. Let’ see how it was really done.
  • Matt does it have to be one person? I would have Thanksgiving diner with both of my parents. But if it had to be just one, probably my mom. no thought required.
  • Patrick My daughter and father, both who have passed away. Just to be able to talk, love and spend just a few more special hours w them. God is Good.
  • Mary My grandma !
  • Sandy My extended family that we celebrated with as kids. My grandparents would be alive. My uncle would not have the effects of his stroke. My mom would not have the effect of her brain injury. All of my cousins who are scattered would be there. I love our celebrations with my husband’s family.
  • Vivian My mom…but I would want it to be a fast forward of what would have been. Since she died when I was 10, I would love to have her cooking in my kitchen, laughing over a glass of wine, while her grandchildren (my kids) played in the backyard.
  • Lynn It has always been a dream of mine to host a holiday meal at my home. I’m not close to my family (haven’t seen my dad since my wedding almost 10 years ago) and when we lived close to family our house was far too small to host anyone. Now that we have the space we’ve got no one to host
  • Donna My mom and dad. Since they passed 14 years ago I’ve felt like an orphan. It would be nice to not feel that way, if only for a day.
  • And now I’m crying
  • Sheri  My mom! She died my senior year in high school and I would give anything to spend even just a few more hours with her. And thinking about your question Thanksgiving would be wonderful so that I could let her know how thankful I am for everything she did and for how hard she fought for me
  • Amy Matthew McConaughey
  • Charlsie  Lady Gaga because not only is she known as an incredible cook, I think she would be fascinating to have a conversation with. She is someone that has a movement of fans unlike any other celebrity out there and her gratitude for them is so immense – I would love to hear more about that on Thanksgiving.
  • Desiree  I’m sorry to hit on such sad memories you guys… It’s not what I wanted. I’ve never been a big fan of Thanksgiving, but do remember my cousins coming for dinners (what I remember is we ate on paper plates most of the time, and tossed them, but for Thanksgiving we’d get out the good china and then have soooo many dishes to wash afterwards–and because I didn’t like to cook, I got dishwashing duty)…I remember I didn’t like the food (I will lead up the petition to switch this holiday meal to lasagna any time you guys want)…and the guys did none of the work–just playing football or watching it on TV. But I know this holiday is about being around loved ones and wondered if I was the only one feeling sad about not being with MY family…I love that my children are with cousins and building happy memories for their adult years, and I’m lucky that Shawn’s family includes me, but I don’t share the history of old holiday meals that you can laugh about…so, it got me thinking about who I’d want to invite to sit around a table with if I could pick a list of a handful of people to share a meal with on this holiday. I agree–my dad would be there, but I’d also want my grandmother who I never met–just to hear stories about the life she led, I like Amy’s idea of having Matthew McConaughey there, too… probably Maya Angelou because she inspires some of my writing…and if we’re really reaching, I’d like to have my future grandchildren there so they can see I am super cool.
  • Desiree  Todd sometimes I think I’d like to be one of the pilgrims…then I think I’d rather be one of the Indians. Which would you choose if you could be one or the other?
  • Desiree  Matt nope–this is make believe, so you can have anyone you want.
  • Todd  I’d like to be the guy with the time machine watching the pilgrims and Indians.
  • Desiree Oh, and this year, I’d also have Melanie join me because she needs to be reminded she’s incredible, no matter what, and I’d just want to make sure she got more hugs–and wine–than she could stand. Plus, she’s a hell of a cook, and I (as disclosed earlier) am not, and I’d really want her pecan pie.
  • Nancy I’d love to share Thanksgiving with Hillary Clinton–just so I could have the opportunity to have a nice, relaxed “girlfriend” chat with her. I’m lucky enough, though, to be sharing Thanksgiving with my two kids–both vegetarians— who decided macaroni and cheese is our new traditional holiday meal! My son makes an awesome one.
  • George The wife’s twin brother who past away two years ago
  • Ed Family is the group of people you choose to live your life with. That’s who I would have at Thanksgiving dinner (and mostly will)
  • Jessica I’d love to have one more Thanksgiving with my Grandmother who passed away five years ago. Listen to her stories and laugh with her. Then try to write down all her recipes that I can never duplicate. But I’d also love to have the chance to sit and share a meal with Pope Frances. His beliefs fascinate me.
  • Kelly-Marie Finn. Just to listen to him talk and hear how the late 8yrs have been going and what his favorite color is…and what dessert he would have MeMe make him.
  • Melanie If you get Matt to your house I will bring every pie you could ever want.
  • Marcia God. I have so many questions for him.
  • Cindy  My Dad, it has been 8 long years since he has passed and I miss him most during the holidays. His joy of expressing his love to family through cooking during the holidays lives on in me though.
  • Sheila My Mom of course! I miss her everyday and knowing her, she has made friends with everyone, Celebs, artists, musicians etc. It would be an amazing dinner!
  • Tonia My Grandmas. I miss them both terribly, especially during the holidays. I regret not spending more time with them and talking on the phone with them more when I had the chance.
  • Gary  Charles Babbage, Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin who all knew one another. Can you imagine the conversation?
  • Joey My mom and dad. I wish money grew on trees.
  • Sarah  My father in law. He passed away 8 years ago. He only got to meet 3 of his 7 grand kids. I would love to ask him if he’s proud of my husband and I, and all we’ve accomplished!! We miss him dearly
  • Lori my dad. He died of cancer, I want to tell him i am fighting for both of us
  • Lesleigh All four of my grandparents — ooohh the stories they could tell! Howard side about the pioneer era of Vero Beach; Murphree side about growing up/going to college in England and the early days of UF!
  • Jennifer Dave Matthews -because I love him:) and of course my daddy and grandparents!
  • Dawn my grandfather who died when my mom was one
  • Michele My grandmother on my mom’s side. She passed away in 06…after fighting a good fight with lung cancer. I would LOVE for her to see MY home….and how grown my children are…..and the fact that God has allowed my oldest to live past the doctor’s expectations. … (although I’m certain she is well aware)
  • Kuleen Gloria Steinham, Anne Richards, & Hillary Clinton
  • Martha It’ll never be about just one person for me… Of course my mom, because she always opened our home to anyone who didn’t have family or people to spend the holiday with. I’ve hosted thanksgiving most years & always try to make sure anyone is welcome. It’s a holiday to be thankful, not alone or sad…the more the merrier! Thanks mom, for the lessons to see what all to be thankful for…
  • Perla My mom, I would love to have one more thanksgiving with her before she she decided to cut her time short on earth. Perhaps I could have convinced her otherwise.
  • Lorrie My dad. This is my first thanksgiving without him. Feeling a little sad
  • Heather My mom! I would love to have the opportunity to talk to her as an adult and a mother now myself. I would love to talk to her about us both being mothers of a special needs child. I would just love to be able to see her again. She died when I was 17.
  • Leigh  I’d like to turn back time to when my son Jeff was well and enjoying the family celebration – when he and my daughter Sue were children happy together and I was in the kitchen preparing for family and friends. Our little family will always feel the deep loss at this holiday and every special celebration as the years move on ~ always saying a prayer in his memory as we do every day whenever our lips enjoy something delicious that reminds us of his joy at the dinner table.
  • Veronica My dad…no question. But at least I won’t be alone.

Good point, Veronica…let’s appreciate who we do have with us.  

It’s nice to dream about conversations and visits we’d love to have.  Maybe the lesson here is to appreciate those we do have near us.  Here’s to hoping you are surrounded by those you are most thankful for this holiday! 

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(Note to readers: I participated in the Idina Menzel Holiday Wishes album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own. #HolidayWishes, #ad, #O2O)

Tony Award-winning singer/actor Idina Menzel’s music seems to be everywhere these days, from the movie FROZEN, to the Broadway show If/Then (which I highly recommend if you’re ever in New York City and have time to catch the show), to her recently released album, Holiday Wishes.

She may be on fire with her career, but this album is going to give you chills.

My personal favorite song on this album is “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, recorded with my all-time favorite musician, Michael Buble.  Oh, how I love hearing these two magical voices coming together.

But she doesn’t need Buble to be amazing. After her performance of the multi-platinum song “Let it Go” at the 86th annual Academy Awards, she made history as the first person with both a Billboard Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting.

But honestly, every song on the Holiday Wishes album is good, and each one can easily transform you into a festive mood.

In fact, I could see this being that ‘go to’ album that I will put out year after year for the holiday season.  It’s great music with a magical voice.

You can order it by clicking on the links below.

There’s also an exclusive Target edition of Holiday Wishes features two bonus tracks, including “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”.

 

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Holidays in Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium Festival of the SEASon

by Desiree Miller on November 24, 2014

aquarium ornament

With the holiday season upon us, odds are you have family and friends headed into town who might want to see some of Atlanta’s favorite sites, including the Georgia Aquarium, which happens to be hosting the ‘Festival of the SEAson to celebrate the holidays.

‘Festival of the SEAson’ transforms the Aquarium’s galleries and exhibits into a winter wonderland, including a spectacular Holidazzle Light Show, appearances by Santa and SCUBA Claus, the return of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids and a holiday edition of live entertainment, the Symphony of Snow.

Of course, all the other things that make the Georgia Aquarium enjoyable year-round are there, too. My personal favorites are the Beluga Whales.  They’re such extraordinary creatures.   On our recent visit to ‘Wake Up Santa’ we were told one of them was expecting babies.  You see, there’s always something exciting happening ‘under the sea’.

beluga shot

You can buy tickets and find out more by clicking on this link.

It lists the events and programs underway for the holidays.

If you go, please comment below and let me know what your favorite part is.  My daughter’s favorite part was the penguin tube, which you see below.  It allows you to crawl through their tank and be underwater with them without getting wet. Very cool experience.

penguin tube

starfish

tiger shark

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Neil Diamond Melody Road Album (Review)

by Desiree Miller on November 23, 2014

Neil Diamond Melody Road Album Cover

(Note to readers: I participated in the Neil Diamond Melody Road album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own. #MelodyRoad and #O2O)

Everybody else may think of the songs America or Sweet Caroline when they hear Neil Diamond’s name, but for me, he’s the guy who put my name in a song, Desiree, so I expect I’ll always want to hear his music, including any new releases, such as Melody Road.

The Melody Road album doesn’t disappoint.  They are classic Neil Diamond sounds and lyrics…hurt, yet hopeful, calming music that leaves you wanting to cuddle up and hug the one you love.

My favorite on this new release is Nothing But a Heartache:

One verse that grabbed me:

“Was a one-way conversation

I never got the invitation

The sharpness of her words deceiving

And I couldn’t stop the bleeding…”

Then the hope that you know is coming:

“You found me drifting in a small boat

In the middle of an ocean

You were there on my horizon

And I didn’t have a notion.

Unprepared to comprehend it

Felt alone and unattended

Said my prayers and reached my hand out

And you appeared to me that day

Came and led me to a new shore

I had never been there before

Put me in the right direction

And you led me out of hell.”

There are other songs on the album that I really enjoyed, including Melody Road.

Neil Diamond is in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He’s one of the world’s best selling artists with more than 125 million albums sold to date!

I believe this latest album will only bump him up in those ranks.

You can order it by clicking the links below.

 * iTunes: http://bit.ly/NDMelody

  * Amazon: http://bit.ly/MelodyRdND

 

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Passports with Purpose –Travel Writers Give Back

by Desiree Miller on November 19, 2014

Passports with Purpose

 

One of my favorite parts of traveling to new places is meeting the locals, the people who call the destination home.  I often want to connect with them on a deeper level, learning about what they are proud of in their region, and experiencing the things they’d want to share with their friends who visit.

I immediately think of Sharon, Wes and Chendel, who embraced me like family and showed me how a local enjoys Carnival in Aruba, or Maggie in Costa Rica, a masseuse who works hard each day helping others to relax.

We may come from very different places, but we all share the same ultimate goal of happiness and if there’s a way I can leave their land better than when I found it, bringing them some happiness, well, that makes me happy, too.

That’s why I’m so proud to support the Passports with Purpose campaign.

It’s the annual travel bloggers’ fundraiser held during a two-week period in November and December.

Passports with Purpose unites our online community, leveraging the social media platforms of more than 200 travel bloggers around the world.

Previous initiatives have benefited Heifer International; the Passports School with American Assistance for Cambodia; a village in Tamil Nadu, India for 25 Dalit families with Land for Tillers’ Freedom; two libraries in Zambia with Room to Read; five wells in Haiti with Water.org; and in 2013 two schools and two adult literacy programs in Mali with buildOn.

This year’s campaign partner is Sustainable Harvest International, and the money raised will help support their work in Honduras.
Since 1997, Sustainable Harvest International has worked in Honduras to help families improve degraded land, grow their own food, and learn how to prevent tropical deforestation from logging and slash-and-burn agriculture practices.

Each $5,000 raised through this year’s Passports with Purpose campaign can help Sustainable Harvest International nourish a family and community in Honduras for five years.

Learn more about Sustainable Harvest International’s work here.
Learn more about Passports with Purpose by clicking here.

Passports with Purpose was recognized by Travel + Leisure® magazine with a Social Media in Travel  + Tourism℠ Awards (SMITTY) for “Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist/Blogger.”

holidaygear

I’ve partnered with my friend Sue Rodman of Fieldtrips with Sue to organize a prize that you’ll be able to bid on online.  We can’t share the details until December 1st, when the campaign goes live, but we can say we have generous donations from some of our favorite companies, including Joovy, Britax and TravelKiddy.

There will be dozens of other prizes as part of the auction, too.  I hope you’ll consider submitting a bid.

 

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Delicious Dinner Coupon from Omaha Steaks–#SaveatOmahaSteaks #ad

November 15, 2014

(Note to readers: I was given this product to review but was not otherwise compensated.  As always, my opinion remains my own. #SaveAtOmahaSteaks, #ad) The holidays are creeping up on us and it’s a matter of time before we’re scrambling from one festivity to another, so wouldn’t it be nice to have a healthy meal ready to go for your family, where all you have to do is pop it in the oven and, voila, the family is fed?! Well, I experienced just how awesome that can be recently when […]

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Testing for Genetic Diseases Before You’re Pregnant: JScreen Review

November 15, 2014

(Note to readers: As part of this review, the company tested me for genetic diseases at no cost.  I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion remains my own.) There’s nothing that means more to me in the world than my family.  My children are my whole universe.  And nothing worried me more as an expectant mother than the health of my baby, in the womb and after. Think about it. So many things can go wrong. So, what if there was a way for you to find out—before you […]

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NETGEAR Travel Router and Range Extender Review

November 12, 2014

(Note to readers: I was sent this product to review through the NETGEAR Ambassador program.  As always, my opinion remains my own.) Traveling on the job means having access to WiFi is pretty important, so it’s tough when I get to a hotel or conference and can’t get online. Not just tough.  Impossible. That’s why I find something like the NETGEAR Trek device so helpful.  The N300 is a travel router and range extender. It was sent to me for a review and I put it to work right away […]

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Open Letter to Our College Kids–Seeing Past Suicide

November 4, 2014

I read her status updates each day and hurt for her. My Facebook friend. Every post is about her son.  And her grief. Her sweet boy is gone. One day…full of life and laughter. The next day…gone. He took his own life. The life full of so much promise…now over. He was just 20 years old. I can’t help but think of my own son, also 20. Also in college. And also a little bit lost. So I text my child, hoping to catch him tonight, just to tell him […]

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Disney’s PLANES FIRE AND RESCUE Serves Up Heroes with Humor & Heart

November 2, 2014

(Note to readers: This post is sponsored by Disney and I’m being compensated to share my story about the Everyday Hero in my life.  As always, my opinion remains my own. #FireandRescue #PlanesFireandRescueSweeps #ad)  Where there’s a will, there’s a way. That’s what my mom always said, and it’s a phrase I use often with my own kids, including the youngest, my nine-year old daughter. She lives it, too, facing each day with fortitude, perseverance, and determination that makes me believe she will be able to accomplish every goal she […]

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