Category Archives: Holidays

How A Weekend Sale At the Mall Made Me Feel Like A Granny

With the holidays comes family, and with family comes after-Christmas-sales.

Well, at least with our family.

And so, a day or two after Christmas, I took Brian’s thirteen-year-old cousin, Jenny, shopping.

To say it’s been a long time since I shopped in a mall is an understatement. I haven’t really set foot in any store (other than department stores, craft stores, and Old Navy) since I was in high school. And clearly, shopping for teenage girls is much different now than it was back in the dark ages, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. (I.E. 1993).

Anyhoo, Jenny was out to spend some of the Christmas money burning a hole in her pocket, and I was looking forward to coming off as hip, fashion savvy, and fun. Our destination?


The first thing I noticed as we entered the hallowed halls of this teenage fashion mecca was a giant poster of a half-naked boy. Yes, boy. Because I don’t think he’s old enough to vote, folks.


I stood there for a moment, wondering if the model was trying to sell me a surf board, a diet plan, or clothing. By that time, Jenny had disappeared into the store.

And when I say ‘disappeared,’ I mean that literally.

Because the second thing I noticed when I followed her inside was the lighting. Or rather, lack thereof. How the heck am I supposed to read the price tags if there’s three spotlights in the entire store?

Oh. Right. I get it.

I squint my eyes and glance around in the darkness for Jenny. In normal situations, I would have just called her name. However, the music pumping into the store was so loud that when I shouted “JENNY!” the only thing I could hear was my voice reverberating around in my own brain. So, the usual “Marco Polo” strategy was out. Wishing for a flashlight, I went in search of the shopping teen.

It only takes me a second to locate Jenny and we spend the next thirty minutes perusing the wares for sale. At this point, I’m noticing two remarkable trends. The first? All of the clothes for sale were the bright neon pinks, greens, and oranges of my childhood. (IE: the eighties.) And second? Everything in this store, even the “Extra Larges,” are teeny tiny.

Are these clothes for people? Or clothes for dolls? I’m confused.

That’s when I notice all the “kids” working at the store are impossibly tall, impossibly thin, and impossibly good looking. Huh. Oh, and they’re all wearing “Hollister” brand clothing. In fact, the boy who offered to unlock the dressing room for us was wearing the same thing as a mannequin in the boy’s department.

I’m only assuming this is what he said, because I really couldn’t hear him at all, and I suck
at lip-reading. However, the sign behind him TOTES said that, because I nearly
took a picture, but I was afraid my flash would scare the natives.

I will say this: the clothes Jenny chose were adorable. A cute green sweater, a sweet little black-knit top, and a t-shirt donned with vibrant green and pink stripes. We took her purchases up to the register, got in the shortest line, and waited. It was nearing closing time, so everyone was making the mass exodus at the same time. After about a ten minute wait in line, we finally got up to the registers. A beautiful young lady with flowing blonde hair smiled, took Jenny’s stack of clothes, and started ringing them up.

When I handed her my debit card, she looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t take debit cards at this register.”

Feeling like an idiot, I immediately started looking for the sign I missed. That’s when I realized there wasn’t one.

“You should really put up a sign that says something to that effect,” I said to her, frowning.

Which is why, when she said this:

…I got a little mad.

(And yes, she actually said the letters L, O, and L. She did not, in fact, “laugh out loud.”)

However, to her credit, she flagged over a store manager, who opened up the register next to hers and rang us up without forcing us to wait in the “Debit Cards Are Ok” line for another ten minutes. We paid for our purchases, the cute store manager (who maxed out the overall age bracket in the store at 17) handed Jenny her bag, and we headed back for the car.

I had such a terrific time talking clothes and fit and color with Jenny. And she looks fantastic in all the little tops we bought for her. 

However, shopping at Hollister was definitely an eye-opening experience for this 30-something.

But it made Jenny happy. So it was worth it.


**I should mention that Jenny and I were accompanied by Brian’s other cousin, Shelby. The three of us spent an hour shopping together and had a wonderful time! Shelby is in her early 20s, and I’m sure felt much more comfortable in Hollister.**

Holiday Card, The 2012 Edition

From our family to yours…


May your tree be oh-so-sparkly,
your stockings overflowing,
and your eggnog sufficiently spiked.
Merry Christmas!

I Was Born To Be In An All-Male A Cappella Group.

While you re-arrange your face into a more normal appearance, let me back-pedal a bit and explain why.

You see, Christmas at my house just isn’t Christmas without a little Straight, No Chaser. We LOVE this group. My husband, who was always the semi-Scrooge in our little family, was completely won over when he first heard their version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. When he showed slight enthusiasm for a Christmas song, I immediately went to iTunes and downloaded every single Christmas song they’ve ever done. And now, each year the gentle strains of Straight, No Chaser, can be heard in our home as we deck the halls.

Still, that doesn’t explain why I believe, in my soul of souls, that I’m meant to be in an all-male a cappella group. Specifically, I’m meant to be in THIS all-male a cappella group. (And not just because their name is grammatically correct.) Here, let me make my case. 

#1: I think I’d fit right in.
Sure, it’s a bunch of boys who can sing. And I’m a girl who can’t sing. BUT, (hear me out, readers. The argument is about to get good.) I am all about cheese. Not just the kind you eat, but the really theatrical, cheesy goodness that comprises a majority of an a cappella group’s performances. Need someone to pull a face and do jazz hands? I’m SO your girl. 

Photo source

#2: So what if I can’t sing…
I could easily be the member who makes funny noises, says something campy or snaps my fingers. Plus, I can lip-sync like nobody’s business. Can you tell me, based on this photographic evidence, that I am not, in fact, singing in perfect harmony? No, you cannot.

Photo source

#3 I already know all the words.
It’s true. I know where all the high notes in “Jingle Bells.” I know all the places to chant in “Who Spiked the Egg Nog.” And I always know where the high kicks begin in my all-time favorite Straight, No Chaser Christmas tune—The Christmas Can Can.

I even taught myself the Spanish parts of “Donde Esta Santa Claus.” See? That’s some true dedication right there.

So, Straight, No Chaser? Can I be your first female member? I promise I can make up for my lack of vocal abilities and slight stage fright with an enthusiasm that is promised to be contagious.

Christmas in the South

Hooray!! December has arrived in all its glory! Please note that I have decorated Abby Gabs in the appropriate fashion to celebrate the season. And now, share with me another celebratory “Hooray!”

There is so much to love about this time of year. Twinkly lights, gift wrapping, baking marathons, cute clothes, even cuter shoes…it really is the best time of year. 

One of my favorite December pastimes is to brew myself up a piping hot cup of coffee, and watch the birds eating at my feeders.

The picture through my window is of a chilly winter’s morning. The sky is grey and gloomy around these parts this time of year. Clouds threaten rain, the sun barely makes an appearance, and the grass gets all crinkly and dry. It’s wintertime perfection.


If you actually venture out of doors, believing the picture out your window, you’re in for a big surprise. Because in all reality, the weather in Charleston in December is less-than-snowy.

By noon, it is usually getting close to seventy degrees outside. Sure, we have had a few cold Christmases (we’re talking upper thirties here, people.) But for the most part, the nine Christmases I’ve spent here in Charleston have been relatively warm.

Don’t throw things at me, Readers From the North! Believe me when I say there are many a winters day that I miss having seasons. I miss the turning of the leaves, and the crispness in the air as summer turns to fall. I miss being able to find winter coats with substance, and ice scrapers for your car. I miss that feeling of frost “nippin’ at your nose.” I miss snuggly sweaters!!

However, I do not, in any way, shape, or form, miss snow.

So I’ll take my seventy degree weather today. I’ll still wear long sleeves and cute shoes, and just crack the windows or, in a drastic measure, turn on the air conditioning. I’ll wear my favorite knitted hat and I’ll crochet a dozen new scarves.

Because even if it is seventy degrees here today…

Photographic Evidence From My Awesome i-Phone

…it’s still the holidays in my heart.

Ok, I just gagged a little. Sorry about that last line.

Woooooo! Zzzzz…

Where in the cotton-pickin’ world have I been lately?

Good question, readers.

You see, I’ve had a lot of folks ask me just what takes so darn long between one post and another. Well, folks, there are a couple of answers for the time lapse as of late. And they are as follows:

I’ve been busy decorating for Christmas.

Because what’s the point of having a New Kids on the Block shelf
if I don’t get to decorate it with tiny Santa hats and a teeny tree?

I’ve been blowin’ up Pinterest with fun and festive holiday ideas.

Because we’re so broke, everyone in my family will be lucky
to get these candles instead of a pair of socks for Christmas this year!

I’ve been helping Brian plan for his big graduation from nursing school on 12/12/12.

He has to wear a tux,  y’all!!!

I’ve been wishing my pal, Arielle, a happy birthday in a most-Laverne inspired way.

Arielle is a Leo girl all the way (particularly Leonardo Circa Titanic.)

I think that about covers it. I mean, that’s how I’ve been spending most of my free time. But I feel like there was something else….

…oh, right, I’ve been WRITING A BOOK SINCE NOVEMBER 1st!

That’s right! I did it! I completed the 50,000 words necessary to win NaNoWriMo 2012. Paired with last year’s half-manuscript, I now have almost 250 pages worth of book. I don’t know about you, but that’s a serious reason to throw around confetti.

The only problem? Things have been so busy (and stressful) around here lately that I haven’t had much time to really think about my major accomplishment. I actually finished Nano on Monday, after an 11,000 word marathon on Saturday afternoon. (Yes, I actually meant to include that many zeros.) I finalized my word count, posted on Facebook that I was all finished, and then promptly went to sleep.

Hence, my big celebratory WOOHOO!!! moment was actually more like WooZZzzzzzz…..

But the good news is that now that I’ve wrapped up the intense writing of NaNo, it frees me up to start blogging regularly again. Hooray for December! And oh, boy do I have some awesome posts coming up.

(None of which are as awesome as the one my friend, Leslie, wrote over on The Bearded Iris today. Especially if you’re a fan of Dancing with the Stars. Seriously. If you need a laugh, go read it. I promise. It’s awesome.)

So bust out the signs, readers! Balloons are welcome, too! And if there are enough of you to line up and do the wave, I’d be most appreciative. Because I am officially a NaNoWriMo 2012 Winner!!!


My birthday is on Wednesday. I’ll be 31 years old. (Or, if you like to see life through rose-colored glasses like me, we’ll call it 29.2. Yeah. Let’s go with that.)

An (almost) 31-year-old.

Last year about this time, I was lamenting the fact that I was turning the big three-oh. It was an age I never thought about too much until it was looming over me. I’d had so many goals I’d wanted to accomplish, so many dreams I’d yet to grasp, none of which I’d managed to finish on my “To Do By 30” timeline. I felt intimidated by 30. Depressed. Worried that I’d never reach my full potential, convinced that I’d never be much more than “mediocre.”

On June 13, 2011, I reluctantly welcomed 30 with friends, margaritas, and Donnie Wahlberg.

I have to admit, 30 hasn’t been all that bad. I managed to write a novel (well, most of a novel) while participating in NaNoWriMo 2011. I found my fitness mojo, and lost 21 pounds. I made some excellent new friends since turning 30 (you know who you are). I became a godmother to the two most gorgeous babies in the universe, and I’ve been busy spoiling them rotten. I’m more in love with my husband now than I’ve ever been before, and our love keeps growing stronger with every day (every BIRTHday) that passes. 

Have I managed to be published yet? No. Do I have a child to call my own yet? No. Do I have a shiny new job, a shiny new house, a shiny new life yet? No.

And that’s ok.

Because somehow, as terrified of 30 as I was a year ago, 31 is looking pretty damn good to me right now. I’m feeling optimistic. Content. Maybe even a little excited. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, or what I haven’t accomplished, I’m focusing on one tiny three-letter word.


Thirty-one holds so much for me. For my little family. Thirty-one could hold some of the most memorable moments of our lives yet. Thirty-one is like a big birthday package, wrapped in bright paper, with ribbons and bows and a hidden surprise inside.

I haven’t had some big epiphany. I haven’t learned anything new, or gone on a spiritual journey that led me to this conclusion. I just woke up one morning, excited about the next phase in my life, even though I have no idea what the next year of my life contains. But I’m ready for the challenge. And I’m excited to find out what’s around the next corner.

So I’m wishing myself a happy birthday (a couple of days early.) And I’m patting myself on the back and wishing myself Bon Voyage. Because in a couple of days, I’ll be 31. And I’m so jazzed to see what life has in store for me in the thirty-first year of my life. 

(Especially if it means another birthday salutation from a certain you-know-who on Twitter!) (Who knows, maybe this time he’ll spell my name correctly.)

Ok, I know I totally created that for myself on Photoshop, but I’m swooning over here. Also, Ryan Gosling’s got NOTHING on Donnie Wahlberg. Just sayin’. ♪♫ Happy birthday to meeeee….happy birthday to meeeeee….♪♫

Christmas Recap

I consider myself to be a perpetual student of life. Every situation I’m in, I find, there’s something I can learn from it. The holidays are no different. And this year, I learned three specific things from Christmas. (You guessed it. It’s an Abby Gabs list blog.)

#3: Charlie Brown, my brother’s dog, is a serious camera hog.
I already knew he was extremely photogenic, highly adorable, and somewhat of an attention hound. But it wasn’t until I was busy cropping the photos of our gift exchange that I noticed something…funny.

Charlie was somehow, inexplicably, in almost every one.

#2: I come by my talent for funny faces honestly.
That is to say, most everyone in my family can manipulate their mugs almost as well as I can. The photo that makes this point totally obvious is this one of my baby brother, Adam.

Note: This picture was taken AFTER I prepared him that I was going to take it. As in, I said, “Adam, look at me and smile.” And he made THAT face. Isn’t it totally obvious that we’re kin?

And lastly,
#1: I also come by my sense of humor naturally.
We are nothing if not a bunch of jokesters. And oh, boy, does that ever come out around Christmas. No, we’re not running about hiding whoopie cushions or pulling practical jokes. But the gifts we give? Well…let’s just say we spend a lot of Christmas day laughing our proverbial arses off.

Brian got Scooby Doo scrubs for work.
Dad got a framed picture of himself. (It was in the paper. He’s famous.)
(Mom got a cow timer that, sadly, does not moo.)
This was Adam’s reaction to the Ninja Turtles toboggan we got for him.
And, well…you know me. I think everything’s funny. Especially the apron
Mom and Dad got me that makes me out to be a lush.
(The front reads “Wine is the answer…wait, what was the question?”)

Of course, heading into the new year, there’s one thing I’m 100% sure about, and have been since I was a child. I’m the luckiest kid on the block, because I have the bestest family in the whole wide world, bar none.

I hope your Christmas was as much fun as ours.

A Christmas Card, From Us to You

May your stocking be filled to overflowing, your eggnog sufficiently spiked, and your holiday extremely merry.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Abby Gabs! (Not pictured (because they weren’t cooperating): Dizzy, Harry and Pip

PS: Dontcha just love Awkward Christmas Photos? We do. 🙂

It’s The Hap-Happiest Season of All

Today’s post will be a short one. Because, dear readers, words fail in situations like these. You see…Christmas came to Abby Gabs early this year.


Who needs Santa Claus when you have a husband who actively supports collecting toys?

Here’s the thing, though, readers. You see, last week, I told you all about how our awesome friend, Angie, sent me the coolest Donnie Wahlberg doll ever. After seeing my reaction (ie: SQUEEEEEEE!) Brian decided to add to my collection, and purchased the entire set. All Five Dolls….ALL MINE.

Which means I have 2 Donnies.

Which is sort of like a dream come true.

But you see…I have an extra. Guess what THAT means?!?!?

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your very own authentic Donnie Wahlberg poseable action figure (in the original, unopened box), then this is the giveaway of your dreams! Here’s how we’ll play.

Grand Prize: THE Donnie Wahlberg Poseable Action Figure Doll:



The Rules:Because even games are more fun with them.

#1: Leave me a comment below, telling me about YOUR childhood celebrity crush. If it wasn’t Donnie Wahlberg, was it Donnie Osmond? Zack Morris? Optimus Prime? (No, Brian, you can’t play.) Either way, I’d like to know who it was that you fawned over in a fog of AquaNet.  (This counts as one entry.)

#2: Put up a Facebook post about the giveaway, and leave a separate comment with the link! (This counts as one entry.)

#3: Blog all about it! If you think your readers would have fun playing, let them know in a blog! Leave me a separate comment with a link. (This counts as one entry.)

#4: For a SUPER-DOOPER, DOUBLE-POINTS entry, Tweet this contest and include the Donnie Wahlberg tag! Just link to this post, and make sure you let Donnie know we’re giving his plastic doppelganger a new home by adding @DonnieWahlberg to your tweet! This will get you TWO WHOLE ENTRIES!! Just leave me a separate comment with the link to your tweet. (This counts as two entries.)

The contest will be open for entries for one whole week! I’ll tally up the points and announce the winner next Monday, December 26th! And you’ll have your very own Donnie Wahlberg Poseable Action Figure Before 2012! How cool is that?? Super easy to play! And the prize is sexy AND poseable!! (Can’t ask for more than that, ladies.)

*Author’s note: I’m well aware that you probably have no interest in a Donnie Wahlberg poseable action figure. But who cares! It’ll be fun to play anyway. (Plus, Donnie may see one of your tweets and totally smile at me. Or something else that would be epic blog fodder.)

An Abby Gabs Pop Quiz

Ok, class, let’s settle down and take our seats. I know you weren’t expecting it, but today I’m giving you a Pop Quiz. (Surprise!) This quiz will only have one question, and it’s your job to root out the correct answer. So, boys and girls, everyone put away your books, take out your sharpened #2 pencils, and let’s get to work.

The question:

Why in the $@*& hasn’t Abby written a blog since Monday, December 12th?

Is the answer…?:

A. She ran off and joined the circus.
B. She was abducted by aliens. (Oh no!)
C. She’s been battling a righteous stomach flu.


D. She went to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus. (YAY!)

Now, class, if we use our best detective skills (and also that rule you learned in SAT prep), I’m sure we’ll all arrive at the very same answer! And that answer is…



It’s true, readers. I haven’t been ignoring you outright. Nor have I been off enjoying some fantastical adventure. Instead, I’ve been…well…I’ll leave out all the details and just say I’ve been sick.

Thankfully, I’m feeling much, MUCH better today. (I.E. –> I’m actually up, dressed, AND wearing make-up: three things that have not happened consecutively in the same day since Sunday night.) So…yay me!

Despite being ill for the past few days, I have managed to complete a few minor tasks. I braved the elements long enough to pick up a few Christmas gifts (don’t worry, recipients. I didn’t breathe germs on them.) I also finished and sent all my Christmas cards (same rules apply. All stamps and envelopes were self-adhesive. Thank you, technology gods.) I also felt well enough Wednesday to head out for a haircut and color.


No more grays—YAY!!! Merry Christmas to my hair.

So, readers…my apologies. I didn’t mean to leave you high and dry. But no worries…I’m back, I’m better, and I’m ready to start blogging again. Full steam ahead!

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about a humorous encounter I had with the husband while out Christmas shopping…stay tuned.