Fresh Thanksgiving ideas

not preserved by freezing, canning, pickling, salting, drying, etc.: fresh vegetables

About this time last year, I never felt more like an adult  than when my roommates and I decided to host our own Thanksgiving dinner. Although I always travel home to be with family for the actual day, having a dinner with friends the week before is the perfect opportunity to get creative with decorations, try out new recipes (or even better, an old family recipe), and give thanks for all those people that have made the transition to the real world that much easier. I’m big on tradition when it comes to the holidays, but there are some fresh Thanksgiving ideas that I’m excited to try out this year! From a festive pre-dinner cocktail to edible place cards, to a simple, fun way of donating meals to families who could use a little extra help this year, use these ideas to infuse your traditions with a little something fresh.

Cranberry-champagne sparkler

A light, refreshing cocktail for your guests to sip on while mingling. The girls will love the elegant touch and the guys will sip on anything if it tastes good and there’s football on in the background.

Fresh fruit that is functional as a place card and edible later with a drizzle of honey? Genius!

Kraft Foods Huddle to Fight Hunger

Kraft Foods is making it so easy to donate Thanksgiving meals to families who need them this year. Just click the link below! You can donate a meal  just by tweeting about the effort, liking their Facebook page, or watching one of their videos on Youtube. Click here to start!

fresh attitude for Stanford Football

not tired or fatigued; brisk; vigorous: She was still fresh after that long walk.

After yesterday’s heart-attack inducing victory over Arizona State, it struck me just how far Stanford Football has come in 4 years under Coach Jim Harbaugh. In a game where ASU’s defense essentially shut down Stanford’s vaunted offense for 3 and a half quarters, we somehow found a way to win and execute when it mattered most. Stanford fans have become accustomed to letdowns over the past few years – as recently as 2005, we were unable to hold a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter against the 8th ranked UCLA Bruins – and I’d be lying if I said a part of me didn’t expect us to blow our magical season away last night as well.

Instead, when Stanford got the ball back with 3:58 remaining and a 4 point lead, we were able to run out the clock and end the game by picking up 48 yards and 3 crucial first downs. Although we had only managed 87 rushing yards until this point, Stanford flexed its muscle and pounded the exhausted Sun Devils defense for 47 yards on the ground to clinch the game.  Stanford looked fresh and played with a confidence and swagger that had been foreign for too many years.

The epitome of Stanford’s new attitude came on the 7th play of the drive – running back Anthony Wilkerson broke through the ASU defense for what would have been a guaranteed 24-yard touchdown run, but instead intentionally downed the ball at the 4 yard line to let the clock run out. He could have scored the touchdown to pad his personal stats and nobody would have faulted him (we would have had a near-insurmountable 11-point lead with 1:38 remaining), but instead he made the selfless play to guarantee a victory for the team.

The determination that Stanford displayed yesterday directly reflects the unmatched passion and attitude that Coach Harbaugh brings to the team. With Harbaugh leading the Cardinal, we finally have a team that will never back down. Go Card!

fresh way to “discover” happiness

novel; original: a fresh outlook

One of my favorite NPR programs, Talk of the Nation Science Friday, recently featured a Harvard scientist who is aiming to answer a shockingly simple question: what makes you happy? While the question might not be new or fresh, the approach certainly is. Instead of just asking people what they think makes them happy, doctoral student Matt Killingsworth has designed the study so that participants receive text messages and/or emails 3 times a day, asking them to take a minute to report how they’re feeling at that moment. After 50 check-ins, participants receive a happiness report highlighting patterns associated with their happiness. (Currently, the phone app is only for iphones, which leads me to a quick digression:  Is studying the happiness of iphone owners who have time in their day to do this really going to teach us anything that useful?)

Although I’m skeptical that a happiness report will reveal anything too surprising, I was curious enough to take the leap and sign up. I feel like I spend a lot of my day getting from one place to the next, finishing one project to get to the next, making it through a meeting to get to happy hour, and rarely stop to think whether I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m not saying that I’m not happy, I’m just not really thinking about it. But now that I am thinking about it, there are definitely things within my control that make my day a happier one. Getting 8 hours of sleep. Starting the day with hazelnut coffee. Writing an email to a friend during my lunch break. Tackling that project that has been pushed to the bottom of my to-do list for the last 3 weeks. Doing laundry. Starting a new book. Going to kickboxing. Taking myself out for a glass of wine. If 3 minutes/day can help me identify the little things that make me happy, then it might be worth it. Because when I’m happy, I’m better prepared to take on the bigger challenges that life will inevitably present and better able to be there for others. While I find certain methodological aspects of this study questionable, I am still intrigued by this blend of social science and social media. Happiness is a Constitutional right after all–so do your forefathers proud and check out the app!

Sign up at:

fresh new Origins moisturizer

pure, cool, or refreshing, as air.

There’s a new kid on the Origins skincare block and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it actually makes me get out of bed a little faster in the mornings. (Origins is my favorite skincare line for several reasons. Not only are the products effective, refreshing, and reasonably-priced, but the company is extremely earth-friendly. The ingredients behind the glow are natural rather than chemical and you can bring in any used product container from ANY company and they will recycle it for you!) At my last free mini-facial (call and book one, it’s a perfect girls-day-out activity), I tried the VitaZing moisturizer. I’m usually very picky about moisturizer as they can be heavy on my skin and make it feel greasy, but this moisturizer is light and refreshing. Plus, the caffeine in it is like a cup of coffee for your skin. It’s perfect for those why-did-I-go-out-on -a-Thursday-night Friday mornings when all you want to do is put your head down on your keyboard and nap.

fresh face of country

recently arrived; just come: fresh from school

I have to be honest. Neither country music nor Gwyneth Paltrow come immediately to mind when I think of the word fresh. But put these two together and you have one of the most surprising–and beautiful– musical combinations of the year. Watching Paltrow rock a country guitar in stilettos, bat her smokey eyes while inflecting just the right amount of twang into her “stroooooong” is definition fresh.

keeping it fresh


There are 20+ definitions listed on for the word fresh. This blog will try to capture as many as we can. (Except for possibly definition 16: “(of a cow) having recently given birth to a calf”…although you never know.)  Fresh style, fresh music, fresh ideas, fresh food.  People who are fresh. But what is fresh? Fresh is original. Fresh is pure and cool. Fresh is edgy. From John Legend and the Roots to John Wall’s NBA debut, from organic nail polish to a wind farm off Massachusetts, we’re out there looking for what’s fresh. Fresh is that je ne sais quoi. You know it when you see it, but it’s hard to define. Which is probably why there are 20+ definitions. But we’re sure going to try.