Dear Santa

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, I’ve been as good as possible this year (how’s that for honest?) and thought I’d let you know what’s on my list. It’s almost too late to order anything in time for pre-Christmas delivery but that’s not important because what I really want is free and I need to give them to myself.

I need to get in better physical shape.

  • I detest my local gym, but avoiding it is only hurting me so I have to make it a priority instead of a punishment. If it’s overcrowded and smells of sweat in the morning, I have to make myself go in the afternoon. Inconvenience is a lousy excuse.


I want my arthritis to stop hurting.

  • I didn’t share my update on the Gin & Golden Raisins treatment because I never thought much about it after I finished them. Sadly, my arthritis pain mysteriously returned a few weeks ago and I drew a connection. I’m not a doctor and can’t claim any medical information about this protocol. I just know that it helped me so I’m going back to using it.


I need to spend more time away from my computer.

  • I miss curling up with a good book with no schedule. I’m not spending enough time outside, simply daydreaming and breathing fresh air. Blogging takes increasingly more of my time. The social media portion of it is time-consuming and can eat up hours if I’m not careful.


I need to work harder to maintain my “in person” friendships.

  • I have many online friends who are near and dear to me but nothing beats meeting a longtime girlfriend for coffee or sitting over our knitting, sharing our lives.


I need to spend more time with my grandson.

  • Nothing, absolutely nothing makes my spirit soar more than spending time with this little man. I love hearing how he sees the world and teaching him new things. He’s so bright and darling, he is a pure delight.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life seeing the Christmas Lights with her grandson

These may seem like New Years Resolutions, but I resist those because they usually lose their momentum by the second week of January. I prefer to look at these as gifts I give myself rather than rules I need to follow.

What do you think?

What sort of things do you like to give yourself?


Thanks for being here, sharing your stories and supporting other women. You help make this a community of like-minded, kind women who I am pleased to know.


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  1. December 22, 2017 / 3:49 am

    First, I love your new pic in the sidebar. Just lovely! That red lipstick looks great. I’m with you! Less time in front of the computer and more time with my real life friends. We lost a good friend a couple of weeks ago. A reminder of how little time we really have with the people we love. And if you detest your gym, is there another option for exercise. I’m taking a break from my regular workout place and trying yoga for a month. I was getting burned out on the same old workout routines and couldn’t make myself go. I now am excited about moving my body again. Every time I’m on the floor with our 10-month-old Jeffry and then have to GET UP, while holding him, I’m reminded of the need to keep up my strength, flexibility and balance!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Thanks Cathy. I’m really liking the red. Your little grandson is so adorable! I’m sorry to hear about your friend. That’s so sad and shocking. I need to just start moving. And consistently. Merry Christmas!

  2. Janet Williams
    December 22, 2017 / 4:25 am

    It’s so important to nurture ourselves and yet so hard to do at times!

    For me, it is the basics of sleep, healthy food and exercise. All three are a struggle in my very busy life but I keep working on it.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:27 am

      I agree Janet! I’m great at nurturing others but not always so efficient with myself. Wishing you a fabulous holiday filled with love, hope and joy!

  3. Gay
    December 22, 2017 / 4:31 am

    Try water aerobics…great fir arthritis!????

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:24 am

      That is one thing I’ve never tried! Funny thing is that local gym filled with sweating men has a pool with water aerobics! That’s where the women are…lightbulb moment. Thanks Gay!

  4. Roxann
    December 22, 2017 / 5:14 am

    I love the reframing of resolutions to gifts. Many of the gifts you mention are ones I’d love to give myself too. I think I will spend a bit of time this afternoon with a cup of mint tea creating a similar list for myself . Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:23 am

      I hope you get your hearts desire!! Happy holidays Roxann

  5. December 22, 2017 / 5:18 am

    Good luck with your goals!
    The best way to stick with an exercise plan is to find one you like. And that means not just the kind of exercise itself but also the instructor, the other participants, the place, the ambience, the hours/convenience…I was into yoga, but when my teacher moved away I never found another class I liked as much. But I did discover Pilates. My instructor does a class for seniors (in their 80s; the other classes bring women mostly but also men from 20s to 70s) and also has a high school girl who has a degenerative skeletal disease; Pilates is helping her fight the pain and hopefully delaying when she’ll need a wheelchair. I know it has improved my posture and core. It isn’t very cardio so I also walk/run on the side.
    Anyway it’s a great goal that will make you feel good, so I hope you find your right fit.

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:22 am

      Another vote for Pilates! Thank you so much. I will visit a few centers to see if I find one not filled with 30 year old gymnasts:). I know I’ll feel better exercising with people closer to my age. I used to love yoga too. I’ve got to give myself this gift and stick with it.

  6. Olwyn
    December 22, 2017 / 6:19 am

    Thank you for suggesting we look at these ideas as gifts as opposed to resolutions – a wonderful reframing that is positive!
    I am wondering if their is a way to see the comments section – I do not know how to access the comments section on your blog.

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:18 am

      The comments are under the post. There is a delay in posting them. Happy holidays Olwyn!

  7. Annie
    December 22, 2017 / 6:28 am

    What a lovely idea and I go along with all of that! I could think of one or two more too I am sure.
    Wishing you and your family a very very Happy Christmas and healthy and calm year to come. I love your blog and may it continue from strength to strength.

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Thank you Annie!! Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with love, hope and joy!

  8. Marlene
    December 22, 2017 / 6:31 am

    Love all of these and love the idea of viewing them as gifts rather than resolutions!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:16 am

      Happy Holidays!

  9. December 22, 2017 / 6:34 am

    Jennifer – I really appreciate your blog and look forward to seeing each post in my email. I would like to recommend that you try Pilates for exercise. It is fabulous for core strength, balance, flexibility and overall well being. I’ve been doing Pilates for 15 years and know how much it helps me … when I miss a week or two due to travel, etc. I really feel it. I consider it an investment in myself. Happy Holidays,

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:15 am

      Thank you Katie! I have 2 friends encouraging me to take it up. I did take 3 little lessons a few years ago and enjoyed it. In our area, the cost is exhorbidant. Maybe I could do it once or twice a week. Thank you for suggesting this. I know it would be really helpful for my hip too, which is acting up again. Have a glorious holiday!!

  10. Summer Hartzog
    December 22, 2017 / 6:46 am

    Thank you for these wonderful gift ideas. I didn’t realize until I read your list that some of these things need to be at the top of mine, too. Praying you receive all you asked for, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:12 am

      Merry Christmas Summer. I hope you get your hearts desire and have a wonderful holiday!

  11. December 22, 2017 / 7:04 am

    I think YOU have given yourself a BIG GIFT here by just writing it all DOWN!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:11 am

      You have such a gorgeous garden! It would be a great gift to everyone who spent time in it. Merry Christmas Elizabeth!

  12. Deborah Davis
    December 22, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Merry Christmas Jennifer!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:10 am

      Merry Christmas Deborah!

  13. Joanna
    December 22, 2017 / 8:24 am

    I love this post. It’s honest and from the heart. I hope you satisfy everything on your wish list.
    I with you on the stinky gyms filled with peacocks lifting weights and all those very fit people. Ugh! ???? There is a women’s gym not far from me that doesn’t have that atmosphere at all. No smell, just women more my age working on getting fit. Is there one near you? They cost a bit more but well worth the few extra dollars. If you enjoy your workout time , you will be much more likely to stick to a routine.
    I’m going to try your Gin & Raisin concoction once all my company is gone in the new year. I was waiting to hear if you thought it was helpful. Thank you for the update.
    Too many of us spend more time communicating online than in person. I rarely pick up the phone these days opting to email instead. So many of us are losing that close personal touch. Having said that, it’s the most efficient way to organize groups of people. We all have busy schedule so putting down your available times helps everyone come to an amiable date, time & place.
    Your grandson has grown so much since I last saw a picture of him with you in a playground. Spend more time with him, cultivating a relationship. Due to distance, I missed on that. Flying into visit once or twice a year does not help you be truly close. Grab that opportunity Jennifer.
    I must be in a very chatty mood this morning. Lol

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:08 am

      I love chatting with you Joanna! Online friendships are real too. There is a woman’s gym in the next town over but it is much more expensive…as in 3 times the price. I’m also afraid having to drive further will become an easy excuse.
      I may start on the raisins before they’re soaked for the whole time. Can’t hurt???? He is growing so fast I’m shocked by the changes between monthly visits. I’d really like to live closer… and thinking how we can do that. Combine where we retire with him.
      I’m feeling chatty too! Life goes so fast! xo

  14. Linda
    December 22, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Well thought out gifts that everyone of us could use!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 9:02 am

      Thanks Linda. I hope you get your hearts desire this year!

  15. December 22, 2017 / 10:05 am

    I love your focus on these as gifts rather than resolutions! I hope you get all of them. Xx

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 11:58 am

      Thanks Jen. Merry Christmas!

  16. December 22, 2017 / 10:34 am

    All great things to be thinking about a you enter a new year, Jennifer. I hope you have a special time with your family this week! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      Thanks Pam…same to you!

  17. December 22, 2017 / 10:43 am

    Merry Christmas Jennifer!
    Great ideas and good to set goals for yourself.

    I think water aerobics will be on my list for the New Year and I am planning on setting a timer for the amount of time that I spend on my laptop! Time passes so fast online…and I need to lose a few pounds.

    • Jennifer
      December 22, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      Merry Christmas Leslie! I think I will give them a try in January too!

  18. cheryl liberty
    December 22, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Merry Christmas! I missed the gin/raisin segment and am really interested as i struggle with arthritis in my toe and hand. And have you found the perfect red lipstick yet?? I need to know. 🙂 cheryl

    • Jennifer
      December 23, 2017 / 12:31 pm

      I started back with the raisins yesterday, even though they haven’t been soaking that long. My favorite red is the Ruby from Mineral Fusion. I use a slightly lighter, dark pink lipliner which creates a softer edge. I buy mine at Whole Foods but know it’s also online. Merry Christmas Cheryl!

  19. Rosemarie
    December 22, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    Hi there Jennifer

    Here we have lots of community centres and senior centres (don’t have to be a senior to take classes) that offer a variety of classes for a reasonable cost. Perhaps your area has some.

    I like your gifts. Get a beautiful calendar or journal and write/plan your activities. We all seem to make our dr/dentist appts so appt times for gifts might work.

    • Jennifer
      December 23, 2017 / 12:33 pm

      That’s a great idea, Rosemarie! Easier to remember if it’s written down and I see it! I’ll check and see what’s local. I hate to spend a ton of money on getting fit, but I need to get serious about this.

  20. Allison
    December 22, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    You really should try Classical Stretch! A combination of Pilates and yoga and ballet. Anyway, check out their web site and on you tube. Extremely effective for arthritis and joint pain. Also Classical Stretch creatorMiranda Esmonde-White’s book Aging Backwards or her Forever Painless. She was a ballet dancer ( now in her 60’s but you would never know) so she knows pain and is a recognized expert in aging and prevention of pain. With a new grandson I too want to stay flexible and strong and this form of exercise works for me and thousands of people around the world. It’s helped my hips so much.

    • Jennifer
      December 23, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      I’ve never heard of Classical Stretch, Allison. I just checked online and it looks like something I could do at home! I’ll be checking into it more. Thanks so much!

  21. December 23, 2017 / 6:31 am

    Wishing you wonderful holidays Jennifer! Love this list, think many of us can easily relate to it.I have pitched it before on your site, and will say again that I love Pure Barre! It’s Pilates, yoga and ballet rolled into one 50 min class. They are a franchise that others may see near them and it’s well worth trying. They have promotions for new members that help you decide if it’s right for you. They also have online classes for those not near a studio. This has helped me do my class even when my schedule does not work with their class times. We do have one husband who attends, but otherwise it’s all women, all ages though most are younger than me. Teachers know you by name, it’s not at all competitive and you are energized when you leave class. No sweaty odors, studio is very clean, people are friendly and it helps me feel so strong! It’s been my routine doe 2 and a half years now and I can’t say enough about how much it’s become part of my life – 4x per week is my schedule. Can I give a shout out to their Facebook page, Pure Barre Edina MN? Now it’s time to go put on my leggings and head to class.

    • Jennifer
      December 23, 2017 / 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Deanne! I just checked and we have 2 within 30 minutes of me. It looks like an intense workout! I’ll call and see about doing an introductory class. Happy Holidays to you too!

  22. Cheryl Ann
    December 23, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Hi Jennifer, one of the “gifts” I gave myself this past year, is an Integral Tai Chi class. It has been the only exercise routine that I have ever stuck with. I love it! We work out for an hour and afterwards I feel so good. It’s done to calming music and uses the whole body. My class is in our Enrichment Center not a gym…which also helps. It’s fun and my balance & flexibility have improved too. Wishing you the very best in finding what choice of movement will work for you. Here’s to a healthier 2018 for all of us!

    • Jennifer
      December 26, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      That’s something I have never tried! Happy New year Cheryl Ann!!

  23. December 23, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    I love the idea of thinking of these things as gifts instead of resolutions! The one that resonated most strongly with me was the desire to spend less time on your computer. I feel the same way. I love blogging, reading blogs like yours, and communicating with distant friends and family, but I can easily waste way too much time online. Like you, I want to read more and spend more ‘in person’ time with those that I can.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Jennifer
      December 26, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Elaine! Happy New Year.

  24. Julie from Melbourne,Australia
    December 24, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    Have a lovely family Christmas and I love your Christmas gifts.I’m thinking of using a timer when I go online and see how that goes.
    Try the gym again.I go late morning or early afternoon and that suits me perfectly.I’m one of those who’s addicted to how I feel after I workout………thank God!Also remember “you lose it if you don’t use it”.

    • Jennifer
      December 26, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      Happy New Year, Julie!! I am losing strength and flexibility so I need to get on it!! My time is my own so I can go anytime…and it would not be as crowded mid day. Good idea.

  25. Renee
    December 26, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    Jennifer, all great ideas! I”m looking forward to getting back to the gym and my regular routine of eating, sleeping etc. Too many parties and holiday busyness has zapped me of energy, yikes! I try to hit the gym 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon seems to be pretty quiet then. Afterward, I’m happy to be home relaxing and get dinner started….works for me!

    Happy New Year!!!

    • Jennifer
      December 26, 2017 / 3:13 pm

      That sounds like great timing! There have been way too many goodies eaten here too. Happy New Year, Renee!

  26. Laurie
    December 30, 2017 / 6:13 am

    Thinking of your goals as gifts-to-self is brilliant! Happy New Year!

    • Jennifer
      December 30, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Happy New Year Laurie!

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