What’s Your #RedKettleReason?

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I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

The hustle and bustle of the stores these last few days before Christmas can be overwhelming. The music blaring, kids shouting with excitement, cash registers clanging…but there’s one sound I love hearing above all:

The ringing of The Salvation Army bells.

Almost all of the stores and shopping centers we visit have a Salvation Army volunteers standing outside, ringing their bells, and collecting donations for the Red Kettle. This is the 124th year of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. Over one hundred years of volunteers spending time raising money for the Salvation Army. In fact, the bell ringers will collect over one third of all the year’s donations during the Red Kettle campaign.

Everyone has their “Red Kettle Reason”: the reason they choose to donate to The Salvation Army. For me, I donate because of this handsome gentleman:

A photo posted by Ashley (@fiddledeeme) on

That’s my grandfather. He was a member of the Greatest Generation and a WWII vet. As he got older, he needed a hearing aid. The Salvation Army was there to provide it for him. They covered everything from the exam to the device and even battery replacements. It was something that changed his life, for the better, and he was always thankful to The Salvation Army for making it possible.

So now when I see the red kettle, I think of him, and the millions of people The Salvation Army helps each year. In 2013, The Salvation Army helped over 30 million Americans. They provide meals, medical services, emergency shelters, disaster relief, summer and day camps for children, rehabilitative jobs in Salvation Army thrift stores, and so much more. $.82 of every dollar donated goes directly to services in the community in which the donations were received.

We also use the Red Kettle to teach our children the importance of giving back. We keep extra change in our car during the season and they love to donate whenever possible. When they put their donation into the Kettle, they also learn smaller lessons like manners and respect for their elders. It’s a little gesture that can mean so much more.

So those are our Red Kettle Reasons, what are yours? Leave a comment below and share your reason! 

For more information or to create your own virtual Red Kettle click here. Join the conversation on social media with #RedKettleReason.

Merry Christmas!

#TheBFGMovie Casting Details Announced

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I’ve started to shy away from doing posts about movie press releases because it seems like everyone and anyone is posting the same information the second the press release email is sent out. Right now, I’m watching the hashtag #TheBFGMovie fly through my twitter stream as everyone tries to disseminate the latest news as fast as possible. I grew tired of trying to beat the others posting the information and, to be quite frank, I wasn’t receiving anything in return for posting (save for one free press screening pass a year) and there are several releases in my inbox every day from every studio out there. It got to be too much.

But there’s something about this movie that makes me forget all of that.

You see, The BFG isn’t just a book to me. It’s my childhood contained in 208 pages. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the book. In fact, I still have my third copy of The BFG in my office to this day (I wore through the first two copies.) I’ve re-read it as an adult several times and, once we finish The Witches, I’ll be reading it to my daughter.


I used to lay under my covers, flashlight in hand, imagining I was Sophie in her dormitory, listening to the sounds of The Witching Hour. I could imagine trying a snozzcumber and I’d keep little containers around my room…dreams I’d catch in jars.

Roald Dahl’s books were magic. They entranced me and I loved each and every one. Although I learned later in life that Dahl was kind of a jerk in real life (there’s quite a bit of time spent on describing his character in the advertising tell-all book Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond and none if it is endearing), he’s still my favorite children’s author to this day. Sorry, JK. I love you and Harry, but Dahl wins.

This leaves me guarded over my enthusiasm over The BFG being made into a major motion picture. The BFG was Dahl’s favorite work and it’s been a childhood favorite of so many since 1982.

The Witches, another Dahl favorite, was very well done. It was very English and they didn’t shy away from making the story a little terrifying and grotesque (Dahl was said to have hated the upbeat ending of the film version and wanted to be disassociated with the project when it was chosen.) I wasn’t  a huge fan of the adaptations of Matilda (I didn’t like transplanting the story into America and some of the plot changes, although DeVito did do a commendable job) and James and the Giant Peach. I do admit to not seeing Fantastic Mr. Fox, but I have it on my must-watch list. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while a brilliant film and one of my all-time favorites, was not true enough to the book to really make a comparison (the Johnny Depp version was just…bizarre, although did follow storylines a tad bit closer, even if the Burton-esque touch was a tad bit heavy handed.)

Today, it was announced that newcomer Ruby Barnhill has been cast as Sophie (isn’t she adorable?) I trust Stephen Spielberg’s judgement when it comes to casting, especially knowing his penchant for making movies whimsical and he seems to be able to capture not only the hearts and imaginations of children, but isn’t afraid to throw in the scary stuff, too.
#TheBFGMovie Casting Announcement
I can only hope they are making Ruby blonde for the role, reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s illustrations. Sophie will always be the tiny blonde girl with thick bangs and large-rimmed glasses wearing a dressing gown of pink.

Mark Rylance has been cast as the title character: The Big, Friendly Giant.



Are you a Dahl fan? How do you feel about the upcoming BFG movie?

DreamWorks Studios’ film  is slated for a July 1, 2016 release, with filming to begin in “early 2015.”

Best Birthday Ever

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The stars aligned and I just got the best birthday present ever.


See you in just over a month, Disneyland!

Best of Stitch Fix 2014 Reviews

Best of Stitch Fix 2014

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I discovered Stitch Fix near the end of 2013 and fell in love with the personalized styling service pretty quickly. Since then, I’ve received quite a few Fixes and added some pretty great pieces into my wardrobe. I wasn’t able to get a December Fix because I waited too long to try and schedule one […]

Much Ado About Nothing

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I finally made my decision a few weeks ago to forego Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend and run the Rock n’ Roll DC Half instead. I was waiting for the deferral window to open, but once it did, I couldn’t bring myself to fill out the form. I’ve been looking forward to this race for […]

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Runners

11 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Runners

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This post contains affiliate links, but is not sponsored in any way. Now that the turkey has been eaten, I can start my Christmas shopping. My husband and I have started a tradition of only exchanging stockings and leaving the big presents to the kids. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding some great stocking stuffers […]