The #SantaHat Tradition: What It Means to Me

If you ever get the chance to know me, you'll find that I am the most sentimental person you'll ever meet. I love remembering anniversaries and key dates. I love keeping a detailed journal and large albums of photos for memories. I love traditions and what they stand for. I love tweeting things like, "Exactly one year ago"¦"

If you've known me in the past four years, you'll know about my most favorite thing to do during the holiday season — the #SantaHat Tradition!

I can't take credit for the idea. I got the idea from a messageboard back in like 2004, where graphic designers volunteered to put Santa Hats on everyone's avatars. I thought it was the coolest idea ever so I held on to that #SantaHat image and tucked it away for a few years.

In December '08, when btvfam started growing together and Facebook took over Myspace, I thought to myself, "how cool would it be to wake up to a ton of Santa Hats all over Facebook?"

So that first holiday season, I made it happen"¦and it was a hit!

  • "Whoa, I thought that Santa Hat was real!!"

  • "Where the hell are all these Santa Hats coming from?!" —@DerekPortea

  • "I want a Santa Hat!" —@AndrewAGarcia

  • "I don't remember them wearing Santa Hats when I took that picture"¦Oh wait a minute, I see what you did there!" --@LoloPhoto

But there is one reaction in particular that I will always remember:

@micah_moo randomly broadcasting on BlogTV, wearing a Santa Hat (a real one), rocking out to the 'NSync Christmas album with the biggest freakin' smile on her face. "Mel totally got me excited for Christmas!!"

That right there, out of all the reactions I have ever gotten, is the one that I hold closest to my heart.

The tradition became more to me than just the novelty of seeing Santa Hats all over Facebook"¦it became about spreading Christmas cheer! And spreading it to as many freakin' people as possible. Not just to my friends, but my friends' friends/followers as well.

So with each passing holiday season, I would do more and more Santa Hats. The first year I did 79. The second year I did 190. Last year I did 446. This year I didn't double my previous record but I topped off at a new personal best of 532.

(In case you're wondering how I decide who gets a #SantaHat, I honestly just do it at complete random. I'll sit at the computer, see a name pop up on Twitter or the Facebook Ticker, and I'd slap a #SantaHat on it. I don't create a mega checklist of names or prioritize certain friends over others"¦I just make a butt load of 'em.)

Doing this over 1,000 times in the past two years alone, I realized a couple things:

  1. I am truly blessed to have had so many awesome people come into my life. Truly, truly blessed.

  2. There are so many people that I have slowly lost touch with over the years.

As much as I look forward to doing this every year, it's become a little bittersweet. Here I am, bouncing around Facebook looking for photos to use, smiling at each memory along the way"¦And then for many of you, it hits me, "Holy crap, I haven't seen you in over a year"¦"

Some of it is life getting in the way, throwing complicated priorities on us, pulling us in different directions. That's totally understandable.

But there are also faces I hadn't seen in a while, not because life pulled us apart, but because we pushed each other away. Some of us may have hurt each other, either intentionally or unintentionally. Or we picked different sides in our friends' dramas. Or we just flat out didn't get along. Whatever the reason may be — no matter how legitimate or irrational or petty it was — we decided to push each other away.

With something as simple as photoshopping Santa Hats, it'd be easy for me to be all passive-aggressive about it. "This fucker said I have fat ankles so no Santa Hat for this bitch ass!"

But then I see playing on TV, one of my all-time favorite childhood movies — Home Alone 2. That old creepy shovel man that saves Kevin's life at the end, finally makes amends with his family after so many years. That scene always brought me to tears as a kid"¦and its message still resonates with me today:

Christmas is a time for forgiveness.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that one point, we were all good friends. Some harsh words may have been said (to each other's faces or behind each other's backs), bridges may have been burned...but once upon a time, that bridge was there. And it was good! For a while, it was good.

Nothing should ever take that away.

We may never be able to get things back the way they were"¦but is it really worth holding on to those grudges so tightly?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay to let my guard down a bit. It's okay to lower those walls I've built. It's okay to cease fire and take a moment to just breathe. At least for a moment. At least long enough for me to be able to look the person in the eye, see past the hurt they once put me through, and say with absolutely sincerity, "I hope you have a Merry Christmas."

It's not an easy task though. I have a stubborn heart and sometimes it takes even years for me to forgive someone. I still have a list of people to truly forgive, and an even heavier list of people that I'm hoping to someday forgive me. Someday"¦

So that's what the #SantaHat Tradition means to me. It's about spreading Christmas cheer to as many people as possible. It's about letting people know I still value the time we share or once shared. It's about taking the time to look into myself, finding forgiveness, and expressing it in one of the simplest ways possible.

As much as I look forward to doing this every holiday season to spread Christmas cheer, the #SantaHat Tradition is very much a humbling experience for me too.

To all my friends that received a #SantaHat this year, whether we've stayed in touch or not, I just wanted to say thank you for being a part of my life. And to those of you who made your #SantaHat as your default picture, thank you so much for helping me spread Christmas cheer.

To each and every one of you out there"¦I know I've typed this over 500 times in the span of one week, but I've always meant it every single time, from the bottom of my heart"¦

Happy Holidays, everyone. <3


My Lucky Stars

For all the times you see through my fake smiles.

For all the times I need you the most, deserve you the least, and give you all the reasons to walk out on me.

For all the times I am selfish, impatient, insecure, irrational, out of control and at my absolute worst"¦

Thank you, my closest friends, from the bottom of my heart"¦for never giving up on me and always supporting me no matter what.

All of the good times I have are only possible because you helped me get through the bad times.

It's only in darkness when we can truly appreciate our lucky stars. And for all my lucky stars that watch out for me"¦I owe you so much and trust you with my life.

Thank you. Again. For everything.


Ladies: What do you do when a guy friend that you're not interested in keeps insisting on being more than just friends?

Let me guess:

  • You act like everything is just fine and dandy, hoping that he'll just figure it out and back off eventually.

  • You act passive-aggressive by screening his calls/texts/messages and give him the cold shoulder in person.

  • You lie to him with something like, "I'm not ready for a relationship right now" or "I'm talking to somebody."

  • You ask a mutual friend to help you out and talk to the guy.

Let me tell you what you should do:

Reject him. Straight up.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with turning down a guy that you're not interested in. All it takes is a simple, "I'm sorry but I don't look at you that way."

No need to give him attitude. No need to get all passive-aggressive. No need to feed him BS.

Just reject him. Straight up. But do it with class.

Sure, it'll be awkward for a little while, but by outright turning him down, you set his expectations back down to reality. If he really does not have a chance with you, you need to make sure he doesn't have a single thread of hope to cling on to.

If you don't draw the line, this is what will happen:

  • He will keep pushing your friendship boundaries over and over and over. — "I know it's 3am but I'm gonna text her and tell her I miss her!"

  • He will over-analyze every single action you do, every word you say, and make a big deal out of the smallest, stupidest shit. — "She did/didn't Like my post on her Facebook! I'm so fucking happy/emo!"

  • His subconscious will constantly rationalize for reasons to believe that you're into him. — "She said I'm the nicest guy she's ever met! She totally wants me."

  • He'll get jealous of any other guy that comes into the picture, including (and especially) other mutual guy friends. — "Why is my friend talking to her? What are they talking about? Why are they laughing so much??"

All of that will drag on for MONTHS until you finally bring it up to him.

If you wait too long to do it, in his eyes you'll go from being this "perfect" girl on a pedestal to "the heartless, unappreciative bitch that took advantage of every nice thing I did for her and threw me to the side the minute another guy came into the picture."

So ladies"¦just be straight up the guys around you.

There's no need for you to deal with drama. There's no need for the guy to build up his hopes for months only to have it come crashing down. There's no need to drag in your mutual friends and make it awkward for everyone.

I know you don't wanna come off as a bitch and you don't want to deal with the awkwardness. Totally understandable. But if you have zero interest in a guy that keeps insisting on being more than friends"¦save yourself the months of potential drama and just let him know whats up.



(And no, this post isn't about me or made to call out anyone specific. This is just something that I've lived through several times in the past and continue to notice from other friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr & in person.)

Re: I think everyone goes through stages of friends


I think depending on what you're doing, and what you're going through throughout your life, you have sets of friends.

You have friends for this particular sport you do, because of a hobby you have whether it be music, dance, or anything like that. And your friends are really different, all of them. and you go through a stage when all you do is be with them everyday, then all of a sudden you find yourself hanging around another set of friends.

but that doesn't mean you've forgotten anything that you've been through with them. After being with someone or a group of people everyday you pretty much know their insides and outs. Just because you stop hanging out with someone for a while doesn't mean you don't want to be around them, it just means life is throwing you in a different direction, and the next stage in life.

We learn the most by growing from others. The people we surround ourselves with will make a huge impact on our lives.

I miss so many people, it's inevitable to say “i miss you.” i've met some of the most amazing people in my life.

and people have been in and out, but that doesn't mean they're out forever. it means they're out living their lives and living their dreams. everyone goes through stages of friends, but throughout those stages, i'll keep and remember all of the friendships and memories i've made throughout my lifetime.


I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially of everyone I've met since Summer 2008.

I miss those endless hours on BlogTV. I miss those all-night Skype calls and Tokbox slumber parties. I miss seeing the same friendly faces at JAG every week. I miss driving to NorCal or San Diego on back-to-back-to-back weekends. I miss having a FB invite every week to a show that EVERYONE will be at. I miss flying all over the place so I could spend time with friends and meet more amazing people.

But I'm forcing myself to keep a low-profile. I have to do what's best for me, and at the moment, that means focusing on getting my career back on track.

I know that life is pulling you all into different directions too, whether it's for school, work, music or your relationship with your significant other. Whatever it is you're focusing on, I fully support you doing whatever is best for you.

I miss you all dearly. And even though we don't hang out as much as we used to, I know the next time we do, it'll be like we never skipped a beat.

Love you all. Always. <3


Years ago, my closest homeboys and I made a pact...

If we're all still bachelors at the age of 35, we'll all quit our jobs and travel the world together. We'll all go to the same country, stay there until one of us finds a wife, and then move on to the next country. We'll do this until all of us are engaged.

We called it, The International Wives Tour.

Tonight I find out that one of my homeboys just proposed to his girlfriend. The first of our tight circle to take the plunge. The hardest partier of us all is finally settling down.

I'm absolutely mindblown right now but in the happiest way possible. I've attended several weddings already, but the happiness hits you so much harder when it's a close friend that you've grown up with for YEARS.

My boy is all growns up now.

Congratulations, Samir.

See you at the bachelor party. (;

What We Should Be Celebrating

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -Martin Luther King Jr

To those that were giving me heat for my tweets last night, there's a difference between cheering "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and cheering "OSAMA'S DEAD!"

If you interpret that as me downplaying Osama's crimes, you're missing the point.

Yes, our country has forever changed because of him. Everyone knows that. Of all the tragedies that happen around the world that we tend to ignore, 9/11 opened our eyes. Nobody can deny that.

Should he have been killed? That doesn't matter because he's gone already; no point in bickering over something that cannot be changed.

Even though Al-Qaeda is a multi-headed monster and we may never be fully able to let our guard down like pre-9/11...the mastermind himself can no longer do us harm.

The point is, instead of rejoicing his death, let's focus on the lives that will be saved because of the events of yesterday. Let's remember those brave firefighters and soldiers that have made -- and continue to make -- great sacrifices for us. Let's realize that we are all still ALIVE, and being able to wake up to a new day, every day, is a blessing in itself.

Because life -- and everything that has successfully been done to protect it -- is what we should be celebrating.


I am an ISFJ.

I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test that @mpolinar tweeted today and HOLY CRAP, I'm just MINDBLOWN at how accurate the results are.

I actually took this personality test years ago and got the exact same result. But this time around, the results have a lot more meaning; the last few years have given me a much better understanding of what makes me tick.

Here are some of the results that really speak to me:

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed."

...They are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself).

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.)


...Their primary interest is in the safety and security of those they care about - their family, their circle of friends, their students, their patients, their boss, their fellow-workers, or their employees. Protectors have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in their makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world.


Protectors value tradition, both in the culture and in their family.

This is the Guardian least likely to seek positions of leadership since they may feel uncomfortable in the lime-light. They are often seen as the people who do whatever is necessary to keep things running smoothly. They do their best to prevent problems.


ISFJ will Love you by doing practical things and by saying "I love you", just don't expect them to initiate the verbal expression.

Is a natural for remembering and valuing birthdays, ceremonies, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, tradition, institutions.


What makes them feel best about themselves is when others show them their appreciation of the ISFJ. Consequently, the best gift that the partner of an ISFJ can give them is the expression of their love and appreciation.

ISFJs usually feel a strong need to talk problems and issues over with people before making decisions on their actions.

The love to observe people's reactions and emotions in situations, and so enjoy being around diverse types of people. The ISFJ usually remains reserved around others, and does not open up very much. However, since they have a need to talk things over with others in order to make decisions, they do really need some close confidantes in their life.


// thanks MP

How I Spent My Year 2010

I don't expect you guys to read all of this...but I hope you take the time to answer this survey yourselves just to reflect on the past year. If you do this, answer truthfully and with meaningful answers that you can look back on several years from now; it's amazing to look back on how you've grown.

This is my 8th straight year of doing this, and it's an absolute TRIP looking back and my old posts. Anyways, here it is.

Read More