To me, Valentines Day is about celebrating love, and not just romantic love. You can love a teacher, a mentor, a friend. The Ask Jules email below asked about one of my favorite Valentines for over five years now, my assistant and great friend, Kristy Sowin. Her story for how we met is an inspiring one. As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason! And I’m glad this one happened to us.
My name is Laurie, and first I want to tell you that I am a big fan of yours! I have a question for you. I would like to know how you and Kristy met and became such close friends? You have such a good friendship. 👯
Montreal, Canada 🇨🇦
Hey, Laurie! Kristy, here. A lot of people don’t know how Julianne and I met, so I’m glad you asked! It’s one of my favorite stories.
My sister Marabeth and her girlfriends are always getting together to do fun and creative activities. I’m having serious FOMO from their latest get-together, where they did a sweet twist on an ordinary potluck. The hostess had sugar cookie dough on hand and asked everyone to bring their favorite cookie ingredients. Together they made combinations of cookies to enjoy warm out of the oven and package-up for friends and family. What ingredient would you bring to this party? I’m partial to the holiday M&Ms…
I’ll let Marabeth tell you how they made their delicious “Christmas Bars.” Let me know if you try them at home!
My girlfriends and I had so much fun making these simple Christmas Bars! We had everyone bring their favorite cookie ingredients to make a fun new creation together and share! It was a blast!! I bought my sugar cookie mix already packaged, but if you want to make yours from scratch I’ve included a recipe below. We added white chocolate chips and M&M’s. It was so super easy — and even more fun!
Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe:
• 1 1/2 cups of softened butter
• 2 cups of white sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 5 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
A big, huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who submitted a story to The Giving Keys BFF Contest Giveaway! You all had me laughing and crying my way through the Ask Jules inbox. Out of the thousands of stories submitted, Isabel’s stood out to me most. The way Isabel describes her friendship with Sanaia is everything I believe true friendship is all about. Congrats, girls! I hope you love your BFF necklaces from The Giving Keys as much as my BFF and I do!
Choosing just one story was nothing short of impossible, so I chose two additional runners up who I will share with you in the upcoming weeks. And because choosing just three stories out of a sea of incredibleness was also a struggle, I’ve decided to feature even more of you on my new Instagram @juliannehough_com. Stay tuned to see if your story was chosen!
I’m sharing Isabel’s letter below for all of you to enjoy. It makes me so happy to know there are wonderful friendships happening every day, and Isabel and Sanaia truly embody what it means to be “best friends.”
I used to live in Utah, and when I was 10 my mom got remarried and we moved to a small town in Kansas. I was so nervous. I’d never been this far away from family and friends. I moved at the end of January, and that following summer was when I first started talking to my best friend, Sanaia. We were at the pool for the 4th of July, and we both had a common friend that we were hanging out with. When the common friend left, it was just me and her. That day we watched fireworks together, and that’s when I realized: this girl is going to be my best friend.
Is it too soon to #tbt to Easter? Last week, I took a trip to one of my best friend Nina Dobrev’s hometown in Toronto. Once we were there we got our Easter egg on! Nina’s Mom taught us a new technique for decorating eggs. They turned out so great I wanted to share her way with you all. File it away for next year or get crafty just because! Is there ever not a time for pastel colored eggs? Nah.
Oh, Valentines Day. You were so simple way back when all we had to do was show up to school armed with enough fill-in-the-blank cards and candy for the whole class. Now there are actual gifts to consider and protocols to follow. What do you buy the person you’ve only just started seeing? What to gift your girlfriend of over a year? Is jewelry too much? Are flowers not enough? Does anyone really eat the chocolates?! (Yes.)
Have no fear of cupid — I put together a fantastic list of gifts that are thoughtful and slightly outside the box. Your Valentine will love it, especially because it came from you! They are yours for a reason, after all.
Anchor leather wrap bracelet $65 | Tortoise shell sunglasses $20 | Personalized tree trunk glassware duo $85 | Custom puzzle $129 | Grey iPad case $20 | Faux suede Chelsea boots $90 | Herschel retreat backpack $70 | Coin 2.0 $100
Cursive wood block $25-$45 | Morse code necklace $62 | Heart of gold bangle $32 | Sara Happ lip set $35 | Heart of gold mug $13 | Hand-carved heart book $14 | What I Love About You and Me book $10
And don’t forget the most important thing: the perfect card!
I’ve been receiving countless letters from readers who are having a hard time being bullied. Peta’s ex-boyfriend is bullying her at school, yelling horrible things about her in class. The other dancers in Brit’s class intimidate her to the point where she has stopped dancing. Marissa’s girl friends turned on her and now they are trying to make her school life miserable. Sadly, this is all so common.
This week in my Ask Jules column I decided to slip-on my Cupid wings and address a few of my romantic readers.
I was wandering if you can tell me how you would like to be approached by a guy you do not know and be asked out?
When it comes to approaching someone you don’t know and asking them out, the key is to come off confident, comfortable, and above all – not creepy. When I was single, I always appreciated it when someone started a conversation with me before jumping to asking me out. If they could make me laugh or smile in a way that didn’t feel too aggressive, it put me at ease and allowed me to open up.
Pay attention for opportunities to start a conversation. If you’re both in the cereal section at the grocery store, ask a question about the box she’s holding or make a joke about all the choices. Breaking the ice is the best way to start.
What do you think, readers? Help Steve out in the comments! How do you like to be approached and asked out?
I absolutely love receiving all your emails! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and trusting your concerns with me. If I didn’t answer your letter this week, keep checking back because I will try to get to as many as possible.
I just started college in August and have found myself having a hard time making friends. Granted, it is only the first semester and I still have quite a while for making friends. The biggest issue I have run into is how much partying people do around here, and by partying, I mean drinking. I choose not to drink because my family has a long line of substance abuse. This puts me at a higher risk of addiction, and I have no desire to test those waters. I don’t particularly mind if other people party, but that just isn’t something I want to participate in… unfortunately that means I miss out on a lot of opportunities to connect with other people.
My friends understand and support my decision to not drink, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on some rite of passage. Is there any advice you might offer to me and other students like me? Is there a way for me to connect with my peers that doesn’t involve drinking?
I’ve been having so much fun researching ideas for my big day! Just as exciting as planning the wedding itself is going to be planning everything that comes before it. One thing I am really looking forward to doing is asking my bridesmaids if they’ll do me the honor or standing by Brooks and I as we say our vows. I love the idea of sharing this experience and doing something special for my friends and family as well.
Here are some incredibly cute and create ways to propose to your bridesmaids:
We all have busy lives to keep up with, places to be and things to do. It’s easy to lose touch with people you wish you could see more often. Every so often a random person will pop into my head for no particular reason and I’ll think fondly of them for a moment and then move on. You know when that happens? You think, “Oh, I like them! I should call them soon.”
Yesterday I received a text from a friend I haven’t spoken to in almost a year, not for any reason other than life got busy and we haven’t crossed paths. “Thinking of you! Hope all is good!” was all she wrote. It made me so happy! I responded, “I think of you all the time! Miss you.” It was a short but sweet connection that reminded me of one of the many wonderful people in my life. I might not see or speak to her often, but she is there.