Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spending your October: A To-Do List.

October is my favorite. Really, today is one of my favorite days of the entire year, because it kicks off my three favorite months. Nothing makes me happier than October, November, and December. 

There are thirty-one days in October. Thirty-one glorious, pumpkin-filled days that are going to zoom right by you if you don't decide how you want to spend them. So how should you spend them?

I have some suggestions. 

1. Listen to the Autumn in New York Pandora station.

2. Make hot apple cider and drink it under a blanket outside.

3. Read a thriller. (I suggest Gone Girl--I just read this and it shocked me so much that I dropped my phone in my coffee cup.)

4. Bake something that's been on your Pinterest forever.

5. Take a picture every single day of something that makes you happy, so you'll always be able to remember October 2014.

6. Make a list of ten things you're thankful for. 

7. Make caramel apples.

8. Buy someone sunflowers.

9. Look up fall fairs or festivals in your town and make plans to go!

10. Take a day off completely off. No to-do lists or work. Just a real day off.

11. Start writing down Christmas gift ideas.

12. Watch a movie set in the fall--like Remember the Titans.

13. Throw a "make your own Halloween candy" party.

14. Write down all the reasons you love October.

15. Go for a walk with a pumpkin coffee. 

16. Buy a hat, or some headbands. Fall is the season of not having to do your hair.

17. Go look at all of the terrible and hilarious Halloween costumes at Target. Bonus points: The dog costume section.

18. Go to Bath & Body Works and pick out something pumpkin or apple scented.

19. Eat dinner outside.

20. Go on at least one spontaneous adventure.

21. Say yes to something when your first instinct is to say no.

22. Write someone a thank you note.

23. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone at least once. 

24. Read a book you normally wouldn't pick up. I can help recommend a few!

25. Surprise someone with cookies.

26. Stay up too late talking about your dreams with someone you love.

27. Rock some red lipstick.

28. Set a goal for yourself. It's a brand new month, you have thirty-one fresh, new days to achieve it.

29. Listen to this song and turn it up as loud as it will go. "I hope that you spend your days, but they all add up. And when the sun goes down, I hope you raise your cup." 

30. Carve pumpkins.

31. Celebrate Halloween however you want to. Dress up and go out or stay at home and handout candy or have a movie marathon or go to dinner. Just celebrate.

How are you planning on spending your October?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Feel Free to Change the World.

I have this shirt that I snagged out of my dad's giveaway pile when I was thirteen. It says, "feel free to change the world." I'm not sure where it came from--a conference or a concert, maybe. Either way, I still have it. I've always loved wearing it--it's over a decade old and it's perfectly soft and oversized. But lately, I just feel guilty wearing it.

Feel free to change the world. 

Yeah, right. What am I doing to change the world? Lately, it feels like a whole bunch of nothing. Just mundane routine until Friday, where the next two days will fly by and shoot me straight back to Monday morning. 

Feel free to change the world. 

So it's a Monday morning, and I'm standing in front of the mirror, looking at the words on that shirt. And for the life of me, I can't remember the last time that I truly believed I was going to change the world. And something about that makes me feel inexplicably exhausted.

Feel free to change the world. 

I think that the problem with this is that we sit around and wait for an opportunity to present itself. It's like walking into a friend's house and having them say, "feel free to grab whatever you want from the kitchen!" And then standing there like a stranger, hungry, waiting on them to hand you something specific. 

Feel free to change the world. 

We could do something on our own, but we don't. We stand there like a stranger in the kitchen, just waiting, waiting, waiting. We act like at some point between Monday morning's drive to work and drinks on Friday night, the opportunity to change the world will tap us on the shoulder and whisper excitedly into our ear. 

And that's just not how it works. 

Feel free to change the world.  

Because we can, if we want to.  

So here's to remembering that we can change the world, even if it doesn't look like the giant, grand opportunity we thought it would be. Here's to speaking up for those who are quiet, to defending what we believe in, to putting our actions where our hearts are. 

Feel free to change the world. 

Here's to changing the world in many ways, no matter how small, and to leaving your mark here, no matter how faint. 

Feel free to change the world. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Life Advice: Part Three

advice for a happy life

Part one here and part two here.

Wake up ten minutes earlier so you can enjoy a cup of coffee in bed.

Watch a sunrise or a sunset at least once a week. 

Every once in a while, buy yourself something totally impractical that you don't need whatsoever.

If you have stuff in your house you don't like or use, throw it away. 

Decorate your house for fall. If that's not really your thing, just drive yourself to hobby lobby, buy a scarecrow or pumpkin, and put it on your table. Instant happiness.

Have a premiere party for all the new fall shows. And by premiere party, I mean turn your phone off and sit down with a pumpkin coffee and a hoodie and binge watch the goodness that is fall television. 

Glitter nail polish. Enough said.

What's your favorite cocktail to get when you go out? Learn how to make it at home. 

Watch the first movie that pops up on your Netflix recommendations.

Sometimes, just make the decision that you're going to have a fun night. Even if you have to wake up early the next day, or even if you have ten dollars to last you the week. Just make yourself have fun, no matter what that looks like to you. 

When you're having a bad day, pour yourself a glass of champagne and turn on your favorite song and dance around the kitchen to the whole thing. Just try to still have a bad day after that. 

Decide that today is going to be a good day. Decide to be happy today.

What makes you happy? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

lemons + lemonade.

Life is going to throw you days that really suck. 

I pride myself in being a really positive person and always focusing on the good in things. 

But sometimes, there are going to be days, or weeks, or months that just totally suck. 

You heard it here, from the girl laid up in bed with her face and neck covered in Benadryl cream due to some mystery sickness.

And that's okay. 

I'm learning it doesn't make you any less of a positive person to look at a day or week or month and just think, "yeah, that was terrible." 

Because that's life. 

But I'm also learning to be really thankful for all the good days and weeks and months, because there are a heck a lot of those, and they blow the bad days totally out of the water. 

life gives you lemons

This month has been so bad at times that I've wanted to scream "ARE YOU KIDDING ME SEPTEMBER?!" on quite a few occasions, but it's also been freaking fantastic. 

I've spent a lot of time up here, and learned that it's a really cool place to hang out right before it storms:

I've spent a lot of time snuggling with this guy:

And really, any month where this happened can't be classified as a bad month:

There's been a lot of blurry car-selfies:

And a lot of late nights trying our best to act our age instead of going to sleep at 8:30 like our bodies are desperately telling us to do: 

So yeah, this month has kind of sucked. It's been full of car wrecks and sickness and crazy unexpected bills and broken down vehicles and mean people and crappy days that you just have to cry about.

But it's also been full of family and friends and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It's been full of squeezing in date nights with the love of my life and early mornings laughing together about how deliriously tired we are. It's been full of sunsets and sunrises and cheers and dancing and remembering just how much of a privilege it is to be alive.

Sometimes life gives you lemons. And when that happens, it's really important to stop and remember all the times that life gave you lemonade. 

So bring it on. The lemons and the lemonade. Because life, no matter how full of days that make you want to scream, is really, really, really freaking beautiful. And that's worth remembering.

Has your month been full of lemons or lemonade?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Fall Dates with My Favorite!

Emily is one of the sweetest bloggers I know! And if I didn't already love her, she really sealed the deal when I told her she could write about anything she wanted and she picked fall. 

Grab yourself a pumpkin spice coffee and get excited for date nights this fall! 

* * *

Happy Saturday, all! I'm Emily and I write over at Ember Grey. I was so excited when Chelsea gave me the opportunity to guest post over here - I am a big fan of that sweet girl and her blog! 

Well, depending on where you live, you may or may not be "feeling fall." I currently live in Chicago and we are definitely in the fall-time spirit over here. (40 degrees in the mornings will do that to you!) I am a huge fan of fall, and not just because of all of the pumpkin (everything) and candles and cozy clothes, although those things do help. I don't know what it is about this time of year but I have always felt the most creative and creatively inspired during the fall time. My spirit feels alive and I tend to be more open to new things, new adventures. 

While my husband and I officially met in the summertime, we didn't start dating until October, so fall also holds a lot of fun memories for me :) I thought I might share with you all some of my most favorite fall dates (that have also become annual traditions). The best part about these dates though? They don't just have to be spent with a significant other. Grab your girl friends or a big group and celebrate the season together!

Chips + Salsa & Margaritas Date - This may not sound "fall" to you, but for my husband and me, this is how we kick off the season. Our very first date was over chips and salsa and margaritas, with a long walk home, under falling leaves, holding hands and breathing in the fresh fall air. Take some time and get out there with your babe, or with your girls! (Plus- chips, salsa, and margaritas always equal a good time... yes?!) (Yes.) 

Apple Picking & Apple Pie Baking - This is one of my favorites. Living in the city, we usually have to drive out a ways to find a good apple farm, but it's always worth it! Get a group of couples or friends together, bring along some pumpkin coffee (PSL?!), and spend the morning or afternoon picking apples (and sometimes these places will offer hayrides, too!) I always make apple pie for Thanksgiving so this is typically my time to start collecting my main ingredient! :)

Pumpkin Carving - This was actually the second official date my husband and I had ;) I don't care how old you are, carving pumpkins is always fun! Turn on some tunes or your favorite record and carve away!

Octoberfest Party - Invite a bunch of your friends over and have each person/couple bring seasonal beers to share with the group, add some fall time snacks with possible football game watching, and I'm pretty sure you'll be in the fall mood. Arcade game playing is optional, unless you're at our house and then it's mandatory ;) (And if you live outside of the city, throw in a bonfire in the backyard!)

Foliage Drive - Sometimes ya just need to get outta dodge, right? While living in the city has its own perks, I love just jumping in the car with some hot apple cider, good tunes, and driving a few hours out to the country or a state park where you can just enjoy the colorful view of the changing leaves. I've done this by myself before and spent some time under a tree just writing or journaling or reading... if that doesn't give you a good reset to life, I don't know what will. And of course, if you live in a place that provides you with your own leaves, those that you have to rake, you have to jump in the piles ;) 

So what about you? Do you have any fall time traditions? What type of dates are you most looking forward to this year?

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today! You can also find me here: 

Come say hi! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Something Special.

You guys.

It's been quite the week.

I have a lot of adjectives (and honestly, some expletives) that I'd like to put in front of that word, but we'll just keep it simple and say it's been a week. And I was really looking forward to a fresh start today.

So, I wake up early enough to write out my to-do list for the day, because being able to do that before work just makes all the difference. I have an extra cup of coffee. I start the new She Reads Truth plan. I am on it. 

And then I go to leave for work.

Annnndddd my car won't start.

So I ask a two or three people passing me if they can jump my car, and they say no. Which is totally fine--it's a Monday, we're all busy and trying to get to work. But then I wait by my car for thirty minutes and ask people to help me. And it wasn't just that they said no, because I totally get it. I probably wouldn't help a stranger if it was going to make me late either. So that wasn't what upset me, it was the way everyone said no.

"Do I look like I have time to help you?" 

"Nope--gotta go."

"Sorry, I don't have jumper cables." "Oh, I have jumper cables." "Sorry, I don't have a car." Proceeds to walk to his car.

"I seriously don't have time for this today." 

Okay, I get it. Everyone is busy. No one is obligated to help me. But seriously...a simple "I'm sorry, I don't have enough time. But good luck!" Or anything like that would have just made my morning a lot better.

So I do what anyone would do in this situation and cry and call my mom and decide that people are the worst.

Then I go back inside, in a much worse mood than I came out with. I'm waiting on the elevator and thinking about how people are the worst ever, and how everyone who just refused to help me has a black heart and I wonder how they would like it if their car wouldn't start when they were on their way to work and blah blah blah. 

This older man walks up just as the elevator dings, and he motions for me to go in front of him.

"It's elevator etiquette, you were here first." 

I made a joke about how elevator etiquette is so awkward and I never know what to do and he said, "You're a lady, you should always go first. 

Then we rode up in awkward elevator silence. When we got to his floor, he turned and waved to me and said, "It's a Monday. Make it something special." 

And just like that, my day got a lot better. Just because a little old man took the time to remind me that Mondays should be special.

We should all remember that our words and actions--no matter how small--can totally change someone's day. So be a little kinder than you feel like being. Choose to say something nice instead of something snarky. Just be nice, you know? It makes a difference.

It's a Monday. Make it something special. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Dog Days & Fall Candles.

1. ^^That was the view I had while drinking my coffee yesterday morning. Not too shabby. 

2. This. Gatsby had a sleepover with his best friend, Goose, and they clearly had a lot to talk about. Gatsby thinks he weighs about 100 pounds, and Goose thinks he weighs about five. They make a good little team. 

3. This tweet:

It seriously made my day. Thanks, Jenna! 

4. It's been a really long few weeks.  Life has been really good, but I also feel like there's just been bad news after bad news after bad news. So this morning, I'm having an extra cup of coffee and spending extra time snuggling with this guy before I tackle my to-do list. It's the little things. 

5. Fall Candles are burning. My pumpkin decorations are going out today. And I may even squeeze in a trip to Hobby Lobby. Life is good in the fall, my friends. 

What made you happy to be alive this week?