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Monday, July 16, 2018

Coming in Live on a Monday.

Gooood morning + happy Monday!

I had every intention of scheduling blogs to go live during my trip to D.C., but Jack was sick all week. I don't know if you've ever been around a toddler with a stomach virus, but it's very, very time consuming (and also very messy, but we don't have to talk about that). Anyway, life happens. Here we are. 

I'm feeling really good today. I mean, I'm so tired, and my to-do list is approximately a mile long, and good GRACIOUS how is there so much laundry?! But I'm also feeling like, "Hey, it's a Monday! A fresh start and a new week and lots of potential!" Maybe it's the coffee I'm chugging, but I'm rolling with it. 

One thing I noticed on my trip was that I was excited about everything. And while you might think, okay, duh, everyone's excited on vacation, I mean I was excited about everything. I'd wake up in the morning (I'm cursed and cannot sleep in, even on vacation) and drink my coffee on the couch and think about the day and it would feel so exciting. Deciding what we were going to eat for breakfast felt exciting. We bought $1 face masks from Forever 21 and it felt exciting. We sat on a bench in a park and drank diet cokes and it felt like the best day ever. We felt so lucky to be there. Because we were!

I really want more of that in my normal life. And while yes, vacation is always going to feel more exciting than waking up on a Monday morning and working and doing laundry, I can at least try to take some of that excitement and bring it with me into my daily life. I mean, you never know what a day is going to hold, but I can almost promise you'll enjoy that day more if you feel lucky to be living it. 

So that's my goal this week. It's a Monday, so it's a perfect time to roll out something new. This week, my something new will be trying to be excited about everything, even the mundane things. Trying to have the attitude that, "of course this is going to be a good day!" An attitude of feeling lucky to be alive and living this life. Because I really, really am. 

Who wants to join me?
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Keep Doing What You Love.

A few months ago (I believe Steph shared it) I read a blog post that said, "The majority of people will not work a job that sets their soul on fire, and that is okay." At first, it made me really sad. Then, it was kind of a relief. 

We tend to act as if our jobs are the most important part of life. Maybe not consciously, but with our actions. Example: Maybe you love painting. You're an amazing (or just okay) painter. It makes you happy like nothing else. It soothes you. It makes you come alive. But. You can't get a job as a painter. So you stop painting. 

WHAT?! No!

I have been incredibly blessed with my job, and I love it for many, many reasons. However, my job is not writing. And that's okay.

It's okay that writing doesn't pay my bills. It's okay that my job doesn't solely consist of doing the thing that sets my soul on fire more than anything else. What would not be okay would be stopping doing that one thing just because it doesn't pay my bills. Because my soul deserves to be excited and alive and on fire. So does yours. 

Tomorrow, my best friend and I are headed to D.C. for a concert. I love trips. I love going new places, seeing new things, eating at new places. I love concerts. I love dancing and singing outside. 

Is dancing and singing at a concert going to pay my bills? Nope. Quite the opposite, actually. But is it going to fill me up with happiness? You bet. 

In a world getting increasingly darker, do the things you love. Do them often. You are hopefully pouring your cup out to make the world a better place in whatever way you can, so do the things you love and fill that cup back up. 

I love watching the sunset, going swimming, eating dinner on patios outside. I love blogging, painting my nails fun colors, going thrifting. I love beach days, listening to the music with the windows down, candles that smell like summer. 

Are any of those things going to fix the world? No. 

Are they important? Yes. 

Do what you love, friends. It's important.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Coffee Date: Rainy Summer Days Edition.

If we were having coffee...

...I'd tell you that Jack & I had a photo session with my sweet friend Kristen. I was so excited about it and for her to capture Jack at the stage he's at now, but we got there and he was NOT having it. He wouldn't smile, laugh, talk, dance, nothing. It was so unlike him and I was so bummed! BUT, she sent me over the pictures, and holy moly, I don't know how she did it, but she got some beautiful ones. I mean, LOOK at that. I'm in love. 

...I'd tell you that this summer has been full of rainy days (mostly rainy afternoons). And while I hate getting rained out of a pool day, I love how green and vibrant everything is. I also love the smell of summer rainstorms. Something about it just makes me happy. 

...I'd tell you I'm becoming more and more obsessed with Poshmark. It's really so much fun!! A hobby that pays me to thrift? Sign me up. You can see my closet here. 

...I'd tell you that next week, Sam and I are taking our annual summer bff trip. This year, we're going to D.C. to see Taylor Swift. I could cry, I'm so excited. Two bucket list things! Tell me your must-do thing in D.C. 

...I'd tell you I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude lately. Things have not necessarily been very gratitude-inducing (it's been the week of the stomach virus), but I'm feeling it nonetheless. I attribute it to keeping my perspective in check, like I blogged about earlier this week. It's wonderful to feel like this. 

Your turn! Tell me what's going on with you!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

On Falling in Love With Your Life.

As I'm writing this, Jack has his first ever stomach virus. It's awful and seriously so, so sad. It's been a rough 24 hours (I'll spare you details, but I've gone through three bottles of carpet cleaner). 

But the weekend before he got sick was so much fun. We took Jack to Universal, ate the best food, watched him splash around the Curious George park. I mean, look at this picture. Pure joy. 

The day before Jack got sick, I had the best day with my best friend. We laid by the pool, went to Goodwill, ate Taco Bell (let me live). It was great. 

And today I'm cleaning up puke. 

In short, it's been the best week and the worst week. 

But that's life, you know? Ups and downs. Good and bad. 

If you were to give me a snapshot of life right now, it may look something like this: 

Chels, you're riddled with anxiety, have entirely too much on your plate, spend most of your time with a two-year-old that you are often completely clueless about, haven't accomplished a lot of your goals, overdrew your bank account last week, and girl, your face is breaking out like whoa. 

Well doesn't that make me want to run for the hills? 

It may also look something like this: 

Chels, you're fighting anxiety like a freakin' champ. You have such good friends, near and far. You are proud of yourself. You're steadily working on your goals every day. You live in the sunshine state, you have pool days often. Your days are filled with the sweetest, tiny human, good books, work that pays for a wonderful home, and lots of laughter. 

Okay, now that I can get on board with. 

Both of those are true. Both of those are facts. But one sure looks better than the other, doesn't it? 

It's all about perspective, friends. 

Want to fall in love with your life? Check your perspective. 

For me, the last two years have been full of the very best moments and the very most gut-wrenching things. When I look back at the terrible stuff, there is not one single thing in the whole bunch I could've changed. Every one of them was out of my control.

My perspective is always in my control. Yours is always in your control. 

So try it. It's free. It takes very little effort. And it could be life-changing. What do you have to lose? 

I know you're overwhelmed. I know you're tired. I know things aren't panning out the way you had hoped. And sure, you can focus on that. You can replay your bad luck on a loop in your mind. You can fill your days with looking at all the ways life has been unfair to you. All the ways you're not good enough. The places you've really dropped the ball. 


You can look at the greatness around you. You can replay that wonderful weekend with friends on a loop, because wow, aren't you lucky to have them? You can focus on how amazing you are, how strong you are, how hard you're trying. How it's pretty amazing that you've made it this far. How lovely it is to live in a world with good books and chocolate and sunshine and your favorite song. 

Both are true. Both are facts. 

But one sure sounds a lot better than the other, doesn't it?

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Friday, June 29, 2018

What June Taught Me.

To let the good moments overwhelm you. || Last Friday, Jack was with his nanny and it was the first moment I've had to myself in a hot minute. I had the pool completely to myself, and the water was the absolute perfect temperature. The sun was out, there was a breeze, it was just beautiful. And for a second, it completely overwhelmed me. Like, wow, how beautiful is this day? And I really want that to happen more. I'm the type to get overwhelmed by the bad things, so I want to be overwhelemed by the good things, too. I want to give them just as much attention and brain space and power over my day and attitude. 

Sometimes you have to balance physical health and mental health. || The last year or so, I've gotten into a really good groove with working out. It's been amazing for me, and I feel so much better for it. But. The last two-ish weeks have been super stressful. I had probably the craziest work week I've ever had, things at home were super busy, and overall my stress level was just super high. Nothing terrible, but enough that working out fell to the wayside. 

Now, longterm, that's not okay for me. Working out is a huge stress reliever. But short term, you only get so many hours in a day, and sometimes there are things you have to do, and going for a run isn't one of them. 

Anyway, all that to say that this month taught me to recognize that sometimes, you've just got to power through and be okay with not getting everything you'd like to get done. Most days, going for a run is the best for me. But some days, going for a run may be the added thing on my to-do list that pushes me right over the edge of insanity. And, most importantly, to not feel guilty about it. 

When the big picture is overwhelming, focus on the little things you can do. || Speaking of overwhelm, things certainly seem that way, don't they? The news (and honestly the general state of things) has been truly, truly depressing. The children being separated from their parents this month gutted me. It seemed like such a giant situation-how did we get here? What's there to do about it? I'm thankful for trustworthy friends who shared small, actionable things. Donate here. Call them. Do this. 

That's a big example, but the same is true in day-to-day life. I was really overwhelemed with work last week, and it helped me immensely to look at what I was responsible for and say, what can I do right now? When I think about how residency is ten billion years long and it feels like I'm gonna be solo-parenting until Jack graduates college, I think how can I make this day really good? Not tomorrow, or next year, but this day. Breaking it down into bite-sized pieces is so, so helpful. 

What did this month teach you?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My Favorite Things I've Discovered in June.

Foam dry shampoo || I'm loving this for the days I wear my hair wavy. It scrunches in instead of spraying, so it soaks in instead of having to rub it in, so my waves stay intact! It also adds volume, which is a big win. 

Sally Hansen insta-dri nail polish || I've always been an Essie & OPI girl, but as of late (read: as of having a toddler) my nails constantly look like crap because I paint them and immediately mess them up before they've had time to dry. This nail polish dries in 60 seconds (like, touch it and you're fine, all the way dry, kinda dry) and I don't know that I'll ever go back. This is the prettiest (extremely light) lavender and this is my favorite (white nails forever).

Poshmark || I bought my dress for a wedding off Poshmark in January, just because I googled the named of the dress I wanted and it popped up on there for 75% off. When I needed another dress, I thought I'd look on poshmark, and after getting sucked into it for a few hours decided to list a few things on there and see if I had any luck. I've sold several things this week and it's been so fun! 

It's like a virtual thrift store and I'm obsessed. Here's my closet if you wanna take a peek at the things I've got listed, and if you decide to sign up to list some of your own things, you can use the invite code CHELSEABYARS and we'll both get some free money. 

What are your favorite things you've discovered this month?

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Books I Read in June (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

Guys. I did not have ANY duds this month. Isn't that the best?!

Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagán

Plot: When struggling novelist James Hernandez meets poet Louisa “Lou” Bell, he’s sure he’s just found the love of his life. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to his oldest friend, Rob. So James toasts their union and swallows his desire.

As the years pass, James’s dreams always seem just out of reach—he can’t finish that novel, can’t mend his relationship with his father, can’t fully commit to a romantic relationship. He just can’t move on. But after betrayal fractures Lou’s once-solid marriage, she turns to James for comfort.
When Lou and James act on their long-standing mutual attraction, the consequences are more heartbreaking—and miraculous—than either of them could have ever anticipated. Then life throws James one more curveball, and he, Rob, and Lou are forced to come to terms with the unexpected ways in which love and loss are intertwined.

Favorite quote: "It was one of those moments when you feel unbelievably lucky to have been placed on the planet at the same time as the people in your life." <-- This made me cry in the best way.

My thoughts: Sam recommended this book to me and I will forever be indebted to her because of it (Dramatic? Possibly). It was the cutest, most heartfelt book I've read in a long time. I was so sad when it was over. 

Should you read it? Yes!!

Camino Island by John Grisham 

Plot: A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, impossible to resist.
Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in unsavory ventures.
Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous monetary offer convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Cable’s circle of literary friends, to get close to the ringleader, to discover his secrets.

But soon Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise—as only John Grisham can deliver it.

My thoughts: Story Time: My mom LOVES John Grisham. She's always telling me I would also love him. However, I read a book of short stories by him a few years ago and hated them, so I've been reluctant to try him again. I finally gave in on vacation and she told me to start with this one. DEAR GOODNESS I LOVED IT. I especially loved the heavy literary themes and author friends and book talk. A mystery book about books? Sign me up. It was so good!

Should you read it? Yes!

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Plot: Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.
But maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right? Well, yes and no . . .
Pull up a stool, grab a cold one, and get ready to spend some time at The Rooster Bar.


Favorite quote: “These are mistakes, not regrets. Regrets are over and done with and a waste of time to rehash. Mistakes, though, are bad moves in the past that might affect the future.” 

My thoughts: I loved Camino Island so much that I jumped right into another Grisham book. This book was incredible. The plot was so unique and managed to be shocking while still staying believable. It had one of the best endings I've read in a long time. I'm officially converted to a Grisham fan now. 

Should you read it? Yes! 

Three books, all winners! That's a good month. What did you read this month?

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