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Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: 3 Day Weekends & Pumpkin Season.

1. I mean, It's a three-day weekend. Those are always extremely welcome.

2. I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season this week! My husband dropped me off at a store and told me to buy clothes and then waited in line for 30 minutes at starbucks. So he wins all of the awards, ever.

3. Gatsby's birthday was yesterday. We bought him a new toy and sang him happy birthday like twelve times. Totally normal.

4. I'm taking my first ever barre class today! I'm kind of terrified but also super excited. I've been told you won't be able to walk after your first class, but that doesn't really interfere with my plans to park it by the pool all weekend.

5. It's the last weekend of summer. Unofficially, but still. I always start fall on the first week of September. And don't give me the "but it's still summer, it's still so warm" business, because I live in Florida and it's going to be pool weather until Christmas. And I would like to have fall before then.

So cheers to sending summer off with a bang this weekend! And then moving on to pumpkin everything.

What made you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to: Make Money Freelance Writing.

freelance writing

Some of you guys emailed me after reading this post and asked where I find freelance writing jobs.

I want to be clear that I am not a freelance writing genius.  I have not been able to quit my job and write all the time. I am still riding the struggle bus.  However, I have learned a lot about freelancing lately, so I at least have a few good tips on how to get started. 

I've tried several outlets to find freelance jobs, but Elance is my favorite for a few reasons.

how to use Elance

You're protected. This is by far the best thing about Elance. When you're hired for a job, the client has to pay Elance before you start working, and Elance will pay you after you complete the job. That means that if you agreed upon $100 for a job, they can't come back after you completed the work saying they only want to pay you $50, because they've already paid Elance in full. 

Everything happens through one site. Everything that is exchanged is through the website. This means that if a client does try to not pay you or change the terms of your agreement, you can file a complaint with elance. They will then be able to see everything about your job and determine whether or not the client is breaking an agreement. 

You can sort by category. Elance is a website for all kinds of freelance jobs, not just writing. There's a writing category, but it's split into several other categorties: creative writing, technical writing, ghost writing, etc. This makes it easy to see what's available in your area without sorting through thousands of jobs you have no interest in. 

get paid to freelance write

Apply for a lot of jobs. Don't just apply to one job a week and expect that to go anywhere. I would say that for every ten jobs I apply to, I get one. Sure, that's a lot of work for one job. But it's a job! 

Read the entire job before applying. When you apply to so many jobs in one place, it can be tempting to just scan the details before applying. Since so many people do this, a lot of clients will place a "secret phrase" somewhere in the details that they'll ask you to write at the top of your application to ensure you read everything. 

Reference the specific job in your application. If you only say, "I've attached my resume, I look forward to hearing from you!" then you're no different than the rest of the applicants.  Instead, say something like, "I am interested in this job because ____. I believe my previous experience ____ qualifies me because of _____." 

Treat every job like it's your dream job. You have no idea what a tiny copywriting job could lead to. Make sure all of your work is your best work. Meet your deadlines, be professional, and turn in work that you would be proud of if a famed publishing house was reading it. 

Send a thank you email. Most of the people who hire through Elance are going to come back and continue using the site. If they already know they like working with you, they can save themselves the time of looking through applications and resumes for future jobs. Why not leave a good impression and remind them of that? 

Freelance writing is almost always going to be hit or miss. It's a lot of work for what may turn out to be a bunch of one time gigs. However, it can also lead to repeat jobs. The first six months of using Elance, I just did little jobs. And then one day, a client liked a little job I did, so he offered me a bigger job. Now I write for him every week, and I never would have been able to do that without sticking out the little jobs first.  So stick it out! 

Do you do any freelance writing? Have you ever used Elance?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Work, Work, Work.

I think that sometimes the whole "chasing your dreams" idea can make us a little snobby about good opportunities.

Because really, it's pretty easy to tell yourself that you're working hard when you're sitting around pinning motivating quotes on pinterest that are going to help you work hard once a good opportunity comes along.

It's easy to wait for your dream to walk past you before you start chasing it.

It's a lot harder to start chasing it when it's nowhere in sight and you have no idea if you're ever even going to catch up to it.

This month, I decided I was going to take every opportunity that came my way (within reason, of course). If applied for a bunch of freelancing that I really didn't want to do. I worked my butt off for opportunities that paid way less than they should of.  I did so much boring writing that I thought my eyeballs just might fall out.

And you know what?

Freelance writing freaking paid a good portion of my rent this month.

No, it wasn't the type of writing that I love. It wasn't glamorous.  It didn't come with cups of coffee and creativity and excitement.  But I got a paycheck from writing. And that's pretty cool.

If there's a step you can take that puts you even a little bit closer to where you want to be, take it.  Even if it's not the most glamorous step. Even if it doesn't come with confetti and butterflies, like you always thought that following your dreams would look like.

While you're sitting around waiting for that right step to come along, you could have taken ten of those hard working, not so fun steps. And I think those tend to lead you a heck of a lot closer to where you should be.

Bottom line being that sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, throw on some Iggy, and get to work.

Happy Pumpkin Spice Latte Day! What does chasing your dream look like to you?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: FRIDAY.

I know that Fridays are meant for being happy and thankful, but this week is most definitely a contender for the worst week ever I've had in a while.

A car wreck (that I cannot wait to write about), a ticket (my first ever), a stolen credit card (Target, I love you, but you're killing me here), a 4:00 wake up call every. single. morning. (which I realize is normal for some people, but yo..I'm tired), and what I feel like are a thousand other things that have gone wrong since last Friday.

But weeks like this one are the exact reason I list out five reasons I'm happy to be alive every week.  So let's do this.

1. Friday is here. And I've never been so happy to see it. 

2. My family came to visit!

3. The pumpkin spice latte comes back into our lives on MONDAY. I know a lot of you are griping about this because you just can't be bothered to have pumpkin interrupt your summer.  To you I say:

4. On that note, I played this on repeat approximately seventeen thousand times yesterday to combat the horrible day I was having. #adultlife

5. New headbands are here! And they are super colorful.

On that note, I'm off to drown my sorrows in buckets of sunshine. It's just so much harder to have a bad day when you're tan, yes?

Linking up with karliamy to celebrate how we're all just really happy to see Friday.

Why are you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Very Colorful Fall.

It's no secret that I love fall. If I had to make a list of everything I love most in life, fall would be pretty close to the top. I love brown and black and neutrals, but I really, really love color. So when I was making plans for a new batch of products for the fall I knew I wanted them to be c o l o r f u l.

I've never been so excited over new products. Everything is so fun, the prints are perfect, and I think the colors are perfect for a very whimsical fall.

I'm over-the-moon excited about these, and I hope you guys love them just as much.  Be sure to click on over  h e r e  to see the rest of the new headbands. Happy happy Wednesday! xo

Do you wear colors in the fall? Or do you tend to stick to neutrals? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Life Advice: Part Two.

Dress however you the heck you want to.

Wake up an hour earlier to live an hour more...

...but every now and then, sleep in for as many hours as you possibly can.

Compliment other people as much as possible.  If you like something about them, tell them.  Don't keep it in your head.

Write letters.  To friends, to lovers, to strangers...just write them. 

Have a go-to playlist that is easily accessible for the not-so-great days.

Don't let a day pass you by without reading something. A book, a chapter, a page, a quote...just something. 

Buy something at the start of every season to celebrate a new chapter.  Fall should be celebrated with new boots, or at least a pumpkin spice latte.

Celebrate good hair days with all the selfies your little heart desires. 

Say something positive out loud every day, even if it's just to yourself.

Drink lots of water.  Because there's only so much that coffee and champagne can do for you.  Water is your friend.  

Learn to be amazing at cooking at least one thing--cookies totally count. When you're having a bad day and feel like you can't do anything right, go cook the heck out of that one thing.  See?  You're super talented.

And of course, get a puppy. 

What's your advice for a happy life? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Vacations & Mechanical Bulls.

1. I've been on vacation all week and it has been incredible. No responsibilities and lots of free time...perfection. 

2. Just about every day this week has been a pool day. I now have a tan that teenage me would have had the first week of summer, but adult me is pretty proud of it.

3. I rode a mechanical bull. 

Sorry for the bad picture, but really...when's the last time you saw a mechanical bull somewhere with good lighting?

At the beginning of this year I decided that one thing I didn't like about myself was that I was too timid. So this year I've been trying to say yes as much as possible and stop letting "no" be my first reaction to everything. So on Wednesday night I rode a mechanical bull while wearing a dress. And it was fantastic. 

4. Even though I'm super sad that we have to go back to the real world on Monday, I can't help but think about how lucky I am to live with someone every day who I would want to spend a week of vacation with. This next week may include a lot more work and a lot less pool, but it'll still include coffee in the morning with my very best friend. And that's pretty great. 

5. My parents and little brother are coming over today! I can't wait for them to see why I love where I live so freakin' much.

Happy Friday! Cheers to vacations and to real life, too. 

What made you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We Should Take Away From the Reaction to Robin Williams' Death

On Monday, Robin Williams was found dead of an apparent suicide and people all around the world wept.

Twitters and Instagrams filled up with pictures and quotes and people expressing their sadness over the loss of a man who brought so much laughter into so many people's lives.  But they also filled up with something else.

They filled up with messages of hope.

Messages of people sharing their own stories of managing depression and choosing to live.  Messages of people urging others to get help if they felt like taking their own life, promising that someone would miss them and the world wouldn't be better without them, no matter how strongly they felt that way.  "Your life matters" started trending on twitter within an hour of the story breaking.

Why do we wait for something so tragic to happen to tell people their life matters?

Yes, when depression and suicide are brought to light by a high profile tragedy, it's a great opportunity to tell people they're not alone and that their life matters.  But so is a Tuesday afternoon.

When the ugliness of depression rears it's head in such a public way, it's easy to respond.  It's easy to post something on twitter and tell people you love them and they are wanted, because you know that everyone else is also sitting in the wake of a sad event.

But is that maybe waiting a little too long?

Do not wait for death to show its face before you choose to celebrate life. 

Don't wait for tragedy to motivate you into telling people you love them and that they matter.  Tell them every chance you get.  If you have a story that could help others, share it now.  Celebrate the lives of those around you.  Celebrate just how wonderful it is to be alive.

Don't wait for death.  Celebrate life now.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pros + Cons of Living in the Sunshine State.

Pro: Sunshine. 

There are very few weeks out of the year that are too cold to lay on the beach or by the pool. I would say months, but even the "coldest" months have days with pool-worthy weather. It may not be an endless summer, but it's pretty darn close.

this is my dad & his dog.  they're bff. 

Con: Humidity.

I'm convinced that beachy waves only became a trend because Floridians had no clue what else to do with their hair.  Makeup? That's a funny joke.  I'm still learning my lesson on this one.  No mater how great you look when you leave the house, you're going down a good six notches once you step outside.  Frizz serum and setting spray are no match for Florida.

Pro: All the good things about summer, all year long. 

All of the good things you love about summer are pretty much always around in Florida. If you love sundresses and sandals, move it on down to the sunshine state. Bikinis and flip flops, all year long. Cookouts? Twelve months out of the year.

You can always find really fun shops for drinks, popsicles, ice cream, and any other treat that usually stays in the summer. You want a tropical fruit popsicle the week after Christmas? You got it.

I get mad when people say things like, "Living in Florida must be like being on vacation all the time!" Because hello, work.  But then sometimes on a Saturday in November I'll park it by the pool with a fruity drink and think, yeah, vacation.

Con: Lack of Seasons.

I love fall more than the average human being, so living somewhere with no changing leaves and no need to wear boots and scarfs is a little bit of a bummer.  However, there is something to be said about living somewhere you can drink a pumpkin spice latte in the morning and work on your tan in the afternoon.

Pro: Variety. 

On one tank of gas, I could make it to the beach, a college town, a few downtown areas, the river, some suburban towns, some rural areas, and theme parks. Florida isn't just beach towns, it isn't just tourist destinations, it isn't just suburban neighborhoods. It's all of those things, and they're all pretty close to each other. So if you want a day of adventuring in a completely different town, it's pretty easy to do.

Con: Tourism. 

Depending on where in Florida you live, it can get really touristy at times.  I live in Orlando, but not right by Disney World--which is something I have to explain every time someone new finds out I live in Orlando.  "There's other things in Orlando that aren't Disney World?!" 

Whenever I have to drive in the Disney area, especially around holidays, I kind of just want to cry. Lots and lots of cars slowing down to 40 on the interstate to ensure they don't miss their theme park exit. I mean, I get it. If I didn't live in Florida, I'd want to visit too. But maybe drive the speed limit.

Good and bad, for now, it's my favorite place in the world.  What are some pros and cons about living in your state?

Pssst...I listed a few fall line pre-orders this weekend!  Let me know what you think of them!

Friday, August 8, 2014

H A P P Y F R I D A Y : vacation + new blogs.

1. After today, Chris is off for an entire week! When he normally only takes an hour or two off every day, a whole week feels like an eternity.  I am so excited!

2. I found the picture I was talking about in this post. 

so tiny and snuggly!

3. The new Pretty Lovely Littles goodies will be out in ten days! I've been finishing everything up this week, and let me tell you...I have never been so excited about new products before. These are, hands down, my favorite that have ever been in the shop.  Pssst: keep an eye out, because there may be a few pre-order items listed this weekend!

4.  Megan has started a NEW BLOG in addition to her photography blog.  She is a beautiful writer and I highly recommend following along. If not for her writing, then for the hilarious pictures she posts of her 101 pound dog who thinks he's the size of Gatsby.

5. It's Friday.  I'm drinking a cup of coffee.  The laundry is going and there are candles burning.  Sometimes it's the littlest things that make you happy to be alive.

What made you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How To: Convince Your Husband To Buy You a Puppy.

I was so excited when we got Gatsby in November, I never blogged about how we got Gatsby.  Since my husband was 100% team no-puppy-ever, I bring you..


Step One: Ask for a puppy every single day. 

I started asking for a puppy the day after we got back from our honeymoon, and I didn't stop.  I rationalized why we needed one.  I made pros and cons lists--the con was always "too much happiness" or something like that.  If it was a day that ended in Y, it was a day I was going to ask for a puppy.

shiba-inu puppy

Step Two: Start sending him pictures of really cute puppies. 

Did you know pinterest has an entire animal section?  Hello, tiny puppy in a boot.  Work your magic.

shiba-inu puppy

Step Three: Find yourself in a situation where there are a lot of puppies. 

We were driving home from church and passed a man holding a sign that said "Puppy Sale."  So naturally, I screamed excitedly until he turned the car around. Since I married the greatest guy ever, he eventually did turn the car around.  We walked into the pet store, and our conversation went something like this:

Chris: You do understand that we're not getting a puppy today, right?
Me: Mmhmm.
Chris: Seriously, don't get attached to anything.  We're not leaving here with a puppy.
Me: Okay, okay. Wait, is that a fox?

shiba-inu puppy

Step Four:  Fall in Love. 

I have always been dead set on wanting a lab.  I grew up with labs and I think they're just the sweetest puppies in the world.  But I walked over to look at this one puppy because I kind of thought that maybe he was a fox and not a puppy. I put my hand on the glass AND HE PUT HIS PAW UP AGAINST MY HAND LIKE WE WERE IN THE MOVIES.

Chris: He's cute.  Come on, let's go eat.
Me: Falling in love. 
Chris: Chels...
Me: He wants to come home with me.
Chris: No, he doesn't.  He likes it here. He told me.  Let's go.
Random pet store lady: Would you like a private cuddle room with this dog? 
Me: !!!!!!!
Chris: silently shooting expletives at this woman with his brain. 

shiba-inu puppy

Step Five: Get your husband to also fall in love. Also, get a private cuddle room, if at all possible. 

Me: He has to come home with us.
Chris: No, no he doesn't.  We're not getting a dog.
Hands dog over to chris, and whom he promptly snuggles up to.
Chris: Well, maybe we can get a dog next year.
Dog starts making whimpering noises.
Chris: Maybe if he's still here after Christmas, we can talk about it.
Me: Dies on the inside as I have to give the puppy, who I've already named Gatsby, back to the pet store lady.  Also shoots eye daggers at the people casually waiting by my private cuddle room, looking at my dog. 

Step Six: Turn into a crazy person. 

But really.  I had taken a picture of Gatsby snuggling with me, and I sent it to Chris about 170432 times a day.  Then I called the pet store to see if he was still there, and they told me that was going home to his new family once they came to pick him up.  Heartbroken, I rationalized that maybe his new family wouldn't like him and would return him, or maybe they'd forget to pick him up, so I obsessively called the pet store every hour and asked if he was there. Psycho.

Little did I know, Chris had called the pet store and told them that he was trying to surprise his wife, but his wife was a crazy person who was going to keep calling, so they should just tell me the puppy was gone.

Step Seven: Try not to die of happiness when your husband surprises you with a tiny little fox with a christmas bow on his head. 

And we all lived happily ever after.  Until Gatsby at my favorite shoes.  Now we just peacefully coexist. 

Monday, August 4, 2014


Falling in love. 
Laughing at absolutely everything. 
Celebrating friendships. 
Trying new things. 

Rooftop selfies.
Entirely too many pictures.
Putting off your entire weekend to-do list until Monday, where it belongs.
Re-watching your favorite episodes of old shows.

Making mistakes and laughing at yourself. 
Spending all day laying by the pool. 
Coffee.  A lot of it. 
And just remembering that life is really a pretty cool thing, and you should be happy to be alive. 

What are your weekends for? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Lemonade + Local Friends.

1. It's August!  I love Fridays, I love new months, and I love months that bring me closer to to pumpkin candles and scarecrows. So today is a really good day.

2. Megan has moved to Orlando! 

I knew Megan and I were going to be great friends when we both went on a trip to LA two years ago and didn't know each other, but still adventured all over together all week. If by the end of the week you are taking grainy selfies (see above) together, you know the friendship is a keeper. 

3. Sushi and blueberry lemonade. 

Which is how we celebrated Megan's move to the great city of Orlando. I told you, a keeper. 

4. I plan on spending my entire weekend by the pool. Reason #873 Florida is the greatest: I can talk about pumpkin candles and pool days in the very same conversation and it's totally normal.

5. You can still go win yourself some money. Happiest of Fridays to you!

What made you happy to be alive this week?