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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today is My Favorite.

My mom has this Thanksgiving tradition where she has my family write down the things we're thankful for--some years on a place mat, some years on card stock leaves, some years on strips of paper. For the month of November, we would all write things down--big, small, serious, hilarious. 

These things would get put away and then pulled out year after year. A way of reflecting on the past, of seeing how you've changed, and of remembering all you have to be thankful for. 

I remember being so nervous to write down Christopher's name in November 2009. We'd been dating for 5 months, and while I was definitely thankful for him, I couldn't help but wonder how I'd feel the next year when I saw his name. Nostalgic? Angry? Sad? Happy? Would I be able to show him and say, "Look--I wrote this down last year when we'd only been dating for a few months!" Or would it be something my little brother would make fun of me for, saying, "Ha, you wrote down that guys name that you only dated for six months!" 

In the end, I decided to write it. That year was paper leaves, so I figured I could run interference and toss it in the trash the next year if things went south. (Because let's just say there are some names in permanent marker on a placemat from one year that I would really love to get rid of, but there they will stay forever..womp womp).

And here we are, 5 years later, on one of my favorite days of the year. 

Today's the day we celebrate Thanksgiving, just the two of us. We go to Whole Foods and buy really fun stuff we normally wouldn't buy, then we come back here and think we're professional chefs and make our own Thanksgiving dinner. 

Today, I just can't help but think about the day I stood in my parents' dining room, trying to decide if I should write his name down or not. 

I can't help but think of how little I knew what the future would little I knew just how thankful for him I would one day be. I had no idea the insane love I would feel for him. I didn't know that we'd be a family someday. Didn't know the joy it would bring me to run around Whole foods the night before Thanksgiving, laughing and rushing and having the best night ever. 

And when I think about all of those things, my heart just feels like it's going to explode with thankfulness. 

If you have a significant other, make sure you celebrate them this week. Yes, it's a holiday about friends and family. Yes, it's a busy week. But make sure you take the time--whether it's tonight or actually on Thanksgiving day or the days after thanksgiving--to celebrate how thankful you are for your partner in life. 

And if you need suggestions on how to do so, I highly recommend going to Whole Foods the night before Thanksgiving.  Insanity doesn't even begin to describe it, but it is so, so much fun. 
Babe, I'm so thankful for you. Here's to many more Thanksgivings spent together. I love you.

Who are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Art of Thankfulness (And Why it's Important).

Gatsby knows alllll about the art of being happy. 

Sunday night, my car wouldn't start.

Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal. Frustrating, sure, but not a big deal.

Sunday night, however, it was a big deal.

The past month (two months?) feel like they've been full of one thing after another. Car issues and health issues and bill issues and house issues and all of those other issues that come with being an adult.

Little problem, little problem, big problem, little problem, little problem, slightly bigger problem..all stacked on top of each other again and again, making a lopsided jenga full of frustration that you can only stare at and scratch your head, wondering how to make your next move without it all falling down.

For me, my car not starting was it. I tried not to cry while someone helped Chris jump my car, but once we started driving it around, it was game over. I cried and cried and cried, and wanted to scream, but just kept crying instead.

"Chels, it's not a big deal. It's fine."

But I kept crying anyway. Because it was a big deal. It felt like nothing was going right, and at some point that just becomes a big deal.

"You're the positive one. If the roles were reversed, you would tell me that we have so much to be thankful for."

Do those words feel like sandpaper when I say them to you? I wondered. Because he was right, that's exactly what I'd say. But that wasn't what I wanted to say right now, and it most certainly wasn't what I wanted to hear.

The next morning, I begrudgingly sat down to journal (because who really wants to journal when they're having a bad day/week/month? No one) and, like every other Monday, made a list of things I'm thankful for.

And magically, things weren't so bad. With each thing I added to my list, the circumstances I was so frustrated over seemed smaller and smaller.

So what that my car isn't working right, or that some frustrating things are going on. In the grand scheme of things, what does it matter? I have the best husband ever, an amazing place to live, and SO much to be thankful for. Who has time to be mad at circumstances when it's Thanksgiving? It's time to celebrate, not cry.

A short fifteen minutes later, I was immensely happier and any "problems" seemed immensely smaller. Not because anything changed, but because what I focused on changed.

And this morning, I didn't wake up thinking about car troubles. I woke up thinking about Thanksgiving  and friends and Christmas and family.

Taking the time to remember all you have to be thankful for can truly change everything.

Why do you think thankfulness is important? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

A New Season + A Giveaway.

The past few months have been pretty cool for me.

I started to realize that I wasn't super thrilled with the way a lot of things in my life were, so I decided to do something about it.

I started getting up early and writing a ton of words every day,  I started reading The Purpose Driven Life, I got a new blog design, I chopped all my hair off (just trying to be like Taylor), and I started saying yes when I would normally say no out of fear or discomfort.

I told Chris I thought I was having a mid-life crisis, and he said, "I don't know how to respond to that. Here, have some wine."

Point being, I've been looking at everything in my life and asking, "Do I like it like that?" And if the answer is no, trying to do something about it.

I closed my shop down for about a month because I just wasn't thrilled about it. I spent November crafting for fun instead of making things that I thought would be popular. And it has been so much fun. 

I reopened my shop today, and it's full of pretty things that I love, love, love. 

To see more: click HERE.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas and presents, I thought it'd be fun to do a little giveaway to celebrate the reopening! I'm giving away a $50 gift card, all you have to do is follow my shop's new instagram!

Happy Monday! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Best. Week. Ever.

This week starts my favorite month of the entire year. I've been giddy (<--I erased that and tried to think of a different word that maybe didn't sound like a child in an early 1900's novel, but it's true--I've been straight up giddy, yo) since waking up yesterday morning because this week is going to be the best!

1. Mockingjay Tonight. This needs no explanation. I'm just really, really excited about it. 

2. THANKSGIVING. Chris and I celebrate Thanksgiving, just the two of us, on Wednesday, and it is one of my favorite days ever. Then we go see family on Thursday! So basically my heart feels as if it's going to explode for about 24 straight hours. And my stomach too, because turkey. 

3. Black Friday. I know there are a lot of opinions about black friday shopping, so if that offends you, just skip to the next one. I had never been black friday shopping until Chris took me two years ago, and I was instantly hooked. It's so much fun to drive around like crazy people together, listening to Christmas music and chugging peppermint mochas. And it's really nice when you have a tight budget--we pretty much knocked out most of our shopping in 24 hours last year!

4. I found out that my library will deliver books to your door. Megan told me about this, and it is life-changing. 

5. This morning, while watching the sunrise and drinking peppermint mochas, my word count crept over 37,000. NaNoWriMo, you've been good to me this year. 

What are your Thanksgiving plans for the week? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Creative Christmas Gifts Under $20.

A makeup bag that reminds you that you're already perfect? Every girl needs one of these. 

Little life mottos in mint and gold. On a pencil. Sold. 

I think any sort of sauce is such a creative gift. This pack comes with ten different flavors from around the world. Anyone who loves to cook (or eat) would love this!

How cute is this little guy? You can finally stop losing your keys!

And because I firmly believe coffee cups are the best gifts ever, here are some of my favorites: 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unique Gifts Under $10

These are so cheap, you could pair them with a mini bag of hot chocolate and some marshmallows and still come in under $10!

Why wouldn't someone want gold cookie cutters?

I love glass water bottles. And being able to flavor your water however you want to makes drinking more of it a lot easier!

This is such a cute gift for the baker in your life. I didn't even know cookie stamps existed, but how adorable? 

Everyone needs a calendar, and this one is seriously adorable. Each month has a frame-worthy vintage image.

Confession: Sometimes when I'm going to a party where there's going to be dirty santa, I buy a gift fully anticipating on taking it home myself. I foresee that happening with these mugs. 

What's the best Christmas gift you've ever received that wasn't expensive? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mondays are for Fresh Starts & Free Stuff.

Mondays get a bad rep. 

It's true--the day that takes away free time and not having to set an alarm probably isn't anyone's favorite. But I've started liking Mondays more and more lately. 

Mondays are a fresh start. They're the beginning of a brand new week. They're full of potential and ideas and dreams, if you want them to be.

So yes, you may have to wake up earlier than you would like. You may have to go to a job that you spent the last two days trying to forget about. But you're alive, and you've got a brand new week to do whatever you want with. And that's just exciting. 

Pour yourself an extra cup of coffee or two, and take on this week. It's gonna be a good one. 

And, since encouraging words aren't always enough to turn a Monday into something happy, I have not one, but two giveaways for you to enter! 

Enter to win $40 of Christmas money: HERE.

Enter to win $100 to Better Life Bags:

What's your favorite thing about Monday?

Friday, November 14, 2014

NaNoWriMo Writer's Block.

Writer's block is inevitable no matter who you are. Whether you procrastinated too long on a term paper, or you're trying to come up with a blog post on a Monday, or you're trying to write a story and your normally creative brain suddenly becomes very boring, writer's block is something that just happens.

If you're doing NaNoWriMo right now, writer's block is definitely something that happens. You're almost halfway through, likely super behind on your word count, and probably having a lot of thoughts that start with, "next year. . ." 

I've read a lot of things about writer's block, and I've even talked talked about it on here--steps you can take, how to fight it, etc, etc, etc. 

But at the end of the day, the answer to overcoming writer's block is the simplest and the most cliche of them all. 

Just write anyway. 

Sometimes you write something, and it in that moment, it truly doesn't matter to you if anyone else will ever read those words. It doesn't matter if anyone else will ever like those words. All that matters is you wrote them and you like them, and they're yours. 

When moments like that happen, you are invincible. One novel? Psh. How about five? I could do this forever.

And it's for moments like that one that you have to keep writing. 

So keep writing. Write through the writer's block, write through the words that look weird to you, write through the sentences and paragraphs and pages and plots that you think you probably for sure hate. 

If you're behind on your word count, keep writing. If you're ahead of your word count, don't stop. 

Just keep writing. 

Because you are a writer, and you need to be writing. 

Linking up with Rachael & Juliette to talk about all things writer's block!

How do you deal with Writer's block?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gift Ideas for Adults: Christmas Gifts under $20.

Because not everyone appreciates cat sweaters and funny pajamas like you.

Personalized Stationery. 

How adorable are these?! They make a thoughtful gift (because you took the time to have them made specifically for whoever they're for) and they're not too expensive. Win-Win. 


Everyone uses mugs, which makes them a gift that is automatically liked and not thrown to the back of the closet to be re-gifted next year. Step up your gift-giving game and find some cute mugs that someone would love, but maybe wouldn't buy for themselves. 

Cookie Jar. 

Bonus points: fill it with homemade cookies. Or Oreos, whatever.

Picture Frame. 

There are so many creative ways to frame and hang pictures now, which makes gift-giving a lot easier. Unique frames are a great gift. Someone actually gave me this exact frame two years ago, and I love it!

The week after Christmas, everyone wants to be organized and tackle resolutions. Help them out with this pretty planner. And since it's under $20, you'll probably want to go ahead and grab yourself one, too. 

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Tiny Pumpkins + High Word Counts.

1. Gatsby has his own tiny pumpkin. He thinks it's the greatest thing that has ever happened to him and is carrying it around with him. I melt.

2. Toy Story 4 is happening. Buzz + Woody forever.

3. I've started planning my Christmas list and there are few things that make me happier than getting to buy other people presents. It's so exciting!

4. We carved pumpkins this week! Fall activities are approximately one billion times better when you're in love with the person you're doing them with.

However, my pumpkin was so incredibly terrible that the internet shall never ever see it.

5. I'm pretty on track with NaNoWriMo so far! I've got a little over 8,000 words done right now. If you're participating, tell me your word count! I want to know how everyone's doing!

Why are you happy to be alive this week?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spending Your November: A To-Do List

Halloween is over and November is here! 

Isn't it crazy that Thanksgiving is this month?! There are 30 days in November, and they are going to fly by. How are you going to spend them? I have some suggestions.

November to-do list

1. Make Thanksgiving plans! 

2. Go on a walk while the sun is setting. 

3. Practice thankfulness. November is a month that makes it easy to remember to be thankful. Take a minute every day this month to write down something you're thankful for.

4. Write something. It's National Novel Writing Month! Even if you're not doing NaNoWriMo, take advantage of November and write a little more than you normally would, whatever that looks like for you.

5. Pick something new to make for Thanksgiving, then have a trial run. Thanksgiving food early? Yes, please.

6. Take advantage of the cooler weather. Have a picnic, go for a walk, or eat dinner outside. Just bundle up and enjoy the cold.

7. Start planning out your Christmas list. Who all do you need to get gifts for?

8. In honor of Thanksgiving, write letters to the people you love, telling them why you're thankful for them. 

9. Take a night off and rent a comedy you've been meaning to see. 

10. Read a C.S. Lewis book. 

11. Set one goal that you want to have completed by 2015. Not a whole set of goals, because that's overwhelming. You have two months left in 2014--one goal is definitely doable.

12. Buy the new Taylor Swift Album. Listen to it approximately 87 times on repeat, then tell me what your favorite song is so we can discuss.

13. Get crafty. You know all those DIY projects you keep pinning? Do one of them!

14. Read a whole book. If cooler weather doesn't make you want to cozy up and read a good book...well, I don't know what to say to you.

15. Throw stuff away. You're probably going to accumulate a bunch of stuff over the holiday season. Get a head start on that and throw away junk that's just taking up space.

16. Spend an afternoon in the library. Check out a book you've never even heard of before.

17. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

18. Make homemade soup. Find a soup you love, and your winter months just got ten times better.

19. Think of a Thanksgiving tradition you'd like to start. Last Thanksgiving was my first married one, and it was so much fun starting our own traditions.

20. Make hot chocolate. Not the kind in a packet, either. Get fancy.

21. Have an Audrey Hepburn movie marathon. 

22. Think about what you most disliked about your life in 2014. Was it your job? Your attitude about life? The lack of time spent on certain things? How can you change that in 2015?

23. Plan a surprise date. The holiday season can get super busy super fast. Take the time to make your man feel special.

24. Make a list of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals you want to try and get. 

25. Make apple cider mimosas. Substitute orange juice for apple cider and you've got a festive way to toast!

26. Watch the Macy's Day Parade.

27. Get dressed up for no reason. Who says a normal night at home isn't a good reason to break out the curling iron?

28. Watch Elf to kick off the start of the Christmas season!

29. Get your first red cup of the season at Starbucks. White chocolate peppermint mocha, please.

30. Add to (or start!) your Christmas decoration collection. I may or may not have some really pretty things going up in my shop tomorrow that fall into this category. 

What are you most excited about this month?