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Thursday, April 30, 2015

mini polaroid giveaway!

After the last polaroid camera giveaway was such a hit, I couldn't wait to do another one!

I've had my mini camera since January, and it has become one of my favorite things. It's such a cute way to keep tangible memories from special moments! 

Happy almost May and happy entering! xoxo

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Series You Need to be Binge-Watching on Netflix.

Summer is upon us, and it is the most wonderful time for every reason except one: Television.

Your shows are ending, your nights are free, and you will spend the next four months pondering the finales and googling when they come back on.

In the meantime, Netflix is about to be your new best friend. Not sure where to start? I've got you covered.
netflix shows to binge watch

Friday Night Lights. Probably my favorite show ever. Don't let the football theme scare you away--this is the greatest show to ever air (says this non-football fan). Though Connie Britton has BLOWN up lately, she will forever be Tammi Taylor to me. Please watch this immediately. TEXAS FOREVER.

Damages. This. Show. Is. Insane. So dark and twisty and villainous and just gooood. If you like law-themed shows and mysteries, this one is for you.

Hart of Dixie. A little lot less dark and twisty, this adorable show is about a big city doctor who relocates the the world's tiniest is both heartwarming and hilarious, and you won't be able to get enough.

Parenthood. Quite possibly the greatest show to ever air. I am still in major depression that it is over. If you've never watched it, I'm so jealous that you're about to get to experience all of this for the first time. The Braverman family is all of us, and you will love sobbing along with keeping up with their story.

The Blacklist. This new one is so good that Netflix paid 2 MILLION DOLLARS PER EPISODE to be able to stream this. You're gonna want to trust them on this one. Raymond Reddington has been on the FBI's most wanted list forever, until he turns himself in one day--and that is only the beginning of the story.

The Office. BEST SHOW EVER. This comedy was sneakily emotional. You will fall in love while getting a ton of one-liners that you will work into conversations for the rest of your life. You are welcome.

Parks and Recreation. Along the same lines as the office, this one is hilarious and adorable. Plus, Amy Pohler and Chris Pratt. Do I need to say anything else? No, no I do not.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Because Erin from The Office got locked in a bunker and emerged 10 years later just as hilarious.

Pretty Little Liars. A mysterious "A" starts tormenting four best friends after the disappearance of their other best friend. Yes, this show was meant for high schoolers. SO WHAT?! It's twisty and mysterious and will keep you awake at night wondering who the heck A is. And by season four you will be pretty sure YOU are A .

Scandal. Because if you haven't lost yourself in the world of Olivia Pope yet, now is a great time to get started.

LOST. If you want a show that's really going to suck you in all summer, this is it. A plane crashes on a mysterious island, and no one comes to rescue them. Then things start to get weird. WONDERFULLY WEIRD.]

What shows did I miss?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

(More) Books I Read in April & Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

Because when your library delivers, one book post is just not enough. 

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel

Plot: "The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identity -- Michael Finkel of the New York Times.

The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo's arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo's trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.

With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo's family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game -- sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel's pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn't even admit in court -- the whole, true story. Or so it seems." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: Mmm, not really a quotable book. 

My thoughts: I have no idea why I decided to read this book--I think that it was on a list I saw of books that were becoming movies this year, and the preview for the moving looked interesting. I finished the book in a day because I really just needed to know what was going on.

I had no idea about the real life trial this focused on, so it was fascinating to follow along all of the interviews and hearings. It was something along the lines of a true crime show, but written from a journalist's very unique perspective, which I enjoyed.

Should you read it? If you're into true crime stories, then sure, this one was interesting. But it's not a book to just sit down and enjoy. 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Plot: "Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart."-via Goodreads

Favorite Quote:

“They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.” 

My thoughts: This book was stunning. The story telling, the prose, the tension, the way you got to peer into the life of a very flawed family while at the same time understanding them...all amazing. I loved it because while it was a mystery, the real story dealt more in the aftermath. I was more concerned with how the characters were all reacting than with figuring out the ending. 

My favorite part of this novel was that you got to understand all the characters at once--she flowed effortlessly from one person's thoughts to another, without saying "he thought this and then she thought this and then he thought this." It made me feel like I was sitting and listening to someone tell a story, and I could not put it down. It's Ng's debut novel and I cannot wait to see more from her. 

Should you read it? Yes.

Monday, April 27, 2015

just write: like cheap champagne.

I’m feeling young and reckless,
but I’ve still got a nine-to-five.
it’s hard to make sure rent gets paid
and still feel so alive.
so fill my glass with champagne,
the kind from the five dollar aisle,
and top it off with St -Germain 
and we’ll feel expensive for a while.
life can quickly become mundane
and start to feel a little cheap,
but it takes just a bit of magic 
to remind you to still dream.
so let’s take these fancy glasses
and toast under the stars
with both the boring and the whimsical,  
because that’s life-it’s where we are.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Anna in Wonderland.

Anna Scanlon--Anna in Wonderland.
Several! I think one of my favorites is about how to travel on the cheap as I love sharing my tips and tricks.
How do I even choose?! I would have to say some of my favorites are the classics like Little Women and Jane Eyre, but that only scratches the surface. I also like a lot of contemporary work like anything by Jonathan Safran Foer. 
Follow your bliss and work hard to achieve it. 
Having an amazing summer....and the class I'm about to publish online about writing and publishing. 
This question is impossible! I think different songs describe your life and different stages, so this is impossible for me to answer!

Not only is Anna a blogger, she's actually an author too! I'm always so excited to find bloggers who write books, and Anna does not disappoint!

Comments have been turned off so you can go check out Anna and her books! You can find her on Youtubetwitter, Facebook, and Bloglovin'.

If you want to have your own post like this, click here!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Farm Girl.

My name is Miriam, and my blog is called Farm Girl. 
Phew, that's a hard one. I would say it is our lovestory, which is so long that I did it in 5 blog posts haha! If you have some time on your hands (it's 8,257 words long), here it is.
Harry Potter. I have read the series at least three times, and never get tired of re-reading it. There is so much wisdom in these books, and I love the magical world J. K. Rowling has created. It is equally a wonderful escape and a guide for how to live your life. 
Don't have other people rent space in your head. 
I'm head over heels in love with yoga, and look forward to my practice every day. Watching yourself getting stronger both mentally and physically is such a beautiful thing!
It would be a mix of Taylor Swift's "Shake it off", Walk Off The Earth's "Rule the world", with a country-song happy end. 

If you like yoga or puppies, you're going to love Miriam's blog. Also, she wrote her love story out in How I Met Your Father format. How cute?! 

Comments have been turned off so you can go say hi to Miriam! You can find her on Bloglovin'FacebookInstagram, Twitter,  and Pinterest!

If you want to have your own post like this, click here!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Drink Your Wine & Leave a Wake.

N.D. Wilson quote
“Drink your wine. Laugh from your gut. Burden your moments with thankfulness. Be as empty as you can be when that clock winds down. Spend your life. And if time is a river, may you leave a wake.” 

So often we're always looking ahead to something, or trying to catch up, or worrying about if what we're doing is worthwhile. We're very rarely just living. 

Amanda had recommended this book, Death by Living, on her blog a little while ago. I feel like this quote sums up everything in my head that I'm always trying to figure out. Because sometimes, in the middle of life, we can get so bogged down with is this it? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Should I be feeling more significant? 

And to that I say: Drink your wine and laugh from your gut. Life is meant to be spent, it is meant to be enjoyed. 

I think that we hear the words "don't waste your life" and immediately think it means we should be doing more important, worthwhile things. We should be working harder or finding a better job or making more money or contributing more to society. Not that any of those things are bad things, but I think it's possible to do all of that and still waste your life. 

You waste your life when you choose to not spend it. Time can either be stolen from you or you can spend it. It's going to pass either way. So why not use it up for all it's worth? When you go to bed each night, be completely empty of all the life you had to give that day. Let every breath you take scream thankfulness. 

Spending your life can look big and significant and planned out. Or, it can look like Chick-fil-a runs and pool days and phone dates. The important thing is that you're spending your life. All of it. That you're empty when the clock runs out. 

If time is a river, may you leave a wake. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

(More) People Who Need to Stop Killing my Vibe.

Part one here. 

When you compliment my outfit and ask something like, "Is it Free People?!" And I tell you it's from Forever 21, and you say, "Oh...hmm."

When you tell me the movie was better than the book.

When I'm eating dinner with you and you're like, "Gah I'm such a fatty, this is my one cheat day, I'm eating lettuce for the rest of the week." And I'm just over here eating my cheeseburger thinking it's a normal Thursday.

When I'm blissfully enjoying a cup of coffee and you tell me how tea or hot water is so much better for you and how coffee is probably going to kill me.

When I'm ordering at a restaurant or checking out at the grocery store and you feel the need to tell me my healthy/not healthy ratio of food is off.


When a Taylor song comes on and it's highlight of my night and you interrupt my jam session to tell me that Taylor Swift is overrated.

Who needs to stop killing your vibe?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Books I Read in April and Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Plot: "On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. 

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern." -via goodreads

Favorite Quote: 
“We hit the sidewalk, and dropped hands. How I wished, right then, that the whole world was a street.” 

My Thoughts: This is an extremely creative story. It's whimsical and magical and moving, and I think there is a certain type of reader that will fall in love with it. Just not me. The ending left me uneasy, unsatisfied in a bit of a depressing way, but I think that's what she was going for. I also hated the lack of quotation marks. I understood what she was going for, but it made me lose track of who was talking or if anyone was talking at all, and I didn't like that.

It's a story by an incredibly talented author who has a stunning way with words, and it does sweep you up. I just think it's a book for a very particular type of reader. 

Should you read it? No. But that's just my opinion. If someone who knows you and your taste in books recommends it, then read it!

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Plot: "Marina Keegan's star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, "The Opposite of Loneliness" went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.

Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Lonelinessis an assemblage of Marina's essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world."

Favorite Quote:
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” 

My Thoughts: It's impossible to read this book without feeling incredibly inspired to get up and accomplish what you've always wanted to. This book is a beautiful way to honor her memory, but it's also full of really good stories and essays. It reminded me of the nights I used to spend swapping essays with other people from the English department, getting that small feeling of Wow, that's beautiful. Yes, I feel that way too! 

If nothing else, at least read the essay that went viral. It's a heartbreaking reminder that every day should be lived, because you never know how much time you have to leave your mark. I wrote about that here right after finishing this book.

Should you read it? Yes.

Paper Towns by John Green

Plot: "Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew..." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 
“This was the first time in my life that so many things would never happen again.” 

My Thoughts: Paper Towns is absolute magic. Pure, wonderful, awkward, real magic.

There are three reasons you need to read this book:

1. It's becoming a movie and will be out in July. Read the book first, because duh.

2. John Green wrote it. Really, that could be reasons 1-3.

3. It perfectly sums up the awkwardness of growing up and the need for something different and the disappointment that is often life. 

Hands down, my favorite read of April. It gave me major book-hangover. I couldn't read anything else for a few days because this one was just SO FREAKING GOOD.

Should you read it? Absolutely yes.

What have you been reading?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Will Having a Dog Make Your Life Better?

If you've ever read my blog before, you probably know how I feel about dogs. So you obviously know the answer to the above question is a resounding yes. So really, we could just call it a day and all go home, but then that would be missing out on an opportunity to talk about dogs and show you my favorite dog gifs, which is basically what I live for.

So on we go.

They make you go outside more.

When I work from home, sometimes an entire day will pass before I realize that I haven't stepped foot outside my apartment. And that's just sad. Having a dog means you have to go outside. And sure, it's annoying to have to wake up and trod Gatsby outside, but fresh air and sunshine is good for everyone.

Dogs help with loneliness. 

I am by myself all. the. time. And as silly as it seems, having a puppy around makes that so much better. That could also be because I most definitely treat my dog like a person, but hey, to each their own.

Dogs can make you feel safer.
In my case, this is probably ridiculous, because Gatsby weighs practically nothing, and I'm pretty sure if someone broke into my house and gave him a treat, he would act like the dog above.

But if he hears someone at the door, he gives his scariest bark, and that makes me feel like no one will break in to see how big (tiny) he is.

They teach you responsibility.   
Having a dog is a big deal. If you don't feed them, they won't get food. If you don't play with them, they won't get exercise. If you don't take them to the vet, no one else is going to make sure they take the right medicine and stay healthy. It's up to you. I think that being in charge of another living being at some point is a good practice for everyone to learn.

They up the happiness level in your life by at least three thousand percent. 

They love you and think you're the greatest thing that has ever happened and they live for the moment you get home from work. And if that doesn't make your life better, I don't know what will.

Why do you think dogs make your life better?

Friday, April 17, 2015

You Can Do It: Over and Over and Over.

You can do it. I write these words and see these words all the time. I see them in post after post, articles on Buzzfeed, inspiring pinterest quotes. I say these words to friends, to family, to coworkers. I smile when they are said to me.

It can sometimes seem redundant, saying and seeing and writing these words again and again so that they seem to lose their meaning. But still, we have to keep saying them. We have to keep encouraging, keep believing, and keep fighting the loneliness of being the only one who believes in your dreams.

Because often, even if someone can't do it, hearing that they can is the only thing they need in the entire universe for that to change.

Don't let those words become so repetitive that they begin to sound cliché. Don't let the abundance of pretty images online that share the same words take away from the meaning of someone saying those words to you. Don't let the fifty-second encouraging article you've read this week take away from the importance of saying those words to other people.

When someone says these words to you, you are no longer alone. Someone else believes in you and your journey. And when you say them to someone else, you are no longer alone. Because you believe in them and their journey. So keep saying, keep writing, keep believing.

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Adventures You Should Go on This Year.

Go camping. Spending a night outside, under the stars, with a fire and some s'mores just sounds like a romantic way to enjoy life, doesn't it?

Go to a farmer's market. Farmer's markets are adventurous because you never know what you're going to find. I love the idea of planning a dinner and only using things you find at the farmer's market.

Go on a road trip. Whether across town or across the country, when you're with the right people, road trips are just fun. Especially if you look up fun things to do along the way to your destination.

Spend an entire day going to places you've never been in your hometown. Whether you've lived in your hometown for a year or your whole life, I'm betting there are some hidden treasures you've yet to find. Spend a day exploring; going to all the places you keep meaning to visit but never seem to get around to actually going.

Visit the library. I say this a lot, but I will never understand people who do not take advantage of public libraries. FREE BOOKS. What else do you need to know?

Go on a picnic. Give me some cheap wine and some fancy cheese and a blanket and a field and I'm a happy girl.

Go thrifting. Give yourself a budget and then do your worst. If secondhand clothes aren't your thing, scout out furniture or fun home decor that can be revamped with a trip to the craft store.

What are some adventures your planning to go on this year? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

just write: with time.

we have to grow up, 
so we grow apart. 
I can’t remember your face, 
but I remember your heart
and the way I thought
it would always be mine, 
but just like your face, 
that faded with time. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just Live: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

I just finished reading The Opposite of Loneliness this week. I'll write more about it soon, but it's a collection of stories and essays by a girl who wrote an incredibly moving essay addressing the feelings and emotions of graduating--only to be killed in a car crash five days after graduation.

What struck me the most was closing of that essay.

We're so young. We have so much time.

But she didn't. Yet, she lived a life so full and so passionate that her words and her legacy live on.

This book was a startling reminder to me that we have no idea how long life is. So what can we do? We can live.

Just live. Live your passion, your dreams, your bad days. Live through the heartache and the messiness and the imperfection--not in spite of it, but because of it. Live by giving your life away--give away your time and your love and your words to those who matter to you.

Live it for all that it is worth. Every single day is the only day you will ever have...treat it as such.

Don't let the small stuff keep you from getting the most out of life. Flat tires and bills and headaches and rejection are just a part of life. Don't let them slow you down. Just nod at them and keep moving, keep going, keep living.

Because this is life. It's yours, and you get to spend it. Don't save it all away to spend on a day that may never come. Spend it now. Love it now. Live it now.

How do you get the most out of life?

Monday, April 13, 2015

23: Magic & Dreams & Good Madness.

My birthday is tomorrow (yaaay!) and as always, I'm re-reading my favorite Neil Gaiman quote and hoping for a year full of all of these things.

This year, I hope to love more deeply and in every situation. I hope that above any other emotion or action, love is my first instinct.

I hope that my days are filled with magic and dreams because I choose for them to be. Not because I sit around and wait for things to happen, but because I get up, get to work, and make my own magic.

I hope that good madness comes around every now and then, because really--life is much too short to be boring. I hope to spend just enough time lost in books, and too much time kissing Chris, who, for some reason or another, actually does think I'm wonderful.

I hope this year is filled to the brim with art. With writing words and words and more words. I hope that this is the year my words start to pay the bills, but even if it's not, I hope that my year is filled with them just the same.

I hope to live every day in such a way that if everything came to a screeching halt and my life ended, that everyone who knew me would say, she sure got everything she could out of life. She used it for all it was worth. 

Here's to 23: To magic and dreams and good madness.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Dreams, Etc.

My name is Crystal and I blog at Dreams, etc.

This is a hard one! :) I’ll go with… random.
The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson.
Being a storyteller. I’ve been telling stories since I was a child and it’s one of my favorite things to do!
Learn from the past, but don’t hold onto regrets.
The perfect Saturday starts with a cup of coffee in one of my favorite mugs and a veggie-filled breakfast. This is always followed with reading, writing and giving my pup lots of tummy rubs.

I've been reading Crystal's blog for awhile now, and if you're a writer (or a non-writer who like puppies), I recommend you start doing the same!

Comments have been turned off so you can go say hi to Crystal and her pup! You can find her on  instagram, twitter,  bloglovin'Facebook, and pinterest!