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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Laughter is Catching.

My name is Laura and I blog at
 Would Beyonce take this crap?
 The Time Traveler's Wife.
My gorgeous goddaughters!

Another fun fact about Laura: She just got MARRIED! Comments have been turned off so you can go congratulate her! You can also find her on twitter and instagram. Go say hello!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Instax Mini 8 Giveaway!

I think the best gifts are the ones you would have never bought for yourself. So when Christopher bought me a tiny Polaroid camera for our anniversary, I was so freaking excited. We all know that cute things are only made cuter when they're tiny (except for food--I still don't get why you can charge me more for food because it's tiny) and this camera and the tiny pictures it takes are no exception.

See? Adorable.

Now, don't you want one?! Of course you do! Lucky for you, these lovely ladies have decided you should also have one. So enter below and maybe you'll be taking your own tiny pictures soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Becoming the Best Version of Yourself.

When I was thinking about 2015 and goals and resolutions, what kept coming up in my mind was that I didn't want to try to reinvent myself, becoming a whole new person. I just wanted to become the best version of the person I already was.

I've really been working on this so far this year, and these are the questions that are helping me along.

What makes you happy? Not the deep, serious stuff--the happy stuff. Like walking your dog at lunch, or taking the time to make yourself a fancy cup of coffee when it's not at all necessary.

What fulfills you? To me, being happy is a feeling, but being fulfilled is like coming alive. So what is it that makes you come alive? What is it that, when you're doing it, you feel like you're living your life to the fullest, doing what you were made to do?

What is currently bothering you about your life? We spend a lot of time thinking and focusing on things that bother us about the life happening around us, but often don't spend as much time focusing on our own. If you look at your own life, are there changeable things you're unhappy with? Start there.

If you had six months paid vacation and an unlimited budget, what would you do? Would you travel? Go visit friends? Start your own business? Finally write that book?

Sure, this will probably never be a reality for most of us. But what you would do if it were a possibility says a lot about you. You may not be able to pack up and go to Italy tomorrow, but you can certainly start saving for it today. You may not be able to quit your job and start your own business, but you can start looking into other jobs that interest you. See where I'm going with this? Life is too short to not always be moving in the direction of your dreams.

What qualities do you really admire in others? Not that you should walk around trying to be like everyone else, but it's worth paying attention to what you admire in other people.

I've noticed that it makes me feel good when someone is actually listening to me in a conversation instead of looking at their phone, so I try to make sure I do the same thing when I'm talking to others. It's little things like this that help you constantly better yourself.

What refreshes you? You'll never be the best version of yourself if you're always exhausted. I think there's a really big difference between being physically tired and being completely drained. You can't always avoid the first one, but you can definitely avoid the second one by taking the time to refresh.

Reading my Bible and journaling in the mornings is something that refreshes me. Watching Netflix with my husband and talking about our days refreshes me. Yet when I'm busy, these are the first things I skip. I'm learning that a refreshed life is a good life, and it's worth taking the time for.

How do you work on becoming the best version of yourself?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

just write: wild & free.

if all good things
are wild and free,
what does that say
of you and me?
too old to be wild,
too young to be free,
held here by these
but maybe one day,
we'll wake up to find
being wild and free
is not about time
or how much has passed,
or how old you are,
because wild and free
both live in the heart.

Monday, February 23, 2015

just write: where the dream lives.

your future isn’t shaped 
in the big moments;
the pristine and pretty ones
where you’re surrounded by
people you love. 
your future is shaped 
in the ugly moments. 
when you’re tired
and alone
and surrounded by doubt. 
and you have to make a decision 
for yourself. 
the dream is often alive 
in the spaces between the trying. 
in the pauses, 
in the silence, 
in the deep breaths you take
right before you’re ready to give up,
when deep down, 
you know you’re really just
getting ready 
to get up
and try again.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: The Business of Blonde.

I’m Haley, I’m currently blogging on

I guess I would have to say simple. I really like to keep things simple, whether it’s a recipe or just an update on my weekend. My posts contain a lot of book reviews, pinterest-inspired food, and marriage talk. (My three favorite things, not in that order.) 
“What other people think about you does not matter.” Okay this might not always be true, obviously we need our supervisors to think we’re good workers, but when it comes to our personal lives other’s opinions don’t really matter. In my own life I know I’m made important decisions based off of fear that others wouldn’t agree. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how silly that is, the people in your life who really matter will always love and support you. 
Ella Enchanted. Which I know is kind of a book for young girls, but I love it anyway. I think I bring that book with me on almost every vacation. If you’ve only seen the movie then I’m sure you think it’s stupid. I promise that the book is so much better than the movie and if you want a cute story go buy that book today!

Probably Marriage expectation vs. Realities. I was still very new to blogging, but it’s so accurate and I think it’s really relatable for anyone who has to go through the transition of moving in with a significant other. 

The Black List, which is actually a very dark show, but the main character Red is hilarious.  Nick and I just started watching season one last week, so we’re just getting into it. It’s hard for me to enjoy dramas, because I need to laugh in order to love a show, but this has quickly become a favorite of mine. I feel like I’m laughing out loud at every episode. Also, youtube clips of dogs sitting on cats…. I didn’t know it was a thing until I saw a mash up of it. I’m embarrassed to admit, but I have wasted a large amount of time looking that up on youtube

Comments have been turned off so you can go say hello to Haley! Be sure to browse through her book reviews and recipes, she's got some good ones! You can also find her on TwitterInstagramPinterest, Facebook, and Bloglovin'!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos.

Hello! My name is Lindsay and I blog at Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos

I started blogging because I'm a writer in real life; I write technical documents by day, and wanted a creative and fun space I could call my own! 

Jane Eyre. 
#LoveYourSelfie: Embracing Your "Imperfections": one of my first posts, but I truly think it's the heart of what I do. 
Everything! I try to find humor in in every day life; I like to earn those laugh lines. ;)

I'm so glad that Lindsay chose the word authentic, because that's truly what I think of when I read her blog--she's just so real! If by some chance you've never read her blog, please do yourself a favor and start reading! 

Comments have been turned off so you can go say hi to Lindsay. You can find her on twitter, pinterest, instagram, Facebook, and Bloglovin!

Friday, February 20, 2015

just write: right at the sun.

right at the sun poem

I can’t forget the things you said, 
no matter how I try. 
so I stare right at the sun 
and try my best to fly. 
I can’t forget the way I felt, 
no matter what I do. 
so I stare up at the sky
and hope that I see you. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

4 Books I Read in February & Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

This month is shaping up to be pretty full of books, so I thought I'd go ahead and write about what I've read so far!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Plot: Lara Jean copes with breakups (and non-breakups) by writing her heart into a love letter, addressing the envelope, and then hiding it under her bed to never be seen by anyone else. Until one day, all of her letters get mailed. She's left to deal with the fact that all those boys have seen all those letters full of things she never said. (read the full plot here)

Favorite quote: "This is our life; there's no use in asking what if. No one could ever give you the answers. I try, I really do, but it's hard for me to accept this way of thinking. I'm always wondering about the what ifs, about the road not taken."

My thoughts: This one was full of quirky characters, which I loved. I read this book in one afternoon, curled up with a blanket and some tea and getting lost in the world of a seventeen year girl who knows absolutely nothing and absolutely everything about love. It was adorable.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by J

Plot: "Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and lives intertwine." (read full plot here)

Favorite quote: “When things break, it's not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It's because a little piece gets lost - the two remaining ends couldn't fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.” 

My thoughts: This one is weird because I went into it 1) Not knowing anything at all about the plot, and 2) expecting to love it, because John Green, duh. And while I didn't love it at all, and think I actually kind of disliked it, I've found myself thinking about it and almost missing it since finishing it. But I think that's due to the fact that the characters were so well-created. I just wasn't a huge fan of the storyline.

Should you read it?: Nah, not if there are other books on your list.

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

Plot: Mia is headed to the Hamptons to spend the summer with her cousins, but she quickly realizes she doesn't fit in with them anymore. She's getting ready to settle into a lonely summer when Simon comes along, who also doesn't fit in anywhere. They join up in their loneliness and help each other experience new things over the course of a memorable summer. (read full plot here)

Favorite quote: “If you stay on the sidelines of the here and now then your future will only ever be a pale version of a dream you never had the courage to experience.” 

My thoughts: I went from pretty disinterested, to vaguely interested, to no just no. Not a fan. It had some good elements; I just wasn't a fan.

Should you read it?: No.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty:

Plot: "Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: “None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It's probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

My thoughts: Since this book follows three story lines, at first I felt like I was reading three different books. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into it, mostly because it was very different from what I normally read. But then little things started weaving the stories together, and it got so good. It was a love story and a regret story and a mystery and it was fascinating.

Should you read it?: Yes!

What have you been reading?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What do 50 Shades of Grey and Starving Children Have in Common?

Oh, that's right...nothing.

But we're sure ranting about it like it's of the same importance, aren't we?

Does it bother me that really young girls can easily read this before they've even had a chance to learn about what good sex really is? Sure. But that's just the world we live in, like it or not.

But here's the thing--we also live in a world where sex trafficking is rampant, where people die because they don't have clean water, where people are being held hostage and slaughtered in the name of terror, and where people get to a point of feeling such hopelessness that they choose to actually end their own life.

Buuuut yeah, let's complain about a book. 

We're really good at picking popular things we disagree with and standing up wholeheartedly against them. But why do we pick such shallow things (in the grand scheme of things) to stand up against?

I'll say this: If you feel in your heart that you need to speak out against something like this, then I applaud you. Good for you for listening to your gut. But as far as everyone just jumping on board with issues that seem to be trending on twitter--who did you help? 

All of this--the posts, the hashtags, the boycotting--reminds me of the yoga pants rants that went around last year. Who did you really help by ranting about the immodesty of yoga pants? Who are you really helping by ranting about this book and movie?

If you think wearing yoga pants is wrong, don't wear them. If you disagree with this movie, don't pay money to see it. If you feel like you need to say why, then speak into the lives of people close to you, who you've earned the right to talk to.

But goodness gracious, stop complaining about it.

When I was little and didn't want to finish my food, my dad would always say, "There are starving kids in Africa, and you want to complain about how your food tastes?" 

With the recent overflow of opinions on these things, I can't help but hear a similar voice in my head as I scroll through countless blogs and tweets and posts and opinions. "There are starving kids in Africa, and you want to complain about a book?" 

You only get one life, and you only get a certain amount of things to say. At the end of your days, you will have stood up for ________ number of things. You're the one who gets to decide what that number is, and you're the one who gets to decide how many elements of that number actually helped and made a difference.

At this point, everyone knows what 50 Shades of Grey is about. It's highly unlikely that someone is going to wander into a theatre or pick up a book thinking they're about to see a unicorn love story, only to be shocked by what it is. So maybe it's time to stop "warning people" about this, and start using your voice for bigger issues?

In the time you have been discussing the dangers of seeing this movie, you could have been loving on someone who feels unloved, looking into how you can help empower young women who come from nothing, sending a check to help provide a family with clean water, volunteering to hang out with underprivileged kids who may not even get dinner tonight, and countless other things that would actually make a difference.

Or, you can ignore those issues, stay comfortable, and keep complaining about a book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

just write: heartbeats and time.

heartbeats and time poem

always chasing after something, 
even when we’re not sure what it is.
we chase down every possibility, 
because we hate the words, “what if?”
we don’t have too much money,
but we don’t really mind. 
we’d rather pay our dues 
with our heartbeats and our time. 
because we know there are things
that money cannot buy, 
but if we have each other, 
we swear, we can almost fly. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

This is Life. This is it.

I've been reminding myself lately, this is life. This is it--the good and the awful and the boring and the magical--this is it.

We can talk all we want about hustling and planning and dreaming and scheming (all things I talk about and love and do very often), but none of that actually matters if we're not living our current life.

There's a really big difference between existing while looking towards the next thing and actually living. Yes, you have to work. You have to plan. You should dream and hustle. But if you are too busy with those things that you miss the good that is today, if you're too busy focused on the future that you miss the magic of the present, isn't that a waste of this part of your life?

Of course, we all hope to live nice, long and fulfilling lives. But we have no assurance of that. And I have to say, there have been phases of my life recently that if it were to all be over, it would have been a shame, because I was way more focused on the future than the present, and that's not really living.

I want to live so vivaciously that if it all comes to a screeching halt and I'm suddenly hanging out with Jesus, that no one around me would feel sad that I didn't get to make it to the next big thing I was always talking about. Instead, I would want people to remember that I lived my life fully alive.

The smallest shift in attitude has really been life changing for me. Do I hope to have my dream career in the future? Absolutely. And I'm still working my backside off to get there. But should that stop me from writing for fun now? No. Could I come up with drastic changes I could make over the next five years that would make my marriage better? Sure. But why not make it the best it can be today, the day I'm actually living in?

As an adult, you have to plan and save and all those other adult-ish things. But I'm learning that in no way does that mean you can't also enjoy every single day. Because if today was your last day, it sure would be a shame spending the entire thing planning and saving for tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Your New Favorite Blog: Whimsical September.

Hey! My name is Erica and I blog over at!

Can "family" be used as an adjective? I sure hope so because that's what we're going with! Everything I write about somehow revolves around my family - how we're fixing up our 1980s home, what we're eating (healthy, non healthy, quick, fancy), our road trips and vacations, parenting wins and fails (ha!), curveballs that my husband's Army career throws at us, how we celebrated this birthday or that anniversary - the whole nine yards! I try to keep things real and light-hearted.

I actually started my blog during the sophomore year of college in 2008 during the Stone Age of blogging! For years I used my blog as a way to keep track of big and little life events, and sometimes I'd post multiple times a week and other times I'd only post a few times a year. I absolutely love that this blog has captured my entire relationship with my husband - from the time we started dating all the way through the birth of our first child and beyond! I rebranded my blog one year ago and have been consistently blogging ever since!

Easy question! My favorite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I've never read a book this size as fast as I did the first time (two days). I read it in 2010 shortly before my husband commissioned as an officer in the Army, and this book gave me so much perspective and insight into the turmoil going on in Afghanistan that I knew my husband would see one day (and he has). I love that it's written as a historical fiction as well. Hosseini's writing is detailed, eloquent, informative, and gripping.

I've written over 300, so picking just one is really tough! I'm going to pick the post that had me sobbing the whole time I was writing it - a letter to Hadley on her first birthday. Whimsical September: A First Birthday Letter to My First-Born.
I'm sure any parent would say this, but my answer is definitely my 14 month old daughter Hadley! I keep wanting to freeze every stage she's in because it's just so much fun, but then she gets bigger (of course) and I find that I love the next stage of her life even more! She's in the stage right now where staring contests are her favorite, and she bursts into giggles right after we start one. I could go on and on! Parenthood is a trip. 

Something else that's been making my laugh? HARD? The Bachelor. I'm 27 years old and still completely obsessed with the show. This season has a handful of girls that just make me want to cover my eyes and die of embarrassment for them while simultaneously dying of laughter at their silly antics. LOVING. IT.

Erica has the cutest blog name, the cutest little girl, and the cutest little pup. Comments have been turned off so you can go say hi to Erica and check out all the adorable things on her blog! You can find her on facebook, instagram, Pinterest, and twitter!

Friday, February 13, 2015

just write: eight thousand and seven hundred chances.

sometimes when people say to me, 
"do you remember when?"
I have to really stop and think,
for I’ve changed so much since then. 

more than eight thousand and seven hundred hours 
to make up a single year
eight thousand and seven hundred chances
to make my old self disappear 

I’m quite a bit different than I was
just fifty-two weeks ago,
because I’m changing, bit by bit
with each new place I go. 

I change with everything I see, 
and everything I do,
and I’m becoming a new person
by adventuring with you.