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Friday, September 29, 2017

Goodbye September, Hello October.

Goodbye, September. 

Goodbye, summer. You were one for the books, and it makes my heart actually ache to think about how full of adventures you were and how much I'm going to miss you. 

Goodbye to surviving my first big hurricane. Cheers to making it work and cheers to (please?) never doing it again. 

Goodbye, butter pecan coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. I was late to the game in discovering you, so our time together was short-lived. I look forward to the many summers we will spend together in the future. 

Goodbye to a month that taught me, over and over again, that I am way stronger than I think, but that I can't do everything alone. That it's okay to ask for help. That taking a break is so okay. That inviting people into your mess is so, so good. 

Hello, October. 

Hello, FALL. With your pumpkin spiced everything and cooler (maybe?) nights. 

Hello, kickoff of the most magical three months of the year. 

Hello, doing more creative writing for fun. You fell off my to-do list this summer (ahem, year) and I really missed you. 

Hello, bonfires and apple cider and pumpkin carving. I'm ready for you.
Hello to more adventures, more strength, and more love, always. 

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this month? 
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

4 Things You Need to Do in The Outer Banks.

Okay, it's fall, I get it. But it's still 90 degrees here, which means I'm still thinking about the beach and summer and all the fun places I got to go during this one. One of my favorite new-to-me experiences was going to The Outer Banks. I loved all of it, but here are four things you really need to do if you go.

Get a donut at Duck Donuts. Don't hate me for this, but I'm not really the biggest donut fan. (I know, I know, first I tell you I've never read Harry Potter and now this. I will accept the bad blogger award, hand it over). I don't not like donuts, I just won't go out of my way for one, because, meh. 

But these donuts. They made me think that maybe I'd never had a real donut before. Because these are my new favorite things in the world. They make them to order, so they're hot and delicious and really just straight up magical. 

I had a glazed and a maple bacon donut. And I have no pictures of those because I inhaled them in about three seconds. 

If you think I will not find some made up reason to visit The Outer Banks again, with these donuts being the real reason, you do not know me. 

Get an acai bowl from The Spot
I have The Spot to thank for awakening my acai bow obsession. They were absolutely delicious, and on top of that, it was the cutest little place. Be still, my hippie heart. 

Get lunch at The Bad Bean
More specifically: Get the pork belly jalepeno popper eggrolls and whatever margarita special they have, because they use fresh fruit. I had a watermelon one and it was mostly blended watermelon, no fake syrupy stuff. It was so refreshing and delicious. And I'm still dreaming about those eggrolls. My mouth is watering just typing about them, no joke. 

Go to the beach.

I love me some Florida, but I adored this beach. It was beautiful. And trust me, after you eat all that food, you're gonna need to lay down somewhere. Might as well be on this gorgeous beach. 

Have you been the The OBX? I'm obviously going back for the donuts, so if you have anything I should add to my list, let's hear it! 
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Encouraging Each Other.

"You're a really good friend. I appreciate all you do and I love you." 

I got this text a few days ago and it made my day. Why? Because we all like to be seen, and loved, and appreciated. 

You know how long it probably took my friend to type that text out? Maybe fifteen seconds. But it went on to impact my whole day (and I'm writing this post, so maybe even more than that, really). 
I've been thinking a lot about how easy it is to be there for each other because of the day and age we live in with technology. Ever since the hurricane, it's been on my mind a lot. To use all I have at my disposal to check in with people (hi, that takes me roughly ten seconds) and to love them better. 

I'm at a stage in my life where it's not easy to be a good friend in the traditional way. It's hard to plan ahead because I rarely know Chris' schedule. It's hard to meet up for lunch or coffee because I have a toddler who doesn't like to sit still. Some days it's even hard to talk on the phone. And we all have times like that, whether it's because you have a kid, or a busy job, or are traveling a lot, or are depressed...we all go through seasons where we can't drop everything to meet at Starbucks because our friend needs to talk. 

But, we have phones. We have computers. We have blips of free time throughout the day. And I've felt challenged lately to use those things to my advantage in trying to be a good friend. I know the kind of friend I want to be, busy or not. I want to be an encourager. A cheerleader. A you-can-do-it-and-I'm-here-for-it kind of friend.

Lucky for me, I was born in a time period where that's easy to do. I mean, I write pep-talks that people who I've never had the chance to meet face to face can read, and we can encourage each other. That's pretty amazing. I love that. 

So join me. Be an encourager. Use that phone that's glued to your hand all day for good. Text a friend and tell them you're thinking of them and that they're doing a good job. When you see something good in someone, say it. When your friend posts a picture and you can tell they've lost some of the weight they've been trying so hard to lose, tell them. When you see someone killing the parenthood game, say so. When you know someone's having a rough go of it, text them. Just knowing someone is thinking about you, someone sees you, someone loves you, can go the longest way, I promise. 

A simple gesture can be the biggest force for good. So let's spread some good around. 
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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

Let's just get this out of the way: I've never read the Harry Potter books. 

I know, I know. Please don't unfollow me. 

Last year, Helene read all of them for the first time, and I decided that I was going to read them this fall. So here we are. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Plot: "Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” 

My thoughts: I'll be honest, I was a little worried this book was going to feel very young. I mean, at the end of the day, it's a book about an eleven-year-old wizard. But it was, as everyone has been telling me for the last two decades, magical. The best books fully transport you to another life, another land, and that's what this one does. Even though I'd never read it, it somehow felt nostalgic. I can't wait to read the next one. 

Should you read it? I mean, I'm guessing you already have. But if you haven't, yes, it's worth it. Even as an adult. 

Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno 

Plot: "Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her beloved Aunt Helen dies, Lottie begins to fear that her own unexpected death might be waiting around every corner.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the best–selling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers. 

In her will, she leaves one last writing project—just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions designed to push Lottie out of her comfort zone. Soon, Lottie’s trying some writing of her own, leaping off cliffs, and even falling for a boy she’s only just met. Then the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice, one that will force her to confront her greatest fear once and for all." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: "I'm fine," I said quickly, because we are taught as children that automatic response: I'm fine, when we are not. I'm fine, when we are anything but. I'm fine, when we can't stop thinking about death, about dying, about ceasing to be."

My thoughts: This book was adorable. It was magical and relatable and left me feeling so happy. If you're a bookworm (or a writer!) you'll love this one. It does read a little young in parts, and is a smidge predictable, but I didn't mind. Bonus points: It had a really good representation of anxiety, which I always appreciate. All in all, a lovely little read. I loved it. 

Should you read it? Yes!
You Are a Bada**: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Plot: "In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you're ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Bada** will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them - it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious a**." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 
“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.” 

My thoughts: Guys. GUYS. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. For some reason, I just assumed it was an overrated self-help book. But I FREAKING LOVED IT. It had the same effect on me that Big Magic did, and if you know me at all, you know that's about the highest praise I can give a book. 

I am so happy I read this. I feel like I can confidently say it changed my life. It was like having coffee with a friend who sees the best in you and isn't going to let you settle for anything less. I already know I will be re-reading this book many, many times. 

Should you read it? I'm probably going to buy everyone I love copies of this book and send them weekly quizzes to make sure they read it, so there's your answer. 

What did you read this month?
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Monday, September 25, 2017

What September Taught Me.

That I take entirely too many things for granted. Electricity, air conditioning, being able to fill my car up with gas anytime I want to go somewhere...the hurricane made me realize how much I miss these things when I don't have them, which also made me realized I need to acknowledge how blessed I am to have these things most of the time. More thankfulness, every day. 

That today, it is very easy to show that you care about someone. We live in an age where being there for each other is so easy to do and takes such minimal effort-a quick text to say hi, a snapchat saying I miss you, a funny meme sent to cheer them up when you know they're having a bad day-but it still takes effort. I want to take advantage of the day and age I live in by using it to better love people. 

That I feel better, look better, AM better when I work out. There is literally no reason to not do this. 

That sometimes, you need to blow off "important" things for what's really important. Once I got power back on, I made a list that went well beyond one page. I needed to clean my house and do all the laundry ever and go grocery shopping and catch up on emails and and and and anddddd. But my best friend still didn't have power, so she came to me, and instead of my to-do list, I ate comfort food and watched bad TV and hung out with her. I got nothing done, but was so refreshed the next day, and that is exactly what I needed after such a stressful week. 

That it's so important to make time and space for what you love. I got back to creative writing just a little bit this month with this and it felt so good. I love writing, it's a part of me, and I need to make more time for it. The things that make you feel more alive? You need to make time for those. They're important. 

What did this month teach you?

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Finding Childcare: A Step-by-Step Horror Story.

Step 1: Wait entirely too long to admit that yes, you probably do need some childcare help. It's probably not the best thing for your mental health to never not be taking care of a toddler, and your job is probably going to fire you if your kid doesn't stop banging on the office door during staff meetings. Start looking for part-time daycares.

Step 2: Realize that no one gives any info out over the phone. If you want to know the secrets (like, how much does this cost?) you're gonna have to tour these places. Set up some tours. 

Step 3: Dress in your most "Professional mom with v cool toddler you'd be lucky to have" outfit. Text picture to no less than three people to get approval. 

Step 4: Show up for daycare tour. Realize very quickly that this is maybe not the best place when you see there are garbage bags lining the hall, leaking onto the floor. When the director turns and screams down the hall for an employee to clean it up, and the employee screams back that she will not be touching that sh*t, you know this is not the place for you. 

Step 5: Since you are polite, decide to finish the tour. This is a mistake. When you open the classroom door, a cockroach falls off of the door and onto your face. You scream, brush it onto the floor, and look to the daycare director for some sort of reassurance. Instead, she watches as it crawls over to a sleeping toddler, right onto his blanket, and says, "Oh. That's gross." When she asks if you're interested in full time or part time, you pause, trying to think of a nice way to say, "I just watched you let a roach crawl onto a toddler, so no thank you." But you take too long, and she snaps her fingers in your face and says, "I'm not a f*cking mind reader. Speak up." So you feel like the polite explanation is no longer needed. BYE. 

Step 6: Make more tour appointments. Find the perfect daycare. Cry in your car when you find out they don't offer part-time. 

Step 7: Decide to try for a nanny. You join and are pleased by how many applications immediately come in. 

Step 8: Skip from pleased to overwhelmed. 

Step 9: Your first interview! Oh, it's bad. So bad. 

You: I see you're CPR certified! That's great! 

Her: Oh, I'm actually not. I just say that to get interviews. 

Step 10: Repeat a few times. A few notables: The girl who "really can't tell you" what hours she would be able to work, the girl who would definitely not be okay watching your kid if you were in the house, and the girl who just refuses to leave after the interview is over. 

Step 11: Fall in LOVE with a nanny. Who, of course, charges almost double what you want to pay. Try to negotiate. Fail. Tell yourself it's worth it and you're going to hire her. Decide to look her up on social media on a whim. 

Step 12: Panic.
Step 13: Remind yourself not to judge. 


Step 15: The morning after a horrible natural disaster, when the entire city is without power, receive text from said-nanny. Hope you survived the hurricane! Still wanna hire me or nah? 

OR, you could skip steps 1-15 and go straight for Step 16: Pour yourself a glass of wine and cry about it. 

PS: Since writing this, I have found the BEST nanny. She is wonderful and Jack loves her. So don't stay stuck on step 16 for toooooo long. 
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

3 Things You Need to Know About: Beauty Edition.

1) Nip + Fab No Needles Serum. Oh my gosh, this is incredible. A little backstory: My skin has basically been going downhill since May. I breakout anytime I get stressed. I started working out to help with the stress, but then the sweat broke my face out. And I randomly got these really pronounced lines that made me look chronically dehydrated and older than I am. I knew I wanted to try a serum, but after an hour of looking at Ulta, I was very overwhelmed by all of the options and also by the range of prices. 

I landed on this one because I recognized it from a few blogs, and it was expensive enough that I thought it might work but didn't make me cry thinking about paying for it. (SIDE NOTE: The link I put here is HALF THE PRICE I paid for it at Ulta so I'm a little mad about that, but now I know!) Guys, it legit starts working right away. I started it on Saturday, after a night of pizza and wine and awful sleep, and noticed that I looked more glowy and not as tired as I should have. By Monday, the lines I'm talking about were NOTICABLY less visible. 10/10 worth it. 

2) NYX Lip Oil. I will forever sing the praises of NYX lip colors. They launched a new product that I finally got around to trying, and I love it. I loveeeeee wearing matte lip colors, but I do hate how they tend to get cracky/crumbly after reapplying. This oil is matte, but goes on like oil (duh) and it's amazing. It does fade faster than others, but you can just put more on without it feeling like you're piling on top of old lipstick, you know? I linked the color I bought, but tell me if you try another color! 

3) Egg White Pore Mask. I've seen this in the Korean beauty section of Ulta, but it kind of scared me. A friend bought it and let me try it and I am converted. It made me feel like it was working on my blemishes AND moisturizing my skin at the same time, which is not an easy feat. When I rinsed it off, I felt like I could go without makeup for days because my skin looked so good. 

Tell me something I need to know about! 
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

just write: seven letter lie.

you are not perfect;
anyone who has told you so was a liar. 
but they were also blind, 
and did not look closely enough. 
if they had, they would have seen you
and seen that your so-called-imperfections 
are what make you incredible. 
the crinkles around your eyes from years of laughing and
the chip in your tooth from that one time that one summer and 
your stretch marks from when you grew into yourself and
your anxiously-bitten nails because you care so much and 
your laugh that is so loud, so different that strangers must turn around to look at your joy and 
your splotchy birthmarks and 
your frizzy hair and 
your sometimes-stutter and 
how tears spring to your eyes over any emotion. 
what an insult. 
what a lie. 
you are a vast ocean of imperfection
and anyone who has been lucky enough to watch your waves crash knows
you could never be summed up in that 
seven letter
l i e . 
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Always Want to Remember 2017: Part 8

In an effort to pay attention to and be thankful for all the little (and big!) moments in life, I'm going through my pictures at the end of every month and documenting some of the memories that maybe didn't warrant an instagram or an entire post, but are moments I want to remember just the same. I'm a little behind, but I'm so glad I'm doing this. Just now looking at the end of July and August pictures made my heart feel so full. 

2017, Part 8 looked like...

Jack started to boycott sleep, which sucked, but I got lots of midnight laughs like this one. 

Took Jack to Universal, where he RAN around like a grown adult.



 He loved every minute of it, clearly.

This was his reaction to his first carousel ride ever. I melt. 

 Got to take another roadtrip to VA/NC. I love blogging.

Spent the week galavanting around VA and NC with my best friend and her best friends, discovering all the fun spots. God knew I needed these friendships at this time, and I'm so thankful things worked out the way they did for me to meet them at just the right time. 

Experienced my first Duck's Donuts (100% worth the hype)

Went wine tasting at the most beautiful winery.

Had my first acai bowl, and their sizes cracked me up.

Laughed a lot on the most beautiful beach in Kill Devil Hills. 

Came home to this one and took him on a date to Chuy's. Like I said on instagram, he already loves mexican food more than he loves most people, so he's doing it right. 

Took him to play football at a park.

Went to Melbourne Beach to celebrate my dad's birthday and say goodbye to my brother, who moved to Colorado. Cried a lot...

...laughed a lot more. 

These two are the most mischievous partners in crime, this month and every month.

I took Jack to a children's museum and he loved it.

Scored big at Sandy's.

My thrift game was on point in August.

Found out my sweet friend is having a baby! I'm SO EXCITED! 

Put out the bubble machine and the sprinkler so Jack could live his best summer life.

Went on way too many Target runs with this one and laughed way too hard during all of them. 

Got lots of sleepy snuggles from this little monster. 

I seriously recommend doing's so nice to realize how full your month was by looking through your pictures.

Cheers to celebrating all life's moments, big and little. 
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