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Thursday, November 30, 2017

What November Taught Me.

To make the most of your moments.  Life is such a weird and delicate balance of planning for the future and living in the moment. You can't truly live in the moment all the time, otherwise, you'd spend all your money on something that made you happy right now and not be able to pay your rent at the end of the month, or take off traveling and not have a job when you get back.
But there is something to be said about being aware of the fact that this moment, today, is all you can be sure of. Hopefully you'll have tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, so of course it's important to plan and work and prepare. But don't get so busy doing those things that you don't even enjoy the moments in front of you. 

That not everyone will understand the choices you make, and that's okay. Have you ever needed to cancel plans pretty late? Not flaked out, or changed your mind, but desperately needed to cancel plans for your own well-being? And when you catch flack for it, you think, I wish I could just make you see into my head right now so you could understand this. But you can't, and that's okay. Becuase you made the decision you needed to make for you. 

I'm learning a lot of life is like that. Since so much of daily life is made up of decisions, it makes sense that there are going to be a few (or a lot) decisions that not everyone in your life understands, or agrees with, or supports. The important thing is to make the ones you think are right. 

That it's okay if you can't bring yourself to savor every single second. It doesn't make you a bad friend or partner or parent. I'm so big on savoring the time we're given, but do you know what I spent last night doing? Cleaning up throw up from my carpet. Do you know how much of me savored those moments? Exactly none. Zero percent. I love Jack, I love being his mom, I love spending time with him. But last night, my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of OKAY FRIDAY, I NEED YOU, STAT. And that's okay. Savor what you can, but truly, not all of it can be savored. And that's okay. 

What did this month teach you? 
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

3 Things You Need to Know About.

O N E || Philosophy Pore Extractor Mask. Guys. I have found the face mask to end all face masks. It is nothing short of straight-up wizardry. 

I kept seeing ads for it, saying blackhead-free skin in TWO uses, so I was obviously intrigued. But Ulta was sold out, and they closed down my Sephora (BOOOO), and you can only buy the full-size online. I was hesitant to spend the full-sized money on something I hadn't tried yet. Then, I got my Sephora Play box, and it was one of the samples! 

It does exactly what it says. I'm telling you, it sucks the gunk out of your face. It's amazing. While it is on the more expensive side (hi, I usually pay $5 for face masks), you're only supposed to use it twice a week, and a little goes a long way. 100% worth it. I've already ordered the full size. 

T W O || Lowes has mini (real!) Christmas trees for $19! I was worried about our tree this year, because last year Jack wasn't even walking yet. Now, he runs around the house, bringing terror to anything not bolted to the wall (just kidding) (but only kind of). We have some sentimental ornaments that I don't want to risk breaking, so we got one of these little trees and put the glass ornaments on it, safe out of Jack's reach. I'm sure he'll pull our big tree down at some point, but at least nothing will shatter when he does. 

T H R E E || Frosted Sugar Cookie Creamer from Aldi. It is delicious and tastes like Christmas is having a dance party in my mouth. Look, I know flavored creamer is garbage. I do. But I'm very healthy in most other aspects, so just let me have this one. CHRISTMAS DANCE PARTY, OKAY?!

Tell me what I need to know about! 
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Monday, November 27, 2017

It's Not Too Late to Start.

While Mondays aren't exactly my favorite day ever, I do love the fresh start they represent. A fresh week, a clean slate, a starting line. If I'm starting something new (a diet, a goal, a new schedule), you can bet I'm gonna wait until a Monday to do it. 

Or until the first day of a new month. Or until a new year. Because starting? It's scary. 

This late in the year, smack dab in the middle of the holidays, looking at things you maybemightpossibly need to start is overwhelming. Looking at the things you didn't start this year can be a surefire way to feel bad about yourself real fast. But hey. . .it's not too late. 

Those goals you set for 2017? The ones you didn't really even touch after the first week in January, or the ones you really did try at, but failed miserably? It's not too late to start working on them. 

That dream you have, the one that seems further and further away from reality every day you wake up? It's not too late to start working towards it.

The person you want to be. . .the kind one, the strong one, the healthy one, the determined one, the fill-in-the-blank one? It's not too late to become her. Just start. 

Every day you wake up marks a day that it's not too late to start something new. You are never too old or too young or too far gone. You can start over, start fresh, start moving your life in the complete opposite direction than you're headed now, if that's what you need. 

It's not too late to start. 

It's a Monday, after all. 

So just start. 
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'm Just So Thankful For You.

I love words. I love writing. I love community. 

This little space has given me a place for those things, and I'm so thankful. 

I'm thankful for blogging, I'm thankful for writing, and I'm thankful for you. 

Blogging continues to be an amazing and absolutely bizarre thing to me. It connects people who have nothing else in common and would probably never have crossed paths otherwise. 

Most of us will probably never meet face to face, but that doesn't mean we haven't been there for each other. It doesn't mean we haven't influenced each other, encouraged each other, motivated each other. 

And I'm so thankful for that. 

So hey, thanks. 

If you show up to read the things I show up to write, I am truly, truly thankful for you. 

Thank you for reading these ramblings, thank you for sharing your opinions, thank you for disagreeing with me, thank you for saying oh yeah, me too! Thank you for your advice, thank you for your own words and ramblings. Just thanks. 

I hope your Thanksgiving is amazing. I hope that all of your picture-perfect tablescapes you have in mind turn out perfectly, and if they don't, that you laugh it off and enjoy the day anyway. I hope you have the laziest day and never leave your PJs, if that's what you want. I hope you have the fanciest dinner party, if that's what you're after. 

I hope you're surrounded by people who love you and that every moment of the day radiates with thankfulness. 

Happy Thanksgiving, beautiful friends. xo 
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Week Coffee Date.

Hi hello yes, it's me, reporting live that we have somehow reached THANKSGIVING WEEK. For some of us, this week brings all the happy feels, and for some of us it brings insane amounts of stress and running around trying to get things done and finish endless to-do lists. Either way, it seems like a good day to take a break, have some coffee, and just talk. 

If we were having coffee...

I'd tell you that this is the first Thanksgiving Jack can eat all the Thanksgiving foods, and I cannot wait to see what he likes.

I'd tell you that I can't get enough of Taylor Swift's new album. The whole thing is just golden. I've listened to it in its entirety at least once every day since getting it, and I'm nowhere near close to sick of it. I just love it.  

I'd tell you that my face has been breaking out terribly in a way that's super uncommon for me. I chalked it up to stress, but I was mindlessly reading the back of my new(ish) face wash in the shower yesterday and saw that it has cucumber in it. I'm allergic to cucumber. So for about a month now, I've been rubbing cucumber on my face every single morning. The bumps all over my skin aren't zits, they're hives. 

I'd tell you that, while I know thankfulness should be a year-round thing, I do love seeing it bubble over in people around the holidays. From thankful lists on social media to just being nicer, Thanksgiving tends to highlight the good in people. I love it. 

What are your Thanksgiving plans? 
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Five Things I Want to Teach Jack.

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday, talking about the horrific behavior that is currently sweeping the headlines. I said, What a terrifying time to be raising a child. 

But also, what an important time to be raising a child.

Being a parent is weird, because at the end of it all, you may have made a kid and raised a kid, but they're their own human. They're going to be who they are. Which is what you want! But for a few years, you do get a big say in the things they learn. Here's a few of mine I've been thinking about lately: 

That everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Your boss? They deserve respect. The crappy waitress who has forgotten your refill three times now? Also deserves respect. The girl who turned you down and doesn't want to go on a date with you? Respect. It is very, very easy to treat people with respect. It's also very, very important. 

To not be afraid of people who are different than you. Different is not bad. Plain and simple.  

To always be rooted in love. You're going to make mistakes. You're going to mess up a lot. But if you strive to always be rooted in love, acting out of love, doing everything from a place of love, you'll do a pretty good job. 

If something excites you, it's important. Don't ignore the things that make you feel more in love with life. 

That only you can decide what to believe. I can teach you right from wrong. I can teach you why things are wrong. I can tell you all about what I believe. But only you can decide what to believe for yourself. And it's best that way, because if you only believe something because someone else told you to, it's not truly a belief. Your beliefs are incredibly important, and you're the only one who can truly believe them. 

What are some life lessons you think are important to pass on?

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Monday, November 13, 2017

The Prettiest Place I've Ever Been.

My little brother moved to Colorado Springs a few months ago, and I finally got to go visit him last month!

I'm not exaggerating even a little bit when I say it was, hands down, the prettiest place I've ever been. I mean, to walk out of any give grocery store and have that view of the sunset over the mountains...come on. 

It's one of those places that, when people ask me how it was and I say oh, it was beautiful! I really feel the need to follow it up with, okay but really though it was BEAUTIFUL-BEAUTIFUL, I'm not just saying that. 

I live for the moments and places in time that force you to just stop and take it all in, and this was definitely one of those.

This was my first experience with the mountains, and I understand now what people mean when they say, The mountains are calling and I must go. 

Gyspy soul, ignited. 

Have you ever been to Colorado? 
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Friday, November 10, 2017

10 Under $10: Things You (Maybe, Might) Need.

I love seeing people's favorite things. Honestly, a lot of my favorite things, or things I use on a daily basis, came from seeing people recommend them online. So many things I never would have known about if it wasn't for people sharing their favorites!

I am also a sucker for a good deal, so it should not come as a surprise that the majority of my favorite things are under $10. Here are ten of them...treat yo'self. 

Vibe so hard water bottle. This is the actual cutest. To be fair, if the word vibe is anywhere on anything, I probably want it. 

Mrs. Meyer's honeysuckle hand soap. You know you're a real adult when you get excited about soap, right? This smells amazing. It lasts forever and doesn't dry out your hands. 

Not Your Mother's dry finish texture spray. A long time ago, I had a favorite texturizing spray. Then the brand went under, taking my hairspray with them. Last May, I went to a blow dry bar before an event, and she used texturizing spray. I bought it, because it didn't make my hair sticky and also didn't smell like a grandma, but it was $30 (Again, sucker for a good deal, so not too excited here). I tried this one from Target, and it is so good that I still have some of the $30 one left over, but I reach for this one instead. It's a winner.

Rosebud Salve. This has a cult-like following for a works. It fixes chapped lips and is the prettiest color.

Pajama shorts. I have become such a pajama fan recently (again, is this how you know you're an adult? Soap? Pajamas?). These are cheap, adorable, and I wouldn't be embarrassed to accidentally wear them all day, ya know?

Bobby pin keychain. This is maybe the most brilliant idea I never knew we needed, and every female on my Christmas list will be getting one of these.

Send me dog pics t-shirt. This just makes me laugh.

Rhinestone flower bobby pins. Now that my hair is shorter, I wear it pinned back a lot. These babies make it look like some effort was made.

Nip + Fab no needle serum. I keep raving about this serum because it keeps being amazing. You need it.

Dr. Teal's foaming bath. Maybe the easiest way to treat yourself and take a break is a bubble bath. This epsom salt soak has lavender oils in it that smell heavenly and help you push pause on life. It's amazing.

What are you loving that's under $10?

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Finish The Year Strong.

You guys, we've almost done it. 

We've almost lived out the entirety of 2017. 

Maybe you thrived this year. Maybe it has been your year. The one you've been waiting on, the one where you finally break through, the one where everything is just so good. Maybe you've had lots of days where you wake up, smiling, thinking, this is my life?! In the best way possible. 

Maybe you simply survived this year. Maybe you had to fight through it, one day at a time. Maybe there were a lot of days where you woke up, asking, this is my life? In the worst way possible. Either way, we're just a few weeks away from closing the chapter that is 2017. 

So finish strong. 

What's something you wanted to happen this year that hasn't happened yet? Make it happen. You may not be able to start and finish it, but you can sure start it. So start. 

What's a change you wanted to make this year, but you're stuck in the same place, instead? Change it. Jump. Leap. Run toward the new. 

If this was your year, soak that in. Savor it. Carry it to completion. Choose to finish those things you started. Choose to carry your passion and excitement over into 2018. Choose to make the absolute most of the days left in 2017. 

If this was very much not your year, it's okay. You are my people. I am with you. We can still finish strong. We can wake up every single day for the remainder of 2017 and choose to live that day. We can choose to chase after the things that, a million years ago, at the beginning of 2017, made us excited about life. We can look at the remaining days in 2017, see how valuable our time is, and choose to fill it with things that bring us life. 

And if we have to crawl across that finish line, exhausted and beat up and barely able to put one hand in front of the other, that's okay. We can do that. 

We can choose to finish strong. 
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Books I've Read Lately (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 

Plot: "Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship." -via goodreads

My thoughts: This was the best book I've read in a long time. It was an incredibly unique story, and it dealt with serious subjects (anxiety, mental health) in a way that felt honest and refreshing. It was so obvious that he had a deep connection to what he was writing about, and that made the story so much more relatable and beautiful. 

Favorite quote: "Your now is not your forever." 

Should you read it? Absolutely yes! 

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker 

Plot: "Jen Hatmaker believes backbone is the birthright of every woman. Women have been demonstrating resiliency and resolve since forever. They have incredibly strong shoulders to bear loss, hope, grief, and vision. She laughs at the days to come is how the ancient wisdom writings put it.

But somehow women have gotten the message that pain and failure mean they must be doing things wrong, that they messed up the rules or tricks for a seamless life. As it turns out, every last woman faces confusion and loss, missteps and catastrophic malfunctions, no matter how much she is doing "right." Struggle doesn't mean they're weak; it means they're alive.

Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change ("Everyone, be into this thing I'm into! Except when I'm not. Then everyone be cool.") or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip ("Why are we in San Antonio?"), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted "in the moment" no matter what the moments hold." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I listened to this on my way to Atlanta last month, and pretty much silent laughed (you know the kind where you're laughing so hard that you're just making no noise?) and ugly cried my whole way through it. The way she writes about friendship was so beautiful (we need our people!), the way she writes about changing is so relatable (you don't have to be who you've always been), and the way she writes about faith is challenging. So, so good. 

Favorite quote: “You can care about new things and new people and new beginnings, and until you are dead in the ground, you are not stuck. If you move with the blessing of your people, marvelous. But even if you don’t, this is your one life, and fear, approval, and self-preservation are terrible reasons to stay silent, stay put, stay sidelined.” 

Should you read it? Y E S.

Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown

Plot: "In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we're experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, "True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that's rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it's easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it's a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts." Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, "The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I have a lot of feelings about this book, but they're hard to put into words. This was something I read at a time I needed to read it, and it felt like I was listening to a friend talk about deeply personal things. If you've ever felt left out, or if you've ever felt like your life wasn't full of life, then you need to read this one. 

Favorite quote: “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 

Should you read it? Yes.

What have you been reading?
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Amazon Prime: What I Ordered VS. What Actually Came.

I LOVE Amazon Prime. Free shipping, free returns, it's a win-win kinda situation. But I also know that ordering off of Amazon, especially clothes, can be a gamble. You never know what you're gonna get, or what size it's gonna be, or if it will look anything like the pictures. 
So I thought this would be a fun series to try! What I ordered...and what actually came. The winners get to live in my closet, the losers go back to Amazon. 

Winner: Mesh Yoga Pants

Technical name: FeelinGirl Women's Breathable Active Yoga Running Pants Workout Spanx Tights Leggings. ||  Current Price: $13.50 (I paid $7.50) ||  Size Ordered: Medium

I love these! They fit great, I've worked out in them, ran in them, and washed them, and they've held up great. They were a steal for $7.50, but I would still buy them at $13.50

Winner: Champagne Now, Crunches Later Betsey Johnson Workout Tank.

Technical name:  Betsey Johnson Women's Champagne Now High Low Muscle Tee || Current price: $36.05 (I paid $10) || Size ordered: Large

As you can probably guess, this is now my favorite workout shirt, and I wear it for fun way more than I exercise in it. I hate that it jumped up in price so much. I must have caught it on sale. If you buy it, definitely size up. I like a looser fit so I ordered a large, and I it runs small. 

Loser: Backless T-Shirt Dress

Technical name: Eliacher Women's Casual Sexy Backless Tshirt Dress 6589 || Current price: Unlisted (I paid $9.99) || Size ordered: Large 

From the front, this one isn't so bad, but it's definitely not the flowy, hi-lo dress pictured on Amazon. The back, though...the back is bad. It's black, so I couldn't get an accurate picture, but there's a knot in the back that causes the fabric right above your backside to stick a good two inches out, making you look something like this: 

So, nope. Back to Amazon it went. 

Winner(ish): T-Shirt dress

Technical name: Eliacher Women's Casual Summer Chiffon Dress Blouses Long Top Shirts (what a ring to it, right?) || Current price: $9.99 (That's what I paid) || Size ordered: XL 

This is probably my favorite thing, but I say winner-ish because it isn't at all like I thought it would be. First of all, it was supposed to have sheer pannels on the sleeves and shoulders...homegirl is sheer alllll the way through. Luckily I have a slip dress the same color scheme that works under it. 

Losers too bad to picture: 

This (seemingly) cute crop top. I had visions of wearing it with high-waisted skirts, but no. It was flimsy and slightly brown (??) and I was not even putting it on my body to take a picture. 

Have you ordered anything worth mentioning off of Amazon lately?
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Spending Your November: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Month.

1. Participate in NaNoWriMo. On a month where thousands of other people are sitting down to write every day, why not try it?

2. Have a fire. 

3. Make a list of all the things happening in your town in November. November is a magical month because we get fall, Thanksgiving, and the start of the Christmas season all in the same month. So festivals, fairs, and cute events are usually bountiful in November.

4. Buy your favorite holiday creamer. Pumpkin spice? Peppermint mocha? I know it's not the best for you, but moderation, my friends.

5. Have a cozy movie night in.

6. Send a friend some pictures. I can't stop printing these polaroids from the Printic app. I sent a bunch to my best friend, look how cute they turned out:

Use code 299F8E to get $7 free (I paid $3ish dollars for all of these! Such an easy gift idea). 

7. Focus on loving your life now, exactly how it is. Guys, there are so many things about my life right now that I wish could be different. But there's a difference between trying to make your life better and being miserable over how it actually is. Try your best to look at the good and love how things are today, even if it takes some effort. 

8. Call your parents (and your grandparents, if you're lucky enough to still have them around). 

9. Treat yo'self to a caramel apple cider from Starbucks. 

10. Practice some Thanksgiving recipes. 

11. Try a Yoga With Adriene Challenge. If you've ever wanted to try yoga, she is the bestbestbest. 

12. Make a list of things you'd like to keep an eye out for on Black Friday.

13. Make caramel apples. 

14. Start taking better care of your skin. Step one: Drink ALL THE WATER. Step two: It would be really nice to spend a billion dollars on skin care, but if you're like me and don't have a billion dollars to spend on your skin, here are some affordable things that are working for me: 
15. Make Thanksgiving placemats or place cards. They don't have to be Pinterest worthy (mine will not be), just something that's fun!

16. Drink hot cider. 

17. Try meditating. I've been using the Headspace app and loving it.

18. Start thinking about your 2018 (okay WHAT?!) goals. Maybe start a note on your phone and add things there as they come to your mind. 

19. Write someone a letter about why you're thankful for them. 

20. Have friendsgiving! 

21. Participate in a food drive.. You probably have canned food to spare, and some families have no Thanksgiving food at all. Let's share.

22. Have a "just-us" Thanksgiving. Whether that's with a romantic partner or a friend, a low-key, full of your favorite foods night before the real deal can be so much fun. 

23. Celebrate Thanksgiving. Remember to honor your season-whatever your thanksgiving looks like, it's perfect. 

24. Go Black Friday shopping! 

25. Decorate for Christmas!! 

26. Break out alllll the Christmas music. Instant good mood. 

27. Bundle up and go for a walk. There's something so refreshing about cold air and sunshine together. 

28. Plan someone's best night ever. Cook their favorite dinner. Watch their favorite movie. Take them to their favorite place. A spouse or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a best friend...this is an amazing thing to do for anyone. 

29. Plan your best night ever. Cook your favorite dinner. Watch your favorite show. Go shopping at your favorite place. Be kind to yourself!

30. Break out the Christmas candles. Pumpkin, you were great. Sugar cookie and gingerbread, you're up. 

How will you be spending your November?
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