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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Find Yourself Some Happiness Today.


On my New Year's weekend girls trip, every morning we opened the doors toward the beach and drank coffee with my favorite creamer (This one. I just call it the purple creamer.) We also made coffee every afternoon, and talked about how it felt like such a treat, and how we looked forward to something so simple...the whole bottle of creamer cost $3, but you'd of thought we were drinking some rare, expensive thing. 

Sam is a teacher, and when she went back to work, she bought a bottle of the purple creamer to keep in her break room. Because if something so simple makes you happy, why shouldn't it be a part of your everyday life? 

My friend Lindsay wrote this post about allowing yourself to feel pleasure and joy, and it hit home with me. 

If I really stop to think about it, some of the simplest things truly bring me happiness. A good book. An afternoon by the pool. Tacos. FaceTiming friends. A new notebook. Nail polish. Lunch with a friend. 

Of course, there are big things that bring me happiness. Big trips and shopping sprees. But there's a ton of simple, little, easy things, too. 

So this is me reminding you: You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have happiness as a part of your everyday life, not just on special occasions. 

Make your own list. What little things bring you happiness? You should do those, buy those, plan those. Every day, you should be happy. 

And if you don't know where to start, I highly recommend the purple creamer. 

 
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Monday, January 15, 2018

3 Things You Need to Know About.

1) These sweatshirts. 

My parents got my these for Christmas and I'm not kidding when I say I've been wearing every single one of them each week. They're so cute and so freaking soft. The first two, especially, feel just like wildfox sweatshirts (ya know, without costing a billion dollars). I loved graphic tees this summer, and since Florida's been throwing some winter at me (BOOOOO), I love these. 
2) Speaking of sweatshirts: Amazon restocked my mermaid sweatshirt!


I have worn the heck out of mine. It's so slouchy and comfy and fun. And you need one. 

3) This cup. 

If you are like most people and "drink more water" is on your neverending resolution list, get a cup like this. It's 35 ounces, you just have to fill it up a few times for the whole day, and you can carry it around wherever you go. I use mine every single day. Pro tip: get these silicone straws. Hydrate yo'self! 

Your turn! Tell me something I need to know about. 
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Happy Two Years, My Little Love.

 

Jack,

In two short days, you turn two! While I'm normally one to say that time flies, the past two years have felt like an eternity in the very best of ways. I feel as though I've already lived a lifetime of adventures and love with you already. 

I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more: You are my greatest gift. You are everything I didn't know I wanted and everything I had no idea I needed. 

You light up the darkest of days simply by existing. You're a little firecracker full of joy, and no matter what else is going on, I just can't help but be happy when I'm with you. 

You are downright hilarious. I could write for hours about that, but you find yourself funnier than anyone else, and I love that. I hope you always laugh at yourself. 

You are sweet and stubborn. Curious and clingy. Loud and wild and precious. You are everything good in the world, and I still can't believe you're mine. You have filled my life with so many good things and, for someone who doesn't say a whole lot, you've sure taught me a ton. 

Happy second birthday, my little wild child. The world is a better place because of you. 
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

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


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Plot: Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was. -via goodreads



Favorite quote: “For anyone who has been taught that good equals small and silent, here is my heart with all its ugly tangles and splendid fury.” (That was the dedication, but still my favorite thing from the book).

My thoughts: I loved We Were Liars, so I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I didn't love it. I don't really know how to say why without giving anything about the plot away, but the whole story (literally, all of it) felt like it was happening for completely random and unnecessary reasons. I loooooved Liars, but I'd skip this one. 

Should you read it? No.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Plot: Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. -via goodreads

Favorite quote: “You can’t measure love by time put in, but the weight of those moments. Some in life are light, like a touch. Others, you can’t help but stagger beneath.” 

My thoughts: Sarah Dessen is my favorite author, so anytime she writes a new book, I basically hold it as a personal holiday. This book was SO GOOD. I feel like it was marketed as a sweet love story, but it was so much more than that. It dealt with deeper issues and current events and anxiety in a beautiful way. It might be my favorite one of her's yet. 

Should you read it? Yes! 

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Plot: A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.-via goodreads

Favorite quote: “Don't talk then. Paint. Dance. Write. Just don't hold your feelings inside. The longer we let pain hide in our hearts, the more it turns to poison.” 

My thoughts: Do you ever finish reading a book and just kinda sit there and think, "What? Why? Why was that a book?" It wasn't that it was bad, it was just weird. There were a lot of things happening that really just made no sense to me. I stuck it out and finished it, but this was a weird freaking book. 

Should you read it? I'd skip it.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Plot: You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.


Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Favorite quote: “I could say the night felt magical, but that would be embellishment. That would be romanticization. What it actually felt like was life.” 

My thoughts: I sat on the beach and sobbed as I read this book. Not because it was sad, but because it was so deeply beautiful. I made my best friend read it, and she sat and the beach and sobbed, too. It is truly one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It was so well written. Nina LaCour truly has a gift, and I look forward to reading everything she writes, ever. 

Should you read it? YES.

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

Plot: Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.
 

Favorite quote: "It's easy to pretend I made a deal with the devil. But he genuinely didn't think we were doing anything wrong. And somewhere inside, I think I knew we were. So which one of us was the devil?" 

My thoughts: This was a super interesting story that I just couldn't get into, for some reason. I have some friends who loved it, so it could just be the mood I was in when I read it, I'm not sure. But it wasn't my favorite. And I truly hated the ending, so...

Should you read it? Meh. 

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Plot: Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts.  She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter. 

Favorite quote: “Maybe once you’ve been left by the most important person in your life, you can never be unleft again.” 

My thoughts: This book was a RIDE. After seeing it on a Buzzfeed list titled something like "20 plot twists that will make you scream out loud" I listened to it on my last road trip. It went something like: "Okay, so they basically give away the plot twist in the description, but it's still a pretty good story. Wait. What? Oh wow, that was the plot twist. I mean, I kind of saw that coming, but I like it. W A I T. What is happening? I am scared. WHAT?" Safe to say, I enjoyed it. 

Should you read it? Yes. I highly recommend it as an audiobook! 

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Monday, January 8, 2018

More & Less: 2017 vs. 2018.


I love New Year's goals, but I always approach them differently. Sometimes I spend weeks thinking about them, sometimes I come up with a list on January 1st. Sometimes I'm extremely detailed, sometimes I just have a general idea of what I want. 

This year, I wasn't feeling like setting specific goals. Instead, I wanted to look back at the last year. I wanted to try my best to pinpoint when I felt my happiest and when I didn't feel much happiness. The things I did that made me feel my best, I want more of those. The things that caused me to feel less than great, I want less of those. 

So that's my take on 2018. More & Less. 

M O R E

Yoga. Looking at 2017, every time I got into the habit of doing yoga, I felt better. Physically and mentally. So this one is a no-brainer. 

Passion. I touched on this here. I don't want to just make it through my days. I want to feel passionate about things. 

Travel. I got to travel a lot last year, and it was amazing. Here's my take on that: For me (because I am responsible for another human), it takes a little bit of time to plan. But that's time I could have easily spent doing something like watching TV. It takes a little bit of money. But the money I spent on gas or plane tickets, I could have easily spent on eating out or buying new clothes I didn't need. Traveling always made me happier, always left me feeling refreshed. Those are things I want more of in 2018. 

Writing. Outside of blog posts, I didn't write too much in 2017. But the times I did (like here), it made me feel alive and passionate and excited. I need more of that this year. 

Reading. 2017 was a pretty slow reading year for me (Jack learned to walk this year, so my free time went down by about 24829%), but I read a lot the last week of December. It makes me happy, plain and simple. I want 2018 to be a happy year, so more books, please. 

Time outside. Beach days, boat days, pool days. These made me happy last year. I was made to be by the water, I think. Another thing I did last year was take Jack for a walk (that I slowly tried to turn into a run) every morning. The days I got moving and got fresh air always seemed to go better than the days that I didn't. So more of that. 


L E S S

Assuming people's motives. I. Am. So. Bad. About. This. SO BAD. If someone doesn't respond to my text, I immediately assume they're mad at me. If someone says they're having a bad day, I immediately assume I did something that made them have a bad day. That's ridiculous, I know it's ridiculous, you know it's ridiculous. Yet I did a lot of that last year. This year, I want to assume the best, or at the very least, assume that if something is wrong, someone will tell me, I don't have to make it up in my head.

Planning ahead. This is a weird thing to set a goal of doing less of, I know. But the phase of life I'm in, it's nearly impossible to plan ahead. And the times I did try to plan ahead last year often left me feeling stressed or disappointed, and I want less of that. So I want to embrace this season of spontaneity and not worry so much about plans. 

Doing things I don't want to do simply because I feel like I have to. Plain and simple. Life is too short for this.

Guilt. At the beginning of the fall, I had one of the best weekends of my life visiting my best friend and going to see our favorite band live. It was absolutely amazing. The following week, someone who reads my blog sent me a long and detailed email about how I would look back and deeply regret that weekend (and any other travels I did over the next 16 years) because I chose to spend it away from Jack. I knew that weekend left me feeling happy and refreshed. I knew I needed it. I knew that 95% of the time, I spend 24 hours a day with Jack. But I still let that email from a perfect stranger make me feel so guilty. And it's impossible to feel guilt and joy at the same time. This year, I choose joy. 

Negativity. I am an extremely positive person by nature, but 2017 tested that. Looking back, the times I gave in and was just negative in my thoughts and words, it didn't help anything. In fact, it made me feel worse. I want less of that for sure. 

This isn't a comprehensive list by any means. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's just the beginning for me and my year. But I really like the idea of approaching a year by knowing what I want more of and what I want less of. It helps me see what I should say no to and what deserves a yes. It helps me know what I should spend my time on. 

What do you want more and less of this year?
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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cheers to A More Passionate Year.

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I rang in 2018 at the beach. A weekend full of sunshine and books and laughing with my best friend while showing her around my hometown. It was refreshing and wonderful. It filled me up. It made me feel alive. 

I love the beach. I love reading good books. I love burritos from my favorite hometown place. I love staying up late and talking about life. These are all simple things, but I feel pretty passionate about my love for them. 

I want more of that this year. 

I want my days to be filled with things I feel passionate about. Not just okay things, not just it'll-get-me-by things, but things that fil me with life and love and joy and leave me feeling happy to be alive. 

The causes I choose to get involved in, I want to be passionately involved. The love I choose to share, I want it to be passionate love. The travels I go on, I want to passionately go, soaking it all in, throwing myself to adventure. 

Even the most mundane things can be remarkable when done with enough passion, I think. 

Cheers to a more passionate year. 
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Spending 2018: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Year.


1. Set a goal. Big or small. 

2. Pay it forward. Buy someone's coffee, pay for their meal, leave flowers on their doorstep.

3. Send a letter. 

4. Every now and then, make a list of things you are thankful for.

5. Try yoga.

6. Pay attention to what fulfills you. And do more of that. 

7. Learn to cook a meal you truly love. 

8. Watch the sunrise. 

9. Get a library card.

10. Go on a road trip.

11. Have more slow days. 

12. Host a dinner party. 

13. Take pictures just for the memories. Worry less about what they look like and more about the memories you're capturing.

14. Drink more water. It's free and will make you feel so much better.

15. Find ways to enjoy your days more. 

16. Break a bad habit. 

17. Plan a vacation. Even if this isn't the year you get to go on that vacation, there's something fun and exciting about planning a vacation. 

18. Push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. 

19. Reach out to your family. 

20. Spend more time outside. 

21. Go to a concert. 

22. Stop saying "I'm sorry" unless you really mean it. 

23. Make a "good vibes" playlist. 

24. Watch the sunset. 

25. Work on becoming a better friend. 

26. Become a little bit healthier. 

27. Remove the things that no longer serve you. Clothes that don't fit, relationships that are toxic, if it doesn't make your life better, get rid of it. 

28. Have a cookout and eat dinner outside. 

29. Be proud of your accomplishments. 

30. Take the time to really look at the stars. 

31. Read more. 

32. Say more positive things about yourself. 

33. Be a tourist in your own town. 

34. Print your favorite pictures. It adds joy to your day to see your favorite pictures around your house.

35. Pick up a skill you've always admired.

36. Keep a list on your phone of things that inspire you. Quotes, songs, people. 

37. Think about what your dream life looks like. 

38. Go for more walks. 

39. Read a motivational book.

40. Make an effort to be more authentic in every area of your life.

41. Try meditating. 

42. Do something you've always wanted to do. 

43. Be intentional about being kind.

44. Learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. I don't care if you like coffee black or filled with sugar and whipped cream, I promise you can make it at home for cheaper than buying it out.

45. Drop one bad habit. 

46. Take note of the little things that make you happy. 

47. Declutter.

48. Check-in with people when they cross your mind.

49. Work on letting things go. 

50. Make space to enjoy life. Shorten your to-do list every now and then so you can just enjoy your night. 

51. Put yourself first. 

52. Go to the beach. I firmly believe everyone should get to dip their toes in the ocean at least once a year. 
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Monday, January 1, 2018

H A P P Y 2 0 1 8


YOU MADE IT! You lived another year. Whether you truly thrived or barely survived, you're here. And that is amazing. 

However you're spending today-hard at work on 2018 resolutions, or curled up in bed after last night-I hope you take a few moments to do these three things: 

1) Be proud of yourself for making it through 2017. Be proud of what you accomplished. Be proud of what you survived. Be proud of the art you made, the words you wrote, the kids you raised, the people you loved. Be proud that you are still standing. 

2) Appreciate 2018 for the fresh start that it is. You get a new year, brand new. You can use it however you want to use it, and you get to decide how that is. If you've been waiting for a fresh start, well, here it is. 

3) Consciously let go of the things from last year that no longer serve you. Bitterness? Self-consciousness? Toxic relationships? Those things are so 2017. And 2017 is so yesterday (literally). Let. Them. Go. If it didn't bring you life in 2017, don't bring it into 2018. 

This is your year, babe. It doesn't matter how many times you've said those words before, this is it. It's a beautiful blank canvas that you get to fill. So fill it with all the very best things. 

If there are risks you want to take, take them. If there's a job you want, go after it. If you love someone, tell them. If you've got a dream brewing, chase it. If you want to go somewhere, please, please go. Everything is a risk, really. But let this year be the year you bet on yourself. 

Happy 2018, friends. May this truly be our best year yet. 

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