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Friday, July 19, 2019

Some Weekend Inspiration: Dance While You Can.

"To not dance when you had the health and could hear the music could be the biggest regret of your life."

I read that quote this week and it got me RIGHT in the feels. I think we should remember that this weekend. 

Don't get so bogged down with life that you forget to enjoy it. 

Some seasons feel like to-do list after to-do list after to-do list. I get it. If you watched my instagram stories yesterday, you know that I spent a good amount of the morning trying to dry off a ceiling my toddler soaked because he wanted it to rain in the house. So I get it. There wasn't a whole lot of room for dancing yesterday. 

But maybe there should have been. 

I get so caught up in the thought of day-to-day life having to be one or the other: It can be fun or it can be productive. It can be relaxing or it can be serious. It can be a dance party or it can be hard work. 

But honestly, I think it's about it being both. 

Chase the dream. Do the work. Eat the salad. Drink the water. Be disciplined. But enjoy life, too. 

Do the laundry (because someone has to), but also sit in the sunshine. Go to work (because, mortgage), but dance it out to your favorite song when you get home. Exercise (because, health), but eat some pizza if you want it. 

Life, after all, is meant to be lived. 

So dance if you want. Wear what you want. Laugh way too loud when you're happy. And don't, for one second, care what anyone else might be saying about it. 

Because you can hear the music, and there's life to be lived. 
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Who Would You be if You Cared a Little Less About What Other People Think?

Just wanna start out by saying this is one of my BIGGEST struggles in life, so I'm 10,000% preaching to the choir here. But this is something I've been thinking a lot about recently. 

Who would you be if you cared a little less about what other people think? 

I think we are all created to be these incredible people. I think we are built with the ability to accomplish amazing things. I also think there are certain things we do that can take away from that. 

It's kind of like this: My body was made to be functional. It can do all the things it was made to do. But if I actively choose to stop drinking water, things are going to go downhill fast. It's no longer going to do the things it was capable of. Not because it wasn't good enough, but because of something I did (or in this case, didn't do) to it. 

That's how worrying about what other people think is for me. It dehydrates me, to be cheesy and specific. It paralyzes me. I'm no longer able to do all the things I know I'm capable of doing. It dims whatever light I'm shining. It takes the amazing person I could be and cuts her in about half, because half of an amazing person seems safer, quieter, less likely to be gossiped about. 

...Isn't that a shame? 

And even though I know it's a shame, it's still a struggle for me. I can write this post and believe every word and I'm still going to wake up tomorrow and at least once worry about what someone else thinks of me. I'm working on it, but it's hard for me. 

So instead of trying to figure out ways to stop worrying about what other people think, I'm asking myself: Who would I be if I cared just a little bit less about it? 

Worrying about what other people think of me is probably never going to fully go away. But. What if I cared about the answer a tiny bit less? Who would that version of me be? 

Would she be braver? Would she post more? Write more? Would she be happier? Are there things she would stop doing because she doesn't love them? Would she be more of the person she was created to be? Would she accomplish more? I think so. 

That's the person I want to be. So I'm going to let that motivate me. I think you should do the same. 

Ask yourself, honestly: Who would you be if you cared a little less about what other people think?

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy Little Moments as of Late: July.

dress sold out, but similar one here.
I'm all about starting the week on a positive note. I'm a big believer that whatever kind of day you decide you're going to have, you will have. It's possible to have a good day in spite of bad things going on, and it's possible to have a terrible day in spite of good things going on. 

With that being said, it's Monday, a new week, and I think we should all decide to have a good day today. Start your day off by focusing on the happy little moments going on in your life right now. Here are mine: 

After dinner swims. || Does anything scream "summer" quite like a swim while the sun is going down? It stays light so late now that post-dinner swims can happen. I love taking Jack over there and letting him splash around while it's still light out but the heat has started to calm down. 

Face masks and peppermint tea. || I've got new a routine going and I'm OBSESSED. I know I keep raving about this face mask but I can't help it, it's legitimately the best one I've ever used. When I need a mini break, I put it on and make a cup of this tea. It's soothing, supposedly good for your stomach (I'm a sucker for anything that tells me it helps gut health haha). And there's something SO nice and relaxing about having peppermint tingling on my skin AND drinking something peppermint.  10/10 recommend. 

Pictures with Kristen. || On Wednesday, my best friend Kristen met up with me and took approximately seven thousand blog pictures for me. I love them, I love that I have a backlog of content to use, but more than that, I love that I told my friend what I was struggling with blog-wise and she hopped in her car to come help me. SUPPORT EACH OTHER, ALWAYS.

A fantastic library haul. || I've got some goooood books from my most recent library pick up. I can't wait to dive into them! 

Homemade iced chais. || Can't stop making these. They're delicious, have no sugar, and the entire jug costs less than one single iced chai at Starbucks. 

I truly believe that focusing on and making a big deal of happy little moments only leads to more of the same. Try it! What's something happy in your life right now?

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Five Things to Do When You Feel Like You're Not Enough.

Take stock of the things you are consuming. || If you want to be a professional speaker, and the mega successful professional speakers you follow online are making you feel not good enough instead of inspired, it may be time to unfollow for a little bit. If you're trying to make it as a blogger, and the giant bloggers you follow are making you look at everything that's wrong with you instead of propelling you forward, maybe a little less of looking at their pictures and a little more finding things to consume that are encouraging to you.

There are seasons when all the bikini models on instagram couldn't make me feel bad about myself, and there are seasons when seeing a stranger on instagram with a cute haircut can send me into tears over a bad hair day. Know your seasons. Pay attention to them. 

Reevaluate who you're spending the most time with. || Let me tell you something - your circle should make you feel like more than enough. They should hype you up way too much. You should leave any time spent with them feeling like you can take on the whole world.

If I believe the things my mom says, it's only a matter of time before I write a book that lands on the NYT bestseller list. If I believe my best friend, I'm the hottest person that ever walked the face of this earth every time I wear something cute. That's how it should be! So many things in this world are going to make you feel like you're not enough - the people you choose to do life with should not be one of them. 

Say it out loud! ||  Sometimes we have to say a doubt out loud in order to kill it. When you're feeling like you're not enough, speak the actual words out loud. Say it out loud to your friend: I feel like I'm not good enough for this. Talk it out. Make yourself talk out how you're feeling inadequate, and make yourself listen while they tell you how adequate you are. Say it out loud alone in your car: I feel like I'm not good enough for this. And then have a good laugh that you're worried over something so insignificant.

Ask yourself - Is this real? || This is something I've learned this year and is maybe the most powerful tool I've ever known about. Ask yourself: Is this real? 

Are you really not good enough? For example, lets say you're feeling not good enough at your job. Ask yourself and answer honestly: Are you not good enough for your job? 

Are you getting all your work done? Able to complete assignments without a problem? No complaints from your boss? Cool, you're good enough! Move on from that worry. Every time you come back to it, remind yourself of the reasons it's not real, and move on again.  

Are you not getting your work done on time? Really struggling with simple assignments? Your boss complaining about it? Okay, you might not be good enough for your job - YET. Get a plan to fix that! Take a class, meet with people who are good at what you're trying to become good at, and work. 

Every time the worry that you're not good enough pops up, acknowledge it, then remind yourself that you've got a plan to fix that and you're working on it. 

Do one thing that builds your confidence. || It feels good to do things we're good at. Are you good at writing? Write something. Baking? Bake your neighbors some cookies. Running? Lace on up. Do something you have confidence in to remind yourself how good enough you are. 

What do you when you feel like you're not enough?

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Coming in Live: All the Random Things.

Good morning! Sometimes, when I'm dealing with writer's block and have no idea what to write next (like after a deep and heavy post like Wednesday's), I like to sit down with a cup of coffee and just type out a post in live-time. Welcome!

Who else had a long weekend? Anyone else spend it feeling a little under the weather? My sinus infection has hung around and I am OVER IT. On the fourth, I took NyQuil and went to bed at six thirty and then proceeded to sleep eleven hours. ELEVEN. Safe to say I woke up feeling much better and like I've found the cure-all to anything in life: NyQuil, sleep, and some good books. 

Speaking of books, I read The Unhoneymooners and The Last Time I Lied this weekend, both books from the last time I asked for book recommendations. Every time I return library books, I post on instagram and ask everyone what the best book they've read recently is, then I put it on my library list no matter if I've heard of it or not. I've read some great ones that way! I'm heading there today, so if you've got any recommendations, let a girl know.

I read a quote on instagram this week that has stuck with me: "I no longer sit at tables where I will be the topic of conversation when I get up." HELLO. That's so good. 

I would like to pause here and tell you that I just got up to refill my coffee and realized I was out of almond milk. Today is just not a black coffee day so I mixed it with a splash of premiere protein and holy moly that is good! 

Moving on to more random things: Beautycounter is releasing an anti-aging skincare line tomorrow and I am SO EXCITED. Mine should be getting here today and I can't wait to try it! 

Happy Monday, ya babes. I hope today is great for you. Take a minute to remind yourself that today marks a brand new week and you can do whatever it is you want to do with that. That always feels empowering to me. 

You are strong, you are capable, you are loved, and you are totally going to OWN this Monday! xoxo

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Don't Look Away When Your Friends Are Drowning.

I've been a terrible friend for the last six months. 

Truly. In the general sense of the meaning of a friend, I've sucked. I've missed out on plans. I've put off responding to texts. I've avoided phone calls. I've canceled things last minute. 

Not because I don't love my friends. No, nothing like that. 

Because I've been drowning. 

Let me tell you something about drowning: When it happens, you notice real fast who you've surrounded yourself with. Because there are only two, painfully obvious choices when your friends are drowning: You can look away uncomfortably, or you can fling yourself over the side of the boat and cling onto their hands for dear life. 

There was a horrible, horrible day in November. 24 hours later, there were flowers on my doorstep with a note from my best friend. "Just a little reminder I'm in your corner!" The days that followed were awful. And those days were full of phone calls and texts from my people. Full of babysitting Jack for free, sending prayers and checking in hourly, even though they were on vacation. Day after day of them saying, in words and action, that they were there and weren't going anywhere.

They didn't avoid the hard subjects. They didn't take it personally when it took five or six days of texting to get a response out of me. They didn't get mad when I forgot to mention that giant thing going on in their life. They didn't stop texting back when I was constantly bringing a gloomy vibe to the group chat.

And most of all, they didn't look away when I was drowning. They sat next to me, as hard and exhausting and as difficult as it was for them, and they held their hands out, holding me up for as long as it took. 

On Mother's Day, my best friend lost her mother-in-law. Unexpectedly. Out of nowhere. She was young, she was vibrant, she was healthy, she was gone. My friend, who has spent the last six months sitting above choppy waters, clinging onto my arms to make sure my head didn't go under, went tumbling into the water herself. 

It's not fun when your best friend is drowning. It's not fun when daily memes get replaced with daily asking, "How's it going? What can I do?" Knowing good and well the answer will be "nothing" every time, because nothing can take pain like that away. But as heartbreaking as it was, with every facebook post and text I saw exchanged between us, it brought my heart joy, because I thought, "THIS. This is what friendship is. It's being there in the good times, but even more so, the bad. It's holding each other up. It's refusing to look away when the other person is drowning."

Seeing it firsthand lift her up so much, it painted a picture for me of what my friends wonderful, selfless, relentless in loving me friends...they refused to look away while I was drowning. And I will never, ever be able to say thank you enough for that. 

Shortly after I drafted this blog post, my best friend in the entire world, the one who's been by my side for 23 years, faced the most heartbreaking tragedy that I cannot even wrap my mind around. And as I got in my car to go be with him the next day, over and over in my mind was: "He is drowning, but you won't let him. You can hold him up. You will hold him up until he can swim again. THAT'S what we do." 

Don't look away when your friends are drowning. Don't ignore the hard stuff. Don't suddenly become busy when their life gets tough. Don't avoid checking in because you don't know what to say. 

While a good portion the first half of this year was extremely painful to survive, I did survive it. I cried myself to sleep LOTS of nights honestly thinking life was never going to be okay again, but here we are, happy and okay. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the the reason I got through those hard things was because my circle refused to look away when I was drowning. 

I know it sucks. I know it's no fun. I know your arms get exhausted. I know the waves beating you up suck. I know you just want to take a break and go work on your tan instead. But hold on. It's worth it. I think it's the closest you can be to being Jesus in the flesh for your people.

Don't look away. Hold them up. 
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Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy July!

Happy July! The epitome of all summer month starts today, and I just wanted to pop in and say: Hi, I think we should make it the best ever. 

Today is the first day of a brand new month, AND it's a Monday. Fresh month, fresh week. If you were looking for a sign that a fresh start is okay, this is probably it. 

So, fresh starts all around! Let's choose to make the best of those and have the best July ever. 


Choose to have the best July ever, regardless of the circumstances. 

Choose to have the best July ever, regardless of if your life looks like you'd hoped it would this month. 

Choose to have the best July ever, regardless of how crappy June was to you. 

Choose to have the best July ever because you deserve an amazing month. 

Side note, I want you to know that I'm writing this in sweatpants, having woken up with a sore throat and no voice thanks to some kind of sinus junk Jack passed on to me. I've got a lot of work that has to get done today, a very messy house that desperately needs to get cleaned, and I was up all night because I couldn't breathe through my nose. 

All of that to say, I'm not writing about choosing to have the best July ever while I'm in a bikini on the beach without a care in the world. I mean, yes, I do think that would be the best. But whatever your July looks like...whatever it honestly looks like, not what it looks like through a highlight reel on instagram, or what it looks like on the weekends, or what it looks like when you have company...but what your July actually, honestly looks like...that can be the best ever too. You just have to choose it. 

Choose to work hard at what you need to work hard at this month. Choose to take care of yourself in the ways you need to. Choose to do the things that make you happy, no matter what anyone else thinks. Read a book, sit in the sun, get in your pajamas early because they make you happy, meet your work quota because you're a freaking boss, celebrate your achievements big and small. 

31 fresh, new, sunshiny summer days. Let's make them the best ever. 

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Friday, June 28, 2019

What June Taught Me.

You are a success each time you choose to keep trying. || I heard John Maxwell talk about this on the Rise podcast, and he gave the example of someone celebrating graduating college. He said, "Everyone celebrates her on that day, but she didn't just become a success when she was handed a diploma. She became a success when she woke up on Wednesdays to go to math class. She became a success when she failed a test but stayed in school. On the good and bad days, she was a success because she kept trying." 

I LOVED that. We sometimes narrow success down to such a small window (just the graduation day, for example), but he's right...we succeed each time we choose to try. 

Enjoying the present moment is just as important as planning for future moments. || I'm a planner. I really enjoy planning ahead. But I'm learning that enjoying life day by day is just as important as planning for the future. And let's be honest - future plans tend to change. I should be putting at least the same amount of effort into the only thing that is absolutely for sure, and that's the present moment. 

The best kind of friend doesn't look away when you're drowning. || I've got a whole blog post coming about this soon, but the last few months have truly taught me a lesson that I can't stop thinking about this month: True friends don't look away when you're drowning. They sit on the edge of their boat and reach their hands out and hold you up for as long as it takes, no matter how tiring and not fun it is. 

You are capable of whatever you set your mind to. || I made a commitment to myself to live thirty days in a certain way. We're only on day twelve, but we're about ten days into me no longer wanting to do it (haha...but also I'm being serious). But I made a promise to myself, so I've been doing it anyway. And you know what? I feel physically and mentally better than I have in a long time. Forcing myself to do things like exercise and journal my thoughts every single day (even the weekends, GASP) has been so good for me. But beyond that, it's taught me that I'm capable of sticking to things, even when I don't want to. 

Pajamas are LIFE-GIVING. || Look, sometimes I learn big, impactful things, and sometimes I learn that pajamas truly make my life better. Balance, you know?

What did you learn this month?! Don't forget to fill out the instagram story template (and tag me!) so we can all see! 

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Real Time Coffee Date.

For the first time maybe ever, I'm writing this in real time as I'm drinking my coffee, so it's like we really are having a real-life coffee date. And don't worry, if you're reading it this afternoon, I'm probably also drinking coffee then, too. 

First things first, if we were having coffee, you'd see that my first sip this morning completely skipped my mouth and went straight down the front of my shirt. My white shirt. It's fine. Everything is fine. 

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I'm now a Beautycounter affiliate. The number one question I get on here and instagram is what kind of makeup do I use and how do I make my skin look glowy (I mean, y'all know how to make a girl feel good). I'm constantly recommending it, and I'll be honest: Something clicked in my brain. I make money off my Amazon recommendations, why the HECK am I not making money off my makeup recommendations? PS: This and this is what I use to get the glow. 

I'd tell you that today is the eleventh day in a row I've exercised. I have never in my entire life worked out on the weekends, but I made a commitment to do 30 minutes a day for 30 days, even if it was something simple like going for a walk. A third of the way done, and I feel so good.

I'd tell you that Jack is learning about pirates at school, and this is what he looked like when I picked him up yesterday. My heart is STILL exploding. 

I'd tell you that I've been thinking so much about cheering each other on. About how important it is, but also about how EASY it is. My girl Kait is KILLING it with getting her work published all over. Do you know how long it takes to retweet those things so more people can see? Two seconds. My friends Christine and Lindsay started a podcast a few weeks ago, and it took me all of 30 seconds to subscribe and rate it, which helps bump them up in the charts. My best friend Kristen is a BOMB photographer, and it takes the smallest second of my day to fangirl her in the comment section when she posts a new picture on her business account. 

See where I'm going with this? It's so easy, it's free, and it means the whole wide world to your friends. More building each other up! 

Your turn! What's going on with you? And more importantly - did you spill your coffee this morning?
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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

My Favorite Things I Discovered in June.

Happy planner notebooks. || I went to Michael's to get a notebook for my conference a few weeks ago, and this is the one I landed on. They had SO many adorable ones to choose from, but I got the one pictured above that says create your own sunshine. I've been writing in it every morning and it just makes me happy! 

Chai tea lattes. || I love chai lattes. I hate how much sugar is typically in chai lattes. So when I saw an unsweetened chai latte mix at Target, I snatched it up. UM, DELICIOUS. Half of this, half unsweetened (vanilla, if you're feeling spicy) almond milk. It's become my favorite afternoon treat. Side note: Amazon has it for $9, but it's only $3 at Target!

Rebel ice cream. || Speaking of treats (and also hating how much sugar is in things), this ice cream is DELICIOUS. I hate how "healthier" ice cream tends to have a chemically taste, and this one doesn't. I've only tried the chocolate peanut butter flavor (which was AMAZING), but my mom says the mint chocolate chip one is good too. 

True & Co bras. || I bought one of these bras on a whim at Target, and HOLY MOLY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. The most comfortable thing I've ever put on my body. It's like butter. I've since bought that one in another color and this one too. Now, I'm gonna level with you: These aren't the sexiest things I've ever seen. But they are the perfect everyday bra. 

Red Closet Shop workout clothes. || We all know by now that I am obsessed with The Red Closet Shop. When they announced they were dropping an athleisure line, it was a no-brainer. I'm obsessed with it alllll. Perfect for working out (and also for not working out, let's be honest here). 

What about you? What did you discover this month?
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Monday, June 24, 2019

All You Can Do is Start From Here.

I've been thinking about this so much lately. Most of the time, when we realize we've made some kind of mistake, or we have some kind of regret, or we didn't achieve something we really wanted, we spend a most of our time in and set most of our focus on the past. 

We re-live the moments leading up to that big mistake, thinking of all the things we should have done differently. We replay our regrets over and over, thinking about all the things we wish we would have done instead. We put our failure on a pedestal, bowing down to it daily, building a little altar of all the things we could have done if only we'd been better. 

But that's silly, isn't it? Because you can't go back. 

We live in a culture loves to bring up past mistakes. How do you explain this?! They cry. You need to change this! They say. 

But that's silly isn't it? Because you can't go back. 

You can't go back. 

All you can do is start from here and go forward. 

Have regrets? Cool, me too. Wish you'd handled some things differently? Same. Wish you could have completely skipped some chapters? Me freakin' too. But we can only start from where we are and do better, or do different, or do at all. 

What's this look like for you? Maybe you've spent way too much of your life chasing perfection, stressing over tiny details no one else will ever notice, feeling constantly disappointed by inevitable imperfection. All you can do is start enjoying your imperfect life right now, today. You can't get back the time you've wasted being unhappy that you weren't perfect enough, but you can save whatever future time you have from being spent the same way. 

Maybe you're the biggest procrastinator the world has ever seen. You've been planning to and talking about and meaning to write that book forever now, but somehow years have passed and there's no book in sight. All you can do is sit your butt down in that chair and start writing now. You can't go back and crank out pages on all those days you promised yourself you'd write, but didn't. But you sure can make sure you write today, and tomorrow too. 

Maybe you've spent way too many days drowning in anxiety. All you can do is get help now. You can't get back the days anxiety stole from you (trust me, I wish you could. It's taken a lot from me, too). 

Maybe you're a bully. Maybe you're a doormat. Maybe you're incredibly unhealthy, or maybe fight your poor body image by spending an unhealthy amount of time in the gym. Maybe you're a workaholic, or maybe you're the laziest employee there is. 

All you can do - all I can do, all any of us can do - is start here, right now, today, and move forward. Whether your past is filled with huge, giant, life-ruining mistakes or just littered with minor, stupid, really shouldn't have done that mistakes...all you can do is start from here. 

So start. 

No, you can't go back. 

But you can start. 
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Friday, June 21, 2019

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

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Plot: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Favorite quote: “You have these lines you won’t cross. But then you cross them. And suddenly you possess the very dangerous information that you can break the rule and the world won’t instantly come to an end. You’ve taken a big, black, bold line and you’ve made it a little bit gray. And now every time you cross it again, it just gets grayer and grayer until one day you look around and you think, There was a line here once, I think.” 

My thoughts: I adored this book. I didn't think I was going to be super into the format it was in, but I loved it. I also loved the raw and honest look at addiction. While technically fiction, there's a whole lot in there that I'm sure isn't. SUCH good story telling. Also: This may be the reason I'm realllllly wanting to chop my hair into a shaggy 70's bob.

Should you read it? Yes!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

Plot: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps. -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: “Faces change with life’s toll, but eyes remain a window to what was, and she could see him there.” 

My thoughts: I read this on the plane to Texas, and while I'd heard a lot about it, I didn't know what kind of book it was exactly. Romance? Mystery? Some sort of fictionalized memoir? Turns out, all of the above. And it was beautiful. It absolutely lived up to the hype for me. 

Should you read it? Yes! 

All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

Plot: The perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with an emotionally resonant novel that illuminates the power of friendship in women’s lives, and is filled with her trademark wit, poignant and timely themes, sassy, flesh-and-blood characters, and the steamy Southern atmosphere and beauty of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry.

Few writers capture the complexities, pain, and joy of relationships—between friends, family members, husbands and wives, or lovers—as beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank. In this charming, evocative, soul-touching novel, she once again takes us deep into the heart of the magical Lowcountry where three amazing middle-aged women are bonded by another amazing woman’s death.

Through their shared loss they forge a deep friendship, asking critical questions. Who was their friend and what did her life mean? Are they living the lives they imagined for themselves? Will they ever be able to afford to retire? How will they maximize their happiness? Security? Health? And ultimately, their own legacies?

A plan is conceived and unfurls with each turn of the tide during one sweltering summer on the Isle of Palms. Without ever fully realizing how close they were to the edge, they finally triumph amid laughter and maybe even newfound love. -via Goodreads

My thoughts: I started this on the plane home from Minnesota and finished it before bed that night. It was a quick, lighthearted read, and exactly what I needed after such a knowledge-heavy weekend. It was adorable. Side note: I LOVE when authors write about women over 40 who (shock!) have lives and hobbies and do fun things besides stay at home cooking dinner for their husbands and kids. 

Should you read it? If you're looking for a quick and easy, lighthearted beach read, then yes! 

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Plot: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. -via Goodreads

My thoughts: I do not even know what to put here because WHAT. WHAT THE. W H A T. This made my brain explode. I cannot believe someone was creative enough for all these twists. I'm sorry I can't really talk about it, but I don't want to spoil it for you! But it was the best thriller I've read in a long time. If you've read this, I did to talk to you.

Should you read it? Y E S

What about you?! What did you read this month?

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Little Nightlights.

I've been focusing as hard as I can on the little joys, because there's been some heavy darkness lately. And when things are dark, turning on every light in the house seems exhausting. But flipping on one little that, I can do. And when you turn enough nightlights on, things start to look not so dark. 

So, my nightlights lately...
Lots of good books || The last 5 books I've read have all been winners, and that never happens! 

Jack's using mouthwash || As a kid who has hated anything to do with oral hygiene since he popped his first tooth, this is a big deal, okay? (These are the things we get excited about these days, it's fine).

I've drank tons of water every day this week || And ALWAYS feel better for it! 

I haven't had an overdue library book in months || I kid you not, the minute I typed this I got an email that my library books are due. Will I keep this streak up? We shall see. 

Walks with Jack || So many walks. Lots of sweating. The slowest (s l o w e s t) walk you ever did see, because he likes to take his sweet time. Pure happiness on his part, pure bewilderment on mine that I somehow MADE this whole entire human who has the biggest personality and enjoys slow (I really just cannot stress the word slow enough here) jaunts around the neighborhood. 

Morning coffee || frothed with the perfect amount of almond milk and cinnamon. 

Trips || I had two summer trips planned and was so stressed about the timing of them. Turns out, they were exactly when they needed to be. Things fell into place exactly as they were supposed to, I see that now. Set reminder to remember this next time I'm stressed about timing. 

What about you?! What are your little nightlights lately??

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Monday, June 17, 2019

A Different Kind of Pep Talk.

I write a lot of pep talks on here. Someone recently asked me if I could pick one thing for people to take away from my blog, what would it be. My answer was, "That I'm in their corner and I'm cheering them on." That's the reason I love writing mini pep talks in the form of blog post. 

Today's is a little different, though. 

While I won't publish this until next week, I'm writing this a few days after a heart-wrenching funeral.   

And the last few days, I've wondered - how do you go on after that? After you see something so devastating. After you see people you love broken, split right in two by tragedy. How do you get to a place where you see life as good when you just saw how fast it can be over? 

Hell if I know.

All I know is this: You can. And you have to. 

You can. Even when it really, really hurts. You are strong, even when it feels like you are two seconds away from breaking. You are able, even when you feel helpless. You are a warrior, even when you feel your absolute weakest. And most importantly: It's okay to believe these things even when you don't feel them. 

The phrase, life has ups and downs doesn't seem fitting enough. More like, life has magical mountaintops and valleys in the very pit of hell. And you don't have to understand them to keep going. You don't even have to have a positive outlook to keep going. There are some things a positive outlook just doesn't exist for. 

I don't think it's always about finding hope and joy and motivation. Those things are so wonderful, but you don't always have to find them. Sometimes, you just have to be willing to be open to looking for them. 

So if you're a little down lately, I want to say that I see you and I feel where you're at. If you're a lot down lately, I see you and I feel where you're at. If it feels like you're immersed in total darkness, like the lights are never, ever going to come back on...I see you and I feel where you're at.

It's okay to not be alight. It's okay to hurt. It's okay to not see a bright side anywhere in sight. Trust me, some things have no bright side. 

So our pep talk today isn't the happiest I've ever written. It's certainly not about being happy and getting up and doing all of the things. 

Today, it's just a little reminder that you're not alone. We all go through these seriously tough things. 
It's okay to be terrified of the dark and at the same time have no idea how you'll ever turn a light on. 

Today's pep talk is this: Sit in the dark for however long you need to. Just please, please don't lose sight that one day, the light will shine in again. 

It will. 

I love you.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

A Little Friday Coffee Date.

my new favorite top

Well, first of all, if we were having a real life coffee date right now, it would mean you were also on a plane to Texas. Which would be a little weird, but that's neither here nor there. Also, we would absolutely not be drinking airplane coffee. I had a bad experience when I was pregnant, and I can't even look at airplane coffee anymore without my stomach turning. If I want to drink coffee on the plane, I've got to get it from Starbucks before I board. Weird, the things that stick with you, isn't it? 

Anyway, I'd tell you all about my trip and how it's the brightest spot after a really sad couple of weeks. I'd tell you that I desperately want to fix everything for everyone I love. I want to take away every single bit of pain that a devastating loss caused. I can't. We know that. But I can say hey, let's go eat tacos in Texas together. So that's what we're doing. 

I'd tell you that I'm most excited for, in no particular order: Tacos (obvs), thrifting in a new state, and seeing one of my favorite bands live. The thought of dancing to some of my favorite songs in a BBQ venue in Texas with some of my favorite people could make me burst into tears of joy. 

I'd tell you that we left for the airport at 3:00 this morning, so I'm not even sure what I need right now...more coffee? A cheeseburger? A Tylenol PM? One of each? Help. 

I'd tell you all about The Red Closet Shop. My best friend discovered them a few weeks ago on instagram and my life will never be the same. Their clothes are SO stinking cute and fun and I will basically be head to toe Red Closet Shop for my entire trip. If you want to see the things I ordered, check out my "try on" highlight on instagram!

I'd tell you that I'm finally seeing an liiiiiittle bit of progress on a goal I've been working on seemingly forever: Caring less about what people think. Slowly but surely I'm getting better at worrying more about how I feel about me and less about what others might possibly be feeling about me. Baby steps, but it feels really freaking good. 

Your turn! What's going on with you? 

I hope you have the best weekend ever!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

My Favorite Things I Discovered in May.

Brazilian crush body spray || This smells like PURE SUMMER and I can't get enough of it. If you've ever tried (and been obsessed with the smell of) the Sol De Janeiro bum bum cream, this is for you! 

Moon cheese || In an effort to eat less carbs during the week, I've tried to replace my desperate need for chips with things like cheese. But sometimes you just need something crunchy and salty, you know? These do the job.

Lavender body oil || I've been basically bathing myself in this before bed. The smell helps me fall asleep (no easy task, let me tell ya) and I wake up to the softest skin ever. 

This blow out cream || I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: I have used this to actually dry my hair approximately one time. The rest of the times, I've been putting it in my hair while it's still wet and just letting it dry. It's SO GOOD. Something about it fights the insane humidity that will be here from now until Christmas (thanks, Florida). It makes my hair not frizzy without weighing it down. And it also is a really good actual blow out cream, if you have your life together enough to blow dry your hair (aka, not me). 

Birthday cake almond butter || This tastes just like birthday cake, but it's almond butter. I've been adding it to my smoothies and it makes them taste like a cake batter milkshake. SO GOOD. 

What did you discover in May?
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Monday, June 3, 2019

Books I Read on Vacation (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Plot: "Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: “Every incident chips away at your limit. Every time you choose to stay, it makes the next time that much harder to leave. Eventually, you lose sight of your limit altogether, because you start to think, ‘I’ve lasted five years now. What’s five more?” 

My thoughts: I am officially a Colleen Hoover Stan. I cannot get over her writing, how raw and real and GOOD it is. This book was no exception. She wrote about hard, heartbreaking things that lots of women go through in such a realistic way. The story was incredible. I couldn't devour it fast enough.

Should you read it? Yes! Note: Contains scenes of abuse

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover 

Plot: "Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?" -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: “When you meet someone who is good for you, they won’t fill you with insecurities by focusing on your flaws. They’ll fill you with inspiration, because they’ll focus on all the best parts of you.” 

My thoughts: I could weep about this book forever (in the very best way). It was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. I've never read a book that so perfectly captured a real life marriage with real life issues. 

Should you read it? YES. Absolutely yes.

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Plot: "The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years since he left home to go traveling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . ." -Via Goodreads

My thoughts: This was an okay mystery. Not the best, not the worst. A few twists. Just a good old fashioned whodunit, you know? I read it on the beach and it passed the time just fine. This is a standalone, but with characters from a series I've never read. I may have appreciated it more had I read the other books. 

Should you read it? Sure! It was interesting and I wanted to finish it, but it didn't blow me away.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Plot: "THEN: She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW: It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a cafĂ© and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 

Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?" -Via Goodreads

Favorite quote: “When I read a book it feels like real life and when I put the book down it's like I go back into the dream.” 

My thoughts: I honestly need someone to read this just so I can talk to you about it. Like, what a crazy (and I really don't know if I mean good crazy or just crazy crazy) concept for a book. All of the things I want to say here are spoilers, so this is a hard one to talk about.

Should you read it? Yes. Then tell me so we can talk about it. 

What have you read lately?! Tell me so I can add it to my list! 
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