Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Say Anything

I hope you enjoy this installment of "Say Anything".

Me - xx years old
Hubs - 32 years old
Dom - 8 years old
William - 6 years old


William: MOM! Dom is on your phone. He keeps taking pictures of me!
Me: Dom, please stop taking pictures of your brother.
Dom: But Mom, I can't help it, William is such a majestical model.

Actual photo he took during this conversation.

Me: Ew, you boys need a bath. You smell like goat farts.
Me: Well, have you actually ever smelled a goat fart?
Me: Exactly.

Photo credit: Rebecca J. Imagery 

Me: William, your dad and I are taking you and your brother to the Natural History Museum this weekend. Doesn't that sound like fun? They have a bunch of interesting things to see.
William: Like what? Video games? Toys? 
Me: No, no toys. But really cool stuff like animal bones and fossils.
William: So we're just going to look at stuff? 
Me: ...yes. 
William: This is going to be so boring.

Photo Credit: Rebecca J. Imagery 

Hubs: We gotta get home. I have to go to the bathroom. 
Dom: Number 1 or number 2? 
Hubs: Number 3. 
Dom: That sounds bad.

Dom: I like Gigi. You can't like her, too. We can't have the same girlfriend. 
William: She's not your girlfriend. 
Dom: OK, but I liked her first. Plus, she's in 3rd grade like me. You're just a baby. 
William: Yeah, but I'm a cute baby.

Photo credit: Rebecca J. Imagery

Me and Hubby: *smooch*
Dom: Did you guys just kiss?
Hubby: Yes.
Dom: EW! Helloooo, I'm in the room!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Keeping Up Appearances

The rational side of my brain knows that there's nothing to fear. But the other side of my brain is under siege. It's trying to get the fuck out of there and doesn't care what kind of special reasoning you have. My heart pounds so fiercely that I can feel it reverberating in my throat. My eyebrows knot, my eyes squint, my breath quickens. I begin to sweat. My legs get restless. My head aches like a 1,000 hangovers. I gnaw my fingernails down to the quick. The more I try to calm down and think about something else, the worse it gets. 

Why is this happening? It's a refrain that plays in my head over and over. JUST STOP IT. 

It finally becomes unbearable and I close my eyes. And breathe deeply and slowly. In. Out. Just breathe. You've got this. It's OK. You're OK. There's nothing to fear. Keep breathing. 


That's what happens to me sometimes. I have generalized anxiety disorder (and depression, but that's another post for another day) and sometimes the smallest thing will set off a panic attack. It can begin and end in a matter of minutes, or sometimes it drags on longer, or it can come and go in an intermittent cycle of suckage. I can't control it or always predict when it will happen, and though medicine helps a lot, it's still not a 100% cure.

Sometimes I don't leave the house for days, other than taking my kids to school, because I think somehow solitude can prevent it from happening. Calls get ignored, texts go unanswered. It's all I can do to keep it together, to keep my balance in this precarious eggshell dance. Armed with my arsenal of comfort, I tune out the world. 


"Why don't we talk anymore?"
"Where have you been stranger?"
"Are you mad at me?"
"Anxiety? That's kind of a lame excuse, isn't it?" 
"How come I never see you?" 
"What is going on with you? You seem different." 


And sometimes I'm fine. I'm me. The clouds part, the sun shines. I feel good. I laugh, my eyes twinkle, I hum my favorite songs under my breath. 

It's a roller coaster - equal parts thrilling and vomit-inducing. But all I can do is hold on. Enjoy the climb, endure the fall. 

Sometimes my outer facade masks my inner turmoil. 

"Well, you look fine to me." 
"Whatever. You're just being lazy." 
"Making up excuses, are we? I can take a hint." 


Invisible illnesses are cruel afflictions. They keep up appearances, like slapping a fresh coat of paint on a crumbling interior. And those afflicted by them can only beseech you to try to understand, to be patient, to know that "it's not you, it's me" is actually a true statement. 

I can't control it. I can only do my best and surround myself with love. And remember that the good days outnumber the bad.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Favorite Podcasts

One of my new favorite pasttimes is listening to podcasts. They've been around for awhile, but I didn't really pay much attention until recently and now I'm hooked. Here are some of my favorites, broken down into various categories.


- The Goal Digger Podcast: Jenna Kutcher hosts the live workshop style business podcast for creative girl bosses, so you can train from the experts how to dig in, do the work, and tackle your biggest goals along the way. 

- BeYOUtifully Bold in Business Podcast: Nicole Hoglund and Samantha Johnston have entrepreneurs share their real and honest stories about how they are able to lead beautifully and boldly in business. They offer tips on how to stay authentic in a world where so much noise can cloud our better judgement. 

- Uncomplicate Your Business: Racheal Cook helps you to get excited about your business again by helping you to be less stressed and to create your business around your desired lifestyle. 

- Don't Keep Your Day Job: This is a weekly podcast hosted by Cathy Heller showcasing how creative people have made a living doing what they love. 


- Lose the Cape: Featuring busy moms and mompreneurs who are determined to make the world a better place. 

- Mother's Quest: For moms who want to live a truly EPIC life and become the hero of their own journey. 

- Coffee + Crumbs: Storytelling about motherhood and the beautifully hard work of raising children. 

- The Longest Shortest Time: A parenting show for everyone. 


- #createlounge: Creatives share their best advice for embracing everyday creativity. 

- Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Liz helps aspiring artists overcome their fears and create more joyfully. 

- Roam + Golightly: It's your weekly pick-me-up filled with encouragement and insight to help you lead the adventurous, creative lifestyle you crave... even in the real world. 

Soul Work

- The Grit and Glitter Podcast: Your weekly dose of truth and inspiration. Features real, raw, soulful conversations about our own self-doubts and insecurities. 

- Dear Sugar Radio: Hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. Offers radical empathy for the lost, lonely, and heartsick. 

- TEDTalks: Talks designed to inspire, intrigue, and stir the imagination from some of the world's leading thinkers and doers. 

- Sweet Stella's Guided Meditations: Self-explanatory, I think. :) 

- Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People: 1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred. From shocking confessions and family secrets to philosophical questions and shameless self-promotion, anything can happen. 

Politics or Political Satire

- The Bugle: Andy Zaltzman breaks down the news with comedians from all across the world. 

- The Axe Files with David Axelrod: A series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. 

- NPR Politics Podcast: Weekly roundups and quick takes on the news of the day. 


- Lore: A bi-weekly podcast about the dark historical tales that fuel our modern superstitions. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction. 

- Book Club Appetizer: A snackable podcast to help you kick off your book club meetings or enhance your solo reading adventures. 

- Stuff You Should Know: Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the stuff you should know about everything from genes to the Galapagos. 

- The Scot and The Sassenach: An Outlander Podcast: Dedicated to the Starz show adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book series. 

What are your favorite podcasts? I'm always on the lookout for news ones, so feel free to comment below. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Looking Ahead

When untraveled paths are in front of you, wide open and inviting, which way do you go? There are no sign posts, no guidebooks, no flashing arrows. Just this thing called potential.

People always give "potential" a positive connotation. "Oh, you have so much potential." "You're so talented at [xyz], don't waste your potential." 

But you also have the potential to fail. So, what do you do? Do you let it paralyze you? If you don't do anything, then you can't do it wrong, right? But that's no way to live. That balance of safety vs. risk, failure vs. success, status quo vs. progress - isn't that the age-old struggle for all of us? 

In previous years, I remember January being a time of planning and hope and positivity. I would sit and make a list of ALL THE THINGS that I wanted to do and accomplish. And by the time December rolled around, I would have accomplished less than 25% of it. And I would feel like a failure every time. 

This year, I'm still planning and hopeful and positive. But it has manifested itself in a much different way. 

In 2017, I want: 

-to put my mental and physical health first. 
-to do the best that I can. 
-to be present for my family. 
-to know that it's OK to "fail".
-to know that I have friends and family to turn to. 
-to know that progress doesn't have to mean big changes - little things add up, too. 
-to remind myself that success isn't just about checking things off a list. 

What do you want for 2017?  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Looking Back

2016 was a roller coaster of a year for me. So many changes, so many lessons. It took me a while to process it all, to be honest. I haven't gotten into the 2017 mindset all the way yet, but I'm getting there. 

Cool things that happened: 

-I got to meet my friend Becca in person for the first time. 
-I started doing freelance copywriting
-I became totally addicted to podcasts. 
-I got to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Holl & Lane Magazine
-I went to NYC with the hubs for our 15 year anniversary and got to hang out with my lovely friend Andrea and her hubs. 
-I read a crap ton of books. And I also completed the ABC Reads challenge with Andrea. 
-I did my very first Facebook Live video. Eek! 
-I took the summer off to spend time with my kids and we had a blast! 

What are some things that you accomplished last year? 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

ABC Reads December 2016

Hi, friends! Here we are, at the end of our ABC Reads journey. Andrea and I really hope that you've enjoyed the link up and the reading challenge. It was fun for me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit and pick up a few books that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and get to check those letters off. 

So, we are doing our final link up to share the books we've read in the month of December and the letters we can check off our lists. 

Are you new around these parts and have no idea what I'm talking about? No worries, here's what the ABC Reads challenge was all about:  

What does the challenge entail? Well, I'm glad you asked. There are 26 letters of the alphabet and we challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter. For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on. Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it. We're easy to please around these parts. On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card.  Congratulations to Jessica at Frikken Duckie for completing the challenge and winning the gift card! Go visit her and say congrats! :) 

Alrighty then, let's get to it. What did you read this month? How many letters did you check off? Here's my progress (December books in blue): 

A: (The) Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Completed March 2016. 
B: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Completed February 2016. 
C: (The) City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin. Completed May 2016. 
D:  Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts. Completed April 2016. 
E:  Europe on 5 Wrong Turns A Day, by Doug Mack. Completed April 2016. 
F:  Finders Keepers, by Stephen King. Completed January 2016. 
G: (The) Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Completed January 2016. 
H: (The) Hereafter, by Jessica Bucher. Completed April 2016. 
I:  I Will Find You, by Joanna Connors. Completed June 2016. 
J:  Julia, by Peter Straub. Completed July 2016. 
K: Keeping Faith. Completed July 2016. 
L:  (The) Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. Completed January 2016. 
M: (The) Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Completed February 2016.
N:  Night Film, by Marisha Pessl. Completed June 2016. 
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
P:  (The) People of Sparks, by Jeanne DuPrau. Completed August 2016. 
Q: Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen. Completed October 2016. 
R: (The) Revenant, by Michael Punke. Completed March 2016. 
S:  Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce. Completed June 2016. 
T:  Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed. Completed April 2016. 
U: (The) Unit, by Ninni Holmqvist. Completed September 2016. 
V:  Violin, by Anne Rice. Completed November 2016. 
W: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. Completed February 2016. 
X: The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives, by David Bainbridge. Completed Dec 2016. 
Y: Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes. Completed October 2016. 
Z:  Zone One, by Colson Whitehead. Completed May 2016. 

It was so hard for me to find a book that started with the letter X that sounded interesting to me. Most of them were these strange sci-fi/fantasy books called Xanadu or something. So I finally settled on this one because, 1) I needed a book that started with X and 2) I'm heavily into a nonfiction phase so I thought this book would just flow nicely with my reading groove lately. 

Before I get to my mini-review, let's check out the synopsis: 

A tiny scrap of genetic information determines our sex; it also consigns many of us to a life of disease, directs or disrupts the everyday working of our bodies, and forces women to live as genetic chimeras. The culprit--so necessary and yet the source of such upheaval--is the X chromosome, and this is its story. An enlightening and entertaining tour of the cultural and natural history of this intriguing member of the genome, The X in Sex traces the journey toward our current understanding of the nature of X. From its chance discovery in the nineteenth century to the promise and implications of ongoing research, David Bainbridge shows how the X evolved and where it and its counterpart Y are going, how it helps assign developing human babies their sex--and maybe even their sexuality--and how it affects our lives in infinitely complex and subtle ways. X offers cures for disease, challenges our cultural, ethical, and scientific assumptions about maleness and femaleness, and has even reshaped our views of human evolution and human nature.

And well, the book is exactly how it sounds. I give props to the author for writing the book in easy-to-understand layman's terms. But... it was still a little boring, I'm not going to lie. Though, the book does answer some great questions about color blindness, identical twins, hemophilia, and more. The Y chromosome gets no love in this book, as they essentially refer to it as a fossil chromosome whose only purpose is to determine gender, whereas the X chromosome has many different, interesting attributes.

So if chromosomes are your jam (never thought I'd be typing that sentence!), then you'd probably enjoy this book a lot. If you're a casual reader who just needed to check off a letter on their list, then this one is as good as any, but it's not going to be the best thing you've ever read, in my opinion.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. 

So, there you have it, friends. The complete ABC Reads journey, from A to Z. Don't forget to link up with us below. And I'd love to hear about the books you read in 2016. I read other books outside of this challenge, so you can check those out at my reading list page

ABC Reads won't be returning for 2017, but you can always hit me up for all things books. I'm planning to read my way through the complete Oprah's Book Club selection list in 2017, so stay tuned for that journey. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve! See you next year.. ha, that never gets old! ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Serious Thoughts... on a Tuesday

"Mommy? Are you going to die one day?" 

Dom asked me this at dinner the other day, his face about to crumble. We were in the middle of eating fried chicken and his question caught me off guard. I replied, "Yes, baby, I will. It happens to everyone at some point. And it will be OK." 

He was quiet for a moment and then he said, "I know." And he went back to arguing with his brother about which game they'd play after dinner. 

It's hard to explain big, scary concepts to your children. Kids are curious creatures. I am not sure what prompted his question, but it made me a little sad that he was already thinking about mortality at the ripe old age of 8. He asks me often about his "grandpa who is in Heaven" (my father-in-law) and if his grandpa is really an angel who watches over him. I tell him yes and he seems comforted by the thought.

My other son, Will, always knocks me back with very grown-up sentiments from his tiny little 6 year old body. He tells me all the time, "Mommy, I love you so much. I will love you forever and ever and always and never stop no matter how big I get. You're my only mommy in the whole world." What do you even say to that? I squish him with all my might and smell his sweet boy smell and try not to melt into a puddle of tears. 

Sometimes I forget that as a kid, I had those same big, scary thoughts mixed in with my thoughts about toys and cartoons. I used to picture what my future would be like. I used to wonder if dying would hurt and what happens to me after and how will I know what happens to the world if I'm no longer here to see it and experience it? And why does my milk turn different colors after I eat my Fruity Pebbles? You know, normal Saturday morning stuff. 

And now that I'm older, I just tell myself, no matter what happens, I'll be OK. I've gotten through all the big milestones in my life so far and I'm OK. It's all a matter of controlling what you can, and trying to be at peace with what you can't and spreading as much love and joy as you can in between.

What serious thoughts are YOU having today?