Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: Look But Don't Touch

Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to partake in some creative writing with us every other week.


If you are new to this link-up and wondering what Write or Die is all about, check it out here!

We really enjoyed everyone's posts for the last #WODW. So many of us have gone, or want to go, off the beaten path, but it was so interesting to read what that means to each person. Thanks so much to those of you who linked up!

For this round of Write or Die, we have a photo prompt for you. How does it inspire you? Does it conjure poetry, short stories, memories, song lyrics? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it! Happy writing!!!


I have to admit that I struggled with this prompt. For a really long time. Probably longer than any other prompt we've had so far. I love the photo, the beautiful colors, the sparkling water. But what does it mean? What does it say? My inspiration finally came from a blog post by my sugar bear and link up co-host, Shelly, where she shares what living in Hawaii taught her: "That the ocean is beautiful from the shore, but the current terrifies me."  She is profound, that one. 

I've written before about my aversion to the ocean. Which is kind of sad since I'm a Pisces, but that's neither here nor there. It's absolutely beautiful to look at from the shore. I love the sound of the waves. I love seeing the sun reflecting its rays off the water. But as I start getting closer and the smell of the salt water hits my nose, I clam up. As I leave the shore and walk past the slimy, squishy sand, as I wade into the water - ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep - my mind screams out. I get upset thinking about what might be in the water that I can't see. Every time something brushes against me - seaweed, debris, fish - I bite my cheek to keep from yelping.

When I'm in a boat, I can admire the beauty of the ocean. My hubby and I went on a sunset dinner cruise during our honeymoon in Hawaii (he took that photo above from that night). We ate. We talked. And then we went outside to see if we could catch glimpses of dolphins and to watch the sunset. And all I remember after that is being seasick for the rest of the evening. I hated it. Water just doesn't like me. And the feeling is mutual.

I believe some things should be admired from afar. The ocean. Historic artwork in galleries. Wild animals. Getting too close complicates things. Getting too close displays flaws that you didn't know were there, and now can't unsee.

Look, but don't touch.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lessons Learned: September 2015

I'm not good with transition. As a girl who prides herself on being many shades of gray (haha! I crack myself up), you would think that I'd be content with the in-between. In actuality, I think Here, or There is fine, but Anywhere has been my nemesis. And I found myself getting restless during the month of September. It's a time when Summer is winding down, Fall is just beginning. The back-to-school rush is dying down and now we're getting used to a new routine. The leaves and weather haven't quite turned yet. We're just on the cusp of the Holiday season.

It makes me feel like I'm at a crossroads, or more accurately a roadblock, with so many things in my life. During my recap of last month, I mentioned that my word for the month of September was "focus." Well, I failed miserably at it, at least, in the way that I meant it at the time. I have been focused, but on all the wrong things. Negativity. Disappointment. Dissatisfaction. Exhaustion. Impatience. Any of those would have been a more accurate word for September. But I'll settle for Transition.  

I don't want you to think it was ALL bad, though. We celebrated my son's 7th birthday and he was so incredibly happy. Seeing the joy on his face made me tear up something fierce. He's such a little character. I adore him. I adore his brother. I love being a mom. I can't imagine my life without those 2 little people. And my hubby, of course, but that's a given. :-)

I also participated in my 2nd 5K with my hubby and our friends. It was fun. Well, being out of shape wasn't fun, but that's my own fault. But hanging out with my fave peoples and laughing – that part was a blast.

There were so many things I wanted to do, but they got caught up in the confusion, I suppose. And as much as I want to say that I'll get them all done this month, I really feel like my word for October should be "peace." I need to just be for a while. 

What did you learn in September? Have any highlights or goals you want to share? 

P.S. It's almost Write or Die time! Take a gander at the photo prompt below. Share how it inspires you by linking up with me and Shelly beginning on Weds, 10/7. Boom. Write on! 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things: October 2015 Edition

It's been a while since I've shared with you guys some of my favorite things. Now that I'm on day 3 of my one month shopping ban, it seems I've been noticing more favorite things than usual. I want to buy everything!! Sigh. Anyway, here are some of my favorites: 

+ First and foremost, I have to say that I'm in love with Holl and Lane Magazine! You guys already knew that, right? Being a part of the social media team has been so rewarding. But I'm also honored to report that I'm a contributor for Issue 3. I shared my struggle with cultural identity (page 86) and I hope you check it out! 

+ I know I'm behind the curve on this one and it just went off the air, but I've been loving Mad Men lately on Netflix. That Don Draper, rawwwrrr. I love the fashion of that time period. It keeps me entertained during my long bouts of insomnia. 

+ I'm hanging out with Jasmine over at Classy Sassy & a Bit Smartassy blog today for a sponsor spotlight/interview. Jasmine is super awesome - come visit! 

+ I've found myself itching to help and serve others lately. I mentioned before that I am shaving my head in March to raise money for childhood cancer research. If you have a few dollars to spare and would like to support a good cause, I urge you to donate. I've also signed up to become a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 emotional support line for those in a crisis. My training starts next week and lasts for 6 weeks. I can't wait to begin! 

+ Pumpkin Pie Lattes. You read that correctly, I said "pie" not "spice." I don't know if I'm really a big fan of the Starbucks PSL. But I had a Pumpkin Pie Latte not too long ago at my grocery store coffee bar and I walked really slowly around the store and just savored it. So so so good. I'm really loving the rain and cooler weather we're having in these parts lately. I know, I know, I'm one of those girls. #notsorry 

+ Annndd you knew a list of my favorite things would not be complete without mentioning a book. I'm re-reading "Misery" by Stephen King right now for book club. I heart Stephen King. I almost want to move to Maine just so I might spot him out and about and then I can stalk him. No? Bad idea? 

OK, well, there you have it. Some of my favorite things. What are you loving lately? Just hand over the info peoples, inquiring minds want to know. :) Ciao!

P.S. The Write or Die Wednesday link up is almost here! Join Shelly and me beginning on Weds, 10/7 and share how the photo prompt below inspires you. Happy writing! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: Off the Beaten Path - The Road Less Traveled

Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to partake in some creative writing with us every other week.


If you are new to this link-up and wondering what Write or Die is all about, check it out here!

A big thanks to everyone that linked up in the last WODW. The prompt prompted a nice collection of poetry and prose, many of which had an empowering lean to them. Loved Becca's poem dedicated to those enduring domestic abuse, as well as Corrine's that outlined a journey into adulthood and the self-assurance that comes with it. Also, Sheryl's post reminds us that it's never too late to reach your peak!

This week's prompt has us contemplating this phrase. What does it mean to you?


Happy writing!


I wrote a few weeks ago about needing and wanting some adventure in my life. I'm tired of playing it safe and doing the same old thing. Routine has become my enemy. I put hiking the Appalachian Trail on my bucket list and I'm more determined than ever to make it happen. Inspired by books such as A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis, I want to set out on my own adventure.

I've been devouring Appalachian Trail hiking guides like nobody's business. I think the more research I do, the better my experience will be. Adventure is one thing, but recklessness is something else entirely. I want to do it right and I want to be prepared.

But obviously, hiking 2,100+ miles is a huge task. I want to take some baby steps before I tackle that beast. I'd love to get some day hikes in. The Trail runs through Virginia, so it wouldn't be too terribly far for me to go there and do some practice runs. It would be good for me to see how heavy my pack would be. It'll help me see how much food I might need per day, help me break in new hiking boots, help me get used to sleeping in the great outdoors. All that good stuff.

Every time I think about it, I get goosebumps. I picture the beautiful sunrises and sunsets I would get to see. Maybe some wildlife (hopefully not too close, though, ha!). I think about the sounds of nature – birds and insects and the wind. I think about travelling long distances on my own 2 feet – how that accomplishment will feel. I think about being able to clear my mind and write down my thoughts each day.

I know it won't be all puppies and unicorn farts. I know that it will rain. I know there will be bugs and snakes. I know I might alternately sweat and freeze. I know that using the bathroom will be just oodles of fun, except not really.

But I also know that I will regret it if I don't at least try. Maybe I won't make it the whole way. Maybe I'll decide hiking is terrible and I hate it. Who knows. But I have to try.

I have to get off the beaten path at least once in my life.

How do you get off the beaten path? Where does your road take you?


    An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, September 21, 2015

Coffee Thoughts

Do you ever drink your coffee in the morning and just zone out? Let your mind wander. I like feeling the warmth of the mug in my hands. I like sitting and slowly sipping the coffee, enjoying the flavor. I don't get to do it too often, usually only on weekend mornings, but it's the best. My eyes glaze over and my ears tune out and I'm just focused on being unfocused. If that makes any sense. 

This morning, I sat and sipped and my thoughts drifted toward life. All of the little things we do every single day in our lives. Shower, do laundry, read the mail, wait at a stoplight, drink a glass of water. Smile, frown, sneeze, stumble, hum. 

We remember the big things - good or bad. But we don't always remember the little things. These are my coffee thoughts. 

P.S. Don't forget to join us beginning on Weds, 9/23 for the next round of Write or Die. The prompt is below. Happy writing! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bring It On: My One Month Shopping Ban

My One Month Shopping Ban | www.thechroniclesofchaos.com

I'm tired of seeing so much money go out of my bank account and not enough of it coming/staying in. I'm tired of being a consumer and a mindless spender. I'm tired of accumulating unnecessary things. I've been reading Blonde on a Budget blog where she talks a lot about monthly budgets and spending goals, but also her year-long shopping ban.   

So, I've decided to embark on a one-month shopping ban for October. 

What does this mean? Well, of course I'll still be spending money on the necessities - mortgage, car, groceries, utilities, gas, daycare, etc. 

But here's what I WON'T be spending money on:

+ Books. I have enough to last until the end of time. 

+ Notebooks/journals. See above. 

+ Clothes. I have tons that I never even wear. 

+ Eating out at restaurants / ordering carry-out or delivery. No mas. Meal prep is the name of the game. 

+ Movies. We're always ordering movies from on demand or renting them from RedBox. But we get the premium channels for cable and we have Netflix. There's no need to spend money here. Done. 

Have you ever instituted a shopping ban? Do you have any tips for me? I have a couple of weeks to plan, but I'm really excited to save some money. Wish me luck! 

* Interested in supporting a worthy cause? I'm raising money for childhood cancer research. Every little bit helps! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: One-Way Ticket to Nowhere

Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to partake in some creative writing with us every other week.


If you are new to this link-up and wondering what Write or Die is all about, check it out here!

Our last round of Write or Die was a free for all, and it was so great to read all the different types of posts. We're so glad you all joined us! If you missed it, you can check out the posts here!

For our current prompt, let's do a little creative writing, shall we? Check out the photo below and tell us: Where is she going? Happy writing! 

Don't forget that you have 2 weeks to join us, so if your post isn't ready today, come back again soon and link up!

Creative writing: Where is she going? #WODW


"Where to, ma'am?" The cab driver barely glanced up, the picture of utter boredom and disinterest.

"The airport, please."

The cab pulled slowly away from the curb. An old Phil Collins tune was playing softly on the radio. Denise laid her head against the window, looking out at the bright sunshine. The Sunday morning traffic was light, and they quickly arrived at the airport.

The driver asked her which airline she was flying. Denise replied, "Just let me out here, it's fine." She tipped him and made her way to the line at the nearest ticket counter. Instead of getting in line, she sat in a nearby seat. She quietly watched the comings and goings of airport personnel and passengers. Though it was a Sunday, there was still enough action to hold her attention.

She looked at a nearby departures board. Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta. I could go anywhere, she thought.

An elderly woman sat down a few seats away. She noticed Denise watching her: "I'm early. I like to arrive extra early. Lowers my stress." Gesturing toward Denise's luggage, the woman asked, "Are you early, too?" Denise paused. "Yes," she replied, "I'm early. Too early."

Denise excused herself and walked toward the food court. She had skipped out on the hotel's free continental breakfast, and as a result, she was ravenous. Armed with a latte and a bagel, she sat down at a table. She ate quietly, noticing the people around her were in varying stages of tears. Sad tears, happy tears, anxious tears. Why does travel bring forth such emotion?

She finished up her breakfast and gathered her belongings. She took one more glance toward the departures board and then headed for the exit. Not today, she thought. One day soon. But not today. Outside, she hailed a cab.

"Hello, Miss. Where ya headed?"

Denise took a deep breath.


    An InLinkz Link-up