Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thank You Notes: Attitude of Gratitude



I feel like I've been having a long series of bad days. That nothing can ever go right. That the universe is conspiring against me. That I'm taking 3 steps back for every 1 step forward. But honestly, I think that sometimes I just need an attitude adjustment. Make more lemonade with my lemons. 

So, in keeping with my new attitude of gratitude, here's a list of things that I'm grateful for lately. 

THANK YOU to my hubby for always listening. Some times the best thing you can do for someone is to just be there and listen.

THANK YOU Amazon Prime. For everything. Especially for delivering my stuff on Sundays, when I just *HAVE* to have it. 

THANK YOU "Interstellar" for freaking me the frick out, in the best way possible. That movie was wayyyy better than I thought it would be. 

THANK YOU to my beautiful, sweet friends who send me such encouragement and love when I'm down - in person, via email/text/snail mail. Whatever the method - please know that you are so appreciated and you make me smile!!!! 

THANK YOU to Sarah Hartley, editor-in-chief of Holl & Lane Magazine, for letting me be a part of her social media team. The very first issue launches on June 1st. Ahhhh! Can't wait for you guys to check it out. The magazine is a little like "Real Simple" - there's a little something for everyone. #HollAndLaneMag2015 

THANK YOU to my super duper awesome blog readers! You all are the absolute best. If I can trouble you for a few minutes of your time, I'd be so grateful if you took my super quick blog survey. It's only 6 questions. :) 

So, what (or who) are you thankful for these days? 


*Linking up with Mrs. AOK for Thank You Notes.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: You are the Hunter


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 are wondering what Write or Die is all about, check it out here!

For our last #WODW link up, we all shared our take on the word prompt: Fog. There were some really great short stories, poems, and also real-life essays on how we can experience "fog" in our personal lives. Click here to check out those posts if you missed 'em.

Just a reminder: Write or Die Wednesdays is now a biweekly link up. The benefits for YOU: More time to brainstorm your posts and link up. If you get busy one week, there's still the 2nd week to take advantage of and write your post. The benefits for US: More time to promote and (hopefully) grow the link up, as well as allow us time to focus on our secret project. Aside from the frequency of the link up, nothing else is changing. You still get thought-provoking prompts and the chance to flex your writing muscles. Don't touch that dial! :)

The prompt for the next two weeks is the photo below:




We can't wait to read your posts. Happy writing!!


P.S. Have you joined the Write or Die Book Club yet? It's a quarterly book club focused on books about writing, creativity, inspiration, etc. We hope you'll join us! We're currently discussing Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and there's still plenty of time to read the book. Also, we've begun taking suggestions for the next reading selection! Tell us what you'd like to read! Click on the image below to join :)



Write or Die Book Club


****


Wild. They can tame your body, but not your soul. You feel restricted in your circumstances, but your dreams can't be contained. Your nature will always remember, always be lurking under the surface, whether you're aware of it or not. It shapes every experience and decision you make in life. You can't be tamed. You are wild. You are free. You are YOU. 

Behind the bars, you become numb. You feel immune to joy. To all life has to offer. But don't give up. Don't give in. Roar with all your might. Don't go gentle into that good night. Freedom will come. And when it does, pounce! You are the queen of the jungle. A lioness at heart. Protect what is yours. Assert your dominance. Be bold. Be brave. Don't hold back - not for anyone or anything. The call of the wild rings out and you answer with every fiber of your being.

You're patient, you know how to bide your time. You wait for that perfect opportunity to escape. You know the timing has to be right. You've felt the sting from the whip of reality when you've failed before. It's made you gun-shy. But don't let it - shrug it off, swat it away. Pain is but for a moment. Joy is forever.

Break free. Run. Leap. Jump. Do what you were meant to do. But whatever you do, don't stay in that cage. Don't let it lull you into a false sense of security. Sure, you're basic needs are being met. But what about the needs of your soul? What about YOU? You won't find that in the four walls of your prison of fear. It's the law of the jungle: eat or be eaten.

Fear is not your enemy. You are the hunter and it is your prey. Destroy it. Tear it limb from limb. Dance on the carcass of your old, frightened, paralyzed self.

You can do it. I hear your voice. Your true voice. We're speaking the same language, you and I. Go. Conquer.

You are the hunter. 



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I remember...



I've written before how the lyrics from Eric Church's song "Springsteen" have inspired me. Especially the line: "Funny how a melody sounds like a memory." I've seen him in concert 3 times now and each time he sings that song, he tells a story about how every time he hears a particular song, he is transported back to when he was 16 and at his first concert. He talks about still remembering how the grass smelled, how the sky looked, how his beer tasted. You would think that he would get tired of telling that story, and that his fans would get tired of hearing it. But every time I hear it, it's like the first time. He tells it with such sincerity, passion, and emotion that you can't help but be fascinated by his story. I love that. 

During the course of his story, he says 2 words over and over again: "I remember." There's a lot of power in those words and in the memories that stay with us.

So, I'd like to share a few things with you that I remember.

I remember... embracing solitude, even as a child. I spent a lot of time by myself, but it wasn't necessarily lonely. I was always content to stay in my room for days hours, reading book after book.

I remember... the utter joy and confidence I felt whenever someone told me that I was a good writer. Especially my dad.

I remember... the excitement of doing something forbidden. Your pulse feels like it's going a mile a minute. Your heart is pounding. You have butterflies in your stomach. You give free reign to the 'devil' on your shoulder. You smile from ear to ear. The anticipation is so delicious.

I remember... the endless tears after listening to my favorite sad song, Nothing Compares 2 U, over and over and over again.

I remember... the first time my husband laughed at one of my corny jokes.


What do you remember? 


P.S. Speaking of remembering - don't forget to join us beginning on May 20th for the biweekly Write or Die writers' link up. The prompt for the next 2 weeks is the photo below. Happy writing!!! 




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: The Fog of Dawn


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 are wondering what Write or Die is all about, check it out here!

The last WODW link-up had us flexing our creativity, sharing memories dear to our hearts, and for one creative writer, writing about what they DIDN'T write about! That's one way to git 'er done! :)

Just a reminder: Write or Die Wednesdays is now a biweekly link up. The benefits for YOU: More time to brainstorm your posts and link up. If you get busy one week, there's still the 2nd week to take advantage of and write your post. The benefits for US: More time to promote and (hopefully) grow the link up, as well as allow us time to focus on our secret project. Aside from the frequency of the link up, nothing else is changing. You still get thought-provoking prompts and the chance to flex your writing muscles. Don't touch that dial! :)

Today's prompt is the word below:

IMG_2184

We can't wait to read your posts. Happy writing!!


P.S. Have you joined the Write or Die Book Club yet? It's a quarterly book club focused on books about writing, creativity, inspiration, etc. We hope you'll join us! We're currently discussing Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and there's still plenty of time to read the book. Also, we've begun taking suggestions for the next reading selection! Tell us what you'd like to read! Click on the image below to join :)

Write or Die Book Club


*************



Claire looked out her window and her heart thumped with joy upon seeing the fog. She put on her coat and slipped out of the house. She loved her morning walks when the fog rolled in from the sea. The fog gave her a cloak of anonymity as she wandered the streets, confident that no one would recognize her.

The fog also meant that she could visit Eric without being discovered. She lived for those days when they could steal a few moments of happiness together. She increased her pace, excited at the thought of seeing his face. She reached his door and knocked softly, a small smile on her lips. Today was no ordinary day - she had important news to share with him.

She waited a few moments but he didn't answer. She knocked again, a little louder. Finally she heard footsteps approach the door and it opened a crack. Claire stood there, confused, peering into the crack, but not able to see anything.

"Who are you?" a woman asked.

Claire stepped back in surprise. "I'm... Claire. Where is Eric?"

"Eric? There is no one here by that name, I'm afraid," the woman replied.

"What? No, that can't be right. Eric does live here. I've visited him here before. Where is he? Who are you?" Claire asked, becoming afraid and angry at the same time.

"I already told you, I don't know any Eric, you must have the wrong address." And with that, the woman slammed the door shut.

Claire stood there for a few moments, still confused, not knowing if she should knock again or wait or simply go home. She was so confused and only wanted to see Eric and feel his comforting arms around her. She turned around and looked up and down the street, trying to see if Eric was waiting for her somewhere. But she couldn't see anything through the thick fog. With a sigh, she decided to head home and figure it all out later.

She walked home slowly, her head a mess of emotions and questions. Where is he? Who was that woman? She was lost in thought when someone grabbed her arm. She quickly turned and then bit back a scream when she realized it was Eric.

"Eric! I went to see you and some woman answered the door and said she didn't know who you were! What is going on?"

Eric didn't answer right away. He was looking at Claire with a strange expression in his eyes.

"I've visited you there dozens of times. What did she mean?" Claire asked.

"It's hard to explain, Claire. Let's go somewhere and talk." He led her to a nearby park and sat down on a bench.

Before he could say anything, Claire said, "First, I have something to tell you, something important, Eric. I am not sure there's any proper way to have this conversation, so I'll just say it. I'm pregnant."

Eric didn't respond. "Did you hear me? Don't you have anything to say?" Claire asked.

He pulled her into his arms. "You're sure?"

"Positive," she responded. He kissed her softly.

"Claire, that's wonderful news. Truly. But before we discuss that, there's something I have to tell you. Something that is going to upset you. But I'm not who you think I am."

"What does that even mean?" Claire asked, utterly confused. "What is going on? You owe me an explanation."

"You're right, I do. Please just know that I love you, Claire. No matter what. You know that, right?"

Claire nodded. "Yes, I know that. I love you, too."

Eric took a deep breath. He turned and looked away for a moment. When he turned back, Claire let out a bloodcurdling scream. She jumped up and ran. Eric sat there for a moment, filled with sadness, watching her go with eyes that glowed blood red.

*This is an original story written by me. Please do not copy or distribute without my permission. Thank you.*



   
    An InLinkz Link-up

   
You might also enjoy this post: Lifting the Fog



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reflections: A Look Back at April 2015



Well, hello there. Yet another month of 2015 has come to a close. Why is this year going by so fast??? Anyway, let's see what happened last month, shall we? 


Progress Check - Goals from April 2015:

*  Create a morning routine!  Um, fail. My mornings are still as hectic and stressful as ever. Seriously going to work on it. I am.  
*  Write more short stories. FAIL. There aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want and need to do. It really bums me out to always push writing to the backburner. 

*  Get more sleep! I'm counting this one as a win. I've been sleeping a lot better than I used to and I attribute a lot of that to my increased workout schedule. 


3 Most Popular Blog Posts from April 2015:





Highlights from April 2015:

* Eric Church concert #3. Best one yet. Absolutely had a blast with the hubs. 

The Chief! Rawwwrrr. 

* I read 6 books. I do hope to have more book reviews coming your way. I just need to find the time to write them!

* Hubs and I celebrated 14 years together. Not quite half our lives, but just about. Crazy! 

* My oldest boy lost his first tooth. *sniffle* 


Goals for May 2015:

* Create a morning routine. The third time is the charm, right? 

* Read more books! I'm so behind on my goal of reading 100 books this year. 

* Do some spring cleaning and have a yard sale.


What were some of your highlights from April? What are your goals for May? Share below! 


P.S. Don't forget to join us beginning on May 6th for the Write or Die Wednesdays biweekly writer's link up. The prompt for the next 2 weeks is the word: Fog. Hope you join us and happy writing!




Friday, May 1, 2015

The Book Chat: My Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptations



We've all heard the saying before, right? Don't judge a book by its movie. Which I think is true in most cases. But there are a few exceptions to the rule. 

These are my favorite book-to-film adaptations and in my opinion, the only ones that have gotten it right. 

-Pretty much any film based on a Stephen King book. Cujo, The Shining, It, Misery, The Green Mile, Secret Window, Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption, Dolores Claiborne, Stand By Me. Loved them all! 

-The Giver. The movie is pretty much exactly how I imagined the book in my head. And actually, I think I may have even liked it better than the book! *gasp!* There were a few little details that were changed around, but for the most part, it stayed true to the story. I really enjoyed it. 

-The Perks of a Wallflower. The book was a little much for me, but somehow, seeing it on film made it much more authentic. You could better envision the relationships between the main characters. 

-The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I really expected the movie to be terrible. I don't know why. It just seemed to me that it would be hard to capture Lisbeth's complexity, but the movie was superb!! I kind of want to watch it again, now that I'm thinking about it. :)

-Every version of A Christmas Carol. I love that book so much and the movies are just as good. Tiny Tim gets me every time. 

What are your favorite book-to-film adaptations? Are there any movies that you think are better than the book? Share in the comments, I want to hear all about it! 

*Linking up for The Book Chat with Jessica from The Tangerine


P.S. Speaking of books, I have to thank Chelsie from Life with Rosie, my awesome partner for the Books n' Bloggers swap hosted by CG Swaps. The premise of the swap is to send your partner a book from their wishlist, a book you read and really enjoyed, and a book that you haven't read, but looks interesting. 

Here are the books and goodies I received from Chelsie: 





I cannot wait to read the books Chelsie sent me - and I'm super excited for the coloring book. Ha! What can I say, I'm a kid at heart. ;) Thanks so much, Chelsie! 

You can visit Chelsie's blog to see what I sent her by clicking here. Ciao!




Monday, April 27, 2015

Read All About It: Lose the Cape! by Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera



I was having a conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago about how guilty I felt about going to the gym much more frequently these days - usually 6 days a week - because I felt like there were other things I could be doing with that time. Laundry, meal prep, cleaning, spending more time with my kids. But ultimately, I had to remind myself that 1 hour at the gym isn't the end of the world. It helps me to feel better physically and mentally. And we all know that a happy mom makes life the bomb. 

But there is all this pressure out there to be "supermom" - Pinterest-worthy parties and gourmet organic food and a spotless house and finding time to eat right and connect with your spouse, etc. It's too much. The judgments and the cattiness between moms needs to stop. And we also need to stop putting unrealistic pressure on ourselves as well. We can only do what we can do. That's it. 

I really enjoyed reading "Lose the Cape" because there are some really great tips for busy moms - whether you work at home or work outside the home. Meal planning, tips for kids who are picky eaters, organization, etc. It's so helpful and the authors acknowledge that there isn't a one-size-fits-all-moms approach. We're all different. What works for one mom may not work for another. AND THAT'S OK! 

You can check out "Lose the Cape" on Amazon right now by clicking here

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you.*