Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Write or Die Wednesdays - 2015: The Year of Wellness

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 each week.


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

And if you love what you see, please feel free to spread the word! Add the button below to your posts, or your blog's sidebar. Or click on the "Tweet" button below to share with your friends.

Write or Die Wednesdays

Hey lovelies! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. It was great to spend time with our families and just relax, but we sure did miss you guys and we're glad that #WODW is back in action! As 2014 draws to a close, it's only natural to start thinking about your goals for 2015.

This week's prompt is:

Happy writing!!


Yesterday, I shared some highlights from 2014. It's nice to take a look back at the year. But now that 2015 is almost upon us, I wanted to start planning what I'd like to accomplish for 2015. I have quite a few goals actually. But which one is THE most important one? I thought it would be hard to narrow it down, but actually it jumped out at me almost immediately. 


Now, that word generally has a connotation to physical health - and yes, that's a big part of what I mean by wellness. But I also mean taking care of myself emotionally. I think as wives and moms we are always consumed by our family's needs, which in our role as caretakers is to be expected. But I think that we lose ourselves sometimes in the process. Our families need us at our best and making sure that we are feeling our best helps all the other areas of our lives fall into place as well. 

It seemed like 2014 was a year of illness in our house. We were all sick and it seemed like we could not ever fully recover. I can't even count how many times I had a cold, a sinus infection, strep, migraines, the flu, stomach bug, etc. Forget how many times my kids were sick - oy vey. So, physical wellness is definitely going to be a big focus in 2015. 

I also want to make sure I make the "wellness" of my home a priority. Between working and everything else, the first thing that starts to slip is the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, etc. I just get so tired and feel like I'm burning the candle at both ends. So trying to find that balance where I can take care of myself, my family, and my home will be difficult, but it's definitely something that I will work hard to accomplish. I'm not looking for perfection. Just progress. 

So, now it's your turn. What is the most important goal you'd like to accomplish for 2015? Join us, we will cheer you on! :) Happy New Year, lovelies! 


    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflections: A Look Back at 2014

Well, what do ya know? 2014 has got to go. Haha. OK, I know what you're thinking - Ugh, ANOTHER end-of-year recap post? Well, yes. Don't hate me. But I think before you can move forward to the new year, you have to process everything that has already happened, right? Right. So, here goes. 

Recap of December 2014 Goals
  • Buy Eric Church pre-sale tickets for his show in Philly with Kenny Chesney. OMG. I cannot even wait. Fail. But it's not my fault. The tickets were outrageously expensive. Hubby and I don't need to go that bad. I'm sad to miss out on Eric Church, though. :( 
  • Get my Christmas card list in order and have everything ready to mail in PLENTY of time before Christmas. Success! It was nice to not rush around at the last minute worrying about mailing the cards. 
  • Put the finishing touches on a super awesome swap that I'm working on. It's not your average blog swap. So be on the lookout for that soon! Yayyyy. Success! Keep an eye out - this will be posted in the next few days. :)  

Highlights from December 2014:

10 Most Popular Posts from 2014:
I love that a lot of these posts come from the Write or Die Weds link up. It's a project that Vashelle and I are SO proud of and look forward to each week.

What were some of your highlights from 2014? Share below, I'd love to hear about it! 

P.S. Don't forget to join us for Write or Die Weds tomorrow! The prompt is below. Happy writing!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Top 5 Most Underrated Actors

I absolutely love watching movies. There's nothing I love more than browsing Netflix for a new-to-me movie or checking out what I can order from OnDemand/Google Play, etc. Cheesy movies, rom-coms, horror, ooh la la fancy Academy Award movies - you name it, I will watch them all. 

And in my vast movie-watching experience, I have come to the following conclusion. There are many underrated actors out there. Those who can be counted on to give solid performances, but for whatever reason, never seem to get the accolades and the attention that they deserve. And you may not know these actors by name, but their faces will more than likely elicit a response of: "Oh yeahhhh.. that guy! He's so good!" 

So, in no particular order, here are my top 5 most underrated actors. 


Mark Ruffalo

Oh, Mark Ruffalo. You scruffy, likable, "every man" actor. I love him in everything. He quietly shines in all of his movies. I love his smile. I love when he gets angry. I love when he is sad. His emotions and scenes always feel so real. And yet, you don't really hear that much about him. I recently saw him in "Begin Again" with Keira Knightley and Adam Levine. His performance as a music label exec who is bored with the industry, who drinks too much, whose marriage has fallen apart - was spectacular. It truly made the whole movie. Some other great performances: Now You See Me, Shutter Island, Zodiac, In the Cut, We Don't Live Here Anymore. He's amazing! 


Ralph Fiennes

Those eyes. Goodness gracious. They are intense. But he has played so many different memorable characters and I'm just surprised that he doesn't get more recognition. He has played the good guy, he's played the villain, he's just good at everything he does. Harry Potter movies, Skyfall, Great Expectations (2012 version), Clash of the Titans, The Reader, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Red Dragon, The English Patient, Schindler's List, Wuthering Heights, I could go on and on and on. Whenever I see that he is in a movie, I know it will be good. 

Photo by John Russo

William Fichtner 

I know you know his face. And for the longest time I had no idea what his name was. But you've seen him in everything. And he ALWAYS gives a spectacular performance. Heat, Contact, Armageddon, The Perfect Storm, Black Hawk Down, The Longest Yard, Invasion, Prison Break, Entourage, Elysium... we'll be here all day. He is one of those character actors that you can always depend on to deliver a great performance! 

Photo by Dave M. Benett

James McAvoy

James McA-Yum. Haha. His performances in Atonement and The Last King of Scotland alone guarantee him a spot on this list. But I first fell in love with him as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia. And let's not forget X-Men and also he was the voice of Gnomeo in Gnomeo & Juliet (what? My kids loved it!). He gets an A+ in my book! 

Photo by Jerry Avenaim

Ben Foster

He is SO good at being bad. I think that's part of why he is so underrated. People tend to focus more on the "good guy/hero" roles. But there's something to be said about an actor who can portray a villain with such complexity and authenticity. He blows me away. Hostage, Six Feet Under, Alpha Dog, X-Men, 3:10 to Yuma, The Messenger, Contraband - all excellent performances. He definitely deserves more recognition. 

OK, so what did you think of my list? Do you agree? Who would you add? Share in the comments, I'm very interested to hear your thoughts. 

P.S. The prompt for this week's Write or Die Wednesdays link up is below. Hope you join us!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas to you all from my two little Christmas elves! Hope your day is filled with joy and love and the Christmas spirit. Hugs! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Write or Die Wednesdays: A Trip to Read About

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 each week.


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

And if you love what you see, please feel free to spread the word! Add the button below to your posts, or your blog's sidebar. Or click on the "Tweet" button below to share with your friends.

Write or Die Wednesdays

It was so much fun last week reading everyone's posts and learning what makes each one of you unique. From Casey's post with her signature humor to Ashley's deeply insightful post and everyone in between, getting to know you all is something we are enjoying very much. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us each week!

This week's prompt is as follows: If someone gave you an all-expense paid ticket to ANYWHERE in the world (someplace you have not been before) where would you go and why? If you're interested in seeing how often I say "um" or how sleep-deprived I am from nursing my night-owl son, take a gander at the video! :)

Happy Writing!


For the sake of this post, I'm going to assume that this trip is just for me (because my answer would probably be different if it was for a family trip). Let's also forget about the fact that I hate flying and just the thought of getting on a plane sends me into an anxious spiral. But it has been so fun to dream about all the places I would travel to if I had a free ticket - London, Paris, Tokyo, Prague, Denver, Machu Picchu, Reykjavik, my list could go on and on.

But a place you probably haven't heard of was ultimately my number one choice. Nye Beach, Oregon. Why, you ask? Well, it's home to the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Here's an excerpt from their website that tells you more about the hotel:

"This is truly a hotel for book lovers. There are no TV's, radios, or telephones in the rooms and no Wi-fi. It is a quiet place on most days.  Except for the glorious storms. Then the wind howls, the building shakes, and the rain pounds down. Some days it's warm and sunny and the sky is bright blue. Some days there's morning fog. Some days the wind makes you stay inside and read! Some days are rainbow days, the weather just can't decide. The ocean is always present. (The hotel is on a 45 foot bluff right above the surf.) You move into the rhythm of the sea. Perhaps that's why time seems to slow way down, almost to a standstill."
Doesn't it sound beautiful? Just cozy and peaceful and heavenly. I could lose myself in books for hours, days, weeks. I could listen to the rain, or the sea. Sylvia Beach Hotel is a book lover's dream. The rooms are all named after authors - Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, etc. Seeing as my list of books I want to read could last me a lifetime, I think a month-long trip to this hotel is my fantasy, all-expenses-paid trip.

What would I do there? Here's what I think my schedule would be like: Sleep in. Eat a leisurely breakfast. Take a stroll along the beach. Read. Read some more. Read again. Have a relaxing, peaceful dinner. Read in front of the fire. Sleep to the sound of the ocean. Wake up, and start all over again. Ahhh, I love it. When can I leave? Who is paying for the trip? Sign me up. :)

Where would you go? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ashes and Embers

Sitting here mesmerized by the flames. My mind zones out. I feel like there's no place I have to be, no things I need to do, no demands that I must meet. It's nice. Just listening to the popping and crackling. Watching the fire dance and bounce to and fro. It thaws my ever-present chill. 

Warmth, comfort, contentedness. I couldn't move if I wanted to - and I really don't want to. I snuggle closer to my love. Burrow into his chest, listen to his steady heartbeat. Our love radiates, burning even brighter. Two logs melting into oblivion, one indistinguishable from the other. 

Ashes and embers, softly glowing. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: December 2014 Edition

Well hello again. My 'favorite things' posts are so fun for me to write. I get to window shop online for awesome things and share them with you all. 

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite things for this month. 

Oh, look at that, another Eric Church-related item. You're not even surprised anymore, are you? I have all of his CDs except for this one, the one that started it all. Clearly, it needs to be on repeat in my car ASAP. 

I love this temporary tattoo from Anastasia Amour's line of affirmation tattoos. Need, want, must have. 

It's been so cold here lately. And hubby isn't always home to light a fire for me in the fireplace. (No, I can't do it myself, I can't be trusted. FIRE!!!!) So, what better way to stay warm on those cold, wintry nights than this super awesome electric blanket. I need one in my life. 

No Christmas can be complete without an ugly Christmas sweater. And this one below is my favorite. Notice the placement of the 2nd carrot. Bwahaha. 

And of course, no list of mine would ever be complete without at least one book. This one is particularly intriguing. Here is the synopsis from Amazon: 

"Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an old-money family, headed by a patriarch who owns a private island off of Cape Cod. Each summer, the extended family gathers at the various houses on the island, and Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and friend Gat (the four "Liars"), have been inseparable since age eight. During their fifteenth summer however, Cadence suffers a mysterious accident. She spends the next two years—and the course of the book—in a haze of amnesia, debilitating migraines, and painkillers, trying to piece together just what happened. Lockhart writes in a somewhat sparse style filled with metaphor and jumps from past to present and back again—rather fitting for a main character struggling with a sudden and unexplainable life change. The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family drama, a heart-wrenching romance between Cadence and Gat, and, ultimately, the suspense of what happened during that fateful summer. The ending is a stunner that will haunt readers for a long time to come."

So there you have it. What are some things that have caught your eye lately? 

P.S. The Write or Die Wednesdays prompt has been posted and this week the prompt is a video. Click here to watch the video and for more information on the link up. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Write or Die Wednesdays: You Gotta Have Friends

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 each week.


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

And if you love what you see, please feel free to spread the word! Add the button below to your posts, or your blog's sidebar. Or click on the "Tweet" button below to share with your friends.

Write or Die Wednesdays

We really enjoyed last week's prompt where our lovely participants had to choose a person for a 1-hour coffee date. Some people chose family members who have passed on, while others chose historical figures (past and present). It was a lot of fun and our most popular prompt yet! Click here to check out those posts. It's probably a good idea to have a cuppa joe while you read them. :)

Today's prompt is as follows:

Scientists say that no 2 snowflakes are alike. So, we want to know - What makes YOU unique? 

Happy writing!


I truly believe that everyone is unique. We all have something inside of us that sets us apart from others. Our background, our families/friends, our experiences, our values, our opinions. All of these things help to mold us into the people we are today.

But trying to articulate what makes me unique is hard for me. I don't know why. Even though I feel like I'm different from everyone else, even though I know there are things that make me special - when I try to say it, it just doesn't come out right. But that's the whole purpose of Write or Die Wednesdays, isn't it? To challenge myself in my writing. To push myself to share my heart and my story. So, please bear with me as I try to get this out.

You know what love languages are, right? Gary Chapman wrote a book about it - how people give and receive love in different ways. Well, I think what makes me unique is that I'm fluent in friend languages.

What does that mean? Well, I feel like I'm pretty gifted at relating to people. I always try to get to know people better and find out what they're interested in and relate to them in some way. Maybe we're both parents. Maybe we like the same tv shows. Maybe we both like to eat! Maybe we both have the same sense of humor. Maybe we both like to read. Whatever. I always find that common ground. This usually (not always) means that I'm able to connect with people that other folks would find to be difficult to be friends with. It also means that I have a very diverse group of friends and acquaintances.

"Mia, I thought you said you were an introvert. What gives?" you might ask. Well, it's true, I am an introvert and most of the time the thought of talking to people and making small talk would make me run for the hills. But that thought gets overridden by my general sense of camaraderie. I love to joke around. I love to laugh with friends. Having friends at work helps make the days go by faster. Having friends outside of work helps to keep you sane. Having online friends with similar interests helps me to feel fulfilled. Friendship makes the world go 'round, and all that jazz.

So, now it's your turn, friends! What makes YOU unique? Come share, I'd love to hear all about it. xo


    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and Valleys

ups and downs
smiles and frowns
the sadness i see is all around

one step forward
two steps back
Christmas cheer
don't look back

ink pen and blank page
time to get off the stage 
new chapter, close the book
the hopeful glance, the rage-filled look

flying free like the singing bird
screaming yelling but never heard
trees that grow, hearts that know
the beauty of a whispered word

you are me and we are free
kiss me hold me hate me love me
the aches and longings of the heart
the sweet, sharp pain that they call art

long dusty cobwebs
the sting that flows and ebbs
fog in the brain
lights shining in the rain

big smiles, sharp teeth
peaks and valleys
hope underneath


P.S. Don't forget to join us tomorrow for Write or Die Wednesdays. The prompt is: Scientists say no 2 snowflakes are alike. What makes you unique? Click here for more information.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Activities for Kids (Days 1-7)

Time to recap the 25 Days of Christmas activities we've done so far! I've been under the weather lately, so doing some less labor-intensive activities were a necessity for this tired mom. And I was supposed to post this on Friday, but again, sick. So... enjoy! :)

Day 1: Decorate the Christmas tree!

This was my favorite activity so far. The boys were so excited to help decorate the tree. Every evening, they can't wait to turn it on and watch the lights while we're eating dinner. Love it!

Day 2: Building gingerbread houses!

Not my favorite, but the boys had a ton of fun! Thankfully, my hubby was home to assist with his gingerbread architectural abilities. I bought the kit at Wal-Mart, but if you are the type to make it from scratch, knock yourself out, Martha! :)

Day 3: Foam activity kits - Gingerbread House and 3-D Santa

I got these kits from Target in the dollar section. Dom wanted to make (another) gingerbread house and Will wanted to make the 3-D Santa. And I aim to please, of course. The kits were cute, but my only complaint is that the Santa one was much harder to put together and the tiny pieces were not ideal for Will's little hands. But fun was had by all.

Day 4: Christmas movies

I haven't been feeling well lately (did I mention that already? ha!) and so I desperately needed a low-key activity. Thankfully, I recorded some movies from the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas series. So the boys happily watched The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol while I tried my best to resemble a human being. And no, I don't care that Will is standing up or that my living room is a disaster area. #sickmomproblems

Day 5: Decorate Ornaments

More foam kits from Target for the rescue. One is a pack of foam ornaments and the other is a big box of foam stickers. Boom, done. I bought some Christmas-y colored yarn at Walmart and these beauties are now hanging on the tree.

Day 6: Live Nativity Scene

We took the boys to an indoor live Nativity scene with my dad, step-mom, and mother-in-law. I didn't take any pictures, so this one will have to suffice - just use your imagination!


Day 7: Reading Christmas-themed stories

There you have it. A recap of Days 1 through 7. Stay tuned for next week. No bah humbugs allowed. :)

P.S. The prompt for Write or Die Wednesdays has been posted. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Write or Die Wednesdays: Coffee with a Side of Queen

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 each week.


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

And if you love what you see, please feel free to spread the word! Add the button below to your posts, or your blog's sidebar. Or click on the "Tweet" button below to share with your friends.

Write or Die Wednesdays

We enjoyed last week's link-up so much and loved reading everyone's spin on Anton Chekhov's quote. If you would like to take a gander at last week's posts, check them out here.

Today's prompt is as follows:

If you could have a 1-hour coffee date with anyone in the world (or on the other side), with whom would it be? Why would you choose this person? What would you talk about?

Happy writing!


This prompt is a hard one for me. How do I narrow it down to one person? 

I thought about my husband whom I mainly communicate with via text because he works so hard. I miss quality time with him. 

I thought about my dad who moved to another state. I really miss him and would love to spend an hour of quality time with him just being goofy. 

I thought about Stephen King, my absolute favorite author. It would be AWESOME to lose myself in an hour of discussing my favorite characters/storylines from King's books. 

I thought about my lovely blog friends whom I would love to meet and chat with and just HUG in person. 

I thought about any number of handsome actors/musicians/athletes because RAWR. ;)  

I thought about my favorite President, whom I won't name because internet trolls are the devil. 

But ultimately, the person I chose was Queen Elizabeth I. 

I've always been intrigued by Henry VIII because he truly just didn't GAF. "Oh, you won't let me get a divorce because it's against my religion? Then I'll make my own church and do what I want." I mean, the balls on that guy. But during my research into Henry VIII, I quickly became fascinated by his daughter with Anne Boleyn - Elizabeth. 

Imagine having Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn as your parents. And then knowing that your father had your mother executed for treason. I mean, that's mind-blowing and dysfunctional in its own right. Then imagine having to execute your cousin because she's trying to take away your throne. Imagine taking power of a country that was essentially financially ruined at the time, and also devastated by religious persecution brought on by your own half-sister. Imagine pledging yourself to your country and never marrying or having children. Imagine being able to say that under your reign, your country defeated the Spanish Armada, one of the greatest superpowers at the time. Imagine being able to speak 6 different languages fluently. Imagine attending plays put on by Shakespeare himself. 

I think it would be so interesting to just sit and hear what she has to say. Was she really in love with Robert Dudley? What did she think of her father? How would she feel to know that Parliament now governs England and that the Royal family is not the supreme ruler of the land? I wonder what her opinion would be to the fact that we have never had a woman President in the United States, but she was a woman of such immense power 500 years ago?

I clearly have so many questions to ask her, one hour might not be enough! But she better not touch my frappuccino - queen or not. ;)

So, now it's your turn. Who would you pick for your coffee date?