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

Monday, September 7, 2015

I Need an Adventure

I need an adventure: I want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail!

I had a revelation recently. I need an adventure. Yes, me. I just finished reading "Becoming Odyssa" by Jennifer Pharr Davis, which is about her hiking the Appalachian Trail right after she graduated from college. It took her a few months, but she did it, she hiked 2,000+ miles. Her journey of self-discovery, confidence, accomplishment - all of it - it just spoke to me. I would absolutely love to do this. 

The Appalachian Trail goes from Georgia to Maine and it is about 2,100+ miles (the official length changes due to re-routes on the trail periodically). People who hike the entire trail are called thru-hikers. There are northbound thru-hikers who start in Georgia (which is what I want to do) and southbound hikers who start in Maine. 

I just picture myself out there with nature. With my thoughts. Relying on my own strength and skills and wits to keep going each day. Knowing that I have accomplished this incredible feat. While some of you may be familiar with Cheryl Strayed's adventure in "Wild" hiking the Pacific Crest Trail - this is not that. I'm not running from anything. I like to think of it as running to find myself. And I know that sounds incredibly cliche, but truly, that's what I think it would be. 

I need an adventure. To find myself. To shake up the monotony of life. To experience new sights. To prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing something extraordinary.  

Have you been on an adventure? 

P.S. The next round of Write or Die Wednesday is going live on September 9th. Shelly and I really hope to see you there. We have a creative writing prompt for you - take a look at this photo and then tell us: Where is she going? Happy writing!

P.P.S. Want more Chaos in your life? Har dee har. Sign up for The Chronicles of Chaos Newsletter for new content not featured on the blog. xo

Saturday, September 5, 2015

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week

Linking up with Krysten and Lindsay

Here are 10 things that made me happy this week:

  1. My son's reaction when my hubby and I gave him a puppet. "I LOVE IT!" he said, with such pure joy in his voice. It's the little things. 
  2. Knowing that it's a holiday weekend. Nothing says happy like knowing you don't have to go to work on Monday. Boom boom POW. 
  3. Finally finishing up getting the boys' school supplies. 
  4. Signing up to raise money for childhood cancer research. Any donations are greatly appreciated. 
  5. Watching "Child 44" because Tom Hardy. Rawr. Next up is Mad Max. 
  6. Getting a new coffee maker for $15 at Walmart. It's an old-school one with an actual coffee pot. I'm over the Keurig and the maintenance that goes into it. Too hard to clean! 
  7. Big squishy hugs from my hubby. 
  8. Seeing Fall/pumpkin everything at the stores! 
  9. Sending mail to my pen pals. 
  10. Finding out that they made "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson into a movie. I love that book! Can't wait to see the movie. 
OK, there you have it, my happy list from the week. What made YOU happy this week? I'd love to hear about it! xo

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for The Chronicles of Chaos Newsletter. Ciao!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lessons Learned: August 2015

Another month bites the dust! August was a doozy. It was a really long, hard month. I think I'm still recovering from it, to be honest. One of the things that I learned from last month is that it's OK to take a step back and remove some things from your very full plate. I won't go into that again here because I wrote about that in my newsletter (sign up here so you don't miss out on the fun!), but I did learn some other valuable lessons from August that I want to share. 

I married a keeper. Well, obviously, I already knew that, it wasn't something I just discovered last month. My hubby and I have been together for 14 years. There aren't many surprises left when you've been together that long. All depths have been plumbed (that's what SHE said). We know everything there is to know about each other. 

But what does surprise me is that our love, which began when we were in high school, is still just as strong today. It may have changed and evolved over time. But it's there, always. My North Star, guiding me through some tough times lately. When I'm in my funk, just being in the same room together cheers me up. Or when our feet find each other under the covers. It's the little things. I noticed the other day when we were at the mall that we always touch each other. Maybe it's holding hands or just rubbing an arm or standing really close. It's like a reflex. I don't know what I'm trying to say other than I know I'm lucky to have a love like this.

OK, you can barf now. 

Duh. But I've had a lot of trouble focusing lately. I've lost count of how many times I've started to do something and stopped midway and started something else and completely forgot what it was I set out to accomplish for the day. The TV will catch my attention or the kids will talk to me about something or the time-suck that is my phone will go off every 5 seconds. It's too hard to get anything done when I'm letting myself get pulled in a million directions. FOCUS is my word for September. 

My 3 favorite posts from August were:

What lessons did you learn in August? Come drop some wisdom around these parts. :) Ciao!

P.P.S. I am going to shave my head in support of raising money for childhood cancer research. Come check it out!