Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reflections: A Look Back at January 2015


Does anyone feel like it was just Christmas yesterday? And now it's almost Valentine's Day. It's weird how time seems to move so quickly. I guess it's true what they say, the days are long, but the years are short. 

Highlights from January 2015:
  • Since I have declared 2015 my year of wellness, I am being very intentional about taking care of myself. This means eating well, going to spin class with my spin buddies, and making sure I find a few moments for myself here and there. 
  • I saw American Sniper and was completely stunned, but in the best way possible. If you haven't seen it yet, GO SEE IT. Bradley Cooper delivers his best performance yet. 

I absolutely loved the wrapping paper!! 






I loooovvvveeed reading "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell, so Shelly absolutely made my day with Rowell's other books. I cannot wait to read them! Thank you so much, Shelly! :)

Goals for February 2015:
  • Read 9 books. If I'm going to reach my goal of 100 books this year, I need to pick up the pace a little bit. Anybody know any good short books? Ha, I kid, I kid. 
  • Go to spin class at least once a week. 
  • Do random acts of kindness throughout the month. For friends, family, strangers - doesn't matter who, I just want to spread a little joy. 


Now it's YOUR turn. What did you accomplish this past month? What are your goals for next month? I'll be your cheerleader, put me to work! xo



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: The truth lies in your heart


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




Have we told you guys lately how proud we are to be a part of Write or Die Wednesdays? I don't know what I did before we found our little corner of the interwebz, but I'm SO happy to not only be writing, but to connect with other writers who share their hearts each week. Swoon. :)

Last week, we talked about regrets and it was our biggest link up to date! Come join us and share your thoughts. We can't wait to hear what you have to say!

This week's prompt is: What do you think about honesty? Do you think little white lies are OK/necessary? Or do you believe in being honest to a fault?


Happy writing!

*******

I'm a people-pleaser. I always have been. I try to avoid hurting other people's feelings at all costs. So total honesty, the 100% full truth, all the time, is not something that I am capable of giving. I'm not saying that I am a liar. Instead of lying, I just don't say what I think. The lie of omission and all that.

Is it necessary to tell someone in an elevator that they smell bad, even if you'll share the same space for less than 2 minutes? Should you tell your friend that you hate her significant other, even if it will damage your friendship beyond repair? To me, it's not worth it. Hurting people in the name of honesty is cruel to me.

But that's not to say we should go around lying all the time. Not for the big things, never for when it truly counts, not with those whom we love with all our hearts, and especially not to ourselves. To thy own self be true, and all that jazz.


I try to teach my boys not to lie, that they can tell me anything, that they won't get in trouble if they just tell the truth. That lying is dishonest, and people will no longer trust them if they always lie - just like the boy who cried Wolf. But then I find myself at their birthday parties reminding them not to say that they don't like a particular gift. Why? Because I don't want them to be ungrateful, of course, but also because it's unkind to hurt the feelings of the gift-giver. But right there I am contradicting myself. So which is the right answer? What is the right thing to do?

We are human beings. We have complex emotions and thoughts and relationships. Do I want my boys to grow up telling their teacher she is ugly? Or telling their boss he is an incompetent prick? Honesty can come with a high price in certain situations. So how do we navigate those paths? How do we say that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it's not, and you better know the difference?

I'm not sure I have an answer. I think it's a gray area for me. Striking that fine balance between being true and being kind can be difficult, for sure. But I find that my conscience is clear. I know my heart and my intentions.   

How do you feel about truth and dishonesty? I am so interested in your thoughts! Come join us and link up if you're so inclined. Or leave a comment below.



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   


Monday, January 26, 2015

Thoughts I Have During Spin Class


I have been going to spin class off and on since June of last year. And I have to tell you, I LOVE IT. There's nothing else like it. I feel like I can take over the world after class is over. And that's what keeps me coming back each week. 

But during class, well, there are certain thoughts that go through my mind. And I bet, if you've ever taken a spin class, you can probably relate. So, here's what I'm thinking about during a typical class: 

WOOOO! I am pumped! Let's do this! I'M GONNA MAKE THIS CYCLE MY BITCHHHH!

Does this cycle seat make my ass look big? Ugh, why did I sit up front? 

But... I don't want to add some more gear. FRICKIN' FRACK, the instructor just saw me. Uggghhhh, guess I have to add more gear. 

There's NO WAY these are 1 lb weights. Seriously, my arms are going to fall off. 


Nooooooo, not Turn Down For What! Ohhh, my quads are burning, my quads are burning, make it stop! I hate this song now!!!!

Hmm, I probably shouldn't have eaten that chili before class. 

Give it all I've got? I have no more left to give! 

Ooyyyyyy, my hoo-ha is numb. I hope we get to stand up soon. 


Oooyyyy, my hamstrings/glutes/quads are killing me, I hope we get to sit down soon. 

I. Am. Dying. This is it, people. It's been a good run. 

Oh, cold towel, thank you, Baby Jesus. If I could marry an inanimate object, I would marry you, cold towel. You are a gift. A treasure. 

WOOOOO! Everything hurts. WHEN CAN WE COME BACK AND DO IT AGAIN? 



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chase Your Dreams 2015 Swap: Reveal Link Up



Hello lovelies! The Chase Your Dreams 2015 Swap was created in order to help us accomplish our goals for the year. What better way to get started on your goals than to have someone in your corner cheering you on and sending you goodies to help you kick butt? 

For those of you who participated, please feel free to link up your swap reveal posts here. Or you can post your pictures to Instagram using #chaseyourdreams2015. Or both! :) 

I actually had 2 partners for this swap, yay, double the awesomeness! :) But I am going to post one here and do another post when I receive the other. 

Dean from Mrs. AOK just blew me away with her thoughtful package. I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed because everything was just perfect for me! My top 3 goals for the year are:

1) Write my novel.
2) Focus on wellness. 
3) Read 100 books. 

Here is what Dean sent me:

Cannot wait to use these!!!! 

It's a little hard to see, but the book is 21 Days to Healthy Living. Perfect!

This is just AMAZING. 

Thank you so much, Dean. I loved all of it. Armed with these amazing goodies, I know I'll be well on my way to kicking butt in 2015. :) 

Feel free to link up below with your reveal posts. xo 


   
   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: Regrets I Have None


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




Last week everyone shared their interpretation of the deep sea photo. We spoke of our fears of the deep ocean, the fearlessness of the diver and how it relates to our own lives (in other words, how we "touch the butt") and more. It was so much fun reading everyone's posts! If you missed it, you can still read the posts here.

This week's prompt is as follows:
What do you think of the saying "no regrets"? Do you think it is natural or conducive to have regrets? Do you think regret is a useless emotion? Do you have any regrets?


Happy writing!

*******

Regrets. What are regrets? The dictionary defines regret as: a feeling of sadness or disappointment about something that you did or did not do.

To me, regrets are dangerous. Regrets cause you to live in the past. Regrets cause uncertainty. Regrets can keep you up at night. Regrets will drive you crazy with the what if this, and what if that. I used to be consumed with regret. And to a person with anxiety, regrets add fuel to the already raging fire.

Am I a perfect person? Absolutely not. I have made plenty of mistakes. Little ones, big ones. Some that I would rather never think about again. But that's just it. Regrets prevent us from living an intentional life. If you're constantly agonizing about what you should have done, then all of your decisions become about looking back instead of looking forward. And I've found that living that way is just so exhausting and toxic.

“We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it's like chasing clouds.” ― Libba Bray

I love that - chasing clouds. It's true. Regrets are just useless. Earlier this month, I talked about my goal for 2015: Wellness. And part of that wellness for me is not just physical well-being. But also mental and spiritual wellness. To look forward to the future, to just be content in the moment. I won't let the past hold me back.

Regrets? I have none.

Lyrics from "Regrets (I Have None)" by Meja

How do you feel about regrets? Please share your thoughts with us!




Authentic Bloggers: A Community of Support


With the stresses of our daily lives, it helps to have a community that supports you. For me, that community is the Authentic Bloggers group. We're a tight-knit community that supports one another - not only for blog-related issues, but for just life support in general. Need an encouraging word or a virtual hug? Need to bounce your ideas off of someone who cares? We're here for YOU. 

Authentic Bloggers was founded by Krysten from Why Girls Are Weird and I'm so thankful to be a part of this group! Here is what Krysten has to say about the group:

"Authentic Bloggers is primarily a Facebook group filled with like-minded bloggers looking for support in their personal and blogging professional endeavors. Within this group we talk about everything, from what we're posting daily on our blogs, supporting each other's social media, and how to make money blogging. We also talk about our personal lives and simply help each other out as a group." 

We are hoping to expand Authentic Bloggers and reach more like-minded bloggers and help cheer each other on! If that sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, click on this link and request to become a member! And display this awesome badge below on your page. Hope to see you there soon! :) 

Authentic Bloggers

Monday, January 19, 2015

Supporting a Worthy Cause

My lovely friend Stephanie from She Dreams of Hope and in her lens is raising money for childhood cancer research through St. Baldrick's and on Saturday, March 7th, Stephanie will be shaving her head! 

Why is she doing this, you might ask? Well, her co-worker is affected by childhood cancer. His nine year old son was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was four. They have been battling this ever since. They are her motivation.

So, Stephanie and some other lovely bloggers and yours truly have teamed up to bring you this awesome giveaway that supports an amazing, worthy cause. How does St. Baldrick's tie into this? Your first, mandatory entry is to donate at least $5 (you can donate as much as you want, $5 is just the minimum) to Stephanie's St. Baldrick's fundraising page. This will help her get closer to her goal and it's for such a wonderful cause! Plus, you have a chance to win all these awesome prizes!


Here's what you could win:

+Aimee: Inspirational Photo Prints (taken by her)
+Kenzie: Arbonne RE9 Advanced Sample Kit, a $5 Starbucks e-gift card, and an advertisement spot on her blog
+ME: $10 Amazon Gift Card
+Emily: $10 iTunes Gift Card
+Nicole: Scarf and Bracelet

Doesn't that sound like a great deal? For a donation of just $5 (or more, if you're so inclined), you could possibly win a bunch of awesome prizes AND the chance to say that you donated to a worthy cause. And be a part of seeing Stephanie shave her head!! Just perfect, all around, I'd say. What are you waiting for? For the cost of a Starbucks Frappuccino, you could contribute to changing someone's life. Totally worth it! Go donate and then enter below! 

[This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, 18 and over only!]


Good luck!!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things: January 2015 Edition


Well, hello, lovelies! Time for the next edition of A Few of My Favorite Things. I really love putting together these posts. Sometimes I get really excited about the items I discover and I figure I should share them with you all so you can get excited right along with me. :) 

* I am obsessed with The Killing. What a great series. I'm so sad that it is over and there will be no more episodes. But you can watch all 4 seasons on Netflix. And you totally should. In the meantime, check out The Holderator. I. can't. even. 



* This paleo marinade from The Paleo Baking Company is AMAZING. I marinated swordfish steaks and cooked them the other day. OMG. Perfect Thai flavor. Try it!!! Nowwww. Haha. 

* This mug. I must have. 



* Oh this beautiful handmade journal. Breathtaking! 



* Upcoming concerts:



2015 is off to a great start, people! 

What are some of your favorite things? Books, shows, movies, clothing, music, anything!!! Come share. :) 


P.S. Don't forget to join us for Write or Die Wednesdays. The prompt is: What do you think of the saying, "No regrets"? Do you think it's natural or conducive to have regrets? Do you think regret is a useless emotion? Do you have any regrets? Happy Writing! 






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Read All About It: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella


This was my first Sophie Kinsella book. It was entertaining, but a bit ridiculous. 



Basically, Lottie is at dinner with her boyfriend, Richard. She thinks he is going to propose. And he does, but not marriage. He proposes that they go on a trip together. Lottie gets upset and tells him she thought he was proposing marriage. He balks and she breaks up with him. In her post-breakup funk, an old boyfriend calls her up and they meet for dinner. Ironically enough, he ends up spontaneously proposing to her, telling her that he always loved her, blah, blah, blah. She says yes and they get married. They jet off to Greece for their honeymoon. Meanwhile, Lottie's sister Fliss does everything in her power to screw up the honeymoon. She is convinced that Lottie is making a huge mistake due to her breakup and she doesn't want Lottie and Ben to consummate the marriage, because then Lottie still has a chance to get it annulled. Fliss enlists the help of the concierge of the hotel to throw a wrench in the romance. 

Ridiculous, right???? It was a silly, quick read. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. 

Do you ever read books where you know they are completely silly, but keep reading them anyway? 



P.S. It's not too late to join us for Write or Die. The prompt this week is the photo below. Come join us! 





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Write or Die Wednesdays: What Lies Beneath



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




If you missed last week's prompt, we talked about things/places/ideas/people that we find mysterious. There were many thought-provoking posts about death, religion, music, history, reincarnation, etc. Click here to check those out.

This week's prompt is the photo below. We hope it inspires you to write and to share your thoughts with us! Happy Writing!!!


The ocean is so vast. It covers most of our planet. But there's just so much we don't know about it. Technological advances have helped us tremendously in exploring previously unknown areas and depths. We have "discovered" previously unknown species. It's just amazing.

Every time I watch the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet and they show those submersibles that can explore the ocean floor, I think to myself, "That would be so cool." The ocean contains so many secrets. It's kind of mind-boggling.

And yet it's also terrifying to me. There are all kinds of creatures just lurking there in the ocean. The water is their domain and we are just visitors. It's kind of a lonely feeling. And vulnerable. But in a way, I guess it can also be beautiful. I picture myself as that diver in the photo. And just being surrounded by silence. Could you imagine? No cars, no sirens, no talking, no phones, nothing. Just the sound of your heartbeat and your thoughts. It kind of reminds me of the silence that you can "hear" when you wake up to discover freshly fallen snow outside. Everything is muffled, but in a good way. A peaceful way.

I could use some peace. Who wants to go for a swim? ;)