Sunday, January 31, 2016

ABC Reads: January


Hi everyone! Welcome to our very first link up for ABC Reads. Andrea and I hope that you all have had a spectacular January, filled with reading of course! ;) 

Let's have a little refresher on what the ABC Reads Challenge is all about:  

What does the challenge entail? Well, I'm glad you asked. There are 26 letters of the alphabet and we challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter. For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on. Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it. We're easy to please around these parts. On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  
At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card. 

Pretty easy, right? And if you didn't get a chance to read anything for January, there are still 11 lovely months left in the year. Feel free to jump in with us!

OK, so let's get to it. What did you guys read this month? How many letters did you check off? Here's my progress: 

A
B
C
D
E
F: Finders Keepers, by Stephen King. Completed January 2016. 
G: (The) Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Completed January 2016. 
H
I
J
K
L: (The) Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. Completed January 2016. 
M
N
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z


Loved it. Really resonated with me. 5 out of 5 stars. Favorite quote from the book: "People may call what happens at midlife 'a crisis,' but it's not. It's an unraveling - a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you're 'supposed' to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are."  Go read this book!!! 


 \

I really enjoyed this one as well. I'm a daddy's girl, so this story really hit me in the feels. To me, this is one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks books because it wasn't as predictable to me as the others. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because it really affected me and I bawled like a baby when I read it. Favorite quote from the book: “Love is fragile. And we're not always its best caretakers. We just muddle through and do the best we can. And hope this fragile thing survives against all odds.” 


   

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and this book drew me in from the beginning because it was a part of history that I had no idea existed. I can't imagine how awful it was to be one of the orphans on the train, with no control over your destiny, and no family or anyone to watch over you. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, but only because there were 1 or 2 things that were a little fuzzy for me, and I felt like the author could have elaborated a little more. But otherwise, it was really good. Favorite quote from the book: “So I am learning to pretend, to smile and nod, to display empathy I do not feel. I am learning to pass, to look like everyone else, even though I feel broken inside.” 



I mean, you guys already know that I'm a King-ian, right? Haha, I don't even know if that's a thing, just go with it. 5 out of 5 stars. This book the 2nd book in a trilogy, it's the sequel to Mr. Mercedes. I honestly liked this one better. The storyline was a little more developed, I felt like the suspense was a little more intense and I couldn't put it down. I like the creepy ending. It's not a King book if there isn't a little something to give you chills at the end. Can't wait to read the 3rd book! Favorite quote from the book: "Books were escape. Books were freedom." 


Link up your posts below. We can't wait to see what you've read! Next month's link up will be on Monday, February 29th. 

   
   

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I want


I want to help. 
I want you to know that someone cares. 
I want you to know that you are not alone. 
I want you to know that goodness exists. 
I want you to know that you are more than your circumstances. 
I want to hug you. 
I want to see you smile. 
I want you to know that this too shall pass. 
I want you to turn your face up to the sky and feel the sunshine on your face. 
I want you to sing your favorite song.
I want to be your friend, your sister, your confidante.
I want to know what you want and how I can help you get there. 

I want. 

Write or Die Wednesdays: Jan 27

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Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to link up your creative writing with us every  Wednesday!

What we do:
Every Wednesday we will provide a link up for you to share your poetry and/or prose.

Why we do it:
We love to write, and if you've found yourself bloggin', you probably do too! We want to celebrate your words and give you a place to share them.

How you do it:
Please only link up posts that are poetry or prose. No DIY, recipes, beauty hauls, etc. UNLESS there is a narrative/essay incorporated into it. Link up your post using the "add link" at the bottom of the linkup post and comment on at least two other bloggers' posts: the link before yours and link of your choice. Don't forget to follow your hosts, Vashelle and Mia, and link back to us too!

What makes this link-up unique:
You won't have to sift through a bunch of sponsored or impersonal posts. (Not that there's anything wrong with those.) This is specifically for those of us who love to read and write poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, essays, etc.

What's in it for you:
Your posts will be shared on social media. You'll find your writing tribe. You'll win ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (One of these things is not true.)


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Write or Die Wednesday: Jan 20th

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Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to link up your creative writing with us every  Wednesday!

What we do:
Every Wednesday we will provide a link up for you to share your poetry and/or prose.

Why we do it:

We love to write, and if you've found yourself bloggin', you probably do too! We want to celebrate your words and give you a place to share them.

How you do it:
Please only link up posts that are poetry or prose. No DIY, recipes, beauty hauls, etc. UNLESS there is a narrative/essay incorporated into it. Link up your post using the "add link" at the bottom of the linkup post and comment on at least two other bloggers' posts: the link before yours and link of your choice. Don't forget to follow your hosts, Vashelle and Mia, and link back to us too!

What makes this link-up unique:
You won't have to sift through a bunch of sponsored or impersonal posts. (Not that there's anything wrong with those.) This is specifically for those of us who love to read and write poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, essays, etc.

What's in it for you:
Your posts will be shared on social media. You'll find your writing tribe. You'll win ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (One of these things is not true.)


   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mirror



She stepped out of the hot shower, not refreshed, but weary with the thoughts of the day ahead. She dried off, slowly and methodically, her mind elsewhere on the million things she had to do. She stepped up to the foggy mirror and hesitated with her hand hovering above its surface. She wiped it off and stood looking at her naked reflection.

She took it all in - the sad, tired eyes, the bumps and bulges and wrinkles and stretch marks where none used to be. She ran her hands over her body, wishing she could repaint herself with the brush of youth. Her mind flashed to her younger days when she would prance around in front of the man she loved, without a stitch of clothing nor a care in the world. These days, she'd rather hide in a potato sack.

She shivered, her skin raised in goosebumps. She pictured the look on her lover's face all those years ago, when he'd seen her undressed for the very first time. That look of love, awe, and admiration of her beauty. And beneath it all, that darker look of possession and hunger, knowing that she was his, body and soul.

She shook her head to clear her mind, thinking that she would never inspire those kinds of looks anymore. Those days are over. Who would want this? she thought. She quickly dressed, keeping her eyes averted from the mirror, knowing that it would only reflect back her insecurity and disgust.

As she turned, she caught a glimpse of someone in the doorway. It was her man, and she wasn't sure how long he'd been standing there. She blushed and looked away, afraid he could read her eyes, afraid to find rejection in his. He stood quietly, motionless. She felt his eyes on her. He tipped a finger under her chin and brought her face up to his. With her eyes closed, she took a deep breath, and then met his gaze. They looked at one another for an endless moment. She stood still, afraid to breathe, her hair curling from the lingering steam. And what she saw when she allowed herself to relax warmed her heart. The look from years gone past - the love and awe and appreciation of her body and the hunger - they were all there. They had always been there. But there was another emotion that took her breath away.

In his eyes, she saw the tenderness of all the years that had passed. Every moment they had shared, every struggle, every triumph. Every tear, every whisper, every embrace.

He looked at her as if she were the only woman in the world. The only one he wanted. And when she looked back at him, the mirrors of his beautiful eyes, she allowed herself to see what he saw. He wrapped his arms around her, so warm and secure. She buried her face in his neck, breathing in the scent that always brought comfort to her heart.

“It's only in mirrors that people get old.” 
― Marty Rubin






Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Write or Die Wednesdays: Share Your Story

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Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to link up your creative writing with us every  Wednesday!

What we do:
Every Wednesday we will provide a link up for you to share your poetry and/or prose.

Why we do it:
We love to write, and if you've found yourself bloggin', you probably do too! We want to celebrate your words and give you a place to share them.

How you do it:
Please only link up posts that are poetry or prose. No DIY, recipes, beauty hauls, etc. UNLESS there is a narrative/essay incorporated into it. Link up your post using the "add link" at the bottom of the linkup post and comment on at least two other bloggers' posts: the link before yours and link of your choice. Don't forget to follow your hosts, Vashelle and Mia, and link back to us too!

What makes this link-up unique:
You won't have to sift through a bunch of sponsored or impersonal posts. (Not that there's anything wrong with those.) This is specifically for those of us who love to read and write poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, essays, etc.

What's in it for you:
Your posts will be shared on social media. You'll find your writing tribe. You'll win ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (One of these things is not true.)


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I am an Addict.



Hi, my name is Mia, and I have a confession to make: I am an addict. 

Most people hear that word and flashes of the show Intervention immediately pop into their head. Or those "flakka" videos you see on YouTube these days, with people writhing around on the ground like zombies. While substance abuse/addiction is a huge problem in our country, I'm not that kind of an addict. 

What am I addicted to? Well, I'll get to that. Let me first show you a little bit of what I mean. 

I like to read. Therefore, there's hundreds {literally} of books in my house, some of which have been collecting dust for years. But because I love books, I can't just stop at one or two. I have to stockpile these beautiful, delicious tomes of escape.

I like to write. Therefore, there's hundreds {literally} of notebooks and journals and every type of pencil, pen, marker you can imagine in my house. I will never be able to use them all. But I love to write and I love the tools that one would use to write, and so I can't restrain myself from the items that facilitate my free "therapy" and expression. 

I like to eat. Eating makes me so happy. Every outing, date night, work day for me revolves around food. Food is comforting to me. And why just eat when you can overeat and binge to the point of having trouble breathing because you're so full. But eating helps to mask my insecurities.  

I like to consume the occasional alcoholic beverage. But it's only after years of re-training and self control that I'm able to stop at "occasional." There was a period in my life when it started out as only on the weekends, but it soon became every single night. Drinking let me forget, and drown out the voices in my head that said, "no good, less than, inferior, unlovable." 

I like to think. As a textbook, stereotype introvert (shout out to my INFJs!), I tend to overthink actually. Replay situations 1,000 times in my head. Or worry about future occurrences that I have no control over. Or ponder the meaning of life. This ceaseless circle of worry and internalization keeps me from having to actually deal with anything, but keeps me so "busy" that I don't notice. 

Are you seeing a trend? 

I'm addicted to being numb. 

I'm addicted to "taking the edge off" of any uncomfortable thoughts or emotions and sweeping them under the rug. Sadly, they don't make rugs big enough to hide my shit. I go balls to the wall in 100% high octane, relentless pursuit of anything that distracts me, however briefly, from having to just be

I don't feel like my addiction ventures into dangerous territory by any means. I'm sure some of you right now are rolling your eyes, like "really, Mia? You like to read, write, and eat? Wahhh, cry me a river." But I don't know how to describe it any other way. I let anything that makes me remotely happy completely consume my life. And yet, I'm still miserable with myself. 

How do I find balance? How do I feel comfortable with my self and my own thoughts and just be? I really don't know the answer to those questions. 

I put a lot of hope into 2016, with inner peace being a big focus. But I'm officially adding self-love and patience as well. Wish me luck. 

****


+ Did you check out the new and improved Write or Die writer's link up? No prompts, just you and your beautiful writing. Don't miss out! 

+ The ABC Reads 2016 reading challenge is live and going strong. It's never too late to join us and read through the alphabet. Check out the details here

+ Issue 5 of Holl & Lane Magazine is a doozie, in the best way possible. Get the issue here and use promo code CHRONICLESOFCHAOS for 15% off. 



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Write or Die Wednesdays: Back and Better Than Ever!

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Welcome to Write or Die Wednesdays: A Writer's Link-Up! We are Vashelle and Mia inviting you to link up your creative writing with us every  Wednesday!

What we do:
Every Wednesday we will provide a link up for you to share your poetry and/or prose.

Why we do it:
We love to write, and if you've found yourself bloggin', you probably do too! We want to celebrate your words and give you a place to share them.

How you do it:
Please only link up posts that are poetry or prose. No DIY, recipes, beauty hauls, etc. UNLESS there is a narrative/essay incorporated into it. Link up your post using the "add link" at the bottom of the linkup post and comment on at least two other bloggers' posts: the link before yours and link of your choice. Don't forget to follow your hosts, Vashelle and Mia, and link back to us too!

What makes this link-up unique:
You won't have to sift through a bunch of sponsored or impersonal posts. (Not that there's anything wrong with those.) This is specifically for those of us who love to read and write poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, essays, etc.

What's in it for you:
Your posts will be shared on social media. You'll find your writing tribe. You'll win ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (One of these things is not true.)

HAPPY WRITING!
   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Monday, January 4, 2016

My Hope for 2016


Here we are, folks. 2016. The start of a new year. I know, you're thinking, "Ugh, not another post about goals and resolutions." Well, you're in luck. This post is instead about hope. 

I hope for new experiences
I want to travel (within reason... I don't do airplanes if I can avoid it). I want to see new things. I want to make new memories. I want to venture out of my town and see how other people live. Charlie and I have a tripped planned to NYC again in April. SQUEEE. And a family vacation sometime this summer. And hopefully many more local day trips with the kids. 

I hope for kindness.
To others. To myself. For all of us, no matter who we are and where we come from. 

I hope for inner peace.
I don't know what it is that I'm looking for, but I know I haven't found it yet. This yearning, this constant restlessness. What is it? When will it stop? 

I hope for deepened friendship
I have really amazing friends. Here's to more laughs this year, more memories, more joy, more sharing of hearts and inner thoughts. 

I hope for inspiration
I didn't finish my goal from 2015 to write a book. It will happen this year. No ifs, ands, or buts. 

What do YOU hope for this year?   

*****

+ Write or Die Wednesdays is back on January 6th. It's the new and improved version, we hope you check it out. More details here.



+ Have you checked out the ABC Reads Challenge? It's never too late to join and we'd love to have you. 



+ Holl & Lane Magazine is something I'm super proud to support and want everyone to know about. We specialize in sharing your stories because we know how powerful they are. Check out the magazine here. And here's a promo code for any issue: 




Friday, January 1, 2016

Let's Read: The ABC Reads Challenge is LIVE


Happy New Year, friends! I can't think of a better way to kick off 2016 than with an awesome reading challenge. As mentioned before, Andrea and I are hosting the ABC Reads Challenge for all of 2016. Basically, we'll read books with titles that start with each letter of the alphabet, so at the end of the challenge, you'll have read 26 books for the year. Pretty awesome, right? 

At the end of each month, we'll host a linkup where you can share what books you've read and which letters you've crossed off your list. You'll get points for each letter completed and also for linking up. At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card.  



I'm starting my challenge off with the letter "O" - my first book pick is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. What will you be reading? We hope you join us!! 


P.S. Issue 5 of Holl & Lane Magazine launches today! Visit the shop to purchase any issue and use code CHRONICLESOFCHAOS to save 15% off! Happy reading!