Sunday, February 28, 2016

ABC Reads: February 2016

Hi everyone! Welcome back to our second link up for ABC Reads. Andrea and I hope that you all have had a spectacular February, filled with reading and books and literary goodness! ;) 

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 link up last month - no worries at all. Feel free to jump in with us any time!

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 (February books in blue): 

B: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Completed February 2016. 
F:  Finders Keepers, by Stephen King. Completed January 2016. 
G: (The) Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Completed January 2016. 
L: (The) Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. Completed January 2016. 
M: (The) Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Completed February 2016.
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
W: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. Completed February 2016. 

I gave this one 3 out of 5 stars. It was really decent, I just felt like it went on too long and was very repetitive at the end. It needed to be 50 pages or so shorter. But it was very interesting to learn about how people approach habits and what motivates them. I never really thought about it before. I'm definitely someone who does better with outside accountability in order to form and stick to my habits.

Favorite quote from the book: "It's a Secret of Adulthood: I can't make people change, but when I change, others may change; and when others change I may change." 

I absolutely love this book - 5 out of 5 stars. My lovely cohost Andrea chose this for our book club, and I'm so happy she did. It was a bit on the long side at 512 pages, but I couldn't put it down. It grabbed my attention from the beginning. The book is narrated by Music. Like, as a being. Which sounds weird, but it totally makes sense in the story. Frankie is a Spanish orphan who meets and is cared for by several wonderful people. He gets sent to America on a boat at a young age with nothing but a guitar and six guitar strings. He eventually rises to fame as a singer/guitar player. And you get to see him fall in love, go through heartbreak, fall on hard times, etc. But with all the ups and downs, you can't help but root for him. Also woven into the story are real music figures from history - Elvis Presley especially. It was really good, and I totally recommend it. 

My 2 favorite quotes from the book: 

-"You're never in love with anyone the way you are when you're eighteen."
-"Why humans kill each other is beyond my comprehension, but I can testify that you have been doing it since your inception. Only the weapons change."

I liked this book. 4 out of 5 stars. If you saw the movie, the book is very similar. The movie's ending is a little more dramatic, but otherwise, it's pretty much the same. It's about R, a zombie who lives in an abandoned airplace and who falls for a human girl. As their friendship develops, changes start happening to R - he stops eating people, he can put more than 2 words together, he starts having these complex thoughts about civilization, etc. It was very enjoyable - there's cute moments, there's funny moments, and there's creepy moments. I recommend it!

Favorite quote from the book: "In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses."

Woohoo, 3 more letters checked off the list! That's not too shabby. What did you read in February? Come link up with us below and share your ABC Reads progress. Please feel free to share the link up with your friends as well. And if you're on Goodreads, hit me up, I love seeing what other people are reading. :)

Issue 6 of Holl & Lane Magazine launches TOMORROW! Sign up for a 6-month subscription for just 7.99 and you'll get 2 *BONUS* issues for subscribers only. Don't miss out! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Words Are All I Have

You'll rarely find recipes around these parts. I'm not that great of a cook and I don't have the patience or the good lighting to document my meals. 

You won't find many travel pieces here. My travels are limited due to funds, my husband's job, and my extreme travel anxiety. Though my inner wanderlust is strong. Go figure. 

You won't find any style/beauty posts here. I buy whatever is on sale and is comfortable. I'll never be a fashionista. I can't even remember the last time I put on makeup. I wear the same pair of shoes pretty much every day. 

You won't find any business/blogging tips here. Business isn't my thing. And I'm certainly no blogging expert. Snapchat confuses me. Tumblr confuses me. Periscope confuses me. I feel like yelling, "Get outta here, you young whippersnappers!"

You won't find DIY posts here either. I'm really not crafty. I love looking at Pinterest, but I'm just not that great at execution. 

So, you're probably thinking, "Well, shit, Mia - what WILL I find here?" All I have to offer you are my words. My hopes, my dreams, my struggles, my nerdiness. I might tell you about an awesome book that I read. I might tell you how I've been in a considerable funk for some time now. I might talk to you about being a mom. I might share a poem or a short story. I might be sarcastic or goofy or sad. 

My pot at the end of the rainbow doesn't have anything shiny in it - just words. But it's worth more to me than I can describe. Words are all I have to give you. And I'm grateful to those of you who take the time to read them. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things: Feb 2016 Edition

It's been about 4 months since I last shared a few of my favorite things. But guys... it's 11 days until my birthday. Less than 2 weeks!!! And of course I've been ogling all the things that I can't buy right now (#brokeasajoke). So, you get the privilege of seeing all the things I'm lusting after. Sounds like a great deal, yes? Indeed. 

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens
Like I mentioned in my last post, I'm level 10 obsessed with bullet journaling. I love making lists and staying organized, and I use a color-coded system to keep track of stuff. And these beauties... oh, these beauties would just make my little bullet journal heart shine. Look at them. *swoon*

Accurasee Sketch Caddie Small 

This pencil case can be fastened to my bullet journal so I can throw it in my bag and have a few pens and stickers with me on the go. Per-fec-tion. 

Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
I've been intrigued with this book ever since I read Amanda's review. A book of short stories from the country of my peoples? Yep, need to read it. 

Morning Mug 

Um, this mug is pretty much everything. It's like looking in the mirror before coffee and then after coffee. Asleep... awake. Boom, magic!

Moxiedori Journal Stencils
Moxiedori Journal Stencils

These stencils are like bullet journal GOLD. I have terrible handwriting, and hate how my headers look. So these would just make everything look pretty. *nerd alert* 

There you have it. My favorite things this month. Have I cemented my nerd status in your eyes? Bullet journal porn, books, and coffee mugs. This is the life, folks. Don't be jelly. ;) 

What are some of your favorite things? 

*Issue 6 of Holl & Lane Magazine launches on March 1st! Get your 6-month subscription for only 7.99 to make sure you don't miss out. 

*Don't forget to link up with Andrea and me on Monday, Feb 29th for the ABC Reads Challenge link up. Come share what books you've read this month and how many letters you checked off the list. Check out January's link up here

Saturday, February 20, 2016


I'm currently... 

\\Watching//  Luna, my cat, chasing a stinkbug around the house. It's quite amusing and demonstrates how ridiculously clumsy and un-stealthy she is. At least she's cute. 

\\Listening to//  My children snoring. We are having a "slumber party" in the living room. Because sleeping in our own comfy beds is somehow inferior. #momlife

\\Reading//  "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion. You've probably already seen the movie about the zombie boy who falls in love with a human girl... the book is pretty much the same as the movie so far. I'm enjoying it, but ready to finish it and read something else. (*Don't forget to link up on Monday, Feb. 29th for the ABC Reads Challenge. We want to know what you've been reading and which letters you've completed!) 

\\Eating//  Oreos. Doublestuf. Don't you judge me. 

\\Loving//  All things bullet journal. I'm obsessed. Pinterest boards, blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook groups. I'm talking Level 10 obsessed. But there are worse things, right?

\\Missing//  My hubby. Really looking forward to his next day off. 

\\Looking forward to//  The Walking Dead! The season premiere was a doozie, so I'm sure episode 2 will be just as awesome. Daryl is a such a badass. 

\\Thinking about//  the fact that I'll be bald in about 2 weeks. BALD

\\Hoping// for good news!

\\Searching for//  women who want to share their stories for Holl & Lane Magazine. Life stories, interiors, recipes, family. Hit me up, I want to talk to YOU!

What's currently going on with you? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's a Female Thing

You know how people will sometimes say, "It's a female thing" and other people will just nod and accept it as gospel. Isn't it pretty much the best excuse ever? I thoroughly enjoy it.

Let me give you some examples:

"Why are you crying? Is it because of that commercial?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING. 

"Did you eat that entire pint of ice cream just now?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Wait, didn't you used to hate that girl, but now you're friends?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Did you wear sweat pants all day?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Why are you so grumpy today?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Why are you mad at me?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Why are the kids eating applesauce for breakfast?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Wait, I thought you were talking about real people, not characters in a book."  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"How many times are you going to take a picture of your cat before you just upload it to Instagram already?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING. 

"How many pairs of black pants do you own?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

"Are you watching YouTube videos about books/journals... again?"  IT'S A FEMALE THING.

And there you have it. Sorry to all the dudes out there, get your own excuse. ;)

*Issue 6 of Holl & Lane Magazine launches on March 1st. Don't miss the fun - get your 6-month subscription today for $7.99.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Enough is Enough

I woke up from a dead sleep the other night, chest tight, barely able to breathe. My heart was pounding and my mind was racing. "I can't do it anymore," I thought. "I just can't." I was exhausted. I was miserable. I was stressed. And I didn't really see any way to make it better. "There has to be more to life than this," I thought. I agonized over it every single day and night. I woke up each morning wanting to cry. I literally did cry at one point, on the phone with my hubs, who was patient and supportive and tried to calm me down. I spent each evening just staring off into space, my stomach in knots.  

Do you ever get to that point where you hit a brick wall and you think, "ENOUGH"? I did. I had to listen to my body, my soul, my heart and make a really difficult decision. I'm still not sure where to go from here. I feel equal parts free and scared shitless. But without giving specifics, I do feel it was the right decision. 

Have you ever done something out of character? Made a difficult decision? How did it work out for you? Share below, so I know I'm not alone. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Confession Session

I confess that I made a very difficult decision last week. I'm not an impulsive person, but sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. 

I confess that Bagel Bites should NEVER be microwaved. #soggycity

I confess that Shelly and I have decided to end the Write or Die writer's link up. We're really sad to see it go, but we want to thank all of you who have linked up with us at some point along the way. We really appreciated your support. Keep writing!

I confess that I'm addicted to Reign. I've been watching it on Netflix in all of its super cheesy glory. 

I confess that I've been slacking on my reading lately. I haven't been able to focus. But I will do better this week. 

I confess that I didn't watch the Super Bowl. Not even the commercials or the half time show. I just couldn't muster up any interest, though it was nice to see Peyton get the win. 

I confess that my daddy is just the best ever. I got to see him over the weekend. *happy dance* 

I confess that I have so many words in my head right now, but for some reason, can't articulate them on paper lately. It just doesn't come out right. I hate that feeling.  

What do YOU confess? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Write or Die Wednesday: February 3


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