Thursday, March 31, 2016

ABC Reads: March 2016


Hello, lovely book friends. Welcome back to ABC Reads from Andrea and me. We can't wait to see what books you've read for March! 


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 (March books in blue): 

A: (The) Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Completed March 2016. 
B: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Completed February 2016. 
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: (The) Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Completed February 2016.
N
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
P
Q
R: (The) Revenant, by Michael Punke. Completed March 2016. 
S
T
U
V
W: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. Completed February 2016. 
X
Y
Z


I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars. I was so disappointed because it is literally on every single "this book will change your life - YOU MUST READ IT" list. And I just could not wait for it to be over. I guess it just helps to remind me that not every book is for every person. It wasn't terrible, it just didn't really resonate with me at all. The basic gist of it is Santiago is a young shepherd from Spain and he goes on this journey to Egypt and he meets various people along the way who teach him something. But if that type of book interests you, then I suggest reading something from Mitch Albom instead! 

Favorite quote: "If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man." 



I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I've been on a "books that were adapted for the movie screen that were nominated for Oscars" kick lately, because I also read "Room" by Emma Donoghue for my book club. But anyway, from the little that I've read or seen in the previews, this book has some big differences from the movie. But honestly, that kind of thing happens all the time, right? It's a historical fiction, so the author took editorial liberties with a lot of events surrounding Hugh Glass' life anyway because nobody knows exactly what happened at certain points of his life. Shew, that was as vague as I could make it, as I don't want to spoil the book for any one. Just go read it, I think it will keep you intrigued.

No favorite quotes for this one, it was more of an action-based book.


OK, now it's YOUR turn! Come link up and share what you've read, Andrea and I can't wait to hear all about it. Happy reading!

(P.S. I'm participating in VEDA (Vlog Every Day in April) starting tomorrow, and if you'd like to follow along, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. You rock!)






Monday, March 28, 2016

Introducing: The Figment


I'm really excited to introduce a project that has been near and dear to my heart for a while. In the Fall of last year, I really wanted to create some sort of community for writers to give each other encouragement and feedback and inspiration. And then life happened and I got busy and stressed and just kind of put it on the backburner for a while. And then the Write or Die Wednesdays link up ended and my desire for a writing community came back full force. 

So... here we are. I'm putting together the finishing touches, but wanted you guys to know that it's coming and I really hope you follow along. Anyone who has ever had words in their heart and soul - this community is for you. 

Keep an eye on The Figment page for more updates, and don't forget to check us out on all the socials (links below). Big, squishy, virtual, writer-y hugs to you all. 



*Special thank you to my bud Sarah for designing the logo for The Figment. It's perfection

***
Annddd, I also wanted to give you guys a sneak peek of Hope, the Happy Antelope. She's another project of mine that you'll be hearing more about. All kinds of fun stuff going on, right? Stay tuned, friends!






Friday, March 25, 2016

Hit the Reset Button


The other night I was trying to write a blog post. Trying being the operative word. On my editorial calendar for Wednesday, it said I was supposed to be doing my monthly favorites list. And I was on board with that idea all day when I saw it listed in my to-do list. But then I opened up my browser that evening and sat there for the longest time, not typing, just thinking. And I came to the following conclusion:

Who gives a shit? 

I mean, seriously. I could give you a million things from my wishlist, or things that I've already purchased and loved. But what exactly is the point? Are you going to run out right this minute and buy it (or order it online) and have a life-changing experience? What purpose does it actually serve? Why do I write about these things when I really don't give a shit and I suspect that you all really don't either? 

So, I came to another conclusion:

It's time to hit the reset button. 

Time to get back to my writing roots. I started this blog almost 4 years ago with the intent to share my writing and my thoughts and express myself. I don't ever want to force myself to write anything. I want it to be organic and have some kind of meaning. Whether it's a memory or a poem or how I'm feeling at the moment. 

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now and just say this - thank you for being here and reading. I hope you'll stay with me as I figure out what the hell I'm doing after all this time. At least it's Friday, right? Cheers. 



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Day of Happiness!


Happy International Day of Happiness! I feel like it should be a holiday where people HAVE to do something that makes them happy. Also, it can't be a coincidence that the day of happiness falls on the vernal equinox, right? People love flowers and sunshine and all that jazz. 

Anyway, instead of giving you a list of things that make me happy (books, journals, coffee, general nerdiness, etc.), I thought I'd talk about a happy memory. 

So, let's go back... all the way back... OK, maybe not that far back... to December 2015. Charlie and I went to NYC for a quick weekend trip and I'm still feeling the buzz from it. I loved every minute of it. 

There were some serious moments, some silly moments, but what struck me the most was the feeling of being alive. The feeling of being in an enormous crowd, but being completely anonymous. Seeing the "melting pot" that America strives to be - people from all walks of life, all parts of the country and the world. Literally being able to find any kind of store, restaurant, museum that you're interested in. The history on every street corner. It was an amazing, electric feeling. 



Don't get me wrong, there were some crappy parts about it, too - mainly the traffic, in the streets and on the sidewalks. But I remember walking in the midst of a crowd with Charlie and just looking over at him and feeling this sense of true contentment that we were experiencing this magical city together and it would be a happy memory that would always stay with us. Every time I pull out my "I LOVE NYC" t-shirt, I smile a small, happy smile at everything that we saw while we were there. 

So, needless to say, we'll be going back again next month. And we cannot wait! 

How are you celebrating the International Day of Happiness today? What makes you happy? 




Related posts you might enjoy:
-The Hurt and the Hope






Friday, March 18, 2016

Currently {March}



I'm currently...

\\Watching//  my kids play Lego Dimensions. I can't even, you guys. It's bad enough that there are 1,000 actual Legos all over my house, but now the kids are obsessed with the video game versions. CURSE YOU LEGO COMPANY! 

\\Listening//  to them bicker back and forth and then stop to tell each other that they love them. Siblings are so weird. :) 

\\Reading//  2 books at the moment: Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day by Doug Mack and The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher. Enjoying both so far!

 


\\Eating//  Mentos... the Freshmaker!

\\Loving//  SnapChat. I'm obsessed now. Thanks to my friend Becca for this new addiction. ;) {add me on SnapChat: mychaoticlife1}

\\Missing// "well, I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob." Haha. But seriously, missing those old school cult classic movies. They're few and far between these days.

\\Looking forward to//  NYC! Again. It's seriously my favorite place. Squeeee. And also looking forward to April for National Poetry Month. It's gonna get sooooo poetic around these parts, haha. 

\\Thinking about// this post by The FREE and WILD Blog. ALL the feels. Still get teary thinking about it. 

\\Hoping// for a fresh start and a new chapter. Let's do this!

\\Searching for//  more pen pals. I love writing letters. Hit me up if you want to be pals. :)


What are you currently doing? 



Other posts you may be interested in: 
-Virtually Yours {do you need a Virtual Assistant? This post is for YOU!}

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What to Do When You've Fallen Out of Love With Yourself



Do you ever feel like you've fallen out of love with yourself? Like all of your critics are exactly right - you ARE {insert unflattering word here}. Unmotivated? Unfit? Not "serious" enough? Not "accomplished" enough? I think many of us have been there at some point or another. When you start feeling this way, stop and try these 7 things to rediscover something you've known all along - you're pretty damn awesome! 

(1)  Silence... everything.  
Your phone. Toxic friendships. The TV. Sit and just listen to your thoughts. What's bothering you? What is one thing you can do today to cheer yourself up? Or maybe yoga or meditation is more up your alley. Tune out the noise and reconnect with yourself. 


(2)  Journal.  
This one is my personal favorite. Sometimes it's easier to write the words/thoughts that you can't say out loud. Sometimes all it takes to open up the floodgates is that very first sentence: "Lately I've been feeling...." 


(3)  Travel.  
You don't have to have buckets of money to do this one. You hear people say this all the time - be a tourist in your own town. Go check out that coffee shop you've been meaning to try. Go to that park you used to love when you were little. Camp in your backyard. Or if you do have the dinero, take a solo road trip or flight to somewhere you've never been. Sometimes a change of scenery helps us to process our thoughts and helps us appreciate ourselves and our situations back home that much more. 


(4)  Make a list of everything that you love about yourself. 
Your eyes, your sense of humor, your big heart, your kick-ass cooking skills. Don't sell yourself short. You've got SO much going for you. 


(5)  Ask your friends/partner/family what they love about you.  
Sometimes we just can't see ourselves clearly. 


(6)  Treat yourself.  
Go get that pedicure you've been postponing. Binge watch House of Cards (or whatever show is your fave). Go out to dinner with friends and spend a couple of hours chatting and catching up - along with dessert and/or wine of course. Or, if you're nerdy like me, get that book/journal/pretty pen set that's been on your wishlist forever. 


(7)  Take selfies. A lot of them.  
This one might sound silly, but it's one of my faves. You don't have to post them anywhere. But just let your goof flag fly. Make faces. Be sultry. Add weird filters or props. The point is - just have fun and make yourself laugh! 


Love yo'self. You're the you-est you there is. :) 





Don't forget about ABC Reads! It's an alphabet reading challenge and our next link up will be March 31st. It's never too late to join us! Come share what letters you've checked off. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Virtually Yours



Do you ever find yourself thinking, "I could really use a personal assistant" ? Someone to do those little pesky things for you that take up precious time you could use to do something else? Maybe you're a business owner and don't want to get bogged down with small tasks, so you can focus on the big picture. Maybe you work full-time and just need someone to take care of things that you don't want to worry about while you're working.  

If any of the above resonates with you, then I think we can help each other. I'm ready to take on 2 clients and provide virtual assistant services. The first person to sign on will receive these services for FREE. The second person to sign on will receive these services for a small fee of $8.99 per month. 

That's a steal! Why so low, you ask? It all comes down to work ethic. I take pride in my work and know that I can be an asset to clients who need peace of mind and more work/life balance. I'd eventually like to take this on full-time, but I know that it takes time and patience and building a portfolio of happy customers. 

So, if you are someone who needs any of the services below, please get in touch with me! Or if you know someone who could really use some help, please share this post with them. I'd be eternally grateful. And finally, if the services you need aren't listed, contact me anyway and let's see what we can work out. 

  • Scheduling blog posts
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Editing/proofreading
  • Research
  • Digital file organization
  • Reaching out to customers / employees / vendors / contributors
  • Scheduling meetings or appointments
  • Email inbox management
  • Obtaining quotes
  • Time/calendar management
  • AND MORE! Let's chat!

If you're interested or have any questions, please feel free to email me at mia{at}thechroniclesofchaos{dot}com.

Thank you! 


Friday, March 11, 2016

Read All About It: The Hereafter {Cover Reveal}



I am sooo excited to share with you guys today the cover reveal for The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher. Jessica is a fellow blogger and bookworm and I've enjoyed following along with her. The Hereafter will be available on March 18th! Check out the beautiful cover reveal: 

Cover design by Fran of FreeBorboleta

Here's a synopsis of the book:

Nin has no recollection of her death. 

The things she does remember, like her cruel boyfriend, troubled father, and absent mother, she’d like to forget. 

Dylan doesn’t need to remember his death to know that he deserved it. Who needs memories when you have the scars? 

Sparks ignite when the two, very different, strangers meet. Together they spend one endless summer exploring their new world. Suddenly, their after-lives hold more possibility and promise than their tragic teenage lives ever did.

But no dream lasts forever, and all too soon, harmful memories from their pasts emerge and threaten to tear them apart.  Given the chance to change their fates, Nin and Dylan must decide-- life or love.

Weaving through past and present and alternating perspectives, The Hereafter is an emotional journey about young love and second chances.


The Hereafter
Jessica Bucher
Available March 18, 2016


-Click here to add this book to your "Want to Read" shelf on Goodreads 
-Click here to sign up for the newsletter and receive important updates

I'm so excited, I can't wait to read the book! :) Hope you guys check it out, too. Jessica is good peoples. 



*Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.






Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Unwritten


I was listening to Pandora the other day and "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield came on. I hadn't heard the song for awhile and I forgot how much I love it. Let me refresh your memory as well: 

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I love that - the rest is still unwritten. Here we all are just stressing about things that need to happen, things that shouldn't happen, things that we can't change. But life just happens. Nobody's book has all the pages filled out the day they are born. Even those of us who have checked off a bunch of milestones still have plenty of blank pages in our future.  

I used to worry about stuff like that all the time. When can I do xyz? When will I have abc? Why, how, where, when, who? Did stressing about it help at all? No. Did it change anything? No. It probably just added some wrinkles, gray hairs, and sleepless nights - all things I could do without. 

I still worry about it to a certain extent. But I think I've finally reached a point where I'd rather have peace of mind. Where I'd rather just see what happens instead of try to come up with 1,000 possible scenarios that don't even come close to the reality. 

Sometimes you just have to let go and see what happens. Put your pen down. Take your bookmark out. Let the pages fall where they may. 

Let's celebrate our unwritten pages. You with me? 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Confession Session (March)



I confess that I did it - I shaved my head on my birthday for St. Baldrick's! I'm so grateful to everyone who donated to and shared my fundraiser to support childhood cancer research. I appreciate your support! I'll be sharing more on this story soon. Until then, here's what I look like now: 



I confess that I underestimated how cold my head would get. The wind blows and I feel like I'm in the Arctic tundra. Brrr. Give me ALL the hats. 


I confess that I had a great time hanging out with my friend Becca for my birthday weekend. She gets me. 


I confess that House of Cards is totally my jam right now. Frank is ridiculous and evil and awesome all at the same time. But um, can we talk about how my boyfriend Joel Kinnaman is on the show this season? Hey boy, heyyyyy.


I confess that I have been feeling the urge to write more poetry. So, maybe I'll just go ahead and do that, mmkayy? 


I confess that Avril Lavigne just came on my Pandora. "Here's to Never Growing Up" is my new theme song.  


What do YOU confess? 


P.S. Here are my confessions from last month. Ciao! 





Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Married My High School Sweetheart



It all started with a honeybun. You know those ones they sell at high school cafeterias? He was on the wrestling team and was trying to make weight, so I’d always see him eating those gross, sticky honeybuns. We were in the same chemistry class and he kept getting up and walking by my desk to throw away his honeybun wrappers in the trash can. He was super cute, but we didn’t really know each other nor have the same group of friends, so we never spoke. I was your stereotypical, painfully shy introvert, but the more he walked by, the more he was on my radar. 

To read more about how I married my high school sweetheart, head on over to the full post at the Holl & Lane Magazine blog





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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Seven Words



I read this quote from Khalil Gibran not too long ago: 

"We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words."

And I freakin' love that quote. There's so much noise, so many words. so much mindless chatter about stupid, meaningless things out there. The news, politics, reality shows/celebrity gossip. It's just all auditory vomit. 

So, I thought, if I could describe myself or my life in just seven words, what would I say? 

I don't know, that's really !@#$ing hard. Seven words?! That's not enough, right? Give me at least a couple of sentences to work with, Gibran, sheesh. But I thought about it for a long time. And here's what I came up with: 

I feel so much, yet not enough. 


You're probably thinking, what does that even mean, Mia??? It means that I internalize so much and feel everything that I end up making myself numb to where I don't want to and can't feel anything at all. It means that as much as I want to change things - in our country, in our world - I'm just one person and the futility of it all saddens me more than I can describe. You can't change what doesn't want to change. You can't make people care. You can't unite when people thrive in the divide. 

Color me disillusioned and disappointed. On most days anyway. 


Anyway, those are my seven words. What are YOUR seven words? 






P.S. Did you snag your copy of Issue 6 of Holl & Lane Magazine? It's only 2.99. And you, my delightful blog readers, can get 15% off the issue with the discount code below. Don't miss out, purchase your copy today!

If you prefer to browse before you buy, here's a preview of the issue