Monday, March 31, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares- Review

I've been a fan of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and movies by Ann Brashares ever since high school. Just this past year I listened to the conclusion of the series as an audio book and still felt just as attached to the characters as I had when I first read the book and saw the movie. When I had the opportunity to read Brashares newest book before it was released in stores, I jumped at the chance.

The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares

Basic Summary Without Spoilers


Prenna is a 17-year old girl living in present day New York. However, she is not from here. She, along with everyone else in her Community, are from the future and immigrated to the year 2010 when she was 12 because they were escaping a plague which covered the earth via mosquitoes. The Community has incredibly strict rules where they cannot go to doctors, not interfering with the outside world, and of course - not falling in love with one of the "natives" of the time they are living in. Which, naturally, is a problem for Prenna and her "native" friend Ethan. However, they both end up knowing more than they should and go to prevent what has already happened in Prenna's past/what will happen in Ethan's future.

Welcome to the world of time travel everyone.

My Thoughts

The Cover: Honestly, nothing special. When you look carefully you can kind of see little scenes in the triangles, but even after reading the book these scenes don't mean much. Knowing it is an Ann Brashares novel is the most the cover has going for it.

The Premise: The idea of this book was really interesting. It was a bit of a different view of time travel and what the future will bring in the next generation or so. Many novels which deal with the future lean towards technology, media, and social issues. This novel goes toward the angle of global warming and it's long-term effects on the world. It was definitely not a view I would have thought of so I found it interesting. There also wasn't a whole lot of time travel itself in the novel. There was only one instance in the very beginning and everything else was simply a result of that instance. However, I did feel as though the plot was pretty loose and I didn't completely understand all of the ramifications of Premma and Ethan's actions through the story. It gets confusing trying to figure out why some things changed int he end but other didn't and why some people remembered things and others didn't...

But then you have to remember it is time travel. With most stories about time travel, you will never 100% understand everything that has happened and it's results.

Any Doctor Who fan is very familiar with this.

I couldn't have said it better myself, Doctor.
The Characters: There honestly weren't a ton of characters in this story, which is nice every once in a while because having too many characters gets confusing. Most of the time is spent with Preena and Ethan. I enjoyed them very much. They were likable and determined. Yet, they weren't very complex. We learn a bit about their past, but it was more about their families vs. the main characters themselves.

The World: I covered some of this in the premise, but it was an interesting world. Of course, most of it was spent in 2014, so it was very familiar. But it was interesting to read about the supposed history of 2014 until the 2090s.

The Love Story: Adorable. It's young first love and very sweet. They talk about sex a lot, but that'll happen when the guy is 18 years old and it does actually have to do with the plot, so it's tolerable. There were also times I was very much "Awww this is so cute. Wait! Shouldn't they be planning what their next move is in saving the world? Oh well. This scene was adorable. They'll figure it out later."

Overall Thoughts: This book was cute, interesting, and read very quickly. I enjoyed the love story and seeing another view of what the world might be like in the next generation or so. However, I felt as though Brashares could have gone deeper with the characters and the plot. The world and premise was great, but there could have been so much more. Yes, it's wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey, but I still feel as though there needed to be more plot and make a bit more sense.

I gave it 3 stars because I did like it, but there could have been more.

The book comes out April 8 and you can pre-order it via the links below.

Barnes and Noble

Friday, March 28, 2014

For I Know The Plans I Have For You... Maybe

I can't help but notice we (as in people in general, but particularly my age group) spend a lot of time wondering about the future. Making plans, wondering where we're heading, and what's God's plans are for our lives.

It's natural for us to think about such things when everything seems so up in the air. Fore me, it's because I quit my job, moved back in with my parents, and generally trying to figure out what's next in life. It's not just me though. I have friends and family searching for new jobs, getting married, having kids, changing majors and schools, and also trying to see what is coming up next.

In conversation, talk about "God's plans" comes up a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me "God has a plan" over the last several months. Although I can't blame them. I heard myself say that to a friend just the other day and then apologized to her for saying something so cliche.

It came up in a conversation with my mom this week. She is very much in the mindset in which God's plan is for us to be with him in heaven. Period.

Which I agree with. God's ultimate and big plans all point to Jesus and his sacrifice and resurrection so we could go to heaven. It's awesome and it's above and beyond what we need.

Yet... I can't help but wonder... "That's his only plan? Everything else in our lives he's just like 'whatevs'?" Not that he doesn't care, but he doesn't have any other plans for people at all? He knows what will happen in our lives (you know... being omniscient and all) but does that mean he didn't plan it and only knows it?

What about the people in the Bible whom God told "Go do this" or "Go to this place" or "Say this"? Wouldn't that mean God had a plan for them? Or was it just something God told them and if they had said no he would have simply moved onto someone else and the people in the Bible are just those who did say yes? (Does that make any sense?)

Maybe God has a plan for some people but not for all. That doesn't seem right either though. Would he really be that selective?

On the other hand though, I feel like we do get too wrapped up in wondering "What is God's plan for my life?". It's as though there is just ONE THING God really wants for us to do. Or we need some big sign from him to point us in a certain direction. Then we sit around around wait for him to talk to us.

A friend of mine and I were discussing this a few weeks ago and he said he feels like God sometimes is telling "Go. Just go."

Because when we have decisions to make outside of moral issues, are we worrying too much about which one God wants? Think about it. Take jobs for example. Picking between one job or the other isn't a moral issue. Both might be just as good as the other. (Unless it's like selling meth or murdering puppies something...) More than likely we aren't going to get a big sign, or even a tiny whisper, from God saying which one to do. We just have to do it and know he'll be by our side the whole time.

This isn't just about careers and jobs though. It's about relationships and where we live and how we live our day to day lives. Maybe there isn't "the one" person God has in mind for you. Or maybe there is. Maybe there isn't a specific university we should attend. Maybe there isn't a certain plan we need to live. Maybe there isn't a one path in life we need to follow.

Or maybe there are certain ones we need to follow and people we need to have relationships with and jobs we need to take because God knows it's what we need. Maybe we simply don't need to know the end result or even how it all comes together in the end.

Jesus said he came so we may have life and have it to the full.

Some people interpret that as eternal life in heaven, which is true. But what about life here? Should we only be focusing on heaven? But then what happens to things here on earth?

The verse from Jeremiah about "I know the plans I have for you..." gets thrown around a lot. I always can't help but notice the word in that phrase is "plans" - with an "s." As in plural. There isn't just one. Yet... he also was talking to the people of Israel in this passage. Are we all just taking it out of context so we can feel better about our own lives?

I'm not really sure. What do you all think?

Simple Moments Stick

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Manifesto- Part 2: I Want To Live in a World...

Last week, I shared with you all what I believe as the first part of my manifesto. (You can read it here.) Today, I'll share with you the next part.

Finish this sentence:

I want to live in a world where...

Download / By Chris Liu-Beers

- I can have time to keep in touch with the people I care about
- I'm busy
- I'm filled with creativity
- I'm interacting with others and meeting new people
- Bandit is there
- I'm in love
- I can travel
- Stories and books are welcome
- People are helping and caring for one another
- Grace abounds

It's a short post for today, but I honestly feel like that pretty much covers it. 

What kind of a world do you want to live in?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Perks of Being a Bridesmaid

Ever since graduating college, I've gone to my fair share of weddings. It's one of the side effects of going to a small Lutheran university. Everyone gets married right away. However, I've only actually been in a few of these weddings. Two to be exact. However, most of the weddings I've attended I have somehow always ended up being the "helper girl." Getting tables set up, organizing programs, running the guest book, steaming the dress, running errands for the bridal party while they are getting ready, etc.

I feel as though most of the time, being a bridesmaid, or going to weddings in general, get a bad rap. Thank you 27 Dresses and Bridesmaids.

Thankfully, I've never had to do this.
Although it's understandable why some people hate weddings and being in weddings. You might not like the dress you can't afford, the music isn't always great, cheesy games and traditions, bridezillas, having to find a date, etc. I understand the pain!

However, I am now officially in my third wedding this year. My sister is getting married in September and as maid of honor, I feel as though we need to see the other side of the story.

I present to you, the perks of being a bridesmaid.

You don't have to pick out a dress to wear. 
Yes, the bride picks your dress. Usually. (Once I got to pick my own and it was fabulous!) No, you might not be able to afford it. However, depending on the bride they will still put your feelings into consideration and wants to be sure everyone looks good. You also don't have to stand in front of your closet or go from store to store trying to find something to wear.

You have an automatic group of people to hang out with.
Most of the weddings I have gone to are college friends, so it's like a school reunion. However, there have been times when I haven't known anyone at the wedding. Just this past year I went to a friends wedding and I literally didn't know a single person there. I sat alone in a pew at the church and when I got to the reception there wasn't a seating chart. Therefore, I had to wander around looking for someone nice enough to let a stranger sit with them. It was like being a freshman on the first day of high school looking for a table in the cafeteria all over again.

When you are in the bridal party - you don't have to have that sort of experience! You know where you're sitting! You know who you're hanging out with! It's like sitting at the plastics table. You're with the cool kids. People know who you are (or at least know you're important). Heck, some people might even want to be you.

Your social calendar fills up quickly.
Between showers, bachelorette parties, get-togethers with the other bridesmaids, fittings, and helping the bride with plans, your calendar will fill up in no time!

Sometimes, you actually have a say in what happens at the wedding.
Now, ultimately it is up to the bride and groom (sometimes) what happens at the wedding. However, if you have a bride who really wants help and other opinions, who is she going to go to? Her bridesmaids of course! I've been able to give my opinion to my sister on several things about her upcoming wedding, and my friend Julie wished I was up in Chicago when she got married so I could have helped with the planning more. What other guest gets to have that privilege? NONE.

You also can help with other things like the shower and the bachelorette party. Don't like some of the games people usually play at showers? You can actually share your opinion and plan what you will be doing! Have a great idea for what to do for the bride for her last night of single girl freedom? You can do it!

You get to spend time with the bride.
Seriously. Some of the weddings I've just attended and not been in or helped with, I hardly see the bride and groom. They come and greet me for a few minutes here and there, but nothing significant. When you are in the bridal party, you can actually hang out with the bride and groom on their special day. When I was in my friend Stacey's wedding, our hotel room (my friends and I) was right across the hall from hers. She even stopped by the morning after to hang out for a bit. That never would have happened if we weren't bridesmaids. When my friend Julie got married, I loved being able to be in the limo with her to help her calm down before the ceremony and to be one of the first to see her in her dress. It was just so much fun to be there with them through everything from start to finish.

It's an excuse to get pampered and dressed up.
I don't know about you, but I love to dress up in a pretty dress and go all out. When Julie got married we didn't all get ready together, but my sister and I took the opportunity to go out and get manis and pedis the morning of. When my friend Bri got married, I wasn't in the wedding, but they did invite me to go with them to the nail salon to get my nails done too. At Stacey's wedding, she had professionals come to the hotel and we all got ready in the room together and had people do our hair and makeup. Then, most of the time, when you are getting ready you'll have a ton of finger food and drinks to munch on until the reception. At Stacey's wedding, we drank mimosas all morning.

Which brings me to my next point.

Hello! A lot of weddings have open bars! Or as I said before, at Stacey's wedding we drank mimosas all day. It was fabulous.

The gift.
Most brides give their bridesmaids a gift for being in their wedding and a lot of them want those in the party to feel special. Because they/you are special! The gifts I've been given for being a bridesmaid have always been wonderful and things I actually enjoy and use.

It shows you are important to them.
Think about it. The bride wants YOU there at her wedding. She wants YOU to be there by her side through it all. I mean, even if you aren't the type of girl who daydreams about her wedding all of the time, most of us have at least thought about who we would want as bridesmaids if that day does come someday. Who do you want to be there?

They are the people you're closest to, right? I don't know about you, but when I'm asked to be in a wedding or to help out in some day, I feel special. I feel loved. It's awesome to be able to be there with my friend (or family member) to help them and be by their side on one of the most special days of their lives.

So enjoy it. Put on that overly expensive dress you'll probably never wear again. Deal with yet another cheesy wedding shower game. Then drink your mimosa, put on your dancing shoes, and have fun with it!

Have you all been in weddings? What are some of the perks you've had?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dreams and Doubts

Today for The Broke and The Bookish's 10 on Tuesday link up, we're talking about our bookish bucket list.

There are several goals I have when it comes to anything that has to do with reading and books. I want to meet authors (especially JK Rowling!), actually finish Les Miserables one of these days, read Anna Karennina, have a huge library in my home someday, etc. However, there are only a couple which really matter to me.

One of them really isn't a secret. If you've been following my blog for awhile, you can probably guess it.

I want to publish one of my novels. Or more. And the "old fashioned" way too where a publisher picks it up and it goes to bookstores and there are legitimate reviews and such of it. Yes, if I can't get a publisher I'll go for the self-publishing route. But, the "traditional" route appeals to me more. I know it's still not a guarantee my book would be a best seller or anything, but that's okay. Maybe it's because I want the validation of someone else reading my story and saying "Yes, this needs to be out there." Or I'm just old fashioned. Who knows.

But I keep getting in the way of myself. I see my writer friends online finishing novel after novel and I become envious (for no reason at all, really) and I think I'll never be as good as they are so why bother? Or I start an idea and I'm so excited for it, but after awhile I doubt myself, my writing, and my creativity, and want to give up. Then other times I let other things (like moving and quitting my job) get in the way of writing and my shiny, new, awesome, idea from November for NaNoWriMo gets thrown to the back burner.

Yet, the dream is still there. It's always been there. When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a full-time writer. I toss the idea around sometimes, thinking maybe I could be an awesome freelance writer like Carrie Bradshaw and strut around the city like I own it. However, I'm not sure if I have the self-discipline to do so. The flexibility of schedule would be fantastic, but realistically, I don't think this is what I want.

Unless I become like JK Rowling where I write one book series and I'm set for life. In that case, being only a writer would be fantastic.

However... I need some more realistic expectations.

Besides, I don't want to write only because it helps me to make money. I want to write because I have a story to share.

Then, there's another goal. It's more of a daydream though, and I still go back and forth debating if it's something I actually want to go after.

It came up in conversation yesterday with my sister and a friend of hers. We were sitting in the friend's living room watching Disney movies and I mentioned how I applied for a position at a local library. Several people have told me I would do well in libraries because of my love of books. I agree, but I admitted I'm not sure if I can see it in the long term. I think the quiet would bother me too much.

Instead, I could see myself running a coffee shop/bookstore. A cozy little place where there's more noise, cushy chairs and lamps, books scattered all over the place, and open mic nights. There could even be discounts to writers during NaNoWriMo. A few of my friends and I sometimes daydream about doing something like this. I have one friend who is a barista and she could handle the coffee. Another friend is a fantastic baker and would do the food. Another works with PR and communications and could be in charge of that. Another friend does graphic design and would make all of the menus and signs and such. I even have another friend who knows business and accounting. Where I would fit in the picture, I'm not quite sure since I know nothing about running a business or anything. Maybe I would handle the books or something.
The friend I was talking to yesterday said I should go for it. I told her how I know nothing about business, have never worked at a bookstore or a coffee shop, and I have no money to do this anyways. She didn't care. She still said I should go for it someday.

But I'm still not sure. I love the romanticized dream of this, but the reality? I'm not so sure. In the world where we wonder if even the big stores like Barnes and Noble will survive, would it be smart to open an independent book store? Then what about other things I want to do like traveling, being part of a theatre group, living in NYC for a year or two, and everything else - would I still be able to do those things?

Yet, it's still fun to dream and think about. Who knows what will happen in the future, right?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stolen Songbird Book Review

It's book review time! Since I'm really excited to share this book with everyone, let's get right to it, shall we?

Stolen Songbird
The Malediction Trilogy #1
Danielle L. Jensen


Summary Without Spoilers

Cecile is a teenage country girl who is on her way to the city to live with her mother to become a world-class singer. However, on her way she is kidnapped and sold to trolls, whom, until this point, she thought were just a fairy tale. They believe if she is married to their prince, Tristan, a 500 year old curse will be broken. If you click on the photo of the cover above, you'll be sent to the Goodreads page where you can get a more detailed summary.

My Thoughts

The Cover: At first I wasn't crazy impressed with the cover. A headless torso of a girl on the cover of a YA book is overdone. However, they did a great job of tying in the cover with the story. She wears a green dress for the wedding, the glass rose has significance, and the background gives a great image of what Trollus (the underground world of the trolls) looks like.

The Premise: The idea isn't very unique, let's be honest. Being thrown into a world you don't know and you end up being the "chosen one" or something. It also reminded me a bit of Beauty and the Beast. However, this premise kind of goes along with the territory of the fantasy genre. So if you aren't into that sort of thing, then maybe this isn't the genre for you.
There were also some political and social issues in the world of Trollus which are discovered through the story that made it very relate-able to our world. However, some of these social issues and such seem to been popular in novels - especially YA Fantasty/Science-Fiction - right now, so I could kind of see where it was going. This didn't bother me much, however.

The Characters: I loved them! Cecile was strong and determined but also compassionate. She fights to escape Trollus but learns to love those around her and makes her own choices. Her character isn't super unique, you could probably find her in other books as well. However, she's still loveable. I also really enjoyed Tristan. At first Cecile thought he was arrogant, which I guess he was, but I thought he was hilarious right away. He also has some interesting twists to his character which brought him some depth. He was my favorite in the story. The supporting characters were great too and made things interesting.

The World: So cool! I loved the underground world of Trollus with the mines and caves and gardens. Unless it's the movie Frozen, trolls aren't done in pop culture very often unless they are the villain, so this was fun to read about. It made this novel a bit more unique.
What did bother me is how I felt like trolls were a bit too much like humans. They looked a lot like humans, which is fine because then you're not going much into the "gross that seems like beastiality" when you get to the love story. Yet, they didn't seem "troll-like" enough, if that makes sense. Personality-wise I could see it, but not always. Especially Tristan. He was basically just a super good looking human. The story sometimes reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, except the beast was really attractive according to human standards. Not all of the trolls were this way, but some were and it bothered me. Not enough for me to not enjoy the book though.

The Love Story: Super cute! It's wasn't quite "insta-love" the way other fantasy/YA novels are, which is really refreshing. (There was a little, but not the way others are.) There also wasn't a love triangle. There was a slight hint of one, and I can see where in future novels there could be one, but I'm hoping the author doesn't take that route. Cecile really had to grow into her feelings for Tristan and she also had some big choices to make in regards to her relationship with him. I, however, loved Tristan right away.

Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I loved the world, the trolls, the love story, and it kept my interest the whole time. The day I finished it I read well over 100 pages because I couldn't put it down. It was very fairy tale-esque and it was a cool twist because of the trolls and some of the political/social issues thrown in. However, some of it was a bit predictable and not outrageously unique. (But what is, really?) Yet, these things didn't bother me much but does prevent this book from getting a full five stars.

I'm giving it 4 stars - and I can't wait for the next one in this trilogy!

If you like fairy tales/fantasy, young adult, and romance, you'll enjoy this book! It comes out APRIL 1st! Click the links below if you would like to pre-order it.

Barnes and Noble

If you would like to see all of my reading adventures, you can add me on Goodreads.

Note: I received Stolen Songbird as an eARC book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm also linking up with Meg for Mingle Monday today! You can link up here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Quotes are beautiful things.  I often find when I’m in a place of mental or emotional state that is difficult to explain to my best friend, or even myself that somewhere out there is a quote from someone that seems to accurately describe what I am unable to put into words myself.

One of the best quotes I’ve come across recently has been one that has opened my eyes to see things differently.  This quote talks about fear and the different kind we’re faced with constantly mentions something that I’m particularly fantastic at doing, procrastination.

“A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. “Never leave that till tomorrow”, he said, “Which you could do today.” This is the man who discovered electricity. You’d think more of us would listen to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you’re wrong? What if you make a mistake you can’t undo? Whatever it is we’re afraid of, one thing holds true: that by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we’re carrying around a giant tumor.”
Meredith Grey - 'If Tomorrow Never Comes'
(Grey’s Anatomy: Season 1, Episode 6)

As much as I’d like to say that I’ve been living fearlessly the last couple of months this quote has told me otherwise.  Just last week I was struck with a terrible funk.  One of those things where there’s nothing I want to do except sleep, wander aimlessly around the internets and watch TV.  Absolutely nothing productive comes out of me when I’m in this funk.  It’s like my entire body shuts down and I can’t function.

Fear of failure.

Fear of pain.

Fear of rejection.

I’ve been in this funk many times before and I realized what was happening by day three.  It might have been all of the recorded TV shows I managed to work my way through or the amount of dust that I see start forming on top of my textbooks as they lay untouched; I knew.  In one of my long sessions of wandering the internets I found myself on Tumblr looking at gifs and quotes from Grey’s Anatomy and when I found this particular quote, it started to all make sense.


These funks I’ve been in before have been a reaction of fear.  There’s the fear of failing that’s constantly lingering in my head whether it be failing that civics exam in senior year or failing at being sociable at the homecoming football game where we defeated the college we had been waiting weeks to play.  The fear of rejection has always went hand in hand with the fear of failing though I would like to think I’ve some what overcome the rejection thoughts in my head.  By far the one that will always shut me down in a heartbeat is the fear of pain.
The most powerful part of this quote is the ending bit. "Whatever it is we're afraid of, one thing holds true: that by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we're carrying around a giant tumor."
In the past when I’ve entered these funks it would take me weeks and occasionally months to get out of it. The time that passed while I was in this funk made everything pile up and when I did get out of the funk I was faced with a huge mountain to take care of because I had shut down for so long. There was a point in high school where I was so behind on school work I was being told that I wasn’t going to graduate.  Being told that made things even worse and had it not been for one teacher to sit me down and break down the barrier and tell me I could do it I probably would have let that mountain win.

big_mountain_hires.jpg I’m thinking that my idea of “fearless” needs to be changed.  Instead of thinking of fearlessness as not letting any fear affect my actions and mentality, fearlessness should be recognizing my fears and working at overcoming them to make myself a better person.  I can be brave, courageous, ballsy, spunky or whatever adjectives that describe fearlessness; I can be all those things while facing my fears. Deep down inside I don’t think any of us are completely fearless.

What do you think it means to be fearless?

Jess is Kansas born and raised who has no shame calling “glitter” a color.  As a hospitality student Jess believes a smile can change a person’s day and can be found rambling on her blog, Procrastination Ramblings while also pinning her life away on Pinterest.  Feel free to contact Jess by e-mailing her at

Want to sponsor and/or do a guest post? Check out my Work With Me page and/or email me at

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Manifesto- Part 1: I Believe

All year, I have been getting Cake For Breakfast. Each Monday I receive an email with a writing prompt which is supposed to help me figure out what I want in life, how I view the world, etc. It's been pretty awesome and I've really been enjoying writing out all of my thoughts.

This week, the prompt was a bit different and it caused me to think a lot more than I have in the past. We were supposed to write a manifesto.

According to the Merriam-Webster website, a manifesto is "a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group."

Ashley, (the creator of Cake for Breakfast) had us write our manifesto in five parts.
1) I Believe
2) I Want to Live in a World...
3) Here's What I Know for Sure...
4) Your piece of advice you want to share with the world.
5) A one sentence mini-manifesto.

Usually, the writing prompts have just a couple of questions and take about ten minutes to complete. This week... I have a lot to think about and I'll probably be working on it all week. However, I did get started on the "I Believe" part, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Although, I will admit, as I was writing this I totally felt like Elder Price and was singing the song "I Believe" in my head the entire time. Even thought I'm not a Mormon.

If you have no idea what song I'm talking about, it's from the musical The Book of Mormon and you can see the Tony performance by clicking here.


... Jesus gives unconditional love, grace, mercy, freedom, and new beginnings every day

... family is a gift

... family can extend beyond blood

... stories can tell the truth and expand our imagination

... the arts feed us just as much as food

... in puppy and kitty kisses

... in laughter

... in tears measuring life in love

... loving God means loving others

... in snow days

... in coffee shops

... in being kind to those who serve (ex. your waiter)

... Internet friends can be just as close as "real life" friends

... in taking a day off

... in changing your life when the time comes

... in being honest

... in traveling

... in expanding your horizons and getting out of your comfort zone

... sometimes you just have to let it go

... in romance

... in learning new things

... sometimes it's okay to just stay at home and watch TV/Netflix with family and a good book

... in fairy tales, even if they look different than we first imagine

...  sometimes life is hard, but that doesn't meant it's not beautiful

... in faith and hope and trust

... we are all broken, but loved.

What do you believe?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Am I An Introvert?

Another weekend has come and gone. St. Patricks weekend in fact - a major holiday here in the Chicagoland area. Particularly here on the South side.

In true Chicago fashion, there was a large array of events I could go to. There were at least two parades, watching the Chicago river turn green, and I was invited to two parties for Saturday night. Both of these parties I really wanted to go to. One was hosted by my sister's friends. I don't know them extremely well, but they are really fun and I know my sister wants me to get to know them better. The other one was hosted by a friend of mine from college, but it was a little bit further away. A friend of mine from high school had made plans to have a Sex and the City marathon on Saturday, so I invited her to come with me to the one my sister's friends were hosting. That way, I was closer to home and I would have at least one friend by my side in case the party went sour.

She and I hung out, watched Carrie and her friends have misadventures with the men of New York, made commentary about the 90's fashion, and had a good time. After, we went to dinner and I had a fantastic margarita. Having a more Mexican drink might be strange for an Irish holiday - but I feel like as there was some sort of alcohol it's okay.

By the time we were done it was time to party it up. However... as we drove back to my house we both complained about how tired we were, then ultimately decided to call it a night.


Although in my defense, I think I'm coming down with a cold. All day Sunday I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was take a nap.

Yet, I can't help but find it strange I decided to turn down two parties so I could stay at home and watch a BBC show with my mom. I love socializing! I love people! I love making new friends!

But lately, when I have the opportunity to go out and do something, I back out. I'm tired. I don't feel like driving that far. I need to be up early the next morning. An excuse always seems to be ready for me to use.

What is up with me? I become sad when I feel as though I don't do anything and I don't have many friends. I talk about wanting to do new things and meet new people and experience life. Yet, more often than not I end up at home with a book and a TV show to watch even when I have the opportunity to go out.

This is my usual view. My dog, laptop, book, iPad, TV show. The one on the screen right now is Game of Thrones.
It completely baffles me. This isn't the person I always claim to be. Don't get me wrong - I love reading and BBC movies and TV shows. (Obviously.) However, I also genuinely enjoy being out of the house and seeing people.

So why don't I do it?

The next morning, a close friend who was in town for the weekend and I met up for coffee before church and I lamented to her about this problem. She told me "Maybe you should come out as an introvert. You should take the Meyers-Briggs test again."

A what?

No. No. Me? An introvert? No way.

I do get my energy from people. I love seeing people and being in a crowd. When I went to New York my favorite place was Times Square.

Now, I know there is more introvert to me than most people realize. Years ago when I took the official Meyers Briggs personality test and I saw the details of my results, while I am an extrovert, there are times I'm pretty borderline. Which made sense to me. However... being a homebody has never been a way I have described myself. Yet... here I am.

(For the record- there is nothing wrong with introverted-ness and staying at home. It's just never been me.)

Have I changed though? Do I need to start seeing myself differently?

Part of what I think my problem is, is that when living in Missouri I didn't have a whole lot of friends. Therefore, I spent a lot of time at home by myself. Therefore, I'm just in the habit of it and in a rut now.

But is that really it? Am I just gradually weaning myself away from the hermit-esque lifestyle I had been living?

Or am I just thinking far too much about this and need to get over it?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Different Bloggers, Different Faiths

Tash, over at One Broke Girl, is hosting Different Bloggers, Different Faiths every Friday up until Easter. Basically, each week features a different blogger and they answer questions about their faith. My turn is today! 

Head on over to her blog to check it out ( and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The 5 Stages of Winter

There hasn't been a more appropriate winter than this one for the movie Frozen to have come out in theatres. (And DVD next week AND it's already on iTunes!!!!) In all honesty, it has made this long, cold, and snowy winter bearable. I just keep reminding myself that it's Elsa letting go and having fun with her powers. I can be on board with that. I also read the book Winters Tale which was basically 700+ pages of talking about how magical and romantic winter can be. So... it's been find with me for the most part.

However... we all have to admit this Polar Vortex we've been in since Christmas is a bit ridiculous. I mean... there has only been one state in all of the USA that hasn't had some form of snow. (I'm giving Florida the evil eye right now.) I've found everyone has had a mixture of reactions and gone through a few somewhat familiar phases with their feelings about winter.

"We're Chicago people! This is nothing! It's just a cold spell and we'll be fine. Just put on a hat. Whatever. Toughen up son!"


Well... at least it's pretty to look at. The first day. Maybe this will mean we'll have a good spring and summer. Besides, it's January. We can deal with January. By the time March comes we'll have spring again if we behave and deal with it now.

Spring will never come. It's the middle of March and we just got several inches of more snow and ice. It's eternal winter and I give up. Just let me hide in my house under the blankets in the darkness for the rest of eternity and drown in my tears and hot chocolate.

Yup. It's winter. A lot of snow. But... that's how it is. Heck, it even snows in April sometimes here in Chicago. This is just the reality of living here. Spring and summer will come eventually in their own time, and when it gets outrageously hot and humid in July we'll be begging for the cold again. Besides - we can build snow men!

How have you all been dealing with eternal winter? What stage are you in?

Today's Love Sighting: 
We had a new student today who is the younger sibling of another student - and he was so excited to introduce his litter sister to everyone!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday with Tash

Hi, I’m Tash from One Broke Girl. I’m a 20 something living in Western Australia. I live in such a beautiful state, although there’s not much to do here. I live about 5 minutes drive to the beach and only 2 minutes to two excellent shopping malls (lets be practical here people – shopping matters).

When I first started out on my journey of weight loss on June 28th, 2013 all I could see was the road ahead and how far away my goal looked. Losing 116 pounds was a daunting task and I wasn't looking forward to it. However, I learnt early on to set yourself little goals and celebrate when you achieve them.

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Like in the first two weeks when I lost 4 pounds, gosh I was so excited I just had to get someone to take a photo of me. I then set myself small 10 pound increment goals. I found it really easy to look at reaching another 10 pounds than looking at my overall goal and being like, well I still have 50 pounds to lose.

I have now lost over 80 pounds. To help keep the motivation alive I take regular progress photos, I also have a F I T board on Pinterest where I go if I am lacking the inspiration to keep going.

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I’ve also started focusing on getting fit rather than losing weight. Because you can still be skinny and unfit. Working out gives me a sense of empowerment and in a way I become my own inspiration and motivation. If I can walk that 5 km then I can certainly aim for 6 km next time, or even a run.

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If you’re looking for lose weight, or get fit I suggest finding yourself a nice planner and start scheduling in your workout times like you would anything else, but don’t forget to be flexible with yourself. It’s easy to cancel a workout because you were running five minutes late and you give yourself the excuse that you already missed the start of your ‘appointment to work out’. No excuses, just do it!

If you want to hear more about my journey you should pop on over to my blog One Broke Girl or follow me on Instagram. I’d love to hear your success stories and journeys so please share!  

You can also find Tasha on the Internet on Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin!

Also, if you would like to guest post and/or be a sponsor, you can check out my Work With Me page or email me at for more information.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Difference Between Being Honest and Oversharing

Last week, I had written about 5 Things I Won't Blog About.  My first example was private family and friend business, and I felt like I should expand on this a bit more. Because there are definitely times when it's appropriate and okay to talk about what's going on in your life and with your family - but there are also times when it is not okay. I feel like this doesn't just apply to bloggers, but anyone who posts anything on the internet. Whether it's a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.

I'm a firm believer in being honest. It's okay to admit that you're not having the best day, or you're going through a hard time, or even if you had a great day or did something awesome. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, on the Internet, I feel like we over-share at times. This I feel like can be dangerous territory.

Here are some examples of what I personally feel are okay to share on the Internet, and examples of what is not okay. (Feel free to disagree with me, and there are also exceptions to every rule. Also, we're all guilty of some of these at least to an extent, including myself.)

Posting a couple of photos of you and your friends and what you did that weekend.

Updating every couple hours of what you are doing every moment of every day and then also writing out detailed re-tellings of all of your conversations and all of the juicy gossip and all of the drama your friends are going through.

Possible Solution: 
If there is a conversation or an experience you and your friends went through that might relate to something you are writing about. (Example, a bunch of dating horror stories.) If you choose to use people's real names, be sure you have their permission. If you don't, make up fake names. That way you can share funny stories and such without revealing identities of people who might not want their business public.

A family tragedy has happened and you decide to share your own personal emotions about the situation and where you are at with it.

Telling everyone about every argument your family is having about it, sharing how your mother is crying every two seconds, etc.

Possible Solution:
I feel like it's okay to talk about what you are personally going through as long as you are comfortable and you think the audience will be receptive. (You won't always have 100% of your audience receptive, so if there is negative feedback, are you ready for the backlash? Can you handle it?) It is NOT okay to share other people's grief and struggled, especially without their permission. If you really think you need to share that, be sure you talk to the other person first or have them tell it themselves. It's not your place to share other people's business.

"I'm having a rough day today."


Possible Solution:
Again, I feel like it's okay to be honest. But no one likes a complainer. We all have things we're going through in life that we don't like. If you really need to vent or need someone to talk to, do it privately. Only your Internet friends will understand? That's okay! That's what private messages, gchat, email, etc. is for. The thing is, the internet is not your journal. If you need to process something or complain through writing, get a journal. That way, even if you do decide to put something on the Internet, at least you've had a way to get the venting and complaining out, and then you can take from those writings something worthwhile to publish.

Sharing a well thought out and respectful reason why you don't agree with someone or an article you read or anything else like that.

Dissing other people in public/online. Even if it's passive-aggressive and you don't share names. In fact, sometimes that's even worse because it's annoying.

Possible Solution:
We don't always get along with everyone, and there are times we disagree. That's life. If there is a certain point someone talked about or an article you read or something which you don't agree with, you can share why you don't agree. That's okay. It's NOT okay to insult others, be disrespectful, and to sham someone in public. Again, if you need to vent, do it privately before you type something you regret. Remember- the Internet is forever. (Yes, even SnapChat.)

What are your thoughts? What are some other ways you can think of to differentiate between being honest and over-sharing? Do you agree/disagree with anything I mentioned?

Today's Love Sighting:

Everyday when I get home from work, I see my dog and my mom's dog at the window by the front door waiting. They do this for my mom too and it's so cute! They love seeing us come home! Then they nap at my feet while I blog.