Mindfulness

Count Your Blessings

Recently, I’ve been working to try to get rid of stuff. I have a tendency to be a bit of a pack rat, and I am currently trying to reduce clutter and make things a bit neater.

So far, it’s been a bit of a slow process. I would get rid of a few items here and there rather than dive in head first to do the project (any progress is better than none — am I right?).

WIth that being said, I recently began to think about something. I am extremely lucky to have the problem where I need to get rid of things. There are so many people out there who don’t have that luxury — or even have enough.

In that moment, I felt blessed. And, developed the desire to dig deeper into my closets for items that I no longer used/or that no longer fit just to help someone who is cold stay warm.

Sometimes, we often forget how lucky we really are. Whether it may be the loving family, significant other, friends that we have in our lives, or even having a roof over our heads, we are lucky. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that is often forgotten.

So, while you are stressing out about the holidays, or your job, take a step back. In that moment, think of what you are thankful for and what you are blessed to have in your life. Chances are, you’ll probably have a lot to be grateful for.

Therefore, count your blessings this holiday season. And, if you have a moment, try to go through those closets, get rid of things that you no longer use, and donate them. I’m certain that there is someone out there who will be extremely grateful for your generosity.

Book Reviews · Uncategorized

The Best Books I Read In 2018 . . . So Far!

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is drawing to a close. This year, I was blessed to be able to exceed my Goodreads reading challenge goals by reading over 60 books (my challenge was to read 52). Here are some of the highlights of this year — in no particular order:

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Chocolate Please by Lisa Lampenelli

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett

The Nerdy and The Dirty by B.T. Gotfried

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Save The Date by Morgan Matson

Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of the Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Famous In Love by Rebecca Serle

Uncategorized

Why You Need To Treat Yourself This Holiday Season

Christmastime is here, and you know what that means. You are making your list and checking it twice to figure out who was naughty or nice. However, while you’re thinking about everyone and your mother this holiday season, there should be one person on your list. I know what you’re thinking: one more person? Oh god.

That person should be you.

Okay, so I know that this is the time of year that everyone is pinching pennies to make sure you get enough gifts for everyone. However, hear me out. Black Friday is in a couple of days. Everything is pretty much on sale – including the things that normally don’t go on sale like NOOKS and iPads. This is the time that if you’re going to get anything to get it. After all, I don’t know about you, but I like getting my hands on a great deal.

With that being said, the holidays are about giving. Yes, I know. However, one of the most important things in life is to also self-care. And, sometimes, that is treating yourself to something nice, maybe indulgent, and thinking I deserve this.

Treating yourself can also be helpful in so many different ways too. For instance, have you been putting off getting some new clothes or something else that you may need. And, if Old Navy is having a sale on jeans that you wear and it’s a good price, then why not? Or, if you stumble across something awesome when you’re at the mall that you fall in love with and the price is right, why not get it?

This is my mentality here. Every day, we work hard no matter what we do. Therefore, we deserve something that makes us smile or makes life a little better. Therefore, we deserve to splurge – just a little bit – on something that could make you smile.

And, as said on Parks and Recreation, treat yourself. Trust me, you deserve it. Why? Because you are awesome.

Book of the Month · Book Reviews · Uncategorized

November Book of the Month Review

Liane Moriarty has been one of my favorite authors since I read Big Little Lies last year. Since then, I’ve read almost every one of her books including: What Alice Forgot and Truly Madly Guilty. So, when her new novel was one of the choices for this month’s Book of the Month, I jumped up for joy.

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Her new novel is called Nine Perfect Strangers. The novel is about nine strangers who meet while going to a health spa. The cast of characters are diverse, and includes an ex-sports car, a couple who wants to save their marriage, a family recovering from loss, and a romance author rebounding from a bad review and a bad experience.

Now the health spa is pretty unique, with extreme forms of healing. However, one extreme method of ‘healing’ brings these guys together to create an interesting bond to say the least.

Overall, the book was one of her better ones. At first, the book started off slow. But, as soon as you reach the midpoint of the novel things pick up — and you don’t want to put it down.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that Moriarty doesn’t reveal everything up right up front. The characters are like onions, and you have to peel them one layer at a time. She does this in all of her books, which as a reader makes it enjoyable and keeps it interesting. In this novel, she does this with all of the characters, including Frances the romance novelist. At first, you wonder why Frances is in the state that she is in. Overtime, it is revealed that she was involved in an online dating scam, where she lost some money. 

The only thing I didn’t like was the main character Masha, who has a dark past and reinvents herself — not just once, but several times. And, while she was the villain, it was hard to hate her. The woman almost died, and she lost a child. But, this woman was intense and rude. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with her past, but I definitely didn’t like how she treated her guests. There was definitely something wrong with her, but her intensity definitely intensified things.

With that being said, I highly recommend this book to all of those who are looking for a great read during holiday travel, or just a good book to curl up with to unwind during the holiday season.

DIY

DIY Project: Crystal “Carrie” Necklace

Inspired by the necklace that was given to Carrie Bradshaw by Aleksandr Petrovsky, this necklace is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve made lately. And, even though it is beautiful, it is actually pretty simple (and inexpensive) to make.

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What I also love about this is that you can make it any way you want. The one that I made has five beads. However, you can really make it any way you want. For example, you can have it with one simple pearl. Or, you can make it with leftover black beads. The options are truly limitless, which is perfect for pretty much anyone with any style.

So, if you’re looking for a gift for anyone in your life, this might be the perfect thing.

What you need:

  • 1 Eye Pin (I get mine at Jo-Ann)
  • Bead(s) of your choice
  • One chain ( I highly recommend the chain I used, which is from Jo-Ann. It’s made of Stainless Steel, which is perfect for all of those who have allergies to certain types of metal. However, whatever you use, make sure that it has a round link).
  • Wire cutters
  • One round-nose pliers
  • One side pliers.

Steps:

  1. Get your chain, and measure the middle of it. If you have a chain that is 18 inches, mark off a link that is in the middle.
  2. Get your wire cutters and cut that link.
  3. Take an eye pin and put the desired amount of beads on the pin.
  4. Take the end of the pin, and put it forward towards the beads.
  5. Create a loop.
  6. Take your side pliers, and open the loop. Put it one end of the chain. Do the same for the other side.
  7. Voila! You’re done.
Uncategorized

Growing Pains: Getting Real About The Pains of Having Friendships (And Them Changing) As An Adult

When you are a student, making and keeping friends is so easy. In middle school, that basically meant sitting next to someone everyday at lunch to dish on the interaction in the hallway with that boy you’ve had a crush on for a week. In college, this means having a bunch of classes with someone and ranting about the professor’s insane grading system.

Now, enter adulthood. Things are a bit different. First of, you are balancing so much. You are working full time, you’re remembering to pay bills, and maybe you are in a relationship. Sometimes, we become swept up in that, and forget the friends. Or, we simply don’t stay in touch with them or see them as much as you’d like.

The real growing pains, though, is when you begin to grow apart from a best friend. It’s a safe assumption that people change throughout their lives. At 20, we view the world differently then we did at 24. And, a lot happens in a person’s 20’s. You graduate college. You get your wings, and apply for a full time job. You might also fall in love, and get married. I mean, I’m not the same person that I was at 24. I am more responsible, and I’ve grown a lot.

And, that changes you.

With that being said, it also changes your friendships. People don’t often grow at the same rate as each other. This sometimes creates problems. This can be a friend, who after years of being friends, just brings you down. Or, someone who you just don’t have any fun with anymore. Or, sometimes, something happens to destroy your friendship completely.

I’m going to be honest, change sometimes sucks. It causes true pain, sometimes to the point where you are sore to the touch. Losing a friend is perhaps the most painful thing of all. I mean, you don’t expect to lose a friend. Friends are people that you think are going to concrete. I mean, in high school, chances are your girls are the ones who helped you get over that boy that you used to date? You never expect that to go away.

What many don’t realize is that losing a friend is worse than a romantic breakup. In my opinion at least. There might be something that was the catalyst, a big fight or someone sleeping with your boyfriend. Or, you drifted apart. No one talks about the pain — nor deems it to be a thing.

And, it sucks.

How many of you reading this are thinking of someone right now?

I am.

It’s sad to lose someone who you put everything into. To think that they are at the other end of a phone, only you can’t call them for whatever reason.

Sometimes, though this isn’t a permanent thing. Sometimes, years later you can reconnect. Others, not so much.

I firmly believe that the only time in life when a friend’s true colors come out is when you go through something awful. A death. An injury or a breakup. Who is the person who is always there for you? Who calls and checks in? Chances are, they are your true friends.

I will end with an assuring quote from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” That quote can easily be said about losing a friend, or growing in two different directions.

Lists

14 Things Only Book Lovers Understand

If you haven’t guessed by now, I love to read. And, I love to read everything — from young adult to mystery to fiction to celebrity commentaries. I know that I am not alone here — many of my friends are heavy readers such as myself.

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But, if you’re a book-lover like me, chances are the hobby comes with its own set of problems and situations. Here are some of them:

  1. No amount of books are ever enough. You may have a pile of books that you haven’t read yet, but you need to get that copy of that book that you’ve been dying to read. You know, to add it to your stockpile.
  2. No matter where you go, you need a book. Whether it’s to the dentist or for your break at work or school, if you have a few extra minutes, you’re going to want to have a book on hand.
  3. When you go on vacation, you have to make sure that you pack enough books. So, you’re going away for the weekend. You gotta make sure you have reading material for the plane ride there, for any down time, and for the ride home. Naturally, you’ve got to make sure you have at least two books on hand. Why? Just in case you finish the first of course. And, don’t get me started if you’re halfway through the first one, and you need to make sure you have enough reading material for your trip. 90 percent of the weight for my carry on is just from books. #sorrynotsorry
  4. You constantly run out of places to put your books. So, you’ve filled up your bookcase(s), and you still have books lying around. That’s the time when things start to get creative, and you have a lining of novels in your closet.
  5. You want to reread a favorite, but have so many books that you haven’t read yet. 
  6. Not being able to decide what to read next. Do I want to read a swoon worthy YA read? Or, do I want to read an autobiography? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
  7. You always have to read the book first before seeing the movie. And, it’s always never measured up. Well, most of the time.
  8. You can easily spend an entire day reading. . . oops. The best lazy Sundays are spent curled up in a ball with a good read. Hands down.
  9. The feeling of both happiness and sadness when you finish a good book. Yay, you finished the book. But, it was so good that you needed to know more. What will happen next? If there is no sequel, how else are you expected to know?
  10. You won’t let anyone borrow your books. Like ever. Even if they beg and plead, you just can’t afford the risk.
  11. You were jealous of Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast. I mean, come on. That’s any book lover gal’s dream, right?
  12. You bought an e-reader, however, you keep on going back to physical copies.  Nothing is the same as holding an actual book in my hand. Just sayin’.
  13. You’ve been emotionally attached to a character in a book. There are so many characters that I’ve become emotionally attached to. Harry Potter. Augustus Waters. Charlie from Perks of Being A Wallflower. All of these characters have won a place in my heart.
  14. The feeling of excitement when you meet someone who is obsessed with the same books you are. Ahh, your new BFF!