If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post so I made it a  reoccurring thing for the past couple of years and do it when I feel so inclined!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got some Sleepy Time tea in hand (god I never actually have coffee when I do these posts…I used to drink it but cut down a lot). I’m excited to chat with you all because it’s been since October!!!


If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently finishing up Underwater by Marisa Reichhardt and also reading the Goblet of Fire (yes, this is a first time read of Harry Potter for me!) I’d ask you what you are reading…

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how totally pumped I am for 2016. I mean, we are only 5 days in but I am totally dominating on some of things I wanted to work on this year. I’ve started working out again (wee hiatus this Fall until now) and I want to die but I feel great. I’ve been nourishing my body again with all the healthy food after my sugar coma and major overeating from the holidays. No seriously Will and I eat pretty healthy 80% of the time and then the holidays we turn into rabid sugar monsters.  I’m setting up a nice bed time (hence the sleepy time tea right now!) and morning routine because I have issues with sleep and that’s one of my goals. I’ll tell you…I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve been exercising, eating right and attempting to sleep better and I feel READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD. I’d ask you about some of your goals and desires and intentions and hopes for 2016 and I’d probably share with you some of the other stuff that is on my TO CONQUER list for 2016 and I’d be super invigorated about how badass 2016 is going to be for us.


If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how super excited I am for the trip Will and I are taking this year. We are going to London for a week and then to Madrid to visit friends for a week. I’m excited to be going back to London (Will has never been) and getting to experience a new city. I’m a person who feels very frustrated when I can’t explore and travel and in the past couple years we’ve had to cut down on travel stuff because $$ and I just feel so discontent that I just want to jump out of my own skin. I’m excited to have some adventures and spend time with Will and probably get lost. It will be fun because Will and I have both been to Europe but never together! Only mildly freaking out at the thought of leaving Finn for 2 weeks. I don’t want him to feel abandoned especially being a rescue dog. I’d ask you if you have any travel plans for 2016 and if you’ve been to either of the cities I’m going to/have recs of things to do/eat/etc.

[Keep Reading]

Best Of 2015: All Things Not Books!

The past three years I brought you the best of all things NOT books and it was fun so I figured I’d do it again!

If you want to read all my best of books posts we’ve got:

End of Year Book Survey (my answers still to come)
Best 2015 Debuts
Best 2015 Releases
Best Backlist Books I Read In 2015
Most Underrated Books Of 2015


So let’s get to this:

best music 2013

10 Favorite 2015 Albums

(in no particular order)


This is so fun for me always because 1) I keep meticulous track of my music (a habit dating back to college before I had Spotify and things like that) and 2) because I keep track of it meticulously it’s SO easy to put this together.

[Keep Reading]

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post so I made it a  reoccurring thing for the past couple of years and do it when I feel so inclined!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got some amaaaazing Harvest tea from Trader Joe’s that has hints of apple and cinnamon and ginger and all sorts of other goodness. And I have a soy pumpkin candle burning so THE MOOD IS RIGHT, Y’ALL!


If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern.  I’d ask you what you are currently reading!

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how much this past month having our rescue dog, Finn, has changed me. He’s such a silly, loving and sweet pup who is so good though it hasn’t been without its trials (he and my dad’s dog hating each other, teaching him to walk properly on a leash, training, etc.) but I’m enjoying it all. He’s gotten us out even more (for walks, to hike, to the dog park) and we’ve met so many different people. The other thing is how much he has opened up my heart to the rescuing process. My heart breaks for all these lost and abandoned animals. Will and I have started volunteering in different ways with different shelters (including the high kill shelter Finn was originally at before DogTown rescued him) and the rescue we got Finn at who does SUCH good work and is full of awesome people. I’d ask you if you have a pet/ever rescued an animal but I’d also ask you if you’ve discovered something new you are passionate about that you hadn’t even realized.

Me & Finn!

IMG_8759(1)hMe & the little pit puppy we gave a freedom ride to (aka a ride from the high kill shelter to a rescue/adoption center). SHE WAS SO SWEET. PUPPY KISSES.


If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how I recently did something very out of my comfort zone and I had such a good time and I think it could lead to good things. It’s scary but also so invigorating to go outside of your comfort zone. I asked myself, “what’s the worst that could happen if I did this?” and honestly the WORST thing was no biggie honestly. It’s definitely one of those moments where I’m like YAS SELF TAKE MORE RISKS, BE MORE FEARLESS, KICK THAT COMFORT ZONE ASIDE. I’d ask you what’s the last thing you did that was out of your comfort zone and you felt great about it!

[Keep Reading]

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post so I made it a  reoccurring thing for the past couple of years and do it when I feel so inclined!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got a hard root beer right now (AMAZINGNESS but dangerous because you forget it’s booze).

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and just starting the second book in the Vampire Academy series.  I’d ask you what you are currently reading!

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that even though I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling/vacationing this summer I am in one of these moods where I’m so antsy because I want to be everywhere in the world right now. I just get frustrated by the fact that in order to travel you need money (which lol at my bank account right now) and in order to get money you need a job….oh and most jobs give you like NOT ENOUGH VACATION TIME. I just want to explore and go places and I follow too many travel blogs and people who are traveling right now and the wanderlust is so, so strong. It’s always strong but it’s like this unbearable sort of strong right now. I’m trying to plan my trip to Spain next year but I just can’t because I WANT TO GO NOW.  Is this normal human behavior? IDK BECAUSE WILL DOESN’T GET LIKE THIS. He wants to go places but he isn’t like physically pained and antsy like I am.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I’ve decided Will and I are going to start home brewing beer. On vacation my cousin and his girlfriend were talking about how they do it and brought us some (it was an amazing saison) and I’m like OMG WE ARE DOING THIS. 1) we love beer and 2) I decided we needed a hobby to do together. We have a ton of our hobbies that we do separately and then we have like THINGS we enjoy together and do together but nothing that’s a ~hobby~. I’d ask you, if you were OF AGE, what’s the last great beer you had/if you home brew or know anybody that does. I’d also ask, if you were married or dating, if you have a hobby that you do as a couple!

If we were having coffee…. Id tell you that I cleaned out my clothes in my closet this past week using the KonMari method (the cleaning book I was talking about further up) and MAN did I have a lot of clothes. I’m really bad about getting rid of clothes. More so than books (I’ve talked about my ruthlessness before). I really struggled with it. You are supposed to ask yourself if  the item “sparks joy” and only keep what does. Well, the problem is that I can’t tell if something sparks joy or if my clothes hoarding voice is CREATING a sense of joy when I think about it. UGH UGH UGH. It’s so hard. I would say I got rid of about 40% of my clothes and shoes. I know I could have done better but it’s good enough for me right now. I’m going to continue on with it for the rest of my items but oof that was hard. I’d ask you if you’ve done the KonMari method (ALL THE RAGE RIGHT NOW) and if you are also a clothing hoarder. Like seriously I had stuff in there from high school and early college years which was like circa 2002-2008. OOF.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you that I’ve been craving a really good non-fiction title. I don’t even really care what about. I want to learn about anything. I want to just read something interesting! I’d ask you for recs!!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you about my efforts to try and create a nice, relaxing morning routine and how maybe it works like 30% of the time. I think I’m destined to have the kind of morning routine where I wake up miserably and late and rush around and eat my eggs in the car while trying to remember if I brushed my hair at all this morning only to realize no I didn’t and oh hey I don’t even have a hairband on my wrist when typically I have like 5 on each wrist somehow. In my head I envision these peaceful mornings with the sun shining in and I do some yoga (I don’t even do yoga) and I sip my tea and listen to Enya (is Enya still around?) and like create wonderful shit before 7am. HOW HARD IS THAT, SELF? I’d ask you what your morning routine is like!

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how Will and I really need to make friends with other dating/married couples. All the couple friends were part of the group that we are no longer part of and the few others we had either a) broke up or b) moved away (our last couple friend who moved to Spain last week). HOW DO YOU FIND COUPLE FRIENDS? THERE SHOULD BE AN APP FOR THIS….an app to like “date” other couples to find a good match. I just miss having another couple to go out and do things with. It’s really hard to make friends in general at this age. It used to be so easy…WOAH COOL SPARKLY SHOES LET’S BE FRIENDS! INSTA BESTIES ON THE PLAYGROUND. Maybe this still works as an adult? IDK maybe I will try it.


If we were having coffee….I’d you that I feel like I’m finding it harder to find new FAVORITE books and movies. I LIKE and even super LOVE a lot of things I consume but I’m having a hard time finding those life changing things that just stop you in your tracks and just speak to every cell in your entire body and you don’t know how you possibly lived life without having experienced it before. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m hard to impress BECAUSE I consume so many books and entertainment or what but UGH…I want that FEELING. Do you know that feeling? I’d ask you what the last thing that gave you that feeling was.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’ve been having a hard time with nostalgia lately. I don’t know why. I’m just suddenly MISSING things and people and moments from the past (really really missing my college years…I felt so free then). The way things were. I love the way things are SO MUCH and am so happy with who I am but I’m also yearning for different parts of who I was before. I don’t know if it’s that I’m turning 30 in a couple of months but the nostalgia is starting to weigh on me. When I was cleaning my closet out and I’d pull out these clothes all these memories just came flooding back — my trip to Europe, dates with Will when we were in college, moments with friends I’m no longer friends with. GAH. MAKE IT STOP. I have nostalgia feels every now and again but these are so strong lately. I’d ask you what the hell was wrong with me. But rhetorically speaking obviously. I mean, unless you are a psychologist and can tell me what’s literally wrong with me.


If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

In Memory Of

IMG_7539One of my favorite pictures of my sister and I with my mom when we were really little.


Today marks the day, 9 years ago, that I lost my mom to brain cancer. The first couple years my sister and stepdad and I would go to her grave. That always felt a little uncomfortable and sad to me personally because a gravestone in the middle of town amongst a sea of other dead waiting to be remembered held no significance to me or maybe it just felt so final? Either way, I couldn’t do the whole visiting the grave thing. I felt guilty for years that I rarely visited her grave but for me…that’s just not where she was. I felt nothing by being there except sadness and awkwardness. I just don’t get graveyards — they are definitely for the living but I guess, for myself, I’d much rather go have a glass of wine on the porch in the home where she actually lived.


Sometimes after we would try to have some breakfast or lunch and be together which was nice but it was still too hard to accept the fact that she was gone and here we were eating brunch and trying to act like this wasn’t hard. Other years I stayed in bed and was sad all day. I didn’t particularly like that either.

So a couple years ago, after the breakfasts and lunches kind of faded away because we got busy and the day felt less ceremonious and ritualistic, I decided to honor and remember my mom in my own way. It’s still a sad day for me every year but enough time has passed that it doesn’t feel as raw like the only thing I CAN do on that day is cry a whole lot.

For the past couple years on this day I’ve been trying to do things that my mom loved. It might be as simple as having a glass of wine (my mom was a big wine-o) and listening to Jimmy Buffett (her favorite). One year I went to beach because my mom grew up in Florida and the beach was one of her favorite places on this earth. I always have a little dance party because my mom was THAT person on the dance floor and always loved to dance so much.

This year when I was thinking about what I’d do to honor my mom I started thinking about memory and how 9 years was a long time and how I’m scared I’m going to run out of things that I remember she loved. I talked about this a little bit in my P.S. I Still Love You book talk but that’s one of my greatest fears — not remembering. Or forgetting the details — what her laugh sounded like, how her face looked for real and not just in pictures, what her favorite food was, etc.


Making fun of my mom (on the left) because of how she scraped her legs falling down in her wedding dress in Jamaica

And I kind of had a moment this morning. My mom’s favorite dessert of all time was carrot cake. It’s not my favorite but I’ve grown to like it. I was thinking about how I wanted to get some carrot cake today but was trying to think of a backup favorite in case I couldn’t find any easily. And then I just sat there because I couldn’t remember what else she liked dessert-wise. And then I panicked. How could I not know or remember? What if I didn’t know all along? How could I not have paid more attention? And so on.

I panicked thinking about how slowly and slowly these memories and these details were going to fade. How eventually there is going to come a time when I will have just as many (and then MORE) years on this earth without her than with her. And it pains me to think about that. How I had 20 years on this Earth with her but time is going to keep going and I’ll be living in a world where there will be 20 years of memories without her. 20 years between the time she lived and the time she didn’t.

IMG_7544I will always remember my mom’s hair (esp how big it was sometimes). ALWAYS. Like in fine detail. Because she passed on the wild mane of curls to me.

Memory and memories are just a weird thing. We collect them. We try to hold on to them. We lose them slowly or they become vague/less specific as we have distance from them — they begin to have holes like swiss cheese. We try to fill picture frames and books and journals and our social media pages with them. We try to pass them and on share them so that the memories just don’t live within us and end up leaving us when we die or our memory fails us for good. They aren’t always reliable or accurate. The most random ones jolt through our brains at the most random of times in full living color while other ones we try to remember just seem lost in the abyss. There are some things we remember forever. There are some things that seem lost the moment it became a part of our history. How some memories we wish we could forget have been branded in our hearts (I wish I didn’t remember the day my mom died in so much detail and color).

IMG_7542RenFaire! That time my sister bawled because she was too embarrassed to dress up but NOT US.


There’s been these periods of grief in my life. The times where I’m just trying to get through the day and grief was intense because it just happened and my mind could not fathom it. There was depression and bitterness. There came a wave of a lot of “firsts” that happened without my mom. And then these HUGE big life changing things that were hard to think could happen without my mom — graduations, marriage, babies (for my sister and not me obviously), etc. And I guess maybe this stage I’m in right now has a lot of fears of remembering or realizing the details have slipped away more than I’d like them to have. And maybe it’s that I’m dealing with my stepdad getting remarried and all of my mom being taken OUT of that house that a huge chunk of our memories were made in in preparation of his new wife. Maybe it’s that in preparation for all that, we’ve had to go through some of my mom’s stuff and memories have been swirling around.

So on this hard day, 9 years later, I decided that one of the biggest part of memories and remembering the people we loved is in the sharing and the retelling — sharing them with other people so they aren’t these things that are solely up to us to remember. It’s always broken my heart that Will never met my mom or that Geneiveve and Adela (my nieces) will never ever know her. So it came to me really strongly, in the middle of my panicking over my mom’s second favorite dessert that I can’t remember, that I really really want to put together a book with memories and pictures of my mom and growing up for Genevieve and Adela…and for myself if I’m honest…so that they can know her and that those memories can live on. I want to write about what I know about her. Relive memories I haven’t forgotten. List the random details.

 IMG_7540Intergenerational — my great grandma (who I barely remember), my grandma Mimi and my mom and I. My mom was I think 25 or 26 in this picture which WOAH.

And now I’m going to go on search of that carrot cake. And by the way, as I was writing this post, it dawned on me that cheesecake was definitely a close second.  Memory is a fickle beast, I tell you.


If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post so I made it a  reoccurring thing for the past couple of years and do it when I feel so inclined!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got a lemon shandy right now (it’s afternoon right now, okay!) and it’s divine.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Also, I’m audiobooking The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. I’d ask you what you are currently reading!

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you how much of a FUN summer Will and I are having already and we have so many other fun things planned I can barely contain my excitement. I’ve enjoyed beach days and pool days and nights out and good food and ice cream and concerts and new beer and just SO MUCH FUN. I’m really thankful it’s been a fun summer and it’s been really nice to feel so happy after a crappy winter! I’d ask what you have been up to thus far this summer!


If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I opened up that THING…better known as a story…that I had told you about before. I had written like a paragraph or two last summer, bawled and then never opened the document again. It’s been sitting on my desktop untouched but all the while ideas have come to me for it. It’s a contemporary YA (I think..idk she just finished her first year of college) and it’s so personal and I am not even a good writer nor have I ever wanted to write a novel before. BUT WHAT THE HELL. I OPENED IT. I WROTE A SENTENCE OR TWO TO ADD TO WHAT I HAD. WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.  I’d ask if you are an aspiring writer. If so, do you have any tips??

If we were having coffee…. Id tell that recently I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and how I can recognize places in my life where it has held me back. I know that sometimes fear is there to protect us but also I’m starting to see how I use it as a crutch and it kind of makes me sad. I don’t want to let myself live so fearfully and I don’t know when I started REALLY letting fear get in my way.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you that I’ve really been wanting to get into podcasts. I’d ask you for recs!!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’ve really been having a weird relationship with social media. I’ve been so disillusioned by it recently? I don’t even know if that’s what I mean. I just…sometimes I’m so weary from it. I get overwhelmed by it. I think “WHY DO I PUT SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY AND STOCK IN ALL THIS?” I have nothing to say sometimes. I’m over the over-documentation and wading through the picture perfect shininess to get to the realness. The constant barrage of voices and options and links and possibilities of people and things to follow and knowledge and opinions. BUT THEN OTHER DAYS I AM LIKE OMG I LOVE THE INTERNET. IT IS THE BEST. I’ve been a lot more MIA than I used to be (especially on Twitter) and I feel like the balance has really been helping me. I’d ask you how you deal with social media fatigue.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how last time I was lamenting all my workout woes and how I couldn’t get back on the workout wagon and I’d like to inform you that I’ve been working out again and IT FEELS SO GOOD. I mean really. Sure, it’s nice to lose a little weight and look toned and wink at yourself in the mirror because you are like DAMN GIRL YOU LOOK GOOD. But most of it is about how I truly feel. I hate every moment while I muster up motivation and all the way through the workout until I think of how I feel after. How energized I am. Or how I think about how badass my body feels when I can hold a plank for longer or do more burpees than usual. It makes me feel like I can conquer anything…well not during my workout…mostly I’m a whiny baby…but AFTER. HEAR ME ROAR.


If we were having coffee….I’d you that I’ve been having A REALLY spectacular reading year thus far in 2015. It’s been kind of magical — a great mix of 2015 releases and older books and things I missed last year that seemed to be beloved by others I trust. I don’t want to jinx myself but MAN OH MAN IT’S BEEN GOOD. I’d ask you how 2015 has been treating you reading wise!

If we were having coffee…I was thinking the other day while going through some of my old college papers while cleaning a box from my old room at my stepdad’s (and was talking with book club about it this morning) about how much I MISS school. And not even SCHOOL itself. But learning things. And I know I am learning things all the time and blah blah blah. But I miss learning a specific skill or subject. So I’ve decided I’m going to challenge myself to learn a new thing this summer. I’d ask you WHAT THE HELL I SHOULD LEARN! haha


If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got water with lemon right now. Love that H2O.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed. Still too early on to have an opinion but I love reading about different cultures from my own and arranged marriage is something I’m not familiar with on a personal level obviously. Before that I just finished Bone Gap by Laura Ruby which was sooo interesting. I am still trying to unpack that one. I’d ask you what you are reading and what you just finished before that…

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you I’m really excited for how my late spring/summer is shaping up — so many good book events, concerts, vacations, etc. that Will and I have planned! We started putting it all out on a calendar and I’m just GIDDY with excitement. I’d ask you what you are planning on doing this summer.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I’m failing on my 30 before 30 list that I had told you that I made. I haven’t crossed many off so now I have to kick it into high gear. 30 is coming up sooooon (in October). I’d ask you how you tackle your more random goals (ie things that are of importance to you but not like pressing matters). Because right now my list is just SITTING THERE.

If we were having coffee…. Id tell you that the last time we talked I was feeling super discouraged with blogging but I would LOVE to update you that I’m feeling really good about it right now. Nothing really has changed but somewhere along the line my mindset did because look, internally, I’m REALLY happy about what I do here and feel excited about everything I post. So what is there to care about otherwise? I think the nice Spring weather is boosting my mood but who knows. Also been brainstorming some things I’m really excited about. SO YAY.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you that I’ve been having a really hard time with some changes going on in my life. SO, my stepdad is great. He’s like a second dad to me (I had both of them walk me down the aisle). I lived with him until I got married even after my mom passed in 2006 and he’s just really important to me. He’s been dating this woman for a while and they will be getting married in September. My personal feelings about her are complicated (long story short: she’s caused fractures between this relationship for both myself and my sister) but I WANT him to be happy. It’s hard. And then the fact that soon she will be moving into MY HOUSE? The house where my stepdad, mom, sister and I lived for all those years. I’m having to box up my stuff (I’ve kept stuff we can’t fit in the apartment there in my old room) and get it ALL out because her sons are moving in and will TAKE our rooms and it’s just all so weird. I know his life is moving on but it’s so weird that I’ll go there and the place where I see all MY memories will not be mine anymore. I won’t have a room. I won’t be able to just go in there as I please like I do now. I stop by, eat food and just hang out all the time. And all the touches that my mom put on that house? I know they are just going to be painted over and things will be taken down and changed. I would almost rather him sell the house rather than have to still visit MY house but it won’t really be mine anymore. I spent a lot of time this past week there by myself packing up my room and just crying. A LOT. I know it’s inevitable but it’s just so hard to watch yet another part of my mom just get erased in some ways. It was comforting to go there because that house was still so much my mom just reflected in everything that is in it and the decorating.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’m still struggling with what to do next with my life. I’m still nannying for the time being and haven’t really been sending out as many resumes. I needed a mental health break from it. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve had a “real job” in marketing at this point that nobody is going to hire me. But like…it’s not by choice? I started nannying because I had to pay my bills somehow while I job searched. And here we are over a year later and I’m still nannying. I’d ask if you had any advice for me.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how I’m having such a hard time working out these days. I was doing so good last year and this year I can’t stay consistent. I’d ask you if you have an exercise routine and, if so, what it is.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you about how I’m so thankful for many of my friendships but especially my one girlfriend who I get together with every Wednesday for wine night. I’ve been so awful about making an effort to get together with friends but having this standing date reminds me how much I love getting together with friends.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’m PRETTY SURE I’m going to BEA again this year. PRETTY SURE. Year #5 of BEA if so! I’d ask you, if you were a blogger/librarian/teacher/bookseller, etc., if you were going too.


If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

Best Of 2014: All Things Not Books!

The past two years I brought you the best of all things NOT books and it was fun so I figured I’d do it again! If you want to read all my best of books posts we’ve got:

End of Year Book Survey (my answers still to come)
Best 2014 Debuts
Best 2014 Releases (Non-Debuts)
Best Backlist Books I Read In 2014
Most Underrated Books Of 2014


So let’s get to this:

best music 2013

21 Favorite 2014 Albums

(in no particular order)



Taylor Swift – 1989: I have a long history with Taylor Swift’s music (I saw her at a very small venue when her first album hit which is crazy for me to think about considering how she sells out arenas) and have loved her for a long time. I’ve been nervous about her full descent into pop but I have to say that this album is perfection and I’m so pleased with her new sound and am impressed with how she’s been able to reinvent herself and having a blast doing it!

Hozier — Hozier: This makes me incredibly happy. You see, in my 2013 roundup I named Hozier’s EP as a favorite of the year and I was SO hoping the whole album would be fantastic and IT WAS!!
Broods – Evergreen: If you follow my Monthly Rewinds you know that Broods got listened to a lot by me. Every time a new single was released after their first one (I think it was Mother & Father I don’t know), I fell in love more..and the whole album is just fantastic!
Milky Chance – Sadnecessary: I know everyone fell in love with Stolen Dance when it came out as a single (rightly so I love it tooo) but my introduction to them was first with the song Down By The River and THAT was my pick from the EP rather than Stolen Dance when I highlighted them in my June Rewind — apparently I can’t pick the song that will be the most popular. That and Flashed Junk Mind are just as excellent as is the rest of the album so you should listen to it!

Sir Sly – You Haunt Me: They were excellent live as well and I got Will into them so THAT was a win for me! My favorite songs from the album: Gold, Ghost, & You Haunt Me.
Bleachers – Strange Desire: Okay, so I was reading this music blog I love and in February of this year they mentioned this song called I Wanna Get Better and I LOVED It. Then I add them to my Spotify list and read their bio and OMG HE IS THE GUY FROM FUN!! I didn’t realize he had a new side project so pretty much I stalked them for new singles and every one was SO GOOD. The full album? AWESOME. To be honest, I like Bleachers much better than FUN at this point! Saddest day when they came to Philly to play and I WAS ON VACATION.
Thumpers – Galore: I loved the two singles Unkinder (A Tougher Love) & Sound of Screams when they came out and then I really got into Marvel, The Wilder Wise and Now We Are Sixteen.
Twin Forks – Twin Forks: This album is so fun! I first got into them after hearing the song Back To You on Reign and then I waited impatiently for the full album!
Vance Joy – Dream Your Life Away: I first heard Vance Joy’s single From Afar last year and I freaking loved it and then 2014 became the year of Vance Joy for me because I listened to his music like no other. Getting to see him live was a highlight of my year and I’m excited he is opening for Taylor Swift when I see her this year!! (Favorite songs besides From Afar: Riptide, Mess Is Mine, Wasted Time, First Time)
Wild Cub – Youth: Okay so apparently this was originally released in 2012 but was re-released with more songs this year (I just found hear it this year) and was no longer a self-titled album. It is a band that Keegan DeWitt ( who I love) formed and it’s got a very 80’s feel I’ve gotta say. Fave songs: Thunderclatter, Wild Light, Colour, Wishing Well.
NONONO – We Are Only What We Feel: Last year I fell in love with their single Pumpin Blood (the acoustic version is great too) and then I kind of forgot about them until Spotify let me know their album was released. I was pleasantly surprised actually!! Fave songs besides Pumpin Blood: Jungle, One Wish, Hungry Eyes
Banks – Goddess: I feel like I named her EP as one of my favorites in this post last year.  I actually almost forgot to put her on this year because so many of these songs were in my 2013 playlist. I had to double check and I was like oh right…her album came out THIS year. Favorite songs: Waiting Game, Beggin For Thread, Change, Drowning, This Is What It Feels Like

Mary Lambert – Heart On My Sleeve: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ALBUM!!! Her voice & those lyrics. I remember as soon as I heard Same Love by Macklemore I HAD to know who that voice was singing the “she keeps me warm” parts. Then I found out who she was and found out that that part was actually part of her song She Keeps Me Warm. And so I hit follow on Spotify and then this majestic album was released. Favorite songs: When You Sleep, Secrets, So Far Away & Wounded Animal.
Paul Otten – Welcome To Life: So I have a playlist called “FULL ALBUM, I NEED YOU” for all these artists I find that only have one or two songs and I’m dying for a full album. He pretty much was the reason I started this playlist despite having a backlist of music..I wanted his new stuff. Fave songs: I Got Your Back, I Can Wait, Who We Are, All the Stars (my all time fave song of his is Girl, You’re Alright but it’s not on this album)
The Colourist – The Colourist: This was another one on the “need a full album” playlist. I’ve featured them a lot on my Monthly recaps. Fave songs: Little Games, Tonight(Young Hearts), We Won’t Go Home, Wishing Well
Lucius – Wildewoman: I love their voices! Reminds me of a lot of the indiepop bands I used to love in college. Fave songs: Turn It Around, Tempest, Two Of Us On The Run, Until We Get There
MØ – No Mythologies To Follow: I actually found them originally because of their cover of Say You’ll Be There (yes the Spice Girls song) and then this album was delightful. Fave songs: Walk This Way, Never Wanna Know, Waste of Time, Slow Love

Jenny Lewis — The Voyager: Jenny Lewis is my queen. HS & College Jamie loved Rilo Kiley (RIP). More Adventurous was one of my favorite albums EVAH. I loved what she did with The Postal Service and also with The Watson Twins. Seriously, I cried when Will and I saw The Postal Service last year and I got to see my queen. LOVED this new album!
Bishop Allen – Time Flies: Their album Charmed School was my favorite when I heard it for the first time my freshman year in college. Almost 10 years later and I’m STILL smitten with these guys! Fave songs: Start Again, Skeleton Key, Crows, Why I Had To Go

Jukebox the Ghost – Jukebox the Ghost: I’ve liked them for a couple years now but I REALLY love this album. Fave songs: The Great Unknown, Postcard, Sound of A Broken Heart, Girl
Andrew McMahon – Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness: I first heard one of his songs on my local alternative radio station and became hooked! He’s coming here this winter and I want to see him! Fave songs: Cecilia and the Satellites , High Dive, Canyon Moon, Driving Through A Dream

 >>More choices on my Fave 2014 Albums<<


EPS/Singles I Loved:

The singles that Charles Williams has put out, Ryn Weaver’s Promises, Zella Day, Mighty Oaks EP, BØRNS EP, Eliza and the Bear EP, Little May EP, The Hunts EP, The new CVRCHES single!!!

Concerts I Went To:

I only went to two this year because MONEY but they were good ones.

1. Death Cab For Cutie — Will and I went to Atlantic City around Memorial Day and saw DCFC. They have been a favorite band of mine since high school (early 2000’s) and it was so nice to see them live again because the last time I did was college.

2. Radio 104.5 Block Party — Saw Grouplove, Sir Sly, Vance Joy, Wolf Gang, & Bricks + Mortar. This was so fun AND FREE…despite the fact it rained in the beginning so we were soaking wet for most of the show.

You can see more of my monthly music choices in my Monthly Rewinds



Best shows I started watching this year (some long overdue & some new!) in addition to the shows I’m already watching (Parenthood, The Walking Dead, Revenge, The Voice, Nashville, Scandal etc.)

The 100: My favorite show out of EVERYTHING I watched this year and in a LONG time. The pilot is iffy and it took me a couple episodes to get OMG OBSESSED to the point I binge watched it all night and ignored Will! WATCH IT! Seriously..if you take ONE REC FROM ME…ONE…EVER…DO THIS!

How To Get Away With Murder: More Shonda Rhimes goodness (my Thursday night is all Shonda with Grey’s, Scandal and now this!). The storytelling is kind of jarring at first but it keeps me on the edge of my seat and Viola Davis is a BADASS. Thank you Shonda for all these kickass females you’ve given us!

The Killing: Will and I were late to this show and REALLY loved it!! I was really sad for it to end. REALLY SAD.

Sherlock: I watched the first season of Sherlock and REALLY loved it! Can’t wait to continue on!

Chasing Life: This show surprised me! It’s an ABC Family one and I just gave it a try thinking I probably wouldn’t love it but surprisingly got sooo attached to it!



Begin Again: Oh this movie! SO GOOD SO GOOD. Mark Ruffalo and Kiera Knightly were perfection. It made my heart happy really. Will even liked it!
Short Term 12: I actually watched this after Rainbow Rowell recommended it and SHE WAS RIGHT. Very good film!
If I Stay: It was amazing to see this book come to life on the big screen! The music translated really well!
Veronica Mars movie: OMG! I was devastated when the show ended how it did. GRRRR. I have been waiting so long for this (and backed the project on Kickstarter) so Will got us special tickets to see it for a (belated) Valentine’s date! It was one of those experiences where I wanted to cry joyful tears (okay I did) from being reunited with characters who feel like family. OMG I AM CRYING NOW. LoVe forever!!




In past years I had a whole beauty section because I bought more things because I’m a beauty addict. However, this year I again had to limit it to what I NEEDED and also I’m switching over a lot of my stuff to natural beauty products so I’m in transition right now trying to find favorites and finish up when I’m using now (props to Betty for being my on-call guru when I need help).

favorite things of 2014

Yoga with Adriene: I want to go to classes but no $$. So I found Adriene and, while I’m still VERY new to all this, I’m excited that I found her because she is PERFECT!

Fleece lined leggings (got mine from Forever 21): game changers

Aztec Secret Healing Clay: Love making masks with this!

Alima Pure: There’s a brand I really want to try that’s liquid which is what I normally use (I used Makeup Forever & Stila foundations previously) but it’s too much $$ for right now so I opted for this which is a lot like Bareminerals (which tbh I didn’t really love before) because it’s cheaper. Betty doesn’t approve of this one those because of the particles you can inhale 😉

Gelato fiasco torched marshmallow gelato: As I tweeted when I tasted it, I wish I could live in this gelato forever!

Nourish Organics face wash, Shea Butter & Face Lotion: Love this brand! Not the deodorant though. NOPE NOPE.

Trader Joe’s Treats:  Sea Salt Butter Scotch Chocolates // Dark Truffle Chocolate //Watermelon Cucumber Cooler — I LOVE FINDING NEW THINGS HERE. Always.



Here’s five blogs I loved and discovered this year!

1. Oh Sweet Basil

2. Oh My Veggies

3. Young Adventuress

4. The Nectar Collective

5. Dishing Up The Dirt



1. BEA! Always love spending time with my friends and other bloggers in this community!

2. Chopping six inches off my hair: I had been growing my hair out for as long as I can remember really and I just was really sick of it getting tangled and being a pain in the ass as it got longer. But I was so scared to chop it off for some unknown reason. But I finally did it and it was such a freeing feeling and a welcome change!

3. My sister Angela getting married! I was Maid of Honor and it was so awesome to be part of that day because this is my little sister + I LOVE her now-husband. And Will and I watched their kids while they went away for their honeymoon and had so much fun spending times with the littles.

8937_10204007313597471_3649129177119325781_nstory of my life everyone smiling nicely and I’m a dork!


4. YA Runs A 5K — what a great group of bloggers and authors who joined together for this!

Bs6grBxCMAA5ijXWith Susan Dennard & Sarah J. Maas

5. Will getting a new job (ummm and winning Employee of the Quarter already…he would kill me if he knew I was bragging about him): It was such a good move for us — better job, more opportunities, more money. He’s learning a lot and it’s a good company so YAY! And he’s already making a good impression within the first year so that’s always good.

10690224_640304484222_8272314740322117474_nWill & I at his work Christmas party!





Tell me if you listened to/watched/used/did these things!! Also, I’m so down for other recs if you think there is something I’d like! Tell me what your best moments were!

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!


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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got a warm water with lemon, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m almost done with Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which I’m really impressed with. I also just started Wildlife by Fiona Wood but I’m like two pages into it so I can’t say much. I’d ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you that I haven’t been doing well lately. And that it’s a hard thing to admit. (because it’s embarrassing. Because I feel over-dramatic. Because I can’t tell you exactly why). When someone asks you how you are it’s easy to be like FINE and move on. But I’m not fine. Why should I pretend? Because of things and how I’ve been doing, I’ve been so disconnected from people and social media and this blog. I’d apologize for unanswered tweets, comments, etc. It’s just so difficult for me to interact when I feel so awful. I’d wonder if you’ve noticed my disconnect and flakiness lately because I feel really self conscious about it. That’s part of the reason I decided to write up one of these posts (it’s been a while) because I want to connect again.  I’d ask how you are doing and really WANT to know just beyond the typical response.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how I’m FREAKING OUT over the fact that this month I will turn 29. It will officially be the last year of my 20’s and I don’t know what to do with it. I WANT TO STAY HERE. My face doesn’t match the age so aren’t I allowed to stay in my 20’s until it catches up?? I’d also tell you how most of the time I don’t ever feel like an adult. Like am I REALLY an adult? I don’t know. I do adult-y type things I guess but mostly I feel like the kid putting the grownup high heels and mom’s makeup stash all over my face. HOW DID ALL THESE YEARS JUST HAPPEN? HOW AM I ALMOST 29?? I kind of feel sick over it truthfully. How fast life truly does go. Days turn into weeks into months and suddenly you are older. In a flash. I’d ask if you ever feel this way.

If we were having coffee…. Id tell you how discouraged I’ve been feeling with my blog lately. It’s so unlike me to care or notice but traffic and general interaction has been down (says the girl who has been a shit blog reader). I never put my blog happiness and well-being into these things so why am I RIGHT THIS MOMENT? I think maybe it has to do with where I’m at right now so I’m just feeling really discouraged about LOTS of things. But also I get this nagging feeling that it’s me. That what I’m doing isn’t good enough. You all are bored of me. I don’t have anything to say anymore. I should quit. My inner monologue has been horrible. I have been focused too much on creation and consumption that I’m losing the beauty in it all. I’d ask, if you were a blogger, if you feel this way ever?

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you how I’m not looking forward to the cold weather and winter but this year I’m trying REALLY hard to make the most of it. Find new activities. Really embrace the things I DO love in this season. I’d ask you what your favorite cold weather activities are/what you do when the winter chases you inside? If you lived in perpetual beautiful weather I’d give you the stink eye and ask you to house me for the winter months.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how a conversation with my dad was what I needed to reframe my whole job/career situation outlook. I’m going to be pursuing some new ideas with the job search and be more thankful for the flexibility nannying gives me. (I MEAN ALL SUMMER I GOT TO BE OUTSIDE). I’d ask who your go-to person is who always helps you reframe a problem.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that we should go out for Thai food because I’m really craving it. LIKE REALLY REALLY BADLY.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I am often frustrated because I don’t have anything that I’m really good at. I wish I was artistic or could sing or like running. I always thought I’d find my THING at this point in my life but ALAS no talents here except expert procrastination and eating ice cream like nobody’s business. I’d ask you about what you are talented at.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you how I was reading a post from a blogger (not a book blogger) who experienced a devastating apartment fire and I’ve been thinking a lot about THINGS. How much value we place in them. How they can be gone in an instant. I started thinking about what things I would be sad about losing in a fire. (Answer: pretty much everything haha). My time of being unemployed and us being really scarily tight with money taught me a lot about what I buy and what I use and I’ve become a lot more of a minimalist in ways and have tried not to get attached to THINGS. It’s hard. I’d ask you what would be the one thing you’d miss the most if this happened to you.


If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

My Own Happily Ever After



Today Will and I are celebrating two years of being marriage. On one hand I’m like HOW HAVE WE BEEN MARRIED FOR TWO YEARS! And then on the other hand I’m like…wait haven’t we always been married. Maybe it’s because we have been together, in total, for 8 years.

When I was thinking about my upcoming anniversary it hit me that I’ve never really shared my own love story! I think I’ve thrown out bits and pieces of it but I’ve never written it out here. So let’s do this:

So how did we meet?


I was a junior in college and I’d pretty much figured I wasn’t going to meet anyone in college at this point because I’d either dated the ones I was interested in (small college so it’s not like it was that many) or the ones that I COULD be interested in were definitely just friends at this point or I was NOT INTERESTED. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact I would meet someone after college but definitely not now unless they transferred. (Dating someone that was a freshman was not even an option for me). Pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and this was the year I was FINALLY okay with being the single girl. I was having so much fun and embracing going on dates when I wanted.

Enter this goofy freshman who always wore his hood up, blasted his music too loud and was always driving like an idiot (seriously he would drive fast and pull the e-brake!). One of my friends was on the basketball team and Will came in as a freshman and was also on the team and they became friends thus introducing him to me.

Was it love at first sight?


Hahaha no. NOPE. NO. I remember when my friend, that I mentioned before, started hanging out with him I’m like WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS KID HE IS ANNOYING AND STUPID. Then I got to know him a bit but we were just friends and actually, come to think about it, I was crushing on another guy and always talked to him about it because HE was friends with this guy. I EVEN TRIED TO SET HIM UP WITH MY SISTER BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME AGE. That was pretty much the joke of my sister’s maid of honor speech at my wedding.

We progressively started talking more and I started enjoying his company more but I still didn’t ever picture an US. I mean we are OPPOSITES. Especially back then. I was picturing some guy in an indie rock band with jeans as tight as mine who would write me songs, would be cultured, go to shows with me because we liked the same music and would read alongside me…and never make me watch sports ever. And well Will….he liked rap. He rocked the typical jock guy attire — sweat pants and basketball shorts and t-shirts — and was obsessed with sports. His idea of dinner was a corndog and fries (yes I love those things) while I was like YES THAI FOOD PLEASE? And Will has probably read like 1 book in his life.  He didn’t necessarily check the boxes for DREAM GUY  though most of my dream guy criteria was pretty superficial because tastes change and develop.

So what made it finally click?


I’m not sure the exact moment it clicked but I remember feeling a distinct shift in my feelings after one REALLY long conversation we had together in the car one night. We got into more matters of the heart and BIG LIFE THINGS. I talked about my mom this night. At this point in time, it had been only a few months since my mom had passed away. I was a mess even though I was really good at looking like I wasn’t. While my sister went wild and crazy and reckless, I held it together but inside I just couldn’t make sense of things.

After I told him my story, he shared with me that he lost his biological mom to cancer also when he was 4. There was just this vulnerable side of him this night that I had never seen and while I don’t think I was all heart eyed and in love….that couple hour honest conversation is something I will never forget.

I’ll never forget the moment I finally admitted I like him. We had a little house party at a friend’s house. I was a wee bit drunk. I was supposed to be super into and paying attention to the super popular basketball player (the friend that introduced Will and I actually) on campus but that night I kept finding myself gravitating closer to Will. I think it was pissing this other guy off and my sister cornered me and was like “omg he won’t stop talking about you to me” and I was like “yeah, I don’t think I like him…I think I like that kid.” To which my sister was like, “interesting.”

So for the next couple months I spent A LOT of time with him and we were “talking”…going on a few dates (dates are generous considering we were both super broke college kids). We would write each other long emails (where he would woo me with his high school level French), have long chats driving in the car and meeting each other after classes so we could walk together. Then we made it “official” on January 16, 2007 and here we are married two years today despite the fact I never saw this relationship being super serious.

The Day I Knew I Loved Him & Wanted To Spend My Life With Him?



It wasn’t a particular moment but a couple years after we started dating his father got diagnosed with ALS. It’s just him and his mom (stepmom really because his real mom passed as I said but she’s been his mom since he was like 5 or 6) and we spent much time on weekends and in the summer there. Watching him take care of his dad was what made me know. When my mom was sick and dying from brain cancer my stepdad took care of her in a way that made me look at love & marriage in a whole new way. My stepdad is basically my hero to be honest. At some point I vowed, during that time, that I wanted to marry a man who would take care and love me in the way my stepdad did my mom. I never knew HOW I would know at the time but as I watched Will care for his dad in a way that breaks my heart because no son should have to do these things so young…it just made me KNOW. There was no complaining or resentment..just genuine love.

Things I’ve Learned From Finding My Happily Ever After



* The story is still a work of progress and happily ever after does not mean we ride off in the sunset with no more battles or conflict or work involved. It does not mean I am happy every day. Good fictional reading related to that topic: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid & Landline by Rainbow Rowell

*Sure, common interests are good but it isn’t necessary to like all the same things (obviously I learned this also while dating him because OPPOSITES). When Will and I met he was an 18 year old boy and he hadn’t even begun to discover what he was into. He never cooked when we met and now cooking is one of the things he loves most in life. He dresses differently now (and not on account of me changing him or anything) and he’s even discovered he likes some of the same music as me. I’m okay with our differences and I embrace and love them. They are what make us remember that as much as we have become “one” in marriage we are still very much our own person. We learn and experience new things because of our different interests and I’m glad I never tried to mold him into who I wanted him to be in some areas.

* Most of my ideas about love and marriage were highly romanticized and were mostly based on movies and tv…and books to some extent but mostly movies and tv. How it works on the big screen is not necessarily how it works in real life.

* Sometimes you will go to bed angry. It happens.

* I never realized the new and exciting things I would learn about Will and the ways I could fall in love with him even more after marriage. Sometimes I think you have this idea after being together with someone that you know ALL THE THINGS but you don’t. And the falling in love part isn’t just a beginning occurrence…it happens to me at the most random of moments.

* Our relationship is not perfect and that’s okay. In the age of the internet and social media, it’s easy to look at the lives of others and think our relationship is inadequate. I’ve learned to reject the feelings that creep up when I see things online with someone else’s picture perfect relationship and it makes me start to doubt or think less of my own.

* I don’t ever want to stop fighting. I’m not saying I want to fight day in and day out in an unhealthy way. No, no not at all. I don’t want to FIGHT and scream and be miserable and awful to each other. What I’m saying is that, coming from divorced parents at a young age, I watched a relationship that eventually they became so apathetic/indifferent that they just stopped caring. They FOUGHT LIKE CRAZY but it was no longer serving a purpose but just to spite and let each other know how much they hated the other. (This kind of fighting is not want I want). I want to care enough to still disagree and that any “fight” we may get into will result in us taking the effort and time to work hard to bring a clear end to it.

I could write a lot more about what I’ve learned but those are just some of the most pressing things on my mind as I write this. I would LOVE for you to share your love story if you have one! And if you don’t, that’s okay too! I’m telling you…I really loved and embraced my days of being single once I came to realize it was okay and I wasn’t strange for NOT having someone.

You may also like:

10 Things My Husband Is Sick Of This Bookworm Saying
Being Married To A Non-Reader…It’s Not As Bad As You Think!!
Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
You Mean I Have To Work At This Still?

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