Cheers to 25 years!

Cheers to 25 years!

Hey all—today is my 25th birthday!

This morning I woke up next to my amazing husband and I took some time to be mindful and reflect on my life so far. I thought about all of my achievements, but I also reflected on the challenges and obstacles I have faced. Everything that I have experienced has made me the person I am today. Even in the last few years, I have experienced growth that I could have never imagined. This past year, I started graduate school, grown in my profession, celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary, traveled, improved my habits, developed a steady writing ritual, and so much more. I am extremely excited to see what 25 will bring!

I thought it would be fun to write down 25 things/values that I have learned and practice. I hope you have fun reading them, and that they have an impact on your life as well. Enjoy!

  1. Take care of yourself first.
  2. You are not defined by the way you look or how others perceive you.
  3. The best way to escape is to get lost in a good book.
  4. Sometimes there will be people who are in your life for a short amount of time. Let them go, but appreciate the time you spent with them.
  5. Show up. Be present. Work hard and show initiative.
  6. Always keep a journal.
  7. Your siblings are a true gift, and they are your best friends for life.
  8. Be humble, but recognize your successes too.
  9. Family is not just blood; you choose your family.
  10. Eat that piece of cake!
  11. Find something that is good for your soul. (For me, it’s crafting.)
  12. Watch the movies you love and read the books you love—even if it is the 20th time.
  13. Don’t tweet that. Write it down instead.
  14. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
  15. Take time each day to write down what you are grateful for.
  16. If someone has a different opinion, listen to them. Talk and compromise.
  17. Travel!
  18. Everyone has a story. Be patient.
  19. Hold on to friends who check in on you. Your best friends are those who you see every now and then and nothing changes.
  20. Success isn’t measured by the size of your home, your car, or material objects. It is measured by the quality of your character and your treatment of others.
  21. When you’re making coffee, always add an extra scoop for good luck.
  22. Put your phone down. Look around you. Live in the moment. Sometimes the best pictures are those you keep for yourself.
  23. Advocate for those who can’t.
  24. They are PHOTOSHOPPED. You are beautiful!
  25. Always stay true to yourself.

 

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5 author quotes to celebrate National Day on Writing

5 author quotes to celebrate National Day on Writing

Today you might have noticed the hashtag #WhyIWrite on your newsfeed. That’s because today is National Day on Writing! By using #WhyIWrite, writers across the country have shared why they are dedicated to their craft. Today, I shared why I write:

The National Day on Writing was founded by the National Council of Teachers of English to bring more immediacy to the power of writing and encourage others to get involved in celebrating it. I wanted to share with you 5 quotes from some of my favorite authors on why they love to create and inspire through writing:

  1. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things: read a lot and write a lot.” ― Stephen King
  2. “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” ― Toni Morrison
  3. “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” ―Ernest Hemingway
  4. “I’ve no idea where ideas come from and I hope I never find out; it would spoil the excitement for me if it turned out I just have a funny little wrinkle on the surface of my brain which makes me think about invisible train platforms.” ― J.K. Rowling
  5. “If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” ― Margaret Atwood

 

How about you? Why do you love to write? What are you working on? Please share in the comments!

 

 

Ways to experience hygge this fall

Ways to experience hygge this fall

I discovered the magic of “hygge” a year ago when I stumbled across the book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking. I remembered reading how the Dutch are the happiest people in the world, and I always wondered how. The answer: “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah), a Danish word acknowledging a feeling or moment that gives you complete happiness. One can experience hygge alone or with friends; the only condition to experiencing hygge is that you are able to enjoy and recognize living in the present.

Some buzzwords that surround hygge are “cozy,” “comfort,” and “charm.” These are three elements that I take pride in when choosing my hygge. Wiking writes: “Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.” To “do” hygge is to you create simple rituals without much effort; you make your personal life an art form.

Fall has arrived—the perfect season to try out some hygge practices. Hygge is not just restricted to the colder months, but for someone like me who loves bundling up in blankets with a cup of hot chocolate, this is when I experience the most hygge. Here are some fall activities for you to try to bring some hygge into your life:

Light some fall-scented candles
Candles are already so calming and peaceful, so why not light a Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte candle and get the full fall effect?

Read a book
As an avid reader, sitting in my comfy chair with a steaming mug of tea or coffee and a great book is ultimate hygge. Since it’s Halloween season, try picking up a horror/spooky book to get you in the Halloween spirit!

Layer up!
Three of the best things about fall: sweaters, scarves, and boots. I love bundling up with scarves and jackets and dressing for cool weather. Did I mention flannels?!

Buy some fall decorations—or make your own!
When the first leaf hits the ground in September, I make a mad dash to the nearest craft store and load up on fall decor. I love crafting; it’s such a fun way to unwind, relax, and spark some creativity! Here’s an example of one of my fall decor pieces this year. I went to my local craft store and bought these pumpkins and leaves, and created my own chalkboard sign:

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Road Trip!
Get in your car with a friend or two and take a drive to a cool town or place and explore. Go to a trendy coffee shop or a museum; or go to a park and take in the views! Everything is beautiful this time of year—get out there and enjoy it!

Have a movie night
Invite a friend over and have a movie night or watch a movie on your own. This time of year, I love to sit on my couch after a long day with a warm blanket and watch Halloween movies—especially classics like “Halloweentown” and “Hocus Pocus!”

Go on a walk/hike through the autumn leaves
Head outside and enjoy the sweet, crisp autumn air. Going for walks gives me the chance to slow down and enjoy the beautiful foliage—and I love hearing the *crunch* of fallen leaves under my feet!

Pick your own apples/pumpkins—and get to baking!
Make your way to a local pick-your-own farm and grab a hot apple cider, some warm fritters, and pick your own pumpkins or apples. Then…make a dessert when you get home! A fall dessert favorite in our home is warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream on top. Yum!

 

What do you like to do in the fall? How do you “hygge?”

 

 

 

Movie time! 10 Halloween movies to watch this October

Movie time! 10 Halloween movies to watch this October

October is here, and that means it’s time to put on those layers, sit on the couch with a hot beverage (or a cold one!) and watch some Halloween movies! I really enjoyed sharing the spooky books that I love to read throughout the month of October, so I thought it would be fun to also share what movies I love to watch to get me in the Halloween spirit.

As a child at heart, a lot of my movies revolve around those Disney channel classics, but there are definitely some other scary movies that I watch (during the daytime of course) to celebrate one of the best holidays!

So, grab your popcorn and candy and snuggle down to these great Halloween movies:

“Coraline”

“Coraline” just happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time! Dive into the claymation world of Coraline, directed by Henry Selick based on the book by Neil Gaiman.

“Halloweentown” series (1-3)

Because who really liked the fourth one?! I love diving into a warm blanket of nostalgia and watching the Halloweentown series! I love Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Aggie in the movies and her famous quote: “Being normal is vastly overrated.”

“Hocus Pocus”

Of COURSE “Hocus Pocus” is on this list! Who doesn’t love this movie?! A great comedy and classic.

“Halloween”

This is definitely one of those movies that I watch during the day, but really gets you spooked and in the Halloween spirit.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

This is Halloween! This is Halloween! My favorite part of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is its opening number, which really gets you excited about Halloween.

“Young Frankenstein”

Mel Brooks. Gene Wilder. Marty Feldman. Need I say more? “Young Frankenstein” is a great parody of the classic horror film, and will have you laughing throughout!

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

What? How does she manage to incorporate “Harry Potter” in everything she writes? Wizards, witches, magic, the one scene with the troll in the dungeon on Halloween. Just watch it!

“Corpse Bride”

Another Tim Burton classic! I love “Corpse Bride” for its storyline and music by the amazing Danny Elfman!

“The Nightmare on Elm Street”

Remember those movies you watch during the day? Yep—here’s another one. Enjoy this classic slasher film to get you in the Halloween spirit…but don’t fall asleep.

“Frankenweenie”

Yes—Tim Burton owns stop-motion Disney Halloween films (and so does Danny Elfman). I love “Frankenweenie”—it’s such a funny, warm, family-friendly movie! Give it a try!

 

What movies did I forget? There are so many!