I've been thinking a lot about my downfalls lately.

They are something that we all have, and while they are typically discussed in a negative connotation, I can't help but think that they ultimately play a positive role in our lives. There is a crazy amount of human beings on this planet we call home, and not a single one of us are perfect. Am I the only person who finds that fact refreshing?

We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. If we all had the same balance of those two things, the world would be a pretty unbalanced place, right? Think about it...we need pessimists in order to have optimists. We need outgoing people in order to have introverts. We need logical people in order to have daydreamers.

If we were all somehow all of these things wrapped up into one package, we would have no need for other human beings. We would have no one to lift us up, and we would not be able to lift others up in their times of need. There would be no need for friendships. No need for family. No need for relationships.

Today, I admit that...

I'm extremely forgetful.

I have social anxiety.

I take things too personally.

I have to fight away a lot of negativity in order to be a positive person.

And...I'm okay with those things. Sure, they're annoying. Sure, I strive to correct the issues every day. However, I'm not going to stress my downfalls. Because I have some pretty amazing people in my life to balance me out and bring me back down to earth, and I will always be there when they need someone to do the same.


Thoughts on Cold Weather

Today is the second day in a row that I have worn a scarf.

You're probably thinking...so what? And you're right, it isn't really a big deal considering fall is slowly turning into winter. However, I feel like it is not typically this cold here in Florida during this time of the year. Sure, I'm in north Florida...but still. Fellow north Floridians, correct me if I'm wrong...but isn't it normally January before the first (and sometimes only) freeze of the season comes around? It was in the 20's last night, and the high for the past two days hasn't reached above 50 degrees.

I think I hate it and love it at the same time.

I love cozy clothing, but I hate having to wear layers.

I hate that moment when you have to pull yourself out of the warmth of your bed, but I love the energy that a blast of cool air to the face can give you.

 I love wearing boots, but I hate having to find two matching socks.

I hate all of the static electricity in the air, but I love the break from the oh-so-lovely Florida humidity.

It's a catch-22. The more I think about it though, the more I realize that even the parts of winter I'm not so fond of are pretty fascinating. A change in the air (literally), is sometimes exactly what we are in need of.

What are your thoughts on cold weather?


The One

I've been doing a lot of thinking about "the one."

And no, not "the one" in the romantic sense. That's a concept that I stopped giving thought to a long time ago.

I've been thinking about "the one" from a writer's standpoint. Or, I guess I should say, from a novelist's standpoint. What do I mean exactly?

Well, take a second to think about a few scenarios. When J.K. Rowling was writing the first Harry Potter book, do you think she knew deep down that it was going to be "the one?" When Nicholas Sparks sat down to write his first great love story, did he know that it would be "the one" to shape his career? Did. S.E. Hinton have a certain feeling about The Outsiders? When every great writer has sat down, or sits down, to shape a new idea, do they get a feeling in the pit of their stomach that convinces them that they are working on the book that will change them as a novelist and a person?

I have enjoyed writing since I learned how to hold a pencil. My brain has thought up countless ideas for stories over the years, and I couldn't remember all of them if I tried. Is this a good thing? Of course. However, it has also proven to be a bit of a negative thing over the years. I am famous for sitting down to write a few chapters of a new book, and then I will stop writing because I get distracted by a new idea that seems way better.


That is the number of partially written novels that reside on my flash drive. I don't really like admitting that, but I also enjoy thinking about going back and finishing them when the time is right. Apart from my being easily distracted, I think a big reason that I haven't finished one yet is simply because they haven't felt right. The ideas are good, but the timing is off.

Number four though...is different. Number four has been in the works for a few months now. And you know what? I think it's "the one." Actually, I know it's the one. I feel in my heart that I will complete this novel with just as much ferocity as I started it with. The last sentence I type will give me just as much pleasure as the first did. Because this story...it just feels right. The emotions that are required to make it work are exactly the ones that I have available to pour into it. It just makes sense.

I think you know that you've found "the one" when you can't stop thinking about the storyline. You stay up too late thinking about what you're going to add the next day, and you wake up early because you can't wait to start on it. The characters stop being characters, and they become a part of your every day life. All you can focus on is perfecting their personalities, and making sure that everything is flowing the way you envision it to. When you're working on "the one," the process becomes more than just writing...it becomes your life.

Here's to finding "the one."


If I'm Being Perfectly Honest...

-I really just don't feel like blogging right now. But...at the same time I do. Does that make sense?

-I'm kind of addicted to the show Parenthood. It tugs at my hear strings so much.

-I stay emotionally/mentally exhausted 90% of the time, and it's getting really old. It's also getting in the way of everything I want to accomplish.

-I can hardly wait for the upcoming four-day Thanksgiving weekend. I don't know if I'm going to make it to then. (Okay, so that's dramatic...but we all need to be a little dramatic sometimes.)

-I ate a warm Krispy Kreme donut earlier and I don't feel a bit guilty.

-I've been doing so much better financially over the past year, but the amount of credit card and student loan debt I still have to my name makes me panic if I think about it too much.

-I was in a really good mood all day because I liked my outfit and had a good hair day. Does that make me vain?

-I'm currently having extreme writer's block when it comes to my novel. I can't seem to get past this particular part. It's frustrating.

-Going to sleep each night has been my favorite part of life lately.

-When fall rolls around, I always spend quite a bit of time wishing that I lived somewhere that actually had "real" fall weather. Then...I remember that I was born, raised, and still live in Florida, and I would never survive anywhere that was consistently colder than 40 degrees.

-I may be perfectly content with never wearing a necklace other than this one for the rest of my life. When I saw it on Fifth and Mae's Instagram, I new I had to have it!


My Personal Library

Today, I felt like taking some time to share something that is very important to me. What would that something be?

My books, of course.

When I tell people that my books are very high on the list of my prized possessions, I'm not exaggerating. I love them. I care about their well being. I love looking at my bookshelf and seeing them. I enjoy watching the collection grow, and I hope to one day have not just one shelf, but an entire room dedicated to books.

So, excuse me while I turn into a complete nerd, and show my bookshelf some love. Let's take it shelf by shelf, shall we?

(A * next to the title means it's one of my absolute favorites.)

Shelf 1

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
*Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

*Meg Cabot collection:
Teen Idol by (Yes, I have two of these somehow)
Ready or Not
Avalon High
How to Be Popular
Pants on Fire
Princess in Pink
Princess in Training
Princess in Waiting
Big Boned
Size 12 is Not Fat
Size 14 is Not Fat Either
Sweet Sixteen Princess
The Princess Present
Princess in the Spotlight
Princess in Love
The Princess Diaries
All-American Girl

Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison
*The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Silver Girl by Erin Hilderbrand

Shelf Two

*The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
*Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
*A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
*Edgar Allan Poe Complete Tales and Poems

Shelf Three

Bridget Jone's Diary by Helen Fielding
A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
*Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Forever by Judy Blume
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Getting Over It by Anna Maxted
*Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
*The Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The My Side of the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George
*The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Shelf Four

Wish You Well by David Baldacci
Belle by Beverly Jenkins
*The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
*The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Lereaux
*The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul (This is nerdy...don't judge me.)
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: On Love and Friendship
*Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Gold-Bug and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank
Mary Higgins Clark collection

Shelf Five

This shelf is also known as the "textbook graveyard." Some of them I kept because I really liked, but others I still have because I couldn't get rid of them, ha ha.

What's in your personal library?


3 Beginner Steps to Loving Yourself

A couple of weeks ago, I very hesitantly published this post.

It isn't always easy to put difficult stuff like that out there...even when you're a blogger who shares a good portion of your life publicly. At the same time though, there is something very therapeutic about opening up about tough things And, at this point, I'm really glad I did it. Over the past couple of weeks, it has held me accountable to myself...it has served as a reminder that I am on a journey to loving myself as a person.

In all honesty, not a lot has changed for me in that aspect so far. However, I have definitely been more in tune to the way that I treat and talk to myself. I have been very conscious of the negativity that I direct towards myself, and I have been more likely to apologize and reverse my actions as a results. I have also been thinking a lot about specific ways to work on this on a daily basis, which is what has led me to create...

3 Beginner Steps to Loving Yourself
1. Nix the negative self-talk.
The way that you talk to yourself is a reflection of what you believe to be true about yourself. It all begins with the way that you feel about the person you are looking at in the mirror. While your physical appearance is definitely not the most important thing about you, the fact of the matter is...you can't love yourself as a whole if you hate the way you look. So, instead of telling yourself that you look horrible because you decided not to do your hair or makeup that day, tell yourself that you are beautiful no matter how much time you put into your appearance. Learn to love the you that you see without mascara or the "right" outfit. Accept your "flaws." They are what make you unique. They should be celebrated.
2. Do plenty of things that make you smile and laugh.
We have all heard the phrase, "happy girls are the prettiest." When you stop to think about it, the root of that quote is true. People who are happy with their lives are the most intriguing. Enjoying your life begins with being happy with yourself. Being happy with yourself begins with doing things that make you happy. Take time out of every day to enjoy yourself. Allow yourself to laugh. Don't take yourself too seriously. Enjoy your life. Take advantage of all of the happy that is around you.
3. Surround yourself with things that are good for you.
Life is too short to envelop yourself in people and circumstances that impact you in a negative way. When you are a person who puts yourself down the majority of the time, what good is it doing you to hang around people who also enjoy beating you down? You deserve to have friends and family who encourage you and push you towards your dreams. When you are down in a hole, don't you want the comfort of knowing that everyone you are close to is doing their best to help lift you out? Wouldn't you rather spend your time partaking in activities that are going to make you feel good and fulfilled, instead of empty and broken? I know that I would. It's often difficult to distinguish between positive and negative...but it is possible.
What are some things that you do to build yourself up each day? How do you work to love yourself?
P.S. I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I dressed up as Clark Kent. Who did you pretend to be for a day?


In the Near Future...

Since turning 25 a few weeks ago, I have been doing a lot of thinking about things that I want to do. This isn't really a new concept for me. I mean, I constantly think about things that I want to do. However, those things are normally always on a "larger scale." You know what I mean...things like major travel plans, and career goals..."big" things. Over the past month, I have been thinking more about smaller things that I want to take part in.
As I travel further and further into my adult life, less and less of my time is spent doing things that I love to do. I work A LOT. Every day of the week, and a good majority of my weekends are spent at the office. Sure, I read and write, but those are things that are also done within the walls of my apartment. I want to get out more. I want to do more of the things that I used to LOVE doing. I want to be an adult, while still taking advantage of my youth.
So, I have compiled a list of fun stuff that I want to do over the next few months. I guess you could call it my first "bucket list" ever.
 -I want to go to more concerts. This is something I used to do every chance I got, and I really can't remember the last one I went to.
-I want to go to Orlando and go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter, and even though I live in Florida I have never been to the Wizarding World.
-I want to go on a "me"cation. In other words, I want to drive somewhere and spend a weekend...by myself. I know, that probably sounds awful to most of you. But, I think it sounds fantastic.
-I want to see more shows. I used to go to plays and other shows whenever possible. The last musical I saw was West Side Story two years ago. I want to start keeping an eye on all of the performing arts centers here in town and go to shows whenever the opportunity arises.
-I want to take more pictures. There was a time that I used to have an overabundance of memories in the form of photographs. And not on my cell phone, but on an actual camera.
-I want to try new recipes. I really want to learn how to enjoy cooking and baking. And with Pinterest at hand and the holiday season approaching...is there really any better time to learn?
-I want to appreciate myself to the point that I am not afraid to try out clothes and accessories that I wouldn't normally wear. I want to build a confidence in my appearance.
-I want to enjoy every simple second of my life. I want to be able to love the days that I am sitting in my office just as much as the days that I am free to do as I please.
What are some things that you want to do in the near future?


Recent Loves

Let me begin this post by being stereotypical and stating the obvious...

We are smack dab in the middle of the time of year that makes us fall in love. And not just in love with each other, but in love with everything around us.

Fall has a way of making us realize that there are still plenty of wonderful things left in the world, even in the midst of the normal stresses and chaos. Maybe that's where the phrase "FALLing in love" comes from. (Cheesy, I know. But...just go with it.)

Therefore, I thought I would use this opportunity to share a few of the things that I have been loving recently. Let's proceed...

1. The "Film Scores" station on Pandora.
Here's a nerdy little fact about me that you maybe didn't know...I love movie music. It gives me goose bumps. I find it amazing how the music in a movie scene is the biggest contributor to making you feel the emotions you should be feeling at that time. And gosh...how I wish life actually had music playing in the background. I'm actually listening to the station as I type, and the current score is from part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Bam. One of my favorite scores ever is from Requiem for a Dream. The movie is crazy intense and borderline disturbing, and I will probably never, ever watch it again...but the music gets me every time. Take a listen...

2. My New Camera
Okay, so as you can tell in the picture below, it's definitely not a real camera. It's a decorative camera I found at Ross for $6.00, but I LOVE it. I snatched that thing off the shelf at lighting speed. It is currently in its' temporary home on my desk. I'm still trying to decide exactly where I want to put it. And, a related side note: I'm hopefully about to buy an ACTUAL DSLR camera. Fingers crossed.

3. Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream
I almost have no words to describe this ice cream. It's like a Girl Scout Thin Mint in ice cream form. It's so flippin' good! When I go grocery shopping, I let myself buy one "bad sweet" to bring home, and lately...it's always this.

Via Google
4. New Blogging Endeavors
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I now co-author another blog with my friend Elena. Embracing the Road Less Traveled is something that is really new and exciting for both of us. It's very small right now, and still under some construction...but we are confident that we are going to do big things with this blog. We take turns posting...I post on Mondays and Elena posts on Thursdays. Click HERE to check it out...we are always up for some feeback!

Embracing the Road Less Traveled
5. Basic Fall Things
And...last but not least, because I AM a human being...I'm really enjoying fall. It's just filled with so many fun things...like pumpkins, and decorations, and weather that is below 95 degrees, and Halloween-themed wine. What's not to love? (Shout out to my roomie/BFF Amber for making the super cute fall banner!)



How Do You Save Yourself?

If you know me well, or even if you have just been reading my blog from the beginning, you have probably noticed something about me over the past year or so...

I haven't been myself.

Or, I guess you could say I have been a much worse version of myself. An anxious heart, several unwelcomed circumstances, and a whole lot of negativity towards myself has turned me into a person that I don't even know. This new Miranda is not someone that I care too much for, but at the same time I have no desire to search too hard for the old one. I look at myself in the mirror every morning and try to figure out where my joy, where my motivation, where my happiness is hiding...but it has been a mystery that has went unsolved for months now.

This past week, I was at one of my lowest points. I did nothing but drag myself to work everyday, and then drag myself back home to crawl into bed and go to sleep by 8:30 PM. I feel like I have no control over myself or the way I feel. I have all of these thoughts of things that I deeply want to do...Miranda, you need to blog today. Miranda, sit down and work on your novel when you get home. Miranda, go out and interact with other human beings. But, I just can't find the energy to actually do them...no matter how badly I want to.

Friday after work, I drove across town to sit down with someone who I view as a "mentor" in every sense of the word, and have a chat about my life. I'm never one to willingly sit down and talk about everything I'm feeling, because I hate feeling like I'm complaining, and I also have a major fear of getting on someone's nerves. However, this chat was just what I needed. I talked to him about a lot of things that I have been holding in, but unable to actually admit to anyone...or even to myself. Throughout the conversation, he kept making me realize that the reason for my depression really boils down to one thing. And that thing is...

I'm not a fan of myself...at all.

I have went through my entire life to this point telling myself that I am "mediocre at best." I beat myself down without even realizing it. I compare myself to everyone else, and in these comparisons, I always end up at the bottom of the heap. Miranda, you are always going to be one of the least attractive women in the room. Sure Miranda, your goals are great...but do you really think you deserve what you want? Miranda, no one is ever going to look at you the way that he looks at her. Miranda, you aren't good enough for that. Miranda...why do you say such ridiculous things? Miranda...no one cares about your opinion.

We have all heard the phrases about "loving yourself more than anyone else," and "loving yourself before you can expect anyone else too." I guess it's time that I really take that to heart. Because, when it comes down to it...there's only one solution to saving myself:

I have to start with fixing ME.

I really don't even know where to begin. I know that it's going to take time, and patience, and a lot more negative thoughts to get myself to a place where I think more positively. It's going to be difficult, and emotional. But...I think I'm finally at a place where I want to respect myself, and I'm beginning to believe that I deserve to respect myself. There are many out there who suffer from the same feelings, and there are many who have overcome the self-hate. I can be an overcomer too.

So, I guess I'll begin by taking myself a little less seriously and closing this post with a picture that shows off a quirkier side of me that is normally tucked away.

Happy Sunday!


The Power of Song Lyrics

As a "writer at heart," I usually always have something on my mind that I can sit down and form into a blog post. However, I do have days where I have the itch to blog...but none of my thoughts seems worthy of putting into words. On these days, I prefer to dive into the words of others. Instead of obtaining contentment through putting my own ideas into print, I lose myself in books or quotes or song lyrics that have been so brilliantly written from another's creative mindset.

Song lyrics are particularly powerful sets of words because they are appealing to not only one of our human senses...but two; sight and sound. You can read the lyrics with no music and deem them beautiful, but when the music is added and those lyrics are put into the form of the song...it becomes mind blowing.

So, seeing as I have been spending a good portion of my evening listening to music, I thought it would be fun to share some of my all time favorite song lyrics. Shall we proceed?

Fix You by Coldplay on Grooveshark

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try, you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
-Fix You by Coldplay
Burning Bridges by OneRepublic on Grooveshark
You and I were meant to be
Ain't no doubt about it
No way to hide that sort of thing
Now I'm waiting for something better
Ain't nothing better worth imagining
I, I keep on running
I'm building bridges that I know you never wanted
Look for my heart
You stole it away
-Burning Bridges by OneRepublic
American Noise by Skillet on Grooveshark
Angry words and honking cars
Satellites and falling stars
Distant dark blue radios that whisper down my boulevards
Ghosts and chains rattle in the attic
Broken headphones filled with static
Lonely room you've got nowhere to run
3, 2, 1 for all and all for 1
Times will be bad, times will be good
Things I wish I hadn't done, and some I wish I would
Cutting through the American noise
You've got a voice and a song to sing
Drink deep in the morning
Drink deep in the morning
See what the day will bring
-American Noise by Skillet
When We Come Alive by Switchfoot - www.musicasparabaixar.org on Grooveshark
The sun goes down like a photograph
You try to stop time in the aftermath
But it's gone, gone
Yesterday reads like a tragedy
I try not to lose what's left of me
But it's gone
Yeah, but we carry on
We are fire
Burning brightly, you and I
We light the sky
When we ignite
When we come alive
When we come alive
-When We Come Alive by Switchfoot
Art Of War by Anberlin on Grooveshark
Am I the latest in your art of war?
Thought your hands could heal
But they left me sore
You're so good at what you think you do to me
You're so good at what you think you do to me
There are songs I'll never write
Because of you walking out of my life
There are words that don't belong
Because of you I'll never write another love song
-Art of War by Anberlin
What song lyrics really get to you?


Do You Take the Road Less Traveled?

Over a year ago, my friend Elena and I sat down and talked about the possibility of creating a shared blog. We talked about the direction we wanted it to go in and the message that we wanted it to portray. We knew the basic premise of what we wanted the blog to focus on, but it took a bit of brainstorming to decide exactly how we wanted to present everything. And finally, after about 12 months of on-and-off brainstorming (and let's be honest, a bit of procrastination), we decided it was finally time to dive in and publish a post. We figured...let's just dive in and perfect the details as we go.

So, we are pretty excited to present Embracing the Road Less Traveled, a blog all about figuring out exactly how to jump life's hurdles and achieve all of those dreams that you have been putting on the back burner. You see, Elena and I are both firm believers that talents and passions can also be the things that help you "earn a living." We believe that there is more than one variation of living the dream. We believe that everyone is 100% capable of obtaining that sought after feeling of fulfillment.

There are plenty of blogs out there that touch on this same type of subject. But...this one will be a little different. How so? Well...we aren't experts. Elena and I are both on this journey to self-discovery ourselves. Therefore, we won't just be giving you directions...we will be taking the trip with you.

Come tag along with us...we would love to have you. Feel free to take a look around the blog. We have a lot of really awesome stuff planned!

Embracing the Road Less Traveled
P.S. You can also find us on Twitter.


25...and Happy to Be Alive

 Well guys...I did it. I turned a quarter of a century old, and I survived.
In all seriousness though, I just returned home from a stupendous birthday weekend. (I feel like that word doesn't get enough credit. Stupendous...it's so great.) Anyway, the weekend of my 25th was spent in Atlanta, with wonderful friends, good times, lots of laughter, yummy food, and a dash of wine. Sounds great, right?
We visited the Coca Cola factory, a couple of great restaurants (including The Vortex, where I had one of the best mushroom swiss burgers I have ever tasted), explored downtown Atlanta, and enjoyed some girl time. I wish we would have had more than two days, because Atlanta, Georgia has a lot to offer.
The weekend has left me excited for 25, and even though I have to get up and go back to the daily grind tomorrow, I'm going to do my best to do it with a positive attitude. I'm 25. It's a new year for me, and my mindset is going to follow the promise of the new and wonderful things that I know are coming.
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! You have no idea how appreciated they are. Now...here are a few pictures from my festivities. (Via our shared photo stream from the weekend...because I stupidly forgot my camera. Sigh...)




One Question

What am I doing?

Last night, I did a lot of reflecting on this past year; my 24th year of life. I've noticed that something that people seem to enjoy doing is choosing a word or a theme that sums up their year or their experience. As I was thinking about the past twelve months of my life though, I couldn't sum it up in a word...but rather a question; the question that is right up there at the beginning of this post.

What am I doing?

I feel like I have asked myself, and still ask myself that multiple times a day. It's funny how you can expect one thing from a new year, and get something that is completely different. That's what happened with me and age 24. On my 24th birthday, I expected it to be the year that I would bring things to light...find some answers to unknown things. Instead, at only two days away from turning 25, most things are in more of a grey area than ever before. Even things that I thought I had answers to a year ago are now a complete mystery.

Relationship, job, money, dreams, hopes, goals...I still have no idea what direction these things are going in.

But...it's okay.

Something else that people seem to enjoy doing is making lists of all of their goals. You know what I'm talking about..."25 before 25" and "30 before 30" and "bucket" lists. While I'm all for having dreams, and putting them on paper in order to visualize your ambition, I also think that these types of lists make you feel bad when you don't accomplish things or find solutions to things that you are trying to figure out. I personally have never actually sat down and wrote out one of these types of lists, but I still have one stored in my mind. And now that I'm almost 25, and I'm still single, and I still haven't finished writing a book, and I still haven't been fortunate enough to find my "calling," all I can see is this giant scroll of a list that has a million bullet points that are not scratched off.

Therefore, I have constantly asked myself...what am I doing?

That's why, as I'm getting ready to turn 25, and thinking about everything that 25 will bring, I'm not thinking in terms of things that I have to accomplish. I'm thinking in terms of living the life that I know I am capable of living. I'm going to do the things I love, and I'm going to be around people that I want to be around. I'm going to try new things, and get rid of things that are old and negative. I'm going to work towards my dreams, but I'm not going to hate myself if I fail. I'm going to embrace living, instead of chasing all of the things that I think will make me feel alive.

So, what am I doing?

I still don't know, but that question is about to take on an entirely new meaning.


My Last Weekend as a 24-Year-Old

Well...I'm officially less than a week away from my birthday. This Saturday, September 27th, I will officially be...wait for it...25-YEARS-OLD.

Dun dun dun.

25 has always been that age for me that I thought would never come. Yet, here it is. A teeny, tiny distance of six days away. I have a lot of things that have been running through my mind lately...thoughts of all of the things that I thought would have happened by this age, and thoughts of all of the things that have happened that I never expected to.

As I'm sitting on the couch typing this, I can't help but think about how my last weekend of being less than a quarter of a century old has come to an end. Obviously age doesn't have a big impact on weekends, or even how you choose to spend your time. However, it's always nice to be a little overly sentimental. And, my last weekend under the age of 25 has been well spent. I..

*Spent time with great friends
*Worked for a few hours (but it's okay)
*Did A LOT of reading
*Took a glorious three-hour nap
*Ate some pretty good food
*Watched my Seminoles earn an awesome win
*Enjoyed a lot of time just being "care free"

At the end of this last 24-year-old weekend, I'm feeling very fulfilled. I have so much to be thankful for, and I intend to carry this feeling of fulfillment over into my first 25-year-old weekend. Here's to great weekends!


Recent Reads

Oh...hello. Yes, it's me...the blogger who apparently prefers to place her posts over a week apart from each other. That's the latest trend, haven't you heard? Sometimes I'm ashamed to call myself a blogger. Other times, I'm like...you know what? IT'S OKAY. I have other things going on, and I have to find the balance that is right for ME. Blogging full time just isn't fitting into my schedule these days.

Unfortunately, a little thing called a "job" takes up the majority of my time. I don't really prefer to say that I have to "make a living," because I believe that making a living is about so much more than what your day job is. But...money is a priority in life, and until the miraculous day that I am able to support myself by doing things that I actually like, a job is just what has to happen.

Plus, I may not be blogging regularly lately, but I am certainly doing my fair share of writing. Guys...I'm going to finish writing this novel by the end of the year if it kills me. You know how when you really, really want something, it's all you can think about? I am to the point with this book, that it consumes my mind about 85% of the time. All I can think about is how I'm going to have one thing lead to another, or how I'm going to phrase a sentence to get across exactly what I want to portray. This obsessive thinking is leading to results and words on paper though...so I'm not going to complain!

And speaking of books, now that I have rambled my way through an extremely long intro, I can finally jump in to sharing what this post is actually intended for. It's been a while since I've posted about what I've been reading, and that is changing today. Here are a few of the books that have kept me company lately.

1. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Let me just begin by saying this...I LOVE Jodi Picoult. Many reviews that I read about her state that she is overrated, but I completely disagree. First of all, you can tell that she puts a great deal of research into her books. She takes this research, and creates a fictional story from it...and not just any fictional story, but one that makes you feel emotions on multiple levels. And on top of all of that, she always writes about things that are not easy to write about. The first Picoult novel I read was Nineteen Minutes...which dealt with a school shooting. This book, The Tenth Circle, dealt with rape, and adultery. I have read a lot of books in my life, and most of the ones I have read that deal with such serious subjects are overwhelming. Picoult is able to lace the story with other interesting back stories and the result makes you feel the sadness that you should feel when reading this type of subject matter, but the outcomes also give you a sense of hope.

2. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
I really like this movie, so when the book was on sale at Books a Million I figured...what the heck? Let's give it a shot. I'm always up for some chick lit. It's pretty similar to the movie...thirty-something Bridget Jones deals with all annoying necessary life occurrences. She hilariously documents it all...weight issues, work problems, men troubles...in her diary. It was funny, I'll give it that. Not one of the best things I've ever read, but it was still entertaining. It took me longer to get through it than I expected because I just wasn't overly excited about cracking it open whenever I would sit down to read. However, I don't regret it. I also bought the sequel, which I will read eventually.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
This has been sitting on my "to read" shelf for a while now, and upon finishing it all I could think was...why didn't I read this sooner? Within these pages, Louisa Clark, an average twenty-something woman, takes a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man named Will. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but in a nutshell, Will wishes to willingly end his life because he doesn't believe it is worth living anymore. Louisa makes the decision to help Will's family by trying to remind him of all of the ways that he can still have the life that he feels he has been deprived of. Along the way, her feelings for him become deeper than she ever could have expected. I think so many "love" stories are ruined by cheesy romance. The refreshing thing about this book was that it was a look at a unique, yet real connection between two people. Honestly...I thought it was wonderful.

What have you been reading lately? I'm now currently reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I'm not going to give my thoughts on it so far though...I'll save that for my next post about books.

Happy almost-Friday!


Are We Getting it Wrong?

This afternoon, just like every other weekday afternoon, I drove my usual route home from work. I was sitting in a right turn lane, waiting for the car in front of me to catch a break in traffic and pull a right on red so that I could do the same. I was zoned out and tired, staring straight ahead as I always do on my drive home...thinking without really thinking and functioning without really trying because my mind was so worn out from the day.

I was startled out of my trance by the blaring of a horn. Irritated, I looked in my rearview mirror to see a "kind gentleman" in a gigantic Ford F150 laying on his horn, throwing his hands up in the air, and yelling what I can pretty accurately assume were obscenities. He was obviously making an attempt to get the car in front of me to move more quickly, even if that meant them pulling out in front of oncoming traffic. It was pretty easy to gather that he was angry because his precious time was being wasted, and he just assumed that his schedule and his obligations were more important than the safety of the person in the car in front of me.

At that point, a familiar thought ran through my mind...a thought that I have pondered multiple times a day for as long as I can remember.

Were we meant to live like this?

The hustle, the bustle, the busyness of life. The anger, the impatience, the low levels of tolerance. The hatred, the close-mindedness, the quickness to write people off. The quickness to judge others on their thoughts, beliefs, and appearance.

Is this the kind of day-to-day existence that we were meant to endure?

I understand that life is going to have some conflict, because honestly, diversity makes the world go round, right? However, I can't help but feel like we, human beings, have taken the complexity to a level that it was never meant to reach. We make even the easiest of things difficult. We create strife from things that are better left alone. We prefer to walk all over those that we are supposed to be lifting up.

I can't help but wonder what it would be like if we actually treated others with the respect instead of just talking about treating others with respect. What if we based our actions off of love rather than just thinking about acting out of love? How different would things be?

Do you think we're getting it wrong?


Anxiety is an "It"

I tried something different today.

I have been having a lot of random thoughts and statements popping into my mind...thoughts and statements about tough stuff. I had a couple of them saved in a draft, and I was finally hit with an idea on what to do with them. Therefore, I have used them to write something that portrays anxiety as a "physical" thing.

I feel like it's a little bit darker than something that I would normally share here. However, I hope that it will still mean something to people in a positive way. It isn't a "cheerful" post...but I still believe that many of you can relate.


It's never late to arrive.

It's always there, first thing in the morning. Your alarm goes off. Your eyes flutter open, and you can already feel the burden of It...the weight of It. It may as well be sitting on your chest.

It pokes and prods the corners of your mind. Instead of saying "good morning," It says "don't count on a happy day." It reaches into your thoughts, pulling all of the things you don't want to think about to the "obsession" portal of your brain.

The mistakes you have made.
The sadness that you feel.
The fears that control you.
The face of someone you're trying to forget.
The worry that consumes you.

It brings them all into blinding light, and try as you may, you just can't focus on anything else.

It gets pleasure out of watching you struggle to get out of bed and face the day. It makes you believe that it's normal to have a lack of hope. It smiles as you begin to believe the lie that things are never going to change for the better.

It follows you all day, constantly stepping on your heels so that you can't possibly forget that It's there.

"Wow, you just screwed something else up. Good job."
"Hm...that will definitely get you in trouble later."
"That was the dumbest thing you could have done."
"It's only a matter of time before everyone realizes that you're nothing special."
"Just think...you're going to be in this same spot 30 years from now too."

Its insults are all that you can hear. They ring in your ears. You replace the negative thoughts with a positive one...which works for a few minutes. Then, It is back...and twice as strong. It forces you to have your daily break down, leaving you emotionally exhausted.

It returns home with you. It sits in the corner, smirking as It watches you sit and stare at the wall. Its pride grows with every tear that unwillingly slides down your cheek. It pats itself on the back...congratulating itself for another successful day.

It watches you toss and turn as you try to sleep. The one moment of the day that It hates is the one where It watches your face relax as you finally drift off to sleep. It knows that you have forgotten everything that It has worked so hard to engrain in your mind. Sleep is your favorite part of the day for this reason. It's a chance to escape, and each night when you're drifting off, you pray that maybe It will be gone when awake. But, that never happens.

Because...It's never late to arrive.


Just Appreciate Simplicity

You know, when it comes down to it, it really is about the "little things" in life.

Over the past few months, I have spent 99% of the time with an inability to even recognize, let alone appreciate, the simple occurrences and events that take place on a daily basis. I know this, because I have been in a much happier mood the past couple of days, and I attribute it to the fact that there have been so many little things to appreciate. Little things such as:

//Yesterday, the weather was beautiful. It has been HOT here in Florida, and yesterday was the first glimmer of hope that this relentless heat is going to eventually end. It rained on Sunday, and cooled things down to about 85 degrees yesterday. There was a lovely breeze. The humidity was a bit below the level of suffocation. It was all around very nice, and it made me look forward to fall and all of the things that come with it.

//I allowed myself to partake in a little retail therapy on Saturday afternoon, which is something that I rarely do. My closet is the proud owner of 6 new shirts, 2 pairs of sandals, and a dress that I absolutely love. I wore it to church on Sunday, and to work yesterday. It's funny how a new piece of clothing can put a little pep in your step.

//I had a super stressful week at work last week...to the point that I was dreading going in on Monday morning. However, I had a really good Monday because I have really encouraging and supportive co-workers. The people you are surrounded by can make such a difference in your day.

//The sweetest little old lady asked me to help her get something down from the top shelf at Publix yesterday afternoon. She was so kind, and so appreciative of the most simple favor. I wonder how different the world would be if we were all that appreciative of each other.

Today, I encourage you to pay a little more attention to the small things around you. Smell the roses. Smile at strangers. Dare to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Do something nice for someone. Take time for yourself. Just appreciate simplicity.

And, if all else fails in your quest to find "little things" to appreciate, you can always hug a cute dog.


An Apology to YOU, Plus 5 Useless Pieces of Information

One of the worst results of not blogging regularly over the past few months is definitely the fact that I have lost a good majority of my readers. When I say this, I'm not bummed out about my lower stats or the fact that I am obviously receiving less comments...I'm upset that I have lost some of the blogging relationships that I had before.

When life began to go down hill, I didn't only post less...I stopped responding to comments. I stopped commenting on blogs. I stopped reading blogs. I stopped maintaining the connections that were so important to me. I have even neglected to mail out the gifts to the winners of the giveaway that I hosted for the opening of my Etsy shop a few months ago. I have overall became one of those "crappy bloggers" that no one wants to be.

So today, I wanted to use the opening of this post to say....I'm sorry. I really am. Everyone who has taken the time to read what I write over the past year and a half has been amazing. I truly value the thoughts, opinions, and even friendships that you have all offered to me. Knowing that I have lost a lot of that because of my neglect really bothers me. I only hope that I can work to re-establish myself and my relationships with my readers.

To anyone who is reading this post, I want to get reacquainted. I'm going to share five "useless" facts about me, and I want you to do the same. After you read this, please comment below and tell me something about yourself that is "useful, yet awesome." Here we go...

1. I can produce a pretty wicked "Stich" impression. I'm kind of proud of it. I only do this for a select few people. Maybe one day I will get brave enough to share it with the internet. Maybe...

Via Google

2. I have really hairy arms. I know you're probably thinking...gross, thanks for sharing. But, it's the truth. Surprisingly it doesn't normally bother me though. I think I'm just used to it. Plus, I feel like shaving or waxing my arms is just WAY more trouble than it's worth. Exhibit A:

3. I LOVE this song, and know every single last word to it, forwards and backwards. I've never done karaoke, but if I were going to, I would sing this song...and crush it.

4. Going to FSU has given me a permanent weakness for anything garnet, gold, or "feathery." I bought two very similar garnet shirts yesterday because "I need them for football season." And my current favorite thing is this feather garland that I bought from a local boutique a couple of weeks ago.

5. I am a sucker for a "pretty sky." I have about 100 pictures of sunrises and sunsets on my phone/camera. This one was taken off of my back balcony a few nights ago.

Now it's your turn...share away in a comment below! Happy Monday to you.
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