book-report-yes-please

So, I totally forgot that I said I was going to do reviews of the books I read from 2015 list. I finished Amy Poehler's Yes Please about a week ago and I'm just now getting around to telling you about it. Bad blogger! However, waiting paid off because now I get to write this review while watching this week's episodes of Parks and Recreation. Score.

Going Into It | Before opening the book, I had already heard a few things from friends and GoodReads. What I read again and again was that people were disappointed that the book didn't do XYZ -- whether it be provide advice, give inside dirt on surviving divorce, or be pee-yourself funny. I think it's cool to want a book that does these things in the end, but I feel like it's a lot to expect up front. People definitely have higher standards for Yes Please because they recognize Amy and feel like they know her from watching her shows and maybe even from things like Smart Girls. From my perspective, I knew there was a huge chance I'd love the book because I love Amy, but I don't feel like I let that make my expectations for the book outrageous or unrealistic.

The Book | Yes Please finds a really good balance between memoir of Amy the woman, Amy the comedienne, and Amy person we (think we) know. The sections about her early days in Chicago are so thrilling to read because you can feel her passion and drive. For people looking for a self-help-esque book, I'd say she does a good job of showing what it takes to succeed without beating you over the head with steps and commands. The sections about being a mom are (strangely?) my favorite. The ways she talks about her boys makes me want to write whole books of poems about stars and toes and blowing bubbles. She loves those nuggets so fiercely and the time she's spent with them at this age is so precious. I love that she's a strong working woman showing the time and love she gives so constantly to the two tiny loves of her life. I love that she also talks about sex and age and how those things go hand in hand in the best way possible. It made me excited to get sexier as I get older. I love when a book can make me feel things like this. 

As a fan, the best parts are where she talks about her BFFs Seth and Tina, as well as the cast of Parks. Holy crap that chapter about the cast of Parks had be bawling and I can't even tell you why. I really expected the stories with Tina to be both more frequent and more...emotional? Significant? They're great little anecdotes of course, but what I really took away from the book was the special connection she shares with Seth Meyers. As much as the book was about Sisterhood and being a woman in life and in comedy, it was also about a lot of Amy's relationships with men: Seth Meyers, Will Arnett, Matt Besser, her father, her sons. These were such intimate narratives in the book and in her life, and I so appreciated how close she let herself get when writing the book.

One more thing I want to mention about the book is that she spends quite a bit of time writing about writing. This is one of those things that makes me lovelovelove a book, so I was really into it. She wrote about writing the book and about writing comedy, both things I find impossibly interesting. However, I mention this because I know this probably isn't interesting to a lot of readers, specifically with as wide an audience as Amy has.

My Recommendation | The night I finished Yes Please, I opened my GoodReads app and rated the book five stars. I laughed, I cried, I did all the things that make me love a book. I went back a couple of days later and changed my rating to a 4, but I wish I could make it 4.5. I switched from 5 to 4 because even though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it didn't change my life the way other books I've read recently have (see: Dear Sugar). I have a tendency to rank things really high because if I finish them it means I really enjoyed them. I wish I could rank things different kinds of five stars. Five stars for funny goes to Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Five stars for lighting a fire within me to Wild. Five stars for staying stuck in my head half a year after reading it goes to The Opposite of Loneliness. Anyway, you get the point.

With that said, I absolutely recommend Yes Please. I recommend it to people who want babies and people who don't, to people who follow comedy and people who like to laugh, to people who love Amy Poehler and people who love interesting women. If you fall into any of these categories, you're likely to like the book.

So there it is! My first book review of 2015! Your feedback is definitely encouraged so I can make these useful and interesting in the future if this one isn't. Have you read Yes Please? What did you think?

book report | yes please

I have a confession: Valentine's is my favorite holiday. It's 2015 and I'm tired of hiding it. People say it's overrated or sappy or commercial. For me, Valentine's is an extra special excuse to remind people I love them -- all kinds of people! Valentine's specifically makes me feel close to my mom, who has bought me a box of candy, a card, and a stuffed animal every year since I was little. I also loved being able to write cute notes to my friends in school on Hello Kitty cards and give the cutest stickers to show my admiration for the girls I wanted to be friends with. Of course, it's also a fun chance for the bae and I to have a date night and maybe do something cute for each other too (see what we did last year here!).

I'm a girl who's big on traditions. Like I said, every year, my mom buys my a stuffed animal for Valentine's, and it's one of the highlights of my year. Another Valentine's tradition I cling to is buying myself a new dress (2014, 2013, 2012). I'll always look for an excuse to dress up, but Valentine's makes me excessively excited to get decked out in romantic pinks and reds. Like most do for Halloween, I start planning my outfit for the big day weeks in advance. Here are some of the dresses that I'm considering giving my heart to this year!

on-my-list-valentinesone // two // three // four // five // six

I have scoured the Internet for the cutest V-Day dresses, and these are my top six. One of the specifications for this year's dress is that I want to be able to wear it to the weddings on my calendar for 2015. This worked so perfectly with last year's dress, so I thought it would be a fun shopping challenge to give myself.

Being totally honest, I've already ordered one of these dresses. Crossing my fingers and toes it works out! Which one do you think I bought?

on my list | valentine's dresses

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coat: Nasty Gal // dress: Forever 21 (obsessed with this one) // shirt: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s

photos by Briley Noel

After a few mild-to-warm days in Austin, the temperatures have inevitably dropped again. Luckily, I got this swanky new coat for Chanukah (thanks, Ma!). In case you don't recognize it, I mentioned back in November that I was lusting after pretty, versatile coats and this was at the top of my list. It's perfect for Austin: warm without being bulky. Also, the faux fur is removable (but, like, why would you?).

I have a habit of leaving my coats in the car when I'm snapping outfit photos with Briley, but I wanted to make sure I showed off my new favorite. Ain't she a cutie? I can't wait to wear her for years to come!

red coat cutie

smart casual outfit black blazer with a pop of color how to wear a vintage silk scarf cute business casual outfit
blazer: Forever 21 (really similar) // tee: Old Navy // jeans: Forever 21 // scarf: vintage

photos by Briley Noel

Though this is the first time you're seeing this outfit, I've worn it at least once a week since the beginning of December. I love that it's sleek and professional looking while being super easy. My paisley scarf makes literally any outfit interesting, and I feel so myself in this black blazer. The rest of the look is just jeans and a tee. It really doesn't get any easier than that, folks!

A while ago I shared the outfit that I wore to my final Junebug interview and I wrote about choosing an outfit for a creative interview. I just wanted to note that this outfit fits the same criteria and would be at the top of my list should I need to do something interview-like in the near future.

What's your go-to outfit lately? Are there pieces you always grab when you want to look put-together with minimal effort?

on repeat

A few months ago, I stumbled across a really cool business on Instagram with the tagline "cool stuff for cool girls." Turns out the CEO/Founder/Creative Director of this awesome new company is a friend of mine from college. Noted cool girl Rebecca Butler was a fellow English major and had a successful local band that sometimes played with Dago's old band. She's always been stylish and smart, which are some of my favorite things for a person to be.

Queen For Dinner is a new platform for finding products from small vendors that you actually want to buy. Like most of you, I'm all about supporting small vendors. There is just so much amazing work out there, but it can be time consuming to sort through the not-so-amazing and not-what-I'm-looking-for. Queen For Dinner saves you time and takes products through a vetting process to make sure it's not only amazing, but exactly what you're looking for.


photo by Celisse Berumen

Here's a little of what Rebecca has to say about starting QFD:

I came up with the idea from being both a seller and a buyer on Etsy. I love Etsy and love what they're doing, but from a consumer point of view, it can get really overwhelming when you search for a necklace and over 250 pages of results come up - more than half of which I'm not even slightly interested in. It makes it hard to find things as a consumer, and hard to stand out as a seller. Basically Queen For Dinner is my solution to this. 

We require a much more strict approval process, and we only feature items that we would want to purchase for ourselves. Most importantly, we don't allow for any paid promotion - i.e. you can't pay more money to have your item featured more frequently or higher up in search results. Promotion is solely based on what we like and what we think you'll like, not money. 

In coming up with the tag line, "Cool stuff for cool girls," it was really important to me to emphasize that we're not saying, "buy this and you'll be cool;" instead we're trying to support every girl's own unique cool self and style by providing them with things they might like. We don't want to promote the idea that you need things or to look a certain way to be cool; we want to support women in being the cool girls they already are.
QFDproducts
If you're anything like me, right now you're thinking "damn, why didn't I think of that?" I truly love and support everything about Queen For Dinner, from the small vendor sourcing model to the emphasis on featuring products that fit into your already cool lifestyle, rather than making you cool for buying them. 

I also dig the weekly round ups of new products so I can always count on finding the perfect gift for my bestie's jewelry box or pop of color for my office walls. If Beyoncé cross-stitch, seriously cool jewelry, and beautiful artwork are things you like, you're going to want to sign up for their mailing list to see the latest batch of products each week. Also, if you refer a friend, you receive 10% off your purchase!

To keep up with the cool girls behind Queen For Dinner, check them out on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post; I did not receive compensation for writing it; all opinions, as always, are my own!

#coolgirlsunite

leather-jacket-midi-skirt1 leather-jacket-midi-skirt3 leather-jacket-midi-skirt4 leather-jacket-mini-skirt2
jacket: Charlotte Russe (similar) // top: Forever 21 // skirt: ASOS // boots: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

You may remember this skirt from Tuesday. You know, because it's only been a couple of days. You're going to see a lot of this skirt in 2015. I've been wearing it nonstop since it showed up on my doorstep. Literally, I've worn this outfit at least seven times since then.

After searching and searching, and even placing a few orders, I finally found the perfect midi skirt. A few months ago I thought I had found it, but the skirt was too wide/tight/scuba for my real life. I even almost blogged it, but I didn't want to lie and pretend I'd worn it. So off to Uptown Cheapskate it went.

I realized that what I wanted wasn't the volume, but the flowiness of the length. (I know flowiness isn't a word -- or it wasn't until this skirt invented it!) ASOS' midi skirts have long tempted me, but their foreign-to-me UK sizing eluded me. Not to mention every skirt was always sold out in every. single. size. Someone must have made some last minute Black Friday returns, because about a week before Christmas my size appeared on the site and I immediately put that skirt in my shopping cart and even paid extra to get it ASAP. #worthit

Since I know I'll be wearing it at least once a week for the rest of the year, I think I'm going to buy one in yellow for summer. That way I can alternate. I'm obsessed.

the year of the midi

LOFT Outlet tweed skirt jewel tone tweed skirt colorful winter outfit
blouse: Forever 21 (very similar) // skirt: LOFT Outlet (similar one and two) // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

I picked up this skirt at the LOFT Outlet just before Christmas and I'm so glad I did. On the way home I couldn't stop thinking of fun ways to style it, and this is one of my favorites so far (see how I wore it on Christmas here). I've been wanting a colored tweed skirt for ages (I would link to an early wishlist post, but I'll spare your senses). This one is ideal because it's got a whole slew of jewel tones, perfect for pulling out different pops of color. This time I paired it with my favorite teal blouse, which made me feel super effortless.

I love that this skirt looks great with a light blouse, but can also be worn with a thicker sweater or a button down. The trick is tucking your top into your tights. No bunching! No loose tucks! Smoothing powers!

How do you want to see me style this skirt next? I already have an outfit in my queue for the next time I wake up late and flustered, but I love hearing how y'all would style things I own!

P.S. Thanks for all the sweet words on yesterday's post! Y'all are the best always.

a little teal, a little tweed

cute fur vest outfit cute winter outfit emerald for winter fancy casual winter outfit emerald, black, and faux fur faux fur vest and midi skirt
vest: girl's section of Target (similar) // sweater: LOFT (similar) // skirt: ASOS // necklace: J.Crew (similar) // flats: LuLu*s (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

If you follow me on Instagram (which, if not, here), then you saw that I went out on Friday night. If you follow me then you probably noticed I don't do that too often. I'm more of a brunch girl than a stay-out-all-night type. But I had something really exciting to celebrate: I got a promotion! I'm officially an Editor for Junebug Weddings. This is like, the definition of my dream job. I promise to write more soon about how work has been going, as well as the promotion!

But back to the night out. I don't go "out" often, so I don't necessarily have "going out" clothes. It was in the low 30s over the weekend, so I decided to take my fur vest out for a spin with a little bling and my new midi skirt (with which I'm in absolute love). Turns out, when you drink as much and as quickly as I did on Friday, you can stay pretty warm! ;)

Since I'm in an extra good mood, I wanted to share a little treat with you today. Not only do I have a video for your viewing pleasure, but a video of my interpretive dance to one of my favorite popular songs as of late. Enjoy.

club goin' up

synesthesia-true-story

This is a post I've thought about writing for a while, but honestly didn't even know where I would start. You know when you think something you do is totally normal and everyone does it, and then all of a sudden, like twenty years into your life, you learn that it's totally weird and no one even knows what you're talking about? No? Okay, well that's been my experience with synesthesia.

I usually hate when people give me definitions for words I can look up myself, but I think it's worth it to include this one here: Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

One of the cool (for me), confusing (for everyone) things about synesthesia is that it affects everyone differently who experiences it. For some, they can taste music. Others can hear smells. For me, I can feel colors. More specifically, I have deep, physical and emotional associations between colors and numbers, days of the week, letters of the alphabet, and more. Because it's neurological, it's not really something I can explain the logic behind. It's like asking me to show my work on a math problem my brain invented.

Growing up, I thought everyone's brains worked the way I did. It was so incredibly earth-shattering to find out that not everyone felt colors and had the same associations I knew to be completely natural.

Without getting all scientific (because, to be honest, I don't know much more of the science than I've given so far), I thought it would be fun to share a little about my color and feeling associations and how it affects my day to day life.
synesthesia-numbers
So, these are my numbers. When I think or say the number two, I am also feeling this shade of blue. Three has always been macaroni and cheese orange, and six Jolly Rancher green. I feel a special connection to two, four, and six -- especially six, which is my favorite number. This is a little weird because green isn't my favorite color, so I feel like it's important to clarify that it's not like that. It's about the feeling I have attached to six, which is pure and happy.

You might notice that the numbers one, five, and zero are missing from this list. The reason is that those numbers are void of color and feeling. When these digits are paired with another to make a multi-digit number, they sort of chameleon themselves and absorb the color and feeling of the other numbers. Usually, this doesn't work out so well for those numbers. For instance, 25 often shows up as blue and red. This color combo is so stark and feels masculine to me, and I'm totally repulsed by those feelings because I don't identify with them. Let's just say I'm not stoked about turning 25 later this year for one particular reason.

I think it's significant to mention that these numbers are sort of void for me because 2015 is made up of a bunch of numbers that I don't feel connected to, that I don't identify with. This has been really hard for me, and I've honestly been dreading the new year for weeks because of it. I loved 2014 and being 24 because I love the color associated with it. Not having a color makes me feel really unstable and empty. It's challenging for me to look forward to something I only see as a void. I've been trying to be mindful and present in my every day life to combat this feeling, but it still makes looking forward pretty bleak.

A lot of the time, my synesthesia is really helpful though! People always ask if it helps me with putting together outfits, and I can't say I actively am aware of myself using it, but I'm sure subconsciously it helps. Since I associate colors with feelings anyway, a lot of feelings have their own color. I don't think the colors my brain chooses are groundbreaking or anything, but my connection to them is deeper than most people's, and that affects the way I string words together or choose a color palette in Photoshop.

Basically, it doesn't affect me in huge ways every day, and I'm not even always aware of it, but now that I've gotten a little more in tune with it I'm learning to use my synesthesia to my advantage. I realize I sound like a teen who just discovered she's a witch with a talking cat. I won't argue with that!

Am I alone out here? Does anyone else in the blogosphere have synesthesia? Should I just go back to talking to my cat about all the pretty colors no one else can see?

the one about synesthesia

gingham-grey1 gingham-grey2 gingham-grey3
sweater: Forever 21 (similar) // shirt: Forever 21 (similar) // jeans: Gap // flats: LuLu*s

photos by Briley Noel

It's safe to say that winter is in full swing here in Austin. I always think it's interesting to hear when winter starts in different parts of the country. Sara was telling me that winter usually starts in mid-October, or if they're lucky early November, in New York. In Austin, fall always officially starts on Halloween with a major temperature drop. Winter lasts between January and March, but it's obviously not the same version of winter other parts of the country see!

The temps dropped into the twenties over the weekend, and it looks like they'll stay in that range for the next few days. My closet is just not prepared for this. There's no reason to be when we have only two weeks out of the year that get down this cold.

So, here we have some layers. This cardigan is basically a blanket, and the gingham is a staple that has taken me through every season. When I was first coming up with this outfit, using the Notes app on my phone one night, looking at my pile of clothes on the floor, I intended to wear a grey sweater over the button down, rather than a cardigan. A week and poor memory later, I put this together before work and fell in love with it. I've worn it twice three times since. I think it's a great coffee shop outfit, so be sure to copy if you've got an upcoming study date or cozy Sunday with tea and a good book!

winter gingham

small-goals-january
photo by Briley Noel

One last goal-related post this month, and then I swear no more goals until February! 2015 is already off to a bang! I accomplished a few goals this weekend from my 25 before 25 list including submit a piece of writing to a zine and meet a blogger in person. I sent off a brand new essay that I'm really excited about to Vagina :: The Zine's Winter '15 issue, and now I just cross my fingers and wait! I also had an impromptu blogger date with Sara of Sincerely Sara, who had come to Austin for a wedding until I borrowed her from her family for tea at one of my favorite little coffee shops and lots of fun blogger talk. It's so nice to be able to say things like Disqus, ban.do, and Happy Mail and not have to explain it! As I write this on Sunday night, I also have two quick (and really sad) chapters left in Truth & Beauty, and then I get to start Yes Please, the first book on my 2015 reading list!

Before we get into goals for January, let's look at December's small goals:

1. send out family holiday cards | done! I posted the card and the outtakes on the blog, and we emailed the card to our loved ones. The overall response: "adorbs!"
2. follow five new blogs | done! Actually, I forgot the goal was only 5 and I followed 10 blogs: The Demure Muse, Sarah's Real Life, Love Wild. Be Free., What Olivia Did, The Clothes Horse, Triple Thread, JennifHseih, I Want You to Know, In My Sunday Best, and Lost in the Haze. I'm already feeling more inspired in general, and I'm excited to form new friendships with a few of the bloggers I listed!
3. post at least 3 times a week | I totally forgot I set this goal, and then I decided to take a week off for the holidays between the 18th and 25th. But! Aside from that, I did meet the goal.
4. buy a dryer | Okay, I know I said "dryer or bust," but we ended up receiving some really difficult family-related news that I'm not going to write about here, so we aren't going to have dryer money for a while. We've instead settled on a nice little drying rack!
5. reflect on 2014 and establish resolutions for 2015 | done!

Not bad for a month where I spent about two weeks napping and living off of eggnog and cookies!

1. finish Yes Please | I kind of expect this to be a quick read, and since it's only January 5, I think I should have time to finish the whole book this month. (I'm a notoriously slow reader -- no shame!)
2. do 5 minutes of Duolingo 5 days a week | I've decided it's about time I learn Spanish so I can communicate with Dago's family! I'm setting this goal at 5 minutes a day 5 days a week, but I expect myself to do more like 10 minutes a day 3 days a week. We'll see what happens.
3. Scope out some new outfit photo locations | In following a bunch of new blogs, I'm really inspired by creative photo locations in all these exciting cities! Austin has so much beauty and interest to offer, so I want to find some new locations and really be the artistic director that blogging has begun requiring.
4. finish a puzzle with Dago | I came home one night last week with a date night in a box and a bottle: I brought a box of puzzles and a bottle of Moscato. Dago isn't really into puzzles, but I thought it would be fun to do something together that takes us away from all the screens in our house. Plus, it feels so good to start with a bunch of pieces and take the time to complete the picture!
5. take down the Christmas tree | Oh yeah. This goal. Dago and I left our tree up last year until almost Valentine's Day. This year I've been intentionally leaving it up because it makes Dago so happy to see it all lit up, which is just precious to me, but we really need to get it taken down before we get too far into the new year!

So, there they are. My small goals for January! I think these are pretty attainable, and I'm looking forward to seeing them through! Are you going to try making monthly goals this year? I highly recommend it! This will be my third year doing goals each month and they really help me stay on track!

january | small goals

writes-like-a-girl-2015-reading-list

While I didn't set specific resolutions for 2015, I do want to read more books! My Goodreads is constantly growing, so I want to do my best to make a dent in it this year. I've noticed that as I read, I crave different kinds of books throughout the year. I saw that Lindy over at Love Wild. Be Free. made a reading list for 2015 (albeit much longer than mine!) so I thought it would be fun to pre-pick a list of books for myself that hold different significance. From an outside perspective, it might seem like I only read one kind of book: nonfiction written almost exclusively by women. But there's so much variety out there! So many voices I haven't heard yet! I like that this list helps me diversify the voices, even if just a little.

Also, this way I can keep an eye out for the books at Half Price Books and online and have a pile waiting for me when I finish one! And now, I give you, my 2015 reading list:

The One I Know I'll Love - Yes Please by Amy Poehler | Amy is easily my favorite famous person. She talks openly about mental health and feminism, and she's so, so funny. I'm so excited to enjoy the hell out of her first book!

The One from the Feminist Book Club - Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay | This book has been a little controversial among feminists, but I follow Roxane on Twitter and really like her. The book discusses subjects like femininity that are supposedly un-feminist, which is something I've always been personally interested in, so I think this is going to be a favorite without having to try too hard. Looking forward to the conversations that will come after reading it!

The One I Still Haven't Read Yet - Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham | I know, it's shocking that I haven't read this yet. I meant to order it, then a few weeks went by, then there was the controversy, then A Beautiful Mess picked it for their monthly book club, and time just got away from me, okay? I wanted to wait until things cooled down a little. But I'm going to read it. I'm going to read it with a critical eye, just like I use when I listen to Taylor Swift or consume any media from people who I like but have been known to be problematic. I do expect to like it, just because I identify with her writing style and I'm a sucker for personal essays (couldn't you tell?).

The One Recommended by an Author - The Unspeakable by Megham Daum | I can't remember now where the heck I saw it, but I was reading a list of recommendations from authors of the best books they read in 2014. Cheryl Strayed, one of my very favorite writers, recommended this one. I don't know anything else about it really, but I'm eager to find out!

The One Recommended by a Friend - The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin | A dear friend and former coworker of mine always had this book in her car with her, and the description on the back cover sparked my interested. Her story of being adopted by her grandmother at birth, growing up in Jamaica, and coming out as a lesbian is so complex that the book can't be anything but dynamic.

The One by the Blogger - Man Repeller: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls by Leandra Medine | This is one of those books I'm excited about for a few reasons. First, I'm such a fan of Leandra's voice. Her blog be about Fashion with a capital F, but writing has never been secondary. I'm also interested in reading it as a source of research/inspiration for my future blogger-turned-book writer pursuits.

The One Where I Don't Stop Laughing - I Just Want to Pee Alone by Various Authors | Speaking of bloggers-turned-book writers, this collection of essays by mommy bloggers sounds hilarious. It's nice to have an easy read on the list, maybe for after one of the heavier books. 

The One I'll Probably Cry To - Redefining Realness by Janet Mock | This is another book I can't believe I haven't read yet. I actually bought it right when it came out, and then immediately lent it to someone. Janet Mock is one of my favorites, so I'm really eager to learn more about her story and perspective. She's just really powerful and I expect to cry a lot. 

The One About Body Image - You Feel So Mortal by Peggy Shinner | I already know this book is going to be so close to my heart. Peggy Shinner takes on bodies, her own -- female and Jewish -- as well as the bodies of her family and the bodies of women in general, to explore what it all means. Basically, it's the book I wish I wrote but it already exists and it's going to be awesome.

The Sequel - Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield | I try to read exclusively women writers, but once in a while I let a man in. Rob Sheffield has sealed his spot as a favorite writer of mine, no matter what gender he identifies with. He loves Taylor Swift and karaoke and his first book Love is a Mixtape is in my top five favorites of all time. Turn Around Bright Eyes is his sequel to the first, so I expect it to break my heart and put me back together all over again. Just like a book should do, you know?

Have you read any of these? What's on your reading list this year?

2015 reading list

be-you-bravely


Happy New Year! I hope your Eve was spent exactly how you wanted it, whether that means counting down the seconds with sparkler in hand with a crowd of people, or from your couch with a glass of something bubbly. I spent it playing games with my parents and Dago, eating the best little hors d'oeuvres that my dad made!

For whatever reason, I've sort of been dreading writing this post. I knew I didn't accomplish my resolutions for 2014 because I could only remember 2/3 of them. Looking back at last year's resolutions, I had myself a big LOL. Become a crafting queen? I did an okay job at this between February and March with my hoop art, but I certainly wouldn't say I became crafty in general. Write a memoir? HA. Instead I learned that this just isn't a goal I'm ready to go for. Save more money? This is the resolution I didn't even remember setting, so, no, I didn't save money. At all. Girl's got more bills than she can keep up with.

While I forgot about my own resolutions for 2014, it was actually someone else's that stuck in my mind all year. Last year, Linda of Little Tin Soldier wrote the best New Year's post I've ever seen, where she described the difference between resolutions and realizations, and came to the decision to realize herself as a plucky and creative woman in 2014. Her words were so powerful and significant, and I thought about them often as I traveled through 2014. What an effective way to think about a new year and the kind of person you want to be in that time.

For me, the alternative to resolutions this year is a mindset. I want to give myself a mindset to use as a lens as I move through 2015, setting and achieving goals, working and blogging, loving others and myself.

In 2015, I want to be me, bravely. I want to love the body I live in, which is an act of bravery every single day. I want to blog without comparing myself to others, and put my best work out there to my readers without getting caught up in what other bloggers are doing. I've learned that it takes guts to stand apart. I want to go above and beyond at work, which can be scary because it's unprecedented in nature. I have good ideas and I'm going to make sure they're heard and carefully put them into action.

In 2015, I want to become a better me; the me I'm meant to be without hesitation or doubt. As Ariana Grande sings, "Now I can become who I really are."

Are you setting resolutions this year? Is there a mindset you want to take on 2015?

Sidenote: I almost deleted this post twice because I found other New Year's resolution/reflection type posts that I loved. Ultimately, I'm sticking with what I came up with (ahem no comparisons!), but I wanted to share them anyway. Nicolette Mason borrowed a really awesome format for her resolutions, and I also identified with so much of her end-of-year recap regarding the many tragedies the world faced in 2014. I also wanted to share this list of 50 reflection questions that I found through Jessica of Here & Now. I've spent a lot of time over the last few days carefully considering each one, which was really cathartic.

old resolutions & a new mindset

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