Thursday, 26 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “I’m not saying that putting on makeup will change the world or even your life, but it can be a first step in learning things about yourself you may never have discovered otherwise. At worst, you could make a big mess and have a good laugh.” -Kevyn Aucoin
Back in mid-February, I announced that Andrew and I would be participating in the ever-popular “My Partner Does My Makeup/I Do My Partner’s Makeup” challenges. We decided to split the challenges into two different posts, and after I reached the following Facebook milestones:
Once I hit 250 Likes on “Facebook,” Andrew will get to do my makeup with full discretion (i.e. “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup Challenge”)
Once I hit 300 Likes on “Facebook,” I will give Andrew a full face of makeup!
If you visited my Facebook page recently, you might have noticed that I’ve reached that first milestone of 250 Likes! I’m really excited and want to let you know that I appreciate all of your support. I know 250 Likes may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I don’t want to take anything for granted. Whether or not you follow me on social media, and regardless of how long you’ve been following my blog (or if this is your first time – in that case, welcome!), it means a lot that you take the time to “visit” me and my little online abode!
Monday, 23 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
-Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I haven’t been blogging as much this month because I’ve signed up to participate in April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge! For this month-long blog event, “A to Z” bloggers are challenged to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day focusing on a letter in the alphabet (there are 26 weekdays in April and 26 letters…get it?). This particular blog challenge, founded by, typically garners more than 1,000 participants. I’ve been following “A to Z” for quite a few years, but I haven’t had the courage to sign up until now.
For my own sanity, each “A to Z” blog post won’t exceed 500 words. My main goals for participating in this challenge is to 1) interact more with you all and the rest of the blogging community, and to 2) simply have fun writing.
Thursday, 12 March, 2015
#DailyWings: ʺIt is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love.ʺ –Molière
Since I jumped on the #1000Speak blogging wagon a couple weeks ago, it’s been one of the best and most inspiring blogging events I’ve been a part of! I’ve met so many people who have wide open hearts and extraordinary experiences. If you don’t know what #1000Speak is, it’s an online initiative to spread kindness and share stories of compassion. Back in February, I shared my thoughts on the Chapel Hill shooting, namely how it’s affected me, what the legacy of Deah, Yusor and Razan means for the rest of us and what we can learn as a society about tolerance and activism moving forward.
To me, compassion is about finding light at the end of the tunnel and providing support for the ones we love during hard times. Rather than use abstract words to try and explain what compassion is, however, I want to continue the #1000Speak trend by sharing another story of compassion, one that hits close to home for not only me but also a group of people that I work with every single day.
Monday, 09 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” -Kenneth Grahame
For those of you who are finally getting warmer weather, welcome to spring! I live in North Carolina and it’s been absolutely lovely the past couple days. At one point, the temperature dared to reach 71 degrees, with the sun’s rays peeking out from in between the clouds as if to ask permission. I took a walk.
If the area where you’re located is still trapped in cold winter, hang in there! I read that even the snow in Boston is starting to melt (finally). The good news is that Daylight Savings set our clocks forward on Sunday morning, which means many of us get to come home from work while it’s still bright outside.The time change has also seemed to (hopefully) kick me back into regular blog scheduling mode; the loss of a single hour’s worth of sleep this morning has reminded me of all the time that’s passed by since my last blog post.
What with the snow days, UNC’s spring break and the NC Fellows Final Interview Day, I’ve had to put my site updates on hold. I’m hoping to become more consistent with my blogging in the future, even if that means fewer blog posts per week (as opposed to week-long hiatuses). Thank you all for sticking with me during this weird transition between seasons!
I’ve got a fun blog hop for you all today. My good friend Sara Letourneau, who blogs regularly and writes fantasy, tagged me for the One Lovely Blog Hop. Here are the details for this hop:
Tuesday, 03 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss
Happy (belated) National Read Across America Day aka Dr. Seuss Day! If you’re a big Dr. Seuss fan like I am, check out this list of classic Seuss-y quotes or read all about his upcoming book, What Pet Should I Get? (Late authors can still get stuff published, didn’t you know?) Or, best of all, take this awesome Buzzfeed Quiz to find out which Dr. Seuss book character you are (I got Horton!).
Dr. Seuss’s books were some of my favorite growing up (namely Green Eggs and Ham and There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!). If you work with a child or have kids at home, take an hour or two today and read with them – it’ll give them a break from the computer screen and remind them the joys of books. After all, as Dr. Seuss always said, “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” A wise man, he was.
Whew. Now that we’ve celebrated Dr. Seuss on the blog (albeit a day late), it’s time to get into my monthly favorites! It still feels like February, which doesn’t come as a surprise since there’s only 28 days in the month. How is it already March? Where did the time go? Is it just me, or do I ask this in every Monthly Favorites blog post?
Saturday, 21 February, 2015
#DailyWings: “Walk for those that can’t walk. Run for those who wish they could. Fight for those who can’t fight. Scream for those who wish for a voice. Hope for those who are hopeless. Dream for those who wish they had sight. Love for those who will never know what love is. Love them too. Forgive for those who will never learn to forgive. Forgive them too. Breathe for those who struggle for air. Stand for those who can’t. Believe for the ones who doubt. Live for those that never had a chance to. And never take it for granted.” -Joshua Globa
Today, more than 1,000 bloggers from all over the world are coming together in solidarity to share stories of compassion for “1000 Voices for Compassion,” with the goal of inspiring others to live with open hearts. Compassion isn’t just a passive feeling. It also doesn’t have to be an aggressive action. It’s about listening to what’s not being said, giving room for others to breathe and making moves when we recognize social injustice.
For my #1000Speak contribution, I want to address the Chapel Hill shootings that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. To continue the “1,000 Voices” trend, I will also be sharing a local story about fighting against cancer next week that I think perfectly captures the heart of compassion.
But the stories of compassion by no means don’t stop here. As you browse the news and your favorite blogs today, take a moment to read other #1000Speak stories. Read about other people’s struggles and triumphs, the pieces of broken dreams after they’ve been shattered, the unexpected joys, the sacrifices of second nature, the hand-holding of strangers, the glimmers of hope that we all keep holding onto. Know this: We’re still fighting the good fight.
Tuesday, 17 February, 2015
#DailyWings: “What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.” -Carolyn Kizer
One of my main goals for the year is to branch out as a blogger and participate in multiple writing initiatives within the blogging community. This month, I’ve extended my Internet “feelers” out and, after mustering up quite a bit of courage and swallowing my anxiety, joined a few blogfests and social media writing groups.
A couple of these writing communities are widely known among hundreds of bloggers, while others are newer or comprise a close-knit group of people who know each other very well. Joining them has been a little nerve-wracking. It’s like you’re back in high school and approaching the different social groups during lunch for the first time; you introduce yourself and wait for a response, unsure of whether or not you’ll be welcomed.
The difference between high school and these online writing communities, though, is that you will almost never be met with rejection from the writers (unless, of course, you’re a troll who just shares personal promotions everywhere). I’m incredibly excited – not just because I get to make new writer friends, but also because this is a chance for my blog to be a part of something that’s bigger than itself.
Friday, 13 February, 2015
#DailyWings: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” -Dr. Seuss
Valentine’s Day is just two days away, but if you still don’t have any plans set in stone there is still time. The bad news is, all the restaurants are probably already booked for the entire night. The good news is, I’m a huge romantic and like to go out of my way when it comes to surprises for other people.
If you aren’t able to score a dinner reservation or you’re just tired of the same old V-Day traditions, there are other ways to make the day special for both you and your partner. You just need to get creative. Today, I’ve compiled a list of ideas for Valentine’s Day dates that are adventurous and may even seem a little wacky.
Monday, 09 February, 2015
Are you a writer who needs more time to put words on the page? Does your heart sink when you see tweets or Facebook statuses like “Squeezed in 600 words during my lunch break” or “Added 1000+ more words to my MS in 1 hour,” because it takes you longer to reach either milestone?
If you are, you’re not alone. I’ve run into the same situation many times. Belittling ourselves, however, doesn’t make us feel better about our “lack of speed.” What will is embracing our unique writing methods while recognizing what needs fine-tuning.
Below are various bits of advice about balancing productivity with individuality that I’ve collected over time. Some are suggestions from fellow writers. Others are lessons I’ve learned on my own. Regardless, I hope you find them as helpful or reassuring as I have.
Thursday, 05 February, 2015
#DailyWings: ʺBreak a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.ʺ -Derek Walcott
Normally, I don’t post two lifestyle articles under “The SELF Diet” in a row, but I’m hosting a Valentine’s-themed blog series for the next week in honor of the holiday.
In the past, I’ve emphasized that Valentine’s Day is about all kinds of love, not just romantic. And I still 100% stand by that belief. Although I’m featuring a Valentine’s Day gift guide today, next week I’ll be sharing “date ideas” for couples as well as friends, siblings and families who just want to spend quality time together on a holiday about love. For the sake of inclusion, I’m going to use the term “partner” instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” when referring to general romantic couples. I might even throw in “significant other” once in a while, just to mix the verbiage up.
Despite being a big fan of romance, I’ve never really liked traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. Flowers, chocolates and teddy bears just aren’t practical. I used to wish for flowers all the time because of the romance factor. But then, one day, my previous ex-boyfriend showed up with a $60 bouquet of flowers (that eventually wilted after three or four days), and I realized I would have been just as happy – happier, even – with a new book, a dinner for two or something else that was more useful.
If you haven’t gotten your partner a gift for Valentine’s yet, there’s still a lot of time left. But instead of going for the generic box of sweethearts candy and a balloon, here are a few other gift ideas that are more personalized and functional, and that you can enjoy, too.