March 01, 2015

I've Been Keeping A Secret...

...since December

We're leaving Buies Creek. 
Until last week, we didn't know where we were going.
We just knew we were leaving.

But now we know where we're going.
So yeah, we're moving.

We're moving...  WE'RE MOVING!!!!
Praise Jesus, Hallelujah!
Back to land of Targets and Restaurants!!
There are angels singing somewhere.  You hear them too, right?

There is a whole lot of story here; some is mine to tell and some isn't.  Things have been insane the last few months and only got more so in the last week.  I'll go into details eventually, but I knew I couldn't move without saying anything.

I'm leaving tomorrow.  I know.  I KNOW!  Last week when we went on that sneaky little adventure?  Yeah, I was attending job interviews.  I landed a job (yay), and it starts on Wednesday.  I'll be staying with a friend for a couple weeks until J joins me later in the month.

That, my friends, is life.  You never know what's around the next corner.

In the meantime, I'll be a weeeeee bit MIA as we make this transition.
And I PROMISE you a post coming soon with a little more information on 
what the heck just happened.

February 26, 2015

Stuff & Things 2/25

**First and foremost, thank you all so much for the love on Tuesday's post. You guys are amazing!**

man I love that city

>> J and I went on a little getaway to Charlotte this week!  It was a little last minute, but man was it awesome to be back in our old stomping grounds!  We got to visit with a friend from college/when we lived in Charlotte, so that was really fun!

>> We also ate a lot of good food.  Specifically, Toast.  Well, we didn't actually eat toast, but we both woke up pretty early on Tuesday (to a snow storm, no less), so we got dressed and ready and went to have brunch at Toast!  Not only was it awesome to sit and have a leisurely brunch with my man, but the food (and the coffee!) were so so good.

>> Going from the good to the bad, I had probably my worst customer service experience in a food establishment of my life on Wednesday.  I wish I were just being dramatic, but the way I was spoken to and treated at the Starbucks in Salisbury, NC on our way home was absolutely unforgivable.  It was so bad that I'm not sure I'll be able to bring myself to support that business for a while.  I couldn't believe it.  Maybe that's a sign that I should start passing over the 'bucks for local coffee shops.

>> I was so busy from Sunday until now that I have hardly had a moment to breathe!  I don't know how you all balance so much life.  I only got 2 hours of sleep on Sunday night, too, so I think I still need to catch back up!  I think a night of tylenol PM is in order.

>> I GOT TO MEET RYAN!!  I feel weird saying that because it didn't feel like I was meeting her.  It felt like I was meeting a friend for lunch.  It freaking normal!  But oh my goodness was it absolutely lovely or what!  I think we'll have to arrange more of those types of dates!  If only she didn't live in stinking Texas!  (And let's hope NC is nice to her and doesn't hold her hostage with this winter weather)! She is the most adorable and genuine person!!  It's always so refreshing to meet someone in person who is the same as they seem online!

Alright friends.  The husband and I have some life stuff going on right now.  I'll share details as soon as I can (we are okay!), but I might be a little MIA from blogland for the next few weeks.  Things will resume their normal schedule very very soon!  Love you guys so much for all your support lately!

February 24, 2015

The Rain Came Pouring...

Dorfman Pacific Scala Rain hat courtesy of Lipton Publicity

The rain came pouring down
when I was drowning
that's when I could finally breathe.
-taylor swift
Remember on Friday when I mentioned I'd had a mini-breakdown sitting in Starbucks?  Since then, the rain has started pouring down.  But sometimes the rain isn't always a bad thing.  For most of North Carolina, actually, it's a really good thing.  It washed away the snow and ice that caused so many problems.

But in the way of life, the rain has been a little different.  You know how they say when it rains it pours?  Oh gosh, you guys.  It is true.  It is so true.  

While it feels good for the rain to wash away all the things we've been holding on to for dear life, it's scary to be wiped clean.  

The water filled my lungs
I screamed so loud
but no one heard a thing.
-taylor swift
But that's where Taylor Swift is wrong.  So, so wrong.  I screamed out, alright.  I cried, I begged.  I needed the rain.  I asked for the rain.  

And God sent the rain...

February 23, 2015

The Better You: Making a Dream a Reality

When I graduated college, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do.  All I knew was that I wanted to write books.  Unfortunately, there aren't job listings on Craigslist or Career Builder for "author."  As I've shared before, I was sorely disappointed when I found myself spending my days doing things I wasn't good at and didn't want to do.

I shared here a more in depth story of how I came to the breaking point.  But basically, after several attempts at jobs I was just not cut out for, I made the decision that I needed to be writing.  I was too afraid to apply for any kind of writing job (go figure, but I was perfectly comfortable applying for and getting jobs I was in no way qualified for.  Don't try to understand my logic.  I can't, either).  

Looking at the big picture: write a book, it seemed impossible.  I had no idea where to start.  I could write, but I wasn't sure I could come up with characters, storylines, a town, any of it.  I spent a few weeks thinking I just wouldn't ever be able to do it.

But I couldn't get it off of my mind.  So one afternoon, I sat down and broke that Big Picture down into baby steps.  Create a cast.  Create and name the town (I was still on Facebook at this point, and I hosted a poll for the town name).  Map out the town.  Attach roles to the cast.  And finally...create a schedule.

Since I didn't really know where the story would take me or what was going to happen, I took a general approach to the schedule.  I was working full-time and planning a wedding, so I told myself I had to write a chapter a week.  I sent the schedule to my accountability partner, and then I sat down to write.

I know it probably sounds strange that I didn't really have a plan.  Every writer is different.  But I just sat down, put the characters in a setting, and watched to see what would happen. 

When I was done (I started in November and wrote the last word in March), I really didn't know what to do next.  I told myself the point of it was to prove to myself that I could do it.  And I left it at that.  I went on to get married a few months later, we moved to Georgia, and the book found itself on the floor in my husband's closet.

And that's where it lived until we moved to Charlotte, where it got moved into a drawer in my desk.

And then we moved to Buies Creek.  And still it sat, unopened.  

Almost four years to the day from the time I wrote the last word, I decided it was time I found the courage to face it.  I tried to identify the parts I liked.  I got frustrated with the parts I didn't like.  I dissected some storylines and added depth.  Others were ripped out completely.  Characters changed, matured.  And the more I rewrote, the more it turned into a real, live book before my eyes.

I was lucky enough to have talented editors as friends and family.  The first time I sent the rewritten manuscript to the editor (the first time I shared it with anyone), I cried for almost two hours.

I was scared to death.

But I'd put in too much to turn back.  I had to see it through.  After several rounds of edits, many cups of coffee, too many tears, early mornings and painfully late nights...the book was ready.

On July 23, 2014, I hit "publish" on  July 23 is a sad day in my family.  It's the day we lost our beloved friend (too small a word for what he was, really).  That man had such a hand in turning me into the woman I am now.  And he's much of the reason I felt that nagging "you can do this" feeling as I embarked on the scariest journey I've been on to date.  It was no accident I picked that day.  I owe much of who I am to him, and I wanted my greatest accomplishment to honor him.

It wasn't easy.  It wasn't convenient.  It wasn't always fun.  There were days I felt like a zombie.  There were days when I was absolutely certain it was all one big mistake.  I had to reach deep inside myself to find a level of commitment, determination, and courage that I wasn't quite sure I had.  

It was completely worth it.

If there's something that's nagging you, but you aren't sure where to it the attention it needs.  Because I promise you, you can do it.  And you'll learn so much about yourself along the way.

I share this story with you today because THIS WEEK my book, Yeah, maybe is on sale for $1.99!  It would mean the world to me if you gave it a chance.  You might love it.  You might hate it.  And maybe you'll feel something in between.  But ultimately, I just want you to give it a chance.  Share it with your friends, discuss your opinions.  Rate it on Amazon and Goodreads.  Tell me what you liked, what you didn't.  I want to grow, and the only way to do that is to face my fears.  And in order to do that, I need your help.

**It is also a part of the Kindle Lending Library, so feel free to share it with your friends!**

If you feel so inclined, share this image on your social media outlets.  
It would make my life, really.

Thank you for being on this journey with me, friends.

February 20, 2015

Hugs. Tears. Nails. And Mavens.

Salon Perfect Plumeria

salon perfect plumeria
Salon Perfect: Plumeria

Yesterday was the kind of day that I just had to walk over to the Starbucks, work my butt off and drink a mocha chai latte.  And I might have cried a little in my little corner "office."  I'm hoping it wasn't the first time that Starbucks saw some tears, but whatever.  Sometimes being an adult is really hard, y'all.

In happier news, I get to hug the sweet Ryan on Wednesday!!  We've been internet friends for nearly 4 years!  We've been through a lot together, and I seriously CAN NOT WAIT for what she called Joey and Ryan's DAY OF FUN!  (Friends reference, anyone?  Please tell me this reminded you of a certain scene with Janice...)

I finally bit the bullet and became a Julep Maven!  Y'all have been trying to convince me for years.  YEARS!  Well, I have also been offered to partner with the company (I mean, it's like they think I write about nail polish a lot or something...).  So if you've also been tempted, here you go.  An offer just from me.  Well, me and Julep.

Julep Promotion
Click the image (or HERE) to receive the Winter Escape Welcome Box for FREE when you sign up to be a Maven!

++Mavens receive free shipping.  You can choose what you love from new collections.  And you have the option to send your box to someone else (as a gift) OR you can choose to skip months.  I'm really glad Julep reinstated that feature.  For a while they had it where you had to earn your skips, which is what turned me off to it.  Now you can skip any month you need to.  All you have to do is sign in by a certain date, choose what you want (or choose to skip)!  
Linked with Jennie
*I am a julep affiliate, but I also really dig their products.  I receive a commission on any sales.