// DIY Advent Calendar + Activity Ideas (Perfect for Kids!)

DIY Advent Calendar and Activity Ideas for Kids
When it comes to holiday traditions, I really wanted to try and set some in place for Toby as he grows older. I don't want to dictate what will or will not become a tradition, because that's a little weird (right? Just me?), but I'm hoping this one will stick. Who knows if it'll even be successful! Despite the fact that we're not a religious family, I wanted to do an advent calendar of sorts for Toby so he could experience the magic that is the holiday season. I wasn't sure how to balance the little treats and learning actual lessons, so we opted to do an activities-based calendar. Each day in December Toby will unwrap one of the little "treats" and there will also be a piece of paper with an activity on it. The treats are just meant to be little rewards for awesome behavior (and if we're being totally honest, something to tide him over until Christmas is actually here. Have you ever tried explaining time/dates to a 4 year old?!). The activities are meant to promote kindness, selflessness, and family memories. We have everything from "donate toys" to "ride around to look at christmas lights in our pjs". It's something he'll get to look forward to each day and I'm excited to play a part.
Handmade Activity Advent Calendar - DIY - Kaelah Bee
Handmade Activity Advent Calendar - DIY - Kaelah Bee
Handmade Activity Advent Calendar - DIY - Kaelah Bee
For our calendar we opted to use both wrapping paper and canvas tied up in twine to wrap his treats. I was super inspired by this pin and wanted to do something similar. I nabbed this perfect wrapping paper from Target because I loved that it wasn't holiday-specific. We grabbed a bunch of little trinkets, candy and art projects from the Target "Dollar Spot" bins, as well as a few toys from the Dollar Tree. We don't go crazy at Christmas in our house because 1) 4 year olds have a non-existent attention span and 2) we don't want Toby to grow up spoiled or unaware of his privilege. Toby, like a lot of children, tends to get more play out of smaller items than he does a big ol' roarin', chuggin', loud gadget. (Seriously... this is the kid who carried around the bottom half of Mike's phone case for weeks pretending it was some sort of Samurizer or something.) We thought this was the perfect way to ease into Christmas and treat him for all of December, all the while going easy under the tree. Everything we included in his advent would be suitable for a child's stocking. We spent less than $30 on the whole advent calendar! Of course some of the activities will require extra purchases (movie tickets, etc), but you're able to pick and choose as you please if you decide to set one up for your kiddos! 

It's hard to believe Sunday will already be the 1st of December... and since this is so last minute, I'm sharing our Advent Activities with you in case you want to whip up your own version before the end of the weekend! Here are the activities we laid out for Toby:
  • Make popcorn garland for the Christmas tree
  • Go through our toys and donate to a local food bank
  • Make DIY ornaments (Dollar Tree has a great faux stained glass set for kids! $1)
  • Make gifts for Toby's pre-K teachers
  • Attend the local Christmas parade
  • Send Santa a letter
  • Make hot cocoa
  • Visit Santa
  • Invite family over for dinner/cake (Toby's birthday!)
  • Make a gift for dad (with help from Mom)
  • Make our own holiday cards (Target has a DIY card kit for kids for $1)
  • Make little favors for Toby's class party
  • Watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Toby's favorite movie)
  • Make a 2013 ornament (I'll share that on the blog!)
  • Go see a holiday movie in theaters (Frozen!)
  • Make/Paint/Create gifts for others (grandparents, especially)
  • Make homemade dog treats for Pip + Georgia (+ the cats, too)
  • Bake cookies to give to family and friends
  • Make a gift for mom (with help from Dad)
  • Wrap presents to put under the tree (gifts for grandparents/aunts/etc)
  • Do at least one random act of kindness (but shoot for 5!)
  • Make a gingerbread house (we put this on a card with a clue for Toby to find the hidden kit)
  • Hop in the car in our PJs and go look at Christmas lights together
  • Bake Santa a fresh batch of cookies (and put out carrots for the reindeer!)
  • Give/receive gifts with a grateful heart
Overall I am so excited for December! I know it'll be a lot of work to get all of these done, and there may be some days where we have to move things around or adjust to life's plans, but I can't wait. Toby told us in a very matter-of-fact tone the other night that he knew Santa wasn't real... his 7 year old cousin told him that guys just put on costumes and pretended. He wasn't upset, but my heart broke into a million pieces. I want so badly for him to believe. I want the magic of Christmas to stay alive for a few more years... so we've got some plans in the works. We'll make a believer out of him! Even if he chooses to remain skeptical, I know he'll truly love the advent calendar and all of the fun activities we have planned together.

Do you do anything like this with your kids? I'd love to hear how it's worked for you in the past! If you have any great activities or charitable suggestions to add to next year's list, that'd be great! I can't wait until he's old enough to volunteer somewhere (and actually be of service).

Handmade Activity Advent Calendar - DIY - Kaelah Bee

// Things I('m Grateful For) Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends! And Happy Thursday to everyone else scattered around the globe. Normally each year I turn my TiLT post into a "Things I'm Thankful For" post, and while this is definitely just that, I feel like I don't need to say as much this year. Is that strange? 

Of course I'm still grateful for each and every one of those things mentioned last year (and all of the years prior), but I don't feel like I need to shout them from the rooftops. They're just sort of understood, ya know? At least I hope they are. 

This year I want to keep it short and sweet, and I wanted to tell you this: I'm thankful for YOU! Yep, you. You specifically, sitting there, reading this... You take time out of your busy day to pop over and read these (often random) words. You share your stories. You reach out and offer support and kind words. It's just kind of amazing.

I don't think anyone has really gotten into blogging with the knowledge that it could (and probably would) affect their day to day life so dramatically. Whether you read once a day or once a month, or even once a year, I appreciate you. It's kind of cool to have so many friends out there, ya know?

But with that being said, please don't hesitate to reach out to me and say hello. Tell me about yourselves! I don't want this to be a one way street. And the only way I can know you're out there is if you introduce yourselves.

If you find yourself with some spare time today, tell me something about you! You can leave it in the comments, tweet me or even pop over to Facebook. (I'd say email me but goodness gracious I'm so behind... haha! But there's that, too!) Tell me your name, where you're from, what a typical day in your life is like, things you love, things that annoy you... Let's make some friends.

xo

// Morganite

Morganite - KaelahBee.com - Outfit of the Day
This outfit instantly reminded me of my engagement ring, hence the title. It's pretty safe to say my engagement ring is by far my most treasured possession (Nevermind the fact that it's actually my second engagement ring... the other one that I totally ruined became a [very sentimental] keychain. ha!) I think morganite and rose gold is the absolute perfect combination and I get giddy every time I look at mine. The soft pink and chiffon coupled with the rose gold belt and crocheted jacket is basically a dream outfit. You can't tell by these pictures, but it was actually 31 degrees, sleeting, and basically dark when these photos were snapped. Mike and I ran out to do some Christmas shopping and I forgot to bring an actual coat... so I ran around for hours just wearing this jacket. Now, this jacket is amazing. It's so so beautiful. But it's not exactly suitable for 30 degree temps haha Mike calls it a "doily with sleeves" which I guess is appropriate... but I love it so much. I wish I would've sized down to a medium because it fits pretty boxy in the waist, but it's worth it! (If you snag one of your own, go down one size! They're generous!) I can't help but think I'm going to snag it on something though, and I always notice I'm extra cautious when I wear it! I even color coordinated my nail polish... rose gold and dusty pink glitter! 
Morganite - KaelahBee.com - Outfit of the Day
Morganite - KaelahBee.com - Outfit of the Day
We've been gearing up for the most insane two (three? six?) weeks of our lives... when I think about the work load that awaits me in December I just want to keel over and die haha I can't tell you how much of a blessing it is to be totally swamped with work around the holidays (especially as a self-employed gal), but man oh man I'm going to need a month long reprieve come January. I'm taking everything I can get though, because I've got some tricks up my sleeve for the new year. Has anyone else been thinking about their "resolutions" for the New Year? I flip/flop with how I feel about resolutions with each passing year, but I think at the core they're really great. Mike and I have been talking about what we want our 2014 to look like in terms of new habits and all that jazz. The front-runner right now is "bookkeeping"... Phew! I'm the worst at it. I hate it. I hate bookkeeping so much. But I know it'll benefit us so much when it's tax time, and time to rethink our business strategies. If any of you have any advice or recommendations on resources, we'd love to hear them! QuickBooks terrifies me but I'm wondering if I just shouldn't dive in again?
Morganite - KaelahBee.com - Outfit of the Day
Morganite - KaelahBee.com - Outfit of the Day
Today we're putting our skirt under the tree and assembling Toby's advent calendar. Hopefully if everything goes as planned I can share it on Friday! We're focusing on activities so that we can develop traditions with Toby as the years pass. It's probably silly to say "Well this is going to be a tradition!" when you haven't even done it yet (or have only done it once!), but we want to ensure there's a lot of family time shared between the holidays. It's fun to have something to look forward to.

If you're in Nashville, stop by the What The Truck mobile market on Saturday, November 30th! Honeybean will be set up with some of Nashville's finest mobile retailers and food trucks... we'll be in East Nashville on Main Street from 11am til 4pm. I promise you won't be able to miss us! We're unveiling some great new pieces that would make lovely holiday gifts. And we might even have some grab bags! If you want more details, feel free to get in touch! xo

Forever dress via Marshall's
Belt from another dress
Skull bangles via Karmaloop
No Nonsense tights
Vintage loafers

// Currently

I'm taking it a little easy this week on the blog... so today I thought I'd share a Currently post! I'd love to hear some of your answers below (or in your own post!). Happy Tuesday, friends! xo

READING: I've been reading Adulting and it's so hilarious. I read a lot of it on our North Carolina trip but haven't been making enough time to read it once we returned. I plan to finish it soon! I'm also reading The Money Book for the Young, Broke, and Fabulous by Suze Orman because you know... adulting. I find her approach way more interesting than Dave Ramsey anyway.

WONDERING: "How on Earth we'll be able to churn out all of the necessary product to stock Honeybean with at Porter Flea. I know my post yesterday included much of this same worry, but I'm sitting in our living room completely surrounded by craft supplies, lists, and finished products. We made a huge dent in the production needs of items last night, but we have a long week and a half ahead of us." -- I copied this post for the prompts from my last Currently post in May... and this answer is exactly the same. Not only do we have another Porter Flea in a week and a half, but we're also setting up for Small Business Saturday this weekend. So much to do!

FEELING THANKFUL: To have a roof over our heads, to have food in our bellies, to have each other... all of that good stuff. I'm also so thankful that we're able to be self employed and go at it our own way each and every day. Much like my last post 6 months ago, it's a scary thought sometimes, and nothing is ever certain, but we just take it a day at a time. Not to mention I love that we live so close to family. I've spent so much of my 25 years wanting to move away and forge our own path in another state, but it recently hit me just how blessed we truly are to have so many people who love us so close by.

EATING: a lot of liquids and soft foods... this girl had a tooth extracted yesterday. woop woop! Gotta love giant wisdom teeth... sort of a bummer to only have a half-functioning mouth merely days before Thanksgiving, but it's probably for the best haha! I can hear Mike in the kitchen making something for breakfast, so that's always a good thing! Let's hope I can eat it.

WATCHING: entirely too much television. The mega perk to working from home is that you can have TV going at almost any point in the day. We make it a priority not to watch tv or anything while we're in the office working, but if we're in the living room working on painting signs, packing orders, or merchandising Honeybean, you can bet we're watching something. Currently we're loving: Hart of Dixie (Team Wade FOREVER!), Sons of Anarchy, and Louie (oh my stars I love Louis C.K. more than life itself). I'm going to stop myself there because our long list would be embarrassing to share haha!

WORKING ON: a ton of holiday sign commissions (woo!), several new design gigs (yay!), blog content for December (help!), Porter Flea merch and displays (it's too cold to do a mock set up!), our advent activities for Toby (I'm so excited!), and a new blog makeover for the new year (several months in the making... oh boy!). I'm getting myself pumped up for some long weeks ahead, but I can't wait for 2014!

LOVING: the feeling of the season. I hate cold weather and I hate that it gets dark so early (seriously... that kills my mood), but I love how festive everything seems. Planning what we'll make for family Thanksgivings, talking about Toby's birthday, anticipating Christmas and the New Year... it's a happy time of year. Just don't ask me if I love it when I'm in any store trying to buy anything. Those crowds are killer!

ATTEMPTING: to not feel guilty about stepping away from the blog a little bit. It's a busy time of year so I'm trying not to overwhelm myself with content! ideas! plans! execution! ya know? I'm also trying really really hard to not compare myself to those blog I read who do (seem to) manage to juggle all of those things perfectly. I have to remind myself most of them aren't running 4 businesses and raising a 4 year old. It's okay to just ~take it easy. *I* am the only person I need to impress. (See what I'm doing here?! Trying really hard to make myself feel better haha)

WANTING: to simplify our lives. Not meaning I want to toss out all of our stuff and cling to this "minimalistic" trend - not at all actually haha! What I mean is: I want to operate on a more "set" schedule. I want to have a better work flow and then be done with it by the time Toby gets home from school (or shortly after). I want to simplify my daily tasks and not do 10 jobs "well" but instead do 4 jobs "almost perfectly" ya know? I want to streamline things, but I doubt that's going to happen because I have a billion little idea elves in my brain and I want to do all of them and I'm a glutton for that sort of thing. We'll see!


What are you up to today?
If you're looking for something to do, share your own Currently post on your blog and leave a link to it below! I'd love to know how you're spending your day! (Currently post inspired by Danielle's feature!)

// Him + Honey - Nashville Portrait Photography Rebrand



I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally in love with being a film photographer. There's just something so magical about the look and feel of film. It's so rewarding (and scary!) to ship rolls across the country and then wait ever so patiently for them to be returned. You never know which ones turned out and which ones were flops. Sounds silly to love the unexpected, but it allows us to really focus on the person in front of our camera... not the image on the screen. 
Starting this business with Mike has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. He had his digital photography biz for a while but it just wasn't fulfilling him in the way he had hoped. When he first started getting into film I pitched the idea that we should do it together. It'd be fun to learn the ropes and create something truly wonderful as a team. He was totally sold and so it began! We were racking our brains for a business name for what felt like forever... everything was just meh. I remember driving down to my parents' house from Nashville one night and I said "It's probably really dumb, but what about 'Him + Honey' for our name? It's stupid right? Yeah, okay nevermind, that was silly." I shot down my own idea before I could ever really pitch it. Luckily Mike loved it and talked me out of doubt, and it felt like the most fitting name possible. I love when that happens.
For the past year we're been slowing building steam as a brand. We didn't want to jump in too deep and figuratively drown. We wanted to test the waters, practice what we knew, and learn the ropes that way. Slow and steady. Our initial branding was thrown together (honestly) with little input from anyone except me and my hands on evening. The website was the same way. It was really just a stand-in for where we wanted to go. We put off the rebrand of Him + Honey forever because I was terrified we couldn't  come up with something (especially something that fit both of our aesthetic! Oh boy!) It was kind of amazing when one day we set out to each create a moodboard for the brand we wanted, and then we hashed out our ideas. Our moodboards were pretty varied, and while there was some overlap, I was sure that we were in for a long night. But then something amazing happened... I opened up Illustrator and I just quickly hashed something out with the brush tool... and we both loved it. We loved it so much in fact that the little flowers you now see in our logo are the exact quick, 5 second scribbles that I put on that artboard that day.They were perfect. The colors were spot on, they were just messy enough to have personality, but they matched the look and feel we both wanted for our brand. Fun, lighthearted, and not too serious... Why can't all branding be that simple?
The next few weeks revolved around me writing "him + honey" over and over and over. We finally found a combination that we liked, and we moved on to our website. Mike is super into minimalistic, white websites... I like a little bit more color. At the end of the day we went his route because it really does add a touch of class to the whole thing. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing the "less is more" aspect, ya know? There are still some things I want to change on the website... add, remove, expand upon... but I'm feeling so incredibly passionate about our new branding identity that I just couldn't wait to share! Here it is! The new and improved, Him + Honey 2.0!

We have a bunch of blog posts queued up on the new site so check back often to see the shoots we've recently done. If you want to get in touch about any sort of shoot or event, please don't hesitate to drop us a line! We make it incredibly simple and all you have to do is pop over to the Contact page.
Every single session we book, no matter how big or small, is truly an amazing experience for us. We get to meet these people, share in their stories, capture moments they'll cherish forever, and hopefully stay in touch for years to come. Him + Honey is something we truly believe in, and a lot of that is thanks to you! The blog readers who inquire about shoots, who encourage us. We sincerely thank you! And if ever comes a time where you need a photographer, please feel free to get in touch! We'd love to take you out for coffee and talk about everything! And remember - you don't have to be in Nashville to book a shoot! We're happy to travel... engagement shoots, weddings, family events. We love road trips!

Please visit the new and improved Him + Honey website. Let us know what you think! Please take a moment to "Like" us on Facebook while we overhaul it to match the new look! We can't wait to share the other aspects of our branding with you. Stay tuned! xo

// Temptu AirBrush Makeup Kit : Video + GIVEAWAY!

Happy Sunday, y'all! Today I'm sharing a (ridiculous and possibly awkward) video of me talking about the new Temptu AirBrush Makeup Kit and showing you how to use it yourself! Then you'll have the opportunity to win your very own Temptu system! Holla!

So let's talk about the kit... When I was invited to participate in this campaign, I had to think about it for a bit. I've wanted an airbrush makeup kit forever, but I was so incredibly intimidated at the thought of sharing a video of me using it, ya know? Still, I couldn't pass up this awesome opportunity so I jumped on board. I'm really glad I did because I ended up loving the system way more than I anticipated. 
First off, this thing is so easy to use. I'm the type of girl who can't even grasp the most simplistic makeup tutorials via YouTube, but after watching the Temptu video I totally had it down. Temptu was created by some of the top professional makeup artists, and is regularly used by folks like Madonna, Beyonce (!!!), Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It's the first of it's kind to be produced into an at-home airbrush makeup system for regular gals like you and me. The kits start at $149 and you can even get in on the limited edition ones if you like a little more pizazz!

You'll have to forgive me and my video in case it's awkward haha! This was the first time I've ever sat down with the intention of making a tutorial-esque video of semi-decent quality! It was a lot of fun though so maybe I'll do more like this in the future. I'm always jealous of the snazzy skills those YouTubers have.

In case you're at work (you cheeky thing!) or somewhere you can't watch the video, here are some general points I made:
  • Like I said above, the Temptu system is so easy to use. It takes not time at all to get the hang of it. It's perfect for all ranges of skill level. From a gal like me who can't manage winged eyeliner if my life depended on it, to a formally trained makeup professional.
  • The system uses the patented AIRpod makeup to allow you to easily swap out shades and types of Temptu makeup. You can go from foundation to blush in 3 seconds flat.
  • You can buy a variety of different foundation shades, as well as blush, bronzer and highlighter via the Temptu website. (This is a perfect system to have if you're looking to get into makeup artistry! You can have all of the shades right at your fingertips!)
  • The colors I used were:  Temptu Foundation - 04 Sand (though I should have gone with 05... luckily since it goes on so sheer you can't tell too much!) Blush - Washed Rose (a beautiful dark dusty pink) and Highlighter - Champagne (so pearlescent!) 
  • You apply the makeup in small, circular motions and in light, sheer layers. Build up coverage as you go. You can go from a light "natural" look to a full face of makeup with ease. It's kind of funny to think that you spray on makeup, and I may have compared it to spray paint in the video... ha!
Several of my followers on Instagram were excited for an actual review of the system because they had been wanting one themselves... well, now's your chance! I'm partnering up with Temptu to give ONE lucky reader a Temptu AirBrush Makeup System! Woo! Feel free to check out the rules below. Good luck! Can't wait to give one of these to one of you!

If you don't want to wait and try your luck, you can get an exclusive 20% discount by using the code "PWRWUKQG" at checkout!


You can stay up to date with Temptu and take advantage of their tips and tricks by following along on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

// SparkleLouder with Hpnotiq and win a trip to NYC for NYE!

Hpnotiq SparkleLouder with Kaelah Bee - KaelahBee.com
Hey friends! I wanted to pop in one last time and remind you of the Hpnotiq Sparkle Louder campaign currently happening! If you're the Grand Prize winner you and three of your best girlfriends will be flown to NYC to experience the magic of New Year's Eve! *cue absolute envy of whoever wins!*

Entering is seriously so easy. All you gotta do to enter is upload a picture showing how you plan to Sparkle Louder on NYE - whether it's an outfit, a group shot, or a selfie. Then use the "SparkleLouder" app to make your photo shine!

I tend to keep my NYE plans pretty tame, but if we're talking about my ideal celebration, it'd probably go a little something like this: I'd send out some glitzy, glitter covered invitations (maybe shaped like champagne flutes!) to my favorite friends. Then I'd decorate our house to the 9's... as much gold and glitter as I could muster. I'd have a bar cart ready to go with all of your favorite liqueurs and mixers, and everyone would have a glass in hand! I would turn the lights down a smidge, but turn the music up, and we'd dance for hours. Of course we'd have a little finger foods bar and a photobooth setup with a gold sequin backdrop! We'd all make toasts and ring in the new year surrounded by our favorite people. Kind of sounds rad, right? So who's coming over?!

Of course it's not a true cocktail party without a signature drink, right? Here's one from Hpnotiq that I'm itching to try myself...
Dazzler
serves one
2 oz. Hpnotiq Harmonie
2 oz. Champagne

The Hpnotiq SparkleLouder contest runs from November 4 through December 8. Every entry earns you more weekly chances to win one of 20 EFFY Diamond & Blue Topaz Rings (4 EFFY rings will be given out each week! Worth over $1,200!) If you share your photos on social media be sure to use the official hashtag: #SparkleLouder. Remember, one little photo could be what takes you and your three BFFs all the way to New York City!
Hpnotiq SparkleLouder with Kaelah Bee - KaelahBee.com

// Things I Love Thursday v.160

Happy Thursday! This week I've compiled a lovely list of links and images sure to make your heart skip a beat! There are way too many animal photos, but I'm not apologizing. Hopefully you'll find plenty of things to tickle your fancy! Feel free to let me know which ones are your favorite xo
♥ in LOVE with this tattoo ♥
this is me. always. ♥
this frog hitched a ride with this snail! so cute! ♥
♥ i want all of these piggies! ♥
these furry little eskimo kisses ♥
♥ i want to go to all of these places ♥
this is so sweet ♥
this beaver in a bee costume. what?! ♥
this is too cute ♥

// Would you take a spin on the world's tallest water slide? My answer? Hale naw! Never. Never ever ever! Look at that thing!

// OH EM GEE! Zappos gets a major round of applause for this one! Apparently Kanye said some not so nice things about the online retailer Zappos... so what did Zappos do? The best thing ever.

// HOLLA! The Hunt got a new, fresh look! I'm loving the new feel of the site. It's more modern and streamlined. They're also doing the official release of the mobile app! Woo! I'm still constantly checking the Showcase page daily. It's helping me knock off my Christmas shopping lists! (Check out the original post about The Hunt HERE!)



// StickyGram is offering everyone $5 off of their new iPhone and iPad cases! The offer is only good until Midnight on Friday night so get to it!

// Don't miss out on the Rubi collection! It's about to be retired so if you're hankerin' for a great grey dress, caramel leather belt and a gorgeous red jewel necklace, now is the time to act!


// !!! BeauCoo just opened a new online e-commerce shop, and it's already stocked with some of the cutest tops, bottoms and dresses! Seriously, that Lovely Lady dress is red needs to get on my person!

// I don't know how Carrie Anne doesn't have a cookbook gig yet because I swear, everything she makes looks so so good! Garlic Roasted Chicken! MMMM!

// Here's a giveaway for two really great books! I just might enter myself... 

// I recently designed a header for Veronica's blog, and then she decided to come aboard LCH as a sponsor! I'm so excited to have her. She's a gem! Pop over and say hello to her!


// I finally got around to listing some items on Swapdom! I listed 3 vintage pieces and a CR dress. Pop over and see if anything tickles your fancy. Maybe we can swap! If all goes well with my few swap, I'll be listing several more pieces!

// I don't think Shannon has ever made anything that didn't look positively scrumptious!

// 8 reasons my former self would be proud of me. I go back and re-read this every so often because I love everything Jenna wrote!


// Honeybean has undoubtedly been on the back burner for quite some time. But I just scrapped the blog and started fresh! I wrote a (very honest) post about what it's like to own a mobile boutique in Nashville. Care to take a peek? Would love your input!

Have a great rest of your week! xo

// 20 Random Facts

First off, just let me say WHOA! in regards to yesterday's Honest To Blog post and all of your amazing replies. Seriously, the comments were amazing, the emails that flooded my inbox were amazing (I'm working on replying to everyone!), and the tweets/texts/etc were all so so wonderful. Thank you for making me realize that I'm not alone with my feeling. It's such a strange, crazy world, right? The people who you assume have it so together are just as messy at life as you are. It's a breath of fresh air, and so reassuring to know we're sort of all in this together. Now to today's post...

I love random facts posts. Seriously. I love to read about people's unusual traits and quirks. Before this list I never realized how difficult it is to sit and come up with 20 facts that aren't super obvious or boring. Of course I'm not 100% sure that I've succeeded, but here's my list anyway!

1. One of my biggest pet peeves (right after loud chewers and random, repetitive noises) is "the obviously empty cup" on TV. Anyone know what I'm talking about here? When a character on tv has a coffee cup or something and just starts wailing it around... it's quite obvious that there's nothing in it! Why don't they just put some actual coffee or water in those things? The movements and mannerisms of the characters always give it away and I spend way too much time ranting about it.

2. I'm a self-described pen snob. I don't mean my pens have to be expensive (it's usually quite the opposite, especially since I lose them so often), but they have to write a certain way. A pen can make or break any list or notebook, I'm sure of it.
3. My life literally depends on Zyrtec. I take it every day like clockwork. If I'm so much as 15 minutes late, my allergies go haywire and I drive Mike nuts.

4. Speaking of allergies - I also have asthma. Ever since I was a teensy tiny baby. I hadn't had any flare ups in the past 5 years or so, but this Autumn has been awful. I started back on 2-3x daily breathing treatments and I carry a Dulera inhaler everywhere I go. 3am is the most popular time for my attacks and I have no idea why. Awesome!

5. One of my very first jobs in high school was at The Elephant Sanctuary. I was the only juvenile on the grounds, and it was one of the most amazing jobs of my life. I worked up in the office above the Quarantine Barn and would handle daily donations for the Sanctuary. I parked next to Delhi, who was in quarantine at the time, and she was my favorite of all the elephants. I cried like a baby when she passed away. I had to wear a TB mask after we received 2 elephants who had been exposed to tuberculosis (Lola + Misty) and I still remember the snarky comments from the health professionals who tested me. They thought it was irresponsible for a 16 year old to work in those conditions. That job was insanely amazing and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

6. I hate voicemails. If you leave me a voicemail, I will most likely not ever listen to it. I hate them. I used to not even have my voicemail set up and I'm determined to turn it off again. I don't know why I hate it so bad, but I do. Just call me back!
7. I also hate thick straws. Has anyone else noticed how the taste of a drink is totally altered by the diameter of the straw? Skinny straws (hey, Taco Bell!) are where it's at. Mike thought I was crazy until I made him compare. He's all about the skinny straws, too.

8. I have a specific (ultra soft) toothbrush in our bathroom dedicated to my engagement ring. It's probably not the best way to clean it, but man that puppy sparkles afterward!

9. I have to cover my ears for loud noises. Like starting the vacuum or bath tub. Even the hair dryer or commercial toilets (Why are they so loud?!). I don't know why I do it, but I always have.

10. I do not personally own a single pair of socks. Not one. I'm constantly stealing Mike's when my feet are cold, but otherwise I really really hate socks.
11. Every night I pull up Desiderata on my computer so it's the first thing I read in the morning. At this point you are tired of hearing about Desiderata. I'm sorry.

12. "Strong Female Lead" is the perfect Netflix-given theme for my music and movie choices. Mike likes to poke fun at me for only listening to female vocalists and watching movies or tv shows with a great female lead. Hey, I just think women are awesome! We deserve some love, okay?!

13. I have to sleep with my head under a blanket and pillow at night. I have very specific rules for each of my 4 pillows and where they go at night. I also cannot fall asleep if my head/face isn't fully covered by a pillow, and then the pillow covered by a blanket. This lead to many parents of friends to think I was trying to suffocate myself at night. Nope, just staying cozy and warm.
14. I always sprinkle a little sea salt on my ice cream. It makes the ice cream so much better. Seriously, try it. 

15. I experience a quarter life crisis almost every day... or maybe it's just a really, really long one. (See yesterday's post as proof)

16. I no longer pay any attention to my blog stats (unless a sponsor inquires or I update my media kit). I've found that watching stats hinders me from writing a blog *I* would want to read.

17. I find it impossible to say no to stray animals. It just hurts my heart way too much. Hence why we're currently feeding 3 full grown cats and 6 kittens... despite 7 out of 9 being strays.
18. I'm blind in my left eye. I can make out differences in shades/light, but that's it. I've never been able to see out of my left eye (for as long as I can remember at least) so I don't see it as much of a hindrance.

19. I never pulled a full all-nighter in college. I studied until 6am one year for finals, but went right to sleep. My classmates regularly pulled full fledged all nighters on projects and I always wondered if I was just being lazy and if I could've benefitted from a few myself.

20. I was voted "Best Dressed" and "Most Likely To Be Famous" my senior year of high school, and I think that's the funniest thing in the world considering I was decked out in head to toe Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister and I wanted to be a fashion designer. What?! High-school-me confuses me so much. But I genuinely really enjoyed high school, so go figure.

Now it's YOUR turn! I'd love to read 20 (or however many) random facts about you! Feel free to share in the comments or write your own post and drop us a link! It's so fun figuring out things you have in common with other people!

// Honest To Blog: Growing Up Is Hard


Y'all, I'm just gonna give it to you straight: getting older is the pits. I mean, it's not all bad. I do appreciate that I can now, at the age of 25, legally rent a car "just because" and I like that my car insurance has gone down... but other than that? Meh. I spend far too much time sitting and thinking about growing up. I remember being in middle school and thinking that 22 was the magic number. At 22 you totally had it together... You were graduating college, getting a "real" job, and all of that jazz. Now I see 22 in my rear view mirror and I can't help but feel slightly defeated at times.

"Success" and being an "adult" are totally relative things. They mean different things to different people, and I'm sure my version of it (or lack thereof) is wild compared to someone else's. Yet I can't help but sit down and think "When will I be a grown up? When will I get my crap together? When will I feel like I know what I'm doing with my life?!" It's kind of sad how many posts I write about this very topic on this very blog, but it's truly something that I feel has "plagued" me these past few years. Like, I'm legitimately responsible for keeping a small child alive... every single day! No matter how childish I feel, I still have to wake this kid up, feed him, dress him, teach him, etc. That's crazy to me. How can you be responsible for another life when you feel like a child yourself?

I feel pretty lucky that my biggest "problems" aren't really problems usually. Sometimes I get flustered that I won't score enough freelance work for the month, or something crazy will happen and our budget will be totally blown (it happens far too often than it should), but who doesn't have those thoughts? When I talk to people older than myself about "the tough times" it always amazes me about how many of them admit to basically living on Ramen and skipping the heat in their 20's. I feel like I've just always assumed that the other 20-somethings out there had their crap together and they didn't always feel like massive losers haha! Granted we don't live on Ramen and we have plenty of heat (thank goodness!), but I still worry about being self-employed and supporting a family without a "real" (read: corporate) job. I worry that I put my fingers in too many pies and that I've become more of a "jack of all trades" and a master at none. Ya know what I'm saying?! Anyone?! I tweeted something along those lines last night and I know it must've hit close to home to loads of people because my mentions feed was full of people favoriting that one. C'mon! It's nice to know you're not alone, right?

I know that I have a lot of readers that are older than me... I've received emails and comments from gals in their 30's, 40's, 50's, and even a lady in her 60's once. (Seriously, you don't even know how tickled I was to be on the receiving end of that email... it was like a crazy rad compliment) I bet I have plenty of readers who are way younger than me that honestly have twice the life experience that I do... and with that I want to ask you one thing: What kind of "obstacle" did you have to overcome when you were "growing up?" 

I'm sure plenty of you are in the same boat as me, regardless of age... feeling like you're still not a legitimate adult. But even still, you've experienced things! You've traveled the world on pennies. You've raised a house full of children on your own. You worked and paid your own way through college. You overcame your own self doubt and became the most baller version of yourself. Whatever it is that you've tackled, I want to hear about it! I need to hear about it.

Some days it's hard to just do daily tasks because they feel like they're leading to some distant dead end. I want to chase my passions and live my dreams as much as the next person, but I also don't want to be totally jaded about it. Does that make sense?

So what was the hardest chunk of time for you? The most trying? How long did it last and how did you come out on the other side of it? Do you have feelings like this, too? Gimme some good things to read here, y'all! Some days I feel like throwing in the towel and getting a corporate job haha I mean, I know that won't solve my problem of feeling like I'm in limbo, but at least it'd be a routine I could count on. Basically I just need to know that this sort of limbo-feeling isn't forever... that I will figure out my path before too terribly long. It's hard to have one set direction when you're constantly pulling yourself three or four ways, ya know? Inspire me (please)! xo

Remember this feature? I haven't done one in a long time (for a multitude of reasons... maybe I'll share those one day!) but I felt like it was as good of a day as any. It's been on my mind. -- Honest to Blog is a free-writing feature where I just write whatever my mind is thinking at the time... no filter, no edits. Feel free to browse the other HTB posts here.