so much lately.

life has been a rollercoaster these last three weeks. literally. up and down. mostly up, but the crappy times take me aback.

on the upside, I celebrated my 24th birthday last Thursday! yay! i think someone read my blog the other week ;) my momma baked me an amazing chocolate cake and loaded it with chocolate icing with chocolate chips in it. my family came over for cake, ice cream and gifts. I’m a lucky girl. so many friends and family sent me birthday wishes. 24 felt like a new start. 23 sucked. really, really sucked. so I am ready for this year and can’t wait to see what it has in store for me!

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{the candles’ flames were the colors of the wax!}

as a family, we went to my favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s. their pasta is to die for, and they have the coolest “deal” there. you can order a classic pasta to have there at dinner, and included in the price, they pack up a dinner sized portion to take home. we’ve been eating a lot of pasta lately, that’s for sure!

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{when I’m at Maggiano’s, I feel like I’m in NYC-old school style.}

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a few weeks back, let’s rewind. I BOUGHT MY FIRST CAR! it was a long time coming, and something I have saved for and hoped for since 2009. everything about the car was perfect, and I was able to pick it up the next day. It’s more than I ever wanted.

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I had to say goodbye to my car, santanna {my brother named it years ago} and I was so ready to get rid of it, sadly. it was a good car…got me through school, but it was barely getting me to work.

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anyways. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. a lot, okay. so much is going on and I feel like so many ties have been broken. friendship is a crazy beautiful thing. i have some beautiful and amazing people in my life, but it’s a rough thing to deal with when someone who is so important to you, doesn’t seem to reciprocate the feelings back. actions speak louder than words. and when it’s so easy for someone to hurt you, it’s time to take a step back.

Perhaps we give the best of our hearts uncritically to those who hardly think of us in return.

lots of soul searching going on lately, and I’m coming out of the “funk” and finally feeling like I’m starting fresh.

staying healthy, staying happy…those are my goals. I’m working on it. and I’m getting there.
I have a lot to be thankful for. and that’s a great place to start!

a thing called melanoma

guest post

you all know I had melanoma last year. it was the scariest three months of waiting, surgeries and consultations. it’s a scary thought to think back on how I actually went through it. I am thankful it wasn’t severe, and I am sorry for those who’ve had to go through it ten times harder. and any cancer.

I’ve had a chance to get to know Nicole at Healthy is Happy blog and it’s been great to chat about things we have in common. I had a chance to do a guest post last week, and I hope you will all check it out as well as the rest of her blog!

 

innocents

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I love that I am able to use this blog to share some of my favorite things. bloggers, musicians, restaurants…etc. but I love even more celebrating and supporting authors.

Mary Elizabeth published her first novel, Innocents, this morning (well, actually, it went live last night, amazon cannot be predicted-I know too well!) and guys, I have to say. You have to read this book. It’s about love, heartbreak, heartbreak, love. I recommend reading it ASAP.

I was lucky to be able to be a part of her release day, and below you will find a little bit more about the amazing and talented author, Mary Elizabeth.

Months away from my thirtieth birthday, I am a lot of things: daughter, sister, wife, Christian, hypocrite, dog lover, fan, friend, author, hairstylist, anxious, afraid, excited … a little bit crazy.

(My slight OCD has kicked in because I didn’t list the above in alphabetical order.)

I have some important and great qualities, and some I wish I could get rid of. For example, there’s pride in watching my children grow up happily. That probably means I’m a decent mother. My husband and I have a happy marriage, so he must think I’m okay wife, too. I have a sister who comes over once a week to visit me, and a bunch of nieces and nephews who love me despite my introvertness.

A downside to being me, I suffer from an anxiety disorder that can sometimes be debilitating. As a result, I pull my hair out. I have bangs right now that I did not cut with scissors. The sentence in my author bio about twirling my hair around my finger is no joke.

I’m human.

I’m not the skinniest, prettiest, smartest, or even the nicest person you’ll ever know, but as I leave my twenties, I’ve accomplished a lot. And thanks to social media, most people are aware of my daily struggles and feats. One question I am asked over and over again is, “How do you juggle motherhood, womanhood, and two careers?”

It was easier when my kids were babies and I was a stay at home mother, to be honest. Before I went to cosmetology school, and before I ever sat down at my computer to write anything, despite having three kids under the age of three and a pre-teen, I was bored. Between bottle washing and shoe throwing, I read. Reading makes me happy and puts me at peace, but I knew I wanted more.

As silly as this might seem, I’ve always felt like I was meant to do something significant and be excellent at what it is.

“I have faith that God is living out a divine plan through me. Have faith in God. – Mark 11:22”

Once my children went to preschool, I went to cosmetology school. Which up to that point, even though I had written many successful fan fiction stories, was what I wanted my career to be.

Doing hair got in the way of writing, but I went to school while my kids were in school, and I wrote before they woke up and after they went to sleep. I was busy but not overwhelmed, and I adapted, you know? You do what you have to do.

Fast forward to this moment right now, on the brink of publishing my very first novel, working in a salon, and chasing around a family who sometimes has to chase around me, I am very much overwhelmed and not so adapted.

But I am proud.

I’m also lucky.

My husband walked in on me during an Innocents edit a few months ago, curled up in the fetal position, chanting, “The passive voice is taking my soul!”

It wasn’t that dramatic, but I was crying and breaking my hair off. After that, he took it upon himself to take some of the burden from my shoulders.

Ladies, he does the laundry. ALL OF IT.

I haven’t touched the washing machine in months!

We have a family of six, so laundry is something that has to be done in my house daily, but he does it. You wouldn’t believe the time that alone freed up!

I’m not the skinniest, prettiest, smartest, or even the nicest person you’ll ever know, but as I leave my twenties, I’ve accomplished a lot. And thanks to social media, most people are aware of my daily struggles and feats. One question I am asked over and over again is, “How do you juggle motherhood, womanhood, and two careers?”

It was easier when my kids were babies and I was a stay at home mother, to be honest. Before I went to cosmetology school, and before I ever sat down at my computer to write anything, despite having three kids under the age of three and a pre-teen, I was bored. Between bottle washing and shoe throwing, I read. Reading makes me happy and puts me at peace, but I knew I wanted more.

As silly as this might seem, I’ve always felt like I was meant to do something significant and be excellent at what it is.

“I have faith that God is living out a divine plan through me. Have faith in God. – Mark 11:22”

Once my children went to preschool, I went to cosmetology school. Which up to that point, even though I had written many successful fan fiction stories, was what I wanted my career to be.

Doing hair got in the way of writing, but I went to school while my kids were in school, and I wrote before they woke up and after they went to sleep. I was busy but not overwhelmed, and I adapted, you know? You do what you have to do.

Fast forward to this moment right now, on the brink of publishing my very first novel, working in a salon, and chasing around a family who sometimes has to chase around me, I am very much overwhelmed and not so adapted.

But I am proud.

I’m also lucky.

My husband walked in on me during an Innocents edit a few months ago, curled up in the fetal position, chanting, “The passive voice is taking my soul!”

It wasn’t that dramatic, but I was crying and breaking my hair off. After that, he took it upon himself to take some of the burden from my shoulders.

Ladies, he does the laundry. ALL OF IT.

I haven’t touched the washing machine in months!

We have a family of six, so laundry is something that has to be done in my house daily, but he does it. You wouldn’t believe the time that alone freed up!

I love doing hair, so not working at the salon isn’t something I’m considering at this moment. My co-workers dig what I do, though, and they’re extremely supportive. If I need a day off for any reason at all, they cover it for me. When we’re slow, no one complains when I hide in the back and pull out my laptop. They even gave Innocents (Dusty #1) bookmarks to all of their clients today.

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me mention my assistant/best friend/cousin, Ashley. She’s pretty much the person who walks behind me and picks up all of my broken, anxious-like-crazy pieces. When I need anything, she’s who I go to. Even if it’s only to talk.

My mother-in-law will watch my kids for me on the drop of a dime. So will my sister-in-law, Jenn.

Catherine Jones reads over all of my interviews and guest posts to make sure I put a comma in the right spot and ALWAYS gets them back to me the very next day.

My mom handles my finances.

My kids rub my back for me after a long day.

My puppies snuggle with me when I need love.

I have a group of twenty girls who listen to my every rant and joy and boring anything, day after day.

My editor makes everything less embarrassing, and my cover artist makes everything beautiful.

My lawyer makes sure I stay in line.

The Dusty Street Team picks up my slack, and my readers pick up my mood.

I have a gardener who comes every Friday so we don’t have to worry about the yards. (I give him Gatorade and water.)

This girl, Peta, sends me Tim-Tams in the mail so I don’t go hungry. And these three girls, Meredith Walters, Debra Anastasia, and Teresa Mummert literally lead the way.

So, while I might be the one sitting at my computer, typing this for you to read, when you ask, “How do you do it?”

My answer is simple:

I don’t do it alone.

You can find Mary Elizabeth here, here, and here.
Go read some Dusty.

the a-z’s of me.

14897_759459360784629_7778241921902466290_nA. Age: 23. almost 24.
B. Bed size: full
C. Chore you hate: dusting. there are so many crevices to get into, and it seems after a few days, the dust is back.
D. Dogs: my miniature Australian shepherd is awful sometimes, but i wouldn’t trade him.

E. Essential start to your day: checking my messages on my phone while drinking a glass of orange juice. then a giant cup of coffee to follow.
F. Favorite Color: yellow. every shade.
G. Gold or Silver: rose gold.
H. Height: 5’10″
I. Instruments you play: piano.
J. Job Title: social media coordinator and account manager. i get to talk and interact with people all day. i love it!
K. Kids: none yet. can’t wait for that chapter of my life, but enjoying the chapters i am in right now, thank you.

L. Live: in a little, tiny city in ohio.
M. Mother’s Name: linda. linda lou – momma lou :)
N. Nicknames: al, alex, ally, ally-oops, zat {it’s a long, probably embarrassing story i wont bore you with}
O. Overnight hospital stays: birth, i guess. i have been lucky — *knocks on wood*
P. Pet peeves: eating with your mouth open, or making gross sounds while eating. no matter if you’re a man or a woman…have a little class, please?
Q. Quote from a movie: “it would be an honor, hazel grace, to have my heart broken by you.”
R. Right or left-handed: right.
S. Siblings: just one.
T. Time you wake up: 6:30. then 7:15, then 7:30 when i actually make myself get out of bed. yes, i have three alarms.
U. Underwear: uhm…normal ones? isn’t that a bit too personal?
V. Vegetable you hate: green beans and peas. will not eat unless the green beans are in a casserole. peas…never.
X. X-rays: mouth and foot… i think that’s all…
Y. Yummy food: pizza, mac and cheese, or ice cream.
Z. Zoo animal: giraffes. they’re adorable.

if you have had a chance to go through his little lady’s blog from my post yesterday, you might have come across this.

“his little lady” spotlight

i have a list of blogs that i love reading everyday. some update frequently, and some are precious updates that i clear my mind to read because i know they will be good.

there is one blog, in particular, that i go to for everyday ideas. hair, makeup, style, photography…you name it. it’s all good. and that blog is “his little lady.”

i had the pleasure of emailing back and forth with TJ a month or so ago, and she is just so sweet. her personality shines through on her blog, and i feel like i am getting advice from a friend through her posts. go take a look and you will see what i mean.

cateye7{something so simple, but inspired a whole day’s look for me: the cat eye}
11{in love with braids these days. so fun, and can instantly up your look. the bun adds a sophisticated look perfect for work}
DSCF7303{i am obsessed with stripes lately, and anything that is oversized and comfy, you better believe i am all over it.}
photo 3{this is perfection. beautiful flowers and the best ice cream ever. okay? mint chocolate chip wins every time…and now i want some}

all photos are from his little lady.

 

a simple birthday wish list

my birthday is coming up {july 17th to be exact} and turning 24 is a lot less scary sounding than 23 for some reason. maybe i just like even numbers. maybe last year just wasn’t the best.

  1. an extra chocolate-y birthday cake with extra frosting that requires a big glass of milk to with it. with sprinkles. {this healthy living thing needs a pause button on my birthday}

seriously. if i just get that, i will be happy. okay, okay, there are a few  other  things.
these would make me happy, too.
and really, anything from anthropologie

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so tell me when it kicks in.

a few weeks ago, i started to get really annoyed with my iTunes library. everything felt like it had been listened to a million times, and my favorites were starting to get on my nerves. i needed new music and i had no idea in which genre i was looking for.

as you all know, i am in love with everything the fault in our stars. the soundtrack is even more phenomenal. one of the most beautiful songs is “All of the Stars” which is written by ed sheeran. so i looked him up in iTunes and pre-ordered his latest cd. a couple of days went by and to be honest, i forgot i had downloaded it. i had my music on shuffle, and one of his new songs came on and my ears perked up. my obsession had started.

i listened to his new cd {“x”} a few times at work that day, and loved every song that came on. his voice is so unique, and it’s not because he is british. his sound is so amazing, you can’t help but want to tap your foot along, or bounce around in the car {which, let’s be honest, is a daily occurrence}.

go download his new cd, and take a listen. in the meantime, if you need convincing, check out this song below. i swear, it will be my first dance song someday at my wedding.

it’s my birthday month!

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HAPPY JULY!
it’s going to be a warm one here, ohio. but i don’t care because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!!! {24 seems less scary than 23…}
oh, and i would love to go back to put in bay to explore some more.
all i want for my birthday is a gigantic chocolate cake with tons and tons of frosting. seriously. I’ve already asked for it. with eating healthier these days, when i can “cheat” i want to cheat.

and it’s my birthday and i’ll eat cake if i want to.

happy july, lovelies.

two quick things.

1. the biggest container of beer was served at German Family Society’s Bierfest this weekend. seriously. look.
{no, that was not all mine}
2. i wish i were cool enough to dance like this. or old enough. you have to be 25 to join, and i am one year away.

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germanfest

oh, and i guess there is a 3. the best german food can be found here. can i have the recipe? schnitzel is my new favorite.
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