Saturday in the City

Looks my re-design is postponed a few days on account of the loveliness here in Atlanta. The weather has gone from being rainy and eerily foggy to bright and crisp and sunny. So Hubby and I took Bella out for a day at Piedmont Park where she could enjoy the company of other sweet puppies (including two other Huskies!).

My Kindle First Generation with Pierce's copy of Creative Loafing Atlanta.
Lunchtime dichotomy for nerds.

I've Got An Itch

And by that, I mean I'm never satisfied, it seems.

I'm thinking of re-designing my blog again. When I first started ABC back in January 2010 I knew absolutely nothing about customizing templates or editing headers and font and layouts, so I just went with a template I thought was cute. The I realized I could make my own background with my own photo! Who knew? So I changed it. And that was what I had until the most recent change. And I like the way it looks, I really do...I just don't think it defines my tastes (which, I'll admit, can vary).

I suppose this all makes sense given that the title of my blog is A Bundle of Contradictions. I like too many things. I have too many interests. But, if I had to choose, I would say I want this blog to be a reflection of my home style, sort of the way I would decorate my favorite room in the house. And I love vintage, so vintage it is!

I'm not trying to be indecisive here. It's just I'm posting more and more nd this blog has become one of my favorite places to unwind so, naturally, I want my guests to feel like they can unwind as well. And I want it to feel like home so that the re-design will keep and become something familiar to you all.

I plan on working on the layout this weekend, and then I promise not to touch it again after that (at least as long as I don't start hating vintage).

Moving on...

My third novel is coming along quite fabulously, thanks for asking! Maybe this one will actually get published.

I decided to go the YA route with this one because this story is one I've wanted to tell for a long time. It feels for the first time like my characters are telling the story and I'm simply along for the ride. It's so much fun! And I'm past the 5,000 word mark, which means I should be able to reach my goal of 50,000 words by the end of March, just in time to submit my work for the Atlanta Writer's Conference. In case you're wondering, no, I don't have to have a book completed to attend, but I would like to since I'll be meeting with agents to critique my work. If they like what they see I want to be able to offer them the entire manuscript.

So let's take a look at this timeline, shall we?

YA Novel (as yet untitled):

Word Count: 5,746
Deadline: Saturday, March 31, 2012
Days to Go: 65

Wish me luck!

Ode to a Star Wars Ninja

Today is kind of a sad day.

My big brother, Tommy, is leaving us for Washington, which will be followed in one month by his deployment to Kuwait.

Our family has been surrounded by this kind of thing for the last few years, although we didn't grow up in a military family. My father served in the army years before I was born, but that was the limit on my direct exposure to the military.

My father re-married when I was a freshman in college, and my step-brother soon joined the National Guard, and then the Army. He's been deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and helped serve after Hurricane Katrina.

Then I got married. My father-in-law retired from the Air Force, where he served in Korea. In fact, he met my mother-in-law when they were both in active duty, although she was only in the Air Force for a few years. My brother-in-law, however, is smack dab in the middle of his career as a dive training instructor in the Navy. He's served 4 or 5 (?) tours-of-duty and is about to serve another. His son also joined the Army. He just completed his first tour-of-duty.

My sisters's husband- my other brother-in-law- returned from serving in Afghanistan just two weeks ago.

And, now, my brother is leaving, too.

I'm super proud of him. He's been one of my best friends since we were little kids, even though I drove him crazy with my incessant singing and chatter. We're both music nerds who love to read and pretty much get along with everyone, and if I ever I'm upset he listens quietly and offers funny, sincere encouragement. He's the most unconditional, kind, compassionate, friendly person you'll ever meet. His hugs are the greatest. He's also kind of a rockstar.

Maybe I want to be a figure skater?

Hi friends!

Last weekend, Hubby and I went ice-skating in Piedmont Park.

We also made a bet that he would fall more times than me. He believed he would and so did I guess it was really a bet on exactly how many more times he would fall.

Unfortunately, as it turns out my husband is quite graceful on the ice once he gets those first few wobbly minutes out of the way.

I am sad to say that although I was the first to do a little pirouette (though I'm not sure it actually counts as such because I wasn't exactly in proper form, based on my years of watching the Olympics...somebody go ask Nancy Kerrigan!), I was also the first to fall.

Actually, I was the only one to fall. Despite multiple slips and near-misses, Hubby never landed on his ass.

I did...and I have the bruise to prove it. At least I fell in my attempt to NOT run over a little kid. That counts for something, right?

Guest Post: Samantha March

Hi friends!

I hope you all enjoyed my review of Samantha March's debut novel Destined to Fail. Today, I'd like you to welcome her as our guest host as she tells us a little bit more about her courageous journey into writing, and why it's so important to take the risk.

Read on!

I had a few challenges arise when I was writing Destined to Fail, mainly because Jasmine’s character has a lot of me in her. When I wrote the first draft, the story was auto-biographical. Completely. As I re-read it, I knew I couldn’t publish it because I would hurt a lot of people. I switched a few elements around, took a lot of pieces out, and made it more fiction. Then I hired an editor who suggested even more changes which made the story even more fiction, and I got my final version of Destined. I’m happy with how it turned out because I didn’t feel complete anxiety when it was published, nor did I feel like I had to hide the book from anyone.

With that being said, there is still a lot in my life in the book - mainly Jasmine’s life before she goes to college. Her younger years are very parallel to mine. I've had a lot of people ask me why I touched on such deep subjects, and the answer is simple: it’s my life. Writing this book was very much a form of therapy for me. Countless nights I pounded on my laptop with tears streaming down my face as I tried to finish writing scenes. When I was younger, after being neglected by my father, sexually abused my stepbrother, physically abused by my boyfriend, and living on the streets after being kicked out of my house, I needed something to keep me going. I needed a purpose for why I was put on the earth. The only conclusion I could come up with? To share my story and hope it connected with someone else.

When I was eleven and revealed I was being abused, a friend in elementary school came forward and turned her uncle in for sexually abusing her. She told me she didn’t believe she would have told had I not come forward. That has stuck me every day since. My hope for publishing this novel is that maybe another girl will read it and realize she, too, is in a bad situation. Maybe she’s in an abusive relationship and wondering how to get out. I’m hoping reading my words will help another person realize no one is destined to fail. We all hold the keys to our own success, and that is something I firmly believe in.

You are a brave woman, Samantha! Thank you so much for sharing
your story with us!

If you'd like to connect more with Samantha, please visit her official website here. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Destined to Fail is available for purchase on GoodReads, SmashWords, and Amazon. You can read the first chapter for free here!

Destined to Fail: A Review

Hi friends!

Today I'm so excited to share my review of Samantha March's debut novel- Destined to Fail- with you all! Samantha first introduced me to many of the authors I've hosted on this blog so, naturally, I couldn't wait to read her book!

For those of you who don't know, Samantha March (also known as Samantha Robey; March is her pen name) is the creator of the popular blog ChickLitPlus, where she posts book and product reviews, as well as numerous author interviews, guest posts, and insight into the world of self-publishing.

Stay tuned for Samantha's guest post here next week!

Destined to Fail: A Summary

Jasmine Jones is ready to begin her new life as a college student, and is ecstatic to have best friend Abby by her side. But weeks into their new college life, Abby drops the bomb- she is pregnant, and dropping out of college. Jasmine can’t handle the fact that Abby is wasting her opportunity to get an education, and going back to her cheating, abusive boyfriend. She struggles to move on from her friendship with Abby, but befriends two new girls at college.

Everything seems back on track for Jasmine- great new friendships and roommates, a strong relationship with boyfriend Nate, and excelling at her college courses. But Jasmine’s newfound happiness is shattered when her pregnancy test comes out positive. Does she have to drop out of college now and become a young mother? Will Nate stay with her? How can she afford a child? Jasmine’s life has been filled with obstacles and challenges along the way- from a missing father, sexual and physical abuse, and addictions that tore her family apart. With this latest setback, Jasmine fears her life will always be a struggle. Destined to Fail is one woman’s story about overcoming adversity in life, about taking the negatives and finding a positive, and about never giving up hope.

Destined to Fail: What I Think

To me, the most admirable thing an author can do is take risks. I’m not just talking about putting his or her work out into the world to be scrutinized (although that is certainly chancy, as well); I’m talking about the whole she-bang…and Samantha March really took a risk with Destined to Fail. First, she went the non-traditional route (which is rapidly becoming more traditional) and self-published her debut novel. She had to learn everything that goes into publishing a book because all the responsibility was on her shoulders. In traditional publishing, if a book doesn’t sell it’s not always because the book is poorly written; often times it’s because it wasn’t properly marketed. March chose to do things her way and ensure her vision for the book was cast. A risky move, indeed, but one that certainly seems to have paid off in the few months since its publication.

Second, March chose to dive head-first into subject matter that would make many first-time authors run for cover. Perhaps she knew she could because, again, she was the one responsible for the success of the book. But I think it was because March, who makes her opinions well known on her popular blog ChickLitPlus, wanted to establish her voice from the word “go”. And establish she did.

Prologues are a particular favorite of mine. I know there are some who aren’t fans, but I like a little peek into what’s coming- or what has already been- because it heightens my sense of time and place, and because it’s usually a very powerful section of the book. March uses this tool with great effectiveness. With the prologue, I was immediately drawn into what I knew was going to be a tough subject to conquer- one that isn’t talked about enough, in my opinion- but I still didn’t know yet how or when the characters would arrive at that destination. I was curious and more than a little eager to find out!

I enjoyed getting to know Jasmine, Abby, Cari, and Kiley because- as I can imagine is the case with many of March’s readers- they reminded me of my own friends and college experiences. Sometimes the dialogue felt a bit forced, but I found myself laughing (and crying) as I relived the conversations I’d once had in school. March wrote about what she knew, and that’s probably the most important thing an author can bring to the table. She understood the dynamics between her characters, and I believed her story.

Unfortunately, while March trusted me enough to deal with the heavy issues facing the women in her book, she didn’t seem to trust me enough to follow her leading. Foreshadowing is a technique that, when used properly, makes the reader jump back later and say, “Oh, that’s what that was about!” When Jasmine first finds Cari bleeding in the bathroom, I already knew where the story was headed. I became impatient as the story continued because I kept thinking, “When is the truth going to come out already?” I wasn’t surprised. I felt the same way when Jasmine missed her birth control pills. I had long realized that the prologue was about Jasmine- not Abby- but March’s use of foreshadowing here was too obvious. I waited impatiently for Jasmine’s morning sickness to arrive so I could move past that part of the story. Unlike the prologue, it held no suspense for me. Truly, these were the only moments when I didn’t enjoy the book. I could handle the tough issues. I could share in the painful decisions these women had to make. I could most definitely deal with the fear of failing. So I also wanted March to trust that I could put her pieces together and discover the truth on my own.

That criticism aside, what March has created here is a powerful testament to the issues women- and families- still face. Whether or not this was her intention, it’s certainly done well in Destined. March approaches topics like teenage pregnancy, abortion, abuse, and neglect with the perfect combination of compassion and gusto. March never shies away from the details. She hits me head on and won’t let me forget that Destined is more than just a coming-of-age tale: it’s the secret your sister is keeping…the scar your best friend is hiding…the abuse you’ve never told anyone about. It’s the hope that people will care enough to act. It’s the strength you never knew you had. There is no judgment; only love. And what I absolutely adored about March’s main girl was her journey into self-awareness. Jasmine thought she understood exactly how to succeed in life- how to remove herself from all the pain she’d experienced- but, ultimately, it was pain that equipped her to let go and move on:

“I thought, perhaps, everything truly did happen for a reason…and that reason was to do good for others.”

It’s a powerful lesson to learn.

An Unexpected Date Night

I love my husband.

Tonight was the 11th Annual Creative Loafing Fiction Contest Party (try saying that three times fast!) and I was honored to be invited as one of the entrants. It was open to the public, but I got an email asking me to come. It was pretty official.

Anywho, Hubby had a work event tonight and couldn't come with me. It wasn't a huge deal- especially since I wouldn't be reading my own story- but I was kind of bummed he wouldn't be there. I was really trying to make an effort to be a part of the local writing scene, and I wanted to make it there even if I had to go alone.

 I came straight from work and ran into a bit of traffic. When I arrived at the Highland Inn there was very limited parking, so I drove a few streets over and parked under a street lamp just in case I got mugged on the way back to my car (it's a great neighborhood but, hey, it's still Atlanta).

As I hurried up to North Highland Avenue, I could see the glow of the Highland Ballroom down below street level, where the party was being held. The streets were pretty busy, but I was able to cross halfway, where I stood sort of awkwardly on the yellow line until I was able to cross to the other side.

Suddenly, I looked up and there was Hubby!

He was waiting, relaxing against the column with his hands shoved deep into his jacket pockets. He was a tiny bit windblown but no worse for wear, and he had caught me just in time for a lovely surprise. I forgot where I was for a moment- until the car to my right started to inch towards me- and then I practically ran towards Hubby and squeezed him tight around the middle.

It's those kinds of moments that remind me of how I felt when I first fell in love with Pierce. It's those kinds of moments that make me fall in love with him all over again.

{Look at the camera, Hubby!}

{The winning story, which we loved.}

{We gave them a topic. They wrote us a poem.}

{Our poem-on-demand.}

We had such a great time! I love getting out and enjoying my city, especially when it involves hearing some fantastic stories and getting a surprise visit from my Hubby.

I Like Having Guests

Hi friends!

In a few short weeks, debut author Samantha March will be stopping by ABC for a little guest post! I'm stoked because Samantha has been an integral part of so many of the previous author interviews and guest posts here. She's pretty much awesome, in my opinion.

Plus, I'll also be posting my review of her debut novel -Destined to Fail- on Tuesday, January 17th! Be on the lookout!

Just wanted to share that tidbit with y'all. See you next time!

Saying Goodbye

Monday night, Hubby and I went out to dinner at Tsunami Taqueria with our friends- Nate and Maria- who are moving to Miami ( I wrote a little something for them here). Afterwards, we stopped by Yogli Mogli for some frozen yogurt. It was kind of our last hurrah, and we had lots of fun being silly together.

{Nate wanted to show off the strange little juice balls he chose as a topping...I suppose someone said "Hey! Let's put bits of juice in these clear balls so people can eat them with their frozen yogurt!" They've probably made a fortune, too.}

{P.S. I love this pic of me and Hubby. It's totally "us".}

Bye friends! We love you and we'll be coming to visit really soon!

Growing Roots

I like to be scheduled. I like routine. But- then again- I hate to be stuck to the same old thing all the time. I suppose you could just say I like to know what's happening each day, but I'm not really concerned about when said things happen. I'm a free spirit who also enjoys a little bit of the routine that makes marriage and home life a bit more lovely.

That being said, I admire my friend Maria for uprooting her life here in Atlanta to join her husband- Nate- in Miami. I admire Nate for his courage and determination in the face of what I imagine can feel like overwhelming obstacles at times. I admire them both for pursuing God's best full-steam ahead, often when they aren't sure which direction He's taking them. They have taught Pierce and I so much about living out our faith.

Nate was offered a pretty awesome job in Miami and I know it's been a challenge for both of them in many ways: preparing for the move while still maintaining some sort of normalcy here at work and with friends; applying for jobs and interviewing; working to sublet their apartment and find temporary housing for Nate until Maria arrives in Miami next month. It's not the first time they've left home to start anew; in fact, Atlanta is a far cry from their years together at Purdue. But I know they're strong, and I know they've got the wisdom the the Spirit to give them discernment when the answers aren't quite clear. And they've always got us- and our group- to fall back on if they need to. We love them lots.

I know we're going to miss them terribly. We met at Buckhead Church, where we joined a married couple's small group and Nate and Maria became our group leaders. We've spent the last year and a half sharing stories, praying for one another, laughing together, trying new restaurants, dressing up and going out, chilling in our scrubs and staying in, holding each other accountable, and encouraging one another.

They are our dear friends- the VanDemans- and we're so thankful God brought them to us.

We miss you both already.

The Clock is Ticking

Last night I had an interesting conversation with Hubby over a great big bowl of cheese dip.

We talked about my writing and my love for creative things: I made a scarf I found on Pinterest the other day (I finally got tired of just looking at it and thinking, "Oh, that would be so cute!" But I was IS cute). I'm also knitting a scarf. I love music and you can find me singing pretty much any time of the day. Fashion and style are ways I express myself and turn an otherwise crappy day around. Cooking is rapidly becoming more than just a box of macaroni and cheese at our house.

The point here is that I have many creative interests. I've posted about this a good deal recently (sorry if you're tired of hearing about it). I've always been good at whatever I try to do, whether it's sports, music, school, crafting, singing, or putting an outfit together. But I've never been the best at anything.

Except writing.

Now, let me clarify and say I know I'm not the best writer in the world. I don't think such a thing exists. The written word is like beauty: it's in the eye of the beholder.

But it's the one thing I've excelled at consistently. And it's the one thing I'm both great at AND have a passion for doing....a passion that never wavers.

In fact, writing is the only thing I can do and get totally lost in. It's the only thing in my life where my confidence doesn't take a hit when things don't really turn out the way I thought they would. I've been rejected multiple times, but I barely feel the sting. I know one day someone will want to publish what I have to say. Most importantly, I know that writing is my ministry. I've spent many hours in prayer over this little passion of mine, and I feel the Holy Spirit guiding my heart. It's like He's in agreement with me whenever I tell Him what I love about books and telling stories. It's like He's saying, "I know. It's why We made you that way."

I don't blame you if you think that sounds a little strange. I understand. But I know it's the truth, and I'm grateful that my heavenly Father sent His Spirit to help me along when things are a bit confusing.

I said all of this to Hubby last night at dinner. He listened quietly, as he always does, but I could see his wheels turning and I knew a strong opinion was on its way. When I was finished with my little monologue, he said simply:

"So why don't you put your full effort into it?"

This is why I love being married, even if sometimes the truth is not exactly what I want to hear.

I sat for a moment in silence. Then I just sighed and said, "I really don't know."

We talked a little longer and I realized I invest so much more of my time on the little things that aren't too risky. It's why I never truly excel at anything. It's why I'm always good but not great. I don't dive in head-first into what I'm passionate about because it's simply so much attention to one thing. I'm not scared at all; in fact, the thought of making an impact on someone's life with my writing is so exciting I think about it all the time. But it's like I have a little bit of creative ADD. I'm kind of all over the place.

And perhaps I'm a little bit more of a dreamer than I am a doer. And that's hard to admit, especially since I'm married to a man who is most definitely a doer.

When he was in college, Pierce was involved in every sports club and event you could imagine. He read every book by every general manager, coach, and player he could get his hands on. He even read biographies on Teddy Roosevelt and FDR. He wanted to know how to be a great leader. He wanted to know what choices these men made to become the successful people they fact, it's one of the things I love most about him.

After college, Pierce was offered a university internship but turned it down because he knew- if he waited long enough- he could get an internship with a professional team.

He was right. He got an internship with Atlanta Spirit, LLC (which owned the Atlanta Falcons and- at time time- the arena football team Georgia Force). He networked and schmoozed and prayed. He worked extremely hard. But finding a job was still a difficult thing to do.

After we'd been married about 6 months, Pierce heard about a combine in Atlanta that was to be hosted by the Atlanta Hawks. It cost $300 and we used some of our tax return to pay for it. Pierce went for a few days, networked even more, and had an interview.

He got a temporary position with the Hawks/Thrashers/Phillips Arena. He worked there for almost a year. It was tough because he had to go to every home game and, since he was technically employed by all three of these organizations, that meant Pierce had to be at every basketball and hockey game, plus many of the events held at the arena. If you know anything about those two sports you know they have multiple games a week. There were many days when Pierce would leave at 8 a.m. and not get home until 11 p.m.

Unfortunately, as one might expect, Pierce was very unhappy. He was working too much in an environment that was not conducive to employee satisfaction. It was highly competitive and more than a little cutthroat. Pierce was looked over for jobs he deserved more than once.

And still he kept going.

Later, Pierce was offered a temporary position by the Atlanta Falcons. He loved the whole organization and was ecstatic to be back there. He wanted to stay and be hired on permanently. We weren't sure if it would ever happen.

But it did. And it was a good day. One of the best we've ever had together.

I'm telling you all of this because my husband is proof that determination, hard work, and attention to the leading of the Spirit can- and will- take you to the places God has put on your heart.

Last night, Pierce really made me sit up and take notice of what I haven't been doing about the thing that- supposedly- I'm most passionate about. I wanted to punch him in the face. And then I wanted to kiss him (but since we were sitting across the table from one another I didn't do either).

I thought back to what author Elizabeth Musser told me at her reading last summer. She told me that going to  writer's conferences would be the best thing I could do for myself as a writer. I would be able to meet with agents one-on-one and get critiques of my work. I would rub elbows with some very important people who might one day remember my name.

When I said this to Pierce he reminded me of the combine he attended. That event had been the catalyst for all that came later. It was a huge blessing for him. And for us.

So...I'm just going to jump right in. I've signed up to join the Atlanta Writer's Club and I'll be attending the Atlanta Writer's Conference in May. I'll get to do everything I just mentioned and maybe- just maybe- it will be the catalyst for all I've been sitting around dreaming of...

Either way, it's time for me to get off my ass.

Fit Moms for Life: A Review

{via Dustin Maher Fitness}
Hello again!

Today I have the great pleasure of posting my review for Dustin Maher's fantastic book Fit Moms For Life: How to Have Endless Energy to Outplay Your Kids. I was so excited to hear from his camp and even more delighted to receive the invitation to review his fun guide for female fitness.

Fit Moms For Life: A 100 Word Summary from Amazon

Discover the 5 secret pillars that, when combined, will result in rapid fat loss, and- more importantly- lasting fat loss. Fit Moms For Life talks about what it takes to make these pillars a lifestyle and not just another flash-in-the-pan diet and exercise program you'll do for a few weeks and stop.

Get to know 31 amazing women who have taken the Fit Mom For Life Challenge, dropped anywhere from 30-100 lbs, and kept the weight off!

Fit Moms For Life: What I Think

I'm going to get this out right away: I hate the gym.

I wish I loved to run on a treadmill. I wish I got the kind of high I hear about from other women who make 5 a.m. trips to the gym a top priority. But I will never be that woman.

The good news about Dustin's book is that you don't have to be that women. And you also don't have to be a mom to enjoy the total health challenge his program offers. I've always been a sports-lover and an active person; getting off the couch and riding my bike, walking around my neighborhood, going to the park, and playing football with my friends is the way I stay in shape. I haven't ever given much consideration to the multiple ways my body would benefit from various strength training exercises. But Fit Moms helped me look at staying active in a way that specifically targeted my own needs as a woman, both for nutrition and for body shape. It seems that Dustin really understands the female form- in all its shapes and sizes- and how to help women be healthy while still maintaining their femininity.

My favorite part about this book is the fact that it utilizes storytelling to showcase fitness success, not just a bunch of before and after photos (although thouse are in there, too, of course!) or dry instruction on the best way to use an elliptical. As a writer, I'm naturally drawn to anecdotal evidence of what I'm told is a "great" fitness program or a "fabulous" new diet fad. Not only was it smart marketing to use testimonies from the women who have gotten in shape using Dustin's guidance, it also revealed a part of his personality as a trainer and self-proclaimed "mama's boy." No one wants to feel like they're being held under a microscope when it comes to changing their eating habits or getting back into the gym, and Dustin made it abundantely clear that his main goal is to help moms (and, like I said before, women in general) become the very best version of themselves, both for their own physical well-being and for the benefit of their families. I was glad he did that. It's easy for us to get so busy we forget to take care of ourselves, which, in turn, really does nothing to help other areas of our lives. Fit Moms is a great reminder!

Want to know more about Dustin? Check out his website here. You can also receive a free copy of the 1st chapter of Fit Moms for Life by clicking here and entering your name and email address.

Thank you to Dustin and his team for inviting me to review his book! God bless and good luck in 2012!

Book Reviews: 2012 Edition

Hi friends!

Recently, I posted my review of Jessica Chambers' recent novel Dark is the Sky. As many of you know, I took a little hiatus after the summer from the blog, keeping my posts down to a minimum and halting book reviews and author interviews until further notice.

Now, I feel it's time to get back in the saddle and return to what I love doing.

This blog has really given me some amazing opportunities, and I'm grateful for all the connections I've made- both personal and professional- as a result.

I've enjoyed posting almost daily for the last month, and I've finally gotten to a place where the little things in life that should bring me joy are doing just that. They're not stressing me out any longer, and I will need your prayers to help keep it that way.

You see, I have a terrible habit of wanting more free time to not be so busy. But then, when things slow down, I feel the need to fill up my time. And the cycle continues until I'm so stressed I just want to stop everything.

In 2012, my prayer for myself is that the Lord will help open my eyes both to where my efforts are best served, and where I can afford to say no.

I'm about to start graduate school again, after a 6 month break, and my husband and I are fairly certain we'll soon be taking over as leaders for our small group. These things are all cause for celebration (except for the fact that our sweet friends- Nate and Maria- are moving to Miami), but I find myself feeling hesitant and nervous about it all. I like being busy, but I've enjoyed a more simple life.

I just need balance.

So that's my prayer for this year, among other things.

All of that to say I'll be posting my review of Dustin Maher's fitness book Fit Moms for Life: How to Have Endless Energy to Outplay Your Kids on Wednesday, and I'm currently reading a second book to be reviewed on Valentine's Day. I'm happy about getting back to reading and writing, and I hope my wonderful readers will help keep me sane as we take on more adventures in 2012!

Thanks so much for all your support and love! It means more than I can say.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012!

I can't believe it's here already. It's true that time does go by much faster the older one gets.

Hubby and I had a blast yesterday with our family and friends, celebrating the approaching of midnight. We spent the afternoon at my brother's home, where we ate pastries and drank lots of coffee (I made cinnamon rolls I found on Pinterest...surprise, surprise), and then took a cab later in the evening to Fado, an Irish pub in Buckhead, with our friends Kaitlyn, Mark, Kenny, and my cousin, Brittany. 

We even made our own mustaches. 

Hope you all had a happy, safe new year!