Thursday, June 28, 2012

WIWW & a cup full of {Aloha}

So, will you all forgive me and let me play along today?  

It's actually Thursday and although I did have a floaty, flowly, flirty outfit picked out for Wednesday (which is actually the start of my weekend, I know it's very confusing this shift work business), the entire day got eaten up by catching up on sleep, housework, and an improptu dinner.

 Today stared off in uniform for a couple of hours, but when I got to work, I had this awesome belated birthday cup of Aloha! from my BFF who just got back from Hawaii.  
Score one for staring off the day right!
Aloha, it means love you know!
This just set the tone for the day.



Sometime in the middle of my Aloha, I stumbled across this blog by this sassy lady and let's just say for time's sake that there's this thing going on with me, it's like an onion, it's full of layers that just make you cry and cry and cry the more you cut into it, but somewhere in her blog and her stories, I found some likeness and when I shot her an email to tell her that, she emailed me back like 30 minutes later with a few words of advice.  Words.  They heal me.  I needed to see the ones that she had written in her blogs months ago and then to get a few personal ones from her today...oh, just a little more Aloha. 

P.S. she's funny, sassy, smart, AND she just got published!  
I bought her book I Made All the Mistakes: So You Don't Have To for Kindle and if it's anything like her blog, it's gonna be a great seller.  

Before I made it out of the house for lunch with my Aunt & Uncle, I read the latest from RagstoStitches about Sole Hope and I cannot lie, I cried at the video of the things that are happening a world away from me.  I cried for helplessness, for misfortune, for poverty, for innocence. 
So I did what I could do and I gave what I could at that very minute, a donation of $10 for a new pair of shoes. Oh the things that we take advantage of.
Maybe you'll take a peek and see if you can help too.  
Let's be part of a ripple tide of kindness. 

Cowl neck cream colored shirt from Wet Seal, clearance last year for $8, a steal!
Beaded necklace from some little jewelry shop in London's Heathrow Airport years ago.

Today's outfit: 
cream colored, cowl neck, cap sleeved blouse (say that 3 times fast!) 
brown floor length maxi ruffled maxi skirt (oh maxis, how I love you, let me count the ways)
 flip flops, and some fun, funky, tealish kinda bling. 

It was flowly.
It was floaty.
It was flirty.

Old Navy maxi skirt circa 2008, love this thing, it just moves well. 
Teal colored feather earrings and braclet from Charlotte Russe, tattoos - all mine.
p.s.  do it real quick...just breathe!  In (allll the way)....(hold it).....let it out...
There, don't you feel better? 

After a quick lunch with my aunt and uncle I headed off for yet another little trip down the road to get one of my oldest friends (yeah, we go waaaay back, like-met-when-we-were-single-digit-ages-back) at the closest BART train station so we could start off our girls weekend of good food, old friends, family time at Christian camp, hot yoga, catching up, sleeping in, hanging out, and just plain ol' fun.  
We're having a sleepover.  We're going way back. 
Except this time, there's less fruit-by-the-foot and more fruit-in-our-cocktails.

So that's my Thursday, what I wore, who I read, what I watched, where I went, and what I hope to continue for the rest of the weekend.  Hope you all have a great one too!

Aloha!
~ Lauren 

pleated poppy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living {in} the Moment

I am so in love with Jason Mraz's new album Love is a Four Letter Word

As distracted as I am by his recent Fragglerock hair"do" {I'm sorry, Jason, it's just out of control}, I am seriously in love with every song I've heard from this album so far.
I don't actually own this album...yet.
I just keep hearing his new singles, track by track on Pandora radio.

You'll be hard pressed to find me anywhere without some kind of music playing - be it at home with the speakers up and the windows open, in my car belting out tunes like I was auditioning for American Idol, or with headphones pluged in one ear and headset on the other while I'm at work.
(I even put speakers in the bathroom so I could sing in stereo in the shower!)
You see, music makes my world go 'round.

The song that just popped up is absolutely no exception. 
I've been having a really, really hard time lately dealing with the what-if's, maybes, and wishes that shoulda, coulda, woulda, mighta been......


It's a daily struggle for me lately to trust and let it be.
This song is the musical interpretation of the prayers I have been praying for weeks now.
It's another God-send. 
A reminder to forgive myself, accept that there is a plan for me, be greatful for all that I have in my life and not fill myself with anxiety about what I think is missing.
 I have a life FILLED with incredible people, experiences, and things {lots of things}. 

I love when lyrics get in your head and touch your heart.

If you haven't heard this song, let me share it. 
I'll even do you a solid and post the lyrics below. 



If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don't know
And I know I'll only do this by
Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
Living in the moment

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done
I let my past go past
And now I'm having more fun
I'm letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone


And if I fall asleep
I know you'll be the one who'll always remind me
To live in the moment
To live my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I can't walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I'd been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more
By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I'm living in the moment
I'm living my life
Just taking it easy
With peace in my mind
Got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Oh, wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I'm living in the moment
I'm living my life
Oh, easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
Peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
I'm living in the moment

This is actually the fourth post I've written on a song from this album in the last three weeks. 
If you are a fan of these lyrics or this awesome jam, you might be interested in:
Be Honest

I think you'll dig 'em. 
p.s. - if he asks, tell Jason I sent ya!

~ Lauren

Monday, June 25, 2012

Coffee date: {overtime}

If we had coffee this week, you'd probably comment on the bags under my eyes.
You'd tell me that I had better get some sleep.
I'd say, "What, my new Bare Essentuals tinted moisturizer isn't hiding them?!"
Then you'd laugh at me 'cause I'm totally punchdrunk and completly goofy and I'd be hanging off the chair laughing at myself. 
The people at Starbucks would just stare at our table. 
I'd make a face at them and we'd continue.

I'd tell you that in the last 72 hours, I've worked 5 partial shifts, which is 24 hours of overtime, not counting the regular 12 hour graveyard shift I'm working now. 
I would tell you that I've done this before, so it's not new to me, but I'm older than I used to be and it's harder than it ever was before.
I've been under this headset for 10 years now at all hours of the day and night. 
10 years of shiftwork....makin' a girl feel haggard!
(someone called me a "salty old veteran"...I can't lie, it's a compliment)
You'd probably just shake your head at me when I said, I haven't slept more than 12 horus in the last 3 days, but  I RAN/walked a 5K last night and then did 90 minutes of hot yoga this morning. 
Some combination of sleep deprivation and inner turmoil made me get out and move my body.

At our coffee date, I'd tell you I don't know if I'm coming or going, but I sure am taking a LOT of  pictures and writing about it!
I'd tell you that I think I'm crazy for starting two new blogs even thought my personal and profession to-do list is a MILE long and not getting shorter!
I'd tell you that, by accident, I stumbled across an online travel writer's course that I think I can't wait to enroll in, yeah, add that to the list too!
I'd ramble something about how my highlights are getting lighter, my hair is longer, my tan tanner, and then I'd show you about 87 Pinterest pictures of new tattoos that I want - because I have the ink itch in a bad, bad way these days.  It.is.terrible!!!

I'd also tell you that I finally got around to reading some of the coffee posts from last week and I'm so glad I have.  It feels good to know that I'm not alone in my introspective bubble.  I'm fiding some blogs and some ladies here that remind me that I am not the only one who struggles every day & who needs inspiration.
I'd tell you that I find comfort in their stories and their words.

I'd tell you that crazy as it was this weekend, I needed to be at work and not at home or where my mind could wander and make me anxious for things I cannot change or control.
I'd tell you that I pray every day, moreso now these days than ever.
I wouldn't tell you exactly what I pray but that the words that come more often than not are: wisdom, courage, peace, trust, and to be anxious for nothing.
I pray for the one that still causes me some heartache. 
I pray that he has discerment and courage and that he remembers he can pray for himself too.
I pray that I can go back to being "just" a best friend again and that I remember that God does not bring people into your life by accident.


Finally...
I'd tell you that Adele writes award winning albums about heartache.  I write blogs. 
I'd tell you that my doppelganger, Kelly Clarkson, is siging this "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" song just for me this week!!!
I am sleep deprived, I am a bit rambly, but I am certianly stronger than I was last week. 
I hope you are all a little bit stronger too!

Thanks to Alissa @ RagtoStitches for the coffee date invite. 
I look foward to reading about everyone else's weeks too.

xo ~ Lauren

Sunday, June 24, 2012

{Fire} in the Sky


Napa Valley Sunset as seen from I-12 on June 16, 2012
iPhone 4, SOOC, no edit, no filter, just the absolute beauty of nature.
I took this photo on my way home from the best birthday weekend in a long time. 
The Coast was chilly as the sun went down, but inland it was over 100*
The temperature and the painted horizon kept changing colors at every turn. 
I was just one of the numerous cars and photographers stopped along the side of the highway that evening.
The sky was on fire and it refused to be ignored.

I don't get out with the "big-girl" camera as often as I'd like to, but I am very much attached to my camera phone these days.  I took over 300 pictures that weekend.
I was amazed at this image when I finally got a chance to look at it when I got home. 

I saw the contest at Love That Shot with the June 16th date and knew that I had to share this photo with a brand new audience. 
I hope you all enjoy this picture as much as I do.
~ Lauren

"The Heavens declare the Glory of God and the sky His handiwork."  Psalm 19:1

Celebrate {fight back} Remember

Cancer is an ugly, unpredictable, unfair, and unjust thing. 
It spares no one regardless of age, gender, or social status. 
Those who have faced cancer, past & present are warriors, fighters, champions.  
They're about hope, perseverance, and inspiration.
Relay for Life is a party celebrating all of those things. 
I have been a Team Captain in the past for this event, but time has gotten away from me lately and this year I was merely an unaffiliated participant. 
In between mandatory work shifts and call backs, and unable to escape sleeplessness, with my inner Scarlett O'Hara (more on her later) at the helm, I decided to make the most of my sleep deprivation, threw on my workout gear and headed out to the track.
As I walked around the track:
I caught up with family members a few short phone calls at a time.
I waved at co-workers and neighbors that I saw out in the crowd.
I noticed the other participants young & old, the messages on their shirts, the signs and pledges that adorned the track, saw all the names written on luminary bags in crayon and marker - uncle, brother, mother, grandfather, son, cousin, friend...

I thought about my Aunt Esther, 74 years young, her tears before her mastectomy earlier this year, and then picking her  up the very next day when she was released from the hospital.
She said, "I'm ready to party, but the doctor said I can't move around for at least 6 weeks.  I'm so disappointed, I was just going to start zumbaing."  Champion.

I thought about my friend Bev who passed away two years ago, who in an email announcing her cancer had come back, titled "My Big Adventure", always thinking of others first  addressed her friends and family with this message:
"How are you all doing?  Hope that 2010’s challenges and obstacles are few and easily manageable.  Be sure to celebrate each day.whatever it brings!"  Warrior.

I thought about the instantaneous sinking feeling that hit me last month when I heard that one of my oldest friends was diagnosed with Stage-3 cancer at the age of 31, just a month older than me.
I thought about asking over for a glass of wine for my birthday and then wondering if she was allowed in to drink with her diagnosis.  Her response with the great sense of humor that she has always had, "I'm 31 with stage-3 throat cancer, of course I can, the rules are out the window now."  Fighter.

Finally plugged in my headphones, tuned out the world, and started listening to my head and my heart. 

I set a goal for myself a few months back: enter an organized walk/run once a month for 12 months. 
I had just over an hour to get in that distance before I had to be back at work.
So with my girls, Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Rihanna, and Adele keeping the beat for me, I started to run. 
Each loop around the track was 1/4 of a mile...my monthly goal is a 5k  (3.1 miles) - 13 laps around the track, grabbing a paperclip each time I made a loop to track my distance.
I can't lie, I'm good for about 1/6 of a mile running a time and then I'm done...but it's a start.
Bucket list item #10- run a full marathon. 26.2 miles. 
 I might be in my retirement by the time I get that done, but I WILL do it.
With all the warriors, fighters, and champions I have been privileged to meet and know, I just can't sit back and let life pass me by. 
I will make the most out of the hours and days that have been given to me.

{March/Brazen Lagoon Valley 5K, April/Survivor Mud Run 5k
 May Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 3K Cancer Walk, June Relay for Life 5K}


Saturday, June 23, 2012

put the livin' in the {life}


I had a great thought struck me the other day while talking to a friend who is going through a divorce.
He's a fireman, so somewhere in my quick thinking and having just dealt with my own broken heart, I came up with this analogy {while we stood in the middle of Costco chit-chatting}

With life, like with CPR, sometimes regardless of what you think the outcome might be, you have to try.
You just have to try to put some life into it.

Even if it's just for the effort of looking back and knowing that you tried everything you could - no regrets.
I've coached so many people over the phone on this, just try, just try, just try, let's count together, I'll do it with you, just keep going until help gets there, don't give up, you're doing good,
keep going, keep going, keep going...
You just have to do that sometimes - with life, love, friendship, career goals, with everything.
Just put the effort into it to keep it alive.
{don't give up}
Now even with that thought, sometimes, I feel that despite all the things that I'm doing - 5ks, working out, yoga, blogging, travelling, craft fairs, fixing up the house, photography, all these things that I'm involved in…
I think that sometimes I'm so busy with being busy, I'm not living.
That is a really, true, honest statement about myself I've been realizing over the last couple of years.
No matter where I go, to work, the dentists office, my chiropractors, family dinners, everyone inevitable asks me the same question "where is your next trip?"
Of all the things I could have a reputation for, I can't lie, that's pretty damn cool
but, and there's a but,
I was {am} always on the go, go, go...
I've been asked how do you have time to do everything you seem to get done?

Well I don't know...but I think that there were times, in hindsight, when I was racing to the finish line without enjoying the journey {so many clich├ęs, I know}.

{it's a journey}
At the same time I look at my bucket list of things to still do and I listen to other people talk about theirs;
like my friend Mel who told the other day that she hasn't travelled off the West Coast.
Yet. She will - it's just timing for her. She'll see this whole world eventually. I know she will.
When I talk to other people about their travel experiences, I have to look at the ones that I've been blessed to have in my life.
I've certainly had to pay for it, and dearly (cause credit card debt just doesn't go away) but I had to make the time for it, the arrangements, the effort.
I worked my life around departures and arrivals, sometimes flying home just in enough time to throw on my uniform and make it in under the wire to put on my headset and get back to work.
Even rushing from on experiences to the next, I'm glad that I've had them.
I'm glad I've seen other parts of this country, that I have perspective;
 a visual and emotional road map all of my own.
 I haven't lived with blinders on.
I am not defined by a zip code or a climate.
I'm glad to know that there are other places to move to if/when I want to
I know which places of the country I enjoy, the ones that feel like home, and the ones that are only worth a visit. Some people don't have that perspective, they still have that question mark unanswered about what's out there.

{you can always leave, but you can always come home}
I have to say that travel has helped to form and change my opinion of the world, 
who we are and how we relate.
Big cities are big cities.
Some places just feel like home.
People are people when you get down to it.
They are.
They want to have happy, successful lives {success being a measure that's decided individually},
but the common thread is that they just want to be happy and surrounded by people that love them.
Well, that's my estimation of all the people I've met and visited in my travels thus far.
Whether it was my friend's 90 year old uncle who lived in the same chalet in the Swiss Alps where he grew up his whole live or be it Bruce Maynard who is 77 years old, lost his wife to cancer, lost his job, and so he decided to walk across America where somewhere along the road in Florida last year, he ran into my brother who was also walking across America. 
There's a lot of living to be had in life and we're all trying, in our own ways, big or small, to keep pumping life into livin' or livin' into life.

My lesson lately is to be grateful for the things around me and live into the moments that are around me
not in the what-ifs or the someday, but in this now.
I've been sucked into stress and some heartache, both all around me and within me personally right now.
 Despite that, or maybe because if it, I'm still constantly trying to be aware of the time that's been given tome and make the best of it.
Day by day, hour by hour, page by page, and word by word, I'm trying to keep putting life into living. 
I do want to do it all, but I'm going to try to keep it in the here & now.
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'." 
 ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
{STOP in this moment, in the now & notice what is all around you}

Friday, June 22, 2012

call it a {sign}

{bedroom wall art}
I'm a collector of things.

Furniture
Maxi dresses
Scrapbook supplies en masse
Hard Rock Cafe guitar pins
Shot glasses from 'round the world
Picture frames
Costume jewelry
Tattoos
Memories
.....................so many things.

What I noticed today as I half-awake wandered around my menagerie wondering how I could possibly ever move if/when the time came & where I could even start with the de-cluttering that's years overdue now... {just breathe} ...I started noticing the text tucked away on shelves, magnetized on appliances, pinned on cork boards, placed strategically on ledges & windowsills as constant reminders.

Before the material goods took over, I was a collector of quotes. I still am.

I am often baffled at the reactions from people, who from the outside looking in, think I am always motivated, inspired, content. Truth is, it's a struggle more often than not. Life is hard. The to-do list, self-imposed as it may be at times, is overwhelming.

I need help. We all do.

Ive found that in those my moments of despair and even in those of peaceful clarity, I turn to words for comfort, healing, & inspiration.

At some point, without even knowing it, I started strategically placing some of my favorite literally breadcrumbs all over the museum I call my home.

And so with the thought in mind, "what good is any collection of works if it they can't be shared with the world?" I started snapping away with the intent of inviting you all to enjoy my collection of words with me.

Maybe you'll find one that inspires you.

~ Madame Curator LC



{Christmas present from my brother}
{corkboard, fridge art, & a journal that goes with me everywhere these days}
{Hallmark reminders & magnets with great messages}
{a reminder to not settle, I refused to be underwhelmed}
{family room signs, collections from exceptional individuals, signs from a Haiti fundraiser}

Thursday, June 21, 2012

WIWW & the {Wallflowers}

  It's Wednesday & this is what I wore…
(well, really, this is more about where I wore it, why I wore it, and who I wore it to go see)
This is picture heavy, because that's just what I do.

the evening's dress code was "smart-casual"
for s&g, I put on my old glasses for the smart part... 
smart might look cute, but LASIK is just more convenient
I do miss those frames though...maybe next week's dress code will be "faux-smart-casual"


{oh bracelets, you will now always be the secondary bling on my wrist
I just love this new tattoo so much, it's my forever accessory}
On the way to our "smart-casual" event, we made a couple of stops.

1) the Berkeley Bare Essentuals store, where I scored a great deal and had a nice chat with a new acquaintance. Seriously, I should own stock in BE by now.
2) Philz Coffee, for a Mojito Mocha, yes you heard right, mint IN the coffee…and it was waaay worth the long-short detour.

{score for frequent buyer cards!  & a coffee shop where you can leave your favorite mug behind for when you come back and visit again}
What I Wore Wednesday:
army green shirt and black leggings from Target (old)
coral blousy tank (Ross)
Carlos Santana boots (Ross from last year and a steal at $50!, I get more compliments on these boots than any other shoes I own)
{love the Bay Bridge}
Our route down Embarcadero to Bay St was s-l-o-w as m-o-l-a-s-s-e-s, but the music was good, the weather was beautiful, and the company was great. Nevermind that pesky fire that burned down Pier 29 and shut down the street (that explains it!), we eventually found a new route and just made the show as the doors opened.





Last week my friend, and fellow blogger, Lynn, announced on Facebook that she had won tickets to see a private taping of the Wallflowers by Live! from (((the Artists Den)))
Remember them? They're still around and they have a new album coming out.
I admit, I don't really follow the band, but I am a huge music lover and so I volunteered (and had to beg, borrow, and practically steal for a couple of hours of time off to be able to go) to take the extra ticket and run off to the city for the night.
{the Wallflowers and front man Jakob Dylan, oh what a voice}

Bimbos on Columbus St, despite the name, is beautifully aged and very classy.

Even classier, the Ladies room attendant was name Millie Jean and she was just the sweetest thing.
Who needs Cinderalla's Mirror when you have Millie Jean to call you "babygirl", tell you how pretty you look, and remind you to untuck your shirt from your panties before you walk out into the crowd.
Every girl should have a Millie Jean.

{this is Lynn...framed by the Bimbo sign}
The show was great, the crowd was definitely smart, totally casual, and very, very San Francisco.
Here's to Wednesdays and to the Wallflowers!!!


pleated poppy

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coffee date: a {beautiful} mess



If we had coffee today would tell you…
This was a crazy busy week, but it was the best week in a long time...a week I'll remember always.

On Wednesday:
I got a Distinguished Achievement award from work. I just kept telling myself one thing over and over again that morning before they called me up and read why I was nominated…just don't cry, just don’t cry. I didn't cry, but I wanted to. That call will always stick with me. It goes straight to the heart of a dispatcher and defines in one, long phone call why this job found me so many years ago. After my award, I had lunch with some of my oldest relatives who all are the youngest at heart. I love them all.


















On Thursday: I got on my knees and prayed for the first time in a long time.

On Friday: I turned 31 and I was gifted with:
a new perspective
a new tattoo
an answer to prayer
a scarf in the mail
$ome cash
a trip to the ocean
some prayer flags for my backyard
2 cakes (one made by my amazing creative sister)
a bunch of fabulous card
and although I didn’t blow out any candles,  I made wishes…oh did I make wishes.

{my new tattoo, my mantra, my constant reminder, my anchor, my wings}

On Saturday:
I spent the day by the ocean with extended family, I was silly and carefree, I felt the relief of emotional weight lifted off my shoulders, and I was just happy. It was a smiling on the inside & the outside kind of happy.

On Sunday:
it was Father's Day and I went to church with my mom and step dad to stand next to him as he signed a Courageous pledge.
We went to Freebirds pre-grand opening and I felt like I was in Austin again and I was a happy, happy girl…it's soo groovy bay-bay!
Later that night, we had a combo birthday/father's day dinner and somehow, at my own birthday dinner, I ended up giving out 4 presents and paying half of the bill.
Hmm…oh well, it was a party and money is just paper.


Now today, on Monday:

 I'm back to the grind, people are fighting, houses are burning, cars are crashing...my professional and personal to-do list is a mile long and growing.
It feels like Gizmo, my to-do list does...looking at it on the outside, it's got some fuzzy and warm things going on (presents to buy, people to see, massages scheduled), but then there are the other things (paint the house, clean the garage, call the credit card companies, call the doctor back) that remind me that when I get this thing wet, it's gonna go crazy!!!

I didn’t have a laptop with me this weekend and that's all I wanted, everything around me was a story, a tale, a picture to be shared with my little part of the world: so I improvised, I recorded myself, I instagramed everything I could, I worked my iphone camera to the max, got out a notepad and a pen and I got to it. Word after word, line after line. Chicken scratch. Worse than when I was a waitress. I could be a doctor with this handwriting.


I took 337 pictures just with my iphone, alone.  I couldn't stop.  Everywhere I looked was a portrait and an amazing scene that I could not pass up. 

This sunset over the Napa Hills could have been the death of me.  I took this picture over my shoulder, one hand on the wheel, out of the drivers side window, on a 2-lane highway at dusk and it is completely raw.  No edit, no saturation, no filter.  I can only think of this verse to describe it: "The Heaves declare the Glory of God and the skies His handiwork."  Psalm 19:1

Even with all this goodness, there's still so much more that I haven't even touched…this week, I decided to start this new {beautiful} mess blog and yet another one with my friend Mel, I'm going to start a 90-day fitness challenge soon, change my online major to business marketing, and start the process of becoming a dispatch academy instructor. It's time. I have too much experience, too many years of training, and still that small, beating vein of passion for this crazy job of mine, to not share it with those who think they might want to commit themselves to this thing I call my career.
When I got home on Sunday night, I had nothing but writers block. So I sat, staring at the monitor, listening to opera hoping it would inspire me, eating left over cake, drinking coconut milk, staring at my cursor while it blinked back at me. Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink…
Then today, I saw this posting and invite from Alyssa at Rags to Stitches to just sit down and chat, and I realized I am just overwhelmed by all the good things this week and over thinking it all.

I'm not new to blogging,
but I am new to making friends here and marketing my words to share with anyone who will read them. 
It's a new and exciting adventure. 
I hope that you will come back again and visit me soon.
Until then:
 

XO ~ Lauren


{my new favorite dress I had to share with y'all}