Yes, I know, I am all over the place…

14 Jun

Source: Photoxpress


Guess is a big shock! I, Erin, am starting yet another endeavor. I know, I know…I hardly post here at all anymore and when I do I always seem to be announcing something I don’t follow through with.

More than anything, I think this past year has really been one about growth and strength for me. I have done more soul-searching since last summer than I think I have in year. I truly know what my direction is in life now, and I am working hard to make that happen.

In my bio, it says “devouring books at breakneck speed” which is so true. I am not me if I am not traveling somewhere with a book (or my Kindle). So, as a result, I am relaunching a book-review blog. Ironically, when I decided to get back into blogging about a year and a half ago, it was the first thing I did.

I just don’t think I have been really committed to any sort of blogging lately. But, half-way through this year of self discovery, I am trying to get in the habit of blogging more often, being more honest and really sharing myself with you. I have been lucky enough to make some really amazing connections from this blogging world. I truly believe some of the people I have met just through stumbling across their sites and leaving comments are growing into the people I want to be friends with forever. This community is truly amazing and its something I want to be apart of. 

So, like other things I am realizing are priorities these days, I need to put blogging back on this list.  Maybe it seems sort of counter intuitive to announce a new blogging venture as I sit and say I need to devote more time to this one, but for me it makes sense.  I always did have to do everything backward.

I have some new and exciting things in the works, stuff I really can’t wait to share with everyone, but I need to devote some more time to “making it work” before I can launch into another announcement. So, for now… I leave you with my new book review blog: Chick Lit: Those Are Dirty Words.

I hope to update there at least once a week, though it may be every two weeks if it takes me awhile to finish my next book. I am always on the look out for something great, so please send me your recommendations, or leave me comments. Comments are always appreciated! 



Where Am I Now?

27 May

On this new Fit for 30 journey, I am not as far along as I would like to be at this point. No excuses, but being stuck in bed for six days did nothing to help. So, this week, I am committing myself to shaking off the last of the illness and tackling the lingering physical weakness.

The plan: Beginner’s Yoga

Check out my Fit For 30 story, here.

A New Adventure

17 May

I know I have been off the radar lately, but things have been more than a little crazy. I am hoping to catch up on the blogs I love soon enough and send some lovely comments your way.

In the meantime, I have started a new journey. You see, I have this insane (but amazing) goal of getting in shape by the time I hit 30, while still embracing my curves. I started a new blog and will most likely be doing most of my updating over there these days.

So, please check out Fit For 30.

Creating a Community

19 Apr


Today’s social commentary inspiration comes from some fairly recent posts by Marian Schembari and Andrea of Paper Sparrow on the concept of plagiarism and imitation. Now, while the two girls differ slightly on their stances, I think they are both spot on.
We, as a 20 and 30 something generation, have this unique opportunity to create a world that is unlike any created by previous generations. With Twitter, Facebook, blog communities and just a general preference for social media, has allowed us to enter adulthood with a forum for creating global communities.
We are able to connect with others who share our passions, goals, hobbies and interests with just a few clicks of a mouse. I honesty believe the majority of us who truly relish this opportunity and the ability to build connections. We create friendships and business relationships with people who mean so much to us, despite the fact they may currently reside on the other side of the world, and we would likely have never connected without the internet and its ability to bridge geographical gaps.
Still, for all of us that are doing the right thing, there are people who “participate” in the social community by taking their ideas from others. So, where do we draw the line. What’s the difference between taking inspiration from another post (like I have done here) and stealing someone’s ideas?
I am truly interested in what you all have to say on this topic. But first, I am going to offer you my two cents, and my hopes for how the internet and social media platforms will continue to evolve.
My hope is that we are living in a society where the things we would check off on a demographic survey no longer serve as a method for highlighting our differences, but present us with the opportunity to learn from one of us. Let’s build a community where we engage in regular, passionate conversations as our ideas, inspirations and interests continue to overlap.
Keep it simple. If someone inspired your post, or the art you create, or even a new hobby, say so. Shout it from the rooftops that this person kicks ass and provided you with some awesome food for thought. Invite others to talk about it.
Wouldn’t the world be a happier, more unified place if we all chose to work together, learn from one another and engage in spirited conversations? I certainly believe so,and I do not believe I am alone in those thoughts.
So, who inspires you? What have you learned lately? What do you think about plagiarism and inspiration? Where do we draw the line? Chime in, and let’s get this conversation going.

Sun’s Shining and the Living’s Easy…

14 Apr

Yesterday, I facebooked (also, I love how Facebook has become a verb) that I was less than enthused. In truth, I was downright grumpy. I just was not feeling it. It was one of those days where the round of bad news just kept coming. DS has more than 18,000 articles that need to be approved, and a lack of copy editors. While, I am not faulting the company and I know they are working to rectify it, one article approval in the past seven days is a bit much. No one can live off a $16 paycheck. I found out the non-profit I do occasional work for has not received some funding. The particular funding was supposed to be paying my new, shiny, part-time job. Again, it’s not anyone’s fault, but it just was the mustard on my craptastic sandwich yesterday.

It had been raining steadily, and often heavily, since Monday evening. While I love a good, cleansing rain from time to time. I needed some sunshine, desperately. It was just one of those days where my mood was as bleak as the sky. I could not seem to get my head into the right space to pump out a different article. I spent most of my day reading the same research over and over.

Today…well today was one of those days that just made me want to jump for joy. After yesterday’s grump fest, I woke up determined to make today a better day. I was greeted by sunny skies and bird chirping. It was warm, and finally beginning to feel like spring in these western Philadelphia suburbs. FINALLY.

So, I set out to enjoy myself. Anne also had the day off, so it was even better that I could spend such a perfect day with my favorite person. We started off with a lazy morning, and probably too many cups of coffee. Then, we headed out to Marsh Creek State Park for an afternoon picnic and a walk along the lakeshore. Boat rentals are only open during the weekends for now, so we did not head out on the water, just soaked up the sun and enjoyed some conversation.

After that, it was off to Chester County Public Library to scoop up a new round of books. We parked in an area overlooking the creek that runs through the grounds of the library. Anne mentioned it would be fitting to see a duck floating along, because the water was moving very quickly. On the way out, a pretty, green-headed, male wood duck floated by, much like the one pictured above (thanks to Photoxpress).

With a new bundle of books, it was off to the local dollar store for some cheap frozen treats. We dined on our ice cream at the picnic benches at Miller Park. We finished up our afternoon adventure by reading in the shade and then taking a walk along the park’s woodland boardwalk.

This was exactly what I needed to lift up my spirits. I came home feeling renewed and rejuvenated. Tomorrow, I plan to do some more job searching and expand my client base. I love DS, but I am figuring out more and more about my long-term goals each day. It’s definitely time to grow.

What do you do to shake away the blues?

Growing in Gratitude…

6 Apr


I have not disappeared, at least not entirely. Its just been an extraordinarly busy few weeks. Gratefully, this is the first time in months when my plate has been so full and instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel happy.

I’m grateful

When this year began, I was cranky, overwhelmed, and just generally feeling down about life. Things were hard, money was tight and my job was making me feel less than satisfied. Now, four months into 2011, I am truly “making it work”. Not only am I making it work, I really feel as if I am thriving.

I am finding myself re-engerized (did I just make up a word?) with work. I am passionate about the subjects I am writing. Focusing on writing home and garden articles helps me feel creative throughout my entire day. I really feel these articles can help people and I get to write about things that feed my own passion for creating a cute, comfortable home and garden on a budget.

My good friend Becky gave me a bunch of seeds for my birthday, and I am looking forward to starting my own backyard, vegetable garden as we fall into spring.

My (should have been) sister, Sarah faces similar financial challenges and recommended the book, Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. I checked out a copy from my local library last weekend and I am looking forward to diving in this weekend and learning as much as I can about how to get my money straight.

I am also enjoying my nannying position, and I am doing more work for my favorite non-profit, Security on Campus. I am passionate about this cause and looking forward to doing so much more to help promote victim advocacy and college campus safety.

I am even finding some time to craft in the evenings. Hopefully my own Etsy endeavor, Bee Weave will officially launch in time for the 2011 holiday season. Definitely, stay tuned for more details on that idea.

Things are looking up and I for one, am looking forward to dancing in the spring sunshine.

What’s good in your world these days?

Happiness is Sprinkles

20 Mar

Copyright: Photoxpress

Nothing makes me feel like celebrating like an ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles. Even this picture makes me smile. After what was obviously a downer kind of week, I think I have shaken off all my blues, at least for today.

This is going to be a busy, hectic, crazy week so I am glad to I shook off the guilt and listened to my body telling me that I needed a break last week. I took a few days to rest and relax. Now, I am all geared up and ready to get going this week.

I have my regular work load, a meeting with a client about some new and upcoming projects. I am also looking forward to spending some days with my babysitting charge. I get such a kick out of that kid. Maybe I can come up with a simple craft project to do with him later on this week.

Then, next weekend its time for a birthday celebration with my in-laws and some good friends. I’m so excited! I’m not big on birthday presents and all I really wanted this year was some time to spend with my friends and family.

Yesterday, my wife treated me to lunch and then we went to see Red Riding Hood, which I highly recommend. Today, I spent some time working and I’m going to pick up Anne from work in a bit. Then, we’re heading down to my dad’s for family dinner.

Let’s hope I keep riding this happy train. It will certainly help me get through the week with grace and calm.

What is your go-to, cheer up trick?

Stress and Telling Myself it is Okay…

18 Mar

By no means has this been an easy week. In fact, I feel very much like that girl up there, I just want to put my head in my hands and let everything go for a little while.  In truth, nothing is wrong. I’m reasonably healthy, work is going well, my relationship is wonderful.

Somehow, I am just not feeling it this week. I’ve been working hard, but it seems like everything is screaming at me to just stop. Typically, I can complete 7 to 8 articles in a work day, with ease. This week, I feel as if everything has taken twice as long.

I know my body is telling me I need a break. I need to unwind for a few days. I want to relax. I want to spend an afternoon running through a wildflower field.

All that bloom and color makes me feel like I deserve to unwind. I know that I do deserve, but I’m on this path to make my life better. To become more financially stable, to become healthier. Those goals make me feel like I have to push, push, push…all the time.

I feel guilty taking a day off. I feel guilty when my body tells me I need a break. I think it’s harder when you freelance. If you do not get your work done, you do not get paid. Sick days and vacation time is not built in. I am working on building up that fund.

In the meantime, I have to figure out what do when my body is screaming out at me for some downtime, but my mind wants to keep pushing.

How do you balance responsibility with downtime?

Wedding Confessions

15 Mar

copyright: PhotoXpress

I married my very best friend just about a year and a half ago in a simple, casual ceremony at a park in New Jersey. We planned it on a shoestring budget and for us, it was wonderful. What surprised me about my wedding day was that things I shunned for my day: the big, white dress, established dance floor and more formal food were things that I miss looking back on my day.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I married my best friend. That’s first and foremost, the most important thing.

I had some of the people who love me most there and present. I was missing a few others who could not make it due to circumstances they could not control. I did not realize going into my big day how much I would miss a handful of people who mean more to me than many others.

Except for a few close friends (thank you, Becky, Ashlee, Kaity, Randa and Marie), a couple family members and my wonderful sisters-in-law, I do not feel like many people took my celebration seriously. For me, that’s hard to deal with.

Some of these “downfalls” were definitely my fault, especially because I let other dramas in life overshadow my day. The truth of the matter is, I found the right person, now I want to have the right celebration.

So for now, I am dreaming of  a redux on an upcoming anniversary. Maybe, I will even get lucky enough that things will change and we can celebrate our union with the legal papers (but that’s a post for another day).

The next time around I want:

  • to give Anne more of things she has dreamed of, instead of just the colors and feelings I wanted.
  • the people who really matter in attendance
  • amazing food
  • quality music
  • time for actual posed photos
  • a feeling of celebration in the air

Things I am dreaming of:

Autumn in the Mountains

Cream and Gold

with touches of purple mixed in

An old fashioned barn dance

lit with rustic lanterns

What I Want…

9 Mar

copyright: PhotoXpress

Once again, I am taking today’s inspiration from Nikki over at the Grateful Sparrow. I just read her post about figuring out what you want out of life and just going for it. Between her post and J. Money’s insanely awesome advice at Budgets Are Sexy, I am realizing that my number one priority needs to be finding some financial stability.

Confession: I am not very good with money.

The problem is that I know how to make a budget, but sticking to it is difficult. I spend too much on unnecessary things like snacks. Rising gas prices have blown my gas budget all to hell. So, it’s time to regroup. Find some balance (does anyone else sense a recurring theme around here?)

The Plan: 

Make a new budget, a realistic one. Work with my wife to keep ourselves in check and be held accountable to that budget. Prioritize things like building a savings account and paying off some debt over unnecessary things that nickel and dime our budget, blowing holes in the side of our ship.

In other words, live up to my blog identity and make it work!  So this is the new plan. Now, I just need to implement, because we all know what they say about the best laid plans.

The saddest part of this whole story is that I work for myself. I can write as much (or as little) as I want. Its up to me to put the time, effort and energy into my career and make it pay off. Again, it’s about balance.

I am stronger than this girl who has been living paycheck to paycheck for many years, unable to get ahead. I’m smarter than that. So, I am taking control. From this point on, no more excuses.

It’s time to:

1. Pay bills on time
2. Pay myself vacation and sick time
3. Build an emergency and savings fund
4. Pay off debt
5. Find stable ground to begin rebuilding my credit.

I know none of this will be easy, but if I make it a priority in my life, it will happen. It can happen. It has to happen.

Wish me luck, I am going to need it.

Have any awesome financial advice? Please share.