Seashell Treasures

Hello, friends!

This year I spent Christmas in Florida visiting my in-laws! It was a really nice mini vacation, especially away from the cold.

One of the things on my to-do list while Robby and I were in Florida was to visit a few of the nearby beaches and look for shells. I love walking along the water searching for shells; they’re so beautiful and unique. I ended up bringing home two small plastic containers full of them!

I’m hoping to do some fun DIY projects with my shells, but first, I wanted to share some of them with you!

Sand dollar pieces – so cool!IMG_1910

I love these ones because they remind me of sunshine raysIMG_1914.JPG

Pieces of coralIMG_1915.JPG

Beautiful colorsIMG_1918.JPG

These are one of my favorite kinds!IMG_1919.JPG

Love the different sizesIMG_1922.JPG

How pretty are these??IMG_1925.JPG

These ones look like ice cream conesIMG_1926.JPG

Look how fun these are!IMG_1930.JPG

This isn’t even half of them! At one of the beaches, I stood in the water up to my ankles to scoop up handfuls and see what treasures were waiting! Have to do a little more searching to find the good stuff, even if it means getting your shorts completely soaked.

Does anyone else like to search for shells when they’re at the beach?

What Makes a Christmas Tree Unique?

Happy Friday, everyone!

One of my favorite Christmas activities is decorating your tree. It’s so fun bringing out the ornaments, lights, tinsel… Or whatever you please! Your tree can have a theme, or you can create your own masterpiece with different colors and shapes.

I believe that the ornaments hanging on the branches of a Christmas tree are what makes it unique. There are so many different ornaments out there, and they can have special meanings behind them, too. Your neighbor might have ornaments of a cat, ballerina slippers, a vintage car, a chef’s hat, and a wine glass on their tree, but do you know why?

I thought it would be fun to share some of my Christmas ornaments and the meaning behind each of them!

Pink NYC t-shirtnycornament.jpgI love the city and I used to go in 1-2 times a year. I’ve gone in to see Broadway shows, around Christmastime, or just because. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so I’m hoping to go soon!

Butterflybutterflyornament.jpgI had a cousin who passed away who was also an organ donor. The butterfly is a symbol of new life, and by being an organ donor, he was able to give other people a second chance.

Orlandoorlandoornament.jpgMy mom gave this to Robby and I because we love going to Disney World; it’s actually where we spent our first day together! Plus, it’s my favorite place 🙂

Clarinetclarinetornament.jpgI played the clarinet all through middle school and high school. I really enjoyed being in band because of the people and the fun that we had! Plus, in high school, I got to go on a trip to Disney World and Virginia Beach.

Penguinpenguinornament.jpgPenguins are my favorite animal and I have a handful of penguin ornaments, including this glittery dude! Christmas just gives me another excuse to buy all the penguins!

Ruby Red Slipperredslipperornament.jpgI’ve had this one for a long time. I guess there really isn’t any special meaning behind it other than I liked it when I bought it. Although, I do love The Wizard of Oz!

Passportpassportornament.jpgThis is another one from my mom. She bought this for Robby and I after we went to Atlantis, which is where we got engaged. This was my first time using a passport, the first time I needed one.

Do you have any Christmas ornaments with a special meaning? I’d love to hear about it!

What’s On Your Bookshelf? – The Only Pirate at the Party

Hello, everyone!

I wanted to start something called “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” Basically, it’s just me sharing a different book with you!

My first “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” post is going to be about Lindsey Stirling’s The Only Pirate at the Party, which I recently finished. If you don’t know who Lindsey Stirling is… You’re doing it wrong! Lindsey is an electronic violinist who earned her success through YouTube. She’s released three full-length albums along with a Christmas album that just came out in October. She was also on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars!

Lindsey co-wrote her book with one of her sisters, Brooke S. Passey, who is mentioned throughout. Lindsey takes you back through her childhood, growing up, and the many hurdles she’s faced since as she figured out life and chasing her dreams.

9781501119170_p0_v3_s550x406

What I loved most about this book was reading about the struggles that brought Lindsey to where she is today, as well as moments I related with (especially ones she shared from her childhood and growing up). It kind of felt like I was reading about a friend, or like I had a close friend right next to me. It also showed that Lindsey is human like anyone else. She has doubts, she faces the realities of life, and she works hard to make her dreams come true.

Another great element to The Only Pirate at the Party was the humor. You know how when you type ‘lol’ to someone, most of the time you’re not actually laughing? Heck, you’re probably not even smiling. Well, I genuinely laughed out loud while reading Lindsey’s book. Here’s why:

“I considered telling her about Naomi’s five dollars, but I was worried she might call the Tooth Fairy Office and complain, and what if my fairy got fired?”

“I saw the girls of Fifth Harmony backstage, so I introduced myself and congratulated them on their new single. They smiled and nodded politely. A few minutes later I passed the real Fifth Harmony in the halls and I realized I had been talking to Pitbull’s backup dancers about their “summer hit.””

“I was almost finished when the pick got stuck in between my teeth, and of course that was also the moment the elevator doors started to open. I frantically tried to loosen the pick, with no luck. When I looked up, Ashton Kutcher was exiting the elevator in front of me. He nodded with a closemouthed smile, and I just gaped back at him – partially because I was looking at Ashton Kutcher, and partially because a floss pick was preventing my mouth from fully closing.”

Along with some giggles, Lindsey gets into some of life’s valuable lessons, things she admits she has to relearn sometimes. She also admits that the last few years of her life have been one big learning experience, which just goes to show that we’re always learning and growing no matter how old we are or what we’ve already been through. Here are some of those lessons:

  • The chapter “Sticks and Stones” is introduced with this quote: “You can spend your whole life feeling small by looking up at everyone above you, or you can look down and see how far you’ve come.”
  • Loving yourself is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Oh, the struggle is so real with this one. It’s so easy for us to overlook self-love and self-care, especially when it’s something we’re very unfamiliar with. Lindsey offers a list of qualities and traits that she might feel self-conscious about or dislike and puts a positive spin on them by describing why she loves them.
  • Don’t depend on other people’s opinions. I feel like this is something all of us face at one point or another. Lindsey shares the disappointment she felt after not winning a Grammy Award, but realizes that her self-worth shouldn’t have been relying so heavily on winning or losing. Inevitably, there will be people who don’t like you or say things that hurt your feelings, but it shouldn’t dictate your self-worth. Be the best you can be and be proud of that.
  • No doesn’t have to mean no. If someone rejects you or tries to tell you that you’re not good enough, don’t listen to them. Keep being you and keep going.
  • It really is okay to be different. I think this is something a lot of people struggle with or get negative reactions to. But Lindsey is a great example of how sticking to your true self will take you far.

If you’re a Lindsey fan and haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it! If you aren’t, you should still read it.

Now I want to know about one of the books on your bookshelf! Or, what book are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite Albums From 2017

I know I’m not the only one when I say that I love music. I love going to concerts, the excitement when your favorite band announces their new album, the community, and the emotional connection songs create.

2017 was a great year for music, and to celebrate that, I wanted to share my favorite albums that were released! This isn’t meant to be a review of any kind, just me sharing my favorite albums from this year. I’ve also included a few songs from each album for you to listen to so you can see what you’re in for!

Lovely Little Lonely
The Maine, Lovely Little Lonely – I listened to The Maine in high school, but never really kept up with them. They dropped their song “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu” at the beginning of the year, so I gave it a listen. Clearly, I enjoyed it because it led me to check out the rest of their newest album. These are great songs to jam loudly to in your car.

Songs to check out: “Don’t Come Down,” “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu,” and “The Sound of Reverie”

Eisley_I'm Only Dreaming
Eisley, I’m Only Dreaming – Sherri DuPree-Bemis has such a sweet, beautiful voice. The songs from this album are catchy and make you sometimes feel as if you’re in a dream or a different world (that’s how I feel at least). There’s always been something about Eisley that I’ve found to be whimsical and fairytale-like.

Songs to check out: “Always Wrong,” “Defeatist,” and “Sparking”

Something To Tell You.jpg
HAIM, Something To Tell You – The HAIM sisters’ sophomore album continues to showcase their talents as musicians. They have an 80s vibe (stylistically as well – love it!) that you can dance and sing along to. Plus, Danielle Haim’s voice is brilliant.

Songs to check out: “Little Of Your Love,” “You Never Knew,” and “Kept Me Crying”

Skin&Earth.jpg
Lights, Skin&Earth – This is my first album from Lights, and I really enjoy it! The songs are accompanied by a comic series she created/designed (I’m slowly collecting all of the issues), so it’s cool to see how they connect and feel like you’re a part of the story. I also like that the album consists of different sounds with each song.

Songs to check out: “Giants,” “Savage,” and “Almost Had Me”

Last Young Renegade.jpg
All Time Low, Last Young Renegade – I’ve followed these guys for most of their career. I’ve seen them through all of their album cycles and have watched them grow, both as individuals and as a band. Their latest album, Last Young Renegade, really shows that growth through lyrics and sound. It’s definitely darker than any of their other albums, but I think it just shows they can tackle anything!

Songs to check out: “Ground Control” (feat. Tegan and Sara), “Dirty Laundry,” and “Last Young Renegade”

After Laughter.jpg
Paramore, After Laughter – Like many Paramore fans worldwide, I was anxiously awaiting this album. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, though I don’t think I was expecting such an open, honest set of songs (not to say their other songs aren’t honest because they are). I’ve leaned on this album so much, and the lyrics express things I feel like I’m never able to fully get out. It’s therapeutic and relieving.

Songs to check out: “Rose-Colored Boy,” “26,” and “Hard Times”

Do you like any of albums I mentioned? What are some of your favorite albums from 2017? I’m always looking for new music, so let me know in the comments!