Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2017

We're in the home stretch now, folks.

Autumn always feels like it has its own rhythm. October-December is my favorite time of year, because of the holidays and family and lights and food and the Lord and so much more. (Sweaters, anyone?) There have been ups and downs this November, true, but I can say that I am thankful, and that I am working towards thanks. Now bring on Christmas, and the praise and joy! I'm ready to celebrate and sing.

What I've Learned This Month

Run, run, run. I need to run every other day (at least) to be a Fully Functional Human. I am one of those people that needs to exercise frequently or I will lose my mind, Susan. (No idea who Susan is, BTDubz. But I'm sure she would agree.) Running = life. No running = sad times.

It's important to think about (and pray for) others. I spend too much time focusing on my own problems! Lord, make my heart soft for those around me. Help me to listen, care and love on others!

Things I Loved in November

Photography. I really love taking photos to capture little moments. It's fun to see my world through the lens, and helps add a bit of flair to my content for the blog.

Writing. Yo, NaNoWriMo kicked me in the tookus and I didn't win (*sniff*) but I did learn it's important to KEEP ON WRITING even if you don't feel like it. "Dreamland" took a few unexpected twists and I'm going to finish this story hopefully by early 2018 at the latest. I'm a slow writer but imma keep at it because I love this novel.

December Goals

To love the Lord my God. Especially with Christmas coming up, I just want this month to be a glow of Christ's warmth. I don't have all the answers but I'm His, and that's the only thing that matters at the end of the day. 

The Month in GIF-Form

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What about you?

What was your November like? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Have any fun December plans? Tell me about your lives, my people!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Playlist: 14 Glorious November Tunes

Is it time for a new playlist already? HECK YES IT IS

I'm not going to lie, a lot of November (at least musically) was spent either waiting for or listening to Taylor Swift's new album. BUT NEVER FEAR - there are more than just Swift songs on this playlist (12 more, in fact). And this post features twice the usual amount of recommendations because I just really love sharing groovy tunes with y'all. 

Image result for friends justin bieber

I know, I know, it's the Biebz, but give it a chance! Maybe it's this super sweet commercial or the fact that Jelena is a thing again (yes, I'm that person), but I'm digging some Justin tunes lately. If you want to dance or need some sick background music for your cardio workouts, this is a great jam.

Like this? Try "Midnight City" by M83.

Image result for St├ęphanie Sokolinski I Thought I Was an Alien

If you're looking for sad indie jams, look no further. This entire album by Soko details heartbreak and missing someone, and plays like a sad, lonely walk through a snowy city. This song is simple and beautiful and almost wistful? I love that interlude towards the end. This is a song I write to all the time, especially when I'm working on "Dreamland."

Like this? Try "Happy Birthday" by the Innocence Mission.

Image result for i miss you blink 182 album

This one's a classic. I have nothing more to say about this.

Like this? Try "Call to Arms" by Angels & Airwaves.

"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" - Taylor Swift

Image result for taylor swift reputation album cover

November was the month of the Swift. I won't lie, "reputation" was on repeat this month quite a bit, and it was AWESOME. I'm a fan of Taylor Swift's music in just about any form, especially sassy songs like this one. But alas, I cannot find a YouTube link to this song and I don't think it's on streaming sites. It's worth including, however, if you grab a copy of the album!

Like this? Try "New Year's Day," especially if piano ballads are more your speed.

Image result for declan mckenna album

When Declan's "What Do You Think About the Car?" album was released in July, I didn't buy it straight away. AND WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS. Declan is only 18, but he is immensely talented. And, yo, he has stuff to SAY. His music is so raw and honest and that's what I love about it. So much angst. So genuine. Give the dude a listen, y'all.

Like this? Try "Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage the Elephant.

Image result for the con x covers

Fun story: I purchased this album on a complete whim when I heard it playing overhead at my favorite record store. It's an entire album of covers by rad artists in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Tegan and Sara's "The Con" album. And this song describes my novel so wonderfully. If you like ethereal angst, this one's for you. It always makes me think of someone sinking to the bottom of the ocean peacefully? I don't know if that makes sense, but...give it a listen!

Like this? Try "Myth" by Beach House.

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Yes, I know. A CHRISTMAS SONG IN NOVEMBER?! I'm not sorry. I won't apologize. This has to be one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs in existence, if not my very favorite. Give it a listen, y'all; it's post-Thanksgiving now, we're in the clear. :)

What about you?

Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Are there any songs that have your heart lately? And has anyone started listening to Christmas music yet? Tell me below in the comments!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to Just Flat Out Love Your Life

Hello, my people!

I gotta admit: I've been in sort of a negative slump lately. And let me tell ya, there's nothing like being in a bad mood to zap your creativity, thankfulness and energy. BUT OH NO MY PEOPLE, NOT TODAY. Because we are right around the corner from Thanksgiving (how?!) and the blogging community is buzzing with thanks and our lives are too rich to waste. 

For so long I've been comparing my talents, my style, my body, and EVERYTHING ELSE to other people. And it's been getting me down.
But you know what helps me just love life? Being grateful.

Life is not picture perfect or exciting all of the time, and neither am I, but it's always beautiful. Honestly, a huge shout out to the Lord for keeping me sane even when I refuse to give thanks. Without Him, I've got nothing.

Flat Out Loving Life Right Now Because:

Every morning I wake up and I can see and breathe and run. I am healthy and alive.

I bought this absolutely ridiculous candle that smells just like hot chocolate and it's giving me serious Christmas vibes. Please go smell it in real life and tell me you love it just as much as I do. Yes, I am devoting a whole point on my list to a candle. THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR ME OK

I love my job! It's wonderful to get to write articles and design marketing campaigns on the daily. I am so thankful to do something creative each day at work, and I love my co-workers.

My family. Always, always grateful for these goobers.

What about you?

You didn't think I was going to leave you guys off the list, did you? NO SIR. I am grateful for every single person who reads and comments and stumbles upon this blog. Y'all brighten my day all the time!! What do you love about your life? Has anyone started listening to Christmas music yet? Just me? 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Unplugging: How Do You Live the Slow-Paced Life?

Hi, friends!

I hope you all had a restful three-day weekend! Me and my Mom hightailed it to the writing cabin this weekend for running, reading and relaxing. (And also listening to the new Taylor Swift album, which I can confidently say is a SOLID BOP.) Being away from my usual tech-filled surroundings for a little bit has got me thinking even more about social media and what it means to live a slow-paced life.

Here's What I've Learned:

I rely on technology a lot for entertainment. Being away from a stable internet connection made me realize just how much I am always checking my notifications. Like, constantly. Being without the internet forced me to do things that I usually tell myself I don't have the time for - like writing my novel (*ahem*), reading, taking walks, reading the Word and going for a run.

Doing nothing is underrated.

Often I feel like I have to be productive or doing something meaningful at all times, but there's something to be said for just recharging. It reminds me of this verse:

Contemplating clouds and counting your blessings sound like such cliche ways to unwind, but these are a couple of things that made this weekend so peaceful and whole.

Also, a salted caramel cookie skillet from Outback. WOWZA

It's okay not to share everything. Living slow-paced for a couple of days showed me just how plugged-in and update-hungry I am sometimes. I don't need to share everything, nor do I always need to know what everyone else is up to! It's fun to share, of course, but there is also something blissful in relishing a moment and forgetting about the online world...

...because the offline world can be a pretty amazing place, too. On Saturday I went for a run on a nature trail and I didn't see a single person, only one solitary deer hiding in the trees. (Same.) I found myself praising God for the sky and the trees and mornings. Nature is such a wonderful re-energizer. 

What about you?

Do you have a favorite way to decompress from the fast-paced life? Are you reading anything awesome currently? Have you listened to Taylor Swift's new album yet? ONCE AGAIN, IT'S A BOP

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On Distractions: The Love and Lure of Social Media and the Interwebz

Hi, friends!

I probably shouldn't be blogging right now because of NaNoWriMo (updates to come), but yo, I HAVE SOME THOUGHTS. Ironically, they are on social media and the internet, the two things that probably have the most potential to derail my NaNo process this November.

Actual Footage of My Writing Process:

7:03 a.m. Hmm, I should write. I should just get my thoughts out in the open before any other distractions hit me today.

7:06 a.m. *sits down at computer* Look at me, I'm a writer. I'M WRITING

7:08 a.m. Ooh, just a quick internet search for Research Purposes Only. *checks Twitter*

7:11 a.m. Okay, okay, back to writing.

7:12 a.m. *checks blog* *scans Pinterest*

10:00 pm. *cries*

Yo, the internet can be a real temptation. But it's not just that social media and the interwebz are a distraction to my writing (and probably a lot of yours as well), but it's also the fact that they can become such easy ways for me to entertain myself when I don't have anything else to do.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been thinking about how much time I spend blogging, writing my next post, posting on Instagram, creating an aesthetic, using social media to its Full Potential, etc., etc. It's exhausting.

And that's not even to speak about the comparison issues that can come along with social media or updating your life on the internet.

I just want to be in the mountains, the woods.

For me, one great way to remedy internet overkill is TO GO OUTSIDE. I know it seems like a simple and obvious solution, but there is so much richness to be found in the physical world. The earth, the trees, the sun, the sky. The stars! All of it. I want to stand in awe of God and His creation more than I contemplate myself and social media.

I was going to pepper this post with tips and how-to's,
but yo, I don't have it all figured out.

I am still learning what unplugging and taking time away from the computer, the internet, social media and even my novel looks like. What a slow-living, park-walking, Bible-reading Erin looks like, and how she can better serve others around her.

What about you?

Do you ever get tired of technology? I'm there, my friends. I HAVE HIT MAXIMUM INTERNET CAPACITY. Any tips for unplugging? Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Creatives Project #1: Julia Ryan

Hello, friends!!

Today is a really exciting day on the blog - it's the official launch of the Creatives Project! I've been so pleased and encouraged by everyone who has reached out in an email or left a sweet comment about this project, and I can't wait to kick it off TODAY! Now, without further ado, please give a big warm welcome to our first creative, Julia Ryan of the barefoot gal and Twilight to Dawn!

What made you want to start blogging?

"I love words and books and pictures and storytelling and friends so basically, I fell in love with it before I knew what blogging was! When I started on this journey, there were not too many lifestyle or writer teen bloggers out there yet. I totally am excited with the large community now." 

What are your favorite topics to blog about?

"Passionate stuff. They are the posts I pour myself into. I know a lot of times that it's something that I need to hear and so I hope it will help someone else as well. And I love how open my readers are to my spontaneous topics! Because I get to be 100% goofy in one post, while the next is all-out serious."

How do you balance art, blogging, work/school and life in general?

"For the past almost two years, I publish a new post on the barefoot gal every 4-5 days. There were a few times where that wasn't consistent (i.e. vacation and grad trip) but overall, it's been a refreshing pattern to keep! The balance was hard during my junior year, but since I broke free of the stress of it, I've found I have to make time for my creative [pursuits] otherwise I'll dry up in every other space of my life. I've worked two jobs since May of this hasn't always been easy, but I can 100% say it's worth it for me!"

If you were an instrument, which would you be and why?

"To be honest, I love the fiddle, so I'll say that."

If you could only pursue one creative project or medium for the rest of your life, one and only one, which would it be and why?

  "Writing. I can answer that without hesitation. It is my greatest joy to spill words onto paper (or type them, hehe) because WOW, words mean so many different things to different people. I love love love perspective."

Who or what inspires you to create?

"For my poetry, it is generally a thought or a few words that a friend/sister/human says to me, or what I see in life around me. But most of the time, it's the sky. I cannot get over how many times I look up and get this overwhelming urge of inspiration."

What art of your own are you most proud of and why?

"Though sometimes I look at that even and think it's lame! But...the reason why is, I didn't KNOW I could write poetry. I thought I knew all of my creative angles. I was wrong."

Julia's Advice for Creatives:

"Don't stick with what you know. My first novel was a western because that's what I mainly read. My second was a contemporary (which I hardly read!) and I feel so much more love for that book. Creatives are supposed to be that - creative! The "box" isn't meant for us....[You can] give up on feeling like you've got to be perfect on your first try. And give up your worries about failing. I like to say it's good to fail, because in the end, you'll have grown way more than if you got it right on the first attempt."

Thank you so much Julia for being the very first blogger in the Creatives Project! I loved reading your answers and adored these gorgeous photos. Y'all, give Julia's blogs some love here and here!

Want to be the next blogger featured on the Creatives Project? Find out more information here! What inspires YOU to create? I have to second Julia on the sky. Breathtaking sunsets have my heart. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo is Here: What Are You Writing?


October is over and NaNoWriMo is here! I must admit that I was a little bit nervous to start writing a story for this year's National Novel Writing Month, but after a little planning and a whole lot of Pinterest, I am #ReadyForThis. Well, maybe. In an effort to actually make myself follow through and write this book, I thought I'd share a little bit about my novel-to-be with you guys. And I want to hear about yours, too! 

The Novel: "Dreamland"

Okay, so I didn't realize I was actually going to feel really self-conscious telling you guys about my novel? Who knew! Dreamland is about family, forgiveness and, of course, pink. At least, that is the color the novel is presenting itself to me in - an aesthetic of crackly clouds, bitten, bleeding lips and soft mornings. A little grunge, a little cotton candy, and a whole lot of nostalgia. Pink.

The Plot

Dreamland is the story of Irene, a 20-something librarian who can make herself disappear. When a familiar face shows up on her door step one winter's evening, she is forced to confront her past and the family she left behind. There also might be a little bit of fantasy thrown in here? *Cue me blushing* *The cheese* *Oh my word*

Not Enjoying This

One thing I really hope to explore in this novel is magic realism, which is basically inserting magical and fantastical elements into a story's otherwise ordinary, every day events. I LOVE MAGIC REALISM.  It's quirky and haunting, which is the vibe I'm after with Dreamland. We'll see what happens!


I have been listening to so many albums in preparation for writing this novel, it's insane. One thing I hope to do either in or after November is sync up certain albums and songs to be the "themes" of different characters. (I'll keep you posted on that.) Right now, a lot of the inspiration for Dreamland in general has come from music by Beach House, Soko, Max Richter, etc.


   FC - Paul Craddock

Irene is on the left, Law (Lawrence) on the right. Still figuring these dudes out, but what I know for sure is that Law is super snarky and Irene is obsessed with nubby, over-sized Goodwill sweaters. I will discover them as I write, I promise there's more, but this is all I want to say for now.

What about you?

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What kind of story are you writing? I want to hear all of y'all's wonderful ideas! Not writing this year? Tell me how your Halloween went! Or what excites you about November!