Bubbles, Racism and Periods

Hi friends,

We are really thankful for the outpouring of support of our first podcast episode. It's been fun for Holly and I to hear from so many followers about what you want to know and hear about. 

Today, we reflect on the disturbing and racist actions of some teenagers in Newport Beach. We also talk about the glories of middle-age periods. And don't miss our little chat about the book...the reason behind us being here in the first place. :)

Please let us know what you'd like to hear about. #keepitmessy #racismisneverok #myuterushatesme
Holly and Jenn

Coming to You From Our Mobile Recording Studio: Episode 1

Hi friends,

Remember when we talked about starting a podcast? Well, we finally got it up and running. Here's episode 1. Please let us know what you'd like to hear about. #keepitmessy #b-parenting #amwriting #createit

See you soon!

Holly and Jenn

Book Release - The BEST Writing Tool! (Do You Know What Schadenfreude Means?)

Hi friends! Today we're helping authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi launch their new book, The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition)!

You might know about The Emotion Thesaurus or even have it on your bookshelf. But did you know that Becca and Angela just released the second addition? I promise...and we are celebrating!!!

Because our Favorite Book Is Now Bigger & Better!

The Emotion Thesaurus is known for its powerful lists that help ALL writers show (rather than tell) character emotion through body language, thoughts, visceral sensations, dialogue cues, and behavior. 
This second edition gives us more of what we love: more emotions (55 more to be exact!), more teaching content, and more writing tips.

Here are three of the new entries: Euphoria, (which is how we're feeling right about now), Vindicated, and Schadenfreude. (Yes, that's a real word and we can't wait to use it!) This book is almost twice the size of the original, so it's almost two books in one.

Anyway, if you'd like to check into it, Goodreads has some reviews up, and you can find more information here

Happy reading, and happy writing friends!!

{H & J}
P.S. Have you considered writing a book?
Want to Attend a FREE Writing Conference?
Or a writing retreat? A workshop? Or even have your yearly membership to a professional writer's organization suddenly paid for? 
Angela and Becca have a giveaway on right now to celebrate their release, and one lucky winner will get their choice of the above, up to a $500 (some conditions apply). This is the giveaway of a lifetime, so hurry over to enter. And good luck!

Holly and Jenn

The Konmari Kool-Aid...YUM!


I drank the Kool-Aid, and man, it was refreshing!!!

Marie Kondo's books have been around for several years but for some reason, the craze also known as "Kondo-ing," "Konmari-ing", or OCD as they say in some circles, just hit the scene in my corner of the O-to-the-C. And it hit hard. Facebook and Instagram abandoned New Year's resolutions for "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Did you know that some thrift shops are turning away donations because they don't have enough room, all because of Marie Kondo's inspiration?

So, here is what the Konmari Method has taught me:

  1. I have too much stuff. Perhaps I didn't notice because all the stuff is disbursed throughout five bedrooms, closets that seem to go on forever, and four million drawers. But when you open all those things up, and then put all of the stuff on the bed, it becomes very clear. TOO MUCH. Which leads to...
  2. I am a hoarder. Not just of scarves and mugs, and apparently hats, but of memories. Of the soft worn texture of my babies' blankets, of their first Halloween costumes. Of baby teeth. (You guys?!?! GROSS!) I have hoarded and hidden away milestones and achievements, pieces of our little family's past. The problem is, when things are stuffed away, you can't see them so you forget. But with the Konmari Method...I remembered. (And some ugly-crying may have occurred.)
  3. Tidying-up, Konmari-ing, Kondo-ing, purging, whatever you call it, is exhausting. And intense. And emotional. It frees all the feelings as you look at each item, hold it close, see if it "sparks joy," and decide it's fate. Don't worry...YOU get to choose what sparks joy - which is the one qualifier for what you keep - so if baby teeth do it for you, no shame friends. 
  4. Konmari-ing takes a long time. It took me about 15 hours over three days do get through ALL the clothes in my closet/room. Plan for it: clear your calendar, pick out some fun playlists, chill your favorite la croix (with/without some Grey Goose), and have fun!! Please note that you may need to acquire some baskets or storage devices to get the most out of your spaces. And learn the folding method. It's life-changing!!
  5. It gets easier. In the beginning, it was so hard for me to declare an item no longer sparked joy. I'd hold it and say, "I'm so sorry you don't seem to spark joy anymore..." before gently placing it in the "probably should go" pile. But as I went on, it got easier to acknowledge that the items I no longer used would be better off with someone who could use them rather than be tucked back into the closet of purgatory. I'd let myself remember the good times, the gift-giver, the stage of life connected to the item, and then let-it-go! 
  6. Joy does not come from THINGS. Period.
  7. Things can, however, SPARK JOY when you utilize what you own and/or it has important sentimental value. And when you are aware of your possessions, you honor yourself and your stuff through a deep appreciation for all that you have. That's where the joy comes in. This process actually makes true the saying, "counting your blessings." 
  8. Which is why it's SOUL-FREEING! Cleansing! Liberating! AMAZING! Trust me.
  9. And sometimes, 52 scarves all spark joy. They do. But old baby teeth definitely DO NOT.
  10. The Konmari Method changes you. I know it sounds existential but friends, when you do it right, you can learn a lot about why you've held onto your stuff, maybe even face some things. Like perhaps, hanging onto your kids' baby teeth (admittedly strange) is really a sign that you're grasping onto the magical years when they still believed in the tooth fairy and they didn't drive roll cars or stay out past curfew or turn your hair gray, and your most important role was loving them well and helping them grow. Maybe keeping certain things is really a request to pause or even rewind to a certain time in your life, or another version of yourself...and all of that is OK. Marie Kondo says that there are only two reasons why people hold onto something: an attachment to the past or fear for the future. So maybe the art of tidying up can give you the insight to cherish your memories and the strength to make space for new ones. 
No matter if you have always had a knack for keeping things organized, or like me, all the drawers and closets are filled to the brim, taking the time to go through it all, passing along those things that have outlived their purpose and intentionally holding onto those things that are truly important, is healthy, perspective-building, JOY-sparking work.

So go do it. Now. Or sometime in 2019. Just try the Konmari Method. I promise, it won't disappoint.

Here are some operational tips: Don't try to do it all at once. Just do a little at a time, following the path as she suggests. It makes sense and it's easier to find your rhythm. (Here's a cool checklist.) Recruit your family, or even your best friends - you can bond over too-small jeans and old prom dresses and baby-everything. And lastly, know your limits and practice self-care, especially when it comes time to let go of those oh-so-sentimental items. No guilt and no shame if you keep more than you expect. It's a process.

So I'll leave you with some wise words from our friend and tidying-guru Marie Kondo: "When you surround yourself with possessions that spark joy, you'll create a home and life that you love." Yes, please! That's soooo worth it! I'm all in!! (Big gulp.)

Love and strength to you all. Please let me know how you do. Pics too. :)


And please enjoy the order and intention and JOY that is now my closet:


Holly and Jenn

Happy New Year...#oneword2019

Happy New Year everyone! To all of you that added their word to my #oneword post - thank you! You have claimed these words for this year and that is powerful! Own them. See where they will take you and how they may change your vision and ultimately how they will change you by the time you are ringing in 2020. (What?!?!...writing that date just now seemed very surreal!) Pause and let that sink in for a minute. It's a reminder of the all-too-fast passing of time and the combination of the ache of loss of babies and the joyful exhilaration that a mother's heart feels as she watches those babies grow up (sigh).

So, each year my word has come to me pretty effortlessly. Mostly because the thing I needed to focus on was so glaringly obvious there was no reason to debate. But this year is was different. I had many words fighting for space in my head and they all had good arguments to back up why they should be the #oneword.

I decided to write each one in BOLD letters and sit with each of them. I prayed over each one - because inviting Jesus in is always wise - and then I waited. Would it be WISDOM? I could always use more of that. Would the old favorite INTENTION be the clear cut winner for another year? AUTHENTICITY maybe? I am striving to live more authentically and be more authentic. Maybe TRUTH? I earned an amazing practice in 2018. To ask if the thoughts my overly sensitive mind was conjuring were TRUE? (I am an over-thinker if I haven't mentioned that before). There were so many great, complex and beautiful words that made it into BOLD print, but in the end only one stood out. It literally makes my heart sing each time I look at it and say it out loud.

Like each one of us, I am on a journey. At this season in my life, my children are pretty independent and although I am still needed both physically and emotionally in many ways, it's a new and different way. It leaves time for me to ask, "What is it that I really want/need? What does God want me to do in this next stage?" Well, He showed me.


Create space, create time, create intention, create a way for my authentic true self to shine through and of course... create what has been placed on my heart: THE BOOK. Writing is my joy and the creative inside me is bursting to CREATE and share it with all of you.

I've written it out and washi-taped it to my dream/prayer board (which will be another post) and I look at it every morning. It centers me. It's exciting to be reminded of what God has in store for this year and to keep my eyes on the prize. Which, like all of you, is to become and grow and develop into the best possible version of me, one step at a time. 

Keep the words coming! I love seeing how each one is different and feel lucky to sometimes get to hear the stories behind each one. I am wishing you blessings and focus and excitement to see how your #oneword will change you. Have an amazing day!



Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash
Holly and Jenn

#oneword of 2019

Happy 2019 friends! Can you believe that Holly and I started this blogging adventure in 2013? We really did, and we feel immeasurably blessed that you are still here with us! Thank you!

As you know, we open each year with the #oneword campaign. Looking back at previous years' words, and the runners-up, it's clear how great a guide these words have been for me. A beacon to help me create some goals and then, over the year, find a way to see them flourish. I hope that you have scribbled down your #oneword over the years and can glance back with a similar sense of perspective. And if not, there's always a new year. This NEW YEAR. Perhaps give it a try.

So there were quite a few words in the running for 2019. I first thought "growth" but then that made me think of a wart and I got grossed out. (Remember the funny story about Noah's "skin tab"? Hahaha!) Then I considered "challenge" but there have been so many viral challenges lately: the Tide-Pod Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge, and a bunch of others that I don't understand. The word also triggers crankiness associated with all manners of weight-loss challenges, so probably not a good match.

Then the word STRETCH came to mind. It's been tugging at me for a week and won't seem to let go so I'm feeling compelled to hold onto it and see where it leads. S-T-R-E-T-C-H, as in pushing the limits, breaking free, creating with no bounds, being more of the me I want to be. That kind of stretch.

I hope that at the end of 2019 I'll look back and know I STRETCHED myself, that I grew from each challenge, and took up each opportunity to be more of the hope, strength, joy, love, faith, compassion, and grace we need in the world.

So if resolutions have a tendency to overwhelm you, if you find it too easy to fall victim of the "be-more, do-more" hellscape so common this time of year, consider #oneword as a healthier option. What do you think? How will 2019 shape you?

It is the best of times friends. Take it, shape it, and have a blessed and bountiful new year.


By the way, if you want to make a cool word cloud to inspire you, check out this site. It's free and so so fun!

Holly and Jenn

"Dad, Mom: I Don't Want to Go Back"

As many of you read in August, I offered some advice on how to manage the emotions of taking your baby to college. Today, I offer you some perspective on what to do when it doesn't work out, when the college they picked turns out to not be the right place.

For those of you who have a freshman coming home for the holiday break, and maybe contemplating staying home, here are some things you should know:

  1. According to US News and World Report, one in three, yes, a whopping 33% of college freshman will come home and stay home during their first year. Reasons will run the gamut of loneliness to irresponsibility, financial hardship to transitional issues, and usually, you won't see it coming.
  2. Homesickness is normal. Until students find their people, they may feel like a satellite floating in a universe where everyone else seems to know their orbit. But sometimes it's not homesickness. Sometimes it's something else.
  3. Your adult-child will know themselves and their limits more than you do. Don't you remember junior and senior year? All the testing and prepping and AP-ing and stretching? They learned the breaking point and they WILL NOT willingly go there again. Listen when they want to share their concerns just as much as their accomplishments. It's a gift when they let you in.
  4. You know your child. You know know their breaking point too. Trust them and trust yourself to guide and console, research and react. That is your job.
  5. You did not fail, nor did your child, if they come home. Everyone's experience is different and you need to remember that Instagram perfection is a lie. Please remind your child that too. Pressure to avoid criticism is a real thing but it is not the right reason to stay the course if it's direction is misplaced.
  6. Even four months away will change your emerging adult. She will be more self-aware, he will have more appreciation, and they will be trying to make good decisions for themselves. Sometimes she will be successful, like resisting the pressure to try cocaine because "everyone is doing it." (What happened to good-old-fashion beer pong and "Wine Wednesdays"?) And sometimes he won't, like playing too much beer-pong and missing a class because "OUCH."
  7. But when she tells you that the people and the place are not right, when she outlines the reasons and they make sense, when you know it's not homesickness, you will need to start listening.
  8. And when he does all the work and formulates a pretty good plan B, when he has all the hard conversations with guidance counselors and housing, when his voice is filled with conviction and carries the hope that's been missing, some of your hesitation will be replaced with pride.
  9. When she tells you that her brain, her heart and her gut have all shown her the signs to stop and reassess (because you've trained her to do so since she was little), you'll feel a little more confident in her skills and abilities to do the whole adulting thing.
  10. When she makes the final decision, your heart will break a little bit because it wasn't supposed to be like this. But hers will soar because she's doing the right thing, and that counts more than your disappointment. Passing the baton people. This is what we want.
  11. When you acknowledge that you can't prevent him from experiencing life's disappointments, that really all you can to do is listen, advise and then provide the soft landing, you will be growing too.
  12. And finally, when you let go of the worries and the sorrow, the should've's and the how's, you may just realize how blessed you are that she didn't settle, that she listened to her heart, and that she had the self-respect and confidence to get herself out of a bad situation. This will make you the proudest of all because the shifting of responsibility and oversight from parent to mature young-adult-child is what you've both been training for.

So Bella's coming home today and she is thrilled. She has charted a new path that will combine community college (which is free, by the way), hopefully some international travel, and transferring to a university that will fit her ever-growing self a bit better.

If your freshman has experienced any ups and downs this semester, here's a great article on what they might be experiencing emotionally and how you can be prepared. And if she/he has said those heart-sinking words, "I don't want to go back," here's an article that can help you both figure out if a new path could be better.

Merry Christmas and happy everything, friends. Enjoy every minute with your loved ones. We truly are so blessed.


Photo cred: Resi Kling, Unsplash
Holly and Jenn