About Friendships {Three Things Thursday two twentyfour}

New year. New me. New you. New goals. One major goal this year is to engage this wonderful blogging community better. What better way than to begin a new link up with some blog friends! Together, the three of us came up with Three Things Thursday. Just three things to talk or write about. Five seemed like too many and "one thing" was like we weren't even trying! So any three things that are on your mind. Any three pictures from Instagram. Three complaints about your day/week. Three of your favorite treats. Seriously. Any three things! So write it. Publish it. Yell it from the mountain tops! 
Just be sure you come back and link it up here!

For some extra fun follow us on Instagram for some three things posts! 
Use the #threethingsthursday, and let's start talking!
Absolute Mommy

Today we welcome Kara from Chasing Zoie. Here you will find Kara traveling by land or sea, living the life of a blogger with style, and taking the occasional selfie.
Find her on Instagram as @chasingzoie.

This week I'm talking about friendship. Friendship takes on a different life when you are an adult. I have friends in my life that I've known since I was a teenager. I have friends that I've had since college. I have friends that I've met via blogging. I have friends that live in my neighborhood. My mix of friends is incredibly diverse, the only constant being that I share some kind of bond with them. Sometimes my friends are a byproduct of motherhood. Sometimes the kinship was created out of similar goals in blogging land. Some of my friendships stumbled upon me, right place, right time. I find that these days, having strong friendships in adulthood is important. It's also important to know how to keep those friends, starting with how you can be a good friend.

Here are three things I've learned about being a friend.

One: Friendly vs. Friends
I can't take the credit for this one. This is all based on a conversation I had with my best friend Krysten. Recently I lost hold of a friendship. I went through all the stages of grief, but still in the end, I really didn't understand why this friendship had withered. Was I really that horrible of a friend? What was my fault in all of this mess? Krysten of course had the best answer:

"There is a big difference between being "Friends" and being "Friendly".

Whoa. She's right. Perhaps what I took as "friendship", was really just two people being friendly. The relationship and the conversation with Krysten gave me pause. Are we ever really aware of the other person's motivation when they come to the friendship table? How can we be sure we are both giving and receiving of the relationship? Perhaps we can't, but in the future I will ask myself, "Is this person my friend, or are they just being "friendly".

Two: It, whatever "it" is, doesn't matter
If your friend loves you and is loyal to you, then nothing else matters. Friendship has this air of unconditionality (probably not a real word, but screw it). No matter what, you love that friend, and vice versa. A few weeks ago, in a pow wow session with some friends (real ones) I said that I was "faulty". My quick to judge attitude, my hot headed-ness, my big mouth; those are all of my faults. I can't change them, not now anyway, I'm almost forty. But in that conversation, a good friend reminded me that I'm not faulty, they (my friends) accept me this way, and they still love me. In fact it's sometimes what they love about me. That's friendship. You love anyway. It doesn't matter that one friend stays home with the kids and the other works. It doesn't matter that you like rap music and the other loves country. It doesn't matter that you have never seen an episode of the Kardashians and I still haven't read Vonnegut (personally speaking). Whatever the case may be, if they are your friend, your true friend, it doesn't matter.

I still haven't read Vonnegut. She still loves me anyway.

Three: There are no expiration dates
Last week I went to an event for the alumna of my sorority. Many of the women that showed up were in my pledge class, and it was like time had never passed. Sure we are older, more harried than our 18-22 year old selves. Some of us hadn't seen each other in years, but it was as if we all lived in that same big ol' house, sharing one giant bathroom, listening to stories of boys and booze while curling our hair. I was sad to realize that we weren't all going home, to the same house to talk on the stairs for the rest of the night.
Delta Zeta Pledge Class Fall 1996
This week, my best friend from high school text to say that the Cure will be playing at Shoreline in Mountain View. Tickets on the lawn are super affordable. That we should go and see the Cure together. Because after almost 18 years, the idea of seeing the Cure, at Shoreline on a blanket, like we are seventeen again, compelled her to text. And compels me to rearrange my life and go with her. After all the time in between the years of being best friends, I can't imagine a better date to see the Cure. Because after all this time, it would be weird for one of us to go without the other.

This week is also my Best Friends one year anniversary in her new home. I'm still sad when I realize she's no longer across town, and going to meet at Starbucks for overpriced coffee isn't going to happen. I miss her, but only by touch. We talk or text daily. We don't get to spend long hours blabbing on the phone, but sometimes we don't need to. We have this incredible shorthand, developed over the years. One year later and not much has changed. We still text about Scandal and laundry and our husbands. We still make time to talk, plying our kids with candy and Netflix. We still pretend that she is just on the other side of town because some days the truth is too hard.

The thing is, friendships don't expire. Even when you think too much time has passed, it hasn't. Send that text. Pick up the phone. Buy that card you saw that screams that one persons name who you miss. Because friendships have no expiration dates.

I hope you join us today and link up. Just three things about your day, your week, or your life. It's the easiest blog post you will ever write. Promise.

Three Favorites Right Now {Three Things Thursday two eighteen}

New year. New me. New you. New goals. One major goal this year is to engage this wonderful blogging community better. What better way than to begin a new link up with some blog friends! Together, the three of us came up with Three Things Thursday. Just three things to talk or write about. Five seemed like too many and "one thing" was like we weren't even trying! So any three things that are on your mind. Any three pictures from Instagram. Three complaints about your day/week. Three of your favorite treats. Seriously. Any three things! So write it. Publish it. Yell it from the mountain tops! 
Just be sure you come back and link it up here!

For some extra fun follow us on Instagram for some three things posts! 
Use the #threethingsthursday, and let's start talking!

Three of my favorite things this week...

Simple Mills pancake mix. It's Paleo legal you guys. That means everyone in the house can enjoy it. I was out of my favorite Almond Milk from Trader Joes (unsweetened vanilla is my favorite), but they still came out pretty tasty. Caitlin gave them a thumbs up, Mackenzie said they tasted weird, but she's not a big fan of almond flour. I'm mostly excited about making them again with some fresh berries! I also found Simple Mills on Pinterest and found a recipe for blueberry muffins using their pancake mix. I'll keep you posted.

My #galentieswap2016 gift from @karibou_farm! Kari sent the most fantastic gift that speaks straight to my heart. The Starbucks is just the bonus. Those notebooks and pens though! I'm not going to lie, I squealed when I opened it and the girls were seriously jealous! They really want those pens... Nope, sorry kiddos. Those are mine!

This picture! What happens when you send your Hubbs with instructions for a nice picture at the Father Daughter dance? This. In his defense, I paid for two photos, so technically I have a good one. At first I was a little mad, because I wanted to have a nice pic to commemorate the dance. Then again, this picture is just too perfect. This is John as a dad. This picture will always remind them of their dad and his antics and shenanigans. I hope they will always look at it and remember what a fun and hilarious man their dad is. I know I will.

That's it for today friends. Don't forget to link up with us, and tell us three things about today!

What I Read Wednesday {Year of Yes}

I've spent the last month trying to write a review for the book, Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes. How do you review a book so good, so entertaining and so eye opening as this one without giving it away?

Very carefully.

To say that I loved every single word of this book is a severe injustice to the words in this book. Not since college have I felt the need to take a highlighter to a book, and this wasn't even required reading. The quotes, the ideas, the commands are just that good.

There were so many times that I had to put the book down and say, "All hail Queen Shonda".

Anyone who knows me in real life, or has read this blog for a while knows that I love Queen Shonda. I've been watching Grey's Anatomy since season one, back when the Hubbs and I lived in a little house with the box TV he bought in college. I fell in love with Dr. Grey and company. I've spent hours watching and re watching my favorite episodes, especially my favorite when George O'Malley delivers Dr. Bailey's baby. I watched Private Practice and fell in love with Cooper, who would one day become Leo on Scandal. I devoted my Thursday nights to Scandal and Olivia and Fitz, and then to Olivia and Jake, and then back to Olivia and Fitz. I carefully watch and re watch Annalise Keating and her kids episode by episode trying to crack the codes. I even watched that short lived series she did, set in the central American jungle where all the doctors wore Toms, and then went out and bought Toms.

So yes. All hail Queen Shonda.

Still, this book. This is the one book you must read this year. It's warm and funny. It makes you want to be her friend and argue with her at the same time. It makes you want to drink wine with her and travel the world, and tell her to stop putting Meredith Grey in such dire situations. Love Shonda or hate her, the woman can write. The woman can feel. The woman can make you want to start your own year of yes today.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Year of Yes, out of context of course because you should read the book yourself. I've included page numbers so you can skip ahead and have your mind blown.

On Motherhood:
"Motherhood remains equally, painfully death defying and difficult either way", page 108.

"I am never more sure of myself about a topic than when I have absolutely no experience with it", page 100.

"You can quit motherhood, but I can't quit being a mother", page 107

"And I'm always going to yell, 'What the fuck', at the PTA meeting if you tell me the brownies need to be homemade", page 110

On Accepting Compliments:
"Thank you. Smile. Shut up", all of chapter 10, but pages 192-193 are specifically hilarious.

On Doing it All:
"Anyone who tells you they are doing it all PERFECTLY is a LIAR", page 88.

On Dreaming vs. Doing:
"And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing", page 78.

On Yes to Saying No:
"No is powerful. It's a bigger weapon to have in your arsenal. But it is a very tough weapon to deploy", page 216.

On "Normalizing TV":
Her entire Human Rights Campaign Speech that starts on page 232.

On Toxic People:
"Unhappy people do not like it when a fellow unhappy person becomes happy", page 244

On Glass Ceilings:
All of Chapter nine. I promise. Starts on page 165.

On saying Yes to who you are:
"Happiness comes from being who you are instead of who you think you are supposed to be", page 286.

I swear I didn't give anything away, I promise, the entire book is so good and so worth your time. You don't have to be a Grey's fan or a Scandal fan to appreciate a strong intelligent woman. You don't even have to be a woman to appreciate Shonda Rhimes. Her take on life, love, work, motherhood, body image, and intelligence is not only refreshing, it is affirming. You could pick any of her word on any of the 300 plus pages and turn them into a mantra. You could find inspiration and advice in any of the fifteen chapters. As you read you become so inspired that before you know it, you are at the end, and you only have one thing to say,

Yes. Yes. Hell Yes.

This is not a paid or sponsored review. 
I just like to read and I love all things Shonda Rhimes.

I am always with you...

Social media makes me feel better about myself. Not many can say that, but rarely a day goes by that I don't see a post on Instagram or Facebook that is showing the min numbing difficulties surrounding motherhood. Posts that highlight the trials and tribulations that fell the modern mother. Spilled milk, late for school, refused dinners, literal wall climbing, mothers locking themselves in the bathroom for a moment of peace. It's all out there. And I love it. It's changed motherhood for me. It's made me realize that I'm not alone. Even when I feel alone in the chaos and disappointment, I can see proof that I'm not. That sense of camaraderie and community compels me to share more of myself. Leads me to put more of my own failures on the line so that just in case some one feels like they are royally effing up this thing called motherhood, they will know they are not.

Because at any given time I'm one upping you in that department. At any given moment on earth there are a dozen other mothers effing up too. Because you are not alone. I'm with you. I am always with you.

Two weeks ago I posted this picture of our "100 Days of School" Project. Let me side bar for a minute and quote my best friend who said, "100 days of school projects make me want to slit my throat". I can't deny that isn't a factual statement. I didn't celebrate the 100th day of school and I turned out fine, my parents turned out fine too. In any case, this new generation of children, along with this new generation of parents, have the 100th day of school to celebrate with projects and food crafts and in my case, another way to royally fail as a mother. 

In my defense I had this project planned out for weeks. I had made a similar project for Caitlin's 100th day of school, so I knew it would be quick and easy. I had bought all of the supplies the week before along with all the Valentine's Candy to get us to Valentine's Day. You see, I was on it, I was organized, or so I thought. As it turns out, I can't read letters from the teacher very well. I thought the project was due on Thursday the 3rd. It was due on the 3rd, but the 3rd was Wednesday. Of course I didn't realize this until we were in the car on our way to school and I said it's due tomorrow the 3rd, and Caitlin said, "No mom, today is the 3rd". Shit. 

I was so angry at myself. I ranted and raved and muttered choice words under my breath. I almost cried, then proceeded to apologize to Mackenzie over and over. She finally said, "Mommy it's okay, just bring it tomorrow". In my mind I had ruined the 100th day of school, which for the record wasn't until Friday so I still had a few days. Which didn't matter to me, because I still felt like an asshole. I walked Mackenzie to class and did what any self respecting parent would do... I lied.

I lied to a kindergarten teacher about forgetting "our" homework. Just like I did to my college professors when I drank too much the night before and didn't bring in the paper that was due. This time I couldn't blame it on my printer breaking, or my alarm not going off in enough time, or any of those college excuses. This time I lied and blamed myself for forgetting the project at home, and having to go to an appointment that didn't exist so I could go home and put it together, then bring it after school at pick up. The real truth was, the project: 100 lollipops, a Styrofoam ball and a galvanized bucket: were still sitting in the Walmart bag in my office. The truth was I thought I had one more day to complete a project I had known about for three weeks. The truth was, there were 101 more important things that had to be done before I could concentrate on the 100 days of school project. Damn. How's that for the truth?

It all worked out. The teacher "believed" my story, I say that loosely. I'm pretty sure she could see right through me, but was nice enough not to question it. The project got their before Friday. The kids loved the lollipops. Everyone was a winner. Mackenzie learned that her mother is human before she is anything else, and will probably make mistakes her entire life. I learned that no matter how organized I am, I will always have to prioritize, procrastinate, and sometimes lie to a kindergarten teacher. I learned that I am not alone in motherhood fails. For every fail I have there are two or three others failing at something too. The degree of failure is relative to the individual mother, meaning that one's spilled milk is another's flushed mascara in the toilet or boycott of foods that are orange. The next evening at Girl Scouts the mom's pow-wowed for a bit and I told them my 100 Days story, and we all laughed. Everyone had a story about that particular week. Missed opportunities, mistakes made in haste, forgetfulness, cereal for dinner. No one is immune to the little failures, those little blips that knock us off balance just so. It's the life of a parent, and certainly the life of a mother. We recover, we always recover, but it's most important to know that we are not alone. We are never alone in this journey.

Because even when you feel you have effed it up royally before eight o'clock in the morning... Girl, I'm here too. Effing it up with you. 

Because you are not alone, and I will always be with you.

This week... {Three Things Thursday}

New year. New me. New you. New goals. One major goal this year is to engage this wonderful blogging community better. What better way than to begin a new link up with some blog friends! Together, the three of us came up with Three Things Thursday. Just three things to talk or write about. Five seemed like too many and "one thing" was like we weren't even trying! So any three things that are on your mind. Any three pictures from Instagram. Three complaints about your day/week. Three of your favorite treats. Seriously. Any three things! So write it. Publish it. Yell it from the mountain tops! 

Just be sure you come back and link it up here!

For some extra fun follow us on Instagram for some three things posts! 

Use the #threethingsthursday, and let's start talking!

Today we've invited Alissa from Diary of an Addict to join us. Alissa is a Southern California #GirlBoss with an eye for style. When she's not busy with her business Pollinate Media or writing for her fantastic lifestyle blog, you can find her on Instagram with the cutest kids in the west! Thanks Alissa for blessing us with your blog knowledge and your presence! We are so lucky to have you!!

Three things this week:

On Saturday the Hubbs helped me pick up 400 cases of Girl Scout cookies. There are 12 boxes per case so... You do the math. It is officially cookie time and let me tell you people are losing their damn minds for some Thin Mints. I have to say I don't mind because all the money goes to the troop. Cookies take six weeks and for most leaders it feels like six years. Still all jokes aside it goes for an excellent cause and we are able to make scouts available to girls whether they can pay or not. Which is pretty awesome.

This damn book. I'm not a fan of Sci-Fi., but I read about The Martian a couple of years ago in Entertainment Weekly when it was being made into a movie. It sounded interesting, but also kind of boring. It didn't seem like my kind of book or movie... Then I saw the book with the movie cover at Target, and I'm a sucker for movie covers. Then it's Matt Damon, and really, how do you say no to the boy who will always be Will? Then I opened the book and said I'll try a chapter and see... Ten chapters later I couldn't put it down and could have, I would have read all night! Hoping to finish it by Sunday so I can watch the movie!

This girl. This one right here. She pulled her tooth out again, all by herself. She had been working on it for days. I had been helping too, but she was too afraid to let me pull it. So finally Monday night it was just bugging her too much and she just pulled it. Her exact words were, "I got it" and held it up for me to see. No blood. No tears. Just pride. 
The next morning she walked in my room with her two dollars from the Tooth Fairy and deadpanned,
"All that work and all I got was two dollars".
Guess the Tooth Fairy needs to up her game!
I took this picture the next day because I cannot get enough of this giant hole that little tooth left. I just want to freeze this face for awhile. With the wild hair and that hole where a tooth will grow in before I know it. Everyone has a picture like this from their childhood, messy hair, missing teeth. It's like a rite of passage. I just may frame this one. 

There are my Three Things for this Thursday. What's up in your corner of the world?
Don't forget to link up with us!

What I Read: Anything Goes on a Friday Night

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Anything Goes on a Friday Night, written by Sara Daniell, is a book filled with drama on par with an episode of Keeping up with the Kardishians. I’ll be honest, this isn’t the kind of book that I usually read. I’m all for YA fiction, but high school drama isn’t usually the type of YA fiction I dig. Cancer teens, teenage vampires and werewolves, teens killing each other or rebelling the Capitol, or teenage wizards, those are my kind of YA novels. Just a human gal with more problems that Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen ever had? Not so much. And while this wasn’t my favorite read, this book did have some really great moments. There were great instances of humor and sass from the female lead which is my bread and butter. There was just enough romantic build up and climax that was perfect for any romance novel (Harlequin style I might add, good for you Sara Daniell). There were also characters that were written really well. This just wasn’t my kind of book, but I would recommend it to my teenaged cousin and all her friends.They love things heavy with drama and Snapchat.

So much happens to Elena (Ellie to her friends) in the first nine chapters of this book that I honestly questioned if she would survive the book. I get that teenagers are met with strife, but this just felt like more drama and tumult for one individual to handle. This felt like Real Housewives "Small Texas Town". I understand that there was a level of suspense, drama, and mystery that was necessary to get Ellie to (Spoiler Alert) Finn, but I was waiting for a town devastating tornado. That is like the only plot twist that didn’t happen to poor Ellie.

In case you need a quick rundown of issues that faced dear Ellie and her friends here are a few:
Drug use
Alcohol use
Cheating boyfriends
Domestic Violence
The casual use of the “F” word among other curse words
Sex and foreplay (mostly dealing with virginity)

For me, none of these things bothered me at all, but they might bother you. They may also make you think twice before letting your teen read this book. I understand that the target audience for this particular story is 17-34, but some mamas out there may not want their 17 year old reading this knowing what kind of “adult” issues are discussed. 

In the end the best part of this story is the one between Ellie and Finn. The build up, the heartache, the attempt to find their places as individuals and then in a relationship were familiar and relatable . They faced many trials as a couple but those felt organic. Their developing relationship was well written. This was my favorite part of the book.

For all the trials that Ellie faced, I did like her as a character. She didn't always express her anger and disappointment as I may had at that age, but she was a strong character. Good student, tried to remain responsible, and even when she was contemplating making a decision based on her guy, she was still level headed about it. I was disappointed that there was never an adult character in her life that panned out or developed into an ally. I get that sometimes that happens in a teens life, and that may be the reason the book ends like it does (don’t worry, no one dies). Still, I would have liked to have seen one adult (her boss perhaps) step up and mentor her in a way I feel she desperately needed.

This was a quick and easy read and honestly most teens will love it because of the drama. I’m sure 16 or 17 year old me would have loved this book.

For more info or to buy a copy for yourself, click here.

Three Things Thursday {What Stops Me}

New year. New me. New you. New goals. One major goal this year is to engage this wonderful blogging community better. What better way than to begin a new link up with some blog friends! Together, the three of us came up with Three Things Thursday. Just three things to talk or write about. Five seemed like too many and "one thing" was like we weren't even trying! So any three things that are on your mind. Any three pictures from Instagram. Three complaints about your day/week. Three of your favorite treats. Seriously. Any three things! So write it. Publish it. Yell it from the mountain tops! 
Just be sure you come back and link it up here!

For some extra fun follow us on Instagram for some three things posts! 
Use the #threethingsthursday, and let's start talking!

This month on BlogHer, the Writing Lab prompts all have to do with Passion. Makes sense since February is known as the most romantic month. I love writing prompts because sometimes I need a little inspiration when I find myself at the keyboard. I know myself better than to think I could write everyday, but today's prompt really struck a chord. Today's prompt is as follows:

If your work is not your passion, what stops you from pursuing a different field?

You see my work is retail. I've been a retail warrior since I graduated from Fresno State. For years it really was my passion. Then I became a mom and all my "passions" changed. Especially my creative passions. After becoming a mom I discovered I loved to write. Back then it was about motherhood. Today I love to write about everything. It's very rare for me to go a full day without writing at least one good sentence, sometimes if only in my head. This has been happening and developing for over five years. Yes this blog is five years old. During every one of those years I've been talking about writing a book. Every year I say, "This is the year", and every year passes with zero books to show. So what is holding me back? Today I've picked the three things that stick out most, when I really ask myself.

What's holding me back from pursuing this passion? What stops me from just doing it?

I'm afraid. Of rejection. Of failure. Of criticism. I'm afraid to start and never finish. I'm afraid that I'm not really a writer. Fear grips me every time. Fear talks me out of taking the plunge and writing more than a few thousand words at a time.

I put off writing like my life depends on it. I'll get really motivated and organized and set up a writing schedule for myself and BOOM. I find 1001 things to do. I'll do the dishes. I'll do the laundry. In a moment of supreme procrastination I even folded laundry so I'd have an excuse to skip writing. It's awful admitting that, but it's true. My mother likes to say I do better under pressure, but procrastination and fear are best buddies. Most times I turn to procrastination, when in reality, I'm just plain scared.

I still have a hard time saying I'm a writer. Writers get published. Writers win awards. Writers are beloved and iconic. Writers see their work on pages and on shelves. In my mind these are things that are required of Writers. I'm not any of those things, so am I a writer? A good friend asked me once, "Do you put sentences together that people like to read?". Yes I do was my reply. "Then you're a writer", she deadpanned. Still everyday I talk myself out of writing anything major because I'm convinced there is someone who could do it better.

Three big things that keep me from pursuing my passion. Three big things that all have one thing in common...

They are things I can change.

I can be brave and just go for it. Jump off that cliff and into the world of writing. Lose myself in my words and finally send them off to be judged and criticised. I can open myself up and accept rejection when it comes. I can scrap that story and write another, or rewrite until my fingers bleed. I can do those things, I know I can. I just have to kick fear out of the house.

I can make more time for writing. Today in fact I carried a notebook all day and did some of my best writing in weeks while waiting at school pick up. I don't have to sit at a keyboard to write, it's not a requirement. I have even emailed myself intros and story ideas. Yes there will be laundry and dishes and little people who need a bedtime story, but I have to stop putting off what is calling my name. Write it. Just write it and stop procrastinating.

I can tell myself that I'm a writer. I'm going to hit publish and some of you are going to read it. It may not be millions or even hundreds, but it's published and someone somewhere will read it. I can repeat it, over and over so I will believe it. I'm a writer, because its a passion that keeps me up at night, that makes me long for waterproof ink in the shower, and has me finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. I'm a writer, damn it,  because I have a story to tell, ahem, stories (plural) to tell. And someone, somewhere will read them. Even if those someones are just my mom and a couple of friends.

I have a passion, it's writing. There are things that hold me back, but they can be changed.

I can change them.

What's your passion? Are you doing it, and if not, what stops you? You can change them, you know.

Don't forget! It's #threethingsthursday