Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: March 2014

Motivated Monday: Pin-spiration.

I hope everyone had an excellent weekend! I did, which is why I had no time to write a full post, so here's a little Monday Pin-spiration for you. 
Today is also the last day to enter in my March Sponsor Giveaway. If you have entered yet, click here to win some awesome prizes! Happy Monday!


Meet one of my April Sponsors, Zobia!

My name is Zobia Alvi, I am a freelance writer, blogger, beginner in website design, small business owner, and currently in the works of my publishing my own fiction novel. My blog showcases the journey of all my projects and how each of them corresponds to my life outside of my work!

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is writing my thoughts out and then receiving e-mails, comments, tweets; etc from other bloggers who want to share their thoughts on the same topics!

What motivates you?
I work on my blog, business, and novel at night and attend school full-time along with my part-time office job during the day so really my motivation is coming home to my family. I spend too much time working and that few hour time frame between my afternoon activities and my evening/late-night activities makes me happy to just come home and relax with my family.

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
I would definitely choose Mark Zuckerberg (the creator of Facebook) as he is someone I aspire to be as a future entrepreneur and tech-enthusiast. Plus, he's a young billionaire, anyone would love to be in his shoes for a day!

What song are you currently obsessed with?
The song I am currently obsessed with is located on my blog's sidebar. The song is called "What Would I Do Without You" by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors. It's a song that was once played in my favorite show How I Met Your Mother. It's a beautiful song, take a listen!

What makes you awesome?
See just last week I was diagnosed with a special condition called Mephobia. It's a condition where I live in fear of becoming so awesome that the human race can't handle it and everyone dies. LOL! Not true, but if you Google it, it actually exists. I think my attitude makes me awesome, for the most part on any given day you'll see me with a huge smile on my face. It could be the worst day ever, but I will still find a way to smile!

For more from Zobia, be sure to follow her:
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Allegiant (Divergent #3) {Book Review}

It was so strange going to see the Divergent movie after finishing this book because I kept thinking about things that would happen later. It definitely put an interesting twist on things. I pretty much whizzed through the last book in the Divergent series because I was so eager to see what Veronica Roth would do at the end. Like I said in my Insurgent review, I was underwhelmed as far as comparing the action and overall awesomeness to Divergent, but I didn't think it was bad. The third book had fans even more riled up than the second and Goodreads reviews took a dive, but I went in with an open mind.

Favorite Quotes
“There is a difference between admitting and confessing. Admitting involves softening, making excuses for things that cannot be excused; confessing just names the crimes at its full severity.” 

“Yeah, sometimes life really sucks," she says. "But you know what I'm holding on for? ... The moments that don't suck."

“The first step to loving someone else is to recognize the evil in ourselves, so we can forgive them.” 

Book Synopsis from Goodreads
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

My Thoughts
Allegiant wasn't short on action. There was a lot to take in in this book, but I didn't find it overwhelming like I did for Insurgent. I really liked that this book was told from the perspective of both Tris and Tobias. I felt like I got a sense of what Tobias believes in and learned his way of thinking and his view on everything. He's lived a tough life, so I spent a lot of the book sympathizing with him rather than with Tris. Tobias has been my favorite character throughout the series, and I found myself being more interested in his thoughts and what actions he wanted to take. I also felt more connected with the characters in this book. There was lots character development, and I think a lot of that has to do with having the stories told from two different perspectives.

Even though I found Tris to be a little annoying in this book, she wasn't nearly as annoying as she was in the last book. She didn't have a death wish, and she was actually thinking logically, which made me start to like her more again. In spite of her flaws, I do think Tris is actually a good person for young people to look up to. She's independent and willing to fight for the people she loves, even the people who are undeserving like Peter who tried to kill her in the first book and Caleb who betrayed her and almost contributed to her death in the second book. 

A good portion of this novel focuses on the relationship between Tris and Tobias. They start to differ in their beliefs a little bit because of two attractive people introduced in this book, Matthew and Nita. Luckily, the author didn't create any love triangles or quadrilaterals or anything like that, but the two of them did create just a little jealousy between the couple. Beyond that, they also travel down different paths for a bit because Tobias is having a lot of inner struggles, and of course I sympathized with him. 

This book exhausted my emotions. I found myself sitting up at attention during some parts, trying to figure out what would happen. The entire book was pretty unpredictable though, especially the ending. I think the ending was the easily the worst part of the book. On one hand, I can understand why Veronica Roth did what she did, but at the same time, I think it was a bit dramatic and unnecessary to end the book that way. It was like they were working up to nothing, but at the same time, not really. Okay, I'm starting to get cryptic and make absolutely no sense, but to those of you who have already read the book, you know what I mean.

I give this book a 4 out of 5. The ending has a big impact on that rating. I thought the action was amazing in this book compared to Insurgent, but the ending is what you remember most about novels, and I was very unsatisfied with a huge part of this ending, though everything did end up being okay in a way. The rest of the book was pretty excellent though and kept me at the edge of my seat. 

For more information about Veronica Roth and the Divergent series, go check out her blog or follow her on Twitter!


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Eleanor & Park {Book Review}

Eleanor & Park has been on my list of books to read ever since I heard about it. I judge books by their covers even though I'm not supposed to, and this book was no exception. I thought the book cover was just adorable. I knew it would be a story I enjoyed because it seemed like a cute teen love story with some type of music incorporation. What more could you want?
Favorite Quotes

“It was the nicest thing she could imagine. It made her want to have his babies and give him both of her kidneys.” 

“Nothing before you counts," he said. "And I can't even imagine an after."

“The first time he'd held her hand, it felt so good that it crowded out all the bad things. It felt better than anything had ever hurt.” 

Eleanor & Park tells the story of an unlikely pair of high school students falling in love for the first time in 1986. Eleanor is the new girl at Park's school (and on his bus), and their lives just sort of fell together when Park let Eleanor sit on the bus with him when none of the other kids would. Their friendship started when Park noticed Eleanor reading along with his comic books then Park decided to let Eleanor borrow a few comics to read on her own. Mind you, they hadn't spoke two words to each other up to this point. Time together on the bus eventually led to time together outside of school because Eleanor was determined to spend as little time as possible in her broken home with her awful step-father, selfish mother and naive siblings. 

One thing I loved about this story was that the two main characters aren't the typical teens you read about in young adult novels. Park is a Korean who loved rock music and comic books who came from a relatively wealthy family, and Eleanor is an overweight redhead who came from two broken families. When I say unlikely pair, I mean unlikely pair. Even the people in the book wouldn't have put them together. I spent the whole book rooting for them because everyone else around them was against their relationship. 
Eleanor & Park took me through a rollercoaster of emotions. I was frustrated, hurt, happy, sad, mad, excited. This book will make you feel everything and really take you through the stages of finding your first true love, both the good parts and the bad parts. I loved the honesty the two of them shared with each other and how they wouldn't let anyone stand in the way of their improbable romance. Bonus: the story was told from both of their perspectives, so you really get to know each of the characters on an incredibly close personal level.
Without giving anything away, I will say that the ending was pretty unexpected. Everything about it was unpredictable, but understandable. 
I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. It was a great, quick read, and I'm a sucker for a strange love story. 
For more about author Rainbow Rowell and her book, Eleanor & Park, check out her website, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Don't forget to enter my first giveaway! You can find it here

I'm also participating in another giveaway with my friend, Raewyn, from Be A Warrior Queen. You can enter using the Rafflecopter below!
Raewyn @ Be a Warrior Queen // Erica @ Peacock Review // 

Here are some enticing images of the gift sets ;) 

Pamper You Gift Set

Being You Gift Set
Plus you know, the other awesome Starbucks and ad space goodies! 

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Motivated Mondays: 10 Reasons to Smile.

Some days, it's easier to just mope around when you're sad or let anger take over you after something awful happens. It takes a strong person to push those feelings aside and try to turn negative situations into positive ones or just forget about the situation altogether and think of positive things. If you're having a bad day and you're having trouble looking for a reason to smile, consult my list of reasons why you should turn that frown upside down!
1. It's finally spring! That means lots of sunshine and pretty flowers.
2. Someone in this world loves you. Maybe even multiple someones.
3. You're never fully dressed without a smile, so you should smile...unless you want to feel naked. Then that's cool too.
4. It's almost time for shorts and sundresses.
5. Chocolate.
6. These adorable animals exist.
{1 | 2 | 3 | 4}
7. Because there's a song for every emotion out there, whether you're happy, lonely, upset, frustrated, angry, apathetic, or bored.
8. Your life is awesome (and even if it doesn't feel awesome right now, it's been full of awesome moments, and there are lots more awesome moments to come).
9. Hugs.
10. Smiling will make you prettier (not that you need any help, hot stuff). 
Don't forget to smile today! Happy Monday!
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March Sponsor Giveaway! {CLOSED}

I was so lucky to be sponsored by some of the most awesome ladies in blogland, so I decided to celebrate with my first giveaway! Meet the seven lovely ladies below! Good luck!

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Unintentionally made it look like I was eyeing Raewyn's gelato. Really though - that looks delish.

Tiffany @ Endless Bliss | Raewyn @ Be A Warrior Queen
Emily @ Designs By Emily F | Angelic @ Simply Sinova | Julia @ EternalGirl Shop
Anna @ Flawlessly Flawed | Neisha @ Neisha's View | Janeen @ OkSkinny

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Oh, Just PinchMe!

I love sampling new things. It usually leads me to finding my new favorite things. I got the opportunity to sample a few things through a company called PinchMe thanks to a blogger network that I'm a party of called Her Campus. When I got my samples in the mail, I was pretty excited:

Clear Shampoo
I tried out the shampoo almost immediately after opening the package. It smelled so good! I had heard of the Clear brand before, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to try it or not. A lot of shampoos and conditioners react different to my hair because it's so different. Plus, it's crazy thick, and I had to use almost the whole bottle.

The only thing I don't like about sampling shampoo and conditioner is that they usually send you one or the other. I always feel like hair care products are much more effective if you pair them with the same type of shampoo and/or conditioner. 

That aside, when I slathered this stuff onto my hair, the wonderful aroma filled my nose. I just loved how it smelled both while I was washing my hair and after I got out of the shower. I could already tell this product was unique because it wasn't like the runny, translucent shampoo that people usually use that looks like it could be body wash. It was opaque, thick and creamy. It felt awesome in my hair. It's definitely a shampoo I would like to try paired with the same conditioner.

South Beach Diet Snack Bar
To be honest, I was not excited to try the South Beach Diet snack bar. The word "diet" kind of threw me off, but the word "chocolate" got me. I'm also a sucker for anything that has caramel in it. I ate this bar for breakfast at work one day, and boy, was it yummy. It was a pleasant surprise. The taste was amazing, and it didn't taste healthy at all. It tasted chocolate-y and caramel-y. If I was on a diet , I wouldn't be opposed to eating those every morning. It was a delicious breakfast snack, but it certainly didn't satisfy my morning hunger. I had to eat something else too.

Here's a selfie of me enjoying it in the office.
I had never heard of the Reviver or anything like it, but I think it's an awesome concept. It's a dry deodorant for your clothes. So if you happen to be on the run all day running errands or you spent all night at a smoky bar, you can use the Reviver to eliminate those odors. How awesome is that? When I opened the little package, I immediately smelled this fresh aroma. I used it after taking my dog for a walk, and my clothes smelled really awesome afterward. The good thing about it is that it's reusable and super small, so it can go with me everywhere. I've always been paranoid about smelling bad, so really, this thing is perfect for me.

I'm so excited about all three of the awesome samples that I received! For more information on Clear Shampoo, check out their website. For more info on the snack bar, click here. For more info on the Reviver, check out their site here. To receive your own PinchMe samples, visit their website here.

Disclaimer: I received compensation and free samples for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Meet one of my March sponsors, Angelic!

I'm Angelic and I blog over at www.simplysinova.com, a lifestyle blog that's all about my record collecting, fashion, beauty, and pop culture. When I'm not blogging I can be found watching Wes Anderson films, listening to Lana Del Rey and Coldplay and gushing over french bulldogs.

What is your favorite thing about blogging? 
Blogging allows me to express myself which is something that is priceless to me. I also love meeting and connecting with new bloggers. I find a great deal of my inspiration from my fellow bloggers.

What motivates you? 
My dreams of being a professional journalist and screenwriter motivate me everyday. 

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why? 
Kate Middleton! Have you seen her clothes?

What song are you currently obsessed with? 
"Falling" by HAIM! I could listen to these girls all day long!

What makes you awesome? 
My unique personality. I've never been one to follow trends or hop on bandwagons. I am who I am and I love it! 

To hear more from Angelic, follow her via the links below:
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Insurgent (Divergent #2) {Book Review}

I haven't been reading as much lately, so I decided to ease myself into reading mode with an audio book. I have been putting off reading the rest of the Divergent series because I've heard a few people say that the second and third books are underwhelming compared to the third. 

Memorable quotes:

“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” 

“The truth has a way of changing people's plans.” 

“People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.”

Insurgent by Veronica Roth is the second book in the Divergent series. This is the book summary from Veronica Roth's blog:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Let me just start by saying that I agree with what a lot of people told me before reading this book. I did find it just a little underwhelming. I didn't hate it by any means, but the first book was so fast-paced and action-packed. This booked contained a lot more planning for attacks and strategic dialogue. Not a bad thing, just different. I was hoping for more edge-of-my-seat action. 
One thing I did love about the book is that it picked up right where Divergent left off. I like when authors do this because some authors spend way too much time recapping the story from the first book. I'm a firm believer in thinking this is unnecessary. If someone wants a recap, then they can just go read the first book.
The main character, Tris, actually started getting on my nerves a bit. I understand that she just lost her parents at the end of the first book, but her reaction to everything happening around her was not very Dauntless. It's like she developed a death wish and just started being careless about all of her actions. She was pretty selfish throughout most of the book, and I really started getting annoyed by her. 
I did enjoy the up and down of Tris and Tobias's relationship. It wasn't the main focus of the book, but there was a lot more focus on it in this novel compared to this first. Tris was being kind of dim about Tobias pretty much the whole time. I mean, give the guy a break. You know you can trust him; just tell him your plans! I don't know why she kept feeling the need to lie to and keep things from him. Clearly I'm Team Tobias in this situation. He's still my favorite character.
I had a few up and down emotions throughout the book. Like I said, it's not action-packed like the first book, but there was enough action to keep me intrigued and make me want to keep listening. I had a lot of inner battles trying to decide who and who not to trust and whose side I should be on. There's also a bunch of character development in this book. Yeah, you learn a lot about Tris and Four, but you also find out so much about Marcus, Peter, Tina and a mystery character that I don't want to reveal here, but it was a shocker when I found out about her (there's a hint. It's a girl.). 
The only part that I was really sitting at attention for was the very end. I don't want to give anything away, but there were about a million different sides to be on in this book, and all of the main characters were on different sides, fighting for different things, and I was most interested in what Tris was fighting for. That whole debacle was very confusing to me, and I'm really interested in finding out the importance of what was found at the end of this book. 
I give this book a 4 out of 5. There was a lot of new information to keep up with in this book because, like I said, everyone was fighting for different things. Compared to the first book, Insurgent is a bit of a let down, but I think it's still worth reading. I'm excited to see how Roth decided to end the series.
For more information about Veronica Roth and the Divergent series, go check out her blog or follow her on Twitter!
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Motivated Mondays: Let's Talk Religion

One thing I never talk about on the blog is religion, but I figure I can just bring it up once and be done with it. Okay? Okay.

I believe in God and consider myself to be a Christian, but I'm still trying to figure out what that means. When I was younger, my family never made me go to church. All I remember about church from when I was little is going with my grandma and going to Ryan's afterward. My family wasn't super religious, so they never pushed me to go to Sunday school or to service regularly. I just went with my grandma when I felt like it. When I moved in with my mom and step-dad, I found that they weren't religious at all. That being said, I never really felt like I had to or needed to go to church or pray or anything like that because if my family didn't, then why should I?

I've gone to several churches throughout my life. I've been to Methodist churches, Baptist churches, Catholic, Church of Christ, Episcopal, African, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational. I'm just a curious person and wanted to see what they were all about. Friends invited me, but I never had a church that I went to regularly.

So why all the skepticism? Why didn't I just jump into the open arms of one of those churches? Honestly, some of the churches just made me feel uncomfortable. Not all of them, but most of the ones I went to. Some of the Christians I know are also the ones I see committing the worst kinds of sins, and I think to myself, "Is that what being a Christian is about? Doing the most horrible things Monday through Saturday, but all of that being erased because you went to church on Sunday?" The world is full of hypocrites, and I've seen some of the worst hypocrisy from people hiding behind their religion. I'm obviously not saying I'm perfect and that I'm not a hypocrite, because I am, but I can say that I haven't committed any sins in the name of God, and I don't use Him as any kind of justification for my actions.

I've also had some really awkward situations with a few churches. I started going to this one church because this guy came up to my friends and me at Sonic after my Halloween party. Sounds sketchy, but I promise it wasn't. This was in high school. I decided to go, and I brought a few friends along. I went there for awhile actually, and it was cool at first, but as soon as the youth leader got me pretty involved, he decided that he could make me do things. He wanted to force me to do this dance in front of a bunch of people. He wanted to force me to give 10% of my paycheck to the church - mind you, I worked at Moe's at the time making minimum wage, and I gave offerings, but he said it wasn't enough. He told me that I was a sinner just because I listened to music that didn't glorify God. He was pushing his religion on me in the wrong way, and I just started to feel uncomfortable. When I stopped going to the church, he blew up my phone, leaving inappropriate voicemails about my sins. That kind of killed it for me.

Not all of my experiences with church have been bad though. I went to this church with one of my close friends in high school, and I really enjoyed it. I even went to Youth Convention with them and had a blast. When I graduated high school, they gave me a Bible with my name embossed in it. They were nice there, and I enjoyed going, but then I left for college. When I was in college, there was an awesome church that I enjoyed going to, but I just never went regularly because I slept in on Sundays.

I guess my problem is that I've had people be turned off to me because of my religious ignorance. And that's what it is - ignorance. I know that. I know it's my fault for not trying to learn everything I can about God and not reading the Bible on the daily. That's why I don't know anything about it. I'm just skeptical to believe something written forever ago that's been translated a million times. I mean, things get lost in translation. That aside, like I said, I have encountered people who dislike me and judge me because I wasn't raised to go to church every Sunday and blindly follow the Bible. It's people like that that make me not want to learn about Christianity. People who judge me because I wasn't raised the same way. 

My step-dad has always told me that if you're a good person and you do good things, you'll be alright, and I've spent my life since high school just trying to do that, regardless of their religious (or not religious) affiliation. I know that everyone sins, but I'd say my sins are pretty minuscule comparatively speaking. I do believe in God, but I'm still trying to figure out what this whole Christianity thing is about.

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Kate Spade Giveaway with Allison Leighann + Friends! {CLOSED}

These 14  beautiful ladies have together to giveaway three amazing prizes!

$100 to Kate Spade
Bow Decal
Half Glitter/Half Pink Canvas

There aren't many rules - participants can be from anywhere!
However, please do not follow someone to just unfollow them a day later.

Entries will be checked!

So please make sure to be honest with your entries. :)
I wish you all good luck and hope you find these women to be as charming and beautiful as I do.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

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Molly: Dog with a Blog.

Hey guys! Molly here. Tiffany, aka mom, made the mistake of leaving her computer signed in, so I snuck in to see what's she's been up to. I've only been living with mom for a month and a half, but we decided that it wasn't too early for me to start calling her "mom." I started off calling her "Tiffany," but she insisted that that was too casual. I tried out "owner," but that didn't go over well. When I started calling her "master," she let that ride for a little while. She said it made her feel powerful or something. I tested the waters with "mom," and she was like "That's it. You can call me nothing else." 

Mom leaves me at home for eight hours a day, and I can't believe this is the first time that I've been on here. I'm so embarrassed by all of the pictures she's been posting of me. If you think that's obnoxious, get a load of all of these selfies:

And that's just the beginning. I guess you can say she's obsessed, but that's okay because I'm obsessed too. Not so long ago I was just one of many dogs in the shelter, and now I'm the only one, and she loves me more than I've ever been loved before. And even though she makes me watch these weird shows on Netflix with her and keeps telling me that I take up too much of the bed (That's so not true, by the way), I love her. 

See? There's so much room left.
So here's what you need to know about me:

-- I'm the cutest dog that ever was. I only say this because mom tells me that about 100 times a day. I never get tired of hearing it though.

-- I don't play with toys. Mom keeps trying to shove them in my face, but I just don't get it. I'm too old for that.

-- I hate getting dressed up. Too bad mom hasn't figured that out yet. I've already heard talk about matching Halloween costumes.
-- I'm a stubborn eater. She keeps trying to get me on a schedule, but I just want to eat when I want, okay? Just give me lots of treats. It's the same thing.

-- I love sleeping. That's what I should be doing right now. That's what I will be doing when I'm done writing this.

-- Being outside is pure bliss. It doesn't matter what the weather is like. I just looooove being outside. I wasn't a big fan of slipping all over that ice last month though.

-- I love to lick things. I don't know why. Fetish maybe? I just need to know what everything tastes like!

-- I don't do tricks. Tricks are for kids.

That's pretty much it. I'm gonna go roll around on mom's my bed until I fall asleep now. Until next time!

Jade and Oak
Meet one of my March sponsors, Julia!
Puella Aeterna is the official blog for Eternal Girl, a jewelry and gifts shop specializing in hand-drawn necklaces and greeting cards. Each hand-drawn item features an object that has specific symbolism to henna tradition. "Puella Aeterna" means Eternal Girl in Latin, hence the blog title.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Connecting with other bloggers. I love to see other blogger's styles and shared interests.

What motivates you?
My shop and jewelry motivate me to blog, and blogging lets me reach out to people across the country and the world.

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Probably someone who travels for a living - maybe a photographer or a scientific geographer. I would love to see more of the world and nature.

What song are you currently obsessed with?
I'm definitely obsessed with "Counting Stars" by One Republic. They play it on the radio so much, but I still love it!

What makes you awesome?
Everything. Seriously, everything about the world intertwines - the past, the present, the future all connect; and that is precisely what makes each of us unique.

To hear more from be sure to follow her via the following links and don't forget to check out her Etsy shop!
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