Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: 2015

Quarter-Life Crises and Making Changes

quarter life crisis
Something I've been trying to figure out lately is why no one tells you how hard your 20's are. I mean, seriously, there are millions of people in the world who have already survived their 20's, yet no one seems to want to offer any kind of warning about how much your 20's really take a toll on you. 

A little over a month ago, I felt like I was at the end of my rope. My anxiety was through the roof, and I decided to go to the doctor to figure out what was happening. Panic attacks were something serious. I was in my head a lot. The self-doubt was never ending, and it was like every single part of my life stressed me out. I cried a lot by myself and fell into a mini depression because I just felt so lost. 

When I went to the doctor, he diagnosed me with ADHD, something I definitely wasn't expecting. The ironic thing is that one of the side effects of ADHD is heightened anxiety, but somehow, once I started taking Vyvanse, my anxiety seemed to lower a little bit. My theory is that I was finally told that it wasn't just me. There was something "wrong" with me that was fixable, and maybe that helped to ease my mind a bit. 

While that's all well and good, I still felt so, so lost. I was still in my head, constantly questioning all of my actions and trying to figure out if I was wasting my time in every aspect of my life. 

What's my real passion? How do I figure out how to turn that into a career?
What's the end game for my job? Will I stay with the company forever? 
Why am I still in Louisiana?
How do I know if I'm dating the person I'm meant to be with forever?
What do I need to do to be truly happy?

That's just the tip of the iceberg. I felt like life was playing a game with me and tossing so many questions in my direction. 

Recently, I made a few decisions that I believe have helped steer me in the right direction. Surely I can't be the only one in my mid-twenties feeling lost with no clue where to go from here. I don't know what my passions are. I don't know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I feel like I don't even know who I am, and I'm having such a hard time trying to figure out how the hell to figure it out. 

Again I ask, why doesn't anyone tell you how hard your 20's are?It's a freaking rollercoaster of emotions and confusion and stress.

All that said, I feel like the decisions I've made have put me in a better place. I've been feeling so happy lately because I really feel like the world is my oyster and I can do whatever I want, but at the same time, I'm freaking out because I just don't know what I want. 

Are you a 20-something? Have you ever felt like you were having a quarter-life crisis? What advice do you have for people trying to figure out their lives?

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Baby, You're My Summer Jam

Summer is upon us, y'all. Even though summer technically doesn't start until Sunday, it's been feeling like summer for quite some time down in Louisiana. The humidity is outrageous, the heat is unbearable and the sun has come out to play. 

For a lot of people, summer is synonymous with vacation, and I'm no exception to this. I only have one trip planned for the summer (Chicago for T. Swift, duh), but I'm hoping for a spontaneous road trip or two. And what's the best part of a spontaneous road trip? Picking the music! Okay, well, maybe that's not the best part, but having a good summer road trip playlist is definitely a fun way to get excited about your trip. These are a few of my current favorite summer road trip jams. 

If y'all follow me on Twitter, then you know my love for Alex & Sierra runs deep. They recently followed me on Twitter, and I took a screenshot because it made me so unbelievably happy. These two are so, so talented. I can listen to their entire album from start to finish. "Just Kids" is one my faves because it's a feel good, happy song about just living life.

Favorite lyrics: This is our turn now / Nothing left to think about / Baby, let your hair down

Y'all can thank Colleen for this one. I first heard this song when she and her friend, Kory, did a sassy dance to it. After that, it was over. I've been listening to this ever since. This song just makes me want to dance! 

Favorite lyrics: Uh huh, see me in the spot like / "Ooh I love your style" / Uh huh, show me what you got / Cause I don't wanna waste my time

One of my co-workers introduced me to ODESZA, and this is easily my favorite song by them. I've probably listened to it every day since I first heard it. It's just hard not to love it. 

Favorite lyrics: I always fall for confidence / And your compliments look good on me

I literally love all of the lyrics in this song. I decided it's my temporary anthem. 

Favorite lyrics: Some people want me to be heads or tails / I say no way, try again another day / I should be happy, not tipping the scales / I just won't lay, letting my life get away

I'm so glad Hilary is back, because I love her. She's just as beautiful as ever, and even though I wasn't a huge fan of her hair at first, I'm kind of loving it in this video. I can totally picture myself driving with the windows down and this song blasting. I only say this because it's already happened.

Favorite lyrics: Turn the lights down low and kiss me in the dark / Cause when you're touching me / Baby, I see sparks

This song is so funky, and I can't help but move my shoulders to the beat when I hear it. 

Favorite lyrics: See the answer is this / If I wanna be free / I gotta stop playin' round and runnin' from me

Of course I had to include at least one song about summer. I mentioned this song last year when I shared my favorite songs about summer. I just adore Jessie James and "Boys in the Summer" so much. The music video is too cute. This song is the perfect addition to all girls' summer road trip playlists. 

Favorite lyrics: It's hot as hell, even in the shade / Squeeze you a little bit of lemonade / Wearing next to nothing and we like it

What are some of your favorite summer road trip songs? Link them up below, and see what songs other people are jamming out to. Happy summer!

Meet Erica from Coming Up Roses!
Erica is one of my blogging besties, and she's absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. Trust me, y'all. This girl has a heart of gold, and she's also one of the quirkiest and most adorable people I know.

I'm a Philadelphia-based ENFJ with a love for strong coffee, loud laughter, a bold lip and killer shoes. I like starting my day off with prayer, inspirational quotes, YouTube beauty guru videos, and Honey Nut Cheerios and ending with a glass of Cabernet. Coming Up Roses is a hub for inspirational, funny, and pretty things every MWF. For essentially another in-person BFF, come hang out with me on YouTube!

Get your feet wet with these posts:
"You are enough."
 The (Advanced) Beginner's Guide to Budgeting
13 Ways to know he's a Keeper
 Leopard Booties, 10 ways

What's your favorite thing about summer?
I love that I get to camp out at the fiance's and come home every night to cook dinner together and catch up on Netflix. I love heading to the parents' house for the weekend to lay poolside and wedding plan with my momma, and I actually love being on more of a "real world" routine with work, so I know when everything is slotted to get done!

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Life is going to keep moving forward regardless of the obstacles you face, so take everything in stride, focus, and follow your dreams with the full intention of getting there. That, and with regards to blogging, "keep your eyes on your own paper!" It can be far too easy to start comparing yourself to everyone under the sun, but that's just toxic and never leave you feeling good. Just focus on always bettering yourself and helping others, and you will see progress!

What's something that you're passionate about?
Inspiring others to believe in themselves and create full, joyful lives. I really wish my full-time career could be "inspiring people." I just want to go around making people's days all the time and make a life out of that. Is that possible??

What are you most looking forward to about married life?
Getting to wake up and fall asleep every night with my best friend. And more regular toothbrush wars. I'm also really excited to change my last name and embrace this challenge of living selflessly for another person. It's really intimidating to me, but so so beautiful. 

What's something that always makes you happy?
Watching Miranda Sings videos on YouTube. Actually though. I just have such a respect for Colleen's acting abilities - she never breaks character! The former theater girl in me is screaming with sheer bliss every time I watch her.
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Favorite Childhood Movie Characters | Guest Post

Special thanks to Emily from Little Flecks of Gold for sharing her favorite childhood movie characters in today's guest post!

It’s only natural that our favorite childhood movies will have a new meaning to us when we’re older, it’s always a pleasant surprise when you realize your favorite childhood movies are filled with strong female characters and inspirational storylines, not just slyly mature dialogue. Lately, when I’ve rewatched a few of my favorite childhood movies, I’ve been able to see the characters that influenced me the most as a child, whether it was to improve, stand up for, or simply be myself. While I have many I could add to this list, here are just a few of my favorites:

Lily Moskowitz
I was obsessed with Princess Diaries as a child and decided to rewatch it a couple months ago. While I always wanted to be Princess Mia as a child, this time around, I found myself admiring her best friend instead. Not only is Lily incredibly loyal to and supportive of Mia, she has an immense amount of self-respect for any woman, let alone a high schooler (I wanted to cheer when she tells Jeremiah “The way to a girl’s heart is not by treating her like a vending machine.”)

The title of “favorite Disney princess” was on frequent rotation during my childhood, but Belle wins it by a landslide now. Beauty and the Beast focuses very little on the superficial aspects that a lot of other movies do. Besides the obvious “don’t judge a book by its cover” message in the film, Belle’s knowledge and love of learning is portrayed as one of her best attributes, instead of tiny feet or mile-long hair. I also love that Belle’s story doesn’t revolve around a typical damsel-in-distress storyline, instead the story begins with Belle saving her father from the beast.

Eliza Doolittle
The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady were my favorite musicals as a kid. While I used to love My Fair Lady for the music and costumes (and still do), I’ve come to love it for its inspirational main character. Even though Eliza was raised in poverty, she made a career for herself and took the first opportunity to improve her living conditions, even though it would be demanding. Eliza was determined to become more cultured and worked hard, even when her training was draining and tedious. Although Henry Higgins was condescending and misogynistic towards Eliza, she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself. In the end, Eliza doesn’t change who she is or succumb to social pressure. Instead, she becomes a better version of herself (while rocking some really great hairstyles.)

Luna Lovegood
As someone who watched the Harry Potter movies countless times and read the entire series twice before hitting my teenage years, it figures that it’s been a major influence in my life. While nearly all the female Harry Potter characters belong on this list (except for maybe Cho Chang and Dolores Umbridge), Luna’s been my favorite ever since Order of the Phoenix came out. I was immediately drawn to Luna for her quirky charm and positive attitude. Nothing could keep Luna from being herself and looking on the bright side, which I think is a great lesson for any young girl.

Now that you’ve seen some of my favorite fictional characters, who are some of yours?

Want to see more posts from Emily? Check out her blog, Little Flecks of Gold.

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Ingrid Nilsen is Gay & I Love Her

Ingrid Nilsen came out in a video on her YouTube channel yesterday, and in spite of the video being nearly 20 minutes long, I watched it several times because I was so moved by her bravery and just the rawness of it all. [Scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch!] When I saw the thumbnail for the video, I honestly thought "What?" because I had no idea, and I think that goes to show that even when you make your life public on the internet, so much of yourself is still hidden. 

I've been a viewer of Ingrid's before I even created my own YouTube channel. I love her adorable and bubbly personality and her goofy sayings. She's such an inspiration to, not only me, but also the more than 3 million viewers who are subscribed to her channel. 

Even though, I'm not gay, it doesn't mean I can't relate to some of the struggles that Ingrid faced when trying to mask this part of her. She talks about how society put a stamp of disapproval on being gay, thus building the foundation for a metaphorical prison for her. She then continued to build the prison herself while suppressing her true feelings and her true self. 

I think a lot of people can relate to trying to hide the parts of themselves that they don't want other people to see. It's like everyone has their own idea of what perfection looks like, and there's always someone who is going to complain. As the saying goes, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who doesn't like peaches." 

It's so incredibly brave and moving that Ingrid wanted to share this part of herself with all of the people who essentially allow her to do what she loves for a living. I appreciated the fact that she spoke to her viewers as if they were in the room with her. She shed light on something that needs to be talked about, especially with the current Supreme Court deliberations on same-sex marriage. The amount of love and respect I have for Ingrid has grown tenfold, and I really hope that a lot of good comes out of her being willing to share her story.

If you haven't watched the video yet, grab a box of tissues and hit play. 

What are your thoughts on Ingrid's coming out video?

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Most Anticipated Summer 2015 Book Releases | Guest Post

I read A LOT; like over 100 books a year (150+ last year) a lot so I am always on the hunt for new books! This summer there are tons of new books coming out so I thought I'd put together a list of the ones I'm most excited about! For this list I defined summer as May-September.

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly
they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.When another boy from her past returns to
her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved
, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

To be honest I'd probably read this even if I hadn't read the first book because I LOVE Jenny Han. If you've never read The Summer I Turned Pretty or Burn for Burn series please go do so immediately! This book is a sequel and I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed the first book. I thought it seemed a bit too juvenile but I found myself really getting into the story and I have been impatiently waiting for this sequel for what feels like forever!

Expected Publication Date: May 26, 2015

What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and
hilarious new novel from the authors of Your Perfect Life follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates.

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max,
breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she
goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real
life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips,
and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.
Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince
them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

This book seems like one of those books that's either going to be amazing or I'm going to hate it. I think the premise sounds intriguing and if done right it will be a wonderful read! It's worth noting that most of the reviews from readers who received early copies are in the 4-5 star range so that makes me even more interested in reading.

Expected Publication Date: June 2, 2015

On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel
should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she
loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire
inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she
never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into
a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a
Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by
fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to
having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction
houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China,
introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich. 

Yes I know another sequel but Crazy Rich Asians was so fascinating and entertaining!! I devoured the first book and had no idea there would be a second so this was a pleasant surprise!

Expected Publication Date: June 16, 2015

In Killing Monica, Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity
worship, fame, and even the meaning of life itself, when a famous writer must resort to faking her
own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation--Monica. With her
trademark wit and style, Killing Monica is Bushnell's sharpest, funniest book to date.

I have been a loyal Candace Bushnell supporter since I first picked up Sex and the City years and years ago. I was moderately disappointed with her YA series, The Carrie Diaries, so I was happy to hear her next book would be an adult book. I think the pop culture aspect has the potential to be hilarious.

Expected Publication Date: June 23, 2015

A funny new novel from international bestselling author Marian Keyes about Irish
beautician Stella Sweeney who falls ill, falls in love, then falls into a glamorous new life
in New York City. When her dream life is threatened, will she rally to reclaim love and happiness?

In her own words, Stella Sweeney is just “an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her
husband and two teenage kids,” working for her sister in their neighborhood beauty salon. Until one day she is struck by a serious illness, landing her in the hospital for months.

After recovering, Stella finds out that her neurologist, Dr. Mannix Taylor, has compiled and self-
published a memoir about her illness. Her discovery comes when she spots a photo of the finished
copy in an American tabloid—and it’s in the hands of the vice president’s wife! As her relationship
with Dr. Taylor gets more complicated, Stella struggles to figure out who she was before her illness,
who she is now, and who she wants to be while relocating to New York City to pursue a career as a newly minted self-help memoirist.

I discovered Marian Keyes the summer after I graduated college. I finally decided I had time to read again and found one of her books at Half Price and fell in love. Her books are almost always funny, easy to read, and wonderfully written. Her book Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married is still one of the funniest books I've ever read. I say all this to say that I would read pretty much anything she writes but I am extra excited about this because it's been a VERY LONG time since I had a new book to read by Marian Keyes.

Expected Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Jacqueline Jordan knows conflict. A fearless journalist, she’s spent the past decade embedded in the 
world’s hot spots, writing about the fall of nations and the rise of despots. But if you were to inquire
about who topped Jack’s enemy list, she’d not hesitate to answer: Kitty Carricoe.

Kitty reigns supreme over the world of carpools and minivans. A SAHM, she spends her days caring
for her dentist husband and three towheaded children, running the PTA, and hiding vegetables in deceptively delicious packed lunches.

Kitty and Jack haven’t a single thing in common—except for Sarabeth Chandler, their mutual bestie.
Sarabeth and Jack can be tomboys with the best of them, while Sarabeth can get her girly-girl on
with Kitty. In fact, the three of them were college friends until the notorious frat party incident, when Jack accidentally hooked up with Kitty’s boyfriend…

Yet both women drop everything and rush to Sarabeth’s side when they get the call that her
fabulously wealthy husband has perished in a suspicious boating accident. To solve the mystery
surrounding his death, Jack and Kitty must bury the hatchet and hit the road for a trip that just may bring them together—if it doesn’t kill them first.

Doesn't this just sound like a funny, light read? I've read a few of Lancaster's nonfiction books and didn't realize she would be writing a fiction story. I loved Bitter is the New Black so I have high hopes for this.

Expected Publication Date: August 4, 2015

An intelligent and madly entertaining debut novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49, White Noise,
and City of Glass that is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a
wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new

A woman known only by the letter A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and
boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality show called That’s My Partner! A eats (or
doesn’t) the right things, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the
commercials—particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely
chemical dessert—and models herself on a standard of beauty that only exists in such advertising.
She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a news-celebrity named Michael has earned after buying
up his local Wally Supermarket’s entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.

Meanwhile B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who hungers for something to give meaning
to her life, something aside from C’s pornography addiction, and becomes indoctrinated by a new
religion spread throughout a web of corporate franchises, which moves her closer to the decoys that
populate her television world, but no closer to her true nature.

OK, full disclosure here, I took a Buzzfeed quiz called "What New Book Should You Read This Summer" and I got this. I've never even heard of it but after actually reading about it on Goodreads I was intrigued.

Expected Publication Date: August 25, 2015

For more from Brittany, check out her blog, Your Friend, Brittany.

What book releases are you looking forward to this summer?

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3 Things I Learned About Finances in College

No one has ever accused me of being amazing at handling money. It's not that I have a spending problem, I just don't pay attention to the money I spend. Most girls spend money on clothes and shoes, but I'm that girl that was spends money on books and food. While my money habits haven't exactly gotten better, my money management skills in college were absolutely horrible. I had periods of not even having a job and how I survived is a mystery to us all. 

I think the best thing that came out of my bad spending habits in college is that I was able to learn what not to do when I finally entered the "real world" and had to start paying for things like water and electricity. I guess my only complaint would be that I never learned these things in a classroom. Seriously, can they teach a life class in college that prepares us for filing taxes and dealing with landlords?

The majority of my college career was spent living off of my income checks. These were the checks that I received after my scholarships and loans paid for my school expenses. I received one of these every quarter, and the beginning of the quarter was spent counting down to when I would get these. I didn't have a job for a good portion of my college career, so I had to decide what things I was or wasn't going to do according to the amount of money I'd receive from my income check. 

Because I only received a large sum of money at one time, I had to plan out how I was going to use it. I would put a good portion toward food (because a girl's gotta eat), but I'd also leave some breathing room for fun stuff. I lived on campus all four years of college, so I was fortunate that I didn't have to worry about paying rent or utility bills. 

I didn't really start taking advantage of all of the things my university had to offer until my junior year. Our Tech IDs also served as debit cards of sorts, and we could use our Tech Express to purchase things on campus as well as at restaurants and gas stations around campus. If I needed ketchup but was running low on funds, I would be more likely to go to the on-campus grocery store and overpay with my Tech Express rather than use my own money because technically I already spent the money with my scholarships and loans. 

Take advantage of things on campus like the gym, workout classes, the pool, free movies, cheap concerts, etc. because once you graduate, you won't have access to all of these things. Also, many places around your campus may have discounts specifically for college students. Don't be afraid to flash your student idea and use these discounts while you still can. 

When I signed up for student aid at my school, I wasn't sure what I was doing when it came to my school finances. I think we all know that college is an expensive investment, and you should be informed about the money you're spending and know what your options are. Did you know that 3 out of 4 college undergraduates wish there was more helpful financial information available to them? I was definitely part of the former in college. 

College Ave Student Loans is a company that helps simplify the student loan process. They are an online marketplace lender that specializes in student loans, and they help current and future college students figure out what the best plan of action is for their particular situation. They offer competitive rates, several repayment options and a customer-friendly process that helps take the stress off of you. 

College Ave gives you choices for when to start paying off your loan and how long you have to pay it back, and there are no fees for paying the loan back early. The application process only takes a few minutes, and you get an instant credit decision. Another bonus: if you sign up for automatic payments, you get a 0.25% interest rate reduction. For more information about College Ave, visit: http://www.collegeavestudentloans.com/

To help you through the college process, College Ave Student Loans has partnered with Chegg on a #CollegeGoals Instagram contest where they're giving away several prizes, including $50 Chegg textbook credits and a $5,000 scholarship. All you have to do is share your college goals with College Ave (https://instagram.com/collegeaveloans/) now through June 30. For more information visit: http://blog.chegg.com/collegegoals/

Finances in college are no joke, which is why it's important for you to explore your options. Debt is a scary thing, and the majority of students don't even have a plan for how they plan to pay off their student debt after graduation. Before finalizing your financial decisions check with people who have knowledge about finances and explore the vast amount of sources available to you online. Managing finances in college doesn't have to be stressful. 

What's a piece of financial advice that you've received? 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by College Ave Student Loans and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Endless Bliss possible!

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The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith | #BlissfulBookTalk

The May read for #BlissfulBookTalk was The Cuckoo's Calling written by J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for so long, and my goal for naming it for the May read was to finally dust off the cover and get it read, and I'm so glad I pushed myself to do it. 

The Cuckoo's Calling is about a private detective named Cormoran Strike who is hired to take on the case of the alleged suicide of supermodel, Lula Landry. While most of the world is convinced that Lula let her fame get the best of her and decided to jump off of her balcony, her brother, Bristow, is convinced that foul play was involved. With the help of his temporary assistant, Robin, Cormoran is pushed into the world of fame and stardom to figure out whether Lula's death was a suicide or murder. 

This book started out rather slow for me, but once it picked up, it really picked up. Because it's a mystery and suspense novel, I really wanted to try to keep up with the clues to see if I could solve the case before I read what happened at the end of the book. Unfortunately, there are so many pieces to the puzzle that it was nearly impossible for me to keep up with all of the details. 

For my full review, check out the video below:

I give The Cuckoo's Calling a 4 out of 5. When I got into the nitty gritty of the mystery, it was hard to put this book down. I love a good mystery novel, and this one did not disappoint. I'm really looking forward to reading about more of Cormoran's and Robin's adventures in future books.  

Want to read with me this month? The June pick for #BlissfulBookTalk is Paper Towns by John Green. I'm excited to read this book before it hits theaters in July. Share your thoughts on the book by using the hashtag #BlissfulBookTalk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Happy reading!

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Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons | Book Review

Confession: I had no idea who Brittany Gibbons was before I started reading her book, Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It. Some of you may be thinking I live under a rock, and after reading her book, I'm thinking that I may actually have been. She's been in the news on numerous shows, plus she's a blogger, and I had never even heard her name. 

Now that I've read her book, I can easily say I'm obsessed with Brittany Gibbons. Fat Girl Walking is a hilarious memoir of her life. She walks you through the struggles of growing up overweight with crazy parents. She recalls her life as the "secret girlfriend" to many high school guys before finding the love of her life, Andy Gibbons. She shares her struggles with anxiety in college and how she became an internet success. She shares all of these things about her life, but she also gives sound advice to those who may be struggling with the same things that she struggled with for most of her life. 

This book was a quick read because it almost read like a blog. Brittany writes a blog called Brittany, Herself, and that's where she first started sharing many of the things in her book. You definitely get a sense of her background in blogging from the book, and as a blogger, I loved this. 

The only parts of Fat Girl Walking that I didn't enjoy were those about pregnancy and being a mother. While these chapters were hilarious, it's not something I know anything about, and they aren't things that I'm worried about experiencing anytime soon, so these chapters kind of dragged on for me. I think future Tiffany will enjoy these chapters as well as women who have had experiences giving birth and raising children or are even just thinking about becoming a mother, but because I couldn't relate, I couldn't get into these parts. 

Aside from that, this book was laugh out loud hilarious. 

These are a few of my favorite quotes: 

From the introduction: "This is not a diet book, guys. In fact, if I do this right, our cycles will align and we'll be eating our feelings together by the third chapter." -- How could I not be excited about reading this book after reading a line like that?

"When you get into your twenties and begin to take mental stock of your life, the good parts and the bad parts become glaringly apparent. We all have them, good parts and bad parts, but your twenties are generally the first time that you really begin to see the timeline that led you to your current existence." -- As a twenty-something, this really stuck with me and made me start thinking about how the crap I got to where I am.

When an elementary school classmate accused her of having AIDS: "I never asked who she'd heard that from. I don't even know anybody with AIDS. If by Aids, she meant IBS, then, yes, I had that." -- I laughed uncontrollably for several minutes after reading this. 

Advice from her grandmother: "You are going to fail at a lot of things, so when you do, do it on such a grand scale that half the room gives you a standing ovation, and the other half gives you the middle finger." -- Quite possibly my favorite piece of advice from the entire book.

"I'm not saying I don't see fat; saying that is akin to the people who make grand statements about 'not seeing color.' Seeing color doesn't mean that you're a racist. It means your eyes work, but that you have hopefully able to see color not for a discrepancy in normal, but as a beautiful component of diversity."

I give Fat Girl Walking a 4 out of 5. There is so much to love about this book. My favorite parts were her emails with her husband, Andy (seriously, they were made for each other), recollections of a childhood with her dad after he was hit by a semi-truck, her progression into isolation due to anxiety and way too many things to name right now. I think girls of all shapes, all colors and all walks of life should read this book because there's something in it for everyone. 

Want to get your own copy of Fat Girl Walking? It's available for purchase:
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins for my honest review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

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Meet Brittany from Your Friend, Brittany

Hi, I’m Brittany! I’m the blogger behind Your Friend, Brittany; a lifestyle blog where I come to
write about things happening in my life, books I’m reading, pop culture, and anything else I find
interesting. The idea behind Your Friend, Brittany was that it would be a space for people to come and read things they hopefully find interesting and enjoyable. I wanted the site to be fun and laidback and for people to feel like they’re just chatting with a friend when they’re reading the blog. I also have a street style/fashion blog over on Tumblr called BritBritLand.

Get your feet wet with these posts:

What 3 words describe you?
Loyal, introverted, open-minded

What's your favorite part about blogging?
I enjoy the community aspect of blogging as well as the act of blogging itself. I started way back in 2011 and after taking a break I realized I enjoyed it so I came back. It’s nice to have a creative space to call your own and it’s even better if people can relate to it and enjoy reading it.

What are your plans for the summer?
Finish planning my wedding. I’m getting married in September so I’m on the final stretch of planning! 

Get out and do!! I’m looking forward to just being out and really utilizing my weekends. I love the
summertime so this is the best time of year for me.

What are three things you want to accomplish in 2015?
I’d like to gain more readers/followers on my blog, maintain this active/healthy lifestyle that I’ve really gotten into in 2015, and work on my patience!! I am actively trying to work on my patience because I have none, ha!

What song are you currently obsessed with?
I have been obsessed for a while with this mashup/remix/cover of “Don’t” and “Loyal” by Eastside,
called Ellie. I’ve also been obsessed with Taylor Swift’s “Style” since I bought 1989; it was immediately my favorite song on the album.

What's your favorite book?
I’ve had the same 3 way tie forever because I can’t pick just one.
The Giver, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and American Psycho

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Barack Obama. Really anyone who has been POTUS because I imagine that would be a job that’s really interesting for about a day and then terribly stressful.

Where is your happy place?
My happy place is somewhere warm and sunny and where I can lounge with a book in my hand and a
cocktail by my side and if I can’t have that just give me my couch and a good book!

Name 5 things that make you happy.
-- Coming home to my little family (fiancé, puppy, and kitten) each day.
-- True and loyal friends
-- Food that’s so good that you can’t even speak while eating it.
-- Well written books that totally and completely suck you into a story.
-- The fact that it seems (at least to me) that this younger generation seems to be more tolerant of people and less tolerant of hate, negativity, and discrimination. Hallelujah!!

Want more from Brittany?

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Love Your Curls

dove quench absolute

When it comes to hair, I think all girls want the opposite of what they have. Girls with straight hair want curly hair, and girls with curly hair want straight hair. When I was in middle and high school, I spent so much time straightening my hair. If it wasn't straight, I didn't think it was pretty, so I'd just put it up in a bun and not deal with it. 

Did you know that only 10% of women with curly hair feel proud of their hair? I would say I'm surprised, but when I think about how I felt about my own curls, it makes sense. Dove decided to take this statistic and crush it with the "Love Your Curls" campaign and Love Your Curls book. The campaign focuses on encouraging women to love and celebrate their curls and help them realize that their curls are beautiful. The book is a poetic tribute to curly hair that was inspired by thousands of stories from women and girls with curly hair. The book was written by best-selling author, Taiye Selasi, and illustrated by Annick Poirier. Read and share this free e-book by clicking here. You can even create a personalized e-book with a custom dedication and illustration for the curly-haired women and girls in your life and share it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Dove love your curls

It wasn't until college that I really started to embrace my hair. It's naturally wavy, and I usually have to use a bit of product to make it have pretty curls or non-frizzy waves. I think the most common challenges I've faced with my hair are dryness and frizziness. Dove has created a new line called Dove Quench Absolute, and it's designed specifically for people with curly hair. It provides 4x more defined, natural curls, and it's infused with protein, nutrients and Buriti Oil to provide a nourished, smooth finish. 

As soon as I tried this new line, I fell in love. The Ultra Nourishing Shampoo leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth. The Ultra Nourishing Conditioner revives and strengthens my hair and makes it much more manageable, and the Intensive Restoration Mask provides nourishment to my hair. My favorite product in the new Dove Quench Absolute line is the Supreme Creme Serum. It's a leave-in nourishing treatment that can be used on either wet or dry hair. I've used it every day since I received it. I put it in my hair as soon as I get it out of the shower, and I put it in my dry hair every morning. It really helps reduce frizz and make my hair more vibrant. 

Now, I wear it curly about 99% of the time. I've learned to embrace my curls and fall in love with my hair. 

curly hair

Do you have curly hair? What are some of your favorite curly hairstyles?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Meet Emily from Little Flecks of Gold.

Little Flecks of Gold is a lifestyle blog that covers everything from health and fitness to books to beauty. I have a lot of passions that I love sharing, but I also know that life gets busy, so I am always sharing simple ways to live a healthier, happier life. 

Get your feet wet with these posts:

What 3 words describe you?

Determined, passionate, loyal.

What's your favorite part about blogging?

I love the sense of community. It’s so cool to be able to interact with other bloggers from all over the place that share similar interests.

What are your plans for the summer?

When I’m not working, I’m definitely planning on doing a lot of hiking (I’m also dying to try backpacking and trying to convince my brother to go with me.) My friend and I have a road trip in the works up to Alberta, Canada, which I know will be great since we had a blast on our road trip last summer.

What are three things you want to accomplish in 2015?

One of my goals has been finding a fitness program that I enjoy and can stick to on a long-term basis. I also want to start reading for fun again (since I started college, I think I’ve read two books that weren’t textbooks) and teach myself to play at least one song on the guitar.

What song are you currently obsessed with?

I just barely bought Taylor Swift’s 1989 album (I’m about six months late to the game, I know) and while I’m definitely in love with the whole thing, “Clean” is definitely my favorite.

What's your favorite book?

Jane Eyre, although half the time when you ask me, I’ll say Pride and Prejudice. It really just depends on my mood, I guess.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, especially Venice.

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

Audrey Hepburn, not only because she’s my favorite actress of all time, but also because I admire her humility, grace and compassion. Although, I really want to go back in time and meet her, so maybe I should say I’d rather spend a day in the life of her son or someone instead.

Where is your happy place?

Growing up, I always loved visiting my grandparent’s house in Virginia because they had the coolest backyard with a creek running through it. I still love visiting them and feel nostalgic whenever I see a place that reminds me of their yard or neighborhood.

Name 5 things that make you happy. 

Singing, herbal tea, Pinterest, sitcoms and chick flicks (especially those with Sandra Bullock in them.)

Want more from Emily?

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Movin' Shakin' Groovin' | Swon Brothers Concert

I was never one to watch live singing or talent shows on TV. I never got down with American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, America's Got Talent or the like, but when I saw a preview for The Voice, I knew I was going to watch it. I was a devoted fan for the first four seasons, but once a million other good shows started coming on and they started making the show two days in a row, I just didn't have enough time to devote to the show anymore. Plus, can we talk about those commercial breaks for a second? There are so many!

Anyway, when The Swon Brothers were on The Voice during season four. That entire season was an incredible season of awesome talent, but of course I loved The Swon Brothers from the beginning. They're just naturally talented, and their voices complimented each other so well. Y'all know I love country music, and these boys brought it. 

Last weekend, The Swon Brothers came to Shreveport/Bossier, and I couldn't resist begging Jon to come with me to see them. Much of the world hasn't caught on to the amazingness of this duo yet, but once they do, I'm sure the ticket prices will skyrocket. Until then, I'll brag to my friends about how I met them, and they can be jealous that I got to experience their awesomeness while tickets were just $20. 

The Swon Brothers played a lot of songs from their self-titled album. I think most fans of country music are aware of their first two singles, "Later On" and "Pray for You," but there are so many other songs worth mentioning too. In addition to those two, my favorite song is "Pretty Beautiful." It's just so sweet and such a pretty (beautiful) song.

They were so entertaining in concert. People would come up to the stage to take closer pictures of them, and they bent down to pose for the photos and sometimes they even bent down to take a selfie with them. They did a lot of ad-libbing and spoke to the crowd a lot. There was a this lady in the crowd wearing a Taylor Swift shirt, and they called her onto the stage, called her out because she wasn't wearing one of their shirts and then offered her a free shirt at their merch table. 

My favorite part of the show was the pop song battle between each of them and their guitarist, Seth Costner (who actually has an album of his own). Seth started the battle with a cover of "Blurred Lines," which was pretty dang entertaining. Zach came in and said if they do pop song covers, they need to do something that speaks to the ladies, so he did "Stay With Me." Colton said it was best to go old school, and he covered "My Girl." They all did amazing, but I think Colton took the cake with his little throwback. 

I'm sad that this is the only decent picture I got of Seth Costner. He was so awesome that I spent his cover singing and dancing along and not taking pictures. 

They came back for an encore afterward, and they even did a cover of "American Girl." Seriously, every song they did was incredible. It really just shows how talented they are, because they came onto the stage and owned it. Even Jon had a great time, and he's not the biggest fan of going to concerts. 

After the concert, The Swon Brothers stayed to meet everyone that bought merch. I bought a picture, which they both signed, and then they posed for a picture with everyone and posted it on their Facebook page. I thought it was neat of them to stay and meet everyone. 

As you can probably tell, I had an absolutely awesome time, and if I ever get the opportunity to see them again, I'll definitely be there. 

Did you watch The Voice? Are you a fan of The Swon Brothers?

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