• summer reading
    Blog,  Books

    My Summer Reading List

    Okay, guys, so I’ve been reading like it’s my JOB during this treacherous heat and I have to share my summer reading list with you! They were all so good!!! I can’t decide what I liked best, so here they are, in the order I read them:   Summer Reading: Book 1 Real Life Dinners by Rachel Hollis is a cookbook of sorts. Yes, there are tons of recipes, but the beginning has truly beautiful insights into family, food, and gathering around the table. The recipes are wonderful! Often just a few ingredients, most you have at home, and really delicious dinners are created! It’s perfect for the busy momma we…

  • outfit
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    What My 3 Year-Old’s Outfit Says About My Parenting

    My 3 year-old has a very unique sense of style. Her outfit choices very daily. And sometimes hourly. In fact, I don’t even think she knows what she likes. I mean, of course, she doesn’t know what she likes. She’s 3. Or as I like to call kids at this age, threenagers. They are little people reflecting what they will be like as teenagers. And it’s scary as hell. Getting her dressed daily is one of the biggest hurdles I have to leap each day. She would prefer to stay in her nightgown all day. And who can blame her? If we aren’t leaving the house, and she’s being indignant,…

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  • Blog,  Books

    My Daughter Wanted A Little Free Library

    When I first started marketing Caroline Girls two years ago, I thought about starting a Little Free Library. I loved the idea and thought it would be a great addition to our neighborhood. But I was swamped trying to promote my self-published book by an unknown author (your esteemed blogger girl 🙂 ), so it just wasn’t possible. About a month ago, my 7-year-old girl asked me if we could start a Little Free Library. She loved them and wanted to be part of creating one. We talked about what it would mean to start one, the up-keep and what would be expected. She nodded eagerly, excited to do this…

  • my first dollar
    Blog,  Podcast

    My First Dollar Podcast

    I’ve been hemming and hawing around for months now trying to decide if I should do a podcast. My initial mention of the idea to friends wasn’t overly well received. Of course, my idea wasn’t developed yet either. I was going to base it on this blog, but after more discussion with other creative friends, I have landed on my idea. It’s called My First Dollar. No matter what venture I pursue, it all comes back to one idea: I love telling stories. I’m a journalist at heart and I absolutely adore sharing stories. Nothing gets me more invigorated than a great story. I also have a heart for small…

  • spend money
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    Where I Spend Money

    As a vivacious, fashion conscious woman of the world, it’s expected I enjoy the fine art of commerce. Or as my husband likes to say: I just like to spend money. I mean, he’s not wrong. 🙂 But I’m very particular about where I spend money. Basically, I spend the most at these 4 places. Spend Money Like A Boss 1. Nordstrom Oh, Nordstrom … I couldn’t love you more if I tried! Best selection of clothes, FABULOUS customer service and free shipping and returns. I AM SOLD. I’ve been a die-hard Nordies girl since I started making my own money. They are known for their outstanding returns policy, but when…

  • A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    Hey Girl, You Matter and You’re Making a Difference

    I’ve wanted to make an impact on the world for as long as I can remember. My desire to make a difference was the driving factor behind my children’s book Caroline Girls. But I’ve also been concerned with how much what I do matters to anyone else outside of my immediate circle. This big world can make me feel so small and I want to make a big impact. Like an Oprah or Ellen DeGeneres level impact. But with two young kids and various commitments, often I just feel like I’m running around like a crazy lady with no real end game in sight. Everything I’m involved with really matters…

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  • Blog,  Health

    We Don’t Have a Gun Problem. We Have a People Problem

    Hoosiers now belong to a club we never wanted to be part: the list of school shootings in the U.S. On May 25, 2018, a student at Noblesville Middle School left the classroom and came back with two handguns. The teacher, 29-year-old Jason Seaman, overtook him and sustained three gunshot wounds. Another student was shot as well. Both are in the hospital in critical condition (IndyStar, 5/25/2018) Tragically, shootings are happening in rapid succession and I’m sick of our society’s response. Stop blaming the NRA, politicians, social media, violence on T.V., video games, etc. We don’t have a gun problem. We have a people problem. These mass shootings have become…

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  • independent
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    An Independent Queen

    A Queen’s reign is a complicated, majestic monarchy best ruled by an independent empress. Or so I’ve decided as Queen of Words. 🙂 Actually, I just liked how regal and pretentious the first sentence sounded and it made me giggle to write it; plus I thought it would be a funny way to start this post. This blog has only been active for a couple months and I’m so excited to see how many different people are visiting my site! I really didn’t know who would care to read this and it also didn’t matter as I really was just doing this for a creative outlet. But now I realize how…

  • unwifeable
    Blog,  Books

    My Unwifeable Moment in Time

    If you haven’t read Mandy Stadtmiller’s Unwifeable, you may want to run out and get it. With this caveat. I loved it, but here’s the review I left on Amazon and Goodreads. Next level bold. I immediately resonated with this author and felt inspired by her! Dark, honest and entertaining! Without giving too much away, the book cover describes the memoir: Unwifeable is a New York fairytale brought to life – Sex and the City on acid. The dedication of the book says, “For every person who was told they couldn’t.” GAH! YAAAS! I’m already on her side. On page two, she writes “Because you know what humans will do…

  • breaking the stigma
    Blog,  Health

    Break The Stigma About Mental Illness

    A topic I had once stayed quiet about now seemed to slowly be coming to the forefront of my life. I started to open up to friends about my struggles of the last year and a half; specifically the horrendous 2018 I was enduring. One of my friends asked me, a bit hurt, “Why didn’t you say anything sooner?” While I appreciate the care and concern and I know the question was born from a desire to help in any way possible, it was kind of a ridiculous question. It’s like asking a drowning person why they didn’t yell for help. I couldn’t keep my head above water. How was…

  • my daughter
    Blog,  Health

    Talking To My Daughter About Mental Illness

    Even though I would fall asleep praying to God to take me away, I would wake up and cry for having those thoughts. I love those girls more than anything and I knew, despite all my flaws, it was best for them to have their mother in their lives. Those horrible feelings lasted for a couple weeks. In the meantime, I found another provider to help me. This woman put me back on the Cymbalta (an idea that terrified me. I begged her no, but was assured there was no other way to stop the withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing) at the lowest dose, 20 mg, and did a much more…

  • struggling to regain stability
    Blog,  Health

    Mental Illness: Struggling To Regain Stability

    So I’ve realized I’m struggling to regain stability in my mental state and my primary care doctor recommended a mental health specialist to further assist me. My nurse practitioner said my medication had stopped working. There’s a medical term for it, but it’s commonly just described as “Prozac pooping out.” I didn’t know such a thing was possible. Fortunately, this time, I was able to help rule out a whole bunch of drugs that wouldn’t work for me and we landed on something that seemed to help pretty quickly. She started me on Cymbalta in January 2017 and things seemed to be going well. Then about six months later, she added…

  • mental illness
    Blog,  Health

    A Mom With Mental Illness

    I consider myself a pretty open person, but I’m kind of private about one area in my life: my mental illness. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I think I’ve probably always had GAD, but was only diagnosed about 10 years ago. I’m definitely a person who startles easily. Growing up, I remember one day my mom asked me, “What is going on at school? Why are you so jumpy all the time?” I told her honestly nothing was going on at school and I didn’t know why I was so jumpy all the time. Even to this day, my husband “announces” himself before he enters a room because…

  • inside
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    Inside Good; Outside Bad

    I’ve always loved being inside. Even as a young child, my mom has memories of me coming in from playing tag because, “MOM, I’m SWEATING!” Sweat has always been a big problem for me. I sweat profusely. It’s disgusting. Especially since it seems to primarily pour down my face. It pools in the bottom of the bra cups. Sick. Sick. Sick. It’s not like I haven’t had opportunities to learn to love the outside. Growing up, we’d go camping every weekend. It was my dad’s idea of a family vacation. He spent thousands of dollars (I’m guessing, I have no idea) so we could live like pioneers. However, anytime the…

  • she regrets nothing
    Blog,  Books

    Review: She Regrets Nothing

    About a month ago, it seemed every author I follow on Instagram was reading “She Regrets Nothing” by Andrea Dunlop. She was a new author to me, but since it seemed everyone was loving it, I was eager to jump on the bandwagon and love it too. The book is about “the forgotten granddaughter of one of New York’s wealthiest men is reunited with her family just as she comes of age—and once she’s had a glimpse of their glittering world, she refuses to let it go without a fight,” – Goodreads. So, in true Queen of Words form, I have to immediately pick out what bothered me with the…

  • book and author event
    Blog,  Books

    Amazing Book and Author Event

    As a long time fan of Sarah Pekkanen, I knew when I read “The Wife Between Us,” I would fall in love. I was also enamoured with how she co-wrote the book with Greer Hendricks. Immediately after I finish a book I love, I always check to see if the author is going on tour. You have no idea how excited I was to see Sarah and Greer were coming to Indianapolis!!! None of my authors ever come to my city. Usually, they go to Naperville, and I have traveled to see Emily Giffin before (I’ll have to write about that someday!), but this time they were coming to a book and…

  • Blog,  Health

    Mental Health Awareness: My Shame, Myself

    Why is it we all so easily feel shame especially when it comes to mental health awareness? Honestly, two years ago I wasn’t talking about my mental health struggles. People in my inner circle knew, but I didn’t talk about it unless I absolutely had to. Then a year and a half ago, I went through something so horrible, I knew it was time to start talking. It was time to break the stigma. I think as women we are more easily prone to shame. Brene Brown said it best in one of her talks about what shame means to women: Do it all.Do it perfectly.Never let them see you…

  • me, my and I
    Blog,  Words

    Misuse of Me, My and I

    This is a difficult one for me because I want to start heaving with the misuse of me, my and I. Mostly because … ohhh, give me a minute now … okay I think I’ve composed myself … whoops, nope not quite … okay. It’s because of this verbal hate crime: people who say or write “I’s” Okay, I started a full body shudder just typing that tragedy. Now, hopefully, all of you are as confused as I am about why anyone would SAY this let alone WRITE IT, so let’s talk. I’m more forgiving about verbal grammatical mistakes because I know sometimes when we get talking (and in my case,…

  • millennials
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    Much Ado About Millennials

    The word millennials is a word I rarely consider. Mostly because I consider a millennial someone who is 10 years younger than me. While I know that’s incorrect, and despite differences in what people consider where Generation X ends and millennial begins, it’s clear I’m on the cusp of both generations. Parts of the newest generation appeal to me – the desire to use technology whenever possible being chief principle – but largely this generation has many perceived negative attributes. People say they’re selfish, professionally unprepared, overly stimulated little brats. Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but I’m not wrong. Millennials and Marketing But today I began thinking about millennials and marketing while buying…

  • Blog,  Words

    Stop using the word “literally”

    I’m not sure why people are obsessed with using the word literally. Maybe it’s because we’ve become a society of dramatics like me, so they feel the need to make sure people they the are being serious. This word is grossly overused and it needs to stop. Now. The correct definition of “literally” is to describe something in a literal sense and without exaggeration. But many people often use the word to do the opposite—add emphasis or describe something in a way that can’t possibly be true. • “I literally died of embarrassment.” • “I’m literally insane with jealousy over her shoes.” • “The puppy was so cute I literally…

  • kindred
    Blog,  Books

    Review: Kindred

    My latest book club read was the book Kindred by Octavia Butler.  We selected this book because I saw Indy Reads Books shared it on their Facebook page as their February book of the month. I didn’t know much about it, but my book club decided to give it a chance. The whole point of my book club is to read books outside of our norm. The book takes place in 1976 and the main character is a black woman who travels back in time to pre-Civil War times. She’s married to a white man in present time. When she (and eventually her husband) travels back in time, her husband…

  • youtube channel
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    My 6 Year Old Wants A YouTube Channel

    Any mom with kids of a certain age knows which YouTube channel their child is addicted to most. Fortunately, we have graduated from the videos of the person’s hands opening toys. Those were mind-numbing. I nearly lost my sanity several times enduring those with my daughter. My 6-year-old daughter Caroline now routinely watches Family Fun Pack, Daily Bumps, and CookieSwirlC. The first two videos mentioned are more like little T.V. shows. Caroline knows all of the family members, anecdotes and other information about each of these people. Overall, I don’t mind them. During Christmas, though, they started to grate on my nerves with all of the magical things their Elf on…

  • cards
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    Sending Real Cards

    Something I used to do frequently was to send or give cards. In high school, I was obsessed with the Hallmark line called “Out of the Blue.” I probably gave one out at least once a week. Sometimes it was to apologize because I had been angry with a friend but most of the time it was because it simply made me happy to give someone something to make them happy. Even back then, oh so many years ago, sending cards was a lost art form. But I intend to bring it back! I’m getting back to basics by reintroducing my favorite pick up me – sending real cards. I began…

  • ellen podcast success
    Blog,  Podcast

    Podcasting and Ellen’s Views on Success

    Recently I began listening to podcasts because I thought maybe I wanted to do a podcast. I had never listened to one before, so I figured I should check them out. During one episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show (a show I watch on the daily), she had Dax Shepard on giving relationship advice and at the end, shared he also had a podcast called Armchair Expert. Intrigued, I checked it out. Now, let me tell you, these episodes are CRAZY long! Like 2 hours! The first episode I listened to, he talked to his Parenthood wife Joy Bryant. I found her fascinating and I was eager to listen to more podcasts…

  • Blog,  Words

    When to Use “Over”

    A word I frequently see misused is the word “over.” You may be reading this and thinking “this chick has flipped out.” I hope once you see the video you feel like you learned something even if it is just how nutso I am about word usage. 🙂  

  • iris apfel
    Blog,  Books

    Review: Iris Apfel Accidental Icon

    Iris Apfel danced into our lives like the breath of fresh air we never knew we needed in 2014. The documentary* followed this woman who, at that time, wasn’t a household name. But she was iconic enough in her own rite to warrant a film crew to follow her. Since then, her name has exploded. Brands are eager to collaborate with her, The Met dedicated an exhibit to her and we mere mortals are simply trying to find the little bit of Iris in our own lives. Her newest book “Iris Apfel Accidental Icon” is everything I hoped it would be and more! It’s a quick, easy read. It’s heavy…

  • i'm fine and other lies
    Blog,  Books

    Review: I’m Fine … And Other Lies

    So, I’m not sure how or why “I’m Fine … And Other Lies” by Whitney Cummings entered my world, but the bottom line is once I read the title, I immediately knew this book was meant for me. I am somewhat private about my struggle with anxiety and depression, but the title coupled with the cover image of the author – smile plastered on her face with water up to her neck – made me feel frustrated I hadn’t written my autobiography first because this title would be perfect. The book was delightful! It had a perfect mix of hilarious, heart-wrenching and entertaining stories. This book actually took me a…

  • the mountain between us
    Blog,  Books

    Review: The Mountain Between Us

    The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin was engaging, entertaining and earnest. Did you enjoy the alliteration I did there in the last sentence?! #wordnerd At first, the great detail about how they were surviving and all of the complexities of their altitude was wearing on me. But as the novel continued, I grew to really respect it. I found the ending anti-climactic, but as you may be figuring out, I’m as hard on everyone else as I am myself, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the things I didn’t enjoy, if even for a short time. 🙂 At the end of every novel, I always read the author acknowledgments.…

  • Blog,  Words

    Irregardless Is NOT A Word!

    Let’s start my word witch hunt with the misuse of the word irregardless. This may be the most irksome of the misused words because it’s not a word! Largely because it’s a double negative. However, the most bothersome piece of information resides with its mainstream usage which has landed the word “irregardless” in the dictionary. The so-called word experts are pandering to the masses and apparently feel powerless to stop it. Here’s the video with a bit more information about what you’re doing and why it’s wrong. Irregardless is NOT a Word The Funny Story So, the funny story I agreed to share happened a long time ago when I…

  • the wife between us
    Blog,  Books

    Review: The Wife Between Us

    “The Wife Between Us” is a suspense novel tempting you from the moment you pick it up. The cover invites you to “read between the lies.” Immediately, I was hooked. All I could think was “Gah! What is going to happen?!” For months I had anxiously been waiting for this book to come out. Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite writers. As a writer myself, I was also intrigued by how she co-wrote “The Wife Between Us” with Greer Hendricks. I will say, early on, the confusion about what was going on started to aggravate me. Mostly because I was determined to figure out what was happening before it was…

  • queen of words creative mess
    A Queen's Reign,  Blog

    The Queen of Words

    I’ve been called the Queen of Words and it’s a moniker I’ve adopted with pride. I’m obsessed with words, communication and I’m totally high maintenance. So it’s a perfect fit. 🙂 My new plan (as I’ve done business as the Queen of Words in the past) was to host a podcast. I’m not sure that’s the way it’s going to work out. I’ve also thought about doing short videos and hosting them on a YouTube channel. That may not work out either. I’ll get more into that later. Maybe. As you can see, I’m a creative mess. Basically, I have a lot of ideas, a need for a creative outlet…