Love Is... By Lindsay Detwiler
A puddle of tears soaking into his hoodie when your world is falling apart.
A pair of hands tugging you tighter, holding you together so the pieces don’t shatter.
A homecooked meal on a weekday, nothing fancy, just the two of you sharing food and sharing chores and sharing in your day.
A look across the room that says he’s got your back, no matter what, even when the throngs of people around you are closing in.
A meeting of the minds in an almost magical way that allows you to share in a wordless inside joke.
A midnight kiss on the cheek when he thinks you’re sleeping, when no one’s watching, just because he feels the need to express his love.
A patched heart, sewn together with his words and careful gestures, that is strong enough to outlast any of the past’s destructive events.
A playful scream when he tickles you in the kitchen, flour smeared on your cheek as you wiggle away, angry at the annoyance but secretly relishing in the simple laughter.
A hugged pillow, squeezed against your chest, when the rift between you feels ever growing, when you question if it’s all going to work out.
An awareness that even on his worst day, he is the calm in the storm that is life, the presence that keeps you grounded, and the hand you crave to touch.
An apology, an acceptance, a step towards him because you are magnetized to the man who lights you up, even though he’s not perfect.
An undeniable chemistry, whether you’re wearing leather and lace or stained, holey cotton.
A feeling of acceptance, of knowledge, on a level no one else can understand.
A knowledge that whether life is wild, untamable, monotonous, horrifying, unbearable, or calm, he will be there, cheering you on in chasing your goals and picking you up when you shatter to the ground.
Love is two of you against the world, pulling together even when you feel like pulling apart. It’s a commitment to the sentiment that you will raise each other up when your arms are shaking from the exertion.
Love is, against all odds, unstoppable, unquenchable, and sometimes unfathomable.
Yet, above all, love is what sets the heart on fire and sparks us to life, opening our eyes to who we really are and what we can become together.
6 Beauty Products That Truly Work
As an Ulta Beauty Club Member and a Sephora Insider, I'm all about getting a good bargain to support my cosmetics addiction. However, over the years, I have found that some products truly are worth the extra money.
I've tried dozens of lotions, potions, serums, and products. Below, check out the five beauty products I've tried and loved. These are the products I feel are actually worth splurging a bit for.
1. Dry Bar Charcoal Shampoo
I gave Dry Bar a try last year. I was skeptical; the hefty price tag made me hesitant. However, the results made me a believer.
This is actually the line of hair products that will change your bad hair days. Truly.
I am a huge fan of all of their products, but the charcoal shampoo is my favorite. It is super cleansing and helps get rid of all of the build-up products in your hair. This one is great, too, because you can use it once a week, which makes the price tag worth it.
You can give the Dry Bar On the Rocks Charcoal Shampoo a try for $10 for the trial size and see if you're a fan, too.
2. Drunk Elephant Products
I have been looking for moisturizers and serums to take away my fine lines, big pores, and patchy/oily skin for years. I hate to even think about how much I've spent in the search for the elusive cream to change my skin.
Stop spending money, do yourself a favor, and invest in Drunk Elephant.
I love that this brand is all-natural and cruelty-free (something I'm very passionate about). More than that, I love that the products work.
I've been using the day and night sampler kits as well as the cleanser and Peptide cream. It's been a month, and I've seen a dramatic change in my skin. Seriously.
It's smoother, the wrinkles are fading, and I feel like I need to wear less makeup.
I recommend starting with the day and night sample kits ($23-27). They've lasted me over a month, and it's a great way to see what you think without the commitment.
Head over to the Drunk Elephant website, or head to Sephora, who also carries the kits.
3. Shape Tape Concealer and Foundation
I tried the sample of the Shape Tape concealer and was super impressed. My dark circles disappeared in a second.
I was so impressed, that I bought the Shape Tape moisturizing foundation. It offers full coverage without the cakey feel I hate in a liquid foundation. I got my foundation on sale at Ulta for $19, but I still feel like it would be worth the $39 price tag. It has become my favorite foundation (and again, I've tried a ton, from Younique to Bare Minerals to Born This Way, you name it). Head over to Ulta to find out more.
4. Kenra Brightening Shampoo
I am a brunette with bright blonde highlights. I hate how halfway to my salon appointment, my highlights have faded a bit and just don't pop.
Enter Kenra's Brightening Shampoo. The violet base magically transforms your blonde back to the bombshell color you want after just one wash. Seriously.
I didn't believe it at first either...but in one wash, I saw results. If you use it a few days in a row, you'll see a dramatic change. At $26 for a full-size bottle, it's really not too much of a splurge, either. I use it about once or twice a week to brighten up my locks.
Check it out at Ulta, or wait for one of their Liter sales and stock up.
5. Urban Decay Eye Shadow
I'm an Urban Decay eye shadow snob. Ever since my first Naked Palette, I haven't gone back.
Their colors are gorgeous and super blendable. They help you get that perfect, runway worthy eye look without a lot of skill. Sometimes when I'm in a hurry, I'll wear just one color...and I still get compliments.
My favorite palette lately is the Heavy Metals palette I got for Christmas. It's got a side for day and a bold side for night. Make a statement. Life's too short for boring eye shadow.
6. It Cosmetics Brushes (especially eye shadow)
I used to think brushes were a waste of money. Until I started watching Youtube beauty experts like Christen Dominique and realized brushes are everything.
If you don't have a high-quality blending brush, I would say this should be your first investment. It ups your eye shadow game tenfold with just one brush.
I love the It cosmetics brushes....I have a whole set I got on sale. The quality and the airbrush look it gives you is stellar.
Check out the brushes here, and then tell me in the comments what your favorite brush brand is.
Lindsay Detwiler is a romance author with Hot Tree Publishing and a thriller author with Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. To learn more about her work, beauty tips, and more, visit her on Facebook.
Are you stuck in a rut? Feeling unmotivated? Having trouble getting off the couch and getting after your goals?
Maybe it's the winter blahs, or maybe it's just that life has got you a bit down. We all go through periods of feeling uninspired, tired, and just lacking the zest we need to get through it all and achieve.
As a wife, teacher, and author, I've definitely been through ruts where I feel like I can't move off the couch let alone chase those wild, crazy dreams I'm after. However, I've also come across some tips and tricks that quickly turn the attitude around and help me get back on track. Check out my tips for getting inspired quickly, and then tell me in the comments what does the trick for you.
1. Get away from it all for a while
No, I don't mean fly to Fiji (although that would be nice right about now as the Pennsylvania winter winds are whipping about outside). Getting away from it all might mean a weekend without the kids, a night in a hotel, or simply going for a 15-minute walk by yourself. The point is we all need a break from our routines and the noisiness of our lives. Take a few minutes to yourself just to be, just to breathe, and just to think. You'd be amazed how a clear head can get you pumped up to chase after your goals and to figure out what you really want.
2. Spend some time with positive people
Positive attitudes beget positive attitudes.
Surround yourself with people who have an "I can" mentality instead of an "I can't" attitude. Grab a coffee with one of your go-getter friends. Bounce some ideas and frustrations off of your spouse who keeps you grounded. Go online and connect with others in your field (If you're a writer, check out the Sprints and Spirits group run by Audrey Hughey for inspiration).
Also, be sure that when you're out of your inspiration funk, you can help serve as the inspiration for others.
3. Journal about what makes you happy
Sometimes when we're in a rut, we just need to think a little bit about what sparks joy for us in order to get inspired. Take some time out of your day to list things that make you happy--both things that you do every day and things you would like to do.
Writing a concrete list can be a good reminder of what matters most, what priorities you have, and how you can achieve them.
4. Set short and long-term goals
Sometimes when we lack direction in our lives or the motivation to steer the direction of our journey, it is because we are goalless.
Writing down goals for both the short-term and long-term can help you find some motivation. By setting realistic goals for both the short and long-term, you can also find a sense of direction. When we think about our goals, we can get overwhelmed and not know where to start. Goals help us develop a plan, and a plan helps us achieve and move forward.
What goals matter the most to you? What would you be proud to accomplish this week? This month? This year?
5. Think about three things you are grateful for each day
Recognizing the good things in your life and the things you've already accomplished can help get you back on the right path to finding inspiration. What are three things that you are thankful for today? What are three things that went right?
Don't let yourself fall into a piteous rut. Even the worst day or time in our lives has shining moments. Recognize them, illuminate them, celebrate them. This can help change your attitude to a more optimistic one, which in turn can lead to higher levels of inspiration.
6. Make a vision board
Visualization is a powerful tool to get you inspired but also to help you recognize what matters most to you.
Ideally, creating a physical vision board can motivate you. Make a collage or use technology to collect images that represent where you hope to be someday. What are your ultimate goals? What legacy do you want to leave behind? What things bring you joy?
Even just visualizing your goals can help get you inspired. Picture your ultimate end result. What will it feel like to accomplish your dreams? Who will be there with you? What rewards will you reap? What emotions will you experience?
Picturing your ultimate end-goal can help you persevere through the tough times. It's sort of like dangling the carrot in front of the proverbial donkey.... it can keep you moving and striving to push forward.
"This story was beautifully written! The characters and plot were believable! I couldn’t put it down....a perfect, sweet romance! Loved it!"~5-star Amazon Review
"This book will keep you turning each page until the end to find out if they give in to love and complete their lives. Grab your copy today and enjoy your time reading."~5-star Amazon Review
"Detwiler takes readers on a tale of self-discovery that culminates in an introspective and emotionally challenging ride."~5-star Amazon Review
When six friends make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers, the No Brides Club is born. But could meeting the right man at the wrong time cause them to break their vows to each other?
Rachel Winters has less than a year until she turns thirty, and she plans to make it big-time on Broadway before she hits this particularly stressing rite of passage. So, when the opportunity to teach young, aspiring actors at a weekend workshop presents itself, she eagerly agrees, hoping that this is the first sign her luck’s about to change.
Zander Riley once dreamed of being a star, but a badly broken heart sent his priorities spinning in an entirely different direction. Now a special education teacher, he agrees to chaperone a weekend trip to an acting workshop for the kids’ sake more than his own. If only the gorgeous instructor didn’t reignite a number of passions he’d long since cast aside.
Could it be love at first sight, or is he simply an unneeded obstacle to Rachel’s ambition? Can Zander learn to open his heart once more, even if it means it could break worse than ever before? And will these two theater lovers ultimately set the stage for romance… or tragedy?
Grab your copy now and find out how this clean romance packs a whole lot of emotion.
If you are someone who loves books, TV, or movies, you could find yourself getting easily attached to fictional characters. While this can be a fun hobby that you can indulge in by going to conventions and reading fanfiction, you may find that these fictional characters are becoming your best friends.
You find more in common with your fictional best friends than your real life friends
1. You find more in common with your fictional best friends than your real life friends
As you watch your favorite shows and read your favorite books, you may find that there are many more similarities that you have with fictional characters than your real friends. It can be surprising to feel like you would rather hang out with characters you are reading about then your friends that you just might not be clicking that well with.
2. Their fictional decisions seem to affect you emotionally
When you watch a new episode of your favorite show and get too sad when your favorite dream couple breaks up, you might just feel like your best friend got betrayed. You could also be very happy when your favorite fictional business leader gets a promotion at work and you end up feeling more excited about your personal career. Just like your best friends, you will be excited about the success of your favorite fictional characters.
3. You start fantasizing about joining their world or them joining yours
Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could join the fictional world of your favorite characters? This could show that your best friends are on the silver screen or the written page. If you only had a magic device that could bring your favorite fictional friends into your world, you may have that chum that you feel like you deserve in real life.
4. Your favorite fictional character consumes your life
If you just love a fictional character, you might end up buying all their merch, making them the lock screen on your phone, decorating your apartment with their swag, and you could go even as far as tattooing them on your body. If your real life friends know you as a super fan of your fictional best friend, this can actually be a really fun thing to add to your personality.
While it can be fun to have a fictional best friend, it is important to push hard and have some great best friends in real life. This will help you feel much more leveled and healthy in your relationships. It's not bad to have fictional best friends that you are a superfan for. Just make sure that you are not neglecting your friends that are there for you on a daily basis.
Chelsea Parker is a blogger and scheduling editor at Pillow Talk Books. Her site sends out daily emails filled with romance books from all genres. If you get a chance sign up for their daily email and fall in love with your next fictional friend.
You Are Not Defined By Your Mothering Status
“You’ll regret it someday.”
“Don’t you feel like you’re missing something?”
“Oh, you really don’t want children?”
These are statements I’ve heard numerous times over the years, and they are phrases that remind me of a harsh truth: I am an abnormal thirty-one-year-old, at least by social standards.
Looking at me, though, you might not know it.
I’m married to the love of my life, a man I met at the age of twelve. I’m a teacher and an author with a small house in our quaint hometown. We don’t have a white picket fence, but we have a chain-link fence that reins in our mastiff, Henry. I love shopping, coffee, and time with my few friends I keep close.
Our life isn’t the thing of flashy romantic movies. We go grocery shopping on weekends, and we are always drowning under piles of laundry and dishes. Date night usually means Netflix and pizza in sweatpants.
In short, my life is nothing extraordinary.I am your average, brown-haired woman who hasn’t quite mastered walking in heels or winged eyeliner.
I’m average in every way, except one: married and thirty-one, I don’t have children, and I don’t know if I ever want to.
I’ve never had what I call the mothering gene. While many other females my age crave the feeling of a newborn in their arms, oohing and awing over our friends’ babies, I am the woman, uncomfortable and awkward, standing in the corner praying no one passes the child to me. I don’t get any excitement when I walk past infant clothes in the mall, and the thought of being responsible for a child slightly repulses me if I’m being honest.
My husband and I have found a sense of joy, of purpose, and fulfillment without children. We are happy. We feel at peace. We don’t feel like we’re missing anything.
But it seems like society is quick to judge us, to define us, and to berate us for our choice.
Over the years, there’s a sense of guilt that has been pushed on us for our life choice. From strangers’ nosy questions about our childfree life to acquaintances accusing us of being selfish, we have both taken heat for not producing offspring. I have even had students’ parents question my abilities to teach because of my lack of children.
On a bigger scale, numerous blogs, articles, and speakers seem to tout the notion that a childfree life is less somehow, and then it will be filled with regret, sorrow, and unfulling days.
When I’ve written articles about being childfree and the bias that is present against women in my situation, I often faced backlash. I’ve been accused of attacking motherhood and of inventing a bias that some claim doesn’t exist.
Through it all, I’ve learned that despite critics’ words, there is clearly a subdivision between the haves and the have nots when it comes to motherhood--and I think that is the greatest disservice we can do in terms of female empowerment.
The bottom line is this: I am not defined by my mothering status, nor are you.
Our choices when it comes to motherhood certainly impact who we become and our journey. However, it is not the only defining factor in our lives as women. Our society has thankfully moved beyond the years where a woman’s worth is only measured by her ability to reproduce. Some of us are mothers, and some of us are not. But beyond that, we are so many other things. We are leaders, friends, bosses, dreamers, inventors, nurturers, motivators, and artists. We are all made up of a multitude of specialties, skills, attitudes, dreams, and personalities.
To define us by one aspect of our lives isn’t fair to any of us. As women, we are so much more than one choice, one life path, and one status.
Thus, I say this:
To those who are mothers--I respect the hell out of you and your journey.
To those who are not mothers--I respect the hell out of you and your journey.
Your choices as a woman, your life’s journey to your own version of fulfillment, and the status of your family do not define your value in society.
Find your own way, find your own joy, and don’t let anyone tell you the path you chose is less, children or not.
Lindsay Detwiler is an author with Avon Books/HarperCollins UK and a high school English teacher. She has thirteen romances released with Hot Tree Publishing, including Inked Hearts. Her novel, The Widow Next Door, released in November of 2018 and remained at #1 in Horror on the Amazon charts for weeks. Learn more by visiting her Facebook.
It's easy to fall into a funk this time of year.
The holidays are gone, and it seems like there's just an endless stretch of boredom and, where I live, cold. I've been struggling with the search for joy, as I've been calling it thanks to Marie Kondo. I've been struggling to find meaning in monotonous days.
However, last week before school, a dear friend of mine shared an article on Facebook that changed my whole perspective. It's a beautiful story about how small acts of kindness really can change everything.
The story is about Ruby Kate, a 5th grader in Arkansas who started asking residents at the nursing home where her mother works what wishes they have. She was amazed to find that they really only wanted the smallest things--a fresh strawberry because they hadn't had one in years, a Pepsi, a candy bar. Ruby started a GoFundMe to raise money to meet their needs, and it's raised $30,000 so far.
The article made me tear up because it's beautiful on so many levels. It reminds you that it doesn't always take a huge gesture to change the world for someone.
Take a look at the article and then check out Ruby's Facebook page. Then, head to the comments and tell me about small acts of kindness you've witnessed that have made a huge difference....or tell me about how you've found joy bringing joy to others.
Let's spread some positive vibes around this Monday morning.
I am so honored that Wild Hearts has been named one of the 12 Sensational Contemporary Romance Books by EZvid Wiki. Click here to check out the list and find some more great information on romance!
The 5 Revolutionary Lessons Tidying Up Taught Me About Joy
If you've been wondering why everyone is using the verb "tidying" instead of cleaning these days, then you haven't heard of Marie Kondo.
The best-selling author and tidying expert Marie Kondo has her own method to finding joy in tidying, known as the KonMarie method. A recently released Netflix special, though, has made her a household name and has everyone placing items in bins, carefully folding clothes, and donating more items than ever.
But is there truth behind her message that tidying can bring joy? I was skeptical. As a total shopaholic, makeup addict, and collector of shoes, I had my doubts that the show would change anything in my attitude. In fact, I almost turned it off after the first episode.
However, I kept watching....and I got hooked. I started small, tackling my closet. But here's the thing....I found that her system works. As hippie-trippie as it sort of sounds (hold each item and asks if it sparks joy), it really does refocus your efforts.
I've made it through my closet (which was an immense task). My husband and I are finishing the kitchen tomorrow. Here are the five tips I've learned from her system that have really helped me spark joy.
1. Less really is more.
I'm the girl who buys two of a shirt that I don't really love just because it's cheap. I'm the girl whose closet has ten pairs of the same kind of black pants just in case something would happen. I'm the girl with more shoes than I could wear in a year.
I like to consider myself a fashionista or a clothing enthusiast. But, if we're being honest, yes, I suppose I'm a pack-rat, a bit of a hoarder, whatever you want to call it.
Marie Kondo emphasizes the ideas of minimalism in her show. Her idea is that if you have less stuff, you appreciate it more. This seemed like garbage to me at first, if I'm being honest. I loved having a full closet. And what was it hurting... out of sight, out of mind, right?
This week, though, I've tediously worked myself up to getting rid of four garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. Four. Heaping bags. For the first time ever, I have empty spaces in my closet. I have enough room to move clothing on the rack and examine it. I can see all of my shoes.
And you know what? She's right. She's so right. Because now, I can actually see what I have. I can walk into my closet and just grab items, toss them on, and go wherever I'm going without wondering if my outfit is good. Because everything in my closet is stuff I love.
P.S: I was super skeptical about the folding bit. But now, I love it! My leggings fit in a smaller space, as do my tank tops. And I can see everything and reach everything without having to undo stacks of clothing.
2. When you only keep items that 'spark joy,' life is simpler.
What the heck does it mean to spark joy? This was the question I wondered when I started following the KonMari method. It sounded like super hippie stuff to me.
But then on the one episode, she had someone pick out their favorite shirt. She asked them to think about how they felt when they saw that shirt, when they wore it. That was sparking joy.
Really, it's just a different way of looking at clothes, books, or anything else you're sorting. Do you really love it? Does it make you happy or bring purpose to your life? If not, chuck it.
I've been using this tactic now when shopping, too. I stop and really think about whether or not I love the item. If I'm just buying it because it is cheap and I might use it someday, I now pass. I now seek to fill my home with items that have meaning, something I've never truly thought about in the past.
Sparking joy is just a way of saying you need to be more mindful. So many of us seek to buy stuff just for the sake of having it. But Marie points out that you need to fill your space with items that make you happy, have a purpose, and point you in the direction of the future you're seeking.
Now, everything in my closet is something I love. It's so much easier to piece together outfits or to get dressed. There are no more "maybe I'll wear this someday" items cluttering my space.
3. A tidy home really does lead to less stress and more time.
Our house used to be clutter central. Finding the peanut butter was a ten-minute task. Morning routines were filled with tons of curse words and lost time. I was always rushing out the door last second because I could never find anything.
Now, though, I've seen a big difference in my stress level....and I've only tackled two spaces so far. The pantry is no longer anxiety fuel, and neither is my closet.
Less clutter really just helps you breathe easier. Seriously.
4. Assigning everything a home is key.
Marie Kondo highlights the importance of every item having a specific home. That means even your whisk has a specific spot in a specific drawer. This helps assure that when you open a drawer or closet, you can see everything you have.
We have started assigning spaces to everything. Is it tedious? Yes. But we've also found it helps us know exactly what we have and where it is. And it also helps us appreciate everything we have. When you treat all of your belongings with reverence, there's just a newfound happiness that emerges.
5. Small spaces can still be tidy if you organize it correctly.
I used to think we didn't have the space to be tidy. But Marie Kondo approaches small spaces with the same principles. She really showed me that you don't have to have a big space to be organized and to have the life you want.
I love that her show works with what you have. She's worked with full houses and apartment-size areas. Her show really sparks joy because it's all about appreciating what you have, big or small, and making it work for your life.
Have you watched 'Tidying Up' or ascribed to Marie Kondo's principles? Let me know in the comments what you've thought of her process, or tell us your own success story. And if you think this article will help your friends and family, feel free to hit the icons below to share!
My mastiff Henry is my absolute best friend. No joke. I'm obsessed with him.
If you've known the love of a dog, you know there's just nothing like seeing that tail wagging when you get home from a long day or the feel of that paw on your shoulder when life's falling apart. The love of the dog is like no other.... and that's why I wanted to capture that emotion in a romance.
The Trail to You, releasing March 16th with Hot Tree Publishing, came from my desire to make Henry a major component of the plot. He always appears in every single one of my novels (even my thriller/horror), but I wanted a book that celebrated the power of the bond between humans and dogs. And thus, a book in which the protagonists come together because of the love of a dog was born.
I'm not going to lie... The Trail to You is my favorite romance I've written, probably because of the story it tells of a fictionalized Henry. This one is light at times but also heavy...it's got plenty of laughs, and plenty of tears, just like real life.
I've included an excerpt from the first page below. Even though this one doesn't come out until March, there are some pre-order links ready now. The Amazon links are coming soon.
Until then, take a peek at the cover which just revealed. Hit comment and let me know all about your furry friend. I'd love to feature some of you in upcoming newsletters....and, if I pick you to feature, you'll earn a FREE ebook ARC of this upcoming book.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I get a small fee for any books purchased through the links below.