Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lessons :: On Marriage and Sons

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Usually when you move in with someone, people start asking when you're going to get married. And then once you're married, people start asking if you're going to have kids. Our order of things has been a little different, but we still get asked about our future plans from time to time.

Before meeting Brandon, I was not a "kid person" (and I'm still not, to be honest, though I already love mine). I wanted to get married someday, maybe, but I didn't care about weddings (unless they were the weddings of my friends, because hello, free booze). My life has completely changed within the past year and a half, and so have my plans and priorities. Don't worry -- it's all changed for the better.

B and I knew we wanted to be together forever, pretty early on. But with a kid on the way, we probably won't be getting married for awhile. I thought I would want to elope in Vegas or just go to the Justice of the Peace, but B is a little more traditional than that. And the more we talk about it, the more I'm looking forward to celebrating with all of our friends and family someday. It's just going to take a lot of planning that we don't have time for right now.

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And, yes, we've talked about more children too. I'm limiting it to two (which I think I have the authority to do, since they're coming out of me) but as we've learned, God has his own plans. We definitely don't want to have another until we're married and have our own place and have our debts paid off and money saved.

I also want to wait until Baby Loudmouth is old enough to wipe his own ass because chasing around two babies sounds like a nightmare (just ask my poor mother who had to deal with my sister and I). When B said "we should wait awhile, like two years" I laughed in his face. Sorry, I'm thinking more like 5. People say that's too big of a gap, but I'm selfish and want a built-in babysitter. Until then, we're going to use about 7 forms of birth control (if that many exist, of course) or stay celibate. Wish me luck.

I've also been asked if I'm excited that we're having a boy, and the truth is yes, yes, praise Jesus, yes. My sis and I have a brother much younger than us, and even my parents agree that he was the easiest to raise. I'm still waiting for him to mess up because, come on dude, you're making the rest of us look bad. If this fetus magically ends up being a girl, I'll love her anyway, but I'll be a lot more scared. I'm already an emotional firecracker, and trying to get along with a mini-me sounds downright terrifying.

So before the ultrasound, when people asked if I wanted a boy or girl and I said I didn't care, that was a flat-out lie. I've wanted a boy from the beginning, and I kinda had a feeling that that's what it was, but I didn't want to jinx anything. And now we're less than a month away, and I'm so happy.

*Photos shot by Michael Almeida on August 23, 2014 and edited by me in Photoshop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life :: 2 Things I Wish I Knew at 22

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I was super honored when the talented Sarah Von Bargen of Yes and Yes asked me to participate in a blog crawl to help spread the word about The Post College Survival Kit. She asked me to share some advice that I would give my younger self, and to be honest, I thought I'd have a lot more to say. My 20s have been pretty rocky, but I don't think I would change anything. I wouldn't take back any of the mistakes I've made, because they've made me who I am, and I like me. I'm the type of person who needs to learn things the hard way, and even if I'd been given the following two pieces of advice, I probably wouldn't have listened.

But I hope you do, because they could save you money, time, and trouble. Unless you like getting into trouble, in which case, go do your thang. Here's me at 22 -- with family on my graduation day, and a few weeks later after getting my hair done. Blonde makes my nose look bigger, apparently. (No, that is not one my grand epiphanies, but I just noticed it and my mouth doesn't have much of a filter.) Moving on!

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1. It's okay if you don't know everything, but you should act on the things you do. There's so much pressure on young adults to graduate college, have it all figured out, and jump into a perfect life. No wonder we have such high expectations! Dream big, but go easy on yourself. It's good to plan for life, but life doesn't always go the way we plan. Therefore, it's totally fine if you're not sure about something. Sometimes it's good to just sit back and enjoy the ride. On the other hand, if something doesn't feel right, you totally have the power to change it. Don't let yourself get stuck with a job or boyfriend or city that isn't satisfying. This may all sound contradicting, but it's about balance. Do what you can with what you have, and go from there. Good things take time. Don't stress.

2. Stop feeling obligated, learn to say no, and live your own life. Growing up, I was always a people pleaser. I aimed to please my parents and teachers. When I got older, I switched my focus to making my friends and boyfriends happy. I hated the thought of hurting anyone's feelings and was constantly taking everyone (but me) into consideration. I totally forgot about my own needs while constantly striving to meet the needs of others. This caused me to be easily let down and taken advantage of. I wish I would've done more for myself but instead I allowed the fear of not being "nice" enough control me. But in 2011 I left my first full-time job, broke up with my long-term boyfriend and lost a bunch of friends. I was forced to become independent and take care of myself. I realized that I'd been missing out on so much self-love. The thing is, your friends, family, and significant other should want you to be happy, and therefore they should want you to think about yourself and do what's best for you. You don't need anyone's approval for anything. You're an adult now and it's about time you used that power!

Thanks for letting me share! You might also be interested in my pregnancy story, my business journey, or my e-book: 7 Steps to Living Loudly. Feel free to contact me about anything, anytime.

*Top photo provided by Sarah.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Look :: Maternity Photos / Griffith Park Romance

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Outfit details:
Sunglasses - Bonlook
Dress, flats - Target
Heart ring - gift from my sis
Silver bangles - gift from my mom
Gold bangles - InPink
Earrings, necklace, silver ring - Ann Taylor

We took 160 photos and this post started out with 20, so I'm pretty proud of myself for getting the set down to 7. Even though I loved them all, I didn't want to overwhelm you and it's also nice to put some aside specifically for our personal collection. Not everything needs to be shared on the internet.

However, I will tell you this: I felt less than good about myself that day. I wanted to get my hair and nails and eyebrows done, but it didn't happen. I also wanted to get a nicer dress, but this plain one was the only thing I could find that fit me. I was hot and swollen and cranky and, for once, didn't feel like being in front of the camera. Of course, we did the damn thing anyway, and I'm glad we did.

I'm not saying all this to complain, but rather, to let you in on what goes on behind-the-scenes sometimes. The internet is full of pretty pictures without stories, and sometimes it's comforting to know that the lives of others aren't as perfect as they seem. At the same time, I'm grateful for my life, and oh-so-happy that we got these shots. Brandon cares about pictures just as much as I care about cars (meaning, he doesn't give a shit) but he cares about me enough to do things like this.

What I'm trying to get at is, I didn't edit these at all. Not only is the golden light already beautiful, but I wanted to show you us in our natural state. I hope that, above all, the love we have for each other and our excitement for the coming months shines through.

*Photos by Michael Almeida on August 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life :: A Few Announcements

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Hey, loves! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. I wanted to pop in with a few announcements today before I take off into Babyland. I'm planning for my last post to be up this Wednesday but if you've been reading my pregnancy updates you'll know that we're expecting our little guy any day now, so who knows.

First off, I'm still accepting guest posts for both blogs, so if you'd like to submit one (or more!) please get them to me within the week. Photos need to be 624px wide and I normally like the html to already be set. Simply copy and paste into an email (mine is and you're good to go! If you have any questions about topics or other specifics, I'm all ears. Guest posting is a great way to promote yourself and network with other bloggers. You can see past guest posts here.

Speaking of networking, I put together my first-ever linkup on Friday and I'd love for you to participate! In my personal essay I ask, "How many times do you let someone hurt you before you bring it up? How many times do you bring it up before you let that person go? Is it possible to still love and forgive them, without having to stay friends?" Basically, I'm wondering -- how do you find a balance between being selfish and selfless? I'm really excited to read everyone's posts about friendship and love. Linkups are another way to connect with like-minded individuals. Some of my dearest friends were made through the blogosphere and one of my future goals is to cultivate more of a community on TLL.

This is also your last week to donate to my Indiegogo campaign. So far we've had 153 referrals and 676 visits! Thank you so much for helping me promote the Loudmouth movement!

And if you're wondering what's going to happen to my shop over the next few months, I've already cleared everything out except for my book, which will quietly get marked down while I'm on leave. The price will go back up to $20 once I return with a vengeance and the shop will be re-stocked as well. It's just not something that I can see myself keeping up with during this time.

Anytime you miss my online presence, feel free to peruse my list of greatest hits. I'll surely miss you all, and I plan to pop in at least once a week with an update! Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, too -- I finally have a new phone and tablet. Talk to you soon.
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