Friday, October 24, 2014

Loves :: Dreams of Traveling for Writing's Sake

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Even though I've been writing since I could talk, blogging for over half my life, and posting here at The Loudmouth Lifestyle since 2010, I've never been to a writing or blogging conference or retreat. It's something that I've always wanted to do, but for some reason, it's just never happened.

I'm determined to make 2015 the year, so I've been researching different weekend excursions across the United States. I was fortunate enough to travel to Las Vegas back in 2011 for a blogger meetup (see all the fun details here), but now I'm looking for something that has classes and workshops to help me hone my craft. I've found 5 possibilities that seem right up my alley.

If you've been to any of these or have a favorite (or are interested in joining me!) feel free to send a tweet or email. I'd love to get more info and it'd be fun to have a buddy on board. Let's do this!

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Name: Allume
When: October 23-25, 2014 (dates for next year TBA)
Where: Greenville, SC
Ticket price: $225
Cost includes: Admission, meals, gift bag, access to all sessions and keynotes

From the website: "Our goal at Allume is to minister to the woman, the blogger, the story teller. We want to love well, encourage, and spur women on to shine the Light that lives within them. We want to serve you in ways that cultivate the Light of Christ in you, help you expand your influence, use your influence well and encourage you with stories of those who are living out that Light. The Allume conference exists to offer a gathering place for kindred spirits to connect, learn, grow, and be refreshed so they can persevere in being a people who bring hope to the world through the social media medium."

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Name: Alt Summit
When: January 21-24, 2015
Where: Salt Lake City, UT
Ticket price: $625
Cost includes: Admission, lunches, parties, access to all sessions and keynotes

From the website: "The founders of Alt Summit come from a blogging family. Understanding that bloggers and creatives needed the connections a live event would offer, an idea was hatched. A live event to discuss what is new, what is working, what is not and what is next. Alt is a place to connect. Finding peers, meeting new friends, brainstorming collaborative ideas and building relationships with brands are all important parts of Alt. Alt is like that amazing few days when you had that burst of inspiration that gave you the strength to connect with that person you had been thinking about which led you to collaborate on that awesome project. You were so tired at the end, but you felt good and you slept hard."

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Name: Your Writing Voice
When: November 13-15, 2014 (dates for next year TBA)
Where: Nashville, TN
Ticket price: $729
Cost includes: Admission, meals, lodging, gift bag, access to all sessions and activities

From the website: "I’m so excited to host this very intimate, intensive writing retreat weekend in my hometown. Have you ever had an experience where you could really let your guard down? You turned off your cell phone and got away from all of the pressures and responsibilities of life and suddenly you found you didn’t have to try hard anymore. You didn’t have to perform. You could just be. That’s what I want this weekend to do. I want it to wake up our senses, to give us permission to drop our defenses, and to help us recover our creative sprits. I want us to feel connected and alive again when we leave. I want this feeling to be able to leak into our lives as writers and as people. I want us to take it home with us."

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Name: Vortext
When: May 29-31, 2015
Where: Whidbey Island, WA
Ticket price: $950
Cost includes: Admission, breakfast and lunch, access to all sessions and keynotes, select workshops

From the website: "Join us for an extraordinary weekend salon at the famed Whidbey Institute led by renowned women writers. Connect in diverse and powerful small-group workshops. Enjoy dynamic keynotes and discussions about opportunities and challenges for women who write. Share meals, open mics, conversation and community in a stunningly beautiful setting. Hedgebrook is a global community of women writers who seek extraordinary books, poetry, plays, films and music by women. A literary nonprofit, our mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture."

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Name: The Blogcademy (Level 2 Workshop)
When: February 28-1, 2015
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Ticket price: $999
Cost includes: Admission, gift bag, access to all classes and activities

From the website: "It's time to level up. If you're serious about growing your business online, you'll learn all about it as we teach you how to brand and position yourself, what (and how) you should outsource, and give you the lowdown on creating products that sell! You'll get a branded pouch, access to our forum, and a 40+ page digest-style book. Plus there's free time for brainstorming, networking, and one-on-one feedback. We believe in sharing information, supporting each other, and expressing your true self. But most importantly, we want you to know that it's completely possible to live life on your terms."

PS: This is my 1,000th post! Thanks for reading. You guys are the best!

*Header photo found here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lessons :: It's Okay to Not Want Kids (Guest Post)

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Hello, loudmouths! My name is Kelly, visiting from This is my first ever guest post, and I have to admit, I'm pretty nervous. A brief about me: I'm a Floridian outdoors-woman who loves to share my enthusiasm for living life responsibly and to the fullest.

Since the whole reason I am here is because Steph is on maternity leave, babies have been on my mind quite a bit. And by quite a bit, I mean almost constantly, because I also happen to be a newly wed. And, as Steph herself said, 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.

True words.

I have been married since June 8, 2014, and I have already lost count of the people who have asked, poked, and prodded me regarding procreation. I've hemmed and hawed over the answer, not looking forward to the looks I get when people hear the awful truth: I do not want kids.

I am not saying that in the I-Don't-Want-Kids-Right-Now-But-Maybe-Later sort of way either. I am saying it as a twenty seven year old woman who has never felt a maternal tug, and is quite sure that she never will. I am also married to a man who not only agrees with me, but likes to make crying children in the grocery store cry harder.

And not wanting kids is okay. It does not mean that my husband and I hate your baby. (Or at least, I don't.) It also doesn't mean that I am selfish, or broken, or afraid of commitment. It just means that parenting is not for me, but there are plenty of other things that are. Some of those things are even relevant to children!

(For instance, I will make an excellent guest at your baby shower. I don't know why people assume that since I don't want kids I don't want an invitation to their showers! Especially since I am excellent at the game where you guess the baby food flavor.)

So what is the point of what I am saying?

Well. I want to be invited to your shower.

No, really. I want to be able to answer the 'when are you guys having kids question' truthfully, without having to worry that I am about to alienate someone. I want to live my child-free life without feeling that I have somehow jeopardized my womanhood. And I'm willing to bet that there are a ton of other woman out there who feel the same way! So, ladies, please be kind to women who aren't mothers and never will be. Because they're still human, still women, and not having children doesn't change that.

Kelly likes to take pictures, write stories, and dress up as video game characters and parade around convention centers. Her life is a mixed bag, and she likes it that way! You can visit her on Pinterest and Twitter, or at her blog.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life :: Advice Question / I'm Still in Love With my Ex...

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Anonymous asks,

"I recently went through a complicated and messy break up. I still have feelings for my ex, but I know they'll fade in time. I still have occasional communication with my ex and it's just complicated. Like life. Am I obligated to fill in my current boyfriend? When is the right time to share stories about messy exes? If I'm not cheating, is it really anyone's business?"

When Brandon and I met, we had both been single for about two years, casually dating people on and off. But before that, he was engaged and I was in a long-term, live-in relationship. We actually discussed these exes the first night we talked. It wasn't that we wanted to dwell on the past or trash-talk our old flames; we simply wanted to be open and honest with what we had both been through. This allowed us to gain some perspective on each other and find out what we were both looking for.

Now, I'm not saying you have to bring up your ex on the first date -- for us, the conversation just naturally flowed in that direction -- but I think it's healthy to be honest about your past. I wouldn't go through the details of every hook-up and one-night stand, but if you had any relationships that were long-term, significant, or recent, those should be mentioned. It also helps for you to know about his past as well so that you can pick up on any red flags that could occur in your own relationship. Of course, humans are constantly changing and hopefully he learned from his mistakes. However, love is embracing everything about the person you're with -- who they were, who they are now, and who they will be in the future.

In your specific situation, I would strongly suggest cutting off all communication with your ex. If you still have feelings for this person, and things are still messy, it could definitely interfere with your current relationship. Even if you're not doing anything sexual with your ex, I do believe there's such a thing as emotional cheating. If you're still thinking about your ex, it's not fair to your boyfriend. Even if he never finds out, you will never be able to give yourself fully to him until you lose those feelings. And the best way to do that is to stop talking to him! Get some closure and move forward.

I personally think that exes are exes for a reason. If it didn't work out, there's no point in keeping in touch. As for telling your boyfriend about this guy -- like I said, honesty is the best policy. You could say something like: "Just so you know, my ex is still in my life, but I'm trying to cut him out of it. Because of that, I think that we should take things slow. I really like what we have and I want to start this relationship with an honest foundation." If my boyfriend were hiding something from me, I would rather know. If he really cares about you, he'll respect you for telling the truth and give you the time you need to move on.

My top advice posts are listed here, and questions for future posts can be sent here!

*Photo found via Pinterest (original source unknown).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Loves :: A Glimpse at my Glasses Collection

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I've been wearing prescription glasses since the fourth grade. Yeah, it's been a few years.

Back then, they weren't known as sexy, stylish, "hipster" or cool -- but rather, a nerdy nuisance. Add my spectacles to the metal braces and frizzy hair I sported daily, and I looked like your typical dork (think pre-makeover Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries). Over the years, however, I've learned to love my lenses, and I've recently compiled quite the collection. Today I'm going to introduce you to six of my favorite pairs, one of them being my go-to sunnies.

Of course, I had to include the Hello Kitty plush that Brandon got me for my birthday when we were first dating. Could I be any more of a dweeb? I don't think so.

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Clockwise from top right:

1) Jack & Norma SUN in Noir from BonLook || best sunglasses (see them on me here)

2) Roosevelt in Revolver Black Matte from Warby Parker || favorite everyday frame (see them on me here)

3) Cat Eye #F038 in Black c/o Firmoo || best retro look (brand new!)

4) Jack & Norma in Champagne from BonLook || best party pair (see them on me here)

5) Scout Festival in Brown c/o Glasses Direct || best color for autumn (see them on me here)

6) X-Ray BS23 in Tortoise c/o GlassesUSA || most versatile pair (see them on me here)

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