May 18, 2016

chatting with the chicks of chick lit


Ha ha ha ha welcome, welcome everyone to Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit. I’m your host, Chuck Lottateeth, and I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of the most fascinating characters in literature today. I’m talking about the leading ladies of Chick Lit—those enchanting, romantic, darling, sexy, sweet, funny, headstrong—and, let’s face it, sometimes downright frustrating—modern women who headline this fabulously fun genre. I'm sure you're going to love getting the skinny on these “novel” heroines, and who knows? You might just find your new BFF on the pages of one of these books!

Without further ado, please put your hands together and show some love for today's guest . . .

Harper Duquaine joins us from Laura Chapman's fun and flirty Queen of the League series, which tells the story of one woman's journey into the world of Fantasy Football. Along the way she finds love, friendship, and one of the best quarterbacks a person could ever want on his or her team. A native of Wisconsin, Harper now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she works as an office manager for a car dealership. When she isn't busy scouting new talent for her fantasy football teams or setting her weekly lineups, she enjoys crocheting, baking, spending time with her brothers and friends, and watching really bad TV. 

With that, let's begin the interview.

Chuck Lottateeth: If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?
Harper: Oh, that's a first-time question for me. I guess I'd say I am a stylish, but sturdy, pair of boots. I'd like to think I have a put together look (or at least I try to fake it till I make it), but I'm also hardworking and dependable. And wow. All of that sounds super braggy. Can we redo that or are we live? Let's just say stylish, but sturdy boots, because those are my favorite shoes to wear.

CL: What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?
H: The practical person in me would say a switchblade, or something useful like that, so I could attempt to make some kind of shelter and find sustenance. The more whimsical side of me would want to bring a crocheting hook so I could maybe create a line of scarves and potholders created out of palm tree leaves and the like. And for my third item, I'm going to take a giant vat of sunscreen. I'm a delicate flower, and I'd rather not get a sunburn.

CL: If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date? $50? $5,000?
H: I'm really pretty low-key about my dates, so $15 is usually the price range. I'd say we'd use part of the money to put gas in the car and use the rest to make a picnic of hot cocoa and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take for a night out of star-gazing. At the $50 range, we'd probably go to one of my favorite restaurants, which is a local pub. That kind of money would cover drinks, meals, and maybe even a couple of desserts for the table. At $5,000, I'd buy the best tickets I could find for a Bon Jovi concert, a hotel to stay the night, plane tickets, dinners out, and new outfits for myself and my significant other. I think we'd still possibly have some leftover money from that, which I'd give to my SO, because he's a lot more generous with his money than I am, and he'd use it for a good cause.

CL: Your best friend is asked to describe you in five words. What would they be? Your nemesis is also asked to describe you in five words. What would they be?
H: I think, or at least hope, my best friend would say I'm dedicated, driven, creative, classy, and caring. My nemesis would say I'm a ballbuster, tease, cockblock, klutz, and driven. I don't think anyone could deny that I'm driven, but not everyone would agree it's a good thing.

CL: If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?
H: My first instinct is to say Renee Zellweger's character, Dorothy, in Jerry Maguire, because of the football connection, the fact that she's gorgeous, and our mutual willingness to support the people we love and stay positive despite our past romantic failures. But I don't know if that's completely accurate. I'm also not sure if that's really answering the question, because it is who I would want to be if I could be any heroine, right? I don't know if I'd want to be Dorothy, because she has it kind of rough. So, I'll say... Giselle from Enchanted, because she's a princess, she can get animals to do her work for her, she has a great attitude and style, and she has great options for male suitors. I mean, she really can't go wrong with Patrick Dempsey or James Marsden, right?


Don't forget: This week, to celebrate International Chick Lit Month and #ChickLit May, the first two books in my Queen of the League chick lit series are on sale for 99 cents each!

First & GoalAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Going for TwoAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

And as an extra bonus, I am giving away two autographed copies of each book on Goodreads. Click here to enter to win First & Goal and here to enter to win Going for Two. (U.S. and Canada only!)


***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***

May 15, 2016

#chicklitmay scavenger hunt a-z


D is for Danny


So . . . I was thrilled to be assigned the letter D. Seriously, when I heard what we were doing with this scavenger hunt, the first thought to come to my mind was, "D is for Danny." Because one of my favorite parts about Chick Lit stories happen to be the men. I know, I know. It's called Chick Lit, and there are so many fantastic things about Chick Lit that don't involve men. But what can I say? I'm a girl who likes her dudes.

Now, that I bring it up, you're maybe wondering (or maybe you weren't, but you're on board now, right?) why didn't I say "D is for Dudes" when I had that letter? Well, when I say I'm all about the guys, I really mean that I'm particularly fixated on a couple. Their names both happen to be Danny. And the beautiful thing about both of these men is how different they are from each other. (D is for Different, too.) I consider them to be representative of two of my favorite types of male characters to appear in Chick Lits.

With that background established, let's get to know the boys, shall we?

Danny 1: The Quirky Comedy Relief

Our first Danny is from Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. We meet him in Book 3, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, as Becky's NYC neighbor. He happens to be a wannabe designer who has gone so far as to say he's worked with a famous designer (he handed him coffee once, which totally counts, right?) and actually tried to hang his own work in Bloomingdale's to trick his brother into believing he's making progress in his career to avoid being financially cut off.

See. Quirky comedy relief.

He's also wonderfully supportive of Becky and always has her back. (Like in Shopaholic & Baby, when arrives on motorbike to deliver a pair of boots she absolutely has to have to make a deal.)

But aside from the laughs and humorous heroics, the best part about Danny is how he serves as a support system for Becky. She makes a lot of stupid mistakes, but he's there to listen to her problems with no judgment. He never questions her feelings or makes them seem unsubstantial. He never treats her as a silly little woman, but instead encourages her to let it out and be her best self.

We all want a Danny in our lives. Heck, we all deserve him. At the very least, we need characters like him in our Chick Lit novels. Because even though our fun, fabulous heroines are their own women, they're somehow better when they're partnered up with such a great buddy.

I'm lucky, because I have this kind of Danny in my life. I actually recognized one of my best friends in this character when I picked up the series. My Danny is hilarious. He once teasingly chastised me at a "castle" for speaking to a driver, because, "we're at a castle, we don't speak to the help." He says things like, "You say potato, I say vodka." My Danny is supportive. Whenever we're on one of our long phone calls, he always asks about my current writing projects. He's one of the most generous people I know, and I could totally see him motorbiking to my rescue if I ever needed him. (Actually, he's super in shape, so he might just cycle in.) And most importantly, he's such a huge support system for me. He never tells me I'm being crazy. He never thinks I'm over-the-top. Like Becky's Danny, he loves and supports me in a non-romantic way, and it's perfect.

See why I love this sort of character in my Chick Lit?


Danny 2: The Darcy-Like Romantic Interest

Technically this Danny isn't from a Chick-Lit novel, but he's from a romantic comedy, which (in my humble opinion) is basically a Chick Lit on TV. I'm talking about Danny Castellano from The Mindy Project. (And, okay, I'm really talking about Danny Castellano from seasons one and two. I can't get into specifics on why that is without wanting to cry or punch someone in the face.)

Source

But back to my point. In The Mindy Project, seasons one and two, Danny is Mindy's curmudgeon of a co-worker, who actually seems to have something deeper and sweeter going on behind that grouchy facade. When we first meet him, he's handsome, brilliant, and serious. He also seems like a giant butthead, kind of like Mr. Darcy was at the beginning of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Sure enough, over time, we get to know Danny better and we find that he has his reasons for being jaded and jerky. We also realize (even if he hasn't) that he loves Mindy, and she makes him want to be a better person. And like Darcy, Danny doesn't find it that easy to win over the girl. He has to make some grand gestures.

Like creating a Christmas dance for her . . .

Source
Reading her THE most famous Chick Lit of all time . . .

Source

Running through the city to find her . . .


There's something to love about a flawed romantic interest. And while this may not be a practical match-up in real life, there's something I kind of love about escaping into a story where you can believe two imperfect people can find perfection in each other against all odds. Just like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. And just like Danny and Mindy (in the first couple of seasons, at least).

In Chick Lit, I love to have both types of Danny. The best friend who is there for laughs and to have your back, and the love interest who doesn't come easy, but can maybe be worth it in the end.

Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to traciebanister@gmail.com with the subject "A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry." Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!


The next stop on the Scavenger Hunt, E, is hereIf you'd like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt (the letter A), go here


This week, to celebrate International Chick Lit Month and #ChickLit May, the first two books in my Queen of the League chick lit series are on sale for 99 cents each!

First & Goal: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Going for Two: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

And as an extra bonus, I am giving away two autographed copies of each book on Goodreads. Click here to enter to win First & Goal and here to enter to win Going for Two. (U.S. and Canada only!)


***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***

May 5, 2016

love what's yours

I visit my Teammates mentee every Wednesday during my lunch break. My buddy (I can't disclose her name, so that's what I'll call her in this post) and I have met once a week, every week during the school year for three years now. There have been some rocky moments (the transition from elementary school to middle school is rough), but we've found a comfortable groove.

Typically I bring some sort of craft to make. We're both craft-lovers, and having a project to work on seems to work well for us. We made mini owl stuffed animals a couple of weeks ago. We painted canvases in the fall. We decorated letter blocks with our first initials. And so on.

This week, we finished creating an art project that basically involved taking fancy pieces of paper and creating a wall hanging by rolling and folding the paper accordingly. I'm not really doing a good job of explaining this (and I'm not totally sure how to do better) so here's a picture of me with my finished product to give you an idea.


See. It's an owl, and it has a jewel on it, which is pretty. It's art. (You can also see my buddy having a little fun with me by photobombing my picture with a peace sign. Silly girl.)

After finishing up my bejeweled owl, I helped my buddy finish up her own project. I cut up more pieces of tape and helped her put together the design (which was a pretty paper flower). While she exclaimed in excitement about it coming together, I said, "That looks great. Do you love it?" in a casual sort of way like you do.

Then she said, "I do love it. I made it, and you should love what you make, because its yours."

She was so sincere as she said it, which somehow made it even more sweet and wonderful. She's a sixth grader (who was actually kind of having a rough day, because middle school is the worst) and you could tell she truly believed what she said. There I was, feeling pretty smug about helping to get her out of a funk, but then she turned around and said something that reached me on a level I wouldn't have expected.

I've thought about those words a lot since our meeting yesterday. I've thought about how I tend to lean towards self-deprecation (and even self-loathing) when it comes to my own creations, from my art projects to my books. But I shouldn't. I should be proud of them. I should be proud of myself. I should love them, because I made them, and they're mine. It's probably not as easy as flipping a switch to change that mentality of mine, but it's worth giving a shot.

Of course it took a much wiser buddy to help me realize that.

But now that I've had this little epiphany thanks to my buddy, I realize it goes beyond changing the way I think. As her mentor, as her friend, I want to support my buddy and help her keep that attitude. It's hard to stay positive, to have confidence and belief in yourself, when it sometimes feels like the world is out to hate on you. But wouldn't that world be a whole lot better if we all loved ourselves and what we do a little more?

So let's love what we do, what we make, because it's ours. Maybe it isn't perfect, but that's life, right? You can still love it.


***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***

May 2, 2016

dear nora

Blogger's Note: I wrote this letter about a month ago after spending a weekend reading a few books that stuck with me. It was like I needed to get these words off of my chest before I could move on to other books or other writing projects. And as I can't actually send this letter, and because I feel like some of you readers might share in these feelings, I'm leaving it here as a tribute to one of my heroes. 


Dear Nora,

I read three of your books this weekend. After years of admiring your films, essays and interviews—and after watching your son's beautiful documentary (you must be so proud)—I realized it was past time to read these books that have long been on my to-read list. (Please don't feel bad. I have hundreds of books on that list. Now I feel bad for mentioning the list, but somehow, it seems like you might understand and appreciate my quandary.)

Heartburn kept me up until 3. (In full disclosure, I must also confess that the probable raccoon nesting in my attic played a small role in my late night, too.) It broke my heart. It busted my gut. I cried—tears of laughter and pain. Then, when it was over, it brought tears to my eyes again, because I remembered I'd never be able to tell you how much your book moved me. (That's something you should know about me, Nora. I'm not just someone who pens letters or notes to authors I admire, or elected officials, who need a kick in the butt. I'm also vain and egotistical enough to imagine myself rising to the level where my heroes will not only notice me, but they'll want to talk with me. Again, I suspect you might get that too.)

After Heartburn kept me up, I Feel Bad About My Neck woke me up the following morning. (Here's another confession—you're really getting me to spill my soul. After listening to an interview you gave on NPR back in 2005, I started moisturizing my neck. I was only 19, and I figured that if I started early on my neck maintenance, maybe I'd be okay. Not a day has passed since when I haven't moisturized and groomed my neck in a fight against gravity. And every time you—and that interview—come to mind.) So now, reading your book, I not only took your words to heart and read them furiously, I loved them.

Again, I laughed and cried, because they were so wonderful, so honest. Even though they were written years ago, it was like you were writing—or rather talking—to me now. Not just talking to me, but having a conversation with me. And then I remembered we live in a post Nora Ephron world, and I got sad. Sad young storytellers today won't get to eagerly anticipate your next movie or blog post.

To fight my bittersweet melancholy, I—you guessed it—opened a copy of I Remember Nothing. Now this time I went in a little guarded. I knew all too well I'd probably reach the end and be filled with a sadness like both times before. But soon I forgot to feel sad or be guarded. I was too caught up making vows to say yes to butter and no to having a meatloaf named after me.

This time, when I finished, I waited for that ache to come. The one from knowing I'd never hear of a new Nora Ephron release nor have the chance to meet you and become one of your friends and mentees. It didn't come. Instead, I felt happy. Happy to live in a world where people, like me, can share colorful stories. Happy to live in a world where we can escape into words that were seemingly put together just for us. Happy to live in a world with strong, brilliant women to admire—ones who challenge us to be better and the best versions of ourselves, while accepting who we are along the way. Happy to live in a world where someone gets me so clearly and has taught me so much, even though we'll never meet.

I'm happy to live in a world where you lived and loved and created and shared and challenged generations.

Thank you for leaving behind such a legacy and for sharing your truths with the world. Before we say good-bye—and I really need to wash my face and moisturize my neck—I have one quick question. It's about your no-carb ricotta pancakes. Do you think I could make it with blueberries, or would that destroy the integrity of the whole dish?

Respectfully and with love,

Laura


***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***

April 28, 2016

snapshots of france

As you may recall, I didn't go into my French adventure with the best attitude. (You can refresh your memory here.) Still, because I wanted to change my perspective, and because I've always regretted not taking notes on the other trips I've been on in my life, I resolved to keep a travel journal. Every day, I jotted down a few thoughts—sometimes just bullet points—to help me remember what stood out during the day. But, so as not to bore myself—or you, gentle readers—I had a self-imposed word count limit. Here you have it.

The beautiful photo my buzzed self wanted
to share with the world mid-flight.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Two hours into the flight and I'm pretty toasted (free wine!!!!). I'm at the point in my boozing journey in which I like to sing. Stupid no karaoke on planes. Instead of singing, I watched Joy and teared up at the end. (Could be the wine.) My in-flight WiFi isn't working, which is sad. How else am I supposed to share the magical photo I took of Canada??? I want to read my book but people are turning the lights off. Quitters. I need to pee but didn't want to use the plane's bathroom if possible. But three glasses of wine in, the idea doesn't seem so bad after all.

Update: It was terrible. Plane toilets are the worst.

Now to read then watch Mockingjay Part 2 till I sleep. Oh, JLaw. I know everyone says this, but I truly think we could be best friends. Call me?

Btdubs three glasses of wine seems to be my threshold. (Though I should probably stick to two in the future.) Thank goodness they just came around with water bottles. I need to hydrate.

On a more serious note... The women in front of me are well into retirement and headed to Paris on a girls' trip. They're so excited and sweet and germaphobic. (They scrubbed down their seats and seatbelts with sanitary wipes before they settled in for the flight.) It gives me hope for future French adventures, preferably in Paris. Maybe it won't be young, dashing Pierre showing me crepes, but older, wiser Henri giving me croissants.

International flights are better than domestic. Think about it.

***

Worth the flight across the Atlantic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
  • No sleep on plane
  • I sobered up and rehydrated well before landing, score
  • Long line at customs
  • Airplane broke our checked baggage
  • I don't think we lost anything
  • No, didn't lose anything, nothing broken
  • We missed the train to Nantes
  • We're going to repair the bag and grab a snack while we wait
  • Ate my first croissant and pain au choclat; divine
  • My co-worker fixed the bag; she says it looks like Frankenstein, I think it's beautiful (and it works)
  • Nearly passed out at airport during the four-hour wait for the next train
  • Angrily read November 7 on the train (my second book of this trip so far); angry not because of the train (which was fine, given my exhaustion), but because one of the characters did something I'm not sure I can forgive (reader problems)
  • I forgave him
  • Arrived in Nantes after six, checked into airport, took a walk around the neighboring chatteau, delicious dinner before passing out in the sofa bed that came with the room

***

The chatteau next door.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today, I learned the difference between went to say "bonjour" and "bonsoir." (The switch happens right at five, apparently.) Someone corrected me. After she left the booth, I turned to my partner in crime and said, "I feel like a big asshole right now. Foot," I pointed to my lips, "mouth." We had a good laugh. I'm maybe still a little delirious from lack of sleep.

It was a good first day at our booth. We handed out all of our 500 buttons within the first two hours. I also developed a deep and passionate crush on one of the security guards who walked past our booth every half hour or so. Each time we'd share a nod and a "bonjour." Then I'd look away before my eyes could betray the extent of my feelings. Be still my heart.

At the end of the day, anxious to take the tram back to our hotel, we were delayed. A large protest in the city center had shut down transportation. Everyone assured us it was normal, and we ultimately found our way back. Later we learned it was actually kind of a serious ordeal involving teargas. Note to self: play this down to parents until I'm back home.

I continue to find myself distracted by "shiny objects." And by shiny objects, I of course mean handsome French men, who seem so fit yet stylish.

"Before today," I said to my friend over dinner, "I never thought of Frenchmen, aside from how they might fit into my search for baked goods. But now..." Then I trailed off and became distracted by another handsome man walking by the restaurant, wearing a scarf. "I suppose it would be ill-fated like Romeo and Juliet. We don't speak the same language, we're from two different worlds. We're forced to admire one another in silence... Wait." My eyes grew wide. "That's Love Actually. Oh my God. He's Jamie. And I'm Aurelia. I've always loved that name."

I really need to get some sleep. I have no filter.

By the time I reached the hotel for the night, I knew I had a bit of a problem. I keep falling in love with half of the men I see. I never knew I had a thing for Frenchmen. Maybe it's a result of years of working in a primarily female environment? This day alone, I fell for a businessman in a smart suit on the hotel elevator on our way down to breakfast, another on his way to work on the tram, a security guard at the expo, two men dining across the room at the restaurant, a man in a scarf walking by the restaurant, and—just a few minutes ago—a man drilling a hole into the middle of the street (he was on a construction crew, so it was his job).

It's like I'm back in high school.

***

Another day, another castle selfie.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I couldn't sleep last night.

I fell asleep shortly after we returned to the hotel after dinner, which was actually pretty late; dinners here take at least two hours. But then I woke up at one and didn't fall back into a decent sleep until after four.

To make up for how bad I feel, I wore my favorite outfit that I'd packed. It's a new ruffled black shirt and a polka-dot blazer (another new purchase). I did my hair up nicely, plastered on some red lipstick, and tried not to fixate on the ever-growing bags under my eyes.

A man in a fabulously embroidered shirt came over to our booth. As I said hello, in English, he told me he and his partner were checking me out on the tram. They mused, "That is a beautiful French woman." I assured him I have never felt more complimented. "I'm not hitting on you, but I'm gay so you can trust me." Believe me, I do. And I'm thrilled.

My look paid off, and I'll float on this compliment the rest of the trip.

This evening, I developed a new story idea. I already had it in my head before I left for France, but it came together during dinner with my co-worker's help. Traveling does wonders for the imagination.

Also did a lot of men watching during dinner. Ooh la la! I'm so gross with my boy craziness right now. And so immature. I'm about to be thirty for crying out loud. So much for being a strong, sensible, independent woman.

***

Friday night was date night in France. Even for these
ducks, who found their way to the castle.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Today I learned the only phrase I'll ever need to know: "Je suis trop belle por ca." That's French for "I'm too pretty for that," which is my favorite thing to say when I don't want to do something. (But then I usually do it, because it has to be done, and that's what I do. I get things done.)

I'm going to get that tattooed across my middle finger.

I grow more and more tired every day, yet I'm somehow managing to stay perky. Almost everyone who passes our booth gets a friendly, "bonjour" before I refer them to some phrases penned in French, because the only thing I know how to say in French is that I'm too pretty for that, which doesn't seem to apply in this situation.

It was a great day making a couple of new friends capped off by a three-course dinner of crepes. I highly recommend a three-course crepe meal to everyone.

I'm feeling confident and badass navigating my way around the city and running this booth. I can't even say how good it is to feel so in control and on point.

***

Taking a walk through Jardin des Plantes.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My admirer from the tram and his lovely partner had coffee with us and we rode the tram in together. At the end of the ride, he suggested we collaborate on a book. I was a little "well..." But not even fifteen minutes later, I was already imagining a story. It's also based on one I've been toying with, but now it's better. Perhaps this could be a real thing.

Have I mentioned how good travel is for my imagination?

A little tot stopped by the booth near the end of our stint. He stomped in with his little red boots, big blue eyes, and mischievous little boy smile. He stayed there waving and smiling at me for a couple of minutes. His mother darted me apologetic looks, but it was one of the sweetest little moments of this trip. Me saying "bonjour, comment allez-vous?" and him breaking smile after smile with a wave. Language isn't always a barrier. Not when a smile will do.

I spent 42 Euros on a scarf. I'm normally so cheap that it kind of gave me heart palpitations. But it's a unique handmaid silk scarf that is tres belle. And it's my gift to myself to forever commemorate my trip to France. I hope to return someday with more time for fun, but who knows if I will? Either way, sometimes you have to treat yourself.

On our way out of town, we visited Jardin des Plantes, which was closer than we realized (across the street from the train station). What a nice finale. It was a good trip.

***

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I still can't sleep. I'm lying awake in bed at the airport hotel. It's well after two, and I know I need to be up and ready to go first thing so we can make our flight back home.

I'll be headed back to reality soon. It's a mixed bag. I'm still running on a bit of an OMG-we-did-a-great-job-this-week high, but I can't wait to snuggle with my kittens and get a full night of sleep. I also realize this week—as crazy and busy as it was—was better than I imagined. I'm not talking about the delicious crepes, croissants, and other delicacies I ate—though they were amazing. It was mostly wonderful because I felt so competent, so in control. I troubleshooted, I made contacts, I encouraged others, I dreamed for myself. I'm happy. Tired, but happy.

What happens when I get home? How long does the afterglow last? Can I keep my little fear demons at bay? Can I take control of situations and make them work? I suppose I proved to myself that yes, I can. I just have to figure out how, and it won't be easy. But I need to stop worrying about that now. Right now, I want to bask in the belief that I am wonderful and anything and everything is possible. That I am tres magnifique.

***

I'm back in Lincoln, and it's strange that it's late afternoon on the same day I left France, rather than early the next morning. Flying internationally is the closest I'll ever come to time travel. Yet another perk of going out to see the world.

The kittens are happy I'm back. I'm happy I'm back. I want to sleep for forever, but I also want to tell everyone everything while it's all fresh in my mind. But I'll have to go to bed eventually. Probably sooner than I think. My freshly laundered sheets are calling to me, like a siren.

While I wait for dinner to be delivered—I need to buy groceries in the morning—I unpack my suitcase and sort my laundry. After removing my new scarf, and being reminded of just how beautiful it is, I've decided the price was worth it. All of this was worth it.


***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***