Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend in Pictures

This is what happens when you get caught in a surprise rain storm.

Emma had an absolute blast making her daddy have a tea party.

And of course, what I have been working on in every spare minute so my friends can have their pictures by the end of the week.
My weekend was pretty amazing, and hope it was the same for you!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bookish Sundays: Looking for Alaska

Who's been a horrible blogger?  This girl.  Who's really behind on replying to wonderful comments?  Sigh.  I have some plans and posts lined up for this week to make up for all of that, some serious and some not so serious ideas.

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Category: Young adult fiction

Synopsis [c/o Barnes & Noble]: "Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same."
Overview:  I first saw a review on this book when reading Katie's blog.  She gave such high recommendations for it, I thought I would check it out.  I was sincerely impressed with the level of writing, the superior skill Green shows in telling a story, how well developed the characters are, and even the deeper message that he strives to get across.

Looking for Alaska tells the tale of a inconspicuous teenage boy who runs into a group of students at a boarding school that not only bring him out of his shell, but impact his life forever.  While friendships form around pranks, plans, and the ever tumultuous Alaska, the author slowly reveals that not all is as it may seem; even the most vivacious and outgoing of teenagers hide personal issues and problems that eat away at them from the inside out.  One singular event occurs, forcing the characters to look deep within themselves to answer some of life's most challenging questions.

Although this novel is identified in the young adult section, and is definitely written on a young adult level, I wouldn't recommend it for younger teenagers.  [I understand that drugs, sex, and alcohol are regular components of average high school life, but hopefully we can shelter the ones we love for just a little longer?]  Normal teenage angst is slightly involved, causing me to gnash teeth while I'm reading about love sick 16 year olds, but there is definitely a deeper message from the author that is difficult to find in most young adult novels.  Green has the reader contemplating death, guilt, life, happiness, and the facade that covers it all.  Older teenagers who are struggling with some internal battle may be able to read this and come to terms with whatever they are dealing with.  Fantastically written, flows extremely well, amazing character development; definite recommendation for those who are looking to get a little more out of a read.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July

Did you happen to notice that Be Freckled has over 100 followers now?!  I'm a tad giddy, and you should be, too.

Back in June, I signed up to be a part of the Christmas in July gift swap that Alyx was hosting.  Seemed like the perfect way to mark the almost-there halfway point to the real Christmas, and it's always fun getting new things.  Really.  I'm a sucker for all those marketing and consumer ads.

Anyway, I was paired up with Riana from Beyond My Wildest Dreams.  I kind of forgot to take a photo of her package before I sent it, and I'm not even completely positive that she's received it yet [one of the many hassles of sending mail from overseas], so I'm not going to spoil her surprise.  But, I got my gift in the mail yesterday, and couldn't wait to get home to open it.

Lady did a marvelous job of wrapping.  I was curious to know what was under all that bubble wrap, but.... soon as I saw this symbol, I knew that I would love it.  It was a much needed site for deprived eyes.  I miss Target so much.

And this is what I found inside.  Girl did fantastic.  A new frame to add to my collection, a Cosmo [love me some Cosmo], and a new little journal.

Thank you so much, Riana!  I loved my gifts, and loved participating in this little swap.  Can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Before & After

I've been sitting at this computer for a better part of two days in an effort to complete the family portraits I took on Sunday night.  I'm slowly gaining more confidence in my own ability [as long as I don't look at any professional photographer pages...that just helps new found confidence plummet rapidly], and am even adventuring into new territory in my editing process.  I thought it might be fun to show a few before and after shots from this past shoot, and a before and after of a friend's [who is a professional photographer, and who's page I stay away from diligently].

Straight off of camera [SOOC]

Edited to remove brother, touched up and brightened.
Already a cute shot SOOC
But looks even better when it's been touched up!

Just a little bit of work, and even some of the worst photos can look pretty decent.  I still have tons to learn, but I have plenty of willing victims to help me figure it out.  Now if I could just get someone to sit down and help me understand Photoshop Elements...

Be on the look out this year!  I have two more family shoots in the upcoming month, a couple birthday parties, and even a labor & deliver to look forward to at the end of the year :).  I'm also hoping to become an assistant for a more established photographer so I can learn better tricks of the trade, although I am still firm in my decision to never become a photographer as a career.  I enjoy having this hobby, but I think that's all it will ever be.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend in Pictures

 This and the next are shots straight off of camera [SOOC] with absolutely no editing added.  The view from my balcony was stunning over the weekend!!

First shot in years.  Called a Baby Guiness, it's a Bailey's and Khalua combo [not really a shot in my opinion, but it tasted amazing]
I'm a happy girl with Bailey's in my tummy.
 Had the opportunity to take some photos for a family here in the area!  This shot isn't the best in the world, but the little boy had me cracking up with his obsession for tea.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bookish Sundays: All the Vampire Novels in One Post

If you've been around long enough, you know that I'm not a Twilight fan, or any other vampire story fan for that matter.  Yes, I've probably read most of them.  No, I don't like very many of them.  But, they're a trending style in today's secular book world [not to be confused with literature world], so here are all the ones I know of in one easy to find post.  If you click on the captions below each photo, will take you to the Barnes & Noble site with overviews of each one.

1.  Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Do I even need to cover this one?  If you haven't read the books, chances are you've seen the movies.
And while reading about a 16 year old fall in love with someone is not exactly fun in my opinion, it's at least better than watching Kristen Stewart act.  Sorry, but true.  The books cover a little more detail than the movies, and help the reader dive a little more thoroughly into Bella's thoughts.  If you're a fan, read the books.  It would be worth it, and they're even decently written.

c/o Barnes & Noble
2.  House of Night Series by Kristin Cast
Another teenage drama filled with high emotions, angst, and the ability of one girl to get into more trouble than anyone I know.  Not very well written, definitely aimed toward the pre-teen age group.  Has the tendency to repeat the same catch phrases on almost every page.  Got to book three, don't think I'll be reading the rest.

c/o Barnes & Noble
3.  Immortal Series by Alyson Noël
Okay, not really a vampire series.  But have you seen Vampire Diaries on WB?  I swear they stole some ideas from these books.  While they have no vampire characters, there is a different sense of immortality.  I'd be giving a lot a way if I tell you more, though, so I'm going to leave you in suspense.  However, it does parallel quite a bit between Vampire Diaries and Twilight.  Young girl, falls in love, must make some desperate choices regarding her fate, gets into tons of trouble, losing virginity a big deal. You know the story already, I suppose.  Decently well written, and pretty intriguing story line; not original, but still unique.

c/o Barnes & Noble
4. Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
Out of all the vampire novels I've read, this has to be my favorite series.  Main character isn't a vampire, but her world is linked to them out of mutual survival instincts.  Young adult novel, still manages to get into tons of trouble, but at least this main character is capable of fighting back.  Contains more than just drinking blood and staying out of sunlight; also involves a tad bit of magic [which I'm a sucker for], a little love, and general badassery action.  Definite recommendation if you like vampires.

c/o Barnes & Noble
5.  Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
Also known as the Sookie Stackhouse Series.  Everyone knows True Blood, right?  Highly inappropriate yet riveting HBO series?  These books are what the TV show is based off of.  And if I'm going to be completely honest, you're much better off sticking with the show instead of reading these novels.  Not a fan at all of the writing, and each novel ends as though it's the last in the set...and it's not. Harris doesn't seem to know how to quit while she's ahead.  The books are quite a bit different than the show, but no where near as good; for instance, Lafayette sticks around all 5 seasons.  He doesn't quite make it that far in the books.  And he's one of the best characters!  It's completely up to you, but I wouldn't waste my time with these ones.

c/o Barnes & Noble
6.  Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward
Did you like Twilight?  How about Fifty Shades of Grey?  This could possibly be the next series for you.  Black Dagger is a cross between Fifty and any other vampire novel out there.  Sexy, racy, and actually has some action in it as well.  Each novel covers one of the main characters, and each character has their own the bedroom.  So while Fifty leans toward the more racy, this series has absolutely everything you can think of in it.  It does tend to drag a little, especially as Ward adds more books, but decently written and well diverse in all aspects.  Can be cheesy though, especially as she covers the historical periods of some of the characters.  There are battles against enemies, battles against internal demons, overcoming odds, ghosts, gods, etc.  But an okay set of novels.  Definitely NOT a young adult book...this one is related at least R, if not higher.

c/o Barnes & Noble
There you have it.  All the vampire novels in one easy to find post.  Have any others to contribute to the collection?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday's Letters: Two Years

Babe.  Babe.

It's been two years.  Exactly 24 months since we stood in the Woodland, CA, city hall and swore to be husband and wife, no matter what.  Two years since you had enough of my talk of waiting, and told me we were getting married as soon as possible.  Two years since I had to scramble to find an open time with a Justice of Peace to make your wish come true.

Three years ago, I would've laughed if someone told me we would get married.  Now, I couldn't imagine any other life.  My plans, my goals, my wishes; they were all before you. everything has changed.  How could I think I could make it on my own?  How could I assume that I didn't need anyone else to make me happy?  The truth is, I would be miserable without you in my life.  I can barely function on this deployment, and the thought of being alone if we hadn't worked through our problems makes my heart stop.  This is right.  We are right.  

It hasn't been easy.  God, thinking back on our first year of marriage?  I'm in disbelief that two people who love each other so much could fight so often.  But we made it through, and because of that, I know we can survive through anything.  Bring your best, Life; we're in it for the long haul.

Deployments, moving, trying to have a baby; there have been so many doubts along the way.  But I always know what you'll say: It'll be okay.  Do you ever get tired of repeating that to your constantly worried wife?  The truth is, I love that you say it.  I love how sure you are of us, how completely confident you are in our marriage, our relationship, our varying points along this road together.  I love that you listen to my fears, my angst, my worries, and sooth them.  You are my rock.

Every little thing that I loved about you before we married has only been amplified over the past two years.  The fact that you can make me laugh no matter my mood.  How wonderful you are with children.  Your impulsiveness.  The awkward faces you make when you're trying to be funny.  Your romantic side.  The nerd phase that you'll never grow out of.  How you make me feel like I'm the only important factor in your life.  Your desire to be the best husband, coworker, son, leader you can be.  Your honesty.  Your ability to remember the smallest details, even when I think you're not listening.  The fact that you can look like you're listening, and then not remember a thing I've mentioned.  How you make some of the most idiotic and ridiculous comments, then pretend like I'm hearing things.  Your easy going personality.  

Only thing I would ever change; your snoring.  Please leave that in the desert.

Most of all, I love your desire to make me happy.  No matter what I say, what stuff I think I need, where I think I need to go; YOU make me happy.  You are all I need.

I love planning out our future together, even though you change your mind every two days.  I love that you are the one that I want to tell all my stories to.  I love that I am that person for you as well.  I really just love you.  Oh so much.  And even though we are apart right now, know that it doesn't change a thing.  I love you more than anything else in the world.  I'm waiting for you with open arms, and counting down days until you come home to me.

Happy two years to us, Lovee.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

Have you seen these posts?  Two of my blogger friends, J and Talia Christine, both did it and I give them mad props for doing so.  I kind of thought they were crazy though.   Whey tell people unpleasant things?  Oh yeah.  'Cause bloggers are people, too.  Gotcha.  Well then, here I go.

c/o here
I hate confrontation.
Of any kind.  Any and all of it.  It seems ironic, because I tend to stand up for myself or shoot my mouth off really quickly, but then I get all nervous and stuttery and butterfly stomach-ness.  So if you see me start tossing horns like a bull, chances are, I'm actually terrified on the inside.

I don't like children.  That includes yours.
This tends to only last until I get to know the kid[s] better.  But, generally speaking, if I run into you in a store or parking lot and your kid is going crazy psycho, I'll probably leave.  Because if I don't, I might smack them.  And I really don't like baby-sitting for others, especially if your child is over the age of six months and can move around constantly and therefore creating a large hassle for me.  I'd rather children just stay at home where I can't see them.  Sorry.  [The irony of this vs. the fact that I want a child so badly does not elude me.]

I cry over everything.
Friends tend to think that I'm really stand-offish and impersonal, and also think that I don't let my negative feelings ever show.  So not true.  If there's an animal commercial on, I'm probably blinking my eyelids off trying not to let the tears fall.  Or anytime I see a video of a soldier coming home from deployment...geez, just hand me the whole box of tissues.  I'll need them.  But please don't use my sensitivity against me.

I'm the bossiest person.  Ever.
And el hubbo will probably agree very adamantly when he reads this.  I'm kind of a control freak, and tend to throw out orders without even realizing it.  I personally think I've gotten tons better about this, but I'll have to ask husband what he thinks.

I am not religious.
I am mostly not Christian.  Anything but that.  Although I'm also not Atheist or Agnostic or Deist.  I'm still figuring it out, but when I come to a conclusion, I will never affiliate myself with any particular religious organization.  I could tell you more about how I feel on that topic, but maybe another day, and only if you ask nicely.  I will say one thing, though; just because I don't follow any specific religion does not make me a horrible person with no morals.  And just because you are religious doesn't make you the best person ever.

Getting dressed is. a. hassle.
I hate hate hate dressing decently, which makes me one of those looked-down on women because I'm the one wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt.  I excuse myself regularly by saying that I'm constantly doing stuff with the dogs, which tends to be messy, but I'm really just lazy.  Sorry if you don't like seeing scrubbied, undried haired, workout clothed, slippered women; that's probably me.

I am judgmental.
Out of all my bad characteristics, this one is probably the worse.  It's an automatic reaction to seeing something I don't like or think is substandard.  I fight it constantly, but will admit that I don't judge those I've just met; the largest pool of victims are people I've known the longest...which makes it worse, I suppose.  Working on this.

World's pickiest eater alert.
Now, I'll try almost anything.  But things I will never ever make for myself; turkey, mexican food, anything containing peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, anything containing corn or peas, fish, beets, carrots, pomegranates, grits, anything containing nuts, cake, cookies, and I'm sure there's a ton more.  It's hard being me.

Well there you go.  I feel a little naked now, and very much a victim to judgmental readers.  But, I also know that my own demons probably don't seem as big a deal to anyone else besides me.  I'm sure plenty of people would read these and think, "wow, I have so much more to be embarrassed about that she!"  Maybe it's just all a matter of perspective, combined with our upbringing.  Whatever the case, this is me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Love. Hate. Befuddled.

Living in Germany is a completely different experience from living in the States.  Not in a bad way; just different.  Here are a few things that I either love, hate, or am completely confused by...

Source: via Debbie on Pinterest

Love. It is illegal to pass on the right hand side.
Hate.  You're technically not allowed to wear toeless or backless shoes while driving.  Can result in a ticket.
Befuddled.  Why do roads exist that are only wide enough for one car?  Isn't that dangerous?
Love.  No speed limit on the Autobahn.
**Before I moved here, I thought the Autobahn was one special road somewhere in Deutschland.  The Autobahn is actually their name for the freeway, and runs all across the country.  Whodda thunk?
Hate.  Speed limits on the Autobahn.
Befuddled.  Why are there sometimes speed limits and sometimes no speed limits on the Autobahn?!

Source: via Satoru on Pinterest

Love.  Unless there's a fence or some kind of border up, fields are open to the public [which means tons of awesome dog walking opportunities while singing "The Sound of Music"]
Hate.  The fact that personal space does not exist in Europe.
Befuddled.  Trash days.  I seriously just can't figure out their system.
Love.  How dog friendly the entire country is.
Hate.  Noise restrictions.  It is nice that you don't hear any outrageous sounds during the night or on Sundays, but having my neighbors threaten to call the cops because of dogs barking in the middle of the day?  Ridiculous.
Befuddled.  How is my village so freaking quiet all the time?  I got stared at for sanding down some furniture.  Weird.
Love.  How clean the streets are.  You won't see litter or overgrown yards anywhere.
Hate.  How clean the streets are, because it makes my house stand out like a sore thumb.
Befuddled.  How do they keep the walls around their property from growing moss?  And how do they keep weeds from growing in the sidewalks, along the gutters, etc.?  They have to be magicians.
Love.  How friendly my neighbors are [besides the threatening to call the cops episode].
Hate.  The fact that Europeans don't grasp the concept of a line for the register or to order food, etc.
Befuddled.  Who has the right of way at a four way stop?  Why is it so complicated?!?!

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

And a few other fun facts you may have not known about Germany:
1. The zipper effect [letting one care merge at a time from another lane, either during construction, or entering/exiting the autobahn, etc.] is a law here.
2.  Dogs must be contained somehow while in the car.  Are not allowed to roam freely due to safety reasons.
3.  While eating in a restaurant, the waiter/waitress won't approach you unless summoned.
4.  The drinking age is drastically reduced here, and even children can drink as long as their parents give them the alcohol.  It's kind of strange to see sometimes.
5.  Honking the horn is a form of noise pollution, so unless it's to warn someone of danger, everyone here uses headlights.
6.  If someone is going faster than you on the Autobahn, you have to get over.  Sometimes, in the speed limit free zones, you'll see lights flashing in the rear view mirror a mile or so back.  That means they are flying and you need to move ASAP.
7.  If you're the last person in a lane during traffic on the Autobahn, you're supposed to put your hazards on. This lets cars approaching from the rear know that you're either stopped or moving really slow.  Keeps them from slamming into you.
8.  Most people don't have drive ways or garages; they park on the street in front of their home.  That means a lot of weaving back and forth across the road to by pass said cars.
9.  There is no AC in Germany.  There is no ventilation.  It's kind of confusing.
10.  German houses don't come with kitchens.  There's a kitchen, but no cabinets or anything...they move with that stuff.  Thankfully, most houses in the American base vicinity provide kitchens for renters.
11.  The European refrigerator is probably 1/2 the size of an American refrigerator.  Tiny.
The drive to base on a gorgeous afternoon

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Whoot whoot!  Question answering time!!  In honor of being so close to 100 followers, here are some answers to a few questions I've received over the duration of this blog.  If you have others, please shoot me an email and ask away!

{q} Is your name really English?
{a} Yes.  And while I know the desire to start calling me Inglés, Spanish, Math, Irish, or others [enter any cliché here] is very strong, please don't.  Just...please.  I talk a little more about my name here.

{q} You claim to be from Minnesota, but then you say you're not really from Minnesota.  Well...which one is it?
{a} Touché.  I claim to be from Minnesota because that's where my family still lives, and that's where the majority of my accent is from.  I was actually born in South Carolina, lived in Tennessee and California for a bit, and lived in Kentucky for ten years.  I'm a conglomeration of USA regions.

{q} How old are you?
{a} 24.

{q} How tall are you?
{a} 5'1" [almost]

{q} Where is your husband from?
{a} He's a military brat, so he grew up all over.  However, he was born in the Philippines, a fact that I never let him forget.

{q} What kind of camera/lens do you use?
{a} I currently tote a Nikon D7000, and usually have a 35mm lens attached to the front.  I also have a 50mm and a 18-105mm that I switch it out with depending on what type of photo I'm taking.

{q} What do you use to edit your photos?
{a} I use Lightroom 3, and PSE9 as a supplement.  I adore LR, and somewhat tolerate PSE.  Seriously though.  LR is the best.  Ever.

{q} Would you be willing to help me figure out my camera, and how to capture cool photographs?
{a} Of course, but you should know I am not a professional.  It's just a hobby for me.  That being said, if you need some basic pointers, shoot me an email and I'll do the best I can.

{q} Why do you take so many pictures?
{a} 'Cause I want to.  Duh.

{q} How do you read so many books so quickly?
{a} It's a gift.  Plus, I don't really have much else to do.

{q} Can you teach me to read books quickly?
{a} Okay, so no one really asked me this.  But I think it would be funny if they did.

{q} How did you end up in Germany?
{a} With the military.  We had the chance to take an awesome assignment, and we jumped at it.

{q} Why don't you do crafts, DIY, or recipes?
{a} 1. Because I'm not good at any of those things.  2. Because they don't interest me.  3. Because I don't want to. So there.

{q} Besides blogging, what do you do?
{a} Right now, not much.  I'm technically a full time student, but hate school and am thinking about quitting.  It sucks.  I also have a part time job as a substitute teacher, and am trying to earn my way into a full time job as a para educator.

{q} What are you majoring in?
{a} I was planning on majoring in education, but I've decided against it.  I'm now considering publishing, editing, or something else book related.

{q} Why don't you respond to my comments?  You too good or sum'in'?
{a} *gasps* Never!  I respond to comments via email so you don't have to back track to see if I wrote anything.  If you haven't gotten a response, it's probably because you don't  have an email linked to your account, which means you won't get my replies.  If you'd like to set your account up so you can receive replies, shoot me an email and I'll explain how to get 'er done.  Or, email me your comment, and I'll respond to that instead.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Week[end]s in Pictures

All unedited...sorry
4th of July celebration on base

Playing WOW with the hubby.  If it makes me seem less nerdy, I still have no clue what's going on in the game
Snacking on ice cubes
Don't judge me by the amount of dog hair on my rug.  Stuff's hard to clean up
via Instagram
Via Instagram.  One of the actually decent evenings we had last week
via Instagram.  Dog piles every morning when I wake up

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bookish Sundays: The Talisman

Title: The Talisman

Author: Stephen King & Peter Straub

Category: Fiction, Suspense, Fantasy

Synopsis [c/o Barnes & Noble]:  "Why had twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer’s mother frantically moved the two of them from Rodeo Drive to a New York City apartment to the Alhambra, a fading ocean resort and shuttered amusement park in New Hampshire? Who or what is she running from? She is dying . . . and even young Jack knows she can’t outrun death. But only he can save her—for he has been chosen to search for a prize across an epic landscape of dangers and lies, a realm of innocents and monsters, where everything Jack loves is on the line."

Overview: Remember last week when I recommended Black?  I told you that I had another novel similar to that one to share.  The Talisman is another novel that tells the story of an alternate reality, one in which our actions share consequences.  Following the path of a young boy traveling across the country in an effort to save his mother, the reader also discovers that there is more to the situation than meets the eye; for little Jack is more than a twelve year old holding on to love as only a child can.  He is also a tool, the likes of which certain adults are more than happy to use for their own fulfillment.  Complete with mystery, intrigue, action, and more than a little evidence of King's scary imagination, this novel is definitely a page turner, if you like those types of stories.

I'm usually not a Stephen King fan at all.  Up until maybe four years ago, I avoided his novels like the plague.  I'm almost positive this was one of the first I attempted to read, and was pleasantly surprised.  While it's not full of rainbows and butterflies, it is also loads less creepy than his horror stories.  The Talisman definitely has a darker twist and nightmarish characters only King could dream up, nor is it a novel for those with tendencies toward the predictable and light hearted.  But if you're in the mood for a great read with horrific detailing, Talisman is definitely worth it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let's Talk [V1.2]

Between J's cardboard box diet and Joyness Sparkles' clutter post, I've been on a rampage.  I have three suitcases [and a couple boxes] full of old clothes that seem so difficult to get rid of.  I have decor sitting in my basement, and no where to display it.  I have this, I have that.  Why?

Part One: Privileged World Problems

Source: via Chayanee on Pinterest

If you were to go into a third world country, or a developing nation, you would find that their life issues differ widely from our own.  While their daily turmoil consists of finding medical care, clean water, and even food for their families, we are plagued with having too much...well, stuff.  

What does your storage room look like?  Your garage?  Your kitchen pantry?  If you're anything like me [although you probably don't want to be], all of these areas are overfilled with things that are super important to you.  I need those five hammers!  You never know which one the instruction manual may call for.  I need all that tupperware.  I need all those clothes packed into boxes that may or may not still be in style, and I may or may not ever fit into again.  

And then there is the issue of not only being a mini-hoarder, but also needing to buy new things to replace old ones.  That awesome Ikea couch?  Gotta have it.  That super duper makes cappuccinos and does my laundry blender?  MINE.  Even though I have a perfectly good sofa, and never use blenders.

Is it bad to have so much when others in the world have so little?  That kind of depends on your mental standpoint.  I'm the wrong person to ask, and would probably make you all super angry with my own opinion, so I'm not going to partake in this part of the conversation.  Another question is whether materialism is detrimental to our well being.  Is the constant desire for newer, better, morer [haha] a drag on our own happiness?  Is there a happy medium between being emotionally/mentally fulfilled and taking pride in our surroundings?

Source: via Nick on Pinterest

Source: via Peg on Pinterest

Part Two: The Influence

Where does this desire for 'things' begin?  If it is anything like the social norms we acquire throughout life, then it can be associated with a number of contributors; our familial surroundings and morals growing up, societal influence, and religious beliefs.  No two families have the exact same proportions of each contributor, so each of your own feelings and opinions are going to be different.  And sometimes one contributor impacts with more power than that of another contributor.  Every single one of them go hand in hand, though.  

IMO, materialism gains ground based on your own personality combined with the above factors.  There is no set formula for whether or not a child will grow up needing everything, or will be happy with the basics.  Some families have hardly anything, and their children grow up determined to be better off.  Or they grow up happy with making memories.  

No matter what kind of background you came from, if you live in a developed country you will be faced with social pressures to live a certain kind of lifestyle.  What is your opinion?  Does a persons background decide the kind of life they will wish for, or are social media and advertising to blame?

I'm happy with my life at the moment.  Maybe I have too much stuff that I don't need, but I also regularly purge.  In my own very humble opinion, materialism isn't necessarily a bad thing when dosed with a heavy spoon of reality; do I know that buying a new dining room table isn't going to make me happy for the rest of my life?  Yes.  But I also know that if I keep the dining room table I have now, I'm going to end up breaking it ['s hideous, and a piece of junk].  I also believe that materialism is often confused with waste.  I'm covering that one next time though, so until then, what are your thoughts?  Feel free to disagree, just keep it friendly!

p.s. Does it annoy anyone else that when one is trying to present both sides of the argument via images, one can only find negative connotations with the subject?  I couldn't find a single positive image about materialism.  Perhaps that is the world's way of trying to tell me that there is only one mindset on the subject, but it still infuriates me that only one side is presented.