My Ink – Why I Have Tattoos

My Ink - Why I Have Tattoos

Today I’m joining Kaitlin from Sew My Soul and Cassie from Sage to tell you about my ink.

I have two tattoos. Both were gifts from my dad.  Both are a reminder of how my Crohn’s Disease has made me the person I am today.

When I say my dad took me to get my tattoos, most people look at me funny.  They don’t imagine their dad taking them to the tattoo parlor and sitting them down and making sure they don’t chicken out on getting the tattoo they’ve always wanted.  But that’s my dad.

You see, when I was in junior high my dad got his own tattoo.  A mermaid with breasts that would put Dolly Parton to shame, large and prominent on his upper arm.  I remember standing in line with him at the grocery store once when an old lady told him, “Sir, your mermaid needs seashells.”  I was mortified, and yet proud at the same time.  My dad was so cool he made old ladies uncomfortable and I wanted to have a tattoo also.

I thought about my first tattoo for a long time.  I wanted a sunflower to represent the camp I had gone to growing up.  The camp where I met so many other children that had Crohn’s like I did.  That camp was the first place I felt like I truly belonged.  It was the first place I felt confident in who I was.  It was the place where I finally knew I wasn’t alone and the grounds were lined with sunflowers.  Sunflowers quickly became the flower that I loved most because they reminded me of that place where my Crohn’s Disease didn’t make me broken, but made me a stronger, better person.

I was 18 and it was the day after Christmas.  I was spending the day with my dad and when I asked him what he wanted to do for the day, he told me he wanted me to get my tattoo.  I’d been talking about the sunflower for years and now was the time.  I told him we could go another day and he insisted, driving me to the tattoo parlor and paying before I could say no.  He drew the tattoo artist a sunflower that was the perfect size for my ankle, and before I knew it, I was about to get a tattoo.  In true divorced father fashion, he asked the artist how long it would take because he wanted it done in time to freak out my mother.

My Ink - Sunflower Tattoo

Three years later, I was 21 and had just spent 9 months off from college because of a severe Crohn’s flair.  I was finally well enough to go back to school that fall semester, and my dad went to Nashville with me to help me move back.  It was his birthday and when I ask him what he wanted to do he said, “Get you another tattoo.”

I’d had an idea in mind for several months.  When I was in the midst of my worst pain at school before I had to go back home, I would sing the song Let It Be to myself until the pain subsided.  It was a reminder to me that no matter how horrible the moment seemed, that God was in control and I just needed to “Let It Be,” and he would take care of me.  The pain was not permanent.  My struggle was not permanent.  There was nothing I could do to change it other than to go through it and come out on the other side.

My dad helped me design the perfect font for the words, “Let It Be,” on my wrist.  When I am struggling with not feeling well or feeling down it’s there as a reminder that I can survive what I am going through.  I had the “t” in the word “it” made a little bit different than the other letters so that it looks like a cross.  It helps me to remember who is in charge when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

Let It Be Tattoo


I’m proud of my ink and the story that it tells.  I’m thankful for the experience I had with my dad going to to get my tattoos.  And I’m glad that they remind me of how strong I am.



Three Avocados – Coffee For A Cause

Three Avocados - Coffee For A Cause

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.


I have a slight addiction to coffee.  Ok, I admit it…it’s a full-blown problem.  But I can’t help that it’s so delicious, and now that it’s getting so cold out, I need the warmth!

When I heard about Three Avocados, I knew it was a company I was going to love.  In 2010, when founder Joe Koenig took a trip to Uganda, and worshiped at a small church with the people in the extremely poor village of Bulopa, he witnessed a widow place three avocados in the offering basket.  Those three avocados were literally all the woman had, but she gave them up for the pastor so that he could eat.  This inspired Joe to create a coffee company that gives 100% of  their net proceeds to provide clean drinking water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua.  Not only that, the coffee comes from small farmers in Uganda and Nicaragua, thus providing opportunity for those people as well.

Coffee For A Cause - Three Avocados

How can you not love a company that not only sells great quality coffee, but gives back so generously? Now I feel like my coffee addiction is doing good for other parts of the world! Thee Avocados sells bags of whole bean and ground coffee as well as coffee subscriptions.  They also have awesome gift boxes with bags of coffee and tumblers or coffee mugs, if you are still looking for meaningful gifts for friends, family, or co-workers this holiday season.  They also sell some pretty cute T-shirts.

If you love coffee and helping those in need, this company is the perfect combination.  I’m off to go fill up on more coffee (I’m pretty sure my blood is 90% caffeine) and I hope while I do, you check out Three Avocados.

Why I’m Thankful For Nashville

Why I'm Thankful For Nashville
Today is the very first “Tell Me About Your Town” Link-up with Amanda from Notes From A Newlywed.  This month’s theme is: things you are thankful for about your town.  What better way to get ready for Thanksgiving next week than to share all that you are thankful for about where you live?
Nashville is not my native hometown.  I grew up in California and moved to Nashville for college to pursue music.  My senior year of college, I met my husband (a native Tennessean) and since then I have made Tennessee my home as well.  I spend a lot of time complaining about how the weather is not as nice as back in California, there is no ocean, and my family is so very far away, but I really do love where I live.  There are many reasons I am thankful for Nashville.
Why I'm Thankful For Nashville - Loveless Cafe
1. The Food – The are so many incredible restaurants in Nashville that I’ve gained like 20lbs since moving here.  Some of my personal favorite places to visit are The Pharmacy (the most delicious burger in the world), Jeni’s Ice Cream (to die for), and Loveless Cafe (I’ve never had better breakfast)
2. The Coffee – I have a bit of a coffee addiction and there are so many coffee shops in Nashville that are just awesome.  I enjoying going to Bongo Java, Edgehill Cafe, and Ugly Mugs.
3. The Seasons – Fall is gorgeous in Tennessee and compared to many other parts of the country, winters are rather mild.  Back in California, most of the year was 70 and sunny, so it’s nice to have the variation here.
4. The Nightlife – I’m usually quite the homebody (my friends tend to call me Grandma) but every once and a while I like to have a night out.  Ok…so that only ever happens when company is in town, but when that does happen, there are a whole lot of cool and happening places to take guests.  (Is that how the kids say it these days?!)
5. The Music – There is always a show or concert to see.  Any night of the week you can catch a variety of performance from a writer’s night in a bar to a big concert production.  There’s never a dull moment.
6. The Sports – I’m not a huge sports fan, but it’s fun that there are so many opportunities to go to games.  Football, Hockey, Baseball…we have it all.
7. The People – Most people living in Nashville are not native to the city.  It makes for a giant melting pot of people from all over the country that I find rather fascinating.
8. The Location – Nashville is a days drive or less from so many other major cities that a getaway to some place new and exciting is rather easy.
Now it’s your turn.  What are you thankful for about your town?
The Rambling Llama


Tell Me About Your Town Linkup
This monthly linkup is to celebrate all the amazing places we all are from, to shine some light on the spots all over the country (or world!) us bloggers live. Our locations may not define us, but they certainly shed insight into who we are and how we live. Join Amanda and her co-host on the third Tuesday of each month when we will have one specific topic related to your towns to guide you in writing about your city. So…tell me about your town!

The Rules
To participate in this linkup, simply write your own post following our topic/prompt for the month and add your link (your actual post, not your homepage) to the linkup below. Include the linkup button (also below) or a link back in your post. Please follow Amanda and her co-host and visit at least one other post from the linkup. You may write about the town you currently live in, the place you were born and raised, or any other place that feels like home to you. Share as many photos as you wish! Make me want to visit your town! Each linkup will go live at 12:05 a.m. Central on the third Tuesday of that month and will be open for one week.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide – Unique Gifts For Husbands (Plus A Giveaway)

Unique Gifts For Husbands

The holidays are just around the corner (seriously, Thanksgiving is in a little over a week) and gift-buying season is now in full swing.  I’m teaming up with several awesome bloggers today to bring you a 2014 holiday gift guide.

As a wife, I always get extra stressed about my husband’s Christmas gift.  I want whatever I get him to be equal parts thoughtful, unique, and useful.  With those qualities in mind I scour the internet looking for something he will be surprised by.  Here are a few of the unique gifts I found for husbands.

For The TV-Loving Husband

1. Breaking Bad Beaker Mugs – for the man who needs something to put his meth coffee in.

Unique Gift Ideas For Husbands - Breaking Bad Beaker Mugs

2. Homeland Sniper T-Shirt - for the man who wishes he was in the CIA.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Homeland Sniper T-shirt

The Walking Dead Monopoly – For the man who believes in the importance of property, even during the zombie apocalypse.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - The Walking Dead Monopoly

For The Tactical-Loving Husband

1. Tactical Lunch Kit – For the man who wants to protect his lunch from zombies.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Tactical Lunch Kit

2. Tactical Laser-Guided Pizza Cutter – for the man who knows everything is cooler with lasers.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Tactical Laser-Guided Pizza Cutter

3. Bullet Pen - For the man who wants his writing to make an impact.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Bullet Pen

For The Music-Loving Husband

1. Guitar Pick Punch for the man who wants to make his own guitar picks.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Guitar Pick Punch

2. Record Amplifier for the man who appreciates the classic sound of a record.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Record Amp

3. Electronic Drum Machine Shirt – for the man who makes rhythm wherever he goes.

Unique Gifts For Husbands - Drum Machine Shirt

If you’re still needing to buy some holiday gifts, you’ll want to enter this giveaway to win $60 from Amazon! I want to thank these amazing bloggers for co-hosting with me and making this giveaway possible!  Be sure to visit each one of these ladies’ gift guides by clicking on their links below!

Emily from Love, Pasta, and a Toolbelt |
Maggie from The Love Nerds |
Alexis from Alexis Krystina | Bex
from Butcher’s Niche | Rebecca
from Rebecca Chapman | Teresa
from Crafty Wife | Heather from Notes from
the Nelsons

10 Must-Have Gadgets for Christmas

This giveaway will be open from 12am
EST November 17th to 12am EST November 24th, and open to US residents
only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 Facts About Me – One Lovely Blog Award

7 Facts About Me

One of my favorite bloggers and dearest friends in Bloglandia, Nina from Flowers In My Hair so graciously nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

Here are the rules of the award:
– You must display the award logo at the top of your post
– You must thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog in your post
– You must add these set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do
– You must add 7 facts about yourself into the post
– You must nominate 7 other blogs and leave links to each of them in your post
– You must let the people you have nominated know that they have been nominated
– You must follow the person back who nominated you on Bloglovin’ and GFC (if you have one)

 Here are 7 facts about me you might not know:

1. I’m an only child, so to keep myself company I had an imaginary friend when I was little.  His name was Stabby.  (I promise I’m not a serial killer)

2. When I was 3 I was obsessed with Abraham Lincoln.  (1 + 2 combined didn’t win me many friends as a child.)

3.  I am terrified of birds but I’m obsessed with penguins.

4. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 20.

5. I read a lot but my spelling is terrible.

6. My paternal grandmother is from Italy.  One day I’d really like to take a trip there.

7. I get really excited to create my Finally, Friday! Newsletter every week.  I love finding funny photos, videos, and inspiring articles to make you smile.  If you haven’t signed up you, you should! :)  Learn more here (#shamelessplug)

I nominate:

Catherine – A Short Blonde
Sarah – Seriously, Sarah?
Paige – Moments For The Journey
Amanda – Notes From A Newlywed
Nina – The Grand Adventures Of Me
Katie – The Hungry Goat
Jessica – Beyoutiful Beauty


7 Facts About Me