Some Thoughts on Being Freshly Pressed

While I run the risk of this sounding like an award’s speech, I have to thank Krista and the team of WordPress Editors. Thank you for reading and selecting a piece that I thought only a handful of people would read and introducing it to a much larger audience.

An audience who has shared their stories and sent their support, which is another thing entirely to be grateful for. You’ve given me courage, strength, and acceptance. Which are some of the most extraordinary gifts to give, particularly through the internet. So, thank you readers.

When I first started this blog, I agonized over which platform to start from–Blogger or WordPress? It seems to be the eternal question of today’s blogger. What ultimately made WordPress my home were elements like the Freshly Pressed page that so clearly showed a blogging community eager to support and challenge one another.

Talking with many of you in the comments has been a pleasure and though I am still sifting through everything I have been looking at many of your blogs and have found some lovely writers and new friends to follow. This is the unexpected joy of being Freshly Pressed: to discover the people who have discovered you.

The past few days have been a riot of emotions. Shock. Elation. Pride. Grief. Gratitude. And fear.

Fear of letting you down, you new readers. Like most humans, I’m a mix of shallow and deep. The Joan Didion review is deeper and darker waters than I have swam–at least publicly–in a long time.  I suppose, the central fear is disappointing many of you when I splash into shallower territory.

For me, I love writing about books and movies and, recently, beauty products. I have a B.A. in creative writing and literature and a M.A. in film studies, so that’s what stokes the fires of the first two topics on that list. As for the beauty products, I have never stopped being the little girl playing with Mom’s lipstick. I try to shuffle all three things into the regular lineup for variety, but some weeks are heavier on one topic than others.

This blog has always been a tad spastic. Or what I’ve affectionately termed Writer’s ADD. The more complicated answer is that I write about whatever speaks to me or makes me happy in the moment. I think for many of us this is true: we write about whatever helps us handle our stress in our daily lives. Whether it’s cathartic non-fiction or haiku or photography. WordPress is our escape and our happy place.

These are the things that bring me little nuggets of joy. So whether you’re stopping in for a moment or joining in for the long haul,  I hope in reading about my misadventures you enjoy yourselves as well.

Again, thank you all for listening!

Book Review: The Year of Magical Thinking

I’ve always wanted to read some Joan Didion. Her name seemed to come up often in intellectual circles as this high standard for women writers. Me being me, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Artsy cover shot.

Artsy cover shot.

Every ounce of praise for Didion’s writing is deserved.

I picked up a battered copy of The Year of Magical Thinking at my local library on a whim. It was there. I had the inclination to read. This is how literary love affairs start.

The Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir told in a reconstructed stream of consciousness about the emotional trials Didion faced in the year after her husband, author John Dunne, died suddenly at the dinner table. Throughout the year Didion also finds herself facing the potential of her daughter’s death through illness and the slow dissolution of her denial.

Heavy stuff.  Yet without knowing it, I picked up the Didion book that I most needed to read.

Need is such a funny thing in the context of grief, because “need” loses all logic. Didion expertly explores this chasm, this limbo where the living must continue on when a loved one has passed. I needed to read this book because in January of 2013, my father died, and I have spent so much time closing myself off to that reality.

I was set to board a plane for Sundance for a class when I was woken by a banging on my door at 4 AM. It was my great-uncle, who told me that I needed to call my Grandmother. My father has been admitted to the hospital a few days before, his fever and pain likely symptomatic of his kidney stones. He was also a type two diabetic with kidney failure, but he had texted me to tell me that he was 100% OK and not to worry. He said today was not THE day.

But when someone tells you to call family at four in the morning, the news is never good.

I knew before my grandmother picked up what she would say but the news of my father’s death still felt like a ripping. He had a stroke, suddenly in the night, after being told the previous day that he was making a strong recovery. In crisis, sometimes you know exactly how many minutes you have before you fall apart. I knew I had five. I used those five minutes to call my professor and my boss to tell them I would not be making it to Sundance. Then I curled up in a ball on my tile floor and screamed and cried.

Didion points out that we often use the word “suddenly” when talking about death. Her husband suddenly died at the dinner table. My father suddenly had a stroke. She quite honestly, if brutally, points out that there is often nothing sudden about these sorts of events. Her husband has known about his heart problems for twenty-plus years. My father had been a diabetic since he was eighteen, and his kidneys had begun to fail when I was in high school. The use of “suddenly” is a blanket we, the survivors, wrap around ourselves because we wanted to believe all was well.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my preferred method with grief of any kind is a cultivated numbness. A bottling away of pain and a good, quiet presentation of a happy face. Reading The Year of Magical Thinking and writing this post have been breakthroughs of sorts into that cultivated numbness. It has been roughly a year and half. I am still grieving. And that is OK.

My father wasn’t perfect, nor was our relationship, but perfection has no place in death. In the past year and a half I have often felt haunted by my father. Not in the literal ghost sense, but in the sense of echoing memories. Every comic book movie, every mention of military history, every surviving trinket holds more weight because these were things he loved and his love of these things was passed on to me.

Things and places haunt us as readily as the idea of people. Joan Didion’s prose is in itself haunting and flows effortlessly from the factual to the poetic. This is a woman who has taken comfort in research and knowledge: she writes from the intersection  where information ceases to be a balm and grief demands its due.

She is often startled by objects and their inherent meaning. Woven throughout each memory and interaction is the familiar, surreal desire that perhaps John will return. As if he were merely lost instead of a loss.

Didion’s use of repetition carries an ethereal element and a sense of numbness that resonated with me.  Lines of verse intermingle with memories and medical definitions that give the memoir a dream-like quality. Here was someone that understood.

There are certain books that should be doled out at various moments in a person’s life. Because some books need to be read. For me, I believe girls should be issued a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt when they hit junior high (gentlemen, you’ll have to let me know if there is a male equivalent). And now I believe The Year of Magical Thinking ought to be delivered, wrapped  in plain brown paper, when a loved one has died with instructions not to read it until at least a year has passed.

Because sometimes you need that year to be in denial, to grieve, to mourn, or whatever it is that you do in order to gain perspective.

Any one punctured by grief will find a kind of catharsis or at least a kindred spirit in Didion. As you read it your own grief, your own stories will well up so that The Year of Magical Thinking becomes as much your story as it is Didion’s. To me, that’s the truly magical part of this piece.

It’s a short book at 227 pages, but it took me about two weeks to finish because I often needed to put it down and walk away. This book will hurt. But it helps.

I would highly recommend The Year of Magical Thinking to anyone who has struggled with loss. I give it 3.5 book bubbles.

Thank you for listening.

Farmer’s Market and Mini Book Haul

I love open air markets. The fresh food, artisan products, and personable vendors seem to be a universal part of the market experience. When I studied abroad in Cambridge, England a few years back I fell madly in love with their daily market. The fresh bread and used book stalls were frequent stops. And I took home a few freshwater pearl necklaces from a local jewelry maker as well. I’ve been pining for that Cambridge market ever since.

The view of the market in Cambridge.

The view of the market in Cambridge.

That longing is more attached to the sense of community that is lacking in grocery stores. Happily, my roommate, Marissa, discovered that there is a Farmer’s Market nearby to our new apartment. So this past Saturday we brought our canvas bags and set out on a market adventure.

In order to get to our market we have to go up a street called Maltman, which has some lovely houses but is more infamous in our household for having one of the steepest hills in our neighborhood.

The view at the top of the hill always brings a smile to my face though. The blue skies and fluffy white clouds lingering over the hills full of colorful mini-mansions are a postcard come to life. Beautiful views and shady vistas make the heat and the hike seem like a fair trade.

Down Maltman we go and it dumps us out a half-block away from the local farmer’s market. As we entered the market that’s laid out in an arrowhead shape, we saw a sign saying “please, no photos.” Part of me was rather charmed by that notion. As much as I wanted to snap a photo of some of the bounteous fruits and veggies, it was refreshing to not have people posing with kale and tomatoes for Instagram.

I bought a stick of clover honey for $0.25 and weaved in and out of the stalls full of fresh basil, plump squash, and the first golden ears of corn of the season.

One vendor was offering a small buffet of samples: glistening chunks of mango, peach, and watermelon. Marissa bought a squat little peach–its colors like a blush creeping into pale cheeks–and a green fruit I had never seen before. Seeing me stare at the odd fruit, the vendor cut me a slice of another from the bunch and told me it was a green plum.

I’m not normally a huge fruit eater. Big fan of apples and after that it needs to be in juice form for me to get into it. But not wanting to be rude, I bit into a green plum, its juices already coating my fingers. The green plum was supple and velvety on my tongue with a soft, almost floral taste. Its sweetness was nearly overwhelming in the heat of the day but I lingered over the slice of plum. Next week, plums, you will be mine.

We also stopped at a plant vendor, seduced by this variety of succulents. Hank, the kindly vendor with a mohawk, talked us through the various kinds of plants he had on display and the levels of care required. Luckily for us, almost everything he had required next to no attention. There was a hearty aloe vera plant for $10 that we were both tempted by but were worried about carting it home up Maltman. Hank even had a range of plants he called “the black thumb” line because they only needed to be watered a few times a month and were nearly impossible to kill. I could have hugged him.

I did walk away from Hank’s stall with a little $5 air plant, which I had never seen in person before. This air plant only needs to have his roots wet about once a week or so and requires no other care or even soil. Haven’t named this wee creature yet but he has currently taken residence on our living room bookcase, in a decorative Victorian shaving glass. Knock on wood, but let’s hope I can keep this little fella alive.

Further down there was a stall full of vintage jewelry and a stand selling vegan friendly treats. A young man with a well-groomed beard stood on the curb playing a violin for tips. His music drifted just above the hum of voices from the other shoppers and followed me through the stalls.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a small book and record stand where Chuck Klosterman books got chummy with Hemingway and Salinger novels. Used books are treasures disguised as paupers. And I love them for it. I lingered in this stall more than the others, fingers trailing down cracked spines and over bent corners.

I got three used darlings for $12. One, I had been wanting to read but was hemming and hawing over purchasing. Two, were complete surprises.

Mini Book Haul

Mini Book Haul

Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald. Has anyone else noticed that Zelda has been a bit trendy in the book world of late? She’s an undeniably fascinating person–the troubled Southern belle who played muse and wife to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve been wanting to readby Therese Anne Fowler, but reading the real woman’s thoughts should prove interesting.


David Sedaris’ Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. I adore David Sedaris. Gobbling up his writing is particularly satisfying hobby of mine. Not sure why I was being noncommittal to purchasing this book before, but for $6 I could handle adding to my Sedaris collection.


Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren. Is anyone else fascinated by memoirs from women involved in the sex trade? I can’t claim to read a ton of these kinds of books but I was so intrigued by the title and back jacket that I couldn’t pass this book up.


Then when I got home, I cracked this book open and noticed it was an autographed copy. The dedication reads: “To Ben-Some girls kiss and tell.” Who gives away a book you cared enough about to get autographed? Maybe that doesn’t mean good things for the reading quality but this quirky addition just makes this book more consumable for me.

Why would you give this up?

Why would you give this up?

If our first trip was any indication, we will be making the farmer’s market a regular Saturday stop. It feels so amazing to reconnect with that spirit and vitality I connected with in Cambridge, and it makes my new place feel more like home.

Hope you enjoyed the peek into my Saturday morning!

My Best Friend is a Nutcase; You’re Gunna Love Her

Have you ever met someone who is so full of charisma that you’re afraid they might burst? I have and her name is Dara Cameron.

When I first met Dara she was wearing some Daisy Duke level jean shorts, a crocheted halter top, and some suede ankle booties all of which made her look like this tall, voluptuous, hippy goddess. Her long auburn hair was stacked haphazardly into a bun, her amber eyes were framed by thick cat-eye liner, and God-almighty was she loud. She scared the crap out of me.

I was intimidated by how authentic and confident this woman was. We were both in a new place, having moved out to California to get our Master’s in film studies, but she seemed utterly at home in her new locale as if she’d been practicing to live in Orange County her whole life. She said something when a group of us film scholars met up for coffee (I can’t for the life of me remember what it was, but I’ll guarantee you it was funny) and I realized this beautiful, hilarious human was going to be my best friend.

Navigating the aisles of Ikea.

Navigating the aisles of Ikea.

Two years later this is an undeniable fact. We have gone to tarot card readings together. We have traveled abroad together. We have shared many a dressing room. I have gone to see some of her first stand-up routines. And she has learned to understand me when I get so excited or upset that I reach a pitch most humans can’t comprehend. I’m truly blessed to count this girl among my best friends.

Dara and I at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: she wore a wig and called herself Liz French just for giggles.

Dara and I at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: she wore a wig and called herself Liz French just for giggles.

And now, you lucky devils, you get a chance to meet Dara yourselves.

Ever the gypsy at heart, Dara is embarking upon a cross-country journey where she will reenact famous movie scenes and watch the favorite films of strangers in return for some quality couch surfing. Naturally, the proper medium to catalogue this endeavor is a blog. Enter, MoxiePixieRealGirl: A Gypsy’s Guide to Film, Fantasies, and the Open Road.

The most fascinating thing for me is how she’s approaching the interactive nature of this trip. She’s hosting polls on her site so you can have a say in what zany thing she does next.  Her first stop is Washington D.C. and some of the poll options were “Frolic through the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pond  like the reunion of Jenny and Forrest” from Forrest Gump and grab some drinks at the bar that St. Elmo’s Fire was based on.

She’s basically living out a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, cinema style.  And it’s all  going to work because she’s Dara Cameron, one of the most charismatic people on the planet.

So why am I telling you all this? Not only is Dara a gifted writer with a natural wit and a strong knowledge of film–which are both reasons enough to tune into her blog–she also needs your help for this adventure to begin.

In order to pay for gas, food, and the occasional lodging Dara has launched a KickStarter page.  If you’re intrigued enough by what I’ve written here, please go check out her KickStarter, or at least her blog.

Link to her kickstarter page.

Link to her super awesome blog

Dara just set up her KickStarter page today and has already got $90.00 to her end goal of $500. I realize that donating money to a girl you’ve never met might sound a tad nutty but if you’re in the mood for a vicarious adventure then this is the girl you should back.

I hope you get a kick out of this chick as much as I do!

Happy Thoughts

I’m way overdue on sharing days 11-20 of my #100happydays project! Even though I’m behind on sharing it with you here on the blog, I have been keeping up with the project overall. Some days are harder than others, not because there are not things to be happy about but because I occasionally lose track of time. That being said, I don’t want to become another statistic and not complete this photo challenge because I “don’t have time.”  If you’d like to read up on the #100happydays project check out my original blog post here.

A beautiful bouquet of flowers for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.

A beautiful bouquet of flowers for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.

If you follow my blog, you know I went home a few weeks back for my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. This is a bouquet they had on their dining room table and it was just such a sweet reminder of family and everyday love.

I'm a pretzel addict.

I’m a pretzel addict.

They have an Auntie Anne’s in the St. Louis airport and I’m not strong enough to walk away from its pretzel-y goodness. No matter what new treat they create at Auntie Anne’s my all time favorite is still an original salted pretzel, and I got the last one before they had to make a new batch. It was sweet victory!

There will be one less picture than usual because for some reason I must have deleted it, but the picture in question was of my new Ikea storage unit for my makeup with its container store organizers. It was a very proud OCD moment for me and I’m sorry I don’t have it here to show you. But if you’re at all interested in how I organize my makeup, then let me know in the comments and I’ll do a post on it.

Bubble Wrap!

Bubble Wrap!

If you couldn’t tell from the title of my blog, I’m a fan of bubble wrap. I’ve been hoarding it lately because I’ll have to move soon. And I have no idea where that end destination will be, which is stressful. The stress in turn leads to popping the bubble wrap. It’s a vicious cycle. But I still love me some bubble wrap.

May Ipsy Bag

May Ipsy Bag

It’s no secret that I find great joy in my ipsy subscription. I’m only two bags in to my fandom here but I can’t recommend it enough. Sharing the love for ipsy through various social media is definitely part of the fun.

All hail Target.

All hail Target.

My long standing and truly terrible joke is that if capitalism were ever to hit an extreme where citizens were asked to worship a business or store, then Target would be my place of worship. I cannot go in there without buying something. I love their clothes, the entertainment section, the home decor…basically any and all sections of Target are awesome. Going to Target just makes me happy.



I love being near a theater. A group of friends and I live close to a great AMC theater and we’ll regularly meet up to go see the latest films. I went into Godzilla with no serious expectations and left the theater pleased and entertained. Going with a good group always helps too.

Mmmmmm Coke

Mmmmmm Coke

I know it’s bad for me. But it tastes so freaking good. I love having a cold Coke in the middle of the afternoon. It’s the little things in life that often make me happy.

Chilling with Chapman's Panther

Chilling with Chapman’s Panther

On our last week of school my friends and I walked around the main campus of Chapman and took pictures . This is one of my favorites from our wanderings. Moments like this are the kind you’re grateful for long-term: when you’re just goofing off and don’t think much of it at the time.

Homemade chocolate peanut butter cake.

Homemade chocolate peanut butter cake.

I love to bake but this beautiful piece of cake was not of my creation. A friend’s boyfriend put this masterpiece together and it was easily one of the most delicious, moist cakes I’ve ever had. So freaking delicious and it made my night. Now if only I could get the recipe.

That’s it for my latest installment of #100happydays. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram for more daily updates I’m @caitlinemccann. Thanks for stopping by!

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Wohoo! First the Liebster Award and now The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Thank you so much to GretaLinBeauty for nominating me for this. Writing this blog has been satisfying in large part because of the interactions I have with other bloggers, and GretaLinBeauty is an excellent example of that camaraderie. She’s always inviting and entertaining and has a genuine love of her subject matter. It has been a pleasure to explore the world of beauty blogging with her and she gives truly wonderful recommendations.

The Rules

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you
  2. List the rules and display the award
  3. Share seven facts about yourself
  4.  Nominate fifteen other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

7 Random Facts About Me…

  1. I collect rubber ducks. The weird ones that are dressed like Dracula or a Vegas card dealer. A small number of them currently reside above the molding of my bathroom window.
  2. I’ve traveled to nine countries thus far: England, Scotland, France, Italy, Monaco, Malta, South Korea, Canada, and the Bahamas.
  3. One of my bucket list items is to write a book.
  4. My favorite painting is The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.
  5. I love to bake, but am not that in to cooking.
  6. In high school I wrote a play that got produced at a theater company back home in St. Louis.
  7. When I was in middle school I took horseback riding lessons and I miss it like crazy.

In terms of nominations, I tried to give different nominations from the Liebster Award post (and those ladies are still worth checking out, so peek at that post here). I’ve also seen different versions of this post popping up on some equally inspiring blogs where the rules state seven nomination instead of fifteen, so I’m going with that because I like the symmetry of seven facts with seven nominations.

The Very Inspiring Nominees

Annie’s Cooking Lab: This is one of the first blogs I started following when I joined WordPress. I love her beautiful photos of appetizing recipes and she inspires me to try new things in the kitchen. The “lab” in the title is also a reference to her dog, Boomer. Adorable!

HappilyEveRose: I love what this woman does with nail polish. She really makes it art. She inspires me to play with (minor) nail art of my own, and I think any blog that inspires you to do something nice for yourself deserves to be recognized!

Listful Thinking: You need to be following this blog. Tagging Listful Thinking is almost too easy because she is already quite popular. But I couldn’t not include her because the humorous lens that she sees the world through is utterly inspiring to me. Her posts bring a smile to my face.

Dadicus Grinch: A family oriented blogger with heart and humor.  His writing makes you feel as if he is a longtime friend sharing stories around the table. And there’s always inspiration in tales of parenthood even if you’re not ready to be a parent.

Legally Redhead: A paralegal with a passion for horror movies, video games, and beauty. She also posts about the small beauties of life and is so earnest in her writing. Legally Redhead inspires me to see the amazing things in the everyday, so you should celebrate her too!

Thy Critic Man: I write about a lot of things here on bubblewrappedblog, but Thy Critic Man always reminds me of my first love–reviewing movies. He’s got such a stellar sense of humor and is always ready to engage with his readers. Any movie from horror to classics to chick flicks can and will be discussed. He inspires me to always return to that first love and you’ll fall for his writing too.

Red, White & Bitchy: This blog is run by two sassy females with raucous personalities. They’re raunchy and hilarious and they know their shit. The focus is mostly on beauty and lifestyle, but there is always something inspiring about their writing, even if it’s an inspiration to laugh.

These people all inspire me in some way and I hope you’ve found someone new to inspire you. Thanks for reading and enjoy!


Days 1-10 of #100happydays

Hello all!

I thought it was about time to share some of my progress with the #100happydays project. So far it has been a lot of fun to do a daily photo challenge. I’m still getting over the shyness of whipping out my phone every time something makes me happy, because I’m worried I’m forcing it. I think that feeling will disappear with time when I relax into the process more. To check out my initial post about #100happydays, click here.


Day 1

Day 1

This sheer bomber jacket from Target makes me smile because it’s frivolous. Not for warmth in the slightest, this jacket is stylish and fun. Plus it reminds me of The Pink Ladies from Grease, and if you’ve read my recent Wet n’ Wild post, you know I’m a tad obsessed at the moment.


Day 2

Day 2

After two years in my MA program, I have completed my thesis on Marion Davies, the charismatic actress from the 1930’s. I could go on about Ms. Davies for hours, and I most certainly have in the past. This is the cover sheet for my thesis as it was on its way to binding in the library. My work is going to be in a library! If that can’t make me happy, I don’t know what will!



Day 3

My owl pillow from Pier One has inhabited my couch for the last four years, I believe. His name is Alan Ginsberg after the poet who was famous for “Howl.” Howl…owl…get it? Yeah, I’m not sure it’s accurate either, but the name stuck. And he’s infinitely cuddly.


Day 4

Day 4

One of my best friends, Dara, and I went wandering around in Ikea in order to help me find a better organization system for my makeup. We may have goofed off a bit with the cart…maybe.


Day 5

Day 5

Those first few seconds of Etta James’ At Last just send the best kind of shivers down my spine. It’s a perfect soundtrack for a sunny day when everything feels full of hope and beauty. One of the most profound songstresses, Etta James always makes me happy.


Day 6

Day 6

It’s a troll on top of a pencil. I’m not sure this needs further explanation.


Day 7

Day 7

There’s a restaurant in Van Nuys called The Hungry Fox, whose slogan is Happiness You Can Eat. They are not lying. The Hungry Fox specialty is chicken and waffles. I’ve never had this legendary American combo before, and my-oh-my was it phenomenal. We’re talking homemade fried chicken with crispy, golden skin and fluffy Belgian waffles the like of which I have never eaten before. YUM. I ate nearly everything on this plate and was full for the rest of the day, but wow was it worth it.


Day 8

Day 8

I love my laptop and I like whiling away my hours here on the blog or browsing the internet. And as a writer, I spend a lot of quality time with this keyboard. It’s a special bond with one’s computer. I heart it.


Day 9

Day 9

Before heading home to St. Louis last weekend, my boyfriend and I stayed enjoyed a glass of wine at a hotel bar. It was a lovely Kim Crawford Cabernet Sauvignon, which complemented our night together perfectly.


Day 10

Day 10

I love books. Physically holding the book in my hands, flipping through its pages just cannot be replaced my an e-reader. My weakness is airport book browsing. It just seems so darn justifiable. These are my goodies from LAX; J.R. Ward’s latest, Possession, and Empty Mansions by Paul Clark Newell Jr. and Bill Dedman. I’ll let you know how I feel about them when I finish, but I’m awful excited about purchasing these books!

Thus ends my first ten days on #100happydays. If you want to follow along on a more daily basis, check out my Instagram @caitlinemccann.


What makes you happy? It is perhaps the most complex and simple question. What if you had to answer that question for 100 days in a row, providing a different answer each day by taking a photograph of the thing that makes you happy? Could you do it? I’m about to find out for myself.

Megan, a friend of mine, posted on Facebook about this happiness project conducted by Intrigue! The challenge is straight-forward: take a picture of something that makes you happy once a day, every day for 100 days. Tag your glimpses of happiness with #100happydays. You can use whichever social media platform you’d like, but it’s a real commitment. They’re going to see if you keep up with these little photos.

According to the 100happydays website, 71% of participants do not complete the challenge. Those same participants cite lack of time as the reason for not posting. That’s essentially saying, you don’t have time to be happy. Or notice what makes you smile.

Please, Lord, let me have time for this! My phone is glued to my hand or securely in my purse for 99% of my day; it even sits next to me as I sleep. There is really no excuse for not trying at this challenge, except for the fear of my own excuses. And I don’t want to be shut down by my own excuses.

100happydays is not meant to show off or one-up anyone. This is for me and my understanding of myself. The perk of some potentially wonderful pictures is just that, a perk. The website also states that people who complete the challenge have 1) started noticing what makes them happy 2) claimed an improvement in their daily mood 3) started receiving more compliments from others 4) realized how lucky they are to have the lives they do 5) become more optimistic and 6) fall in love during the challenge. These are not promises or guarantees. The results here are up to you.

My challenge begins today. I’m nervous and excited about starting this project. It helps too that there is a website holding me accountable for keeping up with this. Kind of like when you go to the gym with a friend. I’ll be participating via my Instagram account, which I’ve left a link to below. Ever so often, I’ll check in here and let you see some of my snapshots of happiness.

If you decide to give this beastie a shot, let me know in the comments which social media platform you’ll be using and we can support each other.

Good luck, everybody!

Instagram: caitlinemccann

The Liebster Award

Oh my goodness, I’ve been nominated!



The Liebster Award recognizes up-and-coming bloggers with 500 followers or less. I always love looking at others’ nominations because it introduces me to some amazing blogs and lets me get to know some bloggers better. So I hope you enjoy getting to know some of the lovely ladies listed below.

The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
  2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated who also have 500 subscribers or less.
  4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.


I was nominated by the darling GretaLinBeauty. Her tagline is, “A university student who devotes herself to beauty <3.” Even if you’re not a big beauty reader, you should check her out. Her writing is informative and charming and she has an inviting quality to her writing that makes you feel like life-long friends.

Here are the answers to the questions GretaLinBeauty asked me…

Name one of your holy grail beauty drugstore products.

Definitely would have to be my L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base. That’s a long title for a little pot of magic. This stuff gives you an airbrushed look, and you can wear it alone or under foundation. When I take pictures with the base on alone, my skin looks photoshopped smooth.

Name one of your holy grail high-end products.

My Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Adore You. A lovely shimmery color that leaves my lips feeling wonderful. It’s worth the $15. I know there are more expensive lipsticks out there, but for me, $15 on a lipstick is a commitment. But for you, Clinique, I’m willing.

If you can only wear one makeup product on your face, what is it?

That would be my Magic Perfecting Base from the first question. If I feel like my face looks good, the rest is just icing on the cake.

Red lip or nude lip?

Ow! Ow! Oh, the pain of having to choose between my two favorite lip colors! *Sigh* But if I had to pick, I would say a nude lip. Red in it’s crimson glory is more for special occasions for me. But nudes I wear almost every day.

What is your favorite summer clothing item?

I have a pair of Sam & Libby leopard print gladiator sandals that I got last year from Target. I’m looking forward to wearing those this summer.

What is your favorite perfume?

Hands down, Glow by JLo. This has been my go-to scent since it came out. It’s clean, lightly floral, and feminine. None of her other variations on the original have been as good, so it’s classic all the way for me!

Makeup product that you use the most?

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara. I’ve got a lot of makeup loves but this baby is in nearly every makeup look I do.

Matte skin or dewy skin?

I prefer matte. My skin is naturally on the oily side, so dewy skin makes me think I need a blotter.

Full coverage foundation or light coverage?

Can I cheat and say middle range coverage? I like something heavier than light but lighter than full. I don’t want to look too bare or too caked on.

Matte eyelids or shimmery?

Shimmery. I can’t help myself. My inner magpie is too strong.


I’ve often described my blog as a bit of writer’s ADD. I cover whatever amuses me most at the time, which is a mix of movies, books, and makeup. Occasionally I’ll rant a bit on some topic, so thank you all for indulging me when that happens. Anywho, the ladies listed below reflect that variety of interests, and they’re all worth your time. So check them out pronto!

(I apologize you guys have been nominated before. I tried to do some reconnaissance beforehand, but if you’ve already been given a Liebster Award then just know that you’re still awesome enough to get it a second or third time.)

Music Moving Forward: She talks about a little bit of everything and knows her stuff! It’s always good to meet someone in the blogger community that seems to also suffer from writer’s ADD, but all of her writing is solid, no matter the subject.

BOOKS BAKING AND BLOGGING: The title says it all. Her pictures for her food posts look mindbogglingly delicious. I’ve only been following her for a short amount of time, but I am definitely inspired!

AnxiouslyBold: More beauty, food, and fun! She’s also working on a 365 day photo challenge, so check out her challenge pieces for sure.

Razzle*Dazzle: Lovely product reviews and tutorials. I imagine her blog will catch on rather quickly.

HappilyEveRose:  Nail art for days! She has crazy artistic skills; I still can’t get her adorable Captain America nails out of my mind. Such nail envy!

Books, Tea & Me: Such a lovely book blogger. I first discovered her as a fellow Top Ten Tuesday poster. Her consistent book reviews have kept me on her site well beyond Tuesday posts.

Ruby Bastille: Another gal I got into because of Top Ten Tuesday. One of my other favorite features of her blog is the weekly quotes. I’m a quote junkie and she’s an enabler.

The Lit Bitch: Love her book reviews. Especially as a romance reader. Such fun insight and who doesn’t love that snappy title?

Get Your Inner Beauty On: I also recently started following this blog, and she covers a wide variety of topics. Everything I’ve read on her site is so lively; she’s another blogger that I feel like I know based on how she writes.

An Avid Reader; A Wannabe Writer: The only blog on this list from blogspot. Her rating system is so concise and really helpful when she reviews books. She also covers a lot of ground.

Ok, so here are my ten questions. Can’t wait to read what you ladies have to say!

  1. What is your favorite piece of art?
  2. If you could go back to school for another degree (or a first one), what would it be?
  3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
  4. Name the #1 song you’ve been listening to lately.
  5. Are there any books that you regret reading?
  6. What’s the #1 beauty product you would recommend to others?
  7. What was the last movie that made you cry?
  8. Do you have any tattoos? 
  9. Hulu or Netflix?
  10. What is your spirit animal? 

Thank you so much for reading and thank you again to GretaLinBeauty for nominating me!


Swallowing A Book Whole

I’ve been soaking up some cinema classics of late, each more thought provoking than the last. Today was Fahrenheit 451 (1966). It’s another of those guilty moments where I saw the movie before reading the book. Still, the movie made me want to read the Ray Bradbury classic all the more.

Imagine a future where books have been banned completely. Firefighters now ignite flames rather than saving people from the blaze, and the kindling are the classics of the past. Guy Montag is one such firefighter with a promising career and a beautiful wife with a variety of addictions. Montag has never questioned his duty until he meets Clarissa, a curious and spritely woman who questions the anti-book laws. It isn’t long until Montag begins to question things as well.

*Spoilers Ahead*

The part of the movie I can’t seem to escape is the last scene. Montag and Clarissa escape the city to live among the book people. The book people live in the woods on old railway cars and tents–each having memorized one classic work that becomes their identity. Each person can recite a single book verbatim in the hopes that some day they’ll be called upon to return the works to print. The film ends with all the book people walking through the forest in the snow, each reciting their own book, the languages overlapping , words blending as they pace back and forth. It’s an ending that doesn’t wrap the plot up in a tidy little bow, but it’s a beautiful and profound way to finish.

I want to stand in the snow and read a book out loud with my words reverberating into the white. But what would I read? What book would I commit  to and make mine? If I could save one book in the snow, which one would it be? That thought has lingered through the night and has driven me to blog.

I’m eliminating Pride and Prejudice because, at least in the film, there are twins that claim that title. I honestly couldn’t do Sedaris justice since to memorize a book is to take on that identity. Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany is a personal favorite as well but it doesn’t seem like a real fit for my waltz in the snow. The more I think about it, the more I believe my book would be a collection of poetry. There’s one particular poem I’ve always connected to, e.e. cummings’ “somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond.” The language brings tears to my eyes every time. I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my days reciting this poem or any of his poems for that matter.

There’s my day’s epic question answered. I feel like I can finally sleep. But I’ll leave you with the same question, if you had to memorize one book from start to finish, a book that would tie into your identity, what would it be?