Why New Year's Day Is My Favorite Holiday

     Recently, I was in a conversation with my mentor, and I mentioned my love for New Year's. As the conversation progressed, I realized it was more of a passionate speech on my part.

     I was spreading my love for the overlooked holiday without even trying.

     "It's all about new beginnings and creating the best year yet," I said. "There are precisely seven days between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, during which no one will invite you to a holiday party because they'll assume you're out of town."

     She smiled, and the wind blew through my hair, making me sit up even more eagerly.

     "But you're not. You're not out of town. You're cooking up goals for the new year and choosing a word that you want to learn about. You're summarizing the past year in the last few pages of journals and selecting which journals you'll fill next."

     With so many fresh starts, organizational opportunities, and writing ideas, it's no wonder I love this holiday.

     I've never met anyone with the same favorite day, which also makes me want to treasure New Year's Day as something that makes me unique.

     The icing on the cake is how classy New Year's parties can be. It always makes me think of Adeline Bowman from The Age of Adeline. (This is still somehow my most popular post ever on The Little Decorator.) However, this Gatsby-esque party isn't what everyone thinks of when it comes to New Year's parties. But it's the party we'll choose to dwell on for the sake of my argument. :)

     Perhaps my obsession with the last and first day of the year began in my earliest blogging years when posts with titles such as 15 Fresh Start Ideas for Your New Year and How to Plan Your Best Year Ever really piqued my interest.

     Each year, my love of learning and reflecting only grows.

     I learn from my past, which allows me to head into a fresh year guilt-free, letting go of the previous year's "mistakes." Without this reflection on my own life, I would not be able to start the new year with the confidence and freedom I feel on January 1st.

     What do you plan to do with your last seven days of 2018? Comment below to let me know!



Claim Your Identity

     Years ago, I learned from many writers' blogs that it was important to call myself a writer, never to shy away from the title that accompanied what I was already doing.

     And so I said, "I am a writer," and went on to write a 42,000 word novella over the course of my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I persistently kept up with The Little Decorator, this labor of love that you are reading right now.

     I started networking with other writers on Twitter and found both academic and professional ways to keep growing in my writing skills...because calling myself a writer inspired the way I intentionally pursued my craft.

     Now, in college, the landscape has changed. I'm so longer so very active on Twitter, and I haven't participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for many years. Blog posts are less frequent, and my writing is rarely for fun.

     But I'm an English major at Mississippi College now, and I work in the MC Writing Center as a writing tutor. I also edit the MC Writing Center blog, both writing my own posts and gathering posts from other creative people.

     I may not be writing poetry in my free time, but I'm learning firsthand research skills and analysis skills. I'm dissecting my own writing with sentence diagramming, and I'm collaborating creatively with my wonderful peers.

     The bottom line? Madeline needs to stop worrying about whether or not she's a writer. She needs to claim her title once more. Then she can continue to pursue her main hustles: writing and editing. One day, this path may even take her to be a boss editor lady in New York City.


     What is the title that you are too terrified to claim? It may be floating on the surface of who you are, just waiting for you to embrace it fully.

     If I hadn't picked up my title, you wouldn't be reading this.

     Just embracing your title could be the catalyst for change you need.



2 Simple Steps to Making Wall Art {for the Price of a Latte}

     It's been a while since I've written about anything crafty I've done. I suppose that throughout the last year, my most artistic endeavors have consisted of the arrangement of RedBubble stickers on my laptop.

     Yet here I am with a little bit of DIY inspiration for your next piece of art!

A Super Complicated, Super Expensive *5 Minute & 3 Dollar* Tutorial

1. Buy a postcard. Any {cute} postcard. I found this set of 8 in a local shop for $16, which broke down to $2 per card. They're silhouettes with famous authors' quotes, including Maya Angelou, E. B. White, Jane Austen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Classy, non?

2. Buy a frame, preferably from your local garage sale (and probably 5" x 7"). Garage sales really pick up in the fall and spring seasons because of the cooler weather, and I snagged this frame for $1. If you can't find a local garage sale, look at Goodwill or another resale place.

     There isn't a step three unless you count putting the postcard into the frame. Voila! You have a $3 piece of art ready to frame, and you didn't have to spend $100 on handmade art and $37.50 on shipping a frame to your house.

     What's your latest art "steal"? As Pablo Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist," something I do all the time as an English major.



A Reminder that You Are in Progress

     I'm writing over at Burning Youth, and today I have a simple reminder for you:

     We are hard workers - learning how to do things effectively and study better than ever before.

     We are adventurers - giving ourselves space to explore and getting up early to get our lives on the road.

     We are peacemakers - still figuring out how to love people well and how to stay calm ourselves when it all piles on top of us.

     Click here for more truth to be poured into you.



What Do I Actually Need for College?

     My word for 2018 is adventure. I love the aesthetic as well as the practical side of packing up and going somewhere.

     This weekend, I'll throw my three favorite tops and a pair of jeans in my backpack to return home for the first time this semester.

     I haven't seen my family since they brought the last of my stuff up to my room and hugged me quickly, so we wouldn't cry. It's sophomore year, but my heart hasn't yet learned how to say goodbye without grieving in some capacity.

     The other days of the year, when I'm not going home, my backpack holds some essentials to get me through my classes. This is especially important for the days where I leave the room and don't come back until after dinner.

     Besides textbooks and notebook paper, here are the necessities you'll need in your backpack once you're living on a college campus.


How I Ended Up in Mississippi | The Short Version

You have no homework to do
You have no one to listen to you speak
And so write in this safe space
Tell the stories you long to leak.


Crooked letters and humpbacked whales
Dancing before my eyes
I didn’t know anything but that
I didn’t like Oklahoma or Alabama.

And so I came to a place
Where they write their letters crooked
And I took it upon myself to straighten them out
Letters and essays and blog posts and texts.

I found typos and flaws
And terrific friends
Who reminded me that Millillilli isn’t a word
So I won’t straighten Mississippi out.



So You're an English Major...

     I'm back to Mississippi College for academic year two of three. Freshmen fill the halls of the beautiful brick buildings I fell in love with long ago, and new classes bond us together.

     And then I meet an English major, and my face lights up. There's an automatic understanding that we love the written word and want to use rhetoric to change the world.

     "What's your favorite book?" one English writing major asks. Her friends hold their breath, waiting to see what I say.

     "The Book Thief," I say, a moment before her friends go wild.

     "That's her favorite too!" they exclaim.