Five for Friday: Cloak and Dagger Edition

Secrets. Secrets. Secrets. I've got em. I keep em. 

My top beautiful moments for today are alllllll about the secrets. But I'll give you a little hint: 

  1. I could fill the top five spots on my Romanced by the Cover work. Doing lots of projects for people I love. AND I AM LOVING IT. We are talking hot historicals, sexy contemporaries, some westerns, branding projects, web design. All the (secret) pretties all the time!
  2. I have a SECRET MANUSCRIPT on my eReader right now and it's so good I'm having to use it as my reward to get through the administrivia of the work day. I'm only allowed to read it for 30m before I go to bed. . . but I snuck some in this morning. Because I'm a rebel. 
  3. This time last week, I was on vacation with my mom (and that was a beautiful thing), but I'm delighted to be back in my secret satellite office at Haughton House and taking care of business like an HBIC
  4. I made a bomb-ass Arnold Palmer this afternoon. My secret? Brew one old-fashioned Lipton tea bag with an earl grey (I typically use TAZO) and mix with lemonade of your choice. (Today, we went to HAPPY HOUR at Sonic, so I had fancy lemonade and amazing ice.)
  5. Finally, I'm doing some big soul work taking Laura von Holt's CIJourney course. It's eight weeks of pure magic...and a lot of hurty inner work. But it's beautiful. Today's assignment unlocked some secret stuff like whoa. 

What secrets do you have? My lips are sealed. ;)

Gifted and Talented

Birthdays. Mother’s Day. Graduation. There’s a lot going on this time of year. And if you’re on my list, you may or may not be seeing something similar in the near future. Just saying. (You should probably stop reading now, Mom.)

It’s not coming out until August, but there’s no law against IOUs. Julia Blake’s (aka Julia Kelly) CHANGING THE PLAY is only $1.99 on pre-order right now. So maybe also pick up one of these while you’re at it. (I loved my paperwhite--why did I ever get a Voyager?)

Word on the street: you can get the rose agenda monogrammed this year! I'm also fond of the upbeat reminder that YOU'RE KILLING IT. 

And if you’re grabbing one of the beauties to give someone, you should probably also grab one my favorite multipacks of pens. The Le Pen (quite unfortunate moniker these days) or the Staedtler Fineliner are glorious felt-tipped pens. I love them. (Yes, I still love my FLAIR PENS. But sometimes you need a thin profile.) Also, make sure you aren’t greedy like I am. The super multipacks of the Staedtlers don’t come in the fabulous plastic carrying case. So stick with the 20-something and not the 36 or 48. 

Now that I'm putting this together, I realize it's basically a list of everything you should get me. #SorryNotSorry. 

Sugar Paper

You know I love pretty paperie. And graduation is a super great time to give stationery. (Thank you notes make especially good gifts, don't you think? There’s no excuse not to get one in return that way.) Sugar Paper is all about millennial pink, but these stellar cards on a gorgeous dove grey are my favorite. Now if they’d only make them in rose gold foil...

And while you're at Sugar Paper...take a look at this pretty little doo-dad. My mom keeps a well-stocked desk, but I think her stamp dispenser is a lame plastic one—we might be changing that this year.

The best gift you’ll ever get is amazing skin and non-hurty joints. Lindsay Emory got us all on the collagen train, and I adore her for it. If giving a jar of powdered bovine…stuff...isn’t your idea of a great gift, well, order some for yourself. Your marionette lines will thank you.

Oh, and grab a giant bottle of this while you’re at it. (Don’t let that gorgeous blue tint scare you. It really does sink in beautifully.) Retinol can be scary, but this is so nice on my super oily and sensitive skin. Have a college grad in your life? Give her the gift of stopping the clock. She'll thank you in 15 years. 

But what's a gift edit without a gift for you, eh? Remember, our HBIC Nation philosophy is that everyone should get free stickers if they want them. So head on over and claim your free stickers. And, if you're so inclined, grab up a super rad tee or tank for HBIC livin. 15% off during launch week (ends 5.11.17). 

HBIC Nation: The Origin Story

It started with glitter. 

No, really. I'm not just saying that. It really did. 

Okay, maybe I am just saying that, but glitter is totally involved

If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you might recall the grand adventure I took in February, meeting up with five of my darling writer friends in the rolling hills of Virginia. (It was glorious.) It basically started there. Or, rather, with the planning of the retreat.

You see, I was never an athlete--except for that long, long ago season my sorority was Flag Football Champion--but I love jerseys. They're just so darn cool. They say, without any words necessary, "hey, these people are together." 

And the six of us? Oh, we were SO TOGETHER. We'd taken to calling ourselves HBIC on our slack channel, so that was an obvious choice for our retreat swag. (PS: HBIC = Head Bitch in Charge)

But you can't just design a jersey, no, you need a logo, and, if you're me, you also need a printer that will screen print your jerseys in GLITTER INK. (Thank you, CustomInk. I love you.) 

But you can't just have a jersey. You need coffee mugs. And stickers. AND A MOTTO!

Check and quadruple check. Oh, it was SO HARD TO KEEP THEM SECRET. The grand unveiling around our farmhouse table was kind of like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, I'm not gonna lie. (Except with booze. And candles.)  

HBIC Coffee Mug

And then, as is wont to happen when six badass women get together, they start thinking. And they start finishing each other's sentences. And it isn't long until they're putting together A PLAN that had been inside of them all, just waiting to blossom into magnificence. 

And that, my friends, is how HBIC NATION began. 

Our little community of creatives is so strong. We are all the things for each other: tech support desk, water cooler gossip, BFF, cheerleader, task mistress, and content experts. And today, we are opening up HBIC Nation to all of the wide world. Because every HBIC needs her team in place. 

Our mission is clear. Our vision is strong: HIBC Nation is a place to learn, share, and grow your creative empire—plus have one heck of a good time while doing it. 

Come see what we're all about. Join our community...and get prepared to transform your creative life with other creatives from all walks of life. HBIC Nation isn't just about community (though that's freaking awesome). HBIC Nation will offer exclusive content and mentorship opportunities, both online and in person. 

What are you waiting for? 

Oh, oh! I almost forgot. We've got a 15% off deal in our teespring store that's good for launch week. (Show your HBIC pride!) Make sure you click this link as there aren't any places to add the promo code at checkout. <3

And if you want FREE STICKERS (and who doesn't), email one of the HBICs here and we'll send some to ya. 

Check out the other HBICs and what they have to say on their blogs and/or social media about our super duper faboo launch week:


Five for Friday: Banana Pants Edition

Okay, mabye not banana pants, but close enough. (You'll see.) A bit NSFWish. (Although it's a very tasteful toile de jouy.)

Today's #5ForFriday is a pictoral*:

*If you're viewing this on your smartphone, turn it sideways to make the captions magically appear. <3

Five for Friday: BIRTHDAYWEEK™ Edition

We all know my BIRTHDAYWEEK™ thing is serious business--even though it kind of snuck up on me this year. Here it is Friday, and boom! Birthdaystravaganzas are upon us. 

I could do my whole #5ForFriday post today about the five-ish hours I spent with the glorious Lindsay Emory, local writing bestie extraordinaire, at our secret Panera. (It's all about mobile ordering cookies, y'all.) But I won't because that might embarrass her. 

But she is getting top billing on...

The Top Five Beautiful Things That Happened to Me This Friday:

1. Cookies and gossip and plotting world domination with Lindsay Emory, my BIRTHDAYWEEK™  sister and parter in general and specific shenanigans. 

2. Friday night pizza at EATZI's for $10...and leftovers in the freezer, holla!

3. I got super great mail today. Who doesn't love opening packages? Even though I, ahem, totally forgot I ordered the stuff that arrived today. But that makes it like a surprise, doesn't it? ;)

4. The Return of My Words! I don't know what's gotten into me this week, but I'll take it. The muse has returned and I've been writing up a storm. Maybe I should have put that as #1 on this list so I don't drive all that inspiration away. 

5. Speaking of driving, I'm prepping to go home for the Haughton Family BIRTHDAYWEEK™ Celebration. Which isn't really that arduous at all considering I've only been home for a few nights and didn't really unpack. (Should I admit that? Oh well. Real talk. I know you love it.) 

Oh, and if you want to enter an #AmazonSweepstakes for one of NINE copies of The Last Plus One, make sure you enter by clicking here

World Book Day

Is it a coincidence that World Book Day coincides with the BIRTHDAYWEEK™ celebrated by Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, and one Alexandra Haughton (that's me!)? 

I think not. 

While we won't meet to celebrate the trine of LLL awesomeness until next week at our traditional Ladies Who Lunch outing, there's no rule that says we can't celebrate with y'all before then. 

Sooooooo. We are hosting an Amazon Giveaway of TLPO aka The Last Plus One aka a swoon-worthy (and laugh-out-loud funny!) collection of three long novellas. (We're talking about 40k each--no skimping on story or the swoon, my friends.) 

AND because I know not everybody reads on a kindle or kindle app, I've got another giveaway up my sleeve. So stay tuned. 

Make sure to enter the sweepstakes here

Bon chance!

Five for (Good) Friday

I decided to stay on out west until after Easter (littlest little's bday was last weekend), so I'm enjoying my #SatelliteOffice in my mom's formal dining room for a few more days. It's just steps from the tea kettle, so that's perfect--but that also means it's just steps from THE JUNK DRAWER.

Today's seeking beauty + mindful moments were manifold, but here's the top five:

1. The last of Laura von Holt's (free!) #GetUnstuck webinar workshops was today and totally inspired me to ACTION. These have been such a blessing--much like Laura, herself. Check to see if you can still sign up and get the REPLAY. And if you are really serious about not just dreaming but doing (in ANY creative journey), I encourage you to sign up for her CIJ class. This one is going to be super special. I can feel it. (And not just because I'm going to be a student in it!)

2. Even though I continue to refuse to move back out west, I do enjoy my visits...which are a lot more frequent now that my brother and his girls are here. I love fixing breakfast for me and my poodle-brother and sitting down to an at-home lunch with my mom. (How come leftovers taste so good at Haughton House?

3. . I took a nap. Yep. I listened to my body and it said whoa, girl, either you slow down or we are gonna slow it down for you. So I anointed myself with some DigestZen essential oil and went to snuggle my body pillow. And I made the executive decision that I was not going to work late tonight.

4. ...because I'm going to take a bubble bath and read a dang book. With some pink sea salts, natch. 

5. Oh yeah, and while I was waiting for Daddy to come home for supper, I started updating my Adobe Creative Cloud apps (since it's gonna take forever and I'd already decided to take the night off). With all that time on my hands, I got a head start on winning the BEST AUNT EVER AWARD and got the littles' Easter Baskets together. 




The Joy of Pollen

I know why we need pollen. Scientifically. And I suppose, even aesthetically, that pretty film of chartreuse green that anoints everything in the spring is a joy. But what it does to my body isn't pretty. 

It's springtime in west Texas. We have pollen AND dust storms. I'm doomed. 

This morning, I woke up with insane allergy eyes: super puffy (like, get back Stay Puffed Marshmallow man, I'm the new sheriff in town), the color of a flamingo after a bender, plus a serious case of the itchies. In short, AGONY EYES. 

And then I remembered these Patchology dealie boppers I bought in bulk (on crazy sale) at the last FabFitFun add-on period*. (Mine are optimized for travel and come individually wrapped in a box, but you can bet your sweet Aunt Betty that I'll be buying these for home-use too.) 

I know I applied them incorrectly. #BeautyBloggerFail. But after 15 minutes** of toddling around the house with them on (raising a few eyebrows from both Mom and my poodle-brother), all of my complaints were addressed. 

All of them. 

I also got the lip patches, and I really want to play with them now that I think Patchology is a miracle, but I'm but a mere mortal and two miracles per day might be pressing my luck. 

But if you're lucky and follow me on Instagram, you can view my eye patch Insta Story hilarity. 


*PS that's your code to get $10 off your first box if you want one. :)

**Yes, I know it says 5 minutes on the packet, but I'm a rebel.