A Sunday Kind of Love

There is something about Sundays. I have always looked at it as a day of relaxation, to sleep in, not make your bed, and hang around in the comfiest of clothes. It is day to spend with family and give extra kisses to the people you love. To watch football and movies and have some serious cuddle time with your pets.

If there is a favorite day, it is Sunday. Even the beautifully classy Etta James sings it best.

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttjh_kK62lY

I wanted to share with you some of my poetry and decided to start a Sunday Series which I’ve called: Sunday Amore`.  I’ve made myself a “happy” coffee with a hint of dutch caramel vodka and am going to catch up on some TV wrapped up in a big ol’ blanket with my puppy next to me. Enjoy the rest of your lovely weekend. Cheers! xxo



A Positive Playlist

Recently being inspired by a friends Facebook status asking; “what positive thoughts do you use while fighting the negative?” I bring to you, my answer.

I realized after I posted so enthusiastically “dancing around the house to upbeat music usually does the trick for me!” that she may have been looking for a deeper kind of answer. But in truth, music in many situations helps me change one mood into another.

I decided to go through my playlists and compile a bunch of my favorite songs together to share with you. Now remember, these are songs that will make you want to dance, that will have you picking up that hairbrush while you’re getting ready and singing into it like a microphone. Songs that will help you during those mornings when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or when you come home from work and need a “pick me-up” before you have to cook dinner and match all the socks from the laundry together. Songs that for me, work better than any energy drink and will change a negative thought, a bad day, or a grumpy moment, into a good one!

So grab your broom and make it into a guitar, put your dancing shoes on (ugh, so cliche) and have a listen!

A POSITIVE PLAYLIST-multiple generes for multiple moods


1. Hey Ya!- Outkast 

2. Shake it Off-Taylor Swift 


1. Shook Me All Night Long- AC/DC 

2. Same Ol’ Situation- Motely Crue 


1. Electric Feel-MGMT 

2. New Shoes- Paolo Nutini 

3. Valerie- Amy Winehouse 


1. Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)- Big & Rich 

2. American Kids-Kenny Chesney 


1. Lose my Breath- Destiny’s Child 

2. Aaron Carter- Aaron’s Party 


Hope you had fun! 😉 Talk to you soon! xxo 

A Social Pause/Blogging Challenge 7

As I was sitting at the bar last night enjoying some spicy crab sushi and a mai tai, I found myself drifting in and out of conversation with my Mom because I was thinking of this dang last blog challenge post! (And because I knew I had to get home at 8:30 to join the Virtual Party and catch an episode of Ink Masters).

I kept thinking- “I am not a controversial person so how will I write a controversial post?” As I cracked open my fortune cookie and posted it on snap chat for everyone to read, it hit me. LIGHTBULB!

Social Media. What a crazy love/hate thing we got going on, right? It is even hard for me to write this because I am probably guilty of most, if not all of it. But I am also conscious of it and that’s what gets to me. I love to take pictures, of everything. Not professionally by any means, but if the dinner I just cooked looks delicious, hell yes I am photographing it. Instagram is currently my BFF. But are there times when social media should be put on pause for even just a few moments? Absolutely.

Putting Social Media on Pause-When & Why


>>In the Car 

Yup, guilty. (Insert raising hand emoji here). BUT guys, it is so dangerous. My brain reminds me a lot to just wait. Most of the time I listen, but you know when a jam comes on the radio and it reminds you of your best friend, you have to tell them! Ugh, but hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road and it’s all good.

>>On a Date

This one I am not guilty of because c’mon. I mean all kinds of dates too, first dates, blind dates, dates with your husband who you’ve been with for 16 years. Dates are meant for romance and conversation over good wine. Make eye contact, be all there with those people who mean something to you. The only time I condone this is if that blind date is going SO bad and you need to send a SOS quick! 😉

>>At a Concert 

This one may seem random but it annoys the ever living crap out of me! You are front row to see an amazing band or singer whose music touches your soul, and you are watching the concert through your iPhone. That is not the full experience! Dance! Sing a long! High five the people next to you! Take a couple pictures when the band is talking and thanking you for coming out, and then put it away!

>>During (any part of) an Interview

I mean any part. When you walk through those doors pretend you don’t even know what a phone is. When they ask you to wait in the lobby, don’t go tweeting that you’re “wicked nervous.” When they ask you for references and you can’t remember phone numbers on the top of your head, don’t go looking through your contacts, say that you will gladly email them following your conversation. It seems like common sense, but I’ve seen how strong the need to post something can be.

Social media will always be both a blessing and a curse and I could probably write a book on why, but it sure isn’t going anywhere so know when to Instagram that cute outfit you have on and when not to be taking selfies while on the highway!

Surviving Criticism/Blogging Challenge 6

Good Morning! xo

Before I start can I just say, the colder this weather gets the more I want to swim in my coffee rather than drink it! I’ll be honest, I got pretty stuck on writing this morning and then got distracted by lighting candles, sneaking a maple bacon cookie, and smothering my dog in kisses. I realized I was over thinking this post, and chose to stick to a more recent story/struggle that still sits fresh in my memory.

This past summer I decided I needed to take an online class if I wanted to better my writing and learn all I could about what goes into creating a children’s book. Filled with ideas and excited about what I could learn, I jumped in head first. The class was set up by discussions, homework assignments, and two larger projects assigned throughout the course. Having someone give you topics to write about makes the whole process a little easier, as I’ve learned with this 7-Day Blogging Challenge. Every homework assignment that we submitted was to be commented on by some of our classmates. Receiving most of my reactions from family and friends (who let’s get real, are obviously biased), I was ready to get some honest feedback from complete strangers who were just reading my writing presented on their screen.

This class turned out to be an awakening, one I am still unsure was good or bad. When week six came I had to turn in what was a large portion of a book I had previously written or I was to start on and submit. Luckily, weeks before sitting at my impossibly boring job, I wrote a book. I am not joking, just like that. It came from an idea, a memory from my Mama and I ran with it. I was proud of what I had written and decided that it was a great starting point to get criticism from if I ever wanted to someday submit something to the big, scary, world out there.

Comments flowed in like the opening of a river, and they were ALL positive. These people were telling me I had talent, that my book had them in tears, that they could picture reading it to their own children. The feelings then, I cannot really explain, but I cried…a lot. I saved their words and read them over and over again. At the end of the week, our teacher had to leave a comment. Our teacher, who by the way is a published author herself. And her criticism, was everything you would never wish to read.

When you have grown up with a pen and paper in your hands, when you take the passion that sits inside your heart and soul, it takes a lot to pour it onto paper and have the guts, the bravery to submit it out there into the world for people to read. I knew I could take criticism, feedback, grammar corrections, new ideas, tweaks and imperfections, but my heart broke when a published author used words and sentences like; “not enough to be successful” and “unacceptable to editors” and even “not consistent and flawed.”  And I didn’t read those words carefully, I saw them in bold, I felt them like a jab to my insides. Unsuccessful…..Not Enough…..Unacceptable….Flawed.

And I did what you should never do, I gave up. I stopped reading the comments, I stopped the class a few weeks early, for a long time I didn’t write anything. My family, my friends, they told me it was not enough to just give up on what I was good at, but I thought…am I even good at it, or is just something I do?

I share this story for one reason and one reason only. Because I am sitting at my impossibly cozy desk with my coffee and a candle that smells like cotton candy and I am writing and I am so very happy. And I know that no matter who reads it, who loves it, and who hates it, it is still me and this IS what I do, and I believe I AM good at it. There will always be someone who doesn’t support you, but please, don’t ever give up. Fight through every negative comment, remind yourself daily why you started and what you want, and remember you are so much more than one person’s criticism. WRITE ON!



Helpful Inspiration/Blogging Challenge 5

Today I am going to be helpful by simply reminding you all of how creative you are! I find it so inspiring that we all have different ways of letting out our creativity. For me, it has always been easy because I believe I am 100% right brained….no seriously, there may not be a left brain in there 😉 And while it may not be about us forgetting that we are creative, it is about remembering to tap into it once and awhile. The easiest way to stay inspired is to keep those inspiring things around you. Our brains can hold onto some serious amounts of information, but visualization here is key! The best way I can be helpful is to show you the ways that I have stayed creative, and inspired–with an “Inspiration Board”.

1. An inspiring photo collage background for your phone/device.

With technology these days, we always have our smartphones and tablets with us, usually at all times. What better way to remind us of our inspiration by viewing it every time we turn on our devices? Here, I used a FREE app called PhotoGrid to compile some of my favorite images using the “Pin Board” section of the app, and then simply saving it and making it my background!

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2. An inspirational notebook. 

If you have A LOT of things that inspire you, a whole notebook might be just the thing. Keep it with you, add pictures, words, quotes as they come up. Or leave the notebook at your desk, by your bedside, somewhere you can access it quickly and have a look when you need to.

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3.  An actual inspirational board/wall.

This one is my favorite of all, but you will need some space. You can make an inspiration board out of multiple things; a cork board, an open frame with burlap-wrapped foam, your actual wall (if you don’t mind tack/nail holes-or using the sticky putty!), or hey, get a bunch of magnets and put those inspiring things right there on your fridge!

I made my inspiration board out of a FREE baby crib box spring (that I found on the side of the road) and a string of Christmas lights, and I then nailed it onto my bedroom wall.

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 I keep quotes, trinkets from vacations, postcards, drawings, tickets from sporting events, personal photo’s, and anything that really just triggers that creativity. It adds so much of my personality to my room and I look to it when I am feeling a little writer’s block or lack of inspiration. What kinds of things inspire you? If you have an inspiration board I would love to hear all about it!

Keep creating! xxo

Get to Know Me/Blogging Challenge 4

One of my least favorite things of all time is when you are in a group of people, whether it be a class, an interview, a seminar for work, and the ever dreaded question of “why don’t you tell us a little about yourself” comes up. WHY is it so hard to answer!? I mean c’mon, don’t we know ourselves pretty well at this point?

I suppose it wouldn’t be a blogging challenge if there weren’t a few posts where we stumble a bit. Luckily I am not on the spot and I’ve had a little time to think, here are 10 facts about the girl behind Varnak & Lollies;

>>I love music, all different genres, my pandora account is beyond chaotic. Finding bars with live music is one of my favorite things to do. I constantly look for new music to listen to and if I ever meet new people I become like a sponge and soak up anything they listen to and immediately add it to my playlists. I try and almost succeed in listening to music 24/7.

>>My favorite animal is a Llama. I think they are the silliest cutest most interesting animal there is. For my recent birthday, I was surprised with an adventure to walk your own llama through a wooded trail and vineyard! It might be in the top 3 best days of my life. It was just magical.

>>There is a book written about one of my ancestors, a great-great-greaty-great (okay you get it) Aunt of mine. It is called Love Across the Color Line and it is a collection of twenty-seven letters written by a white-working class woman (my Aunt) to her African American lover in 1907 and 1908. I try to re-read it every few years.

>>I have strange fears. I am afraid of storm drains and worms. I will not ever walk across a storm drain in fear of falling in and getting stuck, I do not know where this came from, but just…no. Gardening will never be a hobby of mine, as seeing one worm will send me screaming and close to throwing up.

>>I am kind of a beer snob. I once worked for a beer, wine, and liquor distributor and trying new beers was something I did often. I really enjoy IPA’s and beer with a lot of hops, which certainly isn’t for everyone. I love that craft beer has been so popular lately because Bud Light is just not cutting it 😉

>>Because I write poetry, I’ve always had this want to share it with people in a special way. I wrote a personalized poem for a family friend’s wedding when I was only 10. When my family and I used to vacation in OOB, Maine, we stayed at a bed and breakfast, the same place each year. I wrote the owners a poem about how lovely it was to stay at their place and they made copies and put it into the front of every Guest Information Book in all the rooms. Most recently, I wrote a poem about our neighbors/neighborhood, had them framed and anonymously left them on all of our neighbors doorsteps for a Christmas gift.

>>One of my all time favorite speeches is Jimmy Valvano’s 1993 Espy Speech. Jimmy V was the head basketball coach at North Carolina State University. He died eight weeks after his speech, of cancer. His message is so inspiring and real. He tells us, in this speech, that to “laugh, think, and cry” is a full day. I have never forgotten that message. Here is the link if you’d like to watch; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E

>>Keeping with a similar topic, I went to College for Sports Management. While it is not what I am doing currently, it was such an amazing experience learning what I did. I love football, (GO PATS), tailgating, and all the hype of it.

>>More than any place in the world, I very much want to travel to Ireland.

>>One of my absolute dreams is to one day write a Children’s Book. I have so many ideas and one already written, some day I will edit, edit, edit and send it out to potential publishers…some day.

Thank you for getting to know me. I hope I will get to learn about so many of you, as well.


How to/ Blogging Challenge 3

What I’ve often contemplated as a growing adult is this; what should we do when everything feels like too much? When there are bills to pay, decisions to make, and you’re in another beyond pointless argument with the people closest to you.

I always come back to one thing; remember what it was like to be a kid. The effortless happiness, continuous laughter, and expanding mind that is never filled with anything troubling. While some of us are surrounded by young children and can tap into their personalities a bit, sometimes you just need to throw all inhibitions out the window and be a kid.

So I propose to you to clear out some of your schedule, try not to look at the dishes in the sink, put your phone on silent, and be 5 years old. Here is how:


1. Choose a coloring page/book. 

If you are anything like me, scouring the children’s book section at Target or Walmart, or even the grocery store is just another stop while getting the milk and toilet paper. I try to look for more detailed coloring books, (which can be difficult), but often times the choices are beyond adorable and I can settle for less detail.

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If you are looking for more challenging pictures to color, here is a simple solution. Go to www.pinterest.com and type in “adult coloring pages”. I am telling you the options are endless, BUT don’t forget you need a printer, because yes sometimes you forget these things.

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2. Choose a drink of choice. 

Grab a hot coffee, or a glass of wine. Having a soothing beverage will only enhance the process. Or if you really want to tap into your inner-child, get yourself a juice box.

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3. Find a clean, quiet place. 

I say clean because the moment will quickly become not so relaxing when you are staring at clutter, laundry, or that sticky substance stuck to your kitchen counter that’s been there for who knows how long. Quiet, well that’s up to you. If you like a little noise, throw on some music or the tv in the background.

4. Choose your coloring utensil. 

Crayons, markers, colored pencils, finger paints what have you. Personally I love a good colored pencil, but don’t forget you’ll need a sharpener, because sometimes you forget these things 😉

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5. Really enjoy yourself.

Color outside the lines, use pink for the sky and blue for the grass, try to focus on what you’re doing and nothing else. You’ll be surprised how quickly you become relaxed. I promise, it’s truly that simple.

In the often hectic, whirlwind of adulthood, stress can take over. When lifting weights or closing your eyes to breathe doesn’t work, being a kid, will. Watch an old Disney movie, make a blanket fort in the living room, eat too much candy, and get out your crayons.

Until next time! xxo

Passion/Blogging Challenge 2

unnamed-3We’ll start here, what I do know is if you ask anyone who is close to me what three words they would use to describe me, 99% of the time, one of the words will be passionate. The actual definition of passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, and I’ve come to have a love/hate relationship with that definition. Mostly because it is completely accurate which makes me wonder if it’s okay to have a barely controllable emotion over walking through a book store and riffling through the pages.

Yes, I am passionate towards a lot of things in this world, call me over-emotional, tell me I’m a dreamer, but isn’t life just better when you feel so strongly for something?

So what is my one true passion? Well….words.

I grew up on Maple street in a small town with one stop light and a big backyard. I was your every-day happy little girl with missing teeth and a big smile to prove it. But what will always be my childhood is my Mama reading me Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein before bed. Because it is from those moments where I have forgotten what it’s like to not have a pencil and notebook with me at all times.

In middle school I started the school newspaper when I realized we didn’t have one, I used to leave poems on napkins at restaurants, and I’ve tried everything from journalism, to deep romantic poetry, to technical writing on NERF products. I live for handwritten letters (so much so that I have one tattooed on my body)- a memory I shared with my grandmother, and one I will forever cherish. I can find reassurance, truth, and beauty in a single sentence.

What I can’t tell you, is why I write. It is in my blood. It is the most natural thing in the world to take words from my mind and present them on paper. If I can touch even just one person with my words, I have made it.

Never be afraid of passion, of that barely controllable emotion. I hope to share more words with you soon, and I look forward to hearing yours.

Warm Welcome/Blogging Challenge

Hi everyone! While I am still working on what will eventually be a final window into bits of my life with Varnak & Lollies, I thought I’d first introduce myself to all of you. In the midst of creating, planning, editing, and more editing, I came across a 7-Day Blogging Challenge. The exterior of my blog still needs some sprucing but isn’t the interior, the content, the writing, the real heart and soul of a blog? Of course it is!

What better way to get my voice out there, than a challenge? So on Day 1, I will simply let you know what I am all about.

My name is Arica, I am a twenty-something Massachusetts girl and sometimes I pahk my cah in Hahvahd Yahd 😉 I write, I read, and I most certainly dream. I run on coffee and red wine, and with anything sweet, you will have my attention. I believe in fate and romance, that you can never own too many black clothes, and that some of the best pieces you will ever own, are antiques. You’ll never catch me without my nails painted and I will certainly never turn down any kind of cheese. And although I love fashion, sunflowers, and drinking bottles of champagne in the bathtub, this girl isn’t always so girly. I grew up riding quads through trails my Daddy made himself, I can give you all the tips for a kick-ass football tailgate (even in the snow & rain),  and tell you what craft beer to pick up at the package store.

With all my creativeness bundled up in this over-thinking, constantly dreaming, head of mine, I thought I have some extra time, why not put those thoughts and ideas to use! Why not share them with others? So here I am, with recipes that surprisingly come out fantastic, (because believe me, I still eat like a frat boy in college), with DIY projects, photos of everything I find inspiring, a little of my own poetry, and some fun posts that might just inspire you as well.

With that, I invite you to come share this journey with me. I am already so excited and proud of this tiny dream that I can make reality. Let’s cheers to seizing the day, pursuing our wandering minds, and always letting the creativeness inside us all, out! Stay tuned for the rest of my blogging challenge and I do hope Varnak & Lollies can too, be a suggestion for inspiration!