The Great Dress Debate

Well here we are. Finally Friday. And the last Friday of one awful February. At least in terms of weather. Bring on March. And hopefully some warmer temperatures soon!

If you didn’t see yesterday’s post on the February Book Club Link-Up, check it out! There are some wonderful books included!

Okay. I had planned to do a Five Things Friday post, but as I wrote this, I discovered I had far more to write about this particular topic then I thought.

The Dress Debate

Black and Blue, or White and Gold

I woke up this morning to the great Dress Debate, or #DressGate, or as it’s trending on Twitter, #TheDress. I really didn’t want to comment on it. I don’t really care that much about it, (or maybe I do since I need to write about it), but I felt like I had too. Purely because it’s everywhere today. Seriously, EVERYWHERE

First, let me say that the dress I’m looking at is black and blue. I don’t see any sign of white and gold anywhere on it. What I see is an image that has been overexposed to try to make it look like a different color.

tumblr_nkcjuq8Tdr1tnacy1o1_1280The original image

Now, I’m not saying that you should see this as blue and black. You may very well see white and gold. I’m just saying that the what I’m seeing is not a white and gold dress. But a blue and black dress.

As a photographer, I know you can do A LOT of things in Photoshop and Lightroom, including altering the colors and look of a dress. You can change the tint, the temperature, the tone, the saturation – pretty much anything you want. Seriously. I could make that dress look turquoise if I really wanted too. I’m convinced it was overexposed and altered in Photoshop, or at least some photo editing program. In this article, The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of This Dress, it goes into more depth about the color.

The stat that blows my mind? 73% of people on BuzzFeed see it as White and Gold. Guess I’m in the minority here.

There are plenty of articles out there this morning about why we are seeing it in different colors, and the debate continues on Twitter and social media. Hope Taylor, a photographer, took to Twitter last night to show what the eyedropper tool picks up for colors in Photoshop, and she took to show how to make the dress turn white and cold with a simple adjustment in Lightroom.

I even put the dress in my own Lightroom program. All I did was adjust the contrast. Nothing else. I’m going with Hope, and the other 27% of people who answered the poll on BuzzFeed. I see a Black and Blue Dress.

Here is the original post on Tumblr.

What color do you see?

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SarahOhm.com February Blogger Book Club Link Up!

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of February. I can’t say I’m upset though. It’s been a long month. It feels like we’ve been suffering through the longest winter ever. I guess in a way we have since we’ve gotten a year’s worth of snow IN A MONTH!

Moving on.

I mentioned SarahOhm.com’s Blogger Book Club a few weeks back in a post (and how I forgot about January), and it’s that time of the month where we review our books and do our link up! I’m so excited.

February Book Club Pick


February’s theme

A Love Story

What I Read

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Synopsis (from GoodReads)

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

Why I chose this book

I won’t lie. I had this on Nook already. I bought it for 1.99 months ago, and it just sat there. So when I saw the theme was a love story, I figured, why not? I was drawn to this book because of the pretty wedding dress on the cover, and the title. I mean, I’m getting married and anything wedding-related these days perks my interest.

My thoughts

I enjoyed it. It held my interest. Again, probably more so because of the wedding theme then anything else. But I also grew to love the main character, Charlotte. She seemed like someone I could grab coffee with and talk about life. She’s fashionable. She could help me find my own wedding dress. And I liked the other little stories woven throughout the book, specifically the significance of the wedding dress. I mean, the book is about the dress, but you come to learn it’s so much more than the dress. It’s a both romantic and historic. That’s all I’m going to say because it’s one of those books that it would be easy to give quite a bit away.

It had gotten really mixed reviews. People were sounding off saying it had too many religious undertones, or the book was pushing religion too much.

Now, I’m not a religious person. But I did not find this book to push too much religion. Yes, the characters were religious, but they weren’t going to church every 5 minutes and something about Him was not mentioned every other word. So in my book (no pun intended), this didn’t push religion. It just had religious characters.

Would I recommend this? Sure. Would it be at the top of my list of books to recommend? No. It was…good. It didn’t blow me away. But it wasn’t horrible. Mediocre I guess would be the right word.

3 out of 5 stars. A take it or leave it kind of book.

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Stay tuned for next month’s book club pick, and make sure to check out all of my fellow book club member’s picks too!


 

My Must-Have Tools for Blogging

As a blogger, I’m always on the hunt for new tools to help make my blog look better and keep functioning. From tools that I can help make my images look nice, to apps that can help spark some inspiration, and even to apps that can help me on the go, in case I don’t have access to my laptop.

Blogging ToolsUnsplash // Jeff Sheldon

Here are some of the apps I rely on.

iPhone Camera

This one might be pretty obvious. I love taking pictures with my Nikon D610, but it’s not always feasible to carry it around with me. My iPhone 6 has an incredible camera on it, and since my phone is always at my side, I always have a camera with me.

PicLab or PicLabHD

I love imagery with motivational quotes. I love posting them on Instagram, but also for use on my blog. Both of these apps (you get them here and here) are great because you can add your quotes right on your images. The free version doesn’t have a ton of quotes to use, but you can purchase packages that will open up more for you.

i can i will correct
Created with PicLab

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is probably one of my most used apps. I edit a lot images in this app, as many people do. I love the filters they offer, but also the fading effect you can create with it. It can help to create some really lovely images for your blog. Plus I want to be insta-famous for my pictures, and I feel like everyone that is uses VSCO Cam.

PicMonkey

I use PicMonkey for just about everything. Most of photos that have that a title included on them for the blog were done here. My blog, Facebook and Twitter header were created there. You can do pretty much everything there. There is a free version, but I pay the $4.99 a month to have access to all of their features. It’s a minimal fee for the amount of things you can do with it.

Trapper

When I’m not near my computer, and I have an idea for a blog post, I run to this app. It’s a place where you can literally trap your ideas. As someone who gets inspiration at random times and through random things, this has been a lifesaver on a few occasions.

Hootsuite

I know many fellow bloggers use some form of a social media management system. I love HootSuite. It’s my preferred one. I’ve been using it for years. What I usually do with HootSuite is, once a post has been published, I go in and will schedule it to post a few times throughout the day on Twitter, as well as a few more times throughout the week. Then I’ll choose other new stories, tweets, and other things from other people to fill in through the day.

I have the app on my iPhone as well so I can pop in and check on things throughout the day.

Blogsy

Blogsy is my go to app when I’m out of town and want to blog. I don’t bring my laptop with me on trips, but I do bring my iPad, and this app is my blog away from home. It can be a bit tricky to figure out at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great.

What apps and tools do you rely on for your blog?

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#MicroblogMonday #8 – Spring Fever

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


Ah. Spring. It’s right around the corner. Right? I’m done with winter. I’ve talked about far too many times in the last few weeks (you can read those here and here), and I just don’t want to talk about it anymore. Thankfully, today I’m not going too.

spring feverUnsplash // James Tarbotton

Spring fever hit yesterday. No, we didn’t have temps in the 50s. But they reached a high of 38 in my area, the sun was shining and warm, and the mountains of snow had a little melt. For us New Englanders, after being buried under feet and feet of snow and dealing with single digit temps, 38 feels like a heat wave.

As we were out running errands yesterday, we turned the heat down and cracked the windows as the car filled with the warmth from the sun. The fresh air, while still crisp, was rejuvenating. It provided me with just the right amount of Vitamin D (besides the kind I have to take) to get me ready for the week ahead.

It may be cold today, but for the first time in weeks, we don’t have any snow storms in the forecast, just a snow shower here and there, and while we might have record cold tomorrow, temperatures are starting to rise about 20.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is coming.

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I Love These Instagram Accounts Right Now.

Ah. Instagram. The fastest growing social media network. I remember when it first came on the scene. I saw friends posting images from it to their Facebook accounts and I wondered what it was all about.

This was back when I still had a Droid and Instagram was an iPhone only app.

When I got my first iPhone in 2012, Instagram was the first app I downloaded. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I couldn’t wait to start taking pictures and sharing with the world.

Instagram AccountsUnsplash // Jeff Sheldon

Fast forward three iPhones and 3 years later. I’m still just as obsessed with Instagram as I was on day one. I’ve already written a post on obsession with it. I won’t bore you with why I love it, you can check out that post to see why. Instead, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Instagram accounts. And yes, there will be some overlap with my older post. Because some are still my top accounts.

By the Brush

I’m a very visual person, and I love my images to very visually appealing. I’ve love her account for the simplicity of it, but her images are always beautiful.

close to the river’s edge…away from everything else.

A photo posted by laura e. pritchett (@bythebrush) on

       

Tiny PMS Match

I stumbled across this account when she was featured in an article on BuzzFeed and completely fell in love. Seriously. It’s incredible.

Its Erin James

Her engagement ring was featured on the knot one day right after she was engaged, which led to me to her account. She’s a lifestyle and fashion blogger, and is in the process of planning her wedding (kindred spirits perhaps?). But her account is filled with beautiful feminine images. It’s very whimsical at times.

2Sisters_Angie

No words. I just adore this account. I mean how can you not? It’s just amazing.

There wasn’t actually a question as to which her favorite would be 😉 #fashionbymayhem

A photo posted by Angie (@2sisters_angie) on

Ballet Zaida

I’ve always had a love for ballerinas. I never was a dancer (didn’t have the body for it…or the coordination,) but I absolutely love watching and seeing pictures. They are incredible athletes and this account captures this.

Dancer – @isabellalwalsh Location – San Francisco, California. #BalletZaida #IsabellaWalsh #Dance A photo posted by Ballet Zaida (@balletzaida) on

Of course, these are only a select few that I love. It’s hard to narrow down when you have hundreds that you love to look at, but those are my current favorites.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow me: @itseryne (personal fun images) and @erynephotography (my professional account – images from sessions and such!)

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Tax Season: How I Plan to Keep Myself Organized for 2015

First, Happy Birthday to my Dad! I hope you have a fantastic day! XO.


Let’s talk about taxes. Because I’m in the middle of getting everything organized for mine, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed out doing them! Ah… tax season.

I used to have it easy. A couple of W2s, some student loan interest and bank account interest, and viola, taxes were done easy peasy with TurboTax or HR Block.

But now, with a business, it’s a whole different ball game.

Tax SeasonUnsplash // Aleksi Tappura

If you didn’t know, I run a photography business. I started in 2011, and each year it’s grown (which I’m very thankful for.)  It’s my fun side business. I have a full-time job which I love, and I teach riding lessons on the weekend (which I also love.) But I love watching what started as a side hobby turn into a successful business.

Every year, I panic. I do it to myself. At the beginning of every year, I promise myself that I’m going to keep all of my receipts, track my mileage, and print out all of my monthly expenses and invoices as they come in to keep my life easier at the end of the year. And at the end of every year, I struggle to remember what I need to print out to get my taxes done.

This year has been no exception. And having the photography business really pick up this year, it’s been even more of an adventure. Two years ago. I used HR Block. It was fine. It got the job done. Nothing special. In fact, I probably should have just done it myself instead of spending the amount of money I did. Last year, I used TurboTax Professional and it went nice and smooth. This year, I just don’t want to be bothered to do my own. Especially with everything going on with TurboTax.

The good news? I meet with an accountant next week to get my taxes done, and I have almost everything I need. I just need to print a few more things out and call a couple places to get a receipt and make sure I’m not expecting anything from another place.

The bad news? I might have killed a couple of trees in the process. SO MUCH PAPER.

In an effort to keep myself more organized for my 2015 taxes, I’m already beginning to keep myself organized.

Keeping everything organized

It’s great if you print everything out, but not so great if you lose everything right away. I’m planning on buying an accordion file folder that I can label and put everything right into.

Checklists

I have lists for my lists. It’s bad, but it does help me to keep organized. I plan on keeping a checklist in the accordion file folder with all of the monthly expenses listed, as well as each month, that way I can check the month off as I go. Same with other invoices.

Printing out monthly receipts

With my photography business, there are a lot of monthly expenses that I just forget about since they get automatically paid. In an effort to remember, I set reminders on my phone to print out all of those monthly receipts around the middle of the following month. I have monthly expenses from various places ranging from the questionnaire on my website to my monthly Etsy fees for posting new products.

Printing out client invoices monthly

Another area I’m horrible about is printing out my client invoices. I do everything electronically, but still need print outs for the end of the year. So, just like the monthly receipts, I’ll be doing a check once a month for a client invoices (sessions, Etsy and client galleries), and printing everything out.

Tracking my mileage

This probably seems like a minor one, but it’s one that I can write-off and always forget to do every year. My plan this year is to track any mileage relating to photo shoots. It’s usually pretty minimal, but that way I can keep track!

Don’t panic at the end of the year

Hopefully by the following the above steps, I won’t get completely overwhelmed by my taxes at the end of the year! Panicking only makes it worse for me, but I hope that by the end of 2015, I’ll be super organized and ready to get my taxes done.

How do you keep yourself organized for tax season?

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PS – Because you guys rock, use code ITSERYNE20 at checkout in my Etsy shop to receive 20% off your entire order!

I Think We Moved to the Arctic. Here Are Some Things Making Me Happy Today.

I think we moved to the arctic when I wasn’t looking.

It’s cold. The temperature hasn’t been higher than 20 in weeks (okay, days… but still).

It’s dreary and I miss the sun. Like consistent days of just sun. We did have some sun yesterday. And it was warm. I was tempted to lay on the dog’s bed with him and sun myself.

There’s too much snow. We got another foot and a half on Sunday. We now have over 8 FEET of snow on the ground.

I have cabin fever. And I just want spring. Or at least 40 degree temperatures.

But it doesn’t look like winter is ending anytime soon. More snow today. And bitter cold this whole week. So instead of sitting here and complaining about it, I’m trying to focus on the things that are keeping me happy, and pushing forward to spring.

Doing a little local shopping!

I worked in Amesbury, MA for a couple of years. During that time, I never really had a chance to enjoy the shops. So, when I was there for an appointment I decided to stop in one of the newer ones, The Nest. Let’s just say this may have become my new favorite shop. So many incredible items. Including…. the next thing making me happy.IMG_2097

My adorable new carrying case.

My work bag is a disaster. It’s a bottomless pit. So when I saw this adorable case, not only did it make me insanely happy and remind me of spring, but it would be incredibly useful. Hello organization.

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Getting my engagement ring cleaned.

It was starting to look a bit dingy! Have I told you guys how much I love my engagement ring? I’m obsessed with it. It’s been two years since we got engaged and nearly every day I catch myself staring at it. It’s so…. me. I just love it.

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My Valentine’s Day flowers.

My love surprised me at work with them on Friday. They’ve been opening up and blooming since then, and are absolutely beautiful. Tulips make me think spring, so they are keeping me smiling!

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Counting down the days until we leave for Las Vegas.

We’re right around 40 days. I’m so looking forward to warm weather! We’ve been twice before, in 2011 and then in 2012. Our 2012 trip was extra special since that was when we got got engaged. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, at night, overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. Perhaps I’ll write our engagement story one of these days! Needless to say, it’s been over 2 years since we’ve been and can’t wait to get back! I also can’t wait to take pictures with the new camera. The photographer in me can’t wait to play with the lights at night!

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During our first adventure in Las Vegas in 2011. It was early (like 7 AM) and we totally had jet lag, but couldn’t wait to get up and start exploring. This is from Tropicana looking back at New York, New York. Clearly.

One last thing making me crazy happy. My new blog design. I found one I loved. I found one that will really versatile and exactly what I was looking for. There are still a few more changes to come, but at least the base design is done!

I hope you all like it too. I know many of you loved my previous design, but it just wasn’t me. This one is definitely me :)

Have a great Tuesday!

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#MicroblogMonday #7 – The Perks of Having Short Hair

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


Pardon my late post today! Since it’s a holiday, I’ve been out running errands and spending time with the fiance. But I’m now I’m home and catching up on the day.

So today’s #MicroblogMonday post. All about the perks of short hair. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I chopped off my hair this weekend. I had no idea it was a long as it was. I knew it was long, but not as long as what the before picture showed.

The Perks of Having Short HairUnsplash // Jeremy Cai

Normally I always regret cutting off my hair. And I start to question why I did it. But this time, I definitely didn’t. It was a welcome change. Something new in this seemingly endless winter. But in the two days I’ve had short hair, I’ve realized a few things.

  • I was constantly washing my hair to keep it manageable. Brushing it was a chore. Constant knots, snarls and tangles. I found on the weekends, I had to shower in the AM after sleeping, otherwise I looked like a crazed banshee. This morning, I got up, ran a brush through my hair, and volia, I could go out in public.
  • My waves are back. My long hair would get wavy, but it would take a lot of product for it to stay. Now, my waves stay with minimal product.
  • Wash and go is a thing again. I love being able to wash my hair, and being done. I love how swingy it is when it dries. I love how easy it is now.

Sure. I loved my long hair. But I love my short hair even more.

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Five Things Friday {#3}

Friday is finally here! And since it’s been awhile, like since last June, I decided it would be a good day to jump back on the Five Things Friday bandwagon. My Five Things Friday are usually a mix of my random thoughts, products I love and things I found amusing. So kick back and enjoy!

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This adorable camera lens mug.

You know your a #photographer when…. You drink your coffee out of a camera lens travel mug.

A photo posted by Eryn Carter (@itseryne) on

I’ve been eyeballing this camera lens travel mug for a long time, and my fiance bought it for me a couple weeks ago. The deal was if he bought it, I couldn’t stop to get coffee anymore. That hasn’t exactly happened yet, mainly because I love iced coffee, but when I bring it work, it’s my go-to mug for coffee or tea. It will most definitely be making many appearances during photo shoots this year. Let’s just hope I don’t mistake it for one of my lenses! The snow. Let’s just talk about the snow for another quick second. Even though I don’t even want to think about it anymore. Boston is BURIED. Literally. Every storm is now discussed in feet. Not inches. In fact, we have a storm coming tomorrow night that could drop another foot or more on us. We already have over 6 feet on the ground. And this is just in a 2-3 week time span. We’ve gotten more snow in the last few weeks, then we usually do in an entire winter.  I’m hoping that our winter will essentially only be this like 4 week period of blizzards. And then miraculously spring will arrive in March and we will have 50 degree weather. Because we’re going to need it soon for all of the snow to go away!


The struggles of losing weight.
You guys. I hate trying to lose weight. I’m just putting it out there. But I hate more? How much weight can fluctuate. I usually weigh in once a week for Weight Watchers. But I decided to weigh myself yesterday just to see how things were going. I was psyched. Down just over a pound. I weighed in this morning, and I had gained 2 from the day before. SERIOUSLY? Not cool body. Not cool. Anyways. Weigh in days are now on Thursdays, since that’s when my lowest weigh in seems to be. But still. Ugh. Being a woman… am I right?


This girl just being an unbelievable inspiration.
Jamie Brewer, best known for American Horror Story, just rocked the runway at New York Fashion Week. Like utterly owned it. And while doing so, became the first model with down syndrome to do so. But I don’t look at her and see Down Syndrome. I look at her and see a woman is chasing her dreams and succeeding in an dog eat dog industry, and not caring what anyone thinks of her. She is truly an inspiration to ALL women. I mean look at her up there. She’s GLOWING. And her model walk. Owned it!

Check out this great video that fellow model Alanna Raben took during the pre-show. This girl just oozes confidence. You go Jamie!


The Buzzfeed Obama video.
I mean… we’ve all done some of these things. At least once. Right? I mean… we’ve all done some of these things. At least once. Right?


And a bonus…

The long weekend.
It’s President’s Day weekend! Which means we have the day off on Monday. Anyone else? Anyone doing anything fun? It looks like we will be snowed in. Again. Not cool. Guess I’ll be kicking back with a book and my heated blanket. It’s President’s Day weekend! Which means we have the day off on Monday. Anyone else? Anyone doing anything fun? It looks like we will be snowed in. Again. Not cool. Guess I’ll be kicking back with a book and my heated blanket.

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(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

I Celebrate Valentine’s Day Every Day

First, thank you to everyone who chimned in on my blogging thoughts yesterday! It really meant a lot!

Valentine’s Day is almost here. That special Hallmark holiday that comes once a year where people give gifts and cards to their loved ones to show their love. It seems like each year it becomes more about what to buy than how to celebrate.

I’m seeing a lot more articles written to help with what to buy and what to do for Valentine’s Day, such as 6 Valentine’s Day Dos and Don’ts, The Ultimate Guide to Buying Valentine’s Day Flowers and What Women Really Want for Valentines’ Day.

But not many articles on how to celebrate your love.

I remember when Valentine’s Day was such a huge deal to me. Back when we were in elementary school and we passed out those adorable paper valentines in a box. We made special envelopes to leave taped to our desks, and our teachers made sure we gave a valentine to everyone in class so no one felt left out.

After elementary school, middle school and high school were just confusing.

Did I want a Valentine? Didn’t I? What if I have one? What happens then? What if I don’t have one, but someone gives me something, and I don’t want to be their Valentine? What if I don’t get anything?

Yes. Confusing is the best way to describe those years.

I worked at a gift shop throughout high school and college. And during that time, I witnessed so many people running in the night before Valentine’s Day to buy cards, presents, candy… whatever they could find. That’s when I realized that this holiday was becoming less about celebrating your love, and more about buying your significant other something to physically show them your love, with a material object.

Why I Celebrate Valentines Day

I’m engaged. I have a Valentine for the rest of my life. And I’m madly in love with him.

But I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love. We celebrate it every day.

Sure, I love flowers. I love jewelry. But do I expect it on Valentines Day? Absolutely not.

All I need on Valentine’s Day is a simple text telling me he loves me while we are both at work, followed by a cozy dinner in and watching our favorite movies. Just like any other night.

In my world, love is much larger than a single day. Love isn’t in the material objects you receive. Love isn’t in the cards, the chocolates or the teddy bears.

Love is in that look between you and your partner when you’re together. Love are those words you never have to utter because your partner knows exactly what you’re thinking. Love is enjoying every moment together, no matter how large or small.

Love is enjoying your normal routine, whether you exercise together, go out to dinner often, or just enjoy sitting on the couch and watching your favorite movies over and over.

Love is so much more than a single holiday.

Which is why I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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