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Book Review: Your Own Beautiful by Chelsea Crockett

Posted by Julie on December 3, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |


Inspired by Chelsea Crockett’s popular YouTube channel, Your Own Beautiful is a life, faith, and beauty guide, filled with her trademark tips on makeup and style alongside full-color photos, how-tos, and more to help young women with all the big issues they face—from self-confidence and friendship to following your dreams. With her signature grace and wit, Chelsea tackles tough questions through uplifting messages influenced by her faith and life experiences in Your Own Beautiful.

“Funny, helpful, and inspirational! This book reveals the secrets to finding inner beauty and happiness.” CHARISMA STAR, Beauty vlogger

Chelsea Crockett started her own YouTube channel when she was thirteen, happy to share make up tutorials. Her channel found quick favor and soon she was given opportunities most teens would dream of. Now out of high school, Chelsea has written a book to share with girls about the topics important to them.

I am late reviewing this book because I savored every word. I facilitate a ministry for junior high girls and YouTube is HUGE for this age group. I have a daughter this age and it is difficult to find a YouTube personality that will share fun videos with fashion, make-up and more who also shares the faith that is important to our family.

Chelsea shares her story along with advice on make up, fashion, friends, boys, and more. She’s very honest in doing so, and makes it very clear what her priorities are. She’s transparent in telling that not everything has worked how she thought it would. That her life and choices have not been perfect.

This is written right at their level and is completely engaging. As a mom, I loved her story, but I know girls will love her advice and pictures. I kind of wished her pictures from her own “scrapbook” had captions of some kind, there isn’t any explanation, but it doesn’t take away from the wonderful content in this book.

I highly recommend this for tweens, teens, and even for moms to read. Chelsea captures everything about this stage and what’s important to these girls.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: I’ve Ghosted Before

Posted by Julie on August 29, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

I try as a mom and mentor of sorts to stay on top of the latest terms, crazes and technology. Not to be the cool middle aged lady, but to know what’s out there trying to harm my kids and children I care about. I’d love to say I always know the latest, but often I’m still behind the times.

Like when I heard the term “ghosted.” It was in a picture I saw of Scarlett Johansson. She was accused of ghosting Sean Penn, someone she had been involved with but no longer was. The commenters felt she was icing him out, treating him as if he wasn’t even in the room.

Apparently, that’s ghosting. It’s ignoring the relationship, whether in person, texts or calls. It can be romantic or friendship.

And I’ve ghosted long before it was a thing.

Years ago, I mean YEARS ago there was a boyfriend who disappeared. He went off to college but never said goodbye. I was angry more than anything else.  Everyone had their theories but months later, he came calling. As if this never happened. Talk about ghosting. He flat out disappeared. And when he returned, he asked for my number.

And I gave him the wrong number.

And he knew it.

His last words to me were, “You don’t want me to call you, do you?”

And I said nope and drove off.
As an adult, I’ve been ghosted and I’ve done the same. There’s no good excuse because when it happened to me it was almost as painful as losing my father. I ached. It was a loss that took me a long time to process.  Choices needed to be made outside of my power and who I am and how I live were outside the parameters. Someone had to go. I was an easy elimination to be rid of. I was obviously not as valued as I had valued them. That fact just about did me in.

When I’ve ghosted as an adult, it was never malicious or fun. I simply was at a loss. Either the relationship ran its course and I didn’t know how to communicate beyond what I’d already done, or, the other person required more out of me than I was able to give. Sometimes I ghosted because I gave and gave and gave and nothing changed because the other person was content to stay as is and keep coming me for changes. There were times I backed off because it was too draining, too high maintenance for me to handle. I also became invisible when I realized the relationship wasn’t what I thought it was. I was a crystal ball of sorts, the go-to when there was a crisis or a prayer request. When I was in need of prayer and support, I stood alone against the people I eventually ghosted. Lastly, I ghosted because trust had been broken and we knew it, but I didn’t have the courage to say so. I closed my circle in tighter and moved on.

I’m not proud of it and yet if I had to do it over again, I can’t say I’d act differently just yet. That’s the beauty of Saturday confession. I’m working on it, but I’m not perfect.  I’m simply being transparent enough to share my confession.

Right now in any of those situations I don’t have words that would be comforting. I’d create more hurt with honesty, and I definitely don’t want to lie. So like my wedding song, I Say Nothing at All.

Ghosting. Have you done it? Has it been done to you? Don’t be invisible. Share in the comments.


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Saturday Confession: I’m Glad I Listened

Posted by Julie on August 2, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |


I was new to town, new to the state.

My dad had recently passed away, our daughter nearly passed away but was chronically ill.

My husband had a new job, our son, a new school.

I sat in the Sunday School class and fought the tears.

Everyone knew each other. You could tell there were thick bonds that I was so broken, I didn’t think my shattered self could mess with those bonds.

Some did visit my table and say hello but to hear the new laughter knowing all my 30+ years of friendships were laughing without me?

I thought I would lose my mind from grief.

Even as time marched on and I was intentional about getting involved, I still battled loneliness. The ache grew within me and I didn’t know what to do. Where are these friends I’m going to have for the rest of my life? Where are my girls who are going to whisk me to ice cream or take my phone call at midnight during a life and death moment? Where is my new life?

I asked the question enough of myself and God that one day I felt led to ask a trusted woman I considered not just a friend, but a mentor. She had a sweet spirit and I learned so much from her. She made me feel safe, so I asked her what was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I making tons of friends?

She barely hesitated. But she did smile.

“You aren’t making friends because you aren’t supposed to.”


Say what?

She continued. “You’re a leader. Leaders don’t have a lot of friendships. They can’t. You’re being prepared to touch a lot of acquaintances. You will spend a lot of time with them, loving them. Encouraging them. Praying for them. And when they go away, you will be drained. You will need refilling. And that is when you return to the very small circle that will be your very closest and dearest of friends.”

Those words blew me away, and scared me at the time. I liked the number of people I hung out with and called on in NY and that number wasn’t even close in Ohio.

Today that number is even smaller.

But what’s left is like a refining fire. Precious gold that I treasure. I’m so glad I listened to her because she’s right. I do a lot of praying for people and I love to encourage. And as much as I enjoy it, it takes a lot out of me. To do that and run with a group of girls to the mall would be too much for me. But to have those few that I can call, text or visit and say I’m spent, they get me. They’ve got me. And I’ve got them.

The second instruction I received was as I prayed. It was probably 5 years ago a lot of people were coming to me and their needs were great. Needs that if I got a counseling degree and won the Lotto, I still wouldn’t be able to help. But I was staying up nights worrying about them. How would that marriage work out? What about that person’s job? Is this one going to harm themself?

I could feel my emotions churning so hard my insides were becoming toxic. I was literally making myself sick.

And that’s when I received this one sentence as I prayed: “If you take these burdens on yourself, it will kill you.”

I knew that was from the Lord. It wasn’t condemning or a fear based sentence. It was a fact. And I decided right then I was going to immediately surrender the people and situations I pray for to Him. It might come off to some that I don’t care, but it’s quite the opposite. I care enough to do it right. I have to do it His way. It’s the only way those precious people are going to find answers.

I felt I was supposed to share this, so my guess is there’s someone reading who is feeling lonely with that ache I know too well. A leader in the making whose circle is getting smaller and smaller. Take heart. It’s by design.

Perhaps you’re a prayer warrior and your blood pressure is up and your emotions are down because you’re trying to find the solutions for everyone. You want to say the perfect thing to that person in need of Jesus. Been there. The word I received isn’t just for me.

If you take these burdens on yourself, it will kill you.

You’re too amazing for that.

Slow down. Look around and appreciate that group you’re in. That very small circle of people you can trust. Who are out to better you. That’s a rare thing to have. It’s a gift.

If you’re a prayer warrior/intercessor, learn surrender. Picture yourself as the vessel God gives the words to for prayer. And as you do, picture yourself laying that person and their things at the cross.

And leave it there.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you listened.


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Saturday Confession: What I Learned from Dr. Frasier Crane

Posted by Julie on February 15, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

Ah,  the stomach bug. Are there any positives to heaving hours on end? Weight loss, temporary in most cases. And a lot of TV.pen-paper_zps90ecf193 (2)

I had the bug a couple weeks ago and besides a Friends marathon, I also was up during the wee hours while the rest of the house slept in good health. I realized Frasier was on, so in between my reason for being awake, I watched a couple episodes of this Cheers spin off.

In it, Dr. Frasier Crane was preparing to return to private practice, something he hadn’t done since his Cheers days. He was insecure, enough that even buying a couch for the office was paralyzing him.


And in it, whether a God inspired a-ha moment or fever, a little nugget of wisdom dropped in my heart.

Frasier had to move on from what he knew and was comfortable for him. The Cheers barstool was a safe place. He had friends. But his new life as Frasier beckoned. He had to try new things like a radio show. Living with his dad after many years. Returning to private practice.

Wow. I could relate to that.

Frasier was leaving an old season. It had served him well, but it was time to move forward. It meant leaving people and places. And it was scary.

Wow. I’m living that.

He didn’t see Sam anymore. Sure, they were still friends on paper, but the relationship was gone. At least as the characters knew from the Cheers days.

Wow, that’s my life.

And in the new season came new opportunities, and friendships. Daphne. Roz, Mishaps with his brother, Niles. New memories and experiences for growth.

In that new season, he didn’t begrudge the old days. He was grateful for everything Cheers gave him. But, Frasier was called Frasier for a reason. The Cheers gang was gone.

Frasier succeeded as a show because the writers were able to successfully transition the character to a new setting. So much so, younger people probably didn’t know the good doctor came from an ensemble show before that. He couldn’t be snobby in Seattle if his heart and head were still in Boston.

Wow. There’s a lesson.

My heart is tempted to return to my Boston, a place where I knew who to call and where to go for my opportunities. But it’s 2014 and my Boston is gone. My heart now lives in a Seattle of sorts, a new mindset with new lessons. Different people. I can’t succeed if I keep lamenting my Cheers days.

And neither can you.

Does this make sense? Are you stuck in another season, wishing for the good old days when God has clearly called you away from those times, people, and situations? It doesn’t mean you regret the Cheers days, you’re thankful. But you still move on. Like Frasier.

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2012 Reviewed Fiction Book of the Year

Posted by Julie on January 1, 2013 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Julie Arduini’s 2012 Reviewed Fiction Book of the Year

It’s that time of year again! I take a few days to let you know what my favorite reads of 2012 were. For fiction and non fiction, I choose from the books I reviewed. For my Kindle read, that comes from the free read (at the time of my purchase) that may or may not have been published in the year I read it.

The deeper into the writing process I dive, the more I look forward to announcing posts like this. A lot of casual readers are under the impression that it takes one draft to write a novel. That’s not even true for Karen Kingsbury or Stephen King.Writing is a lonely, hard job. Most authors also have a “day job,” so the book many of us hold come from early morning and late night writing sessions.

Today is my fiction pick.

If you are a regular reader here you might remember I reviewed this book and wondered if it would be my favorite.

It’s Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Image courtesy Betsy St.

Image courtesy Betsy St.

I have a heart for teens and when I can find a book that they can identify with, I’m impressed. When I can find a book that makes me forget I’m not the target reader, well, that’s pretty special. Betsy wrote such a realistic YA (young adult) novel that Addison pouted off the page, cuz that’s what teens do. She has a lot of changes, pressure, drama, and romance. It wasn’t too preachy, but it wasn’t advocating sin, either.

Nearly a year later, I must confess, Addison Blakely stayed with me all year.

Purchase Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK here.

Read my original review here.

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