favorites, friday favorites

Friday Favorites Birthday Edition

35. After today, I am officially closer to 40 than I am 30. Gross. That’s alright though, my thirties have proven to be way better than my twenties so hopefully that means there is even more goodness in store for my 40s. Also, huge shout out to my birthday twin Kate!!! So cool that we were born on the same day, the same year. Our daughters are just a couple months apart too.

No big plans this weekend. I need to get to some more purging, cleaning, organizing, etc. Chris surprised me with an early birthday present. I LOVE IT! Chocolate chip cookies have already been made in it. Does anyone have any good pasta or bread recipes they love?? Send them my way!

Favorite Moments: I received this package in the mail from Andrea. She is seriously the sweetest ever! She is so thoughtful too, combining all of my favorite things: tacos, books and Target. I mean…if you could describe me in three words…that would be it.

In making the best of a cancelled lunch situation, I went and grabbed another Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl from Trader Joe’s. Seriously, so delicious!!! I also grabbed another box of the organic mini peanut butter cracker sandwiches for Zoe. That girl can eat an entire box of those in a weeks time if you let her.

Favorite Lust: I looked around Nordstrom Rack this week. I went for sunglasses but couldn’t find any I just love. I didn’t purchase anything, because I have this new thing where I think about it and if I still want to go back and get it, then I really did love it. I did find this sweater that must come home soon! The price is right and the color is gorgeous.

Image result for Philosophy Apparel Patch Pocket Knit Cardigan

And these jeans were so flattering on! I love the stretch that Democracy offers. The come down a little longer on me and are PERFECT for fall booties.

Favorite Funnies:

I talk an awful lot of smack

HAHAHAHA

32 Funny Quotes to Liven Up Your Day  #funnyquotes #hilariousquotes #wittyquotes #snarkyquotes #funnysayings

I must be young, cause when I fell down once I was checked to see if I was alright, then I was laughed at...lol!!! #notfunny😛

Pretty much !

31 Hilarious Quotes You'll Love #funnyquotes #hilariousquotes #snarkyquotes #sarcasm #wittyquotes

😂😂😂 I’m dying!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Linking up with Amanda.

book review, books

Books

Linking up with Steph and Jana to share some more books this month! I feel like I have read a lot more books this month than I realized. I had some really good reads, and a few that were just okay. One I could have done without. Let’s jump in!

Not So Nice Guy by RS Grey

Not So Nice Guy

“We’re extremely close, stuck so deep inside a Jim-and-Pam-style friendzone everyone at works assumes we’re a couple – that is until one day, word spreads through the teacher’s lounge that he’s single. Fair game. Suddenly, it’s open season on Ian. He should be reveling in all the newfound attention, but to our mutual surprise, the only attention he seems to want is mine.”

RS Grey is my favorite romantic comedy author! Dare I say the queen of RomCom?!  This is a cute and quirky friends to lovers rom-com that had me laughing from the very first page! I really loved the chemistry and banter between Sam and Ian. I devoured this book in 24 hours, which is huge for me. I love that the book switched POV between Sam and Ian, so you get to know both better. This is the perfect type of book to break up some more serious ones…or to take with you on that last trip to the beach this summer!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

A trip to the doctor projects that Sylvie and Dan will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades. In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all. 

I am not sure that anything from Kinsella will top My Not So Perfect Life for me. I didn’t love this  book. I mean, the whole premise is that the characters find out they are going to get 68 more years together, that is awesome news! When you get married, don’t you go into it expecting to spend the rest of your lives growing old together??? That is sort of the point. So I just don’t get the whole freak out over living another 68 years together. I got really bored reading this book, and it took me a month to finish. I am going to be completely honest…I skipped over about 30% of the book and didn’t even miss anything.

Bottom Line: There really isn’t anything special about this book. I didn’t mind the ending, and can appreciate that the characters grew and changed…but I was bored most of this book and couldn’t wait to just be done with it. So I can’t really recommend it.

**I received a copy of Surprise me from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.””

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

All the Summer Girls

Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. Dani, the aspiring writer who can’t seem to put down a book–or a cocktail–long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired… again. In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women begin to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier–and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.

I am not sure how I feel about this book after finishing it. Most of the book you don’t know the full story of the secret each of the girls is keeping, so I stayed interested the whole time wanting to know what happened. I just feel like the characters weren’t really any that I cared about. Throughout the book, each of them is so focused on the drama in their own lives, the lies that they have kept to themselves and what happened in their pasts. None of them are all that likable and there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the book until the secrets are spilled towards the end.

Bottom Line: This is a decent beach read, if you are just looking for something to pass the time. It will probably be one that I forget about very soon, knowing that I read it but not remembering what all happened.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This book!!! It is SO good you guys!!! I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I smiled. This is one of those books that makes you wonder how you would handle the situation if it were to happen to you. It is tragic and raw. You really get to know the characters, as the novel switches between them. And there are several letters between Roy and Celestial while he is in prison. I went back and forth on what I wanted to happen for each of them. I really liked the ending. It was well written, and not rushed. I have so many more things I could say about this book, but go read it first and then let’s talk!

Bottom Line: Definitely read it! It deserves the hype.

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Things I'm Seeing Without You

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails. Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back. Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming. Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse? As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

I was drawn to the book from the cover. I wont lie. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that it was a YA, but the premise sounded interesting so I figured…why not? I am so glad I did! I really enjoyed this book. The lead female character is sort of quirky and awkward. She has a no bullshit attitude that I can really appreciate for her age, she is quite snarky. This book deals with suicide, so it is a heavier issue than your typical YA read. I felt like the emotions in the book were raw and real. Tess can seem a little harsh, but it is just the way she deals with grief. The book really makes you think about life and relationships. Do we really know our friends and people in our lives? Depression is so complex, and I like that this book sheds some light on that.

Bottom Line: This is definitely a Y.A. If you like to read those from time to time, check this one out. I appreciated the strong lead female character and it deals with a heavier issue.

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

If I Run (If I Run, #1)

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore. But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

I started this book not knowing there would be more to follow. I am a little irritated that it ends on a cliff hanger and I am torn if I want to pursue more. I probably will, because I have to know what happens!  The writing of the book is a little childish. I guess that is the best way I can describe it? And I didn’t realize this was a Christian book. I am not against reading Christian books, its just that they can come off preachy and this one will randomly go on a tangent about a bible story or Casey will say something like, “I wish I believed in prayer.” or “I wish I knew there was an afterlife.” Like it would change the situation she is currently in. Also, there was this judgy little banter between Casey and another girl about tattoos and it really rubbed me wrong. The premise of the book though is what got me and kept me interested. If you can get past the judgy parts of the book, it is actually a pretty decent story.

Bottom Line: Overall, the premise is interesting, but I only suggest getting in to this series if you are ok with Christian books and God talk. And can handle some judgy comments.

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

If I'm Found (If I Run #2)

So I had to know what happens, and the wait list wasn’t too long for the second book. I have been enjoying the overall story, but I am going to say that I find it a little unbelievable that Casey keeps meeting people that she can help save. How does she keep getting herself in those situations?? That part is far fetched. But again, I am enjoying following along and want to know how it is all going to play out.

Bottom Line: Again, if you don’t mind some judgy comments and God talk…the premise of this book is good and interesting enough to keep me around.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The Identicals

Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha’s Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. When a family crisis forces them to band together — or at least appear to — the twins slowly come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the sibling rivalry that’s driven them apart for the better part of their lives. 

I just love diving in to a Hilderbrand book. I always know I am going to get a solid beach read. I loved the drama between the two sisters, the issues with their parents, and the side drama of Tabatha’s daughter Ainsley. The book was a little slow at times, but there was just enough excitement mixed in to keep you from putting it down. There was a good bit of juicy scandal thrown in for good measure. I really liked the epilogue at the end. I wont say more so it will be a fun little surprise for you too!

Bottom Line: Perfect beach read to end the summer!

Mr Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle (Angelic Intervention, #10)

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

I didn’t realize this was #10 in a series until I went to mark it as currently reading on Goodreads. It doesn’t matter though, it is a stand alone book. This isn’t my favorite from Macomber. The romance feel really flat for me. It was a super quick read, so I hung with it. It passed the time by just fine, but I am sure I will forget about it soon enough. One thing I appreciated in the book is the idea that guardian angels can be in animal form too. I like to think that way when I look back on my time with Gracie.

Bottom Line: Quick, Christmas read that passed the time but isn’t very memorable.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Stroll (Winter #2)

The Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve’s baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the inn–through the holidays intact. 

I loved picking up the following Christmas in this second book of the Winter series. I gained a new perspective on Mitzi, which I always appreciate when an author can change my mind about someone. This has that Christmas cheer, and some good old Quinn family drama. I felt like the ending was sort of abrupt though, and leaves off on a total cliffhanger!!! I was just reading along and all of a sudden I was like wait, where is the rest?

Bottom Line: Cute, cozy Christmas read with family drama. Just be prepared to need the next one immediately, as there is a cliffhanger!

Heart Trouble by Kathy Hogan Trocheck AKA Mary Kay Andrews

Heart Trouble (Callahan Garrity, #5)

I love Callahan Garrity! I have really enjoyed this series. I think there are eight books total, so I have three more to dive in to!  I love how they are written in the 90s around Atlanta. The set of main characters we have all come to know and love comes back in each book, as we are introduced to another new case. I like that in this book, the client that Callahan takes on isn’t 100% likable…but that you still want justice for her.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you like that sort of thing.

weekend shenanigans

Weekend Shenanigans

Hey there friends! I am not even sure what is going on with my life right now. I feel like I am barely floating above water. Work takes up far too much of my days, and when I am home I am trying to spend as much time with Zoe as possible….and get shit done whenever I can spare an extra minute. I felt off all last week. Zoe woke up Monday with a fever, so off to the doctor we went. I guess she just had some sort of virus that hung around for a few days. Monday was supposed to be her first day of school for this year, and I hate that she missed it. I stayed home with her Tuesday as well….and we were back to reality on Wednesday. She was so cute for her “first day” picture.

I kicked off my weekend with a trip to Trader Joe’s to grab a few things, and stumbled upon this Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl. OMG!!! It was only $5.99 and it was so fresh and delicious! I cant wait to go back and get another one ASAP. I checked on Weight Watchers, and it is only 7 points for the entire bowl, so really not a bad way to spend lunch!

Saturday morning, my sister and her crew were over at our house bright and early to help us do a few things around the house. Words cannot describe the gratitude and appreciate I have for their time and hard work. My BIL spent several hours on a VERY tall ladder painting our foyer area mostly by himself. It looks SOOOOO good now that it is all done! I got a lot of boxes packed up (home decor and stuff from our guest room) while my sister and the boys hung out with Zoe. I feel like we really knocked a lot off our to-do list with them. And Zoe absolutely adores my sister and had so much fun playing with her and the boys. She cried every time my sister left the room and it was hard for her to wave good bye as they drove off in the late afternoon.

In order to get to the very top of the wall over our stairs, we had to use this handy little paint brush holder contraption. It was pretty cool watching my BIL do it so patiently and perfect!

To thank them for their time, I made sure we had lots of snacks available! I had gotten some dips and other fun things at Trader Joe’s, and Chris went out and got Landmark BBQ and brought it back for everyone. This Spinach Kale dip from TJ’s is low in calories and only 1 WW point per serving. It was seriously SO GOOD and everyone liked it better than the much higher in calorie sour cream spinach dip. Get you some!

Also not to be missed, is the caramelized onion and feta cheese pastry puffs. These things were divine! As Zoe said, mo peas!

Other weekend things included getting rid of a trash bag full of stuff from the master bathroom and two trash bags out of our bedroom. Why do we have so much shit??? All the cabinets in the kitchen were organized, cleaned and purged. The pantry was half way cleaned, I will get to the rest of it some time this week. The guest hall linen closet and laundry room were re-organized. Now we have the big stuff left…like tackling the garage and moving stuff to a storage unit. Fun times.

Zoe and I made a Target run Sunday morning and ran into two daycare friends there. Funny how we all end up at the same place at the same time. When we got home, Chris was laid out on the couch with a really high fever. 🙁 He was miserable all day yesterday and staying  home from work today. I hate to see him down. And I also hope that whatever he has doesn’t spread to the rest of us! It doesn’t look like much fun. This week I am just going to focus on knocking out as much as I can a  work during the day, and doing all the cleaning that didn’t happen this weekend a little at a time each night this week. I really hope to clear out the guest room and paint it next weekend. Right now that room is full of all the boxes I packed, and a bunch of other stuff!

I hope you all have a great week! Linking up with Biana. 

recipe

Thai Peanut Cauliflower Fried Rice

That is a mouthful to say, right? But seriously. I hate cauliflower. I hate it so much. It is one of the only vegetables I won’t touch. So when I tell you I am suspicious of all these cauliflower replacement recipes, I mean it. Cauliflower mashed potatoes? Get that shit away from me. I was at Trader Joe’s awhile back and for whatever reason, when I am shopping in there…everything sounds good. Isn’t that weird? I picked up a bag of frozen riced cauliflower and then it sat in my fridge for a few months.

I was home with a sick Zoe Monday and Tuesday this week. Desperate times call for desperate measures. and I was hungry. I have been wanting thai food for awhile now, specifically something with peanut sauce. I thought…well I can try out the cauliflower rice since it is just for me. That way if it is gross, I didn’t try to pawn that shit off on Chris too. You know? I started whipping out some random stuff in the pantry to make a Weight Watchers friendly version of my peanut sauce. Normally I use coconut milk and it is DELICIOUS!!! But that adds a lot of calories so I replaced it with some chicken broth instead. This came together so quick and easy and was amazing!!!!

Now, I didn’t have any chicken on hand. I threw in some frozen peas and carrots. I think you can toss in some other veggies, or add some chicken and really make this your own. Also, I had some leftovers and took it for lunch the next day. Just as delicious as the first day!!! Maybe even better.

What You Need

riced cauliflower (I used one package from Trader Joes)

olive oil

frozen veggies – I used about half a bag of frozen peas and a half bag of frozen carrots

Peanut Sauce:

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

3-4 tablespoons chunky peanut butter

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how much kick you want to it)

What You Do

–Cook the cauliflower rice in a skillet with some olive oil. While that is cooking, heat up some olive oil in a wok and also start cooking the carrots and peas.

–Combine all the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a bowl with a whisk. Heat in microwave for 1 minutes, or warm in sauce pan on the stove for several minutes.

–Combine cauliflower rice in the wok with the veggies, pour peanut sauce over and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

favorites

Recent Amazon Purchases

I meant to have this post up a few days ago, but life has been a little hectic this week! I love seeing everyone’s Amazon shopping lists. The site can be overwhelming if you are just browsing, I like to have some direction…you know?

Wet Brush 2 Piece Original Detangler Hair Brush, Pink and Purple

Wet Brush – I have a smaller wet brush and a tangle teaser that I have used for a few years now. The thing is, I wanted a bigger brush because I find that I don’t ever reach for my regular ones anymore. This two pack is a crazy good deal!!! You can barely purchase one full size brush in stores for the price of two. And isn’t two always better than one?

Image result for prive heroine sunglasses

PRIVE The Heroine Sunglasses – I love Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Kate Spade sunglasses. I normally purchase them from Nordstrom Rack to be friendly on my wallet. I am in the market for a few new pairs, as some of the ones I have had for many years need to go in retirement. And one pair were killed by a certain cute toddler, who shall remain nameless. Anyways, I had these in my Nordstrom cart…but they sold out and I was so sad. They are Prime for the same price, score!!!!! For the price, they are a surprisingly good quality and are dupes for some very high end brands. Celine…I am looking at you.

Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo, 8.5 Fl Oz

Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and Conditioner – I was in the market for some new shampoo after having a horrible reaction to one that I really wanted to like from Target. Why Kristin Ess WHYYYYY?!?!?! My scalp was broken out so bad and my hair was looking rough. This stuff has saved me!!! I know it is a little pricier, but it was so worth it! I got the Hydrate SHEER not just hydrate…as this one is made for people with thinner/finer hair. I love that it doesn’t weigh down my hair and the days I use it…it looks really good! The conditioner smells so delicious and has just a slight cooling/tingle feeling that I absolutely love.

Inflatable Baby Bathtub,Topist Portable Mini Air Swimming Pool Kid Infant Toddler Thick Foldable Shower Basin with Soft Cushion Central Seat (Pink) 3-5 Days Arrive Guarantee

 

Inflatable Baby Bath – When we travel, I never know what kind of bath situation we are going to be in. Even if the tub looks clean, it might have drainage issues or something. I always shower, never sit in a tub when I travel…and I get grossed out thinking about Zoe sitting in an unknown tub too. Enter inflatable tub! I purchased this before our beach trip and it worked perfectly! It folds up well, so it was easy to take with us. It has a piece that blows up in the “floor” if you have a smaller child that isn’t  stable sitter. There was enough space for Zoe to have some “play time.” I can tell that we will be able to use this for at least another year or two.

Skip Hop Moby Bath Tear-Free Waterfall Rinser Bath Cup, Blue

 

Moby Bath Cup – Speaking of baths. I had this munchkin cup from the time Zoe was born until recently. It worked great for the purpose, but it started growing mild around the handle because they are two pieces. Gross!! I spent a lot of time researching cups that wouldn’t get nasty, and this one had excellent reviews. Zoe loves it because it is much cuter!!! And the way the water sort of “water falls” out of the mouth is a lot of fun. Bonus points for floating around the tub.

 

Image result for munchkin stainless steel

Munchkin Stainless Steel Miracle 360 Cup – This is our “travel cup” that we use for Zoe anytime we leave the house. It keeps her water at a good temperature all day and has minimal leak issues. By minimal I mean, if you keep the lid on when it is in your bag you should be good.

NUBY Reusable Snack Bag, Mermaid

NUBY Reusable Snack Bags – Anyone else feel like they are just their kids “snack bitch?” Zoe loves eating her snacks out of little bowls and plastic bags. I don’t like to waste plastic bags every time she wants something though. And I certainly don’t want to have a bunch of empty ones all over my car/diaper bag. These reusable snack bags are perfect for both our house and when we are out and about. They are so cute and hold a lot!

Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow, White, 13 X 18

Toddler Pillow – Zoe has been using stuffed animals and her blanket balled up as a pillow in her crib lately. I took the hint and did some research, and this toddler pillow gets excellent reviews! It is the perfect size for her and she LOVES it!!!! She will randomly carry it around the house.

Toddler Pillow Case – Toddler pillow cases are expensive!!! Most that I found were the same price as the pillow for just one. This brand has a two-pack for $10!!! They came in a cute little carrying case and fit perfectly with the pillow above. I love a good deal! They have a lot of color options, we went with pink and white since that is what matches Zoe’s room.

Speaking of Amazon things….RS Grey’s Not So Nice Guy came out today! She is my favorite romcom author, and always has me cracking up!

Not So Nice Guy by [Grey, R.S.]

What have you purchased lately? Linking up with Tanya.