Uncategorized

Books

Linking up with Steph and Jana for SUYB! I am actually starting the year out pretty strong, and am ahead nine books according to Goodreads. Lets see how long that lasts. Last year I made a goal to read 60 books, but I fell short by a few. This year my goal is to finish one per week.

Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn

Parental Guidance (Ice Knights, #1)

I think this is my first Avery Flynn book. I am in love! This was so cute! I love the characters, I love the story line, and who doesn’t love a dog in a book? Anchovy is such a cute name for a dog. I was just slightly annoyed with Zara towards the end of the book, I wont say why to ruin anything. But outside of that, there were the right amounts of fun, build up and steam. Definitely can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.

Bottom Line: Read it!

I’ll Have What She’s Having by Rebecca Harrington

Image result for i'll have what she's having book

This was about a woman who is obsessed with fad diets and what celebrities are eating. I cant imagine following any of these diets that she talks about. I believe she writes columns on this topic, and that might be more how this book reads. I will say, this book could be a trigger for people with eating disorders. And I hope that people don’t actually take it seriously.

Bottom Line: This book is really short, so I wouldn’t suggest purchasing it. I borrowed the audio version from my library to entertain me in the car. I sort of got a little bored after the first few diets, because really it is all the same. I would probably pass.

Love Handles by Gretchen Galloway

Love Handles (Oakland Hills, #1)

Where do I start with this one?? I love the premise. Bev inherits an athletic wear company from a grandfather that she barely knew around the time that she loses her job as a preschool teacher. She has to then run it with a guy that thought he would be getting the company and was close to her grandfather and a load of employees who she cant trust.

But then there were parts of the book that got on my nerves. Like the fact that Bev wasn’t exactly athletic and it was constantly pointed out throughout the entire book. Liam even tells her she needs to work out. WTF? He seemed a little too controlling and I didn’t really click with him. I liked Bev, but didn’t like how she was a bit of a doormat at times.

Bottom Line: I am not sure what I want to say about this one, it passed the time fine and I gave it three stars (probably should be 2.5), but I got annoyed about parts. I picked this one up for free on Amazon and its about what I expect for a book that is free.

You Complicate Me by Isabel Jordan

You Complicate Me

I really liked this one! I loved watching Nick and Grace fall for each other, but also, I really loved the bat shit crazy family antics as well! We spend a week at Grace’s brothers wedding festivities with an uptight mom, a crazy grandma, an ex husband, and a sarcastic cousin. What could go wrong? This one had me laughing and swooning. I do love some family drama…when its not my own.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)

Third Grave Dead Head by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson, #3)

Continuing on with this series and still loving it! I think that the third book might be my favorite so far. It was packed full of action and snark and I cant wait to get the forth one.

Bottom Line: If you are into cozy mysteries and like the Stephanie Plum books, give this a try. I actually think I like this better than Plum!

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Red at the Bone

This book was a short one, but man was it packed with beautiful writing, emotion, class, race, family hardships, discovery, love and loss. The characters were so well fleshed out in such a short book. This is one that will stay with you a little while.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak

I read the 20th Anniversary edition of this book, and it could have been written today. I think we all went to school with the very characters in this book. I loved the message behind the book about using your voice. I think this is a book that should be required reading in high school.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Doctor Dearest by RS Grey

Doctor Dearest

You all know my love for RS Grey by now! This is a great workplace romance. I loved the relationship between Natalie and her brother, and watching the relationship change with Natalie and Connor.

I felt like there wasn’t some huge thing to overcome in this one. I mean, there was, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. It didn’t take away from the book, perhaps it made it feel more real? I also liked more of the inner monologue of Connor. This one was definitely cute and hilarious.

Bottom Line: Read it if romantic comedy is your thing.

Did Not Finish

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

So I am not going to say to not read this book. The reason why I quit, was that I had two other books come in at the same time from the library, plus a ARC that I promised an author I would finish by release day. But the main reason I quit was because I wasn’t really resonating with the author. She has her own business and the privilege to travel a lot and visit her lake house and can take all summer to take a break from life. I am an average mom who works a full time job for an international company. And while I am grateful for the flexibility that my job offers….it isn’t anywhere near to the extent of her life. This read more like a memoir and didn’t really offer any practical or inspirational advice for me.

I 100% appreciate the title of the book and the concept behind it. I just wanted something different from it. Maybe if I stuck with it I could have gotten there, but I don’t think so.

Currently Reading

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity
Uncategorized

Currently

Linking up with my girl Kristen for a little check in action. I am tired AF right now. We had some severe storms roll through here last night. Nothing like getting woken up by tornado sirens at 2:30am and being told to take cover in your safe space. Luckily, after looking at the map I realized it was heading right for our old house…and that we were just on the line of it where we are now. The thunder and lightening were insane and it was raining so hard so fast, I know there has to be some flooding in our yard right now. I will know more when the sun comes up. It is hard to go back to sleep after something like that, you know?

Zoe’s daycare is on a 2 hour delay this morning since they follow the school schedule, so I decided it was a great day to work from home! No sense in driving in that crap all the way down to my office when I can do everything right here. In my pajamas. With no shower or makeup. Can I get an amen?!

Reading – I just finished Doctor Dearest from RS Grey last night, it is available to purchase today!!! Such fun banter and a cute story if romantic comedy is your thing. I should also be wrapping up Third Grave Dead Ahead today and starting on Center of Gravity.

Watching – We are catching up with some of our shows since they have started back after the holiday break. We are also still binging New Amsterdam. Do you watch it??? It is so good!!!

Image result for new amsterdam

Listening – I have been listening to so much good stuff while I work. I have started listening to Women n Wellness podcast, as well as Jillian Michaels podcast.

Did you know that chamomile is part of the ragweed family?????? I had no clue but it explains so much!!! That stuff is in everything from tea to lotions and potions to face products and everything in between. Thanking Jillian for that discovery. I used to use this all natural bath stuff on Zoe that had it in, and I could never figure out what was causing her skin flare ups. Now I know why that product wasn’t working for us.

Image result for women n wellness podcast

Eating/Health – Today marks the one month mark of doing Intermittent Fasting and Keto. I have lost 14 pounds and gained perspective on how many carbs I was actually consuming before. Is Keto a sustainable lifestyle? No. It comes with some cons for sure, and I don’t plan to stay low carb forever. I don’t think carbs are the devil. I do think that they can trigger lots of cravings though. Let me tell you, before doing Keto, I had massive cravings. For sweet, snacks, savory things, salty things, all the things. I felt hungry all the time. Now that I have been doing IF and Keto, I realize I can go 16 hours without eating and I am totally fine. That I don’t in fact need a snack or something to eat every couple hours. And that I can survive without candy or crackers and be content.

We have been having a lot of black coffee, taco bowls, chicken, meat and cheese trays, asparagus, zucchini, celery, brussel sprouts, etc. When we go out to eat, we mostly order steak with salad and a steamed veggie. It is nice to still be able to enjoy a meal out on this plan. It is totally doable with some modifications.

The things I don’t like on IF and Keto include it messing up my period, still feeling bloated from time to time, and being limited on what I can eat. I feel like I am not getting a balanced diet, and that if I kept it up long term (which was never my intention) my vitamin deficiencies will come back. Also, my skin is dry AF. I have been taking collagen, but it is still really bad.

Researching – I am looking into carb cycling, counting macros, and focusing on whole foods for the long haul. Not sure which way I am going to swing at the moment. It is one of the reasons I have been listening to a lot of health and wellness podcasts lately. I want to live and enjoy my life, and not be obsessed about food all the time. Pretty much my entire adult life, I have been on one diet or another and always fall off the train and then go to extremes to come back. It is a cycle I want to stop for good. I wanted to drop some weight in the beginning to get my motivated, and then find my long term lifestyle to stick with. At the end of the day, eating less and moving more is the answer. No matter how you want to wrap it up. And I know that. And you know that. We all know that.

Working – Chris and I have been doing a lot of work around the house lately. We have been setting up the theater room, and Chris has added some arcade games to it over the last week!!! Cant wait to play those! I have been working on getting my office together, and organizing little areas. I still need to paint my office, and I would like to paint the dining room. I absolutely hate red walls. It doesn’t flow with the rest of our house either. We have nice calming, soothing colors everywhere but there. It has really started coming together and we have even got to enjoy the outdoors last weekend!

My sister took Zoe and my nephew to the park while Chris and I ran some errands and had a lunch date.

Excited – Zoe has a father/daughter Princess Ball this weekend!!! She doesn’t know about it yet, but I know when she finds out…she is going to be so excited!!! They get to dress up like princesses and have dinner and dancing and come home with a goodie bag. I will be curious to see which princess she chooses to be.

I hope that you all are having a great start to February!

Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites

It has been awhile since I have shared some Amazon finds! I just love seeing what other people are scooping up on there.

Dry Brush

I ordered this to help exfoliate my dry skin and reduce cellulite. Now, I am not sure how long it will take to see the effects of cellulite, but I can already tell that my skin is in better shape after a short use. I really like that this one came with a carrying case and a hook to hang it.

Elderberry

Amazon Elements Elderberry Complex, 60 Berry Flavored Lozenges, Elderberry 100mg, Vitamin C 103mg, Zinc 12mg per Serving (Packaging may vary)

I took Zarabee Elderberry Gummies the last two years and I LOVE them! They taste amazing and they have worked pretty well at keeping away the nasties if I used them consistently. Now that I have started Keto though, the carb/sugar content was not ideal for me. I have switched over to these. You suck on them, instead of eating them as a gummy. There is still sugar/carbs but not near as many! They taste good and I use it as an afternoon “sweet” treat.

Bonus: They are half the price of Zarabee! 

I still buy Zoe the Zarabee kids gummies. She loves the tastes and thinks she is getting a piece of candy, so we never have an issue with her taking them.

Purse Organizer

Image result for Purse Organizer Insert, Felt Bag organizer with zipper, Handbag & Tote Shaper, For Speedy Neverfull Tote, 5 Sizes

I am so sick of my tote being a black hole where my items go to die and be lost forever. I purchased this inexpensive purse organizer (in size medium for my Kate Spade tote) and I am going to call it life changing. Do yourself a favor and get one!

Back Seat Car Organizer

Image result for Back Seat Car Organizer - Plenty of Space to Neatly Store and Organize Your Kids Books, Toys, Games and Snacks While Traveling. A Must for Long Road Trips. Folds Flat for Easy Trunk Storage.

Speaking of life changing, this back seat car organizer is incredible!!!! I have this in the middle seat in the back next to Zoe’s car seat. It holds so much and has enough sections and pouches to be completely organized. I have crayons in the front little mesh pouches, her snack cup and some toys in the front half, books and coloring books and bigger things in the back half. Some extra hair ties and barrettes in the middle mesh things. PLUS it has a hook on the back to buckle it in so it doesn’t go flying when you slam on your breaks. You guys, this thing is incredible and great quality for the price.

Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Bed

Image result for hiccapop

This thing was a life saver on vacation last month! Zoe loved it, slept through the night every night and it was so easy to blow up and deflate.

Light Up Gloves

Image result for LANIAKEA Led Gloves Light Up Gloves

We purchased these for our a few of our nieces and nephews for Christmas. and they are pretty damn cool. 

Be Yummi Princess Pretend Jewelry

Image result for BeYumi 66 Pcs Princess Pretend Jewelry

I did the Glam Bar at Zoe’s princess themed birthday party with these. Everyone loved them, there was plenty to go around and they have lasted many days of dress up. I even had a few moms from the party ask where I got them from so they could get more. 

What have you ordered and loved lately?

Uncategorized

Weekend Shenanigans, Some Loves and a Recipe

Weekend shenanigans on a Thursday, why not? This past weekend we had a lot of fun! Laura and her crew came over Saturday morning. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so they got to see our new house for the first time, we celebrated Christmas, and Laura’s birthday and Valentine’s Day all in one day. I made a charcuterie board that was quite delightful, and we ordered some food in from Southland.

I got super fancy, and roasted my own pecans. Why have I never done this before??? They tasted so much better than store bought ones, and didn’t have all the cheap oils added to them.

You just take a bag of raw pecan halves, 2 tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of salt. Mix it around and spread them out on a pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for around 7 minutes. Perfection!!!

We also did a Valentine’s Day craft, finger painting with the kiddos. Zoe may or may not looked like a smurf when we were done.

Someone got a little static in the bounce house…

Sunday morning, Zoe and I met up with my sister for some breakfast at Waffle House. They ate breakfast, I had a drink. I am still doing IF. It is going alright. After that, we knocked out our grocery shopping and came back home to get Chris to go to Bargain Hunt. I scored an awesome deal on some Express shoes for $5, found Zoe some tap shoes in the next size up for $5 as well!

I also did my fingernails for the first time this weekend in forever. Probably like three years! One of my sweet daycare/dance mom friends gave me some Colorstreet Nails to try. These were so easy to put on, and there is zero dry time. They are supposed to last up to 10 days, which is way longer than the hour a normal polished hand lasts on me before chipping. They look so so so pretty and I cant stop staring at them! I already ordered some more! If you are interested, here is her site. She is the sweetest!

(Also, I only used one of the two strips to do all my fingers, so you can make one set last two times.)

Laura gifted me this Tula Eye Balm, and it feels incredible on my tired eyes! I have been rubbing this on in the morning…and then using it in the afternoon over my makeup. It helps that the packaging is beautiful!

Speaking of things I love, I got this top on mega sale at Loft, and it is so pretty in person!!! It fits true to size. I am trying to get a few pieces with some color in my wardrobe of blacks and navy!

I also ordered this dress, and this striped shirt on sale! Both were cute in person as well. I would say on the dress, you could probably size down one. I plan on wearing my jean jacket over it, so it doesn’t really matter for me.

I hope you are having a great week!

Uncategorized

Friday Favorites – Life Lately

First off, can I just say how thankful I am for my job? Zoe has her three year wellness visit this morning, so I figured it would be best for me to work from home today. I can get a good chunk of work done this morning before her appointment, and then come back and finish up after without the commute into the office, back to the daycare, to the doctor, back to the office, rinse and repeat. And its no big deal, have a great weekend, see you on Monday.

I know that a lot of companies are more like this these days….but there are many that still aren’t! I came from one that was the complete opposite, and I am still amazed every day that I can come and go as I please like an adult that does her job. No micromanaging or watching my every move waiting to call me out for something. It really is incredible, and I don’t ever take it for granted.

Favorite Moment: Chris and I have spent a lot of time working around the house the last two weekends. We are really starting to settle in and set things up the way that we want. We purchased a new projector, screen and surround sound for our theater room in the basement. We had a projector before, but this one…wow!

I spent about four hours in Zoe’s room, playroom and closet organizing, getting rid of clothes and toys that don’t suit her anymore, and just trying to find a good set up. I am still working in the playroom. I think I need another shelf or something in there. But it is coming along nicely!

The way her room is set up, you walk through her closet to get to her playroom. She loves that she has a “secret room” and I can really see it growing with her into a little teenage hang out area when she is older.

We hardly had any decor in our old house. It was like we always knew it wasn’t our forever home, so we never took the time to really make it our own. I am absolutely loving spreading some of our pictures out here and finding decor that reflects us.

I scored this amazing side table at Bargain Hunt for $40 last weekend! It looks so great with the lamp in our hearth room off the kitchen. This has become one of my favorite spots in the house, as I spend a lot of time in this room with Zoe. She has a TV in there, her little table where she eats and colors, and some toys on the main floor.

Chris was a champ, and helped me put together my desk last weekend. So. Many. Pieces. But I really love the finished product! Lots to do in the office still, like paint some walls (Ughhhhhhh) but I feel great to finally have this set up!

Favorite Purchase: I love the Pleione brand from Nordstrom. They make some really great work tops. This one is cute in person than it is online, but I love the loose peplum at the bottom. I grabbed it in black, and then thought better of my self and grabbed this gorgeous blue color with polka dots. I have always loved a little polka dot, so classic. Usually you can find me in black, and I am really trying to add a few more colors to my closet.

Ok fine. You know what. I will share my fitting room picture. I always take pictures of myself in clothes before I purchase to make sure I actually like it. This actually runs a little big, so I sized down to a medium.

Favorite Lust: Have you seen the new Kendra Scott heart necklace???? I am in love!!! How freaking cute is this??? They have earrings to match that I really want too.

Favorite Recipe: I have made these chicken tenders twice now, and they are incredible!!! Keto friendly if you are looking for a low carb options.

keto chicken tenders coated in buffalo sauce with a side of celery

Favorite View: The sunrise the other day was absolutely breathtaking. I took Mac out, and ran back inside to grab my phone because it had to be captured. I know I shared this on Instagram, but I have to share again.

Favorite Funnies:

Image result for if i had to pick a favorite child meme