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Life Lately

There have been so many posts that I have wanted to write over the last few weeks to share some of the things that we have been doing….and like all my good intentions lately…that’s all it becomes! I don’t want to wait to do a recap in January of all December activities, because I get sad in January that the holidays are over and we have to wait all year for them to come back. And also, I am usually hangry all of January because I jump on the healthy train. Until I quit.

We celebrated Zoe’s birthday on the 8th with a Disney Princess Party. Girlfriend talked about this party for months and months with us, her friends, anyone who would listen. The day came and went in a flash!!! I think that she had the best time though! We had five friends from school come, even her favorite teacher, and both sides of the family. I really loved the glam bar we set up, where the girls could come in and pick out crowns and jewelry to wear.

This past weekend, Zoe got to experience her first time at the movie theater to watch Frozen 2!!! We went with one of her besties, and they were so cute sitting next to each other with their giant popcorns and candy…clapping and squealing over the movie. It was a really cute movie, and I can’t wait to watch it again at home when it comes out. The soundtrack has been nonstop since.

This weekend, we also hosted my family for Christmas. Ran a shit ton of errands, did some more unpacking, grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, delicious breakfast at Metro Diner.

My dad was in town from Nashville to do a Santa event at a local childhood cancer facility. He came by our house first to visit with Zoe and get some pictures. Pretty cool when Santa makes a house visit!

Chris’s parents dropped by after to bring us a beautiful Christmas present!!! I will share a picture when we get it up. After that, I had to walk down to my neighbors house for ladies of the neighborhood Christmas party. I got to meet 12 of my new neighbors, and we did a Christmas themed gift exchange. I got a really cute Santa that we will enjoy for years to come. Everyone was so nice, and it feels so good to live somewhere that actually feels like a community and takes pride in their homes around the holidays. We have been enjoying driving past all the Christmas lights every night on our way home. I even exchanged numbers with my next door neighbor, in case the other ever needs anything. It’s a rare thing these days and I am here for it!

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Friday Favorites

Hey there! Cruising right on into the weekend at warp speed! This week has gone really fast. I feel like I have sat in the car for most of it. Traffic has been horrendous lately. Thank goodness for a shorter commute. I would be driving off the mountain if I had to drive up to our old house!

A few days ago my sister texted me with the realization that this weekend is the only weekend we have to celebrate Christmas with my mom. What?! So we frantically texted her and came up with plans to celebrate on Saturday. I have hosted at my house the last few years, and it is nice to not have to be somewhere since we are constantly going to other places for the holidays.

We still haven’t taken Zoe to see Santa yet. Parent fail! We have a date with one of our school besties to go see Frozen 2 tomorrow. I am hoping we can squeeze a visit with Santa in on Sunday morning. Or one day after work next week. I had a good bit purchased for Zoe for Christmas, but have dropped the ball everywhere else this year. Trying to knock that out this week too!

One of my new neighbors invited me to the annual ladies Christmas party on Sunday. She told me to bring a Christmas-y gift to exchange, but I am wondering if I need to bring a hostess gift? I am thinking about making a tin of sweet treats to bring along too. I am so thankful to live in a neighborhood where they do stuff like this….and decorate their houses so beautifully for the holidays! Seriously, at least 60-70% of the houses have some kind of outdoor decor. But also, going to a party with a ton of women I have never met before gives me so much anxiety.

Favorite Purchase: Target has 50% off Knox Rose sweaters, and I have been wanting a mustard colored one for quite some time. Score on this deal! It is soooooo soft! The fit is over-sized, so either order your regular size for that look, or size down one.

Women's Textured Long Sleeve Crewneck Pullover Sweater - Knox Rose™ - image 1 of 2

I have my eye on this one, and am trying to decide if I want the white or blush color. It is another over-sized fit, and is a bit warmer than the one shown above. Perfect for our trip to Gatlinburg! Also gets me away from always wearing cardigans. I am the cardigan queen in the winter.

Women's Mock Turtleneck Pullover Sweater - A New Day™ - image 1 of 3

Favorite Recipe: This Bacon Spinach Pasta from Budget Bytes looks amazing!!! Hope to make it soon!

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan is a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner that only requires a few ingredients. BudgetBytes.com

Favorite Funnies:

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Well, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! Soak up as much Christmas festivities (or rest) that you can!

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Books


Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books! I actually read a decent amount this month. Had some really good reads!

His Royal Highness by RS Grey

His Royal Highness

I absolutely love RS Grey. She is one of my favorite rom-com authors. Her female leads are always a little quirky/nerdy and the inner dialogue from them reminds me of things I actually think too! This one is extra special because it takes place in a Disney-like theme park!!! Who doesn’t want that?!? Like with all RS Grey books, you get a slow burn and funny banter.

Bottom Line: Read it! Such a cute rom com!

**I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays

I didn’t know who Mary Laura Philpott was, but I found this book from Laura and liked the cover and the title….so I figured why not? I did this on audiobook, so it felt more like a friend chatting with me in my car, sharing life stories. I really related to some of the things that she went through, and I am now following her on Instagram. Plus, she lived in Atlanta which is a bonus for me, since I used to as well.

I think everyone can relate to something in this book, whether you are a type A personality who always has to have a list, a plan, and do everything right….or a struggling parent, a people pleaser, needing a change and not feeling fulfilled in your life even though you checked all your boxes. There is so much to relate to here.

Bottom Line: If you don’t mind nonfiction, definitely check this out. I really feel everyone can relate in some way.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

This was the cutest book! I have loved everything I have read by Christina Lauren, but this might be my favorite. It is one of those where you know how it is going to end, but you don’t even care because it is so cute. Both of the characters were fabulous, and their chemistry was so good. I was laughing out loud, and had allllll the feels while reading this!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I Ever

I love Joshilyn Jackson. She really knows how to write a character! I thought I had this book figured out early on, but then there was another twist that blew my mind! This was a little different than her others, and it moved slow for me in the beginning. It still had me interested to see what was going to happen the whole time. The secrets are dark, and the characters are playing games the whole time which keeps you guessing.

Bottom Line: If you love a book with some twists and turns, where the past and present twine together to form the story…check out a Joshilyn Jackson book!

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)

I have checked this book out from the library three times, and each time two or three other books come in while I have it. I hate when that happens! This time I was determined to read it though! Kristen recommended this one awhile back, and I usually like anything she recommends.

This reminds me a lot of the Stephanie Plum series, but Charley is a much more competent PI, and there is a supernatural piece to it all. I LOL’d several times throughout the book, and found it very interesting. I plan to continue on with the series.

Bottom Line: Read it if you are into cozy mysteries and ok with the supernatural.

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

I checked this out from the library to browse through, and I have to say, there were some good looking recipes in it! Crab Rangoon, Mexican Street Corn, Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip, Bacon Hashbrowns, Cayenne-Candied Walnut Salad, Honey Balsamic Glaze, etc. It all seemed easy enough, and if you like to collect cookbooks, it would be a good addition.

Bottom Line: Nice option if you are into collecting physical cookbooks. Or at least worth browsing at the library for a few special recipes.

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

This a beautiful, devastating love story. I didn’t know who Tembi was before I read it, which is rare for me to pick up a memoir if I don’t know the person. (Even though it was my second time doing it this month!) It sort of read more like just a fictional story to me. It was beautifully written, and the description of Italy and the amazing foods she consumed really made me feel like I was there! I will say that at times, the book dragged a little for me.

Bottom Line: This book is getting picked up by Reese Witherspoon to turn into a movie, so that is why it had made my TBR. I don’t know that I would have picked it up otherwise, but I am glad I did. It was enjoyable.

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Friday Favorites

It’s Friday, and I am stoked! I have a million things I want to get done this weekend, and I am going to pump myself full of caffeine so I can do them all.

Last night, Zoe had her Christmas program at school. It was the sweetest thing I ever did see. Zoe said “hi mommy!!!” and waved at me from stage…which was the best thing ever. I shared a little snippet from one of their songs on stories, should still be there if you want to see it!

Today is Grinch Day at school, which is super fun. Zoe loves getting dressed for the different themed days and this might be one of her favorites, besides Frozen Day!

Tomorrow I hope to unpack boxes until I can get my car in the garage! And then get the house ready for Zoe’s party!!!! Sunday we have the birthday party, and Zoe is beyond excited about it! She only brings it up every. single. day. I don’t really know what she will talk about after it is over. I suppose how epic she thought it was. She has really raised the expectations bar high on this one.

Favorite Moments: Zoe hasn’t been real big on saying “I love you.” I think she has said it to me twice before this week. But this week, she has said it a few times. It really gives me all the feels.

I was surprised to open my email and see a House Warming present from Lindsay. Thanks sweet friend!!!! Honestly, there are some days I don’t know what I would do without her, even though we have never met in person.

Favorite Things: I repurchased the moisturizer my dermatologist recommended. I have really noticed a difference in my skin since switching my morning and evening moisturizer back in May. I really love that this doesn’t come with a ridiculous price tag too! I mean, its more than drugstore, but not give a kidney for it level. Plus, dermstore still has it on sale, so it is a great time to scoop it up! (They also do free shipping!)

I got this Clancy Chocolate Drizzled Kettle Corn from Aldi for $1.99 last weekend. It is a delight!!!! If you aren’t shopping at Aldi, I don’t know why you are wasting your money elsewhere! I am hoping to get a post up soon on how I have cut our grocery bill down by $20-50 per week.

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Favorite Recipe: I found this ranch bacon chicken stuffed sweet potato recipe from Healthy Little Peach that looks amazing!!!! Cant wait to try it out! How amazing does this look????

Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Favorite Funnies:

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Thanksgiving Shenanigans and What’s New With Me

I am going to put two posts in one here, since I meant to have my Thanksgiving recap up earlier this week…but that clearly didn’t happen. And I love to link up with my girl Kristen with a What’s New With You.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are speeding right into Christmas! It was really nice to have some time off to spend with family. I had set out to get a lot done around the house, but that didn’t quite happen. I did get some more things unpacked, and painted Zoe’s playroom.

One of our niece’s took this picture. How incredible is this???

We got to spend a lot of time with Chris’s family. Our nieces were in town, and Zoe was really excited to see them. We went bowling with them on Wednesday, spent the day at his parents house Thursday for the usual Thanksgiving festivities, and were back over there Saturday for the Iron Bowl. I still cant talk about that game.

I also got to go shopping with my mom for awhile on Friday. We didn’t go out all day like we have in the past, but got to hit up a few stores and have a fabulous late lunch at Ferus. Zoe was with us, and was a champ the whole time. She really loves shopping and eating out, so it wasn’t hard to keep her happy. My mom came back over to the house after to help me build a desk and shelf. Neither one was successful. I HATE buying furniture you have to assemble. It is the worst.


Sunday, Zoe and I did our grocery shopping at Aldi and ran some errands to Home Depot and Target. I unpacked boxes while she napped, and when she woke up, my sister came over to hang out with her for awhile so that I could paint the playroom. I was at it until 8pm, and so over it! I got two coats up on most of the walls, but ran out of paint and said screw it. I am leaving two of the slant walls with one coat. The lighting in there isn’t all that great anyways, maybe no one will notice. Except me. I know. I still need to paint my office, and I would really like to paint the dining room and half bath….but I think I am going to take a break for awhile! My hands are covered in blisters and I think I have inhaled enough paint fumes for the time being.

We started Elf on a Shelf this year. We introduced him with a welcome breakfast of waffles, eggs and bacon…Zoe’s favorite! I am not going crazy with him, he is just doing silly little things around the house each night. Occasionally he brings her a little present or candy cane or something.

Zoe’s birthday was yesterday. I can’t believe she is 3!!!! She got a special mermaid donut before school, I sent her with brownies and cookies to share with her friends during snack time, and she came home to a stack of presents to open. Even the Elf had brought her a new pair of boots. I hope she had a good day! We will have her birthday party on Sunday. It is all she has talked about for the last month, so I know she is excited!

This weekend, I am hoping to unpack enough boxes to make room for my car in the garage. I do not like parking outside. My windows ice over, and Zoe is terrified of the dark and hates getting out of the car in the drive way at night. It’s so weird to see her afraid of the dark all of a sudden. I know it is common at this age, but you wonder what has changed that makes them afraid?

It has been fun seeing rooms come together in the new house. Our living room is mostly set. I really hope to get our Christmas tree up in the next few days! It is really late for me this year. I need to pick up a few more things to finish off the half bath on the main floor, and we need to move the furniture in our dining room so that everything is in order for the party! I like that we have a deadline to get things done, but it has been a little stressful. Not going to lie!