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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This week was work, eat, clean, repeat forever and ever and I am exhausted. I have been working on site words with Zoe the last few weeks, and I am hoping she is picking up on them. It is hard to tell. I am so not teacher material.

This past week she has decided that she wants to be the person to take Mac out. I was a little nervous at first, he only weights 9.75 pounds but he is a sneaky little guy and sometimes he pulls a lot harder than you would think. But apparently Mac has figured out when I am walking him vs her and they have done really well together! Of course, I am always right there if she needs me.

Alabama plays the first SEC game of the season this weekend against Florida. I need to come up with some fun football snacks! I love football season! Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot going on. Work in the mornings before Zoe gets up, probably clean the house some. I know I won’t be spending anytime cleaning Zoe’s playroom this weekend. Zoe has kept up with it every day this week. Hooray!!!

Favorite Finds: I have been really enjoying this Too Faced lip injections gloss. The packaging is so pretty and the color is fun. It does have some plumping to it, it reminds me of the favorite Buxom glosses.

Zoe and I painted our nails this week with the Orly Lisa Frank collection topper. It is everything I wanted it to be. So fun!!! I didn’t get any yellow stars from it on my nails, but Zoe did and she was so excited. Apparently this exact top coat is sold out everywhere, but they do still have the star glaze one and the 3-pack color options.

Time and Tru Women's V-Neck Sweater

I saw this sweater on clearance when I was ordering some staples from Walmart. It is $5 and is so soft!!The perfect transition piece into fall, as it isn’t too heavy. I love the fit, a little oversized and it covers the bootie if you want to pair it with leggings. I got my normal size.

PORTLAND by Portland Boot Company Women's Shearling Lace Up Boot

I also found these boots on clearance for $15.99!!! I got the white pair, which is definitely more of a winter white/creamy color. I love them. They also have black. These will be perfect for Gatlinburg and any other winter outings. They fit true to size, and are wide enough at the tops to tuck in your jeans.

Favorite Aldi Finds: Fall time is the best time at Aldi. They have the best fall treats and coffees that come out. I grabbed the last two bags of pretzels, we are all obsessed with them. Zoe particularly loves this pumpkin pie hummus, which is shocking really. I know I would have never touched it when I was a kid. She has eaten half the container herself this week. Their pumpkin ravioli is my FAVORITE!!! I do a brown butter and sage sauce with it and OMG!

Favorite Recipe: I made this black bean soup this week. I liked that you didn’t have to get the blender out, and it was so full of flavor.

Favorite Funnies:

Linking up for Friday Favorites. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Books – Septemeber 2021

I had several really good books this month, so let’s hop in shall we? Linking up with Steph and Jana.

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

We Are the Brennans

I love a good family drama, and man does this deliver!!! I read this in 24 hours, simply could not put it down! This will 100% make my favorite list for the year. I loved that the book rotated through the voice of different characters. So many bad decisions, secrets, drama. Highly recommend.

Bottom Line: Read it!!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers

The talk of Hilderbrand quitting her “beach reads” to become a book reviewer and all the shit she talked about so many people really put a bad taste in my mouth of her. I will not be purchasing anything from her, but will still borrow from the library, because damnit, she writes a good beach book! I absolutely loved this one. This may be my favorite from her. I was so engrossed in the book and all the characters, I flew through it, even though it was rather long. The ending. Wow. I got quite emotional. Definitely put this on your list.

Bottom Line: Read it!

How Lucky by Will Leitch

How Lucky

First of all, this book takes place in Athens, Georgia near the campus of UGA. I have been there many times, and love when I can actually picture the book from real life experience. The author definitely got SEC football atmosphere just right. I was trying to decide how I wanted to classify this book, it is a little bit mystery with a kidnapping, but also, I  learned a lot about Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I read the back insert from the author, and his son grew up with someone who had SMA and I feel like he did his research and had real life experience with it. It was a very compelling story, suspenseful at times, and left me feeling optimistic and hopeful. Obviously, I enjoyed the main character, but I also loved his best friend Travis and his caregiver Marjani.

I do wish we got more of the backstory on the kidnapper. And learned more about the kidnapped girl. I also felt that there were random progressive ideologies thrown into the book that felt more forced by the author, than naturally flowing into the story.

Bottom Line: I think this is one anyone could enjoy. I will say, the writing was a little erratic. Sort of reminded me of Backman.

Yearbook by Seth Rogen

Yearbook

I did this one on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love Seth Rogen as an actor, and he is a funny guy in general. I loved listening to his stories. I laughed several time and just had a smile on my face while I listened. He is a great story teller, and this was very engaging.

Bottom Line: If you like Seth Rogen, I suggest this one! I really enjoyed his own narration on audiobook, the only way I really consume this genre.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

I love Helen Hoang and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I blew through this, finishing it in a day. This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series, but I don’t feel like you had to read the first two to enjoy this. Though I liked both of those too! I really felt like Anna and Quan progressed realistically. I really like that Hoang deep dives into anxiety, autism, depression and hard things. While this is a romance and had lighter moments, it is also much heavier than your typical HEA book. You really get to know the characters and they have a lot of depth.

Bottom Line: Read it!!!

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not a Happy Family

Double murder, family secrets and drama. What is not to love here? I was instantly hooked by this one and flew right through it. This family was seriously dysfunctional, and the murders were so violent, you know it had to be personal. The book switches POV between the characters, and none of them are all that likeable. You start wondering which one is the psychopath. Their annoying aunt Audrey was an interesting story line as well, and how she ties in the other side characters. I actually enjoyed the detectives more than the family members, working to prove one of them is guilty.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a good whodunnit, read it!

A Brush With Love by Mazy Eddings

A Brush with Love

I am trying to decide what I want to say about this one. I started it once and quit two chapters in, mainly because I had something come in from the library I was more excited about at the time. I picked it up a month later, and stuck with it. I really enjoyed Dan and Harper, and watching their relationship form and grow. I will say, with the setting in graduate school and them being in their late 20’s…I felt like it was a little immature at times? I can really appreciate Harper’s anxiety issues, and Dan’s guilt he carries to help his mom. There was definitely emotional baggage on both sides, which made this book a deeper read. Overall I enjoyed it, but I had so many good reads this month that this one doesn’t stick out. I liked The Heart Principle a lot more, which also deals with anxiety.

Bottom Line: Cute read if you are into romance. Definitely worth it if you struggle with anxiety.

**I received a copy of A Brush With Love from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

The Therapist

It took me months to get through this book. I kept putting it down for something else. It was a rather slow and boring to start. I feel like BA Paris books are becoming quite a formula and there isn’t much to excite me about them anymore? Also, most of the main characters are kind of dumb. I found myself just not carrying most of the book. There were a few shockers, but the beginning was just so boring. Trying to figure out why her neighbors act weird and who this person is that came to the party. Meh.

Bottom Line: The narrator was great. I have heard her do other books and I think she reads them quite well. This one though, there are so many other good books I read this month…I would mostly just say to skip this.

**I received an audio version of The Therapist from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Currently Reading

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

The People We Keep
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Friday Favorites

For a short week, this one sure did pack a punch. I am not going to lie, I am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Work is absolutely insane right now. I feel constant guilt about Zoe being here for long periods of time where she is just playing alone or watching TV because I have to get my job done. The world is on fire, literally in some areas. I hardly pay attention to the news, but the bits I do hear I would rather not. I feel like this insanity is never going to end. It is drowning me.

So instead of talking about anymore of that, I am going to do some retail therapy and gush about the weather this morning on my after workout walk at sunrise. It was 57 degrees and nothing has ever felt better!!! I am excited that football is back on the weekends, it gives me something to look forward to doing. And a reason to come up with awesome weekend snacks.

Favorite Finds: The Target Dollar Spot items are hard to find at my store. They are always sold out of the good stuff the instant they are put out. I happened to check one morning and saw that the velvet pumpkins were in stock online!!!! Hurry, there are still some there! I got a pack of the mini ones and the bigger ones.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Scalp Care Anti Thinning Shampoo 1 Liter -  UltraBeauty.shop

I repurchased this Paul Mitchell Anti-Thinning Tea Tree Scalp Care shampoo. Chris and I both use this. I really like the scent and the way that it feels, and I have noticed that I lose a lot less hair when I use this regularly. We were out of it for a few weeks while I waited to order it and have it delivered and man, did I notice a huge difference. I do swap it out for a few other products throughout the week, but this is my main squeeze shampoo. I think I am going to do a haircare post soon with all the products that have made a huge difference to the quality of my hair over the last two years.

Favorite Aldi Finds: Aldi has the best fall snacks! They are out this week, so run and grab them while you can! I remember these caramel apple pretzels from last year. THE BEST! And the pumpkin cranberry crackers are so good with some goat cheese. This popcorn really hit the spot. Those caramel wafer rolls are the best wafer rolls ever. The caramel apple coffee had a very mild flavor, it is nothing like the apple crisp macchiato from Starbucks that had almost too much flavor. I hardly detected the apple, it did have a nice fall scent while you sipped it.

I am also stoked to make the best charcuterie board ever this weekend with some of the above and this…

Excuse me bacon jalapeno cheese??

Favorite Recipe: This poke bowl was so incredible to have for lunch all week. I bought frozen edamame and corn and steamed both the first day, and cooked enough rice for the week. Definitely a new favorite if you are looking for a healthy lunch alternative. It even had me eating beets. I haven’t had a beet since I was a little thing, hanging out with my grandma who used to grow them. The sauce over the dish makes everything taste SO GOOD. And has a little kick!

https://youtu.be/WADreATRr-w

Favorite Workout: Heather killed me this morning in the best way possible. I had tried another AMRAP workout a few months ago and it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t know what was different about this morning, but I really enjoyed this one. I gave it my all, and my calorie burn proved that. I was soaked and my legs were shaking by the end.

Favorite Funnies:

Linking up for Friday Favorites.

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Amazon Favorites

Linking up with Tanya for my recent Amazon purchases. It has been easier to just hop on Amazon when the need arises lately, so here we go!

Santal Oil

Chris got this for me for part of my birthday present, and it smells so amazing. I have it going in my office while I work with some piano music in the background and I swear I am instantly calmer. The packaging and bottle feel super lux. Just a few drops and my room is filled with scent in just a few minutes.

Zesty Paws Mobility Bites – This is the third purchase of these, and they are working great for our furry old man. He noticbly gets around a lot better since he started taking them. For his weight, we only have to do one a day so they last me three months. He thinks they are a treat, so he is happy too.

Shower Shelves

I had a free standing tower shelf I bought from TJ Maxx when we moved into this house. It takes up quite a chunk of our shower stall and it has gotten so gross from water. I realized we really only used the top shelf, so I thought I would get something smaller to hang on the wall. I got the 2-pack because we don’t use bar soap. If you use bar soap, you could get the 3-pack. It was easy to hang and perfect for the items I rotate in our shower.

Canister Set

Trying to organize the fridge and pantry is a full time job, I swear. I love just about everything in our house…except the pantry. It is tiny, about half the size of our old one. It is so hard to keep organized!!! I can never see what we have when I am ordering groceries, stuff goes bad because it gets hidden. I am trying my best to find an organization system that works for us. These are helping. And they’re gorgeous.

On a side not, have you ever noticed if you follow organization accounts, they share these totally satisfying reels of putting away groceries and cleaning out the fridge….but whatever fridge they are doing, there are no condiments, no leftovers, half the time no meat. I don’t find them helpful at all because it is so unrealistic of what a person’s fridge looks like on a daily basis. No one actually lives like that. Especially not with kids, or someone who cooks from home the majority of the time.

Mediterranean Cookbook

Lindsay gifted me this cookbook for part of my birthday present, and I love it! So many amazing recipe ideas!!! Mediterranean is one of the healthiest “diets” or lifestyles out there and I love to get inspiration from this.

Magic Erasers

An oldie but goodie. I got chalk markers for Zoe’s back to school board and I found that these are the best way to clean them! They are good for everything around the house too!

Caldrea Multi-surface Countertop Spray Cleaner in Rosewater Driftwood

Amazon.com: Caldrea Multi-surface Countertop Spray Cleaner, Made with  Vegetable Protein Extract, Rosewater Driftwood Scent, 16 oz (Packaging May  Vary) : Health & Household

This is a repurchase, my absolute favorite scented cleaning product ever!!! It smells like a luxury hotel or something, it is hard to explain. But I love it.

Gymnastics Mat

Grabbed this for Zoe to practice her gymnastics moves at home. She loves gymnastics so much and has been doing handstands and stuff outside in the yard. I feel better if she does it with a mat!

Balance Beam

Of course, no gymnastics class is complete without a balance beam! Love this! It folds up and is easy to move around and store. Perfect for working on that balance and building confidence! The high beams in class is what makes her nervous, so I feel like focusing on this at home helps.

Kids Mucinex

Zoe caught the crud at school after the first week. This is great for drying up a snotty nose. This is way cheaper on Amazon than Publix, where I found the first bottle. Highly recommend going through your medicine cabinet now and stocking up on all the things for the upcoming cold/flu season. You know it is going to be a doozy this year. On top of everything else.

Back to School Board

I love that this has the first and last day on one board. Zoe had fun answering the questions and it looked cute in pictures.

Chalk Markers

These are perfect for the above board, but also the chalkboard stickers, glass, windows, dry erase, etc. Love the colors! They also come with 24 chalkboard labels!!!

Scissor Skills Book

I grabbed this book for Zoe when we pulled her out of school for a few weeks. I know that scissor skills is big at her age, so I thought we better get practice here.


BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer

When we moved into our old house, we bought a hedge trimmer when we didn’t know a thing about landscaping. I am not saying that we have learned anything in nine years….but we did learn that having one with a plug is a huge pain in the ass!!! Enter a cordless hedge trimmer.

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Friday Favorites

Hey there! I can’t believe we are heading into the last week of August. This summer has really flown by. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some cooler temps! It has been brutal these last few weeks. The humidity does not let up! I have been very into the fall clothing looks that have been coming out, and that Starbucks has brought back their fall drinks! I will never complain about someone sharing their PSL the day it comes out or playing Christmas music in October. Never delay joy!

It has been a heavy two weeks around here. We pulled Zoe from school the middle of last week for a little while, as the Covid cases around here are insane. Hospitals are filling up, lots of people we know are sick. I cried because she was doing so well and was so happy to be back. It is hard to know the right thing to do. I am back with all our home schooling stuff, and trying to once again to juggle my full time job, full time Zoe, school, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that comes our way. It is so exhausting.

And then you hear news come in about what is going on in Afghanistan and it makes your problems seem almost trivial. It is heart wrenching to hear of the troops we lost, and see all the Americans we have left over there. Not to mention some of the Afghanistan people who absolutely did not ask for this either. I have also noticed the deafening silence from several people who have been vocal on their opinion about everything over the last year, and they have nothing to say about this.

And that is enough heavy stuff today. I promised myself I wasn’t going to come on here and complain for an entire post.

Some good things. Zoe and I have played Just Dance just about every day this week. It has been so fun! She has been really into coloring and drawing lately. I am amazed at how much she has progressed on the drawing front, as I can tell immediately what several things are that she draws now. She mastered hearts this week. I love to see them doodled on everything. We also started working on sight words!

Zoe got a super sweet package from Laura earlier this week.

She has been carrying Pepper the Penguin around everywhere she goes.

Favorite Finds: As I mentioned earlier, I have been trying to manifest fall down here. I found a few really cute pieces to start transitioning into the season.

Women's Sleeveless Ruffle Yoke Dress - A New Day™ - image 1 of 6

I really love the look of this dress. It is under $30, and this color is perfect for any season. I think it would be cute paired with sandals, pumps or nude booties.

Loving this ruffle sweatshirt!!! Another item under $30. And how perfect is this color for fall? It also comes in pink.

I don’t usually go crazy for many floral prints, but I am really digging the fall vibes of this shirt. It reminds me of a designer piece I saw recently that had a much heftier price tag.

Favorite Mail: My FabFitFun Fall Box arrived this week. I am LOVING the home items I picked from it. The canisters and cutting board are truly beautiful. I needed a new, small frying pan and I love the blue color with the wood looking handle. I am ready to try out the face masks, and I think the Coach jewelry was really pretty. There were a few choices I was meh about, but overall, the box was definitely worth more than what I paid for it. You can get $10 off your first box with my link if you are interested.

Favorite Recipe: I have been struggling with the whole cooking thing. It gets so tiring making 3 meals a day for 3 people every single day. I get in ruts and nothing sounds good when I make up our grocery list. I am going to sit down with some recipe books this weekend and really come up with some better ideas. Until then, this chicken piccata recipe is a favorite. Even Zoe loves it.

Target has frozen butternut squash noodles that are perfect to keep on hand for a quick and easy meal. I like to serve it with a browned butter sage sauce and grate some fresh parmesan over top. Comes together in about 15 minutes.

https://youtu.be/C6MVl6owXk8

Favorite Workout: Heather killed me in this strength and cardio workout! I liked the format of 2 super sets twice, followed by a minute cardio blast before you move on to the next super set. The way it was set up went by quickly as a whole, but man, those cardio blasts being a minute instead of 40 seconds were brutal! In a good way.

Favorite Funnies:

Linking up for Friday Favorites.