Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July Book Club

Hey book lovers! I'm so excited to announce July's book club pick (11 days late of course). I preordered this book last month specifically because I needed a cute summer read and Morgan Matson always delivers. Plus it's marketed as "Father of the Bride meets Sixteen Candles." I mean, COME ON! It was just a bonus that I snagged a signed copy off Amazon! I didn't even realize that until I was taking this photo. I can't wait to read this from the comfort of my air conditioned couch because it's way too hot for some outside reading right now. Join us in reading Save the Date by Morgan Matson now! 

What's it about? 
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Small Goals

What's up my dudes? June is already in full swing but it's not too late to talk about some goals for the month. I feel like May flew by and I didn't get any time to relax. June is shaping up to be more of the same, but I love summer so I'm trying to soak it in before I shut myself up inside for the winter. We are linking up (late) with some other lovely goal setters with Nicole at Feel Good, Dress Better. Check the other posts out and let's crush some goals together! 

Jen's May Small Goals
1. Write at least once a week. I did this like 1 week and got off track. Definitely something I want to make a habit in my weekly life.
2. Explore Self Calming Techniques. Man, I should have labeled this one "Listening to One's Body".  I've been trying to be very aware of how my body is feeling and try to work through exactly what it needs whether is more calorie intake, eliminating caffeine entirely or experimenting with CBD oils.  Eliminating the caffeine has been a game changer, even with the withdrawals. 
3. Exercise and Meditation. This was 100% my main focus this month. My life has felt pretty out of sorts in the last couple of months and this has been a huge step in helping me regain some control. I'm really enjoying my new morning routine which usually consists of walking to and from the park racking up 2 miles each go. Meditation has been great for clearing my head and helping me realize I need to work on letting go of things I cannot control. I'm making progress, friends.
4. Work on Decision Making Skills. I'm just not great at making decisions on my own. I always tend to not make decisions or wait until I can confer with a trust person. I'm not sure I made very much progress on this but I'm trying to be less passive and more confident. 
5. Continue Closet Clean Out. I didn't make a lot of progress on this goal. I dad take some things to the resale shop to sell, but I didn't physically take anything out of my closet that I hadn't already mentally parted with.  Hoping to revisit this goal when my husband switches to the weekend shift.

2/5 - Not great, but I'm feeling so much better mentally that I'm fine with it.
June Small Goals 
1. Try some homemade smoothie recipes.  I've always had issues with textures. From the research I've done, I think I fall under the spectrum of having sensory processing issues. It is so hard for me to consume fruits because of this.  I'm going to do some searching and find some recipes to try out to eat it in smoothie form. If you have any great one, send them my way!
2. Pool life.  I'm hoping to get to spend a couple of afternoon soaking up the sun poolside!
3. 6 Miles.  I want to get an average of walking/running 6 miles per week.  I should be able to accomplish that within 3 days.  I've found a park pretty close to my house that has a walking trail and its so peaceful and probably where I'll be murdered but I'm very excited about this new walking trail.
4. Crafting Ruts.  Man, I'm stuck in a crafting rut. I love stitching and the art that can be created, but I'm feeling a little burnt out.  I'm ready to tackle something new.  I'm not really sure what that'll entail and that leaves this goal pretty open but I'm curious to see what I come up with by the end of the month.
5.  Closet Shop.  I've finally started buying a few pieces of clothing here and there since my husband is employed again. But this month I really want to focus on shopping from my own closet, mix and matching outfits and dressing as if I'm always taking outfit photos for the blog.  I'm hoping this will continue to help me eliminate pieces I'm no longer into or no longer flow with my personal style.

Heather's May Small Goals 
1. Start Couch to 5K I did restart this, but lost steam when I got sick. I'm planning to start again in June. I'm not giving up! 
2. Read 5 books Done! I felt like I was able to get back into my reading groove this month. 
3. Wear lipstick twice a week Nope. 
4. Restart the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook Done! I got through the closet clean out section and am planning to do some more this month! 
5. Outfit plan for two trips Done! I basically brought the same outfits on both trips, but they are solid outfits so I'm ok with that. 

4/5 goal complete. Not too shabby! 

June Small Goals 
1. Continue with Couch to 5K I started in May then kind of stopped for 2 weeks. I want to get back to it this month. 
2. Start a food journal I'm working on my relationship with food in therapy and I think keeping a food journal will help me dive deeper into this. Especially recording my emotional state/how I feel after I eat will give me the insight I need. 
3. Hit my end of quarter work goals At work we have quarterly goals to hit and I'm not where I want to me at this point. I want to hit my goals by the end of June. 
4. Plan our honeymoon We have paid off most of the wedding at this point so it's time to look into planning a honeymoon for August. I'm so excited to see where we end up going. 
5. List things on Poshmark I went through my closet recently and I have a ton of things I haven't worn before. I want to try listing them on Poshmark before donating them. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

June Book Club

Doesn't this photo scream summer (minus the remnants of a sticker I could not remove)? The colors, the book, the La Croix. It's a dream. 

Jen suggested we check out Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. She wrote another one of our favorite book club books (Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda) and this story takes place in the same universe! I feel like this is the perfect way to kick off our summer book club. I am already planning a trip to the pool with the girls so I can read this in the sun while they swim. Let's kick things off together and get this summer book party started! 

What's it about? 
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.

She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high.

It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Book Club Discussion Catch Up {April & May}

Welcome to part two of our book club catch up! 2018 has been such a varied year for book club and I have been dying to talk about these books with people. Jen and I always talk about what we think, but I'm hoping this gets us back in the habit of posting monthly on the blog. So let's dive in to the April and May book club selections. 


Heather Says
I made Jen stop reading this book so we could read it for book club in March. I had it on my kindle for months and thought it was the perfect reason to finally read it. If I'm being honest (which, duh of course I'm gonna be honest) this was not my favorite. Alosa is the title mentioned daughter of the pirate king who lets herself get captured to search for a map for her father. She is able to pick locks and spends nights out of her cell searching the ship, along with building a romance with the second in command, Riden. She also has a secret: she's half siren. So this all sounds like it should add up to a fun romp, but it's actually kind of boring and unbelievable. The siren thing gets dropped in out of nowhere and it feels like something that we should know but there's literally no build up to it. The romance feels a little too insta-love to me, and I just had a hard time with the writing in general. It didn't really flow as much as I would like and it felt like so much of the novel was surface level stuff instead of diving into back story and motivation. I do not think I will read the sequel, but I'm glad I got to read this with Jen. 

Jen Says: 
I read this book during a very emotion time and I kind of wonder if that factors into my opinion on this book. I felt like I liked the first half of the book pretty ok - I even remember thinking bring on this sexy female pirate! But then instead of her sexiness being a ploy to trick men, we discovered she was a half siren and once I learned that I wanted to chuck my kindle out the window. I thought the second half of the book felt choppy and a lot of character facts were suddenly introduced that made no sense and derailed the story. I thought the book ended pretty suddenly and I refused to even look to see if a sequel was on the author's radar. Heather vented to me it was and I have since vowed I'll never continue this series. Thinking back, I won't be breaking that vow.


Heather Says 
This was on my fall TBR in 2017 and I never got around to it, so I was really happy Jen was on board to read it for book club in May. I devoured this in one day at the Lake of the Ozarks last weekend. It was storming on and off so I lost myself in this absolute treat of a book. It's a retelling on Cinderella, so there are definitely some plot points you know will come (evil stepmother & step sisters, losing a slipper, a ball, one of the step sisters destroying Cinderella's stuff before a big event, ect.) but it was such a fun twist on an old tale. Elle lives with her step mother and step sisters in her house that her dad left her when he died. Her dad introduced her to Starfield, a scifi show that reminded me of Battlestar Galactica/Star Trek, and founded a Con for it way back when. Elle just wants to work on The Magic Pumpkin, a vegan food truck, and save money to escape when she turns 18, but when the casting for the new Starfield remake is announced, she decided to enter a cosplay contest to honor her parents (they met at a con and were big into cosplaying). Along the way she makes some friends and falls in love and basically makes me want to cosplay and go to more cons. It was such a sweet book and I loved all the geeky references and the fandom love that oozed out of the pages. This book is taking a place on my bookshelf so I can reread it again. 

Jen Says 
I've been trying to be more mindful about purchases lately so I was able to score the audiobook at the library. First off, I am an absolute sucker for fairytale retellings. I just love them. Especially Cinderella probably because they all have the happiest of endings. I also die over random hookups because I despise tales of fate. This story instantly made me think of the Hilary Duff/Chad Michael Murray retelling. I loved that so much of this story entailed a fandom. Everyone of us can be guilty of becoming a little too involved in fandoms (hello Harry Potter). I absolutely loved the narrators of the story and every time I turned it on it brought me instant happiness.  The ending almost caused my heart to burst. This magical book is inspiring me to want to connect with my fellow nerds and get my con on too. I also might have to buy a physical copy because this book was seriously everything I needed this month.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Book Club Discussion Catch Up {January-March}

Hey book lovers! You are probably thinking, "for a book themed blog, these people do not really post what they thought of the books they picked." That is a totally fair observation this year. Last year we tried a few different ways to review the books we picked for the blog, but none of them felt super great (in my opinion) and then it just kind of fell to this side this year so far.

But what is the point of reading these books if we can't share what we thought? So to catch up, we will do two posts talking about our thought on our book club picks so far. Right now we have January, February, and March so let's jump in!


Heather Says
I went in with some mixed feelings with this one. I was hopeful because it was Leigh Bardugo and she rarely disappoints, plus the Wonder Woman movie blew me away so I wasn't sure what I could expect from this YA interpretation. This book follows a younger Diana, eager to prove herself as worthy to her mother and the other Amazons. While running a race, she sees a shipwreck outside the barrier and risks everything to save a drowning girl. What happens next is a story of friendship, power, and finding your own path. I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book and was itching for more young Diana tales. I don't think it's super in line with the movie and I'm not familiar enough with the comics to tell you if it fits in there, but it was such a great story of figuring out who you are outside of expectations that get put on you. 

Jen Says: 
I know Wonder Woman was the feminist movie of the year last year, but per usual I found out pretty late in the game about it and didn't embrace it as well as my feminist heart should have.  I was so pumped to hear about this novel and the upcoming novels (focusing on different super heroes) that I was so excited this worked out for our first book of the year. I went in having zero expectations and fell into a book that makes you want to shuck all preconceived notions and embrace doing things for the greater good.  I also really loved learning about the Amazonian way of life. I could use a Diana in my life.


Heather Says
Comic book month! This was one I was looking forward to, since we could read as many comics as I wanted. Unfortunately, I only read two comics this month, and then read like 10 in March. The ones I got to in February were Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe. The Archie reimagining was really fun, though I did have a hard time separating this story from the show Riverdale, which I'm very in to right now. It was great though and I can't wait to borrow the second issue from Jen eventually (HA!). The Squirrel Girl comic was SO. MUCH. FUN. It's a stand alone part of the series and it pulled in a lot of different characters (like Ant-Man!) and for a little bit I wasn't sure Squirrel Girl would remain unbeatable. I'm so in love with these comics and I'm so glad Jen buys so many so I can always borrow from her. 

Jen Says: 
I literally squealed when Heather suggested a comic book month. Comic books are my jam and I find it so easy to get lost in the illustrations and witty commentary. In hopes to keep my budget in check, I read comics and graphic novels I was able to score at the library.  The exception was Lumberjanes 8, which never disappoints. I read the Tea Dragon Society which was adorable and made me want a tea sized dragon so bad until I realized by cats would probably eat it because they are the worst. The girls lent me "Swing It, Sunny" which was cute as hell. I also read In Real Life and Seconds which I remember both liking but weren't super memorable unfortunately. I haven't bought any comics lately (being a grown up is lame) but I think I need to reinstitute 1 new comic every payday because I miss the happiness they bring my life.


Heather Says
Jen suggested Hidden Figures for March book club and I was so excited for this pick! I cried and cheered during the movie, so I was pumped to read the novel it was based on. Plus I was trying to get into audiobooks again so when I saw I could get it from the library (via Hoopla) I was ready. I spent a week learning about these amazing women who worked for NASA but got zero acknowledgement for their accomplishments until recently. Women are still under represented in STEM fields, and to know these women of color changed the world, it's inspiring as hell. 

Jen Says 
It's so weird, because when I read I almost always will grab a fiction book but if I'm in the mood to listen to my stories I'll also download something non-fiction or a biography type book. I really think this helps round out my reading so I'm not just reading summer vacation type books. I hadn't seen the movie, but this story instantly reminded me of Good Girls Revolt (that got canceled on amazon after 1 season which was a damn travesty).  I was so unaware so many women of color shaped NASA and I was so humbled to learn about their triumphs even though at the time they didn't get any recognition for it.  This post reminds me that I need to make watching the movie as my next tv priority. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

April Rewind

Man, April was a really slow reading month for me.  I read our book club pick, Daughter of a Pirate King, which I really didn't enjoy and the latest Paper Girls which was very entertaining.  May is already proving to be better in the book department.

When life seems uncertain and overwhelming, I highly suggest a rewatch of The Office.  I also recommend the new stand up by Natasha Leggero and her husband (haha) Moshe Kasher.  It was very funny and I love watching them combine their comedic styles.

I've been on an audiobook kick, thank you library.  I listened to Thankful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Are You There Alone? The Andrea Yates story by Suzanne O'Malley and The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer.  I enjoyed each and every one of these books but I think Andrea Yates story was my favorite. It is so perverse with such horrible religious undertones, yet so many people failed her and the children. I highly recommend it.

Also this month
Unemployed Husband
Just a couple of days before Heather's wedding, my husband quit his job.  The company was suddenly restructured and things were just going downhill fast.  I completely support him in his decision but all the uncertainty, plus the jarring change to my everyday routine has my anxiety completely our of sorts.  Luckily he has a new job lined up so

My Bestie Got Hitched
Ahhhhhhh! It happened and it was such a happy day. Really, the entire weekend was so much fun with all the different wedding events. Lots of socializing is very much out of my comfort zone but I was so happy to be there with Heather and I had so much fun bonding with both of her sisters. 

Family Photos
My sister has the cutest little dog family ever and she asked me to help her get some family photos taken.  They are equal parts ridiculous and adorable.  Heather was great and let me borrow her camera and then edited the photos afterwards.  I think I might even print a few up to display.

This was a pretty bad month for books. My anxiety was through the roof with wedding stuff so I found it really hard to focus on reading. I did read the fantastic series on Jenny Trout's blog on 50 Shades of Grey and how terrible it is. It was such a good way to keep reading something while at the same time destressing. 

My media consumption really picked up after my wedding. Jarrett and I spent a few days binging The Sopranos. We are on the last season and I am very into it. We also started catching up on Marvel movies in preparation for the new Avengers movie. We only have 3 more left and I'm so glad we did this since I would not have remembered all the plot points leading up to this. 

I've gotten really into Oh No! Ross and Carrie again after taking a break. Their Scientology series was amazing and I got back into it with their flat earther series. They do an amazing job of balancing their skepticism with their openness for other's points of view. Especially in their in person interviews. They never come across and mean or rude, just people who don't really agree with you but respect you. I highly recommend it! 

Also this month
 Ada turns 1
My favorite baby turned one this month and we got to celebrate with donuts, cupcakes, and mimosas (not for babies). It was so fun to party with our friends and to see Ada open all her gifts (mostly books). Plus the girls always love seeing Ada and there were other kids there so they were in heaven. 

Married AF
The biggest thing to happen this month was definitely our wedding. It feels almost like giving birth. You cry a lot and have all these plans and then the day gets here (or baby) and you forget all about how hard it was because the day was so perfect. It was seriously a perfect day. I felt so beautiful and could not stop smiling the whole day. It was fantastic. I can't wait to share more with you! 

Bachelorette vibes 
One of my favorite parts of my wedding weekend was my bachelorette party. My friends planned a delicious dinner with wine & pasta. I laughed so hard and got to catch up with friends I don't see too often. I'm so happy to be surrounded by so many badass ladies (and that I got to wear matching mustard lace with Jen!) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May Small Goals

Hey-o blog friends! April ended up being the month we took a blogging break It was unintentional but with the wedding, I just had to put some things to the side and blogging was one of them. Now we are back and ready to tackle some small goals. We didn't have any in April, so let's review what we got done in March & see what we have on deck for May. As always, we are linking up with Nicole at Feel Good, Dress Better. Be sure to go check out everyone's goals on her post! 

Jen's March Goals
1. List clothing on Poshmark Done. I listed a few things and sold a few things. Not a great stream of extra money, but it is a nice to recoup a little money out of my past clothing love.
2. Spending Freeze This freeze has turned into an indefinite thing. 
3. Try Cantu Curling Products I've been trying to embrace my natural curls lately but I'm not loving any progress that I've made. I tried a couple of Cantu products and I really wasn't that impressed.
4.  Catch up on Backstagers Probably the easiest and most enjoyable of the goals.
5. TV Goals I can happily report that I am all caught up on Keeping up with the Kardashians and have restarted the office because its my go to when the world seems mixed up.

5/5 - this has to be a first probably due to some of the easiest goals yet

April Small Goals
1. Write at least once a week.  I used to love writing. I haven't done anything original in a while but I have a novel (haha) idea and its time to put pen to paper.
2. Explore Self Calming Techniques.  My life has been in a tailspin the last couple of weeks. When I'm pushed out of my normal routine I experience random panic attacks. I'm going to try to work on some self calming techniques to help during these situations.
3. Exercise and Meditation. I've once again fallen off the exercising bandwagon. Not only am I feeling bad about myself, I also think it helps my anxiety a bit. I'm going to try to take a little time every day to exercise or mediate.
4. Work on Decision Making Skills. I have zero decision making skills. Sometimes the smallest of decisions can be the hardest for me to determine. I feel constantly wishy washy and like I'm losing control. I'm going to try to be more mindful about making decisions this month instead of just going with the flow of things.
5. Continue Closet Clean Out.  I've been slowly combing through my closet and eliminating things that are just taking up space. I've eliminated all extra spending in my life and I think it'll be easier to clean out my closet and determine what I wear on the reg without constantly adding new pieces to my life.

Heather's March Small Goals 
1. All the wedding things I can't remember all of them but I got married and it was beautiful so March was successfully filled with all the last minute wedding projects that came together beautifully. 
2. Book a massage Ok so technically I did book a massage, but I ended up having to cancel it because of time/money concerns. Those last minute wedding costs sneak up on you but I'm hoping to make this happen in the next few weeks 
3. Exercise 3-4 times a week I wasn't consistent with it, but I did get some workouts in. Definitely not 3-4 a week. More like 1-2 (or sometimes zero). 
4. Organize my shoes I did this and then the next weekend my kids messed it all up again after playing Drag Race with my clothes. Oh well. It got done so I'm still counting it. 
5. Have a seester day I did not get to have a seester day with Ciara, but I did get lots of time with her during my wedding so I'm still happy. Maybe soon we can schedule something just the two of us. 

Ok so 2/5 is not great, but I'm giving myself a pass because wedding 

May Small Goals 
1. Start Couch to 5K Last year I got really into running at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Then winter hit and I did basically zero exercise. So I want to get back into running again and I really enjoyed the Couch to 5K app last year. 
2. Read 5 books I read maybe 2 books in April and it feels really weird. I had a hard time focusing on books with wedding stuff, so I'm hoping to get back into the groove of reading 1-2 books a week. 
3. Wear lipstick twice a week I own so much lipstick y'all and I wear it maybe twice a month? I can get self conscious of it, especially at work which has a really casual vibe. I want to start wearing it twice a week at least, to figure out favorite shades or get rid of ones that don't work. 
4. Restart the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook I never finished the FGDB workbook and when I opened it recently, I realized a lot of the outfits/most worn items in my closet and completely different now. I have been really into refining my personal style so I'd love to set aside some time to go through it again. 
5. Outfit plan for two trips I'm going to Nashville with work the first weekend in May then Chicago with Jarrett & friends Memorial weekend. I'm so excited for both trips and I want to pack some cute outfits for all those 'grams I'm gonna be taking. Hopefully getting through FGBD will help with this goal too. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Book Club

Welcome to another month of the coolest book club with about 2 members. IDK maybe more people read these books but if not, that's ok too. Jen and I did book club before the blog and we will keep doing it as long as we both shall live (book club vows I guess). 

This month I looked over all the poor unread books on my shelves and remembered this on that I had on my fall reading list that I never got to. Out jumped Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Jen was on board so here we are with a possibly fall themed book in May. Honestly I just wanted some cute YA book to kick off my summer reading so here we are. Hopefully you join us and we can talk about it soon! 

What's it about? 

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win - unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons - before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake - until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian Review

Photo by @doubledaybooks

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian takes the unreliable narrator trope and does something completely new and surprising. Cassandra Bowden is a flight attendant and an alcoholic. Blackouts & hook ups with strangers are a normal occurrence in her life, The book starts with Cassie waking up in a hotel room that is not hers, with a man she recognizes from first class on her flight to Dubai the night before. Just one thing...he's dead and she doesn't remember the night before. 

This kicks off a twisty plot, full of suspense and enough empathy for you to feel for Cassie while also completely loathing her choices. She lies to the police, the FBI, her sister, her coworkers. And trying to figure out the big question of if she didn't kill this guy, then who did and are they coming for her? 

The unreliable narrator has become the new big thing since Gone Girl exploded a few years ago. Inevitably, any book with a reliable narrator is compared to Gone Girl, just like any dystopian with a female main character is compared to The Hunger Games. The Flight Attendant takes this person who is self destructive to the extreme, who has a good heart and good intentions, but inevitably turns back to alcohol and one night stands. It's so easy to take a novel in the genre and just follow the same old touch points, but this book completely surprised me. I was hooked from the beginning and could not wait to see how the plot was resolved. I'm still thinking about it months later. 

I read a lot of thrillers (sue me, I'm a true crime nerd so this is right up my alley fiction-wise) and this is one that really stands out in the genre. It goes places I didn't expect and kept me hooked for an entire day (I literally could not put it down). Definitely snag a copy ASAP and thank me later. 

*A copy of this book was provided to me for free by the publisher. It did not influence my review. Thank you Doubleday!*

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April Book Club

Ok real talk. Blog stuff took a huge back seat of me the past few months. I was so focused on my impending wedding and all those last minute details, I let the blog suffer. Jen has me do the planning and she never once complained when we weren't putting out any content, and honestly I think this short break was for the best. I feel inspired again and can't wait to bring you some new content on a more regularly scheduled basis. Sometimes life makes you take a step back and things kind of just work themselves out. Now back to your (late) blog post! 

Even though April is halfway through, there's still time to read the book club pick this month! Jen was about to start this in March and I begged her to wait for April so I could read it for book club with her. Our pick is Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. Hopefully you join in and meet us back here to discuss soon! 

What's it about? 
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wedding Dress Shopping at BHLDN

Hey peeps! Do people still call other people "peeps"? IDK but let's dive in to this super fun wedding post! 

I knew basically immediately that I wanted to get my wedding dress from BHLDN (said as "beholden". Only telling you because I said it wrong for months!). BHLDN is Anthropologie's wedding offshoot so it's got all the style of Anthro at a great price point. It's exactly my style and I would spend tons of time looking at all the gorgeous dresses on the website after getting engaged. I was very wary about ordering something online when I wasn't sure how it would fit me, and the closest store to me is in Chicago. I had resigned myself to ordering something online and having to return it a few times before finding the right dress or fit. Imagine my surprise when Jarrett was on board for a wedding dress shopping weekend! We managed to schedule it for the weekend of my 31st birthday and two of my best friends even flew in to go with me. I was totally prepared to go alone so I was insanely excited to have my bests there with me. I knew they would be supportive and honest and that is exactly what I needed. My appointment was scheduled for my birthday and I could not wait! 

And then the body anxiety set in. See, BHLDN does offer some plus sizes but not all dresses go up to size 16/18 (the highest size in most styles). I'm usually a size 10/12 but I knew special occasion dresses can run small so I was nervous that I would get there and nothing would fit me. I tried doing some research for blog reviews, but the only ones I could find were from women who fit into the size 0-4 range. It did help to read their experience but as someone who fits into larger sizes, I still had no idea what to expect. The BHLDN website said most dresses had a sample size in both a 4 and a 12, but the "most" thing worried me. I didn't want to only be able to try on 2 or 3 dresses and feel like I wasted this trip. I wanted a dress from BHLDN and would have been crushed if I couldn't fit into anything in store. I decided to document my experience as best I could and write the post I wish I had found before going. 

First up, the rooms are straight up gorgeous that they put you in! Huge rugs, a little changing room, cute couches, and they give you tiny cans of wine. When booking my appointment online, I was asked to list any dresses I was interested in trying on. I booked my appointment in September for December. Weekend appointments fill up quickly, so if you are making a trip out of it like I did, be sure to book way in advance. The only downside to this was that when I got there, most of the dresses on my list were either no longer available or not yet in stock in the store since they were just released (you could still find them online though). So while you do have the chance to add to your list when you confirm your appointment the week before, they still might not have some styles available in store yet. 

In the Chicago store, you walk in and are greeted by someone who asks if you have an appointment. There's a small amount of dresses downstairs, but they are bridesmaid dresses so we didn't spend too much time looking around down there. They take your name and alert your stylist you've arrived. You then go upstairs to the bridal showroom and have some time to look around at dresses they have in stock. I think we had about 10-15 minutes to browse before my stylist found me. She had a printed out list of the answer to the questionnaire you fill out when booking the appointment (wedding vibe/style, wedding date, wedding colors, the dresses you'd like to try on). She asked if there was anything I saw in the showroom that I wanted to add to my list of things to try on and I did end up adding two more things I think. Again, about half the things I found online weren't available, so in total I think I had 6-8 dresses total (from my list & that we added after looking in the showroom). She takes you into that beautiful room mentioned above and gives you tiny cans of wine to sip on while she gathers the dresses on your list.  

Guys, I was so pleasantly surprised by this shopping experience. The stylist made me feel super comfortable and my friends were ready to take all the photos and give me honest opinions. I did not have one issue trying on any of the dresses I picked out. Some of them were even looser than I expected, so all that anxiety about nothing fitting was for naut. The stylist also pulled some extra dresses that weren't on my list and she had such a good eye for things I would like. The only direction I gave her was that I didn't want to try on anything over $800 (since that was my budget) so everything I tried on was beautiful, flattering, and within my budget. No one wants to fall in love with a dress that falls outside of their agreed upon budget. 

Ok here we go! Let's look at some of these dresses that made me feel like Beyoncé. 

The Brisa Gown 
I would have guessed this would have been a front runner from my online research, but it wasn't even in my top 3 after trying it on! I didn't realize how big of a difference trying things on would be. Usually I loved things that I wouldn't have expected once I put them on. 

I loved this one online SO MUCH, but it didn't feel like exactly what I was going for when it was on. 

Originally my top choice. It made me feel like Christina Ricci in Casper (which is always #goals) and would have fit in so well with the boho vibes I was hoping for, but it just didn't hold up to how I felt when I tried on the one I ultimately got. I did try it on once more before making the final decision and I still love these photos. Can I have like 3 weddings to wear all the dresses I love? 

All these dresses were honestly so beautiful and made me feel so beautiful. Again, it just didn't hold up to the one I ultimately got but still. All the heart eye emojis. 

Ok this was my second choice and it was a HARD choice. The stylist picked this one out and it was not one I would have EVER picked on my own just from looking at it on the hanger. But once it was on, I could not believe how "me" it felt. So fun and cool and just a little different. I tried it on 3 different times I think before making my final decision. I still think of it sometimes because I really did love it! 

My headpiece that the stylist put on me and then everyone cried. 

I'm not going to show the dress I went with yet. It's basically the one thing I've been pretty traditional about since Jarrett won't be seeing the dress until our wedding day. I can't wait to show it off and literally every time I try it on at the tailors I get all swoony. Plus my friends cried when I put it on (and the stylist added a headpiece) so I knew it was the one. But really, I feel like any of these could have been "the one". BHLDN is just that good. 

Then we went out for celebratory drinks (I got kind of fancy with this larger than expected frosé)! 

My dress and headpiece arrived within a week of placing my order in the store, so the shipping was crazy fast. I did end up having to get it altered locally, but it was only another $150 so not too crazy. 

I had such an amazing experience at BHLDN. I spent so much time being anxious about not being able to fit in anything when my experience was the exact opposite. Not only did they have my size (or a sample size) in everything I wanted to try on, I felt beautiful in every single thing. My stylist was the sweetest person, who not only gave good advice (and up sold me on a headpiece), but had such a good eye for what I was looking for when she grabbed stuff on her own.

Not only was everything beautiful and flattering, but affordable as heck. Everything I tried on was $800 or less. That was the budget I agreed on with Jarrett, but the most expensive dress on their site is $2,950. I feel like that's a pretty good price range so no matter your budget, you are going to find something fantastic. When I was looking at dress shops locally, most of them said dresses started at $1,200 so it was great to find a place the fit my style and budget flawlessly. I highly recommend checking them out when wedding dress shopping. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ten Things

Hey friends! We decided it was time to drop a new outfit posts and some facts on you about each of us individually. Grab a hot cup of coffee or hot cocoa, if that's your jam, and learn some silly tid-bits about our lives. 

10 Things About Me 

1.  I decided to pursue a career in the law field pretty much solely on my love for Legally Blonde.  If nothing else, I hope I brighten up the perceived stuffiness that surrounds law.

2.  I was born with a mild case of clubfoot affecting only one of my feet.  I wore corrective shoes for the first couple years of my life, even when I slept, to correct this birth defect.  Treatment was 100% effective and I've not suffered any long term effects.  

3.  I have 3 siblings, 1 older brother, 1 younger sister and 1 younger brother but the younger brother wasn't born until I was 15 so I very much consider myself a middle child.  I can also attest to the fact that middle child syndrome is legit.

4.  I'm in the last year of my third term serving as a notary public.  I've been a notary for 1/3rd of my life.

5.  It's no secret that I'm a crazy cat lady. I have 5 (Frank, Stewie, Milo, Hooch & Lily) and I ridiculously enjoy the company of all of them so much.

6.  At the age of 22, I purchased my first home with my husband. Every day I doubt the naiveté of that decision but having your own space that you can completely control probably can't compare.

7.  Much to parental displeasure, my husband and I eloped. A wedding is such a public event and made me feel nothing but anxiety and discomfort.  When we decided on a plan on Tuesday and were married that Friday in a court house ceremony.

8.  I've always been oddly fascinated by cults and extreme religious teachings.  My biggest obsession is the quiverful movement; leaving the number of children you have up to god and then raising those arrows in Jesus' image to inevitably shoot  into the world to fight their culture wars.  There are several real life families I follow from afar with rapt attention.

9.  I have the worst taste in music and I do not care. If its a pop song, preferably a one hit wonder, I'm probably into it.  B. Spears will forever be my idol.

10.  I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie growing up. I read the Laura years, the Rose years, the Caroline years, the Charlotte years and the Martha years.  During a family vacation out west, I was able to talk my parents into stopping at the museum/road side attraction in Mansfield, MO.  It was the highlight of that vacation even though my siblings complained the entire time.

Outfit Details
Sweater {Rue 21-ancient} / Skirt {Modcloth-sold out} / Booties {Modcloth-last season}

10 Things About Me 

1. I'm the oldest of 4 siblings, but I also have 3 step siblings. I'm not close with my step siblings, but my youngest sister is my best friend. We are 9 years a part. 

2. I got my cat Luna on my 27th birthday from a coworker who found her on the street. I named her after Luna Lovegood (obviously) and she helped me get through my divorce. 

3. I got married when I was 22 and had the girls when I was 23. I never expected to have twins, but they are literally my favorite people. I got divorced at 26 and feel like it's when I finally figured out who I was. My 20's were so crazy, I'm loving my 30's so far. 

4. I love to write and keep notes in my phone of book ideas. 

5. I love astrology and read my horoscope every morning. I totally believe your sign/birthday inform aspects of your personality. 

6. My mom went into labor with me while watching Ghostbusters and I feel like that has inspired my life long love of horror movies. That and my grandpa letting me watch Nightmare on Elm Street when I was 5. 

7. I have loved to read my whole life and used to get grounded from reading instead of seeing friends or going places.

8. I am obsessed with The Bachelor family of products and could talk about it all day. We will literally be fast friends if you also dig The Bachelor. 

9. My favorite movie is Jurassic Park and my first crush was on Jeff Goldbulm because of that movie. 

10. I can be a really bad listener and over the past few years have a made a conscious effort to listen better and ask more questions instead of immediately giving my opinion or telling my own story. I'm not always great at it, but I do think I'm getting better and it makes me a better friend. 

Jacket {Forever 21-similar} / Dress {Amazon} / Bootes {Vintage from Longlines Vintage

Saturday, March 10, 2018

January/February Rewind

For one month only, we are combining January & February rewinds into one post. Partly because I am terrible at planning and partly because both months were not sure exciting. Enjoy! 

I read a bunch of comics the last couple of months. I hands down recommend MisFit City & BackStagers.  They both have major Lumberjanes vibes, which also released a new volume in February. I also read Dear Martin by Nic Stone and it was pretty great. I really enjoy learning about things from another's perspective. It helps keep me humble and helps me to constantly remember to check my privilege.  I read a bunch more, but these stood out the most.

I feel like I watched a bunch of tv the last couple of months. I finished watching Big Love on HBO which I really enjoyed. I've recently dived into Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Charmed. I think Charmed is going to become my new favorite, and just in time for the reboot.  I've also been watching a little Grace & Frankie which I've also really enjoyed.

Man, I've been listening to everything. I listed to quite a few episode of My Favorite Murder and more recently I'm been on an audiobook kick. I really love listening to non-fiction. I've listened to Rose McGowan's, Gabrielle Union's and Tiffany Haddish's autobiographies. I highly recommend them all, but I though Brave (Rose McGowan's) was phenomenal and so eye opening as to the power hierarchy structure of Hollywood. I also really enjoyed The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule which was about Ted Bundy. All great listens!

Also in January/February  

Cross Stitch Galore
Not only did I spend a lot of time watching tv and trying to catch up on various cross stitch projects, I was also able to do some true finishing.  Taking it from finished stitching to actual art.  I love to stitch but I'm not as great about finishing the projects afterwards.  I had let a bunch of finished projects collect and it just felt so nice to clear them out and to be able to admire them every day.

New Face Routine
I've been working on my nightly routine for a while.  I got some solid advice from my Bestie and have really enjoyed playing with the new products and having a legit cool down nightly routine.  I also got brave and experimented with some new makeup products too. It's been fun and very rewarding.  Sometimes you just need to try out some new things to feel like yourself again.

Mini Staycation
In February we took a couple of long weekends and it was so refreshing. I was able to get some things done around the house that normally gets neglected due to hectic schedules and life.  My husband hung a new shelf for me in my bathroom (which legit made my month), I organized all my hygiene products and my tees and just spent some quality time with my beau. I could use more relaxing times like that.

I really enjoyed the new Archie comic Jen loaned me, though it was not faithful to the Riverdale reboot. Still super enjoyable and a quick read. I also read Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld which is a Pride and Prejudice retelling with some Bachelor type content thrown in, which is right up my alley. I'm trying to read before bed lately and I feel like it's really helping me get through more ebooks that I seem to collect on my Kindle. 

These past few months have been dominated by The Bachelor/Bachelor Winter Games & Oscar nominated movies. The Bachelor has been boring, though of course we are so close to "the most dramatic finale in Bachelor history" so it's almost over. Bachelor Winter Games was a delight and I'm so happy we got that thrown in to the mix, though it did make for two weeks with 6ish hours of Bachelor related content, which is a lot. 

Jarrett and I also try to watch as many Oscar nominees as we can each year and we make a bet to see who can predict the most winners. I won this year for the second year in a row which brings our tally to 3-1 with me in a hefty lead. I'm thinking of making a post with my most loved movies from this years list so stay tuned! 

Along with my Bachelor tv viewing, I listen to a lot of Bachelor podcasts. A new favorite is Two Black Girls, One Rose which brings some much needs diversity to the mostly white world of The Bachelor. Plus they are hilarious and I've laughed out loud multiple times. They have so much fun with it, even while tearing it to shreds. 

Also in January/February 

E&M turned 8 
My babes turned 8 years old, which seems crazy. How did they get so big, so quick? I'm honestly enjoying this time in our lives. They are so funny and smart, with lots of interesting commentary on the things they read/watch. Jen has started loaning them comics, which is a whole different book club we have going now. We had a party at the skating rink for their birthday and it was a blast. The girls invited friends from school and we had this whole rink to ourselves. Jen and I even took some outfit photos, which I think Jarrett suggested as a joke, but obviously we were in to it. I'm so excited to see what this year is like. 

Wedding plans
Look, I never wanted to be someone who talks non stop about their wedding like everyone cares about it as much as I do, because only like maybe 4 people do. But at this stage in the game, I'm doing a lot of wedding stuff. I'm trying to balance getting things done with not getting overwhelmed by what I still need to do. It definitely ramped up in February but I'm feeling good about the progress I'm making and the end result. 

Home Organization 
I've really gotten on a big organization kick at home. I'm tired of having so much stuff and while I feel like I say that a lot, I'm finally starting to make some progress on it. I organized my bedside table which has made me so much happier when I go into my bedroom. Next up I'm tackling the girls bookshelf and my shoe collection. I try to pick one small project to tackle each weekend so I'm doing a little at a time but I feel like it's huge progress.