Monday, January 22, 2018

Roller Rink Babes

Hey friends! Our latest outfit post is coming to you from the good ole roller rink.  I'm not sure how popular this place is with the kids nowadays, but it was a pretty big deal back in the 90s. If you grew up in town, it was basically every 13 year olds retreat during the weekends of the winter.  I was a country girl so I only got to go occasionally with friends, which explains why I'm such a crappy skater.  Anyway, Heather hosted the girls' birthday party at the local rink this year so we decided to sneak in a few outfit photos while the kids skated.  Outfit photos are tricky and hilarious to take when you are in perpetual motion.

Man, skating takes some serious balance and leg strength.  Even though I feel like I'm in decent shape, my balance sucks and I think that may be more of a personal trait than anything else. But I had a blast attempting to skate, watching the kids skate and eating birthday cake.  I'm secretly always harboring dreams of working on my skating skills and becoming a killer roller derby girl but I'm really not sure I'm cut out for that life.

If you have come into contact with me in the past 3 weeks, you've probably heard me complain about how cold it is. Literally negative degrees for days. The extreme cold has finally broke and its rebounded into the 40s-50s, but man it was so brutal! I keep joking about moving to Canada (mostly for political reasons) and I'm just not quite sure I could handle the cold for that long.  Anyway, this has become a go to outfit for me. The sweater is so warm, and even though it looks super bulky it doesn't feel that way when you are wearing it. Plus it has the most fun print and it is the perfect vintage piece to have in my wardrobe.

Outfit Details
Sweater {Goodwill} / Mom Jeans {American Eagle}

About halfway through this party, Jarrett jokingly said, "Are you guys going to take outfit photos?" and we totally went all in for it. Don't joke with us about our outfit photos! Not only was skating a blast (once I got the hang of it again) but it was so fun to try and take some outfit photos with Jen while on skates. It was hard and funny, and some of my poses turned out weird, but I love them all. 

It was such a nice change of pace to take photos at the skating rink. I love me a good brick wall, but it's also fun to switch it up. It also helped me feel more creative with my poses than just my same old same old "look at the ground while crossing your ankles" pose. I was also very in to my outfit. I know this is kind of silly, but I was so stressed about picking an outfit that made me look like a cool 31 year old mom. I knew I would see some other parents (most of which I was younger than) so I wanted to look put together, but also like myself (and also warm). I feel like I kind of nailed it. 

I love goofing off with Jen and honestly, sometimes I'm way too in my head about looking weird or goofy while taking photos. But I think my favorite were the last two, where I really leaned in to the weirdness. I hate being so in my head about how I look or if my body looks weird, so it was really fun to see the outcome of these photos (the majority of which were blurry, but I dare you to take photos on skates and not take blurry photos). 

Jeggings (AE) / Top (WalMart) / Sweater (Melomoda

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cozy & Cool

Guys, it's cold as balls outside! Some days when we wake up, it's legit negative degrees outside. These sort of temperatures are bananas and I don't think either of us are fans. We both tolerate winter just fine, but this one is being pretty brutal from the start.  As you can tell, it's been hard for us to even schedule times to take photos. The only positive thing I have to say about it is that it inspired our latest outfit post - Cozy Outfits!

Full disclosure, I had this outfit planned in my head, but I didn't actually have time to try it on before meeting up with Heather.  (We were trying to beat some inclement weather!) I wasn't sure if it was even going to work. I just know I love my mom jeans and I've basically been living in long sleeved tees this winter so in my mind this outfit totally worked.  Plus I'm obsessed with Stranger Things and this outfit is very much inspired by that show.

I feel like this outfit would have fit into the show perfectly, including the school tee! Just very on brand for the time period. The only change I'd make (and it's currently in my wishlist) is swapping out the denim jacket for a Sherpa lined denim jacket, for coziness reasons obviously.  I'm hoping I can grab one on sale before winter is over!

I've become obsessed with long sleeved tees in general this winter.  I love me a sweatshirt, but sometimes I'm not into all the bulkiness and I can tend to get too warm in them in the office. These are the perfect compromise for me still feel warm without feeling too constricted when I'm trying to kick ass.  I recommend TeePublic for all your long sleeved tee needs, mostly because they run some killer $15 tee sales.  They have so many Stranger Things tees to choose from plus a pretty good collection of Riverdale tees, which is my most current obsession. Get over there!

Outfit Details
Tee {TeePublic} / Jeans {AE} / Denim Jacket {AE-last season} / Kicks {Zappos}

A few of my favorite bloggers always seem to have this amazing luck with Shein. For me, it can be a little more hit and miss. I've ordered things that were amazing and fit perfectly, then other times I get things that might fit a toddler or rip basically immediately. So when I went on a sadness shopping spree at Shein a few weeks ago (I'm totally an emotional shopper) I was not sure what I was going to get. Exciting and nerve wracking! 

I once again got a mixed bag of some great things and some awful things. But this coat/sweater/cardigan thing. JACKPOT. It's the most amazing thing I've ever felt. It's so soft and cozy. Literally I want to wear it all the time and I usually do. This outfit also gave me major Star Wars vibes the first time I wore it and I knew I wanted to recreate it on the blog. 

It's been so cold lately that outfit photos just haven't happened, but I'm so happy Jen and I threw on some cozy outfits and got to get some done. My leggings are lined with velvet, my boots are vintage, and my turtleneck is Target. All my favorite things rolled up into one warm and stylish outfit! 

Coat (Shein) / Turtleneck (Target) / Leggings (Amazon) / Boots (Longlines Vintage)  

Monday, January 8, 2018

Heather's Word for 2018

I debated if I was going to pick a word of the year for 2018. I didn't think I was until a few days ago when my word kind of hit me out of nowhere. My word for 2017 was "intentional" and I failed pretty hard with living intentionally if I'm being honest. 2017 was my hardest year personally and it felt like I was mostly trying to survive most of the year. Which I did survive and came out stronger, but I had no time to be intentional. 

Honestly, I'm fine with not living up to my word of the year in 2017. My year was hard but the personal growth I gained was worth it. I feel such a sense of self and direction that I didn't have before. A big part of it was leaving a job that was not for me and kept me trapped in a toxic mindset. I finally feel like I'm in a space where I can focus on what I want to accomplish and I've found the perfect word for 2018. 


This word has a lot of meaning for me. Literally it means to create more. I want knit, to crochet, to weave, to embroider, to try punch needling. Making things is a creative outlet and something that helps me focus and relax in the evening, instead of mindless scrolling through Facebook and Instagram for the millionth time. 

I also want to create a space I love at home. I want to create more content for the blog. I want to create opportunities for growth and learning at work. I want to create more time for friendships. Create a podcast. There's a lot I want to create this year. 

I think it mostly boils down to wanting to focus on creating the kind of life I want to lead, to feel in control of my direction and not merely surviving my anxiety and depression. I'm here to create big things in 2018. I can't wait to see what they are. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

December Rewind

This month was pretty bananas that I didn't get to read as much as I hoped.  However, both E & M got me graphic novels for Christmas, Pusheen & Catronauts, and they were both great. I can't wait to pick up the next in the Catronauts series.

I watched the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon and I really loved it. It was about a housewife, who husband leaves her for his secretary, and she becomes a stand up comedian. Her act isn't ladylike-it's pretty vulgar for the times and I really enjoyed it. I always watched a few Christmas movies, including the Christmas Prince which was equally horrible and hilarious.

Ok guys, for some reason I can't stop listening to Harry Potter. It's so soothing and calming but I'm starting to worry it's becoming like and OCD thing. Like, it's become something I need.  Here's hoping I can find something new to listen to soon.

Also this month 

The Christmas Carol @ The Fabulous Fox
My work part this year was dinner and a show at The Fabulous Fox.  We say the Christmas Carol and I absolutely loved it. Watching the scenes come together, the special effects, the music and the dancing, I loved every second of it.  I also took the opportunity to pull of a Queen BeyoncĂ© pose is a very fancy chair.

Guys. The holidays were a blur this year. I don't know if it was because they fell on a weekend or what, but I felt like it was a race to the finish event of trying to get everything ready.  I had zero spirit but it went by so fast and was a good time overall. I do think my favorite celebration was with Heather and her girls. It was such a chill time. We drank cocoa, watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and exchanged such great gifts.  I started pin collections for the girls and hopefully started a lifelong overall obsession.

New Years Eve
Since the holidays are always so crazy, the husband and I started a New Years Eve tradition long ago.  We bend to the whim of most family members during the holidays, but we are very reluctant to do the same over the new year holiday.  It's our time to relax, veg out and recharge.  We cook up lots of snacks, watch tv, stitch and play video games. Sometimes years we turn it into a game night but this year was super low key and I was asleep by 10:00. It was pretty great.

This month was such a slower reading month for me, which makes sense since it was also such a busy month. I think the highlight for me was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It has found a place in my heart (and on my shelves) among my favorite books. I talk more about it in our December Reading List post, but I definitely recommend it! 

Also, I discovered a new favorite blog: lattes + longlines. I think Facebook recommended her blog page to me and I spend some time reading through her archives recently. I really relate to Sam with her views on parenting and am inspired to shake up my outfit posing next time we take blog photos (and it's not under 0 degrees out). Also, why are all my favorite bloggers from Texas? A mystery I'm ok with not knowing (Ha!). 

Part of my Christmas present from Jarrett was a Movie Pass subscription. We love going to the movies but don't go enough because of the cost. Right now, you pay $9.95 a month and you can go to unlimited movies (one per day) at participating theaters. So far we've used it to see The Last Jedi and Murder on the Orient Express. I loved both of them and can see this being perfect for more frequent date nights this year. 

I have been trying to balance podcasts with audiobooks more on my commute lately. One stand out has been Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I highly recommend the audiobook, which has 166 narrators (including Nick Offerman). It takes place in one night in a graveyard where Abraham Lincoln's son is buried. It is such an interesting story, one that examines grief and the afterlife in such a creative way. I still have about an hour left but I am so happy I went audiobook with this one over a physical copy. 

Also this month 

My Favorite Murder Live! 
As a late birthday celebration, my sister and I went and saw My Favorite Murder live at the St. Louis Symphony. I will say, MFM fans can be a little intense and extra, but overall I enjoyed getting to see two of my favorite podcast hosts do a live show covering St. Louis murders. My sister doesn't really listen to podcasts, but even she enjoyed it! 

Chicago birthday celebrations 
My birthday is December 2nd, and it was also the day I had an appointment at BHLDN in Chicago to go wedding dress shopping. Two of my best friends made the trip to Chicago to go with me, so not only did I find my dream wedding dress, I also got to celebrate in a cool city with my best friends. I don't get to see them a ton, but this was the second weekend we spent together this year and it really was the ideal way to ring in my 31st year. 

 Holiday Madness 
It feels like it was so hard to find my holiday cheer this year, which ended up being fine since the holidays were a blur this year. My favorite of all the celebrations was the one the girls and I did with Jen. She gets me the best gifts and the girls are now in love with their stylish overalls from Jen. It was also the most chill of all my celebrations, but seeing family was also nice. It's just hard to pack so much driving (we had about 1.5-2 hour drives each way for each event) into a few days. I am happy it's over and excited to start 2018. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wife Between Us

Hey book lovers! I come to you with my very first early review of a book! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As you can see from the banner at the end of the blog, I missed the book tour for this BUT I still wanted to share my review on the blog. 

The Wife Between Us  by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen was such a pleasant surprise. I read a lot of thrillers and most of them can fall pretty short of thrilling. It feels to me like there's this new trend (at least it feels newer and more present in thrillers lately) of needing a big twist that will shock you. The Wife Between Us manages to fit in a couple of shocking twists and turns, none of which I saw coming. I went in with zero expectations and I think that's the best way to approach this book. 

Ok so first up, what's this book about? 
A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Well that description is pretty vague, but honestly I think it's worth keeping it vague. It makes unraveling the mystery more enjoyable. Alternating story lines follow Nellie, a young woman falling in love with Richard. He's charming, supportive, kind, and seems a little too good to be true. Nellie lives with her best friend and coworker Samantha. She has a past that she keeps locked up tight, though mysterious phone calls in the middle of the night make her think that it might be catching up to her. 

Then there's Vanessa, Richard's ex wife. She got nothing in the divorce and now lives with her aunt while working at Saks. She imagines Richard with her replacement, obsessing over what they could be doing that exact moment, even going as far as to spy on them together. No one really knows what happens, and Vanessa doesn't want anyone to know the part she played in her marriage's demise.

So two women, one man, mysterious pasts, and intrigue galore. Not very descriptive, but I think not knowing too much is the best way to go into this book. I will tell you that I read an insane amount of books, and in 2017 the majority of them were thrillers. I think I'm hard to impress, it takes something really special to shock me, but this book accomplished that seamlessly. One of my absolute favorite thrillers is The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. It was one of the first thrillers I read that left me with my jaw hanging open. I remember finishing and just saying "Wait, what?!!!" in utter shock and delight.  The Wife Between Us gave me the exact same feeling and reaction, which I haven't had in years. I will say that by the end, I felt like maybe there was one twist too many, like ok you've already revealed so many unexpected things by this point, one more feels like a little too much. However, this didn't take away my absolute enjoyment of this book. I feel so grateful I got the chance to read it early and I cannot recommend picking up your own copy on January 9th enough. 

Thanks again to St. Martin's Press for the advance copy. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

December Reading List

Heather's Reading List

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
I picked up this book since I knew there was a movie based on it recently that was pretty terrible. I had no idea this was #10 in a series about detective Harry Hole. In this one, he investigates "The Snowman" a killer who strikes during the first snowfall of the year. This year he changes it up and multiple murders take place in succession. Even though this is a series, and there's some back story that I'm assuming is covered in previous novels, it wasn't hard to get into the story and I actually enjoyed the mystery of it all. I'm not sure what the movie got wrong since I haven't seen it, but despite having a ridiculous name, Harry Hole is one pretty good detective.

What Happened by Hilary Rodham Clinton
I listened to this audiobook over a few weeks. It's pretty long at almost 17 hours of listening time, but it was a joy to hear HRC read it. It covers a lot of ground from the 2016 election, both the preparation and the aftermath, to even her earlier career days and even a day in the life. I enjoyed her perspective, both on her loss and on her life, but did feel at times she was little unfair to Bernie Sanders. Maybe that's just the way it is when you a political rivals, but I do think HRC would have been one great president.

Grey by EL James
I really tried with this one. I absolutely loathe the 50 Shades of Grey series, but one of my favorite podcasts (Judging Book Covers) was doing an episode on this book so I figured I could give it a go for a laugh. But I couldn't even hate read it. It was that bad. I made it maybe 100 pages in before I had to call it quits for my sanity. This somehow makes 50 Shades even worse by giving Christian Grey's perspective, which is impressive because I already thought it was as bad as it could get.

It's Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman
I love all things Bachelor/Bachlorette related. I had never seen Andi Dorfman's season but I always heard it was one of the best (also the first appearance of previous Bachelor Nick Viall). So I binged her season and loved Andi. She was so funny and smart and honest. I was excited to give this book a try, after being pleasantly surprised with Courtney Robertson's book which dished a lot of behind the scenes dirt. That was not the case with Andi's book, which kind of made me like her less. She came across as shallow and kind of mean in her book, which was written as a self help after a break up type deal. All of her "advice" was either common sense or just not great advice at all. Don't recommend this if you love Andi and want to keep liking her.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
This was our December book club choice and it was such a good book. It follows Monique, who is requested by movie star and icon Evelyn Hugo to write an authorized biography. She's coming clean about her life and her seven husbands. It was a book that gives you that glimpse into a controversial celebrity life, while also finding so much sympathy and heart. I cried more than once reading this and I think it even took the place as my new favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book (knocking Maybe in Another Life from the top spot).  I cannot recommend this enough.

The Baker Street Peculiars by Roger Langridge
A comic book I picked up from the library on whim, this was such a delightful surprise! Three unlikely friends become assistants to Sherlock Holmes (who has a surprise or two as well!) and work together to solve the mystery of statues that are coming to life in London. I'm interested in grabbing the next in the series and following the adventures.

I Will Find You by Joanna Connors
My last book of 2017 and it was both hard and great. The author was raped on assignment for the paper she works for in 1984. She believes she has put the rape behind her and dealt with it. When he daughter is going off to college, she realizes that not only has she not dealt with it, but it has affected her entire life. It's colored how she was as a parent, a wife, friend, and reporter. This book is her search for who this man who raped her (he was caught and sentenced almost immediately after the rape) really was and tries to make sense of why a person would do this to a stranger. Powerful and moving, definitely one of the best books I read in 2017.

Jen's Reading List 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
This is the 2nd book I've read by E. Lockhart and I really love her writing style.  I'm not really sure how to explain it, but it's like she writes backwards or maybe she tells the story in reverse is a better way to describe it. I don't know, but it always hooks me.  I didn't love this one as much as her previous book, but I thought it was a interesting story about stealing someone's identity.

Lumberjanes Vol. 7 by Shannon Watters
Lumberjanes will forever be a favorite. This edition was probably their most inclusive one yet and for that it was probably my favorite. I mean, there was also the great storyline about magical kittens that was pretty spectacular too, but INCLUSION is such a big thing to me, that my heart literally almost exploded when I finished.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was our book club pick for December.  It's very much old Hollywood meets struggling writer. I've always very much been into old Hollywood stories. Bring on all the drama and secrets. Evelyn reminded me of an Joan Crawford type character and I was in love with her story immediately. Then you had Monique, who is going through some serious life changes of her own, and their two stories intertwine so hauntingly and very emotional.  This is hands down my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book.

I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton
The girls each picked out a comic for me.  Pusheen is an all time cute cat favorite of every cat lady. My phone case is Pusheen. I really enjoyed flipping through this one and seeing all the crazy shenanigans Pusheen gets into.

CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Bockington
Man, this one was so silly and I loved it so much.  This was the other comic the girls picked out for me.  I mean, it's cats and space-so basically amazing. I have the next few books in the series in my amazon wishlist currently.

Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid 
Yea, it's full of Archie/Riverdale mania with me right now. I've scored a tee and this comic lately.  It was so good and revamped in current times. It's so weird to read an Archie comic that is based in current times-with current pop culture references since all my past dealings have been vintage. Guys, it is taking ever bit of will power not to order the rest of this series ASAP.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
I'm a big fan of Meyer's work. She has an entire fairy tale retelling series where all the fairy tale characters intermingle and are friends. This graphic novel series starts off where Winter left off.  It was extremely enjoyable and I'm glad I put off reading it for a bit because the next volume releases in the next couple of months.

Kristy's Great Idea (The Babysitter's Club Graphic Novels #1) by Raina Telgemeier & Ann M. Martin
Who doesn't remember the Babysitter's Club? Well, the story has been reinvented graphic novel style.  I bought the first 4 books of this series for Morgan for Christmas last year. She is very into comics at the moments and she gave it to me to borrow so we could discuss it.  I absolutely loved it. So far the story is staying true and I'm really loving reading one of my childhood favorites in graphic novel form. I can't wait to borrow the rest of the series from her.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January Small Goals

Photo taken at Giodanos in Chicago 

January 2018 feels like the start of something good. To get a little astrological on you, I recently went through my Saturn Return, which is 3 years of challenges and hard work. It ended in December and I can honestly feel like something is different. Maybe you don't believe in astrology and the like, but to me, I can tell that this year is something completely different. The end of 2017 for me felt like I was finally in the place I'm meant to be. I have a job I love, I'm getting married in a few months, my life is good. 2017 was hard both for the world and for me, but I'm ready to take on 2018. I have so much I want to accomplish, so I'm excited to kick this year off with some thoughtful goals. As always, Jen and I are linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl so definitely check out all the other goal setters linked up there! 

Jen's December Small Goals 
1. Survive the holidays.  Well, we are on the other side of things and I'm still alive so goal completed.  There was a lot going on and my husband caught a cold during it, but it's over and nothing crazy happened.
2.  Bake Christmas Cookies.  Done. I made two kinds of gooey butter cookies that were delicious and some snickerdoodles that turned out horrible. You win some, you lose some.
3. Stay on Budget.  This is always such a hard one to come to  terms with, but I really think I did for the most part. I ended up splurging on a pair of Sperry duck boats that were majorly discounted after Christmas, but I was able to keep my present spending reigned in. Hoping I can have a majority of Christmas paid off by February.
4.  Keep Nails Painted.  Some how I managed this. A couple of weeks I straight up painted the same color over the previous week but they looked refreshed so win. I'm going to attempt to keep this goal up in January.
5. Brush cats weekly.  I did great the first two weeks, but failed the last two weeks. But in my defense, it got super cold, like negative degrees cold and most of my cats are spending their time burrowed under blankets anyway.

3/5 feels pretty solid, especially for December

January Small Goals 
1.  Read 5 Comics.  I've really been on a comic kick lately.  It's taking everything in my power not to order like 10 on amazon right now. The only thing holding me back is a small stack already on my coffee table. Time to blow through them so I can order some new material.
2. Workout Challenge.  I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a workout challenge. I've gotten even more routine about squeezing that workout in the in the mornings when I have to work. Something about having to work helps motivate me to workout.  I did 1,000+ sit ups last month and I routinely focus on arm workouts. So maybe a squat or flexibility challenge? I'm doing something!
3. Fabric Scraps.  I've been slowly going through my craft supplies. My interests have definitely changed a bunch since I first started crafting and some supplies are no longer relevant.  I have my fabric left now to sort through. My goal is to go through it, condense scrap fabric, cut blocks to make it usable in a quilt.  We could use another super light quilt for the summer and I would like to slowly work towards making one.  I haven't made one in well over 6 months which is the biggest quilt break I've taken since I've started.
4. Get to Goodwill.  So last month I hit up Goodwill and has such a successful experience. There was so many, brand new Target items and on top if that it was half price res tickets which was basically everything I bought. I have to point out I found 2 pair of brand new velvet leggings. I've already worn the crap out of both pair. Plus, they were only $2 each! Anyway, I'm obviously still riding that high and need to make another visit asap.
5.  Pay Off Credit Card.  Now that the holidays are over, it is time to come up with a game plan to pay off my credit card. I always just use it to buy all my Christmas presents and then I spend January sorting out how to pay it off. It's a fun game. As long as I stay on track, I should have it paid off mid January. Keep your fingers crossed nothing crazy happens to hinder these plans!

Heather's December Small Goals 
1. Drink more water I don't know, I didn't do great tracking this so I'm not sure if I drank more water or not. I do want to get better about this, but I think I need some kind of tracking system. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them! 
2. Make a giant wedding to-do list  Done! I made one both on my computer and in a notebook so I have it in two places and can keep track of it all. I made the list then cried because I was overwhelmed so wedding planning is going great (seriously, I'm fine now but was overwhelmed for like 12 hours) 
3. Clear out extra room clutter I'm not done with this but made a HUGE dent in it, so I'm counting it! I need to buy a few storage solutions (a bike hanger and some cubes to keep crafts in) so I'm going to keep up with this over the next few months. 
4. Catch up on magazines  Nope. Adding this to my January list and making it more specific to help get it accomplished.  
5. Take lunch 4 times a week  Nope. I didn't really eat lunch that often, mostly surviving on coffee and RX bars from Trader Joes. So also not great. Taking my lunch is still something I want to do though! 

2/5 complete....not super great 

January Small Goals 
1. Track eating habits using MyFitnessPal I often under estimate the amount of food I'm eating, so tracking my meals in MyFitnessPal really helps me have a realistic picture of what I'm eating. I've done this before and noticed a huge change in energy when I am paying attention to the kinds of food I'm eating. It's a way for me to be more intentional with my body and food that works for me. 
2. Read 5 magazines I did some organizing over the long New Year's weekend and I have 4 piles of magazine that I need to read. My goal is to read at least 5 of them this month to hopefully make a dent in the piles. 
3. Spending freeze I've definitely been spending more than I should. My wedding is in 3.5 months and it's about time to finish paying off the venue, photographer, videographer, and buying those small things like flower girl dresses and wedding shoes. My goal is to not spend any money on clothes, books, makeup, ect. for this entire month. 
4. Do a 10x10 wardrobe challenge Along with the spending freeze and holiday organizing, I went through my wardrobe (again) and got two huge trash bags of things to donate (again). I want to try to make a few things in my wardrobe work that I don't wear often and I've seen other bloggers I admire have success with a challenge like this. I'd like to give this a try at some point this month. 10 items for 10 days shouldn't be too bad. 
5. Check 3 things off my wedding to-do list Again, I need to make some serious progress on wedding stuff so I want to knock 3 things off my to do list this month. It's pretty long and I would actually love to cross off more if I have time, but 3 feels like a solid place to start. 

Blog Goals 2018

January is the time when everyone is talking about goals. Professional and personal, the start of a new year is the best time to set some impressive goals for the coming year. I feel like I've done a lot of personal goal setting lately, but I've also been talking to Jen the past few months about goals for our blog. 

While I still don't think either of us are focused numbers or partnerships/sponsored posts, I do think that focusing on consistency and content in the new year is on both of our minds. To be honest, the consistency part is all on me. I've always been the one to prep the content and I have dropped the ball pretty hard in 2017. With that in mind, I wrote down a few goals for the blog this year. 

New design
We are coming up on 3 years of blogging and we both agree this design is feeling kind of stale. It was the perfect design to start us on this journey, but doesn't seem to fit with our current ideas on where we want this thing to go. I'm thinking a little more streamlined and less busy. 

A big theme for 2018. I want to set a schedule for the blog and maybe even set aside one day a week to do the majority of my prep. I'm just not able to get as much done during the week as I'd like, with a full time job and long commute. The last thing I want to do after being on the computer all day for work is sit in front of one all night. I think dedicating time on Sundays to all things blog is maybe the way to go for me. 

Balance recurring posts with new content
I love our monthly recurring posts, but lately it feels like the blog is all recurring monthly posts. I want to add some new content in to the mix, while also focusing more on books and fashion, two of our favorite things. I don't know how I'm going to achieve this balance yet, so I'm definitely open to tips or tricks if you have them. 

Step up my photo game
I love photography and it's always been on of my favorite things. I do want to find an editing style that works as well as mix up our locations for outfit shoots. I've debated getting a new camera, which might not be in my budget this year, but I also think there's a way to make some kick ass images with the DSLR I have. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

November Reading List

Quick note to say I'm playing catch up on blog posts that should have been scheduled weeks ago. So enjoy these November reads and stay tuned for December reads soon! 

Heather's Reading List

I See You by Claire Mackintosh
I love a good thriller, but this one fell a little short for me. It follows a woman named Zoe who sees her name in a classified ad. It turns out women who have been mentioned in the ad have been attacked in escalating ways and Zoe worries she might be next. It had an interesting premise, but the pay off was just not what I was expecting or wanted. The ending didn't feel like the good kind of twist, and it kind of bummed me out honestly. It was a quick read, just not my favorite in the genre.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks
This story following the romance between a regular girl and a prince in England was totally Wills and Kate inspired, but damn I loved every second of it! It was such a fun look at how the scrutiny of dating a royal can affect relationships and test them in ways no one can understand. Def check this out if you have Royal Wedding fever with the upcoming Harry/Megan nuptials.

The Regulars by Georgia Clark
Such a disappointment! It follows 3 friends who are given a vial of Pretty, something that transforms them from regular plain ladies to gorgeous sirens who can get what they want. So much of the story bothered me, from the way it doesn't just enhance their looks, but completely transforms them into different people, to the half baked attempt to preach the age old message that looks don't buy happiness. It was a book I wished I never picked up, which is saying a lot.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Our book club pick from November, this one hit all the right notes telling the story of Grace, a girl with a bad home life, and her abusive romance with Gavin, high school heart throb. I related to this on a lot of levels, and the way the author showed the slow ramp up from jealousy in relationships to full on controlling where you don't know how to get out was spot on. I wish I didn't relate to this as much as I did, but it's a book I wish was around when I was 16.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
My first Agatha Christie read, definitely not my last! Despite recognizing the title of this famous book, I had no idea what to expect going in. I was guessing the whole time as to who could have committed murder on a train in the middle of nowhere, and the ending was so unexpected that I see why Christie is considered a master of the genre. More Hercule Poirot please.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
I have loved everything by E. Lockhart I've read so far and this was no exception. It tells the story of Jule and Imogen, but in reverse. Jule is on the run and everyone is looking for her friend Imogen. What happened is told in flashback chapters but you don't get to the beginning of the story until the very end of the book. While I feel like you could maybe guess "what happened" it doesn't take away from the ride of finding out how it happened.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler is a sci fi genius, I know that now. This was a book club pick for the Feminist Literary Society, and it was maybe one of the best books I've ever read? Seriously, it's so good. It gave me some Handmaid's Tale vibes in the way it is grounded in the real world. It felt like the society in the book could really happen. This book follows Lauren, a girl who lives in a walled cul-de-sac with her preacher father and family. The world has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages and eventually that chaos takes her home and family in a fire. Lauren then sets out to create a new life and share her ideas about religion called Earthseed. Seriously, THE BEST BOOK and you should read it immediately.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
This follow up to Parable of the Sower is maybe even more powerful, but also harder to read than the first book. This time we are following Lauren as she sets up the first Earthseed homestead. Her daughter also narrates chapters from the future, along with diary entries from Lauren and her husband. It takes a turn I was not expecting, that felt so real I almost couldn't breathe. I had to take breaks from this book, but I still stand by my conclusion that these two books are some of the best I've read in my entire life.

Jen's Reading List 

Paper Girls Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughn  
Since I had read the first couple in October I decided to get caught up in the series and this one had just been released. It was equally great and what the f is happening at the same time.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 6 by Ryan North 
I mean, it's Squirrel Girl. It was great, obvs.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 
For some reason I'm always a fan of road trip love stories. I don't know if I've found one yet I haven't enjoyed and Morgan always tells a entertaining story.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Moon

Super cute, quirky love story spanning over a day. Serendipity stories always gives me all the feels.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch 

If you are into European jaunt love stories, then this book is for you. For me, nothing will compare to Anna and the French Kiss is this particular niche.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios 

This was out book club pick and I love it with all my heart. I wished it was around when I was oh say 17 or so.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Heather is such a big fan of Taylor so I love to read them too so we can nerd out. This one could have went so bad but I really loved how everything wrapped up in the end.

Monday, January 1, 2018

January Book Club

Happy New Year book lovers! It's a new year and the 6th year Jen & I have been doing this book club. Crazy! Having a book club with my best friend, even if it's just the two of us (and for a long time it was!) is my favorite tradition. This year Jen suggested we start the year with a kick ass woman so Wonder Woman: Warbringer was the obvious pick. It's by one of our favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo, and the first in a line of DC superheroes books by some the hottest young adult authors in the game. This one has been sitting neglected on my shelf since it came out so Jen's suggestion is the perfect excuse to finally pick it up. I hope you join us and can't wait to see what this year in books has in store! 

So, what's it about? 

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.