Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Nightly Routine

I was talking to Sarah about blog post ideas and she suggested sharing my nighttime routine.  I thought this was a good idea and I always love reading posts like this from others.  So without further ado - my nighttime routine.

1.  Contacts.  I have terrible eye sight.  Absolutely terrible eye sight.  So the first thing I do when getting ready for bed is remove my contacts.

2.  Make Up Wipes.  My mom introduced me to the Neutrogena face wipes last year (or earlier this year?) and I love them.  I really feel like I have seen a difference in my skin since using them.  Side note: I sometimes have to redo my eyes with this wipe after washing my face because I tend to wear a lot of mascara, so I set it to the side after doing my whole face and then do a quick wipe after step 3 before throwing away.  This way I don't waste another full wipe just to clean up the bit leftover under my eyes!  

3.  Cleanser.  I have been using the Biore Charcoal Cleanser for a while now, and have been very happy with it.  To switch things up, I recently bought the Biore cleanser with baking soda in it.  This one intrigued me a bit since it is an exfoliant, too.  I am still using up the last of my charcoal cleanser, so I will report back on the one with baking soda after having used it for awhile!

4.  Clarisonic.  I picked this up about a month ago and absolutely love it.  I use this every other night, since my skin is a bit more sensitive, but really like it.  I feel like I have seen some results, like smaller pores and just overall nicer skin, but I know it probably hasn't been long enough to really tell.  Either way, I just love how soothing it is!  Side note: I don't know if I am actually supposed to wash my face beforehand, since you use a cleanser with the Clarisonic, but I just felt like using both works best for me.    

5.  Tretinoin Cream.  I got this prescription from my dermatologist.  I have heard this is just something really good to use for anyone in their late 20's and beyond.  The doctor told me it would help with some of the spots that do pop up, as well as just better my skin overall.  It's a bit drying for me, so like my Clarisonic, something I only do every other night.

6.  Brush teeth.  I have mentioned this toothbrush before, and how my dad decided I NEEDED to have it, which was a little humorous coming from the person who usually thinks the things I need are more tool / car - related.  It's so cheap compared to other electric toothbrushes, but just as good, in my opinion.  Going to the dentist is never my favorite, but this past visit my hygienist told me how great my teeth looked and how much they have improved, which we both thought was probably largely due to this toothbrush.  It comes with specific instructions on how to brush your teeth with the brush, and I thought that was super helpful.

7.  Moisturize.  This was one of my Friday Favorites last week - Neutrogena's Hydra Boost Water Gel.  As I said, I had a sample of this, loved it and bought the full sized version.  It goes on really light, but is very hydrating.

8.  Eye cream.  Right now I am using Kiehl's Avocado Eye Cream, but honestly, it isn't my favorite.  I haven't really noticed any changes, and while I know it works wonderfully for some people, it just isn't the right product for me.  However, I am still using it, because I don't want to waste my money.  I was using Clinique's All About Eyes cream prior to this one and I think I will be going back to it.  If you have any suggestions when it comes to eye cream - please let me know!  

That's it!  It sounds like a bit of a process, but it really doesn't take that long at all!

Linking up with Lindsay and Whitney.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Weekend Recap: Jack's Two!

Before I get into my weekend recap, I just wanted to share that Peacock Paper & Gifts Essential Planners are available for pre-sale today!  Kelsey @ The Peacock Roost has put so much time and effort into making a really comprehensive planner and I highly suggest you check them out.  She did an unveiling video here, so check it out and see what you think!  Also, now is the time to buy, because with the pre-sale you get $10 off the regular price.  I already know I want the weekly version - the only question now is do I go for the navy polka dot cover or the blush gingham?!  Decisions, decisions!

On to the weekend!

This weekend I went to Indy to celebrate my nephew's second birthday!  The plan was to leave work a bit earlier to avoid some of the Friday night traffic.  While we did miss some, it was still a longggg drive.  An hour was tacked onto the trip due to a multi vehicle accident.  Everyone had to exit the interstate and get on a two lane highway to avoid the accident.  It took us a long while to go about 10 miles...by the time we were getting back on the interstate, it was still closed behind us.  Hopefully no one was hurt!  The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful.  Since we got in so late, we just grabbed Jimmy Johns before calling it a night.

The party was on Saturday, but we had some time beforehand, so we decided to check out Wild Eggs for breakfast.  It was sooooo good!  There are multiple locations, but unfortunately none in Missouri or Illinois.  The menu is pretty big, so it was hard choosing, but ultimately I went with Mexico City Maria's Chilaquiles.  Delicious!  Our contribution to the party was a fruit platter, which we picked up from The Fresh Market.  It was super good and I highly recommend that place if you are in need of a fruit platter.  The price was comparable to everywhere else and the fruit was so fresh!  On to the party!  Jackson was a bit miffed when we arrived because he couldn't have a cupcake, nor could he open any presents (especially the bag with Lighting McQueen on it since he is Cars-obsessed!).  My sister in law gave him the choice of lunch or presents and he very, very clearly said 'presents,' so that is just what we did.  It was kind of hilarious, because when he opened our present, the first one he opened (a magnetic gear set) he said no and tossed it to the side.  I was like oh no, haha!  The second gift, a little basketball hoop was more well received, though.  He was SO proud of himself when he would put the ball through the hoop.  It was too cute!  He made it through all his presents and then it was time for lunch.  Everything was so delicious.  The rest of the party was spent visiting, playing cards and then playing with Jack post-nap.  It was such a great party and it was sad to leave.  We decided to try out a restaurant my brother recommended for dinner, a pub called Chatham Tap.  It was good and the weather was so nice we spent a little time after dinner walking around the area.  And, I received a video from my brother later in the evening showing Jack playing with the magnetic gear set I got him, so it made me feel lots better about my present choice!

This isn't the BEST photo ever of either of us, but I love it, because he is totally giving me the same look the rest of my family does when I want to take pictures.  And please note this was post nap, which is why he has a bit of bedhead.

It was nice to spend Sunday morning waking up leisurely and indugling in a little Starbucks.  If anyone else watches the Sunday Morning show, they covered Casey, IL, which has the largest rocking chair, wind chimes, golf tee, and much more.  We actually stopped there on the way to my brother and sister in law's one time (post here), which made it so cool to see the town on TV.  One place we didn't see was the largest mail box, which you can actually go up in and also mail a letter from - the return address with have a stamp saying it came from the big mailbox in Casey!  Definitely will be having to make a stop there next time we head over to Indy!  The plan was to stop at Firefly Grill, our favorite place between St. Louis and Indy.  Unfortunately, the food was a tiny bit disappointing this visit, but they seemed super busy (possibly due to eclipse traffic), so we won't judge them by this one time.  The rest of the drive was ok, with stops here and there due to construction and road closures.  Once back home, it was time to get ready for the week again.  I honestly think I was more productive yesterday than on a regular Sunday!  Grocery shopping was done, meals were prepped, laundry was going, and a yummy dinner was made!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!  

Linking up with Biana.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites: Link Up Announcement

Happy Friday!  This week was a little busy for me, so I felt like Friday was here before I knew it!

1.  Jack's Birthday!  My sweet little nephew turned 2 yesterday!  I cannot wait to celebrate him!

2.  I got a sample of this Neutrogena Hydra Boost Water Gel from somewhere (I think maybe in a box of make up wipes) and absolutely loved it.  It's super light, but super hydrating at the same time.

3.  I wore this navy dress to work yesterday and I love it so much.  The longer sleeve kept me warm, and it was nice not to have to add another layer to do so.  I really like the fit and flare, especially with the ruffle at the bottom.  It's very professional, yet still fun!  I even got a few compliments, which always is a plus!

4.  I mentioned this week was a busy one above, but it really was for me.  Monday was book club, Tuesday was an impromptu happy hour, Wednesday I spent the night cleaning my apartment and doing a little pampering (used my favorite face mask and my favorite nail polish in Haute to Trot), and Thursday I picked up a few United Way donations, made a stop at Target, cleaned out the fridge and even did my meal planning for next week.  I will be honest and say that I usually like sticking to my routine of either going to the gym or out for a walk after work, then just taking it easy at home, but I kind of liked how the week just flew by!  The next few weeks are going to be a little busier than my norm, too, so hopefully I will still be liking it by the time things slow down a bit!

5.  If you are like me, then you are READY for fall.  To kick off the season, Sarah @ Meet the Shaneyfelts and I are hosting a link up on Wednesdays in September.  We will be sharing our favorite fall drinks (PSL, anyone?), favorite fall fashions and of course, our fall decor.  If you remember, we did this series last year, but this year are making it a link up.  We would absolutely love if you would join us in sharing your fall favorites!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Simple Way I Track My Budget

Budgeting is something that has always fascinated me.  I love seeing where I can cut costs and how to make my savings grow.  I also love reading about how others budget and seeing if I can incorporate any of those ideas myself.  I've blogged about budgeting a few times in the past - making it a goal to improve on what I already do and pinning specific ideas.  While I haven't changed things up too much from when I first started keeping track of my budget, improvements have been made, which I really like.  I do recognize that how I do things may not work well for you, just the same as how you do things may not work for me, but since it is a topic I am interested in, I thought I would share!

To start off with, I came up with my budget.  I wrote down my income, fixed expenditures (including savings), and then various other things I spend money on like clothes and entertainment.  Once I had those categories all broken out, I created an excel worksheet to track my actual spending, as pictured below.  I put all the categories across the top, with the days of the month on the lefthand side.  Each category is totaled at the bottom, then totaled across to show if I am under/over spending for the month.  I create a tab for each month and throughout the month, I will fill it out with my actual spending.  I keep all my receipts and go through them, adding to the spreadsheet, as well as compare to my bank statements.  This allows me to track my spending in one central place.

I used to only do that, but it wasn't giving me what exactly I wanted, which was a quick look compared to my budget for every month in the same tab.  I decided to create one and thus, the tab below was formed.  I have my budget on the left, then for each month, I pull in what I actually spent from the corresponding month tab (shown above) and compare expected vs. actual.  For the variance, I also use conditional formatting and set it up so that if I spent less than budgeted, it pops up as green, or vice versa if I spent more than budgeted, the variance will be red.  This let's me see which places I may be under / over spending, and adjust my budget as appropriate.

I think the reason I choose to use excel for budget tracking is because of my background in finance.  I have used it for work for so long, it's just something that I am comfortable with and am able to control and customize the tabs to my specifications.

That's what works for me - if you have any great tips or tricks, please share!

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

4 Tips To Help You Stay Active While Working A Desk Job

Today I thought I would share a few tips on staying active at work, specifically if you have a desk job.  This is something I need to improve on myself, so I thought if I shared my ideas, then it would also hold me a bit more accountable, as well.

1.  Take the stairs.  I realize I am stating the obvious, but I am always amazed at how many people will take the elevator just one floor.  It's a simple and easy way to get your heart pumping.  While I don't take the stairs in the morning (I get way too warm with all my stuff I lug into work), I try to always take them after lunch or going to meetings.

2.  Walk while you wait for the printer.  This is something I always do.  If I am printing something that takes a few minutes (or longer), I use that time to walk back and forth in the copy room.  It's kind of silly, but honestly, what else are you going to do while you wait?  For me, it's about 10 steps one way, so I feel like I can get an extra 100 steps in no time at all!

3.  Set a reminder to get up and move.  For awhile, I would set a reminder at the same time everyday to get up and walk the stairs.  Just down to the first floor and then back up.  It took no time at all and I always felt better afterwards.  I actually heard this from a girl I used to work with, and thought it was a great idea.  If you aren't a fan of the stairs (or don't have any), you can get up and just do a lap around your floor - another thing I have heard from a coworker.

4.  Park far away.  Another easy way to get in some extra steps!  I will be honest - I don't park in the furthest corner possible, but definitely a few rows back!  This isn't just limited to work either.  I almost always park further back when going to the store, too.  I will be honest, part of that is because my parking skills are a bit lacking, but also to get in some extra steps.  If you wear heels to work, you might not be too keen on this idea, but something I notice with my coworkers is some of them wear different shoes to drive in and then change into their more professional footwear once they get in their building, or at their desk. 

While these tips are nothing out of the ordinary, they are just little things you can do to try and keep yourself active while at work.  

I'd love to hear if you do anything in particular to get yourself moving!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Guilty Pleasures

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone for your well wishes yesterday!  Yesterday I hit the ground running and felt much better!

I feel like I have a lot of guilty pleasures - most of them relating to the types of TV shows I watch, the books I read and food (of course!)!  While these aren't necessarily guilty pleasures because I totally own them, I still feel like they qualify.

TV shows - I love a good reality show and I do not discriminate!  I have been a faithful viewer of both Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2, since way back when they were just 16 & Pregnant.  Flip to the other end of the reality TV spectrum, and I absolutely LOVE Swamp People.  Of course, I can get sucked into any Real Housewives series.  And watch the episodes over and over again.  I am a big fan of when Bravo airs marathons.  I have mentioned time and time again that I love The Pioneer Woman.  So much so, that I have a ton of her episodes recorded and keep them on my DVR for whenever I get an itch to watch her show.

Books - give me all the cheesy romance novels!  While I do love to read a lot of different books, cheesy romance novels are probably my favorite.  Give me a rich billionaire falling for his receptionist / personal assistant that takes no crap from him, or the person he hired to be his fake fiance, and I am hooked.  Or a SEAL, or any type of military person, who is hardened and then just happens to find his true love.  Or a cowboy...honestly, the list goes on.  I just love those happy endings!  Predictable?  Yes.  Cheesy?  Yes.  I always get sucked in, though.  Pretty much reading in general is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine - I have been known to stay up late just to finish a good book!

Food - I crave ice cream in the winter.  Not sure why, but I do.  I could eat Chipotle tacos almost every day.  Lots of salt is necessary on my popcorn, which, movie theater popcorn is such a weakness of mine.  I really wish that I could just go in sometimes and buy a bag of popcorn.  I know some places sell 'movie theater popcorn', but it's just not the same as the real deal, in my opinion.  I loved coffee when I was little, but as I got older, I hated it with a passion.  Well that all changed last year when I tried my first PSL and I have been hooked on Starbucks drinks since!  The cost of those drinks definitely make it a guilty pleasure!  Olive Garden breadsticks...pretty much the whole reason to go to Olive Garden, although I do love their salad just as much, but gosh the breadsticks are the best.  Yum!      

...and 2016 Show & Tell Tuesday posts below.

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, AshleyLindsay and Whitney.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend Recap: Short & Sweet

Happy Monday!  This weekend recap is going to be short and sweet, because I feel like I did nothing all weekend, other than lay on the couch.  

Friday was uneventful.  Honestly, I don't know if I did anything after work.

Saturday I was glued to the TV watching the protests in Virginia unfold.  It really was just unbelievable to see.  And so very sad, too.  I also wasn't feeling well, so I literally was on the couch all day.  

I was better Sunday morning so I made myself go to the gym and then I headed to church.  Before service, they were having a little meet and greet type thing with the pastor and some of the workers, so I went to that to learn a bit more about the church and what exactly they do.  It was really nice to hear how involved they are in the community (and afar) and their more long-term plans as far as evolving their programs.  Then it was time for worship which was good, as always.  It was back on the couch once I got home.  I even took a nap, which, if you know me, I do not normally nap.  Needless to say, this weekend was pretty darn unproductive, so I am hoping I can get it together tomorrow to have a good start to the week, albeit a day later than I would like.

Here's to hoping it's a good week for us all!

Image result for motivational work quotes

Linking up with Biana.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  As always, it's good to see the end of another week!

1.  My mom and I email almost every morning during the week.  We have been doing this since I went off to college, so 12 years now.  Wow, that pretty much just blew my mind!  I can't believe it has been that long.  Anyways, back on topic, my mom has always been creative and she often ends her emails with things like 'have a marvelous Monday', or 'make it a terrific Tuesday', so using an adjective that starts with the same letter as the day of the week.  I noticed it this past Monday and just thought how fun it was.  One thing that I really appreciate about my mom is how she really takes the time and puts in the effort (while making it seem effortless) to make things a little more fun or special - case in point with her emails.

2.  Although I was born and bred a Cubs fan, I do appreciate the Cardinals the longer I live in the area.  There was a really fun story from the Wednesday game, and I think it's better appreciated when you watch the video (see here), but to summarize, a kitten got on the field during the game.  A precious little furry kitten.  It's kind of hilarious to see, and definitely will put a smile on your face.  Not only that, but right after the kitten was taken off the field, Yadi hit a grand slam, and the Cardinals ended up winning the game.  The kitten was dubbed the Rally Cat and already has its own twitter account

Related image   

3.  Yesterday's Girl Chat post on dream vacations has me itching to travel!!!  Luckily I have a few upcoming trips and while they are still a ways away, I am having so much fun looking into things to do.  New York is on the books for December, and I am so excited to experience the holiday season in NYC!  Again, a long way off, but at the rate this year is moving, it will be here before we know it!

4.  I would love to upgrade my luggage, and saw that Macy's has the Delsey Chatelet luggage on sale.  I have seen this luggage on a whole bunch of blogs and have always loved the classic look.  The price tag isn't my favorite, but between the regular sale price, the additional percent off you can get, plus the $50 rebate, it seems much more reasonable.  Unfortunately, I will be over here just hoping for another good sale after August, because one of my August Goals was to do a no spend month.  I kind of think this purchase would fall under 'wants' rather than 'needs'.  Although, let's be honest, I could probably convince myself it is a necessity.

5.  I shared the picture below on Monday, but it's for sure a favorite, so I am sharing again.  I cannot wait to decorate for fall.  I know fall technically doesn't start until later in September, but I feel like the first of September is fair game.  My mom is coming down that weekend to help me decorate and I am really looking forward to it.  We always have a great time decorating together, and I am excited to see how we can change things up just a bit from prior years (Fall Decor 2016 / Fall Decor 2015).     

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Girl Chat: Dream Vacation

We made it to Friday Eve!  Hope everyone has been having a great week.  It's time for some girl chat, and this month we are chatting about dream vacations.

To see what we have been chatting about so far this year, click on the link below!

I thought this month's topic would be a no brainer, but honestly, the more I think about it, the longer my list gets!

Italy, Greece, Paris, London, the English countryside, Ireland...the list just goes on and on.  All of these places are pretty much dream vacations for the same reasons - the history, the sights and the food.  I love to read and I feel like these are settings in a lot of books I have read, which I think has me imagining all these idyllic visits.  I just love the idea of experiencing different cultures and all the history behind them.  Honestly, I just could not pick!

I also would love to do some more stateside travel.  Boston is and has been at the top of my list for awhile.  While I love the Midwest, the East Coast has always been interesting to me and I love historic feel that you see in pictures of Boston.  Maine is also on the list - why, I am not sure specifically, but I have always wanted to go!  The New England states just really intrigue me!  

While I don't have any dream vacation planned down to the detail, here is what my dream vacation would entail.  Lots of walking around and exploring, soaking in the culture / atmosphere and eating lots (and lots) of good food!

I am really looking forward to reading the posts in the link up - maybe that will help me narrow down my dream vacation spots...that or it will just add to the list!!

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat!

And don't forget to follow your hosts!

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

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Lindsay - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Workin' It: Back to School

Happy Wednesday!  Today's Workin' It topic is back to school.  While I haven't gotten to experience 'back to school' in quite a few years, preparing for it was always one of my favorite things, so please allow me to reminisce a bit.  And thanks to my mom for snapping and sending me these pictures from my scrapbooks!

first day of kindergarten

Back to school always meant a new 'first day' outfit, school shoes and ALL the school supplies.  Getting a new outfit, especially new shoes was always a highlight.  I think one year I picked out these navy blue tennis shoes and rocked them with tall (mid-calve) length socks.  I thought they were so cool at the time, but looking back, it probably not my best fashion choice.  Another shoe that stands out were Adidas Superstars - mine had pink stripes!  I LOVED those.  Too bad I didn't still have them now that they are back in style!

first day of junior year

My absolute favorite part of back to school, though, was getting new school supplies!  I still love browsing the supplies aisles at Target.  I always had to coordinate my notebooks and folders.  I absolutely loved Lisa Frank in elementary school, and I was SO excited to go to jr. high so I could get a trapper keeper.  I honestly don't even remember what I got, or if it was even a true trapper keeper, but I was definitely excited to have more 'grown up' supplies.  

We got planners once in jr. high (I think, or maybe it was high school?), but I loved writing my assignments in them, and being able to check them off when finished.  I would get colored pens and color coordinate my subjects, or using highlighters.  I LOVED having a planner like that.  And still do, although what is in my planner today looks much different from back then!

While I don't experience a traditional back to school period, I do feel like this time of year brings some extra busyness and at the same time, more routine.  For me, this marks the point where my work's United Way campaign gets rolling, and there is always a lot to do with that.  There are multiple family birthdays around this time, which means lots of get togethers to celebrate.  I tend to want to be in the kitchen more, so back are the days of heartier cooking, rather than something quick.  I feel like when I am busier with things, I tend to get more into a routine, because I have to manage my time a little more wisely.  I rely on my planner more and of course, all the lists to help keep myself organized!  And then, before we know it the holidays will be upon us!

I am excited to read all the back to school posts, so I can live vicariously through you all that truly get to experience 'back to school!'          

You can see all my other Workin' It posts by clicking the links below.

Just a reminder - tomorrow is this month's Girl Chat link up - we will be sharing all about our dream vacations!

Linking up with ShayErikaJenn and Jessi.  


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Review: July 2017

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.  I had heard so many good things about this book and the series in general, I had to check it out.  It's all about really, really rich Asians and their lives and their culture.  There were a bunch of different stories on, but I guess the overwhelming one was about a son, who bring his girlfriend to meet his family...without telling her anything about how well off his family was and the expectations that come with it.  It was an enjoyable read, although with so many characters, I would sometimes get confused.  Still a good book, though.  

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.  This book was all kinds of messed up.  You have a girl who has an interesting past that she has gotten away from, only to be invited to her old best friend's bachelorette party, which is held at the bride to be's aunt's cabin in the woods.  There are lots of weird going on's and a death.  I thought it was a good read and I didn't quite have the book figured out until closer to the end.  I would definitely recommend if you are into these type of dark thrillers.

Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos.  This one wasn't my favorite.  It's about a girl who is hiding out from her father, basically for her whole life.  She gets fed up with hiding and wants to live a normal life, so she goes on a search to find him and find out what really happened the night her mom was killed.  The thing that threw me off was the part of the story that talked about the world coming to an end.  I know others have enjoyed it, though, and honestly I wasn't sure how it would end, which is always a good thing, but it just seemed too unrealistic to me.

The Collector by Nora Roberts.  I had seen this book in the library so many times, but wasn't sure how I would like it.  My grandma ended up bringing it with her to read when we were in Michigan and said it was good, so as soon as I got back, I scooped it up from the library.  It's about a woman who is a house sitter, who ends up witnessing a murder.  You follow along her, the decease's brother and two of their friends while they figure out what the heck happened.  If you like mystery and Nora Roberts, this is one for you!

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.  I picked this up after reading Crazy Rich Asians.  The story starts a bit after the first book, and I think I liked the first one better than this.  Again, I got somewhat confused about some of the characters (not the main ones, but some of the side ones that still were mentioned often), and I had a bit of a slow go with it at the beginning.  I just couldn't get into it.  However, I really enjoyed the second half the book and am looking forward to the next!  

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens.  This book is about a woman who is in an abusive relationship, but gets away.  Her husband is just out of prison and seemingly has not changed one bit.  Crazy things keep happening and it seems like the life she has built up is just falling apart.  There is a big twist (at least it was to me!) at the end, which I totally was not expecting.  While a good book, it wasn't my favorite.  I just didn't really care for the main characters (the wife and the daughter) and while the twist at the end was shocking to me, I really wish it hadn't quite ended like that.  

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank.  I think I found a new favorite author!  I might be getting ahead of myself, but I really enjoyed this book.  I would say that she is a mix of Mary Kay Andrews (one of my very favorites) and Elin Hilderbrand.  The book is told from two point of views - the daughter and the mom.  The daughter just lost her husband and has taken her son back to her hometown to stay with her mom for the summer.  It was a light-hearted, easy read, even though it does deal with heavy stuff (death), but it's the perfect mix of the too.  I just thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to read another!

What are you reading these days?  Any good recommendations, please do share!  

You can see what else I have been reading this year below.

Linking up with StephLindsay and Whitney.

Monday, August 7, 2017

TBB Asks + A Long Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  The ladies over at The Blend Blog are hosting their monthly 'asks' link up, and I am excited to participate this month.  I'm answering their questions first, then sharing my weekend recap below!  

Pool, lake or ocean?  Lake! 

Camping, cottage or hotel?  Cottage!  Preferably by the lake.

Favorite ice cream flavor?  Hands down, Blue Moon.

PJ's, Nightgown, T-Shirt/Shorts or Birthday Suit?  It's a toss up between PJ's and T-Shirt/Shorts.  I am slowly growing my PJ collection.

Fave Summer Beverage?  Regular - water, alcoholic - probably a Moscow Mule or a Wine Slushie!  Both are so refreshing.  I do love a beer in the summer, too.

Would you rather be hot or cold?  Neither?  If I had to choose, probably cold.  I get kind of sick when I am too hot, and when I am cold, well I am just dang cold, but at least no sickness!

Sandals with heels or flats?  Usually flat - perfect for being outside and walking around!

Shorts or skirts?  I usually go for dresses, but rarely wear skirts, unless at work, so sounds like shorts.

Sit in the sun or the shade?  In the sun, with lots of SPF and a hat!

Water, tea, or soda (or as I would say - pop!)?  Definitely water.  I drink tea almost everyday at work, but more so because I know green tea is good for me.  I do love Coke and Dr. Pepper, but rarely have pop myself.  If anything, just at the movies, or steal a few sips here and there.  I love water, though!

Fave summer fruit, vegetable?  Plums are probably my favorite fruit, and cucumbers fresh from the garden are by far my favorite veggie!

Sunrise or sunset?  I love sunsets.  It's amazing how they light up the sky.

Bike ride or walk?  Walk.  

Winery or brewery?  Winery!  Although breweries are super fun, too, I much prefer a gorgeous winery.

Garden or no garden?  I don't have one myself, but growing up we did and my parents still do.  I'd love to have one when I get my own place, though.

Big summer concert or music in the park?  I am not a big concert fan, so definitely music in the park.

Fave cookout food?  That is a tough one - I love it all!

Dine indoors or patio?  If the weather is right, for sure the patio.

Fave summer destination?  No doubt, Michigan!

Big theme park or local carnival?  Rides are not my thing, so the theme park is out.  I do love carnival food, so that wins!

Drinks blended or on the rocks?  Both - I am not picky.

Popsicle of choice?  Grape!  Or cherry.

Hot Dog or Hamburger?  Uh, one of each please?  Too hard to choose! 

Now onto the weekend!

I shared on Friday that I was taking a long weekend.  It was so nice!  I had a relaxing Friday morning, and then we headed out to Cedar Lake Cellars to drink a little wine and enjoy the gorgeous weather.  I really like this winery - it's so pretty and they have awesome wine slushies.  This time, I had their lemonade wine slushie and it was so yummy!  As the afternoon went on, they had a berry one, which I heard was super good mixed with the lemonade slushie, but I never made it to get one of those.  Nothing sounded super great on their menu for lunch (they have really good stuff - just wasn't what I wanted right then!), so we headed to Olympia Kebob House & Taverna.  They have really yummy Greek food and a patio, which was perfect for this weather.  I love all the blue and white umbrellas!  After a late lunch, I was hoping to pick up some gifts.  Of course, after two stores (at two different malls), I was empty handed so that was a bit of a bust.  The rest of the day was spent resting and relaxing.

Saturday I had plans to meet with a friend for coffee, so it was up early to get in a work out.  It was in the high 50s when I went out to walk which I absolutely love!  Cool mornings like that just remind me of fall.  And as you probably know, fall is my favorite!  Instead of coffee, I grabbed a smoothie and had a nice morning chatting it up.  I ran to the library afterwards, and honestly, didn't do much else the rest of the day.  It was kind of dreary and overcast all day, which made it perfect for catching up on some DVR'd shows and reading.

I was up again early on Sunday due to my internal alarm clock.  I got a few things done cleaning-wise, before I hit the gym and the grocery store before church.  I headed to Michaels afterwards, to pick up a basket and got sucked into browsing their fall items.  There were a few things I really wanted, but I felt like that fell in the 'no spend' area, so I just kept to looking.  Besides, I figure I need to take inventory of my stuff before making any new decor purchases.  The rest of the day was as productive as Saturday was lazy.

Onto Monday and the start of the week.  Hope everyone has a great one!

Linking up with the ladies at The Blended Blog and Biana