What I Read…

It’s book day! It’s also nearly halfway through August. WHAT THE HECK. I know we all say the months fly by (except January 2018, remember that one?) but daaang. This summer has been a quick one!

I just got home from another work trip- this time to Indianapolis. We end up there about twice a year and always come home dead tired. I’m not really complaining, though. I like what I do & who I do it with so these trips are fun in their own way πŸ™‚

Enough chit-chat. On to the books.

Thanks for hosting this lovely Show Us Your Books link up, Jana & Steph! (Go visit them!)

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
In 1961 NASA sent the first American into space (just after Russia beat us to it). In 1969 we were the first to put men on the moon. The wives never walked on the moon but without them their husbands’ dreams would’ve been just that.Β 
I know it’s borderline blasphemous to say this, but I recommend watching the TV mini-series before reading this book. There are lots of wives (and astronauts) to keep track of and the show will help you put a face/personality with the wife; at least for the Mercury 7 wives. I’m not typically one for space history, but I really enjoyed this book. It doesn’t have very good reviews on GR (mainly because of the “sassy” writing style) but I didn’t have a problem with it. I enjoyed learning about the marriages and women who made it possible for these men to travel to space. Trust me, without the wives behind them, the men would’ve failed miserably and never seen the moon.
Should you read it? If your interest is now piqued, then yes. Watch the mini-series first, though!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
Caught between two worlds, Starr Carter has suddenly lost another best friend to neighborhood violence- only this time it’s the fault of the supposed “good guys.” By speaking out she’s sure to make an enemy out of nearly everyone… in both of her worlds.Β 
This book was incredible. I’m from a very small, white Midwestern town. Certain conversations made my skin prickle and my face blush. I would agree with everyone out there and recommend this book to all people. It’s heartbreaking and funny and infuriating and suspenseful and filled with SO MUCH. I’m so glad I read it and annoyed with myself that I hadn’t read it sooner. I really can’t think of much else to say- you just need to read it.
Should you read it? YES.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
After two years of suffering as the be-all, do-all assistant to professional football player and major asshole Aiden Graves, Vanessa has finally quit to peruse her own artistic dreams. But soon after her grand exit Aiden shows up begging her to come back- and this time, he promises, things will be different.
The more I thought about this book the more I convinced myself to push it into the 4 star range… It was cute and flirty, and parts of it have really stuck with me. The reason for the hesitant score is the repetitive nature. I liked Vanessa but her internal dialogue was usually about the same dilemma, over and over. I think the book could’ve been 100 pages less if that had been skimmed down or removed. Aiden sounded incredibly attractive. I loved that Vanessa was a an average, down-to-Earth woman. I think I’m starting to love the romance genre. So far they’ve been mostly the same formula, but you kind of know what you’re getting when it comes to this type of book. It’s a fluffy way to mix up my reading habits. I’m interested to picked up another Zapata (and R.S. Grey, too).
Should you read it? I know it’s one of Kristen‘s favorites and I really enjoyed it, so if romance is a genre you like then yes, you should.

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
It’s funny how one dress can affect so many different people and events…
There was nothing wrong with this book, but it didn’t have much pizzazz. All the stories were woven together like the movie Valentine’s Day or New Years Eve. It was adorable and cutesy, but there wasn’t much development and everything was tied up in a nice, neat bow by the final page. I loved all the stories surrounding the sales people at Bloomingdale’s. I also loved the emotional importance of findingΒ the dress for any occasion and how it makes a woman feel. It was sweet and accurate- I’m not one for fashion, but the right dress makes you feel incredible! Overall, just a cute little beach read.
Should you read it?Β Eh. Only if you’re in need of something super light.

Erin’s 9.0 Challenge started last month. Some people read all ten books in as many days (or less!). I am not those people. Here’s my progress:

|5 points| Freebie: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
|10 points| Starts with the letter N: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
|10 points| Has a mostly orange color: A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
|15 points| A book with an unlikable character: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| From 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| Owned/TBR the longest (GoodReads): The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
|30 points| An emotion word in the title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
|30 points| Each word in the title begins with the same letter: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|35 points| A book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (i.e. does the same kind of thing as you do day to day): The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I have 110 points out of 200.

I’m currently working on the Prisoner of Azkaban. (I like to savor my HP reads.) I have On A Cold Dark Sea on hold at the library, After Alice is sitting on our coffee table, and I’m waiting for One Dark Throne to go on sale (Kindle version- fingers crossed!).

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1970s

Welcome back! I know I literally JUST said I wasn’t going to be around much but this collaboration with Alexandra (and the Show Us Your Books link-up next week) requires my attention πŸ™‚

This week we’re exploring the 1970s.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December we’ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

My post is very light. I tend to avoid things set in the 60s and 70s because I just don’t relate to that era or the popular culture within it. I wish I’d had more time to read and watch more 70s entertainment but… well… life. So without further ado…

B O O K S

All I’ve got are movies today… Anyone have some 70s-set book recs?

M O V I E SΒ 

(1970s) I know it’s super stupid and sexist, but Anchorman is a favorite in our family. I think it might just be the quotability. “You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole… wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.”

(1971) Any time a high school teacher didn’t want to teach we watched Remember the Titans. Usually it was a social studies teacher- who was also a coach. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a GREAT movie. But it reminds me of lazy days in school. We are Marshall is another good football movie from the 70s (& I’ve been to that campus!).

(1973) Admittedly it’s not my favorite one, but X-Men: Days of Future Past is set smack dab in the middle of the 1970s. I love that it has lots of Jackman, Fassbender, McAvoy, and Lawrence, as well as a bunch of the lesser known mutants. That said, it’s essentially a gateway to the new wave of X-Men movies- bridging the time warp.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

Nofin’.

On the Shelf…

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is definitely on my tbr list.

As far as movies go, I think Now and Then (1970) sounds cute.

I warned you this was a short post πŸ˜‰ Skip over to Alexandra’s blog to see her 1970s recommendations!

Can you believe we’re already moonwalking our way into the 1980s next month?! Join us as we say goodbye to The Cold War, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, and say hello to leg warmers, heavy metal bands, and the Brat Pack!

Did you miss our previous decades-themed posts? Find them here:Β 1910,Β 1920,Β 1930,Β 1940,Β 1950, 1960

Playing Catch Up Over Coffee

Hello. I promise I’m alive and well. No one has fallen ill and I’m not pregnant. (I feel like 90% of the time when a blogger just disappears one of those two things has happened…) I didn’t mean to take a break last week or on Tuesday. I actually had posts planned but they needed one or two more things added to them and I just didn’t get the time (or motivation) to do it…

Today I’m linking up with Kristen and taking a quick coffee break.

I have to take half a step back from my blog. I love this blog and the relationships that I’ve cultivated here. I feel like things in my personal life are n.u.t.s. right now, though. Every time I go to write I’m distracted or thinking about all the stuff I need to do… And sometimes I just bitch about all that on here and I think that’s overwhelming and repetitive for y’all.

I will keep up with Alexandra‘s and my RSFG Blog Collab. and I will definitely show up here (and on your blogs!) for SUYB with Steph & Jana. Other than those two monthly staples, I can’t guarantee my consistency. I plan to keep reading and commenting on your blogs, too. The frequency will probably decrease, though…

I’m sad to step back. I’m scared to leave this community of friends. I’m not actually leaving- just going part time. It’s been a part of my daily life since 2014. That’s crazy. But like I said, this is temporary and necessary. I’ll still be around. And I’ll still see you guys on IG.

Ok… let’s move on to other news.

Last week I rode in the backseat of a pick-up truck for 35 hours. We drove down to Texas and back- in five days. (Two driving down, one day of work, two driving home.) Our coffee today is simply a step in my recovery program.

We’re on the road again next week for another business trip. I thank Jesus every single day for our house/dog sitter. She keeps our babes loved while we’re gone.

On Sunday I played my last softball game for the summer. (I wrote a sarcastic post about my experience here, lol.) I hate exercise but I enjoy being active. I’m trying to find new ways to keep my body moving right now. The dogs and I have a new walk route and I feel like that’s a good start.

Our trip to Texas was H.O.T. & miserable but it made me appreciate the lower 80 degree temps in Ohio. Our weather has been beautiful and I’m not going to complain about it for once πŸ˜‰

Sigh… I don’t have much else to say as we drain our mugs and start digging our keys out of our purses. I’ve been reading a lot, cooking a bit, and trying to keep my house in some semblance of order.

I promise that I’m trying to catch up on your posts from the last week or so… I also promise to show up here occasionally, even if it’s not regularly πŸ™‚

Hopefully this weekend is semi-quiet and relaxing. I’m dying my grey away on Saturday and planning a manicure sometime next week before our next trip! Self-care, friends πŸ˜‰ See you on Tuesday!

Date Ideas for Couples Who Don’t “Date”

I’m going to make a confession that will shock and horrifying marriage bloggers.

We don’t go on scheduled weekly or bi-weekly or monthly date nights.

Don’t get me wrong- we go on dates. They’re just not regular or scheduled. Our relationship doesn’t work that like. We’re both workaholics (who work with each other) and it’s healthier for us to veg at home (sometimes together and sometimes apart) instead of heading out on the town. I’m an introvert and K is an introverted extrovert so we alter our life and relationship to make ourselves happiest.

Ok, enough explaining. When we DO go out on dates, they tend to be a little bigger and/or planned out than what a weekly date night might entail. If your “dating style” is similar to ours, here are a few of our favorite things to do together:

An evening concert.
We love going to concerts together. We’ve been doing it since the very first month we started dating. When we were younger we’d show up to the concert venue, rock out, and then pig out on fast food or gas station food on our drive home. Now we like to go out to dinner first, then attend the concert (and then come home and crash like old people, lol).

A trip to the local creamery.
We live about 0.25 miles from the town’s BEST creamery. In addition to yummy ice cream, we both love their homemade coney sauce. On beautiful evenings when we don’t feel like cooking we climb into the convertible and cruise over there for dinner together.

Early morning breakfast dates.
I think one of my hands down favorite things to do with K is to wake up semi-early on a Saturday or Sunday and get breakfast at a local diner while the world is still waking up. There are lots of places near us but our favorite is a cute one a few towns over. With maybe 12 tables inside, everyone knows everyone. We’re strangers in that town, but they’re so friendly and it’s fun to watch them greet one another and catch up as they come inside for breakfast.

Walking around car shows.
I married a car enthusiast. We’ve spent many afternoons slowly walking through car shows, admiring the vintage rides of yesteryear. Truth be told, I’ve actually learned a lot about cars from K while walking around these shows. My dad, brother, and grandfathers are all car lovers, too. I guess it’s in my blood πŸ˜‰ Perusing car lots and open houses are also a fun way to spend the afternoon. For us anyway.

A festival lunch date.
We don’t really care for crowds. Additionally, in a small town like ours, when you immerse yourself in a crowd you’re bound to know a handful of people- some you like and some you don’t. We’ve found that by going on weekday lunch dates to street fests and fairs, we avoid crowds and lines and small talk with people we haven’t seen since high school. AND we get the benefit of fresh lemonade and vinegar-soaked fries πŸ˜€

I think it’s adorable and cute and #relationshipgoals when couples plan out weekly quality time. I really do. It’s just not how we operate πŸ™‚ All kinds of kinds. These occasional outings work well for us and keep us happy and connected. Next time you’re looking for something to do with you s/o, try one of these!

What kind of date activities do you and yours like to do?

Softball Pro Tips From an Amateur

A few posts ago I made mention of a co-ed softball team that I was asked to join this summer.

Not to brag, but as a last round draft pick (a.k.a. after the team was formed and after they exhausted their substitutes for a few weeks they brought me on full time), I bring a lot of knowledge to the sports table. Buckle up because I’m about to learn you some pro softball tips.

First and foremost: my credentials. I played eight years total of T-ball, baseball, and softball. Assigned to the outfield for optimal clover picking in my early years, my last few seasons spent on the field were at first and catcher. Unlike those pansies who see their careers end with devastating injuries, I honorably retired from softball just before high school because I was afraid of the fast pitching. No shame in my game, friends.

Now, on to the life changing softball advice I have to offer all you newbs.

Wear a hat. And sunscreen. As someone who mostly avoids going outside when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, I must urge you to protect yourself. I would advise eyewear as well, except I’ve left two different sunglasses at the ball park two different time, never to be seen again. I can’t be trusted with more than a hat. But maybe you can.

When batting, don’t chuck your bat haphazardly. The catcher doesn’t appreciate that… I might’ve heard one squeal the last time I awkward flung my bat and took off for first……..

Hit the ball far. Hitting is not my strong suit. I used to think my strong suit was fielding but then I missed two pop-ups in the same game so I think my strong suit might be warming the bench. Or cheering on others. I got off topic in this paragraph.

Hit the ball far, part 2. Listen… I am out of breath every single game because unlike the rest of my team who all power that softball into the grass, giving themselves plenty of time to run, I barely chip it and send it right to the pitcher. Thus, I’m running balls out (pun intended) to first to try and make it safely. I am successful 50% of the time. Don’t take this as a weakness, though. It’s called strategy. GEEZ.

Use a glove that is less than two decades old. I won’t lie, I’m not 100% sure where my glove came from. I know when I first started playing ball I had a black glove and then I got this tan one- but I don’t think we bought it. I think it might’ve been passed down from a relative. All that to say, the former owner got the benefit of padding and structure. My glove is a very, very limp piece of leather. And I think it’s actually a baseball glove. (They tell me there’s a difference.)

Learn the positions. We all know first base and third base, but do you know which field is left and which field is right? Honestly, I don’t either. But I play in one of them. It’s the one behind first base and when a lefty steps up to the plate everyone on the field side-eyes me nervously.

Learn your place. Are you the all-star? The comic relief? The comedian? I like to think I’m the quiet one that keeps to myself and smiles awkwardly if an unfamiliar teammate sits too close to me. (I kid. That was my place but I know everyone now, lol.)

I think those are enough tips for a Tuesday. I don’t want to overwhelm you. Obviously feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Myself or one of my many agents will get back to you promptly. Email me at audreyhasn’tplayedsoftballin+15years@whydidisayyes.com*.

😜

**Not a real email.

The Calm Before the Weekend Storm (FAVORITES!)

I have 11 drafts sitting in a folder but none of them feel *right* for today. I’m in a reflective mood; calm and mellow and ready for the weekend. I typically get this way before a busy weekend. My introvert brain needs chill-time and since I won’t be getting any this weekend, I need to soak it in pre-weekend.

Tomorrow night I’m headed to an Indian’s baseball game with my cousin and some friends. Saturday I’m boating with friends. Sunday I have a softball game and then K and I are headed to a Jimmy Eat World concert in Cleveland in the evening. Someone reserve me a nap pod on Monday morning, please and thanks. Not to mention soon we’re headed to Texas for business. Lord, help me…

So today I’m going to share some blog posts that inspired me or amused me or made me think.

life_as_louise_favorites

  • Lindsay is starting a new series called Whiskey in a Teacup and I am here for it. In her first post she shared a very real and raw struggle that she’s dealt with for years. I love her bravery and honesty.
  • As the mom to a very anxious dog, I love it when other dog-moms share tips and tricks that work for them. Taylor wrote about dogs & fireworks in honor of the 4th and I really appreciated the advice.
  • Chelsea is one of my closest blog friends. I discovered her site when I first started LaL and I love keeping up with her. Chelsea is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, badass, traveler, and NOW she’s a TEDxTalk speaker!
  • In the same breath, Aubrey is one of my very best friends IRL. She’s slightly insta-famous and extremely talented. She shared it a while ago, but I love her post about starting over and healing and reclaiming her life after a devastating break-up.
  • I will never have the need or opportunity to do it (never say never?), but Carolann’s post about flying Space A is fascinating! The process and the plane and everything about it is so new and unique to me!
  • Emma does a monthly travel link-up and this past one was on kindness while traveling. Her stories are so so sweet! I love it when a stranger makes my day (or trip)!
  • I think most of Blogworld knows about Chelsea and her uplifting blog. Hopefully you didn’t miss her recent post on falling in love with your own life. She’s wise and optimistic beyond her years πŸ™‚

I know this is a fairly lazy post on my behalf, but I genuinely love all the things these ladies created and put out on their blogs. I encourage you to spend your time there today ❀

Have a great weekend!

What I Read…

Apparently the reading bug bit me because I’ve been picking up and finishing books like crazy. And today I’m linking up with the fabulous Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books! to share them all with you!

(Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet little cousin Andria!)

I actually read these first two before the last SUYB link-up, but I was afraid I’d get burnt out in June and have nothing for today so I saved them. Plus, I had FIVE in May and that was crazy for me so I decided to hold off on more reviews. Who knew I’d end up with six this month.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A collection of historically amusing and literature-rich comics.
Sometimes it’s nice to break up the novels and nonfictions with a few humorous and witty comics. I loved the ones about the suffragettes and anything with the Tudors. Occasionally she’ll draw short comics purely based off book covers- those are pretty funny. The Austen sisters comics had me laughing out loud, too. Beaton is a well-studied historian with a feminist flair and a snarky sense of humor. I think we’d get along nicely.
Should you read it? If you like history and classic literature then you’d probably find this collection extremely amusing.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
Ella’s life is the perfect rags-to-riches fairy tale. A prince, a castle, a kingdom with servants- what more could a girl want?
This was a fun, quick read about Cinders-Ella’s real story. A.k.a. the one where she’s a witty and brilliant girl who gets sucked into one enslavement after another. I liked the twist on this classic tale. I liked that Ella was smart and strong and resilient. I know I’d have enjoyed this book a lot more when I was younger, but it wasn’t a bad read as an adult.
Should you read it? Maybe. It’s a good empowerment fairy tale for young teens.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A criminal twist on The Breakfast Club: Five students walk into detention, four walk out alive. Who done it? And why? What are these four students hiding?
I loved this book. The title and cover alone absolutely hooked me. I was ready to end up hating one or all the teenagers- none of them were perfect and they most definitely had secrets. Nothing was how it seemed, though, and McManus managed to weave in some diversity while shattering stereotypes and growing her characters into well-rounded and self-aware young adults. I knew my heart would break when someone was outed as a murderer. I had my guesses about what really happened in the detention classroom, but I didn’t guess everything and I was never 100% confident. I really enjoyed the suspense and twists and overall outcome. It took me no time at all to read this book and I was always itching to pick it back up!
Should you read it? Yep. I don’t usually read suspense, YA, or contemporary. And I loved it.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A short speech about feminist from an award-winning author & Happy African feminist.
I was told by many folks in Blogworld that this was a must read. They were all completely and totally correct. It’s short and it will take you a half hour at most. It will make you questions why girls feel the need to be likable (and therefore diminish themselves and their “aggressive” behaviors in society & business). It will draw comparisons between masculinity and money for males. (I’d honestly never thoughts about that.) It will force you to notice the societal stigma surrounding unwed women (cats, spinster, failure) and unwed men (bachelor, hasn’t picked one yet). It’ll piss you off. A few weeks ago someone was talking with K and made a joke about me spending his money. Not OUR money- his money. K tried to counter and slip in there that I sign the checks, but it didn’t matter. WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, friends.
Should you read it? You betcha.

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
β˜…β˜…β˜…/5Β 
With dreams of opening her own restaurant in California, Eddy is on her way west to make it a reality. When tragedy leaves her stranded and weak in the desert she must rely on the kindness of strangers, including the handsome Rhine Fontaine, to help her get back on her feet.
Ho hum… trying my luck with another romance novel. This one was entertaining enough. I think I found it for free through the Book Bub emails & there were a handful of grammatical errors, but I can get past that. Eddy is the daughter of freed slaves and Rhine IS a freed slave passing as a white man (his father was the plantation owner). The divide and attitude between White Republicans and Black Republicans in the town of Virginia City was a big part of the story. I mostly enjoyed the flirting between Eddy and Rhine but the whole ending seemed kind of rushed. I also think a few things that the characters did might not have gone over so well in real life. But it’s a story so take it for what it’s worth.
Also, there are A LOT of romance novels entitled “Forbidden.” Lol
Should you read it? Probably not unless old west romances are your *thing*.

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A collection of fifteen short historical fiction stories featuring badass girls through America’s decades.
I don’t read a lot of short stories. I don’t dislike them, they just don’t usually cross my path. I liked the option of putting down the book and feeling complete after only reading 20 pages or so. As far as these stories go, I really really really loved them. They’ve all stuck with me in some way or another. Stories about bank robbers and protesters and pirates and more. Some girls lived to the end and some didn’t. Some girls pretended to be boys and some were incredibly feminine. It was a wonderful mix. One of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, contributed a story to the mix. The stories occurred between 1710 and 1968 and were all historical fiction, some even a bit fantasy. My favorite ones wereΒ Los Destinos,Β Pearls,Β Gold in the Roots of the Grass,Β The Color of the Sky,Β Pulse of the Panthers, andΒ The Whole World is Watching. I tried to whittle that list down. I couldn’t.
Should you read it? YES.

Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge started this month, too.

|5 points| Freebie: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
|10 points| Starts with the letter N: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
|10 points| Has a mostly orange color: A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
|15 points| A book with an unlikable character: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| From 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| Owned/TBR the longest (GoodReads): The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
|30 points| An emotion word in the title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
|30 points| Each word in the title begins with the same letter: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|35 points| A book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (i.e. does the same kind of thing as you do day to day): The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Kicking things off with 10 points.

What did you read this month? Do you tend to read more in the summer or winter? I thought I was a winter reader but these past two months have been great!

Thanks for hosting, Steph & Jana!

Link up with us, friends!

Life According to Steph