What I Read…

Halfway through November… This month has been SO busy for us. The first half of the month was filled with parties (our Halloween one and a surprise party for my mother-in-law!) and the second half will be lots of travel. Whew!

Also- happy birthday to my bro-in-law, Josh!

On October 31st at 11:59pm Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge came to an end
AND I FINALLY COMPLETED IT!!!

To say I’m thrilled and proud of myself and ecstatic would be an understatement. I started doing book challenges when I began blogging. In my very first challenge I read ONE book. I’m so glad I finished this one!

Ok, on to the books… Linking up with Steph & Jana obvi for Show Us Your Books!

Roomies by Christina Lauren
★★★★/5 
When a marriage of convenience brings Holland closer to her crush of 6 months AND helps both him and her Uncle Robert out, she’s determined to make it happen. But a lot can go wrong when love & citizenship are on the line. 
This romance was one of convenience. (I think I might enjoy the hate to love/gruff male character stories the best- this was not that.) I loved Holland’s name and I loved that she often thought of others. Her best friend was an ass and I was sad to see that play out like it did, but her uncles were wonderful. Her brother was, too. I love when the main (female) lead has a good tribe. The romance itself was ok. Fast and slow, then fast and slow again. I didn’t mind that- it was different. I kind of enjoyed the theater/musical aspect, too. I’m not a huge fan of the self-conscious protagonist. I get it, but still not a fan.
Also, Calvin was Irish and I constantly found myself repeating his words aloud to try to say them with an accent. I also laughed out loud MANY times. It was a funny book.
Should you read it? If you enjoy contemporary romance, yes.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
★★★★★/5 
A twisted fairytale about a brave queen, an evil sorceress, and the curses & choices we’re dealt.
I really loved this little fairytale- it was definitely a little dark and twisty, though quite surface level and quick to get through. The illustrations were 100% necessary and I think fantasy-loving teens would cruise through this book & fully enjoy it. There aren’t any names assigned to anyone, but the Snow White-based queen was blunt and badass, and I really liked her “just do it” attitude. The twist on the Sleeping Beauty story caught me off guard and I ate that up, too. It was a pretty cut and dry fairytale with no backstory (although you could piece in traditional information from the original fairytales), and I’d have loved to know more about the queen’s thoughts, but it was very enjoyable for what it was.
Should you read it? If you like fairytales, yes!
*Thanks to Alexandra for this recommendation!

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff
★★★★★/5 
A (true) collection of letter between writer & book lover Helen and the staff at a small English bookstore located along Charing Road, spanning from 1949 to 1969. 
(If you loved The Guernsey Lit & PPP Society request this book from your library now.) This collection of letters between Helen Hanff, Frank Doel, and all the characters at the bookshop (and beyond) creates the most witty, humorous, heartwarming story of long distance friendship and generosity. The fact that these were real people writing letters 50+ years ago during war and recontruction and elections and Beatlemania is so strange to think about! And Helen’s real life wit and sarcasm was THE best. I loved how quickly and smartly she formed a friendship with Frank. And her generosity through the years of (UK) rations, as well as her love for the books she received, was so contagious and endearing. I started this short nonfiction one night and finished it the next day. It was wonderful.
Should you read it? Yes, it was quick and witty and heartwarming.
*Thanks to Michelle for this recommendation!

After Alice by Gregory Maguire
★/5 
A tale of post-Alice, both in England and in Wonderland. Alice’s sister Lydia, her friend Ada, & Ada’s governess are all directly affected by Alice’s sudden and alarming disappearance.
Hot damn, I hated this book. I should’ve quit it but it’s an AiW retelling and I felt like I needed to swallow it whole since I’m a diehard fan of the OG. I think Maguire and I just aren’t meant to be friends. (I’ve tried and failed to read Wicked three times.) The majority of GoodReads agrees with me on this particular novel. The story was boring and uninspired, the writing was pretentious and wordy, the characters were completely unlikable (except Siam). How can Lewis Carroll write a book in 1865 that is so whimsical and easy to understand and get lost in… and then Maguire write something in 2015 that is wordy and uppity and too “proper” for its own good?! He totally ruined the retelling. It could’ve been cool, but it wasn’t.
Should you read it? NOPE.

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman
★★★★/5 
Gaiman’s retelling of the old tale, complete with spooky sketches.
I didn’t realize this was going to be kid-book-short. It’s a very quick read. It’s spooky and dark, though, so I don’t know that kids under 8 or 10 should be exposed. (I’m not a parent- I honestly have no clue.) I loved the illustrations and I like the small changes Gaiman made. I really, really enjoyed the background information on the tried and true tale of Hansel and Gretel. I read this the day before Halloween and it was perfect timing!
Should you read it? Sure. It’s very short and a nice little read for fairy tale lovers.

How to Be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee
DNF/5 
Similar to The Onion, this satirical how-to guide helps one to see the fault in their ways and fully come to understand how to be the perfect church-goer and Child of God.
Mmm… this book really wasn’t my cup of tea. I know lots of Christians love it but this was a good for you, not for me kind of read.
Should you read it? I don’t know. Check out the reviews on GR and decide.

ERIN’S 9.0 CHALLENGE RESULTS

|5 points| Freebie: Roomies by Christina Lauren*
|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: An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver
|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’m so happy! 200 out of 200 points!!
*Formerly One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

So tell me what you read this month! Have you ever participated in a book challenge? Are you a fan of Gregory Maguire’s writing?

Life According to Steph

Giving Thanks -TBB Asks-

I wasn’t sure what to write today (thus the late post), but I’ve seen this link-up floating around and figured why not. Linking up with The Blended Blog.

1) Gratitude Journal? I’ve tried. I started one in October but I’m terrible at remembering to write.

2) Hosted Thanksgiving? I don’t think I’ve ever hosted this holiday. I usually host Easter for K’s family. That’s my holiday. And I like to host because ham is the Easter meat and I don’t like ham so I usually serve something else 😀

3) Favorite food? Can I say turkey skin…? Seriously, though. And real mashed potatoes. YUM.

4) Nature: I love the stars. I could stare at them for hours. I’m also a big fan of trees & mountains.

5) Pumpkin pie? I’m not a huge fan of pie, but I’ll eat pumpkin as long as the whipped cream dollop is roughly the same size as the pie slice.

6) Traditional cookbook? Sure, but also Pinterest & Google.

7) Oven Baked or Deep-Friend Turkey? I don’t think I’ve ever had the latter. I’d love to try it!

8) Thanksgiving Leftovers? Um. Duh. Turkey, lettuce, tomato sandwiches allllll week.

9) Household product? The vacuum. #dogproblems

10) Home cooked meals or restaurant meals? Pretty much always home cooked.

In response to yesterday, I’m so freakin’ happy to see some representation in our politics. We have a long way to go, but so many women, citizens of color, and openly gay politicians took over their state’s representation. I think that’s awesome and a great start. 

Tell me about your Thanksgiving favorites!

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 2000s

Ok. How the heck are we at “2000s”? I swear we just kicked this thing off with 1900s/1910s. So crazy how fast this year went in Blogland. Don’t forget– next month we’re hosting a LINK-UP for any and all period dramas, historical/fiction books, and historical movies that you want to review or share!! That will be Tuesday, December 4th!

(Check out Alexandra’s post today, too!)

And now on to the sweet 2000s.

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!

I thought it was hard to find books set in the 2000s.

B O O K S

One of my all time favorite books is The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein). The reader is introduced to Enzo and his family- and Enzo is a dog. It is one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, real books I’ve ever read. And of course I loved it because Enzo is named after the same person/car that my Enzo is named after 🙂

I have no idea why, but The Royal We (Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan) is one of those stories that has stuck with me. I already loved the royals (whom this book is not-so-loosely based on), but something about the personalities and hardships of each character in this book really stuck with me. It’s kind of long, but I enjoyed all the drama and romance and parallels.

M O V I E S

(2001) It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Save the Last Dance but I loved this movie when I was a teenager. Julia Stiles is such an underrated actress and the whole love story between her and Sean Patrick Thomas’ character is beautiful.

(2001) Does anyone NOT love The Princess Diaries (and also, has anyone not seen The Princess Diaries?!)? I love this adorable movie and the star power this one packs is insane. Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Sandra Oh… And Brink.

(2001, 2004, 2007) My love for the Ocean’s movies knows no bounds (including Ocean’s 8!!). I’ll admit that, as far as the male cast movies go, 11 is my favorite with 13 being a close second. I’m crossing my fingers that we get a 9 and 10 (with the ladies!) because this franchise is the best.

(2004) My favorite Pixar movie is The Incredibles. I love the story and the musical score and each character. Violet and Dash’s relationship is my favorite. I haven’t seen The Incredibles 2 yet but I need to!

(2006) It’s no surprise that Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby shows up on my list. We probably watch it every time it’s on TV and we definitely quote it daily. Damn- it’s just so funny and good and quotable. Especially for a NASCAR lover.

*dates indicate both when the movie was released AND when I think it was set

B O N U S

I mentioned The West Wing in our 90s post but most of it takes place in the 2000s. Seriously guys, if you haven’t watch it yet, DO IT.

Has everyone already seen The Office? It’s hysterical and awkward (and mildly not PC). Easy to binge, easy to follow, good mindless television.

On Deck…

Middle school/high school (without Hulu or Netflix) made me miss a lot of good shows. I’d love to watch:

  • Veronica Mars
  • Friday Night Lights
  • 30 Rock

Be sure to hope over to Alexandra’s blog and check out her recommendations!

Next month we are linking up & we want you to join us!

Did you watch or read any of our suggestions from year? Maybe you thought of your own recommendations and you’ve been waiting for the right time to share them! Perhaps you just *happened* to read a book from the 1950s and you want to review it!

There’s no right or wrong way to link-up with us! Just do it! We will see you December 4th for our final Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration post!! Join us, won’t you?

Check out our past posts from this series: 19101920193019401950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990

A Crisp Morning Coffee Date

I show up for our coffee dates about every 2 months it seems. I’m a little late with this one. Oops!

Linking up with Kristen for What’s New With You? today.

If we were sitting down for coffee I’d have to lament about the end of my favorite month. October kicks off the best quarter of the year (in my opinion) and it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to the month. But I’m excited that the holidays are around the corner!

If we were having coffee I’d admit that I’m still recovering from our quick 5 day trip to Daufuskie Island, SC. My best friend & I drove through the night (Wednesday) to surprise our other best friend, who was on vacation with her girlfriend. We had been planning it for months and the surprise was perfect. Our time on the island was so relaxing. Here’s a link to the super quick video of the surprise: https://splice.gopro.com/v?id=yPjm4K

While sipping on our pumpkin lattes or maple coffees I’d probably gush about some of my birthday gifts. K got me tickets to see the Columbus orchestra play at a screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 🙂 My mother-in-law spoils me with a week of birthday gifts and some of my absolute favorites this year included this pillow, this skirt, and this wine stopper!

I’d also share about the new underwear I just got! (A little weird, I know, but what better way to end 2018 than cleaning out your delicates drawer and adding some comfy, quality undergarments?) Tommy Johns Underwear reached out to me a few weeks ago and set me up with some ah. may. zing. underwear. So soft and comfortable, dang near invisible, and it stays in place. I got a pair of their Cool Cotten Cheeky, Second Skin Brief, and Air Cheeky. I’m not kidding when I say I love these styles and all three materials!

When draining our adorably fall coffee mugs I’d ask if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve done it every year, but never to completion. I’d really like to push myself to do it this year… I haven’t decided which novel idea to conquer, though.

Before we pull on our coats and dig for our keys I’d ask about your holiday plans. Are you doing anything fun for Thanksgiving? We have a business trip this month, then we’re spending a little bit of time in Williamsburg on a family vacation. I love historic little villages & I’m super excited. November is kind of crazy for us and I’m hoping for a slower December. How about you?

Sigh. I guess our coffee date would have to come to a close now… I’d head back to work & hopefully you’d head off and do something fun (like an apple orchard or pumpkin patch- fall isn’t over yet!).

Share with me what you’ve been doing this fall & tell me about your early winter plans!

Happy Halloween (Tag)

Tomorrow is HALLOWEEN!!

Tonight is trick-or-treating in my town & I’m so excited. I carved some pumpkins last night for the big day! Also, Saturday is our annual Halloween party so stay tuned for pics from that!

For today’s post I’m borrowing this Halloween tag from Stephanie. I’m adding to it, though.

Favorite Halloween movie? Beetlejuice. I don’t know if that’s considered Halloween or just creepy- but I love it.
Least Favorite Halloween movie? I don’t watch any slasher flicks, so I guess those would be my least favorite. Also… Hocus Pocus isn’t my favorite at. all. I know I’m in the minority here.

Favorite Halloween (or Halloween adjacent) song? Dave Matthews Band has a song called Halloween that I love.
Least Favorite Halloween song? I don’t really like Black Magic Woman or Somebody’s Watching Me. But I honestly don’t feel that strongly about it. Lol

Favorite candy? I don’t love candy but Twix bars, runts (the bananas!), and gobstoppers.
Least favorite candy? Candy corn is ew. Whoopers are ew. Peppermint Patties are ew. There’s a TON of candy I don’t like…

Favorite costume you’ve worn? Oh man… I don’t know. I’ve been Wednesday Addams & loved it. I was a Rockford Peach one year with Kyle as Jimmy Dugan. I’ve loved the majority of my costumes. My mom made me a princess dress one year- it was awesome. I’m SO excited for our costumes this year!!
Least favorite costume? My freshman year of college I went to a party and I was a “sexy librarian.” I was actually a mess and I HATE that I went with that. First because of the stupid “sexy” adjective but also because the costume suuuuuuuuuuucked. Shame on freshman Audrey.

Favorite Halloween related activity? As an adult, it’s our annual Halloween Party 🙂 I’ve always looked forward to decorating the house, trick-or-treating, and carving pumpkins.
Least favorite activity? I honestly thought I’d love passing out candy but our neighborhood is dull. Hopefully as they continue to develop it we get more kids!

Favorite Halloween decor item?  I just bought a vulture this year and I love him!! I named him Edgar. (I got him from Target.) I love all my decorations!
Least favorite…? Who are we kidding. I only keep the stuff I love and I love it all.

Favorite Halloween memory?  I remember getting dressed every year and setting out into the neighborhood with my parents and brother. We’d always run into friends in the neighborhoods behind our house, and then I’d creep around with them. We were the only kids on our street so our neighbors put together HUGE bags of candy and full size bars for us. It was great!
Also, my mom has always been SUPER into Halloween and I think that’s where I get it from. She still dresses up each year and goes all out in her 1st grade classroom!

I hope everyone has a safe & spooky & spectacular Halloween!

Share your favorite costumes or memories with me!

Showing Up & Being A Friend

I scheduled this post to go live at noon because about an hour ago my best friend and I showed up on an island 600+ miles from home to surprise our other best friend. I highly doubt she’d have read my blog this morning, but we’ve been working on making this happen for a few months now and I didn’t want to be the one to blow it. Shout out to Kayla for making the long-ass through-the-night drive with me & to Megan for essentially putting this whole thing into motion.

A big theme in blog world is finding your people or finding your tribe or keeping close to framily or… You know what I mean. We call them different things, but they’re the people that (usually) aren’t related by blood that we’d do absolutely anything for.

I had lots of friends in school and I hopped around a lot. In elementary school I considered a girl named Lindsey to be my bff (but I had many, many close friends). In middle school I fell in with a girl named Ali. In high school my best friend’s name was Sam & in college it was Sarah. I still talk to those woman, sometimes often (except one- which hopefully maybe will change as we get older?), but we’re not best friends and we’ve all gone our separate ways and we’re doing really well.

It makes me sad that young Audrey let those relationships crumble, but I also know that some people are in our lives forever and some aren’t, and there are different levels of involvement those people have throughout our lives.

That makes me all the more grateful when I think about my people right now. We show up for each other’s birthdays. When we get a few free minutes we hop on the phone and try to catch up between meal prep or kids’ doctor appointments or client visits. Anything noteworthy is immediately shared in the group text where successes are celebrated and disappointments are lamented. We’re spread out and busy, but we make the time because we love one another.

Also, I LOVE blogging because I’ve met so many amazing, supportive, genius, beautiful, strong women here! (And you guys showering me with birthday wishes last week made my heart burst.) So I fully believe tribes can be found off and online, as well as with people you haven’t met face-to-face.

What I’m getting at here is: Find your people. Find your tribe. Grow your family to framily. Invest in the bank of friendship and don’t be afraid to ask for that love and support back- it’s why they’re there. And if things change that’s ok. People change and circumstances change. You know the people you know for a reason- even if it’s not forever.

So send a text to your friend or give them a call. Hell, write them a letter! (I love getting letters.) Remember to show up & make the time & give the energy. Be there when they need you most and accept them into your space when things aren’t going well. It really is what friends are for ❤

Chats with K

Last Saturday marked 11 years with Kyle. The original “chat with K” occurred on that day in 2007.

Me: Guess what? My parents finally decided it’d be ok* if we dated!
K: Cool!
Me: …so…?
K: Well, I guess we’re dating now.

Always the romantic, friends.
*There’s an age gap between us (and I was 17) so we wanted our relationship to be ok with my parents before we called a square a square.

Alright, now our more recent conversations…

I have a lot of these today…


K: If we have a kid that wants to race go-karts I could get behind that. I’d sponsor the shit out of their car.
Me: The fact that you just said “kid” and not “son” is pretty much why I married you.


Me: If you were going to throw me a surprise party what would I want?
K: Quidditch.
Me: I… uh… yeah, actually. But that’s not what I was going to say.
K: That’s because I know you better than you know you.


Me: What time are we starting this landscaping project on Saturday?
K: Your dad and I will probably go get the stone around 6am.
Me: …so I should probably reschedule my 8am massage?
K: *glares* I’d say use your best judgement.


K kills a flying against the counter with his hand and looks at me proudly.
Me: You’re gonna clean that up, right?
K calls Lylee over and swipes the dead fly onto the floor. Dog eats it.
K: I did it.


While driving in the car…
K: Pick some music to jam out to. You always want to talk. I don’t get to jam with you in the car anymore.
Me: I would LOVE to not talk to you and jam out, thanks.


Me: I think you think I’m mean to you.
K *grumbles*
Me: I’m not mean to you. I just treat you like an adult. Don’t you want to be treated like an adult?
K: *sneezes all over the seat next to him without covering his mouth and grins* Does that answer your question?


After bitching at him for leaving clothes all over the kitchen…
Me: Kyle, I work hard all day and then come straight home and clean. You come straight home and mess.
K: But what would you clean if I didn’t mess? We’re like two peas.
Me: It’s about to get murderous up in this pod.


Me: Make me an egg.
K just looks at me.
Me: Enzo, go make me an egg.
K: You’ve eaten several time today.
Me: It’s called “healthy”, Kyle. It improves your metabolism.
K: …one of those times it was Doritos.

That’ll do it for this round of chats.