End of September Movie Update

HEY! It’s almost October! (In other words, THE BEST MONTH OF THE YEAR!)

Remember back in August I decided to do this movie challenge? (Here’s the original post.) Well, to keep you up to date I will post about it at the end of each month. (It ends November 30th.) I’m fairly confident I can get through more than half of these movies. I love reading, but it takes energy that I just don’t have on weekday nights after spending the day typing/staring at a computer screen. Movies are actually an easy way to unwind and I can pause them to change the laundry/cook dinner/let the dogs out!


Alright, here’s what I’ve watched so far!

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (September 1)
I picked this movie because it’s a movie about something miraculous (Ferris never gets caught). I think it’s weird that I’ve never seen this movie. I also think the name “Ferris” is weird. I also had no idea that he breaks the 4th wall or that it is a such a crude movie! My favorite characters were definitely Jeanie, Cameron, and Grace (the secretary). Honestly, I thought Ferris was a bit of a jerk. Then again, we were all jerks in high school. I loved that the high school students in this film look average- they had zits, they had on clothes that normal teenagers would wear, and they weren’t models. Overall, I give it 5/10 stars.

Roman Holiday (September 5)
Audrey Hepburn is so darn cute. Can you say #eyebrowgoals? Gregory Peck ain’t bad looking either 😉 I loved this movie and I didn’t think I would. I love how Peck has a change of heart and I love the confidence Hepburn has in him the entire time. I read this is the film that made Audrey a star. So glad to have finally watched it! I give it 8/10 stars!

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (September 4)
I managed to catch this one on the BBC so I didn’t have to dig at the library. K even joined me for the second half (whoa!). Honestly, I didn’t find this movie as entertaining as I thought I would, though I loved Morgan Freeman. I never thought I’d say this, but I absolutely prefer Prof. Snape- Alan Rickman was so easy to hate as the sheriff! The movie was entertaining, but it was long. Overall, I liked the twist on an well known story, but I prefer my Disney fox-Robin Hood, haha. I give it 4/10 stars.

Tangled (September 5)
I’m so ashamed that I hadn’t seen this movie. Even K has seen it before! (He still watched it with me, though! Yay!) I thought it to be a cute Disney movie and I love that Rapunzel fought to make her own decisions and ended up figuring everything out on her own. Maybe it’s because I watched them on the same day, but I saw so many similar trends in this movie and Roman Holiday: A girl just wanting a day of freedom, a boy with less-than-honorable intentions that has a change of heart, two people blindly trusting one another (and falling in love). I give this movie 7/10 stars.

Chocolat (September 10)
When people read my list they all said how much they love this movie. Well, make room, folks, because I’m joining the fan club, too. I loved the messages in this cute little 2-hour film. I loved how heavy and light this movie was, all at the same time. I love Judy and Johnny and the little girl. The idea of personal struggle and healing and forgiveness is such a timeless message. I really, really loved this film! I give it 10/10 stars for sure!

Aloha (September 26)
(I made a switch and this is my new twenty-four: any set in a country you would most like to visit…*state, in this case) I really wanted to love this movie. I love the actors (and their characters!), so I had very high hopes for this one. I watched it on vacation with friends and they just weren’t feeling it… and neither was I, sadly. The movie moved way too fast and the non-romantic story-line was really hard to understand and follow. I enjoyed the romantic plot and the lessons learned, and I think I would’ve enjoyed the military-esque plot had it been more clear, but I just didn’t think it was a good movie. Really disappointed, guys. Ugh. I give it 4/10 stars.

I am seriously having so much fun with this challenge!! I thought I’d have more crossed off my list by now, but hopefully October brings some downtime to watch more movies! Checkout what I still have yet to watch/review:

one: any set in new york city | One Fine Day
two: any incorporating hot air balloons in the story | Mysterious Island
three: any featuring a child as the main character | The Sandlot
four: any Disney film | Tangled
five: any set in Egypt OR that has an Egyptian character OR that stars an Egyptian actor/actress | Death on the Nile
six: a close friend or family member’s favorite film | Crazy Stupid Love
seven: any with the word great in the title | The Great Muppet Caper
eight: any starring Harrison Ford | Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
nine: any featuring an idiot as the main character | National Lampoon’s Vacation
ten: any mentioned in levis strauss’ list: Denim in the Oscars: A Look at Jeans in Cinema | Rear Window
eleven: a film about a knight | Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
twelve: a love story | Chocolat
thirteen: a movie about something miraculous | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
fourteen: any starring an actor/actress with the same first name as yours | Roman Holiday
fifteen: a film about the Olympics | The Cutting Edge
sixteen: a film on Time magazine’s list: The Top Ten Newspaper Movies | All the President’s Men
seventeen: any with a question in the title | How Do You Know?
eighteen: any with a score of ninety percent or greater on Rotten Tomatoes | The LEGO Movie
nineteen: a film about a superhero | Antman
twenty: any with subtitles | The Lunchbox
twenty-one: any incorporating unicorns in the story | Inkheart
twenty-two: a film about a personal victory | The Grand Budapest Hotel
twenty-three: a film with black or white in the title | Dear White People
twenty-four: any set in a country you would most like to visit | Aloha (formerly The Queen)
twenty-five: a film set in a zoo | Zookeeper

Points so far: 60/250 (each movie is 10 points)


Watch any good movies this month? Tell me about them!

Another Weekend in the Books | #gratefulheart

Short & sweet today, friends. I’m home from my girls’ beach vacation and last night I felt incredibly blessed to open the back door to two excited dogs and a cheerful husband. What did I do to deserve such unconditional love? I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel and relax with friends. I’m also incredibly thankful to have a husband that holds down the fort and doubles the love for the dogs for a few days in my absence. I also got a 1am phone call, which can be a really good thing or a really bad thing, and thankfully it was excellent news! (More on that later- I promise!)

For now, I’m happy to be back at work, back in Ohio, and back to my side of the king-size bed, smothered by dogs and soothed by K’s breathing.


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Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

In the Midst of Music

A few weeks ago K and I went to a Foo Fighters concert near Pittsburgh, PA. Some people settle for one concert a year (and I guess there are some people that never go to concerts?!) but we decided to go hard and hit three this year- two in a row last week!

Last Thursday we took off to Cleveland with friends to see Ben Rector and Judah & the Lion in Cleveland, and on Friday we went back to PA to see Lady Antebellum, Sam Hunt, and Hunter Hayes. I was a tired girl when the weekend finally hit.


(Ben & the band specifically posed for a photo so we could all take one and put our phones away to enjoy the concert.)
(Ben & the band posed for a photo so we could all take one and put our phones away to enjoy the concert.)

On Thursday we headed north, met up with our friends Andy & Kelsey, and continued on to the House of Blues in Cleveland. Kyle surprised me a few weeks ago and said he actually wanted to go to this concert by a guy named Ben Rector. Since it’s incredibly rare to get K to take a day/night off I was all about this little mid-week date night. Then he invited Andy and his wife, and it turned into a party! Woo!

Props to the photo-bomber...
Props to the photo-bomber…

We dined on the patio at the HOB and headed in for the opening act, Judah & the Lion. It was standing room only (heels were a bad choice) but it was a great show by both performers!

If you're ever in Cleveland for the night E 4th Street has some cool restaurants and such.
If you’re ever in Cleveland for the night E 4th Street has some cool restaurants.

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These guys were so entertaining! I would totally see them again!
These guys were so entertaining! I would totally see them again!

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Music 2

Turns out this was the first show of their Brand New Tour and Ben Rector totally admitted to still working out kinks. It was a great show and the talent of all the musicians was well worth the pain my feet were in and the lack of sleep I got that night.


Since we were so well rested and energetic the next day we did it all again, this time in Pittsburgh with Lady Antebellum. (Sidenote: We were not well rested nor energetic. RIP the days of college and all-nighters.) This time we were a little less impressed… Sam Hunt definitely rocked First Niagara Pavilion, but Hunter Hayes was a serious mess. Lady A was ok, but K made the comment that they seem to take themselves a little to seriously. And I agree.

Anyway, it was a fun night and we had a good time.

Waiting for the show to start!
Waiting for the show to start!

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Having a house party with Sam Hunt :)
Having a house party with Sam Hunt 🙂

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The sunset was more interesting than Hunter Hayes...
The sunset was more interesting than Hunter Hayes…

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Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum

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(I swear he had fun. He just hates selfies.)
(I swear he had fun. He just hates selfies.)

And that wraps up our summer concert series 🙂 Hands down, the Foo Fighters were my favorite. Thursday night was a close second, though. K is hoping to find a concert at our favorite venue this winter for us to attend. (The venue is a converted church-to-concert hall in Pittsburgh.) We’ll see if anything comes up!

If you could see any band/singer at any venue, who and where would you choose??




Cruelty-Free Skin Care Picks

Today I am SO EXCITED to team up with Stephanie over at Not Entirely Perfect to bring you some of our favorite cruelty-free toiletry items! Stephanie recently posted about cruelty-free make-up products and did a wonderful job explain the catch 22 with China’s requirements as well as the loophole that is “parent companies.” Go check it out so you’re all caught up for today’s post!

I’ve been meaning to blog about my cruelty-free products for so long and Stephanie finally gave me the push I needed! Here we will be looking at cruelty-free skin care products and when you’re done you can head over to her page to read about hair care products!

All products have a link to their websites.

Cruelty 1

daily moisturizer: beautycounter every day am hydrating cream | night moisturizer: the body shop aloe vera soothing night cream | cleanser: lush coalface cleanser (bar) | face wipes: yes to coconut cleansing wipes | toner: arbonne clear advantage clarifying toner | acne treatment: burt’s bees spot treatment cream * | anti-aging: mango madness retinol skin cream | exfoliate: alba good & clean toxic release scrub

Cruelty 2

sunscreen: badger organic unscented sunscreen with zinc | deodorant: toms of maine naturally dry antiperspirant * | scented lotion: gud mango moonbreeze natural body lotion | unscented lotion: beauty without cruelty hand & body lotion, fragrance free | bodywash: ahava mineral botanic cream wash | bug spray: the honest company bug spray

* These companies are owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free.

Now go checkout some cruelty-free hair care favorites with Stephanie!

Honestly, it’s not too terribly hard to consciously buy cruelty-free skin care/make-up/hair care. I also use humane cleaning and laundry supplies. There are so many new, cruelty-free companies emerging in the market. If you are looking for a monthly box to subscribe to check out petit vour. Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company is also a monthly box that includes toiletries, home care, and baby products- great for those that have children! I also have an app on my phone called “Cruelty-Cutter” that allows me to scan items at the store and it tells me right away if they test on animals. (It’s not free, but it’s worth it. The group that created the app is the Beagle Freedom Project, who dedicates their time to freeing animals from testing laboratories. How cool is that?! )

Once you fill your home with cruelty-free products your stomach will turn at the thought of buying inhumane brands. Sorry, but it’s just a side-effect of buying consciously 🙂 Let me (or Stephanie) know if you have any questions or want any help converting to a cruelty-free lifestyle!

What are some of your favorite cruelty-free products?


My Number 1 has Type 1

Guys… I’m so excited to write this post today. I’d like to introduce you to my best friend Erica. She’s made a few appearances in baby related posts (like the baby shower post & Elliot Rose’s birth) but today is all about her!


When I first met Erica I was am 100% convinced she hated me. But that’s a story for a rainy day. In the Summer of 2009 Erica  and I started down the long, easy road of best-friendship. Between Bollywood dance parties and dinosaur rehearsals and pre-wedding pep talks and matching cat shirts, there’s no one more qualified to be one of my best friends.

Just before Erica and I discovered one another’s awesomeness, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, known as juvenile diabetes. I wasn’t close with Erica during her diagnosis, but I know that it was a total shock to her system. T1 diabetes is not associated with weight or exercise, but Erica has always been fit and healthy so, regardless, it was tough news to take in.

Let me pause and tell you about Erica. She is a physical therapist assistant and a wedding planner. She can ride a motorcycle and she’s gone skydiving. In high school Erica traveled the country in a bus and performed in stadiums all over the US. She’s a mentally, physically, and emotionally tough lady. She’s a mom, a firefighter’s wife, and a damn good best friend.

Erica 4
Don’t even get me started on her sense of humor. Do you get their Halloween costume? HAHA! #milkman

If anyone can handle the challenges and emotions that come with diabetes, it’s Erica. But I really wish my friend didn’t have to handle it. I wish she didn’t have to monitor her sugar levels while planning for and carrying Elliot. I wish she didn’t need to sew a pocket into the lining of her wedding dress to hold her medical equipment. I wish she didn’t have to prick her finger in the middle of sophisticated (adult) drink night. I wish there was a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Our weddings!
Our weddings!

On Saturday, September 19th K and I are joining Erica and her friends & family to walk for a cure with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. If you feel so inclined, you can donate to the cause HERE.

Erica is very active in every role she fills, but her diagnosis has since lit a new fire inside her. She is dedicated to her own health as well as supporting the health of other men and women going through life with juvenile diabetes. She is open about her struggles and triumphs with T1D and she is passionate about helping others live an active, healthy, adventurous life. Erica isn’t defined or limited by diabetes; she’s motivated and driven by it- driven to help others, stay fit, and find a cure.

Erica 1

Thanks for reading, everyone. Please educate yourself on T1D and say a little prayer for those wishing, hoping, and walking for a cure. Type 1 diabetes can affect anyone. Once again, if you’d like to donate to the JDRF you can do that HERE.


JDRF One Walk

God’s Work, Our Hands

This is going to be a crazy week for me (T-minus 9 days until I leave for the beach!), but to kick it off I spent my Sunday volunteering at a local animal shelter. For the third year in a row my church participated in God’s Work, Our Hands- the ELCA’s day of service.


We had a light lunch on Sunday and then some folks headed to a wilderness preserve while others spent time with residents at a local nursing home. My group of volunteers headed to the local humane society to walk some dogs and spread love to the kitties. *Links to adoptable animals*

Mom playing tug-o-war with Dale.

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Hunter spending some time with Mitch.

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Sam talking with Falco & cuddling Grazey.

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Mom petting Atticus, Allie following Lindy, & Mom keeping an eye on Beast.

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Kim & Mom giving Cleo some love.

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Ended the day with some pumpkin ice cream from Milk & Honey!

Shelters break my heart and I always come home ready to open my own. (It’s a dream of mine!) I love the excitement that spreads across the face of a dog when he realizes you’ve chosen him to take outside. Or when a cat suddenly melts into the palm of your hand because you spent an extra 5 minutes giving her some love. Say a little prayer that all our furry friends find their forever-homes really soon! (Not pictures but super loveable: Sashie, Grace, Tinsel, & Cheif!)

What did you do this Sunday? Have I ever mentioned that Sunday is my favorite day of the week? I was so exhausted last night (and grateful to have my dogs home and safe) that I curled up with Lylee and passed out in my hoodie and jeans! Oops!

**This week I will posting a link to my donation page for Erica for our JDRF Walk this weekend. Any donation helps (and prayers for a cure are always appreciated, too)! Donate HERE!


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, y’all! I’m so happy the weekend is here! And it only took four days to arrive since Monday was labor-less! On Saturday K and I are are headed to a wedding (which I know will be breathtakingly gorgeous) and on Sunday I’m volunteering with my church (read about it here!). Yay for Friday!


Today is going to be a random hodgepodge of things, so stick with me to the end so you can experience allll my ramblings.


Reading… Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman. I haven’t decided if I like this book yet… It doesn’t move very fast, but I’m only 1/4 through it, so time will tell.

Watching… the movies on my fall film challenge list! I have roughly 5 completed, and I will do an update on October 2nd! The first one I crossed off was Ferris Bueller… Bueller… Bueller 😉

Listening to… Ben Rector and Lady Antebellum. We are going to two concerts next week (one on Thursday in Cleveland and one on Friday in Pittsburgh) so I’m trying to learn some last minute lyrics! Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this… hehe!

Waiting for… FALL! Summer will not relent and she’s is trying to squeeze in as many hazy, hot days as she can. I hope I get my hands on a PSL this weekend!!

Remembering… where I was 14 years ago. It’s incredible to think how much time has gone by since 9/11 but I can still visualize that day like it was last week. Today is a day to smile at your neighbor, thank a servicemember, and say a prayer thanking God for our blessings and opportunities!

Check It Out!

My amazing friend Dana shows you how to make a plaque with you favorite quote or saying! She’s so darn creative and this is a great looking, inexpensive way to find the perfect quote for a friend (or for your living room)!

Danielle talks about the highs and lows of adopting an “at risk” dog. She is such a dedicated, smart dog momma! Check out the progress she and her husband (and Lexi!) have made! Plus you get to swoon over the cutest photos of Lexi!

Speaking Of…

This weekend is PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend! Both of our fur babies were adopted from a humane society or rescue. Did you know that 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds?? I think some people believe there’s something wrong with a rescue dog (or mutt) but usually the previous owner just didn’t know that extent of responsibilities and work a pet requires. Many shelter animals are between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old because that’s when the cuteness has “worn off” and it’s evident that they were not given any training. If you are looking to add four paws to your family I urge you to check out a local shelter or rescue group! So many pups, kitties, bunnies, and more are waiting for their forever homes!!

Last but Not Least

I found this questionnaire from Nelle at Simply Love and now I’m going to share a bit about me with you!

| 1 | Favorite food? I looove seafood. Fish, shellfish, seaweed (ok, the last one is a stretch).
| 2 | High heels or flip flops? Typically flip-flops but when I find some comfortable heels I love pairing them with skinny jeans!
| 3 | Favorite places to shop? Target. But also World Market and Old Navy. And Marshalls. I love a deal!
| 4 | Standard coffee order? Oh geez. There is no standard. At the local coffee shop I get a Tea Latte ( 1/2 earl gray, 1/2 steamed milk + vanilla syrup ) but at Starbucks I go for a PSL, Cinnamon Dolce latte, or Caramel Brulee latte. And at home I just do coffee with milk.
| 5 | Must-have road-trip snack? Coffee. But also beef jerky. Is that weird? Haha!
| 6 | DIY or hire it out? Ehhh, it really depends on the task. We usually try to DIOS (do it our selves). Ha!
| 7 | Top 5 TV shows? Once Upon a Time, Downton Abbey, The Mindy Project, Blue Bloods (reruns), & Cold Case.
| 8 | Favorite book? My favorite classic is Alice in Wonderland. I love the Harry Potter series. I also love Philipa Gregory books.
| 9 | Favorite form of exercise? Hot yoga. It’s the only exercise I enjoy.
| 10 | How tall are you?  5’5″
| 11 | Do you try something new at restaurants or stick to your favorites? I tend to stick to favorites at our regular restaurants, but when we go on vacation I love trying new things!
| 12 | One makeup item you can’t live without? Concealer. My teenage acne is now my twenties acne. UGH.
| 13 | What’s on your nightstand? A lamp, a bottle of water, my stuffed bunny, my Gameboy DS, and roughly 7 books.
| 14 | One thing motherhood has taught you? I’m not a mom. But I love my dogs more than anything and I love my “niece” Elliot more than I thought possible.
| 15 | Music that reminds you of high school? Oh man… Anything alternative. Fallout Boy, The Academy Is…, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Used, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, etc.
| 16 | If you could live anywhere in the world other than your current city, where would it be? Switzerland. Hands down, no discussion.
| 17 | Something about you we might not know? Between us, my parents, and my in-laws we have 10 pets. When I was 6 I broke my shin/leg (both bones). My favorite color is yellow.
| 18 | Websites you read/browse besides blogs? Pinterest, Facebook, other social media sites. Plus blogs, haha.
| 19 | Morning person or night owl? I’m a night owl but I’m trying so desperately to wake up and enjoy mornings!
| 20 | What’s your best feature? My curiosity. I like to know why things happen which leads to learning and reading and exploring and traveling.


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What are you weekend plans?