What I Read… August 2016

Last time I mentioned that I was going to switch it up. This is a trial run so if you see something you like or dislike versus my old format, please let me know!


This month I finished 3 books. Pictures are linked to their GoodRead’s page. Here’s the grading curve:

Book Rating

Ok, Let’s do it.

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver || ★★★★/5 Death_Wears_A_Mask
Summary: Milo & Amory Ames find themselves back in the midst of marital strife and cheeky murder. Together they must make a decision about their future as well as help to solve the case of missing jewels and a masked murderer. | Why I Read It: I read Weaver’s first book & just knew I needed to read #2. | What I Thought: I really love Amory and her crime solving intuition. I felt like she was a little less helpless and damsel-in-distress-y in this book and I appreciated that. I also found myself liking Milo more. The murder had me guessing all the way up until the end, though there were some loose ends with certain characters that left me unsatisfied. It was light and quick, but a smart, fun murder mystery!
You Should Read It Because… it has likable characters, it keeps you guessing, & it has a touch of British humor. Bonus points if you’re a fan of the 1920s/1930s era.


Harry Potter & The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne || ★★/5
Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_childSummary: This story picks up 19 years after The Battle of Hogwarts. We’re reunited with Harry and friends and we meet Albus, HP’s middle child, then embark on a new adventure to save the wizarding world. | Why I Read It: Um. Duh. #Potterhead | What I Thought: I tend to think of the HP books and movies as two separate things. I guess I’ll have to think of the play as a third “thing” because I just couldn’t get on board. All of Harry’s 4th-year-angst was channeled through his son this time. I felt like this was JK’s chance to explain time travel, highlight Harry’s adult flaws, and prove all the Ron/Hermione haters wrong. The story felt forced. I’m so sad to say that… I did love Scorpius Malfoy, though. He was perfection.
You Should Read It Because… you’re obsessed with Harry Potter. Anyone else wouldn’t understand the plot. Then again, I could’ve lived without the continuation of the story- so do whatever you want.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan || ★★★★/5 the royal we
Summary: A story detailing roughly 8 years of royal love and loss between passionate Bex and regal Nick, as well as their loyal friends and quirky families. | Why I Read It: I think everyone has this one their to-read list… I love the real royal couple and this book met a requirement with Erin’s reading challenge. | What I Thought: I mentally had three stars assigned to this book until the last hundred pages- it seriously sucked me in. It’s a very long read, but it never lost my interest. The length of the book gave me time to get to know and befriend every character. Even when they messed up royally (pun intended) I loved them and hoped for the best. There were twists that I didn’t expect and betrayals that I couldn’t have predicted. It was long, but it was worth it.
You Should Read It Because… you’re actually a hopeless romantic who secret googles pictures of Kate Middleton and the perfect royal children. Or because you’re looking for a light-yet-fulfilling end-of-summer read.

. . .

And now an update on Erin’s Reading Challenge:

| 5 points | Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages: Cress by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Read a book that starts with the letter “R”: The Royal We by Heather Cocks
| 10 points | Read a book with five words in the title: The Lady of The River by Philippa Gregory
| 15 points | Read a book that has a (mostly) blue cover: The Selection by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | Read a book with twins as characters: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | Read a book from this list of books made into movies: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
| 25 points | Read a book set in a country you have always wanted to visit: Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (England)
| 30 points | Read a historical fiction book: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
| 30 points | Read a music related book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire
| 35 points | Read a book originally published over 100 years ago: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

So I’m at 120 out of 200 points. This is the best I’ve ever done- I’m a little more proud of myself than I should be… ha.

What books did you read this month? What’d you think of HP and the Cursed Child?

Linking up with Carolann & Michelle/Cat/Alison for Reading Lately.


The 2017 Planner

No one is giving me money or a free dog to write this post. I wanted this planner so I contacted the company and asked them if I could get a coupon code for myself & my blog friends. And apparently the people at Plum Paper are angels because they sent all of us a code.


So here’s your code for 10% off (good until 11/30/2016):


And here’s my new planner:


I, like many bloggers and Type-A nuts professionals, love planners. I usually order my planner for the new year some time in August. When it arrives, I go crazy jotting down all the birthdays and events. I really love laying out my entire life on paper. Weird, but true.

Anyway, I browsed and browsed for the perfect planner because I’ve been using the same one for three years and I finally settled on Plum Paper. They offer the standard monthly and weekly pages, plus some extra spots for goal writing, important events, contact info, and doodles. They also have tabs for each month which makes flipping through SO much easier!


I chose to add on and asked for a “Bills Paid” page at the end of each month, as well as two sets of stickers!

Planner_4. . .


There are SO many different add-on options including fitness tracking, home planning, family planning, budgeting, and wedding planning (plus more). There are also dozens of cover images to pic from, but I loved the crisp, clean look of the flags. So like I said, here’s your code ( LIFE10 ) for 10% off a planner. I don’t get any money from this- just the joy of passing on savings 🙂 Enjoy!

** I am so grateful for the minds and souls that read my blog. I was so nervous to share my feminist post last week and I am just overwhelmed by the incredible, strong, badass women who responded. You are all the greatest.


Open Letters Link-Up

I’m linking up with Julie today with some open letters. Sadly, it’s the last time  😦

Dear Women,
Happy Equality Day! (I had no idea today was Women’s Equality Day when I wrote Wednesday’s post.) Keep fighting the fight. Climbing the ladders. Having the babies. Marrying men (or women) who see you as equal.  (Or don’t do any other those things- it’s your choice!) Yay for women and men!


. . .

Dear Mama Bunny,
I don’t know how you got away with nesting in our backyard, but I’m very grateful that you moved your family under the cover of night last weekend. We discovered your babes last Thursday and kept the dogs away, but I wasn’t sure how long I could hold them off. Glad you sensed the danger and skedaddled!

. . .

Dear Husband,
I wanted to make a FB post or share a million IG pictures of you on Thursday night, but I knew you wouldn’t like that. Instead, I just want to publicly tell you how much I absolutely love you for calling me at work on Thursday and asking me to come home and help with the rabbits. A lesser man would’ve continued to mow and just forgotten about the furry family. You worried about them all weekend and helped me check up on them and keep the mutts from nosing around their home. I love you so much and I’m grateful every single day for you ❤︎

. . .

Dear Husband again,
I love being married to someone who buys us concert tickets for a show that happens on a work-night in a city two hours away. We don’t get much sleep when you spontaneously make those purchases, but I’d gladly trade sleep for nights out with you.

. . .

Dear Ben Rector,
You concert was worth the road trip + lack of sleep. You and Colony House didn’t disappoint. Maybe next time come to Ohio on a weekend…? That’d be great.


. . .

Dear Sports Night,
We were really holding out that you’d be as good as The West Wing or The Newsroom. You’re not… That laugh tract is totally unbearable. I guess we’ll be skipping that Aaron Sorkin production and moving on to the next one.

. . .

Have a great weekend, friends!


A Hopeful Hood

I am a Woman & That’s OK

There are a million veins pumping blood and life into the issue of women’s rights but I’m going to try to touch on a small cube from the tip of the iceberg. Recent events such as the election and the Olympics have stirred the pot for me but the idea of it being “ok” that I’m a girl has always been something I’ve consciously thought about. a.k.a. Not apologizing for the fact that I’m female.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a young girl and she was openly asking me question after question about getting her period for the first time. Essentially, I reassured her that when she gets her period it’s going to be 100% normal and it’s nothing she should be embarrassed about. Frankly, it took me a long time to realize that myself. I was the kid who hid my face while bra shopping or buried the pads underneath the cereal boxes at the grocery store. Being a kid was hard enough but adding all that girl stuff on top of it?? Mortifying.


Why the hell are girls taught to be embarrassed about being “on our period.” Um. Hello. Thanks to that 5 or 6 day step in our cycle the female body is cleansed and prepped FOR EVERYONE IN THE WORLD TO BE BORN. So, essentially, you’re welcome. (Yes, Tr*mp, we do have blood coming out of who knows where. Your mother did, too, so she was able to birth your pathetic ass.) #SorryImNotSorry, but I’m not embarrassed to menstruate. I’m not embarrassed to say it (or type it). And if my face breaks out or my mood shift a little bit during that week (because of hormones which everyone has) I don’t feel the need to apologize because why the hell would I? I don’t answer to anyone as far as what mood I’m allowed to be in.

deal with it

So there’s that. But let’s take it a step further.

Did you catch the Olympic drama? (No, not the phony robbery story.) The part where people made a big deal out of the media focusing on the men that medal-winning female athletes are married to/coached by or “owe it all to.” Here’s my two cents: Being married to a man or being coached by a man is fine and dandy. Giving them a nod is fine and dandy. Being defined as so-and-so’s wife/daughter/friend is not fine and dandy. SAY HER NAME. SAY HER SPORT. MAKE HER THE HEADLINE. We work for our accomplishments and we own our accomplishments. When you boil it down, these women won their medals because of who they are- not because of anyone else. This is the story/tweet I’m specifically talking about.

Heaven forbid a woman (especially a married one) have her own identity.

(Am I blowing it out of proportion? I don’t think so. Men typically don’t have to deal with this shit. Why do we?)

We don’t owe it to anyone. No one permits me to do anything. I have double X chromosomes and that’s fine. I’m equal. Use our freaking names.

sloan 2

And another thing. A few days ago on the radio I was listening to a deejay rag on someone for taking his wife’s name. They he invited people to call in. A large majority said that women should just take the man’s name and get over it. (LOLOLOL seeing red right now.) <- I hope you felt the sass in that sentence.

I took my husband’s name. I didn’t have a problem with it. But if I’d wanted to keep mine then I’d have f-ing kept it. Because I have the right to do what I want with what I have. Get off our ovaries and you deal with it, DeeJay Dickhead.

sloan 1
I specifically sought out Sloan Sabbith gifs because she’s a feminist goddess and I love her.

Do not treat me as less of a human. Do not pay me less. Do not talk down to me. Why is this a hard concept?

So there’s where I stand on the whole matter. Menstruation, ovulation, vagina, ovaries, breasts, etc. are not taboo words. Every single person on this earth came from a woman so have some respect and treat us like equals and say our f-ing name.


Freddie Gets Married

I never talked much about my baby brother’s wedding so I figured I’d share a little bit today. Mostly it’s a photo dump with all untagged photos taken by Kylie Noelle Photography.

Fred & Christina got married on Saturday, July 23rd in Columbus, Ohio. They had a pretty large wedding party (8 and 8) but that made the set up and tear down a little easier. I’m sure it was different for other people, but I knew most of the groomsmen through Fred and I’d met all the bridesmaids during a shower or shopping trip, so the whole weekend was awesome. It’s way more enjoyable when you know the wedding group you’re a part of!

*First Look* Christina’s girls included her two cousins, her sister, four of her closest friends, and me
My handsome brother in the middle with the bow tie & my smokin’ hot husband to the left of him.

On Friday night all but one bridesmaid stayed at the hotel with Christina while the men crashed at Fred’s apartment. Our morning was laid back and included breakfast and primping. The music at the church didn’t start until 4:15pm so we had plenty of time to get (more) beautiful and excited!






Christina is a fashion guru & she didn’t miss a single detail. We all picked out our own dresses and shoes but it came together perfectly under her direction & guidance. As avid F. Scott Fitzgerald fans and lovers of the Art Deco movement, Fred and Christina steered the style in a direction Daisy Buchanan herself would envy.



The ceremony was spiritual and personal- a perfect balance that mirrors my brother & his wife’s relationship with one another and God. Apparently my family took bets as to if when I’d pass out in my heels. I’m happy to report I made it through the ceremony & out to the receiving line before I had to peel my shoes off. K was a sweaty mess in his heavy, burgundy tux… but damn he looked good 😉






As much as I love a good wedding ceremony, I’m alllll about that party reception! A few weeks before the wedding Fred asked if I’d give a toast. I don’t shy away from public speaking and I am so proud of my little brother so I accepted and spent days perfecting and practicing.


My favorite picture from the whole day!


The reception was at a theatre/ballroom, originally built in 1896. (The Columbus Athenaeum.) It was pretty awesome. The head table was on the stage and then was taken down to allow for a large dance floor. Since my best friend lives in Columbus I told her to pull on a dress and crash the wedding. There are no pictures, but she showed up after the meal and danced all night with me, then came out with us!

Not so flattering for me, but I love that this pic has my four cousins in it.


The party ended for most of the guests after the gorgeous sparkler exit… except my crazy parents and their friends and my in-laws; they took the party back to their hotel bar lobby with R. Kelly. And since we can’t turn down an invite from my dad we ended up at the hotel bar and then a late night taco restaurant. We finally hit the sack at 3:30am. (And then I drove Fred & Christina to the airport at 6am. WOOF.)


So there’s the recap of our crazy, fun, tiring, sleepless weekend at my brother & sister (in-law)’s wedding. Of course there are millions of little stories and funny moments from the day, but it’d take months to blog all that. Suffice it to say, if Fred & Christina’s wedding is any indication of their marriage it’s going to be long, fun, full of love, and total unpredictable. But only the best things are 🙂


*Like I said, kudos to Kylie Noelle and her gorgeous photography skills!!

Favorites & Love

Hey. It’s Friday.
On Monday I posted a picture of my planner showcasing the totally free, unscheduled week I had ahead of me. It was nice and relaxing and I only forced myself to do a little housework. This weekend is open, too. And K’s home for once. My little simple heart is quite happy.


So before I point you in the direction of other bloggers, let’s chill here for a minute.

Over the weekend DCI (Drum Corps International) had its finally competition in Indianapolis. K went, I stayed home. Here’s a super short clip from the 2016 Champs (The Bluecoats from Canton, OH!) that makes me laugh every time:

Maybe you saw this clip circulating the internet this season. That’s another drum corps.
Also, the cart she’s playing behind was built by my husband’s company 🙂

Moving on.

This week I got a GoodReads notification that Shilpi Somaya Gowda liked my review of her book! So that was cool. (Are we friends on GoodReads? Because we should be!)

And now some blogs for you 🙂

  • Rebecca Jo hits the nail on the head when it comes to life-timelines!
  • Christine takes her first whack at bullet journaling and it’s pure perfection! When I finally pull the trigger I’m looking to her for organization & artistic inspiration!
  • My IRL good friend Aubrey started a blog! Remember I talked about her in this post? Now she’s a fitness goddess and cooking guru!
  • Emily’s advice on parenting one’s self is so, so good!

Fingers-crossed that today flies by and I’m on my front porch with a glass of wine before I know it! What’re you doing this weekend?


The Drafts

Such an ambiguous title, right? I didn’t mean to make it so vague. I’m not talking about football or the army; I’m actually talking about the blog drafts that all of us have stored away in cyberspace. Well, I do at least.

I won’t lied. I was totally stuck on what to write about today. Nothing felt right. When that happens I usually consider skipping a day or even an entire week. (If my pattern isn’t obvious, I try to post Monday, Wednesday, Friday.) This week I looked through my draft posts, ended up cleaning them out and getting rid of 2/3, and then decided that the remaining few still didn’t fit for today.

And then I had a Jimmy Neutron brain blast. (Tell me I’m not the only one who remembers that stupid show…) Why not share all the drafts in my folder? Not in their full form, but just as a little preview for y’all of what’s to come (or not come, I guess… Depends on my mood).

I am a Woman & That’s OK
This is an angry feminist post. It almost went live today, but I held off. It’s not quite where I want it. Plus, it has some cursing (because it’s angry) and I know my family reads my blog so I need to edit it and/or just get past it. Ha. I’m sure something will happen soon enough that boils my blood and drives me to push “publish.”

Confession: I’m Obsessed with Planners
I ordered a planner and they gave me a coupon code for my blog readers! (Nope, I didn’t get the planner for free- I got a coupon code, too.) Once my planner arrives I will share pictures of how cute it is along with the code for you to get one if you want!
*The name of this post might change. I’m not loving it.


What I Read… August 2016
This is pretty standard. I always have a running draft for books. So far I have two for August. I think I’ll end up with three total. Maybe four.

Blogger Love
Similar to the book post, I usually have a “blogger love” post saved somewhere for me to jot down the things I’ve read. This one is going live on Friday 🙂

IMUO (In My Unpopular Opinion)…
I started a post documenting my ideas or opinions that I think aren’t widespread. I’m still collecting thoughts for this one. I think I have three or four so far.


Helpful Tips to Calm an Anxious Dog
This post is 3/4 done and very important to me. Lylee is an anxious dog and it’s something we’ve been battling for years. I feel very passionately about dogs and their behavior/mental health/etc. so I will end up posting this eventually- once I get it perfected.

If something sounds good or dumb, let me know. I’m always looking for input! Also, I’m totally fine with people following/copying/borrowing my ideas 🙂 Write what you want.

**Also, I shared my thoughts on body image + marriage with Elyse from Just Murrayed so check that out!