What I Read…

Book Day! Linking up with Steph and Jana for the best day of the month!

This month I knocked out three books 📚

Loch Down Abbey by Beth Cowan-Erskine | Mystery | ★★★★/4
This felt like a Downton Abbey knockoff mystery. It was ok and I gave it four stars on Goodreads, but now that I’m writing about it I realize how forgettable it was. I solved one mystery pretty early on. I hated one of the resolutions. Most of the people were terrible humans. But I breezed through it and it held my interest the entire time- honestly can’t ask for much more.

Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey | Romance | ★★/5
Nope. Didn’t like it. Usually I’m a big fan of Grey’s steamy romances, especially the enemies to lovers. This one was weird. The dude was vindictive and cruel… until he suddenly wasn’t. And the girl was like, “I hate you… and maybe love you… but hate you. Oh- you love me? Ok, I love you.” Yeahhh… not my cup of steamy tea, thanks. Very unbelievable and, honestly, unhealthy in my opinion.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Fiction (Historical?) | ★★★★★/5
Another gem from TJR. I know some people weren’t into it, but I loved this one. I loved the siblings and June. I loved how it flowed and I was hooked all the way through. I didn’t like Daisy Jones because of the era but this 80s surfer vibe was perfect for summer. I was into it from start to finish. And I loved the ending. A beautiful journey for each Riva sibling. (Mick can eat glass TBH.)


I’ve read nothing from Erin’s Book Challenge yet.

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

A Life Update

Hey Hi Hello. It’s been a minute, eh? 2021 has been a weird year. As we fled 2020 there was all this chatter about how 2021 was going to be amazing and 100xs better. This year is a little better, but I think 2021 might be our recovery year. We’re certainly not running on all cylinders yet.

It’s like how X-Men: Days of Future Past was really more of a transitional movie; a precursor to the next chapter. (Full disclosure: I actually haven’t seen the X-Men movie that follows DoFP.)

I’m rambling.

ANYWAY- this year has thrown me off my blogging game. Nothing feels important enough to write about. But it was never about importance- it was just therapeutic and relaxing to blog. And this year it wasn’t like that. The winds of BlogLand seems to be shifting toward influencers anyway. I’m too old to keep up- and I don’t care. Lol

This isn’t a goodbye post; it’s literally me just rambling. But while we’re here, while don’t I update you on what’s new in my life since I really blogged…

I talked K into getting kittens.
I have been waging this war since we got married. We’re dog people, but I’m actually an all-animals person. I grew up with an inside cat. Recently we’ve had a mouse problem at work and I refuse to use kill traps…. so logically we needed cats. (Yes, there are a thousand other solutions but somehow I got us to “cats.”)

My dad knew of a friendly stray cat who’d given birth to four kittens. K and I went to pick one out when they were 8 weeks and we each fell in love with a different one 😁 So we brought the two sisters “home” (a.k.a. to our office).

And now Mac (MacKenzie McHale from The Newsroom) and “Cheese” (C.J. Cregg from The West Wing) belong to us. I’m glad we took two because they’re wild and they wrestle all morning and then snuggle up together all afternoon. M loves to cuddle them when she visits the office. Our coworker just took them home with him for the long holiday weekend. They’re super sweet and ornery.

I’m so happy to have cats back in my life 😄

Allergies are the worst.
M and I both suffer from allergies. We’re both on daily allergy medicines. We’re both snotty and stuffed up. It sucks and it’s been like this for over a month. UGH.

Tomorrow M is getting a myringotomy so I hope that helps her with drainage and ear aches. (It’s ear tube surgery.) It takes 10 minutes. I’ve spent approximately 10 weeks fretting over it. It’s an easy procedure but no one wants to send their kid into an OR. Sigh.

I signed up for the BOTM Club.
And I’ve made the rule that I cannot pick out my next book each month unless I’ve read the previous month’s book. I think it’ll keep me from hoarding. I’m reading Malibu Rising right now and skipped the July book.


Honestly, I can’t think of anything else to update you on. We have a family vacation later this month. My best friend is flying home in Aug. for the weekend (and we might jet off to FL for a long weekend). That same bff is get MARRIED in September. K has been discussing a trip to Williamsburg (❤️) in the fall. And that pretty much sums it up. Add in a Halloween party and M’s second birthday, and that’ll cap off our 2021.

Whew, I really ran with that. Halfway through the year and I’m already summing it up.

I’m sure I missed some things. We get to start traveling for work soon and I am PUMPED. It’s the little things, ya know?

What’s new in your world? How would you define 2021? Are we in for an incredible 2022?? LOL

Book Challenge by Erin 15.0

It’s time for another book challenge with Erin! I’ve been pretty bad at these lately, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Book Challenge by Erin 15.0 – Categories

5 points | Freebie: Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. by Laura Tremaine
10 points | First word starts with “A”: America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
10 points | Read a debut book: The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs
15 points | The word to/too/two in title: Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus
20 points | A book by an POC author: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
20 points | A book 500+ pages: GoT (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin (819 pages)
25 points | A book about a famous woman: Becoming by Michelle Obama
30 points | Has a color of the rainbow in the title: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
30 points | A song title in title: Live in Love by Lauren Akins (same title- Times of Grace)
35 points | Protagonist is a girl younger than 15: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

I know some people just don’t do well with reading challenges. I’ve found that I’m the opposite- I can’t decide what to pick up next unless I have a paired down list in front of me. So while I rarely finish all the categories, it helps remind me of the stuff I WANT to read. And I like that.

What are you reading this summer?

Everyday Beauty Routine

“Everyday” is actually a stretch… I would say 4 or 5 days a week is more accurate. Before M was born, these products (and more!) were applied every single day. But still… these are my go-to make up items. I did a post like this in 2017. It’s funny how much I’ve paired it down. That said, there are still some things from 2017 that I use today.

Before I apply anything, I spray my face with Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 spray. I notice a difference in my foundations longevity and finish when I forget this step.

Next up is Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue. I love the SPF 30 in it.

I brush a little NYX Stay Matte Powder on my cheeks, chin, and forehead. Then finish it all off with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Setting Powder.

I still use Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer when I’m feeling fancy. Also, if I plan to use eyeliner or eyeshadow I will apply Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer to my lids before I brush on the finishing powder.

*trust me when I say I, too, hate how expensive this stuff is… but if it works, it works.

Ok, that takes care of the basic foundation.

Next up are brows. NYX Tinted Eyebrow Mascara is the JAM. I love this stuff for quick brow definition. For mascara I usually stick to Essence Princess Lashes and Get BIG Lashes but my mom got me some fancier ones for Christmas: Tarte Maneater and Too Faced Better Than Sex.

When I use it, eyeliner of choice is NYX Matte Liquid Liner and eyeshadow is Urban Decay Naked3 Palette.

If I’m in a hurry/don’t care, I just do Complexion Rescue, setting powder, and mascara. M loves sitting on the sink counter and watching me. She pretends to put on lipstick and loves to have her face tickled with the brushes. Sometimes I apply make up just for the bonding time 😊

I imagine COVID has changed everyone’s make-up routine. It definitely put mine on pause and made me reevaluate what I really needed on my bathroom vanity. Do you have any tried-and-true staples that you use?

What I Read…

Happy Book Day! Linking up with Steph and Jana for a few recent reads on this glorious Show Us Your Books Day!

I have 3 (YES, THREE!) books today. Woot woot!

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer | Fantasy | ★★★★/5
This is the final installment in the Cursebreakers trilogy. Before I picked it up I saw some negative reviews, but I enjoyed it! I was sad that a few characters got the short end of the stick. It didn’t feel super creative as far as how the results shook out… but it was realistic and natural. I love Grey and have since the start- so I enjoyed his development over this book and the last two. It’s a worthwhile series with a slightly lackluster ending- but still a great world with great characters.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse | Thriller | ★★★/5
I picked this one up for book club- I don’t read a bunch of thrillers. It was fine and I breezed through it. There were definitely some unrealistic moments. I highly disliked the main character Elin and often doubted her abilities as a detective. The creepiness of the setting was fantastic and I think there was a lot of potential… but I don’t think the author got it quite right. But I read it quickly and was engaged- so I’m just being picky.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for… by Robin DiAngelo | Nonfiction | ★★★★/5
Sheesh… it took me long enough to finally finish this one. I found this book interesting and I think it’s helped open my eyes to some racial disparities that I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t agree with absolutely everything DiAngelo said, though. And the idea of a nice white lady breaking down race for another nice white lady doesn’t escape me. It’s opened the door for me to pick up other books on racial inequality, though. Most definitely not a waste of time.

I’ve had so many three star books this year. It was nice to get a few four-ers. Still waiting for that magical five star read. I think I’m extra picky and judgmental this year. Lol.

Give me a five star recommendation!