Currently…

Hello, November 🍂

My blog has been very surface level lately so I wanted to link-up with Kristen and Gretch today to go a little deeper with a currently/What’s New With You? post.

Right now I’m R E A D I N G so many books simultaneously. K got me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday last month and I went a little crazy on NetGalley… Physical-book-wise, I’m finishing up The Moon-Spinners and Circling the Sun. I just finished Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Style. On Kindle I dove into Fairest of All. (K got me Kindle Unlimited and I found it on there.) After I finish some of those I’ll crack into my NetGalley reads! I didn’t end up finishing Erin’s book challenge but that’s ok.

We’re done moving and the old house is officially turned over to the new owners, but I’m still S T R E S S I N G – O U T – O V E R the settling part of new homeownership. I completely broke down to K a few weeks ago and told him that our constant chaos in the house is killing me on the inside and making my anxiety a raging beast. I feel like a failure in my home which makes me feel like a failure in all aspects of life (as a wife, as an employee, as a daughter, as a fall-lover, as a dog momma). I know that’s silly and unhealthy, but I crave balance and order. I promise I’m trying to slow down and focus and relax this month.

I’m also P R E P A R I N G for the holidays (i.e. Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations). I think getting some of that stuff done will reset my brain and give me peace.

The kitchen is finally in order so we will be E A T I N G some yummy home-cooked meals soon. FINALLY, guys. I think one of the worst parts of moving was all the takeout and fast food and sodium-filled dinners during the process. UGH. The last few nights we’ve been snacking on the dips we had at the party (spinach & artichoke, taco, etc.).

We moved all our furniture into the new house and don’t plan to change anything, but we’ve definitely had to add. We are B U Y I N G allll the things right now. Lol. We just got new bookshelves and reading chairs for my library area, I got a new hamper for my itty-bitty laundry room, and we’re currently trying to decide on some end tables and a coffee table… Home tour soon. Promise.

My brain is overwhelmed like an accountant in April, but I am very T H A N K F U L – F O R all our friends and family. Between helping us move, letting me vent on the phone/through text, and celebrating with us at birthday and Halloween parties, I just can’t get over the love and support we’ve been given. Thanks, everyone 🖤 I love going into the holiday season feeling so loved.

We have a business trip in Indianapolis coming up, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t P L A N N I N G a potential winter trip for K and myself. I’ve only mentioned it to him, but I feel like I need to mentally and physically get away for a long weekend. We’ll see if it happens. I’d settle for a girls’ trip instead, but my bff is laid up after knee surgery. We’ll see…

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been R A G I N G – A B O U T the state of our country. The current administration, the Hollywood assault stories, the preference of policy and politics over people. It’s embarrassing and heartbreaking.

Let’s end on a good note, yes?

I am P A R T I C I P A T I N G – I N Alexandra and Shea‘s Live Your Best (Holiday) Life or LYBHolidayL in November. I’m pretty excited about it, actually. Taking the time to be grateful and intentional without spending hundred of dollars 🙂

(I don’t care if Halloween is over.) L A U G H I N G – A B O U T :

This is us trying to get the dogs to adjust to the new neighborhood. LOL

So what’s new with you?

What's New With You
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School Days & Locker Talk

I’m a week and a half late to this link-up party but Nadine did this “Back to School” tag and introduced me to Andrea’s monthly questions. Since the link-up is still open I decided to play along.

Did you love school or hate it?
I loved school. I enjoyed seeing my friends, I loved having a routine, and I’m one of those weirdos that likes learning.

Start school before or after Labor Day?
I think we usually started the week before Labor Day. I never understood that.

Wake up: Eager Beaver or Slow Poke?
Mornings have never ever ever been my thing.

Favorite Breakfast?
My mom would make us Cream of Wheat on wintery weekend mornings (or snow days) and I loved it!

Favorite Cereal?
Life. (Sorry for even mentioning it, Rebecca Jo!!)

School uniform or no school uniform?
No, thank God. I was so into my style in high school.

New outfit for the first day of school or no?
Of course! Although, by high school I pretty much only wore band t-shirts, ripped jeans, vans, and a sideways belt. #emoForever

Walk to school or ride the bus?
I rode the bus until I got my license/car. Then I drove my brother and self every day.

Backpack, tote or messenger bag?
Messenger bag (in the pic). I had one from PacSun that was brown with pink embroidering and I LOVED it. I still have the bag even though it’s beat to crap…

Eat school lunch or pack lunch?
I think it was 50/50 in elementary and middle school- it depended on the lunch menu. I remember my brother bought more often than I did. In high school you could leave the school and get your lunch which I did 99% of the time.

Remember the little milk cartons? White or chocolate?
I don’t like white milk so chances are I was a chocolate drinker. #healthy

Paper bag or lunch box?
Didn’t we all pride ourselves on our lunch boxes? Especially if they had a matching thermos? (No? Just me?) I think I might have occasionally brown-bagged it in hs.

Favorite thing to do at recess?
We played American Girls and Disney Princesses in elementary school. Also, ‘big toy tag’ on the equipment. In middle school it was 4-Square.

Favorite back to school supply item?
Notebooks!

Chalkboard or dry erase board?
In 2nd grade I told my teacher I was allergic to chalk and asked to use the mini-dry erase boards when we were practicing our letters. I actually just hated how my hands felt covered in chalk. Hahaha. Other than that, I think all my classrooms had chalkboards.

Regular or mechanical pencil?
Mechanical- duh!

Homework as soon as you get home or after dinner?
I used to do it on the bus ride home… Nerd alert.

Favorite after school snack?
Ramon noodles or a sandwich.

Favorite after school show?
General Hospital. Hahahahahaha!

Favorite subject in school?
History.

Least favorite school subject?
Math; specifically algebra. 

Name of  your best friend in high school.
Sam.

SAT or ACT?
I never took the SAT. I got a 27 on my ACT the first time & told my mom I was done. Lol.

Favorite year in school.
I don’t know… Third grade was a fun year. Second grade I had my favorite teacher. High school had its highs and lows but it was fun. Probably my junior year was the best. I started dating K, I was so carefree, and I made a million reckless decisions but survived. I switched up my friends toward the end of hs because mine weren’t so nice, and I think I really figured out who I wanted to be at that point in my life.

I get anxious thinking about all the drama and emotions and trouble I went through in high school. Thank Jesus (and, honestly, Kyle) that I made it out alive. I hope I remember my teenage years when our kids go through them- I’d like to be an empathetic parent.

Class ring or no class ring?
I had a gorgeous one with a purple stone. I don’t know what happened to it…

Funny class ring story… One day I was wearing a male friend’s ring and we went to Burger King for lunch. I took the ring off because it was big and I didn’t want to get it messy or lose it. Well… I left it on the tray and threw it away. Later, when I realized it was gone, I called my grandma from the hs bathroom bawling because I’d lost my friend’s ring. She and my aunt went to BK, dug through the dumpster, and found the ring under a pickle. Best. relatives. ever.

Attend or not attend high school reunions?
My class didn’t have a 5-year and I doubt I’ll attend the 10-year in 2019. Maybe I’ll go to one later on in life. Who knows…

*sigh* I miss school. That said, I’d never go back or reverse time. Ha!

*Linking up with TBB for TBB Asks

Summer Goals (because spring was a bust…)

Summer started yesterday, the link-up with Steph & Sara is tomorrow, and today we’re going to talk about some seasonal (and year-long) goals 🙂

First, let’s look at how hard I failed this spring.

Spring Goals

  • Wash cushion slips
  • Scrub grease build-up off cabinets
  • Replace/fix water heater
  • Get Ly on a walk schedule again
  • Clean junk out of basement
  • Hire someone to come & clean the carpets
  • Finish 3 year scrapbook
  • Order pics for year 4

I got 3 out of 8 accomplished. To be completely honest, I’m so glad I checked off the ones I did. The floors were terrible. Exhibit A…

*blushes* Life with dogs, #AmIRight? Moving on…

Summer Goals

  • Clean junk out of basement & utility room
  • Get spare bedroom clean and de-cluttered
  • Wash cushion slips
  • Wipe down fans, baseboards, etc.
  • Go for a bike ride once a week
  • Go putt-putting/mini-golfing (is there a difference?)
  • Tackle three books per month
  • Clean out/update my Spotify playlists
  • Finish Year 3 scrapbook
  • Order pics for year 4

Manageable. Hopefully. (You’d think I’d give up on some of this stuff, but I’m determined.)

And last but not least, a look at my 2017 year-long goals:

Be Healthy.
(As in eat better & exercise.) Ehh… some healthy foods / 100% no exercise

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.
(Less guilt when lounging/reading/unwinding.) K and I just argued about this a few nights ago. He’s really good at decompressing; I’m still working on it…

Read more.
(Last year I read 25 books. This year I’m aiming for 40.) According to Goodreads I’ve read 17 books this year and I plan to finish two this week!

Become a Morning Person.
(Less snooze button and rushing, more consistency and chill.) HA. No.

Get on Schedule.
(As in meal planning, cleaning, dog maintenance, etc.) I have a handle on the meal and blog schedules. Everything else is just too much right now. *shrug*

(You can find that original post here.)

So… summer is not a motivating time for me. We’ll see how this goes…

What are your summertime goals??

Life According to Steph

Add It To My (Media) List

I had no idea what to list off this month. Usually I have a draft with a running list of favorites that I add to throughout the month, but I didn’t do that this time. As time was running out I happened to stumble across three short (very different) online clips that captured my attention.

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I assume that everyone needs a mental break throughout the workday, so hopefully one or two of these videos can provide that today.

James Corden’s Crosswalk the Musical: Beauty & the Beast

I don’t know why this made me laugh as hard as it did. I blame Dan Stevens (and the fact that I still have trouble see him as anyone but Matthew Crawley.)


Emma Watson’s kitten interview

If I ever have kids I hope they see Emma Watson as a role model. I certainly do. Everything about this video is great, especially her shout out to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah!


Elmo Gets Laid Off

To be 100% honest, Sesame Street moved to HBO so it’s probably safe if/when PBS gets the ax. That said, when I was a kid we didn’t have HBO- I still don’t have HBO. I watched Sesame Street on PBS like most kids in America do. So for those 2 to 7-years-olds with moms and dads who aren’t millionaires with a +40,000 channel cable package, they’re just S.O.L.

I’m going to stop because the budget cuts to the arts and education have me livid and terrified. If I keep typing this post will quadruple in length. So suffice it to say, we are so against budget cuts.

Maybe as a consolation prize Tr*mp can take us on one of his million dollar golf trips to Florida 😐

Also… Sesame Street: spoofing on Donald Tr*mp Grump before SNL made it cool.


In other news of things I want to list or bring to your attention, I joined a FB group for bloggers that has been very active and supportive. If you’re in the market for something like that you should check out The Peaceful Posse on FB 🙂

So tell me about something you’ve recently discovered or started that you love! Linking up with Lauren and Bre today!

Eat, Drink, and Be Lauren

Add It To My (Super Random) List

By skipping Mondays I lose my opportunity to recap my weekend. If you were curious, I had a good one 🙂 Fun fact: I spent every weekend in February out of town. First Cleveland, then San Antonio, then Columbus, and then Cleveland again last weekend. Some trips for business, some for pleasure. This weekend Kayla and I visited Aubrey and her fiance Alyssa because Aubs is recovering from surgery and we went up to celebrate her transformation and keep her company. (You can follow her story/creep on her here. She’s #InstaFamous)

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In an attempt to stay hip and trendy I’m trying to keep track of the fun link-ups that go on in the blog world. I managed to jot down the schedule for the Add It To My List link-up with Lauren and Bre, so here we are.

Firstly, these three products were recommended by other bloggers:

I’m easily influence by others… I went out and bought this stuff immediately because I was in the market for some quality polish and comfy shoes for work. (The polish remover is cruelty-free & I needed that toiletry in c.f. form.) All three have my seal of approval!

Bamboo bedding…
Two years ago my grandparents gifted K and I some bamboo bedding. GUYS- we fell in love with it immediately. They’d bought it from Marshalls, so obviously I’ve never come across it again. Then last week this idiot (me) remembered Amazon exists and I have a Prime account. So I ordered some sheets. (How many pairs of sheets do you have for your bed? We have two. I always have to be on my laundry A-game, especially when I peel the sheets right before vacation and make the bed for the dogsitter, then come home and remember that now both sheets are dirty and I’m too exhausted to do laundry.)
I digress. Bamboo sheets are the softest and most comfy sheets ever. Go get some.

On to another random thing…

Go make this recipe:

One-Pan Veggies & Sausage

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I made this last week and it was a hit (with all two of us). It’s crazy simple- the “hardest” part was chopping all the veggies. We had rice with it. (I also made Brussels sprouts separately because they looked so good at the store and K doesn’t like them so I couldn’t mix them in. But then he ate some so…. that was a minor victory in my kitchen.)

(I’m pretty sure I took this recipe and another one (this!) from Nadine’s Pinterest!)

. . .

This fall K and I are planning to visit Disney. I’ve been there a handful of time, but I’ve never planned the trip. (I was a child and/or a band student on prior trips.) Kyle has never been to the happiest place on Earth, so I’m hoping to show him a good time. I’m looking for tips, tricks, and advice right now. I know how to “do” Disney, but any reminders or travel tidbits would be helpful. 🙂

Enjoy these last two days of February!

signatureEat, Drink, and Be Lauren

The Galentine’s Blogger Exchange

Happy Thursday, my friends.

The link-up for this post (with the beautifully talented Mattie & Olya) is scheduled for tomorrow, but by now we’re all aware that I switched my posting-days to only include Tuesday and Thursday. (Jury’s still out on how I’m liking that… )

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To begin, I sent a package to Miss Maryrose in New York. (It shipped out a little late, but it should’ve arrive by last Friday. Plenty of time but my apologies, nonetheless!)

In return, last week I was greeted at the door by two packages- one in the shape of a book (😄!!!) and one from Uncommon Goods. Once I ripped gently cut them open I discovered that my gift-er was Ashley from Bits & Pieces of Me.

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Ashley sent me Yes Please by Amy Poehler as well as this little note:

I love that this book was on your wish list, because it’s been on mine as well! I hope you enjoy it! -Ashley

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She also sent me a beer + food pairing dish towel (from Uncommon Goods) that’s been on my wish list for quite a while. The colors (which are a little skewed from my filtered picture below) look great with our kitchen!

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. . .

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Thank you so much, Ashley!! And thanks to Mattie & Olya for hosting ❤︎

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End of the Year (Book) Review

Whoopsies- so much for M W F this week… I had yesterday off (hopefully you did, too!) so I’m a day late with this post!

I’m combining everything bookish today… Linking up with Steph and Jana but also using this survey format from Jamie and stealing the graph idea from Emma.

So hold on to your hats, folks…

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Number Of Books You Read: 25
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

*Last year I read one book. I set a lofty goal for 2016 and didn’t meet it, but I’m very glad to have read 25 books.

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Cress [Marissa Meyer] & Orphan Train [Christina Baker Kline]

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Harry Potter & the Curse Child [John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, JK Rowling]

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Secret Daughter [Shilpi Somaya Gowda] – I didn’t think I’d like this book or connect with it, but it was really enjoyable and it has stuck with me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read?

Probably The Lunar Chronicles. Sorry guys, haha.

 5. Best series you started/sequel/series ender of 2016?

You can probably guess…

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Probably Marissa Meyer. I’m excited to start Winter and then get her new book, Heartless!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Royal We [Heather Cock & Jessica Morgan] – I hardly ever read romance or books set in our decade.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-down-able book of the year?

Orphan Train – Not necessary an action book, but I couldn’t put it down.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

None… Very rarely do I re-read books. Just the HP series & Alice in Wonderland.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Ray_Bradbury
The art wraps all the way around the cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Tina Fey in Bossypants. Is it cheating to use a real person? Whatever; I love her.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Peter Pan [J.M. Barrie] – I liked his occasional disregard for the 4th wall.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

None of them really. Wench [Dolen Perkins Valdez] was the toughest/one that stuck with me most.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Bossypants. I’m ashamed that I still haven’t read the handful of comedian autobiographies that are on my TBR list.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I should keep a book journal where I jot this stuff down… but I don’t.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

The Queen’s Army at 18 pages & Cress with 560 pages.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I’d say Orphan Train was the one that kept surprising me and taking me down paths I didn’t expect.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Amory and Milo (Death Wear a Mask/Murder at the Brightwell [Ashley Weaver] )

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Carswell & Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Witches [Roald Dahl].

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Many of my picks come from other blogger recommendations. If y’all hadn’t suggested The Royal We I’d have never read it! (Thanks, guys!)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Carswell. Or Wolf. Ha. (The Lunar Chronicles)

Reviews of my favorite books ( Cress and Orphan Train ) can be found here and here.

And here’s a list of all the books I read in 2016 with links to their reviews.

Let’s end with some graphs:

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I think I was generous. In hindsight there was at least one book that deserved 1 star.

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So there ya have it. Next year I think I’d like to tackle 40 books. That roughly 3 and one third books per month- seems manageable.

What are your reading goals for next year? What was your favorite book of 2016?

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Life According to Steph