What’s Up

Typically I do a coffee break or currently post for Kristen & Gretch‘s link-up, but I’ve already shared posts like that recently. Today I’m just recapping what we’ve been up to since the start of 2018.

J A N U A R Y

We didn’t do a whole lot in January (which I love). We had some health-stress but most of the month was filled with dog cuddles & lazy weekends.

Ly & E both had clean bills of health from the vet. We got their DNA tests back. And Buckeye fought off befriended a coyote.

Lots of snow meant lots of cozy reading time.

My mom had a pretty stressful month so I treated her (and me) to pedicures. That night K tried out his Christmas gift (a new smoker!) & we had my parents and his mom over. (His dad was out of town.)

The next day my brother and sister-in-law came home to surprise and cheer up my mom. We played Mario Kart on the Switch all afternoon.

Lylee loves her grandpa.

I ended the month with a 24in48 reading challenge. I read +6 hours total and squeezed in an intermission because my favorite 3 year old and 1 year old were celebrating their birthdays!

F E B R U A R Y

I had a (beat the) Winter Blues party at the beginning of the month. It was super small. Best friends & parents came over for drinks and games and camaraderie.

The next two weeks were filled with business travel. We spent four days in Columbus, OH, then came home for two, then flew to San Antonio, TX for six days.

The dogs were very happy to finally have us home.

My mom and I had a little date night in town between my Texas trip and Cleveland overnight. We got coffee at the local cafe, then popped across the street to the small theater to see Peter Rabbit. Guys… it was SO cute and comical. I loved it.

This past weekend I spent the night in Cleveland with my two best friends…

And that’s what’s new with me 🙂 What’s New With You?

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Peggy!

What's New With You

Goodbye & Farewell 2017

It’s a week of recaps, my friends. First and foremost, this is my last post of 2017!

I hope you have a wonderful, fun, safe, exciting (or relaxing) end of the year!!

Happy New Year!

(You can either read on for my year-end recap or peace out from here 😉 )

My goals for 2017 were as follows:

Be Healthy. FAIL. Same weight and habits and vices going strong. *face palm*

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime. While I still enjoy multitasking, I definitely don’t feel guilty about indulging in some downtime.

Read more. I read 25 books in 2016. I read 33 this year.

Become a Morning Person. No… this didn’t happen. I’ve only recently started rolling out of bed a little earlier and a little less rushed…

Get on Schedule. Eh. Meal planning happened and all the holidays fell into place. This is a work in progress, but I’ll take it. *shrug*

In my opinion, 2017 was a challenging and transitional year…

The political climate this year was tense and frustrating and volatile. I don’t see that ceasing in 2018, but I’m going into the new year hopeful and hungry for equality and change and progress.

At the start of 2017 I join K at PI. We sold our first home together over the summer and moved into a new one in October. We went to some weddings, watched a lot of NASCAR, and took a family vacation to the beach. K brought home a new vehicular baby and we checked some concerts off our bucket list. I quit biting my nails, I blogged consistently, and we hit a new milestone with the business. K turned 30, Enzo turned 4 (!), and Lylee turned 6 (!!). One of our favorite babies was born this year & lots of friends announced pregnancies, engagements, and new significant others. For us, it was a stressful year full of learning and change, but I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Baby Tobin | New Vette | February Brunch Date | San Antonio | K’s 30th Bday | Orchestra for Mom’s Bday | Family Pic | 4th Anniversary | Landscaping
Buckeye Country Superfest | Lylee turns 6 | Mid-Ohio Race | 4th of July on the USS NC | Bridal Brunch | Family Vacation at Sunset Beach, NC | Bridal Shower | Enzo turns 4 | Bridal Party
New house | Cedar Point with Honda | In-laws New Kitty | Rehearsal Dinner Pic | My Bday | Goofy Wedding Pic | Not-So-Baby Tobin | Halloween | The Babes

I remember coming out of 2016 feeling terrible. The end of 2017 doesn’t feel so bad.
Personally, I’m grateful for the year I had. I’m hoping 2018 proves to be an even better one.

(Recaps from 2016 and 2015. And 2014 for good measure, lol.)

How was your 2017?

What I Read… in 2017

Hi ya. Let’s get to it. Linking up with Jana and Steph per usual!
(Also, borrowing portions of Jamie‘s year-end book survey again.)

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No. of Books Read: 33
No. of Re-Reads: 1
Most Read Genre: Fantasy

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Best Book You Read In 2017?
Uhhhhh… I just don’t know.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Westing Game
. I wanted it to be a little more sinister than it was… I guess I should’ve read it when I was younger. I didn’t really enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, either. Once again, I should’ve read it when I was younger.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Last Runaway
. This book was edgier than I expected. Also, I found myself disagreeing with the main character through most of the second half, but I still liked her. That doesn’t happen often. (We’d have made different choice and I actually think I’d have made the wrong ones… lol.)

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think I pushed Heartless and The Bear & the Nightingale on people. Whether or not they read them, I don’t know.

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
I finished The Lunar Chronicles this year. Sigh. I wish I could read it all again with virgin eyes.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
I started reading Agatha Christie books and found out that I really enjoy her writing style. I mean… she’s not new, but she’s new to me. Taylor Jenkins Reid blew me out of the water, too.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
. I usually avoid contemporary but damn. So good.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I give the series overall three stars, but The One was pretty fast paced and “unputdownable.” I also devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None. I rarely reread books. (I’ll reread HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone but not in 2018.)

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
The Sisters Brothers
.
I bought this book for someone for Christmas and I refused to buy it with the alternative cover.

Most memorable character of 2017?
Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain ❤︎

Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Bear and the Nightingale
.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Without contest, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 
Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale again.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Intrigue in Capri
(54 pages) & Winter (827 pages).

Book That Shocked You The Most?
There was some serious violence in The Sisters Brothers.

OTP OF THE YEAR?
Other than all the couples in Winter/The Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t really have a favorite romance this year.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Vasya and Alyosha from The Bear and the Nightingale.

Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
I read three from Ashley Weaver this year, but I liked A Most Novel Revenge the best.

Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
I think Jana & Erin both recommended The Sisters Brothers. And everyone recommended The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
I was so in love with Frost while I was reading The Bear and the Nightingale. It was a weird attraction. Haha.

Best 2017 debut you read?
I loved Meyer’s graphic novel debut Wires & Nerve.

Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Heartless was amazingly descriptive, as was The Moonspinners.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Art of Racing in the Rain. First of all, the dog’s name was Enzo. Secondly, I started this book right after we lost our family dog Heidi. This book straight up destroyed me- I was sobbing on Sunset Beach in the middle of a hot July afternoon.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
A Boy Called Christmas. It was a holiday book and a kids book (I think) but it was sweet and sad and wonderful. Last January I made a note in the December section of my planner to read this book and I’m glad I did!

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Wrath and The Dawn. I know people loved this one, but it had allll my YA pet peeves tied into one story. *shrug*

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
Just one? HA. Probably Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) & Girl Waits With Gun (Amy Stewart) since they’re a part of Erin’s challenge. I also plan to read One of Us is Lying (Karen McManus).

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
I’m hoping to start the A Court of Thrones and Roses series this year.

The 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m not sure… Any suggestions?

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I’m pretty excited for Wires & Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (Marissa Meyer) due out Jan. 30th.

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I’m planning to finish one of Erin‘s challenges- hopefully the 8.0 one.

graphs made here


What did your reading year look like?

Life According to Steph

A New Chapter

I know I teased on Wednesday about big news today. I hate when people do that so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…

I quit my job.

To give a little background: In May of 2013 I started a job with an appraisal company as a writer. It’s a small company with 12-ish employees (they’ve come and gone over the last three years). It was a great job with wonderful people- I’m very, very appreciative to have spent the last +3 years of my life there. I’ve never had to resign from a job where I liked my boss, enjoyed my co-workers, and had relatively no complaints about what I did- it was tough to do, emotionally. Today is my last day.

So where am I headed?

The stars have aligned and K offered me a job at our company. (I say “our” but really he’s been the one building it for the last four years.) One of his administrative employees is leaving the company and his position isn’t one that can go unfilled. K is changing hats and taking over sales (in addition to designing the products) and I’m taking over any and all administrative/HR/accounts/social media work.

“I could NEVER work with my spouse…”

I’m very excited for the switch. I’m glad that I don’t have to forfeit the flexibility that I had with my old job and I love the guys that work for K (which includes my father-in-law). Plus, I get to bring Enzo with me whenever I want!

Am I nervous to work along side my husband? No. So many people have asked me this or raised an eyebrow when we’ve told them the plan. Building a business was hard, but we were careful to put one another first throughout the years- I don’t see that changing. If you know us, you know that we are both ridiculously stubborn and bullheaded. But you also know that A) we’re perfectionists and B) we understand one another without having to exchange words. So honestly, I’m not concerned. My job is only being done by me- I’m not being micromanaged. I think this is going to work out well for us.

So that’s that. On to some 2017 goals/resolutions!

Be Healthy.
I hate the idea of dieting. I like to enjoy food- regardless of the calorie count. That said, I know there are millions of yummy & healthy meals out there, and I’d like to make more of them. Also, I need to get my body moving. This is a vague goal, but I think y’all know what I mean.

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.
I am the person that can’t lay on the couch all day staring at the TV with nothing to do. I feel guilty reading more than a chapter when there’s a hamper of dirty laundry in corner. I never take the time to write when I’m home because my mind won’t quiet down about all the chores. So I’m going to work on turning off the responsibilities and turning on the relaxation.

Read more.
Last year I read 25 books. This year I’m aiming for 40.

Become a Morning Person.
My morning routine is ridiculous (a.k.a. nonexistent). This is the year I stop rolling out of bed at 7:30 for an 8 am clock-in and I start brewing some coffee, enjoying my shower, and avoiding the snooze button. *Yes I’m working for K, but he still expects me to be at work on time!

Get on Schedule.
What I mean is… figure out meal planning, get the house on some kind of cleaning schedule, figure out a walk/bath/grooming routine for the dogs. Despite my downtime resolution, we need a little more order and routine in our house.

Last year I made the following goals : Start running | Learn to cook more (vegetarian) meals | Find a word for 2016 | Read & write more | Volunteer
(Here’s the original post for these) Quick summary… I did not start running or writing more, but I did find a few new recipes, read more books, pick a word (“embrace”) and find a place to volunteer. So as Jen would say…

yes

Word of the Year

Last year I chose the word “embrace” and it was fitting. I learned to embrace the nothingness between life’s big moments. (I’m terrible with downtime/limbo/lack of progress.) I learned to embrace new career opportunities and spontaneous home maintenance and last minute car purchases and random vacation pit stops. I’m ending the year with a messy house but I’ve got a perfect partner and happy dogs and a warm bed- so embracing the now and the waiting and the surprises has paid off.

I don’t have a word/phrase for 2017 yet…

2016 Summary

What can I say about this year… It was a pretty stationary year for us. Some highlights included Elliot’s 1st & my grandma’s 80th birthday party, our 3rd wedding anniversary, two NASCAR races (Bristol, TN & Loudon, NH), Fred & Christina’s wedding, new cars for both of us, some yoga, lots of family, new front yard landscaping, spending almost every day with K, meeting business milestones, cuddling the dogs, going to movies and dinners and showers and bachelor/ette parties with friends, two trips to the east coast, and concerts with the husband and friends.

2016

* The end of 2016 is weird for us… We’re in the middle of career transitions, we lost a close friend on Christmas day, and we’re slowly emerging from a long-running limbo into a new normal. I’m really hoping that 2017 brings some progress and success. I could use a break from the sadness and shock. The end of 2016 was as glum as the entire year. I’m hopeful 2017 will be infinitely better for us and for you ❤︎

That was a lot of information and news… Sorry about all that. I promise I’m done until 2017 😉 Also, in 2017 I’m going to try out a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule. (Typically I post MWF.) We’ll see how the two-a-week thing goes!

Have a happy new year, my friends!

Charlie Brown NY

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Coming Up For Air

I thought ahead for my entire week of vacation (last week) to schedule posts but apparently I didn’t have the foresight to anticipate the serious lull that would take place the following week (this week). Sorry for my weird absence.

So here’s a brief rundown of my life: Nearly two weeks ago (7/10) I left for vacation with K and my parents. We were gone until this past Monday (7/18). We went to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. I plan to recap that on Mon. and Wed. next week. Then this week I worked T/W/Th plus a quick run to the mall up north for last minute stuff, a hair appt to cover my roots, and a spa appt with my mom to pamper ourselves before…. MY BABY BROTHER’S WEDDING THIS WEEKEND. So right now I’m on my way to/in Columbus, Ohio to decorate and prepare for tomorrow’s wedding. The last two weeks have been a serious tornado for me. Thanks for your patience here in Blog-land.

Since this post offered little content, check out these bloggers instead:

  • Meagan asks that you not call her daughters beautiful.
  • I can’t get over Rebecca Jo‘s gorgeous photos…
  • If you plan to travel lightly this summer you need to check out Stephanie‘s carry-on bag for her 9-day Alaskan cruise!

See ya Monday, friends!

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Spring Cleaning 2.0 RECAP

First of all: Happy 29th Anniversary, Mom & Dad ❤︎

Ok, on to my spring goals… Back in March I estimated that I’d complete 80% of my list. Turns out, I didn’t. Here’s what got done:

  • Condense three closets into two and donate/store clothes (I combined some of K’s clothes into my closet and freed one up!)
  • Finish Year 2 scrapbook
  • Order pictures for Year 3 scrapbook (to be done after April 27th)
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape front yard
    • This didn’t happen, but we did purchase a grill and patio furniture for the backyard!
  • Wash dog harnesses, leashes, beds, and blankets
  • Re-organize Pinterest boards (Delete doubles and got rid of the useless pins.)
  • Figure out what to do (decor-wise) in stairwell (Honestly, it still needs something… but we at least made some progress.)
  • Paint the front door and replace house numbers
  • Decide what to do with finished basement area…  (I think we pretty much decided on a drum room.)

So there you have it, 60% of the tasks completed. More than half, so I feel alright.

I’ll be totally honest with you guys: I finished my Year 2 scrapbook right before I posted my list in the spring. Is that technically cheating? Oh well. I clearly needed to cheat a little. That said, I finished up two of these things this past weekend. Crunch time is a good time for me. Ha.

Having this list reminded me of the projects I wanted to accomplish these last few weeks. Keeping to-do lists on the blog holds me accountable (at least in my head). That said, here’s a shorter Summer To-Do List; deadline is the first day of autumn (❤︎❤︎❤︎), Sept. 22.

  • Paint front door & replace house numbers
  • Build small deck in backyard
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Order Year 3 Photos & start scrapbook
  • Wash couch cushion slips & dust fans/blinds/neglected places

My summer list is shorter because we’ve got some vacations and weddings. What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Linking up with Steph & Sara!

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Life According to Steph

A Weekend Recap & A Grateful Heart

Happy Monday! This week is going to be c.r.a.z.y. but so fun! I have my full-time job, two shifts at the part-time place, a Foo Fighters concert (WOO HOO!), a day off and a visit to my mom’s classroom to meet her new kids, a hair cut (byeee long hair!) and a cookout with friends! Whew! That’s a lot to think about!

Before I jump into the next 7 days of craziness let’s recap my fun-filled weekend!

Friday I took a trip to a nearby city and did some unsuccessful shopping (great start to the weekend, right?) and then came home to enjoy some pizza with the husband. Saturday was a little better. I walked the pups, got some chores done, and went to a gorgeous wedding in Ohio’s back-country with my momma.

The obligatory wedding selfie!
The obligatory wedding selfie! (Last time curling this mane?)

. . .

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The beautiful venue!

. . .

Mom & Me
Mom & Me

. . .

The gorgeous bride!
The gorgeous bride!

. . .

The wedding started at 1 o’clock and ended by 5. I spent the evening watching the NASCAR race (because what else would I be doing?!).

. . .

Sunday was spent with my best friend and favorite baby at the local park! A wonderful way to end the weekend!

Elliot!
Elliot!

. . .

Such an observant little baby!
Such an observant little lady!

. . .

So that sums up my weekend! Feeling so grateful and blessed this week! Bring on the insanity!

How was your weekend?

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey