Friday, April 29, 2016

Have You Heard? // Foals - "Mountain At My Gates"

Happy Earth Day 2016!!! 

I had heard a few Foals songs in the past, and they were cool, kind of vintage-y vibes to them, like this song. The song I'm sharing today is nothing like that.... but I love it!

I love the motivating lyrics, but also that it's still got that great alternative sound to it. It doesn't sound corny.

Lord, this is catchy.

What have you been listening to? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Posts this Week: Back from California, and April Favorites.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Favorite Things // April 2016

Hi! I can't believe it's almost May! WOW!

How about some favorites?!

I got this pretty ivory maxi dress at Target, it's so flowy and lovely... I can't get over it.

We just finished season 2 of iZombie. May or may not have bought all of season 2 on Amazon instant video... *whistles innocently* UM, SO good!

We've been buying concert tickets... again... and well... now I'm listening to James Bay and Ellie Goulding non-stop. We've got to be ready! AND Coldplay! That's right, we found tickets for a show just 3-ish hours from here. We get to check it off my friend Jessica's bucketlist! Huzzah!

Sarah. J. Maas. I made the mistake of reading A Court of Thorns and Roses on the plane to SF.... and then stayed up VERY late finishing it for a few nights in a row... and well, now all other books suck. BAHA. Just kidding, but really it was so compelling... that I'm very bored with my current read. Whomp. Whomp. Previously this post was all... *purchasing* I got this book at the LIBRARY! :)

Back to purchasing though....

LuLaRoe... well... I may have bought... 5... ? Items over the weekend. Darn you LuLaRoe. We'll see how they work out. I'm trying some new styles and I don't know my sizing. Gasp. I bought a pair of teal and coral leggings, a black floral maxi skirt, a light blue (serenity-ish color) tunic, a sage green slouchy tee, and a black tee with palm tree fronds on it. So, I'll keep you guys posted. I'm hoping the unknown sizes turn out flowy and lovely... we'll see!

OMG THIS RECIPE.... ! If you love Medi food... this is for you! From the May Redbook with Zooey Deschanel on the cover!

Gilmore Girls. Always, obvs... but have you seen the recap pics?! The ones from the set, the ones Milo posted... oh my! I cannot wait! #teamjess

Arm weight workouts. ( I don't know what I actually did to my foot, but it feels crappy... so I strapped on Hank the boot from about 5 years ago when I broke it. It's helping so far... but makes working out difficult. ) Anyhow, I like doing weight work outs. Super quick and great.

Before we went on our trip to SF, I purged some things from our junk piles and closet... and I found a new home for some of my books. I picked out all the green, teal, and some of the golden ones, and lined them up on the dresser. So pretty. It looks so much cleaner, open, and pretty now. Now if I can just get the rest of the junk out of there... hehe


Thinking about fun plans in the works for May and Summer! :)

What are you guys up to this month? Planning anything fun for May or summer yourselves?!

Anything you're loving recently that you need to share?



Friday, April 22, 2016

Have You Heard? - Nothing But Thieves - "Trip Switch"

This song popped a while back, and it's pretty upbeat, and kind of unusual. I really, really like it. Excited to hear more of their album.

Also, is this not one of the coolest album covers?!

What are you listening to? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Posts this Week: Tarpon Springs, Florida + 12 EASY Ways to Go Green in 2016!



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Snapshots of Tarpon Springs, FL // July 2015

Today I'm writing you from beautiful San Francisco! However, I'm posting about Florida... so let's get to it! :)

Similarly to Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, is a little Gulf Coast Florida town, with tons of culture. Rather than Scottish influences, everything in Tarpon Springs has a Greek Heritage. So, you'll find lots of Greek restaurants, Orthodox churches, little gift shops with ancient artifact replicas, etc. It's a very fun place. It was also known for sponge diving, so you'll see lots of history about that. This was just a day trip for us, but we really enjoyed it!

Eat: Hellas Restaurant and Bakery. The atmosphere will remind you of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the food is wonderful. I had a cucumber tomato salad with my sandwich, and it was AMAZING. I could eat those salads on the daily. The bakery was great too, we each picked a thing or two to eat throughout the week at our rental. :) 

See: The shops, restaurants, the harbor with it's pretty boats. There is also a lovely basilica that is a replica of one in Greece. It has a nice courtyard with sculptures as well. If you have more time there is also a place called Replay Amusement Museum which has lots of old arcade and pinball machines. Super cool, though it was not open when we decided to go. There are many other places where you can learn about the history of the town, the sponge diving, etc.

Shop: A lot of the shops here are pretty touristy, lots of T-shirts and Greek replicas. It's kind of fun, but we tend not to buy that kind of stuff unless we know we'll actually want to keep it. One souvenir that people often purchase is a natural sponge. I considered it... but wasn't sure that any of them actually came from Florida... so I left them behind. One shop that was BEAUTIFUL, was called A Simple Peace. It had a mermaid on the window, so I obviously had to go in. They had a nice selection of gift items, clothing, and handmade jewelry. I think I was in there for hours, but I finally decided on a hand-stamped gold bar necklace that says, "mermaid." (what did you expect?) I LOVE IT. I wear it all the time and get tons of compliments. I am definitely considering making more purchases from the Etsy store where the jewelry is sold in the future.

Do: Shop, eat, visit the museums and basilica. 

Favorites: The cucumber and tomato salad at Hellas. Shopping at A Simple Peace.

New Experiences: Visiting a Greek bakery. 

Random Tip: When visiting Florida... especially in the summer... check hours of places you want to visit like your life depends on it. Especially if you are just planning to drive through towns on the coast. Places hold irregular hours, and often have signs on the door saying they decided to close. You don't want to plan to visit a place, and not be able to get in to the attraction you wanted to visit, etc. Also, it WILL rain. So, plan some things that can be done inside. Do your best to coordinate indoor plans around the strange Florida scheduling. #thestruggleisreal

Anybody else love Mediterranean food?

Have you been anywhere in the US that has a strong cultural influence from another country?

Am I the only one who thinks the idea of mermaids is really cool... ? - yeah? That's ok! :P

Upcoming Florida Posts: Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Orlando/Winter Park, and "The Treasure Coast."

Happy Travels!


Monday, April 18, 2016

12 Easy Ways to go Green in 2016 // New Year State of Mind

Earth Day is this week, so I thought, this would be the perfect time to share this post! :)

Regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that humans are kind of wasteful. #amIright ? We consume so much, and then we consume more. And a lot of that, ends up in the trash.

Though I have been working consciously for years to work on my own wasteful habits, I am not an exception to the consumption! That's something I would love to stress so much. That no one has a perfect handle on anything. It's just not possible. So here are some mini eco- resolutions we can all try out in 2016. Because every little bit does help. :)

If you have kids in your house make it a family project! It could be a roomie or husband/wife project too. The more people you have invested, the more likely you are to follow through!

Read on for an idea or two! 

1) Pick One Thing to Recycle

New to recycling? It can be overwhelming at first, but it's a great, and eventually easy thing to do. It's second nature in our house now. The best way to begin, is just to pick somewhere to start. :) Pick one thing that you use frequently, and recycle that item first. Just one thing, not too bad right? Maybe it's soda cans, or water bottles, newspapers, or plastic grocery bags. Find a place to recycle it. Oftentimes schools have recycling bins in the parking lots that accept nearly every recyclable. Walmart stores often have recycling centers as well. If you choose plastic bags, you can recycle those at Target and Walmart inside of the doorway/near the customer service area.

Already Recycle? Consider thinking outside of the box. What else can you recycle? Batteries, Electronics, old cell phones, reading glasses, etc. What can you safely dispose that you hadn't thought of? Nail Polish, Light Bulbs, Paint.. Dig deeper! :)

2) Stop Using One Disposable Thing for a Month

Maybe it's paper plates, paper napkins, plastic straws, face cleaning wipes, plastic grocery bags, etc. Pick a reusable alternative. Use your real plates, invest in inexpensive cloth napkins, go straw free or use the reusable kind you get with reusable plastic tumblers, go back to using traditional face wash, use a few reusable bags at the grocery store. You don't have to be perfect with this one, but can you imagine what would happen if everyone stopped using paper plates?! So much less waste, so much money saved by consumers. Wow. Just trying this out for a month or two could show you if it is something you really need to continue using.

3) Only Purchase Things You Need or LOVE

How many of you are impulse buyers? Inexpensive DVD, bought that. Clearance Find, bought that. Scarf that you definitely don't need and are pretty sure you like, bought that too. It's SO easy to purchase things that seem like a good deal, or an opportunity that can't be missed. But can we really not afford to miss them? I've been trying for the past few years, to purchase only items that I love or need. That means books that I want to read, I probably borrow it, get it at the library, or as a free ebook. A book I know I will read again, and want to keep, I buy it. Clearance top that fits mostly ok? Pass. Trendy dress, the last one in my size... unless I try it on a and LOVE it... pass. Cute new shade of nail polish, probably pass. Do I really need another coral-y pink? Is it really that different than the 3 I have at home? Probably not. So next time you're shopping, ask yourself, "Do I need it?" "Do I LOVE it?" It can definitely change how much you consume as well as how much you spend!! Make a conscious effort to borrow, trade for, and rent/check out what you can to avoid buying, buying, buying.

4) Switch One Product When it Runs Out

For years I have been using up the last of my "normal" products (let's not be wasteful now), and swapping them for eco-friendly versions. We are to the point where we use eco-friendly ALMOST everything. I am still hunting for the right deodorant and shampoo... and we haven't used up all of the shout stain remover... but other than that... we're there. Not because we're perfect, but because we made little steps over time. Because of that, we clean without harsh chemicals, my skin is so much happier, and I don't have coughing fits while I'm cleaning! These are all great things. This is also safer for pets and kiddos! Not to mention the companies I am supporting are doing good things for the earth, use minimal / recycled packaging, and have good ethics. It's an easy way to go greener little by little. 

Two Brands I Love: 100% Pure & ACURE Organics. (Click the links to read more about the products I use.)

5) Read Jessica Alba's Book The Honest Life

I read Jessica Alba's book, The Honest Life, a few years ago and it really opened my eyes to some things I didn't know about, but also about ways fit these things into your lifestyle. You don't have to be perfect! I felt like I learned a lot, but I was also just generally inspired by the stylish and conscious person that Jessica Alba is. I love that Alba made the book accessible to everyone, and I am SO GLAD I read it before becoming a parent. There is a treasure trove of knowledge in there on baby / kid friendly products etc. Since then, Alba has launched The Honest Company. We tried some of the products and fell in love with most of them! We now do the bundle for our home stuff, and it makes staying stocked up and getting things clean so convenient! (I'll have to blog about it sometime!) Anyway, definitely consider getting this book from your library or on your own. It's a great resource, and a fun book. Read my review of this book, here.

Other Great Books: Generation Green (this is geared toward teens, but I read it in college and think it's pretty comprehensive!), Gorgeously Green, and No More Dirty Looks. Even more suggestions here.

6) Vow Not to Use Products with Microbeads

*comic by Steve Greenberg, got via google images*

You know those body washes and hand sanitizers etc. with those teeny "cleansing beads" in them? Have you ever wondered what they were made of? I did. Turns out.... Plastic. THEY'RE MADE OF EFFING PLASTIC. Which means every time we use them they go directly into the water supply. They are ingested by fish, and other creatures, and we're eating them. That's awful, and it's so unnecessary! Normal body wash works just fine. Use a sugar, salt, coffee grounds, or other natural scrub if you want to exfoliate! Or dry brush. California has already banned microbead products, I'm pledging to too. Read more about that... here if you want to.

7) Upgrade Your Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are filled with harmful chemicals. Plus they're disposable. I recently followed a tutorial (which is no longer online, but here is a similar one) that replaces dryer sheets, and does a great job of keeping our clothes static free, all while reducing drying time! I definitely recommend trying this DIY, and putting it into use. You'll be saving money on your energy bill, and making it to where you never need to buy dryer sheets again! Win win.

Tips: Put drops of your favorite essential oil on the dryer balls before drying to scent your clothes. If your clothing is coming out static-y, you probably need to reduce the drying time! (we always do the lowest amount, and then warm up if necessary!)

8) Go Digital / Paperless When You Can!

In addition to #3 above, I have been trying to go digital more often. I use ebooks from the library and will order an ebook rather than a new copy of a book online in most cases. I download music that I want or stream it, rather than buying a CD. Unless I really want the physical CD, which is only for my very favorite bands. Stream your shows and movies instead of buying DVDs. Get your concert, movie, and plane tickets online and put them on your phone. Select paperless billing, which saves on checks, and paper in the mail. You can even do things like magazine subscriptions online. Wherever you can, consider going digital. Those little bits of paper and other packaging definitely add up.

9) When You Want to Buy Something, Consider Buying it Used

When you do want to buy something, because you've done the process on #3 above, consider buying it used. After falling in love with a book, and knowing I'll want to read it again, I will decide I want to own it. I then either order it used on Amazon, or check out local bookstores that sell used books. If it's not there, I can wait. This also goes for DVDs, CDs, and even clothes/home items. When I am looking for a new lamp, an end table, something to spice up my wardrobe, etc. I spend an afternoon combing through local thrift stores. There are all sorts of treasures to be found there. Sometimes the finds are quirky, but sometimes I end up with the Target button up that I wanted to buy last year... but just couldn't allow myself to spend $30 on. Paying $5 for the same shirt, feels better! If you aren't into thrifting. Try things like Thred Up, Plato's Closet, and other resale/consignment stores. Amazon and local book/entertainment stores have great deals on used books, CDs, DVDs, etc.

10) Sell or Donate Your Old Stuff

Never throw things away that someone else could use. Maybe you have a mug that is really ugly, a faded rug, a book you thought was really bad... etc. Don't ever throw that stuff in the trash, there is someone who could use it. You can try to sell many old items (clothes, CDs, DVDs, books, etc.), many places will give you a chunk of store credit or cash for those things. If you don't want to go to the trouble, just throw it in a clothing bin, box it up and take it to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Donate those items to a Women's Shelter, especially things like bras that don't fit anymore, but are still in good condition. Even the Humane society takes old blankets and towels. Wouldn't you rather give that towel with a hole in it to a sweet shelter pet than the trash can? :)

11) Get One Reusable Bag

Plastic bags make a lot of waste. Even when you reuse them, they aren't good for the environment, and they aren't that useful to be honest. They tear easily, the accumulate quickly, they don't biodegrade, and sea turtles think they look like jellies. :( I mentioned above that they can be recycled, which is definitely the right choice for the ones you have used. Eliminating your usage of them, even by a little is an even better plan. Bringing your own bags to the store means you can save bags being used, you can ensure that your groceries are kept cool if necessary in an insulated bag, you can rely on your bags not to break, and you can often times get a grocery discount per bag used. I love envriosax because they are pretty and they roll up nice and small, (my review, here). Any bag will do though. I used to be really good at always having my bags with me... but I slipped a little in the past few years! I'm hoping to focus more on this again in 2016! Start with one, and work your way up! It's an easy way to make a big difference. These bags pay for themselves quickly (I haven't lost one yet in 5+ years!) and they save thousands of plastic bags over time! Plus, Target (where we often get our groceries!), offers a $0.05 discount for each bag used during a purchase. 

12) Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

When I go through our mail, so much of it is junk. Nearly half of that junk though, comes in a plain white business envelope. While I often tear these up and recycle or shred them, I recently decided to take off the envelopes/blank sided paper and keep those in a scratch paper bin. Then when I need to write a grocery list, menu, sketch something out, etc. I just pull out an old envelope or piece of paper and write away. When I'm done with the paper, I just toss it in the recycling, feeling good about using the paper twice. Same goes for post-its. I use them at work, and then I turn them over and save them in my drawer. I use the other side to make lists during the day, track progress on work tasks, and log my hours as I work. That way my post-its get twice the life they normally would! When I'm done, I toss them in the recycling or shredder as well! (yes, you can recycle post-it notes!)

+3 Bonus Ideas: 

1) Have a Meatless Meal 

Meat processing takes a TON of energy and water, not to mention the shipping energy to get it to your table. For this reason cutting out meat every once in a while can be a great way to be greener! Meatless Mondays are a trend right now, where people just cut out meat on Mondays. I think even one meal would be great! To do this you don't have to eat anything crazy or strange! Just think simple! Mexican food with black beans and veggies as the meat replacement, pasta with veggies in the sauce, grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner! When you think of it this way, you don't even notice that you are going without meat! I promise, my husband was a BIG carnivore and he has started saying things like, "I like this, but I don't know that it really needs meat.." - woah! A lot of meals you already love can be made meatless simply by switching the meat to veggies or beans, and chicken broth to veggie broth! Bonus? Meatless meals are almost always easier on your budget (and waistline!)!!

2) Carpool!

Ride with your friends or family members to your location rather than meeting them there. This saves on gas and gives you more time to connect with the ones you love! Funny things always happen in carpooling situations! Take turns driving.

3) Uplug Your Electronics When You Aren't Using Them!

Not using your blender right now? Done with your TV, DVD, game systems, for the night? Did you know that most electronics use electricity even when not in use?!?! This means that they are wasting energy AND hiking up your electrical bills! Avoiding this is simple, unplug items when they aren't in use, and utilize power strips. Plugging all of your TV related items into a power strip and turning it off at night is really quick way to be green and save green. You can save about $10 on your bill per year by doing this. It's SO easy, why wouldn't you want to save $10?!

There you have it 15 small ways to make an eco step this year! I hope you read something here that resonated with you. Every little bit does add up to make a bigger environmental impact. Every little step you make personally will make you feel great about your progress! And the more you do it, the more you can look back over the years and see what you've changed!  

What do you guys do for the environment? I would love to hear!

What do you wish you did more of?

Would you like to read more about quick and easy things you can do for the Earth in this space?

Looking for more ways to get the most out of 2016? "12 Quick Things to Start the New Year Off Organized," "12 Ways to Invest in Yourself This Year," "12 Ways to Travel More in 2016," and "12 Ways to Save More Money in 2016."



Friday, April 15, 2016

Have You Heard? // Marian Hill - "One Time"

Happy Friday from San Francisco. We are having a great time, and I hope that you all have had a lovely week! It's the weekend, so here's a song to celebrate!

This song popped up in our area quite a while ago, and I have to say... it's really gown on me. The beats are great, there is a saxophone, and it's pretty sultry.

Excited to hear more of her music!

What have you been listening to?

Other Posts This Week: March Reads.

Happy Friday!


Monday, April 11, 2016

March Reads // Finishing the Lunar Chronicles & Beautiful Non-Fiction

March Reads

Technically... I read Dumplin' and finished it on March 1. It was amazing, so if you want to hear my thoughts on it, click here.

I'm not going to say a lot in the Lunar Chronicles reviews, mostly because I know a lot of you are reading them, and I don't want to give any spoilers. Also, I don't think that I need to be the reason anyone gets more info about a book later in a series! If you want that info, I'd rather you look it up! :)

Cress by Marissa Meyer

5 Stars - I recommend if you have read Cinder & Scarlet. This is tied for first place as my favorite of the series with Scarlet!

OMG. I continue to love the Lunar Chronicles. This book is based upon Rapunzel. Cress is made to live in a satellite by herself, and hack into Earthen news feeds and secure documents to feed Queen Levana information. Little does she know, Cinder is looking for her. When things go wrong upon her rescue she and Thorne end up living out my life's worst nightmare. (ok maybe not worst... but it sounds AWFUL). During this book, you learn about Cress and various things going on on Luna, the plot develops between the other characters, you meet Jacin (a Lunar), and just very briefly... Winter. This one kept me so hooked, I immediately ran out to buy Winter. (even though I was not planning on reading it next!)

Winter by Marissa Meyer

5 Stars - I recommend if you have read Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. I gave it 5 stars because I think it is a good ending to the series, well written, etc. It is not my favorite of the series though.

Wow you guys, this is a long book. It is best enjoyed consistently, unfortunately I had quite a few days where I didn't do any reading, so it was a tad disjointed for me. Overall though, I really liked this one. The final installation in The Lunar Chronicles, where the characters battle to put Princess Selene back in power on Luna. There were times when I laughed, gasped, cried...  I was an emotional mess. No spoilers from me though, you'll have to read it yourselves.


Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

4 Stars - I recommend if you like YA and fairy tale re-tellings, but are looking for something a little bit different.

I read this book in two evenings, it was very quick and compelling. This story is based around the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood." Two sisters are attacked by a wolf as children. Their grandmother dies, and the eldest sister loses an eye and gains some scars in the process of fighting it off. When they are grown, they become wolf hunters. When their friend Silas comes back to town, and the population of wolves increases, they hear of a rumor that the wolves are seeking a potential new wolf. They head to the city to track down more wolves, and figure out who these potential wolves are. This story is a lot of things... it's a little bit fairy tale retelling, it's a little bit of a love story, and a little bit Frozen. It's ultimately a story about sisterhood and following your heart. I will admit, I was worried it would get really predictable on me... but it ended up having some nice twists and turns. I also appreciated that the wolf part wasn't based around what we think of as stereotypical werewolves. It looks like this author writes more fairy tale re-tellings, I don't know that they are related at all, but I would be interesting in reading more of her books!

Radical Self Love by Gala Darling*

4 Stars - I recommend if you like "self help" books that are practical with specific examples built in. It's written from a fresh perspective.

Radical Self Love is a "Self Help" type book written by blogger Gala Darling. She put her heart and soul into changing her own life, and passes some information along to readers in this book. Most of the "self" chapters in this is book are about mindfulness, and the different forms it comes in. How thinking in certain ways can affect how you feel and how you are perceived outwardly. This goes much further than positivity alone, it also includes shaping the life you *want* to have, by visualizing and taking it on mentally. Then turning those thoughts, and desires into actions. I appreciated the way it was organized, easy to read sections, with examples and bullet points with ideas, as well as "homework" at the end of the sections. I found this book really interesting and helpful and assessing where I am right now. I sometimes feel like I can look back at myself at 17 or 20 and think, "wow, I had so much more zest for life then..." - it doesn't have to be that way, I am working hard to eliminate negativity, and focus on creating the life that I want. This book, is PERFECT for that time in your life. I found it extremely enlightening, and I appreciated all of the specific and creative ideas that Darling shares in this book. I am excited to look into some of these topics more on her blog, and possibly read more books from her in the future! I thought that the social and relationships chapters at the end of the books were a little bit out of line with the other chapters, but I can sort of understand why she put them there. I almost think they would have made a good start to a second book.... or maybe they just weren't what I needed to read.. ?  Overall, I definitely recommend this one for anyone who is working on themselves right now!

Food Swap: Recipes and Strategies for the Most Irresistable Gourmet Foods to Barter and Share by Emily Paster *

4 Stars - I recommend if you are looking to learn about food swaps, to host swap nights in your home, or even just give hand-made share-able food to friends and family.

This book was such a unique concept, I just had to read it. The author co-founded one of the largest food swaps in the world in Chicago. She dispenses her knowledge is food swaps and swappable recipes in this beautiful and useful how-to manual. From discussing strategies to starting and operating a food swap, to sharing particular recipes to take to a food swap this book covers it all. Is this book specific? Yes! Do you have to want to join or start a large-scale food swap to enjoy it? No! While Paster gives excellent specific advice on how to start a food swap, what type of location to pick, supplies to have on hand during your swap etc. she also shares alternative ways to use these recipes and ideas. A soup swap, a harvest swap, a holiday swap etc. She gives great advice on packaging, display, and swapping item of choice as well. I also like that she slips in sections that talk about real-life food swaps across the country. From Austin, TX to Philadelphia and everywhere in-between, it's interesting to read her interviews with the folks who run these swaps and how they organize their swaps. Last thing to note, is that the design, photography, and organization of this book is just lovely, and makes it easy to find what you are looking for!

I doubt that I will ever be involved in a large-scale food swap, but I can definitely see hosting a small one at our home. We tried having a soup-swap (where we didn't swap so much as ate a lot of soup) last fall and it was really fun! I could see pulling friends together to do something like this in the future. If nothing else, these recipes are fabulous ideas for giving food gifts! Mother's Day Gifts, New Mothers Gifts, a Thank You Gift, Holiday Packages for friends and family... this book has over 80 recipes to get you started. Giving gifts and being with loved ones are two of my very favorite activities, so I can't wait to take what I've read and apply it practically throughout the rest of the year! :)

The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar *

5 stars - I recommend if you are looking to learn more about flower arranging from top to bottom. This book is a valuable resource! Also, just very very beautiful to flip through!

I have made it a goal the past few years to learn how to arrange flowers, but I never seem to make it. This book was an incredible one to read, because Chezar's passion for flowers as well as incredibly approachable advice really help you dive into the idea of arranging flowers. She gives very helpful insight into choosing a palette, arranging by size, working in rules of three, tools you need, etc. She even goes so far as to share which flowers come in various colors seasonally. So you can search for yellow spring flowers, and not feel like you might get to the market to purchase your flowers... only to find out they aren't in season. Chezar takes it one step further in showing you specific arrangements, and exactly how to reproduce them. I think this is an incredibly helpful addition to the book, that allows beginners and experienced floral arrangers alike the chance to copy a successful arrangement. The last thing I want to note, is that this book is absolutely gorgeous. It is filled with passion, understanding, helpful advice, as well as some of the most beautiful floral arrangements and photography I have ever seen. If you have been looking for a source on flower arranging, I highly recommend this one!


The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek

I just couldn't get into this one. I was hoping to, it sounded interesting enough... two step sisters inherit a beach house in the Hamptons... they are very different but have to work together to decipher a clue their aunt left them related to "the most valuable thing" that she left them. I just really didn't like one of the sisters, and the other one wasn't showing a lot of personality, it's like she was overshadowed and therefore just reflected her sister. I don't know, it just wasn't my thing. Even the voice it was written in was just fast paced and self-important. I had to abandon it. I don't like to abandon books... Oh well!

Currently Reading:

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson
Posession by A.S. Byatt
Entwined by Heather Dixon

Other recent book posts: February Reads5 Books to Add to Your TBR (If I Could Only Recommend 5!)January Reads, & Erin's Book Challenge 4.0.

What are you reading? Or hoping to read?

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Have You Heard? // Jarryd James - "Do You Remember"

This song, is so soulful... but it's not mellow. Ugh, so good!

P.S. He's Australian!

Recent Posts: Snapshots of Tampa, FLBooks I Bought in March, Snapshots of Dunedin, FL, March Goal Review & April Goals.

Happy Weekend Friends! Any fun plans?!

We are cleaning, packing, and finalizing trip stuff!



Thursday, April 7, 2016

Three Months In // 2016 Goal Progress

In order to keep up with my goals for 2016 a little better, I have been trying to do monthly mini goals. :) See my 2016 goals here

March Goals:

1) Plan San Francisco Trip

I at least started this! Whoop. Super jazzed to be there so soon!

2) Try 2 New Workout Methods

Fail, I did only 1. BUT, KC and I thanks to the idea of a friend have started to do yoga at least once per-day. Often taking walks at work too. Even if we meet the minimum each day, we feel really good about it. Anyhow, I have all these new fun DVDs and workout plans... but I only got to try one. I did a Bollywood dance DVD and it kicked my butt. It was fun though... so I look forward to being in better shape... LOL

3) Read 5 Books

Check! I am posting about them in detail on Monday! :) I finished The Lunar Chronicles (have not read extra books), read Dumplin', A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood called Sisters Red, a really great self-help/lifestyle/goals type book called Radical Self Love, and two more netgalley non-fiction picks: Food Swap and The Flower Workshop. Check back Monday to hear more! :)

4) Try 5 New Recipes

Check! We tried Pioneer Woman's Mediterranean Wraps (with a few tweaks), mudslide Baileys brownies, AMAZING spinach dip, Veggie Pasties, a new pie crust, a Fruit Tart, Cinnamon Breakfast Bread, Enchiladas Verdes. Thanks for sharing the link to that last one Kristen. Also, we made the tart twice, and while the crust is a pain to get out of the pan... its SO good.

5) Buy 2 Bras


6) Do Modern Calligraphy Summit Lessons

Big fat no on this one.... : / 

7) Plan 1 Date Night with KC

Bday week more than covered this, we went to the arcade one night after tacos, I took him to a concert, we went to eat at a lot of his favorite places, etc.

8) KC Bday Week Prep

Things did not go entirely to plan... but, we still had a good bday week! We had a lot of nights at home doing fun things together and separately. We went to a concert later in the month as part of his present. We went to the arcade as well. His two main presents aside from the tickets did not get here until THIS week. Seeing as his bday is March 7.... that was kind of obnoxious... .but he didn't care and now that the shirts are here, he has worn them a lot already!

9) Clean Out Car (post road trip... ew!)


10) Clean Coat Closet (leftover from Feb!)

Sort of... ? I did get the winter stuff out, and put in a little hanging rack... so it is more organized, but could still use some work!

11) Read at Least 1 Book from Netgalley Shelf

I read 3! Three great non-fiction books. Look for those recaps on Monday! Now just... 6... I think... left on my shelf! OY!

12) Buy Limo Studios Light from Amazon

I did this and it is GREAT! It makes blog/invite pictures turn out so much nicer. On the other hand. It's kind of large... and our place is small... and the cats want to murder it.. so we have to keep it in our closet or the laundry room... : / 

13) Write and Post Florida Posts (you know that was only July... *facepalm*)

Hey, I started these! Two are posted (Tampa and Dunedin), one is scheduled, and all my photos are sorted! WOOHOO! Hopefully, I can do the same with Arizona and Houston posts soon. :) 

Completed: 10/12 - I'm calling this excellent!

April Goals:

1) Read 5 Books
2) Try 5 New Recipes
3) Try 2 New Workout Methods
4) Start Modern Calligraphy Summit Lessons
5) Read (at least) 1 Classic Novel
6) Get Rid of RANDOM JUNK! (from piles....)
7) Work on Etsy Site!
8) Map Out Travel Through August
9) Watch 2 Disney Movies
10) Learn Something New, or About Something New
11) Send Random Mail to Friends/Family
12) Plan 1 Date with KC

What have you guys been up to in March? Did you meet any of your goals? 

What are you hoping to do in April?

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for, What's New With You?

What's New With You