Thursday, June 20, 2019

Keep It Together // June 2019

Hello friends! It's Keep It Together day!! It has been a fun documenting month around here! :)

I am excited to post today with Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag for our Keep It Together!

If you are new here, this is our linkup for all things planners, memory keeping, and journaling. Please feel free to join us on the third Thursday of the month with any posts that fall into those categories! :)


Nothing too new here, still LOVING being back in the EC planner.


2018 Goal Documenting:

Here are a few more photos of my most recent pages! I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH MY 2018 GOALS ALBUM! WOOOHOO! :) I got a pretty traveler's notebook for it too (ON SALE!) and I couldn't be more pleased with it! I shared photos last time, here is a video!

Giveaway Album:

I hosted a giveaway on my YouTube for some washi tape and I decided to make a mini album for the winners as well. :) It is inspired by Kacey Musgraves's album Golden Hour, and I love how it turned out. I sent it to her last night, so I hope that she loves it! :)

Since she doesn't have it yet, I am just showing a sneak peek! Next month I'll share more details!

I loved experimenting with sewing elements onto the page this time around.

Library How-To Festival Presentation:

I decided to do my library's how-to festival again this year even though I wasn't sure that the all-booth format would work well. I was a little apprehensive, but it turned out so great! We had a ton of traffic and there were so many cool people presenting and visiting there. I loved meeting so many people and talking memory keeping with them. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and to everyone who encouraged me here to go! :)

A young girl typed this on my typewriter for me.

What's Next?!

I am still working on what I want to do for 2019 documenting and 2018 travel, but I think I am close. I am using some really cute things for our NE road trip trip that are fun and a little outdoorsy since we spent time in a cabin. I started just the tiniest bit at the how-to festival but there wasn't a lot of time for working! So hopefully I'll start up on that and start documenting 2019 little by little. It feels like a bit of a minimalist year, so we'll see! I think it is fun to try to plan, but things always take on a life of their own when you start working on them!

Please feel free to linkup with us below! We'd love to see what you are up to!

Make sure to hop on over and see Lauren's post! :)


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Click here to enter

Friday, June 14, 2019

Have You Heard? // Taylor Swift - "You Need to Calm Down"

Happy Friday Friends! I hope that you had an excellent week, and if you didn't... it's the weekend and a new day today! :)
image via google

We finally have a release date for Taylor Swift's new album! August 23rd!

She dropped another single last night, and along with her Equality Act letter that she sent to Senator Lamar Alexander (TN), this is song sends a major message about hate and LGBTQ+ rights. To which I say, AMEN Taylor Swift!

Not to mention... it's just HELLA CATCHY.

This definitely feels like the 2019 version of Shake it Off. So if you're looking for a catchy "screw you haters" kinda song... here it is.

What do you think?

What are you guys up to this weekend?!

The only thing we have this weekend is my scrapbook booth at my Library's How To Festival tomorrow! I am super excited and hoping to see some familiar faces and chat with some people about preserving memories! Other than that I am hoping to read, and maybe do a bit more decorating... if you caught my IG stories this week we hung up some bird feeders, put up a nice bookcase and filled it, and then made a DIY chalkboard for our kitchen. FINALLY! Also, I've been doing some scrapbook stuff in preparation for the how-to festival tomorrow! Also... part of our fence blew over the night of the tornado... so we need to finally put that back up. :)

I hope that you all have a great weekend!!



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

May 2019 Reads // Fun Summer Reads!

Can we just talk about how synopses from GoodReads, etc. are too long to paste into blog posts...but I suuuuck at writing them...??? Oof it's rough!

The Peach Truck Cookbook by Jessica and Stephen Rose* - ARC, ebook

5 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for a cookbook focusing on fresh and delicious meals.

The Peach Truck is a Nashville business that supplies fresh Georgia peaches to Nashville and beyond. This book holds a bit of the journey of the business along with many recipes inspired by the peaches that the owners love so much.

Y'all I love peaches. I started following The Peach Truck on Instagram a long time ago, and got to see their booth in Nashville on one of our trips. Around here we love peach desserts and adding peach and apricot jams to savory meals. I knew this cookbook would be right up my alley! I love that they shared a bit of their stories about growing up around peaches and other fresh fruit, working with a family farm, and getting fresh peaches to Nashville in this book. Having an attachment to Nashville it was so fun to read about their experience there and how it is a city for dreamers, regardless of what your dream is. I loved how they spun bits of their story into the cookbook as it went along. Especially the focus on family, giving, inclusion, and bonding over food and meals. The story of stripping their kiddos down to eat peaches naked on the front porch and then spraying them off and chasing them around the yard was just the sweetest thing I've read in a long time. I liked that the book was broken down into sections: Breakfast, Small Bites, Lunch, Supper, Drinks, Desserts, and Pantry. Recipes range from Peach and Sausage Empanadas to Sweet Cucumber Basil Salad and Sparkling Peach Sangria, to Sticky Peach Glazed Ribs and everywhere in-between.

Recipes I am particularly excited to try: Peach Candied Bacon, Peach Almond Streusel Muffins, Peach Coffee Cake, Grilled Wings with Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Grilled Peach Caprese Salad, Peach and Sausage Empanadas, Summer Garden Pasta, Peach Truck BLP, Fried Catfish with Peach Salsa, The Grilled Cheeserie's Shaved Peach Melt, Sweet Cucumber Basil Salad, Favorite Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Buttermilk Biscuits with Peach Jam, Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Agrodolce, Grilled Corn Succotash, and Purple Potatoes,  Grilled Hanger Steak with Grilled Peach Halves, Scallions, and Chile-Lime Butter, Chicken Sliders, Three Ways, Sticky Peach Glazed Ribs, Minty Peach Lemonade, Peach Vodka, Sparkling Peach Sangria, Peach Plum Cupcakes, Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Brandied Peaches (I will try pavlova again, and will triumph!), Peach and Rhubarb Slab Pie, Peach Sorbet, Fried Peach Pies, Lemon Peach Pound Cake, Peach Truck Freezer Jam, and Peach Applesauce. Basically all of the recipes...

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan* - ARC, ebook

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy multi-generational women's fiction. This was a mix of women working through personal and relationship issues with a bit of fluff.

When Grace's daughter is set to graduate, spend the summer in Europe, and then go away for college she is excited to start a new chapter in her life with her husband starting with a summer trip to Paris. As they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary he tells her that he's been cheating on her with one of her ex-students. When he later asks her for the trip tickets for himself and his new girl friend, Grace decides to go to Paris alone afterall. Her grandmother loved it there and recommended that she visit the city alone and stop by her favorite bookshop. Audrey has just graduated from high school and has been living with the secret of having an alcoholic mother. To top that off she is also dyslexic and struggles with school and hiding her dyslexia. Audrey decides to spend the summer in Paris in hopes of getting away from her mother and their secrets and starting her own life. When Grace's purse is stolen and Audrey accosts Grace's mugger, the two women form an unlikely and powerful friendship. They will each find themselves during their summer in Paris.

I absolutely adored The Christmas Sisters by this author last year, and wanted to give some of her other books a try. As with The Christmas Sisters, this one started a little slowly for me, but really built up a powerful narrative of female growth, family, and friendship. I loved both Grace and Audrey and their unlikely friendship that brought them out of their shells and allowed them to move on in their lives. I liked that this book explored Paris too, that was a very fun atmosphere to read in. While I would not quite classify this as a romance I did enjoy the romantic elements of this story and liked that I didn't see every move coming. While this book ultimately left me feeling hopeful, I love that Morgan's books have a lot of depth to them as well. I would recommend this if you are looking for something that is a good mix of fluff and depth for a summer read.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter by Mimi Matthews - library, physical book

3-3.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy proper romance, however this isn't my favorite from Mimi Matthews.

Valentine March, a Vicar's daughter and now left without family seeks employment as a lady's companion. When the lady she works for and her daughter treat her poorly she is crying in the woods, where she is visited by Tristan Sinclair. Tristan was a rake for many years, often spending time with Valentine's employer at very scandalous parties. However, he's tired of the lifestyle and quickly running out of money. Tristan's father tells him that it is time he resumed his post at his property in a remote part of England. As he comforts Valentine, he winds up feeling more for her than expected.

I am on a roll with Mimi Matthews's books because they are so darn cute. I will say that I didn't love The Viscount and the Vicar's daughter quite as much as The Orphans of Devon series, but it still had a lot of the same charm. I liked that Tristan and Valentine were such opposite characters, it made their chemistry really good and their relationship a lot of fun. I think I didn't love this one quite as much because I wasn't as taken with Tristan as the other male leads in her books, and because the couple got together fairly early on and then spent a bit of time in different places during the book. Overall I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to her last few books that I haven't read... and then eagerly anticipating more!

Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack - library, ebook

3.5-4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy proper romance.

Lord Elliot Mayfield's family is out of control. All of his brothers and sisters lead scandalous lives, and now he takes it upon himself to help the next generation: his nieces and nephews. He offers them an inheritance for making a proper match and getting back on track. He starts with his nephew Peter, who leads an honest life, but is in need of a new wife. Peter has no interest in marrying since his wife passed away, however, he does need a governess. Julia Hollingsworth applies for the position, but is much to young and pretty to be a governess.

Overall I loved this. The characters were very cute. Particularly Peter, he was so awkward and adorable. I loved the sort of wholesomeness to this and Julia's interactions with the girls. Too much to do with canine husbandry in the beginning for me, but that's not a huge issue. I found Julia's mother to be ridiculous and it made the conflict seem just a teeny bit flimsy. I didn't much care for the Amelia and Elliott chapters, but I realize that Elliot is the set up for the whole series so it makes sense. It was just a little bit too religious for me... but maybe that was exacerbated by the fact that the main character is trying atone for his family's sins...? Overall I recommend if you like proper romance. Looking forward to the next book.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai* - publishes July 2 ARC, ebook

3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

Rhi is the successful creator of a popular dating app called Crush. She occasionally uses her own app for hookups. However, when she is ghosted by her best hookup yet, she changes her ways. At a social media convention where she hopes to meet the owner of an antiquated dating site... and then buy the site from her... she runs into the guy that ghosted her. Not only is he the new spokesperson for the dating site, and an ex-pro football player.... he wants to explain why he never showed up for their second date. Can she break her own rules?

I am a big fan of Alisha Rai's modern romance novels, however this one fell a little short for me. While I wanted to love this the pace was a bit too slow for me, I also didn't feel like I was waiting for the couple to get together. I wanted a bit more of a slow burn, or a bit more banter and fun interactions on the way to the end. Perhaps it is just that this was quite a bit about their jobs and personal lives, and I didn't connect with that in these specific characters. I am not sure. I will continue to read Rai's books and enjoy them, but this was not my favorite so far.

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim***- publishes today!ARC, ebook

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy magical realism and books that are beautifully described.

When Natalie's estranged mother passes away, she goes home to get her affairs in order. She quickly finds that her neighborhood in San Fransico's Chinatown has lost some of it's luster. The businesses are failing, the buildings are worn, and realators are scooping up the property to gentrify her neighborhood. When the local mystic tells Natalie that she must fix three problems for her neighbors by cooking from her grandmother's cookbook, and then save the neighborhood Natalie delves into her family history and passion for cooking. As Natalie cooks she heals her neighbors, and sees the neighborhood come back to life, but without her grandmother or mother there to guide her, things quickly go awry. Can she save her neighborhood and open her own restaurant following her grandmother's footsteps?

This is exactly the type of writing and book that I like to read. Dreamy descriptions, magical realism, and beautiful symbolism are all woven into the story. This book had the bonus of being related to a specific culture and being written by an author of color. I absolutely adored everything related to Natalie's journey home, discovering bits about her family, neighborhood, mother, grandmother, and father was so much fun.  I adored the cooking prescription concept and the whole book made my mouth water. I loved the cat. I loved the little magical elements in the cooking, music, birds, etc. I thought that Daniel was the sweetest and that the beginning of their relationship made sense to me because of the magical realism. The way their first date went though was a little puzzling to me, and it could be a cultural thing, but talking about how many kids you want and how cute a tiny version of your date would be seems a little bit familiar to me. Either way this book was enchanting start to finish. I loved how Natalie found a connection to her family, her heritage, and her neighborhood through this book. The journal entries, and recipe entries add so much depth to the story. I can't say enough about how dazzling the magic was. I just adored this and will definitely read more by this author in the future!

Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey****ARC, ebook

4.25 Stars - I highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

Taylor is a highs school graduate stuck in a run-down East Texas town, working a dead-end and below minimum wage job, and taking care of her recovering alcoholic mother, and teenage sister. One night Taylor sees a gorgeous man in a suit at their local bar and ends up stealing his wallet. At the last moment she decides not to take his money. Ethan has been robbed by the hot girl at the bar, and when he sees her dressed up as a man at his construction site a month later, he's got one thing in mind: payback. He will be the worst boss she's ever had.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one, but I was SO pleasantly surprised. As much as I enjoy R.S. Grey's comedy... this one was a bit more angsty and I liked that so much! I really enjoyed Taylor and Ethan's chemistry. There was soooo much hate-to-love banter and messing with each other which was so fun to read. I also appreciated that this was SUPER slow burn. I feel like lately every romantic novel I read they get together before 50% and it is getting boring! Not this time, nope, seriously sooo good and worth the wait. I also loved the setting (a build site for a resort in Texas), it was perfect for summer with the cabins, lake swimming, etc. That lakeside campfire scene was *fire emoji*. Definitely recommend if you like R.S. Grey and/or if you are looking for a slow burn summer romance!

Monthly totals:

Read - 7
Owned - 0
Ebook - 6
Physical book - 1
ARC - 5
Library/Borrowed - 2
Bought - 19 (15 physical, 4 ebook)
To Let Go - 0

Yearly Totals:

Read - 38
Owned - 11
Ebook - 25
Physical book - 14
ARC - 19
Library/Borrowed - 9
Bought - 58 (48 physical books, 10 ebooks) -- this does include a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia books for $40! SCORE!
To Let Go - 12

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books today. :) 

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this month?! 

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

**Double asterisks denote books won via a goodreads giveaway! 

***Triple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Penguin First to Read 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 Penguin First to Read!

****Quadruple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by the author of the book 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!