Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Tuesday Four

blacksalt dc mojito We celebrated our third anniversary last week... I know everyone says this, but where does the time go? It's cheesy and a bit cliche but I'm so thankful it really feels like each year is better than the one before. Thanks so much to everyone for the sweet comments over on instagram.

blacksalt; dc; halibut; peanut butter cake
This year was a little bittersweet because last year we were in New Orleans-- which was one of the best vacations ever. Some of the best food ever, combined with exploring history, and lounging at the pool. This year we decided to try somewhere new & had dinner at BlackSalt to celebrate the occasion and had an amazing dinner. We both agreed it was one of the best meals we've had in a really long time and I highly recommend going if you're a fan of seafood and in the DC area.

Three more things recently...I know I'm probably the last person on the planet to try out micellar waters, but I tried the Simple brand and I'm so impressed. I think it might be just a tad drying, but it does such a good job removing my makeup without irritating my skin & it truly doesn't leave behind any residue.

My new favorite dessert is Yasso frozen greek yogurt bars. They're only 80-100 calories and are really satisfying when you want something sweet. I've had kind of spotty luck with the boxes I get-- as in some of them look kind of weird, but their customer service has been really great. I'm on the hunt to try the cinnamon bun ones next!

I had no idea that The Light Between Oceans was going to be a movie but was excited to see the trailer recently. I loved the book, but I'm having similar feelings as to how I feel about Me Before You & not really wanting to watch something sad-- though I do really like Alicia Vikander.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Do you have favorite restaurants for special occasions or do you like to try something new?

Monday, May 23, 2016

More Books | MAY

Another (rainy) weekend has come to an end and I'm back with my mid-month book post. I think I'm going to keep doing these twice monthly because I don't like when they get too long. I'm also trying to get in a better habit of writing my review right after I finish the book so I don't forget my thoughts and feelings. I also want to start doing more in-depth reviews where I share more about the premise of the book, I'm just not very good at doing that without giving away spoilers and most of the time I feel like you guys can pretty easily just read the book synopsis on Amazon or Goodreads. Deborah at Coffee, Clothes, and Pretty Clothes always does the best in-depth book reviews without giving away too much. Speaking of books Megan announced the SCSBC last week & at first I thought it was going to be too hard to fit the categories, but I'm actually really excited about all of the books I've picked out to read (my list is here).


congratulations, by the way | So I knew this was based on Saunder's commencement speech, but I didn't realize that was all that was in the book. When I downloaded the audiobook I saw it was 60ish pages so thought it would be longer than 12 minutes-- it wasn't. With all that being said I really did enjoy it, he shares a great message and if you haven't listened to it, I'm sure you can google the speech and listen or read it for free.

the expatriates | I was stuck between 3 & 4 stars for this book and I don't think I've ever read a book that ebbed and flowed so much in how I felt reading it. The book follows the life of three women who are expats in Hong Kong-- they all connect in someway and their individuals stories were all equally interesting, which is always a plus with books told from multiple points of view. At times I really liked it, but other times I was a bit bored because I wasn't 100% connecting with the style of writing.

fool me once | This was the first book I've ever read by Harlan Coben & I honestly have no idea why I ended up requesting it from the library but oh my gosh, it was definitely one of the biggest wtf!? moments I've ever had from a book once I got to the end. I'll be honest I wasn't totally loving it as I was reading it because I wasn't a fan of a lot of the dialogue, but that's really not the point, and if you like a good mystery I highly recommend & I will be reading more Coben in the near future.

dumplin' | When this book first came out I went back and forth on wanting to read it, but it was recently available for $1.99 on amazon so I purchased a copy. What I expected to be much of the plot for the entire book was over in the first couple of chapters-- that wasn't a bad thing because it left me curious as to how the rest of the book would play out. It was a book that I enjoyed while reading it, but when I wasn't reading it I wasn't all that eager to pick it up again.

modern romance | This was my audiobook choice of the month and I'll be honest, I kind of thought it was never going to end. Ansari talks about relationships and dating in modern times-- I love that it was research based mixed in with his own personal stories & humor. I just expected it to be a little more laugh out loud funny, but to be fair I'm not familiar with his shows or standup routines. I did find it interesting and entertaining, I just think I would have enjoyed it more reading it on my own because it wouldn't have taken such a long time to get through.

Fool Me Once was definitely my favorite of the bunch and the one I would recommend if you're into mystery/suspense novels. I also highly recommend everyone listen to or read Congratulations, By The Way. There is a full transcript of his speech here-- I think it's such an important message on kindness.
What have you read recently?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Thursday Four


Happy Thursday! I had a random assortment of things I wanted to talk about today so I thought I'd put them all together in a little bit of a hodgepodge of a post today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Carly Reads Here | April Reads


Finding Audrey | I wish I could remember who recommend this book because I loved it so much I almost reread it again the next day & have already bought a hardcopy. The story is about a teenager suffering from a severe anxiety disorder-- so it touches on a really serious issue, but it's written with so much humor & heart. I do not at all think that Kinsella was making light of mental illness even though this book was funny- I laughed out loud quite a few times and I think it definitely helped that I grew up with a brother who was also pretty into gaming so I could appreciate all of the video game drama going on in the household. Audrey's mom is completely overboard, but I loved her.

Flawless | The second book in the PLL series and it was perfect for keeping me occupied on a quick flight to Michigan last month.

Deliver Her | I recently discovered Amazon's kindle first program- they give you six book choices that will be released next month and you can read one for free. I went with the suspense option and chose Deliver Her and it was so slow-- the first 40-50% of the book is told by the book's synopsis, so there's not much suspense there. It's hard to explain, but it's about a teenager who experiences the loss of her best friend and acts out so her mom wants to send her away to a treatment facility, so she hires someone to transport her there and they get into an accident and Alex is missing. You'd think the missing part would be the main drama, but I think she was only actually missing for like three chapters.

Secret Sisters | This was described as a romantic suspense, which intrigued me-- but after finishing the book I don't think it's my cup of tea. Right away I had kind of an iffy feeling when one of the main characters tells someone that they killed someone and they're buried under a gazebo- and it's received as no big deal. The whole book kind of reminded me of an adult PLL as far as people being murdered and then two seconds later life goes back to normal. The overall mystery element that finally wraps up in the end was good and I enjoyed the little bits of romance, but overall it was forgettable.

Out of the Easy | I came across this book from one of Erin's recent book posts and it was such a good find because I loved this book. A big majority of the time I can tell if I'm going to enjoy a book by the first page, and this was definitely one of those books that pulled me in right away. I'll admit, there was a bit of the first half that was a little bit slow, but then it sped up and there was so much suspense mixed in with an overall enjoyable story set in the 1950s in New Orleans.

Tipping Point | I finally tried another audiobook and this one was a success! I decided to go for a non-fiction option because not only do I enjoy non-fiction, I thought it would be a lot easier to listen to while multi-tasking. I scrolled through the available audiobooks from the library and wasn't having much luck, but when Tipping Point was available I figured it would be worth checking out. I haven't read any of Gladwell's other books in full (I read part of David & Goliath & didn't like it), but I think a big part of the reason I enjoyed this one so much is because I was familiar with the examples he used in the book. He talks about Baltimore in the 90s and then he talks about Paul Revere-- which was fresh in my mind after our trip to Boston earlier in the month.

The book is read by Gladwell, and I'll be honest he doesn't have the most exciting tone of voice, but he read fast enough that I didn't feel the need to try and speed it up.


Linking up for Show Us Your Books! What have you read recently? 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

currently // vol 4

I was convinced this was only the third currently post, but it's actually the fourth which makes sense because we're already into May! How crazy is it that we're almost halfway through this year already? I'm linking up with Kristen & Gretchen for their monthly linkup.

exercising | We've started a 6x a week exercise routine over here and while it's still way too early to see any changes or say it's a true routine yet, it's off to a good start. For now it's something like a warmup with a little bit of cardio and then anywhere from 30-70 minutes of weight training depending on the day.

eating | Within a healthy calorie range... aka not eating anything and everything 24/7. Eventually I want to move away from processed foods as much as possible, but right now balance is key & I'm slowly making progress & am proud of the small changes I'm making around food.

drinking | Trader Joe's ginger pear tea... when I was in Boston I tried a ginger pear from David's tea and it was so good. I was pretty excited when I saw this for like $3 at TJ. As I'm sure you probably guessed, it's no where near as good as the loose leaf version from David's, but I'm still enjoying it.

listening | Audiobooks! I finally got in a groove with audiobooks and realized that non-fiction books are the way to go (for me). Finally I can still listen and absorb, while being productive at the same time.

loving | flowers-- specifically the roses my dad sends me every year for my birthday (see above photo). They've made my desk a much happier space since it has rained every single day since last Wednesday.

wearing | The makeup from Tuesday's post and Burt's Bees lipsticks. They smell good, they feel hydrating, they wear nicely, and they have a good color payoff-- I have lily lake & tulip tide.

creating | I've wanted to get into bullet journaling because I think it's so awesome, but I didn't know if it was something I'd lose interest in pretty quickly. After trying to figure out a way to track my fitness and eating habits/goals I figured a bullet journal just for those two things would be perfect!

watching | I really wasn't going to mention PLL again, and I was hating the beginning of season 5, but I'm a little over halfway through now and I actually really like it again. The Christmas episode was the cutest ever- or maybe I'm just happy they're back to being against Allison?

reading | I'm trying to power through The Glass Sword even though I'm really not in the mood. I think I was on the wait list for three or four months, so I need to finish it in the next two days before my loan is up. Even though I knew I needed to get to it, I kept reading other books instead and now it's crunch time.

What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Go-To Beauty Products

A year or so ago I really downsized when it came to my makeup products. I had accumulated a lot of great products, but many of them were quite old or items I didn't reach for on a daily basis. I instated a rule of not buying more of one thing until I had used up what I already have-- for most things anyway, because the only products I ever really run out of are foundation and mascara. Affiliate links are used in this post-- so clicking and/or purchasing anything through them will earn me a few cents.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Confessions

I've never been big into confession posts, but I've had a few of these in my drafts for a couple of months and figured it was finally time to writeup a full post. My first confession really could be that I can't believe there are only two days left of April-- but haven't we all been saying that with every passing month of this year?

... I was initially really annoyed with the new Bloglovin' feed situation. I didn't like that random people kept showing up on my feed even though I was no longer following them (or their blog), but I've actually found a couple of really great posts from blogs that I don't follow because someone I do follow liked their post.

... I'm really bad at revisiting to-do/bucket lists on my blog, which is why I don't really write them anymore even though I love reading other people's posts. I was looking back on my summer bucket list for 2014 (that I never finished updating), and it definitely helped me be more intentional with our weekend activities, so I think a list for summer 2016 is coming soon!

... I finally watched Fuller House a couple of months ago when my husband was super sick and I liked it so much I've considered re-watching the season all over again. I wasn't even that excited when it was first released because I thought it would be way too cheesy (it is), but it's really cute-- and probably just a nice change from all of the dark and intense shows we usually watch.

... I made these chocolate coconut bars a few weeks ago and sent a bunch of them to work with my husband. I still had quite a few left over so I saved one and threw the rest away so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them (all in once day). Later I regretted that decision & definitely almost had a Miranda moment, but I resisted. #sugaraddict

... I don't know if I want to see Me Before You. I  l o v e d  the book- it's one of my all-time favorites- and the movie looks like it's going to be really well done, but I just don't want to be sad all over again.

...Speaking of books and movies- I do want to see The Girl on the Train even though I wasn't totally crazy about the book. Emily Blunt definitely isn't who I pictured for Rachel, but I'm kind of thinking that's a good thing because from the trailer she doesn't seem as unlikable as in the book.

confess your heart out with Nadine &