Thursday, March 31, 2016

Monthly Reads | March

I want to start documenting some monthly reads on here because I love talking about books and I think it will keep me accountable for reading more. I will try not to include stuff I read for school only because there isn't as much effort in that since I have to read those, but sometimes we read some really great shit, so if it really speaks to me I'll may just have to mention it. 

// Me Before You

I think I let the hype of the movie, and what a lot of reviewers and bloggers were saying about this book get to me too much this time around. I feel badly in saying that I didn't like this all that much. I read it because the movie trailer seemed intriguing and I wanted to read it before the film came out. I finished it in a day because it was such a quick read. While I felt the ending was realistic, which it needed to be in order to be believable and not overly sentimental, I felt it lacked a certain emotional connection. I also felt like there were some character inconsistency throughout. There were also some chapters that switched perspective which I already dislike in general, so if it's a choice the author is making I feel like it really needs to serve a specific purpose and serve it well. I was talking to my girlfriend who was also reading the book at the time, and we both decided if those chapters were eliminated it wouldn't make any difference because they don't really facilitate the narrative in any grabbing way. Overall, an easy "beach read" if you will, but I was disappointed unfortunately.

// Why Not Me? 

If you didn't know, Mindy Kaling is my girl. She's one of my very favorites and I'm convinced we'd be best friends in real life. I know girls say that a lot, but those girls are lying. I'm the real thing. I'll be your ride or die, Min! So it was no surprise that I loved this book especially since I loved her first one. It's an easy, hilarious read but also has moments of real advice and truth. Also, any time I can read about about her relationship with B. J. Novak is a win in my book. #coupleswhoarenotcouplesbutabsolutelyshouldstillbeacouplegoals
Definite recommend if you like reading about the television industry, or behind-the-scenes stuff, and if you enjoy reading badass women which you should. 

//  Wild 

I caught a glimpse of the trailer for the movie recently and decided I wanted to see it like immediately {since I'm late to the party} but I knew I wanted to read the book first because I respect and admire Cheryl Strayed very much. Before I read, I weirdly thought I was going to like the movie more than the book {which is really unusual for me}, but I ended up feeling like the movie left a lot out, which I realize has to be done to a degree, but I felt myself longing for parts of the book to be better represented in the film, but again, don't we always want that from film adaptations? I did however love Reese Witherspoon in the film because she's a gem.
 I really, really enjoyed the book and it's made my admiration for Cheryl Strayed that much stronger. Although I liked the book very much, I actually prefer Cheryl Strayed as an essayist than a novelist {Wild actually began as an essay before it was a novel}. Her essays are poignant and gripping {not that Wild wasn't} and fascinating reads. I love how accessible Cheryl Strayed is while remaining unique in the messages she lays out for the reader. 
Wild is such a cool story about self exploration, grief, self-love and hate, relationships {familial and romantic}, motherhood, death, etc. I would absolutely recommend it and definitely recommend Strayed's essays. 


Well, those are my reads for March! I was hoping to have more read {since I read each of these in about a day or two} but life got busy as it usually does. I have a middle grade and YA I want to read for work research and also pleasure because who am I kidding? I'm not beyond middle grade fiction and neither are you. ;) Also digging into some Dickens for graduate school, so I'm hoping to find some other titles in April that aren't as heavy. ;) 

What books have you been loving lately? I'm always looking for recommendations! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | 10 things because of him

With our anniversary approaching in a few weeks I've been getting a little sentimental thinking about my guy, so for this week's "Ten on Tuesday" I wanted to write something related to him.

While I'm primarily self sufficient and entirely mostly stubborn there are some things that Sammy has taught me. A lot of little, and not-so-little lessons have crept in. A lot of silly and meaningful things.

He has...

// expanded my movie horizon.

I was dragged to see Taken 2 when it came out thinking I would hate it and I've never been the same. Liam Neeson is just the most bad ass. Ever. I've spent years watching Rocky {over and over again...} and now love it just a much as Sammy does. I get emotional as hell during sports movies. & I'm officially a huge Marvel nerd. The Avengers are kind of my shit. And you can bet we've been counting down to the release of Batman Vs. Superman {this weekend!!}. We're nerds. It's been embraced.

 Now, if I can get him to turn into a Nora Ephron nerd we'd be in good shape.

//  always let me finish the popcorn.

I'm kind of a barbarian when it comes to popcorn. I'm also not the greatest sharer when it comes to food in general. {God I'm really painting myself in a lovely light so early in this list...} But Sammy always bows out about 1/2 way through the bag and lets me finish it without a word. This sounds like not a big deal but to someone who loves popcorn that much it's easily one of the most romantic things he does.

{my soul while I eat popcorn}

// shown me the importance of working out.

This is not to be confused with "has shown me how to enjoy working out" 'cause no one will do that. {Except maybe Cassie Ho because she's a delightful pilates wizard} But he has shown me time and again how important it is to stay active and dedicated to something if you want to see results. Logically, I'm with him. Executing that logic is where I run into trouble. I'm working on it.

// taught me to take food out of the oven five minutes before it's done.

We both love food lightly, lightly browned. That means we like cookies chewy, pizza dough kind of doughy, and brownies gooey. So basically under cooked is what I'm saying. We like food under cooked, OKAY?
Just kidding. Not every food. But most foods. ;) This is seemingly simple but I'm a rule follower so when a recipe gives me a cooking time I stick to that time frame. But once Sammy suggested taking things out five minutes earlier it changed everything.
Like I couldn't think of this myself? What happened to me?
 Now I do it whenever I'm baking/cooking anything.
Lucky for Sammy I'm the Queen of burning things {although this^ advice is helping}, so he's eaten a lot of "surprises" I make for him that have charred edges and concrete centers. But he eats them every time. Romantic thing #2.

// taught me to act a little tougher & work a little harder

I'm a very sensitive person meaning I take a lot of things personally. When I was a kid and I'd get hurt my dad would console me, make sure I was okay, and then say, "you're tough, you're tough" so I would keep playing or doing whatever I was doing. Associating the word "tough" with who I am has helped cement a vocabulary about females. Men aren't the only people who can be tough. Females are tough. My dad always reminded me of that and Sammy has been someone who has pushed the "you're tough, you're tough" mentality as I've gotten older.

I'm also a determined person. I work hard and get things done, but as much as I hate to admit it I don't always go that extra step like I know I should. I don't know anyone who is as determined as Sammy. He's been knocked down countless times and gets up time and again to keep pushing forward. When I start to feel lazy I think about what Sammy would do and I force myself to ask someone at work if I can take on an extra project or do one more rep in the gym.

Sammy is the most determined person I know. He's also pretty damn tough in all definitions of the word.

// explained to me what a down is in football about fifty times.

I mean, that's all. He's explained like fifty times. And yet, the only time I've gotten it is when he was coaching nine-year-olds. I can't follow those NFL guys. I just can't. So now I've lost it again. Also, I don't care.

{needing this for football and hockey "watching"}

// taught me to let it go.

As I said, I'm very sensitive. Things often bother me more than they should and I have a hard time letting things go. Sammy always reminder me that holding on to that crap is toxic and gets in the way of enjoying so many other things. I'm normally giving other people the exact same advice but can't take that advice for myself. Somehow, Sammy gets through.

// taught me to have a better sense of humor about myself.

AGAIN. I'm sensitive. Omg, I'm annoying myself now. So when people make fun of me {in a playful way} I sometimes shut down and get self conscious but Sammy has taught me that people are only having fun and they don't mean it to be hurtful. Plus, it's more fun to be around people who can laugh at themselves.

//  always made me laugh.

Alright, this is a little corny but it's true. He always makes me laugh and he tends to do it most when things are only funny to us or when he's quoting a movie we both love. We have a lot of little things that are kind of like inside jokes/mannerisms we do around each other and they always make me laugh. God, we're weird.

 {example: we died laughing at this primarily because it's got Willy Wonka in it and we love Willy Wonka}

// gotten me hooked on Lost, overwhelmed by lost, and then we never finished.

We don't know what the black smoke is. We don't know what the hell John is doing. We don't know how it ends.
We're on the LAST season and can't get it together. We binged for a few months and toward the end of the series the episodes started to get so overwhelming for us we had to take a break and then every time he wanted to watch I just couldn't bring myself to get back into it just yet. Now I'm ready! & he's boycotting it because I "took too long".
We'll get there. We'll get there.


I've known Sammy for seventeen years and in that time he's taught me a lot about growing up, about being a good person, and enjoying life. He makes this life a lot of fun.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Ten things i'd rather be doing than finals

For those of you who don't know {meaning anyone other than the three people that read this blog} I'm currently working toward getting my Master's degree in Writing & Publishing. It's been an intense ride so far, but I've loved it {on most days} just the same.
Despite enjoying the program {because I'm a nerd through and through} there are plenty of days when I want to throw in the towel and this quarter has definitely pushed my limits.
As winter quarter comes to an end it has brought the inevitable "Finals Week" which has been kicking my ass.
Suffice it to say, this list could very easily consist of twenty or thirty things, but I'll keep it at ten for interests sake.

// Organizing my Pinterest boards 
Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with Pinterest. Like scary obsessed. I currently want to rename all of my boards because I'm tired of how they look. Tired of how they look. Because I've somehow rationalized that this is important in life.

// Paint my nails
My Cupcakes & Cashmere "Latte Run" polish has started to chip, so it's time for a new coat. I may go with "Peach Tea" this time around.

Oh, stop talking about Cupcakes & Cashmere for like one post, you say?
Never. & how dare you.

// Baking and then devouring this cake
I found this on Pinterest last night after 2 am {shocking, I know}, googled where in the actual hell I could get maple syrup in a cute ass can like that {answer: Quebec, Canada}, put three cans in my cart, talked myself out of paying $27 in shipping, got pissed, looked at these pictures again, got pissed I can't take beautiful pictures of food, and cursed this beautiful wizard of a baker. So yeah. I really want this cake. 


// Stalk houses on Trulia
I'm not in the market for a house, shouldn't even be buying 90% of the things I buy, and have separation anxiety from my family, and yet here I am stalking Trulia like I'm ready to make an investment. 

Also, there's nothing out there remotely as beautiful as this Home Alone stunner. 
Since my part-time salary is going to get me in this ballpark real quick.
I'm "Bye, Felicia"-ing myself, don't worry. Also, I just started saying this phrase and people hate me for it primarily because I just say "Bye" {without the Felicia} in a different voice and expect people to know what I mean. They don't. 

// Watch House Hunters
And also Scandal {I'm behind, yet again}, and those TLC shows I can't look away from, and also The Office for like the fifth time in the last three months. Straight killing the social interaction game with all my tv time.

// Talk weddings with my bff
My girlfriend is getting married in June of 2017 and all I want to do is stalk her secret wedding board on Pinterest.
She's been sending me pictures of the dresses she's tried on and I'm obsessed with what she's loving so far. 

Like okay bye most gorgeous, romantic bride that's ever lived ;) 

// Organizing my closet
I have been itching to do this again for the past month or so, ever since I bought more things from Old Navy which seems to be like a weekly occurrence since their sales are the realest

I bought some staples recently and realized how much I could donate from my closet after purchasing these pieces. So, I've been itching to get in there to do some spring cleaning. It would be lovely if I could have a functional closet at any point in my life, but I try and fail, and end up looking like this:

// Read
I've embraced the 42 piles of books I have stacked all around my room. I've given up trying to contain them. Why should I? I've been forcing myself to read more this month instead of using school as an excuse for being "burned out". Books are too lovely to be put on the back burner. 

buy it here
The 576 page bible that sits on my nightstand every night. The ultimate of queens. 

// Buy Brooklyn on dvd
It comes out today, so realistically I'll be doing this before my finals are completed. It's SO good, guys.

// Spend time with my Grandma {!!}
Now that my Grandma is home from the hospital and rehab center all I want to do is spend time with her at home. I've been staying with her the last two nights and I'll be so sad to switch with my brother tonight since I have to work tomorrow. We've been staying up late talking, doing a little cooking {she sat and cut garlic today for the first time in months and it made my heart soar}, and watching Johnny Carson clips on tv. She is one of my very favorite people in this life and it's been such a joy to spend this time with her.
Finals can take a back seat to that.


Linking up with the lovely Karli!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Recap, recap

Back at it with a recap! This weekend was filled with family, friends, and good news as all weekends should be.
Friday night consisted of late-night calzones and lounging for Sammy & I. 

He came home ready to show off his new baton. I came ready for the calzones.


I had my girlfriends over on Saturday afternoon for coffee. We chatted about wedding dresses, future plans, and ate double vanilla butter cake with whipped cream and strawberries. There's two sticks of butter in this cake and I didn't burn it, so it was a huge win for me. 

Later that evening, Sammy and I met up with his family to celebrate his cousin's son's birthday at Lou's. It's always fun getting to see those cousins, so it was an enjoyable evening for sure. We came back to my house afterward and did what we usually do: pretend we're going to watch something on Netflix, but actually pass out until 1am when Sammy leaves annoyed he slept that late. We're such a fun couple! ;)

Sundays are reserved for laundry, naps, and Pinterest which is exactly what we did. Also reserved for taking snapchats of Sammy he would hate if he ever saw. For dinner I was super healthy and had pasta and sushi. And then cereal and then toast because self-control is not a concept I understand. 
I spent the rest of the evening finally buying Carli Bybel's palette and spending time with my grandma who I'm THRILLED to report is back at home! She came home Saturday afternoon and has been adjusting after two months of being in the hospital and rehab. She's so happy to be home though and we're so relieved and blessed to see her here. I'll be having a sleepover with her tonight just like old times. :)

Twins from the beginning ;)

This week marks the end of my winter quarter! But that means I'll be walking around like a zombie trying to get all my projects, papers, and prototypes finished on time. Hoping I can finish things early so I can tack on a few more days to my spring break. 

Hope everyone is having a pleasant start to their week! 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring To-Do List

Endlessly inspired by Emily Schuman, I decided come up with a spring to-do list after reading hers earlier this week.

Mine won't sounds exactly like Emily's, {if only my to-do list consisted of planning a girls weekend to Palm Springs and going wine tasting in Santa Barbara} but I will be adopting one or two items like better meal planning. Ah, and if only I, too, could find a vintage pair of Levi's. 

On to the to-dos! 

// watch a science documentary each week

// spend my Trader Joe's gift card on nourishing food

// try new combinations with my essential oils

// attend a workshop on {or practice at home} yoga nidra 

// read a significant chunk of a book each week 

// oven roast a new vegetable each week in large batches

// "spring clean" a different section of my room each week 

// keep flowers on my {new!} desk throughout the season


With this to-do list I was trying to rid my mind of all the mundane and seemingly obvious tasks that clutter my "every day" to-do list. I'm not going to forget to pay my credit card off {actually a huge goal for me as summer rolls around}, or do my homework, or make strides at work, so I didn't feel it necessary to include them on this list. This was intended to be seasonally specific and fun. & now I'm looking even more toward this new season {quickly!} approaching. 


{Linking up with loveliest ladies April and Andrea}

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring Awakening

We're a few weeks out from spring. It feels much like an awakening, like a fresh start. I feel the way most do about new year's when spring rolls around. It feels like a rebirth. I remember feeling this way last year around this time. I think I wrote a post about it after not blogging for a few months because I let the stress of the colder months get to me as I did this year. But I couldn't be more excited for this spring. This spring is going to be so good.

Many days this winter were spent just trying to get by. The weather got to me, the stress of balancing work and school with family, friends, and a boyfriend who's only home on the weekends got to me. Even the stress of feeling like I was complaining too much about my life {which is such a lovely life especially in comparison to the true adversity others deal with} got to me because I would feel guilty but still felt like I had no where for the negative energy to go. 

I wanted to write a post where I could lay out my plans for spring. It helps maintain the excitement for what I hope is to come. Here are some exciting changes coming up:

// A new schedule 

I will be switching days when I have class and when I work so there will be "class days" and "work days" and I couldn't be more excited to not have to split my focus between work and school in the same 24 hours. 

With a new schedule comes all the possibilities for things I want to do to actually work. Like going to the gym, meal planning, writing, etc. With my days being so long I can only squeeze twenty minutes out to go to the gym. I can't keep lunches and healthy snacks cold {or hot} long enough to last me until dinner time which means I end up spending unnecessary money on meals near school because it's convenient and because I don't usually have the space in my already huge tote bag for anything more. I also don't have spare time to dedicate to meal planning and cooking like I would love to do. And writing for fun or for my own benefit? Forget it. After work and writing pieces for assignments in class I'm burned out. 

I can't wait to get into a routine where there will be more time available for me to do all these things. I'm being offered more hours at work which I can take on once winter quarter is over at school. I can have more face time in the office and spend more time in the gym after work {I use the gym in our building}. I can come home and have dinner with my family and actually see them. I'll even have more time to fit in some spontaneous writing, cooking, and reading. 

I'm a control freak and not having the realistic opportunity to organize my life and time in the way I would like to often drives me crazy and is the route of some of my stress so can I say it again? I.cant.wait.for.more.time.

// New space at work

A construction team is currently hammering away at the new space next door to our current office. My department will be moving into that space by the first week in April *fingers crossed*. This has been an on going conversation since October or November so we're all thrilled to finally get in there and make it our own. 

Part of the renovations have stemmed from needing more space to facilitate the expansion our company wants to make. There are going to be new hires within each department in the next year so we need more room for new faces! I currently sit in the back room/library because there wasn't a desk ready for me and because they knew a new space was on the horizon. But that means I don't currently have my own desk or computer {currently using a backup laptop}, so having my own space is going to be so, so good. I'm hoping to do a silly little "desk reveal" when I get everything the way I want it. I can't wait to decorate it for each season/holiday ;) 

{hoping I can add a lot of white with black and gold accents to my new space}

// Sammy updates

This spring will certainly bring many changes for Sammy's professional career. He's either destined to stay on the course he's currently on or he may be forced with a decision that could change everything he {and I} has been planning for. I'm behind him 100% either way but I would be lying if I said I wasn't secretly pining for one course over the other ;) Life is so good with him and I know whichever journey he takes will be for a reason and we'll make the best of it. 

{come on now. just one the loveliest sentiments}

This year has meant a lot of changes {good and bad} for myself and my family and I hope spring will allow for more understanding and acclimating to all those changes. I hope to come away with more peace about life and let go of the toxicity I let fester this winter.

In no way do I want this post to sound like I'm unappreciative for anything in my life. Even on the worst days I don't feel entitled to a new desk {as a new employee with hardly any experience I should have to work harder and prove myself} or an "easy" schedule {I'm entirely blessed to be a graduate student at such a wonderful university} or more free time {free time is the definition of luxury in my opinion and no one has enough of it so why should I?}. I've just spent the last two years in what has felt like a race to constantly keep everything together and this winter was the culmination of a lot of exhaustion, so even though I do not, in anyway, want to indulge myself in the notion of entitlement I'm just so taken with the idea of these changes finally surfacing. 

Google is telling me the first official day of spring is March 20th, but I started my celebrating on March 1st by swapping my flannel gray and white evergreen tree sheets for a solid turquoise jersey set. Maybe on the 20th I'll buy the all white set I saw at Target recently {something about white always seems so cleansing to me}. I usually throw on an old floral set I still have from my dorm days. They don't fit on my bed anymore but I love how the print looks like it's been painted right on the sheets. It reminds me of spring and growth. But then I think about what Miranda Priestly would say if she ever saw my bed: "Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking." So, I'll stick to white for now. It contains all the colors after all.
All the possibilities. 


Monday, March 7, 2016

Weekend Recap

What. It's a recap that's actually posted on a Monday? Big day for me, people. Initially, I was looking forward to doing nothing all weekend and although it started out like that on Friday night {Chinese food and a movie for the win} Saturday couldn't have been more packed with visits and activities. Also food. As my recaps always prove.

Like I said, Friday night consisted of Chinese food with Sammy's parents and a lot of lounging around.
Lent always makes me feel included because everyone is eating meatless on Fridays. I got excited listening to everyone's Chinese orders on Friday night because of all the things I could eat until I realized they were ordering shrimp fried rice because it was Lent. Whoops. 

After dinner we watched The Martian which I loved and now I'm officially obsessed with NASA and all things science. I added "watching a science related documentary each week" to my spring to-do list. 

Saturday was a crazy filled day but was so enjoyable. Sammy and I started early with visits to both of his grandparents. First to see his Dad's parents and then lunch by Nana Tina. 

Nothing like serving hot {homemade} sausage before 11am.

After visiting his Dad's parents we had lunch by Nana Tina {his mom's mom} and also got to visit with his Zia who was there. She's one of my favorite aunts, so I loved getting to see her.
Lunch by Nana Tina never, ever disappoints. That first picture is just "appetizers" which is craziness. She also made pasta with vodka sauce, breadcrumb stuffed fish, potatoes, green beans, and stuffed artichokes {which are my favorite}. For dessert she had cookies, as usual, and a strawberry angel food cake trifle that I want to make every week now.


After lunch Sammy received a phone call about his future that has the potential to shake everything up, so it's extremely exciting but also nerve wracking thinking about the unknown. Good vibes all around though. I know things will work out as they're supposed to. We ran an errand and then my momma treated us and my brother to a movie and a later dinner. 


We saw Zootopia which was awesome, awesome, awesome. So funny. Only further proving Disney's masterful ability to create detailed and magical worlds. We stopped at La Hacienda for some Mexican food. I had a sangria swirled frozen margarita {which calmed me down after I had a brief heart attack after I realized I left my purse in the theatre... luckily someone brought it to the front desk} and fish tacos.

It was late when we got home but Sammy and I hung out for a little while and when he left I hung out with leftover movie theatre popcorn in my own bed watching The Office. 

Sunday I spent the whole day doing homework and getting prepped for finals week. Sammy had reading to do for class so we ended up studying together before he made the drive up north. After coming home I did more revisions on pieces for class and in an attempt to prep for the week mentally I did a little pampering night consisting of a hot shower, at home mani/pedi, and eye mask. Finals week is next week and the assignments leading up to it {the ones not even included in my final projects} is kicking my ass. Can't wait for a new surge of energy after this quarter ends.
{print here}


Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Favs

I am so looking forward to this weekend. Hoping to get a jump start on some stuff for finals but other than that I'm looking forward to not doing  a n y t h i n g. 

The temps are rising and I'm hoping for some Spring vibes in the next few days!

I got some fun Friday favs today! 

One // Sephora masks 

K. These. Buy these things. They're like $5-6 and they're lovely. I've tried the eye specific masks before and just tried the full face mask earlier this week and loved it. They're so refreshing and calming. I want to try all the colors. 

Two // Jaclyn Hill's hair

Is it weird and kind of creepy that I'm obsessed with someone's haircut? Maybe. But I don't care because Jaclyn Hill is queen and I have an obsession with fabulous women, so it's fine. I need to chop my hair off again but I feel like if I did this I would look like…not as good as Jaclyn Hill. 

I also can.not. with her husband because he's the most adorable human. 

Three // Cupcakes and Cashmere Formula X Collab 

I mentioned it last week but these beauties arrived at my house a few nights ago! I'm so excited to use them. I think I'm going to start with this nude in "Latte Run" first. I think "Haute Sauce" will be so cute in the summer on my toes and "Peach Tea" will be lovely for an all over mani/pedi. 

Four // OYE Bikini

I normally don't post about bikinis, or bathing suits in general for that matter because they're not my favorite topic since I'm bitter about not being able to wear one comfortably {THANKS BBQ CHIPS I eat in my bed at 1am}, but this one that Amber posted about I'm obsessed with. I'm actually obsessed with the bottoms only and am really annoyed they're not sold separately. That bottom seems like it would be so flattering on so many body types. It might actually convince me to wear a bikini. Or exercise. That could convince me to wear a bikini. Or like not eating all the things all the time. Also, OYE... why your bikinis crazy expensive? Like stop.

Need those bottoms. How can I get the bottoms?!

Five // This. Beautiful. Picture.

Kristin Davis posted this picture the other day and I died. Look at these faces! Obsessed with this reunion. Just need a few more... and then they could all discuss SATC #3. ;)

The end of this week turned out to be a good one. Productivity was through the roof at work and in school, I got lovely {and super helpful} feedback on my essay during workshop, I got my bonus at work, I found out I made the English Honor's Society, I ordered my cap and gown for graduation, and the cafeteria had fried pickles and curly fries on Wednesday. 

Here's to an even better weekend!