Monday, July 27, 2020

What I'm Watching

We've entered the part of summer where it's too hot for me to even pretend like I want to leave the house. The heat index has been over 100 every day for the last week here in DFW. That means in addition to all the reading I've been doing also I'm watching a lot more tv. Here's what I've currently been streaming



Hamilton on Disney+ - Do I even need to include this, because duh obviously I've watched this! We were really lucky to see the musical in person when it came to Dallas last year, but getting to rewatch it (especially with the facial close ups) is still really cool.

Tangled the series on Disney+ - We put this one on randomly one night as we were folding laundry before bed and got hooked. It picks up after the end of the movie

My Spy on Prime - We watched this one for at home date night and thought it was really cute. It reminded me of something that the Rock would be in; kinda cheesy and endearing

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on HBOMax - This is the story behind the book of the same name. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who died of cancer in the 1950s, without her or her family's permission doctors took her cells and those cells (HeLa) have led to all kinds of medical break throughs.

QueerEye on Netflix -  Oh how I LOVE this show! In my opinion this is the perfect feel good show and this new season did not disappoint

Eurovision Song Contest : The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix - Maybe I just had really low expectations, but this was one of the best things I've seen this year. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as small town Icelandic sings with dreams of winning Eurovision is exactly what we need at this time.

Sweet Magnolias on Netflix - At first I wasn't a big fan of this one; I literally fell asleep the first time I watched it. But it grew on me around episode 3 and turned out to be pretty entertaining

Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix - I randomly found this one night when I was looking for something new to watch and it is so great! Phil was a tv producer so he knows how to make an interesting program. My favorite part is at the end of every episode he video chats with his parents from whatever location he's in while they're back home.

Below Deck on Bravo on Demand - My husband and I are obsessed with this one! Having worked in luxury hospitality it's fun to watch and very relatable



What are you currently watching?



Friday, July 24, 2020

4 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in July

Tomorrow is July 25, Christmas in July day! Christmas is my favorite holiday so I'll gladly take any excuse to celebrate it, even 5 months early. I can't think of anything we need more in 2020 than a little extra holly jolly feelings. Today I'm sharing 4 ways to celebrate Christmas in July.


1. Watch a Christmas movie - I think this is my favorite part of Christmas and in my opinion the key to celebrating Christmas in July! I shared this list of holiday movies to stream back in December and a few of them are still available to stream now. My personal choice would be to watch Elf (currently on Netflix) because I think it's the perfect movie.

2. Listen to a Christmas playlist - Don't want to go full out for Christmas in July? Put on a Christmas playlist to help lift your spirits while you're doing house chores or cooking. I put together this playlist a few years ago of my favorite holiday songs.

3. Eat a favorite Christmas treat - My very favorite holiday treat is peppermint bark so I think it'd be the perfect Christmas in July treat! Other good treats are hot chocolate or Christmas cookies or whatever dessert screams Christmas to you!

4. Enjoy a favorite Christmas tradition - I bet you have a tradition that you do every Christmas; my Christmas tradition is eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve. I know a lot of people always play certain boardgames or maybe call all their family they're not with. Doing something as simple as that can really help Christmas in July feel holly and jolly!


How do you plan to celebrate Christmas in July?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How I'm really feeling

I thought it was time to do a quick real life check-in with everybody. We're about 4 months into quarantine which is about 3 months more than I ever thought this would last. It's so crazy to think back to early March and how different everything was then. I spent the first week of March in Vegas for a work trip; at that point we were only sorta starting to think Covid could become a thing in the United States. People were jokingly bumping elbows instead of shaking hands and I went to the Strip like things were totally normal. My flight back home to Dallas was half empty, which looking back on should have been a wake-up call that things were about to get serious.

I spent the rest of March in denial that things were going to get so bad. I stayed home and listened to all the recommendations, but I mistakenly thought everyone else was doing the same thing and it'd be over soon. We only left the house to grocery shop and have take-out put in our back seat before taking it home for "date night." At that point I was honestly loving staying home and being excited about having time to do more cooking and the quality time I was spending with my husband and Rebel. The denial of March quickly turned to darkness in April. I shared before that my grandmother passed away from Covid in April; I carried this dark cloud all month. I only took 1 day of bereavement because I felt silly taking more when we weren't traveling for a funeral, but I cried almost every day that month. Every time my phone rang I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I was sure it was either my boss calling to tell me I was being laid-off or my mom telling me another family member has tested positive. I was trying to put on a positive face, but I was not in a good place. I was living in crippling fear; I couldn't even leave the house to go grocery shopping.
I regressed back to denial in May and was convinced everything would be fine for me to go on a trip to Florida in June. I was looking at the rising numbers in Florida and around the country, but still kept telling myself everything would be fine. I finally canceled my flight June 1 (thanks for the full refund Southwest!) and I think that's when I finally hit the point of acceptance. I realized none of the trips we were planning for 2020 were going to happen. I started thinking about how I could realistically make 2020 special because it wasn't going to be with the Disneyland or Europe trips I was planning. 

Now as we're closing out July I'm doing better. I still have moments of extreme anxiety, but I'm learning to pause and just breathe. I can't predict the future so I have to accept to just take it a day at a time. Planning too far ahead will only set me up for disappointment. Before I do anything I think about how it is going to impact others, and while I wish everyone would think this way all I can control is myself.


How are you really doing?

Monday, July 6, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 2

If I'm being honest I'm glad to see 2020 Q2 finished; these last 3 months have been rough. Texas started reopening in early May, but I'm still mostly staying inside and only going out when I need to. This means I've have lots of reading time! Here's what I read in 2020 quarter 2


The Orphan's Tale - 4/5  This was a rare book where I enjoyed both the narrators


The Engagements - 4/5  This one took a while to get into, but I really liked how everything tied together at the end


We Were the Lucky Ones - 5/5  Hands down one of the best books I've read, ever


Limelight - 4/5   This was a fun story that was easy to picture; it'd make a cute Netflix movie


Bringing Down the Duke - 3/5    Not bad, but not great either


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - 5/5  The story really grabs you and keeps you interested right from the start. I could easily see this being made into a movie or HBO mini series


My Oxford Year - 2/5    Spoiler Alert! This felt like two totally separate books. The first half is your typical chick lit, goes to the UK and falls for her professor who also happens to be terribly wealthy and have a reputation as a playboy. Then halfway through we're hit with the bombshell that he has terminal illness? No thank you. That is not the book I signed up to read.


My Not So Perfect Life - 4/5   Exactly what you expect in a Sophie Kinsella book; a few laughs and a happy ending


The Man of my Dreams - 2/5     I wanted to like this book so badly, but ultimately just couldn't. It all came down to the main character just not being likable


Match Making for Beginners - 3/5    This sounds like a spoiler, but it really isn't : everything gets better after Blix dies. This one starts so slow but picks up in the middle and held my interest to the end


American Princess - 3/5   Interesting read that got better as it went. I really liked that you could tell the author did extensive research and included so many real people and events.  


The Bromance Book Club - 3/5  Fun and different story line that's great for the beach or pool



Check out my 2020 Quarter 1 reads here. Have any books I need to read next? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, June 29, 2020

birthday wish list

My birthday is just over a month away and to say I'm a little bummed is an understatement. When 2020 started I thought I'd be ringing in 29 with a dole whip while riding Jungle Cruise in Disneyland. Obviously that won't be happening this year. Instead I'm hoping to spend the day quietly at home starting with a donut and then some reading and finishing the day with takeout from my favorite Mexican restaurant. Aside from that queso there really isn't much I want for my birthday, but my sweet husband has requested I publish a birthday wish list, so here we are.


coffee sticks - These are technically for cocktails, but I think they'd bring me extra joy in my morning coffee. I especially love the Big Tex, party flamingo, and piƱata ones.

headband - Specifically this one in rainbow stripe bright. One day we'll go back out in public and this headband would go with so much

leggings - People swear these are as good as the lululemon ones, but at a fraction of the price. I practically live in leggings so I'd be excited to try these out

kitchenwares - Anything from my kitchenwares wishlist post would be appreciated

t-shirt quilt - I have way too many shirts from college that I don't wear anymore, yet can't bare to part with. A t-shirt quilt seems like the perfect solution

gardening - Since we moved into our house a year ago I've been saying I want to do some landscaping out front, but haven't yet


Friday, June 12, 2020

kitchenware wishlist

I mentioned the other week that I've been spending more time in the kitchen lately. We have everything (and more) we need for regular cooking, but now that I'm trying to expand my skills I sometimes find myself passing up a recipe because I don't have a specific item. I've been putting together a bit of a kitchenware wishlist.


round cake pan - One thing I want to start doing is making pretty cakes, specifically layer cakes. I realized I can't really do not if I don't have two identical sized pans

bundt cake pan - As I mentioned before I really want to start making "pretty cakes" and a bundt cake is instantly pretty. I really like this one because it comes with a cover to keep the cake fresh

french onion soup mugs - A while ago Chrissy Tiegan posted an Instagram story making French Onion soup and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since

oxo pop containers - I have a few of these, but as I'm buying more pantry ingredients I need more!

brown sugar keeper -

veggie grill basket - We love using our grill to make burgers and chicken, but I'd love to be able to make some grilled veggies too

pizza stone - I keep seeing recipes for grilled pizzas that I'm dying to try

egg ring - My husband eats a frozen breakfast sandwich almost every morning for breakfast. I'd love to be able to shape my own scrambled eggs to make some homemade sandwiches

batter dispenser - We love making waffles so this would make everything less messy

popsicle mold - Every summer I say I'm going to make my own popsicles, but then never do


What's your favorite kitchen tool I need to add to my kitchenware wishlist?


Friday, May 22, 2020

7 recipes I want to try and 1 we love

We've reached the point of this pandemic when I'm looking to expand my cooking skills. My husband is allergic to bananas so sadly I won't be baking any banana bread and needed to look for inspiration elsewhere. I've been hunting Pinterest and some of my favorite cook books for new recipes I want to try! Here are a few I have my eye on


Pesto Chicken Sliders - I think these would also be really good swapping in goat cheese too!

Instant Pot Hibachi Steak and Vegetables - I make stir fry in my wok often so this looks like a fun alternative

Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie - It counts as healthy because it has fruit, right?

Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti - This was one of my favorite meals when I lived in my sorority house, so I'm excited to try it myself

Philly Cheesesteak Cheesy Bread - I want to try this now so it's perfected by the time sports are back

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken - This looks like such a great summer dish

Low Country Shrimp Boil - Am I crazy or does your mouth water when you think about eating this too?


Bonus! We made these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last weekend and I can't recommend them enough! I baked about a dozen and then rolled the rest of the dough for the freezer and I'm happy to report they're still delicious using the frozen dough

Monday, May 11, 2020

Currently

Watching - Last month we got cable again after not having it for a year and I am taking full advantage of it! I cannot get enough FoodNetwork or HGTV even when that means watching 5 episodes of Chopped in a day. I always tell myself I'm going to watch something else, but before long I end up back on one of these two stations.

Listening - The other day I was listening to the Broadway station on Pandora and a song came on that I'd never heard. After a little research I learned it was from the musical SIX, which is the story of King Henry the Eighth's six ex-wives. I have since become obsessed with the soundtrack!

Buying - I finally caved and ordered this dress from Target that I've wanted since March. I snagged it during their recent 30% off sale and also snagged this other adorable spring dress. This weekend I used a gift card to buy a few books when it was announced that the city of Dallas is furloughing the librarians until July 31 and I realized I'm not getting that book I'm next on the waitlist for anytime soon. These are the only purchases (other than food/bills) I've made in 2 months! One positive of this pandemic is it has caused me to have a "no spend" month without even realizing it.

Wanting - Ever since we moved into our house a year ago I've wanted to change the light above the kitchen table. Now that I sit under it for 8 hours a day working I really want to change the light. I'd describe my style as industrial farmhouse and have my eye on something like this or this or something very traditional like this. It's just so hard to know which I'll prefer without seeing them in the person.


Eating - We've been in a really good routine lately where we grab takeout from a favorite restaurant once on the weekend and once or twice during the week, cooking all our other meals at home. I haven't made anything too crazy yet, but I have my eyes on a few recipes I want to try for a fancy weekend date night at home.

Hoping - That all of this is over in the next month or so. I have a trip to Florida planned for mid June that I haven't pulled the plug on yet. Realistically I know the chances of it happening are very very slim, but I'm just not ready to accept it won't happen. Luckily I was going with family so I only booked a flight myself and only have to worry about canceling that.

Accepting - That 2020 is not the year I go to Europe. For years I planned and saved to go for my 25th birthday, but then I was in the middle of my first summer in Vail and had approximately 2 days of PTO so that didn't happen. Then last year I'd hoped to go for our honeymoon, but this time my husband didn't have enough PTO time to go so we did a long weekend trip to DC instead. We'd been planning to go for our first anniversary this fall, but with the state of things I just don't see that happening. Even if we can go, it may not be safe to go, plus I'm not feeling enough job security to drop that much cash on flights that we'd only get refunded in the form of credits. We were also planning to add a couple days onto the back of a work trip this summer and spend my birthday in Disney Land, but that's also not happening now. This is a major bummer because we hope to have a baby in 2021, so we won't be planning any major trips next year.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Mimi

My grandmother passed away two weeks ago. She was 89 and healthy except for bad knees that caused a fall in mid March. That fall meant she needed surgery and then time spent in a rehab center; it was here that she was exposed to Covid-19. The first week of April she was moved from the rehab center back to the hospital, moved to a Covid ICU floor and intubated. On Monday April 20th my mom called to let me know the hospital was letting her and my aunt and uncle in to say goodbye. Around 9:30pm that evening I got the call I'd been dreading for over a month. The doctors tell us she went immediately and peacefully in the end; a small comfort. She was laid to rest 5 days later with a private funeral of only 8 family members present. My husband and I did not attend because it's not safe or responsible to travel to New Orleans right now.

My Mimi loved to read and all things sports. When we were little she'd take us for walks and then feed us ice cream. We grew up a hour away and she was really the only babysitter my parents trusted so I have so many memories with her. She made delicious white beans and rice and fried pork chops. She was smart, stubborn, and spirited. She fiercely loved us and we loved her. We miss her deeply.

so thankful the last memory I have with Mimi is from my wedding

I'm not sharing this story today for pity. Pity and sympathy won't bring Mimi back. I share her story to remind you that as updated numbers are reported each day these are not just "cases" these are loved ones. Every life taken from Covid-19 is not just a statistic, but a person deeply missed. I am so thankful for every memory I have of her, but am completely heartbroken knowing she won't be here for more.

As more and more states move to "reopen the economy" remember to use good sense. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and take advantage of to-go or curbside pickup when available. If not for yourself, for someone else's Mimi.


Monday, April 20, 2020

5 things to do with your stimulus check

Last week the majority of the stimulus checks started hitting bank accounts. No matter your opinion on these checks, if you get one you have to figure out what to do with your stimulus check. The thing about $1200 is if you haven't been financially impacted, its a lot of money to just be given to you. I think during this time of national crisis we all have a responsibility to really think about what to do with your stimulus check. Today I'm sharing ideas for 5 things to do with your stimulus check.

1. Saving - This is what my husband and I are doing with ours, and my number 1 recommendation for anyone financially impacted. I shared before that I feel very little job security at the moment, while my husband and I do still have jobs I've taken a pay cut and a good portion of his is based on reaching sales goals. We've decided to put our stimulus check in savings until the end of the summer; by that time hopefully we feel better about this whole thing and can use it for something fun.

2. Investing - Stock prices are starting to rise but are still below where they were a month ago. If you've ever been interested in the stock market I think now is a good time to invest if you can leave the money for the long run. This is for sure not a get rich quick plan! Another way to invest is to "invest" in yourself and put your stimulus check toward paying off debt. PS: Has anyone used Robinhood for this? I'd be really interested in your experience.

3. Eating - This is the more responsible way to spend your stimulus check. Use it to get takeout from your favorite local restaurants once a week. Or maybe tip extra when you get delivery. I read something recently that said since the contactless deliveries have started the average tip has actually gone down because people don't feel the need to tip someone they don't see.

4. Shopping - The key to this one is to support made in America products and small shops. Sure you could shop the big department stores and luxury brands, but that's kinda defeating the point of this stimulus check. If you want to shop hit up local boutiques (most are still taking online orders and doing curbside pickup or front porch drop off) or etsy shops and support someone instead of a large corporation.

5. Donating - Maybe this has made you appreciate your blessings and you're feeling generous. Local food banks domestic violence shelters are being hit especially hard right now and would appreciate the extra funds to restock. Other good ideas would be animal shelters/rescues, churches, or non-profits that have probably seen a decline in their usual donations.

What are you planning to do with your stimulus check?


Monday, April 13, 2020

Go-to DFW restaurants

Back in January I shared 20 DFW restaurants I want to try this year. I'm happy to report that before this virus outbreak we'd actually crossed a couple of those off the list! But today I wanted to share our go-to DFW restaurants. These are the places we keep finding ourselves going back and back to during the last two years that I've called Dallas home. My husband grew up in Dallas and some of these are places he's been going with his family since childhood! If you're in DFW and looking for a local restaurant to support right now, you can't go wrong with any of these!



Mariano's - The Best Mexican food in DFW, hands down, no contest. My regular order : frozen margarita (they were invented here!), queso, and the chicken tortilla soup

Burger House - My husband grew up down the street from here and would ride his bike to grab a cheeseburger. He's now 30 and the workers still know him by name. These are everything a classic burger should be! My regular order : single cheese burger with mayo, lettuce, pickle and a cheese fry to share

Yolk - This breakfast spot is really close to our church so we would stop for (non-alcholic) brunch after Sunday service. My regular order : iced coffee with the green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with pesto, swiss cheese and ham) with cheesy grits and an english muffin. If you want something healthy, the South Beach is also really good!

Bubba's - This is another spot my husband grew up going with his family that we've adopted as one of our go-to spots. My regular order : grilled tenders with green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy. PS : the roll with honey butter is 100% worth the calories

iFratelli's - This is our favorite pizza delivery both at home and at my office. They have a few locations across the metroplex, so if you're in DFW chances are you have a location near by. My regular order : at home we love just a classic pepperoni, but at work we love the staff special with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts

Wang's - The best Chinese takeout in DFW! I was super skeptical the first time my husband brought me here because there was literally nobody eating inside, but as we were waiting for our order I quickly realized nobody eats in, but tons of people order takeout. My regular order : Garlic chicken, egg rolls, and crab puffs. If we're wanting a lot of leftovers we'll also order pork lo mein.

Sammy's BBQ - This holds a special place in my heart because my husband took me here the first time he brought me home to meet his family and it's where we had our rehearsal dinner. They're only open for lunch as they close once they sell out. My regular order : sausage and potato casserole are a must get every time and then I'll switch out my second meat and side depending on what I'm in the mood for

New York Subs - Another of my husband's childhood favorites; they'd get these for bus rides to away football games in high school. These are simple classic sub sandwiches but are so so good! My regular order : Half a # 3 (ham and cheese) with mayo, lettuce, and the special sauce and a bag of creole onion Zapps

Truck Yard - This is one of our favorite casual date night spots. There's an inside part for hot nights, but the real fun is sitting outside by the different food trucks that rotate out each day. My regular order : inside they always have philly cheesesteak and they're so good! I go with steak, provolone, onions, and peppers with the spicy ranch! Oh and the twisted mule on tap

Tasty Tails - As someone who grew up with a boat docked at my house, I'm very picky about seafood, especially seafood claiming to be "New Orleans style". But eating here reminds me of eating back in my hometown. My regular order : small shrimp Po'boy with tartar sauce and cajun fries

Rosa's - If we're in the mood for fast, but good mexican food this is where we go. One Tuesdays they do a $5 taco plate! My regular order : crunchy beef tacos, and yes, you do also need to eat the soft tortillas that come with your order because they are worth the carbs


Monday, April 6, 2020

tips to help manage stress

I think its safe to say we're collectively all under an elevated amount of stress at the moment. No matter where you live or what you do for work this virus is impacting your life. Every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day I lose my job; it's hard to justify paying meeting planners when you can't put on any meetings. I'm not so worried that I'll catch it and die, but I am worried about my grandmother and in-laws that fall in the high risk age range, not to mention my family members that work in health care.

Hopefully you're not feeling the same anxiety I am on a daily basis, but if you are I wanted to share a few tips to help manage stress. I want to stress that I am in no way an expert and these are just small things that work for me. If you're really having a hard time I recommend talking with an expert.


1. Don't look at your phone once you go to bed - This has made the biggest impact on me and managing my stress during this time. I found myself scrolling twitter and reading all the depressing news stories each night which then caused me to not be able to fall asleep. Once I get in bed I only touch my phone to make sure my alarm is set for the next morning.

2. Watch a favorite movie - There are some movies that just instantly make me feel better Elf, Moana, Sweet Home Alabama. Watching one of these instantly helps melt my stress. If you're not a big movie fan put on your favorite television series or open a good book. The idea is to transport yourself somewhere else to forget about real life.

3. Make a daily to-do list - Each night before I go to bed I try to think of 3 things I'm going to do the next day. These are usually easy things like drink 3 of my yeti's of water or set the table for dinner or take the dog for a walk. This way I have an easy set of activities to redirect my attention when I start feeling stressed. This also helps because part of what's causing the stress is that everything is out of my control, so this is allowing me to control something.

4. Look for the silver lining - I start each day thinking about either 3 positives or 3 things I'm thankful for. Then whenever I start to feel anxious or stressed I just remind myself of these. Some examples are spending more time at home with my husband and dog, saving money on gas, or all the movies available on Disney+

5. Indulge in some self-care - Paint you nails, light a candle, turn on a calming playlist and drink some wine, put on a face mask. Do whatever little thing feels indulgent and calms you. You deserve it!

6. Let it out - Sometimes the only way to feel better is to let it all out. Have a good shower cry or post a rant on Facebook. Letting all the negativity escape is sometimes the only way to get rid of it.


What are your tips to help manage stress?

Friday, April 3, 2020

6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults

I originally planned to publish a post about Easter dresses today, but with the state of current affairs that seemed wrong. Our bishop closed all churches about 3 weeks ago and at least until the end of the month which means no Easter Sunday service. As a person of faith this has been hard. I know it's for the best to keep them closed so we don't have mass gatherings, but not having this peaceful space during such a stressful time is hard.

But Easter is a time of hope so I wanted to still publish something fun today. I fully believe that having these silly fun posts are essential to our health and mental well-being right now. So today I'm sharing 6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults. These are all things you can buy online and have delivered to your home or pick up curbside.


1. Something to Keep Busy - A coloring book or board game are great ideas to help you pass the time. Looking for a great read to gift someone? I bet you can find something that sounds interesting in my 2020 reading list review. I also love the idea of a gift card for a month of Audible if you're trying to have less stuff in your home.

2. Something Trendy - This is more female Easter basket specific. But this is the perfect time to throw in something trendy, yet inexpensive! These earrings from Amazon and these from Target are perfect picks for something to include. Another good idea would be a headband, floppy sun hat, or rattan clutch.

3. Reusable Straw - You can find these lots of places, but I especially love this mini travel set. It seems silly to buy something "travel" specific right now, but I think it's important to think long term right now and remember one day we will be leaving our houses regularly again.

4. Self Care Items - Nail Polish (OPI I Eat Mainely Lobster is my favorite for spring) or a body scrub are perfect additions for a female basket. For your guy you could grab his favorite after shave balm or a fun new soap. I always talk about my favorite Burt's Bees at holiday gift guide time, but these would be a great item for an Easter basket as well!

5. Practical Basics - Underwear and socks usually aren't the most exciting gifts, but I love the idea of throwing in a fun practical item. MeUndies carries lots of fun prints that I think are well worth the price tag.

6. Candy - Is it really an Easter basket without candy? My personal favorite are Reese's Eggs, because they just taste better than the regular Reeses and Starburst jelly beans.


What are you hoping to find in your Easter basket this year?



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 1

Earlier this year I made the decision to be more intentional with my time. Part of that goal was so that I could devote more time to reading instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. I've now read 10 books in 2020, only 2 less than I read in all of 2019, so obviously this goal is working. Today I wanted to share some reviews of what I've read in 2020 in case you're looking for a new book to read.



The Diplomat's Daughter - 5/5  This one was very interesting because it told a WW2 story from a perspective I've never considered. It tells the story of a Japanese diplomat's daughter stationed in America at the outbreak, a first generation American of German heritage, and an Austrian Jewish boy.


The Huntress - 5/5  I know it's early but I'm calling this my best read of 2020. It was slightly predictable, but the writing kept me interested and wanting to keep reading. Its about the hunt for a female nazi, nicknamed the huntress, after the end of the war.


Campaign Widows -  4/5   This was a fun frivolous read, especially during a campaign year! You don't really need to know anything about politics to enjoy this one, but if you do you'll probably pick up some extra funny bits. It follows a candidate's wife, former speechwriter, digital media editor, Georgetown "It" woman, and morning talkshow producer as they navigate election season.


The List - 4/5  The only reason this didn't get a full 5 stars is because I thought the ending was rushed after such a great buildup. I will say I was a journalism major and political science minor so that might have something to do why I enjoyed this one so much. Adrienne returns to her old stomping grounds of DC to work at the hottest news site in town as a style writer when she stumbles upon a story that is too big to not pursue.


Rush - 3/5   I wanted to love this one so much more than I did. Maybe I was just critical because I was a sorority girl at Ole Miss and found the over explanations of Oxford and Ole Miss student life to be exhausting? This story revolves around sorority rush at Ole Miss and tells the story from the point of view of a long time house staff member, a new house advisor, and a girl from a small town going through the process.


Bond Girl - 4/5   I may have been a little generous with this rating, but overall it was enjoyable. If you know anything about working in finance (I don't) you may have different feelings, but because I know nothing it was interesting to have a little peak into that world. This tells the story of a new graduate as she navigates life working on wall street leading up to the financial crisis of 2008.


The Last Train to London - 5/5   This was a very well written account of a part of WW2 I knew nothing about. After finishing this one I did some googling to see how much was real and it was heartwarming to find this true story of goodness during a time of such evil. This book is about the Kindertransport that brought thousands of Jewish children safely out of Germany at the beginning of WW2.


Playing with Matches - 3/5  This was so good until the end. I'll just say I didn't see the end coming and wasn't too happy about it. This is a fun light read about a girl who's first job out of college is as a matchmaker for a paid dating site.


Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - 2/5   So the story of this one was really really good, but I was NOT prepared for there to be actual erotic stories included. Had those been excluded this probably would have been a 4 or even 5 star read. The story centers around a girl who takes a job in what she thinks is to teach a creative writing workshop at the community center for Punjabi women. She quickly learns they are not able to read or write English, but they have a gift for story telling that others in the community do not know about.


The Lost Girls of Paris - 4/5   A story of female spies during WW2. It reminded me of The Alice Network, but not as good. A good quick read for someone wanting a historical fiction read.


What have you read so far in 2020?

PS : I've linked everything to Amazon because I think it's the easiest shipping/availably situation, but if able I encourage you to shop your favorite small local bookstore. My favorite is Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi - for now they are currently shipping!



Monday, March 30, 2020

spring 2020 playlist

Happy Monday friends! I'm coming to you today with my current playlist. Even before the virus I was working from home a few days a week so I've been perfecting this one for a little bit. I always say the key to making a great playlist is a mix of old and new songs and I think this one does exactly that!


What songs are you loving right now?

Monday, March 23, 2020

6 easy meals to make now

Starting at midnight Dallas County is under a shelter in place ordnance which means the only outings for the foreseeable future are to the grocery store. We've been really lucky and haven't had any issues finding groceries so far, even being able to buy our usual brands. I hope you're having the same luck where you are.

Today I wanted to share a few easy meals to make now. These are all recipes that either require very few ingredients or are flexible in what ingredients you do use. I think that's the key to cooking at home when you're under stress. I'd love to cook elaborate meals, but even if I could find the ingredients I'm too stressed to prepare anything elaborate. If you have any easy meals, I'd love you to share them below!



1. Breakfast for Dinner - Eggs may be a little difficult to find right now, but you can probably easily find pancake mix, breakfast meat, and fruit. For a little extra protein you can put some peanut butter on your pancakes when they're hot and it melts like syrup.

2. Ranch PorkChops - Pork seems to be the easiest meat to find right now and this is the perfect recipe for them! All you need are pork chops, ranch seasoning, butter and a crockpot or instantpot. Any side veggie or starch you have works well with this for a complete meal

3. Frozen Pizza and Salad - Is this the most exciting meal? No way, but it is easy and probably something you can find in your grocery store. You can also keep eating different variations of this depending on what flavors are in stock in your store.

4. One Pan Sausage and Vegetables - This is one of our favorite meals no matter what is going on in the world. You can use whatever produce you can find; potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. To make it a little more filling I'll serve it over rice or with a salad on the side.

5. Ravioli Bake - I've never tried this recipe personally but it looks super simple and yummy. You could also leave out the meat to make this an easy vegetarian meal and I bet the leftovers are delicious. Plus it's a little fancier than regular spaghetti.

6. Snack Plate - This is one of my favorite meals, especially for a day spent watching tv. The best part about this meal is you literally can't mess it up and it's a great way to use whatever you already have on hand. Some great items to include are cheeses, lunch meat, boiled eggs, pickles, crackers, olives, dips or spreads, sliced raw veggies, and nuts.


Stay Safe and Wash Your Hands!


Friday, March 13, 2020

Publish that Post

Last night as I was scrolling Instagram I came across a poll from Annaliese asking if bloggers were still planning to post with everything that's going on in the world. I quickly responded that I hoped so because blog posts and instagram stories are a welcome reprieve from what's really going on in the world.

I keep separate twitter and instagram accounts for my blog where I follow only fellow bloggers. In the last few days I've found myself wanting to exclusively keep looking at those profiles over my personal ones because reading about frivolous things is more fun than reading the news. Reading about spring fashion trends is better for my mental health than reading about how many people are quarantined in Italy. Yes, I think we all need to be smart and follow the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and our local governments and doctors, but I don't think we need to get that information from bloggers. The best content I've seen shared by a blogger about coronavirus was from Kait when she reminded us of the importance of supporting small local businesses. She created and shared a graphic on Instagram stories where you could tag some of your favorite local businesses and has been sharing ones she's been tagged in for different cities.


I think very few of us started blogging because everything was going perfect in life. I certainly started for very different reasons. Back in 2013 I started writing and reading blogs because I wanted an escape, so I don't see why it would be any different in 2020. In the words of the Brits "keep calm and carry on." and publish that post.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Lessons from my First Fantasy Football Experience

This football season I decided it was finally time to see what all the hype was about and join a fantasy football league. Because I never believe in doing anything halfway, I joined two leagues. I had a team in a work league and one is a blogger league hosted by Sarah. Now that football season is over I'm ready to share my thoughts on the experience.

The first lesson I learned was that having two teams was a little ambitious. Luckily some of my players overlapped, but for the most part they did not. That meant having to pay a lot more attention to all the games every week. I needed to keep better track of bye weeks and injuries across the league vs being able to focus on just a few professional teams. Having two teams you'd think my odds of winning would increase, but that wasn't the case. It seemed I had the exact opposite result. At the beginning of the season my two quarterbacks were Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger; if you remember these two men both went out with injuries in the same week.

The next lesson I learned is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. When it was draft day nothing went like expected. I'd spent all this time researching best strategies for people drafting in my position but when it was my turn the players left standing looked nothing like expected. People were drafting from all over the place, selecting personal favorites over high ranks. It made the whole process very stressful, especially for someone with a limited NFL knowledge/favorites.

The final lesson I learned is that you have to remember it's all just a game. As I mentioned above I had one week when both my starting quarterbacks went out. I had another week where the league's high scoring player was sitting on my bench. Another when my opponent had no quarterback or defense on their starting roster and still lost. Obviously I would have preferred to avoid all these situations, at the end of the day none of it really mattered because it was just a game for fun.

Playing fantasy football was an item from my 100 in 1001 list that was I glad to mark off. Overall I'd say my first fantasy experience was positive and I plan to pay again next year!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Spring Fashion I'm Loving

Now that Valentine's Day has come and gone I feel like we can start talking about spring. I know we're still technically about a month away from the start of spring, but hey the ground hog did predict an early spring! I'm trying not to make any fashion purchases this month, but here are a few things I've got my eye on once the month ends!




I also have my eyes on these new Rothy's but I can't decide if I think them more than the regular pointed toe ones. And this Target dress has been getting a lot of love from other bloggers recently, but I can't decide which color I like best.

What spring fashion do you have your eyes on?

Monday, February 10, 2020

What I'm Currently Watching

The weather here in Dallas is supposed to be gross and rainy all week. Gross and rainy weather makes me want to sit home and binge watch tv, and I have a feeling I'm not the only one who feels that same way! Even though I've made it a goal to be more intentional with my time this year and not sit around endlessly watching tv, I still have my fair share of recommendations for you!


1. Cheer - I never did cheer ( I can't even do a cartwheel lol) but I think the big picture message of this docu-series is one that everyone can get behind. This is getting so much hype already I'm sure you've watched, but if you've yet to pull the trigger I'll say the hype is totally worth it.

2. Grace and Frankie - The final season dropped on Netflix about a month ago and while I'm sad the series is over I think it ended in the perfect way. If you're looking for a funny series to bing in it's entirety I'd highly recommend this one.

3. Disney+ Classics - One of my favorite parts of Disney+ so far has been the old live action movies. It's been fairly easy to catch the classic animated ones on other streaming services or tv in the last few years, but nobody has played the live action ones. Some of my favorites are Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, The Ugly Dachshund, and Blackbeard's Ghost

4. Encore! - speaking of Disney+, this is my favorite of their original programming. The idea is that they go back years later and re-do a high school musical with the original cast. Some of the casts are only about 10 years out of high school, but some of them are closer to 30 years. It's so funny because there's usually at least one person in each cast who has a big personality and tries to bring back the old high school drama.

5. Troop Zero - This Amazon movie was so well done I think it could have been released in theaters. I was never a girl scout, but again the big picture message is one that resonates with anyone. Plus there are some big names in the cast.

6. 911 Lone Star - This was my husband's pick, but it's one that I really enjoy too! It's not as intense as the other 911 show and how can you not love something with Rob Lowe as the main character.

7. Miss Americana - My love of Taylor Swift has been well documented here, so you know I'm biased, but this was so so good. I literally cried three times watching it. I have a whole new respect for Taylor the person after watching this one.


What are you currently watching?


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wedding Wednesday : My Bachelorette Weekend

When it came time to plan my bachelorette weekend I was really stumped as to what to do. I only had my two sisters as bridesmaids, neither of which are your typical Las Vegas bachelorette type of girls. I decided what I really wanted was a chill weekend with my mom and two sisters. After lots of thinking my mom had the great idea of going to a cooking school!



I flew home to Mississippi and then we drove up to Greenwood. Greenwood is a small town (well large for the area) in the Mississippi Delta. Fun fact, they actually shot a lot of scenes from the movie The Help in Greenwood! Greenwood is also home to the Viking Cooking School.

In the middle of downtown is a cute little street with some local shops, the cooking school, and The Alluvian Hotel. The Alluvian is a cute boutique hotel with a spa and restaurant. We had dinner at the on-site restaurant, Giardina's, our first night and I'd highly recommend it. The restaurant is set up as separate little private booths so your meal feels very intimate and private. The hotel also serves breakfast on the top floor each morning. It's a great Southern style breakfast with eggs, biscuits, grits; all the yummy things you need to start the day!


The cooking school itself was such a fun experience! We selected a class where we made Southern favorites inspired by the movie The Help. We started with some sweet tea and deviled eggs while we learned the correct way to dice an onion and peel garlic. We then learned to make fried chicken, skillet corn bread, mac&cheese, greens, and buttermilk biscuits. We finished the class with a slice of chocolate pie! The class was perfect because not only were the instructions easy to follow, but all the ingredients were already measured out (my least favorite part of cooking) and there were two instructors to help if you got confused. Oh and you didn't have to do any dishes when it was all done!


I came home with a Viking apron, packet of receipts, and feeling like I was ready to be a real Southern housewife! I would recommend the Viking Cooking School to anyone wanting a relaxing bachelorette weekend or just a fun, low-key girls getaway.




Monday, February 3, 2020

20 easy ways to reach your savings goals in 2020

A few weeks back I shared 20 easy tips for reaching your health goals in 2020 so today I thought I'd share my tips fore reaching the other most common type of resolution; savings goals. Even if my didn't make an official money/ savings goal for 2020 these tips are so easy you could incorporate one without trouble. I recently saw something on instagram that said the way to spend $1000 in a year is to spend $19.23 a week. When you think about it that, saving $1000 in a year seems very doable! Here are my 20 easy ways!

  1. have a no spend month 
  2. pay your savings account at the beginning of the month 
  3. download the grocery store app and shop the sales
  4. pack your lunch 
  5. never buy something just because "it's on sale"
  6. enjoy date night at home
  7. sell your less worn items on Poshmark
  8. cut a subscription service 
  9. plan minimal ingredient meals
  10. pick up a side hustle 
  11. go out for happy hour drinks + apps instead of dinner 
  12. cash in your credit card points
  13. make your coffee at home 
  14. get a library card 
  15. ask for a raise 
  16. buy frozen veggies vs. fresh
  17. "shop" your closet
  18. swap accessories with a friend 
  19. ask yourself if you really need it before making a purchase 
  20. have a clear vision of what you're saving for 
What are your tips to reach your savings goals? 

Want more tips on reaching your savings goals? Go check out this old post I wrote 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Winter 2020 Playlist

Today's devoted to house chores and other random tasks. I have a little laundry and vacuuming plus finishing cleaning my oven, try not to be too jealous! Friday I spent 2.5 hours at the DMV getting my name changed on my license so now I have to change it everywhere. Not a difficult task in theory, but annoying and time consuming. When I have things like this to get done at home I find I'm most productive with a good playlist, here's what I'm currently listening to!



What song do you currently have on repeat?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wedding Wednesday : Favorite Registry Items

Breaking out another Wedding Wednesday post to share some of our most used and favorite registry items. These 6 items are more unique than the basic obvious wedding registry items every list tells you to add. Obviously a wedding registry is more than likely going to include new bedding and towels and a set of china or everyday dishes. My advice for those items is to select something classic that will match other items you already have in your home. We went with an every day china collection (machine washable!) that is white with a gold border; it's simple and timeless and will easily match whatever serving pieces or table decor I use. So here are my 6 unique favorite registry items!

Sorry, I'm just a little obsessed with my ring! Read the story of it here

Air Fryer / Instant Pot- This wasn't an original registry item, but I'm so glad we added it! Having two great kitchen appliances in one really can't be beat! And yes, both of these are as good as all the hype they get.

Immersion Blender - I've wanted one of these for years so I was so glad when it was one of the first items we received! I love that this one includes a blending cup perfect for when I'm just doing a small amount.

Taco Racks - A lot of people shy away from including fun gifts like this on a registry, but I think they're the exact type of gift people love to give! Fun, yet practical so they'll get a lot of use, plus these are really easy to clean! We also registered for these fajita pans which we love as well!

Vacuum - This is admittedly a high dollar item that is out of the price range of most people, but I'd still advise including it. We combined all our gift cards to buy ours, but this would be a great gift for a few couples or your wedding party to go in on together.

Pot set - This is the perfect time to upgrade your basics. This set has the perfect variety of sizes, including a large pot that's perfect for making big batches of soup or gumbo!

Christmas Plates - Special holiday pieces are the perfect things to add to your registry. My godmother got us these precious Christmas plates that I know we will use every year and think of her.


One final note on wedding registry items. We registered at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Williams Sonoma. Target and BBB were so easy to work with in regards to starting the registry and making returns/exchanges. Williams Sonoma was a nightmare. When I started our Williams Sonoma registry they also (unknown to me) started a Pottery Barn registry where they added one white bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth. I only discovered this when I received these gifts in the mail from someone who purchased them thinking that was all that was left on my registry. In the process of getting everything settled Williams Sonoma deleted my actual registry; after countless hours on the phone and emailing 11 different people in their customer service department we were finally able to find and reactivate the real registry. All they offered me after that nightmare experience was a 10% discount on a future purchase, so less than they regularly mark things for store wide sales. And then because all of that wasn't a big enough headache, unless a gift was purchased in the store you visit they can not refund/exchange it; you have to wait to be mailed a gift card. They have nice things, but the headache just isn't worth it; register somewhere else.

Monday, January 13, 2020

20 DFW restaurants I want to try this year

When I first moved to Dallas I had these grand dreams of all the great new restaurants I would enjoy. But in the almost 2 years I've lived here I find myself keeping on going back to the same places. There's nothing wrong with having favorite spots, but as I try to be more intentional with my spending this year I want to try and branch out. Here are 20 DFW restaurants I want to try this year. My hope is to use this list the next time we don't know where to go on date night or for lunch after church.

cheeseburger and fries from Sweet Basil in Vail 

1. Hudson House - This has been on my open table list forever; they have a couple of salads and a cheeseburger that look to die for

2. Maple leaf Diner - After trying Poutine in Toronto a few years back I'm dying to try it again, what better place than the local Canadian diner!

3. Joe T. Garcia's - This is the place for margaritas and fajitas in Fort Worth. I think the husband and I need to take a day trip to explore and eat

4. Pizza Americana - I pass this pizza spot every day going to work but always forget about it when we order a pizza

5. Bar Taco - I've seen other bloggers talk about how good this spot is, so I've been excited to try it out since ours opened a few months back

6. The Biscuit Bar - This looks like the perfect spot for brunch after church one Sunday.

7. Cane Rosso - The dessert pizzas alone got this pizza place added to my list

8. Pecan Lodge - Everyone says this is the best BBQ in Dallas, it's time I try it out for myself

9. Ziziki's - I love Greek food, but don't eat near enough of it.

10. Taverna - $2 mimosa brunch. Need I say more?

11. Rise No. 1 - I've admittedly never had a savory souffle so I'm mostly interested in the sweet ones. Oh and the marshmallow soup!

12. El Fenix - This Dallas chain has been around for over 100 years so you know it must be doing something right

13. Royal China - I've heard this is the place for dumplings and I love dumplings!

14. Emporium Pies - Does a bakery count as a restaurant? I've decided it does!

15. The Zodiac- Are you really a Dallasitte if you've never lunched in the original Neiman Marcus?

16. Oddfellows - My maiden name is one letter off, so obviously this made the list

17. Partenope Ristorante - This southern Italian spot caught my eye on a list of hot new restaurants in Dallas and I've been thinking about the menu ever since

18. Keller's Drive-in - You know something is good when it doesn't even need it's own website, just a Facebook page

19. Ida Claire - This looks like the perfect quirky little spot for a delicious bite

20. Cafe Pacific - On an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate they talked about the pecan ball with is  pecans, vanilla ice cream, and fudge sauce all round up in a ball. This has been on my list ever since


What's your favorite DFW restaurant? I'd love to add more to my list!

Monday, January 6, 2020

20 easy ways to reach your health goals for 2020

I would bet that 90% of people incorporate a health goal into their new years resolutions. This year my health goals for 2020 included wanting to work out 3 times a week and stopping junk food snacking. Obviously my overall goal is to lose weight and be healthy, but I chose these 2 specific goals to best help me reach that overall goal. Today I wanted to share 20 easy ways to help reach your health goals for 2020. I've learned that the best way to reach a goal is to be specific and have a game plan; these are 20 easy ways to do just that!


  1. Take the stairs 
  2. Take a water bottle everywhere
  3. Ask to substitute the fries for fresh fruit or a salad 
  4. Do 20 jumping jacks, 20 sit ups and 20 push ups first thing in the morning 
  5. Don't buy junk food 
  6. Drink a glass of water for every beer/cocktail/glass of wine 
  7. Park at the back of the parking lot 
  8. Take your dog for a walk instead of just letting him run around the yard
  9. Get your burger/sandwich lettuce wrapped 
  10. Do 5 squats during every commercial break 
  11. Practice proper portion control 
  12. Pack your lunch 
  13. Don't worry about the number on the scale; focus on how you feel 
  14. Get a full night's sleep 
  15. Order grilled instead of fried 
  16. Skip the whipped cream on your coffee
  17. Take a lap around the mall before starting your shopping 
  18. Make a weekly menu and grocery list before grocery shopping 
  19. Stock your desk/fridge with healthy snacks 
  20. Be realistic and know there is no magic fix other than hard work 

Find more of my healthy living tips here and here


Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Word of the Year and Goals

A few years ago it was the "cool" thing to pick a word of the year. The trendiness of it only lasted that year so I didn't pick one again the next year and didn't really think about it again until now. When I started to think of what my 2020 goals were I kept coming back to the same thing, wanting to live each day with intention.

In 2020 I want to be intentional with how I spend my time, money and energy. There are 365 days in a year and I plan to use every last one of them. On average I have about 4 hours for me each work day once I make it home; some of that time needs to go to cooking dinner and other household chores, but too much of it is going to just lounging around watching tv or scrolling my phone. Sure lazy days and relaxing and recharging are important and have their place, but honestly I'm not doing anything so stressful that I need to recharge for hours every day. 2019 was a great year, but it came with a lot of big life changes; I'm hoping 2020 is full of little life changes. I plan to live with intention  and check off lots of little goals.


I shared my 2020 goals on Instagram the other week but I'm excited to share it here now. I borrowed this goals worksheet from Katey. She has another planner and habit tracker on her website too if you're interested. The idea for my 2020 goals was to keep everything manageable and things to continue to work on all year!

Family - Eat dinner together at the table 3 times a week

Home - Don't leave dishes in the sink. Figure out landscaping

Career - Pass 2 classes toward my certification

Health - Workout at least twice a week. Stop junk food snacking

Spiritual & Community - Sunday Mass every week. Pray the Rosary monthly

Personal - Read 15 books. Get serious about learning another language

What are your goals for 2020?

PS : Pretending like its 2014 and linking up with Helene today!


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Goals Recap

Happy 2020! I'm honestly so sad to see 2019 go because it was a good year filled with good memories, but before I officially close the page I thought I'd share a final 2019 goals recap! You might remember I decided to officially call them intentions and not goals; looking back now I think that's because I had very little faith in myself achieving these. But I'm excited to say I'd call 2019 a success!

1. Save $3600 - This was a total failure as I added nowhere near that much to my savings this year. But I did buy a house which was the big why behind this goal so maybe it wasn't a total failure. I also helped the husband see the importance of savings and I'm proud to say we're back on track of slowly adding to our savings while also paying off debt/ our mortgage.

2. Read 12 Books - Success! This one came down to the wire and I finished my final book with about a week to go. Halfway though the year this was not looking good and I was prepared to give myself a lot of grace for not reaching it, but I really prioritized reading the last two months and got this complete! I won't be doing a full "what I read" recap because I wouldn't recommend most of what I read, but I did really enjoy Love at First Like and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and didn't think American Royals or The Dinner List lived up to their hype.

3. Feel Confident in Photos - This was a success, but not in the way I thought it would. I originally set this goal as my "lose weight and be healthy" goal without wanting to say lose weight and be healthy. I didn't lose any weight this year, in fact I may have gained a couple pounds, but I did realize that in the big picture of life that's okay. When I look at my wedding photos I don't look at a single one and think I wish I were skinnier or wore a smaller dress size; all I see is someone truly happy and filled with joy. Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Sure who couldn't. But I'm not letting that control me and my happiness and sense of self worth.

4. Get Involved in Something in Dallas - Another success! About a month ago I officially became a member of Junior League of Richardson. When I first wrote this goal I really thought I'd get involved in my sorority alum chapter and honestly never even considered Junior League, which is silly because joining Junior League was one of my 100 in 1001 goals. Junior League of Dallas is crazy competitive to get into so I'm glad I joined by suburbs group; not only is the group smaller and more manageable but I like that we serve a more distinct area.

How'd you do on your 2019 goals? Did you do a recap post? Share the link below!