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Friday, August 31, 2018

Books I Read (& Podcasts I Listened to) in August & Whether or Not You Should Read (& Listen) to Them.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Live Constantine 

Plot: "Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. 

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent."

My thoughts: It was a little slow during the first half, and I kind of guessed where it was going, but I enjoyed the second half so much I would still recommend it.

Should you read it? Yes, but trigger warning, it's got some abusive relationship elements. 

Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger

Plot: "In 2015, Inc. magazine recognized Noonday Collection as one of the fastest-growing companies in America. But years earlier, as Jessica Honegger stood at a pawn-shop counter in Austin, Texas, and handed over her grandmother's gold jewelry, her goal was much more personal: to fund the adoption of her Rwandan son, Jack, by selling artisan-made jewelry. 
This first step launched an unexpected side-hustle that would grow into Noonday Collection. Jessica embarked on this new journey and teamed up with her first artisan partner, Jalia, a Ugandan jewelry maker. She saw the meaningful impact Noonday brought to Jalia's community and knew it was the right move.
Fear crept into Jessica's heart as she realized her success, or failure, meant the same for Jalia. But refusing to let fear hinder her goals, Jessica found the necessary (if imperfect) courage she needed along the way—the courage to leave comfort and embrace a life of risk and impact.

In Imperfect Courage, Jessica takes you by the hand and invites you to trade your comfort zone for a life of impact and meaning."

Favorite quote: "It's tempting to bubble wrap our lives. Layer upon layer of protection means we stay unbroken, right through to the end. We wrap ourselves in fear. We wrap ourselves in isolation. We wrap ourselves in nightly glasses of wine or in our beloved Instagram feed. We avoid real issues involving real people who live in the real world, because, what if I get hurt? And yet, what does this approach yield for us? A life of boredom. A lack of impact. Spiritual death."

My thoughts: This was the first book I read after Girl, Wash Your Face. As you know by now, I had a freaking religious experience with that book, so really, any book I read after it was destined to not live up to the hype. I did enjoy this book, but it wasn't what I was expecting. It was more of an auto-biography and less of a self-help book. 

It was crazy inspiring to hear the story of how Noonday started and get an inside look at the hustling that got her to where she is now, and I finished the book feeling super motivated. 

Should you read it? If you're a fan of Noonday Collections and want to learn more about that story, yes. 


The Morning Toast

Synopsis: A morning show centered on pop-culture where they discuss the top five stories every day.

Listen if you: Like pop-culture, enjoy celebrity gossip, wanna know all the (non-important) important news.


Synopsis: "RISE is a podcast hosted by Mogul CEO Rachel Hollis. A bold conversation with fellow business powerhouses that provides the listener with real-life tangible takeaways. 

Listen if you: Love Rachel Hollis, want to be inspired by successful business people, want to hear "how I got here" stories, are currently hustling after your own dreams. 

RISE Together 

Synopsis: "Hosted by Rachel Hollis and Dave Hollis, The RISE Together podcast is more than just a conversation about their relationship. Each episode is filled with tangible advice that will get you and your partner to be the best versions of yourselves."
Listen if you: Like hearing other people talk about tangible things that helped their relationship, are interested in how to better your own relationship, think Rachel & Dave are marriage goals (they are).

The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast
Synopsis: "Hosted by entrepreneurs and brand builders Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and Michael Bosstick. On this show, you'll find a mix of audio entertainment including interviews with celebrities, entrepreneurs, experts, and thought leaders. You will also hear listener and audience questions answered on a weekly basis to answer questions on health, wellness, business, branding, marketing, and relationships."

Listen if you: Like The Skinny Confidential blog, are a fan of whoever they're interviewing that day, like logical tips on business, are interested in hearing how other people handle work/life balance.

What did you read / listened to this month?
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love You, 2018: Part 8.

Part of me feels like this year has been a long year (full of so much!) and part of me feels like, HOW has the 8th month of this year come and gone already?! 

If you're new here, once a month I go through my phone and post pictures from that month that maybe aren't "blog-worthy" or worth their own post. I do this in an effort to appreciate the little things from each month more, and I highly recommend going through your camera roll at the end of the month...I guarantee your month had more goodness in it than you think! 

August looked a lot like...

Meeting up with Kristen (my beautiful photographer friend!) to go see the Made For More movie...

Being so fired up and inspired by that movie that the only option was to go buy a new notebook (my fellow list-makers feel me!) and write down ALL the things...

Lots of photobombed mirror selfies...

Jack living his best life, sipping a La Croix by the pool in his personal pool chair...

Me forever creeping on Jack while he sleeps, because I'll never get over how precious he is...

Spent a few days on a lake in Georgia with my family...

Started the habit of writing down 10 things I'm thankful for every night before bed...

Had a girls day with Kristen, got our nails dipped for the first time and followed it up with coffee...

Enjoyed the evening sun while it's still here...

Painted with Jack and had the best (and messiest) time. 

What did part 8 of this year look like for you?
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What August Taught Me.

That it's worth it to spend time and money on little joys. || Friday was Jack's current nanny's last day (insert all of the tears...does anyone have any Gainesville babysitter connections?), and I had planned to get allll of the things done. Know what I did instead? I went to the pool, then I met my friend for lunch. It was so worth it. I spent money on getting my nails done with her. It was so worth it. I got home that day not with a completed to-do list, but feeling relaxed and refreshed from spending the day with one of my best friends. So. Worth. It. 

Sometimes we (or at least, this is true about me) feel guilty for spending our time and resources on little things that don't seem important. I'm just gonna tell you - they are important. And they are worth it. 

That I still care way too much about what people think. || After reading Girl, Wash Your Face, I've tried to really pay attention to this in myself. Oof, I've got a lot of work to do. I've come a really long way, and do care way less than I did even last year, but I give other people's opinions (or maybe opinions, or what they might think) waaaaay too much brain space. Going to keep working on this!

That it is extremely satisfying to work through the hard days. || August had lots of hard days. Not bad days, but hard days. It was a good month, but I have a two-year-old and I work from home...there's gonna be some hard days! But this month showed me that being tired and having a hard day and choosing the chug some coffee and get to it anyway is incredibly satisfying. It feels so good to choose to work hard, even when you'd rather crawl into bed and watch Netflix. Being proud of myself is a feeling I love, and it's worth being a little sleepy every now and then. 

Listening to an encouraging book or podcast while I do busywork makes me so much more productive. || I love a good pump-you-up playlist, but those only work for so long before I'm over it. I've found that listening to a positive book or podcast while I'm doing things like wading through emails, doing the dishes, folding laundry, or other mindless work like that makes me more productive for longer. What about you?

What did this month teach you? 
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Monday, August 27, 2018

My Favorite Things I've Discovered in August.

Hushup + Hustle blender bombs. || These. Are. Everything. Cocoa + Almond Butter + Coffee is my favorite flavor! I don't know how, but one little bomb (full of clean, healthy ingredients) adds so much flavor and texture to smoothies, and fills you up for hours. It's magic. For real. 

This mini coffee frother || under seven bucks and works like a charm! It's had to mix cinnamon in with coffee without it just sinking to the bottom (things you learn when you give up creamer), but this little guy does the trick! I've also tried it with milk in my afternoon coffee, and it froths it up like a coffee shop!

Beautycounter|| I mentioned last week that my beloved makeup has turned on me and started wreaking havoc on my skin. I thought if I took a little break and tried some cleaner makeup for a little while, it might help things clear up. I'll do a whole post on this soon, but spoiler: I love it! As does my skin. 

Oh Snap! pickled veggies. || I love pickles, but I'm allergic to cucumbers (so sad, I know). BUT Oh Snap! now makes pickles with veggies other than cucumbers, and I'm so happy! I've only tried the snap peas so far, but they're so good...crispy and refreshing, just like a classic pickle! 

Key Lime LaCroix. || I don't know how they did this, but this zero calorie, zero everything drink tastes like meringue. It is delicious. I've only been able to find it at my Target, so check yours! 

Free People Dupes. || I've been loving the look of these Free People shoes. I think they're so cute, but they're also $200, so no. Not happening right now. Imagine my surprise when these shoes showed up at Target. Seriously, almost identical, except they're $170 cheaper. I got them in the cognac color and I love them. They're going to be so cute all fall!

Red Refresh tea. ||  I go through phases with tea, and I'm definitely in a big tea phase right now. I've been making a pitcher of this tea on ice every morning and drinking it throughout the day. It's so refreshing! If you've ever had the passionfruit lemonade at Starbucks, it kind of reminds me of that!

What have you discovered this month? 
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Love You, 2018: Part 7.

If you're trying to be more grateful in your life (which is something we should all be focusing on, in my opinion!) I highly recommend doing this silly little exercise. Just flipping through your phone pictures at the end of the month can really show you how much you have to be thankful for and how many good, happy moments there truly are. 

For me, July looked a lot like...

Trying Voodoo donuts for the first time (which, by the way, 1,000% lived up to the hype)

Setting off fireworks while Jack watch in awe (but not so much awe that he didn't try to waltz on over there and pick them up himself)

Took our annual BFF trip. This year we headed to D.C. 

Saw the queen herself, TAYLOR SWIFT while in D.C. Also, had our seats upgraded from the very top row (no joke, you couldn't get any higher) to FIRST LEVEL SEATS. Thanks, Taylor!

Saw the prettiest sunset driving home from the airport

Celebrated milestones with my parents

Got my eyemask stolen from one cute little thief

Found the cutest brewery that serves flights in old Florida license plates

And also had plenty of room for Jack to run around and play (they even had a playground!)

Jack looked adorable in a giant football helmet

Tried TWO new restaurants...MidiCi Pizza which just opened up down the road from my house (dangerous)

And Grub, which is CLEARLY dangerous, as you can see by my cheeseburger being topped by bacon and MAC AND CHEESE

Jack learned he could push his own stroller, so RIP our peaceful walks

Got this dress on Amazon, and while it was kinda made fun of on instagram, I love it!

What did July look like for you?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Things I've Been Doing Lately (That Have Been SO Good for Me).

Replacing a meal with a smoothie. || And NOT a diet, low fat smoothie. A gooood smoothie, full of lots of good for you things. I recently discovered blender bombs from Hushup + Hustle and they have changed my life (dramatic?). I could never just have a smoothie for a meal before, but now I can. I look forward to them. I have a smoothie as my first meal of the day and start the day off with a bunch of fruits and veggies. It feels so good! 

Dry brushing my skin. || I read about this on The Skinny Confidential so obviously I had to try it. Um, I'm obsessed. I know it supposedly has a lot of good benefits like improving circulation and removing toxins, but all that aside, it feels so good. My skin has never felt so smooth. I do it before I shower and lotion up after. It's the best. 

Side note: After I read about it I went to Ulta and the dry brush they had was $29.99 and that seemed crazy to me. Then I went to target after and got this exact one for freaking $4.99, and it works great. 

Slowing the heck down. || I'm really learning that productivity + hecticness do not have to go hand in hand. That it's fully possible to hustle for your goals and take deep breaths and breaks. That being successful does not have to mean working yourself into a stressed out frenzy every single day. 

I've been consciously slowing down. Taking ten minutes to drink my coffee without my phone in hand. Noticing when work is about to overwhelm me and closing the computer for just a minute. Little things like that really add up!

Going on walks not for exercise. || Of course, it's physical activity, so it's exercise. But I've been taking more walks just for the sake of going on a walk. Not to run a certain amount, or not to go a certain distance, or not to get my heart rate to a certain number. But just walks to get fresh air and clear my head. It's been so good. 

Listening to audible while I do things like clean. || I love a good playlist, but while I'm doing mindless things like folding laundry or doing dishes, why not get a few chapters of a book in? Times where I can sit and read are few and far between lately, so this has been great! Plus, it motivates me to keep going with whatever I'm doing.

Drinking black coffee (with cinnamon). || I love coffee (and, alas, coffee creamer) more than anyone I know. I also drink a looootttttt of coffee. So, without meaning to, I was drinking tons and tons (and tons and tons) of sugar first thing in the morning, and I felt like crap. I went cold turkey about two months ago and just started drinking my coffee with cinnamon. I feel so. much. better. If I want a cup with my beloved flavored creamer, I just have one in the afternoon. Self-control is a thing that works, who knew? 

Got any new good-for-you-habits of your own? Let's hear 'em!
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Coming in Live: Pretty Views and Scary Books.

I love the mornings when I can get it together enough to be able to just sit and write a blog post for that very day. It's rare, but today is one of those days! I'm sitting on my couch, drinking cinnamon vanilla coffee (from Target-AMAZING) with a gold face mask on (if you follow me on instagram, you are well aware of my current gold face mask obsession. It's real) and if I could blog like this every day, I would be the happiest little camper in all the land. 

As with all live blogs, here's a bunch of little things that I want to tell you but that literally nothing to do with each other. Happy Tuesday!

Last night, I got back from a long weekend with my family at a lakehouse in Georgia. It was right on the water and was so, so pretty. Just look at that view! I now have a life goal to own a lakehouse and have my own coffee views like that. 

On my drive there and back I listened to The Last Mrs. Parrish. I've got about three hours left and while I felt like it started out a little slow, I was almost bummed to get home because it was starting to get reeeeaaalllly good (and creepy). Anyone read this? 

Side note: I love Audible, but I can only listen to either non-fiction books or suspensful books. I'm too easily distracted listening to any other genre. Anyone else? 

I've been taking the best care of my skin and it's in the best shape it's been in awhile....except for when I wear makeup. This makes me so sad, because I love my makeup. Like, obsessed. But every single time I wear it, no matter if it's every day or for the first time in two weeks, I breakout. So, it's gonna be a no from me. After doing some research, I decided to give Beautycounter a go and see if using cleaner products makes any difference. It got here last night and I'm so excited to try it! Any BC fans? Did it help your skin? 

I found this hat at WALMART of all places, and I couldn't be more obsessed. I hate going there with a fiery passion, but they do have some hidden gems, I'll give them that. 

What's going on with you? Tell me your random things! 
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Love You, 2018: Part 6.

June (I know it's now August, don't @ me) looked a lot like. . .

Dinner dates and 

Bubble baths and 
bedhead in a tiny Tommy Bahama chair and 
Jack's first trip to Chuck-E-Cheese (depsite the face he's making, he LOVED it) where he rode this ride approximately 72 times giving us approximately 72 printed pictures of this face and 
A trip to our new movie theatre (EVERY SEAT IS A RECLINER) that has a full bar and dinner menu and

Got all fancy for a hospital dinner and 

Marveled at Florida's sunsets and  

Lots of pool days and 

Celebrated the new church building (my dad's a pastor, if you're new here!) (This is my mom... isn't she GORG?!) and

Jack tested out the new seats and

Realized someone stole my toddler and replaced him with a college student and

Attempted to take Jack to his first movie (FAILED) and 

Had lots of afternoons outside and
Celebrated Chris' birthday in Orlando and 
Played on the Curious George splash pad, living his very best life. 
What was your favorite part of June?
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