My Story, Lately…Pt. 3


As a new chapter starts in my life, I feel like it’s time to share it. You can read Parts One and Two by clicking the links.

This has, undoubtedly, been one of the craziest years of my life. If you’ve read the previous blog posts, then you know.

Quick Recap
: A year ago, I put in my notice to quit a full-time job as a teller at a Credit Union. It was my full-time job, the way I paid my bills, my insurance, etc. I was also there for nearly 4 years, so it was my life as I knew it. I was, however, completely miserable. I cried before work, dreaded going to bed…I knew I needed out. So I had about a month of finding myself before I got a job at Old Navy, as a sales associate, for the holiday season. They kept me on after the holidays were over, and I was thankful for a paycheck. Now, things have changed again.

A large part of why the year has been so interesting, ever-changing, is because I’ve never truly known what I wanted to do. It’s one thing to dedicate yourself, your studies, your time, to an end goal. But when you don’t have an end goal, it’s so much harder. When you have the insecurities that I do on top of all that? Well, it’s nearly impossible. 
My mind: I’m not good enough for any job, I’m not worth more than x/hr, and other depressing thoughts.

My work at Old Navy was a welcome change from the past. I liked working with people of all ages in a fast-paced environment. I liked wearing whatever I wanted, listening to fun music, and making some friends along the way. The goal wasn’t to work at Old Navy forever, but I was happy there. Still, I knew I’d need something stable. When you work in retail, income is a fickle thing. If sales are great, the pay is great. But sometimes, there aren’t enough hours for everyone and your checks get smaller. The money wasn’t a massive issue (it always is, so forget that, it’s not about the money, I accept that it will always be stressful), but I started to get a little frustrated. My schedule was always different, and I ended up working a lot of evenings and weekends, meaning I barely had a summer and I barely saw my boyfriend. Still, I had no plans to leave the place. Then, something like Fate stepped in.

It was an early Sunday morning, price changing at work, when I was discussing with a co-worker the prospect of “dream jobs” or something like it, finding yourself working in a place you actually enjoy. I’ve had about a zillion thoughts on what I would like to do or what I would want to do, but it’s hard to get up the courage. Both my co-worker and I love books, so we were talking about jobs involving them…I, in particular, mentioned that I might enjoy working at a library.
Then, the next day, I went to my favorite library and….THEY WERE HIRING.
I kinda freaked out and froze. It really felt like it was meant to be.
First of all, I had only just vocalized that possibility the day before. Secondly, I have so many books…Kindle books, physical books, that I haven’t read and yet I still felt a pull to go to the library to find my next read.
The woman at the desk noticed that I was looking and asked if I wanted an application. I nodded, probably looking completely crazed. How was it possible that something I had just mentioned could become real?

After two interviews, I was offered the job!
Normally, I would’ve been anxious, shaking and sweating the morning of my first day. Not this time.
Something just felt right.

Initially, I was going to work a couple of shifts a week at Old Navy at the same time, but my first day, they offered me more time at the library and a small bump in pay…so…I basically felt like my dreams were coming true. It saddened me to say goodbye to ON, because I liked working there and didn’t leave on bad terms. But I wanted (want) to fully dedicate myself to this new position. I work in Reference and Youth Services (sitting near the YA novels brings me life) and I’ve been having a great time learning the system and absorbing everything around me. For once, I feel like I have a job that can build and boost my resume for a potential career, or that could grow and change into one.

I’m fully aware that I’m in the Honeymoon stage and that even a month from now, I could turn out to loathe the job. I personally can’t imagine what would make me despise it quite so much, grumpy patrons aside (when you’re in customer service as long as I’ve been, it’s just part of the deal). For now, though, I feel like I took a step in the right direction. A step that is taking me to a new place, a place away from the same stagnant jobs I’ve held in the past.

And finally, I feel like it’s proof that positive thinking (and manifest destiny) are real things. When I initially thought about being a teller, I had mentioned it to a friend and she helped me get the job that supported me for almost 4 years. And now, after sharing a dream about working in a library, a door opened that may not have if I had never said anything (or I never would’ve known). When you’re honest with yourself and others about what you want, it’s easier to achieve.

So here’s to the new chapter, and to whatever it may bring next!


Recent Reads, 28/40: The Fever


I’m a little bummed that this photo translated to a grainy shot on the computer. The cover of this book is so gorgeous in such a strange way…probably one of the best photograph covers I’ve seen in a long time.

Anyway, book 28 was The Fever by Megan Abbott. This is my second Abbott read, the first being Dare Me (you can read about my thoughts on that one here), and after reading my response to that one, it’s fair to say that Abbott hooked me the same way she did with the last book. She has a way of writing, dark, beautiful, and suspenseful, that makes you want to keep turning the page. This was just over 300 pages, so it only took a few days to complete, especially since I kept turning the pages and promising myself one more chapter.

The story is written from 3 different perspectives (third-person) much like The Leftovers, another quietly creepy book I read this year. Deenie Nash, a teenager just blooming into her sexuality, Eli is her older brother, a popular guy that most girls fawn over, and Tom, their father and a teacher at their high school. The book begins when Deenie’s best friend Lise suffers from a strange seizure before class starts. It lands her in the hospital, and tests aren’t showing why it happened. Then, Deenie watches as more girls start to experience similar symptoms without any explanation.
The parents are left searching for an answer while Deenie can’t help but feel like it’s her fault.

It’s the illness, and the unexplained and spreading nature of it, that makes this book hard to put down. Secrets are kept throughout the novel, throwing you off the tracks until it’s time to reveal them. I really enjoyed it. I will say that the end sort of felt like a cop-out, in a way. It wasn’t what I expected, and I was a teensy bit let down.
Still, it was completely engaging, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a little mystery.


Recent Reads, 27/40: A Little Something Different


So I don’t remember where I initially heard of A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall.
All I remember is finding it on Amazon, pre-ordering it, and adding it to my Goodreads To-Read list.
It came in the mail at the end of August, and that was that.

An interesting fact about this is book is that it is was published by a website called Swoon Reads, an imprint off of Macmillan publishing where people can submit and read YA love stories. Some people, as with Sandy Hall and a few others, actually end up with a publishing deal! Pretty neat, right?

Anyway, the title of the book is perfect, because this love story, which by all means could perfectly fit the template of every romantic book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen, is told through 14 different perspectives and not one of them is either of the characters falling in love. In fact, a couple of the characters aren’t even HUMAN.
Lea and Gabe are perfect for each other, and everyone can see it but them. There is an undeniable chemistry from the moment they meet, but it takes them both a while to realize that.
Meanwhile, their friends, teachers, baristas, and a park bench all can see it as clear as day.

I liked this cute and easy read because it was what I expect in a fun love story without falling into every single cliché.
Adding the voice of different people, from cynical love haters to the friends who root them on, makes this story special.


Fine, September. Let’s Do This.


I just have to say that I’m currently writing this while sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, drinking iced green tea. It’s really nice. I want to remember that if I look back on this post in the future.

It is currently the 8th of September, which means we are a full week into the beginning of the end of the year.
All the beer distributors have their Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers ready, and, of course, Starbucks has their Pumpkin Spiced Latte and Dunkin’ has their pumpkin-spiced everything. Halloween decorations are available (and even decorating) most stores, and the kids are back in school.

I love Autumn. I do. It’s a more recent development for me, something that’s come with “adulthood”. Since I don’t have a 3 month summer vacation anymore, I can appreciate the fall season in a different way…it’s the same life, but with pretty foliage and mulled (and spiked) cider (another thing I couldn’t enjoy as a kid). But there’s something about this whole summer being nearly over that’s got me in a funk.

Working crazy shifts any given day of the week might be why, but I didn’t really feel summery this year. There were only a handful of dips in the pool, two beach days, maybe one cookout. Every free weekend I had was because of an obligation (a bunch were fun ones, like weddings) that didn’t include lazing around in a bathing suit. I feel like I didn’t get to LIVE my summer. I didn’t go to the hometown auction or drink bottles of summer shandy on the back porch with my friends. I can’t help but feel like one of the greatest times of the year went by and I hardly noticed. There’s also something about August that puts me in a mood. Maybe it’s because I know the clock is ticking on summer fun.

Things have been changing around in my life, and it’s good and weird and a little stressful and a lot exciting.
So I’m going to try and make peace with the summer that has passed in order to make room for the upcoming fall.
Luckily, there are tons of things to look forward to, like…

Cardigans and button down shirts. Booties. Pumpkin coffee and pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pumpkins (I won’t have anything pumpkin for at least another week…sorry guys, it’s too early!). Crisp, clear autumn days. The mind-blowing colors of the leaves. Cuddly movie nights in. Better hair (no humidity). Halloween decorations and maybe a party and maybe a fun costume. Walks in cemeteries and plenty of photo opportunities. Chili and sour cream and cornbread.

I guess I am ready, after all.


Recent Reads, 26/40: Since You’ve Been Gone


Book 26 of my 40 book challenge was Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.

This book was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed reading it. I think I first heard of it because there was a contest on Instagram via Iconosquare that tied in with the book. After reading the premise, I was sold.

Emily is the kind of girl who prefers to hide behind others, allowing them to shine so she can stay out of the spotlight. Her friendship with Sloane is perfect for that…Sloane is fearless and beautiful, always making conversation with new people, dressing in fantastic vintage clothes, and pushing Emily outside of her box. Emily is prepared for another amazing summer with her best friend…but Sloane and her family have appeared to flee town without telling her.
Eventually, Emily gets a letter from Sloane in the mail (no return address, of course) with a list of 13 things Emily should do this summer. They range from simple (apple picking at night) to ballsy (go skinny dipping) and Emily, who normally would be scared to do any of these things, gets up the courage to do them in an attempt to find Sloane, and she ends up finding herself and some new friends along the way.

This was a really fun read. I think it accomplished what it was set out to do…be a fun book about growing up, friendship, learning about yourself, and finding courage. It’s also a great summer book. When I first started, I was worried that it would bore me (the chapters were longer than I expected, and I just wasn’t falling in right away), but I couldn’t stop reading once the actions on the list got juicier and her friendships continued to develop.

Morgan Matson has two other books with great Goodreads ratings…I look forward to reading them soon!

P.S. I love the addition of photography inside of the dust jacket…what a fun touch!



Recent Reads, Double Feature: Books 24 & 25

Usually, I like to do separate posts about my books, but I finished two books before sitting down to write.
Why not do a little combo post?


Book 24 was The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe (it’s also the most recent book that Katie and I have read together). I had heard about it (it’s Thorpe’s debut novel) from a good review in Entertainment Weekly (surprise).

The book tells the story of two friends, Mia and Lorrie Ann, from Mia’s perspective. We learn about their friendship as teenagers, as Mia tells Lorrie Ann that she has scheduled an appointment for an abortion. The basic idea is that Mia is the bad seed in the relationship, which she welcomes with open arms, as she admires the beauty and perfection of Lorrie Ann and her family life. Throughout the novel, as time goes on, Mia is transfixed by the fact that, despite how wonderful a person Lorrie Ann is and how terrible and selfish Mia believes she is, Lorrie Ann’s life has been completely encompassed in bad luck.

The story is ultimately about what it means to be a woman, a mother, and how relationships change as we age.
I found this book to be a fairly quick read, and a lot of the conversations had between the two friends bring up a lot of interesting arguments. I’m not shouting from the rooftops about this novel, but I am glad I read it.
Can’t wait to talk about it with Katie!


Book 25 is Panic by Lauren Oliver. Not only is this the second Lauren Oliver book I’ve read, it’s also the second Lauren Oliver book I’ve read this year. You may recall that I had many great things to say about Before I Fall.
She has a trilogy of books, and now Panic is her most recent novel, a stand-alone book.

Panic is the story of Heather, Dodge, and a game called Panic that occurs every summer in a small, boring town called Carp. There’s nothing else to do, so the seniors give money that ends up accumulating until the summer after their graduation, and then the winner takes the pot. The thing about Panic is that the stakes are always high. People have died in the past completing the challenges. Heather joins Panic on an impulse…she feels as though there is nothing left to lose.
Dodge, meanwhile, has been plotting revenge via entering the games for years. The story switches between Heather’s life and Dodge’s life, both third-person narrative.

I think this book had a lot of potential. The high-stakes game provided the occasional thrill, but it definitely could’ve been more exciting. And the end, which I don’t want to ruin, was so anti-climactic. It felt abrupt and so happily-ever-after. I think it was guaranteed to have a good ending, everything falling into place but…it felt forced and random.

A challenge update: I’m 63% done (1 book behind)!
My only problem is narrowing down the books I want to read. Over 50 unread books on the Kindle, so many unread books (old and new) that I’ve bought. And, of course, the library…sigh….


Jenna & Ed: A Wedding


This past Saturday, some dear friends of mine tied the knot in a super-fun wedding!


From the start, I knew this was going to be a fair themed reception. I haven’t been to a “themed” wedding before, not that the ceremony itself actually had a theme. Obviously, there are color schemes and centerpieces that try to correlate with each other, but this was a genuine theme and it was executed perfectly!
They chose the theme, if I recall, because they love going to county fairs.


We were at table 1, dubbed the “Dunk Tank” and everything was surrounded with cute tickets. The details were everywhere, very admirable. I also loved our little favors…yummy lollipops!



If you know me, you know I love bunting flags. I like to make my own out of felt, and they are just so fun and festive! The cake was decorated with them (and there were some above them at the ceremony!) which is just too cute.
Close-up on the cake topper:


The execution of the event was perfect, in my opinion. It was a party, really, and I think that’s something receptions often lack. Weddings are fun, but they can sometimes feel like obligations, in a way. The usual list of events, the same songs at each one. The DJ played amazing music, and that resulted in my dancing ALL NIGHT LONG (I swear, I didn’t sit down save for a couple of bathroom breaks and stops for ice water). I had a BLAST. And that’s what I hope will happen one day, at my future wedding. Of course, I wouldn’t have the same theme, but I want the fun, and I definitely want a reception that shows myself and my future husband through everything.

Now, a boatload of photos with friends!
(My phone died and I didn’t get a photo with the bride…still beating myself up about it!!)


Literal best friend, partner-in-crime, bestest person in the world.


Catie, Maria, and I photobombed by Ed and Jared, true playas all night.


Interesting fact: I haven’t seen Lauren since February.
Feels like yesterday, but it has been way too long and I can’t wait to try and fix that.


Seeing Nicole for the first time in forever was awesome…again, must make plans to see her soon!


I’ve talked about Katie on the blog, but her she is! This is my “book club” buddy! I am so glad we’ve been spending so much time together, and that we were able to dance the night away!

I have so much photo-snagging to do for August PL layouts.
If you’re interested in seeing more of the wedding, check out Instagram, #obernowski2014 for so many great photos of the couple, the decor, and the crazy fun people!

Congrats again, guys!


Recent Reads, 23/40: Grasshopper Jungle


I’ve been wanting to write my review for book 23, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, all week, but I didn’t have the dust jacket to take a good photo. I’ve been at Brad’s all week, and the cover has been at home and I just couldn’t wait any longer. So this photo will have to do…maybe I’ll update it, but it’s not really that important.
(Although I like the cover!)

Grasshopper Jungle is the story of 16 year old Austin Szerba, who is documenting the history of the end of the world.
Austin and his best friend, Robby Brees, spend their afternoons and weekends skateboarding in an alleyway they dubbed “grasshopper jungle” in the small town of Ealing, Iowa, where nothing exciting happens and everything basically sucks. One day, Austin and Robby are beaten up and their shoes are thrown on the roof of a secondhand store. When the boys go to retrieve it, they sneak into the shop and into the locked backroom, where many a weird thing is stored. It leads to a globe of phosphorescent mold being stolen by the same jerks who beat the kids up…and that mold holds a plague that will bring about the end of the world as we know it, creating 6-foot tall preying mantises out of anyone who comes in contact with the strain. As all of this is happening, Austin is dealing with the common problems of a 16 year old boy. He’s horny, he’s bored, and he’s in love with his best friend and his girlfriend, Shann Collins, adding sexually confused to his hormonal mix.

This was unlike anything I read. It’s sci-fi mixed with teenage drama, but in a very mature sense. Austin never sounds too big for his britches, an important thing for me in young adult novels. In fact, there’s a very repetitive nature to the way he speaks, and I like that. Just a reminder of what has been happening, as if he really is documenting the history of this devastation in notebooks.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone look for something different.
If you need anymore egging on, read this great review from Entertainment Weekly.


Project Life: July Layouts

So, August is halfway over. I am definitely feeling it. August is a sad month. Summer is coming to a close, and I can’t help but feel like I didn’t enjoy it the way I usually do. I don’t remember the last time I sat by a pool with a summer beer or fruity mixed drink. I’ve got that summertime sadness (oh, ohoohoh).
As much as I enjoy the crisp weather of fall, I am stressing about the passing of time.
ANYWAY, a new month means last month’s Project Life layouts.

Only two major things happened in July: My friend Tracy’s wedding and our trip to Virginia.
So this was a short month of layouts, only really focusing on those two things, with a spread for random photos I took throughout the month and didn’t want to leave out.


I’m pleased with this layout as a whole, because I incorporated both the Sunshine core kit and some Studio Calico cards and embellishments. A particular favorite is the diamond wood veneer…perfect for a wedding! I also trimmed some portrait style photos down to 3x4 so they would be used in the layouts without adding more pages. I rounded them, which made them smaller, but I love the way they look. Sometimes, the pictures tell more than a journaling card can.


Out of this spread, only the grid card and heart card on the left are from the Sunshine kit. The title card is from the Summer cards and the rest are from various Studio Calico kits. I love the way it looks.
I’m also super pleased with the vertical page on the right.


Left page is ENTIRELY Studio Calico and I love it. The Thickers I used on the top left photo are from an Amy Tangerine collection, but everything else is SC. I love adding Thickers to photos. I also love my sister.


More small photos in the journaling card spaces. Love it.


Finally, the random moments that didn’t fit with the other layouts.

Ending with the vertical layout means starting with a vertical layout next month. That stresses me just a little bit.
I feel like I’m getting the hang of it, though.

Also, I’m still trying to find the best way to photograph my layouts. So many bloggers do it and they turn out great, but I end up with a lot of glare. Hopefully, I’ll find the perfect balance of light and background soon.


Recent Reads, 22/40: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


After reading We Were Liars a couple of months ago, I decided to take a look at E. Lockhart’s other work.
Since this book was an honorable mention for the Printz award and has a good average on Goodreads, I decided to go with (the longest title ever) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

The Disreputable History is the story of a 15 year old girl attending Alabaster Prep School, a place where people are defined by the groups they spend time with. Frankie’s body changes over the summer before her sophomore year, and she ends up getting the attention of one of the popular boys in school, Matthew Livingston.
While she is excited to have the attention of one of the cutest boys in the school, she is also aware of the way he views her: helpless, adorable, young. He often blows her off in favor of hanging out with his friends, one in particular named Alpha, in a secret society (The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds). In order to prove herself worthy of both the society and equality with the guys, she starts to infiltrate the system with great results.

This was unlike any YA book I’ve ever read, in particular one about a teenage girl. Frankie is not your typical 15 year old female character. Yes, she is attracted to a boy and wants his attention, but she also finds it important that he see her on equal terms. She is acutely aware of the way the girls around her are seen, both by boys and the girls themselves.
She is a young feminist. I feel like strong female characters are usually in the form of Katniss or Tris. In those books (which I still love), there is some sort of powerful force that is harming the population and a strong girl steps up to change things. In the case of Frankie, she is a 15 year old girl looking for equality among the sexes within her own little universe of school. It’s life. She is smart, but still thinks like a 15 year old girl. There was no “Dawson’s Creek Syndrome” making her sound wise beyond her years. I tagged a lot of pages because there were some great points within.

I don’t know about E. Lockhart’s other books, but two have already pleased me greatly.
I’ll have to check out her others.


50% Done: Favorite Books of 2014 (so far)

Now that I’m working on the second half of my 2014 book challenge (a reminder that this year is more than halfway over), I wanted to take the time to choose my favorites from the list thus far.
As I’m typing this, I’m embarking on book 23, but I’m going to just pick from the first 20!


1) Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver – This book started off a little too teen-y for my liking, but it quickly became a favorite, and not just of 2014. Oliver had me in tears with this story, which is just a beautiful and sad telling of a girl realizing the important things in life just a little too late. I very rarely cry at books, but I was sobbing. Full review here.

2) We Were Liars – E. Lockhart – This book was a curveball for me. I heard about it and immediately wanted to read it (usually, I’ve known about a book for a little while). Luckily, my boyfriend rocks and got it as a present for me for my birthday (along with The Goldfinch, I might be the only person who hasn’t read that yet). E. Lockhart is a beautiful writer, and I was transported to this secluded island ensconced in mystery and overwhelmed by the ending. 
Full review here.

3) The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta – This is my second Perrotta novel and I think I really like this guy. He so perfectly encapsulates the suburban lifestyle and adds these crazy instances (in this case, a Sudden Departure of millions of people, randomly and instantly) that contrast an otherwise simple story. The writing is quiet but it keeps me hooked. Full review here.

4) Landline, Rainbow Rowell – So, if Rainbow Rowell can just keep churning out the books, I would be soooo grateful. This was the second Rowell novel I read this year, and though Fangirl is great, I breezed through this in record (for me) time. Less than 48 hours, I had devoured this story of love and time travel(?). Her writing is quirky and lovely.
Full review here.

Honorable Mentions:

So, I didn’t fully finish Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, but that is honestly because the writing was that good. I’m a girl who strays away from murder and mystery in my books, because it’s so intense to put myself in that mindset. What I loved is that the book did just what the title says: I was in a dark place because of it, and I couldn’t finish. It still should be said that Gillian Flynn’s writing is GOLD and you should read everything she writes.

Second, I want to include One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak. I listened to this on audiobook, and I just adored it. The writing was funny but also very poignant at parts. I hope to own the actual book one day. Kudos.

It’s funny that, out of 20 books, I can really only narrow my favorites down to 4.
I’ve read a lot of enjoyable books, books I would absolutely recommend (and probably did in the posts, if necessary), but these four were the standouts. Let’s hope there are more in the next 20!


Recent Reads, 21/40: Roomies


Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando was on my to-read list for a little while, and something finally pulled me to check the library to see if they had it. There’s a funny story surrounding that trip to the library,
but that can wait for another day.

This book is (probably very obviously, from the cover) a YA novel told from two different perspectives.
Elizabeth and Lauren are both attending UC Berkeley in the fall, and each receives their roommate assignments. Elizabeth, who is from New Jersey, immediately decides to email Lauren and establish a bond. Lauren, however, is less than thrilled to discover that her request for a single has been denied. (Elizabeth is an only child, while Lauren is surrounded in a house with younger siblings.) Still, they find themselves turning to each other’s emails as they face their changing relationships with friends and growing relationships with boys.

This is one of those YA books I probably really would’ve liked if I were 16 or 17, college still ahead of me.
The switch between characters from chapter to chapter kept it interesting, but ultimately, it was just a fluff read.

VA Vacay

Since Maria moved out to Virginia in April, I’ve been excited about bringing Brad to see her and their new home.
Personally, I would go to Virginia every week if I could. This trip was, as they always are, super quick.
Still, it was so much fun (even though there were some setbacks)…


Brad and I left Friday evening. As expected, we hit traffic and got there about an hour and a half later than expected. The trip should be just shy of 6 hours, but with traffic and food/bathroom breaks, it always gets extended.


Artie had this bowtie on when we arrived. SO CUTE.


So, I took this photo on Saturday, as we headed to the beach. We were in the car for four hours without ever actually getting to the beach (that damn traffic) and I went MAD. If you follow me on IG, I had this up and deleted it. I never do stuff like that, but I was that angry. Also, it was a lie because we never ended up at the beach that day.


Saturday night got better. After naps and showers, we went to Norfolk to check out Field Guide for food and cocktails, and then The Birch for a variety of foreign beers. It definitely made up for the failure earlier in the day. Despite the fact that I wanted to go to the beach, I was also really nervous about the fact that we wouldn’t make it out to places like these, to see new things and try new restaurants. So it totally worked out.


On Sunday, it was a little rainy off and on, so we headed to Richmond instead of VA beach, and I love Carytown so much!
It’s such a fun place to shop. We started the day with Dixie Donuts and amazing Lamplighter coffee.
One of my favorite moments was at a book store called BBGB, a new shop that wasn’t there when I went last month.
It focuses on children’s books, but I saw some John Green in the window and had to stop and check out any YA.|
The woman who was working was amazing. She was helping a customer pick out another YA read (they were both older than me, proving yet again how important YA is to everyone!) and I fell in love. The customer had finished
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and wanted something new! Brad ended up buying me a signed copy of
Grasshopper Jungle, which has been on my list since it came out. Honestly, guys. I would be so happy to just be surrounded by books all the gosh darn time. Books forever, right?

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On Monday, we FINALLY MADE IT! We started at Zeke’s Bowls and Beans and had an awesome experience with great coffee. Then we headed to Virginia Beach and I read in the sand and swam in the ocean so much. Oh, to always be by the beach. I truly hope that, one day, I can spend a whole summer at a beach house. Or every summer for the rest of my gosh darn life. The dream, guys.

I can’t wait to go back. It probably won’t be for quite a while, but I’m sure it’ll be awesome whenever we do.


Greatest Hits of July (so far)

Tonight, Brad and I are hitting the road for Virginia. I am soooo excited to spend some more time down south with my favoritest people! My sister, Josh, and my boyfriend all in one place. UGH IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME!
We come back before the month is over, but I just know it’s going to fly, and that I’ll have tons of pictures to share from the trip in their own posts. So for now, here are some photos of things from this month that have been pretty great!


Awesome new mug alert! When I visited Catie last month, we stopped at the cutest shop and I grabbed some awesome items, this being one of them. I love when mugs have little surprises inside! Also, M. For Me! Michal Lynn!


So we only did this one night this month, but Brad and I are working on a joint 6x8 Project Life album. I’m excited about it because we are using the Plus One Mini Kit (which is amazing) plus my Studio Calico kits. The whole thing is going to be free-flowing, unlike my fairly structured 2014 book.I can’t wait until we have more time to work on it.


I’ve been doing this challenge on Instagram, #30DaysofBookstagram . It’s a lot of fun and more creative than you might think. One of the prompts was “Book Spine Poetry” and the pic above is my poem. I know it’s geeky, but I’m proud of it!


As you may know, I read Landline by Rainbow Rowell in less than 48 hours. I adore Rainbow Rowell.
I did some nail art inspired by the amazing colors of the cover and gave a shout out to the author, just for fun. SHE TWEETED AT ME AND FAVORITED IT. FANGIRL moment! (And yes, Fangirl is also one of her books!) I also got a little comment from one of my favorite bloggers. I love social media.


These ridiculous dogs! Mia has joined the crew at Lou and Brad’s and she is like 0 pounds and the funniest little thing.
I love that I caught both of them with their tongues out.


Jenna has been in PA for a while, but we only just got to hang out this past week.
I had to do a Party Party .gif with her! Which, by the way, Party Party is the best.
If you check out my IG feed, you will see a lot of #partypartyapp on there!

It’s been a fast month with lots going on. I can’t wait to enjoy some more summer fun!


Recent Reads, 20/40: All the Summer Girls


I’ve made it to the halfway mark! I am super proud of myself.
Last year, I was beyond 20 books at this point, but it was around this time that I really started to slow down and get frustrated with work stuff, allowing myself little time to do anything but be moody.

Book 20 is the 5th book Katie and I decided to read in our book club (ya know, our two person book club).
This book is definitely not something that will give us tons to mull over and to talk about, but it’s nice to read something that isn’t cumbersome, like Life After Life, that month-sucking book.

All the Summer Girls, by Meg Donahue, is that your typical beach read fluff. It has the romantic drama and the friendship drama and all other kinds of drama. But Donahue added a mix a bit of intrigue and trauma as well. Our three characters, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani, haven’t been the same since the death of Colin, Kate’s twin brother, several summers earlier at Avalon beach in NJ. Suddenly, the place they spent long vacations at every year is tainted with the terrible memory. We learn that everyone has guilt towards the death, feeling responsible in their own ways, but we don’t know why or what they did until the characters slowly start to tell each other.

One thing that bummed me out about the book is that, since every character is struggling through some sort of personal issue along with their issues towards Colin, the beach is like a backdrop that doesn’t shine. From the cover of the book to the title, it screams “READ ME WHILE YOU’RE SUNBATHING ON THE SHORE!” But the summer home they spent so much time in, the beach and boardwalk they lived on, don’t shine. I was definitely bummed, especially after being transported so well in We Were Liars. I want to mentally see that beach house, and it just wasn’t there.

I did like the fact that each chapter focused on a different character (The order is Kate, Vanessa, Dani). The book is written in a third-person POV, so it’s interesting to separate the chapters without them actually narrating the story.
I think it was smart to write the alternating chapters so that we could see just what these girls are going through.

To sum it up, it was a quick read that would definitely fly by if you have time on the beach.
Still, I feel like there are more summer-y summer reads.


Recent Reads, Book 19/40: Landline


So, at this point, Rainbow Rowell has a fan base that would willingly read a brochure on how to plunge toilets. Four books into her work, I think I can say I’m on that bandwagon. What I adore about her, really, is how Rainbow Rowell-y her writing is. It’s charming, it’s different, it’s real.

Landline was just released this past week and I read it in a little more than 48 hours…a new record for me lately, for sure. Instead of sleeping, I read and read, dying to know what would happen next. I was worried that, in a sleepy haze the next morning, I would forget what I had read. It didn’t happen.

Landline is the story of Georgie McCool, a TV writer who’s marriage to Neal has always been tough, despite their deep love for each other. When the career opportunity of a lifetime keeps Georgie from spending Christmas in Omaha with her husband and kids, their relationship is strained more than ever before. He won’t answer her calls or communicate with her in any way…until she goes to her mom’s house, plugs in the old landline, and calls his house, only to find 1998 Neal, just before he proposed, on the other line. Georgie is left to wonder if she is meant to prevent their marriage from happening or if it can be saved from the absolutely strange and impossible phone calls.

Each book of Rowell’s has this sort of strange magic to it, whether it’s intentional (in this case) or not.
It’s intoxicating and wonderful. Since the book takes place around Christmastime, I seriously thought I would see snow outside when I finally looked out the window after finishing. That’s how transported I got.
And I love the way she writes about love. It’s not the typical story. Some of the romantic moments are the strangest (a particular non-kiss scene in this book stands out), unlike anything you’d read in an Emily Giffin book.
That’s what’s so wonderful about her. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


Tracy & Steve: A Wedding


This past Saturday, one of my dearest friends  (I’ve known her since elementary school!) got married. It’s been a while since I’ve attended a friend’s wedding (as opposed to family, which is still fun, but not the same kind of fun) and it was truly a blast. What’s better than watching your friend marry their best friend, then follow it up with drinks and dancing?
Not many things.

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Friends waiting for the big moment!


We all agreed she looked stunning. Everything was flattering…the dress, the hair (she wore this awesome headband under the veil), the makeup. Absolutely gorgeous.


MARRIED! And sneaking a peek at us.


The lot of us at cocktail hour, waiting not-so-patiently for the bar to open (I rarely get group photos, so I cherish this one immensely! Everyone is visible and looks amazing!!).


Why yes, I will post an obligatory cute photo of me and my love.


The lovely table setting.


Welcome the newlyweds!


Crazy boys.

It was such a great time! I love celebrating love, especially with people I love.