September 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Kinsey!

Happy 3rd birthday to my most special, most wonderful, most perfect little dog! I can't imagine our lives without her drippy water face, crazy zoomies, and need to be touching one of us all the time. She can be terrible, that's for sure, but I love her all the same. She's sleeping right next to me as I type this and I'm so glad she's mine!


To celebrate, we're having a little pawty this weekend with her dog friends! My mom is making doc ice cream and there will be plenty of cake for the humans, too. Before that, though, it's time for our third PSU game this month! Penn State takes on Georgia State tomorrow night under the lights and I can't wait to spend the day in State College again. It's going to be such a fun weekend - what do you have planned?

September 13, 2017

Where in the World ...

... Should I go on vacation? I haven't taken a single vacation day yet this year (by choice!), and I'm really feeling the urge to start planning a trip. I'm lucky enough that my employer has gifted me (and all of the other employees) with two free round-trip tickets to anywhere that American Airlines flies. I'm so thankful and and so excited to have the opportunity to put those two tickets to good use for an amazing trip, but I cannot decide where I want to go! 

Some of my top vacation destination dreams right now are:



Australia / British Columbia / New Zealand / The Netherlands / Greece / Hong Kong

I honestly cannot decide where I want to go and what I want to do! I have until the end of next year to use my tickets, so I have a little bit of time to think about it. But with this itch to travel soon, I should probably get planning now! Any recommendations of a place that is an absolute must visit? Let me know! 


September 11, 2017

Weekending

Oh my gosh, this past weekend just flew by! I'm guessing it's because last Monday was a holiday, but wow, I feel like I went from Friday night to Sunday night with the snap of my fingers. Why can't a trans-continental flight seem to go that fast? 

Anyway, my fast weekend was quite a good one! Friday night, my dad and I took the poodles on a nice walk to exhaust them as best we could. Kinsey spent the night at my parents' that night because Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head to State College for the Penn State game with Anna, Dan and my friend Kim! It was the most perfect day for a football game in Central PA, so we wanted to be sure to have plenty of time to tailgate before kickoff. We played charades (yes, really), grilled, mixed drinks and had so much fun before we even headed in to the stadium.

Kim is always such a good sport about coming to Penn State games with us (this was her third year in a row!) so of course I had to invite her to come to the game vs her alma mater, Pitt, on Saturday. Fortunately for us PSU fans, we managed a pretty convincing win this year and are sitting pretty at #5 on the AP poll! 


Sunday was another absolutely beautiful day and all I wanted to do was go out to lunch somewhere that had a patio. I threw out the suggestion to Jason, Anna, Dan and my dad and we all ended up having a great lunch outside while occasionally checking out the NFL scores on all of the outdoor TVs. I've been trying to eat much healthier lately, so having an amazing vanilla porter beer and a perfectly made panini with a few fries was the most perfect splurge. It was just too nice to be indoors, so I spent plenty of time playing with Kinsey in the yard, too. 


This week is shaping up to be a busy one - catching up on some work, three Junior League meetings and finally getting my act together to take some clothing to consignment! 

September 7, 2017

5 Books to Read This Fall

Well, hello again! Is anyone still out there? Regardless, it's time for a few more book reviews! Even though the pools are now closed and vacation time is dwindling, there's still plenty of time for reading! Here's what I've recently read, in no particular order.

5 books to read this fall | line up and wait blog

June by Beverly Miranda Whitmore
(disclosure: this book was given to me for review by bloggingforbooks.com)
The premise of this book sound so promising - a modern-day, down-on-her-luck girl named Cassie Danvers is shocked when she is told that she is heir to a fortune of the late, great Jack Montgomery, famous actor. Cassie can hardly believe it, and nor can Jack's famous-in-her-own-right daughter, Tate, who heads to Cassie's crumbling Ohio home to get a DNA test, prove they're not related, and take the money that's rightly hers. But why does Cassie get everything? Because Jack states in his will that Cassie's grandmother June was the one true love of his life, and that Cassie is also his grandchild. Phew! Affairs and old Hollywood glamour? That's what drew me in! What I didn't like as much much were the flashback chapters told by Lindie, June's neighbor. I loved the description of the 1950s movie set, but I didn't love it from Lindie's perspective. It's hard for me to even describe why this story was hard for me to get in to - the fact that it was just a little too far-fetched, the personification of Two Oaks, the home June grew up in and where Cassie is currently living...I just don't know. I feel like I'm probably an anomaly here, though, because Whitmore's other novel, Bittersweet, was so much better. Borrow this one from the library, or if you'd like, leave a comment below and I'll send you my copy!
American War by Omar El Akkad
Wow. This story takes place in the midst of America's Second Civil War. Yes, another war between north and south, this time over the use of fossil fuels. The landscape is vastly different than we see it today; the coastal cities (New Orleans, Charleston, most of Florida) we love are all gone. The protagonist Sarat Chestnut and her family are forced to flee their home for a new life in a refugee camp, filled with Southerners who have many different beliefs. This novel was rough to read, because although dystopian, there's more that rings possible than in other fiction I've recently read. Climate change is real, people, and we need to start doing something about it so that in 2080, our children's lives aren't like Sarat's. Okay, off of my soapbox. But read this one. You'll grit your teeth and cringe, but read it.
The Passenger by Liza Lutz
A thriller, something that I usually read a lot more of! This one follows Tanya Dubois as she crisscrosses the country after the death of her husband, shedding one ID after another. I can't even call the protagonist Tanya, because she's constantly changing her name and identity in an effort to stay one step ahead of the past that haunts her. But why can't she go back home and start over? This was a pretty easy read and I finished it quickly because I needed to know how Tanya ended up. I recommend this if you're looking for a quick psychological thriller.
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
So when I picked up this book, I didn't realize that it's part of a series by Slaughter. I loved Pretty Girls, so when I saw this one at the library, it came home with me immediately! Despite the fact that I haven't read any of her other detective Will Trent novels, I dove into this one. It can be a stand alone book and it has the same twists, turns, violence and mindf*ckery as Pretty Girls. But because I don't know where this novel fits on the spectrum of the other Will Trent novels, I'm going to pick up the first one and give them a chance as the series they are meant to be. It doesn't feel fair to give a little plot summary or real review until I check out some of the others!
When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mahew Whalen
(disclosure: I received this book from netgalley for review and it is scheduled for release on 9/12/17)
This story takes place in the small southern town of Worthy, where football rules and the community attends church each Sunday. One moment in time rips the community apart when three high school cheerleaders are killed after their car is hit by another high school student's. Equal parts heartbreaking and mysterious, the story is told in alternating voices by those left behind: the girls' parents, a teacher, and Leah, the cheerleader who should have been in the car with them. With so many voices telling the story, I was left trying to piece together exactly who was to be trusted and why Leah wasn't in the car with them that night. This book was more emotional than I expected, and left me shocked at the end.
Next up, I'm expecting Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker to arrive in my mailbox soon! It's from Book of the Month, which I'm still loving and highly, highly recommend. If you're interested in signing up to choose one of five new hardcover books to be delivered each month, you can do so {here} using my affiliate link to get your first month for $9.99!

I've also been in to natural beauty/skincare type books (I recently finished Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore and loved it), so if you any good natural beauty books to read, please let me know! Until next time, friends!

April 28, 2017

Five on Friday | LBDI

We made it to Friday! Which means today is my last day wearing my little black dress as part of the Junior League of Harrisburg’s Little Black Dress Initiative. Quick background: the LBDI is a week-long fundraising and awareness campaign where JLH members commit to wearing the same black dress for five workdays to start conversations about and raise money for our organization’s focus, which currently is breaking the cycle of poverty. To learn more about this campaign, check out my personal fundraiser page, and to learn more about JLH, check out our website.


It’s been an interesting week, and I’m joining up for Five on Friday to share five things I’ve learned throughout this event:

1 // Wearing the same black dress for five days was limiting, but not in the way I thought. To be honest, most of my coworkers didn’t even realize I had the same dress on every day this week. It didn’t limit my confidence at work, which I had a concern that it might, but it did make me more careful with my time in the evening. I thought that having a pared-down wardrobe for the week would make getting dressed a breeze, but I had to put more thought into my accessories, plan my laundry so that my dress had time to air-dry before work the next morning, and be extra careful not to spill my coffee on it every morning!  

2 // I put a lot more thought into spending money. Leading up to LBDI week, Junior League members took place in an exercise where we planned a monthly budget based on poverty-level wages. While I’m not trying to appropriate anyone’s lifestyle, it was a good reminder that there are some very tough choices that some of our friends and neighbors have to make every day. Do I really need to order in lunch or buy a new pair of shoes to wear with my LBD, or would that money better be used donating to my own campaign? Exactly. I’m always on a budget, but this week, I tried to be as strict as possible.

3 // People surprised me. A friend from high school admitted to me that she thought Junior League was just another group of snobby women who get together, but after reading Wednesday’s post, her mind was changed and she made a donation to the campaign. If I can help just one person learn more about what we do with JLH, I’ve accomplished something. I’m learning to speak clearly and cohesively about JLH’s mission and why we do what we do, which is a goal I’ve set for myself.  

4 // Checking privilege isn’t always easy to do, but it’s something that must be done. I know that the phrase “check your privilege” is pretty buzzy these days, but it’s something that many of us need to learn to do. To live one week wearing the same dress is one thing, but to be sensitive to and accepting of the struggles that some people live with every day takes education and practice. The Junior League of Harrisburg has been discussing participating a sensitivity training offered by one of our community partners, and I hope it’s something we get to do. I think it would be such a great learning experience and so useful in how we interact with those around us.

5 // My family is so supportive and came through right away. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t meet my fundraising for this goal, but I’m so happy to share that I reached my $250 goal on the very first day due to the generosity of my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and husband. Having people who support my efforts and what I do makes me so thankful and so happy. While I’ve met my goal, JLH is still a little bit shy of our overall goal and I would be so, so appreciative if you would like to join me in donating {here}.

Despite my reservations, I’m so glad I participated in this year’s Little Black Dress Initiative. I learned quite a bit about myself, about my community, and stepped out of my comfort zone. A lot of work went in to planning this event, and I’m thankful to everyone who had a hand in pulling it off successfully. And a huge thank you to each and every one of you who took the time and shared your hard-earned dollars with an organization that means so much to me, and to the Harrisburg community. THANK YOU ALL!!!

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