Your Next Favorite Book: Winter

Your Next Favorite Book

Today I bring you my second read of 2016.  Last year I powered through the first 3 books in what has become one of my all time favorite books series.  I pretty much devoured Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.  They are that good.  I almost didn’t read them because I was so turned off by the idea of cyborgs and robots and stuff.  But boy am I glad I read them.  If you haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles and you love fairy tales you are seriously missing out on life.

And so I bring you my review of the last and final (tear) novel in the series.

Winter Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

My thoughts:  First of all, that cover.  I think it’s my favorite of the four.  I could look at that cover all day long.  Now Snow White it’s my favorite fairy tale but I really enjoyed the way the story was mixed with the rest of the story.  It was perfect.  And I was a big fan of Winter and Jacin’s story.  But what I loved the most was getting to finish up everyone else’s story.  Each book ended with such big cliffhangers that I was dying to know what was going to happen to them even more than I was interested in getting Winter’s story.  Now that I’ve finished the series I think my favorite couple has to be Cress and Thorne.  There is just something about there story that I absolutely loved.  They were so sweet together.

I was very happy with the overall ending of the series.  I felt all loose ends were tied up and I was not at all disappointed with the ending.  As I was when I finished both The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series.  Which is always a good thing in my book.  It was a great last book to a great series.

Read them.  You’ll like em.  I promise! 🙂

Currently [January]

Reading….Soon I’ll be starting a book called The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright.  It is sort of similar to The Royal We, which I loved so I’m hoping this one will be just as good! 🙂  This will be my 4th book of 2016.  

Drinking….Water.  I’ve made it a point to not buy anymore soda for the house.  That way I’m forced to drink water.  Although in about 10 minutes I’m gonna be making myself a nice cup of tea! 

Watching….The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I’m a big sucker for The Real Housewives franchise.  My favorites are Orange County, New York, Beverly Hills.  I’ve heard rumors that soon there will be a Real Housewives of Dallas.  It’s about time they brought this wonderful show to the Lone Star State.

Thinking about….Disney World.  Huge shocker I know.  Especially if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now.  But it’s true.  All of a sudden I got this urge to be there.  That happens sometimes.  Thankfully I have about 10,000 different pictures I can scroll through when I’m having a “Disney withdrawal” and that usually helps.  Oh and Disney music….lots and lots of Disney music! 🙂
Looking forward to….FEBRUARY!!! I have so many fun things in the month of February.  The Thrive Blog Conference, I’m photographing a friends wedding (AHHH!!!), the Oscars are happening and Leo is going to win his first Oscar, and we’re one month closer to my birthday!  Woo Hoo! Come on February!

Wearing….PJs!  I have been such a lazy bum this week.  Seriously as for the last two days I’ve come home from work and immediately put on my pajamas and have parked my butt on the couch.  And I don’t feel bad about it at all.  

Wanting…. to go on a cruise.  It’s been 2ish years since my Disney Cruise and I am dying to go on another one.  I really wanted to go on one for Spring Break but looks like I’ll be sticking around Houston for that week.  

Wishing….Money grew on trees.  Seriously that would make life so much easier.  
Remembering….Last month when I wrote up this post, I was wishing for a White Christmas and wouldn’t you know it, I got one!  How funny is that!  In case you missed it, it snowed for a full two days in El Paso the day after Christmas.  We were pretty much snowed in.  (Ok it was only 5 inches but to a city that never gets snow it might as well have been 20 inches.)

Needing…. A new cell phone case.  Mine has pretty much fallen apart save for two little spots.  I just need to find one that it durable, cute (preferably with some type of floral pattern going on), and doesn’t cost an arm and leg like most cell phone cases are nowadays.  Any suggestions as to where I can find one that meets all those requirements?!
Laughing at…. these funnies:

Happy Thursday friends! We’re one day closer to the weekend!

What’s Ha-"Pinning" [Vol. 7 – Apartment Style]

Since I’ve officially made the decision to move into my own apartment come mid-July/August.  I haven’t really been able to think of anything else.  I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas for my living room.  I’m 100% happy with my bedroom decor and don’t plan to change anything in there (except for maybe the bookshelf I currently have).  So I get to focus all my attention and budget on the living room and kitchen.  
That is wear Pinterest comes in.  For this edition of What’s Ha-“Pinning” with Jenn and Jessi I’m sharing the inspirations I’ve found for the living room the new apartment!
                                                      [one]                                       [two]
                                                       [via]                                       [via]
The apartment is going to be pretty small.  Seeing as it will just me and the fur babies,  so I’ve found a few websites and blogs that have given some helpful decorating tips for small apartments.  And that second pin comes with some great advice as far as what you should be sure to unpack and set up in the first 24 hours of moving into your new apartment.  
                   [three]                                                   [four]                                              [five]   
                      [via]                                                  [via]                                                    [via]
These next pins are my inspiration for the couch.  I’ve settled on getting a grey couch.  I’ve actually already settled on THIS couch, from Rooms to Go.  I feel like you can do a lot with a neutral color as you see in the above pins.  I plan to add a comfy chair to go with the couch.  I envision something perfect for curling up with a cup of coffee/tea and a good book! 🙂
The new place is hopefully going to be on the second level with stairs leading from the attached garage to the apartment itself.  And there is a  huge wall along the staircase, so I plan to use that space for a gallery wall.  That is where pin number three comes in.  I love the way all these different shaped mirrors and empty frame fill the space.
I also plan to have a large mirror of some sort in the living room like you see in pin 5 because I’ve read that adding a mirror is great way to make it look like you have a bigger space.  
                   [six]                                [seven]                             [eight]                              [nine]

                  [via]                                  [via]                                 [via]                                [via]

As I’ve already mentioned I plan to get a new bookshelf for my bedroom and it will probably like the one in pin nine.  Only just half that with 8 selves not 16.  I like the versatility of this book shelf (it’s from IKEA).  You can use it to display books and fun accessories or you can put boxed in them for extra storage.

I’m OBSESSED with the shelf in Pin eight.  This is actually another IKEA shelf that has been spray painted gold.  I love the combination of grey, gold, white, and black with a pop of color here and there.  And that is the color scheme I plan to go with.  I think this shelf will fit in perfectly with that.

I also plan to put in some shelving units about my desk area, which will also be in the living room and I love the styling elements in pin six.

                                        [ten]                                                                           [eleven]    

                                          [via]                                                                               [via]

As far as coffee tables go these are my inspirations.  
I loved the coffee table and styling in pin eleven,  this is actually Lauren from The Lauren Elizabeth‘s living room.  I’ve been following her blog for a few years and she is amazing at decorating.  It’s funny because when I saw that coffee table (pin eleven) on IKEA’s website I thought to myself, “Man, I would never think to buy this myself.”  But then I saw the different options for styling and I was sold.  This is actually two different pieces that are stacked together.  So you can always separate them if you need an extra side table or you can use them together.  
So I bought it last weekend! 🙂  I’m leaving it in the box until I move in so that way it’s one less big piece of furniture I have to move.  
It has taken all I’ve got to now go crazy buy decor items for the living room right now.  But I do plan to buy things throughout the next few months so I’m not spending crazy amounts of money right as I’m also paying to set up everything in the apartment itself.  That way there is less stress on my wallet.
But seriously y’all I am so stinkin excited!  I cannot wait for this next big step in my life and I am SO THANKFUL for Pinterest.  I don’t know how people decorated or did pretty much anything before it!
Fingers crossed the vision in my head and on my Pinterest boards comes to life!
Happy Wednesday!

The [Long] Weekend

I think I have a love/hate relationship with long weekends.  On one hand I love them because I don’t have to go to work and it means a shorter work week.  But on the other hand, it gives me a taste of what summer is gonna be like and summer is SO FAR AWAY!!!! (But before you know it I’m gonna be complaining about how fast the school year went.)
My long weekend was delightful.  It was the perfect combination of busy and fun!  
Here were the highlights!
– Spent the evening at home.  And I can literally not remember anything else.  I have no idea what I did, what I ate, what I was thinking about…’s a complete blank.  Weird.  I do remember that this is what I wore to school on Friday (thank you Instagram) and that I was a big fan.  
-Woke up and read some of Winter with my morning coffee.
– Had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes with my friend Molly.  We chatted for a solid 2 and half hours.  It was delightful.

 -Made an IKEA trip and picked up my coffee table for my new apartment!  My plan is to buy things in chucks so I don’t have to spend a huge amount right when I move in.  I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas and am putting together a post on it for Wednesday!

– Went to The Galleria for the very first time.  If you’re not familiar, The Galleria is this huge 3 story mall in Houston.  It has all the high end stores (Tiffany’s, Prada, Da Beers, etc) and is busy as all get out.  My mom bought me some rainbows for Christmas from Nordstrom’s online and they were too big.  So I went to try and exchange them but they didn’t have my size so I settled for a gift card.  Now I can buy anything!  But my eyes are still on the Hunter Rain boots.  I just need them to go on sale!

– The rest of the night was spent eating leftovers and watching TV.  It was a very exciting Saturday night.


-The morning was spent exactly like Saturday morning….but this time I pretty much devoured Winter.  I think I read from about 7:00am- 12:00pm when I finally got out of bed and took a shower.

– Had our Star Wars movie marathon!  We had planned to start our marathon of watching all 6 Star Wars movies at 1:00.  But due to several technical difficulties we didn’t get started until about 3:00.  The order we planned to watch the movies in was 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6.  If that means nothing to you basically we started with the first two originals from the late 70s and early 80s and then jumped to the  films made in the 2000s.  We made it all the way to the middle of the 2nd film.  Then I got tired and started falling asleep and realized I wasn’t gonna make it any further.  So we successfully finished 4 and a half of the 6 films.  Not bad if you ask me.  Plus I know have a new found appreciation for Star Wars.


– Woke up bright and early and immediately started all the chores I had neglected over the weekend.  Laundry, vacuuming…you know the boring stuff.
– Made a Target run.  Always a must on the weekends.
– Bought new jeans.  It’s literally been like 2 years since I’ve bought myself new jeans.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy some because 1.  the ones I had were getting just a tad too tight and 2. I was tired of wearing the same ones over and over again.  Mostly number 1 if I’m honest.  
– Went and looked at the couch I plan to buy for the new apartment!  Again I plan to show it off in another post.  But I’m really excited about this purchase!  It’ll be the first couch I’ve ever bought by myself! 
– Checked out the apartments I think I’ve settled on for my big move in August.  I tried to put my name on the waiting list but sadly I jumped the gun a little bit.  Have to wait till April to go in and do that.  Still SO EXCITED!
– Helped a friend navigate her way through blogger.  She has to start a blog for one of her grad classes and I was more than happy to help her out.  I feel like such a pro even though I still have a  ton to learn myself! 
Well that’s about it!  Very busy and yet I feel like I had plenty of time to relax.  Which is always good!  And now it’s off to work.  Thank goodness I only have 3 more days and we’re at the weekend again! 🙂
Happy Tuesday!
Linking up for Weekending!  

Your Next Favorite Book: The Jewel

Your Next Favorite Book
For this edition of “Your Next Favorite Book”  I’m bringing you my most recent audiobook download.  I have really loved downloading audiobooks for my long drives across the great State of Texas and highly recommend them to anyone who is going to be going on a long drive.  Some might think that they would make you fall asleep at the wheel but I’m happy to report that that is not the case at all.  I found that I actually am more alert when I’m listening to the book because I have to pay attention to the words.  If my mind drifts for a few seconds I completely miss part of the story.  So it helps me stay aware and focused on the road.  
Alrighty enough of that, lets get to the goods.
The Jewel Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

My thoughts:

I was browsing Audible for a book when I saw the cover of this one.  I immediately fell in love with it.  It reminded me of the covers of The Selection books and I’m a big fan of those so I thought it would be a good choice.  Then I read the synopsis and was intrigued so I figured why not.  Let me say first that the book itself is actually pretty good and I think I would have really enjoyed reading it had I actually been reading it and not listening to it.  The story is well thought out and is very easy to follow.  I really liked the main character Violet and absolutely hated the villain, The Duchess of the Lake, just like you’re supposed to.  And just like all the other YA novels out there right now, there is a sequel and I believe there will even be a third one.  And will I read the others, yes. Because I am dying to know what is going to happen to Violet and her friends.

But will I listen to either of the other books?  Absolutely not.   I was NOT a fan of the reader of the book itself.  She had the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard and I hated listening to her read the book.  I know I would have enjoyed the book much more if I hadn’t of listened to it.  I almost didn’t finish the book itself because I dreaded having to listen to the reader voice.  I really wish I could upload a portion of it because I know I would not be alone in this opinion.

So, should you READ the book.  Yes.  You will be entertained by this new world and the people who live in it and you will be intrigued by the storyline.  I would not suggest LISTENING to it however.

Thank goodness this was not my first audio book because I honestly think I would have been completely turned off of them.

Alrighty my first book review of 2016 is in the books.

If you have any book suggestions I should add to my to-read list then you should definitely leave a comment in that pretty little comment section. 🙂

Have a great Thursday!

The Best is Yet to Come

I know it’s only the 6th day of January, but I cannot stop thinking about all the exciting things I have ahead of me in 2016.  This is looking to be a year of big change and big fun.  It felt so good to sit down with my planner and put in ink all the great things that are coming for me in 2016.

To prove it to you, I decided to whip up this little post to share a few of said things.   (read: I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for about 2 and half hours trying to 1. figure out how to start this post and 2.  decide which picture I should use, oh and trying to come up with a 7th item.)


Isn’t this picture neat?  This was taken by yours truly during Labor Day weekend in Port Aransas, TX! 🙂

1. All the fun travel I have planned so far.  Thus far I will be going somewhere up North in March for some Spring skiing,  it could be Taos, New Mexico or it could be somewhere in Colorado.  Florida for a friends wedding in May.  Washington D.C. in June/July for summer vacation ( I am so excited for this trip.  I have never been to our nations capitol so the history nerd/teacher in me is salivating!).  Atlanta to see Jordan and experience some southern hospitality.  And West Virginia for  another friend’s in October.  I’m hoping to add a few more destinations throughout the year but those are the highlights.

2. Attending my first blog conference.  Yep, you read that right.  I am going to be attending the Thrive Blog Conference right here in Houston on February 27th.  This will be Thrive’s second year and I am so excited to meet some of my fellow bloggers and learn more about growing my blog and myself!

3. All the amazing shows starting/coming back.  Fuller House, House of Cards Season 4, Game of Thrones.  This is looking to be a great year for TV.  And movies too, fingers crossed this is the year that the love of my fictional life, Leonardo DiCaprio, finally wins an Oscar!

4. Moving into my very own apartment all on my own!  I am so excited to share this news.  I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks and I finally decided that it is time to branch out on my own and live by myself.  I have always and I mean ALWAYS had roommates.  But I’m gonna be 28 this year and I think it’s time that I finally own my own couch and other furniture.  I am so excited to share all about my experience on my little space of the interwebs and of course to start decorating! 🙂  This particular event isn’t happening until August so I have plenty of time to really get used to the idea and to buy everything I’m going to need.  (Sidetone: I NEED EVERYTHING).

5. Being at the same school for another year.  This will be the first year that I have worked at a school for 2 years in a row.  I’m excited for this prospect because it means that I won’t have to learn the ropes at a new school and I’ll be teaching the same content again.  Basically I’m gonna be there best 8th grade US History teacher ever.  So yeah…I’m awesome. ; )

6. Getting my first tattoo.  AHHH!! I literally never thought I would ever say this, but yes it’s true.  My best friend Ashley and I are finally going to get our matching Deathly Hallows tattoos. I know we’re so cool, Harry Potter nerds forever.  We plan to get them sometime this summer.  It’s going to be a very small, very tasteful tattoo just on the inside of my left wrist I think.  That way it can be covered with a bracelet or watch if I need to.  We are so excited!

7.  Turning 28.  Now I know this should probably scare the shit out of me.  But it doesn’t.  I think I’m looking forward to turning 28.  I think.  Talk to me in about 2 months when it actually happens but I going in with the outlook that my late 20s are going to be the best.  Fingers crossed I’m right and fingers crossed turing 28 also finally means meeting someone. As in a boy.  2015 kinda laughed in my face in the romance department.  Here’s to hoping 2016 and my 28th year on this Earth just lightly chuckles and then points me in the right direction.

Woo hoo! All the things to look forward to and it’s only the 6th day of January! (Thank you Flynn Ryder for the line inspiration).

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?  Travel? Tv Shows? Love? Travel? Your job? Being more independent? Do tell!

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi for:

A Lot Can Happen in a Year! |2016 Goals|

Last year I set 8 goals for myself.  And successfully reached 4 of the 8.

In 2015 I…….

Got a new job.
Built my wardrobe.
Kept blogging.
Read about 40 of my 65 book goal.

Apparently this has become a pattern for me.  I went back and looked and I reached 4 of my 2013 goals too. So for the last few weeks I’ve been racking my brain for my goals for this new year.  How many goals should I set?  What kind of goals should I set for myself?  Should they be long term? Should they be short term?  Should they be frivolous? Serious? Doable?

See it’s very difficult to make a list with all that running through your head.  But thankfully I’ve done it.  I’ve settled on 8 goals that I think are realistic, a good combination of serious and frivolous, and will keep me busy this year!

So here they are:

[one] Go to church more regularly.  I’ve never been the type of person to regularly go to church.  We went regularly when I was little but then a few events occurred that turned my mom off from our church and we never really found another one.  But the few times we have started going regularly I’ve really enjoyed it.  So I’m going to make it goal to find a church and start going.

[two] Read at least 50 books.  Last year I set a goal for 65 and didn’t do a fantastic job of tracking it.  So I set the goal on Goodreads and plan to keep track that way.  Hopefully it works.

[three] Drink more water.  I think this is going to be one of my goals every year.  Because every year I fail.

[four] Be healthier.  I don’t want to say lose weight or work out because realistically that won’t happen.  I’ll start doing it and then find some excuse to not actually do it.  But I know I can do things that will help me just be healthier overall.  Cook more at home, don’t buy Dr. Pepper, don’t lay on the couch for 10 hours on the weekends.  BE ACTIVE.  Go walk around the neighborhood.  Something that will get me off my lazy ass!

[five] Keep blogging and go to a blog conference.  I have loved keeping this blog up and running.  And I really want to keep it up.  I also want to grow my little space of the internet.

[six] Improve my photography skills.  Maybe take an online photography class or something.  But I want to improve those skills and maybe even make it a hobby that makes a little money on the side.  Who knows!

[seven] Wear more lipstick.  This may sounds really vain, but I look better with lipstick on.  I wish I was that person that looked amazing without makeup but I’m just not. Plus I like the way I look with makeup on and I think I look even better with lipstick.  So I’m gonna wear more of it.  Plus my mom said that my grandmother never left the house without lipstick and she was pretty much the most amazing person ever so I wanna be just like her.

[eight] SAVE MONEY.  This is probably my biggest goal.  I need to save money.  I am so bad at this that I need to make it a priority this year.  So I’m gonna make it happen!

So far I have a lot of exciting things coming in 2016 and I am so excited for them.  I want this year to a happy year.  And I will do all I can to make it happen! 🙂

The [First] Weekend of 2016

The first official weekend of 2016 has come and gone.  And I for one am just not ready to go back to normal life.  I’ve had two very relaxing and enjoyable weeks off and facing work is just not appealing at them moment.  Thank goodness we only have two weeks before our next mini-break.  AKA:  MLK Day.

So my very first weekend of 2016 was VERY enjoyable.  I had a very low key and relaxing New Year Eve,  Chick Fil A for dinner and then we were in the middle of an episode of Pretty Little Liars (the first season) and I looked down at my phone and boom….it was 2016.  No fuss, no muss.  Happy New Years were said and we kept on watching the show.

The rest of the weekend was a delight however!  Here were the highlights:


-Started off 2016 with a cup of coffee and my planner.  I’ve decided to simplify my planner for this year.  I went with a monthly only calendar from Target.  It is super thin and I love it.  Although I keep finding myself browsing the Erin Condren website.  So we’ll see how long it takes before I cave and buy one.

– Had a yummy lunch at a place out in the burbs outside of Katy.  It’s called Dekkers and it was very tasty.

– Tried out a new pair place here in Katy called Proud Pies.  They’re Key Lime Pie was/is to die for and I will def be making a stop there at some point in the near future (ie. tomorrow since I have an appointment right next to the pie shop!)

-Watched Spice World.  <—– Biggest highlight of the whole day.  I still remember the words to every Spice Girls song and pretty much all the lines in the movie.


– Had a delicious brunch at Pecan Creek Grill in Houston.  (You’ll notice a pattern here soon, lots of eating was done this weekend.)

– Went to the movies with Jenny and Holly.  We saw Joy, which I highly recommend to everyone. Such a good movie and a major motivator for following your dreams! Plus Jennifer Lawrence is amazing in it per usual.

– Bought two new lamps fro Marshalls.  I adore them and cannot wait for them to find a home in my new apartment come August.  More on that development later this week! 🙂


This was by far my most productive day of the weekend! 🙂

– Went to a yummy little bagel place in Katy called The Bagel Cafe for breakfast.

– Completely cleaned out the inside of my car.  I whipped down the entire interior and vacuumed the crap outta the floors and seats.  It is the cleanest it’s been in about 6 months and I am going to make it a point to keep it that way.  So much better driving around in a clean car than a dirty one!

Took down all the Christmas decorations.  This was very sad.  I love the little collection of Christmas decor I’ve amassed!

– Made a Target run for my weekly grocerys!  Now I don’t have to eat out for every meal.

– Watched the premier of the final season of Downton Abbey.  I just adore this show and am so sad that this is its last season.  I will be soaking up every single moment of the show until it’s over.  And then I’ll re-watch it.

Overall it was an A+ weekend!  I’m still not ready to go back to work but alas I am adult and must therefore do adult things like go to work.  
I do have something to look forward to today though!  I’m getting my hair cut and colored after school and I am so excited!  This mop of mine hasn’t had anything done to it since June and it is crying for some attention.  
I hope each of you had a fantastic first weekend of 2016! I took a moment this weekend to think about the goals I want to accomplish this year so I’ll be sharing those this week as well as a few of the major things I’m really looking forward to!  
Have a great Monday! 🙂