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Exploring Houston: Murals of the City {Part 2}

Last year I pulled together my a few of my favorite murals from around Houston.  Since then the mural scene has totally exploded.  In large part due to the HUE Mural Festival, that occurred for the 2nd year back in October.  Over 100 different artists took part in the festival and painted new murals around the city.  And boy did they come up with some amazing stuff!

My partner in crime when visiting the Houston murals is Ashley from The Wandering Weekenders so when I found out about a few of the new murals I knew I had to see if she wanted to come along.  Plus we were doing out annual birthday photo shoots so we hit two birds with one stone.
So without further ado I give you…..
Attached to each mural you’ll find below are links to each of the artists Instagram pages and the hashtags they use for all the photos taken in front of their murals!  So be sure to head over to Instagram and give each of the artists some Insta-love! 
Love Wall – Whaley Fine Art
This was the wall that inspired me to find some new murals this year.  I originally saw the wall on a friends Instagram post on Valentine’s Day.  The minute I saw it I knew I wanted to take my 29th birthday pictures here.  It’s located in the same area as the Zipper Wall.  It’s a relatively small space and there are two other murals flanking either side but there is still plenty of room to capture pictures.  There is a little railing directly in front of the mural so you will have to navigate your pictures around that.  
You can Instagram the following hashtags to see some of the many pictures people have taken in front of the wall.  #lovewallhtx  and #dreamzincolor.
You can find the love wall in the East Downtown area at the intersections of Leeland and St. Emmanuel Streets.

El Chan Guri Luis Valle

So, I’ll be honest, this is not a wall that I would typically visit.  It doesn’t really go with my taste but I appreciate it for the artistic value and the talent behind planning and painting the wall itself.  Just about the only think I can draw free hand is a flower so this is pretty amazing and worth seeing in person!   I do however, love the colors that make up the background of the mural.  Those are right up my ally.

Fineapple- Trees McGee 

Personally I find puns hilarious so this wall gave me a good laugh.  Ashley really liked it so we couldn’t resist getting a picture of her in front of it.  It’s located on the same stretch of wall as the El Chan Guri mural.  You can also check out #RoyalMcGee for more pictures and murals by the artist. 
You can find both the El Chan Guri and the Fineapple murals at: 1800 Opelousas St. over by St. Arnold’s Brewery.  
Be aware that your GPS might lead to a sketchy area, so my advice is to turn onto Maury Street the make the first right and you’ll be on Opelousas street and will find the walls not problem!  

Rose Wall by Tyler Kay
(Disclaimer: I don’t know if this is what it’s actually called but it’s a big rose wall so there ya go)

I first saw this wall over on It’s not HOU it’s me (a fantastic blog where Michelle and Anastasia cover all things Houston and travel related), and thought it was so neat!  Especially with Beauty and the Beast having just released in theaters.  It wasn’t on our list for the day, but as luck would have it we basically stumbled on the wall while we were looking for the El Chan Guri wall.  And because of my love of Beauty and the Beast I knew I had to get a photo in front of it.

You can find the Rose Wall at: 1213 Maury Street, you’ll be in the St. Arnold’s Brewery collection of warehouses.

Sadly we only were able to snap photos at four of the many murals located at each of these places because it started to get rainy.  But there are a ton more murals along the stretch of each wall in the locations mentioned above.  Each are so unique and really do have their own story to tell.  
I’m really hoping the HUE Mural Festival happens again this year, because I will definitely want to attend and watch a few of these murals come to life in real time.
Just like last year, looking for, finding and snapping a few pictures in front of all these new murals was so much fun.  There really is nothing like getting out and seeing all that your own city has to offer.  
Happy Exploring! 


The Weekend

What a weekend!   It seriously feels like I was on the go nonstop and I didn’t hate it.  After having a really laid back Spring Break, I was ready for an eventful weekend.

Lets recap shall we?

Friday kicked off with a surprise baby shower for a co-worker at school.  We coach together and she is having a little boy come May. Following the baby shower, I drove out to College Station to spend the night with my aunt and uncle. We watched a movie, had dinner and then went to bed!  

Saturday dawned bright and early.  I slept fantastic and had a leisurely morning with coffee and a muffins.  Then we jumped in the car and headed out to explore a little but of Texas.

We ended up in Independence, Texas (where Texas officially declared independence from Mexico, apparently they have a big celebration on March 2nd).  Our stop in Independence was the Antique Rose Emporium, which is basically just a little nursery where you can purchase different types of plants and flowers.  They have a huge space with adorable little walkways and paths all lined with sweet smelling florals.

I literally could have spent all day here, it was so peaceful and beautiful.  And the Texas weather was absolutely perfect!  There was also a little chapel on the grounds and you can rent out the space for weddings and other special events.  Which I feel like would be the perfect setting for a wedding I mean look at this place!

These roses smelled heavenly.  I stood there for at least 10 minutes inhaler their sweet scent and taking about a thousand pictures.

After our stroll through The Emporium, we headed back to College Station and had a tasty lunch at a popular burger place, Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill.  Then it was back to Houston.

Once I got back to Houston, I decided to do a little DIYing.  My friend Jordan had posted that she was going to be making her own farmhouse inspired candle holders.  I loved them so much I decided to make some for myself.   So a trip to Home Depot and about $25 later I have these adorable new candle holders.  Apparently the original ones can cost as much $200.  But you can find the full tutorial for these little beauties over at Jordan’s blog, Former Kennedy.

As I was getting my DIY on, I watched Midnight in Paris and reminded myself just how much love that movie.  I would love for what happens to Owen Wilson to happen to me.  Plus I agree with my friend Jenny, who said that the film gives a great message in that every generation feels like the time period they’re living in is unfulfilling.  And that previous generations “had it better”.   But that we should appreciate that every generation feels like that!  So enjoy the time period you’re living in to the fullest because the next era will think we had it better!

Sunday morning I was up bright and early again.  I met some friends from work for brunch at Churasscos, a tasty South American inspired restaurant in Memorial City.  It was so nice to spend some time with them outside of work.  Plus we celebrated my birthday since I wasn’t in town on my actual birthday.

The later part of the day was spent at Lawless Spirits & Kitchen at a blogger workshop.  This was my first workshop with the Houston Bloggers Union, a branch of The Blogger Union.  I was so excited to attend this particular workshop because the focus was photography!  The event was put on by two local Houston bloggers, Anastasia and Natalie from It’s not Hou it’s me.  They put together a fantastic workshop with some amazing venders.   We had a Q&A with two fantastic photographers, Maritere from Maritere Rice Photography and Kellan and Michelle from Cotton Weddings.

Following the Q&A we had the opportunity to practice out skills using some amazing props from some amazing venders around Houston.  I got to chat with Michelle about using manual mode and she gave me some great tips and tricks.  While there were all kinds of props and set ups we could have practiced with I found myself mostly drawn to the florals and pretty desserts.  I’ve included some of my favorites from the session.

Mind you these are completely raw photos.  I didn’t edited them at all.  
To say I had a great time at the meet up would be an understatement.  I met some great fellow bloggers and actually learned something! Which is exactly what I was hoping to get out of the workshop!  I cannot wait until the next one! 
The weekend was eventful, I feel like I need another one just to recover!  Anyone else think that Friday should just be a weekend rather than weekday?  Three day weekends all the time sound pretty great to me!
Have a great week friends!  Linking up with Biana for Weekending! 


30 Before 30: Year Check In

Last year I made a 30 before 30 list.  Originally I had intended to do a 28 in 28 list but I figured that would be too much pressure so I wanted to give myself two years to complete some of the things that I had come up with!  
So far I’ve done….horribly.  I literally have only completed like 5 things.  Major fail.  I feel like I should have completed at least half of them while I was 28.  Because now I feel like I have quite a bit to get through in the next year.  Plus, as I’m looking at some of these I’m not really sure what I was thinking.  Because a year in, there are few things that I want to take out and/or change.  But I think I’ll just stick with my list and make it more of a priority in the next year!  
Let’s see what I have done shall we?! 

1. Go to Washington D.C.    
Woo hoo!  This was accomplished last summer. And it was fantastic.

2. Go to Europe again.  
This will be happening in March of 2018.  I’m pretty certain I’l actually be IN Europe when I turn 30. 

3. Live in and decorate my own apartment.
Check! And let me tell you, it is the best!

4. Go on another cruise.
This is happening this June!  And I’ve already started paying for it and bought my plane ticket so I’m checking it off!

5. Run a 5K or some other type of race.

6. Try online dating again. 
I’ve joined Match and have been on a few date, none of which have lead to anything.  It’s been really depressing actually.

7. Reach 1,000 Instagram followers.
I’m currently at 826 and I totally think I can make it to 1,000 in a year!

8. Get the domain I purchased to actually work with my blog and eventually re-design the blog again.
YES!  I finally got a domain to work!  I’m officially www.placesiwillgo.com   I’m hoping to re-design the blog sometime soon.

9. Read 200 books – 100 for each year I have left till 30.
I’m not sure this gonna happen. But I’m gonna sure try.  

10. See a Broadway or Broadway type play.

11. Take a photography class.
I’m actually taking one this Sunday!  The best part is that it’s specifically for bloggers so I’m super excited!

12. Make photography a side business.
13. See Michael Buble in concert. (Hopefully he goes on tour in the next two years.)
14. Go back to Universal Studios and see Diagon Alley.
BAH! I just got wind that this is probably happening when I’m in Florida in June!  I’m pretty much freaking out about it to be honest.  

15. Apply for the Fund for Teachers travel grant.

I’m not sure this is something I want to do anymore.  

16. Be healthier- possibly go down a jean size or two.
I’m not sure where I’m at one this one.  I don’t even own a scale.  I do know that I’m still the same jean size as I was when I wrote this list, so that’s good I suppose.  If only because it means I haven’t gained any thing.

17. Buy a clothing item full price from Anthropology.

18. Pay off remaining my credit card debt. 

19. Build my savings.

I’ve started this too! So fingers crossed by the time I’m 30 it’s a nice chunk of change.

20. Visit either: Boston, Chicago, or Seattle.  (or all three! 🙂 )
I was supposed to be going to Chicago this summer, sadly it doesn’t look like that is going to be happening anymore.  But I’m hoping to do a long weekend in either Seattle or Boston instead.  I’ve decided to add Charleston as an option here too! 
21. Meet my future husband.
Nope.  Well see how this year goes.

22. Take a (or preferably multiple) workout class – Zumba, Pure Barre, Spin….something!

23. Attend another blog conference.
Sadly I couldn’t attend Thrive this year, but I’m really hoping to be able to attend next year! 

24. Go skiing.

This was another one that almost happened this year but didn’t.  My mom really wanted to go over Spring Break but we ended up staying home.  We’ve been talking about going in December though! 

25. Record a vlog.

26. Learn to do my hair in an up-do.

27. Learn to like wearing high heels.
Accomplished.  Now ask me if I actually wear them that often and the answer is no.  But when I do I actually like it!

28. Eat in a restaurant by myself.

29. Send close friends and family birthday cards starting this summer.
Ok so maybe starting next week, rather than last summer.  I’ve already got my first one ready to go!

30.  Go to the Houston rodeo.
This was supposed to happen this year and sadly it did not.  Next year for sho!

I’ve left a few blank with no update or anything because those are the ones I had forgotten about.  I think I need to write this list in my planner and have a note in my phone so I’m more aware of it.  
I am really glad I gave myself until I was 30 to accomplish these because clearly if this had been a 28 in 28 I would have failed HORRIBLY!  But I am excited to have something to accomplish in the next year.  Gives me something to work towards and that is always a good thing! 
Sidenote: If you’ve never read the book 30 First Dates and you’re almost 30 (like me!) I highly recommend it.  It’s about a girl who write a 30 before 30 list and incorporates dating into it to help her accomplish the items on her list.  It is so cute and totally worth a read if you’re close to or already at 30! 🙂


Spring Break and Birthday Shenanigans

29 and feelin’ fine!  Wow that sounded lame.  But I have to say it is true.

Last week was basically a week long weekend for me.  I spent the entirety of my Spring Break hanging out in my hometown with my parents and best friend.  And while it wasn’t terribly exciting it was still one of the best weeks I’ve had in a while.  I would have posted this recap yesterday but I drove for 10 hours straight and was exhausted by the time I got home.  The older I get the harder it is to sit in one place for that long!  
Any who, here were the highlights of the week!
MY BIRTHDAY!  Saturday I celebrated my 29th birthday!  I celebrated with pedicures with my mom, seeing Beaty and the Beast, and a delicious dinner at one of my families favorite restaurants Billy Cruise.  
Side note: Beauty and the Beast was amazing!  It was actually much better than what I thought it would be, because I was worried that it would be so CGI that it wouldn’t be believable.  But that was not the case at all.  I loved that it basically mirrored the animated classic perfectly and I loved all the new songs that were added too.   I’m excited to see it again this Thursday!

Please excuse the fact that you can see my bra strap in two of these! (insert eye roll emoji here)  Clearly I am NOT a fashion blogger! ; )

 A big thanks to Ashley (The Wandering Weekenders) for taking my birthday pictures for me this year!  I love that she and I have made this a tradition!

Quality time with my parents.   Living 10 hours away from my family can really suck sometimes.  I sometime wish I lived in the same city as them so I could pop over for dinner whenever I wanted.  So it was great to have some uninterrupted time with them.  
Photoshoot with my bestie.  Not only does living 10 hours away from you parents suck but so does living 10 hours away from your best friend.  Thankfully she and I talk basically everyday so it’s not that bad.  But nothing beats getting to see her in person.  Especially now that she has a little girl.  Every time I’m in town though I make a point to spend a night or two with her.  This time around we decided to have a little photoshoot.  Before she became a full time mommy, Ashley was a rockstar teacher and a year or so ago she opened her own little shop on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers where she sells lesson plans and other items to other teachers.  She’s decided to take her success a step further and create a full on website and focus her attention on Classroom Management.    SO….she needed a few professional photos to use for her new site.  Plus I needed a few photos that I could use here on my little space of the internet so we took pictures for each other! 
Las Cruces, NM surprisingly has some great photo spots and thankfully we were able to snag some pretty good ones!  

Brady found a new home with my parents.  Ok so this last one isn’t exactly a highlight but it’s not a lowlight either.  For a while now, I’ve been thinking about letting Brady live with my parents.  They have a nice big backyard and a way for Brady to be an indoor and outdoor cat.  He has so much energy and it’s been hard to keep him cooped up in my apartment.  So I made the very rough decision to leave him with my parents.  He absolutely LOVES being outside and I can tell that he is so much happier.  But I may or may not have started bawling as I drove away on Sunday morning and it is super quite in the apartment without him.  Thankfully I still have Sadie but she is so much quieter and  laid back than Brady is.  My mom has been sending me pictures and updates on how he’s doing and thankfully I’ll be able to see him every time I go home! 
I just went through a bunch of the picture I took of him as a kitten and now I’m getting weepy again.  
So I think this is a good place to wrap up.
Over all it was a pretty good week.  Very laid back and relaxing.  I loved getting to spend my birthday with my parents and brother.  Next year I’m hoping to be in Europe somewhere, right now it’s looking like it’s gonna be Iceland and Denmark (woo hoo!), so it was really nice to spend my 29th with them.  
I wish I could say I was ready to come back to work but I’d be lying.  I’m so over this school year and am anxiously awaiting June 2nd!  🙂
Linking up with Biana for Weekending!


Goodbye 28……

Today is my last day being 28.  I’m sorry what!  How in the hell has this year gone so incredibly fast?  I know I’ve said this a thousand times on this blog of mine, but time feels like it is literally flying by!  I just looked at the post I wrote last year when I turned 28 and I wrote about the 5 things I was most looking forward to in my 28th year of life.

So I thought it would be fun (for who? Me I guess and you too) to see what became of those 5 things.  Did they come true?  Did they not?  Let’s see shall we?!

Living by myself for the first time ever.  So far this has been amazing.  Early on it was semi lonely and I found myself wishing for a roommate.  But it’s been 8 months and I can safely say that I LOVE living alone.  I love having my own space.  I love being able to do everything on my time.  I love how my apartment decor has really come together.  I’ve learned a lot about myself living alone and I’m glad I’ve had this time with….well myself.  Which probably sounds totally weird but is true.

Maybe, possibly, hopefully meeting my person.  Yeah this didn’t happen.  I dated here and there but nothing stuck.  I feel like this is the most frustrating aspect of my life right now and I’m just not sure what to do about it.  I know I know, I’m supposed to stop thinking about it and when I do it’ll just happen.  But hello!!  I’ve been doing that for the last 5 years and it still hasn’t happened.  It’s getting to where I’m officially going to be the last person in any of my friend groups without a significant other.  I continuously ask myself why I wasn’t one of those girls that met her “person” in college.  And quite frankly the whole dating thing is exhausting, especially as I get dangerously close to thirty.

Reading 100 or more books.  Negative.  I met my yearly goal of 50 books and since then I’ve read 11 books, so that brings my total since this time last year to 61.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this one to be honest.  How I thought I could read 40 addition books from January – March 17th is beyond me.  

Visiting our nations capitol.  My family and I visited Washington DC last July and it was a phenomenal trip.  It was the first trip we’d been on as a family in about 5 or 6 years and we had the best time ever.  We visited all the major sites and even got to tour the Capitol and The White House.  As a teacher who specifically teaches US History, I think it was important for me to visit the Capitol.

Creating and completing a 28 in 28 challenge for myself.  So it turns out that I ended up writing out a 30 Before 30 list as opposed to a 28 in 28 list.  So I guess that means I need to write a 29 in 29 list for this year!  Would it be cheating to include some of the items on my 30 Before 30 list?  Because I totally think I might have to do that.  Also stay tuned next week, because I am going to be doing a year check in on my 30 Before 30 list!

Well,  over all I think my anticipations for my 28th year were pretty good.  Two of them were obviously things I knew were going to happen and the last three were things I was hoping to happen.

I sometimes wish I could get just a little flashes into what my life if going to be like in the next 15 or so years.   Then at least I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the choices I’m making or the things that aren’t happening that I wish would happen.  But life doesn’t work like that does it?

So I guess I’ll just have to have faith and be patient.  🙂

Your Next Favorite Book: February Reads

February was good reading month.  I had set a goal to read at least 5 books in the month of February and I did it!  Although according to Goodreads I’m currently five books behind schedule in my reading challenge.  This month I have a goal to read another 5 and thankfully it’s Spring Break so I’m hoping to get a lot of reading in!

I’m only reviewing 3 of the five I read in February because I was able to review two of them in my January reads post.  Which you can read here.

Goodreads Synopsis: Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

My thoughts:  Of the books I read in February this was by far my favorite!  I LOVED this book.  I was a little worried because I really loved The Lunar Chronicles and I was worried that this book wouldn’t live up to those.  But it totally supposed my expectations.  I feel like there are a ton of versions of Alice in Wonderland out there but none of them focus on the story of the Red Queen.  So it was fascinating to read one person’s perspective on why she is the way she is.  I was sad when I found out that this is going to be a stand alone novel.  I would love to read more about her version of Wonderland and more on the Red Queen but alas that is not to be.  
If you were forced to read at least one book from this review then make it this one.  It was funny, sad, and the love story was delightful.  I even found myself getting teary eyed towards the end.  Point is you should read it!  It’s good, real good! 🙂
We read this book for one of my book clubs and I’m super excited because we’ve decided to have a tea party in April and officially talk about the book!  

Goodreads Synopsis: After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story—sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. 

My thoughts:  I’m not even sure where to start with this one.  So I first heard this title as I was watching the movie trailer for the film based on the book.  And seeing as how WWII historical fiction is basically my favorite, I knew I wanted to read the book before I saw the film.  So I bought it and was surprised to realize that this is not a historical fiction (based on a real life figure) at all but actually a non-fiction book.  I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction books.  In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually read one before now.  I thought the book was only going to be about Antonina and her zoo but the author actually goes into a ton of detail on the “guests” (which was what uses to refer to the thousands of Jews Antonina and her husband hide in the zoo during the occupation of Poland) of the zoo and on the science surrounding the doctrine of the Nazis’.  I found myself just wanting to read the parts about Antonina and skimming all the other parts.  One thing I didn’t like was that she would jump from writing as if it were a fiction novel to writing like it was a non-fiction one.  It read like novel when she was writing about Antonina but then would switch to a non-fiction style writing when she went into details on the “guests” staying at the zoo and on why and how the Nazi’s came up with their ideology regarding creating a “pure race” (insert hard eye roll at that last part).  She also went in to a lot of detail on the Polish Resistance because Jan Zabinski played an instrumental roll in the fight against the Nazis by the Polish people.  
Now my thoughts and feelings on the book will in no way stop me from seeing the movie.  Mostly because I have a feeling this is going to be one of the rare instances when the movie is better than the book!  If you like non-fiction then it may be the book for you, but if you’ve seen the trailer for the movie and think the book is going to be strictly about Antonina and the hiding of Jews in her zoo, then just wait for the movie! 

Goodreads Synopsis:  They said she was a murderer. 

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all. 

My thoughts:  I found this book at Target and was immediately drawn to it.  I was in the mood for something a little darker and this fit the bill.  The story was intriguing and left me guessing pretty much the entire time.  I did think the ending was a little rushed.  I would have liked a little more detail and a little more closure.  I gave it a five stars on Goodreads but with the rushed ending it was really more of a 4.5 rating.  I’d really like to read another of Chevy Stevens books, particularly Never Let You Go.  I have a pretty long list of TBRs but I have a feeling I’ll be purchasing it in the near future.

Goodreads Synopsis: One duel could be considered a matter of honor, but three duels are attempted murder! With enlightened society outraged at such reckless behavior among young noblemen, the Prince Regent orders Robert Whitworth, the earl of Tamdon’s heir, and Lord Dominic Wolfe to end their dispute by allying their families through marriage. Whichever party refuses to comply will forfeit his lands and title.

Whitworth relishes the idea of sending his younger sister Brooke to his enemy’s remote estate. He knows the Wolf will reject her as a bride, thereby losing his wealth and status. The Wolf, however, is determined to scare away the Whitworth chit. With dueling no longer an available means of destroying the man he abhors, he will be satisfied to see him lose his lands and title. But he hadn’t expected his enemy’s sister to be so resourceful or resilient.

Brooke Whitworth has been dreaming of her first Season in London because she intends to win a husband who will take her far away from her unloving family. Instead, she is being sent to the Yorkshire moors to wed a mysterious nobleman whose family is cursed and who has thrice tried to kill her brother. But there’s no room in her heart for fear; this man is her means of escape. She will make him love her!

My thoughts:  This wasn’t my favorite Johanna Lindsey book.  I love her Malory series and this  one just wasn’t as good as those.  It passed the time just fine and would be an ok read if you’re looking for something but she just has so many others that are so much better.  That I can’t whole heartedly recommend this one.   

So like I said, if you have to pick at least one of these to add to your own TBR I would suggest Heartless.  It really was very well done and I wish I owned it myself because it’s definitely one that I would go back and read again on a rainy day when I needed something to read!

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Three Things

I saw this fun little ditty floating around the blog world a few months ago.  Most recently (if you consider October recent) on Kristen’s blog and it’s been sitting in my drafts for a while now (since October).   And seeing as it’s birthday month I figured now was the perfect time for another little get to know you post!

Three thing’s I’d never give up: 
My ability to read, getting my hair highlighted, and traveling (stealing that one from Kristen cuz it’s a good one!)

Three favorite vegetables:
Zucchini/squash, tomatoes, potatoes.  I really want to add avocado to this but I know technically that’s a fruit.

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end:
Charmed, Boy Meets World, and The Office.  I’ve literally seen Charmed like 20 different times from start to finish.  Mostly because it’s always on TV early in the morning and I always turn it on as background noise because I can’t stand getting ready in silence.  I just finished Parenthood all the way through and that was an emotional rollercoaster.

Three places I want to visit inside the US:
Seattle, Boston, and Savannah

Three places I want to visit outside the US:
French Polynesia (Moorea and Bora Bora), Austria, Iceland.  I’ve been seeing lots of thing about French Polynesia lately and y’all it is breathtaking.  I remember thinking that when I saw it when the Real Housewives of Orange County went there on one of their big trips.  And I’m hoping to cross Iceland off this list next March!

Three things I always have with me: 
Lipstick/gloss, a book, and my phone.

Three things that are always in my car:
An umbrella, sunglasses, and loose coins.

Three most recent calls were from/to:
My Uncle (yesterday was his birthday and I’m a good niece), my parents, and my best friend Abby.

Three books I read and loved in college: 
Ok this one is tough because I can’t exactly remember all the books I read in college.  But I do remember reading The Giver and The Secret Garden in my children’s literature class and I loved both.  I had never read The Giver because I hated the book cover (yes, I totally judge books by their covers) and thought it was going to be totally boring.  Oh, how wrong I was.  And I just never picked up The Secret Garden for some reason.  And lastly I suppose is the first book in The Century Trilogy by Ken Follet, Fall of Giants.  It’s one of my all time favorite book series and I read the first in college.

Three most often used makeup products:
Mascara, I’ve been using Covergirls Lash Blast for at least 5 or 6 years now.   Under eye concealer, I have horrendous dark circles under my eyes that MUST be covered.  Right now I’m using Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer but I’d really like to try the itCosmetics undereye concealer.  And finally eyeshadow, the Naked 2 palette to be precise.

Three things that make me laugh:
 people scaring other people (I especially love it when Ellen does it to celebrities and her producer Andy), dogs humping human legs, babies cussing.

Three things that make me cry:
Grey’s Anatomy and Parenthood, thinking about my cats getting lost/dying, and thinking about a close family member dying.  And when it’s close to that time of the month, EVERYTHING!  Seriously it’s bad.

These kinda of posts are always fun to write and the ones I like to read the most!  Have a great Tuesday!

March Goals

Goodbye February, Hello March!

My favorite month is upon us and I am so ready.  Not only is it my birthday month, but it’s also officially spring time!  Not to mention the fact that we get a whole week off from school for Spring Break, which is much needed at this point.

So my first foray into making monthly goals was last month and it was a major success!  Here’s how I did:

February Goals Revisited

1. Read 5 books.  Check! There were two in particular that I really liked!  Next week I’ll be reviewing those.

2. Clean out my closet.  Yeah that didn’t happen.  I had plenty of opportunities to do this and I just didn’t.  So I’ll be moving that to my March goals list.

3. Print photos for my frames.  Check!  The hard part was deciding which pictures to actually put in the frames.  I solved that by printing out a few extras in each size so I can switch them out every now and then.  I have another project in mind so I can have more photos showcased.  I just need to buy the frames!

4. Open a separate savings account.  Check!  My friend Abby told me about an online bank called Ally and after doing a little bit of research on it I opened up an account.  I now will have a certain amount automatically transferred from my main account to savings account every month.  I feel so good about this.  I feel like it is a good step in being more financially aware and secure!

Go me!  Ok so now onto new goals for a new month!


1. Spring clean my closet.  This one is a carry over from last month, since it didn’t happen.

2. Work out twice a week for the month.  I think this is going to be my hardest goal to accomplish.  But it needs to happen.  I really have no excuse to not work out.  One, I have a gym at my apartment complex that from what I can tell, rarely gets any use.  Two, I literally go home after work and sit on my couch and either read or watch TV.  I’m done with coaching for the year and so my time has really opened up.  See no excuse.  So I’m going to make it happen.  The only week this might not happen is the week of Spring Break because I’m heading home and the probability that I’ll work out that week is slim to none.

3.  Write at least 9 blog posts.  Last march I wrote 18 posts in the month of March.  To be fair I was on a blogging high because at the end of last February I attended the Thrive Blog Conference so my creative juices were really flowing.  Still I’ve been slacking it for the last couple months and I want to get back into the swing of things.

4. Actually get up when my alarm goes off.  Y’all I am the absolute WORST at this.  I never get up at the time I actually set my alarm for. NEVER.  I usually set my alarm for 5:30 and always end up getting out of bed at 6 or 6:15 (yesterday it was 6:30).  But I really want to get better at this so I’m not having to do my mascara in the car or getting to work a little late or right when I’m supposed to.  Oh and did I mention I HATE getting up to an alarm, because I do.

5. Read 5 more books.  February turned out to be a great reading month and I’m really hoping March is too, which if why I’m getting another reading goal.  Thankfully Spring Break is this month and that will give me plenty of good reading time.


Here’s hoping I’m as successful with my March goals as I was with the February ones!

Linking up for Kristen and Gretchen for What’s New With You!

Currently: February

Since I’ve neglected my little space of the internet for most of this month.  I figured a “Currently” post was just the thing.

Reading….The Zookeeper Wife by Diane Ackerman and The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin.  Both are historical fiction books based around WWII.  I know that is shocking to everyone, but it’s been a while since I’ve read historical fiction.  Plus one of these is more of a nonfiction book than a fiction book in my humble opinion.  Both are pretty good so far, and I’m interested to see who they end.

Watching….Girls on HBO and I’m about to start watching they’re new limited series or whatever they’re calling it Big Little Lies.  I read the book by Lianne Moriarty and LOVED it.  So I’m super excited to see how it translates to the tv screen.  I’m a little disappointed because the book is written by an Australian woman and so all the characters and the setting are Australian but the show is American based.  womp womp.  I’m sure it’ll still be good but still would have preferred something a little more authentic to the book. 

Wanting….to be at Thrive this coming weekend, but sadly I’ll miss it this year.  Last year I attended my very first blog conference and it was literally the best weekend EVER.  I was really hoping to be able to attend again this year, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  But I’ll definitely be following along on social media!  If you’ve never attended a blog conference I highly recommend them.  I was a blogging roll last year in large part to Thrive!  

Thinking about….this past weekend.  I had my first trip of 2017 this past weekend.  It was a long weekend because of President’s Day and I made it an even longer one by taking off Friday as well.  I went to Atlanta to spend some time with my bestie Jordan and her family.  We had the most delightful weekend EVER!  Filled with food, fun, laughter, and babies!!  
I think the craziest thing we did was visit JonBenet Ramsey’s grave.  So weird I know, but we are both followers of the story.  I even wrote a whole report on the case when I was in the 7th grade, so when it was mentioned that she’s buried in Marietta, GA we jumped at the chance to visit and pay our respects.  It was erie and sad to be honest.  I didn’t post about it on Instagram but if you follow me on Snapchat or looked at my Instagram story I did capture the visit there.  And I did snap a picture of the sake of the blog. 
After the visit to the grave site we wandered around Bulkhead, GA.  Grabbed a coffee, a few cupcakes, and snapped some fun blog worthy pictures!  Oh and we visited the cutest Kendra Scott store.  I scoped out what I’ll be buying with my birthday discount next month! So many pretty things it’s gonna be a tough choice.  
The rest of the weekend was super laid back.  We took Brynn out and got some super cute pictures of her for her 6 months!  

Over all it was a phenomenal weekend!  I just love visiting Jordan and her sweet little family.  We have the best time together and I cannot wait for the day when we’ll be able to get both our families together.  Fingers crossed it gets to happen soon rather than later! 

Feeling….ready for something new.  I have a feeling that something is job related.  I’m not so sure teaching is the right career for me anymore and it’s a very frustrating feeling because I’m not 100% sure what else I want to do.  I have some thoughts running through my head but I’m nervous about the idea of starting completely over and not making them money I’m making now.  

Looking forward to….Spring and summer time!  Kroger has the prettiest bouquets right now and it took all I had to not buy every single bloom they had in the store.  I am so ready for spring it’s not even funny.  But I’m also so excited for the summer because I have 3 amazing trips lined up.  I have a whole post planned detailing the trips of 2017, so expect that soon!

Loving….MY CAR!!! EEEK!  It’s officially been one month since I bought it and I’m still totally in love.  I can’t get over how much room there is and how nice it is to be in a car I actually like driving!  Plus it’s pretty! 

Needing….highlights!  My goodness my hair is bad.  It’s been almost 7 months since I’ve had them and it is showing.  I had a student ask me if I had had balayage done and my response was, “No, not on purpose!” So I have an appointment set up and I’ll get a fresh head of blonde before my birthday! Which is a little less than a month a way! 

I’m a little in awe of the fact that we’re in the last full week of February.  I’m about two and half weeks away from Spring Break and with the way I’m feeling about work these days, it cannot come soon enough!  
Have a great Wednesday friends! Linking up with Jenn and Jess

Your Next Favorite Book: First Books of 2017

It’s Valentine’s Day.  The most overrated day of the year in my humble opinion (and yes I say that with some bitterness since I am so single it’s not even funny).  But I’m allowed to feel that way every once in while, right?  RIGHT!
But instead of dwelling on the fact that I’m gonna be alone forever with my two cats (joking, kinda) I am going to talk about my favorite thing in the world…BOOKS!

I’ve been on a reading frenzy the last few weeks and I’m loving it.  Since the year started I’ve read a good mix of books.  A few fantasy, a romance or two, and a thriller!

So, my first books of 2017 included……

                        (via)                                                 (via)                                               (via)

GoodsReads Synopsis:  Clockwork Angel: In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Timesbestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Read the synopsis for Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess by clicking the titles or the links under each of the pictures!  (Sorry I didn’t want to flood the post with the descriptions or all three!)  

My thoughts:  I believe I’m about 5 or 6 years late to the party when it comes to Cassandra Clare.  I found these on Goodreads and decided to read them because they were based in Victorian England.  As soon as I put I was reading them on Goodreads multiple friends messaged me and told me stop what I was doing and read the City of Bones books first.  They also said they just didn’t like the Infernal Devices as much as City of Bones.  They all said something just didn’t click with them and this particular series.  Which is honestly baffling to me, because I LOVED them! I loved the that they were set in Victorian England, that was probably my biggest draw to these books.  Second, I’m a sucker for fantasy novels and these fit the bill just perfect.  Third there’s a love story, again, big sucker for that.  (Even if I am over the whole love triangle thing, this one has a pretty darn good one #teamwill all the way)  And finally I’m a big fan of reading things in order.  So it just made more sense to read The Infernal Devices before I read City of Bones.  I have no doubt I’ll like the City of Bones but I was a big fan of these three books.  Even the weird clockwork parts that made the book slightly steam-punkish, if my definition of steampunk is accurate, didn’t bother me.

I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.  I think I will take a small break before jump into City of Bones though just so I don’t get burned out too quickly.  I made a point to read a different genre between reading each of the Infernal Devices and it worked perfectly.

GoodsReads Synopsis: In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.
My thoughts: I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite.  It didn’t live up to all the hype for me.  I didn’t really care for the Lo all that much.  Her paranoia was irritating at times and I felt it was pretty predictable.  Although I was surprised by one part of the story.  It was also a very slow start, things didn’t really start to pick up until you were about 150 pages in.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hated the book or even disliked it, but it definitely fell flat for me.  I ended up only giving it three stars.  This was our February book for my book club and we’ll be meeting on Wednesday to talk about it.  Is it sad I’m more excited to eat sushi then I am to talk about the book?  Cuz I am.

GoodsReads Synopsis: James Malory sets sail for America to honor a promise he made to his in-laws: His and Georgina’s daughter, Jacqueline, will have her come-out in America. Judith and Jacqueline Malory are not simply cousins; they are inseparable best friends. Refusing to miss Jacqueline’s come-out in Connecticut, Judith convinces her parents to let her delay her London debut by a few weeks so she can accompany her cousin. Neither girl intends to fall in love during her first Season. But Judith’s plans are overturned when aboard ship she comes face-to-face with the ghost who has been haunting her dreams.

Unknown to the Malorys, deckhand Nathan Tremayne is a smuggler with a noose around his neck. Determined to carry out a covert mission in America that could gain him a pardon, Nathan senses that beautiful Judith Malory is trouble. Somehow the minx knows his secret—and now she’s blackmailing him into doing her bidding. While passions can soar on the high seas, Nathan knows this aristocratic beauty is merely amusing herself with a scoundrel like him.

When the unthinkable happens in Connecticut and the elder Malorys’ hands are tied, Nathan takes command of a dire situation. Captaining his own ship, he turns the tables on Judith, as he steers them into some intense Caribbean heat where he will fight with all his mettle to win the right to her heart.
My thoughts:  I’ve read just about every Johanna Lindsey book there is, save for some of her older books from the 1980s and she’s one of my favorite historical romance writers.  I especially love her Malory novels.  So I was very excited to find this one at Books A Million for like 4 bucks.  I was not a fan of that awful, over the top cover, so thank god it was a hard back book because I was able to get rid of it as soon as I started reading the book.  The book itself however was just delightful.  I loved getting to find out what all the Malory’s have been up to.  I’m a sucker for any book series that covers more than one family member.

Highly recommend the Malory novels if you’re into historical romance.  I like them every once in a while nowadays but back when I was in high school and early college I read them all the time.  As long as you can get passed the uber cheesy and ridiculous covers.

GoodsReads Synopsis:  Eric Vincent isn’t in the habit of asking for help. As the founder of a lucrative sports videogame franchise, he’s accustomed to getting his way and enjoying the fruits of his hard-earned success. Then all his illusions of dominance are shattered by a skiing accident that leaves him hobbled, facing a string of surgeries and months of immobility. The only way he’s going to survive is with someone by his side to anticipate his every desire. Someone who will devote every waking second to his comfort. Someone like Julie Nelson . . .

Julie’s life revolves around other people: her students, her parents, her sister. But even she has her limits. Julie has zero interest in playing personal assistant to Eric Vincent, a man who’s as arrogant as he is charismatic . . . until he ups the salary to one million dollars for three months’ work. Soon Julie’s struggling to bite her tongue—and resist the chemistry that draws her to Eric. But after one scorching kiss, Julie decides it’s finally her turn to be selfish. And this time, she’s going to get what she wants.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title. 

My thoughts:  I wanted to jump into 2017 with something light and totally fluffy.  And that was 100% accomplished with this book.  It wasn’t the best ever, the story kinda dragged in the middle but overall it passed the time just fine.  I think I gave it four stars on Goodreads but it was definitely more like three and half.


So far my first books of 2017 have been pretty satisfying.  I’m really looking forward to this year reading wise, some of my favorite authors all have books coming out and I can’t wait to read them!

Currently I’m reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer and I am LOVING it!! It is so good.  In fact I’m gonna wrap this up so I can head to bed and dive back into Wonderland! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day friends! Linking up for another edition of…….

Life According to Steph