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life lately

[enjoying this || first tailgate of the season – WPS!]

[celebrating this || cheers + beers for 30 years. hbd stephen!]

[arranging this || beautiful flowers with a beautiful team]

MINI DALLAS GETAWAY

[dinner at an incredible steakhouse (Nick and Sam’s) with the best dessert:
salted caramel creme brûlée]


[the reason for the trip – queen bey + jay-z! SUCH an amazing concert!]

xo xo


Book Reviews: A Thriller, A Beach Read + An Unexpected Love Story

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena: I wasn’t expecting much out of this book, and I didn’t get much out of it. It’s a typical thriller about a couple whose child is kidnapped, with the parents as the prime suspects. The best part about this book was a (very) shocking ending, but otherwise one you could skip.
Grade: B-

The Dinner List – Rebecca Serle: This book though … I wasn’t expecting much out of it, and I got SO MUCH out of it. I loved it. It’s a quirky plot – who are the 5 people (living or dead) you’d invite to dinner, then what if that actually happened on your birthday? It’s a cute love story with a deeper subtext and a dash of Audrey Hepburn. Winning combo to me.
Grade: A+

Kind is the New Classy – Candace Cameron Bure: A sweet friend sent this book to me in the mail. It’s an easy read with great reminders about how and why to be kind. Kind is the new classy and will never go out of style. It’s interesting to hear Candace’s Hollywood perspective, with a Christian worldview and specific ways to lead by example.
Grade: B+

The Identicals – Elin Hilderbrand: This book is set in Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket. Mom gave it to me after her trip to Nantucket, and boy, am I dying to go now!! This is such a cute, beach read about two identical sisters, their separate lives on the two islands and how they get intertwined when they least expected it. If you’re looking for a great end-of-summer read that will make you laugh and cry, this is it.
 Grade: A 

xo xo

You can read all my book reviews here.


so long, sweet summer.

Oh sweet labor day,
your weekend signals the close of summer and the nudge to pack away the white pants.

But, for many, myself included, you also cue the thrill of something new. The best season of all is peeking around the corner (if we’re lucky). True, I’ve already planned my 3rd Annual Fall Party and I’m currently burning a pumpkin spice candle as I write this, BUT I’m actually trying to hold on to the sunshine just a little bit longer this year.

It’s been an extraordinary summer. Did we go on any huge trips? No. Did we have any life-altering events happen? Not really. But sometimes isn’t that the best summer of all? Little bits of joy coupled together to create a beautiful summer of memories.

S U M M E R   O F   2 0 1 8 
[in photographs]


And yet,
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

xo xo


Weekend Picturebook: Palm Springs

F R I D A Y   N I G H T

[delicious steak dinner for Kira’s 30th birthday!]

S A T U R D A Y 

[early morning walk + coffee with these balcony views]

[hands down, the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had
breakfast at Kings Highway + the Amigo Room before pool party at the ACE hotel … ]

[so much fun at ACE pool party! how could we not, with a bubbly bus?!]

[post-pool party burger – the.best.]

[great night at the cougar-town piano bar, where I got asked to be in a “hand dancing” music video ha!!]

S U N D A Y

[more chill pool day, round 2]

[dinner and exploring at The Saguaro – yummy fish tacos + queso]

[love this beautiful friend of mine and so happy I got to spend her 30th birthday with her in California! <3]

xo xo

You might also enjoy my other Summer Weekend Picturebooks: NYC, Chicago


life lately

[celebrating this || husband’s birthday with the BEST 90’s cover band and of course, beer]

[eating this || amazing sushi + REAL wasabi (who knew?!)]

[re-living this || our high school glory days with band Taking Back Sunday!]

[drinking this || while trying to cool off in 115 degree heat in Phoenix!]

[enjoying this || beautiful blooms <3]

[loving on this || beautiful baby momma-to-be!]

xo xo


30 Before 30: Q2 Progress Update

As I’ve shared previously, I’m working towards completing a list of 30 things before I turn 30.

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through the challenge – which means I’m halfway through my 29th year! Eek! I’m definitely making progress, but need to start seriously checking things off the list in Q3 … if anyone wants to help with any let me know!

  1.  Start a new adventure. I’ve worked for Walmart for 6.5 years, as my first job out of college. I’ve officially accepted a position at Clorox, and couldn’t be more excited/anxious/thrilled to start this new adventure. 
  2. Make a complex meal 100% from scratch.
  3. Hike Pinnacle Mountain + eat a Hubcap burger at Cotham’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat at Cotham’s since the original location burned down last year. However, I did hike Pinnacle – and it was a doozy! The challenge was worth it, as the views were stunning, and we’re already planning another hike up in the Fall.
  4. Successfully do a one-armed push-up.
  5. See a critically acclaimed show. This one makes me so happy because I’ve been dying to see this show and Mom got me tickets for my 29th birthday for our trip to Chicago. It was AMAZING. Absolutely go see it if you get the chance. 
  6. Volunteer 30 hours. (13 hours complete!) This quarter included great, hot, sweaty, challenging Habitat work. 
  7. Buy all my friends a round, randomly.
  8. Play video games with Husband for a night, complete with pizza + beer. This was so fun! We played Mario Kart (he schooled me), tennis (both won) and a fighting game (which we also both won, to Husband’s chagrin). I definitely need to get in Husband’s world and do this more often! 
  9. Intentionally choose to stay by myself one night in a hotel. Obviously I’ve stayed by myself before, but for work or when husband was away – not intentionally.
  10. Learn a song on the guitar.
  11. Be in a play.
  12. Learn to play blackjack.
  13. Make a signature cocktail.
  14. Make a YouTube video that gets over 1k views.
  15. Start my book. This is one husband has been pushing me to do for years.
  16. Win at least 1 trivia night. This one was totally out of the blue, but glad it happened the way it did. We won the poolside Hollywood Trivia on our family vacation in Mexico. Go Team Guacamole!
  17. Write 30 handwritten letters. (22 complete!)
  18. Take a dance class.
  19. Go to a movie solo. Does it count that I tried to do this? I went to Mamma Mia 2, bought my ticket, got my popcorn and then partially into the movie it stopped working and they gave us our money back … 
  20. Ride 300 miles. Maybe this one didn’t take as along as anticipated, but it’s still checked off the list and I’m proud!
  21. Dye my hair pink. Again, something I’ve always wanted to do. It could just be a few strands, and it could wash out after a day. Either way, I think 29 is the best time to do it. 
  22. Do 5 things that scare me. (1. Leave my comfort zone job of 6.5 years. Trust me – it’s scary. 2. Ride a snowmobile) 
  23. Give an amount of money that is significant to me and is significant to someone in need, but do it in such a way no one would ever know it was me who gave it and expect nothing in return.
  24. Travel to a state I’ve never been to.
  25. Take a personal day, for no reason at all.
  26. Challenge myself with a new hobby. I didn’t realize it at first, but this is totally the Peloton! Since I didn’t grow up in sports or really sticking with an exercise routine, riding consistently has been a huge challenge for me and totally feels like a new hobby! We even chose to ride while on vacation – something I never thought I’d do, ha!
  27. See someone in concert I’ve been dying to see. Taylor Swift – check. Taking Back Sunday (our favorite band from high school) – check AND Beyonce/Jay-Z coming up next month. I think I can officially check this one off the list. 
  28. Find an artist whose perspective of the world I appreciate and buy a piece of his or her work.
  29. Take a spontaneous trip. Someone could probably fight me on this, but it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want – our NYC trip was totally spontaneous for me. No, it wasn’t a pick-up-and-go trip, but our friend Mark called, said he was having his 30th birthday party in NYC and did we want to go? I never turn down a trip to New York, so we said yes, but not planning something like that several months out is my kind of spontaneity!! 
  30. Plan a huge 30th birthday bash.
  31. BONUS: Read 30 books. (16 complete!)

xo xo

Next quarterly update: Nov. 1 !


Book Reviews: To Kiss, To Lie, To Revolutionize

Calypso – David Sedaris: I might be the only person who thought so, but I was let down by this book. Of course some of the stories were classic Sedaris, some made me laugh and some made me contemplative, but overall it just wasn’t as great as I was expecting, and found myself rushing through more chapters than I should have.
Grade: B-

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang: This book was so stinkin’ adorable! I would characterize it as Eleanor Oliphant (another favorite) meets 50 Shades of Gray – yes, it’s steamier than you’re expecting, but has such a great story about a 30-year-old woman with Asperger’s who just wants to learn how to date. I don’t want to say much else, just read and fall in love with this fun, original, sexy book.
Grade: A+

The Revolution Was Televised – Alan Sepinwall: This book was made for me because it contains two of my favorite things – TV shows and talking incessantly about TV shows. It’s a fascinating read with each chapter focusing on a specific show that was revolutionary for it’s time – The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, to name a few. It’s full of interviews, behind the scenes tidbits and commentary on how the show changed the TV landscape. My only complaint would be too many spoilers.
Grade: A

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager: It’s been a while since a thriller has kept me in suspense the ENTIRE BOOK. And a while since I’ve stayed up late (1am!) finishing a book because I had to know what happened. It’s basically Pretty Little Liars goes to summer camp, so I was obviously interested from the get go, but the storytelling is just fantastic without a single dull moment.
Grade: A+

xo xo

You can read all my book reviews here.