Book Club Friday #9

Happy Friday friends! Today, I'm linking up my latest book with my hoecake, Heather. She just had her baby girl last weekend, so go show her and Skeeter some lovin'!

Today, I'm sharing Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I know I know, I'm a little late to the game. Everyone in the world has already read this and/or seen the movie. In all fairness, I did buy the book last year before the movie came out. That counts, right?

Book description from Amazon:

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out—orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive "ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act—in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

My thoughts?

I was NOT a fan of this book. I think it was too hyped up, and I was seriously let down. I started reading it last year, and it was too slow for me, so I put it down about halfway through. Eventually, I decided since I bought the book I wanted to finish it, so I did. I will say the second half of the book was much more interesting than the first half. So, overall I will give it 2 stars outta 5.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it, or find it slow like I did?


It's OK Thursday #35

Hey hey hey, happy Friday eve! ;)

First off, today I am guest posting for Joey over at Hodge[s]Podges. Go check it out - I'm discussing my love affair with coffee.. yes!

It's about that time for It's OK Thursday! Just type up a post similar to mine below, grab the button (located to the right) and come back to link up with us!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK..

..to be REALLY ready for the weekend, this week started off rough

..to be a little sad that I was banned from tweeting drunk pics from Neely's bday this weekend ;)

..to make a big pot of spaghetti so you can have dinner for like a week

..to feel a little overwhelmed by the books I haven't read yet on my bookshelf

..to not mind babysitting when it's your bestie's daughter, she's the best baby ever! :)

..to obsessively wash your windshield & freak a little when you run outta the fluid

..to stay up later than normal to watch The Notebook on TV even though I've seen it 100 times

..to hate running my A/C at the apartment, but when it hits around 80 degrees, I reach my breaking point

..to laugh 'til you cry over immature humor with your BFF

..to be SO completely overwhelmed at the response to my post on Monday - I really do have the best readers!

..to buy more than one pair of your favorite leggings because they are OH SO comfortable

..to make your fro-yo not so healthy by adding cheesecake bites

..to really wanna get back into playing tennis but have no one to play with :(

..to think your dog looks hilarious right after you give him a bath

..to save the crossword puzzles in the People mag for your boyfriend

What's OK with you this week? Come link up with us and share!


He Said, She Said

Today, I decided to join Megan and Jess for their super fun link-up, "The Newlywed Game".

I am a couple days late, they started this on Monday, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to talk the boyfriend into answering the questions or not. He's typically not into this kinda stuff.

By the way, I am NOT a newlywed, but they said if you are dating, you can still link up. They are awesome like that.

First, I have to let you all know I asked Nate these questions when he was running on 3 hours of sleep. Normally, he's a man of MANY words, but his brain wasn't functioning normally that night. ;)

On to the questions..

1) What do you think my best quality is?

Your caring nature.

Your ability to make me laugh no matter what kind of mood I'm in.

2) What would be your ideal date with me?

Sitting on the porch or dock, listening to music, watching the sunset.

Going out to a nice dinner, maybe a wine bar or a movie, and back to cuddle on the couch and watch something on Netflix.

3) What was your first impression of me?

You were shorter then I thought you'd be.

"Oh thank God, he looks like his pictures!"

4) What is your favorite memory of us?

Incubus concert.

I'm going to have to say the Incubus concert too. I got him tickets for his 27th birthday (the first one I spent with him) and it's where he first told me he loved me.  

5) What do you see for us in the future? 

Tomorrow... ;) 

HAHA! I'm not shocked at his answer. I see lots more memories, laughter and fun times together.

God, I love this man!


Book Club Friday #8

TGIF people!

Today, I'm linking up to share my most recent read, with Heather. Y'all go wish her some love. She's currently in the hospital until she delivers her baby girl!

This week I am sharing Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me

I knew I had wanted to read this book for a while. I have read all of her books, and I watch her show religiously. I'm fairly certain I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again.. if Chelsea Handler and I were ever to meet in person we would be total BFFs. Love that crazy woman.

Book description from GoodReads:

"My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate."--Chelsea Handler, from Chapter 10 of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

It's no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out "dumbassness," the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers--they've all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they've lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them.

If you want a funny book that'll literally make you laugh out loud? Then get this book! I laid in bed every night laughing until tears were flowing down my face. Already love Chelsea? You'll love her more after reading this. She's hilarious! I definitely give this book 5 stars.

Are you a Chelsea Handler fan, like me? Have you read this book before?


It's OK Thursday #34

Hey there. Welcome back for another edition of It's OK Thursday with Neely and I.

PtotheS - did you see our announcement yesterday for a ONE DAY ONLY link-up this coming Tuesday? Go check it out!

While you're at it.. go ahead and enter my giveaway too, if you haven't already. It will be closing this weekend!

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming..

We appreciate each and every one of you who link up, even if we don't get around to commenting on your posts, please know that we LOVE you! :)

All you've gotta do is type up a post similar to mine below, grab the button (located to the right), and come back to link up!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK..

..to type up all your posts for the week on Sunday nights

..to have fro-yo 2, or 3 days in a row

..to be a little creeped out when your TV turns on and off by itself

..to buy more books even though you have a ton you haven't read yet

..to also vow to not buy ANYMORE books until you read all the ones you currently have - readers, I'm expecting you to hold me to this! ;)

..to hate that your money burns a hole in your pocket anytime you have it

..to be a horrible gambler

..to not eat until 3pm for the first time of the day - sometimes I'm not hungry yet

..or to eat the second you wake up, my body is weird

..to already be thinking about what you'll do to celebrate your birthday... in July

..to seriously need to clear out your magazine stack

..to feel like your best friend's daughter grows a foot each time you see her

..to really love samples of products but get sad when they run out so quick

..to not feel like a normal girl because you suck at styling your own hair

..to wish you had someone to ride around with you 24/7 so you wouldn't have to pump your own gas

What's OK with you this week? Come link up and share!


Mama's Macaroni Salad

Hey friends. Spring/summer is fast approaching, and soon we'll all be attending BBQs and cookouts. Today, I've got a super delish recipe you can whip up to take to these outings.

I'm sharing my mom's recipe for macaroni salad. It's a little time consuming, but it's easy and yummy.
Mama's Macaroni Salad

First, gather up all of your necessary ingredients:

1 lb pasta (any kind, I used elbow noodles)
3 eggs
1/2 small red onion
2 tbsp sweet relish
1 tbsp dill relish
1/2 chopped jalapeno (optional)
1 cucumber
1 handful green olives
1 1/2 c. mayo
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 c. cider vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar
pinch of garlic salt
pinch of pepper

First things first. Get your pasta cooking, and eggs boiling. If you're like me, you have a hard time determining when the eggs are ready and are considered "hard-boiled".. I have a little trick that'll help you with that. Get your pot full of water, and put your 3 eggs in. Once the water starts boiling, add in the pasta. When the pasta is cooked, the eggs will be perfectly hard boiled!

While that's cooking away, get your veggies all ready.

Take the cucumber, and quarter it, and then slice them up.

Chop up the red onion, jalapeno and green olives. I mostly use my food processor for these steps, it's much quicker and easier clean-up.

Next, throw all of these into a big bowl, and then add in both of the relishes with it all.

Then, mix up the ingredients for the "sauce". Mix together the mayo, mustard, celery salt, paprika, vinegar, sugar, garlic salt and pepper. I put it all in a big measuring cup, and then stir it all together to mix it well.

By now, your pasta should be done. Drain it, and make sure to rinse VERY WELL. The pasta shouldn't be hot when you mix it up. Also, rinse the hard boiled eggs, crack and chop up to your liking.

Sorry, no pictures of those things. Surely you know what they look like. ;)

Next, mix up the pasta with the bowl you have your veggies in. Then add in the chopped eggs.

Then, you're going to pour over about 3/4 of the sauce mixture, and mix. Then cover, and put in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. The pasta and eggs will soak up some of the wet mix, so after removing from the fridge, pour the remaining mixture on the salad and mix well.

This recipe makes a bowl big enough to share, so be prepared to share with friends.



Cell Phone Fun #7

Happy Monday friends! Is there such a thing? Let's try ;)

Today, I'm linking up with Savanah and Ashlee for Fun with Our Phones. In pictures, I'm going to recap my weekend for y'all.

This weekend, Nate came over on Friday night, and we lounged on the couch with Binky and watched PLENTY of basketball while he made sure his bracket was still in tact.

On Saturday, we were meeting up with our friends and their sweet baby for lunch. While we were waiting on them, we decided to have a St. Patty's Day drink. Nate stuck with his usual festive beer, Guinness.. while I chose to have a "Margaveza" - it was 3/4 margarita on the rocks and 1/4 modelo. It was very tasty and very strong. :)

After lunch, we ordered some green beers. Can you believe I've never had one until this past weekend? Crazy-ness, I know! So we had that and admired the sweet baby :)

Sunday was a day I had all to myself! It was nice, and I decided to do things for myself.

It started off with sleeping IN! I laid in bed and played on my phone until around noon. It was utter bliss. I finally decided to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. First stop was Starbucks, of course. Best way to start the day! Then, I was headed to Half Price Books to shop for my book swap partner, Molly.

While there, I found so many good deals, like always & I also came across this little gem that made me giggle like a 12 year old boy..

Hahahahahahaha. Ha. Ha. HA!

Afterwards, I was headed to treat myself to a MUCH needed mani/pedi. I went to my favorite place, and was really excited to see that my favorite OPI color, "Cajun Shrimp" is now offered as a shellac color. Score!

I got a dark, shimmery purple on my toes. I forgot to look at the name, oops! Afterwards, I met up with my best friend to run some errands, do a little window shopping and grab some of our favorite fro-yo.

I ALWAYS forget to take a pic when I first get it when it looks all pretty. I'm too excited to dig in, so this time I remembered once I was almost finished.. better than nothing, right? ;)

How was your weekend? Did you do anything for yourself?

While I have your attention.. Have you entered my giveaway yet?!


It's OK Thursday #33

Hey everyone!

I don't know about you, but this week has FLOWN by for me! Just one more day until Friday, woo! I hope y'all have some fun plans this weekend. :)

I'm happy to see you've dropped by to link up for It's OK Thursday. If you're new around here, all you've gotta do is type up a post similar to mine below, grab the button (located over to the right) and come back to link up at mine or Neely's blog.

Got it? Awesome!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK..

..to come home and turn the channel on the TV to TBS every day, I like re-runs :)

..to leave the TV on Lifetime or Food Network for the doggy during the day so there's noise

..to hate unloading the dishwasher almost more than anything

..to really want an iPhone, but at the same time miss your Blackberry some days

..to be shocked at the fact that you're actually sticking to the 30 day shred

..to have the best Mama in the world. Told her I was craving spaghetti.. what does she do? Invites me to dinner the next night because she made spaghetti for me :)

..to shamelessly plug your giveaway so people can go enter!

..to find that opening a new tube of chapstick feels amazing

..to think leftovers sometimes taste better the next day

..to randomly look up flight prices to places I wish I could visit

..to constantly add more to my Scentsy because I can't smell it anymore :(

..to put up picture frames before you even have pictures in them

..to still wear your old glasses instead of your new ones most times because you're so used to them

..to wonder what the hell people are doing outside at 4 in the morning

..to be over this weather because my allergies are KILLING me!

What's OK with you this week? Come link up and share!


Meet the Baby

As some of you may know, if you follow me on Twitter, I got a dog the weekend before last!

Nate and I were out running errands on a Saturday, and we decided to swing by Petco. No, we don't have any pets, but this is normal for us. We love to browse around pet stores and see the babies that are up for sale/adoption.

The humane society was set up with around 30 dogs for adoption. We were loving all of them, and then.. I saw a yorkie. Nate and I were ooh-ing and aww-ing over how cute he was! All of a sudden, this lady just placed him in my arms.

It was over then!

I looked at Nate, and he knew I was wanting him. He said, "Babe you really need to think about this before you jump into it." So, I gave the dog back, and we walked around Petco and priced food and saw how much I would be spending with getting food bowls, bedding, shampoo, etc.

We also called his mom, who has a yorkie of her own that I absolutely adore. Not only do I love yorkies, but they are hypoallergenic dogs, which was a big factor because Nate and I are both allergic to dog dander.

After debating on whether or not I was ready for about an hour, I finally said I was going to get him!

And so, Nate and I have a dog! :)

Meet Binky

Is he not the sweetest thing you've ever seen in your life? I am so in love with this little boy! :)

He's still taking some time getting used to Nate and I, but the vet said that's normal. He's already 2.5 years old, so he's in a whole new environment now. He's still learning to trust us.

Luckily, Nate has been amazing. He's been coming by every afternoon before he goes to work to let him out to go potty and put him in the baby gated kitchen, so that way he's not in the crate ALL day long.

He checked out good at the vet. He's all up to date on his shots, but she did say he needs to put on just a little bit more weight. He's right under 3 pounds. Also, he needs to have some dental work done. All of his adult teeth have came in, but not all of his baby teeth fell out. :(

He's been sleeping a whole lot, but I guess that's better than him running around the house like a terrorist chewing up everything I own. Right?

I won't lie, the first couple of nights I got him, I thought to myself, "What in the world did I get myself into?!" But now? I'm used to the change. It's definitely a change, but it's a good one. He's so sweet, and I actually look forward to coming home from work to see his cute little face!

Binky says, "Nice to meet you blog world!" ;)

Do you have a dog? Are you a yorkie fan too?


Another Piece of My Heart - Review & GIVEAWAY

Good morning friends. Have I got a surprise for you today!

Recently I was contacted by a media company to review Jane Green's latest book, Another Piece of My Heart. It is to be released in stores TODAY.

After I read what the book was about, I knew it would be a book I'd really enjoy, and also a book I'd love to share with my friends.

The author, Jane Green is the author of twelve bestselling novels, dealing with real women, real life, and all the things in-between, with her trademark wisdom, wit and warmth. She contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, and assorted Anthologies. Passionate about both food and the home, most weekends see her cooking up a storm in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives by the beach with her husband and their many children.

About the book:
Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him. Ethan--divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia--is a devoted father and even better husband. Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

This book? AMAZING. It's one of those I could see myself reading over and over again. I truly enjoyed it, and got entangled in the story. It is very easy to visual the characters and their personalities.

Lucky for all of you readers, I have been given the opportunity to give TWO of my readers a copy of this wonderfully written book. Exciting, right?!

This giveaway will last until Friday, March 23 11:59pm CST. I will announce the winners the next day, Saturday.

Please use the rafflecopter widget below to enter, and good luck!


A blissful weekend

Has it really been 2 weeks since I came back to reality from the fabulousness that is Blissdom? Sad day.

I have already blogged about the wisdom I gained from Blissdom, but now? It's time to blog about the FUN that was had while in Nashville. It was one of THE most fun weekends I've evah had!

Well, we arrived Wednesday night so we could go out to dinner and get settled in the hotel before the fun started on Thursday.

We walked into the hotel to this sight:

So amazing, right? The hotel was MASSIVE, like a town in itself. And getting lost happened on a daily or even hourly basis!

Thursday, we woke up and headed to register and get our fabulous swag bags.

Seeing this sign made it seem all so real! While we were in line for registration, we ran into Jenn!

She was SUCH a doll, and I was so excited to meet her. I was also very excited that she was a small person like me. ;)

After walking around and checking things out, we went to the Handmade Marketplace which was basically a live version of Etsy, which was AWESOME. After spending all our money there, we walked around the hotel to find lunch. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from at the Gaylord Opryland, so we had many choices. We ended up going to eat at Stax, a place where you "build your own" burgers. It was pretty good, but a little over-priced.

After lunch, we headed back up to the rooms to get ready for the kick-off reception that night. It was down on the water's edge, and they had provided us with all the fixings for fajitas and chips, hot sauce and queso. It was delish.

We had the Bliss Chicks give us a great party to welcome us to a fun-filled weekend. We sat around, drank, chatted and talked about the fashion of everywhere. We had to head upstairs and get in bed because Neely, Kiley, Meghan and I were getting up the next morning for a 6AM pure barre class. Yes, we worked out on vacation. Call us insane.

The next day was the first day of sessions. We had an amazing opening keynote, where Jon Acuff was a speaker.. hilarious! After hearing him speak while we had some breakfast, we walked around all the sponsor booths set up, and got even more free swag.

First, I just HAD to get a picture with the Lorax who showed up for Blissdom too.

He was so short, I just knew it was actually Danny Devito in there. ;)

Later, Kiley and I had appointments for free manicures offered by the lovely people at Ritani. They did a fabulous job, and my nails still look great!

Later that night, we were scheduled for Girls' Night Out.. which I was SO looking forward to. First, I had plans to meet up with my aunt, uncle and little cousins for dinner. They moved about 30 minutes from Nashville this past summer, and she would've been really upset had I came to town and not seen her. I am her favorite niece after all. ;)

We had a great dinner, but I was sad to leave them. It's not very often we get to see each other, but I am grateful for the time we did have.

After dinner, they dropped me back off at the hotel where I met the girls in the ballroom for the Girls' Night Out where I was super excited to see that Wine Sisterhood was sponsoring the event.

This event was so fun. We all got dolled up and enjoyed MANY glasses of wine. Danced around, snacked on delicious food. I wish we could have Girls' Night Out at Blissdom like once a month!

Joe Jonas was performing for us that night. I wasn't super excited, I didn't really know any of his songs, so I just figured I'd dance around with the girls and enjoy the show...

...until he came on stage. Do you know how beautiful he is? Well, I saw him up close and personal and I know that he is a hot piece. I decided I must touch him, so I go reach my hand up to the stage while he's teasing all the girls, he reaches down to hold my hand, and someone spilled their glass of wine all over me.

Yeah, luckily it was white wine, not red. I didn't care though, Joe Jonas held my hand & we totally had a moment.

By the way, I wasn't the ONLY person who suddenly turned into a boy crazy 14 year old when he came on stage.. ;)

They announced after he was done performing that he would be doing meet & greets and taking pictures with people who were interested. I was definitely interested. Kiley and I headed over to wait in line.

After that, the one & only Rascal Flatts were performing. This I was excited about because I actually was able to sing along to their songs. HA! They also had a meet & greet, but by the time I headed over to the line, they were closing up shop. :(

After the performance, we were all pretty exhausted and buzzed from the drinks and dancing.

The next day, Kiley and I spent the morning in the hotel spa and it was amazing. We initially went in for massages, but they were booked for the day on those. They asked if we'd like facials instead, and we went for it. Let me just say that I learned A LOT about my skin, and the products I've been using. Afterwards, I felt so pretty, like my skin was glowing. We didn't even go back up to the room to re-apply makeup before heading to lunch.

Lunch was sponsored by Centrum, and it was so delicious. We had pecan-crusted chicken, veggies, a salad and raspberry sorbet for dessert. While we ate, we were serenaded by Chris Mann. If you watch The Voice, you already know who I'm talking about.. the opera guy. ;)

Afterwards, while we were in the hallway of the ballroom waiting on the closing keynote, we saw that Chris Mann was doing photos with people. Meeting more famous people? Sign me up!

After the closing keynote, we headed out for dinner which landed us in downtown Nashville which was QUITE the adventure. I was super sad the weekend was ending, but we headed back for Girls' Night In in our jammies for a little last of the fun before we had to wake up before dawn the next morning to head back to Texas!

It was such an amazing time, and if you're considering next year - think no more, just GO! There's no decision to be made. It was life-changing, and I know I'll be there again. :)


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