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Book Review: One True Loves


Today, we're here to talk about this gem:




In One True Loves, you'll find Emma, out to dinner her family and fiance for her father's birthday. Everything is perfectly normal until her phone rings and she doesn't recognize the number. She answers and the voice on the other end is the most familiar yet distance sound she's ever heard. It's her husband saying her name on the other end. The thing about her husband calling her is...he's been gone for 3 years. His helicopter crashed when he was on an assignment in Alaska and his body was never found. They had given up hope and Emma was finally able to move on after years of believing her husband was gone forever. 

Until she gets that phone call from Jesse. Jesse, the husband she thought was gone. And now she's faced with what to say to Sam, the man she fell in love with and promised to marry after her first true love disappeared. 

What would you do? 

The best part of this book is that it is unapologetically romantic and mushy. There are a lot of paragraphs that are just over the top lovey but honestly, I just couldn't get enough of it. Because I loved both Sam and Jesse and I especially loved the Emma that Emma became when she started falling in love with herself. 



After Jesse disappears, Emma loses herself. She moves back to with her parents, who are precious and remind me of the Gilmores and she takes over the family's bookstore and we all know how I feel about bookstores. 

She loves Sam and the life they have built. She learned to play the piano and found that she loves cats... and then one day her life takes another sudden turn. The back and fourth journey that her heart takes in finding a place to land is tragic. She has to break her own damn heart. It's incredibly heartfelt and I believed in every word. 



Up until the last minute I still didn't know what the right thing Emma should do was. Does she go back to Jesse and begin the life they had started over again or does she keep her promise to Sam? She was incredibly torn, and so was I as I read along!

But when I got to the end of the book, I was content and really felt like it was a great happy ending. It's just plain beautifully written, in a warm and fuzzy way that makes me remember how awesome it is to loved and be loved so much it hurts.  

If you believe in a good love story, read this. 

Favorite Combos: Wine & Popcorn

There are many things that I like paired together. 

Like kids and naps, for example. 


Wine and a hammock... 

Speaking of wine...it goes with pretty much anything. 








Especially popcorn. The poppers over at Skinny Pop help with my obsession with eating popcorn and drinking wine while watching Orange is the New Black or Fixer or Upper, because they made popcorn that goes perfectly with my favorite red wine. But they didn't stop there. Just in case I wanted to mix it up a bit, they even gave me MORE awesome combos to try: 




My favorite? White Cheddar and a little Malbec. It's the perfect laid back Thursday evening pair. 

More of my favorites: 

Friends on Netflix 

Mondays with a day off work. 


Blogging while listening to James Bray on iTunes


Rain and a good book.


Well, a good book can be paired with anything for that matter. 


Cuddles on the couch


Kids and giggling 





My husband and a beer on the porch 


My husband and a home DIY project


My daughter and wildflowers 





What's your favorite combination? 

Show Us Your Books June

How in the world is June over already? 

I tried to give myself enough me time but really, everyone else needed it more than I did. Swim lessons, baseball, tee ball and summer school are all over so we are in full summer mode. But that just means more time outside, at the pool and trying with all my might to exhaust the kids enough that bedtime is a breeze. I relied heavily on audio books this month to get my book fix. There were a couple huge hits and a couple complete misses. Here's what I read in June: 



Modern Lovers - I will start with my favorites first. This was a great story. It was "modern" enough that the references to everything trendy made me smile- Uber, green smoothies, etc., but it was far enough removed that I really felt like I was escaping off to the best of the best of Brooklyn and NYC. A group of friends who were in a famous band in their youth are contacted by a film company who wants them to sign over rights in order to tell the story of their former band mate and friend, who died long ago of a drug overdose. Doing so would uncover secrets and risk facing feelings some of them have long since buried. I really related to how some of the characters were lost and searching for something, even when they didn't know exactly that that something was. There is a great mix of characters- mothers, fathers, teenagers, lesbians, all with a yoga studio, first love and an amazing restaurant mixed it. See what I mean? It's a no-brainer. Favorite quote: "Choices were easy to make until you realized how long life could be.”  It's a great read that will make a good addition to your summer reading list! 

The Girls - My second favorite this month and one that I think is going to lead me to read more cult fiction just like it. There's a "Manson-esque" feel to this story of a teenager who gets sucked into a cult like lifestyle that leads to a murder. I really got hooked into the story- the author does an amazing job of foreshadowing, giving you just enough to know something good is about to happen but not giving anything away. 

A Necessary End  - I am not quite done with this yet, but it's pretty good so far. Honestly, my final opinion hinges on how it ends but it will get at least a 3 out of 5 based solely on my love/hate for the characters. Adrienne and Gabe are unable to have a baby of their own so they start the process of adoption- in an unconventional way, no doubt, but it still leads them to Leah, who has agreed to give them her son for adoption, but only under certain circumstances that prove to be tough to follow. Adrienne is very interesting- I think I hate her but I want to love her because all she wants is a baby and I can totally relate to that. This is part quirky and a psychological page turner that has me really looking forward to what happens at the end.

Falling by Jane Green  Oh Jane Green, I was so looking forward to this- Tempting Fate and Swapping Lives- these are the ultimate summer beach reads so I was happy to snatch up this e-book from NetGalley. For the most part it was a sweet read, a typical story of 30-something Emma who moves into a beach house in a small town for a fresh start. She instantly meets and falls for her landlord Dominic, and the two begin a romance. Dominic's past and his 6 year-old-son throw some loops into the mix, as well as Emma's family, since the two come from completely different backgrounds. I thought it was a typical Green read and was happily reading along- but there's a twist that made it all go down hill for me. I literally dropped the book on my lap and rolled my eyes. I was totally mad about this, but if you've read it and liked the ending, let me know so I can see another side of it, but until then, I'll just be sitting over here, pissed at the ending. 

Behind Closed Doors -  I received an Early Reader's Edition of this thanks to St. Martin's Press for a review. The first couple chapters were a total win. It was creepy, foreshadowing, alluring and I couldn't wait to find out why the main character was so afraid of her husband. Until I found out why and then I was just grossed out. There was a lack of development of the main plot- and when it was going somewhere, it switched between past and present. Just a hard no for me. 

Currently Reading: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid - I stayed up half the night reading this and am in love so far...it's a truly beautiful story about a woman whose husband goes missing and after 3 years, she is finally ready to move on...until life has other plans. Seriously, it's so sweet and well-written. A total win for me and I've only half way through. 





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What Keeps Me Up At Night

Yesterday there were horrible storms that blew through our area...I heard the wind gusts were upwards of 80-90 mph and there were hundreds of tree limbs and debris everywhere. The electricity went out at about 3:00 and so naturally I was wide awake. I am a self-proclaimed whiny baby when it comes to sleep. I have to have total darkness and my fan on high in order to easily fall asleep, not to mention really cool temps in my room to be comfortable. So naturally, with the hot July weather, I was sweaty and cranky during the storm and couldn't go back to sleep. I gave up even trying and read on the couch while listening to the pouring rain and thunder. 

It's times like that where anxiety and worry start hovering, it's like I've left a window I can't reach open just a crack, enough for worry to creep in and settle on my shoulders. Like dust. You don't notice it's falling until there's a thick layer of it weighing down heavy on the surface. 

I sometimes look at my life planner that is bursting at the the seams and I think, "Jeeze, this is over the top, I can't do this!" There are so many things going on that the fear of missing something and letting someone down makes me not even want to try. 




Do the glittery stickers and exclamation marks after each task event help? I really do think so; a little optimism never hurt. My planner is also gives me a great source for accomplishment because not only does it give me confidence that I won't forget something, it also helps that at the end do the day, I can cross things off and know that I achieved goals and tasks. I just have to keep reminding myself of that and give myself more credit. 

I use the monthly spread to write out quick schedules and then use the weekly pages to lay out more details and reminders. I recently got the stickers to help me celebrate exciting events to help myself remember that there are way more things to be celebrating that over rule the items on my to do list that can be stressful. 

Work, kids, co-parenting, schedules, birthdays, special events... they all take a certain amount of priority and I need to write these things down...I even write grocery lists in my planner.

Another thing that helps me with anxiety is sleep, which is the biggest conundrum. I need sleep so I don't get moody and fall into a anxiety induced slump but I can't sleep because I am too busy worrying about a hundred different random thoughts. 


I use lavender essential oil on my pillow and pressure points and use that quiet time to unwind with a good book. But the nights that my kids are staying with their dad, I really need extra help so that's when I turn to ZZZQuil. 


What are you things you do to help you keep anxiety at bay and sleep better?

I received ZzzQuil for testing purposes but all my opinions are my own.  

July: Family, Fun and Happy Birthday, Reese!

Are there some days you just think to yourself, "wow, I am so utterly lucky and blessed?" 

There are days, like today and yesterday where I just sit in awe of our family, the kids, our friends and family and our home and think to myself, "I just want to bottle this up and keep this feeling forever." And the best part is, because of our great friends and family and our commitment to looking at the bright side of things, we are able to keep that feeling. Sometimes, it's dimmer than others but at the end of the day, we are so very blessed.

There are days that look like ordinary life but under the surface, are extraordinary because they are real and uncomplicated. 



For the 4th of July, we were here, there and everywhere, with kids running around, chasing them down at the park and the pool, rushing to friends' houses for bar-b-ques and lighting off fireworks. By the end of the Monday night, we were utterly exhausted. But honestly, it was the best kind of tired. I wouldn't trade it for the world. And the next day, I had the absolute pleasure of waking up and doing it all over again in order to celebrate Reese's 6th birthday. She's always wanted a "girls' day out" so off to "the city" we went for pedicures, mall shopping, Target and her lunch of choice (Panda Express, of course). Her eyes lit up every time she found a new pair of earrings or an outfit she wanted and I was just along for the ride. I love her personality, she is so giddy and silly and beautiful, inside and out. 


We had the best of days. 


I can't believe that 6 years have flown  by...

I remember when I found out I was having a girl, I was scared. It was intimidating, especially because I had no idea how to be a woman in the first place, how was I going to raise one too? But a friend told me that having a girl was like having a best friend right by your side for the rest of your life and it's crazy but just in 6 years, that's already come true.

She writes me love letters and climbs onto my lap to cover my ears if she knows sounds are going to bother me. She loves me each day, brand new. No matter what happened the day before. She knows how to make us laugh. She always wants to be a better version of herself than she was yesterday. She's brave but knows her limits. She's sensitive and sweet and her crocodile tears could move mountains, but with a stormy temper that could blow you over...but there's not on tiny inch of her that I would change. I just love her so much. 

Happy birthday to my little gal! 





Book Review: Jilted




Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow and shame is replaced by the light of love. 

Jilted is the story of a woman who has lost the joy of living, of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness and of a town that must-once and for all- leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good. 

Jilted is Book 3 of the Mended Hearts Series, which you can find out more about here.


I did read Jilted before the other two but though the stories are entertwined, the author does a great job of making connections for you so I didn't feel like I was missing out by reading book 3 last. 

I think as someone who has seen their fair share of family drama, this book really resonated with me, as I am sure it will many people. We all have our pasts and drama and I think it's impossible to have a family and not face tough decisions and emotional situations. 

Lynda faces these head on. Imagine your life one way and the next day, it looks completely different. You look at your past and question how you didn't see it coming all along and you look to your future, and it looks nothing like you had once imagined. How do you live in the present when everything is so unsure? 

Jilted is a great story, not only because of the author's talent but also because of the stories that every woman can relate to. From love, to motherhood, depression and finding a new outlook on life just when you feel desperate for answers. 

Thanks to RadiantLit for the opportunity to read Jilted. 


DIY: A Beginner's Guide to Subway Tile

I don't have a lot of hobbies beyond reading but if I had time to choose another, it would be DIY for our home. I can't tell you enough how much joy I get from living in this house. It is a dream come true for me. Christopher and I have so much fun thinking of more ways to make it more "us" and doing DIY projects together. And when I say "together," I mean I find the pins on Pinterest and he does the rest. My hubs is nothing if not handy with projects and so we make a great pair! 




Our kitchen is small but still a natural gathering place every time we have friends and family over. It was missing a little extra touch that would make it more "kitchen" like and because it's one of the first rooms people see when they come in the front door, I felt like it needed something extra. I started looking at Subway tile installation on Pinterest and I just knew that was the perfect thing we needed. When we moved in, there was no  back splash in the kitchen, just drywall. We also have beautiful, custom made cabinets that my grandpa had made when he lived here, so I didn't want to change them, but we knew we needed to do something to lighten up the room. We started with a beautiful, very subtle, light blue/gray in on the walls and that made a huge difference!  

Installing the back splash was a lot of work, but overall, a pretty easy project especially considering we have never done it before. If you are back splash super star, please give me some tips and feedback because our guest bathroom is up next! 

We had about 17 sq feet to cover. Here's what we did: 



1) Thanks to "Cliff" at Home Depot, who was our tile installation guru we found an easy starting point: SimpleMat - a very sticky adhesive  that eliminates the need for mortar. After washing the drywall and letting it dry, we stuck on the SimpleMat on the wall. 

2) Christopher then cut the tiles as needed but they came in chucks, he only needed to cut the pieces to fit up against the wall and around the edges. We borrowed a wet saw from someone to cut the tiles. 

3) We chose a dark gray, pre-mixed grout. I wanted to get that "Farmhouse" style look but if you wanted a simpler design, you can choose a stark white grout. They have several colors to choose from.

4) After letting the grout sit for a couple hours, we scrubbed it off using a sponge. It took about 2 or 3 times to get it completely clean. 

Easy and Inexpensive: We got everything we needed from Home Depot. The tiles were only about $3.00 per sheet. Along with the SimpleMat, Grout tools, the whole project cost about $150. Honestly, this simple change made a huge different and we are so happy with how it looks!