Where Do You Find Summer?

Summer So Far....

Where do I look for summer in the dictionary? 
I think it's somewhere under sunshine, freckles and diving boards....

It can be found under picnics, poolside, sleeping in and sidewalk chalk ...

You can find our summer under flea markets, friends and sunsets. 

I look for our summer under dirty faces and that sweet smell of kids' hair when it's been warmed by the sun

I look for it under decks, ice cold beer and  laughing with friends 

I find it under under reunions and dear friends....

and saying "what the hell" when someone asks if you'd like to take a go cart around a ball field. 

When I think about all the things that have made up our summer so far, I am just excited to know that it's only half over. 

Where do you find your summer? 

Book Review: This Is Where I Leave You

You've seen this right?

Because I don't really know how to better describe what has happened to me since finishing the book I am about to review for you. I've been through 3 Kindle samples and even tried to pick up another book I had left unfinished, but to no avail. 

That's the great thing about reviews, I guess. I get to talk about the book that I'm still obsessing about after it's over! 

My Review for 
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Trooper

From Goodreads: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a week-long attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family....

Where do I start? First, I have to tell you that this book, although the stories are based on serious life-changing situations (marriages, death, family, secrets), is endearingly funny. You know when someone is telling you a story and taking it very serious but you can't help but laugh at the insanity of the situation? You laugh and then they pause and awkward silence follows as they hate your insensitivity- that's what this is like. I couldn't help but laugh. 

One thing I have noticed after reviewing books for 2 years is that when I am reviewing a book I really really love, I am always talking about the amazing character development. 

The characters in This Is How I Leave You are the perfect combination of lovable and loathsome. The perfect literary characters are those you love you so much that even when they do terrible things or think unforgivable things, you still root for them until last page.  

Judd Foxman is navigating uncertain waters. His father has died, his wife has cheated on his with his boss, and he suddenly finds himself forced to spend 7 days with his brothers and sister, who are on such different planets, it's hard to imagine them growing up together under the same roof.

The story line moves quickly and introduces you to the line of hilariously corrupt family members, Judd's mother, a fake breasted, overly sexual woman who strangely is a famous parenting expert and  author and his lovable brothers and sister. They are all so different, it was like reading 4 stories in one when you learn about their lives. 

The main question in the book is this: How does a family that is so unrelated  find a strong common ground to stand on again in the midst of loss? It turns out that...they can. Even though a shitstorm of outlying circumstances tornadoes around them: affairs, infertility, the disappointment of promising futures gone wrong, boredom...  even with all of these sad stories swirling around them, the Foxman family still manages to be quirky, funny, honest and optimistic.

Judd tells the story in a painfully honest and frank tone. You find out what happened years ago that built a cement solid wedge between him and his older brother, you fall in love with his screw up of a little brother, Phillip, and you root obsessively for his sister, Wendy, who's witty remarks and oblivious business-obsessed husband make her the stand out favorite character. Judd's character does an amazing job of being observant of every one around him, telling stories of the past that make the present make more sense and being painfully honest about what's going on in his mind after finding out his wife is leaving him for his boss. (plus there's more to his story but I don't want to give away too much) 

See what I mean? There's not a boring moment to be seen. The whole book is like an episode of Brothers & Sisters, except the cast members are all of the best SNL actors. 

One of my favorite lines of the book: 

I always read my reviews over before hitting publish and realize that I have just rambled on and don't really tell you what the story is reallllly about. But that's hard to do because there is so much to this book and I don't want to ruin it for you. What you CAN do is read it for yourself. And because it doesn't give away any spoilers, I'll show you the trailer for the movie version that is coming out in September, starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda. (but if you're like me, you still won't watch it until after you've read the book because you don't want to ruin your own imagination's interpretation of the characters). 

Here's my recommendation: Read it to feel the emotions of others. Read it to feel empathy. Read it because stories like this always make you feel a little more normal and nostalgic about your own family. Read it it to feel hopeful, to laugh and to be reminded why we love the unlovable people in our lives... 

Happy reading friends. If you pick up this book, I promise you won't be disappointed. Let me what you think of it! 

Happy Reading! 

That's What She Wrote- Prologue: The Balloon

I bring to you an edition of "That's What She Wrote
Because I wrote this a while ago and it found me again today and I thought, hey, I like that. And now I am going to share it with you.

It's called "Prologue: The Balloon"
I'm not exactly sure what it is a prologue to. All I know is that it's a story that has more to tell so this isn't the end, yet. 

When Ginny woke up on the morning of her thirtieth birthday, she didn’t feel exactly as old as she thought she would.

Not feeling her age was something that happened to Ginny a lot. Her age seemed to her like a bobbing balloon on a string that followed her, only catching up when she tugged hard on it, jarring in to keep up the pace.

On her thirteenth birthday, she had expected to wake up and feel different. Glossier, more put together, more confident. What she got instead was a Celine Dion CD, a Beanie Baby and the feeling that her milestone of becoming a teen, more half of a woman, was an after thought to those around her.

Eighteen was a good year, filled with friends, concerts, the excitement of college and an entirely new world and life.

Ginny can’t remember any more birthdays until she turned  twenty one. And, thanks to entirely too many shots of cheap whiskey and sugary, made up concoctions, she barely even remembered the details of that birthday either.

After that, her balloon started preceding her. “This is your age, this is that path you should be taking,” said the balloon, who had at some point gained more heft and influence over the years. 

So Ginny followed.

Today was the day she would hit what she thought another huge milestone and she felt a sense of raising expectations. High expectations had always gotten Ginny into trouble in the past. She had a long history of expecting people to act more generous, more accepting. Hell, she even thought people should be funnier than they really were. High expectations usually just led to disappointment.

This year, she vowed it would be different. In just the last three years her life had done a complete 180. She felt like finally this might be the future that was validated. She had good reason to believe that this year would be better than the last.

As always, when she was excited or nervous about the day ahead, Ginny woke up three minutes before her alarm. Seconds later, her phone went off with a text message alert.

“Good morning, pretty girl,” it read.

Ginny smiled. It was going to be a good day.

Thanks for reading.

#9to5 Total Social Link Up: What Do I Do?

Helene in Between

I am so glad Helene and Sarah picked a topic for the Total Social that's all about our jobs! I think it's fascinating to find out what we all do for a living!

My 9 to 5 is ALWAYS different, which is the number 1 reason why I LOVE my job.

I work for a Copywriting and Public Relations/Marketing Firm.

Some days, I am meeting with clients and brainstorming about rebranding, website content or social media. Other days, I am writing blogs for clients on a HUGE variety of different topics. We creative content for clients ranging from truck driving companies, mental health and behavioral health clinics to financial investment advisers, greeting card companies and mop buckets.

What other job lets you say mental health and mop buckets in the same sentence? That's right, mine does!

Also some days, I am lucky enough to call places like Starbucks and Panera Bread my office.

(That's an iced vanilla soy latte, if you're wondering.)

My typical Wednesdays look like this: 

9:00 - 11:30 a.m.- Team meeting with my co-workers and boss, where we give updates on all of the clients we are working with, brainstorm ideas and make sure all of our to-do lists are up to date. 

11:30-1:00- Answer emails, check off all of the tasks that were added to my list during the meeting, email clients, research connections for potential clients, meet my mom for lunch. 

1:00-3:00 - Write blogs for various clients, create content for websites, blogs, newsletters or other various projects. 

4:00 p.m. - Make phone calls to potential clients, set up meetings. 

My company creates marketing plans, content and social media strategies for companies and non-profits in our area but some clients are all over the United States as well. You can check out our website here: Susan J. Campbell Copywriting Solutions  . Follow us on social media too, because we are always sharing tips and strategies for optimizing customer engagement, SEO, and more marketing related information. 

As with any marketing and p.r., my job also consists of a lot of networking, so I get the pleasure of attending many Chamber of Commerce events, Lunch And Learns, committee meetings and fundraising events. It's caused me to step out of my comfort level a lot and be confident enough to walk up to a complete stranger and shakes hands, but as soon as I do it and meet someone new, I am so glad I did! 

To say I love my #9to5 would be an understatement! 

What Love Is Like For Me

Feeling the sun shine on your face after a week of clouds...that's what love is like.

Finally getting to drop your heavy grocery bags after a long haul up steep stairs...that's what love is like. 

Finding that cool spot in the bed...that's what love is like. 

Hearing the perfect song that says all the words that have already been playing in your mind...that's what love is like.

Getting all the lyrics right while lip syncing your favorite song......that's what love is like.

Reading a book that perfectly says the feelings you've had inside but never knew how to form into words...that's what love is like.

Tasting a spoonful of satisfaction when you didn't even realize how starved you were...that's what love is like.

Laughing so hard your stomach hurts and your cheeks cramp...that's what love is like.

Doing something for another person and never considering what they could do to repay you...that's what love is like.

Finally finding the "You Are Here" on a map after searching and searching...that's what love is like. 

Walking down a road you finally recognize after being lost for hours...that's what love is like. 

Being wrapped in a warm blanket ...that's what love is like. 

Waking up with a clean slate everyday...that's what love is like. 

What Is Love Like For You?

2004 Hollers Back: What I Learned at my High School Class Reunion

One of the most incredible things about life is that it goes on. But this weekend I learned that there is a bittersweet side that goes along with that.I guess high school reunions have a way of really making you realize how fast times flies.

Ten years ago, I graduated from high school and after the most amazing summer of my life, left most of my friends, some of which I had seen practically every day for my entire childhood, and packed up for college. I never went back.

Why? Life I guess. I went to college, met a guy that took up entirely too much of my time and then life came in a tidal wave and took me away. (if tidal waves come in the form of a 7lb 4oz newborn with a head full of dark hair).

I am so glad I when back 10 years later.

The guy who was super creepy back then in still creepy. But now he slicks his hair back and looks like Steve Buscemi. 

The people who were super nice are even more sweet as adults. 

Shy guys ALWAYS win. 

People grow up and will amaze the shit out of you. The hot surfer-looking dude? He'll turn out to be a business analyst for fast-forward medical innovations for a university medical school. (Whatever that means) Which is ironic because a) he wore his hair like a surfer and we lived in Nebraksa and b) I never remember seeing him with a book in his hand (probably because we were too busy making out to Jukebox Hero)

I will never forgive the 17 year-old me for thinking she was fat and wearing sweatshirts all the time. I was cute back then and all I ever saw was big shoulders and tiny little pouch I would KILL for these days. 

Retelling stories of the time you planned a mock kidnapping will never get old. 

You should always visit the places that made you the most happy. It's all part of the reunion experience

1. The "senior hallway" at KHS, where I felt so big and tall all those years ago. 2. Luke & Jake's BBQ in Kearney, NE. Stuffed baked potato with BBQ pork? You betcha I went back! 3. Beautiful Harmon Park. 

The feeling you get when you are around people who've known you forever never goes away, even if it's been a decade.

Your best friend's parents' house will always feel like home. 

Your charming best guy friend who could always make you laugh is still the same and you love him even more for it. 

When you are meant to be friends with those certain people, years of staying out of touch can disappear in an instant. 

I almost didn't go to the reunion because I kept thinking people would have forgotten who I was. In a class of over 300, I was just a number, and after being off the map for a decade, I thought the chances of people remembering me would be slim. But the moment I was around my old friends, I felt like no time had passed. The same smiles, humor, stories and creepiness that where there when I left were all still there and I loved every minute of it. 

10 years just makes you cooler.


Hey guys! 

That's me. 
That's a plank. (At least I think it is.)
That's me, PLANKING. 
People, that's a pretty big deal.
The first time my pal Tisha told me she was going to help me whip my butt into shape, I begrudgingly agreed and I complained the entire first week of our work outs. 

And 4 weeks later I am so glad I let Tisha drag me along. 
Like I've said before, I hate weighing and I don't measure. I just enjoy that I feel stronger, I can do cartwheels in the yard with R2. Plus, when I want to go for a bike ride, long walk or run, I am strong enough to go without feeling like I am about to keel over. 

Last night we really pushed it after taking a week off for the holiday weekend. We've also added an extra work out before we do our 30 sticks. (You can see an example of our stick workouts here.)

We pick one of these two work outs and do them at the beginning and the end of the sticks. 

So now that I've got to the point where I don't absolutely HATE working out, I noticed that most headbands that I was using weren't doing a good enough job. I kept having to readjust my headbands. And bobby pins just don't cut it when you are jumping around like a maniac. 

One evening my girlfriends and I got together and one of them was wearing a super cute headband and said she just got done running. I was shocked because I thought it was a fashion statement but it was actually a workout band. I knew I HAD to have one, especially when she told me that the BE BOLDER band doesn't ever move. 

I have super sleek and straight hair. Nothing ever stays in place, so I had to try them out.


This sucker doesn't budge. It keeps my layered hair at bay and never slips. 
Another perk is that it's lightweight and not too tight. Most of the headbands I try that DO stay put are so tight they give me a headache. 

So Guess what? 

I am giving away a free Bolder Band to one lucky winner! 

All you have to do is check out the awesome colors and patterns on their website, tell me your favorite pattern in the comments and follow Bolder Bands and I on social media. I'll announce the winner on Friday! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lessons I Learned This Weekend


1. Being responsible for more than 2 kids at a time is nearly impossible. I almost lost one of the kids while I was watching my niece. R2 escaped from the pool at one point. I always hated seeing babies on leashes at theme parks and flea markets. But now, I totally get them. 

2. I learned that no matter what, kids in swimsuits are the cutest thing to ever happen. Ever. 

3. Selfies (and any pictures) with kids are nearly impossible. 

4. Cute hats make pool hair look cool. 

5. When given the opportunity, always connect with bloggers in real life. This weekend, I had the best time going to Omaha and hearing Taylor Wolfe from The Daily Tay do stand up at the Funny Bone. She's just as charismatic and funny in person (and on stage!) as you image she would be from her blog. She was a huge hit! 

6. NEVER forget to document said meeting with your favorite blogger! What were we thinking? #majorblogfail 

7. Kona Grill is my new favorite place on earth. 

8. Staying close to friends who have known you since middle school is always a great idea. Especially when both of your significant others get along great and you spend entire dinner dates laughing and telling stories. 

9. When your little girl asks if she can change her name, say yes. You'll love what she comes up with. R2 now goes by the name "Sailor Moon." She even has her own theme song we've been singing alllll weekend long :) 

"Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon"
She's so sweet you'd eat her with a spoon
Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon,
You love her in the morning and in the afternoon..." 

10. When the pool opens up for the summer, suck up your insecurities about bathing suits and get in the damn water with your kids. Wear a cute hat and enjoy it. No one will remember that you aren't a size 4 in a bikini. They'll remember that you were having a blast, laughing and splashing with your kids in the beautiful sunshine. 

What did you learn this weekend?