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What I Love Wednesday: January 21

This week is a four day week for me, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m just recovering from a cold and a stomach virus, so I am so excited to just feel better. Anyways, here are my favorites of the week:

  • Little Big Town’s New Album

Little Big Town has become one of my favorite artists lately, and I have had their latest album on repeat since it came out. I have been on a country music kick for a while now, and therefore, have become a fan of Little Big Town. My favorite tracks include: Next To You, Forever and a Night, and Wine, Beer, Whiskey. 

  • Trader Joe’s: 

I have become obsessed with going to Trader Joe’s ever since I’ve been watching Brooke Miccio’s videos. What I like about going to Trader Joe’s is that they have a great selection of frozen foods that are affordable and healthy. I have been getting their soup, their spring rolls, and their cookie butter. And, Lucy has been enjoying their doggie treats, which is actually cheaper than where I used to get them. Overall, I am definitely now a Trader Joe’s fan.

  • Nook Glowlight Plus:

I mentioned in last week’s post that I’ve been obsessed with my Nook. However, there are a few things that still haven’t checked the boxes for me. For instance, my regular Nook Glowlight was not waterproof, which was a huge thing for me. I also heard that the Nook Glowlight screen was a little better than the previous one.

So, I decided to treat myself and upgrade.

And, I loved it.

I will do a review in a few weeks, but overall, I am definitely happy with this purchase so far.

  • Crocheting: 

I have been crocheting a lot lately. There are so many things that I have yet to make. I am currently working on a huge blanket that I started in late March of last year and I have yet to finish. Now that all of my Christmas projects are complete, I am determined to actually finish it. Since I only have a few more rows left, I am pretty sure I’ll have it done before the spring.

What are your favorites this week? Let me know in the comments below.

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Wanna Start Bullet Journaling? Here’s Some Ideas To Get Started!

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I am new to the whole bullet journaling concept, but so far I’ve been really loving it. It has been helping me stay on top of my goals, and helping me stay organized.

Now, what is a bullet journal?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a bullet journal is a method of personal organization developed by designer Ryder Carroll. It organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming and other tasks in a single notebook.

And, I’m loving it. I love that everything that I need is all in one place, and it’s helping me stay on track.

Like journaling, many people want to start a bullet journal but are constantly unsure how to get started. Here are some ideas for those who want to get started, but don’t know where to begin:

  • Year in Review
  • Yearly Goals
  • Monthly Goals
  • Weekly Goals
  • Week at a Glance
  • Birthdays
  • To-Do lists
  • Books to Read
  • Crafts to Do
  • Vision Board
  • Savings Goals
  • TV Shows You Want to Watch
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December 2019 Reading Wrap Up

Happy New Year! I rounded out this year by reading 98 books. This December, I read a grand total of nine books. Many of them were the warm and fuzzy holiday rom com reads. But, I did have a few others in there.

Curious?

Well, check out my list, and find out:

  • Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella: Five stars
  • We Met in December by Rosie Curtis: Five stars
  • I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn: Three stars
  • Snow in Love by Various Authors: Three Stars
  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston: Five stars
  • 25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander: Four Stars
  • The Hell With the Hustle by Jefferson Bethke: Five Stars
  • Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak: Four stars
  • Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins: Five stars

What did you read in the last month of 2019? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sometimes, The Grieving Need Space

Without a doubt, this was one of the worst Christmases that I had. It wasn’t because of anyone, no event, nor was it because I was not without a place to go and presents under the tree. It was because it was the first without my mother.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the grieving and mourning process. Holiday time is the worst time for grieving. It is a time to be happy, yet you are clouded with memories with your deceased, which turns a good occasion into a painful one.

This Christmas, I kept busy. I spent it with family and I made the effort to show up for them. However, I know many people who are grieving that are choosing to spend the holidays away from people — which is something that I can see.

Honestly, I wish that there was more understanding about grief and how everyone grieves. Some people want to spend their holidays with their loved ones, and that’s truly great. Others would rather be alone. Both are okay.

Have you ever had someone try to just belittle you for grieving? For instance, if you express repeatedly that it’s something that you may not want to do or are uncomfortable doing, only to be greeted with a well, we still want to see you, or don’t you want to spend it with family.

Sure, it’s nice to be invited somewhere. That is something that is so awesome. But, I hate that people put pressure on those who are grieving to attend and be okay. Newsflash: it won’t ever be the same for them again. And, they may fall apart. In my case, it’s because my mother passed away practically overnight. In others, it’s saying goodbye to a sibling or a spouse. Whatever the case may be, it’s a process. Everyone grieves differently. Sometimes, it’s just giving yourself the space to grieve.

And, you have to be okay with that.

I spent the holidays with people, and I will say this: it is pretty hard to try to be happy. When I’m with people, I constantly feel a pressure to put on a smile and be sociable even though it was killing me to do so. Sure, this is strength. And, I know that if I chose to spend the holiday in my bed, it still wouldn’t change the fact that my mother is deceased. I know my mom wouldn’t want me in bed, but that’s where I wanted to be.

However, I want to keep it real here. No one should ever critique someone for simply trying to do what’s best for them. No one should call them selfish by trying to put their needs first. No one should try to make them do something they are not ready to do. It’s self care, damn it. And, it’s definitely not selfish.

I’m not trying to say that you are not being helpful. But, I wish that we can change the dialogue that we have with each other to be more focused on the individual’s needs and to let the grieving just be.

So, if you know someone who is grieving, here’s a tip: try to be more understanding. Listen to their needs. Sure, it’s awkward for you, but they are trying to be honest — which is a hard thing to do. What you can do in return is try to meet them in the middle.

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Blogmas Day 24: Traveling for the Holiday? Here are Some Tips to Make It Easier On Your Dog

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Dogs are a part of the family. Therefore, you bet they are a part of your holiday celebration — whether they are going to grandma’s the next town over or in the next state.

However, having a dog around can be a bit stressful — on you and the dog. So, here are some tips to make it easier on your puppy:

  • Bring the essentials: This goes without saying — make sure your pup has their food, medications if they need any, water bowls, and treats. However, you may also want to pack a few other important items in the bag. This includes: their favorite toys, their bed, and their blanket. The more familiarity, the better off you are.
  • Make sure they get enough walks: I have a Jackabee, and she has a lot of energy. Therefore, make sure that you walk your dog and that you make sure that they have adequate amount of exercise. Actually, one thing that I would suggest is make sure that you go out for a longer walk than needed. That way, they’ll be calmer, and not bouncing around the car.
  • Keep their routine (as much as possible): Being in a new environment is super overwhelming for them. Therefore, make sure that they keep their routine. Do they eat at 7 a.m.? Make sure to feed them. Do you go for a walk at 9 a.m.? Do the same. The more routine you keep, the better off you are.
  • Communicate: This is key. For instance, make sure that everyone knows that you are bringing your dog. Make sure that they know not to feed her chocolate. Also, one of the biggest things that you can do is make sure that everyone knows how your dog behaves. For instance, I let everyone who Lucy encounters — especially those who actually don’t have dogs — that she is super jumpy. That way, they know what to expect.
  • Don’t give them these: I think that we all can agree not to give your puppy chocolate. But, be sure to keep poinsettias away too. My dog is curious and gets into pretty much everything. Therefore, make sure that everyone knows to tell the puppy to stay away from these items.
  • Make sure you stop: Finally, if you’re traveling more than a few hours, make sure you stop to both walk them and make sure they use the bathroom. They will appreciate it!
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Blogmas Day 23: A Little Message About Holidays and Significant Others

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“Where’s Eric?” 

“Why couldn’t Eric make it?” 

“Does Eric not like us?”

Those are just a few of the many things that I have been asked about during holiday family gatherings during the two years that I’ve been dating my boyfriend. To be honest, I feel as though that’s something that we honestly don’t talk about balancing every family  gathering during the holiday season. Honestly though, it’s super overwhelming. 

First and foremost, let’s focus on the positive. It’s really great that people want our significant others are welcome to our family gatherings. It’s really great that they care about them, and their whereabouts to, because it shows that they care that they have a place to go during the holiday season.

That said, we’re going to be honest here — it’s pretty overwhelming.

We all have a lot of family — mom’s side, dad’s side, etc. Since my parents are divorced, for me there are two separate celebrations. My boyfriend has a lot of family gatherings as well since he has a big family. Needless to say, there are a lot of holiday parties to hit. And since many of us can’t be in the same place at the same time, it means that sometimes that we have to miss a celebration. And sometimes, this means that we have to go to things separate.

After all, everyone has their own traditions.

Let’s just make this clear right now: he is not obligated to go to every family function. And, that’s perfectly okay.

So, while my boyfriend may not be attending every single gathering, you bet that he will be there as much as he can. And, vice versa. Family is a crucial part of the holidays and sometimes as much as we would like it that they are there with us, it’s okay to miss somethings.

It’s not a snub. It just means that we’re balancing the best ways that we can. And, while he may not be there in person, please note that he is still giving you holiday wishes from wherever he is.

21 Mashed Potato Books I Want to Get To In 2020

You may be looking at the title and scratching your head. What is a mashed potato book? Well, according to one of my favorite podcasts Books UnBound, a mashed potato book is something that has been on your to be read shelf for a while.

After listening to this, I decided to compile a list of books that I have in my collection that have that classification for a number of different reasons. And, this year, I’ve decided to tackle these books. I’m going to try to tackle one book per month this year. Well, at least one per month as it would take more than that to get through all of these.

That said, here’s my list:

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  2. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
  3. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
  4. One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
  5. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
  6. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
  7. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  8. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
  9. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  10. All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr
  11. American Royals by Katherine McGee
  12. Small Great Things by Jodi Picolt
  13. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
  14. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  15. Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlene
  16. Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
  17. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  18. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
  19. Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstien
  20. Start Here by Trish Dollar
  21. Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds

What I Love Wednesday: January 15th

Can you believe that we are already in the middle of the first month of 2020? No, I can’t. I just can’t.

With that being said, here are some of the things that I’ve been loving this week:

Catfish: I am obsessed with Catfish the TV show. Last week, was the season premier. And, I am so happy that Kami was the new co-host. The show is one of my favorites, because I enjoy learning who is behind the messages. Therefore, I am excited to watch the new season every Wednesday night — or record it when I’m unable to see it. Gotta love OnDemand and DVR.

Nook:

Okay, so in my best purchases of 2019 post, I said that I loved my Kindle Paperwhite. And, I do. But, there’s a few things that I don’t like about the Kindle such as the fact that it doesn’t have buttons, I don’t really know how to access my library, and I’m confused also how to shut it off. I think that is partially because I’ve had Nooks for the duration of my e-reader career. That said, I decided to start reusing my Nook again because I’m reading the After series and wanted to use my e-reader to get my items instantly. I also wanted to be able to carry it quicker. And, I am beginning to really love my Nook again. Therefore, I might continue to use my Nook. I’m not sure if I will, but so far, I am happy with that one again.

Booktube: I am an avid reader. Recently, I began to dive into the Booktube community. And, I love it. I love watching these videos for many reasons. The first is that it excites me to read — not that that’s something that I have trouble doing since reading is something that I enjoy doing. But, it gets me excited to read books that the YouTuber loves or hates. Some of my favorites include:the Peruse Project, and Becca and the Books.

Cinnamon Bread: I recently discovered cinnamon bread at my local grocery store. I made cinnamon toast recently and loved it. It’s similar to cinnamon rolls, but a whole lot healthier. Therefore, I am obsessed with cinnamon bread as well.

What I’ve Been Doing to Help My Mental Health

Ever since the holidays, I have been in a little bit of a funk. I think a huge part comes from the natural hustle and bustle of the holiday season – the cramming of family gatherings and trying to make sure you remember everything that you need to accomplish. However, the holiday season this year was something that was even more draining on my mental health. That said, I’ve been trying to do a lot to help try to ensure that my mental health is my top priority. Here are some of the steps that I’ve taken:

  • Workout More: Exercise is hands down one of the best things that one can do when their stressed out due to the endorphins that pulse through the body. My goal this year, as you probably guessed in my post about my New Year’s Resolutions, is to do workouts that I enjoy. Whenever I do a cardiovascular workout, I always feel much better about whatever is thrown at me. Therefore, I am trying to include working out in my regular routine. Plus, you know, it’s good for your physical health as well – aka an added bonus.
  • Yoga: I’ve been making sure that yoga is added to my regular routine. I love yoga because not only is stretching really great for my body, but it also centers me. It makes me focus on that moment and what feels good for me, and to be present. For me, stress can overcome my entire body. That said, having a practice like yoga that brings me down and stops me from overthinking – at least for twenty minutes – is something that helps me remember to breathe. Just cause, you know, sometimes I forget.
  • Journaling:

I love to write. However, one may think that I journal more frequently than I actually do. That is until recently. I decided to just start journaling, and writing down anything that I was feeling in that moment – moments of grief, moments of anger, moments of anxiety, sadness, etc. I also use my journal to log things that actually went right or moments – big or small – that cause happiness. Getting into the practice of writing things down has been therapeutic for me because it releases all of the negative emotions instead of holding them in. Which you know, is definitely a good thing.

  • Going on Dates By Myself:

Yes, I am in a relationship. But, you can bet your last dollar that I am still taking myself on a date. Most of the time, it is a trip to the coffee shop. I bring my book and I sit and enjoy a latte. For an hour, I focus on only the story of the book that I am reading. And, it is amazing. This is something that I challenge you with – even those who have boyfriends. Take yourself on a date. It can be, as I said, to get a latte. Or, it can be to get your nails done, go to the bookstore, or whatever the case may be. That said, make a date on the calendar and go out on a date with you. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.

  • Treat yourself: I knew that this past week was going to be a stressful one going into it. That said, I decided to purchase something a little extra special at the grocery store this week – a lovely cake. The plan was to eat a little bit of it every night to help me get through. And, it helped. I savored every bite of that cake. Having that little treat was something that I looked forward to after a long day. That said, there is something about a carrot after a stressful time. Carrots, for those of you who don’t know, are something to look forward to. That may be the cake that I purchased. Or, it may be a trip to the store you love and purchasing something you’ve had your eye on after a long week. Whatever makes you happy and gets you through, you go for it.
  • Listening to Podcasts: Last but certainly not least, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. What I like about them is that they are treats to listen to – and can serve as background noise during tasks I don’t enjoy. Since I enjoy listening to the podcasts, I am able to look forward to the tasks I dread just because I get to listen to the podcast that I enjoy.

Christmas Book Haul

This Christmas, I went a bit nuts at the bookstore. This reason is because Barnes and Noble had their 50 percent off on book sale, and so did Amazon Kindle. And, let’s add in the fact that I had some gift cards and some coupons.

Yeah, I went a little overboard.

Here’s what I walked away with. These books were all books that I purchased from the day after Christmas to Saturday, January 4th:

  1. After by Anna Todd
  2. After We Collided by Anna Todd
  3. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  4. Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein
  5. Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again by Andrea Barber
  6. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
  7. Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
  8. First Mistake by Sadie Jones
  9. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  10. The Night Tiger by Yangszee Choo
  11. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
  12. Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  13. High School by Tegan and Sara Qui

Needless to say, I will be doing a lot of reading in 2020. What is really exciting, for me anyways, is that all of these books are different in terms of genre. I am excited about the nonfiction reads, as I am looking for more self help books, which is something that interests me. I want to grow a lot in 2020, and I am excited for these reads.

What books did you get for Christmas — or with your Christmas gift cards? Let me know in the comments below.

What I Love Wednesday: January 8th

Happy Wednesday everyone! This is the first What I Love Wednesday of 2020, and I am so excited to dive into my favorites of the week. Since I didn’t do a What I Love Wednesday last week, I decided to add a few extras this week. Anyways, without further a due, here are my favorites of this week:

  • Books Unbound: 

I found this podcast during a book tube binge watching session. I love this podcast, because it talks about books. I’ve already listened to half of the ten episodes, and I am obsessed with listening to this. If you love books, then this is the perfect podcast for you.

  • Modern Love: 

I saw this book in the book store, and I read the synopsis of this show/book. It’s basically based on the column in the New York Times, and shows everyone’s love stories. I’ve already binge-watched all of the episodes, and I am obsessed.

Curious? Well heres a summary of the first few episodes. The first episode is about the relationship between a doorman and a tenant who essentially becomes a father figure in the woman’s life. The second is about the one who got away, and talks about finding a lost love. Both are excellent. I’m definitely going to continue watching it throughout the week, but it’s a swoon-worthy show that makes me tear up.

  • Bullet Journal:

I recently discovered this while going through the sale section of Barnes and Noble. I found a cheaper one, so I decided to try it. And, I love it. I love it, because it’s a mixture of everything. You can write down your goals for the week, you can write down the things you need to remember, and your to-do lists. I love it, because it’s a great way to also write down ideas before you forget about them.

I’ve been doing it since New Year’s Day, and it’s been helpful. Once I get the hang of it, I do plan to write a blog posts of ways to organize your bullet journal, as a way to help those who want to get started with it. After all, getting started is the hardest part.

  • Amazon Smart Plugs:

I recently purchased these with Kohl’s Cash for a few lamps in my house, and I am obsessed with them. I love them, because if I’m coming home later on in the day, I can use the app to turn them on. Furthermore, I like them because I can instruct Alexa to turn the lights on in different rooms — something that is super helpful in the morning so I can multi-task.

  • After Series: 

I am obsessed with this series. Before Christmas, I watched the movie and loved it (although I hope that they make the sequel, because the ending was such a cliff hanger). I knew I had to pick up the book, as it’s a series. Last week, I started to read After and became engrossed in. The characters are infuriating, and Hardin is definitely more abusive in the book than in the movie. However, I just can’t put it down. It’s my guilty pleasure, what can I say?

I’m just starting After We Collided, and I am so excited to see what happens next in the series.

  • Micheal Kors Griffin Handbag: 

For Christmas this year, I got a ton of TJ Maxx gift cards. So, I decided to use some of it to purchase some items for my house, and to look at their purses, since they have great deals on purses. I found this Micheal Kors purse, originally $298, marked to $79. My gift card covered it. I was so excited and loved it. I changed it that night, and have been using it ever since.

This is different than all of my standard tote bags that I’ve been using lately, and I am okay with it. After all, sometimes you just need to shake up your style, right?

  • Tiffany Bean Necklace: 

In my Christmas wishlist, I said that I wanted this necklace. As the holiday got closer, I knew that it was going to be a hard holiday. Therefore, I wanted to get myself a little something to open on Christmas Day. So, I purchased this necklace. And, I haven’t taken it off pretty much since.

It’s a bit shorter than the necklaces than I am used to wearing, but I love it. It’s light and I can barely feel it on. It’s also really good for layering, which is cool to pair with my longer necklaces.

  • SV Decker Beaded Bracelets:

I’ve mentioned in a few different posts that I love SV Decker’s jewelry. Lately, I’ve been wearing a stack of her gemstone bracelets — pyrite, amethyst, and quartz. All of these are supposed to mean different things. I love them because they give me serenity (amethyst) or abundance (pyrite). And, they look good with sweaters, which is a bonus because it’s cold where I live.

What have you been loving? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Vs. Movie: The Kissing Booth

Whenever a book is turned into a movie, I usually read a book and forget about the movie. Case in point, The Sun Is Also A Star. However, here’s an instance when I actually watched the movie prior to reading the book. Actually, I watched the movie while reading the book – not at the same time, but you know what I mean.

This book is The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles. Last year, it was made into a movie onto Netflix, and I decided to give it a try. I decided to post about this one, because the sequel of the book is about to come out and I’m super excited to read it.

Summary:

The Kissing Booth is about Rochelle “Elle” who harbors a crush on her best friend’s brother, Noah aka Flynn to their high school crowd. Flynn is the typical bad boy – you know, the type to get into fights, and has a reputation for being a bit of a player. He is forbidden for Elle to date.

However, Elle soon learns that her crush is not one sided at the school’s carnival’s kissing booth, where they share a dynamic kiss. They soon enter in a relationship that they keep a secret from everyone that they know – including Elle’s best friend Lee.

Once the cat gets out of the bag, the two have to figure out whether the risk of being criticized is worth it.

Differences:

So, the biggest one is that the relationship is more forbidden in the movie than in the book. In the movie, there was a list of rules that Lee and Elle created. One of the biggest? The whole dating Noah thing. Once Lee did find out, he was much more upset about it in the movie than in the book.

Furthermore, another big difference is that you can see how Noah is more of a violent person in the book. He gets into a lot of fights, and the scenes are actually shown in the book. The movie doesn’t show it as much. You can also see how Noah is protective of Elle more in the book as well, especially as she goes out on several dates with different guys – something that isn’t shown in the movie.

In addition, the book and movie have a few differences in the smaller details department. One of them. Is how Elle’s mom died. In the movie, she died of cancer. In the book, she died in a car crash.

Overall:

So, which one did I like better? I definitely enjoyed the book. While I thought the movie was really well done, and I did enjoy it, the book’s many different sub plots that weren’t in the movie were definitely more interesting and wasn’t just a romantic moment after another.

I also liked some of the scenes in the book that weren’t featured in the movie, such as when Noah takes Elle to a candy shop as part of her birthday present. I loved that scene in the book, because it really shows how much Noah loves Elle. I definitely wish that was something that was in the movie.

Finally, what I loved about the story was the ending. So many romance novels – especially teen ones – show a couple with an endless happy ending. In this book (spoiler), Elle isn’t sure about her future with Noah. I think that is more realistic than many of the other novels on the market. This is something that I liked, because it doesn’t have the standard cookie cutter happy ending that you see in many novels.

Therefore, if you are looking for a swoon worthy book or movie, be sure to check this one out.

Books I Want to Read in 2020

There are so many books that I want to read this year. Some are books that have been on my TBR (to be read) list for a while. Others have been books I’ve been discovering lately. That said, this year I am going to read them.

Curious? Here’s the list:

  1. After series by Anna Todd
  2. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
  5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  6. I Owe You One by Sophia Kinsella
  7. Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra
  8. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  9. American Royals by Katherine McGee
  10. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman

Have you read any of these? Please let me know in the comments below.