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6 Books On My TBR Shelf That I Can’t Wait To Read

As an avid reader, it’s safe to say that my TBR (to be read) pile is massive. And, that assumption is accurate. I often buy books at a lot faster rate than I could ever read them.

However, as I work through my TBR list, here’s a few that I’m dying to get to. My goal is to get to them by the end of the year, but who knows?:

  1. The Other Boyelin Girl by Philippa Gregory: I have been wanting to read this book for years. I started it when I was in high school, but never finished. A few years later, I did end up buying the book, but never read it. However, it’s something that has always been on the back of my mind, and something that I’ve wanted to read.
  2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I started to read this book, only to put it on the back burner due to the fact that I wanted to read another book I got. However, I heard great things about the book, so it’s something that I always wanted to return to.
  3. Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella: This is my latest book purchase, but that doesn’t stop my eagerness to get to it. If you didn’t know, I am a huge Sophie Kinsella fan. I’ve read every almost book that she’s written as Sophie, and now am diving into the books she’s written as Madeline Wickham. Therefore, I am so excited to read this book, because she is one of my favorites.
  4. The Last Anniversary by Lianne Moriarty: Over the past year, Lianne Moriarty has become one of my favorite authors. I started out with Big Little Lies, which definitely lived up to the hype, and then continued my way to her bibliography. This novel is the last one on my list, and needless to say I am eager to read this before her October release.
  5. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: A true classic. Therefore, it’s something that I wanted to check off of my reading checklist.
  6. Carrie by Stephen King: Recently, I’ve been getting into Stephen King’s books. I only read one of them, however, I want to get into more. The next one on my list? Definitely Carrie.

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

Product Reviews

Fitbit Versa: Something That In Fact Could Give Apple A Run For Its Money

I’ve been a huge fan of Fitbit for a while now. Last year, I purchased the Charge 2 and instantly fell in love with it. As a runner, it served as a stopwatch and a method to keep track of how far I was going. Additionally, it also was a great way to mark my progress. When I first started using it, I was able to clock about two miles in a 30 minute workout. Overtime, I graduated to being able to run for over 2.3 miles. Well, this was before I hurt my knee, but I digress.

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Fitbit Charge 2

But, what’s cool about the Fitbit is that it’s not only meant for workouts. It’s meant for everyday use. You wear it and it tracks your walk to the car to the office, your grocery shopping trip, and even just your walk with your dog. And, every step gets added in to your step count.

After a year of wearing the Charge 2, I wanted (no craved) a smartwatch. I wanted more notifications from my apps then just texts and calls. As an Apple fan, the choice was obvious. This time, I’ll get an Apple Watch. That way, I can answer phone calls and text messages. That way, I can be notified whenever I get a Snapchat, Email, and Instagram like.

I was sold. Until I realized something — I would lose my Fitbit information. And, let’s add the fact that the Apple Watch Series One is $250.

However, there was a toss up between another product — the Fitbit Versa. The Versa even looked like the Apple watch with a rectangular face. What was unique about this Fitbit is that you can get notifications from all apps in addition to your calls and texts.

So, I decided to buy it.

It’s been a few weeks now, but I really like it. You can download apps onto the watch, and it even has Fitbit coach, which has guided workouts. However, it is a paid service — which is why I have not tried it. One downside to the app store is that there isn’t really a lot of apps. I’m homing that changes overtime and as Fitbit grows.

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What’s really cool about the watch is that there are so many unique watch faces. I have the floral one (seen here) and absolutely love it. I have yet to explore the others, but I have a feeling that that’s one of my favorites.

Another cool feature that I love is the fact I can manage my cycles. I only have one logged, but it’s promised to show trends and other information. However, otherwise, it’s similar to the other app I have, P Tracker. And, so far, I haven’t really found a different.

However, what I really love, is the upgrades to the workout functions of the watch. On the Charge 2, you couldn’t pause a workout. This was annoying in the event that you received a phone call that you needed to take during your workout. However, now you can.

Furthermore, the watch has an amazing battery life. Fitbit promises customers that the watch has a four plus day battery life. And, they deliver. I’ve maybe charged the watch a handful of times since getting it. Therefore, I highly recommend it.

With that being said, there are a few drawbacks to the watch. For instance, it’s nearly impossible to change the band. I change my band once a week. I did decided to tweet Fitbit, and they sent me this article. Between that, and watching the video, I was finally able to get the band off. Keep in mind, this did take 20 minutes.

The Versa that I got was the special edition in Charcoal. This one came with an extra band (a black one) and Fitbit Pay. I have no idea on how to use that, so we’ll stay tuned.

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Box of my Fitbit Versa

The bottom line? If you’re looking for a Smartwatch and already own a Fitbit, then you should try this out. However, even if you’re not #TeamFitbit, you should still give this watch a try. It doesn’t have the deep phone integration that the Apple Watch has. But, it can stand up to it just fine if you ask me.

*See Disclaimer Here

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4 Tips On How To Maintain Friendships As An Adult

When I was in school, it was so easy to get together with friends. In high school, you had a few different options — wait until lunch, an extracurricular activity, or after school to see your friend. In college, it was the same thing. You saw your friends in between classes or on the weekends. But, no matter what, your friends were in the same place.

When you’re an adult, it’s a bit of a different story. Many of my friends are scattered across the state, and world. This means, less time to see them. On the flip side, this does mean that the time we do get to spend together is that much more valuable. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I text with a friend, only for them to say let’s catch up. It’s embarrassing, really.

However, I am lucky to have some of my friends in the same area of me. But, that spending time with them is still a rarity. Between work, my relationship, and other responsibilities, sometimes that falls the lowest on the list. Furthermore, since I am an introvert, I would much rather go home to my dog and curl up with a book after work versus meet my friend for dinner or ice cream.

I know, I’m bad.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’ve heard so many times that if you’re not the one whose making time for them, then they are not worth your time. However, with all of the responsibilities that you have, it’s tricky to balance everything. Additionally, it’s also important to make sure that you’re spending time with your significant other, but you don’t want to be that friend who dropped off of the face of the earth just because she got a boyfriend.

So, my question here is, how do you?

My answer is — well, I don’t know. Maybe good planning.

The thing is, as you get older, you’re going to be consistently adding things on your plate — whether it may be children, marriage, elderly parents, or otherwise. However, friendships are still important to maintain.

With that being said, let’s try to make more room for all of the friendly faces in our lives. There are so many simple ways we can do this, many of which that doesn’t involve a lot of time. A few of them are as follows:

  • Doing errands together: Everyone has errands, whether that may be going to the drug store, grocery store, or even heading to the gym. Or, you want to head to the local bookstore or do some shopping. But, do you have to do it alone? Maybe invite a friend to go with you. Sounds weird? Well, here’s the thing. You have to do it anyways. But, by inviting a friend to go with you, it becomes more fun.
  • Scheduling one night a week that’s your friend night: This makes me cringe, but have you heard of the saying Friday’s for the boys, or Saturdays are for the girls. Well, make one day that’s your friend day, and stick to it. That can be Sunday Brunches, or Happy Hour on Wednesday. Whatever it may be. And, stick to it. Chances are, you’ll be looking forward to it all week — especially the stressful ones!
  • Ask them to attend things with you. Of course, this is natural for all friendships. But, if you’re looking for someone to attend the free concert with, why not ask a friend? Or, if you want to take a trip somewhere, consider getting a group of pals. But, it can be so much simpler than that. If you want to go to the farmers market, maybe ask a friend you haven’t seen in a while versus going alone.
  • Double date night. Are you in a relationship? And do you have friends who are in relationships? Perfect way to spend quality time with both your significant other and your friend is to have a double date. Just make sure that everyone gets along before doing this.
Book Reviews

Book Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

With titles such as Something Borrowed and Baby Proof on her bibliography, Emily Giffin is hands down one of the queens of ‘chic-lit’ literature – next to JoJo Moyes and Sophie Kinsella of course.However, in her latest novel, All We Ever Wanted, Giffin begins
to stray from her roots. The result? One of the best novels that I’ve read this year.

All We Ever Wanted starts out with elite Nina Browning and her husband, Kirk. The couple are at one of their charity functions — a typical night out for the couple. Nina is a stay at home wife, whose charity and shopping fills her days, since husband Kirk makes more money than ever due to deals.

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However, across town, their 18 year-old son Finch makes the biggest mistake of his life. He takes a racist picture of a drunken girl passed out on a bed – Lyla Volpe – and has it sent around school. Soon enough, Finch’s parents have caught wind of what happened, and so has Finch’s school. This results in Finch losing everything he has ever worked for – including his coveted place in Princeton. As a result, we as the reader watch as the characters’ true morals come to show – and how money can never truly make you a good person.

Giffin tells this story through three points of view – Tom Volpe, Nina Browning, and Lyla Volpe. She does this quite well, as this adds a little something extra to the novel. As a reader, you get to see the point of view to what’s going on, whether it may be Lyla (the victim), or how the parents react. I liked hearing about what Nina’s processes
were, in addition to hearing about what it was like for Lyla. Hearing Nina’s point of view helped me understand the effects of this on the parents of the person who did it — something that can instantly be forgotten.

What I really liked was the character development of Nina Browning. At the start of the novel, Nina was yourtypical wealthy Nashville wife. However, throughout the novel, she
slowly sees the light on a lot of issues – including her husband’s morals, and what it’s doing to her son. Furthermore, I think the incident removed some of the blindness Nina had for the people around her. While I am not sure if this is realistic, I thought that Giffin did an amazing job with that. I won’t give anything away here, but you’re in for a surprise as the novel unfolds.

The only problem that I had with the novel was this – Lyla’s attraction to Finch. Yes, she’s 15 years old. However, she harbored a crush on him throughout much of the novel – despite the fact that he took this picture that was downright humiliating. Finch lied his way through everything – just to clear his name. Yet, in Lyla’s eyes, he was perfect. Now, this could be the fact that she’s 15 years old and naïve. However, I would be more angry than forgiving to the person who took that kind of picture of me.

With that being said, I still really loved this book. It was superbly written, and Giffin kept readers engage from the first chapter down to the last sentence. Therefore, I highly recommend that if you’re looking for a great book for your beach trip or summer travels, that you pick up All We Ever Wanted. Chances are, you’ll be reaching for her other books next (which I can tell you from experience that they are just as well written).

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24

Today is my 24th birthday. If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my blogging days, you know that every year, I write a post about the age I am turning. In addition, I also write about some reflections, and maybe some goals I have for myself.

24 to some of you may think 24 is a baby. Others may think it’s old. I am one of the latter. I am now in my mid-20s. I am no longer a fresh-faced college student. I am now an adult – whatever that means. When I was younger, I thought that being in my mid-20s would mean that I had my life together. Well, I can assure you that’s not exactly the case. I still sometimes don’t know what I am doing. And, that’s okay.

This past year, I’ve made a lot of big steps. I joined the Arts Commission in my town. I also bought a car – my very first new one on my own. During this year, I had disappointments, and I had celebrated successes. I even managed to make it on the radio.

As I turn 24, I decided to set some goals for myself. The first is to get my finances and credit in order. One way I can do this is to start saving money, and stop spending it stupidly. When I bought my car, I nearly drained my savings for the down payment. I never really gained it back. Furthermore, I have a habit of living paycheck to paycheck and purchasing things that I may not necessarily need.

So, with that being said, I’ve decided to work on that. My first plan of attack is to stop shopping at QVC – or at least stop putting so many things on Easy Pay. Over time, I can easily spend over $100 on my payments. Good news, after July, it will go down to half.

Secondly, I want to make it a habit to put more in my savings. Since I get paid weekly, I want to put a portion of my check into my savings before I even can spend it. Even though it might not equal much, that little bit does add up.

Another way I want to do this is to help pay my car off – or get closer to doing so. I currently pay more than my payments are every month. However, I want to begin to increase those payments by a bit. That way, I can get closer to paying it off.

Another goal I have for myself is to make me a bigger priority. As my responsibilities continue to grow, sometimes I realize that I put me on the bottom of the list. So, this year that’s going to change. Whether it may be taking my full lunch break or including a bath gel when taking a bath, I am going to do my best to take care of me. Sometimes it’s not easy to do so, but it’s really important. After all, if I am not going to take care of myself, then who is going to? Asking for a friend . . .

So, 24. So far, it seems like it’s going to be a pretty good year. I guess you’ll have to wait until I write 25 to know for certain.