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March Amazon Favorites

It’s coming close to the end of the month, so you know what that means, right? This month I have been working on trying to work on the savings front, which has been going fairly well with my impulse Amazon purchases. That said, I did have a dog that broke her leash, so I did end up purchasing that as well. If you didn’t know this, my dog is the reason why I have Prime in the first place, because it’s helpful when she breaks stuff or needs food immediately.

Kindle Oasis: I have been using this for months now, and this has been a game changer. I love this electronic because it’s a great ereader. I have been reading the Court of Thorns and Roses series on it and have been enjoying reading them because if you are familiar with the series, than you know that these books are thick. However, I am able to read comfortable and take the books with me everywhere. I can fit this device in any purse pretty much, which I love.

Luke’s Diner Mug: Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows, so I had to get this mug. This mug checks out all of the boxes for me. It represents my favorite show and the mug is massive. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, then I highly recommend that you check this out.

Apple Watch Bands: I love this band so much that I bought another set. The bands were two for $7, and I first purchased the brown and nude ones during Prime Day. I recently got the blush and the burgundy ones, and I am obsessed with those. They are thin so I can layer my watch with some bracelets, which I really love.

Dog Leash: My dog broke her leash on a walk so I had to get one ASAP. This leash is great because it was not only inexpensive, but it also is so much better than the one she broke. It gives me better control when using it (I have a Jack Russell Terrier who loves to pull), and it has two loops to put your hand in, not just one. I definitely recommend this for someone who has a dog who pulls a lot or needs a good quality leash.

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Women Who Work: Momi

Ever since I was younger, I always had the dream that I would interview famous musicians. Today’s post makes that dream come true. Today’s post features Momi, an artist that just released her first EP, Sun Goes Down.

Photo Credit: Momi

Momi’s music reminds me of the music put out by Lorde and Lana Del Rey. What is unique about her music is that she produces, records, and writes all of her own music. And did I mention that she’s only 19?

So, keep on reading for my interview with Momi. Trust me, you’re going to want to hear her music after reading.

What is your entire discography to date? 

As of right now, my discography is “Taste Your Love” (single), “Bandaids” (single), and Sun Goes Down (EP).

How did you get started in music? 

The first instrument I picked up (that wasn’t the recorder) was the flute in fourth grade. I was absolutely blown away by the sounds that could be created from it. I kept up with flute playing through high school and stopped having lessons once I started college. Aside from that, I am self-taught in guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and drums; however, I hope to learn more instruments as I get older. Now, I’m diving headfirst into electronic music production. I started with using Garageband loops on my mom’s desktop computer when I was in eighth grade. Now, seven years later, I use Ableton and Pro Tools to write, record, produce, mix, and master my own music along with others’ as well.

Who are some of your inspirations? 

My inspirations for my own music primarily comes from AJR, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, and Eminem. I admire how AJR produces their tracks in a truly original style, bouncing between pop sampling and vocal manipulation, and lush Broadway-esque choirs and arrangements. Lyrically speaking, the last three artists are extremely clever with their words. I try to model my lyricism after each of their styles, whether it’s double entendres and well-thought-out wordplay, or cryptic words that express complex emotional ideas. Sometimes though, a raw acoustic track is the best way to deliver what you want to say, and because of that, Iron & Wine is my top folk-acoustic inspiration.

What do you like to listen to? I try to listen to as much music as I possibly can; I don’t like keeping myself restrained to one genre. It feels too restrictive and close-minded to me. My music taste includes everything from classical, hip-hop/rap, pop, indie, alternative, Polynesian, Indian, African, electronic, rock, acoustic, chillhop/lofi, metal, and more. Whenever someone gives me something new to listen to, I immediately jump on the soonest opportunity to hear it. I’m always open for new suggestions!

What inspires you to write a song? 

More than anything, I take inspiration from my friends’ and family’s stories. Although I do take from my own experiences as well, I find that using another person’s emotions from a situation and incorporating them into a song makes it much more relatable. Finding ways to keep their story private while exposing all the emotion behind it is an incredibly fun challenge. All of us have stories to share, so why not celebrate them?

Tell me about your recording process. Recording at home versus in a studio are two very different animals to tackle. When I’m at home, the first thing I do (once I have an idea for my song) is to get sound levels just right. Getting a clean and healthy recording level to start is the foundation of a good final product. Once I’ve got levels down, I’ll do at least 3 takes of each instrument, and if I need anymore I’ll redo them. My vocal tracks typically take anywhere from 10 to 20 takes first, and then I’ll take my favorite versions of certain words or phrases from each take and stitch them together into one perfect vocal line. Harmonies and other vocal sounds don’t typically take as long unless I’m looking for a particular tone in my voice. Once everything is done and recorded, I move onto the mixing and effects process. That’s when I incorporate any kind of audio manipulation like stutters, changing the pitch of my voice, adding artificial harmonies to instruments and vocals, and more. I usually do at least 3 mix sessions for each song just to make sure it’s where I want it to be at, and then I do a quick mastering session. I’m no mastering engineer, but with the help of software plugins and what I’ve learned online and through my professor at school, I’ve got a small grasp on how to finalize a song. The entire process can take anywhere from a few days to months to complete.

Once things begin to open up, do you think you’ll perform live concerts? 

Aside from being the songstress for my mom’s Polynesian dance company Kaiholunuie, I have never gotten to perform at any live concerts. It would be an absolute dream to be able to perform my own music for others on stage; I hope to make that dream a reality once things become safe enough to try.

What is your advice for someone who wants to get into music? 

First and foremost: do NOT let anyone tell you not to do it. Most people believe that music is such a terrible career to get into, but that just isn’t true. I’ve never met someone who didn’t listen to music of some kind, and without people who create it, the world would be an absolutely dreadful place. If it’s calling out to you, there’s a reason. Go find that reason. Secondly, keep finding ways to be driven and passionate about your work. The more you want to strive to become better, have a polished professional sound, and be noticed, the further you’ll be taken. Find every opportunity to learn whether it’s through YouTube videos, lectures, books, buying software and practicing, performing publicly… anything you can do to keep music a daily part of your life, do it. You will learn and find so much about yourself creatively as you learn from others. The power you have is magical once you know how to harness it.

Interested in hearing Mom’s music? Be sure to check out on Spotify here. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram, so be sure to follow her there as well. You can also check out her YouTube channel here as well.

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My Adoption Story: How I Became a Dog Mommy to Lucy

In honor of National Puppy Day, I wanted to take a moment to honor my best friend and my child, Lucy by sharing with my readers the story of how she came into my life.

Lucy came into a time of my life when I was looking for healing. About a year before I got Lucy, my childhood pet Maggie died at the age of 15 (which for Rhodesian Ridgebacks is extremely rare). Losing Maggie was something that was heartbreaking for me, but for my mother at the time. Check out the post that I did about her death here.

Maggie

My mom did not want to adopt a dog right away, and decided that we would begin looking at puppies until spring of 2019. However, my mom and I never got a chance to adopt a new member of the family, as she unexpectedly passed away in February 2019. Since I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do next since I just experienced a traumatic loss, getting a dog was the last thing that was on my mind.

During the months that followed my mom’s death something that continued to be a source of comfort was my boyfriend’s dog, Nala. I would actually visit his house just to see her half of the time. One of the few times of happiness during that time was in fact spending some time with her and her sister Maya.

About five months later, I decided that I wanted to get a dog of my own. I wanted a beagle, which after having a large dog, would be the perfect size. I wanted to get a girl dog, and I wanted to name her Lucy after my favorite Peanuts character.

I went on Petfinder and discovered a dog named Lucy. She was four years old, and was up for adoption because her owners had children and she had a hard time with that. Lucy was a Jack Russell Terrier Beagle mix. I met Lucy, we hit it off, and the adoption began to proceed.

That is until the owners stalled giving me Lucy. I paid the fee, but for a few weeks, I did not get a dog for many reasons. They ended up reconsidering my application, and said that I was no longer a good fit for her.

I was devastated.

While dealing with the loss of this (as I wanted a companion and a friend to call my own as I craved having a dog of my own), my boyfriend searched for beagles in Connecticut.

He found two at the Danbury Animal Shelter. After looking at the pictures, I knew I loved Abby. However, after what I just experience, I was not interested in looking for another dog.

We did end up at the shelter that Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival, we learned that one of the dogs would not do well with an owner that is not home during the day. So, they introduced me to Freckles.

Lucy the day I went to meet her!

Freckles came out running towards me and jumped on me to give me a kiss. We were allowed to walk her, and while she was hyper, she was instantly attached to me. I was in love with her too, but didn’t want to get too attached to her after what had just happened. I decided to fill out the application, although I had trouble filling it out because she was jumping to cuddle with me.

When we left, I was in tears and Freckles was crying and barking too.

However, a week later I went back to Danbury Animal Shelter. This time, to bring Freckles home.

Freckles became Lucy and the rest was history.

Lucy today!

Lucy has been a part of my home and family since September 2019. Although she drives me crazy (and peed on my bed once), she is the one thing in my life that I know keeps me grounded and happy. She continually brings me joy on bad days, and is one of the goofiest and happiest dogs that I have ever met — and also one that has the most energy. While she is about to leave puppyhood behind, she will continue to be a puppy to me.

Happy National Puppy Day to all of the puppies out there. Do you have a puppy? Let me know in the comments below.

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What I Love Wednesday March 24, 2021

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I don’t have that many favorites to share, but I am still excited that we made it halfway through the week. These are a bit random, but I still can’t wait to share them with you.

Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken: I heard about this while watching Brooke Miccio’s vlog. I bought it, but I didn’t use it until I didn’t have anything in my house. And it was soooo good that I ended up finishing it the next day. It tastes just like a Chinese restaurant made it, but is definitely a lot cheaper. This is definitely going to be a staple in my freezer.

Vasoline with Aloe: I have really dry hands, which is something that really annoys me. I recently was at my boyfriend’s parents’ house, and tried this. After one use, I noticed a complete difference in my hands and purchased a bottle that day. I have been using it a few times a day, and have definitely seen an improvement.

Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil: I have been a Demi Lovato fan since 2008, and so I tuned in last night to watch the two episodes of the docu-series of Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil. The series chronicles Demi’s overdose. While this is a heavy topic, this series was a great watch because of the interviews, and the way that it was shot. I learned so much about the singer and about overdoses that I haven’t before, which I really like as well. After watching the first two episodes, I was hooked and can’t wait for next week.

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Best Purchases of 2020 — Better Late Than Never, Right?

In the past year, I have been doing a lot of decluttering and reorganizing especially as 2021 approached. Thanks to Poshmark, I have been able to get rid of the items that have not worked for me (there will be a post on that soon), however there were a lot of items that I purchased in 2020 that still serve me today.

2020 has been a crazy year, but there was some good purchases from that year that I want to share:

  1. Nespresso Vertuo: I love my Nespresso. I had it for over a year now and I have no regrets buying it. This was definitely a COVID-19 purchase. At the time, all of the Starbucks in my area closed and I missed lattes. Because, let’s face it — prior to COVID, I was at Starbucks nearly every day. Now that my local Starbucks is still back open, I still rarely go to it. I get my pods either from Target or Amazon, and it’s about $1 a day — with a dairy free option. Can’t beat that, and I get some extra time in the morning. Win.
  2. Kindle Oasis: I have had nearly every e-reader in the last few years. However, this one is the best one for those like me who read a lot and carry a lot with them. I have the 32 GB one in graphite, and I am so glad that I picked this up during Prime Day. The screen is so crisp and great to read all day, and it’s really comfortable to hold when reading in bed. Usually this is the time that I get bored with the e-reader or find something wrong with it, but this is the perfect one. I also like e-readers that have large screens, so this also helps a lot with that.
  3. iMac: I got an iMac because of working from home and Zoom meetings. Having this larger screen has been so helpful, because otherwise, I would be using my 13 inch MacBook Air. I have the most basic one, and it’s so much easier to work with and have Zoom meetings with. I also really love using it when doing the graphics for my blog as well. I currently don’t connect my MacBook to my iMac, but I do not regret buying this whatsoever.
  4. Air Fryer: I got the smallest, off-brand air fryer that I can find at Kohl’s using Kohl’s Cash. I am so glad that I did, because I really love using this. I use it to warm up food, to make chips, and fries. I am sure that there are so many other uses for this, but I still have yet to learn what other things you can make with it. That said, if you’re a newbie in the kitchen, you definitely need one of these.
  5. Pandora Beads and Pave Bracelet: Are you surprised that there is a jewelry pick in here? This one is one of my ride of die pieces of jewelry. I wear it nearly every day, and has become one of my go-to pieces to wear with other ball bracelets or other bracelets.
  6. Tiffany Heart Bracelet: I purchased another needed bracelet and I wear this with the other bracelet I just mentioned. Like the Pandora one that I mentioned, this has become one of my go-to pieces of jewelry because I like to stack my bracelets and this is one that I can wear without worrying about it.
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YouTubers I Watch Regularly

One of the things that I watch on a regular basis is YouTube. I watch YouTube at least a few hours a day and have subscribed to so many YouTubers and Vloggers. The topics that I enjoy watching include luxury, lifestyle and book tube. Watching YouTube is something that has helped me gain so much information that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and introduced me to so many new products and books.

That said, here are some of the people I enjoy watching:

Brooke Miccio: I started watching her vlogs a few years ago and I have been obsessed with them ever since. Brooke is a lifestyle/college vlogger who films days in her life, sit down videos, fashion hauls and more. I really like her because she is relatable to me, and she keeps it real.

Shannon Stone: I love watching lux YouTube videos. Shannon’s channel is no exception. In addition to unboxings, she talks about how to sell your goods and how to get great deals on consignment. I really love that, because I love consignment shopping over shopping retail because of the savings. If you enjoy fashion and lux, then check her out.

Peruse Project: As many of you know, I am a huge reader. Watching book tube has helped me discover so many good books, and one of my favorites is Peruse Project. Peruse Project is run by Regan Peruse, and she is known for her love of fantasy. She posts TBRS, reading vlogs, wrap-ups, hauls, and so much more. What I love about watching her channel is that it helped me get into fantasy. And, let’s be honest — she has really good taste in the genre!

Michelle Reed: Michelle is one of my favorite lifestyle vloggers that I follow. I followed her originally when she was a New York YouTuber, but she has since moved to Dallas, Texas. Michelle mainly talks about lifestyle, but also talks about faith, her marriage, family, money, and her puppy. One of the things that I really love about her content is that it really well shot and really calming.

Alyssa Lenore: While many of her content is focused on luxury, Alyssa Lenore has so many different types of content. She offers a realistic look at luxury goods, which is something that I really like. She discusses talking about saving up for a bag, selling bags to make room for more, and does so many great reviews. Recently, she got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, and I really am enjoying the wedding content!

Danielle Carolan: I began watching Danielle’s vlogs after watching Brooke and listening to Gals on the Go. Her content is very similar to Brooke’s but she is a college senior and films her daily life as a college influencer.

Catherine June: One of my more recent discoveries is Catherine June. I found her channel while looking for a review on an iPhone 11 Pro, since I needed to get a new phone. She talks about lifestyle, fashion, and tech. I love watching her vlogs, and seeing her content.

Moriah Robinson: Last but certainly not least, one of my favorite YouTubers that I like to turn to for product recommendations is Moriah Robinson. She posts a lot of fashion and product heavy videos. What I love about her content is that she talks about affordable options, such as Target and Amazon. I’ve purchased so many of her picks, and I have never regretted them. She is honest with all of her recommendations, which is something that I really appreciate when I am about to make a purchase. If you’re looking for affordable fashion, then definitely check out her channel and blog.

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What I Love Wednesday: March 17, 2021

Decluttering: Spring Cleaning has been hitting me hard, everyone! I have been listing a ton of items on Poshmark and have not only made some extra money on the side, but have also cleaned out my closet. By selling many of the items that I wasn’t wearing, I was able to make room for items that I love and actually wear.

David Yurman Albion Petite Ring with Semiprecious Stone & Diamonds: I bought this ring on the anniversary of my mother’s death and I have been wearing it ever since. My mom loved jewelry and this ring makes me think of her whenever I look down at it. I actually pair it with a ring that I purchased myself a number of years ago, and it looks great. The only times I have not worn this ring was when my fingers were swollen.

Wild Fable Cropped Hoodie: This shirt is so good that I bought it twice. Since I am starting to finally lose weight, I am hesitant to buy new clothes for a little while (especially since I am working on decluttering pieces not adding more). I couldn’t pass this one up. I originally purchased the black one and wore it the next day. It was one of the most comfortable hoodies that I purchased in a while. Therefore, after a lot of hemming and hawing about it, I also grabbed the gray one as well. It’s cropped, which I like because it pairs well with high waisted jeans or leggings. I really like it that I can use it not only in the spring, but as a layering piece in the summer. I can easily see myself wearing this when going to the beach as well, because you can just throw it on when it gets chilly. And, for $18 you can’t go wrong in my opinion.

The Financial Diet: I have been binge watching their Youtube videos and I have been loving it. I have been really getting into learning more about money and finances, and one of the ways that I get information is by consuming many different points of view. What I like about them is that they are a more realistic approach to finances. I listen to Gentler and Dave Ramsey as well, but I like that this is both realistic and informative. They also cover a lot of other topics as well, which I really like. I think that this is a great tool for everyone who wants to learn more about money, since money still seems to be a taboo topic that no one talks about.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas: Okay, so I know that the other two books have been favorites of mine already. I started this book over the weekend, and I am once again hooked. I won’t spill too many details, but this series is basically a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I love this series — surprisingly. I have had mixed experiences with Sarah J. Maas’ books, but these books I’ve enjoyed.

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Why Do We Need To Monetize Hobbies?

I have been a crafty person since I was 12 years old, probably earlier. I took classes at Micheals learning how to make jewelry. Since then, I made jewelry for fun. And, I still do.

That was 14 years ago. Since then, I have learned to knit, crochet, and am venturing out to use my Cricut.

The number one thing I get asked? “When are you going to open an Etsy shop?” Or, “when are you going to start selling stuff?”

The answer is, as of right now, I’m not sure. And, that’s okay. Now, if someone I know wanted me to make them something, then I will be more than happy to make it. However, I am not sure if I will ever truly make my desire to crochet or make jewelry into its own Etsy.

And, that’s okay.

I was listening to a podcast this morning that talked about the fact that many of us feel like we have to master a skill to make a profit out of it. While listening to it, I couldn’t help but agree.

I just do this stuff because it brings me joy and I feel relaxed when I do it. I know if I ever did this, there is a chance that I might be stressed out to get orders done. So, for now it’s a hobby. Not a side hustle. Although if I ever did, at least it would be something I enjoyed.

I work full time already and sell stuff on Poshmark to make extra money to fill my wardrobe with things that I love. One of the things that I look forward to after a long day is binge watching TV shows while crocheting or making things with my Cricut. That is how I unwind. Sometimes, I don’t do that, and that’s okay.

Crafts have become my hobby. It’s something that I do because it fills me with joy and helps me unwind. It’s helpful for me because I make a ton of gifts with it. I also make a lot for myself. For now, it’s okay.

I believe that we’ve lost the concepts of hobbies and doing things for the sake that we enjoy them, not that they help us make money. I don’t know why that is, to be honest. But, I think we need to make more time for those things that bring us joy versus money.

One of the great things that the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine has taught me is the importance of just doing things for the sake of enjoying them. This was a time for hobbies, for learning new things just for the sake of filling the time. I feel like many of us often lose that sense of relaxation because so many people around me are constantly hustling — whether it’s work or side hustling.

As the pandemic draws to a close, I do want us to continue doing these hobbies. Or, at least I want myself to continue making time for them. Not because they bring in money. Just because I enjoy doing them. Which is a perfect valid reason to do something, if I do say so myself.

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What I Have Been Doing To Help My Mental Health

The last month or so has really taken a toll on my mental health, and has really been something that has served as a reminder to take a moment for myself.

It has been almost a year since the pandemic has begun, and I don’t know about you all, but it has taken a huge toll on my mental health. However, there are some things that I’ve been doing to help me feel a little bit less stressed out about everything that is going on around me.

Cycling/Working Out: I have been taking cycling classes via Apple Fitness Plus for the last month or so, and it has become my obsession. For once, I am actually looking forward to working out. While working out can be challenging, it is something that is good for me because I get all of those endorphins flowing. Having this time (usually 30-40 minutes a day) set aside for me to work out has become the ultimate form of selfceare, because I am in a much better mood than before I worked out.

Having a Good Morning Routine: I need coffee before I start my day. I also need a few minutes to settle down with my book and coffee before I start my day. Having those few moments of peace have been so helpful because it gives me an enjoyable moment before I have a crazy day. It also helps me actually enjoy my coffee as well, which I think is really important.

Making Time For Things That I Love: Some of my favorite activities include: reading, shopping, crafting, and crocheting — just to name a few. I have been treating myself to things that I love and doing more activities that I love as well.

Journaling: Remember that morning routine I mentioned? Well, journaling is a part of that. I have a five minute journal, a regular journal, and a self care one. Journaling for me serves a few different purposes. The first is that it serves as a great release. Another one is that it helps me gas myself up to keep track of my goals and accomplishments. Finally, journaling is something that helps me learn to love myself up, because I will do a self-love prompt as well.

Creating Chill Time: I have become obsessed with the iPad game Two Dots. And, at night, I allow myself to use the time to enjoy those things. Usually, I am always crocheting a project or reading. However, I know that having some chill time is really important, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Allowing Myself Grace: It’s important that I give myself grace in all fronts and aspects in my life. Whether it’s that I don’t get a blog post out right away or as frequently as I like, or that I’m not getting everything done. I allow myself grace, because I know that I am doing the best I can to be the best I can — well I am trying to do anyways. This is something I am still struggling to do, and I am hopefully getting better at.

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What I Love Wednesday: March 10, 2021

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today’s favorites are all over the place, because we have a little bit of everything. However, all of these favorites that I have been mentioning are items that I am loving — and have been for a few weeks now! So, without further adue, here are this week’s favorites.

Smart Sweets Fish Gummy Candy: I am a huge gummy girl, so needless to say when I discovered these, I knew that I had to try them. What is great about these sweets that they have low amounts of sugar and are plants based. I have been enjoying these so much more than the original Swedish Fish, and not having the extra calories is even better. There are so many different flavors to choose from, and you can get them at Amazon or Target.

Liquid IV: I have a really bad habit of not drinking enough water. This helps so much. This little packet is so easy to use — you just mix it in with your water and drink. It has a ton of electrolytes, and helps rehydrate you instantly. You can find these at your local grocery store or on Amazon.

Echelon Smart Connect EX3 Bike: I recently upgraded my spin bike, because the one that I originally had was not fit for spin classes. I got this one from QVC, because you can break up the price into monthly payments. I got this one and so far I am really loving it. I have reached the point where I am actually looking forward to my workouts! A rarity, yeah I know. That said, I don’t use the Echelon classes that are on demand at this moment, but I use it with my Apple Fitness Plus trial. I do see myself having a cycling subscription at some point, because I have been addicted to cycling.

Louis Vuitton Recto Verso: I have been buying a few luxury items in the past few months, and this one thus far has been my favorite item that I have picked up. This is kind of like the best of both worlds for me. It has the key pouch, which is my favorite small leather good, and the card holder. I loved this piece too because it gives me so much more organization, but still is compact.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: I mentioned the first book in last week’s What I Love Wednesday, and I am on the second one and I am obsessed with it. To put it bluntly, I started reading this book on Sunday and I am 33 percent of the way through, which is amazing. If you haven’t read this series, then I highly recommend checking this series out.