August Coffee Date

I'll have you know that the whole Yeti coffee rambler trend is like, my life saver. Since it keeps my coffee hot forever I can just enjoy it throughout the day. On any given work day, I'm usually still drinking my coffee at like. 3pm. Same cup though. Just little bits at a time. So I thought we'd sit down and have a leisurely coffee date today. Also, I'm really disappointed in myself for not taking a picture of my coffee on the beach in Mexico...

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IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE I would tell you that I have my interview for Global Entry on Wednesday. Global entry is like TSA Precheck, but it also lets you skip the customs line when re-entering the US from abroad. After our quick trip to Mexico, I have the travel bug extra bad. I've been saving for another trip to Europe. I use this app, Qapital? to automate my savings (it rounds up to the nearest $2 and keeps that money in a separate account.) I've been going back and forth about switching to something interest bearing, but I don't know if that's reasonable for a short term goal. Any money-smart people have advice for me? 

Anyways, so I want to take a trip to Italy sometime in 2020. I've been working on a pinterest board that usually starts with me searching "Italy Pizza Travel" because priorities. We want to hit Naples (obviously), Sorrento, and maybe one of the wine regions. I assume we'll either fly into Florence or Rome, and spend a day on one of those as well. Like, we're in it for the pizza and wine and lemon cello, we can hit the Coliseum next time. Have any of y'all been to Italy? What should we add to the list? When is a good time to go? 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE I'd tell you I'm so close to getting my Real Estate license. I just have to sit for the licensing exam. Which I'm a little terrified of. It's an important step in my debt free journey, but man am I rusty when it comes to final exams. Like, December marks 9 years since I graduated college (woooooof) and also 9 years since I took a real, closed notes, final exam. I took the final exam for the online class I took (I used RealEstate Express, if you're thinking about doing the online certification that link gives you 35% off the price. They're supposed to pay for my licensing test if I fail it, which somehow doesn't make me feel better..) 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE I'd tell you that when all of the online sales were going on, Chewy had Albus's dog food cheaper for two bags than just one. Like, it was $40 off the second bag, but with the autoship discount, we only pay $37 a bag. So I jumped on that. Well, I forgot to edit the autoship back to adjust for having ordered two month's worth of food, so on Monday I woke up to the notification that my order had shipped. Two more bags, but at full price this time. So Albus has food until November. 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE I'd tell you that my currently reading stack is pretty dark. I'm at the mercy of my library holds, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz AND Columbine both came off holds within 24 hours of each other. So I'll be needing some lighter reading suggestions for the rest of August. All of my holds told me like "36 weeks!" when I placed then and they're all coming up in like the next month. Say a prayer that I can get through them before I have to return them so someone else with a hold gets their turn.

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE I would want to know what is new with you? Do you think we'll see a day under 100 degrees any time soon? I don't want summer to end, but maybe just like, low 90s or something please. 

What I Read In July

I feel like the first few months of this year took forever, and then the spring and summer have just absolutely flown by. I have to remember about school traffic on my commute now and I completely forgot about how many more people are on the roads when it's back to school time. Anyways, I'm linking up with Steph & Jana for another month of Show Us Your Books! Let's see what I read in July. (If you missed what I read in June, you can pop back over here!)

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a hand is holding a kindle with the first page of a new chapter showing, there is a pool, lots of greenery, and palm trees in the background 
Also, fun story (in case you missed it last week) I took my kindle to the beach with me when I went to Cancun, and accidentally tested just HOW waterproof my "waterpoof kindle paperwhite" is. Mere minutes after I took this picture, I was just going to read with the kindle near the pool. The ground was so hot that I accidentally tossed it ALL THE WAY INTO the pool. Like, it hit the bottom of the ledge that you sit on. Fully immersed. Didn't even turn off. Everyone around the pool was watching with baited breath as I tried to play off my act of clumsiness with "well, I guess we'll find out if it's really water proof!" It was a terrifying thirty seconds though. So, I WHOLE HEARTEDLY recommend the water proof kindle. (If you have an older one, you can even trade it in for a discount off the newer ones!)

At Water's Edge: This was a suggestion from the Libby App, where I use my library card and checkout ebooks, I think it has completely replaced Overdrive? Or is in the process? Anyways, I filtered popular historical fiction by "available now" and this was one of the first books! I really enjoyed it, even though there's not any time travel involved (how are all of my Scottish Highland books time travel-centric? It's those damn stone circles guys.) This one is set in WWII and tells a pretty cool little story. It does take it a little while to find it's legs, but stick it out! I give it all five stars. (was I doing five stars last time? or four? I can never remember.)

The Last Days of Night: So I tend to read a lot of super long books (think Outlander) and this one started out super slow, because it was a new chapter every like. Five pages. Literally. I was on chapter 9 and page 49. It was like instead of new paragraphs we'd just start a new chapter. I am very glad I read some goodreads reviews saying this took a while to get going, because it honestly didn't start to pickup until about 60% of the way through it. Then I didn't want to put it down. The end does a nice job of tying up all of the story lines, which I guess is nice? Sometimes I feel like that's forced, to give a summary of the characters' lives after it's all over. ANYWAYS. It was very interesting and if you can get past the first hundred pages, it's worth a read.

Peril at End House; Okay, so before I left for Mexico, I downloaded a bunch of books thinking I'd get a lot of beach reading done. It was silly of me, but I did finish The Last Days of Night on the plane, and move on to another Poirot novel. HOWEVER. I had downloaded two, so I picked the wrong one first. Not that it actually matters, they're all independent. But, I digress. This one was good, I haven't gotten to a point where I can completely tell the bad guy in a Poirot novel, and I honestly love that. They're quick little reads and the twist at the end almost always surprises me. I find it hard to review these stories with a twist without giving anything away, so as always, I recommend Poirot.

The Mystery of The Blue Train: This one comes before Peril at End House but that's neither here nor there. These Agatha Christie tales of murder on the trains somehow make me want to take one of these cool train rides across Europe even more? I feel relatively safe because I don't fit into the type that tend to be murdered on the train, more the type that would become friends with Poirot in the dining car. I started to suspect who the bad guy was in this one earlier than I have in the past, but there was STILL a twist I didn't see coming. I read this one and End House in like. Two days.

Small Great Things: In high school, I devoured every Jodi Picoult novel I could get my hands on. They're like the book version of a Law and Order episode. They're not so much thrillers or mysteries as they are a kind of commentary on the crimes themselves. I had forgotten what this one was about, and then started it after the two acts of terrorism in El Paso & Dayton. This book speaks about an angry white nationalist couple and a Black nurse. It was very hard for me to start so soon after, but I am glad I did. It was clearly written for the "white savior" group, and will make you feel uncomfortable, it should. There was one character arc I hated how it wrapped up, it felt like it was too neat for me. I still give it all the stars though!

Back at the beginning of the year, I set my goodreads goal at 30 books. I'm on pace to hit that this month, so I'm going to see how far past my goal I can get. I guess I should set it higher for next year. How do y'all set your goodreads goals? I just started The Tattooist of Auschwitz because half of my reading schedule is dictated by when books come off holds at the library. What are you reading lately? Anything I should add to my stack? Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!
Life According to Steph

Can I Bring Albus: Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield

A couple of weeks ago, I got up extra early on a Saturday and I was super motivated. So I loaded Albus up for a quick little hike up Kennesaw Mountain. You would think that since I grew up in Kennesaw, went to the park every year for field trips in elementary school, drive past it every single work day, that I would remember the date of the battle. It was June 27th, 1864 and you guys will never guess what day I took Albus to hike the mountain. Go ahead, guess. Did you guess June 29th, the Saturday after the anniversary of the battle? BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE RIGHT! 

This post is not sponsored (but I would absolutely accept a National Park Annual Pass in exchange for taking Albus to all of the dog friendly ones and exploring them...) This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through one of those links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks! 
A black lab stands in front of a sign that says "Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park" with park hours below it.

So, on this fateful day. I figured the park would be busy, it wasn't TOO hot yet, but it was a Saturday morning. I pulled up and the main parking lot was full (it's always full, but I always do a loop in case I'm there at *just* the right time and someone is leaving.) Then the overflow parking was a zoo too, I lucked into a parking spot, took a very official picture of Albus squinting in front of the sign in that parking lot, then we head to the opening of the park. We start to cross the street, and only then do I see the tents set up, the canons not in their normal places, and people dressed as Union & confederate soldiers. 
a lush green field is spotted with men dressed up as union and confederate soldiers with the base of Kennesaw Mountain behind them

In case you were wondering, no, Albus was not a fan of the cannon fire or the rifles. Since we had already fought to park and made it to the welcome center, I decided that we should try to go up the mountain anyways. The hike up Kennesaw Mountain is only 1 mile, but man I struggle every time. Atlanta Trails says it's a "relatively moderate" hike. In the intro they say "Hike a strenuous 2.4 miles roundtrip on the Big Mountain Trail," so maybe it's not so easy peasey. Not sure I'm going to be trying anything they say is more difficult. 

SPEAKING of more difficult. If you're ever in the area and end up at the entrance on the back side of the mountain, they call it "Little Kennesaw Mountain" that hike is substantially more difficult and I have been glared down by a troop of Boy Scouts with those poky hike stick things (staunchly refusing to google what they're really called.) because apparently letting the large group of boys who look like they know what they're doing pass is not actually proper hiking etiquette. I always operate under "slower traffic get out of the way" 
a black lab licks his lips in anticipation of the treat the camerawoman is bribing him with, the city of Atlanta is in the distance, as they're almost at the top of the mountain

So, on your hike up, you go about .8 miles and then there's a parking lot. Fun story, the first time I took my youngest brother hiking, he got SO MAD when we found the parking lot and insisted we walk the driving path down because he didn't believe that going around the mountain would be further than straight down it. Well, by the time Albus & I reach this parking lot, I'm breathing a lot heavier than I care to admit, and I plop down on the sidewalk for both of us to take a water break. We only do easy hikes, but I keep my doggy diaper bag packed with sunscreen, an extra water bottle, a bag of BarkBox treats, and a spare roll of poop bags. I also have this really cool collapsible bowl that clips on to the leash. Obviously I needed the break more than Albus did. 
A black lab smiling with the Atlanta skyline in the distance behind him

I asked the park rangers if they would be firing the cannons on the tippy top of the mountain, because by this time I remembered all of the Kennesaw Mountain knowledge I have amassed over the years. They were also firing those, the reenactment must be historically accurate you know, so I decided we'd just head back down. It was hot and sweaty, but we ended up doing over two miles anyways because we had to walk to and from that satellite parking lot. 
a black lab with a lime green harness is startled either by the sound of cannon fire or the fact that his human is not as agile going down the mountain as he is.

Kennesaw Mountain itself, as well as the rest of the park associated with it, is all very dog friendly. A KEY thing to note though, you're gonna need to bring your own bags and be a little prepared to carry one for a while. We once accidentally went 6 miles on the Noses Creek trail looking for a trash can. There are several different trails in the park and we've done almost all of them! Maybe on our next installment of "Can I Bring Albus?" we'll talk about the dog beach where Albus made some overly serious dog dad very mad..

Have you been to Kennesaw Mountain? Do you think I'm a wimp getting winded on the trail (it's okay, I know I'm out of shape.) Is there a National Park near you that you love? Tell me about it! Also, always accepting new ideas for where to bring Albus.

What I Loved in July

There's a meme on the internet going around that has the year with January, February, and March stretched really far out and then just August. I don't know how it's back to school time already. Not that I go back to school, just that I have to fight with the school traffic.. Literally day one of back-to-school and I ended up stuck behind a school bus, while worrying about whether or not I'd make it to the gas station before running out of gas. Don't worry, I made it. With a little less than half a gallon of gas to spare. (just typing that sentence gave me anxiety.) Anywhoodles, here's what I loved in July!

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overlooking the ocean with palm trees and beach chairs, an inflatable playground is in the ocean

These packing cubes -- guys this was a game. changer. I've been carrying the same gigantic Vera Bradley duffel bag everywhere since I got it as a high school graduation present. I recently became a member of the four wheel spinny suitcase family, and that's also a game changer you guys. But these packing cubes were so great for Mexico. Not only was I able to fit everything in the suitcase, but I also didn't have clothes strewn everywhere over the hotel room. I took out whatever I wanted to wear, put my dirty clothes in the laundry bags, and so packing at the END of the trip was a breeze too!

KINDLE WATER PROOF PAPER WHITE -- you guys. I loaded this thing up with books from the library (using the Libby App, you guys should really check to see if your library uses it. I can literally check out kindle and audio books from an app on my phone, sync to my kindle, and I'm in business.) Anyways. I loaded this thing up with books for the plane and the beach before heading out on our trip. The LAST DAY of the trip, we were drinking & reading by the pool. The ground was SO hot. It was SO hot outside. So we're about to get back in the pool (WHICH WAS ALSO SO. HOT.) and I'm like "oh, my kindle is water proof so I can sit it next to the pool and it'll be fine." I forgot how hot the ground was, so my feet are burning, I'm trying to get to the edge of the pool to set my towel & kindle down AND I THREW IT INTO THE POOL ON ACCIDENT. It went all the way to the bottom of the ledge you sit on. I swear everyone around the pool stopped what they were doing and watched in slow motion. I laughed it off saying "I guess we're about to find out if it's really water proof!" While actually panicking because what if it's not? I didn't even lose my page. Here we are almost a week later and it's still juuuuuuust fine. So, wholeheartedly recommend the water proof version.

My new Teva sandals -- I wanted to be a Chaco person very badly. So badly that I've tried THREE different pairs of their shoes (thought maybe mixing up styles I would find some that didn't hurt oh so bad.) The final straw was a couple weekends ago when I tore my feet APART with the ones I wore to the dog beach. I honestly think I'll have scars from the blisters. They just don't fit my feet. So I went back to my OGs, the Tevas. Back when everyone was having a sale to compete with Amazon & Nordstrom, I searched HIGH AND LOW because I found one pattern I just loved but it was only in my size ONE place and they were full price. I could have gotten like 20% cash back on ebates (they wanted a piece of the madness too) I finally settled for a different pattern, because Academy had them for 65% off. I couldn't say no to that. I even got cashback from that purchase. I've worn them almost every day for the past three weeks you guys. Even when they're not quite the shoe for my outfit. I freaking LOVE them. I'm fully on the Teva bandwagon now.

What about y'all? What did you love in July? Do you think the four wheel spinny suitcase or the packing cubes are the best travel improvement since the wheel? Or is there something else I'm missing out on in my travels?


Hello friends. I have the post vacation blues. Last week we went to Cancun for a long girls weekend. We stayed at an all inclusive resort and now I don't think I'll be able to go to the beach without a cabana boy to bring me drinks and snacks. It really was the best. We had these matching hats and they were a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge hit you guys. People really loved them, we all took artsy instagram model pictures of us looking out over the ocean from the daybed with a drink in our hands. Coming home and having to make my own meals and pay for things was really tough... 

Without further ado, here are some photo highlights from our trip!
four women look out over the gulf of mexico wearing floppy beach hats with cute sayings

three women in snorkeling gear are mostly submerged in the ocean, smiling

a four poster bed is made up on the beach with towels and a beach bag on top of it

a mimosa is featured with the ocean shortly behind it, to show the view from breakfast

three women sitting at a bar with swings instead of barstools, their backs are to the camera and they're wearing the matching floppy beach hats

a porch hammock is in the front of the shot with the entire resort behind it, there is a pool closer to the hotel, and the ocean in the back

I might write a whole series of posts, or maybe this will be it. We may never know! We had such a blast though, I'm already ready to go back. 

Out Of Office

I found myself struggling to schedule content for this week, since Wednesday I'll be hopping on a plane for a long weekend in Cancun. I came really close to saying "I'm so sorry, I don't have anything for this week!" Which then made me think about this post from Britt. It also made me think abut the whole reason I stopped blogging for so long. I recently got instantly rejected from some other affiliate programs, so I was already feeling like I haaaaaad to post something so that I could show I was consistent or whatever. (which, I guess this little paragraph still counts towards that impulsion. You win some, you lose some) All of this is to say, I'm off to Mexico and I'll be back next week. Hasta luego amigos! 
sunday night sunset from the coca cola seats at suntrust park, home of the atlanta braves

Can I Bring Albus: Variant Brewery & Roux on Canton

We've decided it's also our mission to try all of the breweries. Just all of them. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it! This brings us to our next installment of "Can I Bring Albus?" Last Wednesday we went to Variant Brewing over in Roswell then we explored a little bit and popped into Roux on Canton for dinner. It's a cute little place and it was a new one to us!

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We immediately spotted other pups the second we walked in, the patio was great and spacious! We learned from one of the guys working, that they technically have a kitchen (used for roasting coconuts for one of their brews) so dogs are not allowed inside. They do have lots of dog treats and a cool water dispenser like you see at the airport fill up your pup's bowl (or they have some there if you don't have a cool collapsible one like this) & your own water glass. I really love the water thing, and honestly I think everyone should have them that way we can cut back on plastic bottles. 
Some high top tables and chairs in front of the logo for Variant Brewing painted on the wall
ANYWAYS. Great big spacious patio with heavy picnic tables that you can tie your pup to. Even when we have two humans, we always tie him down. The combination of his harness & 5' leash gives him room to explore but not escape. The parking is a bit limited, but it seems like that's a whole downtown Roswell thing, not any business in particular. It all seems very walkable if you end up parking downtown or somewhere else, but this was our first trip to Roswell.... Since we were there on a Wednesday, we didn't have any trouble finding parking. 

Kasey and Albus smile for the camera on the patio at Variant Brewing
We had a couple of beers, which were all very tasty. 5 stars all around on Untappd. The bar staff was super friendly and knowledgeable (at one point I ordered "your darkest and maltiest beer" and they didn't hesitate to pour us one.) They were also super laid back, again it's a Wednesday so probably not the busiest night, and they took time to talk to you outside while they were clearing glasses from outside. 
Albus licks his lips thinking that the delicious treats are being brought for him (they're not)

After a couple rounds of beer, we made our way into the downtown area for dinner. We decided on Roux on Canton and even got to sit at a special seeming table where Albus made sure to get pets from literally every person walking by on the sidewalk. Roux is a cute little southern restaurant with a great beer and cocktail list. We had "The Dip" which was incredible, then Meatloaf and a Cuban sandwich and topped it off with some Beginets and oh my goodness was it delicious.
Two cocktails (an old fashioned and a moscow mule) sitting on the table
That's it for this installation of Can I Bring Albus? Do you have any suggestions for where we should go next? What's your favorite Atlanta brewery? Should we bump it up over our next one?

3 Things Owning A Home Has Taught Me

A fun way for me to remember Albus' birthday, is that he was born the day before I closed on my house. (Fun fact, I was supposed to have closed on my house on June 15th but someone at the broker's office wrote the date down wrong, and my dad, who was my agent, was going out of the country the day after our original closing date. So my mortgage broker came to the closing with me instead.) So that means I've been a homeowner for three whole years now. I have learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Here are the three biggest things I've learned in the last three years.

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kasey shaking champagne after buying her house

WHATEVER YOU THINK A PROJECT WILL COST: DOUBLE IT: One day, in August the first year I bought the house, I want to say the week before my housewarming party? I hadn't brought Albus home yet, so it had to be very early. I came home for lunch and heard a dripping sound. I went down into the basement to discover it was raining directly under the bathroom. I called the plumber who managed to get there that afternoon and install a little valve to turn the water to the shower off and on in the meantime before he could get back to fix the actual problem. FUN FACT, the house was built in the 60's, so our plumbing is cast iron. What would have been a simple fix for regular pipes required ALL of the pipes around the tub to be replaced. $500 later, we decided that we would replace the tile and drywall around the shower. Three years later, there's still a hole in the drywall. It's on the to-do list, I swear.

If you follow along on instagram, you've probably seen the saga that has been my fight with the English Ivy the people who lived there before us planted. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T PLANT THAT TRASH. I'm begging you. I have been FIGHTING it for three years now and it still just POPS up out of nowhere. It shows up in the siding of the house, it's growing up the giant live oak, but it hasn't killed it yet, so that's nice I suppose. If you're from my neck of the woods, this stuff is like Kudzu but is somehow still on the damn shelves at Home Depot. 

EVERYTHING COMES IN THREES: Much like celebrity deaths, big problems have always come in threes for me. As mentioned before, very expensive threes. Most recently,  we upgraded our bed, but we sold ours before the new one came in. So we were in the guest bedroom, which is just a full mattress. Sorry to all of my guests, I really didn't realize how small of a bed that was until I was used to a queen. You can read all about the mattress saga here & here. Then, while I was washing the new linens for our king size bed, there was a gushing coming out from behind the washing machine. Remember how I said cast iron pipes? Well the reason they don't use those anymore, is because they rust. So the pipes finally clogged up with rust. We snaked them and it seemed to drain juuust fine. So I got that running, and went to run the dishwasher. Which was full of smelly old water. Turns out, the motor went out of that AND the sink was draining into it. Keep in mind, this all happened in the span of three days. Y'all. I thought I was going to lose it. We ordered the new dishwasher (which of course didn't use the same hoses as the old one, even though it was the exact same dishwasher but see lesson number 1.
a living room with an abstract painting and a painting of wonder woman

DON'T TRY TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE: I have pinterest board after board of projects I want to do. I spend hours looking at closet organizational systems, shelves I could totally do myself, cool decorative things, a better chicken coop so the owls don't eat the chickens, raised beds so we don't have to buy vegetables anymore. I would start to try to do one thing and then I would get overwhelmed because the weeds were growing too fast for me to clean out a room in the house and then the house was getting to disorganized for me to spend all weekend doing yard work. It's almost like a hamster wheel if you don't make yourself some reasonable plans.

We've started focusing on one room at a time. We've aaaaalmost got the living room the way we like it. New couch, furniture rearranged, OG boat door for a coffee table, now we just need to get the TV mounted & bring the record player in and the living room will be D O N E. I installed our Nest thermostat ALL BY MYSELF* with the help of a youtube video. Maybe an extra thing I have learned is that I can do a lot of things by myself and now with some help. We've also installed a new ceiling fan and a storm door! Our next project, I think, will be the kitchen. We have minimal cabinet and counter space so I've been studying organizational racks for the pots and pans. I also REALLY need to deal with my closet/office space if I want to start writing blogs at my desk and not using a fun little lap desk like a 10 year old.. I've got a plan for the chicken coop too, but I keep telling myself that's a project for when it's NOT the middle of a heat wave. Along with all of the yard things. So, so many yard things. Home Depot/Lowe's, wanna sponsor some DIY home improvement posts? I'm sure the minute we get everything just right will be the minute someone makes an offer we can't refuse causing us to move and start all over again.

So these are the biggest lessons owning a home has taught me. Do you have any homeowner stories for me? Tips and tricks? Cabinet storage ideas? We really need a pantry but there's just nowhere to put one... Did anyone notice I didn't put fix the hole in the wall in the shower on that list of projects I want to tackle next? Are we surprised it's been there for three years anymore? 

What I Read In June

Hello, I am still trying to dry out from this weekend. We played very hard at the lake and it was the best time and I made it all the way until Sunday afternoon before I got sunburnt, so that's gotta count for something. Today I'm rounding up what I read in June for Show Us Your Books! I had a much slower month than last month but I still had some good ones! Whenever I have holds at the library, they all seem to come free at the same exact time, does that happen to y'all too? My library is now closed for renovations so I have no idea where my holds will be when they're free...... 

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Little Fires Everywhere: I really enjoyed this but I also really hated Mrs. Richardson. It took me a while to decide that, but man she was the worst. Only worried about her reputation, not paying attention to what her kids were up to, and Isabelle man, she got the brunt of all of that. This one lived up to the hype, and I definitely recommend reading it. I actually had picked it up for a book club that I ended up missing for pizza...

Born a Crime: I had seen this one a few times and then decided to pick it up after so many people talked about it last month on this linkup, I really enjoyed it! I feel a little iffy on memoirs sometimes, because I really like stories about pretend people, and the sad things are more sad when you know it's a real person? I really liked how his sense of humor came through in his writing and the way he didn't gloss over the ugly bits. I recommend this one too!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: So, when Born A Crime came off of holds at the library book, this one did too. Of course. It took me a little while to get through the first one, then I got an e-mail from the library saying this one was due back in two days. I tried to renew it, but other people were waiting on it, so I had to read it super fast. I literally sat down and read almost the entire thing in one night. It was so good, I laughed, I cried, I felt all the things. This one has been recommended to me several times lately, but most recently by Emelia. I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend this one!

That's it! That's all I read in June. It wasn't one of my bigger reading months and I don't really know why, I carried my books with me everywhere I went. We'll see how July turns out, right now I'm reading At The Water's Edge because I just can't resist a book set in the Scottish Highlands. What are you reading?

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

June Coffee Date

Let's pretend we're drinking coffee right now, even though I had a coke instead because we had too much fun at date night last night. I've been dealing with a bit of writers block lately? I have a lot of things I want to talk about I just struggle finishing them. I wrote a whole long draft about that #WhereIsGabe engagement thing, but didn't post it because I got some more information and the whole thing I was upset about was not the thing worth being upset about.. 

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If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I just booked my flight to Cancun for next month, and I definitely should have gone with my gut and booked way back in March. You live, you learn, you pay $350 more for the flight than you should have. It's cooooool. I would ask what your packing tips are, I usually fly southwest so I can check bags fo'free, but we're flying Delta, because it's international. So I don't know if I want to pay to check my bag, we're going for 5 days and I'm prettyyy sure I can get all of that luggage in a carry on. I'm thinking about getting some packing cubes, I've never used them before but everyone raaaaves. I'm also, maybe, in the market for one more swimsuit...

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I've had a slow reading month compared to last month. I'm on my third book for June, so maybe I'll finish that one. I'm currently reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo but I'm only on page 12 or something silly. I don't know what I'll read next though, any suggestions, in case I finish this one?

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I'm working on some more adventures for Can I Bring Albus? maybe mixing it up with not just breweries but using it as an excuse to go back to Fetch.. I realize that's a dog BARk and obviously pet friendly, but I mean it's a good excuse to go back anyways, right?

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I've been feeling very overwhelmed for who knows what reason. It's a super cool feature of my anxiety. It's a vicious little cycle, I'm overwhelmed and anxious, but don't know the reason, then I get more overwhelmed and anxious because I don't know the source. I've been working on "training" for the Peachtree next week, so that's been a helpful way to get out of my own head, and Chelsea has been saying all the things I need to hear in her pep talks lately. 

Speaking of the Peachtree, if we were having coffee, I would need your help! I've been struggling to pick out a tank top for this year's race. It's been tough to live up to the "raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by King George III" I found year before last. Since the race is on Thursday, maybe I can just re-wear that one for #TBT? I've also giggled at this Elle Woods quote, this hide & seek world champion, or maybe one from Luke's Diner?  I don't know. In the past, I've seen one and been like, YUP that's the one! This year, I'm running out of time, and I don't have anything. Help pleaaaaase. 

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Friday Favorites

HAPPY FRIDAY! This has been the longest week, since the last time I said it was the longest week. Every day this week has felt like Friday, except for today. So, I thought I'd share some Friday Favorites! 

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This Sunday, Albus turns THREE YEARS OLD. That's 21 in dog years. Of course his birthday happens to fall on Father's Day this year, so we'll have to get a little creative with the celebration. I saved his BarkBox to open on Sunday and I think I might make him some pupcakes. Last year I got this Nerf Gun, which was just as much a present for me as it was for Albus... I feel like since I held the BarkBox, I don't need to get him a toy. Maybe a dapper new collar? I'm really cutting it close here on a birthday present...

Last night, Taylor Swift dropped a new single, and I am a fan. I've almost listened to it enough times to know all of the words at this point...

I started reading Born A Crime last night, because my library is silly about their hold times. I'll put books on hold and they say "oh it'll be about two months" and then a week later I get an email saying my books are ready, so I also picked up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so it's a big reading weekend for me this weekend!

I've also been LOVING Influenced the Podcast -- I am very late to the whole podcast bandwagon, I have a hard time focusing on people talking while I'm driving, but I love this one! Everyone should listen to it, blogger or not. It's fun and I honestly feel like I'm just chatting with a couple of friends while I drive home. In case you're wondering, sometimes I do respond out loud. It gets a little weird when I have the top down and it happens at a light. I just lean into it & pretend I'm on call on the bluetooth (which my car doesn't even have hahahahaha)

Also, bonus, one thing I'm not loving. My instagram engagement has been super weird, so I tried to task myself with posting something every day in June, to see if maybe consistency would make it better? Then I got so stressed out trying to come up with something I wanted to post on Wednesday of this week, that I let myself not accomplish that goal. I don't want to put any kind of content out there that's half assed or forced. (A thing Lindsay & Christine hit on in the podcast that day, maybe they're related....) Have you been fighting with Instagram lately too?

What have you been loving lately?

What I Read in May (and a little bit of April...)

I wrote my April reading recap before the month ended, you know because it was World Book Day. It was just right there, had to do it. So today I'm talking about everything I read after that post and in May. I mentioned that I discovered the library app for ebooks and I have essentially turned into a real life version of Belle, with my nose literally always in a book. It's too easy, I have them right there in front of me! I'm also linking up for Show Us Your Books this month! I haven't figured out a catchy way to give my rankings, so I guess I'll just go with stars for now. Maybe baseballs? Is that cheesy? It feels cheesy.

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The Other Einstein: I honestly didn't even know Einstein was married before I read this book. I really identified with the main character and watched her as she kind of lost herself in her marriage. (Not that I've lost myself in a marriage, obviously, just a pretty substantial fear I have as an Aquarius.) This one kind of broke my heart and mended it again. I loved the undertone of strong female friendships in there, I give it all five stars. I would definitely recommend it.

The Little Paris Bookshop: This one has been in my "books you might like" suggestion forEVER. My mom even told me to read it. Y'all. It should have ended about 80 pages before it did. It was heartbreaking several times over and that was really uncalled for. Like, every time you think "okay, things are looking up" they stop looking up. I almost quit several times because it kept happening. I really did like the arch of the book barge and the writer that the main character ends up basically adopting. There was just too much to this book. It would have been 5 stars if it had ended sooner than it did. Overall, I give it 3 stars.

Poirot Investigates: I mentioned that I've decided I'm just going to read all of the Hercule Poirot stories, and aside from reading the Murder on the Orient Express out of order, I'm reading them all in order. This is the third of the Poirot novels, and it's a fun collection of Hastings being a sidekick. I really love Hastings's character in these series, and it's always fun to read his side of things. None of the stories takes more than 15-20 minutes to read, so it was a good one to read in the between times. I give it all five stars. (I'm really bad about giving everything five stars, this may be an issue..

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: This is the fourth book in the Poirot series. I learned from goodreads that it's the one from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and after reading it, I can see why. If you're only going to try one Poirot novel, it should be this one. I don't think you'll be able to stick to just one Poirot novel after finishing it. I can usually figure out the twist, but I didn't see this one coming. Five stars!

The Big Four: ANOTHER Poirot novel! This one was a little different than the other ones I've read so far, a little more adventure and action compared to the focus on solving sneaky crimes. I tore through this one too, I think it took me two days. I decided after finishing this one to switch to another book that's not Poirot. I think I was getting in too deep with the mysteries. ANYWAYS. I give this one five stars too, because I have a problem.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: This one slowed me down a little, I have a hard time reading books written in any kind of accent that isn't mine. I really loved the story though, I also learned that this author's work disappeared for a couple of decades and was brought back to light by the author's biographer! I loved this story because it just felt so real. Sometimes stories have a happy ending and you're just like "yeah, that's not realistic" and some stories just seem like a genuine experience. This one is a genuine experience, and it'll break your heart a little bit. Five stars!

Burial Rites: I actually came across this one while seeing what everyone read on Show Us Your Books last month, and there was a wait list at the library, so I joined it. All of the holds I have are like 6 months out, so I was really surprised when I received the email that this one had been added to my shelf! The description of this book reminded me a little of Alias Grace, for some reason I really love the term murderess. It's right up there with a new word I learned since I've started reading the applications for variances, executrix. How fun is that? ANYWAYS. I liked this one, the story is told in two parts, and you really start to feel for the main characters. It was interesting to see them grow and I really did enjoy this one! I'd give it five stars too! (maybe this is why I haven't been nominated as a Yelp! Elite reviewer....)

The Paris Wife: This one broke my heart too. I knew about all of Hemingway's wives, like I learned about them and all of his women in a blurb. Maybe even a little in that Midnight in Paris movie. They were always an aside, but I learned so much about the relationship he and Hadley had and when I finished it, I was literally just ugly sobbing all over the place. I don't know if it's just because they were real people or what, but it's told so well that you're going to get invested in all of these folks' lives. I absolutely loved it.

Then She Was Gone: I picked this one up because Chelsea wrote in her review "All the things I want to say are spoilers" so I felt like I had to read it, if just to talk about it with her. I agree with her assessment, it's one I want to talk about but I can't tell you anything about it or it might spoil the ending. I loved that it was a quick, easy read, and that the whole story kind of builds and slowly untangles the story lines, I think it was very well written and if you're at all into mysteries, you should check it out. All the stars!

PHEW. That was a lot of books y'all. I'm slowly becoming a bit of a shut in, and I'm kind of okay with it? Anyways! I'm linking up for Show Us Your Books this week! So make sure to pop over there and see what everyone else is reading. Do you have anything I should add to my TBR stack? I'm about halfway through Little Fires Everywhere so I'll need a new book soon! What have you been reading?
Life According to Steph