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.

This post contains affiliate links, that means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. If you would prefer a non-affiliate link, I can provide you with one.

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

Can I Bring Albus? - Red Hare Brewing Company

I had so much fun rounding up my favorite dog friendly PATIOS on the Marietta Square (I emphasized patios because the City of Marietta shared my post (!!!!) and some guy commented "It's a great list and all, but you forgot Bark Street Petopia! It's the best place for dogs" It's true, I did leave them off, because you could clearly tell the list was my favorite human places that Albus gets to come along to. Bark Street is a boutique pet store. Anywhoodles) Without further ado, let's get down to the first edition of Can I Bring Albus? -- Red Hare Brewing Company
dog in front of red hare rabbit logo on bar
I have been a fan of Red Hare for years, and not just because it's super close to my house. They have a cool little spot towards the back of an industrial park, right across the street from a Mayfield Dairy, complete with a giant cow. Red Hare has an ever growing beer selection, my current favorite is the SPF 50/50 Lemon Lime - soo tasty and refreshing, and very light. The 50/50 is described as "A light, refreshing blend of IPA and lemon & lime juice. Sweet citrus zest mingles perfectly with citrusy hop notes." on Untappd  (PS, anyone else on Untappd? I freaking love that app, because I'm a beer nerd. We should be friends if you are! I'm always looking for a new brew)
pint glass of Red Hare's SPF 50/50 Lemon Lime Beer
They've been working on the patio out there, every time I've been there's been something new. There's a lot of space, plenty of shade, seating gets tight on busier nights, but you can usually snag a chair. They have a court for horse shoes and corn hole too! Dogs are allowed both on the patio AND inside the taproom. Last time we were there, the bartender tried to get Albus to jump up like he was ordering a beer himself, but he absolutely refused and just showed her all of his other tricks instead. Silly little nugget. She had a secret stash of puppy treats, they have water bowls available if you don't bring your own, and they have a poop bag dispenser in case you accidentally run out and there's a smelly situation. (Running out of poop bags is a legitimate fear of mine, I keep an extra roll stashed away everywhere)
Albus, a black lab, stares thoughtfully into the distance
Red Hare is kid friendly, they even have a root beer on tap, so I would keep that in mind if your pup is a little hesitant around the tiny humans. Albus loves them so I only get a little stressed out if there are a bunch of unsupervised ones running around. Red Hare is a brewery you've intended to go to, like there's not really anything else close, so you have fewer kids than say Glover Park where you can walk there from a lot of other kid friendly places. They are closed on Monday, something I forget pretty regularly and try to swing by for some brews to be disappointed. 

Have you been to Red Hare? What are your thoughts? Want to go tonight? Where should we go next on Can I Bring Albus

May Highlights

You'll have to wait a little while longer to hear about all the books I read in May (it was a ton. Having the library app on my phone has turned me into a book monster...) I thought instead I'd talk about all the things I loved in May. I love the way Becca does her monthly recaps, so she's my inspiration for this post! (I mean this quite literally, I read hers and thought "oh I loved a lot of things in May also!


We caught THREE Braves games, sat in three completely different parts of the ballpark. We even got in line early enough for the giveaways at two games: new hats & bobbleheads, CHECK!  
We drank plenty of beer, with and without Albus. Jeff Francouer did a specialty brew at the Terrapin BrewLab and so we obviously had to try that. Also, RedHare released a summer 50/50 that you need to try. Don't forget the Naturday!
The pool is OFFICIALLY OPEN. You will be able to find me here all summer long. I'll be keeping the sunscreen industry in business and tearing through my library books while camped out under the umbrella. I am also going to up my collection of fun pool toys this year, I see a pizza slice float in my very near future. I got this float swimsuit from amazon! affiliate links 
We took a quick little girl's day trip up to Ott Family Vineyards -- sampled some wine, had some snacks, enjoyed the views. It wasn't a bad drive from Marietta at all, maybe 90 minutes if I had gone straight through (I stopped in Woodstock to pick up my mom & grandmother) They're currently adding some space to make it an even prettier backdrop for weddings, the place was huge & my first (hopefully of many) visits to a Georgia vineyard. We volunteered to help them harvest the grapes in September.....


We installed a new storm door on the house! We've been tackling tiny little home improvement projects, one weekend at a time. This door came with an "oops free installation guarantee!"and we only managed to install it backwards once... Albus looooves it because he can sit and keep an eye on all of the neighborhood cats hanging around to torment him. 

I took the doors off the Jeep for the first time, discovered they're much heavier than they should be, and putting them back on nearly put me over the edge. I used all of my favorite four letter words to help get them back on. I will have to reassess before I take them off again... I put them back on because I kept having dreams about a cat having kittens in the car. It's one of the many days I do wish we had a garage..

All in all, we had a very eventful May and June is shaping up to be even more eventful, if that's possible. We have game four of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight (let's go Blues!) and I have become a fully dedicated Blues fan in the last year or so. Plus we have a wedding, ALBUS TURNS THREE YEARS OLD, and we might even try to catch Bark in the Park. I am looooving summer, how about you? 

Recent Amazon Favorites

It's the LAST DAY OF MAY. I'm not sure about y'all, but this has been the loooongest week for me. I always struggle with the shorter ones. It doesn't help that I did things on TWO school nights this week, with the whole Memorial Day/Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday, then we went to a Braves game AND had Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. I am going to sleep all weekend.

This post contains affiliate links, that means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. 

Here are some of my recent Amazon purchases that I've been loving!

THESE SHEETS - Lindsay recommended them after my coffee date post and holy. cow. we've only slept on them a few times, but they're so soft and they sleep so much cooler than our other ones. I'm absolutely going to be buying a new set to be our actual second set of sheets. 

THIS SWIMSUIT - The top is a little too big, but that's what happens when you have to order the top & bottom in the same size. It's also not so big to think the smaller size would have fit. HOWEVER. it's super cute and very much in my budget. 

THESE HAIRBRUSHES - I have zero explanation for why I've avoided the Wet Brush until now, but holy cow these are a game changer. My hair gets super tangled because I'm always riding with the windows down and top off and apparently a very fitful sleeper. These brushes don't yank at the tangles in my hair, they just gently work them out. It's amazing.

Also, back in December I swapped out my old Kindle for the Waterproof Paper White, which I've been carrying everywhere with me now that I don't have to worry about a spilled beer or someone doing a cannonball into the pool and destroying it. I haven't been brave enough to actually take it on a float with me yet, but I'm sure we'll get there this summer.

Also, I've been using these sweatproof, SkullCandy bluetooth headphones and my water proof speaker from JBL everywhere I go. Are we noticing a trend? I'm always on the water and worried about dropping things in it.

Have y'all come across any cool finds lately? I'm in the market for a new purse, and I think I want to go the backpack route. I'm worried about it looking like a diaper bag (even though I have almost bought a diaper bag several times because THEY HAVE THE BEST POCKETS) So send me any recommendations you have there! I literally carried the same cross body, fringe bag I bought at the Goodwill for 6 years, until it finally fell apart. So I'm apparently very bag loyal... 

My Favorite Dog Friendly Marietta Square Spots

I've seen a bunch of posts about "dog friendly spots in your neighborhood" and I don't feel like they're doing justice to all of the pup friendly places. So I've put together my own! Here are my favorite places to take Albus on the Marietta Square, in no particular order.

Marietta Pizza Company // this was our go-to for the longest time. It's the first (dog friendly) place we come to as we hit the Square. They sell by the slice all the time (not just at lunch, like a lot of pizza places) so it's super easy to walk up for a slice, salad, and a couple of beers. They have a ton of different options, their salad portions are big enough to share, the staff is great, I've honestly never had a bad experience there. Fun fact: they also deliver and the day I bought my house, we had moved in the mattress and box springs (just set straight on the floor) and like, four lawn chairs. We had no food, but plenty of booze in the fridge, so we called up to order pizza. Apparently we sounded like we needed sustenance because the kid who delivered our bacon pizza also brought us a giant handful of saltine crackers. There are pictures of this somewhere, I just can't find them. ANYWAYS. I love the Pizza Company, they have a good mix of local brews, unique brews, and your run of the mill beers too. Something for everyone!

Hemmingway's // Hemmingway's has a really cool patio situation, it's set up in the alley between their block of the Square and the next block. The vibe here is very laid back, they have live music on the weekends, and you have to go down into a kind of scary, but really cool basement to use the restroom. One time, we had Albus with us, and the kid at the table next to us was TERRIFIED. His mom explained that he was scared of dogs. So I had Albus come sit on the other side, but when the kid saw how calm Albus was, he gradually warmed up to him, and by the end of the night was tossing him treats for high fives. I still consider this one of my greatest accomplishments.

WR Social House // TRY THE FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. TRUST ME. I am a big fan of the Social House. They've recently come under new ownership, but have kept roughly the same menu. Their bartenders are really creative and come up with some cool cocktails. The last time I was there, I had a cucumber infused vodka water, y'all it was so good and refreshing. ALSO, they have giant umbrellas on their patio, so it's very easy to anchor the dog's leash. This is a thing I'm *always* looking for in a dog friendly place, because they're rarely allowed to come inside.

Their Saturday brunch menu is fantastic, over the holidays they did the whole Christmas themed inside and made this monkey bread that was INCREDIBLE. Plus, they have mimosa & bloody mary specials.

Taqueria Tsunami // They've been working on the sidewalks around the Square, and recently re-did the one in front of Tsunami, I haven't been since then, but even before it was awesome. Taqueria Tsunami does an Asian/Mexican fusion, and their menu is great. I love the edamame, their margarita selection, and the fact that I can get tater tots with queso as a side, because I have the pallet of an 8-year-old. Fun story: once I was there with some friends and actually ordered the exact same thing as their daughter, who was in second grade at the time. #OnBrand

Their patio wraps around the side of the building, but on Tuesdays in the summer, the Australian Bakery next door "hosts" a bluegrass jam session. Which is exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of bluegrass musicians out on the patio just jamming. Usually when people snag one of these patio tables on bluegrass night, they stay for a while.
albus and little bear at glover park brewery

Glover Park Brewery // If you didn't see this one coming, you clearly don't follow me (or Albus) on instagram. This place opened up in September of 2018, so it's still relatively new and growing. They have a huuuuge back patio with several sturdy tables to anchor the pups to. They have different food trucks every night, music on Fridays, and a jazz jam session on Sundays. On Wednesdays they have Singo! We haven't won yet, but I'm pretty sure if I just keep going that we will, statistically, win.

They're closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, but open the rest of the week. They even have their own dogs at the brewery instagram. If you're ever on the Square and looking to grab a beer, Albus & I will ALWAYS walk up to meet you.
albus tries to drink my beer at Johnnie MacCracken's

Johnnie MacCracken's // Before Glover Park opened, this was our go-to beer drinking with the pup location. They pride themselves on being a dive bar, so you have to expect the dive bar things with this place, they're very authentic. They have two sides, one is non-smoking and kid friendly, the patio on the sidewalk is all part of this. There are rails to tie the pups to up there. There's also a beer garden out behind the bar, but it's on the smoking allowed, 21+ side. Their menu is good, Irish Pub food, and they have a VERY extensive beer list.

I do want to warn you, that in addition to the whole smoking allowed side, they're very favorable to their regulars. It gets pretty wild on Friday and Saturday nights, but it's a great little beer garden in the afternoon.
albus goes to see the marietta square market trolley car

Marietta Square Market // Dogs are only allowed on the patio here, which is normally a "duh" thing but, since it's a food hall sort of place, I feel like maybe I need to say that first. It's a place where you'll need two humans so that someone can go in and get the food. However, the food here is awesome. I am a little biased, since my boyfriend is the kitchen manager for Forno Vero. You should definitely go see him, try the crostini, they're amazing. They also have the anchor bar, so you should pop by for a cocktail or two. Their cocktails are well thought out and really tasty.

I've had a little bit of every place in there, and I recommend you do the same thing. You can get everything from burgers to lobster rolls to crepes to Thai street food. It's so good you guys.

Cool Beans Coffee Roasters // I love Cool Beans. These folks love coffee. They travel the world to bring you the best coffee beans, and they don't make you feel like an idiot if you don't know what you want. It's affordable, always smells divine, and they have this huuuge patio space out back. It backs up to Hemmingway's and the Marietta Welcome Center/Museum. PLUS your dogs are allowed to go INSIDE.

I'm thinking of continuing this series, maybe doing individual posts on our extra favorites *cough* breweries *cough* Would y'all be into something like that? I'm obviously going to call the series "Can I Bring Albus?" so that when I write my memoir, I have an outline for it...

Have you been to any of my favorite haunts? Also, do you have any tips for taking pictures of a black dog? Poor guy always blends into the background.

Just Because You Don't Experience Something, Doesn't Mean It's Not Real

So, the other day I was mindlessly scrolling facebook, instead of working. I came across a post someone shared in one of those "groups" you're never really sure how you ended up in? It was about Danielle Steele and her eighty bajillion novels, sleeping 4 hours and working TWENTY HOURS A DAY, and how she thinks burnout is a myth. The person who shared the article prefaced it with "What do you think? Is burnout just a millennial...." then I rage blacked out because the easiest way to push me over the edge is to blame anything on us as a generation. I didn't read the article, because I wasn't going to give traffic to some clickbait shit that made me mad. So here we are, halfway through Mental Health Awareness month, and we're saying this documented and studied form of stress, depression, and anxiety is a "millennial affliction"

this blog is about burnout, so here are some flowers to make it better.
This made me mad, so in true "millennial fashion" I'm going to blog about it. Just because you, Danielle Steele, don't experience something, doesn't make it a made up thing. I don't suffer from multiple personality disorder, but that doesn't mean it's not real. I've never experienced Postpartum Depression, but that doesn't mean it's not real. If you've made it through your career and you've never experienced burnout or impostor syndrome, that is GREAT for you. Really, kudos, congratulations! That doesn't give you the right to belittle someone else's experience, let alone something that nearly an entire generation of people are suffering from. 

This may be a "millennial affliction" because we're hyper aware of the way things are, thanks to our good friend the Internet. We're living in a 24 hour news cycle of just bad stuff all the time, then we're told that our opinions don't matter. That we're entitled, lazy, oversensitive, dramatic, have no work ethic, etc. We're told that we can't buy houses because we eat avocado toast. Blatantly ignoring the crippling student loan debt and wage stagnancy we're trapped under. Asking to be paid better, have affordable health care, that's just our entitlement talking. We're a generation of grown ass people and anytime we express any kind of emotion, be it passion or anger, it's our entitlement. This paragraph took a turn I wasn't expecting. I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS OKAY. 

We are sensitive, overall, as a generation. That's not a weakness. Empathy is not a weakness. Wanting to make the world a better place is not a character flaw. So if you're suffering from burnout, because I know I have, don't let the muggles get you down. Wanting to be able to clock out, and enjoy your life is not a flaw. This is something every generation has struggled with, we've just put words to it. If saying "hey, this isn't how this should be" is entitlement, then fine. We're entitled. It's not our fault, we were raised to believe we could do anything we set our minds to. 

This is a very stream of consciousness post. I rage-typed some stuff and deleted it, you know since the Internet is forever. I just feel like we have enough to deal with right now, let's not add some bullshit narrative on top of it. Don't say "oh millennials are killing restaurants" and then ALSO say "you're entitled if you think that you should be able to afford to spend money on cable bills or eating out at restaurants as a twenty something. You have to work 40 years to be comfortable" You can't have it both ways, sorry. 

In summary: your feeling of exhaustion, depression, anxiety from overworking and overstressing yourself is valid. Take whatever kind of break you can. If you don't feel valued or appreciated at work, and you can move to a different job, by all means, DO IT. Let them call us entitled. Let them call us lazy. We're out here doing our best and that's all we can do. If you made it this far, thanks for reading my typical millennial rant. I appreciate ya. 

May Coffee Date

So, the last week, I had the most "lame grown up" dream ever. In my dream. Cobb county had announced a sweeping road resurfacing project and actively ignored the giant potholes by our house. I woke up mad as hell, then realized it was a dream and was mad for several other reasons. If that isn't the most lame, grown up thing to have nightmares about, I honestly don't know what is. I'm having a little writer's block, so I thought we'd have a little coffee date. My coffee is still a little too hot because I have this Mammoth tumbler and it almost works too well.
This post contains affiliate links, that means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. If you would like the non-affiliate link, I will be more than happy to provide that to you.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that downloading the library's ebook app has really enabled me to read more than I could have imagined, and that I'm already up to 14 books this year (14.5 if you count the one I'm reading now...) I set myself a goodreads challenge of 30 books, but I'm thinking I might surpass that, should I change my goal or just see how far over it I can go? Right now I'm working my way through another Hercule Poirot novel. I think I just might read all of them... 

If we were having coffee, I would ask for advice on a new ceiling fan. The one in our master bedroom has two speeds: fast enough to where you think the room might take flight and off. There's no in between. We need the fan because we got a Nest thermostat for Christmas and I take it as a challenge to get as many leaf days in a row as possible. I'm a monster. Oh and also so that we're saving money and energy or whatever.. Anyways, what we're looking for is something sleek and relatively small, because we have a small bedroom. But I'm also not trying to spend more than $100. Coincidentally, every ceiling fan I like seems to be $169. 

If we were having coffee, I would ask if you've tried the Naturday yet. I don't care that it's a Natty, it is DELICIOUS. It tastes like straight strawberry lemonade, but it's a beer! It's perfect for sitting by the pool or on the back porch. SUPER refreshing. So good guys. Plus, I bought a 30 pack at Kroger for $18, I mean, you can't beat that. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how much I love our new storm door. It's amazing how much brighter the living room is with what essentially amounts to another window. It took us longer to install it than we thought, and the promise of  "oops free installation" was false (we may have put the hinge on backwards the first time & didn't realize it until we had mounted it to the door frame and couldn't open it.......) but it's awesome. And we can slide the little glass pane up to let the breeze in. I love it! 

If we were having coffee, I would also ask for sheet suggestions. We have white sheets right now and I just don't see that going well for us. Albus likes to run outside and then immediately jump into the bed, so I don't know how much longer we'll be able to wash the mud out of them without the stain sticking around. Also are there such thing as cooling sheets? I sleep REAL hot, I bought these magic cooling gel pillows, which was a good start. 

What would you tell me if we were having coffee? 

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I'm really not sure how we made it to May already. Wasn't it New Year's like, last week? We're on pace to set a record high temperatures here today in Georgia and I chickened out taking the doors off Penny Lane, the Jeep, because I was very unsure of my upper body strength. If you've been following me on instagram you'll know that some of my flowers are blooming! I have a super power, that is my ability to kill every plant I want to keep alive and somehow the weeds I try to kill stay thriving. I always spend somewhere around $100 any time I walk into a garden center, I love flowers. They just don't always love me back.

We had a rather wet April AND March this year, plenty of pollen, so the flowers I do have in my garden right now are THRIVING and I need to document it. So, without further ado, please enjoy some of my favorite flowers blooming at this exact moment. 

Yes. There are lots of weeds in all of these beds. I'm fighting a constant battle with them, but my end goal is to get the beds, especially in front of the house, to look like a cottage garden. The cottage garden look is almost an over planted bed, so there are just flowers EVERYWHERE. No need for mulch and you either don't have or can't see the weeds. Patience isn't my strongest virtue, so I have to keep telling myself that plants take three years to really be happy. First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap. 

Standby, because coming your way very soon will be the adventure I undertake trying to build my own raised bed to plant vegetables in. I'm sure my retelling of however it's going to go down won't be quite as hilarious as the actual activity, but you know I'm an accident waiting to happen. How are your gardens doing? 

World Book Day: What I've Read in April

Happy Tuesday friends! Today is World Book Day! I will be celebrating by finishing the second book I checked out from the library on Saturday. I literally devoured the first book I checked out. It was a nasty day, so I had good reason to not be doing any yard work, and I literally read the whole thing. Start to finish. I couldn't put it down. 
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Finishing those three books in under a week will put me at 11 for the year, which is 37% of my 2019 Goodreads goal of 30 books (!!!!!!!!!) Part of my new plan to be debt free, is to spend more time at my library. The main Cobb County branch is literally walking distance from my house, so I really don't have an excuse for waiting almost three years before getting my library card. HOWEVER now that I have rectified that situation, I see a lot more reading in my future. Our library participates in the Overdrive program, so I can even borrow eBooks from the library, without even having to leave my house. That's how I downloaded my most recent book, since I finished Kindred in one afternoon. 

Without further ado, here's a recap of what I've read so far in April!

The Sisters Chase: I actually had this sitting in my house, still in the saran wrap from Book of the Month in like, June of 2017. I'm very bad about buying books and then letting them sit on my to-be-read shelf for entirely too long. ANYWAYS. This story is told in a bit of a back and forth timeline, which was kind of hard to follow at the beginning. It's the tale of two sisters, with a pretty substantial age difference, surviving as best they can after their mother dies. Mary, the eldest sister, does her best to take care of her younger sister, who she calls Bunny. There's a big secret that she's trying to hide, that you slowly learn throughout the flashbacks. It's a great twist, but it was a little predictable? However, I'm no fun to watch crime drama with, because I usually guess who did it in the first ten minutes, based on the pattern the shows seem to follow. It was a well written book though, I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Where the Desert Meets the Sea: Every month, I get an e-mail from Amazon with a handful of new release books for Kindle/Prime users to read for free. This was one of those books! It's a tale of a Holocaust survivor who seeks refuge in Palestine. There was a lot of underlying violence in this book, I don't think I realized that it was about the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews over Jerusalem, and I honestly wanted SO bad for the main characters to get even the slightest break from all of the violence in their lives. It's a heartbreaking story, but I learned a lot about post-WWII Palestine/Israel and some of the things that have led to the current situation there. I ended up giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. 

Kindred: I added a few of Octavia Butler's books to my "want to read" list back in February, when I learned about her in an article about Black authors you may not know a lot about. This is actually the first science fiction book written by a black woman. As I've mentioned, I absolutely devoured it. I couldn't put it down. The main character, Dana, is a modern woman who keeps getting transported to Maryland, in 1819. It is so well written, and it doesn't gloss over how horrible slavery was. I know this story will stay with me for a long time, and I would give it more than 5 out of 5 stars if I could. I highly recommend it, and I can't wait to read more of her other stories. She has a series, that starts with The Parable of the Sower I'll be reading that some time this summer fo'sho. 

I'm also about 80% done with The Other Einstein which is a story about Albert Einstein's wife, who I'd never even heard of before this book was suggested to me by the app for the library's eBooks. I started it Saturday night, and I'll probably finish it tonight. Another one I haven't been able to put down.

How are you celebrating World Book Day? Have you read any of these? Or read anything lately you think I should add to my list? 

Some Thoughts On "Getting Out of Debt" Blog Posts

I realize that this in itself is about to be a getting out of debt blog post, so I want to say something that has been bugging me for longer than I've been fully committed to getting out of debt: there is no one way to do this. There is no right way that if you follow the steps you'll magically be rolling in money. I confess, I see the constant barrage of people making six figures selling fitness shakes, and I wonder could that be what I need to do? Even though I know that's not in my comfort zone, I am not an outward sales person. [THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION FOR YOU TO TELL ME "YES YOU CAN GIRLFRIEND! HERE'S HOW I DID IT! BE A COACH/REP WITH ME!"]
What kind of prompted this post was an instagram post I saw. It said that people are mistaken thinking coming into $20,000 will miraculously solve all of their money problems. That their money problems are deep seeded. That post was clearly not for me, but it made me feel some type of way. For me personally, if I could just come into $20,000, I would be able to pay off nearly all of my credit card consolidation loan. Which would then free up that loan payment I'm making every month ($613) to be used for real life things. If I had the extra $613 in my budget every month, I would run a surplus based on my current situation. $20,000 is a life changing amount of money for just about anyone. To assume that the only reason someone is in debt is because they're fiscally irresponsible or living recklessly above their means is, to me, quite insulting. 

I think I mentioned before, we run a zero line budget. Sometimes things come up that are over the budget, and they have to go on the credit card. That's not ideal, but I can't predict the gas bill from month to month, even if we're trying not to use the heat. I can't predict exactly how much gas I will need. I can't predict if the dishwasher is going to suddenly stop working, or the washing machine will suddenly start flooding the basement. If you have the inside on how to predict those things, I would looooove to hear your secrets. I didn't mean for this to be two very long paragraphs about something that wasn't for me, I'm not trying to boo someone's yay. I just had a lot of feelings about that particular gram. 

I just have come to the conclusion that I'm not going to find solace in all of the people publicly dealing with their consumer and student loan debt. Sometimes, it will bring me cool things though -- I ran across Debt Free Charts on Pinterest the other day, and now I get to color in as I make debt payments. It's a small joy, but it's a joy just the same. I can visualize the destination. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  Plus, I'm a child, so I really enjoy coloring. 

A blog collection I would like to see, and will promptly scroll pinterest for hours later tonight for, is landscaping on a budget. I want ALL OF THE FLOWERS. I genuinely want our beds to be overfull, I love that cottage look. I am NOT patient enough to wait three years to plant bulbs, let them sleep the first year, creep the second year, THEN leap the third year. Come on little flowers! I've also decided to build a fence between me and the lady next door in our front yard, but the city expressively forbids using pallets, which was my relatively inexpensive idea. Do y'all have budget friendly yard tips? Right now, I'm honestly just splitting all of the lilies and hoping for the best.  

What I Loved In March

Every month, Chelsea does a "What March Taught Me" but obviously, changing the month names. She talks about growing  and learning and all of the things we do in a month. I wanted to combine that idea with what I read, did, and loved in March. So here are all of the things I loved in March! 

This post contains affiliate links, that means I may receive a small commission if you click on one of them. If you would like the non-affiliate version, I will be glad to provide that. 

MANAGING MIGRAINES. I have a love hate relationship with spring. I love love love everything about it. I hate that the things I love also tend to trigger my migraines. I LOVE thunderstorms, but the shift in the atmospheric pressure can literally knock me out of commission for the day. I used to feel like this was a crazy thing, but then started to meet other people who had the same problem. I swear by this headache hat. You keep it in the freezer and then strap it to your head. It looks ridiculous, but I love it. I can put this on and lay down and I don't have to worry about everything getting wet, or I can wear it and keep doing whatever it is I need to be doing that day. Staring at the computer screen all day also gets me. Thanks to Becca, I installed f.lux to lower the blue light on my computer monitors, and I picked up this pair of blue blocking glasses from Amazon. The combination has helped substantially with my eyeballs straining. 

SAVANNAH. We went down to Savannah to celebrate one of my dearest friends turning 30, (lots of big 3-0 birthdays this year) and to hang out at the second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the US. We walked a million steps, drank lots of beer (oddly enough, I didn't have a single green beer that entire weekend), and laughed a lot. It was juuuuust warm enough to wear a fun sun dress - which I'm very ready for the weather to come back in. Old Navy recently had a sale where I stocked up on my swing dresses and the jeggings. I now LIVE in the Old Navy jeggings. I don't ever want to wear my real jeans again (and not just because I ran them all in the dryer and now it's a fight to button them. that is my own fault.

BOOKS. I didn't get as much fun reading done as I wanted to in March, because I'm working on getting my real estate license. So I read three whole books if you count the book I have to read for my real estate classes. Not counting the textbook, I read Murder on the Orient Express and What the Wind Knows

Murder on the Orient Express: I snagged this one off the "Amazon Daily Kindle Deals" e-mail, which I cannot recommend enough if you're reading Kindle books. I originally wanted to read all of the Hercule Poirot books in order, but I also wanted to read this before I saw the new version of the movie, so I had to skip ahead. The Hercule Poirot mysteries aren't really the kind you have to read in order, I just wanted to. ANYWAYS. I give this all the stars, especially if you haven't seen the movie yet. SO GOOD.

What the Wind Knows: So Amazon does a thing where they have like, four or five books to choose one for free a month on Kindle. This e-mail seems to miss my inbox and get lost in the "promotions" tab of my gmail, which is SUPER overwhelming, so I usually ignore it unless I need a coupon. The synopsis of this seemed to fit with my normal books: time travel, history, love story, drama, & war. I figured, it's free to me this month, why not? YALL. I absolutely devoured this book. I read it in less than two days and it broke. my. heart. I laughed, I ugly cried, it is SO so SO SO good. It's on Kindle Unlimited right now, so it's free if you have the subscription and I WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommend it.

So many things happened in March that last Sunday that we had lunch and raked some leaves and that was IT. I love going out and doing things and I have a really hard time saying "no" because I can't always get on my friend's schedules so I almost always say yes. Taking last Sunday to read my book and barely get out of pajamas was some much needed self-care time. How was your March?