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. 
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. 

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?