Half a Year in Review: January – July 2018

So, uh. It’s August 6th. Ha. When did that happen exactly?? I’m not exactly sure how the entirety of this year has flown by like this, but here we are. I’ll be doing a Mexican & Margaritas post later this week to hopefully catch up on a brief version of everything that’s going on with me right now but in the meantime, here’s six months worth of recap!

Pens. Balto. Weight Loss. NYC Hot Dogs. Bookstores.

Canterbury Candles. The Beach. New Apt #1. New Truck.

It Is Your Birthday. Wine & Books. More Bookstores. Steggies.

Brooklyn Egg Shops. Birthdays. DC Stationery Stores. Cooking with Cats. Manhattan Bridge.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen | ★★★★
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen | ★★★★
Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen | ★★★★
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans | ★★★
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins | ★★★

Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff | ★★★
The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio | ★★★★★
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory | ★★★★
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin | ★★★★
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer | ★★★★
Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel | ★★★

Neverland by Shari Arnold | ★★★★
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley | ★★★★★
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley | ★★★★★
How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell | ★★★
Pivot Point by Kasie West | ★★★★
Split Second by Kasie West | ★★★★

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley | ★★★
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah | ★★★★★
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty | ★★★★
Search for the Shadowman by Joan Lowery Nixon | ★★★
The Cruelest Miles by Gay Salisbury | ★★★★

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye | ★★★
Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn | ★★★
Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher | ★★★★
Something Upstairs by Avi | ★★
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton | ★★★★★
Dragonmede by Rona Randall | ★★★★

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton | ★★★★★
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | ★★★★
A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison | ★★★

31 books for the first half of this year!; one 2★, ten 3★, fourteen 4★, and six 5★!

Goodreads Reading Challenge
31/52 books
Fantasy Books
8/10 books
Historical Fiction Books
12/15 books
Contemporary Books
8/10 books
Romance Books
4/5 Books
ReRead Books
5/6 Books
Adult Books
13/30 books
Young Adult Books
10/15 Books
Middle Grade Books
7/10 Books

Um, HELLO restaurant that is literally a 10 min drive from my house that I never tried until this year, you’re delicious. <3


Honest question: Can you ever have too much Mexican food? Or margaritas?

Oh, &pizza. I love you. Will you please open up some locations in the South??


I have really been all about the 80s alternative for the first half of this year – but I’ve been getting into some of the lesser known stuff and loving it. (Honestly, how did I not know about The Killing Joke before now???) If you try any one of these songs and like them (or if you’re already familiar with them and like them?!?!?) please add me on Spotify! One thing that I love almost as much as books is music <3 and I love talking to people about artists and songs I love and sharing music with one another!

The Greatest Showman was just SO. DAMN. FUN. I loved the songs, I loved the passion, and I loved the imagery. No, it wasn’t really historically accurate in a lot of ways. And no, it wasn’t a perfect movie in a lot of ways. But honestly? I was smiling too much to care. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tommy’s Honour was such an unexpected delight – this one came out of nowhere (found it on Amazon Stream movies thing) and the beau and I watched it on a total whim. It’s about the father sun duo of Young Tom Morris and Old Tom Morris – Young Tom is considered one of the pioneers of professional golf and his father, Old Tom, another early golfer and the “father of modern greenkeeping.” I’ve never personally been that into golf, but this movie had me riveted from the beginning. I’m actually planning to do a more in depth post later this month! (See trailer here!)

Oh, uh, hey … have I ever told you about the true story of Balto and the 1925 Serum Run to Nome? No? Well … be on the lookout because that post will be on it’s way as well <3 (If you’ve known me more than, oh, 10 minutes? then you know I have VERY strong feelings about Balto. #AlsoTogo) This documentary was really wonderful (and narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart, HI!). I knew a lot of this information already, but one of the awesome takeaways from watching it with the beau was that it told the story a bit more succinctly than I ever manage to, meaning he was able to follow along better and now understands my Serum Run Mania a little better.

This documentary on Netflix (which is still available, YAY) was SO GOOD. I loved loved loved getting into the nitty gritty of the last 100 years of the Windsor dynasty, and all of the footage was so much fun to watch. I’m somewhat weird (maybe? I don’t know, is this weird?) in that I love to rewatch documentaries – I feel like I need to check this one out again soon!

Well, it’s a good thing this page looks so pretty just like this, because, uh, I didn’t do much of anything else with my planner for the beginning of this year. *sobs quietly* I’m actually planning to do a bunch of planning this week (IT WILL HAPPEN DAGNABBIT), so I’m excited to share more of these after next quarter.

Sold on a Monday | Room on Rue Amelie | Suddenly You | The Rain Watcher | Chamber of Secrets

I’m gonna read all of these books in August. JUST YOU WATCH ME. (Somebody should probably send me a message in a week to make sure I’m actually doing this, especially considering two of these are ARCs…)

I’m not sure if I’ve already mentioned these or not, but I have found what is potentially my MOST FAVORITEST TYPE OF PEN! The Pilot Frixion Color Sticks are seriously some of the most versatile and aesthetically pleasing pens I’ve found in a really really long time – I can’t get enough of them! I have them in every color (multiples of some colors) and use them for work and for home. (They’re perfect for planning!) There are a bunch of different versions in the Frixion line, but the Color Sticks are definitely my favorite. (And on the plus side, you can get these at Target / Amazon / Wal-Mart now, not just overseas!)

Gold Peak Diet Tea, UMMMM OKAY. Where have you been my whole life? I tried this on a friend’s recommendation a few months ago and it was wonderful! Zero calories, zero sugar, zero fat … it’s basically just super sweet tea and sodium but MAGIC LIKE. Luckily the beau and I both enjoy it so we’ve been able to keep this around the house rather than sugary juices or other drinks.

One of those other things that I have no idea how I’m just now finding out about? Hot water bottles! Such a simple thing that’s been around for ages, but I bought my first one back in the beginning of this year and it’s been great. Awesome for general aches and pains or just to warm up a seeped in cold.

Finally, finally, finally, FINALLY. One of the biggest #firstworldproblems I’ve had for the longest time is that converse (which are so rad and classic looking) just do not fit my feet well, and are so ridiculously uncomfortable. ENTER THE SHORLINE. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about this particular style vs the classic chuck’s, but I am so in love. I have them in white and navy blue and I’m definitely in the market for some more.

I’ve been doing #StitchFix since maybe late 2017 and it’s honestly been so great. I know there are a lot of pros and cons to companies/programs like this, but for me it’s been pretty great. I can’t always afford all the pieces within the boxes (&for that reason I recently switched to every other month instead of monthly) but I’ve found some really awesome pieces and most of them are things I never would’ve thought to pick up in a store. Most of the ones I’ve ended up keeping have been good ensemble pieces, allowing me to make tons of outfits from them. (And I finally got a decent blazer!!)

&&lastly – Alexia sides! The beau and I first came across this brand through their french fry options (the rosemary garlic fries are awesome, y’all!), but then we decided to give the others a go as well. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-veg by any means but I will definitely say that I’m not really experimental with them. Sauteed broccoli? Sure. Steamed spinach? Sounds great. Roasted potatoes? Awesome. Riced Vegetable Pilaf with Sea Salt? Um? I guess? (As it turns out, the answer is YES! This one, along with all the ones we’ve tried, have been surprisingly delicious!) These are definitely worth a shot if you are trying to be more health conscious without sacrificing taste and, well, volume. (An ENTIRE bag of that pilaf is 130 calories, y’all).

PRODUCTIVITY. Working on some Top Ten Tuesdays, Book Tags, Reviews, and a new post series that I’m actually really really really excited for! I feel like I’m ideally suited for this type of post, and I can’t wait to share it with y’all!

How was the first half of 2018 for you and yours? Tell me one good thing that has happened to you in the past 6 months – book or life related, I’m interested in all!

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