Friday Faves: Pregnancy Must-Haves

So here I am, pregnant again, and busting out all of the preggo paraphernalia. Some of these items are favorites from my first pregnancy, but several are ones I have discovered this go around that have made this pregnancy a little easier. Some of them I will continue to use even after this baby is earth side because I love them so much (probably not the Snoogle because I know Matt will be ready to kick the “third person” out of the bed ASAP).

*Snoogle pregnancy pillow. This thing is a lifesaver. Besides my general state of uncomfortable, I really should be trying to stay off my back, and this helps me stay supported on my side so I don’t inadvertently roll over. I love the curved design (as compared to other pregnancy pillows, which are basically just extra large rectangular pillows) because it allows me to stick one end in between my knees, which helps support my belly, and the other end cradles my head nicely. It does take up some space in the bed…almost as much as if there were another person in the bed, but it’s a sacrifice that’s necessary for the short-term.

*Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil and Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil. This is my stretch mark preventing dynamo and I can attest that it works. I was all belly with Asher Wade and it looks like I am going to be this time as well, which means I gain most of my weight in that area, which also means lots of stretching to accomodate. I use these oils every single night, rubbing all over my belly and hips, and they help keep stretch marks at bay. Plus they moisturize my skin really nicely and don’t have an overpowering scent.

*Dove Winter Care body wash and Curel Ultra Healing lotion. I have had the driest skin this pregnancy. Not sure if it’s just the weather (although we’ve technically had a very mild winter) or something to do with hormones, but my skin has been dry and sooooo itchy. I tried a few different lotions and finally settled on this one since it worked the best at bringing me some relief. I’ve also used all brands of body wash, but have found this one to be the most beneficial right now. My skin feels so much softer when I get out of the shower. Once I layer on my lotion, I am good to go and itch free.

*Good pregnancy jeans. I swear by the Gap Maternity “True Skinny” jeans (with the full panel). Look and fit great and have just enough stretch, without getting too stretched out after wear. Definitely invest in some good jeans, especially if you’re pregnant in the fall or winter.

*Yeah Baby! by Jillian Michaels. This has been my pregnancy book of choice this time, primarily because it offers a lot of great advice and direction for exercising throughout pregnancy, including specific workout routines and do’s and don’t’s. I’ve also really enjoyed the recipes and meal plans. It is full of so much, science backed, information and the medical/diet/exercise contributors provide a lot of valuable insight.

*My beloved Genie bras. Yes, the “as seen on TV” ones. Even these are not the most attractive of bras, I swear they are the most comfortable things ever. With my, umm hmm, changing bust line, the stretchiness of these have been necessary. They never tug or dig into my skin and they are seamless and work under most tops. Plus, they work great for nursing, so I plan to continue to wear them after the baby arrives as well.

*Dum-Dum lollipops. These have helped my nausea so much. I’ve kept a huge bag in my desk drawer since finding out I was pregnant. Several people have advised me to go buy ginger lollipops and supplements, but Dum-Dum’s are super cheap and I find they work just as well.

*My planner, because #pregnancybrain. I have been so forgetful and somewhat scatter-brained this pregnancy. I’ve had to resort to pretty much writing down everything. I use my Outlook calendar at work, but even that hasn’t been foolproof. I have to write everything down in my planner and refer to it throughout the day to make sure I don’t miss anything. My Outlook calendar serves as backup and sends me those reminders 15 minutes before I have something, assuming I remember to create the reminder….

Friday Faves

*I have never been one to use shaving cream – I always just used whatever body wash I had on hand – but my mom stashed a bottle of EOS Shaving Cream in my stocking this year (aren’t moms good about filling your stocking with essentials and toiletries?) and I must say that I’ve been missing out. I use lip balm and hand lotion by this brand, and now I’m also hooked on their shaving cream. It makes my legs so soft and it smells nice. So random, but it reminds me of that Teen Spirit deodorant I begged my mom for when I was like 10 and didn’t even need deodorant yet #longlivethe90s

*This “winter” weather you guys….it’s been amazing. I’m loving the sun and 65 degree temps. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a change of seasons and that’s one of the reasons why it would be so hard for us to ever move back to Florida, but I’m not a huge fan of really cold weather and once Christmas passes, I’m generally counting down the days till spring. I don’t know if this January is just a tease and we are going to have a bitter February and March, but it’s been fabulous and I hope it sticks around.

*I’ve got some good healthy pantry finds for ya. These are the things I’ve been rotating in the snack department these days. I’m particularly addicted to the Vans cheese crackers and Pop Corners. The Sweet Loren’s cookies are definitely a treat, but seeing as how they are whole grain, dairy free and no artificial anything, if you are going to have a treat, this is a good choice.

*I’ve read some good books as of late. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (sweet story following the lives of two best friends, although it takes a sad turn towards the end and then I personally thought it became way too drawn out), The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown (really light-hearted and easy read that would be a good break in between two serious reads), All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (murder mystery that is told in reverse chronological order leading back to the day of the crime, which made it interesting) and The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (suspenseful page turner that takes place on a cruise ship). Right now I’m reading What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a little difficult for me because it’s about a mom whose young son is missing/kidnapped, which is pretty much my worst nightmare as a mother and makes me all anxious and stressed out while reading, but I just have to keep moving along during the emotional parts. I feel like there is about to be a big twist soon…

*When I get home after work, particularly in the winter when it’s cold out, the very first thing I do is put on my pajamas. It’s the highlight of my day. Asher Wade noticed how I always do this and he decided he wants to start putting on his pj’s too when he gets home. Then he asked me to take our picture of us in our “jamas.” He cracks me up.

*Matt brought me donuts to work this morning from my favorite place. Made.my.day. And now I am off to Orangetheory to burn off some of the 10,000 calories I just consumed.

Happy Fri-Yay!!!

Friday Faves

Happy December! My most favorite month of the year! I can’t believe the Christmas season is already here, and that we are coming up on the end of another year. Time goes so fast…it’s hard to keep up. It’s been a whirlwind, basically since the week of Thanksgiving, and I’m determined to soak up the rest of this month and *try* to slow down a little. Big emphasis on the try. It’s so hard. There’s always so much I want to do this time of year and I’m notorious for over-packing our schedules. I’m sick with a nasty cold right now, which isn’t helping matters, but we already have reservations to ride the Polar Express to the North Pole tonight;) so I’ll be sucking it up (literally) and making the most of it. Praying I can get over this sickness before the week of Christmas. Oh, and it is C.O.L.D. here today. Like, in the 20s cold. Definitely feeling like Christmas up in here. We really may be going to the North Pole tonight.

On to some faves as of late…

*Splurge on this candle. Trust me. The best holiday scent there is. I’d really like to order the Birchwood Pine scent as well.

*Who scored some good Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals? I didn’t venture out on Black Friday, but I was all over the Cyber Monday craziness. I thought there were some really good deals this year…better than normal even. I knocked out some Christmas gifts and helped Matt out by buying a few things he can wrap and give to me for my birthday and Christmas;) I usually try and do a Christmas Wish List post every year, so maybe I’ll work on that next week. My favorite gift to myself? My new Ninja Coffee Bar! It finally came in this week and I’ve been reading the manual and can’t wait to try it out this weekend.

*I am OBSESSED with our new print from House of Belonging. We have a relatively large wall in our living room that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with since we moved in. I knew I wanted a large print, but didn’t want to buy just anything and kept waiting till something caught my eye. I came across this small business on Instagram (@houseofbelonging) awhile back and knew I wanted a piece to hang somewhere. When she posted a similar piece using these song lyrics, I knew it was the one. Other than the fact that this is one of my favorite songs, it’s also what I would sing to Asher Wade while rocking him to sleep every night. So it has a lot of special meaning to me, and always will. The owner/artist is so talented and all of the pieces in her shop are gorgeous. I highly recommend! Check out the Etsy shop here.

*Another sweet, small business find is The Giving Manger. I recently bought one of these for us to do as a family. The idea is that for every act of service/kindness leading up to Christmas, you get to place a piece of straw in the manger, in preparation for Baby Jesus. I love how this is a simple way to start teaching AW the true Reason for the Season and encouraging service and kindness towards others during the Christmas season. Plus, it’s a fun, meaningful activity for us to do as a family. It looks like the Giving Mangers are all sold out for 2016, but you can pre-order yours for Christmas 2017.

*Cranberry margaritas. I made these over the Thanksgiving holiday, and have continued to since. Such a fun, festive cocktail, that is super easy to make. Mix together ½ cup tequila (I prefer Tres Agaves or Patron), ¾ cup orange liqueur (Patron Orange Liqueur is a good one), ¾ cup fresh lime juice and 1.5 cups cranberry juice. Stir well and then pour over ice. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries. This makes around 3 nice sized margaritas, so just double or triple the recipe as needed. I think I tripled it to get a full pitcher.

*We finally had a successful Santa visit! The first couple ones we attempted did NOT go over well. For a little boy that goes on and on about Santa, I’m not sure why he acted so scared. We did a Brunch with Santa event this past Sunday and for whatever reason, Asher Wade decided he liked this Santa. He was more than happy to spout off his Christmas List and give him letter. He asked Santa for a remote controlled Blaze, black Lightning McQueen, Lion Guard Playset and a “big Lightning McQueen that he can ride in” (which apparently is not being made anymore so Santa is going to have to get creative here).

Friday Faves

Hey there!  I’ve been MIA for a hot second and am now trying to catch up.  Mom and I went to Vegas to celebrate her retirement, and I’ve pretty much been trying to recuperate ever since.  Not that we got all Kardashian like on the trip (we were back in our room by 10 most nights), but it was just an exhausting trip since we were on the go nonstop.  Super fun, but exhausting.  Add in the time change, and man, I pretty much hit a wall yesterday.  I have SO MANY pictures and more details I need to post, so I’ll be getting a recap up on here soon.  Until then….

*Love this new Chobani flavor!  Perfect for fall and it’s just the right amount of sweetness.  I’ve been slicing a honey crisp apple to have alongside it.  I really like dipping the apple slices in the yogurt.

*Continuing with fall goodies…new Lenny and Larry Complete Cookie flavor!  It’s a good one too.

*I ordered this door hanger awhile back and it came in last week.  Isn’t it cute?  The sweetest lady makes all kinds of door hangers (among other home decor items) out of her home in Oklahoma and I definitely see myself ordering some things for the upcoming holidays.  Her Etsy business is called “Bucks for Buckingham” (she originally started to business to help pay off medical bills for her son) or you can follow her on Instagram/Facebook @craftingandcocktails.

*I’ve been wanting to try those lace-up flats I feel like I’ve seen everywhere, but I couldn’t seem to find a pair that looked right on me, or were a nice neutral color.  I finally found some in Vegas and they are exactly what I was looking for.  They are by Vince Camuto (not shocking since I tend to gravitate towards his shoes) and they are SO comfortable and I love the pretty taupe color.

*I celebrated my one year anniversary at Unum on Wednesday, and Matt also sent some beautiful flowers to me at work to mark the occasion.  That also means we’ve been in Chattanooga for a year.  That seems so crazy to me.  I just remember being so terrified of making this move, uprooting Asher Wade, leaving the place we’d loved and called home for 7 years, and starting over in a brand new city.  What a blessing it turned out to be….all the way around.  I still miss our friends, and our church, and some other things about Birmingham, but we’ve made amazing friends here, we love our new church home, and we absolutely LOVE Chattanooga.  Who knew?!

*This guy comes home tomorrow!  Eeeekkkk!  Matt is en-route to northern KY today, staying with his parents tonight, and then picking up Cody tomorrow and coming home.  I am dying from anticipation over here.

Happy Fri-Yay, y’all!  Hope it’s a good one for you:-)

Friday Faves!

*It’s fall, y’all!  Let’s just pretend we don’t have a high of 92 today.  In my mind, fall is here.  Not to mention that we have MUCH cooler temps coming next week.  I am so ready.  I’ve moved all of my summer clothes to the back of the closet, I decorated our front porch with mums and pumpkins, and I bought (well, technically Matt bought for me) my first bag of candy corn.

*My Lily Pulitzer After-Party Sale order finally came in last week!  Too bad I only got to wear a couple of things before it all got moved to the back of the closet to hibernate with the rest of my summer clothes.  I really scored this go around and everything fits perfectly!  I always get a little nervous because the sale items are “final sale only” so if something doesn’t fit, you’re out of luck.  Thankfully I’m familiar enough with the brand by now that I know what sizes to get in different styles, but I got a couple new styles with this order that thankfully all fit perfectly.  I picked up several “Essie” dresses, which are definitely a go-to in the summer.

*Matt and I have a little date night tonight.  His parents are in town and are graciously keeping Asher Wade for us so we can sneak out for a few hours.  We are even trying a new (to us) restaurant that we’ve been dying to check out.  I also had a little get together with some R+F ladies the other night.  Cocktails on a Wednesday night at one of my favorite restaurants is A-OK in my book.  I absolutely loved this La Crema chardonnay.

*I finally got in on the “grape craze.”  Seriously, it’s kind of hilarious that stores have all these fancy, hybrid grapes, but I’m not complaining because we are a little obsessed with the cotton candy and moon drop grapes.  Found both at Publix.

*Some recently read books that are worth sharing: The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza is a serial killer, whodunit, murder mystery, and also a really good page turner. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis is told from the perspectives of two main characters, one in the 1950s and one in 2016, and it’s set in NYC, which are all things I LOVE. This is a really different story and I enjoyed the characters, although I will say that the ending got a little bit slow. Love Warrior is Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir (who you probably follow on social media). I actually couldn’t put this down, and although I had some issues with it, I definitely think it’s worth a read. I cried in several parts, but I also got annoyed in several parts too, lol. Sometimes her writing got a little too wordy and confusing. Some parts were a little too heavy on the feminism for me and a little too light on the God, if that makes any sense at all. She has an amazing story to tell and she’s all about empowering women and self, which is great, but I felt like it strayed a little too far from what I believe to be God’s message. I’d be really curious to hear what others have to say.

*And finally, the most exciting news (that you already know if you follow me on IG)…we are adding another four legged fur baby to our family!  Cody will be joining our family around mid October.  He’s a Labradoodle (like our sweet Riley was) and he’s already got a place in my heart even though I haven’t met him yet.  I absolutely cannot wait until we can go pick him up and bring him home.  I literally go to the website everyday and look at his picture:)

Friday Faves

*So it was 62 degrees when I got up this morning.  Say what?!  I couldn’t believe it when I walked outside and felt the cool air.  It never fails, we always seem to have that first taste of fall on Labor Day weekend.  I took the opportunity to don jeans, a tunic and my favorite TB flats…my staple outfit for the fall…AND have a pumpkin coffee from Dunkin Donuts this morning.  Granted it’s back in the 90s next week, but it looks like we will have cool mornings from here on out, which is always a sign that fall is near.

*Not that it matters to us what the Chattanooga weather is like next week, because we will be in Sarasota all week!  Whoo hoo!  This was kind of a last minute trip, but I’m so glad we decided to take the week off, head down and just relax.  I see lots of beach time and pool time in our very near future…assuming Hurricane Hermine passes through sooner rather than later:/

*A group of friends and I started a monthly book club and our first meeting was this past Monday.  We are reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Uninvited, which I originally did not think I would relate to at all, but the more I read, the more I realize I do.  It’s really thought provoking and makes you dig a little deeper in to what rejection really means and the various forms it can take.  I love this quote from the book, and I love the assurance of knowing that God has set me apart and made me special, and that His plans for me far exceed the plans others may have for me.

*Healthy, homemade’ish cookie alert.  Yes, I call these break-and-bake cookies “homemade.”  It’s about as far as I go with scratch cookies.  Check out the label on these though…whole grain, dairy free, lower sugar, nothing artificial, and really good.  They have a few different flavors, but I love the chunks of dried cranberries in this one.  I found these at Publix.

*I bought this waffle maker off Zulily a couple months back and it has been getting so much use.  It’s stands vertical, which is kind of cool because you pour the batter down this shoot and once it reaches the top you know you’ve added just the right amount.  It makes the most perfect, fluffy Belgian waffles, is non-stick (don’t even need spray) and very user friendly.  It’s a Cuisinart and I’ve seen it on Zulily a couple of times, so keep an eye out.

*You guys.  AW’s school picture.  I die.  This child is never not smiling, so the fact that he looks so serious is in and of itself hilarious.  Add in the big puppy dog eyes and downward glance and it’s just too much.

*On that note, his smile has generally been all kinds of awkward lately.  You may remember the brief period where he had the Chandler Bing smile going on.  We finally seemed to have overcome that phase, but now we have this situation…

*More examples…

*And yet even more.  Fix it Jesus.

Friday Faves {Rodan+Fields Love}

I don’t normally post a lot about my Rodan + Fields venture, but I thought for this week’s Friday Faves edition I would post about some of my favorite products! I feel like the question I get the most is around which products I personally use and love, so here’s a good rundown of what’s currently in my medicine cabinet. Plus, a really great corporate incentive is being offered right now (which I’ll provide details on below) AND I am personally offering some August incentives on all new orders. Who doesn’t love some free extras?! Below are my personal favorite products that I am LOVING right now…

*REDEFINE regimen for fine lines, wrinkles, pores, loss of firmness and overall signs of aging. This regimen includes a cleansing mask, toner, sunscreen (for the daytime) and overnight restorative cream (for bedtime). This is my go-to regimen. I have always used this in the evening and I don’t think I have ever skipped a night. I even took it camping with me back in June. You know how those campground bathrooms are, but you better believe that I rolled up in there with my REDEFINE regimen, spread it out on the (very grimy) counter and did my thing.

*REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream for crow’s feet, dark circle and puffiness. Another item I do not leave home without. In fact, I have jars of this all over the place…one at home, one in my office and one in my gym locker. I use it all the time and have NEVER found an eye cream that works better than this one, and believe me, I’ve tried most of the high-end ones.

*REVERSE regimen for brown spots, discoloration and dullness. This regimen includes a face scrub, brightening toner, daily sunscreen and dual-action vitamin C and retinol treatment. This is the regimen I use in the morning. A downside of growing up in sunny southwest Florida is unfortunately a lot of sun damage. Add in pregnancy and general hormonal shifts and I’ve had my share of melasma and discoloration. After trying to cover up brown splotches for years, I finally nipped them in the bud with consistent use of this regimen and threw out my tinted moisturizers and concealers. I’ve continued to use this regimen in the mornings to help combat any future sun damage. Plus I like that the daily sunscreen is SPF 50. I also love using vitamin C in the mornings as I find it really brightens my skin.

*AMP MD “magic” roller.  Cannot.get.enough.of.this.thing.  It exfoliates like nothing else and makes my skin look so smooth and firm, even after just one use.  A lot of people are freaked out by the “needle roller,” but I promise it isn’t as scary as it sounds.  It doesn’t hurt in the slightest bit and is totally non-invasive.  I use this thing all over my face, neck, chest and even my lips.  There’s just nothing like it on the market.

*Night Renewing Serum.  In conjunction with my roller, I love using this serum, that actually comes as part of the package.  It’s super light and immediately makes my skin feel smooth.  The retinol is great for wrinkles.  Honestly, if I don’t do anything else at night, I’ll at least always use this serum.  A lot of power packed into that tiny capsule.

*REDEFINE Eye Cloths.  Kind of random, I know, but I’m sort of obsessed with these things.  Besides removing eye makeup in a jiffy, they pack a punch with peptides right in the cloth, which helps to fight wrinkles and puffiness.  They are a little cooling as well.

*I’d be remised if I didn’t mention my latest obsession…REDEFINE Acute Care, a/k/a Botox in a box. These little patches may look weird, but they provide fast results, but without the need to visit the dermatologist and get some sort of injectable filler. They work while you sleep! Each patch contains hyaluronic acid and peptides that seep into your skin and fill targeted lines wrinkles. They’ve gotten tons of accolades and press (see below).

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*AND it just so happens that right now you can get a FREE box of Acute care ($220 value) with the purchase of the REDEFINE Amp it Up Special, which basically includes all of the various REDEFINE products I mentioned above. You end up with $600 of products for less than $300. That’s crazy. I ordered this deal myself.

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If you’re reading this and are curious about learning more about the products, feel free to email me, or just browse my website at your convenience….

https://leannemcwilliams.myrandf.com/

Happy Friday AND Happy Weekend!!

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! My favorite day of the week! I don’t even mind going to work on Friday’s because I know it’s just a short 8 hours from the official weekend, AND that I still have the whole weekend in front of me!

*Rumor on the street is that the semi-annual Lily Pulitzer sale is THIS MONDAY! At 8 a.m. sharp lots and lots of items will be drastically marked down. If you’ve never checked this sale out, you need to. It’s seriously awesome. If you are a Lilly lover you probably already know they don’t have a “sale section” on their website. This is because they do an awesome sale twice per year and it’s definitely worth the wait. I can assure you I will be parked in front of my computer promptly at 8 o’clock Monday morning. This is a great opportunity to get some cute Christmas gifts too.

*I just started watching Parenthood again a few weeks ago and am about to finish Season 3. We started watching it a few years ago, but then Asher Wade came along and it just fell to the wayside. I finally started back up again and I’m hooked. I want to be a Braverman so bad! And I want to move to Berkeley! (Even though I learned that most of the show is actually filmed on a set in Los Angeles)  Matt isn’t a huge fan…he thinks it’s too stressful and dramatic, and Haddie annoys him, lol! So I usually hole up in our bedroom and binge watch.

*One of the restaurants I really miss in Birmingham is this burger place called Mooyah’s. Random, I know, but they had this awesome black bean burger, and the best sweet potato fries, and really yummy milk shakes. It was honestly one of my favorite meals. I’ve been craving it so bad so we decided to recreate it tonight. I grilled a Morningstar Black Bean Veggie Burger, wrapped it in lettuce along with sliced tomato, avocado, pickles, ketchup and mustard…just like Mooyah’s. I baked some Alexia sweet potato fries and I even made a really good, healthy “milkshake” using Artic Zero chocolate ice cream, a frozen, chopped banana, some cashew milk and a little drizzle of Hershey’s “Light” Chocolate syrup. It was really close to Mooyah’s, and probably a lot healthier!

*Totally random, and if you don’t give a lick about essential oils you won’t care at all about this, but I just got the most amazing scent/blend from doTERRA called “On Guard.” According to the website it is a is a “powerful proprietary blend that supports healthy immune function and contains cleansing properties.” The blend is orange leaf, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus and rosemary, which sounds strange, but is seriously heavenly. I’ve been wearing the oil, but I want to buy the household stuff so our whole house smells like it.

*Asher Wade had the BEST first week of preschool! I could not be more pleased with his school and teacher. I knew we lucked out that he got a spot and was able to start there this year, but I had no idea just how much of a blessing it would actually be. He comes home everyday telling us how much he loves his new school, his new teacher, and his new friends, and it just melts my heart. I’ve been so impressed with this school as well. It really has exceeded my expectations so far.

*Logan and Ashley are coming in for the weekend and we are hitting up the Southern Brewer’s Festival downtown Chattanooga tomorrow. This is supposed to be a great event and even though I’m not much of a beer drinker, I’m looking forward to trying a few and listening to some music. And people watching. Because, come one. A beer festival, in Tennessee, that goes all day long….you KNOW there’s going to be some good people watching;)

Cheers to the weekend, y’all! Make it a good one:-)

Friday Faves

*This new album, Love Remains, by Hillary Scott (of Lady Antebellum) and her family is so great. She took a year off to make a Christian music album and it’s full of some new songs and some older hymns (with a bluegrass twist).  I love every song on it and have had it on repeat.

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*Stranger Things on Netflix. You guys.  This show is something else.  Let’s sidestep how awesome the 80’s cinematography, outfits, set design and music are, because they are exactly that…awesome…but the storyline and plot are unlike any other show I’ve watched.  It’s honestly like a cross between ET and The Goonies, which we all know are two of the greatest 80’s movies of all times, but also way scarier (yes, scarier than Sloth, who used to scare the bejeezuz out of me).  It’s totally sci-fi, not at all realistic and you need to go in with an open mind, but I’m telling you, it’s really good.  We finished it in one week (just 8 episodes).  Which has now got us looking for a new show.  Any suggestions??

*Caroline Banks Jewelry. I’ve probably mentioned my sweet friend’s jewelry line before.  She’s local here in Chattanooga, but you can order from her website.  I have several pieces, and love them all.  They are made really well and different from the usual pieces you find in other mainstream stores.  Plus she’s a mom of three littles, running a small business, which I think is awesome.

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*I’m trying to get all my wear out of my summer Lily before fall gets here. Even though it will likely still be warm through September, I have this weird thing about wearing “summer clothes” once September 1st rolls around.  I like to pull out my fall outfits, even if that just means fall colors.  For the time being though, I’m loving all my Lily brights!

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*On that note…48 days until fall, but who’s counting?!  I do like summer, but man, once August gets here I am itching for some cooler weather and changing leaves. I picked up a few things from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, all of which were definitely fall esque’ and it really got me in the mood.  Then I randomly bought some pumpkin spice flavor K-cups for my Keurig (I know, I know, way too early for this) and it made me all warm and fuzzy inside.  Then I noticed some potted mums at my local market and it was almost too much.  I did refrain myself from buying the mums, but I did not refrain myself from a creating a new board on Pinterest called “Fall porch decorations.”  Because, balance.

*You guys, Matt sent me flowers for completing Whole30. Matt has always been pretty good at surprising me with flowers at work (I absolutely love fresh flowers), but this was particular out of the blue and thoughtful.  Here’s the funny part though…when I opened the card it read “Happy 30th Birthday!  Love, Matt” (my birthday is in December, and I am 34).  I was literally so confused and kept trying to rack my brain to see if it was some sort of inside joke I had forgotten about.  Or I just assumed it was a mistake and I had received someone else’s beautiful flowers.  I called Matt to see if he had sent flowers and after he confirmed that he did, I told him what the card said and with exasperation he informed me that the card was supposed to read, “Happy 30th Day!”  As in, happy completion of Whole30.  We got a laugh out of that, but still, the flowers are beautiful and it was incredibly thoughtful.  This was even after I totally dropped the ball and failed to finish the #loveyourspousechallenge on Facebook, which I had forgotten about until this morning when I saw someone else’s post.  Looks like days 5-7 will all be happening today.

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*I had a bagel this morning. I feel like this was my first, true splurge post-Whole30, and it was really good.  I got cream cheese and everything.  It was glorious.  That is all.

 Happy Friday, y’all!

Friday Faves {Favorite Books}

Happy Friday, y’all! I haven’t given book recommendations in forever, and I’ve read several really good ones so far this summer, so I thought I would dedicate this “Friday Faves” post to favorite books as of late.  I’m not going to give much insight regarding the plot lines because anyone with the Internet can quickly look that up.  I’ll start with my most recently read and go back from there…

* The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. I actually hesitate to recommend this one because it is not an easy read in the sense that it’s pretty disturbing and somewhat graphic.  Think Fifty Shades of Grey meets Room.  Nevertheless, I did not want to put this book down and could have easily read it all in one night if I didn’t have a job, or a kid, or a need for sleep.  It.was.good.  Again, don’t read it if you are easily offended, or if you are disturbed by plot lines that include sexual abuse, kidnapping, S&M or some foul language (although all of this is relatively mild throughout the book and somewhat glossed over).  I had never read anything by this author, but I will absolutely check out other books by her.

* Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. An easy read that doesn’t require you to think much…a good summer read for sure.  It’s not suspenseful and definitely not a page turner by any means, but I liked the “real” characters and their real life problems.  I actually related to one of the main characters, Elizabeth, a lot.  Emma Straub’s writing style kind of reminds me of a cross between Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin, but not quite as chick-lit’esque.  I’m actually reading her other book, The Vacationers, now, but not far enough in to give you my opinion, although I do like it so far.

* The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. A page turner for sure, although not so much towards the end.  I feel like the first part of the book was a mystery you were constantly trying to figure out, and then the mystery was solved a little more than halfway through and it kind of just became a story.  I sort of hate it when authors do that.  It’s like they give away the goods a little too early.  Still a good story though and I would definitely recommend it.

* The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens. On the flip side, this one kept me guessing until the end.  It’s a suspenseful mystery with a great story line and great characters.  I particularly like stories about redemption, and throw in a whodunit murder mystery on top of that, and it makes for a good story.

* The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck. This is total chick-lit, which isn’t always my cup of tea, but I really loved this story and became completely engrossed in it.  It’s Christian fiction and it’s a very inspirational and feel-good read and I found myself writing down quotes and verses to refer back to.  I like that it had some mystery and I loved that it was told from two perspectives (my favorite writing style) with one of those perspectives being from a girl in the early 1900’s and the other in modern times.  Also, it’s set in Birmingham (modern day and 1912) and I really enjoyed all the familiar references, and the historical ones.  I really liked this book, and I’m remembering just how much now.

* Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben. This author is known for his hard-to-put-down thrillers and this newest one is not an exception.  If you liked Gone Girl or Girl on a Train, you’ll like this one, or really any book by Harlan Coben.  It has a good unexpected ending.  I’ll just leave you with the part of the back cover description that sucked me in…. “Checking the nanny cam from work Maya, an ex-special ops pilot, sees her daughter playing with her husband–a man who was supposedly murdered two weeks prior.”  I was dying to know where they were going with this.

* The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. I love Liane Moriarty, and this is one of her older books that I’d never read.  While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Husbands Secret or Big Little Lies (which is totally about to be an HBO series, coming next year!), it was a fun read and I really liked the characters and setting.  It had some mystery, which was fun, but what I most enjoyed was the family dynamic between the characters.  An easy summer read.

 Up next, after I finish The Vacationers, is A Man Called Ove, which has gotten so much attention and great reviews, so I’m excited.

 Anyone have another good recommendation? Happy reading!