2019 Book Bingo Update – September Update

It’s time for more books, y’all!!! Since we’re officially in *~*spooky season*~* I thought I should read a few books that would get my anxiety up a little bit because that is a normal, healthy thing to do. I also finally read a book that one of my friends wrote, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I read The Woman in the Window to take the spot of a book being made into a movie. This book really reminded me of The Girl on the Train, in that your main character is a bit unreliable and you’re not sure if you’re crazy, she’s crazy, or everyone else is crazy. The story is about an agoraphobic woman living in New York City who becomes friends with one of her neighbors. But then… her neighbor is gone and replaced with someone else? And did that neighbor get murdered? Is everyone trying to cover it up? Is she going crazy? Will she find out what happened? This book had a great plot twist at the end that surprised me! I will definitely watch the movie when it comes out to see how they portray all the characters and how closely they stick to the story!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

For the spot of a thriller, I read The Death of Mrs. Westaway. I chose this one because the author also wrote The Woman in Cabin 10 and I really liked that book, so I thought oh good, I’ll probably like this one, too! And wow. I was so very wrong. This book…. I mean honestly, just skip it. Was it thrilling? No. Was it full of plot twists? I mean kinda but they weren’t surprising or great. Let me tell you what it’s about real quick: a young woman is in financial trouble and accidentally gets invited to a will reading for a seemingly wealthy woman, so she decides to go and pretend to be a relative to see if she can get some money out of it. Then there is a lot of drama that happens and family stuff going on and flashbacks and blah blah blah you get it.

There were SO MANY things I had problems with about this book, but one of them was that there were seriously like 18 plot holes that just never got resolved by the end of the story. Like (spoilers alert) there is this guy who threatens her like “you owe my boss money I’ll come break your legs if you don’t pay up” and then we just like, never hear about him or his boss again. Don’t they want their money? Did she ever pay them back? Did she kill him along the way and I was just so bored reading this that I missed it? Who knows.

No More Holding Back by Kat Armstrong

Oooooooooh this one was so good! And I don’t just think that because I know and love the author! I read it to fill the square of a book about faith. In her book, Kat emboldens women to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and move past insecurities or perceived barriers that have kept them holding back in their ministries and their faith. She debunks 5 common myths that women of faith often hear but just aren’t true: that women can’t be trusted to learn and lead, that we don’t have a lot to offer, that our greatest joy is marriage and highest calling is motherhood (as a single lady this one really spoke to me!), that we are too much to handle, and that leading ladies don’t fit in supporting roles. I can’t recommend this one enough!

 

 

 

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Five for Friday #55

Hello and happy Friday!! How’s your week been? It FINALLY started feeling a tiny bit like fall here in Dallas (kind of… it was in the 90s yesterday but today the high is only supposed to be in the 60s – hallelujah) and it has been amazing!! I’m mentally ready for sweaters and boots and cozy overdosy and I’m very excited for the weather to finally get on board. I’ve already been burning fall-scented candles for weeks, which is a weird thing to do when you’re still wearing shorts and flip flops and sweating just from going outside to check the mail.

Here’s what has been on my radar lately!

one || This hot pink blazer. Do I need a hot pink velvet blazer? No. But actually DO I need a hot pink velvet blazer? Yes.

two || This mirror from World Market. I saw it in the store the other day and love the live edges on the wood! I’m making a bunch of mental notes of things I like for when I finally buy a place, and I think I would like something like this.

three || I saw this quote on Instagram this week and liked it.

four || These pumpkin Mexican wedding cookies. I have made Mexican wedding cookies (or polvorones) in the past, but this pumpkin version looks so perfect for fall!!

five || The Good Place is back! I just love this show so much, and it’s interesting to see what they’re doing for the very last season. Do you watch it? Do you listen to the podcast about it?!?! Seriously, listen to the podcast if you watch the show!! It’s so worth it! You hear from actors and writers and even the creator and the special effects people and it’s all fun facts and trivia and good conversation!

 

Unwritten Rules of Musicals

Over the last 2 years, I have seen a LOT of musicals (if you remember, I signed up for season tickets for 2 years just so I could be guaranteed an at-cost ticket to Hamilton, and it was worth it!) which is good for me, because I LOVE musicals! There have been some decent ones, and some AMAZING ones, and one in particular that I still can’t believe ever made it to the stage let alone a tour but I sat thru it anyway (yes I’m clearly still mad at you, Love Never Dies….)

This past season, my musical buddy and I got to see EIGHT shows!!! The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Anastasia, Hamilton (which I saw twice!!!), Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Hello Dolly, and Fiddler on the Roof. Time and time again, I was just blown away with the talent and creativity that we saw! The sets were great (especially Anastasia – those sets incorporated technology in a way that you just don’t get with older, more classic musicals and it was neat to see the difference), the singing was great (even though this is a touring cast they’re just so insanely talented!), and I just loved all of it!

Well… that’s not true. I should say that I loved most of it. The things that I didn’t love were most of the other people in the theater, haha. People just being rude or annoying or not having any sort of social awareness to realize that they’re in a theater and not on the couch at home alone. So because of that, I thought I’d share some unwritten rules of going to musicals that SHOULD BE COMMON SENSE but clearly are not. They so are not.

1. Arrive on time.

Things happen. Unexpected traffic happens. The person you’re picking up isn’t ready on time. Things happen. But just try your best to arrive on time. Not even on time but early!! The rush of people coming in after the opening number using flashlights and cell phones to find their seats in the dark is very distracting!

2. Don’t wear gym shorts.

Things have gotten pretty casual at the theater lately, and I usually end up in jeans and a nice top when I go, but please just whatever you do, don’t show up in gym shorts!!! Being comfortable is nice, I get it, but it’s just hilarious when you see a family all dressed up sitting next to a dude who clearly just came from the gym. Or just woke up.

3. Don’t sing along.

NO! This is not a time for you to showcase how you know every single word to every single song! NO! People are paying money to hear the professionals sing, not you! Save it for your car on the way home when you can enjoy the songs and sing as loud as you want. But please, please don’t sing along during the actual musical itself. (Side note – this rule does not apply to adorable children under the age of 6 who are so genuinely elated that Princess Jasmine and Aladdin are riding on the magic carpet that they can’t help but belt it out. That is forever allowed.)

4. Don’t use your phone during.

Is there a reason that you need to check facebook in a dark theater, lady? Is the singing and dancing happening in front of you just not enough entertainment? Do you need to look at ALL the vacation photos from your cousin’s honeymoon RIGHT NOW?!?!?! Even when screens have the brightness turned down, they’re still pretty bright, so don’t be rude and just keep your phone out of sight until intermission.

5. Eat responsibly.

I love snacks. Snacks are the best. But this theater in Dallas only sells baked goods and candy in the crinkliest, loudest packaging known to man. And I’m pretty sure that people wait for the silent, sad moments in the musicals to CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE their candy open. Maybe try opening your treat before going into the theater. Maybe wait till the end of a song and open it while there’s lots of loud applause happening. Maybe pour a bag of skittles into your empty eyeglass case in your car outside so you don’t have to worry about crinkly wrappers OR spending $4 on a treat. So many options.

6. Don’t leave early.

I know you have VERY important plans you need to get to immediately after the musical and you want to be the very first car out of the parking lot to avoid the extra 10 minutes of waiting, but please please do not think you’re being smart by leaving during the final number! You’re missing part of the show! I even think it’s bad when people start filing out during the curtain call. I’m just trying to stand and applaud for all the talented people, not get my feet stepped on as you try to shuffle out from the middle of the row because you HAVE to be the first one out the door.

 

 

Food + Friend = Best Weekend Ever

I had one of my very favorite and very best friends visit a few weeks ago and we had the best time!!! She’s one of those friends that we can go go go and do a lot and have fun, or we can get a package of oreos and sit on the couch all day chatting and still have so much fun – don’t you love those? I feel like we had a good mix of both when Jen came to visit – we went and did fun things, but we made sure just to relax and enjoy each other’s company, too! I was joking with my roommate before she got here that most of our plans were food-based… and I was not wrong! We love trying to places and we HAD to make sure to get her a Sprinkles cupcake to celebrate her birthday!

The fun weekend started before she even got to town – I got a haircut! This really isn’t relevant, but my hair looked AMAZING and I was clearly feeling myself, lol. I get my hair cut twice a year, so it’s always a big deal to me when I go in and get it chopped. I got a healthy 3-ish inch trim and it still feels so good to get a little bit of length off.

Ok, now back to the regularly scheduled weekend recap. After some flight delays due to weather, Jen got in town just in time to go to dinner! We tried a new (to us) restaurant in town, Manny’s Uptown Tex Mex! We went there because I’d heard people say that they had good queso blanco, which is SO rare and SO hard to find here in Dallas. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s a sad truth about my city. They generally have trash queso and the people just accept it. So tragic. But this place was pretty good!! We liked the queso enough to finish the entire thing and enjoyed fun drinks and had a blast getting caught up in person!

 

We went to bed at a responsible time Friday night because the next day we had to wake up bright and early and do a 5K! We signed up months and months ago and I am here to tell you that we finished it!! We pretty much walked 98% of it but guess what you still get a medal no matter your time!! It wasn’t hot out, but it was 438% humidity and so sticky and muggy and gross, so even though the sun wasn’t shining, everyone there was sweaty and feeling slightly miserable.

After the race, we went back home and got ready for the day, and then headed out to our next food-related activity! Also it was time for lunch, so that’s what we did. We tried out another new-to-us place that had been on my list for so long – Biscuit Bar! If you’re imagining an entire restaurant based around the delicious buttermilk biscuits you usually see a breakfast, then you’re spot on because that is exactly what it is and it was SO DELICIOUS!!! We joked about getting like 8 biscuits to go after lunch because they were just that good. And I’m still kind of sad that we didn’t.

After the world’s best lunch, we went to check out an outdoor market in Frisco! It was a million degrees outside so we didn’t explore the entire thing (it was gigantic) but we did look at a lot of booths, try on some wildly expensive headbands that we both wanted until we heard the price, and made some fun purchases! There was one booth with a bunch of cute printed quotes and graphic design prints, and I loved this one from The Office!!

Same, Stanley… same. On our way back home, we stopped by Sprinkles cupcakes (yay more food-based adventures!) to get Jen her free birthday cupcake… and also a few more flavors so we could try them! (I got Jen the Sprinkles recipe book for her birthday, so OBVIOUSLY we had to test out a few flavors in order for her to know which recipes to try first. The answer was all of them.)

 

That afternoon Jen and I went to the movies! Since we had participated (again, walking still counts!!) in a race that morning, we thought it would be fun to see the movie Brittany Runs a Marathon. It was actually pretty cute – better than I expected! And it had a really sweet ending and I maybe cried a tiny bit which was very unexpected! We had popcorn at the movie, so when it let out we weren’t super hungry for a real dinner… so instead we did one of my favorite things on the planet- DIP DINNER!!!! It’s a very exciting concept (first encountered on my trip to Boston last fall) where you get some dips and chips and snacks (Oreos are a must) and make that your dinner. We spent the rest of the night snacking and laughing and watching part of a movie on Netflix and it was lovely!

We only had half a day together on Sunday as Jen had to fly home (boo) so we slept in a little bit and had a nice, lazy morning. We finished our Netlifx movie (someone got too tired and could hang the night before – it was me), started dreaming up where our next fun friend group trip would be, and got Jen all packed up. Before taking her to the airport, we had to get one last good meal together! She remembered me getting a fried avocado taco from her visit back in 2015 and asked if there was anywhere that had one, and I knew immediately that we would go to Torchy’s!! Those tacos. Their queso. So good. Then it was off to the airport after a full weekend of food and fun!!

73 Questions

Does anybody else love those Vogue YouTube videos where they go around asking celebrities 73 questions about themselves? I’ve loved them for years! Now they’re getting a little bit annoying with all the product placements/tie-ins, but it’s still fun to get to see where a celebrity lives and what their kitchens look like and get a little glimpse into the things that they like. (Some of my favorites have been Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Daniel Radcliffe, Olivia Wilde, and Blake Lively off the top of my head!)

I saw a while ago that Lindsay over at Bourbon & Lipstick posted her own version of the 73 questions, and it seemed so fun that I wanted to do one, too! So instead of forcing my roommate to follow me around the house with a camera and ask me the questions (which side note how hilarious would that be?!?) I’ll just answer the questions right here!

73 Questions

  1. What’s the best thing that happened to you this month? My friend Jen came to visit and we had the most delicious queso I’ve found in Dallas so far!
  2. What’s your favorite game? Buzzword. 
  3. When are you most inspired? When I’m content and there isn’t anything stressful clouding my ability to appreciate what’s going on around me.
  4. If you could teach one subject in school, what would it be? Probably English/grammar. Gotta teach people about the Oxford comma!
  5. What’s your favorite beverage? Root beer. Water is a close second tho (how lame does that sound?!?)
  6. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? That if I were a baked good, I would be one of those pink frosted animal cookies with the sprinkles. 
  7. What is your favorite birthday cake? Funfetti cake with almond buttercream frosting.
  8. What is one thing you still have from your childhood? So many things – stuffed animals, school projects, souvenirs from trips… most of them are in tubs in my parent’s attic at the moment.
  9. What is your favorite movie? That Thing You Do.
  10. What is something you can’t do? Dive off a diving board. 
  11. Window or aisle seat? Window.
  12. What is something that makes you laugh no matter what? Saturday Night Live. There is always at least one sketch a week that I’m sending to all my friends because I died laughing.
  13. What does creativity mean to you? Feeling free and confident enough to put what is in my head out into the real world.
  14. What are your favorite lyrics of all time? Probably something by Jimmy Eat World.
  15. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas (specifically the snack extravaganza we have as a family the night before!)
  16. What’s heavily played on your music playlist right now? Smallpools! Perfect for a road trip, a jog, or to energize you while cleaning the house.
  17. If you could raid one woman’s closet, who would it be? Carly Heitlinger. It’s the perfect combo of young, fun, classic, and always well put together.
  18. Must have purse item? Chapstick.
  19. What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 12? At that time, probably a teacher.
  20. What is something you will not be doing in ten years? Worrying as much?
  21. What is an important life lesson for someone to learn? Financial responsibility and budgeting.
  22. How do you start your day? Making my bed.
  23. Would you ever live anywhere besides where you live now? Hundo p I would. I love Dallas but could see myself being happy just about anywhere. 
  24. What is your favorite dessert? Funfetti cake with almond buttercream frosting.
  25. Is there a dessert you don’t like? Most lemon treats.
  26. It’s brunch! What do you eat? The standard combo that comes with eggs, bacon, hash browns, and a pancake! 
  27. Where was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? England in 2017.
  28. Favorite Disney animal? Dancing penguins in Mary Poppins.
  29. What is a book you’re planning on reading? American Royals.
  30. What did you read most recently? No More Holding Back by Kat Armstrong.
  31. Favorite solo artist? Sleeping at Last.
  32. What is something you’re tired of? People on their phone while doing something else. Like if you put on a TV show and then immediately grab for your phone “just to check Facebook.” Nope. Just pay attention. 
  33. What’s a city you wish to visit? Charleston, SC.
  34. Heels or flats? Flats.
  35. Where does one go on a perfect road trip? Leaf peeping around New England
  36. What do you do on a rainy day? Listen to music, read a book, crochet.
  37. What’s your favorite exercise? The Les Mills Body Combat class.
  38. What was your worst subject in school? PHYSICS wow I was so bad.
  39. What is your spirit animal? An alpaca I guess?
  40. What do you usually eat for breakfast? Scrambled eggs or a protein smoothie or a Larabar.
  41. What do you usually eat for dinner? Often it’s chicken and veggies and sometimes a potato of some sort!
  42. Cooking or baking? Baking always.
  43. Favorite baked good? A good soft peanut butter cookie.
  44. What is something you wish you could be good at? Singing.
  45. Skiing or surfing? Couch surfing lol I’ve never actually REALLY done either.
  46. First celebrity crush? Literally have no idea! We’ll say Zack Morris.
  47. Most recent celebrity crush? Aaron Tveit.
  48. What color was your prom dress? Peachy and cream junior year; sea foam green senior year.
  49. How do you manage stress? Walking, music, praying.
  50. What do you do to relax? Walking, music, praying.
  51. Age when you were first kissed? 16.
  52. Favorite fashion trend of all time? A cardigan (not really a trend, but there’s different trendy variations each season.)
  53. Best fashion advice you ever received? “Yes you DO need more cardigans!!!” 
  54. What is your current favorite piece of clothing you own? A berry red trench coat that I can’t wait to wear once the temps get a little cooler.
  55. Shoes or bags? Shoes.
  56. How do you know if you’re in love? You put their needs first and want to hear every mundane thing they have to say.
  57. Television show you binged recently? Schitt’s Creek (it’s seriously so hilarious.)
  58. Who do you turn to when you’re sad? Jesus and also my friend Allison.
  59. Leather or lace? Lace.
  60. Vintage or new? I want to say vintage but I’m not that cool. New.
  61. What is your kryptonite? Getting distracted on the internet.
  62. What are you most enchanted by? Stillness during sunrise.
  63. What is your biggest strength? Listening and giving advice people might not want to hear in a loving way.
  64. What is your biggest weakness? Thinking I know what’s best for others and giving them advice when they don’t ask for it.
  65. What are 3 words to describe living in your city? Active, culinary, pretentious. 
  66. Cutest thing on planet earth? When I knock at the door of my sister’s house every week and I hear my niece and nephews yelling “YAYA!!! YAYA IS HERE!!!” from inside.
  67. Favorite color? Navy (to wear), pink (for everything else)
  68. Best first date idea? Coffee somewhere where you can walk to a second location if the date is going really well.
  69. Favorite time of day? 10am when you’ve already had a really productive morning.
  70. What do you first notice about someone when you meet them? Their manner of greeting (hug, handshake, intimidating look up and down).
  71. What’s your guilty pleasure? Listening to all. the. podcasts.
  72. Favorite band? Literally too many to name. 
  73. Favorite season? Autumn.

Oh man, that was a lot! If you made it through that, you deserve a medal and a slice of funfetti cake with almond buttercream frosting. I mentioned it so many times that now I feel like I need to find a slice of funfetti cake with almond buttercream frosting!! Can you even find that somewhere in Dallas? Should I do some research? I don’t need cake… but also… I might have to look that up real quick…