2019 Book Bingo – April Update

Hello and happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! My company gave us last Friday off for Good Friday, and it was nice to have a day to just get some stuff done! I ran errands, browsed at Target while pretending to be running errands, got my car washed, did ALL THE CLEANING, and then went to a Tenebrae service at my church. I’d never been to one before, and it was really moving to be in the sanctuary lit by candlelight and reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice Jesus made when he died on the cross.

The rest of the weekend was filled with family and fun! I tried out a new-to-me coffee shop with a new friend on Saturday, got to spend time with my parents and sister, celebrated that Christ is risen with my church family on Easter Sunday, and then had a great cookout that afternoon with the fam!

But now onto books – books books books let’s talk about some books! I’ve read some really great things in the last month and I’ve been dying to talk about them! And I know I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again – filling out a bingo board for the books I’m reading has just been bringing me so much joy! Yes it’s silly and yes it’s a little restricting since I selected the categories I need to read to fill the whole thing out, but who cares because I’m having fun! I wonder what the first “bingo” I’m going to get will be…?

For a non-fiction book I read It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst. It was the book for a book club that I’m a part of and it was good!! Lysa talked so openly about disappointments and how to handle them. I got the audiobook from the library and “read” it that way, but I wish I would have purchased the book, honestly. There were so many good nuggets in there that I would have loved to underline and have to look at later! Because life isn’t perfect and fun fact there WILL be hard times and disappointments in the future and I can definitely see myself reading this one again. This sounds like a bummer of a topic for a book, but it wasn’t a bummer at all. It was really full of hope and inspiration and I highly recommend it, whether you’re currently experiencing disappointments or not!

For a memoir I read The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. I wasn’t sure if I would like this one since it was written interview style with Nick and Megan talking back and forth to each other (I find I’m much slower reading things like that), but since I’d read a few of Nick’s other books, I decided to give it a go. And it was overall pretty great! One of my FAVORITE THINGS is hearing how couples met and so it was neat to hear their story of how they met, what they were like back then, and what their lives have been like in the 18-ish years that they’ve been together. Their back-and-forth was sweet to read; they’re so playful and you can tell that they just genuinely enjoy each other’s company. But what I loved most was reading just how supportive they are of the other! They were constantly saying the sweetest, nicest things about the other (about them as people, their work, their families, etc.) and it just warmed my heart.

For a book with a green cover I read Point of View by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I got to meet Elisabeth a few weeks ago when she spoke at the monthly Polished lunch I go to, and I was just so impressed with her. I went into the lunch thinking “she’s a celebrity, so this talk is going to be nothing but fluff and not a lot of substance and she’s just going to try and get people to buy her book…” but it was so much more than I expected! She got real with us and told some great stories and gave great advise about balancing work and faith, and she spent like a solid 5 minutes talking with every single person that wanted to get their book signed. I listened to her book (which she read!) while driving to and from Oklahoma to visit my parents 2 weekends ago and it was great! She talked about her time on Survivor, playing softball in college, finding job opportunities that she never really thought she’d want in the television industry, her marriage to her best buddy Tim and their family life, and she related all of it back to God in a really lovely way. It’s a short read but worth it to get from the library!

For a book published in 2019 I read Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken. And it was… fine. It was different than I expected – it started with an older lady’s mysterious appearance in a cemetery who starts a candlepin bowling alley in the New England town. The story continues with the people who frequent the bowling alley and follows along with their lives and generations after the lady dies in a freak accident. It all centers around the bowling alley and I liked that you saw into the lives of a LOT of characters, but there was just something about this book that I didn’t love. I think it might have been the writing? It seemed like it was a little too purposefully quirky and funny but it wasn’t actually funny. So, you wouldn’t be wasting your time with this one, per se, but also don’t feel the need to go read it IMMEDIATELY.

But a book that you should feel the need to go read immediately is One Day in December by Josie Silver – I read it for the spot of a book “everyone” has read. And now I know why “everyone” read it – and so quickly! It was just published last fall! I saw the book in a cute little bookstore in Connecticut last November and by the time I had requested it at the library later that week, it already had OVER A HUNDRED holds! So I finally just got the chance to read it last month and it was just such a sweet story! It had all the classic elements of a good chick lit read – romance, misunderstandings, friendship, love, an accident that comes out of nowhere, and just the best ending! I love this type of book so much because it gives all the warm fuzzies – and it’s officially become a book I recommend to people when they ask me what books to check out next!



Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody! I love this holiday with all the chocolate and family time and good food. Some of my most favorite (a scavenger hunt all over the house to find our Easter baskets – my mom was so fun!) and most hilariously tragic (a hole in my bag that let every Easter egg I collected drop out the bottom… and into the waiting hands of my friend Sabrina who followed me around collecting them for herself – ha!!) childhood memories revolve around Easter celebrations, and it’s a time of year I always look forward to. This year I get to spend it with my parents, sister, and her family, and I’m very thankful that we get to spend quality family time together.

I also love this holiday for the joy it brings in marveling at the fact that Jesus gave his life for someone like me who messes up every single day, yet he did so anyway willingly – celebrating the fact that he rose from the dead 3 days after dying on the cross, just as he promised he would – rejoicing that my great God sent his son to be a legit human (that blows my mind sometimes!) and experience all the joys and pain and good things and hard things on Earth and that I’ll get to sing praises to him one day in Heaven. Wow!

I’ve had the chorus of the song Stronger from Hillsong stuck in my head all weekend and it’s been a great reflection of what Easter is really all about.

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

I hope you all have a lovely day today filled with family and fun and chocolate and the joy that comes from knowing that that Jesus, the son of God who walked on Earth and had friends and ate food and suffered, died a real death on your behalf for your sins because He loves YOU that much.

Five More Podcasts to Check Out ASAP!

For Lent this year (which let’s just get it out there that Lent was never a thing in my house and it’s definitely not a thing in my church but 98% of my friends growing up were Catholic and so I always felt left out when I didn’t give something up, too, and so I still sometimes try to give something up and that’s that) I decided to give up listening to secular music. It’s a nice break from songs I don’t love on the radio and listening to the same 4 artists over and over, and I’ve been loving starting my day with worship music!

But sometimes I’m tired of listening to music, and I don’t want to just clean my apartment in silence, so I’ll throw on a podcast! I keep finding more and more to try out, and some of them have been amazing!! I know everyone has different styles and tastes when it comes to what they listen to (and some people would just rather not listen to other people have a conversation and I get that!) but I am going to share some REALLY REALLY GREAT ones with you today that I think you might like, too!

The Heart of Dating

The Heart of Dating podcast is such a fun one! The host, Kait, and her guests dive into the terrible, fun, confusing, awesome world of what it looks like to date as a modern Christian adult today! She has had great episodes about the Enneagram, what it looks like to start online dating, how to prepare now for marriage later, and more! Her guests are always great and share great nuggets of wisdom.

The Good Place

Yeah, The Good Place The Podcast is definitely my favorite on this list today! I just LOVE this show – it’s so clever and hilarious and has definitely made me cry and it’s just written so well. I also love knowing fun facts and trivia, and THAT’S WHAT THIS PODCAST IS! It’s hosted by one of the actors, and they go episode by episode talking to writers, the creator, actors, directors, and even special effects people about what happened, what happened behind the scenes, and other things that the people (aka me) are dying to know!!! Just make sure that you have actually seen the first two seasons before you start listening, because they didn’t start doing the podcast until well into season 2, and there are major spoilers.

Dr. Death

Dr. Death is one that I feel like EVERYONE has already listened to, but that’s ok I’m still going to put it on my list! It’s a limited-series podcast (so there’s only 11 episodes) about a spinal surgeon in Dallas, TX who basically messed up a lot of people’s lives by performing surgery on them when HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DOING ANY SURGERY OF ANY KIND ON ANYBODY. I mean, just because of what happened it was sad to listen to… but it was also fascinating to hear just what happened and why it happened and why nobody stopped this guy sooner. Also it took place in Dallas so I felt like I should listen because I live in Dallas and that definitely upped the icky factor while listening.

Cool Playlist

Cool Playlist is pretty much exactly what you’re thinking- a podcast where the host Eliza Skinner and a guest come up with cool playlists that have 10 songs! Each episode centers on a different scenario and it’s a great way to remember songs you used to love or find new songs/artists you’ve never heard before but want to check out! Some of the fun scenarios have been playlists for a “roadtrip to Disney,” “eating fast food alone in your car at night,” “first day in a very cool new outfit,” and “coming home after a disappointing day.” Just a warning, they do NOT play the entire song when adding it to the playlist, just a sample. I made a friend listen to the “waiting in line for Broadway lottery tickets” episode when we were in New England last fall thinking she would LOVE it and she was getting so sad because “I JUST WANT TO HEAR THESE FULL SONGS!!!!!!!!!!!” Fair point, and now you’ve been warned.

The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing is an extremely specific podcast that I didn’t think I would like but I’m actually really enjoying so far! I’m not all the way caught up, but I started from the beginning a few months ago and I’d say I’m about halfway there. The host, Emily, has a very soothing voice and she talks about making good decisions and being ok with the decisions you make in such a calm way – it’s just really lovely. I don’t struggle with decision making ALL the time, but I’ve already taken some of the things/practices she’s talked about and implemented them into my process and it’s been great! And y’all, she even has A BOOK coming out about the same topic! And it gets released ON TUESDAY!!! I’m definitely going to add it to my library list and read it!

Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Now that spring is finally here, I thought it was time to do a little spring closet cleaning and refresh my wardrobe a little bit! I’ve been wanting to simplify things and freshen up what I wear every day, and the best way to do that in my opinion is to create a capsule wardrobe! I’ve done a few of these before in the past, and it really helped me to make sure I wear the clothes in my closet by focusing on a few items every month/season.  And by a few, I mean 40.

The beauty of doing a capsule wardrobe and selectively choosing what you’ll wear for the next season is that you can make sure that you really get a lot of wear out of seasonal pieces and you don’t get bogged down and frustrated trying to decide what to wear in the mornings. You know exactly what options you have and can make fast, easy choices that you know you’re going to love.

There’s lots of different ways to create a capsule wardrobe for yourself, and honestly any way you choose is probably going to be great. Some people only pick 30 items, some people include accessories, some people don’t count in shoes, some people do them monthly – it’s really up to you!! I decided that I was going to choose 40 items for mine because I wanted to not do laundry ALL the time, I wanted to have good variety between work and weekend outfits, and I wanted to include lots of shoes in an effort to force myself to actually wear the shoes I already own. I didn’t include any undergarments (like camis) or accessories (like purses) in mine because I only have a few bags that I switch between depending on the occasion. Here’s what I included!

10 tops

I tried to pick tops that would be good layered (mostly at work and church, both of which are FREEZING even when it’s hot outside) but could also be cute and appropriate to wear on their own (like on weekends or during my commute). I threw in a t-shirt for when I’m feeling super casual (which is honestly like once a month lol) and a few longer-sleeve blouses that don’t need to be layered at all. If you don’t need to layer as much as I do, then you can add a few more tops and take out a few layering pieces – just think about what you wear on a regular basis and build your capsule around that!

A lot of the tops I’m including in my capsule are “oldies but goodies” aka I bought them at TJ Maxx years ago but they’re still things that I love and wear regularly. I did add a few replacement items that I purchased recently, like this green blouse and this green tank.

7 layering pieces

Since I’m in a lot of “brrr I’m freezing” scenarios in my life, I really like to make sure I have a lot of good layering options/cardigans to choose from. And also I just love me a good cardigan! I made sure to have a variety of colors that would go with most of the tops I put in my capsule, along with a black blazer for work and a jean jacket for cuteness!

5 dresses & skirts

Texas gets hot and it’s nice to have some fun dress/skirt options to look cute and keep cool! I’ve gotten into such a rut of wearing jeans every day to work, so I’m hoping having some cute dresses will make me want to dress up a little more. At least once a week. We’ll see how that goes. I can already anticipate that I’ll be wanting to wear this black eyelet dress a LOT!

8 bottoms

Because I do pretty much wear jeans every day, I wanted to make sure that I had a LOT of options to wear. Black jeans, dark jeans, lighter jeans, white jeans, green pants that are like jeans but aren’t actually denim, distressed jeans for the weekend – gotta have ’em all! I made sure to also have my favorite shorts in the mix and a fun jumpsuit, too! I love this black one because it’s so simple – you can dress it up, dress it down, wear it to work, church, running errands, out to dinner – the possibilities are endless.

10 pairs of shoes

Just like wearing jeans to work everyday, I’ve gotten in a huge ret with wearing the same 2 pairs of shoes and basically nothing else. Now, you can’t go wrong with a pair of black flats and a pair of tan loafers… but there are just so many other options I can go with! In an effort to actually wear other footwear, I added TEN pairs of shoes to my capsule. And yes, that does feel like a lot, but each pair is so distinct in shape/color/pattern/occasion that they all still feel necessary. Thankfully I already had pretty much all the shoes I’d need, and I only had to replace a worn-out pair of sandals that could be worn to work (I found these cuties).

Five for Friday #50

Hello and happy Friday!! I normally only do these posts once a month, but there were just SO many things I’ve found and loved lately, I had to do another right away!!

one || If you’re not already following Brighton Keller’s blog, then go do so immediately because you’re missing out. She’s a Dallas fashion blogger, but she has been consciously moving toward writing about bigger, “more important” things (like self-improvement, organization, faith, etc.) and I’m here for it. I loved one of her recent posts about what to do when it seems like prayer isn’t working and it’s filled with good reminders!

two || Hi I have found the most beautiful spring top and it is the best color and just looks like it would be so flattering and I maybe ordered it and it will be arriving tomorrow and I hope it’s as lovely in person as it is online!

three || I might have mentioned this before, but it’s worth sharing again! One of my favorite podcasters (who wrote this book called The Wondering Years that I really liked!) has an email newsletter that gets sent out once a week? Once a month? I can’t remember. But it goes over things happening in pop culture, shows new movies coming out, includes a picture of a CUTE DOG every time, and it’s just great. I generally think it’s pretty annoying when people send out email newsletters and I never sign up for them, but THIS ONE is amazing and I read it every single time it shows up in my inbox and you should sign up for it, too!

four || Ummmm are you all as excited as I am for the Vineyard Vines collection at Target coming out in May?!? I can’t wait to see what they have and I hope it doesn’t sell out as fast as the Lilly Pulitzer collab did!

five || I didn’t think the perfect loafers existed, but then I found these bad boys and now I’m a little bit obsessed with them.

I’m so happy that the weekend is almost here! I am FINALLY getting to hang out with one of my favorite people tomorrow (hey, Arie!) and we’re going to see a short performance at the symphony! We’re both so busy and keep missing each other, so I’m really pumped for some good friend time and catching up!

Have a great weekend!