Month in Review: September

Is it bad that I just posted two monthly reviews in a row?

Oh well.

With all the new readers I’ve gained this month (hello!) I thought I do a little month in review. Not because you feel like you’re missin out, but because this is what bigger bloggers do and although I’ll never be one of those, I thought it’d be a nice review for me to see what September has brought.

Month in review

-I kicked off the month detailing all the things I still don’t understand as an Adult….26, why so confusing?

-I wallowed in self-pity for a bit about not having a full-time job yet. Y’all were amazingly supportive though so I quickly bounced back ūüôā

-We all learned a thing of two about Google Analytics.

-I grew the balls to post my very first vlog.

-I also re-did my entire website diy style. Again, y’all were super supportive and emailed me about everything I’d done wrong. Hopefully it’s all bueno now ūüėÄ

-We compared our online and in real life selves. I think we can all agree that I’m the same basic chic here and there.

-I for some reason thought I was qualified to create an Instagram challenge for October. Not sure what possessed me but please join me. #pleaseandthankyou

-I shared 5 of my fave ladies. Y’all know I’m all about supporting others.

-I linked up with Allyson for what’s In and Out this Fall. (Hint, comparison is out!)

-Finally I recapped the books I’ve read in September. I stepped my reading game up and I’m back on track for hitting my 100 book goal for 2015.

Also don’t forget¬†The Secret Blogger Club is coming back as a weekly linkup every Thursday (that’s tomorrow people)

What have you accomplished this month?

What are your goals for October?

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My First Day Off in 12 Weeks

You guys….it’s finally Friday!

And better yet, I have the day off, say what? Yup true story and I’m, enjoying every bit of it.

Let me give you a little glimpse into my plans for the day, and no before you say it, I don’t plan on avoiding all human contact this weekend. Really they should make awards for that.

potted plant

1. Anyway, first up is triumphant return to the gym. Despite having a job that kept me on my toes all day (notice the hole in my shoes?), it left me exhausted by the end of the day and I usually fell right to sleep as soon as I got home (enter the blogging lag). So it’ll feel good to actually get my sweat on intentionally, not just because the air conditioning on the bus was broken.

2. Next up is a long overdue hair appointment. I can’t blame this one on my long work hours. I should have gone in to the saloon months and months ago…oopsie ūüôā I only plan on getting a trim to clean up my ends, but who knows what will happen once I’m in that chair….

Oh, who am I kidding, I’m the world’s most boring girl when it comes to my hair choices. My dry shampoo and sun highlights haven’t steered me wrong thus far.

3. Finally I’ve got a long list of blog related tasks that I’d like to get started on. No rest for the weary as they say. Although I’ve already mentioned that new school supplies naturally reinvigorates me, and with no school to focus all that Type A on, my blog is the lucky recipient. ‘)

4. I also have a backlog of freelance work I need to kick my butt into gear and finish. I’m like an editor’s worst nightmare. But gold star for me, I actually returned their emails within a week of receiving them. …..your welcome?

5. And last, I plan on reading. I know I said i wouldn’t return to my hermit ways, but dangit if I don’t miss my friends. Er books. I meant books, I definitely have real life friends.

Got any plans for Labor Day?

What about an actual gold star to send me?

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Bookish Side of Life: August

We made it through the summer!

I don’t know about you, but I drastically cut down on my screen time so I feel very accomplished. I managed to read 19/20 books for my summer goal (I know, 1 short how lame right?), but I still can’t believe that I’ve read 69/100 books for the year.

I realize how lame it is to host a challenge and come up 1 short. I blame my crazy work hours over the summer, but I still managed to read 19 books while working 60 hour weeks so I’m not too upset about that. PLUS! I drastically cut down on my screen time with what little free-time I had so summer challenge accomplished!

I also wanted to thank everyone who stayed with me all summer. I had some grand dreams about this link-up and the reaches it could make before my job took over my life and I felt like I was merely treading blog-water and just keeping my head above water. I can’t say what the Fall will bring, but I am excited to make a few renovations around here.

But enough about my delusions, let’s get to the books!

What I Read August

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet 2 stars. The fact that this book is about Mermaids I gave it 2 stars because how cool would that be! But unless you enjoy reading conscious streams of thought then this book isn’t for you. It actually felt like three separate books all narrated by the same ADD mind of the main character Deb…..I was happy to be done with it.

Tomorrow and Tomorow by Thomas Sweterlitsch 3 stars. Really good concept, but I had a hard time following it. With any book set in the future, the author can take lots of liberties with how that world looks and functions. This one was kind of hard to understand for me though. Part Inception, part Mind F. If you can follow along though you’ll be rewarded with a deep sinister plot if that’s your thang.

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran¬†5 stars. I’m a huge fan of anything within the realm of possible and since this is based off a true story, obviously it’s possible. I also went through a phase when I was younger when all I read was Native captures stories. I think it always amazes me what the strength of will can get people through. Also, I imagine what I would have done in that situation and would I have survived it myself. And older book, but definitely a great read!

The Promised World by Lida Tucker 5 stars.¬†BEST book I’ve read this month by far! It kept me guessing the entire time, trying to figure out the dark secret from her past. I will admit the ending was a bit, “Done, then end” with not quite the resolution I would have wanted, but that hardly took away from the great writing throughout. Highly recommend if you like drama with a reveal.

Now it’s time for you to link-up below! Give me all the brutally honest reviews!

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26 is For the Birds

Hey Friends…..

Either 26 isn’t sitting right with me or hormones can really mess with your week. TMI male readers (Hi Adam!) but seriously. If I hadn’t been blessed with such good friends that have showered me with the best of gifts (besides their friendship duh) this week really woulda been the pits…

shop ban.do planner

I am now officially the oldest person at my job….I was neck in neck with another 25-year old but then I had my birthday and that was that….Yeesh, that’s a fun realization to have…..

It’s been a real scorcher in Mass lately so the kids and counselors have going mad. Like Heat Crazy. If that’s not already a trademarked thing then I’m callin dibs right now. There’s nothing crazier than a bunch of 6-8-year-olds left out in the heat for 8 hours. Made for a fun work week.

Compound that with still wanting to be at the beach with JB’s family and a major bout of homesickness for the hills of Tennessee, and you can see how my week has been….

I’m complaining too much. This week might not have been the best I’ve ever had, but it also hasn’t been the worst. (Middle school flashbacks anyone?)

On the plus side I received a brand new planner from my sister and spent close to 3 hours Thursday night filling out all the dates and attempting to use washi tape to be all cute and blogger-y. Don’t judge my chipped nails ya jerk ūüėõ

planner fun

I also made a delicious¬†eggplant and spinach pasta with beef plus flatbread meal. I made the whole thing up as I went along and was super happy with how it turned out. JB-approved as well so I suppose you could say I’m winning at the whole girlfriend thing ūüėČ

Now I want to get back to my planner fun. JB is currently laughing at me for being this excited over a planner. I’m not sure why though, I mean what do boys learn in school?

So how’s your week been? Fun plans for the weekend?

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A Cape Cod Birthday Weekend

Happy Monday Friends!

Thanks to everyone for the kind¬†Birthday wishes. Also I’m sorry to everyone who didn’t realize I’ve been dating JB for the past 4 years. The past 2 years of that was spent long distance (Kentucky to Mass) so I felt pretty single and wrote from that point of view a lot….I seem to be pretty convincing at it I guess lol.

Also before we get going. Congrats to Amanda Brooks for winning my Birthday Firmoo giveaway! I’ll be sending you an email with your code today! I wish I could send prizes to everyone who entered, but I’m poor and not famous enough to get that much swag, sorry.

falmouth cape cod

I spent my birthday weekend in the Cape with JB’s family. I know I talked about it enough so I thought I’d show some photos for those who feel like stalking me. But like, not physically stalk me, I’m not signing off on that kind of behavior.

JB and I started the day early, heading down to meet his family at his Uncle’s Cape house in Falmouth. They have this amazing porch with rocking chairs that I just love to sit and chat on.

falmouth massachussetts

Next we headed down for some beach time. We’re healthy people so we walked, duh. Plus it’s like a 10min walk to the water so it’s not a big deal for my flippy-floppied feet. The Falmouth Road Race was also taking place that weekend so they were setting up for the race. Needless to say, there were a TON of people and we didn’t stay long. Seriously people were liek shoulder to shoulder….no bueno for this hermit.

beach house falmouth

After a lunch of fish tacos at a local shanty. (It was literally called the Beach Shanty or something like that) we headed off to the beach house. Actually let’s backtrack a bit. I was super stoked to eat fish tacos after eating them for the first time out in San Diego. Fish tacos not is San Diego are NOTHING like fish tacos from San Diego…whomp, whomp. The fish was obviously delicious, but the rest of the taco was filled with some kind of onion and cilantro mixture….two things I hate….

fish tacos

It’s ok though because later that night we ate cupcakes from my favorite cupcake shop. I was also informed that they opened a new shop but 15 minutes from my apartment, so I forsee many cupcake runs and a larger pants size in my future (sorry hips!)¬†There were Oreo, Chocolate, Lemon (bleh), Carrot Cake (double bleh) and peanut butter chocolate cupcakes to choose from. I obvis ate the Oreo and Chocolate ones because dessert shouldn’t ever involve¬†vegetables or fruit.

cupcake charlies

Dinner that night was a bacon and scallop pizza because we’re fancy individuals. No picture was taken though, because while JB’s family all know I blog and they even read it on occasion (hello :D) I still feel weird photographing everything when I’m with them. Although I’ve totally taken a rando “blog” photo with them all watching and they kept their judgment to themselves, I try to limit my awkward encounters.

falmouth cape cod

Sunday started early, around 6am, because we’re all masochists¬†of sleep deprivation, and we hit up the beach again, this time at a private association spot so we were all by our lonesome. Typing that sentence really makes me wanna yell, “Hey everyone, look how awesome I am!” I’ll refrain though, you’re welcome.

birthday gifts

That Vera Bradley wallet/cross-body bag is a birthday gift from JB’s Mom. She’s an awesome lady isn’t she? I should mention, JB got me a heavy duty ipad case because I’m, “clumsy and will inevitably drop anything expensive and new.” JB’s niece gifted me an entire day at the Children’s Museum with her in two weeks and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t my favorite gift.

I tried to get JB to take a photo with me to show y’all that I’m not lying and he really does exist. (I swear that’s his foot in the porch photo!) He never cooperates though so I tried to sneak this photo of us being cute. He caught on because I’m never cute and I got shut-down….

kiss photo

So that was my birthday weekend. No blowing out candles or being sang Happy Birthday too, but I guess we all have to grow up sometime….Just kidding, I blew out a candle I stuck in a donut when I got home Sunday Night. I mean com’on, it was my Birthday!

Do you have any birthday traditions?

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I Wore A Dora BackPack To Work

Folks,

We made it to Friday….Can we just let that soak in for a bit?

I don’t know about you, but this has been an even busier week than normal. And if you consider I work 12-13 hour work days every day, that’s sayin something ūüėČ

I gotta tell ya though, I sure do love my job. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but I really mean it. If this were a year-round¬†gig, I’d be one happy Camp Director! Unfortunately, it’s only seasonal and I’ve gotta kick my butt into gear to find something for the Fall.

Although fingers crossed I’ve got an opportunity with the same company as their Youth Wellness and Sports Coordinator. Not sure if that breaks any blogger rules by not making you wait for a big announcement, but whatever, blogger rules are dumb sometimes.

breezy picnic grounds

I did want to tell you about the fabulous field trip we took yesterday though. I know, can you believe it? I not only took this trip yesterday, but I went home that night, edited my photos and wrote this post all in one night. Can I get an internet High Five!?!

So first le’ts start with the need-to-know details shall we? We had about 100 kids to bus an hour away to a lake area. These kids ranged in age from 6-14. Many of the younger ones can’t swim so by way of bracelet color we keep track of which are allowed in the water up tot heir waists, and which can swim up to their shoulders. Toss all 100 in the lake at the same time in a “coned off” area and see if you don’t lose your mind.

breezy picnic grounds

Next up, this place had water slides…..We wear camp t-shirts on each field trip, but if it’s a water trip, they only have to wear them when they’re outside the water (essentially to and from the destination and any bathroom runs). Again, you try keeping track of 100 kids in bathing suits amongst the other 300 rando kids ¬†(there were two other summer camps there at the same time)running around without getting a headache….

We had this one kid who kept coming into our camp area and we kept getting confused as to who he was until one of his camp people would come grab him. So at least I didn’t have anyone wander off, *insert pat on the back here*

dora backpack

I did have a runner though. He was “looking for his glasses” but it looked a whole lot more like a mad dash to the water slide unattended. I don’t know, you tell me.

Anyway, I should also mention that yes, that is my backpack and not a campers. Perhaps also pertinent information to know is that I bought that backpack in college. I bought it in college, wore it in college, and continue to wear it at every summer camp I’ve ever worked. They say the Thug Life chose me or something….

Also for some reason a popular thing among youth these days is rolling down grassy hills after jumping in a lake? Not quite sure if that was well thought out because they were all itching the rest of the day. And can we comment on the size of children’s bikinis these days? Can we leave something to the imagination girls? One pieces should be the only option until you’re like 25. And no I didn’t pick that particular age because it happens to correspond with my own, jeez what do you take me for?

I’m going to leave you with an artistic rendition of a camper sitting quietly by the water. I say artistic because you’d never find that in real life so one must dream it up and paint it on a canvas. In said painting they must also put it at the exact right angle to exclude any other non-quietly sitting campers causing havoc in the water….you know, if this were even a real thing….

breezy picnic grounds

So you want my job? Like my view for the day? Generally impressed that I wrote a post for today? Let me know in the comments below!

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Bookish Side of Life: July

Whew, we ‘ve now made it two whole months putting reading above electronics. Unless you’ve been reading electronically, but it still counts. ūüėČ

This month my numbers are slightly down. Partly due to my intense work hours and partly due to picking some heavier tomes. Nevertheless, my numbers for the Bookish Side of Life Summer Book Challenge are now sitting at 14/20 and my yearly goal is 64/100

What I Read July

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman 3 stars. Being completely honest, I picked up this book because there were a ga-jillion (actual number) copies of this book at my library and I knew there’s a movie and I was swayed. It was ok. Real potential with the point of view, but the story wasn’t all that original besides that. Good read though, just nothing spectacular.

World War Z by Max Brooks 5 stars!¬†I hate zombies and everything related to zombies whether it be movies, shows, or books. NO thank you. I have nightmares from just reading about them, no joke. It’s just gross. This book however, focused on how the world would actually respond to a zombie crisis and very little on the actual chomping of faces by the zombies. If you remember I love fake history books, and this one did not disappoint. Read it, just don’t watch the movie….shudder…..

Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter 2 stars. This is a best seller but I’m not entirely sure why….Who comes up with the criteria? It’s a total chicken and egg scenario in my opinion. Someones tells me it’s a best seller so I read it and supposedly it becomes a best seller because people are reading it? Total sham with this book. If you like reading about really depressing characters in a really disgusting and grody type of way then this book is for you. If you don’t enjoy the feeling of finishing a book and wanting to take a shower, then I’d steer clear.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by 4 stars. I don’t remember who recommended this book to me but I’m really glad I listened. It’s a cute story that’s an easy read. You also know it’s a good book when the very first page pulls you in and you finish it in a day. Granted that day was a Sunday and I was worn out from the day before so I spent all day reading, but still. Cute read, I recommend it.

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner¬†4 stars. After attempting to read All The Light We Cannot See (and not finishing it) I needed something light and breezy. I really enjoyed Weiner’s last book I read so thought this would be a good read, and it was. Easy to read with characters that keep you entertained, it was the perfect palate cleanser. The teenage daughter frustrated you like any adolescent would, and the Mom was over sensitive in that relatable yet infuriating way that keeps you reading. Also, it makes me want to write a book. Go read it to find out why.

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When You Give a Camper a Bead

Whoa guys.

I’m not really sure where Wednesday’s post came from. Apparently I was feeling really sassy that day. So you’re welcome internet, Google will now associate my blog with saying education is overrated. You’re welcome School Teachers for completely undervaluing your profession. And you’re welcome everyone with a Master’s degree for putting you together is a completely irrational lump…….

Sometimes, that’s just how life goes. Moving on….

As many of you know, I’m the Assistant Director at a summer camp this summer. It’s not my first rodeo at a summer camp by any means, but this is the first time with a new company with all new traditions and systems in place.

I really wanted to leave my own stamp on this summer and decided to institute a bead system for the campers. We did something similar at my old camp but it involved stickers instead of beads.

Full disclosure, I made these poster three times with each time them getting ruined by rainstorms before ti occurred to me to laminate them……I really can be an idiot sometimes, le sigh

Give a Bead

Here’s how it works. Each staff member carries a ziplock of beads around with them. When they see the campers portraying the the values associated with each bead, they can reward them with the bead. Campers can then trade their beads in for different prizes.

Here’s the breakdown of the beads.

Bead System

Each camper has a keychain that they can string their beads on as they earn them. And guys, trust me when I say these kids will do just about anything for a bead. I’ve never seen them behave so good and not to toot my own horn but….Toot, Toot! lol kidding.

But seriously. My favorite are the challenge beads (orange). Staff can “challenge” the kids to do really anything for a bead. This comes in great when say, a camper refuses to shower off all the dirt on their feet before getting in the pool. Real life problems y’all.

So what are the prizes you might ask?

Bead Prizes

In case you were wondering, there used to be a taco by the Director lunch prize. It was¬†really¬†confusing the campers so in version three (the one pictured) I finally left it off. What’s so confusing about a taco for lunch I will never know. I guess thery’re too young to know that Chipotle is life….weird.

The most popular prizes thus far are of course, extra swim time, dunk a staff, and be a director for a day. I’m pretty proud of the whole thing so feel free to tell me how awesome I am in the comments below….but seriously…. ūüėČ

Oh, also my brother and his wife are visiting me this weekend so if you have any suggestions on fun places in and around Boston to take them to let me know!

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When Everything Is Right in The World

Have you ever had one of those moments when just absolutely everything feels right in your life? A bright, golden moment that warms your soul and envelopes you in warm fuzzies. It’s a moment when you can’t possibly imagine being any happier? I had one of those this weekend. Actually¬†I’ve had flashes of those moments for weeks now, but this one just seemed to knock me over the head and say “Hey Blondie, I’m right here!”

You won’t see it in the below photos. You’d think I’d have taken photos of the party, or me and JB, or at the very least the food. I didn’t do any of that. In respect to being a good blogger, I am not. I live my life and forget to photograph it…for that, I’m not too sorry. However I did take this photo of the beach for your enjoyment ūüėČ

CapeWeekend

It happened in the car. I was cruising down the highway riding shotgun with JB at the helm. We were headed home from a day at the Cape with his entire extended family. I’ve met them all on several occasions now so I wasn’t completely out of my comfort zone. Plus they’re the big, loud family that doesn’t really care if you’re on the quieter side in large groups.

Also, the day centered around food which is always a plus. Not only food, but good food. Fam knows how to eat. There was your traditional cookout food of burgers, hot dogs, and pasta salad. But there was also lasagna, secret family recipe “rice” mac n’ cheese, linguica dishes out the ying yang, and plenty of desserts. Did I mention they’re Portuguese. Good food is life.

They are also the only family I’ve ever felt short around. I’ve been 5’9 since I came out the womb so I know how to be tall. I’ve heard all the tall jokes, played all the tall positions, been asked all the tall questions, and felt all the tall teenage girl uncomfortable feelings. However, JB’s family knows how to grow them some big boys. JB at 6’5 is along the shorter end of things. So good food and big boys.

So after a day of fun in the sun, JB and I are riding home. My air conditioner is broken so the windows were down. With the wind in our faces there wasn’t a whole lot of talking going on which is how you know you’re with the right person. You don’t have to constantly feel the need to fill the silence.

With the Sun on my face, the wind on my hair, and JB by my side, I had my moment. I felt warm and happy and filled with joy. Just a simple and all-consuming feeling of being happy.

So that was my weekend, how was yours? Have you ever had that feeling?

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Bookish Side of Life: June

Welcome to the first link-up/check-in/report for my Summer Book Challenge the Bookish Side of Life. Make sure to grab the button in my sidebar and link up your book report posts at the end of the post!

After June, my count is 7/20 for my summer goal, and 57/100 for my yearly goal. Pretty stoked I actually got that much reading done. Netflix was only turned on Maaaaaaybe once a day and that was usually on in the background as I did my freelance work. I never was solely focused on Netflix though which I count as a victory!

Books I Read June

What I Read:

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham 1 star. Am I the only one to not get this book? I’ve always been a fan if somewhat uncomfortable with her work, but after reading this book I’m seriously questioning that fandom. More power to her for doing her thing, but through her stories I came away with a sense of annoyance and felt like she was whining and creating most of her own problems….also she was one headache of a child. Props to her even though I didn’t enjoy her book.

The World of Ice & Fire by George R. R. Martin A Billion stars!!¬†I’ve taken my nerdom to new levels by reading not only a history textbook, but a history textbook about a completely fictional world. No shame though, I was entranced by this book from start to finish. I should mention history has always been one of my favorite subjects and whether fictional or not, I enjoy the subterfuge of royal families and seeing how rivalries and dynasties¬†transform and develop over generations. If you’re a fan of the books, you’ll love this text which gives tons of context to current characters and explains their actions centuries in the making.

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner 4 stars. I can’t say I relate to the whole addiction thing. Except sugar, but that’s not really the same I guess. Anyway, I found this book really intriguing with how a person can change so quickly from something that seems so easy and simple. A Doctor’s prescription. It’ll suck you in until the end.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng 4 stars. So good! It really made me think about how so many people can only know a few parts of our lives and it’s rare that someone knows all of it. Secrets and hidden selves. Go get this book now.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett¬†5 stars. This is actually a re-read, I know. I haven’t had a single minute to get to the library so I started reading one of my favorite books again. 5 stars is too little.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham¬†3 stars. John Grisham my favorite author, what happened with this book? No seriously, what actually happened in this book? A whole lotta nothing. There were lawyers, big cases, bad guys, and the little guy, but no conclusion. Say what now? That’s J.G.’s whole schtick! Also, call me sexist if you want, but he’s always had male protagonists and this time he had a female leading the legal charge and it left me feelin weird. She consisted of trying to avoid the main conflict, pining for New York, and wanting to sleep with both male characters introduced…..not cool bro. There’s more to women than that. Call me what you want, but I just really think he’s better at writing male characters and his female one was kind of offensive anyway. Breaks my heart to say it, but Grisham my friend, you need to go back to the drawing board on this one.

Last Single Woman in America by Cindy Guidry 2 stars. This reminded me a lot of the Blogess’s book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Very rambly and not connected in the slightest, crazy strings of thoughts. I slogged through the mind of Jenny, but couldn’t quite get my brain to focus through Cindy’s. Just not my thing, but I will admit she is very witty and good with words. Check it out if you like rando.

So there ya have it. My reads for June! It’s quite a bit less than both my May and April book count, but working 70 hour weeks really cuts into my reading time unfortunately, whomp whomp.

Now be sure to grab the button and linkup below so I can get more books to add to my Goodreads list! (P.s. want to receive an email reminder before next month’s linkup? Just click here and enter your email. I promise that’s the only thing I’ll use it for, scout’s honor!)

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