Five on Friday {February 28}

Hey y'all,

I cannot believe that it is already the end of February! The month flew by especially when it was packed with a lot of fun - belated birthday celebrations, Celine Dion, dinners with friends, a snow day, etc. Here's what I am loving this week:

one. PBX Alumni Gala.

This past weekend, Phi Beta Chi, celebrated 20 years as a chapter on UNC's campus. There was a fun celebration at the Carolina Inn filled with dinner and dancing. I was excited to see some of the alumni that I haven't seen since they graduated along with some of my sweet sorority fam. It's always a great time to catch up with others and who doesn't love an excuse to get dolled up?
 With my little, Molly, grand-little, Katie, and great-great-grand-little, Emily
 With Ashley. 
We both have served as the Executive Vice President. 
With my Barre3 buddy, Maryscott

two. Homemade "Medicine Ball" tea.

The past week and a half I have been waking up with a slight sore throat that will disappear by 10am but I have still been drinking all the tea to help. I bought this peach tea, this mint tea, and these lemonade packets and make a Starbucks staple for much cheaper. I often use my 32 oz. HydroFlask for the drink and just add in a bit of ice so it is not burning hot to drink.

three. Surprise Baby Sprinkle.

Sunday I went to a sweet baby shower for a member of my Wednesday night bible study. J's due with her second little man in April. The shower was a great time for a few of us to get together to celebrate her and she was completely surprised when she walked in the door thinking she was dropping off her toddler with her SIL before a lunch date with her husband.
Silly Faces always

four. Rest Day.

The rest of Sunday I spent getting my life back together after weeks of living in a tornado. I washed all the dishes (including the few cups that needed to be handwashed), prepped my meals for the week, vacuumed, washed the floors, did all the laundry (and put it away),  and other random cleaning tasks. It felt amazing that evening to sit on my couch in a clean space and every night since thanks to some maintaining!

five. Better.

Last night the Women's Discipleship bible studies started at my church and I am excited to dig into Hebrews with my table. We are doing this study by Jen Wilkin and I know it will be a hard but beautiful ten weeks of study. Wilkin's studies are always good for my comprehension of the bible.
Image result for jen wilkin better

Other favorites:

-This air fryer arrived from Amazon on Thursday and I am so excited to try out some new recipes
-Sanditon on Masterpiece. If you didn't catch the 8 episodes based on Jane Austen's final manuscript, get PBS Passport and binge them! So good and we need to chat about that ending.
-I'm not a hockey fan but David Ayers, the Zamboni driver who came into the Carolina Hurricane's game as the Emergency Goalie to help the Canes win is such a sweet story.

I'm linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea
And linking up with TifBeckyDellaWhitney, and Whitney.

What are you up to this weekend?


Five on Friday {Valentine's Day}

Hey y'all,

We made it to Friday! Happy Valentine's day to all who celebrate. It has been one very busy week and it will be a busy weekend as well with a Galentine's party tonight, a conference at church tomorrow morning for all the kids leaders, and a fun lunch with a friend!

one. Celine Dion.

On Tuesday night I stayed out way past my bedtime to attend Celine Dion's Courage World Tour. Y'all it was an amazing night and filled with both older and hits from her recently released CD. Celine hadn't toured in NC for over 10 years due to her residency in Las Vegas so it was great to finally see her. I went with three of my supper club friends (who actually went to her Vegas show last March before her residency ended and she announced her tour). I saved the clips I shared as a highlight on my Instagram here.

I have been singing Imperfections constantly since Tuesday.

two. Galentine's Day Gift Bags.

I used my favorite friends survey responses to create little Galentine's Day treat bags for my friends. I was going to make porch drops but when my friend Jordan hosted a party last night it was the perfect opportunity to hand them out.

three. Galentine's Party.

Jordan hosted an amazing gathering last night including the Galentine's day episode of Parks and Rec, a fun game, RBG waffles, chips, queso, and lots of laughs.

four. Polish Pottery.

My sweet parents gave me a beautiful polish pottery circle baker as part of my Birthday present. If you haven't heard of Polish Pottery, Poland creates beautiful stoneware hand stamped or hand painted pieces. My mom's kitchen is filled with the pottery after a few trips to Poland while we lived in Germany. Since coming back to the states, my parent's have gifted the kids with a few pieces every couple of years. I also forgot to snap a picture of my piece so here's a picture of the same style with a different design.

five. What's For Dinner YouTube Videos.

I recently picked up the travel scripture cards from Crew & Co. on sale. I have been following their company for a while and decided to finally grab the cards. I have been reading a verse or two in the car before work and it has helped to set the tone for the day.

Other favorites:

This is a really random favorite but I have recently been watching a lot of what's for dinner or meal prep videos on YouTube and it has helped inspired me to be back in the kitchen and gave me a lot of meal ideas. I have really enjoyed MandyJessicaLauren, and Miranda's videos.

This giveaway for Rothys from my friend Laura.

Chewy Granola bars. I had these all the time for lunch in high school and brought them back this week.

Dunkaroos are coming back this summer. 

I'm linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea
And linking up with TifBeckyDellaWhitney, and Whitney.

What are you up to this weekend?


Work Wear Wednesday {Vol. 15}

Hey y'all,

I am completely exhausted this morning after belting out Celine Dion last night at her concert in Raleigh. It was an amazing night and I might have all of her songs on repeat right now. Also, in my exhausted state I realized I only have three work wear outfits this week instead of my usual five but I thought I would share anyway. I did go shopping with my Mom recently to celebrate my birthday so I did add a few new things to my work-wear wardrobe. You can see past work wear posts here.

 top: Bobeau (Nordstrom, maroon is on sale)/ pants: Old Navy Stevie Leggings in Spruce Green/ earrings: Laura Cox Collection/flats: Birdies (old, new style). I did end up adding in a long necklace from J.Crew like this one.
 top: LOFT/ jeans: Old Navy/ earrings: Kendra Scott/ flats: Tory Burch (old, similar)
Top: LOFT/ cardigan: Nordstrom Leith brand (old, exact on Poshmark)/ leggings: navy ponte leggings from LOFT/ flats: Vince Camuto/ earrings: N&S/ necklace: Kendra Scott

I'm Linking up with the Style Six today!


Five on Friday {February 7}

Hey y'all,

After yesterday's scary storms here in NC I am loving seeing the sun and a beautiful sky. I lucked out that my area wasn't hit too badly and I was able to scoot home after work with no problems. I am a bit concerned of the road conditions though as I drive to my parent's house after work to spend a few days celebrating my birthday with them. Their area is prone to flooding and was hit hard over the last few years with hurricanes so more rain and wind is never a great thing. Here's what I am loving this week:

one. Birthday Celebrations.

I enjoyed a lovely birthday weekend. I had Friday off work and got my errands done and celebrated with friends with a fun Barre3 class, had a drink with a friend, then grabbed dinner with a friend on Friday. Saturday was another Barre3 class, getting my car serviced and inspected, and then a lovely dinner with more friends.

two. The Defined Dish.

One of my 30th year goals is to cook through a cookbook. I decided on The Defined Dish. I am a pretty picky eater and after looking through the book I picked out about 55 recipes I want to try, so for the next year I have a bit of my meal planning settled with grabbing 1-2 recipes out of the book.
 I took a poll on my stories for what dish to try first and Chicken Piccata won. The dish was amazing and so simple to make.  I am making the Lemon Rosemary Shrimp next week for a few dinners.

three. Forever Family.

My church started a new series this week and I am excited to hear more. This week's message was on Matthew 19 called Jesus on Marriage. We studied Romans most of last year so I am ready for a more topical study especially since we have not had a relationship focused study in years (From the Beginning in 2015 and First Love in 2013)

four. The Bible Recap.

I started the Chronological Bible reading plan on February 1st as part of my 30th year goals and have enjoyed the daily reading and small recaps with the Bible Recap. I printed out the schedule since I love checking things off but I also enrolled in the plan on the Bible app so I can get in my reading anywhere if I skip a quiet time in the morning.

five. Cinnamon Toast Rice Cakes.

Yes, a very random favorite but I have been snacking on these all week. I grabbed them at Target and they are just a bit sweet and perfect. This also comes from someone who will eat plain rice cakes and has since they were like 5.
Image result for lundberg cinnamon toast rice cakes

other fun things:

This Harry Potter Air BnB (the Slytherin room!) in Davenport, FL.

Voting on items for the Flourish Market on their Instagram Stories. The Flourish Market team is out in Las Vegas for Market and you can help them decide on items with polls in their stories. They are a sweet ethical fashion store here in the Triangle but you can also order items online. 

A co-worker brought this game to my attention this week, Downton Abbey Clue. I do think it's funny that Dowager Countess could be the one to steal the pocket watch. However, how come Mary is a suspect but not Edith?

I also have been on a hug tea kick this week. For my morning tea I have loved either the blueberry or passionfruit green teas from Yogi, during the day I have made a homemade Medicine Ball tea (1 bag of Teavana Jade Citrus Mint, 1 bag of Peach Tranquility, 1 packet of True Lemon Lemonade, a squeeze of honey, hot water), and this honey vanilla chamomile before bed.

I'm linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea

What are you up to this weekend?


What I Read Wednesday {January Reads}

Hey y'all,

I feel like January flew by and before we know it spring will be here especially since NC has gone back into the 60s weather wise. I actually did not read a lot of physical books in January as I felt like I had so much going on during both week days and weekends. Here's what I did finish:

Everything, Everything (audiobook)

Everything, EverythingMy disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

I grabbed this audiobook on Libby as I didn't have any holds to grab and while this is a quick read/listen, I wasn't in love with it. The book focuses on a young girl who is isolated due to her condition and looks out onto the world where she discovers the cute new neighbor. Olly and Maddy begin to communicate online and form a tight friendship. By the end, I wanted everyone to get a hug and call social services. I felt the end fell flat for me. ⭐⭐

My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake HeiressSex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can in the astonishing true story of Anna Delvey, a young con artist posing as a German heiress in New York City—as told by the former Vanity Fair photo editor who got seduced by her friendship and then scammed out of more than $62,000.

I first heard of Anna Delvey from an article back in the Fall. This is a true story of a young woman in NYC who befriends who she believes to be a German heiress, over the course of their friendship though, things begin to be suspicious. After a trip to Morroco where Rachel uses her credit card to pay for the hotel room under the guise of a misunderstanding with Anna's bank, the friendship begins to deteriorate and the truth of Anna Delvey is revealed. You can read more about the trial here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Bride Test

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

I really enjoyed Helen Hoang's Kiss Quotient and yet again she weaves a fun modern romance. I love that Hoang focuses on more representation in the genre with an immigrant story as well as a character with disabilities. Esme is brought to the US on behalf of Khai's mother to marry him. Yep, an arranged marriage but the deal is Esme attends all the weddings of the family as Khai's date over the summer and then they get to decide if she stays to become his wife, or back to Ho Chi Minh City and her family. This was a quick read that would be perfect at the pool this spring. ⭐⭐⭐.5

An American Marriage (audiobook)

An American MarriageNewlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.

My book club's January read is also an Oprah book selection and very timely for Black History Month in February. This book deals with racial injustice, family, relationships, and our justice system. I did enjoy the audiobook read by three different people for the three perspectives of the novel but overall I didn't enjoy the book itself. ⭐⭐⭐

The Hate You Give (audiobook)

The Hate U GiveSixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Okay, if you pick one book from my list, grab The Hate You Give. This book begins with Starr witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. This becomes a national headline as Khalil was unarmed. Inspired by recent events, Thomas creates a story that is educational, riveting, and a very powerful look into racial bias, police brutality, and injustice. My favorite reminder was that our words are a powerful weapon - do not be silent when your voice can make a change for good. Also, just a warning, there is a lot of language in the book and while it makes sense contextually, it can be a bit jarring on audio. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What did you read this month?
Life According to Steph
Link up with Jana and Steph.


February Goals and January Check-In

Hey y'all,

I cannot believe we are already in February. While some people thought January dragged on and on, it flew by for me! Here are my goals for this month and a recap of how I did with my January goals:

Image result for february goals

Here are my goals from January:

  • Complete month one of the contentment challenge - I was not perfect with my contentment challenge and order a few things throughout the month like finishing my 2013-2018 chatbooks with a 20% off coupon as well as ordering this cookbook after checking it out at the library. All other non-grocery purchases I made were with gift cards.
  • Turn off social media at 9 p.m. to focus on reading more not scrolling - I didn't do great at this goal and barely read my physical book all month. Instead I listened to a good amount of books.
  • intentionally move my body daily - I have Barre3 classes booked for Saturdays and Sundays and some walks planned as well. There were only 4 days in the month where I didn't walk an extra 15 mins or take a B3 class.
  • Plan my 30th birthday celebration with friends - I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with friends on Friday as well as a dinner with a friend on Friday night and a bigger celebration on Saturday night at Chuys.
  • Make 2 porch drops to friends - this did not happen so it's moving to January.
  • Pray each morning through my prayer journal and write down 3 things I am grateful for. I kept up with the gratitude portion of this goal pretty well although some days I was looking back and writing down what I was grateful for from the last 3 days or so. 

Here's what I hope to accomplish in February:

  • Enjoy the Celine Dion concert with friends at the PNC arena!
  • Continue with the contentment challenge. Focusing on all the things I have to be grateful for.
  • Make 2 porch drops to friends.
  • Celebrate Galentine's and Valentine's day. I have events with some of my close girlfriends on both Galentine's day and Valentine's day.
  • Continue to read the bible daily and listen to the Bible Recap.
  • Complete my taxes.
  • Continue to intentionally move my body daily.
  • Create a consistent morning routine.

What are your goals for the month?