21 January 2022

Friday Favorites {January 21}

It's FRIDAY! It actually snowed last night here in the Triangle and more snow is expected so I am cozy under my Saranoni blanket working from home. I luckily planned a very chill weekend of reading, crafting, cooking, meeting up with a friend for a bible study, and church so I am okay being trapped at home if necessary. Here are my current favorites:

Small-Group retreat.

Last Friday I headed to the mountains just west of Asheville for a weekend away with my small group. Unfortunately the snow/ice ended things early so we were only there for about 24 hours. However, we all had fun playing games, digging into the Word, cooking together, and resting from the week. We stayed here and it was perfect for the 12 of us on the trip. I was in one of the bunk room beds. At just about 4 hours away from the Triangle, it was a good drive away for a very quiet space.

The Food Hall in the S&W Building.


My dear friend (and sorority grand-little) Shelby was in town for a bit after Christmas. Shelby lives in Singapore teaching at a private school there. I hadn't seen her since January of 2020 when she was last stateside so I loved hosting her for an evening and then grabbing brunch at La Farm the next day. Shelby is back in Singapore and luckily traveled back safely without any quarantine needed. We are back to Facetiming through the 12/13 hour time difference.


My birthday is at the end of the month and when I saw this piece from Meghan Rosenthal I had to grab it. Meghan is a local artist based in Chapel Hill and a fellow Tar Heel. Meghan does ship for those of you outside of the Raleigh and Charlotte areas and I know she is working on her February collection and does commissions. The colors of this piece are so me and I am still debating if I should hang it in my living room or in my bedroom.

New Work Out Clothes.

I grabbed these sports bras, more of my favorite tees, and leggings, as well as this pair of sneakers in prep for the new year. I also signed back up for the Peloton app and I am trying to take a class every day - from stretching, barre, meditations, arm strength, etc. 

Great Vet Visit.

Last Friday was also the annual vet visit for Max. Unfortunately, he was car sick even during the short 10-minute drive so as soon as we got there we had to clean his little kennel and him. He got lots of love and attention from the vet and vet tech though and conned them into more treats. He is doing great and did so well for his shots and nail trim. 

Throwback Pictures. 

On Wednesday, my small group met for the first time this year (apart from our retreat) and after we all added our birthday's to the GroupMe calendar there was a fun request to pull out baby pictures. If you haven't shared childhood photos with a friend group, I highly recommend it. There were some fun glamour shots with the floral dress with white lace collar I think many of us had.

Other favorites:

Iced Passion Tea Lemonade made at home with this tea and crystal light lemonade.

Puzzles. We completed this one and this one while I was home over Christmas. During our small group retreat, the group completed the Tangled puzzle from this box.

The book club mug from Rifle Paper is back in stock and on my birthday wishlist.

One-pot Hamburger Helper perfect for the snow/ice we experienced this week.

The 20 min Disney Barre class on the Peloton app with Ally Love and the 10 minute Taylor Swift stretching class with Ben Alldis.

As usual, I am linking up with Andrea of Momfessionals and Erika of A Little Bit of Everything today.

What are your plans for this weekend?

20 January 2022

Amazon Lately {Pt. 2 Beauty, Hobbies, Gifts, & Books}

Yesterday I shared the first half of my purchases from Amazon in 2021. This has been very eye opening to see what I purchased throughout the year and what categories do I often turn to Amazon for versus other retailers. Here are my purchases in the beauty, activities/hobbies, gifts, and book categories. 


  • Beauty Blender dupe. I grabbed this five pack when it was on a great sale. I am very lazy about washing my makeup sponges so having a low cost option is best for me and for 5 sponges for less than $10 vs. $20 for a beauty blender this was a great choice.
  • EltaMD sunscreen - I have this sunscreen on subscribe and save. It is perfect for my sensitive skin and it is the perfect layer before I add any makeup. I try to put it on every day even if I don't plan to be outside. 
  • Briotech Topical Spray. My dermatologist reccomended this spray to use when I get home and take of my mask to help with potential maskne.



  • Gift Cards - I purchased some Amazon specific gift cards as well as some Starbucks gift cards.
  • Wipes Dispenser - for a new little one upon their arrival.
  • Dutch Blitz - my little sister requested this card game for Christmas. I actually got this for Christmas back in 2020.
  • Midliner Double Ended Highlighter - gifted to a sweet friend for her birthday along with a bible study. I have these highlighters and love using them in my quiet time or bible studies.
  • Hand Towels - my older sister requested some hand towels for Christmas and she has some sage towels already. 

  • Mint Julep Jazz Band's Battle Axe CD - my brother swing dances with a group in Ohio and his Christmas list was filled with various CDs from different jazz bands. I actually grabbed a different Mint Julep Jazz Band CD for him last year so it was fitting to grab this one.


The funny part of doing this post is recognizing all the books I purchased last year that I still have yet to read! I bolded those I did read last year but it looks like I have a lot more reading to do this year before I should purchase any other books from Amazon.

Do you have a go to category for Amazon purchases? 
What book should I read next?

19 January 2022

Amazon Lately {Pt. 1: Pet, Misc., Home, & Clothing}

I looked back and the last time I posted an Amazon lately it was back in January 2020 a time before the world broke with this pandemic. I decided to go ahead and share what I purchased over the last year from Amazon and break it down into categories. Some of these items I use on a regular basis while a few were influencer purchases. I even have so much to share that I decided to break this up into two posts. Also, I am not including any time I had groceries delivered through WholeFoods or AmazonFresh.


Simplified by Emily Ley At-a-Glance planner. I love the weekly Simplified planners and have been using them for years. However, with the new collaboration with At-A-Glance I was able to snag this one for under $20. For the calendar year, this cover of Hydrangeas is gorgeous.


I will say, I ordered more clothes than this list but I returned a lot. I am very picky about fast fashion and a lot was not worth it in my opinion. Here is what I have kept.

  • Leather Apple Watch Band. I have sensitive skin so most Fitbit/Apple Watch bands will give me an allergic rash. I have found this band works well and I actually just repurchased it.
  • Lounge pants. These are my go-to after-work pants when you are lounging on the couch with no place to go.
  • Teva Sandals. I grabbed these as water shoes to go tubing on the Cape Fear River this summer with my small group. 
  • Short Sleeve Dress. I have gotten so many compliments on this dress. Perfect for the Fall and Holiday parties. 

  • KN95 masks. I grabbed these specifically before my trip to CA in October but I am lucky to still have a few leftover that I keep in my car as emergency mask options if I forget one. 
  • Jean Jacket. The softest jean jacket that is perfect for every outfit and under $40. 


Cat Food. My cat, Max, is very picky about his food since he has some digestion issues. I grab it on Amazon if I can't grab it locally or through Chewy.


  • Stasher bags. I try to keep my single-use plastic bags to a minimum so I am slowly growing my Stasher bag collection. They were on a lightning deal so I grabbed this set. I especially love that Stasher bags can go right into the dishwasher. My little sister has a set from another brand that is handwash only and I don't have the patience for that.
  • Nail Polish Organizer. This was the year of Olive and June nail polish. I started with the Spring collection then became obsessed. I grabbed this organizer to display the polish on my dresser. Also, if you want to try O&J, here is my link where you get 20% of any of their systems and I will receive a free polish. I have a feeling the Spring collection will be out in the next month or so.
  • Amazon Basics D batteries. I am a lazy cat parent and Max has an automatic feeder. It takes 4 D batteries so I try to have these on hand so my cat never needs to wake me at 5 am for his breakfast.
  • FlyPunch. This year was really bad for fruit flies so I grabbed this solution. You open the bottle and wait for the flies to flock to the punch.
  • Hatch Restore. This is my favorite alarm. It took a while to get everything situated since there are so many options but I love the feature that slowly wakes me up with light beginning 30 mins before my alarms.
  • Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager. I grabbed this after a few days of really bad back pain. I love that it heats up and it even has an adapter that makes it easy to travel with.
I'll share my beauty, books, gifts, and hobby purchases tomorrow.

What has been your favorite Amazon purchase from the last year?

12 January 2022

What I Read in December & Favorite 2021 Reads

I have always been a big reader and I thank my mom for that. She grew up working as a page in the library and eventually even worked as a library tech after we were all older. Growing up we had weekly runs to the library to explore and pick out fresh books and I was always participating in the summer reading programs.

Fast forward and I went to the University of North Carolina thinking I would graduate and head to NY as a book editor. God had other plans for me but I still graduated with a BA in English. While it was a rough four years at Carolina for my reading life (I think reading 4-5 books at one time thanks to all the various courses) I am still an avid reader. 

I am still a very avid library goer and check out books there about every week or so. I also love the digital library for ebooks and audiobooks. I have also received some Advance Reader Copies through NetGalley and now have a Scribd subscription for more audio and e-books.

This past year was the year of audiobooks for me which is funny since I didn't drive many places, my previous audiobook location. This year I would listen when I went into the office (I am about 1 of 10 people any given day at the office and pre-pandemic there were about 70 people in our Triangle office), as well as taking walks on the Greenway, and in a busy month like December I would listen while cooking or doing chores around the house.

I thought I would get back to sharing my monthly reading lists and also, my favorite books of this year. I also indicated if I read it as an audiobook with this symbol 🟆
A sweet friends-to-lovers story set over years and years of vacations together.

Queen of Shadows - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The 5th book in the Throne of Glass series from Sarah J. Maas, we see Aelin come into her own and really fight for her people and throne. 

In A Holidaze - ⭐⭐⭐
A family vacation tradition is threatened when the cabin is up for sale, however, the main character is now reliving the last weekend at the cabin until she gets it right. It was cute however, no one ever explained how she was in a time loop.

The Right Swipe - ⭐⭐⭐
The owner of a popular dating app is trying to acquire her competitor when she runs into the man she was ghosted by in the process.

With You Forever - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The fourth book of a series about the Bergman family. This book is about Axel Bergman and Rooney (the best friend of Willa from book 1). I enjoy Chloe Lise' books especially since her characters are dealing with various conditions like anxiety, neurodivergence, and hearing impairment. 
Book 3 of a series where gentlemen get together for a romance book club to help them with their various romantic problems. This is another friends to lovers book where the main character is dealing with the backlash of speaking out about workplace harassment as well as dealing with meeting her father for the first time due to a transplant request.

We Met in December - ⭐⭐⭐
If you want to be transported to London at Christmas, you will walk through a year of a woman's transition to London for a new job. Jess meets Alex the first night at a party for all the roommates to meet. There is a rule of no romances in the house although Jess and Alex slowly fall for each other throughout the year.

The Match - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Charleston, SC a service dog trainer is tricked into meeting a gentleman and his daughter at a cafe to discuss getting his daughter a service dog. This was an interesting reminder of the freedoms I have as an able-bodied person. 
Think of a Hallmark movie, A princess is in New York and her royal transportation is broken. Enter a taxi with a young man and his sister. He starts to drive the princess around for the weekend and they get to know one another. The princess invites the family back to the castle for Christmas. 

Growing Boldly - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A reminder of finding your purpose and going for it. It also had great reminders to love others well, be reminded of the season you are in, and do the hard work but also feed your soul.

Now if you need to add some books to your 2022 to-read list, here are my favorite reads of 2021. 

Top Five Non-Fiction Reads
  • The Bible - I read the whole Bible chronologically in 2021 with the Bible Recap plan. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Honorable Mentions:

Top Five Fiction Reads

What was your favorite book this year?

06 January 2022

Currently {January 2022}

We are almost through the first work week of the year! This week has been a whirlwind at work and I know January will be a busy month at work along with some pretty packed weekends. 

I am linking up with Anne of In Residence for her monthly currently prompt. 
Image result for currently
anticipating. This is a busy month. I am excited for a long weekend away in the NC mountains with some of the women in my small group from church. I'm excited to learn more about the women in our group and to have some quiet time away. I'm also anticipating celebrating my birthday at the end of the month. Last year I just did a Zoom birthday gathering but I would love to hear ideas of how I should celebrate.

swooning over. This dress from Anthropologie caught my eye. While I am not sure it would work for the wedding I'm attending in May, I can't help but dream of twirling in the dress. Does anyone else love gowns but know they are not practical in their lives?

eating. Last week was filled with appetizers and salads while I settled back into my space after the holidays. This week I am keeping meals simple - hamburgers for dinner with frozen fries in the air fryer and spaghetti with caesar salad. 

drinking. Sparkling Grape juice. I don't know why but I still love the red Welch's sparkling grape juice, especially around the New Year. I decided to have a chill NYE and spent the day around the house. My friend Christie came over for some appetizers in the afternoon but I spent the evening eating appetizers, reading Growing Boldly, and sipping on sparkling grape juice in a champagne flute.

listening to. All the audiobooks. I got a subscription to Scribd in October and it has helped me listen to a lot more audiobooks. While I still check out books and audiobooks from the library, Scribd has a huge library of books and unlike Audible you are not restricted to one book a month. 

buying. I recently purchased a few more pairs of my favorite workout leggings, some new sports bras, and new sneakers to get motivated for my goal to walk more outside this month as well as get back in the gym and use the Peloton app for workouts.

making. I am working on finishing this cross-stitch piece from She Reads Truth. I'm hoping to finish it this weekend and get working on this Hamilton Schuyler Sister's piece.

organizing. I always take the week between Christmas and New Year to deep clean and organize so I can start fresh in the new year. I organized my closet and pantry last week and I'm excited about the fresh spaces.

reading. I have a list of books to read this month. I just finished Eight Perfect Hours and Immortal Angel this week:
  • Beartown - my book club's monthly pick
  • The Lies that Bind - the women of my mom's side of the family are starting a quarterly book club and this is the first pick.
  • Redeeming Love - My small group is planning to see the film adaptation and I need a refresher
  • Empire of Storms - The next installment of the Throne of Glass series for me
  • Rhythms of Renewal - This book sounds like the perfect start to the new year.
  • Good Apple - I have heard so many great things about Good Apple last year so it's at the top of the list.
  • Looking for Lovely - I love Annie F Downs and I have not read this book from her.
resolving. I am hoping to figure out a new morning and night-time routine. One of my monthly goals this month is to get back to a consistent bedtime and working through a night-time routine to wind down and read is so helpful. I would love any suggestions.

scheduling. All the workouts. Does anyone else love a plan? This month I am scheduling outdoor walks into my schedule along with some Zumba classes, Peloton barre, and pilates classes, as well as doing more stretch classes.

Any advice for my to-read list or suggestions for a nighttime routine?

05 January 2022

What I Wore Wednesday {December}

I tried to get back into the swing of documenting my work outfits this month. I am still going into the office about two times a week. It is nice to still have some work-from-home days but since I live alone, it's nice to have a routine of actually leaving my space to work. 

My office is still mostly remote so I tend to only see between 3-10 other co-workers when I make it into the office. Here are some of my looks from December. I work for a tech marketing and testing company that has a very casual atmosphere if clients are not onsite. 

Jacket: Amazon. Dress: Old Navy (old). T-shirt: Target (old). Flats: Sam Edleman (similar). Mask: kitsch. Earrings: N&S. Necklace: Windblown Jewelry (old, similar).
Jacket: Amazon. Top: Lululemon. Leggings: Old Navy. Sneakers: Adidas. Earrings: Gift. Necklace: Windblown Jewelry. Mask: Etsy. Nails: O&J Wild Orchid.

Cardigan Tank: Old Navy. Jeans: Wit & Wisdom. Flats: Anne Klein found at TJ Maxx. Necklace: Kendra Scott. Earrings: Gift. Nails: O&J Rainy Day Walk.

Top: Bobeau at Nordstrom (old, similar). Pants: Old Navy. Scarf: Lilly Pulitzer (old, new patterns). Bag: Longchamp Le Pliage Tote. Mask: Etsy. Flats: Sam Edelman (old, similar). Nails: Olive&June Wild Orchid.

Top: Bobeau from Nordstrom (old). Pants & Cardigan: Old Navy. Flats: Birdies. Necklace: J.Crew (old). Mask: kitsch.

Tank, Pants, Cardigan: Old Navy. Earrings & Necklace: Kendra Scott.

Jeans: Wit and Wisdom. Sweater: Treasure & Bond Nordstrom. Flats: Anne Klein. Necklace: Windblown Jewelry (old, similar). Earrings: Laura Cox Collection.

What has been your go-to clothing piece recently? 

Just Jessica. Design by Berenica Designs.