Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

I'm linking up again with fellow bloggers Erika, Narci and Andrea to share Friday Favorites!

I have struggled for years to find a workout that I love.  In high school, cheerleading was my fitness routine and I loved every minute of it.  I also love to ride bikes (especially along the lake in Chicago), but I don't live where biking is a safe activity.  Since I don't especially like gyms, I'm always on the search for an at-home option.  The 21 Day Fix workout DVD's are my absolute favorite.  I ordered them and Shakeology from a friend who is a trainer and I am hooked.  Unlike other Beachbody workouts (P90X, I'm talking about you), these workouts only take 30 minutes per day and work every inch of muscle.  If I can stick with it when school starts, I'll have even more muscle to work! :)

One of my favorite things about summer is the small garden I plant full of tomatoes, basil, cilantro, strawberries and cucumbers.  There is nothing like picking fresh tomatoes and basil for a quick Caprese style lunch.  And you know that is one of my favorite Three Things!  Mason also loves to help me pick things from the garden but the strawberries and cherry tomatoes usually do not make it inside when he helps. :)

I absolutely love Emily Giffin's new book!  She is an author that never disappoints, but this one is especially good.  I read it during our last minute vacation and could not put it down.  If you would like to see all of the books I read this month, check out my July Book and Beans Post.

My handsome husband and I took a last minute trip to Los Angeles to celebrate our four year anniversary.  Although it is super hard to leave the kids, these trips are so important to us a couple.  We believe that the best thing we can do for our kids is to have a strong marriage partnership and these trips are just one way we do that. We stayed in Hollywood and acted like total tourists!  There are few things I enjoy more that traveling to a place I've never been before.  Traveling is definitely one of my favorite things.  See our trip to Nashville here!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Books and Beans {July}

Holy Batman, I read A LOT of books during July!  Since I am back to work next week, I'm sure next month's Books and Beans post will look much different.

My Starbucks drink of choice this month was the Strawberry Acai Refresher with Coconut Milk.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the pic of me jumping on the bandwagon. :) #pinkdrink

(All book images are from Amazon)

Three Wishes by: Liane Moriarty
(3 out of 5 stars)

While I love Liane Moriarty, this book was just good, not great.  I did enjoy the triplet sister story line but felt some of it was forced.  Liane Moriarty fans should read this but it won't be one of your favorites.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by: Elizabeth Bard
(4 out of 5 stars)

I saw this book while walking through Barnes and Noble.  It was such an enjoyable read!  This is a memoir using food, love and Paris as the backdrops.  Who wouldn't love that?

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by: Marie Kondo
(3 out of 5 stars)

While I won't be thanking my socks anytime soon (you have to read her books to understand), I love to organize so this book did have some great tips and ideas in it.  I basically will read anything that focuses on reducing and organizing stuff, so I enjoyed it!

The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking by: Maria Menounos
(5 out of 5 stars)

Oh Maria!  I love her books!  She shoots the photos herself at home and her advice and recipes are easy and inspiring.  While so many celebrity cookbooks have you using ingredients you can barely pronounce, Maria tells you how to make a quick and healthy meal with items most of us have on hand.  Great book and great addition to her EveryGirl book series!

Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me by: Ally Hilfiger
(3 out of 5 stars)

If you've read my other Books and Beans Posts, you know I love a good memoir; even if it has absolutely nothing to do with something I can relate to.  Bite me is a good book for anyone who has been diagnosed with or knows someone with Lyme Disease.  While I am neither of those, I found this book to be heartbreaking and honest.

All Summer Long by: Dorothea Benton Frank
(2 out of 5 stars)

While I loved the setting and premise of this book, it just went on FOREVER.  The plot is enjoyable but extremely slow.  I had a hard time reading it because I felt like nothing was happening.  I have not read this author before, so I would have to read another one of hers before writing her off.  Any suggestions are appreciated!

The Life Giving Home by: Sally and Sarah Clarkson
(4 out of 5 stars)

This sweet book was a great reminder of how important the home environment is for our soul.  While some of the suggestions are not applicable to my family and our interests, the underlying theme of being intentional with connection and cultivating a welcoming home environment were wonderful.

Mix-and-Match Meal Planner: Your Weekly Guide to Getting Dinner on the Table by: Shay Shull
(4 out of 5 stars)

Such a cute little cookbook!  I read Shay's blog daily and just think she's a fascinating lady.  I absolutely cannot wait to try the recipes in the fall and winter section.  Cozy comfort food for the win!

The Weekenders by: Mary Kay Andrews
(4 out of 5 stars)

This book wrapped up my beach reads for the summer and I'm so glad it was this one!  I loved the story line and it had just enough mystery wrapped into it to keep the love story interesting.  Very enjoyable book!

First Comes Love by: Emily Giffin
(5 out of 5 stars)

I loved this book so much!  I took it to read on a trip and read it in a minute!  I absolutely could not put it down.  The plot includes a sister relationship angle, grief, and women who are looking for their own versions of happily ever after.  I love Emily Giffin and I think this is her best book yet!

I really can't believe that July is drawing to a close and I read 10 books this month!  I hope I have something to write about next month; I go back to school next week.  I'd love any suggestions of what you all are reading to add to my list.  Read my other Books and Beans posts to add to your reading list!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Link Up!~Stranded With Three Famous People

I'm linking up with Shay and Erica today for their Stranded Link-Up Series.  Reading everyone's posts from this series is so much fun!

I'm choosing three famous people who are ALIVE for this post.  My dead people answers would be very different, but who wants to be stranded with dead people?! ;)

(Image from

Of course, my first choice is Oprah.  Here she is whipping us up some Orange Margaritas from the orange tree on the island we are stranded on.  We'll sip margaritas and have a Super Soul Sunday kind of chat.  We'll talk about spirit, books, and maybe a favorite thing or two.  You get a deserted island and you get a deserted island!!

Jeff Probst
(Image from

How handy would this guy be to have around on the island?  He could figure out how we were going to survive while Oprah and I polish off the margaritas.  I mean, he's made a living out of being a a survivor so why let that go to waste?

Yadi Molina
(Image from

I plan on playing catch with this major leaguer while on the island.  We could get some exercise and talk Cardinal baseball.  I hope we are stranded in the off season, though, or else I need to change my answer.  I need him playing in St. Louis if games are going on!

I can't wait to read everyone's answers today!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Devotions Through Divorce ~ Week 3

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.~Matthew 6:34
I am a gifted worrier.  If worrying were an Olympic sport, I’d take the gold.  There I would be, standing on the platform, wearing the gold medal around my neck with the Star Spangled Banner playing proudly for all to hear and worrying that I would fall off the platform before the song was over.
During my season of divorce, worrying became my second full-time job. There were so many things outside of my control and so much uncertainty. However, the more time I spent talking to God, the more I realized that life is always out of control and uncertain. The only certainty in life is that God will equip us with what we need as our needs arise. Worrying does not speed up this process, it only blocks the blessings from our eyes.

I have cultivated a habit of praying when I begin to worry. Given my proclivity toward worrying, this proves very helpful for my prayer life! Pray more, worry less. Actively take care of what you can today and leave the rest to God.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Favorites

I love linking up with other bloggers to share things we all are currently loving. Today's link-up is with Erika, Narci and  Andrea!
One of my favorite summer routines is to start my day on the front porch with this Bible and my morning prayers.  I am not an early riser by nature, but being a mom will change that!  When I get up early and spend time with coffee and prayer, it sets the tone for the day and life just seems more manageable.  I started reading The One Year Bible about a month ago and it is definitely one of my favorites.

Since I get up earlier than the rest of my family, some days I need to hide my tired eyes!  Ole Henricksen's eye gel is the absolute best for reducing puffiness and fighting fine lines.

I've also been on a health kick this summer and one of the things I've read a ton about is adding probiotics into your system to improve overall health.  I recently tried Good Belly Probiotics and I love the taste.  One of these is now a part of my morning routine.  I purchase them at Fresh Market.

I wear a cami almost every day.  I have bought them at Nordstrom, Forever 21 and everywhere in between.  However, I always come back to these fabulous ones from JCPenney.  They are Worthington brand and are great for work.  They also last forever and you can't beat the price!

Speaking of Nordstrom, I ordered these Toms flip flops this spring and fell in love with them. They go with everything and are so comfortable.  I never understood buying expensive flip flops, but Tom here changed my mind!

I can't wait to read what everyone else is loving this beautiful Friday!  Have a great weekend!