71 Books in 2017

I haven’t written here in forever and a day but did want to share my 2017 reads for all my reader friends.

My goal for the year was to read 50 books; I ended up finishing 71! I honestly don’t know when I find the time to read. Some books I fly through in a day (on the weekends, of course. And I read a lot of Young Adult–those tend to be super easy) and some books, it takes me several weeks.

My 2018 goal is to read 75 books. Fingers crossed! I also want to join a book club. Half the fun of reading a good book is being able to talk/share it with others. And I’d like to do a better job of updating my Goodreads account.

Here are my favorites for the year:


And here are all 71 books:

The Things We Bury by Allen Eskins

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

The Widow by Fiona Barton

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout

The Book of Joy: Finding Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Never by Colleen Hoover

Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

First & Then by Emma Mills

Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Chasing Polaris by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Who Do you Love by Jennifer Weiner

When Life Happened by Jewel E ann

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

The Ex by Alafair Burke

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

Nowhere but Here Renee Carlino

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

The Dry by Jane Harper

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

I see London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

By Your Side by Kasie West

The One that Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Best Day Ever by Kaira Roud

The One that Got Away by Bethany Chase

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine





That’s a Wrap on Summer…

I’ve failed miserably on writing new posts the last couple of weeks. I did not do book reviews for June (or July) and never finished sharing about our D.C. trip. I’ve been back to work for a week now and tomorrow the kids are back which means… summer is officially over. I knew it was going to go by quickly but what?! And for all those that say teachers get 3 months off, try 4 weeks (and yes, I realize most other occupations don’t even get this, but work with middle schoolers– and all other children– for eight hours everyday and you’ll understand why we earn it).

So instead of writing a post, I’m just going to share pictures from the rest of my time off. Hopefully a summer book review (may wait until the end of August) will be on the way soon, too. And here we go…

Here are some from the second half of our D.C. trip:

Kelley is getting married in less than ONE week and we celebrated by decorating cakes at Duff’s Cakemix in LA:

I visited Whitney in Boise where we hiked, vegged (finished The Handsmaid’s Tale.. highly recommend), did Pilates, did okay at trivia, and met my favorite, Joshua Radin (who signed my poster– along with Brandon Jenner– which will be going up in the apartment soon).

Michael and I moved! FINALLY! We are still getting settled in but so far, so good! I did a gallery wall above the couch and we also have a super awesome view!

And there was lots of exploring…


I’m already counting down til next summer!

Washington D.C. Part Uno!

Okay y’all, I am back from the East Coast and while it’s always hard to get back to normal life after vacation, I have an apartment to pack up and I can’t say that I miss the humidity all that much. We were in D.C. for a week so I am going to break up the trip into two posts. The first couple of days were full of wedding activities and then we spent the rest of the week in complete tourist mode. Ask our feet; they’ll agree. Warning: picture overload may happen…

DAY ONE! // Our flight left LAX at 7am so our day started pretty early. We landed around 3pm (Eastern time) and went straight to the hotel to relax for a bit before we headed to Becca’s (Tammy’s fiance at the time and now wife) parent’s house. Dinner was yummy and it was good to see everyone again.

DAY TWO! // Michael had to work the night before so while he was sleeping in, I decided to walk around. Our hotel was near Dupont Circle and all the embassies so it was the perfect area to explore. I’ve been to D.C. twice, with the last time being about 16 years ago, so I didn’t remember much but one thing I loved this time was all the neighborhoods (and the city is SUPER CLEAN! LA, please take note). The Embassy of Zambia was at the very top of my priority list and I got to see dozens of others while on my walk to find it. I also passed by The Woodrow Wilson House. We had the wedding rehearsal that afternoon followed by dinner at evening. Michael and I definitely got the D.C. tour when we went to two wrong restaurants (but with the same name!) before we found the correct location. We were a little late… but it was all a-okay. It was fun meeting everyone who was in town for the wedding and talking with Michael’s relatives who I had yet to meet. The White House was just across the street from the restaurant so Michael and I snuck away for a few minutes to go get a peek.


I loved all the colorful doors!



Embassy of the Netherlands


Embassy of Zambia 🙂


The Woodrow Wilson House

DAY THREE! // Wedding day! We took it easy in the morning with the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market and lunch. We got ready and headed over to the venue for pictures– the venue was beautiful on it’s own, but insert the flowers and other decor? Even more beautiful! Michael will hate me sharing this (sorry!) but at one point he had to walk away while Tammy and Becca were taking pictures because he was tearing up. He was definitely proud of his sister. The ceremony was beautiful. I’ve never attended a Jewish wedding and there were lots of traditions I was introduced to. I was really happy to be able to FaceTime with Michael’s grandma in Arizona who wasn’t able to be at the wedding– three time zones away, she got to see her granddaughter get married! The rest of the evening went by quickly with the reception, dinner, and dancing. The food was great, the music was fun, and the company of Tammy and Becca’s guests was even better. I’m really thankful I was able to be there.

DAY FOUR! // We started Monday off with brunch as a bookend to the wedding festivities and spent the rest of the day getting lots of steps in by walking to the National Mall and exploring some museums. I can’t tell you how easy the city is to navigate… last time I visited, I wasn’t the one who needed to figure out directions AND Google Maps did not exist. How people got around cities before Google Maps is beyond me! Anyways, our first museum stop was the Air and Space Museum followed by the National Gallery of Art (not for me… I cannot appreciate art). We walked over to the Washington Monument. The humidity truly takes it out of you. We ended up taking an Uber back to the hotel and relaxed until dinner.


I love all things space!


The National Gallery of Art


I did like seeing this Monet…



National Archives

You made it through the first four days! I’ll be posting the second half of our trip later this week.

What’s Up Wednesday




Long time, no write! I feel like, even though I have more time with school being out, I am finding less time to write (or desire to write). Good thing this post just about covers it all! And I totally forgot to press “post” yesterday, so this is a day late…

What I’m eating this week:

I am currently obsessed with avocado toast! Like, I can’t get enough. I’ve been using avocado packs from Trader Joe’s (each pack has only 100 calories!). It’s the perfect amount for two pieces of whole wheat toast. I’ve also been putting Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning on top. YUMMM. I’m not lying when I say I can’t get enough.

What I’m reminiscing about:

The roomies just booked tickets to Spokane. I haven’t been since I finished my Masters (7 years ago?!) so I know campus will have changed a ton. We are going in September so here’s hoping the leaves have started to change colors a little bit. I’ve said it before that I didn’t really appreciate Spokane while I was there and while I still wouldn’t want to live there, it’ll be nice to visit!


What I’m loving:

I am loving my summer schedule! I do summer school until 12:30 and have the rest of my day to relax and veg and do all things that someone on summer break should do. I’ve been waking up at 5:15 a couple mornings a week to run before work so it definitely feels good to get exercise out of the way before my day even starts. Hopefully getting into this routine now can help me keep it up once the school year starts again. It’s nice not having to wait for it to cool down or skipping altogether because other plans come up.

What I’ve been up to:

I am back at work this week for my last week of summer school but over the weekend enjoyed The Book of Mormon (it was funny!) and a baby shower for my bestie! Elliott is due on August 29th. My birthday is August 30th and while I am very particular about my birthday (because it is my favorite holiday obviously), I would be honored to share it with Ellie! How perfect would that be? Besties since Kindergarten with her first child born on my birthday. I’m counting on it, Whitney!

What I’m dreading:

Moving. Well, maybe packing and unpacking I should say to clarify. I am so excited to move but I absolutely hate packing. I feel like I just did it (which is kind of true). I am glad though that it will be done before the school year starts so I can feel settled.

What I’m working on:

I will be working on packing once we’re back from D.C. I’ll have about two and a half weeks which should be plenty of time. Storage isn’t too too great at the new place (neither are the closets) so I’ll make myself do some spring cleaning and get rid of some things that I haven’t worn or have been holding on for too long.

What I’m excited about:

July is jam-packed (see below) and I’m super excited for all of it!

What I’m watching/reading:

This season of The Bachelorette is boring me. I’m still watching of course but I’m just not as invested in this season than I have been in past season. I am really glad all the drama with Bachelor in Paradise got sorted out because I always look forward to that one. As for what else I’m watching… I’m still trying to catch up on Scandal and have been enjoying the new season of Master Chef90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? also just started up and it’s the best. Anfisa is enough reason alone to watch it. My favorite quotes from her during the first episode: “I hate our apartment. It looks poor” and “I hate being married to Jorge”. SO GOOD!! The series finale of Pretty Little Liars was last night and I was underwhelmed to say the least.

I am currently on book number six for June with an easy breezy read from one of my favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand.

What I’m listening to:

Same old stuff. I really need some new music. I am really happy though that Taylor Swift is back on Spotify! Which reminds me that I need to download a bunch of music before our flight!

What I’m wearing:

I think I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I will choose comfort over fashion. It’s been so hot that I’m usually just in a t-shirt and shorts/jeans. Nothing too special. One thing I do love always though is… shoes! I bought some Nike’s for D.C. I usually wear my Converse (the Shoreline ones are great) when walking all day but even those make my feet tired so I am hoping the Nike’s help. I wore them yesterday to test them out and they were like walking on a cloud. There will probably be more in my future. And there I go choosing comfort again!

What I’m doing this weekend:

Michael and I leave for Washington D.C. on Friday. His sister is getting married on Sunday and we are making a trip out of it. We’ll be there for a week and have our to-do list set. I love Washington; I’ve been twice but unfortunately haven’t been since freshman year of high school. I am gearing up for the humidity though…

What I’m looking forward to next month:

July is a super busy month: the Washington trip, visiting Whitney in Boise, doing a program at school for the incoming students, moving to our new apartment, etc, etc. I know the month will fly by because of how busy it is.

What else is new:

That’s about it!

Pinterest Dreams

The move-in date to our new apartment is still several weeks away but that definitely hasn’t stopped me from beginning the decorating process. We aren’t starting from scratch whatsoever as I have most of my decor from my Phoenix apartment hiding in my parent’s house or in storage, yet I find myself still pinterest-ing (yes, a verb). In my next life I plan to be an interior decorator. These home decor images are all of the heart eye emojis.

Kitchen // I LOVE the maps as wallpaper (so much so that each of these are pinned more than once…). I also love a kitchen with white cabinets, subway tile, and open shelving. And something you’ll probably see in all of these pictures– I love a good pop of color.




Living Room // I am a huge fan of gallery walls and (again) pops of color. I love how everything in these rooms isn’t too matchy-matchy and blends just enough.




Books // In moving back to California, I got rid of so many of my books because I didn’t want to have to transport them. I kept my favorites of course and due to my Kindle being so much more convenient (and cheaper!), I’m not really buying any new books but hopefully some day the collection will grow enough to be able to fill up a space like the ones below.



Perhaps I’ll share the pins for other rooms (bathroom, outdoor space, etc) in another post but they would pretty much be along this same theme! Color and pattern mixing galore!

Summer So Far…

Well, school has been out for a week and I am finally getting around to vegging and doing absolutely NOTHING (just in time for summer school to start on Monday)! I (very easily) convinced Whitney to change her flight to Friday so that meant an extra day of roomie time and that summer break literally started the second that bell rang at the end of the day. We definitely kept busy the entire time; I’m seriously impressed with all the stuff we did. Here are the highlights!

Disneyland // Note to self, Disneyland is especially crazy in the summer and should probably be avoided. We ended up going on Monday because Michael wasn’t able to go on Sunday and figured that perhaps it would be less crowded? Nope. We didn’t get there until late morning but still only went on about four rides. The lines were just ridiculous– 60 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean and 150 for Space Mountain. Who waits in lines that long?! The real mission of the day though was introducing Whitney to the amazingness of Dole Whips and I’m pretty sure that part was a success.


PUMP and SUR // Vanderpump Rules is currently filming and we thought for sure this would FINALLY be the time (third times a charm) that we see our favorite train wrecks. Unfortunately, we struck out again. It was still super fun hanging out and people watching. Two of my friends from work, Marcia and Emily, came too. Tip to those that love the show and are in town and want to visit the two restaurants: the drinks and appetizers are good but the regular menu food is definitely not with the money.

Mount Hollywood // This is definitely my go-to hiking/outdoor activity spot. Recently, mornings have been super ugly (hello, June gloom) but the day we got ourselves out of bed early turned out to be a perfect day! Nice and clear, minus the smog. Going on a weekday was also a good choice, too. We got in about 12,000 steps and felt no guilt in enjoying our breakfast quesadilla/burrito when we were done.

Ellen’s Game of Games // I got to high-five Ellen! Emily got tickets to the new game show hosted by Ellen (think all the games played during the regular Ellen show, just bigger) and the timing worked out perfectly because Whitney was here and because it was my only week off before summer school/traveling. There was a ton of waiting (both outside and inside the studio) but it was totally worth it. We had super good seats one row up and at the end– the end where, between segments, Ellen walked to get backstage (hence the high-five). It was really fun to see how they film the show and Ellen was super funny (and sincere) when interacting with the contestants and the audience. The best part is that we will be getting tickets to a taping of next season’s regular Ellen show!

So far so good for the start of summer. I have two weeks of summer school and then Michael and I are off to Washington, D.C.!

On My Radar

HAPPY LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Yes, that deserves ALL CAPS! Besides it being almost summer break, here are some other things I’m currently loving:

Scandal // I am finally getting back into Scandal. I watched religiously but got really tired of the Olivia/Fitz back and forth drama so I stopped watching. One of my co-workers encouraged me to jump back on board and it only took a few minutes to suck me back in. If you haven’t watched, you can start from the very beginning on Netflix. It has several seasons so it is intimidating but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fly through.


Our new home // Michael was back in town for a short 36 hours or so and in that time, we signed a lease! We are both currently month to month and had the end of July as our goal for moving into a new place. We toured a couple options and got scared by the prices in others (parking for an extra $350 a month?!), but we found a place that we loved and signed the lease! Neither of us thought we would be signing anything but the dates lined up perfectly. I am already decorating our new place in my head (and trying to find a place for Michael’s Steph Curry poster 😉 ).

This Target ad // Target is already my favorite store… you can literally be trapped in there for a month (or longer) and you’d survive. It has everything. I was super happy to see this sweet girl featured as a model in this week’s ad! I know Target is known for featuring models with disabilities but I had yet to see any of those ads. I hope that it eventually becomes the norm. It’s discouraging to me that part of my post is about how cool it is to see when really, it should just be expected and something I don’t have to point out. But anyways, go Target!


The Forever Summer // Well, the time has come. I have four books that I’ve had on hold forever and they’ve all become available to me AT THE SAME TIME! Thankfully, due to how good my current book is, I should be getting started on the next one fairly soon. I’ll review it more fully in my book review at the end of the month but if you’re in search of a good summer beach read, The Forever Summer is it. Each of the characters is likable, the setting is perfect (Cape Cod), and there is just enough drama/twists that make me keep reading.

Roomie Visit! // So you’ll be hearing about this in a whole other post but Whitney is here on Saturday! We have a very long to-do list (with some relax time to veg with some good television). On our list: the beach, Disneyland, taping of The Ellen Show, happy hour at Sur and Pump (they are filming. Maybe this will be the visit we finally see our fave train wrecks!), hiking, and potentially seeing Jimmy Kimmel. We also have some food (fro yo) that is high up on our priority list. This is definitely the perfect way to dive right into summer! The picture below is during the last LA visit (sorry that my arm wasn’t long enough to get us all in, Steph).