4/26/17

What's Up Wednesday April

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Today I'm joining What's Up Wednesday for an end of the month, behind-the-blog, life update. You can view the prompt questions for this post here, or just read on to find out what's been going on around here lately!

What I'm wearing:
Lately I've been trying to branch out and try some newer-to-me styles of tops, but I still love a basic t-shirt and jeans outfit like this one I wore for a Saturday of running the kids around to their weekend activities:

Tee: Abercrombie | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bag: Amazon | Ring: Stella & Dot | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

Outfit Notes:

This tee is very soft and comfortable, and although the style name is "Relaxed," I didn't think it was especially relaxed and opted to size up. If you want a more fitted look (not tight, just fitted) go with your normal size, but I tried two sizes and preferred the look of one size up.

This necklace is a three-piece set, but I'm only showing one of the pieces in this photo. If you click the product link you'll see the two additional long loop necklaces that I opted not to wear with this outfit. It's a little pricey, so I felt better about getting multiple options out of the deal.

Front View:
Tee: Abercrombie | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bag: Amazon | Ring: Stella & Dot | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

What I'm reminiscing about:
Our family trip to Hawaii earlier this month was very fun and memorable! I did a full trip recap in this post listing all of the activities we did and what we would do differently if we had a do-over.
Shooting outfit photos at the Dole Plantation (kidding...)

What I've been up to:
This month I realized that a one-week vacation makes three weeks of my life seem "not normal." One hectic week to prepare, one week to relax and imagine what it would be like if everyday life was this easy, and one hectic week to recover and get everything settled back to normal. I'm just now back in "normal" mode and I'll be doing the usual mom stuff of helping kids with homework and life problems, chauffeuring them to their after school activities, friends' birthday parties, plus all the doctor/dentist/orthodontist appointments. I'm also chaperoning a field trip later this week and conserving my energy for that!

What I'm working on:
My Black Belt Test for Tae Kwon Do is coming up in May and I have been using a lot of my morning workout time to review and practice for that (in place of doing cardio or yoga on those days). I cannot remember the last time I had to prepare for a test like this that required so much mental, physical, and emotional effort!

What I'm reading:
It was a good month in books because I didn't dislike anything I read. Some were a bit more compelling for me than others, but all of them were easy to finish!

Books- April 2017


The Guest Room: This story is about a bachelor party where things go very, very wrong and two people wind up dead. The fallout of that one night impacts the lives of everyone who was there as well as each of their families. It would be great if all men read this and were a little more afraid of having these crazy bachelor parties just in case something like this ends up happening! The author did a very good job of making this story believable and realistic. It wasn't really a page-turner or psychological thriller but it held my interest very well and I was eager to see how it was all going to be resolved. One thing that stood out to me about this book was that I felt like the author kept the dictionary by his side while writing to use as many obscure words as possible, especially in the second half of the book (e.g. ontological, mephitic...had to look those up!). Normally I just skim them but there were a few paragraphs filled with so many that I had to give in and say, "Fine! I will look it up and learn a new word, okay?" All in all it's a good read, but I would avoid reading it if your significant other is planning to attend a bachelor party in the near future because it might give you an anxiety attack! (Thanks to Tracy's for this suggestion!)

Everything We Keep: This story opens with a woman who is attending the funeral of her fiancé That same day, she receives information that makes her question whether her fiancé actually died or not, and she struggles with trying to move on with her life vs. seeking answers about her fiancé's death. I felt like this story grabbed me right away....but then slowed way down as the main character tried to rebuild her life. I got a little bored, but the second half of the book picked up again and got better as I felt it got back to the main mystery of the book. (Thanks to Nicole for this suggestion!)

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: In this story, a girl has a very rough family life (to put it mildly) and has to fend for herself beginning at a young age. As a child, she happens to help save a man's life, and he in turn develops a soft spot for her. He quickly learns that there are no adults taking proper care of this child and feels compelled to step in. As they take care of each other, things get complicated due to the age difference. Likewise, my thoughts and feelings on this are complicated! I loved most of it. The characters were well developed, the story was very interesting and drew me in immediately. It's also the, "make you think" type of story where you question your beliefs of right and wrong. But...there were parts I did not like at all! I wasn't as crazy about the direction of the story in Part Three, yet I don't know how else I really think the story should have gone! I guess it was realistic? Ultimately it was 100% worth reading and still something I'd recommend because the good outweighed the bad. (Thanks to @emjoyce for this recommendation!)

Slammed: I have read several Colleen Hoover books but I hadn't read her first ever book until now. In this story a girl moves to a new town to start life over after the death of her father. She meets a boy and they have an instant connection...only to find out their relationship isn't quite what they thought it was going to be. This was a quick read, and pretty enjoyable but not nearly as much as some my favorites by Colleen (such as November 9 and It Ends with Us). Going to her earlier works I can see how much she has grown as an author. If you just want a quick love story type of book for a beach vacation without too much depth, this is a good fit.

Her Every Fear: This author's previous book, "The Kind Worth Killing" was one of my favorites of 2016, so I was happy to see he came out with a new book in January. And it's a good one! It's a dark suspense novel just like his previous book. A woman agrees to a six-month apartment swap with her second cousin (a man she's never met), and the day she moves in, a woman in the same complex is found dead, heightening her anxiety for her own safety and casting suspicion on several of her neighbors. I definitely recommend this if you liked, "The Kind Worth Killing" or if you like suspense novels in general!

Seeing as I was surprised by this author's "new" book (it came out in January), I have a question for my fellow readers! How do you like to keep up with your favorite authors to know when they publish a new book? Do you follow them on social media? If so, which platform do you think is best for that? Or do you use some other method, like Goodreads? I have a few favorites and I'd like to be in-the-know when they have something new!

What I'm listening to:

Did you know Justin Bieber can sing in Spanish? I didn't either! But I'm not gonna lie, I like it. Hear it for yourself here.

What I'm doing this weekend:

Momming it up yet again! My kids have a performance with their Parkour team this weekend, some training sessions, and a birthday party so I will be the chief chauffeur and stage mom for the better part of the weekend. Plus I'll make some personal time for my Black Belt Review class, a dance class, and my girlfriend's annual house party (they go all out), which will include me wearing a fancy rent-the-runway dress, so watch for that on my Instagram story since I may not get it posted here.

What I'm looking forward to next month:
I think I covered this in previous topics, but Black Belt Testing is looming large on my May calendar and I'm looking forward to having that stress off my plate and moving on to the next phase of training! That's really where the fun begins and I can move on to more advanced skills and weapons training.

* * *
And now you are all up to date! I have been thinking about doing my book reviews in a separate post each month rather than here, just because they really do take up a good chunk of time to prepare. I end up skipping and shortening other categories to compensate. It didn't happen this month due to my vacation schedule, but be on the lookout for that possible change in the future!


Linking up with:
JoLynne | Lindsey | Mel | Sheaffer | Shay | Narci


CONVERSATION

13 comments:

  1. great recap and your book update are really good so I agree they deserve their own post. I'm still reminiscing about my trip to Hawaii so happy you went.

    xo
    Pinksole

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  2. I'm going to need to read Her Every Fear because The Kind Worth Killing was one of my favorite too. And NO, I did NOT know the Biebs could sing in Spanish. Mind is blown. And wow, good luck on the black belt testing. I know that's tough but I know you can do it.

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  3. I really like your book recaps! Thank you for the recommendations! Good luck on your black belt testing next month!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  4. I have noticed you have been trying some new pieces, and I have been loving them all on you! How did I miss that you went to Hawaii?! Russ and I went a couple years ago for our 5 year anniversary and loved it. I totally know what you mean about a big trip like that making the whole month feel not normal. Just wanted to come by and say thank you again for responding to my Q&A series. I have really had so much fun with it. You are the best and I hope you have a wonderful week!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  5. Nice book list will keep this in mind for my next picnic
    http://sheismelrose.net/

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  6. Good luck with your black belt! I'm so excited for you and that's such a big accomplishment. Thanks for the book recommendations as always..I add your faves to my list all the time!

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  7. ooh, i loved the kind worth killing and had no idea there was another by that author! thank you!
    b

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  8. I'm glad you liked "The Guest Room". That was truly F*&$ed up, right? It shows how things can go wrong so quickly. I have his new book, "The Sleepwalker" for my plane trip to and from Napa this weekend. I am going to do a book post on Instagram soon. And good luck on your Black Belt test. I am sure you will be successful :-)

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  9. I read Everything We Keep and thought it was sort of an okay book. Like you it got my attention and then lost me a little as well. I will add these other books on my to read list.

    As for keeping up with authors, I use Goodreads as well as follow them on my kindle app too.

    Alice
    IG@happinessatmidlife.com

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  10. I hope you like the aven necklace! It looks beautiful on you, and although it's pricey, I think the versatility makes it worth it?
    Good luck with your busy activities! They sound fun though!

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  11. Hawaii looked amazing from all your snaps! And I totally know what you mean re: vacation stress both before and after. I'm in prep mode now for all my travel in May, which will only get worse as time wears on (because I'm nuts). And the week after is always hard because you're adjusting to not being on vacation!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  12. I'm impressed by how much time you find to read! I only have enough time for about 1 book a month, so I have a huge list of ones I want to read! That stella and dot necklace is really neat! I love the versatility of it!

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  13. lol @ justin bieber.
    i have only read slammed out of those books - i didn't love it (the whole poetry thing did not float my boat haha) but the mother part of the story totally did. if i am remembering right. the rest are all on my list or i am adding them now!
    so, i participate in a monthly book link up, and that is how i find out about new books from my favourite authors, though some of my favourite authors aren't necessarily popular with that link up so i follow them on goodreads or instagram (i don't use twitter though i imagine that would be a good way). a few of the authors i like also have newsletters and i sign up to them and they email stuff out, i generally don't read them unless the subject says something exciting. lastly, i use netgalley, free ebooks! some of them are really awful, but some are amazing. one author i love - taylor jenkins reid, have you read any of her stuff? - her new book was just on netgalley and it was so awesome because you get it before everyone else too. haha.
    if you do decide to do your book posts separately (squealing in delight here, only because i just love book posts, not that i dislike the way you do it now!) you should totally totally TOTALLY participate in the show us your books link up. pleeeeeease. it's the second tuesday of every month. but you could post on monday or whatever and link up on tuesday. whatever whatever! sorry for rambling! and sorry for commenting on like all of your posts, catching up!
    good luck with Black Belt Testing!

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