Northwest Native

Friday, January 20, 2017

Love & stuff.

Olya and I are doing it again. The Galentine's Blogger Exchange!
If you've done this before, you know the drill: this is open to bloggers only to broaden our horizons and introduce us to fellow bloggers and it is open internationally. Please add a note when you join whether you're willing to ship internationally or not (not just to Canada--anywhere in the world!) so we can match people up accordingly.
January 27th: Sign up deadline!
February 10th: Deadline to ship your package!
February 24th: Link up to show what you got!
As usual, there is a $20 minimum. Feel free to spend more than that, but remember that your partner may not! Join at your own risk. Hopefully we can always send something to someone whose partner flaked, but we can't guarantee it. If you do not send a gift, you will be banned from participating in any future exchanges.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Coffee Date [1.16.17]

I've seen a lot of people format their blog posts as if they're having coffee with their readers, and I've always wanted to try it out, so here we go!

If we were having coffee... Hopefully we would be at my new favorite coffee shop that we went to for the first time on Saturday, Solace & Fine Espresso. Our drinks were delicious, and a lot of their signature coffee drinks have punny names, which is my favorite. For example, I got the James Blonde, which was white chocolate, praline, and caramel, and Michael got The Chosen Juan which was jalapeno and white chocolate. And it's all local coffee, which is always a plus.

If we were having coffee... I would tell you about the crazy snow storm here. On Tuesday night it started snowing like crazy. By our measurement, we had about eight inches. A lot of you probably think that's nothing, but that's a ton for the PNW. For example, last winter it snowed all of once and we got a dusting, not even a measurable amount. This winter it has snowed five separate times, and I've had to work from home a total of seven days (two days one week, two days another, and Wednesday-Friday last week). This storm was big enough that it was even included in The Skimm, which basically made my life. And here are some snapshots I took on a Thursday evening walk.

If we were having coffee... I would tell you how much I love a good book deal. In the past week, I got the Kindle versions of The Butterfly Garden and What She Knew for $2 each and I found The Time Traveler's Wife for $2.99 at Goodwill.

If we were having coffee... I would explain how I've been missing reading blogs and replying to comments the past few days because work has been insane, and my free time has been spent reading and watching Stranger Things (because Michael finally agreed to start it on Friday night!). We finished it, and I loved it! A few observations: Nancy looks exactly like Emmy Rossum. Also, does anyone else have a major crush on Chief Hopper? Just me? Okay, moving on...

If we were having coffee... I might tell you about how Facebook ads crushed my dreams. This shirt was in my ads, and it was maybe the most 'me' shirt I've ever seen...annnnd it turns out it's girls' sizing. But on the plus side (or not, because things cost money...) I found about a billion other things I want for myself, like this shirt in "Rose all day" and "Espresso then prosecco," this top in the red stripes and blue stripes, this floral sweatshirt, and this dress.

If we were having coffee... I might mention my new obsession with getting myself a pair of navy blue leather Nike Cortez sneakers. I see so many women wearing black Nike athletic shoes with their everyday outfits and I love the look of it, but I can't wear Nikes because they're so narrow unless I wear men's. I don't really want to buy men's athletic shoes, but I really love the look of the Cortez, and they're cheaper than buying Nike workout shoes.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Show Us Your Books [January 2017]

Since posting my review of what I read in 2016, I've finished eight books. Three of them were read fully in 2016, so that brought my 2016 total up! Linking up with Steph & Jana and hopefully making this a monthly thing!
Life According to Steph


I made the mistake of reading this right after reading A Mother's Reckoning. While I rated both five stars and recommend them both, I do not recommend reading them one after the other. It took an emotional toll for sure.

I've heard so many mixed reviews of this book over the years. My Goodreads friends who have read it have rated it every single star rating. Some of my friends hated it, some absolutely loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I thought the writing was great in this book. It just has a haunting feel, even during the setup. I don't know if that makes sense at all, but it might if you read it. Anyway, it would've been four stars if it hadn't been SO. SLOW. A couple of my Goodreads friends (including Steph herself, actually) said the same in their reviews, so fair warning.

As you know, I love me some psychological thrillers. There is a HUGE twist that I totally didn't see coming and I loved it. There's a slightly smaller twist that I half expected, but it was definitely a great thriller (but I wouldn't call it scary at all, if you're worried about that).

So, I really loved this at first, then at one point I was like, "Why is there so much going on?" and then I liked the ending. It was a solid read.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - freebie (5 points)

Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt ****
I'll be honest, when I first started reading this I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" Apparently a lot of people listen to it, but I just don't think audiobooks are my thing, so I read it, and the Irish accent and the Irish terms took a while to get used to. And I was a little bored. I think at about 25% I started to get more into it. It was funny, it was sad, and it was interesting to see how the Irish lived back then, both in Ireland and in the U.S.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - genre you rarely read (classics) (30 points)

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell *****
I adored this book. I have tried to think of another way to say this (so I don't end up using a cheesy pun), but I was really attached to the characters. I thought the plot was unique and fun too.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Hadden *****
I loved Christopher and seeing the world through his eyes. It was a little different than I expected, but in a good way.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - Rory Gilmore book (30 points)

Erin's Book Challenge progress...

3/10 books
65/200 points
See my full list here and my Goodreads shelf for the challenge here.

Currently reading...

If I Stay for Erin's Book Challenge, because it's one of a million books that became available from my hold list at one time.

Next up...

Probably Small Great Things because I got it for Christmas and I'm dying to read it and, bonus, it's part of my book challenge list!

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Outfits Lately, Vol. 3

I haven't posted one of these in about two months! Luckily, I took hardly any outfit pictures in that time, so this shouldn't be overwhelmingly long.

A few things: I've decided not to link to jeans unless they are exact (or a unique color/style), because most of my jeans are pretty basic dark-ish wash jeans, and I don't feel like it's necessary to find similars because they're everywhere. It also came to my attention after my last outfit post, that people are super nitpicky. Sorry not sorry, but not everything 'similar' that I link is going to be an exact freaking replica. Also, if the item I have is from past years, but they keep releasing the item each year with minor adjustments, I'm just going to link to it. Someone was very upset last time that my gray Old Navy poncho isn't the exact same as the one from this year that I linked. In the beginning of my first outfit post, I included this disclaimer, but in the last one I didn't. So I guess I'll just summarize this in every post so people don't flip out on me anymore.

Wednesday, November 9
Sweater (similar) - Jeans - Booties

Wednesday, November 16
Sweater (similar in solid gray) - Necklace (similar) - Booties

Thursday, November 17
Sweater jacket - Boots (similar: spend, save, steal)

Tuesday, November 22
Top (in black/in pink/in blue & red) - Necklace - Jeans (similar, similar) - Boots (similar: spendsavesteal)

Monday, November 28
Sweater (similar) - Tee - Necklace (similar) - Boots (similar)

Tuesday, November 29

Wednesday, November 30
Sweater - Scarf (similar) - Leggings - Boots (similar: spendsavesteal)

Thursday, December 1
Sweater (similar) - Scarf (similar) - Booties

Wednesday, December 7
Vest (similar) - Tee (similar) - Boots
This is a thermal tee with a badass penguin wearing a leather jacket. It's a few years old from American Eagle and I love it. Searching for a similar shirt was dangerous because I wanted all of the penguin things I came across!

Thursday, December 22

Sunday, December 25
Sweater - Scarf (similar) - Lipstick
Not an outfit post, I know. But I wanted to show my sweater and scarf (that were Christmas gifts)...until I realized I wore them both in the next outfit. Oh well, at least I can also tell you about my new favorite lipstick from Glossier! I sent my Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange a week late, and it was shipping to Canada so it took longer (I'm a terrible co-host, I know). Cassie was interested in trying Glossier lip products, which I had never heard of. Since I was going to have to ship it to myself and then pay to ship Cassie's package, I decided to throw in another one for myself to get free shipping. I chose 'Jam' thinking it may have been a mistake since I rarely wear lipstick and it's pretty dark, but I am in love. It is totally matte, and if you put it on with nothing over or under it, it basically doesn't come off at all. I'll sometimes layer just Chapstick over the top (or under) if my lips are dry, but if I don't, I can drink coffee and not leave a lip print! Basically, it's the greatest and I want 'Zip' & 'Crush' now.

Wednesday, December 28
Sweater - Top (three other colors 40% off here) - Scarf (similar) - Boots (similar)

Tuesday, January 3

Wednesday, January 4
These are the best tights ever. I don't want to wear any other tights as long as I live. Also, this dress is crazy soft (and on clearance in all six colors!).

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gonna be materialistic for a minute.

So, both of our Christmases are now over. We celebrated with Michael's family this past weekend. I am always more excited to give gifts than to receive them, because I try to pick things that will make people happy. When they opened their presents on Sunday, both of my sisters-in-law told me I was really good at giving gifts, which is the best compliment I've received this year (that will be my only New Year joke, swear).

As much as I love giving, sometimes you get things that you're so excited about and love so much that you want to share them with the world (or the seven people who read your blog...same dif). I realized that some of the things I received just made me want to buy more I added my 'wish list' below each section. I'm hoping to spend less on clothes/shoes/etc this year in favor of other things, particularly things for our house, so you'll probably notice that theme in the wish lists. I also figured this post would help explain my empty budget post in December (and hopefully in months to come).

Tech-y Things

I mentioned in passing to Michael that I probably should upgrade my Kindle eventually, though my super old one still worked, and he got me a Kindle Fire! I am loving it. I like that the screen is lit, so I can read in the dark if Michael's sleeping or something. The battery life isn't as good as my old Kindle just because this one does a lot more. But I'm cool with it.

When we were at Michael's family's house over the weekend, we learned the magic of the Echo Dot from Amazon. They have theirs connected to their lights and thermostat too. And then we opened our own for Christmas! And now I want to buy this thermostat and light switches that connect to the Echo Dot so I can fulfill my lifelong (okay, since 1999) dream of living in a real live Smart House.

Wish list: Thermostat

Kate Spade Things

I remember last year saying it was the "Kate Spade Christmas," and this year was no different. It may have contained even more Kate Spade than last year. People just know what I like (and it helps that my mom, and mother-in-law and sisters-in-law all love KS too).
I asked for the wallet when I stumbled on it during the surprise sale and immediately emailed it to my mom, so it's not available anymore. My SILs each got me earrings: the anchors and foxes (she didn't even know I was obsessed with foxes!). My mom gave me the abalone studs. The purse is little (the penguin wallet almost doesn't fit!) but I've been wanting a black purse for a while, so it was a nice surprise.
Not pictured, my mom bought me a polka-dotted apron that matches my teapot. The apron has measurement conversions inside the hem (like these ones do). Last year she got me some cute KS black and white dish towels, and now I'm even more determined to just deck out our kitchen with her polka dot stuff! My mom also got me this adorable pancake kit. Can't wait to wear my apron and make cute pancakes. :) Michael and I each got a mug too!

Wish list: Colander, canisters, baking dish, mixing bowls, utensil holder

Clothing Things

Another burgundy, peplum-esque, scallop-trimmed, lacey, side-tie, long-sleeve top. I don't know if there was ever a top that contained that many details that I love! I liked the blush one too, but it was a little too sheer; I didn't want to have to wear a tank underneath.
I asked for (and got) this penguin sweater from my mom, and then my SIL got it for me too! Obviously, this is another very 'me' thing.
The softest grandpa cardigan you ever did see in the 'grey griffin' color.
This turtleneck dress in the 'solid hunter' aka best jewel tone ever. Bonus: my MIL said she bought it full price and it's now on clearance so they may be able to price match it and give me a gift card for the difference!

My mom also got me the cutest long-sleeve navy and white striped peplum top, but since it was a surprise aka I didn't ask for it, I don't know how to find it!

Wish list: I actually don't want much, but I have Old Navy rewards and I'm considering putting them towards activewear (this or this) and/or this cardi-coat.

Other Home Things

I gave my mom the idea to buy the Portland map from Ork Posters because we'd been meaning to buy it ever since we moved here (we have the Seattle one already) and I'm so excited to find a place to hang both of them up together!
Michael and I always seem to get each other the same thing/themed gifts accidentally. One year we both got each other copper mugs and Moscow mule supplies, the next year we got each other Packers hoodies, and this year I got him the Harry Potter illustrated versions (book #1 and book #2 are the only ones that are out so far), and he got me a Kindle Fire and...
I mean, that's Harry Potter/book themed, right?! I so love this mug.

Wish list: Print (for the coffee bar!), pet portraits of Flora and Tully

Mom: If you're reading this and I didn't include something you got for me, it's probably because I forgot/don't want to ramble. :) I loved absolutely everything I got this year. The only things that needed to be returned were because I/we already had them or they didn't fit. And that's how I want to continue this year (and, well, forever): only buying things that I will actually wear/use/need/etc.

Linking up with Kristen & Gretchen for What's New With You (tomorrow)!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Show Us Your Books - 2016 In Review

I'm super late to the party, but this is my first time ever linking up for Show Us Your Books with Steph & Jana! I always love to read other people's posts (but also kind of hate it because my TBR is super long as it is), so I thought I'd start off now with an overview of what I read in 2016. Then maybe I'll actually make it a monthly thing in 2017.

First things first: add me on Goodreads! I didn't really utilize Goodreads as a social network before blogging, only to keep track of my reading (and I took a hiatus of a few years in between) so I don't have very many GR friends.

I set my Goodreads challenge at 30 books this year, because I underestimated myself. I upped it to 40 once I reached 30, and ended up at 63! However, two of those were short stories, so I'll count those two as one, but I also read the first four Harry Potter books and didn't count them since I'd read them before, so they were already rated. So if I add four and subtract one, that puts me at 66. My goal for next year will start out at 52. (It's mind-blowing to me that I was able to read more than a book a week averaged out. That seems like so many!)

Since I didn't do posts about books I read throughout the year, the ones freshest in my mind are the ones I read most recently. But I'll try to break it down into favorites and least favorites over the year.
Life According to Steph


The Secrets of Midwives - Sally Hepworth // I couldn't really tell you what happens in this now, since I read it at the beginning of the year. Books are like that for me, I basically completely forget them (with a few exceptions) shortly after I read them. And yet, I haven't read many books more than once. Not only did I love this book, I won it free in a Goodreads book giveaway, so that was exciting.

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes // Me and the rest of the world.

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion // I held off on reading the sequel, The Rosie Effect because of Erin's not-so-glowing review. Should I read it, or no?

A Dog's Purpose - W. Bruce Cameron // I came about this book by accident. Last Christmas, Michael's mom was going to put it in for the White Elephant exchange, but I said I wanted it so she let me have it instead. :) Anyway, I bawled like five separate times. But it's so good. And it's being made into a may have seen a trailer for it.

The Royal We - Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan // I'm not even into the royal family, so I didn't think I'd love this so much, but I really did.

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty // This is one of my favorite Moriarty books now.

Inside the O'Briens - Lisa Genova // I've loved all four of Genova's books. She's one of my favorite authors and I hope she writes a billion more books.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin // Can't explain it, but this book was SO. GOOD.

Larger Than Life & Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult // Larger Than Life is a novella that introduces one of the main characters in the novel Leaving Time and both of them were so much better than I was expecting. Jodi Picoult is another of my favorite authors, so I usually expect a lot out of her novels, but for some reason when I read the description I was like, "Elephants?" Also, you don't have to read both for the other to make sense.

The Thing About Jellyfish - Ali Benajmin // This is a super young adult book, but I loved it so much I read it in one day. I adored the main character, Suzy.

A Hundred Summers - Beatriz Williams // I just loved this story. As my review on Goodreads says, movies are never as good as the books, but I think this should absolutely be made into a movie.

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy - Sue Klebold // Just gonna copy and paste my Goodreads review here: "So much to say. This was emotional, gripping, and insightful. I always hate when parents are judged so harshly for their children's actions. The Klebold family sounds like any other family. There were even facets of Dylan's personality/experience that could describe myself or my brothers. Sue is now an advocate for brain health (her reasoning for using that term instead of mental health is in the book and I'd never considered it before, but I do believe that's a better term) and all of the proceeds of this book are going to research. Obviously this country still has major issues with brain illness and there's a stigma attached. Hopefully this book can help people try to understand that it's not something to be ashamed of or try to hide and face on your own, or help parents, friends, teachers, etc. identify often overlooked symptoms of depression and other brain illnesses in others before it's too late."

Oh, and I can't forget...ALL of the Harry Potter books, including the ones I had already read. :)


After You - Jojo Moyes // You just can't really follow up Me Before You in a very satisfying way.

You & Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes // I rated You four stars, but it was just so hyped up that it fell kind of flat for me. Also, I really hated Joe. Everyone said he was a likable psychopath, but I didn't get that at all. And lots of people didn't really enjoy Hidden Bodies, so no surprise there.

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson // Meh. It was fine. But everyone and their mother had read it or added to to their TBR list so I was expecting more.

Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll // Some people loved this book, some couldn't get past their dislike of the main character. I definitely disliked Ani, but disliking the main character doesn't always mean I'll hate the book. With all the hype, I had expected more like four stars, but I'm not mad I read it.

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven // Again, so much hype. I loved the characters, but as I was reading I kind of was thinking, "What is the point of this book?" until towards the end. (I know, there isn't necessarily a "point" of novels except to entertain. But hopefully you know what I mean.)

Second Glance - Jodi Picoult // This was my least favorite Jodi Picoult book by far. It was just...too much. I can't decide if I would like it more or less if it was written by someone other than JP (more because I didn't have such high expectations, or less because I'm so attached to JP's writing).

No One Knows - J.T. Ellison // I was so excited to read this, and the beginning was nice and suspenseful and mysterious, but as you learned more details it got less exciting, and a little over the top. And then at the high point of the action, it was like watching a cheesy action movie to me. I did like how the epilogue turned out though.

Winter Street & Winter Stroll - Elin Hilderbrand // I didn't have super high expectations for these, because I know Hilderbrand writes beach reads that some people love and some people won't touch. And...yeah. I'm sorry, Ava is so annoying. I pride myself on not letting my dislike of a character ruin the book/story for me, and this tested me. She wasn't the only thing I didn't like, though. I just thought Winter Street was kind of over the top (so much drama) and while Stroll was slightly better, I still didn't think it deserved three stars.

I may have finished another book or two by the time this is published (I'm finishing it up on the 22nd), but here is (just about) everything I read in 2016:

Mattie's bookshelf: read

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
Between the World and Me
A Hundred Summers
Winter Stroll
The Thing About Jellyfish
No One Knows
Winter Street
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
The Light Between Oceans
Second Glance
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Truly Madly Guilty
All the Bright Places
Leaving Time
Larger Than Life
The Girl Before
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Mattie Dulka's favorite books »

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Friday, December 23, 2016

December Budget [2016]

2016 Budget Remaining
$153.03 - Annual budget remaining
$17.87 - ThredUp
$43.07 - Splender
$19.43 - eBates
$14.40 - Poshmark
$60.23 - Nordstrom gift cards
$5 - Old Navy Rewards
$313.03 - Maximum budget amount available

Drum roll please, because I bought approximately NOTHING* this month.

I honestly had no desire to buy anything. Part of this was because I had asked for most of the remaining things on my wish list for Christmas, so I figured I'd get some of them. Another part of it was that I was in my closet at the beginning of the month and realized I had quite a few things I wanted to wear the next day. And then I realized that isn't possible, and that that means I'm pretty good on clothes now.

I was also trying not to spend money on myself when I had so much other stuff to buy for other people. And we spent a lot during our Portland staycation. Oh, and I also have some sizable credit card debt right about now because I'm an idiot and decided to pay our car insurance annually, which we couldn't afford and so I put on a credit card...and we can't afford to pay it off all at once. So, that too.

*This refers to clothes/shoes/accessories for myself. I bought Christmas gifts and a crap ton of groceries and other Christmas crap. But nothing to include in my budget post.

I actually came out on top, because I ended up returning the two turtleneck tunics from last month's post. They were super thin material and I didn't like the fit of them.

2016 Budget Remaining
$153.03 - Annual budget remaining
$17.87 - ThredUp
$43.07 - Splender
$19.43 - eBates
$14.40 - Poshmark
$111.67 - Nordstrom gift cards
$5 - Old Navy Rewards
$364.47 - Maximum budget amount available

I'm not going to do a recap of the year or anything, since I think my final remaining balances are good enough. Plus, you can click the 'budget' tag on this post to see past budget posts if you're interested. I think I'm going to put the ThredUp, Splender, eBates, and Poshmark amounts remaining toward my student loans or something and not roll that over to next year. My budget for next year will start over at $1,200, plus the Nordstrom gift cards and Old Navy Rewards.

Comments turned off because it's Christmas weekend and there's not much to comment on me buying NOTHING!

Linking up with Franish's Budgeting Bloggers!

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