Northwest Native: 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show Us Your Books [March 2017]

It's time again to link up with Steph & Jana to talk about one of my favorite things--books!
Life According to Steph

Read...

The Girl Before - J.P. Delaney ****
I really loved the bulk of this book. It had my attention and kept me guessing. I just wasn't crazy about the ending.

Picture Perfect - Jodi Picoult ***
Based on my reviews of this book and Second Glance, I'm thinking I'm just not a huge fan of Picoult's earlier work. My Goodreads review: I liked the story and the characters, but at times it was slow and felt really long.

One Plus One - Jojo Moyes ****
I found the first half to be pretty boring, but loved the second half!

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland - Rebekah Crane ****1/2
I loved this book. I had pretty low expectations because it was a Kindle first book. I also thought it would be more on the younger side of young adult (I mean, it's about teenagers at summer camp) but I thought it was on the older side, and it was totally enjoyable as an adult.

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd ****
I found this book to be really endearing. I loved all the characters and the whole "coming of age" aspect. I feel like the whole 'I was prejudiced and didn't know it' is so prevalent today--maybe more people need to go live with people of different backgrounds for a while and realize it...

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey ****
I'd say this was a four through most of the book, but the ending was more like 4.5-5. I don't want to say more because I don't want to give anything away. I actually read this for Erin's Book Challenge Bonus Round (book set in my state) and I'm so glad the challenge made me do it, because I wasn't very interested in it before. Along with the story itself, I loved the name-dropping of all the places around where I live!

Currently reading...

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Next up...

In no particular order, I intend to read a mix of books I own (they're accumulating quickly--I've never had this problem before!), popular books that are going to become movies soon (because books are always better!), and the oldest books on my TBR (from 2011) since I seem to always add more and then read the newly added ones first. If I still want to read a book more than five years later, I figure it's about time I read it.
Owned: The Butterfly GardenMe & Earl & The Dying GirlThe Mutual Admiration SocietyOnly the TruthSisters One, Two, ThreeWater for ElephantsEverything We KeepCan You Keep A Secret?Let Me Explain, The Practice House, Boy Meets Depression
Soon-to-be movies: Everything, Everything & Before I Fall, Thirteen Reasons Why (which is becoming a Netflix series, not a movie)
Oldest on my TBR: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes & The Things We Do For Love

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Monday, February 27, 2017

February Budget [2017]

2017 Budget
$1,291.79 - Annual budget remaining
$234.21 - Nordstrom gift cards
$20 - Old Navy Rewards
$1,546 - Maximum budget amount available

Extra income
$35.21 - Ebates
$101.25 - blogging income
$100 - Super Bowl Squares

Last month, I was going to add miscellaneous purchases (not included in my budget) but I got lazy and didn't do that. So I'm going to include some of our recent miscellaneous purchases, whether they're necessities or fun things. I want to start doing this because I'm trying to cut back on buying clothes, as I feel like I have plenty right now. I have a box of stuff I want to take to Plato's Closet (I was going to send them to ThredUp, but since they now deduct shipping from your earnings, I refuse) and I still use eBates and Splender, but I've decided that that money is now going to be used to pay off credit card debt, or student loans, or just added to my bank account for whatever. I will list my 'extra income' after my clothing budget from now on. That blogging income is from affiliate links (aka when you click on some of my links, I get like $0.03). You don't get paid until you reach $100 and it took like a year and a half for me to get there. So will I ever get rich from doing this? No. I know some people don't want to click on affiliate links or like to reassure everyone that none of their links are affiliate links, but they really don't do much (unless you're a fashion blogger who has a bajillion views and thousands of people click your links every day).

I'm more and more into buying things for our house (whether it's cute decor or practical stuff), so more money will be going to that, though it won't come out of this budget.

Kept

February 2017 Budget
elaxed Graphic Curved-Hem Tee - $15 - 30% off = $10.50
I decided to be 'good' and only get one of these. I wanted the "Rose All Day" one too, but I don't drink rose all that often, white is probably my least favorite t-shirt color, and prosecco is one of my favorites. Bonus points that the tee also shouts out coffee along with prosecco.

Relaxed Lace-Up Tee - $19.94 - 30% off = $13.96
I wanted both the red and navy blue stripes, but I realized I have sooo many navy blue striped tops (plus I bought the dress below which is navy and white striped), so I limited myself to red.

Striped Lace-Front Swing Dress - $34.94, on sale for $27 - 30% off = $18.90
I love ON's swing dresses. This one is perfect for spring! Not pictured in collage

Go-Dry Compression Mesh-Panel Crops - $29.94, on sale for $26 - 30% off = $18.20
I've been wanting fun workout leggings for a long time, and I'm a sucker for mesh panels, so I got me some hot pink leggings.

minus $20 for Old Navy rewards used on the order of the previous four items...

Paige Cropped Jeans - $189, Nordstrom Rack price $69.97 - gift card = $0
I bought Paige jeans at Nordstrom Rack a while back, but I realized after a while that the inside of the jeans was so dark it looked weird to cuff them. I think they were straight leg too, which also made cuffing them weird. But they fit really well in the waist. Another issue is the knees kind of bagged, so even tucking them into tall boots didn't work well. So when I found these Paiges that are pre-cuffed I snagged them. Saves me the trouble of having to cuff them! (I'm getting rid of the other Paige jeans, and possibly my pair of Joe's jeans because the waist is a bit too big.)

Marc by Marc Jacobs Mini Leather Crossbody - $298, Nordstrom Rack price $149.97 - $109.93 gift card = $40.04
I really thought I would be paying $0 for this, but the Nordstrom Rack website only lets you use one Nordstrom gift card at a time. Oh well!

Nike Cortez Leather Sneakers (navy) - $65ish - gift from Michael = $0
We went shopping with my mom and Michael said that the leather version of these was no longer available. I found them on Amazon and couldn't decide if I was going to buy them, so I texted Michael. He said he would buy them, and that he was planning on buying them as a surprise, which is why he knew the leather ones were disappearing. (Yes, we're married and we have a joint account, but we also have separate accounts and this did not come from my clothing budget!)

Stripe Midi Wrap Dress - $59 - gift from Mom = $0
The main purpose of the shopping trip with my mom was to find a dress for my sister's wedding reception, and she offered to buy it for me. I love this dress. I also tried on the floral print version.

Bar Lariat Necklace - $19 - gift from Mom = $0
The sales girl brought me some jewelry to try with the dress and I loved this necklace with the v-neck. The necklace is adjustable, and I wore it with the bead all the way down, but I definitely want to try wearing it different ways. Not pictured in collage

Floral Mosaic Henley Tunic - $59.50, on sale for $54.99 - 50% off - store credit = $1.49
I've had this credit since returning a 2015 Christmas gift. I thought this print was super fun and it was casual enough for me (lots of Loft stuff I think is so cute but more business casual/business professional which I don't need at this point). Not pictured in collage

I forgot to include last month that my mom bought me these heeled sandals from Target! I can't wait for it to warm up so I can wear them. We got to see my mother-in-law over the weekend and she bought Michael some $100 shoes he wanted, and then she bought me a $100 Nordstrom gift card to match, so that added to my remaining gift card balance at the end of this month!

Returned

I ended up returning the boots from January's budget post. My normal size was too small, the bigger size was too big. And no half sizes. Wah.

Miscellaneous

Sonix 'Agave' Phone Case
I am obsessed with my phone case! Sonix cases are kind of expensive, but they're so pretty. And I pretty much always have a phone case for as long as I have my phone (I don't switch it unless it's necessary), so I'll get plenty of use out of it.

Batiste Dry Shampoo - Blush, 3-pack
This is a new subscription order, after my Target subscription sucked (it was out of stock two months in a row). I've only gotten this once so far, but I'm signed up for it every two months.

Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree
Photos included with reviews of this show it looking super full. The reviewers say they had to 'fluff' it a bit to get it that way. When I put it together after we got it just to check it out, it's just gaping holes between each section, basically. I have absolutely no idea how one 'fluffs' an artificial tree to be super full with no holes. Anyone have any advice?

Dog Food
We always order our thirty pound bags of dog food on Amazon. We were ordering Taste of the Wild for years, but their price has increased (by a few dollars) so I decided to try out Blue Buffalo since I've heard good things and it was just barely cheaper. I'm not sure if it's just the new-ness of the food, but the dogs love this food.

Adjustable Raised Dog Food Feeders
Our dogs aren't old yet, but I remember when our family Beagle got older that we had to get him raised food and water bowls. I figured I should be preemptive about it, especially since it doesn't look comfortable to lean down like they do to eat. Plus, we were using two matching bowls for food and water, then one other not at all matching bowl for food. The matching makes me happy (I know, I'm weird).

Gilmore Girls Coffee Print
I've wanted this for a while to go on the coffee bar, and I finally realized there was no reason for me to wait any more (not like it was super expensive or anything)!

Woven Cube Storage Bins
Our TV upstairs is on one of those four-cube organizers from IKEA. The bottom two cubes are empty, and Michael doesn't have enough clothes storage (and it drives me absolutely insane because his clothes are EVERYWHERE) so I bought two of these to try to make more room for his stuff.

Eyelash Curler
I've needed a new eyelash curler for quite some time, but recently realized it's gotten really bad.

2017 Budget
$1,208.70 - Annual budget remaining
$131.77 - Nordstrom gift cards
$50 - Old Navy Rewards
$1,390.47 - Maximum budget amount available

Linking up with Franish's Budgeting Bloggers, as usual!

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Coffee Date [2.24.17]

I figured it's time for another coffee date.

Let's start off with the obvious: I'm kind of MIA in the blog world lately. The reason for that is I simply don't feel like blogging much. I prefer to spend my free time doing other things. I don't want to completely give up blogging (I at least want to continue participating in SUYB and monthly budget posts, with a few sporadic posts like this thrown in, probably) but I'm not going to promise even one post every week.

Along with that, I'm not reading blogs as much as I used to, and commenting even less than I am reading. So don't think that I hate your blog if I've always been a commenter.

Moving right along. If we were having coffee, I'd be drinking mine out of this amazing mug that Ashley got me as part of the Galentine's Blogger Exchange that Olya and I hosted (link up your posts below!). She also got me Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella because I mentioned at one point that I've never read anything by her. I think it's so great that Ashley remembered that little detail, plus my love of Harry Potter. I felt like she really knew me, even though we've never met! (For future reference: coffee mugs and bookish things are pretty much foolproof gifts for me!)


Speaking of books, I won my second Goodreads giveaway! So exciting. I won Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Live.

We got our thermostat to work! It only took Michael climbing up into our crawlspace (using a ladder we borrowed from my mom) and scaring the crap out of me because of how high it is (and he had to step on the top of the ladder, which I don't think you're supposed to do) and a ladder on carpet doesn't feel quite as secure as a ladder on solid ground. Add all that to the fact that I was the one holding the ladder and I have the arm strength of a 6-year-old...queue my anxiety. But it works! It's so much prettier than our old thermostat.

I know I can be kind of a cheapskate when it comes to clothes, but seriously, I can't handle how expensive Gap is compared to Old Navy when they're owned by the same company. I am so in love with this t-shirt dress, but $70?! (Okay, so as I'm writing this it's on sale and with the extra promo it's like $36; I guess I could swing that...at least if my Old Navy credit card rewards work towards Gap too.) I mean, I know it has a little something extra over a plain t-shirt dress, but seriously. A t-shirt dress from Old Navy is $27 (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C) and it's almost impossible to pay full price at Old Navy. (As I was writing this, all three of those dresses were 50% off.)

I'm not much of a flats person, but I adore these lace-up flats! Cognac would be my first choice, but I kind of love both!

Michael takes way better pictures than I do. Why is he so good and mine always look super amateur? Oh well, at least I can force him to send them to me.

I haven't been taking many pictures of my outfits lately, so I didn't want to do a full post on them. But here's one of my new favorite shirts in action:
And my new Nikes! I've wanted cute, sporty sneakers for a while and I just got them on Wednesday! I'll admit, I was kind of nervous that a) I wouldn't be able to pull them off, or b) they'd make my feet look enormous but I got dressed and loved the look.
*Yes my mirror is still dirty. I cleaned that entire bathroom like crazy and totally forgot about this mirror. Oh well!

I'm also super loving my new crazy bright workout crops! I really wanted these burgundy leggings (I'm a sucker for the sheer panels, I guess) but they disappeared and I fell in love with the hot pink. Now that the burgundy is back, I want those too!

Are any of you watching Big Little Lies on HBO? I loved the book, and lucky for us, we have HBO free for a few months because (unlucky for us) our provider and ABC are not getting along right now. I don't think it's as good as the book (no surprise there) but I liked the first episode!

I got my hands on some Girl Scout cookies. I don't know any Girl Scouts here, and when I was in Seattle I just bought them from my boss's daughter. I tried using the contact for via the GS website, but it didn't work. So then I found the Facebook page for Girl Scouts in this region and messaged them. Then the auto-response prompted me to email them. And they responded to both. Seriously, I was determined to get my cookies. And in case anyone was wondering, the new s'mores ones are good.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Show Us Your Books [February 2017]

It's time again to link up with Steph & Jana to talk about one of my favorite things--books!
Life According to Steph

Read...

If I Stay - Gayle Forman **1/2
I really wanted to love this, but there were some parts that were so cheesy I would cringe. And I found myself disliking Mia pretty often. Also, at first, the references to Oregon were cool, but eventually they got to be really annoying because they were so over the top or stereotypical (i.e. "We had steaks and tofu pups, this being Oregon." I've never had a tofu pup and don't plan to). I am also a big crier in books and this didn't make me cry once. I just never got invested. Maybe it's because I saw the movie already when it came out?
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - set in my state (25 points)

Winter Storms - Elin Hilderbrand *
I wasn't going to read this (since I didn't like the first two), but I had it from the library and basically decided to hate-read it. I found Ava slightly less annoying this time, but this still managed to be my least favorite of the series. I felt like the purpose of this book was to give every single character a shiny happy ending and I thought that was boring. I didn't notice it in the other two books, but in this one, the writing was so undescriptive. (Example: "He did this." "She went there." Basically just saying what happened, and then dialogue.) I did think it was nice that Elin name-dropped a couple of other authors in her genre (a character was reading Jane Green and another author). And then she name dropped her own book and I had to roll my eyes at that.

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult *****
I just love JP. I was worried when I saw reviews calling the ending unrealistic or over the top, but I enjoyed it. Picoult has been my favorite author for years, and her endings are always big. I love that she tackles tough topics. If you read this, make sure to read the author's note at the end.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - favorite author (20 points)

Wonder - R.J. Palacio *****
I absolutely loved the message of this book--to be kind to everyone, no matter how different we all are. I had tears of sadness and of joy in my eyes at different times in this book. It was just so cute.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - starts with 'w' (10 points)

Rain Reign - Ann M. Martin ****
I did not expect this book to be so heavy! It was really hard to read at times (emotionally). But Rose was such a heartwarming narrator.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - homonym in the title (20 points)

All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr ****
This was a beautiful story, and so well written. I loved how the different stories were woven together, and in a lot of cases, unexpectedly. I don't think I was in the right mindset for it when I was reading it, or I was just too distracted, so I kept having to reread passages and I wasn't absorbing it well. In other circumstances, I may have rated it five stars.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - six-word title (10 points)

Difficult Women - Roxane Gay *****
This was my first Roxane Gay read and it won't be my last! Her writing is incredible. The short stories range between two minutes and thirty-five minutes (at least, based on my Kindle's analysis of my reading speed) and they're all different but have many similar themes.

Goodnight, Beautiful - Dorothy Koomson *****
I loved the character development. The points of view varied and it switched between past and present, so you got to know the characters bit by bit. I loved that the characters and relationships between characters were so complex. I'm also glad it ended the way it did. (Also, my feminist self is always glad to see a love triangle where it isn't simply, "this woman is a major bitch and this woman is great" and also to see a woman who doesn't need a man to be happy.) (Guys, I think this is my very first book that I've blogged about that I haven't seen in anyone else's posts. Probably because this was one of the three oldest books on my TBR, added in 2011. No idea where I heard about it, since I didn't read blogs then!)

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger ***
I have some complicated feelings on this one. For one, the first portion of the book (quarter? third? I don't recall) creeeeeped me out. It was supposed to be romantic, I think...but I found it creepy. And the creepiness came back later for short visits. The writing was good, and I enjoyed reading it during the non-creepy parts (and after I tried thinking the time travel thing to death (it's really confusing to think about the past/present/future all happening at once etc...once I stopped trying to comprehend it it was more enjoyable)).
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - time travel (35 points)

Britt-Marie Was Here - Fredrik Backman ***
I thought this was a very cute story. The last 40ish percent wasn't as good as the first 60, and the last 10ish was pretty boring.
+1 for Erin's Book Challenge - green cover (15 points)

Dark Matter - Blake Crouch *****
This book grabbed my attention from the first page. It was suspenseful, fast-paced, and full of twists.

Erin's Book Challenge progress...

10/10 books
200/200 points
See my full list here and my Goodreads shelf for the challenge here.
I'm done! I can't decide if I'm going to do the bonus round or not. I go back and forth constantly. You'd think this is a life or death decision based on how indecisive I'm being...

Currently reading...

The Girl Before - J.P. Delaney

Next up...

In no particular order, I intend to read a mix of books I own (they're accumulating quickly--I've never had this problem before!), popular books that are going to become movies soon (because books are always better!), and the oldest books on my TBR (from 2011) since I seem to always add more and then read the newly added ones first. If I still want to read a book more than five years later, I figure it's about time I read it.
Owned: The Butterfly Garden, Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, The Mutual Admiration Society, Only the Truth, Sisters One, Two, Three, Water for Elephants (I've owned the Kindle version forever, started it like five years ago and abandoned it; I don't think it's actually on my TBR, but I own it and feel the need to read it--yes, I have seen the movie), What She Knew, Everything We Keep, The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, Can You Keep A Secret?, Let Me Explain
Soon-to-be movies: Everything, Everything & Before I Fall (Really thought there were more of these...)
Oldest on my TBR: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes & The Things We Do For Love

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Confessions [2.1.17]

It's been a while, so I'm excited to link up with Nadine & Kathy for Confessions!

These things are amazing. They're made in Oregon, so I don't know if they're distributed around the country, but if they are you should try them! They also come in plain peanut butter and dark chocolate peanut butter, but I haven't tried those yet.

We've been wanting a bookshelf for quite some time now. Our books filled half of our storage coffee table and then we had some that were just sitting around. So on Saturday we found a bookshelf for only $28 at Target and used a $25 gift card on it. I set it up while Michael played basketball and when it was all done and I stood it up...it looked like this. :(
See the raw edge on the bottom sides of the shelf? *Sigh* We're just going to get black paint and paint that part. It was a cheap bookshelf and it serves its purpose (and it's just in a guest room). Side note: those are all Harry Potter Funko Pops. Michael is obsessed with collecting them and has accumulated those in about six months.

Also on Saturday, we bought the Ecobee Lite thermostat that I wanted. We bought it at Home Depot because we had $100 worth of gift cards from Christmas and Michael's birthday...and then we got home and realized you have to actually do something with the furnace itself. Our furnace is in an attic crawlspace and we only have a four foot ladder, which isn't tall enough. We opened the thermostat, so I'm not sure if we can return it. I'd prefer to get a full-size ladder and get it done, but we also don't know if we're savvy enough to even figure out how to do it once we can reach the furnace. Does anyone else have experience changing out their thermostat for a "smart" one and having to mess with the furnace? Is it difficult?

This Muslim ban crap has me so angry. In November, I decided I would start a monthly donation to some sort of social justice organization. I ended up going with the ACLU, and I'm so happy with that decision now based on all that's happening and how they're fighting. I was also super happy to see the below message in my Bloglovin' feed, to see Starbucks planning on hiring refugees, and to see companies like Lyft pledge large donations. I'm also proud to see Nike (founded and headquartered here in Oregon) making a statement (okay, technically it was an email to all employees, but it has since been published online) against the ban. (Obviously, the happiness over these things doesn't overpower my burning rage, but it's nice to see like-minded businesses and individuals fighting for what's right.)

Michael is a Twitter fiend, and he saw a tweet where someone suggested volunteering at your local mosque. He found our local mosque and saw that they do have volunteer opportunities as well as interfaith meetings. He contacted them and we've been added to the volunteer list. I'm excited to meet people who are different from me and to support a group that is being marginalized unfairly. I never would've thought to do this, so I wanted to include it as a PSA to anyone out there who isn't sure what they can do! Obviously, it's not an action that will change political policy, but it's a way to stand in solidarity with your fellow human beings.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

January Budget [2017]

2017 Budget
$1,200 - Annual budget remaining
$234.21 - Nordstrom gift cards
$55 - Old Navy Rewards
$1,489.21 - Maximum budget amount available

What I Kept & Returned

January 2017 Budget - Keep
Workout Tanks (in Carbon & Purple Rain) - $12.94 each - 25% off = $11 each

Herringbone Compression Jacket - $39.94 - 25% off = $32
In my order of the above three items, I bought two sizes of the jacket, and three sizes of the cardi coat you'll see in the returned section. I used my $55 in Old Navy rewards. I can't really figure out how to do the math on how they paid me back (I got some rewards back and some money back when I returned the extras, but I didn't get my full $55 back or my full out of pocket money back) so I spent $28.23 out of pocket on those three items.

Textured Crew-Neck Sweater - $34.94

Graphic Crew-Neck Sweatshirt - $24.94
The two items above will go down in history as the first items I ever bought full price from Old Navy. Neither were available on the website at the time. The sweatshirt I bought isn't pictured in the collage, because I've never seen that one online, but it's featured in this post. (I also bought the same sweatshirt for my mom, but since it's a gift, it's not counted toward my budget.)

Mockneck Lace Shoulder Tunic - $19.99 - 5% REDcard discount - paid with gift card = $0
Haven't received this yet. I just love it online, but calling it 'mockneck' kind of confuses me because on the model it doesn't look that way. We'll see when it arrives...

I feel like I went a little crazy this month for not really wanting anything for a while... And there are a few more things I want from Old Navy, but I'm waiting to get my rewards money back/possibly use some super cash I earned, so I'll probably be buying that stuff after this post goes live.

January 2017 Budget - Return
Twill Cardi-Coat - $64.94 - 25% off - rewards = ??? returned
I was expecting this to be more cardi than coat. I should've looked at the material, but anyway, it was wooly and itchy and very much coat-like. I also didn't feel like it was totally my style when I put it on.

Riding Boots - $239.95, on sale for $179.90 - gift cards = $0 returned
I loved these boots. Reviewers say they can stand/walk all day in them and be comfortable. My current cognac boots are not on that level. I was considering replacing my current boots with these. My normal size was too tight, but it looks like a size up is now available again, so I may just end up re-buying these (thank goodness for gift cards!). I went ahead and ordered the bigger size last night. I may not end up keeping them, but we'll see!

Total spent: $88.11
That's actually a significant chunk of money for me when you compare it to the past few months. Oops!

2017 Budget
$1,111.89 - Annual budget remaining
$54.31 - Nordstrom gift cards
$20 - Old Navy Rewards (I have a ton of points that they haven't converted to rewards $$ yet)
$1,186.20 - Maximum budget amount available

Linking up with Franish's Budgeting Bloggers!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Outfits Lately, Vol. 4

This is a short post what with my working from home for five days due to snow and not wearing real clothes (or showering, tbh) often during that time, but I wanted to link up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. As always, I've linked everything still available/tried to find similar things. I no longer link plain jeans unless my exact ones are available. If they're a different color (gray, black) I find something similar. Similar things won't be exact, and sometimes I'll link something as exact if it's this year's version of a past year's purchase.

Thursday, January 5
Scarf (similar) - Tee - Chambray - Jeans (similar) - Booties
Shall I count the neutrals for you? 1. Black (tee), 2. White (tee), 3. Navy (scarf), 4. Gray (jeans), 5. Brown (booties), 6. Denim/chambray (I know this isn't a traditional neutral, but it totally is). If only I had fit olive in there somewhere. Also, I'm wearing a fox scarf and my fox earrings, which makes this outfit even more me.

Tuesday, January 10
Dress (similar, similar) - Tights - Heels (similar) - Phone case (because it's new!)
Yikes, who needs to clean their mirror? *raises hand* Please ignore that (throughout the post...). Anyway, this is the blackest outfit I've ever worn, probably. I don't wear much black, but I love this outfit! My dress has fun bell sleeves with crochet lace detail on them and there are tassels that hang down the front. It also has an open space in the back and now that my hair is this short it means I can showcase my shoulder blades, which are for some reason a feature I really like about myself. Ha!

Wednesday, January 18
Sweater (similar) - Jeans (similar) - Booties (similar)


Thursday, January 19
Top (similar) - Booties
Got this for Christmas and it was my first time wearing it, because apparently I had gained weight since trying it on in the store and the arms were tight when I received it. (Also, I had to add a cami under this before I left the house.)

Friday, January 20
Top (similar) - Booties

Monday, January 23
Sweatshirt (solids; purchased mine in-store 1/20) - Booties

Tuesday, January 24
Sweater (clearance - $9!) - Top (similar) - Camo Pants - Booties

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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!
SIGN UP HERE!
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

Read...

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 stuff...so 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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