May 30, 2016

Read My Books - The List

As I draft this (May 5th) I'm looking out the window and it's gray. Like, dirty gray. All I can think is I should have stayed home to read. But I know now, as this post is live, it's warm, sunny, and I still want to stay home and read... outside. 

June is upon us and that's exactly what I plan to do. Way back in April Dani and Erin challenged us to start reading the books we already own. I all but jumped at this challenge because we all know my in-house TBR is out of control. 

See what I mean? Out of control.

I know I won't be able to get through all of these books but I've picked out a number that I feel I will actually be able to get through in the next 30 days. Here's a look at what I will be tackling:

1|   A Raisin in the Sun / Lorraine Hansberry

This was one of my sister's books that she had to read for school. I kept it because it was short, something I'd never read before, the author and my mom share a name, and well, it was hers. 

2|   It Was Me All Along / Andie Mitchell

I received this some time ago from Blogging for Books and it's been sitting on my shelf mocking me ever sense.

3| Exposure to a Billionaire / Ann Menke

Back at the beginning of May, I had a package. I didn't remember ordering anything but who knows. I opened it up and there was this book. The cover looked good, I liked the feel of it. The story seemed decent enough. Plus, who says no to free books?

4| First Comes Love / Emily Griffin 

I got this from NetGalley at the beginning of the month and I've been terrible about reading and reviewing with them lately - basically, I haven't been. 

Those are my 4 main choices. If I happen to go on a reading rampage in June, I'll also read 

Bonus 1|   Ladies' Night / Mary Kay Andrews 

I'm not sure what it is about Mary kay Andrews but I really enjoy her books. They're light, fun, and don't require me to "pay attention". Perfect in-between books. 

Bonus 2|   The Moon and More / Sarah Dessen

I bought this book shortly after reading Saint Anything . Since I fell in love with that one I figured I'd like the authors other books as well. This will be my third book by Dessen.

So those are my choices. I'm all linked up and ready to go. I figured getting through my physical books was a better choice than getting through the eBooks. They don't take up any space.

What are you planning to read?

May 27, 2016

Friday Five

Here we are; Friday at last. I feel like this week has been taking its sweet time to pass on by. 
Since I'm in the process of wearing multiple hats and balancing numerous plates right now, we're going to keep it short and sweet today. 
1| Every year I look forward to Memorial Day. It’s my unofficial start to summer. The thing is, I couldn’t even tell you what I did for last year’s holiday weekend. I mean, I assume I spent it outside, but I have no idea. For something I look forward to you’d think I’d have better recollection. This year I’ll be spending it with Little Miss.

2| I’m trying to ignore the fact that June is upon us. I have no idea where the first half of this year went. It was a complete whirlwind. 

3| I can hardly believe that Governor’s Ball is finally here. I bought my tickets back in January and even then, it felt as though it were years away. Now, 7 little days and my concert bender is upon me. This will probably be the only festival I attend this year but I’m really looking forward to seeing some artists I enjoy. In the spirit of festival season I had this fun little poster creating a dream lineup made by TickPick, which is a site that sells tickets to concert, as well as sporting events, such as NFL tickets.

4| I'm all set to start the June reading challenge with Erin & Dani. Did you guys pick your books? Make sure they're from your OWN shelves! 

5| My planning obsession has been getting out of hand lately. Part of me wishes I had never even peeked at this rabbit hole; another can't imagine life without planning. The struggle is real. This is what this week's Kikki K layout looked like. 

And on that note, I'm off to count down until it's time to head home. Hooray for half days! Happy weekending! 

May 23, 2016

Make it a Movie Night

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #DataAndAMovie #CollectiveBias

I am a big movie fan. I’ll watch any genre and if it’s something I love (read: a classic) I’ll watch it on repeat. Lately, the weather here in the northeast hasn’t been very springy. It feels as though winter is coming. Personally, that’s all the reason I need to stay in my PJs and cuddle up on the couch with my phone, a movie, and all my favorite snacks.

The other day I was in Walmart’s electronic section and their phones caught my eye. If you’re looking for a hassle-free phone plan, the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS is the way to go. The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is the perfect phone for all your needs. Not only can I e-mail, text, browse the web, and watch videos, but right now it’s on rollback for $79.92 (from $99.92). {All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to the Family Mobile Hub or your local Walmart for current pricing.}

Between watching videos, surfing the web, and using all my apps, I use a lot of data. One of the best things about the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan is that I don’t sacrifice service. I can get Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE data PLUS a free movie on VUDU ($7 value) every month per line for $49.88. Unlimited data and a free movie every month? Yes, please! Even better, for the first time, the Starter Kit is on rollback for $19.88 (from $25) so you’re able to have a new phone up and running for less than $20! Being connected is a huge thing for me in both my social life and business. With the Family Mobile PLUS plan I don't have to worry about being out of touch.

I was really excited to use my free VUDU movie so I created a Family Movie Night to play up the occasion by whipping up a huge batch of popcorn (I just love that popcorn tub!), movie theater snacks, and even a fun trivia game I made. I downloaded the app to my tv, chose my movie, and snuggled in. Knowing that I get a free movie each month will finally keep me up to date with the list of movies I've been meaning to watch. 

Are you overdue for a movie night? How do you stay connected? 

May 12, 2016



Today it was revealed to me that my HR department is aware that I have a blog and side business. I was immediately sweating bullets. Not because of anything I've written (I do NOT discuss work here) but because it felt like an insane invasion of privacy. 

Look, I get that I choose to write a blog. And I choose to blog publicly. I am aware that anyone at any time can find this little space and read it from start to present. I understand that and I accept it. 

What I don't accept is that my job tried to brush me off for a position I really want because of it. It forced me to take actions that make me feel like I've done something wrong, which isn't true. As of this afternoon, this blog is private. 

It wasn't something I wanted to do but I felt I had no other option. What I do on the weekends and outside of work is not their business. I come into work every day, do my job at a satisfactory and above level, and I go home. It bothers me that my blog and all of my social media accounts now need to be private until alternate arrangements can be made. I feel as if I'm hiding in shame. 

If you received an invitation and accepted, thank you. It means a lot to me. If you didn't, well, if all is working you shouldn't even be allowed to read this. 

If you have any suggestions for how to move forward from here - I'm listening.  

May 10, 2016

Booked Vol. 10

It's the most magical day of the moooonth....

I feel like I didn't get a lot of reading in since the last link up but when it came time to write everything down, there are quite a few.

Here's where I was:

Spirit Junkie / Gabrielle Bernstein   

I had this on my TBR for a while but started reading it for an online book club. I'm kind of on the fence about it. Not because it was bad, but because I feel like I was reading an autobiography of how Gabrielle came to trust her inner guide and the path it took to get her there. If that's what it is then fine. But as for the principles, I'm already aware of most of them and as such found it to be repetitive. I do like how she provides a meditation (via text) at the end of each chapter with a web address should you want the audio version.

Bossypants / Tina Fey                                                                                             

Absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audio version, read by Tina Fey, and found myself laughing at many sections. Just her choice of wording for some things was hilarious. This is definitely the best of the comedic memoirs, although Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan was hilarious as well.

Through the Looking Glass / Lewis Carroll                                                                 

Through the Looking Glass
Although I found this to be enjoyable I also found it to be slightly confusing. There were parts where I felt Alice was meeting characters for the first time, however, she should have already met them in Alice in Wonderland, although I have never read that so perhaps not.

Girl Code / Cara Alwill Leyba                                                                                    

Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur
I enjoyed reading this for some of the tips and the included interviews about powerhouse entrepreneurs who have paved their own way. I firmly agree that women need to start supporting other women, not being catty and tearing them down.

There were parts that resonated with me deeply and others that I thought were a bit repetitive. Decent read, though.

One With You / Sylvia Day                                                                                        
I'm being a little overzealous and adding this even though I haven't quite finished it. I have less than 20 pages left. This is the fifth and final book of the Crossfire series. You know I'm one of those people that must finish a series. So here we are. I liked it enough. It kept true to the storyline and progressed logically. There were some unexpected events I didn't see coming, and it was one I didn't want to put down.

And if that weren't enough, I'm super excited about tackling my TBRs for the June challenge with Dani and Erin. Now, to see what you've all been reading!

Power of the Protein

This shop has been compensated by CollectiveBias, Inc. on behalf of its advertiser, EAS Sports Nutrition. #PowerInProtein #easbrand #CollectiveBias

As most of you know my relationship with exercise is complicated. I'd say it's love hate but I honestly think it's so much deeper than that. However, when fueled properly, I feel as though I can take on the world.

This past weekend I participated in The Color Run (more on that later). It's been quite some time since I participated in any type of run/walk and I knew this would be a lot of fun. Knowing that I hate the run coming up I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few things, including protein powder. 

After the run, I knew I was going to need some fuel to power me through the rest of the day.  Hooray for EAS® 100% Whey Protein. I decided the best way to recover would be to whip up a smoothie. Especially one with a high protein content. 

I've been blending for a while so I'm pretty good at eye-balling my recipes and mixing different things together (try using a cooked sweet potato sometime. It adds nutritional value and tastes awesome) to find what tastes best for me.

The best thing is that smoothies are incredibly easy to make. 

You'll need...

+ a handful of greens such as spinach, kale, etc. The choice is yours.
+ 1 banana (or 1/2 sweet potato or avocado)
+ 4-5 sliced or whole strawberries
+ 1 scoop EAS® 100% Whey Vanilla protein
+ 1c milk (I prefer almond or soy)
+ ice (optional) 

You toss everything into your blender and whip it up. I prefer to add my greens first, but that's just me. The only thing I wouldn't add first is the protein because it tends to stick to the bottom/top of your cup. 

Blend until all ingredients are mixed and enjoy!

As a side note, one of my favorite things about EAS® protein is that there's a scoop holder under the lid. I don't know about you but I hate having to dig for the scoop because it's lost in the powder. These keeps it in a clean, easy to use space. I wish all powdered products did something like this.

More than that, EAS is a quality powder. There are no fillers; no added sugar; and it's 100% pure whey.  

Be sure to check out the New NBC Show S.T.R.O.N.G where EAS® products will be featured on the June 2nd episode (9 PM EST 8 PM CST). And, if you're an Ibotta user (hello coupons!) then you can earn $1.00 when you purchase EAS® 100% Whey Protein or EAS® AdvantEdge Carb Control. You can find EAS at Walmart in the vitamin/health area. 

What do you do to recover or refuel after a tough workout, run, or race?

May 04, 2016

Eight is Great

Every time I go home, it's a new adventure. Between things that Little Miss says or does, to spending time with my mom, there's always something going on. 

My last trip home included tattoo #8. You can read about the previous tattoos here. This had been in the works since January or so, and it was one I had to forget about in order not to psych myself out. 

It's no secret that I feel everyone and their mother should have a tattoo - just ask mine, we're in an unspoken race to have the most (I'm winning!) - tattoos are fun, and gorgeous, and exciting. 

So, the eight wonder. This was a custom design by my artist and when he asked if anyone would want it I jumped at it. I knew it was going to be a few months before I actually got it but he was fine and we formed up the date as April got closer. 

I'm not going to lie, I was super excited and equally anxious for this one. I thought my foot would hurt, only 2 of the 5 ants were annoying. I thought that my inner arm was going to hurt, it was done and over before I knew it. This one? 

It hurt. 

If I'm being honest, the entire area under le boob didn't hurt. I closed my eyes, breathing myself into a peaceful stillness.  Once he got to my sternum, my eyes flew open and I was questioning what I was doing with my life. We had reached the point where I was wondering why anyone would willingly subject themselves to this. 

This was by far the most painful spot I've ever been inked. If I ever had fantasies of having a side piece done, I've completely dropped the idea of getting one. 

Healing a/k/a The Itch wasn't too bad. On the upside, I got to free boob it for several days. Although I will admit that by Tuesday I was ready to put the holster back on.

Even better, I'm already planning out #9!