TBB Asks-May-Entertainment

Hey y'all,

I am super late to the game but I thought I would still share my answers to the Blended Blog's questions for May regarding entertainment. As we enter into the summer months I think entertainment is on everyone's mind as they prepare for long nights and fun weekends. Here we go:

1. Comedy or Drama?
Drama 

2. Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Fiction 

3. Movies in Theater or At Home?
At Home. I love going to the theater for some shows but most things I love being able to press pause and have all the snacks. Also, if I am at a theater I am usually the one in jeans and a pullover even if it is 100 degrees outside, I freeze in movie theaters.
4. Musical or Play?
Musical!
5. Which Meal of the day is your favorite to eat out?
Dinner. I love coming home and having no dishes to do.
6. Favorite Book ever read? 
I am partial to a few. I still love Ella Enchanted from when I was little. Mansfield Park was my first Jane Austen novel. I also could reread To Kill a Mockingbird and the Harry Potter series every year and never tire of them.
7. Game Night: Yes or No? 
Yes.

8. Favorite Outside Game to play?
I am terrible at yard games. Seriously, you never want me as your cornhole partner.
9. Favorite TV Series ever?
 Gilmore Girls. I have the entire series. I just do not enjoy the remake on Netflix. Honorable Mentions would be

10. Sitcoms growing up or Sitcoms of today?
 Friends.
11. Miniature Golf or Bowling?
 Miniature Golf. I actually went Mini-golfing for my 18th birthday.
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Casually hanging out on the rocks at the golf place.
12. Favorite Movie Theater Candy?
 Buncha Crunch but typically I will get the kids tray at a theater. It typically is under $8 and has a drink, just enough popcorn, and fruit snacks or Skittles.

13. How do you like your popcorn?
I am lactose intolerant so I err on the side of more salt. Skinny Pop lightly salted is a go to.
14. 3D movies with the glasses; Yes or No? 
I am not a 3D movie fan. I have gone to some but I prefer the regular theater experience. 
15. Favorite Genre of Books to Read? 
 Fiction-Romance.
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Best,
Jess

Five on Friday {May 11}

Hey ya'll,

Can we all say amen that it's Friday? It has been a week! I had thought it would be a quick and simple week leading up to a bit of a busy week next week but nope. This week was filled with dinners with friends, a stressful work call, babysitting a little who ended up getting sick, and very little sleep. I'm hoping for a calm weekend to refresh and restart for a busy week next week! Here are some things I am loving this week.

one. Simplified Planner. 

It came! I ordered my Simplified Planner for the 2018-2019 Academic year on May 2nd when they launched and my beautiful planner arrived on Monday night. I have started to set it up but know that I have two more months in my current planner. Let me know if you want me to post on how I set up my planner and my system!

two. Recipe Challenge. 

I don't know about you but I tend to make the same meals a lot and I have wonderful cookbooks that I don't pull recipes from enough. My goal for the rest of the year is to make one new recipe each week from my cookbook collection. It can be a sauce, side, main, or even a dessert. I plan to document them here including the ease of preparation, taste, will it be added to the rotation, and any tweaks I make/would make in the future.

The first recipe I am going to attempt to make is The Merc's Queso (TPW Come and Get It). I am headed to a friend's Birthday Fiesta and I volunteered to bring nachos and the fixings. This makes about 6 cups which is perfect as the next night I am headed to supper club and told them I would bring chips and queso. 1 recipe, 2 nights of fun.


three. Derby Gathering.

On Saturday after serving at church I headed over to Laura's house for her annual Derby Party. I hate that I missed out last year but I was excited to attend. While I ended up picking Vino Rosso to win (I pick based on name and jockey silks) it was fun to see friends, eat yummy food and watch the fastest 2:04 minutes in sports.

four. Quick Chores

This past week I have been trying to fit in a few chores each morning. They are all things I can do in 15 minutes and simple tasks like folding laundry, starting a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, etc. This has started my day on a productive note and makes it so much easier when I return from work knowing I have less household responsibilities and I can relax.

five. Mother's Day! 

Of course I can't write my post today and not think of celebrating my Mom! While I will not be with her on Sunday I know that she should be celebrated always! Last year I collaborated with my Dad to pick up her favorite chocolate covered strawberries from a deli in our town but this year, Amazon Prime to the rescue as she told me she would just like the next season of Outlander. My parent's watch this show together so it's nice that I am essentially gifting her nights in with my Dad.

Fun links:

Have y'all seen the new Draper James collection with Eloquii? It's a beautiful collaboration of the sweet style of Draper James for plus size women.
This fun list of 32 books to read this summer helped me add a few to my next library trip list.
Did you see the Met Gala fashion? I loved Blake Lively and Emilia Clarke.
These gluten free cheesecake brownies look amazing!

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.  
Also linking up with Tif, Becky, and Katie.
And Erika, Narci, and Andrea

Best,
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April Reads

Hey y'all,

This might be a bit late as it is already May 10th but I thought I would hop on and share some of my recent reads. I always feel like the pull to read is so much higher in the summer so I would love any book recommendations that you have! Reading+pool time=a perfect weekend in the summer. Let's get started.

The Alice Network

The Alice Network1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

I started this book while on vacation in late March after so many had recommended it to me. I love the connection between both WWI and WWII and the stories between both Eve and Charlie. I think if you enjoy historical fiction you would enjoy this book. I only gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads as I felt that the romantic element that comes into play felt off and that it came out of nowhere.

Hello Stranger, Ravenels #4

Hello Stranger (The Ravenels, #4)Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett's skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he's ever known.


I was excited for Garrett's book as I think it is such a neat change in historical romance. You do not often see women with careers especially that of a physician. I love that Lisa Kleypas actually modeled her after a real life woman physician of the time. However, I wasn't in love with the story as with other Kleypas books. It was cute but not my favorite. 3/5 stars.

Devil in Winter, Wallflower #3

Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3)Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!
Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts—which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions... or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.


I had been waiting for this book from the library for a while. This book is from the original Kleypas series as the Wallflowers are neighbors to the Hathaways and the Ravels are the next generation. Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3) is actually the son of Evie and Sebastian. I liked the story and glad that Evie was able to get away from her family. However, I didn't love all of the story after their wedding when they were living at the gaming house. 3.5/5 stars.

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between UsWhen you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.


I really don't want to give much of this book away as it is a nice suspenseful novel. I listed to it on audiobook which was great as I tend to have the urge to flip forward in some books to confirm if my suspicions are correct. It was very compelling and I highly recommend it because even to the end there were some twists and turns I did not expect. 4/5 stars.

What are you currently reading? 
Best,

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Five on Friday {April 27}

Hey y'all,

We made it to Friday! It still feels like a Thursday for me as I had two short work weeks with my college roommate in town from Friday-Monday. I am ready for the weekend though! My April has been very hectic with something happening every weekend-Easter, a friend in town for a wedding, bridal shower, college roommate in town, and I was supposed to attend a baby shower this weekend but due to a scheduling conflict I will be seeing the mama to be in a few weeks to give her her gift.

I am however, not having a calm start to the weekend as tonight a group of friends and I are headed to dinner and then a high school lacrosse game. Our friend is the coach and we are going to support her. This girl though has no idea how lacrosse is played so it's going to be fun cheering from the sidelines with no clue what's happening.

Now onto some of my favorites this week:

one. Simplified Planner.

If you did not know, I am a huge fan of Emily Ley and the Simplified brand. I have used the Simplified planner for the past two years and this week they revealed their covers for the new planners. I am currently using an academic weekly planner and will be ordering a new one next week. Now to decide a cover. I am leaning towards the waterflower floral or the thin happy stripe. Let me know your favorites.


two. StepBet.

On Monday I am hosting my first ever StepBet. If you have not heard of this, it is an app. You join a game and bet (in this case $40) that in six weeks you will hit your step goals. The goals are personalized to your step history. For example, the game I am running has 4 active days and 2 stretch (a little more than your active goal) days with 1 rest day. My active day goal is in the 7,000 step range and my stretch goal is in the 9,000. I am at a desk job so that makes the most sense but I have friends that are teachers and nurses so their individual goals are a lot higher. If you meet your goal you get your money back (plus part of the pot of those that do not make their goals).

Let me know and I can invite you to the game.
 Of course, my steps from Saturday's 4-mile walk won't count as the game begins on Monday(the first week is a warm-up so no one gets eliminated)

three. Self-Care Sunday.

For the last couple of weeks I have made sure to carve out some time on Sundays to do a little self-care. With such a crazy month, I have enjoyed making sure I have some me-time built in. Lately, the self-care has meant a Barre3 class followed by a nice epsom salt bath. I am loving this epsom salt, these bubbles, and then putting on either this face mask or this hair mask from Trader Joe's.

four. La Farm

Just a reminder for those in the Triangle area, if you have not been to La Farm in Cary-GO! It is one of my favorites and I love that they have a small bakery in the new Cary Whole Foods. I took my college roommate to La Farm on Sunday while she was visiting and we had to make a stop on Monday before she hopped on her plane so she could take scones back to her family.

five. Administrative Professional's Day.

My sweet co-workers surprised myself and the other administrative professional in our division with sweet flowers on Wednesday for Admin Pro Day! The lillys have already opened up over the week.  If you have any admins in your office, don't forget to send them a sweet note. It really is appreciated!

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.  
Also linking up with Tif, Becky, and Katie.
And Erika, Narci, and Andrea


Best,
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