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Five on Friday {October 19}

Hey y'all,

It's FRIDAY! I'm excited that NC decided to bring Fall this week as it is currently a nice warm 43 this morning and I loved putting on my blanket scarf before heading out the door. As usual, I'm linking up with lots of friends to share five things this Friday!

one. Family Time.

The first week of October I was in San Diego spending time with all of my Mom's side of the family. It was a lot of family time that was very refreshing as we had not all been together in 10 years! Next week I will recap my family vacation.
With my siblings and cousins. This is 9 of the 11 grandkids from my mom's parents.

two. New Cookbooks

I recently purchased the Simply Real Health cookbook and Skinnytaste's new cookbook One and Done came out last Tuesday. This week I went through the recipes and made the Italian chopped salad and tomato soup from the Simply Real Health cookbook for my lunches this week.

three. NC State Fair.

This Wednesday, I headed to Raleigh for the North Carolina State Fair. My small group tries to get a group to go every year and it is fun to see all the different agriculture and eat fried food. This year I ate a bit of ribbon fries, a blooming onion, mini donuts, a cheese burger, and fried oreos. Our group all grabs a few things and shares and yes, the morning after I was craving all the green un-fried things.

four. That Sounds Fun-Wicked Edition!

I love Annie F. Down's podcast, That Sounds Fun, but this Monday, her episode with Mary Kate and Ginna Claire the two current witches of Wicked on tour was extra special especially as Wicked is my absolute favorite musical.
I saw Wicked for the first time in 2008 in LA at the Pantages theater and I even have the signed poster from that performance in my office. I have seen Wicked two other times here in NC at the DPAC.

five. Carolina's Birthday

UNC is 225! Last Friday was the University of North Carolina's 225th birthday. Not only did I attend undergrad at UNC, I also worked for Carolina in two different departments from 2012-2018. It's so special to remember the history of the University and how much it has changed in the last 2.25 centuries. Here's to 225 more!
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Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.  
Also linking up with Tif, Becky, and Katie.
And Erika, Narci, and Andrea

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Currently {October}

Hey y'all,

I finally feel settled back in NC now that I have been home all week. I'm excited for a calmer weekend this weekend filled with B3 classes, a Trader Joe's run, teaching my Pre-K class at church, deep cleaning my place, and book club. Thank's Anne for the prompts even though I'm a few weeks late to the game.


wearing...It's finally Fall here in NC! This week I busted out my J.Crew vests to wear over sweaters for work on Friday and today. I have three-ivory, black, and pink. I am debating grabbing the navy, olive or wine color.
collecting...ideas for Christmas presents. Typically by mid-October my Christmas list is in its final stages. I know that sounds crazy but growing up, my family in California always needed ideas early so they could shop and mail items. Now the aunts no longer choose a cousin to purchase items for since we are all adults but I still try to finalize it early for my parents. Let me know if you have anything on your list!

making...tomato soup! This past weekend I made dairy free tomato soup and I have been enjoying it for lunches this week with either a salad or going to the cafe downstairs for a grilled cheese.
taking...lots of photos at the Fair! Last night, my small group from church and I headed to the North Carolina State Fair. It was a lot of fun and lots of fried foods. I had some ribbon fries (essentially homemade chips), a blooming onion, mini donuts, a cheeseburger, a sample hushpuppy, two fried oreos and that was it!
planning...a restful rest of October. With vacation and then a weekend filled with running around town, I am excited that this weekend is pretty low key and next weekend will be the same but with Dracula the ballet thrown into the mix.

What are you currently up to?

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What I'm Reading Wednesday {September Reads}

Hey y'all,

I was back on my reading game in September and with vacation in October, I can only hope to crank out a ton of books again. I will say, I was able to read a lot during the weekend Hurricane Florence hit NC as all of my usual plans were canceled due to flooding and wind damage. Let's get into it:

China Rich Girlfriend

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2)On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiance willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won't be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore's It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. 

The second in the Crazy Rich Asians triology, I enjoyed this book but I wasn't as in love with the story as it focused more on Kitty and Rachel. At the end of the first book you are waiting for Astrid's story which isn't as focused until the third book.

The Sound of Gravel

The Sound of Gravel: A MemoirRuth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can only ascend to Heaven by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible. After Ruth's father—the man who had been the founding prophet of the colony—is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant.
In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where her mother collects welfare and her stepfather works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As Ruth begins to doubt her family’s beliefs and question her mother’s choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself.

This was my book club book for September. I liked the book but it was a hard read for some of it and I would not recommend it to everyone as it is a memoir of a tough childhood.

Remember God (audiobook)

Remember GodI know God is loving; I know He is good; I believe He is big and powerful. But sometimes I wonder if He is really kind— really deeply always kind.
Is He?
Christians love to talk about how God is in control, but that’s harder to grasp when things aren’t going like you thought they would, when your life looks quite different than you imagined.
For centuries, God’s people have been building altars to Him—to remind themselves and the people around them of His work. His goodness. His kindness. Stacks of stones. Altars. Temples. Cathedrals. Why? Because they believed God and wanted to remember Him.
In the back of my mind, God reminds me that He is the same trustworthy God—the One who always finishes the stories he starts. And this is my story—of wrestling with our God who gives a limp and a blessing. A God who is always kind even when my circumstances feel the opposite. God is who He says He is. He is kinder than you imagine. In a world where it is easy to forget who He is, we will not. We will remember God.

I actually got the audiobook for Remember God as a freebie for pre-ordering the book and enjoyed hearing Annie read the book. This is a great reminder that the Lord is kind even when we don't always feel it. 

Rich People Problems

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians, #3)When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside--but he's not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. 
With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park--a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore--the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. 
As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife--a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid's reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.

The third installment of the CRA's triology was probably my favorite of the series. It focuses more on Rachel and Astrid with a lot on family. I also enjoyed that the focus on the end was on the family rather than the funds.

My Oxford Year

My Oxford YearAmerican Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.
When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.
Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.

I had heard great things about My Oxford Year and while I loved the book it was deeper than your average chick-lit. I wasn't prepared for the "Me Before You" like turn in the middle of the book.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway (audiobook)

The Death of Mrs. WestawayOn a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

I had actually started this audiobook back in July but due to my accident, the rental car I had didn't have a CD player so back to the library it went. I have enjoyed Ruth Ware's other books, The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood so I was expecting more from this book. I felt that this was more suspenseful than thriller like her previous books.

The Boy is Back.

The Boy Is Back (Boy, #4)One post. That’s all it took to destroy the care free, glamorous life of pro golfer Reed Stewart. One tiny post on the Internet. 
Then again, it’s not like Reed’s been winning many tournaments lately, and his uncle isn’t the only one who says it’s because of the unfinished business he left behind back home in Bloomville, Indiana—namely Reed’s father, the Honorable Judge Richard P. Stewart, and the only girl Reed ever loved, Becky Flowers.
But Reed hasn’t spoken to either his father or Becky in over a decade. 
Until that post on the Internet. Suddenly, Reed’s family has become a national laughingstock, his publicist won’t stop calling, his siblings are begging for help, and Reed realizes he has no other choice: He’s got to go home to face his past . . . the Judge and the girl he left behind.
Becky’s worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed—which hasn’t been easy, considering he’s their hometown’s golden boy, and all anyone ever talks about. It was fine while they were thousands of miles apart, but now he’s back in Bloomville. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him—until his family hires her to help save his parents.
Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another…or the memories of that one fateful night.

This was a very quick read as it is written in all texts, emails, news articles, facebook messages, and journal entries. It was a cute read and I finished it in one night while babysitting.

What are you currently reading?

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TBB Asks {October-Fall 2.0}

Hey' yall,

Can you believe it is already October 1! I'm in serious denial that there are only 91 days left in 2018! As usual, I am linking up with all of the sweet bloggers at the Blended Blog for their monthly TBB asks. Today is filled with Fall questions:

1. Favorite Fall Color? 
If we are talking colors for nails, my go to is bogota blackberry. I love the berry/wine color. 
Bogotá Blackberry - Nail Lacquer - OPI
2. Apple Cider HOT or COLD?

3. Caramel Apple: Yes or No? 
Yes! I especially love the apples at the deli in my hometown. They slice them very thin and the Oreo and Apple Pie apples are my favorite.

4. Pumpkin Doughnut or Apple Cider Doughnut?
Apple Cider Doughnuts.

5. Long or Short Cardigan?
I'm a fan of a longer cardigan but not a duster. Cover my bum but not go down to my knees. I just picked up this one from Target this weekend after seeing it on Lindsay's blog.

6. Favorite Football or Fall Party Food? 
Oh goodness, I love a good chili (without a lot of beans), or a nice tomato soup with grilled cheese.

7. Orange or White Pumpkins?
I like a mixture of both in decor! I do love an orange pumpkin for carving though.
In 2013, my roommate at the time and I carved a minon pumpkin.
8. Hayride or Bonfire?
Bonfire with s'mores of course.

9. Favorite Fall Baked Good?
Pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins.

10. Most anticipated Fall activity? 
Probably the NC State Fair as it is a go-to for me every Fall. I also love going to pick out pumpkins and carving them but that doesn't happen every year.

Link up here.

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Image result for I believe you

Hey y'all,

It has been a rough couple of days but as someone who has heard survivors speak up and share, I just wanted to remind everyone that is a survivor that you are Survivor: a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died;a person who copes well with difficulties in their life.
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If you need someone to talk to, here's RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) hotline
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My heart is hurting for all of those that have experienced sexual assault as I am sure the news over the last few days could have been triggering. You are loved, you are believed, and I wish I could hug and cry with you over the action that you are not to be blamed for.


What's Up Wednesday {September}

Hey y'all,

It has been a busy week around here so I'm a little late to the What's Up Wednesday party so let's go ahead and jump in.

What I'm Eating This Week...

Monday: Cheese, Pretzels, Hummus, and Salami on my way to BSF
Tuesday-Panera's Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup with a friend
Wednesday: Chick-fil-A grilled chicken sandwhich on my way to small group
Thursday-A salad
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Lunches are this Taco Soup
Breakfast are these pumpkin muffins. I also use this recipe with oat flour often for pumpkin muffins.

What I'm Reminiscing About...

Back in 2015 going to Chicago to visit my best friend. The trip included going to UChicago's homecoming, apple picking and apple cider donuts. Since it is still 80 here I'm dreaming of all things Fall!
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What I'm Loving...

Intentional time with friends. In the past few weeks I have been able to have great one on one time with friends whether over tea, a meal, or just a walk and it has been a great time to continue building community.

What I've Been Up To...

Lots of reading, cleaning, and diving into the Word. On the weekends, I have been attending Barre3 as usual and went to the UNC game last weekend.

What I'm Dreading...

The 3am alarm on Tuesday for my flight. Mornings and travel anxiety are never a great combination.

What I'm Working On...

Blogpost ideas for October. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or any questions you have that I can answer.

What I'm Excited About...

Vacation is coming so soon! I will be in California for a week with my immediate family (we haven't all been together for 2 years) and my mom's relatives.
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The last time we were all together visiting my Mom's side of the family was back in 2008 when I graduated from high school!

What I'm Watching/Reading...

Next week I am sharing all my reads from September but I just started this book.
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What I'm Listening To...

Lauren Daigle's new album! I have also loved the Feel Good Effect, That Sounds Fun and How I Built This podcasts.

What I'm Wearing...

Yesterday I posted lots of looks from the past month. These jeans were a repeat item.

What I'm Doing This Weekend...

This weekend is pretty busy as I have both book club and supper club. For book club we read, The Sound of Gravel. For supper club, it is gameday themed and I am bring BBQ pork sliders using this recipe.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...

Hosting friends in my new place for book club.
The NC State Fair. Really, I'm looking forward to the fried oreo.

What Else Is New...

I think that is it for what's new around here. When I get back I'm hoping to finally get around to a trip to Hobby Lobby, Target, and Michael's to deck out my apartment in all things Fall!

Link up with ShayMel,  and Sheaffer

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What I Wore Wednesday {September}

Hey y'all,

This month I tried to document some of my outfits of the day to share. Most of them are what I wore to work so I hope this can inspire you to mix up some of your current closet staples. I will say that I have gotten closer to a capsule wardrobe thanks to Audrey's blog so a lot of my pieces are a few years old that I constantly reach for. I tried to link some similar items when I could.

Also, this summer I transitioned from a business casual office to an office that is pretty casual so I now have more jeans in looks for work then I used to.

9/6: work
Top-LOFT, old
Shoes-Birdies, old (similar)
9/7: work
Top-LOFT, old
Cardigan-LOFT, old
9/14: Hurricane WFH day
9/15: Hurricane Saturday morning
Sweatshirt: UNC (similar)
Top: Madewell
Leggings: Zella
9/15: Church
Cardigan: Barefoot Dreams
Top: kids ministry at church
Jeans: Paige
Flats: Converse, old (similar)
9/16: Sunday Errands
Jacket: Old Navy
Leggings: Zella
Boots: Hunter
9/16: Barre3
Top: Old Navy, old (similar)
Sports Bra: Target, old (similar)
Leggings: Zella
9/18: Work
Top: Old Navy, old (similar)
Scarf: Lilly Pulitzer, old
Jeans: Paige
Earrings: Nickel & Suede 
9/19: Work then Small Group
Earrings: Lisi Lerch
Top: Lularoe
Pants: Ann Taylor, the maroon was one of last year's colors
Shoes: Birdies, old (similar)
Necklace: J. Crew Factory, old (similar)
9/20: Work
Top-Target, old
Jeans: Paige
Cardigan: Leith
Necklace: Kendra Scott
Earrings: Nickel & Suede, old (similar)
9/21: Work
Cardigan: NY & Company, old
Top: LOFT, old
Jeans: Paige
Flats: Sam Edelman
Earrings: Lisi Lerch
9/22: Carolina Game
Dress: LOFT
Scarf: old
Sandals: Sam Edelman
Earrings: Lisi Lerch
9/24: work then BSF
Top-LOFT, old
Earrings-Target, Sugarfix, old (similar)
Necklace-Kendra Scott
9/25-Work then dinner with a friend
Top-Old Navy, old (similar)
Pants-Old Navy

Now I'm excited for the temperatures to begin to feel like Fall rather than always grabbing a cardigan to ward off the office AC freeze.

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