Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Recent Reads | No. 4 | June 2019

I only read a couple of things since the last Show Us Your Books linkup. I had a week off at the end of May, but I surprisingly didn't have as much spare time to read as I thought, because we were super busy working on various home projects and just enjoying the long weekend together (posts here and here). But anyway, here's a rundown of everything I've read recently. 
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
This was so compelling! It features a dual timeline, which I've come to realize that I really enjoy in thrillers. This book is about two women who have recently both faced trauma in different ways and are both selected to live in a state-of-the-art smart house (three years apart) built by an infamous architect known for his minimalist, tech-savvy design. The "girl before", Emma, was found dead in the home 3 years previously. The other main character, Jane, has just moved in. Both women were in a relationship with the architect, and you follow them as their relationships with the architect unfold and Jane investigates Emma's death. She begins unknowingly following the same patterns, making the same choices, meeting the same people, and having the same experiences as Emma. It was so so good. I was dying to figure out what happened from page one. There were so many creepy twists and turns and I could not stop reading "just one more chapter". Highly recommend! I can't wait to read JP Delaney's next book, which I think is coming out this summer.
This was a really fun, creepy thriller that focuses on a psychological profiler and Behavioral Analysis Unit FBI agent, who partner with the Chicago police to catch a serial killer pegged by the media as the "Strangling Undertaker". The killer focused on prostitutes, embalming them alive post-strangulation, in hopes that the women would serve as his "perfect" life partner. If the process did not go according to plan, he would discard of the bodies at night by posing them in public places. How creepy is that?! I really enjoyed it, but it took a while for me to get through it. It was a different experience than when I read The Girl Before (not as much of a page turner)- but still a really good police procedural with some great twists if you're into that! This book is actually the first in the Zoe Bentley Mystery series, which I think I might continue on with soon. It's available on Kindle Unlimited. 
I admit, this one is a pretty random pick for me. I have been intrigued by the Shadowhunter world for a while- but have no interest in reading The Mortal Instruments series. I've done some research (Cassandra Clare has multiple series/ trilogies/ companion novels written that take place in this world), and it seems that the series I would be most interested in is The Infernal Devices, which Clockwork Angel is the first book in. It takes place in Victorian England. If I end up loving this, I can dive in to The Mortal Instruments without an issue, because technically, this is a prequel series to TMI. So far, so good. I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren  

This is super cute so far. Everyone in Olive's twin sister's wedding party comes down with food poisoning- except for Olive and Ethan, her new brother-in-law's best man (whom she just so happens to loathe). To avoid the already paid-for honeymoon package going to waste, Olive and Ethan end up going to Hawaii and pretend to be the newlywed couple. I love me a hate-to-love story. 
Linking up with Steph and Jana for this month's Show Us Your Books.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

What I eat in a day WW freestyle edition: 36 daily points

In an effort to get fit and take better care of ourselves, my husband and I restarted Weight Watchers. WW is the only program that's ever worked for me. I like it because it doesn't deprive you of anything, it mostly focuses on portion control and macros, and is a lot easier than calorie counting. I thought it would be fun to do a "what I eat in a day on WW" post. I hope this gives you guys ideas for future meals. My meal plan is nothing creative or outstanding, and I try to keep things really simple- getting complex recipes or new foods I've never tried before is how I set myself up to fail- but you never know when inspiration may strike for others. As far as how I am doing- so far, so good! I've already lost 6 pounds. So, without further ado, here is what a typical day of eating looks like for me:

Me and breakfast DO NOT get along- I never seem to have time for it, and am honestly not that hungry when I wake up.  So even though I woke up at 6 AM with the dogs, I didnt get around to esting until almost 10. I had 1 slice of wheat bread for 3 points with a banana (0 points), 2 hardboiled eggs (0 points) and coffee with 2 Tbsp of Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream (1 point). 

For lunch, I ate half of a flatbread pesto and feta pizza for 14 points. Thats pretty high for a lunch, but considering my pre-tracked dinner was low points, I decided to splurge. It was worth it, by the way. The pizza was so delicious.
Snacks are my favorite, but today I wasn't too hungry so I didn't have any today. But, during the work week, my go-to combo has been 2 Tbsp of Sabra Classic Hummus (2 points) with baby carrots (0 points) or buffalo pretzel crisps (10 for 3 points), 1 WW part-skim mozzarella string cheese (1 points), and grapes (0 points).

Dinner was super simple and only 7 points. I made a chicken and rice bowl with carrots, celery, tomatoes, green pepper, and scallions. I drizzled 1 tbsp of crema over it (sour cream,  hot sauce, and a pinch of salt) and drank a lemon-lime seltzer water (0 points).  It was SO. GOOD.
I was craving something sweet after dinner so I had half of a double chocolate mousse Built Bar for 2 points.
As far as drinks go, I refilled my 40 oz bottle 3 times, totalling to 120 ounces for the day.

Total Points Used for the day: 28/36. I ended the day in my "healthy eating zone" (between 26- 41 smart points) and got a blue dot! Yay.
So that's what my day of eating usually looks like on WW! I get a lot of points, but that  number will go down as I lose weight. Its been fun finding new foods and recipes to fit my daily allotment of smart points. Do you have any good recipes or food finds (especially for snacks- my favorite thing ever)? I'd love to know.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday Favorites | the health kick edition (& puppy pictures!)

Time for my favorite post of the week, friends... its Friday Favorites! I am so grateful the weekend is here- I have to say, though, that this week flew by! Here were some of the "highs" from the week (spoiler alert- most of them are related to our new health kick we are on!).

Getting back on Weight Watchers. My husband and I are back at WW, and so far it's been pretty successful. If anything, it makes us aware of what we are eating, preparing, and buying. Currently I get 37 smart points and have already lost 6 pounds. I'm really proud of myself so far! Another plus (and favorite I guess) is that its encouraging me to quit soda and drink water- I'm literally drinking about 120 ounces of water a day. I'm also enjoying finding healthy substitutions for ingredients. 

Zumba. Again with the health kick, I have started back up at zumba class. I go three times per week, and falling back into the routine has been easier than I thought. I'm sad to say that the class is taking its usual summer break for July and August because the building we use doesn't have air conditioning and it would be way too hot to work out in. I'll have to see if I can catch the instructors' classes elsewhere for those two months. 

A new snack I'm loving. I have been on the hunt for low point snacks, and through this process I have discovered a snack combo that I really enjoy: Snack Factory's buffalo pretzel crisps with 2 Tbsp of Sabra Classic Hummus, a WW string cheese, and a handful of green grapes. It's the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Yumm! 

Appointment scheduled at Boston IVF. My husband and I have a consultation with a fertility clinic in our area in the next few weeks. I don't know if I can classify this as a favorite- I bawled my eyes out while making the appointment and just never expected to have to do this (a post for another time, but I talked about our struggles and my thoughts on the whole experience just short of our 1 year of unsuccessful TTC here)- but it is something that honestly consumed my life this week and thought it was worth sharing, just in case anyone else reading is going through the same thing. You really can't understand this roller coaster of emotions unless have experienced it, and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I hope we get some answers soon and can start our sweet family. I know we will be amazing parents and I keep telling myself that baby will be worth the wait... it's just a process. And unfortunately, we need some help. I will definitely report back on how our first fertility appointment goes. In the meantime- if anyone needs someone to listen and hear them out, I'm your girl! We can commiserate, cry, and laugh together. 

Puppy. Let's end on a high note, shall we? Lets be honest, Cooper is a favorite of the week, EVERY week. Take a peek at how he was laying on me while sleeping 😭❤
As usual, he is just a black blur lol 
What were some of your favorites this week? I'd love to know. Hope everyone has a good start to the weekend! TGIF!

Linking up with Whitney, Lindsay and Erika.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Currently | No. 5 | June 2019

I have a short and sweet post for today's Currently/ What's New With You? link-ups. 

Currently, I am... 

Picking paint colors and hardware for our next couple of home projects: painting our front door and kitchen cabinets, and refinishing an old vegetable bin.

Going to see Chris Young and Chris Janson with a good friend next week! I'm excited. First concert of the summer! I saw Chris Young open for Jason Aldean a couple years ago and he was fantastic. I bought his album before I left the show that night. 

Wishing that I could just snap my fingers and things would just get done a la I Dream of Jeannie... my to-do list never seems to stop growing.

Wearing some new clothes I picked up over the month- some cute tops, my denim jacket, and shorts, finally- thanks to the weather cooperating! I've been donning a sporty look lately, with a couple of dressed-up outfits for date night. Here's a pic of my new favorite tee: 

I have also been wearing some new workout clothes I purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods and Macy's (post here). My favorite is this cute sweatshirt and these leggings
Celebrating my mom graduating with her Associates degree in Accounting last weekend. In September, she is transferring those credits to help complete her Bachelor's degree at a university. 

Other life happenings were talked about in this post, and it was a good summary of May: lots of family time, DIYs, friends, shopping, work stress, vacation, my thoughts on The Big Bang Theory, our plans for summer, and my current reads.  So far in June, not much has happened (which is a good thing!). Lots of relaxing and enjoying the weather. 

Linking up with Anne and Kristen.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Weekend happenings: zumba, graduation, cooking, and getting things done around the house

This weekend was so nice! Beautiful weather, fun times with family, and being productive all make for a great weekend. I keep forgetting to take pictures of my weekend happenings, but I'll try to remember for next time.

On Saturday, I woke my ass up so early (for a weekend!) and got to Zumba by 8 AM. I loved it, and fell right back into the routine like I never left. I learned some new routines and danced to some oldies. I had a blast. After zumba I zipped back home to shower and get ready for my Mom's graduation. She finally got her associate's degree in Business Management. But she's not done yet! In September, she will be starting at a university in the area in September for her Bachelor's in Accounting, I believe. We went out to lunch with cousins (who also graduated- congratulations, Katia! I'm so proud of you!) then I headed home. I didn't get home until almost 4:30! It was a full day and I couldn't wait to relax in comfy clothes at home with the pup.
Sunday was also super busy, and very productive. I woke up early again and decided to just head to the grocery store, since I was up anyway. We have recently started Weight Watchers back up and we needed to stock up on good food. I thought going so early would give me time to stroll through the aisles and carefully select my items, scanning them for points and such. Boy was I wrong! People were SO impatient, even at 7:30 in the morning. Not cool. I put away the groceries then caught the organizing bug (my favorite kind!) and got to work.

I organized our makeshift pantry (aka, a couple of cabinets), the lazy susan, and the cabinet with our small kitchen appliances. Then I cleaned the floors, loaded the dishwasher, vacuumed, and cleaned the counters. I cleaned the bathroom and picked up the dog toys in the living room. The house is looking good! So fresh and so clean, my favorite. I was done with cleaning my whole house except for my bedroom by 1:30. I couldn't believe it. I made HelloFresh Sausage and Spring Pea Risotto for lunch. It was ok, not worth the points in my opinion- not sure if I would make it again.
My husband woke up for the day around 4:30, my mom came over for a chat shortly after, then it was time to work on dinner. We made honey siracha shrimp, asparagus and carrots on the grill over rice. SO. GOOD. I took a shower, braided my hair, and settled in for the night with Clockwork Angel. It's slow going in the beginning, so I hope it picks up the pace soon.
That's a wrap on my weekend. Very busy, but really good. Sunday was my favorite day of the weekend. I love when I'm productive and my house is clean. Hope everyone has a great start to the week!

Linking up with Lindsay.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

New workout clothes I'm loving!

This is a bit of a random post for me, but I needed to pay homage to the new workout clothes that I recently received. Dedicated exercise clothes was never something I invested in; I would normally just wear some sweats and a big T-shirt. Over the years, I've noticed that outfit choice is NOT the most comfortable when you're hot and jumping around, especially when I do Zumba (my preferred exercise! Love it). So, I decided to do some invest in some clothing pieces. I'm so glad I did- honestly, I have never been more comfortable while exercising. And on the plus side- I feel super cute in them.

I've always wanted to love wearing leggings- they give off a really cute sporty vibe that I really like- but I've never found leggings that don't bunch at my ankle (I'm so short). Wearing leggings & sneakers just looks silly when there's just a bunch of fabric hanging out. Well thanks to Emily, I discovered that there's such a thing as 7/8 length leggings. I found these from Dick's Sporting Goods that have a cute little crisscross detail on the bottom and hit me right at the ankle, and I am in love with them. Not only does Dick's have these cute leggings available in plus size, but they actually do fit me really well. Finding cute plus size legs that don't drag the floor when I put them on is a really big deal for me. I could cry I'm so happy, haha!
Once upon a time, Ava and Viv for Target used to sell yoga pants. They were my absolute favorite yoga pants. I wore them multiple times a week, but unfortunately they got old and ripped. I had to throw them out a few years and have not been able to find a nice pair of yoga pants since. Target doesn't even sell plus size yoga pants anymore, even online. When I found these Ideology yoga pants from Macy's, I decided to give them a try. I am so glad I did! I got them in a shorter length and they fit me really well. They're so comfortable and I can't wait to wear them when we go on walks, casually around the house, or when running errands.
Another Macy's find was this cute athleisure sweatshirt. It was too pretty to pass up and it fits me so so well. How beautiful is this pattern?!
While I was searching on Dick's Sporting Goods for leggings, I came across these workouts sleeveless shirts. I personally hate to wear sleeves of any sort when working out, they just make me uncomfortable. These seemed like a good compromise because they looked super lightweight- sure enough, when I got them I was shocked at how lightweight these were and I love wearing them. They're not the most flattering things in the world, but when you're working out jumping around or going for walks who really cares, right? it's all about comfort at that point.  I've loved wearing these around the house as well. I'm thinking about packing a couple in my suitcase when we go to DC this summer. It will be nice to wear something light and airy while walking around the city.
That's everything that I have bought recently. I have gone back to taking my Zumba class 3 times a week, and it's such a good excuse to do something for myself and leave work on time at a decent hour. I really hope you enjoy some of these finds- and if you like them, let me know in the comments below!

Linking up with Lindsay.