reading list – vol: 1

One of my favorite parts of summer is the idea I have in my head every year that I’m going to do a lot of sitting outside and reading. Unfortunately, that happens far less than I would like, but I’ve still managed to cross three books off of my “to read” list so far this summer.


1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling & Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

Harry Potter Cursed Child Cover

If you’re a Potter-head like me, I’m sure you’ve already read or heard of this book/play.  Going into it, I didn’t realize the book wasn’t actually a novelization of the play but the play itself. I hadn’t read a story in play form since college, so it took some getting used to.

The story brings back many familiar names and places that J.K. Rowling introduced to us, but some of the magic (pun intended) is missing. The plot revolves around Harry and Ginny’s son as he tries to make a name for himself other than just “Harry Potter’s son”. I don’t want to spoil any parts of the story, but the plot seemed too easy, too familiar. In the height of Harry Potter mania, I read a lot of fan fiction, and this seemed like a story I would have read then, not one that came from the mind of the brilliant J.K. Rowling. All that being said, most fans are going to read the book, and I can’t suggest that they don’t. As Harry Potter fans, we ache for any new information, and this book gives us some of that.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project

I’ve been meaning to read the Happiness Project for a while, as I’ve gained an interest in mindfulness and the power of habits and positive thinking. I really enjoyed following Gretchen Rubin’s journey to become a happier person. One of my big takeaways from the book is that being more mindful of your happiness is a big first step to actually being happier. If you focus on the good things in your life, instead of the bad ones, and live in the moment of joy, you’re bound to live a happier life.

I’ve taken a few of the tools Gretchen used in her own happiness journey and have applied them to my own life. I’ve been tracking my goals and keeping a gratitude listing in my bullet journal (have you heard of them? I’m obsessed).  I’ve also been trying to make time for things that I enjoy and not to get caught up in the constant FOMO that seems to envelop our generation. My friends may look like their having fun on Snapchat but that doesn’t mean I’m not having just as much fun with my Fixer Upper marathon. If you’re interested in the concept of happiness, this book is a great introduction to some of the science behind happiness and includes some practical applications to try and create your own happiness project.

3. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close 

Girls in White Dresses

Girls in White Dresses is a quick read that I found to be very relatable as a woman in my mid-twenties who is trying to figure it all out. The book follows a group of friends from college as they try and navigate their love lives, careers, friendships, and finances while living in the big city. It’s a good look at a group of friends who don’t lose their bond with each other as they progress through stages of life at different rates. Based on my experiences, that is a more realistic look at this stage of life than the token single friend who gets left behind. If you are into books with a clear intro, climax, and resolution, this may not be the book for you but if you enjoy reading about characters you can relate to I’d definitely check it out.

Have you guys read anything good lately? I’m currently working my way through The Girls, and I have Me Before You on my nightstand as an ‘up next’ book.


hall of fame – rio olympics:week 1

Hey there guys! Long time no write – I’ve been glued to my TV watching the Olympics the past week or so, and haven’t really been keeping up on my reality TV.  I haven’t even watched Bachelor in Paradise! I had been putting pressure on myself to watch and recap but I’ve decided to take the pressure off. The Summer Olympics come around once every 4 years, and we’re really lucky that many of the events have been able to be shown live on the East Coast. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go back and recap the finale of JoJo’s season (which I watched not super closely with some girlfriends and wine, a decision that makes it harder to recap but I don’t regret at all) or Bachelor in Paradise, or just take a break until the next season of the Bachelor. This space is still small and evolving, so please bear with me as I figure it out.

Rio Olympics Opening Ceremonysource

As mentioned above, I LOVE the Summer Olympics. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years growing up, so I’ve been particularly caught up in swimming. I wanted to share my favorite moments/stories from the first week of the Olympics:

1. Many people are calling Simone Biles (her haul so far – three golds with finals in the balance beam and floor coming up) the breakout star of Rio, but I was more enthralled by Aly Raisman’s story coming into Rio. At 22, Aly is the “grandma” of Team USA, as well as one of two returning members from the 2012 gold medal winning Fierce Five. In 2012, Aly was kept off the podium in the all-around competition due to the Federation of International Gymnastics’ tie-breaking rules (read the explanation here), giving Aliya Mustafina the bronze. Coming into Rio, Aly would have to beat out both Simone Biles, who is regarded by most as the best gymnast to ever live, and Gabby Douglas, 2012 gold medalist in the all-around, as only two gymnasts from one country may compete in the all-around. Gabby had struggled through the US trials, but a champion is never one to be taken lightly. During qualifications, Aly put up a score of 60.607, besting Douglas by less than half a point, and giving her the opportunity to once again vie for the all around medal.

Going into the final rotation of the all-around finals, Aly was sitting in bronze medal position behind Simone Biles and Aliya Mustafina by about one tenth of a point. Mustafina put up a sub 14 score on the floor right before Aly performed, giving her the ability to take the silver by competing on her best apparatus.  Aly NAILS her floor routine, complete with this awe inspiring first pass, and guarantees herself the silver medal.

Full disclosure, I watched this on my second monitor at work, and was definitely tearing up watching her achieve her dream. To finish a routine and just KNOW that you have won, has to be such an overwhelming feeling. I’m so proud of Aly and the entire women’s gymnastics team.

2. Although this team hasn’t been as dominant as expected, Team USA’s Men’s Basketball team has been really fun to follow. With many of the NBA’s biggest stars opting out of Rio (I’m looking at you Steph, Lebron, and Russ), we’re left with an eclectic group of Olympic rookies (plus KD and Old Man Carmelo).

The fun started even before getting to Rio with this rousing rendition of ‘A Thousand Miles’.

The guys have really been enjoying themselves in Rio, going to “spas“, roasting each other for their Snapchat indiscretions, and enjoying all the other athletes the Olympics have to offer.  So far, I’ve seen them cheering on Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and witnessing the greatness that is Usain Bolt.  I think they might love beach volleyball the most though. Just look at Draymond with that flag and Jimmy dancing with his cup.

If you want to keep up with any of their shenanigans, follow them on Snapchat. Draymond Green: @money23green, Harrison Barnes: @hbarnes40, Carmelo Anthony: @carmelokanthony.

3. Last but not least, the GOAT, Michael Phelps, is my favorite story of the entire Olympics. I honestly don’t even know if I can put into words how much I am in awe of his career, and how happy I am to see him finally happy and at peace with the pressure and exposure that comes with just being Michael Phelps.

I’ve followed Michael Phelps’s career since 2000, when I was 10 and still thought that I might be in the Olympics one day. He was a 15 year old phenom, taking 4th in his first Olympic final (Fun Fact: His son Boomer is closer to the age he was in his first Olympic final than the age Michael currently is now), and I wanted to be just like him. Even in 2008, when I knew my Olympic dream would never come to fruition, I still recorded every one of his record-breaking gold medal races in my childhood bedroom. The VHS tapes are still sitting there. I was disappointed when finding out about his DUI arrests, and proud of the work that he’s done to get himself back on the right track. After retiring, unhappy with the sport, four years ago, he was ready to make a comeback, one last time in Rio. And he proved that he’s still the very best.

I don’t know him personally, but the Michael Phelps I’m seeing is one that seems happy. He’s head-over-heels for his fiance Nicole, and his love for his son Boomer can be felt through a TV screen. He has a new life ahead of him, one that is focused on family instead of swimming.

So, thank you Michael. Thank you for inspiring hundreds of thousands of kids to wake up early on Saturday morning and jump in a cold pool. Thank you for making the sport I love cool for more than just one week every four years. Thank you for being the most dominant athlete of all time, and allowing us to witness it. Thank you.

Are you guys enjoying the Olympics? What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week? Let me know in the comments.



forever & always – jojo:week 8

Hey everyone! This episode was definitely the best one since we said goodbye to Chad, with multiple surprise eliminations.  JoJo has developed feelings for all of the men, so getting down to her final 2 has been really tough to her.  Tough decisions means tears and drama for JoJo, so let’s get to it.

Chase Monkey Week 8 Bachelorette

1. This episode is super easy to break into three parts as there are three men left, but we do need to address the cliffhanger at the end of last episode. I was certain that there was no way Luke was going home, considering the editing of last week’s episode and JoJo discussing her decision before the rose ceremony in an ITM.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  JoJo made Jordan, Robby, and Chase her final 3 and sent Luke to the limo and back to Burnet, Texas.

I found it very heartbreaking to see Luke go home.  He really had no idea that he was the one going, and it broke my heart to hear him say, “I thought you knew” when JoJo told him she just didn’t know where he stood.  I think this falls on JoJo because if she needed more from Luke, she should’ve asked.  She has said multiple times to other men that one of her love languages is ‘words of affirmation’ when she wasn’t getting what she needed from them.  Luke was 100% blindsided. As soon as he leaves, JoJo says that she already misses him. I think that Luke was the guy who she would have had the most successful relationship with (although I hope that I’m wrong).  He seems down to earth and truly ready to settle down.  I know that Luke has country music aspirations, but I don’t think he was using this as his platform to get there.  Luke for Bachelor!

The final three are headed to Thailand, and Robby’s date is up first. They walk around the market and eat exotic foods, something that has happened on every Bachelor season since they started going to other countries. After getting caught in a downpour, the two of them get a Thai massage, and discuss the situation surrounding Robby’s past relationship.  They both agree that they are glad the issue was confronted, and that they can move forward together as a couple. Robby confirms his honesty by ONCE AGAIN reminding her that he told her he loved her in Uruguay.

At night, the two go to dinner.  JoJo tells Robby how she told Ben that she loved him on this date last season. Does anyone else think that its weird for her to discuss how she loved another man with these guys? Maybe not since they all already know. Robby says that his parents love to see him so happy but they could tell that he was a little down about the information that had arisen about his past girlfriend.  According to Robby, his dad must have snuck a note in the pocket of his jeans telling him that he was “the man”.  I say ‘according to’ because if you poll any of my friends, they will all tell you that they think Robby wrote the note himself. At the end of dinner, JoJo and Robby decide to spend the night together in the fantasy suite. And Robby lays the cheesy lines on strong:

Robby Dream Week 8

The next morning, JoJo is really excited that her and Robby are having their first breakfast together – even though the food is at the bottom of the bed and looks as if it hasn’t been touched. JoJo says there were a few times when she was with Robby that she wanted to tell him that she loved him, but didn’t because she knows she’s not ready to say without a doubt who will be standing there at the end of the night.

2. Jordan’s date was next, and JoJo has a difficult hike planned for the two of them. I feel like Jordan required some needling from producers when saying, “don’t you look sporty” because my sporty clothes are definitely not a crop top and cut-offs. I’m lucky if my leggings and my shirt match. Since the two of them are SO sporty they make it to the end of their hike, which leads them into a cave  There is a temple somewhere in a cave that they are exploring, and JoJo and Jordan aren’t allowed to kiss there.  This is something that has happened on plenty of seasons as well, perhaps because so many of the beautiful Asian countries that they visit also have strong ties to religion.  Either way, the lead always makes it a point to tell their suitor that they are not allowed to be kissed in this location, which is difficult because these people can’t keep their hands off each other. In their defense, there is something about beauty that brings out the romance (fireworks, sunsets, temples in Thailand).

At the temple, JoJo and Jordan talk about meeting her family and he asks what they’re like.  Since Jordan didn’t watch last season, he doesn’t know that JoJo’s mom likes to take champagne to the face:

JoJo's Mom_Winesource

During dinner, JoJo and Jordan talk about what their future would look like, which is surprisingly not something they’ve discussed before. JoJo asks him what he imagines the next year of his life to look like and Jordan can’t really answer the question. He says he doesn’t have a home base right now, so he can be wherever she is. JoJo is afraid that she will end up with him and not realize how different their lifestyles are. Jordan tries to calm her fears by telling her “I want to spend the rest of my life with you” but JoJo is quick to come back with, “ahh, that’s what Ben said.” I think JoJo has already fallen so hard for Jordan but is putting her walls up and being defensive with him. JoJo doesn’t want to get heartbroken again since Ben also told her he wanted to spend his life with her, so JoJo drills Jordan asking how he knows he’s in love with her. Jordan says he feels like a different person and whenever he imagines his wedding day or getting down on one knee, it’s worth her. JoJo eats it all up and the two of them venture to the fantasy suite.

The next morning, JoJo once again points out that they are eating their first breakfast together – this time, they seem to actually be eating.  In an ITM, Jordan says, “we took a big step last night, in a really exciting direction.” Hmm, wonder what that could mean?

3. Chase’s date is up last and it starts in a fish market, super romantic. Chase surprises me by continuing to open up aka actually talk. The two of them take a boat ride on the waters of Thailand, and have a really deep connection with a monkey. The two of them sit on a beach and talk about how far they’ve come in their “journey”, and then get hot and heavy in the water.

Between the day portion and night portion of Chase’s date, we get an interruption by Robby who just wanted to say hi to JoJo. The previews made it seem like this was a big deal, but really Robby just stopped by to tell her he loved her and then goes on his merry way.

At dinner, Chase mentions that he’s “battled through this” a little more than Robby and Jordan aka they’ve been front runners (and Chase knows it) and he’s had the slow and steady rise to the top. Chase lets Jordan know that he wants a future with her and the two of them go to the fantasy suite.

Chase still hasn’t dropped the L-bomb and he knows that the fantasy suite is the right place to do it. He tells her that he doesn’t want to be scared anymore and wants her to know that he’s 100% in love with her. He’s never told anyone that first and knows what a burden that phrase carries, and he is ready to carry that for her. She kisses him then says, “thank you for telling me that….can you hold on one minute?”

Upon coming back in, JoJo tells him that she didn’t feel what she thought she was going to feel when Chase told her he loved her and that she doesn’t know if she is in the same place. She  doesn’t think spending a night together would change her feelings, and Chase responds accordingly.

Chase Break Up Week 8

Chase doesn’t let JoJo off easy telling her that he just jumped over a hurdle he’s never done before, and she has left him shattered. He tells her that he 100% regrets telling her he loves her. Also, this gem of a line:

Chase Quote Week 8

Chase was terrified to say “I love you” and now he feels like he shouldn’t have done it. He believes that JoJo didn’t give it a chance, which I think further solidifies the notion that Jordan and Robby have been front runners since the beginning.  JoJo wanted to prevent Chase from being blindsided like she was, but Chase feels as if this breakup is exactly that. JoJo, like most people, wants the break up to end on an amicable note but Chase doesn’t really feel the same way, and I think that is a justified feeling. He’s allowed to be angry, and walk away from her. Chase cracks a beer, and hops into a creepy van to be taken away from what he thought would be one of the greatest nights of his life.

At the rose ceremony, JoJo wants Jordan and Robby to also say yes to her. In a SHOCKING twist, Chase shows up and wants to talk to JoJo, leaving Robby and Jordan feeling a little nervous.

Jordan Robby Sweat Week 8

They shouldn’t have been worried though, Chase just wanted to tell JoJo that he didn’t want to let their relationship end the way it did. He says he was shocked and there was a lot he wanted to say but he couldn’t because his shock turned to anger.  Chase wants to tell JoJo that he is proud of her and thinks she’s amazing and that he isn’t angry. He wants wants best for her and thinks she deserves something great.

JoJo gives Jordan a rose first followed by Robby, leaving them as the two men who will meet JoJo’s family next week!

Best Tweets


Best Outfits

JoJo Week 8 Crop Top1. JoJo wore a lot of blue on this trip and looked amazing in all of it. I really loved the casual blue and white crop top she wore in a montage of her walking the beach. The top is Show me your Mumu and can be found here.

JoJo Jordan Date Week 8
2. JoJo continued to look great in blue in this ensemble from her dinner date with Jordan.  The white crop is Show me your MuMu and unfortunately I couldn’t find the white option in stock.  Luckily, it comes in a lot of fun prints: paisley, floral,  and even black. The real stand out is that skirt. The skirt is MiJo by Michelle Jonas and can be found here.

JoJo Chase Date Week 8
3. I’ve been into peek-a-boo shoulder tops and dresses, so the dress from her date with Chase was obviously a favorite. This dress is Ramy Brook and can be found here.

Are you guys ready for the finale? Who will JoJo pick, Jordan or Robby? And will the relationship last? Let me know in the comments!