January 2016 Reads

These are the books I read in the month of January. I’m actually surprised at the number I managed to squeeze in. I didn’t have a goal in mind, I just really got into the books I decided to read. It was my first time reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. I hadn’t allowed myself to watch the last several movies yet because I wanted to read the books first. The other three books I read were contemporary and 90’s era. So I had a bit of a mixture.

Pucked Up by Helena Hunting

Click photo to read my review

Pucked Over by Helena Hunting

Click photo for my review

Loud is how I love you

Click photo for my review

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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{Book Review} Pucked Over (Pucked #3) by Helena Hunting

Pucked Over Pucked Over (Pucked #3) by Helena Hunting

Publish date: January 26, 2016

Lily LeBlanc isn’t versed in the art of casual sex, but after seven years in an on-again, off-again relationship, she’s definitely willing to give it a shot. And who better to try it with than her best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend? What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all.

NHL player, Randy Ballistic, lives up to his last name on the ice and in the bedroom. His best friend and teammate has recently given up the puck bunnies and traded them in for a real girlfriend. And she just happens to have a seriously feisty, extra-hot best friend on the rebound. Randy’s more than happy to be Lily’s spring board back into the dating scene.

Casual sex is only casual until those pesky things called emotions get involved. Once that happens, someone’s bound to gets pucked over.

 

 

 

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Adult fiction, Series, Sex, Humor, Sports

I have been anticipating this book since finishing Pucked Up. In the second book of the series we met Randy and I was intrigued by what little I knew of him. Plus, omg this book cover! Randy surprised me throughout this book. He was very attentive, sweet, intuitive and caring. Add in a splash of sexy and funny, and he’s the perfect guy.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Lily, to be honest. In Pucked Up she came across as having a hard outer shell and I didn’t know if it could be softened. She turned out to be a fun and interesting character though! There were layers to be peeled back and I like that.

I like that the heroes of this series are all a little different. Their personalities are not cookie cutter. Neither are the heroines for that matter. They are such a great mix! It’s entertaining to see how they blend and come together.

Needless to say, I absolutely loved Pucked Over. I’m so in love with this series I have been considering going back for a reread, though I own so many books I have yet to read. My only question now…when do I get the next book?

{Book Review} Loud Is How I Love You by Mercy Brown

Loud is how I love you

Loud Is How I Love You (Hub City #1) by Mercy Brown

Published: January 19th 2016
Publisher: InterMix

Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ‘90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rule of the band: Don’t sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.

When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime?

 

 

 

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New Adult, Sex, Humor, 1990s

I read Loud on the heels of reading all seven Harry Potter books back to back and it was the perfect book to get me into a different world and genre. Mercy Brown writes with such an entertaining pen that I did not want to put this down. I read it in a day and I can’t remember the last book with which I did that. Loud is funny, sarcastic, and full of heart.

Travis is swoon worthy, adorable and sexy. Emmy is frustrating and amusing. For me, she jumped off the page. I could see a little bit of myself because like Emmy, I am often stuck in my own head and making myself panic for no good reason. He is such a calming figure in her life. Emmy and Travis balance one another so well.

This is one of those books I didn’t want to end. But I couldn’t slow down reading it because I just needed to know what was next. I’m so pumped this is going to be a series so I can revisit these characters again.

sunset and tinsel

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Sunset over the Tennessee river

 

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Every year the Tinsel Trail has so many different themed trees. I thought this one was so cute.

 

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Lights hanging over Art Museum ice rink

 

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I love how the Christmas trees reflect on the pond in the park

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Candy

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We do a lot of Holiday baking and treats at my house. Traditionally one of our go-to’s is M&M cookies but we do other yummy stuff too.

Have you ever heard of Crock Pot (or Slow Cooker) Candy? We’ve been making this stuff for years! It’s peanuts and chocolate. Your very own homemade Mr. Goodbar (one of my personal favorites). This stuff is super easy and makes a lot, depending on what size you spoon out the mixture.

There are a few recipes for this stuff floating around on the internet, I’m sure, but the one we use is on a piece of notebook paper, transcribed by my mother through my aunt.


Slow Cooker Candy Crock Pot Candy

(1) 16oz jar salted dry roasted nuts
(1) 16oz jar unsalted nuts
2lb block of almond bark
(1) 4oz German chocolate bar
(1) 12oz bag chocolate or butterscotch chips

Layer ingredients, as listed, in a crock pot. Cook for 2 hours on low heat. Stir and drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool to harden.

For the nuts we always use peanuts, but probably others would work. The almond bark and German chocolate bars are on the baking aisle. It took one and a half packages of the almond bark. We did semi sweet chocolate chips this time but I’m nearly positive we did butterscotch once and it was amazing.

Hair

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in a month! Lots going on recently with work and traveling to visit friends. I’ll probably try to get a photo blog post done soon but until then… I’m debating new hair color for an appointment I have next month. These are my favorites.

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Leaning toward the above for the one below because I could possibly do my own roots at home when my gray is showing up. I have a sprinkling of it around my bangs/temple.

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Thoughts?

recent shopping haul

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Last week I placed an order with Forever 21. I intended on just getting a couple of thin shirts for summer. I feel like I wear the same outfits every week but I didn’t want to spend a ton on tops I’ll wear for a few months. Of course I picked up some jewelry too because it’s impossible to resist.

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This is one of those bracelet/ring things. I’d been looking for something simple like this but did not want to pay an arm and a leg since it’s not something I’ll wear daily. I love how dainty this looked when it arrived.

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These earrings were purely because of the banana pair. My Harry Styles is showing. Also, who can resist a set of earrings labeled as “fruit salad studs”?? Nobody, that’s who. They were unexpectedly much cuter than I anticipated, especially for the price.

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These triangle earrings caught my eye right away. They are a little funky, but not too funky to wear to work. The studs and ear cuff were a random “I’m trying to be cool but I’m totally lame” purchase. I thought it would be fun for upcoming concerts I’m attending. I’ve been trying to accessorize more and step out of my ‘norm’.
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In general I wear all silver jewelry. Growing up my mother did not mix her metals and I was taught that it just isn’t done. Psht. whatever. I mix and match stuff all the time now. I didn’t have anything gold and ‘simple’ so I snagged this necklace for that purpose. I’m actually wearing it today and it’s super cute on.
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I tried on the two blouses I bought over the camisole I wore as part of my outfit yesterday. I will definitely have to wear something under this chandelier top, and I do kinda like that yellow beneath it. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the tie, but I do like the look of it in person and on me. Thumbs up, forever 21. I wear cropped trousers to work most days and I think this will be really cute with those. For reference, I almost always buy an XL in Forever 21 PLUS tops. I’m a 38DD with shoulders on the broad side and a bit of a tummy.

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This top is actually what started my whole order. I’d been meaning to buy it but didn’t want to only order one thing because of shipping. It’s a bit longer than I’d like but I figure there will be some shrinkage when it’s washed/dried. Plus it probably seemed that way in my mind since I’d just tried on the other shirt before this one. The fabric is soft and thin. Bonus, it’s also a bit of a One Direction reference. My fangirl issues are showing.

Moving along!

Last weekend (as mentioned in the previous post) I did some shopping. The majority of it was for my upcoming travels but some of it was deals I came across by happenstance. Those are my favorite kind of shopping trips, to be honest.

On Friday I stopped in Belk to pick up some foundation at the Clinique counter and then wandered over to the clearance shoes.

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These Steve Madden boots were regular priced $109, which I’d probably never splurge on given they aren’t something I could wear with everything. But every fall and winter I search for boots that are a little above the average design and I never allow that splurge.

But look how flipping cute they are!!!

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I debated on whether I wanted to pay the $65 sale price or not. Sure, it was cheaper than their original sticker price but still more than I wanted to spend since I had other things to pick up.

And then when I was walking around in the them a sales girl stopped and said “Those are so cute, aren’t they? I wish we had them in my size. They are an additional 50% right now.” Hold. The. Phone. She didn’t even have to say anything else. I just took them off and shoved the box at her. Bless. So yep, I got them for 50% off of $65.

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Also got these Steve Madden’s for $20 something due to clearance and additional 50% off. Successful shoe day was successful.

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Saturday I went to Shoe Carnival to look for something specific. If I’m being honest, the new One Direction shoes. OMG I am sorry, please don’t judge me. I didn’t realize this would turn into a 1DAF post. Anyway, SC was having a BOGO sale, as they often do. I got these navy keds for $30, which was a decent enough deal. They were exactly what I was looking for. (No, I did not buy the 1D shoes but I did try them on and snap a picture.)

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My trip into Old Navy was equally fruitful. 50% off on these shorts, and the tops were on sale as well. I plan to wear them while I’m in Charlotte next week. I don’t usually wear shorts but it’s been extremely hot lately and oh hey, stepping out of my comfort zone some more.
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I love the geometric pattern selection they had going on.

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So, when was your last shopping spree? What’d you buy?

 

 

 

nom.

peanut butter cup ice cream

A couple of weeks ago we picked up one of those counter top ice cream makers because well…I am lazy and the old fashioned type, with the salt and the ice, is a mess. I made this amazing peanut butter cup ice cream over the 4th weekend and it was amazing. The ice cream base was peanut butter flavored (so good) and then in the last five minutes of churning you add in the chopped mini peanut butter cups. Absolutely delicious. We have the tiniest bit left in the freezer and I think I’m going to sneak it out for myself tonight.

spinach egg white omelet cherries english muffin with preserves

My office was not only closed Friday, but Monday as well, which was extremely lucky. Monday morning my mother and I made plans to go into town. I had to do some returns and pick up a few things for my upcoming trip. I made us egg white omelets with sauteed spinach, salsa, and cheddar cheese. I had half of an english muffin with strawberry preserves and some cherries as well. The batch of fruit we bought last week has been so good.

fresh lunch

After the terrible eating habits from the long weekend I’ve been craving light lunches. This has been my go to so far this week. Raw veggies: sugar snap peas, baby carrots, peppers, and tomatoes, with sabra artichoke spinach hummus and some wheat thin crackers. It really has been hitting the spot. I especially love sugar snap peas with hummus.

bacon avocado tomato english muffin

You know how some days it’s just to hot to think about cooking? Yesterday evening was one of those days. I couldn’t decide what to eat though. I kept opening the fridge, staring into then closing it, only to open it up again. On the third try a package of bacon caught my eye and I decided a BLT sounded nice since we have fresh tomatoes from the garden. I made mine on a multi grain english muffin and instead of the actual “L” I replaced lettuce with avocado because I was too lazy to wash said lettuce. Plus, avocado is amazing on everything, let’s be honest.

What are your favorite go to summer time dinners? 

 

baby, you light up my world

sticky9

Last week I placed a sticky9 order because I decided to jazz up my filing cabinet at work. It already has a set of Hello Kitty magnets on it but I wanted something more personal too. I did pics of friends, family members, pets, other random things that are personal to me in some way or another. I plan on ordering more in the future and eventually covering the cabinet.

 

skinnytaste glazed pork chops

For dinner on Sunday I made these teriyaki porkchops with pineapple salsa from the SkinnyTaste cookbook. Let me tell you, I don’t usually eat pork, with the exception of bacon, but since these were a special request I made them. I am extremely glad I did. They were delicious! But to be honest, I’ve never made something from Gina that I didn’t enjoy. We paired the chops with roasted squash and garlic mashed potatoes.

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Yes. Yes, I am going to see One Direction in concert. I feel as if this is the beginning of the end. I love their music and I know a good bit about the guys but I’m afraid this will push me over into the massive fangirl pit. I am ok with this. My ticket arrived this week and I am not ashamed to say I squealed when I saw the envelope in the mail. The bonus is I’ve always wanted to go to Boston.

fresh peaches

 

The orchard close to my house has peaches, peaches and more peaches. They are a great place to buy from and always have the tastiest apples during apple season. One of the things I love about them is they also offer real fruit slushies when you stop by. These peaches are absolutely delicious and last night the kitchen smelled so good. If you have an orchard near you I highly suggest checking it out.