Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekending | Long Weekend Love

Happy Monday loves, it is quite a happy Monday because I took the day off work today (we didn't have it off for President's Day like others), but unfortunately it's to have a root canal later in the day. Boo about the root canal, but yay for not having to wake up early and drive in this horrible rainy weather we are supposed to get poured on us today. Hubby is off today too so we are going to hang a bit before heading to the endodontist for my procedure.

This past weekend was a fun one with yummy food, great times with friends, a birthday party and an awfully hilarious movie.

Saturday morning we woke up and got ready for a 1st birthday party of a friend's son. It was a superhero party and the theme was so well done. I decided to partake in dressing up with my superman shirt. The food was yummy and so were the cupcakes celebrating the little superhero.



Afterwards we headed back and took a much needed nap since we were going out later that evening. Once we were well rested, we got ready and headed out for the night. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Yardhouse, which we haven't been to in so long. It was so much better than I remember and I just am craving the yummy food we had. Plus it was great to catch up with friends who we haven't seen since their New Year's Eve party.



We then continued our date night at Studio Movie Grill to watch 50 Shades Darker. Oh my god guys, this movie was god awful. I mean the first one wasn't that great, but I will say it was better than this atrocity. It was so awful it was almost comedic how terrible the acting was and I think everyone who was watching in that theater felt the exact same way from the comments that were made throughout the movie, a pet peeve I usually don't like, but for this movie was hilariously welcome. Us girls apologized to the guys for dragging them to this awful movie, but they didn't mind since they didn't expect much. Basically, this movie isn't worth your 2 hours, you're better off watching like literally anything else. 

Sunday was spent mostly lounging around and cleaning up my DVR. Since hubby is studying for a work exam, I've been getting reacquainted with my TV. Netflix finally added season 3 of When Calls The Heart, I never thought this show would capture my heart, but guys this is such a cute show that airs on Hallmark Channel. Definitely love all the characters and storyline and was glad to finally get caught up on the last season.

  

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I hope you guys get today off and if not, hope your day goes quickly and smoothly. Wish me luck on this dang root canal, hope it means I get to eat plenty of ice cream and milkshakes for dinner ;)!

Linking up with Biana for Weekending!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Reading Challenge: UPDATE

Finally I'm getting around to posting about this reading challenge that ended at the end of January. I think for my very first reading challenge I did a pretty good job. There were some books I just couldn't get to, but others I did get to read and enjoyed fully! I can't wait to join another challenge, if you know of any coming up throw 'em this way!

Megan, thanks for hosting a fun challenge and can't wait for more along the way!



5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (464 pages)




This was my favorite book that I read. I've heard about it for a long time from other bloggers, but I didn't realize just how good it really was. I had this on audio-book and literally was captivated every time I was in my car. Sometimes I stayed out in my car once I got home just to listen to more. It was long, but so well worth it!

10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International.


The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan (288 pages)




I picked this book because it sounded the most interesting out of the others, especially considering I've been to Delhi, India before. The beginning was very slow and hard to get to at times. I actually set the book aside for almost 2 weeks before just picking it up again one night and actually finishing it in the next 2 days. Although the beginning was slow and I almost gave up, I'm glad I continued reading because the ending really got me captivated!

10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham (256 pages)




This book almost didn't happen because I was on a loooong wait list at the library. I was close to buying the book, but just decided I had plenty of others to read through that I could wait. When I finally did get my hands on it, I was excited. It was a short read and easy to read. I love that about autobiographies especially of people I really like. It was interesting to get an inside look into Lauren Graham's career, especially during the time while she was on two of my absolute favorite shows!!

15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.

In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (257 pages)




I watch Jane The Virgin and the author is one of the actors in the show. I love her character and enjoyed getting to know more about her. This was the first book I read for the challenge and I started it on a high note. It is so tragic what happened to her at such a young age, I don't know how I would deal with something like that. I definitely recommend reading this because it's something that is happening in our society more and more especially with the Orange Ruler in power.

15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.


The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (336 pages)



I had been waiting for this book for a long time too at the library. I was so pleasantly surprised at this book. I appreciate Amy Schumer's humor and she shined through in the book. She is so real and down to earth, you almost feel like you know her after reading this book. Her humor didn't shy away either folks, if you want a good all around book, pick this one up!

20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic.

Great by Sara Benincasa (272 pages)




I didn't get to this book and I was kind of bummed, I may still keep it on my reading list because it did sound like an interesting read.

25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title.

The Final Summer of Vodka: The Marmaris Diaries by Louise Bell (182 pages)




I just couldn't with this book. I had it downloaded to my Kindle and I went back to the book over and over, but I had zero interest. It's kind of sloppy and blah, doesn't make you want to read it in the least bit. I'm glad it was cheap and I won't probably be reading it.

30 points: Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (326 pages)




Bummed I couldn't get to this book either, but with so many other long books on my list I just couldn't. I am still interested in either reading it or watching the movie because I heard good things about both.

30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects.

(NF) Tales from the Back Row by Amy Odell (240 pages)



&

(F) The Devil Wears Prada by Laura Weisberger (360 pages)


Another 2 I couldn't get it. I figured if I did the below one I wouldn't be able to do this one. My time management didn't allow for it especially during my lulls during the holiday time. Will keep them in mind and definitely want to read Tales from the Back Row since I love reading more about the fashion industry behind the scenes. 


40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (440 pages)


 &

The Dead Wife's Handbook: A Novel by Hannah Beckerman (424 pages)



I'll start with The Nightingale, this is another one I'm glad I heard on audio-book during my commute, I got through it quicker than if I were reading it and I really felt like I understood the characters more after listening to it. I loved the story and I'm not usually a fan of war/history books, but after all the great reviews on it I knew it wouldn't disappoint. It was so interesting how it all connected in the end and if you have thought about reading this one, I highly highly recommend it!!

The second book was good too, not one of my favorites that I read during this challenge, but still an interesting read. I felt like the main character was getting annoying at times, but I could see why she would feel that way. She did just die and get taken away from everything she knew. Still glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and read this one.


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And that's that... I think overall I did a lot better than I thought I would have done during this challenge. 

5 + 10 + 10 + 15 + 15 + 40 = 95

Did you participate in this reading challenge? I'd love to see what you read and if you liked them. Any other fun reading challenges you know about, let me know below!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Year of Travel: 2017 Travel Plans

Even though the year is in full swing, I wanted to post about our upcoming travel to get some tips and places to visit while on these trips! We completed our first trip of the year to Chicago back in January, This year we have a lot on our travel agenda, but I couldn't be happier to be able to finally travel and see some of the places I've been wanting to see for years!! So here are all the destinations on the travel plan for the year!!


Las Vegas: March 2017

Although A and I have both been to Vegas many times, we've never been together. I've been dreaming of this trip for so long and can't wait to finally go again! A always goes around this time of year for March Madness, but I've only ever gone in the summertime and once in early May. I'm excited to see all the excitement for March Madness and we'll be there during Spring Break time too so it should be fun. We are staying at hubby's favorite Aria and I'm excited since I've never been to that hotel. Even though we are both semi-pro's on Vegas, any food recommendations or things to do/see will be appreciated!



Western Caribbean Cruise: April 2017

This is most definitely one of my favorite trips of the year. Not only do I get to spend a week in paradise, but I get to do it with my mom and sissy and celebrate my mom's 60th birthday!! We are cruising for the first time ever and I absolutely cannot wait. I've been reading so many blogs about what to expect when cruising and my absolute favorite carry on packer Kristen on what to pack and how to pack efficiently! We are cruising out of Galveston and going to Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; & Cozumel, Mexico. I know for a fact I want us to do zip-lining in one of the ports and I've been told to go to the turtle farm in the Cayman Islands so that's on the itinerary. Any and all tips on cruising are more than welcome!


London, U.K. : August 2017

I cannot wait for this trip either...can I say that for all of them really?! I've been dreaming of going to London for a long long time and since my husband is originally from there I knew the chances were now higher. Luckily one of his family friends is getting married in August so it was the perfect excuse for us to go. We are going for the wedding near Birmingham and then heading to the city for a few days to do all the touristy things. One of my patients is also from London and has been super helpful giving me tips and places to check out, but any more suggestions are more than welcome!

 

Tampa/Orlando: December 2017

This will cap off the year and I'm excited for it. Not only will I be getting to see my family again at my cousins wedding in Tampa, but my sister, cousin and I planned to stay a few extra days and drive up to Orlando and hit up a few Disney Parks. It's been almost a year since my sister and I took a spontaneous trip to Disney and we didn't get to go to all the parks that time either. I know we for sure want to do Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Universal again because Harry Potter, duh! A even said he will think about joining us which would be so much fun since it's been many many years since he's experienced Disney!



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So that's really it as far as planned trips. We do have some plans of weekend trips to places in Texas or maybe even New Orleans for our 1 year anniversary trip. We want to keep that trip small since we have some other big trips in the works for this year! Let me know if you've been to any of the places we're going to and anything we should know about it.

Any fun travel plans you have coming up this year??

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekending | A Whole Lot of Nothing & Grammy's Fashion

Hey loves, can't believe how quickly this weekend went by. We honestly didn't do a whole lot of anything. Friday night we did hang out with our friends who got married last month, we hadn't seen them since the wedding and it was great catching up with them. We also went back to their place and got to see it, the exciting part is we are looking to move in the area they are living in which would mean we would be close to each other!! Nothing set in stone, but we are starting to search for homes more seriously and I found one that I just absolutely need to see in person!

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much busts because we didn't do a whole lot. A has a work exam to study for so he has been busy doing that this weekend and I headed out to a few stores, but besides that not a whole lot. We did watch DeepWater Horizon which was a great movie, definitely recommend picking it up on RedBox.

Sunday night was the Grammy Awards and can we just pause and talk about the amazingness that is QUEEN BEY! Oh man could she be any more perfect, that twin baby glow she has going on is on point too! Adele was also phenomenal and deserved to win all those Grammy's. Here are my picks for best and worst from the red carpet. I felt this year the fashion was either too safe/normal or just way too out there, not a whole lot in between which was disappointing since the Grammy's is where you can stretch the fashion a bit more than other award shows.

Grammy's Best Dressed 2017



Grammy's Worst Dressed 2017



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Linking up with Biana for Weekending! Cheers to Valentine's Day week ahead!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Travel Diary: Chicago-January

So with the new year in full swing, we have a ton of fun places on the agenda to travel to this year and I couldn't be happier. I'm hoping they all will work out and some of them are already booked and ready to go!! Even though Chicago isn't a new place to travel to, I hadn't been back since Labor Day Weekend and that was a looooong time to go without seeing my people! It was such a fun trip and I think we got a lot squeezed into a short weekend trip. This was the first trip of the year and I can't wait to share with you our future travels!

We got in late Friday evening after some serious hiccups that almost canceled our trip, everything is good now which I couldn't be happier about and I am super glad things worked out in the end and allowed for us to go on our trip! After plenty of delays and just an exhausting day, we were at my parent's house reunited with the people I love. We ate dinner and headed right to bed to sleep off the exhaustion.

The next morning I woke up early (which is what I did the entire time we were there) to play with my fur-nephew Nico. He's an early riser and since I wanted to soak up as much time as possible with everyone I figured waking up early would just be easier. Some snapchat selfies were most definitely taken with Nico, even though he wasn't having much of it.


Later that morning, my sissy and I headed out to meet up a group of girlfriends I haven't hung with in a long time and it was such a fun girls day. We had brunch at Meli Cafe which was the yummiest and then headed to have our nails done close by. I also got to meet an old friend's new baby and she was the sweetest little sass monster I've ever met! Also got to hang with a friend who is about 2 weeks from popping and it was great catching up and seeing her new place downtown.





That evening my entire family came over, as crazy as they are I was so thrilled to see all of them again. We headed out to eat dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant. We were so so hungry that the food was gobbled up so quickly. Such good food and I'm seriously craving it again!!


Sunday was spent lounging around and taking tons of selfies with my sissy using Snapchat filters. A was totally judging us, but we didn't care. This was the trip with all the selfies for sure!


That evening the whole family came over again and we headed to eat at our favorite deep dish pizza place. Seriously these 2 restaurants were on my must go list when we were coming back home and I'm so glad we were able to eat at both places!! The pizza was so so delicious and we even ran into some people we knew at the restaurant so double win!

We then headed out to a local bar and met up with more friends. It was fun to see everyone again, some we haven't seen since our wedding! 





Monday morning was a little slower in waking up, but knowing it was our last day in Chicago we took all the advantage of it. After packing our bags and getting ready for the day, we brought lunch home to enjoy. After eating we just lounged around until it was unfortunately time to head to the airport. I couldn't believe how quickly our time was up, but I appreciated all the time I did get to spend with family and friends while we were in town! 


Of course a family selfie with Nico, hubs and I was necessary :)!


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It was such a fun trip and I was so thankful to be able to have seen as many people as I did. Although I didn't get to see many more people, it was a well needed trip home, despite the bitter temps! Luckily for us our flight home to Houston was much smoother than the flight to Chicago!



Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekending | Super Bowl 51

Hey folks, sorry for my unexpected break from blogging, but I just couldn't bring myself to blog after work and other things going on. This past weekend was all about football though. If you guys didn't realize or live under a rock someplace far far away, the Super Bowl was in Houston this past weekend and it was super exciting to be living in that excitement for almost a week before the actual game. For me since I drive past the stadium on a daily basis going and coming from work I got to see the transformation of NRG as it prepared for the big game. 

We knew we wanted to head downtown to catch the events happening for the Super Bowl so hubs and I decided Friday after work would be a good time. It was such a fun atmosphere and I'm so glad we were able to go even though it was freezing cold, I know I know I am a disappointment to cold weather folks everywhere, but we were not prepared for the cold temps Houston showed us Friday evening!







The Puppy Bowl area was most definitely my favorite because duh, cute puppies!! 


The Fox Sports area was interviewing former NFL player Vince Young.



Saturday was spent mostly lounging around and watching cheesy Hallmark Valentine's movies. A and I did take a nice visit to Target to get a few things I needed, he was mostly there to stop me from buying unnecessary things, which actually worked! We ended the night by watching the documentary on HBO Beware the Slenderman, definitely an interesting docu, but not the best to watch right before bed! 


Sunday morning started out with another lazy day, obviously, but then in the evening we headed to a family friends house for a bit for their Super Bowl party. It was great seeing everyone and catching up again. Afterwards we headed to our cousins house to watch the rest of the game and eat some pizza & wings...perfect combo for the biggest football game of the year!

I was definitely bummed with the outcome of the game, but the halftime show with Lady Gaga was incredible and entertaining along with a few of the commercials as well.


While we were heading to the Super Bowl party we passed the Sugar Land Airport and saw the numerous private jets parked there, assumably to all the celebrities and famous people they belong to. We heard a lot of the jets taking off at night so I assume these people want to make it out of here before the air traffic sets in for tomorrow.



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Linking up with Biana who I'm sure is celebrating this win for her city!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekending | Blates, Movies & Somber News

Happy Monday loves, I can't wait for this week to come to an end already because I'm headed to Chicago for the weekend and I need family time badly after this weekend.

I attempted my first pizza (crust was pre-made though). It turned out so yummy and we had leftovers for days. I can't wait to include pizza nights into our weekly routine or at least bi-weekly since it's a fairly easy dinner and delicious!



Friday after work Kathleen @ Places I Will GoAshley @ The Wandering Weekenders & I all met up for a blate after what felt like forever!! We had such a blast eating sushi and chatting for hours. I can't wait for our next blate and getting to know these ladies even more!! 






On Saturday was my mother-in-law's birthday and we all went to her favorite restaurant for lunch to celebrate. Lots of yummy food, cake and celebrating was had for the rest of the day. That evening we went to watch Split. I wasn't sure what to expect from the movie based on the trailer and the fact that M.Night Shyamalan hasn't really had great movies lately, but it was surprisingly not bad. I wouldn't say to run and watch it or anything, but if you want to watch a movie that's got some suspense, go for it. I didn't care much for the ending because I think they left loose ends and I just wanted some closure. 




Sunday morning I woke up to heartbreaking news that someone close to our family, practically a cousin to me had lost her very short battle to Ovarian cancer. She was such a bright and shining personality and even though we knew the end was coming for her, it just felt so soon and we weren't ready to hear it. I've known her my entire life and have so many precious memories with her. She took us to watch the very first Harry Potter movie in theaters, the numerous trips to Toys 'R' Us to buy barbies and so many more toys, she got us our very first cabbage patch dolls and just so much more! She had a heart of gold and the world shines a little less with her gone, but I know I now have an angel in her. I'm sad I won't be able to attend her funeral today or grieve with family, but them knowing how badly I wish I was there during this time means a lot. 

I will always have the last happy memory before cancer struck her being at my wedding. I remember dancing the night away with her on the dance floor and I'm grateful to remember her like that. Not to make this a PSA, but don't ignore any symptoms that are persistent. Her symptoms started out as stomach pain, something so small and common ended up costing her much more. Don't ignore symptoms and just get yourself checked out regularly folks!



Rest in Paradise angel ❤️️

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Linking up with Biana for Weekending!