Thursday, August 11, 2016

Apartment Tour: The Living Room

It's been 23 days since I moved into my very own apartment.  And it's been quite an emotional 23 days. Now when I saw I emotional, I don't meant that I've been sitting in my apartment alone and crying.  I just mean I've experienced all the emotions in those 23 days.  Happiness, excitement, sadness, eagerness, satisfaction, and most especially loneliness.  

But today's post it's about that, trust me I have that planned for a later day.  Todays' post is share what that apartment looks like with you.  

Since I first decided that I would be moving into my own space back in December, I've had been slowly picking up pieces that I wanted to incorporate into my living room.  My bedroom was taken care of but I had virtually nothing for the living room/kitchen.  I even wrote this post about what I was hoping my living room would look like.

And I am so happy with the outcome.  SO HAPPY!! Thankfully I don't mind sitting in my apartment because I'm so happy with how it turned out decor wise.  So rather than ramble on and on about it.  I'm just going to show you.  


I have a stack of these old books by the author Kathleen Norris.  She was an American author in the in 1900s and apparently she was the highest paid female author of the time!  I've never read any of them because seriously the books look like they're about to fall apart.  But they made for perfect decor items on the bookshelf!

There ya have it!  I still have a few items I'd like to get that I think will add to the room.  I want to get a rug and come curtains.  I'd also like to add to few more decor items to the bookshelf and the coffee table.  But those are things that I can start looking for an buy a little at a time.

Here's where I bought some of the bigger items:

Couch - Macey's (but purchased online at a fantastic price!)
Bookshelf - IKEA (painted gold)
Coffee table - IKEA
Gray chairs - Marshall's
Media Center - Home Goods
Lamps - Marshall's
Painting- Hobby Lobby
Mirror- Home Goods
Desk - Craiglist
Desk Chair- Marshall's
Pillows- Target

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Washington DC Recap Day 3

Day three of our little family vacation dawned bright and early and we had another leisurely morning at the hotel.  We had a jam packed day 3 and thus why it deserves a post all its own.

Our first stop of the day was to the National Archives to see 3 documents that I spend about 6 weeks talking about in my US History class.  For those of you who don't know, the National Archives is home to the 3 most important documents in our country.  The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  3 documents that everyone one should know.  And sadly do not.

I went online and reserved 4 tickets so we wouldn't have to go wait in line.  But it turns out I didn't even need to do that because there was no wait to get in.  We decided to hit up the important documents first and then explore the rest of the archives after that.

I was slightly disappointed because we weren't allowed to take pictures and this time around I followed the rules.  But it would have been neat to have been able to show my students pictures of the actual documents.  

As a history major and person who teaches all about this great nation of ours, I cannot even begin to describe what it felt like to see the actual Declaration of Independence that was penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1776.  It is extremely faded but you can still just make out some of the words and signatures.  Each and every one of the men who sign the declaration were committing the ultimate act of treason by signing it but they didn't care.  They were willing to give up their lives if it meant gaining our freedom.  BAH...sorry.  There's the history nerd in me coming out true and blue.  

Seeing the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights was just as amazing.  I was even able to give to this older lady a mini history lesson.  She was looking at the Bill of Rights and quietly asked her daughter, "So the Bill of Rights came before the Declaration of Independence right?"  I seriously thought I was back in my 8th grade classroom.  So I couldn't help myself, I had to interject and explain very nicely that we wouldn't be able to come up with laws without declaring independence first.  She laughed and said, "Oh yes, of course."  

Oh and don't let National Treasure fool you.  The room that holds said three documents is dark and you can barely see a thing.  And they only let a large group of about 40-50 into the space at a time so you can't just walk in and out as you please.  Geez the movies are such liars! 

After the National Archives we made our way over to the National Mall.  We wandered through the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.  Each and everyone of them was so amazing.  I think my favorite was the World War II Memorial but what I loved most was how different each of the memorials were.  

At at this point I'm just gonna let the pictures speak for themselves! :)  Enjoy!

Korean War Memorial - The Memorial was first commissioned in 1986 and wasn't completed until 1992.  

I love that you can see the facial expressions of the men in the statues.  They look so life like and have so much emotion etched in their faces.

Unfortunately we weren't able to walk directly next to the Reflecting Pool.  There were fences already set up in preparation of the July 4th festivities. (Which ended up being canceled due to weather!) So I was not able to recreate the famous Jenny scene from Forrest Gump. 

After this was taken, my brother and I walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and my parents headed to the Vietnam Memorial.  My Dad's knees were not about to climb all those stairs! 

These three men are the first part of the Vietnam War Memorial.  Their bodies are positioned to they are looking towards the main memorial wall where the names of all the men who lost their lives in the war are chronologically etched into the walls.

But I'm an idiot and totally forgot to take a picture of the whole wall!  So you'll have to deal live with these.

My brother took this picture and you can tell.  My mom and I are out of focus and the background is in focus. 

After the Vietnam Memorial we decided it was time for a little break.  And I know we went to lunch somewhere but for the life of me I cannot remember where it was.  I've been racking my brain for a while now trying to remember and I have no clue.  

So I'll just move one.  That evening we headed to enjoy America's Pastime.  We went out and supported the National's baseball team.  Baseball is one of my favorite sports so I'm so glad we got to attend a game while we were there.  We were worried that the game was gonna get rained out but we got lucky and we only had a slight delay.  

I love going to sporting events with my family.  When we were kids my parents took my brother and I to all kinds of games.  Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and even golf!  So it was so much fun getting to go to a game with them again. 

And it was a fantastic way to end our third day!  

Recapping has been so fun!  Make sure to come back next week because I'm sharing all about The White House! 

Linking up for Wanderful Wednesday and with Jenn and Jess for What's Ha-"Pinning"! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Your Next Favorite Book: July Reads

I don't know about y'all but I'm still having a hard time believing it's already August.  We are already 8 months into the new year.  Before we know it it's gonna be December 31st and we'll be saying hello to 2017.

One of my goals for 2016 was to read 50 books and I'm happy to report that I am 60% through with my goal.  I've read 30 books thus far.  I'm actually hoping/planning to surpass that goal but we'll see if that happens with school starting next week.

Today I'm sharing the 5 books I read in July.  Technically the last one I read in August but I don't want to wait until September to review it so I'm throwing it in with my July books.


As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

My thoughts:  I had so many thoughts going through my head while reading this book.  But it's hard to really get into them in a review without giving away some major plot points.  And as I'm trying to write this I'm having trouble getting my thoughts worked out anyway.  Which NEVER happens for me with books.  I either like it or I don't, there is rarely gray area for me when it comes to books.  But I just don't know about this one.  I want to say I liked it but then again I HATED TifAni.  Absolutely hated her.  I felt bad for her a couple times but I hated how she treated her fiancĂ©, I hated how judgmental and bitchy she was and I HATED that she wanted everyone to pronounce her name AH-ni rather than Annie.  I rolled my eyes every time she corrected someone in the book.  I will say I was shocked and riveted when the big twist was revealed.  It was probably my favorite part of the book to read because I wasn't expecting it to happen the way it did.  Which if you know what the reveal is, you're probably thinking, "Oh my gosh, what is wrong with you." But in my opinion it was the most well written part.  

Anyway, I need to know if anyone has read it.  Because literally NO ONE I know in "real-life" has read it so I haven't been able to talk about it/hash out all my feelings about it. Until now.  So if you've read it PLEASE tell me what you thought! 

Goodreads Synopsis: Alone . . . Massachusetts State Trooper Bobby Dodge watches a tense hostage standoff unfold through the scope of his sniper rifle. Just across the street, in wealthy Back Bay, Boston, an armed man has barricaded himself with his wife and child. The man’s finger tightens on the trigger and Dodge has only a split second to react . . . and forever pay the consequences.

Alone . . . that’s where the nightmare began for cool, beautiful, and dangerously sexy Catherine Rose Gagnon. Twenty-five years ago, she was buried underground during a month-long nightmare of abduction and abuse. Now her husband has just been killed. Her father-in-law, the powerful Judge Gagnon, blames Catherine for his son’s death . . . and for the series of unexplained illnesses that have sent her own young son repeatedly to the hospital. 

Alone . . . a madman survived solitary confinement in a maximum security prison where he’d done hard time for the most sadistic of crimes. Now he walks the streets a free man, invisible, anonymous . . . and filled with an unquenchable rage for vengeance. What brings them together is a moment of violence—but what connects them is a passion far deeper and much more dangerous. For a killer is loose who’s woven such an intricate web of evil that no one is above suspicion, no one is beyond harm, and no one will see death coming until it has them cornered, helpless, and alone.

My thoughts:  My blogging buddy, Ashley from The Wandering Weekenders, was an angel a few months back and gave me her Nook login so I could read another book.  Well she has got a gold mind on that thing.  Because I've found so many titles in her library that I thought I had died and gone to book heaven for a while.  Any who, while I was browsing I found this book.  And the synopsis alone had me hooked.  Plus I was in the mood for a thriller so this fit the bill.  It kept me guessing, it held my attention, and I was surprised with the end.  All in all a good read for me.  I enjoyed it.  If you're in the mood for a thriller, pick this one up! 

 In fact I liked it so much I decided to find another book by the same author.  And thus found the next book! 

Goodreads Synopsis: One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?

As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper’s mind while also unearthing family secrets. Would a trained police officer truly shoot her own husband? And would a mother harm her own child?

For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She is walking a tightrope, with nowhere to turn, no one to trust, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. She has one goal in sight, and she will use every ounce of her training, every trick at her disposal, to do what must be done. No sacrifice is too great, no action unthinkable. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay.

My thoughts:  I think I liked this one slightly more than Alone if I'm honest.  I loved the main character Tessa.  She was intense, likable, and a total badass in the end.    I loved the twist in the story and had no idea things were gonna go the way they did.  I also loved that the two characters I really loved from Alone were major players in this book too.  And I'm pretty sure Lisa Gardner has more books with Tessa as one of the main characters.  It was an easy read and again if you're looking for a thriller, read this one.  I can see myself reading a few of Lisa Gardner's books in the future.

Goodreads Synopsis: She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

My thoughts:  I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas's other book series, Throne of Glass.  And when I heard that she had started another series based on the Beauty and the Beast story but in a faerie world, I knew that eventually I would have to read it.  And y'all it did NOT disappoint.  After having read 3 contemporary books I was ready to get back into the fantasy realm anyway.  The story was very well thought out.  I loved picking up all the Beauty and the Beast references and I really liked the way she melded it with her own world of humans and faeries.  

I will say that this series is much more graphic when it comes to the love scenes.  And at first I was little shocked and put off because I thought it was a YA novel.  All I kept thinking was, " I would NOT let/suggest any of my 8th-10th graders read this."  But then I found out that this is actually supposed to be part of a newer genre that is being called "New Adult".   So that made me feel a little but better but I did notice that it's still in the YA section in bookstores.  I just know I don't think I would let my child read this if she was in middle school or even early high school.  

I'm excited to read the second in the series.  But I'm waiting a little bit because Sarah J. Maas is currently writing the 3rd book and I know I'll want to read it right away.  Although I'm not sure how much longer I can wait.  I wanna know what happens next!  There was the beginnings of a love triangle towards the end of the first one and I love me a good love triangle!  

This was probably my favorite read of July!

GoodReads Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

My thoughts: First I want to say there WILL BE SPOILERS!! So if you have not read this I suggest you skip my thoughts! You've been warned!

 Ok, I know as a good Potterhead, I should be dedicating a whole post to this.  But I'm not going to.  Instead of a whole post, I'm going to direct you to my friend Ashley's blog, The Wright Nook.  She wrote a whole post and our views are pretty similar! :)

Now, obviously I had to read this.  It's called the 8th book in the Harry Potter series.  But I wish they hadn't called it that.  To me it was not the 8th book in any way, shape or form.  It's a short story that was made into a play.  Since it was written as a script it took some getting used to but I was quickly able to get used to the writing style.  I thought it would be easiest to explain a few of my thoughts in list form so.....

Here's what I loved:
-Harry and Draco's sons became BFFs

-Hermione become Minister of Magic and Ron being so....well Ron still.

- I was always skeptical of the whole Ginny/Harry thing but after having read this and gotten a glimpse of their married relationship I'm a big fan now.

-Going back to 1981.  I 100% think JK Rowling needs to write books about Harry's parents and their years at Hogwarts.  I am dying to know what made Lily go from hating James to falling totally in love with him in their 7th year.  WHAT HAPPENED!!!! I need to know!

-Scorpious.  What a great kid.

- Just being back in my favorite world.  Even though I wanted more, it was still so special and amazing to be back in Harry's world.  It will always be my favorite books. Always.

Here's what I didn't:

- Not getting enough back story.  I'm sorry I want more.  I don't want just a script where we get flashes and quick explanations.  I want detailed emotions and scenes and thoughts and descriptions.

- I was a little confused why it was the middle child who felt so disconnected to Harry.  Maybe it's because I'm the oldest and there is no middle child in my family and I just don't really understand "middle child syndrome".  I dunno I just didn't get why there was such a disconnect between Harry and Albus and not Harry and James.  Plus I think it's awesome that one of Harry's kids was in Slytherin.  It goes back to how close Gryffindors and Slytherins really are personality wise.

- Ashley is gonna hate me but I didn't really love the whole Bellatrix/Voldemort love child thing.  Now I can see the argument, that maybe he did it so his bloodline would carry on and it was all just lust and not because he loved her.  And I know Bellatrix would have been all for it because she was so obsessed and infatuated with Voldemort.  But still I think Voldemort is too selfish for even that.  Again just my humble opinion but there it is.

Ok those are the major points I wanted to address.  Like I said even though I would not call this the 8th book I still enjoyed it.  And if you are a Harry Potter fan, big or small, it is definitely worth your time!  If only to spend a few more hours lots in the wizarding world of Harry Potter! (the books obviously, not the theme park! ; )

Now my favorite of the 5 that I read was probably A Court of Thorns and Roses with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming a close second.

This month I have several books that I'm hoping I'll get through but again with school starting next week, August may be a slow reading month for me.  We shall see!

I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for their Show Us Your Books link up! :)