Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Rare Bird

So I recently found out on Twitter about this awesome program called Blogging for Books. It's pretty much like it sounds; you request a book from their list of books, they mail it to you (or some are eBooks), then you read and review it, simple, and FREE, as that :-) I love reading so I quick signed up and got my first book within like 10 days or something crazy fast like that. Anyways, here's what you really came to this post to read, my review of Rare Bird:

*Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.*

Part of the description of the book from the publisher's site:

On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.

In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”

My thoughts:

I really, really liked this book. I've been reading Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastery for years, and she, as a good friend of author Anna Whiston-Donaldson, wrote the foreward to this book. I actually knew of this story before the book came out from reading Glennon's blog, and a few days ago marked three years since Jack's death.

Anna tells the story of her son's death and the aftermath, how her family is coping and wrestling through their emotions. She writes in the first person so it really helps you connect more to her story and feel what she's feeling. I kept marveling at how strong of a person she is!

Yes, it is a very sad story, obviously, but it's not one that has you sobbing the entire time. It was such a tragic situation, and she doesn't sugar coat it, not at all, which is refreshing because sometimes when you read memoirs like this the author seems to have too easy a time coming through a horrible event. Anna questions God, and understandably so, and she also leans on him as well. Anna explains how their neighbors, friends, and family really stepped up to help her family in so many ways after Jack's accident, and it makes you realize that people, even those you may not expect, really can come through in hard times.

The Bottom Line: I totally recommend this book guys. Two thumbs enthusiastically up!

post signature

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You May Not Recognize Me Tomorrow

Ummm what? It's Wednesday already?! My last week has been crazy. Last Thursday night we drove up to Brian's parents' house in NJ, and on Friday morning we hopped in the car with his parents and took off for Maine at 5am!! Ahhh! Around 2pm we arrived in Maine and it was freezing! Beautiful, yes, but freezing. I mean, I expected fall weather, not winter. It barely got above 40 degrees the whole weekend and it was SO WINDY.

Friday night the parents of the groom paid for everyone to go bowling at this awesome bowling alley, and I kicked Brian's butt, and lucky for me we bet our phone upgrade on it, so guess who's getting the iPhone 6 next month?! Yup, me! Saturday was the wedding at the campgrounds we stayed at in little log cabins, Sunday was an after party on this awesome almost-island the groom's grandparents own with all these cool cabins (it was freezing but gorgeous, and also you have to access it either by boat or over 7 miles of logging trails.. boy did I get car sick!!), and Monday we headed back home and got there at 10pm, so needless to say I am exhausted and that's why I'm just getting around to posting now.

I didn't take a ton of good pics (I didn't bring gloves, and it was too cold to take my hands out of my pocket!), but here are a few (not great) pics that I did take:

 Oh don't mind my puffiness, just wearing a long sleeve shirt, north face, and hoodie lol
 The day after party on the grooms' grandparents' property.. how cute were all the appetizers?!
4 layers this time- long sleeve shirt, vineyard vines pullover fleece, north face zip- up, and someone's grandpa's winter coat.. I'm telling you, it was freezing! Poor Brian was an ice cube! 

So anyway I'm off to the hair salon this morning to have my hair dyed! I'll explain: I think I've mentioned it before, maybe not, but I sweat like crazy, mainly on my face, and it's super embarrassing, annoying, and uncomfortable. It could be 30 degrees and I quite possibly may have sweat dripping down my face, even when the rest of me is freezing cold. I have some other similar issues too, and I finally got a endocrinologist appointment for next week in Hershey, which is an awesome hospital, because I have to get these issues taken care of. More on that after the appt, but back to the hair dying.. I am tired of washing my blonde hair only to sweat and have it look greasy and nasty an hour later. Sweat shows up way more on blonde hair, so I am dying my hair darker so it won't look so awful while I get these issues figured out. I will have my hair back to blonde before the wedding next year, it was just time for a change!
post signature

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sometimes Things Just Work Out

Okay this is the big job update I mentioned yesterday... remember two weeks ago when I told you guys all about job struggles and quitting my job? I was so relieved and was all "Que sera sera" about the whole thing. Well later that week, one of the partners at work approached me about staying on as a part-time employee, and mainly work from home doing research and drafting pleadings and briefs for the partners. It's pretty much what I've been doing, but there will be no pressure of having my own clients or going to court anymore.. research and writing is the stuff I actually like and that's what I'll be doing.

So the new deal is this: I will come into the office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9-12 so people can see my face and I can bug them to give me work. The rest of the time I'll work from home; the hours are pretty much up to me, I can work whatever days I want, and depending on the amount of work the partners give me, as much as I want. I will turn in my hours at the end of each week. I will still have my office, and I'll be able to remotely access my computer and the server at work. 

The downside is I will be bringing in less money from that job, and I won't have free insurance anymore beginning at the end of this month. Luckily I can get on Brian's insurance because apparently we are considered "domestic partners" until we get married, and I actually got another part-time at-home job writing legal blog posts for law firms to supplement my income! I am so lucky that things turned out so well. It's really amazing how things work out sometimes, isn't it? I don't know how long this all will last, but it's perfect for us right now :-)

We're heading up to Maine Thursday for a long wedding weekend, so I won't be back here til sometime next week!
post signature

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Little Life Update

  • We spent the weekend at the beach with my family. Mini golf was played, yummy food was eaten, waves were ridden, and sand got everywhere! 
 Dad and Brian aww

  • Our wedding favors came! Three were broken but out of 120 that's not soooo bad. I have been drinking out of the cups consistently!

  • Baby shower planning is in full swing! My sister is 30 weeks and huge! I can't wait til the shower and when I can show you guys all the cute decorations and games we have planned!

  • We got a cat! Well actually, we got my cat back. Long story short, when I was in middle school I got an adorable kitten named Reese for Easter. When my little brother was born a few years later though, he was allergic so my mom's friend took Reese in. Out of nowhere 2 weeks ago, she said it was getting to be too much (so weird but whatever...) and since I have my own house now, she's back! It's been an adjustment but it's going well!

  • The biggest update I have is job related and deserves its own post, so check back tomorrow for that! 
post signature

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Goals

I think it's about time I get back to making monthly goals. I figure at least if I post them here I have a little bit better chance of actually accomplishing them.

1. Get serious about weight loss. I really need to lose a lot of weight before my wedding next year, and trying on wedding dresses this past weekend was definitely a wake-up call. I made a weight loss chart for myself so I can cross off each pound that I lose, and I am giving myself rewards along the way if I reach certain goals in time. Brian and I are planning to rejoin LA Fitness this month, and we have been planning our meals for the week so that we go out to eat less, so I really want to keep this up. Also, I want to take the dogs on long walks at least 4-5x a week.

2. See a travel agent about our honeymoon. We really don't know where we want to go and a travel agent is probably the best place to start.

3. Stick to our monthly budget better. I just love shopping, but I also love wedding planning and I need to remember if we are going to be able to afford a wedding I need to stick to our budget! I have been slowly buying wedding things, which is actually a good thing because doing so slowly will prevent a big budget hit all at once.
post signature

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adios August

Is anyone else super pumped that it's September? I am so glad the summer is on it's way out. Sorry but I just hate summer clothes and I hate heat and even though it has mainly been in the 70s and low 80s here all summer, I am just ready to hello to high temps in the 50s! I prepped by buying myself some new jeans, gold ballet flats, a shirt, and a Sunday Funday sweatshirt at Old Navy, and I bought my soon-to-be nephew a cute shirt that says my aunt rocks with guitars on it (I can't stop buying baby clothes, they are so stinking cute!). My mom and I also made these cute burlap banners this weekend, though don't worry, I won't put it up until the end of September, no matter how much I want to!

Hmm what else did I do this weekend? Well I went to dinner with my parents on Friday, went to Hobby Lobby and also tried on wedding dresses(!!!), cleaned, planned for my sister's baby shower, did tons of wedding planning, did 'getting a new job' stuff, grocery shopped, and watched so much TV. I must say I am disappointed with Lifetime's movie selection this weekend, especially on Labor Day. I mean really, there were like none on, ugh! Anyways, let's try to get through this week quickly! I am going to the beach Friday :-) P.S. Is anyone else excited for 19 Kids and Counting tonight?! No? Fine.
post signature

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Rings of My Nightmares

As you may know, Brian and I have been together for over four and a half years, and we've been living together for two now, so back before we got engaged in May I knew it would be coming any time. So of course, the ring nightmares started at least a year ago. Girls, seriously, tell me you've had them? After each one I'd wake up in a panic and check my hand and be like "whew! dodged a bullet there" (also, that was the only time you'd catch me being relieved that I wasn't engaged haha). Anyway, I figured I'd share my top three worst ring nightmares today.

1. The Yellow Ring- The stone in the ring in this dream was yellow, like bright yellow. Not pretty, not pretty at all. But in my dreams apparently I am super sweet and "said yes" regardless of the ring, and even told Brian that I loved it. Barf! I've also dreamed about getting purple rings, and I think red.

2. The Plastic Super Bowl Ring- This one was so huge that when I wore it I couldn't even bend my finger, and it basically looked like a huge super bowl ring but it was plastic and had a green stone in it. Again, I told him I loved it!

3. The Convertible Ring/Watch- Alright I remember much more detail about this dream than the others. We were in some weird house and Brian was insistent upon making me waffles. So I was laying in bed, which was basically right outside of the kitchen (it's a dream, so it doesn't make sense, remember?) watching him make waffles. So he brings me two chocolate dipped waffles (weird) and insists I eat them. Okayyyy, so I took a bite and felt something so I looked and there was my ring! He was SO FREAKING EXCITED about the ring he picked out, and meanwhile I was mortified. Basically it was a gray rubber ring with a green plastic-looking "stone" on top, but when I put it on Brian was like "it's so awesome, look what it can do!" and he stretched the ring out and it became a watch to wear on your wrist. I remember thinking OMG seriously this is the worst, but I have to pretend to love it so I don't hurt his feelings. We went and told family in this dream too and I had to fake liking it for them so that they wouldn't think Brian was a freaking weirdo for picking out such an atrocious ring! I even told them it's exactly what I wanted and that I asked him to get me a ring just like that. Dream Jessica is wayyyyy nicer than Real Jessica, because Real Jessica would have told him what was up!!

I know I had more bad ring dreams besides these, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind! Luckily Brian came through and picked out my gorgeous ring which I love! Engaged/married ladies, what rings did you have nightmares about?

post signature