My memorial day weekend

Memorial weekend was on the cool and windy side here, which made for some blustery outdoor activities. I spent most of Saturday outside watching a soccer tournament with a friend. Wearing my winter coat made it feel like we had stepped backwards in time to the cold months. I am very happy to see warmer temperatures on the docket for this week!

Although I received an invitation to spend memorial day with a friend, I opted to stay home to catch up on some much-needed cooking, cleaning, and laundry. I felt very productive, and even managed to get some decent relaxation time too.

Now that it is Tuesday, I am back to work after the holiday weekend. There’s something about a 3-day weekend that makes me feel extra rejuvenated.

What did you do for memorial weekend?

When was the last time you went to a sports event?

After doing laundry, do you fold and put it away immediately or does it sit for a few days? 🙂

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Hot out!

Summer seems to have officially arrived, with temps in the 80’s and 90’s this week. I gotta say, I love it. I am a warm weather lover and would gladly kiss winter/snow goodbye for good if I could. I am excited for summer bbq’s, evenings on the patio, and hitting up the beach. I never get tired of the long days.

I have been searching for my next book. After reading and absolutely LOVING Vanishing Half and Invention of Wings, I have found myself in a bit of a dry spell. Nothing seems to be able to stand up to these two incredible reads, so I have set aside my kindle for the time being. If you have any recommendations, please leave a comment and let me know!

I tried to get into Shadow and Bone but for some reason it did not “land” with me. Someone suggested that I try the books, so I’ll think about that. In the meantime, what are your favorite shows right now? I am watching Nancy Drew on HBOmax and also really enjoyed Night Manager on Prime. I need another good one to get into! Let me know!

What is your favorite fiction book?

You watching any good shows you can recommend?

What’s your favorite EASY summer recipe?

The Denman

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I am loving the mild Spring temperatures. Today is what I would consider perfect: warm enough for a t-shirt but not humid. I may hang out at the park for a bit this afternoon.

Any curly hair guys or gals out there interested in trying the famous Denman brush? I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz about this on social media and have been curious to give it a go on my Type 3b curls. I went ahead and placed the order for a D31 denman brush from their website and will be keeping an eye out for a package in the near future!

In other news, I am hopeful that travel will start to open up over the next year so that I can plan a trip to see my family. I have not seen my overseas family since before the pandemic began, and I miss them!

Where would you go if you could plan a trip right now?

Curly-haired girls out there, especially those with type 3 curls, what are your favorite styling products?

What are you up to this Sunday afternoon?

hi again

I’m back from an unplanned hiatus. Long story short, life has been a lot, but things are starting to find some normalcy again, so here we are.

How has the pandemic been for you? I have adjusted to the work-from-home lifestyle and all the “new normals” that came along with it. So much so, that I find myself hoping to work from home for the long term, even though my employer is now discussing bringing us back to the office this fall.

In the past few months I read a couple amazing books that I fully recommend. The first is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and the second is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Both amazing. Anyone looking for their next great read should check both of these out, they are definite page-turners.

I’ve also been getting into podcasts recently. I listened to season 1 of Serial years ago and recently binged seasons 2 and 3. Very interesting! I’d like to find more good podcasts to listen to, it is so easy to play while doing chores and things around the house.

Got any books/podcasts to recommend?

Have you picked up any new hobbies/habits during the pandemic?

What have you been up to lately?

The next chapter

It was new and exciting. She bubbled over with anticipation. Nothing was as it had been, everything was clear. She reveled in the novelty of it all, welcoming the flitting butterflies tumbling across her lungs. It was hard to breathe this close to him, but she did not for a moment consider taking a step back.

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I just finished Red Queen and in a nutshell, it is a good one. If you love young adult fantasy, you will enjoy this one. Think Hunger Games meets Divergent meets Avengers. Between the love triangle (or square?), superhero powers, social commentary, and plot twists, this book took me on a ride.

The main character, Mare, is a teenage girl who finds herself caught in the midst of a royal war bigger than she bargained for. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which leads into the 2nd book. Her family has very little so she grows up scrapping her way through life. I appreciate the social parallels with society; instead of skin color dividing races, it is blood color that divides them. The people with silver blood have all the privilege, whereas those with red blood have none. It is an interesting take on the tensions that are present in our society and culture today.

The characters seem well-developed, and the plot is quite interesting. However, is it just me or do teens in books/movies tend to act way too mature for their ages? Mare and her counterparts are around 15-17 years old, but somehow act like full grown adults, soldiers, spies, criminals, and killers. I mean can kids just be kids? This is how I feel every time I read one of these young adult fantasy books, but it could just be me.

So far so good with the series. I start book 2 tonight.

The man on the ladder

The little girl carefully tied a blue dish towel to her head, positioning it just so, pretending to flip her “long hair” over her shoulder. She wandered outside, feeling the sun warm her shoulders and bare feet.

“Hello?” She called, imagining a world filled with colorful bunnies and flying fairies. She peeked around the corner of the house, pretending to hide from imaginary bad guys.

“Hello!” A man’s voice pierced her make-believe world, startling her. The blue dish towel slipped off her head as she spun to see the source of the voice. A thin young man stood on a ladder, cleaning windows.

The little girl blinked up at him. A wave of embarrassment washed over her as she realized he must have seen her prancing about the lawn, bedecked in her dish towel hair and immersed in her imaginary world. He calmly continued washing the window pane, wiping with smooth, practiced swipes.

Back to school

Life as a university student was not what she expected. For starters, everyone was just so nice. The bursars lady, the resident assistant, the librarian. Everyone was bursting at the seams with niceness in a way Maureen had never experienced before in her life. She was accustomed to cold politeness, but this warmth? This was new. And so much eye contact. It was all a bit much. But she decided she could live with it, as it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

Maureen dressed quickly before her roommate returned. Sharing a tiny room with a stranger was not high on her list of favorite things, but she made it work. Her roommate was a wispy little thing from an affluent family, who wore nothing but bright prints and crop tops. Given that Maureen was carrying a few extra pounds, she was not keen on being seen undressed by her waifly instragram model of a roommate.

The neighborly

She glanced in the mirror on her way out the door, and almost did a double-take. The woman in the mirror was not someone she saw often. Her coiffed and glossy reflection gazed back from under curled lashes, skin fresh and dewy. Her normal messy bun was replaced by a sleek low ponytail, secured at the nape of her neck.

“Who dis?” she joked at the mirror, as she slung her keys up from the counter.

“Hey lil lady!” Mrs. Ramsen called, thumbing through envelopes retrieved from the mailbox. “Look at you all dolled up, you sure do clean up good.” Her sweet neighbor always had a compliment to give.

“Thank you ma’am,” she hopped into her car. “It sure does feel weird, but I gotta put my good face on for this interview.”

“Go get’em, girlie.” Mrs. Ramsen gave a supportive thumbs up. “I know they’ll be lucky to have ya!”

She smiled and waved, deeply thankful for her lovely neighbors.

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

Unpopular opinion alert… I did not enjoy this book. I am truly sorry to everyone who loved this book and recommended it to me. I feel the same way as when I couldn’t get into House of Cards or Game of Thrones when everyone else was obsessed. I just don’t get it the hype.

Honestly I don’t know what else to say about the book. I was really looking forward to reading it after seeing rave reviews everywhere. But it was not particularly memorable or noteworthy, in my opinion. I had a tough time getting through it, and I feel bad saying that I am not sure the effort was worthwhile.

The main character suffers from a mental illness (OCD) and I wanted so badly to love her and the book in general. I am just terribly sad that I could not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Although I didn’t have great luck with it, I hope you will at least give it a chance. Many people love this book, and I support any works that de-stigmatize and humanize mental illness.