Bings's Burgers is a family owned establishment right at the beginning of the main road. It’s familiar to most who have been to the Sedona Cottonwood area. So much so that when my scrap booking ladies made a unanimous vote to eat lunch there.Read More
There’s not much to do during the summer here in Arizona, because it’s hot enough to make a normal pool a hot tub. So you stay inside a lot, going to the movies, or shopping. One thing I enjoy doing on the weekend, is submersing myself in a book to escape from the heat and the sorrows of summer. This summer I've already collected my books, buying them on audible and or in physical form. The physical books are sitting on my desk at home for me to see and pick up the next moment that I get. So let me show you what I plan on reading this summer.
My Summer Reading List:
The Circle by Dave Eggers
I was directed to this book through the movie trailers. Once I started looking up the book though, it seemed like something I’d fully enjoy. So I used one of my credits of Audible and downloaded it to my iPad.
Synopsis:When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.
As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.
Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. - GoodReads
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Everyone needs to have one of those books that makes you question everything about life and makes you sob uncontrollably. Sometimes, you just need a good cry. I’ve heard that this will do the trick.
Synopsis:My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. -GoodReads
The Martian by Andy Weir
I won’t lie… The Martian, starring Matt Damon is probably one of my favorite movies. I have seen it countless times and still enjoy every minute. I don’t know why but I just love it so much. However, I'm ashamed to acknowledge that I didn't know this was a book first… Now that I know, I have to read it!
Synopsis:Lauded author Andy Weir’s The Martian offers a gripping, inviting tale that partakes of young adult fiction and hard science fiction in a twist on the castaway rescue plot familiar from Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Hanks’s Castaway and many others. With its witty dialogue, exacting detail and not-too-improbable scenario, the book is an entertaining, engaging read likely to please not only the general public at which it is aimed, but also scholars of both young adult literature and science fiction and nascent scientists.
It relates the story of Mark Watney’s escape from being marooned on Mars. A member of the crew on the third living mission to Mars, Watney is struck in a storm when the mission formally aborts and must use his wits and the sharply limited physical resources available to him to make his way to a site from which he can be extracted. -Good Reads
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Okay I know this one is going to make me cry because I read the last couple of pages in the book….. Yea I cheated!! What are you going to do about it?! It is about a man and his dog Lily. There may or may not be hallucinations about the main character talking to Lily’s favorite Octopus toy… Weird I know, but it looked good.
Synopsis: Ted—a gay, single, struggling writer is stuck: unable to open himself up to intimacy except through the steadfast companionship of Lily, his elderly dachshund. When Lily’s health is compromised, Ted vows to save her by any means necessary. By turns hilarious and poignant, an adventure with spins into magic realism and beautifully evoked truths of loss and longing, Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.- GoodReads
So there you have it! A reading list that should last me until Game of Thrones is back on in July.
What is on your current reading list? Have any recommendations?
The truth is, I wasn't motivated enough to write more than a list of updates today. Maybe it's because I always have a ton to do at work on the first day of the month. Or maybe its because I spent 6 hours yesterday packing for the next 2 weeks of house sitting and my trip to Sedona. Either way, June is going to be rough.
Things that happened last month that may effect this month!
I'll be honest in saying that I feel slightly defeated this week. I'm pretty sure that it's the mass hysteria of having to move 25 cars this week alone and doing multiple jobs that aren't mine. Or it could be because I've got a lot of posts pending, but only a few scheduled. But I've got this sinking feeling that I'm going to be working on my two scheduled days off. Speaking of which, did you know that only 44% of Millennial Women take time off? I read this article on Huffington Post and started planning some more days off.
I did take some time in May to go to Vegas with my bestie, and now she is in Ireland. I'm proud and jealous of her at the same time. I really want to go back to Vegas though! It's seriously such a short drive from Phoenix, and you really can do a lot for a little.
I was off the cooking train there for a bit. It lasted a whole week or so, but now I'm back on. Especially since I'm at someone else's house for the next week and a half. But I'm super irritated that Hello Fresh isn't checking their packages for leaks! GAH! I mean last night it was Mr. Dominoes to the rescue, but for the most part I have been trying to behave.
Because I finally cleaned my room after 4 months of ignoring it... I found all of my YesTo Face masks!!!! I've been searching for them since I bought them over a month ago and finally figured out where I hid them. They may or may not have been in the spot they were supposed to be in...
I also found my MacBook cord that's been missing for a month!! And no this was no where near where it was supposed to be. In fact it was hiding in an area behind my desk that I didn't think to look in until last night. It's a good thing I found it too... I was starting to cave to the idea of buying a new one.
All of my friends younger siblings are getting engaged.... It makes me feel like an old, grey haired spinster who is going to end up single and alone forever. I have become Chandler Bing....
Posts that I managed to get done:
See why I could feel defeated here???
When I bought my camera I decided to go to events that would be perfect for different pictures. The first was Lantern Fest at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek. When I first came across it I thought that it had to be a sign. My favorite Disney Princess is Rapunzel, I needed to practice my night time photography, and it was during prime AZ weather season. Also, it involved my favorite desert... SMORES!
So here's a little bit about Lantern Fest.
There was a downside to this event though.Very few of my friends were going to make the hour and a half drive to Queen Creek. So I decided that I was okay with going solo. After all my main goal was to try and take some cool pictures. Little did I know that they would have a plethora of food trucks AND a beer and wine garden at Lantern Fest! After All, you do need subsistence during such an exciting event. So I grabbed a Peach Ale (before I realized you couldn’t leave the specific area) and some AH-MAZING Carne Asada Tacos.
Once I was done I found my perfect spot and started to set everything up. I wasn’t ready for the mass wave of emotion I had when it was time to start lighting the lanterns.
Like Rapunzel, I had a dream to see the floating lights.
And then someone almost caught me on fire with their lantern because they were being too hasty with releasing it. Let me tell you, flames hurtling at you from every direction is a little unnerving.
I started snapping pictures as all of the lanterns started floating up in the air. Trying to catch pictures of people lighting them and even helping a few ladies next to me light theirs. I was snapping away when I heard it, I heard lantern lighting moment playing over the stereo system.
And atlast I see the light, and it’s like the fog has lifted. And atlast I see the light and it’s like the sky is new.
My song! The song I had written on my lantern, the whole reason I was there. So I quickly lit my lantern, and the kind lady next to me sent it off so that I could take a picture of it floating away.
I felt like a goddamn Disney Princess.
I can’t wait to go again next year. Hopefully I can improve my photography skills before then.
About a week ago, my favorite person in AZ graduated from ASU. I mean this girl worked her ass off to get to graduation and did it in 3 1/2 years. Now since we both needed to blow off steam, we went to the one place were we could get trashed and no one would care.
Viva Las Vegas!
We started off at the Mirage at Center Bar and had a drink. Fancy, fancy drinks. We attempted to go to another bar, but one of us ended up losing our ID. No... it was not me. It was during this short lived trip that I learned that I do not walk well in heels. It was on that short walk across the planks of the Treasure Island round about that I walked the plank. And I bit the plank hard. Needless to say, I learned my lesson after that. Kudos to all you ladies who can wear them!
Also.... half of Sunday is really blurry....I know we saw Zumanity..... and drank... I'm being told I danced on a bar multiple times, thankfully there was no video evidence to support this.
Now being a terrible blogger I definitely did not take enough pictures of the strip or touristy things. That means I have to go back right??? I did however take a ton of photos of my booze though and a healthy number of selfies.
So i've decided that Vegas, no matter your account balance, is always a good idea.
A little bit ago, I wrote a post on my tattoo’s. This post then inspired a post from the wonderful Bri to talk about hers. In her post she had gone over how she got a new tattoo for her birthday every year. I was so enthralled with the idea of getting a new tattoo…. that I stole it.
Thank you Bri for unknowingly letting me steal your tradition.
Thankfully I have a gorgeous friend here in Phoenix that is a little tattoo crazed this year as I am. So when I sent her a text and said that I was getting one, she wanted to go too. So we started the conversations about what we were going to get, and as I looked around my office, I knew what mine was going to be.
There is no doubt that I’ve had an obsession with them. There are 3 wall art items in my office, there are 2 at my house, and then almost every blog title I have had for this site has had the word “and” in it. As I was doing some research on Pinterest to decide how I wanted my ampersand to look, I came across the meaning behind these tattoos.
An Ampersand is a marvelous symbol. It says “AND - I am not finished, there is more….”
I mean, while I love the meaning... I really do have a thing for ampersands. There is something about being able to add on to something with such a simple word or symbol. So I found the most abstract one I could find, with a little bit of Art Nouveau flare and made sure I had plenty of sizes to choose from.
On my actual birthday, I went down to The Golden Rule Tattoo, off of Camelback Road here in Phoenix, a total walk in and tested my luck to see if I could get in. Luckily enough kKat had some time open after an our or two so I was able to hit up my favorite book store.
When I came in everything was traced out and Kat was ready to work her magic. It took a total of 45-50 Minutes, if that. I won't lie, hurt like a B*tch, but my newest work is done! I just need a quick touch up to fill in a couple spots. I'm sorry that their aren't more pictures at the moment, Kat ended up being so quick that none of my friends were around until after the piece was done.
Well… I have officially made it through another 365 days. That was as of last week, if we want to get technical about it. I'd thought about posting this last week on my actual birthday, but then I really wanted to enjoy the day. I didn't want to feel obligated about logging on and making sure everything posted or replying to social media. So, I just didn't publish the post.
Let me just throw this out there, I really love my birthday.
I don't like throwing parties on my birthday, I'd rather spend it with my family or close friends. I don't like to make a huge deal about it, but when people acknowledge my birthday I do get excited. For the past 8 years I've had the great privilege of being taken out to lunch by my boss and spending a little time away from my desk. And if that were the only thing to happen on my birthday, I'd be happy. Let's be real when I say that I get excited about presents, but I also get very excited about getting cards in the mail. Is that weird?
Either way, there is something almost magical about birthdays. Maybe it's the fact that I still get carded when I order a glass of wine. Or that I did survive yet another year; but I always have the feeling that there is something bigger behind it.
Your 28th birthday though, seems really random though.
I feel like I'm just waiting to be 30 at this point, which is sad, because most people dread 30. You know, everyone is 29+ something. Here I am though sitting semi-patiently at 28, at my 10 year post high school mark, and feeling much too old, for being this damn young. Maybe, just maybe, all of my birthday wishes will come true this year. Or maybe any of my goals that get made this year, will actually be accomplished.
Keep an eye out for new posts on Thursday and Saturday for how I spent the rest of my b-day and an even more personal post.
I have some pretty big traveling plans this year. Sure I get a stipend to take a vacation from my job, but I have more than one place that I want to go to this year, including an already planned trip to Las Vegas. The one thing I never like to be out of while on vacation is money! I'm pretty sure most people don't, but rather than using my credit card for everything, I really want to have some extra spending money set aside. So I've started changing a few things with my routine to help save some extra dough.
Here are the 5 things I'm doing to save up Travel Money.
Cutting down on eating out.
This is my biggest problem, because sometimes I really just don't want to cook. Okay, most of the time I really don't want to cook. Lately, I've been spending money on food subscriptions like Hello Fresh and Meals and Go. When I look at the cost difference though, I'm actually saving money because I don't waste food. I also bought some basic things like PB&J and cereal and put them in the office. My coworkers have been helping me eat them, but I don't mind it!
Collecting all of the spare change at my house and sticking with my side hustles.
People in my household have a tendency to leave spare change around on top of the dryer or counters. You'd be really surprised by how much I find and some weeks are better than others. So I have a giant jug that I just put it in when I find it. It sits on the front bar in my house, so occasionally other people throw change in there as well. Not because they have to, but sometimes it's better than leaving it stranded in your purse or pockets.
I'm also sticking to house sitting for just a little bit longer. I was going to quit this year and slowly ween people off of being so dependent on me. Instead I am just blocking out times where I can stay home or travel. I still make some money, while having a balance to my life which is what I need. Half of what I make goes into an envelope for my bigger trips.
Pay everything off, every month.
Paying everything off right away also helps me to see what I have left over to put into my savings account. Sometimes it's $50 and sometimes it's $300, but it is a little more than I had before. I will toot my own horn by saying that I'm definitely pretty responsible when it comes to paying my bills on time. One thing I have really been working on is paying off my entire credit card when the statement comes. Not only does this improve my credit, but it also forces me to keep an eye on what I'm buying. I also use my rewards points from my credit card to buy things like movies or books that I consider splurges. Plus it makes me feel like a boss!
Shopping the sales.
If I do go shopping, I look at all of the adds first. I also look through my HR website and any deals that they may have. Turns out that I get points back for shopping at Ulta online from my employee website. Add in the mail coupons and rewards, and you can save a bunch of money shopping for your beauty products.
Using Digit to save money.
In December, I stumbled across a nifty little app that's called Digit. What happens is that when you sign up you link your checking account, and Digit pulls money out of your account for your each day. Now they don't just take random amounts. They analyze your spending and only pull what they think you won't miss. I have been using it for 4 months, and since then I have never been overdrawn. Better yet, I have saved $388.42 so far this year! That's going to be a nice little fund to go to Vegas with.
** I received an email on 04/11/17 that Digit was going to start charging a $2.99 monthly subscription fee. While this is not necessarily a deal breaker for me, it might be for some people.
What do you guys do to save money for traveling? Have you tried the envelope method? Does it work?
For those who want to know, let me start by saying this is not an ad and I am not being paid for this post. But it's really freaking convenient so I am going to give you the low down on Hello Fresh.
I have been back and forth about subscribing to food boxes for a while now. It's been one of those things where I justified not subscribing because I thought that I would just cook stuff at home. I mean what is the point of having a food board in Pinterest if your not going to cook any of it?! I guess that goes for the 20+ so food accounts that I follow on Instagram. Low and behold though, I found myself not cooking, rather eating fast food for almost every meal. It was crazy that I was willing to shell out $20 for 2 people a night for food. If I was willing to pay that much for crap, I could certainly afford $59.94 for 3 healthy meals a week from Hello Fresh.
Hello Fresh is the easiest way to cook dinner.
Hands down, the easiest way to prepare meals without wasting time to travel to the grocery store and buy food. The best part, at least to me is that I get the right amount of ingredients! No more overbuying or letting stuff go to waste in my fridge. Most if not all of the ingredients I need are in each box, the only thing not is your basic olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Let me walk you through how this all works.
First you receive a box at a door of your choosing, mine comes to work. All of the food is packaged in a cooler like pack, but in Arizona you definitely don't want it to sit out. Each meal is packaged up in a box, making it easy to just grab the ingredients for your box and cook.
They also come with these really cool recipe cards that are a thicker material that you can save and use again.
Last nights dinner was Sizzling Beef over Bok Choy and Jasmine rice.
Now I've never eaten Bok Choy before, but I thought hey why not give it a try. So I chopped the veggies up, Minced the garlic and Ginger, cooked some rice, and BAM sizzled some beef.
Here are some pro's and con's:
- No Grocery Shopping
- Easy, healthy portions
- You can choose from 6-7 different recipes.
- Delivered to your door
- You can't swap ingredients
- Can't filter out allergies. You can come pretty darn close with certain things like milk and gluten.
- Uses Onions for almost everything.
- Their tracking system is WONKY!
This dinner was great and now I'm looking forward to my next meal! Want $40 off your first box? Use this Referral Code and you can get $40 off your first delivery! Please know that I'll get $20 in credit too. But I have known a couple of people who order the first box to try it out and then cancel after that. Yes, the ordering and cancellation process are that easy.
Have you tried Hello Fresh before? What did you think?
I left it smack dab right next to the dog treats. While I wasn't thrilled about what I was bringing, I still didn't have other prospects so it was going to have to work. Well by now it's gone bad, the dogs have probably attempted to get at it because I have shifty little beasts, and I now have the choice of Yogurt or chips for lunch. Also, not that you really need to know this... but for the sake of transparency, my clean shirt smells really dirty... and I'm not 100% sure how that happens.
This is how my month has been.
It feels like all of March I was kind of just here. Not mentally present in my daily events, nor did I have the aspiration to do anything other than sleep, eat, or watch horrible mind numbing television. I know I just got a little too real, but if you felt like this too just know you weren't the only one.
I didn't blog.
I had so many freaking post ideas too, that in a perfect world would have gotten out. Perfect world being, that I could make blogging my full time job and didn't have to rely on a typical 9 to 5. No I don't get that pleasure just yet. Maybe when I write more than 2-4 posts a month I can quit my day job....
In case you missed the stuff I posted this month:
I've actually learned a thing or two.
I've been working on a personal goal of mine to learn Adobe Muse, which is going pretty well. I've been using lessons off of Lynda.com to go through each step at a time. Once you start them it is pretty easy just to go from lesson to lesson. You can also use the courses from Lynda to qualify for certifications. Right now I'm going through a Learning Path to become an AMA Professional Certified Marketer in Digital Marketing. It's pretty nifty I tell ya.
So I guess this post was to let you know that I was alive.... and that I really left my lunch on the coffee table. OY VEY!