Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits:: IV


Bought:: KEEP Collective
  • Jess hosted a KEEP Collective Social, and as hard as I tried, I just couldn't resist buying one of these fun bracelets! There were SO many options that I had such a hard time narrowing down what I exactly I wanted on my keeper.  Eventually I settled on the "live happy" tag with alternating arrows on either side. I'm going to use it as a reminder to be happy and focus on the good, no matter what direction life takes me.
Joined:: Galentine's Bestie Box
  • A couple of fellow IG-ers put together this fun bestie box swap for Valentine's Day and I didn't think twice about signing up! You are paired with a random bestie and then have a week or so to get to know them a little bit before putting together a bestie box full of goodies that you think they will like! I've been having so much fun putting my bestie box together and hope that my new bestie in Canada loves it!
Watched:: Sleeping with Other People
  • I had remembered seeing previews for this movie when it came out, and even included it in my Fall Movie Lineup last year. Unfortunately, I never got around to seeing it in theaters, so when a friend asked if I wanted to borrow it, I was eager to say yes. Overall, I didn't love the movie, but I'm glad I watched it.  I found some parts of it pretty funny and the actors did a good job, but for the most part, I thought it was just okay. 
Attended:: Step Class
  • Remember when I mentioned that I finally jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon? Well, my friend and I have been in a heated step competition this week, and I knew I had to step up my game in order to compete with her. Not only did I start attending step class again, but I also started taking walks during my lunch breaks. I think this work-week challenge is going to be one we have to repeat regularly!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Reading List


Lately I haven't been in the reading mood (which disappoints me), so I figured I'd put together a list of books to tackle this year. Although my goal is to finish 20 books in 2016, I'm keeping my list short for now since I know some will pop up throughout the year that I'll want to add.

Here's my current top 10 (in no particular order):

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
Synopsis: Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Synopsis:  Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life - boating, swimming , and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

Room by Emma Donaghue
Synopsis:  To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Synopsis: A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood
Synopsis:  Zoë and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong, and the last time Zoë sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoë flees with her life, changed forever. A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor lies in wait for Zoë. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Synopsis:  At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Synopsis: It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he's figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg's mom forces him to become friends wtih a girl who has cancer. This brings the destruction of Greg's entire life.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Synopsis:  College student Joe Talbert's task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he digs deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Synopsis:  As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can't actually visit the past -- all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. And hope he picks up. Because once Georgie realizes she has a magic phone that calls into the past, all she wants to do is make things right with her husband, Neal. Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over ...But does Georgie even want to start over?


What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Recap:: Ladies Nights



Friday::
It was a long week, so I was relieved to have a ladies night planned. The local church hosted a ladies bunco night which included craft booths, snacks, beer, and a lot of bunco! This was my first experience playing bunco, and I really enjoyed it! I'm a game-lover so I was sure I'd have a good time, but what I loved most was the fact that you bounced around from table to table mingling with new people. There were over 100 ladies who participated, so I met a lot of new faces! The craft booths were a hit as well! My personal favorite was the Three Sheep Shack booth. Look how cute their table was!

#ThreeSheepShack

Saturday:: 
My sister, mom, and I got my grandma tickets to see My Way: Sinatra's Life and Music at Capital City Players for Christmas. The performance was on Saturday so I got up and headed to my hometown for the show. The tickets included dinner, and you could bring your own drinks. We picked up my grandma (and a bottle of wine!) and drove to the show. We had front-row seats and the food was fantastic! It was prepared by Argyle Catering. If you live in the Jefferson City area, I definitely recommend them!

As far as the performance went, I was hoping it would be more of a play than it actually was. It was more of a tribute to Frank Sinatra and was primarily just the actors/actresses singing his songs. Overall, I thought it was good but not really up my alley. My mom and grandma loved it though, so that is what matters!

Sister selfie!

Sunday:: 
I woke up Sunday morning and went over to my sister's house to hang out with my nephew before going back home. I just love that little guy so much! I can't wait for baby #2 to be here (Feb. 17th)! On my way back through Jefferson City, I stopped at my favorite Mexican joint for lunch with one of my friends. We chit-chatted and ate far too much cheese dip! It was the perfect way to end my short weekend trip.

He's my favorite!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits:: III


Challenged:: 10k steps a day
  • I finally jumped on the Fitbit wagon last week and was shocked to see how few steps I take in a day! My friend is a nurse and she said she comes home from work with close to 10k steps per day. I came home from work with less than 3k. Whoa! I have some serious work to put in if I am going to continue to meet my goal of 10k a day. Spring jogging weather can't get here soon enough!
Sipped:: TrailBlazer Blonde Ale
  • It's been a long week at work, so a friend and I headed to Trailhead Brewing Co. to unwind for happy hour one night this week. I tried out their Trailblazer Blonde Ale and was a big fan of it. You can't beat a good beer with good company!
  • I originally bought this dress as an option for our trip to Vegas, but didn't end up needing it. I felt like it was just too cute to return, so I decided to keep it for an upcoming wedding in March!
Watched:: The Bachelor
  • Is anyone else watching this season of The Bachelor? I finally caught up on it this week, and I am just not very impressed. Is it just me or are all of these girls crazy?! I may or may not have looked up the winner on Reality Steve and she just so happens to be my favorite so far. I might stop watching for now and pick back up during the hometown dates.
Read:: What Alice Forgot
  • I read a bit of this book on our flight to and from Vegas, and am eager to see what happens! I'll be sure to post my thoughts on it when I finish!
Complained:: Traffic
  • You guys, traffic this week was awful. I mean, it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to work on both Wednesday AND Thursday! And then, to top it all off, my car broke down this morning on my way to work. Talk about the perfect end to a rough week. I've been trying to focus more on the good in life lately, and clearly this week was making it tough. But, I am fortunate that I wasn't in any of the accidents that caused the bad traffic, that I have a stable job to go to, and that I have the best boyfriend to come get me when my car leaves me stranded on the side of the road! Sometimes it's easy to only see the negative in situations, but life is a little bit sweeter when you focus on the good. Enjoy your weekend!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Instagram Lately

Time flies when you're having fun! Here we are nearing the end of January already, and I still feel like it should be Christmas! Since I haven't been blogging as frequently the past couple of months, I thought it would be fun to do a little bit of a recent picture recap. Here's a peek at what my winter has looked like so far via Instagram:



Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Viva Las Vegas!


A group of 16 of us went to Las Vegas to celebrate Michael's cousin's 30th birthday this past week. Even though our trip started off a little rough (Michael was sick), I still had a blast and Michael even came back a few dollars richer!

Here's a little recap of our adventure:

Thursday::
After a few hours of work in the morning, I made it home in time for Michael and I to head to the local bar (The Olney Tavern) to grab lunch and a beer to kickoff our vacation. After lunch we drove over to his brother and sister-in-laws to carpool with them to the airport. This is about when things went downhill for Michael. He started not feeling well, and had a miserable flight.

We arrived in Vegas around 6:30 and were greeted by a limo that took us to The Linq (our hotel). - talk about arriving in style! Once we got checked into the hotel, Michael called it a night and headed to bed. I was torn on whether I should stay in the room with him or go enjoy my first night. Ultimately, I decided to go join the others for dinner and drinks (I mean I was in Vegas, after all!).

We ate dinner at Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar which was located in our hotel. The waiter actually dropped my food on the floor as he was bringing it to the table (bummer!), but luckily Michael's brother ordered nachos that were HUGE. Rather than wait on them to remake my dinner, we decided to share the nachos and ended up barely putting a dent in them.

After dinner we explored the casino a little more, and ended up in O'Sheas where we sipped on a few drinks, did a little dancing, and played A LOT of beer pong with some new friends. After a few too many rounds, I decided it was time to call it a night and head back to the room.

We made it! 

Inside our limo!

Friday::
Michael woke me up around 7 to head down to the casino, but I needed a few more hours of sleep after the late night I had. When I finally got up and moving around 9, I went down to the casino to see how things were going. Michael was already up some money at this point (I swear he's the luckiest person I know) and was not leaving his blackjack table, so I tagged along with another couple to grab some breakfast.

After breakfast, most of us decided to walk around and do a little sightseeing, but not before stopping at Margaritaville to grab a drink first! We walked down to the Bellagio to see the fountains, but we missed the show, so we continued on.  Our expedition then led us to Planet Hollywood where we checked out a few of the shops before stopping for lunch at Cabo Wabo. By this point, Michael and I were ready for a nap, so we traveled back to the room for some rest before dinner.

Our dinner reservations were at 6:30 at Cut Las Vegas. It is a very fancy (and expensive) restaurant.  Places like this really aren't my kind of scene and I predicted before we left that I bet I wouldn't find anything I liked on the menu. Personally, I could have done without this part of the trip - I hate when I don't know what anything on the menu even is! I wasn't feeling up for a steak so I settled with a Caesar salad and side of macaroni and cheese since the waiter said it was phenomenal. It wasn't.

Finally, it was time for our club crawl! The boys left to go gamble, and all of us girls hopped on a party bus called MacDaddy. The bus costs us each $21 including unlimited alcohol...talk about a steal! Eventually, we were joined by a bachelor party, and the bus took us to three clubs and even stopped at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign for group pictures! We drank and danced the night away. To say we had a blast is an understatement!

When we got back to The Linq, we weren't quite ready for bed just yet, so we headed back to O'Sheas for some more drinks and dancing. I spent a couple hours at one of the War tables. I was up, then down, then back up, and finally walked away with....wait for it....nothing! Clearly, it was time for bed.

Group dinner at Cut
Apparently we looked like Noah and Allie from the Notebook....questionable...
Check ya later!
First stop of the night had an excellent view!
They even took us to the Las Vegas sign!
All of us girls ready to dance!
Free champagne....why not?!
We had fun!
Saturday::
Michael got up around 7 again to go gamble, and I stayed in bed until around 9 again. I ate breakfast and met up with the rest of the girls for a little more sightseeing while the boys went to watch some football. We finally got to see the Fountains of Bellagio and then went over to the Conservatory, before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for the evening.

Before dinner we rode the giant High Roller Ferris Wheel. It's highest point is 550 feet up, and it made for such a great view! We then voyaged downtown to Fremont Street to grab a bite to eat, do a little more gambling, and see a lights show.

By this point, everyone in our group was exhausted so we decided it was time to go back to our hotel. The boys played some more blackjack and I tested out a few slot machines with no luck. Most of our group called it a night before 10:30 p.m. I guess you could say Vegas got the best of us!

Just being tourist-y
Before the fountains show started
At the top of the High Roller Wheel
Check out that view!
Sunday::
We packed up and headed to the aiport for our 10 a.m. flight. We arrived back in STL around 3:30 and were home by 5. Michael and I were pretty useless at this point and didn't even bother unpacking.

The only downfall to our trip was that we didn't go see any shows. I think next time I'd rather go with a smaller group so I could have more say in the agenda, but overall I had an awesome trip. If you ask Michael, he will say that it was pretty lame, but that's because he missed out on a lot of the fun being sick. I can't wait to go back again when he is feeling better!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits:: II



Listened:: Jon Langston
  • A coworker and I were talking about music the other day, and he recommended that I check out Jon Langston. It only took one song for me to know that I was hooked! I have had him on repeat all week. My current favorites are Showtime, Party Boots, and  Southern Drawl.
Hosted:: Strategy Meeting
  • We had our annual Strategy Meeting at work this week. As I've mentioned before, my least favorite part of my job is the event planning so putting together this meeting that all of the corporate honchos would be at was a bit stressful. Luckily everything went smoothly and we had a blast playing demolition ball. If you haven't played before, I recommend you grab a group of friends and give it a try! 
  • *Spoiler alert* - Don't read any further if you don't want to hear how this movie ends. Obviously, Michael was in charge of picking what movie we went to see this time. I hadn't heard of The Hateful Eight, so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt going in. I was wrong. So wrong. This movie was awful, and even worse was the fact that it was three hours long! After seeing the ending, my exact thought was "all of that just for every single character in the movie to die...cool." I urge you not to waste your time or money on this movie. Even Michael said it was bad.
Celebrated:: Third Anniversary
  • Michael and I celebrated our third anniversary on Monday! I have a feeling year four is going to be one for the books!
Traveled:: Las Vegas!
  • We leave for Las Vegas tonight and I couldn't be more excited. Maybe we will come back a few dollars richer (wishful thinking)! Stay tuned for a full recap of our trip next week!
Sincerely,

Emily Ann

P.S. The image above is a snapshot of our backyard during last weekend's snow storm. I was a little annoyed the snow ruined my shopping plans, but it sure was pretty to look at.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Vegas Style

We leave for Vegas in two days and I'm still trying to figure out what to pack! I did a little shopping and outfit planning this past weekend but haven't made up my mind quite yet. Here are a few of my options:


My Lulu's order arrives tomorrow (just in the nick of time), so I'm eager to try all of it on to see if any of it will work for our trip!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stitch Fix:: V.4

I received my final Stitch Fix of 2015 on New Year's Eve. I'm a little late posting what my stylist sent for me to try, but here it is!


For those of you who don't know what Stitch Fix is, it's a personal styling service that shops for you and sends 5 items of clothing or accessories to your door, either monthly or on a date of your choosing. Personally, I receive my fixes quarterly. You can read a full review of my first three Stitch Fix deliveries here.

Since my latest fix arrived on New Year's Eve, I didn't have a chance to try everything on for a couple of days. Before I knew it, I had missed the 3-day timeline to return the items. Luckily, Stitch Fix was very understanding and allowed me a couple extra days to return the items I didn't want to keep rather than charging me for all of the items, which I was very grateful for.

Here's a look at the five items my stylist picked out for me:

Moon Collection Bailee Cowl Neck Knit Poncho
  • This was by far my favorite item. Ponchos are definitely one of the most popular trends this winter and up until now, I only had one in my wardrobe. I love the color of this one and had no hesitations keeping it. I've already worn it a couple times!

Skies are Blue Kynley Dress
  • I liked but didn't quite love this dress. The black dress they sent me in my last fix worked a lot better for me. As I mentioned before, I have a black dress that I like and don't really need another one so I returned this one as well.

Marlyn Schiff Linnes Chevron Cuff
  • This bracelet was cute, but huge on my wrist. Since jewelry isn't high on my wish list right now and the fit wasn't right, I returned it.


41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan/La Classe Couture Meagan Printed Fleece Legging
  • While I really like the color of this cardigan, it wasn't anything special to me. I have several similar cardigans, and didn't really feel the need to add another one to my wardrobe.  I decided to return this item.
  • I have never really been a fan of printed leggings, so I returned these as well. They were a great fit and the inside was so soft, but they were also very see-through. Here's a closer look at the pattern:
La Classe Couture Meagan Printed Fleece Legging

Overall, this wasn't my favorite Stitch Fix, but I do love that poncho!

On a completely personal level, I think what I enjoyed most about receiving this fix was that Michael had to help me capture the pictures. He has no idea what Stitch Fix is, but thought it was nice that my stylist "sent me a Christmas present" (insert tears of laughter emoji). He told me that he would be my photographer for 10 minutes and not a second longer, so I was scrambling to change outfits and get all the pictures I wanted in that 10 minute period. He also found it funny to snap "behind the scenes" pictures like this one (ignore the mound of scarves on the bed):


We will see if I can convince him to be my photographer again in the future. :)

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits:: I


Received:: Stitch Fix
  • I received my quarterly Stitch Fix last week! Stay tuned for a recap of what my stylist sent for me to try. You can check out my previous Stitch Fix reviews here.
Watched:: Making A Murderer
  • During our family Christmas, my dad recommended that I watch this show on Netflix. I was intrigued by his description of the show from the get-go.  Not long after, I started seeing a lot of hype about the show on social media, so of course I had to give in and watch. I started watching it last weekend and have already finished. If you haven't watched it, I definitely recommend that you do. It paints a picture of just how corrupt our legal system can be. While I'm not 100% convinced that Mr. Avery is innocent, I definitely don't believe he had a fair trial or that there was enough evidence to convict him without reasonable doubt. Have you watched? What do yo think?!
Attended:: Dart League
  • Michael and his friends play in a dart league every winter. I have always been curious what dart league entails so I tagged along this week. It was just what I suspected - a bar, a few beers, and several rounds of darts. Their team went 13-0 for the first time ever! (I must be their good luck charm.)
Shopped:: Outfits for Vegas
  • I'm going to Vegas next week and naturally I have no idea what to wear! Since this will be my first Vegas trip, I'm not sure what to expect which makes outfit planning a little tough. After browsing Pinterest, I found a few outfit inspirations for when I go shopping this weekend. I also ordered this jumpsuit and this dress from LuLu's as a backup plan in case I strike out this weekend. Gotta love free returns!
Sincerely,

Emily Ann

P.S. The forecast is calling for snow this weekend. It will be our second snow of the season, but possibly the first with accumulation. I plan to be snuggled up by the fire place when it hits on Saturday.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello 2016 :: January Lineup


December came and went quickly. To say I was seriously slacking on my blog posts is an understatement. Life was busy, and I could not find the motivation to put together any blog posts. Not to worry though, I am back in action!

What better way to start 2016 off than with my January lineup?! I'm looking forward to a lot of down time and a trip to Las Vegas!

  • Las Vegas!!!
    • Michael and I will be joining a group of friends and family in Vegas to celebrate his cousin's 30th birthday. I have never been to Vegas so my excitement level is through the roof! 
  • Ladies' Bunco Night
    • A local church group is hosting a game night + craft show. The game lover in me just couldn't pass up the chance to attend a ladies' game night for a good cause! 
  • Capital City Players 
    • My mom, sister, and I got my Grandma tickets to go to a dinner and show put on by the Capital City Players in Jefferson City later this month. My mom and Grandma have been to several of their shows, but this will be my first one. Can't wait to see what it is all about!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann
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