What I Read: February 2017




1. Second Hand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell- I enjoy cozy mysteries and I also enjoy magic so I thought I would give this series a go. Basically you have a witch running a clothing store and lots of shenanigans, mix ups, and general spookiness occur.  I got this book on audio book and I think that might have been a bad choice. While I liked the narrator's southern accent a lot it was a bit distracting over all. Still the book was pleasant enough and while predictable I wasn't expecting it to be a hard core mystery in the first place. All in all it passed the time just fine.



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2. Mostly Void, Partially Stars by Joseph Fink, Jeffery Cranor- I love the podcast Welcome To Nightvale. It's strange, creepy, and utterly hilarious. I love the randomness of each episode that while they don't connect it all falls into place in the end. This book was the first few episodes along with the backstory of how each one was created. I loved seeing the creative process of how the episodes formed and how the characters came alive. This one is a pass if you aren't a fan of the podcast but if you have yet to dive into the world of Nightvale this book would be a great read along with it!
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3. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch- I admit I picked this one up because of the cover and the title. The cover reminded me of a Rainbow Rowell book and the title just appealed to me because I love Gelato and I love love. This book was cute. I liked the little mystery in it and I love the setting. It is geared toward a younger audience but if you like cutesy love stories set in foreign lands, you'll like this one. It did take a bit for this one to pick up however so if you can power through the first few chapters (about 50 pages) then you should be okay. Also I have no idea what is so strange about graveyards to people....maybe it is because we have lots around here and my husband even grew up next to one...it just doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother people.
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4. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman- I adore mythology. I took three years of it in high school and two more in college. I powered through so many books on myths and legends that my local library ran out of material for me. So when I see a book about mythology I get really excited. When I see that the author is an author that I also adore? Yep. Sold. I picked this one up on Audible and was happy to learn that Neil Gaiman is also the narrator of the stories. This book was a quick one but I loved the way that Gaiman retold the old tales of Norse mythology. He brought to life the characters and made the stories as true and real as possible to the original tellings that were only told by word of mouth. I appreciated all the work that he put in to making this as authentic as possible. I really great read and would recommend to anyone with any interest in myths and legends of the Norse culture! 
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That's it for me this month! Be sure to join the linkup!
Life According to Steph

#NotDead



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Oh hi there. 

Yeah so it's been a hot minute since I've been here. Basically after we got sick, we got sick again,, and then life happened and I got busy and I had other big things happening and then suddenly boom...here it is weeks later and I haven't blogged, commented, or even read any other blogs. I finally cleared out my Bloglovin list to just the posts from the past few days and I will catch up with you all via those but if it happened a week ago I apologize but I missed it. My anxiety was spiking each time I saw my feed and so I had to do something. It's all about balance. 

Anyhow now that I am back again I thought I would share with you some images from the weekend. Nice and simple post to ease back into the swing of things. 

Here we go: 

Saturday: The weather was absolutely gorgeous and so we decided to go to the zoo. It was the perfect day, sunny and cool and not overly busy. Kyra had a great time. I love how excited she gets about all the animals! 
She looks so excited. LOL



Deep conversations with this sheep.

She was showing me Dory and Nemo







So happy to see the giraffe. Also I think Robert was bribing her with  a pretzel so she would say cheese.



Sunday: It was actually a pretty rainy and dreary day but Robert decided he would have a daddy/daughter day with Kyra and so my brother and I went out Pokemon hunting. Yeah we are adults who play Pokemon. #sorrynotsorry We actually had a really great time and caught some awesome ones. Loving the fact that Gen 2 is out! 
I was so excited to finally hit 25. It's hard to find Pokemon near my house since we live out in the country.


Monday has been a big catch up day for me. Two days of slacking means that there was a lot to get done today but I managed to power through and get most of my chores done before noon. It's amazing what gets done when you put on some good music and just make it happen! There is something going on with my washing machine but I am just trying to block it out for the moment. I cannot deal with that issue at the moment. 

So now I am going to try and attempt to catch up on all your blogs and possibly write a few more posts for the week. Wish me luck! 

Have a great Monday everyone.

Confessions: Back to Life


Well I confess that blogging on a schedule went out the window. We came down with an awful sickness. I mean it was terrible. We were all down and out for a week and we still have a bit of the cough lingering. Also by down I mean DOWN. We spent the entire time in bed, coughing and aching and miserable. I wouldn't wish this sickness on anyone. 

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I confess that during the time I was down I spent a large chunk of time watching YouTube and found one channel that I was obsessed with, FACTS. Basically it is Irish people trying things and it sounds boring but it is HILARIOUS. 



I confess our Valentine's Day consisted of getting Kyra a gift, giving each other some hilarious but simple cards, and eating Taco Bell. #notsorry #itwasamazing 
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I confess we did go out for Chinese on Monday night instead because guess what? No crowds on the day before Valentines. #notapeopleperson 
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I confess that I though about blogging a LOT during my sickness and kept meaning to bring my laptop to the bed and type while I sat there in misery but honestly I just felt so completely shite that I never did it. 
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I confess that I've been debating changing up the blog layout lately as well. I like this layout but I feel like it's really impersonal and just kind of ....blah? I dunno, maybe I'm just ready for a change. 
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That's it for today. Hope you all are having a good one and if not well, at least it is Wednesday.

What I Read: January 2017


So happy that it is the BEST DAY of the month Book Linkup Day! Also Happy Valentine's Day.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf- This book was simply awesome. Suspenseful and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Seriously this book was so surprising and totally different from anything that I have read before. It can be a pretty graphic at times so if you are particularly squeamish when it comes to murder you might give this one a pass. However if , like myself, you are intrigued by murder mysteries and a sometimes slasher-esque feel then you will really enjoy this book. I would love to write more about it but I don't want to give any spoilers! 
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The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike- I really wanted to like this one but honestly I just never got into it. The suspense was okay but I felt like it just kept dragging on and on and found myself putting it down a lot. That is never a good sign and it is worse when the book is supposed to be a horror book. Something might have been lost in translation with this one but for me it just was a no go.
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Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate- I have loved Applegate's work since I was a kid and I was really excited when I saw she had some new books out while I was browsing at Target. I immediately put two of them on hold and this was the first of the two that came in. I really liked this story and it deals with some tough subject matter for kids. Now I find kid narrators can be a little irritating but this book is very fast paced and I never got bored or tired of the narrator. I love the whimsical style that this book has and I even found myself crying at the end. If you are into Juvenile Fiction or if you have kiddos that are that age this is a great read!

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate- I am so glad that I got this one AFTER Crenshaw. Not because it was bad,actually  just the opposite. I feel like I would have liked Crenshaw less after reading this one but only because this one was BRILLIANT. This book made me laugh out loud, cry, and feel ALL THE FEELS. The narrator is a gorilla named Ivan who lives in a shopping mall that doubles as a circus. Ivan is one of the most wonderful narrators that I have ever read. Actually I listened to this one an audio book and then immediately bought it on Audible so I could have it to listen to again and again. I can't wait for Kyra to be old enough to listen along with me some day. Yes this book is that good. I would recommend it to everyone but again if you like juvenile fiction or have kids...this book is a MUST.

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman - Another horror novel and it was GOOD. This book did a great job of making me feel uncomfortable and worried pretty much the entire time. At times it felt like watching an episode of the Walking Dead (no there are no zombies so don't let that put you off) because I just felt so helpless and I really wanted to help the characters. I was so nervous the entire time that I couldn't put the book down, a really great read and a pleasant surprise since I was not sure going in what to expect at all! I recommend for anyone that loves a good horror/ghost story! 

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Be sure to share your reads in the linkup! 

Life According to Steph

February Goals



I am just doing a Top 3 for my goals this month because I tend to jump into too much at once and it always ends in disaster. So this month I am just going to focus on these three things and hopefully it will all turn out awesome!

1. Work on being more active on blogging/commenting/ "healthy" social media- I have really been slacking on blogging and that has been because I've been really debating on whether or not I want to continue. However I was sitting here staring at the computer screen one day and I thought about how much I really was missing blogging and how it makes me so happy when my regulars comment. I am not a big blog but I feel the love from my loyal readers and I want to start making more of an effort to give you all something quality to read.  Also I want to be more active on like Instagram and SnapChat in a "healthy" way. Meaning I want to post things that lift people up, that motivate people to be the best version of themselves. That are fun and happy. I'm done with negativity and I refuse to let the world break me down. I will continue to rise.  Facebook will get the occasional post but honestly I am pretty much done with it. It's such an angry place and it makes me feel rage each time I see my news feed and the hate that is being spewed there. I can't unfollow everyone, but I can just avoid the platform all together!

2. Cut down on screen time- I realize that that may seem counterproductive to my above goal of blogging and stuff but what I mean here is that I want to start setting aside more times where there is no screen involved in my or Kyra's activity. We have our reading hour and story time at the library but I want more evening playtime that doesn't always involve the TV, phone, or iPad. 


2. Organize my basement room- It kind of became a catch all after the holidays and I am now officially tired of just shifting things from one spot to another. Time for a clean, purge, and reorganize. 


What are your goals for the month? Anyone else done with Facebook? 

Confessions: Um Bye January....



I confess I am overly happy at the above image. It's so tropical and fun. Sure it doesn't really have anything to do with confessions but I still really like it!  

I confess that I was both surprised and a little relieved when I remembered that today was the first of February. It's been a topsy turvy month and while I don't think that it will get all that much better just because it is now February I'm still relieved.
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I confess that this past weekend turned out to be so much more fun than I could have expected. It was all unplanned and maybe that was why it was so amazing.

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I confess this is exactly my life. I have a huge stack of "To be Read".
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I confess that I have thrown my knitting needles down more times than I can count this week out of frustration. WHY IS DOUBLE KNITTING SO HARD?!

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I confess I usually respond to comments using the voice translate on my phone because I am lazy. #sorrynotsorry #somanyautocorrectfails

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So what are you confessing today?


Add it to my List aka My Faves for January




Skin Care:

Garnier Micellar Water- I love this stuff. Not only does it take off stubborn eye makeup but it is refreshing enough for when you just want to wipe the day off your face. Super inexpensive and there are coupons all the time for it. I use it daily!

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Fresh Soy Face Cleanser- I got this in a sample size and now I am hooked. It does have a scent but the scent is cucumber and therefore not overly strong. However I do notice so if you are sensitive to smells or hate cucumber you might not like it. Anyhow it is really gentle on the skin and makes my skin look brighter when I use it.


Foreo- I actually got this in a gift set from Sephora and I honestly didn't think I would really use it that much as I already have a Clarisonic. However I love this little guy! It is perfect for when you are traveling and something about the vibrations honestly does make my skin feel and look so much better! It is pricey if you are looking to get the bigger version but I have to say this little mini one does the trick for me.


Tony Moly Panda Eye Masks- I adore sheet masks. I use them all the time and when I got these little eye masks I was so eager to use them! They are so relaxing on your eyes and have a definite cooling effect. Perfect if your eyes are prone to puffiness.




Makeup:

Dose of Colors Palette- I use this palette so much more than I think I even thought I would. The colors may not be something that most people would wear on an average day but I really enjoy the different amount of looks I can get from this palette! Great quality but like most palettes a bit pricey.

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Nyx Soft Matte Creams- Now these are inexpensive but absolutely high quality! I have at least four different shades of this in my purse at all times. They are creamy and set so well and last all day long!

Buxom Mascara- This is a mascara if you are looking for VOLUME. My lashes are fairly long but when I put this mascara on I get that va va voom volume that makes it possible to not wear false lashes which I suck at applying.


Loreal Infallible Pro-Matte- My every day foundation. Ride or Die.


Milani Conceal and Perfect- I use this just to conceal under my eyes but have used it as a full foundation on days that I want an entirely new face. Inexpensive and super full coverage.

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Kandee Johnson Sinful Colors Polishes- Adore Kandee Johnson. Love Sinful colors. (They are only .99) The matte colors in this collection are just gorgeous. Strawberry Milk and Mint Chip are my favorites. 

Extras:

SPLIT- Saw this movie on Sunday. Now M. Night can be a bit of a hit or miss for me but THIS MOVIE. Crazy. Brilliant. So well done. James McAvoy is PHENOMENAL.
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Lipton Black Vanilla Tea- I love this stuff. It's becoming a problem.
Lipton Tea Rich Black Tea Vanilla K-Cups 24ct

Phone Tripod- A Christmas present that I now use daily. I love having my phone propped up while I get a recipe off of it or if I am watching YouTube. It also has a remote for taking hands free pics.


Bluetooth Headphone- Another Christmas gift. These are the BOMB. No wires while working out or if I am listening to an audio book while ignoring children's television! 
LG Electronics Tone Ultra HBS-810 Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headset - Retail Packaging - Black
Topless Baker on Youtube- He's a shirtless, British, adorable guy that makes amazing desserts. Seriously. 

Girls Girls Podcast- HILARIOUS. Brittany Gibbons of Fat Girl Walking is the host with her friend Meredith and I have nearly fallen over while listening because I was laughing so hard. Warning however NSFW. 

Whew! That ended up being a lot longer a list than I intended! What's on your list? Join the linkup and share! 
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