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    Life Lately, Recent Reads

    What I Read: July & August

    Hello hello! For those of you that don’t read/aren’t looking for new books to get into you may want to just breeze on past this post. You may be more interested in my house projects or fantasy football experience thus far. But, for those of you bookworms, I’ve got a TON of great (and some not so great) books for you to check out:

    Faithful Place

    3.5 out of 5

    Out of all of Tana French’s book this has been my least favorite so far but I still enjoyed it for the most part. Frank Mackey was 19 when he decided he was ready to leave his home and head to London with the girl he loved. They had planned to meet at The Faithful Place at midnight to set out on their new future. Except, Rosie didn’t show. Now, 20 years later, her suitcase is found from the night she was supposed to leave with Frank.

    No one knows what happened to her, yet. But Frank is thrust back to his childhood home and learns quickly his family isn’t all who he thought they were.

    Confess

    5 out of 5

    Colleen Hoover is likely one of my most favorite author’s ever. All of her books so far that I’ve read have been fantastic. This book is about a girl named Auburn who’s life is literally in shambles. She is desperately trying to restore and repair her life and goes out looking for a job where she meets Owen. Owen owns his own art studio where he allows for people to write confessions on a piece of paper and he paints what there confession looks like.

    Auburn quickly realizes that in order to restore her own life and gain back that which she so longingly misses she will have to let go of Owen and cut him out of her life.

    The Dry

    3.5 out of 5

    This was a so-so okay book. Not too boring but also didn’t move fast enough for me (if you can’t tell I love a good quick paced book that keeps me on the edge the entire time). This book centers around federal agent Aaron Folk. Aaron is summoned back to his hometown after being gone for decades after his childhood best friend, Luke, ends up dead. It just so happens that 20 years ago, Aaron was accused of murder but Luke was Aaron’s alibi.

    During the worst drought of the century, Aaron and the town detective set out to figure out what happened to Luke. What they find out shocks the entire town.

    What She Saw

    1 out of 5

    Literally one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I ended up just skimming the end of the book because I just couldn’t deal with this author/plot any longer. This book was setup to be so good. It’s about this lady, Lana, who takes a trip to Paris against her husband’s wishes for an art show. She is staying in a very posh hotel that has an entire elevator only dedicated to those with the correct “key card.” Her curiosity gets the best of her and she decides to slip into the elevator when she sees her chance. When she gets off the elevator she finds a horrifying scene of a man and woman before her.

    Seriously do not even waste your time on this one it was so weird/bizarre/left WAY too many things up to question/not worth your time.

    Not A Sound

    5 out of 5

    This was my first Heather Gudenkauf novel and it did not disappoint. This book is all about a nurse named Amelia who after a tragic accident loses her hearing. She doesn’t just loose her hearing though. She loses her job, husband, step daughter, and life she once knew. Two years after the accident she is working to restore her life with her hearing dog, Stitch. That is, until one day she comes across the body of a fellow nurse she once knew and worked with.

    Amelia is determined to find out what happened to her friend and fellow nurse despite the danger she seems to put herself in. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was SO good people.

    Maybe Someday

    4.5 out of 5

    While this has been my least favorite Colleen Hoover book so far, it was still great and I still ended up bawling like a baby at the end. This book is about a college girl named Sydney who’s life seems to be going pretty well so far. She has her long term boyfriend, a great roommate, a job she enjoys, and overall a great life. Until she finds out that her boyfriend and her roommate are sleeping together.

    Sydney finds herself homeless, hurt, and confused all during the most important day for anyone, really, her birthday. Little did she know that a sweet neighbor, Ridge, would take her in when she needed help the most. Ridge and Sydney soon find that their attraction for each other begins to take over. This one was a typical “couldn’t put it down have to know what’s going to happen stay up late even though you gotta work tomorrow morning” sort of book. Worth the read for sure.

    Into the Water

    5 out of 5

    This book is told in a few different people’s perspective’s but it is so good. So so good. The main story line is about a single mother who turns up dead at the bottom of a river that runs through town. This woman has always loved the river, the stories of people who have died in the river and so on so it surprises her daughter and sister when she turns up dead in it.

    We go back through history while two local cops work to find out what really happened. This is one of those books where you think you know who did it and then you are totally taken aback. You literally find out at the veryyyyyy end who actually did it and it shocked me. Literally I finished and was like WAIT WHAT?! It’s a good one folks, definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already.

     

    Overall this month here’s what you should read:

    Confess

    Not a Sound

    Into the Water

    If you have time read:

    The Dry

    Faithful Place

    Don’t read and definitely skip out on:

    What She Saw

    Life Lately

    My thoughts on fantasy football

    This is my first year experiencing the thrill of Fantasy Football. A few months ago, we began watching a show on Amazon called “All or Nothing” and it featured the Arizona Cardinals 2015-2016 season and I fell in love with this show. Literally. I loved watching the behind the scenes of the players, learning about who they are as a person, seeing them at their house with their family and then practicing on the field it was so interesting to me.

    The next season was the Rams 2016-2017 season and it. was. awful. right up until they fired Jeff Fisher. Then it got a little better.

    Anyways, needless to say- I am into NFL football now and decided to get a fantasy league together through work.

    Our draft was last week and I was feeling ALL THE FEELS for this experience. There were 14 people in my league and I was desperate to get my favorite player ever, David Johnson. It just so happens he is everyone and their mother’s favorite player this year. But can I just note that I loved him his rookie year in All or Nothing and that his wife and baby are the cutest ever. I’m the truest of the true fan, guys.

    Back to the draft.

    I got home on Wednesday night, made dinner, and sat down ready for the draft. It’s a random pick so I didn’t find out what pick I was until right before the draft. I was praying I wasn’t last so I’d have a chance at getting David Johnson or at least Odell Beckham Jr.

    Wanna know what pick I was?

    Last.

    Dead. Last. Wanna know who was available at the last pick?

    NO ONE I’VE EVER HEARD OF. Except my other boy Larry Fitzgerald. Jokes on all of you people who think he’s “old” he’s not. HE’S NOT OKAY!?

    I’ve got players with quite a long streak in the NFL like my boy mentioned above and recent come back Marshawn Lynch and people that I have no idea anything about like the rest of my team.

    I ended up with the Texans defense thanks to Matt encouraging me that they were going to have an awesome year. Like a dutiful wife, I listened, and did what he said.

    Do you want to know who played horrible on Sunday?

    The Texans. Specifically their defense. Yay me.

    Anyways, after our first match up game this past week I am pumped and learning and determined to prove to everyone at work that Larry Fitzgerald is the best ever. How can you not be a fan of him. Literally how?

    Here’s a quick look at my lineup:

    QB’s: Tyrod Taylor (Bills) & Phillip Rivers (Chargers)

    RB’s: Demarco Murray (Titans), Marshawn Lynch (Raiders), Eddie Lacy (Seahawks)

    WR’s: T.Y. Hilton (Colts), Larry Fitzgerald favorite ever (Cardinals), J.J. Nelson (Cardinals), and Breshad Perriman (Ravens), Robby Anderson (Jets)

    TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz (Jaguars), O.J. Howard (Buccaneers)

    Flex: Paul Perkins (Giants)

    Defense: Texans

    Kicker: Matt Prater (Lions)

    *I have just placed a trade to get Jesse James for tightend since it looks like C.J. Fiedorowicz is questionable with a concussion etc. We’ll see if this is a good choice or not in a few weeks.

    **I also am going to need to pick up another defense and kicker (not only because I was V unimpressed with the Texans this weekend) but also because they both have a bye week week 7.

    Obviously I’ll keep you all posted on how things to over the next few weeks. You’re in this with me whether I win or lose.

    From one person who used to literally not care at all about NFL football to someone who is now highly invested I hope you’re enjoying this new 2017-2018 season, I know I am.

    If you’re playing fantasy, may the odds be ever in your favor.

    Unless you’re playing me.

    Then I hope they are not.

    I will destroy you (even with my old/never heard of before team).

    Our Home

    How We Save Money on Home Projects

    If you’re new around here you may not know that me and the Mr. and big on DIY projects. Being that we are on a somewhat tight budget and have #bills we try to do as much DIY as possible to save money on our home. I am someone who will literally all of the sudden think of a project I want to do and will want to do it immediately. My poor husband. But that’s just how I am.

    Because of that, I’ve done a ton of research since we bought our house last year to do all the DIY projects. Many things I want to do or have done are things like painting, updating trim, shiplap walls, putting in shelves, the usual things that general handyman charge a leg and an arm for. Because of this, I’ve learned how to save a ton of money on our home.

    Paint

    I have made it a point to do my own painting in our home. Painters are expensive (#amiright). Sure, they may get every paint job 100% perfect while I’m like 95%ishhhh accurate on things (Trim is hard to paint friends…) but simply buying the paint and then putting in my own couple hours to do the work saves us so. much. money.

    We sanded and painted (and officially sealed as of this weekend) our own cabinets and saved soooo much money. Sure, it took like 4 days and was a nightmare but we LOVE how much of a difference this made. Plus this entire project only cost us about $50 (1 gallon of iconic white by sherwin williams and I did the bottom cabinets on 2 sample containers of a custom blend of valspar that I have no idea what the color was + primer = done project).

    Wood

    It’s no surprise to many that most of our projects in our home Matt creates with reclaimed wood. We are so blessed to have reclaimed wood from my dad and we have used it for so many home projects. *And by WE I mean Matt has made it with my insistence*

    For example, our mantle, barn door, bench’s, shelving (in multiple rooms), and really any wood in our house came straight from a reclaimed barn into my home.

     

    Shelves and door both reclaimed wood

    Bench, mantle, and ladder all reclaimed wood projects.

    Even if you’re buying wood – you can find good wood for reasonably priced. I personally think that Home Depot is a bit cheaper than Lowes if you have a good one near you. Go check them out or just call Matt and have him make you whatever you’re looking for 🙂

    Know the Deals

    There are many things I quickly learned when we were starting and updating our home. The first was that if I wanted to do these projects in my home (on my own/with Matt’s help) I was going to need to know the deals and how to get the itmes for a good price.

    1.The first deal I found out about was that Lowes and Home depot will cut wood FOR YOU!!!! FOR FREE. Yes friends. For real.

    I’ve ship-lapped two rooms and wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of Lowes & Home Depot. They cut all the boards for me (especially seeing as I’m not using the table saw ever with Matt’s accident) and all I had to do was nail it into the wall and paint it. THAT’S IT. Literally so easy and awesome.

    2. The next deal you have to know about it when paint goes on sale. Paint is on sale a LOTat Lowe’s and they also normally have rebate’s going on as well so you can get $10 back or so. CHECK THOSE DEALS FRIENDS. Not only can you save by painting yourself but also through the paint itself.

    I’ve also heard a rumor that Lowes will price match if you find something cheaper online. I’ve never tried this myself but I did hear through the grapevine that they do price match (not sure if this is a fact or not though).

    Focus on the Lights

    There are many rooms that can be totally transformed once you change up the lighting in them. If you have a homegoods near you don’t walk, don’t run, drive as fast as you can there and check out their lighting. They have some super cool light fixtures and lamps that can totally transform any room.

    The best part?

    Homegoods, At Home, and even World Market have super reasonable prices for light fixtures. I almost bought a new fixture for our laundry room that was only $50 but I walked away from it BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME in our laundry room. I’m going back one of these days I’m just not exactly sure when because lighting = everything.

    Shop at the Best of the Best in Home Decor

    If you read that statement above and didn’t immediately think “Hobby Lobby” you are doing it wrong. They have THE BEST sales. Like 50%-75% off the most wonderful things that you just neeeeeeed for your home regularly.

    Next: Local antique/thrift stores. There is a vintage store called Vintage Keepers right up the road from our house that is owned by the most precious older couple that has the best stuff for the best price. The washboard in my laundry room below came from there for $12!!!!!!! I can’t make this up friends.

    I’ve been really good lately on not spending money on things I don’t need (i.e. not going to Hobby Lobby, Homegoods, World Market, etc. on the weekends) but I have a long list of things I do want and am keeping an eye on when they go on sale.

    Some of my other favorites include: Ross (yep), Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, Michaels, Kirklands and my online go-to’s are Wayfair and Overstock.

    Beat the System

    It may sound crazy but places like Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill have some awesome pieces of art for such good prices.  I have a couple rooms in my house that I am creating “themes” through art work in.

    Laundry room/downstairs bathroom: Floral prints and flowers. I’m re-doing our bathroom downstairs and on the hunt for 3 smaller pieces of art that I can paint the frame of to go with the theme of our laundry room. Updates on that to come.

    Library/Office upstairs: Cows & books because duh. I found the most awesome cow print at Kirklands that you can see here (but it’s not available online right now) and I got it for $25 instead of $70 #steal.  A few weeks ago I found another cow painting for $10 and knew I was going to make this room cow themed and book themed. I have a couple ideas on things I want to do in this room still but here’s the most recent update of one side of the room.

    Kitchen has fruits, roosters, and encouragement in this room. Most all the paintings from this came from my parents or habitat for humanity- big steals my friend.

    The point is, finding cool art and adding more of your “style” to your home can be done for a reasonable price by finding ideas you like online and then doing a bit of DIY to spice those pieces up a bit more to go with the rest of your room.

    Do your Research

    We recently attempted and successfully (for the most part) fixed our own broken water pipe in our home. This would have been awesome had our water bill not been $700 and requiring proof of an actual fix in the issue (see all about that here).

    Regardless, the only reason we were able to attempt to fix it and save literally thousands of dollars and have water is because Matt did his research and spent hours on youtube and looking up the supplies and items we would need to fix this.

    So many things in our home are DIY that have been trial and error and have also been the most fun to do in our home. We’ve saved a lot of money to use on other things but are still able to create a home we love and enjoy together in the process.

    What Do you Do to Save Money on your Home?

    Life Lately, Our Home

    New Homeowner Probs: Plumbing Edition

    Before getting into today’s post can we just all talk about the fact that we are basically done with summer?! This year is flying by. The weeks are flying by, weekends fly by even faster, and before I know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and then, hello 2018.

    A few weeks ago was one for the books. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen the beginning of a nightmare break out on a random Thursday night. Matt and I left work on Thursday night around 5:30 and pulled into our driveway a little after 6:00. It was a hot beautiful day here in the Carolina’s but when we pulled into our driveway I noticed that our sidewalk had a ton of water on it. I couldn’t remember it raining so it was definitely intriguing to say the least.

    When Matt and I got out of the car we looked to see where the water was coming from and noticed a large puddle of flowing water literally coming out of the ground. The water was coming from the corner of our garage/house and we had 0 sources of water around there (no bathroom, laundry room, etc.) We looked all over and realized that we have no solution to this issue and decided the best option was to obviously call a plumber.

    It took a few hours for the plumber to arrive but I will say major shout out to Roto Rooter because they have 24/7 emergency services FOR FREEEEE. Friends, I help project manage websites for small business owners (lots of plumbers) and NONE of them do this. This is huge.

    Anyways, the plumber arrived around 9:00 that night and let us know that we had a main water line break. She explained that this was a common issue that they deal with pretty regularly and that she could have someone out first thing tomorrow to get it fixed. And then she said the price and I almost died. To fix our broken water line it would cost between $1,700-$3,000 depending on how deep they would have to dig, and depending on the parts they may have to order. HOLD THE PHONE.

    So, it was Thursday night at 9:00 and I was just told that I had a main water break and that it would be a small fortune to get fixed.

    I quickly thought back to July when I needed to file a warranty claim for a leak we had inside with our master bathroom. When I called to file the claim, the lady told me all about exterior sewer and water line warranties and how I should really just pay the $15/month because issues like this can cost thousands. Friends, I let this lady talk me into it 3 times saying no each time. AND THEN I said okay fine that sounds good just do it.

    But you know what I didn’t know when I called them to tell them and thank them that they pushed me into purchasing this warranty for the year?

    That it takes 30 days to kick in. Guess what day we were on when our main water line broke? Day 21.

    Our options were a) break the bank and go ahead and pay for everything the next day to be fixed or b) shut the water off until the warranty kicks in and go stay at my parents lake house. I went ahead and had the plumber shut the water off for the night before leaving while we thought about our options.

    We were thankfully off work that Friday for a nice day off and had some time to think about what we were going to do. We decided we were going to stay at our house until that Saturday night to determine what we wanted to do.

    Once Saturday rolled around we decided to start digging and find the source of the leak. We (and by we I mean Matt) dug and kept digging until we FINALLY found the pipe. Once we found the pipe we were pretty much assuming the hole would be pretty evident and not hard to see.

    We turned the water back on to see if we could see where the water was coming from.

    YOU GUYS IT WAS THE TINIEST HOLE EVER.

    We almost spent SO MUCH MONEY on that tiny tear. THE SMALLEST TEAR GUYS.

    Once we found the tear, we called my brother in law Chris who has fixed his own water line that has been torn/broken before as well. He came over and Matt and Chris got to work on replacing the pipe.

    After a few hours and a few hiccups we FINALLY got everything fixed!!! AND PEOPLE WE HAVE WATER RUNNING AND A FIXED PIPE!

    But then we took a look closer.

    And we noticed that the copper pipe going into the house seemed to have a continuous drip going on…

    We decided to let this go for now and just roll with it. I mean how much could a slightly dripping water drop really affect our water bill?

    We left the hole undug and pipe exposed for the next week while we figured out how to fix the copper pipe.

    Then a week ago, I got our water bill.

    Let me start off by saying that our water bill is typically around 50 bucks max a month. But not this time.

    This time I opened up our Charlotte water account to a $700 BILL FOR THIS WATER PIPE. I literally almost lost it in the office at work when I saw that and had a mild meltdown.

    I called Charlotte Water and explained the situation to them. The nicest people explained to me that it was no problem at all and they could tell that this was not usual for the past year that we had been living there. They then explained that all I had to do was fax them the bill of the plumbing company fixing the water pipe and they would waive the $700.

    Well……………….. turns out your husband fixing the issue for you isn’t enough “proof” in their eyes.

    I remembered the home warranty and realized that we were on DAY 32 HALLELUJIAH and immediately called them to tell them that I had a main waterline break and that I knew it because of my $700 bill/the fact that we had dug it up and saw it (you see the copper pipe leak was still dripping at this point).

    Our warranty company was fantastic and sent someone out that day to fix the entire pipe. They may have fixed the entire part that Matt fixed buuuuut that’s okay because it was all completely covered by our warranty company and the statement of the water line being fixed is off to Charlotte Water!

    Homeownership is not for the faint of heart people. This is the first “big issue” we have run into as homeowners and I know for sure it will not be the last. I’m thankful for a calm husband who always attempts and puts his mind to fixing things himself to save us money and be the best handyman I know.

    Happy Monday friends!

    Recent Reads

    What I Read: May & June

    I got a bit behind on documenting what I’ve been reading lately. Better late than never to go ahead and post what I read in May and June!

    The Widow

    2 out of 5

    This was one of those books that the suspense just built and built and built (very slowly I might add) up until it just fell short. Big time. Jean is the perfect wife always following and doing what she can for her and her husband. Even after he is accused of committing a horrendous crime. But now, her husband is dead, and she must decide what is the truth. This just wasn’t one of my favorites at all and wouldn’t recommend it.

    The Freedom Broker

    3.5 out of 5

    Honestly I had much higher expectations for this book then what happened. There were quite a few times where I was super into this book and other times where I was just ready for the story to end. This book centers on a woman named Thea who is a lead Quantum Security black ops team. When she was young, her brother was kidnapped from their home for many years until he was later found. Then, 20 years later, Thea relives that nightmare all over again when her dad is kidnapped and she must try to find him.

    The Likeness

    5 out of 5

    I’ve decided I LOVE tana French books and just put 3 more of her books on hold at the library. This book is all about a once undercover cop who is now working in domestic violence in Ireland. One day, she gets a call from her boyfriend who works in murder telling her that she needs to come to a house out in the middle of the woods. When she arrives, they find that there is a girl murdered in this house that is identical to her. They ahve the same features, hair, face, eyes, etc. and the girl is posing as her old undercover name and identity.

    The Perfect Stranger

     

    4.5 out of 5

    This book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This book focuses around two young women who live together in a rural area of Pennsylvania. They are both trying to start over and start fresh in a new area until one of them, Emmy, goes missing one day. Finding Emmy is the main goal but while Leah tries to find her she realizes she didn’t truly know the woman she was living with at all. I could not put this one down friends. It was a good one.

    The Marriage Lie

    4 out of 5

    This book focuses on the marriage of the couple Iris and Will who are a happy couple who’ve been together for 7 years. One morning, Will flies out on a business trip when Iris gets wind that his plane has crashed and there are no survivors. Iris finds out that her husband may have not been telling the truth on a lot of things and wonders about all of the things she didn’t actually know about her husband.

    The Girl Before

    3 out of 5

    This was a weird one. To be honest, I haven’t read anything like this before. This book centers around two women: Emma and Jane. Emma is looking for a new place to live with her boyfriend after dealing with a traumatic break in. She’s having a hard time until she finds One Folgate Street and realizes it’s the perfect place except one thing: the architect has full control meaning, no pillows, no personal effects of any kind, no books, etc. Jane is also dealing with a tragedy and needs a fresh start. She learns all about Emma and how the house on One Folgate Street transforms you. What she comes to figure out is how Emma died in this house and all the people who were involved. This one kept me thinking quite a bit while reading it but it wasn’t my favorite.

    Behind Her Eyes

    3 out of 5

    Louise is your ordinary single mom trying to make ends meet for her family when she meets a man at a bar she can finally feel a connection to. They kiss and she hopes they’ll see each other again. Little does she know, this man is her new boss. Then, Louise bumps into Adele in town who happens to be her boss, David’s, wife.  While I thought this book would turn into an interesting modern day love triangle it takes a very sci-fi twist that I definitely didn’t see coming.

    The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

    5 out of 5

    Love. Love. Loved this book so much. This book was the sweetest love story about a woman named Lou. Lou is trying to keep her french restaurant, Luella alive after receiving a horrible review from one of the food critics in her area. Now, her restaurant is struggling and Lou meets Al. Al just so happens to be the said food critic who wrote the horrible review. Will Lou and Al be able to make it work once the knowledge of the review and who wrote it comes out? READ IT TO FIND OUT!

    What are you reading lately?