Friday, June 10, 2016

Late SIgn-Up: Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge

For the past few years, I have fallen into a world of fantasy, dystopian, and historical fiction and while I love, love, love those genres, I tend to push contemporary reads to the back of my list. But then, I pick up a contemporary read and fall madly in love and decide I need to read ALL THE CONTEMPORARY. And that is was happened as soon as I started Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (review to come!). I got wrapped up in the world of Hundred Oaks and contemporary YA that I now need to read all of the books that I have been putting off for other genres.

And, then I came across another reading challenge. The Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge is hosted by Love at First Page and Gone With the Words. You can head over to one of their blogs to check out all the nitty-gritty details. All you really need to know is that I'm shooting for 1st Base: 1-5 books, but I'm really hoping I can make it to 2nd! ;)

Now, I'm not doing great keeping up with link-ups for my other challenges, but I'm really hoping I get get on it with this one.

Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Crown: Review

The Crown (The Selection, #5)Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #5 (Final!)
Published: May 3, 2016
Read: May 14, 2016
Source: Purchased copy
Rating: 3 stars

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

I wanted to love this. I wanted to love it so much. I read The Selection right when it came out and fell in love with America and Maxon. When it was announced that Kiera Cass would be continuing the series with The Heir, I was equally excited. I know there was some debate about Eadlyn, but I loved her! I was so ready to get the conclusion of her story in The Crown.

But, I was sadly disappointed by this finale. It moved so fast, and I felt like things kept coming up that didn't really have any basis from earlier in the book or the series. I thought they were great plot points, but they just didn't feel grounded in the world.

Then the boys. I wanted so much more. With so many leaving early in The Heir, I thought we would get to know the ones left a lot more, but I still felt like there just wasn't enough by the end.

After The Heir, we know that Eadlyn needs to make a decision about a husband quickly, and we all assume it will happen but the lead up to the end of the book just flew and, again, I felt like things happened that I wanted a ton more on.

Overall, I enjoyed the actual outcome of the book and I love the series still, which is why it gets 3 stars.

I really hope Kiera Cass will come out with some more novellas for this world. I'd love to see Ahren and Camille! Or what about the boys? We know what happened to some of the most popular girls that didn't make the cut from Maxon's selection and I'd love to get some of the same this time around.

Even though it wasn't my favorite from the series, I'd still recommend The Crown and The Selection series for you all to read!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top 10 Books I Bought on a Whim

TTT is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

I really love the topic for this week’s TTT. While I love reading books that have really strong recommendations and that I have heard dozens of rave reviews on, I also have this tendency to pick up a random book and start reading. I browse book sales and libraries and find books that I’ve never heard about and just want to buy or borrow. I have a lot of books on my shelves because of this and have found a lot of favorites just picking up a book on a whim.

One - Twilight: Stephanie Meyer - I picked this up at the library when I was 16 (before I really got into the YA universe) because I loved the cover. It hadn’t been out for more than a year and while I’ve grown away from Twilight, it will always be one of those series that I remember and the first book I think about when I hear “on a whim”.

Two - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief: Rick Riordan - I came across this one at B&N and was intrigued enough to find it at the library without looking into it anymore. It is now one of my favorite series and I continue to love everything Rick Riordan puts out.

Three - The Selection: Kiera Cass - When I first saw the cover of The Selection, I knew I needed to read it. I hadn’t heard anything about it and bought it when it first came out. I just finished The Crown this weekend and am sad to see the series end.

Four - Uglies: Scott Westerfeld - Another book I picked up before really following YA. This was my first dystopian series and will always be one of my favorites. I'm about to start the audiobook and am so excited to get back into the Uglies world.

Five - Throne of Glass: Sarah J. Maas - Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I saw it on a New Releases shelf at B&N. I loved the synopsis and had to have it. I’m a little behind in the series now, but am so glad I picked this one up.

Six - Heist Society: Ally Carter - I saw I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You at the library for years but never picked it up. It sounded good, but I just kept going for other books. Then I saw Heist Society and knew I needed to read it. I grabbed it from the library then and there and I’m so glad I did! And I finally read the Gallagher Girls series after that.

Seven - The Pledge: Kimberly Derting - I actually entered the goodreads giveaway for The Pledge on a whim - it sounded like a good book but I never won anything so I didn’t look at the reviews, not expecting to get it. Go figure, I actually won!

Eight - Sarah’s Key: Tatiana de Rosnay - If you want a book to give you all the feels, this one will do just that. I’m fascinated by books about the Holocaust and this one instantly caught my eye, so I bought it right away. So amazing!

Nine - Delirium: Lauren Oliver - I really didn’t pay attention to new releases when the big YA dystopian movement started. Another book I came across at the library that I knew nothing about but had to read. I really liked the first two, but was a bit disappointed by the third.

Ten - Scintilate: Tracy Clark - This was an ebook I bought on a whim because it was $0.99. There was a reason. I couldn’t even finish this book. For me, the writing was bad and I couldn’t get beyond it. Sadly, this whim purchase didn’t work out.

Until next time,

Whole30: Day 15

Hey folks. It is just after lunch on day 15, which means I am officially halfway through my first Whole30!

I’m feeling really proud of myself for sticking with it for the last 15 days and am looking forward to everything that is still to come in the next 15.

Honestly, changing my diet so drastically hasn’t been as hard as I thought. I’ve stocked our fridge with plenty of meat and veggies, made my own mayo and dressings, and have been so happy to know that I am putting only good, whole foods into my body.

Now, that’s not to say it has been a piece of cake either. I mean, I can’t even have cake! (#sorrynotsorry)

In all seriousness though, there have been moments that have been harder than others.

Getting the hang of planning out meals for the week was a challenge at first. I needed to think about 3 meals a day, every day, for 2 people. The boyfriend can’t just have a bowl of cereal before work and I can’t toast some bread and grab a banana on my way out the door. He can’t buy one of the pre-made salads from the market he works at and I can’t run to Panera if I forget my lunch.

Last week I felt overwhelmed by the amount of prep work and cooking I was doing. I ended up cooking every night of the week because we were eating our leftovers for lunch the next day instead of having a separate lunch meal planned out. I was prepping food every night of the week. By Wednesday, I just couldn’t handle it (plus throw in a broken dishwasher) and was ready to just hide until the weekend.

But it got better. This weekend, I spent a little more time planning, making sure we had easy things for lunch like hard boiled eggs, tuna and cooked chicken. That way, dinner could be had as leftovers the following day, instead of lunch. I prepped food on Sunday so that I won’t have nearly as much to do during the week, except pack up our lunches the night before - I like to give myself a little flexibility with what we want so I don’t plan out every single lunch on Sunday.

I know it’s only Tuesday, but I’m feeling so much better knowing I have leftover meatballs and spaghetti sauce waiting for me at home and just need to spiralize and sautee some zoodles when I’m ready to eat.

I even have a meal planner printed out and stuck to the fridge for easy viewing. It seemed a little silly at first, but has been so helpful!

Have any of you whole30-ers experienced  something similar? What have you done to help with meal planning and not being overwhelmed by meal prep? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sweet Potato Apple Bake

I love baked apples. LOVE them. I'm not a pie person at all, but I will devour a piece of apple pie just for the gooey delicious-ness that is baked apples. There will probably be crust left but never apples. I don't even need vanilla ice cream (though I won't turn it down).

Now, since I am currently 9 days into a Whole30, dousing apples in sugar and baking them (even without an nice topping of vanilla ice cream) isn't exactly going to fly. But that doesn't mean I can't still bake something delicious and whole30 with apples.

That brings me to a super tasty, anytime of day dish:

Sweet Potato Apple Bake

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Before baking.
I'm still new to the sweet potato train, but I've been eating them more lately, with the BF loving them and being a nice partner with eggs for breakfast.

So last night, I'm lounging on the couch, reading The Crown by Kiera Cass that had just come in the mail that day, and I realize I don't have anything prepared for breakfast in the morning. I don't have a ton of time to make anything before work so I knew I needed something quick to throw together, since it was already almost 9 and I just didn't want to spend the rest of my evening in the kitchen - especially after having to rewash all the dishes that had been in the dishwasher the night before because my two month old dishwasher decided to stop working. But I'm not bitter.

(It is being looked at today - thank god for factory warranties.)

Anyway, I had seen apples and sweet potatoes together before and thought it sounded like a great combo so I marched into the kitchen without much planning other than sweet potatoes, apples, and cinnamon.

And this is what happened.
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Ingredients (minus pink Himalayan salt - added later)
Sweet Potato Apple Bake
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 apple (I used Pink Lady but any kind would work - I'm partial to Honeycrisp as well)
  • 2 tbsp ghee; melted (coconut oil, olive oil, or regular butter [not whole30] would all work too)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (not melted)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon (more or less to your taste. we love cinnamon in our house so we tend to do more than most)
  • 1/4 tsp-ish pink Himalayan salt (or whatever kind of salt you like - I just bought Trader Joe's and wanted to try it out)

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Hot, out of the oven.
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut into bit-sized cubes and place in an oven-safe 8x8 dish (or 9x9 - whatever you have that will hold everything).
  3. Wash apple (I left the skin on because I like them but feel free to peel the apple too if you want) and cut into cubes a little smaller than the potatoes (I did this because I wanted the potatoes to be dominant and the apples as an added taste and texture - not overpowering the dish). Add to the potatoes.
  4. Pour your melted ghee over the potatoes and apples and mix them all together. Hands or spoons work for this.
  5. Sprinkle the potato/apple mix generously with cinnamon and a little salt. Mix again.
  6. Leave dish uncovered and put in the oven. Cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

    Optional: If you want to crisp the potatoes and apples a little more, put them under the broiler for a few minutes, making sure to check them so they don't burn. I did this for a little, but was impatient and ready to be done in the kitchen so they didn't crisp as much as I would have liked.
  7. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving or let cool completely and reheat for breakfast the next morning :) Or lunch. Whatever.
What's your favorite sweet potato dish to make? What about apples? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

March/April Wrap-Up

Hey folks! Time for another two-month reading wrap-up. I'm hoping to move to monthly starting with May, but we'll see how that goes :)

For now, here's what I read in March and April (plus one from February that I apparently missed :|)

Passenger (Passenger, #1)Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published: January 5, 2016
Read: February 14, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Challenge: PopSugar
Quick Review: Oh man! Did I love this book! I'm a sucker for time travel after devouring the Outlander series and this did not disappoint. Etta is an amazing, strong female character and her growing relationship with Nicholas throughout the book was everything I could have hoped. It does jump around from time and place a lot, but it make sense for the plot. I only wish we could have spent a little more time in some places. I cannot wait for Wayfarer to come out, currently scheduled for January 3, 2017. Too long!

Cruel Crown (Red Queen, #0.1-#0.2)Title: Cruel Crown
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #0.1 & 0.2
Published: January 5, 2016
Read: March 8, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Challenge: PopSugar
Quick Review: I loved Red Queen so much and this novella collection was a great inside look into the world a little more. I love getting some background on Farley and how she teamed up with Shade. And Corianne's story - oh man was the good. I would love to get more from that time of the books, before her death and everything goes to hell.

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Published: April 1, 2014
Read: March 18, 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Challenge: TBR Pile
Quick Review: I was pleasantly surprised by Dorothy Must Die. I love The Wizard of Oz and of course was worried that a retelling with Dorothy as the villain might be a turn off, but it was an enjoyable read. It was a little strange seeing these beloved characters in a different light though.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published: February 10, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
Challenge: None
Quick Review: I read this last year when it came out and to prepare for Glass Sword, I listened to the audio book on my way to work. I'm so glad I did! I had forgotten a few big things that happened because it had been so long, and I loved it even more than the first time!

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)Title: Wolf By Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf By Wolf #1
Published: October 20, 2015
Read: April 19, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Challenge: TBR Pile
Quick Review: I received this in my first (and so far only) Uppercasse. It is a great book subscription box, that I would love to get all the time, but just isn't in the cards right now. Anyway, Wolf by Wolf was a fabulous read! I love reading about WWII and the Holocaust, tragic as it was, and this alternate history with fantasy elements was the perfect book for me. Yael is a fascinating character and even early on in the book, surprises are thrown at her and the reader. Plus that ending!! I can't wait to see what comes next in Blood For Blood, current release set for November 1, 2016. Plus, there's a novel, Iron to Iron, that I'm hoping to get my hands on soon.

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Published: Februar 9, 2016
Read: April
Rating: 5 stars
Challenge: PopSugar
Quick Review: Oh. My God. Why does Victoria Aveyard keep doing this to me? To us?? Another ending that just hit me in the gut. I don't want to say anything more for those that haven't read it, but seriously, why haven't you? This is an amazing series!!

What have you been reading recently? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top 10 Website I Love That Aren’t About Books

TTT is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about non-book websites. This was a little harder for me, because A LOT of my websites are bookish. I've only just started following some other ones that I really enjoy. Here's what I came up with:

Amazon - I mean, really, who doesn’t love amazon? Free 2-day shipping with prime? Yes please. Prime music and video? I’ll take it! I won’t deny that I buy a lot of my books through amazon, but I buy so much more than that! Kitchen gadgets (hello spiralizer!), pet water fountain filters, leggings, dryer parts (yes, I fixed my own dryer - like a boss). You name it, amazon has it.

Whole30 - If you’ve been following any of my recent posts, you’ll know that I’m currently a week into my first whole30. Things are going great and I wouldn’t be where I’m at in the program without the official website. It has everything to help you through the program from start to finish, first or tenth whole30.

Real Food With Dana - I just started following this one after prepping for my whole30. Dana not only has amazing paleo and whole30 recipes, but she is also always dropping pop culture references. Especially Mean Girls and HP. And she LOVES guacamole. A girl after my own <3

Pinterest - What can I say, I’m a pinterest junkie. Recipes, clothes, DIY, quotes, movies… the list never ends. I have to watch myself or I can get lost in a sea of pins.

gimme some oven - Speaking of pinterest, I first found Gimme Some Oven through pinterest looking for recipes and after pinning a few, I started following. Great recipes!

Target - I love Target. That big red bullseye pulls me and and begs me to spend my money. Shopping online at Target, honestly, keeps me in check a little more. I don’t find myself randomly pulling things off shelves and into my cart, but just order what I need and move on. Plus, if I really need something ASAP, I can usually pick it up in store, like the curtains from the room divider I just put up in the basement. Buy 3, get 1 free!

Wayfair & Overstock - I’m grouping these two together because they share a lot of the same products. One site tends to be a good amount cheaper than the other  (at least $20 or more difference) but not always the same one. So, I’m constantly checking prices at both and buying from whichever is cheaper that day. I’m on these sites way more than I buy from them, which is really lucky. But I have bought some great things, like my blue Rachel Ray plates (wayfair) and a gorgeous new mirror (overstock).

Crazy Together - I came across this blog on pinterest as well when I was looking into Stitchfix. Maria’s Stitchfix posts are great and I love seeing what she was sent. I just found out she has done a whole30 and I love her posts on that as well. Plus, I learned that we live in the same area and even shop at the same local Amish market. Maybe one day I’ll run into her!

Life in Pearls and Sports Bras - Another blog I started following because of Stitchfix and the one that convinced me to try Trunk Club. A’s reviews are always fun and I love her Fab Finds posts!

Spiritual Gangster - If I could buy my entire wardrobe from Spiritual Gangster, I would. Their yoga inspired clothes are amazing and I could easily go broke buying everything that I like. Plus, their name is awesome.

I'd love to hear what your favorite non-bookish websites are! Until next time,

Monday, May 9, 2016

Day 7 and Garlic Shrimp over Zoodles

So today is Day 7 of my Whole30 and I am still feeling good. After reading It Starts With Food and starting The Whole30 (both books written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, aka my new idols), I was expecting more ups and downs from my first week. However, both the BF and I have been feeling pretty great.

No headaches (except that first tiny one on day 2) or mood swings. I won’t say I haven’t felt a little tired, but I haven’t been “don’t want to get out of bed” or “ready to fall asleep at my desk” tired. Overall, feeling better than I was before starting Whole30.

I know it’s still early in my Whole30 and who knows what is to come in the next three weeks, but so far, this has been a great experience!

Now, on to the recipe, which is why I know most of you are here J

Almost. Story time first!

The BF and I were visiting with his parent’s last night for Mother’s Day (and Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!) and his mom mentioned Red Lobster and the shrimp scampi she had the night before (and the cheddar biscuits – I must be the only person on the planet that doesn’t like them. Sue me).

Now, even before Whole30 this was never one of my favorite places to eat out at, but I do love me some shrimp scampi. Mmmm shrimp and garlic. Does it get better than that? I think not.

So, we held off on the chicken we were planning to make (since we really had no plan for it anyway) and ran to the store to grab some frozen shrimp for this delicious and quick meal.

I hope you enjoy it too!

Garlic Shrimp over Zoodles
Shrimp photo image_zpsmi25fttk.jpeg
Servings: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


  • 10 oz raw shrimp (I prefer tail off but you can always do tail on if you prefer), thawed if frozen*
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter if you aren’t doing whole30/paleo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (my garlic press is one of my favorite items in my kitchen)
  • ½ lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt (or any kind of salt – we are currently obsessed with the garlic salt from Trader Joe’s and put it on just about everything)
  • ½ tsp lemon pepper (black pepper if you don’t have it)
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized into zoodles

  1. Heat olive oil and ghee (butter) in a large skillet, over medium-high heat until the ghee melts. Add minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
  2. Add lemon juice and shrimp. Season with garlic salt and lemon pepper.

  3. At this point I had to turn the heat down on my stupid electric stove (came with the house and I have been dying to replace it for the last 3 years but it works so for now I live with it) to just above medium so I didn’t overcook the shrimp. Do what works best for the stove you have. I always say it's better to turn it down  and have to cook a little longer instead of burning or overcooking your food.

  4. Flip shrimp over and add zoodles.
  5. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is fully cooked and zoodles are soft.
  6. Plate the shrimp and zoodles and don’t forget to spoon some of the lovely sauce you have floating around in the pan on top. Enjoy!
*If your shrimp are frozen, throw them in a colander and run them under cool water for a minute or so. They will thaw right out and be ready for your skillet.

If you aren’t doing Whole30/Paleo, this would also be great topped with a little parmesan cheese, but was very delicious without. If you do add cheese, you may want to cut back on the salt.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Whole30 Check-In: Day 3

Day 3 has arrived and I’m still feeling good. I had a slight headache yesterday at one point in the afternoon, but it only lasted for a minute. Before starting Whole30, I was getting headaches fairly often, something I never had much of before and that I’m hoping will subside with Whole30. So far, so good.

Cooking for Whole30 has been going great so far. I’ve tried a few new things – including cauliflower rice. We made fajitas last night (I meant to have the leftovers for lunch so I wouldn’t be tempted by the Cinco de Mayo potluck at lunch, but we had a friend over so there wasn’t enough) and I made Mexican cauliflower rice to go along with it. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite – it was missing something (probably green chilies, which my pantry is sadly lacking right now). The BF was not a fan, but isn’t a big cauliflower person to begin with. I really want to try some stuffed peppers with it, so I might just leave some without for him. Overall, a good attempt that needs a little work before you get a recipe.

I also tried my hand at some sweet potato fries. I've only recently starting eating sweet potatoes, but the BF loves them, so I gave them a chance. The ones we paired with our bun-less burgers and some broccoli were delicious, if a little spicy. Need a little adjusting to get the recipe right still, but we are on the right track!
Burger photo image_zpsdk8icsag.jpeg

Bun-less burger (and guac!!) with baked sweet potato fries

We also made our own sausage patties last night – OMG they are good! I’ll be making another batch soon, so keep an eye out for that recipe. No way these last between the two of us, especially with the BF not being a fan of eggs. These are a perfect breakfast for him with some added veggies. Funny enough, I’ve always hated pre-made breakfast sausages. I even tried the Aidells’ Chicken and Apple since they are Whole30 compliant and people rave about them and it just wasn’t cutting it for me. Making them at home was perfect!

Keeping the fridge and pantry full has been more difficult than I thought. First, I’m still getting used to what pantry staples I can have on Whole30 and need, so I didn’t fully stock up as much as I thought I had. Then, I realized I did not buy nearly enough veggies. I’m so used to having only one at a meal that I just didn’t realized the quantity we were going to need. So, hello Costco! I will be visiting you again very soon. Probably tomorrow, since I only work a half day. Which also means going into work a little late, bringing me to the biggest hurdle of my Whole30 thus far:

Eating breakfast at work.

I get up for work between 5:30 and 5:45 and get to work at 7:30. This might sound like plenty of time to get a good breakfast in, but with a commute between 35 and 45 minutes, I don’t usually have enough time to eat before I leave, meaning, I eat at my desk. Not only does Whole30 say you should be eating all your meals at a table (which I have always agreed with even if I haven’t followed it), but also that you should be eating within 1 hour of waking up.

Now, when I first read this, I thought, “I’ve been eating 2 hours after I get up forever! I’ll be fine.” How silly I was. Where I used to not feeling hungry until about 7:30 or 8, I am now, even just 3 days into my Whole30, ready to eat before I even leave the house. By 6:00, I want food!

Eggs photo image_zpsu8q6oezc.jpeg
Day 1 breakfast. I needed waaaay more to eat by day 2!

With a half day tomorrow, I’ll be able to get to work a little later, which means plenty of time to make myself a breakfast and sit down and the kitchen table to enjoy it. The weekends are easier, but come Monday, I’m going to need to try something new. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Anyone else doing a Whole30 this month? Or maybe getting ready to start one? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prepping for My First Whole30

I first heard about Whole30 probably around a year ago. I’ve never been one for diet fads and typically don’t pay attention to the latest healthy eating plans. But Whole30 caught my attention because it isn’t a fad or a diet. It’s a lifestyle change that focuses on eating whole, real foods and learning what foods might not be as good for you as you think. Maybe you have a mild food allergy or sensitivity that you never even realized. Whole30 is also about breaking bad food habits, of which I am very guilty. Let’s be honest, we all have our vices. Mine is chocolate.

I don’t want to delve too much into all the Whole30 details (if you really want to know all the in’s and out’s of Whole30, check out the website), but here is a quick breakdown:

For 30 days you give up:

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

It has quite a bit in common with Paleo (if you read It Starts With Food, you’ll see it even started from a similar mindset), but another big proponent of Whole30 is not turning Whole30 compliant food into the things you are trying not to eat. That means no Paleo pancakes (yes, even if they are only eggs and bananas), Paleo muffins, or cauliflower pizzas. These are called SWYPO foods and are excluded to help break us out of those nasty food habits.

Even though I knew Whole30 was a great option for me and I did some quick research into the program, I didn’t follow through. Honestly, I was lazy. I thought I could just eat better and work out more and be fine. But I was wrong. Not that I wasn’t eating better or working out, but I wasn’t FEELING better.

For longer than I probably even realize, I have been struggling with feeling tired a lot. I can get 6 hours of sleep or 10 and at a certain point in my day, I just feel exhausted. Some days I’ve been working my butt off and it seems justified, and other days I’ve sat at a computer and blame NOT moving. Feeling so tired even drove me to start drinking coffee, something I didn’t do at all. Not even through college. Now, here I was at 25 feeling like I needed a crutch to get me through the day. And I knew I needed to make a change.

Shortly after turning 26 in March and thinking about my fatigue plus other meh feelings about how I was eating and just feeling, I came across Whole30 again and knew it was time to dive in. I borrowed It Starts With Food and The Whole30 from my local library (because my BFs sister that has It Starts With Food had already loaned out her copy) and set a date. April 1st was going to mark my first foray into Whole30.

And then I hit a wall. Not because I was scared or nervous of starting the plan (though, let’s be honest, it is intimidating as hell to give up some of this stuff. I mean cheese, really? 30 days without cheese?!), but because I had not one, but TWO trips coming up in April. The first was a work trip (last week) and the second a personal vacation of winery tours (this weekend). Yup. WINERIES. And what can’t you have on Whole30? ALCOHOL.

So, no, I was not about to start my first Whole30 when I was going to be out of town for 7 days in April and 2 in May (during reintroduction). Especially when I had been planning this winery weekend for well over 6 months. And I knew I wasn’t going to follow through during my work trip. I’m lucky if I get lunch some days, let alone one that is healthy.

Instead, I decided I would start as soon as I got back from my winery trip. Which means on May 3rd, I will begin my first ever Whole30. And I could not be more excited. Or nervous.

At first, I was going to go it alone, but after talking about it for close to a month, my boyfriend has decided to take the plunge with me. I’m really excited that he decided to join for his own health reasons and not just because I’m doing it. Plus it will make it so much easier to not eat sweets when he isn’t munching on cookies across the couch.

Now the big question, have you ever done a Whole30? Loved it? Didn’t make it?

Maybe you’re like me and have heard about it but not tried it. What’s holding you back?

Or, have you not heard about Whole30 until this very post? What do you think??

I’d love any and all feedback!!

That’s all for now. Catch me in a few days with a vacation post and the beginning of my Whole30 adventure!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

January/February TBR Wrap-Up

I know I just posted my sign up, but the link-up for January and February for the 2016 TBR Pile Challenge is up, so I'm going back-to-back here.

I did really good in January, reading 5 books from my TBR pile, and taking three off the TBR shelf!

TBR Shelf Reads

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published: November 10, 2015
Purchased: November 27, 2015
Read: January 13, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Quick Review: I was so excited to finish this series, but so sad to see it go! It was a fabulous ending that did not disappoint!

Title: Happily Ever After
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #0.4, 0.5, 2.5, and 2.6
Published: October 13, 2015
Purchased: November 27, 2015
Read: January 17, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Quick Review: This was so fun to reading while waiting for The Crown! I had read all but The Favorite (plus the bonus scenes) and loved getting a refresher on the other stories. Honestly, I don't love The Guard but the rest are fabulous! Plus the extra epilogue-so cute.

Title: The Sword of Summer
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Published: October 6, 2015
Purchased: October 7, 2015
Read: February 2, 2016
Rating: 3-1/2 stars
Quick Review: I enjoyed this a lot, but it just wasn't Percy Jackson and I might be a little biased because of that. It really was a good story and I loved the characters (plus a cameo by Annabeth!) but I just didn't love it as much as either Percy Jackson series. I'm way more excited for The Trials of Apollo to come out in May!

Library Audiobooks

Title:Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Author: Mindly Kaling
Published: November 1, 2011
Read: January 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Quick Review: First, I was skeptical about audiobooks in general. I had only ever listed to books I had already read as background noise so I wasn't sure if they would keep my attention. Mindy Kaling was a great place to start! She is hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud more than I imagined. It was also great that she narrates the book herself. I can't wait to listen to her second book (which has been at the library waiting for me and I just haven't gotten there yet!).

Title: Bossypants
Author: Tina Fey
Published: April 5, 2011
Read: January 27, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Quick Review: I can already hear the gasps at my 3 star rating, but hear me out. It was good. No denying that, but for me, it just wasn't the best ever. If she writes another will I listen? Sure. Will I be standing in line at midnight to buy it? Definitely not.

And that's it for my January/February TBR reads.

Are you participating in Bookish Lifestyle's challenge? Or just trying to get through your TBR pile on your own? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

Until next time,

2016 TBR Pile Challenge

One of my goals every year for the past few years has been to read 52 books. I haven't hit it yet, but I like the challenge even if I don't make it. However, a lot of the books that I do read tend to be new purchases or new releases, which means the books that I have sitting on my shelves or have wanted to read for years don't get touched.

That is why I am taking part in Bookish Lifestyle's 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, It runs from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 and all you have to do is read books that were published in 2015 or earlier (no 2016's or ARCs). Any format, any genre!

The breakdown for this challenge is:
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I've been hitting around 40 books a year so this will put me at around half from my TBR pile. I really want to get my TBR shelf down-I'm almost out of room!

Until next time,

March TBR

February was an abysmal month for reading. I won’t even bother with a wrap-up post because I read one book, ONE. I feel ashamed. I read seven in January. SEVEN! Now, two of those I had started in December, and two were audio books, but that still leaves three whole books finished in one month. Compared to one. But, March has begun and it’s time to get back on track!

These are the books I’m hoping to read this month:

What books are you looking forward to reading next? Already read some of these? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time,


Welcome to Reading in Moccasins!

Here are a few things about me to get you started:

My name is Claire and I’m turning 26 in a few days. I have an insane cat named Lily who likes to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning so she can eat. Thankfully, I need to wake up at that time during the week to get to work, but on the weekends, it is less appreciated. I have a full time job as editing concrete placement exams. It’s as strange as it sounds but is a pretty great job. And a great way to use my BA in Creative Writing *shrugs*.

I’m an avid reader and pick up everything from classics to middle grade; contemporary, historical, fantasy, you name it. I also watch an unhealthy amount of tv shows but have been trying to pair it down to only the ones I absolutely love. I'm always trying to find balance between keeping up with my shows and reading from my ever growing TBR pile.

I enjoy baking and cooking—mostly recipes I find on pinterest, so get ready to see some of those around here. I've been trying to make a new recipe at least twice a month, and have been fairly successful. I love experimenting with new ideas around the kitchen.

Three times a week (usually), I do yoga, and am always working harder to get to the gym for cardio and weightlifting at least two other days. I hope to put together some of my routines here to not only share what I do with you, but also to keep up my motivation. Surprisingly, searching pinterest for workouts helps sometimes!

As I mentioned before, I'm an editor of sorts and have been at my job for about four months (but have been editing technical documents for a few years). With this new job, I still work in a business casual environment, but I do some travelling that also requires a bit more business professional look. Add this to just wanting to be comfortable and put together, I've been trying to scale up my wardrobe and feel like trendy twenty-something (but still be comfortable!), which is a little out of my comfort zone. I hope that I can share my new style with you and get some feedback on how I'm doing!

Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this little “getting to know me” intro and will stick around once I get some actual posts up!

Until next time,