Sunday Coffee

Hey hey. It’s been a while since I posted a Sunday Coffee. Grab your Sunday morning drink of choice and let’s catch up.

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My Sunday Coffee’s have been one of my favorite posts to create so I came to the realization that I didn’t want to overdo it and get burned out on writing them. From here on, they will be the one post that will be spontaneous. I will write them when the mood is right. My life is too boring to write them every week. 

At the end of June I ventured home to celebrate my Grandmother’s 80th birthday. It was absolutely beautiful. My cousin from Chicago is an amazing event decorator and she made the venue perfect. We did it in this historical hotel in our small town’s downtown area. The lighting was amazing. The deserts and the little treats, she created all by herself were too beautiful to eat, but tasted amazing. It was a night to remember and one fit for a Queen.

Some things have happened that really have me examining and working on boundaries. I have been trying to key in on where I need to do better at putting them up. With who. Standing my ground and keeping them up. I’m learning that the dynamics of relationships change. Maybe it’s just a phase of life, maybe not..only time can really tell, but I have to take care of myself. If it’s bringing more stress than not, I have to establish those boundaries and decide what I will and won’t put up with. Know when too much is too much and not let it go there. I hope this makes sense.

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My reading has been great throughout June and so far in July. There have been a few duds, but the experience  of reading certain books and chatting about them with friends has been so fun lately.  I have discovered a few new authors whose work I want to venture into more and show my support for.

I have been doing a lot of research on how to do more with my blog. I’ve watched countless Youtube videos and read many blog posts. A lot of the information out there pertains to fashion and lifestyle bloggers, so I am at the point where I’m tying to figure out how to take the information I’ve jotted down and put it to use as a book blogger.

I was in a mood recently where I really missed vlogging, so I’ve been doing mini vlogs on Instagram via the stories. I’m asked quite often if and when I’ll return to Youtube and I’ve considered it, but I don’t want to put myself in a box. We’ll see what happens. I was ‘vlogging’ this past Friday, as I basically did some 30 minute reading sprints through one of my current reads. I basically used the stories to do updates on how the reading went and what I thought of the story. Sheesh! I read so slow when reading a physical book. I have watched so many videos of people talking about how they have trained their minds to read faster. I can’t. I don’t know if it’s the consumption of audiobooks or what. I can listen to an audiobook on 3x speed and keep up, so reading on my own feels so slow. I love audiobooks so much, but I also miss my reading before I became. fan of them. I find myself dreading having to read a book without the audio version sometimes, because I know it will take me longer to get through, than what I’m used to now.

I’m taking things a day at a time. Working on refocusing my energy. Trying to be more cognizant of what I’m consuming and switching it up if it’s not something that adds value to my life, my intentions or my goals. Things have not been perfect these past few weeks but I refuse to dwell on it. I’m reading my romances. Driving around the city, listening to Podcasts I have saved. Drinking coffee and trying to figure things out. Put things into perspective.

Chat with me and let me know how your Summer is going. What have you been reading? Have you done anything cool? We are so close to the fall being here, and I can’t wait. It’s my favorite time of year and means we are that much closer to Christmas. I am so antsy for Christmas romances at the moment!

Take care of yourselves. We will chat again soon.

xo.

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Thoughts While Reading: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 9:01 p.m.

I reminded myself that she was taken. The good ones always were. What I had sitting next to me was the “cool girl.” That rare woman who was gorgeous without being nuts. The girl in high school who hung out with all the guys, but she never dated any of them because none of them was mature enough for her. That girl who had a boyfriend who went to college and picked her up in his car after school. She could beat you at beer pong and had a football team who would kick your ass for saying one wrong word to her, but she’d never let them because she could handle herself.”

Okay, I am currently 130 pages into The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez and it’s one of those situations where I have enjoyed the ride thus far but I have a big hunch that although it’s feeling very five star heavy at the moment..that I’m going to be disappointed.

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Confession time: Your girl doesn’t mind spoilers. Never have, never will.  I haven’t seen any spoiler reviews but I have paid attention to what people who have completed this book have said without giving too much away..and all I know at this point is that people are pretty disappointed with the ending. With that out of the way though, let’s chat about my thought so far.

In a nut shell we follow Kristen and Josh. Both firefighters. Josh is the new guy at the station. Kristen is dating this guy Tyler, whose a Marine, currently deployed. *this book is pretty military heavy with Josh and another side character being prior Marines* Anyway.. you learn a few chapters into the book that Kristen is pretty close to undergoing a hysterectomy and that basically she has been keeping Tyler around because he doesn’t want kids.

This has been working for her until Josh comes into the picture and is basically the perfect guy..everyone loves him, even her dog and the two spending so much time together (effortlessly) starts making her rethink things.

“I didn’t have to work at hanging out with her.”

Issue? Josh comes from a big family and wants kids. Obviously this a big problem with Kristen and the hysterectomy she’s about to have.

“I couldn’t help but think we were well matched in more ways than one. And mismatched in the worst way possible.”

What I am liking so far is the fact that our heroine is this tough chick, who can hold her own and has Josh totally smitten with her..yet she has this really life changing situation going on. I hate to say the word “refreshing,” but I like seeing such a true to life problem being reflected in a romance novel. I mean, genre for women written by women..perfect place, right? Infertility is the truth for so many women and I feel like the author up to the point where I am really expresses well how much more convenient it is for Kristen to settle for someone who doesn’t want kids. No hassle there! He doesn’t want it anyway! Versus, going for the guy you’re crazy about and whose crazy about you, but having to have this hard conversation. It is tough, and I feel for Kristen.

Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:52 p.m.

I’m frustrated.

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Frustrated. Torn. I am 278 pages into this book and crap just got real, with a twist I definitely wasn’t expecting!

Prior to the twist though, I became frustrated. I don’t know. This book is really well written but it’s so frustrating. Josh is head over heels, crazy for Kristen. Kristen realizes she is in fact, in Love with Josh. Yet we sit idly by page after page and watch her intentionally keep this good guy at bay because she would rather put a time limit on things, cut him off and never have to tell him why.  I’m trying to read this and not pass judgement because I’ve never lived with infertility issues and am glad stories like Kristen’s are being put out there but she is a piece of work!  Then, all cards are put on the table and we receive Josh’s point of view and he’s all in his feelings like blah blah blah, I’ve said some horrible things to her! 

This book has me so confused at the moment, I feel like nothing I say about it is going to make any sense. It started off hilarious! The banter between Kristen and Josh was everything! Then we meet Kristen’s mom who is a total mood killer. We meet Tyler who we have already decided we didn’t like because no one else does and the conflict of the story has been looming in the background the entirety of the story to this part..and at this point I feel like I should have a resolution.

Should..but wow, something really messed up just happened. 

Friday, June 14, 2019 at 7:15 p.m.

I finished The Friend Zone today.

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I am really torn at the moment about how I feel about it. On one hand I give much props to authors who emotionally take me there. This book made me happy, I laughed, it broke my heart and it also frustrated the hell out of me.

On one hand I think this book is a little all over the place. I think the author tried to do a little too much, which could absolutely work! However, if not done right, then things can just feel crazy..and that’s how this one felt. The first 100 or so’ish pages I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy. I knew our heroine was dealing with some heavy issues with her uterus but I felt like the author was going to stick with the script yet keep it fun. Out of nowhere things get really serious and deep. That’s fine, but that’s not really the vibes I was getting in the beginning of the story.

Kristen is a very unlikeable character which is hard to say because she is one of few heroines I have read since I began reading romance who is dealing with infertility issues. We just don’t see that very often in romance. Kristen had the opportunity to really pave the way for fictional heroines in the future. *spoiler with the had* I say she’s unlikeable because she annoyed the heck out of me. Okay, a lot of times with romance so much of the story is you sitting back knowing that if these two people would just talk, there would be no conflict..but that never really bothers me. I love seeing all the ways authors get creative and create these different situations that detract my mind from focusing on  the *just communicate* issue, but with this book I literally wanted to throw it a few times because Josh deserved to know what the heck was going on with Kristen but she doesn’t confess until like halfway, if not over halfway, through the book.

Kristen thought that by keeping Josh at bay, she was saving him from being hurt. She thought that by keeping things casual, eventually they would split up and he could meet someone, fall in love, have kids..happily ever after. Which Josh does put his foot in his mouth a few times, talking about how much he wants kids and a family but it’s not his fault..He has no idea Kristen is having these issues..because she doesn’t tell him! In moments where it would’ve been perfect to come clean, she chooses to close herself off.

I actually preferred Josh’s chapters over Kristens but after finishing the book, I realized there wasn’t much growth from Josh. Josh’s chapters were these super emotional, smitten, love confessing chapters about how crazy he was about Kristen.

The topic of the infertility..the author goes a certain route that I would’ve totally been okay with. She doesn’t stay on that route though. She goes a completely different route and all I could think about was, some people hate this trope!

I think my biggest disappointment with this book is that sadly, one character has to experience a tragedy for these two to have their aha moments and I didn’t really think that was cool. I don’t feel this tragedy added anything to the story except to create the backstory for another book. I don’t know, it was just kind of crappy to do.

I’d still recommend people give it a try if it’s been on their tbr. Everyone’s experience reading a book is completely different, so hopefully this touches someone else different then it did me.

if you’ve read The Friend Zone, let’s chat about it.

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Ways to Fill a Journal

Since receiving a Lisa Frank diary as one of my birthday gifts back in 3rd grade, journaling has been a very important part of my life. As I get older, it gets even more important. 

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My daughter is now a 3rd grader, and it was shortly after giving birth to her that I got heavy into researching our ancestry. I remember my research coming to a dead end, and telling my Mom, “This would be so much easier, had someone kept a journal!” 

Then 2 years ago, my Grandfather passed away after a tough battle with Alzheimer’s. There is so much I wish I could’ve asked him, but seeing his memory fade away, I knew it was impossible. It was really his passing that was the kick in the butt I needed to jot down life. If anything were to happen to me, I’d like to leave behind something for my kids to read and understand how my mind worked, my opinions on things, my loves..

I understand though that journaling can be tough! Especially when your day to day may feel like there isn’t really anything exciting worth writing about. So I’m sharing some ideas of other ways you can fill your journal if you find yourself in a rut.

  • Recipes I’ve Tried--I consider myself a Pinterest Chef. Most recipes I’ve tried have come from there and if they turn out right, I’ll jot them down. You never know whose hands years from now your journal may end up in..and food is such a way to connect!
  • Movies Watched–All of 2018 I jotted down every movie title I watched as I watched them. This was cool for me to reflect back on because I don’t watch very many movies and I’m trying to do better with that. I watched more romantic comedies than anything, lots of classic film and of course..horror!
  • Quotes–I have notebooks I use specifically for jotting down quotes I’ve come across and loved. My soul is eternally 17, so the more angsty, the better..
  • Prompts–I am a big advocate of going on Pinterest and searching for writing Prompts. These come in so handy when you want to just write, but don’t really know about what exactly. A few I have written before are: The Best Advice I’d give to my younger self..The thing I’m most thankful for..
  • Art Journal--I am obsessed with watching art journal flip through videos on Youtube. I don’t go all out but I did buy a notebook with blank paper/no lines that I use for art journaling. I cut magazine articles out..I have art supplies..whatever I’m feeling at the time goes in there. I don’t use that journal often but when I do it brings a different sense of calm and relaxation. I love it.
  • Ideas/Thoughts/Lists--I keep a smaller, pocket size notebook in my car to write random things in that come across my mind while out and about. Any ideas I have, things I need to remember even grocery lists before running into the grocery store.
  • Book Reviews–I know most readers post reviews on Goodreads and if you want to go deeper, you can probably find a review for something on Instagram and of course Blogs and Youtube. Prior to posting my reviews on my blog though, I write my thoughts down in my book journal. I jot down quotes I like as I’m reading it and character traits, plot twists..opinions of the writing while making my way through. Doing this helps me better formulate a review once I’ve finished. And one day my kids will be able to take my book journal..see what I read years prior and read my thoughts on it.
  • Tracking Spending–Now this is an idea I want to give a try. I want to keep a record of where all of my money goes to, that way I can start doing better at budgeting and managing. Either paper clipping receipts, printing them out and gluing them in or just jotting them down..I think either way it could be very beneficial. Especially over a period of time and if say next year I kept track of all of my book buying, to be specific..it’d be interesting to see how much money goes toward my book buying habit.

 

So those are just a few ideas I have of ways you can fill your notebook. I hope this helps.. if you’d like maybe some Prompt ideas, I’m totally down to share some or create some. Just let me know.

we will chat again soon. Until next time, take care of yourselves. xo.

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Midnight At Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

Hello Friends. Spring Reading is in full effect. I am determined to enjoy this season as much as possible, because I feel like it’s the season I’ve shown the least amount of love to in the past. I love beautiful spring flowers and as I reflect on it, cozy romances give me all the perfect for Spring vibes. I recently finished a semi cozy romance which was my first ever read by Jamie Raintree, Midnight At Wandering Vineyard.

Midnight At Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

Published March 26, 2019 by Graydon House

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.77 Stars

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

“Maybe no one entirely gets over their first love.”

 

Synopsis:

The follow-up to Raintree’s sparkling debut Perfectly Undone, MIDNIGHT AT THE WANDERING VINEYARD brilliantly meshes the provocative relationship fiction of Jennifer Weiner with the nuanced family dynamics of Karen White in this story of a young woman who reconnects with her estranged best friend to complete their teenage bucket list, but the man who came between them years ago reappears to challenge their bond once again.

A young woman at a crossroads in her life returns home to her family’s vineyard in California when tragedy strikes and reconnects with her estranged childhood best friend. They decide to complete the bucket list they created the summer they were 18, the summer that saw their friendship torn apart. But when the man who came between them all those years ago reappears, it challenges their fragile new bond and pushes each woman to confront past hurts and buried truths.

 

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My Thoughts:

Midnight At The Wandering Vineyard was a good book. I liked it. It was okay. I couldn’t give it more than 3.5 stars because it wasn’t anything more than just okay for me. I didn’t realize this book was a book two, or follow up book to another until I was already too far into it to turn back. I’m not sure if had I read the first book that I’d feel differently about this one or not, but I wanted to love it more than I did.

“That’s the thing with Sam. He’s always been able to either make me feel like the most important person in the world, or like I don’t exist. But never in between.”

I think my experience with reading this book was that I went into having expectations, yet not really.. I feel like this “review,” is going to be a bit all over the place, but that’s honestly how my thoughts on it are. Beautiful cover, the cover to this book is absolutely stunning. The descriptions of Mallory’s (the main character) family vineyard are breathtaking.

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what happened in the first half of this book. Have you had the experience of reading something while also being easily distracted because the story isn’t holding your attention? That was me with Midnight At The Wandering Vineyard. 

Mallory returns home and it’s super tense. She is hoping to rekindle the long lost friendship between her and her ex best friend Kelly.  Once upon a time, nothing could come between these two..until it did, in the form of Sam. It didn’t really hit me until further into the book that regardless of how swoon worthy Sam may be, he is also a tad bit of a douchebag.

The friendship between Mallory and Kelly felt a little over the top. I feel bad for saying that because each woman her their stuff going on..but it just felt over the top at times. I had my moments where Kelly felt a little too needy for my liking.  Then there is all this tension about Mallory never coming home. I have never been to neither California nor New York, but knowing Geography, I know they are on complete opposite coasts. So I’m assuming that unless you’re financially capable, that very few are constantly making the trip back and forth between the two.

I did have a favorite part though, and that was advice Mallory’s Dad gives her about relationships. I won’t go into all the details, but I will share what his specific advice is, because I loved it:

the first thing I think it’s important to do is let go of expectations. I’ve seen a lot of good friends divorce because they had unrealistic expectations of their spouses. But this is true in friendships, too. Take what people give you and let that be enough. Because people usually give all they’re capable of giving, the way they’re capable of giving it, and expecting more than that is just setting the relationship up to fail.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

“Relationships are the most important thing. It can take a while to figure that out, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from talking to people older than me, we all get there eventually. At a point in everyone’s life, after all the titles have been earned and the money has been made, we look around and realize none of those things have given us the happiness we’ve been searching for. But when you’re  surrounded by the right people, a ten-minute conversation, walking through a vineyard with someone you love, can mean everything.”

 

Overall, this was an okay book. Maybe I will go back and read it’s predecessor to see if maybe I missed something. I wanted to Love it more than I did.

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