The Devil in the White City

CURRENTLY READING

51RUQufdFNL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

April’s Book: The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America

Note: Don’t forget to check out my updated review for last month’s book, The Good Neighbor, here.

This is a lot different from the books I would normally read! It’s a true story about an architect and a famous serial killer.  I cheated a little and started reading… it’s a bit slow so far, but hopefully it will speed up when Larson gets to the part about the murders.

Plot Summary: Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

My Thoughts: Stay tuned.

3/18/2016

birthdaycover

This past weekend I spent another beautiful day in sunny California with my love.  It was a special weekend though because we were celebrating my birthday, woo! My birthday was on Thursday, March 17th, but since we both had to work we decided to celebrate the following day.

When Michael and I hang out there is usually a lot of “I don’t know… what do you want to do today?” BUT, to my surprise, Michael had planned out the most awesome and spontaneous date day ever! While I was getting ready in the morning, he held out 4 folded pieces of paper and told me to pick one.  Written in black ink were the words BEIR GARDEN, one of my favorite little places to eat in Encinitas.

birthdaymichael

BIER GARDEN has some amazing breakfast foods, but by the time we arrived, the sun was burning and it was lunch time.  I decided on the best Chef Salad (chicken substituted for croutons) I have ever tasted.  Not to mention it was HUGE!  We also ‘lucked’ out when Michael’s order was forgotten and the server ended up comping his plate (BIER GARDEN is not cheap!).

DSC00734

After we were done with lunch we hopped in the car and Michael pulled out one of these middle school fortune teller contraptions! It was SO sweet that he put so much thought into the day *happy tear.*

DSC00764

He was even willing to get a Mani/Pedi with me, like WHAT even is life!?!! Anyway, after I died a little from cuteness overload, we made our way to The Forum [mall] where I was allowed to pick out ANYTHING I wanted for my birthday gift.

DSC00766

DSC00779

Of course, we had to make a stop into Victoria’s Secret where I picked out an awesome new PJ set and some new underwear (it was 7 for $27, how could I say no!). We walked around and browsed until we got tired and then we made our way home.

We spent the rest of the night relaxing and watching movies and playing with Gretchen.  It really was an awesome day! Thank you so much, Michael for making my birthday special. I love you! 🙂

 

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Lavenderlemonade copy

Ingredients:

  • 5-8 c cold water
  • 1 c raw honey
  • 6-8 fresh lemons, squeezed
  • 2 drops lavender Young Living Essential Oil
  • 1 drop lime Young Living Essential Oil
  • ice to serve

Directions:

In a small saucepan, boil 2 ½ cups water. Remove from burner and add raw honey. Stir until dissolved. Add 2 drops lavender essential oil. Squeeze lemons into glass pitcher. Add honey water to lemon juice in glass pitcher. Add another 2 ½ cups of cold water (or more to taste). Add 1 drop of lime essential oil. Refrigerate or add ice.

lavender lemonade cover

Learn more about purchasing your own Young Living essential oils at 24% off, here.

Lime Vitality Essential Oil

LimeGuac2

I have been loving Young Living’s new Vitality Line! It’s the same amazing oils, but in sleek, new labeling made specifically for ingestion. I also love that all the oils come in a 5ml size, making them so affordable!

One of the first oils from the Vitality line that I snatched up was LIME. I love using lime to add flavor to water, smoothies and vegetables.  The other day I picked up some avocados and tortilla chips to make some “guacamole” (aka smashed avocado because I don’t like adding in any extras like onions and cilantro). When I went to put it all together, I had a brain blast! I grabbed my lime oil and added two drops to my smashed avocado along with a sprinkle of himalayan sea salt and BAM, best snack ever!

I even made a little video to show my love to the avocado-lime-salty-goodness! 😉

The Good Neighbor

51DtjhH7PVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_March’s Book: The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

Note: I got this book free as a Kindle Unlimited monthly first pick.  Normally, I would think that Amazon is giving these books away for a free download because they aren’t high quality, but the last free book I read turned out to be really good, so I have high hopes!

Plot Summary: Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

My Thoughts: The Good Neighbor earns a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It started off a little slow and repetitive… I feel like every other sentence was the main character second guessing herself (i.e. “I really trust him! or do i really know him?”).  I understand the author was trying to set the scene for a thriller, but I felt like it was getting to the point where it was more comical than suspenseful. I enjoyed the story line enough to keep going though, and by the time I was about a third of the way through, it was hard to put the book down.  I think I ended up reading the book in about 3 days.

Without giving too much away, the story is about Sarah and what happens to her after a fire inexplicably burns her neighbors house down.  There are a few shady characters (including her own husband at times!) and a few pleasant friends and new neighbors who try to help her recover from the traumatic experience, but in the back of her mind, she can’t shake the feeling that something is still wrong.

There are a lot of thriller books where the end becomes somewhat to very predictable by the middle of the book, but I was actually very surprised by the climax and the resolution, I did not see it coming, and I did not even suspect the right people to be involved.

I am again pleasantly surprised by the FREE book of the month offered to Amazon Prime members… that’s two for two so far that have turned out better than a lot of the novels I’ve been purchasing recently! I definitely recommend this book for readers who like a good suspense story.

3/5/2016

Fullerton blog

Michael and I almost always go west for our date days.  Encinitas and Carlsbad are our go-to locations to hang out, eat some good food and walk around the beach town.  Today, we decided to do something a little different, we headed NORTH! We decided to make an impromptu trip to Fullerton to hang out with my brother and his girlfriend, and it was a blast!

Here is my brother, Brad, and his girlfriend, Michele in front of an awesome purple door we passed! Aren’t they cute? 😉

DSC00195


 

bootleggers

We started the day out at a cute little brewery just a few minutes from Brad’s house.  The indoor area flowed out into a small patio area with a little succulent garden, large jenga pieces and best of all, puppies! We ordered pizza and garlic knots from the pizza place next door and oh man, it was delicious!

DSC00206DSC00197

 


10924762_619596354852677_638209763161691127_n

Our second stop brought us across town to Phantom Ales. I’m not much of a beer person, so Brad brought us here because they have wine and ‘meed,’ which I had never heard of (and didn’t end up trying… next time!).  While we had our drinks we played a round of “Brewopoly.” It’s basically Monopoly, but you try to buy up breweries and you get sent to “Last Call” instead of “Jail.” None of us really remembered the rules for traditional Monopoly, so it made for an interesting game!

DSC00219

[Notice how the pictures get increasingly worse as the night goes on (and the glass of wine goes down…lol)].


On our way home we stopped by Krispy Kreme Donuts and indulged in a little late night treat.  We also picked up a RedBox… The Night Before.  I had high hopes for comedy gold from Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon Levitt, but it was bad, really bad. And so another adventure day ended and it was back to reality on Sunday with work and chores!

DSC00228 DSC00257

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Easy DIY Soy Candles

Soy Candle

Oh man, have you ever researched what exactly makes traditional candles smell so good? Well, as it turns out, the fragrances used in candles (and tons of other products that are “scented”), are actually HARSH CHEMICALS! [Read this article from TIME, if you don’t believe me… or if you just want to know more 😉 ].

When I started using essential oils, I began making a lot of my own products. It saves money and it’s better for me and the environment I live in.  I went from being a candle and room spray ADDICT to being a diffuser abuser (in a good way 😉 )! And don’t get me wrong, I still love all of my diffusers, but one day I just felt like making candles, so here’s what I came up with! It is super simple and straightforward.  They also make for some cute and inexpensive gifts!


 

DIY Soy Candle 2

Here’s what you’ll need (per candle):

  • 2(ish) cups Soy Wax (I got mine on Amazon. It’s 100% soy wax with no fragrance or additives and it’s already shaved into small, easy to melt pieces)
  • 1 Wick (Such as these from amazon)
  • 1 Small Tin (mason jars work too!)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Double Boiler (or a make shift one)
  • 20 drops Your Choice of Essential Oil
  • Labels, ribbon and other decorations of choice

Some of my favorite Essential Oil combos for candles:

  • Lavender
  • Lavender & Lemon
  • Peppermint (with a couple drops of vanilla extract or a teaspoon of cocoa powder)
  • Stress Away and Orange

Here’s how to make it:

Heat up about an inch of water in the bottom part of your “double boiler contraption” (i.e. an old metal popcorn bowl that fits nicely into a pan of boiling water). While your water is heating up, glue the wick to the bottom of your tin (I use a shorter wick and it seems to stand up on its own, but if you’re using a longer wick or yours isn’t staying up, use a straw and wrap the wick down until the straw rests on top of your tin). When the water is boiling, add the second piece of the double boiler and add the soy wax.  Melt it down into a liquid then turn off the heat.  Let the wax cool slightly before adding in your essential oils, mixing and pouring into your tin. Let it cool down and harden then cut the wick to the top of the tin and decorate with a label, wash tape and/or ribbon!


There you go! SAria_Diffusero simple and cute… the only downside is that is does take a lot of precious essential oil to make it scented. I tend to stick to my diffuser and make a couple candles for special occasions and gifts!

 

 

DIY Diffuser Necklace

DIY Diffuser Necklace copy

Check out this tutorial I made demonstrating how to put together your own tassel diffuser necklace in under a minute! I LOVE wearing my diffuser necklace daily because I get to bring all the amazing benefits of my essential oils wherever I go.  My favorite oil to wear is Grounding.  It makes me feel calm and collected no matter what obstacles I face throughout the day!

If you aren’t feeling crafty, but still want a necklace, you’re in luck! In honor of my birthday month, I’m giving away a diffuser necklace (along with the regular goodies) to all of my new oily members all month long!

To get your kit and diffuser necklace, email me or sign up here.

Happy oiling!

DIY Marble Mug

MugCoverWithLogo

Here’s something you may not know about me… I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict! Not only do I pin, but sometimes I actually try to MAKE the cool things I see on Pinterest.  I would say about 50% of the time, what I make turns out to be a FAIL, but every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon a craft that even I can’t mess up (for the most part)!

Here’s what you’ll need to make one of the easiest and fanciest mugs you will ever see:

  • Plain white mug
  • Nail polish of your choosing
  • Toothpick
  • A bucket (big enough to fit your mug in)! Notice how small my “bucket” is compared to my mug… yeah that made things a bit difficult
  • Warm water

MarbleMugSupplyFinal

Here’s how to make a Marbled Mug:

Step 1: Fill bucket about 3/4 of the way full with some warm water. On my first attempt I tried to fill up my little bucket all the way full AND stuff a mug in there and as you may guess, I had water and nail polish all over the floor! (Luckily I had some lemon grass essential oil to get the nail polish of my floor!)

Step 2: Drip in some nail polish and give it a second to disperse

Image-1

Step 3: Use the toothpick to swirl around the colors a little bit

Step 4: Dip the part of your mug that you want marbled into the water and then remove it.  The nail polish will stick automatically and it shouldn’t be too drippy.

Step 5: Let the mug dry completely. Once it’s dry, you can use some dishwasher safe mod podge to seal the polish in place.

*Note: The mugs are NOT dishwasher safe!

 

Finally, add some ribbon, tags and tea to turn your DIY mug into a thoughtful gift for a friend, teacher or coworker!

DSC00106

2/21/2016

DSC00067

DSC00052I love when Michael and I have a weekend day off together.  With me working a (somewhat) traditional 9-5 job and him working mostly evening shifts, we don’t get to see each other during the week as often as we used to when we  worked together.  This Sunday, we had some time off together, so we thought we would
go out for a nice walk by the beach.  We started
our morning at the famous, Peterson’s Donut DSC00056 Corner, which is luckily (or unluckily depending on your diet choices) just 5 minutes down the street. Michael got a cinnamon crumb donut and I got some assorted donut holes. They were delicious as always!

We then made our way down to La Jolla Cove, where we walked around the shops and then made our way toward the beach.  Unfortunately, we weren’t exactly sure where we were going to we ended up walking a LONG way to get to the water.  We stopped a few times along the way to snap some pictures, like this one:

DSC00059

MODEL STATUS! haha! Michael was blessed with a photogenic gene, as where I was definitely not!

On our way back, we found a shortcut and walked up toward the cliffs.  There are beautiful flowers lining the edge and people were sitting on picnic blankets eating their lunch overlooking the ocean.  It was so peaceful and looks like the perfect place to bring a book when I have some free time.

DSC00076

DSC00080

We ended the afternoon at Stir Fresh, a Mongolian grill restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. I absolutely LOVE that place.  Tons of options to stir fry with sauce and noodles, the meat eater and vegetarian were both very satisfied after that meal.  So satisfies, in fact, that we ended up getting home and taking a nap for a couple hours before getting up and working on our own projects.

It was such a relaxing day, I can’t wait for the next one! I’m thinking a mini golf adventure?!