Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Favorites, Volume 3

Happy Friday! Where on earth did October go??

Here's what I'm loving this week!

1. I don't think I will ever tire of this.

2. I finally ordered the boots that I've been drooling over for months yesterday! Target had a 40% off boots sale, which combined with the extra 5% off for red card knocked them down from $45 to about $26. And since I had a $25 Target GC handy from Swagbucks? SOLD!!

The pair that I tried on in this pic was weirdly large around the ankles. I recently tried on a smaller size, though, and the fit was just right, so I've just been waiting for a good sale!

3. Halloween is TOMORROW, and while I don't have any plans this year (sad trombone), I am delighted that it's the one day a year when it's socially acceptable for me to go full on crazy cat lady and stick costumes on my cats.

4. So,did everyone but me know that Frank from How To Get Away With Murder is Ben from Buffy??

I genuinely can not deal with this. Mind Blown.

5. This is one of those things that is probably only exciting to me, but after like 3+ hours last night I finally got my business's website kinda up and running! I've never used WordPress before, so just figuring out how to install it and start customizing the theme was something! I need to change the slideshow images to photos I've taken with links to our services, but at least I finally have SOMETHING up! SQUEE!

Linking up with these awesome ladies!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites - Again!

Another crazy week of nowhere near enough free time! Here's what I've been loving this week:

1. FINALLY! I've been begging Starbucks to do the 48 oz jugs of PSL for YEARS, so I was super excited when I saw about a month ago that they'd be in stores by the end of September. I've looked *everywhere* for the past 3 weeks, and finally found them yesterday! Hooray! It's not as great as a freshly made latte with whipped cream and whatever spices they put on top, but it's a darn decent substitute. I sat in my car in the grocery store parking lot drinking it straight out of the jug like the caffeine addict I am.

2. I ordered some kitty grass for Rachel, and she has been trying SO HARD to figure it out.

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She's had some tummy troubles lately, so I tried carrying her outside (she's a totally indoor girl) to let her try eating grass while I nervously kept a hand on her, but the poor girl could NOT figure it out. She sniffed at every blade. She tried to nibble it. She ended up cuddling the grass. I gave up and paid $4 (I love you, free Red Card shipping!) to get a cat grass kit shipped to my house. It took a few days to grow (I've had it less than a week and it's like 6-7" tall!) and she's in love with it. She still can't quite get the hang of EATING it (she tries to get it with her front teeth instead of going in with the molars) but I have faith in her. She is, after all, named after the smartest woman on TV!

Action shot!

3. I'm currently reading these two books and they're both fantastic!

4. THIS TOP! I was walking past the sleepwear section at Walmart this week and noticed these super fuzzy looking tops, so of course I had to stop and feel them because I'm creepy like that. (Everyone stops to feel soft-looking stuff, right?) THEY ARE AMAZING. It's like living inside a Muppet. And it was $8. I didn't even try it on, just grabbed it. (They run big, btw. Large fits like approx a size 14, but it's great because it's all slouchy and relaxed.) I have a feeling I'll be living in it all winter. (And OMG, when I pulled it up online to steal the photo, I found out it also comes in WAY more colors than the 3 my store had! Gimmie all the fuzzy shirts!!) (And yes, I am recommending a top from Walmart of all places. I'm such a fancy high end fashion blogger.)

5. This gal:

There's no way I could even make it through 11 hours of something fun without getting grumpy and super snarky. She's unbreakable.

Totally the best moment. "Were you alone ALL NIGHT?" (HRC cracks up) "I don't think that's funny!"

Rachel Maddow is interviewing Hillary tonight - CAN NOT WAIT. (Oh hey, remember last week when Rachel called me awesome? ME TOO!)

What are you loving this week?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Favorites

I missed posting this week's 10 Things because I ended up in the ER again (blehhh), so I thought I'd do a Friday post instead!

1. First... THIS.



I got the Christmas version of these last year and loved them so much that I never took them down. So when I spotted them at Target earlier this week, I was SO EXCITE! (You can find 'em online here!) I think there are at least 3 different styles, plus these adorable chicken guys! (they will totally be my next purchase!)

3. I spent an embarrassingly long time watching random critters at PetCo on Tuesday. It took this little guy several minutes to make his way from the roof of the tank, down his buddy's back, and onto the branch himself!

I get by with a little help from my friends. #ilovethem #lizard #awesome

A video posted by Crystal Ward (@crystalward11) on

4. I'm currently full of fringed bag love:

1. $48  2. $18  3. $24
4. $27  5. $27  6. $458 (tooootally budget friendly! But it's Frye!)

I'm trying to avoid doing much shopping this fall since I need all of my $ to move, but the temptation to indulge my boho aesthetic with a fringed bag is real. Thoughts?

5. UM. So while I was finishing up this post late on Thursday night, THIS HAPPENED.

Welp. That's it. I have to quit the internet now, there's nowhere else to go after that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Show Us Your Books! October 2015

Linking up with Life According to Steph and Jana Says for Show Us Your Books!

As usual, you can click the cove image to find each book on Amazon, 'cause those fancy affiliate links have made me almost ten whole dollars in the past 8 years. Big business, yo. 

Better Than Before

I was super excited to get my hands on an advance copy of Gretchen Rubin's third book, Better Than Before. (Which, yeah, came out months ago... I've gotta get faster at reviews!) Gretchen's first two books focused on happiness, but this one takes a look at our habits: how and why we form them, why they stick, and how to change the "bad" ones. She believes that everyone falls into one of four categories when it comes to habits - Upholders, Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels. (I'm totally a questioner.) Figuring out which group you fit into can help you figure out the best way to approach starting a new habit or quitting an old one.

For me, the most fascinating section came towards the end - habits that are tied to our identity. If you have the mindset of "I'm just not the kind of person who....", it can be hard to start doing something that feels totally against who you see yourself to be. For instance, someone who thinks "I'm just not the kind of person who likes working out" might find it much easier to develop an exercise habit by doing something like going for bike rides or hiking vs. trying to drag themselves to a gym.

To be honest, I feel like I need to re-read this book for the info to really sink in to the point that I can put it to use. I think this is more because I read it at a time when things were super hectic (lol when is my life not?) and read a few other books at the same time than because of any fault in the book itself.
(I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)

Lessons of a Lipstick Queen

I stumbled across this in the business section at the library and decided to grab it. At first glance, I assumed that the author was some kind of YouTube beauty guru or something, but no - she started a lipstick brand in Australia when she was 19 and achieved a pretty high level of fame there. The book alternates between the Poppy's personal story from the idea for her business to her company's rise and fall, and her advice for turning your own ideas into a business of your own, and where to go from there.

This was a fun and inspiring read - you sort of get the feeling that if a girl just out of high school can create and run a successful business, maybe you can, too. I was surprised to discover that the author is a few years older than me, since her voice reads more like someone in their early or mid 20s. It's not a life-changing book, but I do feel like I picked up some useful tidbits.

The Sound of Music Story

It's easy to forget that Julie Andrews was still in her late 20s when The Sound of Music was filmed.

This book covers not only the making of the film (I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch the opening sequence again without imagining the poor cameraman strapped to the side of the helicopter overhead!) but the family that the original play was based on. (I actually had no idea that Maria VonTrapp was a real person. The convent she entered was called Nonnberg, which literally translates to "Nun Mountain", which delights me to no end.) Learning the real story and the peeks behind the scenes of filming were interesting, but I felt like this almost went a little TOO in depth, if that's possible.
(I recived a free ebook from NetGalley.)

A Beginner's Guide to Paradise

I think that pretty much all of us have, at one point or another, daydreamed about leaving our "real" lives behind and running off to a tropical island somewhere. This book's author did exactly that, setting off to find an island paradise that felt like home with the possible intention of making the move permanent. This book is full of the quirky characters he meets along the way, the lessons he learns, and a lot of moments that cracked me up. Sort of Paul Theroux's "Happy Isles of Oceania" meets... something? I'm not even sure what to compare it to! Definite thumbs-up if you like humorous travelogues, though! Just wish I could have read it from a hammock on a beach somewhere. (This was another that I got from Net Galley. Yay, free books!)

College Quicker

I'm not totally sure why I was drawn to this book since I'm in my early 30s, not a parent, and thus not exactly its target audience, but something about it made me curious. As you can guess from the title, it offers suggestions on how to save time and money on college via options like covers AP courses and exams, pre-college summer programs, and dual enrollment. The book is written by a young lady who can relate to the topic since she just went through it a few years ago, and it's primarily aimed at those in high school who will be undergoing the application process in the next few years. However, I don't think that high school aged kids are the ONLY audience. Those planning to pursue education later in life could definitely benefit from some of the suggestions. Some of the options won't work for everyone - for instance, it's waaaay too late for someone my age to take college level courses in high school, but other options like CLEP exams are still an option.

She really breaks down the pros and cons of each option, including questions to ask yourself to make sure that the option being discussed is right for you (Can your family afford expensive exams right now? Just how much free time is in your schedule this school year?), and then offers tips on how to get the most from your chosen options. I love that the author breaks down exactly what kind of money the options can save you. (For example, taking an AP course and exam instead of a 3 credit course at Rice University saves you almost $5k in student loan payments. Yikes!) Definitely a book to consider if you know someone with kids in 9th or 10th grade this year, or are planning to enroll in college yourself sometime soon!

Have you read anything awesome lately? I'm currently in the middle of The Power of Story by Jim Loehr, which is super interesting so far. Guess you have that review to look forward to in next month's linkup!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

10 Things - Volume 46

I know, it's not Tuesday. Let's pretend!

1. Water. On. Mars. How freaking cool is THAT?

Evidence of water found on Mars

2. I survived citywide yard sale weekend, but just barely! It was almost 90 degrees, so being outside from 7:30 am - 4 pm kicked my butt, especially since a good chunk of that time was spent hauling heavy boxes of sale stuff around! I was too sick & achy to even make it out of bed on Saturday, but one of my sisters kindly took over for me! Didn't make a ton of cash, but got rid of a lot of excess stuff and added a pretty decent chunk of $ to my FL move fund! YAY!

3. My big ol' nerdy dreamboat of a TV crush, Chris Hayes, WON A FREAKING EMMY! For the All In series on poverty in America. I'm so proud! He's so freaking fantastic.

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4. The boots I've been drooling over turned out to be a big nope. I finally tried a pair on in store to make sure I had the right size before ordering them online, but they were somehow weirdly.... baggy? in the ankle area. How is that even possible??

I don't think sizing down would help, since the actual foot part fits well. Maybe some serious lace adjustment would help? Super sad, since these are the only boots I've fallen in love with so far this season. Guess that means I need to just stick with last year's!


Saw this online last night and nearly lost my freaking mind! I've been *begging* Starbucks to do the big 48 oz jugs of PSL for actual years. They finally listened! I'm going to drink approximately 58 gallons of Basic Bitch goodness over the next few months! (Until Gingerbread Latte comes out, since it's my favorite!)

6. #PinkOut day on Twitter/FB/IG/etc was so incredibly beautiful and inspiring and empowering and just WOW that I can't bare to change my Twitter pic back yet! So many amazing women (and men! And other genders!) out there standing up for access to life-saving care. Makes my heart overflow with glee for all the good in the world.

Crystal Ward

7. If you follow me on Instagram (personal OR blog account!) you know I've been kinda obsessed with sunsets at the lake lately. Hoping to head out there this afternoon (If I'm feeling decent post-dentist appointment) or tomorrow and nerd out with my fancy new-ish dSLR to get some great shots! I love what I've been capturing with my horrible cell phone camera, so  can't even imagine how they will look with my real camera!
8. Target better have some of these on clearance after Halloween so I can score one to wear around the house as lounge wear! Way better than yoga pants.

Nothing says "I work from home!" like writing in your dinosaur jumpsuit! I know it's labeled "dragon", but I'd rather be a dinosaur. Unless I can be Trogdor.

9. Unpopular opinion: I don't like the Ryan Adams 1989 album.

10. Did you watch the eclipse of the Supermoon - Blood Moon - Harvest Moon - OMG How Many Different Things Can We Call This Moon? I spent around an hour total outside checking it out - SO COOL. The last one was in 1982, when I was still a wee lass. Couldn't get any decent photos, and mostly spent my time trying to avoid getting run over since the only place I had a decent view was in the middle of my street! Still, super cool, super moon!

How is your week going?