Summer Reads

Mornin’ friends! HAPPY FriYAY!

Last weekend I finally got the chance to lay out in the sun and do some reading – glorious. I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve devoured in the last few weeks in case anyone could use some recommendations for books to enjoy on this long weekend. Comment on my post if you have any recommendations for me too – I love suggestions!

Let’s start with my most recently completed one:

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The Handmaid’s Tale was written years ago and just recently brought to life through a Hulu original series. It is riveting and disturbing and definitely worth the read. What a thought-provoking perspective it offers! Read it through the eyes of a feminist or read it through the eyes of a traditionalist or read it through the eyes of a neutral and you will consume the same message – that’s how strong its message comes through. Author Margaret Atwood wrote a forward for it just this year – don’t skip it! Read every page 🙂 I encourage this because I’m the culprit that often skips the forwards but this one – just don’t.

Mary Kubica is my next featured author. Her mystery Don’t You Cry keeps you guessing (cliche phraseology from me, I’m aware – but it’s true!) – it’s a page turner and let’s just put it this way: I read it during the spring on flights and in between work trips and over the duration of a month and no matter how many days lapsed between sittings, I did not lose interest. It’s written mainly from two different character perspectives and the way their tales come together is clever and beautiful and great writing.

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Lastly, we have The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman — I cannot wait to read this! Haven’t yet and learned of it through the previews of the movie made just this year! I love reading books before watching the movies that they inspire and this one looks fantastic and touching. Just grabbed it from B&N last week and can’t wait to begin reading it.

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Happy summer reading, folks 🙂

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Cloudy Greens

Good morning, Friday Junior! Hello hello! 🙂

So, yesterday night, Leo, my sister Julianna, and I went to another Tigers game – boo on so many losses 😦 But it was still an engaging game that we enjoyed!

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I love choosing outfits for different occasions and yesterday’s weather forecast didn’t know if it wanted to be gloomily cold, or just cloudy and humid so I thought a loose romper with a long duster sweater would be the way to go!

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How pretty is Detroit?! It’s truly making its anticipated comeback and I’m so proud! So many new and exciting restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and more sprouting up all around.

Wore my hair in looser waves…trying to protect it from too much styling lately so just kinda let it be — if you have a really good curling iron, your curls will only drop little by little and can thereby last for days. Reference this post for the tools I use (featured at the bottom) 🙂

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So, I bought the romper last summer, but it’s only $15 on sale this summer at Lulu’s – check it out here!

Acai & Florals

Good morning, friends! I’m writing to you from my balcony, in the sunshine…it’s a lovely day. I love quiet mornings when the sun comes out to play and I can actually meet it. 🙂

Yesterday morning, I grabbed a healthy breakfast with my sister downtown Ann Arbor.

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I loved the place we went to — Fred’s on Washington Street. It’s my favorite locale for acai bowls as they make the finest in town.

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Besides, look at their decor!! I was actually there the day the artist painted this stunning mural at Fred’s and it was a wonder watching her work — yes, haters, I frequent the place often <shrug>. Haha jk, not quite as often as I’d like – it was just a lucky day. 🙂 Isn’t her work amazing?! So bright and happy and detailed.

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I positively love being there. If you’re ever in the area, give it a visit! They serve energy smoothies, super foods, vegan cupcakes, and that’s only naming a few of their bestsellers.

And as for the fashion tips — I shopped Francesca’s latest sale on sale and loved every minute of it. I didn’t have a whole lot of summer tops for this year and needed some new ones and Francesca’s was my go-to.  This top was only just under $13 when I bought it and for reference I’m wearing a Small. It’s remarkably still available in all three sizes (s, m, l) and you can find it here — hurry before the sale ends!

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Happy Hump Day, friends – I hope it’s a great one for ya! ❤

Jiji’s Orange Bundt

Good Morning Friends!

Monday, Monday…I’m ready for the weekend again. Haha, never mind, this week will be a good one – I’m grateful to have a great job and love the people with whom I work.

But, to get started off on a sweet foot, I thought I’d share my orange bundt recipe.

It’s another recipe I made up! Ha, I chose my favorite ingredients from a few different bundt recipes, added a few more, and voila – this one came to be! Check out the recipe and ingredients below.

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Happy baking, friends!

Jiji’s Orange Vanilla Chocolate Bundt Cake (it’s a mouthful, pun intended!)

3 eggs

1.5 cups crisco shortening

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup vanilla creamer

Half an orange of squeezed orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

1 cup chocolate pudding

1 cup white sugar

2.5 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp baking soda

Mix together the dry ingredients before folding in the eggs. Pour in the rest. Mix until smooth – typically about 60 seconds.

Spray your bundt cake pan and fold in the batter. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Take a spatula to the sides to gently prod the cake from the walls of the pan; let cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan. Glaze with vanilla glaze.

Now, say yum! ❤

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Ferris Wheels

Summertime…it means farmers’ markets, carnivals, festivals, and kisses on Ferris Wheels…I hope you’ve been grabbing every opportunity that summer promises.

Take a moment to look events like these up in your area and try to find them at times that fit your schedule; you won’t be sorry. Leo found this carnival about ten minutes away from a work meeting we had one night this past week and he surprised me by stopping by it on our way home. We grabbed the opportunity for a little weeknight thrill!

How gorgeous is the sunset from our view atop this Ferris Wheel?! These photos below have no filter on them.

It wasn’t our first Ferris Wheel ride shared this summer. These were taken during the weekend at another nearby festival.

I purchased the pretty romper featured above at Somerset‘s Anthropologie, from their clearance section, for less than $20! They’ve been having some epic “sale on sales” — check them out if you get a chance this week 🙂

Ferris Wheels are my favorite ride at carnivals. I actually have an epic fear of heights, but something about these slowly moving wheels that carry you up and up, lifting you gently into the sky gives me a thrill. It’s a slow and focused way to face my fear, and know the excitement of it… I’ve been trying to face every fear of mine, whether big or small, this year, and do it with an attitude of anticipation rather than anxiety. Perspective makes all the difference! 🙂

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Hope you’ve been enjoying your summer, friends. 🙂

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Night in Plymouth

Hi friends!

How cute is this little corner of downtown Plymouth? These photos are taken in front of their old post office turned into a market. They still have the old US Postal Service sign printed on the building!

I couldn’t help but stop and stare at some of the beauties coloring the front of their market. I was with my sister and she snapped some quick pics

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I love flowers. Redundant for you to read those words on my blog at this point, ha! But flowers from the market are typically my favorite — so fresh and bright. I was bummed the market was closed by the time we passed it.

 

Make sure to visit the city — it’s bustling and happy and full of fun little hangout spots throughout.

Outfit details at the bottom.

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Outfit Details:

The bag and jewelry have been featured in previous blogs so I’ll stick to the clothing. It’s all from previous seasons and out of stock but I linked some similar pieces for you to shop!

Cardigan was a steal at a Guess Outlet mall years ago. But here, here, and here are some slightly similar styles.

Shorts were a steal at a TJ Max three years ago. But here and here are similar styles.

Shirt was not a steal (ha!) at an Anthropologie years ago. But click here for their current pretty tops.

Wake Up and Smell the Roses

Good morning, happy people. 🙂 How beautiful are these roses Leo brought to the airport when he picked me up from my Dallas work-trip last Friday?!

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I’ve been loving them. One of my favorite things to do with my plants and bouquets is move them around the house to keep my home decor fresh and bright. I work from home often, so I like to switch things up in our condo.

Yesterday morning I had a nice little breakfast with coffee on my balcony and just enjoyed this pure Michigan sunshine with which we’ve been recently blessed.

Try to take a morning moment daily to just appreciate your life – and I use “life” in terms of simply being alive 🙂

There is beauty in every day and it’s up to us to uncover it, appreciate it, and pass it along. (PS, those are my vitamin pills on the plate, in case you were wondering — I typically go with something healthier than scones for breakfast 😉 but I decided to spoil myself a little. Nonetheless, always keep up with your vitamins and stop that thought right there – I do NOT sound like your mom). 😉

Happy Friday Junior, folks. 🙂

 

 

 

Sunsets

Hello 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a lovely day so far.

Yesterday evening, Leo and I strolled through our neighborhood and of course I had to stop every two feet in the beginning of our walk as the sun set —

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But do you blame me?? This sky was fantastic. Look how gloriously the sun painted these clouds! These are photos right off my iPhone with no filter:

I was enthralled. It made me think though…of endings…to sunshine. Dreams. Sometimes you grow up with certain expectations of how your adulthood will play out, with aspirations and with hope and with so much belief that your dreams will pan out – as long as you work at them with all your strength.

But you know what, sometimes, some dreams don’t. Sometimes, the sunshine in those dreams will slowly set. The last embers will paint your personal sky strikingly and you’ll take the time to snap some pictures in your mind’s eye. Because you’ll want to remind yourself of how colorful and perfect your heart felt with that particular dream alive.

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In that moment, you’ll be thinking only of the sunset. And rightly so – because a sunset like this one deserves a captivated audience.

But once it sets, and the sky has darkened, you’ll just follow the cycle you were born to follow — looking ahead for tomorrow’s sunrise. The birth of new dreams. The continuance of still-existing ones. The celebration of accomplished dreams. The hope that is a life filled with purpose.

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So take a last look, and enjoy the sunset. Yesterday’s was certainly a beautiful sun.

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“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Peony Babies

Hi friends!

So here you have those last tips on peony care I promised you on my Instagram this morning! I promise it’s the last peony post for awhile (for those of you who aren’t as obsessed with the lovely flowers as I am) 😉

Look at these beauties, alive and healthy, even though it’s just shy of two weeks since I brought them home from the Farmer’s Market!

So, here’s my tip: Buy bunches that are full of both blossoms as well as buds — when the blossoms begin to wither, prune them away. Leave the buds on their stems and shorten them to fit into a smaller vase. In my case I used this cute little mason jar.

Be sure to change out the water daily, and you’ll find each bud opening for you – and watch it blossom ’til it’s lived the length of its sweet little life!

Happy peony lovin, friends!

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Garden Fashion

Happy Friday, friends! Ah, so glad it’s the weekend tomorrow – I can’t wait for the fun plans my family and I have coming up for Father’s Day!

Anyone looking for some weekend fashion inspo? In this gorgeous summery weather, the ideas are plenty! But today, it’s all about rompers if you ask me 😉

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I found this pretty one at Pitaya – one of my favorite boutiques! It’s affordable and always provides a unique take on trendy fashion.

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It was perfectly pretty and comfortable enough for my visit to The Arb to see their incredible peony garden!

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ll see I’ve been drinking in every breath of these sweet peonies during their too-short season! They’re so lovely…

 

For tips on their care, be sure to reference my previous blog post here!

 

And if you’re ever in the Ann Arbor area, be sure to visit The Arb – its beauty is certainly not limited to the peony garden…you’ll find that the lovely trails rival your favorite landscape paintings!

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I hope you all enjoy your weekend! I’d love to hear about your plans and the fashion ideas with which you’ve paired them! 🙂

Let’s chat soon!

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