reading and watching

With all this chilly weather, ’tis the season for cozying up with a good book in bed or on the couch for a Netflix binge, yes??

In last few months, I’ve been lucky to check some good stuff off my lists of reads and shows. I’m always collecting recommendations and had to share my current favorites in case any of you are the same!

Have you read or seen any of these before?


Side note – did you know one of my goals for the year is to read 20 books? Definitely more than I’ve read in previous years. One of my favorite hobbies has always been reading though, so I’m hoping this gets my routine back in order.

Check the recent books I recommend below!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter // What a story for dreamers! This novel spans over fifty years, as it bounces between a cast of characters with tangled lives and intertwined hopes – from 1960s Italy to present-day Hollywood. It evokes such humanity, while simultaneously showcasing the magic of foreign countries, old Hollywood, and falling in love.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Gone Girl is the suspenseful story following Amy Dunne’s sudden disappearance on her and her husband’s fifth anniversary. Twist and turns, paired with intriguing detail, keep readers on their toes as everyone tries to piece together details from different sources to determine who is guilty here.

Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush // I was instantly drawn to this book for a few reasons – its family has Texas roots, I love history and am always drawn to learning about what goes on behind-the-scenes, and its focus was on sisterhood. If you have a sister, this memoir is a must-read to me. It puts into beautiful words and stories so much of that special bond. I also loved how it shows the closeness of a family, despite the challenges it faces and the opinions (including political ones!) it differed in.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple // The story focuses on a close-knit relationship between a mother, Bernadette Fox, and her daughter, Bee, in a Seattle community where they’re the odd ones out. When Bernadette disappears before a family trip, Bee strings together various correspondence and documents to track her down. This touching novel acknowledges the challenge of finding one’s place in the world and is laugh-out-loud funny (I’m not kidding, you can ask E who heard me the whole time)!

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls // This memoir is written so beautifully, with vivid detail and a voice of triumph against all odds. Walls writes about growing up with parents full of non-conventional ideals that led to an adventurous, but challenging, youth. The stories she tells of her childhood have me full of the awe and admiration of the tenacity her (and her siblings) had to survive. The memoir carries you all the way through their young adult lives, showing you that fighting for your own success, in the most challenging circumstances, can still be done with love.

reading and watching


Big Little Lies // If you’re a fan of brilliant women supporting each other and love feeling empowered (who doesn’t?!), than this is a must. Eric and I binged this series right before the holidays, and then I got my family hooked. BLL has shined during awards season, and with the mystery, intrigue, and all-star acting that begins in episode 1, it’s easy to see why. Anyone else want to be bffs with the female cast?

The Bachelor // Every season I tell myself no, this is so ridiculous, you must stop, and every season I get hooked anyway. Laughing through and dissecting the whole thing with E, who I’ve also got hooked, is just too much fun. I wasn’t a fan of Arie being this winter’s lead, but he’s actually impressed me so far.

The Crown // Being a lover of history and always fascinated by the behind-the-scenes stories, this Netflix show has sucked me in quickly! I love the beautiful settings and wardrobes. And even though it’s definitely dramatized throughout, I’ve read how a lot of it is quite accurate and am learning a lot about the royal family.

What is missing from my collection, friends? I want to hear your thoughts!

4th of July

Happy FriYAY! Getting to sip coffee from my bed this morning because I’ve got Friday and Monday off in honor of 4th of July. Four day weekend?? Yes, please.

It’s no secret life has been pretty busy here in Chicago. It has also been totally wonderful. Chicago summers, man. Words cannot describe the way this city totally transforms to this magical place for this season. I mean, it’s always an amazing place, but all the humans just thriving in the sunshine and taking advantage after being cooped up in the colder months is something else.

This is actually from last Saturday when we played beach volleyball for five hours – not some far away beach where we went on vacation.

4th of July

With that, diving into this week’s Currently – new around here? You can see some past additions of this round up here, here, & here. 🙂

{Reflecting // On how wonderful June is}

I love November through January for obvious reasons – the holidays, my birthday, & our soon to be wedding anniversary months – but outside of all that, I think June is my favorite. It holds our Engageaversary, Eric’s birthday, the kickoff to summer, and will always bring back sweet memories of my first trip to Europe a year ago.

This June was especially fun, as it marked the one year anniversary of our backpacking memories and our first summer as real Chicago residents. I also was able to go home to Texas for some wedding festivities. Eric killed it at work – I’ve gotta brag, y’all – he was assigned lead engineer for a nuclear plant design project and has been traveling to the East coast.

All in all, lots to be thankful for as I look back on this month.

4th of July

{Missing // a book that you can’t put down}

I shared a few months ago that I finally gave into the idea of a Kindle, and I was loving it. I flew threw the first book – Bossypants (SO good) – I read on it. Lately, the book I’ve been reading hasn’t been the page turner I thought it was going to be…

In my opinion, one of the best feelings is when you just cannot put down a book, or get super excited to read it every moment you have a chance. I’m usually not one to abandon books, but I might jump ship here in search of something that brings that back for me.

That being said, anyone have a book they love and can’t put down?? With trips in the coming months and a beach to lay out on, I’m in the market for suggestions!

{Pumped for // Mini-getaway with my love!}

Last minute, Eric and I decided to take advantage of long 4th of July weekend with a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin. As Texans living in the mid-west for the first time, it still amazes us how easily you can just pop over to another state for a couple days.

We all know that’s likely a no-go in Texas. When we went skiing in Colorado with Eric’s family, we did the road trip over two days. The first leg was like 10 hours…and we hadn’t left the state.

Being the travel bugs we are, we love the idea of being able to escape to a new place for a mini getaway! Looking forward to lots of cheese and brews and exploring on foot. I’m really excited about a winery a little outside the city that we’re going to tour and taste at too. See previous road trip shenanigans below.

4th of July

Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend filled with your favorite people, fireworks, and all the yummy American food there is!

Days By Day

This week has been a whirlwind! Things got a little crazy at work and there were some wedding planning must-dos, so sadly there wasn’t much blog time in the mix. Hoping this doesn’t continue for long!

That being said, coming at ya with another Currently this week, but keeping it short and sweet!

{Laughing // At this photo with Aaron Carter}

Aaron's Party

Thank you Facebook memories for bringing this three year old gem to the top of my feed this morning. A few years ago, two friends and I fangirled at the front of a small Aaron Carter concert and got to snap a photo with him after. It was truly amazing and ridiculous, but you bet we sang every word to Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) as loud as we could. I know our eight year old selves were freaking out and thinking dreams really do come true.

{Reading // Jesus Calling}

I feel like I haven’t been able to sit down and read a book in quite awhile, but what I really do enjoy reading everyday is the daily devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. These early morning bits as I head into work are always such good truths and spot on reminders. I use the app, but there is also a hardcover you can keep on your nightstand!


An excerpt that really spoke to me this week?? Embrace all circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.

Love this truth. When I feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, I can rest easy knowing that God has carefully designed all things to ultimately help me grow and bring me closer to Him.


You can tell we’re getting closer and closer to the best time of year in Chicago! The sun has been out this week, and when the rain has stayed away, long walks and runs along the lake have been the best. Here Becca & Eric were trying to skip rocks, and I was trying to snap a cool photo without getting hit by all the bikes I was in the way of.


Bleh, this weekend looks questionable with the weather yet again…but hoping for this best! Just staying excited about all the movies in the park and street festivals to come.

Happy Friday, friends!

Days By Day


Tea and planner

Hi! Remember me?? Well, that week without a post flew by. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. Life has been busy the last few days, and I’ve been feeling the effects of the go, go, go once I get home in the evening. Anyone else? Yes, I thought so.

All that to say, I prefer being busy than the feeling of having nothing to do, but I have realized if I can’t get off work, run to the store, squeeze in a work out, and sit down in front of another screen at home to write each day – that’s 100% okay.

This totally applies to you too – we all need to cut ourselves some slack when we feel we are getting pulled in lots of directions and can’t excel at each one 24/7.

For today’s Currently, instead of talking about three things from this week – I’m focusing on one and explaining the talk behind it…

{Feeling // Motivated}

This ties back to a speaker we had at work through our women’s organization. The author Yvonne James Furth, former President of Draft Worldwide (now ad agency FCB, where I interned a couple summers ago), came to speak about a book she co-authored. It focuses on putting mindfulness at the center of your life.

Yvonne, and co-author Molly Rudberg-Leshnock, wrote From the Yoga Mat to the Corner Office: A Mindful Approach to Business Success  that speaks to finding and consistently exercising balance in your life. The most unique part of this motivational book is that it ties aspects of yoga to your everyday routines – like breath, focus, balance, flexibility – by demonstrating how you can put this certain aspect to work on the mat, and at the office.


We left the talk with a free copy of the book that I’m so excited to read through. I also took away a big nugget of wisdom that I’ve always been behind, but think I often lose sight of in all that’s going on. I feel refreshed after hearing it again from someone like Yvonne.

Ready for this truth?

You really can have it all.

Each day, we are juggling so many things and we can feel like there is just so much going on – like we are just going to have to pick and choose what we want to pursue. We’re juggling family schedules and that quality time at home. We’re juggling projects at work and meetings we have to organize. We’re juggling our friends and the social lives we are attempting to we keep up.

Oh, and I almost forgot ourselves…we’ve still got to make sure we can address our own hobbies – reading, blogging, exercising, building, growing, and all the other verbs we do because we love them.

What Yvonne had to say, and what I’m sure I’ll find in her and Molly’s book, is that you can totally tackle all of these things, you can have it all. The key is knowing that you won’t always be perfect and excellent at all of them, all at once. 

When we are at work, we work – and here’s the hard part – when we aren’t, we’ve got to set boundaries for ourselves. We’ve got to leave the office, or whatever other commitments we have, feeling proud of the day’s efforts, but ready to break for what other priorities we have – or just to simply give our minds a rest.

If this doesn’t apply necessarily to work for you, I think it really applies to other personal goals too. I’m definitely learning to apply it as I try to grow my blog. This blog brings my hobbies together. I want to give it everything I have and knock off my list of associated to-dos, but when I’m exhausted – letting myself watch a movie with Eric, or laying in bed a bit early to read, is so okay and so necessary.

Aside from our tasks, we’ve got to be good to ourselves by allowing us time to grow, explore, play, laugh, and learn by pursuing our passions. When we are with loved ones, we have to let ourselves be fully invested there, and putting the hundreds of pings and screens seeking our attention on hold. This time give us the energy to do all the other stuff.

Of course, there will be days when you do have to get back online after a dinner with friends or family, but the important thing is that we allow ourselves to enjoy those other parts of us in between it all, and not feel guilty.

In really busy seasons of life, it’s just going to take a bit more effort to allocating time for each – and most importantly, allocating time to relax. Instead of letting the feeling of not hitting everything on your plate at 100% slip in, we need to be proud of the moment’s victories, and know that we are crawling into bed with more opportunities that we will rock at tomorrow.

You can have it all. You just have to be easy on yourself and good to your soul while doing it.

Thanks to Yvonne for such a great talk that inspired some good reflection this week. Happy Weekend, everyone!

Days By Day


This week’s Currently coming at ya a little later than I would’ve hoped…but better late than never, right?? If you’re new to the blog, you can check out my first post in this series here. 🙂

Happy Weekend, folks!

{Reading // Bossypants by Tina Fey}

I’ve always loved Tina Fey, she was a favorite of all my girlfriends on SNL, as I’m sure she was for a lot of people. All about female empowerment, laughing at yourself, and being real – my kind of lady. I remember this as the first female comedian’s book to really take the market by storm, and I loved Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, so I knew I was overdue in checking Tina’s out.

The part two excitement to this is that Bossypants is the very first book I’m reading on my Kindle Fire, a Valentine’s treat from Eric! Anyone who knows me, knows that I was anti-Kindle for a long time. Not regarding the product in general – I thought it was such a great idea – but I just love the feeling of a real book in my hands and seeing progress with the thickness of the pages.

It was after books were getting bent up in my work tote, and hard to read when having to stand on my commute, I figured I should give it a go. Still adjusting and won’t be giving up physical books completely, but loving my Kindle so far!


{Eating // Brunch…at work?}

What is this? I am eating brunch on a weekday? At my office? Score.

We’re fortunate to have Bagel Friday at work, which is major fuel to get to the weekend. This week though, major bonus. Contestant from NBC’s The Voice and local Chicagoan, Mark Hood, stopped by to perform at a special Gospel Brunch. There were waffles, chicken, eggs, and bagels galore, so I was a happy camper. What a nice treat after a busy week.

IMG_7545 (1).JPG

{Planning// Austin Trip}

In just two short weeks, Eric and I will be headed back for a jam packed weekend! It’ll be so wonderful to see family and friends, but also feel really good to knock out some more things on our list of wedding to-dos.

We’ll finally be taking our engagement photos – very excited! Also, kind of nervous…haha am I cool and not awkward enough for this? Our photographers for this shoot, and our wedding, will be the lovely Kelsey and Talon of Feather & Twine. This adorable duo also got engaged in Paris (Is this meant to be or what??), and married just last fall. We are so, so looking forward to meeting them in person. If you haven’t checked them out before, you can join us in being in awe of their talent at their journal here.

Also on the ATX agenda – cake tasting, floral, and linen appointments, and maybe even some bridesmaids’ dress shopping. These last few weeks have been a lot of emails and phone calls, but I’d say we are doing quite well for planning from states away!

Days By Day