Monday, July 18, 2016

Bookworm 4.0

So it has been since January of 2014 since I have posted about books!! With school starting in the summer of 2014, I didn't really get that much time to read for fun. Plus, I began reading the Outlander series, so that consumed my free reading time for about 2 years! So here we go. . . 

1. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

It has been so long since I read the first and second book in this trilogy, that I honestly can't remember too terribly much about the plot. What I do recall is that the main character is a witch, there is travel through time (with her vampire boyfriend), and I loved the books! I recently purchased the third and final book in the series and plan to reread books one and two so that I can refresh on the story line and finish the series.

2-9. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

This series is amazing! It is so well written and you are very easily able to fall in love with the main characters. It is the story of a woman who accidentally time travels to Scotland in the 1700's (her time is approximately 1946 ish). There is so much to this story throughout the eight books that I don't feel I can really sum it up in a short paragraph, so I'm not going to try. I highly recommend this series. It is quite the undertaking because each book is quite lengthy, but it is well worth the time. It took me two years to finish the series, but I could have finished sooner had I not been in school at the time. It is also now a series on Stars, I think, so you can check that out as well!

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book was okay. The main character, Louisa Clark, is likable and you grow to love Will Traynor, the quadriplegic man she takes care of for 6 months. It is a fairy predictable book, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  I chose to rad this one because they recently released a movie based on the book. I will likely rent the movie when it comes out, and I generally like to have read the book before seeing the movie. 

11. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I decided to read this because there had been a significant amount of hype over it. I had heard that if you liked Gone Girl, you would enjoy this book.  Well, I thought Gone Girl was okay, so I read this one. I was never really into this book.  I kept reading just so that I could figure out the twist of the book, but I didn't ever feel invested in the story. 

12-14. Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

I put off reading these for quite some time. I always said I would never read them because they were trashy and not worth my time. After talking with a friend who had read them 3x through, I decided to read the first couple chapters of the first book to see what the hype was about. Well. . . I was hooked. As everyone has said who has tried to convince me to read these, the story line is actually really good! I was intrigued by Christian Grey's story and wanted to learn more about what happened to him in his childhood. I became interested in the love story between him and Anastasia. I couldn't put these down! The down side of these books are that the writing is not great. In the couple of books, the main character says "Jeez" so many times I could just punch her. There is also a lot that could be discussed about her whole world seeming to revolve around a man, but why think so much about higher end trashy novels? 

Up next I plan to read Escape by Carolyn Jessup and Laura Palmer that talks about leaving a polygamist lifestyle. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Sister Wives once in a while and so I was intrigued by this book. I also plan to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg since it came highly recommended by my soon to be SIL. And the book One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow. I've seen it on multiple reading lists for different law schools, so I'll give it a whorl. 

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I have been asked on multiple occasions why I decided to take a year in between getting my bachelor's and starting law school. One part of the answer has to do with financial security. I want to take extra time to build our savings so that we don't have to go as far in debt, because trust me - we will have plenty of it after law school! Another part has to do with my marriage and time spent with family/friends. The past two years I have been absent quite a bit. I said no to many things and feel as though I've neglected my relationships. I want to take a year to nurture those relationships. The biggest part of my decision has to do with my overwhelming anxiety.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety since high school. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I shut down. I have struggled with this the last two years and I am so proud of myself for not crumbling completely! Working full-time, going to school nearly full-time, and trying to manage my relationships was hard.  Really hard. Because I took classes during spring, summer and fall, I never got a break from the constant feeling of being on the verge of failure. That's how I feel when I'm at my max - close to failure in some aspect of my life. I start thinking I can't do it. I get anxiety about my anxiety and worry that I'm not good enough, not smart enough, and that I'm going to fail. That is crippling. SO - a year of returning to a normal playing field is much needed before embarking on my law school adventure. I am optimistic that while law school will be difficult, I will feel less overwhelmed because I will not be working and can focus solely on my education.

Mental health is such a taboo topic, even still as many celebrities and other well known individuals have begun to reveal their personal struggles. I am a deeply private person and it is hard for me to be open about this topic, especially since I do feel shame surrounding my issues. Why do I write this post then, you ask? Because at least here you can read it, know my reason, and I won't have to feel uncomfortable trying to explain and justify my decision.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


It is a goal of mine to be better about updating the blog. I really enjoy being able to look back on posts and take a moment to remember things that have passed and maybe revisit a memory that I have forgotten. 

That  being said, there are many things that have happened the past few months!

1. Barry Manilow came to Cedar Rapids on April 8th! Mom and I attended his concert and it was fantastic! We were given glow sticks upon entrance. Ha.

2. April 23rd we leased a 2016 Chevy Equinox. Our Mountaineer required about $2,500-$3,000 worth of work, and we decided instead of putting that money into an older vehicle, we would prefer to trade in for something we could rely on. We did a two year lease, so if we find we are drowning my 1st year in law school, we will be able to cut it loose. Let's hope that isn't the case! 

I named her Shelly.

3.   On April 30th, Ben and I went to a Garth Brooks concert. It was AMAZING. I have loved Garth since I was a little girl and have always dreamt of seeing him live! Garth was actually my first ever cassette tape. :)  If at any time Garth is within reasonable distance to my location, I will be going again. Ben thought it was really good and was a great sport in putting up with my obnoxious self. The tickets were randomly selected for you, so we ended up in one of the back balconies. No one around was standing/dancing/singing, but that didn't stop me! While I didn't stand, I danced from my seat and sang until I was blue in the face!

Waiting for Garth to start!

4.  Graduation. Did a post here. Here is a nice post did Ben on my last day of classes:

5.  May 27-30th Ben and I traveled to Lanesboro, MN to camp, kayak, bike, and enjoy the outdoors! It was our 2nd time to Lanesboro. We stopped at Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan, MN and enjoyed a couple slices of pie (BJ - raspberry cream; LJ - chocolate cashew) and coffee. 

1st time out on the new kayaks!!!
6. June 10th we took the puppies to a 5k Doggy Dash that raised money for the local animal shelter. It turned out to be a fairly warm day and both dogs were ready for naps after the event!

7. We spent Father's Day down in Ft. Madison with some of Ben's family.

8. June 24-26th we traveled to Omaha for a visit with our friends Joe and Julia. We got to meet their new cutie, Leo, and enjoy some time catching up. 

9. On July 2nd we traveled to Wisconsin to the Alpine Valley amphitheater with Johnna and Danny to go to our first Dave Matthews Band concert. Alpine Valley can hold 37,000 people and the concert was SOLD OUT. It was such a fun experience!! 

Johnna, Danny, Ben & me. 
That catches us up to this weekend, for the most part. 

Ben and I decided to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary this weekend because he will be leaving for Andy's bachelor party on our actual anniversary (July 14). Yesterday we decided to take the kayaks out to Lake Macbride and to try bringing the puppies. We've been wanting to take them camping with us, but we always worry about what we would do with them if we took the kayaks out or went on a bike ride. So we hit up Petco for a couple of doggie life vests and went to the lake! We packed a lunch and had a nice picnic prior to our voyage. 

After a nice picnic lunch, we unloaded the kayaks, got the dogs fitted for their life vests, and pushed off. Grover was completely fine in the kayak. He didn't appear to be nervous, but actually seemed to enjoy it! I think that in his seven years with me he has learned that I will fiercely protect him and not let any harm come his way. 

My sweet little copilot!

Odie was not quite as fond of the kayaks. Ben struggled to get him into the cockpit initially, but finally got pushed out into the lake. It wasn't very long before Odie jumped ship and tested out his personal flotation device! He swam around for about 20 seconds before he made his was close enough to be to grab the handle of his life vest and pull him back into the kayak. He then refused to move from Ben's lap and chest for at least 45 minutes. 

Calming down a bit, but still not totally impressed, I think.

I'm so glad we decided to try the dogs in the kayaks out on the lake instead of a river the first time. I think we will take them out a few more times on the lake before attempting a river. Side note: at some point Odie peed the boat. On Ben's lap. Once Ben dried I said my usual, "Something smells like piss."  It was Ben. Bahaha. 

After getting home from our kayaking adventure, we showered and went to supper at The Bluebird Cafe in North Liberty. We enjoyed breakfast for supper and then made our way to play putt putt. Ben thought up the idea for putt putt because I have mentioned several times that there is a neat course (neat for Iowa, that is) at one of the golf courses, but we have never gone. 

We also exchanged gifts yesterday. Ben gave me an absolutely gorgeous necklace and diamond earrings! He is awesome. I gifted him the complete series of Battlestar Gallactica  (which he happened to find earlier in the week in my secret hiding place - aka the back seat of the car. Oops) and a daily journal for a couple that spans 3 years. 

Now it is Sunday and while I initially had motivation to get things one, that has flown out the window. I wanted to pulls weeds around the house, but then it started raining at 10 a.m. and has been raining on and off since then. A day of reading, coffee, and laundry it is, then.