Hiking Camelback Mountain

Well, I ended up in Arizona for Thanksgiving after all. Ivan’s grandmother had a stroke and passed away earlier in the week, so I flew down Wednesday night for the funeral. The funeral was friday and on thursday we spent some time with a few of his cousins who were also in town to de-stress a bit.

We decided on hiking camelback, which I have to say, I really enjoyed. Ivan and I attempted to hike it last christmas, but I gave up really early. Now I’m in better shape from all the running I’ve been doing and was able to make it without getting super winded.

I certainly was sore afterwards though. I used all sorts of muscles that I’m not used to working, and was still feeling it a few days later.

Here I am cheesing it on the top. I was feeling pretty proud of myself.


This, this was my least favorite part. Most of the path wasn’t fenced and didn’t have railings, but this section was pretty much vertical. I was not a fan. At all. 3

Can you tell that I’m a big fan of pictures? It was just so gorgeous up there. I think I’d like to take up hiking. It was difficult, but it just felt so rewarding to finally make it to the top. Plus, you get to see that spectacular view.



One of Ivan’s cousins snapped the picture of us below. We hardly have any candid photos of us. I think this just might be one of my favorite pictures of us ever.


We’ll be back at Christmas and we might hike it again. It was a great workout and it would be a nice break from running all the time.

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Project Boudoir Lansing

Last Thursday night I was attended a new event in Lansing. It was a lingerie fashion show/contest that was held at the Runway in Lansing. It was sponsored by Curvaceous (this AWESOME lingerie store in Old Town) and was a ton of fun.


There was a contest portion and then there was also a fashion show featuring designs sold at Curvaceous. A new local brewery provided the drinks and a local bakery provided delicious snacks to munch on. Everything was delicious.

I was very impressed with the pieces that were entered into the contest portion of the night. Apparently they had a mix of contestants from the local community college, MSU, and some were professional designers.

I don’t remember exactly what the prizes included, but I know they would sell the winning designs in the store, they got a photo shoot for publicity and access to the Runway to complete their line.
I went with two of my friends, Jacquelline and Maurica. It was our first girls night in quite some time and it was great to get to spend time with them. I hope they make this an annual event. It was something different to do and was a fantastic idea for a girls night out.

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Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge

So now that I’ve completed my goodreads reading challenge, I’ve decided to enter a blog-hosted one. I stumbled upon this through Kristen at See You in a Porridge. It’s hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. I’ll update my progress here throughout the challenge. We’ll see how this goes. This is the first time I’ve entered a challenge that has such specific categories and I’m pretty excited to get started.


Current Points:  50

5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages. No Place Like Oz by Dorothy Paige
10 points: Read a debut book by any author. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence. Hunted by Kevin Hearne
10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. TBD
15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
15 points: Read a book with a one-word title Unremembered by Jessica Brody
20 points: Read a book with a person’s first and last name in the title The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin OR Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel
20 points: Read a food-themed book. Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title. Touch by Claire North
30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors). Clean by Amy Reed / Clean by Alex Hughes
30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer and The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales (books about teenage con-artists)

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What I Read in October

I took a few months off from my reading challenge, but I managed to get back in the swing of things in October. With moving back to Michigan, our new dog, my new running habit and my recommitment to cooking dinner nightly, time has been valuable.

I was able to finish a few books this month though and I’m still ahead in my goodreads reading challenge. In fact, I’m almost finished with a 47/50 books.


1. Warrior (Blades of Rose #1) by Zoe Archer
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Rating: 4/5
Thoughts: Warrior has been on my list for years. I found it on Oyster and decided that it was finally time to read it. I was not disappointed. It was full of action and fun, plus I love the two main characters. I think the next book focuses on a different character, which I’m a little disappointed about.


2. Canvas Bound (Captive Art#1) by Laura M. Kohler
Sixteen-year-old Libby Tanner’s art comes to life. Her painted skies turn from day to night, leaves rustle on trees, and sometimes, a mystery boy appears.

While attending England’s Aldridge Art Academy, Libby meets charming Brent Henderson, a performing arts student who showers her with attention. But his rival, gorgeous Dean James, is the one who occupies her mind, even though he’s very much attached to his current girlfriend.

Libby soon learns there’s more to both Brent and Dean than she ever imagined. In order to save her future and the boy who’s captured her heart, she must unlock the secrets behind her art by entering the most dangerous place of all… the world within her paintings.

But once she steps into the canvas, she risks being trapped forever.

Rating: 3/5
Thoughts: This was an interesting read. It was definitely a creative concept and it held my interest, but I wasn’t in love with it. I’ll keep reading the series, but it’s not on the top of my list.


3. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Rating: 4/5
Thoughts: This was so much fun. I’ve read other books by Carriger in the past, but for some reason put this series off. It was actually a bit better that way, because I could read some of them back to back. This series is quirky, fun, light and hilarious. Can’t wait for the next books!

4. Ever Night by Gena Showalter
The New York Times bestselling author of the Lords of the Underworld series transports readers to a new and dark world in this sexy, paranormal novella…

Rose Pascal is swept into a dark, haunting realm every year on her birthday, only to return home the next day. She dreads each visit…even as she craves appearing before the realm’s warrior king, a deliciously maddening man who has spent his life hunting and killing her kind—with good reason. They are supposed to be enemies, but neither can deny the passion sizzling between them. With time running out, can they find a way to be together forever?

Rating: 2.5/5
Thoughts: I don’t know how to feel about this one. It was short – it was originally in an anthology, but it was certainly interesting. I can’t say that I loved the story, in fact, parts of it kind of irked me. But I did keep reading it because I needed to know what was happening.


5. Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger
Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

Rating: 4.5/5
Thoughts: I don’t even know what to tell you. I love these books. Gail Carriger is a queen.

6. Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark #2) by Gina Showalter
Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless-and if he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions, at any cost…until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he’s never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation-or her ultimate damnation?

Rating: 3.5/5
Thoughts: Guys, I actually really liked this one. I thought the storyline was pretty addictive. It was well paced, exciting and intriguing – can’t ask for more. From the setup, I think the next book will be about someone else… which I’m not a huge fan of. We’ll see though.

What I’ve Read This Year

What I Read (January – April)
What I Read in May
What I Read in June
What I Read in July


Today I am linking up with:
Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books

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$60 Weekly grocery Budget: Meal Plan & Recap 11/1

Sorry I’m a few days late with this one. It’s been a bit crazy around here!

Total Spent on Groceries this week: $49.26

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Main: Cajun Salmon courtesy of Creole Contessa with spicy chickpeas & kale courtesy of William-Sonoma and spice-roasted butternut squash courtesy of food.com

Verdict: I’m not a big fish person, but this salmon was pretty tasty. We both LOVED the butternut squash. It’s probably my new favorite way of eating it. The kale… not so much. I think it was the particular kind of kale that it called for, but it was NOT my favorite.

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Main: Sausage & Tortellini Soup courtesy of Ice Cream with a fork

Verdict: I’ve made this many, many times. It’s a go-to around here. Whenever I can get frozen tortellini for a good price, I make this. I made it on the stove instead of in the crockpot and used fat free half & half and almond milk instead of cream cheese.

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Main: Crockpot Chicken Pho courtesy of Served From Scratch

Verdict: I’m not sure about this one. Ivan really liked it… but I just wasn’t feeling it. I don’t think I added enough salt. I use a sodium free chicken broth and therefore usually need to add extra salt to even everything out. I don’t think I was successful with it.

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Main: Chicken Piccata with Noodles courtesy of Jo Cooks

Verdict: Oh, yes. I’ll be adding this one to the normal rotation.


Leftovers. I had a halloween party to attend and Ivan ended up working late.


Main: Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes courtesy of Simply Recipes

Verdict: Guys, this was delicious. I ate most the potatoes myself. It was absurd. This will be happening again, soon.

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Main: Zuppa Toscano courtesy of For the Love of Food

Verdict: One of my favorite soups I’ve ever made. It was so good. I made homemade spicy croutons and a quick olive garden like salad to go along with it.

Past Recaps:
Weekly Grocery Budget Recap 10/18
Weekly Grocery Budget Recap 10/11
Weekly Grocery Budget Recap 10/18
Weekly Grocery Budget Recap 10/25

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A Halloween Weekend

I’m such a huge fan of Halloween. I love coming up with costumes, passing out candy, going to haunted houses and just everything about the holiday.

This year I didn’t make it to a haunted house, but I did make it to two different parties. The first party was on Thursday at my friend Brad’s. He and his girlfriend throw a party every year and it’s my third time going.

My friend Jacquelline went with me. We went as children’s book characters – me as Madeline and she went as the Cat in the Hat. It was a pretty easy costume for me – I had the dress, gloves, shoes, hat and ribbon. I purchased the frilly socks from Walmart for $3 and the white button up from goodwill.

On Halloween Ivan, Kidd and I passed out candy. Kidd was simply fascinated with the entire concept. He loved that we were getting so many visitors. He was like a built in child alarm – every time one turned up our driveway, his tail starting wagging like crazy.


We also went to the law school halloween party that night. Ivan and I went as Squints and Wendy from the Sandlot. The law school rented out a local bar, which was super cool. My friend Jacquelline came with us too and we all had a good time. I just love halloween.

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We pregamed at a friend’s house and then shuttled over to the bar at around 11. Since the clocks moved forward, we had an extra hour to spend out. We didn’t make it the full night – we headed over to a local pizza place at about 1:30 (technically 2:30) to stuff our faces and then cabbed it back home. I spent a lot of Sunday sleeping.


What did you guys do for halloween? Any fun costumes?

Today I am linking up with:
Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots
Sincerely Jenna Marie for Hello Monday
Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in my Mondays

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Weekend Recap: Art, Races & Tickets

What a whirlwind. It was a busy weekend here. On Friday night Ivan and I attended an Art Gala at the Broad Art Museum. I won the tickets to the event, so we figured we’d check it out. We were a bit out of our element.

IMG_2233 There were come pretty cool things – my favorite was the aerialist, but there were also some questionable things. Part of the night featured student fashion from the school of design (i think) and there were some pretty outrageous creations. It was almost like seeing a bunch of Lady Gaga clones walking around.

IMG_2246 But they had a photo booth, so I obviously had a great time. I LOVE photo booths.  artgala24102015 copy

Then Saturday I made the decision to skip the tailgate. Ivan still went, but I had grocery shopping, cleaning and other errands to complete. I picked up my packet for the 5k I was running sunday and got a lot of my other tasks out of the way.

Then Sunday morning I ran my second 5k race – The Screaming Banshee. Ivan and Kidd went with me to cheer me on. My time was a bit slower than the Dino Dash, but I completely expected that. I haven’t had time to run as much lately, so I knew I’d be a bit slower. I still had a great time though and can’t wait to run more.

After the race, Ivan took me out for a celebration meal, where I ate entirely too much. We then promptly went home to nap. After our nap, I did some more shopping with my mom and then got a speeding ticket. Bummer, right? It was not a great end to the weekend.  I wallowed for a bit, did some reading in bed and then made us dinner. And that was the weekend :)

Today I am linking up with:
Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots
Sincerely Jenna Marie for Hello Monday
Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in my Mondays

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