June 24, 2016

What I've Been Reading... June, 2016

Since I turned into a crazy person, I've been doing a lot less reading. I have instead been spending my time watching stupid Netflix shows like The Bionic Vet... yeah.

I did however read a few things, but it kind of felt like I was just finishing them to finish... not to enjoy the book. That is one of the problems I have with doing a reading challenge.

I haven't finished any books this month, but I am in the middle of a couple. We are doing a lot of driving this week, so hopefully I can get some more done.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear.In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature, drawing on a remarkable range of archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy. At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man's relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history.
I did this a little bit out of order. I saw the movie and am now reading the book. The book seems more analytical, but I’m only about halfway through. I’ll let you know.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 
Lots of people said that this is one of their favorite books! I am listening to it right now, and while it is good, it doesn’t quite hold my attention. I think as I get more into the plot and the story of the game it will be better. 

Next up:
After You by Jojo Moyes 
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future... For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
I'm very excited to read this, especially because I recently finished Me Before You. Still haven't seen the movie though!! 

June 22, 2016

I've Turned Into A Crazy Person

This month I have turned in to (even more) of a crazy lady. I am finding myself doing some things that I wouldn’t have ever done in the past, but seem to justify to myself because I am a bride.

See that little girl? She is a little cray-cray, type A person in the making.

I was going to share with you a little bit about my bridal style today, but frankly I am too busy running around being crazy and obnoxious to finish that post. As I was lying in bed wishing for sleep last night, I started thinking of all the stuff that I’ve been doing this month that are kind of new, and sort of unique to the wedding. Which include, but are not limited to:

-bathing myself in lotion 2-3 times per day
-checking the weather all the flipping time
-managing and updating my vast number of spreadsheets
-hoarding cash
-sheet masks, moisturizer, eye masks (which are amazing)
-calling, texting and emailing people to "check in"
-eating lots of oatmeal
-writing lots of thank you notes
-hating whitening my teeth but doing it anyway
-shopping for all white everything
-no longer flinching at purchases of hundreds of dollars
-wrapping many gifts
-booking tons of hotel rooms

I don’t think it hurts my craziness that we are also moving in a month. And I wouldn’t go so far as to call me a bridezilla, because I’m not angry or mean. This is just my Type A, organized AF, planner brain coming out. I’m sure that once I’m off work on Friday and have a minute to breathe, I’ll calm down a little bit. But no promises.

Some reminders! (Just to check in...lol)
-Remember to link-up your post on Monday for the monthly "Awkward and Awesome" link-up. This is a no-rules link up, for us to share the awkward and awesome stuff going on in our lives.
-The Blogger Men Tell All link-up is going live on Tuesday, and I am lucky enough to host with Becca for this summer. Here are the questions if you'd like to participate.

June 17, 2016

Traveling by Air with Hearing Loss

You might know that I was recently diagnosed with a mild/moderate hearing loss (you can read more about that here). This has been a huge learning experience for me, as I am now facing how bad my hearing really was before I did anything about it. I am hearing some sounds for the first time in a long time, and it can, quite frankly be overwhelming.

When I went to my shower in Rochester, I flew by myself. I have done this many times before, but this is the first time since wearing hearing aids. I had a lot of concerns, specifically about airport security, and riding on the plane. Would I have to take my hearing aids off? Would I want to?

I did a bunch of research prior to my trip, and found it very helpful. And now I am sharing it with you! I know this isn't really applicable to everyone, but hey, you never know...

-Make sure anything you might need for your listening device is stored in your carry on. I had a case with an extra set of batteries in my purse, and then carried on some more batteries in my carry on. I didn’t want to be in the situation if my luggage was lost, that my hearing aids would be dead.

-You CAN walk through the metal detectors with hearing aids on. I found that I was more comfortable letting the TSA agent know that I was wearing them, but they suggested I leave them on. This makes for a much faster security check, if you aren’t taking out and putting your aids back in.

-Sign up for text alerts. At one point, my gate changed, but I could not for the life of me understand the announcement over the loudspeaker. But since I was signed up to receive texts, I got the message right to my phone, and moved to the new gate.

-Most airports are equipped with a hearing loop. If your device has t-coil connectivity, this might be a better way to hear announcements in the sometimes loud airport concourses. I was using mine for a while at LaGuardia, but found it distracting, as I was hearing all the announcements that I didn’t need.

-Hearing devices do not interfere with the plane’s instruments. You are not required to turn off devices when they make the announcement to the cabin about “electrical devices.” You can continue to use your hearing aids or personal listening device through the flight. I found that I was more comfortable (and could sleep) with my hearing aids off, but that was my choice.

-The plane might seem really loud during flight. I recommend either turning hearing aids down, or if you are able to turn them off. This will prevent any noise damage.

-This is personal preference, but if you don’t feel comfortable sitting in an exit row, by all means ask to have your seat changed. In the event of an emergency, not being able to hear directions well would be a good reason to not be in that row.

-Most importantly: do not be afraid to ask for help! When we were preparing to land, I absolutely could not understand what the captain was saying over the intercom. I turned to my seat-mate and said, “I’m sorry, what did he say?” and she was kind enough to repeat it. Most of the time people are very gracious and willing to help.

Do you have a hearing loss? Do you have any tips for traveling by air?

June 15, 2016

My Norfolk Bachelorette Bash

Another week, another Wedding Wednesday. And on this Wednesday, there are only 17 more days until I'm a Mrs! It is coming up so fast!

Since things are CRAZY around these parts, and Dave and I are getting ready to take 2 weeks off of work (hallelujah!), I thought I would share a little bit about my Norfolk Bachelorette Party. Two of our friends so graciously threw this for me, and it was seriously so fun. Maybe a little bit too much...

We started off the evening at one of my favorite places, the Norfolk Mermaid Factory. This is really similar to color me mine, except you get to take your mermaid home with you when you are done. I've done this once before with my mom and sister, and I loved it just as much the second time around.

Everyone got to paint a mermaid how they wanted, and we drank some wine and ate snacks. It was a good time.

This was also my "lingerie shower," thrown by the girls, and they certainly had fun with that. I am probably one of the most awkward people on the planet, and they made me open my gifts and take photos in the Mermaid Factory. It was actually pretty fun, and they had obviously spent time thinking about what I would like. They bought me some beautiful things, all which are very me.

After we left the Mermaid factory, we had a little bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we naturally walked over to a bar with a patio, and enjoyed a beverage there. My friend Kristi and I couldn't resist a photo op with a statue.

Side note: I don't usually like all the attention to be on me, but I have to say it feels good for random people to congratulate you on getting married. I have no idea how they knew though....

dress | necklace (similar) | shoes (similar)
We made our way to Mermaid Winery where we ordered lots of wine, champagne and dinner. I had never been there before this, and it was awesome. I really want to take Dave before we move. Their wines were pretty good, and their champagne (named "Sex") was even better.

For dinner I had this cheesey, white wine, veggie pasta, and it was shamazing. Exactly what I needed to soak up all that wine in my belly!

Thank you to my lovely friends, for not only throwing a wonderful bachelorette bash, but for always making Dave and me feel so welcome and loved in Norfolk.

June 10, 2016

Six Tips to Have a Great Experience with Rent the Runway

I am absolutely in love with this service. This post is in no way sponsored, and actually Rent the Runway probably has no idea that I write here. I just love them, and want to share with you all!

I have rented dresses for two previous occasions, and just ordered one to wear for our rehearsal dinner. Over the past orders I've learned a couple of tips and tricks that help me make the best of ordering.

Rent the Runway is such a fun concept, because you can try out new styles that you might not normally wear, for very low risk. For example, I had never really worn kelly green before I rented a dress in that color, but now it is one of my favorite colors to wear!

Here are some tried and true tips for helping you with your next rental from Rent the Runway.

-Rent Early. Make sure you plan ahead. If you try to find something too close to your date, your options will be severely limited. A little bit of advance notice helps increase the number of styles you can choose from.
-Use the free back-up size option. Seriously. Do this. For most dresses, you are entitled to a free back up size. I highly recommend using this, as some designers do not run completely true to size. I always, without fail order a backup size.
-Read the user reviews, and look at the photos. It is really hard to know what something will fit by just looking at photos of the models. There are so many reviews and photos on this site, and it is great to see how things will look in real life.
-Leave your own reviews! Help a sister out! If you wear your garment to an event and you love it, share! If you don't love it, let people know why! I trust people's opinions on things WAY more than what the company might say about it.
-Sign up for their email list. I know this sounds crazy, because why would you want another email in your inbox. But once you sign up for their emails, RTR will send you coupon codes! I have never ordered anything without using a coupon code.
-If you are traveling, consider having your garment shipped to your destination. I learned this when we traveled to New Jersey this year. I only wanted to rent my garment for 4 days, to keep costs down, but we were travelling. I had it shipped to our hotel, and it worked out perfectly. This is one of those cases when you should definitely use the backup size/style options.

Do you have any helpful tips about Rent the Runway? I would love to learn more!