February 27, 2017


Happy Monday Friends! We had a great weekend with lots of relaxing and a date night, which was so nice. Dave got tickets for us to see Ragtime at his school, which is my FAVORITE musical ever. There was a lot of "don't cry! don't cry" moments for me. 

This month has been weird (as usual), which is made worse by the short month that is February. The first months of the year have never been my favorite, so it doesn't surprise me.

I have been working a lot on self-love and self-improvement, which you will see a little bit in the post below. I spend a lot of time being frustrated and annoyed with people, and came to realize that I need to take my own advice, and "DO YOU." Stop worrying about everyone else, and focus on what you can do to make things nicer, happier, and better. 

Currently, I'm...
Reading: Right now I'm finishing up the fourth book in the Gender Game Series, and The One I Was by Eliza Graham. I had book club last night, and we decided to read The Circle by Dave Eggers for March. That one has been on my list since I saw that it is coming out as a movie, starring Emma Watson!

Pinning: A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. I've recently started bullet journaling (sort of), so I've been turning to Pinterest for some inspiration. Also lots of healthy recipes. And since it's March, I thought I'd share my most-pinned pin of all time, which hilariously is a Jello shot recipe!

Munching On: I'm trying to be really healthy lately! I gained a bit of weight after the wedding (you know... moving, new job, new medications, etc), so I'm trying to keep that in check. I am a little bit of a creature of habit, so every weekend I prep salads and overnight oats for the next week. Dave is usually in charge of making dinners, but this week I made some skinny tortilla soup in the crock pot. The fact that I did all the cooking this week is basically a miracle.

Working On: Paying off my stupid hearing aids. I've had them for a year now, and I'm ready to be done paying them off. I jokingly refer to them as our most expensive procession, but really, they basically are. #overit

Laughing At: Remember when I told you last month about my freaking hilarious Valentine's Day gift that I got for Dave? Well I'm still laughing at it.

Trying Out: A bunch of new recipes, including some crock pot ones! I made fried pickles last night for book club (which were awesome), made some delicious chicken tortilla soup last night, and have a plan to make some soup from scratch next week.

Normally I am not a cook AT ALL, so when I was telling my mom all the stuff I have been cooking, I realized that I have basically lost my damn mind. Who is this person who LIKES to cook?

Craving: Ice cream. It has been so warm out lately that all I want at the end of the day is some ice cream. We tried Halo Top for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I'm hooked. They were on sale at the grocery store this weekend, so I bought three pints. #noselfcontrol

Wearing: I recently got a bunch of new pieces from my aunt, who sells LulaRoe. I have worn their solid leggings for a while, and decided to break out into some skirts. This year I decided that I wanted to make the rule that I WOULD NOT be uncomfortable all day in something I wear. Because of that, I have been trying to make outfits with cute pieces, which are also comfy. I might write more about this later.

Buying: Not buying anything right now, but my list is getting bigger and bigger. I need some new sunglasses, an apron for my now increasing Betty Crocker moments, oh and a can opener. Thanks Amazon Prime!

February 24, 2017

What I've Been Reading... February, 2017

I am SO glad that I switched my Audible subscription to a Kindle Unlimited subscription. It is $5 cheaper per month, and a lot of the books come with Whispersync, so you can listen to them like an audiobook. WIN!

I have been picking up some titles that I normally wouldn't have otherwise, and I'm so glad! This subscription is so worth it for me.

The Gender Lie by Bella Forrest ★★★★
This is Book 2 in the series, where Violet and Viggo's relationship grows, and the conflict between Matrus and Patrus is explained a little bit.

I described these books to my friend as "not great, but they pull you in." I seriously need to finish the series because I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. If you are looking for a series that is an easy read, these are perfect.

The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest ★★★
Book 3 of the Gender Game series and they start to get more organized. There are parts where the dialogue is pretty clunky, but it is alright. I thought that this was the last one available on Kindle Unlimited but there is one more!

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford ★★★★
This book was recommended to me by Amazon, and I'm glad I picked it up! It is about Agatha Christie, and her trip out to the Middle East, shortly after her divorce. It has a love story, adventure, and mystery. A perfect weekend read.

1984 by George Orwell ★★★
I jumped on the bandwagon with this one when it was trending on Amazon. I read it in high school but read it again since it is so relevant to today. It is super creepy if you start to think about how our society could become like Oceania (it's already starting to go that way!).

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ★★★★
This is the first book that the group chose for the SYBL Book Club. If you are a blogger who likes to read, you should DEFINITELY join. We are going to discuss this book in a Twitter Chat next week.

This was on my list as soon as I started to see the commercials about the HBO series. I haven't watched any of it yet, but OMG. This book was a real page-turner, and you will NOT see the ending coming.

February 15, 2017

Why I Decided to Take My Husband's Name

This is a hotly debated topic in the world of wedding planning and femininity. Whether or not you, as a bride, should change your name when you get married. Should you take your husband's name? Should you keep your maiden name? What about a hyphenated surname?

This is an INCREDIBLY personal decision. Your name is your identity. Everyone has their own reasons why they want to, or don't want to change their name when they get married. I love reading and hearing about why women made the choice they did, so I decided to share mine with you.

I never thought about keeping my maiden name until I was in my 20s. I had just always been "Alex Stacey," and marriage wasn't really on the horizon yet. I didn't have to think about it.

When Dave and I got more serious and knew that marriage was in the future, I started to think about it. I thought it would be hard to transition to a new name, and I liked how my name sounded with my maiden name in it.

But then I started to really notice something. Since I had a first name as a surname, people would often get confused and call me "Stacey." Even if they were reading it. A couple of times when asked my last name and answered accordingly, I got "No I said your LAST name."

Guys, that is really freaking annoying. Yes, I do know what my last name is actually. I'm not the one who is confused here.

Very quickly I started thinking about taking Dave's last name. It's kind of a tough one to pronounce, but it is INFINITELY better than someone just assuming your name is what it isn't.

As I thought more and more about it, I really started to get attached to the idea. We always joke around about how we are #teamwhy, and I wanted to be part of that team. I wanted us to be a family unit, not just in feel, but in name too.

I have so much respect for those of you who choose to keep your surname when you get married. I don't think I could have done it. For me, that was really the biggest change when we got married. Although I did keep my maiden name as my middle name, so I think that counts a little bit!

Speaking of changing your name... I have a great giveaway on my Instagram for anyone looking to change theirs! I'm giving one lucky winner credit for a print-at-home package from HitchSwitch! I had a great experience with HitchSwitch (which you can check out here), and I am so excited to offer this to one lucky person. Go check it out!

February 13, 2017

The Best Books I've Read in 2016

By now you all know that I read a ton last year, and I pretty much talked about all the books on this blog. You can check those out here. I thought it would be fun to round up my favorite and highest rated books. I am always looking for suggestions about what to read, so I thought I'd share. 

If you aren't on Goodreads, you totally should be. I love that I can keep track of what I've read, rate books, and get recommendations based on those ratings. I recommend creating an account to every book lover I come across.

These are all books that I rated either four or five stars. I hope this list helps you pick your next read, or possibly even the next read for a book club!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J.K. Rowling

Honolulu by Alan Brennert
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
Room by Emma Donoghue
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
11/22/63 by Stephen King
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy
The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig
Victoria by Daisy Goodman
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown
Moonlight over Paris by Jennifer Robson
The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

What were the best books you read last year? Share the titles in the comments!

February 10, 2017

The Numbers Game

Happy Friday Friends! The past few weeks have been killer, and I am so ready for the weekend. I mentioned on my Instagram that I've had a never-ending headache the past few weeks, but hopefully, after a really bad couple of days, I've turned the corner. Say a prayer for me.

I have seen this post in a couple of different places and had it on my list of posts for a while now. This cold Friday seems like the perfect time to get to know this blogger.

Me at about age 6, before I learned to keep my eyes open when I smile.
500 - Posts have been published on Always, Al! I can't even believe that!

3 - How many states I've lived in.

50 - Number of books I read last year.

6 - Books read so far in 2017.

27 - How old I am.

8 - Salads get prepped every week for lunches.

1 - Kitty calls me mom.

200 - The number of guests at our July 2016 wedding.

3 - Average loads of laundry washed per week.

90 - Ounces of water that I try to drink per day

1,700 - Steps in my morning commute.

7,000 - Average number of steps taken per day.

112 - Books currently on my bookshelf, which is organized in rainbow order.

13 - Orders from Amazon so far in 2017.

52 - Orders from Amazon in 2016.

2 - On average, how many rolls of toilet paper ruby ruins in one week.

5 - (Unfortunately) empty growlers sitting on top of my fridge.

45 - The number of minutes it takes me to get ready in the morning.

12 - How many house guests we have had while living in Pittsburgh.

4 - My favorite number, and always the number on my jersey when I played sports.