What I Read August

What I Read August

Despite having spent most of July and the first week of August on Everybody Rise, I’m proud to say that I’m still one book ahead of schedule on my goal to read 40 books in 2016. After I got through that first book, my reading picked up a lot this month.

Everybody Rise ★★★★☆

I had mixed feelings about this book, but ultimately I did enjoy it. Despite hating the main character, Evelyn, for the large majority of the story, I still wanted things for work out for her. And wanting that for her made me want to keep reading. It did get off to a slow start, and it took me almost a month to finish reading it.

The Siren ★★★☆☆

I LOVED The Selection series by Kiera Cass. And this book hasn’t gotten great reviews. But instead of listening to those and skipping this one, I wanted to read it for myself anyway. I should have listened. It’s a mythological novel about a group of sirens living among the morals. And while it’s an okay read, it isn’t anything special or worth talking about.

The Girls ★★★★☆

I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve seen mixed reviews, but I loved seeing a cult based on the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who’s in and out of the group. It kept me hooked from the beginning as Evie Boyd transitions between her present-day life and her past.

I’m starting Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children now. What did you read this month?

25 Things to do Before the End of Summer

25 things to do before the end of summer

Summer is quickly coming to an end. You or your kids might be back in school already. But it certainly still feels like summer. And until it really starts to cool off, summer isn’t really over in my opinion. It’s not too late to fit in some last minute summer activities. Here are 25 things to do before the end of summer.

  1. Visit a beach.
  2. Dip your toes in the water.
  3. Eat your favorite ice cream.
  4. See an outdoor movie.
  5. Try making homemade popsicles.
  6. Visit a farmer’s market.
  7. Pick fresh berries at a local farm.
  8. Cook dinner on the grill.
  9. Get together for a picnic or BBQ with friends.pool
  10. Go for a swim.
  11. Read a book.
  12. Wear a swimsuit that makes you feel great about your body.
  13. Go for a hike.
  14. Take a road trip.
  15. Visit a free museum and take advantage of the free air conditioning.
  16. Go to a music festival or outdoor concert.
  17. Try something new.photo-1467519861342-cadfbd259f55 (1)
  18. Create your own signature cocktail.
  19. Get your nails done.
  20. Take a long walk with your camera.
  21. Take a walking tour of your own city or one you’re visiting.
  22. Visit a state or county fair.
  23. Relax.
  24. Go to a baseball game.
  25. Play with a frisbee.

What do you want to fit in before summer is officially over?

Currently August



Reading// The Girls by Emma Cline. I’m about halfway through, and I’m loving it so far. It’s based on Charles Manson’s cult and tells the story of a 14-year-old girl involved with the cult.

Watching// Bachelor in Paradise. Anything can happen in paradise, and I love watching everything that goes down. Anyone else watching? The twins might not be very smart, but they’re hilarious. And Carly’s take on everything going on is the best.

Eating// Healthier. At least I’m trying to. Yogurt or protein bars for breakfast and cooking a lot more at home.

Loving// The cooler weather we’ve had in DC this week. It’s been in the 80s and beautiful this week, which has been so much better than the heat we’ve had the past couple weeks.

Needing// A vacation. But since I’m not going to have time to take much time off in the near future, I’ve been living for the weekends. Not having a real full-week vacation this summer has definitely made a difference in my stress levels for the worse.

Wearing// Lilly Pulitzer. I’ve always been a huge fan of Lilly prints and styles.I’ve found some great deals on eBay and Poshmark. And I picked up some great pieces at great prices during the After Party sale. The summery, resort style is perfect for my summer wardrobe.

Wanting// to keep up my running. I had some health problems earlier this month, and I’m about 4 weeks behind where I wanted to be for the 10k I signed up for the first weekend of October. If I can run 4+ days a week, I think I can stay on track to finish my 10k without walking, even if it’s a very slow jog.

Looking Forward To// seeing Bruce Springsteen next week. My boyfriend got Bruce Springsteen tickets for his birthday earlier this month, and he’s taking me with him. He’s playing at Nats Park next Thursday, and I can’t wait for a great show!

What have you been up to this month?

What’s in My Beach Bag

what's in my beach bag

It’s that time of year when we’re taking beach vacations. Whether you’re spending a full week at the beach with family or friends or just sneaking in a quick weekend or day trip, it’s important to have all of your beach essentials on you. Here what’s in my essentials:

A cute beach bag: I’ve had my eye on these Lilly Pulitzer beach bags, but I’m having a hard time justifying the money when I already have a perfectly good one. You can use any tote that you don’t mind getting a little sandy (maybe permanently sandy) as your beach bag.

Beach towel: Onekingslane.com has the cutest towel selection! This one is on sale for $19! I also got this round beach blanket from Amazon.

A beach read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants is a perfect beach read. It’s light and funny so it won’t require too much thought or focus.

A cover up: Old Navy has some great options on sale right now. Anything comfortable that’s easy for you to throw on over your swimsuit will work.

A good sunscreen: I love the Hawaiian Tropic silk hydrating cream. It’s also available in a spray if that’s more your style.

Flip flops: Something like these is the perfect option. They’re cute, but cheap so you won’t feel guilty if you lose one.

A cute bathing suit: I love aerie bikinis. They fit well and true to size, and are at a great price point. They also have a fantastic selection. You can find the bandeau top and bottoms I pictured on sale now.

Cheap sunglasses: Sunglasses are another thing I like to keep cheap for a day at the beach. I don’t want my nice sunglasses getting scratched up by sand or lost in the ocean.

Not pictured: snacks and water bottles. I always have something to munch on and cold water to keep from getting dehydrated sitting out in the sun all day.

What are your beach bag essentials?


What I Read June

What I Read June

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small portion of the cost of anything you buy using my links.

This is going to turn into a two part post. I had these books become available via my digital library holds, so I wanted to read them before they expired since I’d been waiting a long time for them. And then in trying to keep up with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge, I have another three books that I’m going to do in a separate post. And I may or may not still be reading one of those.

Brooklyn ★★★★☆

Brooklyn is the story of an Irish girl, Eilis, who leaves her family to start a life for herself in America. With the help of an Irish priest, she moves to Brooklyn where she has a job in a department store waiting for her. Brooklyn follows her journey as an immigrant and the struggles and joy that come with it. I loved reading Eilis’s story. I felt like I really got to know her and get inside her head throughout the novel. It’s rare that you get to know a character so genuine and innocent, which I think is why I liked Brooklyn so much.

The Kind Worth Killing ★★★★☆

I loved every single minute I spent reading this book until I got to the last page. Imagine you’re having a drink with a stranger in an airport bar when you half-jokingly suggest that you want someone close to you, and that stranger offers to help. That’s how this suspenseful novel begins, and together they plot his wife’s murder. This novel is full of surprising twists and turns, and I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in three days. The ending is very open-ended though, which is the only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars. As much as I loved everything else, I found the end to be a little bit of a letdown.

What did you read this month?

July Goals

july goals

I didn’t too bad for the month of June. I’ve started working on more creative writing. I hit 10,000 steps most days, with the exception of a few weekend days and a couple days when I had strep throat. After a couple attempts at starting week one of the Kayla Itsines workouts, I’ve finally stuck through it and am in the middle of week two. And I read three and a half books. I’m still going to finish the last book for a June BookSparks post.

Now onto some July goals.

  1. Finish Kayla Itsines’s weeks two through five.I really want to stay in the swing of things with these workouts, because I know I’ll start to see major changes if I do. Even as early as the end of this month I’m sure I’ll be much stronger (and hopefully a little leaner too).
  2. Run 3 days a week. I’m really starting from scratch (again) with the running. But I’m really hoping to stick with it this time. I found out a couple weeks ago that I was selected as an ambassador for the Annapolis Running Classic, which means I’ll be running my first half marathon on November 19! If you’re in the area and want to join me, you can use the code XOLAURENELIZ16 for 15% off before July 15. After July 15, the discount will drop to 10%.
  3. Budget. I’ve been spending way too much money lately. Money that I should be putting towards my student loans and savings account instead of spending on new dresses.
  4. Meal plan. When the boyfriend and I plan and prep ahead of time, we’re much more likely to stick to healthy eating. And we’re spending less money on food, which is a win for my budget.


What do you want to accomplish this month?


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