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Living my best life with our neighborhood pool being just across the street from our new house. It's glorious and easy to sneak over to every week. I've been keeping a beach bag packed in our front coat closet, just to be able to grab and go.

Here are my essentials!

What's In My Pool Bag

 L L Bean Boat and Tote (in Navy, Long Handles, Open Top)

I don't think I can possibly have enough LLBean Totes. They are great for travel, and the large size is just right for my pool bag. 

 Alba Botanicas Spray and Sun Bum Cream

Diligent might not even be the right word, but I am serious about my sunscreen. With a family history of skin cancer, and a few scares myself - I apply sunscreen multiple times at the pool. I like to start with the cream as a base layer and on my face, and then use the spray for  touch ups and hard to reach spots. Always SPF 50 for me. 

Sun Bum Lip Balm

I got this for free one time I bought the lotion, and it's so nice I keep one in my pool bag to protect my lips. It tastes really good!😂

Sunglasses and a Hat

Sometimes I like sunglasses at the pool, but more often that not I choose a baseball hat to shield my eyes.  

Frostbuddy Drink Koozie and La Croix

This stainless can cooler is so neat! It's a universal fit, so you can do slim cans and regular cans. More often than not, you'll find me with a coconut La Croix in mine. 

Portable Bluetooth Speaker 

Along with my Spotify membership, you can't find me at the pool without some music! I love this speaker, and I'm not kidding when I say we've had it for AGES. 


Obviously, you need towels at the pool, and I like these a lot!

Kindle Paperwhite

If I'm not listening to an audiobook, I'm definitely reading something on my Kindle. The Kindle is IDEAL for the pool. No glare and it's so light weight. Love mine, and would buy it over and over. 

I'm growing out my hair (for the 1,000th time) and I must must must have a good hair tie in my bag. The only ones that work for me are the Teleties. I couldn't even estimate how many regular hair ties I've busted in my life. 

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What's In My Pool Bag

Thursday, April 28, 2022

I'll be honest, I haven't really felt like blogging recently! I'm sure you probably already noticed that I haven't posted in awhile. But, just when I started to wonder if I'd ever post again, I got the itch to blog. So, just hang in there with me and enjoy this little photo dump of the last month or so.

It's been summer like here for awhile, but we got one last 'cold' day hike in. I discovered the AllTrails app, and it's been so helpful in finding new to me local hikes! I have saved quite a few, so hopefully we will have a chance to check them out soon.

Another 10k in the bag! We ran a 10k (some did the 5k) with several friends and family earlier this month. It's a challenging course, but we had just done the Gate River Run so it wasn't too bad. But, I think I'm done with running for a little while. It's going to start to get hot here, and I find myself craving different kinds of workouts. So, we think we will run once a week or so just to keep conditioned. 

I'm back to doing WW, hoping to fit into some of my pre-pandemic clothes. 😂 I had such great success with this program in the past, and I wish I never quit. They've made some changes to the program that I really love, so it's been fairly easy to get back to it. I had an amazing first week and dropped 4 pounds right away, but then had an absolutely challenging week with lots of social events and eating out. But, as long as it's a 'normal' week and I can control what's on the menu - I feel like it's a super simple program. 

One thing I LOVE about WW is that it really helps me choose fruits and vegetables over other snacks. In fact, you now earn points back for your day when you eat a cup of veggies.

 I made this delish greek chicken salad the other day for lunch, and now I can't stop making it. Basically it's lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and then a homemade tzatziki sauce with greek yogurt. I top it with some chicken I grill up in our cast iron pan - chef's kiss! 

If you think you'd want to give weight watchers a go, I have a referral link for a free month

I shared an entire post about what I did for Blake this year for our 12th anniversary, but I never shared what I got this year. GUYS! Blake got me an emerald ring! I've been wishing for one for years now, and I just can't believe how beautiful the one he picked out is. I LOVE it and honestly can't stop staring at it, even though I've been wearing it for weeks now. 

We were able to go out for hibachi with my family on our anniversary and that was super special. 

That's all for now, and hopefully not all for long!

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Photo Diary | Spring 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

Basically: It's 1940 and Osla, Beth, & Mab are three very different women who have come to Bletchly Park to work as code breakers trying to intercept German messages.
Then, 7 years later, these women are no longer friends. But, they have to come together to break one last code.

My Thoughts: Such a great story! I'm a little burnt out on WWII historical fiction, but this was worth the effort. The characters and their development are really well done, and I really loved that Prince Phillip is (and other real people are) in this book.
It's not quite a 5 star book for me. I think because I felt like it was a little bit drawn out? I found myself losing attention, but then there would be a really engaging part that would suck me right back in.

Also, I think it's the 3 women WWII dual timeline thing that feels very much done before.

Rating: 4.5 Stars! Read it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Basically: After being swept off her feet in Monte Carlo by Maxim de Winter and accepting his quick proposal - the two newly weds head back to his lovely estate. However, the original Mrs. de Winter casts a huge shadow over their new life together.

My Thoughts: This was always a favorite film, so it was about time that I pick up the book! It's such a great, suspenseful story. The plot, the characters, the twist - it's a classic for a reason!

My Rating: Easily 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Basically: Laurel witnessed a shocking crime when she was 16. And now that her mother, Dorothy, is on her death bed, she desperately wants to get some answers to what she saw that day. Dorothy has been through so much personally- and that's not including living during WWII and the Blitz. She has been keeping a lot of secrets!

My Thoughts: This was our January book club pick! I'll be honest, if it hadn't been for the book club, I think I would have given up on this quite early on. This book is LONG. I think the story could have been told just as well with 250 pages less. But, that being said, it does really pay off in the end and comes together in a really satisfying way. If you like an extremely descriptive, character driven novel - this one is for you. I didn't see the ending coming, but it made everything click!

Rating: 3.5 maybe 4 stars but I just can't get over how long this was.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Basically: In Sweden there is a tradition of going through your possessions and decluttering as you get older, so that when you die your family doesn't have as much to deal with. Margareta explains how she did this. 

My Thoughts: Ultimately, I absolutely love this concept and practice. I've personally seen how much work there can be for family members when someone passes away. Random receipts, trinkets, and odds and ends...all for your grieving family to make heads or tails of. If you were to adopt Swedish death cleaning as you age, you will be left with a decluttered home and have put a lot of thought into who will get what and where you want things sent when you've passed away. 
However, beyond the concept, this book itself was just ok. Margareta shares the most random anecdotes like putting their dog down and complains how nobody writes thank you cards anymore. There were actually very few practical tips on how to actual go about this process. Not to say there weren't helpful tips! I appreciated the idea that photographs shouldn't be dealt with first, and they need to be organized and labeled. (For example, if you are the oldest person in your family and you don't know who the people in the photos are, your family isn't likely to either.) 
TLDR: This is a gentle nudge to think about dealing with your stuff before you are too old to do it.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

Basically: Cults have a broad definition. We usually think of the Kool Aid type of doomsday cults, but people also use words like Cult-Favorite or Cult-Beauty. So Amanda uses the word *cultish* to explain what makes a cult a cult and why some things are just cult-ISH.

My Thoughts: This book was SO interesting. She explains why people are so interested in cults and why some people are more susceptible to joining one. I learned a lot! In fact, I want you to read it so we can talk about it! I have many thoughts and feel that I can sum it up with: we were created to have community and worship together, and people are looking just about anywhere to fill that need.

Rating: 4.5 stars from me! ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

All The Lonely People by Mike Gale

Basically: Hubert is a Jamaican man, who moved to England when he was a young man. Now that he's old, he's all alone. His wife passed away, and his daughter lives all the way in Australia. To keep his daughter from worrying about him, he's made up an elaborate, fun, and active life with a great group of friends. But, now she's coming to visit and he is afraid she'll find out he's actually extremely lonely.

My Thoughts: Gosh, what a sweet book. Don't get me wrong, it's an emotional roller coaster - and there were times I literally gasped out loud! Mostly, it's just heartwarming and sweet.
A few reviews ago I posted about another book called The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett - and I will admit this is extremely similar. And while I haven't read A Man Called Ove, I've heard it's also very close to this story. I enjoyed this book a lot more that Eudora though, if that helps you choose which one to pick up.

Rating: 5 Stars from me! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Recent Reads #19

Friday, April 22, 2022


Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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