WOW 7•22 | just keep swimming

WOW button
it’s been a hot minute since i’ve done a workout wednesday post!

actually…it’s been a lot of minutes.

but i’m back!

almost a month ago, i had a car accident.  it wasn’t a terrible one considering, but i went to the hospital because of the black and purple bruises covering my torso from the seatbelt.  i have pictures, but i don’t want to burn your corneas with those bad boys.

obviously, i couldn’t workout right away, which totally sucked because i was on a freaking roll.  but alas, that all came to a brutal halt, just like my car.

mentally, i wanted to workout after about a week and a half, but it still hurt so i didn’t.  and i waited.  i was also having some pretty serious intestinal issues.  i lost a lot of my appetite.  and then when i did eat, it either came back up or had a really hard trip out, if you know what i mean.  i guess when you crush your intestines with a seatbelt there are going to be some negative effects for awhile.  thankfully, most of that has subsided.  i’ve tried to be careful to not eat anything too out of the ordinary or in large quantities and that’s helped.

i started going to the chiropractor a few days after the accident.  i went to a friend of mine that i trust.  his therapists set me up with cold laser therapy and electronic stimulation right away.  it helped SO much, especially the cold laser.  eventually, i’ve worked up to actual adjustments.

but still i was scared to workout last week.  so i talked to my doctor and then my chiropractic friend.  they both said no strength training or running for now.  my chiropractor suggested swimming!  i don’t know why i didn’t think about that.  so i took a trip to academy and found a suit and some new goggles and caps.  who knows where my old ones are.  and thanks to amazon prime, i have a backup suit coming tomorrow.

i’ve been loving it.  it’s been tough getting back to swimming though.  i realized on the first day just how out of shape i am.  i had to pause for about 15-30 seconds after each length of the pool.  but each day is better.  i’ve kind of figured out a schedule: a rotation of different strokes, some work on my breathing (because i no longer have the lungs of the high school swimmer i used to be), and then sprints at the end ’cause mama loves her HIIT.  it’s been almost two weeks now and i’m still interested in it and wanting to get better.  i want to keep going with the swimming only for a few more weeks before i add in strength training again.  then, i want to work up to maybe 3 days of swimming a week with other workouts in between.

next week will be a challenge because i’ll be in san antonio at a conference for most of the week.  i’ve already scoped out the hotel though.  there is a fitness room so at least i can do some walking and light weights in the mornings or evenings.

7•17 | high five for friday!

H54F button


i spent this past weekend in the dallas area on a much needed getaway with some girlfriends.  it was so fun.  :)  you can read about it HERE.



after the trip, i needed a little resetting.  see picture above.  add the excessive eating and lack of sleep during the trip to my lingering intestinal issues from my car accident and i needed to start over.  some soup and some shakes did the trick.  i’m not going to say it was detoxing or anything because it wasn’t that serious, but me (and my stomach) feel SO much better.


i took up swimming again this week on the advice of my doctor.  he said no running or weights so i took what i could get after not working out for almost three weeks.  i swam in high school so it was natural.  and really, really difficult.  but i was always the kind of girl who liked the practices over the meets.  i like the challenge.  bonus, it’s great exercise and it feels good to be active again.


i’m so glad i got to see my little sister during my trip.  it was a brief visit but i’m grateful for it.  it was definitely one of my best moments of the week.  :)



i got my preordered copy of “go set a watchman” by harper lee on tuesday.  i have started it but haven’t finished it.  i don’t know what to think yet.  i’m still torn on reading it at all.  is it really written by harper lee?  was it published without her consent?  i don’t know…  but i can’t resist reading it because “to kill a mockingbird” is one of my favorites ever.  if y’all have read it or have thoughts on it, leave me a comments because i’d like to know!

other recent posts:

a weekend away

june favorites

advice for ordering with erin condren

so that happened… the story of my car crash

peek inside my planner | june 2015


         Cup of Tea          THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

a weekend away

this past weekend, a couple of friends and i drove over to the metroplex for a few days.  it was so nice to just get out of town for a couple of days to breakup the boredom of summer with some fun and sweet girls.  here’s the rundown…


amber, jennifer, and i arrived in the afternoon to our super modern hotel called the NYLO in irving.  we literally planned like two things for this trip.  this was one and the other one was cancelled the morning we were supposed to do it.  we found the hotel on groupon a few days before we left so i didn’t know what to expect.  it was super cool.  a total adult hotel.  in fact, i think i only saw a couple kids during our entire stay there.  the thing about modern, industrial hotels is there’s no insulation, so be prepared for lots of sounds all the time.

so we headed out to the pool.  we ended up getting some free drinks for the inconvenience because they were setting up a hawaiian party while we soaked in the pool.  i’ll take it!  unfortunately, i promptly spilled mine all over myself and the side of the pool.  typical.


we had decided that one of the things we wanted to do was go to a nice restaurant and then go dancing.  so we went to a cool sushi place called blue fish.  so yummy.  then we took an uber (our first one with a tiny and silent asian man in his bmw.) down to a club called the blue martini in plano.  we started out doing fine.  then something changed…. i said out loud, “we don’t have to drive anywhere!  i’m getting hammered!”


the before picture


and it was downhill from there.  so many beers.  so many free shots from my new bartender friend.  so much dancing.  so many insults during our people watching.  we stumbled out of the club and into the street.  somehow, we made friends with some other girls on the quest for an after party.  they took our picture and then disappeared.  then jennifer ran after the street after a young (like 21 year old) guy yelling at him for info on the after party.  he was kind of horrified and ran from us.  we chased him and the truck he got into.  after we realized that there was no after party to go to, we called our next uber, driven by the kind yasseem.  we grilled him on every possible topic about his life in Jordan, his girlfriend, his job, and where to find a male strip club.  (we were going to see magic mike the next day – that’s the only way i can think of that this last topic came up.)  he took us to the strip of strip clubs before we even realized it and stopped in front of le bare, the male strip club that magic mike was based on.  jennifer was out of the car and banging on the front door before we knew it.  i popped up behind her as the bouncer opened the door, told us it was closed, and shoved a bunch of free tickets for a show next week in our faces.


and the after picture!

we kind of lost our steam after banging on the door of a male strip club in downtown dallas at 3am.  it was for the best that we went back to the hotel and crashed.


the next morning was not pretty.  in fact, it was downright ugly.  the thing about having abdominal bruising from a car wreck is that your guts aren’t quite right for a few weeks.  i don’t know why i thought i could just go balls to the wall one night with food and drinks and late night shenanigans, and it would be fine.  it was most definitely not fine.  i couldn’t even keep down water for hours.  i finally ventured out to the car where i had stashed my upset stomach kit for moments just like this.  i sat around and drank gatorade and saltines and pepto for a couple of hours.

we eventually got ourselves together and had a late lunch at panera bread.  i stuck with soup and a grilled cheese, and it seemed to do the trick.  we spent a few hours shopping in southlake before meeting some friends and family for dinner at cheesecake factory.  i’m so glad i got to see my baby sister while i was there!


i had never been to cheesecake factory and didn’t know what to expect.  holy crap.  so many calories.  such big portions.  it was good though.  because we were stuffed, we stashed our cheesecake in our purses for when we went to see magic mike xxl.  i liked it so much better than the first one (less coked up strippers, more silly nonsense).


we slept in and went for a yummy brunch on sunday morning, followed by an hour or so at the pool.  it was SO hot.  we’re talking over 100 degrees.  the pool was the only place we wanted to be.


but we showered and got ready and headed to the fort worth stockyards.  another place i hadn’t been.  it was not what i expected.  very touristy.  so we spent a little bit of time there and then decided to switch locations.



after some mexican food (because when in texas, you must), we found our way to downtown fort worth and sundance square.  what a cool place!  it was still so hot so we parked it by a water fountain pad and people watched for hours.



we were taking a walk to stretch our legs when we spotted a florescent sign down an alley.  after a quick ride in a creepy elevator to the basement, we discovered a very cool jazz club.  apparently it used to be a speakeasy.  it was air conditioned with drinks and cool music.  that was all i needed to know.



we headed back home on monday but not before stopping at in-n-out, which is my favorite fast food burger.  we don’t have one anywhere near where i live so i’m always on the hunt for one when i’m traveling.

a few hours later (and half of the serial podcast), we were home!

7•10 | high five for friday!

H54F button


i got a new car!  (my civic was totaled last week after my wreck.)  i decided on a honda cr-v.  i’ve wanted one for a long time and this was my opportunity.  i absolutely love it!  it’s the perfect size and color.  i like having all the newer upgrades too like the backup camera, bluetooth connection from my phone for music and calls, etc.



i spent the fourth relaxing and then at my friend Holly’s party.  fireworks, hotdogs, beer…what’s not to like? :)  i wish i had gotten some pictures, but i completely forgot!


my july birchbox came early this week!  it was just okay.  i love the shade of the bronzer, but the sample is small.  i like the liquid lipstick, but the hot pink color is not me at all.  the sunscreen and scrub will come in handy.  i haven’t tried the beach wave spray, but i’m intrigued.



this week was the last one for summer school!  yea!  now for some real free time before we start all over again in less than a month.


i went to my family reunion this past sunday.  it was nice to see some people i haven’t seen in a year.  and i got to see my parents off on their 33rd anniversary trip to montana and wyoming.  here they are!


other recent posts:

june favorites

advice for ordering with erin condren

so that happened… the story of my car crash

peek inside my planner | june 2015

6•26 | high five for friday!


          Cup of Tea           THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

june 2015 favorites.

monthly favorites

{favorite beauty items}  

neutrogena healthy skin enhancer spf 20 – this is a great bb cream.  my skin likes it in the summer because it evens out my skin tone but is still very light.

hot mama blush from the balm – it has just enough coral color for the summer with a fine gold shimmer.  i’ve been wearing it almost every day on my cheeks and eyes.

neutrogena ultra light cleansing oil – i was weary of using a facial oil.  i mean, why would i put oil on my face?  that’s what i’m trying to avoid.  but this stuff is great!  it removes my waterproof mascara and other makeup really well.  it does not break me out and leaves my skin with just the right amount of moisture.

{favorite eats}

zoodles – i recently bought this spiralizer off of amazon.  it’s completely changed how i eat veggies.  i also bought the “inpiralized” cookbook and am trying out some new recipes.  so far, so good!


hello fresh subscription – the recipes are all so unique.  i enjoyed all of them!

{favorite reads}

outlander by diana gabaldon – i was interested in this book after watching the starz series.  it gets a little soapy at times, but i like it!

inspiralized by ali maffucci – this cookbook has so many interesting recipies!

{favorite new music, tv shows, movies}

the white queen on amazon prime – i’m a sucker for a historical series like the tudors, downton abbey, north & south, reign, etc.  this one doesn’t disappoint.

catastrophe on amazon prime – this short series is written by the two main characters.  it is funny and real and sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time.

rosewater on netflix – this movie was directed and written by jon stewart, who i adore.  it’s the real life story of an iranian born canadian who is thrown in prison in iran when he visits to do a story for newsweek.  it’s fascinating.

outlander – i’ve only seen the first part of season one (part two hasn’t been released on dvd yet), but i am in love.  such a great show!

{favorite words}




{my own favorite posts}

thoughts on season 3 of Orange is the New Black

hello fresh review

overview of my new EC planner

advice for ordering with Erin Condren

so that happened….the story of my car accident

peek inside my planner | june 2015

{favorite posts from other bloggers}

quick summer makeup by the beauty department

dear moms who get mad when i call my dog my baby by the daily tay

kate at small things bombshell makeover by maskcara

what the confederate flag means and what we can learn from the fiasco by storyline blog

lemon bars by the pioneer woman

{most memorable moments – the good and bad}

working summer school is so boring, but it’s good money for the time so i can’t complain.

my car wreck left me with bruises and frustration, but those will fade.


music in the gardens – twice.


receiving my new rose gold Erin Condren planner…and then waiting for the replacement because the first one was so messed up.  it was worth the wait.


trying out my new spiralizer.  it’s changed the way i eat veggies!!

not being able to (and not wanting to) workout due to my car wreck.  i’m scared to get back into it, but at the same time i want to.

practicing my handwriting.


cutting cable out of my life!  it was harder and easier than i thought.  i miss some live tv, but there are so many options out there now.

staying with my grandparents.


saying goodbye to my friend jessica.  it was hard, but i know we’ll keep in touch.

wine and dine with my friend amber.


shattering my phone screen and having to pay nearly $200 to get it fixed.  :(


past monthly faves:

may 2015

april 2015

march 2015

february 2015

january 2015

7•3 | high five for friday!

H54F button


first of all, i’m grateful this week.  i was involved in a car accident this past friday.  it was probably the scariest moment of my life, and i’m so grateful that i made it out okay with just some bumps and bruises.  it could have been worse.  it was worse for the woman who caused it.  she’s still in the hospital.  say a little prayer for her!  (bonus! we found out that she DOES have insurance!  yea!)


my mama and middle sister came to visit me and take care of me for a few days after the accident.  i swear, my mama has the biggest heart of any person that i’ve ever known.  she waiting on me hand and foot while i whined and cried about the insurance mess and my physical pain.  again…i’m so grateful.


my birthday order from all the wire finally came!  i love it!  i picked the word “grace” for my bar necklace to remember the many meanings of the word. I also want to remember to accept it, be it, give it, and receive it.

never mind the bruises!


i went to the music in the gardens again at the botanical garden.  this time it was for one of my favorite local bands, strangetowne.  it was SO hot, but only for about thirty minutes.  then the clouds rolled in and it was so nice.  the people-watching was top notch as was the music.


my second hello fresh order came this week.  it came at just the right time too.  the last thing i wanted to do this week was go to the grocery store.  i’ve only had a chance to make the avocado pasta, but the other two recipes look super yummy:

– watermelon farro salad with mozzarella, cucumber and candied pecans
– charred avocado pasta with scallions, tomatoes, and feta
– caramelized veggie skewers with corn relish and couscous

if you’re interested in trying hello fresh, use the code L758TZ when you sign up and check out for $40 off your first box.  i did this and it only cost me $20 to try it out the first time.  it was definitely worth trying!

other recent posts:

advice for ordering with erin condren

so that happened… the story of my car crash

peek inside my planner | june 2015

6•26 | high five for friday!


          Cup of Tea           THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

peek inside my planner | june 2015

info on my 2015-16 Erin Condren life planner @ | #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren

this was my last month in my 2015 planner.  it was bittersweet!  this was my first crack at planner journaling.  i fell in love with it.  but now i have my new 2015-16 erin condren life planner to get me though the next school year.  it’s a little different, in a good way.  click HERE for an overview of my new planner and HERE is some advice for ordering with EC.

these may have been my favorite pages so far.  i loved the color scheme: coral and teal.  it really inspired me.  it was easy to pull things together.  and although i was a lot less busy (meaning i had a lot of open space to fill!), it worked out okay.  i was a little lazy on tracking the weather and my food, but i’ll do better in july in my new planner.

so here they are, my june pages:

june | peek inside my planner #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren #plannerlove  june | peek inside my planner #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren #plannerlove
june | peek inside my planner #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren #plannerlove  june | peek inside my planner #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren #plannerlove
*i’ve blurred some things for confidentiality reasons.

check out my erin condren referral link HERE if you’re interested in an EC life planner and want $10 off your first order.

(the $10 off code will be sent in an email after you’ve registered that might go to your spam folder so check there if you don’t get it right away.)

so that happened…

this past friday, i was just going out for some gas and a little bit of groceries.  and then all of a sudden i found myself in the turning lane of a major street staring at my deflated airbag.  the crash only lasted about five seconds, but it was the scariest five seconds of my life.  i sat there replaying what happened in my head, talking outloud to myself.  “i just hit a car.  why was it in the middle of the road like that.  is my nose broken?  what the hell happened?”

i found my phone on the ground and called 911.  i don’t even know what i said to the operator.  the fire department showed up first, immediately going to the woman in the other car.  a stranger came up to my car, opened the door, and coaxed me out. i was shaking and cold even though it was 90 degrees outside. she walked me over to where the firemen were cutting the woman out of the car.  i remember saying to the stranger, “i didn’t mean to hit her.  she came out of no where.”  the stranger told me, “i know.  we all saw it.”  the cop came and talked to me for awhile and put me in his car to get me out of traffic.  i just started calling people i knew.  and then my friend holly and her husband appeared across the street.  they just happened to be passing by.  they stayed with me, cheered me up, and drove me home after my car was towed away.

bye, bye zoe!!! you were good to me.

i felt shaken up but okay at the site of the accident, but as the hours ticked by, i started to feel sore and bruised.  i tried to go to my clinic, but they refused me and sent me to the ER.  i spent nearly five hours there doing x-rays, bloodwork, and a ct scan, and i left with some prescriptions and doctor advice.  these past few days have not been fun, but i’ll be fine.  i was wearing my seatbelt and my airbag protected me.  i ended up with a rash from the whatever is in the airbag, a sprained wrist, bruised knee and foot, and deep tissue bruising across my chest and abdomen.

i keep replaying the crash in my head.  it was really the strangest thing.  it was in slow motion.  my ears were ringing for a few minutes afterward.  it was surreal, just like in the movies.  i don’t remember hitting the airbag at all.  i just remember driving and then panicking as i hit the side of her car.  and in a blink, i was sitting in the middle lane of the road staring at the deflated airbag.  it was just such a weird experience, and i can’t stop thinking about it.  i have a little bit of anxiety driving in town now, but it’s not as bad as i thought it would be.

now i have to deal with my insurance company because apparently the lady at fault’s insurance had lapsed. meaning she had NO INSURANCE at the time of the accident.  it’s a mess, but will hopefully be taken care of next week.  this experience has also kind of ruined my no debt thing.  i’ll have a car payment again.  but there’s nothing to be done about it.  it is what it is.  i’m alive and fine, and that’s all that really matters.

advice for ordering with Erin Condren 

info on my 2015-16 Erin Condren life planner @ #EClifeplanner

i’ve been buying erin condren products for a short period but i’ve learned a lot. it’s a great company with an amazing startup story. their products really are incredible. i love the format of the vertical planner.  i can’t imagine living without planner journaling now.

new rose gold EC life planner #EClifeplanner #ErinCondren

this beauty took a lot of work to get into my hands.

but the company has had some issues lately though. just go on facebook or instagram and you can feel the anger and frustration.  i’m a part of a couple planner groups and they have been going crazy the past few weeks.  yes, some people are over the top, but i feel bad for most of them.  their customer service stories range from “we’ll take care of this right away” to ignored emails to cookie cutter responses over and over with no real information.

my own recent order came with a lot of mistakes. honestly, i was shocked.  all my other orders were perfect.  of course, i had heard stories but had never experienced it first hand.  but i had always read that their customer service will take care of it so i wasn’t worried.  i sent a quick email to customer service with some pictures attached.  then, i started to notice on different Facebook groups that everyone was having issues with their orders.  then, i got worried because the company had to be overwhelmed.  on the first day of the launch alone, they did an estimated 15,000 orders.  how would they take care of my order?

i had a right to be worried.  i spent a lot of money.  probably too much, to be honest.  i now regret the limited edition planner that i ordered.  i should have gotten the regular one.  much less hassle that way.  and then i’m hearing all of these stories from other people on top of it…

so i waited…  i got a response from someone clearly in a foreign country based on the time that i received messages (middle of the night) and all of the grammar and spelling mistakes.  he wasn’t reading my emails clearly or he didn’t understand.  he was of no help.  so then i did an error report.  i got someone in california, and she immediately took care of the issue.  i was so grateful after the email tag i had played with the guy from the other side of the world.

it was a long ride of over three weeks, but it all worked out okay for me.  {click HERE for my review and info on the new version of the life planner.}  i know there are a lot of other people out there that had it much better and much worse than me.  with that many orders to deal with, i understand that EC was overwhelmed and mistakes were most definitely made.  and yet, i still believe in their products and company.  i’m sure they will learn from their mistakes and become even better as a company.  and at the very least, now i know what to expect at the worst and how to deal with it in the best way.

so here’s some advice if you find yourself ordering from EC:

  • double check your order before you submit – any mistakes are your own since most things are personalized and there are no refunds.
  • think twice on the limited and special editions of the planners (i.e. metallic plated) and go straight for the regular life planner.  it will look better and you’ll have less problems with it.
  • do not, i repeat – do not order the ready to ship planner.  the idea is that you will get your planner with a generic cover and get it fast. then you can go order a free personalized cover later.  but the thing is that it’s not really ready to ship.  the company prints it when they get your order.  you don’t really get it faster and you have to pay shipping on the personalized cover later on.  just order a personalized planner upfront and save yourself the time and money.
  • use a referral code for your first order.  it will get you $10 off and every bit helps.  click HERE if you need one.  it will send you an email with directions.
  • make as few orders as possible because you must pay for shipping each time and it ain’t cheap.
  • be prepared for a wait.  it could be anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks for your order to ship.  this also depends on the time of the year.  the longest wait times will be at launch time (june) and before the start of the new year (december).
  • when you receive your order, look over everything – check all the pages for mistakes, examine your coil, etc.
  • if there is a problem, submit an error report (located on your order page) instead of an email to customer service.  this will go to the place that actually does the orders.
  • send pictures with detailed explanations for each one in your emails to the customer service rep.
  • if you don’t get the response you think you deserve, end it and start a new conversation.  you will get a different person and be able to start over with hopefully different results.
  • now this one may be difficult when you’re upset – while emailing with the customer service rep (sorry, no phone number…), be as cordial as possible while you explain the situation fully.  as they say, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.
  • don’t give up.  these products cost a lot of money and you’re entitled to your order in perfect condition.
  • talk to other people on Facebook and instagram to see what is working for other customers.  use their ideas.  also, when other people were getting a different and better response than me, i started screenshoting their CS explanations and attaching that to my emails.  it helped.
  • be patient.  no matter if your product comes in perfect condition or if it needs some help, the EC customer service will make it right…or you will make them make it right.

check the erin condren site out HERE if you’re interested and want $10 off your first order. (the $10 off code will be sent in an email after you’ve registered that might go to your spam folder so check there if you don’t get it right away.)

6•26 | high five for friday!

H54F button


my new rose gold erin condren life planner arrived this week!  this was actually my second one due to major issues with the first one they sent me.  but it was worth the wait.  it is beautiful.  i’m finishing up with last year’s version and starting this new one next week so i can use it during the academic year (and because i wanted to jump right in!).  click HERE for my detailed review and lots of pics!



i got my spiralizer from amazon this past weekend.  and i’ve been spiraling every veggie in sight!  so far i’ve tried zucchini (my favorite), carrots, and broccoli stems.  i’m going to try sweet potatoes next week.  i ordered this one and i recommend it!  it makes vegetables much more tolerable.


this quote…


my workouts are coming along!  i’m into a summer routine and it’s working…very slowly.  i’m lifting heavier and pushing myself more.  i definitely feel stronger, but it’s still frustrating that things aren’t falling into place as fast as i want.  but i know that it’s consistency that matters.  and with my spiralizer, eating healthy has been a little easier too. 


mine is the middle piece of paper. still have some work to do!

one of the things i wanted to do this summer was work on my handwriting.  in one of my planner Facebook groups, a girl hosts lessons!  she works as a sign maker for trader joe’s so she’s definitely the person for the job.  it’s a lot harder than i thought it would be to clean up my writing.  not that mine is terrible to begin with, but it can always be better.  check out her youtube tutorials HERE.

other recent posts:

thoughts on Orange is the New Black Season 3

6•19 | high five for friday!

hello fresh review

my 2015-16 erin condren life planner overview


          Cup of Tea           THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

overview of my 2015-16 Erin Condren life planner

info on my 2015-16 Erin Condren life planner @ #EClifeplanner

i received my ready-to-ship rose gold planner just a few days after launch day.  i was so excited to open the box, but also nervous because i had been reading responses on some Facebook groups about problems.  i said a little prayer before i pulled back the tissue paper, but my heart sank.  i immediately saw some issues.  my coil was unfinished, making the planner incapable to lay flat.  the coil was already scratched and flaking.  and the cover’s lamination was a little messed up at the top and bottom.  then, i realized there were even pages that were upside down. these were the exact issues that the girls were talking about in the fb groups.

although i was upset (it’s a lot of money!), i calmly emailed them immediately, explained the situation, and attached some pictures.  i KNEW they would fix it because i am persistent as hell.  my mama taught me right.  :)

before this situation i had heard that the EC company had a reputation for taking care of problems as quickly as possible.  and i believed in the product.  still do.  even thumbing through my botched planner, i recognized a lot of great things about it!

well, my customer service experience didn’t go as expected, but i finally got the response that i wanted (more about that next week!).   i revisited what i wrote last year about my EC life planner before this one and here’s my review!  it’s long but thorough so bear with me until the end.  :)


 •••the good•••

customization – you can pick your cover and colors.  they are also removable so you could order another cover (for around $10-15 plus shipping) and put it on your planner.  you can also order customized photo stickers and labels.

NEW heavy spiral coil – it’s super duty and will not bend.  it’s now even bigger to accommodate the natural growth and coil clips.  however, the metallics will chip over time so keep that in mind.

laminated cover – it’s sturdy and thick.  it’s not going anywhere.  if there are any issues with it, the EC company will replace it or give you credits.

size – it measures about 9 1/4″ (high) x 8 1/4″ (wide), which is perfect.  not too big, not too small.

NEW ruler and elastic band – the clear ruler doubles as a page marker.  it’s also the perfect tool to cut washi tape.  the design is now even more subtle to see though it better.  the elastic band is extra, but i love it.  it keeps everything together when i’m on the go.  they also come in different colors.

laminated tabs – they are durable and are not going anywhere.

2 page monthly view – it’s enough room to see everything clearly.

NEW notes page and quote – now there is a notes page and divider before each monthly calendar.  the quote has moved from the monthly view to the divider.

NEW 2 page weekly view – it’s organized so well this year.  EC really listened to their customers and removed some unnecessary things.  it’s much more simple now.  the changes have eliminated the need for some stickers and washi to cover up things.  it looks so much better.

NEW the labels on the weekly pages are blank – the days used to be divided into 3 sections: “morning”, “day”, and “night”.  it was a pretty easy fix to cover them with some skinny washi, but i’m so glad that they are blank now.  it will look even better without the skinny washi.

NEW notes section – who doesn’t need a few notes pages?  there are some lined and some blank pages along with some new graph paper.

NEW pocket and zipper pouch – every planner should have these two things.  the pocket is now reinforced to deal with wear and tear better.  and the pouch has some cute decorations on it now.


•••the not-so-good•••

ready to ship planner – they were put together too quickly. mistakes were made. i know i’m not the only one. i will not be getting another ready to ship planner at launch time.  plus, you have to pay for shipping on your “free” personalized cover.  you’re actually paying more in the long run and waiting longer for what you want.

the cost of the planner – it is $50 plus shipping costs for just the basic planner.  i splurged this year for the beautiful 18-month rose gold limited edition because i just couldn’t help myself.  it was $80!!  but after getting a look at it, i don’t know that i would do that again.  the coil will chip over time and that’s pretty much the only difference besides the gorgeous (but generic) cover.  i’m not sure if it’s worth it.   – again, i understand why the planner is expensive.  and it’s totally worth the money to me. this is a high quality product that i’ll be using every day as a planning tool and an artistic outlet. so i want it to be good. i’ve been calling it an “investment” because then it’s okay, right?  :)

shipping costs –  the shipping rates are outrageous after being spoiled by amazon for years. the base rate (for anything) is $7.95 for  s l o w  USPS shipping.  it goes up from there.  i wish EC could get the cost of shipping down to something cheaper.  also, the rates are the same no matter what you order.  so your order could be worth $5 and you still have to pay the high shipping rates.

the blank sticker colors – i wished they lined up with the months.  like for january, i would prefer orange stickers.  some of the colors do match, but only about half.  i know you can buy extra blank stickers in all kinds of colors, but i just wish the two blank sheets included with the planner matched exactly.  (that’s my OCD talking…)


check the erin condren site out HERE if you’re interested and want $10 off your first order. (the $10 off code will be sent in an email after you’ve registered that might go to your spam folder so check there if you don’t get it right away.)

hello fresh review!

i received my first hello fresh box last week.  it was such a fun experience and i already have my next veggie box on order for next week.

there are several different types of subscriptions:

  • veggie – 3 meals for 2 people
  • veggie – 3 meals for 4 people
  • classic – 3 meals for 2 people
  • classic – 3 meals for 4 people


the box comes to your door by UPS.  there are ice packs at the bottom to keep everything refrigerated.  then, the meals are packed individually in bags so it’s easy to find what you need for each meal.  within each bag, everything is separated as well.  that way if you are allergic to something or just don’t like it, it’s easy to remove that item.


at the top of the box are the recipe cards.  on the front is a picture and overview of the recipe.  on the back are detailed instructions on how to make the item as well as all the info to make it again on your own.  i like how simple the directions are and how many pictures come with them.


i think hello fresh is a perfect subscription box for someone who wants to learn to make new recipes or try out different types of foods.  i would never have tried the recipes they sent me on my own, but i was pleasantly surprised by them.  i love them all!  they’re also healthy and fresh meals, which is important to me.  hello fresh would also be great for busy families who want the work done for them.  the preparation takes some time for each meal (25-45 minutes), but it’s easy peasy.


if you’re interested in trying hello fresh, use the code L758TZ when you sign up and check out for $40 off your first box.  i did this and it only cost me $20 to try it out.  it was definitely worth trying!

6•19 | high five for friday!

H54F button


i tried hello fresh for the first time this week.  i’m planning to do a full review next week, but basically it’s a food subscription service.  you can choose from a couple of different plans, but i chose the 3 day-2 meal vegetarian plan.  i was very impressed with the first two and i’ll have the other one this weekend.  if you’re interested, use this code {L758TZ} for $40 off your first box!


i worked out several times this week with some girls from work after we finished our summer school day as well as some extra workouts here and there.  it was fun to mix it up!  we have a couple more weeks of summers school and plan to keep it going.  i think i pushed myself more because i was part of the group.  i guess the peer pressure worked a bit because i am SO sore…still.



my june birchbox was pretty darn good!  i don’t really care for the moisturizer and the clip is just alright.  everything else though? great!  the sunscreen smells like mango.  the nail polish remover wipes work well.  the dry shampoo smells amazing.  and that eyeliner isn’t going anywhere once it dries.


each summer, the botanical gardens in my city offers music in the gardens.  you can bring whatever you want to eat and drink, chairs, blankets, etc.  there’s a little amphitheater for the concert before sundown.  it’s fun and relaxing. and low-key, which is exactly what i want most of the time.  it was warm and we were sweating A LOT, but my cousin, her daughter, and i did get this cute pic!


well…i took the plunge.  i cut the cord – cable, that is.  i’m officially a streaming only gal.  i’ve been thinking about it for awhile but was scared that i would miss something.  it’s been a couple of days though and i don’t even really notice.  i already had netflix so i signed up for hulu plus and amazon prime too.  and i’m STILL saving money!  score!

other recent posts:

things my grandparents say

thoughts on Orange is the New Black Season 3

6•12 | high five for friday!


          Cup of Tea           THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

thoughts on season 3 of OITNB

Be warned. There may be some spoilers going forward. 

Orange is the New Black

for the past few years, i wait impatiently for june to roll around because i know that “Orange is the New Black” is coming out with a new season.  last year, i wrote about the 10 things i learned about myself by watching OITNB.

some people don’t like it because it’s got some not so PG stuff in it. but i watch it for the characters and their stories. the show is very original in that way. it always keeps you guessing. and there’s always a twist around the corner, whether in the real time story or the flashbacks.

there have been a lot of negative responses already. (hello, fellow binge-watchers!) but i actually liked this season. there were definitely some slow parts, but we learned so much more about the characters’ back stories. so here are some quick thoughts on season 3:

i’m so glad V is gone.

we need more Stella.  she and Nicky need to come back from max. they are great characters.

i actually feel bad for Pennsatucky. i think i actually might like her. never thought I’d say that!

and that guard Coates! he needs a punch in the nuts. several, actually. and then he needs to be arrested.

Alex and Piper are getting annoying.

poor Alex is going to get shot, right? or something bad.

there’s something up with Lotty.  is she faking or really just crazy?

where the hell is Bennett?

i hope they don’t bring in too many new characters from the group of new inmates. i like learning more about the core group.

poor Sophia… (also, i want to slap her kid across the face and tell him to stop being such an asshole.)

Black Cindy’s speech to the rabbi…i shed a tear.

seemingly little mistakes can have HUGE consequences.

Piper’s business is actually kind of genius.

Dayanara and her mom bring out a whole new mother-daughter dysfunction in each other and yet they still go back to each other.

the lake scene was a perfect way to end the season. i panicked at first because i thought they were running. but then there were all these sweet moments at the lake: Black Cindy’s mikvah, Crazy Eyes and that chick, Dia and her mom, Soso and P, etc. it was just so sweet.

Tastee, Stella, and Pennsatucky were some of my favorite characters of the season.

things my grandparents say 

last week, i stayed with my grandparents for a couple of days to catch up.  like with all families there are some issues, but i usually have a great time with them.  as we’ve gotten to know each other as adults, our relationships just keep getting better.  here are a handful of some funny conversations we had this time.

granddaddy: you don’t drive a stick shift, do you?
me: nope. never learned.  daddy tried, but he gave up when i started crying.
granddaddy: so you just steer the car. you’re a steerer not a driver.

we played tennis and my granddady and i were on the same team.  he’s actually really good, and not for an eighty year old man. he plays three times a week for hours. he can beat me by standing in the same spot on the court. so after we lost the first set of our game against my grandmother and aunt, he said, “well, we don’t need to be polishing any trophies any time soon.”  i just laughed.

i’m pretty liberal socially but politically independent. it came out last summer that i have voted democrat in the past few elections. we were talking about education and politics during this visit. he turns to me and asked, “you’re not going to vote for that woman, are you?”
me: do you mean Hilary Rodham Clinton? (with a smile on my face.  i knew what was coming.)
granddaddy: don’t say her name.
i laughed and said, “i haven’t decided yet. i have another year or so.”
granddaddy: you’re voting for her, aren’t you?
i kept my mouth shut and just smiled.

grandmother: this thing in Colorado scares me.
me: (I like to mess with them sometimes) what thing?
grandmother: the marijuana situation.
me: well, they’re making so much money off of it. it’s boosted their economy. and they’re working on regulating it better. i don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s taxed and regulated.
grandmother: i don’t even want to drive in Colorado with all those people on marijuana.
me: they’re not driving. they’re sitting in front of a TV watching cartoons and eating cheetos.  they’re not even close to being as dangerous as drunk driver.
grandmother: i just don’t like it.