Hi guys! What a fun, cozy month January was! I’m so excited to share with you this month’s favorite things. First, let’s start with a recap:
January surprisingly felt like a very long month! A few exciting updates from the month:
- Blakely started gymnastics! We’re doing it through the church we recently started attending and you guys, it is soooo cute! Blakely absolutely loves it. It’s a mommy and me class so I get to be with her and help her through all the stations and obstacle courses the coaches create! There’s only about 4 other kids in the class and it’s every week which is nice. I have to drag Blakely out after because she never wants to leave. So sweet!!
- I got my hair done! I get my hair highlighted every couple of months, but this was a long stretch from September to January and my hair desperately needed some brightening! I go to the Salty Mane and see hairstylist Megan.
- We finalized our wedding menu! Whew, that felt good to check that off the list. Casey and I had been going back and forth on the main courses we wanted since we’re doing station style, and we finally found a menu that works with our budget and is very us! I started a new series on the blog called Wedding Wednesday, so check back on Wednesday’s for some wedding planning updates!
NEW WORKOUT PLAN
You may know that I’ve followed the workout app Moves by Madeline for over a year now, and usually just follow her “weekly moves” plan. At the beginning of January, I decided to change it up and try out her “strength moves” program. This plan focuses on progressive overload and low reps with heavier weight. One of my goals is to build muscle and gain weight, so I think this plan will help with that! I’m loving it so far. It’s definitely challenging and some of the exercises are out of my comfort zone (hello barbell power cleans), but I am excited to see my progress over the next couple of weeks.
DRY JANUARY UPDATE
Yay! I have successfully completed dry January! I’m not a big drinker as it is, but I love the occasional night out or weekend cocktail. I wanted to challenge myself this month to not drink alcohol and see how I felt by the end.
My overall why behind the challenge was I was curious how it would leave me feeling after 31 days of no alcohol. I did 9 months of it when I was pregnant with Blakely, but there was obviously a lot of other things going on with my body that made me feel different. I also don’t love the way alcohol makes me feel the next day. As I’ve gotten older (really after having Blakely), I found that if I have more than 1 drink I don’t feel 100% the next day and I absolute hate that! Here are a few things I learned from dry Jan:
- I’m more of a social drinker than an at home drinker.
- Loved waking up on weekend mornings feeling my best self.
- I can still have a good time at social outings without drinking.
- Sipping on some kind of mocktail or sparkling water (something other than plain water) definitely helps.
- If I get a night out I can be okay with having 1 or 2 drinks then switching to water rather than continuously drinking the night away.
- I miss my margaritas!! I still love a good cocktail and I know there will be times ahead where I have more than I planned to, but I at least learned that I can go without it and I am totally fine. I feel like I am choosing to drink because I want to, not because I have to if that makes sense.
Now that we’ve got the recap of the month done, let’s get onto the faves: monthly books, podcasts, shows, movies favorite things, and this month’s blog posts!
My goal for 2023 is to read 30 books this year- 6 books more than my goal in 2022. January was a big month of reading for me! I finished 4 books total which is probably the most I’ve read in one month. I ventured a little all over the place from romance to thriller to contemporary fiction to self-help. Let’s get into the books:
Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks
- 4.5/5 stars!
- Spark’s latest release brings a slow-burn beachy love story mixed with a gripping thriller that had me both on the edge of my seat and swooning over Colby & Morgan’s love. We also meet Beveryly, mother to a 6-year-old son who is on the run from her abusive husband. In the end, we see a jaw-dropping finale that brings all their world’s together. Highly recommend this one!
A Flicker In The Dark by Stacy Willingham
- 4/5 stars!
- In Willingham’s debut novel we see an intriguing story told from the POV of Chloe Davis, who at 12 years old discovered her dad was behind the murders of 6 local teen girls. It’s 20 years later and more girls start to go missing again, and Chloe feels it is her responsibility to get to the bottom of it. It’s heart-pounding and creepy, and an incredibly fast read!
Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
- 5/5 stars!
- If you’ve been around for the favorites blog posts for a while now, you probably remember seeing this book pop up at the end of last year. I started it in September, read about half of it, then picked it back up this month to finish. It is a heavy, thorough, extremely information packed book, but worth the read! I seriously highlighted at least one thing on every page… that’s how good it was. I realized how much I lacked boundaries in my life and this book easily laid a format for how to implement boundaries in your own life and gain freedom back.
Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- A uniquely captivating story about love, loss and knowing your worth. OK I can’t officially rate this one yet because I am a 100 pages away from finishing, but I expect to finish this tonight and then will update the blog with my thoughts!!
- UPDATE: absolutely loved this one. 5/5 stars!!! Go read it!
My top 3 podcast episodes that I listened to this month:
- The Redheads Podcast
- For all my book lovers… listen to this podcast!! It is a book club hosted by The Morning Toast’s Jackie Oshry and her best friends. This month I listened to their conversations on two books: The It Girl and A Flicker In The Dark. I always love to hear their thoughts on it and in depth analysis of each book. They are hilarious and relatable and it feels like you are a part of the conversation with them!
- Life Advice For Young Adults – A Roundtable Conversation Ft. Jordan & Nico Becerra | The Skinny Confidential Podcast
- This episode was SO GOOD for anyone in their 20s or 30s especially. They answer listener questions about marriage, relationships, careers, and more. It was equally entertaining as it was informative!!
- Ask Me Anything: Improve Sleep, Reduce Sugar Cracings, Optimal Protein Intake, Stretching Frequency & More | Huberman Lab Podcast
- This 30 minute episode talked all on how to get optimal sleep and what to do vs what not to do. He talks about what kind of workouts to do during the day and WHEN to do them to help improve your sleep, and how its important to abstain from alcohol and caffeine to get the best sleep. In the full episode he talks about all the topics listed in the title!
3.) SHOWS + MOVIES
Shows And Movies I Watched This Month + My Thoughts:
TV: I watched a lot of TV this month. Finished two shows and started one new one!
- Too Hot To Handle season 3… LOVE this show haha its so raunchy but so good.
- The Bachelor… literally will never not watch this show I’m obsessed.
- The White Lotus… finished both season 1 and 2 and cannot wait for the next season.
- The Way Back… Casey and I watched this feel good sports movie together and it was okay.
4.) FIVE TOP FAVORITE THINGS
5 Things I’m Loving Right Now:
1) BEIGE VEST… You guys, for $35 I got this CUTE cropped beige vest from Amazon that I’ve been wearing nonstop. I’m obsessed! It’s not only stylish and comfortable, but it’s great quality and actually provides enough warmth. I was a little skeptical by so little reviews, but I am here to vouch that it comes in so quickly and in great condition- worth the purchase for winter style!!
2) LEMON PERFECT WATER… In honor of dry January, I needed something to switch up the taste of water sometimes & these lemon perfect drinks are SO good. We babysat for Casey’s little cousins the other weekend and they had these drinks stocked at their house. I will definitely be ordering from Amazon because they were the perfect amount of lemon + sweet for hydrating! The Just Lemon flavor is my favorite.
3) HBH COOKBOOK… If you aren’t familiar with Half Baked Harvest’s blog, this is your sign to check it out for the best yummy wholesome recipes!! I received my first cookbook by her for Christmas- The Every Day Cookbook. It is filled with such unique, easy, and delicious recipes to add to your weekly dinner menu. Highly recommend!!
4) ELF HYDRATING CONCEALER… I desperately needed a new concealer and had heard about the e.l.f Hydrating Camo Concealer on TikTok- so I went to Target and found it in stock! Y’all, this stuff is so good and it is only $7!! Now I’m dying to try the e.l.f primer and the halo glow liquid filter that’s a dupe for the Charlotte Tilbury flawless filter!
5) LOVING TAN 2-HOUR EXPRESS… it’s January. We’re in the middle of winter and your girl is PALE. I don’t self-tan weekly, but if I’m doing something fun (like going to Greenville this weekend with my girlfriends) I self-tan before! The two hour express tanner in the shade dark gives me such a good glow AND a boost of confidence!
5.) FAVORITE RECIPE THIS MONTH
SHRIMP RICE SALAD BOWL
I found this recipe on Pinterest this past weekend and was like yep, I’m making that for lunch immediately. Casey, Blakely and I ventured off to church on Sunday and then headed to Publix together to grab the ingredients for this mouth-watering shrimp rice salad bowl. We changed it up a little bit and it made it even more *chefs kiss.* This recipe will be on repeat in our house!
The recipe <3
What we changed:
- We added a dash of tamari and sesame oil to the dressing which gave it such a great flavor.
- I don’t like spice to we omitted the sriracha in the dressing.
- We added lettuce and made it more of a salad.
- We wish we added avocado!
6.) JANUARY BLOG POSTS
In case you missed it: