DIY Fall Sign

Hi everyone! I'm back today with a fun little DIY project that I finished over the weekend. I knew I wanted something for my front door but wasn't feeling the wreath I made last year. It was just too small. Plus I have been dying to use my Silhouette Cameo for more projects. So I started scrolling through some Pinterest ideas and combined a bunch that I liked.

For this project you will need:
- a wood sign: I found mine at A.C. Moore
- sand paper
- a stain or paint color of your choice
- paint brush
- a stencil or vinyl cutout of the words
- fake leaves or garland
- hot glue
- twine to hang your sign (mine already had twine attached)
- felt pads (for the back of your sign)

I started by sanding the wood sign. I used a 100 grit sandpaper and then moved my way up to 220. If you have a sandpaper block it makes sanding much easier. Then I applied the stain. One word of advice... wear gloves! I splattered it on my feet and hands because I was staining it on my deck. It was sooo hard to get the stain off my skin lol.

It took quite awhile to dry and I think that's because I didn't wipe off the excess stain. I will for sure do that next time. In the meantime, I used my Silhouette cameo to make the lettering. I picked a font and welded the letters together, then printed on white vinyl. I transferred the vinyl onto the transfer tape and then applied it to the wood sign when it was dry. This process takes forever because you need to use a scraper or a wooden popsicle stick to get the vinyl to adhere. It probably took close to 30 minutes for it to actually work.

Next, I unraveled the garland pieces to make it more manageable to work with. I placed it around the wording until I was happy with how it looked. Then I just started glueing some pieces down. I'm not very good at hiding the hot glue but I did my best, and voila, it was done! I really like the way it turned out! :)

Life Lately {September}

Hey everyone! I thought I would give you a little life update since I've been so absent on my blog lately. I am trying to get back into a routine but my creative juices just aren't there at the moment.

As you know, we moved to Virginia Beach about a month ago. In that time, I have been unpacking the house and trying to get acclimated to my new home. I also started work two weeks ago at a public elementary school. This school has been a BIG change for me since I came from a very different private Christian school. To be honest, I'm having a hard time adjusting but I am working through it.

My classroom is slowly coming along piece by piece, but I need to purchase a bunch more. I'm also trying to get used to this new schedule because I am switching classes with a fellow teacher, halfway through the day. I teach language arts while she teaches math and science. So far it's pretty challenging to get used to having two different sets of kids but I'm working on it... with a few break downs here and there of course! I am missing my work wife aka Stephanie so much!

I really like Virginia Beach so far though. People love to complain how it's not as good as San Diego, but it's just different. The traffic is WAY less here and everyone seems to be going at a slower pace. It also helps that the highway is only 55 mph here haha. There are great restaurants and the people are so friendly. Of course, I miss MY people in San Diego and Vegas but overall it's awesome here. I'm also so excited for it to not be crazy humid any more and to stop raining lol. I think I was so naive to hurricanes and all the weather issues that go on here. I didn't even realize they had a "hurricane season" in Virginia Beach... I'm dumb lol. Obviously, watching everything in Texas, I am much more aware of the dangers and worried about my friends and family in Florida too. Praying Irma doesn't come here as well!

I'm looking forward to exploring the area more and being able to have a real fall. Although the native Virginia Beach people keep saying that fall doesn't exist here any more. I'm going to ignore them haha. I can't wait to explore the cities and states around Virginia Beach because I know there is so much history here and things I haven't seen before. I'm hoping Mark's schedule will slow down soon so we can explore together!

Being on the east coast is hard when it comes to traveling though. I really understand the pain of those friends and family members who have flown out for a west coast wedding or holiday. Holy moly it's hard to schedule those return flights without traveling ALL day haha. I will get used to it I'm sure. We already have some family coming to see us at the end of October and I am thrilled!!!! Bring on the guests, although our house is still not fully put together. I'm excited to show you guys more pictures as we make more progress on the house. Some things were put to the wayside this  week since we had to replace our water heater. Ugh, being a homeowner sucks lol.

Mark is working on a fence to keep the puppies from escaping :)

I hope you guys all have a great weekend! Praying that Irma stops in its tracks and leaves the U.S. alone. If you're evacuating, know that we are praying for your safety!!

Mets v. Nats game

Hey there everyone! I promise I'm going to get better with posting after school gets going and I'm in a better routine. Right now there is just so much going on! Last weekend, Mark came home (yay!!) and we went up to D.C. for the day to watch Chasen (hopefully) pitch. We met my friend Carly and her husband up there too. I love that we live close enough to see them more often!

love this girl :)
hi Joey!

The drive was super long because of traffic but we got to the stadium just in time. The weather was perfect and the game was super fun. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Chasen pitch because they had a double header and he pitched the late game. We were already home by then, but it was still a blast!

After the game, we went down to the field to say hi to Chasen and then we headed to the media area so we could go down to the locker room. It's a boys only situation so we just went downstairs but no locker room haha. Still so cool to see the underworkings of a ball field.

We are so proud of Chasen and love coming to watch him play! Hopefully I'll get to see him pitch in person before the season is over :(

What I've Been Reading...

Hallelujah, it's Friday! I hope you've all had a great week. Mine was exhausting now that I'm back to work but I'm hoping to check a lot off my list today. As promised, I am back today with a reading update. I constantly get questions about what I've been reading lately so I wanted to share with you all. Also, if you have any great recent reads, comment below so we can pick them up too!  Let's dive in!

A Hundred Summers

On my recent road trip to Virginia with my mom, we downloaded a couple audiobooks to keep us entertained. The first one we listened to was A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. I've seen a couple of her books at various bookstores or on book lists but they never really appealed to me before. I finally decided to give them a try because it seems like so many people love them. I was pleasantly surprised and we both really enjoyed it!

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:
Lily Dane has returned to Seaview, Rhode Island, where her family has summered for generations. It’s an escape not only from New York’s social scene but from a heartbreak that still haunts her. Here, among the seaside community that has embraced her since childhood, she finds comfort in the familiar rituals of summer.

But this summer is different. Budgie and Nick Greenwald—Lily’s former best friend and former fiancĂ©—have arrived, too, and Seaview’s elite are abuzz. Under Budgie’s glamorous influence, Lily is seduced into a complicated web of renewed friendship and dangerous longing.

As a cataclysmic hurricane churns north through the Atlantic, and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever...

A Certain Age

We liked the first book by Williams so much that we got another one called A Certain Age. My mom didn't end up hearing the end of this one (sorry mom!), but I really liked it.  If I had to pick between the two I would say A Hundred Summers is better though. Both of the story lines were kinda out there but I like that they shared similar character histories. So neat to realize that you know part of a character's back story already. 

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.
But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingĂ©nue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.
Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

 Every Last Lie

Mary Kubica is one of my favorite authors for all things scary aka thrillers. Her books are sooo good and keep you wondering what's going on until the very last page. I loved Every Last Lie and read it super quickly. I don't want to give anything away so I'll only post part of the synopsis :) Oh and if you haven't read The Good Girl by her, stop everything you're doing and click here to buy it. I LOOOOOVED it! 

Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. 
Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. 

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was a crazy book. I've heard so many good things and it definitely lived up to those reviews. It's another thriller (shocker!) but not as scary as some of the other books I've read lately. It just leaves you wondering what is going on with each of the characters and trying to guess the motives of those involved. I also went through this one super quickly and was left in awe at the end. Pick it up asap!

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

The Identicals

Let me preface this by saying I have a love affair with Nantucket. I have never been but LOVE reading about it and want to go so badly. I know that many of you know this already lol but it makes my book choices a little biased. The Identicals was very different from Hilderbrand's other books though and I've read almost all of them. This is an easy beach read but a refreshing change for the some of the thrillers I like to read. Everyone needs to read something light every now and then right??

Identical twin sisters who couldn't look more alike...or live more differently.Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She's inherited her father's rundown house on Martha's Vineyard, but she can't hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking. 

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.
Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She's also inherited her mother's questionable parenting skills--Tabitha's teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode--and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion. 

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands--and lives--to save what's left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they'd outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all?

Five on Tuesday

Hi everyone! Life has been crazy over here because 1. moving is a pain and 2. living in a new state requires lots of changes lol. I am adjusting though and liking my new home and also missing my friends and family like crazy!

I have some favorites to share with you guys today. In typical Jessica fashion they are very random and all over the place. Let's jump in...

Pineapple Mineral Water

I have been on a serious sparkling water kick for almost two years now. I love carbonated drinks, so this makes me feel like I'm drinking soda without the junk. I've tried a ton of different brands but I just recently tried Trader Joe's Pineapple mineral water and WOW, it's so good! I want to try the tropical one next.

The Best Seasoning Ever

Speaking of more Trader Joe's goodies... has anyone else tried this seasoning blend? It's like eating an everything bagel without the carb overload. I use it on avocado toast and love it. Go pick this up asap! Trader Joe's is just the best!! 


Since moving to Virginia Beach I now realize that I had no idea what real humidity was like. I always thought San Diego was humid but boy was I wrong. It's bad here... real bad lol. I always want the summer to stay for as long as possible but I am ready to say ADIOS to this weather and welcome the boots and scarves. Yes, I'm basic lol. 

Kirkland's has had all their fall stuff out and I'm soooo obsessed. I keep drooling over everything but then I feel weird buying fall stuff in August. It's just so cute!! The tall "Hello Fall" sign is seriously my jam and I feel like I need it for next to my door. 

How to Wear Ankle Boots

With all this fall decor on display, it has gotten me so excited for fall clothing as well. One of my favorite fall items are my ankle boots. I love that they are comfy but also dress up an outfit as well. One of my favorite bloggers/ youtubers posted a video this week with some tips for how to wear ankle boots and which jeans will work best. She does a lot of fashion over 40 videos, but I still think they are great regardless of your age. Click on the video to see her tips :)

Picture Hanging Pro

Guys, I put this console together by myself. I'm pretty proud haha

So I am probably the worst at hanging pictures/ frames. I always somehow jack it all up and everything ends up a little off. Mark is the pro but unfortunately he hasn't been around for the last few weeks since we moved into the house. Since I am 1. very impatient and 2. want to get our house together, I have attempted to hang some of the smaller frames myself. Thankfully, it hasn't been a disaster because my friend Chelsea told me about this method using paper.  Here it is:
Ignore the poor picture quality and the junk in the pic lol

1. You trace all of your frames on butcher paper or in my case, wrapping paper. 
2. Then you hang them using painter's tape or washi, which is what I had. Then you can adjust them to how you want the pictures positioned. 
3. Next, you measure the width of the frames and mark the center at the top above the paper frame. 
4. If you mark the top of the frame using the washi tape, you can remove the butcher paper.
5. Measure the top of the actual frame to the hook on the back. Mark this on the wall as well and use this spot to hammer your nail. 
6. Hang your frame and you're done! I hope that made sense!!

If you made it this far in my ramblings then I am officially impressed. This is probably the most random thing I've ever posted but hey, at least I got a post up! :) Have a great day everyone!