Five on Friday

It's Friday!! Hallelujah, I am so happy! This weekend is jam packed with activities but I plan to actually take pictures and will post a Weekend Recap on Monday :) As always, I have linked up with April and the other girls for a little Five on Friday.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Little Fires Everywhere

buy it here

I finished Little Fires Everywhere last week and it was pretty good! Super different from anything that I've read lately but definitely a needed change. I loved the interactions between the characters and while it wasn't my favorite book (because I like all the scary ones lol), I liked the writing style. It's definitely something you should pick up!

Birthday fun

Look at that beard!

I celebrated my 31st birthday a few weekends ago. Mark planned a party (or should I say, fiesta?) at the house and we had a great time drinking Mexican beer and eating burritos. On Sunday, my actual birthday, we spent the day at the Waterfront and ended the night playing Mario Kart and eating pizza with friends. The perfect end to a great weekend. Thank you to this guy for making me feel so special! 

Blue Apron


We ordered Blue Apron for the first time and I was so impressed. I LOVE that everything is pre-portioned and delivered right to your home. The food was super great quality and the recipes were things that I don't normally make. I was worried about the price because it's more than what I would normally pay to make a couple meals, but I really think it's worth it. It just takes the guesswork out of dinner time and you always have everything you need. More about this in an upcoming post!

Slip-on Sneakers

buy them here

I recently got these adorable slip-on sneakers from Target and I LOVE them. I actually have the gray pair but I couldn't find them online. They go with everything and are so easy to throw on for a casual outfit or even to school. The best part is that they don't give me blisters like most slip on shoes do. I wear these no-show socks with them.

The Best Sparkling Waters


I have a love affair going with sparking water. I used to be a soda addict but stopped drinking it a few years ago while doing the Whole 30. I still crave that bubbly carbonation so sparkling waters really help. Trader Joe's has great flavors but up until recently they were only in the big bottles. I never drink them fast enough and they go flat. Well last night I found that our Trader Joe's carries a few flavors in cans now!! SO excited lol. The raspberry lime is the best! Isn't it sad that this excites me so much?


Weekend Recap {Going Away Parties & Baby Showers}

They are going to freak out when we stop using the fireplace in the summer lol

Hey everyone! Long time no talk. Remember when I said I was going to be more consistent?? Well then I got sick, went to Florida for work, got sick again, and life just got crazy.  I'm back.... with only food pictures lol but at least I am here right?? I need to update you all on some house things and just our life in general but to be honest, we aren't very exciting lol. I am still trying to settle into our new home and work is still consuming my life, but with that being said, we had a great weekend!


On Friday, we had our Valentine's date at Blue Pete's in Pungo. People rave about this restaurant so we were excited to try it out. We had She Crab soup to start with and it was super delicious. It was actually so good that we were stuffed and could barely eat our entrees. :( Darnit! I had crab cakes and they were alright but definitely not the best I've ever had. Maybe we would like Blue Petes more during the day so we could see the water?? I don't know... we will have to give it a try again. Afterwards, we went back to the house to watch a movie. Fridays are so hard and I'm usually exhausted.

On Saturday, I tried out a dance bootcamp class at the gym and it kicked my butt. I was nervous to go because I'm not great at dancing but I really do love to dance. I decided to just go for it and I'm glad I did. My calves still hurt lol.


Afterwards, we had lunch at Green Flash with some friends. The weather was rainy but we still had a blast. It's always fun to be around people that make you feel so at ease!

Later on that night, we headed to a going away party for some friends out here. I just met this couple in August but I really like them and I'm so bummed to see them leave. I'm hoping that we will see them again soon! We had a great night at the party but unfortunately we went home early since I had a killer headache. I hate being a downer and leaving early but I really didn't feel well.

On Sunday morning, we went to a baby shower at Waterman's on the oceanfront. It was such a beautiful day even though it was on the colder side. We were there most of the day and loved sitting on the patio with friends.  I left while Mark was still hanging out with the guys because I had a long list of things to do since I had work today while most people had it off. Darn snow make-up days!! I was able to accomplish everything on my list and start my week off on the right foot. I hope you all had a great long weekend :)

10 Last Minute Valentines Date Ideas



Valentine's Day isn't that big of a deal in our household because to be honest, Mark is never here to celebrate it. Since he's here this year I thought that I should make us a fancy four course dinner but then I thought, who am I kidding.... it's on a school night lol. So we decided to order in instead, that way we get to do something a little different but we don't have to brave a restaurant on the busiest night of the year. Also, I can wear my PJs and no one will judge me lol. So if you're like us, and don't want to fight the craziness of the crowds, then here are some ideas for you...

1. Dessert to go

If you want to have something a little special but don't want to eat dinner at a restaurant, order dessert to go! It's an easy way to change up your normal Valentine's Day but won't break the bank. Plus if you have kiddos, this is something special you can do with them as well and they will think it's "fancy" and fun! Check out the unique dessert spots in your area and see if they will let you order a few hours in advance.

2. Cook dinner together

Who doesn't love spending time in the kitchen with your spouse? I do! Mark and I used to cook together our first summer living together and it was awesome! We really need to start doing that again. Anyways, plan to tackle a new dish together and share the responsibilities of prep. Turn on some romantic music, crack open a bottle of wine, and enjoy some technology free time. If all else fails, make a pizza!

3. Breakfast date

Maybe night time is crazy for you so get up extra early and have a breakfast or coffee date. You don't have to leave your house, just set the alarm 30 minutes early, brew a fresh pot of coffee, and spend the morning chatting. I am hoping we can squeeze in some time in the morning too. :)

4. Floor Picnic

If making a whole meal is overwhelming and takes too much prep, then pick up some of your favorite cheese, crackers, meat, and a bottle of wine. Take out a big blanket, some fluffy pillows, and have a floor picnic in your living room. Make sure to turn off the TV and just spend your time together. That's what this is all about.... spending time TOGETHER :) You can even order a pizza and have a floor picnic too. It's just about getting out of your regular day-to-day activities and doing something just slightly different.

5. Plan a scavenger hunt

This is something that can be done on the cheap and set up in your own home. I love the ideas of doing this with kiddos too because everyone loves a fun game that will lead you to a present. If you are doing this for a significant other, you can leave clues throughout their day and end with a fun date night or just lead them to you. Pinterest has great ideas if you need a starting place and so does Dating Divas, if you check out their website. Plus you don't have to do this tomorrow, set it up for this weekend!

6. Fondue Night

Another awesome way to spend dinner is to make a big pot of fondue. It's such a fun way to eat and once again, out of your norm. We did this a few years ago... actually it was the only other time we spent Valentine's Day together in 8 years lol. Sara if you're reading this... remember that night at our house with you and Dave?? You can do a cheese course, meat course, and dessert... or just go for the cheese, because duh, it's the best.

7. Movie Night

This is pretty basic but sometimes you just need to stop all the busyness of your week, make a big bowl of popcorn, snuggle up on the couch, and watch a favorite movie. You can surprise your spouse by choosing their favorite movie or a movie that carries meaning for your relationship. This is one of our favorite things to do and it's just a nice way to tune out all the other interruptions, because let's be real, the work week can be so busy. You can even make a floor fort which is a FAVE in the Bradford house. :) Consider buying movie theater size candy and making other yummy snacks. Who needs dinner when you have buttery popcorn??

8. Beer or Wine Tasting

Trying out a new brewery or winery is something that Mark and I both love to do but why not setup your own tasting at home? Choose some different wines or beer, brown bag them so you hide the labels, and pour some tasters. You might find your new fave beverage!

9. Exchange Cards

One of my favorite things to do is to send out and receive cards. I LOVE getting handwritten cards because there is just more thought put into them. Maybe you don't want to exchange gifts with your spouse, then exchange handwritten cards over a glass of wine or even a cup of coffee in the morning. The gesture doesn't have to be grand, it's just important that you tell your spouse how much you care about them.... all the time, not just Valentine's Day haha.

10. Take a Sunset Walk

I am a HUGE fan of taking walks by the beach, especially at sunset. There's something so relaxing and beautiful about watching the sun go down over the water. If you don't have a waterfront near you, that's okay... just take a stroll around the neighborhood or even to some place new. Being outside in nature will help you feel more connected than just hanging at your house. Plus it's free! :)

Weekend Recap {80's Rockers}


Happy Monday everyone! I'm back today with a weekend recap and it's seriously been a hot minute since I posted one of these. We just haven't done very exciting things lately lol and I have been the WORST at taking pictures lol. So I made a point to take a few this weekend.




On Friday night, we got dressed up to see The Legwarmers, an 80s cover band in Norfolk. We had a blast decking ourselves out and I seriously wish we were born earlier in the 80s. Such fun outfits! We had a great night.

On Saturday, I spent the morning cleaning the house and doing laundry. It was such a beautiful day so we decided to go to First Landing State Park for a walk. Since we've had such crazy weather lately, it was so nice to be able to spend some time outside. That's what I miss most about SD... just being outside all the time... well that and my friends, of course!




Later on, we went to dinner with some friends. We ate at Il Giardino and it was sooooo good! I've been wanting to go there for awhile and it did not disappoint! We also saw 12 Strong, which I highly recommend.

Sunday was spent at church and running errands in the morning. It was another beautiful day out and we had the windows open upstairs to let in some fresh air. SOOO nice! I'm going to be out of town this week so I worked for hours on sub plans and getting everything organized. Such a pain in the butt and I'm so glad to be done with that.

I hope you had a great weekend as well! ;)

Favorite Books I Read in 2017

I love getting book suggestions from friends and other bloggers, so I thought I would share some of my favorite books that I read in 2017, to inspire you as well! Reading is truly one of my favorite things to do and I read some great books this year... and also some duds lol. Is there anything better than curling up with a cup of coffee (or wine) and reading a good book? I think not!

On my list you will notice a theme of thriller/ mysteries because I can't get away from them. I love that these books pull me in and keep me wanting more page after page. Also, most of them scare the tar outta me but oh well haha! I tried to keep my descriptions really brief without giving anything away. If you click on the title, it will take you to the Amazon link so you can read more of the synopsis. If you have any favorite books from last year, feel free to share them below!

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris


This was hands down my favorite book that I read last year. I have to forewarn you that it is super disturbing and makes you sooo angry but worth it! We actually read it as a part of my book club in SD so I feel bad that I scared my friends lol. It follows the marriage of Jack and Grace, the seemingly perfect couple. There is a very dark story resting below the "perfect" surface that you couldn't even imagine was possible. You will be trying to figure out this could possibly get any better for Grace and it will keep you guessing until the very end. Buy this one asap!

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris


Here is another B.A. Paris book because I couldn't help myself! The book introduces you to Cass, a woman who is driving home in a terrible storm. She takes a shortcut down some back roads and what she sees will forever change her future. Why didn't she stop and help that woman and could she have changed her fate?? Her life starts to take a downward turn and spirals out of control. What is happening to her and how can she ever feel safe again? This book will leave you guessing and craving more at the same time.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams 


My mom and I listened to this audiobook on our drive across the country and we loved it. This is very different from the other two books listed above, which was a nice change. The book is set in the late 1930's on the coast of Rhode Island and bounces back and forth between the past and current day in the novel. I'ts a typical love triangle that ends up not being so typical at all when it comes to the three who are involved. I loved trying to figure out where Lily's true feelings would fall and I couldn't help myself rooting for young love to win. It has a tragic ending leaving you wondering why the author would decide to add that twist, but is worth sinking yourself into.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


It all started at a neighbor's dinner party when a terrible crime was committed. The people involved will all point fingers at each other, leaving you wondering what this couple is truly hiding. The twists and turns will have you question the motives of the characters and truly saddened by the situation. I couldn't put this book down and tore through it in a few days. This is a must read if you love suspense but isn't as graphic as B.A. Paris' books.  I also loved her newest book,  A Stranger in the House. Add that to your list as well! 

Talking As Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham


If you are a Gilmore Girls fan then you need to read Lauren Graham's book. It's a collection of stories through her childhood, trying to make it as an actress, and from several of the shows she worked on. She talks a lot about the special moments on the Gilmore Girls set and gave some funny stories about Parenthood. I actually watched the entire season of Parenthood because of this book and I LOVED it! This is an easy read and it left me even more in love with Graham than before.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay


This story paints a picture of what it was like for young children in Paris during the Vel' d'Hiv roundup in 1942.  You meet Sarah, who is trying to protect her younger brother from the horrors of the war, but won't be able to stop the unthinkable from happening.

Then the book flashes forward to 2002 in Paris where a woman, Julia, uncovers history about her family's apartment. The two lives of Sarah and Julia will become intertwined as Julia retraces these terrible events. This book is heart wrenching and so sad but I couldn't put it down. You will have a good cry while reading this one!

Stay Organized in 2018

I pride myself on being a pretty organized person... well most of the time, unless I'm throwing away Mark's credit card or losing my social security card lol, other than that I keep it together. I attribute all my organizational goodness to my planner. It truly keeps me on track when it comes to my to-do list, important dates, and when our bills are due. It things aren't written down, I won't remember them, so it saves me. Everyone has different organizational needs but I think that starting with a planner will help to get you on the right path.

Pineapple Happy Planner   |   May Planner   |   Erin Condren Planner
Plum Planner   |   Rifle Paper Co.  |   Leopard Paper Source Planner
Good Vibes START planner   |   Passion Planner   |   Purple Trail Flower Planner
There are so many planners out there so it can be a little overwhelming. I've round up a bunch that I familiar with and/or have used in the past. Currently, I am using the Erin Condren planner and I LOVE it. My exact version is show above, but with my name on it of course. I know that it's on the more expensive side but it has everything that I'm looking for in a planner. I like the horizontal layout the best because it's easiest for me to write in on a daily basis but also has a monthly view that I need. Plus it holds up for the whole year. Worth every penny!

Target also has several great options in store but I couldn't find as many online. If you have a Target close to you, definitely go check it out. I hope these planners help you start your path to a more organized year!

Word for 2018: Devote


Happy New Year everyone! I hope that the first week of 2018 has treated you well. We've spent the last day surrounded by snow which is a bit unusual for the Virginia Beach area. It's fun to have snow days but I'm already dreading having to make them up hah!

During the past few days, I have really been working on finding my word of the year. I've chosen a word the last two years and I love that they give me something to focus on and a way to set my intentions. I have to be honest, I lost track of my word after a few months in 2017. I let the this busy season of life swallow me up and the word "perspective" seemed to go out the door. So I am declaring now that I will intentionally focus on my word this year, not just now but month after month, finding what it truly means for me.

I decided that to help me along my journey I would join the One Little Word class put on by Ali Edwards. I LOVE her style of memory keeping and how she documents her year alongside this focus word. I used to scrapbook by hand, then went to digital scrapbooking, then sadly stopped altogether. In many ways, my blog is a memory keeper for me and it just took over the rest of my creative time. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE writing my blog and I love the creativity it inspires. I am just looking for something a little more tangible and specifically focused on curating a dedicated space for my word. If you're interested in what I am talking about, head over to Ali's website and see what she offers. So neat!

So let's get to it... my word for 2018 is {DEVOTE}. I thought about this for a long time and this word really encompasses what I want to focus on.

I want to DEVOTE myself to my relationship with God more than ever before. Now that I'm not working at a Christian school, I find that I have to work even harder to find those moments with Him. At my last school, there were opportunities all around me. I could pray with a coworker, sing worship  during Chapel, and spend time in fellowship during Devos. I know that to deepen my relationship with the Lord I need to create time for my devotionals and not just pray every now and then. My relationship with Him comes first and foremost.

I will DEVOTE time to finding balance in my life. As most of you know, I moved this past year and basically everything in our life has changed. We are in a new state, a new side of the country, a new home, a new job, new friendships, etc. I focused so much on setting up on our home and digging in deep with my job that I let everything else go to the wayside. I need to re-establish balance.

I will DEVOTE this year to my health. Since we have been going through tons of fertility issues, I have let my health kinda go. Sounds strange when fertility has to do with health as well but I am focusing more on healthy eating and exercise. Since I spent so much time not being able to workout, I let that become my new norm and my habit. I have had the hardest time getting back into a consistent routine and I know that the excuses need to go to the wayside and it's time to get back to being me.

I will DEVOTE more time for my business and my blog. These are two things that I LOVE so much but when everything else starts to get crazy, these are easy for me to push aside. My business has done so much for us in the past two years and I have seemed to lose sight of what else it can do. With some exciting things happening fertility-wise it's even more important that I set my sights even higher in R+F. This business will give me the opportunity to choose my path for when we have a baby and what the future of my career looks like.

My blog is the creative outlet that I crave and need to fuel my soul. Creating things is a huge passion of mine and I have been able to funnel a lot of that attention into my house. Sharing what we are doing and where we are going in life is a way that I am able to connect with friends and family that live so far away. This needs to be a priority now more than ever. I will DEVOTE my time in those relationships.

So I hope this gave you a snapshot of what my intentions are for the year. I am excited about this word and everything it brings to light in my life. I have to be honest though, it's hard to reevaluate where we are compared to where we want to be. I don't think I'm going to be perfect in any area but being more intentional in where I devote my time is the goal. I hope you join me by choosing a word of your own and share it below if you do! :)

My word for 2016 
My word for 2017

Year in Review 2017

Happy New Year everyone! I seriously can't believe 2017 is over and we are starting a new year. What a crazy whirlwind it was for us! I know that 2017 was tough for a lot of people and honestly it was a big year of change for us too. Most of the change was great but also pretty hard at the same time. Writing these year in review posts really helps to put things in perspective and reminds me of all the incredible people I have in my life. So thankful and grateful for all of you!

30th Birthday Surprise in Temecula




I celebrated my 30th birthday this year and Mark and my mom did an AMAZING job of surprising me in Temecula. I was surrounded by good friends and family. The perfect weekend! 

Nashville



I met Mark halfway across the country on his drive out to Virginia Beach. We stopped in Nashville and had an incredible time exploring the city. Going to the Opry was one of the best parts of the trip! Also, this was the last time we would see each other for 3 months, so we soaked up every minute. 

Greg & Kayla's Wedding



the best dates!


Our bestie got married this year! Such a beautiful wedding, just missing Mark :(

Girls Trip to SD


My Reno friends came out to visit me over Memorial Day and it meant the world to me. I was so glad that they could make a trip out to my neck of the woods (or beach I guess lol) before I moved. 

My Parents Last Visit to SD


My parents and Brittany came to visit this year too. So fun exploring SD one more time with them!

Chase Got Called Up!


Chase got called up to the big leagues this year and I was able to go to his first game with the Wooster side of the fam. We made the trek up to LA and it was so cool to see him out there on a big league field. Sadly, we didn't get to see him play that day but it was so neat to just be there. 



We watched Chase's major league debut while Mark was home for the week. Needless to say we were pretty darn excited!! 

Going Away Parties



Our friends Emily and James threw a going away party for us. So sad to say goodbye to these wonderful people! I got so lucky with my group of friends!

During my last week in Vegas, Katie and Lauren threw me a going away party too. I was terrible at taking pictures that night but their decorations were so cute! Two going away parties... I am a lucky girl!



5 Year Anniversary/ Moving



Mark had a week to come back to SD and get the house ready to move. It just happened to fall on our 5 year anniversary which we were stoked to be together but bummed to be spending the whole time at our house with the movers haha. 

Trip to Des Moines


I've worn this dress a ton this year lol

I spent a few days with my mom's side of the family in Iowa this summer for my uncle's wedding. We danced, drank, and ate a ton of food. Miss them all!

Cross- Country Road Trip


My mom and I drove from Nevada to Virginia Beach together. It was a loooong week of driving but we managed to have a lot of fun, especially in Nashville! We made some other interesting stops along the way and I'll cherish these memories forever. 

Move to Virginia Beach/ Buying a home



We finally made it to Virginia Beach! The next day, Mark and I closed on our first home. Such a crazy whirlwind but sooo exciting! We bought the house without ever stepping foot in it ourselves since Mark was away working and I was in Vegas. Our realtor, Sandra, really helped us a ton to make sure this was the right place for us. 
 I also started a new teaching job out here but I don't have any pics lol. 

R+F Convention


I flew home to Vegas in October to attend my 2nd Rodan+ Field's convention. This time was extra special because my mom joined me!

Our First Visitors



Aunt Kathy, Uncle Mark, and Tracy were our first visitors out to VB. We played tourist for a few days but mostly just soaked up the family time. 

Hosting Our First Thanksgiving



My parents, Mark's mom, and his brother, Chase all came to see us for Thanksgiving. This was our first time hosting and I have a new appreciation for my mom and all the hard work that she has done all these years hosting holidays. Whew, so much work lol! 

First Christmas in Our New Home



We weren't able to travel home to Vegas for Christmas this year so the holidays were a little bittersweet. We made some new traditions, just the two of us, and spent the time with friends who were also in town. We even had a special visitor from our SD fam so it was a great time! 

It was a pretty busy year for us with all the changes that have happened. I'm so lucky to have this incredible man by my side through all of it. I am SO ready for 2018 and all the great things it will bring. I'm working on my "word of the year" post so get ready for that!

Check out my Dear 2016 post