As The Page Turns: September Edition

Getting this post up a bit late but that #momlife is no joke.

Here we go!

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

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Saw this recommendation for this book by someone I follow on Instagram who writes awesome book reviews. Great mystery, great plot, and interesting characters.

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

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Meh…  A bit disappointing truth be told. I loved her previous book The Address and had such high hopes for this one but I just could not get into it.

A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd

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Charles Todd has two series that they write: one featuring a Scotland Yard detective named Ian Rutledge, the other series features a WW1 nurse named Bess Crawford. This book features the latter. This book was not terribly good and a bit convoluted which disappointed me to no end because I love this author to pieces. The series that they write featuring the Scotland Yard detective is sooooooooo much better.

Searching For Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

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I came across this author online and decided to give this book a whirl. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found this book quite good. Her disillusionment with the church after growing up in it and then finding her way back, is definitely worth a read.

That’s it for now. I’ve read more books than these 4 in the past month but a lot of books were “meh”, not really worth mentioning. Have you guys read any good books lately? 🙂

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As The Page Turns: August Edition

Hey y’all, long time no see! 🙂 This post is not a comprehensive list of everything I have been reading but I didn’t want to go another month without hopping on the #booknerd train and linking up with Jana and Stephanie.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

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Excellent, excellent book. Science fiction-y kind of books are not my thing nor my usual genre, but I had heard nothing but wonderful reviews for this book and I heard they are making this book into a film, so I decided to give it a read. I found this book well-written and it kept me involved even though the story went back and forth between present day happenings and the past.

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

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The author Matt Haig suffers from anxiety and depression and at one point, tried to commit suicide. This book he wrote, Reasons To Stay Alive, is his story about how he came back from the edge. He also shares “reasons to stay alive” not just from him personally, but from other people who suffer from anxiety and depression and what their reasons are to stay alive and keep fighting.

You guys, I cannot recommend this book enough. As someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression, I felt like finally, someone wrote down the words that constantly swirl through  my brain. And if you don’t deal with these issues on a day-to-day basis like some of us do and don’t know if this book is worth the read, let me tell you: IT IS. If you want to find out more about the subject because someone you know suffers from anxiety and/or depression, this book is a must-read.

A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni

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This book is the latest in the Detective Tracy Crosswhite series. Normally, I like my mystery novels to predate the computer, where detectives had to rely on old-fashioned means to catch the bad guy. That being said, the series is ah-mazing. The series takes place in present-day Seattle and is just so well-written and truly leaves you guessing. Start with the first book in the series and just go from there. Promise, this series is definitely worth your time!

What have you guys been reading? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

As The Page Turns: March Edition

I read a lot more books than I thought this month which is a good thing! 🙂

The Woman In Cabin 10

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I decided to jump into the literary cesspool that is Ruth Ware. I started with this book, The Woman In Cabin 10, and I have to say, that it was just….okay. I had heard people on the good ‘ol interwebs, waxing poetic about this book and how ah-mazing it was, and could you believe how it all turned out?

Um, yeah I could. I figured out who the woman in cabin 10 was pretty quickly. This isn’t a brag or anything, it just speaks to the author’s writing and set up of the plot and characters. Also, the narrator really could not have figured any of this out, when she is massively drunk throughout most of the book.

The Lying Game

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Ugh, horrible, horrible book. I couldn’t even finish the damn thing. It started so slowly and the premise just stretched all imagination. I literally wanted to throw this book across the room, and I wondered if it was just me. So, I went on Goodreads and looked up reviews on The Lying Game and found out that I am not alone in my revulsion of this book. Some of the reviews were completely eviscerating, and I felt better about my utter contempt of this drivel.

I have a 3rd Ruth Ware book on my TBR list and am seriously debating whether to remove it.

The Trust

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I picked this book up in the New Releases section not knowing anything about the author or any past publications. I was pleasantly surprised! 🙂 This book revolves around the main character Liam, and his having to go back to Northern Ireland for his uncle’s funeral. He learns that his uncle has set up a trust to find out who murdered him and has set up Liam as his trustee. Oh, and other family members start getting bumped off while Liam is trying to find out what the heck is going on and who is behind all this.

Definitely kept me engaged!

Rosie Colored Glasses

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Oh my gosh, this book. I felt all the feelings reading this. I identified so much with the daughter Willow and could relate to the tumultuousness of childhood when things are completely out of your control. I really enjoyed this book.

Everything That Remains

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This one is a re-read for me. This book was written by The Minimalists and I read it again for some minimalist inspiration.

The Gate Keeper

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Yay, a brand new Charles Todd book! 🙂 I love this series featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge because it takes place in an era where there were no computers, no forensics, just straight up hard work, to find out “whodunit”. If you like mysteries like that, I highly recommend this series!

Want to see what I am currently reading? I am on Instagram and post pictures of what I am reading 🙂

 

As The Page Turns: February Edition

Hey all! I am surprised at the number of books I was able to read in the last month or so, considering I have a baby at home, but I am not complaining! Let’s get on with it, shall we?  🙂

The Life We Bury

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I liked this book but I figured out what was going on pretty quickly and so when the ending bared out what I believed to have happened, I was a bit disappointed. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book, because it was!

Elizabeth Is Missing

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I loved this book!!! Someone on the last book blog round-up mentioned this book and the premise sounded so interesting. A woman who has dementia, believes her friend Elizabeth to be missing. She leaves notes for herself that she thinks are clues, but she is also rapidly losing her mind. Does she find Elizabeth? Was she really missing? You’ll have to read it to find out!  😉

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

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This book was a total bait and switch. I picked this book to read thinking, along with several other readers it turns out, that it was about a true missing persons case that occurred in 1917 and the woman who solved the case. Turns out, the case doesn’t even take up half the book. The author spends an inordinate amount of time bringing up other cases that the detective/lawyer Grace has solved and even ones where she doesn’t. And it is boring as hell. Seriously.

This book jumps all over the place and you are like, WTF most of the time. It also suffered from a serious lack of editing.

Do not recommend. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Last Christmas in Paris

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This book was another recommendation from the last book blog round-up. I thought it was just okay. This novel, about friends that write letters to each other during the First World War and promise to meet in Paris for Christmas, was predictable and trite. I also feel like the authors picked all the moments from history that happened during that time frame, and made all of them happen to those characters. A serious pet-peeve of mine.

No Shred of Evidence

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Charles Todd is one of my favorite mystery authors, so it probably was a given that I would enjoy this book 🙂 If you enjoy post World War One mysteries concerning a detective from Scotland Yard, than definitely check out the Ian Rutledge series!

DID NOT FINISH: The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes. I tried and tried but could not get past the first couple of chapters. The book just couldn’t hold my interest. I hate giving up on a book, but I had to.

Want to see what I am reading or what I am up to? Check me out on Instagram! All these photos are from my page  🙂

What have you guys read lately? Let me know!

As The Page Turns: 2018 Reads So Far…

Last year my reading goal for the year was 50 books. I set my bar low just in case while dealing with pregnancy, I wouldn’t be able to read as much as usual. I ended up reading 69 books in 2017  🙂

This year, I set my goal pretty low (25 books) because I have a baby. There is just not the free time I used to have to be able to devour books. However, I have been able to sneak in some reading here and there during nap time (hers not mine), and here is what I have read so far since the beginning of the year:

Breathe Mama, Breathe by Shonda Moralis

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I enjoyed reading this book about mindfulness for mamas because let’s face it, there are times when being a mom can get the best of us. This book shows how to have mini meditation breaks during the day and still keep your sanity while taking care of your kiddos! Definitely recommend for mamas no matter what stage of parenting you are in.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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LOVED THIS BOOK! I seriously had all the feelings about this novel and it is truly such a great read. This book about a young girl’s life in the early 1900’s in Brooklyn, is so good!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Guys… I wanted to like this book. I really did. I adore Plath’s poetry and I thought I would feel the same about her stand-alone novel published right around the time of her suicide, but I just couldn’t. This book, which is a fictionalized version of Plath’s actual nervous breakdown and subsequent shock therapies, just really did not pull me in, as the main character wasn’t one that you could really understand and therefore, it was hard to sympathize with her subsequent downward spirals. I empathized with her plight, but felt not enough was explained as to how she got there.

A Talent For Murder by Andrew Wilson

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Meh… I was so looking forward to reading this book and was just completely disappointed. Agatha Christie, the mystery novelist, really did disappear for 9 days in 1926, and this author decided to take that true story and put his own fictionalized twist on it. The results were underwhelming. I feel that some bad guy telling Agatha Christie to commit a murder for him or else he tells the world that her husband is having an affair and Christie agrees to do what he says, in order to forsake unwanted publicity, seems far-fetched to say the least.

The Address by Fiona Shaw

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Such a great read!! This book which flips back and forth between 1885 and 1985 is so, so good! And it really is so interesting and the author gives great detail about how New York was in the late 1800’s.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

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Cait blogs about mindfulness, minimalism, and personal finance. She wrote a book about how she decluttered her life and went on a shopping ban for a year and all the lessons she learned along the way. I have been reading Cait’s blog for years, so it was super cool to finally read her book! 🙂 I really enjoyed reading it.

And if y’all are interested in what I am currently reading, I post pictures of ’em over on Instagram. All the pictures in this post are from my account. Stop by and say hi!  🙂

What are you guys reading?

 

Currently: The January Edition

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Hey guys! I can’t believe I am actually in front of the computer typing and not holding a baby! My hubby is on baby duty and helping out while I get a quick post in to let you guys know that I am still here. Tired, but still here  🙂

We have definitely adjusted to our new dynamic in being a household of four instead of three. Well, five instead of four if you count the cat, but still, we have found our groove. But mama is exhausted. Life with a newborn is not for the faint-hearted, but obviously it is well-worth it and I am oh so thankful for both of my beautiful daughters!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Actually, I am still enjoying it: The series Victoria on Masterpiece about Queen Victoria when she first became queen. The second season just started and I am absolutely in love with the show just like I was last year when the first season debuted. If you aren’t watching it, you need to!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Twitter. Yes, I have a twitter account and yes I use it. But it seems like every day, it is just crap that is on there or crap that is trending. There are days when I consider deleting the app off of my phone, but then panic at the thought of not being “informed”. Does anyone else go through this? I seriously admire the people who have either sworn off twitter, or only check it when they actually sit down and log into their computer.

And this isn’t a complaint against the actual medium of twitter as a tool for social media. I enjoy the initial concept of twitter. And honestly, how else would I have found out that my favorite show Elementary, comes back on air with new episodes in April?  🙂 But some days, twitter leaves me exhausted with the sheer stupidity that seems to seep forth from it.

I just want twitter to be a happy place. Is that so wrong?

On The Healthy Living Front: I have indeed lost some of my pregnancy weight. But here is the truth: I am not actively trying to lose weight. I am only a few weeks postpartum for crying out loud. However, I am also not immune to the enormous pressure that is put on moms to lose the baby weight immediately. It took a couple of months to lose the weight after having my first daughter and I expect it take the same amount of time or a bit longer this time around.

I walk a lot and am eating as healthfully as possible but if I want a few potato chips with my lunch time sandwich instead of my normal side of carrots, I am not beating myself up over it. I accumulated this weight over 9 months; it is not going to disappear in a matter of weeks.

What I Am Currently Reading: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. GUYS!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I am not even done with it yet!

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I think for many people, this book may have been required reading at some point during your education, but I have never had a chance to read this novel. But I have always, always wanted to read it.

Well last week when I was at the library paying my overdue fines (#frugalfail), I wandered over to a section I rarely visit and saw this book on the shelf. I grabbed it and said to myself, it’s now or never, I am reading the gosh-darn thing, and checked the book out.

I get why this book is beloved and considered a classic. If you are a bookworm like myself and have never read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, please go to your local library and check this book out. You’re welcome  🙂

Also as a sidenote, I post pictures on Instagram of all the books that I have read. If you are looking for a book to get your hands on and are fresh out of book titles to peruse, check out my feed or better still, look up what I am reading under the hashtag #mackenziereads.

How is January going for you guys? Let me know!

A Magical Rose Garden

I mentioned last month that I read the book Destination Simple by Brooke McAlary. Her book was about the concept of slow living and really being intentional with your time and your days.

Well, in between some of the chapters she had quotes from famous people that were apropos to what she was discussing. This quote from Dale Carnegie, the best-selling author of the book How To Win Friends and Influence People, really resonated with me:

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Powerful quote, right?

I feel as if us humans, especially in this day and age, are always looking for something better. Something more than what we have. A better iPhone, when the one we have is in perfect working order. A bigger house when the square footage we have fits us just fine. A tropical vacation just like the one our friends took on Instagram except bigger and better! And more tropical-ly.

But what about what we have right now? Is it enough? If it isn’t enough, why not?

It reminds me of another quote and I am not sure who originated it, but it goes something like “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”, which is usually followed up with some adage about “watering your own lawn”. As in, pay attention to what you have, and not what you don’t.

Sure there are things in life we’d like to attain or achieve, that is only natural. But the lamenting about what we do not have or not appreciating what is right in front of us, that can be your proverbial magic garden.

Putting off today for something magically happening in the future, that too, can be your proverbial magic garden.

I know life is not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. Life ain’t easy and at times, it can be downright frustrating.

But don’t put off living your life. Don’t wait for someday.

Make someday, today.

We only get one life. We only get one chance to live the life that we truly want.

Don’t put off living. Enjoy those roses blooming outside your window.

There is no magical rose garden over the horizon…

Currently: The Farmer’s Market Edition

We are approaching the end of October and here in California, Mother Nature hasn’t received the memo that the seasons have changed and that it is no longer Summer. Today marked our 3rd straight day of triple digit temperatures. Good grief, right? Everybody else is running through leaves and wearing scarves already, and we are over here drinking gallons of water, lathering ourselves in SPF 700 sunscreen, and blessing whomever created the air conditioner. The weather-people who smile on our television sets, standing in front of green screens with our cities listed on them, have promised us that the heat will dissipate, so we’ll see…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Our trip to the local farmer’s market!

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We picked up some great stuff, including the best pumpkin seeds I’ve ever had! Apple Pie-Spiced Pumpkin seeds are my new favorite thing, and these did not last long in our house!  And the strawberries were so good! I used some of them to make Strawberry Muffins, and let me tell you, those were yummy as well!

One of my big 3rd trimester cravings (besides barbecue potato chips  🙂 ) is strawberries. I seriously cannot get enough of them! So these strawberries were definitely put to good use!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Bad news in general. Every day is bloody awful. Is there like, a “happy news” channel we all can subscribe to? I think our brains are overloaded by the sheer madness of everything…

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: As I mentioned above, my serious cravings have been for strawberries and barbecue potato chips, although not eaten together because, ewwwww… I am officially 8 months pregnant and when I look straight down, I can no longer see my feet, so there’s that  🙂 We just purchased the car seat for the baby last week so things are starting to come together!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: Definitely, definitely working on this! If you missed my latest post on decluttering, you can read it here.

In Other News: I recently finished this book about Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I originally purchased this book last year at our local library’s book sale for 25 cents. Yes, you read that right: 25 cents. Then as you know, life happens and then the whole “I keep meaning to read this book” thing kept happening, and finally I hunkered down and read it. It took almost three weeks to finish because I don’t have a lot of free time to read and also the book was over 600 pages, which is probably what inhibited me from starting it in the first place.

But this book, which chronicles Eleanor’s life in the White House while her husband Franklin was president for the years 1932-1938, was really, really informative and honestly, really good. I am a great admirer of Eleanor’s and I have previously read her autobiography. She did so much as First Lady and really tried to help the people she felt were being forgotten during the Great Depression. She also tried to help pass an Anti-Lynching bill during a time when that senseless act of murder was still a component to instill fear in the Deep South.

This book was a great read and I definitely want to read this author’s other books on Eleanor Roosevelt that take place before and after this particular time period.

How has October been for you guys?  🙂

Destination Simple: A Book Review

I have really been into books lately, that have to do with simple and intentional living. I want to have fewer items in my house, less items on my to-do list, and want to stop feeling like I am cramming things into my day.

Enter Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals For a Slower Life by Brooke McAlary.

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I first heard of this book being mentioned in the blogging circles and it being a simple but short and compelling read. Brooke McAlary is also the creator of the Slow Your Home podcast. Although I’ve never listened to any episodes of her podcast, I decided to give her book a try.

Destination Simple is broken into three parts with just a few chapters in each section. It is a very smooth read (seriously, it is only 116 pages!), so it is easy enough to read through while drinking your morning coffee or your afternoon tea  🙂

The author, in the introduction, mentions that she used to live life to the point that she was an “overwhelmed, overcommunicated wreck”. She felt like she had no downtime, and felt that she wasn’t present to the people who most mattered to her, like her husband and children. She realized that she needed to make changes to her life and this book is a compilation of things that worked for her.

While I personally don’t feel like a stressed out wreck, and I am absolutely present for my husband and my daughter, I liked her forthcoming pages about how to just slow down. Brooke talks about how we need to single-task and not multi-task, the way our society says we should.

“Single-tasking is the antidote to modern life, where we are taught that to be effective, productive, and worthwhile, we must multi-task”. -Brooke McAlary

By doing one task at a time, we can practice mindfulness and stay in the present moment. Brooke asks readers to do just one thing at first, something that you do every day, and try to do just that one task, without also doing something else at the same time. It will give you a chance to clear your mental clutter, even if it is just for a few minutes.

My favorite chapter in the book was Chapter 3, entitled “Emptying Your Mind”.

“Our minds are cluttered. We are overwhelmed with to-do items, commitments, errands, and must-remembers…Do you ever get to bed, begin to relax, only to magically remember everything you were supposed to get done that day?” -Brooke McAlary

*slowly raises hand*

I bet there are quite a few of us in that boat. Our brains have a hard time shutting off once our head hits the pillow. We are tired but we can’t sleep because our hamster wheel of a brain is going and going!

Sound familiar?

Brooke’s solution is the art of “brain dumping”. It is basically an exercise where you take 5-10 minutes and simply journal and write down, or “dump” the contents of your brain onto paper. Write down those frustrations, those to-do’s that didn’t get done, problems that are bothering you, anything that is occupying space in that beautiful brain of yours. Get it out onto paper and out of your mind. This will help you to think more clearly, process what has been committed to paper and help you now to be in the present, without being bombarded with all those shoulda, coulda, wouldas! Some people prefer doing their “brain dumps” in the evening before bed, others prefer to start their day off in the morning and journal right away. Do what works best for you!

Destination Simple is chock full of tidbits to help you slow down and add some simple living techniques to your life.

I definitely recommend this book if you want to be intentional with your time and carve out space to really and truly be fully present!

 

 

 

Currently…The End of Summer Edition

Hellooooooo September!  🙂

I can’t believe we have reached this point in the calendar year, yet here we are! Although, the temperatures here in Southern California were undeniably hot and yucky. Yes, yucky. We had a crazy heat wave here every day with absurd temperatures. Lots of 100°days and grouchy people everywhere. See, our summers here are pretty normal but around this time of year, Mother Nature doesn’t get the memo that the thermostat is supposed to go in the other direction. Ahhhhhhh life…

Oh well, it has cooled off from the insanity of last week, but the month is still young and I am guessing we will be back to praising whomever created air conditioning once again  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: The book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.

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I loved this book and I get why everyone raves about it  I had to wait a few weeks until my request came in at the library but it was worth it. Definitely a must-read!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Every single day, there being a news story concerning the person occupying the White House. Not going to get political here but I am exhausted by the sheer madness of what continues to headline our news stories. *sigh*

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: Trying to eat as healthfully as possible and to drink enough water and stay hydrated. Pregnancy is one of those things where something sounds good one day, and then the next day, you’re like “bleh!”  🙂 Cherry frozen yogurt has been my newest craving, and in this warm weather, it hits the spot!

Also, a friend gifted us some baby clothing that they were no longer using as their daughter is now in the toddler stage. This gift was truly a blessing!

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We are literally starting over with this baby and all the accoutrements that they need and require as my daughter is 7 years old and any baby stuff she had has long since found another home.

And yes, I am having a girl!!!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: I am trying to, on days when I actually have energy, to organize and declutter things because once the baby arrives, there will be zero time for any of that.

I needed a container to hold some things but I didn’t want to purchase one. So I took a shoebox and covered it with scrapbook paper to make it pretty and voila! I have a container that didn’t cost me any extra money out-of-pocket! #frugal

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In Other News: School is back in session which has been an adjustment to say the least. We are back to a schedule which after the looseness of summer, has taken all of us some getting used to. I figure by the end of the month, we should be doing all of this, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy   😉

How is life going for you these days? Are you ready to transition into Fall?  🙂