the wife between us greer hendricks sarah pekkanen

What I Read This Month: March 2018

First off, Happy Easter! Hope all of you are having a wonderful and blessed Sunday.

I actually am pretty proud of myself for this timely book review seeing as it is April 1st. That being said, I basically read the book I’m about to review in one sitting yesterday. I’ve been trying to read one book a month, so I needed to fulfill my goal. Definitely worth it because the book I chose to read for March was a home run!

I picked up The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen because I saw so many bloggers and other authors reading and recommending it. I knew I had to read it and let me tell you, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

To give you a brief overview, we meet Vanessa who is a shattered middle-aged woman who is divorced and trying to cope with her newly single life. We also meet Nellie, a woman who is young, newly engaged trying to accept the new, luxurious life she’s about to gain. As you read both points of view of these women, you begin to make fair assumptions about their lives, but as GoodReads puts it best, assuming nothing. This is not the book to assume anything because once you think you know what’s going on, you realize you have no clue at all.

The Wife Between Us is every bit suspenseful and mesmerizing. A true page-turner. I read 80% of this book in a matter of hours. It’s not particularly a lengthy story nor is it a difficult read, but the genuine mystery and intrigue will make you not want to put the book down. I literally gasped out loud so many times from shock. I felt like a damn fool when the first twist was revealed because there were hints that if you read carefully you would have known what was really going on vs. what the author wants you to think is going on.

As I write this review, it’s hard to not give away spoilers because there are so many crucial parts of this story that all connect back together in the end. Literally, just when you think you’re done with the final chapter, there’s an epilogue that throws in one final twist that was amazing and made everything come full circle. The authors do a really good job a tieing the past and the present all together. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! It’s worth the hype. It’s worth wasting a few hours reading it all in one sitting because you’ll get so easily sucked into the story. It needs to be made into a movie!

Get Your Copy of The Wife Between Us: Click Here

Like this blog post if you’ve read The Wife Between Us, too. Or if it’s on your reading list.

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dripping springs natural area trail organ mountains desert peak national park

An Afternoon at Dripping Springs Natural Area

For the past three years, my parents have made the trip down to El Paso, Texas to visit my fiance and I. Every time they have come, they are just amazed at how beautiful the scenery is here and I do not disagree. I am lucky enough to live amongst the desert life and different mountain ranges. While some people would say El Paso doesn’t have a lot to offer, I say you’re not exploring enough.

The City of El Paso does have its limitations when it comes to adventure and entertainment, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay within the city limits to find something to do. If you broaden your horizon, you’ll find that this region of the nation has so much to offer like Dripping Springs Natural Area.

Dripping Springs Natural Area is about a 45-50 minute easy drive from the west side of El Paso and is just about ten miles from the heart of Las Cruces. The drive up the winding road to the base of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak National Park is breathtaking enough.

dripping springs natural area organ mountains desert peak national park

We went on a day that didn’t have beautiful, clear skies like most days in the Southwest. It was an overcast, chilly day, but honestly, it turned out to be perfect hiking weather. We almost didn’t go because we were hesitant about the weather. I’m so glad we didn’t ax the idea.

When we arrived, we pulled up to a modest parking lot and went into the visitors center. There is no admission to the park itself, however, you are required to pay a parking fee of $5.00 per vehicle. Not horrible at all! Plus, you’re paying to help maintain the area which I totally support.

There are multiple trails to trek that vary in distance. We chose to do the Dripping Springs Trail because it seemed the most interesting. The trail is 2.7 miles and is an elevation of 413 feet (Info from alltrails.com). The hike was beautiful and there are so many photo opportunities. It is not a super strenuous hike either. You walk up a gradual incline, but it is never steep. Just keep in mind to wear appropriate clothing, shoes, and bring some water. Also, keep in mind that you’re walking mostly on loose gravel, so taking you’re time going up and down is important so you don’t injure yourself.

The reason we chose this trail was in the loop of it was an old, abandoned sanatorium and the ruins of an old camp resort The Boyd Sanitorium was constructed back in the early 1900s and treated people with tuberculosis. The Van Patten Mountain Camp was a getaway resort that was built in the late 1800s. The history of these two sites was really interesting considering they were so off the beaten path. Now, it’s very much a ghost town feel and nothing but crumbling old buildings, but still worth the hike to see. The sight of the Organ Mountains that close up was breathtaking, too.

This is definitely a must do if you ever find yourself in far west Texas or New Mexico. We didn’t do all of the trails since Dripping Springs Trail took about two hours and left us pretty tired as is. I do plan on revisiting the park again to do the other trails and even possibly this one again.

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Want to learn more about Dripping Springs Natural Area? Visit the official website.

Let me know if you have visited this beautiful place below in the comments.

poshmark

Poshmark Tips & Tricks to Help You Have More Successful Sales

Back in August, I had heard about this app called Poshmark. Poshmark is a way a to buy and sell fashion (and a few other non-clothing items) with millions of other people across America. It’s one big giant online, discounted shopping mall.

I had been searching for ways to make some extra cash and the idea of reselling my clothes online seemed interesting but didn’t have me fully convinced at first. So, I did some more research into the company and users to make sure that this was something that I wanted to try out. Always do this before you jump into something!

After seeing positive reviews about the company and app, I created my profile and listed a few things. I explored the app and tried to get a feel for it. At first, I kept up with it, but then a few months went by and I forgot about the app. I got discouraged because, like most people, I wasn’t seeing any benefit from it and I thought about deleting it. Then my sister mentioned to me that she had started to use Poshmark and after a few weeks she had made a sale. I was shocked! I couldn’t understand how she had done it, so I asked. She told me that she spent a few minutes each night after work interacting with the app and that’s how she got her first sale. After that, the sales started to trickle in for her. Now, I was interested again.

In late December, I decided to get serious about using it again. I polished my current listings while purging my real closet to add to my Posh closet. I began to interact with it a lot more. I used the Posh Ambassador goals as ways to help increase my exposure and interest in the app afloat. I told myself, let’s try this again for a month and see what happens. Then one night in January, as I was sharing my closet, I saw that one of my items had been marked as sold. I couldn’t believe it! I had made a sale. My first sale had made me $12.80. To say the least, I was excited and it was the encouragement I needed want to continue selling my gently used clothes online.

Since then I have made seven sales. It’s not a lot, but it’s progress. It’s honestly such an easy resell app to use. It seems intimidating at first, but once you start using it and you make your first sale, you’re hooked.

Now that I have been using it more successfully, I thought I would share with you all some things I have learned in the past few months about Poshmark.

Take Good Photos. Good quality and attractive feature photos are key. You don’t have to have a professional camera, edit, or even go out and buy backdrops, etc. I use my iPhone 7 to take photos, then I use my bed comforter for flat lays or hang items up on my wall. Some items look better flat lay vs. hanging. It all depends on the item and how it will be best displayed. Use your best judgment. Also, lighting! Have decent, natural lighting when photographing your items. Avoid taking photos in rooms without natural light. Lamps and light fixtures can make a photo look yellow or orange. I know this easier said than done, but give it a try and see the difference!

Be Active. It’s all about exposure. The more you share and follow, the better chance you have of actually selling something. The times when I didn’t do much on Poshmark vs. the times I was highly active have proven to me that being consistently active works. Be warned, though! Poshmark can be time-consuming. From creating your profile to listing items to sharing and following others, it’s a lot of time and effort. Finding time to do this can be easier said than done. If you find some free time in your day, hop on the app and go follow 100 people and share a few items here and there. Don’t forget to share your closet, too!

A trick I learned is to follow people who wear the same size. Change the filter in your search options to “My Size” and start hitting those follow buttons. People are pretty good about following back for the most part. If people see that you have something in their size, now you have a new potential buyer. Also, when you go about your following spree, don’t forget to share your closet soon after to get as much exposure as you can.

Posh Parties. Take advantage of them. The parties are tailored to specific kind of items like shoes, work attire, or even brands. Once again, exposure!

One of my items had the chance once to be selected as a “Host Pick” for one of the parties. It was great! I had a lot more people visiting my closet and I actually sold the item that had been selected. Best sale I ever made! Here’s a great blog that explains what exactly a Host Pick is.

Let’s Talk Money. The whole point of selling on Poshmark is to make money.On average, I make maybe $8 to $10 a sale and make 2-3 sales a month. Poshmark takes a percentage of your sale, so keep that in mind when you’re pricing your items. Also, keep in mind what you are selling because even though you may be selling something that still has tags or was worn once or is gently used doesn’t mean you’re going to make bank on it. Be realistic in your pricing and be OK with not making nearly as much on an item as you had hoped for. Let people make offers on your items and counter off if you don’t like what the price they presented to you. It’s easy to negotiate. Sometimes I have been low balled for an item and I counter offer back with a dollar or two less than asking price and they accept. It never hurts to ask and if someone says no, oh well!

Private Offers. Make private offers to those who “like” your items. I treat liking an item as if it were a “wish list”. These are items that I am considering buying for the right price and I know that’s more than likely why someone has liked one of my items, too. Whenever I see someone like one my items now, I create a private, discounted offer for them. I’ll drop the prices a few dollars and give a shipping discount. This offer not only gets sent to your new interested buyer but to everyone who has liked it before, too. I think this is more effective than just simply dropping the price. Yes, people who have liked the item will get notified when you generally drop the price, but private offers seem more personal and I’m more willing to give a good discount. Plus, by doing this has resulted in sales within 24 hours. Be aggressive in trying to sell. Once again, it doesn’t hurt to try with a private offer. The offers last 24 hours and the worse thing that can happen is no one accepts it.

Remember selling something on Poshmark doesn’t happen overnight. Just listing items isn’t going to necessarily make a sale. You have to work for it. If you’re just starting off on Poshmark, thinking about joining Poshmark or want to revamp the way you approach it, try out these tips that I shared. There are a lot of more tips and tricks out there to help you boost your Poshmark sales. Just do your research and you’ll find your niche.

Give this blog post a like if you love Poshmark and found this helpful. Also, leave your username in the comments below if you’re on Poshmark so I can go follow you and share a few items from your closet.

Featured Image: Forbes.com

What I Read This Month: February 2018

It’s time for my “What I Read This Month” check-in for February. This past month, I chose a book that not only came highly recommended by many other book blogs but genuinely sounded interesting.

“The Couple Next Door” by Shari Lapena

Here is the synopsis from GoodReadsA 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 focuses 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.

Initially, the synopsis of this book intrigued me. The fact that so many people had read it and had added it their must-read lists, made me want to download it to my library without hesitation.

I’ll admit it, this story drew me in from the beginning as the mystery and suspense were almost instant. I had a hard time putting it down as it was an easy, fast read. Even as the story progressed, it was hard not to be curious about this couple and the details that came to life as the mystery continued behind “the crime”. I had my suspicions from the beginning and there was genuinely a moment while I was reading I gasped out loud and almost threw the book across the room I was that shocked and disgusted. But, as the story progressed, it just became too much. The twists were almost so twisted that it became ridiculous. Just when you think you have it all figured out, another corkscrew was thrown into the mix. It just seemed almost unnecessary, yet necessary to the plot at the same time. And this is why I have mixed emotions about this book.

That all being said, I went back and forth with how I felt about The Couple Next Door. The decision I came to was that while I liked The Couple Next Door, I didn’t love it. It was a fun read and it kept my interest peaked the entire time I read it, but it wasn’t the best book I have ever read either. The characters had a lot of potential with the backgrounds they were given, and yet I was disappointed with them at the same time. I’m all for good plot twists too, but this book had a plot twist that I just did not care for at all.

If I had to give this book a rating it would be 3/5 stars. I definitely understand why there was so much hype behind it and now after I have finished it, I have read mixed reviews so I know I’m not alone.

Read The Couple Next Door here:

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Featured Image: NPR.org

What I Read This Month – January 2018

I’m fully aware that we are eighteen days into February and I’m posting about a book that I had read in January, but better late than never, right? One of my goals for this year is to read more. It’s something I enjoy doing and have not really done enough of in the past year. The goal was to read two books a month, but it seems so far that one book a month is more my pace. While hoping to keep this monthly goal, I want to share the books that I discover and read with you all. I’m going to try and choose different genres so I can appeal to a wide range of readers who are looking for book suggestions. The usual genres that I like are romances and thrillers/mysteries, and this first book that I read definitely falls into the thriller category.

Review for “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch:

Honestly, such a fascinating story. Dark Matter is a science fiction thriller based in Chicago that follows Jason Dessen, a less than content college professor, physicist, father, and husband. One night he’s enjoying a drink with a friend and the next his life is turned upside down, or more appropriate for this story “an unrecognizable parallel”.

(Read the synopsis here)

I don’t remember how I came across this book, but I’m really glad I did. It had me so captivated with its constant suspense, detailed scenery, and thought-provoking ideas. The question that this story really harps on is: are we happy with the life that we live? What does happiness mean to one specific person? I like that the main character is stripped of his happiness and essentially everything in order to understand what truly makes him happy. How it’s stripped from him and how he goes about discovering it is insane, but what makes this story fun.

I’m the type of person that really dives into a book. If I like the story enough, I get into the character’s mindset and feel the emotions that they are portraying. Dark Matter played on my emotions brilliantly with the notion of what if this happened to me, what if this was possible, how would I cope with such intense and overwhelming knowledge of the idea of “what if”. I’m all for the bizarre when it comes to storytelling because it makes it all the more interesting and this story does not disappoint in the bizarro department.

The one thing that at times I wasn’t a huge fan of was the scientific jargon and explanations. Science plays a big role in this story, however, with the scientific terms and talk, everything that was mentioned was always explained in simpler terms for us non-science folk. I think this is so important for an author to do especially with content that can be so complex sometimes.

Up until the final chapter, I honestly had no idea how this story was going to end. It wasn’t predictable. Even aspects of the story were shocking because I would have never thought of something in the way Blake Crouch did. And I will say this without giving away anything, the finale was the perfect ending to this book. It just tied everything in together so wonderfully.

10/10 would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller and a page-turner.

Start reading Dark Matter today!

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Featured Photo Credit: NPR.org

My Honest Fifty Shades Freed Review

Saw the film today (Saturday, Feb. 10th). I will be honest, I had spoiled some of the film for myself. It was hard not to with so many spoilers going around the past week from screenings and it being released a few days before seeing it. However, it didn’t make me feel any less excited. There is a VERY big difference experiencing something on the big screen vs. off.

To start off, let me get the few cons about the film out of the way. (These are my opinions. You don’t have to agree. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion especially when it comes to films. I respect that.) So, that being said…

The film was totally rushed. This has been a popular opinion I’ve seen and I agree. It moved so fast and skipped so many details. One minute the movie started and the next it ended. That’s how fast it felt like the movie went for me. Also, the flow was a bit choppy at times. It was clear that scenes were edited out for time restraints and sometimes it was very noticeable. It will be interesting to see if the flow is better if a extended, unrated version gets released.

This really was my only complaint. Otherwise, I enjoyed the film for what it was so much! The final installment was done beautifully and despite details being left out, they hit all the major points that I was hoping would be included.

(Ok, so I promised no spoilers, but remember this was a book before the film and I’m hoping most people who plan to see it have read the books. Things I may mention aren’t truly spoilers if you have read Freed. If you haven’t, then I suggest you stop reading this review.)

While this film is very sexy at times, I loved all the action, drama, and thrill, too. I don’t feel like there was more sex scenes in this one. It got hyped up that way, but it seemed well spaced out with the drama of Jack threatening Christian and Ana’s lives, along with their ups and downs of marriage. However, the few sex scenes we got did not disappoint. All I’m going to say is the Ben and Jerry’s scene was my favorite! Like holy Christian Grey!

And speaking of Christian, he was a bundle of emotions in this film and it was great to see that side of him. Angry Christian. Loving Christian. Clueless Christian. Scared Christian. Singing Christian. Dominant Christian. And even drunk Christian! When he comes home after drinking was hilarious. Might be one of my favorite scenes of the film.

As for the drama, there was definitely a lot of it. Seeing Christian and Ana deal with issues that I would hope most couples would talk about prior to getting married was interesting, intense, and even heartbreaking at times. Being in a relationship isn’t easy and I like that we saw their relationship beyond the sex and Red Room so much more.

Jamie and Dakota were brilliant a third time around. It’s crazy how different they are from FSOG to FSF. Jamie’s American accent was ten times better and he really embodied Christian. Dakota killed it as Ana. Ana is so sassy in Freed and she definitely brought that to the character. The scene when Ana yells at Christian for seeing Elena was great! Like damn right Christian fucked up and even he couldn’t fully understand what he did, but Ana didn’t hold back. Dakota was amazing in that scene!

If you haven’t seen it yet, just know the end will make you emotional. Maybe the whole movie will because the whole thing is a roller coaster of emotions. But, what really got me wasn’t just the storyline at the end, but there is a special scene that pays homage to the whole series and it made me sad that it has now come to and end. Ugh! Cue Fifty Shades if Depression.

To wrap this up, if you have enjoyed the books and films for what they are, I think you’ll love Freed. These movies were always made for the fans and not for outsiders aka critics who have never read the books. Not everyone is going to enjoy this story, but then again, this series was never meant to appeal to everyone. But for those of who do find the appeal, enjoy the final ride.

PS. The soundtrack for Freed is fire! Now knowing what songs are in what scene makes it even better, too!

Hello 2018, Goodbye 2017

As one book ends, another one begins with twelve mysterious chapters waiting to be written.

2017 was an overwhelming year of good and bad. Whether it was personal or in the realm as a society, I’m happy to shelve 2017 and ready to start my story of 2018. I love the optimism and idea of a fresh start the new year brings. Right now, we are all sharing our new version of oneself we hope to achieve, our new outlook on life we hope to have, and our new habits to make or break to better our lifestyles. This is all great but as most resolutions do we ever really follow through with them? We are all guilty of saying one thing and doing another. And we swear this year will be different but will it?

Well, here’s my hope that we can be accountable for the changes we want to make this year. Whether we achieve these goals with a day, a week, a month, or a year, let’s lessen our chances of making empty promises to ourselves and others and actually following through.

That being said as Chapter One begins here’s what I hope to achieve:

  • Be better to myself: mentally and physically.
  • Say yes to more opportunities and say no less due to fear of anxiety or self doubt. It’s time to stop holding myself back just because of the uncertainty.
  • Cook more. Did a lot of this in 2017 and want to continue perfectly a good meal.
  • Read more. I love reading but I claim I never have time. I have time I just spend it on my phone. So no more phone before bed.

And on a exciting note, 2018 will not only be a year of making promises to myself, but making a promise to my future husband (it’s my wedding year!) to love him unconditionally through thick and thin forever and always. I know that’s super cheesy, but I’m beyond excited to get married. After eight years of dating and basically living and acting as an old married couple, it finally will be official!

I’d love to know at least one thing you plan to promise yourself for 2018. Let me know in the comments. Happy New Year!