Show Us Your Books – August Edition


Happy “Show Us Your Books” link-up day! Okay, it was actually yesterday but I’ve been running behind on all he things. Better late than never?

Here’s what I’ve read lately!


Talking as Fast as I Can  – Lauren Graham

Goodreads * Amazon

I joined my library’s hold list for both the audiobook and regular book and was excited that the audio version became available first, since for some reason celeb memoirs always seem better that way. This was a fun listen. I had no idea about LG’s whole theater background (or really anything else non-Gilmore), and somehow hearing about how long someone struggled to make it is usually reassuring.

The latter part of the book includes her notes as she re-watches the show for the first time in pretty much forever. There’s nothing groundbreaking there, mostly like “Wow, my hair was weird”, but it’s fun. There’s a part of that where she discusses how much things have changed since those days (like when Lorelai insists to Emily that they do NOT need DSL because dial-up is just fine, thank you.) that kinda points out how much of a LA bubble she lives in, which was surprising. For instance, she talks about things like business cards and DVDs as if they’re relics from centuries ago, not things still commonly in use in most parts of the country/world. Still, she’s so likeable that it’s hard to fault her for it. Hearing how serendipitous the whole experience of making the new Netflix…thing? sequel series? What are we calling it? was got me right in the feels, too. Lorelai forever.

Sensation – Isabel Losada (Coming out in Sept 2017)

Amazon * Goodreads

Gotta be honest here – I’m pretty sure I requested this book based on the cover. I like sex and love and laughter and non-fiction! It didn’t end up being a good fit for me, though. There were so many close-minded comments, unintentionally offensive remarks, and inaccurate info in the first few chapters that I almost quit immediately, but I wanted to give the book a real chance. I assumed from the writing style that it was the author’s first book, but then she references previous works and the Netgalley description describes her as a bestselling author. My copy was clearly not through final edits yet, so I’d be curious to see how much more polished the final version is.

This is a tough one for me to review, and I’d probably skip writing one except that I’m like 98475 Netgalley reviews behind so I need to get better about reviewing everything I read to save my poor tanking percentage. There are parts where the author talks about workshops and conferences she attends and her experiences with them that are compelling and enjoyable to read, but then she’ll go off on multi-page musings or conversations with her friends about sex that feel more like what you’d find in a teenager’s diary than coming from a middle-aged woman. Amazon tells me this book is 276 pages… I feel like if you just edited most of that stuff out and brought it down to like 200 pages, it would have been significantly better.

The lengthy yet basic tangents would be way more tolerable if I wasn’t already frustrated by the super normative and kinda judgey outlook that keeps popping up. I don’t even think the author realizes she’s being totally inappropriate a lot of the time, but it’s glaringly obvious if you’re used to a more inclusive way of speaking. One example that I highlighted – after writing about a friend’s experience talking to her son about internet porn, the author says, “So if you have a son – you may want to have this conversation and not assume that, ‘my son wouldn’t watch stuff like that’. Yes – he would.” You know, because girls never watch porn. Zero need to have that kind of conversation with a daughter.   ([sic] on the grammar in that quote, btw. That was painful to type. Ah, the fun of unedited ARCs.)

TL;DR – Didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t really recommend it, even though I appreciate the author’s vulnerability discussing what’s clearly a really uncomfortable subject for her. Like… really uncomfortable. As in she writes her boyfriend a letter asking him to try a very mundane thing because she’s too afraid to just ask. Yeah. And I do applaud her for exploring her sexuality and becoming more knowledgeable rather than just continuing down an unfulfilling and narrow path in that area of her life.


Get Your Shit Together

Amazon * Goodreads

I actually got this from NetGalley several months ago, read 75%, and then got distracted by library books that my holds finally came through on. But then last month I was at the mall (those still exist!) and stopped in a cute store and saw this display:


Thanks for the reminder that I needed to finish the book and review it, universe! Of course, by that point I’d read like 4 other books and had totally forgotten most of what I’d read, so I started over.

A lot of the advice is obvious (“Break things up into manageable chunks!”) but I think that we often pick up this kind of book more for the motivation it provides than for brand new ideas. The only real implementable takeaway I picked up was timing how long tasks *actually* take so that you can be way more accurate planning out your schedule.  I was pretty on point with my estimations for how long some items on my to-do list would take, and SO FAR OFF on others.


Currently reading: I just started “This Fight is Our Fight“, which is Elizabeth Warren’s new book. I’m on the #Warren2020 train so hard. I do wish that my library would’ve had the audiobook available because I really liked her reading of her last book, but texty Warren is still excellent.


Head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to check out the link-up and see what like a bazillion other bloggers have been reading! (Or almost 50. Close enough, math is hard.)

Friday Favs – It’s August!

I haven’t had a chance to make a fancy Friday Favs August graphic yet, even though it literally takes like two minutes in Canva, so just imagine something really snazzy at the top of this post, ok? Thanks!

As usual, I’m working on this post while also actually working. I always tell myself I’m going to add to the list throughout the week so that when Friday comes it’s all ready to go, but LOLOL no. It’s always late Friday afternoon when I finally roll it out. I ran out of patience for fellow humans earlier this week (I’m looking at you, teenage boy who brought a freaking LUNCH BOX to the library and kept pulling out loud things to eat.), so I’ve started sequestering myself in a corner next to THIS!

Missouri libraries: Keepin’ it super high tech!


The desk is waaaay too short for my Amazon woman self, but at least it’s quieter over here. And I have my own power outlet, which is pretty baller.

The emergency exit door doesn’t care if I take weird library selfies.

ANYWAY. Friday Favs!


1. I’ve been on the lookout for an alternative to Pepto Bismol for AGES because you’re not supposed to take it if you’re allergic to asprin (which I am.) I finally found these chewable tablets for like $4 at Walmart. Also, you know that you are very old and falling apart when nausea medicine tops your favorite things list.


2. I was looking for cheap but good mattresses on Amazon (the one I found this on is only $159) and found the best review:


3. I also came across these on Amazon, and now I must have them:

4. The weather finally chilled out (literally!) a little bit this week, with highs in the 80s instead of the “Let’s be 96 degrees every day!” thing we had going on throughout July. That means I’ve been able to go back to my evening walks at the lake without passing out! Hooray!


5. I have sucked at blogging lately because I’ve been working almost literally non-stop because even though I’ve said “This is totally the time it’s happening!”about moving back to Florida a million times now, I’m determined that this fall really IS the time. I actually applied for part time merchandise at Universal the other day, so we’ll see if anything comes of it. (I just want to get paid to be a Ravenclaw, let’s be honest.)

ICYMI, I posted earlier this week about Disney Costumes I Have Known and Looked Terrible In! Go forth and be amused by my sartorial misfortune.


Friday blog linkup

Disney Costumes I Have Known and Looked Awful In

Admit it – those amazing tops pictured above are exactly the style inspiration you’ve been searching Pinterest for all these years.

I was digging through my old Flickr account earlier this week and came across some amazing Disney costume photos, so I thought I’d share with you guys! Even though I was originally hired for front desk, I ended up working at the Tomorrowland Speedway for about two months until a spot opened up in a resort. I only wore the Tomorrowland shirt pictures on the left up there for my first training day when they introduced us to Tomorrowland. After that, it was the Speedway costume, also known as the lightning bolt outfit!


Just in case that isn’t already the sexiest thing you’ve ever seen, try to imagine the beautiful smell that comes with spending 6-16 hours of your day around car exhaust. I was irresistible.  (Fun fact! You can spot Speedway cast members in the wild by their distinctive v-neck tan lines.)

At some point, I started looooving Pirate & Princess Party shifts because a) no car fumes and b) I got to feel girly!


Behold the tan that come with a million hours a day working an outdoor attraction! And yup, I still had to wear the black tennis shoes. Fashion inspiration, y’all.

I finally got my transfer to the All Star Resorts, and man did I luck out. Just before I worked there everyone wore crazy print red-blue-orange-green shirts, but they changed to light and dark blue for front desk and concierge just in time, so I avoided this:

in favor of this:

I couldn’t find a full body pic of my front desk/concierge costume, but you get the idea. The top was actually pretty cute by Disney costume standards, and it was paired with the infamous pleated, high-waisted Disney blue pants.

I did pick up a shift at Typhoon Lagoon once (which I didn’t end up actually working because I got there and discovered it was actually supposed to be the day BEFORE so I’d missed it. They were going to have me stay anyway but I was sick so I just headed home). That costume was surprisingly decent, too!



We can’t possibly end on that fairly cute note, so instead let’s wrap up with the amazing Dr Quinn Medicine Woman outfit I wore the week I was deployed to the Wilderness Lodge. There is NO way to make this flattering:

Pardon the terrible photo quality – these are from 2007-2010 when my 4mp camera was very fancy. I’m pretty sure that last pic was taken in the 3.5 month period between the first and second time that apartment was robbed? I can only imagine that they saw me leaving home in this outfit and assumed I must have many other fine couture pieces inside.

IMO, the best way to approach Disney costuming is to embrace the ridiculousness. “Why yes, I’d LOVE to work at Pizzafari so I can wear this every day!”


Let’s be honest, though – it’s all kind of worth it because Disney does your laundry for you. Clean clothes with no effort on my part? Sold!

Friday Favorites – End of July


Happy End of July! I feel like the beginning of July was two years ago. What a weird month.

Here’s what I’m loving this week!


1. After a million years of guest hosting and appearing as a legal expert, my pal Ari FINALLY got his own nightly show!

ABOUT FREAKING TIME! I hope he gets spectacular ratings!


2. Merriam Webster has a cool new feature where  you can see which words were added to the dictionary the year you were born. A few added the year I was born include aerobicize, body double, boombox, camcorder, French manicure, infomercial, sleazebag, spreadsheet, stonewashed, uninstall, unsubscribe, waitstaff, and warm fuzzies.

Yup, camcorder, aerobicize, boombox, and stonewashed. Definitely the 80s! (Amusingly, spellcheck now does not recognize aerobicize as a word.)

Couldn’t resist also checking the year after my birth since I was born in mid-December, and found that 1982 brought us such classics as cyberspace, codependent, barista, couch potato,  face plant, flip off, hard drive, phone sex and G-spot. Um, and also AIDS.

Leave me a few from the year you were born in the comments if you go check it out!


3. So, I originally tweeted this because I thought it was hilarious that the thrift store wanted $12 for a framed jigsaw puzzle…


But the more I look at it, especially that one huge, disgrunted cat, the more I feel like I NEED IT. It’s like his face is saying “I, too, am a tiny fluffy kitten.”


4. I’m still editing photos for my post about the Gaylord Texan Resort, where I stayed the night of my friend’s wedding in Dallas, but I have to go ahead and mention the awesome bath products. (Yes, I swiped them all.)

I rarely like hotel shampoos and such because they usually have heavy fragrances that make me sneeze, but these are amazing. Go book a $300/nt hotel room immediately just for the bath products. 😂

(Speaking of heavy fragrances, I’m writing this post at the library as a break from my actual writing work, and a dude just sat down like 20 feet from me but his cologne is SO STRONG that I feel like there’s a giant invisible cloud of fragrance filling the entire room. Send help and gas masks.)


5. There are so many crazy political stories that I could pick as a favorite this week, but I have to go with the email subject that made me laugh the most while trying to picture the scene:

Oh, 2017, you are crazy-go-nuts and a new level of horrifying every day, but at least you’re amusing.


ICYMI, there’s still one day left to enter last week’s giveaway!


Friday blog linkup

Exploring Orlando for Less with Groupon

(This post is sponsored by Groupon, but all opinions and nerding out about my beloved city are my own.)


It’s no secret that I absolutely can not wait to move back to Orlando. Even though I only lived there for three years, it feels more like “home” than Missouri, where I’ve spent almost the entire rest of my life thus far. I even have an Instagram account dedicated entirely to The City Beautiful. It’s crazy how much I miss being surrounded by amazing things to see and do, not to mention having the beach just an hour away on one side and 90 minutes on the other!

Although there are a lot of fantastic things to do in Orlando that are totally free (visiting the Lake Eola swans, for one!), most of those world famous attractions do cost something to visit. While scrolling through the list of companies that Groupon partners with for Groupon Coupons, I was excited to see Best of Orlando listed!

The list of deals available gets a thumbs-up from me, which is high praise! Just a few of the current coupons and promo codes available include:

  • Up to 40% off Orlando area hotels, including the Walt Disney World Swan Resort, which is right next to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and one of my favorite areas to just wander around, especially at night when the lights are reflecting on Crescent Lake and the Epcot fireworks are doing their thing.
  • Discounts on pretty much every theme park in town. Seriously.
  • 30% off tickets to the Orlando Eye, which I am dying to do. I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it when it was announced, but its ever-changing color scheme always makes me happy when I pass by it on I-4.


Rainbow #OrlandoEye is the best. * * #idrive360 #orlando #rainbow #orlandofl #internationaldrive

A post shared by Crystal Ward (@crystallovesorlando) on


And although it’s called “Best of Orlando”, they also offer discounts on attractions that are located just a short drive away, like 10% off Kennedy Space Center tickets and $28 season passes to Tampa Zoo.

I’m definitely bookmarking this to come back to once I’m home so I can explore my dear Central Florida without spending a fortune.

Have you visited Orlando yet? What are your favorite things to do? Man, I really need to move home so I can share all of my favorite parts of my city with you guys!