Friday Favorites


1. I binge watched most of the first two seasons of Road Rules this week. I don’t think I’ve seen them since they originally aired when I was in high school, but I remembered them surprisingly well! (Kat + Mark 4-ever)


2. Target is killin’ me right now, y’all. I need ALL THE THINGS.

This weekender bag was one of the first things I spotted on my most recent trip.

Most of my trips are just a couple of nights, so this would be perfect for when  don’t want to deal with a whole suitcase. (The floral print is way prettier in person, btw!) It’s $35, so I might have to wait for a sale, because the ol’ budget is pretty tight right now. (Had to buy 2 new tires, get my car inspected, and renew my license plates this month. Byeeee, money!)

Also: this dress


Also also, the little birds they put out for holidays and seasons are my favorite things, and the newest one are so cute!


I need them all!

3. While we’re just freefalling down the conscious consumerism rabbit hole, I also bought these amazing cat-themed Halloween magnets for $1 at Dollar Tree. On brand AND on budget! (And yes, it was impossible to get a pic of the package without Tennyson “helping”.


A somewhat better pic of a few of the best ones:

One dollar well spent, if you ask me.


4. Speaking of cats, I have to confess that when picking out kitty food from each month since we’re part of their Influence program, I always lean towards salmon flavors because I will never, ever get tired of making jokes to Bear about how he should be out catching salmon from a stream. He’s 5 now… I should be past finding it so funny, but nope. Any chance for Bear to eat salmon, I’m on it.


This month, Bear got to be my model for the Halo Grain-Free Spot’s Pate cat food in, you guessed it, the salmon recipe. Its main ingredient is sustainably-caught wild salmon, which is probably the closest Bear can come to doing it himself.

It’s also fortified with vitamins and minerals and all sorts of other ingredients to maintain a healthy Bear, and is thankfully made with ingredients that contain no hormones or antibiotics because holy cow, have you seen how big he already is? I do not need him going through some kind of weird hormone-educed growth spurt and becoming indistinguishable from a panther.  It’s already a fine line.

(Sorry about the not great pic of Bear! Another case of “my phone ate the good pics”.


5.  This is another Target item, but it deserves its own number:

I have two black cats, so I’m pretty sure this is how they see me anyway. Possibly even better than my pic is the one on Target’s site…



This is city-wide yard sale weekend in my town, so that my plan for tomorrow. Happy weekend, y’all!



Friday blog linkup


Show Us Your Books – September Edition


Happy Show Us Your Books Day! Given that I’ve been writing an average of 10,000 words a week for work lately, free time to actually read other people’s words has been scarce. Sometimes I really miss having a normal people job where you get to stop doing the thing after 8 hours! I need to get better at taking time out of the day to not work. But then again, I really enjoy fancy things like affording food, so it’s a delicate balance.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this month!


This Fight is Our Fight – Elizabeth Warren

Amazon * Goodreads

Before I get into my review, it should probably be noted that I totally own this bumper sticker:

So clearly I’m already totally Team Liz, but this book made me love her even more. I wanted the audio version since I really enjoyed her delivery of her last book, “A Fighting Chance”, but the regular e-book was all my library had so I jumped on it, since I live in the middle of nowhere and our “new arrivals” shelf often features books that came out like five years ago.

(Wearing your “Nevertheless, she persisted” t-shirt to read this book is optional but totally recommended.)

Pres…err, Senator Warren has such a great writing style in that she can explain complex topics in economics in a few pages so that they actually make sense. She discusses the horrors of student loan debt, why we should be investing in infrastructure and medical research, and how messed up it is that the average Wal-Mart supercenter costs tax payers a million dollars in funds for support like food stamps and Medicaid for its workers, despite the Waltons being one of the richest families in the universe. Unlike a lot of politicians who come from wealth and, you know, live in actual golden towers and such, Elizabeth draws from real life experiences, like how her mother was able to support their family on her wages working at Sears after her father fell ill and the family lost their usual income. And how she was able to put herself through college and eventually become a freakin’ senator because at that time, tuition was $50 a semester. And we’re not talking THAT long ago… just before the cost of living and the average income diverged so drastically.

No, this isn’t a page-turner of a thriller or laugh a minute type of read, but you’ll walk away SO much better informed. The next time you’re voting in a local election and there’s a proposal to increase taxes by X% to fund bridge repairs, you’ll know why it’s cheaper in the long run. When you hear politicians bring up Glass-Stegall repeal, you’ll actually understand the history of it. She’s excellent at explaining complex subjects in a way that they actually stick.


Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone

Amazon * Goodreads

I listened to this as an audio book less than a month ago, but I have almost no memory of it. I also can’t remember if I read her first book, too, or just heard about it so much that I think I did, so either the writing is really forgettable or I’m getting very old, very quickly? (Is this the most helpful review ever?)


The Nocturnal Journal by Lee Crutchley

Goodreads * Amazon

I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a decent night of sleep since around 1987, so a journal designed to combat insomnia definitely caught my interest. (I’m finishing up this blog post at 3:45 a.m…)

First of all, the cover is awesome and it glows in the dark and the PR people included little glow in the dark stars when they mailed it to me, which made my inner ’90s teen very happy.



There are a few pages of regular text, but it’s mostly a guided journal/workbook to help you clear out the stuff that’s swimming around in your head and keeping you up at night. The exercises are a mix of fun and insightful.


It’s one of those books where you can just open at random and start there, or flip through until you find a page that speaks to you at the moment. There’s some list writing (like above), letter writing, drawing… a little bit of everything!

The publisher has offered to hook one of you guys up with a Nocturnal Journal of your own! Woohoo! (Giveaway is below!)

Head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to check out all of the other blogger book reviews for this month! And enter the giveaway for your own copy of Nocturnal Journal below! (Open to US 18+, ends 9/21/17)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Friday Favs of September!


Happy Friday! I’m finishing this post up at 3:30 a.m. in hopes of escaping for another day trip later this morning! (What’s sleep??)


1. I mentioned in my last Friday Favs post that I ordered some awesome stuff from Etsy. BEHOLD MY TREAURES!

These treasures from #etsy are easily the best $10 I’ve spent in years.

A post shared by Crystal Ward (@crystalward11) on

2. Recently picked up this verde enchilada sauce at Target and have made enchiladas an embarrassing number of times since then because it’s so good. I tried one of the red ones, too, which was good but less remarkable. (Not sponsored, just delicious.)


3. Y’all know I’m still an Orlandoan at heart, so I’m definitely concerned that Hurricane Irma is headed towards The City Beautiful.

As usual, though, Twitter makes everything better:


…and my own addition:



4. I totally missed doing a Friday Favs post last week because I took a semi-spontaneous drive down to Eureka Springs again. I’ve been working SO MUCH lately; I just really needed a day to go walk around a cool town. I ended up doing a short trail that connects the Crescent Hotel (which I wrote about here when I did their ghost tour!) with Harmon Park (The trail getting there was short but nice, but I was an idiot and decided to just walk along the street to get back to the hotel – WORST IDEA. It was basically straight uphill for half a mile and I was pretty sure I was about to become the Crescent’s next ghost by the end.) and part of one of the trails at Lake Leatherwood.


A post shared by Crystal Ward (@crystalward11) on

Plus the amazing butter flavored olive oil I picked up at the Fresh Harvest Tasting Room, which I toured on my last trip but was too poor to buy anything from at the time. Despite being super butter flavored, it’s actually vegan, which is pretty rad. I just got the little bottle that comes with a popcorn gift set, but I really should have bought the full-size bottle because I’ve already used A LOT.


5. Science just keeps getting cooler:


Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! If I can manage a quick getaway today, I’ll probably be working all weekend with breaks to finish my Show Us Your Books link-up post for next Tuesday.  Yay, books!


Friday blog linkup

Car Shopping with Confidence Using

One fancy car, please!


I need a Mustang, y’all.

Back when I was 15 and working in an ice cream shop for minimum wage, I carried a photo of a red Mustang convertible in my wallet to remind me why the long hours of scooping butter pecan were totally going to be worth it. When I was 17, I finally got a 1995 Mustang – white and not a convertible, but only a few years old and it totally had the pretty horsie on the wheel. SCORE.

Eventually I upgraded to a 2001, and then a silver 2004 Mustang convertible that I drove until a wintery day in early 2015 when a not at all fun black ice encounter happened and my beloved car was no more. I decided to just buy a car I could afford with the insurance payout, and man do I regret it because it’s a boring car with zero horsies on it and it doesn’t even have power windows.


As a freelance writer, I probably won’t be able to afford a sparkly brand new Mustang anytime soon, but I am hoping to find a great used one sometime in the near future. Which brings us to, who was kind enough to sponsor this post and thus edge me a little closer to that eventual purchase. Woohoo!


I love that the website has a price comparison tool that shows similar cars for sale in your area so you can see how the one you’re looking at compares to others with around the same mileage.


This is especially helpful if you’ve just moved somewhere new or haven’t shopped for a car in a while and aren’t familiar with how prices tend to run in your area. (I’m tempted to wait until I move back to Orlando to buy a new car because I’ve read that area has the lowest prices in the country!) You can also read reviews of that particular model year from other users and experts, and easily access safety and recall info.

I pulled up Mustangs in Orlando, too, just out of curiosity. The price comparison tool was able to show me that there was a car with about 20,000 fewer miles than the one I was looking at for about the same price!

The purple dot is the one I was looking at – $10k for a car with 98k miles. The grey dot selected towards the middle is the better deal I found with the comparison tool – $100 less for a car with only 77k miles! It’s a little outside of the search radius I set, so I probably wouldn’t have found it without using the comparison tool. Score!

They also have all kinds of useful info like repair estimates so you can know if a mechanic is quoting you a fair price or not. Being informed is so useful!

Have you guys shopped for a car lately? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Thanks to for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own, ’cause that’s how I roll. Do you guys think I could talk them into a $10,000 sponsored post so I can get that cute silver Mustang above? Maybe? #WillBlogForFreeCars

Favorites on a Late August Friday


1. Days Off. Y’all, I never take days off unless I’m having one of those “too sick to lift my head” days. But for whatever reason, these past couple of weeks I just could not with adulting, so I just… didn’t. Instead I caught up on crazy things like laundry and grocery shopping and email and watching too much YouTube. I need to fit in a lot of extra writing over the next week to make up for it, but I think that actually resting for once was a good idea and I’m glad my weird freelance work life gives me the freedom to do that.


2. I bought some awesome things on Etsy this week which I’ll show you when they arrive (excited!), but I seriously need input on which of these two awesome shirts I should order next payday. I want both SO MUCH.

Warren tee * Nevertheless tee


3. News broke yesterday that the Amazon takeover of Whole Foods means prices will be dropping.


4. This tweet killed me. I am dead now.  😂😂😂


But here’s the thing… I added that to this post last week before totally slacking off and not ending up posting anything on Friday, and that majestic tweet has now been outdone by the best tweet in the history of ever:



5. I got this necklace on the Wish app for like $2 and it makes me happy. I never really wear necklaces, so I might make it into a keychain? But I do like the idea of having my city close to my heart. 


A Bonus: I didn’t think I got any eclipse photos, but… LOOK AT MY FOREHEAD!

Go forth and have an awesome weekend! I’m hoping to head down to Eureka Springs again to go wander around Lake Leatherwood and also buy some fancy olive oil.


Linking up!

Friday blog linkup