Friday Favs – Middle of December Already!


Happy Friday, friends! It’s been a hot second since I’ve had time to post! I was sick last Thurs – Saturday (Well, still am, but that was the worst of it), so I missed my usual Friday post, and then Tuesday was my birthday and I decided to go out and enjoy it rather than rushing to finish my Show Us Your Books post for the monthly link-up that day.

Thankfully, thankfully, work is slowing down a little bit now until about March, so I should have a little more time for like, life. I’ve been wanting to write a catching up post for over a month, but still haven’t found a decent chunk of time. Soon!



1. As I mentioned above, Tuesday was my birthday. I still wasn’t feeling great so instead of big plans I kept it very simple. I had a chiropractor appointment that morning (I’d call myself an old lady but I’ve seen a chiropractor on and off since I was 16!), then went to pick up my free b-day beverage from Starbucks. I usually get a venti latte (gingrebread or pumpkin spice) since December is cold, but Tuesday was in the 50s and my sore throat wanted something icy, so I ordered the glorious vat of caffeine and sugar pictured above. (Venti cafe vanilla Frappuccino). I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a venti Frappuccino in my LIFE, but hey, if it’s free? Might as well go big!

After picking up my drink I went for a short walk by the lake at the Branson Landing to soak up some sunshine, then headed to Moe’s for my free birthday burrito. I was worried I wouldn’t really enjoy it since I’ve been so congested, but it was still 100% delicious.

My short outing totally drained my still sick self, so I headed home post-burrito and curled up in bed to read for most of the rest of the evening. I know how to party! Hopefully next year will be more exciting, but this year ended up being just right for how I was feeling.


2. I spotted these leggings at Target and am torn over buying them. I mean, cats AND llamas? Sign me up! And they’re fleece lined,which I loooove. But I’m very poor right now (see mention of work slowing WAY down for winter) and need to watch my budget. And if I wait a couple of weeks, there’s a solid chance that I can get them on clearance. What’s a gal to do?? (They’re available online here if you love them, too!)


3. I was just leaving for work a couple of weeks ago and thought I forgot my car keys, and as I headed back into the house to get them I found my dryer emitting a bunch of smoke. I was in such a hurry that I just shut it off and did a quick check that the smoke stopped when I did so (probably not the safest thing in retrospect?) and then asked the maintenance guy at work what to do. Between a crazy work schedule, being sick for over a week, and recently finding out that it might still be under warranty, I still haven’t fixed it, but I did discover that Sears has really, REALLY helpful repair manuals for most major appliances online here!  I really love feeling empowered to fix things myself, so finding those made me really happy. As a side note, this whole debacle taught me that nut drivers are a thing. Like a screwdriver, but for nuts! WHO KNEW? NOT I! I went and bought the size my dryer was supposed to need to take the back off and investigate the source of the smoke, but it’s somehow too big? Fingers crossed that I figure the whole thing out soon, because I’m running out of clean clothes and do not want to spend hours of my nonexistant free time in a laundromat.

I also recenty learned how easy it is to replace the tub faucet in my guest bathroom so that I can start showering in there (the little pull-thing that switches it from bath to shower is broken) and stop worrying about falling through the floor in my master bathroom. (There’s water damage under the shower. I’ve probably written about it here? Long story.)

Related: I can not wait until I can RENT again and maintenance issues become someone else’s problem. I will click that “pay rent” button with such happiness and relief every single month. This house has broken me.


I’m going to have to cut this week’s list short at 3 things. Fingers crossed I’ll be over this funky cough ASAP and be able to get back to actually posting.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Favs – December Starts Tomorrow??


Happy last day of November! I can’t believe December starts tomorrow, and even crazier – that we’re only a month away from 2019!

I’m finishing up today’s post in a hurry so I can head out to the ranch and ride Polka Dot one last time before he goes to Texas for the winter. (The trail rides I work for are closing Dec-March 1). I’ve bonded with him so much I’m going to miss him a lot!

(I wound up finishing this after work instead, so here’s a pic of my last day with Polka Dot!)


On to this week’s favorites!



I worked my hotel front desk job on Thanksgiving, but the weather was really nice so I decided to go on a super quick hike before work. Twenty minutes in the woods made all the difference in how my day went. I need to do that more often!

I did the paved part of the trail at Henning Conservation Area since I knew it would work with my time limit, and it was a great choice except that the leaves made the trail super slippery! I haven’t had a free day to go hiking in ages, but maybe I can fit in more of these quick stops?



2. The only Black Friday shopping I did this year was e.l.f. cosmetics. I’d planned to get a new laptop, but I had a vet bill that took up the $ I had set aside for that, so I’m still using my dinosaur of a computer with the faulty space bar for the foreseeable future. Anyway, I like a lot of elf’s makeup (especially their eyeliner pen) so I tend to stock up on favorites and try a few new things every year when the big sale rolls around. Cyber Monday was 60% off with free shipping on orders over $25. I wound up spending $27 including tax and got tons of things that I’m excited about (including six different eyeliners – I guess that might have been overkill.). The biggest downside is that elf has really slow shipping – it’s been a week already and I haven’t gotten a notice that my order is shipping. I’m no good at patience!


3. I feel like I’ve told similar stories multiple times, but here we go again: Remy broke into the Chewy box again.


At first I was like oh, that’s not too bad! But no, he also really worked on eating through the bag to get to the Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food that Chewy sent us as part of their Chewy influencer program! (You can find the exact cat food here!)



I transferred it to some big zip-lock bags to keep it fresh, but a 3.2 lb bag doesn’t last long in my multi-cat house anyway. My cats were all fans, although nobody else showed Remy’s original level of “OMG I have to have whatever’s in that box!” enthusiasm. There are two different textures of food, which adds a little variety, and added probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion.



4. I got this t-shirt at Walmart for $4.97. Need I say more?


It’s 11 pm now, so I’m cutting this week’s list short at 4 things instead of 5. Today was kinda nuts -in addition to my last day of trail rides,my dryer kinda caught on fire and I had to drive home from my hotel job in crazy storms. Very ready for sleep!

Hope your weekend is awesome!

SUYB – November Edition

Happy Show Us Your Books link-up day! I missed posting the last couple of months, so I have a few more books to discuss than usual.




Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Goodreads * Amazon

Arrgh, I have mixed feelings about this. I’m a HUGE HP nerd, but I put off reading this forever. On one hand, it’s really cool to revisit that whole world and learn about what happens in the future. On the other hand, the play format robs the reader of the world building and storytelling that make the original books so good, and the familiar characters didn’t really feel like themselves. Overall, I was pretty meh about it, which makes me sad.


An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Goodreads * Amazon


I picked this up from Netgalley because it’s by the same two authors as The Wife Between Us, which I reviewed in October of last year. Like that book, this one is told from two different perspectives – Jessica and the psychologist running the ethics experiment that she stumbles into participating in. From the first chapter, I noticed that the writing style is great – lots of showing vs. telling, rich characters, just solid storytelling. It’s not as predictable as most books in this genre, and while it’s not a five star book, I’d give it a thumbs up as far as being worth reading.  It won’t be released until January, 2019, but the first three chapters are available for free on Amazon!

(Complimentary ARC via Netgalley)


I’ll be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamera

Goodreads * Amazon

It is a little weird to listen to/read a book about a murderer when you know the author died during its writing. There are a few chapters that were pieced together from the author’s notes and previous articles she’d written in order to finish the book, and those do stand out as a different writing style, but I can’t think of a better way they could have done it. I have to admit that while the book was interesting and really well researched, I wasn’t blown away by it, partly because I had high expectations due to all the hype around it. Worth reading if you like true crime stuff, but not a must read in my opinion.



The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Goodreads * Amazon


This is the first in a series of YA novels that was described as being similar to The Selection series, which was a fun, light read, so I decided to grab the first one from the library. I wasn’t really drawn in by the writing style, but I stuck it out and got drawn into the story. It turned out that what I thought was the plot of the book was only about the first third, so at least it wasn’t totally predictable. Overall, I liked it enough to get on the library waiting list for the next book in the series, but not so much that I’ll definitely read the third, too.


I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Goodreads * Amazon


Sophie Kinsella is one of those authors whose books I keep picking up even though a lot have them have been lackluster. This one was a pleasant surprise. Her protagonists are usually insufferable, almost always because they’re pathological liars. but this one isn’t bad – she just starts out a little weak and evolves over time. This story revolves around family and the obligations that come with it, but also includes the usual romance aspect, too. It was a little slow in spots and I would have liked better character development, but overall it was a nice breezy read.

(Complimentary ARC via Netgalley)



Head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to check out the link-up and see what dozens of other bloggers have been reading lately!

Friday Favs


Happy Friday Night! I meant to finish this post up this morning, but it’s been a busy day so instead it’s going up just before midnight. I just got home from watching movies at my neighbor’s house, and it is COLD out there. The low tonight is supposed to be 20! I’d like to go back to the 50s/60s kind of fall, please!

Here’s what I’m digging lately:


1. My Friday Favs posts could basically be called “Ode to the Target Clearance Section”, especially this one. It wasn’t intentional, I just had a REALLY good shopping trip this week.



I found this soap on an end cap in the health/beauty section, marked down by like 25% because apparently all fall things went on clearance after Halloween, even though we still have almost 2 weeks until that OTHER fall holiday. Whatever, a win for me! This stuff smells incredible. They also had apple cider scented dish soap, but scented dish product just freak me out. My hands smelling like apple cider gets a huge thumbs up, though. (This was like $3 with the markdown!)


2. You know you’re getting old when you get really excited about cleaning products. I can’t stand harsh chemical scents, but I really needed something disinfecting for cleaning. I decided to try out this Lysol spray cleaner that’s made with peroxide instead of bleach, and y’all – it’s a winner.


It still smells kinda gross and cleaner-y, but nowhere near as bad as most do, and it cleans like a boss.

(I found it on Target’s website, but I think it’s available in most stores where you’d buy cleaning products, too.)


3. Remember this gift bag that I mentioned a few weeks ago?


When I hit up the Halloween clearance, I was fully prepared to buy a few at 70% off just because I love the design so much. But you guys. Things went SO MUCH BETTER THAN EXPECTED.



This cozy throw blanket in the EXACT SAME PRINT was on clearance for $5! I got the last one on the shelf and I’m just so happy about it. (It’s still available online for $6.99)


4. This month, the cats got to review a new brand of cat food for the Chewy Influencer Program! They sent us a complimentary 12-pack of Miko grain-free cat food in Chicken & Seafood flavors. The variety pack had 3 cans each of 4 different flavors, and my cats LOVED them. There’s a good amount of broth in each can, plus big chunks and shreds of meat.


5. Cold weather = soup season at Casa Crystal, and I definitely prefer eating soup out of big mugs instead of bowls. No idea why, that’s just how I roll. I picked up a new one at (you guessed it!) Target and got to try it out tonight – it’s perfect!


That’s it for me today! Hope things are a little warmer where you are and that your weekend is full of awesomeness.


Friday blog linkup


Fall Favorites

Happy November, friends! In honor of the leaves changing colors and Pumpkin Spice Everything everywhere you look, I decided to do a special fall-themed Favorites post!


1. I was at Hy-Vee last week and got all excited to see fall flavors of the Erin Baker’s Breakfast cookies!

Both the Pumpkin Spice & Gingerbread flavors were tasty! (I included the Double Chocolate because it’s my usual favorite.) These are awesome to grab on a morning when you don’t have time for breakfast but want a little protein boost to start your day with.


2. The second one is food, too, but oh well!


I picked these up on a whim on my last grocery trip (I think they were at Hy-Vee, too? They should totally sponsor me.) The apple butter is good, but the pumpkin butter is *amazing*. It’s a company out of Ohio called Amish Wedding Foods. They have a website if you want to see if they’re available near you!




I know that Halloween was just yesterday, but I already have Thanksgiving dinner ready! Chewy sent us a 24-pack of Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner Minced in Gravy to review for their Chewy Influencer program, and my cats love it! It’s available in both 3 and 5.5 oz cans, and it really is like Thanksgiving dinner in a can – turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, peas, and cranberries! And unlike sharing your human food wth the cats on Thanksgiving, this offers balanced nutrition and extra antioxidants for happy, healthy kitties.


4. I got to go see Dolly Parton’s Stampede for the first time in like a decade! They just started their Christmas show, so it was a fun way to kick off the season of red and green being evvvvverywhere.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by And Blue Sky (@andblueskyblog) on

The craziest thing is that this horse, Nico, has been there since I worked there,and that was 1999-2002!


5. We’ve had amazing weather a few of the days that I’ve worked trail rides lately. It’s been fun to ride along the lake and see all of the leaves changing! And Polka Dot is learning to be a really good guide horse.

Polka Dot saying hi to Ringo the donkey.


That’s it for me today! I’ve taken the day off and have been cleaning pretty much alllll day. I still have laundry and dihes and maybe vacuuming, but then I’m heading over to my neighbor’s house to watch Solo, which we got from Redbox. A nice way to wind down after such a busy week!  (Yesterday I did luggage for a group at the hotel I work at in the morning, and then returned to work front desk from 3-11 pm. Looooong day!)

Hope November is off to a great start for you guys, too!