Friends, 2017 was a hard year. But it will also be forever remembered as the year I stopped hiding. I'm focusing on the positive part of the year and sharing that with y'all today!

If you haven't read my blog post on dealing with stress and anxiety, you can check it out here. This post is basically just a recap of how my progress has gone throughout the year. In February, I decided to start eating better and being more active because I was so tired of feeling so bad about myself. I had let my job and all the other activities I had going on in my life get to me. For about three years, I simply hid in baggy shirts and sweatpants. I took hardly any pictures of myself and basically didn't want to be seen. I stopped "dressing up" and just threw on anything, which made me feel awful because fashion has always been a huge passion of mine and when I let stress get the best of me, my appearance and self confidence suffered tremendously. 

Like I mentioned in the original post, as silly as it sounds, documenting my fashion on Instagram helped me so much with staying motivated this year. It helped me stop hiding in baggy, oversized clothes. It helped me get excited about fun fashion again and sharing different outfits with y'all. 

Today I want to share (in pictures!) how this year is different from last year.  I've made a conscious effort to take more pictures of myself so I can remember the days. I still love a good "object picture" but for so long I was only taking those types of pictures instead of pictures that I was actually in because I hated the way I look. I love using Instagram as a way to look back and remember little moments, but when I stepped back and looked, I realized that the majority of what I remembered about those days from those pics, was how bad I felt about what I was wearing and how bad I felt about how I looked. 

Please don't misunderstand: I still have major self confidence issues and I scrutinize every picture by analyzing my face, legs, hair, etc. Just because I'm starting to post pictures of myself doesn't mean I think I'm gorgeous and want to share it with the world! ha! I simply don't want to hide anymore, so this year I've made a huge effort to put more of an effort into feeling better about myself instead of "slobbing" around in v-neck sweaters and black stretch pants, which is what I was doing. 

Christmas. Know why there's a question mark on the left picture? Because there's not one picture that I took on Christmas in 2016. Or 2015 or 2014. I just hid. 

Thanksgiving. Last year's Thanksgiving was just awful. I felt absolutely terrible about what I was wearing because I bought that top and those pants in two sizes too big so they wouldn't be tight or clingy. 

Candle shopping. For me, shopping for candles at Bath and Body Works always signals the start of a new season, which is so very exciting to me! Last year I documented this by taking a picture of my shopping bag. This year I made my mom snap a picture as we were leaving the store. 

Christmas shopping at Target! 

Shopping for Fall flowers and pumpkins. I remember when I took this picture in 2016, it was so hot here in Alabama and I was in a long sleeve t-shirt that fit too snug and therefore was too short and some black yoga pants. Even though it was burning up outside, I was hiding in my clothes.

TJ Maxx shopping!

Spring flowers! For the past three years, I absolutely dreaded when the weather started getting warmer because that made it harder to hide in clothes and feel comfortable. The right picture was taken in late March, after I had been eating better for almost two months. My jeans were starting to fit loose and I started to see a difference in how I felt each day!

For the past three years, I maybe have 4 pictures of myself and Reese. This makes me especially sad now that she's having health problems. I make sure and take multiple pictures of myself and Reese throughout the week!

Going on walks. That picture of the left might not look odd to you, but I remember hating how my calves looked. When I posted the picture on the right, I remember looking at my thighs and thinking they should be smaller, but posting it anyways. It's about progress...not perfection!

Shopping for desk chairs

Snow Days

I still struggle with stress and anxiety daily, but I'm happy with the mental progress I made this year, even if I'm not where I want to be physically. And I think that's important. Here's to an even better 2018! 

Happy Friday, friends! I hope y'all had a very Merry Christmas! It's hard to believe that this time next week I'll be sitting in my classroom instead of on my comfy couch drinking coffee. :( Can you hear the sadness in my voice?
Here's a little recap of my week. 

How wonderfully perfect is this Dunder Mifflin sweatshirt??? The Office one of my top three favorite shows of all time. Anyone else fans???

My mom also got me this cute little CC beanie. I've always been obsessed with beanies, but they never look right on me. I'm determined to keep at it this season and make them work! LOL 

How gorgeous are these two pillows! My mom and I went shopping for furniture this week and I randomly found these two fur leopard pillows for $19 each! Yes! I LOVE them! I was so excited I knew I had to show them off in a Friday Favs post, so I made mom snap my pic. ;)

I also received these Cultivate What Matters 2018 Powersheets for Christmas and I'm so excited to start planning out what I want to accomplish in the next year. 

Reese Update: If you've been following along, you know that my sweet little Maltese (Reese, named after Reese Witherspoon) has congestive heart failure. We found out in September and hoped that medicine would be enough. Sadly the medicine stopped working properly in November and she had to have the fluid drained from her stomach. That procedure helped until two weeks ago when the same thing happened again. They have upped her meds, but have basically said that it won't be much longer. The larger dose of medication is working great right now and she's playing and acting like she normally does. I'm soaking up all the time I have left with her. :) 

My mom's little dog Libby is helping entertain her. :) Reese has really come around to Libby. Reese is a loner. She's a little independent girl like me ha! I never would have thought she would like another dog or play with her, but she's grown to like Libby. Or at least tolerate her. LOL!

This jacket is definitely a fav of the week! I managed to keep up with a 50% coupon from Old Navy that expired on Christmas Eve and I used it to snag this coat for $20! It's sherpa lined, so it's cozy, which was perfect for this day because it was freezing! 

I shared in an Instagram story a while back that I was in pursuit of a fun purple lip! I bought this Tarte liner and this Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lip and tried it out for the first time this week. It was darker and more intense that I had hoped! I liked it, but the outfit I was wearing was a bright and peppy one and the lip was just too dark, so I took it off. I'm going to try it with a more subdued outfit next time!

Definitely wasn't expecting that much chocolate syrup in my ice cream at Dairy Queen, but I'll take it! 

Anyone else obsessed with Zoella?? I have so enjoyed watching her Vlogmas videos this month. I had lunch with Zoe and Alfie almost everyday this week. ha! 

Last night, my mom and I decided to go to the movies. I asked y'all on Instagram if we should see The Greatest Showman or Downsizing and SO MANY OF YOU said Downsizing was awful! I really want to see it, but we decided on The Greatest Showman instead. It was wonderful though! The music and the choreography were brilliant! I'm downloading the soundtrack as soon as I get up and start working on some teaching resources. Broadway and movie soundtracks are my go to music when I'm creating at my desk. :)

Moving on to book news. Did y'all know B.A. Paris has a new thriller called Bring Me Back that's coming out this winter?? He's the author of Behind Closed Doors (amazing!) and The Breakdown (not as good, but still one of my top books of the year!) I can't wait to wait the new book!
Speaking of upcoming books that I'm excited about, I just saw where Peter Swanson has a new thriller coming out this spring called All the Beautiful Lies and Emily Giffin has a new book coming out called All We Ever Wanted

I started (and finished!) Before We Were Yours this week and oh my goodness it was so good! If you follow my bookstagram account, you can click on my Instagram story highlight and see my thoughts as I'm reading it. So so good!!!! If you love historical fiction, you'll love it. I don't really like that genre, but even I loved it! 

As much as I loved Before We Were Yours, it was an intense and heavy read. So I was in need of a lighter book. I'm currently reading Kasie West's newest book Love, Life, and the List and it's really cute! It's about a girl who wants to get her art into an art show, but the curator doesn't think her work is good enough. She decides to make a list of ways to become more experienced in life and enlists the help of her best friend, Cooper, who she has a huge crush on. 

I'm so thankful for Christmas break so I can spend more time with my grandparents! We went up earlier this week and both of them were in my pawpaw's shop putting up a cabinet! How amazing is it that my grandparents are hard at their eighties! :) 

We had Christmas dinner at their house, but then my mom and I stayed all day and ended up having supper there that night. Bring on the leftovers! Who else thinks left overs are so much better than the original?? 

My mom talked me into tagging some trees that she wants cut down at her house. We ended up doing this on such a cold day! I did rediscover my love of these Adidas superstar sneakers though! I wasn't much help at all! In fact, I tagged one tree, got her to snap my pic, and then I raced back to the truck and sat with the heater on full blast! 

And finally it's time to take down the Christmas tree! I asked y'all on Instagram if you still had your tree up two days after Christmas and was surprised to see that 77% of y'all did! I always LOVE taking down Christmas decor and putting the house back together because it feels so fresh and clean! I must say, I kind of hated to see the tree come down this year. This has been my favorite Christmas tree I've had in my house and I'm a little sad it's not still up (but I hate Christmas decor up after Christmas so it had to come down!) I'm so hoping that my new house will be built and I'll be living in it this time next year, so the entire time I was packing everything up, I kept thinking "This time next year, hopefully I'll be putting this garland up in the new house." or "This time next year, hopefully I'll have this tree up in the breakfast nook!" I'm so hopeful! 

Happy Friday! 

Hi, friends! Last week I shared my top 13 favorite books of 2017 with y'all and today I'm sharing my top 8 most disappointing books that I read in 2017. These are not my lowest rated books (one of these I even gave 4 out of 5 stars to!) These are just the books that I had such high hopes for, but in the end they were disappointments. Some bigger than others! 

Starting off the list was Mary Kubica's newest release, Every Last Lie. Y'all, I was so disappointed in this one and it pains me to say it because Mary Kubica wrote The Good Girl, which is one of my all time favorite thrillers. I've read everything she's written and loved every single one, but this one was just not what I expected and not in a good way, I feel like your opinion of this book comes down to the ending. If you love the ending, you probably loved this one, but I hated the ending. 

I can usually trust my Amazon recommendations, so when this book appeared on my screen, I was super excited. A southern fiction book set in Alabama? Sign me up! Those are my favorite kinds of books and I had high expectations that this one would be like Cancel the Wedding, which was my favorite read of 2016, but oh goodness it wasn't! This one was dull and uninteresting. I can't even remember what it was about. I remember not like the ending at all, though. And the romance storyline felt flat to me. 

Christina Lauren's newest release was my most anticipated book of the year and I was beyond disappointed in it. I've only read maybe one of the Beautiful series by this author, but I had high hopes that this one was going to be like The Hating Game, which was my second favorite book of 2016 and is now one of my favorite books of all time. This one was nothing like that one. The romance was so lack luster and the book was just boring. All it talked about was the characters' jobs and how the two companies planned to merge. There were no cute interactions between the two characters, which was what I absolutely loved about The Hating Game. So disappointed in this one.
I did go on to read Christina Lauren's other book that came out in December and it was better, but still not anything to get excited about...

I hate that a book with such a pretty cover is on this list! I read Laura Dave's other book Eight Hundred Grapes two years ago and loved it and was so excited about this one! It's about a Youtuber who is famous for her cooking videos. Someone hacks her account and reveals that she's a fraud, so she has to return home. I had high hopes for this one, and I didn't completely hate it, but it wasn't anywhere near as good as I hoped it would be. The ending left a lot of things unresolved, like there could be the possibility of a sequel, but I didn't love this one enough to continue in the series if there is one. I didn't hate it, but it was still a disappointment. 

Ruth Ware is famous in the thriller world and I was all kinds of excited about her newest book for 2017. Oh my goodness gracious, I couldn't even get through this one, y'all. If there is a book that would win the dullest award on this list, it would be this one. I read until page 150 and finally had to DNF it. Very rarely do I DNF a book that I've already read a good chunk of. This one was just so dull and uneventful. NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. Maybe if I had stuck with it longer, I would have enjoyed it, but oh man was it a disappointment.

Words cannot express how sad I am that a Lauren Layne book is in a list of my biggest disappointments. Lauren Layne is my go to romance author and I love everything she writes. And I did really like Ready to Run. I even gave it 4 stars! But I had such high expectations for this "Bachelor" reality show romance and it was nothing like I thought it was going to be. It's my least favorite LL book, but again, I really enjoyed it! I just thought with a plot like that and a pretty cover that it was going to be my new favorite series ever, and sadly it was just okay. 

Our October book club selection was Colleen Hoover's newest book Without Merit. I love Colleen Hoover. Her books are memorable and addicting and exciting to read. This one wasn't any of those things. It was odd. I felt it tried to be too much and tackle too many issues and in the end it just missed the mark. You can see my full review here

And now my biggest disappointment and least favorite read of 2017. If you've followed me and my reading journey this year, you know how much I hated this book. I don't mean to be rude. I know how much time and effort and work goes into writing a book, but this book was just not for me. I'll just copy and paste my review from back in February so you can see my exact thoughts since it's been 11 months since I've read this one. 

And then I read this thing. The Young Wives Club by Juile Pennell. I hated this book. I'm truly sorry if you've read this and loved it, but never has a book angered me like this one. I was eagerly awaiting this book after first learning about it on Netgalley. The cover is just gorgeous and I love a good wedding story. When I read that the book was about 4 young wives, I had in my head that they would be in their mid twenties. I had a REAL problem with the age of most of the main characters. One of the girls has just graduated high school, one is in college, one's age isn't mentioned but she is the oldest of the group, and one SHOULD BE a high school senior.
Now, I realize that people get married very young. Many of my friends got married in their early twenties. I just could not get past the fact that one of the girls DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL to marry her boyfriend just because he was going away to LSU to play football. Did she really think she didn't need to get a high school education?! Did she really just aspire to follow her husband around the rest of her life and not have any interests/passions of her own?? I despised this character. She acted like her entire world revolved around her boyfriend and then husband. In fact, all the girls did this. I liked Gabby the best, but she was nothing to write home about. Every one of the girls seemed immature and self reliant on the man. I only gave it a second star because the characters realized their mistakes at the end. I just hated this book. I even threw it away instead of passing it along to my friends because I don't want anyone to read this book. I know the book teaches you not to do the very thing that made me hate this book so much,  but I could not get past the annoying main characters. It was just awful!

Those are the books I was most disappointed in from 2017. Did you read any of these on my list and have a similar experience or totally different? I'll love to hear!

Happy Friday, friends! It's almost Christmas time and I am one happy girl now that we get a little break from work. I love being a teacher, but right now is so stressful and we all just need a little break. I plan on using these two weeks to recharge and "remotivate" myself for the second semester!

Here's a little peek at my week, or what I documented of it. I did an awful job of taking picture this week, so this post is a little on the short side. 

Reader friends, be sure and check out my Top 13 Favorite Books of 2017 post here. There's also a giveaway that ends tonight (12/22). I'm giving away all 13 of my favorite books to one lucky winner! 

One of my sweet kids got me a gift card to Krispy Kreme and I used it to get a little hot chocolate while I was out shopping yesterday. It was heavenly! I would say it's a mix between a Starbucks hot chocolate and one from McDonald's. The Starbucks one is bitter (which I LOVE) and the McDonald's one is very sweet (which I've grown to love). This one is just right! 

This sweet girl had to have a little minor surgery again this week. The doctor says she's at the end of her road, so I'm soaking up all the time I have left with her. Thanks to the little surgery she had this week, she isn't in any pain, but I know she won't be with me much longer, which is very hard. She's currently running around and playing with my mom's little dog, so she's definitely feeling better than she was at the beginning of the week. Don't let that look of hers in the picture above fool you. She never has liked having her picture taken LOL!

We are in full Christmas mode around here!

I took this right before she went to have her surgery. She had just had a bath and wanted to lay on warm towels fresh out of the dryer, which is one of her favorite things to do. :)

Moving onto lighter topics, I realized Emily Giffin has a new book coming out this upcoming year! I haven't loved her last two books, but I have high hopes for this one! You can add it to your TBR on GoodReads here. While you're there, you can add me as a friend and see what I'm reading. 

I ordered some LUSH goodies this week! Yay!!! I absolutely love LUSH Bath Bombs and Bubble Bars. I decided to try the Christingle body conditioner that you use in the shower and I LOVE it! It's like an in shower lotion. You put it on and then rinse off and when you step out of the shower, your skin is so soft! Plus, it's got menthol in it, so it makes your skin feel cool and tingly! I can't get enough of it!

Breakfast for supper? Yes, please! Also, how cute is that Anthropologie mug?? Love!

I also ordered this ASOS sweater and it arrived this week. I love the yellow color! It also comes in tons of other colors.

Yep, I'm still loving and thinking about The Last Mrs. Parrish. Y'all, this book is just soooooo good!

I love going to the movies during the Holidays! I love going to the movies anytime of the year, but there's just something extra fun about going during Christmas time and Winter in general. There are so many good movies I want to see right now! I'm sharing trailers for the three that are on the top of my list! What are y'all dying to see?




That's all for today! I'm off to enjoy the day. Happy Friday! :)


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