February 19, 2016

things that made me swoon (as of late!)...

I know, I know—it's been ages since I've actually curated a post of this sort and I'm very much overdue. Because of this, I'm doing things a little bit differently. I'm organizing this list by category, since there are quite a few things I've been jotting down for the past several months to share with you all. (I use the Wunderlist app to easily keep track of things like this. I love it so.)

So! Here are my favorites from the past several months—things I have a feeling you may find swoon-worthy, as well.

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez (audiobook)
I use the Overdrive app to listen to audiobooks for free (the app connects to your local library, which lends out titles which you "check out" and listen to via the app). I came across this book and fell in love with the story. This memoir tells the story of a woman who opens up a beauty school in Afghanistan, and quickly becomes immersed in the lives and culture of the women who live there. There are so many heartbreaking stories that completely opened my eyes to a reality I never really knew existed. This is a book I would recommend to anyone, and the audiobook is done particularly well. (I love the narrator's voice!)

Popcast podcast
These days, I look forward to this weekly podcast more than any other. I mentioned it in another post a while back, but I had to add it to this list, as well! This podcast is hilarious and a total guilty pleasure. (If you watched Making a Murderer and found yourself a bit obsessed, you have to listen to their episode on the series. I even convinced Jay to listen to it!) I listened to so many episodes after first discovering this podcast, that any snarky commentary floating through my head at any given moment is now in a strong, strong southern accent. Is that weird? Maybe. But give it a listen, and maybe you'll get what I mean. (Y'all.)

Sorta Awesome podcast
This is another great podcast I have been listening to for the past few months and am still so excited for every new episode! I love that there are regular cohosts that I adore, and I've discovered so many (awesome) new things because of their "Awesome of the Week" recommendations. Definitely in my top five favorite podcasts these days. A must-listen for any gal in their thirties, moms and non-moms alike.

Hymns for Hipsters playlist on Spotify
I discovered this playlist thanks to the above podcast, actually! For quite some time, I've wanted to find some way to listen to worship music that is a more modern take on the traditional variety. This playlist is something I can put on any time of day and enjoy wholeheartedly. There are more than 100 songs on this playlist, so you can easily listen to it daily and never tire of it. (The best artist I've discovered through this playlist is Kings Kaleidoscope. That guy's voice…oh, goodness. I have no words.)
My Mother's Secret by J.L. Witterick
Based on a true Holocaust story, this book is written in four sections, from the perspectives of four different characters. Since I was a girl, I've been drawn to stories from this time in history (Number the Stars and The Devil's Arithmetic are two I remember having such an emotional response to, and remain favorites to this day). This book is written in a more poetic format, with short chapters and absolutely beautiful writing. Such a touching, tragic story.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison
Taking my reading habits in a completely different direction, this memoir is written by a woman who became famous as one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. I never really watched the show she and a couple other women starred in, but I'm a little obsessed with memoirs of celebrities who have lived lives so completely different than my own. (I've recommended Kendra's memoirs previously because I devoured them, as well!) I loved learning more about what led to Holly's years spent at the Playboy mansion, the confessional nature of the chapters on her life there, and seeing just how much she has accomplished on her own since leaving the mansion. Plus, she now has a daughter named Rainbow, which just makes me happy.

What Doesn't Kill Her by Carla Norton
This was a completely random book I picked up at the library, which turned out to be a fantastic thriller that I could hardly put down. I don't have a ton of reading time these days, but I tried to get as much time with this book as I could, in order to get through it quickly. So good! I'm not always an avid reader of fiction, but I definitely have a thing for thrillers ever since reading Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and the like. This one did not disappoint!

25 Questions You're Afraid to Ask about Love, Sex & Intimacy by Dr. Juli Slattery
I don't even care if this is weird to post about on my blog (and perhaps I'm less embarrassed by things now that I'm in my thirties—who knows?). In any case, this book was a fantastic, quick read. It's a very insightful, honest, biblicly-based book by an author I truly respect. Not every chapter will apply to every reader, but every reader will find some wisdom within the pages.
Making a Murderer
Yes, Jay and I gave into the hype, and this documentary totally lives up to it. These days, it is difficult to find something that both Jay and I have an interest in watching, so binge-watching this show together felt pretty nice. (Romance after nearly ten years of marriage: It's not always glamorous, and sometimes has a backdrop of a show about murder.) If you haven't yet watched this show and have any interest at all in true crime, you seriously have to watch it. If possible, don't research the series or the case at all before watching—that was the advice I received before watching, and I'm glad I didn't know anything about it before diving in!

Pride and Prejudice
Would you believe it took me 31 years of living on this earth before I finally (finally!) watched this? I randomly decided to watch just a few minutes of the film before going to bed one night, and ended up not being able to turn it off. And, you guys, my baby doesn't sleep. If I stay up until 11PM to watch a movie, you know it is pretty much speaking to my soul. I know there are different movie adaptations of this story, but I must say the Kiera Knightly version was beautifully done.
Nikon D3300
Jay won one of his fantasy football leagues this year, which made us nearly $400 richer (which also made me a wife who can no longer talk trash about this hobby of his—alas!). We decided to splurge on a new camera, which made me so ridiculously thrilled! My Canon hasn't worked properly in years, but a new camera was definitely a want and not a need at this point in time. Having the extra money made this purchase possible, so…hurrah for fantasy football! (Never thought I'd say that.) So far, I absolutely adore this new camera, and am slowly learning how to use it properly. It's making me excited about photography again for the first time in a long while!

Colorstory app
This new photo editing app is from the gals over at A Beautiful Mess. They can do no wrong in my book, and this app has been so much fun to use! It's free, and offers some fantastic filters without having to pay a thing. They also have a bunch of other filter packs that you can purchase for .99 each, and I did end up buying the Organic filters. It is my second go-to photo editing app (the first still being my absolute favorite: PicTapGo).

Clue app
Again, I don't even care if this is weird to post about on my blog: I've found a cycle-tracking app that is pretty much the best! I used a different app in the past, but found it to be way too complicated and hard to record and view the data in a way that made sense. This, however, is an app that was beautifully designed and so easy to use. And I love that it is completely free!

1 Second Everyday app
At first, it was hard for me to understand the appeal of this app, which captures 1 second of video every day, compiling the images together to make little movies. However, once I got started, I fell in love. I don't take nearly enough video (despite having such a fancy phone!) and this app has encouraged me to take at least one snippet of video each day…always of the little moments I want to remember. It's so much fun (and super easy) to use, and is a must-have for parents, I'd say.

Next month, I'll be back to regularly scheduled swoonage (are you tired of that word yet?) and hopefully regularly scheduled posting. That's the hope! In the meantime, I'd love any recommendations you may have as far as audiobooks, podcasts, and things on Netflix to watch when I have time (which is never, but a gal can dream, can't she?). Do share, lovelies.

Further reading: What made me swoon one year ago

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.


  1. I just downloaded a couple of episodes of the podcasts that you recommended. I don't really love podcasts (yet?) but I try to listen to something other than music when I go for my runs. So, we shall see!

    I am also intrigued by the books you recommended. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think I'm going to have to give those two podcasts & "What Doesn't Kill Her" a try. Thanks for the recs!


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