Our little home comes with one little bathroom. For now. We wanted to give it a little face lift, but since we know we will do a full remodel in the future we didn't want to spend too much.  B and I decided the biggest change would simply be to take down the one wall of wallpaper and add a pop of color with paint.    

Lilacs are absolutely beautiful (looking and smelling) flowers, but they aren't my style for bathroom walls and curtains.  The rest of the walls were painted a light purple to match.  The bottom half of the walls and the floor are tiled in black and white - this I'm actually not displeased with.  The sink is kind of a hot mess and that won't be shown on LL until it's updated :o)

B took down the wallpaper last weekend and tonight he is sanding and painting! For the new color we blended into our blue scheme in the living areas and bedroom, but went a little...BRIGHTER. 
Stay tuned for the Part II reveal!




Okay 2017 is making itself out to be an awesome year for psychological thrillers.  I just devoured another amazingly creepy and mind boggling Swedish thriller - The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe.

When you come across a book summary that starts with a beheaded body being found, how could you not be curious? Okay, maybe I'm slightly weird for being into murder mysteries but I know I'm not the only one out there!  (Shout out to all my Nancy Drew OGs.)

Grebe's story follows three characters as they maneuver their way around the finding of a murdered women's body in celebrity Jesper Orre's home.  Peter is a cop with what seems like no motivation or will to live a happy life.  He has no relationship with his son or anyone else it seems.  Hanne is a criminal profiler with, in my opinion, one of the most creative and brilliant minds.  She has been trapped in a controlling marriage for her whole life and is slowly dealing with a mental disease.  As much as she may be losing her memory, I thought this gave her a whole new way of looking at crimes and human behavior.  Lastly, we have Emma.  Jesper Orre fell in love with girl-next-door Emma and swept her off her feet.  When Jesper goes MIA, Emma is on the hunt to find him and figure out why he changed his mind with no explanation.  These three soon find their stories entwined and together snap the last puzzle piece into place.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I had absolutely NO clue how this story was going to unfold.  I had my suspicions here and there, but the way the crime fell together was beyond my theories.  This story was truly a mystery to me and why I am in love with it.  Being shocked and thrown for a loop at the last minute is exactly what I am looking for in a thriller.  It was a little gruesome, what with the beheading and all, but I am convinced this story could (and unfortunately probably does) happen in real life. 

Winter’s chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home—a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there’s a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.

To homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson, nothing about the suave, high-profile businessman—including a playboy reputation and rumors of financial misdeeds—suggests he conceals the dark heart and twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. In search of a motive, Lindgren and Olsson turn to the brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön. Once a valued police asset, now marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she’s eager to exercise her keen skills again—and offer the detectives a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.

But they’re not the only ones searching. Two months before, Emma Bohman, a young clerk at Orre’s company, chanced to meet the charming chief executive, and romance swiftly bloomed. Almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappeared. One staggering misfortune after another followed, leaving Emma certain that her runaway lover was to blame and transforming her confusion and heartbreak into anger.

Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.



I just finished Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris and I can only bring myself to give it 3/5 stars on Goodreads.  There were things I liked about this novel, but overall I feel kind of "blah" about it.  

Paris wrote the story going back between "past" and "present" times told from the point of view of Grace.  This technique I thought gave the story more depth.  Grace is a young woman who married who she thought was her dream guy after only a few months.  They fell in love fast and he seemed like the perfect gentleman.   He treated her with respect and took the time to listen and spend time with her sister with down syndrome.  Everything you would want in a guy....or at least he projected himself as this person.  On their wedding night, Grace's entire world would turn upside down.  With what seemed like a flip of a light switch, readers learn that Jack is not at all who we thought he was.  He makes clear to Grace who he is and what their new life together is going to be like.  

I think what I can't get over is how blunt Jack was with his personality.  There was no mystery about what was going on or what he wanted and what he planned to do.  Also, I felt the middle chunk of the story dragged on a little without any drama.  However, I can see why Paris did this - without going too far, the story is very realistic in her portrayal of domestic abuse.  Unfortunately, Jack and Grace's personal life could be absolutely anyone's.  Without knowing, your friend could be going through something similar to Grace.  

Not to be too hard on this novel, my favorite part was the last chapter in the present time.  To me, this was Paris' way of showing the reader that Jack and Grace's relationship might not have been the main thread to the whole story.  That yes there was abuse and a little thrill to what might happen, but another relationship was very significant to Grace's story.

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?



Happy Monday -- or should I say - Happy Monday Evening!  Woohoo, we made it through another Monday.  There were a few points I didn't think I was going to make it, how about you? Well we did and now it's time to have some dinner (mmm I can smell B's cooking!) and spend some time with my boys before I do a little more work this evening.

Tonight I wanted to share with you this great little lotion set B's mom gave me for Christmas.  I don't know how she did it, but she managed to find a Breakfast at Tiffany's OPI lotion set!  I have never seen this before, have you? It's just adorable and the little bottles are the perfect size for putting in my cosmetics bag. 

cran and berry + sweet lemon sage + sparkling mimosa

ginger lilly + holly red + vanilla lavendar



bookworm: the crow girl


The first thing I did when I closed THE CROW GIRL for the last time was text my sister to say "do yourself a favor and pick up this book."  I thought about writing this post right after finishing, but realized I needed some time to let the story completely digest. So many characters, so many plots, so many twists - but in the end everything comes together. 

The Crow Girl was written by two Swedish authors (Jerker Eriksson and Hakan Axlander Sundquist) who together make up the pen name Erik Axl Sund.  It started as three separate novels and then was merged into one and published in 2015.  I'm not even going to try and explain the story for you - nothing I say will give what these two authors have put together justice.  They capture true artistic writing with narrative sections and such descriptive language that you can't help but put the book down and try to picture exactly what is going on in your mind.  Even when some of the scenes were so grotesque and inhumane, I couldn't turn the page until I had an exact image of what I believed the characters were seeing.

I will say that by far my favorite part of this over seven-hundred pages book is that not until that last page did I truly know what was going to happen. There were several times a story unfolded and I was like "ahh okay I see what the author is doing here" but then a new twist would be thrown into the mix and I would once again be at a total loss.  This kept me flying through the pages and simultaneously making me put down the book to savor it.

At first the book jumped from so many characters' points of view that I couldn't keep everything straight.  Remember, this is a Scandinavian thriller so a lot of the locations and names are not "English."  However, once I got in far enough each character and place created its own slot in my brain and this writing technique ended up being part of what made the book a favorite.

Do I recommend this book? 100%, but I warn you it isn't for the faint of heart.  You need to be able to handle reading descriptive tales of violent child abuse, murder, and the hideous tendencies of human behavior.  

Oh, and you want a little more creepiness? Definitely go to their site. I am SO not into scary movies, but something about this book and these authors just has me intrigued.  I'm not afraid to admit that even though the book trailer creeped me right out, I couldn't stop watching it! 

Goodreads Summary:

It starts with just one body – the hands bound, the skin covered in marks.

Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg is determined to find out who is responsible, despite opposition from her superiors. When two more bodies are found, it becomes clear that she is hunting a serial killer.

With her career on the line, she turns to psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Together, they uncover a chain of shocking events that began decades ago – but will it lead them to the murderer before someone else dies?


bookworm: a monster calls

In honor of this motion picture coming out today, I'm dedicating today's post to A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness & illustrations by Jim Kay.

This book stirred up every single emotion inside of me.  I'm being completely honest when I say I cried throughout the entire story, just ask Brennan and Chip.  At first glance of the movie trailer, it could easily be thought that this is a scary story about a boy who had nightmares, but in reality it is a heart-wrenching story of a young boy and the tragedies he is faced with. Honestly, just typing this and thinking of the story is bringing tears to my eyes.

Conor is thirteen and finds himself struggling internally with external obstacles.  He is being bullied at school by classmates, misses his father who lives in America, and most of all is watching his mother suffer as she goes through treatments for cancer.  Ness brings us into Conor's nights where he finds himself having the same nightmare over and over.  One night a monster visits Conor in the form of the yew tree that grows in the neighboring graveyard.  The monster ends up explaining to Conor that the yew is a healing tree, and Conor is led to believe that the monster is there to save his mother and keep her from dying.  In the end, the purpose of the monster is so beautiful and I'm struggling not to share it with you.

My favorite part of this book is that Patrick Ness and Jim Kay joined forces and incorporated illustrations throughout the story.  To me these illustrations are more than just drawings, they have this crazy way of truly depicting what's going on and brought me deeper into the character. 
Goodreads Summary:

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. 



wsj crosswords

As I'm sure you have gathered, I LOVE READING.  Being an avid reader doesn't just mean I love novels - it means I have this crazy love for words.  A great past time I have become more interested with over the years is doing word puzzles.  As for games, there is BOGGLE (my older sister & I could literally sit there and play this game for hours!) and Scrabble.  When I was younger I was into the word searches - they didn't take too much deep thinking and I loved actually finding words that were not part of the puzzle.  

Now that I have a daily subscription to the WSJ, I am finding myself obsessed with the daily crosswords.  I will admit that some clues I just cannot figure out, but I'll get there! I also try to expand my vocabulary and really make sure I understand every word I see.  My Gram Rena's (I miss you) best friend Pauline used to tell us grandkids to keep a notebook with us and whenever we came across a word we could not define to look it up in the dictionary and add it to our notebook. I would go through periods growing up where I stuck to this, but now I'm going to force myself to do it and doing it with the daily crosswords is the perfect motivator.

Do you enjoy word puzzles?



Make Things Happen

I found this notebook at HomeGoods and I just had to have it. I mean the marble alone made me swoon, but the words just hit home.  Sometimes you just have to make things happen

Let's make that our slogan for 2017 - what do you say? Are you ready to make things happen? I know I am. I have always been a very determined individual (you pretty much have to be to make it through law school) and lately I feel the extra need to push myself. Push myself towards my goals - in my personal life and in my career.

2017 I have set some high goals for myself and I won't waste any time. 
Here are the top 5 things I want to achieve this year:

Okay, this is my top priority!! This year we will be together 11 years & engaged 4!  As of today we don't have any plans - so calm down everyone who thinks I have a wedding planned & didn't tell you! :-) I'm just officially ready to get this ball rolling. I graduated law school, passed the bar, and we bought a home.  B & I both want a small intimate backyard party, so this is definitely something we can plan and execute within 365 days. 

TWO | Read 50 Books
Each year I make myself a reading goal on Goodreads. During law school I was reading 100+ books, on top of my school work! Since I started working I have found myself "too tired" or "too stressed" to read & that's just not acceptable.  Reading is an outlet for my mind and I can't let myself forget that.  No matter what's happening at work or in life, reading is my passion and it makes me who I am.

L, my best friend from college, had a beautiful baby boy in 2016. Due to both of our crazy schedules, somehow it became the next year and I still haven't met her little man.  We talk almost every day and she is constantly sending pictures my way, but nothing is the same as seeing someone in person.  I cannot wait to meet him & give him the biggest hug imaginable. I love you guys

FOUR | Update our electric.
This is goal for both B and I. Currently our home has a fuse box and mostly two-pronged outlets. We want to upgrade to an electrical panel and update all the outlets.  The goal here isn't to simply have this project done, but to be able to actually pay for it.  Prior to purchasing our home, B and I spent the prior year focusing on paying off debt and giving ourselves a fairly clean slate.  I am very proud of the both of us and we try to continue to tackle one project at a time to stay as close to that clean slate as we can. As we saw with our furnace, you just never know when an emergency will pop up and to not already be in debt would be a blessing. 

FIVE | Be Happy
Even though last year brought me so many amazing things (hello my first home!), I also saw myself very stressed and unhappy a lot.  Along with all my other goals, listed here and in my head, I vow to be happy with myself.  I am so proud of who I am as a person and what I have accomplished in my life. No matter what happens on a daily basis or how stressful life can get, I need to remember that and always believe in myself.  I can't let other people bring me down or make me think I'm only one inch tall. I will continue to surround myself with the people that matter and listen to them when they have something to say.  I will not let my stress get the best of me and take it out on the people I love.  As someone wise once said to me, "happiness is a state of mind - you either allow yourself to be happy or you don't." This year, and every year, I will allow myself to be happy.

What do you want to make happen this year?!