Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans: The Gambler

This weekend was rather low key and I don't have pictures to share with you.  If you're a friend of mine on Snap Chat though you probably saw some pictures from Friday and Saturday night.  So rather than share pictures I'll share with you a song that could sum up my weekend.
After attending a Thirty-One party my aunt hosted Saturday afternoon I stayed at her house to enjoy an evening of adult beverages and some gambling.  We played games like Shut The Box and Right Center Left and I had a blast.  The only way it could have gotten any better is if I had won some of my money back.  Over the course of the night I lost $10!  Thankfully we were playing with quarters rather than dollars so it took me hours to lose those $10 rather than minutes.

The last time I gambled with my aunt and her friends was while we were in Illinois for the NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway last September.  We played with dollars then but I at least won once or twice.

Basically Kenny says it all when it comes to gambling...

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

After my night of gambling and drinking I spent Sunday laid up on the couch watching football and reading.  I need to finish The City of Ashes {Book 2 of The Mortal Instruments} so I can read the October BBC book once it's ready for me at the library.

Some questions for you...
Do you gamble ever?
How much are you willing to lose before calling it quits?

I'm linking up with Sami Shenanigans for Weekend Shenanigans.
Sami's Shenanigans
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Blogger Book Club: Me Before You

There are two things I am really excited about this morning; one being it is finally Friday and two being that it is time to link up for the first review of Blogger Book Club {BBC}!
The Best of Intentions

I love to read if you haven't picked up on that yet so when the lovely Kay {who's real name is Kristen} was curious if there were any bloggers who were interested in starting a book club I jumped at the chance.  What I really like about BBC is it's really laid back and is truly just about the books.  All you have to do to participate is read the book that is announced at the beginning {or end of the previous} month, read it, then post whatever kind of review you would like, and link up!  How easy is that?

Now let's get onto the good stuff shall we?

Earlier this month the first BBC book was announced, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  After reading the description on Good Reads I was really really anxious to start reading.  Once I finally had the chance after finishing a book I had previously started I could not put it down!  I was this close to calling in to work so I could just stay in bed and read all day.  Had that been an option I'm sure I would have finished it before the day was done.  Instead I read it before work for two mornings and in bed until I couldn't keep my eyes open any more for two nights.  The second night I didn't care how tired I was {it was a Friday night} I was going to stay up until I had finished the damn thing.

Be prepared with a tissue or two box of tissues!  I have never cried from reading a book before but this one did it for me.  During the last few pages I had tears rolling down my face and even after I finished reading as I was still thinking about the story I was crying.  Huge props to Jojo Moyes for writing such a beautiful story and in such a way that it really hit home for me.

Was the ending what I wanted it to be?  Definitely not.  I knew what was coming but all along I really hoped I would be surprised and the ending would turn out differently.  That being said, I think the ending was the right one for the story.

I found the leading characters Louisa and Will to be very real to me.  Could I find people like this out in the world today?  I think so.  I liked Lou right away and was interested to find out that she has a little back story that made her into the woman she is and that the story wasn't just about Will's journey.  Will on the other hand is a little rough around the edges but Jojo smooths him out and makes you like him and feel for him and his struggle.

I highly recommend Me Before You to anyone looking for a good great book to read.  I actually have been recommending this to people on Twitter when I see them looking for new books.  I hope some of those people have looked into the book and decided to read it.  This is one book I wouldn't want anyone to pass up.

Be sure to head over to The Best of Intentions to link up your review if you participated in BBC for September.

If your interest has been peaked and you want to join BBC for the month of October you're probably wondering what our next book is, right?  Well lucky for you our lovely leader has found us one!

Here's the description from Good Reads:
In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.
At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. 
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. 
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.
This is not a book I would typically pickup for myself.  That's what I love {is it too early to say that?} about BBC, finding new books to read that I wouldn't choose on my own.  I'm broadening my horizons and being more open to things that are outside of the norm for me.

It looks like the link up date has not been announced for October yet but it will be towards the end of the month, like this one was.  So you have a whole month to get your hands on a copy of Olive Kitteridge and read it before it's time to post your review.  Let me know if you're thinking of joining BBC for October, I would love to be able to talk to you about the book as we're reading it.

And if you have a book you think BBC should read let Ms Kay know!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Long Weekend Recap

Good morning friends.  Long time no chat, huh?

The last you heard from me was on Friday before the start of my 4 day weekend.  What a weekend it was!  Of course because I'm a procrastinator I hadn't packed a thing until I got home from work around 7:45pm which means I was scrambling to put a bag together so my dad and I could hit the road.  Rushing means forgetting things usually and forget things I did.  Nothing I couldn't survive without but definitely things that would have been nice.  Like my laptop for example.

This campground is really for people who don't really like to rough it.  We had fresh water and sewer hookup, cable, and Wifi.  See?  Not really roughing it.  I still went out and did things in nature though, don't you worry!

Saturday the weather wasn't the greatest when we woke up so instead of fishing we ended up driving around.  It was while driving around we were able to stop some deer!

Driving around only lasts for so long though so after grabbing some ice-cream {who cares if it was only 40 degrees?!} my dad and I ended up back at the camper to relax while watching TV / reading a book.

Sunday the weather was much better so my dad went fishing with a friend {who is retired and lives at the campground all summer}.  Bo and I were left at the camper to chill.  A little day drinking and a lot of book reading occurred.  Had Bo been a better day drinking buddy I think more of that would have occurred.

My mom joined us Sunday afternoon after she returned from her road trip to Minnesota where her parents attended a wedding.  By my momma coming up it allowed me to go fishing Monday with my dad and our "guide" John {the retired friend}.

We caught some fish, 20+ keepers to be a little bit more specific.  The weather was pretty much perfect and I had a blast.  We even fed a bald eagle!  I have a video but I would really like to know if I can upload it without sound because our commentary throughout the video is unnecessary.  Anyone know if that's possible?  Or does anyone know if I can create a picture from the video?

We went to a late lunch with John and his wife at a local drinking establishment.  It was probably one of the best bar burgers I have ever had!  And on Mondays it's hamburger day so everything was cheap.  I'm talking 5 people ate for less than $30 cheap!

Around 7pm my momma, dad and I {Bo too} headed out on a drive looking for some albino deer.  We started off seeing regular old brown ones like crazy.  But just as we were finishing our drive I spotted an albino on the side of the road and made my dad pull over so I could snap some pictures.

These are wild deer however they are pretty tame and do not run from cars very easily as you can see.  We weren't exceptionally quite while sitting on the side of the road snapping pictures and yet they never showed signs of spooking.  Good thing though or I wouldn't have been able to snap as many pictures as I did.

My dad went out fishing one more time Tuesday morning, this time for muskies.  They were successful and caught three, one being 39.5'' long!  While my dad was fishing my mom and I were packing the camper up so we could head home.

It was a great weekend and I really didn't want to come home.  It definitely felt good to sleep in my own bed though rather than on the camper couch.  Thankfully I only have to make it through 3 days of work until the weekend again.

On a side note before I end this post I wanted to point all of my readers in the direction of this post by Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars about how to fix being a no-reply blogger.  I really love receiving comments from all of my readers and it breaks my heart when I go to respond to those amazing comments via email and I can't because the one who left the comment will never receive it.  I'll be honest, I forget to go back and respond to comments in other ways besides email.  So please, if you can, be sure to use an email address when you comment so I can send my response to your comment via email!

And one more side note...weigh in Wednesday happened.  I didn't post yesterday but I do want to track my weigh in on the blog so here goes.
Starting weight {highest weight recorded}: 206.6 206.8
Last weigh in, Sept. 18th: 206.6
Wednesday's weigh in: 206.8
Gain of 0.2
Not the worst considering I haven't worked out and haven't cared what I've been putting in my mouth.  But this coming week things are changing!  I don't work until 11am now so I have plenty of time in the morning to get to the gym for a work out.  And because I get home so late I can make my own meal pretty much.  It's time to start cracking down on everything and get back on track.

Okay, no more side notes...I'm out of here!  Have a great Thursday peeps!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Five on Friday: 4 Day Weekend

Happy Friday!  This week dragged by for me so I'm extremely happy to see that it is finally Friday.

This is so me!
I don't really have anything planned to talk about today despite having a ton of things that I want to talk about, like the Justin Moore concert I went to at the end of August and the awesome website I use to track my wish list that lets me know when those items go on sale or are lowered in price.  So because I'm winging it I decided to link up for 5 on Friday.

1. Hello 4 day weekend!  As of 7pm tonight I am free from work for the next 4 day and I could not be more excited about it.  My dad, Bo, and I are headed up north tonight to start a long weekend of camping.  My mom will be joining us Sunday after she returns from taking her parents to Minnesota for a wedding.

2. Justin Moore you've done it again with your album Off The Beaten Path.  I am in love with every song on there.  Now if only all of the songs would work correctly.  Damn you iTunes or whatever the hell is messing things up for me.  First it was Dirt Road Kid and now it's Beer....seriously, let's get it together so I can listen to the full album soon!

Well hello there!
3. I surely hope the fall weather is here to stay.  Yesterday it was 80 and humid which I am not a fan of.  Bring on the cool weather that make drinking a hot chocolate from Biggby more acceptable!  This weekend is looking promising ranging from the high 50's to the low 70's.

4. Does anyone else wish there was a laundry fairy that would come around to take care of that pesky little chore?  I'm doing laundry this morning to try and make sure I have enough clothes {read: enough clothes I actually want to wear} to take up north for 4 days.  I procrastinated on doing this until the last minute so hopefully it all gets done before it's time to leave.

5. I am loving my new hair cut!  Wednesday morning I went in with a picture of Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy and I went for it.  {Apparently I have been watching Grey's Anatomy too much lately.} Now I just need to learn how to style my damn hair.  I have a curling iron that I have no idea how to use on my hair.  I need someone to come to my house and teach me because I've watched tutorials but I cannot duplicate what I see.

And that's all I've got for this Friday morning.  I'm off to go work on some more laundry and start the process of drying and styling my hair.  I hope this work day flies by because I don't know if I can handle another slow day.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weigh In Wednesday: I Thought It Was Magic!

Happy Hump Day!  We made it to halfway and I'm happy to report that the first half of the week didn't drag by.  The second half probably will just for the simple fact that I am looking forward to my 4 day weekend that's on the horizon.
Weigh In Wedneday

But let's get down to business.  It's Weigh In Wednesday in addition to Hump Day so I got my big booty up this morning to step on the scale.  The scale reflected exactly what I thought it would so there was a gain.  Which puts me right back to where I started.

Apparently I think it's magic and the pounds are just going to fall off if I'm sitting around doing absolutely nothing.  I need a wake up call obviously because anyone who has successfully lost weight and kept it off will tell you that it's hard work!

The gain on the scale can be attributed to the fact that I haven't kept up with Sweatember which I talked about here.  I've been lazy and haven't done a single work out in two weeks.  As a result I'm currently failing at one of my 90 day challenge goals {also mentioned in the previous link} which was is to make working out a habit.

My gain on the scale can also be attributed to not really paying any attention to my diet what so ever.  I eat whatever I want and even though it's not all junk it's definitely not all good.  I don't pay attention to how much I am eating either.  I'm drinking 2 cans of Mountain Dew a day and have not been drinking any measurable amount of water.

I dropped the ball.  Big time.

I know what I am doing wrong so I just need to get on board the skinny train and fix it.  Being realistic with myself it probably won't happen this week.  But you can bet you ass I will be getting back to it next week!  With my new work schedule being 11a-7p I have no excuse to not get a morning work out in.  And honestly, that's a lot more appealing to me than having to work out when I get home when it's almost 8p.

So here are the stats from weigh in today.

Starting weight {highest weight recorded}: 206.1 206.6
Last Weigh In Wednesday, Sept. 4th: 206.1
Last Weigh In, Sept. 11th: 204.8
Today's Weigh In, Sept. 18th: 206.6

As you can see by the stats I had hope that the weight loss would be magic seeing as I lost over a pound by doing nothing.  But today's weigh in proved me wrong and slapped me in the face back to reality that it takes hard work and dedication to lose the weight.

I have the MyFitnessPal {MFP} app on my iPhone and I'm always looking for new friends to support and help me along my journey.  If you're a member of MFP add me here!

In addition to Hump Day it is also hair cut day for me.  I'm still deciding if I want to try something different or not.  Hopefully I make up my mind in the next 55 minutes!

Peace out!
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Talk: Requiem & Beautiful Creatures

Hey there!  Long time no see huh?  I seem to be a pro at taking unnecessary and random breaks from blogging.  I'm back though and I have some book reviews for you!

First up is Requiem by Lauren Oliver.  I had been on the waiting list at the library for what seems like forever!  After getting through the first two books in the trilogy pretty quickly I was definitely anxious to see how it all would end.  I rated Requiem 5/5 stars and would definitely recommend the trilogy to anyone looking for a new read.  This is definitely a young adult, dystopia style book so if you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent I think you would like this one.  The following is a little about the book from Good Reads.

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

If you're looking for my reviews of Delirium and Pandemonium {first two books that came before Requiem} you can find them here and here respectively.

I will admit when I saw the preview for the movie version of Beautiful Creatures I scrunched up my nose and thought there was no way that I would ever want to watch it.  Then I realized that it was based on a book.  After seeing some friends on Good Reads had rated it pretty highly I decided I would give the book a shot.  Now I want to see the movie!  Beautiful Darkness is the next book in the Caster Chronicles and I know I will be itching to get my hands on it soon.  I rated Beautiful Creatures 4/5 stars and would definitely recommend it for anyone into the young adult, fantasy, paranormal/supernatural/magic stuff.  And now for a little something from  Good Reads.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

And now for a shameless plug about a new adventure I'm taking part in!

Being the bookworm that I am I jumped all over the chance to be a part of a blogger book club.  The lovely Kay from Best of Intentions put together Blogger Book Club.  It's really easy and laid back, no huge commitment other than to read the book and then share your thoughts about it.   At the beginning of the month the book will be announced and then at the end of the month you can post a review of the book and link up.  If you like to read then this is right up your alley!  I'm looking forward to finding new books that I would have never picked up on my own.

This month's book is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I read it in two days and that's all I will say about it for now.  I can't wait to link up on September 27th to share my thoughts with y'all!

Enjoy your Tuesday people.  I'm off to finally get ready for work.  I think I will grow to like my new 11a-7p shift.  But more on that later!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Weigh In Wednesday: September 4th

Good morning friends!  This is, what, my third post this week already?  I'm on FIRE with this blogging thing right now and I love it!

It's been a while since I participated in Weigh In Wednesday.  So long in fact that it has some new hosts!  Heather {Pretty Strong Medicine} Bailey {Being Bailey J} and Ash {A Step in the Right Direction} have taken over the weekly link up where you share about your current weight loss or fitness goals, or really anything on your quest to get healthy.

So lets get right to it shall we?

My lovely friend the Wii Fit scale told me it has been 112 days since it last saw me.  Yeah I fell off the wagon hard.  So hard that I ended up laying where I fell and just let it drive in circles around me waiting for me to get up and get back on.

Thankfully I got up, dusted myself off, and jumped back on thanks to some awesome challenges and ladies.  You can read all about those challenges here.

So here are the stats...
Starting Weight {highest weight recorded}: 206.1
Last Weigh In, May 8: 204.1
Today's Weigh In, Sept. 4: 206.1

Woof.  Way to go Amy.  You set a new record, and not in a good way.  Today's weigh in brought me up to a new high number on the scale.  The silver lining in it all is that it's only 1.1 pound more than my initial highest weight of 205.

I'm sticking with the same weight loss goal of 13 pounds {as mentioned yesterday} but thanks to this new weight I will only expect to reach 193 at the end of this 90 challenge.  I'm not going to let my weigh in bring me down.  Everyone starts some where, right?

That's really all I have for you today since I can't talk about what's been working and what hasn't been working for me yet.  I will say I have been sweating every day {except day 1} for the #SweatemberPSM challenge and I will definitely continue.  Tonight I will be continuing to sweat by completing week 1 day 2 of the Couch 2 5K program.  I almost completed it this morning but I decided that stepping on the scale for the first time in 112 days could have been torture enough for me.

Check back next week to see how my weigh in goes after putting in a week's worth of sweat!

Weigh In Wedneday
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

#NOtivation: All Aboard the Skinny Train!

Can you believe it is the third day of September already?!  Summer has come and gone and we're entering fall, my favorite season.  I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, being able to enjoy hot chocolate, and football season.

I've decided that with the new month upon us it would be the perfect time to get back on the healthy lifestyle wagon.  Or maybe if you're like Mallory from Mal Smiles you refer to it as the skinny train.  Whatever you want to call it, I'm on it!

To look at the big picture, I'm joining Faith from 'Cause You Gotta Have Faith on her 90 day challenge.  It isn't a specific challenge where the goals are set for me already so I can make it whatever I want it to be.  I thought this would be perfect to help me kick start my trip on the skinny train.  So what are my goals for this 90 day challenge?

  • Lose 13 pounds - I'm guessing that I'm back at 205 {or higher, gasp!} so if I lose 1 pound/week I will be at 192 pounds by November 30th.  With a BMI of 32.2 I am not only overweight but I am considered obese.  Losing weight is not optional, it has to be done for my health.  Of course there are other reasons why I want to lose weight but first and foremost is my health.  I want to be healthy.
  • Make working out a habit - I have never made working out a habit before because I have never stuck with it for any length of time.  It takes just 21 days to form a long-term habit and now I want to stick with it for 90 days.  If working out isn't a habit of mine by the end of these next 3 months I did something wrong.
  • Pay attention to what I'm eating - Since I'm just getting back on the skinny train I'm not looking to overhaul my diet just yet.  But that doesn't mean I can't pay attention to what I'm putting into my mouth.  I will start watching my portion sizes and paying attention to serving sizes.  This also includes working on my addition to Mountain Dew and increasing my water intake.
Now to back it down and take a look at September only I'm going to join Heather from Pretty Strong Medicine in her Sweatember Challenge.  Heather took the words right out of my mouth when she shared this in her Sweatember Challenge: Day 1 post, "The goal for this challenge is to make exercise/physical activity a mandatory activity in my life just like brushing my teeth, eating breakfast, etc..."

For me getting on the fitness train is the hardest part of getting on board with a healthy lifestyle.  Changing my diet or tracking what I'm eating is easier for me than working out on a consistent basis.  So I figure if I focus on fitness this first month of getting back on track with a healthy lifestyle it will make sticking with it long term that much easier later on.  During October my focus can be on my diet and I shouldn't need to worry so much about the fitness part because it will be a habit and just another mandatory part of my life.

Normally when I wrap up a post like this I would say "hopefully..." but this time there is no hopefully.  I will be committed to changing my lifestyle for the better.  I will stick to the Sweatember Challenge and the 90 day challenge.  I can do this!

I'm linking up for Curing #NOtivation for the first time.  I'm curing my #NOtivation by committing myself to challenges with other ladies who are also on their way to healthier versions of themselves.  And not only am I committing to these challenges but I am also making them public knowledge so all of blog world can hold me accountable!
Mal Smiles
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Long Weekend Shenanigans

Hey friends!  It's Monday night and I decided to sit down and write about my long weekend so that tomorrow is free for me to post about curing #NOtivation so I can link up with Mallory {Mal Smiles} and two other ladies.

I went up north with my parents Friday night after work to camp at Cedar Falls. In this particular area of the north woods I have no extremely spotty and poor cell phone reception.  As a result I did not have my phone on me 24/7 so I took maybe one picture.

2011 camping trip photo

Saturday while my dad was out fishing with Bo my mom and I were at the campsite planning to enjoy some time reading around the campfire.  The only problem was there was no fire.  After my failed attempt at starting a fire my mom gave it a shot and was successful.  This was a moment of pride for my momma as it was her first ever campfire that she started so she requested I take a picture for her.

After my dad returned from fishing my mom and I headed to town to do a little shopping.  I ended up finding an awesome t-shirt for Chelsea {my BFF} and Dan {her husband} that I plan on mailing to them tomorrow.  I will be sure to take pictures of the shirts before sending them on their way to Maryland.

Once our shopping excursion was done and we were back at the campsite we headed out fishing with my dad and Bo.  My mom doesn't fish so she reads in the boat.  We successfully brought home three walleyes.  At one point my dad and I both had fish on at the same time which was rather exciting.

Sunday morning we headed home because quite frankly I think two nights with no power was enough for my mom and I.  Sunday afternoon was spent relaxing.

While we were at Cedar Falls my dad and I picked an ice cream pail full of choke cherries so we could make jelly.  After cooking them Sunday afternoon we were able to make the jelly this morning.  My grandma came over to help my mom and me out since we had never made jelly before.  And make jelly we did.  Our one ice cream pail full of choke cherries was able to make 3 batches of jelly!

A long weekend was much welcomed even though I just had a long weekend just a week ago.  If only we could always have long weekends am I right?

Did you do anything special for your long holiday weekend?
If you could have long weekends all the time would you?

Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans tomorrow {Tuesday}.
Sami's Shenanigans
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