Hey friends! Friday is here! How are you? How was your week? Our week was a good one and relatively normal. Soccer started up again for Chase and we had a special visitor arrive yesterday! My Aunt Laurie recently moved from Raleigh to West Jefferson, North Carolina and we’re thrilled to have her even closer to us.

(She wrapped up a bunch of candy in a ball of streamers and it was a big hit for the boys — and then she wrapped them up! Haha!) 

She’s here for a short but sweet visit before she heads back to Raleigh for a baby shower but it’s been so great to have some time together to catch up. (You know we stayed up way too late chatting last night!) My cousin Andrew is getting married in May and since my Aunt Laurie the mother-of-the-groom, it’s been fun to hear more updates about the planning and the excitement surrounding his wedding day.

As for the weekend ahead, we are thinking of taking the boys to the zoo but other than that, plans are wide open. I’m sure we’ll fill our time with household to-dos and family fun and I’m ready to unplug and enjoy time with my favorite people. Have a great weekend my friends and I hope you enjoy today’s roundup of favorites!

Things I’m Loving Friday

I have the best news to share with you guys today! My sister gave birth to her baby boy! Introducing Luke!! Leslie and Ross welcomed Luke into the world late last week but I wanted to be respectful of their special news and give them time to share pictures and updates with friends and family before sharing more on my blog. But now I can shout it out and fill you guys in!! Luke is here and he’s healthy and Leslie is doing well and we’re all just incredibly grateful for answered prayers. The boys are incredibly excited to have another cousin (and their first boy cousin!) and you better believe I’ve already given Leslie boxes of hand-me-downs. We are counting down the days until our next Florida visit and I cannot wait to meet Luke and give my sister, nieces and brother-in-law some of the biggest hugs!

The number of these frames we have around our house right now is borderline ridiculous. I think they’re absolutely beautiful with a vintage yet modern look and since they come in three sizes, they’ve worked well in a number of spaces in our home. They can be hung on a wall but we’ve just been placing them on tabletops and countertops. I love them and they’ve helped motivate me to actually print off a few of the thousands of pictures I have on my phone.

Okay my fellow bougie pen lovers, I have a new pen recommendation for you! I owe Ryan the credit for these pens because I picked one up on our kitchen counter to use to scribble down a note and immediately thought to myself, “What is this magic!?” The pen glided perfectly across my paper without the need for intense pressure, felt good in my hand and wrote perfectly with no skips, drips or smears. I mentioned the pen to Ryan and he said a coworker actually gave it to him after he borrowed her pen and he raved about it for the very same reasons. They’re awesome!

Burn Boot Camp Live Workout Julie

Burn Boot Camp made an exciting announcement yesterday! You know the online streaming workouts I love so much? Well now they are FREE for both members and non-members on Burn’s YouTube channel Monday through Friday.

I fell in love with the convenience and quality of Burn’s online workouts during the pandemic and haven’t looked back. While you cannot replace the energy of in-person camps, I cannot always make it to Burn and the option to stream one of their workouts during the time it works best for me has been incredibly helpful. You can now stream the workouts live at 9 a.m. every weekday or check them out whenever it works best for your schedule via their YouTube channel. (I almost always stream them at random times because I can rarely tune into the live workouts.) I think it’s incredible Burn is offering this for free because I’ve seen first-hand how much time, effort and energy they pour into these online workouts. I hope to be in the studio participating in a live workout again soon!

My rating: A-

Talk about a wild ride!!! The Paris Apartment was one heck of an interesting and twisty read. Surprises were sprinkled throughout the book — something I appreciate since so many thrillers save all the twists and suprises for the end — and I absolutely devoured this one! (Worth noting this book seems to be polarizing but I am in the camp of people who really enjoyed it.) I found myself noticing the author’s creativity in this story over and over again and absolutely recommend it to anyone who loves suspenseful thrillers. It was filled with tension and questionable characters and was one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a while.

The book begins when Jess arrives in Paris for the first time to visit her brother Ben. She arrives at his apartment and quickly notices something is off. He’s not there and not answering his calls. His neighbors bristle at her questions and the tires his Vespa appear to be slashed. And, also, his apartment is amazing. How could he possible afford such a high-end place on a struggling journalist’s salary?

As Jess begins searching for Ben more and more questions begin to surface, questions that make her seriously concerned for her brother’s safety… and also her own. Who are Ben’s neighbors? Why does she get the feeling they know more about her brother than they’re willing to share? Who can she trust? And will she ever see her brother again?

Below you will find a recap of the top 10 most popular blog posts and your top 10 favorite items from February 2023. Hopefully this will help you check out some blog posts you may have missed or help you easily locate an item I’ve mentioned in the past that got buried in blog/social media mayhem!

Blog Posts:

Your Top 10 Favorites:


Book Recommendations by Category (A collection of some of my favorite reads organized by genre)

Easy Marinated Pork Chops (I made these for dinner again on Monday night and we all loved them!)

Easy Marinated Pork Chops

Question of the Day

Have you read any great thrillers lately? Any other must-read book recommendations to share?

What is one thing making you smile this week?