Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: May 2017

May 31, 2017

What I've Read Lately

I have been slacking and am 5 books behind schedule for my yearly reading schedule, but now that I haven't been falling asleep right after work every day I may get back on track.

I'm excited to get back in the groove today and share what I've been reading because book reviews are some of my favorite posts to write. I hope you find a book you can enjoy...and please share with me what you're reading, getting book ideas from my readers is the best!

The Charm Bracelet 4/5
book review

This book was recommended to me by a great friend who has impeccable taste in everything (Hi Raine!) so I immediately added it to my reading list when she told me about it. I fell in love with this book and the story about the 3 women in it: Lolly, Arden and Lauren. Arden and Lauren take off to visit their mother and grandmother Lolly and during their visit Lolly tells the story about all the charms on the charm bracelets they share. The stories and journey for each women bring the group together and remind us of the true meaning of family.
I adored the stories and the personalities of each of the women, and the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it took me awhile to get through it. While I really enjoyed the book, it was hard to get back to reading it day after day as the story didn't make me want to read it RIGHT NOW...if that makes sense.

Buttercream Bump Off  3.5/5

While I thought the grammar and story-telling in the first book of this series, the second one changed my mind a little. Of course I will always enjoy a story about cupcakes, so this book was definitely a good one for me. The grammar still wasn't perfect which definitely irritates me (who the heck are these publishers?)...but I liked the story. Melanie and Angie's bakery is preparing for Valentine's Day and in the midst of the craziness Mel's mother becomes a murder suspect after her one date with a well known man in town. It's a cute easy read...especially if you like cupcakes and baking.

The Secrets of My Life  5/5
caitlyn jenner book

Wow, what a book. I read this as soon as it came out, and finished it in just a few days. I was constantly anxious to find out more and read the next part of her story. It covers Bruce's childhood and his rise to stardom as an Olympian, to meeting Kris and the adventures with the Kardashians. You never know what is REALLY true, but from watching the show (yes I watch, I love reality TV) it seems like the tales of living with a house of famous women brought Bruce down and really let Caitlyn emerge and follow her heart. I have always enjoyed reading autobiography's and memoirs and Caitlyn's story did not disappoint.

Right now I have Into The Water on my iPad and have started that and STILL need to finish Find Your Extraordinary...my goal is to have a review on that next month and be done with it. We are going on vacation in the beginning of June so I have a feeling that I'll knock some books of my reading list.

Tell me...what's on your list? Have you read any of these books I mentioned?

May 26, 2017

Baby Lawrence- The First Trimester

Since I am now past the first trimester, I wanted to give a recap of what happened so I can remember it all through this journey and in years to come, and share an update on Baby Lawrence.
I want to start off by saying, Chuck and I are very fortunate to have been able to conceive easily, as I know this isn't the case for everyone. We feel very blessed that everything has been easy breezy and healthy so far with this pregnancy.

Due Date: November 27-- I am SO excited to have a new baby here for Christmas, it's going to be even more magical with a little one around.

Size: Baby Lawrence is the size of a Matchbox car, growing right on track. I am using the Ovia Pregnancy app and really enjoying it.

Sickness: Every. Damn. Morning. Not only nausea, but hugging the porcelain princess at around 6:45 am like clockwork. I was sick a few times before finding out I was pregnant, but since I've only NOT been sick about 5 days. This part can end soon please!

Cravings: Anything I can keep down...which is everything bland, and Frosty's. I eat toast, grilled cheese, baked potatoes and brown rice like it's my job. Frosty's are also something that tastes good and stays down in the afternoon.

Weight Gain:  down 17 pounds. Yes, I've lost that much from being sick...I just want to see a baby bump!

Physical Changes: I've noticed my skin seems to be more dry, but other than that nothing that I've really noticed except pure exhaustion. A little energy has come back these past few weeks, but up until then I was taking a nap after work or falling asleep around 8 pm for the night.

Best Moment So Far: Announcing the pregnancy was pretty fun, but the best was seeing our sweet baby in the sonogram pictures. It was pretty surreal, and I love having them around.

Purchases: A baby Starbucks sippy cup (used in our announcement picture) a few gender neutral outfits because I couldn't help myself and maybe a pink bib that has a cupcake on it and says Little Sister (JUST IN CASE- I have a feeling it's a girl).

Most Excited For: I keep thinking about Christmas and snuggling a baby on the couch while the trees are lit up and I cry happy tears. We are all just so excited, and while I'm a little terrified because I'm clueless about infants I also can't even wait to see this little babe!

Thank you for all your kind words and sweet messages on our exciting news, we are SO happy and thankful for this journey. Have a great long weekend, Happy Memorial Day!

May 24, 2017

Las Vegas MUST List

I've had this post in my draft list for about a year, and after having major Vegas withdrawls I put together my MUST List for Sin City. I'll tell you straight up- I'm not a gambler, but I absolutely love Las Vegas...between the energy, the shows, the sights--it's such an exciting place.

I've been there four or five times, and seriously always lust over going back again. At my age now, long weekends are perfect, but there is always SO much to see and do that you can never get bored in Las Vegas!

Must See:
The iconic Las Vegas Sign-- you may have a little bit of a wait, because any time I've ever gone it's been busy but it's a little less crazy at night it seems. My advice is to take a taxi there, because it's a long walk in the heat but it's so fun to snap some pictures in front of this cool sign.
The view of Vegas from the top of the Stratosphere-- when we went in 2015, it was my first time going to the top of the Strat to see the city. I don't know why I didn't go sooner. You can see for miles, and it's such a pretty view.

To enjoy the view from inside, the 107 Sky Lounge offers another fun experience from the top of the Stratosphere. 
The Fountains of Bellagio- a dance between water, music and light that you don't want to miss. There's a show every half hour between over a thousand fountains outside of the hotel. The water reaches over 460 feet at times to sounds of Frank Sinatra, Faith Hill, Elvis Presley and many more. A free attraction that is beautiful at day and night- it's one of my favorite things to see every time we go to Vegas. I find it so peaceful to sit and watch the beauty of the fountains.
bellagio vegas
Must Explore: 
Freemont Street--also known as Old Vegas, it's a whole different eclectic vibe and people watching is the best thing you can do here. Between dancing in the street, the wild performers, light shows and flair bartenders--it's a wild and definitely fun time to just walk around and take it all in.
Walk to the Golden Nugget to see the tank filled with sharks and fish and the water slide that goes through it--so cool! The pool is really nice too with cabanas and multi-level views of the shark tank.

Gold and Silver Pawn Shop--if you've ever watched Pawn Stars on TV, you know this shop. Rick, Chumlee, Corey and the Old Man are sometimes out on the floor and Chuck saw them when he visited once. It's a free attraction where you can browse the goods...they call it an outlet store that sells history.

Neon Sign Museum-- I have never been but from what I've seen from other's trips and tours-it looks amazing so I'm adding it to the list. It's two acres with over 200 signs, some of them are restored and it looks like an incredible place. Tickets for tours start at $15 depending on age and residency.

The casinos-- whether you're a gambler or not, the hotels and casinos themselves are so interesting. Each one is different from the last and it's like sightseeing just walking inside of them down The Strip. Some of my favorites are: Mandalay Bay, The Venetian, New York, New York, Hard Rock, The Palms and Aria.
aria decor

Must Eat: 
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM-- located at The LINQ it is a real, working ATM that dispenses cupcakes in individually packaged boxes and will make you squeal with joy. Coolest thing ever. The Sprinkles Red Velvet is my favorite flavor.
cupcake atm

sprinkles cupcake atm
Secret Pizza at The Cosmopolitan-- it's a hidden gem that you can find on the third floor of the hotel. Take the escalators to the third floor, and as you exit the escalator there is a hallway in front of you lined with record covers, which is to the left of the tapas restaurant Jaleo. Follow the hallway to the end and boom- pizza! But as the signs say, no ranch. There are pinball machines to keep you occupied while you wait, and it's some of the best pizza you'll ever have.
pizza las vegas

how to get to secret pizza

secret pizza vegas

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand- Holy. Cow. There aren't enough words to properly describe how amazing my meal was here. It was one of the top 3 meals I've ever ate and can't recommend it fast enough. The service was out of this world, which is always a huge plus.
Even if you're not a huge seafood person, Emeril's is delicious and has something for everyone I would say.

Yolos Mexican Grill in Planet Hollywood- I love Mexican, and this restaurant did not disappoint. We ate here before Britney's show for easy access and the whole vibe was awesome. From the fun colors, to the variety of options on the menu to the 60 different tequilas...Yolo's is the place to be in Planet Hollywood.

Must Do: 
See a show-- there are so many good ones all the time, my favorites are obviously Britney: Piece of Me and Blue Man Group at Luxor. If you don't buy tickets ahead of time, be spontaneous and head to Tix 4 Tonight to score some last minute deals for a show.
britney las vegas

Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris-- I've only been up at night, so I would definitely love to check it out during the day. It was very crowded and busy when we went up and we had to wait a while, so maybe during the day it's a different experience, but I'm not positive.
Tickets during the day start at $14.25 per person and at night it is $19.25 per person

paris las vegas

Ride the roller coaster at New York, New York. I LOVE rides--this one goes 67 mph and is $15 to ride. It was so fun to be on the top and see the views of The Strip while you flew through the air.

Take a gondola ride at The Venetian--they have them available inside the hotel and outside. I personally prefer the outside and while it is $29 per person (on a weekday) in a four seater it is well worth the money. You feel like you are in Italy and the gondoliers are so amazing and talented- singing and steering a boat, that's good stuff if you ask me!
gondola venetian

Must Drink: 
Lollipop Passion Goblet or the Cotton Candy Martini at Sugar Factory, which is now in a new location and looks even more gorgeous than before, I can't wait to go back and see the views from the Chocolate Lounge.

Juice from the Juicy Factory- we found this gem when getting ready to explore Caesar's Palace. It is located on the lower level of the Fashion Show Mall and is a cute little spot. The juice menu changes weekly, but I had a pineapple coconut juice and it was so delicious...perfect refreshment when you're walking The Strip.
juice factory drinks

must see vegas

A tatonga from Rhumbar, at The Mirage--Chuck and I stumbled upon this gem on one of our first trips to Vegas. This place has such a cool vibe and beautiful outdoor sitting area and has been voted best patio in Las Vegas.
mirage las vegas


That's the top of my Vegas MUST List...what would you add to the list?!

Remember to pin this for your next trip or share with someone you know traveling to Las Vegas soon!

May 15, 2017

It's Time To Spill The Beans...

Hi everyone! I know I said I would get better at this blogging thing I once did. I swore I was going to get some energy and get back in to it. Part of me knew that was possible, and the other part of me knew what was really going on.

We announced earlier today...that we are pregnant! Well,, I am...but you know what I mean. Our family is so excited that new Baby Lawrence is coming this Thanksgiving!

I hope this explains a bit of my unexpected blogging break. My little breakdown back in March made sense weeks later when I took a few tests and saw the words PREGNANT. No wonder I was feeling so tired and out of sorts!

When I'll get back to consistently posting...I don't know,  because the sickness and exhaustion have taken a front seat, while I'm growing this little babe. I will share bits and pieces of our journey here, because I want to document it and I love reading other's updates. I want to keep the beginning stages and how I found out private to our family, but I can share that we are all SO excited for this sweet baby to join our crew.

To all the Mom's (birth moms, adoptive moms, puppy moms, godmothers, and any mom who nurtures a sweet soul) --I hope you had the best Mother's Day. Next year, I will have one more blessing to count when I celebrate and that means the world to me.

An extra special thank you to my wonderful husband who has been super supportive and extra sweet- including being the creative brain and photographer behind our announcement and big brother Ethan who checks on me non-stop to make sure I'm okay and all our family and friends who have shared in our excitement and given us unconditional love.

Have a great week friends, XO!!

May 3, 2017

What's New...

Hi friends! It's been a while...four weeks to be exact. I didn't intentionally plan on taking this long of a break after admitting I've been overwhelmed, but I guess it sort of naturally happened for a reason.

Here's what I've been up to while I haven't been blogging....

Enjoying this amazing sunshine--it's SO good for the soul.

Online shopping...I told myself I would calm down, and then I discovered more things on sale at Nordstrom and Amazon Pantry. Dangerous stuff.

Refreshing our living room--moved out a huge bookcase I was really sick of and added a floating shelf for some family pictures. This is a different view of the living room than what I'm talking about--but I love it so much I had to share here too.

Chuck and I cleaned out our garage which was much overdue. I said I was going to post my wedding decor and sell it but really I don't have patience for that (awful I know) so I donated the majority of it. We got rid of SO much and it felt so good. With every holiday I have been going through decor and getting rid of things we don't use anymore so I'll continue to do that to hopefully clear out even more.

We hit the zoo and the local hot spot Sara's for some curly fries and hot dogs and enjoyed every second we could outdoors. I could watch those monkeys and orangutans for hours...so so cute.

I did this amazing thing that our new Giant Eagle (grocery store) offers--Curbside Express. It's normally $4.95 but your first 3 visits are free. I shopped online from the comfort of my couch for our groceries and picked them up Monday after work. It was glorious and I would probably pay $10 if I had to because it was that amazing. The employee wouldn't let me help load (I think that's normal) but he was super polite and made me feel really pampered--if that's a thing at the grocery store.

Went shopping for my sister in-law's wedding dress--it was so fun to be there for someone else and give advice while she was shopping (not unsolicited, don't worry). She looks like a princess, and I'm so excited for her wedding.

Saw the Pirates play the Yankees at PNC Park...Ethan requested to go to the game so we went with my father-in-law and had a bunch of fun. I love that place!
A post shared by emelia🖤 (@emeliaanne_) on

Read 3 books- that means a blog post is coming on those. I've REALLY missed writing book recaps, so yay for that!

I think that's all the major stuff...nothing too crazy, but much needed to clear my head.
What's new with you? I've missed you all-- it feels so good to write again!

May 2, 2017

Monthly Favorites Link- Up

Is this thing on?!
Wow...it's been one month since I have last blogged, and honestly I think about the same time since I've touched the laptop.

I knew a break was necessary, and planned only to take a few weeks to clear my head. Then, life happened...I've just been exhausted and needed the time off.

I've read some posts here and there, and commented on a few. I really miss reading all of your posts (I know I say it all the time, but it's so true) but there just hasn't been enough time in the day.

I have a few posts planned that I've been working on...and a fun one that I was really excited about before I took my break, so I'm looking forward to finishing that and getting back to connecting with all of you, because I really really miss you.

Today I'm checking in to remind you of mine and Macy's Monthly Link- Up. Sadly, I won't be sharing any favorites today since I'm out of the loop for April. But please check out Macy's post today and link up your monthly goals, accomplishments, favorites and fun!

Look for more from me later this week so I can catch you up with what's been going on in my world. In the comments link a favorite post of yours from April so I can check it out!

Happy Tuesday friends--can't wait to chat again soon!