January Thrift Haul

For the first thrift haul of 2023, the term “haul” may be a little overstated. However, I am certainly sticking to my goal to be much pickier about what comes into the house!

This month I thrifted just 1 item. Let’s take a look:

Blue Velvet Chaps midi skirt, $4.79

I actually didn’t even bother trying this on when I was shopping, figuring that if I made a $5 mistake I’d just re-donate it. Thankfully, it fits well because it is so incredibly soft and I love the shade of blue. Believe me when I say that NOBODY at my work pays any attention to my outfits – but the day I wore this skirt I received multiple compliments. MULTIPLE.

For work this month, I paired the blue velvet skirt with a light-wash denim shirt, dark purple tank top and sparkly blue flats.

I feel like this type of skirt is super versatile and can be paired with a tank and cardigan, topped with a long sleeve blouse, or made even more casual with a t-shirt and denim jacket. For less than my typical Starbucks order, I consider it a steal!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

2023 Book List

It’s time to switch over and start a new yearly book list! As I finish each book, I share it and a mini review in real-time on my Instagram Stories and I also keep an updated list here.

If you’re interested in my previous lists, you can find them here: 2020 Book List, 2021 Book List and 2022 Book List. Feel free to bookmark this page, as I will keep it updated as I finish each book. I’ll also stick a link to this post over on the right sidebar for easy access.

Here are the books I’ve read so far in 2023:

Book #, Information & LinkMini Book Review
Book #1 of 2023:
The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
Natalie’s last few days of her senior year is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing momentary glimpses of things looking wrong. But then her wold town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. This is a time-traveling love story and I really wanted to like it. But it was confusing and clunky and the explanations were just so verbose and random. I really thought the book was leading up to an ending that would make everything work and make sense. But it just left me annoyed at how murky it all was.
Book #2 of 2023:
The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea
The night they go missing, high school seniors Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are at a beach party in their small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. Two weeks later, Megan escapes from a bunker. It’s a triumphant story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Holy crap this story was suspenseful. I literally felt out of breath racing through the end and yelled HOLY SHIT multiple times. If you love a suspenseful murder mystery, you’ll be glued to this one.
Book #3 of 2023:
When in Rome by Sarah Adams
Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, a superstar pop singer is feeling burnt out and decides to escape to Rome. The closest Rome to her… Rome, Kentucky. This romantic comedy is one of the BEST I’ve read in quite awhile. I loved the relationship between Amelia and Noah and I loved his busybody sisters. If you’re looking for a romantic, feel-good story that will also make you giggle, this one is fantastic.
Book #4 of 2023:
Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane
A sharp, emotional novel about a women who calls off her engagement to “the perfect man” and moves in with a charming stranger who makes her question everything about her life, her past, and the secretes she’s kept for far too long. I absolutely love Mhairi McFarlane and this book is another fantastic read from her. There are some tough parts of bad relationships and emotional abuse, but oh my gosh does she persevere. There are amazing friendships, girl power support, a bad guy getting his comeuppance, and romance too. Loved it!
Book #5 of 2023:
Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch
A travel-loveing teen of divorced parents, Willow is forced to spend the summer she expected to be filled with wanderlust instead stuck in Salem. She connects with another teen, Mason, who is dealing with his own heavy family issues and time in foster care. While a romance brews between the two, they also work to solve a long family curse of Willow’s. Every chapter switches between Willow and Mason, which for me made the book drag on a bit. It’s a YA novel, but it also deals with first love, foster care and addiction. I thought it was a sweet and touching story of redemption and finding a place where you fit.
Book #6 of 2023:
The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden
As Lolly Blanchard’s thirty-third birthday approaches, her quirky great-aunt gives her a mysterious gift — three lemon drops, each of which allows her to live a single day in a life that might have been hers. I love the premise of this book — who doesn’t think ‘what if’ when looking at different times in their life? I loved Lolly and couldn’t put this book down. In fact, I read it all in one day. It was sweet. And bittersweet. And I loved it.
Book #7 of 2023:
No Funny Business by Amanda Aksel
Olivia Vincent dreams of stand-up comedy stardom. Lawyer by day, comic at night… it’s only a matter of time before she drops the ball and loses her day job. Determined to pursue her dreams, she snags an audition in Los Angeles for a coveted spot on light-night TV. But the only way to get there is to seasoned stand-up comic Nick Leto on a cross-country road tour. I loved the buddy road trip vibe between Olivia and Nick. Lots of sarcastic banter and flirting. I was a bit put off that it apparently takes 2 weeks to fall in love, but that’s RomCom for you! A fun read with lots of Seinfeld and stand-up comic references.
Book #8 of 2024:… Coming Soon…

Most of my books are borrowed using Kindle Unlimited (you can read my full review from 2015 here). If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited yet, it’s like an all-you-can-read for books and I’ve been using it for the last few years: Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans.

I also regularly use my local library for physical books and both Overdrive and Hoopla through my local library website for online books (you can download them straight to your Kindle or read them on your web browser). If you have a library card, be sure to check your library’s website to see if they work with an online partner. I mean, FREE BOOKS!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Kitchen Backsplash DIY: Using Peel and Stick Tile

After I did my little coffee bar refresh, I was still feeling bored with my kitchen. It just felt kind of dark and drab… where I wanted it to feel light and clean. When we moved in a decade ago, I had applied a peel-and-stick backsplash… so I decided for fun to rip the whole thing off and put a new one up.

Because that’s my idea of fun.

One of the questions I got on Instagram when I was posting about this project was: did I consider doing REAL tile and grout. And yes, I did consider it. However, I didn’t want to hire out the job and I don’t feel super confident in my tiling/grouting ability. So I decided to do peel-and-stick again, but a much FANCIER version.

So, what did I use?

The KASARO Peel and Stick backsplash in white hexagon (find them on Amazon here). When I purchased the tile, the cost was $29.99 per 6-sheet box. I purchased 6 boxes to make sure I had plenty, since at the time the Amazon link said it was running low. I ended up only using 4 boxes, so I returned 2. I have 5 sheets left, so I barely needed the 4th box… so I have some sitting around in case inspiration strikes.

Here is what I used on the project:

I had all the tools sitting around (including a fresh pack of razor blades), so this entire project cost me $120 in tile and about $10 for a tube of caulk.

Unlike my last experience with peel-and-stick, this is an aluminum metal composite rather than a rubbery sticker. The tile is much stronger than the previous version, and is more “real” in that it is actual metal tile with a better hand-feel and extremely sticky backing. The difference between this and real tile, is that it sticks right on and no grout is needed. However, get your tile lined up the first time because HOLYMOLY is the adhesive strong!

Here is our old backsplash I put up in 2012:

Once I removed the old backsplash (it just took a hairdryer, a spackle knife and some pulling action), I sprayed some degreaser and wiped down the white melamine backing that was left by the previous owners. Once it was dry, I started laying out my tile pieces. Obviously, I wasn’t lucky enough that a sheet exactly fit my spacing, so I measured out cuts for the top and bottoms of my sheets.

Since the tile is metal, you can’t just cut through it with a pair of scissors. Instead, I used a combination of a level (to measure and as my straight line guide), a fresh razor knife, a pencil and a pair of pliers.

I would mark my exact measurement, go over it 2-3 times with the razor knife, and then clamp on the pliers and snap it on the edge of the table. For every. Single. Hexagon.

My hands were SO TIRED after this project.

Once I had my perfect-sized shape, I’d take off the backing, carefully line it up on my wall, and stick it on. And of course, I’m a perfectionist… so I did the little-bitty points even though only people Jack’s size can see under the upper cabinets.

I ended up covering over our old phone line and cable line — I just took the switch plates off and shoved the wires back into the wall. Cutting around the remaining outlets wasn’t difficult, I just held up the pieces of tile and mapped out where I needed to snip a little:

I worked my way around the entire kitchen and when it was all finished, I grabbed a tube of caulk and did a nice line of white silicone around all the edges. This really took the project from ‘looks okay’ to ‘looks professional’… so I highly recommend caulking as a last step!

Before caulk:

After caulk:

I wasn’t keeping track of exactly how long the project took me, but thankfully the progress photos I took are time stamped. According to my phone, I spent about 3 ½ hours on Saturday night and then about 8 hours on Sunday. Which means the full project took me about 11 ½ hours.

Here’s the “after” for $130 in supplies and 11-ish hours of work:

I am so thrilled with the result!

Disclaimer: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link and ShopStyle affiliate links. This means that clicking on the link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!