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Friday Five 7/10/20

Hello hello!

It's been a hot minute. Late May and June were a whirlwind as we shopped for a new house, put our house on the market (it sold in 24 hours) and then packing and moving into our new house. Pretty much everything in my life except for work, moving and sleep has been on hold. Now that we are started week 3 in our new home and have it to a place where we are pretty comfortable, I am able to get back into some of my hobbies, blogging included.

Some exciting things that have happened lately:

  • We adopted some kitties from the local animal shelter. They are feral by birth so they aren't house cats- we got them to be outdoor/barn cats to help keep the rodent population down around our farm and to hopefully give these kitties a loving, safe home. Their names are MoMo, Maizy and Eve! They are still pretty shy of humans but we are doing everything we can to win them over. 


    My dog pretending he is a cat

  • We got chickens! I don't care for birds at all but my husband wanted them so bad so I relented.. and they are pretty cute. Fresh eggs coming in about 14 weeks!

  • We have done some fun projects around the new house! Lots of painting and yard work. 

  • We hosted our immediate families for the 4th of July and had an outdoor, socially distanced BBQ. It was a lovely afternoon full of family and fun. 

1. Hamilton 
Hamilton | Disney+ Originals
Everyone knows about this but wow. It is truly a masterpiece. We watched it on July 4th and I have had the songs stuck in my head ever since. As a lifelong history and musical nerd, this was basically the perfect way for me to geek out equally over history and show tunes at the same time. It is streaming on Disney+ and you should all go watch it. Now I must go praise the lord that Lin-Manuel Miranda is on this earth.

2. Renovation Island 
The Truth About HGTV's Renovation Island - YouTube
So my hubs and I became slightly obsessed with this show since moving into our new house. The premise is that a family buys a run down resort in the Bahamas and renovates the entire thing. There are many setbacks and moments of drama but it is seriously entertaining and the location is gorgeous. We watch it religiously on Sunday nights. You can find it on HGTV.

3. Handheld Vacuum 

This is the best purchase I have made in YEARS. When we moved into our new house, we quickly realized the old owner had been filthy. The house needed a deep clean top to bottom. This little handheld vacuum has helped so much. I can carry it with me easily, it fits into small spaces, it has strong suction and holds it's charge longer than I expected. Because we have no carpet in the new house, I rarely have to pull out my big vacuum now. I just sweep the floors into piles and then vacuum up with my handheld. I can vacuum out drawers in the kitchen and under the baseboards with ease. It is a game-changer and everyone needs one!

4. The Perfect Summer Quilt 

Our new house has air conditioning in the bedrooms but we still don't like to sleep with a heavy comforter during the summer months. I have been on the hunt for a simple summer quilt that is soft, light and will hold up well. I found this one on Amazon and it's just perfect. It's light and airy and softer than most quilts. It was under $50 but the quality is excellent. I got plain white so I can bleach out puppy paw prints but they have other colors. Check it out!

5. A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

This is the most recent book I have read and it was just lovely! It follows a young women after her graduation from Cornell in the late 1800's. Nora is independent and not ready to conform to the expectations of her. Instead, she wants to pursue a career in entomology. She follows her dreams to a research expedition in India and learns a lot about herself, her future and relationships along the way.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Historical Fiction and this was right in my wheelhouse. It beautifully wove a story full of vivid descriptions, deeply woven characters and of course, a love story (I am a sucker for a romance). While I deeply enjoyed this story, I will say it had a few moments in the book that were a little disjointed. Regardless, it is an excellent read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received this book complimentary from Bethany House Fiction but all opinions are my own.

Have a great weekend!

Book Review: Between These Walls

Hey everyone! Quarantine has left me with lots of time to read. I recently read a fascinating book set in WW2. As many who follow me know, I always gravitate to WW2 books... I should venture out to other genres but I just can't seem to. I want to share this with all the other readers out there!

Between These Walls by [Michael  Newman]

The book Between There Walls by Michael Newman is a highly researched account of 3 families and an art curator during WW2 and in the years that followed the world worst war.

Here is the book description:

A novel of historical fiction that turns on two key events: the discovery of a beautiful blonde woman’s body in the back seat of a burnt out SS staff car during the last days of World War II, by US Army Medical Corps Colonel Samuel Singer, and the unsealing more than four decades later of a security-taped package from Germany, bearing a secret that changes the life of New York art curator Daniel Singer, the adopted son of Colonel Singer.

As Daniel learns more about the package’s contents, he unlocks the history of three families -- one American and two German – through tumultuous times, from the end of the First World War to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and through to three Middle East wars. Along the way, he gets entangled in the web of the Mossad, Israel’s top secret spy agency and Naomi one of its beautiful operatives, and is ultimately faced with a life-altering choice – and the opportunity to right the most heinous of wrongs.

 I enjoyed this book because it gave more perspectives of the war experience than the usual WW2 book- it delves into the German war experience more as well as the American experience. It is mysterious and though provoking and keeps you furiously turning the pages so you can find out what happens next. I don't want to say much more because I don't want to give any spoilers to the story. What I will say is that is a riveting read and you should check it out!!

How I went from Failing the Bar Exam to Passing in the 90th Percentile

These are words I have dreamed of typing- I am officially a Lawyer. I passed the February 2020 Ohio Bar Exam. I will be sworn in to the Ohio Bar in just 4 short days.

If you have followed me for a while, you will know that I failed the July 2019 Ohio Bar Exam by just a few points. More on that in this blog post. I decided to go after the February 2020 bar exam without mercy. I wanted to pass and I wanted to pass with a healthy cushion. I refused to fail by just a few points again. Thankfully, my tireless efforts were successful. Not only did I pass, but I passed in the 90th percentile. That means my score was in the top 10% of February 2020 exam takers. I had a perfect score on two of my essays and one of my MPT's. This was a HUGE increase from where my previous bar exam score was.

I do NOT post this to brag or boast in any way. I am posting all of this with the hopes that it can encourage others who have to retake the bar exam. I want people to understand just how high you can rise after a setback. I don't want people to feel like they can't success on this exam just because of one bad attempt. I want those who are preparing for this exam to understand that failing once isn't the end of the world.

So what made the vast difference in my scores? I cannot say with 100% certainty but I have some good ideas based on the changes I made as I prepared for my second attempt. I am going to share it with the hopes that it helps someone else conquer this monster of an exam.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a bar prep expert. I am NOT a professor or a bar examiner. I am just someone who has done this process twice, once unsuccessfully and once successfully, and I am sharing what I learned from that in the hopes that something here can help someone else. I am sure some of this advice will seem redundant or silly to some people and to others it will be enlightening. What worked for me might not work for you. Take everything with a grain of salt and at the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you. 

My Visit to Essential Skincare (Toledo, OH)

Today's post is geared toward my local Northwest Ohio folks. In February, I made my first visit to Essential Skincare in Sylvania, OH. I have never been to an Esthetician's office prior to this visit and I have to say, Janna was an absolute pleasure and my made first visit simply wonderful.

A little about Essential Skincare
Janna is an experienced esthetician with over 10 years of experience. She owns and operates Essential Skincare out of a lovely office in Sylvania, OH (just a touch north of the heart of Toledo).

Friday Five 4/10/2020

Happy Friday friends!

I hope that everyone is safe and healthy! Now that we are a few weeks into this new temporary reality, I know it has been easier for me. I have a routine and a schedule figured out now. It has also been amazing for my mood to have some warm, sunny days.

My Friday Five is pretty TV heavy today as I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I figured most everyone is in the same boat so I wanted to pass along some recommendations.

1. Tiger King

If you haven't heard of Tiger King, you must have been living under a rock for the last few weeks. I watched and I have almost no words. This took me on an adventure I didn't even know I wanted to go on. It was the most outrageously amazing and confusing thing I have ever watched. No level of crazy is out of reach for these people. There is no question- you must watch it. Buckle up and let it take you for a wild ride. Word on the street is that another episode is coming soon as well!

2. Prodigal Son

If you like crime shows and serial killers, this is for you! I don't want to give anything away so I am not going to say anything more than go watch it!

3. World On Fire

This new PBS show is super intense. It takes place during the very beginning of WW2 in both Poland, Berlin and England. I am truly obsessed with WW2 so of course I love it but my husband, who usually hates history, actually liked this show as well. It airs Sunday's on PBS.

4. Homemade Facemasks
Per the CDC, we should all be wearing fabric facemasks while in public. I have been sewing them in all my spare time for family and friends. The CDC website has information on how to sew handmade masks as well as no sew options. Stay safe friends!

5. I started a Podcast

I have been thinking about this for about 6 months now and with the extra spare time due to social distancing, I was able to make it happen. My podcast explores stories of famous horses in history and the role of horses in historical moments. I am a lifelong equestrian and horse lover and I have a degree in history as well as a love for it. This podcast seemed like the perfect way to combine my passions into something interesting and enjoyable for a wide audience. If you want to check it out, the links are below!