Friday, June 30, 2023

June 2023 Reads

What I read in June

Engrossing Reads

What Never Happened by Rachel Howzell Hall - This had my heart racing throughout. I enjoyed it a lot. A good amount of misdirection which is good for a book like this. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes August 1

Prom Mom by Laura Lippman - I standardly love a Laura Lippman and this was a good one. One of the reasons I love her is that she recognizes this world is full of all types and she lets people do F'd up things and be F'd up without trying to explain them away. This did not go how I thought it would at several points. Enjoyed! Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes July 25

An Evil Heart (Kate Burkholder #15) by Linda Castillo - Always a solid and remains so at #15 in the series. Lots of emotions in this one. Thanks to Netgalley in exchange for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes July 11

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand -  I liked the story and the characters - even the annoying ones had their parts to play. I truly love the way she does ancillary characters too. There's a lot happening in these pages and this was great to read on a sunny beach day in one sitting! Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy - I also own the hard copy as I went to a signing in mid-June at the Newtown Bookshop - support your indie bookstores please! 
Hello Stranger by Katherine Center - I was waiting to dislike the protaganist more as I have in many of Center's books and I just didn't this go 'round - and in her last book, I started liking the protaganist earlier. I'm going soft or I'm settling more into my Center readership. Interesting story, great pace - I read it in two sittings and it would have been one but, capitalism - and it tugged quite a bit at my heartstrings. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes July 11

Passed the Time Just Fine

Fat Witch Summer by Lizzy Ives - It took me a bit to acclimate to this world but a solid and entertaining YA witchy novel. If you like witchy shit that has some dark and some light and is a YA level, you'll like this. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea - A passable ride for something picked up off the shelf on a whim despite "empty eyes" and its origin being absolutely ridiculous. OCNJ library hard cover

One's Company by Ashley Hutson - A very weird and interesting idea for a book. I liked the writing too. OCNJ library paperback

Not For Me/Did Not Finish

You Shouldn't Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose - I asked the library to order this and whew. Not worth it. Sorry, library. LOL OCNJ Library hard cover

Fireworks Every Night by Beth Raymer - Not fireworks every night in a good way. Dysfunctional family saga, well written but difficult due to subjects/circumstances. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson - Ray is absolutely insufferable, which is definitely largely the point, but so much so that it  made this book hard to enjoy reading. The concept was great. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. Book comes out in the US July 4

We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall - This book drug on like crazy. It all came around in the end but if the pacing is off to the point where I have to ask myself if I should keep going, that impacts my overall would I read again if I knew what I knew now? No. Amazon Kindle first read, own

The Absolutes by Molly Dektar - I couldn't even get 10% into this. DNF Advanced copy from Netgalley, publishes July 11

The Sunset Crowd by Karin Tanabe - DNF, stopped at 20%. Absolutely no forward movement. I cannot have the scene be set over and over for 20% of the book. Cool idea though. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Book publishes July 4

The Bigamist by Rona Halsall - DNF at 18% in. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Publishes July 5


What have you been reading?

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Miscellaneous shit from the past insert period of time here

The third installment no one's been waiting for that's been in draft since the beginning of June, at which time it was the past two weeks then past few weeks and now insert time period will suffice. It remains easier for me to just dash off some photos and thoughts on Instagram stories vs putting together something here. ANYYway hello and how much do I love this mug from Forged & Found Pottery? This is my second piece from her. And the coordination with my ombre orange nails, so good.

Like the coordination of my shades and textures of green bedding at the shore with the walls painted in late spring. Chef's kiss. It would be better if you could see the green muslin blanket topper but just imagine it because we work with the pictures we've got.

My hydrangea is stunning this year.
Mae is all of us on a Tuesday.
I saw Elin Hilderbrand at the Newtown Bookshop! Super well organized event with a quick moving line. The Newtown Bookshop women are pros at author events. My mom came with me and took me out to dinner at Iron Hill after, where we ran into longtime family friend Laura and her family!
I order my essential oils that I use to make hand soap from Your Gypsy Wagon on Emerald Isle and she always packages so nicely and includes extras, which I love. I got away from making soaps in the main shore house during rental season but I'm going to return to it. I hate buying hand soaps.
Absolutely unprepared for peri-menopausal periods. I assume the world speaks about this in hushed tones for the comfort and convenience of men? You know what is uncomfortable and inconvenient regarding periods throughout life, but especially now? How long do we have?
Wawa in Ocean City finally got smart and started making more than one pepperoni and provolone bagel. For the people!

Recent dinners have been veggies and dip and this nachos a la MFD. Summer, and the living's easy.
Wearing some oldie but goodie tees recently
The audacity of people to hate women so much but support a grifter conman hobgoblin person who is under several zillion indictments or a rising Floridian Fascist. Call me when we're ready for the actual revolution.
Philly scenes from the last time I was at my office which is about a month ago now. Time flies.
One of my favorite places to grab lunch on the go or for the beach in Ocean City is The Farm Stand at 14th. If you're coming to OC this summer, try it! It's on the street directly off the boardwalk at 14th (same corner as Bob's). greeneggs from Philly has taken over brunch at the Chatterbox and the food is just as good as it is in town. We had breakfast there with Dad & Carol at the beginning of June. Go!
Had myself a day yesterday - walked to the post office and did all other errands on foot at lunch, stood in the ocean at the end of the work day, sat on the porch reading as a summer thunderstorm rolled over the island, ate veggies and dip for dinner. It really is the small things. And the small things really are the big things. Always. Life is short. I'm going to have myself a day when I can.
Something I've been more cognizant of recently. Again, life is short. 

I've written weekend posts of the past four because that's sort of my life diary, but I don't think I've shared. My brother's 40th weekend, Doyle family weekendthe weekend after that, and this past weekend.

Substack post of walking through the house last week. I thought I'd publish much more observation stuff like that or one to three line musings on the fly there and last posted something in March. The best laid plans. 

34 days until Europe.

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law Mark today! And happy anniversary to Kim & Steve.


Monday, June 26, 2023

snippets of the weekend 6.26.2023

Friday monthly wellness with Sarah at Blossom Massage & Bodywork, a dash to Giant in the rain for some produce, working until 8, and zoning the F out in a muu muu from then on and getting in bed early with a book.
Saturday I painted my nails (poor choice of colors this weekend), went to Brenna's bridal shower at Georgine's and caught up with the fam on MFD's side, then came home and did some returns, made an egg bake, packed up and headed to the shore around 7:30. I drove on 95! 
Sunday I spent some time on the beach in the morning, read on the couch in the afternoon, did a Target pickup, walked a lot, and we went up to the boardwalk for ice cream and people watching. It was a good day.

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

4 Benefits You Can Expect from Starting Your Own Ecommerce Business

Image credit

There’s no doubt about it that ecommerce platforms are exploding. If you were ever in the mood to shop or needed something, you essentially were limited to the stores you had in your locality, and that was it. But nowadays, whatever it is that you want, and wherever in the world it is, you can own it. In fact, malls are even dying; the same goes for department stores because of the preference for online shopping. If you’ve ever dreamt about running your own store, you can definitely do that. In fact, there are so many benefits you can count on from running your own ecommerce business, So let’s dive into those benefits!

You Can Work from Home

Well, if you want to work from home, you can; the choice is yours. It depends on what you’re selling and how much inventory is needed, but this could very well be an option for you if you’re doing something small-scale.  But overall, you don’t need to go to a physical location like a store where you’re essentially expected to be there daily. That's one of the beauties of online. 

No Need for a Storefront

As mentioned already, malls and other storefronts are dying, and it’s mostly due to the preference for online shopping. Ecommerce has made it possible to start a business without the need for a physical storefront. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are still a lot of things to think about and do, including setting up an affordable website, choosing the right products to sell, and driving traffic to your online store. For instance, in the end, you’re still going to need a flexible API for payment processing for your website.  In the end, you don’t need a storefront, which is great news, but you’re still going to have to focus heavily on your website to ensure it’s customer friends (similar to how a storefront needs to be).

You’ll Have a Lot of Independence 

Starting an online retail business can be challenging, but it is empowering to be your own boss. You can control your budget, set your own hours, and work with clients that appeal to you. You get to do things your way, and you can pick things how you want. Plus, you’re constantly learning, so what's not to love there?

Lower Barrier to Entry

Working from home is still a new concept, especially when it comes to running a business. It used to be that you had to hire so many people to do things for you, but nowadays, it’s further from the case. In the end, the barrier to entry for nearly any business is drastically lower. Compared to opening a physical store, online sales can save you a lot of finances. 

For instance, you can avoid paying for rent, stock, and various maintenance expenses. You can also avoid spending on store signs, sales equipment, and shop design. The cost of operating an ecommerce business will vary depending on the type of products you sell. Make sure you choose something that you’re passionate about, so you can enjoy creating and selling it.

This post was written with the Life According to Steph readers in mind

snippets of the weekend 6.20.2023

Friday I hit TJ Maxx and also stopped at my brother's to give my dad his joint Father's Day gift, had chicken salads for dinner, and relaxed. Bruce and Ben look like they're the ones who worked their asses off this week but that is definitely not the case. 
I made pasta salad and we picked up pretzels and CFA on the way to my brother's 40th birthday party and had a good laugh about being packed in the car. The party was a lot of fun, great job Aub!! Special out of retirement one time appearance by Road Soda for the occasion.

I was planning to sleep in Sunday but that didn't happen thanks to Bruce. Always thanks to Bruce. I saw my Dad in the morning before him and Carol left for her parents' house but the rest of the day was open so I ran a few errands, got a pedicure, MFD grilled steaks, I finished a book and started another, took a little daytime snooze, changed the sheets, and watched the entire first season of Somebody, Somewhere on HBO Max. Ugh, so good. 

Monday I did more reading, finally put the pile of clothes that has lived on my bedroom chair for an eternity away, moved a bookcase up there and did some cleaning.

Monday evening we met the family at Isaac Newton's to celebrate Rich's retirement a little over a week late. It was also my mom's birthday Monday so we celebrated that as well. 

weekending reels on Instagram - since I am now consistently not with it on weekend posts, this is my favorite weekend look back mode.

It's a weird time, in which I haven't been at the shore at all since Sunday night 6/11 and am not going to be back until at least Saturday evening 6/24. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

will budgeting mishaps ruin your vacation?

When it comes to your vacation, there is rarely such a thing as too much planning. Sure, too tight an itinerary can lead to some unrealistic expectations and the planning itself can get stressful, but you want to make sure that you put the effort in where it matters. Nowhere does it matter more than with your budget. Here, we’re going to look at budgeting mishaps you can make and how you can avoid them.

Credit - CC0 License

Work out what savings you need, then save extra

The very first thing that you should do is put together a budget that you can then stick to. With the help of apps like Wanderlog, it’s a lot easier to track your expenses and make sure that you don’t go over in any one of your budget categories. That said, you should always keep some money aside to make sure that, if you do have to go over, it’s not the end of the world.

Be aware of hidden costs

Aside from having some extra savings, you should also make sure to account for the hidden costs that can crop up along the way. Most of these hidden costs tend to be transport and accommodation related, so be sure to check in close detail what costs you can expect with these depending on your provider.

Protect your investment

Your vacation is a big investment, and you shouldn’t put that much money into anything without also affording yourself some protection. Travel insurance is an extra expense to be considered, yes, but you don’t want to go without it. With the help of providers like Generali, you can make sure that you’re financially protected against all kinds of costs. This can include healthcare needs, hotel or flight cancellations, lost luggage, and more. Just make sure that you get as much cover as you need.

Do your homework on the costs of living

If you’re planning to do your own groceries, rely on local transport links, and live like a local for a few days, then you should be mindful of how much, exactly, that might cost. Costs of living are changing all over the world, and some places might be more expensive to simply live in for a few days than you think. Again, do your homework and check the specifics.

Be mindful of credit cards

Credit cards can be useful when on vacation. They can help you put a limit on your spending, and many of them can be used all over the world with minimal hassle. A big problem is when you rely on them to finance the entirety of your vacation without a clear-cut plan on how to pay them back. Similarly, track all of your credit card expenses so that you don’t go overboard on them.

Make no mistake, budgeting mishaps can be more than just vacation-threatening, they can put you in real dangerous situations. You have to make sure that you have enough money to see you through the vacation and the means to access it, so keep the tips above in m

Monday, June 12, 2023

snippets of the weekend 6.12.2023

I picked Mindy up late on Thursday afternoon and we took the back way to the shore. Pizza, grocery store, settling in, and then working from 7:30-11. 

Friday I worked in the morning then Sarah and I went on a few errands including Tuckahoe Cheesecakes. The carrot cake is my favorite anywhere, first had it for Drew's birthday a few years ago. I also got new Maui Jims sunglasses from Island Beach Gear. I finished work around 3 and relaxed in the driveway giving myself an orange ombre manicure (OPI My Chihuahua Doesn't Bite Anymore, OPI Silicon Valley Girl, and Zoya Sawyer annnnd repeat - this is a favorite and the Simple Modern cup matching is chef's kiss). We had tacos for dinner and sang to June birthdays Maureen & Marcus.

Saturday I painted a side table (All in One Paint in Naples) - nothing like waiting until the literal last possible time before the season to do that - and repainted my peeling peace sign in Krylon gloss blue hyacinth and put them on the porch to dry while I walked the dogs and headed to the beach to meet up with the kids. 
It was a beaut at the beach, and I got a new Farm Stand salad for lunch and lingered late reading and watching a bunch of dolphins play in front of our beach - like full jumping out of the water. It was rad. nature is rad. Boat people came down in the afternoon and it was a nice day.
Mark manned the grill for hotdogs and hamburgers and Aunt Jean came over for a visit too. We headed up to the boardwalk for a bit and did a lot of driveway hanging. It was a great, full day and I fell out exhausted. 

I took like no photos and only video Sunday. I put a coat of poly on the table for upstairs, got a pepperoni & provolone bagel from Wawa, and made it to the beach for a while. Before we left I did some house sorting then left it to Mark and Sarah with final MFD work Monday before our guests checked in and took the back way home with Mindy, Drew, and the dogs who were totally assed out exhausted after playing with Harry and Finn. The back way is nice but this time we took it because 95 collapsed in the morning LOL

weekending reels on Instagram - since I am now consistently not with it on weekend posts, this is my favorite weekend look back mode.

Fun fam weekend! We missed Jax but hopefully he can make it when we reconvene in August!

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