Nav Bar

Me Me Me Me


March | A Month in Review

I fully intended on writing more blog posts between my last month in review and this one, but March was unexpectedly exhausting and I didn't make much time for writing.  However, I do have several post ideas that I'm hoping to flesh out during April!  At any rate, here's a summary of my March 2016!

Books Read
An Unexpected Grace, by Kristin von Kreisler (prompt: recommended by a friend) | 2/5 stars.  A friend gave me this book because I love dogs, and the book is about a dog.  I didn't mind the story line and I loved the dog in the book, but the human characters were quite flat and I really disliked the author's writing style.  She used a ton of metaphors and similes, which I found to be really repetitive and reminded me of a middle schooler's writing style.  Some of the similes she wrote were kind of offensive as well, and I just couldn't get behind them.

Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri (prompt: short stories) | 4/5 stars.  I read Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake last summer and loved it; it was one of my favorite books I read in 2015.  I've not really gotten in to short stories before, so when I saw that she had also written a collection of short stories, I knew I had to use it for this prompt in my 2016 reading challenge!  It was such a great collection - Lahiri has a fantastic way of writing and fleshing out really interesting characters in a very engaging way.  I read this book as I walked on the treadmill and found it to help pass the time well!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (prompt: originally written in another language) | 3/5 stars.  I had heard amazing things about the Millennium trilogy for years but didn't know much about it.  Originally written in Swedish, this book details the investigation of a missing girl from the perspective of a floundering journalist and a gritty, mysterious investigator.  There were parts of this book that were supremely interesting, but there were also plenty of parts that I couldn't get into.  I love a book with deep character development and I really liked the characters in this book, but all of the legal bits in the book lost me.  I'm not sure if I will continue with the trilogy or not.

Dawn, by Elie Wiesel (prompt: a trilogy) | 3/5 stars.  I enjoyed this second book in the Night trilogy.  After finishing Night (the first book in this trilogy), I was really hoping that the second book would talk about what happened to Wiesel himself after having escaped the concentration camp during the Holocaust.  I was a little disappointed when I started reading this book and found that it is a fictional story of Elisha, a Holocaust survivor and freedom fighter who is sent to execute a British soldier in Palestine who killed a fellow freedom fighter.  The story was interesting as it detailed the young man's thoughts as he processed what he was about to do, but it just wasn't quite as riveting as Night.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges, by Jen Mann (prompt: funny) | 4/5 stars.  My coworker, Margo, is one of my all-time favorite people.  We have similar senses of humor and are both crude and inappropriate a lot of the time.  She read this book during a vacation at the end of February, and brought it straight to me when she was done, saying that she laughed out loud reading it and that I would also love it.  While it talks a lot about motherhood a lot - something I don't have personal experience with - I still found it to be a quick, lighthearted read that had me laughing right out loud as well.

The Walking Dead, Volume 1, by Robert Kirkman (prompt: graphic novel) | 4/5 stars.  I have been a big fan of The Walking Dead TV series for awhile now, and think it's really cool that it's based on a graphic novel series.  I was really excited to have an excuse to read the first volume in the series for this challenge.  It was a super quick read (partially because it's a graphic novel and partially because the first series of the TV show is based on this volume so I knew the story and characters already), but I loved every second of it.  The illustrations are great, and I love that the story is not about the zombies but about the characters and humanity - how they all work together (or not) to survive the zombies.

Total pages read: 2,363

Days Exercised
In March, I only worked out 9 days.  I logged 483 active minutes (according to my Fitbit), and averaged 53 minutes per workout.

This was a really challenging month for me with regards to exercise.  I was doing so well with my 5K training program and when it ended at the end of February, I tried to keep up on my own.  Turns out, I really need structure, and to have a goal in mind with exercise, because I just could not get it together.  I'll talk more about this later, but I also had an incredibly exhausting month and I physically could not get myself to stay active, which was really difficult for me.  Things are starting to settle down again and I'm hoping to jump back into the Couch to 5K program in April!

Clothing Bought
MN tee - Target, $20
Gray/white striped tee - Target, $15 (my brother bought it)
Maroon/white striped tee - Target, $15 (my brother bought it)
Purple asymmetrical sweater - Goodwill, $5 (not pictured)
Cream flowy vest - Goodwill, $5
Teal dress - Goodwill, $5
Ravenclaw sweatshirt - Universal Studios, $60 (not pictured)
Hogwarts tee - Universal Studios, $24 (not pictured)
Black Birkenstocks - DSW, $95 (not pictured)
Blue swing dress - Old Navy, $6
Blue cocoon dress - Old Navy, $7
Dark wash Rockstar jeans - Old Navy, $30 (not pictured)
(and the black tee on the bottom right is actually one I bought in February...whoops)

Total spent: $257

This was a big spending month for me.  I wanted to get a few new things for my trip to California and wound up finding some great tees at Target (my brother paid for them - one of the perks of running into him at Target, ha!) and a pair of Birkenstock sandals (I had a fake pair last summer that I wore out and was so excited to get the real deal again - I haven't had a pair of real Birks in years!).  All were perfect for the sunny California weather.  I also found a few new items at Goodwill that I'm really excited to incorporate into my closet.  When I was at Universal Studies, I obviously had to purchase a Harry Potter tee and sweatshirt, because I'm a total Potterhead.  I'm totally fine with these purchases, as they're my souvenirs from the trip and I know I will enjoy them for years to come!  Last, I stopped into Old Navy yesterday in search of a swimsuit and another pair of my favorite mid-rise Rockstar jeans, and walked out without a swimsuit but with jeans and two clearance dresses that I can't wait to wear!!

My hope for April is to not spend much on clothes.  I'm looking for another swimsuit but other than that, I'm fairly set for clothes right now.  If I happen to find another tee or two or a pair of shorts (I only have two pairs right now), I may pick something up, but I also can wait on those things as it's still pretty chilly here in Minnesota.

Outfits Worn
Here are a few of my favorite outfits I wore in March!

 Dress + Leggings: Old Navy | Flats: Kohls | Necklace: Simonson Jewelry

I absolutely love this outfit and have worn a very similar version of it three times already.  This swing dress is ridiculously comfortable, and I love the look of a dress with leggings and flats.  I wish I had bought another one in a different color before they were all sold out!
 Top: Old Navy (thrifted) | Leggings: Old Navy | Sneakers: Converse | Scarf: Target

I wore this outfit on the airplane on the way to California to visit my dear friend Emily.  It was a great outfit for the plane - comfortable but still presentable, so I didn't have to change into "real" clothes for the rest of the day.
 Dress + Tights: Target | Jacket: Thrifted | Wedges: Kohls?  They are so old...

I loved this work outfit - this floral dress is so pretty and it's incredibly comfy.  I love how it looks with my black moto jacket.  I wish I had worn it more during the winter with tights, since it's a little short to wear on its own to work.  We have several weddings, showers, and graduations this spring and summer, so I'm guessing I'll count on this dress for some of these special occasions.
Dress: Ralph Lauren, thrifted | Cardigan + Tights: Target | Boots: Guess

I wore this outfit a couple of weeks ago when I went to happy hour with my high school band teacher.  She was one of my favorite teachers ever and she was my total lifesaver when I was in high school.  We've kept in touch over all these years (I graduated 10 years ago) through email and now on Facebook.  We recently were chatting a little more and decided to meet up.  It was so much fun to see her and catch up in person!!  This dress, by the way, is one of my favorite things in my closet.  It's sleeveless so it requires a cardigan or jacket in the colder weather, but I love wearing it on its own with a necklace and some fun sandals for hot summer days, too.  Also, it has pockets, and we all know that dresses with pockets are the best.

In Other News...
I mentioned that I had an exhausting month...right at the beginning of March, we had a student commit suicide.  It was horrific and tragic, and my colleagues and I have been working hard with over 70 students (the girl's closest friends) who have been deeply affected by this tragic loss.  It is mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting work, but at the same time, it is unbelievably important.
We got these yellow bracelets to give to our students - the yellow ribbon organization promotes suicide awareness and prevention.  It's a message we're trying to talk with our students about a lot, as well, and encouraging them to reach out for help and support if they or someone they know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide.

Given the intensity of my job this past month, I was so excited to get away to California for spring break.  My good friend Emily lives in LA and writes for a show on Netflix, and I was able to get out and visit her for 6 days.  We had the best time together, going to improv shows, exploring Universal Studios (I went to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter!), driving around LA and the surrounding area, chatting a lot, and laughing even more.  It was so good for my soul and I feel so refreshed and ready to tackle the last quarter of the school year.  I plan on putting together a post about my trip to California with pictures and more details...stay tuned for that!

I'm glad that March is over - April should be a quick month.  I have a lot of things keeping me busy at work and in life this month, so I'm sure it will fly by!

As always, thanks for reading my massive post and sticking with me!

PS. Linking up with Fran and other budgeting bloggers.