19 Books to Read in 2019

This post was highly requested and I AM STOKED. I may be the slowest reader in the world (no. seriously. I’ve been reading the same book since July 2018) BUT I still love reading. Will I get to read even half these books in 2019? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna try! (Side note: Some of these books I have read already and loved! Some of these are books I haven’t read but have been recommended to me and I plan to read this year).

A couple things before you dive-in to the list:

  1. I do have one request: If you read ANY of the books on the list. PLEASE let me know how you liked it! Like I said, I probably won’t be able to read all these books myself, but maybe we can start like a little mini bookclub, just me and you, and talk about them. LOL but seriously, send me a DM on Instagram so we can chat about the books.
  2. You can easily shop all of the books on the list by clicking on the image of the book. This will take you directly to Amazon where you can read more about the book and pick what form you want to order the book in (i.e. kindle, paperback, audio book, etc.). If you shop directly through these links, I may earn small commission as an Amazon Associate. THANK YOU for all your support if you do choose to shop directly through the link!!

Ok I’m done. Read away!

For the True Crime Detective (Suspense/Thriller):

A nosey neighbor, lots of wine and a mystery… (I basically just described myself…) This book was gifted to me last year, while I was already reading another book that is also on the list, and that I still haven’t finished. (HANDS UP IF YOU’RE A SLOW READER!) So I haven’t gotten to read this yet, but the person who gave it to me called it a great summer beach read.

 

I am so excited to read this book! Sadie goes missing and a serial podcast starts tracking clues in hopes of finding her. If you love serial podcasts like I do, you’ll definitely want to add this to your reading list for 2019.

 

 

I haven’t read this one yet, BUT I have heard words like “unputdownable,” “creepy,” and “keeps you guessing” to describe this novel. When I read the synopsis of the book, I got a very “You” on Netflix vibe from it… like creepy, obsessive, murder-y vibe… ya know?

 

 

Escape the Real World (Fantasy):

OK. GUYS. This is one of my favorite books! If you’re a sucker for dystopian books like me, or if you were totally into the whole Hunger Games series, you’ll definitely love this book. My sister gave me this book a few christmases ago and it was honestly one of the only books I have ever read that I really did not ever want to put down! P.S. This is book 1 in a trilogy, I am trying to finish up the book I’m reading now so I can read books 2 and 3 ASAP.

 

My sister gave me this book for Christmas this year, so I haven’t started reading it yet, BUT she has read it and said it was fantastic! Also, I’ve heard rumors that they are making this book into a Netflix show… so that’s got to mean it’s pretty dang good, right?

 

 

I’ve added this one to the list, because I thought the premise of the story sounds very interesting. The plot of the book is a town full of only men and one “boy” where all the women were killed off by some sort virus, and the same virus caused the boy to be able hear all the thoughts of the men in town. He learns horrible things about his town from all the thoughts and runaways, where he encounters a girl in the “outside world.” This book does have a LOT of mixed reviews, so I’m interested in reading it this year to see where I stand with it.

For the Love Lover (Romance): DISCLAIMER: I’m not a romance book kinda person, so I haven’t actually read any of these. They were all recommendations and/or had really good reviews. If you read any of these, let me know what you think!

Need a Laugh (Humor):

 I may be super bias towards this book due to my MAJOR LOVE for Aziz Ansari, but this book was way more informative than I expected, on top of being hilarious and insightful. He goes through his own dating/love experiences and even teams up with a sociologist to conduct research on love behaviors in different cultures. LOVED IT.

 

 Who doesn’t love Mindy Kaling?? She smart, hilarious and pretty dang relatable. This book may be a few years old now so if you’ve read it, sorry, but if you haven’t it’s not too late! Heck, I’m going to be reading it this year too. Also, where are my Office fans at???

 

 

I WAS SO HYPED FOR THIS BOOK TO COME OUT! Not only is Parks and Rec my all-time favorite show (hence my previously pronounced love for Aziz), but Nick and Megan are serious couple goals! This book is somewhat of a new release, end of 2018, so it’s high up on my list of books to read in 2019. I must add that after reading reviews of it, a good amount of  people mentioned it’s best to listen to as an audiobook. I am not an audiobook person and will still probably read the old fashion way, but if you DO happen to listen to the audiobook version… we should totally compare notes!

Wanting to Better Yourself (“Self-Help”):

Kind of a funny story behind this book… My boyfriend really wanted this book after the author was a guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast (which my boyfriend listens to almost religiously). So he ordered the book and other than taken it out of the shipping package, he has not touched it. ONCE I picked it up and decided to read a chapter of it and actually found it to be pretty interesting. That is why I have added to the list to read in 2019, I mean we have it sitting here on our bookshelf so I might as well read the rest of it, right?

Have you watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix show? I feel like it’s all I’ve been talking about lately, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading her book. I thought the show was amazing, so I can’t even imagine what I’ll think of the book.

 

 

For a Trip Back in Time (Historical):

AHH, the book I am currently reading and have been since like July 2018… Like I said, I am the SLOWEST reader. I picked up this book after hearing about how good it was. Although it’s taking me forever and a day to read, I can say it’s been an awesome read so far and I’m always thrilled when I get the time to actually jump back in. It’s follows the architect, who is basically responsible for the Chicago skyline and the 1893 Chicago World Fair, and an infamous serial killer, dubbed “America’s First Serial Killer” during the same time period. It’s kind of like a 2-for-1 deal. Highly recommend if you’re into real history that super creepy and interesting.

If you don’t know who Virginia Hall is, you’re about to! While this isn’t a super thriller or anything like that, it’s definitely an interesting read and if you’re into badass women spies and WWII, this book should definitely be on your list for 2019!

 

 

The title of this book pretty much explains exactly what its about. This is another book that I’ve heard great things about. While it may not be the most exciting topic, it’s still super interesting and that’s why I plan to read it in 2019.

 

 

Real Life People Stories (Biography):

Ok so this book hasn’t been released yet. It comes out on May 28, 2019, but it’s definitely on my list of books to read this year. Click the picture to read all about it.

 

 

I’ve heard such great things about Michelle Obama’s new book. Personally, I think she is so inspiring and amazing, so this is definitely a must-read for 2019!

 

 

 If you know me personally and are reading this you’ll probably be shocked to hear that I haven’t read this book already. It has been stashed away in my Amazon wish list since before it came out, but I still just haven’t gotten around to ordering it….idk… BUT 2019 IS THE YEAR I WILL READ THIS BOOK. Amy Poehler is one of my idols so the fact that I haven’t read her book yet is beyond me. AND yes this is the THIRD book on this list by a Parks and Rec actor/actress, I’m not sorry.

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Declutter + Organizing Tips

Living in a small space or a space without much storage can make organizing and keeping everything decluttered a hassle, especially if you have more than one person living in that same space. My boyfriend and I live in a 800 square foot, one bedroom, one bath apartment. While the two of us are pretty clean people, two people stills means twice the stuff. I’ve gotten pretty good at decluttering when stuff piles up and coming up with ways to organizing things that we do keep. Here are my top tips to decluttering and organizing all your junk!

DECLUTTERING

Step 1: List of things to declutter in your home:

  • Clothing (closet and dresser, plus any extra stored away clothes)
  • Shoes
  • Make-up
  • Extra toiletries (shampoo, conditioners, toothpastes, tooth brushes, face washes, soaps, etc)
  • Pantry food
  • Refrigerator
  • Dvd’s, Video Games, CDs
  • Books
  • Personal papers and documents
  • Mail, magazines, newspapers
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Sheets
  • Dishes, Cups, Tubberware, Pots and Pans, Mixing Bowls, Water Bottles, etc.
  • Junk drawer
  • Under the bathroom and kitchen sink
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Candles
  • Bedside table

Be sure to get boxes, trash bags and/or clear an area to make piles. You’re going to want a place to put items to donate, throw away, recycle, and keep.*Remember when decluttering to be environmentally friendly and if you can reuse or recycle, please do so!

Step 2: When decluttering asked yourself these questions:

  1. Have you worn or used it in the past year? (If no, ditch it)
  2. Am I holding on to this for sentimental reasons? (If no, ditch it. If yes, its there a better way to store it?)
  3. Does it fit my current lifestyle? (If no, ditch it)
  4. Do I have something similar already? (If yes, compare and ditch the one(s) you haven’t used in the past year or are worn)
  5. Is it broken, worn, have holes, torn, cracked, or not work? (If yes, ditch it)
  6. Would I rather have to buy a new one and will it be expensive to buy a new one?

ORGANIZING

After I’ve gone through everything and put into my piles, it’s time to clear out the donate, throw away and recycle piles and start organizing what I’m keeping. Side note: Organizing can be pricey if you don’t already have some systems in place already. I suggest reusing boxes, shopping thrift stores or stores like Marshalls for cheap solutions.

  1. Declutter/Organize by category: While going room by room sounds like a good idea, it can make it overwhelming to tackle a whole room at once. I suggest picking a room/space and then picking one category within that room to tackle at a time. (i.e. if I’m organizing the kitchen, I’ll start by organizing the pots and pans before moving on kitchen utensils.
  2. Storing Upright: Visibility is my NUMBER one tip for organizing anything. Storing everything upright allows you to find items more easily and allows you to know what you have or what you might need. I swear when you can easily see everything in a drawer, basket, cabinet, etc. it will make your life so much easier!
  3. Keep what only brings you joy: *SPOILER ALERT* This one I got from Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, so if you haven’t watched it, drop everything and go watch it right now. It’s life-changing!! If you have seen it, you’ll know that one of her biggest rules is “Keeping only what brings you joy.”
  4. Don’t keep papers: I am guilty of keeping every single paper, important or not, and eventually it piles up… While keeping some papers is needed, such as tax, business, SOME bank papers, birth certificates, insurance papers, etc., most paper you do not need to keep. For the few paper’s you do need to keep, try to keep them to a minimum and organize them in label folders for easy storage and retrieval. PLEASE SHREAD AND RECYCLE ANY AND ALL PAPER YOU THROW OUT!!!!
  5. Fridge/Pantry Organization: I am a SUCKER for an organized fridge. Using clear bins to organize different items in your fridge will help use your fridge space efficiently and will help avoid wasting food. This can also be applied to your pantry! Try keeping food items in clear or labeled bins/containers, so you always know what you have or need more of.
  6. Small boxes: Using small boxes to organize drawers helps organize by category, size, or shape. Small boxes are super great to use in your undergarment, make-up, or kitchen utensil drawer!
  7. Label: If you have a label maker… great, label away! If not, the cheapest way to label items is cutting pieces of paper, write and tape it to what you want to label, OR you can buy sheets of label stickers and write and stick!

SHOP ITEMS I USE TO ORGANIZE


Glass containers to organize pantry items: I use these to storage flour, sugar, pasta, cereal, and other mixes or dry pantry items.

Command Hooks: Since we rent we try our best not to put holes in the walls so Command Hooks are such a great way to hang things. For somethings that are took heavy for command hooks, like heavy coats, I’ll use these hooks. They are super easy to use, only create a small hole and are able to hold up to 50lbs depending on which ones you use.

Cube Storage Shelf: If you want a slightly more pricey way to organize your things, investing in a cube storage shelf is a great item. Most are between $25-$50 (so still SUPER affordable).  These are super versatile and can be used to store so many different things. We use ours a an entry way table, coffee bar, show rack, book shelf, and have a few basket inserts to organize art supplies and extra cords and electronics.

Cube-Shelf Storage Bins: Helps easily and neatly store things in a cube-storage shelf.

Fridge Storage Bins: Keep like-products in your fridge together by using these clear storage bins.

Plastic Storage Bins: Great for keeping your pantry just as organized as your fridge!

Clothing Drawer Organizers: What I use to keep my undergarments drawer organized (see picture).

Catch-All Baskets: Great option for a catch all bowl to put by the front door!

Storage Basket: Great for storing throw blankets, towels, or extra accessories (i.e. hats, scarfs, belts, socks, or slippers).

File Folder: My favorite way to store papers I need to keep is keeping a sorted accordion folder. This one is great because you can use it normally or hang on the wall!

*As an Amazon associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support by shopping directly through my links!

Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth

Enter to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit in this post!

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We all want perfect pearly white teeth, don’t we? Well getting your teeth professionally whitened isn’t exactly the cheapest thing in the world…

I’ve always struggled with the image of my teeth. From a very young age I had always been make fun of my teeth; they were too big for my mouth and crooked as anything! Eventually came time to get braces and I couldn’t have been more excited. I was finally going to have my dream teeth when all was said and done. FINALLY, after FOUR years of being a brace face came the day that felt like would never come and I got my braces off! That day was also the first and only time I’ve ever had my teeth professionally whitened. I was so proud of new teeth, but eventually the shine faded, I lost my retainer so my teeth began to shift back, and I started drinking coffee daily.

As much as I would love to get my teeth professionally whitening again, I typically don’t have $400 to $800 (the average range for getting your teeth whitened at the dentist) laying around to do so. As a result of being a broke twenty-something year old, I have probably tried every at-home whitening product/trick under the sun, but nothing really stood out to me over the years.

When Smile Brilliant reached out to me and asked if I’d be interesting in trying their at-home teeth whitening system, I was a little hesitant due to the fact that I have fairly sensitive teeth. That’s when I learned they have a specific whitening system designed just for sensitive teeth! So not only do they have a products for different types of teeth, but their price point in incomparable to other professional whiten treatments, their products are vegan and cruelty free and everything is so simple to use!

Smile Brilliant sends you everything you need including the mixtures for your impressions, teeth whiten gel and desensitizing gel (if you ordered for sensitive teeth), instructions on how to take your impressions and how to whiten your teeth once you receive your trays.

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For the past 21 days, I have been whitening every night before bed in increasing increments from 45 minutes to 3 hours. I know what you’re thinking… “3 hours?! That’s SO long!” Yes, 3 hours is a good chunk of time, but the great thing is that you can knock out other things while whitening! You can whitening while getting ready for the day, cleaning, watching tv, or even have them on while you’re working. REMEMBER, the trays are specifically designed for YOUR teeth, so you can barely tell when they are on! I took mine with me when I went to visit family for Christmas and had a full conversation with my mom while whitening. After we were done chatting, she had seen the empty tray case sitting on the bathroom counter and asked if I had something on my teeth. She had no idea I had anything on my teeth the whole time.

Overall, I would recommend this product. It has noticeably whitened my teeth, especially compared to any other teeth whitening method I’ve used. See my before and after below:

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I am so thrilled to be kicking off 2019 with more confidence because of my new pearly whites. Now you can too! Click the link below to enter to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit or if you just can’t wait, use code blondebytheshore15 for 15% off.

Giveaway Link: http://www.smilebrilliant.com/g/blondebytheshore

This post is in collaboration with Smile Brilliant. I received this product complimentary. All opinions are my 100% own.


Tooth Whitening Gel

Reflections on 2018 + Setting Intentions for 2019

2018 was a such a good year for me. It was a crazy year of growth. I had many big life changes, accomplished major goals, but as everyone does, I also made mistakes along the way and had to learn from them.

A look back at 2018…

January – I started my last semester of college.

February – April – pretty much everything from the beginning of my semester through April was just studying and hustling incredibly hard.

May – Graduated with my degree! After working full time and going to school full time (at a school an 1+ hours away from where I lived), to say I was happy I was done is an understatement.

June – The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and I just about died from happiness. Also, Donnie got the opportunity to transfer down to Wilmington, NC for his job and you wouldn’t believe how fast we jumped on it!

July – We looked for and got a place to live in Wilmington.

August- We officially moved to Wilmington! Side Note: When we moved, I kept my job in Virginia and transformed it into a telework position. So much adjusting has been happening in that aspect of my life since.

September – Hurricane Florence hit only 2 weeks after moving and we were forced to evacuate our new home and hoped for the best when we returned. (We were incredibly lucky!)

October- Decided to finally start the blog I’ve wanted to start since I was in high school.

November – December – Still trying to adjust to our new life, teleworking, figuring out how to run a blog and also having the busiest season of work yet. I also bought a new car.

So many amazing things have happened in 2018. I learned, accomplished, grew, gained and kept moving forward no matter what. In 2019, I want to continue to grow in every aspect in my life.

Going forward in 2019…

Setting goals and resolutions for a new year is the #1 thing people do. This year I’ve decided instead of setting just goals or resolutions, I’m going to set INTENTIONS and goals.

So, what is the difference between goals and intentions? Goals are WHAT you want to achieve in the future, while intentioned are HOW you will act in the present to achieve your goals.

Intentions for 2019:

1. Believe – I will believe in myself and believe I will reach my goals because I believe in myself.

2. Balance – I will consciously create balance in between my work and personal life.

3. Be Present – I will spend less time look at screens and more time being present to everything around me.

4. Get Active – I will create a weekly plan and get moving 5 days of the week.

5. Track – I will update my intentions monthly throughout 2019 so I don’t loose track of where I am and where I want to be.

6. Speak – Say what I feel needs to be said. Speak up for myself and for others.

Goals for 2019:

1. Make significant growth in my work life.

2. Work towards living a healthier lifestyle by getting active 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day and feeding my body to heal instead of to harm.

3. Save for a house and actually SAVE MONEY for this specific goal.

4. Step out of my comfort zone when occasions arise my own mind is holding me back from.


 So, while setting goals is important to move you forward, setting intentions are even more important. Intentions are the cause to the effect. Intentions are what make us feel full upon reaching a goal.

What intentions will you be setting for 2019?

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

 

End of Year Clothing Sales Picks

Christmas may be over, but the end of the year sales are just getting started! I’ll be continuing to add to this list in the coming week, so be sure to check back or follow my Instagram. You don’t miss anything!

(Click image to shop. By shopping these links I may receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for shopping my links and your support).

 

3 Ingredient, No Bake Oreo Snowballs

These Oreo snowballs are ALWAYS a big hit with everyone who tastes them and the best thing is you don’t have to bake anything!!


Ingredients:

1 pack of Oreos

1 8oz tub of cream cheese

12-18 oz of melting chocolate

Instructions:

1. Crush your pack of Oreos. You can use a food processor, blender or place them in a plastic baggy and pound until crushed. (Obvi food processor or blender are most efficient)

2. Pour your crushed Oreos into a large bowl. Mix in your softened cream cheese until you cannot see any cream cheese.

3. Place in your freezer or refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

4. Melt your chocolate as directed on packaging then take your Oreo balls out and dip them in your chocolate until completely covered. (Add sprinkles or other festive fun at this time).

5. Place your, now chocolate-covered Oreo balls, in a container or cover with plastic wrap and store in your fridge.


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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

These cookies are my absolute favorite!! Not only are they super easy and quick to make, but they are great for almost any time of the year. I especially love them around Christmas time though. Bon Appetite!

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