Friday Five

Once again, it’s time to share the five things I’m loving this week. I’m really excited to make this post this time because it’s been a great week and I could think of way more than five things to share with you. However, I’ve set precedent with myself, so I’m going to stick with the five best of the best. Without further ado, I present the Friday Five!

1. Wild-caught Georgia Shrimp

When presented the chance to eat some fresh Georgia wild-caught shrimp, your answer should always be yes. It’s not just because I’m a Georgia resident, Georgia wild-caught shrimp really is the best. So when my husband’s store had some in stock, there was only one thing to do! We had a shrimp boil.

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Shrimp boils are one of the best ways to enjoy wild-caught Georgia shrimp, and they’re super easy. Definitely a highlight of the week.

2. Secrets by Mary Lambert

This is my go-to feel good song at the moment. I love Mary’s voice, I love the message, I love the beat… There’s not a thing about this song I’m not into! Plus it’s on spotify so I can listen to it whenever I want!

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3. Heir of Fire

I’ve been waiting for this book for so long. I keep saying I’m going to post a full review on the blog, and I will, but for right now, I’m just going to revel in how great it was. Seriously, I read it in one sitting. If you’re looking for a young adult fantasy novel with a female lead, this series is fantastic. There are a lot of female assassin novels out on the market now, but this is the best. And I would know because I’ve read most of them.

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4. NYX matte lipsticks

It’s getting closer to fall, so I’ve been pulling out darker lipsticks again. Yeah, I know, between my jogger obsession and my willingness to pull out winter makeup, you’d think I was ready for summer to be over! I admit I’m not looking forward to winter, but fall is my favorite season because it doesn’t make me pass out. Plus I can wear my favorite lipstick ever: NYX matte lipstick in Alabama. It’s a quintessential deep red, and looks good on a variety of skin tones. You can use it with a NYX lipliner to make it last longer, or alone if you’re daring.

5. Hammocking

I really need to get an eno. My hammocks are cool but they aren’t portable, and I think taking a hammock with me wherever I go would be just about the coolest thing ever. As it is though, me and Minnie the foster dog like to hang out and read or nap in the two backyard hammocks. If these storms ever blow over, I’m heading back out there so I won’t be pale anymore.

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Okay, okay, I know I said five things. But here’s a bonus “family photo” of my husband, me, and our two youngest cats. Aren’t we adorable? I love that my husband was willing to pose for photos with me and the cats until I got a few I liked!

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August Wrap-Up

I know it’s not August anymore- and trust me, I couldn’t be more happy about that- but I never got to post about what I’ve been reading over the past month, or any of the events that went down, so here goes.

August was a hectic, terrible month. Justin’s grandma passed away, then my cat passed away shortly after. The highlight of the month was an unexpected trip to St. Louis, when we got to see Justin’s family and visit a few of our favorite places.

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We hit up Sweet Art St. Louis, which has a fantastic gluten free cake, and Soulard Coffee Garden, which we had never been to before but loved. Gluten free diner style food? Perfect.

To offset the horribleness of the month, I started reading The Happiness Project. I’m in the process of starting my own Happiness Project and I highly recommend this book. I also spent the month looking forward to Heir of Fire, which came out yesterday. I’ll be posting a full review once I finish it, but suffice to say, I’m excited! I’ve read a lot of books about female assassins this year, but I haven’t fallen in love with them the way I fell in love with Throne of Glass. Seriously guys, these books are good. Celaena is smart, funny, feminine, and more than a little conceited. She’s a compelling heroine, with well-developed secondary characters to hang out with. I can’t wait to finish Heir of Fire and find out what happens next!

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Next on my list is Bright Young Things, which was advertised to me as “a Great Gatsby YA rewrite, but with lesbians.” I’ve been in and out of this book, just because I’ve been having trouble reading thanks to stress. However, from what I’ve read, the writing is solid and the characters are fully-fleshed and sympathetic. I definitely want to see where it goes and read the sequel.

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The next book I’m excited for is Winter in the Cinder series, but I still have to wait a while for it. I’m hoping that my a Oyster subscription and Kindle Unlimited subscription will keep me reading in the downtime between series.

App Showdown: Oyster vs. Scribd

I read all the time. Although there’s nothing like a hardback in my hands while I lay in my hammock, my wrists don’t always let me hold up a novel, and it’s much easier to carry around an ereader or tablet than it is to lug around a stack of books. So, to be honest,  I do most of my reading on my tablet these days.

Since I can’t shop at the used bookstore for ebooks, and since my library sadly doesn’t allow you to check out ebooks yet, this left me spending a lot of money on books. Even more money than I spend on makeup and cute sweatpants, which is saying something. So, when I saw that Oyster and Scribd let me try a free month of unlimited books, I had to check it out. For science.

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Here’s a shot of my app shortcuts on my tablet. The logos are pretty basic, a stylized oyster for Oyster and a giant S for Scribd. No one is really getting any points for logo creativity.

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Okay, next we have the Scribd home page. There are a lot of popular books here. Navigation is a little difficult, and the way the genres are divided made it hard for me to find books I wanted to read. Do I check under fantasy or fairy tales in YA? Hmm, maybe it’s under Myth?

I wasn’t really a fan of the layout of Scribd. However, they had a great selection of popular and lesser known books in many genres. Search was fairly easy to use, which was good when I knew a specific book I was looking for.

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Here’s the Oyster layout. Oyster was originally developed for ios, and you can really tell. I liked that it was simple to make a reading list, and that my reading progress was displayed at the top of the screen.  I also found that the layout was easier to browse. Search was also easy to use, although it brought up some pretty weird results when I made a misspelling.

Readability was equal on both apps, with swipe to turn pages and the ability to highlight specific words or passages. You could also zoom in or out on both apps, which wasn’t particularly helpful to me, but is a nice touch.

At the end of the month, I wound up keeping Oyster. It not only has more titles, but I found it more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. It is a dollar more per month, if cost is an issue. Scribd Unlimited is $8.99 a month, versus Oyster’s $9.99 a month.

If you’re looking for an alternative to buying ebooks, and you read a variety of genres, Oyster and Scribd are both worth looking into. I have my eye on Kindle Unlimited, but right now the selection on it is paltry. When they add more publishers,  I plan to review it as well.

Friday Five:

My original plan was to review some makeup today, but it was a hectic week so plans have changed. Instead, here’s the top five things I’m loving this week!

1. Oyster Unlimited Books App

If your library allows you to check out ebooks, you’re lucky. If not, this app is the next best thing. CNN called it “The Netflix of Books,” and that’s pretty accurate. I’m also subscribed to Scribd Unlimited, but Oyster is much more user friendly and I love the layout.

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2. Gold Eyeshadow

Especially rose gold, but plain ol’ gold works too. My e.l.f. baked palette in Texas and my BH Cosmetics palette both have several shimmery golden shades in them. I love working a little bit of gold into a brown eye look- especially a brown “smokey” eye. (Can it really be a smokey eye if it’s not black and grey?)

3. Antique Glassware

From mason jars to mismatched table settings, thrift shopping is all the rage. The vintage, recycled, somewhat careless look is in. This week, for a picnic, I didn’t have to head out to a thrift store. All I had to do was dig through my grandpa’s cabinets. He may be a bit of a hoarder, but at least 1/10 of what he’s stowed away is cool. Guess he was onto something after all.

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4. The Weather (And the clothes for it.)

This only counts for a list like this because the cooler weather is expanding my style options. Low seventies, upper sixties? High waisted shorts, and old tank top, and an oversized sweatshirt pair nicely with some Tevas or Chacos. It’s casual, it’s comfy, and it’s totally on trend. Side note: isn’t this sweatshirt pattern cute?

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5. Jazzed up Macaroni

I’ve been eating a lot of Aldi brand gluten free macaroni. It’s good, it’s easy to make, and apparently it gets boring fast. Now I’m all about adding things into my macaroni, which makes it more like a meal anyway. Steamed broccoli and bacon bits or greens with bacon cheddar brats are two of my favorite combos right now. I’m going to try a baked macaroni recipe soon.

Book Blogging:

I read pretty much constantly. It’s one of the few things I can do even when I’m bedbound, and it’s been one of my favorite hobbies since I was a child. Both fortunately and unfortunately,  I am a bit of a speedreader. Ever since I learned to read, a lot of my money has gone into buying books.

I’ve been wishing for years that there was a sort of netflix for books, other than the library. Because of joint issues, holding a bulky book for a long period of time- like, more than ten minutes- isn’t an option anymore. I do a lot of ebook reading, and my library is way behind the times. We don’t have the capability to check out ebooks yet! Awful, right? Practically the stone age over here.

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Well, guess what’s happened lately? Not one, but TWO major ebook subscription services have popped up. For the interest of science, I’ve decided to try the free trial of both. In a month, I’ll pick between the two: Oyster and Scribd.

Right now, I’m leaning towards Oyster, pictured, for sheer usability. I love the interface, and there are a ton of books I’ve been dying to read. Scribd, on the other hand, has even more books I want to read, but I’m less impressed with the user interface. They’re both well developed so far, and constantly adding new books.

At the end of the month, I’ll report back with which one I ended up keeping and why! However, I’ve heard that Amazon is thinking of starting an ebook subscription service, and I love my Kindle, so if they do…well, the answer may be neither.

Have you tried an ebook subscription service yet? Did you like it?