andiamo: 2017

what I've been reading lately


I used to be quite the reader back in the day, plowing through book after book and loving every second of it. With the addition of children into my life I have drastically cut back, unfortunately, to about a dozen books a year. These being mainly Christmas presents from my parents (thanks guys!). But a new goal of mine has been to up the reading ante as it were. I would say I've been pretty successful as I've read fourteen books since July... Already beat my prior year's record! Some of these I already owned or were given as a gift and some of these were borrowed from my Stephanie and well some came from our local library! I had no idea I could check out a book online and it would be shipped into my community library from a different one in the county! What is next?
I'm not a book reviewer by any means but I'll share my general thoughts as I'm sure you are all dying to know... And yes, these are affiliate links.

Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult
I've never ever read a Piccoult book before strangely enough (or not so strange depending on your literary tastes). I wanted a page turner and this was just that. Elephants and ghosts and psychics rolled into one!

Underground Railroad bu Colson Whitehead
I was so fascinated by the idea of the Underground Railroad being an actual underground railroad, like subway/metro style. This was such a good book even with such a pretense as that. Such a sad time in our nation's history. There were some horribly graphic parts; it is so hard to imagine human beings enduring such travesties!

Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann 
The book follows the lives of three ladies as they climb the celebrity ladder over the course of twenty years. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. That whole bit. It is not an uplifting tale, to be sure. A classic that made me think of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Just me?

A Map of Time by Felix Palma
This is one of a series and while it was entertaining enough, I just don't think this is a world I'd spend too much time in. A serial killer and lots of deception and slight of hand type situations happening in this one. Sitting on a throne of lies!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Obviously a classic and a very quick read. Even more upsetting to read after the above Whitehead novel. It's not just a story of the South during the Civil Rights Movement but also a story of a girl becoming an independent thinker from her family. I think.

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
This is one of the Lord John books, a first for me, delving into his world... But this one's title had me because it was obviously allll about Jamie so. Loved it. Give me more Jamie please and thank you! Those years where Claire was away were monstrous times I'm sure but what was he up to all that time!? I need the info.

Second Glance by Jodi Piccoult
Again with her, yes. Does she always write about ghosts and hauntings and psychics? I don't know but this was also another good one. Anything that makes me want to keep reading and turn that page I'm a fan of.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
We all know I have a thing for the Gaines' and this did not disappoint! It was a real quick read and definitely felt like a conversation with the two of them, Chip piping in with his random two cents! I just loved to hear how she decided to start decorating for the family. Kid friendly? I just love her so!

Marked, Betrayed, Chosen and Untamed by P.C. Cast
A PG-13 Twilight perhaps? With tattoos? But not as good of course because that series had me sucked in immediately. These were easy reads and entertaining enough but I doubt I'll keep reading the rest of this House Of Night series... There is at least another four books maybe more? 

I had watched the movie and really liked it so when I heard it was a book before that I had to read it. I'm curious where the whole Clary/Jace thing is going to go so I might read the next book eventually. A demon hunter and werewolves and vampires with some budding teenage romance? Sure! 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
So so so good. I have always found reading anything about WWII/The Holocaust to be fascinating, like, as a child reading Number the Stars and all that. I started young. This book just weighs heavily on me. Worth reading in a tragic way of course. Two sisters finding their way doing what was right in such a scary and devastating time... Each in their own way. Goodness. I can't even fathom children in such a world. No.

Up on deck in no particular order...
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Any good suggestions for me? I'm all ears/eyes! Are these types of posts incredibly boring/fascinating to you guys? I have no idea! You tell me.


some fall decor...


I say finally because I mean, it is the middle of September so that's not like super late or something but for me, historically, it is. I was the whole decorate your house for fall the end of August type of gal for many many moons. I just wasn't feeling it because: school. But with the kids gone at school all day I looked around my almost empty home and thought well sure, now is the time. Let's make it happen.

I personally think the dining room is my favorite room, all without a single dash of orange! What does that say about me!? My apologies for the play room but well, it's a play room! Chaos! Anarchy!

So what do you guys think? Anyone else go crazy for fall decorating? 

Past year's fall decor here, here, here and here! Personally I love looking back through these old posts just to see all the changes we've done to the house! Always something!


some morning dom and me time with smile brilliant


I really had no clue what to expect with these early fall mornings home once the bigger kids left for school. I was quite anxious about it actually. I've never had a two and a half year old to myself, I've always had another infant at this stage in the older one's life. If that makes any sense? When Letty was two and a half David was six months old, when David was two and a half Dom was a wee babe of one month. You get it. So these weekdays at home with this bigger kids out the door at 7 a.m. seemed a bit daunting to me. What would they look like? What would Dom look like?
I made a list of cleaning projects that I wanted to do, you know the things that no one wants to do but that you know your mother does and well what else are you going to do so might as well, right? 
I planned on reading a lot more, scouring lists of the best books of the year for ones that looked interesting to me... I figured instead of adding to my Amazon habit/addiction I would be checking out said books from our local library after a quick visit to their toddler story time of course... 
I also figured there would be quite a few slow mornings sipping multiple cups of coffee and watching the news with Dom perched on my lap... And couch tickles because those always end up happening. Slow mornings filled with every day things like folding laundry and putting the dishes away... Can't forget the weekly (bi) Target runs and the park visits... And walks. Lots of brisk walks around the neighborhood, just Dom and I. And I tried really hard to not let that pesky sad fact overwhelm me.
I'm not one to like to be alone (clearly), or to have the slow "me" type times (ha! What are those like anyways?). I thrive on doing many things at once and going in many different directions throughout the day. When Smile Brilliant contacted me about trying out their Teeth Whitening Solution I was immediately pleased  by how simple the whole process was to do! You mean I can comfortably whiten while I run/read/shower/fold laundry/go for a walk/clean the playroom for the millionth time? Sign me up.
I've done a teeth whitening routine before, many years ago, but it's been over a decade (yikes!). The strips that only get the front few teeth and slide around... you know the ones... As we all know I love my red wine, my coffee, my diet soda... All bad things for these choppers. It was time!
I felt super fabulous when I got this kit because I got to create a mold of my teeth that Smile Brilliant then used to make my very own personalized teeth whitening trays! So each and every tooth would be reached by the whitening gel, every nook and cranny. I have had sensitive teeth all my live long days so they sent me the whole teeth whitening for sensitive teeth set up of course. I chose to whiten for 45 minutes doing whatever I want to do that day (all the things!) and then use the desensitizing gel for another 20 minutes or so and I do this every other day. Just to give my sensitive teeth a break. So in other words, whitening sensitive teeth at home can work!
It didn't take too long to see results, coffee and wine and soda beware! The teeth just look brighter and more "brilliant" to me (see what I did there?). Check out the before and after below. See also how much of my tan I have lost in these past few weeks! Oh the horror of a chilly August and early September! I plan on continuing to whiten as the need arises in the future! Can't let that smile dull in the slightest.
Smile Brilliant has been so kind as to gift a teeth whitening solution (a $139 value) to one of you lovely readers! Click here to enter the giveaway. It will be open for one week from today and is available to US, UK, Australia and Canadian residents. If you just can't wait to get your own solution use code 'blogandiamo10' for 10% off your purchase!


Tooth Whitening Gel

a dining room update, again.


I know! I keep thinking or saying that we are done and then I keep getting handed these amazing ideas up on a platter either from Joanna Herself or my mother or Pinterest! This one came from my mama. And she got it from Joanna. The hutch in our dining room and also the wine tower come to think of it, were purchases made at our old home on a wee tiny budget and probably came from Kmart if I am being honest... They are fine, sure, but not great. Janet suggested painting them. To which is scoffed at because holy rolaids - talk about a lot of work! But then! Enter in my brother-in-law who heard of this plan and suggested he bring over his paint sprayer and I practically jumped up and down in joy at that! He did it all and I am so in love with how they turned out! We removed the glass doors on the top of the hutch and added a shelf back in the middle section... Added a lot of white accents and books and man oh man. Perfection! You can see the original furniture pieces here.

The lighting was terrible, to my shame, but I was just so excited to share these images I couldn't wait for a sunny day... So my apologies!
What do you guys think? I might need to invest in a paint sprayer of my very own...


changing up my lighting, farmhouse style


I blame this entirely on my sister-in-law. They got this brand new house, you see... And with that brand new house came the addition all these brand new light fixtures... And every time I was over there I just kept staring at them with heart eyes... So then I thought well maybe I can update my fans a little, like with a new light kit perhaps? And my dad, who gets us all our fixtures, says no Laur. Just get all new ones.

So like a good girl I listened to my daddy... And that's just what I did. Not just one, no, but five new fixtures. I love me a good Edison bulb!! So we got new ceiling fans for our living room and above our kitchen island... a light for above our kitchen table, one for above our kitchen sink, and one for above our dining room table.
What do you guys think? Aren't I just the luckiest? I'm obsessed with them! 

Thank you so so so much dad!


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