My Life

My 2016 Reading List

Hello readers! As we barrel into the new year, I’m sure we are all busy making resolutions for 2016. My main resolution for 2016 is to only make resolutions I am really passionate about (so no “fluff” or obligatory ones). One of those is to read more real books.  I read every day, without fail. However, a lot of that is reading that is not really doing much to enrich my mind. I like reading silly romance novels (and not the well thought-out, well written ones, the really bad cheesy ones) because they help me unwind at night when I don’t want to think about much. I certainly am not going to stop reading these books because I need that time to enjoy brainless entertainment (it’s why I love Bravo TV!), but I do want to make an effort to also read books that are going to challenge me a little.  I’m sure this list will grow as the year goes on, but this is what I am going to start with!  (Note: all of these links are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link, I will get a small portion of the sale. So buy some books and read along with me!)

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling: I’m a very bad Harry Potter fan for never having read this book! Gotta get it in before the movie comes out, and before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens in April!

2.  BFG by Roald Dahl: This is another one I’ve got to read before the movie comes out in 2016. The tale of a big, friendly giant and a little girl named Sophie.

3. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: I have no intention of being a CEO with 400 employees working for me, but I’m sure Sophia’s kickass attitude will be inspiring, nonetheless.

4.  Paper Towns by John Green: I am a huge John Green fan and I have had Paper Towns sitting on my shelf for far too long. Time to actually read it!

5.  Games of Thrones by George R. R. Martin: I’ve technically already started this one, just gotta buckle down and finish it!

6. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin: I have it on my 30 by 40 list to finish the series, so I’m gonna have to knock out more than one per year!

7.  The Siren By Kiera Cass: I am a big fan of Cass’s The Selection series (see below) so I’m interested to read her other work.

8. The Heir by Kiera Cass: The final book in The Selection series comes out in May, but I still have to read number four! The series is like a cross between the Hunger Games and the Bachelor (both of which I love) and is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

9. The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling: Another one I want to read before seeing the movie. I love the idea of reading this to Squirt eventually and considering I have a degree in English (writing, but still English), I have read very few of the classics.

10. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory: I love all of Gregory’s historically based books, especially those centering on the Tudor family. This is the latest and focuses on Henry VIII’s final wife.

11. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This was on a lot of book lists last year, but I am behind the times so I will be checking out this mysterious love story in 2016.

12. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: This looks like it will be one of the most popular YA novels this year, and since it is part of my job as an educator (that’s really just an excuse because I love YA lit), I should read this one.

13. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: This is another one that I have started and not finished. A friend of mine is reading this murder mystery by the author of Gone Girl and she advised me to give it another shot, so I added it to the list.

14. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Another YA piece, this one focuses on a chubby teenage girl and her beauty pageant mother.

15. Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn: We’ve all read plenty of dystopian teen lit at this point, but this one seems like a new take. The main character gets implanted with a memory of her future (chew on that one) and is automatically arrested as a criminal.

So that’s where I am going to begin with my reading for 2016! Anything you think I should add to the list? Anything in particular you would like me to review when I am done?

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ADMB’s Top Ten Posts of 2015

It has been a successful year for me here over at ADMB.  No, I’m not one of those unicorn six figure bloggers (there’s always next year!), but I saw a lot of growth throughout the year both in my traffic and my social media numbers.  And I’m really glad I decided to write this post because it was good for me to see what you, my fab readers, really enjoyed this year.  Without further ado, here are my top ten most popular posts of the year!  (Note: I did not include giveaways in this countdown.)

10. 30 by 40: This was probably the biggest surprise for me on the list, since this post was really just about me! I’m flattered (really, truly, no sarcasm this time) that you all were interested in my list of things I want to do within the next eight years.  Also, I’ve only done one since writing the post.  I need to get on that!

9.  What Teachers Really Want for the Holidays: I’m impressed with this one since it is the latest (so the shortest amount of time to gather views) on the list. I’m sure all of your kids’ teachers appreciate you taking the time to read this one!

8.  DIY Mickey Mouse Coin Pouch: This easy project was a crowd favorite (and one of my favorites too).

7.  DIY Instagram Display Wall: Our display wall is one of Squirt’s favorite things to look at in our house, and I am still a fan of it as well.

6.  DIY Antique Dresser Makeover: This dresser is one of my favorite pieces in our house, so I’m thrilled that you all love it as much as I do.

5.  Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel Review: I loved my stay here and I hope you all will consider it for your next Disneyland trip (especially for a runDisney race!).

4.  Surviving a Kitchen Reno with a Toddler: It was a rough few weeks there, and I hope any of you that might be considering a home reno with a little one took away some useful tips from my experiences!

3.  DIY Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday Shirt: I love making things for Squirt, and this was one of my favorite projects for him this year.  I’m glad you guys agreed!

2. Best Shoes for a Day at Disneyland: Comfort is key, but you don’t have to totally give up your style when it comes to Disneyland footwear!  These are the shoes I wear to the parks myself!

1. DIY Disneyland’s 60th Minnie Ears: I still love these ears and I still wear them to the parks all the time.  I have gotten tons of compliments on these ones and they remain one of my favorite pairs.  I will be sad when I have to retire them when the 60th celebration ends!

Thank you all for making this such an incredible year for me! I truly appreciate each and every one of you!  Here’s to another great year of Disney, crafts, travel, and family, with a dash of ADMB sass!


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Life Right Now

Well lovely readers, life is a bit of a roller coaster these days.  In many ways I feel like I’m having a mid life crisis (though hopefully I’m still a good twenty years from actual mid life).  There are a lot of questions I need to try to answer in the coming months and really I’m just trying to stay sane at this point!  And that brings us to today, in my life right now I am…

Making a whole lot of nothin! Crafts have taken a backseat lately, but with the holidays approaching, I’m sure I will be covered with glitter soon!
Drinking a lot.  Haha (but seriously).  Lots of red wine now that it is actually chilly outside and HOT coffee!
Reading Harry Potter.  It is my yearly tradition to reread the entire series around the holidays.
Wanting life to be figured out.
Playing Christmas music.  I know, I know, I am totally one of those people.
Wishing it was Winter Break!

At Disneyland, they actually get my name right (since it is on my pass).

Enjoying all of my favorite fall TV shows. In particular, Scandal, Survivor and The People’s Couch.
Waiting for the holidays!
Liking our finished kitchen!
Wondering where I am going to be next year and what surprises 2016 has in store.
Loving watching Squirt as he starts to really develop a personality and express his (many) opinions.
Hoping career stuff works out the way I want it to.
Needing a massage.  For reals.
Wearing sweaters!  Finally!

This kid is turning out to be quite the character.

Following lots of pretty wedding people on my new Instagram, @falonbweddings.
Noticing how much Squirt is changing, even day by day.
Knowing that everything will work out in the end.
Thinking about all the Christmas shopping.

Check out my wedding Insta account for more shots like this!

 Anticipating Season of the Force and Holiday Time at Disneyland.
Celebrating fall weather and the upcoming holidays.
Laughing at The People’s Couch. One of the best and most underrated shows on TV.
Feeling stressed, grateful, tired, pensive, irritable…and after writing all that, bad for my husband!

The holidays officially kick off this week at the Disneyland Resort!

And there’s your glimpse into my life right now!

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DIY: Instagram Photo Display Wall

Okay, first, I  have to apologize for the terrible photo quality here.  My hallway is super shadowy and dark (like most hallways, I assume) and there is no good light.  Therefore, pics did not turn out so great.   But hopefully you can get the idea!  I decided to add this photo display to my new house for a couple of reasons.  One, the hallway is one of the few places in the house that isn’t currently a complete disaster.  Two, I love displaying pictures around the home.  Three, Squirt is a big fan of looking at pictures of himself.  What can I say, even he knows he’s adorable.  So here is how to put together your own Instagram photo display!

1.  Gather your supplies: small binder clips (the smallest size they have), photo hanging wire, eye screws, scissors, and 4 x 4 pictures (I love to order mine from Postal Pix).

2.  Mark out the spacing you want and screw in the eye (like a hook and eye, minus the hook).  I measured 12 inches from the end of the wall on each side.  Each line of photos is eight inches from the other.

3.  Thread the wire through the eye and wrap the end around.

4.  Stretch the wire across the wall to the other side and repeat on the opposite end.

5.  Use the binder clips to hang your pictures from the wire.  The beauty of this display is that the pictures don’t have to be evenly spaced or hang straight.  They can be at different angles and it doesn’t really matter.

And there you have it!  I love this display for a lot of reasons.  I love that you can easily change out and update the pictures as you have new experiences.  I love that it is a little quirky and not totally perfect looking.  And mostly, I love that it is a great representation of my little family (mostly Squirt, since he is obviously the cutest).  This is the first real project I have completed in our new house and it has me itchin’ for more!  I can’t wait to tackle some more decor!


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Surviving a Kitchen Reno with a Toddler

I thought living in a one bedroom, 350 square foot sublet with a toddler was bad.  Then we moved into our new house and I was SO EXCITED to get back to a normal life with normal living space.  And then I spent a day or two looking at this kitchen….

….and I wasn’t so excited anymore.  Originally the plan was to do some quick updates in the bathrooms and then focus our attention on converting our detached garage into a music room/man cave for the hubs.  But after just a couple of days with this kitchen, we decided that it needed to be our first priority in the remodel game.  One, because it was ugly, and two because it wasn’t functional.  The layout was weird and the cabinets were installed incorrectly, rendering the uppers mostly useless.  So we went for it.  Not going to lie, I went into this project thinking it would take 7-10 days.  Are you laughing at me?  You should be.  We’re currently on day 22 (including weekends, which are not work days, but are still days I have to live with an unfinished kitchen).  The end is in sight, but we still have at least five more days of work before the kitchen is complete.  And it has been rough.  Here’s what I have learned so far:

1.  Set up one of your bathrooms as a makeshift kitchen.  You will not have a sink for most, if not all, of your reno time.  We marked off our biggest bathroom as the new kitchen sink, which means no one gets to use the toilet in there.  It is now where we wash dishes, complete with a drying station comprised of stacked boxes and a dish towel.

2.  Stock up on disposable plates, cups, and silverware.  I know this is not the best for the environment, but when you don’t have a dishwasher and your “kitchen sink” is actually a bathroom sink, the less dishes to wash, the better.  We have to wash bottles, but we don’t have to use real plates.

3.  Set up your work hours according to baby’s schedule.  Squirt is pretty good about sleeping until nine in the morning, so that is when the workers arrive for the day.  Also, try to time naps with lunch time.  Our guy usually eats during the meat of Squirt’s nap, which limits the noise.  He hasn’t been woken up by them once during this whole process.

4.  Have a baby safe area set up and ready.  Squirt is still okay in the play pen so I have it set up in the living room.  I can put him in there anytime I need to look at something in the kitchen or deal with anything I don’t want him around (since he grabs for everything under the sun, if I’m checking out anything in the work zone, I leave him in the play pen).

5.  Make sure baby’s food is readily accessible.  There are times when we physically can’t get into the kitchen so we set up a folding TV tray in the living room with all of Squirt’s food.  That way when he needs it, we can get to it no matter what is happening in the kitchen.  Additionally, we made sure our contractor knew we needed to have access to the fridge (mostly for milk).  If the fridge area is going to be blocked during the day’s work, they move it for us so we can still get into it when we need to.

6.  Socks and shoes are a must.  Squirt is not a fan of wearing either, but anytime he is walking around the house these days, he’s got them on.  In general, the rest of the house is pretty clean, but you never know what’s lurking on the floors during a reno and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

7.  Have a place you can go to escape.  There were a couple of days during the process when we took Squirt to our parents’ houses.  The water was turned off for two days while plumbing was being relocated, and there were an additional one or two days when it was too noisy for him to be in the house and have a normal day.  If you don’t have friends or family nearby to crash their pads, you might want to look into a hotel for those days (for us, they were early on in the process).

8.  Remind yourself, daily, that it is going to be worth it in the end.  There have been many times over the past 22 days that I have questioned why we are going through this.  When I have those thoughts, I look back at the before pictures and think about how much that kitchen sucked.  And then I think about how awesome the new kitchen is going to be.  And I tell myself that four weeks in the grand scheme of life is nothing.  And I pray that it really is going to be only four weeks.

If you’re interested, here’s what our kitchen currently looks like…

Needless to say, we are still undergoing renovations, but the end is near.  It has been really tough and sometimes very frustrating.  But our new kitchen is going to make it all worthwhile.  If you are considering a renovation and have a toddler, well, I would honestly put it off as long as possible!  But it can be done and if you must do it, try to keep these tips in mind, and most importantly, keep a positive attitude!


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32 Things You Don’t Know About Me On My 32nd Birthday!

Hello lovely readers!  It’s one of my favorite days of the year: my birthday!  I, of course, will be spending the day at Disneyland but I wanted to write this special post for my 32nd birthday (can’t believe I just put my age out there on the internet…now I can never lie about it!).  So here are 32 things you might not know about me!

1.  I was a cheerleader in high school.
2.  I was also the president of the drama club.
3.  I spent most of my life not wanting kids.  I didn’t change my mind until I was 29.
4.  The hubs and I moved in together after dating only two months.
5.  My favorite color is pink.
6.  My favorite food is grilled cheese.
7.  The hubs and I spent our wedding night at the Disneyland Hotel.
8.  My favorite princess is Aurora (in the pink dress, of course), but my favorite princess movie is The Little Mermaid.
9.  My favorite place to shop is Target.
10. Each year around Christmas, I reread the entire Harry Potter series.
11. I currently have seven tattoos.
12. I have never been out of the country.
13. One of our life goals (me and the hubs, and now Squirt) is to visit all of the major league baseball stadiums.  So far we have been to ten!
14. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author.
15. My Starbucks winter drink is a skinny vanilla latte and my summer drink is an iced coffee with sugar free vanilla syrup and non-fat milk.
16. I have a ridiculous love for reality TV.
17. The hubs and I got married on the day in between our birthdays (so our anniversary is tomorrow and his 32nd birthday is the day after that).
18. The best concert I have ever been to was the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block.
19. My favorite ride at Disneyland is Pirates of the Caribbean.
20. In my “spare time” I am a day-of wedding coordinator.
21. I bite my nails.
22. I wear flip flops as much as possible.
23. The only magazine I read regularly is HGTV.
24. When I was a kid, I would stay up past my bedtime…to read.
25. I always change the channel during the sad, abused puppy commercials because they are too depressing.
26. I love college football, hockey, and baseball.
27. I have terrible handwriting.
28. My favorite musicals are Rent, Wicked, A Chorus Line, Avenue Q, and Book of Mormon.
29. I love home decor.
30. When I am not at work, I’m usually wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
31. The more I visit the parks, the more I love California Adventure.
32. I have been going to Disneyland for my birthday since I was one!

And that’s it for me this week!  See you real soon!

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30 by 40

Guess what, readers?  It’s my birthday week!  Yes, I know how obnoxious it is for a grown woman to celebrate her birthday for a whole week, but I don’t really care.  I do what I want!  As I am steadily approaching mid-thirties, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I want to accomplish before the big 4-0.  Luckily, most of my major life goals have been checked off the list (married, kid, house, the usual).  Now I get to focus on the fun stuff!  So I’ve put together a list of the thirty random, odd, but important things I want to do before I turn forty.  I’m excited to get started!

1.  Visit five new states.
2.  Go to two new baseball stadiums.
3.  Get another tattoo.
4.  Leave the country for the first time.
5.  Run a 10k.
6.  Win a round of bar trivia.
7.  Donate blood.
8.  Take the official Jeopardy quiz.
9.  Renew vows with the hubs.
10. Go to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
11. Have a blog post go viral.
12. Take Squirt to his first play (a real one, not one of mine).
13. Learn to play the piano.
14. Finish the Game of Thrones books.
15. Eat at Napa Rose.
16. Try avocado again (I feel like the only Southern Californian that doesn’t like it).
17. Publish a book.
18. Go surfing.
19. Play tennis.
20. Attend a blog conference.
21. Get to the point where I feel comfortable leaving teaching and working for myself.
22. “Finish” the house (it will never truly be done, talking more about the big stuff).
23. Learn how to sew.
24. Take a cruise.
25. Go on a road trip with Squirt.
26. Establish a house-cleaning routine.
27. Get over my fear of public speaking.
28. Serve as a team mom.
29. Do all the Disneyland attractions I haven’t done before.
30. Go back to Hawaii.

Obviously some of these are loftier than others, but I am going to be working on all of them for the next eight years.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, as always!  What’s on your bucket list?  Anything fun I missed?

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