vacation time {hearts castle // HWY 1 // madonna inn}

im always amazed when people show off their vacation pictures and im like aw man, i wish i could do that too! and then im like duh, les. you have a blog. 
i just get lazy. 
and editing pictures on a phone is a drag. 
but thats what i get for not having a computer at home or any editing skills. so here we are. 

aaaanyway!, over the long weekend, Evelyn (my bf's brother's gf) booked us all a room (moms trip) at i forgot where next to Firestone Brewery so the guys could have some drinks (we all drank) and then next day we drove up to Hearst Castle. 

we left on Sunday and hit up Solvang (all of the heart eyes), walked around a bit and had breakfast. 
everyone was hangry so we didnt do much but i am DEFINITELY going back during xmas with my mom because they light it all up and i mean come on!!!!

after that, we hit up the hotel. had a couple of glasses of wine because YUM! then went to dinner just to come back down (just the 4 of us) have a couple of more drinks and have just about the best laugh i have ever had in my life. 

ill leave you with some pictures. 

went straight to the bar and ordered samples of every beer they had. not bad. 
neptune pool currently under construction. they say it might be ready sometime 2017 but i doubt it. she sounded very hesitant about the answer she gave me. 
the front (?) entrance
they had about 100 different statues all over the place. some were cool looking. 
others were kinda creepy looking without the eyes painted. it honestly felt like they were looking in to your soul. spooky!
the inside pool. 
looks pretty cool but it honestly creeped me out a bit. 
afterwards, we drove down the 1 and made several stops. 
on the way up to hearts castle, we saw a couple of zebras but we were thinking there was no way. 
long story short, once Hearst had the castle done-ish, he had all sorts of animals taken to his property and zebras happened to be one of the many. 
unfortunately when he went bankrupt a lot of the animals were sent to zoo's. those that stayed are great great great whatever of the original animals he used to have. 

they have A LOT of land so these were waaaaay out. miles upon miles away from the castle. 
a short 45 minute drive from there, i FINALLY hit up the Madonna Inn. 
i have been wanting to go for foever!!!! and almost 2 years ago when i went to big sur, i wanted to stop by but i decided to skip it. 
this time we got off, had lunch and looked everywhere!!!!!
the bathrooms are the cutest things ever!!!!! (the guys one was pretty cool too. and yes, i along with like 10 other women were seen coming out of there.) 
i definitely want to come back and stay in a room eventually just to get the feel of the hotel. 
(all of this is in the front building. the rooms are in another way in the back.) 
(also, just FYI, the pretty pink dinning room isnt open until 5 so just a heads up.) 

overall it was a fun, quick getaway. 
the castle was pretty interesting to see. 
we had a pretty informative guide and she answered all of our questions. 
all i would say is just make sure what you want to see in the castle cause the tours only take you so far. 
i had no problem with it at all but it wasnt until we made it into the inside pool (the roman pool?) that i got a little creeped out. 
uhm...i dont know. i LOVE swimming but the idea of swimming in there kinda gave me the hibbie jibbies. 
i felt like if i was in the deep end, something would pull me by the leg and keep me down there. 
then B told me that apparently the workers get to go swimming in it about 2 times a year and that for some odd reason made me a little bit more ahhh! about it. (here's a video of a dude jumping into the pool. eeek!) 

then, were almost home and my mom tells me that she felt like she felt a presence in there. not like a ghost or whatever but pretty stuffy and i dont know. but i kinda agreed with her. 
which all the more creeped me out when they said they host a night showing of the castle and i was told were going back. eeek. thanks but no thanks. 

anyway, happy Wednesday!

the assistants // camille perri

sorry for the crappy picture. but you try taking a picture of a red ass book with the library cover on and get no glare. lol 

published: 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-57693-5
pages: 279
read: 9/12/2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT

SYNOPSIS (amazon)

Rule #1: All important men have assistants. 
Rule #2: Men rule the world. Still. 
Rule #3: There is enough money. There is so much money.

Tina Fontana is a thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making reservations and pouring drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, the glamour of working for a media company in New York has completely faded, but her student loan debt has not. 

When a technical error with Robert’s expense report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her loans with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she hesitates. She’s always played by the rules, but this would be a life-changer. As Tina begins to fall down the rabbit hole of her morally questionable plan, other assistants with crushing debt and fewer scruples approach her to say that they want in. Before she knows it, she’s at the forefront of a movement that has implications far beyond what anyone anticipated.


Tina works for Robert who basically own every media circuit you could ever think of. 
she's worked for him for 6 years. 
he spends about her whole entire years worth of work on a pair of socks while shes struggling to live day to day and pay off her student loans. 
til one day when she has to book his flight, and pay for it with her credit cards. 

you know those messages that say your call may be monitored for whatever purposes? well, when she called to book Roberts flight, her call was picked. and because the lady who helped her was a total bitch, she was reimbursed $19k. which she received a check for even though the company had already been taken care of. 

she knows she cant keep the money. 
and then, she deposits it from the comfort of her own home and pays off her loan. 
and she gets away with it for a while. 

then Emily comes along and asks her to do the same. 

and then Margie comes along and tells her to do the same but for a friend. or she'll rat. 

and then Emily brings Ginger into the mix. 

and then Margie's friend, Lily, brings Wendi along. but for something else. 

(there's a chain of command here, but you read the book. this ones too good to miss out on)

so they pay off Emily's, then Lily's and then Wendi decides to robin hood this and decides to create a program where all of the assistants can add money little by little and help other women out. 

and then Kevin blabs to his friend in Buzzfeed and now everybody knows. 

in the end, they get away with it; in the long run. 
Emily ends up going to jail because Robert doesn't believe Tina has it in her to think of such a thing and in the end, its freaking Margie (who i sorta wanted to strangle a little bit but still loved) who kinda saves the day. 
and its Tina that stands up to Robert in a classy way but lets him know she ain't one to mess with. 
and it's all of them that build something amazing together. 

(just thoughts on the book itself)

i LOVED this book!!!!
i knew it was going to be a quick read for me, i just didn't think I'd devour it in a day. 
i had to get an oil change and they took forever so i read a good chunk there. and when i got home i couldn't put it down. i kept saying one more chapter, one more chapter and in the end i was like 50 more pages. so i just finished it. 

anyway, i love this book!!!

i love CP's writing. 
i love how she acknowledges that we do live in a world where men do make more money, where college students are drowning in debt, and where women are still fighting their way to the top. 
and yes i know these are topics that are heavily talked about everywhere BUT instead of being freaking negative about it, she uses those topics to her advantage. 
she makes Tina be human with a variety of emotions but still funny and still a real person who knows those things are happening but not angered by that, but eventually empowered. 
to me, this book is about empowerment to see who you can become and acceptance that yes, you can have a college degree but now a days, it doesn't mean what it did then. 

it was funny, well written and it had me intrigued the whole time. 
the friendships that she built were the best because even she said it, they were an oddball team. 
but it was the friendship that she built with Emily was the absolute best. i want my own Emily. 

i also loved this book because it made me realize that its okay that i don't have my shit together at 28. 
i unfortunately  do not have a college degree. but that's my decision. and seeing the amount of debt you could get in to is the reason that its stopping me. 
i don't know what i want to do but i know i don't want to owe money for the rest of my life. 
i liked that the book made me feel okay about that. 

about the money, at first i was like, there's no way right? who siphons money like that? but then i thought to myself, that's kind of the world we live in, so its believable.
i just loved that she used it for good and not for greed. (paying off college loans for you and others, even under threat, is good. to buy yourself new shoes every other hour, is greed.) 

i loved loved loved this book. 

this is usually the part where i leave you with quotes buuut i was waaay to into the book that i didn't flag anything.  

i definitely recommend this book.
i loooooved it!!!!! 

thanks for reading!

#lesreads on IG

modern lovers // emma straub

published 2016
ISBN: 9781594634673
pages: 353
read from: 9/7-11/2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT
(i feel like i should note that i liked it okay but i would have been okay never having read this book. that's what those two ratings together mean for me.)

SYNOPSIS (amazon)

Friends and former college band mates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.



Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe and Lydia all met at Oberlin during their college years and to cut it short, form a band. They're okay til Elizabeth writes Mistress of Myself that sets them on the map. Eventually Lydia leaves cause she was messing around with Andrew (even though he was with Elizabeth) and he never wanted more with her like she did. She becomes big in the music world til she dies of an overdose.

So this movie company starts trying to produce a movie about her life and everyone is for it except Andrew.
Artistic rights or whatever it's called blah blah blah but basically he says no because he doesn't want Elizabeth to find out they were sleeping together. Which of course she does. But she finds out after the fact. After she's forged his signature and he threatens to sue to which they threaten to sue cause hey!, falsifying signatures is apparently a huge crime. (I know it is.)
They don't break up but it is shitty for a while. I guess.

Andrew's also this big time rich dude who grew up with angst about it BUT he never really has to worry about work or anything cause if he needs money, he has it.
Which is why he dumps a million dollars  (I think) into this crap called EVOLVEment which turns out to be a pretend yoga studio where basically anyone gets to walk in and do yoga or smoke or drink kombucha and a bunch of other crap. Well, I wouldn't say pretend, but like, who dumps a million dollars into a project without getting lawyers and paperwork involved.

Eventually the owner or creator or whatever, Dave, gets caught and taken to jail (my dibs on Jane and or Zoe calling it in) and Andrew walks away.
Without any of his money.
And I know it's just a book but who the fuck does that?


Zoe and Jane and are married and in the beginning it seems like they're headed for divorce.
Long story short they just needed to talk shit out and after rediscovering sex, they're on the same team again.


Ruby is Zoe & Jane's daughter who has sort of a "wild" reputation and Harry is Andrew & Elizabeth's kid who is the complete opposite of Ruby but they end up "falling in love."
Til he proposes and she takes off to Mexico to sail a boat and then ends up doing other shit. (Mind you he's younger than her and on his senior year oh high school when he "proposed.")

Honestly the way that Andrew first talked about Harry, I swear I thought he was a special needs kid (I'm sorry of that sounds messed up because I in no way intended it in a bad way) but it turns out he's kind of just a nerd (all of their words) he likes to just stay home and chill.

Anyways he "defends" Ruby from Dust at her graduation given that it's never mentioned what happened for him to need to defend her other than a scream and that's where they start.
i feel like they made Dust seem more menacing than he was. besides what im about to mention, he wasn't really anything. they built him up just to show that he ended up being a person of success.

This is out of nowhere but I thought I should mention because wtf!? But one of Ruby's "friends" either Sarah or Dust set fire to Ruby's mom's restaurant.
He tells her it was Sarah and Sarah tells her it was him.
Either way no one gets turned in, which ....????....but it's like, to me,
These People have  money and it doesn't matter to them that it goes to waste. 

Idk that was weird.

but i did like that for once the girl was the "bad" influence and the guy was the one doing all the lovey-dovey crap.

(just thoughts on the book itself)

This one is difficult.
Cause I liked the book but I feel like nothing really happened til like after 200+ pages.
I get the marriage crisis, getting older concept, but I feel like for the longest time Elizabeth was just fighting herself about whether she did the right thing by marrying Andrew so young. 
I've never been married so I can't say I understand what that's like but I feel like it dragged on for too long.

Zoe and Jane just needed to talk (or have sex) to basically fix their issues and I just, 😧, that was another hot mess.

Ruby did whatever she wanted with no accountability to her actions and I know parents usually let kids get away with crap but come on.
And Harry, well, i don't know. I don't know what I could even say about him. He was a sweetheart, kinda dorky but his heart in a good place. just ridiculously sheltered even if his parents feel like crap 90% of the time for not giving the kid more. 

It was a good story overall, I just feel like a lot of issues were left unresolved.
For example: did Andrew ever get his money back? And did Ruby ever tell her parents? and Harry....and Elizabeth. And I guess Andrew and her are okay but we never really touched on that again.
It does give you endings for everyone at the end of the book, but it doesn't answer those few questions and I guess it bugs me a little bit.

I don't know, anyway, I'll leave you with some quotes.

"Choices were easy to make until you realized how long life could be." 

-Elizabeth complaining about marriage to Andrew.  Pg 29

"There was nothing about youth that was fair: the youth hasn't done anything to deserve it, and the old hadn't done anything to drive it away." 

-Andrew complaining about basically having an easy fucking life and going through a midlife crisis (didn't mark the page).

"Elizabeth understood why so many people believed in God---- it was for precisely this reason, so they'd never have to close their eyes and think, "What the fuck did I do to my life?"......."

-Elizabeth complaining about life. Pg 317

thanks for reading!

#lesreads on IG

the love that split the world // emily henry

normally i dont care to show my tattoo but it managed to sync with this and you'll see

published: 2016
isbn: 978-1-59514-850-6
pages: 390
read from: 8/29 to 9/3 - 2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT

SYNOPSIS (amazon)
Natalie's last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start . . . until she starts seeing the "wrong things." They're just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a preschool where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn't right.
Then there are the visits from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls "Grandmother," who tells her, "You have three months to save him." The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it's as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

i couldn't even try to spoil it all for you even if i wanted. 
it wasn't until AFTER i wrote my ramblings that i realized in the end, it left me with some unanswered questions but i didn't even mind. and not even questions but like, i just wanted to know what happened to her mother and father and sister. i know her brother Jack grows up to marry a loving man and have children. ...but that only took place if....


that apparition, grandmother. 
boy i did not see that one coming. 

Natalie was given up for adoption.
and her adoptive mother was in a car accident. 
it messed Nat up so bad that she gets taken in to have her memory erased of that moment, sort of, if you will. 
but she keeps having nightmares. 
the same one over and over about the car accident. and it isn't until later on when she's hypnotized or whatever you call it that she realizes that it isn't a dream but a memory.
and grandmother is there to tell her stories. stories which will prepare her. 

when her mother crashed, another car crashed as well. in that car was Beau and his father and in that universe, B doesn't make it. 

to avoid the long-ness that this could be, I'm just going to cut to the chase.

grandmother is actually Natalie from the future coming back in time to tell her (herself) that she has 3 months to save Beau before the portal closes and its too late. 
so that's what she does. 
she goes back in time to the moment of the accident and because her love for B is so pure and so strong, she gives up her life for his. thus altering everything from that moment on. 
because there is no her and he has a second chance. 

and the trippy part is that it's future Natalie telling now Natalie to go back in time and save Beau (basically killing herself) so that he has a chance. 
its like, she lived but is now going back in time to tell herself to save someone else. even if it means that now Nat will never see whats going to happen with future Nat. (yea. my head hurt too!) 

except that, (and i don't know my Bible so .....) she survives. 
as Abraham gave up his son for God, ultimately sparing him because of his commitment, so is Natalie. 
because she has seen His face and heart just as He has hers. 
(did i just read a somewhat religious book?)

i could see where people get messed up and think that they're not sure whether she ends up dying or living. 
luckily because I'm impatient, i read all those comments that stated that they didn't know so i knew to super mega uber pay attention to the end once death was mentioned. 
but that's my interpretation. 
to me, she survives BUT they are in their own version of their universe. 
it could mean something else to someone else.   

all i know is, there's a crap load i left out. 
soo....ya know, you gotta read for yourself. 

(just thoughts on the book itself)

first and foremost, this book was beautiful. 
i fell in love with it when it was first released back in January because of the cover but it wasn't until right now that I'm having the library loves that i decided to check it out. 

i made the fatal mistake of going on to goodreads to read the reviews and i was thisclose to being swayed away from it. i was thinking of putting it down and reading my 2 other books. but something told me stick to my gut and keep on truckin' and I'm sooo glad i did!   

the love that split the world, Emily Henry, thank you for making this my farewell book to my 2016 goodreads challenge (25/25). 

this book is so beautifully written, i don't even know how to convey into words. 
let me start by telling you this.......
i was lost about 90% of the book. the twists and turns....i didn't see what was happening til literally the very moment i started reading the first word of the sentence explaining what i didn't understand previously. 
the whole time travel thing threw me for a loop. i didn't see that twist coming but it was amazing. 

this is the kind of book I KNOW i can read a second time and appreciate more because now that i know what happened, how it happened and why it happened, my eyes, my mind, heck even my soul will be more alert and accepting of what takes place. 
i will be more aware of what takes place and i will better understand the read as i re-read it. 
I'm definitely buying this book when its comes out in paperback (hopefully next year) and reading it again. 

usually when i read a book, i can clearly visualize or create the scenario of what I'm reading in my mind but this is hands down the first book where i could CLEARLY see the location and the emotions that EH was trying to convey. the scene where she talks about the church and how it looks different, i pictured myself in that scene and my god, it was  b e a u t i f u l.

this book is just, ahh!
yes its YA and yes its a love story (typical) but i feel like it was more than that. 
it was more than any other YA book i have read. i feel like....i feel like I'm beyond grateful that this book was a part of my life. 
this one will stay with me for a while. its weird because i wouldn't say its my favorite (i honestly don't know what book is besides the witches by R. Dahl) but this book, i don't know man, it did something to me. it freaking moved me. 

i will say this though, based on the goodreads review, please take my review lightly. not because I'm not confident in the book but simply because we all have different tastes. 
i honestly don't think everyone that bashed it made it through completely so they missed out on the beauty of the stories within and the meaning behind her decision of it all. 
and well, those that did make it and just didn't care for it, well i don't know. 
i wholeheartedly loved this book and i stand by my "review" but i understand its not everyones cup of tea. 
i wont try to convince you or anyone because i feel that you need to want to read this book on your own. 
for once i wont tell you to pick it up right away. 
i want you to come to love it all on your own when its your time. 

....and that's how you know i love a book. I'm telling you to leave it all to me! (jk) 

as always, ill leave you with a few quotes. 

"i realized then i didn't know where the fake me ended and the real me began." 
-Nat pg 118

"we may be different, but in this moment were feeling the exact same thing: the sad kind of bliss where you realize, suddenly, how perfect your life has really been all along. so perfect it hurts, ......
so perfect that even though everything you know is ending, you truly believe life will continue to be beautiful....." 
-Nat pg 130

"you never owe another person something, no matter how nice they are to you. relationships aren't transactions." 
-Nat pg 145

as always, thank you for reading. 

#lesreads on IG

not if i see you first // eric lindstrom

published: 2015 
isbn: 9780316259859
pages: 310
read from: 8/24-28/2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT

SYNOPSIS (amazon)
Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react--shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Parker (love that name) is left on her own when her father passes away. its never really known whether he committed suicide or if it was accidental but anyway...because she is blind and for her to learn a new layout of a new place would be too hard, her aunt and family move in with her into her home.

she's blind because her mother decided to polish off a bottle of wine and then drive. causing a car accident where she dies and leaves Parker blind. it wasn't anything that would cause her to need to hide her eyes because she was left visibly scarred, cause she wasn't, but she chooses to cover her face (her eyes) with different scarves each and every day. 

to save herself from further pain after what Scott did to her, she sets up these 10 rules. basically they state that yes she's blind but she's still human.
and you are never allowed to  screw her over (and other stuff about how you need to let her do her own thing because even if she's blind, she's still probably smarter than most and can handle it herself.)
because once you do, you're on her shit list forever.

so what did Scott do?
well, this takes place in HS.
they dated when they were 13 and it was all great and amazing. typical love story but his friends didn't believe they were dating so he tells them where they usually go make out.
his thought was, they'd see through the window. turns out they were in the closets and as soon as they started, they all started laughing. so of course, she reacts to this negatively.
she cuts him out of her life completely.

fast forward, 3 years later they meet up again when their high school's are merged together and now its time to clear it all up.

eventually she realizes that she messed up by blowing him off and not listening to him.
she learns that her attitude has not only cost her the one human in the world that truly, ridiculously loves her but its also shaped how her other friends act around her. example: Sarah. she breaks up with Rick and tells her but keeps it at a minimum. and when Sarah finally tells her why, she realizes that her rules might be a bit too much.

in the end, she lets Scott know that she messed up and asks for forgiveness.
its back and forth with them but I think it ends with them eventually trying it one more time.

there's a lot more in there that I left out, as always, except that this time I left out like A LOT of it. I just jumped straight to the point.

(just thoughts on the book itself)

uhm, I checked this book out because I was on a crazy "put books on hold" spree online and after my last 2, I kinda hesitated with this one. I wanted to hate it. I don't know why.
I don't hate the book but I would have been okay not ever reading it.
listen to your guts guys!

uhm, i liked the message the book had. about how you should basically always have all the facts before you jump in and assume. 
i liked how she ended up learning more about herself and those around her after it all. 
and even more importantly, it made me realize that i love running and that i need to stop being lazy and get into it again!!!

other than that, i cant really give you much more. i wish i could yeah. 

generally this is where i leave you with about one thousand quotes but you know...
so here's one. 

"Just tell me anything you're not sure about and let me worry about what it means." 
-Parker pg 121

thanks for reading!

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