Not In Jersey: June 2018 June 2018 - Not In Jersey

Best Places To Take A Swim in Kansas City–Local Tourist Link Up

Friday, June 29, 2018

Best Places To Take A Swim in Kansas City–Local Tourist Link Up

Each month I feature some of our local adventures as well as others we would like to check out soon. This month, the main thing we did was go swimming! Even on a cloudy day, we still went swimming inside! Here are some of the best local places to swim.

Lenexa Rec Center

While in the past we have visited the closer to us (and less expensive) Matt Ross Community Center, a new favorite is the brand new Lenexa Rec Center. The pool has water features, slides, lap lanes, and a deep water well with a climbing wall and diving platform.


Olathe Community Center

Our second choice for indoor pools is the Olathe Community Center. Their pool has slides, a lazy river, rick climbing walls, and diving platforms.

Black Bob Bay

Our favorite outdoor water center is Black Bob Bay (or as we call it Black Blob Blay after I accidentally said it that way) in Olathe. It has water slides with rafts, a lazy river with tubes, shallow play areas, and regular pools. We usually go there at least once a summer.

Private Pools

We belong to a country club as gym and swim members and that’s where we swim as well as where Zachary is on the swim team. There are many other country club pools as well as private neighborhood pools in some neighborhoods that are worth looking into if you live here.


Town Pools

Each of the towns in the area has pools which are available with daily rates or annual memberships.

Overland Park Pools | Leawood Aquatic Center | Olathe Pools

Shawnee Mission Park Beach

We have a beach in Kansas! It’s a lake, but it’s pretty nice!

Now, if you visited a local area this month, link up with Lauren and me here!

Feel free to save our image and share it in your blog post so others can find the link-up!


Which do you prefer: pools or lakes? Indoor or outdoor swimming?


Clearwater Beach

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Before our planned Disney trip, we took a short side trip to Tampa, FL. We have been there many times before because Dave works with people from his company who work in Tampa and if he can combine a work trip with a Disney trip, he does. This means that while he is at work, the kids and I are out exploring, but this time we flew in on Sunday morning so that Dave had the first day to spend with us too. We decided to visit Clearwater Beach that day (which was also Father’s Day).

(But first, there was a stop at the Tesla store at the mall for my Tesla loving boys!)


I visited Clearwater when I was young and my father also had a work trip in Tampa! My mom remembers it fondly, as do I, but I think we were there in April and the weather in Florida in June is HOT and humid, so being on the beach wasn’t as comfortable as I remember in the past! I had also taken Gabbie to Clearwater when we traveled with Dave when Gabbie was about 2.

Gabbie didn’t want to go in the water and I didn’t want to wear my bathing suit all day, so I brought it but never ended up putting it on. The boys enjoyed the water though!


What’s Up Wednesday–June

Wednesday, June 27, 2018



The first month of summer has passed us by already! We had a busy one with swim practice, a week of camp, and a 9 day trip to Florida! Here’s what we’ve been up to!

1. What We’re Eating This Month…

Basically every day on our trip we ate tuna fish sandwiches and deli sandwiches – ooh, fun! Now that we’re back, I’ve been thinking we should instate a meal schedule like Jaclyn. We already have pizza every Thursday and taco Tuesday can definitely work, so what should we have on Monday and Wednesday?

2. What I’m Reminiscing About…

All throughout Disney World we would reminisce about past trips, remembering the fun we’ve had in the past. Now, we have to reminisce about this trip! I’m starting to edit the photos and hopefully will post about it soon.

3. What I’m Loving…

I think I took a lot of good pictures on the trip and I decided to purchase Lightroom so I can edit them better. I hope I can figure it out! Here are my last 5 photos for 52 Frames.

[true black and white + extra credit – true selective color]



[100 steps from your door]


4. What We’ve Been Up To…

Zachary attended 2 swim meets and 2 camps. Gabbie attended one camp and Simon attended two as well. We celebrated Zachary’s birthday and did a few things around town. We spent 9 days in Florida – 3 in Tampa and the rest in Orlando!


5. What I’m Dreading…

Dave is traveling a lot this summer! He’s still in Florida now and he’ll be away two weeks in a row later on!

6. What I’m Working On…

All the laundry and unpacking and photo editing! I prefer the photos but the laundry has to be done!

7. What I’m Excited About…

I always enjoy July 4, so I’ll say I’m excited about that day!

8. What I’m Watching / Reading…

I started watching Younger and I’m on season 3. It’s such a fun show!

As usual, you can see my latest book reviews here.

9. What I’m Listening To…

Gabbie has been ruling the car radio lately so it’s top 40 most of the time.

10. What I’m Wearing…

Shorts and t-shirts, nothing too exciting!

11. What I’m Doing This Weekend…

Simon has a birthday party on Sunday. Other than that, nothing much!

12. What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month…

More fun camps for the kids!

13. What Else Is New…

Our friends are in town from Florida and we get to see them tomorrow night!

What’s up with you lately?


4 Destinations For Beach Lovers

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


There’s nothing quite like a fresh ocean breeze to cool you, and the methodic splash of the sea lapping at the shore as you’re stretched out in blissful calm upon a beach. Beach vacations are superbly popular, and it’s not difficult to understand why! There’s sun, soft sand, the gentle sounds of seabirds, relaxation in abundance, and maybe even the presence of a cocktail or two. One of the greatest aspects of a beach vacation is that other holidaymakers are there to do just the same as you; to chill out, take a break, and enjoy the peace and quiet. If you’re currently searching for beach vacations, and want to be inspired to catch a jet plane to paradise this year, then you’re in luck! Below are four of the best destinations for beach lovers:


Hawaii has a long history of being famed as a tropical paradise and a beautiful retreat, and if you’ve long been wishing to see abundant colorful fish flitting about in clear crystal waters, then consider Hawaii and vacationing at Kapalua Bay Beach. This beach has previously been voted as “America’s Best Beach,” as well as being the ideal space to snorkel, lounge, and enjoy water sports. Do you want to hear the best part about vacationing in Hawaii? Of course, you do! There’s no need to pack your passport if you’re a US citizen.

The UK

The coastline of the UK is expansive and has a high coast/area ratio, so you’re not short for beaches when visiting. There’s a variety of islands, bays, headlands, and peninsulas. If you have a particular penchant for surfing and catching the waves, then you’re best off visiting Cornwall and Devon and going to the stunning places of St Ives beach, Bude, or Woolacombe and Croyde, respectively. You can travel around the UK using the motorways in good time since it’s a relatively small island. So, depending on the length of your vacation, you could see Brighton beach, West Wittering in Chichester, and then on to others such as Bournemouth or Weymouth.

Bali had earned its place in the top spots for having one of the most “Insta famous” beaches on Earth. It’s no surprise since the beaches in Bali are truly breath-taking. You will likely have seen the beach swing backdrop that frequently features on social media, as travelers flock to it to position themselves in one of the most renowned spots to catch a truly stunning Indonesian sunset.

Dubrovnik (Croatia)

You’ll be spoilt for choice in your quest to find the beach for you in Dubrovnik, as there are simply so many wonderful spots. Have you heard of “island hopping”? Well, it involves going from one island to the next over the course of a day, or two, or three, or for as long as you please! You’ll have a hard time getting bored of the coastline in Dubrovnik. If you’re a fan of the ever-popular HBO series, Game Of Thrones, then prepare for familiar settings and a strange sense of nostalgia (superfans, this one is for you!) and to enjoy finding the backdrop of infamous scenes from the show.

This post was written by Bill Clark. Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle.  He can be reached on Twitter @BilboClark01.

10 Breakfast For Dinner Recipes


Something I have been thinking about lately is the idea of having breakfast for dinner. My kids may think this means they get a bowl of cereal, but for me, I think of more savory, egg based dishes. I headed to Pinterest and found the following 10 recipes. All are vegetarian, but may contain cheese and eggs!

[Fried Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich]

[Caramelized Onion Spinach Savory French Toast Casserole]

[Crispy Gluten Free Cauliflower Pancakes]

[Savory Pancakes With Fried Egg and Spinach]

[Spinach Avocado Quesadilla]

[Sneaky Veggie Quinoa Bites]

[Mexican Breakfast Casserole]

Asparagus and Artichoke Breakfast Egg Casserole 800 0053
[Asparagus and Artichoke Casserole]

[Spinach, Onion, & Cheese Breakfast Strata]

[Southwest Egg and Tater Tot Casserole]

Do you like to eat breakfast foods for dinner?


What I’ve Been Reading #179

Friday, June 22, 2018


Since I last updated I have finished four more books.

514INucUYGL._SL250_I received a copy of Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd from Harlequin Books in exchange for an Instagram photo. I usually try to align my photos with my reviews, but this one did not line up because I had other books I had to finish before this one. I found this book a bit choppy, but I liked the characters and the mystery of the story.

“Girl running… from a year she can't remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman’s dead and mutilated body, she’s soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder… then another. Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen’s driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she’s come to call home. Yet she wonders--with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past--could the killer be staring her in the face?”

I liked the setting of the book which is located on the coast of Washington during the off season of a resort. The storms that constantly roared through set the scenes for a mystery perfectly. The mystery of Kellen’s past was more interesting to me than the mystery of the dead woman in the present, but both were told concurrently. The way some of the details were told annoyed me and I think they could have been written better. However, overall this was not a bad read.

51J4l-4Km5L._SL250_Next up was Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell. I received this book from PR By The Book in exchange for my review. I believe this book was self-published and I found a lot of it written immaturely, as if the author was not well-polished or edited. The plot had a lot of promise, but the writing itself didn’t impress me – specifically the two characters both written in first person but not really having different voices and the tendency for the character to think something and then repeat it out loud, which is not necessary!

“What would you do if the most important people in your world were suddenly and violently taken away from you? Two cars demolished, two families destroyed. Dani Adams and Ean Montgomery were each forced to see the same grief counselor on a one-to-one basis after a drunk driver killed Dani’s husband along with Ean’s pregnant wife and six-year-old son. The rules: Communicate only through text messages, and never reveal their real names or any other personal details. In an unconventional twist of therapy, Dani and Ean were each given a private cell phone and only the first initial of each other’s first names. They were then instructed to reach out to one another in order to share their grief…to heal. Neither planned to contact the other, but with all hope and the will to live gone… Over the course of a year, through texting alone, they form a unique bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. They were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans. And in their world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow. But can the love they found triumph over the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?”

I liked the California beach location of this book. I enjoyed Dani’s relationship with her in-laws as well as the personality of her daughter. I liked that Dani and Ean weren’t going through quite the same thing as each other, as Ean lost his child and Dani did not, but were still able to relate to each other’s pain. The ending was so cliché. Sweet, but I did find myself rolling my eyes. This book is the first in a series. I wonder what the plots of the upcoming sequels will be!

51AMKIB84wL._SL250_Next, I read Eternal Life by Dara Horn. I have read all of her books and I got this from the library. This book contains a good deal of fantasy along with some Jewish history and current events. Dara Horn writes with such intelligence that I sometimes don’t feel smart enough to read her books. It took me way too long to realize that I’ve heard of the historical figure that was one of the main characters in the book!

“Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles―widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son―are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever. But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren―consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering―develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out.”

This was a quick read at only 256 pages. Essentially, it was about the meaning of life and death and the question of what one does when faced with repeating her life over and over starting from the age of 18. I think there could have been more to it to make it a better story, but I enjoyed the concept of the book. It wasn’t my favorite by this author, but I will continue to read her books in the future.

519WYS-CQHL._SL250_Finally, I read Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti. A book that would be highly entertaining during an election year, this book never got into politics while still throwing the reader into the world of D,C. fundraisers, press and parties. I received this book from Harlequin publicity in exchange for an Instagram post.

“Cady Davenport is living the American dream…At least she’s supposed to be. She’s in a new city, with a new job and even a new fiancé. But when her husband-to-be hits the road for the upcoming presidential election, Cady realizes she’s on her own—and that her dream life might not be all she’d imagined. Until she finds herself thrust straight into the heart of the most influential inner circle in Washington, DC: the campaign widows. As friends, they’re an unlikely group—a fabulous Georgetown doyenne; a speechwriter turned mommy blogger; an artsy website editor; and a First Lady Hopeful who’s not convinced she wants the job. But they share one undeniable bond: their spouses are all out on the trail during a hotly contested election season. Cady is unsure of her place in their illustrious group, but with the pressures of the unprecedented election mounting, the widows’ worlds keep turning—faster than ever—as they hold down the fort while running companies, raising babies, racking up page views and even reinventing themselves. And their friendship might be just what Cady needs to find the strength to pursue her own happiness.”

Although I am not a fan of calling oneself a widow when your spouse is away, I did find the dialogue in this book witty and entertaining. The main characters were unique – aside from Cady, they range from the rich party planner Birdie who is wondering whether her marriage is meant to last, to the former speechwriter Reagan with an adorable set of twins, to the editor Jay who helps his boyfriend edit his articles from the trail, to Madison, the energetic and creative wife of one of the candidates. It is hard to keep the minor characters straight, but these main five and the bond they form are the ones that make the story.

What have you been reading lately?


Hair Products Old & New + Flat Iron Giveaway

Thursday, June 21, 2018



Today I’m joining in with some of my favorite bloggers to post about my favorite hair products. I am by no means an expert on hair and I am always looking for better products so that my hair looks better. So in this post I will show you some products I have been using for awhile as well as some I am new to.

About My Hair

I have curly hair. I never blow dry it. I never brush it unless it is wet. It is actually pretty long, but it curls up a lot so it is hard to tell its actual length unless I straighten it. I usually wear it down, parted on the side, but when it loses curl later in the day, I put it up in a bun. I have tried expensive salon brands but I always go back to drug store brands because they are much cheaper and seem to work just as well! I normally wash my hair every day, but I don’t use shampoo, only conditioner.

In The Shower

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I use two types of conditioner – one for cleaning and one for moisturizing. They are Herbal Essences Totally Twisted and L'Oréal EverCrème. My stores don’t seem to carry the EverCurl version of that conditioner, but Amazon has it, so maybe I’ll start ordering it there!


If I plan to straighten my hair, I use Renpure Originals Brazilian Keratin Straightening Conditioner. It really helps with the ease of straightening! I air dry my hair, so if I am going to straighten, I have to have time to wash and then air dry beforehand!

After The Shower – For Curly Hair


I brush my hair upside down with a Wet Brush. It’s the best type for curly hair and tangles! While upside down, I put in mousse. I usually use Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse but this week I bought L'Oréal Curve It Curl Elastic Mousse. So far I am enjoying it. I then remove the excess water from my hair with a towel.


Next, I have been using Herbal Essences Curl Scrunching Gel, but I recently replaced that with Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum and it seems to be doing a much better job holding my curls longer. However, I switched up a bunch of products at the same time so I don’t know if this is the one making the most difference! Another new step I added this week is L'Oréal's AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray. This is a lotion spray that is meant to create beach waves, and this might be the product that is really helping my curls! Finally, I have been spraying my hair with L'Oréal LOCK IT Bold Control Hairspray, which I add once my hair has dried a bit more.

Straightening My Hair + Giveaway


I took a long break from trying to flat iron my hair. It just wasn’t working out for me, as it took forever and didn’t hold well. Just last week, I received a new straightener from Xtava to try, and it is so much better and faster than my old one! It is inexpensive, but has 2 inch floating plates and infrared heating to the middle of the hair strands which provides more effective heat for styling and decreased damage. I can tell you it absolutely works on thick, curly hair! Check it out:

IMG_4715  IMG_4717IMG_4721  IMG_4722


If you want to win your own Xtava Infrared Flat Iron Hair Straightener, enter here!

Win the xtava Infrared Straightener #7

One thing I do need is a way to keep my hair straight after I straighten it! The final new L'Oréal product I got was SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray which I will try the next time I flat iron, as it is supposed to keep hair sleek for three days! For the best flat iron for natural hair, view on

I recently received a package from Moms Meet and Desert Essence Shampoo and Conditioner so now I have even more products to try! I will review them soon!


Do you have any curly hair suggestions? How about suggestions for keeping hair straight after flat ironing?