Wednesday, December 12, 2018

#AMonthofFaves-- Habits and Routines....Yikes!

A Month of Faves is hosted by Girlxoxo, Traveling With T, and Estella's Revenge!

Habits that Worked...kind of?

I really enjoy bullet journaling and it's something I want to continue to hone but I'm still working on making it work for me and my lifestyle. I need to hone how I set goals and write them down.

But what has really worked has been using the Bujo to keep track of what I'm doing every day. I've been able to look back and see little things I've done, things my son has said or done and it's a beautiful thing to see at the end of a year. 

A page in my Bullet Journal that has really helped me this year was the Bills page. Before I just had a piece of paper in a notebook that told me which bills to pay etc. But this last year I used a whole layout where I could mark each item paid for that month. It took a month or two to get used to but now it's working like a charm. I took a lot of inspiration from the book Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-do List, and Diary That'll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together by Rachel Wilkerson. Whew--that's a mouthful! But she has a lot of very simple layouts to get started on. I'm not a very artistic person nor do I really want to be so her layouts were perfect for my no nonsense layouts.

Meditation: I had such big goals for this one. It's still on my list and I've done better than I have in other years before but I still want this one to stick.

Exercise: I feel really proud of myself. I established a pretty consistent exercise routine and I have stuck with it! Some weeks/days are better than others due to weather, season, and/or illness but overall I know my routine and have stuck to it!


Rituals: I've been trying to create more consistent rituals with my little family and I feel that I did really well this year. We try to celebrate a little something like the Pagan sabbats every six weeks. We're not Pagan but I like the idea of celebrating nature and each other and give ourselves a little something to look forward to every 6 weeks. We've planned crafts, nature hikes, made breads and apple butter, and burned our wishes and hopes in a fire pit.

2018-06-23 22.46.11

I have a lot more routines I want to stick to for 2019 but I think I did all right in 2018!

Monday, December 10, 2018

#Amonthoffaves 5 Random Things

What are 5 random things that happened this weekend? Hosted by GirlXoXo. This post goes right along with my week-in-review posts so I'll just shimmy them both together this week!

It's been really cold here in Utah and the inversion has gotten bad this week as well with no storm to blow it out. But even with some illnesses in the family we were able to get a few things done.

1. We decorated our yearly gingerbread house all together! DH has usually been out of country the last two Decembers so this was the first year in a long while we were able to decorate all together!

2018-12-07 19.58.21-1

2. It was a little earlier than the weekend but we made it up to a local park for food trucks and crazy holiday merriment and lights!

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3. I got a little relaxing in by reading and drinking hot coffee with Bailey's. Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva.

2018-12-10 10.14.53

4. We also got some holiday movie watching in! Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Elf. And we made peanut butter cookies!

5. Last night I was able to get out with my friend Aly and eat some good food and have a some adult conversation! It was heavenly.

Week In Review

Books Finished: 

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Books I'm Currently Reading:

  • These Truths: A History of the United States of America by Jill Lepore
  • Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstory
  • Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
  • Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
  • The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta (reading aloud with G)

Books Acquired: 

For the Kindle:

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Physical Book:

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Listening to: 

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas



Homecoming on Amazon Prime has been really good!


Holiday Calendar 
Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Game Night
Four Christmases

I'm hoping to get some reviews up this week. I realize I haven't done any on my faves either even though I rewatch year after year after year!


I'm starting to get into baking all the things and making all the fun holiday cocktails. I mulled some wine for movie night and baked up some peanut butter cookies. Over the weekend I made Cosmos with pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice and it turned out well! 

I'll be making up more soups and stews this week. It's the time of year that just calls for all the sturdy soups.

Looking Forward to:

G gets out of school Friday and he'll have 3 weeks off with him missing the first 3 days back from Winter break while we're in Vegas. So I'll be planning all the things to keep us entertained and enjoying winter and the cold as best we can.

We're almost done with all the shopping and I'll be sending out the in-laws their gifts soon. So it'll be a happy day by Friday. Whew!

Friday, December 7, 2018

#AMonthofFaves Popular Books Worth the Hype (or Not)

A Month of Faves is hosted by and it goes all month long!

Worth the Hype


The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Not all of the stories were hits but I found myself squeeing with glee on quite a few.

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

I am still thinking about this haunting and beautiful book. Probably my favorite read of the whole year.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ayedemi

I listened to this one and I absolutely loved every minute. I was blown away by this world and her characters. I can't wait for the next book!

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

It wasn't perfect but it was what I needed for a fun and kick-ass zombie story.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Enjoyed her story construction and how she brought it all together towards her education and self-discovery.

Not Worth the Hype


The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

I was hoping for a lot more and I just didn't get it.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

The plot and how it all resolved was a bit too contrived for me. But I did enjoy her Woman in Cabin 10 a lot better.

Scream All Night by Derek Milman

It had potential but the writing felt like it was reworked script. The scenes didn't gel and it was a bit confusing.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

I wanted to love it after all the love it's gotten this year but I just didn't love it. The pacing was off for me and it was just too depressing for what I was looking for at the time. But maybe that's why it's gotten so much love.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Mini Movie Reviews--Comedies, Horror, Satire, and Christmas Romance!

It's been a tough couple of months physically on my end. I've been dealing with some health problems and have not done my movie reviews for awhile. So without further adieu...

Movies Watched in November:

Starring: Amy Shumer, Michelle Williams
3/5 stars

It wasn't nearly as funny as Trainwreck but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I still enjoyed it.

Halloween (1978)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis
Directed by: John Carpenter
4.5/5 stars

Halloween is a classic. It's the first horror movie to bring the serial killer stuff home to a neighborhood where anybody could get die. That's why it was so revolutionary for its time. It's a bit cheesy for our modern-day but it's well-written and acted and that's something the knock-offs didn't get quite right.

If you want to know more about Halloween and all that it entails listen to the podcast Halloween Unmasked. They interview the major players who made the movie and talk about its cultural influence over the horror genre and where it is today with the new Halloween movie that came out last October.

Upgrade (2018)
Starring: Logan-Marshall Green
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
3/5 stars

It's an interesting thriller about a man who receives illegal and experimental tech in exchange for the ability to walk again. It has themes about AI and how it can evolve and is it compatible with us as humans. It follows the stereotypical trope of man's wife/girlfriend/loved one is killed as the catalyst to kicking ass and watching the damage in his wake in the name of vengeance. But it's also one of the more interesting storylines for AI and humanity coexisting.

Starring:  Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin
Directed by: Roger Michell
Gothic historical mystery
4/5 stars

I loved this adaptation. Rachel Weisz was flawless as the eponymous character. I've not read the book yet but I intend to after watching this adaptation. She was charming and yet mysterious. Did she really kill her husbands, was she really a gold digger? Is she a woman who did what needed to be done when women in her time weren't allowed a lot of options? Even after watching, I have no idea. She's still mysterious. Beautiful film.

 I'd have to say it could have been better if they'd cast a different bloke as her male lead. Caflin just didn't quite have the screen presence with Ms. Weizs. I felt his scenes were a bit awkward.

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman
Directed by: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
animated children
3.5/5 stars

While not as engaging and adorable as the first movie, I did enjoy the meta ideas on the internet and pop culture. The scene with the Disney princesses is priceless and worth the money.

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway
Directed by: Gary Ross
3/5 stars

I was hoping for better. But it was still entertaining. Why did they need to have a certain character from the originals die off?

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
2.75/5 stars

It's a pretty film with pretty actors and locales. But I didn't enjoy it. There are themes in the movie and also the book that explore what it means to be human. Love, loss, and the awful choices we make in the name of all of these. But I thought the story overall was too contrived and manipulative to gain my sympathies for anyone, really. I read the book a few years ago and felt the same way. I suppose I was hoping the movie could bring it all together for me.

Starring: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba
Directed by: Hany Abu-Assad
Romantic drama
1.75/5 stars

I'm giving stars here at all because I got to see Idris Elba and Kate Winslet whom I adore. But that's it. It's Hallmark drivel and I'm shocked these two astounding actors agreed to be in this. But hey it's money and when you can phone it in....the, I don't even know how to interpret such bad editing and emotion. Also, the dog is the true star.

Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thomspon
Directed by: Boots Riley
Satire/absurdist comedy
4/5 stars

It's a brilliant movie. I know I didn't even get half of what it was trying to say or reference. But it's themes on the horrors of runaway capitalism and racism is spot on.

Starring: Kat Graham, Quincy Brown
Directed by: Bradley Walsh
holiday romance
3/5 stars

I was delighted by this movie. It was adorable without being too cheesy. The cheese was still thick, of course! But not so bad I wanted to turn it off or skip to the end where everyone finally learns their lesson and finds true love! If you love Hallmark-esque holiday movies this one is one of the better ones out there. Find it on Netflix!

Starring: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige
Directed by: John Schultz
holiday romance
2/5 stars

A Christmas Prince was better. I don't think we needed a sequel. The plot was so ludicrous I had a hard time watching. And I knew they'd get married so there wasn't the fun blossoming romance to even enjoy. I was very disappointed.

Cat Thursday--December 6, 2018

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict.

Kittens & Christmas Chocolate reads the headline from the website Guide to Iceland. They're promoting the wildcat conservation group Villikettir that has teamed up with the chocolatier company OmNom. All the proceeds go to their work of rescuing and neutering/spaying wildcats in Iceland. Check out the adorable video and click on the links to learn more!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Nonfiction November-- New to My TBR

Nonfiction November is here (though I'm a week late...) and runs from Oct. 30-Nov. 30. Is being hosted by Doing Dewey, Julz ReadsSarah's BookshelvesSophisticated Dorkiness, and What's Nonfiction?

This is the last and final week. I've been a little under the weather this month so I haven't participated as much as I would have liked but I look forward to catching up on all the prompts and all the blog posts from everyone soon! This week's prompt is books that have made it onto my TBR pile from reading and participating in Nonfiction November (hosted by Kate @ Doing Dewey).

My first three all come from Michael at Inexhaustible Invitations with his suggestions on universal income. Give People Money by Annie Lowry, The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang, Basic Income by Phillipe Van Parus. I've heard so much about this that I'm grateful to get a few suggestions to start on.

And from Eva at The Paperback Princess she suggested a biography on Charlotte Bronte called Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman. I hadn't heard of this one and now need to read it!

The last one I'll is from Tina at TBR, etc. Her post included all things wine-related! I've been wanting to dive into a few wine books and this will get me started! The one that looks the most interesting was Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker, which she describes as the Kitchen Confidential memoir of the wine world! Sweet!

I'm sad I didn't participate like I had planned to but look forward to reading more nonfiction and staying in touch!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mini Book Reviews-- Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hank Green

Here's my second round of mini book reviews. I'm all caught up!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

My Thoughts:

I really liked Hank Green's debut novel. He has a lot to say about social media and fame and how that can frame what we think about ourselves and our relationships in real life. It's also a very interesting story about alien robots coming to earth and we earthlings get first contact with aliens! What do we do when confronted that we're not alone in the universe? Do we come together as a species or become even more divided and xenophobic?

The only things I didn't love were the character development. Sometimes they felt a little cookie cutter and it was hard to flesh out who the characters were overall. But I think that wasn't necessarily his goal this time around. And the ending was not what I expected. I was hoping for a bit more and it felt like it just ended. I was a tad disappointed.

Overall, it's a great read and I look forward to more. Maybe a sequel or other novels? 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. Vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter

My Thoughts:

This is a children's book I read to G. I wanted him to get a sense of who she is and what she's done and what the Supreme Court is in our country. We had some great conversations about women's rights and anti-Semitism.

More Bones: Scary Stories From Around the World by Arielle North Olson

My Thoughts:

Another book I read with G. for Halloween time. Olson adapted many scary tales from around the world for children. Some stories were better than others but we enjoyed most of them. It was also a great way to talk about the similarities the stories had as well as the differences depending on where the stories came from.

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself  by Sean Carroll

My Thoughts:

This book took me almost a year and a half to finish. Not because it wasn't good overall but because it was big and thinky. Sometimes I had to set it aside for a few months before I could get back into it. Carroll is a cosmologist and physicist who enjoys sharing science with the public. He also enjoys philosophy and tried wax poetic in his book about the Universe and what that can mean for people who aren't religious or believe in a higher power. As a person who falls into both those categories, I thoroughly appreciated his thoughts on purpose and meaning in this life. I enjoyed it but I doubt he would convince a religious person to his philosophy of life. I also enjoyed the explanations on how the Universe works (at least as much as we do know). I still don't know but his book helped a bit!

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

My Thoughts:

Zoboi offers up a fun Pride and Prejudice retelling. She brings the Bennets, the Bingleys, and the Darcys to Brooklyn. She tells a story of first love and how class can interfere with so many things even when race doesn't factor into it. The only complaint is it wasn't quite long enough. I think Zoboi could've spent a little more time developing the characters and the world they inhabit. A lot of the scenes felt a bit haphazard since she was trying to follow events in the original. And I never quite got Darcy. She didn't flesh him out enough for me. So some of his motivation at the beginning of the book was lost on me. But overall it's a fun retelling.

Also that cover is gorgeous!

Emma: An Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen and Anna Lea

My Thoughts:

Audible did a dramatized adaptation. When I bought it I didn't realize that...I was expecting just the book but it was still fun. It's a lot shorter than the book. I had a great time listening to Emma Thompson narrate. It's been a long time since I've read the actual book so the ending was a surprise to me; it's a lot longer than the Emma version with Paltrow. The only complaint was the voice for Knightley. He sounded way too old. He's only supposed to be in his early-mid thirties and this actor sounded like he was in his fifties.

I had fun revisiting selfish and snobbish Emma as she is humbled and makes herself anew with the help of her family and friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Week-in-Review--November 19, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving this week! I am definitely looking forward to the long weekend. I'm hoping to gain traction on my crochet projects, get some more reading in, catch up on some library movies that just came in, and eat and drink too much this weekend! I guess I also need to finish up my Xmas cards and calendars as well. I need those soon to send out in a couple of weeks! Christmas is sneaking up on me way too fast.

Books Finished: 

Emma: Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen and Anna Lea, Pride by Ibi Zoboi, and The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll

Books I'm Currently Reading:

These Truths: A History of the United States of America by Jill Lepore, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder, Sadie by Courtney Summers, The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan, and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I'm really hoping to get a chunk of War and Peace done this weekend! I'm so far behind on my schedule.

Books Acquired: 

For the Kindle:

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O'Brien, Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy by Melvin Konner, M.D., The Magicians by Lev Grossman, A Cat Named Darwin: Embracing the Bond Between Man and Pet by William Jordan, and Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Adorable, right?
Physical Book:

Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang. I love this book. It has patterns to crochet Frankenstein's monster, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, etc! Can't wait to make them all.

Listening to: 

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas and Twain's Feast with Nick Offerman



 The only things I've been watching lately are Murphy Brown, SNL, the new Doctor Who season, and some NBA basketball at least for TV.


G and I finally finished up the Harry Potter movies! Now he wants to binge on The Diary of the Wimpy Kid movies....may the gods save me this week!

My Cousin Rachel (2017):

I have not read the book but really want to after seeing this stunning movie starring Rachel Weisz. The ambiguity of it all is maddening but appropriate and Daphne Du Maurier continues to surprise me with her gothic mysteries. Excellent acting, story, and I loved the beautiful countryside.

I'm hoping to watch Ocean's 8, The Mountain Between Us, and The Light Between Oceans which I picked up from the library last week.

We will be heading up to oldest sister's house for Thanksgiving like we do every year. I usually bring a pie and some stuffing. But I've been wanting to do my own Thanksgiving for awhile and plan on making my very first turkey on Friday with G and DH. I'll be making mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, cornbread, and a salad. And to top it off I'll have hot cocoa for G and Poison cider apple cocktails for DH and me. 

Looking Forward to:

Thanksgiving weekend! G gets out Wednesday. We're going to bake cookies and make snowflakes and decorate the house! I'm looking forward to just spending time with my little family and playing some games and eating and drinking too much with some friends on Saturday.

I hope everyone has a safe and yummy Thanksgiving weekend!


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