Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Currently

I haven't written one of these posts since May, so now 8 months later seems an appropriate time for an update! 


So currently I'm......


Watching ... I finally finished this latest season of The Crown and think it may have been my favorite. I'm excited to see what they do with the final two seasons! Now we're slowly watching Bridgerton to try and savor it. 


Eating ... A few months ago I had my annual doctor's visit and was told I need to watch my cholesterol levels, so we've been eating lots of salmon. I really only know two ways to make it, so if you have any good recipes I'd love if you'd share 


Loving ... that I'm still working from home! And rumors around the office are that there are no plans for us to return to an office any time soon 


Listening to ... Taylor Swift's Evermore. Dropping it during prime Christmas music listening time meant I didn't have enough time to fully appreciate it at first, so I'm really enjoying digging into it more now 


Reading ... Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella. I'd been on the wait list so long at the library that when I finally downloaded it I forgot what it was about, but about 100 pages into it and I'm enjoying so far! 


Anticipating ... The long holiday weekend plus a few extra vacation days off work next week! 


What is currently going on in your life? 



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021Reading Challenge Books

I have a goal of reading 30 books this year, or about 2.5 a month. Hopefully 2021 is a little busier work/travel wise meaning less time to read, so I think this is a happy medium between the 12 books I read in 2019 and the 53 I read in 2020. I thought a fun way to help encourage me to reach that goal is to make a reading challenge. I've never done this before so it could end up being a total disaster, but I thought it sounded like a fun idea! To make my list I decided to pick 21 specific books (inspired by my book club picks and the Popsugar reading challenge prompts) and leave the other 7 as miscellaneous ones that catch my eye during the year. 


1. Code Girls (January book club)

2. The Lions of Fifth Avenue (February book club)

3. A Woman is No Man (March book club)

4. The Dutch House (May book club) 

5. The Book of Longings (June book club) 

6. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (July book club) 

7. The Book Thief (December book club) 

8. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes  (A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign) 

9. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune ( A magical realism book )

10. Z A Novel of Zella Fitzgerald ( A book whose title starts with “Q,” “X,” or “Z”) 

11. Evvie Drake Starts Over (A book about do-overs or fresh starts) 

12. The Night Portrait (A book about art or an artist) 

13. The Perfume Collector (The book that’s been on your TBR list for the longest amount of time)

14. The Lacuna (A book that has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction) 

15. Hollow Kingdom (A genre hybrid) 

16. Next Year in Havana (A book from your TBR list you meant to read last year but didn’t) 

17. The Floating Feldmans (A book featuring three generations (grandparent, parent, child) )

18. The Stationary Shop (The book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover) 

19. The Book of Lost Names (A book set in multiple countries)

20. The Rose Code (A book that published in 2021)

21. The Royal We (A book with a family tree) 


What's your reading goal this year? Do you make a reading challenge list?

Monday, January 4, 2021

Hello 2021

Remember this time last year when our biggest concern was writing the year out as 2020 vs. just abbreviating it as 20 for fear that someone would change that date on documentations? I'm literally laughing thinking about how we were concerned with that! I think it's safe to say we're going into 2021 with a few more concerns. Even though the calendar changed to a new year the problems of last year are not gone. 

Last January it was impossible to imagine all that 2020 would hold, so I'm not even going to try and do that for 2021. My overall goal for 2020 was to live each day with intention and honestly looking back on it now that's the best possible goal I could have come up with for such a difficult year. I decided I'm not going to do a big 2020 goals recap because honestly getting through the year seems like a win enough. The only goal I want to highlight was my success in my personal goal of reading 15 books; I beat that by reading a total of 54 books! I did this by being intentional and making it a priority every day to include some "me time" devoted to this hobby. 

And that leads me to my 2021 resolution. This year I want to continue living with intention and doing more of what brings me joy. That's it; that's my plan for 2021. I may make some smaller monthly goals as the year goes on, but overall I just want to create joy in my everyday. A few months back I made it a habit to start the day reminding myself of 3 things I was excited about for that day, and the days I did that were the best days. There is good in every day and I plan to remind myself of that in 2021. 

Wishing you joy in 2021! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 4

Here we are at the end of 2020 and my final post in this series. When the year started I never dreamed I would have the time/desire/drive to read 53 books this year (I initially set a goal of 15!) but here we are! So without further ado here are the 15 books I read this quarter to end 2020. 


Majesty  4/5 - Fun and frivolous read! I enjoyed it more than the first one and hope there's a third; you do need to read American Royals first though. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  4/5 - I like to reread a Harry Potter every year at Halloween and this happened to be the one immediately available at my library. I forgot how many more details there are in the book than in the movie, especially in the Department of Mysteries

The Finishing Touches  4/5 - This one took a few chapters to get into, but then finished strong. Reminded me of an Emily Giffin book and I think would make a cute Netflix movie 

Sex and Vanity  3/5 - In the end I wanted to like this one so much more than I really did; overall it felt rushed and could have benefited from an additional 50 pages or so

Where the Crawdads Sing  3/5 - Better than I expected, but probably not something I'd recommend very often. The descriptions of nature and poetry throughout just weren't my thing.

The Unhoneymooners  4/5 - Cute and predicable in all the best ways 

The Proposal  3/5 - Loved that this one was about my favorite character from the Wedding Date! The story was fun and made a quick read, but a lot of the middle felt unneeded

An American Marriage 3/5 - This was a well written story about a difficult subject. I probably never would have picked this one up, but it was a book club pick, but ultimately I was glad to read it. 

I Owe You One  4/5 - One of my favorite Sophie Kinsella books. Cute and predictable without being too unrealistic

The Wedding Party  3/5 - Fun and quick read, but not the best of this series 

You Lucky Dog  2/5 - This had such strong potential but ended up just falling really flat and felt rushed at the end. 

The Jettsetters  2/5 - Don't let the cover fool you, this is not the happy feel good beach read I was expecting. I should have better read the other reviews

10 Blind Dates  4/5 - This one was a fun and quirky story that Netflix needs to pick up and turn into a movie. It's Christmasy in the same way The Holiday is, which is to say it's appropriate for all times of year 

Royal Holiday  5/5 - This was probably my favorite read of the year; delightfully ridiculous is the best way to describe this book. I loved reading a story where the two main characters instantly clicked and there was no major scandal or blow up that lead to them breaking up

Circe  2/5 - This isn't my style of book, but with that said overall it was well written and enjoyable. If you like fantasy or mythology I'd highly recommend


What did you read this quarter? What was your favorite read of 2020? 

PS: Be sure to turn in next week when I share my 2021 reading challenge picks! 

PPS : Be sure to check out my Quarter 1, Quarter 2, and Quarter 3 reads too! 

Monday, December 7, 2020

My 2020 Favorites Gift Guide

Today I'm pretending to be Oprah and I'm sharing my favorite things! These are items that I've used and loved all year and think would make great gifts for someone. 



Disney + Subscription - Being able to watch so many Disney movies has brought me so much joy this year! I know there are a bunch of different streaming services out there, but Disney+ has been my favorite.  One thing to note if you're planning to gift this, you can only buy a gift card for a new subscriber, so if you're wanting to "gift" this to someone with a subscription already you'll want to give them money ($69.99 for a year) and a nice card that explains it is for a subscription. 

Amazon Fire Tablet - My husband convinced me to buy one of these last year and in 2020 I'm so so glad he did! I originally purchased this because I wanted one device that I could use to both watch and read when I travel. But honestly even without travel, I've used this so much in 2020. I love to use my tablet to borrow e-books from my library; something that has made reading so many books possible this year. 

Target Pajamas - Target makes my absolute favorite pajamas! They're affordable, breathable, and wash well. I have this set in pink and they're so soft; you really can't go wrong with any of this brand. 

Favorite Nail Polish - OPI Edinburgh-er & Tatties is my favorite neutral nail polish color. Doing my own nails this year has taught me the importance of having a favorite neutral color because it's more forgiving. Add this top and base coat duo and you've got a great self-care gift! 

Instantpot Duo - I've talked about how much we love this combo air fryer and pressure cooker before, but I couldn't post my favorite things without mentioning it again! One device that makes cooking at home easy and fun; you really can't beat it. 


What are your 2020 favorites that would make a great gift? 


Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Wishlist Gift Guide

There is truly nothing I need this year, but my husband (my most valued reader) requested this gift guide, so here it is. I normally would ask for an experience, but in the time of Covid that isn't an option. So instead here are some things I would enjoy finding under the tree this year. 

Restaurant Gift Cards - If I'm being honest the best gift would be to not have to cook/clean the kitchen. One thing I've learned this year is I enjoy cooking, but I really, really dislike the cleaning. I'd gladly accept gift cards to my favorite Mexican restaurant or our new favorite burger spot

Earrings - I'm very into pretty and versatile stud earrings lately. Putting on a pair makes me feel more put together even if I'm just wearing loungewear while sitting around the house. These Silver Studs Gold StudsPearl Studs, and Brass Studs are some that I'm loving. 

Bookmark - I have done a lot of reading in 2020! I've mostly read ebooks, but sometimes I get off the library wait list faster for the physical ones. When that happens I'm grabbing anything I can find for a bookmark. This Taylor Swift bookmark, this Great Gatsby bookmark or this Little Woman bookmark are some fun ones. 

Nativity Set - When I was putting up my Christmas decorations this year I realized I don't own a nativity set. Growing up we had an extensive nativity village; like it took up a whole room and we'd joke that there would have been plenty of room for Jesus in our village. While I don't need something nearly as extensive I'd love a set of my own to help remember the reason for the season. This colorful tin set, wooden doll version, and this hand carved wooden set are ones I love. 

Donations - As I mentioned, I really don't need anything this year. I've been extremely lucky that my husband and I have kept our jobs during the pandemic, but so so many have not been so fortunate. I love the idea of spreading the holiday spirit to those who may not have the money to spend this year. A few organizations that I believe in are Junior League of Richardson, Dallas CASA, and my church Angel Tree

Ideas from past gift guides - I tend to share items that I'd enjoy in my gift guides. A few items from recent guides I'm especially lusting after are these napkins, this coffee mug, and this ornament.  


What's on your gift guide this year? 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Small Business Holiday Gift Guide

The last few years I've tried to make it a priority to shop small and made in the USA for holidays, and this year it's now more important than ever. That's why I'm excited to share my small business holiday gift guide on the busiest shopping day of the year! 


Another idea I love is giving a gift card for a favorite local restaurant. Since March most restaurants have started to offer gift certificates that you can purchase online or over the phone, making it so easy to support local! I always say I think experiences make the best gifts and local takeout is the best/safest experience this year. 

Do you have a small business you love? I'd love to check it out!