Monthly Wrap-Up

April 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
Last month I mentioned that my sister and I signed up my nephew and Dom for swimming lessons. We have the last one on Saturday. The boys love it! They have so much fun playing in the water and making lots of noise to hear the echoing in the pool. I may consider signing him up again in the fall when they have their next round of classes.

He has added some new words to his vocabulary, including color, pizza, cookie (that one is very clear!), moah (“more”), and doah (“door”), bittie (“binky”), ankoo (“thank you”), peas (“please”), Goo (“Goofy”), pane (“plane”), and cocka (“helicopter”). He also has been giving kisses, which melts my heart (there’s always something new each month that melts my heart). A new animal he likes to imitate is the penguin (he says “wah wah wah” and sort of waddles — really, he’s imitating what I do when referencing a penguin).

He’s become obsessed with the song “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, always saying “clah clah” and clapping his hands so we can play the song in the car, or the music video on the TV. He sways/steps side to side and claps his hands the whole time. However, I am getting a bit tired of the song, so any recommendations for new fun songs are welcome!

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month
Books read: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
I bought some farmers market fabric and insulated lining as I’d like to make a market bag to use when I go to the farmer’s market that’s set up near my work on Wednesdays (I think it starts in May). I bought the fabric back in March but still haven’t done anything yet… need to get on that.

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in quite a while, and haven’t done anything else.

Baking/Cooking
Nothing new 😦

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: gained 1.8 lbs

I’ve promised myself I’m going to restart Spotebi at home (as soon as we’re done watching Sons of Anarchy — which, if I’m being honest, is what totally threw me off back in March; we should be finished with it by the end of this week).

I’ve been making a shake with the It Works! protein powder a few mornings each week at work. But I need to be better about remembering to take the supplements after meals. I also started using the wraps on my sides and am starting to notice a difference, so I just need to keep up with those (aiming to do them weekly; I have 3 left in my supply).

But what I really need to do is focus on eating better and being active, more than anything else. I’m hoping with the better weather, we’ll also get outside and walking more on the weekends, at the very least.

Work
I’m settling into my new role and am enjoying it so far. I’m currently less busy than I was in my previous role, so I’m hoping that changes soon, as I feel more motivated when I’m busy. I like working with a sense of urgency and always having a to-do list.

General
We hosted our first holiday (Easter) at our house and it was great. Hubs did an awesome job with the food and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to be outside and the kids got to play in the yard and the sandbox and this sprinkler thing we got and everyone had a really nice time.

This past Saturday I had my sister, 2 cousins, and their kids over and we had a great time. It was so nice to see all the kids playing together (5 under the age of 5). The weather was awesome so they were able to enjoy all the things mentioned above. We talked about trying to do something like that monthly, and rotating whose house we go to.

How was your April? If you have school-aged kids, did you do anything fun on their school break?

Monthly Wrap-Up

March 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

OOF — March was an insane month, so much going on! Can’t believe we finally made it to the end.

Dom
Dom continues to amaze us, with his ever-expanding vocabulary and understanding. A few of his new words this month include “buh-buh” for bye-bye, “caw” for cough, “truh” for truck, “nigh-nigh” which is night-night — and he’ll grab a blanket and pat the couch to lay down – but not sleep –  (he’ll also grab the blanket we use for Sonny and say “nigh-nigh” as he carries it to Sonny, at which point one of us needs to take the blanket and cover Sonny); and “tra” for trash, and he loves to help us throw trash away, whether it’s a tissue, diaper, or piece of fuzz he finds (one time he even took a tissue from my mom mid-nose blow so he could throw it away). He also says some colors (“blue” and “purple” being the easiest to understand), and we practice saying a bunch of words and names of family members every day. He tries to jump, which is hilarious, and he likes to dance around, too. He also started to do a bit of crawling, which he had skipped in the general order of things (he went from scooting on his bum to walking). So I was pretty excited to see that, despite the fact that he’s a very capable and sturdy walker (and he likes to run, too).

He did get a second ear infection, 5 weeks after the first one. But despite that, he still remained fairly cheerful. My little champ.

My sister and I signed up Dom and her son, Will, for a baby swim class, which starts on April 1st. Can’t wait to see how he’ll do!

Books/Reading
I read 1 book this month. (and I have 1 in progress)
Books read: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Year goal: 5/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 1/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

Still working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

My leadership team at work got me some sock yarn and a book with 10 different sock patterns, so I’ll be checking that out soon, too!

Baking/Cooking
I forgot to post about banana muffins I made back in February, see the post here. I made the banana muffins again in March, and they were just as good as the first time. 🙂 (except I put the chocolate chips in all of them!)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 2.7

I continued with the 4 week beginner at home workout plan from Spotebi. You’re supposed to do the workouts Monday through Friday with the weekends being the rest days, but there were times due to tiredness or lack of time (and if I’m being honest, laziness), that I ended up taking a day or two off and pushing out the schedule. I still haven’t finished the 4 weeks (did about 2.5 weeks worth of workouts over a 3 week period), so I need to get back into it, ’cause I liked doing them.

I also purchased some items from a company called It Works! (discovered through a friend & his wife, hey Jimmy & Kim!). I wanted to get back into Shakeology, but was interested to see if there were cheaper options out there and It Works! has a cheaper and still tasty chocolate protein powder to make shakes (my favorite being a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana shake! — do you have any combos you like??) Along with the protein powder, I got a couple of supplements and 2 body wraps. The wraps have a lotion on them that is supposed to help firm and tone your targeted area. Obviously, I tried it on my mid-section first. You’re supposed to wear it for 45 minutes for the first time and can do it every 72 hours. I did it 2 Saturdays in a row, the first time for 45 minutes and the second time for 2 hours. I haven’t noticed a significant visible difference after the 2 wraps, but I have noticed my jeans feel looser, so that’s good (and I’ve lost about a pound since trying the wraps). I ordered a few more wraps and will see how it goes. (My rep, Kim, says that it usually takes about 3 wraps to really notice a visible difference). I just have to get into the habit of remembering to take the supplements to get maximum results.

Work
So as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s been a really busy month. We had our annual team face to face meeting this past week and its was really busy planning and prepping for it. At the same time, I was also transitioning my responsibilities to a new person I am taking on a new role within another group in my department (and it starts on Monday!).  Though I’m sad to leave my current team (I’ve been working with them for almost 5 years), I’m really excited for the new opportunities, projects, and challenges that comes with this new role. And I’ll still have opportunities to work with my now old team, just in a different way.

Bring on April!

How was your March?

Monthly Wrap-Up

February 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

I can’t believe February has come and gone already. This year is flying by. (I know it might be funny to say that after only the 2nd month of the year, but the weeks really are moving!)

Dom
It really is incredible to watch him grow. So often I watch him walking around and think “when did we get here?” He’s learning more words (most recently started saying “up”, “no”, “no more” (like “no more monkeys jumping on the bed). He gives kisses and hugs, and blows kisses (along with a “mwah” noise). He makes funny faces, does silly dancing, and is all around a bunch of fun. We’re loving watching as he discovers and does new things.

He did get an ear infection earlier in the month and that was no fun at all, though. He was on a 10-cycle of amoxicillin and he liked it. Whenever I said it was time for his medicine he would make an “mmmm!” noise, and then go sit in his little chair so I could give it to him, so at least there’s that. But we had 7-8 nights in a row of waking up in the middle of the night for extended periods of time (I had to take a few days off from work). I’m happy to say that all has passed, but it was getting really tough with all the waking up!

Books/Reading
I read 0 books this month. (I have 1 in progress)
Year goal: 4/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6 (the 1 in progress will fit this category)

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

I’m working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. I’m excited to see how it turns out since this is the first time I’m really working with cables. I’ll post about it when complete.

I do want to start another sewing project, just not sure what yet. (Suppose I should just get those diaper pouch combos out of the way…)

Baking/Cooking
I made buttermilk pancakes from scratch for the first time (and made them twice)! I’ll have a post up about those soon. 🙂 (and will update with a link here after)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.0 pound
I thought it might be a bit more, but I’ll take it!
I started an at-home work out plan from a site called Spotebi. They have many different plans to choose from (some free, some for purchase). I decided to try the free 4-week beginner workout. I’m really liking it so far. There’s variety in the exercises, and a mix of HIIT workouts and yoga sequences. (you may have seen some of my instagram posts to the right on my blog here). But I’m in my second week and still going strong, so that’s a plus for me. Now I just need to get better about eating (though I’ve noticed I’m eating smaller portions, and taking my time, but I need to focus more on what I’m eating, too.)

How was your February?

Monthly Wrap-Up

January 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapupJanuary had me off to a good start for 2017! Let’s get right into it:

Dom
He’s 15 months old! We had his 15 month check-up near the beginning of the month and he’s doing great. 25 lbs and a little over 30″ tall. He’s learning new words all the time (such as “Papa”, “Pooh”, “poo-poo”, and sounds like he’s trying to say “key” and “tool”) and understanding more and more each day. He transitioned from Infants to Toddlers at the daycare over the last 2 weeks of the month. Exciting, and a little sad that he’s already moving up! (But more exciting; I can’t wait to see what new things he learns!)

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month. I don’t expect I’ll keep this pace through the year, but it was a nice start!
Year goal: 3/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge:1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0
Time spent sewing: I’m not going to track this in hours as I originally thought I might, but will really just re-cap if I spent any time during the month focused on any aspect of a sewing project. I am probably about 85% finished with a project that I was hoping to complete before the month was out, but the last steps took more time than I remembered  when I first made it a few years back. I just need to finish some bias binding and a hem and then its done! I hope to post about it in early February. But despite not finishing yet, I’m really pleased that I actually got as far as I have. And I will not pressure myself to finish projects by a certain self-set deadline. (And with The Monthly Stitch introducing Amnesty Day, I can still have a chance to participate in the monthly challenges!)

Baking/Cooking
Aside from some pre-packaged mixes, I haven’t done anything new here.

Weight Loss
This wasn’t previously listed in my goals, but it is something I am tracking, so what better place than my monthly wrap up? I weighed myself on January 1 and again on January 31. I’ll proceed to weigh myself on the last day of each month and track the (hopefully) loss each month.
This month’s weight loss was: 1.1 pounds — have to start somewhere! 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with how January kicked off 2017 for me. How did January treat you?

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

July Reads

Well I definitely got my reading mojo back in July, completing 11 books! (That’s only 3 less than what I read January through June combined!) It’s really surprising since this was a really busy month for us (more on that later). I think part of it was because I read a “boxed set” on my Kindle (a 4 book bundle for the Spellmans series so it was kind of like reading one long book as opposed to 4 separate ones).

But since I read so many books, this is likely going to be a lengthy post, so feel free to skim/skip to books you’re interested — or read the whole thing if you really want to! 🙂

15. Still Alice, Lisa Genova
This has been my favorite book so far this year (and the first book I’ve given 5 stars since December!). I’ll be posting a separate review for it.

16. Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3), Gail Carriger
The next installment in the Finishing School series. Light reads, some plot points typically predictable for sure, but still enjoyable. I read the first two last year but never posted about them. The story is from the steampunk era and I’m kind of fascinated by it just because of how the mechanicals are described and used. Imagine if things like these actually had been available back in that time, how much different would technology be today?

Sophronia is a 16-year-old girl attending finishing school, but it’s actually a school to teach girls how to be intelligencers. Some of it can be kind of funny (talking about how letter openers and fans can be used as weapons, and how to use seduction techniques to control a man to get the information you need, etc.) She is gifted at learning the various aspects of the “finishing school” and always seems to get mixed up in bigger issues, along with her group of friends, and helps solve them.

Oh did I mention that vampires and werewolves are also in the books and considered legal species? (some of them are teachers at the finishing school). It just throws in a supernatural aspect into the mix.

They’re light reads that you can get through quickly. The next book is expected some time this year.

17. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society #3), Trenton Lee Stewart
I didn’t realize this was a trilogy, thought it was a series, but as far as I can tell, there are only 3 (plus a couple of short stories that fit in between the main books). Like the Finishing School series above, I read the first two Mysterious Benedict Society books back in 2013 but never wrote about them.

This is a story about 4 extremely intelligent and gifted children who help a benevolent Mr. Benedict thwart a bad guy (who happens to be Mr. Benedict’s twin brother) from trying to control the world. Definitely a kids/young adult series. What’s great about the series is that it shows kids that it’s OK to be smart and there is always a chance for happy endings (3 of the 4 kids are orphans).

18-21. The Spellmans 1-4
A fun, witty series about a family-owned detective agency. I’m pretty sure I read the first one ages ago at the beginning of college, but am not 100% sure, as I didn’t really remember the content (but had remembered the title).
Izzy Spellman is the main character, in her mid-20s at the start of the series. They family is definitely neurotic and some of the stuff they do/get away with is amazing; I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen in real life!

The series follows the family over a few years and all the shenanigans and jobs they take on. Light, fun reads for the most part. I flew through reading these 4, mainly because it was a “boxed set” on my Kindle.

I recommend it if you’re looking for something quick, easy, and fun.

22. Emerald Green (Ruby Red #3), Kerstin Gier
This is the last book in the Ruby Red trilogy. We meet Gwen again, who only has a limited knowledge of the time-traveling group that she was born into. As noted in the first book, it was her cousin everyone thought would get the traveling powers, but it ended up being Gwen instead. The three books cover a very short period of time, each picking up exactly where the other left off.

Gwen knows something is up and has a feeling the head of the time traveling group is up to no good, but can she expose him and thwart his plans?

Another book/series on the lighter side and quick to read. (maybe that’s why I was able to get through so many books this month — they’re mostly “light” reads)

23. The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose #1), Jennifer Donnelly
I really enjoyed this book and was delighted to hear that it was part of a series. The cast of characters is really well-developed. There were definitely twists and turns and the “I can’t believe they just missed each other!” moments (more than a couple) that spans a number of years and 2 continents. There were also some sad, heart-wrenching moments that made you wonder how so many bad things can happen to one good person/family. But the story was a testament to following your dreams and not letting things hold you back (though sometimes you wanted to smack them upside the head for being so stubborn!), despite the fear.

24. The American Lady (The Glassblower Trilogy #2), Petra Durst-Benning
I stumbled upon the second book in this series. The last time I looked it up, it wasn’t available on the Kindle through either library that I’m a member of. So imagine my delight when I discovered I could get it!

I really enjoyed the first book and so was happy to continue the story of the glassblowing family. I think this was better than the first. Well-written and great characters. It picks up about 15 or so years after the first book ended. It was an interesting location change from Germany to New York and Italy. However, I was so upset with the way the story ended. I was not expecting it at all (sign of a good writer, I think). I definitely shed a tear or two (and probably can’t even blame it on pregnancy hormones since I’m generally an emotional person and tend to cry at books all the time). I got so wrapped up in the story and the characters and it broke my heart to read the ending.

I am looking forward to reading the last installment of this trilogy, I’m just waiting for it to become available at the library in Kindle format.

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

June Reads

Another 2 books in June…

13. A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5), George R R Martin
As mentioned in my May reading post, I read this back to back with book 4. This was another re-read for me. I read book 5 when it came out in 2011. So it’s been a few years since I last read it. And again as mentioned in the May post, there was a lot I had forgotten but I wanted to refresh my memory so I could keep up with the show.

Now that the show has basically caught up with the books, I really can’t wait for Winds of Winter (#6) to be published. And I really hope it comes out before the show does; I don’t want to find out major plot points via the TV show, but as it was originally intended through the books. However, I’m not saying that they show is bad by any means. I think the producers have done a great job with the show and with the resources they have available. But I just want to be able to get the new parts of the story from the books.

This is really such a great and well-written series and you really get attached to characters (which is dangerous in the world of Westeros!). But the depth of the characters and the details really make it stand out from other stories.

I highly recommend you read this if you haven’t yet!
14. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3), Deborah Harkness
It’s been some time since I read the 2nd book (back in 2013 when it came out), so my memory was a bit rusty at first when picking this up. But I was able to remember enough to keep up with the story and not feel lost. Despite the length (500+ pages), it was a quick read.

This is the last in the trilogy starring Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont and the rest of their family and friends. (I did write a review on the first book back in 2013, but never got around to writing one about the second book). This installment did provide a fitting ending to the story. As with the other two books, there was a bit of action, more science and discovery included in the story. It was nice to see the aunts’ house again too. As I noted with the first book’s review, it was definitely refreshing and interesting to see a science spin on the supernatural.

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reads

As you can see in my reading list for this year, it’s been slow going and I didn’t even finish any books in April. I found that for a chunk of time early in my pregnancy, I didn’t feel like doing much, even reading. I watched a lot of TV, actually.

I started picking up the reading again in May, though there were only 2 books completed.

11. Titanic: Voices of the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson
This was a really good book looking into the Titanic from the point of view of her passengers. My dad is a huge Titanic buff so growing up I learned a lot about the Titanic. So from time to time I still catch myself reading a book about it or watching one of the TV specials on History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc.

It was also a sad look into the tragedy, reading the hope and excitement from letters of the passengers and knowing what was coming. Definitely eye-opening though to see what people were like at the time and on the ship. (and I must say that Bruce Ismay was quite a coward!)

A sad fact of the Titanic is that it’s really only famous for its sinking. Had it gone smoothly, it would have only gone down in history as the largest and grandest ship of her time.


12. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4), George R R Martin
This is a re-read for me. I only read it once when I bought the first 4 books back around 2006, and though the 5th book didn’t come out until 2011, I did not re-read book  before reading book 5 (I should have). It was definitely a good refresher as there were some details I definitely didn’t remember. I also wanted to re-read this one because it was being reflected in the newest season on HBO. And to be honest, I really wanted to re-read it more to see where the books and TV show diverged (and there were many places!). A couple of my friends watch the show but do not read the books and we’d do recaps within a day or 2 of the episodes and more often than not when they’d ask a question I found myself saying “well it’s different in the books so I’m not sure how they’ll play it out in the show” or “that doesn’t happen in the books so I have no idea where they’re going with it.”

It’ll be hard for me to separate this from book 5 since I read them back to back (finished it n June, so I’ll write a little more in that post). But there was so much that happened and like I said above, a good amount of stuff that I didn’t remember well. It definitely got me back on track and hoping for book 6 even more now!

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

March Reads

Turns out March was a month for reading odd books. These were all books on my To Read list on Goodreads and I was able to get them all from the library on my Kindle around the same time, I guess.

Anyway, I am writing these mini reviews quite sometime after reading them, so bear with me as I struggle to remember specific details!

8. Cinema Lumiere, Hattie Holden Edmonds
I’d say this was probably the one I enjoyed the most of the 3 I read this month. The cast of characters was good, they were well-developed. I enjoyed the main character, Hannah, as well as her shy new office assistant Ian. Their interactions were really good and helped pull Ian out of his shell. The other main character to enjoy was Victor, the elderly gentleman that Hannah had befriended but lost connection with prior to the start of the novel. The novel bounced back and forth between past and present which I thought was a nice build up to the end of the story (albeit, slightly predictable by a certain point). However, it was a story to make you think about your life and make sure that you learn to trust, let go of past disappointments, go for what will make you happy, and keep the ones you love close.

9. The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Alice Hoffman
This one was harder to enjoy. Coralie is one of the main attractions in her father’s freak show on Coney Island set in the early 1900s. She has webbed fingers and so her father makes her play the part of a mermaid. She had to endure spending time underwater to improve her lung capacity so she could sit in a tank of water. As the freak show popularity dwindles, Coralie’s father insists he needs to find something that will bring everyone’s attention back, and has a horrible plan to do this.
The story flips between 2 characters’ points of view, Coralie and Eddie Cohen, a young photographer who photographs death and destruction for the newspapers. After a tragic factory fire, he is pulled into the mysterious disappearance of one of the factory workers. As he searches, he and Coralie cross paths and eventually connect in this search.
It is difficult to read some of the passages, such as the description of the factory fire, and how Coralie’s father treats her and his employees (the “freaks”, a cast I liked) and what he makes them do (especially Coralie). He is a strict, harsh man.
In the end it was an OK book.

10. The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton
Another one that had a few harsh characters. Nella has just joined her new husband whom she doesn’t even know. His severe and serious sister acts as his housekeeper. He works a lot and so to keep Nella occupied he buys her a miniature cabinet, which is their house in miniature form. She finds a miniaturist’s ad and reaches out to get small items made for the house. In addition to the ones she requests, she also gets some odd ones (like actual miniature versions of the people in the household and her husband’s dogs). Then strange things begin to happen and she starts to wonder if the miniaturist is predicting or causing what’s happening. She’s afraid to tell anyone what she’s receiving. Some bits of the story were predictable but it was still a decent read. (It’s now July when I’m writing this one, so I can only really do a very light synopsis…)

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

January Round-Up

So apparently I drafted this post in early February, but then I dropped off the blog and completely forgot about it! So, better late than never I suppose…. But I won’t be doing this to recap all the other books I’ve read since this list!

 

I’ve been really slow this year in getting the blog up and running. For January, I’d like to do short reviews of the books I read during the month (total of 8).

1. Let’s Talk Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris
More humorous essays from hilarious David Sedaris. I got this for Christmas. It had been a while since I last read anything by him, so I was looking forward to reading this. (I own just about all of his books). I really enjoy his story-telling and voice

2. The Summoner, Layton Green
This is a book that had been on my Kindle for ages, and I finally got around to reading it. It wasn’t a terrible story, but it was kind of weird with the whole cult thing. I began the second book with this character, but have only read a couple chapters, and I wasn’t really into it so I stopped reading and read a few other books instead. I wouldn’t be surprised if I never got around to picking it up again, to be honest.

3. Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham
Yes, this is the same Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fame. (I do enjoy both of those shows; loved the Lorelei character and her interactions with people, especially w/ Rory). Anyway, I could kind of see a similar echo of the Lorelei in the way the character talked.  It was a bit predictable, but an enjoyable enough read.

4. Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption, Stephen King
I borrowed the Different Seasons collection of short stories from the library but only read Shawshank (my plan all along). This was one of the rare times I enjoyed the movie more than the book – but this could be because it’s one of my favorite movies and I’ve seen it a bazillion times. (plus I love Morgan Freeman in this). I couldn’t stop noticing all of the discrepancies between the two and I kept picturing Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, etc. Which do you prefer?

5. The Rook, Daniel O’Malley
I’ve wanted to read this for a long time, forgot about it, and then rediscovered it again (it had been on my Amazon wishlist for ages). I finally got around to borrowing it from the library. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but it grew on me quickly and I really enjoyed the dry humor and quick wit. Really liked the post-amnesia Myfanwy, though I wish we saw her in the first person, rather than third. Pre-amnesia Myfanwy was a good character that seemed to develop on her own through her letters. I guess I understand why both weren’t first person narratives, but I found it kind of distracting that post-amnesia Myfanwy was third person. It was definitely an interesting premise and there were some curious names.

I also enjoyed that O’Malley included reading suggestions at the end of the book as well as a recommended soundtrack for parts of the story — I’ve never seen the soundtrack before. I thought it was fun, especially his description of when the songs were appropriate.

I really enjoyed his writing and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

6. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
I guess I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book. It was alright, but I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I hadn’t read it. I really don’t have much to say on, to be honest.

7. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
I really enjoyed this book. I had a feeling it would be a tear-jerker, given the premise, but I wasn’t expecting so much humor and quick wit. I loved Gus and the conversations he and Hazel had together. It was a really great story that highlights the suckiness of terminal illness but also the ability to still live life and enjoy the time we have.

8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, James Thurber
Definitely did not realize this book was SO short! I started it on the train on the way home and just a couple train stops later I was done. I thought I got a sample instead of the real thing! I was definitely expecting a lot more to this, a deep dive into the Walter Mitty character. I figured if I ever saw the movie, I’d recognize some of the daydreams, but now I’m wondering if any of them make it in the movie? I wonder how they made a full length movie out of such a short piece of work!

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: December 2013

monthly wrapupI’ve decided to do my December wrap-up early since I have a few other posts I’d like to get out before year-end and I don’t want them all posting on one day!


Reading

Number of Books read: 6
I’m currently reading 2 others, and since it’s mid-month as I write this, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’ll finish them by year end. So let’s say 8. (and that’s the number I’ll use below in the challenge progress)

Favorite book read this month: A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron (sequel to A Dog’s Purpose whose main character made it on my top 10 all time favorite characters list last year at number 4 but if I had to pick between the two, I’d pick A Dog’s Purpose)

Number of 5 star ratings: 1 (A Dog’s Journey)

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: ~107% (goal was 75 and I’ve read 80)

Reading Challenges Completed: ALL!
I’m excited – I finished all my challenges this year — but didn’t really do much blogging. I’m pretty pumped that I went over my 2013 reading goal, and am kind of amazed that I’ve read that many books this year!

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: N/A

Completed Sewing Projects: Initial pillows for nieces and nephews for Christmas! I don’t want to post pictures before Christmas so they can be surprises to everyone. (At this point in time, I’ve finished 2 of the 4 pillows, but 4 will be completed by Christmas.) Also planning to finish fabric gift card holders in time for Christmas gifts…and I definitely have enough time! Pictures will be posted after the holiday.

Get Fit!

I’ve decided to remove this section, but I will restart my way to a healthier me anew in January. I really need to in order to get in better shape, feel healthy/better, have energy, and look my best for the wedding in October!!!!

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2013

monthly wrapupReading

Number of Books read: 7

Favorite book read this month: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Number of 5 star ratings: 0

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: 96%

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: A baby hat for charity
Recently joined a group at work called the Charity Crafters. We will get together periodically to make crafts to be donated to local charities. This year we made hats and blanket squares. (we meet on Dec 2 to collect all of our creations)

Completed Sewing Projects: 0
Working on making some Christmas gifts, though!

Get Fit!

Number of Gym Days this month: 1

Personal Record: When I took an equipment orientation at my work gym, I ended up lifting 100lbs in a “Romanian” deadlift set of 8 reps (and it was the last set…the first set was 40lbs & the second set was 70 lbs)!

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: October 2013

monthly wrapup

Reading

Number of Books read: 5

Favorite book read this month: didn’t have a favorite.

Number of 5 star ratings: 0

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: 87%

Reading Challenges Completed: 2
So far the goodreads progress bar is telling me I’m 3 books ahead — and I haven’t fallen behind once (at my best, I think I was around 5 books ahead)

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: 0

Completed Sewing Projects: 0

I was not very crafty in October…

 

Get Fit!

Number of Gym Days this month: ugh — i just looked at my calendar: I didn’t go to the gym once this month!  So bad!

Total inches lost: didn’t even bother measuring…

Personal Record: n/a

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: September 2013

monthly wrapup

So I’m a bit delayed this month… I actually started prepping this post a couple of weeks ago, and then got totally side-tracked and didn’t post it on time — so here it is a few days late!

Reading

Number of Books read: 9

Favorite book read this month: The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley
I also truly enjoy each and every one of Debora Geary’s Witch Central books. They’re super quick reads, and I thoroughly enjoy them.

Number of 5 star ratings: 1 (The Winter Sea)

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: 80%

Reading Challenges Completed: 2

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: 1
Mittens! – my first pair ever 🙂

Completed Sewing Projects: 0

 

Fitness

Number of Gym Days this month: 6

Total inches lost: I didn’t take the measurements…

Personal Record: I took Zumba and Bootcamp classes for the first time and enjoyed them 🙂

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: August 2013

monthly wrapup

Reading

Number of Books read:  8

Favorite book read this month: Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Number of 5 star ratings: 1 (Rose Garden)

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: 68% (51 of 75)

Reading Challenges Completed: 2
Hooray! I’ve finished the two hosted reading challenges! I just haven’t written the reviews…

 

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: 2
Golf Club Cover
x2 – I made a second one in navy and grey, no pictures yet (will post shortly)

Completed Sewing Projects: 1
I did a pillow for my aunt. She recently got a new couch set and wanted to have some accent pillows. She purchased some fabric and wanted to use fringe from another pillow she had. So I created a cover for one of her pillows. (I’ll post about it that soon too)

 

Get Fit!

Number of Gym Days this month: 3 or 4 (I can’t remember if I went 2 or 3 days the first week it opened… hehe)
Just started at the new gym that opened at work on the 19th. Really excited that it is right downstairs from me (first floor of my building) and they have some fun classes I can attend (Zumba, Ballet, Pilates, Core stuff, Bootcamp….) I haven’t attended any classes yet, but I plan to start this upcoming week.
I did go for a few walks (each approx. 2.7 miles) a few times in the month, too.

Total inches lost: 5!
I measure my bust, waist, hips, left & right upper arms, and left & right thighs, so I lost a total of 5″ in those areas. So excited — in fact, I was very surprised when I added it all up — there was only one measurement where I didn’t lose anything – but I didn’t gain, there was no change. So happy!

Total pounds lost: 3.5

Personal Record: I guess my personal record would be losing the 5 inches 🙂

I’ve also started tracking what I eat on the myfitnesspal app, which has been a big help with portion control and my food choices – I’ve been eating more fruits and smaller portions of less-healthy food. I think I’m on the right track 🙂

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: July 2013

monthly wrapup

Reading

Number of Books read: 5

Favorite book read this month: Undecided

Number of 5 star ratings: 0

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 70% (currently reading 2 other historical fiction novels)
2013 Reading Goal: 57% (43 of 75)

Reading Challenges Completed: 1

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: N/A
I’ve been looking up patterns, trying to find something new to do

Completed Sewing Projects: 1
my beach bag (I started it at the end of June and finished it at the beginning of July)
But I got fabric for 2 dresses, so hopefully I’ll make at least one of them in August!

Get Fit!

Number of Gym Days this month: 1 😦 (but for a couple days I did some workouts from the OnDemand menu — does that count?)

Total inches lost: gained 1 inch 😦 (lost .3 lb since last month)

Personal Record: N/A… I was pretty crappy with the gym, so no personal records…gotta step it up!