Things I’d Like to Learn to Do

On Tuesday Stephanie posted about vintage skills and it got me thinking… there are a handful of things I’d really like to improve or learn. And since I’m a blogger I figured the next step in my education would be publicly sharing those things with you.

Grow a garden.
My parents are awesome at growing and tending to vegetables and flowers. I hated the outside chores when I was a kid so I didn’t bother learning anything from them. But now I’m feeling that grow-it-yourself vibe and I’ve decided I want a gorgeous garden.

I’m going to start small. I’ve planted some indoor seeds already (and they grew!!) and soon K is going to build me a table garden like this one for the backyard. Right, dear?

…these are called seedlings, right? Pumpkins, zucchini, tomatoes, & peppers!

Learn Improve my German.
I have a very basic understanding of German. I took three years of it in high school but the only words/phrases that have stuck over the years have been the things my mom taught us before we went to Switzerland when I was 7. Numbers, yes and no, please and thank you, hello, goodbye, I love you, etc. (well, not the word et cetera…).

Play an instrument.
I spent 4 years playing saxophone and then five years behind mallet instruments (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone). And then I stopped playing music. I don’t know that I’ll ever get back into it, but I wish I had some piano skills- and it’s depressing that my ability to read music has suffered since I stopped performing.

Improve my sewing.
I have ZERO excuses. My aunt owns a fabric shop, offers different lessons and retreats and workshops multiple times a week, and she BOUGHT me a sewing machine. She’s amazing and she can literally make anything out of anything. I need to tap into that resource and spend some time with her.

Last time I went to her weekend retreat she (and my mom) helped me make this Halloween apron!

Decorate cakes.
My grandma and my husband’s cousin and my mother-in-law’s best friend are all star cake decorators. I’m not shy when it comes to baking or cooking new things, but the last step- the decorating- almost always frustrates me.

Down the street from my house there is an adult education building where they teach cake decorating. This one feels like a no-brainer…

Five seems like a good number to end on, right? Considering I’ve been trying to make ice cream for 9 months I think learning these skills will carry me into retirement. Lol

What are some new skills or hobbies you’re hoping to try? Any tips for me on these five??


Winter Recap

I know I’m backward, but I hate spring because it means fall & winter are over. Go ahead, crucify me or whatever. Occasionally I dream about driving with the windows down along sunny back roads, but usually I prefer the changing leaves and falling snow.

Whatever. It’s over now. All you beach babes get your weather back. *sigh* 😉

As I’m sure you recall, I made a wintertime to do list/bucket list.

Winter To-Do List ❄️

  • Order / address / send Christmas cards
  • Girls’ trip with my ladies*

  • Weekend shopping trip with Mom
  • Finish all the Christmas shopping
  • Make some big decisions regarding the business
    Still working on this.
  • Complete 50% of my Christmas Movie List
    Nope. I watched roughly 10 movies from my list.
  • Trim the tree and finish decorating the house
    • Post some kind of home tour/Christmas tour of house
  • Make some Christmas cutout cookies

  • Do something fun in the snow! (Sledding on Christmas!)
  • Come up with some 2018 goals/resolutions (Find those here!)
  • Start planning something for our 5 year anniversary (Done!)
  • Get all our stuff out of M&D’s basement (Haven’t gotten it all, but we made 3 trips!)

    • Go through that stuff and purge all that we can live without
  • Winter walk with a dog or two* (Happened with E at Hocking Hills.)
  • Make. Freaking. Ice Cream.
  • Get my office set up
  • Look into getting the bedroom painted
  • Scrapbook!*

*denotes items from my 30×30 list

We had a pretty wonderful winter. I made progress on moving stuff out of my parents’ basement and I’ve been working on putting my office together. I can’t really scrapbook until I have a space (my office) so that goal was a little ambitious.

When I say “make ice cream” I mean in the machine that we were gifted for my bridal shower +5 years ago. I did put the bowl in the freezer to chill it a few weeks ago so you could say I’ve made progress…? Probably not, though.

Someday we’ll get the house painted… ha.

What goals or fun bucket list items did you check off this winter? I’m sharing my spring & summer goals closer to the end of the month. Right now they’re still calling for snow in my neck of the woods. (YAY!)

Spread a Little Sunshine…

When I first started blogging I got nominated for the Sunshine Award that floats around blogland every few months/years. I think it’s a cute little award because a) it means some blogger somewhere is thinking of you & your blog and b) you get to answer some tag questions (and who doesn’t enjoy that?!). Anyway, Bev from Confuzzledom tagged me for the award a few weeks ago ❤︎

sunshine blogger

The rules are… thank the blogger who tagged ya, answer your 11 questions, ask 11 more bloggers 11 new questions, and display the Sunshine Award. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

1) What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2018?
My two 5 star books of the year so far are HP & the Chamber of Secrets, which was a reread, and Three Dark Crowns.

2) If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be?
(In this imaginary scenario you have the perfect conditions to keep it happy and healthy and there is no danger of being eaten.)
Let’s be real… probably a fox. But I also would love to have a hawk. I think they’re stunning. And also a wolf. And a mountain lion. Pretty much any animal… (I’m a firm believer in letting wildlife be wild. I know you can own foxes and hawks. I never will.)

3) What food could you happily eat every day?
Ice cream. Rice. Chips & salsa. Not together, of course.

4) What is your favourite thing about the place you live?
I like the size of my town. I also love all the hills, trees, and farmland on the outskirts of town. And I love living in the Midwest.

5) Where were you born?
Born & raised in Ohio.

6) Are you eating or drinking anything right now?
Coffee, per usual. Lol

7) What is one talent you wish you had?
I wish I could play the piano. I also wish I could speak another language (German) fluently. Technically those are both things I could work on…

8) Do you have a favourite board game?
It used to be Life, but I really like any board game. Clue is another fav. And Trivial Pursuit. K hates playing board game, though.

9) What is your favourite thing about blogging?
All the friends I’ve made. I also love the creative outlet.

10) What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Probably chocolate covered crickets in 6th grade biology. But I’ve also had snails, turtle soup, alligator bites, and a small piece of a dog treat. *shrug*

11) If you won a large sum of money, what’s the first thing you would do?
In this order… buy land in the country and open a no kill shelter/sanctuary for dogs & cats & farm animals, build Kyle a large garage and let him fill it with cars he loves, pay off debt for my parents, in-laws, and siblings.

Those were fun! Thanks again, Bev!!

Eleven bloggers is a lot to tag so I’m going to nominate/tag some friends who I know enjoy questions like these. But please play along, too, if you want to answer them! Don’t be shy!

Alright Tanya (A Mindful Migration) & Stephanie (Not Entirely Perfect) & Rebecca Jo (Knit by God’s Hand) & Nadine (Life by Nadine Lynn), here are your questions:

1) If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with that time?
2) If you were transported to another decade, which decade would you choose?
3) What’s something you wish you knew more about?
4) Would you rather live in a castle, mountain cottage, seaside bungalow, or Beverly Hills mansion?
5) What’s a food that you hated as a kid and love as an adult?
6) Are there any “mythical creatures” (big foot, unicorns, ghosts) that you believe in?
7) What is something about you that people think is weird?
8) If you had to move out of your city/town, where would you choose to live?
9) What’s your favorite television channel?
10) What is your favorite dessert food?
11) What’s your favorite kind of writing to do? (i.e. blog post, creative, letter, etc.)

If you ladies don’t want to answer the questions I will definitely not be heartbroken 🙂 All for fun.

What I Read…

First & foremost, Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my Kyle ❤︎

According to GoodReads I am right on track for my goal of 50 books this year. That makes me a little nervous since up until now I was ahead by a book or two. Hmm… We’ll have to see how the year progresses.

Anyway, I’m obviously linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books! Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
The Kopp sisters were seemingly good at keeping their noses clean but then their buggy is struck by an automobile driven by the ruthless silk factory owner, Henry Kaufman. How much will Constance sacrifice to bring the rapscallion to justice?
I loved Constance. She trusted her gut and her shooting hand and her instinct. She was brave with apprehension, smart with self-doubt. Her humor and fierce loyalty to her sisters made me giggle and tear up. I freaking loved that she wasn’t afraid to push back. For some reason I had reservations about this book. I had some weird expectation and it didn’t align with the story told. I don’t know why… but that’s why it got 4 stars from me. Under different mental circumstance it might’ve been a five.
Should you read it? Absolutely! Especially if you like strong females, mysteries, and/or historical fiction.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
On the island of Fennbirn triplet queens are born, separated, and raised by foster families in accordance with their strengths. Then, on their 16th birthday, they are called to kill one another in pursuit of the crown. 
I loved this story. Be warned- it starts off very slowly. All the action takes place in the final+30% of the book. The author weaves in world building with character development- and there are a lot of characters. I liked how each sister had totally different personalities and unique story lines with different issues going on… but a similar goal of surviving. I thought I’d love one sister more than another, but I felt myself hoping for the best for all three. Dang… this was just a twisty, fully developed first book. I am dying to get my hands on the next one in the series. Lastly, when are my naturalist powers going to kick in? Obviously my familiar would be a fox. Lol.
Should you read it? If you enjoy fantasy mixed with friendship & romance & action, YES.

I regards to Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge…

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 95 out of 200 points.

Right now I’m (still) working on Dead Wake and I’ve started The Hangman’s Daughter. All the books left on my challenge list are +450 pages. Nice going, Audrey.

What did you read this month? What are you reading right now??

Life According to Steph

The Bridesmaid Diaries

I’m not sure how things work with the men, but the ladies’ side of a wedding party can get nuts. (I’m pretty sure most men smuggle in flasks, make jokes about it “not being too late to run…”, and bitch about uncomfortable rental shoes.) If you’ve ever been in a bridal party maybe you’ve experience these types of women:

The takes-herself-too-seriously maid/matron of honor. You can reach out and ask if she needs help, but Ashley has everything taken care of. She’s even stuck personalized labels on all 87 water bottles at the bridal shower. If you need anything you can get a hold of her with the number she printed on the bottom of the ‘day-of’ itinerary she passed out at the rehearsal dinner.

The I’m-over-it maid/matron of honor. Excited at first, but then fully consumed by med school. She let the bridesmaids plan the bridal shower, took the bride to a dive bar for the bachelorette party, and she forgot her shoes on the day of the wedding. You know she and the bride are never speaking again after the big day.

The I-should-be-the-maid-of-honor bridesmaid. After the maid of honor gives her speech, Victoria stands to give hers. At the shower she low-key takes charge and rolls her eyes at the streamers and balloon hung by the m.o.h. And dress shopping? She will literally claw your eyes out to sit between the bride and the bride’s mother.

The flower girl/ring bearer’s mom bridesmaid. Raising kids is tough work and she’s been a little absent from the pre-wedding festivities. (Hell, y’all didn’t bother inviting her to the bachelorette party.) Getting kids to behave and perform at a wedding after getting their hair done, missing their nap, and strapping them into an itchy dress is damn near impossible. Someone get this woman a medal and a dirty martini at the reception.

The shit-show bridesmaid. Sometimes she responds to the group chat, sometimes she doesn’t. The bride bought her bridesmaid dress just to ensure she’d have it in time for the wedding. Her phone is dead 75% of the time, she’s late for every get together, and you’re pretty sure she came to the bridesmaid brunch in pajamas. For whatever reason, the bride keeps her around.

The friend-since-elementary-school bridesmaid. Since she still lives in the same town as the bride, she’s available and present at every event. As long as she has time to schedule off from her nursing job at the hospital, Lanie can show up to any event and help with any last minute details. Plus the bride’s parents just love her.

The college-friend bridesmaid. With a million inside jokes fresh on her mind, she’s always throwing out a quip that makes the bride laugh and give her that, ‘I’m glad you’re here’ look. Unfortunately, the open bar and single groomsman at the reception are her #1 focus as the night progresses.

The new-friend-bridesmaid. Having only met a year ago through work, this hip chick and the bride have bonded over girls’ nights out, monthly book club, and Sunday coffee dates. Will the friendship will last forever? Who knows. The wedding pictures will, though.

The sister-of-the-groom bridesmaid. While you’re sure she loves (or will grow to love) the bride, we all know she’s working her tail off trying to keep her beloved brother happy and put together. She’ll ensure that the whole show runs smoothly and on-time for the sake of her parents’ friends (a.k.a. the wedding guests).

The girlfriend-of-the-bride’s-brother bridesmaid. Let’s be real, Kelsey doesn’t give a shit about the wedding, the bride, or the nuptials. She just wants to hit up the open bar at dinner. She’s only been with the bride’s brother for 7 months and you’re pretty sure they’re on a break right now anyway, but it was too late to kick her out.

*Please pick up on the satire here. While I’m sure I’ve described some bridesmaids to a T, I’ve stood next wonderful people in weddings and don’t condone categorizing people into such general boxes 😉 I’m also a strong girls support girls advocate so, ya know, this is all in fun.

But also… one of these sounds familiar, right? Maybe you even identify as one. Haha. I know I do…

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1920s

Alexandra and I are back to bring you some roaring 20s recommendations! The United States was between wars but there were battles raging behind speakeasy doors, on the streets of New York, and at the hemline of ladies’ dresses!

Also, when and why did we stop using the term “zozzled” (drunk)? I vote to bring it back.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films that we recommend from/about specific eras! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December we’ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

I know lots of people love the 1920s, mostly because of Fitzgerald & DiCaprio. I am not one of those people. The Great Gatsby doesn’t show up on my list 😉 (But maybe it does on Alexandra’s… check it out!)


If you check it out on GoodReads you’ll find that Circling the Sun [Paula McLain] has mixed reviews. I enjoyed it well enough, though. Like many works of historical fic, it’s slow moving. You can’t rush a person’s life and sometimes there are sluggish moments. Also, Beryl Markham was a flawed woman and it shows in this story- but she was also a badass. The descriptions of Kenya and unpredictability of the country are rich in this story of societal survival.

(1929) The movie was a TOTAL flop, but the book Serena [Ron Rash] is one of my favorites. Damn… I both admired Serena and hated her. She was vile- but also so powerful and strong and manipulative. A woman living in a man’s world, surrounded by vast wilderness. This book has romance, but it’s not a romantic story. It was a story about survival and greed and destruction. Honestly, it is just a really good, slow burning wilderness tale. (Some reviewers on GR noted that there’s animal abuse. Technically it’s people living in the wild in 1929… so yes, there’s hunting and trapping etc.)

I’ve saved the best book for last… Orphan Train [Christina Baker Kline] is hands-down one of my favorite books. This book sucked me in, shattered my heart, pieced it back together, broke it a few more times, then warmed it up and sent it off with a kiss. As the title suggests, this is a story about orphans- specifically Vivian and Molly- and their journeys, struggles, and triumphs. I love this book.


(1924) I’m not really a musical-loving gal but Chicago is one of my favorites. Zeta-Jones, Zellweger, & Gere play their parts perfectly. Annnd now I have “Cell Block Tango” stuck in my head.

(1925) Typically I avoid animal movies but Balto was one of my favorites growing up. Of course the cartoon is merely that. A dog named Togo actually led most of the journey and after the serum was delivered the dogs weren’t treated well at all 😠 But this movie is a sweet one.

(1925) In high school I used to peruse Hollywood Video for movies to watch and that’s how I found The Painted Veil. It’s a sad but beautiful love story, set during the cholera epidemic in China.

(1926) I don’t know why, but The Mummy is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love Evie and her sass, I love the Egyptian theme, and I love quoting this film all. the. time.

(1926) Could I claim to be a true PotterHead if I didn’t include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S !

I owe my love of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries to Kristen. And when you get hooked on this three-season-series you can thank me 😉 I love that Alexandra loves the clever and gorgeous Phryne Fisher, too! All three seasons are on Netflix.

Obviously Downton Abbey, too! So good it transcends a single decade 😉

On the shelf…

When it was release The Artist was nominated and won a whole bunch of awards. I’d like to see it!

I recently saw Radio Girls [Sarah-Jane Stratford] pop up in a few blog posts. I think it sounds right up my alley!

Don’t forget to go check out Alexandra’s recommendations, too!! And if you missed out 1910s post you can find it HERE!

Next month we’re checking out Alexandra’s favorite era- the 1930s! It was a tough decade for our country but from devastation and depression is born hope and stories of courage and resilience! We’ll share some of our favorites in April!

What’s Up

Typically I do a coffee break or currently post for Kristen & Gretch‘s link-up, but I’ve already shared posts like that recently. Today I’m just recapping what we’ve been up to since the start of 2018.


We didn’t do a whole lot in January (which I love). We had some health-stress but most of the month was filled with dog cuddles & lazy weekends.

Ly & E both had clean bills of health from the vet. We got their DNA tests back. And Buckeye fought off befriended a coyote.

Lots of snow meant lots of cozy reading time.

My mom had a pretty stressful month so I treated her (and me) to pedicures. That night K tried out his Christmas gift (a new smoker!) & we had my parents and his mom over. (His dad was out of town.)

The next day my brother and sister-in-law came home to surprise and cheer up my mom. We played Mario Kart on the Switch all afternoon.

Lylee loves her grandpa.

I ended the month with a 24in48 reading challenge. I read +6 hours total and squeezed in an intermission because my favorite 3 year old and 1 year old were celebrating their birthdays!


I had a (beat the) Winter Blues party at the beginning of the month. It was super small. Best friends & parents came over for drinks and games and camaraderie.

The next two weeks were filled with business travel. We spent four days in Columbus, OH, then came home for two, then flew to San Antonio, TX for six days.

The dogs were very happy to finally have us home.

My mom and I had a little date night in town between my Texas trip and Cleveland overnight. We got coffee at the local cafe, then popped across the street to the small theater to see Peter Rabbit. Guys… it was SO cute and comical. I loved it.

This past weekend I spent the night in Cleveland with my two best friends…

And that’s what’s new with me 🙂 What’s New With You?

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Peggy!

What's New With You