Dear Santa…

Per request of family members (I swear they asked for this), I came up with some Christmas swag that I wouldn’t be opposed to receiving. Some is off my birthday wish list, but most of it is new. For the record, I don’t need any gifts… I just want a pretty tree, some time off work, and a cup of coco.

*Alternative title: dear-santa

So here we go… (Nothing is affiliated.)

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets – illustrated version.
I needs it, Precious. [Er- wrong fandom.]

Any of these books: Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Sweatshirts.
I love a clever, witty sweatshirt. This one cracks me up. Also this one. And this one.  (Large)
(Seriously… I love sweatshirts.)

Taylor’s new dog shirt!
I have the original one but I love that this one alludes to more than one dog. (Runs small- XL)

Anything for the dogs… My brother and sister-in-law once gifted me a 3 month Bark Box subscription and I was more excited than the dogs to open it each month!

*Between gifts and donations and self-indulgences, I’ve acquired an electric griddle, a coffee maker, and a quality cookie sheet since my last wish list post 🙂

I started this post thinking I’d be able to list 100 things… but I really can’t think of anything I want or need. For family members that are frustrated with me over the short list: I always love books, candles, gift cards, and alcohol  😉

What’s on your Christmas wish list? Maybe it’ll give me some ideas!

EDIT: Erin just shared this website with me… And now I want this and this and this and this  😀 (Ladies t-shirt, sweatshirt, or racer back – probably a large)

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A Fantastically Magical Review

Hello, lovelies. I have a “wishlist” that I need to post for family members, but I just saw the newest wizarding film this weekend and I wanted to gush about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Look for the wishlist on Wednesday.

*No spoilers here! I would never ruin the magic for anyone! ❤︎

Fantastic Beasts AND Where to Find Them

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Movie Summary: Set in 1926, Newt Scamander arrives in New York City with a suitcase full of fantastic creatures and a mission. Unfortunately, times are tense & suspicions are high, and MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA) has their hands full with a mysterious destructive force at work in the city. Meanwhile, the wizarding world is panicked by the sudden disappearance of the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Newt finds himself (and his creatures) in the middle of the turmoil along with the former Auror Tina, her sister Queenie, and a No-Maj (American Muggle) named Jacob. (Read the complete story on the official website!)

So… let’s go at this movie review like an interview.

What did you think of the film overall?
“Loved” isn’t a strong enough word. The new screenplay for The Cursed Child fell flat for me and I was concerned this movie franchise would lack the magic of the HP world in which I grew up. I was wrong- this film was glorious. It didn’t touch or tarnish the ‘original’ story at all but it still tied into the world I know and love.

Do you have to be a Potter Head (i.e. well-versed in Harry Potter) to enjoy it?
I would say no… though having knowledge of A) the wizarding world and B) the HP details makes this film infinitely more fun.

How does it relate to the Harry Potter story?
While there’s no mention of Harry, Ron, or Hermione (obviously- their parents wouldn’t even have been alive), they do reference Dumbledore. Also, hardcore HP fans will recognize Grindelwald’s name. A few eyebrow-raising names are dropped (that are the ancestors of familiar characters) and we get to see the early years of wizards and Muggles/No-Majs, pre-Wizarding Wars.

Favorite character?
Queenie was probably my favorite. As suspicious and private as New York and MACUSA were, Queenie was full of love and acceptance- for all types. I also loved her relationship to her sister- they were never competitive or demeaning, even though they were totally different people with different personalities.

Favorite scene?
Ah, SO MANY GOOD MOMENTS. There’s a very short scene right in the first 30 minutes that gives a little nod to Hermione & Ron- I loved that. I think my favorite scene was probably 3/4 of the way through when Queenie had a moment to shine and help her sister and Newt. I won’t say any more than that, but I thought it was funny and action-packed and clever.

Would I watch it again?
I think I have to. I was telling K that I love the HP movies because there’s an even more intricate (and sometimes entirely different) world of wizardry in the books. ‘Fantastic Beasts…’ doesn’t have that book element. All the subtle references and foreshadowing can only be found in the movie- which means I need to read all the articles and rewatch the film a million times to fully scrutinize it.

If you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down then I’ll just say it bluntly: Go see this film- especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter. It’s everything we’ve been waiting for ❤︎

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I Can’t Think of Anything to Say But ‘Thank You’

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but the amount of feedback and love and advice I received on Monday was so overwhelming. Originally I had a little “thank you” sentence added to Wednesday’s post but I decided that just wasn’t enough.

I write in this space because it helps me collect my thoughts and express my opinions or imagination in a structured way. When I started Life as Louise (just over two years ago) I wasn’t sure it’d attract any traffic but I didn’t care- I just wanted a space to call my own and write creatively. The people that I’ve ‘met’ and now interactive with almost daily are such an unexpected bonus. You guys are the sweetest souls and I feel so happy when I get to connect with you, both here and on your blogs. I really, really appreciate your thoughts from Monday and I feel so lucky to have this community of supportive, intelligent women. You are all truly wonderful friends. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I feel so grateful for this blog and everyone that takes the time to visit and interact here 🙂

(Even if you’re not a comment-er, I’m glad you’ve stopped by!)

I typically have a list of blogs saved to my “favorites” on my computer than I visit most days. When new people interact with me or I see interesting comments on other blogs I visit those writers and sometimes add them to my list. (Just FYI if you were curious about my following habits.) Even if you don’t get a notification, I always respond to blog comments here.  It might take me a week, but I try to address everyone that stops by and leaves a thought.

I’m happy to know what topics interest people most- thank you for taking the time to address that on Monday! I’d planned on continuing to “just be me” in this space, but it seriously warmed my heart to hear how many people look forward to coming here and reading because they see me as genuine or honest or real. You guys are the most wonderful humans ❤︎

I’m happy to be in the smaller pond of bloggers (not that I consider you guys small- I’m just defining myself here). I’m glad that I can write whatever comes to me and I feel so awestruck that people actually enjoy it. Thank you for your kindness and friendship. I never imagined this outcome when I started blogging.

So before I go, I’ve seen some other bloggers do this and I absolutely love it: I always send Christmas cards to friends and family! I’ve connected with so many amazing people here & this year I want to extend my mailing list to blog-friends, too! (Essentially it’s a holiday card with two of the cutest puppies ever on it… 😉 ) Don’t be shy- if you want a Christmas card this year shoot me an email with your address! audreylou09@gmail.com
*(I think it goes without saying, but obviously I’d keep your address 100% private!)

Ok, I’m off to hit up my third Thanksgiving dinner.
No comments today since I’m still warm and fuzzy from Monday❤︎

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Things I Love Right Now

Very rarely am I what people call “trendy.” The black flats that I wear to work almost every day were purchased at the beginning of my college career. The insides are now peeling out and I’m one sharp stone away from a hole in the sole. None of my clothes are designer and I only carry a cross-body purse to hold my wallet and my chapstick. I’m just warning you that A) nothing on this list is new-new and B) nothing here will cost you more that $20.

Also, this isn’t a wishlist. These are tried and true things that I use/listen to/watch/have and love.

MAKE-UP | NYX Solf Matte Lip Cream
I should probably give a shout out to Lindsay for turning me on to this product. Smooth, buttery lip matte that dries immediately and stays put for hours. I own five different shades as of right now.

TELEVISION | The Good Place + Speechless + American Housewife
Apparently I’m all about the comedies this season. These fluctuate between comical and laugh-out-loud humor. I’ve also been trying to keep up with This Is Us and Bull, but sometimes life is heavy enough and I just need a comedy. (I typically watch these on Hulu.)

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First The Good Place retweeted me, then “Janet” herself! ❤︎

NETFLIX | Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
BIG shout out to Kristen for this recommendation. And shame on me for waiting so long to get HOOKED. I’ve just finished season 1 and I am so obsessed. I’m also swooning over Detective Jack Robinson- I love his chemistry with Phryne!

BOOKS | The Lunar Chronicles
I know I’ve been pushing these books for a while now, but it takes me a long time to get through a series. I’m just about to start the final book (and it’s over 800 pages… *gulp*) so I’ll shut up about these soon.

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MUSIC | Christmas Music
My favorite artists/albums right now are Pentatonix, Charlie Brown, and anything “jazzy” (Bing, Frank, etc.).

CLOTHES | No Boundaries Leggings from Wal-Mart
My coworker told me about these/gifted me a pair and now I’m obsessed. They’re as soft as LuLaRoe, they’re warm & colorful, and they’re only $6. Uh- yes please. (The holiday ones appear to be sold out online…)

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HOME | Ello Travel Mug
I am SO in love with this mug. The outside stays cool while the drink inside stays hot for hours. It’s the best travel mug I’ve ever used. The cork bottom keeps it from sweating all over you desk and it’s dishwasher safe. I might be Christmas-gifting a few of these!

*Enjoy whatever days off you may have this week, American friends!*
Happy Thanksgiving!
Hug your friends &  family extra tight, be kind to retail workers, and be safe on the roads! ❤︎

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Talk to Me About Content

Let’s be really really real. Do y’all come here because you enjoy reading what I write, or are you here because I comment on your blog frequently and you feel obliged to return the favor? (I’m not asking that in a fishing-for-compliments kind of way- I’m really on the fence about my content here.) I pick the blogs that I read based on what topics and writers interest me. Some bloggers teach me about new places and things (Stephanie, Olya, Alexandra) and some make me laugh out loud every single time (Mattie, Erin, Nadine) and some make me think about things I’ve never considered (Carolann, Erin, Chelsea, Steph) and some are just super uplifting (Rebecca Jo, Chelsea, Lindsay). And then there are a handful of folks that I’ve only started reading that I really love. All that to say sometimes I questions what I’m putting out here in the blog world.

(Also, if you’re in the market for new blogs to read, I recommend all those ladies up there.)

So without doing a survey, tell me what you enjoy reading most- both here and in the blog world.

I’ve said it before, but I write what I write because I like to write it- so that won’t change. But I’m always curious if people enjoy travel posts or book reviews or about me lists or wishlists or personal stories. Specifically from me, in my voice.

If you don’t care or you’re here out of obligation that’s fine, too.

So if you feel moved to comment and critique/advise me I’d be ever so appreciative. And if you don’t want to that’s ok; have a great week regardless.

I’ll end this with a Lylee+Enzo pic because we’re coming up on their “Gotcha-versaries”:

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Thanks, friends ❤︎

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How to Get Happy

Today I was going to post about how I’ve fallen into a mid-Fall slump. Don’t get me wrong- I love this time of year- but the recent election and my persistent acid reflux issues and the trivial pressures of the holiday have me somewhat deflated. I just feel so tired and drained by the end of the workday, and chores have gone by the wayside. I don’t know- I just feel very bleh right now.

Originally I was going to make a whole post out of it, but then I came up with a different idea. Instead of describing my mood, I’m going to share with you the ways I try to pull myself out of these ruts. Maybe these can help you, too!

Go get some coffee.
Right now my closest Starbucks is 35 minutes away, but sometimes I just need the road trip + coffee splurge to lift my mood. Sometimes just a quick trip to McDonald’s for an iced caramel coffee does the trick.

Wander around your favorite store(s).
After getting a warm holiday latte it never hurts to wander around Target or HomeGoods or World Market or Hobby Lobby.

Hang out at the library.
There are times I feel worse when I leave Target or Barnes & Noble with a $400 dent in my checkbook (let’s be real- we’ve all gone in to browse and walked out with enough to furnish a new apartment) so instead of shopping I go to the library.

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Clean the house.
Is that weird? Sometimes organizing and checking things off my to-do list is the only thing that makes me feel better. I love clean sheets and organized closets and an empty sink. When I get into ‘crazy clean mode’ K knows to leave the house and let me go nuts with some loud music and wine.

Get out of town & spend some time with your girls.
A few of my very best friends live +2 hours away so it’s easy for me to pack a bag and kiss K goodbye for the night. Whether we go out for drinks and dancing or hanging out on their couch with a movie, it’s the mini-getaway I need to rejuvenate my spirit.

Be alone.
I love my friends and I adore K, but I recharge in complete solitude. Reading a book, binge-ing on Netflix, or taking a nap is the only way to fix my super low moods.

Bath + Glass of Wine + Candles
I don’t think I need to explain this one.

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Listen to the Right Music For My Mood
Sometimes I need some heavy rock that keeps tempo with my boiling blood. Sometimes I need Disney tunes to belt out at the top of my lungs. Sometimes I want Frank Sinatra crooning at me through the speakers. It’s all a matter of picking the right playlist.

Buy Myself Something New
Nothing big or fancy: a snarky coffee mug, a new book, a half-priced purse from Marshalls. Something that I really want that makes me feel prettier or smarter or happier in that moment.

Go On A Walk or a Hike- Or Take the Dogs to the Dog Park
Seeing my dogs enjoying themselves in nature or playing chase with another large group of dogs always makes me smile. There’s something about watching another creature enjoy itself that makes me warm inside.

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I’ll snap out of my funk soon enough, but combining a few of these things always helps. This weekend I’m seeing my best friends and spending time at the wilderness rehab center, so I should definitely be in a happier mood for Turkey Day!

Tell me what you do to get happy!

My thoughts & love are with all my southeastern US blogger-friends right now. Stay safe, guys ❤︎
I’m praying they get the fires under control soon..

Also, Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother-in-law!

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Chats with K (Roadtrip Edition)

If this is your very first time ever coming to my blog then you should know that K is my husband.

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During lunch at Boardwalk on the Beach.
K *slides car keys to me*: My beer is 10% alcohol…
Me: Well I just ordered moonshine so… it appears we’ll be shopping a little longer.

. . .

As we’re leaving the hotel for the day…
Me: Got a room key?
K: Yeah.
Me: Car key?
K: Yeah.
Me: Phone?
K: Yes, dear. Anything else?
Me: …got your wallet?
K: Yes.
Me: Then I think we’re all good!

. . .

We were discussing a 2017 wedding in which we’re helping with the canine attendant.
Me: This is like your dream wedding, Mr. Anti-Social! You can avoid all the guests because you’re bringing a dog to the wedding!
K: I always bring a dog to weddings.
Me: You are not funny.

. . .

I would bet that this man has NEVER made cookie dough.
I guarantee this smart-aleck has never made cookie dough in his life.

. . .

During the Halloween party.
Party guest: Do you guys have some drinks or liquor?
My brother: I have never known this house not to have alcohol in it.*

*Taken as a compliment, yo.

. . .

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Sometimes we make big decisions together. Sometimes he talks to my dad.

. . .

Never a dull moment, guys…

Happy Hump Day!

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