Confessions Plus Some…

Of course now that I’m not posting on Wednesdays I decide to link-up with Kathy & Nadine for Confessions. Oh well…

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. . .

I confess that I thought about apologizing for all the political-heavy content or references made this past week or so. But I’m not sorry. And I won’t stop talking politics or sharing what I believe is right. I do NOT support a useless wall. I do NOT support barring/banning people from our country. I will NOT use the term “alien.” People are people. I do NOT support racism or sexism or xenophobia or homophobia. They’re not liberal buzzwords- they’re dangerous ideologies that divide us. I do NOT support thrown together, half-ass, ego-boosting executive orders that hurt and endanger far more people than they help. Jesus taught me to love others as I am loved. So I will. The very best part about this country is that I am allowed to disagree and voice that disagreement. And if / when that right is stripped from me I will still voice my resistance. I do not have to agree with anyone. #RESIST

If you need to stop following my blog that’s ok. But I’m not going to change my tune here in this space.

Moving on…

. . .

I am a terrible hugger. My nearly-life-long friend Aubrey is engaged to a wonderful woman named Alyssa. Last time I saw them we all hugged goodbye and I realized just how terrible I am. Mainly because Alyssa is the best hugger I’ve ever come across. It’s like a warm, strong wrap of friendship. It’s like when someone makes eye contact with you in a conversation and you feel like they’re really listening… except it’s a hug. I’m terrible. I’m the girl that won’t make eye contact and hangs out on the floor with the cat in the corner. My hugs are floppy and short and meaningless. I’m sorry to all my hug-receivers…

. . .

One night I was lying awake in bed, waiting for sleep to come, and I started panicking because for a split second I thought the world was in black and white… The TV was off and I was facing the wall with only the dark wood trim, white blinds, and light colored wall in my line of sight. And I was super tired. Ha… So the lack of color made me panic. I actually thought the world was in black and white.

. . .

I went Christmas shopping for the mutts and told myself they needed nothing, only something small each- maybe spend $20 total. Yeah… right… I spent +$50 on two new nylabones, a toy, and ample treats. In my defense, I thought everything was on sale. (Turns out it wasn’t…. so instead of walking away I just bought it all anyway. UGH.) And then all our family members gifted them Christmas presents so our house is overrun with toys and treats twofold. (I love that we have family who spoil our babies!! )

. . .

I changed jobs and my paydays got all switched around and my system (for paying bills/the mortgage) is totally wrecked. I’m a creature of habit and I’ve been doing the same thing for three and a half years. I am so, so thrown off.

. . .

I can’t wake up in the mornings. It was a 2017 resolution & it’s something I want to do, but I just sleep through alarms until K bumps me and says, “You should probably get up.” And then my morning is rushed and terrible.

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. . .

At times my mouth would make a sailor blush (sorry, family ), but my new job is making it worse. I work with five dudes in a warehouse environment. Filters don’t exist here.

. . .

Somewhat contrary to my previous confession, I think I’m too nice sometimes. Like when I’m calling about overdue invoices (at work) or lost packages (at home). I’m always like, “No problem. It’s ok. Thanks so much for fixing that.” Like, I’m legit pissed before I make the call but then I don’t have it in me to scold someone. Even when they probably deserve it, lol.

. . .

And there ya have it… Some fresh confessions, hot off the press.

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Why Do I Keep Going to Myrtle Beach in the Fall…?

Remember all those eons ago when I talked about our side trip to Charlotte, NC? Yeah… it’s tough for me to recall, too. Anyway… Charlotte was just a pit stop on the way to our main destination: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. **This is a long post 😉

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Just a refresher… in October K and I packed up the car after work and headed to Circleville, OH. We did some Pumpkin Festival fest-ing with my brother and Christina, stayed the night in stormy Lancaster, OH, then took a lap around the NASCAR museum in Charlotte. After dinner at Carolina Ale House we forced ourselves back into the car for the three hour trek to Myrtle Beach. Now you’re all caught up.

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am a Grade-A, award-winning, hall of fame plan-a-holic. I take relaxing vacations and plan them down to the millisecond, squashing any and all spontinuity out of the experience. But this time I didn’t. I didn’t plan one. single. thing. I made note of fun things we could do, but I put no pen to paper, made no reservations, and formed no expectations. All per K’s request.

F R I D A Y

We got in pretty late on Thursday so the adventuring began the following morning.

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We stayed at The Horizon at 77th – it was one property off the beach and down a side road from N Kings Highway. Our rooms were in that center section. The hotel was in Myrtle Beach, but on the north side which meant we could venture to North Myrtle without any trouble.

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We picked a chilly weekend to visit the beach so we tried to take advantage of the warmest day on the trip. We started off browsing the Tanger Outlets at Hwy 17 and picked up a few Christmas gifts for folks. We also nommed on lunch in the food court and treated ourselves to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

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It was a breezy 80 degrees by 3pm so we packed up the towels, blanket, and umbrella, and walked to the beach.

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. . .

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After a few chapters, a stroll along the coast, and a near-fatal wind+umbrella incident we decided to call it a day. I think we spent an hour and a half on the sand. (That’s the risk you take in October, I guess. )

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We decided to be a little adventurous and try out some new restaurants on our trip. We made a reservation at Aspen Grille for 6:15pm and got spiffy.

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High risk, high reward. Dinner was delicious. It was a slightly expensive meal, but we were 110% satisfied. We ended the night on the couch watching a NatGeo special on Teddy Roosevelt. #excitingtimes

S A T U R D A Y

In hindsight we’ve both decided I should’ve planned something during the trip. Anything, really. We spent the morning at the local Cracker Barrel and then Bass Pro, Books-A-Million (where K bought me two books as a late b-day gift), and a smaller local mall. We also stopped into the Harley shop for K before deciding to visit Boardwalk on the Beach.

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. . .

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Lunch was at American Tap House where the first conversation in this post happened. K got a burger and I ordered a Thai Chicken Salad.

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Lunch was late in the day and after we finished we decided to just lounge around the hotel room.

For dinner K discovered a restaurant called Boom Boom Wine Room. Um. It was the coolest place.

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Upon arrival they loaded a debit card with any amount you wanted for use in the wine bottle machines. You could then select different wines in different quantities from the machines. (1, 3, and 5 ounce I think). It awesome!

The food was snack-like and we ordered plates of the short-rib nachos, bruschetta, and “buttered scotch” pudding. Delicious.

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S U N D A Y

I am married to an early-rising homebody so by 7:10am we were on the road. We got home without incident before dusk 🙂

. . .

To be totally honest, it was a “meh” trip for us. I’m glad we had the opportunity for downtime together, but we got a little bored. I failed to plan anything fun, we’ve been to Myrtle Beach a handful of times, and there wasn’t much beach-ing. The food was incredible, though!

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Do you enjoy traveling in the fall? Have you been to Myrtle Beach? Have you ever taken a trip that didn’t live up to the hype?

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The Revised 30 by 30

When I turned 25 I made a 30 (things to do) by (the time I turn) 30 list. I threw it together haphazardly and felt a little meh about it, so after a while I removed the page from my blog.

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After some revision and soul searching, I’ve republished the list (^ up there ^) and figured I’d share it here. There are 10 or so things are from the original list- including the few that have been crossed off- but these 30 things are activities or experiences that I’d really like to accomplish before the big 3-0. (Deadline: Oct. 17, 2020)

  1. Read 100 books (26/100)
  2. Visit 5 new cities (2/5; Boston, Charlotte)
  3. Work for K and Pageantry Innovations
  4. Finish writing my novel
  5. Finish Yearly Scrapbooks (2/7)
  6. Take K to Disney World
  7. Take K to Europe
  8. Re-read the Harry Potter series (0/7)
  9. Pay off any and all credit card debt
  10. See the West Coast
  11. Learn the art of making (my grandma’s) pies
  12. Take another cruise
  13. Go horseback riding
  14. Attend a professional sporting event [November 23, 2015]
  15. See Panic! at the Disco live
  16. Attend at least 5 different NASCAR tracks (3/5)
  17. Make something on my sewing machine
  18. Complete Erin’s book challenge
  19. Complete a TBD film challenge
  20. Finish OUAT series & The West Wing & Mad Men & Miss Fisher’s…
  21. Clean junk out: spare room / utility room / basement
  22. Go on a girls’ trip
  23. See Trumpet in the Land (a local outdoor production)
  24. Tryout for a part at the local theater- even if I don’t get it
  25. Start a real, physical, local book club
  26. Find the perfect pair of booties
  27. Ride on a train (again)
  28. Visit the Rock & Roll HOF
  29. Take the dog(s) hiking each fall (Starting 2015… 2/6)
  30. Visit a unique Ohio location not already listed (suggestions )

I feel like I’ve got a pretty terrible start, ha. I’m nearly a year and a half in and I’ve got two-ish crossed off… Oof. That said, I’m working on the books, television shows, cities, races, and hiking. Also, we’re planning a Disney trip for this year (and hopefully Europe in 2018)! So, you know, that’s a start…

I looked at some other 30×30 lists while I was creating mine, but I’d love to know what’s on your bucket list! Do you want to skydive (not me ) or scuba dive or travel the world?

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Truths I Live By…

Sometimes I see bloggers do a “get to know you” picture&post on Instagram for their new followers. While I don’t believe there are many new people revolving through the doors of Life as Louise, I thought I might start 2017 with a list of “truths.” Or just random things I abide by.

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First and foremost, a quick reintroduction.
Name is Audrey. Middle name Louise, hence the blog. I am in my mid-twenties and married to the same guy I took to prom. The loves of my (our) life are short and furry with cold-noses and four paws; we call them Lylee and Enzo. Four and a half years ago my husband started a company. Two and a half weeks ago I left my job and started working alongside him. (It’s still going well and we haven’t killed each other, thanks for asking. )

Other than those basics you should know that I love all dogs, red foxes, & Harry Potter. I love reading, but I’m not the bookworm I used to be. I drink coffee every morning, I eat my veggies, and I’m a huge fan of traveling, although I’m a little iffy around airplanes. (It’s fine. Hand me a boarding pass and I’ll get over it. ) I identify as Christian and human. That said, I prefer animals to Homo sapiens 98% of the time and I truly believe it takes all kinds of kinds.

So onto my truths…

  1. I will judge you by how you treat animals.
    I don’t like judging others, but I can’t help it. If you swerve to hit a groundhog (I’ve seen someone do this ) or you leave your dog out in subzero degrees, I will 100% judge you. And I won’t like you. And also I will steal your dog and re-home him.
    You don’t have to share every lost dog post on FB (although I do ) and you don’t have to be a vegetarian, but you need to respect animals. We were made to coincide with other living things- I don’t jive well with those who have a superiority complex.
  2. All of our stories end the same.
    That’s a nice way of saying we all die. And while I agree that death can be (and usually is) so, so heartbreaking, it’s something that’s 100% guaranteed. So keeping that in mind, life has to be full appreciated and lived. This is not a “Quit that awful job and travel the world” kind of PSA… I’m just saying that while we’re here we should get dessert, hold the door for a stranger, sign up for a random dance class, and love our friends and family fully. When I die- whether tomorrow or in 80 years- I don’t want people to be sad. I want people to feel like I contributed something to the world or their life. I want people to remember funny stories and laugh. I want people to bury my ashes under a tree and say, “See ya later, friend.”
  3. Bad things help us recognize the good.
    If we lived in a world where nothing bad happened I wouldn’t be upset, but that’s just not the case. Like most people, I lose and gain faith in humanity every day. The important part is gaining that faith back when all seems broken or lost; picking ourselves up and finding the motivation to fuel our next move.
    When I was younger I watched my cousin have a meltdown about leaving our grandparents’ house. I tried to explain to her that if she never leaves, she’ll never feel that joy of arriving again next time! My entire family looked at me like I had a second head, but I stand by that ideology. Bad things happen & we often have to do things we don’t like… but it makes the sweet moments sweeter.
  4. Respect & kindness are my religion.
    Well… technically I have a religion. But everything I personally believe is rooted in respect for all living creatures and the spreading of kindness / love / grace to those creatures.
  5. I am loyal to a fault.
    I will always pick on and tease those I love most, but deep down I would put everything on the line for them. And in a friendship or relationship, I naturally expect the same loyalty. I’m not lying when I say I would jump in front of a moving truck for K or Enzo or my best friend or my mom. I would. And when my brother’s heart was broken by girls throughout the years… Lord help those ladies when they crossed my path. I still glare at my best friend’s ex when I see him around town. They broke up +5 years ago and she’s waaaaay over it.

In addition to those, I always try to…

  • be kind to my restaurant server, bus driver, crossing guard, etc.
  • never ever ever litter.
  • remember that rude behavior and nasty gossip will get me absolutely nowhere.
  • always say please, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me.

Nothing earth shattering or mind blowing, but if you’ve ever wondered what makes me tick, those are the core things. We all have them. Tell me about your “truths”!

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*Fun fact: I hate the phrase, “Live your truth/Live your best life.” Maybe I should’ve called these mottos? Or values?

Amazoning *Christmas Edition*

We’re well beyond Christmas, but I thought I’d do a quick recap of my yuletide Amazon-bender that wrecked my credit card in the months leading up to the holiday. Enjoy!

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Everything I ordered ended up being a Christmas gift for someone. The bold product name links to its Amazon page. Nothing is affilitated.

Remington D3190A Damage Control Ceramic Hair Dryer

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Receiver: K

Believe it or not, this was an Xmas gift for K. We both use the hair dryer and the one I’ve had since high school no longer works on the low setting and the “cool shot” is broken. The dogs gifted this to K on Christmas morning by leaving the box on the sink while he was showering.

. . .

La Cubana Wooden Cigar Humidor + Xiker Crystal Humidifier Jar

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Receiver: K

Another gift for K. He’s not a smoker, but he enjoys a cigar around an evening bonfire or when we’re cerebrating a milestone. Since he smokes them so infrequently, he’d been hemming and hawing about getting a humidor. I felt like such a first class gift-er when I ordered this!

. . .

Born to Die + Bankrupt!

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Receiver: Fred

My brother sent out an excel spreadsheet to me, my mom, his wife, her mom, and her sister with assigned Christmas gifts. We had 3 to 4 options per person, but he encouraged us to talk with one another if we saw something assigned to someone else that we wanted to gift him. Let me remind you, he’s an engineer. Ha. ANYWAY, I hate giving people something they know is coming, so I obliged with these two records (one by Lana Del Rey, the other by Phoenix), but I went rogue with his other gifts.

. . .

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride

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Receiver: My mom

I think I need to thank Kristen for this book coming across my radar. As soon as I saw it I knew I was getting it for my mom for Christmas. She’s a fan of The Princess Bride (and Columbo, ha) so I thought it’d be a fun read for her!

. . .

Kate Spade New York: All in Good Taste + That’s Christmas to Me

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Receiver: My Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange partner, Nikki

When Olya & Mattie hosted this swap they used the site elfster. Participants can make a wish list, complete with links to the actual products. That made shopping for Nikki super simple!

. . .

Ello Cole Stainless-Steal Travel Mug

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Receiver: When it ships, my brother-in-law Andy

I bought this mug for my husband’s sister’s husband but it still hasn’t come in yet… (It was out of stocked when I ordered it so it’s fine.) My s.i.l. posted on FB about how her husband and oldest son continually battled over the insulated coffee mugs. Turns out almost half of K’s family then gifted Andy travel mugs for Xmas. #GreatMinds

Anyway, when this comes in (March-ish? ha) it’s going to Andy. I own this mug. YOU need this mug. Everyone does. It’s magical and lovely and the best!

. . .

Coffee Teach Sleep Repeat 11 oz. tea/coffee mug

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Receiver: My friend Kayla

This is a different Kayla than the one I normally talk about on here. (That Kayla is a social worker, this one is a teacher. Obvi.)

. . .

Sequin Candy Cane Black Ugly Christmas Suit Jacket

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Receiver: N/A

As mentioned here, K bought this for himself. We were invited to an ugly sweater bowling event in December and my husband doesn’t halfass costumes.

It’s a terrible picture, but for those who requested, here he is:

. . .

The Manitou (White Indian Series, Book XVI)

 

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Receiver: K’s Grandpa Bud

K’s grandpa is the most intense reader I’ve ever met. He has over 900 books packed away in boxes under his bed and he devours +300 page novels faster than anyone I know. I was browsing the book store for a Christmas gift for him and consulted my father-in-law for advice. He said Bud had been looking for a particular book for a long time & he (my f.i.l.) found it online. Since they already had a gift for Grandpa, he told me I should get it. So I did. Grandpa Bud’s reaction to the book was so fun. He said he’d given up hope of finding it and just moved on. (I think he was on book 22 in the series.) It felt so good to make his day with this $4 purchase!

. . .

Guardians of the Galaxy (dvd)

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Receiver: My Uncle Ernie

My mom’s brother is a tough one to shop for. He works a lot, avoids collecting junk, and keeps unusual habits (ski patrol, travel, bee keeping). For some reason I decided he’d like this movie. (I love it.) Turns out I think I was right- my mom said he watched it twice in the week following Xmas.

. . .

That felt like a lot… And it didn’t include the stuff I got from +5 other online retails. Honestly, I’m a sucker for free shipping with Amazon Prime…

What kinds of things did you gift at Christmas?

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Chats with K

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

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. . .

K: So… when do you think your bangs are going to grow out again?
*I slowly turn my head and glare at him*
K: …….asking for a friend.

. . .

Pillow talk…
Me: I’m going to get my brother a Foot Cardigan subscription for Christmas.
K *lightly punches my pillow*: You’re a jerk! I wanted that!
Me: Kyle… I can get more than one person a subscription.
K: Yeah but you won’t. You love him more than me.
*turns over in bed and pouts*

For the record, they both got a subscription.

. . .

I get a text from K while we’re both at work…
K: What’s your Amazon Prime login?
*I tell him and 10 minutes go by…*
Then I receive an email notification that my purchase has been confirmed:

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“Sequin Candy Cane Black Suit Jacket”

. . .

K: I feel like this reminds me of you:

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Me: Ha! Yeah… I saw a meme the other day that said, “Wife goes out for milk and comes home with a puppy. Husband says, ‘I thought you were going for milk!’ Then the wife says ….” I forget how it ends.
K: That was so terrible.

. . .

Life’s an adventure with this guy… ha.

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What I Read… 2017 vol.1

Yes, I started one of these books in early December and finished them both in January. Yes, there are only two books here (December was a hectic month). Yes, I’m proud because I polished off one in three days (which is good for me, OK?! ).

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Last year I organized these posts by month, but since I’m linking up with Jana and Steph on the second Tuesday of each month for Show Us Your Books I think I’m going to numerically categorize them, thus the wonky title. Alright, let’s do this…

Book Rating

FYI: Above is how I rate the books. Below I’ll include a brief summary, why I picked up the book, and what I thought. Then I give my oh-so-valuable opinion on whether or not you should read it and why. Like I said, there are two in the queue for this month. Images link to their GoodReads page (let’s be friends!).

The One by Kiera Cass || ★★★/5 what_i_read
Summary: Down to the last four girls, it’s time for America to decide what she wants and how hard she’s going to fight to get it. With a former love still in the palace and rebels trying to get in, the decisions facing America, Maxon, and the remaining girls aren’t easy ones.  | Why I Read It: Slowly but surely making my way through the series. Here are my thoughts on books one & two. | What I Thought: I was happy when this book ended. (This book wasn’t a 2 star but it wasn’t 3 either… call it 2.5) Love triangles, lack of honesty, and neatly tied endings tend to irritate me. I like America’s tenacity and I’m a fan of her & Maxon as a couple, but I could feel her creating problem where there were none (or avoiding things that should be resolved). I don’t know- that just annoyed me. Also, the ending was so neat & tidy with certain people dying, “true love” saving the day, and all shady debts instantly forgiven. (I think I’m being vague enough that’s not a spoiler.) Maybe it’s the YA-ness that I can’t get past. Whatever. I’ll be going for the fourth book since the story line is changing.
You Should Read It Because… you’re working on the series and it brings closure to Maxon’s round of the selection.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan || ★★★★★/5 what_i_read2
Summary: A story of four Chinese mothers and their four Chinese-American daughters. | Why I Read It: My friend Amanda recommended it, then I used it as a pick for the #SCWBC16. | What I Thought: To be honest, I was halfway through the book and almost stopped. It’s challenging to keep the women straight and that frustrated me. That said, if I’d have read it in a shorter amount of time I think I’d have been fine. Or if I’d have kept a literary journal. Regardless, every story told was captivating and I felt empathy for both the moms and the daughters. And then the last page made me cry; that’s when I knew this was getting five stars. The book is divided into four sections, with four stories in each. POV switches between mothers and daughters and we get a look at their lives both through their own eyes and the eyes of their mom/daughter. All of the moms suffered hardships in their lives and all of the daughters struggled with being raised under Chinese expectations in an American culture. I ended up liking and disliking characters at different times, but in the end I understood why they all were the way they were.
You Should Read It Because… you’re looking for a book filled with stories of “how it used to be” and how that comes to affect future generations.

So way back I started on Megan’s #SCWBC16. Here’s how I’m doing:
|5 points| Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long: The One by Kiera Cass
|10 points| Read a 2016 finalist for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
|10 points| Read a brand-new release: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
|15 points| Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
|15 points| Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
|20 points| Read a modern retelling of a classic: Winter by Marissa Meyer
|25 points| Read a book with an alcoholic beverage: The Whiskey Affair by Raymond Armstrong
|30 points| Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name: Tender Grace by Jackina Stark
|30 points| Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects: Etta Place by Gail Drago & Etta by Gerald Kolpan
|40 points| Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book: After Alice by Gregory Maguire & The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory.

So I have 35 out of 200. I think I’ll finish at least one, maybe two, more before this challenge ends.

Additionally, this is the first month for Erin’s Book Challenge (#MyFav)…
| 5 points | Freebie: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
| 10 points | Starts with the letter “W”: Winter by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Six words in the title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
| 15 points | Has a (mostly) green cover: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | A homonym in the title: The One by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | By your favorite author: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
| 25 points | Set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
| 30 points | A “Rory Gilmore” book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
| 30 points | From a genre that you’ve never read/rarely read (*thriller*): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
| 35 points | With time travel: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

20 out of 200 points. I’m determined to finish this challenge this time. Currently I’m reading Winter and The Magician’s Nephew.

Now I’m off to see what you’ve read this time around! Linking up with Steph and Jana!

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Life According to Steph