It’s a week of recaps, my friends. First and foremost, this is my last post of 2017!
I hope you have a wonderful, fun, safe, exciting (or relaxing) end of the year!!
Happy New Year!
(You can either read on for my year-end recap or peace out from here 😉 )
My goals for 2017 were as follows:
Be Healthy. FAIL. Same weight and habits and vices going strong. *face palm*
Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.While I still enjoy multitasking, I definitely don’t feel guilty about indulging in some downtime.
Read more.I read 25 books in 2016. I read 33 this year.
Become a Morning Person. No… this didn’t happen. I’ve only recently started rolling out of bed a little earlier and a little less rushed…
Get on Schedule.Eh. Meal planning happened and all the holidays fell into place. This is a work in progress, but I’ll take it. *shrug*
In my opinion, 2017 was a challenging and transitional year…
The political climate this year was tense and frustrating and volatile. I don’t see that ceasing in 2018, but I’m going into the new year hopeful and hungry for equality and change and progress.
At the start of 2017 I join K at Pageantry Innovations. We sold our first home together over the summer and moved into a new one in October. We went to some weddings, watched a lot of NASCAR, and took a family vacation to the beach. K brought home a new vehicular baby and we checked some concerts off our bucket list. I quit biting my nails, I blogged consistently, and we hit a new milestone with the business. K turned 30, Enzo turned 4 (!), and Lylee turned 6 (!!). One of our favorite babies was born this year & lots of friends announced pregnancies, engagements, and new significant others. For us, it was a stressful year full of learning and change, but I wouldn’t take any of it back.
I remember coming out of 2016 feeling terrible. The end of 2017 doesn’t feel so bad.
Personally, I’m grateful for the year I had. I’m hoping 2018 proves to be an even better one.
(Recaps from 2016 and 2015. And 2014 for good measure, lol.)
Hi ya. Let’s get to it. Linking up with Jana and Steph per usual!
(Also, borrowing portions of Jamie‘s year-end book survey again.)
No. of Books Read: 33
No. of Re-Reads: 1
Most Read Genre: Fantasy
Best Book You Read In 2017? Uhhhhh… I just don’t know.
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Westing Game. I wanted it to be a little more sinister than it was… I guess I should’ve read it when I was younger. I didn’t really enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, either. Once again, I should’ve read it when I was younger.
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Last Runaway. This book was edgier than I expected. Also, I found myself disagreeing with the main character through most of the second half, but I still liked her. That doesn’t happen often. (We’d have made different choice and I actually think I’d have made the wrong ones… lol.)
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I think I pushed Heartless and The Bear & the Nightingale on people. Whether or not they read them, I don’t know.
Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017? I finished The Lunar Chroniclesthis year. Sigh. I wish I could read it all again with virgin eyes.
Favorite new author you discovered in 2017? I started reading Agatha Christie books and found out that I really enjoy her writing style. I mean… she’s not new, but she’s new to me. Taylor Jenkins Reid blew me out of the water, too.
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I usually avoid contemporary but damn. So good.
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? I give the series overall three stars, but The One was pretty fast paced and “unputdownable.” I also devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? None. I rarely reread books. (I’ll reread HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone but not in 2018.)
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
The Sisters Brothers. I bought this book for someone for Christmas and I refused to buy it with the alternative cover.
Most memorable character of 2017? Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain ❤︎
Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Bear and the Nightingale.
Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017? Without contest, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale again.
Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Intrigue in Capri (54 pages) & Winter (827 pages).
Book That Shocked You The Most? There was some serious violence in The Sisters Brothers.
OTP OF THE YEAR? Other than all the couples in Winter/The Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t really have a favorite romance this year.
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Vasya and Alyosha from The Bear and the Nightingale.
Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? I read three from Ashley Weaver this year, but I liked A Most Novel Revenge the best.
Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure? I think Jana & Erin both recommended The Sisters Brothers. And everyone recommended The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
I was so in love with Frost while I was reading The Bear and the Nightingale. It was a weird attraction. Haha.
Best 2017 debut you read?
I loved Meyer’s graphic novel debut Wires & Nerve.
Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Heartless was amazingly descriptive, as was The Moonspinners.
Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Book That Crushed Your Soul? The Art of Racing in the Rain. First of all, the dog’s name was Enzo. Secondly, I started this book right after we lost our family dog Heidi. This book straight up destroyed me- I was sobbing on Sunset Beach in the middle of a hot July afternoon.
Most Unique Book You Read In 2017? A Boy Called Christmas. It was a holiday book and a kids book (I think) but it was sweet and sad and wonderful. Last January I made a note in the December section of my planner to read this book and I’m glad I did!
Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? The Wrath and The Dawn. I know people loved this one, but it had allll my YA pet peeves tied into one story. *shrug*
One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018? Just one? HA. Probably Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) & Girl Waits With Gun (Amy Stewart) since they’re a part of Erin’s challenge. I also plan to read One of Us is Lying (Karen McManus).
Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)? I’m hoping to start the A Court of Thrones and Roses series this year.
The 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m not sure… Any suggestions?
Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I’m pretty excited for Wires & Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (Marissa Meyer) due out Jan. 30th.
One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018? I’m planning to finish one of Erin‘s challenges- hopefully the 8.0 one.
(If you make it to the end you get some holiday home tour pics.)
Growing up in our house, the holidays were a pretty big thing. My mom is a teacher so when Fred & I were on winter break, she was home with us, too. Back in my day (😁) we didn’t decorate for Christmas before Turkey Day. Honestly, I don’t know how my mom fit all our Christmas fun into one month.
One evening in December we’d crawl into Dad’s truck and he’d take us to Fox’s Nursery to pick out a Christmas tree. Of course, once the tree was home you had to let it sit outside and “relax” the branches. A G O N Y for a child who wants to decorate it right. now. After a day or two Mom and Dad would wrestle the beast of a tree (always 7ft or taller) into the house and up to the living room. #yaysplitlevelhouses Then we’d decorate while sipping on eggnog.
For as long as I can remember, Mom has always made cutout cookies. She’d make the dough, refrigerate it (giving Fred and me about 24 to 48 hours to snack on it in the fridge when she wasn’t looking), and then we’d roll it out and punch out candy canes and trees and Santa sleighs. She’d get about an hour of decorating out of us before we got bored, swiped the 4 cookies we’d made, and disappeared to play while she finished up. To this day her cookies always look 5xs better than mine. I did not get the decorating genes.
Christmas Eve is my favorite, though. We’d always have a new outfit for the evening church service. We attended church with my grandparents and uncles and aunts so our pew was packed. At the end of a soft and cozy service, the lights would dim and we’d light our once-a-year personal candles and sing Silent Night. As an adult, my emotions sneak up on me and I cry during this part of the service. After church we’d shiver all the way back to the car and head to my grandparents’ house for sandwiches and punch and shrimp cocktail. My dad’s and uncle’s friends and their families used to come over, too. Then it was home to set out milk, cookies, and carrots, and off to bed.
When I was young & my grandparents lived in Chicago they’d travel to us on Christmas. (Some years we went there, but my memory is fuzzy on those years. They’ve since moved here.) My aunt and uncle from St. Louis would also come stay with us. That meant Audrey got displaced and tossed into Fred’s room since he had bunk beds. (I didn’t mind.) On December 25th around 4:30 or 5 am, Fred and I would creep to the top of the stairs and look down on the tree to see what Santa brought. (We were not allowed to go downstairs without the rest of the family.) We’d slip back to Fred’s room and lay in our bunks discussing what we saw. Mom’s rule was “sleep until (at least) 6am” so obviously at 5:55 were jumping on their bed and shoving their bathrobes in their faces. When we finally got them to the top of the stairs (6:08 am UGHHH) the morning was officially on and Christmas had begun!
The holiday has changed significantly, but these are my favorite memories from my childhood. Toss in shoveling the looong driveway we had and sledding on my grandparents’ big hill and Rascal bringing the Christmas tree down multiple times throughout the years. One year, the day after Christmas, we had to say goodbye to our family dog Bruno. Another year, also the day after Christmas, I totaled my car and spent the evening at the hospital. Not all my memories are happy, but the good outweigh the bad and my parents always figured out ways to keep the season cheery and festive.
For whatever reason, I just wanted to remember and share some of my favorite traditions of the season. And now, if you’re still here, enjoy some pics from the new house!
Happy Holidays, my friends! Enjoy the memories being made!
I haven’t post a collection of random thoughts in a quick minute so …
Well let’s kick this off with a weird one.
Sometimes, while sitting in the bathroom, I think to myself how fortunate females are because we sit down to do our business. I mean, anything we go to the bathroom to accomplish (besides throwing up), can be done in the same position. Meanwhile, if a guy steps into the bathroom to go #1 and he finds that his bowels have other plans, he has to turn around and sit quickly OR shuffle from the urinal to the toilet.
*I asked K if he’s ever had a bathroom experience were a guy at the neighboring urinal quickly changed his mind and stepped into a stall. He says never in his life. I’m skeptical.
I’m unnaturally happy about the newest royal engagement. I feel warm and fuzzy when I think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I don’t know them, I don’t keep close tabs on the family, I don’t have a crazy crush on the prince- I just love that they look so happy and healthy.
Do you say “bless me” when you sneeze? Because I do and it makes K crazy. He says you can say excuse me (for yourself) or bless you (for others), but bless me is just self-centered. We had a drawn out argument over this at work a few weeks ago… Looking for real feedback here.
A few weekends ago I went to Hocking Hills in southern Ohio with two of my best friends, Enzo, and Kayla’s dog Ernie. We hot tub-ed, hiked, drank too much wine, and just had a really fun time. If you can, take a girls’ trip 🙂 The cabin was only 2 or 3 hours from all of us (we all live in different cities in OH) and we found a weekend to just go. Your trip doesn’t have to be miles and miles away!
My brother and sister-in-law pay attention to my blog and they asked for a Christmas list. So I’m randomly throwing in some things that fall under the “want” category this Christmas…
Chunky knit blanket (example)… I don’t care where it comes from. I just like ’em.
This book preordered. It doesn’t release until the end of January.
In 2018 I’m going to share my goals for the year, but you’ll find that one of them is to finally complete Erin’s book challenge.
This challenge runs from January 1st to April 30th and the rules are simple:
you can read one repeat
you cannot use the same book for two categories
books must be 200 pages long (audio books allowed)
you can read books in any order
you can change your book selection during the challenge
I’ve said it before but Erin is the MOST laid back host ever. Everyone who participates in the challenges are encouraging and supportive. It’s easiest to follow along and track your progress on the Facebook page, but Erin will work with you if you don’t use FB. If you’ve been thinking about joining a reading challenge I would encourage you to play along this time!
I know I’ve kept you in suspense so here are my picks for the 8.0 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| The words “house” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings(Diamond) |25 points| Author whose first and last name begins with the same letter: Renegades(Meyer, Marissa) |30 points| Originally published in a different language than your own: 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 that suffers from a debilitating physical illness: Finding Audrey(Kinsella)
Have you read any of these? If they sucked don’t tell me… (j/k, warn me).
Too strange that this is the last regular SUYB link-up of 2017. I managed to link up with every single one this year! Thanks so much for hosting, Steph & Jana!
Next year I’m revamping my book review outline and images, but for now let’s get to it.
This month I finished 3 books and two of them were duds.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain | ★★★/5 Summary: As she sets off to complete the first solo female flight from east to west (London to NY), Beryl Markham looks back on her life and the people and places that shaped the woman she’s become. | Why I Read It: Originally I picked it for Erin’s challenge categories. | What I Thought: When I started this book I was trying to read it alongside West With the Night. That was a mistake. Once I abandoned the autobiography, I started to enjoy this novel. As is the case with many hist-fic books, there were lulls and slow moments. I liked McLain’s descriptions of Africa, though. I think the county was a HUGE part of who Markham was and the descriptions of the country helped to further define this remarkable, wild, fearless woman. Man, she had it rough… She brought on some of her hardships, but others were dealt to her and she survived out of shear will and necessity. I didn’t envy Beryl for even a second, but I admired her throughout the whole book. I’m also interested in picking up West With the Night again. I’m curious what stories the real Markham shared with readers. You should read it because… you enjoy historical fiction and being transported to a new world and era while riding co-pilot to a fierce, independent, flawed woman.
The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart | ★★/5 Summary: Nicola Ferris planned to meet her cousin Frances on the remote Grecian island of Crete, escaping touristy crowds, stress, and drama. Unfortunately, before even stepping foot in Agios Georgios, Nicola is swept up in a web of murder, thievery, and danger. | Why I Read It: I picked it as my Disney book in Erin’s last challenge. | What I Thought: Considering it has +4★s on Goodreads, I am clearly in the minority here. The book was a fun story, but it was a lot to get through and it took coaxing to keep picking it up. It’s actually more like a 2.5 rating for me. I enjoyed the descriptions of Greece and I liked the banter between characters, but everything felt too simple and straight forward. Maybe because it’s a romantic thriller written in 1962? Folks on GR seemed to enjoy the movie so I guess I’ll give it a shot now that I’ve read the book. You should read it because… you’re in the mood for a dated thriller with likeable characters and a Disney-esque ending.
Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino | ★★/5 Summary: No one is born bad, right? Even Snow White’s evil stepmother had a story to be told. | Why I Read It: I found it on Kindle Unlimited and figured why not. | What I Thought: This book is more of a 1.5 stars but I rounded up 🙄 Honestly, the story itself isn’t bad. Nothing groundbreaking, especially with all the fairy tale rewrites and TV shows (like OUAT), but it was an entertaining story. It’s the writing that’s just so. freaking. terrible. It’s sweetly awkward and juvenile and simple. Sometimes simple is great, but not in that combination. The book is too dark for elementary age/middle school kids (IMO), but the writing feels SO young. I don’t know. I have no idea what age level this book is considered. Also, I think these books are released/claimed by/associated with Disney? I can’t believe they’d be ok with this. I won’t lie- I rolled my eyes every other page and totally should’ve quit this book. You should read this because… just… don’t. There are waaay better fairy tale books out there to suit your taste.
At the end of the month I’ll link up again with Steph and Jana for an annual review 🙂 And on January 1st Erin’s next challenge starts (see my picks on Thursday!).
2018 feels like it’s going to be a good year for books!
First and foremost, happy ADOPT-A-VERSARY TO OUR BABIES! Five years ago today we brought Lylee home from a friend who couldn’t keep her. K and I were unmarried, I’d just finished college, and we were living separately- me in my parents’ basement. A year later (totally unintentional) we brought Enzo home from a rescue. We’d been married for 7 months and just bought our first home. We were living so differently than when we got Ly. Now, half a decade later, life is so, so different. It’s very strange to look back. I stand by my declaration that bringing Ly and Enzo into our lives are two of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Guys, if you can, adopt a dog. You’ll save a life and gain a best friend ❤︎
Originally these were two separate posts, but I’ve decided to combine them and link up with Kristen and Gretch. Also, I’d like to petition to start “winter” around the end of November. December 21st is just too late.
Find a walk route in the new neighborhood with pups
Get a few rooms in the house decorated
Living roomEhh, it’s mostly done. Stuff needs hung.
Master bedroom Still needs painted & artwork.
My office Needs a miracle. Woof.
Get 25% of my Xmas shopping done by the end of Oct.
Visit an apple orchard
Bake a new fall cookie No cookies but two different cupcake recipes!
Drink some apple cider
Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Beetlejuice
Find cute booties (*part of 30×30 list) Yaaaas!
Take a dog or two on a hike (*part of 30×30 list) Happening this month w/ E!
Scrapbook. Even a little bit. Just get something done… lol *office in shambles
Dog park with E (in Columbus)
Homemade ice cream, damn it *face palm*
Only made it to one festival but I’m ok with that. Our annual Halloween Party went well 🙂 I visited a nursery with my mom, but bought nothing. Then my mother-in-law gifted me some mums for my birthday. I think that means I can check that off. I bought straw and pumpkins the day we signed on the house! Then my brother and sister-in-law carved them with me the night before our party 🙂
Overall I think I accomplished enough. Fall was really hectic and stressful for me this year. I didn’t enjoy it and, while I’m sad about that, I think it’s good to recognize that I overloaded myself and put too much pressure on me/us. We’ve slid into winter much more slowly and delicately.
As of now, I’m starting on my 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
Complete 50% of my Christmas Movie 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, build a snowman, etc.)
Come up with some 2018 goals/resolutions/a word
Start planning something for our 5 year anniversary (April 2018)
Get all our stuff out of M&D’s basement
Got through that stuff and purge all that we can live without
I won’t lie… my Christmas cards have been sent, my girls’ trip is happening this weekend in a remote cabin in southern Ohio, and my mom and I have already done our shopping trip (which I’m hoping becomes an annual thing). Whatever, man. Sometimes you need a few surefire things when it comes to goals and checklists.
Will I ever make ice cream in my ice cream maker? Only time will tell.