Monday, February 28, 2022

February 2022

Posting this seems so small compared to what's happening in the world right now (and it is!). Please consider donating to an aid organization - especially one that supports children. We are all connected, and taking action towards peace, no matter how small, helps the world become better.


So the big news in our world in February was that I turned 50! 

Due to COVID (I know, everyone is tired of reading that..), it was relatively low-key, and I was happy with that as I got to have parties when I turned 30 and 40. Low-key and casual is perfect! I want to go on a trip with my husband sometime this year, but I need to figure out where I'd like to go and when it may be safer. It looks like things are heading in a healthier direction, and here's to it staying that way. Fingers crossed!

But until the said trip, I was much loved on - my parents visited us (my husband's bday is also around the same time as mine) and came bearing cake, flowers, gifts, and got us all delivery from a fave Italian place.


My mom makes the prettiest gift bows; this photo does not do it justice. I always keep them and often reuse them. :-)



We were treated to dinner at Le Colonial with some dear friends (also bearing gifts and even a champagne toast!). I should have taken a few photos, but we were having fun and enjoying all the delicious food and company - it was fantastic!

My sister sent me cute mini cupcakes! If you haven't tried Baked By Melissa, they make a fun gift.


We also had a post bday/valentine's dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants - basically, it was a month-long celebration with lots of great food, friends, + family. I am all for it and so thankful! :-) 

Reading

American Dirt was the best thing I read. It's heartbreaking and important. While reading it, I would often think - I have no problems, none. And while, of course, I do, it puts the world in a very different perspective. It's also very topical; the details are not the same, but it sheds light on refugees. Highly recommend!

Streaming

Better Things came back the very last day of Feb - yay!

Duran Duran was featured on Austin City Limits! This technically hit in January, but I waited and watched it around my birthday. Cue all the smiles!.

If you need a fun, girlfriend-centric show, check out Dollface on Hulu. 

Random

I made no-knead bread. I read this cute book (Sourdough: A Novel) and was inspired. I've been making this recipe for years (but there are many similar ones if you Google it), and it never fails. I'm tempted to start a sourdough starter, too...we'll see. Anyway, some bread turned into grilled cheese (yes!). A treat for sure!



I won a contest on Instagram! 

Flower Beauty (one of my faves!!! I've bought many of their products) held a Valentine's Day contest, and I was one of two winners. They contacted me on the 2/22/22 :-) and a box was on my doorstep the next morning - crazy, generous, and so lovely!  


Anyway, I love stuff like this, and it's a reminder to always take a shot. Thank you, Flower Beauty + Drew Barrymore!

We also had many days of "fake Spring" - no complaints!


This dude had his annual check-up and got put on a diet (doh!) - he's not happy about it, but clocked in at 42 lbs and really should be around 35. !!! He's not keen on walking. If you have tips on how to get a beagle-basset to walk, hit me up, please!

Here's to peace and health!

Cheers,

S



Wednesday, February 2, 2022

January 2022

I really enjoy watching this old oak in our backyard change with the seasons each month. January always makes me long for spring!

So maybe if I attempt to recap each month, it will help me commit to writing more?

Spoiler alert - probably not, but I am willing to give it a try!

My goal for this blog has always been to have an outlet, but I don't think I have the most remarkable memory. I enjoy going back to see what was happening. I have friends who can recall specific years/dates/what they were doing, etc., and I am in awe of them; I will never be that person. :-)

So here's what was happening in January 2022!

Reading

I wrapped up 41 books in 2021 (not bad and hoping to beat that in '22!), and my fave this month was The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've been a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert since I heard her do an interview years ago on NPR. She was promoting her book Eat, Pray, Love (ever heard of it? :-), and I was hooked (and then, of course, read it!). Last year I read her book City of Girls and enjoyed it too, and I think Big Magic should be on everyone's bookshelf or digital bookshelf.

And for the record, I think an unknown or up-and-coming actress should have been cast in the movie version of EPL - the book is SO much better!

Streaming

Speaking of books - Station Eleven! My husband and I read this when it came out (we both loved it), and HBO has done a fantastic job recreating it into a series. It's worth watching whether you're familiar with the book or not.  

The Tender Bar. Ben Affleck stars, and George Clooney directs, so you do the math. Loved this, and it's one of those films you'll remember and think about (in a good way). The soundtrack is so much fun too.

And Just Like That...  How could I not check this out? I don't think it's as good as SATC (I think it's trying too hard to be a lot of things), but I looked forward to watching it every week.

Love Life. I watched the second season this month and loved it as much as I did the first. William Jackson Harper is great, and I love that it brings in Anna Kenrick's character (in a small way).

Queer Eye. It's always a fave; it never disappoints but oh, the tears!

And in my sitcom universe, I've been enjoying Abbott Elementry, American Auto, Call Me Kate, and reruns of 3rd Rock from the Sun - a fun sitcom always balances things out.

Random

No Screen Wednesdays

If you think there's a lot of TV/movie watching in our home, you're right! But we're also guilty of being on our phones way too much. Starting in January, we limited TV (off!) and screen access once a week. Kindles are OK, but phones or iPads are not. It's weird how quiet the house feels, which is probably a colossal sign we needed to cut back. I don't know if we'll do this every week going forward, but it will help us both knock out more books (or go for more walks), and I do think it's a worthwhile goal.

We got a new washing machine! It's a shame because ours was not that old (eight years), but the damn thing would constantly get off balance, which in turn would waste a lot of time, water, and energy. We tried different load sizes, different settings, YouTube hacks - the fact that there are YouTube hacks is never a good sign - but eventually, we just gave up. Eight years is a long time to get something to work, and so far, I am thrilled with the new machine. It's already saved us so much time because it just works as it's supposed to. Go fig?!? File this under signs you are getting old! :-)

And speaking of getting old, it's my last whole month in my 40's! So crazy, but I'm so lucky too! If I'm supposed to be wiser, I'm not sure that's the case, but here are some random "words of wisdom" - (asked no one ever :-).

  • Use sunscreen every day - rain/shine.
  • Nerds age well/better. :-)
  • Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself often. This goes for others too, but it has to start with you.
  • Don't take yourself or many, many things in life too seriously. Being able to laugh at yourself and all the stupid things you do (and continue to do) is essential. I'm not advocating stupidity/not caring about important things by any means, but we're human and yep...
  • Just start whatever you want to do and learn as you go."Perfect is the enemy of good" (Voltaire?) is one of my favorite quotes.
  • Read! Listen to podcasts, do what works for you but keep learning.
  • And if someone ever leaves you a voicemail - an actual dinosaur of a voicemail! (ha!) without detail (such as "this is John at xxx-xxx-xxxx, give me a call."), it's never good news - test this theory; most people who have good/positive/neutral information tell you something. I know it's random, but it almost always rings true for me.   :-) 

I made these cookies (brown sugar maple ginger) in January, too - will make them again for sure. They were gone within a couple of days!

I also made this Lemon Chai Cake - so bright and delicious!

And, the biggest thing that happened in January was SNOW! Yea-hah! LOOK at all that snow - ha!



We did get more, and it was so pretty, but even a little in the South is a big deal. :-)

This is not a great pic, but these blackbirds hit our yard in the hundreds every year as they migrate South. It's always crazy/is the world ending? to see them, and it's so impressive how they all fly up and out simultaneously. I think they are yellow-winged blackbirds (and a bit of snow left a few days later).


Hope you are staying safe and warm (it's currently 34 degrees F here as I finish up this post - yowza!!!), and happy 2022!