Tuesday, November 12, 2019

memorable books from 2019 (so far)

So since I haven't been blogging, I haven't been showing you my books. But, I do make an effort to post each book I read in IG stories with the rating I gave it and a quick thought as to why. It helps me remember what I've read. I would make life easy and just talk about what I have read in October and November, but instead I want to share some thoughts I had on books this year.

Linking up with Steph and Jana, of course.

The Girl He Used to Know - No idea how this ended up on my TBR but it was cute and easy. Went between the past and the present, his POV and hers. Felt a little like a TJR but didn't quite capture life the way she does. Then, about 80% through the book, instead of showing the month and year the chapter took place in, like the whole book had done, the chapter started with September 10, 2001. And I was like oh crap, this is taking a 9/11 turn. The story needed some action to tie it all up, but I still don't feel comfortable with 9/11 as a fictional backdrop. I mean I can read WWII books. Maybe because it's my lifetime? I don't know. What do you think? (I did give the book four stars because I liked most of it... but I am still thinking of the 9/11 aspect.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - I really liked this. Maybe it was the right book at the right time but she was awkward and anxious and there was a cat! It is one of my few, if only, five star books this year. I always worry about giving a book five stars. Like is it too much praise? And in hindsight, I wonder if it really deserved it. Whatever, my books, my rules.

Behold the Dreamers - I feel that a lot of people think "Mexican" when they hear the word "immigrant." Maybe it's just because I live in Texas. This is a story about a family of immigrants from Africa and trying to do the right thing and the complications of the US immigration system. I listened to it and that made me really get into the story. And then, a few weeks ago, I had a Lyft driver in Kansas City ask me if I had heard of his home country of Togo in Africa and I was able to say yes, and I told him about this book.

One Day in December - Kind of a ridiculous, this would never happen in real life romance but there is a little bit of Christmas spirit in it. I remember wishing I was reading it closer to the holidays. So, now I can tell you about it and maybe it will add a little bit of holiday spirit to your TBR.

Just a few books that I had a few things to say about. Interested to see what others are reading to get some ideas to finish out the year with. I think Andrew and I are going to drive to visit family at Christmas, so I would love to find an audiobook we would both enjoy...

Monday, November 11, 2019

a fall weekend

I wanted to write a good, old fashioned, weekend recap because sometimes, it's nice to have a slice of life to look back on.

On Friday, Andrew and I were both super hungry really early so I put on real clothes and felt cute and we went to have dinner at Candente, a Mexican restaurant run by a BBQ place. We sat at the bar because Happy Hour and had good margaritas and really, really good meat. Like, the fajita steak was fantastic. Then we came home and watched The Boys which I will probably say more about in a Currently post...

One of my friends loves birthdays - yours and hers - so she insisted we get together and do a thing for my birthday. I chose breakfast, so we had mimosas and food and caught up and then decided to go to the TJ Maxx in the parking lot. I have to go to NYC for work this week. Last time I was there in cold weather (February), it snowed and my very cute Loft booties were NOT up to the task of keeping me safe and warm on icy sidewalks. I had been looking for some affordable boots with traction and warmth. I was busy admiring some $50 Lucky leather booties that I DID NOT need (and I left behind!) when my friend showed me some Duck boots and I was like oh, those are cute... but they were a half size to a size smaller than my regular size and my friend said "They are J. Crew and $20, you are gonna shove your foot in!" Luckily no shoving was required and they fit and they were a total steal since the same boots in a new pattern are $200. I love that they aren't TOO much for Houston weather - I could wear them on a cold, wet day and not look too out of place.

I made a quick trip to a favorite thrift store on my way home (I got a $4 leather purse which you can see on my IG stories) and then Andrew and I both napped and then went to Target to look at Christmas decor and grabbed some groceries and then we finished The Boys.

Sunday, Bauer woke me up early and then I went back to bed until Andrew came home with warm donuts and kolaches. I did a few things around the house and then went back to Target for things I needed for our houseguest this week/to look at clearance and then to try to take advantage of really good sales at Kohl's and Michael's. I found garland I had been looking for on super sale, called that a win, and was tired of shopping. I went for a walk since the weather was amazing and then went to my favorite yoga class. Came home and had caramelized onion soup with bacon and blue cheese that Andrew made and it was wonderful. Then did more house stuff, got my bujo set up for the week, and started thinking about packing for my trip. I leave Tuesday, Andrew's friend arrives to stay with us on Thursday, I get home late Thursday night, and they are in and out doing BBQ things all next weekend, so we are ships passing this week. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

Friday, November 8, 2019

TGIF (a different acronym)

Brene Brown used to send out a weekly email with a TGIF theme. She stopped, but I am totally ripping that off.

Trusting that one day, it will be okay. We had to make the hard decision to put our sweet dog Duncan down this week. I still find myself looking for him or thinking that I haven't fed him, things like that. It's hard to say that I have one pet, a cat. I know time heals things like this, but that hasn't made this week any easier.

Grateful for messages and cookie deliveries from friends and family, leftover Halloween candy, a cold front, taking a midday walk to vote on Tuesday, lunch dates with friends, and Queer Eye.

Inspired by oh gosh this one is hard. Maybe I can't steal this. Let's say I was inspired by Brene Brown to write a post in this format.

Fun. My work team likes to send the blinking white guy meme to each other, and also the "this is fine" house on fire dog. I love that someone has made the dog into a stuffed animal. If you need a Christmas gift for your friend who can't get off twitter, this is a solid rec.

I have a lot of post writing this weekend because I am in NYC Tuesday - Thursday of next week with likely no free time! Expect an update on my screen time limits and honestly, I'm not sure what else. Week one of my goal is complete!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

what's new?

But really, what is new with me? I feel like October was a blur of travel and plans.

Part of what I do for work is interview people, and there are a lot of surveys involved over where you are willing to travel. I always say I will go to Atlanta since my sister-in-law and her adorable children live there and I would love a free trip... and in October, I actually got to go. The girls were nearly one and not quite two and-a-half at the time and they are SO fun. And funny. But also exhausting, I had a day off between my work commitment and it was great to just spend a day in their routine. I'm SO excited to experience Christmas with them this year!

I also had a week of working at a conference here in Houston which was fun (real people! Human interaction!) but man, traffic and real clothes suck. I have no idea how I will ever work in an office again.

Ohhh Bre and I also went to see Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. I just enjoy them and their dynamic so much. The event was during an Astros game and we didn't think we would stay the whole time, but the event and programming were SO well done that neither of us wanted to leave. It's called Together Live and if you hear of it going to your city, you should check it out.

I also had an impromptu work trip come up to Kansas City. I was able to catch up with our old friends, David and Mandy, and meet their two sons. David and Andrew were friends in high school and they were in each other's weddings. They have also come to visit us a few times, and I know Mandy through the wonder of the internet, so anyway, it was great to be close enough to grab dinner. Also my work event was super stressful and a real test for me but it was mostly fine, so that gives me a nice boost for the next challenge coming my way. When I travel, I always make it a point to visit local coffee shops and PT's Coffee and Made in KC Cafe were both delightful and made me want to sit and work there all day.

My birthday fell on a Thursday this year, and after not being able to take it off due to work things for the past two years, I decided to make a plan-free, four-day weekend out of it. I've been on a huge thrifting kick lately, so I did a lot of that and took myself to one of my favorite coffee shops for a honey latte. The weather was beautiful over the weekend, so Andrew and I checked out an outdoor craft market and I bought myself a dainty L necklace that reminds me of one my grandparents gave me as a kid. We also went to Rosalie, a new restaurant, for dinner, and it was really cool inside and the food was good. And then I had bujo brunch and my favorite yoga class. Overall, a nice way to spend four days.

Things I want to remember:
- How exhausting and fun The Little Gym classes can be
- Psyching myself up to face a professional challenge
- A cool, fall-like birthday weekend
- The feeling of connecting with people who work for the same org I do - I always get so much from it
- The excitement in Houston when the Astros went to the World Series for the second time in three years (totally fine forgetting we lost, though...)

So, that was October 2019. Linking up with Kristen for What's New With You...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

three things

I was feeling uninspired today and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I stole this idea and these topics from Steph.

Songs that make me think of high school
- No Such Thing by John Mayer
- Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5
- Carmina Burana. It's classical music that we played for marching band my sophomore year, but it's common enough to be in commercials and things.

Things I like to give
- Book recommendations
- Personalized gifts (not just picking off an Amazon list)
- A different way to approach a problem

Things I like to receive
- Specific compliments
- Baked goods
- Clear instructions if you want me to do something

Things I hate that many people like
- Pumpkin spice
- Hugs from people I don't know well
- Shrimp

Clothes I find uncomfortable
- Anything suede
- Ballet flats. I used to wear them all the time but now they feel too restrictive
- Strapless bras

Things I love seeing other people post
- Cat pictures (or videos)
- Relatable memes
- Snippets of daily life

Now pick a category and tell me three things about you.