Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Books of 2015

Well, happy last day of 2015.  I didn't meet my reading goal for the year, but that was somewhat expected.  Babies really change your priorities when it comes to free time.  Like, should I read a few chapters before I go to sleep?  No.  Kid could wake up at any moment!  Sleep while you can!

I did manage to read 40 books this year.  And let's be honest, if I wanted to cheat, I would just add all the kid books I read and I would get like 100+.  If we count re-reads, probably thousands!  And I think we can all agree about the literary value of Dr. Seuss.  I might have to write a separate post about favorite kid books!

Anyway, what are we even talking about?  Right, my favorite books of the year!  Out of 40, I rated 10 of them as 5 stars.  That's pretty good, or I'm not a very discriminating critic.  Either way, I'm happy with it.  I'm narrowing it down to my top 5, just because I do what I want.

In no particular order:

  • We Were Liars - an unreliable narrator keeps you guessing as this mystery unfolds.  It was definitely a book I couldn't put down.  (my review here)
  • The Girl on the Train - this was another one I couldn't put down. I just had to know what was going to happen!   (my review here)
  • Modern Romance  - very interesting and funny.  Mostly made me really happy I got married before dating got so complicated. (my review here)
  • The Martian - cool concept, well-written.  Sciency without being off-putting.  I still need to see the movie (my review here)
  • Why Not Me?  - I kind of want to be best friends with Mindy Kaling.  This book was just as funny as her previous one.  I am a little mad at her TV show though, because some of the new episodes make me cry. (my review here)

Did you read anything good in 2015?  Let me know and I will add it to my to-read list, which is completely out of control.  At this rate, it would take me 6 years to get through it, and that's if I stop adding things!

Happy New Year's Eve!  Stay safe tonight and have fun!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Shopping

Another month of minimal shopping. But I will still link up with Franish

JCF Cardigan: $17 (originally $55)

So basically, I didn't spend anywhere near my budget for the year.  I have over $700 leftover, which is crazy.  I guess having a baby saves money in certain areas of the budget.  I'm not even going to try rolling that over into the new year.  I'll just start fresh in January.  I do really need a new pair of tennis shoes, which I have been saying for over a year.  I just don't know what to get.  

I did get a couple clothing items for Christmas, too.  But I couldn't find them online, so no pictures.  I got some new pajamas, a red sweater, and a purple sweater.  I think the sweaters will be nice additions to my wardrobe.

Friday, December 18, 2015


When it comes to leggings, I'm firmly in the "leggings are not pants" camp.  This flowchart always makes me laugh.  I'm tempted to keep a few copies with me and give them to unsuspecting strangers who are not wearing pants.  I mean, seriously, if I can see the stripes on your underwear, this is a problem.  I'm talking to you, ladies at the mall!

That said, I am a big fan of leggings as tights.  Some days are just too cold for skirts, and even tights won't suffice.  Boom.  Leggings!

Cardigan: Gap
Top and Skirt: Gap Factory
Leggings: Old Navy
Boots: Madden

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Off to See the Wizard

Last week, I went to see the Wizard of Oz musical.  It was so much fun.  The crazy thing was people kept saying "oh, I didn't know Wicked was in town!" and I had to explain, "No, just the regular old fashioned version where good is good and bad is bad!"  

Fun fact: even though I am from Kansas and generally love musicals, I have only watched the Wizard of Oz movie in it's entirety one time.  I had never seen it until I was in high school and had my wisdom teeth out.  I got to rent movies to watch all day and I grabbed it from the grocery store video rental place.  Remember when that was a thing?  So that's the only time I have seen it.  There was an occasion in college where some friends tried watching it with Dark Side of the Moon synced up, but we stopped after about 15 minutes.  It was just weird.  Although, the munchkins dancing to Money was pretty cool.

Another fun fact: people think it's funny to call you Dorothy and say "we're not in Kansas anymore" when they meet you and find out you are from Kansas.  If you meet someone from Kansas and want to make this joke, just be warned.  They have heard it a million times and probably don't think it is funny.

Anyway, the show was great, and I was happy for another excuse to dress up a little bit.

Cardigan: JCF (exact in various colors)
Necklace: F21 (similar)
Dress: Loft (exact - on sale and extra 40% off!)
Belt: Madden (exact)
Boots: Madden (exact)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

November Minsgame - Finale

So I'm not entirely sure how it is December 15th already!  But time is going faster and faster.  Despite my blogging failure, I did continue the November Minsgame.  This is my final collage, but I've been continuing to go through stuff and get rid of things (or at least I have big boxes in the basement that need to be taken to Goodwill and consignment, etc).  It's progress! Here's my last few days:

22: Socks - okay, I don't wear socks that often.  Unless I'm wearing boots or tennis shoes, I'm probably sockless.  So why do I have a large drawer full of socks?  No one knows.  I still have way more than I should, but I got rid of about half.
23: More closet cleanout.  I have a big bag for ThredUp and another set I am taking to consignment, hopefully today.
24/25: CDs.  I had sold a bunch of CDs a couple months ago, and these were the stragglers that CD Tradepost didn't want.  I sent them in to DeCluttr, and am making about $12.
26: Baby stuff that we didn't end up using.  Not pictured because it is in a bag in the baby's room and he is napping.  I'm hoping to take this to consignment today, too.
27: More random stuff to Goodwill.  Since I started this, I'll just see things in my house that I have no idea why we have kept.  Also, John cleaned out his closet.
28/29: So many books!  We rarely re-read books, so why do we have bookshelves full of them?  Again, no one knows.  I took these (and some DVDs) to sell and made $30!
30: DVDs. I took these to CD Tradepost and made $20.

Honestly, I'm embarrassed at how easy it was to do this project in November.  I don't miss anything that we got rid of, and our home is still quite full.  I'm hoping to keep this up by tackling different areas of the house, pulling everything out, and getting downsized/organized.  I'll never be a real minimalist, but I want to at least keep an eye on things so the "stuff" doesn't take over.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review - After You

After You is the sequel to Me Before You.  I remember loving MBY, but looking at Goodreads, I only rated it 3 stars.  Probably because I hated the ending.  Anyway, After You picks up about 2 years later with Louisa.  She's still a mess, and things get messier and messier.

Here's the deal:  Jojo Moyes is an excellent writer, so this book was enjoyable to read.  I found myself really caring about the characters, and needing to know what happened to them.  But the plot is so ridiculous.  It just became too much to believe.  And the ending seemed very predictable to me. But I guess I shouldn't complain, since this ending was much happier than the first book.

Speaking of Me Before You, I didn't know there was a movie!  It's coming out in the spring.  I will have to get over the fact that it stars Khaleesi, Finnick Odair, Clara Oswald, Tywin Lannister, and Neville Longbottom.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Book Review - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This book has been on my to-read list for almost 5 years!  I finally got around to it, because of the Winter Book Challenge.  One category was a book with a person's first and last name in the title.

This book was fascinating and heartbreaking.  It is part biography of Henrietta Lacks, and part scientific history of her cells and how they have been used.  It is pretty science-heavy at times, but not anything too complicated (and I mean, the only science class I took in college was astronomy).  It's just crazy how much medical research and patient consent has changed in the last 60 years, and even crazier how much it hasn't.

As we enter the last month of the year, it's clear I won't be hitting my goal of reading 50 books.  Unless I include all the books I read to Mr. Baby.  Then I'd be well over 100.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dirty Dancing

One of my excuses to get dressed up these days is the Broadway Across America shows.  I know I say this every year, but if you are into musicals at all, you should really check out the season ticket options in your city.  Around here, the cost per show is pretty reasonable, and it's such a fun thing to do.  This is what I wore to see Dirty Dancing.  It was pretty much exactly like the movie, which I have only seen once, approximately 15 years ago.  So, okay, I probably don't remember the movie all that well.

Anyway, I was excited to wear this dress again.  It's kind of shapeless, but I'm cool with that at this point in my life!  I posted the awkward sideways picture to show that the back of the dress is the same print but smaller than the front.  I think that is kind of fun.  And hey, a night out without Mr. Baby meant I could wear a necklace (which he promptly grabbed when I was getting ready to leave).
The next show is The Wizard of Oz, and I'm really tempted to find a gingham dress and red shoes.  Too much?

Dress: Limited (similar in black)
Cardigan: Gap (similar)
Necklace: F21 (similar)
Boots: Madden (exact)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently December

First Wednesday of the month means it is time to do the Currently linkup.  Go check out In Residence and Gold and Bloom.

wishing - that it wasn't quite so cold outside.  I am not a winter person, and with a baby, it's even worse!  I'm worried we will be staying home a lot during these cold months.  
remembering - last year around this time we were just starting to plan the nursery and figuring out what to register for.  And I hadn't told the blog that I was pregnant yet!  It's crazy how quickly time has gone!
wrapping - nothing yet!  I just started my Christmas shopping yesterday.  I honestly don't even think I have any wrapping paper.  Better buy some.  
baking - this again?  I don't really bake much, okay!  Or maybe I should edit my first category to "wishing I was baking chocolate chip cookies"
decorating - again, oops!  Nothing so far.  We need to get the Christmas box out of the storage closet and make our house somewhat festive!  

So I looked up my Currently post from last December.  Not much has changed!  I hadn't wrapped anything yet then either!  

And since I've been the worst at outfit pictures (or really outfits) recently.  Here are a few family photos from Thanksgiving.

*Mr. Baby is a bit of a drooler these days, but he's still pretty cute.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winter book challenge update - November

One month into the challenge, here's what I have read.  I actually read 4 of these in the first 2 weeks, and then kind of fizzled.  My library hold list gave me 5 books at once and I wasn't sure which one to read first, so I kind of panicked and didn't read anything for almost 2 weeks!  Then I panicked again and quickly read After You, before I had to return it.  

  • 10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence. The Martian (369 pages, 5 stars) - my review
  • 20 points: Read a food-themed book. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan (340 pages, 5 stars) - my review
  • 20 points: Read a book with a person's first and last name in the title  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (370 pages, 4 stars)
  • 15 points: Read a book with a one-word title.Wonder (320 pages, 5 stars) - I might move this to another category, just depending on what else I manage to read.  - my review
  • 15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym  - After You (Jojo Moyes real name is Pauline Sara Jo Moyes) (352 pages, stars)

So that leaves me with 80 points this month.  Not too bad!  And yeah, almost none of these were on my preliminary list.  I'm crazy like that.